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Bilawal concerned over allowing banned parties to contest polls

QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari inquires about the health of a man injured in Mastung blast at the Combined Military Hospital on Monday.—PPI

QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari inquires about the health of a man injured in Mastung blast at the Combined Military Hospital on Monday.—PPI

QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday expressed concern over allowing candidates of banned organisations to contest the coming elections and said certain forces were again trying to form an Islami Jamhoori Ittehad-like alliance in the country.

He was addressing a press conference at a hotel after visiting Sarawan House to condole the death of Siraj Raisani in Friday’s Mastung suicide attack.

“Unfortunately, by allowing candidates of banned organisations to take part in the election, extremists have been given space,” the PPP leader said, adding that the move would harm the entire political process and would undermine parliament, democracy and the country’s position in the world.

He recalled that after the massacre of students and teachers in the terrorist attack at Army Public School, all political parties had agreed on a 20-point National Action Plan but that plan was not implemented by the PML-N government which caused difficulties in curbing acts of terrorism across the country.

“From day one, the PPP has been demanding the implementation of the National Action Plan in letter and spirit,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said. “Thousands of civilians and security personnel have lost their lives in acts of terrorism and these precious lives could have been saved had the National Action Plan been implemented.”

Referring to the possibility of delay in the polls, he said if elections could be held in Afghanistan and Iraq where the situation was worse then why they cannot be held in Pakistan.

“Despite the recent spate of violence and terrorist attacks, elections must be held on time,” he said.

He said PPP would launch public welfare programmes after coming to power and dispelled the impression that the party had lost its support in Punjab.

He said that PPP had not been given free hand to run its poll campaign in Punjab in 2013 elections and this time too the government was creating hurdles in its way.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2018

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PM, Balochistan CM offer condolences for Mastung attack victims as death toll rises to 149

Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk on Sunday visited slain Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Nawab Siraj Raisani’s family to condole his death in a ,suicide attack targeting an election gathering in Mastung, on Friday.

The prime minister, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Balochistan interim Chief Minister Alauddin Marri all gathered at Sarawan House to offer fateha for Raisani and the others who lost their lives in the Mastung attack.

The visit came as the death toll in the grisly terrorist attack rose to 149 on Sunday, Deputy Commissioner Mastung Qaim Lashari told DawnNewsTV.

He said a total of 186 people were injured in the bombing claimed by the militant Islamic State group. Of them, 70 are under treatment while the rest have been discharged.

Explaining the rise in the toll from 128 to 149, Lashari said the bodies of 21 slain victims had been collected by their relatives from the scene of the attack and have been counted only now.

On Saturday, the federal government declared Sunday a day of national mourning over the recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The PML-N announced on Sunday that the party would be suspending all election-related activities for the day “to mark the observance of the national day of mourning on the Mastung tragedy.”

“The attack on political meetings is all the more worrisome given the elections are just 10 days away,” the party said, adding that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, interim government and law enforcement agencies to provide foolproof security to political parties and candidates.

It is responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, interim govt and the law enforcement agencies to provide fool-proof security to the candidates and the political parties. The future of Pakistan is linked with fair & free and above all peaceful elections. (2/2)

— PML(N) (@pmln_org) ,July 15, 2018,

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan visited Mastung blast victims on Sunday afternoon before meeting members of the Raisani family to offer his condolences.

The images say it all. Even in the face of absolute devastation, we see hope in the faces of survivors of the Mastung blast because one national leader is there standing with them.,#Mastung, ,pic.twitter.com/HUJ9R6miOC,

— PTI (@PTIofficial) ,July 15, 2018,

Speaking to the media after meeting the Raisani family, Khan said that he was sorry for BAP’s great loss and that “from what I have read about him, Raisani seemed to be a patriotic citizen. The PTI is sorry for the loss of such an individual.”

PML-N Chairman Shahbaz Sharif also visited the Raisani family and said that steps should be taken to ensure swift justice for Siraj Raisani’s death. “A commission should be made to investigate this case from all angles,” he said.

Speaking about the upcoming election he said, “We have already expressed our reservations about the upcoming elections. There is a strong need for the elections to be free and fair. The country will only move forward if the upcoming election is 100 per cent free of any outside influence.”

Raisani’s funeral, held yesterday, was attended by Marri, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, provincial ministers, the chief secretary and other top officials.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 (Peshawar), Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were ,killed in an attack, targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for killing his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 (Bannu) ,came under attack,. While KP former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a BAP corner meeting in Mastung in which Raisani, who was contesting from PB-35, and ,at least 145 others, were killed,.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the 2014 carnage at Peshawar’s Army Public School.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan was ,informed by Nacta, that there are serious security threats to political leaders and electoral candidates and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked.

Meanwhile political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced ,suspension of political activities, across the country in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal earlier said at a press conference in Peshawar.

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After Mastung carnage, PM urges ‘utmost precaution’ for security of poll candidates, public

Caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting of civil and military officials to review the law and order situation in Balochistan in wake of the terrorist attack in Mastung that ,targeted an election gathering,.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Dr Akhtar Nazir shared details of the Mastung suicide attack — in which over 140 people were killed — during the huddle that took place at Governor House in Quetta.

