Tag Archives: Nawaz

Defiant note: I’ll neither resign nor go on leave, says PM Nawaz



ISLAMABAD: 

While the political circles were abuzz with speculation about the fate of the embattled government amid frantic efforts by politicians to defuse an explosive political stalemate, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif struck a defiant note on Monday by categorically stating that he would neither resign nor go on leave.

“I will not allow anyone to set such a precedent in which a handful of protesters are allowed to hijack the mandate of millions of people,” an official release quoted the prime minister as saying during a meeting with parliamentary leaders of the opposition and allied parties at the Prime Minister House.

The meeting, which came against the backdrop of a deepening political crisis in the country, extended full support to the embattled prime minister and the opposition parties in the parliament decided to become a party in a petition against any extra-constitutional step in the Supreme Court.

Just ahead of the meeting, Premier Nawaz held crucial talks with army chief General Raheel Sharif. Speculations were rife that the meeting between Nawaz and Raheel would prove decisive.

Soon after the much-talked about meeting ended, some television channels started claiming that the army chief asked the prime minister to step down for a month to pave way for investigations into alleged rigging in last year’s elections. However, the military’s media wing, the ISPR, swung into action immediately and termed such reports baseless.

Meanwhile, insiders said the prime minister and army chief discussed in detail the possible way out of the current impasse. According to a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, the prime minister had made it abundantly clear during the meeting with Gen Raheel that he was going nowhere. An official statement issued by the prime minister’s office also corroborated this and quoted Nawaz Sharif as saying, “Let me reassure the nation that I am not going to resign or go on leave.”

After this meeting, the prime minister went into a huddle with representatives of 12 political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).

According to a statement, the attendees strongly condemned the attacks on the Parliament House and PTV, terming them ‘assaults on democracy and the state’.

They said storming of state buildings had damaged Pakistan’s image across the world and recommended strict action against the elements who were behind such acts. They said that they would not allow anyone to derail the democratic process and emphasised that only democratic rule could guarantee unity among the federating units.

The meeting also took serious notice of what it called an ‘irresponsible and baseless’ campaign by certain media outlets against the armed forces and their leadership in view of the current political situation.

PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai said protest campaigns of Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri were not democratic but those were acts of treason. ANP Senator Haji Adeel told the prime minister, “Don’t even think of resigning, if you step down, we will leave you.”

The meeting of the parliamentary leaders with the prime minister also discussed a strategy for a joint session of the Parliament, which would begin today (Tuesday). The unprecedented sitting, which was convened to discuss the current political stalemate, would continue for a week.

Officials claimed the joint sitting was likely to pass a resolution condemning attacks on the state institutions, including the Parliament House, Prime Minister House and PTV by PAT and PTI activists. The session would also repose confidence in the democratic process and make it clear that the prime minister could not be ousted through violent means.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2014.


PM Nawaz meets COAS Raheel Sharif



Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday met Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to discuss the ongoing political situation in the country, Express News reported.

The meeting is still underway.

The PM Nawaz-led government is facing protests by members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek over alleged rigging in the last general elections that brought Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to power.

The premier has met the army chief several times since the protests started on August 14.

 


Nawaz dismisses sit-ins as ‘a small storm’



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told media on Saturday that the sit-ins being staged in the capital by the PTI and PAT are just a small storm, adding that they will fizzle out with time.

Nawaz stated that he was being asked to dissolve assemblies and do things which are not even in his power, adding that the government has accepted the demand for electoral reforms.

“The demands that were acceptable have been accepted,” he stated.

When asked what will happen if the sit-ins continue, Nawaz remarked, “You have seen how many people there are at the protests and how many chairs are empty.”

Nawaz claimed that the sit-ins have negatively impacted development projects in the country, pointing out that Maldives President Abdulla Yameen and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had cancelled their visits to Pakistan.

