Imran Khan

Imran Out Of Election Race As Lahore HC Upholds Rejection

In a setback for Pakistan’s former premier Imran Khan, the Lahore High Court on Wednesday upheld the rejection of his nomination papers for the February 8 general elections, Dawn News reported.

The high court upheld the decisions of the returning officer (RO) and appellate tribunal given against acceptance of the disqualified former premier’s nomination papers from NA-122 and NA-89 constituencies.

It reported that Imran’s nomination papers had been rejected primarily on the grounds of being convicted in the Toshakhana case, in which he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The case, filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), had accused Imran of not mentioning the details of state gifts in his tax declarations.

Imran’s nomination papers from NA-122 were also dismissed on the grounds of the proposer not being a voter from the constituency.

The appellate tribunals had also upheld the decisions of the respective returning officers (ROs) with an observation that the conviction and sentence were two different terms as conviction pertained to the guilty verdict and sentence stands for the rigours following conviction.

Earlier, Lahore High Court (LHC) reserved the decision on a writ petition filed by Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan against the election appellate tribunal’s dismissal of his appeal regarding the rejection of his nomination papers by the Returning officer (RO), The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday.

Arguing during the hearing, Imran Khan’s counsel contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) lacks the authority to disqualify an individual.

The tribunals had noted that the conviction meant a guilty verdict pronounced by a court in reference to the delinquency attributed to an accused, whereas the sentence denoted the quantum of punishment.

Subsequently, Imran had filed two petitions in the LHC asking the high court to set aside the decisions of the ROs and the appellate tribunals of rejecting the nomination papers of the petitioner from both constituencies of the National Assembly.

During the previous hearing, Advocate Uzair Bhandari had argued on behalf of Imran that the conviction on the charge of moral turpitude did not fall under the definition of disqualification. He said the conviction of the petitioner could not be equated with the conviction for corruption or accumulating illegal assets, Dawn News reported.

He also pointed out that an Indian court enlisted the offence of moral turpitude lower than the offence involving financial corruption. However, the bench observed that the standards of morality in Pakistan were different from other regions.

Bhandari further argued that the RO had no jurisdiction to pass the impugned order on the basis of the conviction on moral turpitude. Meanwhile, a lawyer for the ECP argued that the petitioner’s conviction was still in force and he had not been acquitted by the high court.(ANI)

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Imran Khan

Pakistan: EC Rejects Imran’s Nomination

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) confirmed on Saturday that it has rejected the nomination papers for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khanb, dealing a major blow to the former Prime Minister ahead of the upcoming elections slated for February 8, 2024, The News International reported on Saturday.

Despite being disqualified from contesting the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, jailed ex-PM, Imran Khan submitted his nomination papers from his home constituency in Mianwali on Friday, as reported by Geo News.

Khan had his nomination papers submitted for the National Assembly’s NA-89 constituency. PTI leader Umar Bodla appeared on the former prime minister’s behalf.

The PTI founder, a 70-year-old former international cricket star, has been at the centre of a political crisis since he was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April 2022.

The cricketer-turned-politician was sent to jail for three years on August 5 after being found guilty of selling state gifts during his 2018-22 tenure as prime minister–the charges he denies, Geo News reported.

Khan is seeking to overturn that conviction, which has barred him from contesting elections for five years. He filed a plea in the Islamabad High Court, but it was rejected, after which the party moved to the Supreme Court.

In a separate victory for his legal team, they managed to get him bail from the apex court earlier in the day; however, the incarcerated former PM still won’t be able to come out of jail anytime soon as he was arrested in two more cases during his incarceration, according to Geo News.

Khan’s legal team says that the district court, which sent Khan to jail and had him disqualified, gave a “baseless” judgement.

Pakistan’s general elections will take place on February 8, 2024, with political parties turning up the heat by staging rallies or wooing politicians with a substantial voter base into their ranks.

The top two issues that the incoming government will have to deal with are economic stabilisation and political uncertainty, both of which have been persistent since PTI’s ouster.

According to Geo News, several politicians have hinted that a coalition would rule the country as no single leader or party is in a position to form the majority.

Despite his disqualification and fallout with the establishment, Khan remains a crucial reason for PTI’s vote bank, as was evident when his party released an AI-generated audio of Khan to boost the supporters’ morale, Geo News reported.

