Posts Tagged ‘Protest’

President Alvi says registration of FIR against people protesting against his protocol ‘ridiculous’

Karachi police on Sunday registered a first information report (FIR) against members of the #FixIt self-help group for trying to lift roadblocks placed on Sharea Faisal that had been placed to make room for President Arif Alvi’s convoy.

The FIR stated that some youngsters, who said they were part of the #FixIt ‘movement’, tried to force police officers to lift the blockades placed on Sharea Faisal. When the officers refused, they tried to unblock the road by force and encouraged other people to join them.

The FIR further stated that when police tried to stop them, they misbehaved with the officers by pushing them and using abusive language.

Though the police were able to control the situation before the president’s convoy reached the site, the FIR declared that the members of the self-help group, which has strongly criticised VVIP protocols in the past, were guilty of “intervention” in the operation of the state.

President Alvi felt differently about the incident, tweeting that it was “ridiculous” that the police would register a case against “the person protesting against security”.

“When people are inconvenienced they do react,” he wrote on the microblogging website.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 23, 2018 at 6:25 pm

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In maiden parliamentary address, President Alvi urges lawmakers to support the govt

President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday made his inaugural address in a joint sitting of the parliament, where he talked about wide-ranging problems plaguing Pakistan and urged the lawmakers to support the govt in taking the country forward.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had claimed that the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party had assured the government that its members will not disrupt the proceedings.

However, the session started with a protest from opposition lawmakers, which was overruled by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, following which opposition lawmakers — mostly from the PML-N — walked out as the president began his speech.

“Today’s address marks the beginning of the new parliamentary year,” President Alvi said. “I am grateful to be elected to Pakistan’s highest Constitutional office, and pray that I will be able to fulfill the responsibilities that have been given to me.

President Alvi addresses the parliament for the first time — DawnNewsTV

The new president commented on the continuation of parliamentary democracy in the country, saying: “Pakistan’s parliamentary system has been a victim of instability due to various reasons. However, that the fact that past three governments have been able to complete their terms is encouraging.”

President Alvi stressed the need to root out corruption and strengthen the nation’s various institutions.

“The elections proved that the nation is tired of dishonesty and is looking from relief,” he said. “This government wants to make a new Pakistan, and we need to remember that we are one nation.

“On one hand, to rid the nation of corruption, we need saaf shaffaf institutions, on the other hand, we need to strengthen the institutions that are responsible for accountability, so that they could function and do their job without any fear.

“Governments are only successful when they cater to the needs of their people. The current government has set out to make a Naya Pakistan, it is this same slogan that led us to winning the elections.”

The president urged his audience to support the government in its austerity drive, and also help it cut down its dependencies on foreign loans.

“I wish that we all take part in the austerity initiatives taken by the government in an effort to create Naya Pakistan,” he said. “These measures include ending the practices of protocol for members of the government. If we take on the practice of austerity we could get back on track and head towards the right direction.

“We need to remember the fact that we are a nation in debt. And then we take on more debt to pay off the interest on our old debts, instead of building development projects. According to the law, the loan to GDP ratio should not be more that 60 per cent. However, for the past several years, we have been breaking our own law.

“We need to follow the example of the state of Madinah to take the country forward. In his final address, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said that no person had any advantage over another on the basis of caste, creed or religion. Islamic nations are based on these principles and Dr Allama Iqbal and Quiad-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also dreamed of a Pakistan where the welfare of the people is at the fore and the state works for the betterment of its people.

“Pakistan is going through a very difficult phase, but our nation is high-spirited, and it is also heartening to see the way the overseas Pakistanis are looking forward to rebuilding this nation.”

President Alvi, in his maiden address, also talked about the growing water crisis in the country. “There is a lack of water in Pakistan,” he said. “Our urban centres are facing severe environmental pollution. In these circumstances we need to build dams and plant trees to tackle the issue.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also in attendance during the joint session — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also in attendance during the joint session — DawnNewsTV

“We need to give a preference to drip irrigation over traditional irrigation processes. As a nation we also need to bring a change in our lifestyles and take on more water conservation practices.”

President Alvi called for countrywide improvements in the educational and healthcare sectors, while also urging the empowerment of women, without which he said “no country can progress”.

He assured the parliament that Pakistan’s relations with other countries during the PTI rule will be further strengthened. “China, the US, Iran and Turkey’s FMs [have had meetings with us],” he said. “God willing, our relations with all of them will improve.”

The president said that instead of indulging in “blame game” on the Kashmir issue, he would like for the govt to “continue its efforts at every level”.

President Alvi also paid tribute to the efforts of Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism, and referred it as “the most successful army”, adding that “the world should learn from us”.

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Will hold protest if govt doesn’t form commission to probe ‘rigging’ by tomorrow, warns Bilawal

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday warned that his party will hold protests against the PTI government if it fails to form a commission to investigate the rigging allegations regarding the July 25 general elections.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Bilawal said, “If the government failed to form a probe commission by September 18, PPP would prepare a strategy for the protest.”

“We will wait until tomorrow,” he asserted.

Explore: ,Here’s a list of constituencies where PTI, PML-N, PPP are alleging rigging,

He also hinted at consulting the PML-N and other opposition parties in case an investigation commission is not formed by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

The PPP chairman also expressed “disappointment” over President Arif Alvi’s address to a joint parliamentary session earlier today.

Moreover, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif also reiterated his party’s demand of forming a parliamentary commission to probe rigging allegations regarding the general elections, ,Geo News reported,.

He complained that opposition leaders were silenced during the presidential speech. Asif said that opposition leaders were told that they would be able to present their stance following President Alvi’s speech but they were not allowed to speak after the address ended.

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President Alvi addresses the parliament for the first time

President Dr Arif Alvi is addressing the lawmakers of Pakistan for the first time in a joint sitting of the parliament.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had claimed that the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party had assured the government that its members will not disrupt the proceedings.

However, the session started with a protest from opposition lawmakers, which was overruled by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, following which opposition lawmakers, mostly from the PML-N, walked out as the president began his speech.

“Today’s address marks the beginning of the new parliamentary year,” President Alvi said. “I am grateful to be elected to Pakistan’s highest Constitutional office, and pray that I will be able to fulfill the responsibilities that have been given to me.

“The elections proved that the nation is tired of dishonesty and is looking from relief. This government wants to make a new Pakistan, and we need to remember that we are one nation.

