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All That Has Happened In Pakistani Politics In the Last 24 Hours

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All That Has Happened In Pakistani Politics In the Last 24 Hours

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10 July 2019

Bol News anchorperson Mureed Abbas was killed in Karachi

Police officials said, citing initial details, that he was killed during a fight over a personal dispute in Khayaban-e-Bukhari area.

South DIG Sharjeel Kharal said that friends of the deceased informed the police that he had a monetary dispute with someone whose identity police had withheld. He added that a friend of the anchorperson, Khizar Hayat, also received two bullets in the same incident. Hayat was shifted to a private hospital but he succumbed to his wounds, he added.

The officer said that a police party raided the residence of the suspected killer and caught him attempting suicide. “The suspect shot himself in the chest,” he said, adding that the suspect was shifted to a local hospital in critical condition.

An accountability court summoned Maryam Nawaz, over the use of a bogus trust deed in the Avenfield properties case 

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Khan Abbasi filed the application, seeking action against Maryam Nawaz for producing a bogus trust deed before the accountability court in order to conceal the London properties.

Maryam Nawaz has been summoned to the hearing on July 19.

NAB application read, “The above conclusion [that the document used was bogus] by this court was reached after evaluating the entire evidence; hence, it is apparent that the respondent has maliciously fabricated and tendered false evidence/information with the intention to mislead the due process of law and trial and hamper the administration of justice.”

Imran Khan said that the former government functionaries enjoyed luxurious foreign visits on taxpayers money

The premier issued the comments during the cabinet meeting. The ministers were briefed on the expenses incurred during the foreign trips. It was told that during the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government as much as Rs .84 billion was spent on foreign state tours, while Rs1.42 billion was spent on former president Asif Ali Zardari’s tours.

The premier after the briefing said that despite such massive spending what good nation got? “I will question them for every spent penny” he said.

Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said over Rs 24,000 billion loans were taken from the foreign countries, which spoke volumes about their opulence.The minister said it was also revealed during the cabinet meeting that Asif Zardari had spent 257 days abroad during his trips while he was also accompanied by some 3,227 persons.

According to the IMF, Pakistan has agreed to further increase the electricity tariff by the end of the next month

They said, “an adequate pricing structure reflective of costs is essential to eliminate the accumulation of circular debt as new capacity comes into the system and to make the sector a more attractive investment opportunity.”

It is likely that the increase will be of Rs2.5 per unit from the next month.

“Currently, households consuming 300 units or below (about 70 per cent of all household consumers) are insulated from annual tariff increases. The authorities will continue with this practice and will moreover allocate for this year a new subsidy equivalent to 0.1–0.2 per cent of GDP to insulate those same consumers from the impact of the recently introduced quarterly tariff adjustment,” the report said.

The IMF in its report stated, “Eliminating power sector losses on a sustainable basis will require both new pricing policies and improvements in governance and infrastructure. There are three main sources of arrears in the power sector: effective tariffs below the required levels and only approved with significant delays; implicit subsidies provided by the government that have long remained unbudgeted; and technical and distribution losses. The authorities aim to address the first two sources in the near term while preparing a plan to tackle the third source of arrears over the course of the program.”

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9 July 2019

Four cases of polio were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, taking the total number of cases this year to 41

According to the KP Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), two new cases of polio were found in Bannu district; the crippling disease was confirmed in a 12-month-old girl in Jani Khel area and in a 30-month-old boy in Fatah Khel area.

Bannu has been declared a “highly sensitive” area with regards to the prevalence of polio, the KP EOC said in a statement. With the latest addition, the number of polio cases detected in Bannu this year has risen to 16. In Balochistan, the first two polio cases of the year were reported from Jaffarabad and Qilla Abdullah Districts.

NAB is investigating former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon over allegations of corruption and money laundering

Pic23-070 (Correction) KARACHI: Oct 23 – Officials of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) are arresting Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Sharjeel Memon outside Sindh High Court (SHC) after his bail plea in the Rs 6billion graft case was rejected by the court and the judges ordered his immediate arrest. ONLINE PHOTO by Sabir Mazhar

Memon is accused of owning assets beyond known sources of income and will be probed under Section 9(v) of the NAB Ordinance. Section 9(v) of the NAB Ordinance says: “If [a public office holder] or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses, or has any right or title in any movable or immovable property or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for.”

According to the press release, Memon, his dependents or benamidars own the following assets, sources of which are not known.

  • 270 acres of agricultural land worth more than Rs300 million in the name of Memon and his mother
  • Rawal Farm House that is worth more than Rs1 billion
  • Cotton factory in Hyderabad district
  • Three plots DHA in Memon’s mother’s name
  • Flats and villas in Memon and his wife’s name
  • Six plots in Karachi’s Site area in the name of Memon’s personal secretary Izhar Hussain, driver Subhan and property agent Agha Ahsan.

Asif Ali Zardari claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government will end in coming four to five months

Speaking in the parliament house, the Pakistan Peoples Party chief said that political forces will replace the PTI government. “Imran’s government will not be dismissed by pushing a button. It will go after a political struggle and opposition is doing it. It will end before November.”

Zardari said that the future belongs to Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.”Maryam is like our daughter. We will keep giving her our suggestions,” he said. The former president said that the PML-N holds the majority in the Senate hence it’s quite possible that the new chairman will come from the party.

The PPP chairman admitted that his party also committed mistakes but added that the political forces will be cautious to not repeat them. “Imran Khan is a reward of our political mistakes,” he sarcastically remarked.

