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Urdu poet Hasan Akbar Kamal passes away

KARACHI (PPI): Hasan Akbar Kamal, noted Urdu poet and writer, passed away on Friday at the age of 71.  He was suffering from multiple diseases and died at a private hospital.

According to his family, the funeral will be held at Imam bargah Ancholi and he will be laid to rest in Wadi-e-Husain off Super Highway today (Saturday).

Kamal had been awarded the Adamjee Literary Award in 1980. After Partition his family migrated to Pakistan and he spent his childhood in Sukkur. He obtained a Master’s in English literature from Sindh University, Hyderabad.

Since his parents moved to Karachi, he became a lecturer at the English department at Delhi College, where he served till his retirement.

“He was a genuine poet,” said Professor Sahar Ansari, adding that Hasan Akbar Kamal had an in-depth study in English, but he wrote poetry only in Urdu.

Kamal started poetry at a tender age and very few people would have missed the songs he composed such as Koi khushbu jaisi baat karoKabhi tum idhar say guzar kay tu dekhoHai tera karam and Maulasung by popular singers Nayyara Noor, Alamgir, Gulbahar Bano and Tina Sani.

The books he has written include Sukhan (poetry collection), Khizan mera mausam (poetry collection), Kamal kay mazameen (criticism), Jahan-I-Ishq (poetry), Chacha Khairu (children’s novel), Mallah Ka Bhoot (children’s novel), Rustam Khan (children’s novel) and Adamkhoron ka jazeera (children’s novel).

Fatima Hasan, a poetess from Karachi, said that Kamal was famous because of his ghazals. “He is as famous as Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Mohsin Bhopali and Raees Amrohvi,” she said. He survived by two sons and a wife.

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13 terrorists killed, 6 injured as Operation Khyber-4 gains momentum

RAWALPINDI (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan Army’s Operation Khyber-4, launched under Operaion Raddul Fasaad (RuF) in the Rajgal Valley area of Khyber Agency, is progressing as planned, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced on Thursday.

According to the ISPR, the operation has been yielding steady results: 13 terrorists have been eliminated so far while six others have been debilitated.

Army troops, including personnel from the Special Services Group, have “cleared 90 square kilometres of area while advancing from multiple directions,” an ISPR release said.

The army’s bomb defusal teams have also successfully neutralised a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that terrorists had hidden underground, while “terrorist hideouts have been destroyed in targeted strikes by Pakistan Air Force, Army Aviation and Artillery,” the ISPR said.

“During exchange of fire a soldier, Sepoy Abdul Jabbar, laid down his life for the motherland,” the ISPR release said.

The army had also informed Afghan forces ahead of the launch of Khyber-4 operation in Rajgal, which the Afghan army would be able to support on their side of the border if they wished.

Terrorism in Pakistan

Incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have shown a drop over the three-year period from 2014-2017, the ISPR had announced earlier.

Since the launch of Operation RuF, the army has launched 46 major operations in the country and over 9,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs).

About 1,760 joint checkposts have been established in coordination with police and other law enforcement agencies.

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Taking someone’s life in name of honour not permitted in Islam: Mufti Qavi

MULTAN (NNI): A year after social media sensation Qandeel Baloch’s murder, Mufti Abdul Qavi, who got embroiled in a controversy after he appeared in selfie pictures and videos with the murdered social media starlet, said that taking someone’s life in the name of honour was illegal and not permitted in Islam.

Addressing journalists in Multan, Qavi, whose selfies with the rising starlet went viral last year, drawing the ire of various circles and costing him his membership in various prominent religious councils, said Qandeel and all other honour-killing victims were martyrs. The cleric further said that he was writing a journal on honour killings in which he will cite references from the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) against the appalling custom.

Qavi said police investigating Baloch’s death had contacted him in the past few days for further interrogation. “Earlier, I was interrogated for three hours and all of that was recorded on video,” he added. The cleric claimed that foreign forces were hatching conspiracies against him because the ‘West is the enemy of Islam’. “They want to declare me Qandeel Baloch’s killer in their hatred against Islam,” he claimed. “The international media are trying to establish me as her killer.”

