Posts Tagged ‘MQM’

MQM delegation calls on PM Khan amid brewing tensions within ruling coalition

A Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) delegation on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at PM House in Islamabad to discuss issues ,pertaining to their coalition, in the Centre.

The meeting came in the backdrop of rising tensions between the PTI-led coalition ,government and the opposition.,

The PPP and the PML-N were reportedly forming an alliance in order ,to give ‘tough time’ to the incumbent government.,

In wake of the rising tension between the government and the major opposition parties, the PTI’s coalition partners were ,pushing the ruling party to fulfil the promises, made at the time of forming the coalition.

The MQM delegation talked about the challenges faced by people living in the megacities in Sindh. The premier responded by saying that he was aware of aware of the challenges faced by the people of Sindh. “The federal government will play its role to resolve these problems,” he said.

It was decided during the meeting that a committee will be constituted under the chairmanship of Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to strengthen the coordination between the two parties in connection with development projects on the provincial level.

The two sides also decided that obstacles in the restoration of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) will be removed on a priority basis. It was also decided that the premier will lay the foundation stone of a university in Hyderabad.

Besides the Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem and MNA Syed Ameenul Haq, the meeting was also attended by Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Special Assistant to PM Naeemul Haq and MNA Malik Mohammad Amir Dogar.

On Monday, Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) leader Sanaullah Baloch said his party had ,decided to review its relations with the ruling PTI, government in Islamabad following the by-election on a Senate seat in Balochistan.

On Tuesday, Information Minister Fawad ,Chaudhry visited the temporary headquarters, of the MQM in Bahadurabad, where he discussed implementation on several decisions made between the two coalition partners a few months ago.

On the occasion, the federal minister had brushed aside the impression of any dispute or disagreement between the two sides. The minister had told reporters, “In today’s meeting, we have discussed and reviewed the memorandum of understanding which we signed at the time of formation of the government. Several points of the MoU have already been executed while others will also meet the same fate soon.”

Earlier in the same meeting, MQM’s deputy convener Kanwar Naveed Jameel reminded the federal minister of promises of funds from the Centre for a public university in Hyderabad and other development schemes in urban Sindh.

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Police file case against suspects who ‘attacked’ PML-N’s Mohammad Zubair

Armed men attempted to stop former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair’s car near his residence in Phase VI of Karachi’s DHA area on Tuesday night, DawnNewsTV reported citing police.

The former Sindh governor, according to Darakhshan police station’s station house officer (SHO) Arshad Janjua, was returning home with his wife at 11:30pm on Tuesday when his vehicle was intercepted by three unidentified men in a car, with one of them pointing a gun at the PML-N leader, who managed to drive away.

Zubair, the brother of incumbent Finance Minister Asad Umar, reported the incident to the police and his statement was recorded, the SHO said.

Later in the day, a first information report of the incident was registered on the complaint of Zubair’s son at Darakshaan police station.

A case has been registered against the unidentified suspects under Sections 324 (attempt to commit murder), 506 (2) (punishment for criminal intimidation), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

It is pertinent to mention here that the former governor was driving the vehicle himself and does not have any security assigned to him.

Following the incident, however, police officials were posted outside Zubair’s residence on the orders of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) South Pir Muhammad Shah.

The SSP South also paid a visit to Zubair’s residence along with Superintendent of Police Clifton Suhai Aziz and met the former governor’s family.

Sindh Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam took notice of the incident and sought a detailed inquiry report from the SSP South.

He directed the officer to take legal and security measures in light of Zubair’s statement in order to hold the suspects involved accountable.

The incident came three weeks after MQM leader ,Ali Raza Abidi was murdered, in DHA’s Phase V neighbourhood. Abidi was shot outside his house by two unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle. The case is under investigation.


With additional reporting by Imtiaz Ali.

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Five bills introduced in NA amid noisy protest by opposition

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday carried out some legislative business on a messy private members day as legislators managed to introduce five bills, including two constitution amendment bills, amid noisy proceedings due to inability of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to maintain order in the house.

The movers remained confused about the status of their bills after presenting them before the house and on two occasions, the deputy speaker rejected the bills on a voice vote and did not order a headcount despite repeated requests and challenge by the movers.

The introduced bills, however, will remain in the cold storage as Speaker Asad Qaiser has not been able to constitute the house committees due to a stand-off between the government and the opposition over the issue of chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Bills will remain in the cold storage in absence of house committees that minister says will be constituted within a week

The deputy speaker kept on announcing that the bills stood introduced without referring them to the yet-to-be-formed committees, while Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan claimed that the committees would be constituted within a week or so.

At the outset, a non-serious opposition, while protesting over the refusal by the chair to give them the floor to speak on points of order, kept on opposing each and every bill introduced by the treasury members. And while doing so, they even did not allow Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) member Kishwer Zehra to introduce a bill seeking allocation of seats in parliament for the disabled persons which had been supported by all the parties, including those in the opposition.

Puzzled by the deputy speaker’s decision of not granting her leave to introduce the bill, the MQM lawmaker kept on shouting and protesting, informing the house that the bill had been signed by 18 members representing all parties in the house.

