PM disqualification case
Apex court rejects formation of larger bench
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea regarding the constitution of a larger bench to hear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification case.
Advocate Gohar Nawaz Sindhu, one of the applicants in this case, moved an application on Tuesday in the apex court requesting the formation of a larger bench due to the importance questions are involved.
The petitioner, in his plea, submitted that all eyes were on the apex court due to the current critical situation, thereby a larger bench should be constituted. Adding more reasons for the formation of a larger bench, he stated that the interpretations of Articles 62, 63, 66, 69, 227 and 248 of the Constitution were required.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, is hearing petitions filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Ishaq Khan Khakwani and one lawyer Gohar Nawaz regarding the disqualification of the prime minister.
Three petitioners are seeking the premier’s disqualification under Article 62 (f) of the Constitution - contending that the prime minister had recently given a ‘false statement’ in the National Assembly regarding the involvement of the army chief in negotiating with the leaders of protest camps currently set up in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, PTI and PML-Q on Wednesday also submitted pleas regarding the constitution of a larger bench, and the PTI leader has raised objections over Justice Jawwad S Khawaja hearing the case of the premier’s disqualification.
"It is also a well-known fact that some of the judgments of Justice Jawwad Khawaja have caused members of the bench and the bar to express serious reservations against the said decisions," the application said.
PTI counsel Irfan Qadir submitted the plea that the applicant is aware that he cannot choose his own judge, however the applicant has the right to object to a particular judge when there is serious apprehension on his part that justice may not be done or the applicant may not get a fair trial.
"In the circumstances explained above, the applicant has every reason to believe that justice would not be done unless Justice Jawwad Khwaja declines to hear this case. The applicant hopes that Justice Khawaja should not insist on continuing with the hearing of the titled petition and moreso when these cases can be heard by any of the remaining sixteen judges of the apex court," he said.
After a brief hearing on Monday, the plea to disqualify PM was adjourned by the SC until October 2 due to shortage of time.
During the hearing on Monday, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja has observed that the petitioners may file an application to the chief justice regarding the constitution of a larger bench in this case. Justice Khawaja says that it is the authority of the chief justice to form a larger bench in any case.
On the last date of the hearing of this case, the bench hinted the examination of the constitutional provisions that bar the court to question the proceedings of Parliament.
Justice Mushir Alam, during the brief hearing on Monday, asked counsels for the applicants to come prepared after going through Articles 68, 69 and 95 of the Constitution along with their implications on the next date of the hearing.
Javed Hashmi announces resignation from PTI
MULTAN: Suspended by his party following allegations against Imran Khan, the estranged elected president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Javed Hashmi announced on Wednesday his resignation from the party presidency and its membership.
Hashmi said that he could no longer continue his membership with a party ‘conspiring’ to dismantle democracy in Pakistan.
"There are a few hypocrites with Imran," Hashmi said adding, "I have told him the bad times have begun for his party."
Earlier, PTI had suspended the membership of Hashmi and had summoned him to the party secretariat to explain his case on September 29.
PTI Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood said he had failed to explain his position as asked by the PTI. "The party will take appropriate action in this case," he said.
Musharraf ECL case
Government plea indefinitely adjourned
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday indefinitely adjourned a government appeal against the removal of former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
A five-judge larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, adjourned the case indefinitely on the request of Musharraf’s counsel.
The federal government had filed an appeal against a Sindh High Court (SHC) decision to remove the former president’s name from ECL.
Earlier on Tuesday, Musharraf’s legal team submitted a single-page application to the court requesting adjournment of the case, while citing the busy court schedule of Musharraf’s lawyer, who is appearing before a special court in the treason case against the former president.
The federal government on Monday submitted the records of cases pending against Musharraf in different courts. The office of the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) submitted records along with court orders in six different cases, such as Lal Masjid case, Benazir Bhutto murder case, judges’ detention case and Nawab Akbar Bughti murder case among others.
On June 23, the apex court had suspended the SHC’s judgment and adjourned the hearing for four weeks. The court on July 25 then rejected the former president’s plea to schedule the hearing immediately after Eidul Fitr.