The president urged his audience to support the government in its austerity drive, and also help it cut down its dependencies on foreign loans.

“I wish that we all take part in the austerity initiatives taken by the government in an effort to create Naya Pakistan,” he said. “These measures include ending the practices of protocol for members of the government.

“We need to remember the fact that we are a nation in debt. And then we take on more debt to pay off the interest on our old debts, instead of building development projects. According to the law, the loan to GDP ratio should not be more that 60 per cent. However, for the past several years, we have been breaking our own law.

“We need to take on the example of the state of Madinah and build a country based on that model. We need to initiate new housing projects and build schemes to provide our youth with jobs. If we are able to do so, that is what tabdeeli is going to be, and it will be the basis of Naya Pakistan. I look towards our lawmakers to come up with strategies that make all of this possible.”

President Alvi in his maiden address, also talked about the growing water crisis in the country. “There is a lack of water in Pakistan,” he said. “Our urban centres are facing severe environmental pollution. In these circumstances we need to build dams and plant trees to tackle the issue.

“We need to give a preference to drip irrigation over traditional irrigation processes. As a nation we also need to bring a change in our lifestyles and take on more water conservation practices.”

President Alvi called for countrywide improvements in the educational and healthcare sectors, while also urging the empowerment of women, without which he said “no country can progress”.

The government had earlier convened the joint sitting on Sept 13 and regular sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate on Sept 14, but cancelled it a day before at the PML-N’s request and to avoid possible criticism of the move as it was coinciding with the funeral of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.


This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources, such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.

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President Alvi’s maiden address to parliament today

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi will make his maiden address to a joint sitting of parliament on Monday (today) as the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) claims that the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party has assured the government that its members will not disrupt the proceedings.

The government had earlier convened the joint sitting on Sept 13 and regular sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate on Sept 14, but cancelled it a day before at the PML-N’s request and to avoid possible criticism of the move as it was coinciding with the funeral of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

The regular sessions of both the houses of parliament will now be held separately on Tuesday (tomorrow) in which Finance Minister Asad Umar is expected to present the mini-budget for the remaining 10 months of the current financial year.

PTI claims PML-N has assured govt of not disrupting proceedings

The PML-N had last week protested the government’s move to summon the joint sitting at a time when the party was in a state of mourning and had already announced suspension of its political activities for three days due to the demise of Kulsoom Nawaz.

Sources in the PML-N told Dawn that the party had through former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq approached the government leaders and Speaker Asad Qaiser with the request to delay the sessions to enable the party legislators to attend them.

Talking to Dawn, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi claimed that the government had set new dates for the sessions after consulting the opposition.

Mr Qureshi, who is also vice chairman of the PTI, said he had talked to senior PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq who assured him that the opposition members would not disrupt the president’s address and that they would listen to the speech while maintaining decorum.

Opposition’s protest

Mr Qureshi, however, said the opposition might register its protest over the issue of alleged rigging in the July 25 general elections during the regular session of the National Assembly the next day. He said the opposition parties’ demand for constitution of a parliamentary commission to probe charges of rigging in the elections was being considered by the party leadership.

The senior PTI leader said they had told the opposition parties that they would come back to them on the issue after holding a consultation within the party.

“We have so far not rejected the opposition’s demand. We will look into it and apprise them,” he said, adding that the party leadership could take up the issue in its meeting to be held on Monday (today) before the start of the joint session.

Parliamentary commission

When contacted, PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan confirmed that Ayaz Sadiq was in contact with the PTI leaders. He said the PML-N also wanted to see the democratic system running in the country and that was why they were giving time to the government to consider their demand for the parliamentary commission. He said they might not protest during the presidential address as a goodwill gesture, but they could not give such an assurance for the future sessions. He, however, said the party would finalise its strategy at a meeting on Monday.

The government had disclosed its plan to convene the joint sitting at a meeting of the parliamentary leaders presided over by NA Speaker Asad Qaiser on Sept 10. The meeting had been convened by the speaker in an effort to seek cooperation from the opposition parties for conducting the proceedings smoothly. However, the opposition parties had asked the government to constitute the parliamentary commission to probe the charges of rigging in the July 25 elections before convening the joint sitting, if it wanted a smooth sailing in parliament. After the meeting, Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed that the opposition had put the condition of formation of the parliamentary commission for ensuring smooth proceedings.

Speaking at a news conference in Lahore earlier this month, PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to keep his words and constitute the commission to probe allegations of rigging and recommend steps to block rigging attempts in future. Mr Sharif had warned that the opposition alliance would not let the house function if the commission was not constituted.

The PML-N had earlier disrupted the proceedings of the National Assembly soon after the elections of the speaker, deputy speaker and the prime minister. However, the other major opposition party — Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — had not joined the PML-N’s noisy protest.

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, PPP vice president Sherry Rehman said the party had convened a joint meeting of its MNAs and senators on Monday to discuss a strategy for the joint sitting. She said that like other opposition parties, the PPP also wanted the government to form the parliamentary commission to investigate the rigging allegations.

Under Article 56(3) of the Constitution, the president is required to address a joint sitting of parliament at the beginning of the parliamentary year. It states: “At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the National Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses assembled together.”

Dr Arif Alvi was elected 13th president of the country on Sept 4.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2018

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PIA flight delayed after pilot-steward row

LAHORE: A London-bound PIA flight got late for more than three hours on Saturday night when the pilot refused to fly after a physical brawl with a steward whom he suspected as a smuggler.

The situation also brought embarrassment to the PIA administration as footage of the untoward incident followed by the protest of the passengers was run by the electronic media.

According to a source, flight PK-757 Lahore-London was ready for departure at 9pm when suddenly pilot Anwaar Chaudhry asked the other crew members to make steward Awais Qureshi, whom he called a notorious smuggler, leave the aircraft.

Mr Anwaar claimed that in the past Mr Qureshi remained involved in incidents of smuggling during flight duty bringing bad name to the airline.

A brawl took place between the two, attracting attention of the other crew members who supported the pilot.

As a result, the source said, the flight got delayed for three hours, sparking agitation from the passengers who stood up and raised slogans against the PIA management.

The source said the matter was brought to the knowledge of the high-ups who intervened to resolve the issue. The flight later departed at around midnight, the source said. The PIA spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying an inquiry had been launched to ascertain facts.