Ms Zehra even announced that she was withdrawing all her bills on the agenda as a mark of protest, but later changed her decision when the deputy speaker said it would be brought to the agenda on the next private members day after Ali Mohammad Khan and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Syed Naveed Qamar admitted that they had rejected the bill by mistake.

Earlier, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a lawmaker from minority community belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), protested against the deputy speaker’s decision of not ordering a headcount when the opposition members voted against his bill seeking amendment to the Constitution for repealing of an article that allowed sale and purchase of liquor on religious occasions of non-Muslim minority communities. Some treasury members also opposed the bill despite the fact that the parliamentary secretary for law and justice Maleeka Bukhari had not opposed the bill.

Dr Vankwani was surprised over the deputy speaker’s act of ignoring his challenge to his ruling, as earlier he had been allowed to introduce a constitution amendment bill seeking changes in five articles of the Constitution after which the house gave 89-86 vote in his favour. He asked the chair to allow a headcount so that the nation could see the members who were against the ban on the sale of liquor in the country. He said Article 37 was “discriminatory” to the minority members as all the religions, including Hinduism and Sikhism, had banned use of liquor.

Walkout

The PTI lawmaker said despite the fact that Pakistan was an Islamic republic, liquor was being sold in the country round the year in the name of religious minorities. His remarks that “if Pakistan is an Islamic country then the members should unanimously approve his bill” angered the opposition, especially those belonging to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), who were of the opinion that the lawmaker from the religious minority should not have used the word “if” and he should know that Pakistan was an Islamic country. The opposition members also staged a token walkout over it.

Besides the two constitution amendment bills, the NA witnessed introduction of the Pakistan Psychological Council Bill 2018 by Riaz Fatyana, the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2018 by Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali and the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill 2018 by Alia Kamran.

Through the first constitution (amendment) bill introduced by Dr Vankwani, the mover sought setting up of women universities in all cities having a population of 500,000 or more. Through the same bill, the mover also sought increase in the reserved seats for minorities in the national and provincial assemblies, besides seeking right of dual votes for them.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, through the other constitution (amendment) bill, sought an increase in the number of seats of Chitral in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2018

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Street criminals in Karachi to be jailed for up to 7 years: CM Shah

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, while chairing the 23rd session of the apex committee in Karachi, vowed to end the rampant street crime in the port city, for which he claimed legal reforms are being considered.

As part of amendments to the law, the chief minister said, the cases of streets crimes would be heard by special magistrates under Section 30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC), adding that those convicted will be handed prison sentences ranging from three to seven years.

“We need to end the menace of street crime,” CM Shah said, adding that all law enforcement agencies were working together on the issue.

The 23rd meeting of the apex committee was attended by Karachi corps commander, Sindh chief secretary, director general (DG) Rangers, Sindh inspector general of police and other officials.

Furthermore, the apex committee was apprised that Sindh Police and Rangers had conducted a security audit of the entire province. At this, CM Shah issued instructions to fix the weaknesses identified during the security audits.

The meeting was also informed that 62 buildings and other institutions in the province, previously named after Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain, had been renamed.

During the meeting, the implementation of the decisions taken in the previous session were also reviewed.

While speaking to the media after the apex committee meeting, Sindh Chief Minister’s Adviser on Information Murtaza Wahab said that a pilot project will be initiated in the Safe City project red zone.

He said that those who repeatedly commit crimes will be dealt with in a different way. “They are repeatedly given bail,” he said adding that they would be stopped.

Wahab added that to improve the Safe City project, cyber crime will also be controlled and help will be taken from the Army. Safe City cameras will also be improved.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - December 10, 2018 at 2:25 pm

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Govt submits ‘brief’ ToR before poll rigging panel, opposition seeks time till Dec 13 to respond

A sub-committee formed by the special parliamentary committee probing allegations of rigging in the July 25 general elections on Monday issued the government’s 33-word long terms of reference (ToR) and handed them over to the opposition.

The sub-committee had met on Monday under the chairmanship of its convenor, Education Min­ister Shaf­qat Mahmood. PPP’s Nav­eed Qamar, PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah and MQM-P’s Barrister Moh­ammad Ali Saif also attended the meeting.

According to the government’s brief ToR, the parliamentary committee will hold an inquiry to determine that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) organised and conducted the 2018 general elections “honestly, justly, fairly clean and in accordance with law and guarded against corrupt practices”.

The opposition has asked for time till December 13 to respond to the government’s proposal.

The sub-committee had been formed on ,Nov 10, to finalise the ToRs of the rigging inquiry.

During the last meeting of the sub-committee, ,the opposition parties had submitted a 10-point ToR, raising crucial questions over the conduct of polls.

The ToR was prepared by the PPP and endorsed by all other opposition parties, including the PML-N.

Talking to media persons following today’s session, Mehmood maintained that the “general elections were transparent, according to the law and constitutional requirements”.

The minister noted that the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) and the European Union had published reports vindicating the conduct of the elections, and said the opposition parties were “only trying to make the elections controversial and political”.

Mehmood said that according to Clause 218 of the Constitution, the government has suggested the “finest” ToR, which “covered all aspects of the opposition’s demands”.

