Will go even further than blocking highways: Fazl

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday warned the government that his party would go even further than blocking highways across the country.

“The prime minister’s resignation is our primary demand,” he said.

Fazl said that the anti-government movement had embarked on its second phase. He hoped that the government would soon go home.

The JUI-F chief said that his party had not created a situation where the everyday life of people got affected.

“We wouldn’t have been forced to block highways across the country if the government had decided to go home during our dharna,” he said.

Fazl said that he hoped at the end of this year, his party would succeed in securing its primary objective.

Fazl said that the conditions that the government had imposed on Nawaz Sharif were disappointing. He said that the Rahbar Committee was operational and talks were going on between opposition parties.

He said that the government was blackmailing Nawaz. The JUI-F chief confirmed that he had spoken to Shehbaz Sharif.

The government on Thursday deployed police and paramilitary force in Rawalpindi as Jamiat Ulema-I-Islam-Fazl geared up to launch the ‘Plan B’ of its Azadi March.

The religio-political party, under its ‘Plan B’, intends to block main roads in all the federating units of the country, including the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Wearing protective head gear and equipped with safety shields and tear gas, the police and FC personnel were seen manning Chungi Number 26 — a key entry point into Islamabad.

A day after ending its 14-day sit-in, the JUI-F is expected to spread their protests throughout the country; blocking major thoroughfares across in all four provinces is on their agenda.

Shehryar Afrid lauds efforts of Anti-Narcotics Force

Shehryar Afrid
Minister of State for Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi says government is determined to make drug free Pakistan.

Addressing the disposing off ceremony of narcotics in Peshawar on Thursday, he lauded efforts of Anti-Narcotics Force and other concerned departments in fighting against this curse.

Shehryar Afridi said we will make no compromise in saving our youth from this menace.

He stressed for individual contribution in rooting out the crime of drug trafficking from the society.

Meanwhile, about sixteen tons of seized drugs were burnt in the ceremony.

PML-N moves court over Nawaz’s removal from ECL

former prime minister Nawaz Sharif
The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) has approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday, to request the removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list.

In the hearing today at the High Court, Nawaz’s counsel argued before the court that at the time of granting the bail, there were no conditions set upon the former prime minister.

Following which, the court asked the Attorney General to tell the court whether the fine imposed by the government was a part of the accountability court’s verdict.

“Does the ECL ordinance give the centre authority to give permission for a one-time visit abroad?” said the court.

The AG asked the court to grant him a one-day permission to respond in the case, following which the hearing was adjourned until Friday.

The government on Wednesday agreed to let the former prime minister travel abroad to seek specialized care, for a four-week period, provided he submits an indemnity bonds worth Rs7 billion.

Speaking to the media, Law Minister Farogh Naseem said that keeping in mind Sharif’s adverse critical medical condition, “he will be given four-week long, one-time permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.”

However, the PML-N has rejected the government’s conditional offer to travel abroad.

Federal govt allows Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad

Federal govt allows Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad
The federal government has allowed the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment.

A notification issued from the interior ministry stated that the federal government approved one-time permission to the former premier to travel abroad on medical grounds for four weeks.

The four weeks as per the notification would be counted from the date of departure and should be within the time period of bail granted to the Nawaz Sharif from Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The departure is, however, linked with the submission of indemnity bonds worth eight million United Kingdom (UK) pounds or equivalent rupees, 25 million United States (US) dollars or equivalent rupees and Rs 1.5 billion rupees to the additional secretary of the interior ministry.

Country is on right track, economy is heading towards stability: Firdous

Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan
Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan has asked the opposition parties to sit with the government for the resolution of problems faced by the masses.

Talking to the media persons in Islamabad on Thursday, she said the parliament is functional and the opposition should cooperate with the government for the passage of people friendly legislation.

Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government has put the country on the right track and the economy is heading towards stability.

She said the people will not support the elements bent upon stoking instability in the country.

The special Assistant said the plan B of JUI (F) will also flop like his Plan A of protest sit-in. She said the people fully understands the motives of the JUI (F) chief.

The Special Assistant asked the PML (N) not to do politics on the health of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. She said the PML (N) should act responsibly and take advantage of the facility extended by the government for treatment of the former Prime Minister abroad.

She said the government has demonstrated flexibility and out of box gave him the one time waiver to get the treatment abroad. She said according to law the names of the convicted persons are not removed from the ECL.

She said government has only sought guarantee in the form of indemnity bond which is a legal requirement. She said the PML (N) should not make it a matter of its ego , submit the indemnity bond and take Nawaz Sharif abroad for the treatment.

