Posts Tagged ‘Quetta’

Ashura being observed today amid tight security

QUETTA: Frontier Corps personnel seal a shop in a market on Muharram procession route here on Thursday.—PPI

QUETTA: Frontier Corps personnel seal a shop in a market on Muharram procession route here on Thursday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: Ashura will be observed on Friday with solemnity to pay homage to Imam Hussain and other martyrs of Karbala amid strict security to protect mourners from any terrorist attack across the country.

Apart from the security measures, local administrations, all over the country, have placed hospitals and ambulance services on high alert. Moreover, the governments of the four provinces, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan have taken adequate measures to ensure security on the day.

As there will be no Ashura procession in the federal capital, police and administration of Islamabad will cooperate with the Rawalpindi administration to carry out checks at all entry points between the twin cities.

However, extraordinary security arrangements have been made in Rawalpindi considering the past incident at Raja Bazaar as Ashura has coincided with Friday.

In 2013, authorities had to impose a curfew in parts of Rawalpindi after sectarian clashes erupted during a Muharram 10 (on Friday) procession near Fawara Chowk, that left at least eight people dead and dozens injured.

The security has remained a matter of concern for over a decade because of a number of incidents of suicide attacks and sectarian violence.

Apart from police, Ran­gers and Frontier Corps personnel have been deployed in many cities on the routes of Ashura processions, while the army is also kept standby and can be called in case of an emergency.

Pillion-riding has been banned in many cities across the country. Although a blanket blackout of cellular service across the country is not under consideration on 10th Muharram, citizens can face partial suspension of the service in different cities due to security reasons, said sources in cellular companies.

Police have already conducted a survey of procession routes across the country and sealed all shops, houses and buildings on the routes after a thorough check by bomb disposal squads.

On Thursday, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi reviewed the security arrangements of main procession in Sector G-6 Islamabad. He said no compromise or sluggishness would be tolerated over such arrangements as it is prime responsibility of the government to ensure protection to the lives and property of the citizens.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2018

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Muharram 9 observed across Pakistan amid tight security

The 9th of Muharram was observed on Thursday amid stringent security arrangements across Pakistan and with due solemnity and sanctity to pay homage to the sacrifices of Imam Husain and his companions in Karbala.

Cities across the nation echoed with nohas, marsiayas and mourning in various majalis and processions.

Ulema and zakireen shed light on the teachings of Imam Husain and his great companions.

Pakistani security personnel patrol in Karachi. —AFP

Pakistani security personnel patrol in Karachi. —AFP

In the federal capital, 2,586 policemen, Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary men were deployed to ensure security for 17 processions.

In Lahore, as many as eight DSPs, 19 SHOs, and more than 2,000 policemen under the supervision of two SPs were performing duties to protect the processions of 9th Muharram-ul-Haram.

Mourning procession with Zuljana passing through a road in Quetta. —APP

Mourning procession with Zuljana passing through a road in Quetta. —APP

In Karachi, the traditionally significant areas in connection with Muharrum related activities remained Karbala Gamey Shah, Bibi Pak Daman, Shadman Colony, Model Town, the inside Mochi Gate, Chowk Nawab Sahib, Nisar Havaili, Bhati Gate’s Mubarak Havaili, Pando Street (Islampura), Minhajul Hussain, Niaz Beg village, Khaima Sadaat near Jain Mandir, Bhaekeywal Morr in Iqbal Town, Batapur, Samanabad, Sadar, among many other places of the provincial metropolis.

The main mourning procession of Muharram 9, amidst extra-ordinary security arrangements, emerged from Nishter Park.

Scouts posted along procession route in Karachi. —APP

Scouts posted along procession route in Karachi. —APP

Law enforcers including police and Rangers along with scouts were deployed all along the route of the main procession, which culminated at Hussainiya Irania Imambargah at Kharadar.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including welfare organisations set up sabeels (stalls for refreshment drinks and snacks) and stalls of emergency medical aid facility as per tradition on the route of the procession.

Various small mourning processions taken out from different parts of the metropolis also merged into the main procession.

Cellular phone services remained suspended in sensitive areas and pillion riding was declared completely banned in all areas of the city.

Procession participants in Karachi touch the Zuljana, a symbolisation of the horse used by Imam Husain in the Karbala battle. —AFP

Procession participants in Karachi touch the Zuljana, a symbolisation of the horse used by Imam Husain in the Karbala battle. —AFP

All link roads and lanes leading to the route of main procession had been blocked with the help of containers and heavy vehicles to stop unwanted entries.

The traffic police had given an alternate route plan for the public to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the roads of the port city.

Elaborate security arrangements were made for the maintenance of law and order and to provide security to the mourning processions. Walk through gates, snipers and thousands of police officers were deployed along the procession route.

The district municipal corporations have taken necessary steps to provide civic facilities like cleaning of sewerage lines, repair of roads and lighting arrangements on the routes of procession to facilitate the mourners.

Control rooms were set up while CCTV cameras were also placed to avoid any untoward incident.

Youm-e-Ashur, the 10th of Muharram, will be observed with reverence and religious solemnity in the country on Friday.

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3 Levies personnel martyred in Pishin blast

At least three Levies personnel were martyred and two injured in a blast near the assistant commissioner Barshore’s car in Balochistan’s Pishin area on Friday, according to Additional Deputy Commissioner Pishin Waqar Khursheed Alam.

The martyred personnel were identified as Asmatullah Abdul Baqi and Jafar Khan. The AC, Amir Zaman Kakar, was not in the vehicle at the time of the attack.

The wounded were shifted to Quetta’s Civil Hospital for medical treatment where an emergency had been imposed to treat the injured.

A heavy contingent of Levies forces reached the site of the Pishin Bypass area where the attack took place, and police and members of the Bomb Disposal Squad looked into the nature of the blast.

Additional Deputy-commissioner Pishin Waqar Khursheed Alam told DawnNewsTV that the initial investigation revealed that it was a planted bomb. It was discovered that 5-6 kilograms of explosive materials were used in the bomb.

Provincial Home Minister Saleem Khosa condemned the blast and directed authorities to immediately submit a report on the incident and ensure the wounded received treatment.

“Terrorists will be dealt with with an iron first,” Khosa warned.

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Sudden heavy rain turns Lahore streets into rivulets, affects flights

LAHORE: A cloudburst in downtown Lahore at a time when monsoon has started its early retreat turned streets into rivulets, disrupted power supply and flight operation at the airport on Sunday.

The sudden rain was brief but heavy. It inundated roads and rainwater entered houses in some low- lying localities.

Rain that started soon after dark clouds covered the city affected traffic on The Mall, Jail Road, at Laxmi Chowk, Gulberg, Shadman, Samanabad and Gulshan-i-Ravi.

Several cars and motorcycles broke down on the submerged roads, causing a great deal of inconvenience to the people.

Below normal rains likely in KP, Balochistan, central and lower Punjab and Sindh; drought-like conditions to persist in Tharparkar

The Met department re­­corded 80 millimetres of rainfall at the airport and 68mm at Paniwala Talab inside the Walled City. It recorded 63mm rainfall in Shad­man, 55mm at Laxmi Chowk and 58mm in Wasanpura.

