Nov 192017
'Nawaz Sharif is an ideology,' says PML-N chief at Abbottabad election campaign rally

PML-N's political struggle in Hazara Former prime minister and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif on Sunday addressed a public gathering in Abbottabad, formally launching his party's campaign for the upcoming general election.Sharif began his address with a trademark declaration of love to his audience. "Nawaz Sharif really loves you too," he told the crowd. "Today, I am remembering 2013. The same passion was present then," he said, surveying the gathering.The former premier, who was disqualified from public office by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers verdict, told his supporters that "no court's decision can break the ties" between him and his following in Abbottabad. He recalled developments made by his government since 2013, including infrastructural and power projects. The Haripur motorway to Havelian will be completed shortly, he said. "I may not be prime minister anymore, but the motorway will continue being built."People speak of a 'minus-Nawaz Sharif formula', he said. "But Nawaz Sharif is an ideology and this ideology will bring revolutionary change across Pakistan," he claimed."Nawaz Sharif is not a loser. If he was a loser, you and I would not be friends," he told the crowd. "Will you support me in this struggle?"Read: The Supreme Court still has some pretty damning things to say regarding PanamagateThe ousted premier claimed that not a single penny's worth of corruption had been proved against him or his family members. "When all efforts to do so were unsuccessful, the SC said that I did not take a salary from my son, [Read More…]

Nov 192017
Ahsan Iqbal makes last-ditch appeal to Islamabad protesters to end sit-in

As the clock runs out on the Islamabad High Court's (IHC) deadline to the district administration to clear the Faizabad Interchange of a sit-in of religious parties, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday made a last-ditch appeal to the protesters to end their dharna.Iqbal, while addressing a press conference, reiterated the government's desire to end the deadlock through dialogue rather than by means of force. He observed that the sit-in was not being held for political reasons, but because of the religious sentiments of the protesters. Reports claimed that during marathon meetings between a ministerial-level government team and protest leaders on Saturday, the government had offered the leaders that all cases registered against them would be withdrawn and a committee would be appointed to look into claims that Law Minister Zahid Hamid was behind the now-withdrawn controversial change into the Khatm-i-Nubuwat declaration for electoral candidates.However, Iqbal had rejected the protesters demand for the law minister’s resignation, saying that Hamid could not be asked to resign without solid evidence against him.Read: The capital under siegeIqbal reiterated that compliance with the IHC order to remove the protesters by Sunday [today] was a legal requirement, but added that he had requested the court specially for an extension in the deadline in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the deadlock."We agreed to the suggestions they had, and I hope the protesters and their representatives will also reach an agreement so the issue can be resolved and people's lives can return to normal. If [Read More…]

Nov 172017
370,000 Afghan refugees registered in four months: report

The National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) has registered 370,000 un-documented Afghan refugees across the country over the last four months, Radio Pakistan, the state-run broadcaster, reported on Friday.The authority has expedited the registration process of un-documented Afghan refugees, a Nadra spokesman was quoted as saying.The largest number of refugees were registered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the report, 230,000 refugees were registered in KP alone. The authority is aiming to register a million Afghan refugees, which its officials say will be done by January 16, 2018. Earlier, the campaign was supposed to end on Dec 31, 2017.A total of 21 registration centres have been set up in the country, including 11 in KP.Nadra, the Afghan Commissionerate and the Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation are jointly running the registration campaign. The country has some 1.5 million registered refugees, one of the largest such populations in the world, according to the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR). More than a million others are estimated to live here unregistered.The country’s law-enforcement agencies had launched a crackdown on unregistered Afghans in the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks in the country.The International Organisation of Migration, which assists and monitors the movement of migrants across the world, reported that 248,189 undocumented Afghan nationals had returned or were deported from Pakistan in 2016. Click for detailed story

