Posts Tagged ‘Musharraf’

Nawaz Sharif responds to court’s questions in Al-Azizia corruption case

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday submitted his responses to 45 of 50 questions posed to him by the court in the Al-Azizia corruption reference.

When Nawaz approached the rostrum to verbally record his testimony, Accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik asked him to return to his seat, and informed Nawaz that he himself would read the statement out in court for it to be recorded.

The PML-N supreme leader said that he would need time to consult his lawyer Khawaja Haris before he could provide responses to the five unanswered questions posed by the court.

“Some questions are complicated and records will need to be checked [before they can be answered],” Nawaz told the court.

“I will ask you [further] questions regarding the replies which are not satisfactory,” Judge Malik said, asking Nawaz if he had examined all the evidence presented by the prosecution, to which the latter responded in the affirmative.

Nawaz told the court that he was “elected prime minister three times. Pervez Musharraf established martial law on October 12, 1999 and I did not hold any public office from that time to 2013. I remained exiled from 2001 to 2008.”

“I cannot answer questions regarding the income tax returns and wealth statements of Hassan and Hussain Nawaz. It is not within my purview,” he added.

The ousted prime minister further said: “I have shown all my income tax returns, my assets and my sources of income. It is true that the financial documents, including tax records, wealth statements and wealth tax returns, are all my own.”

The court observed that since Nawaz held public office, he was “the most influential person in the Sharif family”, to which the former PM replied that this was an opinion formed by the Investigation Officer.

“My father Mian Muhammad Sharif was the most influential person in the the family until his last breath,” he explained.

Nawaz left the court while his statement was being read out in court. Once the reading of his statement concludes, he is expected to return to court and sign his testimony.

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IHC takes up Musharraf’s petition today

ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf on Monday challenged the order of the special court, seized with the high treason trial, for recording of his testimony through a commission.

Gen Musharraf, through his counsel Barrister Salman Safdar, filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against the constitution of the commission.

An IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani will take up the petition on Tuesday (today).

The petition said that Gen Musharraf was ready to testify before the court, but due to his deteriorating health he was unable to record his statement either through the commission or in person.

Former president says he is unable to record statement because of deteriorating health

Giving a brief background of the case, the petition said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government had constituted the special court on Nov 20, 2013 to try Gen Musharraf on high treason charge.

A complaint was filed against Gen Musharraf under Article 6 for subverting the Constitution on Dec 13, 2013.

In January 2014, the petitioner’s old age combined with the innumerable stresses and anxieties bearing on his mind resulted in his worsening health. On account of a family medical history leaning towards heart problems, the petitioner began suffering discomfort in his arm and chronic chest pain.

On Jan 2, 2014, when the petitioner was en route to the special court, he experienced acute chest pain. He was immediately rushed to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), Rawalpindi, for a medical check-up.

The special court constituted a medical board of senior doctors and asked it to submit a report on the petitioner’s medical condition. On March 31, the medical board confirmed that the petitioner suffered “coronary artery disease”. It further stated that the serious and unpredictable nature of the disease necessitated close and constant supervision.

Later, as the petitioner’s cardiac problems showed no signs of improvement, his medical condition became too precarious to risk ordinary medical treatment. The healthcare facilities available in Pakistan were not adequately equipped even to diagnose the disease. The petitioner was advised to seek healthcare abroad as it became necessary to seek the advice of international experts.

On March 16, 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the Sindh High Court’s June 12, 2014 order of removing the petitioner’s name from the ECL. Subsequently, the petitioner went abroad for a medical check-up.

However, the court declared him a proclaimed offender and his family property in Pakistan was seized by the government. As a result, the proceedings in the treason trial remained suspended from July 2016 to March 2018.

Since the prosecution evidence had been closed and the trial was at the stage of recording statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), it was necessary to first procure the petitioner’s physical attendance before the special court and then, subsequently, resume the trial.

On Sept 10 this year, the special court decided that the trial proceedings would resume and the case would be taken up on a daily basis. This step was taken without granting due consideration to the circumstances in which Gen Musharraf left Pakistan and the strong medical reasons for which his stay abroad had been prolonged, the petition said.

The court also asked the defence counsel to contact Gen Musharraf and determine whether the petitioner would like to have his statement under Section 342 of the CrPC recorded through Skype/video link.

The petition said Gen Musharraf was “severely ill”.

Citing the medical report submitted to the special court, the petition said: “The report indicates a rare form of cardiac disease causing the freezing of the heart muscles, resulting in the reduced capacity of the petitioner’s heart to pump blood. The disease is in its late stages and requires consistent medical intervention.”

The petition requested the high court to set aside the order of the special court.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2018

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Under-fire NAB chief to face Senate panel

ISLAMABAD: Amid ongoing controversy over recent TV interviews of a senior official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal will be appearing before a Senate committee on Nov 16 for a comprehensive briefing on the “working and performance of the bureau”.

The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice, headed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Javed Abbasi, had called the NAB chairman with complete record and data of the cases currently being investigated and disposed of by the bureau since its inception about 19 years ago, particularly in the last three years.

According to the agenda issued by the Senate Secretariat for the Nov 16 meeting of the standing committee, the NAB chairman is scheduled to brief the members on the “procedure for taking cognisance of cases, inquiry and prosecution, details of pending cases at various stages with current status and reasons for pendency in each case, details of recoveries made during the last three years, details of cases disposed of with percentages of acquittal and conviction, and mechanism regarding recommendations for placing a person on the Exit Control List with the details of such recommendations made in the last three years with the reasons thereof”.

Opposition members will raise issue of controversial TV interviews of bureau’s Lahore DG

The opposition parties, particularly the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party, have been criticising NAB for the last one year for its alleged “one-sided accountability”. They allege that NAB, which was created by former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf in 1999 through an ordinance, had always been used as a tool for political victimisation of opponents.

During the previous two-week long National Assembly session, NAB came under fire in almost every sitting and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif — who has been under NAB custody in connection with investigation into the Ashiyana housing scam since Oct 5 and attended the assembly proceedings after issuance of his production order by Speaker Asad Qaiser — had alleged that there was an “unholy alliance” between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and NAB, complaining that the bureau had been active only against the PML-N people.