An uphill task remains for the PTI as it goes into the polls after Khan stepped down as the PTI chairman and handed over the reins to Barrister Gohar Khan, the man who has been in the party for around a year. (ANI)

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Imran Khan

Imran Addresses Supporters Using AI From Prison

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to construct a voice clone, the former Pakistan prime minister, Imran Khan, addressed his supporters as part of his campaign months ahead of the much-anticipated general elections in the country, CNN reported.

Khan was convicted of corruption in August and has been imprisoned ever since.

In addition, he is charged with disclosing classified material, a charge that the former politician and cricket player has refuted time and again and claims are meant to prevent him from running in the February general elections.

The government shut down the internet for three days after Khan’s brief incarceration in May provoked fatal rioting, causing the country’s media regulator to forbid television stations from airing Khan’s talks, according to CNN.

Khan has been the subject of private legal proceedings. Since his arrest in August, no public image of Khan in custody or in court has been released.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party held an online rally on Sunday that lasted about seven hours, during which it released a roughly four-minute clip that used AI technology to mimic Khan’s voice. The audio was overlayed with old footage and photographs of the country’s former leader.

According to CNN, the caption on the video read, “AI voice of Imran Khan based on his notes for Jalsa (a rally) from jail.”

“My fellow Pakistanis, first, I would like to praise my social media team for this historic attempt,” the AI voice said, adding, “Perhaps you are wondering what my condition is in jail … My determination for real freedom is strong.”

“Our party is not allowed to hold public rallies … Our people are being kidnapped and families are being harassed,” the AI voice said, according to CNN.

In 2018, Imran Khan swept to power. However, opposition leaders accused him of driving the nation to the verge of economic catastrophe four years into his term.

In April 2022, a legislative no-confidence vote resulted in his removal from office.

Tens of thousands of people attended nationwide demonstrations against Khan’s removal for months afterward.

In an attempt to overcome an ‘unspoken ban’ on public gatherings and rallies, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) organised a “virtual power show” on Sunday through social media to energise its supporters ahead of the upcoming polls, Dawn reported.

However, the online event encountered disruptions, with users reporting difficulties accessing social media platforms in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad after 8 p.m. Internet services were also reported to be slow, the report added.

NetBlocks, an internet tracking agency, observed a “nation-scale disruption to social media platforms across Pakistan, including X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.”

The online gathering, primarily broadcast on YouTube, garnered viewership of 72,487 within minutes of commencement, reaching 89,190 half an hour later. The viewership fluctuated between 70,000 to 80,000 for an hour before dropping to 53,000 after two hours, Dawn reported. (ANI)

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I Was Told Heroines Look Bigger Than You: Imran

Imran Khan, who has been away from films for almost 8 years, is now back in the spotlight, courtesy of his candid Instagram posts.

On Friday, he shared his throwback pictures on Instagram and made some revelations. He opened up about talking steroids to bulk up as he thought he was often criticised for his skinny body.

“I’m one of those hyper-metabolic people, my body just burns through whatever I consume. Oh no, what a terrible affliction! In my late teens, guys around me started joining gyms and working out. They started to expand, their biceps stretching the sleeves of their t-shirts. I wore a size S, and my sleeves were still loose,” he said about his body type.

“I didn’t need to be muscular to play Jai Singh Rathore (his character in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa)… but I was convinced that I was too skinny, which is why Jai mostly wears two layers of clothing throughout Jaane Tu. For my next film, Kidnap, I hit the gym in earnest, and began my journey with body building,” he revealed.

He further recalled how people used to pass nasty comments at him as he was skinny.

“Over the next few years, the sculpting and maintenance of my body became part of my lifestyle. I worked out regularly, but still I would hear ‘So… you’ll bulk up a bit before we start shooting, right?’; ‘You’re looking weak’, ‘You look like a little boy, not a man’, and ‘The heroine looks bigger than you’ (ouch for both of us),” he added.

Opening up about taking steroids to bulk up, Imran shared, “Exercise means nothing without nutrition; 6 meals a day, totalling 4000 calories. Chicken breast, egg whites, sweet potato, oats, flax seeds… all good stuff, but still not enough to make my biceps look like the heroes I saw onscreen. No, for that I needed to supplement with whey protein, creatine, leucine, glutamine, L-carnitine… and ultimately, even anabolic steroids. Shock and horror! We’re not supposed to admit that part out loud, it could totally ruin the illusion.”

