Posts Tagged ‘zardari’

‘CPEC is a reality’: Two-day summit kicks off in Karachi

  • ,’CPEC is not a debt trap’,
  • ,’CPEC is a reality’,
  • ,’CPEC not only about economic growth’,
  • ,’CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.’,
  • ,’China and Pakistan have enjoyed great relations for past 5 generations’,
  • ,‘KP’s hospitality being extended to economic friendships through CPEC’,
  • ,‘One can’t imagine CPEC without Gwadar’,
  • ,Objectives of CPEC,

The ,two-day CPEC Summit,, being hosted by the Dawn Media Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, kicked off at Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah on Monday.

Various speakers, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, addressed the conference on the first day of the event.

While addressing the summit, PM Abbasi remarked that while the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was unheard of merely three years ago, the world acknowledges it as a reality today.

The prime minister and all of the other speakers discussed the importance of CPEC with the attendees of the summit.

Representatives of all four provinces discussed the importance of the joint initiative with reference to the development that it has brought to their particular region.

‘CPEC is not a debt trap’

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his address talked about the progress and development made in the country during the tenure of the PML-N’s government.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

“This event proves that Karachi is changing,” he said, adding that when the PML-N came to power in 2013, the city was known for target killings and extortion.

“This is an age of development and growth, with the speed of an electron,” he remarked.

Talking about the Belt and Road initiative, he termed it a huge opportunity. “Pakistan will become a hub of development with the help of this project.

“We made regional connectivity a key component of our Vision2025 project,” he said, terming CPEC the biggest flagship project of the One Belt One Road initiative.

PM Abbasi, Sindh CM Shah, Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the first day of CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

PM Abbasi, Sindh CM Shah, Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the first day of CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

“China extended its hand towards Pakistan when no one wanted to invest even 10 dollars.”

Addressing the reservations about CPEC, Iqbal said: “There are lobbies that are not happy with CPEC — it is not a debt trap.”

“Some say China will become the East India Company; they haven’t read history. China seeks partnership. There is nothing to fear for Pakistani businesses [...] this is propaganda.”

“Long live China-Pak friendship,” Iqbal concluded.

‘CPEC is a reality’

PM Abbasi addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

PM Abbasi addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

“We look upon CPEC as a partnership between two governments,” said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi — the event’s chief guest — at the inauguration of the summit in the morning. “It is a new form of cooperation.”

“Three years ago CPEC was unheard of — today it is known globally. The BRI initiative of Chinese President Xi is a project for generations,” he said, “Recently, we discussed security and connectivity with Afghanistan, which also recognises CPEC as an opportunity.”

“CPEC has now become a reality — two power projects under the initiative have been completed and the third one is about to be finished.”

‘CPEC not only about economic growth’

For the past 40 years, China has made every effort to develop and grow its economy, said Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing in his address.

“We’ve combined socialism and market economy to benefit people.”

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing speaking at the CPEC Summit. ? DawnNewsTV

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing speaking at the CPEC Summit. ? DawnNewsTV

“China wants to see its relationship with Pakistan serve as an example for its relations with other states,” said Jing while speaking on the CPEC.

“We look at CPEC as a significant project. I’m proud that after five years of implementation, it [CPEC] has contributed to Pakistan’s development.”

“CPEC is not just about economic growth; we want to develop a community.”

‘CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.’

Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif addressed the summit in the session ‘View from Punjab’.

“CPEC has helped strengthen the federation of Pakistan; today, Pakistan is a happening place and CPEC has proven that it is a country where people’s money is safe,” he said.

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif — DawnNewsTV

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif — DawnNewsTV

“CPEC has been a turning point in Pakistan’s history,” he said, adding: “Those who doubt intentions of the Chinese are enemies of Pakistan.”

He negated the impression that CPEC was limited to one area or province, saying, “Together with Sindh, Balochistan, KP, FATA and AJK, we will build a better tomorrow.”

“China is one of Pakistan’s most reliable friends. Once the Chinese were convinced that people of Pakistan rightly deserved their support, then came President Xi’s vision of ,Belt and Road Initiative, (BRI) which came to be known as CPEC,” said Shahbaz.

Praising China’s support further, the Punjab CM said there has been no conditions or mantra of “do more” — a reference to the ,often repeated demand from the United States, — from the neighbouring country.

“CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.”

‘China and Pakistan have enjoyed great relations for past 5 generations’

Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah addressed the summit in the session ‘View from Sindh’.

“The past five generations of the Chinese leadership and previous Pakistan governments have all had a great working relationship with each other,” the CM said.

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah — DawnNewsTV

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah — DawnNewsTV

He added: “When China stood isolated on the world stage, it was Pakistan under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that staunchly supported its neighbour. Today, China Pakistan Economic Corridor has seen light of day because of President Xi Jinping and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s vision.”

Speaking about the development taking place in Sindh under the CPEC plan, CM Shah said: “CPEC has resulted in the optimal utilisation of two commercial ports and the opening of Keti Bunder. The development of our commercial ports is in line with the CPEC plan, and Sindh pledges its full cooperation and facilitation in this regard.”

“Sindh had started working towards renewable energy projects long before the formal launch of CPEC and it remains the the only province which has a land grant policy for renewable energy parks,” the CM said, adding that the long-term vision of the Sindh government has produced “turning results.”

He elaborated that Sindh currently contributes 930 megawatts of wind energy to the national grid, “a large chunk of which comes from three early-harvest CPEC projects.”

He also told the audience that an additional 300MW generated through wind power projects would be added to the grid once the projects are completed in October 2018.

‘KP’s hospitality being extended to economic friendships through CPEC’

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Secretary Hassan Ansari, who was representing the KP government at the summit, said that the province is responsible for the production of 15pc of Pakistan’s natural gas output.

“In hydropower, KP has the potential of producing 30,000MW of energy. There are a number of fruits that grow in the province around the CPEC route,” Ansari briefed the attendees of the summit.

Ansari also said that two hydropower projects in Chitral are part of the CPEC framework.

‘One can’t imagine CPEC without Gwadar’

Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, who claimed to be representing the people of Balochistan and not the provincial government, said, “CPEC could not be conceived without Gwadar.”

Bizenjo said that Balochistan constitutes 43pc of Pakistan, and is home to Reko Diq, the second largest copper reserve in the world, and many other minerals.

“The people of Balochistan are hopeful that CPEC will grow and when it does, they will get to grow with it,” he explained.

Objectives of CPEC

A symposium, “The dynamics of economy and finance”, preceded the inauguration ceremony.

