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Centre accuses Punjab of mishandling Wazirabad incident

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ISLAMABAD:

The federal government on Monday accused the Punjab government of committing criminal negligence in connection with the Wazirabad incident, saying an FIR of the incident based on facts should immediately be registered on merit and not on conjectures or speculative allegations.

In a letter dated November 5 but released to the media on November 7, the federal government through the Ministry of Interior has pointed out several lapses, including failure to provide adequate security to ex-premier Imran Khan, delay in lodging the FIR, releasing of ‘confessional videos’, and not providing any information to the Centre, on part of the provincial government.

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The release of the letter appears to be an attempt to build up the Centre’s case against the Punjab government as the Supreme Court (SC) has already ordered the registration of the FIR in the matter.

On November 3, a PTI worker was killed and several others, including the PTI chairman, were injured in a gun attack on PTI’s long march at Wazirabad.

Through the letter, the interior ministry has conveyed the federal government’s grave concerns on the mishandling of the high-profile case, which was evident from the fact that the FIR of the said case, ordinarily required to be registered within 24 hours of any incident, has not been registered even after the lapse of more than 36 hours.

Read: Imran urges Alvi to ‘act now’ to stop abuse of power

Actually, four days have passed since the incident.

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The ministry said that the failure to register the FIR despite the fact that the incident took place in the presence of provincial police personnel at the scene is indicative of the provincial government’s lackluster response to the unfortunate incident.

Following the incident, the letter read, the provincial government has exhibited a complete unwillingness to provide any kind of explanation regarding the incident including its failure to provide adequate security to the former premier and the clear lack of adherence to standard operating security procedures in relation to the convoy.

The federal government has also noted that the medico-legal examination of the former prime minister has not yet been carried out. It is also a matter of concern that the provincial government has failed to provide any updates regarding the weapon of offense and whether it has been forensically analyzed.

Moreover, it said, the crime scene was not secured for many hours after the incident which is again a violation of the prescribed procedures. Additionally, it added, no official information regarding the victims or their nature of the injuries has been released.

Finally, it read, the release of “confessional” videos of the alleged perpetrator points to serious lapses in the investigation process.

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“The afore-mentioned failures of the provincial government and its functionaries are clear evidence of its mishandling of the matter and amounts to criminal negligence,” it stated.

The law and order situation in the province after the incident was not handled effectively which created great inconvenience for the general public, it maintained, the closure of main highways and roads by small groups of ‘miscreants’ paralyzed life in cities of Punjab and also affected inter-district movement.

Also read: PTI long march: Capital police warn of action against protests sans permission

It continued by stating that the inability of the provincial police and administration to handle the law and order situation violated the fundamental right of free movement guaranteed under Article 15 of the Constitution.

The attack by a ‘mob of miscreants’ on the Governor’s House in Lahore on November 4 further demonstrated the mishandling of the situation by the provincial government, it said, which was unable to secure the office and residence of the highest constitutional officeholder of the province.

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In view of the aforesaid, interior ministry stated, it is imperative that the provincial government immediately gears up its efforts to ensure the maintenance of law and order and protection of the life and property of all citizens.

“In the context of the incident at Wazirabad,” it concluded, “it is stated that FIR of the said case based on facts of the incident should be registered on merits and not on conjectures or speculative allegations immediately, without further loss of time as required under Section 154 of the CrPC 1898 by the concerned SHO or CTD Punjab as complainant as the delay is grossly illegal and has caused irreparable damage to prosecute the real accused.”





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Pakistan

Imran’s right of defence struck out in defamation case

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ISLAMABAD:

Additional District Judge Lahore Chaudhry Muhammad Asif struck out the right of defence of former prime minister since concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff were not submitted on Thursday.

“This court has been left with no option except to strike out the right of defence of the defendant (Imran Khan) in this case due to non-submission of requisite replies by the defendant regarding concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff. So, the right of defence of the defendant is hereby struck out in this case accordingly,” the order stated.

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The court asked the plaintiff to submit a list of witnesses on November 29.

It has been learned that the court has so far conducted 78 hearings of the case.

The order stated that the counsel for the defendant submitted an application for adjournment on the ground that the defendant was going to file a revised petition against the order of the court regarding the dismissal of concerned objections of the defendant.

Also read: ‘No objections’ to Imran’s helicopter landing at Parade Ground: GHQ

“From the perusal of record, it reveals that various reasonable opportunities have been provided to defendant to submit the requisite replies to concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff but the defendant has not done the needful,” it stated.

