Raiwind march a bid to take Panama leaks matter to logical end: Imran

TAXILA: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Friday that his party’s planned march in Raiwind was a bid to take the matter of leaked Panama Papers to its logical conclusion.

He was addressing a public meeting at the Railway Park here. The meeting was organised in connection with the by-elections on the Punjab Assembly seat PP-7 for which the PTI has fielded Ammar Sadeeq Khan.

Imran Khan said the rulers should not remain in any delusion, adding that the PTI would not compromise on the Panama Papers issue and would not allow anyone to set aside the matter.

He said the PTI was ready for what he called a solo flight for the Raiwind march if other opposition parties would not take part in it. He warned the Punjab government and PML-N workers against stopping PTI workers from taking part in the Raiwind march.

He said corruption was a cancer for society and without eliminating corruption the country could not be put on the path of development. He called for strengthening of institutions for the elimination of corruption from the country. Not resources but justice could lead a country towards development and prosperity, he added.

PTI chief warns Punjab government, PML-N workers against putting hurdles for his party workers

The PTI chairman criticised the PML-N government, saying that due to wrong policies of the government foreign investment in the country was at its lowest ever level. He said during the past eight years the condition of peasants had gone from bad to worse.

He said the Taxila by-polls would prove to be a referendum against the PML-N government.

Talking about the ongoing session of the United Nations  General Assembly, Mr Khan asked world leaders to take notice of human rights violations by Indian forces in held Kashmir.

He paid tribute to Kashmiris for their struggle against the Indian occupation and said the whole Pakistani nation stood with them.

In his address, PTI senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi criticised the government for trying to delay investigation into the Panama Papers issue.

He warned the Indian government against thinking about surgical strikes inside Pakistan, adding that India would have to pay a heavy price for it.

He said Pakistan would continue moral and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir.

Iftikhar A Khan adds from Islamabad: In a press conference on Friday, the interior minister lambasted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for its failure to implement its own decisions. He said he could not go to his constituency in Taxila where by-elections on a provincial assembly seat are due to take place on Sept 26.

He, however, said his political opponents were free to do whatever they wanted and the PTI chief even addressed a rally in the constituency flouting a bar on him being a member of the National Assembly.

He said the ban on public office holders from visiting the constituency where elections were to be held should not be one-sided. “Why do you announce something which you cannot implement?” he said.

He pointed out that Mr Khan had flouted the ECP’s ban in Cheecha­watni as well but no action had been taken against him. “This ban should not be one-sided,” he stressed.

Political parties give final push to electioneering in Taxila

TAXILA: Both the PTI and the ruling PML-N have started campaigning for the elections for the provincial assembly seat in PP-7, Taxila and Chakri, scheduled for September 26 and varying factors including tribal affiliations and the promise of more mega projects make it difficult to predict the results of the polls.

Though PPP and independent candidates will also be contesting the elections, observers say the real contest will be between the PTI and PML-N for the provincial assembly seat in Rawalpindi IV.

222The constituency, consisting of the semi-hilly and plain areas of Taxila, Chakri, Sahil and Adiala, has its geo-political significance as on the one side it has Taxila city with its eight union councils in the constituency and on the other there is Chakri and Sahil which are rural and where family affiliations effect voter decisions.

The clans of Gujjar, Khattar, Awan, Kashmiri and Syed dominate the rural areas and political decisions. Meanwhile, in the urban areas, voters vote for political personalities instead.

The historical town of Taxila has been the PML-N’s stronghold since 1985 and has been termed mini-Raiwind. However, in the 2008 elections, the only National Assembly seat and the provincial assembly seat of PP-8 were won by the PML-N while PP-7 was secured by a candidate of the Khan group, who contested the elections on a PML-Q ticket.

The PML-N and the Sarwar Khan group have been rivals in Potohar for a long time, where 162,599 voters are registered.

57dc5d507f531The 2013 elections were won by the PTI, though political observers say it will not be as easy for the Imran Khan led party to win the elections this time due to the hold that PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has over the constituency, where he has thousands of loyal party workers.

Chaudhry Nisar presently enjoys a strong political position and has a good following among major families in the area. The mega projects he announced recently could further boost his vote bank.

