India rejects Trump’s ‘do more’ plea on Afghanistan

NEW DELHI: India has  tacitly dismissed US President Donald Trump’s plea that India should do more in Afghanistan because it made billions of dollars in trade with America.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, however, also made it clear that India would continue to help Afghanistan, because people of the two countries shared ‘traditional friendship.’

“We have been steadfast in extending reconstruction and development assistance to Afghanistan in keeping with our traditional friendship with its people. We will continue these efforts,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said.

New Delhi’s statement on Tuesday cited India’s ‘traditional friendship’ with Afghanistan as the reason for its assistance to the war-ravaged country dismissing Trump’s argument that India should be obliged to do more in Afghanistan because of its trade with America.

PPP opposes amending Articles 62 and 63 at this time

ISLAMABAD:  Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah has said that Peoples Party opposes amending Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution at this point in time. The government wants to make the amendments to protect ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which Peoples Party would not support in any way. Talking to media outside the parliament here Khursheed further said that making amendments for saving an individual not only puts a question mark about it but it could also be challenged in the court. We had talked about making amendments to Articles 62 and 63 it was not due to any such issue but we only wanted to restore the constitution made by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and to expunge the sections added by Zia-ul-Haq, he added.

Continuing Khursheed said that PPP supported amending Articles 62 and 63 because the things were different then. We are not in favor of it presently because it is aimed at protecting an individual and PPP would strongly oppose it. Constitutional amendments would be made when the time comes but the sitting government should respect court judgments, he added. The government wants to make these amendments to save Nawaz Sharif but the PMLN had opposed abolishing Articles 62 and 63 to trap Asif Ali Zardari and now it’s being trapped in the net that it had woven for us, Khursheed added.

Khursheed supported former minister Information Pervez Rasheed’s demand for publishing Dawn Leaks report and also thanked China for strongly rebutting US President Donald Trump statement. It may be mentioned that the government made the decision to table a bill to make amendments in Articles 62 and 63 to lessen the period for disqualification under the two articles.

Speaking at the National Assembly session Law Minister Zahid Hamid had said that there is no mentioning of the period of disqualification in Article 62. We feel that the disqualification period should be less than four years. He had also said that he would take the matter to the Constitutional Reforms Committee.

Earlier the National Assembly had approved the Elections Reforms Bill 2017 which comprised over 40 amendments proposed by the government as well as the opposition. PTI had walked out of the House in protest for non-acceptance of four points that it had presented.

PTI seeks debate on Trump’s threat to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday submitted an adjournment motion in the National Assembly over US President Trump’s threat to Pakistan.

The adjournment motion was signed by PTI MNAs Arif Alvi, Shah Mahmood Quraishi, Asad Umar, Shafqat Mahmood and Shireen Mazari and others. The motion submitted in the National Assembly secretariat sought debate on the US President threats to Pakistan by the House while suspending the routine agenda.

The motions states the routine proceeding of the house be adjourned and a debate be held over the speech of Trump wherein he threatened Pakistan of dire consequences. It said that Pakistan had rendered unmatched sacrifices than any other nation of the world.

Earlier, President Donald Trump warned Pakistan that Washington will no longer tolerate Pakistan offering “safe havens” to extremists. Trump said “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan s safe havens for terrorist organizations,” Trump declared, outlining a new US security strategy in South Asia. “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.”

Petition seeking disqualification of 16 PMLN legislators filed

LAHORE: A petition seeking disqualification of 16 PMLN parliamentarians including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is being filed at the Lahore High Court.

The petition filed by Amna Malik also asks court to order contempt of court proceedings initiated against the 16 legislators of ruling PMLN. The petitioner also names ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and federal ministers as respondents.

Petitioner Amna Malik argues that prior to and after the announcement of the verdict of the Panama Papers case by the five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court the PMLN legislators publicly issued statements against judiciary and courts which clearly tantamount to committing contempt of court. The PMLN legislators violated the Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution by giving inciting statements about the judiciary. The petition asks the court to declare the 16 PMLN legislators disqualified and initiation of contempt of court proceedings against them.

FATA merger, FCR abolition: JI threatens long march on Islamabad

PESHAWAR: The Jamaat-i-Islami has warned that if the federal government didn’t abolish the Frontier Crimes Regulation and announce the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before Eidul Azha, it would begin a long march on Islamabad.

Addressing a sit-in protest near the Governor’s House, JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq urged the party workers and tribal people to prepare for a long march on Islamabad. “If the federal government doesn’t accept demands, then I will lead the long march,” he said.

The JI chief said the people of Fata, especially youths, had revolted against the status quo and rejected the system of colonial era as it served the interests of the corrupt people only. He said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should take bold steps regarding the future of Fata instead of looking towards his party’s disqualified prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, for it. Mr Siraj said the prime minister didn’t believe that he was the country’s chief executive.

The JI workers staged a sit-in on the Sher Shah Suri Road along the Governor’s House. Leaders of other political parties and civil society groups also present on the stage. The protesters shouted slogans in favor of Fata-KP merger and abolition of FCR in tribal region. The sit-in caused massive traffic jams on the roads after the police blocked the main road to the protest venue diverting the traffic to the Khyber Bazaar.

The political parties have expedited the campaign for reforms, especially merger of Fata with KP. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had organized a sit-in at the same place on August 11 to pressure the federal government to implement the recommendations of the Sartaj Aziz-led committee on reforms in tribal areas. The committee’s report was unveiled last year.

Mr Siraj said the National Assembly instead of passing the Election Bill, 2017, on Tuesday, should have passed the Fata reforms bill and announced representation for tribal people in the KP Assembly in the 2018 general elections. He said the federal government had violated Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution by not implementing the Fata reforms report. “We will make a struggle for genuine reforms in Fata and the region’s merger with KP,” he said.

The JI chief flayed US President Donald Trump for accusing Pakistan of providing sanctuaries to terrorists and threatening to end its assistance. “Ironically, Trump has interfered in Pakistan’s internal matters and threatened to punish it over its policies,” he said, adding that the US was blaming others for its wrong policies.

Wolasi Tehreek president Dr Said Alam Mehsud insisted that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had betrayed the people of Fata by not implementing the Fata reforms committee’s recommendations. He said the committee had recommended something different from what the government was bringing about. “The Sartaj Aziz committee had recommended the Fata-KP merger but the government was planning to introduce Rewaj Act in Fata, which is unacceptable for the tribesmen,” he said. Dr Said Alam said the government had planned to allocate 24 seats for Fata in the KP Assembly and utilization of funds through the KP Governor and Presidency. “We want genuine reforms and immediate merger of Fata with KP,” he said.

Fata Lawyers Forum president Rahim Shah said certain institutions didn’t want true Fata reforms and merger of the region with KP. He said ‘some institutions’ wanted to exploit tribal people by continuing with the existing system in the region.

Fata Political Alliance president Iqbal Afridi, who is also the PTI, Khyber Agency, president, demanded that the government extend the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to tribal areas. He said the FCR was used as a tool to suppress and victimize the people.