‘Defying party orders’: Gulalai desires to serve PTI, lawyer tells ECP

ISLAMABAD: Hearing a reference filed against disgruntled PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday asked the legal counsel of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan whether Gulalai has officially resigned from the party.

The hearing was held over a reference filed against Gulalai for defying party orders.

“Did Ayesha Gulalai say she is leaving the party or has she left the party,” the bench member asked Imran’s counsel.

Imran’s lawyer Sikander Mohmand presented transcripts of Gulalai’s press conferences and talk shows, stating that Gulalai’s statements clearly pointed that she is leaving the party.

“Imran Khan nominated Gulalai to the reserved seat as party head. She has resigned from party membership,” Mohmand said.

Mohmand went on to say that Gulalai had defied party policy by not participating in the polling to elect the prime minister and instead was engaged in conducting press conferences at the time. The ECP then probed Imran’s counsel about whether Gulalai had appeared in the session called by the party on July 29 to finalise the party’s  nomination for the PM’s office. Mohmand informed the ECP that Gulalai had attended the meeting and that Imran had personally apprised the party members of PTI’s nominee.

On the other hand, Gulalai’s lawyer Barrister Masroor brought to the notice that there is a distinct difference between stating “I am leaving the party” and “I have resigned”, adding that she will continue to serve the party.

Later, the hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.

Gulalai had revealed her plans to leave PTI early August after accusing PTI chief of harassment and corruption.

Convicted cop in Benazir murder case takes charge as SSP Special Branch

RAWALPINDI: According to a notification that was circulated, senior superintendent of police (SSP) and one of the accused in the Benazir Bhutto murder case Khurram Shahzad has been reinstated as the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Special Branch on Monday night.

Shahzad has reportedly taken charge of his official duties following his reinstatement.

According to the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict on August 31, 2017, Shahzad, as well as former additional inspector general Saud Aziz, were sentenced to 17 years in jail in addition to a payment of fine in the Benazir murder case.

Subsequently, Shahzad was taken to Adiala Jail and Aziz was taken into custody as well.

Later, however, the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC)  suspended the sentence and notified the reinstatement of Shahzad as SSP Special Branch.

It is pertinent to mention that Shahzad was serving as SSP Special Branch at the time of being sentenced. Aziz, however, is currently retired from the police force.

According to LHC’s Rawalpindi branch’s ruling on October 6, Shahzad and Aziz’s jail term have been suspended and their fines cancelled a day before.

According to reports, the LHC’s division bench had approved bail of the accused policemen on payment of surety bonds worth Rs 2 million each.

Earlier, the Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Asghar Khan had sentenced both policemen to 17 years of jail term each 10 years in prison under Section 119 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and seven years under Section 201 of the PPC.

They were also fined Rs. 1 million each for “facilitating [the] commission of an offence” and for being negligent.

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on August 31 had announced the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto murder case almost after 10 years, sentencing two police officers to 17 years imprisonment for being “negligent” while acquitting the five suspects belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)—who were indicted in 2008. The court also declared the then-president Pervez Musharraf an absconder in the case.

The next hearing in the case is on November 27.

Subsequently, the two convicted officers petitioned against the ATC’s verdict on grounds that the police officers had provided adequate security at Liaquat Bagh, the venue of the rally addressed by Bhutto. They said that the two officers have been made “scapegoats” even though the prosecution did not have any solid evidence against them

Thereafter, the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) on September 29 had filed a petition in the LHC’s Rawalpindi Bench challenging the ATC’s decision in the murder case on grounds that there was concrete evidence against the five accused who had been acquitted in the case owing to lack of evidence.

Punjab CM inaugurates moto-ambulance service

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated on Tuesday a motorcycle ambulance service.

The service will be operated by the Punjab Emergency Service — Rescue 1122.

Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking at the inauguration ceremony, said these 900 first responders will be able to reach remote areas of Lahore where a proper ambulance cannot go.

In its first phase, the service is being launched in Lahore but will spread across the province later.

The Punjab chief minister said that these rescuers will be able to administer first aid and will also alert the ambulance so it can meet them at the nearest location.

Congratulating Rescue 1122 DG Dr Rizwan Naseer, the chief minister said that the project was materialised in just six to seven months.

The chief minister went on to thank Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s health minister for training the rescue staff.

“The work they [Rescue 1122] have done in the last 10 to 12 years is unmatched. Their spirit reminds us of Abdul Sattar Edhi, who despite being elderly and unwell, proceeded to disaster zones to take part in relief efforts,” concluded the chief minister.