As usual, rain disrupted power supply to a number of localities. According to the Lahore Electric Supply Company, 89 feeders tripped during the rain. However, some of them were restored till the filing of this report on Sunday evening.

Officials at the Lahore airport reported disruption of flight operations due to the downpour and strong winds. About 20 domestic and foreign flights were reportedly affected.

The Met department also reported rain at isolated places in Faisalabad, Rawal­­pindi and Gujranwala divisions as well as in Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. It recorded 25mm of rain in Okara, 22mm in Muree, 9mm in Faisalabad, 2mm in Kasur, 6mm in Garhi Dupatta and 3mm in Bunji.

The Met department has, in the meantime, said that the monsoon air mass is retreating from Pakistan, allowing western disturbances to gradually penetrate southern latitude during the next two to three months.

It says the monsoon weather system will gradually diminish during the first fortnight of the current month.

Rains will be scanty and remain slightly below normal in central and lower Punjab, Khyber Pakhtun­khwa, Balochis­tan and Sindh. However, moderate-to-severe drought-like conditions are expected in lower Balochistan and Tharparkar, Sindh.

The mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan and upper KP may receive normal precipitation during the period, while snowfall is expected at higher elevation next month.

Due to gradual fall in temperature, snow and glacier melt contribution to the Indus River will be minimal during the period.

The Met Office says Mangla reservoir could not be filled to its full capacity due to less rains this season.

The Met department’s record shows that the country recorded seven per cent above normal rainfall in May and June. But it was 30.4pc less than its normal range in July and August.

The below-normal rainfall has caused drought-like conditions over most of the southern parts of Pakistan. Moderate to severe drought is prevailing in most parts of Sindh (Tharparkar, Matiari, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Dadu, Karachi, Umerkot, Sanghar, Sujawal, Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamshoro and Khairpur) and Balochistan (Dalbandin, Gwadar, Ji­­wani, Panjgur, Pasni, No­­kundi, Ormara, Quetta and Turbat), and mild to moderate drought conditions at a few places of south Punjab (Multan and Mianwali) and Gilgit-Baltistan (Bunji, Chilas, Gilgit and Gupis). Drought conditions may become severe in the coming days, especially in southern parts of the country.

Dry conditions will cause water stress in the cultivated land/areas during the Kharif sowing season. Tarbela Dam has been filled but Mangla is almost half empty. There­fore, the authorities concerned should be ready to meet the situation, according to Met department.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2018

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Jam Kamal vows to dedicate new Balochistan CM houses for public use

,Newly elected Balochistan chief minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, has vowed to use the two CM houses in Quetta and Hanna Orak for public purpose instead of using it himself.

In an interview with DawnNewsTV, Jam Kamal said: “A second 16-room CM house is being constructed behind the current CM house at a cost of Rs650 million. Then another is being built in Hanna Orak at a cost of Rs460m. There was no need for such big houses.

“More than a billion rupees were spent on their constructions. We will use it for the benefit of the people.”

He identified “governance” as the biggest problem of Balochistan. “Capable people were ignored [but we] are now investigating people involved in corruption and removing them from important positions.”

The Balochistan CM said he would fix the education and health sectors of the province by the way of meritocracy. “Where there are students, there are no schools, and where there are both, the teachers are absent,” he said. “In the education department there will be 10,000 appointments on merit.

“There are no [decent] hospitals in Balochistan either. We are working to resolve this. We will fulfill the needs of our doctors so they could perform their duties.”

‘Will address real issues’

Jam Kamal said that instead of having dialogues with estranged leaders “who use Balochistan’s lack of progress for political gains”, he would instead use his term to address the real issues.

“Those who have done politics on the basis of Balochistan’s deprivations have done nothing practical,” he said. “Dr Malik and Sanaullah Zehri wasted their time in having dialogues with such people. Instead of doing the same, we will address the real issues of Balochistan.”

The CM said that if he would talk with estranged leaders, then he would so “with only those who acknowledge Pakistan and its Constitution. We will not talk to people working on external agendas.”

However, he said that dialogue is the way to go in Pakistan’s legal battle with Chilean mining company Antofagasta plc over the ,Reko Diq mining lease disagreement,.

“If we lose the case and are handed a fine of $10 billion then it would be difficult for the federal and Balochistan governments to pay it,” he said. “The Balochistan govt has already paid Rs350m to lawyers for this case. We will try and resolve the matter through negotiations.”

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Jam Kamal vows to dedicate new Balochistan CM houses for public use

,Newly elected Balochistan chief minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, has vowed to use the two CM houses in Quetta and Hanna Orak for public purpose instead of using it himself.

In an interview with DawnNewsTV, Jam Kamal said: “A second 16-room CM house is being constructed behind the current CM house at a cost of Rs650 million. Then another is being built in Hanna Orak at a cost of Rs460m. There was no need for such big houses.

“More than a billion rupees were spent on their constructions. We will use it for the benefit of the people.”

He identified “governance” as the biggest problem of Balochistan. “Capable people were ignored [but we] are now investigating people involved in corruption and removing them from important positions.”

The Balochistan CM said he would fix the education and health sectors of the province by the way of meritocracy. “Where there are students, there are no schools, and where there are both, the teachers are absent,” he said. “In the education department there will be 10,000 appointments on merit.

“There are no [decent] hospitals in Balochistan either. We are working to resolve this. We will fulfill the needs of our doctors so they could perform their duties.”

‘Will address real issues’

Jam Kamal said that instead of having dialogues with estranged leaders “who use Balochistan’s lack of progress for political gains”, he would instead use his term to address the real issues.

“Those who have done politics on the basis of Balochistan’s deprivations have done nothing practical,” he said. “Dr Malik and Sanaullah Zehri wasted their time in having dialogues with such people. Instead of doing the same, we will address the real issues of Balochistan.”

The CM said that if he would talk with estranged leaders, then he would so “with only those who acknowledge Pakistan and its Constitution. We will not talk to people working on external agendas.”

However, he said that dialogue is the way to go in Pakistan’s legal battle with Chilean mining company Antofagasta plc over the ,Reko Diq mining lease disagreement,.

“If we lose the case and are handed a fine of $10 billion then it would be difficult for the federal and Balochistan governments to pay it,” he said. “The Balochistan govt has already paid Rs350m to lawyers for this case. We will try and resolve the matter through negotiations.”

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10-member Balochistan cabinet sworn in

QUETTA: A 10-member cabinet of the six-party Balochistan coalition government headed by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani took the oath on Monday.

Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai administrated the oath to the ministers at a ceremony attended by CM Alyani, Chief Secretary Dr Nazeer Ahmed, MPAs and senior officials at Governor House.

Eight out of the 10 new ministers belong to the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), one each to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Awami National Party (ANP).

The ministers include Mohammad Saleh Bhootani, Mir Mohammad Arif Mohammad Hasni, Sarfaraz Chakar Domki, Tariq Khan Magsi, Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, Mir Ziaullah Langove, Saleem Ahmed Khosa and Noor Mohammad Domar (BAP), Mir Nasibullah Khan Marri (PTI) and Engineer Zamarak Khan Piralizai (ANP).

