Category Archives: News

Imran vows one million will march to Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A million people will march to the capital on November 2, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan vowed on Monday.

Khan spoke with journalists outside his Bani Gala residence and referring to the prime minister said, “There is still time. Either resign or hold yourself accountable based on the jointly agreed upon Terms of Reference.”

Without naming anyone he said, “We will not go to jail, you will hide from the law.” Reports in the media claim that the government is chalking out a plan to arrest key PTI leaders before the expected ‘lockdown’ of the capital.

The PTI chairman added that the prime minister was maligning hospitals to divert attention from corruption. Leading up to the PTI’s Islamabad sit-in, members of the PML-N have accused Imran Khan of misusing funds for Shaukhat Khanum Hospital.

He added that every time his party asked the prime minister to come out clean against the Panama Leaks, there were attacks at the Line of Control. Predicting a conspiracy behind the coincidence he said, “Such incidents occur to save Nawaz Sharif from accountability.”

PTI has threatened to lay siege at the capital on November 2 in a bid to pressurise the prime minister to present himself for accountability against alleged corruption in the Panama Papers.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the Panama Leaks case against the Prime Minister. Last week the court sent notices to all parties including the prime minister in relation to the case.

Pakistan expects WB decision in 15 days on its petition for arbitration court on Indian dams

LAHORE: Pakistan expects a decision from the World Bank within next 15 days on its petition seeking change in designs of two Indian run-of-the-river hydropower projects — Ratle and Kishan Ganga — through constitution of a court of arbitration under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

Pakistan had objected to the construction and design of the 850MW Ratle and 330MW Kishan Ganga hydropower schemes, saying that both the projects would have adverse impacts on the flow of Chenab and Neelum rivers.

The two projects are being constructed by India on the Chenab River, downstream of the village of Ratle in Doda district and Kishan Ganga River (called Neelum River downstream in Pakistan) near Bandipor in Jammu and Kashmir, respectively.

“Since the World Bank acts as a facilitator to resolve any issue between Pakistan and India, we had visited the bank’s headquarters in Washington (USA) about 20 days ago in view of the proceedings it initiated on our petition seeking constitution of a court of arbitration under the IWT for giving a decision on our objections,” says Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Mirza Asif Baig.

A team of technical and legal experts headed by the attorney general of Pakistan had appeared before the World Bank’s officials after India didn’t acknowledge its objections on the two projects’ designs. The differences on the designs of the two projects had been discussed many a times in the meetings of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters, comprising one commissioner from each country, which is responsible for the implementation of the treaty, but to no avail. Secretary-level talks were also held between the two countries time to time, but concluded without any outcome.

Mr Baig, who was also a member of the delegation, said Pakistan presented its case well, stating that the methodologies being adopted in the construction of the dams would surely affect flow of the western rivers in general, including the two in particular. And since the case was sort of technical as well as legal, it must be heard by a court of arbitration that can be constituted under the IWT provisions, the commissioner added while talking to Dawn on Sunday.

According to him, India has almost completed civil work of the Kishan Gang dam, while the construction of Ratle hydropower project has not yet started after the contractor left the job due to international litigation initiated by Pakistan.

The Indian delegation also appeared before the WB officials and rejected Pakistan’s stance for constituting a court of arbitration. “India opposed our stance, stating before the WB officials that there was a need of appointing some neutral experts under the treaty and not the court to resolve the issue. However, the bank has heard us as well as India in detail and we hope that it will order for the court we have sought under the treaty,” he explained.

Talking about media reports of the IWT suspension by India unilaterally, Mr Baig termed it a tactic to bring Pakistan under pressure. The treaty is a bilateral agreement between the two countries and none of them could suspend it unilaterally. However, it can be suspended, revised or ended if both the countries agree to make a new treaty on Indus waters. “After the media reports, there were some official vibes from India that the IWT is not suspended. So the treaty is still intact,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn October 24th, 2016

Imran invested charity funds in offshore companies in Muscat, France: Khawaja Asif

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Sunday again accused Imran Khan of using charity money in his offshore companies and said that those calling others thieves are also involved in thievery.

The PML-N leader was talking to Geo News and said that Imran Khan is answerable for investing charity funds into off shore companies in Muscat and France.

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Imran Khan is fighting a war for personal gains, said the defence minister.

He said that he demands the details of 70 crore rupees fund of Shaukat Khanum.

Meanwhile, PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz said that no one is afraid of sit-ins and nothing would come out of it.

Hamza Shahbaz also called protests a move against the CPEC project and financial prosperity.

He in an apparent jibe at Imra Khan said that if the PTI chief wants to become a PM so badly he will send him a sherwani (traditional kind of formal dress) at Bani Gala.

Pakistan more stable than before, Army chief

LAHORE: Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif on Sunday said that Pakistan is more stable than before and Zarb-e-Azb brought stability to Pakistan and the region.


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The Army Chief was addressing the First International PACES Championship’s ending ceremony at Lahore.

“This landmark event has brought together participants from 18 leading Armies of the world. As a unique competition of its kind, the occasion is an opportunity to promote mutual cooperation and brotherhood. Today, Pakistan stands more integrated with rest of the world than ever before with such events as a fine example,” he said.

In his speech, the COAS said that the challenges in PACES are designed according to the challenges of modern warfare.

The Army chief congratulated all the participants and those who excelled in various events.

“Our success against terrorism owes immensely to the physical strength and mental robustness of our officers & men. This, coupled with sincerity of purpose and clear direction contributed heavily towards fortifying their will and morale during intense and demanding operations,” he said.

“Today, our brave men can tell the world with pride that by eliminating terrorist networks from the far reaches of Pak-Afghan border, an environment of peace and prosperity is flourishing. Having overcome the heartless enemy, we are set to march forward on the road to progress,” he added.

Gen Raheel Sharif said that he hoped the participants enjoyed the country’s beauty and hospitality of locals during their stay.

The Army Chief also lauded the efforts of the organisers. At the occasion, he also distributed prizes among the winners.

PTI chief is a frustrated man, says Finance Minister Ishaq Dar

KARACHI: Intensifying the ongoing political friction, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called the PTI chief, ‘a frustrated man’ and suggested him to stop being jealous of the government.

Pointing towards Imran Khan, while speaking at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, he said some people misuse the donation money and have no courage to present themselves for accountability.

Taking back-to-back shots at the opposition leader, he said: “those with containers can’t accept country`s progress as it makes them suffer from diarrhea because they know if Pakistan moves ahead, they have no chance in 2018.”

“For the sake of Pakistan, put aside your ambitions to enter the PM House, consider politics as service, you will see the result.”

He said that everyone is accountable in front of Allah, nation and institutions; and Pakistan Muslim League – N is not running away from it.

“The Prime Minister has presented himself in front of the institutions for accountability,” Dar said, however he also added that sticking with the past wont resolve country`s current woes.

Calling the PTI chief, “a frustrated man”, Dar further raised the ante by saying that the opposition party has not a chance to win elections even after 2023 elections due to their malicious intent.

No point of sit-in as SC hears Panama papers case, says CM Punjab

LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday said that, with the Panama case now under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, there remains no point of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s sit-in in Islamabad on November 2.

Speaking at a ceremony of Car Dealers Association here today, the Punjab chief minister said that any effort to halt the capital city is meant to stop the progress of the country.

Shahbaz said that the PTI Chairman Imran Khan was stubbornly stuck on not backing down from the Islamabad sit-in. He said the PTI had never accepted the final report of any commission as those who pursue politics of agitation do not respect institutions.

Earlier, while addressing participants at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called PTI chief ‘a frustrated man’ and suggested him to stop being ‘envious’ of the government.

“For the sake of Pakistan, put aside your ambitions to enter the PM House, and consider politics as a duty. You will see the result,” Dar had said.

Afghan Taliban Political Envoys in Pakistan for Serious Talks – VOA


An Afghan Taliban delegation has traveled to Pakistan from Qatar for talks with officials to raise various issues, including “arrests” of some insurgent leaders, shutting down of some religious seminaries for Afghan refugees and “increasing problems” facing the displaced community in the neighboring country.

A senior Taliban official requesting anonymity told VOA the three-member-delegation has been dispatched to Islamabad from its political headquarters in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state, to convey concerns and seek information on what prompted the arrests of Taliban members.

The main spokesman for the Islamist insurgency, Zabihullah Mujahid, while confirming to VOA the arrival of the Taliban delegation in Pakistan, said the group routinely interacts with countries with which Afghanistan enjoys diplomatic ties.

“The delegation from Qatar has gone to Pakistan to take up with officials there problems facing Afghan refugees, their arrests, forceful evictions and deportations,” Mujahid insisted. He said no political issues or discussions on prospects of any peace talks with the Afghan government will be on the table.

The spokesman rejected reports as unfounded the visit is meant to brief Pakistani authorities on recent secret meetings between Taliban and Afghan officials in Doha.

The delegation consists of two former ministers in the deposed Taliban government, Mullah Jan Muhammad Madani and Mullah Abdul Salam, and a former ambassador to Pakistan, Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar. All three are considered highly influential and respected within the Afghan insurgency.

Pakistani officials have not yet commented on the visit.

Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal told VOA he “was aware of their (Taliban) visit,” without discussing further details.

Speaking in Kabul, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shakeb Mustaghani criticized the visit.

“This visit is not related to Afghanistan, and travel bans placed on members of the delegation by U.N. sanctions should be taken into account. However, if the visit is related to peace activities, it needs to be fully explained,” said Mustaghani, without elaborating. He was referring to U.N. travel restrictions on Taliban officials based in Qatar.

FILE - A general view of the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar.

FILE – A general view of the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar.

The Taliban visit comes after a senior Afghan official requesting anonymity told VOA earlier this week that Afghan intelligence chief Muhammad Masoom Stanekzai held two secret meetings with Taliban political envoys in Qatar in September and early October to discuss ways to resume the peace and reconciliation talks.

But Taliban spokesman Mujahid swiftly denied those reports as Kabul’s propaganda, saying none of its officials met with Stanekzai or any other representative of the Afghan government. He also refuted reports of any future meetings with Afghan interlocutors in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani intelligence sources have confirmed to VOA arrests of several top Taliban leaders in parts of the southwestern Baluchistan province, including its capital, Quetta. Senior members of the so-called Quetta Shura, or leadership council, Mullah Ahmadullah Nani and Mullah Sammad Sani are among the detainees.

In his comments Saturday, Mujahid said that there are religious seminaries or madrassas for Afghan refugees, but lately Pakistani authorities have started closing down some of these facilities, undermining education opportunities for refugee children.

The Pakistan government denies Afghan allegations it is covertly supporting the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan. Senior government officials in background interviews told VOA on condition of anonymity that fugitive Taliban members have been given a “clear message” and are being pressured to engage in peace talks with the Afghan government or relocate to Afghanistan along with their families.

Speaking Friday to an unofficial Afghan delegation of parliamentarians, former officials and civil society activists, Pakistani foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan’s message to all the combatants in Afghanistan is “loud and clear: nobody can capture Afghanistan on its own, and the key to peace lies in talks.

“We desire that both the NUG (National Unity Government) and the Taliban sort out issues among themselves and we will stand by them for any support we can lend to the process. He also welcomed unanimity of approach on the peace process within Kabul and hoped it would encourage all parties to join the process,” a statement quoted Aziz as saying.

The advisor vowed that Pakistan is doing whatever it can to persuade all Taliban factions to become part of the peace process and “indications are that many of them are now interested in joining the process.”

Islamabad insists insurgents are part of nearly three million Afghan refugees living legally and illegally in Pakistan. Authorities have lately stepped up pressure on the refugee population to go back to Afghanistan, saying their localities are being used by anti-state elements for terrorist attacks on both sides of the border.

Pakistan brokered and hosted the first direct peace negotiations between the Taliban and President Ashraf Ghani’s government in July last year in a bid to end the 15-year conflict in Afghanistan. Those preliminary discussions were directly monitored by U.S. and Chinese diplomats.

But a scheduled second round was scuttled after it was revealed Taliban founder and longtime leader Mullah Omar had been dead for two years. Relations have since deteriorated between Pakistan and Afghanistan, with Kabul accusing Islamabad of not preventing the insurgents from using its soil for plotting attacks on the other side of the border; charges Pakistani officials reject as unfounded.

Nigeria to buy 10 trainer aircraft from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday signed an agreement for the sale of 10 Super Mushshak aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) announced here on Friday.

“The contract signing ceremony was held at Abuja (Nigeria) where Air Vice Marshal Iya Ahmed Abdullahi and Air Marshal Arshad Malik, Chairman of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), signed the contract,” PAF spokesman Air Commodore Syed Mohammad Ali said.

The contract includes operational training and technical support and assistance to the NAF. The Pakistan Air Force would completely establish this facility in the shortest possible time, he said.

The contract will not only open new vistas for export of aviation equipment to foreign countries but also help generate revenue for the country.

The aircraft is already in service with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa.

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The deal strengthens PAC’s status as a world class aviation industry producing the supersonic JF-17 Thunder and Super Mushshak trainer aircraft.