Not a solution’: IT minister on social media

Not a solution: IT minister on a social media blackout, internet shutdown

Information Technology Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque Tuesday regretted the social media blackout and internet shutdown in the country, saying this is “not a solution” to problems while commenting on the government’s decision to curb mobile data services amid recent violent protests across the country.

“Internet should not be shut down in any case. I will try my best that internet service is not shut in the near future,” he said, during an interview with Geo Pakistan

The minister added that internet services were suspended without taking the IT ministry in confidence, as Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is an independent institution. “Since 2017, the PTA is no longer under the Ministry of Information Technology,” he highlighted.

Haque also spoke about the gradual restoration of mobile internet from Friday and informed about his discussion with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the matter.

The government decided to shut down the internet and restricted access to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for an indefinite period to prevent incitement to violence after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was arrested last week from the Islamabad High Court on May 9.

Haque proposed to shut down the internet in certain areas, as social media, he added, was misused and martyrs’ memorials were desecrated.

He stated that using Virtual Private Network (VPN) is not the solution insisting on the government be broadminded.

The government, a day earlier, finally restored access to social media platforms — Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook — across the country after almost a seven-day suspension.

The IT minister said billions have been lost due to internet services being affected. “IT ministry is against any restriction that hinders progress,

Imran Khan’s hearing set to begin at IHC

Imran Khan’s hearing is set to begin at IHC in the Al-Qadir Trust case shortly

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is set to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for a hearing regarding the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The Supreme Court, a day earlier, directed Khan to appear before the IHC today declaring his arrest this week — that triggered deadly clashes across the country — “unlawful”.

Khan was ordered to remain in the bench’s custody under police protection for his own safety until his court appearance today.

A three-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq will hear Khan’s bail petition.

The Islamabad Police spokesperson shared that as per the Supreme Courts order yesterday, Khan had met 10 people last night.

These include President Arif Alvi and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid.

“Dr. Faisal, Khan’s personal physician, and a member of Khan’s legal team also met him at the police guest house,” the spokesperson added.

Khan’s arrest

Earlier, on May 9, Khan had appeared before the same court and bench in order to secure a pre-arrest bail in the land corruption case.

However, he was arrested by paramilitary troops on the directive of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at the court’s biometric department.

Following Khan’s arrest, the IHC held another hearing to determine whether his arrest from the court premises was legal or not.

Subsequently, the court determined that it was.

However, yesterday the Supreme Court overturned the IHC’s verdict, declaring Khan’s arrest to be “illegal”.

The apex court, however, directed Khan to ensure his presence before the IHC today.

What is the Al-Qadir Trust case?

The former prime minister, along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders, is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 190 million pounds to the national exchequer.

As per the charges, Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rs50 billion — 190 million pounds at the time — sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the government.

They are also accused of getting undue benefit in the form of over 458 canals of land at Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al Qadir University.

PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest in Al-Qadir

PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest in Al-Qadir Trust case ‘legal’, rules IHC

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled Tuesday that former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case was “legal”.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq — who had raised questions over the Rangers’ move to arrest Khan from the court’s premises earlier in the day — announced the reserved verdict.

The IHC also issued notices to the Islamabad inspector general of police and the interior secretary over contempt of court.

The chief justice ordered the high court registrar to get a first information report (FIR) registered over the circumstances of the arrest, which included manhandling the lawyers present nearby as well as damage to the court building.

He also instructed the registrar to conduct an inquiry and submit a report by May 16.

Khan — who has been embroiled in dozens of cases pending since he was ousted last year — was arrested inside the premises of the high court when he appeared before the court in two cases.

His arrest follows months of political crisis and comes hours after the military rebuked the ex-international cricketer for alleging a senior officer had been involved in a plot to kill him.

PTI supporters gathered and blocked roads in cities across the country, including the capital Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi, resulting in injuries to several and damage to public property.

He could be barred from holding public office if convicted, which would exclude him from elections scheduled for later this year.


Following Khan’s arrest in the afternoon, IHC CJ Farooq took notice of the matter earlier today, and summoned the Islamabad IGP and the interior secretary within “15 minutes”.

He also directed the additional attorney general to appear before the court in 15 minutes and instructed him to immediately find out who was behind the arrest.

“If an inquiry has to be conducted, action will also be taken against the prime minister and ministers,” the chief justice said.

Justice Farooq further asked: “Tell us in which case the arrest was made?”

Subsequently, the court summoned NAB DG and the anti-graft body’s prosecutor general to appear in person in 30 minutes.

