Tehmina Durrani
Tehmina Durrani, writer, activist and wife of PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif | @TehminaDurrani
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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Pakistan has no qualms about sharing loan details with IMF; leaders pay homage to human rights defender Asma Jahangir.

 Shehbaz Sharif treated like ordinary criminals in jail, says wife Tehmina Durrani

Tehmina Durrani, wife of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Shehbaz Sharif, is deeply upset with the jail arrangements of her husband, reported The News International.

Sharif was arrested by the NAB on 5 October for his alleged involvement in a $14 billion Ashiana Housing scam.

In a series of tweets, the widely-known Pakistani writer and activist, Durrani, narrated how she was taken aback by the “dingy 10+10 cell” in which Sharif was kept detained.

In her next tweet, she disclosed how Shehbaz Sharif has to try hard to get the guard to listen to him and that the cell is filled with mosquitoes, with no AC.

She also alleged that Sharif has not been permitted to meet his lawyers and the long waiting hours he has to endure while the National Accountability Bureau carries its investigation.

Durrani asked why her husband was being subjected to a treatment akin to a criminal’s, especially when there was no proper investigation being done.

The writer also brought out an irony that a man who taught people the “value of time” and worked round the clock was now sitting idle in his cell.

She also mentioned that her husband was not allowed to speak with her in private. She said this entire affair was a “sham”.

Pakistan is open to sharing details of Chinese debts with IMF

Pakistan’s finance minister Asad Umar has said the government is willing to share details of the debt status accruing from loans taken from China with the IMF, reports Pakistan Today.

Umar was quoted as saying: “Pakistan has received short [-term] and cheaper loans from China which would be paid back in three years”. He also said the government would share “normal debt-related information about CPEC with the IMF”. He said there was nothing to hide about the CPEC project agreements and loan arrangements.

The finance minister issued his statement after his return from Bali, where he had participated in the annual IMF-World Bank meetings.

He also disclosed the proposed bailout package for which Pakistan approached the IMF. “Although Pakistan has requested IMF for $12 billion, the lender is likely to agree for less than the demand”.

The country’s debt repayments for this year stand at an estimated $9 billion amount.

“We can perhaps live without the IMF but this could be more painful,” Umar said.

An IMF delegation is expected to visit Pakistan on 7 November to help the Pakistan government find ways of dealing with its economic crisis.

Meanwhile, in light of a booming IT industry and start-up ecosystem in the country, Umar questioned why PayPal, a major international online payment platform, had not yet considered setting up its operations in such a “big market”, The News International reported.

He stated that by early next year, either PayPal or any other recognised international payment gateway should be in Pakistan. He said for this purpose, he has even met Prime Minister Imran Khan.

PayPal is currently available in more than 200 countries and regions.

Dignitaries pay homage to human rights activist Asma Jahangir

High-profile leaders and people from various walks of life came together Saturday to pay their homage to Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan’s prominent human rights defenders, reported Dawn.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said it was because of Jahangir that he began taking suo motu notices of important cases. “Without her, we would not have been able to achieve the standards of human rights which we have. The lawyers in Pakistan were ahead of their Indian counterparts in fighting for human rights because of Asma,” Nisar said.

Jean-Francois Cautain, the European Ambassador to Pakistan, described Jahangir as the vocal supporter of international fundamental rights which were enshrined in the European Union treaties. He said that he had agreed with Jahangir on the fact that defending human rights was a “conviction” and a “passion”.

Senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, Colin Gonsalves, said that lawyers back in India lagged behind in the field of human rights and that Jahangir was a figure to look up to across borders.

“You have faced terror which we did not. But we now fear it. I am taking back home her spirit of daring the mighty,” Gonsalves was quoted as saying.

Asma Jahangir was a champion of human rights, a pro-democracy activist and a founder of many initiatives that worked towards the goal of fighting for women’s and minority rights. She was a recipient of several international awards and served important positions in the United Nations.

She passed away on 11 February this year in Lahore.

Pakistan army spokesperson says 2018 polls were ‘fair and transparent’

Pakistan army’s spokesperson Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor has said history which will prove that the 25 July polls were “fair and transparent”, reported Dawn.

He said that the country’s institutions such as the army and the judiciary must stand with elected governments to maintain stability in Pakistan. According to Ghafoor, the Pakistani army hoped for the fortification of their country’s democracy.

“Political differences should not be given precedence over national security,” he said, addressing journalists at the Pakistan High Commission in London.

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