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IHC orders fixing missing persons cases before division bench

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ISLAMABAD:

Displeased with Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Duggal’s responses during the hearing of cases pertaining to the recovery of journalist Mudassar Naaru and other missing persons on Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) questioned if the AAG was “even qualified to investigate the case”. 

The court, led by newly appointed IHC Chief Justice Amir Farooq, ordered to fix the cases of missing persons for hearing before a divisional bench.

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During the hearing today, the court maintained that it was unsure whether to “laugh or cry” after the AAG stated that the committee formed to investigate the matter became dysfunctional after previous law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar resigned.

The AAG informed the court that the committee constituted by the cabinet was investigating the matter and held eight meetings with the families of the missing persons.

The AAG’s response regarding the committee being inactive came after the court questioned what the committee’s results were now that Tarar had resigned.

The court maintained that the new law minister could have overseen the matter. “Will the committee cease to exist if the government changed tomorrow,” Justice Farooq asked. “Should the case also end now that the former chief justice of the IHC has ascended to the Supreme court?” he further stated.

“There are no results, even if there have been efforts,” Justice Farooq remarked.

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He stated that if the AAG wants to do nothing then the court should be informed, and the cases would be disposed of.

Read IHC disposes recovery plea after missing person ‘returns home’

Advocate Imaan Mazari appeared before the court as counsel for missing journalist Mudassar Naaru’s mother. She said the prime minister had appeared before this court and given several assurances. “A report on behalf ot he prime minister was supposed to be submitted to the court today,” she stated.

AAG Duggal reiterated that meetings were held with the relatives of the missing persons and that more action had to be taken. He maintained that the committee needed more time.

The court questioned how much more time was needed for these cases, which have already been pending for two years.

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Lawyer colonel (retd) Inam-ul-Rahim argued that the AAG had repeatedly asked for additional time, calling on the prime minister to release executive orders regarding the matter. He further added that production orders for 450 people had been issued; they should be followed through.

The court directed the AAG to “not act like the bureaucracy”, and asked him to leave the position of power behind and think as a human being about what happens when a family member goes missing.

“It is in the interest of the country that these issues are resolved,” the IHC chief justice said as he questioned the official how they would feel if someone close to them went missing.

“We are human beings first. Lawyer, judge and IG (inspector general) later,” he added.

A father of two missing brothers stated that his sons went missing from outside the International Islamic University Islamabad, and had still not been recovered.

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The chief justice questioned what the investigating officer (IO) findings were regarding this case as he expressed indignation at the IO of the Sabzi Mandi police station.

The IHC maintained that it would issue an appropriate order in this regard and adjourned the hearing of the case.





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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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