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Captain Sarfaraz, Waqar Younis, others visit Bani Gala

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed arrived in Bani Gala on Tuesday to meet PTI chairman Imran Khan after his party’s historic victory in the parliamentary elections.

Muhammad Hafeez and Umar Gul are also accompanying the skipper.

The cricket players will congratulate Imran Khan after PTI emerged as the single largest political party in July 25 polls.

Meanwhile, former speedster Waqar Younis has also reached Imran Khan’s residence. When asked if he would take up PCB’s issues with Khan, Waqar said that he had come just to felicitate the PTI chief on his election’s victory.

Former captain Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Chief Selector Inazam ul Haq and Yasir Hameed are among other players who have already met Khan in the last few days.

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New Zealand say no to tour of Pakistan

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): New Zealand Cricket has turned down a request from the PCB to tour Pakistan later this year for a T20I series because of security concerns.

New Zealand are set to travel to the UAE to play Pakistan for a full tour that is likely to comprise three Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is in October-November, even though the fixtures are not announced yet. The PCB had hoped to convince New Zealand to play the T20I leg of the tour in Pakistan.

“At the end of the day it came down to following the advisory and the security reports we’d obtained.” NZC chairman Greg Barclay told Newshub. “There’s no doubt they (Pakistan Cricket Board) are disappointed. I think they saw a tour by a country like New Zealand as being a great precedent for them to start to build an international programme back in Pakistan.

“So they’re disappointed but they’re good guys, we get on really well with Pakistan, and I think they’re fully accepting of the decision that we’ve reached.” NZC had received a request to tour Pakistan earlier this year and was going to consult with security providers, the government, and the players. Since the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009, Pakistan have played most of their home games in the UAE. Zimbabwe broke the deadlock in May 2015 when they toured for a short limited-overs series, which was marred by a blast near the Gaddafi Stadium.

A World XI side led by Faf du Plessis, comprising a number of current internationals toured the country for three T20Is in September 2017. In April this year, a depleted West Indies squad also toured Pakistan for three T20Is in as many days. In between, Lahore and Karachi have hosted a few PSL matches. New Zealand last toured Pakistan in 2003, just a year after a suicide bombing outside their team hotel in Karachi had cut their tour short.

“I can’t comment on the decision process that the West Indies went through, perhaps some of the timings may have been different as well,” Barclay said of West Indies’ decision to tour. “I just know that we went through a very thorough process and I’m comfortable with the decision that we got to. “We’re very sympathetic to the plight they find themselves in, we’re a member of the ICC, we’re very aware that the ICC are trying to facilitate more international cricket in Pakistan and we’re very supportive of that.” Although they were given three months to analyse the situation, NZC had not sent any of their representatives to Pakistan to conduct any personal checks.

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Pakistan hockey players demand clearance of dues

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): The Pakistan hockey team has urged the government to release funds to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) so the latter can pay the former daily allowances which have been delayed for the last six months.

The development came before chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui announced the team for upcoming Asian Games.

The national hockey team, which is currently attending the training camp, has not been getting any daily allowances for the last six months and the players have demanded the release of their dues in order to participate in the Games. the players have cautioned that they will only participate and travel for the Games if their payments are cleared.

Earlier, the players had said they would participate in the Asian Games, but did forward a request to the PHF to release their dues.

The players are of the opinion that if their dues are cleared before the Asian Games then they will feel motivated while competing in the Games. “All the players attending the camp have only one source of income and that is this sport. If we don’t get our money then the motivation to play starts decreasing,” Touseeq Arshad said.

Arshad said the players don’t want to boycott the tour since they want to represent Pakistan at the Asian Games but did admit that performances may get affected by this issue. “We don’t want to boycott the tour just because we didn’t get our daily allowances, we want to make the country proud in the Games, but if we don’t get the money we would be distracted during the Asian Games,” he added.