PM Nasirul Mulk chairs a meeting on law and order at Governor House in Quetta. — Courtesy: Prime Minister's Office

PM Nasirul Mulk chairs a meeting on law and order at Governor House in Quetta. — Courtesy: Prime Minister’s Office

He also briefed the meeting about the arrangements being made for “peaceful and smooth conduct” of the July 25 general elections in the province, a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Prime Minister Mulk strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and directed authorities to take all possible steps to ensure the security of election candidates and the public.

Editorial: ,Security, intelligence gathering must improve to avoid more campaign carnage,

“Utmost precaution should be exercised and all possible measures should be taken to ensure security of the candidates and the public participating in political rallies and corner meetings,” the premier observed, accoridng to the statement.

He stressed the need to take the political leadership on board regarding the security arrangements and
to secure their cooperation “in order to avoid any untoward incident”.

Mulk instructed officials to immediately launch a public awareness campaign in coordination with all stakeholders, “to sensitise [the] general public about the need to strictly adhere to security [standard operating procedures]“.

Speaking at the meeting, the prime minister appreciated the efforts of the armed forces and civil administration for timely evacuation of the injured of the Mastung tragedy and saving lives.

In attendance at the meeting were Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Allauddin Marri, Balochistan Home Minister Agha Umar Bangulzai, Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Balochistan Chief Secretary Dr. Akhtar Nazir, Home Secretary Haider Ali Shikoh, IG Frontier Corps Balochistan (North) Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, IG FC Balochistan (South) Maj Gen Sardar Tariq Aman, IG Balochistan Police Mohsin Hasan Butt and other senior civil and military officials.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister visited slain Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Nawab Siraj Raisani’s family to ,condole his death, in the Mastung suicide attack. He also visited Combined Military Hospital Quetta to inquire about the health of the injured of the tragedy.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 (Peshawar), Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were killed in an attack targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for killing his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 (Bannu) came under attack. While KP former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a BAP corner meeting in Mastung in which Raisani, who was contesting from PB-35, and at least 140 others, were killed, while over 200 were injured.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the 2014 carnage at Peshawar’s Army Public School.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan was ,informed by Nacta, that there are serious security threats to political leaders and electoral candidates and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked.

Meanwhile, political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced suspension of political activities across the country in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal earlier said at a press conference in Peshawar.

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PM, CM Balochistan visit Raisani’s family; offer condolences for Mastung attack victims

Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk on Sunday visited slain Balochistan Awami Party leader Nawab Siraj Raisani’s family to condole his death in a ,suicide attack targeting an election gathering in Mastung, on Friday.

The prime minister, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Balochistan interim Chief Minister Alauddin Marri all gathered at Sarwan House to offer fateha for Raisani and the others who lost their lives in the Mastung attack.

On Saturday, the federal government declared Sunday a day of national mourning over the recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Raisani’s funeral, held yesterday, was attended by Marri, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, provincial ministers, the chief secretary and other top officials.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 (Peshawar), Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were ,killed in an attack, targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for killing his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 (Bannu) ,came under attack,. While KP former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a BAP corner meeting in Mastung in which Raisani, who was contesting from PB-35, and [at least 127 others, were killed,5,, while over 200 were injured.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the 2014 carnage at Peshawar’s Army Public School.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned a ,briefing from Nacta, over the worsening security situation, which is scheduled for later today.

Meanwhile political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced ,suspension of political activities, across the country in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal earlier said at a press conference in Peshawar.

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Siraj Raisani laid to rest in Mastung; PM announces national day of mourning on Sunday

The federal government has declared Sunday as a day of national mourning over recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“In view of tragic incidents of terrorist attacks at Peshawar on July 10 and in Mastung and Bannu on July 13, 2018, the federal government has announced to observe one day official mourning throughout the country” on Sunday, said an official announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.

It said that the national flag will fly at half mast on Sunday to mourn the deaths of nearly 150 people in the recent terrorist attacks ahead of the general elections.

The PM Office also directed the Ministry of Interior to formally issue a notification for declaration of Sunday as the day of mourning.

Later in the day, funeral prayer of Nawab Siraj Raisani, who was martyred in a ,suicide attack during an election gathering in Mastung, on Friday, was offered in Quetta.

Caretaker Balochistan Chief Minister Alaud Din Marri, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, LT Gen Asim Bajwa, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, provincial ministers, chief secretary and other high officials attended the funeral.

Raisani was later laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard at Kanak, Mastung, near the graves of his father Nawab Ghaus Baksh Raisani and son Mir Haqmal Raisani.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including Pakistan Taehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 Peshawar, Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were ,killed in an attack, targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility of the killing of his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility of the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 Bannu ,came under attack,. While former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a meeting of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate from PB-35 Mastung, Nawabzada Siraj Raisani. Raisani, and at least 127 others, were ,killed in the attack,, while over 200 were injured.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the attack on Army Public School Peshawar in 2014 stunned the nation.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ,summoned a briefing, from Nacta over the worsening security situation, which is scheduled for later today.

Meanwhile political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, the PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced ,suspending political activities across the country, in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal told a presser in Peshawar.

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PM announces national day of mourning on Sunday

The federal government has declared Sunday as a day of national mourning over recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“In view of tragic incidents of terrorist attacks at Peshawar on July 10 and in Mastung and Bannu on July 13, 2018, the federal government has announced to observe one day official mourning throughout the country” on Sunday, said an official announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.

It said that the national flag will fly at half mast on Sunday to mourn the deaths of nearly 150 people in the recent terrorist attacks ahead of the general elections.