The discussion featured, among others, former State Bank governor Ishrat Husain and former finance ministers Shaukat Tarin and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

It’s one of the biggest events to be held in the country on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor aimed at educating the public about the objectives of CPEC and its umbrella project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

The highlight of the second day will be a session titl¬ed “The view from China”. Yao Jing is slated to be the main speaker.

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PTM Lahore rally: Manzoor Pashteen announces to take grievances to Karachi on May 12

  • ,Manzoor Pashteen addresses charged crowd,
  • ,Bilawal, Maryam back PTM’s right to protest,

The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) rally at Lahore’s Mochi Gate kicked off on Sunday as planned, despite Punjab government’s refusal to issue a permit for the event.

During the gathering it was announced that PTM will now hold a rally in Karachi on May 12 to condemn the violence that the city witnessed in 2007.

Among those who took the rostrum were Tahera Jalib — daughter of revolutionary poet Habib Jalib — who read out Dastoor, a famous poem of her father; and Amina Masood Janjua of the Defence of Human Rights Pakistan, whose husband has been missing since 2005.

PTM rally was attended by people from all walks of life. —Aima Khosa

PTM rally was attended by people from all walks of life. —Aima Khosa

Advocate Fazal Khan, father of a student martyred in the 2014 Army Public School attack, also spoke at the event, repeating his demand of formation a judicial commission to investigate the attack.

Awami Workers Party President Fanoos Gujjar, while addressing the crowd, said: “Yesterday when PTM leaders were arrested, we were asked: ‘There is peace in Lahore and you are anti-state traitors. What will the traitors do here? Pakhtuns here are studying and conducting trade, why are you taking their peace away?’”

He went on to claim that Pakhtuns in Punjab face atrocities at the hands of the Punjab police which extorts money from labourers, and that many people are still being picked up in broad daylight from Lahore.

PTM’s central leader Ali Wazir said, “The movement has come to Lahore so that if something [untoward] happens in the future, nobody can say ‘You never reached out to us’.”

A view of PTM rally in Lahore. —Mohsin Dawar

A view of PTM rally in Lahore. —Mohsin Dawar

Manzoor Pashteen addresses charged crowd

Manzoor Pashteen then took to the stage, saying it was the PTM’s “heartfelt wish” to present the situation hidden from the media and the eyes of the public to the people of Lahore.

He explained why the PTM had included the arrest of Rao Anwar and recovery of missing persons in their demands.

He said the whole country had seen the result of PTM’s first demand: the arrest of former SSP Malir Rao Anwar. “Now even the court is saying Anwar is a terrorist and Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was shot dead in a police encounter, has been declared innocent.”

He then narrated stories of innocent people who were killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) without naming who was responsible for their deaths.

“When they can sell 4,000 people, they can do a lot more,” Pashteen said, referring to a recent claim by Justice Javed Iqbal, the head of the missing persons commission, who had accused former president Pervez Musharraf of handing over 4,000 Pakistanis to United States.

“We demand that we should be told the amount for which they [missing persons] were sold. We will collect that money and give it to you so you can bring them back. Do not release them, just give them to the courts if they have committed a crime.”

He also demanded that first information reports against students in Lahore, who are PTM supporters, should be withdrawn. “We are very peaceful but do not forget that we are young, and young people do not have a lot of patience.”

“Now that we have risen up against oppression, we do not fear for our heads,” the PTM leader asserted.

Pashteen announced that the next stop for the movement would be Swat following which a gathering would be held in Karachi on May 12 — to mark the day when over 40 people were killed in the metropolis in 2007.

He also took on the media, which he said was covering the PTM in a biased manner. “We respect you, but you are being hypocritical.”

The district administration had earlier rejected an application by the Lahore Left Front for the PTM rally citing security concerns.

Ali Wazir, one of the main PTM leaders, had earlier appealed to Lahore’s residents to join the gathering to learn about the ordeal residents experienced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He said the gathering was aimed at uniting the exploited and oppressed masses of KP and Punjab in general, and highlighting woes of ordinary Pashtun labourers in Lahore in particular.

Punjab police officials — both male and female — provided security at the venue to ensure that no one entered the ground with weapons or sharp objects.

A number of PTM leaders were ,briefly detained, on Saturday while workers found the venue of the rally flooded with water when they arrived to kickstart preparations today. Both the instances, the PTM claims, were attempts to coerce them into not holding the rally.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Haider Ashraf on Sunday denied arresting any PTM leaders, saying they had only been called to the police headquarters to negotiate on security for the event as the district administration has refused them permission to hold the rally. They were later released after 3-4 hours.

A day earlier on Saturday, DIG Ashraf had said the PTM leaders had been engaged to get affidavits that they would not take part in any anti-state activity.

The refusal of Punjab government to grant permission to the PTM for its rally, combined with the detention of its workers, was criticised by Maryam Nawaz, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, all of whom backed the movement’s right to protest.

The Lahore rally had been announced earlier this month when the movement held its first power show in Peshawar, demanding all missing persons be produced in courts and provision of basic rights to the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Bilawal, Maryam back PTM’s right to protest

PML-N’s leaders Maryam Nawaz and Senator Pervaiz Rasheed both said that the rally should have been allowed while Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the “high-handedness and disregard for the constitutional rights of the people” shown by the Shahbaz Sharif-led provincial government.

In a tweet early Sunday, Maryam said that the arrested activists should be released and the PTM should be allowed to hold its rally. “This country is as much their’s as it is our’s,” she said.

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“Attempts to suppress voices rising against oppression and excesses can never have never been successful, nor will they ever be,” she added.

In his statement, Senator Rasheed said that the ban on the rally was a painful act and that the Punjab government should not only listen to the pain and misery of the protesters but also play their part in alleviating them. “This is not the time to repeat bitterness of the past, but to learn from them and strengthen national unity.”

Bilawal, in a tweet, said that every Pakistani citizen has a right to protest and “PTM are no different”, concluding with #VoterKoIzzatDo, in a reference to PML-N’s slogan demanding respect for vote.

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Bilawal, Maryam back PTM’s right to protest after crackdown ahead of Lahore rally

  • ,PTM workers detained,

Politicians on Sunday backed the Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement’s (PTM) right to protest, a day after a ,number of its leaders and allies were held, in Lahore following the district administration’s refusal to allow them to hold a rally at Mochi Gate.

PML-N’s leaders Maryam Nawaz and Senator Pervaiz Rasheed both said that the rally should have been allowed while Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the “high-handedness and disregard for the constitutional rights of the people” shown by the Shahbaz Sharif-led provincial government.

