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Donald Lu favours probe into Pakistan election irregularities

Donald Lu favours probe into Pakistan election irregularities

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Donald Lu favours probe into Pakistan election irregularities

US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu has raised questions ove fairness of Feb 8 general elections in Pakistan and recommended probe into allegations of rigging.

Lu on Tuesday submitted a written statement expressing concerns about irregularities in the elections but stressed the need to “stay engaged with Pakistan to help it navigate through the crises it is facing.”

Lu will appear before a subcommittee of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the topic of “Pakistan After the Elections: Examining the Future of Democracy in Pakistan and the US-Pakistan Relationship.”

Former ambassador Lu is at the centre of crises in Pakistan arose due to his alleged warning to ex-Pakistan envoy to the US Asad Majeed which was conveyed to Islamabad through a cipher. Former prime minister and PTI founder mentioned the cipher in his public speeches alleging a US conspiracy to him from power in 2022.

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In his written testimony, Lu highlighted Washington’s concerns about irregularities in Pakistan, which encompass restrictions on freedoms, violence, and allegations of interference in elections.

He mentioned that several political leaders faced obstacles, such as the inability to register specific candidates and political parties, which disadvantaged them in the electoral process.

He also highlighted the harassment and abuse faced by many journalists, particularly female journalists, at the hands of party supporters.

On the other, he mentioned some “positive aspects” in the elections, such as a high turnout of over 60 million voters, including more than 21 million women, and a record number of women and minority candidates.

Despite expressing concerns, Lu stressed the importance of strengthening Pakistan’s democratic institutions and fostering economic stability through avenues such as development grants, private sector investment, and humanitarian aid. He also mentioned Pakistan’s mounting debt challenges and stressed the need of economic reforms and private sector-led investments to spur economic growth.

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Underscoring the significance of counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan, he also advocated for respecting human rights and religious freedoms. Additionally, he stressed the need to collaborate with the subcommittee to implement US policy in Pakistan and advance a vision of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous nation.

The written testimony, uploaded to the House subcommittee’s website a day ahead of the hearing, noted that Islamabad is an important partner, being the top destination for Pakistan’s exports.

“Unfortunately, Pakistan is facing mounting debt challenges after the past decade of elevated borrowing, including from [China]. This year, nearly 70 percent of the federal government’s revenue is expected to go to payments to service this massive debt,” Lu said, explaining why the US needs to stay engaged with Pakistan. 

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Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

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Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while expressing concerns over the dismal state of governance and democratic institutions, stressed the importance of fostering political cooperation among opposition parties on Wednesday.

Fazl, during a meeting with a PTI delegation, highlighted the urgency of collective action among opposition parties to address the challenges of what he described as a decline in democracy, waning relevance of parliament and the diminishing significance of the constitution.

Speaking to media alongside PTI leaders Omar Ayub and Asad Qaiser after the meeting, Fazl emphasised the need for political cooperation among opposition parties, noting that there was no disagreement on that.

He underscored the necessity of dialogue in today’s environment to eliminate bitterness, stating, “If we cannot end differences, we can soften attitudes.”

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Expressing similar views, Omar Ayub, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, said they had a useful conversation with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who welcomed them wholeheartedly. He affirmed that these talks would continue in the future.

Ayub vowed to stand for the supremacy of the constitution, announcing that their meetings and conventions would be held all over Pakistan.

Ayub highlighted the link between democracy and investment, asserting that investment would only come when democracy flourishes.

He also condemned the recent police attack on the party secretariat.

Addressing the media, PTI leader Asad Qaiser said the country had assumed the form of a public limited company now.

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He said that during the meeting with the JUI-F chief, they also discussed the wheat crisis issue in Punjab.

Qaiser emphasised the need for opposition parties to unite for the supremacy of the constitution and law, observing that the prevailing law of the jungle in the country must end.

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Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

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Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

Imran Khan, the incarcerated founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has filed a request with the Supreme Court seeking personal appearance in connection with the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance 1999 amendment case, it is learned.

According to details, the former prime minister has addressed the letter to Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa requesting permission for personal appearance on the next hearing on May 30.

Khan put his signatures on the letter and gave it to the Adiala Jail administration for submission to the apex court.

The court had, during the previous hearing on May 17, issued orders for presenting the PTI founder through video link on the next hearing scheduled for May 30.

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The PTI founder did not get an opportunity to advance arguments during the proceedings on May 17.

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CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

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CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has paid a surprise visit to the Holy Family Hospital here.

The chief minister visited various wards of the hospital, interacted with patients, inquired about the facilities and provision of medicines at the hospital.

Chief Minister Maryam expressed anger at low wages of labourers working at under-construction block of the hospital and directed the authorities concerned to raise their wages as per the law.

Later, she was briefed about the revamping project of the Hospital. She directed the hospital administration to complete construction of new block by June end. 

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