Maryam Nawaz warned that she would go on a hunger strike if the government doesn’t allow her father homemade meals

“The fake government has imposed restrictions on homemade meals for Nawaz Sharif. The staff who took his food has been waiting outside the jail for the last five hours,” she said.

“Mian sahab has refused to eat prison food. If they [the government] do not take back this restriction in the next 24 hours, then I will contact the court.”

“If I don’t get help from the court, then I will sit outside Kot Lakhpat jail. Even if I have to go on a hunger strike, I will do it,” she warned in another tweet.

“I don’t trust these oppressors; they can mix anything in Mian sahab’sfood,” she said, adding her warning should not be considered a mere threat and that she would go through with it.

Later in the day, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif also took to Twitter to condemn the restriction on homemade food for Nawaz Sharif.

He said Mian Nawaz Sharif is a heart patient and depriving him of homemade food is a grave oppression. He demanded the government to immediately ensure the provision of home-cooked meals to Nawaz.

Nawaz Sharif is currently serving seven-year imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in Kot Lakhpat jail.Last week, Punjab chief minister’s spokesperson Shahbaz Gill had said: “No meal restrictions have been placed on Nawaz Sharif as reported by a section of the media. Even today [July 2], his meal came from his home.”

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8 July 2019

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the ‘selected’ prime minister ‘dances to umpire’s tunes’

Speaking in a public gathering, the PPP leader said that a selected government is imposed on the people of Pakistan. “People from every sector are now screaming but Imran doesn’t care,” he said.

Bilawal said that with questions on the transparency of the last polls and no political freedom in the country, there is a huge question over the presence of democracy in the country.

“Imran questioned four constituencies in the 2013 polls. In the last elections form 45 were missing in all constituencies in the 2018 elections,” he said. “The people of erstwhile tribal areas fought against terrorists now they should fight against the puppets and riggers. We all have to come out and fight against the selected government.”

Bilawal said that PM Imran sold the country before the IMF and his government’s recent budget has all for the rich and nothing for the poor, adding that all his promises were false.

A women in Quetta threw acid on her co-worker over an ordinary dispute

According to police, the two “friends” worked at a local non-governmental organisation (NGO). Following an argument, one of the two women went to the other’s house where she attacked her with acid.

The survivor of the acid attack, severely burnt, was immediately shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta for medical attention.

Officers at the Gawalmandi police station said they have taken the woman who threw acid on her peer into custody and would conduct an investigation.

Shehbaz Sharif hoped the country’s sovereign authorities would help his brother get justice now that the “evidence” was out

The sentence handed to the ex-premier by the trial court was the “worst of injustices”, Sharif, the former chief minister of Punjab, said, adding: “Undeniable proofs of the trial court’s injustice have been revealed.

“I hope the Supreme Court and the sovereign authorities will help us get justice now that the evidence is out,” he said. Earlier today, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had released a video clip purportedly showing Arshad Malik, an accountability court judge, allegedly admitting to a lack of evidence against former PM Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

It purportedly shows Malik speaking to a PML-N worker, named Nasir Butt, and claiming that he was coerced to hand down the prison sentence against Nawaz Sharif despite there being no proof of corruption against the deposed premier.

Major General Asif Ghafoor cautioned against making “sweeping targeted statements or trends” against any individual, profession or institution

“Irresponsible biased use of social media and vested negative trends can lead to misunderstandings/spats,” said the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army’s media wing.

“Sweeping targeted statements or trends against any individual/profession/institution are unethical. One such example is sweeping trend against journalists,” he said, ending it with the hashtag #StayResponsible. His tweet, however, did not specify if he was addressing anyone in particular.

The alarming hashtag #ArrestAntiPakjournalists was used or forwarded more than 28,000 times on Thursday. Many users accompanied it with a composite photograph of prominent journalists and TV anchors, some of whom regularly criticise the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful military establishment.

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5 July 2019

Five suspected terrorists were arrested by the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) after a failed bid to carry out a bomb attack on a train 

A bomb disposal squad (BDS) had earlier in the day expertly defused explosives affixed to railway tracks.

According to BDS official Ghulam Abbas, “the bomb weighed 5kg and was attached to the railway tracks along with a remote-controlled device.” The target appeared to be the Karachi-bound Khushal Khan Khattak Express, which had left from Peshawar and was due to pass by in a few hours. It was temporarily halted at the DG Khan station after police sealed off the area and began a search operation.

State Minister for Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi said that Rana Sanaullah’s car was monitored for three weeks

“Thrice Sanullah was with his female family members so we did not stop him. We have pictures and video records,” the minister said in a press conference with ANF Director General Major General Arif Malik. Minister Afridi said that the raid was carried out on a tip-off from an accused arrested from Faisalabad, adding that he won’t give further details of the case as the other individuals linked with the case will run away.

The minister said that a massive international and local drug racket is involved in the country. “No one is above law. Narcotics are destroying the country, we will make an example of those people who are dishonest with the country,” he added

Three suspects, including a neighbour, were arrested for allegedly gang-raping a 16-year-old girl in Mirpurkhas

According to police, the FIR was filed in Satellite Town station on behalf of the survivor’s father. It read that the girl stepped out the night before to buy groceries but, on the way, the three alleged predators kidnapped and took her to a deserted area where they sexually assaulted her.

