Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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The terrorists of outlawed takfiri outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASWJ) raised takfiri slogans and threatened to kill Shias at will. They did so at a demonstration held outside Karachi Press Club.
Notorious ringleaders and thugs Taj Mohammad Hanafi, Shakeel Farooqi and Amir Fazl-e-Khaliq and other of the banned terrorist outfits’ speakers made provocative hate speech. They also hurled abusive and threatening remarks against Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP and Sindh government. 

They had brought the coffin carrying the body of one of their ringleaders Nadeem, president of proscribed ASWJ Liaquatabad Town chapter. He was killed by unidentified persons. Since the terrorist outfit has suffered from internal fighting in the past in which Malik Ishaq and Ludhianvi/Farooqi group had killed supporters of each other, it is believed Nadeem too had fallen victim to intra-ASWJ differences. 

However, these terrorists have questioned the credibility of the state authorities who had unveiled a Paigham-e-Pakistan document and an anti-takfiri narrative. Inaction against Taj Hanafi, Shakil Farooqi, Amir Fazl-e-Khaliq and others who violated the writ of the state and torn apart the Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative has put the anti-terrorism credentials of the state at stake. 

According to the narrative of Ludhianvi and Farooqi’s ASWJ aka Sipah-e-Sahaba, the mother wing of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a heathen and this narrative poses a big question mark on Pakistan’s identity as Islamic Republic since its father of the nation, a Shia Muslim, is declared a heathen by those who made public their venomous aspersion once again at a demonstration outside KPC.

The PTM in Pakistan: Another Bangladesh in the making?


A disaster looms in Pakistan, if the demands of the Pashtun population remain unaddressed.

A year ago , a young man named Naqeebullah Mehsud was killed in an alleged shoot-out in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi. The police initially claimed that Mehsud was a "hardened member of the Pakistani Taliban" and was killed during a raid on "a terrorist hideout".
But his family, friends and some human rights organisations questioned this claim, saying Mehsud was just an innocent shopkeeper and aspiring model.
The government ordered an investigation. The police committee probing the incident found no evidence of a shoot-out or terrorist activity and was determined that Mehsud was killed by the police in a "fake encounter" - a practice Pakistani security forces are often accused of being involved in. Officers accused of being involved in the killing were put on trial which is still ongoing.
In the past, allegations of extrajudicial killings similar to this one were regularly ignored by the authorities, and security forces were allowed to operate with impunity. What set Mehsud's case apart, and forced the government to take swift action, was a little-known movement which started in his Waziristan hometown of Makin: thePashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement (or PTM).
The PTM was launched by human rights activist Manzoor Pashteen to address the many grievances of Pashtuns, who are the second largest ethnic group in Pakistan and mostly live in the north-western part of the country, close to the Afghanistan border.
The Pashtuns have been bearing the brunt of the so-called "war on terror" for nearly two decades. When the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks, members of terror groups operating in that country passed the border with Pakistan and took refuge in the areas where Pashtuns reside. In response, the Pakistani military started carrying out operations to "clear the area from terrorists".
However, rather than stopping terrorist activity, military operations in the area increasingly victimised innocent civilians. Pashtuns across Pakistan started to be stereotyped as terrorists even though they themselves were victims of terrorism.

Demanding justice

After the killing of Mehsud in Karachi, Manzoor Pashteen called for a march from Waziristan towards Islamabad. Thousands joined Pashteen on his way to the capital city demanding justice not just for the murdered man, but for all Pashtuns who have been facing discrimination in Pakistan.
This march rapidly transformed into a nationwide rights movement and the PTM was born. In rallies held across the country, Pashteen and his supporters raised questions about the reasons behind the army's failure to drive out militancy from their region and asked whether Pakistani authorities really wanted to eradicate such groups.
One slogan that they commonly used was "Yeh jo dehshatgardi hai, is ke peechay wardi hai" (behind this terrorism, is the [military] uniform), alleging a collusion between terrorists and the military.
The PTM also called for all accusations of extrajudicial killing to be investigated independently and demanded the practice of enforced disappearances - a legal term coined to explain abductions allegedly carried out by the Pakistan Army - to come to an end. Moreover, Pashteen and his supporters started pressuring the Pakistani government to reform the draconian laws that govern the tribal belt that violate basic human rights, such as the law of collective responsibility which the Pakistani state routinely uses against locals from the tribal belt - punishing entire families, villages and tribes for the crimes of one person.
Rather than addressing the genuine grievances expressed by this growing movement, the Pakistani government chose to embark on a crackdown.
The Pakistani media stopped reporting on the movement's gatherings. Many of the members and leaders of the movement were repeatedly arrested by the police. The leaders were prevented from entering parts of Pakistan where they wanted to hold rallies. Recently some of PTM's members were also barred from leaving the country.
In one public briefing, the military media spokesperson accused the PTM of working on "an anti-Pakistan agenda" with the help of foreign hostile governments - a tactic often used by the Pakistani military to discredit its critics.
But the Pakistani state's efforts to silence and contain the movement have backfired. As a result of this state-led harassment campaign, the PTM gained more traction and its gatherings are becoming larger than ever.
While the movement has always claimed to be non-violent, there are now fears that the continuous use of such heavy-handed tactics to suppress the movement may result in a confrontation that may go out of control, as seen before in Pakistan.