Arshad further said players are hoping that the funds promised by the previous government (nearly Rs180 million) will be released, which were delayed since the officials demanded an audit of the previous grant, and that the PHF will clear their dues before they leave for the Games which begin on August 18. The team is expected to leave for Indonesia a week before that.

Captain threatens boycott

Captain Muhammad Rizwan Senior revealed that they have been waiting for the payments to be cleared but the officials have been delaying them for the past six months. “If we go on this tour without the previous dues being cleared then I know that we will not get the dailies and the match fees of the Games as well,” he said.

“We want to play for the country and make everyone proud, we have been training for the past two months without any daily allowances, but now all the players have come to this decision that we will only travel if the dues are cleared. Otherwise we will miss the Games,” he added.

The chosen ones

Chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui announced the 18-member team after holding one-day trails at the Olympian Islahuddin Academy on Monday.

The team is led by Rizwanm with Ammad Shakeel Butt being his deputy. Goalkeepers Imran Butt and Amjad Ali are joined by Irfan Senior, Mubashir Ali, Faisal Qadir, Rashid Mehmood, Tasawar Abbas, Umer Bhutta, Shafqat Rasool, Touseeq Arshad, Ejaz Ali, Abu Bakar, Atiq Arshad, Ali Shan, Dilbar Hussain and junior team captain Junaid Manzoor in the roster.

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NAB summons Aleem khan in disproportionate assets case

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau has summoned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Aleem Khan in a case related to owing assets more than means of income.

The NAB Lahore has summoned the PTI’s potential candidate for the slot of chief minister Punjab on August 8, around 11 am.

Aleem Khan’s properties in the United States and United Kingdom are also being investigated.

The PTI leader has twice appeared before the probe body in relation to the ongoing investigation.

Sources said that the NAB has not been satisfied with Aleem Khan’s responses in the case submitted on July 30.

Earlier it emerged that Aleem Khan owned assets worth over Rs918 million.

According to Khan’s nomination papers submitted for the recently held elections, the PTI central Punjab president and former MPA holds total assets worth Rs918,278,855.

Khan’s personal property is valued at more than Rs159 million while his ownership of shares is said to be worth more than Rs129.3 million.

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GDA announce to move court against rigged polls

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), which miserably failed in the general elections 2018, has announced it will challenge the election results in court.

The alliance, when formed its leader claimed, it would bring an end to almost a decade rule of the Pakistan People’s Party over the Sindh province but it couldn’t even find the second position, which will be occupied by the Tahreek-e-Insaf, which has emerged the second largest party of the southern Pakistani province.

According to Election Commission of Pakistan, the GDA has been polled 119308 votes from across Pakistan and has thus lagged behind the newly formed Tehreek-e-labbaik Pakistan, which has emerged as the fifth largest party of the country with 234138 votes.

A meeting of the leaders of alliance was held here at the residence of Pir Sahab Pagara, Pir Sibgatullah Rishidi in which the post election situation was reviewed.

Addressing news conference after the meeting Pir Sahab Pagara announced that the alliance will challenge the stolen mandate in the court.

It was promised that the election 2018 will be free and fear; Pagara said and added “These have been the historic rigged election as such rigging has never taken place in Pakistan.”

“If it was a conflict of Punjab so why were the people of Sindh made fool,’ Pagara told reporters, adding the alliance will knock the doors of court. “The rigging had started before elections but after 6pm it was historic and despite the fact that several parties complained no action was taken by the election commission.”

Pagara, however, clarified that his alliance will not make the government of Imran Khan weaker. “If Imran could do 50 percent of what he had been promising the country will be put on the track back,” Pagara said.

The PMLF chief, who is also head of the Grand Democratic Allaince, said Imran had promised that he will bring back the looted money to Pakistan. “Most of the money looted and being laundered abroad belongs to the bureaucracy and if Imran did it, it will be a great success,” he concluded.

