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Pakistan

'Behind every great fortune there is a crime'

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"Behind every great fortune there is a crime." The echo of this phrase is not very old in our political and judicial history. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa wrote this sentence in his dissenting note in the Panama case judgment of April 20, 2017.

Imran Yaqub Khan Profile Imran Yaqub Khan

American author Mario Pozzo begins his novel "Godfather" with the same sentence of French author Anne de Balzac. It was only after this reference in the dissenting note that political opponents started calling Nawaz Sharif a godfather and a Cecilian mafia. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been convinced from day one that corruption is the root of all ills in society. Money made dishonestly is sent out of the country through various means.

The elites involved in this process have businesses and properties abroad. In national and international forums, he has repeatedly said that money made through corruption must be stopped from flowing out of the country, and that corrupt people must be severely punished, and that western countries' developing countries must return. Stop money from coming to your countries. Undoubtedly, strict laws are the need of the hour to eradicate corruption.

Pakistan has an authoritative body, the National Accountability Bureau, which is engaged in rooting out corrupt people from head to toe. Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, the head of the agency, will complete his term on October 8. The new chairman of the NAB is to be appointed in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. So far no consultation has taken place and whether the consultation will take place in the future or not, the question mark remains.

The question of whether Chairman NAB will be replaced or Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal will remain in office remains. In the midst of all this, the government legal team was busy running and drafting an ordinance. One of the key points of this ordinance is that the existing clause of consultation between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will remain in force. The name of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal will also be considered for the new chairman NAB.

If there is no agreement, the matter will go to the parliamentary committee. If there is a deadlock in the talks, the current chairman will remain in office until the new chairman arrives. The Supreme Judicial Council will have to be approached to remove the NAB chairman. The clause not to extend the chairmanship of NAB will also be removed by the ordinance.

Whether it is accountability or revenge, the government has often expressed its good intentions in this regard. Through this ordinance, the highly capable and astute legal team of the government has brought some new aspects to the fore. Legally important in this ordinance is that the NAB courts will also have the power to grant bail to the accused before 90 days.

Additional Sessions Judges and former Judges will also be appointed in NAB courts. For the appointment of the Chairman NAB, the provision of consultation between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition was made so that the head of the accountability body would agree.

No one could point a finger at his character and neutrality. Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal also became the head of the accountability body through this consultative process. However, now the opposition often keeps pointing fingers at him. Forough Naseem, who belongs to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, is currently the country's law minister. The preparation of this ordinance will undoubtedly involve his hard work, and he believes that the appointment of the new chairman of the NAB will be in consultation with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif. Naseem, however, acknowledged that Shhebaz Sharif has yet to be contacted in this regard.

Babar Awan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, also confirmed the existence of a consultation clause between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the NAB Amendment Ordinance. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. On this action of the government, PML-N leader and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says, "Chairman NAB is being extended by breaking the law. The law says consult but the Prime Minister is refusing. The President is also against the ordinance." We are ready to sign."

The PPP has termed the extension of NAB chairman's tenure through an ordinance as unconstitutional and illegal. PPP Vice President and Senator Sherry Rehman raised the question that how can the current chairman work after his completion of term? If consulting the opposition is a conflict of interest, aren't there cases against ministers, including the prime minister? Sugar, flour, petrol, medicine, BRT, LNG, Ring Road, Billion Tree and helicopter scandals are against whom? Is the Prime Minister not protecting his own interests and the interests of his ministers?

The concerns and questions of PML-N and PPP are on the one hand, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry explained teh reason as why did not the premier and the opposition leader consult each other for the appointment. Talking to media, the minister said, "We will not consult Shahbaz Sharif about the NAB chairman. We will bring in an ordinance to remove the legal loophole so as to remove the alleged complexities in the law which has made it mandatory to consult the Leader of the Opposition on this issue,” he said.

In his briefing, Fawad further said: "The ordinance will clarify how the head of the anti-corruption watchdog will be appointed if the opposition leader is accused of corruption." Responding to Fawad Chaudhry's statement, PML-N spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb said, "Consultation with the Leader of the Opposition on the appointment of NAB chairman is a constitutional requirement. With this decision, they are giving NRO to those who are flour, sugar, electricity, gas and medicine thieves.

It is clear from the heated rhetoric on this ordinance that the Prime Minister is not sitting in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif for the appointment of a new Chairman NAB. Shahbaz Sharif is currently facing only corruption charges, cases are pending, if anything is proved, he will definitely be found guilty. It would be fair not to talk to them after that. He is currently the representative of the opposition in the country. He should get his constitutional position.

In the Pandora Papers, offshore companies of close associates of the Prime Minister have come to light. The requirement of justice is not to sit with them till they are proved innocent. "Behind every big crime there's a crime," recalls the Panama case verdict, because now the Pandora's box has opened, and some of the culprits have been exposed. Let's see how does indiscriminate accountability take place?

 

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Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif summons party leaders for important meeting in Murree

The sources say that the PML-N president along with the party leaders will deliberate on the impact of the Supreme Court verdict in reserved seats case

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Lahore: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has called an important meeting to plan the party's strategy following the Supreme Court's recent ruling on reserved seats, the sources said on Saturday

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, and other party leaders are expected to participate in this meeting. Members of the federal cabinet will also join the discussions, focusing on the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision, which deemed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) eligible for reserved seats.