The PM Office also directed the Ministry of Interior to formally issue a notification for declaration of Sunday as the day of mourning.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including Pakistan Taehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 Peshawar, Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were ,killed in an attack, targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility of the killing of his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility of the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 Bannu ,came under attack,. While former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a meeting of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate from PB-35 Mastung, Nawabzada Siraj Raisani. Raisani, and at least 127 others, were ,killed in the attack,, while over 200 were injured.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the attack on Army Public School Peshawar in 2014 stunned the nation.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ,summoned a briefing, from Nacta over the worsening security situation, which is scheduled for later today.

Meanwhile political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, the PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced ,suspending political activities across the country, in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal told a presser in Peshawar.

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Imran Khan unveils PTI manifesto ‘Road to Naya Pakistan’

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Monday unveiled his party’s much-awaited manifesto for general elections 2018, announcing that he would turn Pakistan into a welfare state if voted into power.

Titled “Road to Naya Pakistan”, the manifesto is composed of seven chapters and explains in detail the PTI’s agenda for the next government.

One of the primary points of the manifesto, Khan said, is to turn Pakistan into a Islamic welfare state — a model the principles of which he said are also followed in Scandinavian countries.

Read the entire PTI manifesto ,here,.

“We will make the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) autonomous and pursue all cases of corruption,” Khan said. “We will empower the people and devolve the power to the village level.

“We will introduce a non-political model of policing like the one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the rest of the provinces as well. And to ensure that Pakistanis get instant and quality justice, we will introduce comprehensive judicial reforms.”

Khan outlined the major issues of all the regions and vowed to resolve them. “We will bring prominent changes to the administrative structure in Karachi; ensure successful completion of Fata’s merger with KP and will allocate specific funds for it; promote politics of understanding in Balochistan; raise the movement of south Punjab province, and empower Gilgit Baltistan.”

Special report: ,Demystifying political manifestos through a business lens,

The PTI chief further said that his party would boost the economy by creating 10 millions jobs and promoting small-to-mid-level industries. “We will make Pakistan business-friendly and turn the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into a game-changer by enhancing bilateral relations.”

Khan also talked about water preservation via the building of dam, which he said would make the agricultural industry profitable for the farmers.

The manifesto, he said, also has plans on introducing educational reforms in schools, religious seminaries and vocational centres.

,PPP was the first, among the major political parties to share its manifesto, ,followed by PML-N,.

Khan said that his party would safeguard national security and defeat the terrorists’ narrative, human resources, finances and weaponry to tackle the internal threats the country faces. However, he said that in order to curb the proliferation of arms and ammunition at international level, the PTI government would also invite India for strategic discussions.

He also delineated his party’s environmental agenda, saying that they would “plant 10 billion trees to tackle environmental changes.”

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Hussain Lawai remanded into FIA custody until July 11 in money laundering case

A judicial magistrate in Karachi on Saturday remanded Chairman of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) Hussain Lawai and co-accused Taha Raza in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) until July 11 in a money laundering case.

On Friday, the FIA had ,detained, Lawai and Raza, accusing them of ,facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts, in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited. Lawai has been serving as vice chairman in the Summit Bank.

According to the FIR registered against Lawai and Raza, billions of rupees were deposited into the said fake accounts and subsequently transferred to different accounts, including that of PPP Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s company — Zardari Group — which is shown to gave received Rs15 million.

As per the contents of the report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the biggest transfer made out of the alleged fake accounts was to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors.

Agro Farms Thatta, a reported holding of Zardari’s close aide Anwar Majeed, is also mentioned as one of the beneficiaries.

The FIR stated that the accused bankers “opened fake/forged accounts by fraudulently fulfilling the codal formalities i.e. obtaining signatures”.

Furthermore, it alleged that a sum of Rs4.5 billion was credited and routed through the accounts during a span of 10 months.

The FIA identified Bahria Town Karachi and Omni Pvt Ltd among the 15 parties that had made deposits totaling Rs2.855 billion into the aforesaid accounts.

The FIR said that the beneficiaries into whose accounts the monies were routed have been issued summons.

‘I am innocent’

In a brief chat with media personnel, Lawai maintained his innocence and said he would ask for relief from the court on account of his medical condition. “I have nothing to do with this case. Nothing has been recovered from me,” he said.

“This case is about money laundering; those who did this [money laundering] are abroad, and I have been accused.”

“I am a heart patient. I will also ask the court to give me medical relief,” he added.

When asked if he had been arrested due to his rumoured friendship with Zardari, Lawai said: “I do not know if I have been arrested because of Asif Ali Zardari or something else. Only time will tell why I am being targeted.”

Who is Hussain Lawai?

Lawai, vice chairman of the Summit Bank, also served as its president from 2008 to 2016.

He held the position of president and CEO at the MCB Bank and holds the distinction of establishing the Faysal Islamic Bank, Pakistan branches; the first Islamic Shariah Compliant Bank (presently known as Faysal Bank Limited). He also served as general manager at Emirates NBD Bank for Pakistan and Far East.

Currently, Lawai is also on the board of directors of Wyeth Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Pakistan Ltd and The Searle Company Ltd. He also serves on the Board of Governors of Karachi Grammar School and Virtual University of Pakistan.

He also served on the board of directors of Pakistan International Airlines and State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan.