 


Nawaz says army sought his permission before meeting with Imran, Qadri



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the National Assembly (NA) session on Friday, in reference to the meeting between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri said, “The army asked for my permission before meeting both leaders.”

Nawaz further added that the army would have taken initiative whether or not the government had met with the military on Thursday (yesterday).

“Governments come and go, nobody can be in power forever,” the premier stated.

The interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar, also remarked that mediation from the army was based on the demands of both Qadri and Imran.

“Bringing the army in to mediate was one of their (PTI and PAT) demands,” Nisar had said during the NA session, adding, “The army is apolitical, and is working to bring a peaceful solution to this crisis within the Constitution.”

The interior minister further added that the government would not do anything against the Constitution.

Moreover, he said the PAT was using the Model Town incident as a weapon, and that their purpose was to spread chaos.

In an impassioned speech in the NA, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said, “Even if the government bows, down, we [PPP] will not bow down.”

“Yesterday an effort was made to put a black mark on the government,” he stated, adding that the protection of the parliament and the Constitution was more important to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Additionally, Leader of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Mehmood Khan Achakzai also stated that he stands with the Constitution and the parliament, as well as democracy.


Blame game: PTI leader hits out at PM Nawaz



KARACHI: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be responsible if martial law is imposed in the country, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at a press conference in Karachi.  The PTI leader arrived in Karachi along with other local leaders to express gratitude to supporters who participated in the sit-ins and relay a special message from PTI chief Imran Khan. Shah Mehmood Qureshi upheld demands for PM Nawaz’s resignation.

“PM Nawaz should take a decision – otherwise the people will have to take a stand.”

The PTI leader insisted that the party was committed to safeguarding democratic principles but said that the basis of democracy was transparent and fair elections.

“Everyone knows that the elections were rigged. The PPP has the same opinion. Before leaving for China, former president Asif Ali Zardari spoke to Imran and said that the elections belonged to the ROs.”

The PTI leader said that if the government had paid attention to their demands to recount votes 14 months ago, the situation would not have escalated to this point. Similarly, if an FIR of the Model Town incident had been registered immediately, there would have been no sit-ins by PAT activists, he said.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi requested the judicial commission to present its report within 30 days. However, he added that the prime minister’s resignation is the only solution to end the deadlock.

The PTI leader expressed interest in garnering support from other parties – especially the MQM –to navigate Pakistan out of the political turmoil and make it a prosperous country. However, he insisted that the purpose of the Azadi march was not to form alliances but highlight the significance of free and fair elections.

Act with restraint

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain appealed to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chairman Tahirul Qadri to be patient and act with restraint.

Speaking to the PAT chief on Thursday morning, Altaf told Qadri that the governors of Sindh and Punjab had made a concerted effort to resolve the political crisis through dialogue.

The MQM chief advised Qadri not to make rash decisions and only act after thorough deliberations with the government.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2014.


Model Town FIR lodged by police allows wriggle room for Nawaz, Shahbaz



LAHORE: The Lahore police on Thursday, utilising its ‘discretionary powers’ filed First Information Report (FIR) in such a way that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have been spared from either joining the investigation or being immediately arrested, The Express Tribune has learnt.  

Citing court orders in the six-page FIR, which was rejected by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief, the police maintained that “the registration of FIR against the petitioners (federal ministers) shall not prove their guilt till a decision by court of competent jurisdiction. It cannot be used as substantive piece of evidence against any accused unless proved in accordance with law. ”

The police exploited legal opinions to give a clean-chit to the prime minister, chief minister Punjab, federal minister and some other high profile dignitaries in the FIR, even as it made the Lahore High Court orders a part of the FIR.

The last line of the third page of the FIR states that orders from the sessions court regarding initiation of case against the accused and several other unknown was received. This was then sent for legal opinon, as per law.

The legal aide in his opinion, also part of the FIR (which is an abnormal activity), said that they had reviewed reports and documents from SP Model Town division, Lahore.

“As per report of SHO PS Faisal Town Lahore, duly forwarded by DSP/ SDPO Garden Town, a case, FIR No 510/14 under sections 302/324/186/353/148/149/34/290/291/427/506-B/109 of PPC, section 7 of ATA and sections 13/20/65 AO, PS Faisal Town Lahore was registered on June 17 on the complaint of inspector Rizwan Qadir Hashmi, the then SHO PS Faisal Town, Lahore.

It further says that on June 19, 2014, when the application submitted by Jawad Hamid was received, it was attached with the relevant case file of the FIR no 510/14. Later, the investigation of case was entrusted to a JIT.”

In the FIR registered on Thursday, the police used some operative parts of the court orders in the FIR, to its advantage. SHO Faisal Town Muhammad Shareef Sindhu noted in the fourth page of the FIR -written specially in English- that the applicant (Jawad Hamid) had received orders from the Additional Sessions Judge dated, August 14. They stated that “in view of the above discussions, the application in hand is hereby accepted and respondent (SHO Faisal Town) is directed to register the FIR on the application of the petitioner and then to proceed in accordance with law in the investigation.”

The SHO further noted in the FIR the court order passed on August 26 by the LHC upon writ petition No 2,2661 of 2014. The operative part of the order included in the FIR was paragraph six of the order, which reads “Purpose and object of recording FIR is to set the criminal laws in motion and to obtain first hand information of occurrence in order to exclude possibility of fabrication of story or consultation or deliberation and safeguard the accused of such like happening.

“Thus the registration of FIR against the petitioners (three federal ministers) shall not prove their guilt till decision by court of competent jurisdiction. It cannot be used as substantive piece of evidence against any accused unless proved in accordance with law. ”

Paragraph eight of the LHC order has also been mentioned in the FIR. It reads “arrest of a suspect or accused is not necessary during the course of investigation and the general impression in the regard is misconceived because a person named in the FIR is not to be arrested straightaway upon registration of FIR or as a matter of course unless there is sufficient incriminating evidence regarding culpability of accused. The arrest of accused is to be deferred till the availability of incriminating evidence in order to satisfy the investigation officer regarding correctness of allegations leveled by the complainant against person named in the crime report.”

The police, by adding these extracts of the LHC judgment, has not only exempted the high profile accused from arrests, but has also made sure that if they are asked to join investigation without proving their guilt, it would be considered contempt of court.

The SHO Faisal Town has further noted in the FIR that as per contents of the application submitted by the complainant, Hamid, sections 302, 324, 148, 149, 427, 506, 395, 109 of the Pakistan penal code and 155-c of police order 2002 are being attached, but stated that in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the orders of the justice of peace and the LHC were very clear and should be implemented in letter and spirit.

According to legal experts and senior police officers, the legal opinion sought  by police in any case is to ascertain if an FIR can be lodged in the light of the contents of the complaint by the aggrieved party and/or to determine the relevant sections that shall be attracted in the FIR (If at all, it may be lodged). A senior police official told The Express Tribune that modus operandi of the police is that after the legal opinion is obtained by them; it is not made a part of the FIR and is considered as an internal correspondence document only.

The SHO Faisal Town has further noted in the FIR that as per contents of the application submitted by the complainant, Hamid, sections 302, 324, 148, 149, 427, 506, 395, 109 of the Pakistan penal code and 155-c of police order 2002 are being attached, but stated that in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the orders of the justice of peace and the LHC were very clear and should be implemented in letter and spirit.

According to legal experts and senior police officers, the legal opinion sought  by police in any case is to ascertain if an FIR can be lodged in the light of the contents included by the complaint, or to determine the relevant sections that shall be attracted in the FIR (If at all, it may be lodged).

A senior police official though told The Express Tribune that the police, after seeking legal opinion, it is not made a part of the FIR and is considered as an internal correspondence document only.

Similarly, court orders are not made part of the FIR and the FIR is only based on the application filed by the complainant.

