Posts Tagged ‘Lahore’

‘Suo motu notices to be taken sparingly,’ says Justice Khosa at full court reference for CJP Nisar

A full court reference in honour of the retiring Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, is being held in Court No. 1 of the Supreme Court.

The ceremony in Islamabad is being attended by all Supreme Court judges — with the exception of Justice Mansoor Ali Shah — as well as Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor, Vice Chairman of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Kamran Murtaza, retired senior judges as well as senior journalists, among others. Justice Nisar’s family is also in attendance.

While addressing the gathering, Justice Nisar said the top court has passed many landmark verdicts. “First is the ,Gilgit-Baltistan’s verdict,.”

“Supreme Court took notice of the scarcity of water in the country. The entire nation ,gave donations, to solve the crisis. Second issue the court picked up was ,that of population growth,,” he said.

“[Judiciary] worked for the rights of the downtrodden, granted overseas Pakistanis the right to vote and gave every person the right to live with dignity. Court also took notice of private hospital charges, issuance of national identity cards by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to transgenders.

“The court also took ,notice of Tayyaba torture case, as well as the issue of children working as domestic servants.

“[I] tried to return the respect given by the people and tried to solve the issues plaguing sectors of health and education, both of which are rights granted to citizens by the Constitution.

“The role of a judge is never easy, I am aware that the decisions we make shape not just the day to day lives of individuals, but have the potential to mould the lives of generations to come.

“Fear has no place in a judge’s life, nor does the fear of opposition bring so much as a wrinkle on his forehead, for his only duty is to the Constitution and the people for whom he stands as a beacon of justice

“I worked within the code of conduct for judges and it has been my honour to have served the nation.”

The CJP thanked his fellow judges; “those who have laid down their robes and those who grace the bench with me today, for always extending their unqualified support to me in all my efforts in dispensing justice and for working tirelessly round the clock”.

“I am also grateful to the employees of the Supreme Court and particularly each and every member of my staff, all of whom have invested long hours with me.

“I am highly indebted to my beautiful family [...] I would not be here today if it were not for you all.”

‘Suo motu notices to be taken sparingly’

Addressing the full court reference, chief justice-designate Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that he had been working alongside Justice Nisar for 20 years but will now have to part ways as per the law.

He said that the outgoing chief justice had faced many constitutional, societal and political challenges during his tenure and headed the judiciary in “very difficult circumstances”.

Justice Nisar’s services for humanitarian causes will be remembered, he added.

Outlining his plan for his upcoming tenure as top judge, Justice Khosa said that he will ensure the quick dispensation of justice.

Referring to Justice Nisar’s efforts to raise donations to build the Diamer-Bhasha dams, Justice Khosa said that he too he wanted to build a dam. “I will build a dam against fake cases, against pending cases,” he promised.

“Currently there are 1.9 million cases pending in courts. Three thousand judges cannot dispense of so many cases,” Justice Khosa noted.

“I want to build a dam against false witnesses as well,” he said, adding: “The power to take suo motu notices will be used sparingly.”

“I also want to pay off the country’s loans — I will will pay off the loans of cases that have been pending for years.”

Speaking on the role of other courts, the SC judge said: “The trial of a civilian in a military court is considered wrong across the world. It is said that military courts take less time to issue verdicts. Civilian courts should try to resolve cases in a short period of time. High courts should exercise powers within their jurisdiction.”

“When has the judiciary interfered in the matters of other institutions?” Justice Khosa asked. “Army and intelligence agencies should not interfere in civilian matters.”

“The job of the parliament is to legislate, not provide development funds. Transfers and postings are not among the parliament’s duties either.”

PBC’s Vice Chairman Murtaza, while speaking at the ceremony, said that Justice Nisar had availed the authority granted to judiciary under ,Article 184(3) (Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court),. Murtaza said that while he was one of the opponents of Article 184(3), he had no doubts about the intentions of Justice Nisar. However, Murtaza said, the “matter of Article 184(3)’s limitations must be resolved”.

Murtaza lauded Justice Nisar’s “extraordinary” service as chief justice and wondered if the Supreme Court, as an institution, would be able to continue performing in a similar manner. He stressed the need for the introduction of institutional reforms.

“Chief Justice Saqib Nisar is a very capable person,” Murtaza declared.

President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Amanullah Kanrani also addressed the ceremony and said that recently “the judges’ tone has become so harsh that it distracts the court and lawyers from their basic purpose”.

“Lawyers are not given a chance to present facts and arguments,” he said. He further said that the “huge amount of suo motu cases” leads to a delay in the proceedings of other petitions. Kanrani also suggested that the appellants be allowed to appeal against the verdicts passed in suo motu cases.

The SCBA president also said that “informal remarks” passed by judges and lawyers during court proceedings affect the “minds of petitioners”. Kanrani insisted that there was a need to hold judges accountable.

Justice Nisar’s legacy

Justice Nisar was ,sworn in as the top judge, on Dec 31, 2016. After he hangs up his robes today, Justice Khosa ,will take over the reins of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, tomorrow when he will be administered the oath by President Arif Alvi.

Earlier in the day, after adjourning a hearing of his last case, Justice Nisar said he was “thankful to everyone”.

“I spent more than 20 years in judiciary. I always tried to issue verdicts in accordance with the law and regulations,” he said.

Among Justice Nisar’s retirement plans are to ,open a “free legal clinic”,. “I will offer free legal assistance to the oppressed, poor and helpless people at my free legal clinic,” he had disclosed, stressing that the country belongs to the disadvantaged populace as much as it does to those from the more privileged sections of society.

Herald’s ‘Person of the Year 2018′: ,Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, for judging too much,

The outgoing chief justice passed several landmark judgements during his tenure as top judge — including ,the verdict in the Aasia Bibi case, last year. He also headed the bench which decided that disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution ,would be for life,.