And on the last day of the NA session on Nov 9, the opposition lodged a strong protest over TV interviews of NAB Lahore Director General (DG) Shahzad Saleem in which he had unfolded details of the investigation against Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiyana housing scam.

The opposition members even submitted a “question of privilege” in the National Assembly and demanded immediate intervention of the house in the matter. The speaker did not first give weight to the opposition’s move, but later assured them that he would take up the matter with the NAB chairman.

The opposition members in their motion stated that the bureau’s Lahore DG, “with the consent of the chairman NAB has appeared on TV programmes” and thus “conducted a media trial of opposition members, attempted to influence the so-called cases against the members of the National Assembly, provided details of the matters that are sub judice, revealed details of confidential and secret NAB documents and maligned the reputation of the members of the parliament”.

Interestingly, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry supported the action of the NAB Lahore DG, saying the PML-N had first set an example of maligning the bureau in the media. “Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif had spoken for three hours in the house about his NAB case — Ashiyana housing project,” he had said, alleging that the opposition wanted to undermine the NAB investigation process by using the privilege motion as a tool.

Though the Senate committee had called for a briefing by the NAB chairman much before the controversial TV interviews of the DG, an opposition member of the committee said they would definitely raise the issue in the meeting and seek an explanation.

The NAB chairman has already taken notice of Mr Saleem’s TV interviews and sought their records from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority so that an action could be taken against the official under the law. In a statement, the NAB chief said the bureau gave respect to all parliamentarians.

Sources in NAB claimed that the DG had appeared in TV talk shows without seeking prior permission of the chairman.

The NAB chairman is appearing before the Senate committee, comprising a number of political heavyweights, also at a time when both the government and the opposition have already reached an agreement that there is a need to overhaul the NAB laws to remove apprehensions about the working of the bureau in order to make the accountability process just and transparent.

In this connection, representatives of the government and the opposition had already held two meetings presided over by Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem. The opposition members claimed that the initiative for the talks on the issue had been taken by the PTI government itself.

After coming to power after the July 25 general elections, Prime Minister Imran Khan had constituted a special task force under the law minister to reform the accountability laws in the country. The task force had at its last meeting in September decided to consult all stakeholders and seek public support for preparing a new law aimed at empowering NAB.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2018

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PIA defends move to change aircraft emblem

ISLAMABAD: Defending its decision of replacing the Pakistani flag on the tail of Pakistan International Airlines aircraft with the picture of markhor, the PIA management on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the rebranding initiative was intended to make a comeback to the global arena.

In a report furnished before the Supreme Court through senior counsel Naeem Bokhari, the PIA management explained that the airline embarked upon the renewed branding initiative in April 2016 and used the ,emblem of markhor,, the national animal of Pakistan, to define PIA’s journey as a resilient national icon striving to make a comeback to the global arena.

The SC is seized with a case regarding reports that PIA accumulated losses of Rs360 billion till December 2017 and that the total liabilities amounted to Rs406 billion against assets of Rs111 billion and plans were afoot to sell off the national asset at a throwaway price.

Decision was part of rebranding initiative to show airlines’ comeback to global arena, SC told

Last month the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) in a report had blamed the absence of a professional and experienced leadership for the present state of affairs at PIA and regretted that the corporation was being run like a non-business entity.

PIA was also blamed for wasting money in changing the livery of the aircraft by replacing the Pakistani flag with the emblem of markhor.

PIA explained that the rebranding of the airline with the symbol of markhor was presented to the PIA board. The board approved that two aircraft namely A320 (AP BLU) and Boeing 777 (AP BMH), which were already in the hangers requiring paint, would be the candidates for the new livery.

The report furnished by the PIA management stated the markhor livery was selected to be applied by the modern method of decals for quicker turnaround and more vibrant look. Since the engineering department showed its inability to do so, it was decided that brand management section would spearhead the project and get it done through the scope of promotional material printing.

Subsequently, necessary approvals were obtained from the relevant authorities and a tender was floated with the involvement and full information of stakeholders. After completion of the process, the purchase order was issued to the qualified party, PIA management explained.

The task was completed and payments were processed, but to create pressure on the then PIA CEO, the provisional purchase order (PO) was released to the media and unions were incited, the report added.

With regard to the hiring of the brand consultant, the brand consultancy process was done in full compliance of the PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) regulations through open tender and evaluations by multiple departments, the report contended.

Hiring, renewal of contracts

Referring to a ban placed by the SC on recruitment of employees in PIA, an application was filed to seek court permission to allow advertisement for the key vacant positions to hire employees having specific skills to efficiently deal with the consistently deteriorating situation.

The application explained that some key positions were lying vacant across the organisation as the specific skill required to fill those positions was not available within PIA.

In 2010, the PIA board of directors had decided to appoint skilled workers on a contractual basis so that they could assist PIA to reach its desired objectives.

The apex court was assured that the hiring would be carried out on a merit basis conforming to the approved human resource budget while the salaries to be paid would correspond to the existing market rates as the management had every intention to maximise PIA’s efficiency and profitability.

The PIA management also sought a direction of the apex court for renewal of contracts of the existing contractual employees.

It said this was required urgently as a number of contractual employees were already approaching the competent courts of law for renewal of their contracts.

Ex-CEO seeks permission to travel abroad

On Sept 3, the Supreme Court had set aside the appointment of Musharraf Rasool Cyan as PIA chief executive officer for being against the rules and procedure.

Mr Cyan later approached the apex court with a request to order removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

In the application, Mr Cyan gave an undertaking that he would return to Pakistan within three days of notice by the court or required by the auditors appointed on the orders of the apex court to conduct audit of the airline.

He contended that he needed to go to the US and his trip would not exceed more than 15 days. He added that his wife and two children were in Pakistan and wished to remain in the country.

The former CEO explained that he had to attend to his property matters in the US but the applicant’s name still figured on the ECL in pursuance of the SC observations.

