Imran’s walima to be held this week

ICMD, Feb 19, 2018 The preparations for the walima reception of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan have been completed, according to the party’s spokesman. According to sources, the walima will be held in the middle of the week. It is also reported that Imran has decided against travelling abroad for now. While talking to media, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the preparations for walima receptions were underway, adding that the ceremony of the festive occasion will be held at Bani Gala. The invitation for the walima ceremony will be extended to a selected few, he said while responding to a query. Imran Khan married for the third time late on Sunday. The party issued the pictures of the nikah ceremony. Imran’s sisters were not part of the ceremony. -- Agencies

SC reserves judgment in disqualification tenure case

ICMD, Feb 14, 2018 The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Wednesday reserved its judgment in disqualification tenure case which is supposed to determine the length of disqualification under Article 62(1) (f) of the Constitution. Headed by CJP Mian Saqib Nisar, a five-member bench proceeded with hearing a number of lawyers during the case hearings. Attorney General (AG) for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali while giving arguments said no duration of disqualification is given in the constitution. He stated that it is parliament which can determine the time duration. “A declaration under Article 62(1)(f) does not carry a time limit, nor does it prescribe the mechanism for revisiting such a declaration. Therefore, till such time the parliament makes such provisions, the declaration shall continue,” the AG added. Earlier this month, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif contended before the Supreme Court that disqualification under Article 62 “is confined only to the election in question, and not perpetual”. He stated this in a written statement in the matter related to the interpretation of Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution. A five-member bench of the apex court – headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah – has taken up 17 appeals against the disqualification of lawmakers. ET/ICR

Ishaq Dar’s nomination papers for Senate elections rejected

ICMD, Feb 12, 2018 The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday rejected former finance minister and PML-N leader Ishaq Dar’s nomination papers for the upcoming Senate elections. During the scrutiny process, the returning officer accepted arguments of the lawyer of PTI-backed Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed in which he had alleged that Dar did not provide authentic documents about his assets while he has also been declared absconder by a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court in a graft case. The returning officer termed Ishaq Dar as constitutionally not ‘honest’ and ‘trustworthy’ after opponent’s counsel raised the issue of his fake signatures on the nomination papers. It is worth mentioning here that former finance minister is in London since last October while a NAB court has declared him absconder in a corruption reference. The returning officer ruled that Dar was ineligible to participate in the upcoming Senate elections as a corruption case against him was still pending before the NAB court. Furthermore, Ishaq Dar also failed to file his certified declaration of assets along with the nomination papers despite he was given time by the ECP in this regard. Following rejection of the nomination papers by the returning officer, the ruling PML-N as well as legal team of Ishaq Dar confirmed that they would file an appeal against the decision. PTI’s Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, who is also leader of the opposition in Punjab Assembly, while talking to Daily Times said that he would follow Dar if he tried to file an appeal against the decision of the returning officer. Meanwhile, PTI’s candidate for general seat from Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar has started his campaign and contacted several legislators to secure required 47 votes in the Punjab Assembly for Senate elections scheduled on March 03. After appearing before the returning officer for scrutiny of his nomination papers, Ch Sarwar, who is also former governor of Punjab province, told media that horse trading in the Senate elections was out of question. “Horse trading is the murder of democracy and principles politics,” he added. Ch Sarwar said he believed in democratic and constitutional means to win the election, adding that he was in contact with all the opposition members. “Hopefully, all believers of democracy will cast vote in my favour,” he hoped. -- DT