In a tweet early Sunday, Maryam said that the arrested activists should be released and the PTM should be allowed to hold its rally. “This country is as much their’s as it is our’s,” she said.

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“Attempts to suppress voices rising against oppression and excesses can never have never been successful, nor will they ever be,” she added.

In his statement, Senator Rasheed said that the ban on the rally — scheduled for today — was a painful act and that the Punjab government should not only listen to the pain and misery of the protesters but also play their part in alleviating them. “This is not the time to repeat bitterness of the past, but to learn from them and strengthen national unity.”

Bilawal, in a tweet, said that every Pakistani citizen has a right to protest and “PTM are no different”, concluding with #VoteKoIzzatDo, in a reference to PML-N’s slogan demanding respect for vote.

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PTM workers detained

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Haider Ashraf on Sunday again denied arresting any PTM leaders, saying they had only been called to the police headquarters to negotiate on security for the event as the district administration has refused them permission to hold the rally.

A day earlier on Saturday, he said PTM leaders had been engaged to get affidavits that they would not take part in any anti-state activity.

Police added that the rally would be provided security according to the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Meanwhile, the PTM said that all its leaders were released after being held for 3-4 hours.

The Lahore rally had been announced earlier this month when the movement held its ,first power show in Peshawar,, demanding all missing persons be produced in courts and provision of basic rights to the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

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Bilawal says dynastic politics forced on PPP

  • ,Benazir’s assassination,

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the PPP did not choose to be dynastic rather it was brought upon the party.

“My grandfather was killed, which forced my mother to enter politics, and she was assassinated, which forced me in,” said the young leader in an interview with the BBC’s Hardtalk.

Read: ,From Bhutto to Bilawal,

“I will not go into the merits or the demerits of dynastic politics,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari when asked if the PPP was a party only of the Bhutto family. He said while it was true that dynastic politics had no place in modern democracies, it was a reality in Pakistan.

He said the party — that he co-heads with his father Asif Ali Zardari — was representative of a democratic, socially just and modern Pakistan.

Explore: ,I spent the best part of my life watching my mother fight the forces of patriarchy, says Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari,

When asked about who really runs the party — his father or Bilawal himself — he said the party made all decisions with consensus and no one person was in charge.

To a question whether the PPP had forgotten its ideology, and what it stood for, he said the PPP had always been committed to democracy and that it maintained its roots. He said the party would look to his grandfather’s slogan of roti, kapra, and makaan to campaign for the elections.

He claimed that the PPP’s opposition to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was the reason why the party did not do well in the 2013 elections. He pointed out that the TTP had specifically called out the PPP as its enemy, while openly supporting the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).

He said the Taliban supported these three parties, calling them “allies” and gave them a “free hand” in the run-up to the polls.

“My candidates were kidnapped; the prime minister’s son was kidnapped and the former governor’s son was also kidnapped.”

He said it was not only the TTP that was out against his party, but also anti-democratic elements within the country: “We were not allowed to campaign, the political chief justice of the time — who has now gone on to form his own party — stopped my father from campaigning.”

About the obstacles the PPP faced, Mr Bhutto-Zardari pointed out that no political actor anywhere in the world could have overcome the problems.

Asked what the PPP thought of allegations of corruption and Asif Zardari’s image tarnished by corruption cases, the chairman answered that his father had spent over 11 years in prison “without a conviction”. He said the PPP had always fought for democracy against dictators.

“Each and every single case brought against my parents — it took us thirty years, we fought it out. Each and every single case, they have been acquitted”.

Benazir’s assassination

“You have to have lemon and honey in your tea. I told my mother in our last conversation before she was killed. She had been campaigning across the country… she was a charismatic speaker and spoke from the heart – after a long campaign her voice had gone away,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari remembering his last moments with his mother.

Ms Benazir had repeatedly been threatened by the Taliban but she did not refuse to be held back.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2018

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Gunmen open fire at Justice Ijazul Ahsan’s Lahore residence in two separate incidents

  • ,CM orders ‘immediate arrests’,
  • ,Bar associations, politicians condemn incident,
  • ,CJP requests lawyers to call off strike,
  • ,Law career,

Unknown gunmen opened fire at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan in Lahore’s Model Town in two separate incidents only hours apart, DawnNewsTV reported on Sunday.

No casualties were reported in the attacks, one of which took place around 10:45pm on Saturday and the other at 9:10am on Sunday.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan

Justice Ijazul Ahsan

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar visited the residence of Justice Ahsan and called the Punjab inspector general to probe the incidents. The chief justice is said to be overseeing the situation himself.

Justice Ahsan was part of the five-member bench that delivered the verdict in the ,high-profile Panamagate case last year,, which led to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister.

He has been ,appointed as the monitoring judge, to supervise and monitor the implementation of the Panamagate case verdict and is currently overseeing the ongoing proceedings by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and accountability courts against the Sharif family members and Ishaq Dar.

He was also part of the three-member bench hearing ,17 petitions against the controversial Elections Act 2017,. The bench had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party, leading to Nawaz Sharif losing his position as the chief of PML-N.

CM orders ‘immediate arrests’

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident as well and ordered immediate arrests of the attackers. He also asked the Punjab inspector general (IG) to submit a report on the incident.

The personal secretary to Sharif, however, was refused a meeting with the Supreme Court judge by the SC administration.

Security personnel, including Rangers, have been deployed outside the residence of the judge.

“This is a highly condemnable incident. We are trying our best to arrest the attackers and a thorough investigation is underway,” Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan told DawnNewsTV. He said that additional security has been provided to the Supreme Court judge.

According to reports by security forces, spent bullet casing of a 9mm pistol was found near the main gate of Justice Ahsan’s residence last night while another was found near kitchen window in the morning.

Forensic experts visited the residence twice and gathered evidence, including CCTV footage of the security camera.

Bar associations, politicians condemn incident

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) condemned the firing incidents and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

SCBA President Pir Kaleem Khursheed announced a strike and a boycott of court proceedings on Monday. “We will not allow efforts to pressurise the judiciary be successful,” he said, adding that a lawyer’s convention would be called to decide on the future course of action.

“Lawyers of the whole country are standing with the Supreme Court judges,” SCBA Secretary Safdar Tarar said in a statement, while LHCBA President Anwarul Haq said the lawyers were soldiers of the SC judges.

PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari termed the attacks alarming and called for a judicial probe.

PTI chief Imran Khan also “strongly condemned” the incidents, claiming that they were “tactics to pressurise senior judiciary”.

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Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah, Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervez Ilahi also condemned the incident, demanding an investigation into the matter as well as provision of adequate security to SC judges.

