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Posts from — August 2016

SC returns PTI’s ‘frivolous’ petition: by Nasir Iqbal in Dawn, August 31st, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) long-awaited petition, asking for the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family for their alleged involvement in the Panamagate scandal, met the same fate as the recently returned petition filed by the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).

The Supreme Court office on Tuesday handed the petition back to the party’s Advocate-on-Record Chaud­hry Akhtar Ali, a day after it was filed by senior counsel Naeem Bokhari. The objections raised by the court office were identical to the ones highlighted when the JI petition was returned, i.e. the petition, prima facie (on the face of it), appeared to be frivolous.

The petition, which was filed in the name of PTI chairman Imran Khan, sought the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

“That this petition prima facie appears to be a frivolous petition within the contemplation of Order XVII Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980,” explained the order issued by the registrar’s office when the petition was returned.

Under the Rule 5 of Order XVII, the registrar has the authority to refuse to receive a petition on the grounds that it has not been filed in accordance with the rules, or is frivolous, or contains scandalous matter.

Under the same rules, the petitioner has the right to move an appeal within a fortnight of the petition’s return, which would then be heard by a judge of the apex court in his chambers.

“All these questions ought to have been decided by the court and not the registrar’s office,” senior PTI leader Ishaq Khakwani told Dawn.

The registrar had violated the Constitution, he said, adding that the party’s legal team was carefully analysing the registrar’s objections and would soon file an appeal against the order.

Mr Khakwani recalled that earlier scores of cases were entertained by the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) and such objections were never raised by the registrar’s office. “We have every reason to believe that the registrar has acted in bad faith,” he regretted.

Separately, party spokesperson Naeemul Haq announced that a legal team headed by senior counsel Hamid Khan was in the process of finalising an appeal against the registrar’s order, which would be moved soon.

On Aug 27, the court office declined to accept a petition moved by JI emir Sirajul Haq, where he had asked the Supreme Court to declare the illegal transfer of national wealth for investments in offshore companies an offence under Section 9 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).

On May 13, the Supreme Court returned a somewhat similar request from the federal government, asking the court to appoint a commission of inquiry to conduct a probe into the Panamagate affair, on the grounds that any such commission formed under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956 would result in the constitution of a toothless commission that would serve no useful purpose, except bringing a bad name to the judiciary.

The court had also declared the terms of reference — sent to it by the government under public pressure — “wide and open-ended”, saying that it might take years for such a commission to close its proceedings.

On Tuesday, the court office informed the applicants that the petitioner was directly invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution — that deals with the ‘enforcement of fundamental rights’ – which is not permissible in light of the precedent laid down in the 1998 matter of Zulfikar Mehdi vs PIA.

In that case, the apex court had interpreted the term ‘public importance’ and laid down that the expression should be viewed with reference to freedom and liberties guaranteed under the Constitution, their protection and the invasion of these rights in a manner which raises serious questions regarding their enforcement.

The issues arising in a case cannot be considered questions of public importance if a decision on those issues only affects the rights of an individual or a group of individuals, the judgement had held.

In its order, the registrar office also stated that the petitioner had approached the Supreme Court without first approaching an appropriate forum under the law, not did the petitioner provide any justification for not approaching any other forum.

Similarly, the certificate provided by the petitioner alongside the petition did not fulfil the requirements of Rule 6 of Order XXV of the Supreme Court rules.

This rule requires the applicant to state in clear terms whether the petitioner has moved the concerned high court for the same relief, and if so, what was the result.
http://www.dawn.com/news/1281114

August 31, 2016   No Comments

PTI, PAT, JI, MWM, SIC plan Sept protests: by Iftikhar Alam in The Nation, August 31, 2016

LAHORE – Political environment is going to be hot in September as five political and religious parties have planned protest demonstrations against the government.

A meeting between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri and a gathering of all major Opposition parties is also going to be held next month.

Though the PTI, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Jamaat-e-Islami, Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen and Sunni Ittehad Council are taking to the streets separately, leaders of the parties anticipated an alliance between them.

The PML-Q is another party which is part of the anti-government protests and announced to participate in PAT’s Qisas March scheduled to be held on September 3 in Rawalpindi.  PAT spokesperson said his party will announce its next strategy after the Rawalpindi’s march.