Firdous Ashiq Awan said the Prime Minister has also directed his team not to do any politics on the health of Nawaz Sharif.

PM Imran vows to economically uplift country by bolstering exports

Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to economically uplift the country by bolstering exports and attracting the foreign investment.

He was addressing a tripartite signing ceremony between MSD Tire and Rubber Company, Doublestar China and Dawood Pakistan Express Bus Service Limited in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said this agreement signed today between Pakistani and Chinese companies is aimed at local production of tires. He said this will not only help us reduce the import bill but export of tires will build up our foreign exchange reserves.

The Prime Minister welcomed the Chinese investment in different sectors and said Pakistan will encourage more Chinese investment by providing them an enabling environment.

He said several agreements have already been signed with China and the CPEC provides the platform to further bolster the economic partnership between the two countries.

The Prime Minister said the country’s economy has been stabilized as a result of measures taken by the present government. He said the current account deficit has been curtailed and the rupee has also stabilized. The positive sentiments are now also visible in the stock market.

Imran Khan was confident that Pakistan will achieve higher growth rate than the one projected for the current fiscal year. He said we are giving incentives to the construction to uplift this important sector of the economy. We are also extending facilities to the investors.

The Prime Minister said world institutions including the IMF, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have also endorsed that the country is heading in the right direction. He said the World Bank has improved our ease of doing business ranking by twenty eight points.

Imran Khan, however, stressed that our next challenge is to provide job opportunities to the youth by bringing in the investment. For this, he said we will fully facilitate the investors.

No truth to reports regarding amendment in PAA to implement ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan: ISPR

Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday evening dismissed reports regarding amendment to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) as “incorrect”.

“Speculations for amendment in Pakistan Army Act to implement International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict regarding convicted Indian terrorist Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav are incorrect,” said Ghafoor on Twitter.

“Various legal options for review and reconsideration of the case are being considered. Final status shall be shared in due course of time.”

The statement comes after certain Pakistani and Indian media outlets, quoting sources, reported that an amendment would soon be made to the act.

“The Pakistan government will be making amendments in the Army Act and let Kulbhushan Jadhav appeal against his conviction in a civilian court,” India Today had claimed.

Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

In his trial at a military court, Jadhav had confessed to his involvement in terrorist plots and was sentenced to death in 2017.

ICJ, after being approached by India, had ordered a stay in his execution through an interim order.

On July 17, the international court had ruled that Jadhav be allowed consular access immediately and asked Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.

The ICJ, however, rejected all other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, restricting Pakistan from executing the sentence, securing Jadhav’s release and ordering his return to India.

Fazl announces end to Islamabad sit-in, expand protests

Fazl announces end to Islamabad sit-in, expand protests
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) has decided to swing into action with its ‘Plan B’, as the party is ending its dharna (sit-in) in the federal capital and spreading the protest across Pakistan.

JUI-F Chief Fazl made the announcement to protesters in Islamabad on Wednesday.

“We will be leaving here tonight and will stand beside you (protesters), so the Azadi March proceeds successfully. Your presence here has pulled out the roots and the next step will be to root out the stem. Give one more push to the already falling walls,” he said to the crowd.

He appealed to the people who could not join the march to now come out when the protests spread across Pakistan.

The JUI-F held a consultation meeting under supremo Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman today, where it devised its future strategy.

According to the Plan B, the JUI-F will end the Islamabad sit-in and block highways across Pakistan.

Following the development, Azadi March participants started to dismantle their tents and started gathering their belongings to leave the H-9 venue in Islamabad.

Addressing participants of the Azadi March, Atta ur Rehman said that implementation on Plan B has already begun.

“According to our Plan B, we have staged a dharna protest on the Quetta-Chaman highway,” said Rehman. “We will also block Chakdara Chowk in Lower Dir and Indus Highway according to our plan.”

He said that Shahrah-e-Resham was blocked as well by the Azadi Marchers.

“We will close Indus Highway at the Link Road,” he said. “In Punjab, we have blocked G.T. Road at Buzdar.”

He said that workers of the JUI-F will start implementation on Plan B from Thursday at 2:00 PM.

JUI-F leader Rashid Soomro also spoke to the Azadi March protesters and urged them to gather at Hub River Road on Thursday at 2:00 pm.

“Workers should not carry sticks to the sit-in protests,” he said. “Ambulances must be allowed to pass through.”

Soomro said that one should not think that the Azadi March was nearing its end. He said that the protest was inching towards success with each step.