The alleged three gang-rapists filmed the entire ordeal and threatened the survivor to make the video viral if she dared to tell anyone about the sexual assault. A medical check-up carried out on the survivor at Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas confirmed that the alleged gang rape indeed occurred, according to the initial report.

A 15-year-old survivor from the city’s Gulistan-e-Johar area said that her mother had shared a fake video of sexual assault and had a man rape her for money

U*, the minor, made further, disturbing claims in a first information report (FIR) police registered on her behalf against her mother. It is noteworthy that a few months ago, the girl’s mother had an FIR filed against a man named Raza Bugti.

In the latest FIR, U claimed that her mother, Samreen, had published a fake video of sexual assault on U on social media. The girl alleged that her mother was “a woman of bad character” and that eight months ago, her mother told her to get into a relationship with a man named Javed. When U, however, refused to comply, her mother beat her up. The minor told police that her mother had Javed rape her over and over for many months and, in return, U’s mother took money from the alleged rapist.

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4 July 2019

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) has approved a three-year, $6 billion loan “to support Pakistan’s economic plan

The aims to return sustainable growth to the country’s economy and improve the standards of living,” spokesperson Gerry Rice tweeted. According to AFP, the IMF board has released $1bn to Pakistan immediately. The fund will review Pakistan’s performance quarterly over 39 months, phasing release of the additional aid over time.

Islamabad will receive $2bn annually under an extended fund facility (EFF). According to the IMF, “The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programmes that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.”

An IMF mission led by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo had visited Islamabad from April 29 to May 11 to discuss a bailout package.

Imran Khan says If Sharifs and Zardaris bring half their looted wealth back, rupee will soar

The prime minister made the remark while recalling that he had promised the people that he will get answers from those who have run the country to the ground and left it so enormously indebted.

His was speaking in Rawalpindi after the launch of the Sir Syed Express train.

“Do whatever you want. It won’t make a difference to me. I won’t give you (amnesty under) an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance). No matter whom you grovel to or whosoever intercedes on your behalf,” he vowed, directly addressing the PPP and PML-N leadership.

12 missing persons have returned to their homes in various areas of Balochistan during the last one week

The 12 missing persons returned at a time when the federal government’s commission on missing persons headed by retired Justice Fazalur Rehman Bazai was hearing cases in Quetta.

During the nine consecutive hearings in Quetta, starting June 24, the commission took up 122 cases. According to sources in the provincial home department, nine missing persons — whose cases were being heard by the commission — reached home during the last nine days. The missing persons belong to Chaghi, Khuzdar, Pishin and other parts of the province, sources said.

Firdous Ashiq Awan says Zardari interview pulled off air as it violated NAB and parliamentary rules

The government’s spokesperson provided the explanation in response to a question from Senator Ghous Mohammad Khan Niazi in a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting.

She said that though the issue was not a part of the meeting’s agenda, she could explain it in detail. Awan said that the interview was pulled under Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) rules for three reasons. “[Firstly], an under-trial suspect who is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) can not appear in an interview before cameras in the parliament,” she explained.

“[Secondly] the permission of the National Assembly speaker is a prerequisite for bringing in cameras into the parliament,” she said, adding that “[Finally], there is a designated spot outside the parliament for media talks [where such interviews should be held].”

“The interview was [therefore] conducted in violation of the rules of parliament,” she concluded, adding that Pemra rules too do not allow the broadcasting of an interview of an accused who is under investigation and on remand.

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3 July 2019

The ECP says that there are National Assembly has 10 declared billionaires

As many as 10 out of the total 342 members of the National Assembly have declared that they own assets worth over a billion rupees, according to a statement of assets held by MNAs for year 2008 released by the Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday.

They include four members from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), two from its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid — both sons of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat — two from the PML-N and one each from Pakistan Peoples Party and Awami National Party.

According to the statement of assets and liabilities of the MNAs, Ihsan Bajwa, PML-N MNA from Bahawalnagar, is the richest among the lawmakers having total assets worth more than Rs3 billion, excluding liabilities of Rs1.18bn in the UAE. He has huge business capital of Rs56.4 million dirhams, nine houses and one building in the UAE. The value of his agricultural property in Pakistan comes to Rs249.5m. He also owns commercial and residential properties valuing Rs92.5m.

The US State Department said it was classifying the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a global terrorist group

The banned BLA “is an armed group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in Baloch areas of Pakistan,” the State Department said in its designation. The security forces have been fighting terrorists in Balochistan since 2004, with the militants recently finding a new focus in rallying against China’s investment that is part of its major Belt and Road initiative.

The BLA has targeted Chinese nationals in Pakistan multiple times, including a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that killed four people in November 2018. In May, five people including a soldier were killed after gunmen stormed the only five-star hotel in Gwadar, the port city which Islamabad is hoping to develop into a major commercial hub.

France handed over nearly 450 ancient relics, some dating as far back as 4,000 BC, back to Pakistan

Archaeologist Aurore Didier points to some artifacts amongst the 445 artifacts from the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC which were seized by French customs between 2006 and 2007, before being returned by French authorities to Pakistan, during a ceremony at the Embassy of Pakistan in Paris, France, July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Customs agents at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport in 2006 intercepted a parcel from Pakistan containing 17 terracotta pots addressed to a museum in the city, claiming they were more than 100 years old. But an expert who examined them concluded they were artefacts dating back to the second or third millennium BC which had likely been stolen from burial sites in Balochistan.

Following an extensive investigation which lasted almost a year and involved a raid on the Paris gallery, investigators found a total of 445 items, some dating as far back as 4,000 BC, with an estimated value of 139,000 euros [$157,000].