“The finest investigation will be conducted while staying within the ambit of the Constitution,” he added.

Responding to a question regarding the legal status of the parliamentary committee, Mehmood said a reference in this regard was sent to the committee’s chairman, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who then forwarded it to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser for further action.

Govt doesn’t want to make progress, says PPP leader

While speaking to the media, PPP’s Qamar said that from the government’s methodology it was clear from the very first day that they do not want progress on the matter.

“ToR is a simple issue,” he said, adding, “the government has basically penned down its constitutional responsibility as the ToR.”

Qamar added that in their suggestions, the government had made the ToR “very short”.

“The government wants a better case to escape [the matter], but the opposition will not let them escape,” he alleged.

“All opposition parties will be in mutual consultation about the situation,” he said.

PML-N’s Sanaullah added that the very fundamental thing was that the elections were not transparent and that the political parties had not been given a level playing field.

He said that their suggestion was to boycott the parliament but PPP had not agreed and chosen the way of holding parliamentary committee investigations instead.

“The committee has been formed but the government wants a way to escape somehow,” he said, adding that if the way through parliamentary committee was stopped the other way was to protest.

He added that the government and opposition’s ToR should be sent to a central committee which should take the final decision on the matter.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - December 3, 2018 at 6:25 pm

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MQM-P hints at reviewing 18th Amendment if ‘constitutional violation’ continues

KARACHI: Accusing the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government of violating the Constitution, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan on Saturday hinted at reviewing the landmark 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

Speaking at a press conference at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, senior deputy convener Amir Khan said that the Sindh government was interfering in the affairs of autonomous and semi-autonomous organisations in Sindh in violation of the Constitution and directives of the apex court.

“The appointment of pro-chancellors in the public-sector universities of Sindh by the provincial government is aimed at controlling the professional universities and to ruin their academic standards like that of schools and colleges in Sindh,” he said. He alleged that after the 18th Amendment the grant of Karachi University and other universities in Sindh had been considerably slashed.

He said that the Supreme Court had ruled that the organisations could not be run on an ad-hoc basis, but the Sindh government was making temporary appointments in the educational boards of the province, particularly Karachi’s intermediate and secondary boards, only to get its “illegal acts” done by the said officials.

The senior MQM-P leader said that his party believed that the present Sindh government was violating the Constitution. “We demand that Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar take suo motu notice and constitute a high-powered joint investigation team to take corrupt elements to task.”

The party also demanded that the Sindh government take back legislation through which it had given the powers of the governor to the chief minister. Mr Khan deplored that houses in Karachi were being razed while Banigala was being regularised.

He said the MQM-P would stage a protest demonstration on Sunday (today) at Nagan Chowrangi in North Karachi against an acute shortage of water as well as demolition of legal houses and businesses.

Sattar presser

Also on Saturday, disgruntled MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar held a press conference with people affected by the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the city.

“Do you want us to demand rehabilitation of MQM founder Altaf Hussain in politics? People are left with no option except to look at him [Hussain] as their only saviour,” he said.

He criticised the government and said that its 100-day plan had failed because of wrong policies and planning.

“This is a conspiracy to shut trade and industry in Karachi. The governor, chief minister and mayor should tell the nation at whose behest they are shutting down legal businesses of the people in Karachi,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

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US judge orders former Trump campaign adviser Papadopoulos to jail

WASHINGTON: A US federal judge on Sunday denied a motion by George Papadopoulos, a former aide for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, seeking to postpone his sentence pending a separate case he hoped would lead to his conviction being overturned.

Papadopoulos will report to jail on Monday to start his 14-day sentence after judge Randolph Moss dismissed his 11th hour bid to remain out on bail.

Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents probing ties between the campaign and Russia, had sought to delay his sentence while a separate case challenging the legality of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment is ongoing. Moss said Papadopoulos’ motion lacked merit.

“The court, accordingly, concludes that Papadopoulos’ motion for a stay pending his appeal of this decision lacks merit,” Moss wrote in his ruling. “Plaintiff’s motion to continue bail and motion to stay his surrender date are hereby denied.” Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017. In addition to the two-week jail term, Papadopoulos was sentenced to one year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and a $9,500 fine.

At sentencing in September he told the judge that he had made a “dreadful mistake” and that he hoped to redeem himself. But he soon started attacking the Mueller probe on Twitter and in media appearances, describing the investigation as unjust and politically charged.

In seeking an extension of his bail, Papadopoulos had argued that his appeal against Mueller’s appointment raised “a substantial question” and that it would be unjust to require that he serve his sentence before a ruling on this matter. But Moss cast doubts on the success of the appeal.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018

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FIA identifies 200 KKF donors in money laundering case against MQM

KARACHI: The Federal Investi­gation Agency (FIA) has identified at least 200 of the 726 ‘donors’ who gave money to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Khid­mat-i-Khalq Foundation (KKF).

The federal institution described the practice as money laundering by the party’s top leadership, including its founder Altaf Hussain, it emerged.

FIA sources told Dawn that the KKF was established in 1988 and the MQM mostly generated/distributed funds through it. These funds were ‘misused’ and an estimated Rs5-6 billion was sent to the MQM leaders, including Altaf Hussain, in London.

