Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mashal Khan murder probe: SC annoyed at KP CM, seeks explanation

The Supreme Court has restrained the chief justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC) from constituting a judicial commission to probe the lynching of Mashal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, who was killed last week by an angry mob over the allegation of blasphemy.
The court expressed annoyance and sought an explanation from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak why he had asked the chief justice of PHC on the floor of the provincial assembly to constitute a judicial commission when a joint investigation team (JIT) had already been constituted by the provincial police chief to probe the matter.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the suo moto case on the killing of Mashal Khan on Wednesday. KP Inspector General Police (IGP) Salahuddin Mehsud, along with other police officials, appeared before the court.
The IGP informed the court that a JIT headed by superintendent of police (SP) and comprising Intelligence Bureau (IB) personnel and three police officials had been formed to probe the incident. He said that 80 percent of the investigation into the mob violence had been completed and a challan will be presented in the court soon.
The additional advocate general of KP informed the court that an initial report of the incident had been submitted. He said two first information reports (FIRs) of the case had been registered in which 28 suspects had been nominated. Out of these, 24 suspects have been arrested. 
During the hearing, the chief justice asked as to why the personnel of intelligence agencies had not been included in the JIT. “Whether representatives of armed forces and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been included in the JIT,” the chief justice questioned, adding that this was a sensitive issue and they wanted results. The chief justice directed that representatives of intelligence agencies should be included in the JIT.
Justice Saqib Nisar said that an unfortunate incident had occurred in the country and they did not have the words to describe it. The chief justice directed that the composition of JIT should be examined and progress should be made on priority basis. He said the judiciary has full confidence in the investigative institutions of the country but "this is not a usual incident." 
The chief justice further said that if the JIT found any hurdles, the court would extend its full support, adding that the JIT was backed by the whole nation and the judiciary. The court observed as the JIT has been constituted under the 1997 Act but the question arises as to why the government of KP felt the need for a judicial commission. The chief justice said the judiciary was already burdened with a number of cases and they cannot burden it more.
The court restrained the chief justice of the PHC from constituting a judicial commission till further orders and ruled that the JIT formed by the KP IGP will continue to probe the incident instead. The court directed the provincial police chief to personally supervise the investigation of the case and submit a progress report to the court on weekly basis.
The court also directed that the DPO Mardan and other concerned police officials were not required to appear before it on the next date of hearing, saying if needed, they would be asked. The court, however, directed that AIG (Legal) to appear on behalf of police officials on the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, the chief justice observed that some confessional statements from suspects in the Mashal murder case were circulating on social media, and directed the KP police to issue a press release in order to make the facts clear to the public. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until April 27.
  Our correspondent adds from Charsadda: The police on Wednesday arrested two more students of the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, in connection with the lynching of Mashal Khan, a student of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, police sources said.
They said that the two persons had been identified from a fresh video circulated on social media in which a group of students can be seen congratulating each other and taking oath from the mob not to disclose the identity of the person who killed Mashal.
The personnel of Mardan police and intelligence agencies carried out the action in Sardheri area and arrested the two persons named Ishaq Khan and Muhammad Tariq. Ishaq Khan is stated to be a fourth semester student and an activist of Pakhthun Students Federation, AWKUM, while Tariq is a student of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Panama Papers: Pakistan's most corrupt Prime Minister remains in office

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ruled that there was insufficient evidence to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations, but has ordered a high-level investigation into the charges.
In 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaked more than 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, revealing a web of off-shore companies owned by the world's financial elite, including many sitting and former members of governments around the world.
Owning off-shore companies is not illegal in many countries, but, for many, the most striking revelation from the documents was the scale of the wealth being stored in tax havens.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's children were implicated in the leak, with documents showing that they held several companies listed in the British Virgin Islands. Last year, Pakistan's Supreme Court took up the case of establishing whether or not Sharif and his family had committed any wrongdoing in not earlier declaring these assets, and indeed on whether the funds were obtained legally.
Al Jazeera takes a look at the complex case which has taken Pakistan's first family over a drawn out case in the supreme court.