He further said 19 foreign publications interviewed him after Baloch’s murder. “A female reporter of the BBC has reported fake news on the death anniversary of Qandeel Baloch, which was nothing but propaganda and a conspiracy against me,” he maintained. “I haven’t killed her and have already declared that killing an innocent person in the name of honour is illegitimate in Islam.”

The cleric further said that he was not in contact with Baloch’s brother who had confessed to drugging and strangling her last year for bringing a ‘bad name’ to the family with her social media posts. Qavi said the police had already checked all the data in his phone, including the last 5,000 phone calls. “My name is not in the FIR registered for Qandeel’s murder, but I will present myself to the police whenever they call me for more information,” he added.

The cleric claimed that it had been a year since the social media star had died but some of the suspects in the case had been released on bail. “As per the law, I should not be investigated again, but a lawyer named Safdar Shah wants to drag me into the case,” he claimed. “However, lawyers and the laws in Pakistan, all are with me.”

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I doubt mental condition of Bani Gala resident: Marriyum

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday said that I have doubt on the mental state of one person residing in Bani Gala.

Talking to media outside Supreme Court, she said, “Imran Khan is a fugitive from three courts” and questioned that, “Why does he try to mislead the nation every day?” She said, “Everyday only one thing is sought in the court and that is evidence against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”

She said, “The opponents have used Panama case as a political support. We have reservations on Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and they still exist. The case against the PM was not of corruption but lust of power, lies and shoe by the opposition.”

She reiterated that, “PM Nawaz will fight for the nation till his last breath. He presented everyone in the court while complying with the law. He is fghting the case in SC for the nation.”

The Information Minister expressed hope that, “The Supreme Court will reject the petitions of those carrying out mockery every day. She asserted that, “No evidence has surfaced against Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif over corruption and money laundering in any developmental project.”

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Pakistan offers favorable investment environment for US businessmen: Aizaz

WASHINGTON DC (NNI): Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Chaudhry has said that Pakistan offers a favorable investment environment for US businessmen due to advanced banking system and improved means of communication.

He expressed these views during a meeting with a delegation led by Pakistan America Business Association (PABA) in Washington DC, said a press release received here on Thursday. Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry warmly welcomed the delegation of PABA and strongly encouraged American businessmen/entrepreneurs for exploring countless investment opportunities in Pakistan.

He briefed the delegation about the improved security situation in Pakistan over the span of 2-3 years “which is having a salutary effect on the economy. As a consequence, business activity is picking up in Pakistan.”

“China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has opened new avenues for Pakistan. Foreign investment is flowing into Pakistan not only by Chinese companies but a large number of Korean, Turkish, European and US firms, all ready to take advantage of tremendous investment opportunities in the country,” he added. “Energy plants are being built along the country’s southern coastline. The next phase for us is to build a series of industrial zones,” he said.

Commenting on Pak-US bilateral relations, Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry underscored that, “Pakistan has enjoyed longstanding partnership with the US over last 70 years. No doubt, there were ups and downs in the relationship between the two countries but history bears testimony to the fact that both the countries benefited whenever they cooperated with each other.”

“There is a strong bond of cooperation between the two countries in different fields such as education, defence, counter terrorism, health etc. It provides a strong foundation to further deepen the relations between the two countries,” he said.

During the meeting, PABA delegation discussed various proposals including organizing an international Business Convention in 2018, visa facilitation for business community and greater connectivity between banking channels of both the countries.

Ambassador Chaudhry supported the idea of projecting Pakistan “as it will provide an opportunity to highlight the great economic potential that Pakistan is offering at the moment, after successfully reversing the tide of terrorism.”

Congressman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Garret congratulated Ambassador Chaudhry on assuming his new assignment as Pakistan Ambassador to the US, noted that Pakistan and the US have maintained a close friendship since 1947 and discussed ways and means for improving economic and commercial relations between Pakistan and the US.

The delegation also included Debbie Jones, President of Prince William Chambers of Commerce and Industry and prominent businessmen and government officials.

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Daniyal urges SC to take suo motu notice of SSP attack case against Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Daniyal Aziz has urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of SSP Asmatullah Junejo attack case, in which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, along with Pakistan Awami Tehreek chairman Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri stands accused.