The PTI has planned “Accountability Marches” in Lahore and Karachi on September 3 and September 6.

JI chief Sirajul Haq is leading his party’s rallies under “Corruption Free Pakistan” movement in different cities.

JI spokesperson said that the party will certainly issue schedule of its protests within two to three days for the month of September.

The Sunni Ittehad Council announced to hold protest demonstrations from September 1 in different districts for the “disqualification of the Prime Minister.”

The Ittehad, a conglomerate of around two dozen religious parties of Brelvi school of thought with its Chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza has main following in Faisalabad.  The Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen, an ally of PAT and holds a good Shia vote bank, is holding sit-in at Punjab CM house from September 2.

The party leaders allege that the PML-N government is involved in “Shia genocide” in planned way and failed to protect the community.

On the other side, the PAT is likely to host grand Opposition meeting in the mid of September at Model Town.

It had invited the Opposition parties in its head office on July 31 and announced the first phase of its Qisas Movement which ended in August.

The Opposition meeting is being hosted by the PAT next month on proposal of Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid who met Dr Tahirul Qadri at his residence in Model Town yesterday.

“Sheikh Rashid gave suggestion to Dr Qadri for hosting another Opposition parties meeting. Dr Sahib agreed with Sheikh Sahib’s view,” PAT spokesperson Noorullah Siddiqui told The Nation.

A meeting between PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT head Dr Tahirul Qadri is also expected in September. Both the leaders made two phonic contacts on Monday and Tuesday and agreed to give tough time to the government on Model Town and Panama Leaks issue, Noorullah said.

“Dr Tahirul Qadri yesterday phoned PTI Chairman and discussed political situation. A high level delegation of PTI is also visiting PAT head office on Wednesday (today),” he said. It was the second contact between the two leaders in two days.

Earlier on Monday, PTI Chairman had phoned the PAT leader and invited him to participate in former’s protest march in Lahore.http://nation.com.pk/newspaper-picks/31-Aug-2016/pti-pat-ji-mwm-sic-plan-sept-protests

August 31, 2016   No Comments

Sindh to get 23pc less water for Kharif : Irsa By Fawad Yousafzai in The Nation, August 31, 2016

ISLAMABAD – Indus River System Authority’s (Irsa) advisory committee yesterday rejected Sindh’s demand for release of 1,70,000 cusecs water and decided that the province will get 23 percent less water during the season.

The Irsa has also recommended to Wapda to review the standard operating procedure (SOP) for storing water in Tarbella reservoir as under the current SOP it is impossible to fill the reservoir to its peak level.

The decision was made in a meeting of the Irsa’s advisory committee held here Tuesday. The meeting was presided over by the Irsa’s chairman and attended by authority’s members, officials from the provincial irrigation departments and Wapda. As per the Advisory committee’s decision, Punjab will also receive 15.7 percent less water from its demand.

Sindh has asked Irsa to provide it its full share of 1,70,000 cusecs for the next 15 to 20 days as it will be helpful for the Kharif crops. According to Sindh plea, Tarbella level should be dealt as a secondary issue and water releases for the Kharif crops should be the top priority. The advisory committee of Irsa has rejected the demand, said Irsa spokesperson Abid Rana while briefing the newsmen after the meeting.

The Sindh demand was knocked out with majority votes, the spokesman said. Even member Balochistan who, during the last meeting, voted in favour of Sindh on the issue of losses and water share, cast its vote against the province. The main reason for Balochistan to vote against Sindh was its controversy over the water shares. Balochistan has time and again recorded its protest with Irsa that the province is receiving 40 percent less water than its full share. Balochistan has alleged that Sindh is stealing its share of water.

It is pertinent to mention here that keeping in view the depleting water levels in Tarbella reservoir, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) last week cut the water share of both Punjab and Sindh by 21.5 percent. The decision was taken in a meeting of Irsa which had decided that Sindh will be given around 27 percent less water while Punjab’s share will be 14.2 percent less.

During that meeting too, Sindh dissented and demanded 40 percent water losses, instead of 20 percent but finally the matter was decided through voting and the decision was taken by a 3 to 2 majority. Both the provinces were unhappy with Irsa’s previous decision and asked that the advisory committee should review the decision as it will have a negative impact on the Kharif crops.

