Pak Army chief meets top UK general to discuss defence cooperation, bilateral matters

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Switzerland Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan,
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Switzerland Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Benedict de Cerjat and UK Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter separately to discuss matters of mutual interest.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, in a statement on Monday, said that the Swiss ambassador and Chief of Army Staff Gen Bajwa exchanged views over mutual interest and discussed the regional security situation.

“The dignitary appreciated the bilateral relations enjoyed between both countries and pledged to further improve the same,” the ISPR said.

The visiting dignitary acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution to conflict prevention in the region, it added.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the military’s media wing said that the army chief and the UK CDS Carter discussed strengthening bilateral security and defence cooperation between the two armies.

“The visiting dignitary acknowledged Pakistan Army’s continued efforts for regional peace and stability particularly Pakistan’s efforts for Afghanistan peace process and achievements in the fight against terrorism,” the ISPR added.

PM Imran Khan laments rise of pollution in Pakistan’s cities

Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan is addressing the clean green encouragement award ceremony in Islamabad and has praised the Ministry of Climate Change for hosting it.

The prime minister lamented how Pakistan’s various cities such as Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi used to be “clean” but were now suffering from pollution. 

“People used to drink Peshawar’s water as if it was mineral water,” he said. 

Speaking about Karachi, he said that trash and garbage could be found scattered on the metropolis’ streets. “Sewerage is being disposed of in the sea, causing hurdles for fishermen.”

In Lahore, nearly 70% of the green cover has been finished, the premier said, adding that the as a result, the pollution in Punjab’s capital had increased.

“In October, November, and December, the pollution levels increase to such an extent that they cause harm to the people’s health in Lahore,” he said.

The premier, highlighting his government’s policies during the coronavirus pandemic, said that the World Health Organisation has praised Pakistan’s COVID-19 strategy.

“Pakistan not only saved its people, but we also saved the economy,” he said.

However, the prime minister said that he feared a second coronavirus spike in cities such as Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, and Gujranwala, where the pollution levels go up during the winter. 

PM Imran Khan said that “this is the time” that the government and people join hands to save the future of the country and kick start plantation.

“We have destroyed our forests, and our next generation will have to pay the price for it,” he said.

Talking about the government’s measures for reforestation, he said: “Our first step — which is ambitious — is to plant 10 billion trees. The second is to clean our cities and generate electricity through solid waste.”

PM Imran Khan had launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index to start a healthy cleanliness competition among 19 cities across the country on November 15 last year.

The initiative aimed at improving the overall outlook of Pakistani cities by kicking off competition amongst them on various indicators.

‘We are not kids, did not think even for a second PPP was behind Captain Safdar’s arrest’

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz along with PDM leaders
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said Monday that the PDM leadership were not ‘kids’, adding that she knew initially that the PPP did not have a hand in Captain Safdar’s arrest.

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, while recalling the series of events from last night at a news conference on Monday, said that she did not think for a second that the party or the Sindh government had instructed police to arrest her husband.

“I am telling the nation that I did not even feel for a second that these were Sindh government’s actions,” said Maryam. She also dismissed the notion that the arrest would lead to divisions between the PPP and PDM.

“You can be a fool, but we are not kids and we understand everything and what game is being played and what the aim is. I did not think for a second that PPP was behind it [arrest],” said Maryam. She added that the PDM was alert and knew that such things will happen.

Speaking about the arrest, Maryam said that she and her husband slept after Fajr as they had come late from last night’s PDM rally.

“At around 6:15 someone started banging our door. We were sleeping,” said Maryam. The PML-N vice president said that she felt that the noise could be due to construction activities happening nearby.

“I heard the same noise after one or two minutes. I told Safdar that someone is banging on our door,” said Maryam. She added that when her husband opened the door, police officials outside told him that they were here to arrest him.

The PML-N leader said that her husband had told police he will change and come out. She added that they heard that someone was breaking down the room’s door again.

“They broke the security latch and came inside the room. I was in bed and Safdar said do not come inside, I will come outside. I’m taking my medicine,” said Maryam.

Maryam said that police, however, ignored his request and arrested him anyway.

Witness absconding terrorism charges, claims Maryam

Sharing details regarding the witness in the case that led to Captain Safdar’s arrest, Maryam aleged that the witness, Waqas Ahmed Khan, was absconding from terrorism charges.