However, he attributed the flight delay to the late arrival of flight PK-710 from Manchester.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 16, 2018 at 6:25 am

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5 militants killed in fighting with Indian troops in held Kashmir

Government forces killed five rebels during a gunbattle in India-held Kashmir on Saturday, triggering violent anti-India protests in the disputed Himalayan region.

Indian troops laid a siege around a southern village in Qazigund area overnight on a tip that militants were hiding there, police said.

A fierce gunbattle erupted early on Saturday, and hours later, five local Kashmiri rebels were killed.

The slain rebels belonged to the region’s largest rebel group ,Hizbul Mujahideen,, police said.

The fighting sparked anti-India protests and clashes as hundreds of residents tried to march to the site of the battle in solidarity with the militants. Government forces fired warning shots, shotgun pellets and tear gas at the stone-throwing protesters, injuring at least six people.

Most Kashmiris support the rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

In recent years, mainly young Kashmiris have displayed open solidarity with rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations.

Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Islamabad denies.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 15, 2018 at 10:25 am

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Kulsoom Nawaz laid to rest at Jati Umra in Lahore

Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was laid to rest at Jati Umra, the Sharif family residence in Lahore, near the graves of her father-in-law Mian Sharif and brother-in-law Abbas Sharif, on Friday.

Her funeral prayers, led by Maulana Tariq Jameel, were offered at a ground at Sharif Medical City around 5:30pm, after which her body was transported to Jati Umra.

Begum Kulsoom, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in August last year, had passed away in London on September 11.

Maulana Tariq Jameel leads Begum Kulsoom’s funeral prayers.

Thousands of PML-N supporters, well-wishers and politicians gathered to pay their respects to the three-time first lady and offer funeral prayers, which were held in the grounds of Sharif Medical City, adjacent to the Sharif family’s Jati Umra residence.

Security at the ground was high, and barbed wire was used to separate the high-profile attendees from ordinary citizens. Despite these measures, television footage showed politicians being jostled by the crowd as they were led to their places.

A protective human chain was formed around Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Maulana Tariq Jameel once they arrived so that the funeral prayers could be offered.

Nawaz Sharif talks with Maulana Tariq Jameel as he arrives to attend the funeral. —AP

Nawaz Sharif talks with Maulana Tariq Jameel as he arrives to attend the funeral. —AP

Former president Mamnoon Hussain, former law minister Rana Sanaullah, former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Javed Hashmi, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Punjab Housing Minister Mehmoodur Rasheed, former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi, MQM leaders Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Farooq Sattar, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and Saudi officials were among the attendees.

Congregational prayers (Rasm-i-Qul) for Begum Kulsoom will be offered on Sunday between Asr and Maghreb, a spokesperson had said earlier.

Body repatriated

Begum Kulsoom’s casket reached the provincial capital this morning on PIA flight PK-758 from London. Her body was received by members of the Sharif family, including Hamza Shahbaz, and was later transported to Jati Umra via ambulance.

Explore: ,At Sharif home, an outpouring of sympathy,

Hundreds attend Kulsoom Nawaz’s funeral in London

Funeral prayers had previously been offered for Begum Kulsoom at London’s Regent Park mosque on Thursday, where hundreds of people had showed up to pay their respects. The funeral had been arranged since Kulsoom’s sons, Hasan and Hussain, decided against travelling to Pakistan.

Other members of the Sharif family, including Asma, Nawaz and Kulsoom’s daughter, Shahbaz Sharif, and Zikriya Sharif, were in attendance at the funeral in London, alongside others such as former finance minister Ishaq Dar and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar.

Shahbaz Sharif arrives at London's Regent Park mosque for Begum Kulsoom's funeral prayers. — DawnNewsTV

Shahbaz Sharif arrives at London’s Regent Park mosque for Begum Kulsoom’s funeral prayers. — DawnNewsTV

Sources said the family had received a death certificate issued by the private hospital where Begum Kulsoom Nawaz breathed her last on Tuesday, and the “out-of-England” letter from the coroner’s court, paving the way for the departure of her body to Lahore this evening.

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Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Safdar, who were all sentenced to jail by an accountability court weeks before the July 25 polls in the Avenfield property reference, were granted parole by the Punjab government on an application moved by Shahbaz in order to attend Begum Kulsoom’s funeral.

The Punjab Home Department later announced an extension in the short 12-hour parole for an additional five days, from Sept 12 (4pm) to September 17 (4pm). The time does not include the time it takes to travel.

Nawaz oversees funeral arrangements in Lahore

Nawaz offers prayers at Sharif Medical City where he paid a visit on Thursday to oversee arrangements for his late wife's funeral. ? DawnNewsTV

Nawaz offers prayers at Sharif Medical City where he paid a visit on Thursday to oversee arrangements for his late wife’s funeral. ? DawnNewsTV

Also on Thursday, Nawaz Sharif paid a visit to Sharif Medical City to oversee arrangements for his deceased wife’s last rites.

The former prime minister directed that all arrangements for the funeral be complete so that everyone is able to comfortably offer the funeral prayers. “There should not be any kind of issue in Sharif Medical City,” he had said.

He was accompanied on the visit by his son-in-law retired captain Muhammad Safdar, grandson Junaid Safdar, and nephew Salman Shahbaz. During the course of this visit, Nawaz met some PML-N leaders at Sharif Medical City.

Condolences offered for Begum Kulsoom

To condole her demise, PML-N and other political party workers have been visiting the Sharif family residence at Avenfield House in London and Jati Umra in Lahore since Wednesday.

Former Balochistan chief minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri and Rasikh Elahi, son of Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, were prominent among the visitors in London.

PML-N leaders, supporters and well-wishers arrive at Jati Umra to offer their condolences to the Sharifs. ? Online/File

PML-N leaders, supporters and well-wishers arrive at Jati Umra to offer their condolences to the Sharifs. ? Online/File

In Lahore, political leaders and workers including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khurram Dastagir, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Malik Pervaiz, Saad Rafique, Ameer Muqam, Ali Pervaiz, Uzma Bokhari and Rana Mohammad Iqbal visited Jati Umra to offer their condolences.

Regarding reports that Nawaz Sharif did not see the visitors on Wednesday because he was unwell, Marriyum Aurangzeb said: “That was not the case. Mian sahib was shattered and tired but he met relatives. On Thursday, he will meet the political leaders and workers between 4pm and 6pm. Similarly, Maryam Bibi also met relatives.”

