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Farooq Sattar accuses MQM’s Bahadurabad faction of pressurizing leaders

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) PIB faction leader Dr Farooq Sattar on Wednesday after Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) accused party’s Bahadurabad faction of pressurising leaders to quit party.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi on Wednesday, he said that MQM’s organisational crisis is due to internal differences.

“Crossing the limit of respect is not acceptable,” he said and added some people were pressurising.

Sattar claimed that Senator Nighat Hina Mirza was pressurised to join Bahadurabad faction.

The MQM-P leader said that he had written a letter to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar regarding the injustices done to his party but said he didn’t receive any reply yet.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Nighat Hina Mirza said that two lawyers tried to drag her in contempt of court case.

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PML-N lawmakers, workers booked for anti-judiciary protest in Kasur

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Over 70 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party workers including the local federal and provincial lawmakers have been booked in two separate cases for their protest against judiciary and state institutions.

The cases filed by Constable Abdul Rasheed and Major (retd) Habib ur Rehman have nominated MNA Wasim Akhtar, MPA Naeem Safdar, Chairman Baitul Maal Kasur Nasir Mehmood and Chairman Market Committee Jameel Ahmed.

The case is filed on the grounds that the protestors used inappropriate language against the judiciary and other state institutions.

DPO Kasur Zahid Marwat said that the action initiated on the directives of Punjab IG will be implemented at any cost.

Police teams have been dispatched to arrest the PML-N workers who participated in the rally.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has taken strict notice of the protest and has directed the party’s chief whip Sheikh Aftab to take disciplinary action against the party members involved in the protest.

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People’s bus service starts in Karachi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The people bus service was started in Karachi with the collaboration of Sindh government and private bus company, Daewoo on Wednesday.

Initially, 10 buses would work in between and it will travel from Quaidabad and tower till 11pm.

The citizens of Karachi shows pleasure over the initiative and told that it is a very good step taken by the Sindh in the better interest of the masses and adding that the provincial government for setting a decent fare, Rs20 to Rs40.

However he complained that 10 buses are few for the population of 16 million in the city dependent on the public transport for the daily commute.

Last year, the Sindh government had taken notice of the dilapidated condition of public transport in the city, approving a plan to introduce 600 intercity buses in Karachi.






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Another PML-N MPA likely to join PTI

F.P. Report

MULTAN: Another Member of Punjab Assembly decided to relinquish Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and all set to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

According to reports, Malik Mazhar Abbas, MPA elected from Multan, has decided to quit PML-N. The reports claimed that Malik Mazhar Abbas will announce his joining the PTI in two to three days.

It is pertinent to mention here that a large number of MNAs and MPAs from the ruling PML-N have left their party to PTI in the recent past.


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Two more children die of malnutrition in Tharparkar

F.P. Report

THARPARKAR: At least two more children succumbed in Civil Hospital Mithi on Wednesday and it takes the death toll to 177 this year,

According to Sindh Health department, the children dying for various reasons in Tharparkar region and it added 55 deaths were reported in January, 45 in February and 56 in March with 19 losing their lives so far in April.

The officials added that all the deaths have been due to malnutrition and the outbreak of viral infections in the region and adding that around 1,500 children die due to malnutrition, infections and lack of proper medical facilities in Tharparkar area of Sindh.




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Nawaz, Maryam heads to London to see ailing Begum Kulsoom

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz left for London on Wednesday to visit ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

According to family spokesman, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was again admitted in the hospital on Tuesday after her health condition was not good and she was feeling problems.

Begum Kulsoom was diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

A spokesman of Sharif family told that both the father and daughter will return to Pakistan on April 22.

Maryam Nawaz said that they will return before the next hearing of corruption case against them if the exemption was not granted to them by the court.

It is to mention here that as many as three corruption references had been filed against the Sharif family, on the directives of the top court which pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

On Tuesday, the accountability court adjourned the hearing of Avenfield case until April 20 and Al-Azizia Steel Mills case until April 23.