This development follows PTI's recent legal victories. Additionally, the meeting chaired by Nawaz Sharif will address other significant issues facing the party.

In a related event, Punjab Minister for Information Azma Bokhari held a press conference where she criticized the Supreme Court's ruling, accusing it of introducing a "super" doctrine of necessity. She argued that the court's decision provided unsolicited relief to PTI.

“Countries have consistently suffered due to the doctrine of necessity,” she said, highlighting the harm caused to Pakistan by favoritism towards the “blue-eyed boy”.

 Bokhari pointed out that PTI did not request reserved seats, yet they were granted without solicitation. "Why is there such favoritism towards a party? The favored one receives relief, even when it’s not sought," she remarked.

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned the previous denial of reserved seats to the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah announced the 8-5 majority verdict on a petition filed by SIC, an ally of PTI. Justices Athar Minallah, Shahid Waheed, Muneeb Akhtar, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, and Irfan Saadat Khan ruled in favor of PTI.

The court nullified the Peshawar High Court’s ruling, which had upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan's decision to deny reserved seats to SIC.

The Supreme Court's order stated that the ECP's allocation of reserved seats to the ruling coalition was unconstitutional.

The bench accepted SIC's petition, ruling that the party is eligible for reserved seat allocation and instructed PTI to submit a list of candidates for reserved seats to the ECP within 15 days.

 

 

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Pakistan

PTI demands immediate release of Imran Khan, Bushra bibi from jail

Barrister Gohar Khan, the PTI chairman, has made this demand after a local court in Islamabad acquitted both Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in Iddat case

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Islamabad:  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Gohar Ali Khan on Saturday demanded the immediate release of party founder Imran Khan following a court order acquitting him and his wife Bushra Bibi in the iddat case.

Gohar's remarks came after a district and sessions court acquitted the former premier and his spouse in the unlawful nikah case — the final obstacle to Khan's release from jail.

“This was a baseless case. Bushra Bibi is not convicted in any other case, and the PTI founder should be released today," stated the PTI chief as he was surrounded by party members celebrating Khan's acquittal.

The court accepted the couple's pleas to annul their conviction in the iddat case. Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Afzal Majoka announced the short order reserved earlier in the day.

Khan and Bushra were initially sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Rs500,000 each in February, after a trial court found their nikah fraudulent based on a complaint by Bushra's ex-husband, Khawar Maneka.

The couple challenged their conviction and sought relief from higher courts.

The recent verdict stated that the former prime minister and his spouse should be immediately released if not required for any other case.

This ruling is significant for Khan, who has been incarcerated since August last year after being sentenced in the Toshakhana criminal case, with subsequent sentences in other cases leading up to the February 8 elections.

Khan already received relief in the £190 million reference, Toshakhana, and cipher cases. He has also been granted bail in several May 9 cases registered in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Faisalabad. However, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore dismissed his pre-arrest bail earlier this week in vandalism cases related to last year's violent protests.

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Health

PHC proposes integration of GPs with healthcare system

Action plan for two-way referral linkage to be developed to improve the health care system and to optimize the resource allocation

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Lahore: The Punjab Healthcare Commission on Saturday initiated a proposal for integrating general practitioners' clinics with the secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities of the healthcare system, and a two-way referral linkage would be developed to improve patient care and optimise resource allocation.

In this regard, a consultative meeting with the representatives of the Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) was held at the PHC head office with Chief Executive Officer PHC Dr Muhammad Saqib Aziz in the chair. 

Dr Muhammad Saqib Aziz highlighted the gaps in the referral of patients from the GPs to the healthcare system for specialised care. He shared the highlights of the proposal for integration of services, and said that it would serve as a win-win situation for both the receivers and providers of healthcare. He mentioned that the Commission was in continuous consultation with all its stakeholders, and the meeting was a step towards attaining consensus on another initiative.

During the meeting, challenges faced by the healthcare system, including overcrowding and long waiting times were highlighted with particular emphasis on the potential of GPs in managing primary care needs and to act as gatekeepers by only referring complex cases of patients to higher-level facilities, who needed specialised care.

The proposal outlined several key benefits, which include that all patients would have a designated GP as their first point of contact and at the same time improving access to primary care along with building capacity of the GPs.

This would also lessen overcrowding in specialised hospitals, allowing them to focus on more complex cases. Standardised training and referral protocols would ensure consistent high-quality care across the system. Finally, the financial incentives, like inclusion in different national health insurance programmes and access to zero-interest loans from the Punjab Health Foundation to facilitate the GPs for establishing clinics, would also make participation attractive for the family physicians. The joint working would create a more efficient and equitable healthcare system for everyone in Punjab.

Furthermore, an outline of standardised prescription practices was also presented to the representatives of PAFP. The proposal on integration also entails capacity-building of the GPs in building their clinical and patient management skills by using standardised patient management guidelines for acute emergencies, communicable and non-communicable diseases through structured training programmes, to be designed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan and the University of Health Sciences. The proposal also envisions including only those GPs in the integrated referral linkages, who have gone through such a training programme.

The participants appreciated the PHC for its effort to pursue grading and ranking of hospitals for the betterment of services. The participants acknowledged that the GP clinics would benefit from opportunities for formal training and recognition of their services, not only in the community but also by the formal healthcare delivery system.

 It was observed that the empanelling of clinics would also create financial security and sustainability for the GPs. It was agreed that an action plan for implementation was to be formulated for future broader consensus.

 

 

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