Issuing a four-page written order on July 1 for the same case, the top court observed that it has granted leave to the government’s plea to consider four questions.
The court said whether or not the SC’s April 8, 2013 interim order and the July 3, 2013 final order merge, the principle of merger was not attracted in this case regarding restriction on Musharraf’s travel abroad.
The bench questioned whether the April 8 order was an interim one and if on the basis of integration of the law the interim decision was included in the final order issued on July 3.
"Can the SHC suspend the April 5, 2013 decision to place Musharraf’s name on the ECL?" the bench had asked. The bench also questioned if, without modification or reversal of the SC’s April 8, 2013 order, Musharraf can be permitted to leave the country.
Musharraf is facing four criminal cases including high treason case, filed by the federal government. Prior to the filing of government’s complaint, four petitions were filed before the SC in which the petitioners had prayed for direction to the federal government to prosecute Musharraf under the 1973 high treason Act.
The court on April 8, 2013 directed secretary interior to ensure Musharraf’s name was placed on the ECL. His name had already been placed on the ECL on April 5, 2013 pursuant to the SHC’s March 29, 2013 order in which it was directed that Musharraf will not leave the country without permission of the trial court.
Later, a division bench of the SHC declined to exclude Musharraf’s name from ECL.
Musharraf challenged the federal government’s April 5, 2013 order placing him on the ECL as well as the April 2, 2014 order rejecting his application to withdraw the earlier order.
The SHC on June 12 allowed his plea and struck down the Office Memorandum dated April 5, 2013 on the grounds that the top court’s April 4 order had merged into a final order dated July 3, 2013, wherein all four petitions were disposed of but no order was made to place Musharraf’s name on the ECL.
Additionally, the April 4, 2013 memorandum had not mentioned any of the grounds enumerated in Rule 2 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Rules 2010 - according to which the federal government is empowered to prevent any person from leaving the country.
Treason trial: Special Court adjourns
hearing till today
Meanwhile, the Special Court trying Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf under high treason act for abrogating and subverting the Constitution by proclaiming emergency in the country, adjourned hearing of the case till today.
The case was heard by a two-member bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar and comprising Justice Yawar Ali.
Mushrraf’s counsel Barrister Farogh Naseem is due to present his stance in the court based on the previous trials today. He argued over the petition filed for including Musharraf’s associates in the case trial.
The court ordered him to present a written legal stance before the judge in today’s hearing. Naseem requested the court to cancel the hearing for today due to some engagements.
However, rejecting his request, the court adjourned the hearing till today morning. Justice Faisal Arab was on leave and therefore was not present in Wednesday’s trial.
Earlier, the case hearings had been delayed because the premises of the special court is located opposite the Supreme Court building on Constitution Avenue where followers of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri are staging a protest sit-in against the government.
School teacher killed in City blast
PESHAWAR: A teacher was killed and two children injured on Wednesday when a hand-grenade attack took place on a school in the Shabqadar area of Peshawar.
Sources said the school had received letters a month earlier which threatened the administration to direct students to wear shalwar kameez instead of pants and shirts.
According to police sources, unidentified miscreants threw a hand-grenade on Askari Public School and College in Shabqadar area.
The explosion resulted in the death of the school teacher and injured two children.
Sources said that miscreants fled the scene after launching the attack and a search operation was under way.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak have condemned the attack and sympathised with the families of those targeted.
Earlier, the PTI government had also decided in principle to remove ‘objectionable material’ from the textbooks of local primary schools to please the key partner of the ruling coalition, Jamaat-i-Islami.
JI had objected to pictures of girls without dupatta, X-mas cake, Cross emblem, good morning expression.
Punjab Govt begins payment of financial assistance to flood victims
PM says committee needed to prevent floods, mitigate losses
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that a National Committee on Prevention of Floods is the need of the time to propose measures to prevent floods and mitigate losses in future, said a report published on Radio Pakistan.