He did his MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - July 7, 2018 at 11:26 am

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Lawai, three other bankers held in money laundering probe

HUSSAIN Lawai is believed to be close to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

HUSSAIN Lawai is believed to be close to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency on Friday detained Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman and Summit Bank vice chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be close to former president Asif Ali Zardari, and assistant vice president of Sindh Bank Mr Mukhtiar along with two other bankers for interrogation in a money laundering case, sources said.

Mr Lawai and the other bankers were accused of facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, where ‘beneficiaries of the Sindh government’ had deposited Rs35 billion that was subsequently transferred to different accounts including one allegedly belonging to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors, added the sources familiar with the case.

An FIA official, who wished not to be identified, said: “An FIR has not been registered against any of them so far to formally arrest them, as the bankers are still being interrogated.”

To personally supervise the probe and evaluate the inquiry, a special team, led by the FIA’s additional director general and law director, have rushed to Karachi from Islamabad after the Supreme Court of Pakistan took a suo motu notice.

The FIA team on Friday called Mr Lawai to record his statement in the case.

FIA investigates Rs35 billion transactions in 29 ‘fake’ accounts

In all, 29 accounts were opened in the name of seven people, including a woman, the sources said, adding that 18 to 19 of the ‘fake’ accounts were opened in the Summit Bank alone. The sources said the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan alerted the FIA about ‘fictitious’ transactions in the banks. Subsequently, the FIA interrogated four of the seven persons in whose name the 29 accounts were opened. All the four people, including the woman, expressed their ignorance about the transactions and recorded their statements before the magistrate concerned.

The FIA also interrogated the Summit Bank branch manager who claimed that he had opened the accounts on the instructions of then president of the bank Mr Lawai.

Separately, the sources said, the FIA called three other officials of the banks to record their statements in the case.

The FIA sources explained that mainly contractors of the Sindh government and a property tycoon had deposited Rs35 billion in those bank accounts from which money was transferred to the accounts maintained by a conglomerate of noted businessmen and a politician.

Besides, the sources added, around Rs7 billion of the total amount was transferred to the account of an Arab national, Mr Lootah, who is vice chairman of the Summit Bank.

The sources said the money was transferred in the name of the Arab national’s account in order to show equity and avoid possible suspension of bank’s licence by the State Bank of Pakistan.

An FIA official told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the role of SBP’s relevant unit was less than satisfactory in the money laundering case but he was not sure if the FIA would look into it at any stage.

He said the FIA detained Mr Lawai and three other bankers under Section 5 (2) of FIA Act, which empowered the federal body to detain any suspect for inquiry for 24 hours.

The sources said that most of these ‘fake’ accounts were opened in the end of 2014 and early 2015. They were subsequently closed in the year 2015.

Most of the accounts were maintained in UBL’s SMCHS Branch, Summit Bank’s Khayaban-i-Tanzeem DHA branch and I.I. Chundrigar Road and Sindh Bank’s Gol Market, Nazimabad branch.

The FIA sources said the business address in the most of the accounts were of Abdullah Haroon Road, Karachi. Besides, they added, counter-parties of the most of the accounts were found to be common.

Despite such high turnovers in the account, most of the account holders were not found on the active taxpayers’ list, triggering the suspicions about these transactions which were in violation of Section 67 of Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2010.

Who is Hussain Lawai?

Mr Lawai, vice chairman of the Summit Bank who served as its president from 2008 to 2016, is also the CDC chairman and chief executive of the Institute of Bankers Pakistan.

He held the position of president and CEO at the MCB Bank and holds the distinction of establishing the Faysal Islamic Bank, Pakistan branches; the first Islamic Shariah Compliant Bank (presently known as Faysal Bank Limited). He also served as general manager at Emirates NBD Bank for Pakistan and Far East.

Currently, Mr Lawai is also on the board of directors of Wyeth Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Pakistan Ltd and The Searle Company Ltd. He also serves on the Board of Governors of Karachi Grammar School and Virtual University of Pakistan.

He also served on the board of directors of Pakistan International Airlines and State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan.

He did his MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2018

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PHC halts execution of ‘missing man’ sentenced by military court

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) during a hearing held on Thursday suspended the death sentence handed over by a military court to Shakirullah, a man who according to his family had gone missing from Dir in 2010.

A petition opposing the penalty had been moved before the court by the convict’s wife following which a hearing was held to decide on the matter.

The session was presided by Justice Qalandar Ali Khan and Justice Ayub Khan.

In June this year, Shakirullah’s family learnt of the death sentence after receiving a notice from the Kohat Interim Centre saying that he was due to be hanged. It is not known what crime he has been charged with.

According to the application, the accused was not given an opportunity to be heard in a proper trial, as the law mandates and is the right owed to every citizen charged with a crime.

The court ordered the suspension of the death sentence and sought a response from the ministry of defence at the next hearing of the case.

Establishment of military courts

The Parliament passed the 21st Amendment and the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, in January 2015 to establish speedy trial military courts after the 2014 Army Public School massacre.

On April 16, 2015, the apex court ,suspended executions of six militants, who were awarded death sentence by these military courts.

In August, that same year, the Supreme Court in a majority ruling ,upheld the establishment of military courts, in Pakistan.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) that same month, ,suspended the execution of a death-row prisoner,, who had been arrested when he was 14 and sentenced to death by a military court after he was found to be involved in terrorism.

