Hearing on Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar's appeals against conviction after elections

ICMD, July 17, 2018 The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday put off appeals by Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt Mohammad Safdar against their conviction in the Avenfiled reference until after the elections. The court was hearing seven separate appeals filed by the three convicts' lawyers ─ against the conviction, suspension of their sentences, and transfer of the pending two references against Sharif family members. Three appeals were filed on behalf of Nawaz, and two each on behalf of Maryam and Safdar. The IHC bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, observed that since the high court administration had not notified the division bench for next week, the appeals against the convictions of Nawaz, Maryam and retired Capt Safdar were adjourned until the last week of July. Arguing before the IHC bench, lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris said that the accountability judge never mentioned the value of Avenfield properties at the time of purchase nor was an estimate given in the verdict. The known sources of Sharif's income were also not mentioned in the verdict, he said. Upon the court's query, Haris said the prosecution did not produce any record to establish Nawaz's ownership of Avenfield apartments. Regarding trust deeds, Amjad Pervaiz — the counsel for Maryam and Safdar — said that the court passed a verdict against Maryam Nawaz for preparing forged trust deeds on the basis of the opinion of forensic expert Robert Radley. Radley said that the deeds were not genuine for being written in Calibri font in Feb 2006 when it was not commercially available — yet, the expert himself was using the font in 2005, the lawyer argued. Regarding Capt Safdar, Pervaiz argued that in the 174-page judgment, the judge mentioned Safdar only once, that too for awarding him one-year imprisonment. The court summoned the investigation officer in Avenfield reference and also issued a notice to the prosecution to appear in the next hearing.

What will ANP do after Tuesday's suicide attack in Peshawar?

ICR, July 11, 2018 Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour, who was killed along with his son in a suicide attack on Tuesday night, was laid to rest in Peshawar on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the responsibility for the attack in which 20 people were killed. Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Qazi Jameel has constituted a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into the incident. Haroon’s funeral was attended by the ANP’s central leadership, including Ameer Haider Khan Hoti besides hundreds of party workers and supporters. Leaders from other political parties, including QWP’s Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and PPP’s Humayun Khan, also participated in the funeral. Tuesday suicide attack left over 62 people injured who are under treatment at Lady Reading Hospital, authorities confirmed. The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the suicide blast. After the incident, a case was registered at Police Station Agha Mir Jani Shah, with SHO Wajid Ali as the complainant. The funeral prayers of 10 of the deceased were offered earlier, following which they were buried. Also in 2013, the ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks in which scores of workers and candidates of the party had been killed across the country. The party, as many believe continues to be the target of hardliners in Pakistan and this was a very first attack before July 25 elections in which the ANP was trying to reemerge in the province where PTI and JUI—both rightist parties— are in the field to win majority seats. The Pakistani army has been fighting to uproot Taliban for long in the areas making its border with war-torn Afghanistan where Taliban leadership is camped. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the targeting of Haroon Bilour. An ISPR communication quoted the chief as saying “We are fighting against the nexus of inimical forces which aren’t willing to absorb a peaceful and stable Pakistan. We remain undeterred and shall defeat them,” the COAS was quoted as saying. ANP will continue the poll campaign Undeterred by the Tuesday suicide blast ANP President Asfandyar Wali said that the party would continue to campaign for the upcoming 2018 general election. The party will resume campaigning after a three-day peaceful protest. He told the media party’s main focus was to become victorious in the elections, adding “We have to contest elections and win.” “The main problem is that they [Taliban] know who all of us are but we don’t know about them, said Wali. “Instead of attacking us from the back, our rivals should go head-to-head against us,” he maintained. The deceased ANP leader, Haroon Bilour, was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar’s PK-78 constituency. The Election Commission of Pakistan has postponed the polls in PK-78 (Peshawar-XIII) constituency. Condemnations against the attack continued pouring in as the United States embassy also condemned the attack in a social media post. “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack in Peshawar against civilians campaigning for this month’s elections. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and hope for the speedy recovery of those who were wounded,” the embassy said in a statement.

