Pakistan News


Senior PTI leader Asad Umar on Wednesday accused the PML-N-led coalition government of attempting to create discord between the PTI and the army — an effort he said was bound to fail.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Umar said cases were being filed against his party in a manner as if it was “a threat to Pakistan”.
He said Imran’s political rivals see him as a threat to the “entire old system”, adding that “foreign powers, who have a habit of dictating Pakistan, also see Imran as a threat”.
The PTI leader said it was a historic turnaround that the people had taken to the streets and rejected foreign interference as they saw Imran as their “hope”.
Umar said a “condemnable” tweet was posted from a Twitter account that merely had 50 followers, “and it was played up by accounts with huge following only to add fuel to the fire”.
He said the top brass of the ruling coalition, including Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman had been criticising the army until the recent past. “Was any action taken against them?” he questioned.
He said Imran had even emphasised the need to have a strong army after losing the government. “Our chairman had categorically said Pakistan needs its army more than Imran Khan.”
The PTI leader insisted that the nation had realised its power. “If decisions for the future of Pakistan are taken, it will only be made by people and not anyone else,” he added.
‘Govt needs new constitution to knock Imran out’
The former planning minister dismissed the possibility of Imran being sidelined from mainstream politics.
“There is no 62-1(f) [Article of the Constitution] sword hanging on him and also there is no room for a technical knock. They [the government] will have to write a new constitution to knock Imran out,” Umar said in response to a question.
Article 62(1)(f), which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous), had provided the grounds for the disqualification of former prime miniser Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in the July 28, 2017, judgement on the Panama Papers case handed down by the apex court.
Shahbaz Gill has the right to defend himself Umar said the incarcerated party leader Shahbaz Gill has all rights to explain and justify whatever he had said.
“He has the right to clear his position under the law.”
The PTI leader asked whether any action was taken against Nawaz Sharif who had been rebuking the army’s top brass. “Why was not he arrested or his party banned?”
‘Flaws’ in ECP verdict The PTI also berated the Election Commission of Pakistan for treating the PTI with “sheer discrimination” through its verdict in the prohibited funding case.
He recalled that the ECP had “dropped” the use of the phrase “foreign funding”, saying how did it start using it again when it was not even mentioned in the law.
Also read: ‘Prohibited, not foreign funding’ case, ECP tells staff
He claimed that the ECP verdict was “baseless, misinterpreted, discriminated and the commission overstepped its authority while jotting down remarks in it”.
Umar said several individuals who funded the party had now been sending their recorded video statements and affidavit only to confirm their identity and the source of money, but the ECP was turning a blind eye to them “only because it issued a verdict against us with a mala fide intent”.
He explained there was a difference between a certificate and an affidavit. “Imran had his signatures on a certificate and the ECP cannot take any action against him just on the basis of it.”
The ex-minister said the prohibited sources of funding were clearly mentioned in the Political Order of 2002. The case of business tycoon Arif Naqvi dates back to 2008-13 while the Election Act was amended in 2017, and the ECP misinterpreted the law while levelling false accusations in this connection, he alleged.
“Bill Gates Foundation was investing in Naqvi’s company in 2013 and the British royal family was also involved in business with him. Did they know in advance that Naqvi will turn out to be a criminal in 2018?” he asked.
He said the ECP’s scrutiny committee also failed to find sources of Rs350-400 million funds given to the PML-N, adding that the watchdog took no action and served as a tool for the PDM to target the PTI.


