Saturday, 1 October, 2022
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Pakistan Army orders 2,550 fancy staff cars as govt seeks an IMF bailout

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Warrant dropped against journalist Cyril Almeida, and in Asia Bibi blasphemy case, Pakistan top court reserves judgment. 

Amidst Pakistan’s economic crisis, army orders 2,550 staff cars

Jungjoo Gernail, an anonymous Twitter user known for his scathing remarks on the Pakistan Army, posted a confidential document on the social media platform that mentioned details of the organisation buying 2,550 staff cars for the forces.

According to the document, the cars are to be ordered from Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan Ltd at a whooping cost of Rs 4,057 million.

It further read that the old cars have “completed their life and the maintenance cost occurring on said cars are on higher side.”

https://twitter.com/GernailSaheb/status/1049380169906049024

Gernail mocked the government for this step saying that the army has ordered so many cars thinking it was in the national interest.

He also took a dig at the government claiming that borrowing money may lead to growth of terrorism in the state. He referred to Saudi Arabia’s funding of Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by the US forces in Pakistan’s Abbottabad district.

https://twitter.com/GernailSaheb/status/1049240135760584704

Pakistan’s Supreme Court reserves judgment on Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case

A three-judge bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar reserved its judgment Monday on Asia Bibi’s 2014 final appeal against death penalty awarded to her, reported Dawn.

Bibi, belonging to the Christian minority group, was sentenced to capital punishment under the country’s blasphemy law Section 295-C back in 2010 after the Lahore High Court upheld a trial court’s verdict of the same in 2009.

She was accused of using “defamatory and sarcastic” statements against the Holy Prophet by three women with whom she was working in a field on 14 July 2009. Bibi reportedly got locked in a heated exchange after the women raised strong objections to drinking water from the same vessel from which Bibi did, saying it was prohibited for Muslims to do so.

If Bibi loses the appeal, her only option will be to seek clemency from the President. If that doesn’t work, she will become the first person to be executed under the country’s blasphemy laws.

The case created religious fault lines in the country and has seen the assassination of two political leaders including former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

Journalist Naila Inayat Monday tweeted sharing a photo of Asia’s daughter who was holding a paper that read “Save my mom”.  She said that this was the country’s “last chance” to “correct” the “wrong” it had committed.

Pakistan court withdraws warrant against Cyril Almeida in treason case

A three-judge bench of the Lahore High Court Monday ordered that Dawn journalist Cyril Almeida’s name be taken off from the country’s no-fly list, Dawn reported.

The court also withdrew the non-bailable warrant issued against Almeida on 24 September in the case involving his interview with the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The bench was hearing a petition filed against Almeida, Sharif and ex-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi which sought treason proceedings against the trio.

In the interview on 12 May, Sharif disclosed how militant outfits were still active in the country and questioned how they could be allowed to carry out the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

On Monday, BBC journalist Javed Soomro reacted to the news, saying “some sanity, prevails”.

On the other hand, politician Afrasiab Khattak tweeted, “No to silencing media”. He referred to how Almeida’s weekly column was not published in Dawn for two weeks. The News too didn’t carry journalist Talat Hussain’s regular column, said Khattak.

Pakistan is now officially approaching IMF for a bailout

The Pakistan government made it official through a statement issued Monday that it has decided to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for settling its balance-of-payments crisis, reported Dawn.

Finance minister Asad Umar flew to Indonesia Monday night to take part in the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, a three-day event starting 9 October.

Meanwhile, journalist Murtaza Ali Shah tweeted an old video of Prime Minister Imran Khan who can be heard promising that he would rather die but never ask for money. Shah called out Khan’s “u-turn” as the bailout announcement came in.

Awami National Party leader Bushra Gohar accused Khan of misleading the country’s public and asked for his resignation if he has any “shame”.

A writer’s take on Pakistan’s treatment to its Ahmadi community

Mohammed Hanif, a British-Pakistani writer and journalist, in his opinion piece in The News asked his readers how worse it could get for Ahmadis, a non-Muslim minority sect in Pakistan.

His claims come in the backdrop of Atif Mian’s removal as one of the advisors in Imran Khan’s Economic Advisory Council after politicians and religious scholars created uproar over his appointment.

Hanif wrote: “I am sure Atif Mian wouldn’t have said, first of all you all need to abandon your religion, and follow my khalifa, only then I’ll tell you how to fix your budget deficit.”

He quoted how Pakistan’s current army chief had to ward off allegations from a senator and a religious scholar who accused him of being an Ahmadi by displaying proof of ‘mehfil-e milad’ being organised at his home.

In sharp criticism of the country’s failure to recognise any other Ahmadi between Pakistan’s first noble laureate Abdus Salam and Mian, Hanif regretted what Pakistan has done to its own people.

After Shehbaz Sharif, son Salman is the new target of NAB

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif’s son Salman Sharif has been summoned by National Accountability Bureau in the assets beyond means case, reported The Express Tribune.

Salman reportedly owns a lot more assets than his known source of income, reported Geo TV.

NAB has asked Salman to be appear before a combined investigation team at Thokar Niaz Beg complex to record his statement Wednesday.

Last week, Shehbaz Sharif was arrested by NAB in the Ashiana Iqbal housing scheme case.

Meanwhile, in the Al-Azizia & Hill Metals Establishment (HME) case, an investigation officer of the NAB has admitted before the accountability court in Islamabad that they have no witnesses or bank transactions to prove that former PM Nawaz Sharif sent money to his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz for meeting their cost of studies and day-to-day expenses in the United Kingdom, reported The Express Tribune.

HME is a Saudi Arabia-based steel company that made 98.01 per cent net profit from their mills between 2010 and 2017. Nawaz Sharif is accused of accepting 88 per cent profit share as gifts from the company.

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