PML-N, PPP ‘postpone’ anti-govt protest

Raja Zafarul Haq will attend APC called by Fazlur Rehman ISLAMABAD: ICMD, Oct 30, 2018 The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have decided to delay their protest campaign against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. The PPP is of the view that the PTI-led government is ‘incompetent’ and will fall flat on its face. Thus, it suggests that the protest should be launched after six months as an immediate campaign will affect opposition's image. The PML-N on Tuesday decided that a party delegation excluding Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif will attend the all parties conference (APC) called by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman. An apparent consensus by the two main opposition parties to defer the anti-government campaign as well as participate in the APC through second-tier leadership can put the conference in peril. The decision of Sharifs not attending the APC was taken as Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Parliament House on Tuesday. Nawaz also chaired a meeting of the party’s leadership, attended by Raja Zafarul Haq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Rana Sanaullah, Hamza Shahbaz, Rana Tanveer, Khawaja Asif and Ayaz Sadiq. During the meeting, it was decided that a five-member delegation from the party, headed by Raja Zafarul Haq, will attend the APC proposed by the JUI-F. The delegation will include Kh Asif, Saad Rafique, Ayaz Sadiq and Ahsan Iqbal. The party leadership also agreed that it would walk alongside the rest of the opposition parties on matters of national importance. The meeting also discussed the country’s political situation and corruption references filed against the PML-N leaders by NAB. This is former prime minister’s first visit to the Parliament House during the past one year. Earlier, PPP leader Khursheed Shah also stopped by Shahbaz’s chamber to meet Nawaz. After the meeting, Nawaz had lunch with the party leadership at the Parliament House’s banquet hall. Meanwhile, JUI-F leader Maulana Asad Mehmood said the PML-N leadership had not yet informed the opposition about their decision on attending the APC. “PML-N and PPP will inform Maulana Fazlur Rehman [of their decision]. The date and agenda [of the APC] will be decided after that,” he told reporters.

Nawaz avoids responding to Imran Khan’s address

ICMD, Oct 25, 2018 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif Thursday avoided responding to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation. Talking to media outside the accountability court here, Nawaz said he cannot comment on the address as he didn’t watch it. Asked to comment on PM’s statement regarding not giving any NRO to the corrupt leaders, the former prime minister refused to respond. In his address to the nation on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said those who are criticizing the current government are the ones who burdened the country’s economy with their ill economic planning and corruption. He said such elements were trying to raise hue and cry as they were afraid of accountability. “Our govt is going after the money launderers behind this and there will be no NRO,” he had said.

Nawaz meets lawyers over NAB cases against family

ICMD, Oct 21, 2018 Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday held consultations with legal advisers regarding cases against the Sharif family. As per the details garneered, the former premier directed his counsel team to utilise all legal options in the cases against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif. Former PM’s lawyers Khawaja Haris, Azam Nazir Tarrar, Naseer Bhuta and former secretary prosecution Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed reached Jati Umra to meet Nawaz. On the occasion, Naseer Bhutta assured Shehbaz Sharif that his future remand would be duly opposed. It is also expected that Nawaz Sharif will meet his brother, who is under judicial remand to National Accountability Bureau. An accountability court on Tuesday granted the NAB a 14-day extension in the physical remand of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case. On October 6, the NAB had arrested the PML-N president in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case and presented him before an accountability court. The anti-graft body had then been granted a 10-day physical remand of the former Punjab CM. According to the anti-graft body, Shehbaz cancelled the contract awarded to M/s Ch A Latif & Sons for infrastructure development of Ashiana Iqbal Housing Project and awarded it to CASA Developers. “The former Punjab chief minister misused his powers and his actions caused a huge loss to the national exchequer,” the NAB prosecutor had said. However, Shehbaz denied the allegations as “false and baseless”.

