Posts Tagged ‘zardari’

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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Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar file appeals against Avenfield verdict

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar challenged their convictions by an accountability court in the Avenfield corruption reference in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday.

The court on July 6 had sentenced Nawaz to 10 years in prison for owning assets beyond known income, along with a fine of £8 million. Maryam was given seven years of jail time and slapped with a fine of £2 million, as the court found her guilty of being “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father”. Capt Safdar was handed one year in jail for failure to cooperate with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and for aiding and abetting Nawaz and Maryam.

Also read: ,What are the ways the Sharifs could appeal the Avenfield verdict?,

Seven separate appeals were filed by the three convicts’ lawyers ? three on behalf of Nawaz, and two each on behalf of Maryam and Safdar ? pertaining to the corruption references against them.

Advocate Khawaja Haris filed the appeals on behalf of Nawaz; one urging the IHC to set aside the accountability court’s verdict in the Avenfield reference, another to suspend the said verdict until the IHC adjudicated on the main appeals, and a third requesting the court to ,transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship corruption references, against Nawaz from the court of accountability judge Mohammad Bashir to another accountability court in Islamabad.

Amjad Pervaiz filed two appeals each on behalf of Maryam and Safdar. One of the petitions urged the IHC to set aside the accountability court’s verdict in the Avenfield corruption reference, while the second requested the suspension of the NAB court’s verdict until the IHC adjudicates on the appeals.

The appeals stated that accountability judge Mohammad Bashir had passed the Avenfield verdict on the basis of presumptions and assumptions, without fulfilling the “requirements of justice”.

They argued that until the IHC adjudicates on the appeals against the accountability court’s decision, the convicts should be released on bail.

They claimed that the chart of the Sharif family’s assets and liabilities as their “known sources of income”, which was produced in the accountability court, was not submitted by the head of the Panama Papers case joint investigation team ? who was NAB’s star witness ? and did not bear the signatures of any officials either.

Khawaja Haris, in an appeal filed on behalf of Nawaz, pointed out that NAB had declared the Avenfield flats were worth more than the former premier’s known income, but had failed to take into account the value of the flats at the time of their purchase.

One of the appeals added that the prosecution had provided no evidence establishing Nawaz as the owner of the London flats.

The appeals also referred to the contentious use of Calibri font in the trust deed, saying that forensic expert Robert Radley had admitted that the font had been in existence at the time the trust deed was prepared.

Referring to the use of Calibri font in the trust deeds submitted by Maryam to the joint investigation team (JIT) during the Panama Papers case investigation, one of the appeals argued that the creator of the font, Robert Radley, had admitted that the font had existed at the time when the deeds were prepared.

Khawaja Haris urged the court to transfer the two remaining corruption references against Nawaz — Flagship Enterprises and Al Azizia — to another accountability judge since the arguments in both cases were similar to the ones in the Avenfield reference. Nawaz’s counsel argued that since the evidence in both the cases was similar, the verdict may be the same if heard by the same judge.

He had earlier requested judge Mohammad Bashir to recuse himself from the case for the same reasons and the latter had agreed to refer the matter to the IHC. If Haris’ arguments are deemed valid, the case will be transferred to another judge, as the IHC holds the authority to transfer cases to another court.

The petitioners observed that the court had announced the verdict in absentia, even though the Sharifs had appealed to the court to delay the judgement for seven days.

At the time of the verdict, both Nawaz and Maryam were in London where Kulsoom Nawaz, who is battling cancer, is reportedly on life support. Safdar was in Pakistan but was not present in court.

PPP, PML-N agreed to ‘bury the past’, reminds Rasheed

Talking to the media about the Avenfield verdict today, PML-N leader Pervaiz Rasheed repeated his party’s stance that the court had not been able to prove any corruption charges against the Sharif family.

He also referred to the Charter of Democracy, that was signed in 2005 between slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and then PML-N president Nawaz, saying that it was agreed that both parties will “bury the past and not bring it up again”.

“PML-N stands by its word,” he added.

Rashid’s statement comes at a time when PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari is under fire for his ,alleged involvement in suspicious financial transactions, worth Rs35bn through 29 ‘benami’ accounts. However, the probe against him has been postponed until after the general elections.

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Zardari slams terrorism cases against PML-N members

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former president Asif Ali Zardari has condemned initiation of terrorism ,cases against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers, in Punjab, saying every citizen has the democratic right to hold rallies and public meetings.

“Political activists are the strength of democracy and democratic process,” Mr Zardari said in a statement issued by his party’s Central Media Office on Sunday.