Video - Former President Zardari 's Press Conference On 20.4.2017 In Islamabad

Zardari condemns SC decision, demands resignation from PM

Co-Chairman Pakistan Peoples` Party Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday has condemned the Supreme Court`s decision on Panama Leaks case and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Speaking to the press, along with the party stalwarts, Zardari said that “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should resign on moral grounds. I condemn the Supreme Court`s decision and reject it,” further adding, “today democracy and justice were adversely affected.
“Prime Minister should morally tender his resignation though I know him well that he will not resign till the last extent - our struggle will continue till then.”
Zardari, however, was all praises for the two judges who ruled against PM Nawaz.
“I salute the two senior judges who gave the disqualification verdict against Prime Minister – decision of senior judges prevails over junior judges,” he said.  
Speaking on the verdict, the former president said that the overall decision was a nine-month joke with the nation.
“Can a 19-grade officer under the Prime Minister do what the Supreme Court couldn't?, ” he remarked, “will they investigate him, will they  disqualify him, will they take the statement from the prime minister from the PM house or police station.”
Taking a jibe at the ruling party, Zardari said that the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz should be ashamed of distributed sweets after the Panama verdict.
“They are distributing sweets, they should be ashamed. Why are they distributing sweets? Because two senior judges have called for their disqualification; they have said that you have not remained Saadiq and Amen.”
He said that Pakistan Peoples` Party has always said that the party and nation have never got justice from these judges.
Zardari also leveled heavy criticism against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan by calling him an ‘inexperienced politician”.
“We said to Khan sahib to come with us and do legislation on this issue, and then later take it to the Supreme Court – he didn’t listen to us.” “He is an inexperienced politician, he has never been jailed, and he has never given his statement in a FIR.
“He doesn’t know how the justice works and how judges do justice here.”
 SC orders JIT to probe money trail, PM not disqualified
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered further investigations into corruption allegations levelled by the opposition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying there was insufficient evidence to order his removal from office.
"A thorough investigation is required," Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, announcing the highly anticipated decision following a months-long hearing stemming from the Panama Papers leak last year that linked PM Sharif´s children to offshore businesses.
Announcing the verdict, Justice Khosa ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation team (JIT) to carry out an investigation into how funds were transferred to Qatar, which the prime minister's children said led to assets held by his sons through the offshore businesses in Panama.
The Supreme Court ordered the JIT to present its report every two weeks before a Supreme Court bench. The court also ordered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and his sons Hasan and Hussein to appear before the JIT, which will complete its investigation within 60 days of its formation.
Justice Khosa said the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to carry out his duties.
He said the investigation committee comprising of one senior official each from NAB, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Military Intelligence (MI) will be tasked to carry out the probe.
The detailed decision by the apex court comprised over 540 pages, with the verdict split 3-2 between the five-member apex court bench.
Two dissenting judges on the five-member bench were of the opinion that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not been honest to the nation and that he should have been disqualified.
The five-member bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had reserved its verdict in the case on February 23. The decision comes ahead of general elections scheduled to be held next year.

