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Pakistan

Imran refutes govt claims on D-Chowk protest

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ISLAMABAD:

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday told the Supreme Court in the contempt proceedings against him that the he had decided to protest at Islamabad’s D-Chowk before its May 25 verdict on the matter.

“My party leaders and I were under immense pressure since May 24 because of the atrocities carried out against us and our activists by the government,” he added.

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He was responding to the interior ministry’s submission to the court that the PTI chief had lied about not being aware of the top court’s orders that the party could stage its long march in the federal capital’s sectors H-9 and G-9.

A five-member SC bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, resumed the hearing of the contempt case.

The interior ministry informed the court that “factual assertions” made by the PTI chief about the presence of jammers were “incorrect” and “wholly inaccurate” as it submitted to the SC live videos, messages, calls, feeds on social media, tweets etc from the official accounts of the party’s senior leadership.

It added that these social media activities showed that the PTI chief and his leaders were well-aware of the court orders.

“It is evident that false and incorrect statements have been made before the court by [Imran] Khan as he and his party willfully, intentionally and in contemptuous disregard of the order, engaged in urging and leading the supporters and workers to reach D-Chowk, inter alia, causing loss of property and violating fundamental rights of the public at large,” the ministry wrote.

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In response, the PTI chief told the court that his party’s social media activities were under way from various places during his “Azadi March” — urging supporters to reach Islamabad’s D-Chowk.

He added that his party was compelled to use social media because the government had banned the electronic media from giving coverage to his march.

Imran reiterated that he had already informed the court that he was unaware of the court’s orders because he was unable to communicate with his lawyers.

He added that the court had ordered the administration that a meeting should be arranged between him and his lawyers but it was never followed.

The PTI chief said he had never claimed that he could not communicate because of the presence of jammers.

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The interior ministry told the court that on the morning of May 25, the PTI through its official social media account had asked its supporters to gather at D-Chowk.

PTI leaders Faisal Javed, Shireen Mazari and Manza Hasan had also tweeted, urging activists and supporters to gather at D-Chowk.

The ministry further informed the court that Imran’s claim that party leader Asad Umar was instructed to reach H-9 Ground was contrary to the facts.

In fact, it added that on the afternoon of May 2, Imran had expressed his determination to reach D-Chowk in his two speeches made from the container.

The ministry said both the speeches were played live on PTI’s official account. Therefore, the party’s claim of installing jammers was contrary to the facts.

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Pakistan

NA panel reinstates over 400 sacked employees

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ISLAMABAD:

In a major relief to the sacked employees of the Multan and Peshawar electric companies, a special committee of the National Assembly restored the services of more than 400 employees on Thursday.

The committee met here with its Chairman Qadir Khan Mandokhel in the chair. Officials of the education, overseas Pakistanis and energy ministries participated in the meeting and submitted details of the cases of the employees dismissed during the tenures of the previous governments.

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The committee was informed that 350 employees of the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) were dismissed from duty in 2013. After deliberations, the committee ordered their reinstatement along with their salaries from the date of their dismissal.

Meanwhile, the dismissed employees of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) appeared before the committee. They said that 56 subdivisional officers had joined the duty on September 4, 2020 after adopting the due process but a year later, on September 30, 2021, they were terminated from the services.

The committee issued orders for the reinstatement of all the employees and the payment of their outstanding arrears. Emotional scenes were witnessed when the committee announced the reinstatement of all the employees.

The government employees appointed during the period from November 1, 1993 to November 30, 1996 and dismissed during the period from November 1, 1996 to October 12, 1999, were restored under the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act 2010.

They were rendered jobless as a result of the Supreme Court’s verdict authored by Justice Mushir Alam on eve of his retirement on August 17, 2021. However, they were restored again by the apex court on December 17, 2021 by exercising its suo motu power under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

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PM directs Gwadar port to be used for wheat, urea cargo

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ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said that he would not tolerate any laxity in the implementation of the Kisan Package announced by the government.