He explained that he had already deposited Rs2.3 million with PIA being the cost of passengers who were taken by PIA on the inaugural air Safari trip of the PIA to promote the flight for additional revenues. The persons were selected by the commercial department of PIA and not by him, he contended.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018

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PPP slams NAB for asking SC to expunge remarks against Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has slammed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for asking the Supreme Court to expunge remarks against former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf from its judgement in the Hudaibya Paper Mills case.

Former Senate chairman and PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday said: “It is a matter of great concern and bewilderment that NAB asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to expunge observations from its Jan 5 judgement concerning Gen Musharraf. This action of NAB speaks volumes about its mindset and is condemned.”

In a statement, he said observations made in the sixth paragraph of the judgement were a narration of historical facts in terms of actions taken by Gen Musharraf in Oct 1999.

“This mindset of NAB… reflects on its ability to pursue across-the-board accountability; perhaps such a mindset is in the way of investigation not proceeding in matters in which retired officers of the armed forces are involved,” the senator remarked.

On Jan 5, a three-judge apex court bench — comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel — had rejected NAB’s appeal against the 2014 Lahore High Court order quashing the Hudaibya Paper Mills reference.

In its review petition, NAB had requested the court to expunge paragraphs 6, 23, 27 and 32 from the Hudaibya judgement by arguing that they seemed to be superfluous and irrelevant.

In paragraph 6 of the judgement, the apex court had recalled how Gen Musharraf ousted the democratically elected government on Oct 12, 1999, as the then army chief and proclaimed emergency on Oct 14, putting the Constitution in abeyance.

Just a month after assuming power, Gen Musharraf had enacted the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and appointed a serving general, Gen Syed Muhammad Amjad, to head NAB, the judgement had stated.

The Supreme Court, while rejecting the NAB’s plea for review on Monday, wondered why the anti-graft watchdog was seeking to expunge observations from its Jan 5, 2018, judgement that concerned former president Gen Musharraf.

“Why do you want to get these paragraphs expunged? Is there anything wrong with mentioning Gen Musharraf for ousting a democratically elected government and was it not a fact that trial against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif took place at the Attock Fort,” Justice Isa had said.

“No ground for review is made out,” observed Justice Alam before dismissing the review petition.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 31, 2018 at 6:25 am

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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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Supreme Court rejects NAB’s review petition against Hudaibya case verdict

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking review of the top court’s judgement regarding reopening of the Hudaibya Paper Mills (HPM) reference.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had ,rejected the NAB appeal on January 5, against the quashment of the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibya corruption reference by the Lahore High Court in 2014. The same bench heard the review petition today.

The ,39-page NAB review petition,, which was filed through special prosecutor Imran-ul-Haq, had argued that the Jan 5 judgement of the SC in the Hudaibya case was in conflict with the Panama Papers case verdict issued by a larger bench and was, therefore, required to be revisited.

At the outset of the hearing, the bench asked the NAB prosecutor to point out flaws in the SC judgement.

Haq argued that the accused in the corruption reference had never been indicted.

“It’s your own doing, you may delay the indictment for years if you wish,” Justice Isa told Haq, observing that the bureau had failed to proceed with indicting the accused even though the Hudaibya reference was filed in the year 2000.

Justice Isa noted that it was during the rule of an army general that the reference was filed. “There was no political pressure on [NAB]” not to file the reference, he remarked.

The reference was filed against members of the Sharif family in 2000 over the opening of alleged “Benami” foreign currency accounts in 1992. But the SC bench asked NAB today whether it was a crime to open foreign currency accounts abroad.

“No, it is not a crime,” prosecutor Haq responded.

The prosecutor further argued that former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who had turned approver against the Sharifs in April 2000, had backtracked from his confessional statement after the LHC quashed the reference.

And the respondents in the reference never appeared before a court. The LHC judgement was flawed due to these two reasons, the prosecutor said.

The court then grilled NAB over why Dar’s statement had been recorded before a magistrate. Justice Isa observed that an approver’s statement could not have been recorded before a magistrate following an amendment in the accountability laws.

“Even if Ishaq Dar confessed to everything, what effect would it have on the case?” he asked.

Justice Alam wondered for how many years the sword of Damocles could be hung above a person.

‘You are not the lawyer for Musharraf’

The NAB prosecutor requested the court to expunge paragraph 6 from the SC judgement in the Hudaibya case. The para dealt with how Gen Pervez Musharraf had ousted a democratically elected government on Oct 12, 1999 as the then army chief and proclaimed emergency on Oct 14, 1999, put the Constitution in abeyance, suspended the Senate and national and provincial assemblies, dismissed the prime minister, all the governors, chief ministers, federal and provincial ministers and also issued a Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).

Just a month after assuming power, Gen Musharraf enacted the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and appointed serving General Mohammad Amjad to head NAB as its chairman, the SC judgement had stated.

“I think you are not the lawyer for Pervez Musharraf,” Justice Isa retorted, addressing the NAB prosecutor.

“Why is this [paragraph] bothering you?” he further asked, observing that the apex court’s judgement had stated that Musharraf’s conduct had been hostile, and not that of NAB.

The prosecutor also requested the court to expunge the para recalling how NAB came into being.

But the court asked the prosecutor to read out the concerned para, telling him to “not be embarrassed about reading Pakistan’s history”.

“Is NAB’s historical background affecting your health in any way?” Justice Isa asked Haq.

Not convinced by NAB’s irrelevant arguments regarding the review, the judge then told the prosecutor: “You are fighting someone else’s battle.”

With the NAB prosecutor having failed to satisfy the bench with arguments against the earlier SC judgement, the court rejected the review petition filed by the bureau.

Hudaibya reference: journey through courts

NAB had prepared the HPM reference against the Sharif family after the 1999 military coup which toppled the Nawaz Sharif government.

The LHC had on March 11, 2014 quashed the reference, but NAB did not challenge it in the apex court. The matter resurfaced during the hearing of the Panama Papers case.

A five-judge bench hearing the Panama Papers case had made a number of observations on the revival of the HPM reference. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, in his dissenting note in the April 20, 2017 verdict, had also discussed the reference in detail and criticised the chairman and the prosecutor general of NAB for not challenging the LHC judgement.