As of Tuesday, the demand for water release of Sindh and Punjab was 1,70,000 and 1,40,000 cusecs respectively. The advisory committee decided that Sindh will receive 23 percent less water than its demand which is 1,31,000 cusecs, while Punjab will receive 15.7 percent less water than its demand which is 1,18,000 cusecs, Abid Rana said.

Giving details of the decisions taken by the Irsa, the spokesman said it had been decided that Punjab and Sindh will get water under Para 2 of the Water Accord of 1991, full share plus 20 percent losses. Sindh’s main concern was with respect to losses as the provinces wanted 40 percent conveyance losses.

It was noted by the advisory committee that the conveyance loses from Chashma to Guddu was around 17 to 18 percent but even then the provinces were being charged with 20 percent losses.

Regarding SOP, the spokesman said that it needed a revision as with its current status, even next year they will not be able to fill Tarbella reservoir to its peak level. It is pertinent to mention here that in a letter, written to Wapda, Irsa chairman had asked the authority to fill Tarbela Dam.

The letter carried the instruction that the filling be done as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) so much so that the water levels could reach maximum up to 1550 feet.

According to the SOP, water from 1 foot to 4 feet a day can be stored in the reservoir.

But Wapda kept filling around one foot of water daily, consequently leaving the reservoir short of its capacity.http://nation.com.pk/national/31-Aug-2016/sindh-to-get-23pc-less-water-for-kharif-irsa

August 31, 2016   No Comments

American Is Facing Spy Trial in China, and Husband Seeks Obama’s Help By CHRIS BUCKLEY in The NY Times, Aug 31, 2016

BEIJING — An American businesswoman faces trial in China on spying charges dating back 20 years, including that she tried to recruit Chinese in the United States to spy against their homeland, her husband said on Tuesday. He urged President Obama to raise the case with President Xi Jinping of China at a Group of 20 summit meeting in eastern China beginning over the weekend.

The businesswoman, Phan Phan-Gillis, widely known as Sandy, was indicted last month on the espionage charges after having been detained while visiting China last year. But her husband, Jeff Gillis, said he had held off revealing the indictment while new lawyers for his wife tried to come to grips with the case.

“The time really is critical for Sandy, with the imminent meeting between President Obama and Xi Jinping,” Mr. Gillis said by telephone from the couple’s home in Houston. The prosecutors’ claims against Ms. Phan-Gillis include that she spied while visiting Guangxi, a region of southern China, in 1996, he said.

“Sandy is absolutely innocent,” he said. “Chinese officials did not even check their own internal databases to see if Sandy was in the country then. She wasn’t even in China.”

The indictment also charges that Ms. Phan-Gillis tried to recruit Chinese people in the United States in the late 1990s to work for a “foreign spy organization,” Mr. Gillis said. He said that that allegation was also false and that trying Ms. Phan-Gillis over allegations of events two decades ago in another country defied law and common sense.

Ties between Washington and Beijing have been increasingly strained by such matters as Chinese island-building in the South China Sea, American resentment over investment and business barriers in China, and the Chinese government’s irritation at criticism of its imprisonment of dissidents and rights advocates.

Ms. Phan-Gillis’s case could add to those strains as Mr. Xi meets Mr. Obama in Hangzhou, the site of the two-day summit meeting starting on Sunday. The two presidents are scheduled to hold bilateral talks on Saturday ahead of the main meeting, according to the White House.

“The State Department has aggressively tried to talk to the Chinese about releasing Sandy, including at very high levels,” Mr. Gillis said. State Department officials have told “all levels of the Chinese government” that Ms. Phan-Gillis was not a spy, he said.

John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said by email that the department had “repeatedly pressed Chinese authorities to provide further details of the case.”

“We urge Chinese authorities to explain the reasons for Ms. Phan-Gillis’s ongoing detention” and to consider releasing her, Mr. Kirby said.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to faxed questions about the case.

One of Ms. Phan-Gillis’s two defense lawyers, Shang Baojun, confirmed that he was notified by phone last month of the indictment on a spying charge and had received the indictment document in early August. But Mr. Shang said it would be inappropriate for him to confirm or discuss the specific allegations.