The government will return Rs5 billion to Haj pilgrims saved in the acquisition of residences for Haj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

The spokesperson for the ministry, Imran Siddiqui, made the announcement after the third phase of computerised balloting for Haj hopefuls was held. He said that the ministry will start returning the amount to pilgrims starting July 3, through the Haji camps set up across the country.

The ministry will pay back Rs26,000 to Rs67,000 to each pilgrim — depending on the distance of their residence in Makkah from the holy site where Haj is performed.

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2 July 2019

Imran Khan revealed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s sons had approached two countries to intervene in their father’s case

He said the two countries, which he did not name, conveyed the message but refused to intervene. “They told me that we will not interfere,” he said.

The prime minister, along with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, made the remarks while addressing a panel of anchorpersons and senior journalists. The discussion was aired by ARYNewsTV on Monday evening.

“The NRO will not be offered,” he said, referring to a deal similar to the national reconciliation ordinance issued by former dictator Pervez Musharraf, under which cases against a large number of politicians and political workers were quashed.

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah Khan was arrested on Monday by the Anti Narcotics Force’s (ANF)

The senior PML-N lawmaker was arrested from the Islamabad-Lahore motorway near the Sukheki area, the sources said. The ANF has not officially specified the charges on which Sanaullah has been picked up, but spokesperson Riaz Soomro said drugs were recovered from Sanaullah’s car. The quantity and type of drugs recovered is still being assessed, he said.

“We are having some difficulties getting information from ANF Lahore,” he said. “ANF does not arrest any individual without due cause.”

Force Commander Brig Khalid Mehmood is overseeing the investigation, the ANF spokesperson told DawnNewsTV. Sanaullah is being kept in ANF Police Station I, he added.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has issued arrest warrants for former president Asif Ali Zardari in the Park Lane case

Some confusion persists over his legal status, as some local media reported that the warrants against the PPP co-chairman had been executed and he was arrested in the Park Lane case as well.

According to NAB sources, Zardari’s arrest warrants in the Park Lane case were issued by NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, who as per the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 can order the arrest of an accused at any time. Zardari is already in NAB’s custody on physical remand until July 2.

Islamabad High Court says that meanings in dictionaries cannot be used to explain sexual harassment

The court set aside the complaints filed against three individuals — a grade 22 officer, Mohammad Younis Dagha, head of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) schools, and an official of a private online cab service.

The decisions in these cases, which were reserved by the court last month, were issued here on Monday.These complaints were filed before the Ombudsperson under the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010 and were pending in the Ombudsperson Secretariat.

The court ruled that harassment as defined in the above-mentioned Act cannot be generalised as the legislature introduced it for certain behaviour and gestures. Mere administrative actions could not be treated on a par with sexual harassment.

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1 July 2019

Imran Khan has approved  the launch of a 33-member National Youth Council (NYC) for the “uplift of the youth” in Pakistan

According to the decision, the programme patron-in-chief will be prime minister while chairman will be Usman Dar, Adviser to the PM on Youth Affairs, an official said. He said it was a remarkable initiative to ensure active participation of young professionals in national development.

He said the scheme had been devised to economically empower the youth who were deprived of better livelihood and income opportunities.

He said prominent figures from various fields, including education, sports, religion, economy and arts, would be NYC’s part. He said a ghazi from Zarb-i-Azb military operation, Maj Tanveer Shafi, cricketers Hassan Ali and Sana Meer, actors Hamza Ali Abbassi and Mahira Khan and Samina Baig and Muniba Mizari would be part of the programme.

The Pakis­tan Bar Council (PBC) will observe July 2 as a black day during the hearing by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) of two references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa 

The PBC urged lawyers’ fraternity to ensure their presence at the building of the Supreme Court during the hearing of the two references.

In a statement, PBC president Amanullah Kanrani on Sunday asked representatives of different bar councils and bar associations to observe black day on July 2 when the five-member SJC would sit to hear the references. He said that lawyers would wear black armbands and carry black flags with them during the hearing of the references.

The Karachi University (KU) syndicate has declared the selection boards of the mass communication department null and void

“The syndicate decided to declare the previous selection boards of the mass communication department null and void. The selection boards were held for the posts of lecturer and assistant professor on May 2, 2019.

“It also formed a six-member committee headed by the vice chancellor to look at the matters related to the applications received for the selection boards,” says a press release.

The syndicate in the light of a decision by “the National Accountability Bureau judge approved the dismissal of deputy executive engineer (electrical) Muhammad Naeem Akhtar from services”.

The Rawalpindi deputy commissioner has ordered an inquiry into the malfunction of the Patriata chairlift after 106 people were trapped 

A total of 106 people were trapped hanging at a height of hundreds of feet on the Patriata chairlift on Saturday when a chain slipped off a pulley because a pole had been uprooted in a windstorm. All the passengers have been rescued.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ali Randhawa told Dawn that Murree Assistant Commissioner Ahmad Hassan Ranjha has been appointed to head the inquiry commission.

Mr Randhawa, who supervised the rescue operation until 3am between Saturday night and Sunday, said that the Patriata and Pindi Point, Murree, chairlifts have been sealed with immediate effect.

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28 June 2019

Final version of the budget to be shared with the IMF by July 1

The final budget measures passed by the assembly along with a report on compliance with all prior actions will be key elements in the board’s decision to grant Pakistan’s request for accession to a $6 billion bailout facility. The final, approved version of the budget and finance bill are expected to be transmitted to the Fund by Monday, a senior government official familiar with the process told Dawn.

