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The ‘mother’ of all judgements

There is popular perception, supported by leaders of the two largest opposition parties, that the PM has lost all moral authority to hold the office and as such he should step down

Mother of all judgments seems to be an appropriate description for the split verdict in the mega corruption case involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his immediate family members. The verdict will have wide-ranging ramifications and can lead to several ominous possibilities. Two senior most Supreme Court judges, who are in line of succession to be the next chief justice of Pakistan, seem to have tried to put the record straight for Pakistan’s apex judiciary that has been associated with some questionable decisions in the past.

Mr. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has put it plainly in his verdict that Mr. Sharif is neither sadiq nor ameen and that he should be de-notified as a member of the Parliament. The other senior judge, Mr Justice Gulzar Ahmed, has also declared that the PM is a liar and has been dishonest.

While agreeing with these observations of their seniors, the three other judges have opted for an investigation into the laundering charges and for the money trail. The establishment of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to fill in gaps left behind because of the inadequate presentation of facts before the SC is a unanimous view of all the five judges.

There is a popular perception affirmed by statements given by leaders of the two largest opposition parties that the PM has lost all moral authority to hold the office and as such he should step down. This view is held by those outside of Pakistan as well. This time, former President Asif Ali Zardari seems ready to take the bull by the horn. PPP and PTI have separately started public agitation demanding Mr. Sharif’s resignation.

Contrarily, PML-N leaders have come out in a state of euphoria considering the judgment to be a victory — perhaps they have yet to read the over 500-page long text of the verdict.

I would not like to bracket the PM with the likes of Uzair Baloch or other criminals who have been subjected to investigations by JITs. Probably, he and his camp thinks that it will be easier to influence grade 19/20 officers to be notified by the Ministry of Interior to question the PM and those in cahoots with him, and track down the trail of laundered out of the country.

I have heard the state minister for information saying on television that in response to the opposition’s demand for his to resignation following Panama Leaks revelations last April the PM had offered to constitute a similar inquiry commission. However, the offer had been rejected by Imran Khan. According to her, the JIT is nothing but an old wine presented in a new bottle. Hence, its formation vindicates the PM.

It does seem doubtful that a fair inquiry could be done in the presence of officers from organisations against whom serious strictures were passed by the bench during case proceedings. Two of these — the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) — had been charged with serious dereliction of their mandated responsibilities. The organisations had been found to be criminally negligent in not proceeding against the PM despite Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s confessional statement. Dar had admitted to his role in laundering money for his boss.

Opposition Leader in the Senate Barrister Atizaz Ahsan, too, has questioned the composition of the JIT. Except the nominee of the Military Intelligence (MI), who would be directly responsible to the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), other members of the JIT, including the one from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), would work one ministry or the other. These members are likely to remain loyal to the PM. Against this backdrop, it would seem to be a joke to imagine that a group of grade 19/20 officers will be able to question the PM or his sons. However, there is a reassurance that justice will be seen to have done by the special bench of the SC to be constituted to monitor the progress of JIT proceedings.

It would have been a national catastrophe if the judgment had just given a clean bill of health to the PM. This is not to say that what we got was a perfect verdict. After all, Prime Minister’s daughter found no mention in the verdict. However, it could still begin a process that may lead to an end of the House of Sharif’s rule. From now until next year, the PM would be on the anvil. Besides opposition parties, the lawyers community has also decided to launch a movement to push the PM to resign. By 2018, the PML-N could very well have drowned under a plethora of serious charges against its PM, his family members, and ministers like Ishaq Dar.

It is too early to subscribe to the view that many of the PML-N stalwarts may be getting ready to jump ship or the party workers may be rehearsing for what eventually comes out to be just a swansong. But the PM would do well to seek saner advice and resign from his office instead of facing a humiliating submission before grade 19/20 officers of the JIT. He has been in power for much too long and his image is tarnished at the moment. To stick to power by means other than fair could lead to consequences that even outsiders would not be able to save him from. TheDailyTimes


The writer is a former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist


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Zardari vows to bring looted money back

MALAKAND: Former president Asif Zardari on Tuesday said he would bring back money looted by rulers to Pakistan.

Addressing public gatherings at Malakand and Sakha Khail, Zardari said that no one dared to give identity to Pakhtun but it was the PPP which did this job.

