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|Fazl demands Nawaz’s release after video leak|
|[DAWN] -Fazl chief on Friday called for the immediate release of the former premier, , after the emergence of videos involving an accountability court judge.|
Talking to s here at his party’s provincial headquarters, the JUI-F chief said following the release of a string of judge’s videos, Nawaz Sharif’s sentence and cases against PPP leader had lost meaning, so they should be scrapped.
He said the removal of accountability judge Arshad Malik was an admission of the judge’s weakness on part of the judiciary.
Mr Fazl said the recent events had exposed accountability courts’ judgments and therefore, no one would call the NAB a fair accountability body.
He said those detained by the NAB were political prisoners.
"The state apparatus, including NAB, has lost its moral standing," he said.
Regarding the opposition’s bid to remove the Senate chairman, the JUI-F chief said the opposition had majority in the Upper House of Parliament, so it had the right to move a no- confidence motion against the chairman.
|Bill against child marriage divides parties in NA|
|[DAWN] A day after the passage of a bill seeking to set minimum age for marriage at 18 in the Senate, a similar legislation was introduced in the National Assembly on Tuesday, but only after an intense discussion which exposed cracks within various parties on the issue.|
Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri referred the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to the committee concerned after the house allowed its mover Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of the ruling Pakistain (PTI) to table it with a majority 72-50 vote.
The National Assembly also witnessed introduction of 10 other bills, including two constitutional amendment bills seeking creation of a new province, on the private member’s day.
Former president , who came to the house after the Asr prayer break, was seen conversing with the PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique, who is currently under custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with a housing society scam and attending the session after issuance of his production order by the speaker. The two arch-rivals of the past remained busy discussing some important matter for some time without caring for the proceedings.
Earlier, a heated discussion took place on the child marriage bill which exposed a division even within the federal cabinet. Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan strongly opposed the bill and termed it un-Islamic, whereas Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari argued in support of it and asked the deputy speaker to refer it to the committee.
The opposition Pakistain Peoples Party (PPP) was the only party whose members voted in support of the bill in unison as the members of the Pakistain League-Nawaz (PML-N) also gave a divided vote.
|Fazlur Rehman, Nawaz discuss 'shared concern' on inflation, economy|
|[DAWN] -Fazl (JUI-F) chief on Tuesday called on former prime minister at his residence to inquire about the latter's health and discuss the political situation in the country.|
Rehman, while talking to journalists after the meeting, said he had been in touch with other , including . He added that he will also call on Zardari in the next few days as believes that "internal connections [among opposition parties] should remain intact".
"The agenda of the meeting was limited to inquiring about his [Nawaz Sharif's] health, but we also discussed our shared concerns about towering inflation, which is affecting the common man, and the troubled economy," he said while responding to a question.
Calling Prime Minister a "fake and khala'i [extra-terrestrial]" premier, Rehman described the current regime as an "installed" one. He added that the ruling regime has no knowledge of the ideology of Pakistain, the ground realities of the country and the economy.
He repeated that the JUI-F has completed 10 'million marches' against the government and that they are ready for a decisive one.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry ‐ who is already not in the good books of the JUI-F ‐ took to Twitter to criticise the meeting and asked the judiciary to take notice.
"The Supreme Court had been informed that Nawaz Sharif was ill at a extant that it would be life threatening if he is denied bail. Lied, as always. And now instead of an ambulance, Fazalur Rehman has reached there and is providing political oxygen to Mian Nawaz Sharif. Courts should take a notice of it."
|Fazl musters support for Islamabad sit-in|
|[DAWN] SARGODHA: chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman has launched a campaign to motivate his supporters for the `million march’ he has planned against the government.|
"The present regime is a product of rigging. It is following the agenda of foreign lobby and destroying cultural heritage and religious assets of the nation. Therefore, we have decided to launch a million march to get rid of this government," he told a news conference on Sunday.
He said the JUI-F was motivating all opposition parties to join its proposed sit-in in Islamabad. He said PPP Co-Chairperson will support the move.
He said that those who had been abusing the parliament in the past were fooling the nation by their false statements and had not given up the style of abusing opposition. "Therefore, people have realised the fact that this party will rather ruin the entire set-up through its foul play."
Fazl said that his party’s move against the present regime was to make it to enforce Islamic Shariah in the country and frustrate the evil agenda of Jewish lobby. He said present regime was promoting nepotism and obscenity beside fooling the nation on oil and gas reserves. .