“Completion of all prior actions has paved the way for the board meeting on third of July. Sharing of budget approved by the parliament was one of the prior actions,” said a senior official of the ministry of finance on condition of not being named in view of the board meeting’s sensitivity. He said the budget approval was the final thing for Pakistan to deliver before the IMF meeting. “The latest exchange rate, SBP policy rate, electricity and gas rates and budget approval were the key prior actions,” the official said.

 Asif Ali Zardari said that the opposition wanted to topple the government, but not the democratic system

Talking to media persons at Parliament House, he described the recent multi-party conference as successful and said the opposition parties would devise a joint strategy which would bring ‘good news’ for the nation.

In reply to a question about the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Mr Zardari said: “We did not ask Akhtar Mengal to vote for us and we have no worries that he had supported the government.”

Talking about the government’s move to file references against two judges of superior courts, the PPP co-chairman said he knew that the judges were under immense pressure, but it was a fact that he had raised their salaries. He said the prices of essential commodities had gone up in the country due to faulty policies of the government.

Five more polio cases reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 

Pakistani child Sajjad (C) who was displaced with his family by fighting during Pakistan Army operations against the Taliban in the country’s tribal belt which borders Afghanistan receives polio vaccination drops from health worker Mohammad Amjad (L, partially seen) in Rawalpindi on April 8, 2014. Some 56 people including health workers and police officials providing security have been killed in militant attacks on polio vaccination teams in Pakistan since December 2012. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM

The cournty-wide tally for the first six months of the year 2019 has reached 32 as compared to 12 cases in 2018 and only eight in year 2017.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone has recorded 26 cases so far, mostly from the highly-infected Bannu division. Bannu has 11 cases and North Waziristan six, followed by Torghar with three and one each from D.I. Khan, Hangu, Lakki Marwat, Shangla, Bajaur and Khyber Agency.

An official of the Polio Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH), requesting anonymity, said that two cases each had been reported from Bannu and Torghar and one from North Waziristan.

 Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani says Balochistan rights to be protected

The chief minister was speaking at the budget session of the Balochistan Assembly. “We will jointly secure rights of the Balochistan’s people and would take all steps needed for development of the province which remained backward because of wrong policies of several previous governments,” Mr Alyani said.

Defending the first budget of his government and replying to criticism of opposition parties, he said the coalition government had finalised the budget after consulting all stakeholders, including members of opposition parties.

“In the budget no area of the province has been ignored for development projects as the government believes in equal development of all districts,” he said.

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27 June 2019

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said the multi-party conference (MPC) was a bid to hide opposition leaders’ corruption

“The declaration issued after 10-hour-long meeting covers almost everything but there is no mention of eradicating corruption from the country,” she said while addressing a press conference after the declaration of the MPC was issued.

The prime minister’s special assistant described the MPC as a ‘political Ruet-i-Hilal committee’ headed by a cleric who was striving to “bring up the moon of power for the whole bunch”.

Dr Awan came down hard on the participants of the MPC, saying: “All these political gurus saw flaws in everything and were able to dig out the failures in the performance of national institutions but failed to discuss the issue of financial malpractices.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari withdrew his bail applications in three cases

He withdrew his applications seeking bail in Park Lane, Tosha Khana luxury vehicles and bulletproof vehicles references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who reached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) from Parliament House to accompany his father, said that the latter had made the right decision. In the past the PPP had faced discrimination which still existed, he said, adding that the party would continue to fight.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani earlier this week allowed the under-custody Zardari to appear in person during the hearing of his bail application in the Park Lane case.

Tobacco growers has welcomed the decision to abolish Rs300 tax on the crop

Addressing a press briefing here at the National Press Club, the representatives of labour federation, Pakistan Kisan Board (PKB) and Sarhad Agriculture and Rural Development Organisation (SARDO) said the local industry was paying 5pc tax per kilogram on purchase of tobacco.

President PKB KP, Rizwanullah said that elimination of Rs300 tax from cultivators will increase the sale of tobacco on handsome rate and it will improve the financial status of the growers. “The purchasers will now pay around Rs8.89 per kg at the rate of 5pc tax to government before purchasing tobacco,” he said.

National Accountability Bureau(NAB) arrested three people allegedly involved in the illegal “leasing” of state land worth billions of rupees

NAB officials said an investigation had revealed that the former town nazim of Zarghoon, Qahar Wadan, had illegally leased out state land to his relative and later received money in his brother’s bank account. This was done in connivance with officers of the Metropolitan Corporation Quetta.

NAB Balochistan served notices on the accused — namely, Abdul Raziq, Rehmatullah and Sultan Mohammad. However, they did not appear before the investigators.

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26 June 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that no country had approached him for any deal to provide a safe exit for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif 

The prime minister passed these remarks while presiding over a meeting of the parliamentary committee of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at Parliament House. Some of the participants expressed concern over some proposals in the federal budget 2019-20, saying the budget would bring more hardship to the middle classes.

“No country has approached me to ask for concessions for Nawaz Sharif,” a participant of the meeting quoted the prime minister as saying.

He said the prime minister reiterated his resolve that no National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)-like concession deal would be made with Mr Sharif. “We will not grant any NRO to Nawaz Sharif and national wealth looted by former rulers will be recovered at any cost,” he added.