Learning from past mistakes

In the past, a similar rights movement launched by East Pakistani residents eventually culminated into a movement for independence from Pakistan, and let to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
In the 1960s, the Bengali population living in East Pakistan, the largest ethnic group in the country at the time, felt neglected by the central government that was headed by General Ayub Khan. Instead of listening to the grievances of this group and addressing the injustices they say they have been facing, the military launched an operation against the aggrieved population. This caused the Bengalis to start an armed resistance which resulted in Pakistan's division.
Almost 50 years later, it seems that Pakistan's ruling elites have not learned much from history and seem to be repeating the same mistakes that led to much pain, bloodshed and irreversible damage to the nation in the 1970s.
Today as the PTM marks one year of its struggle, it is of utmost importance that the Pakistani civilian and military leadership address the legitimate concerns of the Pashtun population, meet their demands which are well within the scope of the Pakistani constitution and immediately stop persecuting those demanding their basic fundamental rights.
If this does not happen, the PTM may become a catalyst for the break-up of an already divided nation and Pakistan may head towards another national disaster.

د پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ ملاتړې ګلالۍ اسماعیل خوشې شوه

د پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ ملاتړې او د بشري حقونو فعالې ګلالۍ اسماعیل کورنۍ او د اسلام اباد چارواکو د نوموړې د خوشې کېدو تصدیق کړی.

دا خبره، د نوموړې خور شغلې اسماعیل د فبرورۍ شپږمې شپې مهال مشال راډیو ته په استولي پیغام کړې کړې او زیاتوي چې ګلالۍ اسماعیل "اوس په کور کې ناسته ده."
تر دې مخکې د اسلام اباد یوه لوړپوړي چارواکي د نوم نه ښودو په شرط شپې مهال پر وټس اپ په یوه پیغام کې مشال راډیو ته د ګلالۍ اسماعیل د خوشې کېدو تصدیق کړی وو.
د فبرورۍ پر پېنځمه، د پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ مشر منظور پښتین په بوري (لورالايي) کې د غورځنګ د غړي او د کالج استاد محمد ابراهیم ارمان لوڼي د وژنې په غبرګون د ټول پاکستان پر کچ د مظاهرو او احتجاجونو اعلان کړی وو خو په اسلام اباد کې پولیسو د غورځنګ ګڼ غړي او پلویان ونیول چې پکې ګلالۍ اسماعیل هم شامله وه.
نوموړې پولیسو د ښځو پولیسو مرکز ته بیولې وه او د فبرورۍ شپږمې پر سهار وختي یې بل ځای ته انتقال کړه.

د هغې خور شغلې اسماعیل ویلي ول چې چارواکو ورته د دې د خور د ځای ځایګي په اړه هېڅ معلومات نه ورکول.
د فبرورۍ پر شپږمه، د بښنې نړیوال سازمان د پاکستان پر حکومت غږ وکړ چې د پښتون تحفظ تحریک نور غړي هم خوشې کړي.
د پاکستان، افغانستان، امریکا او د اروپايي هېوادونو په ځېنو ښارونو کې فعالانو د فبرورۍ پر پېنځمه د استاد محمد ابراهیم ارمان لوڼي د وژنې ضد احتجاجي غونډې، مظاهرې او لاریونونه وکړل.
لوڼی د فبرورۍ پر دویمه په بوري کې وژل شوی وو او عیني شاهدان وايي چې د پولیسو یوه افسر د ټوپک په کونداغ پر مغزي وواهه چې له کبله یې هغه بېهوشه او بیا مړ شو.
خو د بلوچستان د کورنیو چارو وزیر ضیا الله لانګو د فبرورۍ پر درېیمه مشال راډیو ته وویل چې لومړنۍ پلټنې ښيي چې لوڼی د زړه حرکت درېدو له وجې مړ شوی.
په عین وخت کې د بلوچستان حکومت د نوموړي د وژنې د پېښو پلټنو امر کړی او ژمنه یې کړې چې ککړ کسان به د قانون منګولو ته سپاري.