Nov 162017
NAB requests interior ministry to put Ishaq Dar's name on ECL

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requested the Ministry of Interior on Thursday to put the name of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the Exit Control List (ECL), DawnNews reported.The decision in this regard was taken during a meeting chaired by NAB Chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal, read a statement issued by NAB's spokesperson.An accountability court on Tuesday had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Dar over his continuous absence from proceedings in the assets reference against him. Click for detailed story

Nov 092017
Sepoy martyred, 5 terrorists killed in exchange of fire on Pak-Afghan border: ISPR

A Pakistan Army sepoy was martyred and five terrorists were reportedly killed when they opened fire on newly established army posts at the Pak-Afghan border, the Army's media wing said on Thursday. Sepoy Muhammad Ilyas was martyred in an exchange of fire on the Pak-Afghan border on Nov 9. —Photo courtesy ISPR. "Exploiting absence of any control in Afghan border areas, terrorists fired on newly established Pakistan posts in Rajgal valley in Khyber Agency at multiple places," the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release. Five terrorists were reportedly killed and four injured during exchange of fire while Sepoy Muhammad Ilyas was martyred, according to ISPR.The ISPR in August had announced the conclusion of Khyber-4 operation in the agency which included clearing the areas on the Pakistani side of the border. Pakistan began fencing the Pak-Afghan border earlier this year to prevent terrorists from crossing into the country from Afghanistan.The two countries accuse the other of harbouring their militant enemies — both deny the other's charges.On Tuesday, during the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua maintained that terror groups are not functioning in Pakistan, but operating from across the Pak-Afghan border."In Afghanistan, 45 per cent of the country is not under government control, which is why the Haqqani network and other terror groups do not need a safe haven in Pakistan," she said, repeating the state's new refrain on cross-border terrorism. Click for detailed story

Nov 082017
Musharraf quick to welcome newly formed MQM-PSP alliance

Alliance or merger? Former president Pervez Musharraf, in a video message on Wednesday, welcomed the formation of a political alliance between Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), however, Musharraf did so even before it was formally announced.The video message was shared on social media from the official account of Musharraf's political party — All Pakistan Muslim league (APML). Musharraf started the video message by expressing his delight on the merger of political forces representing the Mohajir community. He, however, was quick to clarify that he had no sympathy for MQM and didn't see any future of that party, but it was necessary for the Mohajir community to unite under one political umbrella. The former president went on to say that he did not support community-based politics and preferred to do politics for the betterment of the country."If the factions of APML unite in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, and join hands with them [the newly formed alliance] then this will give birth to a new national-level political force," Musharraf said while presenting his formula for changing the existing political scenario in the country.He urged all the communities living in Karachi and rural Sindh to unite under this platform, so that they are able to defeat PPP and form the government in the province.Alliance or merger? The announcement of an alliance between the political parties that, until recently, were highly critical of each other attracted mixed reactions on Twitter from politicians. MQM stalwart Ali Haider Abidi announced his [Read More…]

Nov 082017
Stocks gain ground as political tensions simmer

Volumes were led by: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) closed higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark KSE-100 Index gaining 210 points to close at 41,260.The index had opened lower, but gathered momentum towards the middle of the session after touching a day's low of 40,971. It eventually climbed to a high of 41,294 points towards the end of the session.Of the 365 scrips traded in the day, 189 advanced, 142 declined and 34 remained unchanged. Volumes on the broader market remained low, as only 97.4 million shares worth Rs5.7 billion were traded during the day.The oil and gas and E&P sectors dominated trading with 15.0m and 14.7m shares traded, respectively. Volumes were led by: Sui South Gas: 8.8m shares traded [+3.28pc] Japan Power: 7.6m shares traded [+17.19pc] K-Electric Ltd: 5.9m shares traded [+3.56pc] TRG Pak Ltd: 5.7m shares traded [+2.64pc] Sui North Gas: 5.5m shares traded [+3.08pc] Click for detailed story

