Dar warns Imran of ‘open war’

Dar warns Imran of ‘open war’

ISLAMABAD – The government will support the formation of a three-judge commission to investigate the election rigging allegations and will have no objection if the proposed body sought assistance from the ISI and MI representatives to reach the bottom of the matter, a senior federal minister who is also a relative of the prime minister said on Tuesday.

Ishaq Dar said in a TV interview that the law ministry had written a letter to the Supreme Court registrar for the constitution of the commission. Now, he said, it was for the apex court, not the govt, to set up an investigation team, even if they comprised representatives of the ISI and MI.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has been demanding the setting up of the judicial commission for quite some time and the failure of the government to get it constituted is one of the important reasons of confrontation between the two parties.

Replying to a question, the minister said of the five points agreed upon with the PTI, the government was already working on three and a half points. However, he did not identify them.

Refuting the PTI chief’s allegation that the Intelligence Bureau had distributed Rs 2,700 million to journalists to use them in support of the government, the minister claimed that all secret funds previously available to 32 institutions had been withdrawn. As for a couple of other institutions which still had these funds at their disposal, he said he was willing to share the information about such funds provided Imran Khan gave an undertaking that he would not make the information public.

He took exception to money laundering charge levelled against him by the PTI chairman. He said he was ready to sit with Imran Khan and prove that the allegation was baseless.

He said the former cricket hero was crossing all limits, which would not be tolerated any more.

Advising the PTI chairman to control his tongue, Ishaq Dar said in case he did not, “I’ll bring many things against him before public. I know too much about him”.

Now there will be an open war against him, said the finance minister. According to Dar, Imran Khan is behaving like a street man, not a political leader.

He alleged that the PTI chairman was the father of an illegitimate child from Sita White.
Mr Khan, he said, had been waiting for donations for hours outside the offices of the very institution he accused of involvement in money laundering.

As for his statement against the Sharifs during the Musharraf era, Dar said it was made under duress, which was not admissible under law.

November 19, 2014 Posted Under: News update   Read More

U.N. Urges Arab World to Denounce Islamic State

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations’ top human rights official called on the Muslim world to denounce the “monstrous” crimes of the extremist group that seeks to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, calling its actions both a violation of international law and Islamic tenets.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a member of the Jordanian royal family and the first Muslim to be named high commissioner for human rights, on Tuesday urged the Security Council to back efforts to overturn the Islamic State’s “ideology of violence.”

His speech was equally a message to the Muslim world.

“It is also disturbing how few to nonexistent have been the public demonstrations of anger in the Arab and Muslims worlds over the crimes being perpetrated in Iraq — notwithstanding the clear condemnation by many Arab and Islamic governments,” Mr. Al Hussein said.

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graphic Areas Under ISIS ControlJUNE 12, 2014 Citing the opinion of Muslim clerics, he said the group had violated Shariah in many instances, through conversions, the reintroduction of slavery and the killing of civilians. He said Islam also prohibited the killing of diplomats and emissaries, which could be extended to journalists and aid workers.

His comments come as an American-led coalition expands military action against Islamic State strongholds in Iraq and Syria, but has so far been unable to stop its killing rampage. On Sunday, the Islamic State announced the beheading of an American, Peter Kassig.

On Wednesday, the Security Council is scheduled to discuss how to increase international cooperation against the Islamic State. It has already passed a measure calling on countries around the world to stop the flow of money and fighters to banned terrorist groups. A United Nations panel of experts recommended that the council crack down on the ability of the Islamic State to collect oil revenues by requiring countries to seize oil coming from Islamic State territory.

Separately, the United Nations envoy to Iraq, Nickolay E. Mladenov, said the efforts of the new Iraqi government and the American-led airstrikes were yielding some results. The bombings had destroyed some of the insurgents’ infrastructure and kept them from gaining new territory.

Mr. Mladenov said there were reports that their funds were dwindling and they were being forced to cut rations and salaries to their fighters.

Most important, he said, he was no more worried about the prospect of Iraq’s disintegration, as he had been just some months ago. “We are not looking at a collapse of Iraqi state. We’ve turned the tide,” he said.

Iraq, however, has paid a heavy price already. Since the beginning of the year, he said, 10,000 civilians have been killed and 20,000 injured.

Mr. Al Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, said his office was also investigating the actions of the Iraqi authorities and pro-government Shia militias.

He went on to say that his office had concluded that the Islamic State had most likely violated three of five offenses that are listed under crime of genocide. He urged Iraq to consider acceding to the treaty that created the International Criminal Court and at least accept the court’s jurisdiction over possible international crimes committed in “the current situation.”

Asked about the prospects of Iraq joining the International Criminal Court, Mr. Mladenov said he, too, had encouraged the government to consider it. “This has not been overruled by the Iraqis,” he said, “but it needs to be discussed at greater length.”

November 19, 2014 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Army troops leave Red Zone today

Army troops leave Red Zone today

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Army troops deployed in the Red Zone of Islamabad on the request of the federal government would be withdrawn on Wednesday (today), well-placed sources informed The Nation.

The sources said that the Interior Ministry also had the knowledge of the new development.
Army withdrawing its troops from the Red Zone a few days ahead of PTI’s November 30 procession may be seen as a huge development.

Anticipating PTI and PAT sit-ins, the federal government had invoked article 245 to call the Pak Army for maintaining law and order in the Red Zone in aid of civilian law-enforcement agencies for three months – from August to October.

