Posts Tagged ‘Yousuf Raza Gilani’

Firebrand PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz held in contempt of court

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday held outspoken PML-N leader and former privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz in contempt of court, and sentenced him till the rising of the court, which renders him disqualified to contest elections for a period of five years under Article 63 (1)(g) of the Constitution, DawnNewsTV reported.

According to ,Article 63 (1)(g) of the Constitution,, a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if­ he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction…unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

Speaking outside the court, Aziz denied ever saying the words for which he was held in contempt. “I never said the words that were written in the newspaper and for which I was held in contempt,” he claimed.

Aziz argued that the contemptuous phrases on whose basis he was held in contempt were censored with a beep when they were aired in news bulletins, which according to Aziz, was akin to him not having said it.

“I have never violated the court’s orders,” he said. “In fact, me and my party — the PML-N — have always implemented the court’s orders. To disagree is our right, we have always done that and will keep on doing it.”

Following the verdict, Aziz’s legal counsel announced that his client would file a review petition in the Supreme Court. If the verdict gets overturned in review, Aziz may still be able to contest the July 25 general elections from NA-77 (Narowal).

However, in case he fails to get the verdict overturned, he says his party does have a contingency plan for his constituency. “This decision will affect the people of my constituency but we had arranged for an alternative in the light of the situation in Pakistan,” he said. “My father has also filed nomination papers [from the same constituency].”

On February 7, the apex court had issued a notice to Aziz for contempt of court for an “anti-judiciary” speech made by him.

On March 13, the SC had ,indicted, Aziz in the contempt case. The proceedings were held under the Contempt of the Court Ordinance 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution, against Aziz for making derogatory and contemptuous speeches and statements against the apex court which were also telecast by different television channels.

The SC bench had observed that Aziz was “committed to scandalising the court”. Aziz had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

The charges against him were that Aziz, a federal minister at the time, while addressing a press conference on Sept 8 last year, had accused Justice Ijazul Ahsan of summoning NAB authorities in Lahore for preparing corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members and Ishaq Dar.

Similarly, on Dec 21 last year, Aziz had hurled accusations against Justice Ahsan by demanding that he tells the nation who confided in him about the Capital FZE.

The SC ruling on Aziz’s contempt case and his subsequent ineligibility to contest polls evokes the memory of former prime minister ,Yousuf Raza Gilani’s conviction of 2012,.

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Firebrand PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz held in contempt of court

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday held outspoken PML-N leader and former privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz in contempt of court, and sentenced him till the rising of the court, which renders him disqualified to contest elections for a period of five years under Article 63 (1)(g) of the Constitution, DawnNewsTV reported.

According to ,Article 63 (1)(g) of the Constitution,, a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if­ he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction…unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

Speaking outside the court, Aziz denied ever saying the words for which he was held in contempt. “I never said the words that were written in the newspaper and for which I was held in contempt,” he claimed.

Aziz argued that the contemptuous phrases on whose basis he was held in contempt were censored with a beep when they were aired in news bulletins, which according to Aziz, was akin to him not having said it.

“I have never violated the court’s orders,” he said. “In fact, me and my party — the PML-N — have always implemented the court’s orders. To disagree is our right, we have always done that and will keep on doing it.”

Following the verdict, Aziz’s legal counsel announced that his client would file a review petition in the Supreme Court. If the verdict gets overturned in review, Aziz may still be able to contest the July 25 general elections from NA-77 (Narowal).

On February 7, the apex court had issued a notice to Aziz for contempt of court for an “anti-judiciary” speech made by him.

On March 13, the SC had ,indicted, Aziz in the contempt case. The proceedings were held under the Contempt of the Court Ordinance 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution, against Aziz for making derogatory and contemptuous speeches and statements against the apex court which were also telecast by different television channels.

The SC bench had observed that Aziz was “committed to scandalising the court”. Aziz had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

The charges against him were that Aziz, a federal minister at the time, while addressing a press conference on Sept 8 last year, had accused Justice Ijazul Ahsan of summoning NAB authorities in Lahore for preparing corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members and Ishaq Dar.

Similarly, on Dec 21 last year, Aziz had hurled accusations against Justice Ahsan by demanding that he tells the nation who confided in him about the Capital FZE.

The SC ruling on Aziz’s contempt case and his subsequent ineligibility to contest polls evokes the memory of former prime minister ,Yousuf Raza Gilani’s conviction of 2012,.

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PPP sees ‘system’ behind efforts to delay polls

KARACHI: After thorough deliberations upon some ,recent developments, which can be used as excuses for delaying the polls, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday finally spoke up to show its concern over a “system” that has been making all-out efforts to get the ,general elections, postponed.

Amid uncertainty over the much-talked delay in the polls, the PPP questioned the role of the Election Commission of Pakistan that has remained unmoved so far to address these concerns.

The reservations were placed on record after an ‘important meeting’ of the party’s central board, which was jointly chaired by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PPP Parliamentarians president Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House in the evening. Those who attended the meeting included former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf, former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, Leader of Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman, former chief ministers of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Murad Ali Shah, PPP Women Wing president Faryal Talpur, Aitzaz Ahsan, Nayyar Bukhari, Farhatullah Babar and Syed Naveed Qamar.

Expresses concern over ECP silence on uncertainty caused by recent events

After the hours-long meeting, the party’s central leadership talked to the media to express their serious concern. While they did not exactly name the “system”, they questioned the ECP silence on the developments.

While addressing a press conference with Sherry Rehman and senior party leaders, Mr Ahsan counted the recent events, including a resolution from the Balochistan Assembly seeking delay in the polls on the grounds of Haj in July, and a letter from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister with the same request referring to some complication after the Fata’s merger with his province.

“There is no Haj in July as it would be in August,” said Mr Ahsan.

“Besides, the KP-Fata merger is not an issue of the polls and if you want that to settle down before polls then the elections would be delayed for at least one year.

“Then we saw the courts declaring the delimitations null and void which demand a new lengthy process before the elections. And finally today [Friday] came the order of the Lahore High Court, which directed the
ECP to include all mandatory information and declarations in Form A and Form B for upcoming general election 2018, which was previously available in the election of 2013.”

He said the party had a very “loud, clear and undeterred” stand that election must be held on time on July 25 “at any cost”.

“The orders about delimitation in several districts have already made the electoral process doubtful. If once this process begins then it would a take long time to settle down. It seems there is a system that wants to postpone the election,” Mr Ahsan added.

In reply to a query, Mr Babar criticised the ECP silence which had not come up with any explanation so far despite so much speculation and resistance from some quarters after the announcement of the polling date.

“We wonder why the Election Commission did not come up with a single statement on the Balochistan Assembly’s resolution. It’s Election Commission’s responsibility under Article 218 of the Constitution.

“The Election Commission has called an urgent meeting tomorrow [Saturday]. So we are waiting for their decision and measures before finalising our strategy on this uncertain and speculative atmosphere which is being created before the polls,” said Mr Babar.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2018

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Justice Nasirul Mulk takes oath as caretaker PM

Retired Justice Nasirul Mulk took oath as the seventh caretaker prime minister at a ceremony held at President House in Islamabad on Friday, hours after the National Assembly was formally dissolved in the lead up to the elections.

