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Who is the real power wielder in Pakistan: the Prime Minister or the Army chief?—File Photo

Who is the real power wielder in Pakistan: the Prime Minister or the Army chief?—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan witnessed a historic democratic transition, many in the county have started to believe that the days of military supremacy are over. But not on the roads, at least not yet.

As Nawaz Sharif, along with his family, left for the Presidency to take oath as prime minister for a record third time on Wednesday, he struck reality on the streets of Islamabad.

The question is: who is the real power wielder in Pakistan? The prime minister or the Army chief? Theoretically, the army chief is answerable to a grade-22 civil bureaucrat. Practically, he is mightier than any elected or non-elected individual in the country.

One such demonstration of this reality was witnessed Wednesday soon after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s election as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

After securing more than two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the premier reached Punjab House to freshen up.

The prime minister was supposed to reach the Presidency before 4:00 pm to take oath from President Asif Ali Zardari.

At the oath-taking ceremony, services chiefs, political leaders, diplomats and senior civil and military officials had been invited.

PML-N sources and eyewitnesses said first to come out of Punjab House was the SUV carrying first lady Kulsoom Nawaz and her daughter Mariam Safdar. Just behind them were the vehicles of Hamza Shahbaz and Hassan Nawaz.

The convoy of the prime minister was standing at close distance from the cars of his family members. As soon as they reached the outer barrier of Punjab House adjacent to Margallah Road, an alter commando blew the whistle with full force ordering the driver to stop the vehicle.

Consequently, the prime minister’s convoy had to stop as well. The pause remained for two to three minutes.

The commando was there to make sure nothing should obstruct the route of the Army chief’s convoy, only allowing vehicles from Punjab House to pass after the entire convoy of the army chief drove away.

Whether it was a mere coincidence could not be ascertained. None of the PML-N leaders was ready to comment on the incident. But the prime minister might have shared his thoughts with his closest aides.

Source: Dawn.com

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Sardar Rasmesh Singh Arora, the first Sikh member of the Provincial Assembly since 1947.

Sardar Rasmesh Singh Arora, the first Sikh member of the Provincial Assembly since 1947.

LAHORE: Saturday marked a historic milestone for the Sikh community in the province. A Sikh representative, for the first time since 1947, took oath as a member of the provincial assembly in Punjab at its first session.

He was nominated on a seat reserved for minorities on a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket.

Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora walked into the assembly hall wearing a traditional white shalwar kamees and an orange turban. Several parliamentarians and assembly officials shook hands with him and welcomed him. Several of his family and friends were there to support him as well.

“As the first Sikh to have taken oath as a parliamentarian in the Punjab Assembly since 1947, I am absolutely delighted to be part of this august house. The position certainly comes with a lot of responsibility. I will not only be representing my own community but all the minorities in the province,” Arora told The Express Tribune after taking the oath.

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Arora hails from Narowal and has been associated with the Pakistan Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee.

“PML-N’s priorities include eliminating load shedding and reviving the economy,” he said, minorities will benefit from these.

Arora said that he would work for the rehabilitation of historical and religious sites of the Sikhs. “Sites sacred to other religions will also be restored through the Evacuee Trust Property Board,” he said.

He said work on the reformation of the Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee was already underway, adding that it would be made more effective and efficient. “I will do the best I can to serve minorities. That is my aim and my party’s policy. That is why I’m here and that is what my oath was about,” he said.

Parliamentarian drives in on a motorbike

While most parliamentarians were seen reaching the assembly chambers on expensive SUVs and luxury cars, one of them chose a different mode of transport. Maulana Ghiyasud Din, a PML-N MPA from Shakargarh, drove a motorbike, with a green number plate reading MPA, to the assembly building.

“There is need to promote simplicity in our culture. That is why I drove a motorbike to attend the first assembly session. We need to cut down on expenses and solve problems like load shedding as soon as possible,” he said.

The effort towards that end needs to start from day one, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2013.

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LONDON: If my party workers fail to reform themselves, they will lose me as their leader forever, said Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said on Friday.

Altaf was speaking to members of the interim Rabita Committee and other party workers.

“I never taught MQM workers to take bribes, be corrupt or put undue pressure on people for favours,” he said.

Addressing the issue of his stay away from home, Altaf told his party members that his family members went abroad to save their lives.

He said his family worked hard while living in a foreign land.

Delving more into his family and political affairs, the MQM chief said he never favoured his family with gains from his political movement.

“I did not give party tickets to my relatives in elections,” he added.

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LAHORE: Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued notices to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the federal government on a petition seeking legal action against Altaf Hussain for allegedly speaking against the ideology of Pakistan in his speech on May 12.

