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Posts from — June 2012

National Assembly session: Rowdy MNAs leave budget neglected

ISLAMABAD:  Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi ruined the opposition’s plans to disrupt the house proceedings by abruptly calling off the session on Wednesday for a day.

No sooner had lawmakers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) entered the house, that Kundi adjourned the proceedings, cutting short a speech by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) legislator Prince Mohiuddin. The move was appreciated by members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with desk thumping and laughter, but the PML-N would have none of it, shouting “Bhaag gaye”. When ruling party members began making fun of the opposition, the opposition started chanting ‘prime minister – Khursheed Shah’.

Shouting and sloganeering aside, the fourth day of the budget session suffered from lacklustre participation of MNAs. Many were also absent. Proceedings were suspended twice due to a lack of quorum.

When Kundi announced the suspension of proceedings till the required number of members was present, a frazzled Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah went on a search mission as PPP members strolled in the lobby instead of participating in the budget debate.  http://tribune.com.pk/story/390031/national-assembly-session-rowdy-mnas-leave-budget-neglected/

June 7, 2012   No Comments

SC issues notices to speaker, PM, ECP in contempt case

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in response to the petitions filed against the speaker’s ruling in the premier’s contempt case.

The hearing for the identical petitions, including those filed by PTI and PML-N, will be held on June 14. The people in question are not required to appear in person and can be represented by their respective counsels.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that since the prime minister has not filed any written or verbal appeal even after a lapse of 30 days, the court’s verdict is now a conceded judgment.

The bench expressed surprise over how the prime minister had not made any efforts to rub off the stigma, while his party had sought to clear Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s name even after his execution.

When Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that “for some people honour and pride matter the most,” Advocate A K Dogar quipped: “For Gilani only the office of the prime minister is important.”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/390004/protecting-the-constitution-sc-issues-notices-to-speaker-pm-ecp-in-contempt-case/

June 7, 2012   No Comments

The many fathers of the many controversial sons: by Usman Manzoor in the News, June7

ISLAMABAD: There is an apparent difference in the reactions of the fathers of four privileged sons allegedly involved in financial corruption.

In the case of the alleged corruption of the sons of Prime Minister Gilani and former Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the fathers tried their best to save the skins of their sons, but Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, put his son in the dock the day bribe allegations were levelled.

The prime minister and former CM Punjab either tried to influence the investigation process against their sons or changed the investigating officers quite frequently just to make a weak case for prosecution while the chief justice, on Wednesday, said in a packed court room number one that if his son Arsalan Iftikhar is guilty, he will be made an example. The chief justice said this while his son was standing before him in the Supreme Court facing allegations of corruption.

It is worth mentioning here that CJ’s son, Arsalan Iftikhar has been alleged of accepting bribe worth Rs300 million from Malik Riaz of Bahria Town in the name of judiciary. The CJ has taken suo moto notice of these reports and says those involved in maligning the institution of judiciary, no matter how close they are to the judges, will be dealt with iron hands.

Colonel Khalil, Principal Staff Officer of Malik Riaz, told the Supreme Court that Malik Riaz could not be contacted as he was in London for medical treatment.

In the recent past, two sons of Prime Minister, Abdul Qadir Gilani and Moosa Gilani figured in Haj scam and Ephedrine Scandal, and on both the occasions, first the officers investigating the scandals were tried to be influenced and latter they were changed to save the privileged sons.

In the Ephedrine scam in which Moosa Gilani was alleged of making huge amount through illegal import of the banned chemical, first, Sohail Ahmed, the then Secretary Narcotics Control who ordered to register FIR against those involved in the scam, was removed in October 2011. When the scandal surfaced in media and Supreme Court was hearing the case, the officers of Anti-Narcotics Force dealing with the scam were transferred by the PPP government. Zafar Abbas Luk, a politically motivated officer, was appointed as Secretary Narcotics Control division to save PM’s son. Prime Minister Gilani first gave all the powers of DG ANF to Secretary Narcotics Luk and then on April 6, 2012 removed Maj Gen Shakeel Hussain simply three weeks before his retirement.

During investigations into the Haj scam, this time involving prime minister’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani, PM Gilani not only transferred the upright FIA investigator, Hussain Asghar, but also refused repeated Supreme Court orders to bring him back to the investigations. Hussain Asghar has not been transferred back to FIA till now, because he had dared to summon prime minister’s son.

During the investigation of the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam allegedly involving, Moonis Elahi, son of top PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the prime minister had not only repeatedly confronted and attacked the Supreme Court but also frequently transferred the honest investigator and FIA’s Additional Director General Zafar Qureshi and other FIA investigators collecting evidence regarding the involvement of Moonis Elahi. Even two Establishment Secretaries, Rauf Ch and Sohail Ahmed were also changed by PM Gilani at the behest of PML-Q leaders. Latter, the whole prosecution team in NICL scam was hijacked after the retirement of Zafar Qureshi and the privileged son was rescued from being punished. However the judge who acquitted Moonis Elahi did write in his judgement that the prosecution half-heartedly pursued the case.http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15174-The-many-fathers-of-the-many-controversial-sons

June 7, 2012   No Comments

CJ expels son from home till verdict

ISLAMABAD: Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has said his father has forced him to leave home till the Supreme Court verdict in the suo moto case concerning his alleged corruption.