He was speaking at a ceremony held in Wazirabad Wednesday afternoon to distribute the first installment of twenty-five thousand cash assistance among flood-affected people.
The premier said the government is paying utmost attention to rescue and relief operations and rehabilitation of the affected people would also be a foremost priority.
However, he said, there is also need to plan for the future in order to prevent damages caused by recurring floods.
Earlier in September, the premier had declared the flood-hit areas as calamity-hit zones and said the affected people would be paid compensation once the damages had been assessed after the floodwaters had receded.
He had said that it was the government's responsibility to help the displaced people to cope with the difficulties they were facing.
Nawaz had also directed officials to accelerate relief efforts, adding that Pakistan would not approach any country to provide aid or assistance in relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims.
With over 4,000 homes destroyed and several thousand people rendered homeless across central and northern Pakistan, the catastrophic floods had been dubbed as the deadliest in the country's history.
Olson says Pakistan’s reservations to be paid adequate attention
ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday at the Prime Minister House and briefed the premier on the Border Security Agreement (BSA) recently signed between US and Afghanistan and assured that Pakistan’s reservation, a senior government source told DawnNews.
Newly sworn in Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had on Tuesday signed the long-delayed security pact allowing American troops to stay in Afghanistan after the end of the year. - Statesman
PPP denies early poll statement attributed to Khursheed Shah
LAHORE: Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Qamar Zaman Kaira and Aitzaz Ahsan on Wednesday refuted media reports which quoted Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah as saying the prime minister could call snap polls if he voluntarily decides to do so.
The PPP leader, while speaking at the Lahore Press Club, said he has been screaming himself hoarse since the day before to clarify that Shah had not made any such statement.
"Ask Khursheed sb, ask me, Shah sb did not say anything like that," Kaira added. The PPP leader went on to rebuke those criticising Shah unnecessarily.
"What is the reason for Khursheed sb to be a victim of this character assassination?" he asked. "That too for something he has not done. He is a senior political worker and he should be treated like one."
Earlier, Shah had told journalists in his chamber at the Parliament House that if the situation arises, the prime minister can himself call for snap elections.
Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition in Senate Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan Wednesday said that PPP was not considering any proposal regarding mid-term elections.
Talking to media outside the Supreme Court building here, he said Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah was a man of principles and he did not call for holding mid-term polls.
"No one can force Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to resign and the PPP will oppose any such move," he added. - Statesman
Corps commanders call Afghan-US
security pact ‘good move for durable peace’
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the corps commanders at the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi to review the security pact signed between the newly elected Afghan administration and the United States and termed it "a good move for durable peace in Afghanistan".
On Monday, Afghan officials and the US had signed a long-delayed security agreement to allow American troops to stay in Afghanistan after the end of the year, filling a campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani.
Under the terms of agreement, 12,000 foreign military personnel would be expected to stay after 2014, when the combat mission of Afghanistan’s US led Nato force ends.
The Taliban, on the other hand, had denounced the pact with the United States calling it a "sinister" plot by the Americans to control Afghanistan and restore its international credibility as a military super power.
"Under the name of the security agreement, today Americans want to prepare themselves for another non-obvious and very dangerous fight," the Taliban had said in a statement emailed to media.
Afghanistan often blames Pakistan for supporting insurgents who are fighting both Nato troops and government forces. Afghan officials also claim Pakistan has had a role in major attacks and suicide bombings.
Relations between the two countries have been hot and cold in recent years.
Sources told DawnNews that the meeting reviewed internal and external security threats to the country and expressed resolve to meet these challenges.
The corps commanders also discussed the ongoing military operation Zarb-i-Azb and expressed their satisfaction over its progress.
Military operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched by the Pakistan Army on June 15 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negotiators.
The Taliban and their ethnic Uzbek allies both claimed responsibility for the attack on Karachi airport, which was seen as a strategic turning point in how Pakistan tackles the insurgency.
Nearly a million people have fled the offensive in North Waziristan, which is aimed at wiping out longstanding militant strongholds in the area, which borders Afghanistan.