The prime minister also directed the authorities concerned to use Gwadar Port for the cargo of 50% of wheat and urea as the operationalisation of the port was essential for the uplift of Balochistan.

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The prime minister, chairing a review meeting on the execution of the package, said the government was providing a subsidy on the tube wells to farmers in the flood-ravaged areas.

He said the government was extending all possible support to the farmers in this distressing moment to enable them to sow the upcoming crop.

He also assured that the government would take all possible measures to operationalise the Gwadar Port.

During the meeting, the prime minister was briefed in detail about the implementation of the Kisan Package, tube well subsidy to the farmers in flood-hit areas, and facilitation of the farmers for the upcoming crop.

Federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Engineer Khurram Dastgir and Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State Dr Musaddiq Malik, Advisor to PM Ahad Cheema and senior officials attended the meeting.

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PTI dials down rhetoric, hails top military appointments

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ISLAMABAD:

Hailing the appointments of the next army chief and chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the PTI on Thursday hoped that the new leadership of the armed forces would play its role to strengthen the constitutional rights and democracy in the country.

While referring to the approval to the top military positions by President Arif Alvi, the former ruling party in a statement said that it was ready to take measures in the “best interest of the nation’s security and stability of state institutions”.

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The PTI said that the events during the last eight months had caused “deep divide” across the country and measures taken during the time had brought “extensive damages” to the country and its state institutions.

The statement said that human rights were “grossly violated” and the media was subjected to “torture and harassment”, recalling that “Arshad Sharif, one of the senior journalists in the country, was assassinated” during the said period.
The PTI said that its chairman Imran Khan was “pushed against the wall” by the “imported government”.

“The imported govt & the state, in pursuit of pushing the leader of the largest political party against the wall has plunged the country into the worst form of political instability that has essentially sent the economy into a tailspin,” the statement said.

The party hoped that the new leadership of the armed forces would play its role in strengthening the constitutional rights and democracy in the country.
It expected that “people’s right to elect a new leadership through fresh elections would be recognised”.

“The people of Pakistan expect that their armed forces, while dealing with an array of external threats, would stay out of the politics of domestic affairs and that the rights of political parties would not be infringed,” the statement said.

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“Free, fair & transparent early elections are the only solution to the prevailing crisis in the country and we believe that all individuals as well as institutions who feel the pain of the nation, must play their role in ensuring this democratic future,” it added.

The party congratulated General Sahir Shamshad Mirza on his appointment as chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and General Syed Asim Munir as chief of the army staff.

Meanwhile, the PTI chairman once again reiterated his stance of holding early polls in the country, saying not doing so would lead the country towards “economic chaos”.

“If they (government) don’t hold elections immediately, it does not bother my party, because we are gaining all the time. But our worry is that they will leave the country in a … state where it will be beyond anyone’s control,” he said in an interview with PBS.

Imran said his party would “wait” if the incumbent regime “goes the whole way fine”.

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“My only concern is that, the way things are going, we could be heading toward chaos. I mean economic chaos”.

He stressed that the PTI’s protest in Rawalpindi would be “completely peaceful”.
On US-Pakistan relationship, the PTI chief said that Islamabad acted as Washington’s “handgun” during the war on terror.

“It is just a fact that the Pakistan-US relationship has been lopsided … In Pakistan, we have been — well, the war on terror, we were like a hired gun. And I think it is a very undignified relationship.”

Imran replied in the affirmative when asked whether he could have a good working relationship with the US if he wins the office.

“The United States is a democracy. Democracies accept criticism. Democracies accept other people’s point of view. Master slaves don’t,” he said.

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“Pakistan’s relationship with the US is very important for us. So, just because [of] the regime change, it shouldn’t mean that I should have not in future [a] relationship with the US. And, yes, I have my right to criticise”.

Separately, Imran urged all the Pakistanis to participate in his party’s much-hyped long march on Saturday (tomorrow).

“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.

The PTI chief said the nation would 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.





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