The Red Zone’s security was handed over to the Army troops and other agencies precisely on August 19, as political condition in the country worsened. The army was to ensure the security of key buildings including Parliament House, Prime Minster House, President House, Supreme Court and Pak Secretariat located on the Constitution Avenue.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), information wing of the Army, had issued a press release after deployment of the Army in the Red Zone, saying that a request had been made by the government. Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had also announced making a formal request to the Army in this regard. He had said that Army troops would guard key buildings located in the Constitution Avenue.

Later, as the sit-ins prolonged, the federal government extended army’s presence in the capital for further three months after completion of the initial three months. The extended three months were to lapse in January, but the reported pullout order has come much ahead of it.
Well-placed sources informed this scribe that the Army high command has ordered its troops deployed for the security of the Red Zone to leave the area between Tuesday and Wednesday night. The decision had been conveyed to the Interior Ministry and troops had been ordered to shift their belongings and vacate the Red Zone, sources added.

Sources said that the number of a thousand-plus troops deployed for the security of important buildings was reduced to 800 troops after Dr Tahirul Qadri announced end to the sit-in of his party on October 21. They said that all 800 army soldiers would leave the area by Wednesday.

ISPR version on the latest development could not be acquired immediately.
During PTI and PAT anti-government protests, army troops performed their duty and did not allow the protesters to enter the parliament and other key buildings. Even Army got vacated the Pakistan Television building (PTV) after it had been stormed by protesters.

GOVT ‘DECIDES’ TO CALL OUT

EXTRA SECURITY

Imran Mukhtar adds: Though the federal government is still to decide either to stop the participants of November 30 rally of PTI from entering the capital or to allow them to participate in it, it has decided to requisition additional police and paramilitary troops for the security of the Islamabad during the rally.

“We will seek additional force from Punjab Police, Punjab Constabulary, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Police Force and FC to assist Islamabad Police to make security arrangements for PTI rally,” an official of the Ministry of Interior who was not authorised to speak on record said.

“We have conveyed to the departments concerned that they should keep ready the security personnel for their onward deployment in the federal capital at any time,” he added.

The federal government had requisitioned thousands of troops of Punjab Police, Punjab Constabulary, AJK Police and FC in August when PTI and PAT had announced to stage a sit-in in Islamabad as protest. 

The Punjab Elite Police Force had been separately deployed in the capital. At one time, total 40,000 troops had been deployed in the capital to tackle the protesters of PAT and PTI, however, their number kept on decreasing when the participants of the two sit-ins started decreasing and at last all the troops were withdrawn at the start of Muharramul Harram.

Furthermore, a source in the Ministry of Interior said that the government had not decided at the moment to promulgate presidential ordinance to ban entry of protesters in the high security Red Zone. The government is seriously looking into the legal and political repercussions on the promulgation of the Establishment of High Security Zone Ordinance, 2014, official sources in the ministry said.

The government is seeing that it is the possibility that this ordinance might be challenged in the court on human rights grounds and the court might throw this law into the dustbin, the sources said.

The official sources in the ministry informed that the government was also looking into whether this law could be implemented or not.

An official said that PTI and PAT had entered into the Red Zone with thousands of their workers in August violating two separate agreements in which they had given in black and white to the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) that they would not enter the Red Zone.

Both the parties violated the written agreement and the government had no tool to stop them on the basis of these agreements. So, the government does not want to promulgate such an ordinance that could only draw criticism from the civil society and the political parties, and could not be implemented to check the protesters.

The version of the Ministry of Interior could not be taken, as the key ministry of the government dealing with the internal security matters of the country had no official spokesperson.

November 19, 2014 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Qadri supporters clash with Pakistan police

Deadly violence erupts as supporters of anti-government cleric Tahir ul-Qadri try to march on his headquarters.

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Supporters of a Pakistani anti-government cleric have clashed with police in the country’s second largest city resulting in at least four deaths, 500 arrests and six police officers missing, officials said.

Violence began on Friday and continued on Saturday as supporters of populist leader Tahir ul-Qadri, attempted to march on his headquarters in the city of Lahore, in Punjab province.

Following the flare-up, Qadri called off a large protest rally planned for Sunday, and instead urged his supporters to hold smaller protests in their home towns.

In a televised address, he called on his supporters to “protest peacefully,” but slammed the government for orchestrating a “massacre in the name of a crackdown.”

Qadri has accused the government of being corrupt and complict in protester deaths.

The violence, started on Friday when police fired tear gas and baton charged a protest crowd after a shipping container used to block a road leading to Qadri’s house in Lahore was removed.

The supporters brought a crane to remove the shipping container and allegedly threw stones at police who tried to stop them.

About 500 of Qadri’s supporters had been arrested and more than 100 police officers injured, according to provincial police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghazanfar.

Rana Mashhud Ahmad, a law minister for Punjab province, told the Associated Press news agency that protesters abducted six policemen during the melee.

‘Peaceful revolution’

Qadri has been rallying support against the intimidation of more than 500 of his followers from the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) movement.
On Thursday, he threatened to march on Islamabad and overthrow the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should the arrests of his followers continue.

In a statement released by PAT, Qadri was quoted as saying the group would have “no choice other than giving a final call of revolution to the entire nation to come out on streets and march towards Islamabad and provincial capitals to topple [the] government.”

Qadri, who is normally Canada-based, returned to Pakistan in June to lead what he terms a “peaceful revolution”.

A religious moderate, Qadri commands tens of thousands of followers and held a disruptive four-day sit-in protest against the government in 2013, months before the election that saw Sharif come to power for the third time.

A separate protest, led by opposition politician Imran Khan, is planned for the capital on Thursday to protest alleged election irregularities.

The planned demonstrations have unnerved Pakistan’s political scene which has been blighted by coups and street protests.

August 9, 2014 Posted Under: News update   Read More