However, in this specific ‘high profile case’ the police’s top brass and legal eagles of the government, to find a middle way out, has made the legal opinion as well extracts of the court order, as part of the FIR.

Copy of FIR

Below is a copy of the FIR registered by the police on Thursday in the Model Town incident.

 


Nawaz still enjoys significant public support: PEW survey



Even as thousands of protesters, respectively led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, descended on Islamabad against the Nawaz Sharif led government, a survey by the Pew Research Centre shows that the under fire premier enjoys significant public support.

According to the report, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif enjoys 64% favourable opinion, slightly lower than the 66% he enjoyed just a few weeks before the May 2013 elections. In contrast, 32% viewed him unfavourably.

These are among the major findings from the latest survey in Pakistan by the Pew Research Center, based on face-to-face interviews conducted with 1,203 respondents from April 15 to May 7, 2014. The sample covers approximately 82% of the country’s adult population.

Imran Khan, who has been demanding that the premier resign to pave way for a transparent investigation into the reports of rigging in the 2013 elections, was seen favourably as well with 53% reviews against 24% negative reviews. However, the PTI chief’s ratings have slipped by 17% since elections last May.

The mood surrounding the current political and economic situation in the country, while less than happy, it is more positive than in recent years. While only 25% of the respondents were satisfied with the way things are in Pakistan, this is more than 8% who felt that way in 2013. Those who were optimistic about the economy have more than doubled since last year, rising from 17% to 37%. And 36% expect the economy to improve further in the next 12 months.

Pakistan, which has seen four military led governments, 87% of the respondents believe that the army is having a good influence on the nation. Up from 79% near the May 2013 elections.

The poll found little support for extremist groups in Pakistan, against whom the army launched an operation in June. Only 8% gave the Taliban a positive rating and just 12% said they have a favorable opinion of al Qaeda.

India still the biggest enemy

When asked to rate the greatest threat facing their country , 51% of Pakistanis pointed towards India.

Roughly seven-in-ten (71%) expressed an unfavorable view of India, while only 13% give it a positive rating.

At the time of the survey, conducted before results for the recent Indian national elections were announced, 62% of Pakistanis did not know enough about India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi to say whether they had confidence in his ability to do the right thing in world affairs. Just over a third (36%) said they have little or no confidence in Modi to do the right thing in world affairs, while only 1% expressed confidence in Modi.

US still viewed unfavourably

Negative views of the United States and Obama still prevail in Pakistan. Only 14% give the US a favorable rating, and just 7% have confidence in President Barack Obama.

Still, the percentage of Pakistanis voicing a negative views of the US and Obama has declined slightly over the last few years.

Very few Pakistanis give President Barack Obama a positive review. Only 7% say they have confidence that Obama will do the right thing in world affairs. While half (52%) of all respondents lack confidence in the American leader, unchanged from 2013, but that perception was down from a peak of 68% in 2011. Fully 41% offer no opinion about Obama.

Drone strikes remain unpopular too. Two-in-three Pakistanis oppose US drone attacks, while just 3% approve and 30% offer no opinion.  Two-thirds of Pakistanis also believe that drone strikes kill too many innocent people, and only 21% think they are necessary to defend the country from extremist groups. Roughly four-in-ten (41%) say the drone strikes are being conducted without the approval of Pakistan’s government.


MQM leaders meet Nawaz as PAT, PTI ultimatums near



KARACHI: A high-level meeting between Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Prime Minister House took place this morning, as both Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek Insaf’s (PTI) ultimatums draw closer.

Despite efforts to bring the political crisis to a peaceful, satisfactory end, MQM leader Farooq Sattar remained tight-lipped over the minutiae of the meeting when speaking to the media shortly after the meeting, saying only, “We should do what is best for the country. We do not want the system to be derailed.”

“The PM was attentive and responded well. He wants to solve the current impasse,” Sattar said.