Meanwhile, unlike the past elections, the Sarwar Khan group is facing challenges for a variety of reasons, the bigger of which is that the ruling party has a majority in the provincial and national assemblies and can promise more mega projects, which is attracting influential personalities.

The death of Sarwar Khan’s younger brother, Sadeeq Khan, is also a major setback for Sarwar Khan as his brother was considered a major political force.

On the other hand, Sarwar Khan represents the Khattar clan in Pind Nousheri, which is very influential in Taxila and Chakri.

This constituency, which is inhabited by Rajput, Khattar, Kashmiri, Syed and Gujjar families, is part of the Potohar region which traditionally follows the elections trends of Rawalpindi city.

The results of the elections can be hard to predict as family and tribal affiliations playing an important role in the rural areas and past election history and the prevailing conditions favouring PML-N candidate Umer Farooq, who is an old guard of the party. The ruling party might just regain its political battle ground after a close contest on September 26.

India blamed Pakistan for Uri attack without any evidence, says Nisar

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday said India blamed Pakistan for the attack on Indian military base in Uri without any evidence.

India had been making contradictory statements to malign Pakistan, he said adding “Director General Military Operations of India also denied the statements attributed to him following which censorship was imposed on media in India”.

The interior minister was speaking at a press conference at NADRA headquarters in the federal capital.

When asked to comment on an incident involving officials of motorway and armymen, Nisar termed it a serious issue and a test case for army and said “action should be taken against those who took law into their own hands”.

A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had been formed to probe the matter, he added.

To a question about MQM, Nisar said it was a defining moment and the way MQM Pakistan stood up against its leader, it should be given space and we should hold no doubts about their loyalty.

“Urdu speaking people are very patriotic and they should not get a feeling of any sort that they are being targeted.”

Nobody could think that MQM leadership could take such a big step against Altaf Hussain, he said, adding “everybody who stood up should be supported”.

Chaudhry Nisar said a reference was being sent to Interpol to bring backBrahamdagh Bugti to Pakistan.

82.5 million CNIC re-verified during 3-month campaign

Nisar said 82.5 million Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) out of the total 105 million had been re-verified in the three-month campaign.

Speaking at a press conference, the minister said the remaining CNICs would be re-verified in another month.

He said a permanent mechanism would be put in place for re-verification of CNICs to root out fake cards from NADRA system. He informed that NADRA had identified 200,000 fake identity card holders.

The minister said during the campaign 50,000 cards were blocked and 10,000 cases were sent to intelligence agencies for further probe.

The previous governments did not pay any heed to the issue of fake identity cards compromising the national interest, he remarked.

During campaign against fake documents, 2000 persons on their own disowned Pakistani nationality to avoid arrest and legal action, he said.

Nisar said tens of thousands of CNICs had been blocked, adding he wants that cards of genuine citizens should be unblocked and in that regard a policy would be announced next week.

The minister indicated to fix a time limit in which a person would be cleared for the issuance of his identity card, if nothing was found against him.

The government previously carried out crackdown against fake passport holders and cancelled 2,000 diplomatic and official passports given to unauthorised persons, he said.

In the past, 29,000 foreigners acquired Pakistani passports which were cancelled. Those passports were used for human trafficking.

Nisar said action was taken against 18 officials of NADRA and eight were arrested, seven were on pre-arrest bail while three were still at large.

More arrests would be carried out and departmental action would be taken against the accused who had committed treason against the country and sold identity cards for money, he said.

He said the misuse of passports and CNICs had been minimised through a persistent campaign.

The minister announced that e-passports would be issued soon, while more NADRA centres would be opened to facilitate citizens applying for identity cards.

In the first phase, new offices would be opened in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Gujranwala.

A helpline would also be established to redress complaints of citizens against NADRA and the interior ministry would monitor performance of NADRA offices.

MQM legislators pay little heed to audio clip appeal for resignations

KARACHI: Amid scepticism about the authenticity of an audio clip posted on the social media on Friday exactly a month after the incendiary speech of London-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement supremo Altaf Hussain, MQM lawmakers were asked to tender mass resignations and seek a fresh mandate though the recording failed to get any serious response from the parliamentarians who say they no longer recognise him as their leader.