When the court resumed the hearing after the break, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi appeared before the court and told the court that the anti-corruption watchdog had asked the Ministry of Interior to ensure compliance with the bureau’s arrest warrant issued for Khan on May 1.

“Can arrests be made at the court premises?” the IHC CJ inquired. The prosecutor replied that any action could be taken if someone put resistance against the arrest.

The deputy prosecutor also admitted that the public property was damaged and the lawyers present with the ex-premier were manhandled.

At this, the IHC chief justice expressed displeasure saying that the appropriate method should be adopted while implementing the arrest warrant.

The NAB prosecutor told the court that Khan resisted arrest on many occasions in the past and added that he did not appear before the anti-corruption watchdog for inquiry as well.

He further termed the issuance of the PTI chief’s arrest warrants legal.

“Our primary concern is to determine whether the arrest was made legally or illegally,” the IHC CJ observed.

The NAB deputy prosecutor also maintained that there is no restriction on the arrest from the court premises, adding that in view of the court’s sanctity the ex-PM was not taken into custody from the courtroom.

During the hearing of the case, IHC Bar Association President Naveed Malik told the IHC chief justice that the court compound was attacked and lawyers were injured.

The PTI chief’s counsel Haris asked the court to inquire NAB as to when it changed the inquiry into the investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

He said a copy of the investigation must be provided to Khan’s legal team if any changes are made to the inquiry of the case.

“I wrote a letter to NAB on this matter which is attached,” he said.

The council said they responded to NAB’s summon and added that the anti-corruption watchdog’s own records show malice behind the arrest.

Haris informed the court that NAB could issue arrest warrant during the investigation and added that before amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) warrants could be issued during the inquiry,




PPP inches closer to securing Karachi mayor

PPP inches closer to securing Karachi mayor seat after LG by-polls success

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Monday celebrated its overwhelming victory in Karachi after claiming victory in the local government by-elections in the port city.

The party’s overall position has strengthened and brought it closer to the mayor’s seat, as it clinched 98 union council constituencies after the unofficial and unconfirmed results of the by-polls — held a day earlier — were announced.

So far, results for 240 seats have been announced out of the total 246 across Karachi, as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has withheld results of the remaining six including five from district west and one from district east.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is in the second spot and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is in third with 98 and 42 seats in the provincial capital, respectively.

Other parties that secured seats in Sindh in the local body elections include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with seven seats and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) with two, while one seat each went to Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and an independent candidate.

Following his party’s victory, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari expressed gratitude for the party’s success in the by-elections terming it a “historical achievement”.

Taking to its Twitter account, the party shared Bilawal’s message after the win.

“From Karachi to Kashmore, people have once again reposed their faith in the PPP. It is a historical achievement that all the district chairmen, including Karachi and Hyderabad, will be jiyalas (PPP supporters),” the PPP chairman said.


India has given Pakistan ‘no chance

India has given Pakistan ‘no chance to complain’ on Bilawal’s visit so far:

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zehra Baloch Friday said India has given Pakistan no reason to complain regarding Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s visit to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) summit in Goa.

“They haven’t given us a chance to complain. All is well so far,” she said when speaking to Geo News in an exclusive interview.

When asked if Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s handshake with his counterpart Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was reflective of past bitterness, Baloch said: “You are giving it a lot of importance. It was a routine formality.”

Bilawal is leading the country’s delegation at the SCO’s Council of Foreign Ministers’ ongoing meeting in Goa.

A day earlier, he arrived in the Indian city on his first-ever visit to India, hoping for a “successful” meeting of the SCO foreign ministers.

Following his arrival, Bilawal became the first Pakistani foreign minister who visited the neighboring country after a gap of nearly 12 years.

Speaking to the media after landing in Goa, the foreign minister said, “I am happy that I have reached here in Goa to attend the SCO meeting. I hope that the SCO CFM will be a success.”


ECP slams Fawad Chaudhry’s ‘baseless’

ECP slams Fawad Chaudhry’s ‘baseless’ allegations

In a hard-hitting response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry’s allegations against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, the body Tuesday denied all claims and said: “conspirators would fail”.

In a statement, the spokesperson for the ECP stated that the accusations were false and that the commission could “not be influenced by unjust means”.

The ECP spokesperson urged those making allegations to examine their past wrongdoings.

The ECP stated that all hiring was done transparently by following rules and regulations. No close relative of any top official was given a job, the spokesperson said.