The FIA took cognisance of the matter and got an FIR registered against Altaf Hussain and some other party leaders in 2017.

Subsequently, the case was transferred from the FIA Karachi to the FIA Islamabad, where a special team of the agency’s counter-terrorism wing was dealing with it.

Ostensibly, the FIA had expedited its efforts and arrest of some nominated suspects was expected soon, said the sources.

The FIA has prepared a list of 726 persons who allegedly gave donations to the KKF. Donations ranged between a few thousands and millions of rupees, revealed the FIA sources.

A senior official familiar with the case told Dawn that most of the people tended to give donations to the KKF under ‘duress’.

Interestingly, the FIA list of alleged donors included at least 29 doctors. There were at least three professors on the list, including the late Prof Dr Hassan Zafar Arif, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the Ibrahim Hyderi area of Karachi recently.

It may be recalled that an anti-terrorism court of Karachi had on Friday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for five MQM leaders — former federal minister Babar Ghauri, former senator Ahmed Ali, deputy mayor of Karachi Arshad Vohra, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor and Khawaja Rehan — in the money laundering case.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Quami Movement-London has questioned the competency of the FIA for investigating the money laundering case.

It said that although Prof Arif was murdered, a notice had been issued in his name which was a condemnable act.

Separately, an MQM-P leader, who wished not to be named, told Dawn that the KKF was still active in welfare activities. He said the KKF was running 12 Maiyet service buses, besides two hospitals — one in Karachi and the other in Hyderabad.

The KKF was being run by former senator Ahmed Ali who has been declared an absconder by an anti-terrorism court recently.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2018

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Farooq Sattar’s basic membership of MQM-P revoked

KARACHI: Dr Farooq Sattar, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader — who many believed saved the party following its London-based founder ,Altaf Hussain’s Aug 22, 2016 incendiary speech, — was finally shown the door by the party’s coordination committee, better known as the Bahadurabad group, on Friday.

A brief statement issued from the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad said that the coordination committee in its meeting on Friday “decided to revoke basic membership of Dr Farooq Sattar on charges of violating party discipline and constitution, internal grouping and other serious organisational issues”.

It said the decision was “unanimously” taken by the participants of the meeting, chaired by convener and federal minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

The committee directed all workers not to contact Dr Sattar; otherwise strict action would be taken against them.

The move, however, drew mixed reaction from within the MQM-P ranks as party’s former MNA Ali Raza Abidi tweeted: “Wrong move! Now many leaders and workers who are standing in support with @DFSMQM will start submitting their resignations.”

In another tweet, he stated: “Now it appears that Farooq bhai made the biggest mistake of saving the party on 23rd August 2016. He should have just let the natural course take place and let every worker and leader on ground be taken into custody.”

In a late-night press conference at his PIB Colony residence, Dr Sattar rejected what he called the so-called decision of the coordination committee and said his only crime was to demand for workers’ democratic right.

“The decision of the coordination committee is illegal and unconstitutional,” he said, adding that such an extreme action could not be taken without hearing his viewpoint.

Last month, Dr Sattar had announced the formation of a 22-member ‘organisation restoration committee’. He called upon the Bahadurabad group to hold an intra-party election. He had recently visited Hyderabad where a large number of workers welcomed him. Differences between the ,two factions of the MQM-P had emerged on Feb 5, when Dr Sattar left a coordination committee meeting after the latter refused to give party ticket to contest Senate elections to his close aide Kamran Tessori.

Later, the MQM-P split into the PIB and Bahadurabad groups and resultantly lost three Senate seats.

Before the July 25 general elections, the two groups reconciled, but failed to retain majority of their national and provincial assembly seats.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2018

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Farooq Sattar expelled from MQM-P for violating ‘party discipline’

Disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar has been stripped of his basic membership of the party, it was announced on Friday.

The decision to expel Sattar from the party was taken at a meeting of the MQM-P coordination committee, chaired by convener and federal minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, in Karachi.

The committee during the meeting was briefed about the show-cause notice that was issued to Sattar for “frequent violation of party discipline” and the reminder that was sent to him after the senior leader failed to respond to the show-cause.

“Considering all details, the coordination committee has unanimously decided to strip Dr Farooq Sattar of the party’s basic membership for his serious violations of party discipline and constitution, grouping within the organisation and other serious party violations,” said a statement issued by the committee.

“The coordination committee has directed all workers not to maintain any sort of contact with Dr Farooq Sattar from today onwards. Strict action will be taken against those who violate [this directive].”

Following the announcement, a meeting has been called at the PIB Colony residence of Sattar.

According to Kashif Khan, a member of the ‘organisation restoration committee’ (ORC) formed by Dr Sattar last month, workers have been instructed to gather at Sattar’s residence, where the former convener will announce his strategy for the future.

The decision to expel Dr Sattar comes over a week after he was ,formally removed from the party’s top decision-making forum, by his rivals as they accepted the resignation he tendered as a member of the coordination committee in September.

Dr Sattar was removed from the committee a day after he ,formed a parallel body, — the organisation restoration committee — against the coordination committee and announced launching a struggle to reorganise the MQM-P on ideological grounds.

