Here’s what’s happening across the border: Nawaz Sharif, Maryam freed, court suspends sentence; Imran Khan fails on austerity promise yet again
Shireen Mazari tells EU delegation about ‘human rights violations of Muslims’
Pakistan’s minister for human rights Shireen Mazari Tuesday told a European Union delegation, led by EU Ambassador to Pakistan Jean-Francois Cautian, that some European states have impinged on the basic rights of Muslims by restricting their right to freely practice religious rituals, reported Daily Pakistan.
Human rights activist Kashif N. Chaudhary Tuesday mocked the meeting in a tweet saying the EU ‘kept a straight face’ when briefed by Mazari. He highlighted that the minority Muslims in EU enjoyed ‘more rights and freedoms’ than ‘Constitutional Muslims’ in Pakistan.
I am glad the @EUCouncil delegation kept a straight face and resisted the urge to roll all over @ShireenMazari1's floor laughing. Kudos to them.
Muslims in Europe enjoy more rights & freedoms as a religious minority than 'Constitutional Muslims' of Pakistan enjoy as majority. pic.twitter.com/U3M8CVRcD3
— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) September 18, 2018
Naila Inayat, a journalist, also tweeted the hypocrisy in Mazari’s statements claiming she had no concerns over the human rights violations in her own country.
Irony just died a million deaths. Shireen Mazari, minister of human rights has serious concerns over human rights violations and religious freedom, but not in Pakistan! https://t.co/XO8ff82V5V
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) September 18, 2018
During the meeting, Mazari pushed for prompt action in this direction and asked the international community to not just put an end to the violations but also uphold their basic human rights as per the guidelines in the Human Rights European Convention.
Officials from the EU delegation included Human Rights Counselor Javeria Kabani, Political Councilor Frank-Olivier Roux, among others who attended the meeting along with a few Pakistan’s human rights ministry officials.
NAB to challenge suspension of Sharif and family’s prison term
Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to challenge the verdict of Islamabad High Court’s suspension of the jail sentences of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar Awan Wednesday.
The high court Wednesday revoked the jail sentences of all three and ordered their release. The verdict came in the corruption case of the purchase of luxury flats in Avenfield House London, Dunya News reported.
The trio had filed a petition challenging their conviction on 6 July by the National Accountability Court in the corruption case.
The Sharif family was arrested by NAB on 13 July and shifted to Adiala Jail soon after they returned from London.
Failing austerity measures of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister
After helicopters, airplanes seem to be weighing down Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive.
In contrast to his earlier announcement of not using special planes for foreign tours, Khan and his cabinet members Tuesday boarded a ‘special VVIP plane’ for their first visit to Saudi Arabia, reported The Express Tribune.
The prime minister’s entourage left from the Nur Khan Airbase, said the report.
Khan will meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to discuss regional security situation as well as bilateral ties.
Journalist Omar R. Quraishi pointed out the hypocrisy of Khan in taking a special airplane.
The PM had said no overseas trips in the first 90 days – that he would travel club class on a commercial flight
On its 32nd day in office, a VVIP flight to S Arabia with at least 4 members of the Federal Cabinet pic.twitter.com/OJX8gd67tV
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) September 18, 2018
Pakistan’s politicians won’t be excluded from paying tax, says finance minister
Pakistan’s finance minister Asad Umar Tuesday declared that the prime minister, other politicians, and governors will not be exempted from paying taxes as he tabled the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government’s amendments to the 2018-19 finance bill in the National Assembly, reported Daily Times.
Asad said changes are necessary as the primary aim is to protect the interests of the underprivileged people in Pakistan. He stated that the deficit could surpass Rs 2,700 billion if immediate steps were not undertaken to solve the country’s economic crisis.
Other highlights of the bill include an increase of 10% in pensions, revisions in income tax brackets, and duties on purchase of luxury phones, etc.
Tweet of the day
Journalist Omar R. Quraishi took a dig at Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday for appointing his friend Zulfi Bukhari as ‘Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development’.
He also claimed that Bukhari is currently under investigation by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for possessing offshore companies. Bukhari’s name appeared in the Panama Leaks, claimed Quraishi.
PM Imran Khan appoints close friend Zulfi Bukhari (currently under investigation by NAB for possessing offshore companies & whose name appeared in Panama Leaks) as Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development pic.twitter.com/ZwiRueSvPH
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) September 18, 2018
Zardari calls Supreme Court order asking for details of Benazir’s assets ‘disrespectful’
Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday slammed Supreme Court’s 29 August order asking for details of slain leader Benazir Bhutto’s foreign assets saying it was ‘disrespectful’ to a martyr, reported Dawn.
Zardari filed a review petition challenging the court’s order in the National Reconciliation Order case where it sought the details of Zardari’s and his children’s — Bilawal, Bakkhtawar and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari — foreign assets and bank accounts including Swiss accounts.
Zardari, among several others, was accused being a beneficiary of a controversial reconciliation ordinance passed by former president General Pervez Musharraf in 2007.
PPP leader named co-accused in liquor bottle case
Former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Memon was Tuesday named the co-accused in a case pertaining to the recovery of liquor bottle at a private hospital in Karachi, reported Geo TV.
The matter came to light when Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar discovered a liquor bottle during his surprise visit to the hospital.
The report said a challan was submitted to the judicial magistrate stating that three bottles were confiscated from the room where Memon was admitted. Among the bottles, one contained “two inches” of alcohol, added the report.
Muharram procession in Peshawar barely sees Sunni contribution now
This year, Peshawar saw only one family participating in the Sunni tradition of setting up sabeels (stalls offering drinks and water) to provide help to Shias during Muharram processions, reported Daily Times.
The number used to be far higher some years back.
The family of 55-year-old Bahadur Khan was the only one this year to set up the sabeel. Khan recalled that earlier his family would additionally install first aid camps along the routes of the procession.
But, “it’s a different story now,” added Khan.
He said relations between Sunnis and Shias began deteriorating as a result of a series of planned attacks on Shia imambargahs (halls meant for Shias to commemorate ceremonies) and subsequent targeted murders and suicide blasts during Muharram days.
Manawar Hussain, a Shia, also recalled the interfaith harmony between the two Islamic communities that existed several decades back but said ties began to get strained during General Zia’s rule. He said, “Hate preachers were facilitated by the regime.”