President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to Mulk, who was unanimously nominated for the post by both the government and opposition, with former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi describing the retired judge as a someone whom “no one could object to”.

Read more: ,The caretaker government: Why do we have one and what purpose does it fulfil?,

Top government officials and dignitaries attended the ceremony, including former PM Abbasi, the chiefs of staff, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, and others.

This handout photograph released by the Press Information Department shows President Mamnoon Hussain greeting the caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk (L) as outgoing prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi looks on during an oath-taking ceremony at The President House in Islamabad. — AFP

This handout photograph released by the Press Information Department shows President Mamnoon Hussain greeting the caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk (L) as outgoing prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi looks on during an oath-taking ceremony at The President House in Islamabad. — AFP

Following the ceremony, PM Nasirul Mulk received a guard of honour at PM House.

The newly appointed caretaker PM, while speaking to journalists after the ceremony, said that members of the Cabinet would be announced after discussion on the matter, ,Geo News reported,. He said he would like to keep the Cabinet small.

One of his first decisions was to change his principal secretary, Fawad Hasan Fawad, and replace him with Sohail Amir. Fawad has been rotated to DG Civil Services, DawnNewsTV reported.

Mulk also said he would make sure that the elections will be held in a timely and transparent manner. “We will fulfil the duty we were entrusted with,” he promised.

The oath-taking ceremony was held hours after the third consecutive National Assembly completed its five-year constitutional term. It was only the second National Assembly to do so under civilian rule, with the 2002 assembly operating and disbanding under military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The three NAs elec­ted seven prime ministers in 16 years, indicating underlying weaknesses in the process, the institutions of the state and political parties in the country.

Former PM Abbasi spent a busy last day in office yesterday attending the NA’s farewell session, addressing a news conference highlighting his government’s achievements at his office and presiding over separate meetings of the Economic Coordination Committee and the Federal Cabinet.

During his address to the Assembly, Abbasi categorically stated that the PML-N would not tolerate even a day’s delay in the elections. He also reiterated his party’s demand of formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate all major political incidents which took place in the country since 1947 to identify those responsible for them.

Editorial: ,Will the elections be held on time?,

His demand received a positive response immediately from Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, who expressed the hope that whoever formed the next government must do it on a priority basis.

Nasirul Mulk: politically neutral?

Retired Justice Nasirul Mulk was born on August 17, 1950 in Mingora, Swat. He completed his degree of Bar-at-Law from Inner Temple London and was called to the Bar in 1977.

His father, Kamran Khan, was a businessman known for his philanthropic work in Swat. Mulk is fond of playing golf and is often seen taking a walk in the Margalla hills.

The now-retired Mulk practised as an Advocate in all fields of Law for more than 17 years until his elevation as a judge of the Peshawar High Court. He remained PHC chief justice for some time before his elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court.

When he took oath as the 22nd chief justice of Pakistan in 2014, members of the legal fraternity said the appointment would bring honour, dignity and quiet grace.

Why quiet grace? Because, they said, Justice Mulk seldom interjected court proceedings with questions to the counsel unless necessary. A judge who never lost his temper, he extended equal opportunity to the lawyers, but was firm about not allowing the contesting sides to get sidetracked by entering the political arena.

“He is a good administrator and a disciplined judge who knows how to manage courts,” Advocate Hafiz S.A. Rehman commented at the time.

“He was a teacher who had complete command of his subject and avoided controversies,” recalled a former student of Justice Mulk in the Khyber Law College of Peshawar University. “He always came into the classroom well prepared.”

He has also delivered lecturers in Khyber Law College, Peshawar and Peshawar University besides delivering lectures as a guest speaker at the N.W.F.P. Provincial Services Academy, Peshawar.

He is remembered for the way he conducted a ,contempt case against then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,.

He convicted the then chief executive for 30 seconds while maintaining the dignity and honour of the court, and left the disqualification issue open to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the then speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Fehmida Mirza.

Explore: ,30 seconds in custody,

Justice Mulk is one of the seven judges who signed a restraining order on Nov 3, 2007, when retired Gen Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and forcibly sent the judges home.

Justice Mulk later joined the judiciary on Sept 20, 2008, under the Naek formula when he took a fresh oath as a judge of the Supreme Court with his seniority intact.

Justice Mulk ,dissented from a majority judgement, while deciding an appeal filed by Mukhtaran Mai for the enhancement of the sentence of her rapists and against their acquittal.

He partially accepted Mukhtaran Mai’s appeal by setting aside the high court’s verdict of the acquittal of the accused on April 21, 2011.

While hearing missing persons’ cases, Justice Mulk has always stood firm as a result of which a number of disappeared persons have surfaced.

Justice Mulk resigned from the post of the acting Chief Election Commissioner the day he was designated as the next chief justice.

He has also held the office of the chairman of the enrolment committee of the Pakistan Bar Council as well as the chairman of the building committee of the under-construction Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) complex being built at a staggering cost of Rs650 million.

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Former CJP Nasirul Mulk named as caretaker PM

Former chief justice Nasirul Mulk was named as the caretaker prime minister on Monday.

The announcement was made by Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah at a press conference in Islamabad following a meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Shah was accompanied by Abbasi and National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq at the press conference.

PM Abbasi spoke first, describing the agreed-upon candidate for caretaker PM as someone “who no one can object to”.

Take a quiz: ,How well do you know the new caretaker PM Nasirul Mulk ,

“All the names under consideration were credible,” PM Abbasi said. “Every name was discussed, and this name was decided upon.”

“His role as a caretaker PM will be in favour of the country and the democratic process.”

Explore: ,The caretaker government: Why do we have one and what purpose does it fulfil?,

The premier thanked the NA speaker for facilitating the process “in a constitutional manner” and for playing a role in both parties reaching a consensus.

“Congratulations to you all,” PM Abbasi said, requesting Khursheed Shah to make the formal announcement.

Shah began by clarifying that “no one’s name was discarded”.

“We have chosen his name on the basis of merit. We took our parties into confidence and decided upon this name.”

“We are happy that the government was able to complete its five-year term,” Shah said, adding that the NA speaker had played a major role in both parties reaching an agreement.

“We have made a democratic decision. I am thankful to the PM [and] to the speaker for making this decision with patience, setting aside emotion. The name of the person I would like to present is very respectable,” the veteran PPP leader said.

“The name is Nasirul Mulk, who has remained a chief justice. He has played a historic role ? in the judiciary and when he was a lawyer.”

“I am hopeful that God will give him the passion and courage to successfully conduct free, fair and impartial elections in Pakistan on July 25, 2018.”

It was earlier reported that the government had suggested the names of Mulk, retired Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani — also a former chief justice — and former State Bank governor Dr Shamshad Akhtar, while the PPP had said, in the event that the matter went to a parliamentary committee, that it would propose the names of former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf and former ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbass Jilani.