Pakistan - Imran, Zardari demand PM Nawaz's resignation

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Thursday once again demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.
“What moral right does Nawaz have to remain premier when a criminal investigation is being launched against him,” the PTI chief questioned while addressing media soon after the Supreme Court’s verdict on Panamagate case.
Nawaz survives to see another day as SC orders probe into corruption allegations Imran had refused to speak to the media earlier while leaving the courtroom after SC gave its verdict ordering a probe into corruption allegations against the premier. Drawing a comparison between an investigation launched against Uzair Baloch and the premier, Imran said, “If Nawaz is cleared after JIT’s investigation, he can return to the seat.” Paying tribute to all Supreme Court judges for the verdict, the PTI chairman said, “The verdict is historic because a sitting prime minister has never been investigated before.”
The verdict to form a JIT proves all arguments by Nawaz Sharif were lies, he added. “The letter from the Qatari prince has already been proven fake,” he added. “Judges have maintained that PM Nawaz should be disqualified,” the PTI chief maintained.
Further, Imran questioned SC’s decision to include NAB official in the JIT saying, “Today, SC said NAB has failed.” “How can all those institutions working under PM apart from ISI, and MI probe him?” he further asked. “If PTI workers had not staged a protest in the scorching heat, this verdict would not have come. I pay my tribute to my workers,” he added.
Two judges have given their verdict against the sitting prime minister. I was not expecting more from the SC, he added.
Imran question why PML-N workers were distributing sweets, “I want to ask those who are distributing sweets that what you people are happy for? Are you celebrating because Nawaz has been proven a liar in the SC?” Addressing the media, former president Asif Ali Zardari said, “Today the nation has been deceived.
“On what grounds is PML-N celebrating and distributing sweets? Are they celebrating that two senior judges called for the prime minister’s disqualification?”
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman said the party and its lawyers will go over the complete judgement and share its decision with the nation. “Those celebrating the decision should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.
“I have said this a number of times, if Pakistan is not safe in the hands of Nawaz Sharif, it’s not safe in the hands of Imran Khan either,” Zadari stated.
Meanwhile, PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said the decision of the two judges stands as the Supreme Courts decision. “The other three judges did not object the decision of Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar.” He added that constituting a JIT is tantamount to giving the premier a safe exit. The prime minister has made it through the Panamagate case, but just barely. The SC on Thursday, in a 3-2 judgement on the case, ordered the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to continue probing the allegations of financial irregularities and money laundering, while noting that at present, there is “insufficient evidence to remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”
The JIT has been given two months to complete the probe into the premier and his sons Hussain and Hasan, all of whom have also been directed to appear before the JIT. The investigators will also have to present bi-weekly reports to a special bench of the Supreme Court.
The JIT will be constituted within seven days and would include representatives from the ISI, MI, FIA , SECP, State Bank and NAB.
Addressing the media after the verdict, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said, “Every party including Imran Khan, Sirajul Haq should now respect the SC verdict.”
“We will cooperate with the JIT and keep on respecting the court. The opposition kept on questioning our party and they set a court on roads as well.” “PM Nawaz is both Saadiq and Ameen. We have not spent three decades of our lives following him in vain,” he added.

Urdu Music Video - Gul Panra - Ishq Ziyada

Video - Asif Ali Zardari with anchor Javed Chaudhry in ExpressNews show ‘Kal Tak’

Video - Aik Din Dunya Ke Sath - Asif Ali Zardari - 16 April 2017 | Dunya News

Pakistan - Step down if SC rules against you, Zardari tells Nawaz

Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down if the Supreme Court rules against him in the Panamagate case.
Speaking with anchor Javed Chaudhry in ExpressNews show ‘Kal Tak’ on Wednesday, Zardari warned that reluctance on Sharif’s part to accept the court verdict might have an adverse impact on democracy. “Premier Nawaz has never been in the habit of accepting things which go against him,” he said. “[But] if there is agitation, it won’t be good for democracy.”
Zardari gave the example of his own party in somewhat similar circumstances. “We did not resist when the Supreme Court disqualified [then premier] Yousaf Raza Gilani. We chose another prime minister,” he said. “Nawaz should do the same. The PML-N has many MNAs. Nawaz should step down and choose one of them as his replacement,” the PPP leader added. Zardari also criticised the prime minister for not attending parliament’s sessions. “Sharif is running parliament like an emperor. He rarely visits any houses of parliament,” he said, adding that a prime minister who did not attend parliament sessions weakened democracy.
Commenting on the development work initiated by the Sharif administration, Zardari claimed all PML-N schemes were based on lies and deception. “Sharif claims everything by putting up an inauguration plaque. He even claims to be the man behind Pakistan’s nuclear programme,” he said. “The only thing the PML-N can successfully pull off is coordination with police.”
Conversely, the PPP, he added, did not ‘put its own plaque’ on many schemes. “Benazir Bhutto used to say, ‘some secrets you take to the grave’,” he said. The PPP leader added that his party was better at management and that the PML-N has “inherited a better government than we did.”
Zardari accused the federal government of ‘tunnel vision’ when it comes to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said the PML-N was only fixated on its own interests.
“The federation is taking controversial positions with Sindh on many issues to shore up support for the upcoming general elections,” Zardari said. “This is against the interest of Pakistan, the federation and the 18th amendment which made it possible for Sharif to become prime minister for a third time.”
Talking about rows with the centre on issues like gas and water, Zardari dispelled the impression that Sindh was being ‘rebellious’. “The province faces pressure. Everyone knows Sindh provides 67 per cent of the gas and needs only 37 per cent.
PM inaugurates Bhikki Power Plant, 717MW added to national grid
But the province receives only 18 per cent, which means you have to suspend generation at 12 power plants, which in turn necessitates load-shedding.”
He added that PPP would support the Sindh government if it decided to take over the offices of the Sui Southern Gas Company. “The centre and Sindh are already locked in confrontation. The prime minister and the federation should engage in dialogue with the Sindh chief minister to end this. If you do not let the chief minister do his job, naturally he will protest.”
The PPP leader vowed to take to the streets against the government over load shedding. “We will stage a sit-in against power outages, unemployment and inflation, and will protest till this government is dismissed.”

