Category Archives: Multan

ANP first female candidate from Punjab breaks stereotypes

MULTAN: A candidate running from National Assembly constituency NA-155 Multan is different from the other contenders in many aspects.

Nosheen Khan Jatoi is Awami National Party’s first women candidate in Punjab, who is contesting on a general seat.

A lawyer by profession, Nosheen is also running her campaign in an interesting way.

She rides a motorcycle to interact with constituents in order to garner their support. The candidate is going door-to-door conveying her party’s message.

“Since I was a little kid, I would look at the conditions of the people around me and wonder what I can do for them,” Nosheen said.

In order to help people, she pursued a degree in law. However, she soon realized that she wasn’t being able to reach out to as many people as she wanted. Then, she opened a non-governmental organization, Niharki Welfare Organization, which offers vocational training, educates people about law, and operates dispensaries at different places.

With time, Nosheen, who hails from Jatoi district of Muzaffargarh, realised that she can only achieve her goals was by becoming a parliamentarian.

Veteran politician Javed Hashmi, PML-N to ‘fight together for democracy’

As rumours swirl about veteran politician Javed Hashmi rejoining the PML-N, Railways Minister Saad Rafique on Monday said the party and the political stalwart have agreed to “fight together for democracy”.

Rafique made the announcement at a press conference in Islamabad after a meeting between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Hashmi, in which other senior PML-N officials also participated.

A source with knowledge of the meeting claimed that Hashmi had, during the meeting, agreed to rejoin the PML-N.

Rafique, however, when asked to confirm the development after the meeting, said: “In the next phase of discussions, this will also be announced.”

A PML-N leader in Multan told MEDIA that Rafique was on the forefront in convincing the leadership to bring the old guard back into the party fold.

“Rafique was the one who was very close to Hashmi when the latter chose to part ways with the Sharifs for not acknowledging his political struggle during the Musharraf era. Rafique also stayed in contact with Hashmi even during his two-and-a-half-year stay in the PTI,” he said, adding that Rafique told the leadership about the importance of Hashmi in the current political scenario as the PML-N was in dire need of true democrats like him.

A member of Rafique’s personal staff told MEDIA that the minister would return this correspondent’s queries on the matter but he did not.

Hashmi’s run with the PML-N

Hashmi, a former PML-N leader left the PML-N for Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in 2011, citing ideological similarities with the party. He stayed in the PTI for about two-and-a-half years.

Some PML-N leaders from Multan, including the city mayor, are against Hashmi’s comeback because it might affect their political clout in the area.

The politician from south Punjab gained a reputation of a brave politician because of his steadfast opposition to military rule.

Hashmi had grievances with the PML-N which contributed to his decision to leave the PML-N.

Sources had, at the time, said that the friction between Hashmi and the Sharifs began when the former ignored Nawaz Sharif’s advice to retain his National Assembly seat from Rawalpindi after the Feb 2008 elections, and instead decided to retain the seat he had won in his native Multan.

Ironically, Hashmi’s reputation as a bold man acted against him as the PML-N leadership baulked at his nomination for Leader of Opposition in National Assembly, fearing that it might not be helpful in rebuilding its relations with the military establishment. He was even described as a “compulsive agitator” by a PML-N office bearer.

The political stalwart has, even in recent times, stuck to his guns, calling for greater accountability for the army and judiciary.

Profile: Javed Hashmi, the perennial rebel

In early 1972, a group of youngsters barged into Governor House in Lahore.

They were agitated because two girls had been kidnapped in the city’s Samanabad neighbourhood, allegedly by a senior government functionary.

The crowd came face to face with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, at the time the president of the republic, accompanied by a visiting British minister.

The leader of the protesters was one Javed Hashmi who had just won a hard-fought student union election at Punjab University with support from the Islami Jamiat Talaba.

Two years later, Hashmi made a similarly daring move while leading a protest against recognising Bangladesh as a separate state.

Lahore was then hosting a historic summit of the heads of state and government of Islamic countries.

He led a group of youngsters raising anti-government slogans and breached all security arrangements, to appear right in front of the motorcade of the then Saudi King Shah Faisal.

Given these two incidents, both narrated by Hashmi in his autobiography Haan Mein Baghi Hoon (‘Yes, I’m a rebel’), it is ironic that he disagreed with his own party’s chief.

How is Parliament House different from Governor House in Lahore as a symbol of the state, and how is the security cordon for a foreign dignitary less important than the one around Prime Minister House?

Hashmi could not care less about such distinctions or lack thereof as far as he believes in the cause.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and several other senior members of the ruling PML-N can testify as to how Hashmi would say whatever he wanted in party meetings without bothering about how it would affect his relationship with the party leadership.

