Aug 232017
 
Director of KP's first home for street children resigns, cites corruption as the reason

Zamong Kor: false starts and 'vanity' allegations Major (retired) Harris Khan Khattak, the director of Zamong Kor — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's "model" home for street children — resigned from his post on Wednesday while levelling allegations of corruption against the home’s board of directors (BoD).Khattak alleged that the chairman of Zamong Kor’s BoD, Imtiaz Gillani, used the school funds to buy a car worth Rs2 million, adding that other members of the board were also involved in embezzlement of the organisation's funds.According to Khattak, he has also informed the KP chief minister of the situation.Gillani, on the other hand, dismissed the allegations while talking to Dawn and said that all of the organisation’s decisions were taken according to a set procedure. “The car was bought through the board’s approval as well,” he said, adding that Khattak was “not taking enough interest in the organisation’s affairs”.Zamong Kor: false starts and 'vanity' allegations Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's had launched the first-ever institute for street children in the province in November 2015.At the launch, Khan had praised Reham Khan — his ex-wife and former ambassador for street children in the province — for highlighting the problems of local street children.At the time of the launch, the KP government had said that the home would accommodate 1,000 street children and provide them with education, health, recreation, sports, boarding, food, career, psychological counselings and other necessary facilities.An additional 100 kanals of land had to be acquired by the government to build a sports grounds, an auditorium and [Read More…]

Aug 232017
 
PM Abbasi arrives in Saudi Arabia on his first official visit abroad

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reached Saudi Arabia on Wednesday on his first official visit abroad since assuming office, DawnNews reported.On his day long visit, the prime minister is expected to meet Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Al-Saud, read a statement issued by the PM House. No meeting has been scheduled with King Salman as he is currently "out of the Kingdom on a private visit", read the statement.According to the PM House, Abbasi will discuss "emerging regional and global geostrategic situation and matters of mutual interest" in his meeting with Prince Salman. The premier, accompanied by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, was received by the governor of Makkah upon his arrival in the kingdom. DawnNews reported that Abbasi will raise the issue of US President Donald Trump's recent remarks, that Pakistan provides "safe havens to terrorists", during his meetings with Saudi dignitaries. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always shared a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, read the PM House statement. Click for detailed story

Aug 232017
 
Interior minister wants Musharraf to face trial like Nawaz Sharif did

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday said that if elected prime ministers can appear before the courts and are bound to abide by their orders, the same should hold for "the retired general" who is facing a treason trial.The interior minister was responding to a question asking whether the law applied differently to an elected prime minister compared to retired general and former president Pervez Musharraf."There is no reason for any citizen to escape trial as no one is above the law," Iqbal said. Musharraf is currently in Dubai 'for medical treatment'. "It is unfortunate that a person who is responsible for the country's dismal affairs; who is now giving interviews on television; is not facing the courts," Iqbal said."He left the country after the courts granted him permission," Iqbal noted, "[But] we will fulfil our responsibility through any and every legal process that is available," he said."It doesn't matter if the accused is a president, a prime minister or an ordinary citizen: if someone has broken the law and pushed the country towards chaos, he must be held responsible as the rule of law is the same for everyone," the interior minister insisted.When asked about US President Donald Trump's recent remarks about "safe havens for terrorist organisations" in the country, Iqbal said that "[Pakistan's] commitment to eliminate terrorism is not bound to please or anger a second or third country". He added that he does not take any allegations linking Pakistan to terrorism as the truth because "no other [Read More…]