Rifts in the party

Differences in the party had emerged on February 5 over the distribution of tickets to party candidates for the March 11 Senate elections. Dr Sattar, then convener of the party, insisted on giving a ticket to Kamran Tessori despite strong opposition.

Eventually, the differences caused the party to split into Bahadurabad and PIB factions. Dr Sattar was removed from the post of convener and Dr Siddiqui took his place. Four months later, both the factions reunited to contest the July 25 elections.

On September 13, Dr Sattar — who lost the general elections on two National Assembly seats — resigned from the membership of the coordination committee and on October 12 he held a press conference and demanded intra-party elections and warned that he would work for an MQM-Nazriati [ideological] if his demands were not met.

After his October 12 presser, the MQM-P contested and lost all three by-elections on NA-243, NA-247 and PS-111.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - November 9, 2018 at 10:25 pm

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SC declares appointment, benefits granted to Attaul Haq Qasmi illegal

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday declared the appointment and monetary benefits bestowed upon Attaul Haq Qasmi, the former chairperson and managing director of Pakistan Television (PTV), as illegal.

In a short order read out by Justice Umar Atta Bandial, the court held former ministers Pervez Rashid and Ishaq Dar as well as former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad responsible for Qasmi’s appointment and the financial benefits he had received.

The court declared Qasmi as a “beneficiary of illegal acts”. Rashid and Dar are guilty of “[ignoring] the law and disregarded their duty to confer benefits on Mr. Qasmi”, while Fawad is guilty of his “failure to act with due diligence in processing the summary for appointment of the Director of PTV from a person-specific recommendation as opposed to a panel of three names as required by the Esta Code”.

The court estimated that PTV had suffered a loss of Rs197,867,491 and ordered that the sum be recovered from the guilty in the following ratio:

  • Qasmi: 50 per cent
  • Rashid: 20 per cent
  • Dar: 20 per cent
  • Fawad: 10 per cent

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had heard the suo motu case and reserved its verdict earlier this year.

In its detailed order, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the top court pointed out the “irregularities/illegalities” in Qasmi’s appointment as managing director as well as the chairman of the state broadcaster.

“Summaries were moved for relaxation of the upper-age limit of 65 years for such appointment and for the approval of a handsome salary package of Rs.1,500,000/- in addition to other perks,” the verdict said.

The bench also noted that a “sum of Rs284,163,733 was paid to [Qasmi for] expenses incurred by him or on his behalf”.

The verdict further said that PTV is a public sector entity, therefore, Qasmi’s appointment and the perks granted to him were open for scrutiny “particularly considering the seemingly arbitrary manner in which he was appointed, despite being overage”.

The court order held Qasmi responsible for PTV’s “sharp decline both financially and in its reputation” because he lacked the “skill and experience of running a company”.

The detailed verdict mentioned that during the course of the case, the attorney general had informed the court that the PTV chairperson is elected by its board and that the government or the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage (MOIBNH) has no role in the decision.

However, Qasmi’s counsel had argued that the appointment of Qasmi was made on the recommendation of the federal government that “exercised its discretion that it thought fit at the relevant time and this court has no jurisdiction to interfere with such discretion/decision making power”.

The verdict acknowledged that under Article 83 of the Articles of Association of PTV, government has the authority to nominate directors to the board — as pointed out by Qasmi’s lawyer — but deemed the argument irrelevant as it refers to the appointment of directors and not the chair.

The bench also questioned the grounds of Qasmi’s appointment, saying that in order to run an entity like PTV, “business management skills and experience of running a big company are the basic requirements for an MD/chairman”, remarking that these requirements were not considered by the government.

Furthermore, the verdict noted that the summary of the terms and conditions of Qasmi’s appointment, that was sent to the prime minister by the MOIBNH, mentioned that the former chairperson’s monthly salary of Rs1,500,000 was “slightly higher” than that of his predecessor, Muhammad Malick who received Rs1,380,000.

Qasmi had ignited controversy in April 2017 when he appointed himself PTV MD while also remaining the chairman of the state-run broadcaster.

Five days later, under immense pressure, he was replaced by then information secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, who was appointed as acting MD at the time.

The two had developed differences, which led Qasmi to resign in December last year saying that it had become “increasingly difficult… to work for the restoration of [the] past glory of PTV”.

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Karachi ATC sentences MQM worker to life in prison for murdering 3 clerics in 2013

An anti-terrorism court in Karachi on Monday sentenced a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) worker to imprisonment for life after finding him guilty of involvement in the ,target killing of three clerics in Karachi in 2013,. The court, however, acquitted three other accused MQM workers due to ‘lack of evidence’.

Four accused said to be associated with the MQM – Syed Haider Ali alias Police Wala, Asghar alias Kaka Banda, Wajahat alias Chikna and Syed Ali Hassan Zaidi – were detained after being charged with the murder of Mufti Abdul Majeed Deenpuri, Mufti Muhammad Saleh and Moulana Hassan Ali Shah in a targeted attack in broad daylight near the Nursery flyover on Sharae Faisal on January 31, 2013.

On Monday, the ATC-XX judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his verdict, which was reserved earlier after recording the evidence and hearing final arguments from both sides.

