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At least 30 killed in explosion inside Afghan mosque

F.P. Report

HERAT: At least 30 people have been killed in an explosion at a minority Shia mosque in the Afghan province of Herat, according to a hospital official.

Dr Mohammed Rafique Shehrzad told Associated Press news agency that 30 bodies were brought to the main hospital in Herat city, the capital of the western province, on Tuesday night, soon after the blast.

Police and government officials said that at least ten people were injured in the explosion.

“There has been an explosion at the gate of Jawadia Mosque in Herat city, possibly caused by a car bomb. Ten wounded have so far been reported,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP news agency.

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi sworn in as Prime Minister

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Newly elected Leader of the House in National Assembly Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has taken oath as interim Prime Minister in an oath taking ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr Tuesday.

President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath. Politicians, parliamentarians, services chiefs, and diplomats attended the oath taking ceremony of the newly elected Prime Minister. Among others, who attended the ceremony include Governors of the four provinces, Chief Ministers of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

Earlier, he was elected Leader of the House in the National Assembly with a thumping majority. In the elections held at Parliament House in Islamabad on Tuesday evening, he secured 221 votes. His rivals Syed Naveed Qamar of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians secured 47 votes, candidate of PTI and PML (Q) Sheikh Rashid Ahmad 33 votes, and Sahabzada Tariqullah of Jammat-e-Islami bagged 4 votes.

The result was announced by Speaker National Assembly following completion of the voting process in a specially convened session of the house. He declared that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi have been elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Awami National Party and BNP-Mengal abstained from the voting. Before start of the process, the Speaker read out the procedure set out for the purpose.

Earlier, MQM withdrew from the contest in favour Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while Syed Khurshid Shah of PPP Parliamentarians withdrew his nomination papers in favour of his party colleague Syed Naveed Qamar. The galleries were filled to capacity with visitors including those belonging to the constituency of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair, the Chief Ministers of Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, Senators and members of the diplomatic community witnessed proceedings of the House.

Addressing the house after his election as Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said strengthening of economy and agriculture, promotion of tax culture and investment and integrated security would be his priorities. The Prime Minister-elect said it would be his effort to work hard and deliver whatever time was available to him.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said there would be no load-shedding after November this year and pointed out that ten thousand megawatt of additional electricity is being added to the national grid. He said in line with vision of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan would be made a role model in Asia vis-a-vis motorways.

“I am with Nawaz Sharif for 30 years, he never asked me to indulge in corruption. Nawaz Sharif’s fault is that he made Pakistan a nuclear power,” he said.

The Prime Minister-elect said it is his personal opinion that all automatic weapons should be cancelled for the sake of security and law and order in the country. He also proposed the need for national curricula and a mechanism of national testing mechanism.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the country has a constitution and all institutions and citizens should uphold its supremacy. He urged parliamentarians to work unitedly to restore dignity and honour of the Parliament.



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Political parties cannot be disqualified over a fake certificate, SC tells PML-N lawyer

ISLAMABAD (NNI): During the hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign funding case on Tuesday, the chief justice of Pakistan said that there is no law that states that a political party can be disqualified on the basis of a fake certificate.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, was hearing a petition submitted by PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi seeking the disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for the non-disclosure of assets, ownership of offshore companies, and for PTI being a foreign-aided party.

Chief Justice Nisar added that neither the Representation of People Act, nor the Political Parties Act mentions that a party must be disqualified for submitting a fake certificate. He was responding to arguments made by Abbasi’s lawyer, Akram Sheikh.

Sheikh accused PTI of receiving funds exceeding one million dollars from PTI USA, which is against USA’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). However, the chief justice maintained that American law is not applicable in Pakistan.

Sheikh argued that since the PTI has not disclosed the name of its donors, the party must be disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. “An MNA can be disqualified even for failing to declare his (or her) assets,” said Sheikh, bringing up the recent disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

“It’s written in the law that a person will be disqualified for not declaring his assets,” remarked Chief Justice Nisar, adding that the judges would not comment any further on the Panamagate verdict.