He said Prime Minister was misusing his authority by doing the politics of . He regretted that he planned to unite all parties against rigging and malpractices in general elections but none bothered to join hands but now those who brought Imran Khan into power had realised their mistake.
"I will convince all political parties to unite and join him at the Islamabad sit-in to save the country from collapse and for revival of true democracy."
After his , Fazl addressed a gathering at Fatima Jinnah Road and sounded optimism for a considerable support for the sit-in which he said would remain peaceful.He said the 18th Amendment was introduced for the best interest of provinces and all political parties would resist government move to scrap it.
He said the JUI-F would gather at Bab-e-Khyber on April 21 and in on April 28 before moving to Islamabad for a "historic million march."
|[Dawn] WHAT started out as a political firestorm has ended, eight years later, with a whimper as the Supreme Court on Thursday finally wrapped up the so-called Memogate affair. The case ‐ which was built on the claim that elements in the -led government sought Washington’s help against the Pakistain Army ‐ was concluded by Supreme Court Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who poignantly wondered if the state, the Constitution, democracy and the armed forces were so fragile as to be shaken by a mere ’memo’. That none of the overzealous petitioners who pursued this case were present when the apex court delivered the order is ironic, as a recap of the events is dominated by flashbacks of a national frenzy around the allegedly treasonous memo which was exploited to deepen the civil-military divide. The court has rightly left it to the government to decide if it wants to proceed against Mr Husain Haqqani, who was accused of writing the memo to the then US military chief Adm Mike Mullen in which he allegedly sought US help to avert a possible overthrow of the civilian government by the military following the killing of in May 2011. But the conclusion of this case presents an opportunity for self-reflection on several fronts: should the judiciary under Iftikhar Chaudhry have jumped to act as referee in the Memogate matter, when the government at the time had already announced a probe? Was it appropriate for , who has since acknowledged his mistake, to use the memo as an opportunity to lead the charge and allege treason against the PPP government? After the passage of many years, was it the responsibility of then chief justice Saqib Nisar to revive the Memogate controversy using his powers of ?|
Despite the formation of a commission, court summons for civilian and military leaders, and breathless reporting by the media, the scandal did not achieve anything other than the sacking of an ambassador. At the heart of the issue lies the notion of the separation of powers, which divides the responsibility of the state between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary ‐ a framework which continues to be murky for the state today. As Chief Justice Khosa noted at the conclusion of the hearing, nothing needs to be done by the court at this juncture. It is now ‐ as it always was ‐ a matter for the government to deliberate on.
|Have stopped trying to resolve differences between Nawaz, Zardari: JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman|
|[DAWN] JUI-F Chairman Fazlur Rehman announced on Wednesday that he would no longer attempt to mediate between PML-N supreme leader and Pakistain Peoples' Party Co-Chairman All three lead parties that currently make up the joint opposition in parliament.|
"I am no longer trying to end the differences between Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif," Rehman said during an informal conversation with journalists. "I did try to end their differences, but their complaints with each other remain," he explained.
"Instead, I am now wishing for the differences between them to end," Rehman said, adding: "In the current circumstances, it is vital for the opposition to be united."
"Differences [of opinion] are common in politics. these differences should be resolved in order for the opposition to present a united front," the JUI-F chief said.
Rehman is known for playing the role of mediator between members of the opposition, and has adopted a similar role numerous times over the course of his political career.
Last month, the opposition parties had decided to form a joint committee to devise a joint opposition strategy on various issues, including a second extension in the tenure of military courts.
The decision was taken at a meeting of opposition leaders on Jan 15 hosted by Leader of Opposition in the NA over lunch in his chamber at Parliament House.
|Pakistan buries 'Father of Taliban' as PM orders probe of killing|
|[Al Ahram] A key Pak with close ties to the Afghan who was killed in the garrison city of Rawalpindi was buried Saturday as Prime Minister called for an investigation into the murder.|
Maulana Sami Ul-Haq, dubbed the "Father of the Taliban", was stabbed to death by unknown intruders at his residence Friday night.
The , who is in his 80s was buried in his hometown Akoda Khattak, around 115 kilometres (70 miles) northwest of Islamabad.
Thousands of people gathered for the funeral prayers guarded by dozens of police personnel while a bomb disposal squad cleared the graveyard before the 's body was brought for burial, an AFP at the site said.
