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LHC orders Imran Khan to join probe in all cases by May 5

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  • Court seeks Punjab govt’s report after completing probe by May 8. 
  • Imran Khan agrees to follow LHC directive.
  • Says he is not running from cases but “should have less exposure”.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to join the investigations in all the cases registered against him by Friday.

“Join the investigations by 2pm on Friday,” a three-member bench of the high court ordered the PTI chief while hearing his petition against the registration of 121 cases against him.

A three-member bench of the high court comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh and Justice Aalia Neelum heard the plea.

Khan had filed the plea seeking dismissal of 121 cases registered against him, last month. However, the plea was later amended and now it only challenged the registration of these cases. The plea nominates the federation of Pakistan, the province of Punjab, Punjab Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar, and other provincial and federal authorities, as parties. 

Moreover, the court also directed the Punjab government to submit a report after completing the investigations by May 8. 

The lawyer contended that there was no case against Imran Khan during his 71 years of life.

At this, the court asked why were the cases being filed after the change of government. “They [the petitioner] is claiming that the cases were being registered to keep [him] away from the elections.”

Responding to the court’s query, the lawyer representing the Punjab government said that the PTI chief was seeking additional relief as a former premier.

Justice Baqir then inquired about the cases against Imran Khan and their status.

At this, the Punjab government council argued that Khan didn’t join the investigations in any case.

To this, Justice Neelum sought a guarantee from Khan’s lawyer that he would join the probe. She said that the court was giving the petitioner time to join the probe in all the cases.

However, Justice Sheikh remarked that an appearance before the investigation officer (IO) was a must.

Khan’s lawyer assured that they would join the investigation in all cases while requesting the court to allow appearance via video link.

“We are ready to work under the laws and Code of Criminal Procedure,” Barrister Safdar added.

At this point, PTI chief Imran Khan requested the court to allow him to speak for a few minutes.

“I am not running away from the cases but I should have less exposure,” he said, contending that he was facing threats to his life.

“Trust the court,” Justice Baqir said.

Khan agreed to follow the court’s directive in this regard after which the case was adjourned till Monday.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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