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President Arif Alvi urges not to make Pakistan Army ‘controversial’

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  • President Alvi advises politicians to not discuss the army.
  • “They should be respected,” President Alvi says.
  • President says he is “worried” due to increasing polarisation.

LAHORE: President Arif Alvi Friday stressed against making the Pakistan Army “controversial” after the armed forces were criticised by PTI leader Shahbaz Gill.

“Time and again, I have been telling politicians to not bring the armed forces under discussion,” the president told journalists in Lahore.

The president stressed that the armed forces are responsible for the country’s security and in light of their role, politicians should refrain from making the institution controversial.

“It was the armed forces’ job to win the battle against terrorism; they should be respected,” President Alvi said.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s chief of staff, Gill, was arrested Tuesday from Bani Gali Chowk after his remarks on a private television channel went viral on social media.

Gill has been charged under serious sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) after he had attempted to incite hatred within the Pakistan Army while speaking on a private TV channel.

The president noted that he was the constitutional head of all the country’s institutions, and he respects all of them.

“There are talks of the appointment of the army chief and judges. For the judiciary, the chief justice has stated that there should be a standard; I agree with him,” the president said.

CJP Umar Ata Bandial had recently proposed the names of five judges in the last Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s (JCP) meeting, however, they were rejected altogether — and controversy has emerged since then.

‘Caught’ in ‘foreign funding case’

Moving on to the prohibited funding case, the president said that the PTI was “caught in the foreign funding case” as they kept records of their accounts.

The president, explaining the funding received from abroad, said that under United States laws, if a party wants to collect funds, it has to establish a company.

“[The ECP], however, claimed that a ‘company’ sent us funds, whereas, it were those companies which we established in line with the US and Canadian laws,” he said.

In a unanimous ruling, the election commission’s three-member bench had said earlier this month it found that the PTI received prohibited funding.

The case was earlier referred to as the “foreign funding” case, but later the election commission accepted the PTI’s plea to refer to it as the “prohibited funding” case.

As per the 68-page order, the commission states that the Imran Khan-led PTI did indeed receive funding from foreign companies and individuals, which it hid.

The ECP verdict states that the PTI received funds from 34 individuals and 351 businesses, including companies.

Thirteen unknown accounts have also come to light, said the commission in the verdict, adding that hiding accounts are a “violation” of Article 17 of the Constitution.

‘Worried’ due to increasing polarisation

The president, addressing all stakeholders of the country, said that the situation “was not ideal” and that it was crucial for politicians to sit at the talking table.

“Politicians are not sitting together at the talking table; they have to unite. If I don’t see the situation getting better, I will ask them to sit at the table. As the president, I can only ask, not order,” Alvi noted.

President Alvi said he was “worried” that the polarisation was increasing and noted that it had to end in the coming days. “Of course, politicians are not students that we’ll ask them to sit in a classroom forcefully.”

He also said that there was an issue of mismanagement in Pakistan and he told the same to the party chairman, Khan. However, he said that the former prime minister had his own stance.

The president said that he has only rejected four or five of the summaries that the current coalition government has sent him out of the total 85.

“I know my constitutional role.”

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PTI received unwelcome respite, according to Rana Sanaullah

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In the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seat dispute, the government would respect the majority ruling of the Supreme Court, according to PMLN senior leader and advisor on political affairs Rana Sanaullah Khan.

He stated that after examining the decision, the government’s legal team would react appropriately. According to Rana Sanaullah, the legal team would determine whether or not to submit a review petition.

“SIC petitions were rejected but PTI was given that relief which was neither asked in the petition nor contest during the proceeding,” asserted Rana Sanaullah in response to the ruling.

He argued that because parties established administrations with a simple majority, the PMLN-led unity movement did not have a two-thirds majority.

According to Rana Sanaullah, PTI should challenge election tribunal rulings, with the government carrying out the rulings.

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The membership of Sher Afzal Marwat has been suspended by PTI.

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According to sources, PTI officials convened with imprisoned party founder Imran Khan on Thursday to make a decision over Marwat.

The party authorities alleged that Sher Afzal Marwat had been consistently breaching party discipline over the past month.

“In the meeting with Imran Khan, it was mutually agreed that no leader holds a superior position within the party, and any other leaders who deviate from the party’s stance will face similar consequences,” they stated.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has recently issued a show-cause notice to Sher Afzal Marwat due to his irresponsible utterances.

The notice, issued by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan, requires Marwat to provide an explanation for his utterances within a three-day period. These statements have been considered harmful to the party’s reputation.

The notification declares that making such utterances goes against the party’s code of conduct and contravenes the explicit directives of the party’s founder, Imran Khan, who has underscored the significance of accountable conduct.

Marwat was cautioned that if they fail to react or offer a satisfactory explanation, it could result in additional disciplinary measures.

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Supporting phone tapping for “national security,” Khawaja Asif

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In the continuous fight against terrorism, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has stated that he is a strong supporter of security agencies’ phone tapping practices.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, particularly party head Omer Ayub, criticized and engaged in contentious arguments following Asif’s statements.

The significance of phone tapping for national security was emphasized by Khawaja Asif in an interview with a foreign media source. “Terrorism is the enemy that we fight. Given the circumstances, I will be in favor of phone tapping,” he said.

Noting that the phone tapping matter is presently being handled through the legal system, he further urged that everyone support the measure. “Phone tapping is necessary for national security,” he asserted.

By highlighting the PTI’s erratic position on the issue, the defense minister also rejected the party’s concerns as hypocritical.

Every action, whether legal and illegal, seemed acceptable to Imran Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Taliban, when he was on good terms with the authorities.” Asif said, “The same thing is hateful to his followers today.”

In order to prevent terrorism and protect national security, Asif emphasized the importance of phone tapping. Under the present conditions, I will be in favor of phone tapping. The fight against terrorism required it, he declared. In these difficult circumstances, he also urged detractors to think about the wider effects of security precautions.

After former prime minister Imran Khan complained about his phone being tapped, Asif hinted that the PTI’s present protests are politically motivated by pointing to earlier instances in which they had a positive relationship with the establishment.

For the purpose of maintaining national security and preventing any criminal activity, the central government granted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the nation’s premier spy agency, permission to tap phones on July 8. A notification stating that Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act 1996 permits ISI to record phone calls has been issued. Anything that falls under the notification category can be recorded by it.

The notice included a call recording feature in addition to the ability to track messages and calls. Subject to the prime minister’s approval, ISI personnel ranked 18th or higher are granted this authority. It will be feasible to record WhatsApp calls, SMS, and other applications in addition to cell calls, the release states.

Notably, on June 30, Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court said that it is legally unlawful to monitor civilians in any way in the case of the audio leaks involving the son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar and Bushra Bibi. According to his ruling, the prime minister and the cabinet bear both collective and individual responsibility for the widespread surveillance of four million citizens carried out by the federal government through the system.

The prime minister should acquire intelligence agency reports and bring the issue before the cabinet, the court judgment stated. Furthermore, according to the decision, the prime minister must report to the court on the Lawful Management System within six weeks.

“The prime minister will tell whether the surveillance of citizens is going on against the law and constitution,” the court stated.

Along with identifying who is in charge of the surveillance system that is interfering with citizens’ privacy, he should also disclose who installed the Lawful Interception Management System and mass surveillance. By July 5, all telecom firms were ordered by the court to submit their reports about the Lawful Interception Management System.

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