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman pays a condolence visit to Nawaz Sharif.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman pays a condolence visit to Nawaz Sharif.

Hamza Shahbaz met those arriving at Jati Umra to condole the death of the former first lady.

Former president Mamnoon Hussain also called on Nawaz on Thursday and offered his condolences to the PML-N quaid.

Former president Mamnoon Hussain also called on Nawaz and offered condolences on the demise of Begum Kulsoom.

Begum Kulsoom, a woman of substance

Begum Kulsoom served as first lady of Pakistan in her husband’s three non-consecutive terms as prime minister from 1990-1993, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017.

Born in 1950 in Lahore to a Kashmiri family, Begum Kulsoom attended Islamia College and graduated from the Forman Christian College in Lahore. She received a Master’s degree in Urdu from Punjab University in 1970.

She married Nawaz Sharif in 1971, and served as the president of the PML-N from 1999 to 2002, after her husband’s government was dismissed by former president Pervez Musharraf, and nearly all the Sharif family’s men were jailed.

Both mother and daughter were also placed under house arrest following Nawaz’s dismissal by Musharraf.

Begum Kulsoom led defiant, lonely protests against the Musharraf regime to get her husband freed from prison.

On July 9, 2000, she slipped through a police cordon that had been placed around her Model Town home the previous night to bar her from leading a protest rally against Gen Pervez Musharraf. Her ‘escape’ led to a car chase that ended when the police finally intercepted the car on Canal Road.

But the former first lady refused to leave the car. She locked it and made it known that she was going nowhere. Eventually, it was an overhead crane summoned to salvage the situation that bodily lifted the car and took it to a police compound nearby. The standoff lasted around 10 hours.

This moment when she sat suspended in midair was the high point in Begum Kulsoom’s short but eventful political career that started soon after Gen Musharraf, with the help of other generals close to him, ousted Nawaz Sharif.

That eventful day in 2000, she created an image of resistance, bringing the PML-N out of the shadow of the establishment.

“There are two chapters of resistance in the history of the PML-N. The second one is this period since Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court in July 2017. But the original one was written under the stewardship of Begum Kulsoom. Until she started challenging the military dictator, this aspect of the party was hidden from public view,” argued a political commentator who wishes to remain anonymous.

“I wonder if it would have been possible to write the second chapter of resistance if she hadn’t written the first,” said the commentator.

But once she had done her job, Begum Kulsoom slowly withdrew from public view. She was nowhere to be seen during Nawaz Sharif’s third term in office even though her assessment of political matters and people was considered flawless in the Sharif household. “She was a typical eastern woman who would do anything to protect her family,” says journalist Suhail Warraich.

She never, however, refused to play a role whenever she was called upon. Over the last 30 years, she had stood by her husband and advised him on various government affairs. Party leaders have also said that she occasionally wrote many of Nawaz’s speeches.

In a 2012 interview with Newsweek, Maryam had said her mother “dauntlessly challenged the usurper when a lot of men backed out… She’s contributed famously to my father’s life and to democracy in Pakistan.”

She is credited with convincing her husband to allow Maryam to enter politics.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm

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Mian Channu youth accuses police of torturing him to extract ‘confession’

A young male resident of Mian Channu, Khanewal, has accused local police of torturing him on the suspicion that he owned weapons illegally, DawnNews TV reported on Wednesday.

The victim, Adnan, said he was taken to the Talamba Police Station on Tuesday, where officials tied him to a charpoy and beat him with sticks and shoes over the night. He said he still bore bruises on his back from the torture.

He claimed that the police had tortured him to force a confession that he owned unlicensed weapons.

Five police constables and an assistant sub-inspector were involved in the torture, Adnan said, adding that the investigation officer seemed to be drunk.

A medical examination report from a private hospital in the area confirmed that Adnan did indeed bore marks of torture on his body. However, police are not issuing a docket that will allow Adnan to get a medical examination from the District Headquarters hospital, as is the procedure in such cases, DawnNews TV reported.

Following Adnan’s allegations, the residents of the area have been protesting against police brutality. Deputy Superintendent of Police Falak Shabbir had said that he does not have enough information about the incident and will investigate.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm

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Death toll from Afghan suicide attack soars to 68, say officials

The death toll from a ,suicide attack on Afghan protesters, has soared to 68, officials said on Wednesday, as violence flares across the country ahead of elections and a key Islamic holy day.

The bombing on Tuesday in the eastern province of Nangarhar was the latest in a wave of deadly insurgent attacks which has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and security forces across Afghanistan.

The blast wounded another 165 people, provincial governor spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said.

The Nangarhar health department confirmed the toll.

Scores of demonstrators had blocked the highway between the provincial capital of Jalalabad and a major Pakistan border crossing in protest over the appointment of a local police chief when the suicide bomber blew himself up.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the massacre, but the militant Islamic State (IS) group, which has carried out most of the recent suicide bombings in Afghanistan, is active in the province.

The dead and wounded were rushed to several hospitals in the back of pickup trucks and ambulances, overwhelming doctors and nurses as they struggled to cope with the huge number of casualties.

Zar Khan, one of the injured, told AFP he saw a young man get out of a car and run towards the protesters shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest).

“Then the explosion happened and I found myself surrounded by blood and flesh,” Khan said from his hospital bed.

It was the deadliest attack since an ambulance packed with explosives detonated in a crowded street in the heart of Kabul in January, killing more than 100 people, mostly civilians. That bombing was claimed by the Taliban.

Violence across the country has intensified in recent weeks as the Taliban make gains on the battlefield and IS launches deadly urban attacks.

It comes as Afghanistan enters a typically violent period of the year: the holy month of Muharram, which began on Tuesday.

Ashura, the most important Shia observance, falls on the 10th day of Muharram and is often marred by deadly attacks.

Peace hopes fading

The fighting has tempered optimism that had been tentatively growing as Afghan and international players ratchet up efforts to convince the Taliban to negotiate an end to the 17-year conflict.

An unprecedented ceasefire in June followed by ,talks between United States officials and Taliban representatives, in Qatar in July raised hopes that peace negotiations could bring an end to the fighting.
There has been speculation the two sides will meet again this month.

The Taliban have long insisted on direct talks with Washington and refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which they see as illegitimate.

The intensified fighting has also fuelled speculation over whether Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary elections will go ahead on October 20.

The country’s stretched security forces will be tasked with protecting thousands of polling stations around the country at a time when they are already struggling to beat back insurgents.