Aug 232017
 
SC moved to include words 'sadiq' and 'ameen' in oaths taken by judges, generals

A petition has been filed in Supreme Court's Lahore registry to include the words sadiq and ameen (honest and righteous) to the oaths taken by judges and army generals after their appointments. Filed by lawyer Ch. Muhammad Anwar on behalf of Barrister Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party, the petition states that accountability is being applied discriminately to civilians in Pakistan while judges and generals "are being sheltered and protected and considered as immune from accountability".The higher judiciary and military courts in the country have become "sacred cows", the petition reads, adding that the judiciary is even making rules which in certain cases are to be made by the parliament. Also read: Parliament awaits data about perks of generals, officials"From the very birth of Pakistan, [the] parliament has remained at the mercy of judiciary and dictators," the petition says, urging the SC not to "take over the jurisdictions of parliament as it has done in Article 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(g)". The Supreme Court had last month disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for being "dishonest" in his 2013 nomination papers.The petition seeks the apex court's directions to make SC judges and army officers "surrender their accountability to the public" through the parliament. "In fact, the accountability of all the elected and selected persons is the privilege of parliamentary committees."The petition has been filed in the SC at a time when the government has revealed its plans to amend Articles 62 and 63 to reduce the [Read More…]

Aug 222017
 
FO rejects Trump's allegations of terrorist 'safe havens' in Pakistan

The Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday rejected United States (US) President Donald Trump's allegations that Pakistan offers safe haven to "agents of chaos", as he announced America's new strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia. Talking tough on Pakistan, Trump had said, "We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations," warning that vital aid to Islamabad could be cut. "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he said. "That will have to change and that will change immediately."The FO, issuing a rejoinder to the US president's statements said: "As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. Instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, the US needs to work with Pakistan to eradicate terrorism."The FO said it is "disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation" in the fight against terrorism. "No country in the world has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. No country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside our borders," the FO asserted. Responding to Trump's call for more US troops in Afghanistan, the FO reiterated Pakistan's view that there is "no exclusive military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan"."The military action during the last 17 years has not brought peace to Afghanistan, and [Read More…]

Aug 222017
 
'Business as usual with Pakistan now over,' warns US National Security Council spokesman

'Pakistan's concerns over India-Afghan ties an excuse' With a tougher regional policy announced by the United States (US) on Tuesday, National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Michael Anton warned Pakistan that it is "on notice from this president, from this administration", Politico reported.Anton, speaking to reporters on a conference call, was quoted by Politico as saying that "business as usual [with Pakistan] as it has been up to now is over", and that the US could impose sanctions on terrorist groups, including the Haqqani network, and any Pakistani officials "who are tied to these kinds of groups, you know, in ways that they shouldn't be"."I think the important takeaway for the Pakistani government last night is that, you know, they should understand that they’re on notice from this president, from this administration," he told Politico, referring to what appeared to be a shift in the US policy regarding Pakistan."The United States has been really patient with Pakistan for a really long time. We haven’t been getting a good deal from them," he claimed.Earlier today, US President Donald Trump had cleared the way for the deployment of more US troops to Afghanistan, backtracking from his promise to swiftly end America's longest war."We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations," Trump had said, warning that vital aid to Pakistan could be cut."We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," the US president [Read More…]

Aug 202017
 
PPP stands for democracy, not Nawaz Sharif: Sindh interior minister

Sindh Interior Minister Anwar Siyal clarified on Sunday that the Pakistan People's Party's (PPP) support for democracy does not mean that it supports the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif."He is constantly attacking the judiciary and state institutions," he said in a press conference, referring to Sharif's speeches during his 'homecoming' rally on GT Road, where he asked his supporters the reason of his expulsion repeatedly. "He [Sharif] says he is being treated unfairly. Your party has the federal government as well as the provincial governments of Punjab and Balochistan, yet you are playing the victim. Why don't you tell us who is victimising you?" he demanded.Siyal recalled that when former PPP prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani was ousted, the then President Asif Ali Zardari had replaced him with Raja Pervez Ashraf instead of challenging the judiciary and the system.Siyal's comments echoed PPP co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, who on Friday had wondered why Sharif is unwilling to accept the court's decision. The former president had also called Sharif "dangerous" for the "democratic process".The Sindh interior minister also talked about Karachi's ongoing law and order operation, saying that both terrorists and traitors will receive the same treatment. Calling Muttahida Qaumi Movement's founder Altaf Hussain a traitor, Siyal likened him to convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by the Pakistan government. Siyal also complained that the federal government has not contributed in the ongoing Karachi operation as promised."It was agreed that the operation budget will be split into [Read More…]