Unlike August 2015 when MQM lawmakers had resigned from the National Assembly, the Senate and the Sindh Assembly on one call of Mr Hussain, none of the elected parliamentarians submitted their resignation on Friday.

The two-minute-and-twenty-six-second audio clip posted by senior London-based party leaders on the social media stirred a controversy within the party before coming under scrutiny by opponents and critics. MQM lawmaker Irum Azeem Farooque questioned the authenticity of the audio when she tweeted: “Those who have heard AltafBhai know it’s not his voice recording.”

In another tweet, she said: “Tell him [Mustafa Azizabadi] if I am wrong why doesn’t he bring Altaf Bhai on Skype right now.” In yet another tweet, she said: “Horns at the background. In London it’s a crime to keep honking horns at this time. Liaqatabad ke bus ka horn tu chup Kara do Azizabadi [Azizabadi, please stop this horn of Liaquatabad bus].”

The tweets attracted strong reaction from Wasay Jalil who insisted on its originality and called the attempts to prove Mr Hussain’s audio message fake part of propaganda. “Haha on those who propagating on fake Altaf Bhai’s audio msg [messages]. Feel shame on that day when vdo msg will come. Same propaganda was done in March. The audio message of Altaf Bhai is 100% genuine & shame on those who are propagating its fake,” he tweeted.

Muttahida lawmakers in the Sindh Assembly and the National Assembly have been following the Dr Farooq Sattar-led MQM-Pakistan since the senior leader dissociated himself and the MQM-Pakistan from Mr Hussain and his London secretariat on Aug 23 a day after the controversial speech.

Despite being pressured by the London leadership, even those MQM lawmakers who were not present in Pakistan did not send their resignations to the speaker of the national and provincial assemblies or the chairman of the Senate.

In the audio message, Karachi and Hyderabad mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen of the Mirpurkhas municipal committee and other local government elected representatives have not been asked to submit their resignations.

In the audio message, Mr Hussain purportedly says he supported the Dr Sattar-led MQM for the sake of unity but he did not know about the conspiracy under which his own name was omitted from the party constitution.

“This is totally unconstitutional and dictatorial. I don’t recognise this decision…So I have given all powers to convener Nadeem Nusrat,” he says, referring to a recent decision through which the MQM coordination committee convener — who was expelled from his post by the MQM-Pakistan — dissolved the coordination committee and party’s organisational structure.

“I ask all MNAs, MPAs, senators that they know and the people also know that they got votes [in the election] in whose name. When they get votes in Altaf Hussain’s name then they should contest election again and immediately submit their resignations,” he appears to say in the audio message.

He can be heard asking his followers to remain steadfast and united. He says that if anyone is facing immense problems then they should either go into hiding or leave the country instead of “selling their conscious and betraying the blood of the martyrs” like many people did.

On Friday, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan told the media that the MQM parliamentarians got the mandate from those who said “Long Live Pakistan” and “we will not resign on someone’s wish or for his satisfaction”.

Except MNA Sufyan Yusuf who a couple of days back had tweeted from abroad that the mandate belonged to Mr Hussain and he would soon resign from the assembly, no other parliamentarian submitted his or her resignation on Friday.

A senior London-based leader told Dawn that Mr Hussain’s audio statement was only for “Haq Parast” people and party loyalists, as “we do not expect en masse resignations”. However, he said some of the lawmakers would definitely announce their resignations “whenever they get a chance”.

Amjad Sabri’s last performance on Coke Studio leaves fans in tears

Coke Studio’s latest season was a hit and a miss for most, but Sabri’s recording for the finale was a poignant winner.

Qawwal maestro Amjad Sabri’s death was a devastating blow and a loss the world will never forget. In his last performance – and the most highly anticipated one too – recorded by Coke Studio, fans get emotional and voice their love for the singer on social media.

Sabri’s mesmerising voice alongside Rahat’s vocals in the song ‘Rang’, were enough to stir emotions among people.

Many were moved to tears.

Others condemned the killers of the late qawwal.

Some wished his departed soul and remembered him.