Friday, July 6, 2018

Video - Bhutto Benazir

Video - #PPP - kitne Maqbool hain Bhutto ...

Video - EK HI RASTA - (Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto)

Video - PPP Leader Aitzaz Ahsan reaction after Avenfield Reference verdict

Video - PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Addressing a huge Public Gathering in Rahim Yar Khan

Video - Exclusive interview of Chairman PPP @BBhuttoZardari with @AsmaShirazi on AAJ TV June 29, June 2018

Nawaz Sharif, Ex-Pakistani Leader, Is Sentenced to Prison for Corruption

By Salman Masood
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was convicted and sentenced to prison in absentia by a Pakistani anticorruption court on Friday, in a verdict that is likely to further disrupt an already chaotic campaign for national elections this month.

The sentence, 10 years in prison and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came almost a year after Pakistan’s Supreme Court removed Mr. Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life. The case stemmed from the so-called Panama Papers leak that disclosed expensive and undeclared property owned by the Sharif family in London.
The verdict marked a further fall for Mr. Sharif, who has been Pakistan’s prime minister three times but never completed a term.
He has been a towering figure in modern Pakistani politics who now stands as an exemplar of two of the country’s most central issues: as a staunch defender of civilian governance amid military manipulation, and as a symbol of a venal Pakistani elite that has alienated much of the public.
From the start of Mr. Sharif’s legal troubles in 2016, his supporters have accused the country’s powerful military establishment of pressing the case against Mr. Sharif, whose first term ended in resignation under military pressure and whose second was cut short by an army coup.
Mr. Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband, Muhammad Safdar, were also convicted, with Ms. Sharif sentenced to seven years in prison and a fine of 2 million pounds and Mr. Safdar sentenced to one year in prison. The court also ordered the seizure of the Sharif family’s four apartments at Avenfield House, a luxury building next to Hyde Park in London.
The Pakistani news media reported that Mr. Sharif and his daughter were in those apartments as they listened to the verdict.
Mr. Sharif, Ms. Sharif and Mr. Safdar have all denied any wrongdoing in the corruption case. But in the ruling that ousted Mr. Sharif from office last year, the Supreme Court concluded that he and his family members could not adequately explain how they were able to afford the expensive London apartments and that they failed to provide a money trail.
Now, the verdict and sentence, announced by Muhammad Bashir, a justice on the accountability court in Islamabad, could see them imprisoned. But at least on Friday, it appeared unlikely that either Mr. Sharif or his daughter would appear in Pakistan to go to jail. The family is in London tending to Mr. Sharif’s ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif. She has cancer and has been on a ventilator, according to officials with Mr. Sharif’s political party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. His request that the verdict be delayed for at least one week was rejected by the judge earlier on Friday.
Mr. Sharif, speaking to reporters in London late Friday, said he planned to return to Pakistan and was willing to go to prison in his effort to free Pakistanis “of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges,” He did not say when he would return. Members of the Sharif family had said before the verdict that they would appeal any convictions, but they are unlikely to get relief from the higher courts.
The conviction also bars Maryam Sharif from contesting the July 25 elections, in a blow to Mr. Sharif’s ambitions for his daughter to play a leading role in national and party politics. Ms. Sharif has emerged in recent months as a powerful voice for civilian rule and against the military’s interference in politics.
Mr. Safdar, the son-in-law, is in Pakistan but was not in court when the verdict was announced. He is campaigning in his hometown of Mansehra in the country’s northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province and was expected to hold a news conference later on Friday. Mr. Sharif and his daughter have said that they are not afraid to go to jail, but it remains to be seen whether they will return to Pakistan before the elections. Political opponents have already said that the Sharif family is in an unannounced exile.
Their absence is bound to further worsen the fortunes of their party, known by the abbreviation PML-N.
Several other senior figures in the party have also been barred by courts from running in the July 25 elections. Others have defected to other parties or simply left, though the PML-N leadership says that those desertions have come under pressure from the military.
Outside the party’s offices in Lahore, a handful of pro-Shairf protesters gathered Friday evening.
“We don’t accept the court’s decision, but it will make our election campaign even stronger,” said Muhammad Ammar Ali, 32.
Military officials have denied taking any role in manipulating the upcoming elections. But at the same time, stark evidence of military pressure on the news media, the PML-N and an ethnic Pashtun rights and political movement has led rights advocates and others to describe the campaign season as more of a soft military coup than a democratic election.