Speaking to media outside an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday, Aziz lamented that the case, in which Imran Khan, Qadri and several others were booked for their alleged involvement in attacks on the SSP and state TV building during the 2014 sit-in in Islamabad, was being subdued.

“The case also involves 40 to 50 ‘unknown persons’ who were never properly investigated for the violence during the sit-in,” he said, as he requested Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to form a judicial commission or carry out a parliamentary inquiry into the case.

Aziz also called upon the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the case. “I request the media, I request Pakistan, and the Prime Minister to carry out a judicial inquiry. I request the Supreme Court, should there not be a suo motu notice against this case?” he remarked. An ATC earlier this month ordered to temporarily seize the properties of Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri till their production in court.

The two face charges of destroying property in the Red Zone, attacking the state TV channel’s building and injuring SSP Asmatullah Junejo on Constitution Avenue. The incident had taken place on September 1, 2014, less than 24 hours into the official’s first day on the job as SSP Operations. Both Khan and Qadri have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case, after the police submitted a report stating the suspects could not be arrested.

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PML-N brings new documents whenever case nears conclusion: Sh Rasheed

ISLAMABAD (INP): Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rasheed has on Thursday said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) brings new documents whenever the Panama case nears its conclusion.

Talking to the media outside the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan, AML chief said the judge had remarked that a document like Qatari letter comes each time Sharif family asks the court for some time.

He continued that the Iqama issued by UAE government to the premier, which was revealed by the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), will not let Nawaz escape this case.

Sheikh Rasheed once again stressed that the statements against JIT are actually against the apex court. He remarked that those who advised Nawaz to not step down have dug his political grave.

AML head added that Nawaz Sharif would have saved his dignity had he resigned a year ago. Those who are planning to defeat Imran Khan and me in 2018 should forget about next year, as things will be decided in 2017, he commented.

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SC says no document available to prove ownership of Sharifs’ London flats

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The Supeme Court of Pakistan Bench comprised of three judges seized with the findings of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) took great exception to the fact that there was no document on record to prove the ownership of London flats.

“We have been tired of asking about the money trail of the London flats, but the question still remained unanswered.” observed the bench. The apex court bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan put off the hearing till Thursday (tomorrow) when the counsel for the PM’s children will begin his contentions. The bench observed that there is no document to substantiate the ownership of the London flats and asked, “then why the primer minister stated that he had all financial record of the family’s properties.

During hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed, “The fundamental question is about how and when Avenfield flats in an upscale London neighborhood came to be in the possession of the Sharif family, and how money was arranged and remitted to London to purchase these flats. Whether the money was remitted from Saudi Arabia or Qatar.”

In his concluding arguments, Harris emphasized that neither the prime minister could be disqualified nor the matter can be referred to trial court on the basis of the JIT findings, for these, at best, did not prove any wrongdoing against his client. Nor did the observations of the JIT warranted his trial under Section 5/A of the NAB Ordinance, he added. At the outset, Khawaja read out the statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he had recorded before the probing team and argued that his client was not beneficial owner of the London properties, nor did he have any asset other than those declared in his nomination papers and before the JIT.

He stressed that the premier had not concealed any fact from the investigators and honestly answered all questions put to him by the JIT members. Harris insisted there was no connection between the PM and London flats, neither did the JIT proved the PM’s ownership of London flats.

Tariq Hassan, the counsel for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, contended that the JIT observations against his client were not based on reality and were false and fabricated. His client had deliberately been dragged into the controversy, he added. The counsel said that JIT exceeded its mandate and accused his client of withholding tax returns, concealing assets, and tax evasion. Justice Ijazul Hassan observed that the report was not court’s judgment. “You will be afforded an opportunity to defend yourself before trial if the matter is referred to it.”

The lawyer’s objection that his client was dragged into the matter and had no direct connection, whatsoever, with the allegations of money laundering, invited the ire of the judges. Justice Ijazul Ahsan chided the counsel and said, “I tell you the connection of Ishaq Dar. He and his son were named in the Gulf Steel Mills case. He had association with Hill Metal Establishment. He turned approver and gave a confessional statement in Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, which brought details of financial transactions of Sharifs to light.”