CJP requests lawyers to call off strike

Justice Saqib Nisar has appealed to all bar councils to call off the strike scheduled for tomorrow.

He requested the legal fraternity to “attend the courts tomorrow for sake of dispensation of justice to litigants whose cases are already fixed for hearing tomorrow in different courts”, read a statement issued by the apex court.

“Litigant parties will come from far-flung areas to attend courts therefore strike will not only suffer routine court proceedings but also hurt the expectations of people,” the chief justice was quoted as saying.

Law career

After completing his LLB from Punjab University Law College, Justice Ahsan completed his postgraduate studies from Cornell University, New York.

He was elevated to the bench in 2009 and was confirmed as a judge of the Lahore High Court in 2011.

Justice Ahsan has served as inspection judge for Kasur, Gujranwala and Lahore Districts. In 2015, he was appointed as the chief justice of Lahore High Court and elevated to the SC in June 2016.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - April 15, 2018 at 6:25 pm

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PTI predicts one-sided poll contest

    ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) sees “no contest” with any political party in the coming general elections, predicting that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will have become a “non-entity” by that time.

    “Let’s see what happens with the PML-N. Whether it remains intact or becomes a non-entity like the MQM led by Altaf Hussain,” commented PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry while briefing reporters about the decisions made by the party in separate meetings of senior leaders and parliamentary board from Punjab at the Banigala residence of PTI chief Imran Khan on Saturday.

    “We don’t know if we will be competing with the PML-N or its factions in the elections,” Mr Chaudhry maintained.

    Mushahidullah says PML-N will ‘sweep’ elections; Kaira rules out seat adjustment with PTI

    In reply to a question, he ruled out the possibility of having any alliance in Punjab with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “It’s better to commit political suicide than to make a seat adjustment with the PPP in Punjab. The PPP doesn’t even have candidates,” said Mr Chaudhry.

    He was of the view that the PTI would be facing different opposition in different constituencies as they were facing no threat from any party.

    He said the PML-N was unravelling and more people would join the PTI in the coming days.

    Responding to another question, Mr Chaudhry said: “The politics of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz has already finished”. He declared that Maryam Nawaz had come to the political arena “accidentally” as the two sons of Nawaz Sharif were only busy handling the money that had been “accumulated” by their father.

    The PTI leader said that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari were two sides of the same coin. He recalled that the PML-N had even joined hands with military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf when it was in their interest and recalled how the PML-N ministers had taken the oath from the military dictator after the 2008 elections.

    Mr Chaudhry denied that the PTI had entered into any kind of understanding with the PPP in the recent elections of the Senate chairman. He claimed that they had not even held negotiations with the PPP as all the issues were being dealt by the senators from Balochistan.

    “We only voted for the Balochistan Panel,” he said when asked why his party had voted for PPP’s nominee Salim Mandviwalla for the office of the Senate deputy chairman.

    The PTI leader claimed that his party had finalised names for the caretaker set-up which would be made public after consultations with other parties.

    He said the party had fixed May 4 as the last date for receiving the applications after which the parliamentary boards would finalise the candidates. He said that the April 29 public meeting in Lahore would mark the beginning of the party’s national campaign for the elections.

    PML-N’s information secretary Senator Mushahid­ullah Khan ridiculed the PTI’s claim, saying that “there is no competition between the leaders who address millions of people and those who address empty chairs”.

    Mr Khan said there was no competition between the two parties and “the PML-N will sweep the next elections and surety bonds of their rivals will be confiscated even in south Punjab”. He declared the PTI “anti-democratic party”, saying the people knew its real motives.

    When conta­c­ted, president of the PPP’s Central Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira expressed his annoyance over media for repeatedly asking the question about the possibility of the PPP-PTI alliance despite the fact the two parties had been categorically ruling out its possibility.

    “When have we made any request with PTI for a seat adjustment?” he asked, adding that he had a genuine complaint with the media that they kept on asking such “irritating” questions only to make sensational news and “perhaps to ridicule and insult us”.

    When asked why the two parties had joined hands in the recent Senate chairman elections, Mr Kaira said they had opted for a “lesser damage”, explaining that had they joined hands with the PML-N in getting Raza Rabbani elected as the Senate chairman, the party would have been facing criticism and allegations of ‘muk muka’ (deal) with the Sharifs.

    Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018

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    PM invites parties to talks on new provinces

      BAHAWALPUR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has invited all political parties to a dialogue to reach a consensus on ,the issue of creation of new provinces, in accordance with the demands of the people of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

      He was speaking in Khairpur Daha near Uch Sharif, about 70km from here, at a ceremony marking the opening of the Uch Sharif-Jalalpur Peerwala road built by the National Highway Authority at a cost of Rs5 billion. The road will link areas in the districts of Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzaffargarh.

      The prime minister criticised the setting up of the South Punjab Province Front and the leaders who announced its formation. He said that mere holding of press conferences could not create new provinces.

      Mr Abbasi pointed out that no party could ensure the setting up of a new province all by itself because no party could amend the Constitution alone.

      All the parties should strive to forge a consensus through dialogue, he said. The formation of new provinces might be in the best interest of the country.

      In this connection, the prime minister referred to the demand for the creation of Hazara province as well as for other federating units in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

      In this regard, he mentioned the adoption of two resolutions in the Punjab assembly in the last two years, about the restoration of Bahawalpur province and creation of South Punjab province.

      It was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he said, that had ensured the passage of the two resolutions. The constitutional amendment, however, could not be passed through the efforts of just one party.

      Mr Abbasi asked the leaders of the South Punjab Province Front to wait for the people’s verdict on the issue, as the general election was approaching fast. As they had parted ways with the PML-N, they should wait for proper mandate from the people.

      He was of the view that people would vote for the PML-N and for its supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in the election.

      The prime minister criticised the Supreme Court’s decision about Mr Sharif’s disqualification for life and maintained that such verdicts could not be viewed with respect because they hurt democracy.

      He said that Mr Sharif was jailed and punished during the rule of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf but the PML-N leader survived against great odds “while the military dictator and his judges are no longer around”.

      He reiterated his stance that political issues should not be decided in courts; rather they should be decided on the basis of votes.

      The politics of truth would prevail and the politics based on lies and abuses would be defeated, said the prime minister.

      He was of the opinion that the previous governments led by Gen Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari could not match the development works carried out by the present government. In this regard he specifically mentioned the works carried out by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

      Even now, he said, when only a couple of months remained before the election the PML-N government was continuing to work for the benefit of the masses. He would be inaugurating two development projects every week, unlike those leaders who had predicted the present government’s demise time and again.