“From 2:00 pm tomorrow, the motorway in Sukkur will be blocked,” he said. “At the same time, the road linking Ghotki to Punjab will also be closed.”

Soomro said that Hub River Road will also be closed on Thursday from 2:00 pm and the same will be done to the road that links Kandhkot to Punjab.

Earlier, the protesters were blocking the Quetta-Chaman Highway for traffic.

JUI-F activists along with Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party have blocked the Quetta-Chaman highway while pursuing the ‘Plan B’ of the Azadi March.

Workers from both parties have blocked the Syed Hameed Cross for traffic, causing problems for the passengers.

Provincial JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Wasay said ‘Plan B’ was underway in Balochistan with the highway being closed for traffic.

On the other hand, a large contingent of levies forces have reached the spot and are negotiating with the protesters to open the highway.

Fazl lays out details of ‘Plan B’

On Tuesday, while addressing the participants of Azadi March, JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had urged his party workers to come out from their homes to execute the ‘Plan B’ which involved blocking major highways and trade links across the country.

The JUI-F plans on blocking all main roads throughout Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

All the thoroughfares of Islamabad and Rawalpindi will be closed as well by the Azadi March supporters.

In the meeting, the JUI-F chief was briefed about the plan by all four provincial chiefs of the party. Fazl expressed his satisfaction over the arrangements in place for the plan.


Naval Chief, Qatari PM agree to promote maritime cooperation

Naval Chief, Qatari PM agrees to promote maritime cooperation
Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi met with Qatari Prime Minister in Doha.

According to the spokesperson of Pakistan Navy, the Naval Chief also held separate meetings with the Armed Forces Chief of Staff and Commander Qatar Naval Forces.

Issues of mutual interest and the promotion of bilateral maritime cooperation were discussed during the meetings.

The Naval chief also highlighted Pakistan’s position on Kashmir issue during the meetings.

Nawaz on ECL: Govt pins travel ban removal on Rs7bn surety bond

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment for a four-week period against indemnity bonds, Law Minister Farogh Naseem announced Wednesday after a meeting of the federal cabinet’s sub-committee.

The meeting was presided over by Law Minister Farogh Naseem to decide the removal of Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) on basis of his medical condition.

Speaking to reporters here in Islamabad, Naseem said: “Keeping in mind his adverse critical medical condition, Nawaz Sharif will be given four-week long, one-time permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“This permission will be subject to Nawaz Sharif or Shehbaz Sharif submitting an indemnity bond to the tune of roughly Rs7-7.5 billion to the satisfaction of additional secretary to the Ministry of Interior,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on accountability, Shahzad Akbar, added that requests from the Sharif Medical City, as well as the government-formed medical board, were taken into consideration.

“Nawaz has been given this one-time permission only for medical treatment,” Akbar said. “It is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure a guarantee from him and that that bond was only over surety, not any political gain.”

The special assistant said the government understood Nawaz was unwell but stressed that the former premier was required to return to Pakistan after his medical treatment was completed. “The Ministry of Interior will issue the letter of permission,” he said.

Akbar further noted that no one should forget the PML-N leader had been sentenced in a mega-corruption case and that investigation was still underway in some cases, including that of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

Nawaz was convicted by an accountability court last December in the Al-Azizia corruption reference and awarded him a seven-year imprisonment sentence, alongside a fine worth Rs1.5 billion and $25 million (Rs3.88 billion).

Last night, however, sources had said Nawaz was reportedly annoyed over the government’s demand to deposit surety bonds and refused to go abroad to get medical treatment for his critical ailments.

PML-N leader Ata Tarar, according to the sources, had said in this regard: “We have deposited security bonds at the court, will not provide any further bonds. [The PML-N President] Shehbaz Sharif held meeting with Nawaz Sharif for one-and-a-half hour at Jati Umra and convinced him that his deteriorating health condition never allowed him to remain in Pakistan.”

The Sharif family had thought it advisable not to sign any document that had no legal status because this kind of arrangement could only be done by the court.

The sources said Tarar, who attended couple of meetings of the sub-committee of the federal cabinet in the day time, provided details to Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz about the government’s demand of surety bonds.

“Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Barrister Munawar Iqbal, and Attaullah Tarar discussed the issue in detail and also got opinion from other legal brains after which the Sharif family members decided that they would not sign any illegal document to seek removal of Nawaz’ name from ECL,” the sources had said.

“When the NAB reviewed the total cost of the property of the Sharif family in Pakistan they came to know that it is less than even the fine imposed by the NAB court in the corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif,” the sources said.