Mourners are taking out processions across the country today (Tuesday) to observe Yaum-i-Ashura amid tight security arrangements and with cellular services suspended in several areas.
Yaum-i-Ashura is observed every year on Muharram 10 with solemnity to pay homage to Imam Hussain and other martyrs of Karbala.
Karachi
The main procession in Karachi, which was taken out from Nishtar Park at 9:00am, will culminate at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah along MA Jinnah Road, according to a press release issued by traffic police.
During the course of this journey, mourners will cover Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Road, Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khorasan, MA Jinnah Road, Mansfield street, Preedy street and Bolton Market.
Meanwhile, traffic from this route would be diverted towards Jubilee Market, Nishtar Road and other areas, the traffic police press release said.
In Karachi and other major cities of Sindh, more than 55,000 police and Rangers personnel have been deployed for the security of mourning processions and mobile phone and internet services are to remain suspended under a comprehensive security plan for Ashura.
Among them, 12,000 policemen have been deployed in Karachi, where a total of 5,056 majalis and 5,520 processions are being taken out, according to a Dawn report. Around 7,000 policemen in addition to 4,960 Rangers personnel have been deployed to guard the main Ashura procession in the city, the report said.
Earlier, South DIG Sharjil Kharal told Dawn the Pakistan Army would be on standby in case of any emergency in the city.
The Sindh government last week imposed a ban on pillion riding and the use of helicams or drones for video recording by media channels during processions and majalis from Muharram 8 (Aug 7) to 10 (Aug 9).
Peshawar
In Peshawar, the day’s first procession commenced at Imambargah Agha Najaf Ali Shah while cellular phone services remain suspended.
Altogether, 12 processions are to be taken out in the city, the Dawn.com correspondent in Peshawar said.
Tight security arrangements have been made for Ashura in the city, with around 11,000 police personnel deployed to guard mourning processions, same as on Muharram 9, he said.
Quetta
The main procession in Quetta commenced at Imambargah Hussainiya Syedabad on Alamdar Road, and will pass through Toghi Road, Liaquat Bazaar and Prince Road to return to Alamdar Road, where it will culminate around 8pm, according to a statement issued by the Balochistan Shia Conference.
During the course, Shia scholars would deliver speeches at Bacha Khan Chowk, where Zuhr prayers would be offered, the statement said.
According to Quetta DIG Fida Hussain, strict security measures have been implemented on the route of the procession, along which 5,000 police personnel have been deployed. Frontier Corps personnel and those from other law enforcement agencies have also been deployed to guard the procession, he said in a statement.
The DIG said CCTV cameras would be employed for air surveillance, adding commercial centres along the procession’s routes were sealed and road had been blocked for traffic.
Mobile phone services in the city would remain suspended from 6am to 8pm, he said, adding that three battalions of the Pakistan Army were on standby.
Earlier, a Dawn report quoted him as saying that 24 imambargahs had been declared highly sensitive in the city while 23 sensitive.
Majalis were being held in 57 imambargahs while women’s majalis were going on in 20 takiya khanas, he said, adding that 21 permanent gates and 49 gates had been set up for meetings across Quetta and patrolling of security forces increased in and around the city.
PM’s message
In his message on Ashura, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Imam Hussain’s message of “resistance and defiance will continue to inspire humanity to aspire for a moralistic world order that is based on universal principles of equality and freedom”.
He said the “supreme sacrifice rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his family drew a distinct line between the forces of truth and falsehood, and the oppressor and the oppressed.
“The great Imam established a moral principle that has animated the struggles for the right to self-determination”.
The PM stressed the need for seeking guidance from the “exemplary character” of Imam Hussain and his companions as “humanity navigates multiple challenges and seeks to break the logjam it finds itself in.


ISLAMABAD: Three lieutenant generals were transferred and posted on Monday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced. Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was appointed Bahawalpur corps commander, replacing Lt Gen Khalid Zia, who has been appointed the military secretary GHQ. Military Secretary Lt Gen Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat has been appointed as the Peshawar corps commander.
Gen Faiz Hameed’s transfer is a bit surprising as he had served less than a year as Peshawar corps commander. Earlier, he had served as the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence, where he unnecessarily got embroiled in a controversy over the then prime minister Imran Khan’s refusal to post him out from ISI.
Gen Hameed had remained involved in striking a deal with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, as well as in Afghan affairs, both as head of the ISI and as Peshawar corps commander.
With his latest posting, it appears he has been taken off from the overall Afghan and TTP-related matters.


