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Tareen group says will only move forward on ‘minus Buzdar’ strategy

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The group of lawmakers led by estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen announced on Tuesday that it would only move forward on a “minus Buzdar” strategy.

The announcement was another setback for the government and came as a delegation of senior opposition lawmakers submitted a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan with the National Assembly Secretariat.

Speaking to the media in Lahore, Punjab MPA Nauman Langrial said that Tareen was currently in London and was apprised of the current situation via video link.

“During the meeting, we gave Tareen full authority to take decisions on behalf of the group,” he said, adding that different political parties had and were continuing to contact the group.

“However, I want to make it clear that all members of the group are united on the stance that we will move forward on the minus Buzdar [strategy],” he said, reiterating that they would accept the decisions taken by Tareen.

Langrial said that the group was also listening to things being said by the political parties getting in touch with them and updating Tareen about the developments.

He said that an important meeting would be held tomorrow to take decisions regarding the group’s future under the current circumstances. “We will look at this evolving situation and will draft a plan.”

When asked about possible candidates for the post of chief minister, the Punjab MPA asserted that the Tareen group was a “united front” and a “family”.

“We know that all members of this group will accept the decisions taken by Tareen.”

He also refused to comment on whether Aleem Khan — who had joined the group a day earlier — had been selected for the job, saying that the group was united under Tareen’s leadership. “We told Aleem Khan sahab the same, that if you are a part of this group then you will have to follow the decisions taken by Tareen.”

When pressed about PML-Q’s Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as a possible nominee, he said: “Tareen has the right to take all decisions. We will follow whatever he says.”

Concluding his press conference, he asserted that this was not a “rebellion”.

“We are following a certain mandate and the people have certain expectations of us. We are not only thinking about the PTI, but also about the province.”

Aleem Khan joins ‘dissidents club’

Khan, a close friend of the prime minister, announced on Monday that he would be joining hands with the Tareen group, prompting a panic-stricken PM to dispatch Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to Lahore to pacify the former Punjab minister.

While presiding over the PTI’s Core Committee meeting on Monday, the PM decided to appease all disgruntled leaders of his party when Khan re-emerged after lying low for a while, with the support of over three dozen Punjab MPAs, including 10 ministers.

For the first time in the PTI’s three-and-a-half-year rule, the former Punjab senior minister assailed the Imran Khan government in the Centre and the Usman Buzdar-led Punjab government for “completely failing to fulfil its mandate and bring about the promised change”.

Aleem Khan met the Tareen group members at the latter’s residence in his absence where they discussed the political scenario, agreeing the Punjab government should be toppled to begin with. Tareen is currently in London for medical treatment and is expected to return to Pakistan soon.

“The PTI’s diehard workers were pushed aside as soon as the Imran Khan government came to power and parachuters surrounded the prime minister,” Aleem told the media after meeting the disgruntled MPAs and provincial ministers.

“Many PTI workers are still looking for answers on why loyalists, including Jahangir Tareen, were pushed away,” he said. “We (the disgruntled members) would not have regretted being sidelined if the government was working in the right direction and offering relief to the masses.”

“I have become politically active (against my own party) as my supporters in the Punjab Assembly and the disgruntled members have decided to play our role to save the party and protect people from the PTI government’s misdoings,” he said in response to a question.

“I have met 40 MPAs, including ministers, in the past four days and decided that all the loyalists should join hands and launch a struggle to save the party.”

When asked whether this joint group would support the proposed no-confidence motion of the opposition, the former minister remained non-committal and said the two (Aleem and Tareen) groups would consult each other and decide whom to support.

Both Khan and Tareen were once PM Imran’s closest aides when the PTI formed the government in 2018. It was believed the two provided massive monetary assistance to the ruling party.

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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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