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EU agrees Pakistan can play facilitating role in Ukraine-Russia conflict: PM Imran Khan

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  • PM highlights that conflict would have “adverse economic impact on the developing countries”.
  • PM reiterates need to find a solution through dialogue and diplomacy.
  • PM and EU president agree that countries like Pakistan could play a facilitating role in this endeavour. 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday European Council President Charles Michel agreed that countries like Pakistan could play a facilitating role in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The development comes after PM Imran Khan had lashed out at the EU envoys for their letter in which they had sought Pakistan’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“EU ambassadors wrote a letter to Pakistan, asking us to issue an anti-Russia statement. I ask EU ambassadors: did you write that letter to India as well?” said PM Imran while addressing a rally in Tehsil Mailsi of the Vehari District.

Today, the prime minister tweeted that he spoke with the EU council’s president about the Ukraine situation.

The premier said he shared concerns over continued military conflict, highlighted its adverse economic impact on developing countries, and stressed the urgent need for ceasefire and de-escalation.

“I emphasised the importance of humanitarian relief and reiterated the call for a solution through dialogue and diplomacy,” the prime minister said.

“We agreed that countries like Pakistan could play a facilitating role in this endeavour. I look forward to a close engagement to promote shared objectives,” he added.

Separately, Moscow said Monday it would provide corridors for residents of Ukraine’s two main cities to flee to Russia and Belarus, a move Ukraine called an “immoral stunt to exploit the suffering of civilians under Russian bombardment.”

Russian and Ukrainian delegations assembled for a third round of talks in Belarus, both sides said. Two previous rounds yielded little beyond pledges to open routes for humanitarian access that have yet to be successfully implemented.

Russia’s announcement of “humanitarian corridors” came after two days of failed ceasefires to allow civilians to escape the besieged city of Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands are trapped without food and water, under relentless bombardment.

More than 1.7 million Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion have so far crossed into Central Europe, the United Nation’s refugee agency said on Monday, as thousands more streamed in that direction.

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CEC says election schedule to be issued in a ‘few days’

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  • CEC Raja issues message to mark National Voters Day.
  • Fully prepared, committed to conduct transparent elections, he says.
  • Urges people to use their right to vote for the “bright future”. 

ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja has said that preparations for the general elections are underway in full swing and the schedule for 2023 polls will be issued in a few days.

In a message to mark National Voters Day, the CEC said the Election Commission is fully aware of its constitutional and legal responsibilities, reported Geo News.

“Fully prepared and committed to conduct transparent and peaceful elections,” he added.

He said the polls organising body is currently busing in election preparations and the printing and distribution of electoral rolls have been completed.

CEC Raja said a notification for the appointments of election staff including returning officers (Ros) and district returning officers (DROs) will be issued in a few days.

His statement came amid heightened political temperature in the country with political parties busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the elections slated to take place on February 8, 2023.

The Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP for polls arrangements, putting to rest election delay rumours.

Last week, the ECP also notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, paving the way for the announcement of the election schedule.

In the message today, the CEC also reiterated that elections will take place at its scheduled time and maintained that the commission will ensure complete security during the polls.

He also urged the people to use their right to vote for the “bright future of the country and nation” and cooperate with the ECP to ensure peaceful elections.

Raja also reminded the people that they have “power of vote,” asking them to cast their ballot while keeping in view the future of their children.

He also called upon voters to fully participate in the election process.

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Manzoor Pashteen handed over to police on seven-day physical remand

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  • PTM leader arrested in Chaman for clashing with police.
  • Holding rallies is Manzoor Pashteen’s right, lawyer tells court.
  • PTM claims Pashteen’s car was fired upon in Balochistan.

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday handed over Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen to police on a seven-day physical remand.

Pashteen was arrested in Balochistan’s Chaman area on Monday after his security guards allegedly clashed with the police and opened fire.

The PTM leader was presented in the ATC court where Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain approved Pashteen’s seven-day physical remand.

The PTM leader’s lawyer told the court that holding rallies was his client’s right and added that Pashteen’s car was fired upon in Balochistan.

Security personnel from the police, Levies and the Frontier Corps (FC) were carrying out routine checking when armed men accompanying Pashteen refused to stop the vehicle and opened fire at the security forces, the deputy commissioner had said following Pashteen’s arrest.

The official had revealed that the forces retaliated and fired at the tyres of the PTM chief’s vehicle — who along with the armed men managed to flee the scene,according to a Geo News report.

The PTM, in a statement, had confirmed the incident saying that the party chief’s vehicle came under fire near Chaman Press Club while he was en route to Quetta after addressing a sit-in organised by the All Parties Tajir Mehnat Kash.

According to a party spokesperson, eight bullets were fired at Pashteen’s vehicle with the incident injuring one woman — who is being treated in a hospital.

The party chief, along with his entourage, returned to Chaman and surrendered before the authorities, the party spokesperson added.

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Toshakhana case: IHC turns down Imran Khan’s withdrawal plea

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  • Khan moved IHC against verdict on Oct 2023.
  • IHC’s decision was reserved on Sep 13.
  • ECP disqualified Khan in Toshakhana case.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday turned down former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s plea to withdraw his appeal challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict on his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

The former prime minister had filed an appeal against the electoral body’s verdict on October 28, 2022, and later sought withdrawal on January 18, 2023.

Khan sought withdrawal of the appeal at the IHC as the matter was pending in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the court’s decision which was reserved on September 13 after hearing arguments of all the parties.

On October 21, 2022, the electoral watchdog, in a consensus verdict, had disqualified the former prime minister under Article 63(1)(p) and ruled that the PTI founder was no more a member of the National Assembly. He was disqualified for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

The ECP had stated that Khan submitted a false affidavit and was found involved in corrupt practices under Article 63(1)(p). The decision was taken unanimously by the electoral authority’s five-member bench.

The deposed prime minister challenged his disqualification in the IHC, praying to the court to set aside the judgment as he said the ECP had no jurisdiction over the matter.

In the meantime, a separate petition was filed in the LHC against Khan’s disqualification. The petition challenged the ECP’s relevant section under which the ex-PTI chief was disqualified.

Initially, the petitioner did not apprise the IHC about his second plea in the LHC over the same matter. Later, the PTI founder requested the IHC to allow him to withdraw his plea as he reportedly wanted the LHC to proceed with the case.

During proceedings, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq expressed his annoyance over concealing the matter about the second petition in the LHC and remarked: “In principle, the case should proceed in the court where the appeal was filed first.”

Khan’s counsel argued that a larger bench of the LHC was hearing the case.

After hearing the arguments from all sides, the IHC reserved its verdict on September 13, 2023. 

Toshkhana reference

In August 2022, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent a reference to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223, seeking former prime minister Khan’s disqualification in the light of the Toshakhana scam.

The disqualification reference was filed by Ali Gohar Khan, PML-N’s Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, and five others.

The 28-page reference identified 52 gift items of Toshakhana received by the former premier Khan, violating the law and rules, taken away at nominal prices and most of the gifts were sold in the market, including some precious watches.

The assessed value of the gifts has been put at Rs142,042,100. The gifts were received between August 2018 and December 2021.

According to Ranjha, Khan concealed information about the gift of watches by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in his statement of assets submitted in 2018-2019.

This withholding of information is tantamount to lying which, according to Ranjha, is a crime under Section 137.

He said that Khan was no more Sadiq and Ameen and should be slapped with disqualification for life from contesting the election under Article 62(1)(f), Article 2, Article 3 of the Constitution.

Article 62(1)(f) is the same legal instrument that disqualified former PM Nawaz Sharif from contesting elections and led to his removal from power, Ranjha said.

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