His seminary had produced some of the key leaders of the Afghan and Pak Taliban, something that the and his associates would proudly tell visiting journalists.
The list of graduates written on the walls of the seminary includes the names of leaders of the Pak Taliban.
An investigation into the murder of former prime minister in 2007 revealed that the assassins had stayed at his seminary before travelling to Rawalpindi where Bhutto was killed.
The Afghan Taliban issued a statement terming his death "a great loss for the entire Islamic Ummah" (nation).
"He rendered unforgettable services and assistance to the oppressed Afghan nation against the Soviet and American invasions," the statement said.
Afghan envoys in Pakistain had reached out to him seeking his help in starting negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.
But analysts doubted if he had any sway with them.
"He did not had any influence on the Afghan Taliban but he supported their cause," analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai told AFP.
"Many of the leaders and fighters of the Afghan Taliban had studied at his madrassa," he said.
Pak media termed his death a blow to the Afghan but Yusufzai doubted it, saying his death would have no impact on the talks as he was never part of any negotiations.
Social media users in Afghanistan termed him a "troublemaker".
"The Taliban have lost their father, now they are orphan," Bilal Noori, an Afghan, posted on Facebook.
His death was widely condemned in Pakistain by politicians and religious leaders, with the prime minister calling for an investigation into the murder.
In 2014, the was a member of the negotiating committee from the homegrown Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) -- who brokered a ceasefire with the government, although the talks later failed.
He twice held roles as a member of Pakistain's Senate.
His JUI-S party was an ally of the ruling Pakistain (PTI) party headed by Prime Minister Khan.
|'We are ready for presidential battle': Mullah Diesel|
|[DAWN] Joint opposition's presidential candidate on Sunday declared that he is "ready for presidential battle" even if his attempts to convince PPP to withdraw their candidate Aitzaz Ahsan in his favour made little headway.|
Rehman, following a meeting with PML-N President in Lahore, delivered a media talk and made a last-ditch effort to convince PPP supremo to back him in the presidential election, set to be held in less than 48 hours on Tuesday.
"For my withdrawal, I will have to take into confidence five parties," said the JUI chief, whose party is one-fifth of the Muttahida Majlis‐e‐Amal (MMA) ‐ a religiopolitical alliance.
"For PPP it is easier to withdraw its candidate," he added in response to PPP leader Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira's call for Rehman to withdraw his candidacy earlier in the day.
While there have been little signs that the impasse between the joint opposition and PPP could be thawed prior to Tuesday's poll, Rehman is not giving up on the challenge. "We are trying to have the PPP accept the joint opposition's decision and back a single candidate; Asif Ali Zardari and Aitzaz Ahsan are good friends of mine."
|Usman Buzdar becomes Punjab chief minister|
|[ARABNEWS] Ending the decade-long dominance of the Sharif family, Pakistain ’s (PTI) nominee, Sardar Usman Buzdar, has been elected chief minister of Punjab, the biggest province in the country.|
In the election on Sunday in the Assembly, Usman Buzdar secured 186 votes ‐ the minimum required number to become the leader of the House consisting of 371 members.
His rival, Hamza , son of former three-time Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, could bag only 159 votes.
The seven members of the Pakistain People’s Party (PPP) abstained from the process.
The PML-Q s and Rah-e-Haq party members also voted for the PTI candidate.
The win of the PTI nominee, Sardar Usman Buzdar, has ended the 30-year supremacy of the Pakistain League - Nawaz (PML-N) in the political realm of the province.
The PML-N ruled the province from 1988 to 1990 when the elder Sharif, Mian , served as the chief minister and gave a tough time to his political rival, the late , who was then prime minister.
The PML-N then formed the government in the province in 1993 and Ghulam Hyder Wyne was the party nominee for the slot of chief minister.
The PML-N again gained power in 1997 and the younger Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, became chief minister of the province.
The ruled continued until the bloodless coup of Gen. .
During Gen. Musharraf’s regime, Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi served as the chief minister from 2002 to 2007.
PML-N regained its glory in the 2008 elections and Mian Shahbaz Sharif became the chief minister. The rule continued for two consecutive terms (2008-20013 and 2013-18) ‐ 10 years.