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“Vide previous order dated 17.11.2022, one more opportunity was granted to the defendant in this regard with the clarification that in case of submission of requisite replies from the defendant’s side regarding concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff on the next date, the right of defence of the defendant shall be struck out. No lawful justification exits for the grant of further adjournment,” it added.

The court rejected the adjournment plea of Imran’s counsel.

According to details, the defamation suit states that Imran started uttering false and malicious statements against the plaintiff (Shehbaz) that the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange of withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court (SC).

Also read: President Alvi in Lahore to consult Imran over COAS appointment

​​​It pleads that the baseless and defamatory statements by the defendant widely circulated by media lowered the integrity of the plaintiff and caused him extreme mental torture, agony and anxiety. The court has been requested to issue a decree for recovery of Rs 10 billion as compensation for the publication of defamatory content in favour of the plaintiff.

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In his written statement, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief states that one of his friends told him that someone known to him and also the Sharif family approached him with an offer to pay billions of rupees if he could convince him to stop pursuing the Panama Papers case.

Imran says that he disclosed the incident for the consumption of the public at large and in the interest of the public good does not constitute any defamation.





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Pakistan to send armed helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping mission

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UNITED NATIONS:

Pakistan and Bangladesh will each be sending an armed helicopter unit to the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, which faces serious problems as several countries have withdrawn or announced plans to pull out their personnel, a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Farhan Haq said that India will supply a utility helicopter unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, and all three are expected to be deployed by March next year.

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“These provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians,” the spokesman told reporters at the regular noon briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

“The UN continues to discuss with member states the deployment of new assets and plans to fill longer-standing gaps in addition to those resulting from recent announcements” of withdrawals, he said.

Set up in 2013, MINUSMA has 17,622 personnel helping the Malian government combat terrorists operating in the country.

MINUSMA is one of the deadliest operations having claimed the lives of 292 peacekeepers.

France completed its withdrawal earlier this year and it was followed by Egypt in August.

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Germany said that it was withdrawing its personnel, who numbered 595 in the latest UN roster, from MINUSMA by May next year.

Also read: Who is country’s new army chief Asim Munir?

Britain is also pulling out its 249 personnel.

Ivory Coast also said that it would discontinue the participation of its personnel, who numbered 898, in MINUSMA when the current deployment ends because of a separate dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its soldiers who went there on a mission unconnected to the UN.

Despite the dangerous nature of the Minusma, Pakistani military doctors serving in Mopti, a town in the fifth administrative region of Mali. have continued to serve, earning praise for their work. They operate a state-of-the-art hospital staffed with 75 medical personnel, including 10 women and 65 men, according to the UN.

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The hospital operates 24 hours a day, every day, and they are always on alert. All specialities are covered, from pharmacy to gynaecology. However, its main purpose is to perform life-saving and urgent surgery when peacekeepers are injured, it was pointed out.





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Imran urges ‘all Pakistanis to participate’ in PTI long march

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Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged all Pakistanis to participate in his party’s much-hyped long march on Saturday (Nov26) in what appears to be his final showdown with the incumbent government to force it to announce early election date.

“Dear Pakistanis, I want all of you to participate in our haqeeqi long march in Pindi at 1pm on Saturday,” he said in a short video statement.

Imran, who was removed from power through a vote of no confidence in April, said that only a nation which has justice in it will get real freedom. “When there is justice, there are rights. When there are rights, a nation is free. Only an independent nation is prosperous,” he went on to say.

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Read more: Interior ministry warns PTI of threats, urges postponing Pindi march

The former premier said that the nation will not stay silent until it gets real freedom. “I am coming for you despite my [health] condition and all of you need to come to Pindi for me,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Asad Umar presided over a meeting regarding the party’s preparation for the long march in Rawalpindi. Senior PTI leadership including Umar Ayub, Shibli Faraz, Ali Nawaz and others participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the overall preparations for the long march in Rawalpindi. The security plan, long march route and other significant matters came under discussion during the meeting.

The meeting was briefed that a caravan had left from Karachi for Rawalpindi whereas two others were ready to begin their journey to the garrison city from Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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A briefing was also given in the meeting regarding the accommodation of the participants.

Issues regarding the provision of all basic needs including food and accommodation to the participants of the march were also discussed in the meeting.

“The nation is fully united and eager to achieve real freedom,” Umar said, adding that the party would welcome caravans from all over Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

“The captain [Imran Khan] will lead the ocean of people in Rawalpindi on November 26,” he further said.





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