The job of the caretaker PM is to keep the country running between the dissolution of parliament and the new government being sworn in.

Today’s announcement comes after weeks of deadlock between the PML-N and the opposition over the name of the caretaker PM.

It was earlier reported that the ,name of the caretaker PM would be announced on May 22,, but that ‘deadline’ lapsed, like many before it, with both leaders promising more deliberations in the next few days or so.

Despite a number of meetings over a period of six weeks, the lack of consensus between both parties appeared to persist, with many believing the issue would be sent to a parliamentary committee for deliberation.

There were reports that both the government and the opposition wanted the name to be kept under wraps for ,”as long as possible to avoid unnecessary debate in the media on the issue.”,

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had warned that if the name wasn’t announced within three days of the government’s dissolution, a bipartisan committee of lawmakers would be created to resolve the matter within three days.

If that committee was also unsuccessful, the matter would have been referred to the ECP, which would then pick a name of its own choosing.

Nasirul Mulk: politically neutral?

Retired Justice Nasirul Mulk was born on August 17, 1950 in Mingora, Swat. He completed his degree of Bar-at-Law from Inner Temple London and was called to the Bar in 1977.

His father, Kamran Khan, was a businessman known for his philanthropic work in Swat. The dapper Mulk is fond of playing golf and is often seen taking constitutionals in the Margalla hills.

The now-retired Mulk practised as an Advocate in all fields of Law for more than 17 years until his elevation as a judge of the Peshawar High Court. He remained PHC chief justice for some time before his elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court.

When he took oath as the 22nd chief justice of Pakistan in 2014, members of the legal fraternity said the appointment would bring honour, dignity and quiet grace.

Why quiet grace? Because, they said, Justice Mulk seldom interjected court proceedings with questions to the counsel unless necessary. A judge who never lost his temper, he extended equal opportunity to the lawyers, but was firm about not allowing the contesting sides to get sidetracked by entering the political arena.

“He is a good administrator and a disciplined judge who knows how to manage courts,” Advocate Hafiz S.A. Rehman commented at the time.

“He was a teacher who had complete command of his subject and avoided controversies,” recalled a former student of Justice Mulk in the Khyber Law College of Peshawar University. “He always came into the classroom well prepared.”

He has also delivered lecturers in Khyber Law College, Peshawar and Peshawar University besides delivering lectures as a guest speaker at the N.W.F.P. Provincial Services Academy, Peshawar.

He is remembered for the way he ,conducted a contempt case against then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,.

He convicted the then chief executive for 30 seconds while maintaining the dignity and honour of the court, and left the disqualification issue open to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the then speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Fehmida Mirza.

Explore: ,30 seconds in custody,

Justice Mulk is one of the seven judges who signed a restraining order on Nov 3, 2007, when retired Gen Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and forcibly sent the judges home.

Justice Mulk later joined the judiciary on Sept 20, 2008, under the Naek formula when he took a fresh oath as a judge of the Supreme Court with his seniority intact.

,Justice Mulk dissented from a majority judgement, while deciding an appeal filed by Mukhtaran Mai for the enhancement of the sentence of her rapists and against their acquittal.

He partially accepted Mukhtaran Mai’s appeal by setting aside the high court’s verdict of the acquittal of the accused on April 21, 2011.

While hearing missing persons’ cases, Justice Mulk has always stood firm as a result of which a number of disappeared persons have surfaced.

Justice Mulk resigned from the post of the acting Chief Election Commissioner the day he was designated as the next chief justice.

He has also held the office of the chairman of the enrolment committee of the Pakistan Bar Council as well as the chairman of the building committee of the under-construction Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) complex being built at a staggering cost of Rs650 million.

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Profile: The ‘politically neutral’ Nasirul Mulk

Retired Justice Nasirul Mulk was born on August 17, 1950 in Mingora, Swat. He completed his degree of Bar-at-Law from Inner Temple London and was called to the Bar in 1977.

His father, Kamran Khan, was a businessman known for his philanthropic work in Swat. The dapper Mulk is fond of playing golf and is often seen taking constitutionals in the Margalla hills.

The now-retired Mulk practised as an advocate in all fields of law for more than 17 years until his elevation as a judge of the Peshawar High Court. He remained PHC chief justice for some time before his ,elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court in 2014,.

Dawn’s profile of him on the occasion of his accession dubbed him a “politically neutral” individual.

When he took oath as the 22nd chief justice of Pakistan on July 6, 2014, members of the legal fraternity said the ,appointment would bring honour, dignity and quiet grace,.

Why quiet grace? Because, they say, Justice Mulk seldom interjected court proceedings with questions to the counsel unless necessary. A judge who never lost his temper, he extended equal opportunity to the lawyers, but was firm about not allowing the contesting sides to get sidetracked by entering the political arena.

Quiz: ,How well do you know the nominated caretaker PM, Nasirul Mulk?,

“He is a good administrator and a disciplined judge who knows how to manage courts,” Advocate Hafiz S.A. Rehman commented at the time.

“He was a teacher who had complete command of his subject and avoided controversies,” recalled a former student of Justice Mulk in the Khyber Law College of Peshawar University. “He always came into the classroom well prepared.”

He has also delivered lecturers in Khyber Law College, Peshawar and Peshawar University besides delivering lectures as a guest speaker at the N.W.F.P. Provincial Services Academy, Peshawar.

He is remembered for the way he ,conducted a contempt case against then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,.

He convicted the then chief executive for 30 seconds while maintaining the dignity and honour of the court, and left the disqualification issue open to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the then speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Fehmida Mirza.

Explore: ,30 seconds in custody,

Justice Mulk is one of the seven judges who signed a restraining order on Nov 3, 2007, when retired Gen Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and forcibly sent the judges home.

Justice Mulk later joined the judiciary on Sept 20, 2008, under the Naek formula when he took a fresh oath as a judge of the Supreme Court with his seniority intact.

,Justice Mulk dissented from a majority judgement, while deciding an appeal filed by Mukhtaran Mai for the enhancement of the sentence of her rapists and against their acquittal.

He partially accepted Mukhtaran Mai’s appeal by setting aside the high court’s verdict of the acquittal of the accused on April 21, 2011.

While hearing missing persons’ cases, Justice Mulk has always stood firm as a result of which a number of disappeared persons have surfaced.

Justice Mulk resigned from the post of the acting Chief Election Commissioner the day he was designated as the next chief justice.

He has also held the office of the chairman of the enrolment committee of the Pakistan Bar Council as well as the chairman of the building committee of the under-construction Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) complex being built at a staggering cost of Rs650 million.

The former chief justice was named the caretaker PM on May 28 ahead of General Elections 2018 to keep the country running between the dissolution of parliament and the new government being sworn in.

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Spy book release spurs criticism of repression in held Kashmir

NEW DELHI: The release of a ,book authored by two former spy chiefs, of India and Pakistan here on Wednesday saw some sharp criticism of Delhi’s policy towards Islamabad and appeared to unite the opposition in an urgent quest to end a brutal repression of Kashmiris in their homeland.