While dismissing petitions challenging the 21st Amendment, a 17-judge full court of the Supreme Court, in a majority judgment, had reaffirmed that any order passed, decision taken or sentence awarded by the military courts will be subject to judicial review by the high courts and the Supreme Court on the grounds of being coram-non-judice, without jurisdiction or suffering from mala fides including malice in law.

This year in May, the PHC ,suspended the death sentence, handed to a man convicted for terrorism by a military court.

The army’s media wing had announced that Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had ratified the death sentences of 11 militants, including one identified as Burhanuddin. He was among three convicts sentenced to death for an attack on a civilian funeral service in Mardan, which resulted in the killing of 30 people, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa MPA Mohmind, and left 100 others wounded.

Burhanuddin’s father had claimed that his son was mentally unfit and had been undergoing treatment before and throughout the duration of his custody.

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Tough contest expected among key parties in NA-247

Dawn GIS

Dawn GIS

KARACHI: An exciting contest is expected in Karachi’s NA-247 constituency on July 25 between the candidates of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and Pak Sarzameen Party.

NA-247 — one of the two constituencies in Karachi’s South district — has been created after amalgamating former NA-249 (old city areas like Kharadar) and NA-250 (Defence-Clifton, Burnes Road) seats in the fresh delimitation of constituencies.

While the MQM-P has been winning the NA-249 constituency since 2002, NA-250 has never been the stronghold of any single party as it rotated between candidates of MMA (in 2002 elections), MQM-P (2008) and PTI (2013).

PTI’s Arif Alvi and MQM’s Farooq Sattar facing off in constituency

During the 2013 general elections, PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi had emerged victorious from NA-250.

A total of 41 candidates are in the run in NA-247, where the number of registered voters is 543,964 including 294,713 male and 249,251.

This time around, the PTI has fielded Dr Alvi again.

The PPP’s candidate from the constituency is Abdul Aziz Memon and MQM-P has fielded senior leader Dr Farooq Sattar. Both the candidates had earlier contested elections from the NA-249 constituency.

The five-party religious alliance MMA has given ticket to Mohammed Husain Mehanti and the PML-N has fielded Dr Afnanullah Khan, son of senior leader Mushahidullah Khan.

The PSP has fielded Fauzia Kasuri, who joined the Mustafa Kamal-led party after leaving the PTI, from NA-247.

‘Tough challenge’

PTI’s Alvi might face a tough challenge this time particularly on account of two factors, said journalist Abdul Jabbar Nasir.

He said that the wave of support that existed for the PTI during 2013 general election had to some extent dissipated. Besides, the PTI mainly relied on affluent areas of Clifton and Defence where a significant number of people had not registered themselves as voters since they preferred to vote in their native areas.

He said the new delimitation had been carried out in a way to favour the PPP and MQM-P since both the parties enjoyed support of around 10,000-15,000 additional votes in some areas which had previously not been part of NA-250.

Besides, candidate’s community background is likely to provide an added advantage, as there are over 30,000 Memon votes in the constituency.

The PPP candidate Memon, MMA’s Mohammad Hussain Mehanti and MQM-P’s Dr Sattar all are Memon.

However, some analysts believe that Dr Sattar may lose this seat.

‘Political coup’

“Farooq Sattar will struggle in NA-247, it not being a traditional stronghold coupled with the MQM’s prolonged and comical internal tiff,” said commentator Gibran Peshimam. “If he pulls it off, it will be nothing short of a political coup.”

“Else all indicators in NA-247 point to him being the biggest political casualty of the MQM’s diminished political fortunes,” he said.

At present, PML-N’s Dr Khan appears to be the most active candidate who is regularly holding corner meetings in the constituency. His focus is on low-income neighbourhoods and traders of Clifton and Defence.

In Kharadar and adjoining areas of the same constituency, the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is believed to have emerged as a new stakeholder.

TLP’s city chief Allama Syed Zaman Shah Jaffery is contesting from this seat. The party is mainly relying on followers of their school of thought.

Jibran Nasir trying his luck again

Another addition to the pool of candidates is civil social activist Jibran Nasir. He is contesting from this constituency for the second time as an independent candidate.

As low-income areas like Hijrat Colony will play an important role in the election, Mr Nasir is focusing in the areas having concentration of Pakhtun voters, said social activist Abubakar Yusufzai.

Mr Nasir had played a significant role in highlighting the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, recalled Mr Yusufzai. “He is now a familiar face for Pakhtun youths who use social media and several volunteers from other Pakhtun localities are helping him in his election campaign.”

He is also liked by certain people living in the Defence and Clifton areas as during the 2013 general election slain social activist Sabeen Mehmud had taken out a rally in his support at Seaview.

“Jibran Nasir would be the perfect addition to parliament given the array of issues he has dealt with, which the public representatives have dithered around,” suggested Mr Peshimam. “He also breaks the mould of ‘they’re all the same’ tag on politicians. Voters in NA-247 have the chance to walk it like they talk it.”

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2018

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Nacta warns about terrorist attacks on politicians

ISLAMABAD: A counterterrorism official warned on Tuesday that terrorists could target top leaders of political parties during their election campaigns.

“We have received as many as 12 threat alerts which are about leadership of political parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and six personalities can be targeted during election,” Director of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) Obaid Farooq said while briefing a sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.

The committee, headed by PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi, has been constituted to look into security arrangements for the July 25 general elections and officials of law enforcement agencies provided to different personalities.