Ms. Phan-Gillis has been held in a detention center in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi. She told Mr. Shang during a visit that she had initially admitted to some of the allegations against her, but only because she was intimidated and under intense pressure from investigators, he said.

“She told me that she confessed only under compulsion,” he said. The court in Nanning has not set a date for her trial, but the case is likely to be heard in the next month or two, he said.

Until last year, Ms. Phan-Gillis, 56, was a business consultant who had appeared trusted in China as a liaison between the Houston business community and companies in southern China. She was born in Vietnam to a family of Chinese descent but fled by boat as a teenager, eventually resettling in the United States.

In March last year, she was detained at a border crossing from mainland China into Macau, a special administrative region of the country with its own laws, and held in secret detention, Mr. Gillis said.

In June this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Ms. Phan-Gillis had suffered from arbitrary detention, including deprivation of access to lawyers. And Mr. Gillis said that his wife has told an American consular official who visited her in July that she had been subjected to harsh and unrelenting interrogation.

“They put words in my mouth, saying I must follow them in how I said things,” Ms. Phan-Gillis told the consular officer, according to her husband’s account of what he was told by State Department officials. The pressure appeared to contribute to heart problems suffered by his wife that resulted in two hospital stays, Mr. Gillis said.

She could be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison if convicted, he said. But he said he worried that her fragile health, including hypertension and diabetes, would not hold up.

“Quite frankly, even at the low end of that, I would really fear for my wife,” he said of the possible prison term. “A Chinese prison is not a country club.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/world/asia/china-us-spy-phan-gillis.html

August 31, 2016   No Comments

Mir Quasem’s fate sealed, SC rejects plea review: The Daily Star, Aug 31, 2016

By Ashutosh Sarkar and Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary
Bringing a six-year legal battle to a close, the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed war criminal Mir Quasem Ali’s petition for reviewing its judgment that upheld his death penalty for committing crimes against humanity in 1971.

Around 10 hours after the dismissal of the plea, a copy of the full verdict was sent to Dhaka Central Jail around 7:00pm.

Jahangir Kabir, senior jail superintendent of the prison, told The Daily Star at 9:25pm that they received a copy of the verdict at 9:00pm.

They would send it to Kashimpur Central Jail-2, where the convict is kept at a condemned cell.

Quasem, widely considered as a top financer of anti-liberation party Jamaat-e-Islami, led ruthless militia Al-Badr in Chittagong to commit crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.

The 63-year-old Jamaat leader is now left with only one option — seeking presidential clemency by confessing the crimes he committed 45 years back.

Talking to The Daily Star last night, Shahidul Alam Jhinuk, registrar at the International Crimes Tribunal, said his office sent a copy of the judgment to Dhaka Central Jail around 7:00pm.

Copies of the judgment were also sent to the Dhaka district magistrate, and the home and the law ministries, he added.

As per the precedents set in previous executions of war crimes convicts, the jail authorities will read out the judgment before the death-row convict. They will then ask him if he would seek presidential clemency.

The convict would get a “reasonable time” to reply, said prosecution lawyers.

If Quasem, a member of Jamaat central executive council, seeks mercy, his plea would go to the president through the home ministry. If he doesn’t, the jail authorities would make preparations for his execution.

It cannot be said for sure how many days it would take for the authorities to complete the procedures for executing the verdict.

Previously, Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami and Mohammad Kamaruzzaman were executed five days after the dismissal of their review pleas while another Jamaat leader, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, and BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury were hanged three days after the SC rejected their review petitions.

Besides, Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah was hanged hours after the jail authorities received a short SC order on his review petition.

Quader Mollah, Kamaruzzaman and Nizami didn’t seek presidential clemency.

Mojaheed and Salauddin were executed on November 22 last year after the president turned down their mercy petitions. Their families, however, claimed that the duo didn’t seek mercy.

Quasem is the fifth Jamaat leader to get the death penalty for his notorious role in 1971.

At 9:02am yesterday, the five-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by the chief justice, sat amid tight security.

“The petition is dismissed,” Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha pronounced in the packed courtroom, paving the way for the war criminal’s execution.