The actor also said that in recent years, as he battled depression and stopped working out, he became skinnier. “When I was photographed, it sparked a media discussion about my wellbeing, and speculations of drug abuse! I felt deeply ashamed, embarrassed to be seen by anyone in this state. So I retreated further. It’s been an uphill journey, but these days I’m doing better than ever; I exercise with my old friend who puts my health first and only feeds me supplements like walnuts and turmeric… seriously. And while I’m still a tad jealous of those dudes with superhero muscles… I don’t feel bad about myself,” Imran concluded.

Imran’s post has garnered several reactions.

“more power to you, sir. your posts feel like a warm hug to me, really. thankyou for being so vulnerable with us, thankyou for being you,” a social media user commented.

“As someone who’s skinny, hypermetabolic and wants to gain weight and be muscular for her profession, I feel so seen. I’ve been constantly told that I look sickly, and after a point, concern turns into ignorance. Thank you for sharing your story with us 🙂 I hope I get to achieve a state where I feel healthy as well. Sending you lots of love,” another Instagram user wrote.

Imran made his foray into acting with the hit film ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ in 2008. After featuring in films like ‘Kidnap, ‘Luck’, ‘ Delhi Belly’, ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, ‘Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu’, ‘Break ke Baad’, ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara’, and ‘I Hate Love Storys’ among others, Imran disappeared from the public eye and quit acting. His last release was Katti Batti in 2015. (ANI)

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Pakistan EC Decides To Frame Charges Against Imran, Fawad

The Election Commission of Pakistan has taken the decision to frame charges against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and other party leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry in a contempt case, Pakistan-based Dawn reported. 

According to the ECP’s cause list, the electoral body has fixed September 26 as the date for the case. According to the electoral watchdog’s cause list, the charges that will be framed against former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry are for contempt of the ECP and the chief election commissioner, according to Dawn report. 

Meanwhile, ECP will frame charges of contempt of the electoral watchdog against Asad Umar. The three leaders have been asked to appear in person. The case has witnessed twists and turns ever since its initiation last year by ECP against PTI chairman, then secretary general Asad Umar and senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry.

On the same day, Pakistan’s electoral watchdog will resume hearing in a case pertaining to the confiscation of PTI’s ‘prohibited funding’. The case is fixed for submission of a detailed response to the ECP notice, Dawn reported. 

On September 14, a  special court rejected the bail applications of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and the party’s vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cypher case, Pakistan-based Geo News reported.

Special court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain heard the bail applications and reserved the verdict after PTI’s counsels completed their arguments. Later, the judge announced the reserved verdict, rejecting the post-arrest bail pleas of the PTI leaders.

Earlier in the day, the same court formed under the Official Secrets Act gave approval PTI leader Asad Umar’s bail in the case related to US cipher after a prosecutor told the judge that his arrest was not required at this stage, Geo News reported.

Judge Zulqarnain approved the PTI leader’s bail against the surety bond of Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 50,000 and also noted that Umar expressed willingness to join the cipher probe but the prosecution did not investigate him in the case. (ANI)

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Former CJI Gogoi Stirs Up a Debate

Should Parliament Have the Power to Change the Constitution? Former CJI Gogoi Stirs Up a Debate

Last week, Ranjan Gogoi, former chief justice of India and now a Member of Parliament, sparked a controversy that raised eyebrows when, while supporting the Delhi Services Bill that gives more power to the central government over the administration of the national capital, he questioned the validity and relevance of the basic structure doctrine, which limits the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.

But before we analyze the implications of what the former CJI, who was nominated to Parliament by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said, here’s a sidebar about him: Gogoi was a controversial chief justice of India. He faced allegations of sexual harassment by a former Supreme Court employee in 2019, shortly after he was appointed as the CJI. He denied the charges and claimed that they were part of a conspiracy to destabilize the judiciary. A three-judge panel of the Supreme Court cleared him of the allegations, but the process was criticized by many as unfair and opaque. 

Gogoi also delivered some controversial judgments on sensitive issues such as Ayodhya, Rafale, and Kashmir. 

Last week in Parliament he questioned the Constitution’s basic structure doctrine.  The basic structure doctrine was first put forward by the Supreme Court in the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case in 1973, and has since been used to protect the core features of the Constitution, such as democracy, secularism, federalism, judicial review, and fundamental rights, from being altered or abrogated by constitutional amendments. The doctrine has been hailed as a safeguard of constitutional supremacy and a check on majoritarianism.