Four ministers, four advisers may be named later

Saleh Bhootani is former caretaker chief minister and the senior most parliamentarian. He has been elected to the Balochistan Assembly eight times since 1985.

Mir Ziaullah Langove, Mir Mohammad Arif Mohammad Hasni, Mir Nasibullah Marri and Noor Mohammad Domar reached the provincial assembly for the first time.

Metha Khan Kakar has joined the cabinet as the chief minister’s adviser with the status of a minister. Mr Kakar was elected from Zhob as an independent candidate by defeating Jaffar Khan Mandokhel of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, who had been elected an MPA for seven times from the same constituency.

According to the Constitution, the Balochistan cabinet, including the chief minister, can consist of 15 ministers in a house of 65 members. Five advisers could also be appointed.

Yar Mohammad Rind, PTI’s provincial head, did not take the oath as minister on Monday. Sources said that four ministers and four advisers would be inducted into the cabinet later.

Sources said the chief minister was facing difficulties in selecting his cabinet as coalition partners, including his own party members, were demanding ministries. The portfolios of ministers and adviser would be announced later

While welcoming his cabinet colleagues after the oath-taking ceremony, Chief Minister Alyani expressed the hope that they would make the vision of development successful.

He said the masses had high hopes with the new government and cabinet members had to make all-out efforts to come up to their expectations. The ministers would have to focus all their energies on the development of the province, he added.

Mr Alyani said that the cabinet would have to work as a team to meet the challenges faced by the country

He said: “Problems in Balochistan are many, while the resources are limited, so the members should adopt simplicity.” He said the first meeting of the cabinet would be held on Tuesday.

In light of the Supreme Court’s order, the cabinet was now empowered to take decisions on all the provincial matters, he added.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018

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Karateka Nargis fetches second bronze for Pakistan in Asiad

JAKARTA: Pakistan won their second medal in the 18th Asian Games here on Saturday as martial artist Nargis beat Nepal’s Rita Karki 3-1 in the women’s +68kg kumite karate competition to win a bronze medal.

Nargis became the country’s first female karate player to win a medal at the Asiad. The 19-year-old, who hails from Hazara town in Quetta, has been the national karate champion for the past five years.

In 2017, she won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the South Asian Karate Champ­ion­ships held in Sri Lanka.

Speaking to media here after winning the bronze, a delighted Nargis said: “I was confident of winning a medal for my country in the Asian Games and God has given me the fruit of my hardwork today.”

She attributed her success to her father Hameedullah and her coaches Ghulam Ali and Shah Mohammad Shan, both SAF Games gold medallists in karate.

Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president retired Lt Gen Arif Hasan and secretary Khalid Mahmood congratulated Nargis for her brilliant fighting qualities that fetched her the bronze.

Pakistan are currently placed at No. 30 on the medals table with two bronze medals to their credit. The first bronze was won by the men’s kabaddi team which lost to South Korea at the semi-final stage on Friday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan hockey team will face Malaysia in a key clash here on Sunday. The match will start at 6:00pm (PST).

Pakistan have remained unbeaten in the 18th Asian Games here so far, having scored three big wins against Thailand, Oman and Kazakhstan in successive games.

Pakistan captain Mohammad Rizwan Sr sounded optimistic about his team’s morale and preparation for the matches ahead. “We have not conceded a single goal in the Asiad so far, which is no mean feat, and we are confident of doing well against Malaysia on Sunday,” he said.

“The morale of the players and our preparation for the matches is very good and under Dutch coach (Roelant) Oltmans we are training hard.”

In other competitions, shooter Usman Chand finished top by scoring 75 points in the skeet men’s qualifying rounds. Abdul Sattar Sattee finished at 24th after scoring 65 points.

In rapidfire pistol, Mohammad Khalil finished at 8th spot after securing 577 points while Ghulam Mustafa Bashir with 869 points finished at 12th position.

In bantamweight 56kg boxing, Pakistan’s Naqeebullah beat a UAE boxer 3-0 but Pakistan’s female boxer Rukhsana Parveen lost to an Indian boxer in the 60kg contest.

In individual golf, Pakistan’s Taimur Khan ended up at 7th spot while Ahmed Baig was 14th.

In the badminton doubles contest, Pakistan’s pair of Rizwan Azam and Kashif Ali lost 0-2 to Sri Lanka.

In sailing, Pakistan’s Najeebullah finished 11th after five races in the Standard Laser Class. Raja Qasim Abbas, competing in the windsurfing RSX race, finished 7th while the duo of Khalid Hussain and Rehmanullah finshed 9th in the 470 Class races.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2018

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PTI-led govt distances itself from Balochistan governor ‘nominee’ Dr Ameer Jogezai

The Prime Minister Office in a statement issued on Sunday clarified that Dr Ameer Muhammad Khan Jogezai has not been appointed as the next governor of Balochistan and that his name for the post was merely “a recommendation”.

There is no truth in the news reports about the appointment of new Balochistan governor, read the statement, adding that Jogezai’s name was “a recommendation and not a final decision”.

A day earlier, ,hours after his nomination by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, as the next governor of Balochistan, Dr Jogezai had declined to accept the gubernatorial office after media highlighted reports about his alleged involvement in a 2015 corruption inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau.

“There is no [truth in] reference or inquiry or an FIR against me in NAB,” he had insisted, adding that he had decided to not accept the offer for the sake of his as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s honour.

However, in a phone-in interview with Geo News, Dr Jogezai said that he was going ahead to “accept the PTI’s governor offer”.

A government spokesperson, in the statement on Sunday, said that based on “certain evidences” that have emerged relating to Dr Jogezai, there has been no progress on his “recommendation”. He, however, did not elaborate as to what “evidence” had stalled Dr Jogezai’s prospects.

In January 2015, the executive board of ,NAB had ordered an inquiry against him,, Mumtaz Ali Khan, former secretary of the Workers Welfare Board, Balochistan, and others for their ,alleged involvement in embezzlement, in the procurement of medical equipment and misappropriation of funds released for the Kidney Centre that caused a loss of Rs61 million to the exchequer.

A paediatrician by profession, Dr Jogezai remained the chief executive of Kidney Centre, Quetta, from January 2006 till July 31, 2015.

Following the formation of its government at the Centre, the PTI had announced that it would replace all the four governors.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also chairman of the PTI, has nominated Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar as governor of Punjab, and Imran Ismail and Shah Farman as governors of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, respectively.

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Jogezai accepts govt offer to be Balochistan governor after declining it

ISLAMABAD: Hours after his nomination by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government as the next governor of Balochistan on Saturday, Dr Ameer Muhammad Khan Jogezai declined to accept the gubernatorial office, apparently after media highlighted reports about his alleged involvement in a 2015 corruption inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau.

In a late-night video statement, Dr Jogezai said he had decided to not accept the offer for the sake of his as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s honour. “There is no [truth in] reference or inquiry or an FIR against me in NAB,” he insisted.