The defining feature of his tenure, however, may be his judicial activism and frequent suo motu notices. Justice Nisar created headlines not just in the courtrooms, but by visits all over the country — to hospitals, filtration plants, lower court rooms and even prisons. Everywhere that the chief justice went, the cameras followed.

He also set up a ,fund for the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, and initiated a campaign to raise awareness about population control.

At the full court reference that was held for his predecessor, former chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Nisar in his address — which many believed was an insight into his plan of action as top judge — had declared that the ,judiciary will not tolerate corruption, in any form.

Take a look: ,In search of a legacy,

“The act of corruption by state actors is a complete fraud on the exercise of their power may it be the executive or judicial limbs of the state,” Justice Nisar had observed and cautioned that it should be very clearly understood that besides cleaning ‘‘our own house of corruption, the judiciary would play its role in the eradication of corruption from other limbs of the government’’.

Justice Nisar’s judicial career

Justice Nisar has been a judge of the apex court since Feb 18, 2010. Before that he was a judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Before being appointed as a judge, he was member of the Supreme Court Bar Associa­tion and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA). He was elected as secretary general of the LHCBA in 1991.

Explore: ,Judicial overreach?,

Born on Jan 18, 1954, in Lahore, Justice Nisar did his matriculation from the Cath­edral High School, Lahore, graduation from the Gover­n­ment College, Lahore, and bac­h­elor of law from the Uni­versity of Punjab in 1979-80.

He joined the legal profession as an advocate on May 2, 1980. He was enrolled as an advocate of the high court in 1982 and advocate of the Supreme Court in 1994.

He was elevated as the judge of the high court on May 22, 1998, and of the Supreme Court on Feb 18, 2010.

Justice Nisar specialised in civil, commercial, tax and constitutional laws and appeared in a large number of important constitutional cases both in the LHC and the Supreme Court.

He was appointed as the federal law secretary on March 29, 1997, when he became the first member of the bar to be appointed to the important position.

Justice Nisar represented Pakistan in an international conference held at the Wilton Park, United Kingdom, on the subject of “Pakistan and India at Fifty”.

He led a Pakistani delegation to a conference in Manila on the subject of “Asia Region Transitional Crimes”. He also attended conferences in Switzerland and Norway.

He had also been a part-time lecturer at the Punjab Law College and Pakistan College of Law, where he taught civil procedure code and the Constitution.

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SC hands over ownership of Lahore’s Sheikh Zayed Hospital to federal govt

The Supreme Court on Thursday handed the ownership of the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Lahore to the federal government, ruling that the Centre reserves the right to build and run hospitals.

The split 4-1 verdict by a five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, said that the management of the Sheikh Zayed Hospital was transferred to the Punjab government without due legal process. The court ruled that the 18th Amendment’s interpretation in this regard was wrong as the Centre had the right to build and run hospitals.

“No law can stop the transfer of this hospital to the Centre,” the verdict said. “There should be a balance between the powers of provincial and federal government.”

A dissenting note was written by Justice Maqbool Baqir.

The judgement said that the ownership of three hospitals and the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi was also handed over to the Sindh government “illegally” and ordered that the management of all four hospitals as well as the museum be transferred to the Centre within 90 days. The provincial governments can request the court for an extension if the process of ownership’s transfer is not completed in 90 days, the ruling said.

Yesterday, a five-member bench had ,dismissed Sindh government’s appeal, over a dispute in the management of three major hospitals in Karachi — namely the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) — and ordered that their management be transferred to the federal government.

The court also ordered the federal government to reimburse the past year’s expenses of the hospitals and museum borne by the provincial governments.

At a previous hearing, CJP Nisar had said it was difficult for the court to interpret the 18th Amendment in the absence of parliamentary debate on it. He said everything was kept under wraps at the time the 18th Amendment was being drafted. In developed democracies, advertisements were issued to solicit opinions of all stakeholders a year before any constitutional amendment, he added.

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Accountability court indicts Ahad Cheema, extends judicial remand by 14 days

An accountability court in Lahore on Thursday indicted former director general of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema in a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

Accountability court judge Syed Najamul Hassan extended Cheema’s judicial remand for 14 days.

The bureau’s lawyer said Cheema had billions of rupees worth of assets beyond his known sources of income and added that the market value of his assets was close to Rs600 million.

NAB’s lawyer said that Cheema had kept assets under the names of his family members, including his wife Saima Ahad, mother Nusrat Afza, brother Ahmed Saood and sister Sadia Mansoor.

The court has summoned witnesses in the next hearing on Jan 30.

NAB had ,filed a reference against Cheema in October 2018, for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

According to NAB, Cheema had made property worth billions of rupees in the name of his family members. It said the suspect and his family members owned over 300 kanals of agriculture land in Hafizabad, over 190 kanals in Lahore, a flat in Hill View, Islamabad, two plots in FIA Employees Cooperative Housing Society, Islamabad, two flats and plots in Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation, Islamabad, a 10-marla plot in Faisal Town, Islamabad, two five-marla plots in Faisal Residencia Islamabad and a three-kanal plot on Bedian Road, Lahore.

Prior to this in June 2018, NAB had filed a reference against ,Cheema and five others over their alleged role, in Ashiana Housing Scheme scam.

,Read more:A timeline of developments in the Ashiana housing ‘scam’,

In the Ashiana reference, Cheema was accused of causing a loss of Rs660m to the national exchequer. The project cost ballooned to Rs3.4bn while 61,000 people who had applied for plots in the project suffered, NAB had alleged.