“Why are the witnesses the same in the cases you file?” she asked, referring to a sedition case filed earlier against the PML-N leadership, questioning why people in such cases had a “criminal record”.

“You find such people. An honest man will never come forward in such things and these people [with records] will be picked up,” Maryam said.

She also questioned why sedition, terrorism and death threat cases are registered against PDM leaders.

“Thousands of people were present there. Will someone understand this death threat among thousands of people? Why would anyone give death threats [there]?” asked Maryam.

Maryam also said that there was nothing wrong with the “vote ko izzat do” (give respect to vote) slogan, adding that the same words had been used by the Quaid-e-Azam.

“Vote ko izzat do is not a slogan which disrespects anyone. I know very well who is afraid of vote ko izzat do and afraid of Madar-e-Millat Zindabad (long live the mother of the nation),” said Maryam. She added that those who have an issue with this slogan are the ones who came to power by stealing the people’s mandate.

The PML-N leader also revealed that her husband Captain Safdar was “getting threats since a long time”, adding that the people who were threatening him were telling him that “they will not” leave him.

“And this was coming from the very highest level,” claimed Maryam. She challenged the authorities that they should arrest her rather than “blackmailing” her through the people that are her relatives.

“The world has seen your face today. I know the whole story [but I am not sharing] because an investigation is going on. Murad Ali Shah has told me everything and I know what happened here,” said Maryam.

“When you don’t think from the brain and think from [a position of] power then you make these mistakes,” said Maryam.

“You exposed yourself completely. You made our work easy,” said Maryam. She also stated that Nawaz Sharif’s stance was vindicated that there was a “state above the state”, saying that “Nawaz Sharif said the truth”.

Maryam also said that she will leave Karachi with her husband after receiving news that he was granted bail by the court.

Captain Safdar’s arrest a ‘planned conspiracy’: Fazl

PDM chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed that the inspector general of Sindh police was held hostage and forced to register the case against the PML-N leader Captain Safdar.

“When IG Police refused to act against them [PML-N leaders] in his own home. He was arrested. And he was held hostage in the office of powers that be for four hours and was forced to register an FIR,” alleged the JUI-F leader in the same press conference.

“Now you tell me who is in power,” asked Fazl. He added that the Sindh government has clarified its point of view and said that CM Murad Ali Shah was not informed about the action.

The PDM chairman also questioned what the respect of the woman was considered in a society, saying that such treatment was not meted out to a woman in any “respectable country”.

Fazl referred to the incident as “bullying”, adding that politicians had come out to “protest within the ambit of the law”.

The PDM Chairman said that the arrest was a planned “conspiracy” in Karachi to create “divisions” between the PPP and PDM. He added that the presence of PPP leadership in today’s press conference had “failed” the conspiracy.

“They say that hooliganism was done at the Mazar-e-Quaid. We can show you clips when PTI workers on the same shrine did the same. Did they not see the disrespect then?” asked Fazl.

The PDM chairman also asked where the witness in the case heard the “death threat” in the shouting during all the commotion. He added that the platform will also share details about the witness under whose name the FIR was registered.

“This is an attack on the whole PDM not just on Maryam,” said Fazl.

Anti-Narcotics Force grabs huge drugs of Rs1.5 billion from Peshawar

ANT grabs drugs
ANF seizes drugs worth Rs1.5 billion in Peshawar.

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) seized a huge haul of drugs worth Rs1.5 billion from a vehicle during a raid at Kohat Road, Peshawar.

Sources said the ANF intelligence wing conducted the raid on a tip-off. During search of the vehicle, 1722 narcotics concealed in the fruit boxes was recovered.

Four accused named Khayal Matt Shah, Khayal Muhammad, Attaullah and Ahsanullah were taken into custody.

The recovered drugs are said to be worth Rs1.5 billion in the international market.

Two more dengue cases confirms in Punjab reports

dengue cases
After the detection of two new cases on Monday, the number of confirmed dengue fever cases in Punjab has reached 115 this year so far.

According to a spokesperson of the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Punjab Captain retired Muhammad Usman, the fresh cases were reported in Lahore and the patients are under treatment.