      Mr Abbasi said a road network of 1,700km would change the country’s fate. The PML-N had completed several notable projects, including the Lowari tunnel, Kachhi canal and Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project, which were pending since decades.

      Several major projects had also been completed in south Punjab, he said.

      Responding to a demand for up-gradation of the Ahmedpur East tehsil to the status of district headquarters, Mr Abbasi said he would talk to former prime minister Nawaz and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz on the issue.

      At the local circuit house, the prime minister met delegations comprising PML-N leaders, workers and supporters. He also met lawyers, traders and businessmen.

      Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018

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      In Karachi, Shahbaz lambastes PPP for failing to deliver

        KARACHI / DADU: In a rare clash between provincial chief executives, the chief ministers of Punjab and Sindh exchanged barbs on Saturday when Shahbaz Sharif during a visit to Karachi held the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party responsible for deteriorating conditions in Sindh while Syed Murad Ali Shah termed the former an “opportunist” who came to Sindh to show sympathy to its people when polls are only a few months away.

        Visiting Karachi for the first time after becoming PML-N president in February, Mr Sharif also took a potshot at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), terming PTI chief Imran Khan a “liar”.

        Shahbaz Sharif set the mood of his daylong engagements in the city as soon as he landed at the old terminal of the Quaid-i-Azam International Airport or even earlier when he attacked the PPP leadership and the party’s government in Sindh through some early morning tweets.

        Murad questions timing of PML-N president’s visit

        Recalling the slogan Marson marson Sindh na deson, Mr Sharif tweeted in Urdu: “The people who raised the slogan that they would die but not give Sindh to others actually meant that we would die but would not do anything for development”.

        Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing the PML-N workers and interaction with the media, maintained the same tone which strengthened the impression that his visit was only an exercise as a PML-N president and not an attempt to prepare the ground for electoral arrangement with any political party.

        “I suggest to you to visit only Larkana [stronghold of the PPP and hometown to its founding leader] and you would get the real picture of deteriorating conditions in this province,” he said while speaking to PML-N workers’ convention at a hotel. “It’s our government at the Centre which has come up with development projects for Karachi and other parts of Sindh,” he said. “The Green Line Bus Project is a reflection of our commitment but it’s so unfortunate that the Sindh government has not arranged buses for this multi-billion project yet. We restored normal life to Karachi and if given a chance in next polls, I promise to turn Karachi into Lahore.”

        Mr Sharif then assailed PTI chief Imran Khan for “cooperating” with PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari secretly but publicly lashing out at him. He called the PPP and PTI two sides of the same coin, which had failed to deliver when it came to governance in their respective provinces.

        Within a couple of hours of Mr Sharif’s criticism, the Sindh chief minister came up with a strong response. While addressing the 11th death anniversary of his father and former Sindh chief minister Syed Abdullah Shah in Sehwan, Murad Ali Shah questioned the timing of Mr Sharif’s visit to Karachi.

        “After disqualification of his brother [Nawaz Sharif] he took over as president of his party and only then he realised that Sindh is an important province where a large number of voters are living. But let me tell you [Shahbaz Sharif] that your visit would bear no fruit because people of Sindh know you very well and also know that your visit and your promises are like bubbles of water,” he said.

        Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018

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        Imran says SC rulings paving way for ‘new’ Pakistan

          ISLAMABAD: Opposition leaders termed the decision announced by the Supreme Court on Friday regarding the period of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) a historic verdict, completely in line with the Constitution and urged the government to accept it graciously instead of confronting the judiciary.

          Addressing a large public gathering at Daska city’s congested Fawara Chowk, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said all verdicts of the Supreme Court against the corrupt leadership of the country were paving the way for a “new” Pakistan.

          Mr Khan said he saluted the apex court for taking bold decisions.

          PPP says Nawaz to blame for bringing it upon himself

          Terming Nawaz Sharif’s ouster from politics a great blessing for the nation, he said they were building a new Pakistan with the support of the oppressed. He added that a new, better and golden regime would soon begin in the country.

          Mr Khan vowed to continue the PTI’s struggle against the corrupt by advocating speedy justice to everyone with the sole aim of bringing prosperity everywhere in the country.

          He said justice would be brought to everyone and every stolen penny would be recovered from the plunderers, including senior leaders of the ruling party.

          He said now it was the PTI’s turn to be in government, with the power of the masses. People disappointed by corrupt politicians had their hopes in the PTI and were ready to reject the same old faces of corruption, he added.

          Earlier, addressing a public gathering at Wazirabad, Mr Khan pledged that the PTI would pave the way for great progress and prosperity, eliminating poverty and unemployment in the process.

          Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah while speaking to reporters outside the Parliament House in Islamabad said that the apex court had issued a verdict in accordance with the Constitution. He said Articles 62 and 63 were bestowed by former dictator Ziaul Haq, but Nawaz Sharif had endorsed them himself.

          He said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had repeatedly asked Mr Sharif to let parliament decide the fate of politicians. He said that in the past the provisions had been abused by dictators and democratic forces wanted to amend the clauses. However, the former prime minister did not listen and went to the Supreme Court instead.

          The opposition leader said Nawaz Sharif had himself in the past supported Article 62 and was now caught in his own trap. Articles 62 and 63 could have been eliminated through the 18th Amendment but Mr Sharif did not agree with the PPP.

          He said Mr Sharif should now accept the verdict and not engage in further confrontation with the judiciary.

          Responding to a question, Mr Shah said parliament could revisit the controversial articles if the issue was brought to the floor of the house.

          In a tweet, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari supported the Supreme Court’s decision but maintained that the fate of politicians should be decided by people. Unfortunately, he said, Nawaz Sharif had brought it upon himself for not supporting the PPP in amending the two articles.

          Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan in a statement urged Nawaz Sharif to accept the decision of the Supreme Court.

          Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq hailed the decision and called upon the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to reopen the 150 mega corruption cases as soon as possible. In a statement, he said the decision was necessary to ensure clean and transparent politics.

          He also stressed the need for bringing back the looted wealth of the country from offshore banks and requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to form a mechanism to address the flow of money internationally.

          Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2018

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          ‘Engineered protests’ won’t be allowed, says army chief

            RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa gives a medal to a woman whose relative embraced martyrdom in the line of duty during a ceremony held at the General Headquarters on Thursday.—INP

            RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa gives a medal to a woman whose relative embraced martyrdom in the line of duty during a ceremony held at the General Headquarters on Thursday.—INP

            ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that “engineered protests” would not be allowed to reverse the gains of counterterrorism operations and cautioned the nation against forgetting sacrifices of “real heroes”.