Aug 202017
 
'Not leaving politics, but won't be part of cabinet over difference of opinion,' Nisar clarifies

Nisar's track record at the ministry Infighting among PML-N leaders Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar in a press conference on Sunday dismissed rumours that he had left politics, clarifying that he had declined to be part of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's cabinet over a "difference of opinion." Nisar, speaking about his earlier announcement of departing from the cabinet, said that he had stuck by his decision. "I'm grateful to Nawaz Sharif and PM Abbasi for trying to convince me, but I feel I have a difference of opinion. Tell me, isn't it honourable that a person disassociates himself over a difference of opinion? In Pakistan's history, how many people have resigned on a point of principle?"He did not specify who he had differences with."You don't distance yourself from a ministry for no reason," he said, adding, "There is always a reason, but I cannot reveal it at this time, because times are not normal right now ─ the party is in difficulty, the leadership is in difficulty.""I don't think the time is right for me to discuss the reasons behind my resignation," he asserted.He added that he would, however, not be leaving politics. "I speak in party meetings […] there are issues within the party; those who leak what I've said in meetings are dishonest, in my opinion," he said, urging the media to verify all statements attributed to Nisar. "I haven't leaked anything that I've said in the meetings," he claimed, adding that he was someone who had [Read More…]

Aug 172017
 
India approves $650m Boeing army chopper deal

India on Thursday approved a $650 million purchase of six attack choppers from US aviation giant Boeing, officials said, as it boosts its military might amid border tensions with China and Pakistan.The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which approves big-ticket purchases, gave the green light to acquire six additional Apache helicopters after 22 were bought as part of a $2.5 billion deal in 2015.Two defence ministry sources told AFP that the deal was approved exclusively for the army, without providing further details including a date for delivery. “DAC approved procurement of six Apache helicopters along with associated equipment for the army totally about $650mn,” an official told AFP by text message.The initial batch of 22 Apaches — equipped with Hellfire and Stinger missiles — replaced the Indian Air Force's ageing fleet. Soon after the first Apache acquisition, the army put in a separate request for a fleet of at least 39, one of the officials told AFP.It will be the first time the Indian army has received attack helicopters and it hopes to deploy the craft along India's high-altitude frontiers — particularly its border in the east with regional rival China.New Delhi and Beijing are locked in a tense impasse over a strategic Himalayan plateau where hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been squaring off against each other for more than three months.India — the world's largest defence importer — has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing territorial disputes with its nuclear-armed [Read More…]

Aug 172017
 
PM Abbasi directs against using his photographs in govt's media campaigns

In an unexpected move, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday issued directives against printing his photographs in any governmental media campaign or advertisements.According to the notification, a copy of which is available with DawnNews, the premier has directed all ministries, divisions, federal governmental organisations, corporations, companies, departments and bodies that his picture should not be printed anywhere on publicity campaigns.The Supreme Court had already barred government officials from airing or printing publicity campaigns for 'rulers' on government expenses.The move by the newly-elected prime minister is being considered in total contrast to the policies of his predecessor Nawaz Sharif, who reportedly spent massive amounts on his publicity campaigns. Abbasi is an electrical engineer with a master's degree from George Washington University. He had served as the minister of petroleum and natural resources in Nawaz Sharif’s third term, which ended on July 28, 2017, after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz as Pakistan’s prime minister.Abbasi has remained mostly unbeaten in his political career, having only lost to PPP candidate Ghulam Murtaza Satti in 2002. However, aside from that particular contest, he has won every election he has contested in from 1988 till 2013. Click for detailed story

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