Afghanistan: What Price Tag Do We Put On Strategic Security? – Analysis

By Sushant Sareen

India might end up paying a big price for its strategic myopia in Afghanistan.
One of the most galling whines that has characterized the take of Indian politicians, officials and analysts on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan is the threat this poses to Indian investments in that country. Apart from being insulting to our Afghan allies and friends, it is also reflective of the pettiness and penny-pinching attitude of India’s strategic community on an issue that they themselves label as being critical for India’s strategic security.
The constant refrain of the $2 billion (or is it $3 billion?) investment India has made in infrastructure projects and institution- and capacity-building in Afghanistan is flung in everyone’s face to justify Indian interest in Afghanistan. But India’s interests in Afghanistan transcend the bean-counter’s approach to any problem—India doesn’t need to wave the bill to justify its interests in Afghanistan. Even if we had spent nothing, or spent 10 times the amount we claim to have spent, India will always have a legitimate interest in Afghanistan’s stability and security.
If only we did the math before we wave the $2 billion figure in other people’s faces, we would realise that for a country with a $2.5 trillion economy to talk of $ 2 billion is only to demean itself. The $2 billion has not been spent every year in Afghanistan since 2001-02. It has been spent over the last 15-17 years. Average out this sum over this period and it means that India has spent around $150 million a year on Afghanistan. As a percentage of India’s GDP, this is 0.006 per cent. Even if India was to spend $2 billion every year in Afghanistan, it would constitute only 0.08 per cent of India’s GDP. In a country where scams like CWG had a price tag of around $10 billion, and other UPA-era scams like Jijaji, 2G, Coal and Jayanti Tax also ran into billions, to crib about the $2 billion we might lose if things go south in Afghanistan is really the worst sort of carping.
While it is fashionable to mock at and even bristle over the politically incorrect utterances of US President Donald Trump, he did have a point when he said that other countries—referring to regional players like India, Russia, Pakistan and China—were taking advantage of the US and doing their stuff in Afghanistan on the cheap by letting the US pick up the tab. Of course, Trump himself has a very cost-oriented approach to strategic issues. But given that his country foots most of the bill in and for Afghanistan, it can be justified to some extent.
Even more than Trump, it is Amrullah Saleh, the former Interior Minister and head of the Afghan intelligence and now running mate of President Ashraf Ghani, who gave a reality check to the international community when he said no one was doing Afghanistan a favour by assisting the Afghan state and society. He called it a partnership in which the Afghans sacrificed their blood in a war that also secured the Western countries spending money in Afghanistan. Although his comments were aimed more at the Western countries which spent more money on their consultants than on Afghans, they apply just as much to India, even though the Indian developmental record in Afghanistan has been better than anyone else’s.
What Amrullah is basically saying is that if the Afghan state collapses and the forces of medieval barbarism represented by the Islamist Taliban take over, then the war that is currently being fought in Afghanistan by Afghans will be fought by countries like India in India. Therefore, rather than worrying about the $2 billion, India should worry about the security fallout of a destabilised or Talibanised Afghanistan. This will cost us far more—in blood and money—than what we have spent so far in Afghanistan. If anything, India has so far profited handsomely from its investments in Afghanistan and has recovered in both tangible and intangible terms the investments we have made. The sort of influence India has wielded in Afghanistan since 2001 has actually come on the cheap.