Lawyers plan protest at the next hearing of references against Justice Isa

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) intends to hold a protest to express its anger on the day the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) resumes the hearing of references against two superior court judges.

SCBA president Amanullah Kanrani has given a call to representatives of different bar councils and bar associations to observe a black day on July 2 when the five-member SJC will sit to hear the references.

It is believed that two senior judges namely Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K. K. Agha of the Sindh High Court will be provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations of possessing properties in the United Kingdom but not disclosing them before the authorities under the relevant laws.

Dr Fehmida Mirza lashed out at the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for its alleged failure to implement the 18th Amendment in Sindh 

Taking part in the general debate on the federal budget in the National Assembly, Dr Mirza, who had previously served as speaker of the house during the PPP government from 2008 to 2013, said the purpose of the 18th Amendment was to restore the 1973 Constitution to its original position and to end the sense of deprivation among smaller provinces, but regretfully they had failed to achieve both objectives.

In February, the National Assembly had witnessed a rumpus due to a noisy protest by the PPP members when Dr Mirza, the spouse of Dr Zulfiqar Mirza who was once a close confidant of Mr Zardari, had made similar allegations against the Sindh government and named the former president and his sister Faryal Talpur in a fiery speech. However, this time she did not name any one and PPP members remained peaceful and listened to her silently.

Detained PTM lawmakers have been sent to jail on judicial remand

The court presided over by Judge Babar Ali Khan directed the CTD officials to produce the two on July 9. They were earlier remanded to the CTD’s custody for six days. They were produced before the court amid tight security. The CTD officials sought more time for the two to be in physical custody, but the court turned down their plea and sent them on 14-day judicial remand.

The two MNAs, who are leaders of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), were initially charged in an FIR registered at the CTD police station, Bannu, on May 26 after a clash between PTM members and Army personnel near the Kharqamar check post in North Waziristan, which had resulted in the deaths of 13 persons and injuries to several others.

Subsequently, they were charged in the instant case registered on June 7 at the CTD police station, Bannu, after an improvised explosive device exploded on a road in Doga Macha, North Waziristan, when an army convoy was passing through the area. The blast had left four Army officials — a lieutenant colonel, a major, a captain and a lance havildar — martyred.

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25 June 2019

Islamabad High Court Approval of Arbitration Council compulsory for second marriage

IHC Justice Athar Minallah, while accepting an appeal filed by Dilshad Bibi, upheld the sentence awarded to her husband by the trial court for contracting second marriage without the prior approval of the Arbitration Council as well as of the petitioner woman.

Petitioner Dilshad Bibi and her husband Muzaffar Mir entered into a marriage contract on May 15, 2011, which was duly registered in Islamabad under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961.

For some time the couple lived in Islamabad and later moved to Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Due to differences, the petitioner returned to Islamabad on January 8, 2013.

A high-level inquiry team in its preliminary report has held the driver and his assistant responsible for the June 20 train crash near the Hyderabad

Since the driver and the assistant driver of Jinnah express and a guard had lost their lives in the accident, the initial probe was done on the basis of site visits, interaction with available witnesses, analysis of evidence, scrutiny of stations’ record, motor trolley, footplate inspections, analysis of automatic signaling system etc.

“The preliminary inquiry concludes that the collision of 31-Up Jinnah Express in rear of the goods train between Kotri and Hyderabad stations was caused owing to overspeeding and non-observance of signals by the driver. Accordingly, Mr Muhammad Chandio, driver (late) and Mr Yasir Bashir, Assistant Driver (Late) are held responsible for the subject collision,” reads the report.

Senate body is told that Private schools supposed to collect fee on monthly basis

The special committee formed to provide a mechanism for implementation of the recommendations of committees of the upper house met at Parliament House with Senator Dilawar Khan in the chair.

The meeting was told by Peira in writing that private schools cannot charge summer fees together.

The meeting was held to take up an agenda item ‘Point of public importance regarding charge of holidays fee by private educational institutions’ raised by Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar in the Senate on April 26.

Former chief minister Jan Mohammad Jamali has called for a probe into spending of the funds received by Balochistan 

While taking part in the general debate on the provincial budget, Mr Jamali said Balochistan had been receiving its share from NFC Awards for many years, but it was not visible where this amount was spent. “People must know where these funds were spent,” he said.

Mr Jamali said huge commercial plazas were being constructed in residential areas of Quetta, but nobody was concerned.

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24 June 2019

President Arif Alvi awarded Pakistan’s highest civil award — Nishan-e-Pakistan — on Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

The ceremony was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjarani, members of federal cabinet, parliamentarians, members of Qatari delegation, and civil and military officials.

Earlier, upon arrival to the President House, the Qatari Emir was received by President Alvi. A delegation-level meeting was held between President Alvi and Sheikh Tamim. The president also hosted luncheon in the honour of the Emir and his delegation.

Minister for Planning and Development has urged the government and opposition to sign a charter of economy

The idea of a ‘charter of economy’, initially proposed by PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar in 2017 to “draw up a common economic vision for 2018-2023”, was revived by Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif in his opening speech during debate on the Budget 2019-20, and supported by PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari in his own speech.

The intent behind the proposed charter is to devise a long-term economic policy with consensus to bring the country out of the debt trap and make it self-reliant. The charter would ensure that no party does politicking in the name of economic issues and that no new government will scrap all the steps of the previous government so that consistency is maintained.

