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China will continue to support Pakistan as strategic partner, President Xi tells Gen. Bajwa

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Chinese President Xi Jinping on special invitation and both discussed regional security environment, challenges and way forward.

Chinese President said that Pakistan is our time tested iron friend and Pakistan Army has a pivotal role towards this lasting relationship, statement issued by Inter Services Public Relations reads.

He appreciated professionalism of Pakistan Armed Forces and acknowledged its role towards regional peace and stability.

He said, “China shall continue to support Pakistan as a strategic partner.” President said that those who oppose Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or CPEC shall never succeed as this is an initiative of peace and development not only for China but for region and beyond.

The Army Chief thanked President for his invitation. He also thanked President for acknowledging professionalism and contributions of Pak Army towards regional peace and stability.

Gen. BAjwa said that Pakistan understands the importance of peace and has given lot of sacrifices for achieving it.

He said that BRI with CPEC as its flagship is destined to succeed despite all odds and Pak Army shall ensure security of CPEC at all costs.

COAS said that while we work for peace we need to stay strong to thwart designs of all inimical forces challenging our resolve and we greatly value Chinese support in this regard.

COAS Gen. Bajwa is returning tonight after completion of the visit.

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PM’s visit to Saudi Arabia concludes after bilateral trade, investment discussions

F.P. Report

JEDDAH: At the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia from 18-19 September.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office Wednesday, the Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Finance, Asad Umar, Minister for Information, Fawad Ahmed, and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Abdul Razaq Dawood.

The Prime Minister was received by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, at his Palace in Jeddah, where he was presented with a guard of honor and a state banquet was hosted for him and his entourage.

In the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relationship, the regional and global political situation and the issues confronting Muslim Ummah. They expressed their desire to further enhance and diversify bilateral cooperation and to continue close coordination on issues of mutual interest.

During the visit, the Prime Minister also held a meeting with His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who hosted a dinner in his honor. The two leaders accompanied by their Ministers and senior officials, held detailed discussions on ways to strengthen bilateral relationship and on the regional political and security situation.

They exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defense, economic, commercial and cultural sectors, developing joint ventures in line with their respective developmental needs, strengthening collaboration in human resource sector and addressing the issues faced by Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their historical and brotherly ties, rooted in bonds of common religion, shared culture and values and quest for regional and global peace and security. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the convergence of views on a host of regional and global issues, as well as the issues faced by Muslim Ummah.

Based on their decades old fraternal ties, both countries expressed complete solidarity with each other in their efforts at preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity. They reaffirmed their intention to stand by each other at all times.

Pakistan praised the Saudi leadership on a smooth and successful organization of Hajj this year, and acknowledged the eminent position of respect and reverence among the Muslim Ummah, enjoyed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz. It also commended the visionary leadership of His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, which was leading Saudi Arabia towards a modern and developed economy.

The Saudi leadership congratulated Pakistan on its successful democratic transition, in a peaceful and fair manner, and felicitated the Prime Minister on his election. Appreciating the Prime Minister’s ideal of transforming his country into a welfare state based on Islamic socio-economic principles, the Saudi leadership assured Pakistan of its maximum assistance. Pakistan thanked Saudi Arabia for its steadfast and continued support.

The Prime Minister briefed the Saudi leadership on Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices in its fight against terrorism, highlighting the role of actors trying to destabilize Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly rejected the efforts to promote religious extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.

The Saudi leadership apprised the Prime Minister of the steps taken by the Kingdom to curb extremism and terrorism, and shared views on the forces spreading extremist ideologies in the region.

The two countries acknowledged each others efforts and sacrifices and pledged to continue their partnership to defeat the scourge of extremism and terrorism. They agreed on the need to promote peace and security to ensure progress, development and prosperity. In this regard, they also agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, as well as their collaboration at the regional and multilateral forums.

The Prime Minister informed the Saudi leadership about the plight of the Muslims of Indian Occupied Kashmir, suffering grievous human rights violations. Mentioning the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, he stressed the need for Islamic solidarity and unity in raising the issue forcefully at the UN Human Rights Council.

The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to the just struggle of the Palestinian people to restore their rights and achieve the independence of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They also stressed that the international community must respect the just struggle of the people living under foreign occupation and the legitimate right to self-determination, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

With a view to developing tangible and meaningful bilateral cooperation in key areas, the two countries agreed to intensify consultations and coordination in order to strengthen their strategic partnership.

Prime Minister Imran Khan invited the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman at an early date. The offer was graciously accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership.

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Pak Navy, PMSA capture narcotics worth millions of dollars

F.P. Report

KARACHI: In an impeccable joint maritime operation, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) captured approximately 03 tons of Hashish worth millions of dollars from a dhow in the North Arabian Sea, spokesperson Pakistan Navy told The Frontier Post.