Gogoi, however, argues that the doctrine had a “debatable jurisprudential basis” and that it was not part of the original Constitution. He also suggested that the Parliament has the legislative competence to make laws for Union Territories like Delhi, and that the Bill does not violate any other part of the Constitution. He said that if full-fledged federalism is desired for Delhi, then an amendment can be made to make it a full-fledged state.

Gogoi’s views have been seen by many as an attempt to undermine the basic structure doctrine and to justify the government’s encroachment on the autonomy of Delhi. Some have also pointed out that Gogoi himself had upheld the doctrine as a judge and had invoked it in several judgments, such as the one on Aadhaar  and the one on Sabarimala. Has he changed his stance because of his allegiance to the ruling party that has nominated him to Parliament?

On the flipside, by raising the question about the Constitution’s basic structure doctrine, Gogoi has also raised the need for a deeper debate on the future of constitutional democracy in India.

Modi and the Indian media

Have you wondered who the official media adviser to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is? If you have, the answer is: no one. The current media adviser to Modi, who has been Prime Minister since 2014 is not clear. There are a few people, including  a couple of former bureaucrats, whom Modi may consult with on some issues but in a curious departure from the practice followed by most of his predecessors, the Prime Minister has not appointed an official media adviser. 

The reason perhaps is that he doesn’t really need one. A media adviser to the Prime Minister normally has many functions and responsibilities: he or she can act as a sluice gate or filter for the Prime Minister and his office’s interactions with media; or can be the spin doctor for shaping perceptions and building the Prime Minister’s image and stance on different issues; he can coordinate press meets or interviews for the PM and his office; advise on communications during crises and tricky situations; and, act as an analyst who reads the mood in the media and feed it back to the PM’s office.

The Indian Prime Minister ostensibly does not need anyone to manage relations with Indian media. Primarily because the need does not arise. The Indian media pretty much manages itself when it comes to the top executive office in the government. 

The Prime Minister has rarely given interviews to Indian media in the past nearly decade that he has had the top job. There have been no press conferences, interactions, or meetings where he has engaged with representatives of media. He has stopped the practice of taking along with him members of the press when he travels officially abroad. 

It has worked fine. The media, particularly the mainstream established, and so-called legacy media, never criticizes him or his policies. And, if you’re looking to read critiques or objective analysis of policies, stances, nuances, and everything else that makes for informative and interesting reading you are better off seeking out small niche publications or global media publications instead of the usual big-name Indian newspapers, TV channels, and news websites. 

The Prime Minister’s preferred media strategy has been to stay silent, and, in effect, project himself on a level higher than the rest of Indian polity. Critics attack him for not speaking out on issues such as communal violence, corruption, and hate speeches, often perpetrated by those owing allegiance to his party or its affiliates. But it is also a fact that his strategy of being above all of it has given him a sort of (perhaps mythical) dignity and respect, certainly so among his supporters.

Recently, after months of full-scale violence in the north-eastern state of Manipur where two indigenous tribes have been at war, and where atrocities against women and others have shocked the world, the Prime Minister was forced to address issue in Parliament where India’s depleted Opposition parties (they have only 203 of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha) moved a motion of no-confidence against him. He expressed his anguish about what was happening in Manipur but trained his sights on the Opposition and blamed it for obstructing a debate on the situation in Manipur. In his speech, he poked crude fun at his opponents and was cheered by his colleagues on the Treasury benches.

While everyone dutifully documented the Prime Minister’s speech, few in the media made any critical assessment of the fact that the Prime Minister had effectively said nothing about what the government was planning to do in Manipur and about how to avoid such communal clashes in the future. 

As we said, the Prime Minister does not need anyone to advise how to manage the media. The media in India manages itself.

The army continues to rule in Pakistan

Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, is facing a political and legal crisis after he was arrested and convicted on corruption charges in May 2023. His supporters have accused the army, which has a history of meddling in civilian affairs, of orchestrating a coup against him. They have also staged violent protests in several cities, targeting military installations and personnel.

Khan, who came to power in 2018 with the backing of the army, had a falling out with the generals over his policies on India, Afghanistan, and the economy. He also tried to assert his authority over the army by appointing his own loyalists to key positions. The army, which sees itself as the guardian of the nation’s interests and security, resented Khan’s attempts to challenge its dominance and influence.

The army has used its control over the judiciary, the media, and the opposition parties to undermine Khan’s legitimacy and popularity. It has also cracked down on his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), by arresting its leaders and activists, banning its rallies, and freezing its funds. The army has also tried to create a rift within the PTI by wooing some of its dissident members.