He further stated that no deaths have been reported in the ongoing year due to the dengue virus, adding that 105 people have recovered their health, while five are still under treatment.

Earlier in the month of August, as many as 533 suspected patients of dengue fever were reported in Punjab in a single day.

The patients after tests were declared healthy and were allowed to leave for their homes.

Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmeen Rashid earlier said that the provincial government was taking all-out measures to cope with the menace of dengue fever.

“The ratio of dengue cases have substantially been reduced due to the efforts made by the district authorities and other concerned departments,” she said.

She directed to carry out effective measure for preventing the growth of dengue larva. The minister said that dengue patients were being provided best medical facilities at public sector hospitals in Punjab.

Sindh police deleted its own tweet regarding arrest of Captain Safdar

Captain Safdar
The Sindh police on Monday deleted its own tweet regarding arrest of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Safdar Awan.

In a tweet, spokesperson of Sindh police had said arrest of Safdar Awan was made according to the law of the land and investigation would be held on merit.

 But, the tweet was deleted by Sindh police, after 35 minutes.

Earlier on Monday morning, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Captain (R) Safdar Awan was taken into custody by Sindh police in the case.

The case was registered against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders including PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, her husband Capt (R) Safdar Awan and 200 others at the Brigade Police Station for chanting slogans at the Mazar-e-Quaid.

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has said the provincial government has no role in his arrest.

Responding to PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz’s tweet in which she said police barged in her hotel room and arrested her husband, Ghani said: “Whatever Capt Safdar did at Mazar-e-Quaid was uncalled for but the way the police arrested him is condemnable.”

Gulbuddin reaches in Pakistan, meets foreign Minister

FM with Gulbaddin
Hezb-e-Islami leader will also meet the prime minister and president.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-e-Islami of Afghanistan, along with a delegation arrived in the federal capital on Monday on a three-day visit as part of ongoing efforts seeking an end to the lingering unrest in Afghanistan.

This is the second high-level visit from Afghanistan after the recent arrival of Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghan Peace Council.

Soon after his arrival, the Hezb-e-Islami leader met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Matter of bilateral interest and the Afghan peace process was discussed between the two.

According to the Foreign Office (FO) Hekmatyar would also meet the prime minister and president and will meet chairman senate, speaker National Assembly, foreign minister and other dignitaries. He will also deliver a talk at a policy think-tank and interact with the media.

The visit of Hekmatyar will provide an opportunity for the exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations as well as people-to-people interaction, the FO statement added earlier.

Hekmatyar was a Mujahideen leader, who fought against the former Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. He also served as Afghan prime minister in the 1990s.

After the ouster of Taliban regime in 2001 by the United States, the Afghan leader fought against the US-led forces, but in 2016, signed a peace deal with President Asharaf Ghani, ending his 20 years of exile and resistance.

The intra-Afghan dialogue is currently underway in Doha and the two sides are trying to evolve consensus on the agenda and rules of engagement.

Although US President Donald Trump wants to see some progress before November 3 elections, the observers are skeptical of any major breakthrough during intra-Afghan dialogue in the near future.

Pakistan played a key role in brokering the deal between the US and Taliban and intra-Afghan dialogue.

The US and Afghan side expect Pakistan to persuade the Taliban to agree on a ceasefire or reduce the current level of violence.

Taliban have so far refused to agree on a truce, insisting ceasefire would be part of the overall agreement reached through talks.

LHW protesters announces march towards Parliament

Lady Health Worker protesting in Islamabad
Lady health workers to march towards Parliament in Islamabad as demands still not met.

Lady health workers (LHWs) — who have been protesting in Islamabad for the last five days — announced on Monday that they would march towards Parliament at 2pm if the government failed to accept their demands.

Hundreds of women have been protesting since Oct 14 for a service structure and an increase in salaries to meet rising inflation.

National Program Health Employees Federation President Rukhsana Anwar, who is leading the sit-in, said protesters were waiting for their colleagues from Charsadda, Mardan and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before marching to the Parliament.

“We will leave for Parliament once they arrive. We have decided on a strategy for our march to Parliament,” she said.

A day earlier, Anwar had asked for the protesters’ demands to be met immediately. “A service structure and creation of service rules, and an increase in salaries, are our main demands which should be met immediately.”