Although the petitioner had not made the PTA a respondent in the petition, the judge advised him to do so as it was also responsible for providing the opportunity of live speech in Pakistan from abroad.

Along with including PTA in the petition, the petitioner also filed a civil miscellaneous application for interim stay on Hussain’s speeches.

The application would be taken up on the next date of hearing which would be decided by the registrar’s office of the LHC within two weeks.

Advocate Fayyaz Ahmed Mehr had filed a petition on Wednesday, stating that Altaf Hussain is a foreigner claiming to be the chief of MQM and his demands are against the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and also against the ideology of the country.

On May 12, during Altaf Hussain’s address to his party workers, he had threatened the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), establishment, media, workers of the political parties and politicians and also demanded that Karachi be detached from Pakistan, said the advocate in his petition.

The petitioner termed it a “conspiracy” and a move to destabilise and create unrest in the country.

He said according to the Political Party Order 2002, only an individual belonging to Pakistan or association of citizens of Pakistan can form, organise, continue or set up a political party in the country.

The petitioner stated Altaf Hussain is not a citizen of Pakistan and cannot claim to be the chief of a political party.

He added that the MQM Chief’s speech was anti-state and amounts to treason, therefore he [Altaf] should be brought back to Pakistan and be punished in accordance with the law. He also said that those working for Altaf should also be punished in accordance with the law.

He had also urged to stop all media outlets from giving coverage to the speeches of Hussain.

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LONDON – Despite the fact that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has been fairly chastised over his controversial speeches in the last few days, his troubles are only just beginning as British authorities on Thursday held a meeting to decide how to handle the situation on their hands. If British media reports prove accurate, Altaf may be prosecuted by the UK government.

A joint meeting of British Home Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and London Metropolitan Police was held under Home Secretary Theresa May to review the allegations leveled against Altaf.

According to media reports, records of speeches delivered by Altaf Hussain in the last few days were presented in the meeting.

It was decided during the meeting that the file related to allegations against Altaf would be sent to Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) for initiation of proceedings against him.

Furthermore, London Metropolitan Police will decide to take action three days after allegations are reviewed by CPS.

Decision will also be taken to take police interview from Altaf Hussain.

The top officers agreed on not allowing British territory to be used against any other country.

Legal experts of Crown Prosecution Services have started reviewing the evidence against Altaf Hussain.

Source Link : Pakistan Today

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ISLAMABAD: Around 112 parties contested the 2013 elections. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), however, emerged as the largest party – both in terms of the number of seats it won in the National Assembly, and the votes it bagged.

The PML-N fielded 220 candidates for 270 seats in the lower house of parliament. The party won 125 seats and secured 14,794,188 votes, according to the data gathered by the Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN).

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the second biggest party, securing 7,563,504 votes. Imran Khan fielded 232 candidates. The party, however, only won 27 seats in the National Assembly.

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With 31 seats in the National Assembly, the former ruling party – the Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPPP) – clinched the third position. It received 6,822,958 votes.

The May 11 election was allegedly tainted by a series of anomalies. Independent candidates emerged as the fourth strongest parliamentary force, bagging a total of 5,773,494 votes, and winning 32 seats in the lower house.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) fielded 205 candidates for the National Assembly, but secured 18 seats from Karachi and Hyderabad for the lower house with 2,422,656 votes.

Maulan Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl fielded 131 candidates and won 10 seats. The party secured 1,454,907 votes countrywide.

The performance of the once ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid was very unimpressive. In all, the party fielded 53 candidates but won only two National Assembly seats with 1,405,493 votes. The Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, which is limited to Sindh, fielded 28 candidates and won five seats, securing 1,007,761 votes.

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) fielded 166 candidates but won a dismal three seats from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa only. The JI, allegedly known for its pro-establishment approach for arranging ‘dharnas’ against elected governments in the past, fetched 949,394 votes in the current elections.

Out of the 58 candidates fielded by the Awami National Party (ANP), the former ruling party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, only one emerged victorious. The ANP managed to get only 450,561 votes. The party says attacks and threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was one of the main reasons why it could not carry out its election campaigns effectively.

The Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, an umbrella grouping of several religious parties, could not secure any seat in the lower house. The 87 candidates fielded by the bloc, however, won 359,589 votes.

The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) won three seats in the National Assembly, fetching 211,989 votes. The party had fielded 30 candidates.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s Awami Muslim League Pakistan fielded 16 candidates and could win only one seat from Rawalpindi. It bagged 93,051 votes. The party with the lowest votes was Pakistan Awami Inqalab with a lone candidate receiving seven votes.

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