The army’s role in Pakistan’s politics has been controversial and divisive. While some see it as a stabilizing force that can prevent chaos and extremism, others see it as a threat to democracy and human rights. The fate of Imran Khan and his party will depend on how the army manages this crisis and how the public responds to it.

Why ‘Oppenheimer’ may never be shown in Japan

Christopher Nolan’s new film, Oppenheimer, is about J. Robert Oppenheimer, considered the father of the atomic bomb, and focuses on the complexities of his character and personality, his dilemmas between commitment to science and humanitarian concerns and much more.The film, a blockbuster, crossed $550 million at the box office globally and became the highest-grossing WWII film in history. Since its release in July it has already been watched by millions around the world.

But not in Japan. Recently, Japan marked the 78th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities where the bombs created by Oppenheimer were dropped, killing 210,000. More than 100,000 people exposed to radiation from the bombs are still alive. The film, while not explicitly depicting the horrors that the bombings spread, includes the incidents in its narrative.

It is unlikely that the film will make it to cinema theatres in Japan where many believe the phenomenon of memes and jokes combining Oppenheimer and the film, Barbie (a $1 billion grossing film on a doll), makes a mockery of the suffering that thousands of Japanese civilians have undergone as a result of the bombings.

The woman who controls North Korea’s propaganda

When North Korea, which most of the rest of the world considers a rogue nation, controlled by Kim Jong Un, known as the Supreme leader, has to protest or make a statement about its enemies (which is almost everyone else in the world), it turns to Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong Un. 

The 35-year-old is the Deputy Department Director of the Publicity and Information Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, or WPK. She is also a member of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, the highest decision-making body in the country. She is considered by some commentators to be a possible successor to her brother in case of his death or incapacitation. 

Ms. Kim is also responsible for crafting her brother’s public image and controlling the state propaganda and media. 

Later this month when the US, Japan and South Korea meet at Camp David to discuss North Korea’s aggressive actions, and when South Korea, backed by the US, organizes military drills to show their ability to thwart any attacks by the north, Ms. Kim will swing into action with her propaganda strategies.

Not a mincer of words, Ms. Kim has been known to use choice epithets to describe North Korea’s enemies. She has likened the South Korean president to an “impudent flunky beggar”, and compared the US to a “scared barking dog”. 

With rumours of her brother the 41-year-old Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un not keeping good health, it is widely speculated that Ms. Kim could be his successor. She has another elder brother but he is apparently not considered to be strong enough for the job.

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Non-Bailable Warrant For Imran

Pak: Non-Bailable Warrant For Imran, Fawad

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued non-bailable arrest warrants on Tuesday for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan and Ex-information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a case pertaining to contempt of the electoral body and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), reported Dawn.

The arrest order was passed by a four-member ECP bench headed by member Nisar Durrani.
Last year, the ECP had initiated contempt proceedings against the PTI chief, Asad Umar and Fawad for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the CEC and the electoral watchdog. They also asked them to appear in person or through their counsels before the commission to further explain their role, according to Dawn.

Although, the PTI leaders did not appear before the ECP and instead challenged the ECP’s notices and contempt proceedings in various high courts on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017 (statutory provision regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt) was against the Constitution.

According to the Election Act 2017, Section 10 titled “Power to punish for contempt” states that the “election commission may exercise the same power as the high court to punish any person for contempt of court and the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (V of 2003), or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly…”

The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges.

In January, the Supreme Court allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against PTI Chief Imran Khan, Fawad and Umar. However, the Supreme Court held that since the objections to ECP authority were raised by the respondents in the pending proceedings under Section 10, the same was required to be considered and decided by ECP before passing a final order, Dawn reported.

Later on June 21, The ECP decided to frame charges against all three of them.

Despite getting summoned, Imran, Fawad and Umar did not appear during today’s hearing, reported Dawn.

While giving reasons, the assistant of Umar’s counsel told ECP that Umar had another case to attend and a medical appointment, and later requested an exemption from personal appearance, as per Dawn.

However, the EC accepted his request and asked the lawyer to submit a formal plea for this matter.

Likewise, the assistant counsel for Fawad said that his client was in Lahore while his counsel, Faisal Chaudhry, was at the Islamabad High Court.