In the 2018 election, though, the PML-N emerged as the single largest party in the province by securing 129 seats but the number was not enough to form the government and on Sunday PTI candidate Buzdar ended their supremacy in Punjab politics.
|Suspect granted bail in Benazir case held in another case|
|[DAWN] The Counter Terrorism Department, Rawalpindi, has a prime suspect in the murder case of former prime minister after he was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.|
The Kot Lakhpat jail authority has released suspect Rafaqat Hussain after he managed to secure bail in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
Pakistain Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson and two-time former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and at an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007.
An official seeking anonymity told Dawn that Rafaqat was shifted to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail from Rawalpindi prison following some administrative arrangements.
He said the Kot Lakhpat jail officials got his release orders on June 23, 2018, and following written orders, they released Rafaqat Hussain.
His elder brother received him outside the jail, he said adding that as soon as he reached his destination, a CTD team from Rawalpindi raided and arrested him in a terror attack case lodged with a local .
"The CTD arrested him in another carried out on Feb 6, 2007 at Rawalpindi International Airport," the official said.
According to this case, he said, the terrorist had detonated a bomb in a parking area of the airport wounding some law-enforcement agencies personnel and killing himself after a brief exchange of fire.
the official said, the suspect’s father also filed a plea to the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) claiming that Rafaqat Hussain had gone missing from the prison.
He claimed that his son was acquitted in the murder case of Benazir Bhutto in August 2017 but was detained in Punjab’s various jails.
Lately, Rafaqat was shifted to the Kot Lakhpat Jail from where he went missing under mysterious circumstances, he claimed.
Earlier, an anti-terrorism court acquitted five suspects for lack of evidence and declared former military ruler a .
ATC Judge Muhammad Asghar Khan found two guilty of ’mishandling the ’, making them the only people to have been convicted of the of Benazir in a gun and suicide attack in Rawalpindi on Dec 27, 2007.
|Taking note of an unsolved murder|
|[DAWN] THE acquittals last August should have jolted the prosecution and judicial systems into conducting an urgent review of the traumatic episode.|
Yet on Monday, a bench of the Lahore High Court ordered the release on bail of the five suspects who were acquitted last year of conspiring to assassinate The five acquitted men were kept in prison through a number of short-term executive and judicial orders.
In February, a review board comprising three justices of the Lahore High Court acceded to the government’s request to keep in state custody the five men for a further 60 days.
Before that, a 90-day detention request had been acceded to by the review board in November 2017.
The review board proceedings were held in camera, and each time, police were able to produce enough evidence to convince the judges on the review board that the continued detention of the five men was in the public interest.
Inevitably, however, courts tire of repeated requests to detain terrorism suspects under public safety laws and bail is usually granted.
The failure is not of the judges who order the release of the individuals detained, but of the prosecution and the overall judicial system.
Governments relying on archaic public safety laws to detain terrorism suspects is itself an abuse of the judicial system.
Yet, the Benazir Bhutto case was no ordinary matter and the iconic leader’s shook the foundations of the country.
While myriad failures of the executive and the criminal justice system allow many an accused to go scot-free, in the judicial process against individuals accused of involvement in a crime that reshaped the country’s politics, a higher standard of professionalism and commitment is required.
Surely, rather than simply allowing the suspects to walk free on bail and possibly return to activities, the state ought to have explored more thoroughly the legal options to bring to a satisfactory conclusion the trials of all suspects in the Bhutto .
Perhaps, then, this is an ideal matter for Chief Justice Saqib Nisar to look into.
The chief justice has vigorously pursued all manner of lawbreakers in recent months and has also expressed a desire to put right some of the structural flaws in the justice system in the country.
There are few cases as important as the several related trials of individuals suspected of involvement in or covering up evidence of the of Benazir Bhutto, and surely a high-profile intervention could jolt the state and the judicial system into taking necessary and positive action.
Judicial intervention at the highest level could also demonstrate that the superior judiciary is serious about improving the performance of the criminal justice system and is willing to nudge the state in the right direction.
The country deserves to know the facts of the Benazir Bhutto .
|Malala returns to UK after 4-day trip to Pakistan|
A smiling Yousafzai was seen with her parents at International Airport before they boarded a plane to return to London after the four-day visit.
Amid tight security, Yousafzai in a convoy of vehicles left her hotel in Islamabad, where she stayed for four days. Touching scenes were witnessed when the now-20-year-old university student left her hotel, thanking Pak officials for giving her an army helicopter to see her home in the northwest town of Mingora in the Valley.
After visiting Mingora on Saturday, Yousafzai in a tweet said it was "the most beautiful place on earth" for her.