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Two suspects involved in attack on Imran: Cheema

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LAHORE:

Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister on Home Affairs Omar Sarfraz Cheema on Wednesday revealed that at least two people were involved in the assassination attempt on PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan during the party’s “Haqeeqi Azadi (real freedom) March” in Wazirabad last week.

He made these remarks while addressing a news conference in Lahore.

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Separately, the PTI chief said that he would disclose the name of one more person involved in the Wazirabad assassination attempt, adding that the attack on him “followed a script”.

Imran, 70, was wounded by gunfire aimed at his open-top container truck as he led a political party convoy through thick crowds in Wazirabad on November 3.

One person died in the incident while several members of the PTI chairman’s close circle, including Senator Faisal Javed, former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, Ahmad Chattha and Imran Yousaf, were injured.

A suspect identified as Naveed was arrested from the crime scene. The suspect admitted to opening fire on the container but did not point out to anyone during the initial investigations.

He remained firm that he acted alone and claimed that a few speeches of Imran hurt his religious sentiments.

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The federal government had been adamant that the attacker acted alone but the PTI leadership including Imran said Naveed was only a pawn who executed the assassination plot hatched by three powerful personalities of the country.

During the presser on Wednesday, Cheema said that at least two people were involved in the attack, citing initial investigation by law enforcement agencies.

He rejected the religious angle given to the attack. “In fact, religious hatred is being spread against Imran Khan. After the Wazirabad incident, an attempt has been made to spew poison against Imran Khan in Hafizabad as well,” he added.

Cheema said the Centre could exercise its authority however, appointing an IG was the responsibility of the provincial government. “There is only people’s rule here [in Punjab]… there won’t be any governor’s rule [in the province],” he added.

PTI leader Farrukh Habib also maintained that at least two people had attacked Imran, adding that the number of attackers could be more.

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“An initial forensic report has been presented [which has] put to rest all the cover-up stories,” he said.

“Initial investigation proved that it was a planned assassination attempt on Imran Khan. Those who have been constantly building a narrative against him have been exposed. “[Interior Minister] Rana Sanaullah should be ashamed of his statement while accusing Imran Khan,” he added.

Habib further said that the assassination bid on Imran was an attack on entire 220 million people of Pakistan.

He said any officer who had been influenced by the “hidden hand” to conceal the facts of the matter will also be brought to the fore.

Meanwhile, Imran said that he would disclose one more name involved in the Wazirabad assassination attempt.

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In a tweet on Wednesday, he said that the attack on him “followed a script”, adding that he had discovered the assassination plot two months back.

“I had discovered the assassination plot hatched against me almost two months ago & exposed it in RYK [on] 24th Sept & Mianwali [on] 7th Oct public rallies. Wazirabad assassination attempt followed the script.”

Earlier in the day, the Punjab government decided to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the gun attack on the PTI chief.

A meeting of the Punjab Cabinet Committee on Law and Order was held at the civil secretariat under the chairmanship of Raja Basharat.

The session was attended by Cheema, Chief Secretary Abdullah Sumbul and other officials.

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The meeting decided to form a JIT to investigate the attack on the PTI chief, which would be led by Additional IG Highways Patrol Riaz Nazir Gara and comprise officials of the agencies concerned.

The committee decided to award special security to the container being used by Imran for the long march and open motorways at the earliest for the purpose. It also agreed to give way to the judges’ vehicles during the march.

Basharat directed the police and district administration to stay in touch with the local PTI leadership, adding that a bulletproof rostrum and glass would be installed on the container.

He also called for the deployment of snipers and stringent security measures during the long march.

Meanwhile, the PTI on Wednesday again changed its plans for the long march, splitting the Haqeeqi Azadi March into two.

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The first procession will continue from Wazirabad – where party chief Imran Khan was attacked – and will be led by PTI Vice Chairperson Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday (today).

The second rally will depart from Toba Tek Singh a day later, on November 11 (Friday), with the party’s secretary general Asad Umar leading it. It will travel from Toba Tek Singh to Jhang and then to Faisalabad.

The two groups are to converge before entering Chakwal.





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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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