Student killed, nine injured in celebratory firing across Karachi

KARACHI: A young man was killed and nine others were wounded in celebratory firing on the eve of Independence Day in different parts of the city, police and rescuers said on Sunday.

A stray bullet killed 20-year-old Rohail Iqbal in Gulistan-i-Jauhar. The Sharea Faisal police said that the victim, a first-year student, was standing outside his home in Al-Sham Complex on Rashid Minhas Road when a stray bullet hit him.

He was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, said Dr Seemin Jamali, head of the JPMC’s emergency department.

He sustained a bullet wound in the head.

Gulshan SP Dr Fahad Ahmed told that he became a victim of celebratory firing. Meanwhile, a stray bullet hit 15-year-old Uzair Iftikhar at Jail Chowrangi. Rehmatullah, 55, was also wounded by a stray bullet at old Subzi Mandi. Both incidents took place within the remit of the Mobina Town police station.

Meanwhile, a police spokesperson said Shariq Javed was wounded in Lines Area within the remit of the Brigade police station.

Two men — Waleed Muhammad, 20, and Abdul Malik, 30 — suffered gunshot wounds in Lyari’s Khada Market and Niazi Chowk areas. They were shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi for treatment.

A stray bullet hit Mohammed Yunus, 30, in Chanesar Goth near Rehmania Masjid. He was admitted to the JPMC for treatment, said Dr Jamali.

PM offered COAS extension because he fears army: Imran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of offering an extension and a promotion to Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif because “he is afraid of the army”.

In his post-midnight address to a rally in the capital on Sunday, Mr Khan said, in so many words: “The prime minister is repeatedly asking the army chief to take an extension and become a field marshal because he fears him; [PM Sharif] has all other institutions under his control.”

His claim came as the capital was rife with rumours that the army chief might be promoted to the rank of field marshal, in recognition of his success in leading Operation Zarb-i-Azb.

Information minister dismisses claim

According to some quarters, the offer was made, but Gen Sharif refused to accept it and decided to stick to his earlier decision of retiring as per schedule, on Nov 29 this year.

In January, when social media was abuzz with talk about a possible extension for the army chief, Gen Sharif had come out with an unequivocal statement, saying: “I do not believe in extension(s) and will retire on the due date.”

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said: “The PTI chief is known for making such irresponsible statements,” adding that until Mr Khan revealed the source of his information about the prime minister’s purported offer, “How can I respond to this assertion that is based on rumours?”

A security official told  that the army chief had already announced his decision to retire on time and only the government could explain the rumours that had been doing the rounds over the past few weeks.

“As far as a decision regarding an extension or promotion for the army chief is concerned, it can only be made by the prime minister,” the official said.

In his speech, the PTI chairman predicted that the next Aug 14 would be the “real independence day”, when the country would be free from the clutches of the current ruling elite who had deprived the masses of education, health and other basic facilities over the years.

“They win elections through fraud and then make money in connivance with corrupt government officials as there is no one to check them,” he alleged.

He also came down hard on the National Accountability Bureau, saying that it only acted against minor criminals. “Those who loot the country appoint a Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and bring in people of their own choice to the Election Commission to manage elections.”

Overseas Pakistanis were willing to come back and invest in the country, but because of rampant corruption they preferred destinations like Dubai and Malaysia, he said.

In contrast, Mr Khan said, a minister had been arrested in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the father of a member of the KP Assembly had been sent behind bars by the provincial accountability department. “One must ask the FBR why it doesn’t act against those named in the Panama Papers.”

Imran Khan also accused two FBR officials — Dr Irshad and Amjad Tiwana — of ‘fixing’ the tax records of the Sharif family.

Challenging the democratic credentials of the Sharif brothers, the PTI chairman said those who were “spoon-fed politics by military dictators, took money from the ISI and even attacked the Supreme Court” were now giving him sermons on democracy.

He supported the military establishment’s assertion that the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism couldn’t achi­eve the desired results because the government had failed to fulfil its commitments about NAP.

Mr Khan said the federal government had failed to bring reforms to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or streamline seminaries.

India, Pakistan keep up their wordy duel

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan continued their wordy duel on Sunday, with one side underscoring the importance of Jammu and Kashmir to its existence and the other pouring scorn about alleged terrorism emanating from its neighbourhood.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit made a series of comments about independence of Kashmir.

“As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, we dedicate this independence day to the independence of Kashmir,” Mr Basit said at the flag-hoisting ceremony at the mission on Pakistan’s Independence Day.

Indian reports claimed his comments came within hours of “two ceasefire violations and a terror attack in Kashmir’s Poonch”.

Basit says political aspirations of Kashmiris cannot be suppressed

The Indian side used the opportunity to change the focus. “India and others in the region have already received enough of Pakistan’s trademark exports — international terrorism, cross-border infiltrators, weapons, narcotic and fake currency,” alleged a statement from the external affairs ministry, citing an “apparent” Pakistani proposal to send supplies to Jammu and Kashmir.

Two days ago, Pakistan had suggested an exclusive dialogue with India on Kashmir after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said Azad Kashmir belonged to India.

The Indian premier had said the foreign ministry should get in touch with expatriates from Azad Kashmir, gather information from them on “the pitiable condition in the region and let the global community know about it”.

At the flag-hoisting ceremony, Mr Basit stressed that political aspirations of the people of India-held Kashmir could not be suppressed, nor could anyone belittle or wish away their legitimate struggle, according to APP news agency.

He called upon the international community to ensure implementation of the relevant UN resolutions in order to settle the longstanding Kashmir dispute.

The high commissioner said Pakistan would continue to extend its full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the people of Pakistan were united in their efforts to overcome internal and external challenges and thwart all conspiracies aimed at destabilising the country.