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PML-N meeting presided over by PM decides to challenge JIT report

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday to challenge the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the top court.

The premier presided over a meeting in the PM House today to discuss course-of-action of the ruling party following submission of JIT report in the Supreme Court (SC).

Reportedly, ministers and representatives of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) reiterated their confidence in the party leadership. The Punjab Chief Minister took PM in confidence over statement pertaining to Gulf Steel Mills.

Participants of the meeting observed that the probe team relied upon media reports and accusations for its report. It sounded more of a political party’s stance, the ministers said.

Reportedly, during PM’s meeting with CM Shehbaz, the top Punjab official cleared to the premier that he gave no statement that was contradictory to the facts.

He branded the JIT report a compilation of documents based on hypotheses and lies. The meeting came in after CM Shehbaz was reported by the JIT to have detached himself with Gulf Steel Mills during his hearing.

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Imran demands resignation from Nawaz, Shehbaz, Dar, Sadiq

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Pakistan Tehreek–e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday demanded resignations from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar for alleged money laundering and also demanded the same from Speaker Parliament Ayaz Sadiq for “failure to uphold the sanctity of the parliament”.

“Dar was Nawaz Sharif’s frontman, he laundered money stolen from the national exchequer on his behalf. He has admitted this as well,” the PTI chief alleged.

The PTI chairman also claimed that Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq had failed to uphold the sanctity of the parliament.

“Ayaz Sadiq should resign if he has any integrity.” “Instead of forwarding a reference against Nawaz Sharif after the revelations of Panama Papers, Ayaz Sadiq sent a reference against me to the Election Commission of Pakistan,” said Imran.

Referring to the letter by the Qatari prince, Imran said it has been confirmed that the letter was fake.  The PTI chief criticised the ruling PML-N for claiming that the JIT was biased and was a conspiracy.

“There is no conspiracy, they have been caught red-handed.” “For them, only institutions which help them obstruct justice are working properly,” said Imran.

The PTI chief also questioned the wealth of the premier’s and Dar’s children and asked how they had become billionaires if they were studying in the ’90s.

“All their children are billionaires. They were students in the 90s, how did they become billionaires overnight?”

Earlier, a press conference by PLM-N had rejected the JIT report as “garbage” and said the report was actually a compilation of Imran’s political statements.

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Prime minister does not own any offshore companies, claims PML-N

ISLAMABAD (Online): PML-N leaders on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does not own any offshore companies and said the Panama Papers were an international conspiracy with Imran Khan as its central character.

“The director of Panama conspiracy is sitting outside the country. The report does not appear to be an outcome of two-month long investigation; it rather seems to be a result of more than a year’s preparation,” said Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.

He added that “Imran Khan is the central character in the drama”.

Rafique said the JIT report contains material regarding which the respondents were not questioned when they appeared before the probe team.

Accusing the probe team of being partial, he said, “The JIT was not supposed to lead one-way traffic. Taking sides and being biased was not your job”.

The railways minister added his party will respond to offshore company allegations in the Supreme Court with strong arguments.

He said the JIT report will be responded to in the court in such a manner that the narrative, which originated yesterday, will be changed.

‘Narrative being shaped against prime minister’

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar urged patience over the final report submitted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Supreme Court, claiming that a narrative was being shaped against the prime minister since the submission of the report.

Dar added the Panamagate JIT report has several flaws, comprises of unsigned documents and even copies. He urged opposition parties to demonstrate patience for they also did so at the time of “Dharna-I and Dharna-II”.

The minister noted that no offshore company has the name of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as its owner, lamenting that efforts are being made to shape a narrative (against the PM) since the submission of the report in the Supreme Court.

Dar urged the system should be allowed to function, adding “There have been courts functioning outside the courts”.

“The JIT said on July 3 that I did not send tax returns from 1981 and 2003. I told them that I will take action against Federal Board of Revenue and asked them to inform me if they were not provided record by the FBR,” he said.

The minister said his tax filer, Zia Babri, told him the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken away all record in Musharraf’s tenure.

“Similarly, I was told that my returns from 2003 to 2008 were not received, but I have the receipt of tax returns submitted to the probe team. The record, I received from NAB on July 7, was also submitted to the JIT, of which tooo I have the receipt.”