Nov 062017
Gen Bajwa meets Iran's president to discuss regional security issues

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa held meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during his ongoing trip to Iran, the military’s media wing said on Monday.Iranian leadership thanked Gen Bajwa for his visit and acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements in the war against terrorism, contributions towards regional peace and the important positive role that Pakistan is playing in this regard, read a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations. COAS meets Iranian Chief of General Staff. —ISPR Earlier in the day, the army chief met Iranian Chief of General Staff (CGS) Major General Muhammad Bagheri at General Staff HQ where he was presented guard of honour.During the meetings with the civil and military leadership of Iran, Gen Bajwa discussed issues related to the geo-strategic environment, defence and security and economic cooperation at bilateral as well as regional level, ISPR said.Afghan situation, growing threat of ISIS in the region and the Pak-Iran border security also came under discussion, the military's media wing said."The army chief termed Pak-Iran border as the border of peace and friendship and emphasised the need for better security management, so as to deny its exploitation by the terrorists," read the ISPR statement.Pakistan and Iran are two brotherly neighbours with a shared history, culture and religion. The militaries of both the countries also have a history of defence collaboration and cooperation, the army chief was quoted as saying.Iranian leaders agreed to stay engaged for enhanced bilateral cooperation while jointly working [Read More…]

Nov 062017
Pakistan welcomes US mediation in easing tension with India: Khawaja Asif

'US should share intelligence with Pakistan' Pakistan believes in regional peace and welcomes mediation by the United States in easing tension with India, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday.Addressing the fourth round of US-Pakistan Bilateral Dialogue in Islamabad, Asif said Pakistan has always preferred a comprehensive dialogue with its South Asian neighbour that could contribute to peace in the region, Radio Pakistan reported.The dialogue, titled 'Convergence amid Divergence: Identifying Pathways to Cooperation in a Challenging Environment', was called to deliberate on ways to ease the strain in bilateral Pak-US ties. Commenting on the new US strategy for South Asia and the role accorded to India in the policy, the minister said US has assured Pakistan that New Delhi's role in Afghanistan would be limited to providing economic assistance to the war-torn country. Also read: US promises to stay neutral in India’s conflict with other statesPakistan has repeatedly expressed concern over India's role in the US strategy, saying its security concerns in the region should be recognised.While announcing his strategy for the region, US President Donald Trump had said the US appreciates India's important contributions to Afghan stability. But he also lamented that India “makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States.”Trump had said he wanted India to provide more economic assistance and development to Afghanistan.'US should share intelligence with Pakistan' Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts have prevented "countless" militant attacks in the US and Europe, Asif said, adding that Pakistan and US both have a lot of work to [Read More…]

Nov 022017
Condolences pour in following Dina Wadia's demise

End of an Era Soon after news broke about the death of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's only daughter Dina Wadia on Thursday, messages of condolences started to pour in through social media.People from all walks of life, including politicians and celebrities, took to Twitter to extend their condolences over the sad demise of Quaid's daughter.PTI chief Imran Khan was among the first to express his grief. PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi also issued a condolence statement. PPP leader Naz Baloch shared an iconic picture of Dina with her father Mohammad Ali Jinnah and aunt Fatima Jinnah. End of an Era Though Dina never lived in Pakistan, she was seen as a historic figure not only because she was the only daughter of the nation's founder, but also because she was one of the few who had witnessed the bloody partition of 1947. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif claimed that Dina's death was the "end of the unique bond that existed cause of her illustrated father". Lawyer and author of Jinnah: Myth and Reality, Yasser Latif Hamdani termed her death as "an end of an era". Hamdani also insisted that Dina's story "be told" as not much is known about her personal life since she had lived a reclusive life. Journalist Talat Hussain also expressed grief over Dina Wadia's demise, saying, "another window on history closes". Former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar said that he was "saddened to hear about the demise of Quaid-e-Azam's only daughter". Dina was born on the night between [Read More…]

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