“The intelligence based operation was conducted in coordination with Anti Narcotics Force (ANF),” the spokesperson added.

Seizing narcotics at sea is always a risky and complex proposition owing largely to enormous vastness of the seas that entails a challenging task of seamless monitoring.

“Nonetheless, this maritime operation was a result of careful planning, ubiquitous surveillance and analysis of pattern-of-life of huge number of vessels in the area. The seized narcotic/ drugs were handed over to Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) for further disposal”.

According to the Director General Public Relations (Navy) Successful culmination of such an intricate maritime operation signifies the maturity of joint-ness, coordination and cooperation of our maritime forces. This also assures the nation that PN and PMSA are ever ready, vigilant and responsive forces committed in preventing the use of our seas for any unlawful purpose and to ensure free flow of legitimate commerce.

Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency would continue to remain the dependable forces shouldering the national responsibility and obligation to establish a lawful order in the North Arabian Sea, DGPR added.

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Pakistan’s courts independent, PTI respects IHC’s verdict: Fawad

F.P. Report

JEDDAH: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said that Pakistan’s courts are independent and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) respects today s verdict of Islamabad High Court (IHC).

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Fawad Ch while reacting to suspension of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar’s conviction awarded by the Accountability Court in Avenfield reference, said that we consider it binding to respect today s verdict like the previous court judgments.

The minister said that the government and masses want action against the elements involved in corruption, adding that the nation wants its looted wealth to be brought back to the country.

He went on to say that the nation has no doubts about role of Sharif family. The Sharif family could not prove how they owned billions of rupees.

“Today s judgment has been given on procedural basis,” the minister said and added the process will move forward and the law will take its course.

Earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had ordered the release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar, suspending their prison sentences for corruption pending an appeal hearing.

The court had suspended the verdict against Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law Captain Safdar and ordered to release them on bail until a final decision. They will be released after the payment of sureties of Rs500,000.

It is to be mentioned here that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar were convicted and sentenced to prison in absentia for ten years, seven years and one year respectively, in Avenfield verdict.

Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar, who were candidates for the general elections 2018, were also disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years each.

The sentence and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came almost a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life.

Nawaz Sharif was convicted under section 9(a)(5) of the NAB ordinance.

The case stemmed from the Panama Papers leak that disclosed expensive and undeclared property owned by the Sharif family in London.

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IHC orders release of Sharifs, suspends Avenfield reference conviction

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has suspended the conviction of former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield reference on Wednesday.

The much-awaited verdict of IHC was announced on Wednesday of the petitions filed by the Sharif family against their conviction in the Avenfield reference, and ordered the accused to submit surety bonds worth Rs 0.5 million each.

Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Athar Minallah of IHC heard the case with the latter announcing the verdict, much to the relief of the Sharif’s.

Earlier in August, IHC had accepted the appeals filed by the former ruling family and the accused would no more be incarcerated till the court announces the final verdict on the appeals.

The petitions were filed by the Sharif family against their conviction in the Avenfield reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau in line with the Panama papers case verdict.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail, his daughter Maryam was sentenced to seven years while son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar was sentenced to one year in prison by the accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir in July.

They all were imprisoned in the Adiala jail after Nawaz Sharif and his daughter returned to the country from London.

At the start of the hearing, Justice Athar Minallah grilled the NAB prosecutor and inquired about the age of Maryam Nawaz in 1993.

‘Your case is based on the assumption that the actual owner of London flats is Nawaz Sharif instead of Maryam Nawaz,’ observed the court.

The IHC bench remarked that according to the investigations, the ownership of London flats is difficult to be attributed to former premier Nawaz Sharif.

The NAB prosecutor argued that there was no proof regarding the transfer of 12m AED adding that till 2012, Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of the said properties.

‘Provide any evidence substantiating ownership of London flats by Nawaz Sharif,’ observed Justice Athar in point-blank remarks.

‘Nawaz Sharif is difficult to be traced in the case,’ remarked Justice Athar Minallah and wondered if the trust deed was bogus, how could the sentence be handed out to the accused.

 

During the last hearing of the case, Justice Athar Minallah remarked it was assumed that the upscale London properties were in possession of children of Nawaz Sharif, with him being the actual owner.

At the onset of the hearing, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the second verdict in the Panama Papers case was a binding on all the judges as it bears signatures of all, however, the interim order was not of a binding nature.

Justice Aurangzeb observed that in the first order, Nawaz Sharif was not disqualified and it was a minority judgment.

Justice Athar Minallah observed that according to the Sharif family’s counsel, the chart regarding the income was not presented by star witness Wajid Zia adding that even the investigative officer was oblivious of the individual who devised the chart.

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No official talks held over opening of Kartarpur border: FO

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal has said no official communication between Pakistan and India were held over the opening of Kartarpur border for Sikh pilgrim.