IHC’s Justice Siddiqui sacked

ICMD, Oct 11, 2018 President Arif Alvi Thursday removed Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The decision was taken under Article 209(5) of the constitution on SJC’s recommendations under Article 209(6) read with Article 48(1) of the constitution, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice. Earlier in the day, the SJC had recommended removal of Justice Siddiqui from office over his controversial speech targeting the country’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). “Mr Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, Judge, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad had displayed conduct unbecoming of a Judge of a High Court and was, thus, guilty of misconduct and he is, therefore, liable to be removed from his officer under Article 209(6) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973,” the recommendation read. The 39-page opinion was penned by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa. This is the first instance of the SJC recommending the removal of a high court judge since 1970. Most of the judges have opted to tender resignation to avoid an inquiry. However, Justice Siddiqui opted to face the charges of misconduct and three cases were registered against him in the SJC. In an address to the Rawalpindi District Bar Association on July 21 this year, Justice Siddiqui had alleged that the ISI was manipulating judicial proceedings for the formation of favourable benches. IHC Chief Justice Anwar Kasi had denied allegations levelled against him by Justice Siddiqui, who had also claimed that the ISI approached the IHC top judge to ask him not let former prime minister Nawaz Sharif come out of prison before the general elections and also not include Justice Siddiqui in the bench.

NAB directed to ensure Shehbaz’s presence for NA session

ISLAMABAD: ICMD, Oct 10, 2018 National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Wednesday summoned a session of the Lower House on October 17. Additionally, the NA Secretariat also issued production orders to ensure the presence of Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif, who is currently in the National Accountability Bureau’s custody. “In the exercise of the powers conferred by rule 108 Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly 2007, the Speaker has been pleased to summon Shahbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition, to attend the said session in the Parliament House,” the letter addressed to the NAB read. The production orders were issued after the speaker announced the second session of the National Assembly to take place on the aforementioned date. The NA session will begin at 11 am on next Wednesday in the Parliament House. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has called for an NA and Senate session at the Parliament House gate today over the arrest of opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif. Reacting to the summoning of the NA session, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the party would hold a meeting today to protest against the date fixed for the session. “We had requisitioned for an early NA session, however, the NA speaker summoned it on October 17,” she lamented. Former NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had also been meeting leaders of opposition parties for holding the sessions outside the assemblies. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), during the meeting of its Central Executive Committee (CEC), had decided to protest inside parliament over Shehbaz’s arrest. The party had also given a deadline, which expired on Tuesday, for summoning sessions of the national and Punjab assemblies. Speaking to the media after the CEC meeting, Rana Sanaullah had said that they had submitted requisitions for summoning sessions of both the assemblies and that if they were not called, they would conduct the sessions outside the respective assemblies. On Saturday, the PML-N had requisitioned an NA session over party president Shahbaz Sharif’s arrest. A PML-N delegation headed by Raja Zafarul Haq and comprising Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Murtaza Javed Abbasi among others visited NA speaker Asad Qaiser’s residence to submit the requisition. The PML-N president was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case and sent on a 10-day physical remand. -- DT

Dollar surge engineered to benefit select-few: PML - N

ICMD, Oct 9, 2018 PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb has termed the sudden increase of US dollar price by Rs 13 in a day a grand conspiracy against the country. Addressing a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday, she said the purpose was to benefit certain investment groups while inflicting billions in losses to the national reserve. She threatened that it would be better if Finance Minister Asad Umar reveals the contents of the conspiracy on his own, otherwise she would do the honours herself. Thanks to the incompetence of PTI government, billions had been lost in the stock exchange. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan should apologise to the nation for breaking his death vow and approaching International Monetary Fund (IMF). She said that the prime minister should make negotiations with the IMF public and should stay true to his claims of transparency. Approaching IMF for bailout a ‘tough decision’: Fawad Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Tuesday said the government did not want to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but had to take this ‘tough decision’ to pull the country out of the prevailing economic crisis. “Pakistan needs $8 billion to pay back loans and $28 billion to run the country,” he lamented, adding the government has to take difficult decisions to make the country self-sustainable. “This is a difficult time for the country but we have to face it and bring stability and progress to our country at any cost,” he told an event arranged by the Pakistan Post to mark the World Post Day. Emphasizing on the continuation of the accountability process in the country, Fawad said the process of accountability will continue despite all hue and cry by the corrupt people. About the demand of requisitioning of National Assembly session by the opposition on the issue of arrest of Shahbaz Sharif, he said the government has no objection if the required majority agrees to call the assembly session. “In the whole world, the governments play a role to strengthen the institutions and empower their people while in our country the previous governments have weakened the institutions,” he said. “They made excessive appointments in all departments on favouritism basis which ruined the institutions,” he said. “We have to make our country financially stable. If all the institutions start relying on government for funds, it will transfer the entire burden on the common people who are paying taxes,” he said. “We cannot run Pakistan to make people happy sitting in different institutions, assembly and other places. If we want sustainability, we have to correct ourselves first,” he added. The minister said all those institutions, either fall under his ministry or other, will have to reach self-reliance through adopting innovative means and following transparency in all matters