Delivering ballot papers and monitoring the vote, which is seen as a test run for next year’s presidential election, will be challenging, officials have warned.

There are already concerns about widespread fraud.

In recent days, Taliban fighters killed nearly 60 members of the security forces in a spate of attacks in the country’s north and ,threatened a provincial capital, for the second time in as many months.

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Condolences pour in for Kulsoom Nawaz: ‘The woman who stood like a rock in the face of dictatorship’

Politicians tweeted heartfelt condolences as news of ,Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s death, spread on Tuesday.

The official PML-N Twitter account tweeted party president Shahbaz Sharif’s confirmation of the news and prayed for her forgiveness.

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President Arif Alvi also issued a statement, tweeted by the official account of the President of Pakistan, offering support to her family.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his grief over Begum Kulsoom’s death and promised his government’s assistance to the Sharif family in this time of grief.

He also directed the Pakistan High Commission in Britain to facilitate Begum Kulsoom’s family in London in every way possible.

“Sad to learn of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s death,” his account tweeted on Tuesday evening. “She was a courageous woman of great dignity and confronted her disease with fortitude. My condolences and prayers go to the Sharif family.”

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The official account of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the ruling party, also paid respect to the former prime minister’s wife, saying that the party had “massive respect for her”.

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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, in a video message, said Begum Kulsoom was a “brave woman who stood her ground in difficult times”, as he extended “sincere condolences” to PML-N workers and Sharif family.

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PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto paid homage to Begum Kulsoom, calling her a “brave woman” who struggled for democracy.

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India’s Minister of External affairs Sushma Swaraj also expressed grief over the demise of Begum Kulsoom and extended “heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family”.

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PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan also offered his condolences and prayed that God grants her family “enough strength” to cope with her loss.

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Former PML-N minister Khurram Dastagir Khan hailed Begum Kulsoom as a “dissenter against dictatorship” and a “courageous Pakistani”.

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Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari expressed her grief at the news and extended her condolences to the Sharif family, noting that Begum Kulsoom “deserves the nation’s respect”.

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PPP leader Sharmila Faruqi also tweeted prayers that Begum Kulsoom’s family finds the strength to cope with the event.

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MQM leader Syed Ali Raza Abidi hoped that the government would grant “early bail” to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain retired Mohammad Safdar, who are serving sentences in Adiala jail.

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Pak Sarzameen Party founder Mustafa Kamal said he was saddened to hear the news and extended support to Begum Kulsoom’s family.

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National Party leader Hasil Bizenjo prayed that the deceased rests in peace.

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Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also extended his condolences “to the bereaved family on [the] sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz”.

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Chief Justice of Pakistan also expressed “deep sorrow and grief” on Begum Kulsoom’s demise and said that he “prayed to Almighty Allah to shower His blessings upon the departed soul”.

Remembering Begum Kulsoom Nawaz

As news of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s passing spread, friends and acquaintances expressed grief and shared their memories of the three-time first lady and her role in Pakistan’s politics.

Journalist Nusrat Javed

“She played an extraordinary role [during Musharraf's martial law era]. In fact, at that time it felt there was a sole face and singular voice of dissent [Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's].

“In a personal capacity, she was a very loving woman. She used to always step forward in times of need, when for example, news of someone surfaced who was in a critical medical condition and did not have the means to seek treatment. She used to help such people quietly.

“She had a very motherly behaviour not only towards the party members but people in general.”

PML-N lawmaker Ahsan Iqbal

“She was a very loving lady and my association with her was that of a fellow party member as well as a leader. When martial law was enforced and Nawaz Sharif was jailed, she stood bravely in the face of such dire circumstances and carried forward the party’s struggle for democracy. She served as an inspiration for us all.”

Former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair

“She was an outstanding lady and in my opinion, an exemplary one, whatever one’s political views are.

“She supported her husband throughout his political career. And when Nawaz Sharif went to jail, she came out and engaged in a political struggle, even though it was unheard of for a woman in Pakistan to do so at the time.

The few times that I met her, she came across as a good Pakistani housewife; she was educated, articulate and intelligent.”

Journalist Meher Bokhari

“It’s very unfortunate for the children and Mian [Nawaz Sharif] Sahab. Maryam Nawaz would credit [her political standing to] her mother ? her father was not in favour of her entering politics. Her mother said that she [Maryam] was ready.

“She played a crucial role in convincing her husband given how well she [Maryam] had campaigned for the 2013 elections … It was Begum Kulsoom who broke the family’s long-held tradition of not allowing women to foray into politics.”

ANP leader Zahid Khan

“Whenever I met her during talks between leaders, I found her to be a very wise and prudent woman. I never once saw bitterness in her temperament. She was the sole lady to stand up in the face of Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship. Even the male members of the party were not as bold as she. It is not just a loss for the party but for the whole nation.”

Journalist Mujahid Barelvi

“I was recalling the time when I was on the flight during the [Sharifs'] visit to Azerbaijan and Madina. I had the opportunity to join them for breakfast.

With other leaders and their families, I had never known spouses to have that sort of presence. In her case though, I observed her to be a very impressive personality. She used to join in during conversations and even quipped when Nawaz asked ‘Is there no Nihari or paaye for breakfast?’ to say ‘No we have put a stop to all these things’.

It is very unfortunate the way she was consumed all of a sudden by such an illness for a whole year and which caused so much suffering for the family.”

Journalist Iftikhar Shirazi

“There is no doubt that in 1999, when the military coup took place and Nawaz Sharif’s government was dissolved, all the bigwigs of the N-League were not fighting his case (like they should have). In such dire times, Kulsoom Nawaz took matters into her own hands. She took to the streets and held protests the result of which was a secret agreement which then led to Nawaz Sharif and his family living in exile in Europe for 10 years.

“In such stressful times, no other member of the party played such a crucial role, as she did. They all either parted ways or stepped back or changed loyalties, but either way they did not stand with Nawaz Sharif.

“Even now, when he was disqualified and his NA-120 Lahore seat was left vacant and she stood for elections, it was unfortunate that she was unable to appear in the assembly and take oath as a parliamentarian; yet it can be said that she was a member of parliament for more than a year.

“She may not have forayed into politics the way her husband or the Sharifs in general had, but whenever dire circumstances arose, she was with Nawaz Sharif. She served as his advisor as well; whenever she was needed, she never refused to serve the party in any way she could and to bring the family out from all the tough times it went through.”