“They are using this so-called muscular policy in Kashmir, and we all know that a policy that uses brawn lacks brains,” former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha said in a discussion on the book co-authored by former RAW chief A.S. Dulat and former ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani. The senior BJP leader is a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an advocate of a humanitarian approach to bring peace in the disputed state.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former vice president Hamid Ansari were the chief guests, giving the occasion a sense that the opposition was uniting against Mr Modi’s foreign policy. The day also saw disparate opposition leaders coming together in a show of strength in far removed Bengaluru where a Congress-backed coalition took the oath of office in the southern Karnataka state.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah said he was going to join the chief ministers from different opposition parties with the Gandhi family in Bengaluru but decided that the book release was equally important. He is discussed in some detail in Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI And The Illusion Of Peace. The book is mainly a series of discussions conducted between the two former adversaries on a range of topics by senior journalist Aditya Sinha.

Speaking through a recorded video message, Gen Durrani said it was a blessing in a way that he was denied permission to participate in the event.

“By denying me a visa they have saved me from the wrath of my hawks,” he said to applause. He said the book was Mr Dulat’s idea but at no time was it considered as an occasion to spill any secrets. Gen Durrani said he met Mr Hamid Ansari during a visit to Delhi in October 2014, and the seeds for his participation in the book were sown at the brief meeting. “Mr Ansari asked ‘Ye deewangi kab khatm hogi’. (When will this madness end?) And that one humanist sentence spurred me to join this endeavour.”

Dr Manmohan Singh declined to comment, but former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon singled out the former prime minister’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, where the two had signed an unusually bold agreement, as a landmark moment that was squandered by the bureaucracies on both sides. The two had agreed on a joint mechanism to address terrorism together, opening the path to bring their intelligence agencies in a shared mission. That was not to be, but the book offers similar suggestions for cooperation between intelligence establishments.

Mr Dulat fended off criticism that the book though well meaning and seeking to encourage peace between India and Pakistan was a mere romantic idea. “I am hoping to see progress way before the 2019 elections,” he said confidently.

He may have had the fact in mind that the two armies were planning a first joint participation in a multinational exercise against terrorism in Russia under the aegis of SCO. Senior officials of both sides have also spoken albeit softly about the possibility of resuming their talks.

Asked by moderator Barkha Dutt about his advice that India should invite General Bajwa for talks in New Delhi, Mr Dulat said such a meeting could take place with the Indian NSA and “surely the prime minister would meet him too.” He felt the civilian establishment was weak at present in Pakistan and it was difficult to figure out who to talk to.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2018

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Ex-RAW chief wants India to invite Gen Bajwa

FORMER RAW chief A.S. Dulat (right) and ex-ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani have co-authored The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace.

FORMER RAW chief A.S. Dulat (right) and ex-ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani have co-authored The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace.

NEW DELHI: Former spy chief A.S. Dulat asked the Indian government on Monday to invite Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to kick-start the ,stalled talks, between the two countries.

Speaking to NDTV together with former ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani ahead of the release of their joint book — The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace — Mr Dulat said there was a new inflection in diplomatic and strategic fields across the world. “Who could have thought a few days ago that President Donald Trump would be talking to the North Korean leader? We should also think out of the box, as Dr Manmohan Singh used to say. Roll out the red carpet and invite Gen Bajwa, and see what happens.”

Read: ,Pakistani military seeks better relations with India, says report,

Both authors described people-to-people contacts as a low hanging fruit that could be plucked easily, including easing of visas and resumption of cricket ties.

Gen Durrani, speaking from his home in Pakistan, said he believed the meeting between former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani in Sharm el Sheikh had produced a path-breaking agreement, which bureaucracies on both sides had trashed. “The agreement to have a joint anti-terror mechanism would have been a great achievement for both. Alas, that was not to be.”

Former ISI chief Gen Durrani says Gilani-Manmohan meeting produced path-breaking agreement which bureaucracies on both sides trashed

Earlier, The Indian Express quoted Gen Durrani as saying in the book that Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s experience in Pakistan had affected him in a manner that he believed that the country must be dealt with an iron fist.

About Mr Doval, who served in India’s intelligence agencies before retiring in 2005, Gen Durrani says: “He hasn’t changed policy. He’s just a little more hardline but it’s still what I believe has been Indian policy for a long time. He shouts more, like Trump does, a lot of hot air. He provides that masala.”

Local reports said Gen Durrani would not attend this week’s book release in Delhi as he had not been given a visa.

“The upshot is he’s just doing what his boss wants done. Maybe more muscularly, more vocally,” Gen Durrani adds in the book.

He attributes Mr Doval’s attitude to his stint with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad in the 1980s, saying: “In Ajit Doval’s case it probably affected him in a way where he felt, ‘Oh God, this country must be dealt with an iron fist’.”

Mr Dulat, according to The Indian Express, argues about “his colleague and good friend” and “Modi’s henchman” Doval that “as far as his capabilities go, he’s one of our outstanding operational guys. He’s a field man”.

Mr Dulat goes on to say that Mr Doval is “not necessarily a hardliner” on Pakistan, arguing: “He toes Modi’s line. He also toed Mani Dixit’s line. He at one point toed [M.K.] Narayanan’s line… I’ll tell you something. He is convinced that Modi is the greatest thing that has happened to India. That I can vouch for.”

Gen Durrani says in the book that Mr Doval “matters nowadays, as Modi matters. I agree he is smart and would not miss an opportunity for another spectacle. Win Modi or himself brownie points. But I’m not counting on him to turn around the relationship and make it stable. Next time he’s in Lahore or Islamabad, it will be for all the right reasons for India, but all the wrong reasons for the long-term relationship, and without wishing us (Pakistan) any benefit.”

Gen Durrani cites the example of the Indian NSA’s meeting in Delhi in 2016 with six former Pakistani high commissioners to India. “Six high commissioners had an invitation from the Aspen Centre; Sati Lambah was the moving force. They considered their most substantial meeting was when they called on the NSA. Ajit Doval treated them indifferently, saying: ‘We are watching you. If something good does not come out of our investigation, and if we find a link between Pathankot and Mumbai and a state structure, there will be consequences’.

“When the meeting finished he did not shake hands with a group that is highly regarded in both countries. Just walked away. The message was conveyed.”

Mr Dulat, however, disputes that version, telling Gen Durrani that what he “heard in Delhi was the contrary; the high commissioners were pleasantly surprised that he was nice and soft despite his reputation of being tough as nails”.

Mr Dulat reportedly said that if the case of retired Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested by Pakistan on charges of spying, “were a RAW operation and he was a RAW spy, then it’s a pretty sloppy operation”.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2018

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NAB to decide fate of key PML-N leaders in May

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will decide the fate of a dozen frontline leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) next month.

A senior NAB official told Dawn on Sunday that most of the complaint verifications involving these PML-N leaders would mature in May after which the bureau would reach a conclusion whether or not investigation against them should be carried out.