The judge acquitted three men — Syed Haider Ali, Asghar and Wajahat — of the charges of premeditated murder due to the lack of evidence and ordered them to be released forthwith if their custody was not required in any other case.

However, the judge found the fourth accused Syed Ali Hassan Zaidi guilty of premeditated murder and terrorism, sentencing him to life imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, the armed men had sprayed bullets on the vehicle of the clerics, who succumbed to their wounds.

A case under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 109 (abatement) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with the Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 was registered at the Tipu Sultan police station.

In 2013, two teachers and a student of Jamia Banori Uloom Islamia were gunned down in an attack on their hi-roof van on a stretch of Sharae Faisal between the Nursery bus stop and the Finance and Trade Centre (FTC) in front of the Sindhi Muslim Housing Society’s Block-B.

The closing moments of the shooting were caught by a C,CTV camera installed at a wedding lawn, in front of which the shooting took place. The footage showed that three assailants escaped on a motorcycle after attacking the van which was on the left track of the road.

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Bilawal assures protesting journalists of his party’s support

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Tuesday that his party would stand by journalists and continue to struggle against the injustices being committed by the government.

“Whatever your economic policy, it is the responsibility of the government to provide financial security to the public by ensuring jobs for them,” he said while talking to the media during his visit to a protest camp set up by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)-Afzal Butt group outside Parliament House.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that as an opposition party the PPP would continue to raise its voice against “non-serious and unjust” policies of the government.

Says govt involved in ‘economic murder’ of media workers; MQM team also visits protest camp

“We request you to support us,” he urged media personnel. “Your issues are our issues — all your issues are our issues. Whenever there has been injustice with media persons, the PPP has stood with them,” he said, reca­lling his mother Benazir Bhutto’s frequent visits to press clubs and interaction with journalists.

Whenever they faced censorship, Benazir Bhutto extended support to the media, he said. Now the media was facing censorship as well as financial woes, he added.

“The government must provide relief to the people because they [the leadership of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf] have made tall promises of generating 10 million jobs. Not only media persons, but people belonging to other professions have also started suffering due to flawed policies of the government,” the PPP chairman said. “Wherever we go, we meet people protesting against the government.”

He said that even government employees were protesting against the policies of the new government.

“The government does not have to take any major step [to raise funds to provide relief to the people] as they are taking foreign loans. They have even presented a budget but they fail whenever it is a matter of relief for the general public.

“There are various options and several ways [to provide relief to people] but… the government has no intention of taking care of the working and middle classes and protect their interests,” Mr Bilawal-Bhutto said.

He added: “The finance minister only issues statements that he wants to seek input from the opposition [on different issues] but he does not even meet us. They are doing only what they want to do.”

He lambasted the PTI government policies, saying the “flag-bearers of change” had already dropped an ‘inflation bomb’ on the people in the form of a “mini-budget” and were now involved in “economic murder of journalists and media workers”.

He said that the PPP had long-standing relations with the journalist fraternity. “Whenever there has been any injustice in this country, the PPP and the journalists have launched a joint struggle against it whether it was the martial law of General Zia or the military regime of Gen Pervaiz Musharraf,” he added.

MQM visit

A delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), including MNA Iqbal Muhammad Khan, also visited the protest camp and expressed solidarity with the journalists.

Speaking on the occasion, Afzal Butt, the president of his own faction of the PFUJ, said the objective of the protest was to voice the grievances of the journalist fraternity and not to launch any movement against the government.

He asked the government to intervene and stop “large-scale downsizing” in media houses, which had badly affected the families of the journalists and media workers.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2018

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Interpol to be moved for red warrant against Altaf

RAWALPINDI: The federal government has decided to contact the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), asking it to issue a red warrant against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain in connection with the murder of senior party leader Imran Farooq, in a bid to bring the United Kingdom-based leader back to Pakistan.

Sources said on Monday that the Federal Investigation Agency had been directed to write an application to the Interpol headquarters in Lyon (France) for issuance of the red warrant against Mr Hussain.

An official of the FIA said that the agency would soon start the process for submitting the application to Interpol. However, he added, the process might take some time.

The FIA official said that it would be up to Interpol officials to decide whether or not a red warrant against the MQM founder could be issued.

According to him, in such cases Interpol usually examines if they are politically and religiously motivated or related to military. He said the FIA made a similar request about Mr Hussain to Interpol in June 2017, but that was rejected by it.

The sources said the FIA would submit the challan in the Imran Farooq murder case which was being investigated by a joint investigation team along with the application to be submitted to Interpol.

MQM senior leader Imran Farooq, who had developed differences with Mr Hussain, was killed outside his house in London in September 2010.

The FIA registered a case against Mr Hussain and other MQM leaders in connection with the Imran Farooq murder case in 2015 and launched an investigation.

Mr Farooq had lived in London in self-imposed exile from 1999 till his murder in 2010. Three suspects have been arrested by police in connection with the Imran Farooq murder and they have been charged with the murder, abetment and hatching a conspiracy to kill. They are being tried in an anti-terrorism court.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2018

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PTI, PPP exchange barbs in NA over Karachi water woes

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on the opening day of its winter session on Monday witnessed a war of words among major political parties over the issue of water shortage in the country, particularly in Karachi, as members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) alleged that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in Sindh was patronising “tanker mafia”.

