September 23 chairman Imran Khan is scheduled to address party workers in Taxila. 

TAXILA: At the peak of electioneering for the Taxila by-elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has announced a public meeting on September 23, in which party chairman Imran Khan is scheduled to address party workers, in order to gather support for PTI candidate Ammar Sadeeq Khan.

The two main contenders in the election, the PTI and the PML-N, have each launched vigorous election campaigns for the PP-7 (Taxila-Chakri) Rawalpindi-IV by-election to be held on September 26, the seat for which fell vacant after the death of PTI’s MPA-elect Mohammad Sadeeq Khan.

Flanked by the party’s candidate Ammar Sadeeq Khan, the PTI MPA from Wah Cantt Tamoor Masood Akbar, Taxila Cantonment Board vice president Sardar Raza Shah, Wah Cantonment Board vice president Amjad Kashmiri and other office bearers, PTI MNA Ghulam Sarwar Khan addressed a press conference at the party’s local secretariat announcing the September 23 event.

He said the large public meeting would be held at Railway Park, and is likely to be attended by the leadership of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), as both parties are allied with the PTI in support of its by-election candidate.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the PTI’s youth wing would also hold a rally this month, as a show of power and to muster support for the public meeting.

He claimed major political groups and heavyweights from various parts of the constituency, including from political rival Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s home constituency Chakri and from Dhamial, would join the PTI bandwagon on this occasion.

In response to a question, the MNA said Imran Khan would turn the tide in favour of the PTI candidate, as the party chairman’s presence is likely to motivate voters.

He added that the election commission and the returning officer have not taken into consideration, despite repeated pleas, his two points about the deployment of polling staff outside NA-52 and NA-53 and the rescheduling of polling day to any nearest Sunday or Saturday.

He said the political parties and the contesting candidates have agreed on the point that, if there is no holiday, hundreds and thousands of federal government employees will not be able to cast their votes, as polling typically remains low in by-elections.

He also thanked the election commission for approving his demand for the deployment of military personnel within and outside polling stations on election day.

He said the district returning officer and the provincial election commission authorities have confirmed that army and Rangers personnel will be deployed on polling day to ensure a free and fair elections process.

Aviation experts show keen interest in Pakistan-built Super Mushshak at African defence expo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) showcased its spectacular aviation manufacturing, overhauling and repair capabilities at the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, AAD 2016, held at Waterkloof Air Force Base at Pretoria South Africa from September 14.

During the air show, PAC displayed static and aerial display of Super Mushshak aircraft, which attracted major international players of aviation industry, as well as large crowd, read a statement issued by Pakistan Air Force.

“PAC also put up an impressive stall which displayed various products of PAC very immaculately,” it added. Pakistan’s contingent was led by Air Marshal Arshad Malik, HI (M), Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra.

The exhibition was also visited by Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain.

During the exhibition, a joint press conference was held by Yang Yin, President CATIC of China and Air Marshal Arshad Malik.

The press conference amply highlighted the outstanding capabilities of JF-17 aircraft and impressed upon the visiting dignitaries from various African countries to consider inducting the aircraft into their respective air forces.

It is pertinent to mention that Turkey has already finalised a deal with Pakistan to buy Super Mushak trainers.

“The deal is in the last stages of finalisation and is going to be signed very soon,” an official of the ministry of defence production, Durya Amir had said earlier this year.

The Super Mushshak is an advanced variant of the Mushshak basic trainer, and is produced at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).

The aircraft is already in service with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa. Nigeria bought the aircraft in early 2016 and Qatar bought the trainers in June this year.

Basic flight training is provided on the aircraft for aspiring pilots.

The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 268km/h. Range of the aircraft is reported at 814 kilometres.

MQM leader Khawaja Izhar released from custody

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan has been released from custody and has reached home, reported DawnNews on Friday evening.

Earlier in the day, police took Khawaja Izharul Hassan into custody hours after raiding and searching his residence.

Television footage showed Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar at Izhar’s residence, taking the MQM leader into custody.

MQM leader Farooq Sattar speaks to journalists after Izhar's arrest. ─ DawnNews

MQM leader Farooq Sattar speaks to journalists after Izhar’s arrest. ─ DawnNews

The SSP was suspended by Chief Minister (CM) Sindh Murad Ali Shah after MQM leader Farooq Sattar alleged Anwar refused to show arrest warrants before taking Izhar into custody.

“They picked him up in broad daylight before our eyes,” Sattar said, sporting an arm sling after suffering injuries in a car accident along the Super Highway a few days earlier.

“They said the May 12 terrorists were hidden there,” Sattar said, “But there were no people hidden away at his [Khawaja Izharul Hassan’s] house.”

“His wife, his sister and his sister-in-law were at home. There were no lady searchers with the police team,” Sattar said.

“What agenda is being followed here?” Farooq Sattar asked, directly addressing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Corps Commander Karachi Naveed Mukhtar and the Sindh CM.

“According to our information Rao Anwar is a close friend of Asif Zardari,” Sattar alleged. “Should we consider that the arrest was made on the behest of Asif Zardari?”