Adding to this, the ECP issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Fawad and Imran and adjourned the hearing until July 25. (ANI)

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They Have Made A Plan To Put Me In Jail: Imran

Lashing out at the Shehbaz Sharif government, former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran alleged that the administration has “made a plan” to put him in jail and the whole episode that transpired over his arrest was “pre-planned”.

He was addressing the country, wherein he also denied any wrongdoing in all corruption cases against him.
Addressing the nation, former PM Imran Khan said, “I want the nation to know how a plan has been made to arrest me on the basis of false and baseless cases. A lawyer is killed in Quetta and without any investigation and proof. Shahbaz Sharif’s advisor comes on TV on the same day and says that the murder was done by Imran Khan and later the video of the same lawyer’s widow shows who did it”.

“This is not politics…this is jihad. We are all slaves, ” Imran Khan added.

On May 9, this year, former PM and PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested from inside the High Court in Islamabad by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the charges of corruption in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust, which he owns alongside his wife, Bushra Bibi.

Following Khan’s arrest, his party called for demonstrations, which turned violent at many places. The administration resorted to crackdown and many arrests were made across the country. The people accused in the May 9 violence are being tried at military courts.

“On May 9, I was arrested like a terrorist from the Islamabad High Court despite being on bail, and after that the cases were piled up while the Supreme Court also declared this arrest illegal. Is anyone going to answer?” Khan asked during his address.

He added, “16 innocent Pakistanis were shot, 9 people are missing but there is no inquiry and no one is talking about it. Is this a free society? Do these Pakistanis have no rights? Aren’t their wives and children family?”

Before his address, Imran Khan asked the public to show ‘defiance’ and stand up for ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ (Real Democracy).

“Let’s all raise the PTI flag to show defiance to those who are trying to crush Pakistan’s biggest and only Federal party through this current reign of terror. We are standing up for our Haqeeqi Azadi.” he said on Twitter before the address.

Slamming the Shehbaz Sharif government during the address, Khan said that if he is put in an open court, he can prove that all his arrest was “pre-planned”.

“I want to say that bring me up in an open court on a televised address. I will prove that all of this was pre-planned. The way I was picked from there. It was pre-planned for provocation. Later on, when people reacted to it, it was used to crush the party (PTI) down, because the party was not bogging down,” he added.

Giving a reference to the French protests over the fatal shooting of a teenage boy, the PTI Chairman said, “So many innocent civilians were shot at, no one is even talking about it, and in France just one person was shot and see what is happening. That’s what is called a free nation”.

Imran Khan accused the Pakistan government of destroying all the institutions in the country and gave an ‘explanation’ denying any wrongdoing in Al-Qadir case, Toshakhana case and land scam.

He claimed that the cheque payments in the alleged land scam were done after Khan was removed as the Prime Minister after losing the majority.

“They have filed an anti-corruption case on Bushra Bibi alleging that a road was constructed in her village. They have also filed the case on me and my sister. These ‘duffers’ say that as PM I got them lands worth of 6 million PKR at cheaper rates. But, look at the cheque numbers. The first cheque was given on April 25, 2022. The other cheque is on June 2. And I was not the PM since April 9,” he said.

The PTI Chairman further said that in the Al-Qadir case, not a penny could have gone to Imran Khan or Bushra Bibi as they happen to be the trustees of the charitable trust.

“In the Al-Qadir case, the cabinet received a proposal that if a case between a Malik Riaz family and a UK’s National Crime Agency is settled and kept confidential from the cabinet, 190 million pounds will come to Pakistan. But if it is not kept confidential, then Pakistan will have to prove its stand in the court. The case would have gone for 5-6 years, and we (Pakistan) have a very bad record in foreign cases, and have already lost cases over 100 million USD,” he said.

Imran Khan added, “If they are alleging money laundering here, what is stopping them? The money has come to Pakistan. It was a unanimous decision passed by the cabinet. They are also accusing that I did that to benefit the Al-Qadir university which is a charitable trust. But, in a charitable trust, not a penny can go to the trustees which includes me and Bushra begum”.

The Al-Qadir Trust case alleges that the PTI chief and his wife, Bushra Bibi, obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from a real estate firm for legalising PKR 50 billion that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government, as per The News International report.

He also claimed that the Toshakhana gifts were sold “as per the rules” and everything has been declared in FDR.

