Court asks ex-interior minister about PML-N’s alleged links with TTP – Newspaper

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has sought comments from former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan about a petition, which alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had links with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and paid money to its chief, Hakeemullah Mehsud, in 2012.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mohammad Nasir Mehfooz also issued notices to the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments seeking their replies to the petition on Oct 20 and adjourned the hearing into the petition of freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai until then.

The court observed that as the petitioner alleged that payment to the TTP was made in KP, it would be appropriate to issue a notice to the provincial government as well about it.

The petitioner has requested the high court to ask the government to take legal action against the PML-N leaders, who allegedly paid money to the TTP chief, and investigate the imprisoned associates of Hakeemullah Mehsud over the matter.

He claimed that former spokesperson for TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan was not only a witness to the political and financial links of those politicians with the TTP but he also had developed differences with the TTP leaders over that money.

Notices also issued to govt over petition about terror outfit funding

Mr Orakzai alleged that former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was fully aware of the 2012 funding in question.

He promised to produce the ‘pictorial evidence’ of the funding in the court during hearing of the case.

The petitioner claimed that the payment of that money had helped influence the 2013 general elections in favour of the PML-N.

He requested the court to decide the petition before any move is made in the National Assembly for the vote of no-confidence against the prime minister.

The respondents in the petition are former TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and the federal government through the law secretary.

The petitioner said though he didn’t know about the exact amount paid to Hakeemullah Mehsud by the PML-N, he would disclose the ‘political motive behind that transaction’ and produce its evidence during the hearing into the petition.

He further said he would name the man, who had taken that money from Lahore to Waziristan, and that the court could seek a sworn affidavit from that person if he denied his role in the matter.

Mr Orakzai said the high court was also empowered to seek the relevant records from any institution functioning under the federal government if it had conducted any investigation into the issue.

He said the petition was not meant to seek action against that political party under Article 17 of the Constitution and instead, it was filed to let the people know about the illegal acts done by politicians.

The petitioner claimed that the man, who had delivered the money to the TTP, was also tasked in 2013 with compiling the lists of the imprisoned TTP militants and its evidence was available in the records

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Package for interior of Sindh on the anvil, says governor – Newspaper

SUKKUR: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will shortly announce a package for interior of Sindh on the pattern of the package for Karachi.

He told reporters at the residence of a local leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Rohri near here on Wednesday that those who desired political change in the country should better look for it in their sleep because in reality it was impossible. The government of Imran Khan would complete five-year tenure and Senate election would be held in March, he reiterated.

He dismissed reports about imposition of governor’s rule in Sindh as rumors and said such news were deliberately spread to create chaos despite the fact that Imran Khan had never expressed desire to do so nor had it ever remained under consideration.

He said that opposition parties were busy trying to show their power on the street by taking out rallies after they lost all hope of getting an NRO but the government would never hold any talks with the opposition parties on the issue to help them hide their theft.

He said that the federal government would fully implement what it had announced for Sindh. The federal government was performing its duties in an adequate manner and it would not leave Sindh people alone, he said, adding the prime minister would soon announce a package for interior of Sindh like it did for Karachi.

The governor said that the policy of smart lockdown introduced by the prime minister was at first strongly criticised but now it was being replicated all over the world.

He said that he had arrived there on the prime minister’s directive to lay foundation stone for 43.4-kilometre-long road

being executed by National Highway Authority (NHA), an important part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project envisaged construction of addition of two lanes to N-55 National Road (Ratodero- Shikarpur).

Earlier, the governor arrived at Insaf House on Military Road where he was warmly welcomed by PTI leaders. A delegation of Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) led by advocate K.B. Kubar met the governor and discussed political issues and problems of lawyers’ community, including appointment of attorney general, housing scheme for ILF members, political victimisation and role of ILF members in bar election.

Later, the governor offered condolence to Syed Ashiq Hussain Shah, elder brother of provincial minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, over the death of their mother and attended a luncheon hosted for him by former GDA leader Ghous Bux Khan Mahar on his return from Shikarpur.