And in yet another somersault, Dr Jogezai told Geo News in a phone-in interview that he was going ahead to accept the PTI governor offer.

A paediatrician by profession, Dr Jogezai remained the chief executive of Kidney Centre, Quetta, from January 2006 till July 31, 2015.

In January 2015, the executive board of NAB had ordered an inquiry against him, Mumtaz Ali Khan, former secretary of the Workers Welfare Board, Balochistan, and others for their alleged involvement in embezzlement in the procurement of medical equipment and misappropriation of funds released for the Kidney Centre that caused a loss of Rs61 million to the exchequer.

In his statement, Dr Jogezai thanked PM Khan and the Balochistan Awami Party for nominating him as governor.

“I am sitting here with peace until NAB completes its inquiry,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, the PTI announced that Dr Jogezai would be the next governor of Balochistan.

He was supposed to replace incumbent Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai who is a brother of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai.

Following the formation of its government at the Centre, the PTI had announced that it would replace all the four governors.

Before approving of Dr Jogezai’s name, PM Khan, who is also chairman of the PTI, had nominated Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar as governor of Punjab and Imran Ismail and Shah Farman as governors of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, respectively.

Dr Jogezai obtained his medical degree from the Bolan Medical College in 1982 and started his career as a paediatrician in the Civil Hospital Quetta and soon became the head of the paediatric department.

He is currently the president of a non-governmental organisation, HELP Balochistan (the health education and livelihood promoter).

Though he belongs to a political family which played an important role in the Pakistan Movement, he was not interested in politics and had paid full attention to his profession. His father Sardar Baz Muhammad Khan Jogezai was a leader of the All India Muslim League.

Dr Jogezai’s elder brother, Sardar Gul Muhammad Jogezai, was associated with the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League. In 1991, Nawaz Sharif after becoming prime minister for the first time, had appointed the elder Jogezai as the governor of Balochistan.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Muhammad Qasim Suri — a PTI MNA elected from Balochistan — met Dr Jogezai at Balochistan House and congratulated him on his nomination.

The two expressed their confidence in Mr Khan’s leadership and vowed to work jointly for progress and prosperity of the province and welfare of the people of Balochistan.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2018

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PTI nominates Dr Ameer Muhammad Khan Jogezai as Governor of Balochistan

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) finalised the name of Dr Ameer Muhammad Khan Jogezai as the Governor of Balochistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan formally sanctioned his name following a party meeting on Saturday, DawnNewsTV reported.

Dr Ameer Jogezai is a paediatrician by profession, said to have more than 30 years experience in the field of paediatric medicine. He has also served as the Registrar in Bolan Medical College, Quetta.

It is pertinent to mention that in 2015 the National Accountability Bureau ,initiated an inquiry against Dr Ameer Jogezai,, the then the chief executive officer of Kidney Centre, Quetta.

The accountability watchdog had said that Jogezai was allegedly ,involved in embezzlement, in the procurement of medical equipment and misappropriation of funds released for the Kidney Centre that caused a loss of Rs61 million to the national exchequer. According to DawnNewsTV, the inquiry is still underway.

Dr Ameer Jogezai’s elder brother Sardar Gul Mohammad Khan Jogezai has also served as the Balochistan governor from 1991 to 1994.

Following the July 25 general elections, a six-party alliance comprising Balochistan Awami Party, Awami National Party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Hazara Democratic Party, Balochistan National Party-Awami and Jamhoori Watan Party formed the government in Balochistan.

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

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Govt bans discretionary funds of president, PM and ministers

In what Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry described as “a historic decision”, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet on Friday decided to ban the use of discretionary funds of the president, premier and MNAs in view of the new government’s austerity drive.

Chaudhry, who held a press conference after a cabinet meeting, claimed that the previous government had used Rs51 billion in discretionary funds in the last year alone, of which Rs21bn was used by former PM Nawaz Sharif, while Rs30bn was given to MNAs to spend.

Chaudhry, while observing how Sharif would announce development projects during public gatherings, especially around the time the Panama Papers were released, described the act of spending money impulsively as “contempt of taxpayers’ money”.

He added that before any infrastructural project is announced, it would be discussed in Parliament and then expenditure would be made.

Chaudhry also said that it had been decided that PM Khan would not use the special plane provided to premiers for foreign visits, nor would he travel first class.

Instead he will choose to travel in “club class”, Chaudhry said, referring to a class of air travel that is below first class, but higher than economy class. He added that all ministers would also travel in club class.

Along with the prime minister, the president, foreign minister, the Senate chairman and national assembly speaker will no longer have the prerogative of flying first class, he added.

When asked by a reporter if these measures apply to the chief justice of Pakistan as well, the information minister replied: “Yes, the chief justice has also been requested to do the same”.

Working timings for govt employees

Referring to a summary regarding a possible new work week and timings for government employees that was discussed during the cabinet meeting, Chaudhry announced that government employees will now work from 9am-5pm instead of 8am-3pm.

He added that Saturday would remain a holiday, quelling earlier fears that people might have to work six days a week.

Audit of mass transit projects

Chaudhry announced that the cabinet had also decided that a forensic audit of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mass transit systems must be conducted.

“A forensic audit of the projects is to be carried out and, if necessary, the Federal Investigation Agency can then carry out an investigation,” he added.

Additionally, the cabinet has also approved urban tree plantation plans for Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar, for which the environment minister will provide details next month, he said.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - August 24, 2018 at 6:25 pm

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Citing threats to life, Musharraf seeks presidential security to appear before court in treason case

A two-member special court bench took up the high treason case against former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf on Monday.

Musharraf’s attorney, Akhtar Shah, told the bench that his client wants to appear before the court in the high treason case but wants assurances that he would be given presidential security.

Musharraf is facing the high treason case for suspending the Constitution on Nov 3, 2007 — an offence for which he was indicted by the special court on March 31, 2014. That same year, the state prosecution laid down all its evidence but the progress in the case still slowed down due to the former military ruler having filed multiple petitions against his trial at the appellate forum.

In March 2016, he ,left the country, for Dubai to “seek medical treatment” and hasn’t returned since.

During Monday’s hearing, Shah told the Justice Yawar Ali-led two-member bench of the special court that his client would return and “appear before the court if he is given presidential level security by the defence ministry”.

“Musharraf’s life is in danger,” he added. “There were two attempts on his life: once in the Islamabad court and the other in Quetta during the Akbar Bugti case hearing.”

At this, Justice Nazar Akbar said: “There is a non-bailable warrant out against Musharraf, so to provide him security is the government’s responsibility.”

Regarding the federal government’s request to wrap up the case quickly, Justice Yawar observed: “It is necessary to record Musharraf’s [under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code] statement.”

The prosecution reminded the court that Musharraf has failed to appear before the court despite repeated summons.

At this, Justice Yawar noted: “What we have to see is that whether a trial can be held in Musharraf’s absence. And the question is that can the absconder’s counsel appear in the court.”

In July 2018, the case had suffered a blow when head of the prosecution Mohammad Akram Sheikh, whom the PML-N government had appointed, ,tendered his resignation, citing an “imminent change of government at the Centre”.