Dar said he will submit record and offer to get it audited from an international firm. “Neither I was asked anything, nor a reply was sought from me and a finding was written in the report.”

“My financial record until the last penny will be clear,” he said, adding, “Both my sons are self-dependent since 2003 and as long as I am in politics, neither of them will do business in Pakistan”.

The minister said the investigators did not inquire as to how his assets grew to this extent. “I will present the entire record, from a needle to Mercedes.

“I am a professional and need not evade tax,” he added.

He added that he had informed the investigation team about the yearly amount he received being the financial advisor, which it mentioned in the report as “investment”.

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Mustafa Kamal extends olive branch to Farooq Sattar

F.P. Report

KARACHI: In an interesting development in Karachi’s political scenario, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Mustafa Kamal offered Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar on Tuesday to joined hands with him to “serve the public”.

“I invite Farooq Sattar and the whole leadership of the MQM-P to join hands with us so we can serve the public together,” he told reporters at a press conference at the PSP headquarters, Pakistan House.

“The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is benefiting from the current political situation of the city despite the stories of its corruption and incompetence,” he added.

Kamal’s invitation has come a day after the MQM-P’s Kamran Tessori lost the Sunday’s by-election in PS-114 to PPP’s Saeed Ghani, by a margin of over 5,000 votes.

Tessori was backed by the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi but opposed by the pro-Altaf Hussain MQM-London.

Kamal asked MQM-P leaders to not let their ego or political stature stop them from making the “right decision of joining hands”.

“Let’s work for the people [irrespective of their ethnicity] living in this city by chalking out a common strategy,” he said.

The PSP chief added that Sattar’s narrative – that the citizens were obsessed with the MQM or its electoral symbol kite and ethnicity-based politics would work – had failed.

“I want everyone present to bear witness that I’m extending the hand of friendship to the MQM-P.”

PM should resign

Kamal demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should resign now that the report presented the top court’s Joint Investigation Team had found him and family guilty of wrongdoing.

“If Nawaz Sharif defends himself while holding the office [of the prime minister], it will ultimately affect the country and democracy,” he added.

 

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5,200kg unhygienic meat seized in Multan

MULTAN (NNI): Authorities in Multan have launched a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and confiscated 5,200 kilogrammes of unhygienic meat.

The move came on the directives of Deputy Commissioner Multan Nadir Chatha in which four people were arrested and seven meat shops sealed.

The crackdown against illegal slaughter of animals in the walled city (Hano ka Chaja) and Awan Pura areas of the city was carried out by Multan Municipal Corporation Chief Officer Ahmed Khan Watoo, Deputy Director Tahir, Dr Mehtab, Dr Usman, Dr Jawad, Dr Fahad of the Livestock Department, the Civil Defence staff and DSP Mustafa Pehwar.

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Imran demands immidiate resignation from Nawaz

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan said on Monday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif had no option left but to resign after the JIT report was made public.

Addressing media persons after the JIT report had been made public, Imran Khan said that the Sharifs were looting the country. “The ones who are helping out the criminal should also be regarded as criminals,” he added.

Imran referred to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as Chota Godfather, urging him to resign as well along with Nawaz Sharif.

“The Chota Godfather who wears his hat and Italian suits should also resign with Nawaz,” he added. He added that the report’s findings have vindicated him and finally the opposition’s hard work paid off. He said that his party’s reservations proved to be true.

Imran said that Nawaz Sharif’s name was rightly kept as a Godfather. He said that Naya Pakistan was not made through metro services and buildings.

The PTI chief also paid tribute to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, stating that in the Naya Pakistan, the apex court would spare no one.

Imran also paid tribute to the anchorpersons on TV channels who were active in pursuing the Panama papers scandal ever since it had come to the surface.

He alleged the ruling party went all out to obstruct the investigation and in the process discredited the state institutions, compelling them to use wrong methods.

“I am grateful that at the end truth has prevailed, whatever we have been saying all along today came out before everyone,” he said. The PTI chief said that the ruling party tried to carry out slanderous propaganda against him and his family members in order to hide their theft.