Sheikh’s claim that PTI received “billions of dollars” as foreign forbidden funds prompted the judges to ask how anyone could determine which funds are illegal.

The lawyer’s argument that the PTI chairman’s charity projects were also funded by foreign sources was dismissed by the judges, who said “the law does not forbid receiving foreign funds for charity purposes.”

The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow (Wednesday).


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Justice Khosa never talked to Imran Khan in private capacity, clarifies SC

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday clarified that SC Judge Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa has never met or talked to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in any private capacity throughout his life and has no personal acquaintance with him.

The statement has come after the PTI Chief in a recent interview with a television channel stated that he had been requested by Justice Khosa to file a petition before the SC in connection with the Panama Papers scandal. “The twist given to some of the words used in the interview is, therefore, malicious and unfortunate,” the SC said.

The allegation is absolutely unfounded and completely untrue. The interview itself refers to some observations made in the Courtroom during a judicial proceeding. The fact of the matter is that on November 1, 2016 many Constitution Petitions pertaining to the said scandal were fixed for hearing before a Larger Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Khosa was also a part of that five-member Bench.

When the hearing of the matter came to a close on that day Justice Khosa addressed the learned counsel for the parties and observed in open Court to the effect that now that the Court sitting at the apex of the dispute resolution mechanisms in the country had taken cognizance of the matter the parties would be well advised to “hold their horses” and to reconsider their positions regarding the call for lockdown of Islamabad planned for the next day which was likely to cause extreme hardship to the citizens at large.

It appears that those observations were accorded due deference and the lockdown of Islamabad was called off. All the major television channels in the country had reported the said observations on the same day and all the major newspapers had reported those observations on the following day, i.e. November 2, 2016 and this is a matter of record and hundreds of people, including scores of politicians, journalists and media persons, attending the Court on that day may confirm that factual position.

The relevant Constitution Petitions had been filed before the SC by different petitioners many months prior to November 1, 2016.

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Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest extended

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Punjab government has extended the house arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) Chief, Hafiz Saeed and his four aides for two more months.

He was detained on January 30 this year along with four of his party leaders in Lahore for their alleged involvement in activities prejudicial to peace and security. They were placed under house arrest for three months. Afterwards, their house arrest was extended for another 90 days, and now expired on July 27 last month.

On Monday, the Punjab Interior Ministry decided to further extend the detention of Hafiz Saeed and his aides for another two months keeping view ‘chaos’ and unrest in the country, dubbing his release as ‘threat to peace and tranquility’. The notification was signed by Punjab Additional Chief Secretary (Home) retired Major Azam Suleman.

“Keeping in view the expected release of the said activist and other leaders of the said organisation, workers of the organisation have planned to spread chaos in the country. They have planned to make demonstrations under the leadership of said activist. He will be portrayed as hero and his acts will be glorified,” said the notification.

“Hafiz Saeed is likely to glorify his activities for the JuD and continuation of his activities are likely to create unrest in public,” it further added. The other top JuD leaders detained along with Hafiz Saeed are Ubaid, Abdul Rehman Abid, Zafar Iqbal and Qazi Kashif Niazi of Multan.

India accuses Hafiz Saeed of masterminding 2008 Mumbai attacks through Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which he founded in the 1990s. The U.S. had offered $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed. Pakistan has denied any state involvement and Saeed has said repeatedly he was not responsible.

The government of Pakistan has placed JuD and Falah-e-Insaaniat Foundation (FIF), a charity organisation affiliated with the JuD, on watch list for six months under Section (1) 11EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 in January. The names of Hafiz Saeed and several other JuD leaders were also placed on the Exit Control List.


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Indian forces martyred 33 Kashmiris in July

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: At least 33 Kashmiris have been martyred and 565 persons were injured by Indian forces during the month of July in the Indian occupied Kashmir, according to Kashmir Media Service.