A silent coup has taken place, far softer and subtler than any previous coups. As a result of that coup, there is a civilian govt but without powers; there is media but without freedoms; there are election candidates without freedom to choose a political platform
“The crackdown has been very ham-fisted and heavy-handed,” said Ahmed Rasheed, a foreign policy analyst and author. “Yes, the PML-N is corrupt, but they don’t deserve to be harassed in elections like this.”
Mr. Rasheed called the PML-N and other family-run political parties “banana republics” but said the “key tragedy” in Pakistan was the military’s intervention in politics. Despite the actions against it, the PML-N retains strong support in Punjab, the country’s most populous and prosperous province. Results in Punjab are often critical for a party’s national electoral fortunes.
Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Mr. Sharif and former chief minister of Punjab, is now the party’s standard-bearer, and he presented the party’s agenda on Thursday at the party secretariat in Lahore. He said the party would focus on economic development and social initiatives.
But in a fraught election season, the younger Sharif has seemed to lack some of the popular appeal of his brother, even as the party has come under heavy pressure.

Who is behind Pakistan's new far right: Mainstreaming the hardliners

By Alia Chughtai & Asad Hashim

Who is behind the hardline religious parties gaining momentum ahead of upcoming elections?

Since 2017, a number of far-right religious parties have run credible campaigns in Pakistani by-elections, raising fears that religious hardliners - some associated with armed groups - may enter the political mainstream.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)

Led by firebrand far-right cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan rose to national prominence when it blockaded a major motorway into the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, for three weeks last year, protesting a change to the electoral law that they deemed blasphemous. The government capitulated to TLP's demands, including the resignation of a federal minister.
In May 2018, a man claiming to be a TLP member shot and wounded Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's interior minister, accusing him of blasphemy. The party has fought several by-elections and will be targeting Punjab province.

Milli Muslim League (MML)

Launched in August 2017, the Milli Muslim League is headed by Saifullah Khalid, who was among seven party leaders named in April on a US terrorist sanctions list.
MML is the political face of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) humanitarian organisation, which has been designated a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba armed group by the United Nations and the United States.
JuD is headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people in the Indian port city. The party's registration has so far been rejected by the Election Commission, and its candidates will likely stand as independents.

Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ)

The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) is the latest political incarnation of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a Sunni hardline group which has been linked to sectarian violence that killed more than 2,300 people - most of them Shia Muslims - since 2007.
The SSP broke apart into the mainly political ASWJ and the armed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in 1996.
Both are banned and classified as terrorist organisations under Pakistani law, but ASWJ candidates have openly stood for elections for more than a decade. LeJ has carried out a wave of shootings and bombings targeting Pakistan's Shia minority, with recent attacks focused on Balochistan province.

Endeavouring to fulfill Benazir’s promises, save Pakistan: Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari remarked on Friday that he is endeavouring to fulfill promises of his deceased mother Benazir Bhutto and save Pakistan.
While addressing a party rally in Rahim Yar Khan, he said that a vacuum was created after the death of his mother, which was filled by his father and former president Asif Ali Zardari.
Taking jibe at his political opponents, he claimed that PPP believes in serving the nation rather than constructing metro projects. He also questioned if the throne of Raiwind (indirect reference to Sharif family) did anything to solve the problems of people in South Punjab.
Moreover, he said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government failed to build a single hospital or university for its people.
“Poverty is the biggest challenge facing Pakistan right now,” he said, adding PPP will work towards getting all the farmers registered. “We will issue Benazir Kisan cards to all the farmers, which will allow them to attain interest-free loans and subsidies.”
He further remarked that PPP’s manifesto is ‘people-friendly’, sharing that he wants to come to power to eliminate the menace of terrorism. “I want to come to power for people.”

Some forces still trying to weaken democracy: Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal BhuttoThursday termed July 5 one of the darkest days in Pakistan’s history. “This was the day back in 1977 when an elected government of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was overthrown by a military dictator,” he told a press conference at the residence of former minister Muhammad Bux Mahar.
Bilawal said the PPP has a history of fighting the undemocratic forces. “Pakistan’s democracy is in trouble once again. It seems that there are some forces that are still trying to weaken it,” he said.
Bilawal strongly condemned the elements who were trying to strong-arm politicians into changing loyalties. “Muhammad Bux Meher is one amongst many of my candidates who are being pressurised to jump the ship,” he claimed.
Bilawal said his party wants to contest a free and fair election, not some sort of ‘selection’. He pledged to protect true democratic norms and vowed that he will not let any anti-democratic forces to usurp power from the elected representatives of the people. He said that a strong democracy needs a free media as freedom of expression is an essential part of the democratic process.
Speaking to media in Sukkur, Bilawal reacted to Nawaz Sharif’s request for delaying Avenfield reference verdict for a week, stating that the accused is not in a position to dictate courts. However, he said that the announcement of the verdict should not portray Nawaz as a victim. “The timing of the verdict should not give an impression that it was not as transparent or effective as it should have been,” he said. The PPP chief noted that the protection of fundamental rights is the real essence of democracy and any compromise on it is not possible.
He stressed that that democracy is not defined by merely holding elections. “While it is a positive development that the country is going to witness its second election, we must continue this trend and bring stability to it,” he said. The country still has many weaknesses that need to be removed, he added.