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Poor internet access for students echoes in K-P assembly

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PESHAWAR:

Lawmakers on Friday took up the issue of poor internet connection for students in the remote areas of the province, noting that the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic means that online classes are the only means for obtaining education for students now.

This was discussed as the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly resumed on Friday to debate the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2020-21.

MPAs raised questions on online classes in the province. They urged the provincial government to ensure students have access to 3G and 4G networks, especially in the merged districts, so that they can access classes.

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Moreover, they lamented that a girls college built in the Mohmand tribal district has yet to start functioning even though its structure was completed years ago.

During the discussion on the supplementary budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 worth Rs55.42 billion, the issue of a laptop scheme was raised.

Opposition lawmakers including Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Nighat Orakzai, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Maulana Lutfur Rehman, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Inyatullah Khan, Mir Kalam Wazir, Shafiq Afridi, Baseerat Bibi, Khushdil Khan, Shagufta Malik and others said that a handsome amount had been allocated for the information technology sector in the supplementary budget to provide laptops to teachers.

They noted that if teachers can be provided laptops, then what about the students and called for greater transparency in the programme.

The opposition benches also raised concerns over the plight of the inmates in prisons across the province during the pandemic. They slammed the government for losing control of the bureaucracy.

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Police reforms

On the directions of Deputy Speaker Mahmood Khan for a senior police officer attend the assembly proceedings, an SP level officer arrived at the assembly on Friday.

However, the deputy speaker did not allow him to enter the session as he expressed his anger over the absence of senior officers.

He then directed a DIG level officer to attend the session.

Later, Peshawar CCPO Ali Gandapur visited the assembly lobby and marked his presence.

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Lawmakers from across the aisle pointed to the need for police reforms. They also asked the CCPO to explain reports of extrajudicial killings and the harassment of citizens at checkpoints set up across the province.

Members of the opposition expressed their reservations over the dormant status of the public safety commission. With no check and balance on the department, they claimed that the police was doing what it wants.

The secretary of the home department was also accused of deliberately delaying the process of activating the commission. Opposition lawmakers also pointed to the incident in the Zangi area where a motorcyclist was killed when he failed to stop at a checkpoint.

Discriminatory allocations

Shafiq Afridi from the Khyber Tribal District accused the government of dividing development funds based on the personal likes and dislikes of the finance and chief ministers. Moreover, he said that lawmaker of the merged districts has been completely ignored. 

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Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2020.





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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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