Taking advantage of the weak handling of the proceedings by Speaker Asad Qaiser and his generosity in giving floor to everyone, the members held almost a full-fledged debate on the water shortage issue when the house took up a calling attention notice on the matter that had been moved by five PTI lawmakers from Karachi.

Under the rules, only the movers of a calling attention notice can ask brief and specific questions and the minister concerned is required to give replies.

The speaker many a time announced that they had already decided to hold a debate on the economic situation and water shortage during the current session that will continue till Nov 9.

Opposition stages walkout over Shahbaz’s delayed arrival

At the outset of the sitting, the opposition members staged a walkout from the house over what they called “a deliberate delay by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)” in bringing Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif from Lahore to attend the session despite ,issuance of his production order by the speaker,.

The opposition members, however, returned to the house when Mr Sharif was brought to the Parliament House by the NAB authorities.

Talking informally to the reporters, Mr Sharif alleged that the NAB officials were reluctant to bring him to Islamabad from Lahore and claimed that it was upon his insistence that they finally agreed to allow him to attend the NA session. He alleged that the NAB officials had intentionally brought him to Islamabad by road after cancellation of his flight.

There was unusual hustle and bustle inside the Parliament House due to the presence of a large number of political activists who had come to see the oath-taking of the members who had been recently elected in the by-elections. The press gallery was also abuzz with discussions among the journalists who had gathered in large numbers expecting some fireworks from the opposition over the recent decision of the government to increase power tariff, besides hoping another fiery speech from Mr Sharif like he did during the requisition session some two weeks back. However, Mr Sharif made no speech despite the fact that he remained present in the house till its adjournment.

Former president Asif Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also attended the sitting and silently heard the criticism against their party-led government in Sindh. The reply to the criticism came from senior party leaders Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar and Shazia Marri.

The speaker also administered oath to 10 new members who were elected in the Oct 14 by-elections.

Water shortage

Raising the issue of “non-availability of potable water in all parts of the country, including Islamabad and particularly in Karachi”, the PTI legislators warned that Karachi could witness a mutiny due to severe water crisis.

Faheem Khan, a PTI lawmaker from the Korangi area of Karachi, said water shortage had become a “political issue”. He questioned when water was not available to the citizens, where did this “tanker mafia” get water from.

Saifur Rehman, an MNA from Karachi East, warned that there could be a “civil war” in Karachi over acute shortage of water. Making a direct attack on the PPP, he said there was no government in Sindh, but a “mafia” was ruling the province.

PTI legislator Attaullah Khan claimed that an “artificial shortage” had been created in Karachi, as “ministers are involved in selling of water”. He claimed that they were receiving threats for raising the matter. “They (PPP) have been ruling the province for 10 years. If the Sindh government is not involved, it should immediately hold a crackdown on tanker mafia,” he went on saying, amidst noisy protest by PPP members.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan added fuel to the fire when he joined his voice with his party colleagues from the port city and asked the Sindh government to take action against tanker mafia and offered assistance from the federal government in this regard. He said there were 17,000 workers in the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and most of them were ‘ghost’ employees. He also criticised the previous PML-N government for not releasing funds for Karachi’s K-IV water project.

PPP lawmaker Naveed Qamar was of the opinion that discussing a “provincial subject” in the National Assembly was a violation of the Constitution and rules. He blamed the federal government for the water crisis in Karachi and said why Islamabad had not provided the required funds for the crucial K-IV project.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari took exception to Mr Qamar’s assertion and said that water was a “fundamental and human rights issue” and the NA could hold a debate over it. She said it was the PML-N government that had not provided the required funds to resolve the issue.

PPP leader Khursheed Shah said that people across the country were facing water shortage but the issue was more serious in Sindh as it was situated at the tail end of the Indus. He said the issue was ignored not only by the previous PML-N government but also by the ruling PTI in its minibudget.

A lawmaker from Karachi’s Malir area criticised the working of water commission under retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, saying that he was running a “parallel government” in Sindh. He said the commission chief had become more powerful than the chief minister of the province. He claimed the issue could be resolved if elected representatives were given the powers.

Abdul Qadir Patel, another PPP MNA from Karachi, in an indirect attack on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said that those who were responsible for burdening the water board with ghost employees were sitting with the PTI on the treasury benches.

There was also a brief verbal fight between Planning Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiyar with his predecessor Ahsan Iqbal on the issue.

Mr Iqbal clarified that the PML-N government had paid Rs12.1 billion to the Sindh government for K-IV project out of Rs12.6 billion. He also alleged that a number of water projects, which had been initiated by the PML-N government, were dropped by the PTI government.

Resolution

The National Assembly also passed a resolution condemning atrocities being committed by the security forces in the India-held Kashmir.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2018

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Farooq Sattar removed from MQM-P’s coordination committee

KARACHI: Disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar was on Saturday formally removed from the party’s top decision-making forum by his rivals as they accepted the resignation he tendered as a member of the party’s coordination committee last month.