The court today expressed its displeasure at Sheikh’s behaviour, with Justice Yawar saying: “If Akram Sheikh wanted to leave the case, then why didn’t he submit an application? He is a senior lawyer; he should have known better.”

The court adjourned the case until August 27 and said that it will hear “arguments on the legal side of statements made as per Section 342″.

Section 342 relates to the ,”power to examine the accused”,.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - August 20, 2018 at 3:25 pm

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Prime Minister Khan asks nation to have compassion for poor, adopt austerity

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inaugural address to the nation since ,being elected the country’s new premier, was broadcast at 9.30pm on Sunday, August 19 by Pakistan Television.

The address — essentially a road map to the ‘Naya Pakistan’ PM Khan has promised his supporters — began following a recitation from Holy Quran and the playing of the national anthem.

The new premier promised wide ranging reforms with a focus on safeguarding Pakistan’s resources and their redistribution from the rich to the disadvantaged.

He began by thanking those who had stood by him in his political struggle.

“I want to thank all my supporters who have been with me on this journey for the last 22 years,” he started. “I salute all those who stood by me in my most difficult times; those who bore ridicule to support me … I could not have been here without you.”

Clarifying that he had stepped into politics not to pursue it as a career or profession, PM Khan said his only motivation was to help set Pakistan “on the path envisioned by [Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali] Jinnah and [Allama Mohammad] Iqbal.”

The prime minister then moved on to identifying Pakistan’s economic challenges and later spoke about how he would go about fixing them.

Foremost on his mind were Pakistan’s debt liabilities.

“Never in Pakistan’s history have we faced such difficult economic circumstances,” he said. “Our debt burden is now at Rs28 trillion. We haven’t been as indebted in our entire history as we have become in the last ten years,” he regretted.

“The interest that we have to pay on our debt obligations too has reached levels where we have to take on more debt just to settle it,” he said.

Meanwhile, “our human development index ranking is also in the doldrums” he observed. Quoting from a United Nations report, PM outlined deficiencies in Pakistan’s human development, noting that: “We are unfortunately among the five countries where infant mortality is highest because they do not have access to clean water.”

“We also have the highest rates of mortality for pregnant women,” he regretted.

He also spoke passionately about Pakistan suffering from the highest incidences of stunting in children. “I have been saying this for ages and nobody took me seriously. We are talking about 45 per cent of this nation’s children. They are not getting proper nutrition. They are not developing properly. They are automatically left behind. What must their parents go through seeing their children in such a state?” he asked.

Khan then pointed to the difference in the lifestyles of Pakistan’s rich and poor.

“I want to speak about how the rich and powerful live in this country,” he said. “The prime minister has 524 servants and 80 cars. The prime minister, which is me, also has 33 bulletproof cars. The prime ministers all have helicopters and aeroplanes to fly them. We have massive governor houses and every conceivable luxury.”

How could it be, he asked, that: “On one hand we don’t have money to spend on our people, and on the other we have people living like our colonial masters used to live?”

Exhorting the rich and the privileged to reassess their priorities, he urged: “We need to be compassionate towards our compatriots: towards those who cannot afford to eat twice a day. We need to ask what will happen to the 25 million children out of school. We need to ask what happens to our population. We need to ask how we are to grapple with climate change.

“This is the time that we decide to change our destiny.”

The prime minster then explained he will use the examples of governance set forth by the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) “to bring the nation out of its plight.”

“What did the Holy Prophet do to unite all the tribes living in the Arabian peninsula?” he asked. “What did he do to mould them [the Arabs] into one of the most powerful nations on earth? I want to speak on those principles today.

“I want to speak about how we are going to lift ourselves based on that model.”

The prime minster then proceeded to give a five-point agenda:

“The first thing is the supremacy of law,” he said. “The law has to be the same for everyone.

“The second thing is Zakat. What does Zakat mean? It means that I spend based on what I have on those who do not have enough. This is called progressive taxation. The rich pay more to subsidise the poor. This happens in Scandinavian countries, where there is good healthcare, good education and justice for all. The disabled, the orphans and widows have support.

“The third is compassion. In the west, they care for animals in ways that would put us to shame. The have shelters for animals. Animals fare better there than humans do here. We need to incorporate those lessons.

“The fourth is merit. Without merit you cannot do anything. The responsibilities of the ruler entail that they are sadiq and ameen. They have to be truthful . They can have no conflict of interest. The west has these laws. In our country, you see people amassing untold riches during their tenure in power.

“The fifth is education. The Holy Prophet stressed education above everything else. After the Battle of Badr, he made it incumbent on his people to attain an education. Look at us today: we are nowhere because we have not followed his instructions.”

Perhaps realising that he was placing a tall order for his supporters, he said: “You should not feel overwhelmed. We are in this together and we will find a way out together.”

He then proceeded to explain what he himself was doing towards that goal.

Measures to cut down on expenses

PM Khan detailed how he plans on cutting down his own as well the country’s expenditure, saying: “I will keep only two people with me out of the [prime minister's staff of] 524. I will be staying in a three-bedroom house that served as the military secretary’s house.

“I will have to keep two of the cars because my intelligence agencies tell me my life is under threat. I also wish I did not have to move out of Banigala, but I have been forced to do so because it is not safe to stay there.”

“We will be auctioning off all the other bullet proof cars,” he promised. “I invite businesses to come and buy them. We will put the proceeds of that auction in the state treasury.

“I also wish that all the governor houses are kept as simple as possible,” he said. “I further wish that the PM House will be turned into a university. It is in a great location to be one.

“I am forming a committee under Dr Ishrat Husain to figure out how to cut expenses nationwide,” he revealed.

He also urged his supporters to adopt austerity measures.

“I want you to understand that the money we lavish on ourselves could be spent on those who our state has left behind. Naya Pakistan also requires a ‘nayi soch‘. We have to think about those who we have left behind.”

Tax reforms instead of loans

On reforming the financial sector, PM Khan explained that instead of trying to rebuild the economy via external loans, his government will try and fulfill its needs from within.

“No country can succeed by taking on debt again and again,” he said. “Debts are taken for brief periods of time. We cannot go on the way we have. And you need to realise that when these people give us money, they attach conditions to it.

“I will be ashamed to go abroad and ask for money. If the leader of the nation has to go and ask for debt, how will my nation feel?

“We also need to pay our taxes. I am going to fix the Federal Board of Revenue on a priority basis. It has lost its credibility and that is why people don’t pay taxes. I will promise my people that I will protect your tax money and spend it on you.

“We will keep our end of the bargain, but I want you to pay your taxes too. That is your responsibility. Pay your taxes so that we can lift our destitute out of poverty.

“I promise you, if I can assure you that your tax money will be spent on you, we will not face these deficits in the future. God willing, this will not happen again.

“We are also creating a task force to repatriate wealth looted from this country. We need to put an end to money laundering. It is our biggest problem right now.

“We need to boost our exports. How will that happen? We will need to help export industries. We have made a business advisory council to help address their challenges.

“Then we need to boost investment. We need to bring in money from abroad. There is going to be an office in the prime minister’s secretariat dedicated to this purpose.

“We need to help our small and medium businesses. They are the backbone of our economy. We need to reduce the cost and difficulties of doing business for them.”

Message to overseas Pakistanis

PM Khan invited overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country and help rebuild the economy. “We need to facilitate overseas Pakistanis,” he said. “Our embassies need to facilitate them in every way we can.

“I have a special message for overseas Pakistanis. We are trying our best to create a good investment environment for you. We want that you bring your money to Pakistan and park it in Pakistani banks as ee are short of foreign exchange. Send your money through official accounts. We need your help.”

Rooting out corruption

The prime minister said that rooting out corruption will also be a high priority for his government.

“I will meet the NAB chairman and facilitate him with whatever he needs,” he said. “We will also enact a law for whistleblowers like we did in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Whoever helps identify corruption will get a share of the money that we recover. The SECP and the FIA will be fixed on a priority basis.

“I have kept the FIA and the interior ministry under me because I want to personally oversee our efforts to eradicate corruption.

“I want you all to understand that the moment we start going after corrupt people, they will start raising a hue and cry. They are everywhere. They will come out on the streets. They will say that democracy is in danger. I want you all to continue standing with me. We will save this country or these corrupt people will save themselves.”

Revamping the judiciary

PM Khan said that he will seek Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar’s help to revamp the judicial system.

“The next focus will be on revamping our judiciary,” he said. “We have a massive backlog of cases. We will sit with the chief justice and discuss how we can ensure that cases can be wrapped up within a year. We have to do this for our people.

“I want to make a special request to the chief justice. There are quite a few widows who have approached me for help. They are embroiled in property disputes. I want to request the chief justice: please, at least for widows, resolve such cases at the earliest.

“I declare this as my resolve: the weak who are systematically discriminated against in our country will always have my support.”

KP police model to be implemented in Punjab

The prime minister said he has asked former KP IG Nasir Khan Durrani to implement the KP police model in Punjab.

“We also need to fix our police,” Khan said. “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police is our biggest success. We won the election because of how good our police had become. The former IG who oversaw those successes, Nasir Khan Durrani, has been asked to help fix the Punjab police and he has agreed.

“We do not have the power to do so in Sindh, but we will work with the Sindh government as well to do what we can.”

Educational reforms

The prime minister said his focus will be to improve public sector education as well as madressahs (seminaries).

“We also need to fix our education system,” he said. “We need to focus on government schools, which are in a shambles. I know that salaried individuals are making huge sacrifices to make sure their children get a decent education. They sometimes work two jobs to give their children the best they can.

“We therefore need to make sure our government schools are good enough that everyone can send their children to them. This is an emergency.”

“We also cannot leave madressah students behind. They too should become engineers and doctors and generals. Why do we not give them the opportunity? We need to do it.”

Healthcare reforms

PM Khan stressed the need to “fix the healthcare system. It is immensely difficult to fix the pre-existing system. It takes a long time: the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health system did not start showing results till the fifth year. But we still need to do it.

“We also need to introduce the health card all over Pakistan. We have given every household in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs550,000 in case of a healthcare emergency. We should give it all over Pakistan.”

Dams to be built to end water crisis

Khan said that a “water crisis is brewing” which require dams to be built to resolve it.

“There was a crisis brewing but we weren’t prepared,” he said. “We have an emergency. Karachi doesn’t have water due to the tanker mafia. Quetta and Islamabad too.

“A ministry will work towards saving water. New methods will be taught to farmers. Canals will be lined to save water, while the Bhasha Dam will be constructed at all costs. It’s a commendable initiative started by the chief justice.”

Civil service reforms

The PM said that he will enforce meritocracy to restore civil service to its formerly held high standards. “In the 1960s we were considered one of the best in the world,” he said. “It is unfortunate how we have fallen behind. Dr Ishrat Hussain is forming a committee to bring merit back.

“We will not tolerate any political interference in anyone’s appointment. I just want people ready to work for the nation.

“But an ordinary man, when he steps into any govt office, also has to be given respect. This is his right, which he will be given. Bonuses will be given to those who serve people in a timely manner. Otherwise, penalties will also be imposed.”

Devolution of power

Khan stressed the need to transfer the power to the local government, saying: “Power must be given to the bottom-most tier. Nazims will be directly elected in districts, while checks and balances will be kept.

“Development funds are given to MNAs and MPAs but the development takes place in baldiyaat.”

Plan for the youth

The prime minister said that “jobs must be given to the country’s youth. A big project of housing will be started. It will be a one-window operation [create] jobs and [to boost] industries. The youth will be given loans without interest so they can become entrepreneurs.

“Cricket grounds have been taken over and houses schemes made over them. We need to build playgrounds and parks for them.”

Environmental issues

Khan said he will replicate KP’s billion tree in the entire country. “We planted 1 billion trees in KP,” he said. “We will bring our expertise and plant trees all over the country. Karachi has a heatwave as it has nothing but concrete. A large-scale initiative will be initiated to make Pakistan green again.”

“The menace of pollution has to be addressed immediately as it leads to the spread of innumerable diseases.”

Compassion for the underprivileged

The prime minister vowed that his government will have compassion for and take care of the neglected and the underprivileged.

“Street children are our children, and if we don’t look after them who will?” said Khan. “Widows and the handicapped … we will take responsibility of all.

“I want us to develop compassion in our hearts. It’s in the animal kingdom where it is the survival of the fittest. In human beings, it [should be] different.

“The Madina model”

PM Khan said he “will follow Medina’s example” to rid Pakistan of its chronic problems.

“They did not borrow from Roman or Persian empires,” he said. “They strengthened the people and made them self-sufficient. They adopted simple ways.

“I will show you that, I will lead a simple life. I will save every penny, I will do no business as my doing so will only harm other businessmen.”

Take ownership and help me help you: PM

The prime minister, at the end of his maiden address, told the nation to play a more proactive role in the rebuilding.

“I need your help,” he said. “When you are being robbed you don’t wait for the police to come. You nab them and hand them over. [Similarly], you should help me catch these robbers of the nation. This is the social media age. Keep check on and report such people. We have to act as a team. Help me protect your money.”

“We have to take ownership and serve the nation. My vision is: one day will come when Pakistan will have no one taking Zakat. If we succeed in our nation building we will offer aid to other countries.

“This is my idea for Pakistan. This is the Pakistan I want to see.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - August 19, 2018 at 7:25 pm

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Dr Arif Alvi nominated by PTI for president’s post

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Saturday confirmed the nomination of party leader Dr Arif Alvi for the post of president.

The nomination was confirmed by party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry on Twitter.

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The announcement of PTI’s presidential nominee comes hours after its chairman, Imran Khan, was ,sworn in as the 22nd prime minister, of the country.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had announced on Thursday that the presidential election will be held on September 4 — five days before the expiry of the five-year term of President Mamnoon Hussain.

Under Article 41 (4) of the Constitution, election to the office of the president is to be held not earlier than 30 days before expiry of the term of the president in office.

The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Senate, National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. Voting is held through a secret ballot.