Quasem was sentenced to death by the ICT-2 in November 2014.

Probe in the war crimes case against him began in July 2010. He was arrested on June 17, 2012, from the office of the daily Naya Diganta, a concern of Diganta Media Corporation, of which he was chairman.

According to the prosecution, Quasem, till November 5, 1971, was president of Chittagong town unit of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He was made general secretary of East Pakistan Islami Chhatra   Sangha on November 6, 1971. He became one of the top leaders of Al-Badr, which was formed with the leaders and activists of Islami Chhatra Sangha.

During the Liberation War, Quasem set up a torture camp at Mahamaya Dalim Hotel in Chittagong and masterminded brutal torture and killing of many of the detainees.

The ICT-2 gave him the death penalty on two charges and different jail terms on eight other charges. He challenged the verdict at the apex court.

On March 8 this year, the SC upheld his death sentence on one charge — the killing of young freedom fighter Jasim Uddin at Dalim Hotel — and jail terms on six other charges for his involvement in abduction, confinement and torture of freedom fighters and innocent people.

It, however, acquitted him of the other three charges, including a murder charge on which he was sentenced to death by the ICT-2.

Quasem filed a petition seeking review of his convictions and sentences on June 19, and the apex court on Sunday fixed yesterday for giving verdict after it heard the petition for two days.

Delivering the judgment yesterday, the CJ said there was an “error” in the “operative portion” of the judgment on Quasem’s appeal, as it didn’t mention the sentence on charge no 14 (abduction, confinement and torture of Nasir Uddin Chowdhury) against him though he was found guilty on the charge.

The “error” has been modified, the CJ said, adding that the conviction and sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment handed by the Tribunal-2 is maintained.

The other judges of the bench are Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Mohammad Bazlur Rahman.

The SC released the 29-page verdict around 5:00pm and then sent it to the ICT.

Our Gazipur correspondent reports: Quasem learnt about the SC verdict through the radio at Kashimpur Central Jail-2 around 10:30am.

“He became a bit nervous, but he is physically well,” said Nashir Ahmed, jailer of the prison.

A few hours after the verdict, Jamaat called a 12-hour countrywide hartal today for what it said was the government’s conspiracy to kill Quasem.
www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/mir-quasems-fate-sealed-1278082

August 31, 2016   No Comments

Singapore jails two more Bangladeshis for financing terrorism Report on bdnews24.com, Aug 31, 2016

A Singapore court has jailed two Bangladeshis for financing terrorism after detaining them in April on suspicion of planning attacks in their home country, reports Reuters.
Leakot Ali Mamun, 29, and Daulat Zaman, 34, were the last to be sentenced of six Bangladeshi workers who were charged with contributing money for attacks in Bangladesh.

On Tuesday, the court jailed Mamun, who contributed S$800 ($600) towards financing militant activities, for two and a half years and Zaman, who contributed S$200, for two years.

The two pleaded guilty after earlier denying the charges brought against them under the new Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, according to a Channel NewsAsia report.

Putting Singapore’s marginalised migrant-worker community in the spotlight, a court on Jul 12 had sentenced the other four Bangladeshi workers to two and five years’ imprisonment.

They are Mizanur Rahman, 31, a draftsman earning S$1,800 ($1,300) a month, Rubel Miah, 26, Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar, 31, and Ismail Hawlader Sohel, 29.

Rahman, found to be the ringleader, was sentenced to five years in jail, Sohel two years, while Rubel and Jabath were sentenced to two and half years in prison.
Authorities said the men had contributed from S$60 ($45) to S$1,360 ($1,000) to fund attacks in the name of Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB).

The sentences were part of the city-state’s first ever case of “financing terrorism” and there were no indications the men had planned to carry out attacks in Singapore.

The six men had been detained in April under the country’s Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows suspects to be held for lengthy periods without trial, for planning to topple the Bangladesh government.