The former president also expressed concerns over curbs on freedom of expression, saying his party would not tolerate such steps. He boasted that there was no political prisoner during the five years of the PPP government, from 2008 to 2013.

The top PPP leader issued the statement a day after it was reported that PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shahbaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and 50 other leaders of the party had been booked under terrorism and other charges for “inciting” the crowd to violate law in Lahore on Friday at the time of arrival of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz from London.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyam Aurangzeb, former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq and senior leader Javed Hashmi are among those booked.

PPP spokesman says only one party being allowed to run campaign smoothly

The FIR lodged with the Lohari police station accuses Shahbaz and former MNA Hamza of pelting the law enforcement agencies officials with stones allegedly with an intention to kill them. The main allegations against the PML-N leaders include damaging public buildings and properties, hurling threats and injuring the law enforcement agencies officials. They have also been accused of interfering in the official work, violating Section 144 of the PPC and the code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the candidates, besides holding illegal assemblies and rallies.

According to Lahore police, a total of 12 FIRs have been lodged against the suspects, including the former prime minister and former Punjab chief minister.

Mr Zardari said it was the responsibility of the ECP to provide a conducive environment to all the political parties participating in the elections.

Without naming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, who passed some objectionable remarks against the PML-N workers and leaders, Mr Zardari said that “bullet and bad-mouthing are the enemies of democracy”.

“One should not resort to foul language in politics. The people who are always bad-mouthing others cannot serve the nation,” he said.

The former president said that despite security concerns, PPP chairman and his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari could not be kept away from the people.

Condemning firing on rally of a PPP candidate in Dadu, he asked the Sindh government to immediately arrest the culprits.

In a separate statement, PPP spokesman Senator Moula Bakhsh Chandio criticised the caretaker government and the ECP for not taking adequate measures to provide security to election candidates in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the country.

He said it was surprising that instead of providing security the caretaker government was asking the parties under threat to stop their election campaigns. “Those who are being attacked by the terrorists are being asked to stop campaigning,” the senator said, adding: “When terrorists issue us threats, the government asks us to stay indoors.”

“The caretaker governments must tell the nation, who is to decide about the elections? People of Pakistan or the terrorists?” he asked.

Without naming the PTI, Mr Chandio alleged that only one party was being allowed to run its election campaign smoothly. The other politicians were being warned against possibility of terrorist attacks.

“How it is possible that a political leader has the permission to hold public meetings wherever he wants and others are stopped? There is some nexus. It is the duty of the ECP and the caretaker government to find out this nexus,” said the senator in an apparent reference to the claim of the PPP and the PML-N that the PTI was being supported by the establishment.

Mr Chandio said if the ECP remained silent over the situation then questions would be raised about election results. He, however, said the PPP would continue its election campaign despite all the negative tactics.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018

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Taliban not involved in Haroon Bilour’s killing, says uncle

PESHAWAR: A senior leader of the Awami National Party, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, has hinted at involvement of “our own people who have benefited from my nephew’s murder”, ,not Taliban,, in the suicide attack on an election meeting in the Yakatoot area of the city on July 10, which killed Haroon Bilour and 19 others.

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the eldest uncle of Haroon Bilour, who is contesting the election from NA-35 constituency and had himself survived a suicide attack a few years ago, made this claim while talking to a reporter of a private channel.

Take a look: ,Bilour threatens FIR against Zardari, COAS and CEC,

Mr Bilour told the reporter that Taliban had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on his nephew, but he thought otherwise.

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour suggests it was an ‘inside job’

The 78-year-old Bilour claimed that he had evidence suggesting that Taliban were not involved in the attack. But instead of giving reasons or proof on the basis of which he gave the statement, he just recited some verses suggesting that it was an inside job — a treacherous murder committed by those who were immediate beneficiaries of the killing.

Mr Bilour insisted that the tragic incident did not benefit Taliban, saying that their opponents were wrong to think that they (the Bilours and their political party) would be scared by the attack. “I and my party will take part in elections and won’t let the wishes of our opponents be fulfilled.”

The ANP leader said that his party’s struggle would continue and it would field a candidate in the by-election on PK-78, from where Haroon Bilour was a candidate. The ANP would certainly win the constituency, he added.

Mr Bilour’s statement is contrary to what was initially believed as the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack targeting Haroon Bilour immediately after the incident. The TTP cited targeting of its men during the ANP’s previous five-year rule in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the main reason for such attacks.

In the past, a claim similar to Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s was made by the family of former provincial law minister Israrullah Gundapur after he was killed in a suicide attack on Oct 16, 2013.