PTI targeting political opponents: Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: ICMD, Oct 9, 2018 Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif Tuesday accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of subjecting its opponents to political victimisation. “The country’s stability is being affected due to proceedings aimed at taking political revenge from opponents,” he said in an informal talk with reporters here in the federal capital, claiming that nobody was politically victimised during the PML-N’s tenure. “All laws formed under Musharraf’s tenure should be reviewed. We should get rid of notorious laws that help political victimisation,” he remarked. Nawaz also objected to a statement made by Prime Minister Imran Khan that he would have got some 50 people arrested had he been in charge of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “The prime minister has said he will get 50 people arrested by NAB. Who has given him the authority to do so?” he asked. The former prime minister claimed that no one in Pakistan will be found ‘clean’ if cases of holding assets beyond means are initiated. “Be it the rich or the poor, nobody discloses all of the income received from selling off assets,” he said. “Forbearance is necessary for the country to progress. This country has already sunk and if political targeting continues, things will continue to get bleaker,” he said. Nawaz remarked that it takes time to bring changes in the system. “The stock market is sliding down and dollar rate is on an upward spiral. In times like this, everyone should try to act sensibly,” he suggested. Speaking about PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif’s arrest by NAB, Nawaz said the former Punjab chief minister served the country day and night and even fell ill due to excessive work. “Pakistanis and foreigners alike praise Shahbaz's work. Those who accused him in the past were embarrassed after the Chinese government clarified the allegations,” he said, adding that the government’s behaviour with Shehbaz was regrettable. “If this is the accountability, then we regret this process,” he said. The former prime minister alleged that the Peshawar metro bus project’s contract was given to a blacklisted company by the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. “Why did the KP government award the contract to a blacklisted company? The matter should be investigated and a reference must be filed against it,” he said. “I will speak but not now. I do not want to speak now,” he said when questioned on the current political situation in the country. -- DT

Senate session marred by protest over Shehbaz’s arrest

ISLAMABAD: ICMD, Oct 8, 2018 The Senate session on Monday was marred by strong protest from the treasury benches over the comments issued by opposition member Maulana Ataur Rehman in his speech over Shahbaz Sharif's arrest. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) leader said that the National Assembly Opposition Leader's arrest on the behest of the federal government compromised the sanctity of the house. "The premier doesn't understand where the country is heading," he said. The ministers and the members of the treasury benches protested over the remarks. Senate Chairman demanded an apology from the opposition member. State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan said that the issued remarks are intolerable. Senator Azam Swati said that Maulana Ata disturbed the decorum of the house. Meanwhile, the JUI-F leader refused to apologise for his remarks. "When we say anything they object to it on the pretext of disturbing the sanctity of the house but what about the sanctity of the country," he said. The opposition boycotted the session during the speech of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. "PM Imran did not name anyone in his speech. He said that he won't spare any looter and dacoit. I wonder why the opposition is scared from the remarks," he said.

Nawaz Sharif sure PML-N will win by-polls

ICMD, Oct 6, 2018 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Saturday expressed confidence that his party would be able to overcome all hurdles to win upcoming by-elections. He was chairing a party meeting in the aftermath the arrest of his brother Shahbaz Sharif by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Ashiana Housing Society scam. During the meeting, Nawaz heaped praise on his younger brother, saying Shahbaz had worked tirelessly for the people of Punjab during his tenure as the Punjab chief minister. Nawaz reassured the party leadership not to worry as their hands were clean of any corruption. According to reports, PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz informed the PML-N supremo about the legal aspects of the accountability case against his father – Shebaz Sharif. Moreover, party leader Raja Zafarul Haq has written a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner over party’s reservations of “pre-poll rigging” in the wake of by-elections scheduled for October 14. The letter details how Shehbaz’s arrest, allegedly an act of political victimisation, will affect the upcoming by-polls. Earlier in the day, Shehbaz was sent on a 10-day physical remand after appearing before an accountability court in the Ashiana Housing scam case. On October 5, the anti-graft watchdog arrested the PML-N president in the multi-billion rupee housing scam when he appeared before it for a hearing in the Saaf Pani case. The accountability body had requested the court for a 14-day remand of the accused.