Tag Archives: Nawaz

March on islamabad: PPP should have used 245 against Nawaz, says Gilani


It would have been better to use Article 245 when Nawaz Sharif had marched on Islamabad for the so-called independent judiciary, said former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

“To march is the constitutional right of PTI and to use such dictatorial tactics against PTI is the acceptance of weakness by PML-N,” the ex-premier said talking to The Express Tribune in Multan.

“I was given the same advice during lawyers’ movement when their march to Islamabad was joined by Nawaz, but I did not invoke Article 245,” he reminded.

PML-N has pitched army against the people. However, Gilani said, the people and the military establishment will join hands against the conspirators because Pakistan comes first for both.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2014.

Imran Khan to start murder case against PM Nawaz if army or police open fire at PTI workers

KOHAT: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan told Express News that he will start a murder case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if army or police open fire at his party workers during the August 14 rally.

PTI is planning to hold a ‘tsunami march’ against alleged rigging in the May 11 general elections last year at D-Chowk in Islamabad.

The PTI chief also said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has contacted him and told him that he was ready to meet PTI’s demands.

PTI has demanded that the government should tell the nation the following:

1) Who scripted the victory speech of Nawaz Sharif on May 11, 2013; 2) What was the role of caretaker Punjab chief minister Najam Sethi; 3) What was the role of the then-chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry;

4) And lastly why returning officers were not present under the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Imran remarked that the army should not support the government and should stay neutral.

He also said that he can make Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri join him but he does not agree with Qadri’s ‘revolution’ agenda.

The PTI chief stated that his party’s doors are always open for Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, adding that he is the only one in Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) who is not a “darbari“.

Imran further stated that he will challenge the imposition of Article 245 in Islamabad in the Supreme Court.

Article 245

The article which deals with the functions of the armed forces states:

(1) The armed forces shall, under the directions of the federal government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.

(2) The validity of any direction issued by the federal government under Clause (1) shall not be called into question in any court.

(3) A high court shall not exercise any jurisdiction under Article 199 in relation to any area in which the armed forces of Pakistan are, for the time being, acting in aid of civil power in pursuance of Article 245: Provided that this clause shall not be deemed to affect the jurisdiction of the high court in respect of any proceeding pending immediately before the day on which the armed forces start acting in aid of civil power.

(4) Any proceedings in relation to an area referred to in Clause (3) instituted on or after the day the armed forces start acting in aid of civil power and pending in any high court shall remain suspended for the period during which the armed forces are so acting.

Go Nawaz Sharif, go

Currently, there is an array of political forces, big and small, out to get Nawaz Sharif only a year into his five-year mandate. Does this agenda carry the potential of becoming an agitation? One needs to analyse the content of the political discourse used during the PAT’s protestations against the brutal police action against its workers, the PTI’s rallies in Faisalabad and Bahawalpur and its announcement for launching an agitation after Eid and the joint declaration of the APC held on June 29. Is there a class content of the current move, i.e., the working classes getting together against the rich? The answer is no. Is there a sectoral content then, whereby the rural sector — from the farmer lobby at one end to the landless tenant at the other — has stood up against the urban sector? Again, the answer is no.

What about the ethnic nature of the conflict? After all, Nawaz Sharif’s power base lies in Punjab, while other provinces feel alienated in the perspective of the perceived preeminence of that province. But the patterns of leadership currently arraigned against the PML-N government — Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri, the Chaudhary brothers and various Lilliputian co-travellers — also belong to Punjab. This is then not an anti-Punjab line-up. Nor is it understandable in terms of the left vs right. The leftovers of the left — such as the PPP and the ANP — are not demonstrating against the ‘rightist’ PML-N. Instead, it is an intra-right phenomenon. The movement is led by ultra-right of the ilk of the PTI and the Islamic right of the type of the PAT among various others — many swearing loyalty to the army.

This is also not a fight between ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ in terms of lifestyle or morality (such as between Musharraf and Zia). Both the PML-N and the PTI firmly belong to the conservative camp. The last quarter of a century has shown that ‘liberals’ in the political domain are a dying breed. Is it then a secular opposition against an Islamic government, or alternatively, an Islamic opposition against a secular government? Parties such as the PTI and the PML-Q, with the MQM on the sidelines, have no profile as either secular or Islamic parties. Religion is not the hot point of the current discourse despite the Tahirul Qadri factor.

What about the revolutionary content of the narrative? Qadri wants to bring about revolution. So do Imran Khan, Altaf Hussain and various other political leaders. Obviously, it is neither a communist revolution nor an Islamic revolution that they are hankering after. The word ‘revolution’ has been too often profaned to carry any meaning anymore. Such hollow revolutionism is repeatedly used for struggle against the ‘system’. There is an outcry for change in the system out in the street and in the media. However, the ‘system’ remains undefined. It is most probably not the capitalist system that Imran Khan, Qadri and others want to change.