“If they are found involved in corruption they can be arrested or face NAB action. Otherwise, complaints against them will be disposed of,” the NAB official said on condition of anonymity.

Among the PML-N leaders who can face NAB investigation are federal ministers Saira Afzal Tarar, Akram Durrani, Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Khawaja Saad Rafique, prime minister’s secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad, ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law retired Capt Safdar and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi.

According to NAB’s modus operandi, a complaint is first sent for complaint verification. Once it is verified it is sent for inquiry and after completion of the inquiry it is sent for investigation and then a reference is made on the basis of investigation.

According to another NAB official, the bureau’s Rawalpindi region has opened a second case against Mr Fawad in which he is accused of constructing a mega mall in the heart of Rawalpindi. The value of the property is said to be over Rs12 billion. The construction of the multi-storey plaza has almost completed.

The complainant in this case has alleged that how a grade-21 officer (Mr Fawad) has managed to construct and own such an expensive property. It has been claimed in the complaint that nine of the 10 floors of the building are owned by Mr Fawad and his brother, who allegedly used their influence for securing financing from JS Bank Limited for the building’s construction.

The complainant claimed that Mr Fawad and his brother got the commercial plot — located opposite the GPO in Sadar — in exchange of a residential plot on Rawalpindi’s Haider Road.

Saira Afzal Tarar has been accused of giving favours to some drugs manufacturing companies in registration of their medicines and fixing of their exorbitant prices.

Riaz Pirzada has been accused of being involved in a number of corrupt practices and irregularities in the affairs of the Sports Division and Pakistan Sports Board.

Akram Durrani has been accused of misusing his powers as minister and being involved in illegal allotment of plots. According to the complaint against him, Mr Durrani has allegedly played a role in allotment of plots owned by DHA Foundation in sectors 1-12 and 1-16 to his near and dear ones and caused losses to the national exchequer.

NAB has sought details from the Federal Board of Revenue about the final outcome of an inquiry against PCB Chairman Sethi in the money-laundering (un-declared assets) case registered against him in 2010-11. The bureau sought the details after completing the complaint verification process in the case.

The complaint against Mr Sethi was filed by former Test cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz who accused the PCB chairman of being involved in money laundering, possessing assets beyond his known sources of income and acquiring overseas properties worth millions of dollars.

NAB is already investigating 179 mega corruption cases involving prominent politicians, industrialists, traders and senior bureaucrats. They included former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (cases under investigation), Punjab Chief Minister and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif (cases under investigation), former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari (a case under trial), former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf (cases under trial), former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain (a case under trial and two others under investigation), former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (a case under investigation), former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi (a case under investigation), former chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Amir Haider Khan Hoti (a case under investigation), former chief minister of Balochistan Aslam Raesani (an inquiry under progress), former communications minister Arbab Jahangir and his wife Begum Asma Arbab (a case under investigation), MPA Asif Nakai (a case under investigation), MNA Syed Iftikhar Shah (a case under investigation), former minister Murid Kazim (a case under investigation), former chairmen of National Insurance Corporation Limited Ayaz Khan and Javed Akram (a case under trail) and former chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Asif Hashim (a case under inquiry).

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2018

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Disqualification under Article 62 (1)(f) is for life, SC rules in historic verdict

  • ,’Question should be left to parliament’,
  • ,Past precedents,

In a landmark verdict that will change the course of the country’s political history, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is for life.

According to DawnNewsTV, the verdict was issued unanimously by all five judges of the bench.

Article 62(1)(f), which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous), is the same provision under which ,Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, by a five-judge SC bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on July 28, 2017, in the Panama Papers case. Likewise, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader ,Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on Dec 15, last year by a separate bench of the apex court under the same provision.

Following the verdict, both Sharif and Tareen have become ineligible to ever hold public office.

It has been stated in the decision read out Justice Umar Ata Bandial that the disqualification of any member of parliament or a public servant under Article 62 (1)(f) in the future will be permanent. Such a person cannot contest elections or become a member of parliament.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading the bench, remarked before the verdict was announced that the public deserves “leaders of good character”. A detailed version of the judgment is currently awaited.

‘Question should be left to parliament’

A five-judge bench ? headed by CJP Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah ? had on ,February 14 reserved the judgment, on 17 appeals and petitions challenging the length of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) for possessing fake degrees.

At the last hearing, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf had told the bench that it was not the function of courts to say that the disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution was for life or to give any timeline. The question should be best left for parliament to decide, he had argued.

The AG had also emphasised that the provision did not determine the length of disqualification, adding that the court would have to look into the matter on a case-to-case basis.

Read: ,Do Articles 62 and 63 require reforming?,

Past precedents

Though there was no clear determination about the length of disqualification in Article 62 (1)(f), former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had held in the 2013 Abdul Ghafoor Lehri case that under Article 63, there were certain disqualifications which were of temporary nature and a person disqualified under Article 63 could become qualified after the lapse of a certain period.

Whereas, the verdict held, the disqualification under Article 62 was of permanent nature and a person had to fulfil certain qualifications/conditions to become eligible to be elected or chosen as a member of parliament. Thus Article 62 did not provide any period after which a person, who was declared disqualified under this article, could be eligible to contest the elections, it said.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was disqualified on June 19, 2012 from holding a seat in parliament for committing contempt of the court on moral turpitude in terms of Article 63 of the Constitution which specifies disqualification for a period of five years.

Legal observers say the Supreme Court has handed down different verdicts on the disqualification of legislators like in the case of Iftikhar Ahmed Cheema who was de-seated in 2015 from the NA-101 constituency for concealing assets. Subsequently, he contested the by-election and regained his seat.

But in the case of Rae Hassan Nawaz, the apex court disqualified him under Article 62(1)(f). Likewise, the court allowed Jamshed Dasti to contest the election, but disqualified Rizwan Gill, Samina Khawar Hayat and Amir Yar under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.


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

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Sharif, Tareen asked to appear before SC on Tuesday

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Sunday issued notices to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s former secretary general Jahangir Tareen to appear in the court in person or through their counsel on Tuesday (tomorrow) during the hearing of appeals involving, among other constitutional questions, interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution under which they both had been disqualified.

The interpretation will help end the controversy about the period of punishment by determining whether disqualification of a number of lawmakers is for life or time-specific.

The notices have been issued by the assistant registrar (fixture) of the SC. The notice to Mr Sharif has been sent through the deputy registrar of the SC’s Lahore registry and the notice to Mr Tareen has been sent to his Islamabad residence.

A five-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Jus­tice Sajjad Ali Shah will take up a set of 17 appeals against disqualification of some members of the parliament.

The issue of interpretation of Article 62(1)(f), which has attained significance in view of the disqualification of Mr Sharif — has been pending before the larger bench of the apex court for the past one year.

The last time the matter was taken up was during the period when Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was chief justice. He reached superannuation on Dec 15, 2016.

In one of the hearings, Justice Jamali had wondered how anyone could be disqualified from contesting elections forever on the basis of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, adding that people could reform themselves to become qualified again under the same constitutional provisions after remaining disqualified at some point of time.