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz has accepted an invitation to attend an all-parties conference

The JUI-F chief, who will be hosting the event, had telephoned Maryam to invite her to attend the APC, the source confirmed on condition of anonymity.

Opposition party leaders had, at an iftar hosted by PPP co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, announced their plans to “launch protests inside and outside the parliament after Eidul Fitr” and hold an APC to “chalk out a joint strategy on how to tackle the problems facing Pakistan”.

A JUI-F spokesperson on Saturday night announced that the meeting would be held on June 26, with senior PPP, PML-N, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), and Awami National Party leaders all expected to attend.

Police have arrested four people for torching a watchman’s cabin located outside a worship place of Ahmadis

In this Dec. 15, 2014 photo, a suspect is arrested after Greater Manchester Police officers alongside partner agency teams from Rochdale Council, the Home Office and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, raided a picture framing factory in Rochdale, Northern England, as part of investigations into human trafficking and labor exploitation. Three men were arrested for enslavement and trafficking offenses in the operation. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

According to police, those arrested were teenagers who were returning home after playing in a cricket ground last week when they spotted a watchman’s cabin outside the worship place of the Ahmadi community, near sector 14 in the jurisdiction of Wah Cantonment police station. The youths set fire to the metal-wooden cabin and escaped from the scene.

Police have registered a case under Section 436 of the Pakistan Penal Code (offence of committing mischief by fire or any explosive substance, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, the destruction of any building which is ordinarily used as a place of worship or as a human dwelling) on the complaint of the caretaker of the worship place, Riaz Ahmed Qureshi.

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23 June 2019

Three memoranda of understanding (MOU) were signed between Qatar and Pakistan

FILE- In this Friday, July21, 2017, file photo, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani talks in his first televised speech since the dispute between Qatar and three Gulf countries and Egypt, in Doha, Qatar. Qatar’s emir has warned against any military confrontation over the ongoing diplomatic dispute between his country and four other Arab nations, saying it will only engulf the region in chaos. (Qatar News Agency via AP, File)

These MOUs in trade and investment, tourism and business events, and exchange of financial intelligence. The development follows the arrival of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani who is on a two-day state visit to Pakistan on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation.

The details of the agreements signed are listed below:

  1. MoU on the establishment of Pakistan and Qatar Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade and investment signed by Qatar Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi and Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.
  2. MoU for cooperation in the field of tourism and business events between Qatar and Pakistan signed by Secretary General of Qatar National Tourism Council Akbar Al Baker and Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza.
  3. MoU on the establishment of cooperation in the field of exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering associated predicate offences and terrorism financing between Qatar’s Financial Information Unit and Pakistan’s Financial Monitoring Unit. This was signed by Head of Qatar Financial Information Unit Sheikh Ahmed bin Eid Al Thani and Acting DG Financial Monitoring Unit Muneer Ahmad.

JUI-F spokesperson announced the All Parties Conference to be held on June 26

The gathering of opposition parties, which shall convene at 11am, will finalise a joint strategy against the government, according to the statement.

Senior party members of the PPP, PML-N, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) and Awami National Party (ANP) are expected to attend the conference which shall be hosted by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The meeting shall be chaired by the JUI-F chief during which important decisions regarding the joint strategy shall be made, including a possible “lock-down” against the government, said the statement.

Maryam Nawaz has accused the government of ‘creating divisions’ among public

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz levelled heavy criticism at the government during a press conference in Lahore on Saturday, while also walking her party back from a proposal to arrive at a ‘charter of economy’ with the government.

‘Shehbaz has his own reasons for supporting charter of economy’

Terming the opposition’s proposed ‘charter of economy’ as a mazaq-i-ma’eeshat (making a joke of the economy), Maryam said there can be no agreement with the incumbent government, which she said “stole the people’s mandate”.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has expressed objections to the debt commission

During his speech in the National Assembly, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi criticised the constitution of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate a rise in public indebtedness over the last decade.

The Cabinet Division had yesterday issued a notification announcing the terms of reference of a 12-member commission that is to be headed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Chairman Hussain Asghar.

The commission has been tasked to probe how Pakistan’s debts swelled to Rs24 trillion over the past 10 years.

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22 June 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that “Pakistan supports an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself”

The Lahore Process has been set up to discuss different aspects of the Afghan peace process, which include bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan through connectivity, trade, economy and health.

The moot will discuss the issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees who have been living in Pakistan for the last four decades and delegates are expected to give proposals on the future course of action for Afghanistan. “Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan is clear, we support an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbours,” Qureshi said in his welcome speech.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will be visiting Islamabad today on a two-day state visit

The Foreign Office said the Qatari emir would be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising key ministers and senior officials. He is visiting Pakistan after a break of over four years. He last toured Islamabad in March of 2015.

The Qatari leader will hold talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and will also meet President Arif Alvi.“The two sides will discuss ways and means of building a robust and mutually beneficial economic partnership. During the visit, Pakistan and Qatar will sign MoUs/agreements for enhanced bilateral cooperation in different areas,” the FO said.

Gold has hit a six-year peak with local prices surge to Rs78,100 per tola

Domestic one tola and 10 gram gold prices on Friday hit fresh peak of Rs78,100 per tola and Rs66,958 per 10 grams, respectively, as international bullion prices surpassed $1,400 before retreating, still holding near a six-year high on the US central bank’s dovish stance on monetary policy.

Locally, gold prices saw a surge of Rs800 per told and Rs686 per 10 grams over Thursday’s rate.All Sindh Saraf Jewellers Association (ASSJA) issued local rates based on $13 per ounce hike to $1,394 on the world markets.