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Begum Kulsoom Nawaz passes away in London after battle with cancer

Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is survived by her husband, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and their four children. ? DawnNewsTV

Begum Kulsoom Nawaz is survived by her husband, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and their four children. ? DawnNewsTV

Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, passed away in London on Tuesday after a months-long battle with cancer.

She is survived by her husband and four children, Hassan, Hussain, Maryam and Asma.

PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told the Associated Press that arrangements were being made to bring her body back to Pakistan for burial.

Party leader Khawaja Imran Nazeer, speaking to the media in London, said Begum Kulsoom may be laid to rest in the family home at Raiwind, but clarified that all decisions will be finalised only after consultation between family members. He said in case the family decides to bury her in Pakistan, the repatriation process may take two or three days.

Begum Kulsoom, 68, had been placed on life support earlier today as her health began deteriorating, sources at London’s Harley Street Clinic had told ,GeoNews,.

Begum Kulsoom’s health began deteriorating last night as she had developed a lung problem again, Geo had reported.

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The three-time former first lady was ,diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma, in August last year and had been in London since, where she underwent multiple surgeries and at least five chemotherapy sessions.

She had suffered a cardiac arrest and was ,placed on a ventilator, in June this year. Her family reported a ,slight improvement in her condition, on July 12, a day before Nawaz and Maryam were set to return to Pakistan after an accountability court ,sentenced them to jail, in the Avenfield corruption reference.

The former PM and his daughter are both currently ,serving their sentences, in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was ,elected to Lahore’s NA-120 constituency, in a by-poll after her husband was disqualified from the seat by the Supreme Court last year, but left for the United Kingdom before she could begin campaigning for the by-poll.

In her absence, Maryam ,ran her campaign instead,. Due to her illness, Begum Kulsoom was unable to return and formally take oath for the seat.

Begum Kulsoom served as first lady of Pakistan in her husband’s three non-consecutive terms as prime minister from 1990-1993, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017.

Born in 1950 in Lahore to a Kashmiri family, Begum Kulsoom attended Islamia College and graduated from the Forman Christian College in Lahore. She received a Master’s degree in Urdu from Punjab University in 1970.

She married Nawaz Sharif in 1971, and served as the president of the PML-N from 1999 to 2002, after her husband’s government was dismissed by former president Pervez Musharraf, and nearly all the Sharif family’s men were jailed.

Both mother and daughter were also placed under house arrest following Nawaz’s dismissal by Musharraf.

Begum Kulsoom led defiant, lonely protests against the Musharraf regime to get her husband freed from prison.

Over the last 30 years, she had stood by her husband and ,advised him on various government affairs,. Party leaders have also said that she occasionally wrote many of Nawaz’s speeches.

In a 2012 interview with ,Newsweek,, Maryam had said her mother “dauntlessly challenged the usurper when a lot of men backed out… She’s contributed famously to my father’s life and to democracy in Pakistan.”

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Suicide bomber kills 32 in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-filled vest among a group of people protesting a local police commander in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 25 and wounding about 130, a provincial official said.

“Around four hundred people gathered for the protest and the bomber detonated his vest full of explosive among the crowd,” said Captain Qais Saifi, an official at Nangarhar province police headquarters.

Gen Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai, police chief of Nangarhar province, said people from Achin district had come to the Momandara district to block the main highway between the capital Jalalabad and the Torkham border with Pakistan.

Stanikzai said locals had gathered to complain about a local police commander and the suicide bomber targeted them. It was unclear whether the attacker knew the nature of the protest.

Also in Nangarhar, at least one person was killed and four others wounded in a series of additional bomb blasts near different schools, said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Khogyani said the first bomb detonated near a school in the provincial capital Jalalabad. That blast was later followed by two others in Behsud district, also near two schools.

A 14-year-old student was killed and four others wounded in the first attack, he said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar province.

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ECC defers gas tariff rise amid Sindh protest

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar chairs a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet on Monday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar chairs a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet on Monday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: Amid Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s criticism and Sindh’s opposition, the government on Monday stepped back from a ,gas price increase, until a fresh cross-subsidy mechanism is in place and allowed subsidised import of 100,000 tonnes of urea to ensure price stability in the coming Rabi season.

The two politically sensitive economic issues were discussed in detail at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar.

Before the meeting, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah called Mr Umar to convey reservations of his government over the gas price increase, informed sources told Dawn. Mr Shah is reported to have told the federal minister that a decision on gas price adjustment was outside the ECC’s jurisdiction and should be considered, if need be, at the level of Council of Common Interests (CCI) as required under the Constitution.

He said it would be unfair that the price of natural gas to be paid by the provinces was set by the Centre or any of its forums having no provincial representation. He also reported that Sindh’s position on the subject was already on the record of the CCI since the tenure of the previous government. The provincial government would be left with no option but to approach the court with a constitutional petition.

Allows subsidised import of 100,000 tonnes of urea to ensure price stability in Rabi season

The issue came up for discussion at the ECC meeting where the representatives of the petroleum division could not justify why the question of CCI and provincial objections that were part of the record in the previous government were absent from the summary seeking gas price increase.

The meeting also discussed the rationale behind 186 per cent increase proposed for the poorest domestic slab of 100 and 300 cubic metres per month and 30pc for all other consumer categories when such a pattern was never part of the gas pricing in the past. There were some suspicions over the proposal and the meeting felt the need for adjustments in proposed rates.

This also coincided with strong criticism from the opposition PML-N whose president Shahbaz Sharif claimed credit for a gas price freeze over the past four years and accused the new government of double standards.

Therefore, the government decided as part of its new strategy to build public opinion against the N-League’s narrative and weakness of its economic policies but without holding formal news conference to avoid difficult questions from media men. Instead, in a recorded message, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the ECC deferred once again a decision on gas price increase to work out a mechanism for rearrangement of subsidy with approval of the prime minister.

He said the ECC reviewed prevailing economic situation, including the proposed increase in gas and electricity rates necessitated after the departure of PML-N government. The detailed position would be presented before parliament by the finance minister, he said.

Mr Chaudhry said the ECC kept pending the decision on proposed gas price increase for the time being and instead decided to work out and debate a subsidy mechanism in a manner that the poorest of the poor were not overburdened but rich people contributed to the deficit. He said the revised subsidy mechanism would be presented to the prime minister for a final decision on gas price increase.