            The army chief was speaking to notables in Peshawar and at an investiture ceremony at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

            Gen Bajwa did not name the ,social movement for the rights of Pakhtun people,, Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), but it was abundantly clear from his remarks, which included references to PTM’s demands for clearance of mines and removal of check-posts, that he was referring to their protests.

            Bajwa cautions against forgetting sacrifices of ‘real heroes’

            Apparently, the army chief was forced into giving his position on the protests after leaders of some mainstream political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, expressed their support for the PTM protests that are being seen as a movement for the rights of Pakhtuns. The PTI chief had also said that he would raise the PTM concerns with Gen Bajwa.

            The movement was initially launched in protest against the ,extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, in Karachi and for getting justice for the slain young man. A 10-day-long protest held in Islamabad to press for the arrest of suspended SSP Rao Anwar, who is allegedly involved in Mehsud’s killing, earned the PTM sympathies from all sections of society, encouraging leaders of the movement to expand their agenda to include other grievances of Pakhtuns.

            The military was initially receptive to their demand of ,seeking justice for Naqeebullah,, but later became critical of the motives of its leadership, especially after the movement got support from Kabul and some other world capitals. These concerns got reinforced when PTM leaders talked about seeking “international guarantees” for redressal of their grievances and taking their issues “to the United Nations” and appealing “to the global society”.

            Speaking about PTM’s demands for removal of what they call “mines” and “check-posts”, Gen Bajwa said: “Measures to facilitate general public at check-posts without compromising security and clearance of unexploded ordnance were already in process on completion of kinetic operations”.

            He, however, cautioned against haste in the process. “No one is more interested than security forces to have such peace and stability environment which allow their complete de-induction. However, threat is still residing across the border and some disorganised residual potential including the ones morphed into Afghan refugees. Therefore we still need to move with caution”.

            Notwithstanding genuine problems of peaceful citizens, he maintained that military’s concern was that “no anti state agenda in the garb of engineered protests etc aimed at reversing the gains achieved at heavy cost in blood and national exchequer succeeds”.

            At the ceremony at the GHQ, Gen Bajwa regretted that no sooner had peace returned to Fata than a “movement was started”.

            On this occasion, he warned against forgetting the sacrifices of “real heroes”, who laid down their lives for the country, saying nations that forget their heroes were wiped off. He also pointed to the “limited ability” of “our nation” to “remember history”.

            “The people in the country and outside, who are against Pakistan’s integrity must know that the Army with the public backing would not allow anything to happen to the country,” he added.

            Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2018

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            Woman singer’s suspected killer remanded in police custody by Larkana magistrate

              LARKANA: The key suspect in singer Samina Sindhu’s death case, Tariq Ali Jatoi, was on Thursday remanded in police custody for seven days by a judicial magistrate of Larkana.

              The singer, said to be in her seventh month of pregnancy, had ,received a fatal bullet wound in her back, while performing on the stage at a function in the Kanga village of Larkana district late on Tuesday night. Jatoi was arrested a little later.

              He, along with two unidentified suspects, was booked for the alleged murder. Police produced Jatoi before the magistrate on Thursday to obtain his remand.

              Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and civil society organisations including those of artists, condemned the alleged murder in a statement issued by the party’s media cell. “The murder of an artist and a woman is a heinous crime which would not be tolerated by the society,” the statement said.

              Several local PPP leaders, elders of the nominated suspect and others visited the bereaved family and offered their condolences to Sindhu’s husband, Ashiq Samoo.

              Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2018

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              Musharraf ensured PML-Q defeat in 2008 polls: Shujaat

                LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid president Chaudhry Shujaat Huss­ain says retired Gen Pervez Mush­arraf and his friend Tariq Aziz made a plan to ,ensure PML-Q’s defeat, in the 2008 elections because he [Musharraf]had ,struck a deal with the Pakistan Peoples Party,.

                Mr Hussain reveals this in his autobiography titled Sach tou yeh hai (Truth is this) which was launched here on Tuesday.

                Talking about the ‘conspiracy to stop the PML-Q from returning to power’, he writes in his 328-page memoir: “When I asked former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage during a meeting in Lahore after the 2008 elections why you were part of the conspiracy to ensure our [PML-Q] defeat in the polls, he said, ‘It was not I but your two good friends — Gen Musharraf and [former security adviser] Tariq Aziz — who along with [then US secretary of state] Condoleezza Rice made that happen.”

                Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Wasim Sajjad, S.M. Zafar, Khalid Ranjha and Mushahid Hussain Sayed were also present at the meeting, Mr Hussain states.

                He claims that the 2008 elections were fixed. “A few days before the 2008 elections, three US senators — Joe Biden, John Kerry and Charles Hagel — met Pervaiz Elahi in Lahore and flatly told him that though he had done a great job in the health and education sectors, they would not accept the result of the election if his party won.”

                In his memoir, PML-Q leader talks about betrayals by Nawaz Sharif; says he was pressurised to get Zardari booked in drugs case

                Mr Hussain writes that Mr Elahi told him that a conspiracy had been hatched against the PML-Q and that had been confirmed by the US senators. “Gen Musharrf telephoned me on polling day saying my party would get 40 to 45 seats [of the National Assembly] and that I should accept the result. I told him how he could say so as counting had not yet started. We had information that to give credibility to the election a plan had been finalised to ensure defeat of some 30 big names of the PML-Q, including myself. Later when I inquired from Gen Musharraf about this, he had no straight answer.”

                Similarly, he says the PML-Q was in a position to form government in Balochistan and it had finalised the candidate for the office of chief minister, but Gen Musharraf stopped it saying he wanted to provide ‘comfort level’ to PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

                Mr Hussain also reveals that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had pressurised him to book Mr Zardari in a narcotics case when the former was federal interior minister. In 2011, Mr Zardari had confirmed this by saying: “Had Chaudhry Shujaat got me booked in narcotics case, I would not have become president of Pakistan.”

                The PML-Q chief talks about betrayals by Nawaz Sharif on a number of occasions. Mentioning Mr Sharif’s first visit to his residence, he writes: “Young Nawaz Sharif first came to see my father Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi during an election campaign. Nawaz said his father wanted to give funds for the election campaign. Pervaiz Elahi told him that Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi did not need any funds. Upon this, Nawaz left.”

                In the book, Mr Hussain talks about his family’s political struggle, Ayub and Bhutto regimes, 1977 elections, Gen Zia’s era, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, Benazir Bhutto’s governments, Nawaz Sharif government’s second tenure, Musharraf’s takeover and Pervaiz Elahi’s government in Punjab.