Mr Farooq said that Nacta got information from the Inter-Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau and then alerts were sent to different quarters through fax.

Punjab home department orders security for PPP, ANP candidates

“In the past a threat alert was sent that the ,Army Public School, Peshawar,, could be attacked and after four months it happened. Similarly, some other alerts were issued, but precautionary measures could not be taken,” he said.

The chairman of the committee said that such alerts should be taken seriously.

Briefing the committee, Senior Superintendent of Police Security, Karachi, Hassan Sardar Niazi said that Sindh had benefited the most from the order of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar about ,withdrawal of security, from influential personalities.

He said as of today 1,000 security personnel and 50 vehicles had been returned to the police department which could now be used efficiently.

The CJP had directed all provincial police chiefs in April to withdraw the security protocol provided to influential individuals not entitled to official security. However, later the CJP said that security could be provided to those who were really under threat.

The committee in its next meeting will take detailed briefings from police departments of the four provinces.

Later talking to newsmen, Nacta director Obaid Farooq said there were threats to leaders of all political parties, including religio-political parties.

Mohammad Asghar adds from Rawalpindi: The Punjab home department has directed the authorities concerned to provide security to the candidates of the PPP and the Awami National Party in the province during their election campaigns.

The cabinet sub-committee on law and order had decided at a meeting held earlier this month to intimate the leadership of these political parties about the threats from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The meeting, presided over by the additional chief secretary of Punjab, was informed that days before he was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan, TTP commander Mullah Fazalullah had issued directives to increase terrorist activities in Pakistan — to target the PPP and ANP during the general elections, in addition to carrying out terrorist attacks in various parts of Pakistan.

Police have also been directed to follow the guidelines issued by the home department in letter and spirit for the security of important personalities who are under threat during their public gatherings.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2018

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CJP, NAB chief move to put doubts over polls at rest

ISLAMABAD: In their separate remarks, both the chief justice of Pakis­tan and the chairman of the anti-corruption watchdog said on Sunday that they didn’t have anything to do with the July 25 elections.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said he was not facilitating anyone in the elections while National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal rejected allegations of pre-poll rigging levelled by some political parties.

Also read: ,Judiciary will ensure free, fair election, says CJP,

“I am not running the campaign of any political party,” CJP Nisar said during a visit to the under-construction 400-bed Rawalpindi Child and Mother Hospital (RCMH) he paid at the request of Awami Muslim League (AML) president Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

The CJP said he was visiting Rawalpindi to check the facilities available in the hospital, adding that he was neither invited by anyone nor running the election campaign of anyone.

“I have not taken a contract to launch the election campaign of any party,” he said when a reporter asked him why he had visited the hospital in Sheikh Rashid’s constituency at his request during electioneering.

Justice Nisar says he is running nobody’s campaign; NAB chairman refutes allegations of pre-poll rigging

Earlier, the chief justice heard a case about the RCMH in the Supreme Court. Soon after the hearing, Mr Rashid requested him to visit the site of the under-construction hospital, saying that the project, which had been lying abandoned since 2006, could be revived if he visited it.

Although the CJP, after receiving a briefing on the hospital project presented by the National Engineering Service officials, had said that there was no need to visit the site, soon after the hearing he ordered for his motorcade to proceed to Rawalpindi to inspect the hospital site.

During Chief Justice Nisar’s visit, the AML chief said the hospital was being constructed due to his efforts and he wanted to rename it after the CJP.

The chief justice did not agree with the idea and said he did not want the hospital to be named after him.

“Sheikh Sahib, you are doing a great job, I don’t want to get it named after me,” he said.

“Sir, you have undertaken a noble cause of reviving the hospital project. May God bless you with my life as well,” Mr Rashid responded.

During the hearing of the case, the petitioner, Mr Rashid, said that the Rs5 billion RCMH project was launched during former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime in 2005 but only Rs100m had so far been spent on it. He said work on the project had stopped since 2006 as none of the successive governments had paid attention to it.

The AML president requested the chief justice to order that the project be completed in two years. The CJP ordered that it must be completed in 18 months for which funds would be provided on a regular basis. “If you do not receive money from the government, the Supreme Court will provide it to you,” the CJ assured those responsible for executing the project.

The chief justice also directed the authorities concerned to sit under the roof of the apex court and settle all issues confronting the project.

The RCMH is being constructed at the site of decades-old Tuberculosis Hospital on Eidgah Road, commonly known as TB Hospital. The project was launched by the establishment division of the federal government but after devolution of power under 18th Amendment, it was handed over to Punjab. Initially, Punjab government refused to take over the project and meanwhile its scope of work enhanced and 14 operations theatres were proposed instead of two. Therefore the issue was against referred to the federal government for approvals and provision of more funds.

In April 2018, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government revised the project as its cost escalated from Rs2.5bn to Rs5bn.

During the visit of the hospital site, the chief justice reprimand the Pakistan Public Works Department’s chief engineer saying the entire structure would be destroyed if the work was not resumed soon.

He lamented that the hospital’s construction had been delayed for 10 years and vowed that further delay in this regard would not be tolerated.

The chief justice said that the Supreme Court would monitor the construction work.

The RMCH project was inaugurated on April 8, 2005 by then prime minister Shaukat Aziz after approval of the project by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council. It was a joint project of the centre and the Punjab government on the basis of equal sharing.

But work on the project came to a halt soon after the formation of the PML-N government in Punjab in March 2008.

According to the project details, the hospital will also house a nursing school and a chest diseases centre to deal with cases of TB and breast cancer.

NAB chief

Meanwhile, NAB chairman Javed Iqbal said that ,allegations of pre-poll rigging, had been levelled by some people against the bureau to tarnish the image and credibility of the top anti-graft institution.

According to an official statement issued by the bureau on Sunday, he said the bureau was working in accordance with law and it would continue to perform its duties as per its mandate.

Take a look: ,NAB chief rejects allegations of targeting PML-N,

“The allegations of alleged rigging before elections have been levelled just to tarnish the image and credibility of NAB,” the statement quoted retd Justice Iqbal as saying, adding that such charges could not deter NAB’s firm resolve and commitment to eradicating corruption from society.

“NAB does not believe in any victimisation and it is committed to nabbing corrupt, proclaimed offenders and absconders with iron hands by using all its resources. The whole nation has pinned hopes on NAB for eradication of corruption from the country and the bureau will come up to expectations of the nation,” the NAB chief said.

Retd Justice Iqbal directed all directors general of the bureau not to spare any corrupt person and bring all of them to justice.

He also directed all NAB staff members to work hard and in a transparent way to ensure no injustice was done to anyone “due to NAB’s effective policy, the bureau has arrested 350 accused over the last seven months and has recovered about Rs2.2 billion which is a record achievement with an overall conviction rate of 77 per cent,” retd Justice Iqbal said.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2018

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‘CJP does not have the right to humiliate judges,’ says IHC’s Justice Shaukat Aziz

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on Friday appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) not to pass personal or derogatory comments against judges of other courts, saying that all judges are equally worthy of respect.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge said that while CJP Mian Saqib Nisar has the right to set aside, modify or uphold the verdicts of other judges, he does not have the right to humiliate them.

Judges who are ridiculed by the CJP will be bound to respond to the comments, which will be damaging to the judicial institution, Justice Siddiqui added.

The high court judge made the comments during hearing of a case regarding encroachments in the capital, in which lawyer Raja Inam Ameen Mihas argued that in a ,case regarding private school fees, — which was heard by Justice Siddiqui — the apex court had upheld the status quo and remanded the case back to the IHC.

Earlier, Justice Siddiqui had restrained private schools from collecting fees during summer vacations. However, a lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court on Thursday arguing that the IHC had passed a restraining order while assuming suo motu powers even though they are not vested to high courts.

In response, Justice Nisar had remarked that the “order [of the private school fee case] shows the mindset of the author judge”, and remanded the case back to the IHC.

When reminded of the CJP’s remarks during today’s hearing, Justice Siddiqui said he would like to convey to Justice Nisar that all judges are equally respectable, learned and dignified personalities. He added that while the CJP has the authority to overturn judgements passed by other judges, he did not, however have the power to humiliate other judges.

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Mattis underlines US role in eliminating Fazlullah

WASHINGTON: US Def­ence Secretary James Mattis has underlined the role that American forces played in ,removing Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist,, as Wash­ington sends a senior envoy to Islamabad for peace talks.

“The forces engaged against the terrorists basically killed Fazlullah, the head of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP),” said Mr Mattis while talking to Pentagon journalists in Alaska.

This is a rare confirmation of a terrorist’s elimination by a senior US official and comes amid renewed efforts for restoring peace in Afghan­istan where the United States has been engaged in an apparently unending military campaign since 2001.

Usually, US officials do not talk about targeted attacks, particularly when it involves a drone, as it was a US drone that killed Fazlullah. While the US continues to use drones to eliminate terrorists, it prefers not to confirm or deny such attacks. Senior US officials are particularly careful because it’s often difficult to confirm the kill.

Secretary Mattis, however, not only confirmed Fazlul­lah’s elimination but also explained why it was important to do so. Diplomatic observers in Washington see this as a reminder to Pakistan that the US did them a favour by removing their most wanted terrorist. Now, they need to return the favour by cooperating with the United States in its efforts to jumpstart the Afghan peace talks.

The Trump administration is sending a senior envoy — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells — to Islamabad next week to explore the possibility of a permanent peace in Afghanistan.

A transcript released by his office on Wednesday shows Mr Mattis identifying Fazlullah as a terrorist leader “well known” for ordering the 2014 Peshawar School Massacre.

On Dec 16, 2014, six TTP gunmen attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar and killed 149 people, including 132 schoolchildren. It was the world’s fourth deadliest school massacre.

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah’s men killed the “school-going children and teachers” and unleashed a reign of terror in Swat.

“I’ve been to Swat … one of the most stunningly beautiful places you’ll ever go on earth, I’ll tell you.

“If you’ve — for those of you who ever get there, for a good trekking opportunity,” said the US defence secretary while explaining how Fazlullah turned a heaven into a hell.

“There, his reign was known until the Pakistan military threw him out, for the beheadings he was able to carry out there to impose his will, which didn’t last long but was certainly murderous while he was there.”

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah also ordered the murder of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl who “strongly represented education for children”.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018

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PTI’s election campaign to end at dharna-fame D-Chowk

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) plans to wind up its election campaign on July 23 with a public meeting at Islamabad’s famous D-Chowk where the party had ,staged its 126-day sit-in in the year 2014, against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.