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JIT recommends NAB reference against PM, children

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which investigated the Sharif family’s business dealings has recommended that the National Accountability Bureau open a reference against the prime minister and his family after it found glaring disparities between their known sources of income and their actual wealth.

The JIT report, a section of which has been circulated on media, suggests that a reference should be filed against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, as well as daughter Maryam Nawaz under Section 9 of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordinance 1999.

In the probe completed today, the JIT found that the assets of all four are more than the sources of their income and said that they were unable to provide substantive evidence of a reliable money trail.

“Significant gap/disparity amongst the known and declared sources of income and the wealth accumulated by the Respondent No. 1, 6, 7 and 8 have been observed,” the JIT observed in its concluding remarks. Respondent 1 refers to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; Respondent 6 was Maryam Nawaz; Respondent 7 Hussain Nawaz; while Respondent 8 was Hassan Nawaz.

“The financial structure and health of companies in Pakistan having linkage to the Respondents also do no substantiate the wealth of the Respondents,” it continued.

“Moreover, irregular movement of huge amounts in shape of loans and gifts from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-based company (Hill Metals Establishment), United Kingdom based companies (Flagship Investments Limited and others) and United Arab Emirates based Company (Capital FZE) to Respondent No. 1, Respondent No. 7 and Pakistan based companies of Respondent No. 1 and family have been highlighted.

“The role of off-shore companies is critically important as several offshore companies […] have been identified to be linked with their businesses in UK while conducting this investigation. These companies were mainly used for inflow of funds into UK based companies; which not only acquired expensive properties in UK from such funds but also revolve these funds amongst their companies of UK, KSA, UAE and Pakistan.”

“In addition to the companies, Respondent No. 1 and 7 have been found to be recipients of these funds movement into Pakistan as gifts/loans whose purpose/reason have not justified by them before the JIT. Needless to say, these UK companies were loss-making entities with heavily engaged in revolving of funds vis-a-vis creating a smoke screen that the expensive properties of UK were due to the business operations of these UK companies.”

The JIT then refers to Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 — which states that “A holder of public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices […] if he or any of his dependents or benamidars owns and possesses or has acquired right or title to any assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for or maintains a standard of assets beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income…”

The JIT also invokes Section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, which states that: “In any trial of an offence punishable under clause (v) of sub-section (a) of Section 9 of this Ordinance, the fact that the accused person on his behalf, is in possession for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of assets and pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices and his conviction therefore shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such presumption.”

PML-N refuses to back away; to challenge JIT report before July 17 hearing

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is reportedly to challenge the report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the top court before the hearing of the Panamagate case on July 17.

Sources privy to the government have reported that legal team of the ruling party has given confidence to the leadership over challenging the 256-page report of the probe committee after it was filed in the top court today.

JIT has recommended the court to have National Accountability Bureau (NAB) lodge a case against Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif and his two sons, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.

Proceedings and report of the Panamagate JIT was taken objection with by ministers belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) before it was submitted.

They had maintained in a press conference yesterday that Qatari royal’s statement was needed to be recorded for a fair probe and the political party would not accept the report if their prime witness, the Qatari prince is not taken in the loop.

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China says third country’s army could enter Kashmir on Pakistan’s request

BEIJING (NNI): A third country’s army could enter Kashmir at Pakistan’s request, using the ‘same logic’ the Indian Army used to stop the Chinese military from constructing a road in the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector on behalf of Bhutan, an analyst at a Chinese think tank said.

“Even if India were requested to defend Bhutan’s territory, this could only be limited to its established territory, not the disputed area,” Long Xingchun, Director at the Centre for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, said in the article he wrote in the Global Times.

“Otherwise, under India’s logic, if the Pakistani government requests, a third country’s army can enter the area disputed by India and Pakistan,” the article said. The Chinese state media have carried a barrage of critical articles on the Doklam standoff criticising India, but this was the first time Pakistan and Kashmir have been brought into the narrative.

“Indian troops invaded China’s Doklam area in the name of helping Bhutan, but in fact the invasion was intended to help India by making use of Bhutan,” it said, referring to the June 30 statement issued by India’s External Affairs Ministry.