It was India’s failing that we were diffident in cementing strategic gains by pushing the envelope further, not the fault of the Afghans who were always ready to partner with India in fixing our mutual enemy. If anyone lost the many opportunities that came India’s way in Afghanistan to actually steal a strategic march over its enemies, it was the pusillanimous policy of appeasing the enemy rather than fixing him. Part of the problem is cultural and civilisational—we like to appear to be the nice guys, people who are respected as friends not feared as foes. We were riding on US shoulders and therefore despite our tall talk of “strategic autonomy”, there was neither any strategy nor any autonomy that we chose to exercise in Afghanistan.
But part of the problem was also policy vacuity.
I remember a meeting with some of the top policymakers of the former regime in which one diplomat was jabbering about gender equality, women’s rights, etc. She was unable to understand that none of this would matter if the security dimension was ignored. But the focus in the meeting wasn’t so much on exercising hard power as it was to further push India’s soft power—capacity-building projects, Bollywood, cricket, medical tourism and trade promotion.
Soft power is very important but has no meaning without hard power to back it up. At a time when security was at a premium in Afghanistan, no one was going to be interested in India’s soft power. When things started going bad, and the Americans refused to build the sinews of the Afghan National Army by giving them force multipliers like airpower, tanks, artillery and choppers, the Afghans looked towards India. But we were scared that the Pakistanis wouldn’t like it. Plus we were afraid that some of this equipment could fall in the hands of the enemy. The wrong decisions of that time meant that we lost credibility with some of our friends and allies.
The result of this credibility loss is that even at this late stage when the US is all set to abandon Afghanistan, if India was to try and double down on support for its friends and allies and anti-Taliban forces, it is unlikely if it would find anyone who thinks India will use all its national power to back them against the Taliban. Indiscreet remarks by top officials have only further undermined India’s credibility among the Afghans. That barbarians like the Taliban can never be India’s friends or allies, nor can India’s interests ever be served by reaching out to this evil force which is also a puppet of Pakistan, somehow just doesn’t enter the mind-space of Indian officials who live in a world of their own make-believe.
India will probably end up paying a big price for its strategic myopia in Afghanistan. There is very little we can do at this stage to turn the tables in our favour. This doesn’t mean leaving the field open. If anything, India should continue to strive to build leverages because nothing ever remains the same in Afghanistan for very long and we will get our chance if we show strategic patience. But more importantly, we should learn the lessons from the blunders we have made and the opportunities we have missed.
First and foremost, India should ask itself what price tag it puts on strategic security. Do we want to continue seeking strategic stability and security on the cheap or by riding on other’s shoulders, or are we serious about building our own capacities and capabilities for exercising strategic autonomy? One thing is clear: India’s pretensions of being an emerging power just don’t sit well with a strategic mentality of a kirana shop owner who is more interested in counting pennies and nickels. Without an imperial mindset in which rather than playing for small change, India is ready to play the big game and take the risks and pay the costs—India will remain a bit of a pushover.
But how will we change our attitude to something like strategic security and stability that transcends our own borders? Remember, India is a country which ignores its own defence and puts national security at a deep discount by starving its defence forces of the capabilities they require and putting stupid bureaucratic obstacles in the path of developing a robust defence industry. We may continue to delude ourselves about our economic and military strength, but as long as we keep treating national security as something we can buy on tap—why else does every finance minister say in the budget speech that “more will be allocated for defence if required”?—we will continue to be treated as a weak power that can be trifled with.