Dawn was unable to get into touch with ANP Secretary General Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Information Secretary Zahid Khan to get their version on Mr Bilour’s remarks.

Malak Ghulam Mustafa , a close companion of Haroon Bilour and the ANP’s Peshawar district president, did not endorse Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s statement and said no discussion on the claim had taken place during a meeting of the district chapter of the party.

“An investigation into the Yakatoot suicide attack has yet to establish who perpetrated the bombing,” Ghulam Mustafa said. “Haroon Bilour was a decent man who did not have enmity with anyone as he never used foul language even against his opponents.”

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018

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Bilawal rejects ‘ban’ on PPP campaign in KP

BATKHELA: PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has rejected ban on election-related activities of his party by the provincial caretaker government, saying as citizens of the country running election campaign is their constitutional right.

He was addressing a press conference at the residence of PPP provincial chief Humayan Khan in Jolagram here on Sunday on the second day of his two-day visit to Malakand division.

Bilawal said that Malakand rally was postponed as mark of solidarity with people of Balochistan after the Mustang blast that killed 132 people. He said that despite postponement of the rally, he visited the area. He said thanked the people of Malakand for welcoming him warmly.

Hopes polls will be held according to schedule

He was accompanied by former senator Farhatullah Babar, Humayun Khan, former MPAs Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha, Sartaj Dawrankhel, Dina Naz and district nazim Syed Ahmed Ali Shah Bacha.

Expressing concerns over the growing incidents of terrorism in the country, Bilawal said that only PPP could create atmosphere in the parliament for taking action against terrorism. He said that PPP from the day first was insisting on implementation of National Action Plan (NAP). He said that the PPP government prepared an economic plan for the affected areas to cope with militancy.

He said that the previous PML-N government failed to enforce the plan during the last five years. He stressed the need for focusing on the progress and prosperity of the people of Malakand and tribal districts. He said that under 18th Amendment, rights should be given to smaller provinces.

Bilawal said that during enforcement of Fata reforms, PPP had written a letter to the prime minister to ask him to exempt people of Malakand from taxes for five years. He said that provision of gas, electricity and water etc to the backward areas were his top priorities.

He said that economic stability was the achievement of PPP. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto laid foundation of economic stability and development while Benazir Bhutto struggled to fulfil that mission, he added.

The PPP chairman said that Asif Ali Zardari had taken measure for the progress of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and gave identity to Pakhtun by renaming the province. He said that terrorists wanted to highjack freedom and democracy but they would not succeed in their nefarious designs. Bilawal said that PPP wanted fair and transparent elections on time. He said that he hoped that elections would be held according to the schedule.

The PPP chairman said that some political parties expressed reservations over partiality of the caretaker government. He said that PPP had submitted a motion in that regard and it would be discussed in Senate.

Bilawal said that PPP would take up the issue of ban on its election campaign in the party meeting. “We will devise a strategy after checking that the reports are true or not. If there is any such order by the government, it is not acceptable to us,” he said. He alleged that he was stopped in Multan and Ouch as some hidden hands wanted to keep PPP away from election campaign.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018

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Nation mourns deaths in poll campaign blasts

QUETTA: As the nation observed a day of mourning over recent terrorist attacks on election candidates in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa just a few days before the general elections, the caretaker prime minister, Senate chairman and political party heads arrived in the city on Sunday to condole the Mastung killings.

The death toll in the Mastung suicide bombing reached 149 on Sunday when officials found that some bodies had not been brought to any hospital. They were buried by their families soon after the blast, the officials said, adding that the death toll might increase further during a survey being conducted in nearby villages. “The death toll of Mastung carnage is now 149,” Mastung deputy commissioner Qaim Lashari confirmed to Dawn.

Take a look: ,Leaders of all major parties under threat, Nacta tells ECP,

The national flag remained at half-mast on government buildings across the country to mourn the death of all those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks at Peshawar on July 10 and in Mastung and Bannu on July 13.

Mastung toll surges to 149; Shahbaz, Imran, Sanjrani visit Raisani family

Shortly after their arrival at Quetta on Sunday, caretaker PM Nasirul Mulk and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani visited the Raisani family to condole the death of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, who was targeted in the Mastung blast on Friday, and then visited the injured victims at the hospital.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan also condoled the death of Mr Raisani during their separate visits to Quetta. Expressing serious concern over the security situation in the country, both the party heads termed the Mastung incident a “national tragedy”. Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari cancelled a public meeting in Malakand on Sunday as a mark of solidarity with the victims of the attacks. While he met the Bilour family to condole the death of Awami National Party candidate in Peshawar blast, he is likely to visit Balochistan soon to condole the death of the BAP candidate.