“As per the law, when PM, President, Army Chief receives gifts, it goes to Toshakhana, where it is valued. It is done through an FDR, with an initial value and then an appraisal. If there are any excess value, they give the option of purchasing. This is the rule. Under this I took many gifts and refused others. Whatever I sold, is declared in FBR and is under capital gains tax. What is wrong here? Also, under this case, NAB, Election Commission and FIR is also filed. It is just not possible that three cases are being run on the same issue,” he further alleged.

The case pertains to the allegations that the former PM “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept — during his time as the prime minister and proceeds from their reported sales. (ANI)

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Pakistan Politics: Time Running Out For Imran Khan

Imran Khan’s anti-army narrative has become his albatross. And his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party is disintegrating with the establishment, a euphemism for the powerful Army leadership, in overdrive to destroy the former prime minister’s support base ahead of polls.

The resignations–forced or otherwise– of his hawkish confidantes like Shireen Mazari and Fawad Chaudhry have kindled the debate on the Minus Imran formula, Delhi-based senior journalist and commentator, Malladi Rama Rao writes.

The Shehbaz Sharif government and the Army have mounted an orchestrated campaign to tarnish the image of Imran Khan.

The result of this came out in the form of a flood of allegations of serious financial improprieties by him and also morally unacceptable habits in the Islamic nation. The Federal Health Minister has gone to the town accusing Imran Khan of consuming alcohol and drugs and said as a result of this habit he seems to have lost his ‘mental balance’.

The targeted tirade has clearly shaken the erstwhile playboy. He, however, continues to put on a brave face. He has slapped a defamation case against the Health Minister. And intensified his battle against the Army and the Nawaz- Zardari clique. But luck appears to be deserting him, Rao writes.

In a way, Imran Khan has to blame himself for the turn of events. The Army had propelled him to political eminence but he tried to become their nemesis. He has alleged that some top Generals want him assassinated, but has tweaked his strategy of squarely blaming the Army for his ouster through a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022. His ‘illegal’ arrest was set aside by the higher judiciary but that does not preclude another chance of sending him to prison–this time for a period long enough to exclude his participation in the election process whenever it begins.

As the sedate Karachi daily, Dawn, observed editorially, Imran finds himself ‘losing a ruthless, one-sided war of attrition’. This is a familiar story for politicians of all hues in Pakistan ever since the country was carved out of British India in 1947 as a home for the Muslims. No political party or leader can afford to cross the red line and take on the country’s all-powerful establishment.

Ironically, Imran Khan is desperate to receive US support in his struggle against the powers that be at home. For weeks he went around accusing the US of hatching a conspiracy to throw him out of power because of his ‘independent’ policies and clubbed the US with India as countries wanting destruction of the Islamic nation.

According to Malladi Rama Rao, the U-turn makes him look weak and vulnerable too. He has hired an expensive lobbyist in the US to get a ‘good word’ from influential American lawmakers.

The Biden administration is in a fix. It can openly support Imran only if it wants a sudden setback to its efforts to renew ties with Islamabad- Rawalpindi. But Washington cannot come to the rescue of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government either as it handles the maelstrom created by Imran Khan’s populist politics backed by a majority of the population.

The rich ‘brotherly’ friends in the Muslim world also face a dilemma. They cannot put all their eggs in one basket. Because all the combatants in Pakistan–the government, the Army, the judiciary– are fellow Muslims.

‘All-weather friend’ China is also in a fix. It stands the risk of alienating a large section of Pakistanis if it sides with the ruling coalition, which has become quite unpopular.

As it is, Pakistan has already created some problems by failing to curb anger towards China in the restive Balochistan province where many feel that the projects being executed under the multi-billion CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) are not going to help them.

On his part, Imran Khan is aware that he may be unable to participate in the elections. Mass desertions and incarceration of PTI leaders and workers will continue along with the trial of his party workers in military courts. Yet, he believes that his anti-American rhetoric coupled with a not-so-oblique praise of Islamic extremism will bail him out in any election. His calculations may be misplaced.

First of all, the possibility of national polls taking place in October does not look certain, given the utterly chaotic conditions in a deeply divided and nearly bankrupt Pakistan.

A lot can change if the polls are delayed as is likely.

To believe that Pakistan has institutions that can override the ‘establishment’, and combinations of the civilian rulers and the Army, to order elections when they are due, is no more than wishful thinking.

Even if polls are held before the end of the year there is no guarantee that Imran Khan will win a massive mandate that he hopes for.

The ‘third umpire’, supposedly ‘neutral’, is clearly poised to thwart Khan’s dreams of returning to power.