Bangladesh, a deeply religious but mostly moderate Muslim-majority country of 160 million people, has faced a series of militant attacks over the past year, the most serious on July 1 when five gunmen stormed an upscale cafe in capital Dhaka and killed 22 people, including 17 foreigners and two police officers.
http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2016/08/31/singapore-jails-two-more-bangladeshis-for-financing-terrorism

August 31, 2016   No Comments

2 top ‘Neo JMB’ men in India: By Shariful Islam in The Daily Star, Aug 31, 2016

Two top “Neo JMB” leaders, who were involved in the killing of Prof Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, went to India months before the Gulshan café siege possibly to ensure supply of firearms for the terror attack, police say.

Mamunur Rashid Ripon alias Jahangir and Shariful Islam Khaled left for India in April, days after the murder of the Rajshahi University professor.

“We suspect they went to India probably to ensure supply of firearms used in the Gulshan attack,” said a top official of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of the DMP, wishing anonymity.

He, however, added it is also possible that the two fled to evade arrest as law enforcers came to know their identity and involvement in the Prof Rezaul murder.

Contacted yesterday, CTTC unit chief Monirul Islam said, “Ripon and Khaled went to the neighbouring country in April and they have been hiding there since then.”

Police have already informed New Delhi about the two.

“We have also come to know the address of the Kolkata hotel where they boarded after going to India. Later, they left the hotel,” added another top official.

CTTC sources said Ripon is from a northern district. He has the potential to take over the position of Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.

“Neo JMB” coordinator Tamim was killed along with his two accomplices in an operation at a militant den in Narayanganj on Saturday. He was thought to be the Gulshan attack mastermind.

Police say Ripon played a key role in all the attacks carried out in the northern region and reportedly claimed by so-called Islamic State.

The “Neo JMB”, as the law enforcers call it, follows the ideology of Islamic State. It was formed by leaders and operatives of mainstream JMB who did not accept the leadership of Saidur Rahman.

Khaled, who studied in English department of Rajshahi University, coordinated the April 23 attack in which Prof Rezaul Karim was hacked to death, police say.

Recently, three officials from CTTC and the police headquarters visited India and interrogated Islamic State operative Abu Al-Musa Al-Bangali, arrested in India recently. Police sources said Musa had connections with Ripon and Khaled.

After the July 1 attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, law enforcers recovered three AK-22 semiautomatic rifles, seven AK-22 magazines and 79 of its bullets.

Five 9mm pistols, 50 bullets and around 200 bullet shells were also seized from the restaurant.

Investigators said the AK-22s were first smuggled to Nepal from where those were carried to India before reaching to Dhaka through Chapainawabganj border.

Besides, the pistols were smuggled from Munger district of Bihar in India through the same border.

“Different explosive materials including power gel and detonators were also smuggled through the Chapainawabganj border,” said a top investigator.

He also said they have so far identified around 10 people who played direct or indirect roles in carrying the firearms and explosives materials from Chapainawabganj to Dhaka.

On the night of July 1, militants seized the cafe, frequented by foreigners, and killed 20 hostages, including nine Italian, seven Japanese and one Indian citizen.

Two police officers were also killed in their bid to end the siege.

Police are also hunting some other “Neo JMB” leaders, including a retired army man known among militants as Major.

He trained “Neo JMB” operatives for different attacks at a Char in Gaibandha. He might become the coordinator of the group as he has the capacity to carry out big terror operations leading to massive destruction.

He, however, lacks the intellectual capability Tamim had, said a top CTTC official.

Police are also looking for four other operatives — Jahangir Alam alias Rajiv Gandhi, 27, Manik, Chocolate and Chittagong University student Nurul Islam Marzan.

According to the official, Marzan, who was a close aide to Tamim, has the ability to take the position of Tamim. He is intelligent and can speak Arabic and English fluently, a skill needed to maintain international connection.

Jahangir Alam alias Rajiv Gandhi is another key leader of “Neo JMB”. Also known as Tiger alias Shanto alias Adil alias Subhas, he played significant role in different attacks.

Details about Manik and Chocolate could not be known.

TAMIM’S DNA SAMPLE TO BE SENT TO CANADA:  Officials at the CTTC unit said the DNA sample of Tamim will be sent to Canada to check if it matches up with that of his father and sister living there.

“We’ll appeal to a Dhaka court tomorrow [today] for permission to send Tamim’s DNA sample to Canadian authorities to scientifically confirm his identity,” a top official of CTTC told The Daily Star yesterday.