The media report further revealed that more than three out of 33 martyred were killed in a fake encounter, widowed three women and orphaned six children due to these atrocities.

The report disclosed that 565 people were critically injured when pellets and tear gas shells were used on even the peaceful demonstrations in the occupied territory.

Indian troops arrested a total of 450 people, including Hurriyat leaders, activists and youth during the month. It has also been revealed by the outlet that at least 24 women were sexually assaulted and 77 houses were destroyed in the month of July alone.


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Abdul Basit rejects Indian allegations against Hurriyat leadership

DELHI: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, in an interview to Indian media, has rejected all allegations of funding the Hurriyat leadership.

Basit, in an interview to India Today, said he termed all the allegations regarding the Hurriyat, involving tapes and terror funding, false, adding, “…this is not the first time that we have seen such allegations against the Hurriyat leadership. Such allegations were made in the past as well but nobody could substantiate or prove them. I’m confident this time too that all these allegations would disappear, dissipate”, he added.

He rubbished all charges by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the Kashmiri people saying that these were attempts to ‘malign’ them and that there is no truth to the allegations.

In response to a question by the Indian media outlet, Basit said it is unfair to say that Pakistan is being colonised by China.

He described China and Pakistan as “very close friends.”

Basit responded to a question about the Supreme Court’s ruling that disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding any public office by saying, “This only reflects that democracy is finally taking root in Pakistan. Sharif went through a judicial process and tomorrow we will have a new prime minister elected. Democracy seems to be strengthening by the day.”

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Pakistan, China to stay together through thick and thin, says Gen. Bajwa

ISLAMABAD (INP): Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday declared that China and Pakistan will stand through thick and thin, shoulder to shoulder to safeguard their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Our friendship is unique and unparalleled in country-to-country relationship at all levels, he said while speaking as a chief guest at a reception held here in connection with the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The ceremony was largely attended by high-ranking civil and military officers. Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong and his wife Madam Dina Bao were also present on the occasion. General Bajwa joined the Chinese side in cutting a cake to celebrate the anniversary. He had also a look of pictures, displaced on the occasion, showing the two- countries’ high-level exchanges at top-military levels, as well as growing PLA’s military strength.

The ceremony was hosted by Chinese Military, Naval and Air Attaché Major General and Mrs. Chen Wenrong who praised high the growing Sino-Pak friendship particularly at the military-to military level, reaffirming his country’s commitment to keep-up this every-green partnership, that meets the fundamental interest of their countries.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa, while warmly facilitating President Xi Jinping and other Chinese civil and military leadership on the 90th anniversary of the PLA, said his country high appreciates China’s peaceful role world over. Pakistan, he said is highly indebted to China for its support on Kashmir issue, and its joining to Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a full member.

He was of the view that Sino-Pak military-to-military relationship is pillar of their strategic multifaceted all-round friendship. They, he pledged would continue to work together to promote regional peace, stability and development. General Bajwa also mentioned the two countries’ cooperative partnership on counter-terrorism as well as addressing other issues of regional and international concern.

He also praised high PLA’s professional standard and its sacrifices for the cause. The PLA, he said, has today emerged one the finest army in the World. He also eulogized the PLA’s tremendous sacrifices as peace-keeping forces World over. The Army Chief also referred to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and said it was testimony of their growing relationship. The CPEC will be implemented at all cost, he added.

Major General Chen Wenrong in his address further said, China and Pakistan are close neighbors connected by mountains and waters. The china-Pak relationship is based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, commonality of interests and shared perception of regional and global issues.

He said we have always stood by each other through thick and thin, and at every critical juncture of our history. The military relationship between our two armed forces has always served as the pillar to our bilateral relationship. He said construction of the CPEC projects is in full swing. CPEC is bringing us even closer.