The party has formally sought permission from the local administration of Islamabad for holding of the public meeting through an application written to the deputy commissioner by PTI’s Senator Faisal Javed on Wednesday.

In his application, Mr Javed has informed the administration that party chairman Imran Khan with a “large number” of senior party leaders and members would address the public meeting to mark the ending of the electioneering on the midnight of July 23 and 24.

It was in August 2014 that the PTI chief Imran Khan started a long march from Lahore to Islamabad to stage a sit-in to register the party’s protest against the alleged rigging in the 2013 elections. The PTI’s protest march was also joined by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) led by Dr Tahirul Qadri.

The party has formally sought permission from the local administration to hold the public meeting

After reaching Islamabad, the protesters announced that they would remain at D-Chowk for an indefinite period till the acceptance of their demands. The sit-in that had been started with a demand of probe into the charges of rigging allegations was later converted into a full-fledged anti-government movement and the PTI announced that they would not end the sit-in till the ouster of the PML-N government.

A number of interesting tense events took place during the period the PTI and PAT workers remained at D-Chowk. ,Dr Qadri had ended his protest, after reaching an understanding with the government, but Mr Khan’s party had continued.

The sit-in continued for 126 days and the ,PTI chief announced wrapping up the protest, a day after the ,terrorists’ attack on the Army Public School, in Peshawar in which more than 140 people, including 132 school kids, were martyred.

Mr Khan in his speeches always takes pride for holding the “longest” sit-in and praises the party workers for their commitment with him and the party and it is in this context that he has selected the venue for ending the election campaign for the upcoming general elections.

Under Section 182 of the Elections Act 2017, the candidates and the parties are required to end electioneering 48 hours prior to the polling.

The law under the title “Prohibition of public meetings during certain period” reads as “No person shall convene, hold or attend any public meeting, or promote or join in any procession, within the area of a constituency or, in the case of the Senate election, a Province, during a period of forty-eight hours ending at midnight following the conclusion of the poll for any election in that constituency or province.”

A senior PTI leader and office-bearer, when contacted, said it would be too early for him to speak on the matter as the party was yet to finalise the strategy and the arrangements for the July 23 public meeting. He said that since the candidate would be busy in their respective constituencies all over the country, therefore, it might not be possible for most of them to come to Islamabad on the last day of the electioneering.

Most probably, he said, the party candidates from Rawalpindi and Islamabad and other nearby areas were expected to attend the public meeting.

It may be recalled that the PTI had already postponed a workers convention which was to be addressed by party chairman Imran Khan in Islamabad on Wednesday to mark start of his election campaign in the federal capital. The event had to be postponed due to non-availability of Jinnah Convention Centre, according to a PTI spokesman.

Mr Khan, who formally launched his party’s election campaign with a public meeting in his native Mianwali city on Sunday, is contesting the election from five constituencies – two in Punjab, and one each in Islamabad, Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi in Sindh.

The PTI chief is scheduled to arrive in Lahore on Thursday (today) where he will stay for next two days. Mr Khan is contesting the election against former minister for railways Khawaja Saad Rafique from NA-131.

On July 1, the PTI chairman will visit Bannu and Razmak in Khyber Pakht­unkhwa. In this constituency, he will be facing former KP chief minister Akram Khan Durrani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018

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Mattis underlines US role in eliminating Fazlullah

WASHINGTON: US Def­ence Secretary James Mattis has underlined the role that American forces played in ,removing Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist,, as Wash­ington sends a senior envoy to Islamabad for peace talks.

“The forces engaged against the terrorists basically killed Fazlullah, the head of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP),” said Mr Mattis while talking to Pentagon journalists in Alaska.

This is a rare confirmation of a terrorist’s elimination by a senior US official and comes amid renewed efforts for restoring peace in Afghan­istan where the United States has been engaged in an apparently unending military campaign since 2001.

Usually, US officials do not talk about targeted attacks, particularly when it involves a drone, as it was a US drone that killed Fazlullah. While the US continues to use drones to eliminate terrorists, it prefers not to confirm or deny such attacks. Senior US officials are particularly careful because it’s often difficult to confirm the kill.

Secretary Mattis, however, not only confirmed Fazlul­lah’s elimination but also explained why it was important to do so. Diplomatic observers in Washington see this as a reminder to Pakistan that the US did them a favour by removing their most wanted terrorist. Now, they need to return the favour by cooperating with the United States in its efforts to jumpstart the Afghan peace talks.

The Trump administration is sending a senior envoy — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells — to Islamabad next week to explore the possibility of a permanent peace in Afghanistan.

A transcript released by his office on Wednesday shows Mr Mattis identifying Fazlullah as a terrorist leader “well known” for ordering the 2014 Peshawar School Massacre.

On Dec 16, 2014, six TTP gunmen attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar and killed 149 people, including 132 schoolchildren. It was the world’s fourth deadliest school massacre.

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah’s men killed the “school-going children and teachers” and unleashed a reign of terror in Swat.

“I’ve been to Swat … one of the most stunningly beautiful places you’ll ever go on earth, I’ll tell you.

“If you’ve — for those of you who ever get there, for a good trekking opportunity,” said the US defence secretary while explaining how Fazlullah turned a heaven into a hell.

“There, his reign was known until the Pakistan military threw him out, for the beheadings he was able to carry out there to impose his will, which didn’t last long but was certainly murderous while he was there.”

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah also ordered the murder of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl who “strongly represented education for children”.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018

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