Subsequently, NAB had filed an appeal in the apex court against the LHC verdict, but the bureau could not satisfy the three-judge SC bench for filing a time-barred case.

In its detailed judgement, the apex court had held that legal process was abused and due process was denied to Nawaz Sharif, his brother and then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and other respondents through “protracted” proceedings in the reference.

“We have come to the painful conclusion that respondents 1 to 9 were denied due process,” Justice Isa had written in a 34-page verdict.

“The legal process was abused by keeping the reference pending indefinitely and unreasonably,” the judgement had regretted, adding that the respondents were denied the right to vindicate themselves since the reference served no purpose but to oppress them.

In its review petition, NAB held the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the regime of former president Gen Pervez Musharraf responsible for keeping the Hudaibya corruption reference against the Sharif family adjourned for an indefinite period.

This was the reason why the NAB authorities did not show interest in prosecution of the reference, the petition explained. “Keeping the reference 5 of 2000 (Hudaibya reference) adjourned sine die was a collusive arrangement of PPP, PML-N and regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf,” it contended.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 29, 2018 at 2:26 pm

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Opposition knows how to get united: Fazl

LAHORE: “Those who have crossed over to the government side have already got an NRO and others do not need it,” says Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam during media talk after his party’s shura (consultative body) meeting.

A rather grim looking Fazlur Rehman, who was reportedly on a mission to bring all opposition on a joint anti-government platform, told media that the opposition was in no hurry to do anything: “We would do everything carefully and not rush into anything.”

His facial expressions were noted by a questioner, who asked if it reflected failure of his mission, but Fazl told him after a laughter:

“Everyone in opposition is mature. They (Nawaz and Zardari) have spent life time either in power or opposition. They know how important it was to stay united and launch a joint struggle from a common platform. The opposition is calculating each and every thing carefully and will plan on its own terms.”

He said the country has two brands of politics: one of establishment and other of democratic forces. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is used to first brand of politics.

“It has rather always been used for political ends, be it an era of Pervez Musharraf or Imran Khan. The political parties committed a mistake by not altering the NAB during the 18th Amendment and I am on record saying that after the amendment. It has come back to haunt them now.”

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 28, 2018 at 8:25 am

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44 ‘politically exposed persons’ own properties in UAE

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has furnished before the Supreme Court a list of 44 politically exposed individuals or their benamidars who possessed properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The list contains the name of Aleema Khanum, a sister of Prime Minister Imran Khan. She is identified as benamidar of a property. A notice has been issued to her through email as well as delivered at her home address, but her servant says she is abroad.

The list was part of the annexure submitted to a three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, seized with a case relating to illegal transfer of money from Pakistan to foreign countries.

The list also contains the name of Ayesha Enver Baig, wife of former senator Enver Baig and owner of Anwar Steel. She has one property in the UAE, but it has been disclosed in the tax returns filed with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

FIA list containing their names furnished before SC hearing a case pertaining to transfer of money from Pakistan

Irfanullah Khan Marwat, a politician, is also on the list, but has disowned the property shown in his name.

Likewise, Mumtaz Ahmed Muslim, who is affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, has conceded that he owns properties in Dubai, but not 16 properties as shown in the FIA list.

Rizwana Amin, wife of the late Makhdoom Amin Fahim of the Pakistan Peoples Party, owned four properties. A notice was issued to her, but her watchman did not receive it as she was out of the country.

Naureen Sami Khan, who owned three properties in the UAE, is wife of Arshad Sami Khan and is under verification by the FBR.

Sardar Dildar Ahmed Cheema, former MNA from Faisalabad, disowned two properties in the UAE.

Tahira Manzoor owned six properties in the UAE. She is daughter of Tariq Aziz, personal secretary to former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, and is also under verification by the FBR.

Sublina Zulfikar, who owned a property in the UAE, is wife of Collector Customs Dr Zulfikar Ahmed. Agha Shahid Majeed Khan, a government servant and serving as Collector Customs, also owned one property.

Zulfikar Baloch, who owned one property, is grandson of former federal minister Mir Ibrahim Reki. He had declared the property received as a gift from his grandfather in the tax returns.

Azra Nasreen, mother of TV anchor Dr Farrukh Saleem, owned a property in the UAE, but it has been declared in the tax returns.

Mohammad Aijaz Haroon, who had served as managing director of the Pakistan International Airlines during the PPP government, disowned a property shown in his name.

The name of Abdullah Kadwani also featured in the list with one property. He is former PRO to the Sindh governor and also an actor.

Akbar Khan had six properties in the UAE. He is brother of Humayun Akhtar and Haroon Akhtar — both former ministers. He did not provide any affidavit despite repeated notices.

Irshad Ahmed has one property in the UAE. He is employee of the Sindh Zarai Taraqqiati Bank and previously worked in the Sindh local government.

Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 27, 2018 at 3:25 am

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Hamza asks Imran to reveal names of NRO seekers

LAHORE: Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz has asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to tell [us] who sought the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) for the Sharif family.

“Niazi Sahib… who has sought NRO from you. From where you have got this news. Neither we have nor we will seek NRO,” he said at a press conference here on Thursday.

He said Imran Khan was biased against the Sharif’s and he should stop threatening them.

He said Shahbaz Sharif did not commit any illegality and he would be acquitted of all charges (in Ashiana housing scam).

“The National Accountability Bureau is playing in the hands of Imran Khan,” he said and asked the premier to stop threatening them (Sharifs) as they were not afraid of arrest.

“Imran had got Shahbaz arrested. Today the Supreme Court judges are saying that NAB has been politicised,” Hamza said and admitted that it was PML-N’s mistake that it could not do away with the NAB’s ‘black law’ which was introduced by a dictator Musharraf.

“It was our mistake that we could not repeal the black law of NAB despite getting the opportunity.”

To a question whether the PML-N would participate in the multi-party conference being convened by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Hamza said the party had not decided yet.