Article 62 does not specify any period after which a person, who is declared disqualified under the said article, can be eligible to contest elections of the parliament.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was disqualified on June 19, 2012, from holding a seat in the parliament for committing contempt of court under Article 63 of the Constitu­tion, which specifies disqualification for five years.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2018

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PTI still hopeful expats will vote in upcoming polls

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is the only political party in the country which hopes that the overseas Pakistanis can exercise their right to vote during the upcoming general elections, it emerged on Friday.

The other mainstream parties believe that efforts to bring those countrymen on the voter list will bear no fruit, particularly at a time when the polls are just a few months away.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have the apprehensions that pursuing this matter a few months before the elections can create complications and any step taken in haste can generate a controversy during the elections.

Leaders of these two parties say that the PTI is pushing for the matter believing that since it receives big donations from foreign countries for its charity hospitals, all the overseas Pakistanis will vote for Imran Khan.

PPP, PML-N agree to idea but believe that time left for elections not sufficient to complete task

The PTI chairman in a Twitter posting on Thursday lauded Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar for ordering Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to find a way out and devise a mechanism on an urgent basis so that the overseas Pakistanis could take part in the elections due to be held in July.

While hearing the petition filed by the PTI for granting the overseas Pakistanis right to vote, the SC bench headed by CJP Nisar had on Wednesday observed that expatriate Pakistanis should be given the opportunity to cast their votes during the 2018 elections and emphasised the need for working in this direction on emergency basis. The bench had asked Nadra and the ECP to sit together and find a way to address the technical problems related to the matter.

“I congratulate the CJP for taking note of disfranchisement of the overseas Pakistanis and asking Nadra and the ECP to find ways to give them their right of vote. Overseas Pakistanis are our most valuable asset,” Mr Khan tweeted.

He said that overseas Pakistanis sent $20 billion annually in remittances and they are playing a vital role in reviving and stabilising the country’s economy. “Some of our best brains are working abroad enlightening Pakistan’s image,” he said, expressing the hope that overseas Pakistanis would play a leading role in building ‘Naya Pakistan’.

‘Almost impossible’

The PPP and PML-N leaders on the other hand say in principle they agree that the overseas Pakistanis should have the right to vote. However, they point out that keeping in view the large number of expatriates living in various countries and with the limited resources and capabilities of the ECP and Nadra, it seems almost impossible that such a proposal can be turned into reality any time soon.

When contacted, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said his party is in favour of granting the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis. Former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani soon after his election had announced in the National Assembly that overseas Pakistanis would be granted this right, he recalled.

Mr Babar said the ECP also made efforts to this effect and even conducted mock exercises, but it could not come out with a workable mechanism. He said it would be incorrect to say that the PPP was not enthusiastic on the issue. He pointed out that they were not pursuing the matter because the ECP and Nadra had declared that voters’ biometric verification, use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voting by overseas Pakistanis would not be possible in the 2018 elections.

Mr Babar said that during the meetings of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, a participant had claimed that India had granted the right of vote to its expatriates, but later this claim proved wrong.

PML-N’s information secretary Mushahidullah Khan was of the view that the PTI was unnecessarily dragging the issue, perhaps in “hope of creating another controversy” ahead of the next polls. He claimed the PTI also knew that it would not be possible to devise any mechanism for providing an opportunity to the overseas Pakistanis to use their right of vote.

The PML-N leader said a large number of Pakistanis were working in Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and they belong to almost all the 272 constituencies of the National Assembly. He said that providing ballot papers of their respective constituencies to these Pakistanis would be a daunting task.

PTI information secretary Shafqat Mehmood, however, said that his party would continue making efforts in this regard considering it a fundamental right of overseas Pakistanis.

Mr Mehmood alleged that deliberate efforts were being made to drag the matter since the PPP and the PML-N knew that they would not get many votes from abroad.

The PTI leader said that the Supreme Court had first issued an order in 2013 in favour of the overseas Pakistanis’ right, but no serious efforts were made during the past five years to achieve that goal. He said that in the 21st century and in the age of technology, it should not be a difficult job and at least an app could be developed.

In reply to a question about the little left before the elections, Mr Mehmood said his party believed that it was still possible, provided there was a political will for it.

In 2015, the ECP had informed the parliamentary committee concerned that the mock exercise it carried out for voting by overseas Pakistanis in four countries had failed for a number of technical and legal reasons.

The ECP officials told the committee that they had carried out the mock exercise in seven embassies, high commissions and consulates in which only employees of the foreign missions had been asked to cast their votes for `candidates’ through postal ballots and telephone voting.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2018

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PML-N will ‘concede defeat’ before time, says Zardari

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari, who made a surprise appearance at the ,party’s power show, in the federal capital on Tuesday, caused many to wonder if he wanted an early ouster of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government when he said the rulers would “concede defeat” before the installation of a caretaker government to be set up before the general elections next year.

“They want to put blame [of their failed economic policies] on the caretaker government, but they will concede defeat before it. We will also try that they concede defeat before time,” Mr Zardari said while addressing the public meeting.

He criticised the PML-N government’s economic policies in his speech.

Unlike the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and some other opposition parties demanding early elections in the country, the PPP has always stated that it wants to see the present government complete its five-year term so that the elections can be held on time.

When contacted to seek an explanation, PPP leaders expressed their inability to paraphrase or interpret Mr Zardari’s remarks. They said since Mr Zardari had made an extempore speech, therefore, they could not elaborate as to in what sense the former president had uttered these words.

PPP holds public meeting in Islamabad, first since 2013 general elections, to mark golden jubilee

This was the first public meeting that had been organised by the PPP in the federal capital after the 2013 general elections. A large number of charged party workers from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir attended the public meeting held at the Parade Ground, where the PTI had already arranged two public meetings.

Prominent among those present on the stage were Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, former prime ministers Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed and Farhatullah Babar.

Mr Zardari, who had arrived in the capital city on Sunday night, was not scheduled to speak at the public meeting. Some PPP leaders and the organisers of the event had categorically stated many times that Mr Zardari would not participate in the public meeting which the party had organised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the party’s existence and that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would be the key speaker.

A number of PPP leaders, when contacted, also expressed their surprise to see Mr Zardari sitting on the stage with Mr Bhutto-Zardari and other party leaders. One of the party office-bearers claimed that the party had made the decision that Mr Zardari would also deliver the speech during an informal meeting on Monday. He admitted that only few top party office-bearers were aware of this development.

Mr Zardari in his speech called former prime minister Nawaz Sharif “godfather”, a term used for Mr Sharif by one of the judges of the Supreme Court in their July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.

“Mian Sahib has emptied the treasury,” he said, alleging that the government was not presenting correct economic figures. He claimed that one US dollar in actual term was trading for Rs127, but the rulers were hiding it.

He also targeted PTI chief Imran Khan in his speech. Calling the cricketer-turned-politician Jaali (fake) Khan, the PPP co-chairman said that he was unable to understand politics.