“There is still potential for a satisfactory outcome.”

Yesterday, both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri had marked Wednesday as an important day in the political crisis that has engulfed the country since their ‘Azadi’ and ‘Inqilab’ marches began two weeks ago. Qadri gave the government a 48 hour ultimatum on Monday that ends this evening. Imran gave the government a similar ultimatum; both demanding the Sharif brothers to resign over rigging allegations.

“Today is a very important day,” Sattar affirmed. “We want the deadlock to be broken before the ultimatum.

The allegations, which have not thus far been proven, were bolstered recently after a former Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) official affirmed PTI and PAT’s claims in an interview with a private news channel.


PM Nawaz, army chief agree to resolve crisis ‘expeditiously’



ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif have agreed to ‘expeditiously’ resolve the ongoing political crisis triggered by the anti-government protest sit-ins of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in the federal capital.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office, Gen Sharif called on the premier and both discussed the overall security environment, including the prevailing political situation. “There was a consensus on the need to resolve the ongoing issue expeditiously in the best national interest,” said the statement.

Due to the continuing sit-ins on the Constitution Avenue, the army chief had to use a helicopter to reach the Prime Minister House. Sources familiar with the meeting said that the prime minister briefed the army chief about his government’s efforts for a political solution to the stalemate with PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT leader Dr Tahirul-Qadri.

According to them, the army chief voiced his concerns over the persisting stalemate in talks between the government and the protesting parties. He reportedly said that an early solution to the issue was important to prevent the situation from worsening.

Premier Nawaz informed the army chief that the government had no intention to use force against the participants of the sit-ins while he also vowed to ensure the security of key state institutions.

On August 19, the army had issued a rare public statement on the political issue and urged both sides to resolve the issue through dialogue in the best national interest.

Insiders disclosed that the issue of the appointment of next chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also came under discussion. The current spy chief, Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, will relinquish the office after his retirement in October this year. A source disclosed that the appointment of new DG ISI is expected within the next few days.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2014.

 


Resolving political impasse: MQM delegation set to meet with Nawaz on Wednesday



KARACHI: As the political crisis deepens, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) delegation is all set to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, Express News reported.

The delegation will call on the premier at the PM House at 10am.

Sarwar meets Dr Ishratul Ebad to devise a way out

Earlier on Tuesday, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar called on Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan in Karachi to discuss the current political crises.

Talking to media, Sarwar said that he, along with leaders of other parties, have been trying to break the deadlock and his visit was meant to consult with Sindh governor in order to devise strategy how to deal with the crises through dialogue.

“We will again try to negotiate with protesting leaders and government to resolve the issue amicably,” he said adding that Khan has also assured his support. “I have contacted and held meetings with various political leaders and will also phone MQM chief Altaf Hussain to seek his help,” Sarwar said adding that every political party has a right to convene the march, but it should be done under the preview of Constitution.

“Country can ill-afford unending protest which can badly affect the economy of the country and create chaotic situation,” he lamented.

He appreciated the role of political parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement to resolve the issue and hoped that the situation will come to normalcy soon.

On the other hand, the spokesperson for Sindh governor said the meeting between both the governors had stressed on the need to resolve the current impassse through dialogue.

MQM delegation met national leaders

A four-member delegation led by the MQM Deputy Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui met the Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and former Governor Khyber Phakhtunkhwa Engineer Shaukatullah Khan. The MQM delegation conveyed the message of party chief Altaf Hussain to them.

For the first time in the history Pakistan, the continuation of democracy was possible, MQM leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said addressing the media, Express News reported.

To resolve the political crisis, a middle way needs to be figured out, said Siddiqui after a meeting with Khursheed Shah.

He added that the purpose of the meeting with the Leader of the Opposition was to address the dangers faced by the democracy.

Urging all parties to talk things out, Shah said, “We all want the continuation of democracy.”

For the sake of democracy, the unanimous resolution passed by the parliament should be honoured.