Talking to media persons outside the Supreme Court, Dr Arsalan said he was innocent and denied all the allegations levelled against him. Responding to a question, Dr Arsalan said he had no issue with his father heading the bench, adding that a judge had no relations while hearing a case.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15165-CJ-expels-son-from-home-till-verdict

June 7, 2012   No Comments

PM’s adviser says Arsalan story to appear in UK paper on Sunday

ISLAMABAD: While the Pakistan People’s Party is trying to keep itself away from the alleged scam involving the son of the chief justice of Pakistan, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs, Fawad Chaudhry, says that the story about the CJ son’s Rs400 million affairs with Malik Riaz will appear in the Sunday Times, London next Sunday.

From his twitter account, which he uses very often, Fawad tweeted just hours before the CJ took suo moto notice of the attempt to malign the judiciary, that “Christina Lamb story on 400 M Scam of CJP son is likely to appear in Sunday times on Sunday this week.”

Not only this, the PPP leader on Wednesday also tweeted that ‘Honourable CJP! accept responsibility and resign & Dear Chamchas of CJP stop imposing heroes, fakes cannot be retained in this position for long.” http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15199-PMs-adviser-says-Arsalan-story-to-appear-in-UK-paper-on-Sunday

June 7, 2012   No Comments

Son appears before CJ over scam allegation

ISLAMABAD: A whispering campaign involving the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in a financial scam finally landed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but preliminary hearing brought forth a stark reality that hard evidence to establish the involvement of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar was still missing.

However, a visibly disturbed chief justice, who had taken notice of allegations that his son had received Rs300 to 400 million from the owner of Bahria Town, vowed to deal strictly in accordance with the law if Dr Arsalan was found guilty.

“I will be the last person to spare my son or any relative,” the chief justice observed in an obvious indication to protect his honour and integrity at all cost.

But the chief justice ignored a request made by Attorney General Irfan Qadir to recuse himself, instead of heading the bench, as commanded by the code of conduct for judges, saying the dignity of the institution being of prime importance was involved.http://dawn.com/2012/06/07/son-appears-before-cj-over-scam-allegation/

June 7, 2012   No Comments

PPP leader hints at reviewing dual nationality bar

By Hafeez Tunio  in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012

KARACHI: Ruling Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former law minister Maula Bux Chandio on Wednesday hinted that the dual nationality law may be amended.

“We will convene a meeting of parliamentary parties of our coalition partners and then speak to leaders of opposition parties to resolve the matter. I hope that we can arrive at an amicable solution,” Chandio, said while talking to The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, two parliamentarians from Sindh Assembly, who allegedly hold dual nationalities, contested media reports that they have received notices from the apex court.

“I have not received a court notice yet. I will give my viewpoint in court if I am summoned,” said PPP’s MPA Dr. Ahmed Ali Shah, a neurosurgeon who holds a British passport.

Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s MPA Nadia Gabol is listed as a British citizen, born in Manchester, in the Sindh Assembly’s official documents. When contacted, Gabol was reluctant to speak on the issue. Her party’s spokesperson, Wasay Jalil, said the MQM had started consulting constitutional experts before giving its viewpoint on the issue of dual nationality.http://tribune.com.pk/story/390035/buildind-consensus-ppp-leader-hints-at-reviewing-dual-nationality-bar/

June 7, 2012   No Comments

Punjab finance minister denies quitting: report in The News

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Rana Asif has denied reports claiming that he has tendered resignation from his office.

Talking to The News on Wednesday, Asif said that he was working as the finance minister and had neither been asked by the chief minister to quit nor had he taken any such decision himself. He said he would continue working as per the instructions of his leadership and added that he was a staunch PML-N member. http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15181-Punjab-finance-minister-denies-quitting

June 7, 2012   No Comments

Punjab’s finance minister Rana Asif resigns

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s (PML-N) Rana Asif Mehmood, who was recently appointed as Finance Minister Punjab to present the provincial budget, has resigned on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

Mehmood’s resignation was demanded because he possessed dual nationality, PML-N sources said.

While Mehmood denied that he was asked by his party to resign.

The provincial budget of the province was expected to be announced on June 9.

Education Minister Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman’s name was under consideration to present the budget.

Earlier, dual nationality and ‘dual religion’ of provincial finance minister Rana Asif Mehmood remained one of issues of the proceedings as Q League’s Samina Khawar Hayat threatened not to allow Rana to present the provincial budget.http://dawn.com/2012/06/06/punjabs-finance-minister-rana-asif-resigns/

June 7, 2012   No Comments

Supreme Court should not give ‘open-ended’ judgments: AQ Khan

By Rana Yasif in The Express Tribune, June 7

LAHORE: Ambiguity in Supreme Court (SC) decisions has opened it to ridicule, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan said on Wednesday.

Addressing the Lahore Bar Association at Aiwan-i-Adl, Khan also said that the SC must decide all cases on ‘merit’.

He said that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was still in office despite being convicted.

“If the SC said that Gilani could be disqualified; why did they not disqualify him themselves?,” he said.

He said that a similarly ambiguous decision had been handed down in the case concerning Rehman Malik’s dual nationality, who had been re-appointed adviser to the prime minister after his membership of Senate was suspended.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/389981/supreme-court-should-not-give-open-ended-judgments-aq-khan/

June 7, 2012   No Comments