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LHC judge gives law officer a piece of his mind over police failure to produce Fawad

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LHC judge gives law officer a piece of his mind over police failure to produce Fawad

Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday expressed concern over police failure to produce senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in court on a plea challenging his overnight arrest by the Islamabad police.  

A petition was filed in the high court, challenging Fawad Chaudhry s arrest for “threatening” the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) members and their families. The petition was subsequently taken up by LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh. During the hearing, the court instructed police to present Fawad in court by 1:30pm.

The PTI stalwart was taken into custody in the wee hours of Wednesday after he was booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint lodged by Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary Umer Hameed. 

The judge had earlier asked police to present Mr Chaudhry in court at half past one but police refused to comply without a written order. As the court took up the case, Justice Sheikh asked the law officer about the whereabouts of the PTI leader. As the additional advocate general told the court that police had already taken the petitioner to Islamabad, the judge expressed his annoyance and remarked that “the court knows how to have its orders implemented”. 

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The judge gave police time till 3pm to produce Fawad Chaudhry failing which, he said, he would take an action.  

In a short media talk earlier, the PTI leader said security had been placed in a way as a “terrorist” was being brought to court, adding that he was unaware of the charges levelled against him. He also urged people to take to the street against the government. He said former South Africa president Nelson Mandela had also been booked in a sedition case.

The sudden arrest of Mr Chaudhry has angered the PTI leaders including Hammad Azhar and Farrukh Habib who warned of launching countrywide protests and moving court against it.


The FIR


The PTI leader, according to the First Information Report (FIR), has been booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the PPC for allegedly threatening the ECP and its members in a televised interview on Tuesday. The FIR carries the excerpt of the former MNA’s statement wherein he alleged that the election commission had become a “Munshi” as the election commissioner signed things like a clerk after they were sent to him by the government.

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Mr Chaudhry said those who would be involved in injustice to the PTI would be pursued until they were punished. He said people should pursue the elements who were deceiving public, to their houses. Expressing reservations about the appointments of some officials in the ECP Punjab ahead of elections, he said if these appointments were not rolled back, “we warn that the election commission and its members will have to pay back”.

The complainant said Fawad Chaudhry had threatened the chief election commissioner, members of the ECP and their families in his speech which he described as an attempt to create hurdles in the electoral process.

“The speech has created a permanent threat for the ECP members and their families,” he said, adding that the PTI leader had attempted to create differences between the government and the ECP. “It is a serious crime to influence the electoral process by issuing threats to the constitutional institutions,” he said, adding that such statements could lead to chaos in the country.

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Pakistan reaches new $7 billion loan deal with IMF

Pakistan reaches new $7 billion loan deal with IMF

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Pakistan reaches new $7 billion loan deal with IMF

Pakistan on Friday reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF for a new $7 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support its economy as well as deal with its debts.

Earlier this year, the IMF approved the immediate release of the final $1.1 billion tranche of a $3 billion bailout to Pakistan. Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said the government planned to seek a long-term loan to help stabilize the economy after the end of that bailout package.

The new loan deal will last for 37 months. It is aimed at strengthening fiscal and monetary policy as well as reforms to broaden the tax base, improve the management of state-owned enterprises, strengthen competition, secure a level playing field for investment, enhance human capital, and scale up social protection through increased generosity and coverage in a major welfare program, the IMF said.

“The program aims to capitalize on the hard-won macroeconomic stability achieved over the past year by furthering efforts to strengthen public finances, reduce inflation, rebuild external buffers and remove economic distortions to spur private sector-led growth,” said Nathan Porter, IMF’s mission chief to Pakistan.

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The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s executive board.

Pakistan’s new coalition government presented its first budget in parliament last month, promising an increase of up to 25% in the salaries of government employees and setting an ambitious tax collection target.

The finance minister said Pakistan wants to collect 13 trillion rupees ($44 billion) in taxes, which would be 40% more than in the current fiscal year.

Aurangzeb also said the government will ensure that the number of taxpayers increases. Only about 5 million people in Pakistan pay taxes.

Analysts said the new budget of about $68 billion — up from $50 billion in the last fiscal year — was aimed at qualifying for a long-term IMF loan of $6 billion to $8 billion to help stabilize the economy. Pakistan in 2023 nearly defaulted on the payment of foreign debts.

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Money-laundering: Moonis Elahi, six others declared absconders

Money-laundering: Moonis Elahi, six others declared absconders

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Money-laundering: Moonis Elahi, six others declared absconders

The special central jail in Lahore has declared Moonis Elahi, son of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, and six other accused absconders in the money-laundering case filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). 

The special central jail heard the money-laundering case on Saturday. The FIA submitted the incomplete challan of nine accused including Moonis Elahi in court. 

Chaudhry Moonis Elahi and other accused have been declared proclaimed offenders in the challan. The other proclaimed offenders are Farasat Ali, Imtiaz Ali, Amir Sohail, Wajid Ahmad and Amir Fayyaz. 

The accused Zara Elahi, Ahmad Farhan and Zaigham Abbas have been included in Column No 4 for being on bail. 

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The FIA has requested the court to freeze the properties of Moonis Elahi and other nine accused. The court has frozen the properties of seven accused, except Monis Elahi and Zaigham Abbas. 

Counsel for Moonis Elahi and Zaigham Abbas requested time for arguments on properties freezing matter from the court. 

The court directed the counsel to present arguments until Aug 20. Judge Tanveer Ahmed Sheikh issued the written verdict of early hearing on challan. 

The judgement mentions that Interpol is being engaged for the arrest of Moonis Elahi and Interpol has issued red notices to him. Zara Elahi is accused of receiving kickbacks. As per investigative officer, Zara Elahi couldn’t present evidence of her income sources. 

Zaigham Abbas is a cash boy of Moonis Elahi and accused Zaigham Abbas used to do illegal money transactions in the bank accounts of other accused. It has been alleged that accused Ahmed Farhan used to deposit money with bank accounts. 

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It is pertinent to note that the FIA registered the money-laundering and corruption case against Moonis Elahi on June 6, 2023.

Also read: FIA confiscates Chaudhry Moonis Elahi’s assets

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Pakistan, US pledge collaboration on multiple fronts

Pakistan, US pledge collaboration on multiple fronts

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Pakistan, US pledge collaboration on multiple fronts

 Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi met US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome and both sides agreed to strengthen mutual cooperation in counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, and security. 

The US ambassador visited the Ministry of Interior, where Naqvi welcomed him. Other officials were also present on the occasion. 

During the meeting, both sides discussed the Pakistan-US relations, security and other matters of mutual interest. They pledged to enhance cooperation in security, counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, and other areas. 

Both sides agreed to organise “law enforcement dialogues” in October. 

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The interior minister assured the US ambassador of the ministry’s full cooperation in enhancing bilateral relations. 

Talking about his recent visit to New York, Naqvi said the issue of cooperation between Islamabad and the New York Police Department was discussed. He said a delegation of Islamabad police would soon visit New York to improve mutual cooperation. 

He said officers from Islamabad police were keen to receive training from the New York Police Department. 

The minister said Pakistan’s minorities were enjoying equal rights under the country’s constitution. He assured the ambassador that all possible measures had been implemented to net those involved in the Jaranwala incident. 

Regarding cricket affairs, Naqvi (who is also the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board), lauded the US government for hosting a successful T20 World Cup. He said efforts were on to arrange a tri-nation series involving Pakistan, US and Canada. He also mentioned that Pakistan was working for a cricket league in America and Canada.

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The US ambassador expressed his gratitude, saying a number of cricket lovers enjoyed the T20 World Cup matches.

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