SC takes notice of police encounters in Punjab

ICMD, Feb 11, 2018 The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Sunday took suo motu notice of alleged extrajudicial killings in Punjab. Taking notice of the issue, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked Punjab IGP Arif Nawaz to submit a detailed report within seven days. Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were other two members of the bench that heard the petition and suo motu notice at the Lahore registry. The bench is seized of matters involving various issues of public interests, like removal of security barricades in the provincial capital, provision of clean drinking water and public health facilities. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif personally appeared before the bench to explain his government’s position regarding provision of clean drinking water to people and disposal of large quantity of untreated waste water into River Ravi. “The IGP should know the number of police encounters at his fingertips,” the chief justice remarked while rejecting the request of the top police official of extending the deadline one more week. Justice Nisar said that the court wanted to know how many people had been killed in the police encounters. Also, the chief justice ordered removal of security barriers placed outside different buildings, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Jati Umra residence, Punjab Chief Minister’s Model Town residence, the Punjab Governor House, Jamia Al Qadsia, residences of Hafiz Saeed and Punjab governor late Salmaan Taseer, Qilla Gujjar Singh Police Station, passport office and other sites. He also directed the Punjab home department to assure the bench that the barriers will be removed by Sunday midnight. When the additional home secretary explained to the court that the barriers and hurdles have been placed owing to security reasons, the chief justice directed the authorities concerned to keep security forces alert instead of creating hurdles for the general public. The court observed that the issue of security barriers outside security agencies’ offices will be dealt with separately after consulting those agencies. The chief justice admonished the security officials for confining elected representatives at home. “[Punjab Chief Minister] Shehbaz Sharif is a public figure (awami admi). He should say ‘Shehbaz Sharif is not scared of anyone’.” The chief minister replied in the affirmative when the chief justice asked him if they (the bench) were right in saying that. The chief justice also remarked that the judiciary and the executive need to work together to safeguard public rights and interests. Meanwhile, the Punjab chief minister sought three weeks’ time to formulate a comprehensive plan for the provision of clean water to the people of Lahore. The chief minister won kudos for his achievements and development projects being executed by the PML-N government. However, the bench expressed its dissatisfaction over the state of healthcare conditions and the environmental situation in the province. “Whoever comes to power should seriously consider making him [Shehbaz] the prime minister,” the chief justice remarked while addressing the chief minister. To which the chief minister replied, “Why are you after my job.” “Your own people are after you,” the chief justice quipped. Justice Nisar also remarked, “I assure you, there will be free and fair elections in the country from now on. I keep repeating this.” The chief justice expressed his dissatisfaction over non-provision of clean water. He remarked that even water in his chamber was found contaminated. Justice Nisar observed, “You have been in power in Punjab for the last one decade, yet we have to take notice over such issues.” During the course of hearing, an interesting dialogue ensued between the chief justice and the chief minister. It all started when Shehbaz underlined the need for an impartial and independent judiciary. To which the chief minister commented, “I wish this thinking was prevalent in his (Shehbaz) party.” “I wish to see you as prime minister if the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz won the upcoming general elections,” the chief justice said in a lighter. Later, speaking to the media Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the PML-N always gives due respect to courts. “Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s appearance before the court is proof of this claim, and that he also respects the decisions of the court.” Sanaullah stressed that it was wrong to suggest that the PML-N only criticised courts’ decisions. He said the IGP and the Punjab Chief Secretary have already ordered the removal of barricades from all roads except the two near the Punjab Rangers office and the chief minister’s residence. -- ET

Imran demands judicial inquiry into extrajudicial killings in Punjab

ICMD, Feb 9, 2018 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday demanded the constitution of a judicial commission to investigate the extrajudicial killings in Punjab, particularly after the arrest of notorious former policeman Abid “Boxer”. Addressing a rally here ahead of the by-elections in NA-154 Lodhran, Imran called on the Supreme Court to take notice of the extrajudicial killings and form a judicial commission to investigate into the matter. The PTI chief referred to the arrest of former Inspector Abid “Boxer” who has allegedly confessed to a string of encounters and made startling revelations that these were conducted on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. “Abid Boxer has confessed to killing two brothers on directives of Shehbaz Sharif, while a youth named Mudassir was killed in Kasur on suspicion of criminal assault,” he said, adding that during the Shehbaz’s reign, 870 people were killed in Punjab of which 137 were killed in Kasur alone. “It is inevitable for the police not to be corrupted if a chief minister asks them to carry out extrajudicial killings,” he said. “Unlike Punjab police, KP police did not shed a drop of blood while probing minor Asma’s case. While Punjab police killed an innocent person while probing Zainab case,” he said. Predicting the fall of the “pharoah”, Imran said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has already been shown the door and “now Shehbaz’s end is near”. Terming the Sharifs a mafia, Imran said that mafia has bought everyone in the country, including the opposition. “Mafia destroys institutions,” he said. The PTI chief also slammed the PML-N for filing cases against him and disqualified party leader Jehangir Tareen, alleging they were politically motivated. “We respect state’s institutions and the Supreme Court, and we have asked Jehangir Tareen to accept whatever decision given by the court,” Imran said. “[Despite that] Tareen did not do any corruption or launder money. He gives the most taxes,” the PTI chairman claimed. ECP WARNING: Earlier in the day, District Returning Officer Hammad Ijaz wrote to the PTI chief directing him not to take part in the rally citing a Dec 20, 2017, order and its own code of conduct which bars lawmakers and ministers from visiting a constituency after issuance of the by-election schedule. “ECP expects political parties, their leadership and candidates to comply with the code of conduct to increase public support for fair and transparent elections,” the notice reads. Moreover, it advised Imran to abide by the code of conduct in letter and spirit. Later in the night, the ECP issued a notice to PTI candidate Ali Tareen for breaching the body’s code of conduct. Tareen has been instructed to appear before the district election commissioner, either in person or through a counsel, on February 11 as the party’s rally was within the limits of the constituency. -- PT