As per the 1973 Constitution, Alvi’s election to the National Assembly on the hotly contested NA-247 (Karachi) seat will stand null and void once he takes oath as the country’s president, because an elected member of the parliament cannot hold the office of the president of Pakistan.

Section 43(2) of the 1973 Constitution states:

The president shall not be a candidate for election as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or a provincial assembly; and, if a member of Parliament or a provincial assembly is elected as president, his seat in Parliament) or … the Provincial Assembly shall become vacant on the day he enters upon his office.

Who is Arif Alvi?

A dentist by profession, Dr Alvi is among the founding members of the PTI. He had contested for Sindh Assembly seats in the general elections of 1997 and 2002, but remained unsuccessful.

He was appointed the secretary general of PTI in 2006, a position he served until 2013.

He won from NA-250 constituency of Karachi in the 2013 elections and was appointed the president of PTI’s Sindh chapter in 2016.

In the July 25, 2018 general elections, he was ,elected to the National Assembly, from Karachi’s NA-247 after bagging 91,020 votes. In comparison, his rival, Syed Zaman Ali Jaffrey of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, managed only 24,680 votes.

Schedule for presidential election

  • Aug 27, upto 12pm: Filing of nomination papers with presiding officers in Islamabad, and with each PO in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta

  • Aug 29, at 10am: Scrutiny of nomination papers by Returning Officer in Islamabad

  • Aug 30, up to 12pm: Withdrawal of candidature before RO in Islamabad

  • Sept 4, 10am-4pm: Polling day. Elections will take place at Parliament House, Islamabad; Provincial Assembly Building; Lahore, Provincial Assembly Building, Karachi; Provincial Assembly Building, Peshawar; and the Provincial Assembly Building, Quetta.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - August 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm

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Imran clean bowls Shahbaz to become PM

Imran Khan smiles moments after being announced as the prime minister-elect. ? DawnNewsTV

Imran Khan smiles moments after being announced as the prime minister-elect. ? DawnNewsTV

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was elected Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister on Friday, marking the pinnacle of his 22-year-long political career.

Khan clinched victory with 176 seats while his opponent, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, secured 96 votes in the polling that took place in the National Assembly today.

As the newly elected speaker of the assembly, Asad Qaiser, announced the results, the House erupted with chants of “na manzoor” [unacceptable] and “Wazir-i-azam Nawaz Sharif” [PM Nawaz Sharif]. The protests by PML-N leaders continued nearly all the way through the session despite the speaker’s attempts at restoring order in the House.

PML-N lawmakers protest after announcement of results. ? DawnNewsTV

PML-N lawmakers protest after announcement of results. ? DawnNewsTV

Khan, in the meantime, sat smiling in his seat, accepting congratulations from his party members.

The speaker had suspended the proceedings of the National Assembly for 15 minutes after the crucial announcement due to the persistent sloganeering of PML-N legislators. Announcing the suspension of proceedings, Assembly Speaker Qaiser asked parliamentary leaders to come to his chamber.

When the session resumed, the speaker asked the PM-elect to address the House as protests — by PML-N — and cheering — by PTI — continued.

‘Only Jinnah struggled more than I did’

Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan, in his first speech following his victory, promised “the change that this nation is starving for”.

“We have to have strict accountability in this country; the people who looted this country, I promise that I will work against them,” he asserted.

PM-elect Imran Khan addresses the parliament amid chaos by opponents, cheers by supporters. ? DawnNewsTV

PM-elect Imran Khan addresses the parliament amid chaos by opponents, cheers by supporters. ? DawnNewsTV

“I did not climb on any dictator’s shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years. Only one leader struggled more than me, and that was my hero, Jinnah. Twice every month I will answer to the people during the question-answer session in the assembly.”

“The money that was laundered, I will bring it back — the money that should have gone towards health, education, and water, went into people’s pockets,” said a charged Khan, moving on to address allegations of election rigging.

“I want to ask the people who are yelling here why they didn’t investigate the four constituencies that I asked for.

“Why didn’t they investigate then? Why didn’t they hold people accountable? Why didn’t the [PML-N] government take action?”

“When I was asking for investigation, these people accused me of being a planted by the establishment,” Khan continued.

“We [government] will cooperate with you [PML-N] even if you want to take your complaints to the Supreme Court. You can make as much noise as you want or even hold a dharna — we will provide you the container and food for it.”

Khan’s oath-taking ceremony will take place tomorrow.

The former cricketer was tipped as the ‘PM-in-waiting’ soon after the July 25 polls in which PTI won more seats than other political parties.

‘We will hold you accountable’

A visibly disconcerted Shahbaz Sharif then took the microphone, focusing primarily on the allegations of rigging in the July 25 polls.

Shahbaz Sharif addresses the House after Imran Khan. ? DawnNewsTV

Shahbaz Sharif addresses the House after Imran Khan. ? DawnNewsTV

“Throughout the world, newspapers and outlets are raising accusations of rigging in the general elections,” he said.

“This is the worst election in history in terms of rigging; the authorities must act against those responsible.”

“What kind of election was this?” he questioned amidst loud chants echoing across the hall.

“The Result Transmission System (RTS) [on the night of July 25] was forcefully shut down. What kind of elections were these that the results were delayed for 48 hours?”

Alleging that 1.6 million votes were rejected, he questioned the discovery of ballot papers from gutters and streets across the country.

The former Punjab chief minister urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to “submit a report before this House” adding that “the clauses that need amendment in the Election Act 2017 must be amended so no one can rob the vote of its sanctity”.

He threatened that opposition parties would “take to the streets” if a commission was not formed and justice not served.

Reminding the PM-elect of a promise he had made in his first address to the nation after the July 25 polls, Sharif said: “Khan sahab, you had said that if rigging in 2013 elections would be proven, Nawaz Sharif’s government should resign. We will not let you run from this. We will hold you accountable for stealing votes.”

Clarifying the party’s stance and objectives, he said: “We came here for the sake of democracy and to protect the democratic system. There have been movements in the past and we have always stood by this House.”

“No matter what we do, we will not curse this parliament, we will not attack this parliament,” he added.

Sharif refused to conclude his speech “in protest” after being silenced by the speaker so that Bilawal Bhutto could also address the House.

‘Khan will have to go through us if he continues fanning flames of hate’

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, in his first address to the National Assembly, delivered a measured and mature speech in English.

Although he said it was his “honour to become a part of this house”, the 29-year-old criticised the “two biggest parties for creating a ruckus” in the parliament.

He remembered those who lost their lives in terror attacks in Peshawar and Quetta in the run-up to the July 25 polls.

Bilawal said that his party had its reservations over both the pre- and post-polling procedures but still “decided to be a part of this house to support this fragile democracy.”

“If it weren’t for us Mr Speaker, you wouldn’t have your seat and the PM would not have his,” he added.

“We would have been facing a constitutional crisis and we must assess what it cost for Khan sahab to get here. We mainstreamed extremism, we compromised on our basic rights, we pitted one Pakistani against another,” he continued.