The tragedy is that given the level of political debate in which the temptation to score political points and pulling down political rivals takes precedence over the damage caused to India’s interests, it is unlikely that India will wake up to the enemies and threats it faces, and the things it needs to do as a nation to secure itself.

As America looks to withdraw from Afghanistan what is that country’s future, and what are India’s options?

President Donald Trump’s decision to reduce US forces from Afghanistan from 14,000 to 7,000 was seen as the beginning of the end-game in Afghanistan. Since then, there have been two rounds of talks between US representative Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban in December and January. Earlier, Moscow hosted a meeting of representatives of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran with Taliban on November 9. The two competing processes, led by the US and Russia respectively, have only increased Taliban’s negotiating leverage.
After the last round of US-Taliban talks, the two sides indicated progress on two issues: preventing use of Afghan territory by international terrorist groups and US withdrawal. The other issues – intra-Afghan dialogue and ceasefire – are yet to be discussed. The sequence is important. Intra-Afghan dialogue, which should have been the priority in an ‘Afghan owned, and Afghan led dialogue’, has been relegated to future rounds of talks. The US offer of withdrawal is a tangible concession; Taliban’s offer to forsake terrorism is a promissory note. There is certainly no commitment on terror groups which affect India. Sanitising Afghanistan is not enough; the root of the problem is Pakistan, which must be addressed.
The normal paradigm of conflict resolution is ceasefire, disarmament, constitution making and election. Power sharing comes at the end of the process. Taliban has not accepted ceasefire. They have neither agreed to an Afghan constitution, nor spelt out their vision of Afghanistan’s future. The second round of talks between Khalilzad and Taliban opened in Qatar on January 21, hours after the Wardak attack in which more than 100 Afghan security force members were killed. The incident showed talks have only emboldened Taliban to step up violence to set their terms, rather than bringing peace closer.
Taliban’s strength on the ground does not justify sweeping concessions. According to the US special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), the Afghan government controls 219 districts and 63% of the population, while Taliban controls 50 districts and 10.8% of the population. Taliban has not been able to hold territory. In a testimony to the US Senate on January 29, director of national intelligence Dan Coates gave his assessment that neither the Afghan government nor Taliban will be able to gain a strategic advantage in the Afghan war in the coming year, at current force levels. The present situation is a stalemate, not overwhelming Taliban advantage. Coates also cautioned against continued attacks by Pakistan supported militant groups “in neighbouring countries, and possibly beyond”.
Current negotiations not only weaken the Ghani government, but also ignore the opposition who have accepted the Afghan constitution and the democratic process. What has brought this extraordinary convergence in the approach of Americans and Russians are clashing motives. The Americans want to bring to a close the war of attrition. On the other hand, the Russians and Iranians want to add cost to the American calculus. This coalition is likely to fall apart once America withdraws.
If the rationale for flirting with Taliban is that they represent ‘jihad in one country’, their past record belies this expectation. Taliban refused to sever links with al-Qaida during or after the US campaign in 2001. What are India’s options? Is Taliban today different from those who provided sanctuary to IC 814 hijackers in December 1999? Taliban was created by Pakistan and will continue to depend upon it for support. Will a seat on the negotiating table for India be a major gain? Not if our role is simply to endorse a regime created by Pakistan.
Taliban takeover in Kabul will be a prelude to further radicalisation of Pakistan and unleashing jihadis in Kashmir. India needs to strengthen the Afghan government’s resolve. Afghan army together with an elected government enjoying people’s mandate could provide a viable alternative to Islamabad’s proxy government in Kabul. Instead of a $12 billion bailout to Pakistan as the price of safe American exit, the money could be better spent in sustaining Afghanistan. We need to remain engaged with the people of Afghanistan. Our geography does not allow us a choice. We need to accelerate development of Chabahar port for which the US has given an exemption. We also need to hold discussions bilaterally with the Afghan government as well as the US, Russia and Iran.

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari vehemently slams federal government of PTI for restricting ex-PM Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani from travelling abroad

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has vehemently slammed the federal government of PTI for restricting ex-PM Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani from travelling abroad.

In a statement, the PPP Chairman said that restricting ex-PM from travelling abroad is an absolute violation of the basic human rights. Gillani is facing trials on fake charges, which needs to be removed.

He said that violating the rights of the people is the hallmark of Imran Niazi’s government.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the PTI government is afraid of vibrant opposition of the PPP.
The PPP Chairman said that Imran should bear in mind that the PPP won’t let him wear the garb of his choice. The PPP would keep chasing the PTI’s government that has stolen mandate, raised fraudulent slogans and is pursuing anti-people policies.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court directs govt to act against terrorists