The former LDA director general was ,arrested in February 2018 over charges of misusing his authority, and, with criminal intent, processing and awarding Ashiana scheme project contract worth Rs14bn to the Lahore Casa Developers, a joint venture firm that was ineligible for the same. The contract, in connivance with other suspects, was awarded in violation of rules.

NAB has also approved a reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and former principal secretary to the ex-prime minister Fawad Hasan Fawad in the Ashiyana Housing scam.

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Profile: Pakistan’s next Chief Justice — Asif Saeed Khosa

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, who will be sworn in as the 26th chief justice of Pakistan on Friday (January 18), was born on December 21, 1954 in Dera Ghazi Khan. He is married with two daughters and four grandchildren.

Justice Khosa’s brothers are former bureaucrat Nasir Mahmood Khosa and former inspector general of police (IGP) of Balochistan Tariq Masood Khosa.

The judge, who is now 64 years old, received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Punjab and his LLM degree from Queens College at Cambridge in 1978.

He enrolled as an advocate at the Lahore High Court in 1979, and then at the Supreme Court in 1985. As an advocate, he conducted over 600 cases. On February 18, 2010, Justice Khosa was elevated to the position of a Supreme Court judge.

  • Justice Khosa, over a period of more than 19-and-a-half years, has ,decided, about 55,000 cases.
  • A special bench headed by Justice Khosa has ,decided, over 10,000 cases of a criminal nature since 2014, according to an ,article, published by The Express Tribune last year. “The total number of pending cases in the top court has reached near 40,000 and a few hundreds of criminal cases are left, which is being considered as a landmark achievement of the apex court,” the article read.

‘Poetic justice’

Justice Khosa is known for adding lyrical flair in his observations and judgments — most recently in the landmark Panama papers ,verdict, that de-seated Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister in 2017.

His dissenting note in the split 2:3 verdict — Khosa was among the two who held Nawaz should be disqualified — on April 20, 2017 began with a ,reference, to the popular 1969 novel ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo in which he pointed out an epigraph by Honore de Balzac selected by the author: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”, saying that “It is ironical and a sheer coincidence that the present case revolves around that very sentence attributed to Balzac.”

The literary reference became a major talking ,point, as opposition parties, in particular the PTI, latched onto it to drive home the allegations of corruption while PML-N spoke out against the choice of analogy.

Nawaz was subsequently disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution in July the same year.

Read Khosa’s article, written when he was a barrister, critical of the ambiguity inherent in Articles 62 and 63 ,here,.

In 2012, when a SC bench — headed by headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk — slapped former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani with a contempt ,charge,, Justice Khosa authored an additional ,note, along with the detailed judgement which included an original rendition of Khalil Gibran’s poem ‘Pity the nation’.

Justice Khosa was also part of two high-profile blasphemy-related cases; he headed the bench which ,upheld, the conviction of Mumtaz Qadri in 2015 for the murder of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer and last year in October, he was part of the bench that ,acquitted, Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy charges.

Justice Khosa’s razor-sharp critique of the prosecution case is
combined with remarkable judicial prose
— lawyer Faisal Siddiqi

A column written by lawyer Faisal Siddiqi published in Dawn on the ,verdict, in the Aasia Bibi case noted:

“Justice Khosa’s razor-sharp critique of the prosecution case is combined with remarkable judicial prose, when he appears to regret the imprisonment of Aasia Bibi by holding that ‘Blasphemy is a serious offence but the insult of the appellant’s [Aasia Bibi’s] religion and religious sensibilities by the complainant party and then mixing truth with falsehood … was also not short of being blasphemous … in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘more sinned against than sinning’.”

Next in line

Justice Khosa has authored multiple books during his career, including ‘Heeding the Constitution’, ‘Constitutional Apologues’, and ‘Judging with Passion and Breaking New Ground’.

He also edited and compiled ‘The Constitution of Pakistan, 1973’ with all amendments up to date.

The next in line to take reins of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Khosa has previously served as the acting chief justice from June 5-11 in 2017, June 29 to July 5 in 2017, May 14-30 in 2018, and Dec 17-23 in 2018.

Justice Khosa will remain the country’s top judge for 11 months and is scheduled to retire on Dec 21, 2019.

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LHC gives Hamza Shahbaz one-time permission to travel abroad for 10 days

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday gave Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz one-time permission to leave the country for a period of 10 days.

Hamza along with his father Shahbaz Sharif and brother Salman Shahbaz is facing multiple National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inquiries, including those into Ramzan Sugar Mills road construction and assets beyond means.

The MPA had on Tuesday ,petitioned the court, through Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar that the interior ministry had ,placed his name on the exit control list, arbitrarily as no opportunity of hearing had been afforded to him before the impugned action.

The opposition leader had stated that he on Nov 27, 2018, intended to travel abroad to see his ailing wife, undergoing medical treatment in the United Kingdom. However, he said, he was informed by the authorities that his name had been included in the list on NAB’s advice.

He pleaded that the right to travel and free movement was guaranteed under the Constitution, however, the impugned memorandum issued by the interior ministry was in utter violation of his fundamental rights.

The MPA contended that a bare perusal of the ministry’s memorandum showed that it had been issued in an unfair exercise of executive powers and failed to give any valid reason. He further pleaded that the act of placing his name on the ECL was in violation of Articles 2-A, 4, 9, 15, and 25 of the Constitution.

The petitioner asked the court to set aside the impugned memorandum for being unlawful and order the ministry to remove his name from the ECL. As an immediate relief, he urged the court to suspend the memorandum and grant him one-time permission to travel abroad till a final decision on the petition.

“I am the representative of the people of the largest province and have been taking regular part in all the NAB inquiries [against myself]. However, pending NAB cases have been made the reason for the inclusion of my name in the ECL,” the petitioner argued.

Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan took up the petition in court today and allowed Hamza to leave the country once for a 10-day span.

“I belong to a political family and my name has been placed ECL dishonestly,” he claimed.

“Does being a public representative mean that a person enjoys complete freedom?” retorted Additional Attorney General Ashfaq A Khan, who represented the federal government in court.

“These courts are based on the premise that the law is equal for all citizens,” Justice Irfan said.

The additional attorney general said that a high court judgement itself had laid down the rules for the restriction of movement for any citizen.

“If someone has caused monetary losses to the national exchequer they can be stopped from leaving the country,” the advocate general told the court.

“Remember, those who are in the government today may be sitting in the opposition tomorrow,” the judge said during the hearing, adding that the chief justice and SC judges are unhappy with the way NAB is conducting itself.

“Is the country going to be run by NAB? Should the courts and the parliament stop functioning?” Justice Irfan wondered.

The interior ministry, passport and immigration personnel, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were made respondents in the petition, and the court issued the interior ministry a notice seeking its reply in the matter.

The additional attorney general pointed out that the respondents of the petition are currently in Islamabad, which is why the case cannot be heard currently.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - January 16, 2019 at 11:26 am

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Five-year revival plan for PIA by March, promises CEO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Internat­ional Airlines (PIA) will submit a five-year ‘Strategic Business Plan 2019-2023’ to the government by March.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik said the plan, currently being developed, consists of cost-cutting and revenue generation through detailed analysis of the market, right sizing operations, work centre, flights and routes for the revival of the national carrier.

PIA’s financial restructuring will be carried out through government support and at the same time the current fleet will be reviewed and purchase of new aircrafts will be decided, he said.

Explaining PIA’s financial health, he said the current operational losses are at Rs3 billion per month but this bleeding would be successfully plugged. The accumulated losses have risen to Rs431.1bn, while loans/borrowings have touched Rs247.7bn.

The government will announce a new aviation policy in February to boost PIA’s business, he said. Prime Minister Imran Khan has assigned the task of drafting a new aviation policy to Privatisation Minister Mohammad Mian Soomro and the Secretary Aviation.

The Open Skies policy of the previous governments brought losses to the national carrier, Mr Malik said. The government has already decided in principle to end the open skies policy.

“PIA’s 550 weekly international flights were brought down to 101 flights. Foreign carriers took away the business from 101 flights per week to 555 flights per week. These airlines are supported by their respective governments, particularly the Gulf carriers which get fuel subsidy whereas PIA does not get any subsidy. How can PIA compete with other airlines in the market,” he questioned.

He claimed to have taken “bold steps” for cost cutting. Duration of flights to Europe will now be reduced by an hour as a result of flying over the territories of Iran and Turkmenistan. Previously, all Europe-bound PIA flights avoided flying over these two countries just to avoid payment of fee to the civil aviation agencies of Iran and Turkmenistan, resulting in extra consumption of fuel. However, the matter has been resolved with the intervention of Army and PAF chiefs, he said.

On route economics, Mr Malik said PIA is under compulsion to operate flights to Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur and Saidu Sharif routes whether or not these routes make a profit. “The annual loss on operating flights on socio-economic routes amounts to Rs452 million,” he said.

Sharing details, Mr Malik said that in addition to the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, there are another 23 properties owned by PIA in Tashkent, Tehran, New Delhi, Bombay, New York, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

“These properties have been abandoned and virtually forgotten,” he said. “Assistance of the Foreign Office has been sought to engage ambassadors in these cities to evaluate these properties. Either these properties would be disposed off or will continue as source of income,” the CEO added.

At the press conference, the CEO said that flights on seven international routes have been stopped since these were costing Rs500m to the airline. “PIA had been facing losses on these routes for a long period,” he said. Citing the example of Islamabad-Beij­ing-Tokyo-Beijing-Islamabad route, he said an aircraft would be blocked for five days, with resting of crew members for equal number of days. Moreover, on the Tokyo-Beijing flight, PIA was allowed to pick only 80 passengers on a 350-seat aircraft, he added.

As part of cost-saving operations, PIA has now introduced five new international routes including Islamabad-Doha-Isla­mabad, Karachi-Jeddah-Karachi, Multan-Muscat-Multan, Sialkot-Sharjah-Sialkot, Peshawar-Al Ain-Peshawar and Lahore-Bang­kok-Kuala Lumpur-Karachi.

“In these routes, PIA is getting 95pc seat occupancy. Aircraft from loss-making routes have been shifted to profitable ones.”

On the occasion, the privatisation minister announced that PIA will start Peshawar-Kuala Lumpur flights from April.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2019

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Trans activist moves court against harassment, torture of transgender community in Lahore

Lahore-based transgender rights activist Hina Shahzadi on Wednesday moved a sessions court against the harassment and torture of the transgender community in the city as members of the community also staged a silent protest against mistreatment.

Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Bashir Ahmed Nasir and Station House Officer Mohammad Javed of Misri Shah Police Station were made a party in the petition which sought protection for members of the transgender community in Lahore.

Take a look: ,Footprints: Hoping for a new lease on life ,

Shahzadi contended that trans people are teased and subjected to torture without any reason. She alleged that a prime suspect, along with others, subjected trans people to sexual harassment and torture.

The petitioner also said that members of the community often receive death threats. Shahzadi asked the court to provide security to trans people and order action against the suspect.

The sessions court has received the petition, which is yet to be marked to a judge for hearing.

Last year, the National Assembly passed the landmark Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2017. The law enables trans people to be recognised as they perceive themselves and register with the government institutions as transgenders.

It also provides them basic rights such as obtaining driver’s licences and passports. The bill was presented by PPP lawmaker Naveed Qamar. It was unanimously approved by Senate in March 2018.