“Our prime minister-elect has promised a 100-day roadmap. I want to see how he creates 10 million jobs, ends poverty.”

“I would like to ask Khan sahab ? who said that he would rather commit suicide than go to the IMF and beg for alms ? what his plan will be to deal with the economic crisis.”

“It is hurtful that Pakistan, which has sacrificed so much in the fight against violent extremism, is seen as a part of the problem and not as part of the solution,” he went on.

“I am sure the new government will take the [necessary] steps. However Khan sahab got here, Mr Speaker, he is now the prime minister of this worthy nation.”

“I want to remind him that he is not one party’s prime minister. He is the prime minister of all Pakistanis ? even those he called living corpses, the ones he called donkeys, the ones he referred to as sheep and goats.”

“As prime minister, I hope Imran Khan will drop the hateful rhetoric. If he continues to fan the flames of hatred, he will have to go through us and he will find us opposing him at every step of the way,” he vowed.

“If the prime minister-elect makes constitutional supremacy and human development his priorities, we will stand by his side,” he added.

“I congratulate the prime minister-select,” he concluded, with his use of the word “select” possibly referring to allegations of poll engineering.

Following Bilawal’s speech PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi also addressed the newly formed parliament.

He accused the PML-N of breaking the agreement that the opposition and the ruling parties had made to allow Khan to deliver his full speech.

“Every party stood by its word except the PML-N,” Qureshi said. “Of course why would they? The session was being broadcast live so there was a photo opportunity.

“Imran Khan wanted to say that ‘I will present myself in front of the nation’. He wanted to invite everyone to sit together but sadly you did not have the courage to listen to him.”

Qureshi then struck a conciliatory tone and asked the opposition to “play the role of a constructive opposition.

“Let’s change our behaviour towards each other. We will try to incorporate your criticism in our policies. We must also have the courage to listen to criticism.”

“We are aware of the challenges that the country is facing. We will solve them together.”

Lawmakers arrive, session begins after delay

The session kicked off around 4:30pm ? an hour later than expected ? with all lawmakers seated under the chairmanship of the assembly speaker. The delay was attributed to overcrowding in the press gallery, according to media reports.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari converses with other lawmakers ahead of the vote. ? DawnNewsTV

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari converses with other lawmakers ahead of the vote. ? DawnNewsTV

Khan arrived at parliament well ahead of the scheduled polling time. By 3:30pm, Sharif had also arrived at the venue, but did not make an appearance in the assembly until after 4:14pm.

Sharif, flanked by other PML-N MNAs, walked into the House with a black band around his upper arm in protest against alleged rigging in the election.

Shahbaz Sharif and Imran Khan shake hands before the start of voting. ? DawnNewsTV

Shahbaz Sharif and Imran Khan shake hands before the start of voting. ? DawnNewsTV

Despite the PPP’s boycott of today’s vote, chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also in attendance.

Shahbaz shook hands with both Imran and Bilawal on his way to the benches.

PML-N protests

As the session opened, PML-N’s Murtaza Javed Abbasi took strong issue with the manner in which “the sanctity of the House was violated”.

“The voting for PM has not even started yet and the sanctity of House is already being violated, we register protest,” he said, adding: “The government that was installed by khalai makhlooq has not even taken power yet.”

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser attempted to restore order in the House as PML-N leaders voiced their objections to what they alleged was “engineering” in the July 25 polls.

As disturbance rippled through the House, Qaiser warned lawmakers that he would expel anyone who disrupted the session.

Chanting and sloganeering continued as the speaker read out the procedure for election of the prime minister and then the names of the two nominees. He directed those voting for Khan to the lobby on his right, and those voting for Sharif to the lobby on his left.

According to DawnNewsTV, PML-N leader and former assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq had made a last-minute attempt to convince PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari ? whose party earlier announced it would abstain from voting ? to support Shahbaz Sharif as voting was underway.

After the newly elected MNAs finished casting their votes for the two contenders, a count took place and Khan was announced as the victor.

The two contenders

After the PTI emerged as the biggest parliamentary party in the wake of the July 25 polls, all 120 of the party’s parliamentary committee members rubber-stamped Khan’s candidacy for the post of the prime minister.

Read: ,Imran Khan: Creating the biggest political storm of the year,

The PTI had, on its own, bagged 116 NA seats in the election before recruiting nine additional independents, which took its tally to 125.

The party was subsequently allotted 33 reserved seats by the Election Commission of Pakistan last week, which sent its tally to 158.

However, that tally was trimmed as Khan, a winner on five NA seats, kept only his Mianwali seat and vacated the other four. Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Tahir Sadiq also had to leave one of the two NA seats they had bagged each, cutting PTI’s lead by six.

PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry had earlier claimed that his party, with the help of its allies, had garnered the support of 180 plus NA members — at least eight more than required for a simple majority and enough to get Khan elected PM in the first poll.

However, PML-Q, a key PTI ally, has also seen its quartet of NA seats reduced by half as their party leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi — a candidate for the Speaker of Punjab Assembly — also vacated both his seats in the lower House of the parliament.

The PTI’s perceived struggle in establishing its dominance had offered a glimmer of hope to Shahbaz Sharif — the opposition’s joint candidate for the PM’s gig.

Related: ,Alliance unravels as PPP refuses to vote for Shahbaz,

The decision to nominate him was made as part of an agreement between the three main opposition parties — the PML-N, PPP and the MMA-P — during an All Parties Conference.

However, less than 24 hours before the election, PPP decided to “abstain” from today’s vote due to refusal of the PML-N to replace its candidate, making the contest a one-sided affair.

Sources told Dawn that using backdoor channels, the PML-N had contacted the PPP leadership many times throughout the day on Thursday, asking it to review its decision in the larger interest of the opposition’s unity — but the PPP refused to reverse its decision.

The eleventh-hour rift and retraction further dented whatever chance the joint opposition had against Khan.

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Presidential election to be held on Sept 4: ECP

With less than a month left before the expiry of President Mamnoon Hussain’s term, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday issued a schedule for the presidential election, setting Sept 4 as the day of the ballot.

President Hussain’s five-year term is set to expire on September 9. According to the Constitution, the presidential election must be held at least a month prior to the expiry of the incumbent’s term, which in this case would have been August 8.

The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Senate, National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. Voting is held through a secret ballot.

Ordinarily, the presidential election is held either a month after the General Election, or at least a month before the expiry of the president’s tenure.

Holding a presidential election on Aug 8 was out of the question, however, since neither the National nor the provincial assemblies were functional then.

Schedule for presidential election:

  • Aug 27, upto 12pm: Filing of nomination papers with presiding officers in Islamabad, and with each PO in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta

  • Aug 29, at 10am: Scrutiny of nomination papers by Returning Officer in Islamabad

  • Aug 30, up to 12pm: Withdrawal of candidate before RO in Islamabad

  • Sept 4, 10am-4pm: Polling day. Elections will take place at Parliament House, Islamabad; Provincial Assembly Building; Lahore, Provincial Assembly Building, Karachi; Provincial Assembly Building, Peshawar; and the Provincial Assembly Building, Quetta.

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