He believed that he needed to challenge the high-handedness of the Bhutto regime through whatever means he could employ; he believed that Pakistan should not recognise Bangladesh, come what may.

He also narrates in his book how, a few months before the Islamic summit, he and his political associates successfully sabotaged Bhutto’s rally in Rawalpindi for the same reason.

So, clearly, he ceased to believe in what Imran Khan claimed to be trying to achieve. And this is in accordance with the ideology that Hashmi has come to espouse over the past four decades of being in politics.

That ideology is based on three foundations: the supremacy of electoral democracy over a military dictatorship, dissent, and utter disregard for the consequences of his political actions.

There are, however, some exceptions to these political rules that Hashmi has devised for himself.

The most obvious example of his courageous defence of civilian supremacy over military power is his arrest in 2003 on the accusation of trying to create divisions within the army.

For the next three and a half years, he remained behind bars, his trial taking place inside jail.

The Musharraf government put him on trial because of a letter that Hashmi had made public, reportedly written by some junior officials to highlight alleged corruption on the part of some senior members of the then military regime.

He never retracted from his stance, nor did he regret his decision to make the letter public.

Similarly, his readiness to work as the president of the PML-N after the Sharifs went into exile and many of their prominent lieutenants joined the Musharraf camp in the 2000s also proved his mettle for working for democracy at the most difficult of times.

Hashmi has built a strong reputation as the perennial rebel. He will speak his mind no matter what the circumstances or consequences.

He’s taken a confrontational stance whenever he has thought that those in authority aren’t doing the right thing, notwithstanding whether the people in authority were his own political bosses.

This is not to say that Hashmi has never made mistakes.

In 1978, at the age of 29, he became the youngest minister in General Ziaul Haq’s military cabinet.

He later regretted the decision; much space is taken up in his book describing how he was never comfortable in the ministry and how he wanted to resign as early as he could.

In 1993, his insistence on running in elections from his home constituency in Multan, while he was being offered safe seats from Lahore, resulted in Shah Mehmood Qureshi leaving Nawaz Sharif to join the PPP.

His biggest mistake, perhaps, is to have accepted money from an advocate named Yousuf.

The source of the money, Yousuf later claimed, was Younus Habib who, as the head of Mehran Bank, was tasked by intelligence operatives to finance the election campaign of certain anti-PPP politicians in 1990.

Hashmi made a serious effort in his autobiography to reiterate that he has never made any financial gain from his politics; he has, on television talk shows, claimed that he had received the money as a loan to set up business, and that he had returned it.

The allegations, however, refused to go away.

When he left the PML-N in Dec 2011, and joined the PTI, some of his old political colleagues alleged that he was disgruntled because the PML-N had refused to nominate one of his close relatives as an election candidate.

Some say he was unhappy because he wanted to become the leader of the opposition after the 2008 election but that post went to former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

His supporters say he deserved the slot because of his services to the party during the Musharraf regime, when very few politicians were willing to represent the PML-N at any political level.

Hashmi seems to have lost none of his political uprightness and the ability to call a spade, a spade.

He retains his ability to say what he believes in (as Imran Khan has found) and he continues to cherish democracy and the institutions it represents.

He also remains oblivious of the political consequences of his actions — nobody knows what his political future will be after his expulsion from the PTI.

It is difficult to imagine that he will rejoin the PML-N, of which he remains extremely critical.

The option of joining the PPP remains even more remote as he has opposed that party throughout his career.

On the first page of his book, Hashmi recalls a quote from Caliph Hazrat Umar: “When did you start enslaving people when their mothers delivered them as free [people]?” He remains as free as he ever was.

No political imperative can keep him captive to a party or an ideology that he cannot believe in. Khan should have known that before accepting Hashmi into his party.

Bid to isolate Pakistan failed badly: Shah Mehmood Qureshi

MULTAN: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said that the conspiracy to isolate Pakistan diplomatically is failing badly. The PTI leader expressed his views in a media talk in Multan, and said that his party would give its viewpoint after listening to government’s stance in National Assembly (NA), and no politics will be done on this national issue.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi maintained that a solid message has to be given through the NA session to United States, India and Afghanistan that Pakistan keeps brotherly relations with the people of Afghanistan. Millions of Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan for years, he said. he said that the complete administration of Lahore is busy in the election campaign of the candidate of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which is against the electoral code of conduct. Qureshi demanded Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take notice of this violation.

He further added that the senior leaders of PML-N are angry with Nawaz Sharif’s policy against the judiciary. Mindful class is of the opinion that conflict with courts is not right, he remarked. Shah Mehmood commented that the proposal to reduce the tenure of assembly to four years will not get much acceptance. When he was asked about Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s acquittal in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference, Qureshi said he read about it in a newspaper, and cannot make comment.

Responding a question with regard to Pak-America ties and the foreign minister’s expected tour after Trump’s allegations, Qureshi said: “We want the foreign minister to take the National Assembly on board; [moreover] a session has been called on Monday.” Adding, the party will announce its plan of action following the session.

Praising the government’s decision of calling the assembly’s session, he said the party will deem the government’s stance before adopting a stance on foreign policy. Laying emphasis on national unity, Qureshi said that it’s a national issue and demands unity to give befitting reply to US president Donald Trumo and Indian PM Narendra Modi. “I am glad the way China, Iran, Turkey, and Russia backed Pakistan as Trump unveiled his new policy for South Asia,” he further said. Soliciting support for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid in NA-120 by-election, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has announced that his party will hold a rally in Lahore on September 14 ahead of by-election.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that barring lawmakers to campaign for upcoming by-election in Lahore’s NA-120 constituency by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is deplorable. “The party’s central leadership has been denied entry in the constituency for by-election campaign,” he added. Shah Mehmood Qureshi anticipated a tough contest between PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates in the by-election, scheduled for September 17 next month. He said the party would ensure leaving no stone unturned for a great triumph in NA-120 by-poll. “The party will put all efforts to gain confidence of the masses through a rally in the city,” he vowed.

Parliament should complete its term: Gilani

MULTAN: Senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that parliament should complete its term and elections should be held on time.

Speaking to media after offering condolences to senior vice president of south Punjab PPP Khwaja Rizwan Alam over the death of his mother, Mr Gilani said if any conspiracy was being hatched against the government, the ruling PML-N should expose it to the masses.

He dispelled the impression that his party was playing the role of a friendly opposition.

“The PPP is not playing the role of a friendly opposition, but the party is of the view that democratic governments should complete its five-year tenure,” Mr Gilani said.

PML-N asked to take people into confidence if any conspiracy is being hatched against govt

He said that on the call of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, party workers were holding protests to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the JIT report.

He said the country was going through a crisis and speculations must now end to terminate this state of uncertainty.

“The Supreme Court judges should announce the Panama case judgement early to end the crisis and speculations,” the PPP leader said.

He said that all political parties were neglecting electoral reforms that were necessary to stop rigging in elections.

He said if reforms were not done, there would be allegations of rigging after every election and new JITs would be needed.

The PPP leader was of the view that issues should be settled in parliament as it was the best forum to discuss all issues, including corruption.

PPP president (south Punjab) Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood said that PPP was the only party which had roots in south Punjab and it had always raised its voice for the rights of the people of southern Punjab.

“Efforts for the rights of the people of southern Punjab will continue,” he declared.

6 suspected Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militants killed in CTD raid in Multan

The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab police raided a militant hideout and killed six suspected members of the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA), the group that has launched a new campaign of violence in the country, police said on Thursday.

CTD said its officers surrounded a hideout of the JA, a breakaway faction of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Multan late on Wednesday and ordered the suspects inside to surrender.

“But the terrorists started firing at the raiding party and threw explosives,” a spokesman for the department, who the unit does not identify for security reasons, said in a statement.

Six militants were killed while three or four escaped under cover of darkness, the department added. Two hand grenades, two automatic rifles and two pistols were recovered.

Police acted after getting information that the militants were planning to launch attacks on “vital installations” and the government in the area.

The militant faction claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack near the Punjab Assembly in Lahore on Monday that killed 14 people and wounded more than 80.

Also read: As Lahore buries its dead, citizens demand answers

Since then, militants have killed two bomb-disposal officers in the Quetta and a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a government office in Mohmand Agency on Wednesday, killing five people.

Also on Wednesday, a suicide bomber on a motor bike attacked a group of judges in a van in Peshawar, killing their driver.

The attacks have underlined the threat militants pose to the government, despite an army offensive launched in 2014 to push them out of their strongholds near the Afghan border.

Pakistan’s foreign office said it had summoned Syed Abdul Nasir Yousafi, deputy head of mission at Afghanistan’s embassy in Islamabad, on Wednesday to voice concern about JA “sanctuaries” in Afghanistan.

Pakistan says militants launch attacks from the Afghan side of the border.

“Afghanistan was urged to take urgent measures to eliminate the terrorists and their sanctuaries, financiers and handlers,” the foreign office said in a statement.