He claimed that gas companies had no deficit when the PML-N took over in 2013 but in five years the “experienced team” left behind annual deficit of Rs156 billion for the two gas companies. He said the previous government should explain the situation, but claimed that theft of everything increased over the past five years and the gas sector was no exception.

The minister said the ECC decided to import 100,000 tonnes of fertiliser for the Rabi season and provide Rs960 per bag subsidy to the farmers. He said the prevailing market price of urea was around Rs1,615 per 50-kg bag but imported commodity would cost Rs2,575 per bag. The government would provide Rs960 per bag subsidy, he said.

Informed sources said the import of 100,000 tonnes of urea would cost about Rs2bn subsidy even though the commodity would be imported most probably from Saudi Arabia under deferred payment credit. Another Rs3bn subsidy would accrue on account of domestic production by Pak-Arab and Agritech.

Mr Chaudhry said arrangements have also been made to provide gas to domestic fertiliser plants to ensure that fertiliser requirements of the farmer community are fulfilled. He said farmers were the crucial part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s economic policy and the government would not take any decision adversely affecting them. Therefore, despite tough financial position the government would not put an additional burden of imported product on farmers.

The information minister said the ECC also asked all the provincial governments to launch a crackdown against a mammoth increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to end sufferings of the poor people. He said the piped gas was available to only a 40pc population while remaining 60pc still relied on LPG and firewood. He said the LPG price had increased by 70pc over the last few weeks and the government would make sure a mechanism for the LPG price stability.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018

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Govt plans to call joint session of parliament on Thursday

ISLAMABAD: The government plans to convene a joint session of parliament on Thursday for the mandatory address of the president and is seeking cooperation from the opposition parties for conducting the proceedings smoothly.

Besides, the government also has a plan to convene the first regular session of the new National Assembly from Friday in which Fina­nce Minister Asad Umar will present a new finance bill (budget) for the remaining 10 months of the fiscal.

However, the opposition parties have asked the government to constitute a parliamentary commission to probe the charges of rigging in the July 25 general elections before convening the joint sitting, if it wants smooth sailing in the house.

On Monday, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser held a meeting with the parliamentary leaders of the parties, told them about the government’s agenda and sought their cooperation in this regard.

Talking to Dawn after the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed that the opposition had put the condition of formation of a parliamentary commission for ensuring smooth proceedings. He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf would make a decision on the opposition’s demand in a few days after discussing it within the party.

Mr Qureshi said the government wanted to run parliament while maintaining its sanctity and would make every effort to ensure it. However, he added, if the opposition had made up its mind to disrupt the proceedings during the presidential address, it was up to them.

He said that it was the right of the opposition to register its protest on the floor of the parliament, but after registering the protest, they should return to the work for which the people had sent them.

The PTI leader was of the view that by disrupting the parliamentary proceedings through sloganeering or making a fuss, the opposition would itself be making parliament “redundant”.

Mr Qureshi said that at the time of the election of prime minister last month, he had personally requested Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif to end the lengthy protest to allow Prime Minister Imran Khan to make a speech, but the opposition members did not pay any heed.

Speaking at a news conference in Lahore last week, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif had asked Prime Minister Khan to keep his word and constitute a powerful parliamentary commission to probe allegations of rigging in the elections and recommend steps to block rigging attempts in future.

He said that Mr Khan had himself made an unconditional promise with him on the day of prime minister’s election in the National Assembly on Aug 17, but no commission had been notified yet even after the passage of three weeks.

Shahbaz Sharif said that the proposed parliamentary commission should have representation of all political parties in the National Assembly to ensure that a forensic audit of votes was conducted. He said that facts should be presented before the nation through the National Assembly.

The PML-N chief threatened that the opposition alliance would not let the house function if the commission to probe rigging allegations was not constituted.

According to an official handout issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, Speaker Asad Qaiser told the parliamentary leaders that maintaining the sanctity of the parliament and strengthening democracy was collective responsibility of all parties. The people of Pakistan had great expectations from the parliament, he added.

Mr Qaiser said that he would constitute standing and functional committees of the house as early as possible and would follow the past traditions in the process of formation of the committees.

He apprised the participants of the meeting about the government’s proposal to convene a joint sitting f parliament on Sept 13 for the presidential address. On Sept 14, the government wants to convene the regular session of the NA, says the handout.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were: Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, former speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Tanveer of the PML-N, Maulana Asad Mehmood of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and Syed Naveed Qamar and Ghulam Mustafa Shah of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Under Article 56(3) of the Constitution, the president is required to address a joint sitting of parliament at the beginning of the parliamentary year.

It states: “At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the National Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year the President shall address both Houses assembled together.”

It will be the maiden address of President Dr Arif Alvi to the parliament after his election as 13th president of the country on Sept 4. He is expected to face a noisy opposition protest, if the government fails to meet the opposition’s demand of constituting a parliamentary commission.

In the past too, the opposition members had lodged a strong noisy protests during presidential addresses.

The first sitting of the National Assembly after the elections was held on August 13, which will be considered the first day of the parliamentary year of the new assembly every year.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018

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President-elect Arif Alvi to seek immunity in criminal case

ISLAMABAD: President-elect Dr Arif Alvi will seek constitutional immunity in a case related to attacks on Pakistan Television and Parliament House registered against him and other PTI leaders under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) during the 2014 sit-in.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s lawyer Ali Bukhari appeared before the anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday.

After attending the court, he told Dawn that since Dr Alvi had been elected president, he enjoyed constitutional immunity and could not be tried in criminal cases.

He said the matter would be brought into the knowledge of ATC Judge Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi at the next hearing.

Dr Arif along with other PTI leaders faces trial for allegedly attacking PTV building and Parliament House during 2014 sit-in

According to Article 248 (2) of the Constitution, “No criminal proceeding whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any court during term of office.”

Police invoked the ATA against PTI chief Imran Khan and its leaders Dr Alvi, Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood and Raja Khurram Nawaz for inciting violence during the 2014 sit-in.

As per the prosecution, three people were killed and 26 injured, while 60 were arrested. The prosecution had submitted 65 photos, sticks, cutters, etc, to the court to establish its case.

The prosecution said the protest was not peaceful and the PTI leaders sought bail after three years. On Aug 31, 2014, PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers marched towards the Parliament House and Prime Minister House and clashed with police deployed at the Constitution Avenue.