                Facts, not opinions

                Speaking at the book launching ceremony, Mr Hussain said his book did not contain opinions but only the facts of the given period. “I have written my memoirs without any prejudice and have stated facts. I have tried my best that no one is hurt. After going through this book people will make their own opinion.”

                Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo praised the PML-Q leader for always giving respect to the people of Balochistan. “No matter in which party my colleagues and I are, we have a great respect for Shujaat sahib. Together we have to eliminate hatred (in Balochistan),” the chief minister said.

                Criticising the former prime minister, Mr Bizenjo said: “The PML-N had been in disarray in Balochistan only because Nawaz Sharif never gave respect to the party’s lawmakers from the province. He should see his shortcomings instead of finding faults in others.

                “Mr Sharif does not give respect to people, especially when he is in power. Mr Sharif should give respect to the Senate chairman from Balochistan. His slogan of ‘Give respect to the ballot’ seems to apply only to himself. If the vote is given to him or his party candidate then it is fine, but if it is given to someone else then that vote does not have any respect for him.”

                Referring to the taunts of PML-N leaders about 500 or so votes he had secured in the election, Mr Bizenjo said election in his constituency was held in such circumstances that the voters received death threats for going to polling stations.

                Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid said Mr Sharif was desperately looking for an NRO, but “I want to tell him that every day is not Sunday”.

                Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018

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                Zardari claims credit for PML-N govt’s survival

                  NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Peop­les Party co-chairman and former ­head of state Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government would have collapsed just one-and-a-half years after it had come to power had the PPP not rescued it.

                  Asif Zardari was speaking to the audience at a ceremony where he inaugurated the new building of the Nawabshah Press Cub.

                  He said PPP was very clear in having realised at that time that the collapse of the PML-N government would give space to a “game of chair” and that’s why it [PPP] did not support [Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief] Imran Khan [in his campaign against the then federal government].

                  Mr Zardari went on to say that his party also made no attempt [over the last five years] to bring down the government by withdrawing its lawmakers from the Senate, National Assembly or provincial assemblies. “Rather, we extended our support to the [PML-N] government in its efforts for survival,” he added.

                  The PPP co-chairman regretted that they (PML-N) never reciprocated the gesture. “We shouldered the [PML-N] government for the sake of democracy and in the interest of the democratic dispensation; we wanted to let the democratic process continue,” he said.

                  Mr Zardari also expressed his disappointment over the federal government’s alleged intentions to do away with the 18th Constitutional Amendment. “It’s disappointing for us to see the government working on rolling back the 18th Amendment … they don’t seem to have a sensible approach in this respect … they don’t realise that the 18th Amendment is actually designed to keep all federating units united,” said the PPP leader.

                  The PPP leader described the 2013 general election as “ROs’ [returning officers’] election”, and said his party accepted the results only for the sake of democracy.

                  Power generation projects

                  Referring to the energy crisis in the country and the federal government’s failure to overcome it, Mr Zardari said if it would have really wanted to cope with the situation, it would have opted for setting up power plants in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and not in Sahiwal and other such places where they would have to import coal from Malaysia. The import involved millions of dollars, he added.

                  In reply to a question about the country’s foreign exchange reserves, Mr Zardari claimed that the “national exchequer is empty”.

                  Responding to another questioner, he said the social media had made politics here vibrant. “Every citizen has the right to do politics; let them [non-PPP forces] try their luck, we are ready to face them.”

                  Recounting PPP’s “services to the masses”, Mr Zardari said “whatever we do, it’s for the welfare and benefit of the public at large”. He pointed out that people of Sindh had been hearing for 25 years about a shortage of water until PPP government started taking remedial measures. Around 1,800 watercourses were lined and strengthened, he said. “We also tried our best to convince all stakeholders on dams but could not achieve a consensus,” he said.

                  Mr Zardari said there was a lot to share with countrymen but let’s set aside things of the past and move forward.

                  He confidently stated that if any force thought it could run the country better than the PPP could, it was in illusion. “Only PPP can lead the country in a best possible way,” he declared.

                  Faryal praised

                  Mr Zardari praised his sister, MNA Faryal Talpur, by saying that she was absolutely competent to run the affairs of the party. In this regard, he cited the period when he had been in jail.

                  On the occasion, Mr Zardari announced a grant of Rs2.5 million for the Nawabshah Press Club and held out the assurance to help get land allotted for a ‘journalists’ colony’ and allocation of the required funds for the club building.

                  Senator Aajiz Dhamrah, MNA Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Sindh Law Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, Haji Ali Hassan Zardari, Haji Azeem Mughal and other senior PPP leaders, besides local journalists and elite of the area, attended the ceremony.

                  Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018

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                  Imran says he won’t vote for PPP though PTI did in Senate poll: Bilawal

                    SUKKUR: Commenting on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan’s recent remarks regarding the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), its chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Friday that Mr Khan had claimed that he would never vote for the PPP, but his own party did that in the Senate elections recently, and now he has started denying that. “The ink stain on your thumb with which you voted for our vice chairperson candidate hasn’t even dried yet… we hope you will continue to support us in the future too,” he quipped.

                    Mr Bhutto-Zardari continued to lash out at the PTI chief, saying that Mr Khan was a hypocrite for condemning corruption even though he was surrounded by “politicians convicted of corruption”.

                    The mainstream political parties had ever done politics only to serve the country’s elite, whereas the PPP had always spoken for the country’s underclass, he said, adding that the PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were pushing ahead with an aggressive privatisation agenda.

                    PPP chairman voices concern over sea erosion of Sindh’s coastal areas

                    Addressing party workers and supporters in Ghotki, the PPP chairperson thanked the constituents of PS-7, Ghotki, for voting for Abdul Bari Pitafi, the PPP candidate, in the by-election held last month.

                    Mr Bhutto-Zardari visited Raja Mahar House, Adil Pur, Jam House and Bari Pitafi House in Mirpur Mathelo and Khalid Abad in Ghotki.

                    “All political parties in the country had opposed us in this election… the political orphans of Sindh and the rest of the country’s political trash had decided to give us a tough time, but the people of Ghotki proved that they had stood by (PPP founding chairperson) Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and are now with Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari,” he said.

                    He said this was but a trailer of what would unfold in Sindh in the upcoming general elections, when the PPP’s political slogans will ring from every polling station.

                    The country’s political elite made policies and launched loan and tax amnesty schemes only to benefit the rich, but the PPP had always stood for the rights of the poor, he added. “Zulfiqar Bhutto had snatched away land from large landowners and distributed it among the poor,” he claimed, adding that Z.A. Bhutto had built national institutions to benefit the masses.