Justice Ijazul Ahsan had observed that the court had repeatedly been asking one question for a year to provide money trail of the London flats. An answer to that question will bring an end to this entire controversy, he added. “We again ask you to apprise us of the money trail,” said Justice Azmat Saeed while addressing the lawyer. Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the idea of constitution of the JIT was meant to give the defendants another opportunity to provide the required documents and satisfy the JIT, but he said the money trail of the Avenfield flats remained shrouded in mystery even to this day.

The judges observed, “We have to examine material, not views of the JIT members.” Referring to the PM’s lawyer’s objections, the judges said, “You complain that the defendant was not given a fair hearing, but when questions about London flats’ ownership were put to him by the JIT his response was “I don’t know.” “All defendants were given an opportunity to give answers, documents and trail papers of their properties,” they observed. Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that facts were kept hidden from the JIT. When the PM was asked about the ownership of London flats, he feigned ignorance and said the flats ‘probably’ belonged to Hussain Nawaz. The judge further said that “We are telling you what the PM and his children stated before the JIT.”

In his arguments, PM’s lawyer Khawaja Harris said that the JIT recommended to reopen 15 cases against Sharifs, even though it was not mandated to recommend the opening of cases as some of them have already been decided by the courts. These cases have no links with the ruling family’s flats in a posh London neighborhood, he added. The lawyer told the judges that the JIT had exceeded its mandate and asked more than 15 questions instead of 13 set by the apex court. Harris contended that the report was based on bias and political motivation and pleaded with judges to throw out it.

He said, the JIT members exceeded their jurisdiction and accused it of blatantly violating the mandate conferred on its members to seek Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) by engaging private firms, particularly the one belonging to a relative of the JIT head Wajid Zia. “All the evidence collected by the JIT could not be used against any of the defendants for the purpose of evidence,” he added. He also raised objections to the composition of the JIT, more specifically the role of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) representative retired brigadier Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

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Nawaz only did corruption in name of business, says Imran

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has indulged in corruption in the name of business.

He added the premier was given five chances to tell the truth and come clean in front of the people of the country. “He was given five chances to tell the truth to the people, starting with the first hearing in the Supreme Court and the last chance being the JIT.”

The PTI chief also referred to incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as the “biggest conman of Pakistan”. Reiterating his call for the premier’s resignation, Imran alleged that the business entities of the Sharif family have served as a front for money laundering.

The PTI chief said Nawaz was given ample chances to prove the money trail, more so after the Sharif family had accepted the properties in question as theirs. “The JIT was formed by the Supreme Court so Nawaz Sharif could answer the questions he could not answer in court,” added the PTI chief. Imran questioned how the assets of the Sharif family increased year after year as the business entities they owned were continuously were in the red.

He also alleged the development schemes initiated during Nawaz’s tenure were meant to siphon of funds from those projects through front companies.

“When Nawaz Sharif became chief minister of Punjab years ago, Ittefaq Foundry went into a loss. Yet by 1993, the family had 30 factories.” “The JIT brought to the forefront one fact, the business of the Sharif family is corruption,” alleged the PTI chief. Referring to electoral reforms, Imran asked for voting rights for overseas Pakistan and said bio-metric voting should be introduced in the country to tackle rigging during elections.

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Soldier, two civilians martyred in Indian firing along LoC, says ISPR

RAWALPINDI (Monitoring Desk): A Pakistan Army soldier and two civilians were martyred on Wednesday after Indian troops opened unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LoC), said a press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The incident also critically injured two soldiers and five civilians. Indian troops targetted Army outposts and the civilian population in Nezapir, Sabzkot and Kayani sectors, added ISPR.

“Unprovoked cease fire violations shall always be responded strongly, aggressive and effectively by Pakistan Army” DG ISPR added.

Retaliatory fire by Pakistan Army troops destroyed the Indian posts responsible for the firing and killed five Indian troops and injured many others.

ISPR added that Indian guns fell silent after the response from the Pakistani side. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the incident and lauded the response by the Army.