The Bangladeshi-Canadian grabbed the attention of law enforcers early last year.

After coming to Bangladesh in 2013, Tamim met Mawlana Abul Quasem, who has been the acting ameer of banned JMB since the arrest of Saidur Rahman.

Quasem, known to the outfit members as “Boro Hujur”, was a teacher at Okhrabari Madrasa in Dinajpur. He acted as the ideologue for militants, police sources said.
http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/2-top-neo-jmb-men-india-1278070

August 31, 2016   No Comments

Govt hires legal wizards to save PM and family from disqualification: by Shamshad Mangat in Daily Times, Aug 29, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to hire the services of renowned lawyers to save the ruling family from disqualification in the wake of references filed against it following revelations made by the Panama Papers.

A team of senior lawyers comprising former federal minister Khalid Anwar, former attorney generals Makhdoom Ali Khan and Salman Butt and former advocate general Punjab Khawaja Haris has been set up, which would also be assisted by sitting Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali. The team will not only represent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, PM’s son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar and Hamza Shahbaz in front of the National Assembly speaker but also defend them at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Sources said that hefty fees will be paid to the team of lawyers from the national exchequer.

If government fails to submit reply on references filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in the office of the NA speaker by September 6, the matter would automatically be referred to the ECP, according to the constitution.

On the other hand, it has become extremely necessary for the NA speaker, who also belongs to the ruling party, to show his impartiality in not only dealing with the references filed against his party leader and family but also one filed against PML-N’s worst opponent, Imran Khan.

Political observers are of the view that if NA speaker wants to save his honour, the best option with him is to recuse himself from the hearing of the references and nominate someone else in his place, just like the apex court does in some situations.

When contacted, lawyer of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, Ahsan Sheikh confirmed that the government had hired the services of some renowned lawyers to defend the prime minister and his family.

Sheikh said that they have attached with the reference some solid proofs, which, according to him, are more than enough to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said Nawaz Sharif during his stint as Punjab chief minister had issued several SROs regarding writing off of his personal loans. “Moreover, we have raised questions on his loyalty towards the country. We have also emphasised on the matter of pardon given to him by then president Pervez Musharraf under a deal which resulted in their departure for Saudi Arabia. He has not mentioned his pardon in the nomination papers,” he said, maintaining that in their view, his conviction still stands valid.

Sheikh said that matters regarding purchase of property abroad in the name of the PM and his family members as well as business affairs of his children have also been discussed in the reference. When contacted, ECP former secretary Kanwar Dilshad said that the disqualification references may not only prove to be an Achilles heel for the government but are also the biggest challenge for the National Assembly speaker. He said it has also been pointed out in the reference that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif were defaulters of loans worth six billion rupees at the time of 2013 general elections but both concealed this fact in their nomination papers filed to the ECP at that time.

He said a new Pandora’s box is likely to open when the government team submits its reply. He said that Section 104 of the Representation of the People Act was quite effective for disqualification of the prime minister and his colleagues. He said that the ECP will have to take direct action under Article 218 of the constitution to maintain its impartiality.

Dilshad said as pressure mounts on the government, the six-hour long meeting between former president Asif Zardari and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar seems to be very important. But in the current scenario, government may not benefit even if the PPP adopts a soft stance before the ECP, he opined. “Because, the reference has been filed by the PTI, which has no soft corner for the ruling regime,” he said. “One thing I can say with surety that if decisions on disqualification references are made on merit, almost 70 percent of politicians will be disqualified,” he concluded. http://dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/29-Aug-16/govt-hires-legal-wizards-to-save-pm-and-family-from-disqualification

August 31, 2016   No Comments

I was, am, will remain Afghan: Asfand by Muqaddam Khan in The Nation, August 29th, 2016.

SWABI – Central President of Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan said that Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policies have failed to deliver according to country’s requirements and there is an urgent need to formulate result-oriented policies.

Asfandyar said, “My origin is Afghan. I was Afghan, I am still an Afghan and I will remain Afghan in future as well.”

