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Imran urges CJP to ‘save nation’ as PTI long march resumes

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan, addressing supporters as the party’s long march resumed from Wazirabad a week after he was attacked, said that the “plan” to assassinate him was first formulated in September which Imran said he had “unearthed in a public rally on September 24”.

According to Imran Khan, all eyes are on the top court now as the nation has “lost trust” in the institutions, saying that Pakistan is becoming a banana republic.

“You [Supreme Court’s chief justice] have to save the country. The nation has lost trust in institutions. You have to fix this as the country doesn’t work without institutions,” he added.

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The former prime minister, who was removed from power through a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly in April this year, said that it is unimaginable in western countries what is happening in Pakistan these days. “When will the country’s law give protection,” Imran said.

The PTI chief also said it was a miracle that so many people survived the attack.

Doubling down on earlier claims, Imran held a senior military officer, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah responsible for the attack and said they had used “religious extremism” as a “cover to shunt off the blame”.

“For anyone harboring any doubts,” Imran added, “you can tell that he had been told to say this when the attacker claimed he had done this alone”.

“The forensic [report] of the container has shown that there were two types of bullet, meaning there were two shooters,” he added, “so the whole plan they had was that [just like] Salman Taseer was killed by a religious extremist and the matter is sorted”.

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Imran also hailed Ibtesam – the young man whose quick thinking had saved the former prime minister – for his “heroic effort”. He also announced again that the party will “take lifetime responsibility” for the children of the victim who lost his life during the attack.

“Our march will not end,” vowed Imran as he reiterated his commitment to the establishment of justice.

Continuing his criticism, the PTI chief said that the senior military officer was behind “what they have done to us, to the journalists, and what they did to Arshad Sharif and what they did to Azam Swati”.

“I am the former primer prime minister, the chief of the largest party of Pakistan and I have not been able to register my FIR” because the military officer’s name was mentioned, said Imran.

“He is such a man who is above Pakistani law. DG ISPR says ‘it’ll be a disrespect to our military’; the military will be disrespected when it fails to take action on the matter,” said Imran.

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Supporters converge on Wazirabad

Earlier, a large number of PTI supporters gathered at the site where former premier Imran Khan was attacked in Wazirabad.

The march was kicked off by PTI leader and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. He was flanked by other party leaders including Hammad Azhar, Faisal Javed, also among those injured in the attack on Imran, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry among others.

The party had halted its march following the assassination attempt.

Earlier in the day, senior party leader Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet announced that the PTI will “start the journey from the same place in Wazirabad today where the assassination attempt on Imran Khan was made”

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He also said that Imran will address the rally via video link at 4:30 pm.

‘Party will stand its ground’

Addressing party supporters, Qureshi said today that Imran will address the march’s participants every day via video link and will join them in Rawalpindi, before he announced the party chief will be addressing the crowd shortly.

“Those who attacked the PTI government through conspiracy had thought that the party will dismantle when it will be out of power” he said, adding that the rally in Wazirabad was proof that the people were with the PTI and that the party “will stand its ground”.

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Qureshi also said that “political analysts” had expressed reservations that Wazirabad was a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) heartland and that the march may not be successful there. “I ask you to tell me,” Qureshi said to cheering supporters “is this a PML-N heartland or a PTI fort?”

At the outset of the march, PTI leader Hammad Azhar maintained that the long march was “stronger than before” and will continue towards Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Deeming it nature’s work, he highlighted that “they” had tried to silence senior journalist Arshad Sharif, but now his truth was evident. He added that “they” tried to torture Azam Swati, but Swati has now become “a symbol of courage across the country”.

“These merciless cowards tried to kill Imran Khan, but today every home has become Imran Khan,” he said.

Azhar said the “coward, conspirators must know that the nation is aware now”.

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“Azam Swati’s criminals are the whole country’s criminals now. Arshad Sharif’s murderer has killed journalism in the country,” he stated, adding that soon Imran’s attacker will be brought before the courts.

Read Food shortage imminent amid PTI protests

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi is also reportedly on his way to lead the march.

Meanwhile a long line of vehicles were seen on roads making their way to join the march via Grand Trunk Road.

The long march was halted last week after the party chief sustained bullet wounds to his leg following an armed attack on his container, as he led the ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’ in Wazirabad.

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While he recovered from his wounds, the PTI chief had announced that he would not be joining in person but nonetheless said that the party will resume the march “from the place in Wazirabad where I [Imran] and 11 other people were shot, and where Moazzam was martyred,” he had added while citing the name of PTI supporter Moazzam Gondal, who was killed in the attack.

It was later clarified that the march will take off at 2 pm on Thursday (today).

A day earlier, the party had again changed its plans for the long march by splitting it in two.

The first procession will continue from Wazirabad and will be led by PTI Vice Chairperson Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The second rally will depart from Toba Tek Singh on Friday (tomorrow), with the party’s secretary general Asad Umar leading it. It will travel from Toba Tek Singh to Jhang and then to Faisalabad.

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The two groups are to converge before entering Chakwal.

The announcement for the resumption of the long march came as the country was rattled by protests by PTI supporters who spilled onto the streets in various cities against the assassination attempt at the PTI chief’s life.

PTI ends sit-in

PTI ended the sit-ins on the fourth day from the main roads of Rawalpindi, removed the obstacles and restored the traffic on Murree Road, Airport, Swan Bridge and IJP Road.

Citizens and commuters breathed a sigh of relief as they had faced difficulties since the protesters had set up protest camps on five main highways including Murree Road in Rawalpindi. The main and most used highway was completely blocked from Shamsabad, due to which citizens were facing severe problems.

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Those traveling to Islamabad from Murree Road were facing inconvenience while people going to offices and other destinations had been facing traffic jams in large numbers.

Read more PTI can tweak NAB law when it comes to power: SC

Public and goods transport remained closed for four days due to PTI sit-ins.

Business in the area had come to a virtual standstill on Murree Road and other highways.

Citizens including traders, students, government employees and patients had suffered a great deal from road blockages.

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On the other hand, PTI has made the end of the ongoing sit-in on the highway subject to the order of the leadership.

Motorway Police has provided alternative routes for vehicles to Islamabad International Airport.

Syedpur Road, Commercial Market Kuri Road and Old Airport Road remain open for traffic.

According to the traffic police, Main Peshawar Road and Mall Road was also open for traffic, while IJP Road had been closed for all types of traffic towards Islamabad. Alternatively, Main Peshawar Road, Westridge, Chauhar Chowk, Marble Factory Road, Golra Mor, Srinagar Highway were open for traffic.

Meanwhile, educational institutions in Rawalpindi remained closed for the third day today despite district administrations ordering all educational institutions in Islamabad to remain open as all the roads inside the federal capital were open. The district administration has also issued a notification regarding keeping educational institutions open.

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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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