He said dictators had no future and that was why former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf was hiding in a foreign country and could never return to Pakistan. He said that changes in the country would now come only through the ballot.

The former president said the PPP had twice saved the PML-N government from falling, but now it would not save it. “We will not save their democracy. We will bring our own democracy,” he said vaguely.

Mr Zardari said his party wanted to have good relations with neighbouring Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan should realise that Pakistan was itself a victim of terrorism.

He said the PPP would make no compromise on the Kashmir issue and would never allow India to continue its occupation of the territory.

While highlighting the achievements of the previous PPP government, he said that as the country’s president he had made the parliament all powerful.

Mr Zardari said he did not want to say anything about judges.

PPP chairman Bhutto-Zardari as usual read out a written speech in which he presented the historical background of the party, the achievements of the past PPP governments and the future programme for the upcoming general elections.

The young PPP chairman said his party’s government in Sindh had launched projects worth billions of rupees in all sectors, including water, infrastructure, education and health. He claimed that the Sindh government had built some 40 dams in the province besides constructing a number of river bridges and establishing hospitals in Sukkur, Larkana and Hyderabad.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan could not make any progress without democracy. He said the PPP would make Pakistan a “true social democratic country” and introduce reforms in police, judiciary, agriculture and the civil service.

In an apparent reference to recent protest sit-ins by religious parties, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said he was deeply shocked to see the writ of the state getting eroded. He said the PPP would establish the writ of the state after coming into power.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2017

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Zardari rebuffs Nawaz Sharif’s offer for handshake

LAHORE: It appears that efforts to bring the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership to the negotiating table will be futile for now as PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have, once again, turned away the olive branch offered by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Shortly after his appearance before an accountability court on Wednesday, Mr Sharif had announced that he was ready to shake hands with Mr Zardari for the sake of the country, “and not personal interests”.

But Mr Zardari was quoted as having responded to the request in earnest with a scathing: “[He] remembers the Charter of Democracy only when his own person matters. Sorry, I cannot meet him.”

PPP chairperson Bhutto-Zardari also rejected the PML-N chief’s overtures and asked the go-between, sent by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, to contact the party’s parliamentary leadership instead.

PPP says won’t facilitate govt in passing delimitation bill in Senate

“We have empowered the parliamentary leadership to take decisions on matters of national importance. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not ready to meet [the PML-N’s leaders],” he said.

Meanwhile, PML-N leaders Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah spoke to journalists, explaining the backdrop of the overtures they had been making to the PPP’s leadership for some time.

“We have sought cooperation for ensuring the passage of the new constituencies’ bill, so we can hold the 2018 elections on time…and ensure civilian supremacy,” Mr Rashid told a TV channel.

Rana Sana told reporters outside the Punjab Assembly that Mr Sharif did not need crutch support from Mr Zardari, nor were any personal interests involved. The PPP leader was only approached to discuss the matter of passing the law about new constituencies, he said, adding that if Mr Zardari placed hurdles for delaying the polls due next year, it would tarnish the PPP’s claims of upholding democracy.

PPP’s senior vice president Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo dismissed the possibility of a meeting between the two leaders, saying there was no way that the PPP’s leadership would agree to facilitate the government in passing the new constituencies’ bill in the Senate.

Speaking to Dawn over the phone, Mr Wattoo said that the PPP had supported the bill in the National Assembly because it knew that it could never defeat it in the lower house, considering their strength. “We played our cards well at the right time when the government introduced the bill in the Senate where we enjoyed a majority. Now everyone is looking at our move and the leadership will take a decision in the best interest of democracy and the country.”

He rejected the PML-N’s fears that failure to enact the law would delay the election, saying the electoral exercise could be conducted on the basis of the 1998 census.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari advised Mr Sharif to respect democracy and the army, and distanced himself from the statements made by the ousted premier in the wake of the Panama Papers case. “Mian Nawaz Sharif should think about democracy and set aside his personal matters,” he said, adding: “Mian Sahib is a threat to democracy.”

Recalling Mr Sharif’s views on then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s ouster by the Supreme Court, he advised the PML-N leader to follow his own advice offered by back then.

Speaking to journalists at the baraat ceremony of the nephew of PPP’s central information secretary Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmad on Thursday, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said firmly that despite the PML-N’s attempts to start a dialogue, he had no intention of speaking to Mr Sharif about anything.

Commenting on Mr Sharif’s statement that he represented an ideology, he said Mr Sharif was an opportunist who did not even know the meaning of ideology. “Working for one’s personal interest cannot be termed as working for some ideology.”

He said the PPP had a clear stance on the subject of civilian supremacy and it won’t budge an inch from its stance.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2017

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‘Hidden hands’ pushing country towards democratic instability: Ahsan Iqbal

  • ,'Democracy is reigning supreme',

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal suggested on Monday that some "hidden hands" are attempting to sabotage the democratic process in the country but that the nation would break the cycle [of political instability] "this time".

In ,a post made on his Facebook page,, Iqbal began by listing decades in Pakistan's history that were alternately marked by either democracy or military rule.

"Our history: '50s Democracy, '60s Martial Law, '70s Democracy, '80s Martial Law, '90s Democracy, '00s Martial Law, '10s Democracy, [20] '20s ???" he wrote.

The minister said that Pakistan's history has fluctuated between democracy and martial laws, adding that it has become a pattern.

"Some hidden hands and inertia of history are trying to drift the democratic process into [the] same old design," he wrote in his post.

Editorial: ,Civil-military squabbling,

Iqbal questioned whether the country would be able to "break the cycle" of political instability or follow the same route [taken earlier].

He then expressed hope that "the cycle will break this time" as the country, "except a troika of failed politicians, disgruntled media anchors, and a few retired servicemen", is committed to securing the democratic process.

"We can't compromise on our future and the tide of Rising Pakistan!!!" he concluded.

In response to a comment about the role of PML-N — Iqbal's party — in the imposition of martial law by Ziaul Haq, the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto's government and the removal of Yousuf Raza Gilani, Iqbal said that mistakes had been made by all sides in the past.

"We all made mistakes in the past, even PPP conspired against us with [the] establishment, therefore COD [Charter of Democracy] was signed. We need to move forward."

'Democracy is reigning supreme'

The minister's statement comes at a time when the top leadership of the PML-N has converged on the British capital ahead of what is billed as a key consultative meeting that will decide both the party’s and the government’s position on what steps to take next.

Know more: ,PML-N high command meets in London today,

Denying tensions between state institutions, Iqbal had claimed on Saturday that certain segments of the media and the army, and some “failed” politicians, were trying to create the perception of a standoff in order to further their own agenda.

Iqbal had alleged that some disgruntled elements wanted to pit the PML-N against the army. “They will never succeed in materialising their nefarious designs,” he had said.

“Democracy is reigning supreme in the country and the next general elections will be held on time.”

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PPP on hot streak before superior courts

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing year has been one of relief for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as far as the superior courts are concerned.

