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Pakistan

PM requests CJ for commission to probe attack on Imran

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ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote on Tuesday two separate letters to the chief justice of Pakistan requesting to constitute judicial commissions in connection with the firing on the former premier Imran Khan during the long march at Wazirabad and to probe the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.

The prime minister has requested CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial to constitute judicial commissions comprising all available judges of the Supreme Court to examine the firing incident during PTI’s rally and to probe the murder of Sharif and ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to his death.

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The letter comes as tensions remained high on Tuesday and the anger, which spilled out onto the streets nationwide after the gun attack on Imran, persisted into its fifth day. The PTI supporters and workers have accused the government of orchestrating the assassination plot.

In the letters, the premier while assuring complete support and cooperation to the commission has also raised certain questions and urged that the commission may take them into consideration when examining the issue.

In the letter pertaining to the firing at the Wazirabad rally, PM Shehbaz stated that the federal government was of the opinion that pending criminal investigation, and in order to put matters to rest and restore public confidence in state institutions, an impartial body needs to inquire into the matter.

He requested the CJP to consider, firstly, which law enforcement agencies were responsible to provide security to the convoy and whether security protocols and other standard operating procedures were put in place to secure the convoy and whether these protocols were adhered to.

Secondly, PM Shehbaz stated, what the facts of the incident itself are as there were reports of multiple shooters on the scene and retaliatory firing, asking what is the total number of victims and the nature of their injuries.

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Thirdly, the PM wrote, whether law enforcement agencies and administrative authorities complied with the prescribed investigation, evidence collection and handling procedures following the incident, saying if not then what procedural lapses took place and which administrative authorities, law enforcement agencies or provincial government functionaries are responsible for the same.

Fourthly, he continued, whether the investigation into the incident is being deliberately impeded, saying if yes then by which actors and why. Fifthly, he maintained, whether the shooting was a result of a criminal conspiracy hatched to assassinate the PTI chief or the act of a lone shooter, asking who the actors responsible in either scenario are.

In the letter, PM Shehbaz has expressed that Pakistan has become embroiled in a serious law and order crisis over the past few days. He said that the unfortunate incident of firing at the rally of the PTI chairman in Wazirabad and the subsequent “venomous speeches” of its leadership have created a state of turmoil and fear in the country by triggering a series of violent protests, which have put ordinary citizens at risk, and garnered significant media coverage throughout Pakistan and globally.

‘Authorities in Punjab failed’

It appeared that the premier’s letters were written before an FIR was registered in connection with the Wazirabad incident as it stated that no FIR was registered despite a lapse of over 72 hours.

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Regrettably, the PM stated, law enforcement agencies and investigating authorities under the PIT-led Punjab government have “failed to adhere to the law and the rules applicable to any investigation following an incident of this nature”.
PM said that it is unfortunate that the crime scene has not been secured, and the container on which injuries were sustained by the PTI leadership is yet to be taken into custody for forensic analysis.

He added that there was no medico-legal report of the PTI chief following the incident; instead, he was directly taken to a private cancer research hospital which is not a registered medico-legal centre.

The premier said that it may also be noted that the mishandling of the investigation process in the incident’s aftermath by the Punjab government and its functionaries is likely to result in “compromised evidence”, which is directly attributable to the failure of the provincial law enforcement agencies to follow prescribed investigation protocols, and which smacks of male fide.

The federal government has already written to the provincial administration and expressed its grave concern at the mishandling of the matter, he said, saying public installations, buildings including the Governor House in Lahore, and even private properties have been attacked by miscreants under the patronage of the government of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where similar demonstrations were orchestrated.

“A derogatory campaign has ensued in tandem against state institutions, especially the armed forces of Pakistan, which are being accused of conspiring, along with the federal government, against the former prime minister,” PM Shehbaz stated.

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While requesting for the judicial commission, PM Shehbaz stated it needs to inquire into the matter, ascertain the facts, identify the culprits, and affix responsibility for the incident.

Lauding that the top court has always played a key role in upholding the constitution and the preservation of rule of law, he said, the present circumstances represent a great threat to public safety imperilling the national security of the state of Pakistan.

He said that the government shall be highly obliged if the request made in the interest of advancing the cause of rule of law in the country is accepted and commits to providing its complete support and cooperation to the commission while it carries out the task.

Arshad Sharif case

On the journalist’s killing, PM Shehbaz said that certain allegations have been linking the federal government and the security agencies to Sharif’s death, saying the federal government was of the opinion that these allegations and aspirations were prejudicing the public against state institutions and if not investigated expeditiously, will cause long-term erosion of public confidence.

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Following the incident of shooting in Kenya resulting in the unfortunate death of senior journalist Arshad Sharif, the premier said, the government, amongst other steps, immediately dispatched two experienced officers to liaise with the Kenyan authorities and make their own independent assessment regarding the incident.
Their report and recommendations are awaited and the law will take its own course.

Additionally, in view of the sensitivity of the matter and to probe into certain aspersions against the federal government and other state institutions, it was inter alia deemed necessary to probe into the conduct of his contacts before and after his departure from Pakistan.

The federal government, therefore, decided to constitute a commission of enquiry headed by a retired judge of the Lahore High Court. However, he said, before a notification to such effect could be issued, it was brought to the government’s notice that the mother of the deceased has reportedly approached SC with a request to constitute a commission to enquire into the matter.

“Multiplicity of enquiries is not desirable and therefore, the Federal Government wishes to accord its full support to such a request made by the mother of the deceased,” PM Shehbaz stated, saying, therefore, it would only be appropriate if the matter is probed into by an impartial body.

While requesting CJP to constitute a judicial commission comprising all available judges of the top court to enquire into this matter of national security and international concern and ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to M Sharif’s death, he has requested the commission to consider the following.

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Firstly, the premier has urged the commission to see what were the modalities of Sharif’s departure from Pakistan in August 2022 and who are the persons involved in facilitating his departure.

Secondly, PM asked, whether any law enforcement agency or federal or provincial administration was aware of any threats to the slain journalist’s life and what measures, if any, were taken to mitigate any risks.

Thirdly, he stated, what were the reasons and circumstances which led to Sharif’s departure from UAE to Kenya. Fourthly, he added, what are the facts of the shooting incident which led to Sharif’s death?
Fifthly, he urged, whether the unfortunate death of Sharif in Kenya was, in fact, one of mistaken identity or if was there any foul play involved.





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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

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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Pakistan

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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