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Pakistan election commission disqualifies  Ex-PM Imran Khan from public office

Pakistan’s elections commission on Friday 21 October 2021, disqualified former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of concealing assets. According to the ruling, the PTI chairman won’t be able to run for political office for the next five years and also cannot become a member of the parliament during the same period. The latest decision comes months after the parliament ousted Khan through a no-confidence vote. The election body said in its statement that Khan committed “corrupt practice” and didn’t disclose to authorities the money he earned from selling gifts given to him by various visiting foreign dignitaries, report Geo TV. Pakistani law does not bar lawmakers from selling such gifts but hiding the transactions is illegal. According to legal experts, Khan will lose his seat in the National Assembly under the verdict of the Election Commission. And, if the court endorses the ruling it would be an abrupt end to his often turbulent political career that began when he elected to parliament in 2002.

Toshakhana The ECP after hearing the case had reserved its judgment on September 19 on the conclusion of the proceedings. The four-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja, unanimously ruled that Khan was involved in corrupt practices and was disqualified as a member of the


Pakistan out of FATF’s grey list after 4 years

(21 October 2021) Bloomberg

Ending the speculations, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on 21 October excluded Pakistan from the grey list of the global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering after four years. “Pakistan is no longer subject to FATF’s increased monitoring process; to continue to work with APG (Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering) to further improve its AML/CFT (anti-money laundering & counter-terrorist financing) system,” states FATF. Pakistan was put in the inglorious list in 2018 for its failure to check risk of money laundering, leading to corruption and terror financing. With Pakistan’s continuation on the grey list, it had increasingly become difficult for Islamabad to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the cash-strapped country. The South Asian country needed 12 votes out of 39 to exit the grey list and move to white list. To avoid black list, it needed support of three countries. China, Turkey and Malaysia are its consistent supporters. Following being placed on the grey list by the Paris-based global watchdog on money laundering and terrorist financing In June 2018, it was given a plan of action to complete it by October, 2019. Since then the country continues to be in that list due to its failure to comply with the FATF mandates. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF currently has 39 members including two regional organizations — the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group.


Asian development bank approved of 1.5 Loan Shahbaz Rana | October 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday secured a loan of $1.5 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the largest loan tranche that the lender has ever given to Islamabad, which may help to calm jittery markets amid credit rating downgrade by two rating agencies. The ADB’s board has approved a financing of $1.5 billion to help Pakistan provide social protection, promote food security and support employment for its people amid devastating floods and global supply chain disruptions, according to a statement issued by the Manila-based lending agency. However, the loan had been under consideration for the past nine months, much before the floods struck Pakistan, and it has nothing to do with the flood-related financial support. The ADB said that the loan provided under the Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures (BRACE) programme would help fund the government’s $2.3 billion countercyclical development expenditure programme designed to cushion the impact of external shocks, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The $1.5 billion loan is equal to 20% of the country’s gross foreign exchange reserves of $7.5 billion, underscoring its importance for Islamabad that has been critically reviewed in recent days by the international credit rating agencies. It said that the ADB’s programme would help the government manage the impact of high prices, increasing food insecurity, slowing business activity, and reducing income for the vulnerable groups, many of whom were also reeling from the devastating floods. (Courtesy: The Express Tribune)


Chinese experts to conduct survey of flood-hit areas for reconstruction of houses

By Staff Report KARACHI: Chinese Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian on Friday briefed Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah about their rehabilitation activities after the recent floods in the province. Li Bijan informed that a team of their experts is scheduled to visit the flood-affected areas of Sukkur division to survey the collapsed houses and then select the areas to reconstruct the houses, said a spokesperson of CM Sindh. The Chinese consul general also presented a $ 100,000 cheque to the chief minister for Karachi and (Renminbi) RMB 500,000 for CM Fund for flood-affected people. The CM Sindh thanked the consul general, the Chinese government and the people for helping the Sindh government in the rehabilitation of the affected people of Sindh. Speaking on the occasion, Syed Murad Ali Shah said the well-reputed people from the private sector have been inducted into the company constituted for the construction of the houses collapsed during heavy rains so that transparency could be ensured. “The funds raised or taken as loans from the lending agencies for the construction of the houses of the flood-affected people would be utilized transparently and its audit would be conducted by a well-reputed firm,” the CM said. Murad Ali Shah invited philanthropists, the international community, brothers, friendly countries, and multinational companies to come over and select a locality/Mohalla or a village for the construction of the collapsed houses and undertake the work from the contractors or construction company of their choice and the provincial government would extend them all kind of support. He said heavy rains and floods damaged 3.8 million houses for which his government had negotiated a loan of $ 500 million to reconstruct the houses, but the number of houses was so huge that more help and assistance was needed to house all the displaced people.(Source: Pakistan Today)


