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President Alvi asks ECP to immediately announce date for KP, Punjab polls

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President Alvi asks ECP to immediately announce date for KP, Punjab polls

President Arif Alvi has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately announce the date of elections for provincial assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to “put an end to dangerous speculative propaganda”.

The president has written a letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been demanding the KP and Punjab governors, and ECP to announce date for elections since the dissolution of the provincial assemblies last month.

In the letter, Mr Alvi referred to the dissolution of the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said “the election of an Assembly is to be held within 90 days of the dissolution as provided by the Article 224(2) of the Constitution”. He added that the conduct and holding of elections was the primary and essential duty of the ECP as per PART VIII of the Constitution, particularly Article 218 (3) which assigned the duty to the ECP to ensure the holding of fair and free elections.

He conveyed that it was ultimately the Commission which, if it failed to discharge its functions and duties, was to be held responsible and answerable for the violation of the Constitution of the country.

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“Referring to Article 42 and Third Schedule, the president stressed that he was under oath ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’ being the Head of State,” reads the press release. He reminded the CEC and the members of the ECP about their fundamental duty as per their oath to avoid serious consequences of breach/violation of the Constitution/law and announce election schedule of the two dissolved assemblies forthwith. 

Highlighting the significance of the Preamble/Objectives Resolution, the president said the preamble stated in unambiguous words that ‘the State shall exercise its power and authority through the chosen representatives of the people’.

“Such is the unflinching resolve and commitment by the forefathers of the Nation who drafted the Objectives Resolution duly made part of the Constitution (Article 2A). Thus, there remains no obscurity about the democratic principles and values that are to be adhered to, observed and followed”, he further wrote.

He emphasised that the oldest democracies had never delayed elections even during wars. In this regard, he quoted the examples of the USA which held elections despite being at war with Great Britain in 1812 under President James Madison. He further stated that in 1864 during the American Civil War, top advisers of the then president, Abraham Lincoln, wanted to postpone elections due to the Civil War but he disagreed with them, and even though he thought that he was going to lose the elections, he never really contemplated suspending the elections.

He said the Commission itself had already taken an appropriate constitutional step and had announced the holding of bye-elections of National Assembly seats of different constituencies. The president concluded that he was of the firm view that there were no such circumstances in the country that provided any justification for delaying or postponing the elections.

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He stressed that recent world history had shown that the postponement of constitutionally-mandated elections had caused serious long-term setbacks to democracy.

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck various parts of Punjab including Lahore on Monday 

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. No loss of life and property was reported in any part of Punjab. 

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Islamabad, the epicentre of the earthquake was located five kilometres south of Sheikhupura at the depth of 45 kilometres.

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army has shot down a spy quadcopter of Indian Army on the Line of Control (LoC).

According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), on Monday, an Indian Air Force quadcopter spying on Pakistan was shot down.

The ISPR said that the army has found the downed quadcopter inside Pakistani territory.

It may be recalled that it is the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort today. On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian fighter planes that violated Pakistani airspace. 

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

 An accountability court indicted the PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi in the ill-famous 190 million pound case – also previously known as Al-Qadir Trust case – as the judge, Nasir Javed Rana, held hearing at the Adiala jail.

All the cases involving the former PTI chairman are being heard at the jail premises – where he is imprisoned – because of the security threats, for which Bushra Bibi was shifted from her Bani Gala residence where she is serving her sentences in two cases – Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

Meanwhile, her husband has so far been convicted in three cases – cipher, Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

During the proceedings, the two accused pleaded not guilty, as the judge adjourned proceedings till March 6 while also summoning five witnesses to record their statements on next hearing.

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However, the accountability court accepted two pleas filed by the PTI founder, requesting permission for an appointment with his dentist and general physician.

Previously, the indictment had been postponed on several occasions due to the absence of Mohammad Bashir – the accountability court judge who is set to retire on March 14 and has applied for leave preparatory to retirement (LPR).

However, the law ministry last week appointed District and Sessions Judge Rana as an Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad judge to replace Bashir who went on leave on deputation for a period of three years. 

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