Four soldiers were martyred in a suicide blast at a military convoy in the Mir Ali area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan district, the military’s media affairs wing said on Tuesday.
The martyred soldiers have been identified as 22-year-old Lance Naik Shahzaib, a resident of Mansehra, 26-year-old Lance Naik Sajjad, hailing from Ghizer, 25-year-old sepoy Umair, a resident of Kohat and 30-year-old sepoy Khurram, a resident of Narowal.
According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), intelligence agencies have commenced investigations to find out details about the suicide bomber who carried out the attack and his handlers and facilitators.
The “Pakistan Army is determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers will not go unpunished,” the ISPR said.
Attacks on security forces and clashes with suspected terrorists in the North Waziristan tri­bal district have become quite frequent in recent months.
On July 4, at least 10 security personnel were injured when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of security forces in the area.
Officials said at the time that the convoy was going from Mirali to Miramshah, the district headquarters, when the suicide bomber, who was on a motorcycle, blew himself up near one of the vehicles.
On May 30, a suicide bom­ber riding a motorcycle att­acked another convoy of security forces in the Razmak area, injuring two soldiers and two children.


Muharram 9 mourning processions are being taken out countrywide amid strict security arrangements, with mobile phone services suspended in some areas under a comprehensive security plan devised by law enforcement agencies to prevent any untoward incident.

The Sindh government last week imposed a ban on the use of helicams or drones for video recording by media channels during processions and majalis from Muharram 8 (Aug 7) to 10 (Aug 9).
Similarly, the administration in Islamabad has imposed an emergency in all hospitals of the capital whereas 2,200 police officials have been deployed during today’s procession.

Peshawar police have cited serious security threats to processions. However, they said all-out measures to ensure complete security cover to the procession have been taken.
Karachi
The main procession in the metropolis commenced from Nishtar Park this noon, will go through Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khorasan and end at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar.
According to a Sindh police spokesperson, as many as 5,313 policemen have been deployed for security and monitoring of the main routes of the central procession.
Snipers of the Special Security Unit have also been deployed along procession routes.
The spokesperson added that 1,000 traffic policemen had been deputed to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on alternative routes/roads.
The Sindh Police also urged citizens to keep a strict vigil on suspicious people and inform the police through its helpline in case of any emergency.
Lahore
The main procession in Lahore commenced from Pando Street, Islampura, and will culminate at the same street after passing through the designated route.
The procession reached its first destination at Siraj Building Chowk via Alamgir Road where mourners performed Zuhr prayers.
Afterwards, the procession will pass through Islampura’s main market, Neli Bar Chowk and Civil Secretariat before reaching Old Anarkali in the evening where the mourners will make a brief stopover to perform Maghrib prayers.
The procession will culminate at Pando Street at around midnight after going through designated routes.
Quetta
The main procession of Muharram 9 in Quetta emerged from Imambargah Nasirul Aza after Zuhr prayer and will end at the same venue after passing through its traditional routes.
DIG Police Quetta Fida Hussain Shah told a press conference earlier in the day that there were a total of 57 imambargahs in the city, of which 24 were highly sensitive and 23 were sensitive.
More than 5,000 police and FC personnel have been deployed in the city, while business centers located along procession routes will remain shut on Muharram 9 and 10.
The senior officer said cellular services will also remain suspended from 6am to 12pm in various areas.
Peshawar
The main procession in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital emerged from Imambargah Hussainia Hall at 10am and the mourners briefly stopped in the Kali Bari area to perform Zuhr prayers.
The procession will pass through its traditional routes and culminate at Imambargah Hussainia.
SSP Operations Peshawar, Kashif Aftab Abbasi, said there were strong security threats at procession routes, adding that the police had adopted comprehensive measures to guard mourners.
More than 11,000 police officers have been deployed across the city, he said in a statement.
He said over 1,000 personnel had been stationed at the city’s Saddar area alone for the procession’s security today.
Islamabad
Islamabad Capital Police Chief Dr Akbar Nasir Khan said the central control room for monitoring processions had been established at the Safe City Islamabad.
He said cellular services will remain suspended in some areas due to security reasons.
Strict vigilance should be maintained to ensure that security measures are in place by the police and standard operating procedures issued by the government are being followed, the IGP said, adding that the bomb disposal squad would conduct checking of routes through robots and modern technology while entry of participants in the procession would be ensured only after complete checking.