China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for the past three weeks after a Chinese Army’s construction party attempted to build a road. Doka La is the Indian name for the region that Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

“For a long time, India has been talking about international equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of others, but it has pursued hegemonic diplomacy in South Asia, seriously violating the UN Charter and undermining the basic norms of international relations,” it said.

“Through mass immigration to Sikkim, ultimately leading to control of the Sikkim parliament, India annexed Sikkim as one of its states,” it alleged. “This incursion reflects that India fears China can quickly separate mainland India from northeast India through military means, dividing India into two pieces,” it said.

“In this case, northeast India might take the opportunity to become independent. India has interpreted China’s infrastructure construction in Tibet as having a geopolitical intention against India. India itself is unable to do the same for its northeastern part, so it is trying to stop China’s road construction,” it said.

“India’s incursion, based on its own strategic judgment, is a clear violation of international law,” the article said, claiming that the western countries will not unconditionally support India as they have a wide range of ‘common interests’ with China.

“As for the territorial dispute between China and Bhutan, it should be resolved by both sides and India must respect Bhutan’s sovereignty,” it said.

“China can show the region and the international community or even the UN Security Council its evidence to illustrate China’s position. It highlights China’s sincerity and effort to maintain peace as a responsible big power. It will never resort to force till it is the last choice,” it said.

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Army’s high command reviews geo-strategic security environment

RAWALPINDI (INP): Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa presided over the 202nd Corps Commanders’ Conference at GHQ on Monday.

According to the ISPR, the forum reviewed geostrategic security environment with focus on evolving situation in the Middle East / Afghanistan and its implications on Pakistan.

The forum reiterated to continue supporting and enabling national efforts to play a positive role in line with Pakistan’s national interests.

Progress of Operation Raddul Fasaad, military-to-military engagement with Afghanistan for better border management, internal security situation of country, including preparations for flood relief operations, if required and force development plan was also discussed.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Army on Monday destroyed two Indian army posts and killed four soldiers in response to unprovoked Indian firing in Rawlakot sector along the Line of Control (LoC). “Pakistan Army has befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing, causing substantial losses in men and material.

Two Indian Army posts firing on innocent civilians have been destroyed. Four Indian soldiers killed,” said a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).  The press release said, “Pakistan Army will protect civil population against unprovoked Indian aggression at all cost.”

Director General ISPR, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also released a video on Twitter showing the two Indian army posts being destroyed.

“In utter failure to cap remembrance of Wani’s shahadat, Indian forces targeted innocent civilian along LOC. Indian guns silenced effectively!” he tweeted.

“Pak Army stands by innocent civilian population against unprovoked Indian ceasefire ceasefire violations and would continue to respond befittingly to this naked aggression,” he said.

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Supreme Court charges Nehal Hashmi with contempt of court

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday charged former PML-N stalwart Senator Nehal Hashmi for contempt of court following his earlier controversial remarks.

The apex court had taken suo motu notice of Hashmi’s speech which went viral on May 31 wherein he threatened ‘those investigating the PM’s family’.

The SC notification stated that Hashmi committed contempt of the SCP within the meanings of Article 204(2) of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.

The apex court in its notification mentioned the quotes by the senator and stated: “ That by the way of the aforesaid speech you threatened judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan their families and children and members of the JIT and their families and children.”

The notification said that the act tends to scandalise the court and bring the authority of the court into hatred, ridicule and disrespect.

Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf had earlier initiated action to file a criminal case against Hashmi.

Nehal Hashmi, in a speech to workers in Karachi at a Youm-e-Takbeer event, on May 31 had threatened the prime minister’s unidentified ‘enemies’.

“The one you are investigating is the PM’s son,” roared Hashmi.

Without identifying who he was referring to, Hashmi said, “You will not be spared; you are in service now but remember you will retire tomorrow.”

“Those investigating us [must know] we will observe your day of judgment,” he stated further.

Soon after the video emerged, he was stripped of his party membership and was made to resign from his Senate seat too.

Taking notice of the issue, the Supreme Court served a contempt notice on June 1 over his controversial remarks.