Earlier, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in an interview had said that Pakistan will soon open the Kartarpur border for Sikh pilgrims and allow them to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib without having to obtain a visa.

Dr Faisal told media that he was not aware of Pakistan seeking economic assistance from Saudi Arabia during PM Imran’s two-day visit to the Kingdom.

According to reports, Pakistan is likely to seek economic assistance worth more than $2 billion from Saudi Arabia for its oil purchases.

He further added he was not aware of the premier attending the Pakistan-India Asia Cup clash in Dubai either.

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Apex court removes Ishaq Dar as UHS chairman

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered to remove former finance minister Ishaq Dar as chairman of the board of governors of University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore, who is a also a absconder in a corruption case.

The apex court issued order on Wednesday while hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the administrative crisis in the UHS.

The court also directed the Punjab government to appoint a new chairman within three days in order to run the varsity affairs.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, during the hearing, remarked: “A meeting of UHS board of governors, as per the rules, should be conducted every two years but the last meeting held in 2016″.

The top judge added that Dar had fled abroad avoiding corruption trial, adding that the court had issued red warrants against him after declaring him absconder.

The board is dysfunctional due to the absence of its chairman, the chief justice said.

The court also directed the Interior Ministry and all stakeholders in in the case to submit their replies.

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FIA reveals 2,700 properties owned by overseas Pakistanis

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has revealed that 2,700 properties owned by overseas Pakistanis which had traced by the agency.

DG FIA Bashir Memon said this while appearing before court on Wednesday. The revelation was made during the hearing of a suo motu notice by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar of assets owned by Pakistani nationals in foreign countries.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar chaired a three-member bench of Supreme Court, during the hearing Attorney General (AG) Khalid Javed presented a report in court. He informed the court that the United Kingdom and Pakistan have launched a partnership which aims to track corruption and restart the bilateral transfer of prisoners.

CJP instructed the AG to produce a report regarding Pakistanis who own 15-20 assets in foreign countries.

The governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa then informed the court that 550 Pakistanis own properties abroad.

Responding to the chief justice, AG Javed remarked that laws to stop smuggling and hundi-hawala are being framed for the very first time. He further informed the court that 44 agents involved in the hundi-hawala business were recently arrested and Rs119 million recovered.

According to the attorney general, operations will be conducted soon in Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Faisalabad. “The government has formed a task force which is quickly taking steps in this regard,” AG Javed said.

As the hearing proceeded, AG Javed informed the court that a man arrested in the United Kingdom had transferred 250 million dollars through Dubai to the country. He further noted that the agreement with the UK will help move forward to crack down on the illegal transfer of money.

After DG FIA Memon requested the apex court to grant a month’s time for further operations, the court gave 15 days to the agency to proceed with its crackdown on the illegal transfer of money out of Pakistan.

The Supreme Court also ordered the authorities to submit a report regarding the progress on curbing money laundering and bringing illegally transferred money back to Pakistan.

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Ashura procession: Phone services partially suspended in Karachi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: In order to keep maintain the security the mobile phone services will remain partially suspended during the Muharram procession in Karachi on Wednesday.

According to details, the main Ashura procession in Karachi will start from Nishtar Park.

The Sindh home secretary told on Tuesday that mobile phone services will remain partially suspended in the city from 8th to 10th Muharram on account of security issues till 12 midnight.

He added cellular services will not be suspended across Karachi, in order to facilitate the people.

The home secretary further said that services will also be suspended in Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur, Larkana, Shikarpur and Jacobabad.

Pillion riding has also been banned in Karachi during the eighth, ninth and tenth of Muharram.

Moreover, shops on MA Jinnah Road and Saddar will also be closed for the next three days.

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Pakistan to face India in Asia Cup today

F.P. Report

DUBAI: Pakistan cricket team is all set to face arch-rivals India in the much awaited Asia Cup match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today.

Both the teams will face each other since Pakistan crushed India by 180 runs in the final of the Champions Trophy at The Oval in last year and it will be the first time in the United Arab Emirates since 2006, the last of their regular matches which were also held in Sharjah between 1984-2000.

Both teams have faced each other 12 times in the Asia Cup.

India have won six games while Pakistan came out as winners in five matches. One match between India and Pakistan was abandoned.

During a press conference on Monday, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Indian captain Rohit Sharma played down the hype surrounding the much-awaited clash, insisting that the Asia Cup is much more than a contest between the arch-rivals.

Indian skipper Sharma said his team will be looking beyond Pakistan.

The match will begin at 4:30pm Pakistan Standard Time.

Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Dinesh Karthik, Khaleel Ahmed

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain/wicketkeeper), Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Harris Sohail, Imam ul Haq, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammed Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammed Amir, Shoaib Malik, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi