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Won’t resign on demand of conspirers, PM tells cabinet members

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday he will not resign regardless of the demands being made by the group conspiring against him as the people of Pakistan have elected him.

The premier made the remarks while chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet.

Addressing the cabinet members, Sharif termed the joint investigation team (JIT) report a concoction of allegations and stories regarding his family’s private businesses.

“Without any hesitation I presented myself and family before the JIT,” he stated, adding that his family business predates the entry of any family member in politics.

“My family didn’t earn anything from politics but did lose a lot,” he said, adding that despite reservations he accepted the JIT’s formation.

The language used in the JIT report displays malafide intentions, he said, adding that his conscience is clear.

“Those demanding my resignation on false and unwarranted claims should first look at themselves,” said Sharif.

The premier said the Pakistan Muslim League-N got more votes than all the parties demanding his resignation, adding that he will not let the country’s development become a target of conspiracies.

The members of the meeting agreed that there’s no legitimacy to the demands of the premier’s resignation, and expressed their complete support in the prime minister.

Other than the political situation in the country arising following the JIT report’s submission to the Supreme Court on Monday, the cabinet members discussed projects related to power generation and other economic initiatives of the government.

The 64-point agenda of the meeting also included discussion on MoUs signed with various countries and approval of the procedure to appoint the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited’s managing director.

On Wednesday, the prime minister presided over an informal consultative meeting where he was briefed by legal and constitutional experts regarding the preparations of the government’s stance on the JIT report, sources told Geo News.

The meeting decided to take up the matter of ‘baseless, unwanted remarks’ against government functionaries in the Supreme Court, asking on what grounds were such comments made [by the JIT], sources added.

JIT report

The political situation in the country became heated after the JIT submitted its final report to the Supreme Court on Monday. The JIT report observed major disparities in the finances of the Sharif family and their known and declared sources of income.

Following the report, the opposition parties demanded that the premier resign. However, the ruling party leaders remarked that they will contest the report in the Supreme Court.

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Indian violations along LoC are condemnable: FO

ISLAMABAD (APP): Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said on Thursday that Pakistan strongly condemns Indian troops’ violations along Line of Control (LoC).

Nafees Zakaria was speaking during the weekly media briefing at foreign office.

He also remarked that India has continuously been violating the ceasefire agreement, adding that innocent Kashmiris, including children, have been targeted by Indian troops.

On July 10, five innocent people, including four women, were martyred in unprovoked firing by Indian troops along Line of Control (LoC), according to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Four others including three girls were injured due to the firing, which occurred in Rawalakot sector, Satwal, Manwal, Tatrinote areas along the LoC.

Pakistan Army befittingly responded and killed four Indian troops and destroyed their two check posts, said Pakistan Army’s media cell.

Before this, back-to-back violations occurred on July 8 and July 9 after which at least two civilians were killed due to unprovoked Indian firing. Following, FO had summoned Indian Deputy High Commission JP Singh twice in a row to record protest.

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Asma Jahangir denies reports of joining PML-N legal team in Panama Papers case

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Human rights lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir on Thursday denied reports that she will be joining the PML-N’s legal team which will represent the Sharif family before the Supreme Court as hearing of the Panama Papers case resumes on Monday.

“Neither has the Prime Minister’s House contacted me to take their case nor is it my field of law to accept such a case,” Jehangir wrote on Twitter, dismissing media reports of her involvement in the case as “false” that had begun circulating on Wednesday evening.

An apex bench is scheduled to resume hearing the case on Monday ─ a week after the Supreme Court-mandated joint investigation team (JIT) which had been probing allegations of money laundering against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family submitted an explosive report before the apex court.

In the damning report, the JIT stated that the prime minister and his children had accumulated wealth beyond their known sources of income.

It also declared that PM Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were used as proxies to build family assets.

Further, the report highlighted “irregular” movements of large sums of money from companies owned by the Sharif family in the UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia to their companies in Pakistan.

In a section titled “Ownership of Avenfield Apartments”, the report stated that the prime minister’s sons, his daughter, Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law, Capt Muhammad Safdar tried to mislead and manipulate the SC through a series of fake documents submitted or signed by the defendants.

Sources quoted by Dawn have said that the prime minister has already nominated Khawaja Harris to represent his family before the SC and directed him to prepare a point-wise response to the JIT report.

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Prime minister will not resign, says Maryam Nawaz

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, on Wednesday once again reiterated PML-N’s stance that the premier will not resign and will continue with his tenure.

The first daughter, in a tweet, questioned the reasoning behind calls for the prime minister to step down.

“He will not give it [resignation] God willing! He should resign because not a single penny of government money was stolen during his five terms in power?”

The statement by Maryam comes after repeated calls from opposition parties asking the prime minister to step down following the submission of the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) report to the Supreme Court.

The premier’s daughter, in an earlier tweet, had rejected the JIT report. She had said that all contradictions will be contested and “decimated” in the Supreme Court.

The Panama case JIT has also accused Maryam of presenting fake documents to the probe team, which it says is an offence.

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PM should quit, become PML-N President: Javed Hashmi

ISLAMABAD (INP): Seasoned politician Makhdoom Javed Hashmi has said that conspiracies in the country had reached their peak as the people clamoured for justice and the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sensing the situation should resign and become president of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

Following submission of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report, Javed Hashmi talking to media here on Wednesday suggested that Nawaz Sharif should make Ch Nisar or Ahsan Iqbal, the prime minister. He said that Nawaz Sharif would tell a lie if he says he has not plundered the money.

“Nawaz should provide evidence if he is innocent,” he maintained. Javed Hashmi said there is not a single judge of the SC was ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Amin’. “The Panama case bench has lost the right to hear the case,” he added.

He said that the conspiracies were at peak in the country that cannot afford political instability. “All politicians, including Nawaz Sharif, should be held accountable.” He alleged that the Supreme Court judges were also involved in the Panama case. Hashmi said that Imran Khan is an upright man and he dissented with him on the basis of principles.

The veteran political leader advised politicians to tread carefully and claimed that he had never embezzled a single penny while serving as an MNA and minister. “I even sold my house to make ends meet.” Referring to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, he said he had fled from the country and was now acting as if he were a king.

“We can’t even speak about him. Can anyone punish him?” “The country moves when generals wish it, what is the worth of Nawaz Sharif when compared to them?” The political leader also questioned the status of army chiefs after retirement.

Stressing on the need for accountability of politicians, Hashmi asked if anyone could name the judge who had wealth in Panama. “Can anyone take his name, can anyone hold him accountable, can anyone ask why he hid money in Panama?” The veteran political leader said he has had cordial relation with PTI Chairman Imran Khan, but had disagreed with him certain issues.

Laying criticism on Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rasheed, Hashmi said Rasheed turns to the side which offers him a chance of victory. “He was once on Musharraf’s side too.” “During the sit-in, the issue was rigging, and now he [Imran] has Panama as an issue,” said the veteran politician.

According to Hashmi both Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif were unhappy with him. Hashmi also called upon the premier to step down and added that the prime minister would come from the same party as it was still in power.

Referring to Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, Hashmi said no one was Sadiq and Amin in the country. “I think no one can be Sadiq and Amin other than the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him).”

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CPEC truly harbinger of economic development, peace in region: Army Chief

RAWALPINDI (NNI): Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa says China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is truly a harbinger of economic development, peace, and prosperity in the region.

Addressing a function on CPEC Logistics in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, he said CPEC is also affirmation of Pakistan’s efforts for a peaceful and prosperous region. He said unlike some other countries of South Asia, we believe in focusing our energies on peace and inclusiveness, rather than divisive competition.

The Army Chief said CPEC will bring increasing economic integration among regional economies and reduce the development gap within various regions of Pakistan.

He said Chinese investment in various fields, including energy, infrastructure, Gwadar Port, and special economic zones can lay the foundation of a fast development Pakistan, if the opportunity is optimally utilized.

Commenting on prevailing security situation in Pakistan, the Army Chief said the country is much safer today than before as peace has been restored in FATA and the adjoining areas.

He said normalcy is returning to Pakistan’s economic hub of Karachi. Similarly, the law and order situation has improved significantly in Balochistan and there is great focus on socio-economic development in the province.

The Army Chief said Pakistan is making steady, but sure-footed progress to get rid of the menace of terrorism and extremism.

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CPEC opens new avenues for international investors; Tremendous scope for promoting Pakistani IT based services in US: Aizaz Chaudhry

WASHINGTON (APP): Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Aizaz Chaudhry, has said that Pakistan is an emerging market for the international investors and this trend is recently being followed by the Corporate America.

He was talking to a 16-member delegation of Pakistani IT professionals who visited Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC on Tuesday.

Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry said that there is a tremendous scope to promote Pakistani IT professionals and IT based services/solutions in the international market particularly in USA.

Aizaz Chaudhry underscored that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has opened new avenues for Pakistan and is considered as an emerging investment hub for a large number of investors from the world and this trend is recently being followed by the Corporate America.

Ambassador Chaudhry emphasized that our IT firms and professionals must explore new export opportunities and forge investment links with the US IT firms.

During the discussion, Ambassador Chaudhry said that US is and for foreseeable future would remain a global leader in technology.

Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the US and intends to further strengthen bilateral relations in various fields including IT and in this context, a large number of Pakistani IT professionals visit the US to serve here and also to sharpen their professional skills, he said.

The 16-member delegation of IT Professionals from Pakistan is currently visiting Washington DC to participate in Microsoft Global Partner event “Inspire” being held from 09-13 July 2017.

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PML-N meeting presided over by PM decides to challenge JIT report

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday to challenge the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the top court.

The premier presided over a meeting in the PM House today to discuss course-of-action of the ruling party following submission of JIT report in the Supreme Court (SC).

Reportedly, ministers and representatives of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) reiterated their confidence in the party leadership. The Punjab Chief Minister took PM in confidence over statement pertaining to Gulf Steel Mills.

Participants of the meeting observed that the probe team relied upon media reports and accusations for its report. It sounded more of a political party’s stance, the ministers said.

Reportedly, during PM’s meeting with CM Shehbaz, the top Punjab official cleared to the premier that he gave no statement that was contradictory to the facts.

He branded the JIT report a compilation of documents based on hypotheses and lies. The meeting came in after CM Shehbaz was reported by the JIT to have detached himself with Gulf Steel Mills during his hearing.

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Imran demands resignation from Nawaz, Shehbaz, Dar, Sadiq

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Pakistan Tehreek–e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday demanded resignations from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar for alleged money laundering and also demanded the same from Speaker Parliament Ayaz Sadiq for “failure to uphold the sanctity of the parliament”.

“Dar was Nawaz Sharif’s frontman, he laundered money stolen from the national exchequer on his behalf. He has admitted this as well,” the PTI chief alleged.

The PTI chairman also claimed that Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq had failed to uphold the sanctity of the parliament.

“Ayaz Sadiq should resign if he has any integrity.” “Instead of forwarding a reference against Nawaz Sharif after the revelations of Panama Papers, Ayaz Sadiq sent a reference against me to the Election Commission of Pakistan,” said Imran.

Referring to the letter by the Qatari prince, Imran said it has been confirmed that the letter was fake.  The PTI chief criticised the ruling PML-N for claiming that the JIT was biased and was a conspiracy.

“There is no conspiracy, they have been caught red-handed.” “For them, only institutions which help them obstruct justice are working properly,” said Imran.

The PTI chief also questioned the wealth of the premier’s and Dar’s children and asked how they had become billionaires if they were studying in the ’90s.

“All their children are billionaires. They were students in the 90s, how did they become billionaires overnight?”

Earlier, a press conference by PLM-N had rejected the JIT report as “garbage” and said the report was actually a compilation of Imran’s political statements.

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Prime minister does not own any offshore companies, claims PML-N

ISLAMABAD (Online): PML-N leaders on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does not own any offshore companies and said the Panama Papers were an international conspiracy with Imran Khan as its central character.

“The director of Panama conspiracy is sitting outside the country. The report does not appear to be an outcome of two-month long investigation; it rather seems to be a result of more than a year’s preparation,” said Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.

He added that “Imran Khan is the central character in the drama”.

Rafique said the JIT report contains material regarding which the respondents were not questioned when they appeared before the probe team.

Accusing the probe team of being partial, he said, “The JIT was not supposed to lead one-way traffic. Taking sides and being biased was not your job”.

The railways minister added his party will respond to offshore company allegations in the Supreme Court with strong arguments.

He said the JIT report will be responded to in the court in such a manner that the narrative, which originated yesterday, will be changed.

‘Narrative being shaped against prime minister’

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar urged patience over the final report submitted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Supreme Court, claiming that a narrative was being shaped against the prime minister since the submission of the report.

Dar added the Panamagate JIT report has several flaws, comprises of unsigned documents and even copies. He urged opposition parties to demonstrate patience for they also did so at the time of “Dharna-I and Dharna-II”.

The minister noted that no offshore company has the name of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as its owner, lamenting that efforts are being made to shape a narrative (against the PM) since the submission of the report in the Supreme Court.

Dar urged the system should be allowed to function, adding “There have been courts functioning outside the courts”.

“The JIT said on July 3 that I did not send tax returns from 1981 and 2003. I told them that I will take action against Federal Board of Revenue and asked them to inform me if they were not provided record by the FBR,” he said.

The minister said his tax filer, Zia Babri, told him the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken away all record in Musharraf’s tenure.

“Similarly, I was told that my returns from 2003 to 2008 were not received, but I have the receipt of tax returns submitted to the probe team. The record, I received from NAB on July 7, was also submitted to the JIT, of which tooo I have the receipt.”

Dar said he will submit record and offer to get it audited from an international firm. “Neither I was asked anything, nor a reply was sought from me and a finding was written in the report.”

“My financial record until the last penny will be clear,” he said, adding, “Both my sons are self-dependent since 2003 and as long as I am in politics, neither of them will do business in Pakistan”.

The minister said the investigators did not inquire as to how his assets grew to this extent. “I will present the entire record, from a needle to Mercedes.

“I am a professional and need not evade tax,” he added.

He added that he had informed the investigation team about the yearly amount he received being the financial advisor, which it mentioned in the report as “investment”.