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Islamabad ATC cancels Imran Khan’s bail in ECP protest case

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Islamabad ATC cancels Imran Khan's bail in ECP protest case

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday cancelled PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s bail over non-appearance in a case pertaining to protest outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

ATC Judge Jawad Abbas issued the order after the PTI chief defied a court order to attend the hearing. Earlier in the day, the court turned down a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance in the case.

The decision coincided with the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) order to bar a banking court in the federal capital from deciding on a bail petition of Mr Khan in the prohibited funding case.

The PTI chief, secretary-general Asad Umar and dozens of party workers were booked in October last for alleged violence during the protests in Islamabad. The protest were staged by the PTI after the ECP disqualified Mr Khan as a member of the National Assembly over submitted a false affidavite regarding his assets. The case was registered at the Sagjani police station under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

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During the hearing, the PTI chief’s lawyer Babar Awan argued that terrorism related sections were wrongly added in the case, adding that the court could give its findings at any time. “If court issues it findings, the case will be referred to the other court,” he said.

To which, the judge remarked how he could hear a case on merit when the suspect was reluctant to appear before the court. He said the ongoing case was related to Imran Khan’s bail. “I will treat an influential person and a common man equally,” Judge Jawad Abbas commented.

Mr Awan pleaded the court to extend the bail till Feb 27, adding that the PTI chief tried to travel for hearing but he couldn’t. He said he was ready to withdraw the bail petition if terrorism section was omitted in the case.

The judge remarked, “You can take back the petition at any time and there is also an option to get a protective bail from the Lahore High Court”. After hearing arguments, the judge granted him time till 2:30pm to decide either he will take back the bail petition or court will decide on it. After a short break, the court resumed hearing and rejected Imran Khan’s bail plea.

The PTI chief was granted an interim bail more than four months ago. As per the rule, the suspect has to appear before the court in personal capacity until he is on the interim bail.

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President Alvi confers awards on high achievers on momentous day

President Alvi confers awards on high achievers on momentous day

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President Alvi confers awards on high achievers on momentous day

President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday conferred civil honours upon various personalities, including foreign nationals, for their contributions in different fields at an investiture ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr on Pakistan Day. 

Prominent among those who were conferred with the civil awards are senior journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami, social worker Ramzan Cheepa, renowned scholar Dr Anees Ahmed, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori and Inspector General of Islamabad Police Dr Akbar Nasir Khan.

The late poet Amjad Islam Amjad, Saghir Siddique, Sufi Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum, Justice retired Rana Bhagwan Das, actor Qavi Khan and others were among those honoured posthumously at the investiture ceremony.

Squash legends Jahangir Khan and Jan Sher Khan, Sartaj Aziz, Mir Hasil Bizenjo and Ahmed Ghulam Ali Chagla have also been conferred with awards.

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The president also bestowed Tamgha-e-Shujaat on martyred Amir Nawaz Khan, martyred Muhammad Kamran, retired Col Muhammad Arif, Muhammad Usman Shehbaz, Dr Kamran Ahmed, Sher Ahmed, Tanveer Hussain, Amjad Ahmed, Mazhar Nawaz Sheikh, Frontier Constabulary’s Zeeshan Ahmed, Naveed Ahmed, Ziaur Rehman and martyred Javedullah while Muhammad Bilal Raja, Mubashir Saleem, Minhas Ahmed Khan and Ijaz Hafeez were also honoured at the ceremony.

Similar ceremonies were also held at the Governor Houses in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Punjab Governor Baligur Rehman conferred Sitara-e-Imtiaz on Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and others.

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Miftah blames Dar for sabotaging IMF deal

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Blaming Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for sabotaging the deal, PML-N leader Miftah Ismail claimed that International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not interested in releasing money to Pakistan as the Washington-based lender had no trust in Islamabad government.

Speaking during a session titled ‘Pakistan in the Midst of Crisis’ organised by a private university in Karachi, former finance minister said when he was heading the Ministry of Finance he spoke to the IMF officials and assured them that Paki¬stan would not make false statements or violate the agreement; however, when Ishar Dar was sworn in ‘he sabotaged the agreement’.

He recalled that Pakistan had three times made sovereign commitments and then backtracked on them. “Now the IMF is not interested in giving money to Pakistan,” he said, emphasising that the Fund doesn’t trust the government in Islamabad.

Pakistan continues to woo the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure the much-needed bailout from the global lender. Pakistan is now the only South Asian country that’s yet to secure a bailout from the multilateral lender as Sri Lanka clinched financing this week and Bangladesh pushes on with carrying out IMF-mandated reforms.

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Pakistan has taken tough measures including increasing taxes and energy prices, and allowing its currency to weaken to restart a $6.5 billion IMF loan package. The funds will offer some relief to a nation still reeling from a dollar shortage that has raised the probability of the economy slipping into a recession ahead of elections this year.

Regarding the petrol relief subsidy announced by the government on Sunday, Miftah said that he believed this formula would not be effective. “We provide subsidies on petrol by taking loans,” he said.

Miftah warned that if Pakistan defaulted it would have grave consequences for the country as people belonging to the rich segment will bear the brunt but the poor people won’t be able to make ends meet.  

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Pakistan Day: PM Shehbaz sees economic instability, political chaos as major challenges

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Pakistan Day: PM Shehbaz sees economic instability, political chaos as major challenges

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday the nation should not lose sight of the challenges staring it in the face.  

“The challenges are topped by a combination of economic instability and the inability to settle the rules of the game. An environment of political chaos explains why we have failed to develop our economy on a sustainable basis,” the prime minister said in a statement issued on the eve of the Pakistan Day. “This day is also the day to renew our pledge,” he stressed.

The premier said Pakistan came into being as a result of political and constitutional struggle and its future lies in adhering to the constitution in its letter and spirit.

“I have no doubt that Pakistan is destined to achieve great heights. However, for this to become a reality, we have to forge unity in our ranks, equip ourselves with national purpose and vow to wage a struggle in line with the legacy of our forefathers,” the prime minister said in a message on Pakistan Day being observed on Thursday.

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The prime minister said the 23rd of March was an epoch-making day in their national history that reminded them of their past, invited them to ponder over the present state of affairs, and inspired them to build a prosperous future.

The prime minister said it took them back to 1940 when Muslims of the sub-continent approved a resolution for the establishment of a separate homeland they could call their own under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s dream of freedom manifested itself in the form of a resolution representing Muslims’ demands, and aspirations for a separate homeland, he added.

The prime minister said the consequential seven years witnessed history in the making as the Quaid-i-Azam led a relentless struggle to translate the dream of Iqbal into reality. The establishment of Pakistan was certainly a miracle of the 20th century.

“The last seventy-five years of our journey have seen us fight many crises from wars to natural disasters. There have been many occasions when we overcame the odds and achieved many milestones,” he added.

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“Let us use this day to introspect and hold ourselves to account. Only those nations that are capable of analyzing their past, learning from their mistakes, and making amends can achieve true glory,” he added.

As a member of the international community, the prime minister said Pakistan had played the role of a responsible nation in the resolution of problems facing humanity and the establishment of global peace.

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