Because, the Army has suffered major blows to its popularity and even its credibility because of Khan’s anti-army narratives, according to Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, Journalist Rao opines.

A wounded tiger is determined to settle scores with Imran.

Realpolitik has already made Imran Khan climb down from his earlier position of no talks with the government to urgent calls for starting a dialogue. He received a snub from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

His tenure as prime minister exposed him as a poor administrator who pushed the country towards financial bankruptcy. He was selective in weeding out corruption as well. He could barely hide his contempt for democratic practices as he gunned for his political opponents with as much zeal as the present ruling dispensation shows towards him. The message is clear, writes Rao.

Despite his popularity among the masses, Imran Khan is running out of friends, who can help him save his PTI from disintegration, and also win his battle against the Army.

The writer, Malladi Rama Rao is a Delhi-based senior journalist and commentator. (ANI)

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Imran Added To No-Fly List

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chief and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been added to no-fly list, Pakistan Media reported on Thursday quoting sources.

“IK (Imran Khan) added in No Fly List,” The Pakistan Daily tweeted quoting sources. The Pakistan Daily is a digital news portal in Pakistan mainly reporting about the political updates of Pakistan.
However, there has been no official confirmation of Imran Khan being added to the no-fly list.

This comes a day after Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the government is considering imposing a ban on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the incidents that took place on May 9, Dawn reported.

Speaking to media persons in Islamabad, Khawaja Asif said, “A decision has not been taken yet, but a review is surely underway.” He called the vandalism of military installations across Pakistan on May 9 as “coordinated attacks” planned by PTI chairman Imran Khan, according to Dawn.

Earlier, Dawn reported that the police department had sent the names of 245 PTI activists, including three former members of the provincial assembly, to the federal government for inclusion in the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL), to prevent them from leaving the country.

Attributing it to sources, Dawn wrote on Thursday that the Rawalpindi district police gave around 319 names on their wanted list, and have forwarded the names of 245 PTI activists who are in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The remaining 74 individuals have yet to be arrested.

Dawn is one of the mainstream media houses of Pakistan that reports national and International issues related to Pakistan.

Dawn had reported that on Tuesday, Lahore police sought the inclusion of 746 PTI leaders in the no-fly list, with the aim of imposing a one-month restriction on their foreign travel. After the request made by the Rawalpindi police, the total number of PTI activists who may be included on the list stands at 991.

Under the PNIL, individuals on the police wanted list are prevented from flying out of the country for 30 days, Dawn wrote quoting a senior police official

After reviewing the cases of those arrested, the police finalised the names of 245 individuals detained during and after the May 9 violence. These names were then sent to the FIA to restrict their travel via air, land or sea routes.

Among those still wanted by the police but yet to be arrested are ex-MPA of PTI Rashid Hafeez, the nephew of Sheikh Rasheed; Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, who was previously arrested and later released; and Umar Tanveer Butt, Dawn reported.

As per the information provided to the federal government, it was revealed that 31 suspects had been arrested by the RA Bazar police in connection with the attack on GHQ, while 27 others wanted by the police are still at large, Dawn reported.

The temporary travel restrictions were proposed by the police after identifying the PTI supporters involved in violent protests through video clips, CCTV footage, intelligence and geo-fencing.

Under the supervision of City Police Officer (CPO) Syed Khalid Hamdani, the police investigation team has arrested 104 suspects in connection with the GHQ attack case, and identification parades for 23 individuals have been completed.

The police have been directed to expedite legal proceedings against those arrested in connection with the May 9 violence, Dawn reported.

In this regard, the police have also requested the Punjab Home Department to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the terrorism-related cases registered under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

A police crackdown is underway to apprehend suspects wanted in connection with these cases.

Meanwhile, the officers stated that two separate teams of police, each supervised by a Superintendent of Police, have been formed to apprehend PTI leaders and activists from Punjab and KP. They added that the Punjab and KP police are being contacted for assistance in arresting the individuals wanted by the capital police in connection with the cases, Dawn reported.

However, the feedback received from the KP police was not encouraging, as per the officers. They explained that the capital police received a response indicating that they are likely to encounter significant resistance during house raids for arrests, as it goes against the local culture for strangers to enter their homes.

Capital police have also requested the interior ministry to put the names of the PTI leaders on the PNIL and Exit Control List (ECL), who are still at large in connection with the cases registered against them over violence in May 2022 and 2023. (ANI)

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