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NAB finds Rafique’s link to Paragon city

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has reportedly found documents establishing Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother provincial minister Khawaja Salman Rafique’s link to the Paragon City in Lahore.

A transfer deed of over 50 kanals bearing names of Khawaja brothers and Paragon City chief executive officer surfaced on Tuesday. According to documents, the two also acquired land in Paragon City.

The railways minister had earlier claimed that he had no link with the Paragon City.

The minister had also appeared before the anti-corruption watchdog in the Paragon Housing Society case to record his statement. A three-member inquiry team had recorded his statement.

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NAB arrests 4 accused of saaf pani company scam

F.P. Report

LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NA-B) Lahore has arrested four accused involved in Saaf Pani Company corruption scam.

According to NAB sources, accused Dr. Zahirud Din, Muhammad Saleem Akhtar, Nasir Qadir Bhaddar and Muhammad Masood Akhtar have been arrested by the NAB.

Accused Dr. Zahirud Din had been working as Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in Saaf Pani Company accompanied by accused Nasir Qadir Bhaddal who had been working as Chief Procurement Officer (CFO) in the same company.

Moreover, Associated Consultant Engineer (ACE) accused Muhammad Saleem Akhtar was the Procurement and Contract Specialist attached with Saaf Pani Company Project and accused Muhammad Masood Akhtar, Managing Director, KSB Pumps was the then contractor when financial loss was made.

The accused with malafide intention installed around 116 water filtration plants in Bhawalpur Region on exorbitant rates. The accused allegedly made all Units operational on for more higher rates as compared to market cost, causing a loss worth millions of rupees to national exchequer.

The NAB Lahore Investigation officials provided them a fair opportunity to defend the allegations but they failed to defend.

The NAB will produce all four accused before honourable accountability court for their physical remand for further investigation.

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Who ordered to hide 27 govt vehicles: Apex Court

Tariq Ullah Wardag

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar to find out as to who had ordered to hide 27 government-owned vehicles worth billions of rupees in the basement of a building.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo moto notice in connection with luxury cars being used by government officers, high court chief justices and ministers beyond their entitlement.

During the course of proceedings, the chief justice said the luxury vehicles owned by the government were hidden by a department when the court took notice of the matter.

He remarked that the department had reportedly hidden 27 vehicles belonging to the Punjab government. He asked Rana Waqar as to why vehicles were hidden and who had ordered for the same.

The petitioner told that court that departments acc-used of hiding government-owned vehicles include Qua-id-e-Azam Thermal Power Company, Infrastructure Development Authority Punjab, and National Power Parks Management Company.

The case was adjourned to date in office.

On Saturday, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered the federal and provincial cabinet secretaries to submit the record of all officers and ministers using luxury vehicles beyond their official entitlement.


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Fake news hurts Apex Court’s judges

Tariq Ullah Wardag

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has said that Lahore High Court has not barred from airing the speeches of Nawaz Sharif or any other political leader.

Wrapping up the suo moto notice regarding the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision banning the transmission of anti-judiciary speeches by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, he remarks that some elements would like to malign the judiciary through such news, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz could speech before the court.

Three member bench of supreme court heard the suo moto case, acting Chairman PEMRA also appeared before court.

The chief justice remarked that nowhere does it say in the LHC order that Nawaz and Maryam’s speeches have been banned.

PEMRA had not taken any action under article 19, regulatory authority is using the delaying tactics. Bench questioned that should we order the investigation of fake news to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who gave this news to media, beat reporter can’t do this.

Court also rebuked the appearance of Counsel Salman Akram Raja, and remarked that Salman Akram Raja is the lawyer of Nawaz Sharif but appeared on the behalf of PEMRA.

The court also summoned the attorney general (AG) of Pakistan as well as the advocate generals of all four provinces and the LHC’s registrar.