He also criticised the Punjab assembly speaker for suspending PML-N’s six MPAs on a ‘fake picture’ and rejected the committee in which 10 members are from treasury and two from opposition to probe hooliganism in the assembly.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2018

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PM hails $6bn bailout package as big relief

PRIME Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation.—APP

PRIME Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation.—APP

• Vows to mediate between Yemen, Saudi Arabia
• Warns opposition parties that govt won’t offer them an NRO-like deal

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the nation soon after returning from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday described the ,$6 billion bailout package, as big relief for Pakistan and vowed to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Yemen to end their ongoing conflict.

The prime minister said he also expected Saudi Arabia-like monetary assistance from two other friendly countries after which the government might not need to seek as big a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as had been planned earlier.

Accusing the previous two governments of plunging the country into its worst financial crisis, Mr Khan in his televised address to the nation said the opposition parties’ recent plan to form an alliance was aimed at pressing the government to get some relief under a deal like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that was bestowed upon them by retired General Pervez Musharraf.

“Keep in your mind that unlike Pervez Musharraf, I will not come under any pressure and will not give any NRO to the corrupt,” the PM warned the opposition parties.

Expressing gratitude to Saudi leadership for helping Pakistan at a time of need, the prime minister, who had travelled along with his key cabinet members to Riyadh to ,attend the Future Investment Initiative Conference, on a special invitation of King Salman bin Abdel Aziz, said: “We could go into default but the ‘tremendous’ financial package from Saudi Arabia has relieved our burden.”

He said Pakistan had been mulling over decision to get a loan from the IMF, but any major assistance from the lender would have put additional burden on the nation.

“Now the government won’t need much from the IMF,” he added.

It is believed that PM Khan also discussed with the Saudi leaders the conflict in neighbouring Yemen, as he announced that Pakistan would play the role of a mediator in the war. “One more important thing I want to share with you that I will make all-out efforts to get resolved Saudi Arabia-Yemen conflict by acting as a mediator. We will also try our best to play a mediatory role in bringing all the Muslim nations together,” he added.

About the financial assistance, Mr Khan said he was receiving encouraging response from friends of Pakistan and believed that two of the countries would give similar financial help as Saudi Arabia has pledged. “We are expecting similar package from friends, as we want to put minimum burden on the salaried class,” he said.

Tracing the history of foreign debts, the prime minister said the country’s total foreign debt before 1970 stood at Rs30 billion. It swelled to Rs6,000 billion in next 40 years, he said, adding that it surged to Rs30,000 billion only in the last decade.

Besides, he said the circular debt had gone up to Rs1,200 billion, which was only Rs230 billion in 2009.

“We are going to conduct audit of Rs30,000 billion foreign loans obtained by the former rulers. For this reason they are joining hands to make a front against the government in a bid to save their skin,” PM Khan said.

The prime minister said before coming into power he had promised to the nation that he would not spare any corrupt leader and would put them into the jail. He warned the former rulers that he would not spare them, while blaming them for the losses and downfall of Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills.

To rid the country from prevailing crisis, he said the government had taken several steps and announced incentives for boosting exports, strengthening institutions, curbing money laundering.

He said building 0.5 million houses in the country was a flagship programme of the government that would not only run 40 auxiliary industries but would also provide job opportunities to unemployed youths.

Later, he asked the nation not to be hopeless due to the prevailing situation as the government had ability to come out of this crisis. “People have to face some difficulties during an overhaul of all institutions and sectors but the good time will come soon. The time will come when we will lend loans to others,” he added.

Pulished in Dawn, October 25th , 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 25, 2018 at 11:25 am

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NA session called as opposition gears up to grill govt

ISLAMABAD: As the opposition parties are gearing up to give a tough time to the treasury during the National Assembly session, which has been summoned by President Arif Alvi on Oct 29, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said sarcastically the venue for the multiparty conference of the opposition parties should be Adiala jail.

While the main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, had recently filed two adjournment motions in the NA Secretariat against government’s decisions about media regulatory authority and abolition of subsidy on Metro bus services, former president and PPP leader Asif Zardari, along with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, told the media on Monday evening that the opposition parties were going to hold a multiparty conference to devise a joint strategy against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government.

In reaction to the opposition parties’ plan to join hands against the government, the information minister on his Twitter account posted a TV grab with the headline about the multiparty conference and captioned that the venue would be Adiala jail.

Information minister sarcastically suggests Adiala jail as venue for multiparty conference, asks ex-president to consult lawyers ‘within days’Mr Chaudhry also asked Mr Zardari to consult his lawyers instead of meeting political parties. He said the ex-president would realise the importance of this suggestion “not in weeks but within days”, hinting that the opposition party leader could be under hot waters within the next few days.

“By tabling resolutions, governments cannot be toppled,” the PTI leader said. “You need votes for that. Zardari sahib has lost his votes in his quest to earn notes,” he added.

Responding to the criticism, former senator and PPP minister Saeed Ghani said the statements coming from the federal cabinet member corroborate the claim that the headquarters of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been shifted to Banigala, which houses palatial residence of PTI chief and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“Ministers are giving such statements on behalf of NAB and FIA that politicians can be held soon,” the PPP leader regretted.

He said Mr Chaudhry, a former leader of Gen Musharraf-led All Pakistan Muslim League, had expertise in changing his loyalties. The PTI leader should be worried about Mr Khan now instead of Mr Zardari, the PPP leader remarked.

Calling him a rented loud speaker, Mr Ghani said the information minister should better tell the nation why the prime minister had not attended the recently held UN summit.

Adjournment motions

In one of the motions, which the PML-N had submitted last Friday, the opposition party wanted that the National Assembly session be summoned to discuss the government decision to establish new Media Regulatory Authority without consulting the stakeholders and in the presence of various regulatory bodies to deal with the issues of electronic and print media.

“The government is using such tactic to control media by imposing censorship and by curbing their independence in order to avoid criticism against it. This is a serious matter which warrants immediate discussion on the floor of the house,” it stated.

The second adjournment motion was filed against the abolition of subsidy on Metro bus services in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan. “We want to discuss the decision of the government to end subsidy given to Metro buses operating in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan and increase in their ticket fares,” it said.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2018

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Democratic forces in the country appear to be weakening: Zardari

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that he sees democratic forces in Pakistan weakening during the tenure of the two-month-old Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government.