ISLAMABAD: A key legal hitch in the way of next general elections has been removed as the polls watchdog issued final lists of national and provincial assembly constituencies, bringing down the total number of National Assembly seats from the existing 342 to 336.
Under the 25th Amendment, the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were merged with Khyber Pakhtun­khwa pro­vince. The amendment abolished 12 NA seats of Fata and allocated six seats to KP on the basis of population. As a result, the number of general seats in the lower house of parliament came down to 266 from 272.
The fresh delimitation will now give effect to the amendment.
Women and minority seats will remain unchanged at 60 and 10, respectively.
As for provinces, Punjab will have 141 general seats in NA, Sindh 61, KP 45, and Balo­c­h­­istan 16. Islamabad will have three seats.
Fata’s 12 seats abolished, KP given six more; PPP finds fault with watchdog’s exercise
Under Article 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Elections Act 2017, delimitation was conducted on the basis of population determined in the last census.
The ECP had cited legal hitches in conducting the elections before October, including the absence of delimitation, in case the National Assembly was dissolved by the then ruling PTI, inviting scathing criticism from the party.
‘Flawed’ census
Following the publication of final delimitation lists for 266 national and 593 provincial assembly constituencies by the ECP, the PPP rejected the exercise carried out on the basis of “flawed” census.
In charge of the party’s Central Election Cell Senator Taj Haider said delimitation could not be done on the basis of “faulty and controversial population figures”.
He said the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had accepted that the figures obtained in Census 2017 were incorrect and while validating the provisional figures in spite of Sindh’s dissenting vote had ordered a fresh census which was to be concluded before December 31, 2022.
“It is an irony that the controversial part of the CCI decision is being followed and the agreed part of conducting a fresh census is being ignored on various excuses. Such un­­fair tactics remain unwise and counter-productive. As we have seen these give rise to many more short-term and long-term problems and divisive controversies rather than amicably solving existing problems,” he remarked.


A Lahore zoo is auctioning off a dozen lions to private collectors next week to free up space for a pride that won’t stop growing.
Lahore Safari Zoo now has so many big cats that their lions and tigers have to take it in turns to access the paddocks, said Tanvir Ahmed Janjua, the zoo’s deputy director.
“Not only will we free up more space here, but our expenses for meat to feed them will also decrease,” he told AFP.
The zoo is currently home to 29 lions, and officials plan an auction on August 11 to sell 12 of them, aged between two and five years old. There are also six resident tigers and two jaguars.
Conservationists are opposed to the sale, with the environmental group WWF saying the creatures should be moved to other established zoos, or breeding females sterilised or given contraceptives.
“Animal exchanges and donations between zoos are a widely accepted practice,” the organisation’s Uzma Khan told AFP.
“Once an institution such as a zoo places a price tag on a wildlife species it is promoting trade — which is counterproductive to conservation,” she added.
Keeping lions, tigers, and other exotic wildlife as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan, and is seen as a status symbol.
Wealthy owners post images and video clips of their big cats on social media, and rent them out as props for movies and photoshoots.
Zoo officials have set a reserve of 150,000 Pakistan rupees ($700) per cat, but hope each will fetch around two million rupees.
Not just anyone can take part in the auction, however.
Janjua said buyers will have to be registered with provincial authorities and show they have the means to provide proper care and shelter for the creatures.
Zoo veterinary officer Muhammad Rizwan Khan told AFP an initial attempt last year to auction lions fell through as potential buyers lacked the necessary documentation or licences.
Keeping lions and tigers in Pakistan is seen as a status symbol. — AFP Nouman Hassan, who fell foul of authorities in the past when he was filmed walking his pet tiger on a leash in Lahore, plans to take part.
“I will try to buy two to three lions for sure,” he told AFP, adding the auction was a good way to diversify the gene pool for private collectors who already owned a big cat.
With little legislation to safeguard animal welfare, zoos across Pakistan are notorious for their poor facilities, but the Lahore Safari Zoo is considered one of the best, set over 200 acres.
In April 2020 a court ordered the only zoo in the country’s capital to shut down after poor facilities and mistreatment of the animals there were revealed.
The facility had drawn international condemnation for its treatment of an Asian elephant named Kaavan, who was later airlifted to retirement in Cambodia in a jumbo project spearheaded by US popstar and actress Cher.
Veterinarian Khan said the animals at Lahore Safari Zoo were being given the best possible care — something reflected in their fecundity.
“They are experiencing a good life in captivity with us,” he said.

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