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‘Electric atmosphere’: Duminy, Sammy hype up PSL’s Pakistan-leg to AB de Villiers

South African ace AB de Villiers’ decision to travel to Pakistan for the home-leg of the Pakistan Super League 2019 has earned him plaudits from his former Proteas teammates and others.

De Villiers, the top pick of last year’s draft, on Monday ,announced, that he will be visiting Pakistan in March as part of the Lahore Qalandars roster to play PSL matches at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The hard-hitting African’s decision has delighted his erstwhile national teammate and PSL 2019 champion JP Duminy, who represented Islamabad United last year but will miss the tournament’s next edition due to an injury.

“I am delighted that AB has decided to play Lahore Qalandars’ back-to-back matches at the Gaddafi Stadium on 9 and 10 March. I am sure when he takes the field, he will be amazed to see the electric atmosphere, passion and excitement in the crowds,” Duminy is ,quoted as saying, by PSL-T20.com.

“The March visit will also allow AB to sense the status and respect he commands in this part of the world, as well as the impact he has made on Pakistan cricket. These people love cricket and have tremendous respect for high-performing cricketers like AB.

“The HBL PSL is a tournament which is growing fast, and with its successful staging in Pakistan, prospects of international cricket returning to the country have also brightened.

“I am sure when AB will look back at his glittering and marvellous career, he will say with pride and satisfaction that he also played a part in the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.”

Fans will line-up in huge numbers to see AB play: Sammy

West Indies star and Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy, arguably the most popular of PSL’s foreign imports, recalled his experience of playing in Pakistan for De Villiers’ benefit.

“AB has entertained the world through his exploits,” he said. “I am glad that he has decided to show his skills in Lahore, which I am sure will be hugely appreciated by the courteous and supportive Pakistan cricket fans.

“De Villiers is a champion cricketer and I am excited for the players who will get to experience playing in Lahore with him and for the thousands of crazy Pakistan cricket fans who, I am sure, will line-up in huge numbers to see AB play.

“I played in Lahore and Karachi in 2017 and 2018 and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The excitement and enthusiasm I saw in Lahore and Karachi was second to none and it just drives home the fact that this game is what it is because of these lovely fans.

“Sadly, I will not get a chance to play against AB in Lahore but I will be watching the match on the television and I am sure we will get to see some great cricket.”

AB playing means a lot to Pakistan fans: Jordan

England fast bowler Chris Jordan, who will again represent Peshawar Zalmi, also lauded De Villiers’ decision, saying: “I am glad AB de Villiers was able to make this decision of touring Pakistan.

“The love and appreciation that we received when we played in Lahore and Karachi was beyond amazing. Pakistani fans just love their cricket and to be able to experience that is something I cherish till date and look forward to this year as well. I am sure AB will have a very similar experience.

“When you play in Pakistan, it just puts into perspective what an entire generation of their fans has missed out on and, seeing how the fans are reacting to this news, clearly it means a lot to them that AB will be playing in front of them. AB de Villiers is a great addition to this group of international cricketers who want to see international cricket return to Pakistan.”

De Villiers’ Lahore Qalandars will be in action on the opening day of PSL 2019 when they take on reigning champions Islamabad United in Dubai. The PSL 2019 starts on Feb 14 and ends in Karachi on March 17.

The 2019 edition of the PCB’s flagship product will see eight of its matches played in Pakistan – three in Lahore and five in Karachi.

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Security forces kill 2 ‘IS militants’ linked to 2013 abduction of Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son

Two suspected members of the militant Islamic State group allegedly linked to the ,2013 abduction, of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son, Ali Haider Gilani, were killed in a pre-dawn raid on a ‘militant hideout’ in Faisalabad on Tuesday, a Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) official said.

CTD official Rai Tahir identified the two militants as Adeel Hafeez and Usman Haroon. He said both were killed during an intense shootout in the raid conducting by security officials.

Tahir said officials had, in the past, foiled other attacks the pair had plotted, adding that they were also behind the killing of two intelligence officials in recent years as well as other high-profile crimes.

The two militants were also linked to the 2011 Al Qaeda ,abduction of an American development worker,, Warren Weinstein, the official said. Weinstein, who was taken from Lahore, was ,accidentally killed in a United States drone strike, in 2015 on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He provided no specific information about the role the two had in Weinstein’s case.

The American worker’s accidental death was announced by Washington in 2015. President Barack Obama at the time said he ,took full responsibility for US counter-terror missions, and offered his condolences to families of the hostages.

After the Sept 11 attacks in the United States, Washington aggressively targeted militant hideouts in neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal regions, killing local and foreign militants. Pakistan considers US drone strikes a violation of its sovereignty, while the US accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens for militants. Pakistan has always denied the charge, saying it acts against militants without discrimination.

Many former Al Qaeda militants are thought to have joined the regional IS affiliate, which emerged a few years ago, around the time the group was at the height of its caliphate in Iraq and Syria. IS has since lost nearly all the territory it once controlled in the two Middle Eastern countries.

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Tickets for PSL matches in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi available online

Tickets for the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 matches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi are now available online on ,www.q-tickets.com,, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) official website for the tournament announced on Tuesday.

“Details about online Dubai and Pakistan leg tickets will be announced soon while box office ticket sales information for all five HBL PSL venues — Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Lahore and Karachi — will also be shared in due course,” read the announcement.

Sharjah will be the centre stage for the HBL PSL matches for the fourth successive year, since the inception of the league in 2016. The emirate will host a total of eight games, said the statement.

The fourth edition begins in Dubai on Feb 14 when defending champions Islamabad United take on Lahore Qalandars.