Additionally, all technical and professional experts were hired according to the re-employment policy and relevant regulations, with no recruitment made without advertisements, the spokesperson added.

The commission also denied purchasing any private land for its offices, stating that all of its offices were built on state-owned land, with no private transactions involved.

The Sargodha office was constructed on land provided by the Punjab government during the PTI government’s tenure.

The land acquired for the commission’s offices during the PTI’s tenure was obtained from the Punjab government at official rates and then transferred to the Election Commission from the federal government’s treasury.

Light rain expected in Karachi today,

Light rain expected in Karachi today, confirms chief meteorologist

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PDM) Chief Meteorologist Dr. Sardar Sarfaraz said on Tuesday that Karachi is likely to receive light rain in the next 24 hours, after which the city is likely to receive a dry spell from next week.

The chief meteorologist further said that the One Day International (ODI) matches between Pakistan and New Zealand scheduled for Karachi were not likely to be affected as the rain spell in the city would end before that.

The suburbs of the metropolis, including Sarjani Town, Hub, Gadap, Bahria Town, and Gulshan-e-Hadeed, are likely to receive rain today, he said.

However, he shared, the likelihood of rain will decline from Wednesday onwards, adding that there was a possibility of rain in Sindh during the next two to three days, but after that, the chances of rainfall will decrease.

After that, Karachi is likely to experience a dry spell with increased temperatures till mid-May at least.

According to the PMD, the maximum temperature in the metropolis may go up to 33°C to 35°C, while the minimum temperature was recorded at 24°C.

The percentage of humidity in the air is 63%, while the speed of winds blowing from the northwest is seven to 11 kilometers per hour, the department said.

Rains have been expected in Karachi for several days. Yesterday, weather expert Jawad Memon said that the western wind system is affecting the country as its circulation moves away from Sindh to South Punjab.

Ex-COAS Bajwa’s statement on combat

Ex-COAS Bajwa’s statement on combat preparedness ‘quoted out of context’: ISPR

Former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement on “combat worthiness” was “quoted out of the context”, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) clarified on Friday.

The military’s media wing issued a statement after discussions began in the media on “Pakistan Army’s combat worthiness in view of the condition of certain weapon systems on its inventory”.

To this end, views of the former army chief on the future threat to Pakistan, which he shared with media persons in an off-the-record interactive session, have been quoted out of the context,” the ISPR said.

The military’s media wing assured the people that the army will always take pride in its “operational preparedness and utmost combat worthiness”.

“Pakistan’s Armed Forces always did and will continue to keep their weapons, equipment, and battle-hardened human resource ever ready for the defense of the motherland,” it said.

The statement comes after senior journalist Hamid Mir revealed in a TV show that Gen (retd) Bajwa in a meeting with 20-25 journalists had stated that Pakistan was not in a condition to fight a war with India.


SC wants adherence to Constitution

SC wants adherence to the Constitution and a solution to the case of the polls:

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said on Thursday that the Supreme Court (SC) didn’t need any clarification but a solution to the matter of elections causing a political crisis in the country.

“The court cannot force [parties] on a dialogue. The court only wants implementation on the Constitution so that the dispute is resolved,” the top judge said during the hearing of the election suo motu case.

The apex court resumed the hearing today to get an update on the progress in the implementation of its orders of talks between the ruling coalition and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for holding polls on the same date.

CJP Bandial remarked during the hearing that the government would have taken a step if it was serious about holding talks.

“The court cannot force [parties] on a dialogue. The court only wants implementation on the Constitution so that the dispute is resolved,” the top judge added.

He said that the court didn’t need any clarification but a solution to the issue.

At the outset of the hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan informed the court that the first contact between the government and the opposition took place on April 19, and they agreed to meet on April 26.

He stated that federal ministers Ayaz Sadiq, and Saad Rafique met PTI leader Asad Qaiser, who said that he didn’t have the authority to hold talks.

The AGP said that the members of the ruling coalition met on Wednesday. Two of the coalition partners had objections to the negotiations, but they found a way out, he added.

Awan informed the court that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had written to the government and opposition and sought four names from the Treasury and Opposition benches in the Parliament each.

At this, CJP Bandial inquired what the government did after Qaiser informed them about his inability to hold talks.

The AGP replied that they got to know on Tuesday through the media that PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi had the authority to hold talks.

The CJP then asked in what capacity the Senate chairman had been approached. At this, AGP Awan responded that the senate chairman was asked to intervene as his office was a “symbol of the federation”.


Exit mobile version