“I strongly condemn this arrest,” Sattar said. “It is becoming clear the issue here is not whether the party is being run from London, or the statements that come from London. The issue is not anti-Pakistan statements,” Sattar claimed. “The issue is an enmity with the MQM and mohajirs,” he said.

Earlier in the day, police raided Izhar’s residence, after which the chief minister ordered suspension of the station house officer at a Sohrab Goth police station and sought a report from Inspector General Police Sindh A.D. Khawaja regarding the raid.

The MQM has been embroiled in crisis since party chief Altaf Hussain issued controversial anti-Pakistan statements. After the MQM chief’s furious speech,party workers stormed the offices of ARY News. That evening, MQM leaders Farooq Sattar, Khawaja Izhar and Amir Liaquat were kept in Rangers detention overnight.

After being released from detention, Sattar held a press conference distancing the party’s Pakistani leadership from the London offices and Altaf Hussain.

Former MQM leader and Pak Sarzameen Party chief Mustafa Kamal in a later press conference alleged Sattar “now takes guards everywhere with himself and goes and sleeps in a hotel after he is done with work. Who is he hiding from? The Taliban? He’s hiding from Altaf.”

Sattar later lambasted Kamal’s ‘confusing’ statements, saying the PSP chief on one hand alleged that the MQM is still collaborating with the London offices and Altaf Hussain, “But on the other hand, he’s saying I’m scared and afraid to sleep in my own home.”

Sattar recently suffered a road accident on the Superhighway while returning to Karachi from Hyderabad.

MQM’s Khawaja Izhar is called chief of target killers: SSP Rao Anwar

KARACHI: SSP Malir Rao Anwar, talking to media persons after the arrest of MQM’s Khawaja Izharul Hassan, referred to the arrested MQM leader as the “chief of target killers”.

“We had intelligence reports of his involvement in unrest. There was a spike in target killings in New Karachi, and he is also called the chief of target killers,” alleged Anwar.

The SSP also clarified that permission from the Speaker of the Sindh Assembly is not needed, and the speaker only needs to be informed if law enforcement agencies arrest a lawmaker.

“We need to inform in writing the speaker of the national or provincial assemblies after the arrest is made. Arrests are made according to law.”

The senior police official reiterated that arresting an individual is part of the procedure, and the individual can only be released through a court order.

“The leaders of the political party were picked up by Rangers some weeks back, and no one said a word,” lamented the SSP.

He added that Hassan has pending FIRs against him, and there should be no finger pointing if a police official acts in line with his duty.

“I have adopted a legal procedure for his arrest,” said the officer.

Anwar also termed his suspension from duty as a wrongful act.

“I was placed under suspension in haste and it was wrong to do so,” said Rao Anwar.

Anwar warned that there would be “side effects” of his suspension.

When asked by the media if he was under orders from security agencies, Anwar denied the allegation and said he was not instructed to make the arrest by any security agency.

The SSP said MQM leaders had raised slogans against Pakistan and had used abusive language against the armed forces.

He believed that it was a wrong to say that the MQM leaders in Pakistan had “disconnected” with their founder, Altaf Hussain in London.

“They are still working under orders of Altaf Hussain,” believed Rao Anwar.

To another question, the police officer said there was no need to seek permission from IG Sindh for such an arrest.

“If there was FIR registered against anyone, a sub-inspector has powers to arrest such persons nominated in the FIR and he has no need to seek permission from anyone.”

Earlier in the day, police raided Izhar’s residence, after which the chief minister ordered suspension of the station house officer at a Sohrab Goth police station and sought a report from Inspector General Police Sindh A.D. Khawaja regarding the raid.

At least 24 killed in suicide blast at Mohmand Agency mosque during Friday prayers

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Mohmand Agency’s Anbar tehsil during Friday prayers, leaving at least 24 people dead and 31 others injured, official of the political administration said.

Assistant Political Agent Naveed Akbar told DawnNews that the injured had been transported to hospitals in Bajaur Agency, Charsadda and Peshawar for treatment.

The bombing took place in the village of Butmaina in the Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan, where the army has been fighting against Taliban militants.

Akbar said that the bomber came in as Friday prayers were in progress and blew himself up in the main hall. A curfew was later imposed in the area.

Another local government official confirmed the information.

Shireen Zada, a resident who had prayed at another mosque, said he heard the blast as he was walking home.

“I rushed to the spot and when I went inside the hall there was blood and human remains everywhere and people crying out,” he said.

“I brought my pick-up truck, loaded three wounded and drove them to the hospital in Khar,” Shireen Zada said, referring to the nearest town.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later condemned the bombing, saying the government would remain steadfast in their fight against extremists.

“The cowardly attacks by terrorists cannot shatter the government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country,” read a statement from Nawaz Sharif’s office.

Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility of the attack.

On September 2, at least 14 people were killed and more than 50 wounded after a suicide bomber attacked a court in Mardan in an assault targeting legal community that was claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar Taliban faction.

The group has also said it was behind an attack on lawyers in southwest Quetta,which killed 73 people on August 8, as well as the Lahore Easter bombing that killed 75 in the country’s deadliest attack this year.

Pakistani Taliban in particular routinely attack soft targets such as courts, schools and mosques.

The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the northwestern tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004. Security has since improved though scattered attacks still take place