The ANP leader warned that peace in Pakistan is linked with restoration of peace and tranquillity in Afghanistan. “If there is disturbance in Afghanistan, Pakistan would also not remain safe. Peace and progress of the two countries is linked with each other. If anyone has any doubt, he should read the history,” he said. He was addressing a public meeting and condolence reference to mourn the killing of MPA Muhammad Shoaib Khan here on Sunday.

Shoaib, a revered ANP’s leader was known in the region as ‘Malang Baba,’ was killed by unidentified attackers inside his hujra (common guest house) on July 18.

All the party central and provincial leadership was present on the occasion.

The ANP president demanded that Afghan refugees should not be mistreated by Pakistani authorities.

It is a big surprise that yesterday they were ‘Mujahideen’ but today they are being pushed back to Afghanistan.

They should be repatriated with dignity and honour, he demanded. He criticized the tactics adopted by the interiority ministry regarding the Afghan refugees. He also lamented the closure of Durand Line at Chaman and Torkhum.

The National Action Plan, he said has failed to deliver and the federal government was responsible for its failure. The leadership of the political parties has accepted the military courts to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the country, he said.

The ANP leader urged the centre to start work on the population census immediately, saying that lame excuses were adopted for the postponement of census, alleging that the federal government’s main objective is to maintain the domination of Punjab province over other federating units.

“In fact, there is no real justification to delay the census anymore,” he said.

About Federal Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) he said that parliamentarians of the tribal belt had already moved a resolution for amendment in the constitution and that should be incorporated in the country’s statute book.

Secondly, he demanded that representation should be given to them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Asfandyar talked about ‘Non-Violence Philosophy’ of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, saying that they stick with the same philosophy and bearing the burden of killing of ANP’s peaceful leaders and workers was crystal proof of their resolve.

“The number of our workers and leaders killed in the militant attacks has reached an alarming proportion,” he said. The killing or targeting of a single more leader or worker of the party would not be tolerated by the ANP leadership.

Asfandyar continued that it is first and foremost responsibility of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to provide security to ANP leaders who are on hit list of the militants. It’s a well-organised conspiracy against the red shirt leaders/workers who rendered many sacrifices. The party workers follow the non-violence philosophy of Bacha Khan and their patience and resolve against terrorism could not be shattered through such coward acts, he said. He said that the attacks and targeting of the party leaders started before 2013 general election and did not stop during the last four years.http://nation.com.pk/national/29-Aug-2016/i-was-am-will-remain-afghan-asfand

August 31, 2016   No Comments

Will MQM Pakistan disown Altaf Hussain?: edit in Pakistan Today, Aug 29, 2016

No party seeking guidance from Altaf Hussain can be allowed to function in Pakistan after his recent invective against the country. The interior ministry has approached the British government seeking action against Altaf Hussain for trying to create anarchy in Pakistan and incite people to violence. Petitions have been filed in courts asking for a ban on MQM and bringing back Altaf Hussain through Interpol for trial. The MQM will have to totally dissociate itself from its erstwhile mentor in case it wants to continue to take part in politics in Pakistan. The first step in the direction is to introduce the required amendment in its constitution to demonstrate that the party is in no way subservient to Altaf Hussain’s whims or those of his London network. As Amir Liaquat put it, there has to be an end to Altaf’s veto power in MQM affairs. Unless this is done demands being made to ban the MQM by some would gain support.

No parliamentary party, whether in the government or opposition, would agree to anything less. Opposition leader Khursheed Shah has said that the minus-one formula remains the only option for the MQM. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has meanwhile expressed the government’s resolve not to push any political force to the wall. He has, however, sought assurance that the MQM would not henceforth act on calls from London. It is time the post-22 August Muttahida Qaumi Movement emerged as a democratic organisation in which no office bearer or leader was given dictatorial powers.

Despite dissociating himself and the MQM from Altaf Hussin’s denunciation of Pakistan, Farooq Sattar had earlier hesitated to disown the party supremo. He now maintains that the MQM Pakistan has parted ways with Altaf Hussain and the London Secretariat. There is a need to substantiate that this is not merely a tactical move to hoodwink the establishment and MQM’s opponents as is being claimed by the leadership of the Pak Sarzameen Party. http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/08/29/comment/will-mqm-pakistan-disown-altaf-hussain/

August 31, 2016   No Comments