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Pakistan army chief son’s marriage performed by Islamic hardline cleric

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Journalist ‘detained’ by Pak agencies is accused of possessing ‘jihadist literature’; Awami National Party suspends two senior leaders.

Nikah of Gen. Bajwa’s son performed by extremist mullah

Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s son Saad Bajwa got married recently in a high-profile ceremony which was, however, performed by a hardline mullah.

Journalist Taha Siddqiui Monday shared a video, posted by another journalist Afshan Masab which showed a glimpse of the Islamic cleric performing rites in Saad’s nikah ceremony. The cleric, who was sitting beside Khadim Hussain Rizvi, chairman of far-right party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, gave some inflammatory speeches as well.

Siddiqui captioned the video by saying that army chief Bajwa “asked an extremist pro Mumtaz Qadri (murderer) mullah to do the nikah ceremony”.

The journalist also sought an explanation from army spokesperson Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor about why Gen. Bajwa was “endorsing such extremists”.

‘Detained’ journalist accused of possessing jihadist literature  

Zia Ur Rehman, a Pakistani journalist and researcher, has tweeted about the sudden disappearance of senior journalist Nasrullah Khan after he was taken away by ‘unknown plain-clothes men’ from his house Saturday. Rehman subsequently updated his followers with the latest whereabouts of the journalist.

Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry, who works for Urdu daily Nai Baat, was ‘detained’ by law enforcement agencies after his home was raided Saturday morning, Dawn  reported. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ-Dastoor)  through a joint statement informed that his whereabouts had not been established.

Rehman Monday tweeted that the journalist had been presented before the Sindh High Court that day and that his wife filed a petition the same morning.

In his fourth tweet, he shared that several journalists had attended the court hearing in a show of solidarity to Khan. Rehman also alleged that Khan’s presentation before the court happened only because media bodies had protested.

Rehman also said that during the court hearing the counter-terrorism department claimed to have recovered “jihadist literature” from the journalist.

However, Mohammed Hanif, a widely acclaimed Pakistani writer and columnist, replied to Rehman’s tweet saying he doesn’t know any journalist who didn’t possess jihadi literature.

As a follow-up tweet, Hanif sarcastically said whether the authorities found “copies of daily Ummat” in the journalist’s possession. Ummat is an Urdu language daily in Pakistan.

Rehman also posted a photo of Karachi Press Club’s statement which “categorically” denied the charges made by the agencies and held serious objections to claims regarding Nasrullah Khan.

Leftist party suspends two senior leaders

Pakistani leftist and pro-Pashtun rights political party, Awami National Party, has suspended two senior party leaders — former senator Afrasiab Khattak and provincial vice-president Bushra Gohar — on charges of violating the “party policy” and creating “confusion among workers”, reports The Express Tribune.  

The two leaders were served show-cause notices last Monday which accused them of causing “irreparable loss to the party” as they went “against the party policy and discipline”. It also sought response from them on this matter within a week’s time. However, it seems the party leadership was not satisfied with their replies, which ultimately led to their suspension.

Khattak later took to Twitter, claiming that the show-cause notice was released in the public domain even before he was informed about it.

Both Gohar and Khattak had sought a more detailed and exact ground on which the party served them the notice.

Punjab civil bureaucracy upset by arbitrary transfer orders

The Imran Khan government has been transferring civil servants at will, despite a Supreme Court order saying that legal procedures must be duly followed.

On Monday, Muhammad Suhail Khawaja was dismissed from his duties as the deputy commissioner of Jhelum. He had been appointed barely two weeks ago reports The News International

Inspector General of Punjab Tahir Khan was also abruptly removed within a month after his appointment by the PTI government.

But of course the most interesting example of the government’s high-handedness was the expulsion and transfer of district police officer of Pakpattan, Rizwan Gondal, by none other than Punjab chief minister Buzdar because Gondal had allegedly got into an altercation with the former husband of Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Maneka.

Pakistan rights activists ‘warned’ by Twitter over ‘objectionable’ content

Two Pakistan rights activists have claimed they were warned by Twitter for posting objectionable content online, reports Reuters.

Nighat Dad, a Pakistani lawyer and internet activist, said, “Warnings sent out by Twitter are an example of how online spaces are being regulated and are shrinking for internet users voicing their opinions”.

This comes a week after the Twitter account of an ultra-right Pakistani cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi was suspended for issuing threats to the government.

Taha Siddiqui, a correspondent for France 24 television, also issued a statement accusing the Pakistan government for ‘pressuring’ Twitter to take legal steps against him.

In its statement, Twitter claimed that if they receive “valid requests from an authorized entity” to withhold certain content in a country they act upon it from “time to time”.

Pakistan’s information and broadcasting minister Fawad Chaudhry said that his office was “trying to establish close coordination” with Twitter to curb “hate speech and death threats”.

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