The country has been in the grip of renewed attacks by terrorists who have targeted three election candidates in blasts, killing more than 170 people and injuring over 200 others.

The first major incident took place on July 10 when ANP candidate from Peshawar (PK-78) Haroon Bilour and 19 others were killed in an attack targeting the party’s election meeting. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for the killing of Mr Haroon’s father Bashir Bilour in 2012, said it had carried out the attack. Two days later, two more terrorist attacks took place targeting election candidates in Bannu and Mastung.

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal candidate from Bannu (NA-35) Akram Khan Durrani survived the attack that killed four other people. Hours later, a powerful bomb blast targeted a meeting of Balochistan Awami Party candidate from Mastung (PB-35) Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, killing him with 127 others on the spot.

Meanwhile, PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif and PTI chairman Imran Khan during their separate visits to Sarawan House in Quetta condoled with the family members of BAP candidate Siraj Raisani, who was the youngest brother of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and former MNA Lashkari Raisani.

Talking to the media after the meeting, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif termed the Mastung carnage a “national tragedy”. He said: “Every Pakistani is sad on the huge human loss.

“We are with the Raisani family and others who had lost their near and dear ones,” he added.

He supported Lashkari Raisani’s demand for formation of a truth commission to investigate the terrorist attack that the militant organisation Islamic State reportedly claimed to have carried out.

“Pakistan can’t make progress unless the terrorism is defeated,” Mr Sharif said.

He said it was responsibility of the caretaker government and the Election Commission to ensure holding of impartial elections.

Mr Sharif accused the Punjab government of supporting “one of our opponent political party” and said such actions would create doubts about impartially of the polls. He said “rigged elections” wouldn’t be in the country’s interest.

“Unfortunately, when the entire country is under severe grief, the PTI chief is still distracting people of Pakistan with his false speeches,” he said, adding that it was time to get united against terrorism instead of segregating the nation.

Earlier, PTI chairman Imran Khan told a news conference that abandoning election campaign would encourage terrorists as they would succeed in their nefarious designs to sabotage the upcoming elections.

Mr Khan paid rich tribute to late Siraj Raisani and termed him “a true and a brave Pakistani.” He said the purpose of his visit was to express solidarity with the people of Balochistan, Raisani family and with all those who lost their loved ones in the Mastung tragedy.

He said some quarters were asking the PTI and other political parties to stop their election campaign. “Our election campaign is continuing and will not be stopped across the country. Abandoning election campaign means to surrender before the terrorists and their encouragement,” he said.

Replying to a question, Mr Khan said the PTI had a comprehensive plan to deal with terrorism. “To get rid of terrorism, all the four provinces must be united and should be on one page,” he said. He deplored that the National Action Plan prepared with consensus of political parties had not been fully implemented in the country.

Meanwhile, an official handout issued from the PM Office said that the caretaker prime minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk presided over a meeting to review the situation in the wake of Mastung blast. Senior civil and military officials, including Southern Command commander Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, also attended the meeting.

The provincial chief secretary informed the meeting about the details of the Mastung incident and the arrangements being made for the upcoming general elections.

The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to take all possible steps to ensure security of election candidates and the public. “The prime minister underlined 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”, the official handout added.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 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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Bilawal suspends his countrywide political activities

After his party was forced to scrap its planned rallies in Peshawar and Malakand due to mounting security threats, and in solidarity with the victims of Mastung, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday suspended his party’s political activities all over Pakistan.

With Bilawal in KP on a two-day visit, the PPP had planned to stage public gatherings in Peshawar but especially Malakand — a district it has ,historically done well in, and whose NA-9 constituency the Bhutto scion will be contesting the July 25 polls on.

Bilawal was ,scheduled to leave Peshawar for Malakand, this morning, and lead a rally from Sakhakot to Batkhela before addressing a public meeting at Zafar Park in the evening.

However, KP and the neighbouring Balochistan have been hit by three major terrorist attacks this week, together claiming the lives of around 150 people.

As a result, KP’s district administration today refused to grant PPP permission to go ahead with its planned events, and advised Bilawal to remain within cantonment areas.

The party’s KP chapter secretary information, Senator Rubina Khalid, told DawnNewsTV that marathon discussions were held with the local administration and police but the permission was not granted.

Bilawal then suspended his political activities, although he said he would still go to his constituencies and meet his party’s local leadership.