Pakistan's top court to rule in case that may oust PM

By Khurram SHAHZAD 

Pakistan's Supreme Court is set to determine the prime minister's fate Thursday with a ruling on corruption allegations that could see him ousted from power after the Panama Papers linked his family to offshore businesses.
The highly-anticipated decision threatens to plunge Nawaz Sharif's governing party into turmoil ahead of general elections which must be held by next year, and as security and the economy improve in the militancy-plagued country.
The controversy erupted with the publication of the so-called Panama Papers last year, 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which documented the offshore dealings of many of the world's rich and powerful.
Among the global elite implicated were three of Sharif's four children -- his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam, and his sons Hasan and Hussein.
At the heart of the matter is the legitimacy of the funds used by the Sharif family to purchase several high-end London properties via offshore companies.
Sharif's ruling PML-N party insists the wealth was acquired legally through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.
But lawyers for Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, argue the paper trail for the funds is non-existent, and say the onus is on Sharif to prove his relatives did not engage in money laundering.
The case has dominated headlines in Pakistan for the better part of a year, though many observers believe the court would be reluctant to directly oust Sharif.
It has repeatedly emphasised it is not conducting a criminal trial, while PML-N lawmakers told AFP that Sharif himself had not been named in the Panama Papers.
"We are hopeful the decision will come according to the law of the country, not on expectations of the opposition," provincial PML-N lawmaker Hina Butt said.
The court has taken such action before, however, holding Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in contempt in 2012 for refusing to re-open corruption investigations into then President Asif Ali Zardari, resulting in his disqualification.
- 'Change the course of history' -
But the five-member bench could also direct law enforcement agencies to carry out more detailed investigations into the allegations against Sharif, verbally censure him or his children, or clear him entirely.
"The nation is expecting some sort of judgement which will change the course of history in Pakistan," senior Supreme Court lawyer S.M. Zafar told AFP, though he said it was difficult to predict the verdict.
Regardless of the outcome, he said, the case is important for Pakistan, which ranked a lowly 116th place out of 176 countries in a corruption index released by Transparency International in January.
Political analyst Rasul Buksh Rais said: "It's going to be (a) historic decision that will push Pakistan into electoral mood in either case," adding that he did not expect disqualification.
He said a new judicial commission could be in the offing, which would allow Khan to claim moral victory for exposing corruption.
PML-N and PTI lawmakers reaffirmed to AFP late Wednesday that they would accept the court's decision.
The controversy is the latest to hit Sharif, an industrialist serving his third term as Prime Minister after the first two were interrupted by interventions from the country's powerful military.
Late Wednesday he detailed his party's infrastructure achievements in televised comments at the inauguration of a power plant, without mentioning the looming verdict.
If Sharif is ousted, the PML-N can select a new prime minister from within the party, though there may be political pressure for fresh polls.
Pakistan, which marks its 70th anniversary of independence later this year, has seen a surge in optimism in recent months.
Security has dramatically improved in the last two years, overall confidence in the economy is growing, and the military, which has ruled the country for more than half its history, appears to have reached an accommodation with Sharif's civilian government.