Terror attacks in Pakistan surge by 51pc after Afghan Taliban victory

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan witnessed a record 51pc increase in the number of terrorist attacks in a single year after the Afghan Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in August last year as a result of the withdrawal of the US forces. As many as 433 people were killed and 719 injured in 250 attacks in Pakistan between August 15, 2021, and August 14, 2022, Islamabad-based think tank, Pak Institute of Peace Studies (Pips) data revealed. In comparison, it said, the country witnessed 165 attacks that killed 294 people and injured 598 others from August 2020 to August 14, 2021. These were some of the findings shared in the fifth issue of Pips’ Paper Series released. The purpose of these analytical papers is to expand the knowledge base of key stakeholders on Pakistan’s Afghan perspective, and its role and interest in Afghan peace and reconciliation. “The mindless jubilation over Taliban victory is now turning into a rude shock because the evolving security situation under the erratic Taliban rule indicates Pakistan is about to face yet another ordeal viz-a-viz terrorism,” the think-tank said. Key terror outfits with active presence in Afghanistan include Al-Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K). So far, the Taliban have acted only against the IS-K because it actively challenges the group’s rule. The figure contests Pakistani authorities’ claim that about 60,000 to 70,000 Afghans entered Pakistan since August last year. The issue included two papers expected to demonstrate an overall understanding of a variety of viewpoints and positions mainly around emerging events and developments in Afghanistan and their implications for Pakistan and the region.(Source: Dawn News), October 20th, 2022


India objects to US ambassador to Pakistan’s visit to Azad Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: India said on Friday it had conveyed its objection to the United States about the US ambassador in Pakistan’s recent visit to the Pakistani side of Kashmir, known as Azad Kashmir, that India considers its own. The objections have been raised over a recent visit by US ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome to Azad Kashmir, the part of the Himalayan valley administered by Pakistan.  India’s objection is to Blome referring to the region as Azad Kashmir, while India considers it occupied by Pakistan.   “Our objection to the visit and meetings in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the US ambassador to Pakistan has been conveyed to the US side,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a news briefing.  On October 2, the US embassy posted a series of tweets about Blome’s visit: US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar also made a rare visit by a US lawmaker to Azad Kashmir in April and said the issue should get more attention from the United States, prompting an angry response from India. “I don’t believe that it (Kashmir) is being talked about to the extent it needs to in Congress but also with the administration,” Omar told reporters after visiting the de facto border dividing the disputed territory between Pakistan and India. Earlier that month she had questioned what she called the reluctance of the US government to criticize Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on human rights. Days later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was monitoring what he described as a rise in human rights abuses in India by some officials, in a rare direct rebuke by Washington of New Delhi’s rights record. India has long faced allegations of rights abuses in its portion of the territory, charges New Delhi denies.(Courtesy: Arab News)


Prominent Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif shot dead in Kenya

24 October 2022 (By: Cyrus Ombati | Chief Crime Report : Star Kenya

The Kenyan police said it was a case of “mistaken identity” In Summary Police headquarters said Independent Policing Oversight Authority will take over the case. A senior Pakistani journalist was shot dead Sunday 23 October, night along the Nairobi-Magadi highway in what police termed as a mistaken identity. Arshad Sharif was shot in the head and killed by police after he and his driver allegedly breached a roadblock that had been set up to check on motor vehicles using the route. They were driving from Magadi town to Nairobi when they were flagged down at a roadblock being manned by a group of police officers, police said. Police headquarters said Independent Policing Oversight Authority will take over the case. “We had an incident of shooting which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity involving a journalist. We will release more information later,” the officer said. According to police, at the roadblock, there was a call for police to intercept a car similar to the one they were driving following a carjacking incident in Pangani area, Nairobi where a child was taken hostage. And a few minutes later, Sharif’s car emerged at the roadblock and they were stopped and asked to identify themselves. They allegedly failed to stop and drove past the roadblock. Sharif was previously associated with ARY News and had gone to Dubai after resigning from the channel. Following the news of Sharif’s death, condolences started pouring in from across the country. Thousands attend Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif’s funeral At least 25,000 people pay their respects to the veteran journalist who was shot dead in Kenya as allegations against the military rise. His funeral prayers were performed at Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque r on Thursday 27 Oct. 2022.


Channel 5 reporter Sadaf Naeem crushed to death under Imran’s container during long march coverage

(29 October 2022) According to Channel 5, the reporter was run over by PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s container. The media outlet said that Naeem fell from the container after which she was crushed by the vehicle. Other political leaders and members of the journalist fraternity also spoke highly of her and condoled her death. PTI chief Imran Khan expressed dismay over the unfortunate incident and offered condolences to the grieving family. In a tweet, Imran said he was “shocked and saddened by the terrible accident that led to the death of Channel Five reporter Sadaf Naeem during our march today. I have no words to express my sorrow. My prayers & condolences go to the family at this tragic time.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed regret over the death of Sadaf Naeem, a reporter covering PTI’s long march for Channel Five, saying that he was “deeply saddened” by the incident.

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