Was it angry mob which tried to break into Avenfield flats in the UK?

ICMD, July 9, 2018 Some people who were called as angry protesters by media on Sunday night attempted to attack the Avenfield properties of the Sharif family in the UK, media reports said citing British authorities. The protesters attempted to smash the door of the apartment of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his son, Hussain Nawaz. One of the protesters threw a shopping cart at Aijaz Gul, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) UK chapter. Soon after, Britain’s Metropolitan Police reached the site of the protest near Avenfield House, a luxury housing scheme and commenced a search of the nearby vehicles. UK police said they have reports of protesters possessing weapons, especially knives, and that an investigation was currently underway. No arrests were made, they said, adding that legal action would be initiated over the destruction to private property. The British chapter of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) condemned the incident and said there was no truth in the accusation that the party’s workers were behind the incident. “We are not associated in any way with the attack on Hussain Nawaz’s residence or the related protest,” PTI UK spokesperson stated.

PPP cannot accept a mutilated democracy where people go missing: Bilawal

ICMD, June 21, 2018 Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that he was not ready to compromise on former prime minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s principles, adding that a political system in which if party workers were not respected was not acceptable to him. Condemning media censorship, the PPP chairman said that his party was opposed to such highhanded tactics. “PPP cannot accept a mutilated democracy where people go missing. We want democracy as it was envisioned by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.” He was addressing party activists at the Begum Nusrat Bhutto Memorial Hall here on Thursday to celebrate the 65th birthday of Benazir Bhutto. With tears in his eyes, Bilawal said, “we are celebrating the birthday of Shaheed BB who laid down her life for the cause of the masses. Benazir Bhutto’s politics, life, leadership and martyrdom was also Benazir.” “Bhuttoism cannot be finished by those who want to finish Bhuttos. Those who wanted to end Bhuttoism have been defeated at the hands of the history. PPP gave democratic system and right to the people to live respectfully. We do not believe in hate and torture but we do politics on the basis of principles and accountability,” he said. Bilawal said that in the upcoming general elections, his party would face off the remnants of the Zia and the Musharraf eras. “The headquarters of one of the franchise is in Banigala and of the other in Jati Umra,” Bilawal said, referring to PTI chairman Imran Khan and PML-N quaid Nawaz Sharif. “One is constructing a Taj Mahal of [ill-gotten] money, the other is hiding behind the ‘respect for vote’ [slogan]. One has violated the sanctity of the Parliament, while the other continues to look for the umpire’s signal,” Bilawal said. Lashing out at the leaders of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), the PPP chairman said ‘political mosquitoes’ had once again attacked Sindh and every street was filled with such mosquitoes. He said some of them were disloyal to their benefactors and others were grown up over blood of their devotees. “They want to enter corridors of power from the backdoor.” Bilawal said the sons and the daughters of the soil were out in the field to defeat ‘the mosquitoes.’ PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro said on the occasion that Benazir Bhutto had asked party leadership not to stand with her on truck as they wanted to kill her and she did not want to lose her party’s leadership. Khuhro said that Bilawal was taking forward the same mission and people would vote for him massively. PPP leader Maula Bux Chandio, Farhatullah Babar and Syed Murad Ali Shah also addressed the gathering. Syed Qaim Ali Shah and other party leaders and activists of Larkana were present on the occasion. A 65 lbs cake was cut by the PPP chairman to celebrate the birthday.

PTI changes candidates in ‘some’ constituencies

ICMD The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership spent a busy day on Tuesday finalising the candidates for the remaining constituencies and reviewing the complaints submitted by party workers against the award of tickets to controversial persons and turncoats in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In another development, the PTI, which had previously called for changing the top bureaucrats and heads of a number of institutions, has now asked caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk to change KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra for allegedly interfering in political affairs in the province. Talking to Dawn, PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the party had already reviewed most of the petitions it had received against the decisions of the parliamentary board to award tickets in some constituencies and also made decisions on them. He disclosed that the party had changed candidates in “some” constituencies. He, however, said the PTI would announce the names of all its candidates on Thursday.