SC grants time to Nawaz in disqualification term case

ICMD, Jan 31, 2018 The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted time to Azam Tarar, counsel for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to prepare arguments over determining the disqualification time period of parliamentarians under Article 62(1) (f) of the constitution. A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, which is hearing a set of pleas of several parliamentarians who were disqualified on fake degrees, directed the counsel for Nawaz Sharif to prepare his arguments for next week. The court has to interpret Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution to determine the period of disqualification for the disqualified lawmakers. When the court resumed the hearing, Azam Tarar requested the court to grant him some time to prepare the arguments, which the court accepted and asked him to come up next week. In his arguments, counsel for one of the petitioners, Waseem Sajjad, argued that the duration of disqualification should be five years. He said the present form of Article 62 was confusing, thus there was a need to resolve the controversy around it. He said Article 62 (1)(f) does not mention punishment, which is mentioned in Article 63 of the constitution. He said according to Article 62, the duration of disqualification would be five year. Tariq Mehmood, counsel for Samina Khawar Hayat, who was disqualified in a fake degree case in 2013, argued that articles 62 sand 63 of the constitution should be read together while determining the period of disqualification. He said that if articles 62 and 63 were read together, the time period of disqualification would stand at five years. He recalled that the court had disqualified Pervez Musharraf for life in 2013, adding that lifelong disqualification was a violation of human rights. Senior advocate Muneer A Malik, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, argued that the right to contest elections was a fundamental right, thus articles 62 and 63 should be read together. The chief justice inquired whether a disqualified parliamentarian could contest a by-election or the general election, adding if someone declared dishonest three months before the polls could contest the election. Muneer A Malik argued that the articles had to be read in such a manner that the basic rights of a lawmaker were not affected. -- DT

Dar’s assets enormously increased during 1993-2009, court told

ICMD, Jan 29, 2018 The accountability court on Monday recorded the statements of five more prosecution witnesses who testified against former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar. The former minister is facing a corruption reference for having assets beyond his declared and known sources of income. After recording the statements, judge Muhammad Bashir directed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor Imran Shafique to produce more witnesses in next two days so that the proceedings could be wrapped up within the stipulated time. In his statement, Ishtiaq Ahmad, an inland reverence commissioner, stated that the wealth of Ishaq Dar increased enormously from 1993 to 2009. Giving breakup, he said in 1993, Dar owned total assets of Rs 9.1 million, whereas in 2009 he had the assets of Rs 830 million. He said Dar paid Rs 0.7million tax in 1993, while in 2009 he paid Rs 40 million tax. Besides, prosecution witnesses Umar Daraz, Shakeel Anjum Nagra, Iqbal Hassan and District Officer Industries Lahore Asghar Hussain also recorded their statements. Another witness, Inam-ur-Rehman, could not record his statement due to ill health. NAB prosecutor sought permission of the court to add two more witnesses to the prosecution list, which the court granted. He stated that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) senior officials Sidra Mansoor and Salman Saeed will produce records of Dar’s companies. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till today (Tuesday). On the last hearing held on Jan 26, six prosecution witnesses had testified against Dar. Out of total 28 prosecution witnesses, 23 have so far recorded their statements. A corruption reference was filed against Ishaq Dar following the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017, orders in the Panama Papers case. Dar is absent from the trail since October last year, when he went abroad for medical treatment. -- DT