Others point to the ‘colonial system’ as the real target of criticism. However, there has been no express commitment to dismantling state institutions in mainstream politics. As a continuation of this theme, many from the religious right want to do away with the ‘secular’ system, e.g., the legal machinery, the banking system and the higher education system. However, jargon against secularism is not part of the present discourse. Indeed, it is the ‘corrupt system’, allegedly presided over by Nawaz Sharif and before him Asif Zardari, which is most often the target of anger. This is tricky. The prevalent system of law and justice, police and magistracy, administrative departments and public corporations, parliamentary committees for oversight functions and bureaucracy, is akin to the systems of the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In terms of institutional design, it is among the most advanced systems of rule. But a plethora of other factors — social ties, cultural norms, customary justice systems, caste-based loyalties, nepotism, patron-client relations and other primordial loyalties — overshadow the provisions of procedural and substantive law. Pakistan’s ‘modern’ state system is under extreme pressure from ‘tradition’. That has led to non-delivery of services and underhand dealings. Corruption is a way of bypassing the system, not the system itself. Shady claims of eliminating corruption in 90 days insult the nation’s intelligence.

What is the way out of the current political mess? The checklist of ingredients of democracy points, first and foremost, to the trust in the prevalent democratic system. There is no space for a totalist agenda of change. There can be only incremental change. Parliament’s pivotal rule cannot be ignored, as it has been so often in Pakistan. Democracy in Western countries transformed the ‘voice’ of the people into their ‘exit’ from the street by way of entry of their representatives into Parliament through elections and thus to their ‘disengagement’ from direct involvement in the system of rule, i.e., from mob-ocracy. ‘Voice’, ‘exit’ and ‘disengagement’ remain the cornerstones of the edifice of democratic governance.

In one year, the PTI, the PML-Q and smaller ‘parliamentary’ utterly failed to initiate legislation in parliament, for example, on electoral reform, thus moving beyond the Twentieth Amendment, engage fellow legislators in a debate on policy such as energy or trade relations with India or the security situation, or even deliberate their own position on policy matters. Minority parties in the opposition typically experience feelings of irrelevance for day-to-day governance during the tenure of an incumbent government, e.g., the Congress in India after the elections and the Labour Party in the UK. However, they do not wreck the system of parliamentary democracy itself by cutting down the government’s tenure. Respect for mandate is supreme in democracy.

That explains the PTI’s strategy of rendering the results of the 2013 elections suspect in the public eye. It failed to do so after the elections because the nation had largely accepted the results. The party used a series of other issues to launch a movement — the US drone attacks, negotiations with the Taliban, price hike, corruption, IDPs — in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. The spectre of Qadri stealing the show has now led Imran Khan back to the issue of election rigging. Four years to the next election are unacceptable to his boundless ambition.

The nation is bigger than Nawaz Sharif. So is democracy. Unending street politics of certain political parties led by reckless politicians creates disorder and instability. It hurts the nation and the system of democratic rule. The scale of representation in Parliament as endorsed by the people is the only measure of power in society.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.

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Nawaz, Prince Muqrin discuss bilateral ties

JEDDAH: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Jeddah on Tuesday night.

During the meeting between the premier and the adviser and special envoy of the custodian of the two Holy Mosques discussed bilateral ties and regional issues. The two expressed satisfaction on steps taken to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Nawaz expressed gratitude for the warm welcome extended to  him during his private visit to Saudi Arabia.

Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who is also the Second Deputy Premier, said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were brotherly counties and their relations were deep. He added thatSaudi Arabia is a second home for every Pakistani.

The Prime Minister was accompanied in the meeting by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Hussain Nawaz.

Nawaz sends message of condolence to Malaysian PM over MH17 crash

Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf on Friday extended condolences over the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17 in Ukraine, in which 295 people were killed.

According to a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs, the premier sent a letter to his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak expressing condolences and grief on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan.

In this hour of bereavement and immense grief, the Government and people of Pakistan join me to express our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the government and people of Malaysia and to the families of all passengers who were on board the unfortunate flight,” read the letter.

We pray for the departed souls, said Nawaz.

Madina sojourn: Nawaz likely to play Saudi card

LAHORE: As the political rhetoric rises to a crescendo at home, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif prepares to fly to Saudi Arabia for a brief religious sojourn. However, sources say that his trip has important connotations given Riyadh’s key role in Pakistan’s internal matters.