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Imran finalises Atif Khan’s name for CM KP

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan finalised the name of party leader Atif Khan on Tuesday for the seat of chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, dispelling the impression that former office holder Pervez Khattak will retain his position this time.

According to sources, Pervez Khattak has been lobbying for the position and as a substitute he has decided that party leader Asad Qaiser will become CM KP. Qaiser had earlier served as the Speaker KP Assembly.

Khattak has won one National Assembly and one provincial assembly seat and he wanted to become head of the KP Assembly instead of being in the centre.

The former CM KP had said that he will accept the decision taken by party Chairman Imran Khan for the provincial head.

PTI chairman Imran Khan had tried relentlessly to convince Khattak to clear the way for Atif Khan — the former education minister of the province — but nothing worked.

Earlier, Khattak claimed the support of 55, out of the party’s total 65 MPAs in the province.

Pervez Khattak had confirmed to Geo.tv that he has conveyed to the party leadership that he will not join the federal cabinet. “The party has a huge mandate in the country just because of my performance in KP,” he had said.

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Policeman arrested for allegedly raping girl in Multan

F.P. Report

MULTAN: A police officer was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly raping a girl along with his two friends, a senior officer said.

The additional sub-inspector along with his two friends allegedly raped the girl in Multan’s Shah Shams area.

“Assistant Sub-Inspector Tariq was arrested on the girl’s complaint,” police said.

“Raids are being conducted to arrest the other two suspects,” the senior officer added.

A case was registered against the three men on the girl’s complaint at Shah Shams Police Station.

The girl was shifted to a hospital for medical check-up.

In January this year, an elite force policeman was arrested on charges of raping and blackmailing a 15-year-old boy in Haripur.

The survivor told the police that the accused raped him multiple times and also made a video of the heinous act. The complainant said the video was used to blackmail him into having sexual relations with the accused and his friends.

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President for enhanced ties with Brazil

ISLAMABAD (APP): President Mamnoon Hussain Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the increased bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Brazil and hoped that ties between the two countries in different fields would be further strengthened.

He was talking to Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces Admiral Ademir Sobrinho, who called on him. On the occasion, Ambassador of Brazil in Pakistan Claudio Raja Gabaglia Lins, and other high civil and military officials were also present, a press release said.

The president noted with appreciation Brazil’s role over entry of the new members of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and said it adopted a justifiable stance.

He said Brazil also adopted a valid stance on the Kashmir issue, so that the long lingering issue could be resolved under the United Nations resolutions.

The president also appreciated participation of Brazilian navy as an observer during the professional exercises of the Pakistan Navy and expressed the hope that the cooperation between the two countries would grow in future.

He stressed the need to enhance the cooperation in trade, investments, education and culture, and also underlined to increase delegation-level exchanges of experts from the fields.

The visiting dignitary also presented the Brazilian forces’ souvenir to the president.

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Afghanistan plans to hold presidential election on April 20 next year

KABUL (Reuters): Afghanistan will hold its next presidential election on April 20 next year, an official with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Confirmation of the date comes amid preparations for separate parliamentary elections due in October which have been beset by technical and organizational problems as well as accusations of fraud and abuse.

Candidates will not be registered until November, but maneuvering among potential contenders and their allies is already under way and President Ashraf Ghani himself is widely expected to run for a second five-year term.

The last presidential election in 2014 produced no clear winner after accusations of massive electoral fraud by supporters of both Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah.

After months of argument, the two rivals signed up to a US-brokered deal forming a national unity government in which Ghani took the presidency and Abdullah took the specially created post of chief executive.

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Iran rejects Trump offer of talks as ‘humiliation’, without value

LONDON (Reuters): Senior Iranian officials on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of talks without preconditions as worthless and “a humiliation” after he acted to reimpose sanctions on Tehran following his withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal.

Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Trump’s repudiation of the accord reached in 2015 was “illegal” and Iran would not easily yield to Washington’s renewed campaign to strangle Iran’s vital oil exports.