He said that it is a huge crime to block CNICs of Pakhtun and he strongly condemned the move.

“If our party came into power in next general election we would give due rights to Pakhtun,” he added.

The PPP co-chairman said the PPP raised the national flag first time in Swat and had launched military operation against terrorists. He added that Swat’s people have given sacrifices for peace. It was Benazir Bhutto’s dream to restore peace in Swat, he added.

Zardari said, “One politician calls himself Pakhtun but he is a fake Pakhtun.”

Zardari also shouted slogans “Go Imran Go” and “Go Nawaz Go”.

He said the philosophy of Nawaz Sharif is responsible for the killing of Mashal Khan.

“It all happened because of your [Nawaz’s] philosophy. That is why I hold you responsible for this incident,” Zardari said while addressing a party gathering in Malakand, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “You are the offspring of Ziaul Haq.”

The former president claimed that the PPP will form government in all four provinces in next general election.

He said that PM should resign on moral grounds. Zardari promised to double the funds for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) if his party would come to power in next polls because the PPP is a party of the poor.

Later he vent spleen against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He said, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is yours, but you are being deprived of it by the Punjab CM.” Pledging to assist the Pakhtun in regaining control of “your projects and resources”, Zardari said that his party had vowed to serve the people. “We have given the Pakhtun their identity as we know that they needed to be recognised,” he said.

Criticising the country’s current foreign policy, the PPP co-chairman said it had failed to achieve any results.

“The foreign policy adopted by the rulers has failed,” Zardari said. TheDailyTimes

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Mardan Jalsa

The Pakistan People Party has decided to kick off its campaign in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with the visit of former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari to Mardan district on April 24.

The announcement was made by the Party’s provincial General Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi at a news conference at PPP leader Syed Zahir Ali Shah’s residence on Monday.

Kundi also told that senior politicians from Mardan, including Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti and Ikramullah Shahid, will formally join the PPP during Zardari’s two-day visit. He also said that in the second phase, the former president will visit the southern areas of KPK to mobilise workers for the general elections.

Talking about the party sacrifices for democracy, Kundi said that no party matches the sacrifices and services of the PPP for democracy in the country, but this party has always been the victim of conspiracies and accusations. “They first set the charges, malign the party and then conduct investigations and no charges are found against any leader of the party” said Kundi. “In Punjab there will be ‘go Nawaz go’, while in K-P it will be ‘Go Imran Go’ as the PPP is still the most popular party across the country,” he told.

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Political leaders called on former President in Zardari House Islamabad

Islamabad, April 9, 2017: Several political leaders called on former President Asif Ali Zardari at Zardari House Islamabad on Sunday.


Asif Ali Zardari talking to PPP Balochistan President Ali Madad Jatak said that he has decided to build Bilawal House in Quetta so that party leadership can better interact with people of Balochistan. He said that it is the responsibility of the party as a federal democratic party to play active role in bringing Balochistan closer to the federation.


Another leader from Balochistan Shahjan Khetran also called on Asif Ali Zardari and discussed political and social issues in the province.


Nawabzada Iftikhar Khan, the son of the late Nawabzada Nasarullah also called on former President and discussed political situation of his constituency and the province.


Member National Assembly Shazia Marree called on Asif Ali Zardari and discussed electoral reforms.


Former Member National Assembly Sardar Nabeel Gabol in his meeting with former President discussed political situation in Karachi.


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Former President Asif Ali Zardari decided to build Bilawal House in Quetta

Islamabad April 9: Former president Asif Ali Zardari has decided to build Bilawal House in Quetta to enable central and provincial leadership of the party interact more often and closely with the people of Balochistan to assuage their hurt feelings. He said this while talking to the president PPP Balochistan Ali Madad Jhattak who called on him in Zardari house islamabad Sunday evening. Asif Zardari said that the PPP is a federal democratic party and felt responsible to play a more proactive role in addressing the concerns of the people of Balochistan  and their growing alienation with the federation. He said he had also asked the party’s parliamentarians to raise the issues of Balochistan in the parliament. Asif Zardari also discussed with Ali Madad Jhattak the issue of enforced disappearances and mutilated bodies in the province. Secretary General of the party senator Farhatullah Babar was also present in the meeting.