The first match in Sharjah will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, Feb 20, between Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans at 9pm (PST). Sharjah crowd favourite Peshawar Zalmi will take on Karachi Kings on Thursday, Feb 21, at the same time followed by a double-header on Friday, Feb, 22.

The league is coming to Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Stadium for the first time with a total of four matches scheduled at the venue on March 4 and 5.

Five matches ,will be played at Karachi’s National Stadium,, including the March 17 final, while Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium will play host to three matches as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues to increase the number of matches in the country with every edition. Lahore hosted the final in the second edition of the league before hosting two matches last season when Karachi hosted the final.

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Minister terms all previous budgets fake

LAHORE: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said that all previous budgets were fake and now real budgets were being presented.

“The upcoming January 23 mini-budget will lay a foundation of Pakistan’s strong economy,” he said and added that the PTI government would come up to the expectations of people.

The information minister’s remarks come a day after Finance Minister Asad Umar on Saturday dispelled the impression that the ,upcoming mini-budget, would be loaded with new taxes. While addressing members of the business community in Karachi, Mr Umar had said that the mini-budget would focus on ease of doing business and measures to facilitate trade and industrialisation.

Says governance will improve in two to three years

The information minister urged people to have trust in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that governance would improve in two to three years.

“Have patience for two to three years and this government’s governance will be of par excellence,” he told the media at ThinkFest at Alhamra Arts Council.

Mr Chaudhry said PM Khan did not believe in giving relief (NRO) to any corrupt.

“One has already landed in jail, while the other will follow suit,” he said while referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari, respectively.

He reiterated that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari were pressurising (the government) in and out of parliament but they would not get any NRO.

The information minister said that Mr Sharif’s and Mr Zardari’s parties had collapsed.

“They have dug their political graves with their style of politics. We didn’t contribute anything [to their troubles],” Mr Chaudhry said.

The minister expressed wonder over the way the trial of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif was being conducted, saying they were enjoying all freedom when compared with incarceration of Wali Khan, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and other high-profile people who remained in prison. “Nawaz Sharif flew to London during his trial and his lawyers cross-examined witnesses for 22 days.”

He said that Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif was in jail only on papers as he was living in his house and holding meetings and sometimes even called the NAB and prosecutors to appear before him. “I haven’t seen such a trial in my life,” he said and added, “still they are heading towards their political death”.

Responding to a question about former US Ambassador Cameron Munter that Pakistan had misused funds given by the US to counter terrorism as well as promote education, Mr Chaudhry brushed aside Mr Munter’s statement, saying he had retired long ago and did not know anything happening now.

He pointed out that the US had already discontinued the Coalition Support Fund. However, he added, Pakistan-US relations were now improving. He said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had visited Pakistan and later Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met him in Washington leading to improvement in Pak-US ties.

“I guess Munter has not visited Washington for quite some time,” he said.

Referring to the PPP leaders’ names on the ECL, he said the direction was given by the JIT and the government had just implemented it.

Regarding his re-scheduled visit to Sindh and PPP minister Saeed Ghani’s assertion that he could stop him entering Sindh, Mr Chaudhry said Sindh was part of Pakistan and no one could stop him from going there. He said he was going to Sindh in connection with the affairs of his ministry and would obviously meet his colleagues there.

Mr Chaudhry said the information ministry would come up with a calendar of mega events in the country in a couple of weeks to allow space to thinkers and writers to speak up their minds.

Emphasising the need for promotion of tourism, he said Pakistan had decided to allow visa-free entry to people from 66 countries.

“People from across the globe will be invited to participate in various literary, cultural, social and religious festivals,” the minister said and added that the government was working on mechanisms to keep the events safe.

He said authors would be encouraged and film industry would be revived.

“PM Imran Khan’s vision is not just political but also social, and he wants to generate activity that will bring people closer unlike past rulers, who only worked to fill their coffers,” Mr Chaudhry said.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2019

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Pakistan should strengthen ties with neighbours instead of US: Hina Rabbani Khar

LAHORE: Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Pakistan always chose to be a client state instead of becoming strategic partner of one country or the other. With a begging bowl in both hands, Pakistan cannot command respect in the comity of nations.

Speaking in a session on the US-Pakistan relationship at ThinkFest here on Saturday, she said Pakistan always imagined itself as a complete strategic partner, which was far-fetched. Pakistan’s most important relations should be with its neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, India, Iran and China instead of the US. “The US does not deserve that much importance as is given in Pakistan because our economy is not dependent on US aid, as is widely believed.”

Referring to the incumbent rulers’ claims of copying China, she said Beijing had brought its people out of poverty, while the Islamabad rulers were doing the opposite.

United States Institute of Peace Associate Vice President Moeed Yusuf said the US-Pakistan relations were non-existent during the past 18 months. Regretting that Pakistan was looking elsewhere instead of involving itself in the region to resolve local and regional issues, he said there could be no conversation on the US-Pak ties till the Afghanistan issue was resolved. For Pakistan, he said, the idea was to consider how to work with the US and China simultaneously.

Speaking on the future of democracy in Pakistan, author Aqil Shah from Oklahoma University said democracy gave the freedom to speak up and enabled accommodating ethnic divisions peacefully. He, however, said the democracy in vogue in Pakistan was a hybrid regime where elected representatives were answerable to both the people and army generals.

He alleged that the 2018 general elections were manoeuvered to ensure that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his party did not come back to power and that the rule was given to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), calling the ruling party “Pakistan Tehreek-i-Establishment”.

He further said that the corruption narrative was a universal phenomenon and not exclusive to Pakistan.

Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood claimed that democracy in Pakistan was getting stronger and robust. While the PTI government took over just a few months ago, people had high expectations from them to resolve serious issues, including the economic crisis.

He said education had faced a serious neglect in the past and was separated into different streams to create a divide among people. He said there was a small pool of audience attending the ThinkFest, but even this much crowd could not be attracted if the event took place in Dera Ghazi Khan or Sibbi.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2019

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Doctor allowed to examine Nawaz

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s doctor examined him after workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) held a demonstration outside the Kot Lakhpat jail on Saturday against the Punjab government for not taking care of their leader.

A good number of PML-N workers, led by former ministers Ahsan Iqbal and Pervaiz Malik, chanted slogans against the government and the jail administration for not allowing Mr Sharif’s cardiologist to see him after he complained of pain in his left arm.

On Friday, Maryam Nawaz had claimed that the jail authorities were not allowing her father’s cardiologist to examine him.

However, after PML-N workers’ protest, the jail administration allowed cardiologist Dr Adnan to examine Mr Sharif and he suggested some tests for the PML-N leader.

Talking to reporters, Ahsan Iqbal said: “Non-provision of health facilities to Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif is a violation of basic human rights. This is being done in revenge.” The acting secretary general of PML-N warned that if Mr Sharif’s health deteriorated because of lack of medical care, a case would be lodged against the prime minister, chief minister, home secretary and the jail superintendent.

He urged the chief justice of Pakistan to launch a probe into the offshore holdings of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khanum.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2019

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Justice Nisar suspends execution of mentally ill prisoner Khizar Hayat

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday took notice of media reports regarding the scheduled execution of Khizer Hayat, a mentally ill prisoner on death row, and announced to suspend his sentence till further orders.

Moreover, the chief justice also fixed the matter for hearing on Monday [January 14], read a statement issued by the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, Hayat’s mother Iqbal Bano had moved the court calling for the suspension of his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness.

On Friday, a district and sessions judge in Lahore had ,scheduled the execution of Hayat, — a death-row prisoner diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia — for January 15 at the central jail in Kot Lakhpat.

The request filed by Hayat’s mother, which was submitted before the court’s human rights cell, was reviewed by Chief Justice Nisar. The petition called for the Supreme Court’s attention to the fact that a mentally ill prisoner was being sentenced to death.

It has stated that the judgment passed by Lahore High Court “is not in accordance with law and the Prison Rules”.

The petition has also argued that the court has “mixed the conviction with execution and thereby has dismissed the writ petition on wrong premises”.

It further argued that neither the medical history of the petitioner’s son has been taken into account and nor have the medical board’s reports been considered which establish the prisoner’s ailment.

The petition notes that “the extensive jail medical records establishing the mental ailment of the condemned prisoner are sufficient to withhold the execution of death sentence till the time the condemned prisoner is fully recovered from the ailment”.

Moreover, the petition has also stated: “There is no way that Khizar Hayat’s execution can be carried out in a manner that complies with Pakistan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention against Torture.”

Hayat was sentenced to death in 2003 over the shooting of a fellow police officer. He has spent nearly 15 years on death row. He was first diagnosed as a schizophrenic in 2008 by jail medical authorities. In 2010, the jail medical officer recommended that Hayat needed specialised treatment and should be shifted to the psychiatric facility. However, this was never done.

In 2017, the Lahore High Court had ,stayed the execution, of Hayat.

On Monday, a two-member bench comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masoof will hear the case.

Hayat’s mother, in a letter, requested the chief justice to visit Kot Lakhpat jail’s ward for mentally ill prisoners and investigate what medicines were being given to her son.

She pleaded that his medical records be investigated “to determine why his treatment was not being done properly and why his condition was worsening day by day”.

“I read in Dawn that a prisoner named Khizar Hayat has been sentenced to be hanged,” the chief justice remarked, inquiring from the Punjab attorney general which jail Hayat was serving his sentence in. The official replied it was Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.

Justice Nisar asked that it be immediately ascertained if Hayat has been diagnosed as mentally ill and sought a report today.

Meanwhile, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which has been contesting the case, has been running a ,campaign on social media,, asking President Arif Alvi to “grant mercy” to Hayat. According to ,Article 45 of the Constitution,, the president has the “power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority”.

Earlier on Saturday, a press conference was organised by the Pakistan Psychiatric Society to call to attention the prisoner’s execution.

“All medical officers who have examined Khizar Hayat over the years have found him to be actively exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms,” ,said Dr Usman Ahmad Hotiana of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society,. “In 2009, Khizar’s mental illness got so severe that he got horribly beaten by his fellow prisoners. His injuries were severe enough to require surgeries. After that, he was put in solitary confinement.”

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Not going to IMF for now, mini-budget to be unveiled on Jan 23: Asad Umar

The federal government has decided not to enter an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme for now, Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Saturday.

The finance minister made the remarks while talking to businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commence and Industry (KCCI).

Umar said that instead of ,rushing into the IMF programme,, the government was exploring alternative options.

Furthermore, the finance minister announced that the government will unveil a mini-budget on Jan 23 instead of Jan 21. He associated the two-day delay to an impending foreign trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The finance minister said that his visits of Lahore and Karachi were regarding a one-point agenda: the amended finance bill, which he said will facilitate businessmen.

Umar indicated that the amended bill will also carry “some good news” for the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) .

The minister said that he consulted all stakeholders over the upcoming mini-budget, assuring the assortment of businessmen that tax anomalies will be eliminated in the budget.

The minister rejected the impression that the government was only borrowing money, stressing that several agreements have also been signed to bring investment into the country.

“The impacts of the investment agreements will start surfacing from the next week,” he added.

Asad Umar, even before he was sworn in, had said that the economy would need an infusion of more than $12 billion within six weeks.