In May, Trump pulled the United States out of the multilateral deal concluded before he took office, denouncing it as one-sided in Iran’s favor. On Monday, he declared that he would be willing to meet Rouhani without preconditions to discuss how to improve relations.

The head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations said on Tuesday Tehran saw no worth in Trump’s offer, made only a week after he warned Iran it risked dire consequences few had ever suffered in history if it made threats against Washington.

“Based on our bad experiences in negotiations with America and based on U.S. officials’ violation of their commitments, it is natural that we see no value in his proposal,” Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

“Trump should first make up for his withdrawal from the nuclear deal and show that he respects his predecessors’ commitments and international law,” added Kharrazi, a former foreign minister.

The council was set up by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to help formulate long-term policies for the Islamic Republic.

Trump’s move to force Iran into fresh negotiations has for now reunited Iranian hardliners who opposed the nuclear deal and moderates like Rouhani who championed it to end the Islamic Republic’s economically crippling stand-off with Western powers.

Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament who is seen as part of Iran’s moderate camp, said that to negotiate with Trump now “would be a humiliation”.

“If Trump had not withdrawn from the nuclear deal and not imposed (new) sanctions on Iran, there would be no problem with negotiations with America,” he told state news agency IRNA.

Iran’s interior minister chimed in that Tehran did not trust Washington as a negotiating partner. “The United States is not trustworthy. How can we trust this country when it withdraws unilaterally from the nuclear deal?” Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

A senior aide to Rouhani said the only way back to talks was for Washington to return to the nuclear agreement.

“Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America,” Hamid Aboutalebi tweeted on Tuesday.

Under the 2015 deal, the fruit of Rouhani’s efforts to ease Iran’s international isolation to help revive its economy, Iran curbed its shadowy nuclear program and won relief from U.N. and Western sanctions in return.

NUCLEAR PACT IN JEOPARDY

Trump condemned the deal in part because it did not cover Iran’s ballistic missile program and involvement in Middle East conflicts. He reactivated U.S. sanctions, the most all-encompassing measures against Iran, and warned countries to stop importing Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or risk U.S. penalties.

The three major European signatories to the 2015 deal have been searching for ways to salvage it but cautioned Tehran that they may not be able to persuade many major investors not to bolt from business with Iran to avoid U.S. punishment.

Rouhani said during a meeting with Britain’s ambassador on Tuesday that after what he called the “illegal” U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, “the ball is in Europe’s court now”.

He added, “The Islamic Republic has never sought tension in the region and does not want any trouble in global waterways, but it will not easily give up on its rights to export oil.”

Rouhani and some senior military commanders have said Iran could disrupt oil shipments from Gulf states through the Strait of Hormuz if Washington tries to choke off Iranian oil exports.

Reiterating Tehran’s official stance, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency on Tuesday that the strait would remain open “if Iran’s national interests are preserved”.

Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, told Reuters on Tuesday that Trump was mistaken to expect Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to compensate for losses of Iranian oil caused by U.S. sanctions.

“It seems President Trump has been taken hostage by Saudi Arabia and a few producers when they claimed they can replace 2.5 million barrels per day of Iranian exports, encouraging him to take action against Iran,” Ardebili said.

“Now they and Russia sell more oil and more expensively. Not even from their incremental production but their stocks.”

He said oil prices, which Trump has been pressuring the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to bring down by raising output, will instead rise unless the United States grants waivers to buyers of Iranian crude.

Iran’s currency plumbed new depths on Monday, dropping past 120,000 rials to the dollar, but Trump’s expressed willingness to negotiate with Tehran sparked a minor recovery on Tuesday to 110,000 rials on the unofficial market.

Iranian Vice-President Eshagh Jahangiri said the government and the central bank would unveil a new economic plan by the end of this week to tackle the U.S. sanctions and the rial’s fall.

Videos on social media showed hundreds of people rallying in Isfahan in central Iran in protest at high prices caused in part by the rial’s devaluation under heightened U.S. pressure.