Call for hiring lawyer at govt expense in Mashal’s case

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa investigators recommended engaging a private counsel at state’s expense for prosecuting Mashal Khan’s murder case. This was stated by the Additional AIG Investigation, Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, in a letter written to the Home and Tribal Affairs Department.

Earlier, Mashal’s father had urged the government to hire a lawyer at its expense and shift the case to the Peshawar High Court (PHC). Iqbal Khan’s demand for appointing a private prosecution counsel “is permissible under the law”, he stated.

Accordingly, it is proposed that (keeping in view the importance of the case), Iqbal Khan may be provided private prosecutor/prosecuting team as requested by him in the press conference. As far as the issue of transferring the case is concerned, Swabi and Mardan police have already been directed to remain extremely cognizant of the security of Iqbal Khan and family. However, keeping in view the ramifications of the case, it is proposed that the issue of transfer of the case to a trial court in Peshawar may also be taken up with the Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court, if deemed appropriate,” stated the letter.

Pakistan important partner for Russia in South Asia, says Russian President Putin

ASTANA: Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Pakistan is an important partner for Russia in South Asia. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana on Friday. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, including trade and economic cooperation, and also current international issues during the meeting. Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir were also present at the meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan’s accession to the SCO. President of Russia Vladimir Putin said: “I am glad that we met for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit”. He said Russian-Pakistani relations have been constructive and mutually beneficial. President Putin said: “our relations are developing in many areas, and our trade has increased, even if only by a few percentage points. Of course, we are able to do much more than we are doing now.”

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked President Vladimir Putin, and the Russian Federation for supporting Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO.  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “while in Ufa we did agree on improving Pakistan-Russian bilateral trade, there is improvement but not the level that we agreed upon. It has been always my Endeavour to build and strengthen our relationship and I am continuing to strive for that.

Police investigating Islamic State claim of Chinese citizens’ killing

QUETTA: Balochistan Inspector General of Police Ahsen Mehboob on Friday said the police and law enforcement agencies are investigating the truth behind a video that went viral on social media in which two abducted Chinese nationals were shown dead. The so-called Islamic State (IS)-linked Amaq news agency claimed responsibility for their deaths. The Chinese pair are said to have been studying Urdu at a language centre in the Jinnah township of Quetta when they were abducted by gunmen disguised as police on May 24.

According to local media reports at the time of the abduction, armed men took the couple as they left the centre. Another Chinese woman just managed to escape during the confrontation. Islamic State claims it killed two Chinese teachers kidnapped in Quetta Unless their dead bodies are received it will be too early to say anything about it, the IG said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said the Chinese side was trying to learn more about the reported killing of two Chinese nationals kidnapped in Pakistan and verify the situation by all means, including via the Pakistani side. We have noted the relevant report and are highly concerned about that, Chunying remarked when asked to confirm the report that two Chinese nationals kidnapped in Pakistan were killed. The spokesperson said, “We have been trying to rescue the two hostages during this period of time.”

She said the Chinese side firmly opposes kidnapping of civilians, terrorism and extremely violent acts in all forms. The claim of the killings sparked anger on Chinese social media, with some strongly anti-Muslim comments. IS, which controls some territory in neighbouring Afghanistan, has struggled to establish a presence in Pakistan. However, it has claimed several major attacks, including one on the deputy chairman of the Senate last month in Balochistan, in which 25 people were killed. On Thursday, Pakistan’s military published details of a three-day raid on a militant hideout in a cave not far from Quetta, saying it had killed 12 “hardcore terrorists” from a banned local Islamist group and prevented IS from gaining a “foothold” in Balochistan. China’s ambassador to Pakistan and other officials have often urged Islamabad to improve security, especially in Balochistan. The numbers of Pakistanis studying Mandarin has skyrocketed since 2014, when President Xi Jinping signed off on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Head of Islamic State in Afghanistan killed Consequently, any attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan would come as an embarrassment to Islamabad, which prizes its relationship with Beijing. The two refer to each other as “all-weather friends”. Security in Balochistan has improved in recent years, but separatists, who view infrastructure projects as a ruse to steal natural resources, killed 10 Pakistani workers building a road near Gwadar this month. China has also expressed concern about militants in Pakistan linking up with what China views as separatists in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have been killed in violence in recent years.

Security beefed up In light of current government’ directives, police and other law enforcement agencies are trying their level-best to ensure safety of the people and their property. Security arrangements in the second Ashrah (10 days) of Ramazan have been made effective in order to curb any subversive activities.

IG Mehboob said, “Tight security arrangements have been made during the time of Taraweeh in mosques and for the markets as shopping for Eid has started.” He said checking system at the entrance and exit points of the city has been made much more effective.  Replying to a query about the viral video issued by the IS showing the death of two Chinese nationals, he said, “There is no confirmation of their deaths yet.”  He added: “Unless the bodies of the kidnapped Chinese are received their deaths cannot be confirmed.” (With additional input from agencies)

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after attending SCO summit

LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday arrived in Pakistan after concluding his two-day official visit to Astana, Kazakhstan. The prime minister, during his stay in Astana, participated in 17th meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the Prime Minister held bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Russia. He exchanged views with these leaders on matters of mutual interest and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations with these entities and to promote stability and prosperity in the region.

The UN Secretary General also called on the Prime Minister. The prime minister along with other participating SCO Heads of States also attended the inaugural ceremony of the Expo 2017 where he also visited Pakistani and Belarusian stalls. Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir and Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal accompanied the prime minister during his visit.