PTI MNA Gulzar Khan passes away

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Gulzar Khan passed away on Monday, according to his family.

Bureaucrat-turned-politician was suffering from heart problems and passed away at his native home in Masho Gogar, in Peshawar’s Badhaber area.

His funeral prayers will be held at 4 pm in his native town.

Khan was the leader of the group of PTI’s ‘dissident MNAs’ who did not agree to the party chairman Imran Khan’s call to resign from the National Assembly, during the 2014 dharna [sit-in] against the government.

He served as the home secretary of the province as well as the deputy commissioner of Peshawar, before joining the PTI.

PTI Chairman, Imran Khan expressed his condolences on Twitter:

HBL to close its operations in NY

ISLAMABAD: Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has decided to close its operations in New York following a notice of hearing from New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) in terms of which DFS seeks to impose a monetary penalty of up to US$ 629, 625,000.

There will be no material impact on HBL’s business outside of the United States and HBL will continue to service the requirements of its domestic and international customers, including for their US dollar business, said a press release issued here on Sunday.

In 2015, the HBL’s New York branch was subject to a Consent Order and a Cease and Desist Order by the DFS and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York respectively. The HBL had also notified of this to Pakistan Stock Exchange.

The said branch has been operating in New York since 1978 and mainly offers US dollar clearing services.

Maryam cancels London trip for NA-120 campaign

LAHORE: As the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) plans to move the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against Maryam Nawaz for using the Chief Minister Secretariat for running the campaign of her ailing mother for the NA-120 by-election, the daughter of the ousted prime minister has cancelled her planned visit to London for ‘uninterrupted canvassing’.

For the second consecutive day on Sunday, she held meetings with the ruling party’s local bodies’ representatives at the Chief Minister Secretariat in Model Town and took a pledge from them to work day and night for the success of her mother.

When asked by some workers when she would join them in the constituency for canvassing, Maryam said: “I will start visiting the whole constituency after Eid. I will also remain among the workers till the 2018 elections.” She also told them that she was not going to London to see her ailing mother in order to run her campaign here.

Nawaz Sharif’s sons — Hussain and Hasan — and daughter Asma are already with Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in London where she is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. Mr Sharif is expected to leave for London this week.

PTI moving ECP against use of CM secretariat for Kulsoom’s poll drive

“The Sharif family appears to be not trusting anyone else in the party to oversee the campaign in NA-120 in their absence and, therefore, Maryam is not going to see her ailing mother,” a PML-N source told Media. “Since Maryam is quite active and ambitious in politics, she cannot take chances to hand over the campaign to anyone outside the family.”

There has been a feeling in the party cadres that Maryam is responsible for the ouster of her father. She is blamed for the security leaks story as well as the party’s policy to take on the judiciary and the military establishment during the proceedings of the Panama Papers case. Even some of the outspoken leaders like Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had indirectly blamed Mr Sharif’s ‘news aides’ for mishandling the case legally and politically.

During Sunday’s meeting with Maryam, the PML-N workers were not allowed to carry their mobile phones. “We were asked to deposit our phones outside the meeting room. This was done probably to stop the leakage of the footage regarding concerns expressed by the party workers,” a vice chairman of the constituency said.

He said the good thing was this “at least after four years we (the party workers of NA-120) have suddenly become important and got the privilege to have a meeting with Maryam Bibi”.

A young woman worker of the party also reached the Sharifs’ Jati Umra residence on Sunday and wanted to see Nawaz Sharif and Maryam, but she was not allowed by the security men deployed there.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik, Punjab ministers Bilal Yasin (a relative of Kulsoom) and Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman were also present during the meeting.

Meanwhile, the PTI has announced that it will file a complaint in the ECP against Maryam for using Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s secretariat for the campaign in NA-120.

“We will move the ECP for this violation of the election code by the PML-N leadership. Already the ECP has served notice on Pervaiz Malik for running Kulsoom Bibi’s campaign in violation of its rules, but he is still active and was present in Maryam’s meetings,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told Media.

He alleged that the ruling party was using state machinery in its campaign, showing no respect to the ECP order. “It seems the ECP is too weak to nail the ruling PML-N.”

The Punjab government’s spokesman, Malik Ahmad Khan, told Media that the building that housed the CM Secretariat in Model Town had two other portions — one used for PML-N activities and the other for public affairs units. “Therefore, Maryam Bibi is not using the CM Secretariat,” he said.

Zardari celebrates his acquittal in NAB references

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari celebrated on Sunday his acquittal in all nine references of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and being a ‘free man’ after 19 years litigation.

A number of senior party delegations visited Zardari House and congratulated their leader for his acquittal in the last case two days ago by an accountability court in Rawalpindi.

The case against the former president was based on a reference filed by the NAB during former president Pervez Musharraf’s government for allegedly acquiring assets through illegal means in Pakistan and abroad.

The request for Mr Zardari’s acquittal, submitted by his counsel and PPP leader Farooq H. Naek, was accepted by Justice Khalid Mahmood Ranjha, who ruled that the reference lacked a legal basis.

PPP co-chairman terms the court decision a victory of ‘Jiyalas’

The timing of Mr Zardari’s final acquittal is said to be quite significant as all political parties have started their ground work for the next general elections and after ouster of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama papers case by the Supreme Court.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Zardari termed his acquittal a victory of “Jiyalas”.

“It is a blessing of Allah Almighty that Jiyalas became victorious,” he added.

The PPP co-chairman said his party faced and fought those who had levelled baseless allegations against him. “Today heads of PPP workers are up with dignity,” he said.

PPP Senator Saeed Ghani said Mr Zardari’s acquittal had proved that he was an innocent man and had been implicated in baseless cases.

He said Mr Zardari’s victory would close the door of politics for all those who were using his name to meet their political designs.

Mr Ghani called Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan as “Corruption Khan” and asked him to first clarify allegation of corruption levelled against his father.

Asif asks parties to give united response to Trump allegations

SIALKOT: Federal Mini­ster for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muhammad Asif says that the government wants all political parties to develop consensus for giving a strong message in response to the new United States policy on Afghani­stan and allegations against Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, he said that Pakistan was alive to the situation in the region and understood the impact of the new US policy and President Donald Trump’s tirade against the country.

He said the government had summoned a special session of parliament on Tuesday and invited major political parties to participate in discussion on the issue of the US president’s statements against Pakistan.

He said the government was very clear on the issue and wanted to develop consensus among political entities to give a strong message to the world. The fact was that the nation was united and would respond to any challenge with dignity, honour and due measure of sobriety, he said.

The minister said the US had not wholeheartedly helped Pakistan. However, he added, Pakistan would continue to play the frontline role in the war against terrorism and the world would recognise its role and sacrifices rendered by its people for elimination of terrorism, militancy and extremism.

Instead of berating Pakis­tan, he said, the world should acknowledge its contributions in the war against terrorism.

He said the world should reject Indian propaganda against Pakistan.