AG Ashtar Ausaf had subsequently appeared before the bench and presented the LHC decision.

“I want to read out the LHC’s decision in court,” he had said.

“You may be the first person to actually read this decision,” Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed retorted, observing that all media outlets had taken the LHC’s decision out of context by reporting that the court had banned Nawaz and Maryam’s speeches.

“This is not the case. Where in the verdict does it say that speeches [from the two leaders] have been banned?” the chief justice asked the AG.

“Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif can come here and speak for as long as they want,” Justice Nisar said and added, “Is there anyone in this country who would disagree with Article 19 of the 1973 Constitution?”

Article 19 of the 1973 Constitution, while allowing all citizens freedom of speech, also says that the freedom is “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, or incitement to an offence”.

“I cannot believe that court reporters disseminated this incorrect news. Who was it who made changes to the actual news?” the chief justice asked.

Text of order: Court Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar: We took Suo Motu Notice in this matter on account of media reports and panel discussions on various media channels based on an order dated 16.04.2018 passed by a Full Bench of the Lahore High Court, Lahore. A false impression was intentionally sought to be created amongst the general public by such news reports as well as panel discussions that Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (ex Prime Minister of Pakistan) and his daughter Ms. Maryam Safdar had been directed to be taken off air and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had been directed to stop broadcasting of speeches made by the said persons. Further, it was categorically stated that the learned High Court had banned airing of anti judiciary speeches by a large number of persons including Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Maryam Safdar.

  1. A false impression was also sought to be created that the fundamental right to freedom of speech enjoyed by all citizens and guaranteed by the Constitution has been curtailed, restricted or diminished through the said order.
  2. We have summoned the order of the learned High Court and carefully gone through the same. Perusal of the said order indicates that PEMRA which is a regulatory authority of broadcasters has been directed to implement the law in terms of Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with Section 27 of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 and Section 2(j) of the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015.

Further, PEMRA has been directed to decide various applications moved by a number of applicants for enforcement of law against hate speech within a period of 15 days.

  1. There is nothing in the order which even remotely directs or obligates PEMRA to ban Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Maryam Safdar or any body else. The media speculation, panel discussions and press reports appearing on various channels and media outlets and in various newspapers today are incorrect, baseless and unsubstantiated. The opinions, verbal or in writing have clearly and obviously been expressed without even reading the contents of the order of the High Court.
  2. We have confronted the learned Attorney General for Pakistan as well as the learned counsel appearing on behalf of PEMRA if the order in question in any manner imposes a ban, embargo or restriction on Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Maryam Safdar or any body else. They have frankly conceded that this is not the case and the contents of the order do not support any such conclusion. They agree and acknowledge without any reservation whatsoever that as guardians of the Constitution and custodians of fundamental rights the superior Courts of the country are mandated and obligated to ensure that fundamental rights are protected and enforced with full force and vigor with all their manifestations and strictly in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the law.
  3. We had also issued notices to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Maryam Safdar and had directed the learned Attorney General for Pakistan to convey the same to the said persons to enable them to arrange their representation. None has appeared on their behalf. However, learned counsel appearing on behalf of other Respondents and the Attorney General for Pakistan, after going through the order, agree that there is nothing in the order that can even remotely be interpreted to mean or imply that a ban has been imposed on the said persons or taking them off-air. All learned counsel unanimously agree that as the regulator for electronic media, it is the duty of PEMRA to enforce the law as provided in Section 27 of the Ordinance, 2002 read with Section 2(j) of the Code of Conduct ibid and the order in question merely reiterates the said position.
  4. Having satisfied ourselves that the order of the learned High Court, referred to above, does not in any way curb, restrict, curtail or diminish the fundamental right of freedom of speech as enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution and merely directs PEMRA to enforce the law which it is obliged to do and decide the applications pending before it relating to hate speech against any and all organs of the State, we are inclined to dispose of this Suo Motu Notice. Disposed of accordingly.