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PPP denies reports of forging electoral alliance with other parties

Islamabad April 9, 2017: There is no truth in reports in a section of the media that the PPP has decided to enter into electoral alliance with one or the other Party in anticipation of general elections in the country.

Contradicting such report Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that neither any electoral alliance has been made with any political party nor is under consideration at this stage.

Electoral alliances by way of seat adjustments and other known methods are normally made between political parties during elections and there is nothing unusual. However, it is too early and the PPP has not even given a thought let alone having already forged any electoral alliance, he said.

“The Party guided by its manifesto, its world view of fundamental issues confronting the nation and the aspirations of workers will take appropriate decision when the time comes”

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‘Three arrested friends of Zardari should be presented in courts’

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said on Saturday three close aides of former president Asif Ali Zardari, who have been arrested, should be presented in the courts within the next 24 hours.

“If you want to arrest people for being Zardari’s friends, then you should arrest me too, I can also tell you a lot,” he said while talking to media persons here at his residence in the Ministers’ Enclave. He said the arrested people included Zardari’s manager Ghulam Qadir Marri and Nawab Leghari.

He said the Sindh government has legal powers for the appointment of inspector general of police (IGP) of its choice.

“The federal government appointed five inspector generals of Islamabad Police and three secretaries of the Interior Ministry and in the same fashion the Sindh government also has the right to appoint the police chief of its choice,” he said.

He said after explosion in Lahore, the Operation Raddul Fasaad was launched, the Rangers were given special powers, but the National Action Plan (NAP) was not fully implemented. “No matter how much the government speaks, no difference comes from just speaking,” he added.

The opposition leader said the Muslims all over in the world and also in the Middle Eastern countries were being victimised and there was a need to get united against these atrocities. He said the government had failed to play its due role to unite the Muslim Ummah. “Saudi Arabia should come forward to end the differences between Muslims across the globe,” he remarked.

He said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto played a vital role in bringing the Muslim Ummah on a single platform and it is the responsibility of every Muslim to play his role for strengthening Islam. He said the rulers have played with the emotions of the people and before elections, the PML-N promised the people that it will provide electricity to everyone, but now the country was still facing a shortfall of 5,000MW.

The opposition leader said progress never comes by just making motorways or orange trains, rather it requires improving financial condition of the people. “The rulers promised that they will build motorways and highways in Sindh. Sadly, the highway here was converted into a motorway,” he remarked.

In reply to a question regarding the awaited verdict on the Panama case, the opposition leader said the verdict is yet to be announced and he hoped “the God gives the strength to make the right decision.”

He said the government during the dharna days wanted to prorogue the National Assembly session but he advised the government to summon the joint sitting of parliament. TheNews

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‘Why do you let yourself be exploited?’ Zardari asks the people of Balochistan

JAFARABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) President Asif Ali Zardari promised to bring prosperity to Balochistan adding he would set up industries in the province and give shareholding to the people of the province.

The former president of Pakistan was attending an event organised to commemorate the death anniversary of former chief minister Balochistan Changez Jamali’s grandfather in Jafarbabad on Friday. He spoke to the media and attendees promising that he would not allow anyone to usurp the rights of Balochistan.

Asif Ali Zardari on Friday criticised the separatist elements in the province, saying the people of the province should engage with their “misguided” counterparts and help them see how they are hurting their own interests.

“Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan. Why do you let yourself get exploited like this?” he asked while addressing a rally in Jaffarabad.

“The entire world is accessible on a chip. It is all on the internet. Just click a button and see what conditions Muslims are living in India,” the former president continued.

“Do we want to live like that? Do we want to be punished by death for consuming beef? Do we want to also quit eating eggs?” Zardari asked.

“I am only trying to explain to you what their [India’s] narrow-mindedness is like,” the veteran politician added, seemingly in an attempt to dissuade separatists from their alleged complicity in an ‘Indian conspiracy’ to sow unrest in the province.

He asked the people of Balochistan to support him, claiming without their support he was nothing. Zardari said if would people do not wish to join his party that was okay, but together they could form a coalition government.

Zardari said he imagined a prosperous Balochistan adding that the province’s rights were usurped to enable only a select few families to become rich.

The former president said many people asked him why he didn’t become prime minister, then went on to explain that if he had become prime minister he would not have been able to give Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a new name, he would not have been able to devolve the president’s powers to the parliament.