,Speaking to the media, after a meeting with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at the latter’s residence, Zardari said his party has made efforts for the continuity of democracy in the country for the past 10 years and to prevent any incident from happening that could weaken democratic forces.

Reiterating that the PTI administration is incapable of handling the country’s affairs, the former president said he will discuss the issue with all political forces.

“[I want to] move forward along with everyone else after devising a strategy for the future,” he said.

He said the aim of the opposition is not to derail the government, but to ensure that it follows democratic norms.

Asked by a reporter whether he himself will contact the PML-N leadership regarding uniting against the government’s “incompetence”, Zardari suggested the communication will be done through the JUI-F chief.

“We will communicate with Maulana sahib,” he said with a smile.

Commenting on Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s reported comment that Zardari should remember that he was also given relief in some cases of possible corruption, the PPP co-chairman said if he wanted to settle for a compromise, he could have done it during former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf’s rule.

“If I had to do a compromise then Musharraf’s era was better [than the current government],” he said, adding that unlike others who had settled for deals, he had served jail terms.

During their meeting, the JUI-F chief and Zardari discussed matters regarding bringing a resolution against the government in the parliament, sources told DawnNewsTV.

Fazl said he and Zardari had agreed during the meeting that the opposition should jointly adopt a stance against the government.

He said an All-Parties Conference will be called to present a clear strategy before the nation for the future.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 22, 2018 at 11:25 pm

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Govt ‘incompetent’ to run country, says Zardari

ISLAMABAD: Terming the present government “incompetent”, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has called upon all political parties to unite on one platform to declare that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government cannot run the country.

“Political forces will have to be united and pass a resolution that the present government cannot last long and is not capable of running the country,” Mr Zardari said in a vague term while speaking at a brief news conference after attending a lawyers’ convention organised by the Peoples Lawyers Forum (PLF) here on Sunday.

Responding to a question about the possibility of his meeting with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, he said that presently he was facing cases that had been initiated during the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, he did not rule out the possibility of such a meeting. “The case which I am facing today was initiated by Nawaz Sharif. But it does not mean that a meeting cannot take place,” he said.

Mr Zardari, who did not appear to be in good health, evaded a response to the reported statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan in which he had alleged that conspiracies were being hatched against his government. “Islamabad is always a centre of conspiracies,” he said with a meaningful smile.

Peoples Lawyers’ convention seeks right of appeal in suo motu cases, change in process for judges’ appointment; condemns NAB for ‘targeting’ opposition

Asked if the PPP would become part of any move to dislodge the government, he simply said: “We will decide when the time will come.”

The PPP leader said that when his party had acquired power in 2008, the country was facing a similar economic situation, but they neither depreciated the currency nor allowed price hike. He said the PPP government had introduced a number of “futuristic policies”, but these were stopped by the PML-N government. Calling Imran Khan “prime minister-select”, he said they had no expectations from the government.

Flanked by PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Mr Zardari said talks about deals like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which had been offered by then military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, were nothing but political stunt. Moreover, he said he had never benefited from any NRO and got himself acquitted after facing all the cases in courts.

In reply to a question, the PPP leader said he had never criticised National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, though he objected to his policies and the manner of work. Agreeing that his party was involved in the appointment of the NAB chairman, he said: “Sometimes people with low mentality occupy big positions. When they get powers, they cannot handle it.”

Mr Zardari said that when he had become the country’s president, he transferred all the powers to parliament.

PLF resolution

Earlier, Nayyar Bokhari read out a 10-point resolution which was unanimously adopted by the participants of the lawyers convention presided over by PLF president Latif Khosa and attended by Asif Zardari as chief guest.

“The lawyers’ community as a whole and PLF feel that exercise of direct jurisdiction under Article 184(3) by the Supreme Court should be subjected to an appeal and, therefore, demands that the apex court in the Supreme Court Rules 1980 and the Parliament provide the right of appeal under Article 184(3) of the Constitution so as to comprehensively safeguard the rights of the people of Pakistan,” said the resolution.

Through the resolution, the PLF reiterated and reaffirmed “the principles of democracy, empowerment of the people of Pakistan through the provincial autonomy as enforced through the unanimously passed 18th Amendment in the Constitution and demands its implementation in letter and spirit”.

“Whereas justice delayed is justice denied it is a matter of grave concern that the pendency of cases for over decades has assumed an alarming proportion and hence the need of a regular judicial system in the hierarchy headed by the Supreme Court and a constitutional court has become imminent and appropriate legislation as envisaged by the PPP manifesto be promulgated to ensure expeditious justice to the people,” read the resolution.

It said: “The appointment in the judiciary has noticeably not brought about the desired results which requires a competitive and transparent induction of the best legal brains in the administration of justice and hence necessary amendments in law and Constitution be made by the appropriate authorities/legislatures to ensure a competitive, merit-based mechanism to ensure the best of the best judges are entrusted with the sacred duty of administering justice.”

The PLF convention expressed “grave concern” over the working of NAB, stating that “NAB has been acting in a very arbitrary, whimsical, capricious, discriminatory and autocratic manner. Even the Supreme Court time and again has noticed that NAB has no right to disgrace, humiliate and scandalise any person as compliant verification, inquiry or investigation and even trial don’t warrant any inference of guilt unless so judicially determined”.

The resolution said that “warrants of arrest by NAB are issued only against leaders of opposition while the ruling elite are exempted obviously leading to the inference that NAB is partisan which this house condemns”.

The participants of the convention declared that “the present government resulting out of a dubious electoral process has in the very short span of time exposed its complete incapacity to regulate the affairs of the state. The policies so far initiated have resulted in a colossal mess up and aggravated the economic crises. The price spiral has unprecedentedly depreciated the currency and resulted in price hike inflicting a bombshell on the people of Pakistan throwing not only the have-nots but the people into the abysmal dismay of poverty”.

“It is high time that the government in power resorts to consultative process of the issues in the Parliament taking the entire nation into confidence and taking decisions with consensus instead of the blame-game and the immaturity reflected so far from top to bottom in the government hierarchy,” the resolution said.

The participants urged the chief justice of Pakistan to ensure early hearing of the reference filed by Mr Zardari seeking to revisit the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto case.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2018

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All parties should unite to present motion against PTI govt’s incompetence, says Zardari

Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P) President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said that the incumbent government has shown its incompetence in a very short span of time and now “all political parties should unite and present a motion against the government’s failure”.

While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Zardari said that a principle-based decision will have to be made to correct the direction in which the country is currently heading.

“The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is calling peoples’ servants to answer questions in investigations, the same has happened in the time of former president Pervez Musharraf,” he said.

Answering a question, Zardari said he did not make any remarks about the NAB chairman, rather he raised questions about the latter’s thinking and manner of work.

Without naming anyone, the former president said that when some people are given charge of an important office, their manners change completely.

“When I became the president I transferred all powers to the parliament,” he recalled, “But Nawaz Sharif did not like any of our policies.”

Speaking of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), Zardari said he was still facing the cases formed against him during PML-N’s government.

The former president claimed he did not take any advantage of NRO but said that parties like MQM and people like Nawaz Sharif may have taken advantage of it.

Zardari claimed the people’s party gave China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and many other programmes to Pakistan during their tenure.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 21, 2018 at 5:25 pm

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Judicial commission to record Musharraf’s statement in treason case

After former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf ? who has been out of the country since March 2016 ? declined to record his statement in a treason case via video link, a special court on Monday ordered the formation of a judicial commission that will go abroad to record his statement in accordance with Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The former president’s lawyer told a special court bench comprising Justice Yawar Ali, Justice Tahira Safdar and Justice Nazar Akbar seized with a high treason case initiated against Musharraf for suspending the Constitution on Nov 3, 2007 ? an offence for which he was indicted on March 31, 2014 ? that his client was was unable to record his statement via video link since he is indisposed.

Justice Ali asked the lawyer whether Musharraf had been diagnosed with cancer, to which the counsel responded that the former military ruler had been diagnosed with heart problems.

Read more: ,Musharraf ‘growing weaker rapidly’ from unspecified illness: Dr Amjad,

“He says he is not a coward. He wishes to appear before the court himself and present the evidence in his defence,” the lawyer added.

Justice Yawar Ali deliberated whether the case could proceed in the absence of a statement recorded by Musharraf under Section 342 and asked the prosecution lawyer if it was possible to do so.

“The accused is in a foreign country right now. According to his lawyer, he is very ill,” Justice Ali noted.

“Pervez Musharraf’s previous record is before us,” the prosecution lawyer said. “He is not ready to record a statement via video link.”

“We are told that Pervez Musharraf cannot appear in court due to his illness,” the bench observed. “He wishes to record his statement in the treason case.”

Subsequently, the court decided to order the formation of a judicial commission that will travel abroad in order to record Musharraf’s statement in the case.

The members of the commission and its scope will be decided later, the bench maintained, adding that if anyone had objections, they could challenge the formation of the commission before the high court.

This is also Justice Ali’s last hearing of the case, as he will be retiring soon. Future case proceedings will either be heard by a new special court bench or by the high court, DawnNewsTV reported.

The case was adjourned until Nov 14.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - October 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

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PTI front runner despite losing seats in by-polls

(Left top) A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Lahore’s NA-124 constituency. (Right) Prime Minister Imran Khan casts his vote in Islamabad. (Left bottom) Security forces stand alert outside a polling station for women in Peshawar’s PK-78.—APP / INP / White Star

(Left top) A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Lahore’s NA-124 constituency. (Right) Prime Minister Imran Khan casts his vote in Islamabad. (Left bottom) Security forces stand alert outside a polling station for women in Peshawar’s PK-78.—APP / INP / White Star

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: After a neck-and-neck contest, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) managed to win most of the seats in Sunday’s by-elections on 11 National and 24 provincial assembly seats with the PML-N seems to be edging past the PTI in Punjab.

Most of the seats where by-elections were held had been vacated by those elected on more than one seat in the July 25 general elections, including Prime Minister Imran Khan who won in all the five NA constituencies he had contested.

According to unofficial and unverified results of over 90 per cent polling stations, the PTI despite being at the top of the victory table faced a setback by losing two of the four National Assembly seats vacated by its chief Imran Khan to the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and the PML-N. Besides, the PTI was also losing its Punjab Assembly seat from Jhelum that had been vacated by Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry till filing of this report.

• Two seats vacated by Imran go to PML-N, MMA • Haroon Bilour’s widow elected to KP assembly • Nawaz couldn’t cast vote for want of ID card

The results show both the PTI and the PML-N got four seats each out of 11 NA seats. The PML-Q managed to retain its two seats in Chakwal and Gujrat, whereas the MMA improved its strength in the National Assembly by winning the Bannu seat.

In the by-elections on 24 provincial assembly seats (11 in Punjab, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two each in Sindh and Balochistan), the PTI was leading in nine constituencies (four in Punjab and five in KP) while the PML-N was ahead in six constituencies (five in Punjab and one in KP). In July, Mr Khan had contested from Islamabad, Bannu, Mianwali, Lahore and Karachi. He later decided to retain the Mianwali seat.

The Bannu seat in the PTI’s stronghold of KP was clinched by MMA’s Zahid Akram Durrani, son of former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, whereas former railways minister and a firebrand PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique won the NA-131 Lahore seat. In the July elections, the PTI chief had defeated Mr Akram who this time fielded his son, Zahid Durrani, in Bannu. Mr Zahid managed to defeat PTI’s Nasim Ali Shah with a margin of over 19,000 votes in the by-elections.

The PML-N not only retained its two NA seats, it also managed to snatch two seats from the PTI after a tough contest in Lahore (NA-131) and Attock (NA-56).

The PTI believes that the main reason for its failure to achieve a clear majority in the by-elections was the absence of the senior party leaders, including Imran Khan, from the campaign.

Talking to a private TV channel, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the top party leadership did not run the campaign due to a bar by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on them. He said the PTI’s politics revolved around Imran Khan and when the party head was not there in the field, then division within the party ranks was quite natural. He was of the opinion that the PTI would have won at least nine of the 11 NA seats had Mr Khan led the election campaign.

Overall the polling remained peaceful with only a few incidents of scuffle and brawls being reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

Another important feature of the by-election was the participation of overseas Pakistanis for the first time.

Out of 7,364 registered overseas Pakistanis votes, 6,233 polled their votes through i-voting. The ECP had allowed the overseas Pakistanis to vote on experimental basis on the directive of the Supreme Court. The ECP would decide about inclusion of their votes in the final count in a day or two.

There were no official word from the ECP about the turnout, but an official of the commission said that the estimated turnout was between 35 and 40 per cent.

Punjab

In Punjab the by-elections were held on eight NA and 11 provincial assembly seats. The focus of the by-election was on the provincial capital Lahore, where one NA seat had been vacated by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the other by Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz.

The PML-N fielded Mr Rafique in NA-131 whereas the PTI awarded ticket to Humayun Akhtar Khan, a former minister in the cabinet of military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf. Mr Rafique, who had lost the July election to the PTI chief with a narrow margin of just 600 votes, this time defeated the PTI candidate with a margin of nearly 10,000 votes.

During the counting of the votes, Mr Rafique warned the ECP of making any attempt to change the results and threatened a strong reaction. Asking the ECP “to rise out of its deep slumber,” Mr Rafique said he was not provided the results from couple of polling stations till late in the night. He also criticised the ECP for not providing him the list of overseas Pakistani voters despite repeated requests. He said that he only got the list through the Lahore High Court. He also alleged that four polling stations were changed at the eleventh hour.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had lost the general elections from two constituencies, including that of his hometown Murree, easily defeated PTI’s Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan in NA-124 Lahore in an almost one-sided contest. Mr Abbasi secured 79,281 votes against 32,812 bagged by Mr Dewan.

Interestingly, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had also reached Government College of Technology, Railway Road, to poll his vote for ex-PM Abbasi in the closing hours of polling, but he was not allowed to cast his vote as he was not carrying his computerized national identity card (CNIC) which was mandatory for casting the vote. After winning the election, Mr Abbasi in his victory speech said the people of Pakistan had started rejecting PTI chief Imran Khan over his 50-day performance in the office.

Since the PML-Q retained its two NA seats, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi came up to say the people wanted to get rid of the PML-N and wanted that those rulers, who had served the masses in real sense, should return.

In NA-56 (Attock), the PML-N upset the PTI by clinching the seat with a clear margin. The seat had been vacated by PTI’s Tahir Sadiq who had also won the other NA seat from the district in the general elections. PML-N’s Suhail Khan secured 125,665 votes while PTI’s Khurram Ali could get 89,709 votes.

In Faisalabad (NA-103), PML-N’s Ali Gohar Baloch won the seat with 76,626 votes, while PTI’s Saadullah Baloch could get around 63,000 votes.

The PML-Q retained both NA-65 (Chakwal) and NA-69 (Gujrat) seats vacated by Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. The PML-Q was backed by the PTI since both parties had reached an understanding for seat adjustments in the general elections and were coalition partners at Centre as well as in Punjab.

In Rawalpindi’s NA-63 and NA-60 constituencies, PTI’s Mansoor Khan and railways minister Sheikh Rashid’s nephew Rashid Shafiq were leading against PML-N candidates Aqeel Malik and Sajjad Khan.

Of the 11 provincial assembly seats, the PML-N won five and the PTI secured four, whereas two independent candidates won the other two seats.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Of the nine provincial assembly seats, where polling was held on Sunday, the PTI was leading in five constituencies, followed by the Awami National Party (ANP) in three constituencies and the PML-N in Swat (PK-3) constituency.

The by-elections were held in PK-3 Swat, PK-7 Swat, PK-44 Swabi, PK-53 Mardan, PK-61 Nowshera, PK-64 Nowshera, PK-78 Peshawar, and PK-97 and PK-99 D.I. Khan.

The PTI had mostly awarded tickets to close family members of its leaders who had won multiple seats in the general elections.

In PK-78 and PK-99, the July 25 elections had been postponed due to the killing of candidates Haroon Ahmad Bilour of the ANP and Ikramullah Khan Gandapur of the PTI, respectively, in suicide bombings.

In PK-78 Peshawar, Samar Haroon Bilour, widow of late Haroon Bilour, of the ANP won the seat by securing 20,916 votes against her rival Irfan Abdul Salam of the PTI who bagged 16,819 votes.

Similarly, the PK-99 D.I. Khan seat was won by PTI’s Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur who bagged 30,330 votes whereas an independent Fatehullah Khan remained runner up with 22,825 votes.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser’s brother Aqibullah Khan won the provincial assembly seat from Swabi whereas Defence Minister Pervez Khattak’s son Mohammad Ibrahim Khattak and brother Liaquat Khan won the KP assembly seats from Nowshera.

Sindh

In Sindh, by-elections were held two provincial assembly seats (PS-30 Khairpur and PS-87 Malir) and one NA seat (NA-243) in Karachi.

According to unofficial results, PTI’s Alamgir Khan emerged victorious on the NA-243 seat by defeating Aamir Waliuddin Chishti of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan.

The PS-30 Khairpur seat, which had been vacated by Pir Fazal Ali Shah who had retained an NA seat, was won by PPP’s Syed Ahmad Raza Shah Jilani in the by-elections by defeating Waliur Rehman of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and 10 others with a big margin.

PPP’s Sajid Ali Jokhio won the PS-87 Malir seat by defeating PTI’s Quadir Bux Khan Gabol. In Malir, the elections had been postponed due to death of a candidate.

Balochistan

According to unofficial results, Akbar Mengal, a joint candidate of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal and Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl, was leading in PB-40-Khuzdar, till filing of this report.

In PB-36 Mastung, former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Khan Raisani who contested the by-elections as an independent candidate was leading with results of around 20 polling stations yet to come.

Mansoor Malik from Lahore and Abdul Wahid Shahwani from Khuzdar also contributed to the report.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2018

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Via DAWN.com

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