In a later ,interview with Bloomberg,, he had said that the nation’s financial gap was somewhere between $10bn to $12bn, adding that the new government would need a bit extra so it doesn’t “live on the edge”.

In October last year, Saudi Arabia had announced a $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan’s ailing economy. The package includes $3bn in balance of payments support and just as much in deferred payments on oil imports.

The UAE had also announced a package exactly the same size and terms and conditions as given by Saudi Arabia. The all-weather friend, China too, had pledged to lend $2 billion to Pakistan to shore up dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Moreover, Islamabad and Riyadh are expected to ink memorandum of understanding (MoUs) to bring in ,Saudi investment in excess of $10bn, this month. Pakistan is also eyeing similar MoUs with China, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia over the next two months.

The federal cabinet has also approved a strategy to issue so-called ‘Panda bonds’ in the Chinese market to raise foreign exchange from global markets.

‘Budget bomb’

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in a statement strongly opposed the government’s upcoming mini-budget.

The party’s vice president, Senator Sherry Rehman, expressed grave reservations against rising inflation and the government’s announcement of the mini budget.

“Will this inquilab sarkar (revolutionary government) announce a new mini budget every four months?” she asked.

She said that the government should make preparations for an annual budget and that this was not the time to announce a mini budget.

The PPP leader likened the decision to a “budget bomb” being dropped on the people, based on supposed conditions put forth by the IMF.

“Every month new taxes are being imposed and some commodity or the other sees a hike in prices.

“One day the ,prices of medicines go up, and the next, a mini budget is announced,” Rehman said adding that the government is “robbing the people of the right to live”.

She said that the “tsunami of change” had now transformed into a “storm of inflation”.

Rehman recalled that inflation stood at 5.8 per cent in July, whereas now it had gone up to 6.2pc.

She said that those who claimed being “friends of businessmen” are in fact their enemies and declared that the government is incapable of running the economy.

The PPP leader further criticising the government’s performance said that in the past five months, they had “done nothing but raise slogans for economy and accountability”.

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NAB’s Lahore office sends reference against Shahbaz, son to chairman for approval

LAHORE: The Lahore chapter of the National Accountability Bureau on Friday submitted a reference against president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case to the NAB chairman for approval.

The reference was finalised by NAB Lahore, headed by Director General Shahzad Saleem, during a meeting here.

In the case, Hamza Shahbaz, the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, is accused of getting concrete slabs built to cover a drain along the mill in Chiniot out of public money. He was chief executive officer of Ramzan Sugar Mills.

The then Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, had allegedly approved an amount of Rs200 million for the construction work.

Being a director of the mill, Hamza’s brother Salman is facing similar charges, but the bureau has decided not to include his name in the reference. He is in the United Kingdom nowadays.

According to NAB, Salman left the country to avoid its hearings.

Hamza Shahbaz was stopped from leaving the country at the Lahore airport last month as his name was on the Exit Control List.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

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Maryam says Nawaz’s cardiologists not being granted access to him in jail; govt denies claim

Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz on Friday claimed that her father was suffering from a pain in his arm, “which is most likely to be angina”, and complained that Sharif’s cardiologists “have been trying to get access to him all day but [the] permission [has] not [been] granted”.

The ousted prime minister is serving a seven-year sentence for corruption in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail.

“He [Nawaz] needs to be examined by the doctors who are privy to his complicated medical history,” Maryam wrote on Twitter.

Sharif had undergone an open-heart surgery about three years ago in London.

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Maryam, who had ,visited her father in the jail on Thursday,, also retweeted a ,post by a PML-N worker,, who claimed that although Sharif had been complaining about the pain in his arm since the morning, his personal doctor had not been allowed to examine him.

“Dr Adnan [Sharif's personal doctor] has urged [the] Medical officer that Mian sb is [a] heart patient and pain in arm is [a] very dangerous symptom, but he has been asked to visit on Monday,” he tweeted.

Punjab govt refutes claim

Dr Shahbaz Gill, the spokesperson for the Punjab chief minister, in a video refuted claims that Sharif was being denied a meeting with his personal doctor, saying Maryam’s allegations were “completely false”.

Contradicting Maryam’s tweet, he claimed that Dr Adnan had contacted the jail administration to request a meeting with Sharif at 5:38 in the evening.

However, Gill stated, a jail doctor had already conducted Sharif’s medical check-up earlier in the day; the doctor found the PML-N chief to be healthy and his blood pressure, sugar level and ECG to be normal. Dr Adnan was therefore directed to visit the jail tomorrow to meet Sharif and he acknowledged the same, the spokesperson added.

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Jail security officials had earlier told DawnNewsTV that the prison’s medical officer, Dr Afsar Khan, conducted Sharif’s medical check-up at around 4:30pm today. They quoted the doctor as saying that the former prime minister’s condition was fine and there was no active complaint by him. His blood pressure, pulse and blood sugar levels were all normal.

Ahsan Iqbal’s warning

Meanwhile, senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal in a ,tweet, alleged that the government was “deliberately” depriving Nawaz and his brother Shahbaz of medical facilities.

“If something happens to the health of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, [we] will have a case registered against Prime Minister [Imran Khan], the chief minister, interior secretary and the jail superintendent,” the former federal minister cautioned.

Sharif had requested a meeting with his physician after complaining of flu and fever earlier this week. He had also ,complained, about “poor” facilities in the jail. “However, I am in good health,” he was quo­ted as having said by a PML-N leader who met him on Thursday.

The PML-N quaid was taken to Adiala jail after he was ,sentenced to seven years in prison, in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case on December 24 by an accountability court in Islamabad. He was later shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail on his own request.

The former premier was fined Rs1.5 billion and $25 million. The court also barred him from holding a public office for 10 years after completion of the sentence.

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