Internationally, prices also found support from worries about a potential US military strike against Iran and a global trade conflict.


Bilawal says “Government t won’t be allowed to commit ‘economic murder of people

He was addressing a huge gathering of party workers and supporters on Sakrand road here where he launched his mass contact campaign.

He said the rulers thought they would silence them (PPP leadership) by pressurising them and frighten them by instituting fake cases against them, but they were not afraid of such tactics and would never bow down.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari vowed that they would defend the 1973 Constitution till their last breath… and the PPP would not allow the federal government to snatch the rights of the provinces.

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21 June 2019

The ECP has issued a show-cause notice to the Prime Minister for visiting Ghotki ahead of a by-election

Prime Minister Imran visited Ghotki on Wednesday to condole the death of federal minister for narcotics control Ali Mohammad Mahar. While in Ghotki, the prime minister assured the Maher brothers that the Pakistan Peoples Party would not be allowed to rig a by-election and that he would issue directives to the authorities concerned to ensure that.

According to the letter issued by the election commission, a complaint against the visit was registered by Abdul Bari Pitafi, a candidate from the constituency. The candidate pointed out that PM Imran’s visit to Ghotki was in violation with the ECP code of conduct as the schedule for the by-election has already been notified.

In the show-cause notice, the prime minister has been given one week to submit a reply in the matter.

The National Assembly subcommittee has approved the drafts of the Zainab Alert and the disability rights bills

At a meeting of a subcommittee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights, its chair Dr Mahreen Razaq Bhutto said: “The purpose is to stop the crime and protect our children in the future. One of the main focuses was on the punishment for molesting and murdering children. It is a special law, therefore the punishment is especially harsh. The purpose is to make such convicts realise their unforgivable crime in the harshest conditions until the day they die.”

The subcommittee has discussed the Zainab Alert Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Rights of Persons with Disability Bill 2018 in five consecutive meeting. The recommendations will now be discussed by the standing committee for further changes, if needed.

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said that nobody can stop her from calling the Prime Minister ‘selected’

“I have seen imprisonment, exile and political victimisation…what else is there in waiting. These things cannot make me afraid anymore and stop me from going to the masses. A comprehensive schedule of my mass contact has been prepared and I will be among them (masses) soon,” Maryam Nawaz told reporters after meeting the families of PML-N leaders Khwaja Saad Rafique and Khwaja Salman Rafique.

Maryam apparently responded to special assistant to prime minister Firdous Ashiq Awan who warned her against taking hard stance against the premier especially calling him “selected and incompetent.”

4 Dolphin Squad members have been suspended for allegedly firing unprovoked at a 20-year-old motorcyclist on M.M Alam road

The motorcyclist suffered bullet injury in the leg and was said to be stable in hospital. Raza, a resident of Gurumangat Road, was going to buy medicine for his ailing mother when a team of the Dolphin Squad signalled him to stop on M.M Alam Road. The youngster did not notice the signal over which the officials opened fire on him. He suffered a bullet wound in the leg and fell on the road.

The officials took the injured to Liberty Market where they tortured him and asked him to confess that he was a robber. Later, they took him to a nearby private hospital from where he was taken to another health facility.

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20 June 2019

Firdous Ashiq Awan has shot down reports that the Prime Minister had instructed his party members “to not let the parliament function”

A National Assembly session was convened three days after the Budget 2019-2020 was presented to take up the finance bill. However, the sessions which began on June 14 were repeatedly disrupted by members of both the opposition and the treasury benches.

An earlier report by the media stated that a strategy to create a rumpus in the house had apparently been finalised at a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf parliamentary group meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Balochistan government has announced a Rs419.92 billion budget, causing chaos to erupt in the provincial assembly

The session was delayed for over two hours as opposition members protested over not receiving copies of the provincial budget document in a timely manner. MPAs belonging to the BNP-M, JUI-F, and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) staged a protest to vent their anger, and photographs of the assembly following the protest showed the floor littered with tattered copies of the budget.

Opposition Leader in the Balochistan Assembly Advocate Malik Sikandar complained there was “no sign of progress in the province”, while former chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani described the budget to reporters outside the assembly as an “anti-masses budget”.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said he was “happy” by the government’s decision to give the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) another ministry

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday decided to give another ministry to MQM after a meeting with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and MQM leaders. Presently, the MQM has two federal ministries — law and information technology. According to the PM Office, the prime minister also decided to announce development packages for Karachi and Hyderabad.

Speaking to the media before the National Assembly session, Bilawal said: “It is a matter of happiness for me that someone from my province is getting a ministry.”

“I hope that all the promises Imran Khan has made to the country will be fulfilled. At this point, none of the promises the prime minister has made have come true. Imran Khan had promised a desalination plant for Karachi. The Sindh government is ready to cooperate in the matter, but the prime minister has backed out,” he said, while criticising the PTI government.

A pregnant woman was forced to drink acid by her husband and died

The woman was forced to drink acid at her home in Al Noor Colony in Islamabad, officials from the Bhara Kahu police station said. A first information report (FIR) was registered on behalf of the deceased’s brother, police said, adding that they have initiated an investigation into the matter.

The woman’s brother, on whose behalf the FIR was filed, said his sister had a nine-year-old daughter. He said neither he nor any other family member was informed about the incident. They were shocked to find out that she had been forced to drink acid and admitted to a hospital, the brother said.

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