The Sharif family is likely to leave for Saudi Arabia on July 20, sources told The Express Tribune. Nawaz will not accompany his family, but he’ll follow them on a week-long trip, they added. The family will stay at the residence of Hussain Nawaz in Jeddah, while Nawaz himself prefers to spend the last 10 days of the fasting month of Ramazan at Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAW) in Madina.

Since 2008, it has been an annual ritual for Nawaz to spend the last 10 days of Ramazan in Madina – but this year he has decided to cut short the planned religious retreat to a week due to the ongoing political hullabaloo in the country.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf  chairman Imran Khan is scheduled to stage a ‘tsunami march’ in Islamabad on August 14 against alleged fraud in last year’s parliamentary election. Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has also joined the chorus. Similarly, the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahirul Qadri have also joined hands against the government.

During his stay, sources said, Nawaz Sharif will hold background meetings with senior Saudi officials who have good relations with Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency to discuss certain matters. According to sources, the PML-N is convinced that its rivals have been emboldened by ‘strained relations’ between the government and the top spy agency.

Highly-placed sources in the PML-N say that although the party leadership is comfortable with the army chief, the top spymaster still has some serious issues with the PML-N government, especially over the government’s handling of a vilification campaign against the top spy agency. The unrelenting anti-government tirades of Imran and ominous predictions of Sheikh Rashid have convinced the PML-N leadership that the spy agency is not ready to compromise on the issue, these sources added.

With all this in view, Nawaz is expected to urge the Saudi officials in background meetings to use their influence to ease tensions between the government and the spy agency. Sources said Nawaz is confident that his Saudi trip would yield positive results – and this is why he has directed his senior aides to continue the work assigned to them with regard to different national projects. He is said to have assured his senior aides that nothing will happen on August 14 – the day when the PTI will stage long march – and that everything would be resolved amicably.

In October 1999 when the then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf toppled the Nawaz government, the Saudi rulers had successfully negotiated a deal with the security establishment as a result of which the Sharif family was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile the PML-N has established indirect contacts with the PTI leadership over the long march issue, senior PTI politician Mian Mehmoodur Rashid confirmed to The Express Tribune. “Both parties are in talks through intermediaries over the issue,” he added.

Federal Information Minister Senator Pervez Rashid refused to comment on Nawaz’s private visit to Saudi Arabia. “Nawaz Sharif used to spend last 10 days of Ramazan at Madina, but this time I’m not aware of his schedule,” Rashid told The Express Tribune. “In the past he never met with the Saudi king or other officials during such religious retreats.”

He denied there was any tension between the government and the top spy agency over any issue. About PTI’s long march, the minister said he didn’t know who was pulling the strings. “However, it should be clear to those who have scripted his march that Imran neither has a past nor a future,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.

PM Nawaz says no one will be allowed to create unrest on August 14

CHAKWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, implicitly referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s plan to hold a ‘tsunami march‘ on August 14, said that people will not be allowed to create unrest in the country on the independence day, Express News reported on Wednesday.

The premier was speaking in Chakwal after he laid the foundation of two projects – Chakwal-Sohawa Road and Chakwal-Rawalpindi Road - worth Rs9 million. Nawaz said that the projects are expected to be completed within 12-15 months.

On June 27, PTI had announced its plan to hold a march against alleged rigging in the May 11 general elections last year at Islamabad’s D-Chowk.

The government had later announced that it will also hold an Independence Day rally at the same location on the same day, setting up a possible showdown with PTI. On July 12, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid had said that Imran Khan will be among many politicians who will be invited to the rally.


Nawaz urges world to stop Israel’s ‘genocide’ in Gaza

ISLAMABAD / GAZA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday termed Israeli atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza as ‘genocide,’ urging the world to stop Israel’s naked and brutal aggression.

In a statement released late on Tuesday, Nawaz said that these crimes against innocent civilians, women children and elderly, were unparalleled in the recent history of the world.

“I am saddened and disappointed to note the silence of international community against this injustice. The silence and ineffectiveness of Muslim Ummah has made Palestinians more vulnerable and made Israel more aggressive. World must stop Israel from this naked and brutal aggression.”

Hamas rocket claims first Israeli casualty, Palestinian toll up 197

Nawaz’s comments came as Israel resumed a punishing air campaign against Gaza Tuesday after its Palestinian foe Hamas failed to agree on a truce and dozens of rockets were fired over the border, killing an Israeli for the first time in the week long conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the army would “expand and intensify” its Gaza operation as hopes of an Egyptian-brokered truce fell through.

The renewed Israeli strikes killed three Gazans, raising the Palestinian death toll in eight days of violence to 197, medics said.