He said we highly the tremendous efforts contributions as well as the sacrifices made by Pakistan security forces in fighting against terrorism, in maintain peace and stability of the region and protecting all the Chinese living and working in Pakistan. China and Pakistan are strategic cooperative partners, no matter how the world situation changes, the brotherly friendship between China and Pakistan will remain unchanged, he added.

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NAB to file four references against Sharif family, Dar

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday decided to file four references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his three children, son-in-law and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

The references would be filed under orders from the Supreme Court as part of the verdict which disqualified Nawaz from the office of prime minister.

References would be filed by NAB, Rawalpindi, against Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Capt (retd) Safdar and Ishaq Dar. The case will be pursued in an accountability court.

The references will be prepared on the basis of the material collected and referred by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in its report and some other material which may be available with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NAB having nexus with the assets in the below mentioned cases or which might subsequently become available including material that may become available in pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests sent by JIT to different jurisdictions.


a) Reference relating to the Avenfield Properties (Flat No.16 and 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom).

b) Reference relating to establishment of Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Company.

c) Reference relating to the companies mentioned in paragraph 9 of the judgment.

d) Reference relating to respondent No.10 for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

Earlier, NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry chaired a meeting to chart how to proceed with the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case.

The participants of the meeting were given a briefing by the bureau’s prosecution wing.

A source close to the NAB chief had said the apex court’s decision will be fully implemented by the anti-graft body.

The deputy chairperson of the bureau, deputy prosecutor general, director general operations and director general of NAB Rawalpindi are attending the meeting, according to sources.

After the Supreme Court announced the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister on July 28, NAB was ordered to file several references against Nawaz Sharif, his children Hussain, Hasan and Maryam, son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar and then finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar.

The accountability bureau was given six weeks, from the date of the court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court.

In its order, the five-member-bench also requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to nominate a judge of the Supreme Court to supervise and monitor implementation of the judgement and oversee proceedings of NAB and the accountability court.

Disqualified by SC, Nawaz Sharif steps down as prime minister A reference against Nawaz, Maryam, Hussain, Hasan and Capt (retd) Safdar, relating to the Avenfield properties (flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom), has been directed to be filed by NAB.

“In preparing and filing this Reference, the NAB shall also consider the material already collected during the course of investigations conducted earlier, as indicated in the detailed judgments,” the court ruled.

The court also ordered the filing of a reference against respondents Nawaz, Hussain and Hasan regarding Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment. Then finance minister Ishaq Dar after his session with the Panama case JIT.

A reference was ordered against Dar possessing assets and funds beyond his known sources of income, “as discussed in paragraph 9 of the judgment”.

The court also ordered NAB to include in its proceedings all other persons including Sheikh Saeed, [nephew of Dar’s wife] Musa Ghani, [son of a retired officer from London Stock Exchange] Kashif Masood Qazi, [Nawaz’s friend] Javaid Kiyani and [National Bank of Pakistan President] Saeed Ahmed, who have any direct or indirect nexus or connection with the actions of Nawaz, Hussain, Hasan, Maryam and Dar, leading to acquisition of assets and funds beyond their known sources of income.

A reference was also ordered against Nawaz, Hussain and Hasan regarding the companies mentioned in paragraph nine of the judgment. The bench also gave NAB the option to file supplementary reference(s) “if and when any other asset, which is not prima facie reasonably accounted for, is discovered”. Panama Case: Judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The accountability court will then proceed with and decide the aforesaid references within six months from the date of filing.

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MQM-P will vote for Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The MQM-Pakistan stated on Monday that its parliamentarians would vote for PML-N’s candidate for interim prime minister.

According to details, MQM-Pakistan would decided to throw their support behind PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and vote for him for the post of interim prime minister.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was declared as PML-N’s choice for deputy prime minister after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the apex court on July 28, 2017.

PML-N decided that Shehbaz Sharif would assume the office of prime minister after becoming member of the National Assembly.