Devastated by continued attacks on innocent Pakistanis. loss of shaheed Siraj Raisani & 120 innocent people in Mastung cannot be in vain must insure this mindset is defeated. Have suspended my political activities in solidarity.

— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) ,July 14, 2018,

Later on, in a press conference, announcing his decision to suspend political activities, Bilawal expressed grief over the Mastung tragedy and said he could not expose his party’s workers to a similar threat.

“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,” he said.

Bilawal also complained of not getting a level playing field, saying: “ANP and BAP can’t engage freely in political activities. The PPP is not getting a level playing field either. Not only have we been impeded at various places but my workers have also been pressurised into switching loyalties.

“I have not been given proper media coverage, and I have been repeatedly told to remain within the cantonment areas. How can I campaign in this situation?” he asked.

“This is pre-poll rigging and it would make the results of the elections controversial. But despite all this, we are in the electoral race and will contest the polls.”

Regarding the recent terror attacks, Bilawal urged all the stakeholders to “be on the same page” to implement the National Action Plan.

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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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Barbs fly in Senate over Imran’s remarks

ISLAMABAD: Lawma­kers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) traded barbs in the Senate as members of various political parties continued to speak up against what they described as the denial of a level playing field for all candidates and the absence of adequate security for political leaders and candidates who faced threats to their lives.

Senator Saadia Abbasi, sister of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, took strong exception to PTI chief ,Imran Khan’s remarks,: “those greeting Nawaz Sharif are donkeys”.

She said that she would be shortly leaving for Lahore to greet PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, and added that 36 senators of the PML-N had already left for Lahore. “Are there 37 donkeys sitting in this House?” she asked, adding: “Is this the language of politicians?”

PTI’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Nauman Wazir retorted saying, what else should those greeting a convicted criminal be called. “Only corrupt people will support corrupt leaders,” he remarked.

He said it was inappropriate to glorify criminal behaviour in Pakistan. “This is what you are teaching to the young generations of Pakistan,” he remarked.

Mr Wazir also criticised Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP) chief Asif Ali Zardari for stating in a TV show that the National Accountability Bureau could not dare hold an inquiry against him. Insisting that NAB had evidence of money laundering against Mr Zardari, he asked the Supreme Court registrar to explain why the investigation process against him had been stopped.

He deplored the surge in terrorism ahead of general elections and said it would continue to happen unless a plan was chalked out and implemented. “For now apparently there is no plan,” he remarked.

He said members of proscribed organisations were contesting elections and noted that those who had cleared them should be taken to task.

Leader of the opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman criticised both the PTI and PML-N, saying that one party abused parliament while the other belittled it. She, however, spoke up against the arrests of PML-N activists ahead of Mr Sharif’s return to Pakistan.

She said Najaf Mirza who had tortured Asif Ali Zardari in jail was heading a joint investigation team against him. She sought an apology from caretaker Information Minister Barrister Ali Zafar for his remarks that the Senate had no mandate to oversee the Election Commission. She insisted that the Senate had the powers to oversee elections, election processes and the ECP, and asked the minister to take back his words.

Chief of the National Party Mir Hasil Bizenjo in his speech alleged that the caretakers had come with an agenda to rig the elections. “They are part and parcel of the crime being committed,” he said.

He added that those who had refused to accept dictates had to face NAB, while a certain political party had been given a complete walkover. He said there was a plan to sideline the entire political leadership to pave the way for the creation of a government of their choice.

Barrister Saif of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, while referring to a series of terrorist attacks, said that such incidents took place prior to elections held in the country every time, and added that no lessons had been learnt from this history. He regretted that an institutional mechanism for agencies could not be developed.

Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani regretted that 500 activists of a party had been arrested overnight and 150 containers had been placed at various points, but nothing effective could be done to improve the security environment.

He said some 200 people belonging to banned outfits were contesting elections. He said these outlawed organisations had not changed their stance with regard to violence and preservation of democracy.

He also referred to reports of a meeting between intelligence chiefs of Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran reportedly held in Islamabad and said the foreign office had expressed its ignorance over the meeting. “Where is the civilian government,” he asked.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2018

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Zardari, Faryal Talpur’s names placed on ECL ‘as per court orders’, clarifies interior minister

Caretaker Interior Minister Azam Khan on Friday clarified that the names of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur have been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) following the court’s orders, DawnNewsTV reported.

“The Supreme Court had issued orders for the immediate placement on the ECL of all those implicated in the case, including Zardari and his sister,” maintained Khan.

The court order was issued in the wake of an ongoing Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) investigation pursuing a fake bank accounts case. “All those named [in court's order] have been placed on the ECL,” the interior minister added.

Earlier, the ,Supreme Court had ordered the interior ministry, to immediately place the names of a number of individuals identified as accused by the FIA on the ECL so that they might not leave the country until the investigation was concluded or till further orders.

Read next: ,Zardari rejects money laundering allegations, condemns the ‘torture’ of Lawai,

However, on Thursday the chief justice wondered how an impression was created in the media that the apex court had ordered placing the names of Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur on the ECL when ,nothing of the sort had been stated,.

“We did not even summon Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur in person before the court,” the chief justice explained.

The interior minister, however, insists that the interior ministry has possession of the court’s written order which had listed the name of Asif Ali Zardari along with others found complicit.

“Given the situation that has developed we are reviewing our options,” he said.

The chief justice said on Thursday that a new joint investigation team (JIT) could be set up to probe the case, which concerns a 2015 FIA investigation into fake accounts and fictitious transactions worth up to Rs35 billion conducted through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and UBL.

Seven individuals are believed to be involved in the suspicious transactions, and the fake accounts have allegedly been used to channel funds received through heavy bribes and kickbacks.

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SC puts on hold FIA probe against Zardari, Faryal till polls

FORMER chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai being produced before apex court on Thursday.—Online

FORMER chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai being produced before apex court on Thursday.—Online

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from pursuing its investigation against PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake bank accounts case till the coming general elections are over.

“We do not want excuses that the July 25 elections are rigged,” observed Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar while hearing a suo motu case regarding the slow-paced investigation on part of the FIA in pending inquiries relating to fake accounts and suspicious transactions worth Rs35 billion. These accounts were allegedly used for transactions of heavy amounts obtained through receiving bribes and kickbacks.

The apex court also explained that its July 9 order had not asked for placing the names of the two leaders on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, a member of the bench, cautioned FIA Director General Bashir Memon to ensure that no complaint of harassment was made during the investigation, suggesting that the agency should not summon anyone who was not related to the investigation.

Explains that no order has been issued to put names of two leaders on ECL

The complaints of corruption should always be probed, the court said but clarified that the present hearing was not aimed at damaging the credibility or harming the integrity of any individual named as accused in the case.

“We will hear the case of those who have been put on the ECL and decide the case after hearing them while remaining within the confines of the law,” the chief justice said.

The case revolves around a 2015 inquiry into the suspicious transactions when 29 ‘benami’ accounts were identified of which 16 were opened in the Summit bank, eight in the Sindh Bank and five in the United Bank Limited. Seven individuals were involved in suspiciously transacting Rs35bn through these accounts.

Removed chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, said to be a close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, and co-accused Taha Raza, corporate unit head of the Summit Bank, have been ,arrested by the FIA, in the case.

Earlier, the ,Supreme Court had ordered the interior ministry, to immediately place the names of a number of individuals identified as accused by the FIA on the ECL so that they might not leave the country until the investigation was concluded or till further orders.

The individuals are: Anwer Majeed, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Noreen Sultan, Kiran Aman, Summit Bank Chairman Naseer Abdullah Lootah, Muhammad Iqbal Khan Noori, Muhammad Ashraf, Muhammad Iqbal Araen, Muhammad Umair, Adnan Jawed, Qasim Ali and Azam Wazir Khan.

On Thursday the chief justice wondered how an impression was created in the media that the apex court had ordered placing the names of Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur on the ECL when ,nothing of the sort had been stated,.

“We did not even summon Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur in person before the court,” the chief justice explained.

Pointing to senior PPP leader Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the chief justice observed that he should have removed vagueness if he had any about the orders before briefing his party after attending a meeting on the subject. If he felt any ambiguity, he should have moved an application to seek clarity on the order.

Farooq H. Naek, another PPP leader and lawyer, regretted that the FIA had hurled allegations that Mr Zardari had received Rs15 million in his accounts when he was not a director of the Zardari Group Pvt Ltd.

Moreover, the FIA had appointed Najaf Mirza head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) it had constituted to investigate the matter, he said, recalling that Mr Mirza as the then superintendent of Karachi jail had been accused of inflicting a wound on the tongue of Mr Zardari during an investigation in 2005. His name had been mentioned in the FIR registered on behalf of Mr Zardari.

The court, however, observed that no official could be removed unless he had been heard by the court, adding that Mr Naek should file an application to raise the apprehensions he had expressed.

The court, however, asked the FIA not to summon Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur or any one contesting elections until the polls were over, emphasising again that the elections would be held in a fair and impartial manner.

The court regretted the role of the State Bank of Pakistan which it said had taken three days to open the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund and even avoided to take up the call of the apex court’s registrar.

Senior counsel Raza Kazim told the court that he was representing 76-year-old Anwar Majeed who was a heart patient. The court said that the case was in preliminary stage and Mr Majeed would be summoned whenever needed.

On a query, the FIA DG told the court that the banks had started cooperating with the agency but the court said that the FIA would need the assistance of experts, offering to appoint a JIT of experts with clean background.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018

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PPP, PML-N come closer on issue of ‘interference’ in polls

ISLAMABAD: The two major political parties and arch-rivals of the past — Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) — seem to be coming closer on some issues ahead of the general elections as they lashed out at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker government on Thursday for their alleged failure to provide a level playing field to the parties.

Also read: ,Elections already stand rigged, alleges PPP’s ex-senator,

Speaking on “matters of public importance” in the Senate, a majority of the members questioned the “larger role” given to the army in the conduct of elections and asked Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to summon the chief election commissioner and the ECP secretary before the Committee of the Whole House to seek an explanation over the commission’s “failure” to play its constitutional role in ensuring the elections in a transparent manner.

Earlier, the former ruling PML-N had been making a hue and cry over the role of the institutions, particularly the judiciary, ECP and National Accountability Bureau (NAB), but now the PPP has also joined its voice with the former on the floor of the Senate, only days after the Federal Investigation Agency summoned former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in a “fake bank accounts” case.

The PPP senators were enraged over the decision of the caretaker government to place the names of Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur on the Exit Control List (ECL). They said caretaker Interior Minister Muhammad Azam Khan had stated on the floor of the house that the names of the PPP leaders had been placed on the ECL on the orders of the Supreme Court whereas the apex court had clarified that it had not issued any such directive. Former interior minister Rehman Malik demanded an apology from those who had “defamed” the party leadership.

Senators lambaste ECP, caretaker govt for not playing constitutional role

The senators also expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation and criticised the caretaker government for “not providing security to the election candidates”.

The senators also accused NAB of becoming a tool in the hands of the “establishment”.

PPP stalwart and former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani said the July 25 elections had already become “controversial due to meddling” by an institution and “failure” of the ECP to play its constitutional role. He said the PPP had even named the army’s colonels and majors interfering in the poll process. He alleged that the candidates were being pressurised to either change their parties or withdraw from the race.

“Where is the defence minister? He should come and explain this interference,” he said, adding that ECP officials should be called before the house to explain as to what role it had assigned to the army and what powers it had given to the troops.

“NAB can only see two parties. The third one is invisible to it. Are the lotas (turncoats) who had switched allegiance and joined a different party above blame now? Why are they not being held accountable?” he asked.

Leader of the Opposition Sherry Rehman alleged that the PPP was being stopped from running its election campaign. She regretted that the party was facing a complete media blackout. The media was facing the worst kind of censorship and they had earlier seen such tactics only during the military rule of Gen Ziaul Haq, she added.

Usman Kakar of the Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party termed the July 25 elections “a fight between the political parties and the establishment”.

“The ECP and all other institutions have become dysfunctional. Practically, there is a martial law in the country. Media is facing worst censorship. All the institutions are being forced to seek direction from the GHQ,” he said, adding that the country was being treated like an “occupied state”.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Shibli Faraz rejected the allegations that his party was being supported by the establishment and said that an impression was being created that the ECP was not providing a level playing field. He said the two parties [PML-N and PPP] had once again joined hands as they knew that their era was about to be over.

Mr Faraz claimed that the PTI would form the government after the July 25 elections and said that if the state institutions were not functioning properly then these two parties were responsible for it as they had been in power for the last 10 years.

PML-N’s Mussadiq Malik expressed concern over the reports of a large number of arrests of the party workers in various parts of the country. He alleged that a new alliance had been formed in Sindh.

“There are ‘jeeps’ in the elections which are hitting democracy”, he said in an apparent reference to the reports that a number of independents contesting the election on the symbol of “jeep” are backed by the establishment.

Prof Sajid Mir of the Jamiat Ahle Hadith, who had been elected senator on a PML-N ticket, asked the parties to unite against interference of one “institution”.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018

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PPP ‘planning’ attacks against GDA leaders, Sindh govt’s alert causes stir

A threat alert reportedly issued by the Sindh home department warning that the PPP might be planning attacks on Dr Zulfikar Mirza and his family and other Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) candidates has caused unrest among PPP’s leadership in Badin district, it emerged on Thursday.

The letter titled ‘Threat Alert GE-2018′ and dated July 4 — a copy of which is available with Dawn — has been doing rounds on social and mainstream media since Wednesday.

A copy of the threat alert issued by Sindh home department.

A copy of the threat alert issued by Sindh home department.

Addressed to the commissioner and deputy inspector general of pol­ice (DIGP) Hyderabad, the letter signed by Section Officer Iqrar Ahmed states that a threat has been reported regarding the GDA leadership to the home department by “reliable sources”.

“It is intimated that [the] PPP leadership has planned to create law and order situation before GE [general elections] and during election day,” the alert states.

It warns that an attack may take place on PPP dissident Dr Mirza and his family members, and other GDA candidates during their election campaign and public gatherings. It also speaks of the likelihood of targeted killings of GDA-affiliated local leaders, influentials and voters.

The letter claims that the PPP leadership has tasked its Badin chapter coordinator and ex-MNA Gul Mohammad Jakhrani with bringing criminals in Badin before and after the polls to create a law and order situation in the district.

“A notorious criminal” Ameer Bux Umrani has been given the task to carry out the violence, it claims.

The elections in Badin are being considered “volatile” because of the political rivalry between Dr Mirza and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the alert states. In this regard, the home department recommends that Dr Mirza and his family “may be provided police protection to curb the possibility of endangering [their lives]“.

“Since this information merits extreme vigilance, high alert and stringent security measures, therefore, you in your capacity as Convener, [Divisional Intelligence Committee] may take all possible efforts as per the TORs of the committee to ward off any untoward incident,” the section officer states, addressing the Hyderabad commissioner.

SSP Badin Sarfaraz Nawaz Shaikh while taking to Dawn confirmed the issuance of the directive to provide foolproof security to Dr Mirza, his wife Dr Fehmida Mirza, sons Barrister Hasnain and Hassam Mirza and two other GDA candidates including Riaz Khan Nizamani and Dr Abdullah Talpur.

Shaikh said that he had received a copy of the letter and was busy chalking out the security plan with the help of other security agencies in light of the directive.

Meanwhile, Badin Deputy Commissioner Asif Jan Siddiqui told Dawn that he would soon reveal a security plan to protect candidates. He, however, avoided commenting on the letter issued by the home department.

“Some documents during the election days happen to be secret and confidential, I am not in a position to comment on such issues,” he said.

‘Ridiculous directive’

When contacted, Gul Mohammad Jakhrani, who has been named in the threat alert, remarked that the home department had issued a “childish and ridiculous directive” ahead of the elections. He termed it as an attempt to rig the elections by bringing the local PPP leadership under pressure.

He said the letter contained serious allegations against him and senior PPP leader Ameer Bux Umrani, adding that he was already in Badin to canvass for PPP candidates as per directions of the party’s top brass.

Jakhrani said he and other local as well as top leaders were mulling over the emerging situation and would move the courts against the misleading directive issued by the caretaker setup. He said no PPP leader was informed on the day it was issued, and it was beyond his imagination as to why the letter was made viral on social media and distributed among local journalists.

Credible sources revealed that the Sindh government has decided to give security to GDA candidates after receiving intelligence reports from law-enforcement agencies, which have been given the task to maintain law and order situation in the district.

Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, the PPP candidate from NA-229 and Ismail Rahu, who is contesting the elections from PS-74 against Dr Mirza, termed the directive as a “grave conspiracy” against their party in the district.

They said it was strange that the Mirzas had been directed to be given security when they [the Mirzas] were themselves using “foul and filthy language” against them.

GDA’s candidate from PS-72 (Tando Bago) and Dr Mirza’s elder son, Hasnain, while talking to Dawn said they had come to know that the provincial government had ordered their security through media, but that they were yet to be officially informed what kind of security would be provided to them.

He said Dr Fehmida and other GDA candidates had written a number of letters to Election Commission of Pakistan officials, the chief justices of both the Supreme Court and Sindh High Court and caretaker Sindh government to provide them security of paramilitary forces since most of the police officials were “politicised”.

Barrister Hasnain said it was their constitutional right to seek security from state agencies and the Sindh government since they were receiving serious threats after they announced to contest elections against the PPP in Badin. “Zardari and his cronies can go to any extent in the current situation, when their candidates are receiving a poor response from the voters of the district,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, GDA general secretary Ayaz Latif Palijo urged the Sindh government to provide security to Dr Mirza and his family and the alliance’s candidates in Badin in wake of the security alert.

He alleged that PPP leaders were hurling life threats and using “ugly tactics” against their opponents in various parts of the province.

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Via DAWN.com

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