The decision came a day after Dr Sattar formed a parallel body — the organisation restoration committee — against the coordination committee and announced launching struggle to reorganise the MQM-P on ideological grounds.

Dr Sattar, who was removed from the post of party convener by the Bahadurabad group following a split in the party earlier this year, had returned to the party as a member of the coordination committee in June. However, on Sept 13, he sent his resignation from the coordination committee due to internal differences.

A meeting of the MQM-P coordination committee, chaired by convener and federal minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, was held at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad.

Following the meeting, senior leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel told media that the coordination committee had accepted the resignation of Dr Sattar.

He said Dr Sattar had held a press conference on Friday in which he presented certain demands. “The MQM-Pakistan has decided to issue him a show-cause notice for frequent violation of party discipline,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2018

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After police and protesters clash, CJP extends deadline for eviction of Pakistan Quarters residents

Police action against protesters in Pakistan Quarters.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday granted a two-month extension in the deadline for eviction of illegal occupants from Karachi’s Pakistan Quarters after a court-ordered eviction operation resulted in clashes between police and protesters, leaving at least 12 people injured on both sides and over a dozen arrested.

The Supreme Court in July had ordered the eviction within 10 days of alleged illegal occupants from Pakistan Quarters, Martin Quarters, Jamshed Quarters, Clayton Quarters, Federal Capital Area, and other residential areas in Karachi for federal government employees. Since then, heavy contingents of police have attempted to vacate the ‘illegal occupants’ by force.

Baton-wielding policemen in riot gear push back protesters in Karachi's Pakistan Quarters area. ? DawnNewsTV

Baton-wielding policemen in riot gear push back protesters in Karachi’s Pakistan Quarters area. ? DawnNewsTV

As protests against the eviction operation from the federal residential colony went on for the second day on Wednesday, baton-wielding policemen clad in riot gear charged at protesters to push them back and employed water canons to knock them over and keep them at bay.

According to DawnNewsTV, the protesters allegedly pelted stones at police officials in retaliation, and chanted slogans against the government as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MPA Jamal Siddiqui arrived at the site of the clashes. They appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar to take suo motu notice of the operation.

A police spokesperson said the protesters had attacked the policemen and pelted them with stones, injuring four personnel identified as Muhammad Rizwan, Munir Ahmed, Zaman Abbas and Tanvir Ahmed. He added that the wounded policemen had been transported to a hospital for medical treatment.

Officer Shamael Riaz told The Associated Press that police tried to remove the protesters’ barricades and also used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd but later pulled back under orders.

He said over a dozen protesters were arrested for obstructing police efforts to carry out the eviction orders.

Residents show tear gas shells fired by police to disperse protesters. —AP

Residents show tear gas shells fired by police to disperse protesters. —AP

MQM-P leaders Farooq Sattar, Kanwar Naveed Jamil and Amir Khan were among the first political leaders to arrive at Pakistan Quarters, where they expressed solidarity with the protesters. They demanded the evictions be halted and that the CJP take notice of the incident.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah, taking notice of the clashes, had ordered the immediate withdrawal of police from the area and expressed anger over the reports of police action against protesters.

Explaining his decision while speaking to journalists, CM Shah said he had intervened in the matter since it was the Sindh government’s obligation to maintain law and order. He added that he would consult the provincial Law Department, advocate general and administration ? and approach the top court if necessary ? in order to find a resolution to the “humanitarian” issue.

Additional Inspector General Dr Ameer Sheikh confirmed that the court-ordered operation had been halted on the orders of the Sindh government, a police spokesperson told Dawn, adding that ambulance services, volunteers and other relief agency officials were present at the site of the incident.

Although Sindh Governor Imran Ismail claimed in a tweet that the CJP had “kindly consented to hold the evacuation process for three months”, the top judge in court granted an extension of two months for resolution of the issue.

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Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan in a written request to the CJP at the Supreme Court today maintained that since the eviction operation could infringe upon human rights, the court should give some time for an amicable resolution of the issue. Subsequently, Justice Nisar granted an extension of two months for resolution of the issue.

Speaking to the media, Governor Ismail said that the federal Housing Ministry and other departments would try to put their heads together to resolve the issue and reach an amicable settlement in which the writ of law is upheld and adequate arrangements are made for the displaced persons. “I feel alternate housing will be the solution,” he said.

The police spokesperson said that a committee ? comprising the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Amin Yousufzai and DIG East Amir Farooqi ? would be set up to probe the incident.

According to an ,Express Tribune, report, a report submitted in court by the deputy attorney general said that some 4,168 government quarters have been illegally occupied, of which 639 houses are in Martin Quarters, 301 in Patel Quarters, 49 houses in Garden and Pakistan Quarters.

A petition had earlier been filed ,seeking eviction of families, living in these areas for decades even after the retirement or death of an allottee — a government servant to whom a quarter is allotted. Once a government employee retires or leaves the job, he or she has six months to vacate the home.

After this, residents of these neighbourhoods met and pleaded their case with CJP Nisar. Some said that they had been gifted the quarters after their retirement, while others said they were still government employees and had the legal right of living there.

All were then asked to produce documents by July 31 to prove that they were living there rightfully.

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