                    The PPP chairman said the PML-N government was working only for their rich friends and they were taking away “your IA and Steel Mills and giving them to their friends”.

                    Responding to a comment regarding continuing unscheduled loadshedding of up to 18 hours in rural Sindh, Mr Bhutto-Zardari expressed sympathy and said the summer season was approaching and it was possible that the situation would further worsen. “The PML-N had promised an end to loadshedding… they had made this claim again during the winter when demand for electricity was low, but as soon as the first signs of summer began their fraud was exposed,” he said, adding that the PPP was looking at alternative energy and preferred to take a holistic approach to the problem of the energy crisis.

                    He said the Sindh government was working on a coal power plant as well as wind, gas and solar energy projects.
                    “Other provinces need to step up too,” he added.

                    Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2018

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                    Nawaz asks CJP to ‘prove by actions’ that delay in elections would not be allowed

                      While welcoming Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar’s ,comments about no possibility of a delay in the general elections,, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday asked the top judge to “also prove [the same] by his actions”.

                      “There is no space for any martial law in the Constitution,” the CJP had said on Thursday, addressing a ceremony at the Supreme Court Bar Association. “If I’m unable to stop it [the imposition of martial law], then I will go home but I will never endorse [such a move].”

                      Justice Nisar had assured that no delay in the elections will be allowed because the same is not permitted by the Constitution of Pakistan.

                      “In order to conduct a fair election, everyone should be given a level playing field,” the former PML-N chief, who has now been ,dubbed the party’s ‘Quaid for life’,, said on Friday while addressing the media outside the accountability court in Islamabad.

                      He said that the elections will not be delayed at any cost as the public now realises that it has “been made fun of for the past 70 years and refuses to accept this mockery”.

                      The PML-N leader also demanded the CJP to take suo motu action regarding the recent political developments in Balochistan.

                      Sharif also termed the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 a “black law”, claiming that it was created especially to punish him.

                      “I will request the prime minister to make NAB [National Accountability Bureau] ineffective before the beginning of elections until their end,” he said.

                      He then went on to repeat his ,demand of the accountability court proceedings to be aired live, on television, adding that the case against him was based on lies.

                      Taking on the PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Sharif said that Zardari should focus on getting votes before making tall [claims of installing a chief minister ,in Punjab,].

                      Pakhtukhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo were also present at the accountability court to show support for Sharif.

                      “The CJP should ask all institutions to come together and take an oath of the implementation of the Constitution,” said Achakzai.

                      “Every institution has its own framework [within the constitution] and we will have to stand against anyone who decides to cross the limits.”

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                      Zardari will soon ask why he has been removed: Imran

                        NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Thursday that soon enough Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, too, would ask why he was removed, and would be sent to jail for the crimes he committed.

                        Mr Khan lashed out at the PPP leader in the latter’s hometown of Nawabshah while addressing party workers and supporters at the Press Club Chowk after inaugurating a membership drive as part of a two-day visit to Sindh.

                        There were two illnesses that plagued Pakistan, he said, one of them was in Punjab (referring to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supreme leader Nawaz Sharif) and the other in Sindh (referring to Mr Zardari). The PTI chief said the leaders of the two parties had been taking turns to run the country to the ground.

                        PTI chief says state of affairs in Sindh is worse than Balochistan

                        The state of agriculture in Sindh was deplorable, he said, adding that the province’s agricultural base had been destroyed while poverty had reached an all-time high. He claimed that the state of affairs in Sindh were worse than in Balochistan because the rulers here were busy grabbing land and making money, while depriving growers and the people of their rights. He added that injustice was rampant among the rulers, whereas the people were treated as slaves.

                        The people here were politically victimised, their water supply was stopped, the poorest of the poor were implicated in false cases by a police force that was used by powerful elements to protect their interests, said the PTI chief.

                        The people of Sindh must not worry, he assured them, adding that he had launched a movement from Nawabshah to bring about change in the country’s southern province.

                        The long dark night would come to an end and a new day would bring an end to poor governance by the nation’s rulers, he promised, adding that he would stay in Sindh for the next 48 hours.

                        Mr Zardari had the same relationship with the Bhutto family as retired Captain Safdar had with the Sharif family, he said, quickly adding that the Sharifs could not match up to the Bhuttos. During his visit to Sanghar, Imran Khan said his party rejected the tax amnesty scheme announced by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

                        Addressing a gathering at a PTI membership camp, Mr Khan said no such scheme had ever been successful in the country, adding that only the corrupt elements became ultimate beneficiary of such schemes.

                        He announced that if PTI came to power after the general election it would revoke the amnesty scheme.

                        Housh Muhammad Mangi contributed to this report from Sanghar

                        Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018

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                        No matter what happens, truce with Nawaz not possible: Zardari

                        • ,’People have no interest in who was ousted and why’,

                        Former president Asif Ali Zardari said on Wednesday that a truce with Nawaz Sharif was not possible under any circumstances.

                        Addressing a rally in Garhi Khuda Bux on the occasion of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s 39th death anniversary, PPP-Parliamentarians President Zardari said, “I am aware of Mian Sahab’s ability. He is part of the opposition and the government simultaneously, but he isn’t willing to accept the election of his returning officers (ROs).”

                        He said, “Supporting Raza Rabbani for the slot of Senate chairman was a political move by Nawaz Sharif. It was fortunate that Raza Rabbani stood with us,” adding that Nawaz Sharif was not a politician and should leave politics. “People’s party will ensure that he [Nawaz] leaves politics,” he said.

                        Zardari continued by saying, “No matter what happens, a truce with Nawaz Sharif is not possible. The war will continue and it will be a long war. We will hold them accountable for the past 40 years. This time [during general elections] we shall appoint our own chief minister in Punjab no matter who we have to enter into an alliance with.”

                        ‘People have no interest in who was ousted and why’

                        PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari whilst addressing the rally said, “Nawaz Sharif has been in the field of politics for 32 years while Imran Khan has been part of the political landscape for 22 years but even today both are fighting each other and pulling each other down to exert their own influence.”

                        He claimed that “the foundation plans for CPEC were laid out by Zardari”, whereas, “Nawaz Sharif is Ziaul Haq’s successor.”

                        “People have no interest in who was ousted and why. The people simply wish for a solution to their problems,” Bilawal maintained.

                        Bilawal mentioned that People’s Party had never fought with the court. “We respect our institutions and consider them part of our heritage.”

                        He vowed that the party will fight against injustice, poverty, terrorism, and extremism.

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