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Fazl calls for PPP candidate to step down from presidential elections

F.P. Report

QUETTA: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief and presidential candidate Maulana Fazlur Rehman is still optimistic over his chances in the elections, and said that it will be the opposition’s victory if the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) candidate quits the race.

Addressing a press conference after meeting with Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmud Khan Achakzai, he said that having two candidates by the opposition would give a runaway victory to the government’s candidate.

Maulana Rehman said that they desire to strengthen democracy and institutions in the country and it was necessary for the opposition to play a strong and constructive role.

Therefore, he said that the PPP’s presidential candidate should step down and the entire opposition should support him to ensure his victory.

“The opposition has a strong role in the nation. We want the the PPP to be alongside in this democratic journey. If PPP had supported us in the prime minister’s election then Shehbaz Sharif would have won by a large majority. Still if the PPP supports us then we can win the presidential elections,” he said.

He further said that Achakzai’s party will support him in the presidential elections, and both will also try to convince the PPP. He called for the PPP candidate Aitzaz Ahsan to step down to ensure his victory in the elections.

“Today we have the Mahmud and Maulana alliance. My father was also named Mehmood. Having two candidates by the opposition will give a clear victory to the government,” he said.

The JUI-F chief said that democratic institutions should be strengthen, while the objectives of independence have not yet been fulfilled, and politics, economy, and defence continue to be pressurised while there is a need to strengthen national sovereignty.

Achakzai said that they will discuss the matter with the PPP over the presidential candidate to step down. He said that they should forget the past as a better and prosperous nation is their destination.

He said the real change will be if Imran Khan is the prime minister and Maulana Fazlur Rehman is the president.

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PTI demands Nadra Chairman’s resignation over RTS malfunction

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Senator Azam Swati demanded immediate dismissal of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman Usman Mobin for his role in malfunctioning of RTS application on poll day.

Senator Swati in a press conference held on Friday said that there should be an investigation to ascertain the person or group involved in the act, he demanded the NADRA chairman to resign to ensure transparency of the probe.

“We are not here to give clarification for the Election Commission of Pakistan’s personnel nor to target NADRA,” he said. “Chairman Nadra and his subordinates should relinquish office to facilitate the forensic audit.”

The PTI leader said that the ECP and NADRA’s statements are contrary to each other, adding that the ECP should prove that the polls were free and fair.

Meanwhile, NADRA spokesperson maintained that the RTS remained completely functional on the poll day, adding that its contrary to the facts that the RTS’ data was supposed to be put into the RMS.

NADRA said that the institution is ready to give clarification at any forum on the issue and forensic audit.

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PTI government reduces price of petrol by Rs2.41 for September

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has reduced oil prices by up to 5.6% for September, a change that will take effect from Saturday. It is the government’s first official notification on petroleum products since being elected to power.

The price of high-speed diesel (HSD), widely used in the agriculture and transport sectors, has come down by Rs6.37 per litre (5.6%), decreasing from Rs112.94 to Rs106.57 per litre.

Petrol has become cheaper by Rs2.41 per litre (2.5%), down from Rs95.24 to Rs92.83. The demand for petrol has increased following the ban of indigenous gas at CNG retail outlets.

The price of kerosene oil has been reduced by Rs0.46 per litre (0.55%). It will now be priced at Rs83.50.

The rate for light diesel oil (LDO) saw a hike of Rs0.59 per litre, and will now be set at Rs73.96.

The finance ministry said that Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the recommendation of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), approved the change in prices of petroleum products.

The Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) had earlier proposed a hefty cut in the prices of petroleum products in a bid to provide relief to the consumers.

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LHC dismisses appeals against Sharifs’ sentences in Avenfield properties case

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has dismissed appeals petitions to suspend the sentence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar in Avenfield reference case on Friday.

Justice Shahid Waheed, headed a three member bench, comprising Justice Aatir Mehmood and Justice Shahid Jameel Khan heard the appeals seeking the release of the Sharif family members.

National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, better known as NAB Ordinance, was initiated by former president Pervez Musharraf but lapsed after the 18th Amendment, the petitioner stated.

The petitioner added that a three-time prime minister was sentenced in accordance with a dead law and requested the court to declare the Sharif family’s sentences null and void as they were convicted through a dead law.

After hearing the arguments, the bench initially reserved its judgment but announced it later.

The bench dismissed petitions challenging Sharif family’s sentences and also appeals seeking that NAB Ordinance 1999 be declared null and void.

Appeals have also been filed in the Islamabad High Court against the sentences handed to Nawaz, Maryam and Capt (retd) Safdar. However, on August 20, the IHC deferred its judgment over the appeals.

On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.

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11 gunmen killed in Nangarhar operation

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: At least 11 gunmen were killed and 12 others were arrested in a military operation conducted by Afghan forces in Khogyani district of Nangarhar in province.

The local officials told Afghan media outlet that the operation was conducted in Kooz Bahar area on Thursday night.

Officials claimed that a Taliban commander was among those killed in the operation and that those arrested were Taliban aides.

Taliban has said in a statement that civilians were killed and wounded in a military operation by Afghan Special Forces in Kooz Bahar area in Khogyani district.

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PM Imran Khan to visit Lahore today

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Lahore for the first officials visit on Friday after resuming the office.

PM Imran Khan will stay at his residence in Zaman Park and will hold meetings with CM Usman Buzdar and other party leaders.

He will discuss the name of candidates for the by-poll due to be held on two seats of National and Provincial assemblies.

Imran Khan will also address the Punjab cabinet on Saturday.

On the other hand, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate for President Arif Alvi is also arriving in Lahore for election campaign.

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Qureshi, Zarif discusses regional peace

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Muhammad Javad Zarif and discussed regional peace and strengthening relations among the two neighboring countries.

Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif, who arrived in Islamabad a day earlier on a two-day visit,

Javad Zarif is the first top foreign diplomat to visit Pakistan after the new government came into power earlier this month.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that Zarif conveyed best wishes of the Iranian leadership for success of new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He is also scheduled to meet with PM Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad.

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Sabbir dropped from Bangladesh’s Asia Cup squad

DHAKA (Agencies): Sabbir Rahman, who faces a hearing with the BCB’s disciplinary committee this weekend, has been left out of Bangladesh’s 16-man squad for the Asia Cup that will be played in September in the UAE.

Sabbir’s place was always up for debate given his prolonged run of poor form this year, but the 26-year-old’s axing is linked to his off-field issues. His latest brush with the authorities is due to the alleged abuse and threats he subjected two fans to on social media from what is believed to be his official account. His alleged comments include foul language and the threat of physical harm. He faces the disciplinary hearing for this incident.

This comes after an altercation between Sabbir and a fan late last year, a minor who Sabbir assaulted during a Rajshahi Division first-class game. He lost his central contract for that incident and was fined USD 25,000 approximately, with the disciplinary committee’s vice-chairman saying that Sabbir could be “permanently suspended” if there were further breaches.

Top-order batsman Mohammad Mithun was included in the 16-man squad named on Thursday, along with Ariful Haque who has so far only played T20Is. Mithun, whose last ODI was the tri-nation series final in January this year, was included after strong recent showings – 87 not out and 73 – against an Ireland A side earlier this month. He is likely to take up a lower-order role in the Asia Cup, in place of Sabbir.

According to chief selector Minhajul Abedin, Mithun was the choice of captain Mashrafe Mortaza and coach Steve Rhodes for that role. “They wanted Mithun for the No. 6 or 7 batting position, in place of Sabbir,” he said. “Ariful too is picked for a similar role.”

Meanwhile, Anamul Haque and Abu Jayed have also been omitted from the squad. The rest of Bangladesh’s squad for the Asia Cup was unchanged from the West Indies ODI series – their previous one-day assignment – which Mashrafe Mortaza’s side won 2-1.

Shakib Al Hasan stays in the squad, meaning he will play with a finger that is not quite right. He injured the little finger on his left hand in January, which forced him out of the home Tests and T20Is against Sri Lanka and the Pakistan Super League.

He is supposed to undergo a finger surgery. But now, after being included in the squad, it appears he will miss the home series against Zimbabwe in October to have the surgery.

Bangladesh, whose best performance in the Asia Cup was runners-up in 2012, begin their campaign with a game against Sri Lanka in Dubai on September 15.

The Bangladesh squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan (vice-capt), Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Nazmul Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider.

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Ronaldo tries again for first goal, Inter for first win

MILAN (Agencies): World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo will try again to score his first goal for Juventus and Inter Milan will attempt to secure their first league win of the season in the weekend’s Serie A games.

Ronaldo added another prize to his collection on Tuesday when his bicycle kick goal for Real Madrid away to Juventus in April won UEFA’s vote for the goal of the season.

The goal also earned him a standing ovation from the Juventus crowd at the end of that game and Ronaldo said recently that their reaction partly influenced his decision to join the Turin side in a surprise move in July. The 33-year-old, however, would probably settle for a tap-in or a penalty to get off the mark for his new side when they visit promoted Parma on Saturday.

Given that Ronaldo scored 311 goals in 292 La Liga matches for Real Madrid, two scoreless games for Juventus is already beginning to feel like a drought — and his failure to hit the back of the net certainly has not been for want of trying. Ronaldo was denied by an inspired display by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino in his opening game, won 3-2 by Juventus, and again by Lazio’s Thomas Strakosha in their 2-0 win last Saturday.

He also missed an open goal in that game but in doing so unwittingly set up an assist for Mario Mandzukic. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said Ronaldo just needed more time.

“He’s intelligent and understands that Italian football is different to that in Spain,” he said. “I know everyone is waiting for his first goal… I’m happy with the way he is fitting in.” Parma have been to the fourth division and back since their 1-0 win over Juventus when the teams last met in 2015. Shortly after that win, Parma were relegated and subsequently kicked out of the league after going bankrupt. As often happens in Italian football, they were quickly re-founded, accepted into the fourth tier of the league and managed three straight promotions for the quickest possible return to Serie A.

Juventus, Napoli and surprise package SPAL are the only teams with a maximum six points after two games while Inter, touted as possible contenders before the season, find themselves with one point after a miserable start.

Following a 1-0 defeat at Sassuolo in their opening game, they squandered a 2-0 halftime lead against Torino last Sunday and were held 2-2, prompting coach Luciano Spalletti to suggest that the psychological weaknesses they had last season had not gone away.

“These moments have characterised Inter in recent years,” he said. “It also happened last season. “To remain at a certain level then we must still build a specific type of mentality. To win every single match isn’t easy and we must still make steps forward. “Clearly the reality is that the team is struggling with pressure.”

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Pak cricket team named for Asia Cup

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali was axed from the 18-member Pakistan cricket squad named here on Thursday to prepare for the Asia Cup being played from September 15-28 in United Arab Emirates.

The national selection committee headed by former Pakistan captain, Inzamam ul Haq after consultations with Captain Sarfraz Ahmad and the head coach, Mickey Arthur announced the list of players for attending the camp which will commence from September 3 at Gaddafi Stadium, said a spokesman of the Pakistan Cricket Board. The players will undergo fitness tests on September 3, he added.

As Azhar was dropped the national selectors recalled opening batsman Shan Masood and all-rounder Imad Wasim for the camp. These two players were not considered for national duty for past one year.

Following will attend the camp,Fakhar Zaman, Imamul Haq, Shan Masood, Muhammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Hassan Ali, Usman khan Shinwari, Muhammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Faheem Ashraf.

The most awaited match of the Asia Cup between arch rivals, Pakistan and India which has been billed as the ‘ encounter of nerves ‘ will be played on September 19.