He was accompanied by opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh and others.

Published in Dawn, October 1st , 2020

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SHC orders interior secretary to appear in court with SOPs of ECL – Newspaper

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday summoned the federal interior secretary for not complying with its earlier order to evolve standard operating procedures about the placement of names on the exit control list.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha expressed serious resentment over the ministry of interior for taking its order, passed over two years ago, lightly and said that it strongly deprecated such conduct of ignoring its order.

The bench directed the interior secretary to be in attendance on Sept 30 along with a statement about placing on record the SOPs of his ministry regarding under what circumstances names of people should be placed on ECL or adopting the SOPs submitted by the National Accountability Bureau in court.

It warned that if the interior secretary failed to appear at the next hearing, the court would pass an appropriate order in this regard.

The bench observed that it had passed the order in May 2018 and in February 2020 a NAB prosecutor had placed on record a statement along with a copy of revised/amended ECL SOPs on the behalf of NAB for placement of people’s names on the ECL. Unfortunately, the ministry of interior had not filed any reply, it added.

In February this year, an official had sought further time of one week to file the SOPs of the ministry and the bench had granted last chance to the ministry to comply with its directions within two months.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, deputy attorney general Abdul Jabbar Qureshi informed the bench that the interior secretary had neither adopted the SOPs given by NAB nor provided ministry’s own rules/SOPs as under what circumstances a person’s name should be placed on the ECL.

In its May 29, 2018 order, the bench said, “To enhance the public’s confidence in the rule of law and adherence to the constitution both the federal government and the NAB when dealing with cases which may entail placing a person’s name on ECL are hereby directed to develop rules/SOPs within 3 months of the date of this order to ensure that all persons are treated equally before the law in this respect notwithstanding their status or position in society keeping in view the need sometimes to place a person’s name on the ECL expeditiously due to genuine fears of his ascension or other cogent reasons.”

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020

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House Democrats decry efforts to shut down Stars and Stripes newspaper

House Democrats who served in the armed forces harshly criticized the Trump administration’s decision to pull the plug on the Stars and Stripes news outlet, and vowed to fight to keep the military newspaper funded.

“I read it on active duty when I served in Guam, and it is something that is improving the quality of life for military families and military personnel, and I cannot understand why we would get rid of the Stars and Stripes,” Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, told reporters on a press call Friday afternoon.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the $15.5 million typically set aside for the independent newspaper needed to be reallocated to more critical programs at the Pentagon.

The money was left out of the department’s annual budget request this year and officials on Capitol Hill said there was a request to cease publishing Stars and Stripes by September 30 and “completely dissolve” the paper by the end of January.

USA Today reported on Friday that the Pentagon circulated a memo saying the paper will implement a shutdown plan by September 15th.

The paper’s supporters on Capitol Hill pushed back earlier this week, sending a letter to Mr. Esper calling for him to restore its funding.

Mr. Lieu, who served in the United States Air Force and currently serves as a colonel in the reserves, and Rep. Jason Crow, Colorado Democrat, a former Army Ranger, said Friday they plan on keeping pressure on the administration— and hope to get some support from Republicans.

“If the president doesn’t care about the quality of life of our service members and our families, which is quite evident at this point, Congress does, and we’re going to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” Mr. Crow said.

Their comments about the military newspaper came as part of a larger critique from a handful of former service members now working in the House on the president’s performance as commander in chief.

In particular, they slammed the president in light of allegations he called fallen troops ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’ during a trip to France.

The Atlantic released a report late Thursday night citing four anonymous sources “with firsthand knowledge” that claimed the president canceled his visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in November 2018 by falsely blaming rain and a helicopter that couldn’t fly.

“Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” the president allegedly told aides. The article also states that the president referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood in World War I as “suckers” for getting killed.

Despite the story relying on unnamed sources, the Democratic lawmakers said it fit with a pattern of Mr. Trump disrespecting others who sacrificed like the late Sen. John McCain and the Gold Star Khan family, who lost their son in the line of duty.

— Mike Glenn contributed to this report.

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