More than 1,000 militants and 86 soldiers have been killed in the assault so far, according to the military.
The area is off-limits to journalists, making it impossible to verify the numbers.
Palestinians ask UN to end Israeli occupation by 2016
UNITED NATIONS: The Palestinians are asking the UN Security Council to set November 2016 as the deadline for ending the Israeli occupation, according to a draft resolution obtained by AFP on Wednesday.
The draft, circulated to council members, follows Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ address last week to the UN General Assembly in which he called for a fast-track to statehood.
The text, put forward by the Arab group, calls for "the full withdrawal of Israel, the occupying power, from all of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, as rapidly as possible and to be fully completed within a specified timeframe, not to exceed November 2016."
It calls for the world body to respect "the independence and sovereignty of the state of Palestine and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people." UN diplomats said the draft resolution stood little chance of being adopted, but the move presents the Security Council with a challenge on how to advance the Middle East peace track if the Palestinian demand is rejected.
European countries and the United States have steadfastly maintained that the best path to Palestinian statehood is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and not by imposing a deadline. "We are aware of President Abbas’ plans and we continue to believe -- to strongly believe -- that the only way to a negotiated solution is through negotiations between the two parties," US Ambassador Samantha Power said Tuesday. - AFP
Musharraf senses ‘winds of change’ in Pakistan
KARACHI: Former president and military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that he can sense ‘winds of change’ blowing in Pakistan.
"I can sense winds of change blowing in Pakistan. The demonstrators are within their right to protest; my sympathies are with them," said Musharraf, wearing a traditional Sindhi Ajrak shawl on his shoulders.
Musharraf, appearing via video conference apparently due to security concerns, was speaking to workers of his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) in Karachi.
The former dictator, who is facing high treason charges and a number of other legal cases, said that he had returned to contest elections in 2013 to bring political change to Pakistan.
"Pakistan was in dire need of political change in the 2013 elections: a third force capable of good governance and able to steer the country to safer waters. This is why, despite all hurdles I decided to come back to Pakistan," he said. But he added that the legal and security threats he faced after his return were far greater than what he had anticipated. Musharraf said that five years had passed since he stepped down but things were still the same.
"It was the same system and same people," he said.
"If you look at the current situation, you will see that the country is racing towards destruction. What we need is free and fair elections without any form of rigging. First we need electoral reforms before elections in Pakistan," he added. - Statesman
6 killed, nine hurt in Quetta blast, firing
QUETTA: At least six people were killed and nine others were injured on Wednesday when an explosion took place on Quetta’s Double Road which was followed by firing.
Police said unknown assailants hurled a hand-grenade bomb at two barber shops near the Sirki Kalan area of Double road. Subsequently, three people were killed whereas nine others sustained injuries. Shopkeepers pulled down their shutters soon after the blast took place that was heard far and wide.
The injured persons were rushed to Civil Hospital Quetta for medical treatment where three of them succumbed to their injuries.
"The area was at its busiest when the bomb went off," Muhammad Aslam, a police official. The blast also damaged some vehicles and smashed the glasses of nearby homes and shops.
Following the blast, police personnel cordoned off the area while a probe into the incident went under way.
Two injured in blast on Quetta’s Sariab road
At least two persons were injured in a blast on the Sariab road area of Quetta on Wednesday. Police said armed militants hurled a hand-grenade at a photographer’s shop and injured two persons, including the shop’s owner.
The injured persons were rushed to Civil Hospital Quetta for medical treatment.
Police said the shop was damaged during the blast that rocked the entire Sariab road area of Quetta.
Earlier on September 21, at least 11 people, including a woman, were injured when a powerful explosion took place in the Jinnah Town neighbourhood of Quetta.
Interior ministry issues security alert to provinces
ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Wednesday issued a security alert to all provinces for Eidul Azha, sources told Express News.
In a statement, the ministry warned all provincial governments of backlash against the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan.
The ministry advised police and other law enforcement agencies to increase coordination and asked authorities to ensure Eid prayers are held in confined spaces.
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