The Israeli was killed in a rocket attack on an Israeli position near the Erez crossing with Gaza, the army said.

Hamas’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing said it carried out the attack.

The 38-year-old civilian had been delivering food to soldiers serving in the area, a spokesperson for the Israeli emergency services told AFP.

It was the first Israeli death of the conflict after nearly 1,000 rockets and mortar rounds hit the Jewish state. Four Israelis have been seriously wounded.

It came after Israel’s security cabinet said early Tuesday it would accept an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to begin at 0600 GMT.

But Hamas officials said they had not been consulted on the proposal and would not halt fire without a full-fledged deal including Israeli concessions.

The movement’s armed wing continued to fire dozens of rockets into Israel after the 0600 GMT deadline, sending tens of thousands scrambling for cover.

At 1200 GMT, the Israeli army announced it was resuming air strikes, after militants fired 47 rockets from Gaza.

The fresh raids hit Gaza City, southern Khan Yunis and Rafah and killed two people.

“This would have been better resolved diplomatically, that’s what we tried to do when we accepted the Egyptian truce proposal today,” Netanyahu claimed.

“But Hamas leaves us no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it.”

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said the movement had not been consulted on the truce bid, and called the idea of halting fire before agreeing on terms “unacceptable”.

A top member of Hamas’s exiled politburo, Mussa Abu Marzuq, sounded a more cautious note, saying the movement had no official position on the proposal and discussions were continuing.

Hamas has said it wants the end of Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as part of a truce deal.

It also wants Israel to free Palestinians it rearrested after releasing them in a 2011 exchange for an Israeli soldier held by Gaza militants for more than five years.

In his remarks on Tuesday evening, Netanyahu also took aim at domestic critics, responding to Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman who earlier slammed Israel’s acceptance of the Egyptian truce and Netanyahu’s “hesitance”, saying Israel should conquer Gaza and expel Hamas from it.

“These are moments when decisions must be made coolly and with patience, not hastily or noisily,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli premier also fired deputy defence minister Danny Danon, a firebrand member of his Likud party, who was a vocal critic of him during the operation.

Cairo’s truce proposal was announced overnight, and urged both sides to halt the violence and travel to Egypt for talks.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was due in Cairo on Wednesday, but it was unclear if Hamas officials there were continuing to discuss the truce bid and if Israeli officials would also travel to Egypt.

The proposal won support from Western governments with President Barack Obama saying he was “encouraged” by Egypt’s efforts and hoped to see calm restored.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also urged Hamas to accept the Egyptian proposal, accusing the Islamists of holding Gaza “hostage.”

But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the blame entirely on Israel accusing it of carrying out “state terrorism” and a “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge before dawn on July 8, hitting Gaza with an intensive air and artillery bombardment aimed at stamping out rocket fire.

Since then, 960 rockets have hit Israel, while another 215 have been intercepted by its Iron Dome air defence system, the army said.

In Gaza City on Tuesday, shortly after Israel resumed its air strikes, 44-year-old Suheil al-Hossari looked at the ruins of his home.

An Israeli warning call meant there were no deaths in the strike, but that was small comfort for Hossari.

“Everything is destroyed. The food we prepared for our iftar (Ramadan evening meal) is now under the ruins of my home,” he told AFP.

“I don’t have money for food, let alone to rent a new house. I will stay here in the open and rely on God’s mercy.”

All available resources to be utilised to look after IDPs, says Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while reviewing the progress of the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan and relief efforts for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) said on Tuesday that all available resources will be utilised to look after the IDPs, according to Radio Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for SAFRON Abdul Qadir Baloch were part of a consultative meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Nawaz lauded the armed forces on progress made in the operation and also appreciated Abdul Qadir Baloch over efforts made for the IDPs.

Arrangements to celebrate Independence Day in a traditional manner were also reviewed during the meeting. The premier said that August 14 should be celebrated  in a befitting manner as it the day of progress and prosperity for the country.

The Prime Minister said 14th of August being day for progress and prosperity of the country should be celebrated in a befitting manner.

Stop interfering in provincial matters, Zardari tells PM Nawaz

LAHORE: Former president Asif Ali Zardari had harsh words for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, asking him to stop interfering in provincial matters and reminding him that he was democratically elected, and not a ‘monarch’, Express News reported. 

The Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson also said that the prime minister, leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, should take into account the demands made by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regarding the re-counting of votes in four constituencies.

Zardari said that the premier should not be afraid to go ahead with the re-counting of the votes.

He said Nawaz had made several promises to the public, which he has been unable to keep, adding that the public is suffering with water, power and gas shortages.

Zardari, comparing the PPP and PML-N governments, said that load-shedding and circular debt had increased with the present government.