Around 50 protesters, allegedly from the PTI and PAT, attacked and injured SSP Asmatullah Junejo the next day. Initially, police arrested six people who were allegedly involved in the attack.

In addition to the unidentified attackers, police had also nominated Imran Khan and PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri as accused in the case. The ATC declared them proclaimed offenders in November 2014 as they did not appear before court despite issuance of summons and arrest warrants.

In July last year, the ATC declared them absconders and started the process of confiscating their movable and immovable properties. In May this year, the ATC acquitted Mr Khan in the SSP torture case.

In the case related to attacks on the Parliament House and PTV building, the court is yet to issue proclamation against the accused persons for their absence.

The PTI leaders, including Mr Khan, remained absconders in these cases and surrendered in October last year.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018

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Opposition in desperate bid to field joint presidential candidate

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Sunday made an appeal to the Pakistan Peoples Party leadership to withdraw its presidential candidate Aitzaz Ahsan in favour of the ‘joint’ opposition nominee Maulana Fazlur Rehman while, sources say, some PPP leaders may try to meet Nawaz Sharif to discuss the matter when he arrives to attend the hearing of NAB references against him in an accountability court in Islamabad on Monday (today).

Maulana Fazl called on PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif at the latter’s Model Town residence here and reportedly asked him to help persuade the PPP leadership to withdraw its candidate in his favour. “Not withdrawing Mr Ahsan means giving a walkover to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate Dr Arif Alvi like the PPP did in the election of prime minister,” the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief said.

The PPP also believes the ,PTI would benefit, if there were two opposition candidates. “We need to show maturity. Asif Ali Zardari is hopeful that Mr Ahsan will be the joint candidate of the opposition at the end of the day,” a PPP leader told reporters.

He told Dawn that there were chances that the PML-N and PPP leaders might meet to evolve a consensus on a joint opposition candidate. “Both sides — the PML-N and PPP — have not yet lost hope on reaching a consensus,” he said, adding that the PML-N was a bit disappointed that the PPP did not agree on the name of Maulana Fazl.

PML-N asks PPP to withdraw Aitzaz; PPP leaders may try to meet Nawaz today

“The Sharif brothers were of the view that since Maulana Fazl enjoyed good relations with the PPP leadership, Mr Zardari would support him for the presidential election. But Mr Zardari seems to have his own political cards to play, giving a surprise to the opposition,” he said.

After the meeting with Shahbaz Sharif, Maulana Fazl told reporters that he thanked the PML-N leadership for reposing trust in him and nominating him as a joint candidate of the opposition (except the PPP). “We — the PML-N and 10 other parties — will jointly contest this election. We will try our best to persuade the PPP leadership to withdraw its candidate in favour of the joint opposition candidate (Maulana Fazl),” he said.

Interestingly, Shahbaz Sharif did not accompany Maulana Fazl during his media talk, instead sent his son Hamza Shahbaz and PML-N hawk Khawaja Saad Rafique for the purpose.

Explaining why he could not withdraw in favour of the PPP candidate, the JUI-F chief said: “It is difficult for us — PML-N, five parties of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and five other parties — to withdraw our candidate. Instead it is quite easy for the PPP to withdraw its candidate.”

Reminding the PPP of its earlier ‘rigid’ stance during the election of the prime minister and Punjab chief minister, he said: “PPP benefited the PTI candidates in the election of the prime minister and chief minister by abstaining from voting. This attitude is not even good for PPP’s politics. I ask the PPP leadership to only consider me as a joint candidate for the slot of president because it is the only way to keep the opposition intact.”

Maulana Fazl said he was considered a solution to the opposition’s problem in the presidential poll. “All opposition parties have seen a solution to this problem (joint candidate of opposition) in me. The PPP should also realise that when it comes to protest, torture, and going to jail, I am acceptable to the PPP, but when it comes to the presidential election, I am not acceptable to it… that should not happen. I ask the PPP to accept me as a joint candidate as a lot depends in this decision on the future of the joint opposition,” he said and warned that the opposition might remain in disarray if it did not have a consensus candidate.

Hamza Shahbaz said: “Fazlur Rehman is the joint candidate of opposition and we will try to take other parties, including PPP, on board.”

Saad Rafique said if the opposition remained divided on a consensus candidate, Asif Zardari and the PPP would be responsible for this. “The PPP should not do what it had done in the election of the prime minister. We appeal to the PPP to withdraw its candidate in favour of Maulana Fazlur Rehman as he has a long political struggle,” he said.

Punjab PPP president Qamar Zaman Kaira told a press conference here on Sunday: “We’d tried to meet Nawaz Sharif in Adiala jail as per desire of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif to [formally] seek his support for Aitzaz Ahsan as opposition’s joint candidate in the presidential vote but could not for reasons that might not be disclosed right now.”

Mr Kaira, former opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, Chaudhry Manzoor, MPA Hasan Murtaza and other PPP leaders were accompanying Aitzaz Ahsan during his visit to the Punjab capital for his electioneering.

Ruling alliance’s nominee Arif Alvi had already visited Lahore on Friday and Saturday with regard to his election campaign.

A PML-N leader claims that the PPP leaders are ready to meet Nawaz Sharif in the accountability court on Monday (today) if the N-League requires so and the JUI-F chief withdraws from the presidential contest.

Mr Kaira held the media responsible for “speculating” Mr Ahsan as the PPP nominee, leading to a rift among opposition parties on the joint candidate issue.

“In our internal consultations, we’ve in fact suggested and not declared Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan as our candidate like other [opposition] parties prepared their own suggestions. But a TV channel through its tickers began presenting him as our final selection and the impression is refusing to go notwithstanding our repeated denials,” he regretted.

In reply to a question about PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid’s statement that Mr Ahsan should seek forgiveness from the Sharifs for his outburst against them, Mr Kaira said the PPP didn’t commit the sins requiring forgiveness and that if the trend was set then each and every party would have to seek forgiveness from the PPP for their statements and actions against its leadership in the past. He said the N-League too had distanced itself from Mr Rashid’s ‘dictatorial’ remarks.

Mr Kaira said he didn’t believe the PML-N leadership would resort to quid pro quo in the presidential poll for the PPP had not voted for Shahbaz Sharif in the prime ministerial election. He told a questioner that there existed no opposition alliance and the agreement among the opposition parties was on jointly working on the one point — exposing rigging in the July 25 elections.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018

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