In a sharp directive to the Pakistani armed forces and ISI, the Supreme Court ordered such government agencies to stay away from politics, and act within the law.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court Wednesday prohibited members of the armed forces from engaging in political activities and directed state agencies like the ISI to operate within the law as it ordered the government to act against those propagating “hatred, extremism and terrorism”.
The order by a two-member bench of the apex court came while delivering a verdict on the 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other smaller groups.
“We direct the federal and provincial governments to monitor those advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with the law,” the bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam ruled.
The court also directed all government agencies and departments, including those run by the army like Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to operate within the limits defined by the law.
The court also ordered that members of the Armed Forces were prohibited from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a party, faction or individual.
“The government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence and the respective Chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath,” the court said.
Several experts were of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan was supported by the country’s powerful army in the last year’s general election.
Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country through various coups for nearly half of the country’s history since independence in 1947. The military plays an important role in the country’s decision making.
The apex court also outlawed religious edicts called fatwas that aimed to harm others.
“A person issuing an edict or fatwa, which harms another or puts another in harm’s way, must be criminally prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and/or the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016,” the court ruled.
The court upheld that subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law, citizens have the right to form and to be members of political parties. They can also assemble for peaceful protest.
It said the right to assemble and protest is circumscribed only to the extent that it infringes on the fundamental rights of others, including their right to free movement and to hold and enjoy property.
The court ordered that those protesters who obstruct people’s right to use roads and damage or destroy property must be proceeded against in accordance with the law and held accountable.
The court initiated suo motu proceedings on November 21, 2017 after TLP blocked a main highway leading to Islamabad.
During the 20-day long protest in 2017, daily life in Islamabad was disrupted when protesters belonging to the TLP, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA), the Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat and the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek occupied the Faizabad Interchange which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the busiest roads in the twin cities.

'Stay out of politics' Pakistan court tells powerful military

Pakistan's top court on Wednesday (Feb 6) warned the military and intelligence agencies they must not exceed their mandate and meddle in politics, an apparent rebuke over their handling of Islamist protests in 2017.

The judges' comments were a rare public ticking off for the powerful armed forces, which have ruled for nearly half of Pakistan's history and have in recent years been criticised for resuming a more active role in politics.

The army denies interfering.

The Supreme Court was investigating the so-called "Faizabad protest", which saw a hardline Islamist group paralyse the capital Islamabad accusing a minister of blasphemy.
But the inquiry also looked at the role of security agencies, including ending the standoff through mediation.

Seven people were killed and nearly 200 wounded when police initially tried but failed to remove protesters.

The military is widely seen to have disagreed with civilian authorities over how to handle the protests. The unrest had weakened the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, which had fallen out with the armed forces.
The army's role came under criticism after video footage shared on social media showed a senior officer from the military-run Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency giving cash to Islamist protesters after a deal was struck to end the blockade.


"The involvement of ISI and of the members of the Armed Forces in politics, media and other 'unlawful activities' should have stopped," Supreme Court Justices Mushir Alam and Qazi Faez Isa said in their verdict.

"Instead when (protest) participants received cash handouts from men in uniform, the perception of their involvement gained traction."

The Supreme Court also criticised the military's influential media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), for commenting on political matters such as the contested 2018 election, where the military was accused of helping Prime Minister Imran Khan into power.
"The Constitution emphatically prohibits members of the Armed Forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a political party, faction or individual," the justices said.

"All intelligence agencies ... and the ISPR must not exceed their respective mandates."

There was no immediate response from the military and intelligence agencies, though in the past the ruling party said the army and government acted together over the 2017 protests.
The judgement urged provincial and federal authorities to monitor and prosecute those advocating hate and extremism, such as the Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) group that rose in popularity by championing Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws.

TLP leaders have in recent months been mostly arrested or detained after they staged further protests and urged the overthrow of the army chief over the Supreme Court's acquittal of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, from blasphemy charges.


#Pakistan - Senior #PTI leader Aleem Khan arrested

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arrested senior PTI leader and Punjab Minister Aleem Khan, the spokesperson said Wednesday.
The minister was summoned in assets beyond means case by the anti-graft body today and was taken into custody.
According to family sources, the PTI minister has sent his resignation to the Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Upon arrival at the NAB Lahore Office, the minister told journalists that he would talk to them but his staff was sent back.
He had appeared before the NAB fourth time.
Talking to Geo News, senior journalist Hamid Mir said that several PTI leaders were aware that NAB might arrest some party members in corruption references.PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair said that PTI ministers and advisors involved in cases must resign.Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Chohan said PML-N should seek resignations from Opposition Leader in The National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz before asking PTI ministers to resign.Aleem Khan has not been charge sheeted yet and asking resignation from him is outrageous, the minister stated.
Late last month, Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice (R) Javed Iqbal during his visit to Lahore received briefing from Director General NAB Lahore on the latest position of various mega corruption cases.
The mega cases included the of 56 public companies of Punjab government, Metro Bus project, cases against senior PTI leader Aleem Khan, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz, Ashiyana Scheme Paragon case, cases against Chaudhry’s of Gujrat and other mega corruption cases.
NAB will present Aleem Khan for remand in the accountability court tomorrow.