Anwar said lady health workers had no service structure and were paid little — from Rs20,000 to Rs22,000 other than LHWs from Sindh, who were paid Rs20,000 and another Rs17,000 in the form of a Covid-19 risk allowance.

She said it was decided during a meeting the protesting LHWs held with Punjab Health Secretary Ajmal Bhatti on Sunday that all their demands, including framing a service structure, would be met. But no notification in accordance with that meeting had been issued yet.

Following the meeting and the assurance given by health officials, hundreds of protesters left the venue, assuming the notification would be issued.

“But no notification has been issued so far and the government is now backtracking on the commitment to issue the notification,” she said.

She said LHWs have also received threats of departmental action if they do not call off the sit-in.

No facilities for protesters
The lady health workers are among thousands of government employees from unions, associations, organizations, tehreeks and etihads who came from across the country to gather at Express Chowk on Oct 14 in order to protest their salaries, pay structure and scale.

All the protesters other than the lady health workers have left in batches after their negotiations with ministers failed.

The lady health workers, however, refused to leave until their demands are met. One protester said that they are facing several challenges. They have no blankets or quilts to protect against the changing weather, no lighting in the absence of streetlights, no access to sanitation facilities and a shortage of drinking water.

The protesters have 10 demands, which include the restoration of the National Program of Family Planning in its original condition, equal bonus and pay for employees in all the provinces.

Maryam Nawaz is ready to be arrested: lawyer says

Maryam Nawaz
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has decided not to file bail petition after being nominated in the case related to violating sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum.

According to the lawyers of the PML-N, Maryam Nawaz has termed the FIR registered against the party leaders as fake and demanded to take it back.

This is the fake and bogus case, the lawyers alleged and added that only custodian of the Quaid’s mausoleum can become complainant in the case.

They alleged that Sindh police was forced to arrest Safdar Awan. Maryam Nawaz is ready to be arrested in the case, the lawyers added.

The case was registered against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders including PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, her husband Capt (R) Safdar Awan and 200 others at the Brigade Police Station for chanting slogans at the Mazar-e-Quaid.

Earlier on Monday morning, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Captain (R) Safdar Awan was taken into custody by Sindh police in the case.

Meanwhile, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has said the provincial government has no role in his arrest.

Responding to PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz’s tweet in which she said police barged in her hotel room and arrested her husband, Ghani said: “Whatever Capt Safdar did at Mazar-e-Quaid was uncalled for but the way the police arrested him is condemnable.”

Sting operation carried out ” by “pressurising” Sindh Police: Mohammad Zubair

Mohammad Zubair
Police were put under “extreme pressure” to arrest Captain Safdar, Maryam Nawaz’s Spokesperson and senior PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair said, quoting Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Captain Safdar, Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law and Maryam Nawaz’s spouse, was arrested early on Monday by Sindh Police for, among other charges, allegedly violating the sanctity of the Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar (also called Mazar-e-Quaid).

The sanctity of the Mazar-e-Quaid is protected by The Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971, which explicitly forbids political activities within the premises of the mausoleum.

“Murad Ali Shah personally confirmed to me his police had nothing to do with this. They were put under extreme pressure,” Zubair told reporters outside Karachi’s Aziz Bhatti police station.

“I am a former governor and I was not allowed inside the police station, even the lawyers were not allowed inside the police station, nor were they allowed to meet [Safdar],” said Zubair.

Zubair called the arrest a “sting operation carried out by the state” by “pressurising” Sindh Police.

“We condemn this and this is state terrorism. If we do not condemn this today, then we all will have to face this tomorrow,” Zubair told reporters after the arrest.

The PML-N leader said that they had they been “wondering for quite some time” how the ruling party would “react”.

The former Sindh governor explained that Maryam was staying in the same room from where Capt Safdar was arrested, and that there was no need to “break” into their room.

“When you break the door and enter, what is the fear? That Capt Safdar would have run out? He is in a hotel!” Zubair exclaimed.

He added that law enforcement could have waited at the “exit points very easily” and could have arrested Safdar “very easily” when he would have come out of his room.

“They planned on arresting Maryam Nawaz and Capt Safdar so the blame will go on Sindh government and Sindh police. But the facts are against it,” said Zubair.