The PPP leaders had faced a tough time at the hands of the judiciary during the era of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which also coincided wither their term in the Centre, be it from old corruption cases being revived against the senior leadership or brand new scams.

Interestingly, when Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was initially deposed from his post by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the PPP played a pivotal role in his restoration. Senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan had led the lawyers’ movement and appeared as the CJP’s counsel in the apex court.

Top court allows Dr Asim to go abroad for treatment

At the beginning of lawyers’ movement, PPP lawyers Sardar Latif Khosa, Zamurd Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan and Haroonur Rasheed were brutally beaten by the police, which intensified the movement. Likewise, several PPP workers were among the 48 people killed in violence in Karachi on May 12, 2007.

The first rift between the PPP and superior courts occurred when the apex court suspended the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) on October 12, 2007.

Later, the confrontation between the PPP and the superior courts intensified after the court’s December 16, 2009 order declaring the NRO null and void and directing the government to send a letter to the Swiss government to reopen cases against then-president Asif Ali Zardari.

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In the meanwhile, the CJP formed a special bench for the implementation of the NRO judgment. The proceedings of this bench had profound repercussions, including sending former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani packing after finding him guilty of contempt of court.

Several other officials including two attorneys general, one law secretary and a NAB chairman also went home due to NRO case.

The apex court had also initiated contempt of court proceedings against several PPP leaders including Gilani, Babar Awan, Rehman Malik, Taj Haider and Sharjeel Memon in different cases.

Interestingly, these contempt cases against PPP leaders were not been taken up by the apex court after the retirement of Justice Chaudhry.

Winds change

Just after 2017 rolled in, good tidings came for the PPP as Sardar Latif Khosa successfully got the name of accused currency smuggler and fashion model Ayyan Ali removed from the Exit Control List (ECL), allowing her to go abroad.

The bench discarded the interior ministry’s appeal to keep model Ali’s name on the ECL and upheld the Sindh High Court’s verdict to remove her name from it. Similarly, the Islamabad High Court on March 20 acquitted the former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi in the Hajj corruption case. Khosa was also the counsel in this case.

Then on March 30, the Sindh High Court granted bail to PPP MPA Shajeel Inam Memon in a NAB case. Earlier, Memon had fled abroad to escape arrest. Farooq H Naek argued on his behalf. Naek was also the counsel for Asif Zardari and got the former president acquitted in nine corruption cases.

In March, the SHC granted bail on medical grounds to PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain in two corruption references worth Rs479 billion. He had been detained for more than one year.

SC allows Dr Asim to go abroad for medical treatment

The top court on Tuesday also allowed Asim to go abroad for a month for medical treatment and ordered that his name be temporarily removed from the exit control list (ECL).

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan took up Dr Asim’s petition requesting that his name be removed from the ECL.

After hearing the arguments, the court gave him one month’s permission to go abroad and receive medical treatment on a surety of Rs6 million. However, the bench asked the trial court to continue the trial in his absence.

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It also set aside the SHC order wherein Dr Asim’s plea for the removal of his name from the ECL was turned down.

The bench expected that Dr Asim will fulfil his commitment to the court and return to Pakistan within a month. It said that one of the co-accused in the same case was allowed by NAB to go abroad for business purposes, adding that medical experts had also opined in favour of allowing Dr Asim to proceed abroad for treatment.

The bench remarked that NAB was ruining its own reputation and if the bureau was putting its heart into its work, the case would have concluded by now. The court also rejected NAB’s appeal against Dr Asim’s bail in two corruption cases.

The post PPP on hot streak before superior courts appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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Opposition not enthused about Sharif’s talks offer

ISLAMABAD: Attaching little importance to the repeated offer for dialogue put forward by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif for a better relationship among state institutions, opposition parties seem to be more amenable to a similar offer made by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani.

The leaders of the three main opposition parties in parliament — the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — were unanimous about the need for such a dialogue.

However, each party insisted that it would be better able to convey its viewpoint once the mechanism and the level of the proposed dialogue was finalised.

PPP, PTI, MQM seem more amenable to Senate chairman-proposed dialogue among institutions

Since the announcement of the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case last month, PML-N leaders have been saying that the time has come for a “final dialogue” among stakeholders.

Talking to reporters during his stay at Islamabad’s Punjab House, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had on a number of occasions expressed his willingness to engage the country’s political leadership for a dialogue to end the imbalance in civil-military relations, because of which not a single elected prime minister had ever completed his tenure since independence.

In one of his interactions with mediapersons, Mr Sharif had stated that there seemed to be a “virus” in the country’s system that did not allow elected prime ministers to complete their terms. He had stated that everyone needed to trace the fault, so that the country could be brought on the right track. He had also expressed his party’s continued commitment to the Charter of Democracy (CoD), and even said that agreement could be improved after consultation with all political parties.

On the other hand, senators from nearly all parties had, last week, agreed to a proposal from Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to initiate institutional dialogue between parliament, the military establishment and the judiciary so as to avert a clash of institutions. Mr Rabbani had floated the idea following extensive discussion on the current political situation after the Panama Papers verdict.

Stressing that all institutions should work within their domains under the ambit of the law, Mr Rabbani had said the invitation to the military would be extended through the prime minister, since the military came under the executive under the law of the land. For the judiciary, the invitation would be sent to the chief justice of Pakistan.

He had announced that the committee of the whole house would be convened soon to finalise a way forward. Talking to Dawn, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that his party was not giving any serious consideration to whatever Nawaz Sharif had been saying since his ouster, because he had lost all credibility.

“What credibility does Nawaz Sharif have now? He has been disowned even by the Supreme Court,” Mr Qureshi said.

However, he said that Mr Rabbani was known as a credible person by all parties, adding that the Senate chairman should take the leaders of all political parties into confidence about his proposed plan.

So far, he said, they were not aware of the mechanism for the dialogue and who would represent the judiciary and the military.

As far as Mr Sharif’s offer was concerned, he said, if the ex-prime minister was serious, then he should get off the streets and ask his nominated Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to initiate the dialogue in the National Assembly first.

Similarly, PPP spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said the party leadership had already declared they were not ready to accept any dialogue offer from the PML-N at this point in time.

Mr Babar, who is also a senator, said that it seemed that the Senate chairman wanted to use the Committee of the Whole House for this purpose, as had been done for issues such as the Fata reforms, steps to provide speedy justice and the revival of student unions in educational institutions.

Mr Babar recalled that the committee had once even invited the chief justice of Pakistan. However, he said, the PPP would welcome any initiative aiming at strengthening the parliament and establishing civilian supremacy.

MQM parliamentary leader Dr Farooq Sattar claimed his party had formally proposed the initiation of such a dialogue to both PPP and the PML-N in the past, but to no avail. He recalled that his party had asked former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to engage the military since he had good relations with then-army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Mr Sattar said the MQM wanted an end to the of civil-military musical chairs, adding that dialogue was the best way forward.

Late night, speaking at a rally in Lahore, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif also welcomed Mr Rabbani’s proposal and said the PML-N would be in forefront in implementation of the suggestion.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017

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