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Pakistan

Justice (R) Baqar declines ad hoc Supreme Court appointment

He has become second judge who refused offer to become an ad hoc judge

Published by Hussnain Bhutta

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Islamabad: Amid the criticism of different quarters and pressure of opposition parties in National Assembly, another retired judge of Supreme Court, Justice (retired) Maqbool Baqar on Thursday refused the offer of appointment as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court.

He has become the second judge after Justice (retired) Mushir Alam who had declined the offer to become an ad hoc judge for the period of three year.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, is scheduled to meet on Friday to consider the appointment of four retired apex court judges.

While the government strongly believes the need exists for additional judges to clear pending cases, the main opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has termed the move as "dishonesty."

Talking to a news channel, Justice (retired) Baqar said that he was deciding against becoming an ad hoc judge due to "personal reasons." However, he mentioned that the appointment of ad hoc judges to the apex court is in line with the law and that criticism is "baseless."

Backing CJP Isa's decision, Baqar, who also served as the caretaker chief minister of Sindh, said that it was "crucial" to appoint ad hoc judges in light of the backlog of cases.

The development comes after PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub, in conversation with journalists in Islamabad, said hiring three or four judges won't address the issue of thousands of pending cases.

"The motive behind the move is to appoint 'like-minded' judges to the Supreme Court. Political workers and the lawyers' fraternity reject the move," Ayub, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, said.

Ayub also requested that the ad hoc judges, when appointed, should not be allowed to hear the cases relating to PTI.

For his part, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar termed the move "dishonesty" and said that all of a sudden, the JCP plans to appoint four ad hoc judges during vacations.

"Appointing these judges for three years is malicious. Ad hoc judges will be harmful to an independent judiciary, we are taking this matter up in the Supreme Judicial Council. Judges should not make this issue controversial."

Meanwhile, Law Minister Azam Azam Nazeer Tarar has said that ad hoc judges should be appointed to the Supreme Court.

"Ad-hoc judges should be appointed. The constitution allows it. Moreover, the Judicial Commission appoints them, not the chief justice," he explained, as the PTI keeps raising concerns about CJP Isa.

It is pertinent to mention here that Baqar and Alam were among four judges, including Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Sardar Tariq Masood, whose names were to be considered in the JCP's Friday meeting.

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Pakistan

Imran Khan receives 1,653 visitors in Adyala Jail

Sources say PTI founder met different people 1,181 times in jail’s court

Published by Hussnain Bhutta

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As many as 1,635 visitors met with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf founder Imran Khan in Adyala Jail during September 2023 to July 2024.

These visitors included party leadership, lawyers, friends and family members who met him different times during the days scheduled for meeting.

According to the data released from Adyala Jail, Imran Khan held 454 meetings in the jail’s meeting room. During these meetings, Imran Khan met 88 times with lawyers, 223 political personalities, 119 family members while special doctors visited him 14 times.

“Imran Khan also met different people during court proceedings held in a court within the jail,” said the jail sources. They added that at least PTI head met at least 1181 times during the court proceedings in which he met 591 times with his lawyers, 273 times with family members and 317 times with media correspondents.

Moreover, sources informed that Imran Khan also talked 13 times to his sons on WhatsApp.

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Sports

The missing piece? How Derrick Henry can coexist with Lamar Jackson and lift the Ravens

The Baltimore running back wants to help the team get past its postseason roadblock and win a Super Bowl ring.

Published by Web Desk

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- During one of the first practices of the spring, wide receiver Zay Flowers found himself in a precarious position.

As the Baltimore Ravens ran a run play to the outside, he turned around and saw 6-foot-2, 247-pound running back Derrick Henry charging right behind him.

Flowers immediately jumped to the side.

"I heard you scream," Henry told Flowers.

"I had to get out of the way," Flowers replied.

Henry, Baltimore's top free agent addition this offseason, creates something in the Ravens' backfield that has been missing: fear.

The stories of Henry shoving defensive backs to the ground and running over linebackers are well known in Baltimore. The Ravens' impressive 2019 season -- winning the AFC North with a 14-2 record -- was shattered by Henry's bulldozing of the Baltimore defense in the divisional round, including his ferocious stiff-arm of safety Earl Thomas.

While there has been talk about Henry slowing down at age 30, the Ravens envision the pairing of the two-time rushing champion with two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson will push Baltimore past its postseason roadblock and to the Super Bowl.

Much of the blame for the Ravens' 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game has been credited to their lack of running the ball. Team officials have tried to explain throughout the offseason why Jackson handed the ball off to running backs only six times in the defeat. But, Baltimore's best response to its commitment to the ground game came on March 12, when the Ravens reached a two-year, $16 million agreement with Henry.

"It's going to be scary," Ravens middle linebacker Roquan Smith said. "I told a couple of my friends in the offseason, maybe I'll have to get some popcorn on the sideline while I'm watching those guys go to work.

"I think it's a great piece added to us, and it's going to help us get to where we want to be."

Henry's track record includes six straight seasons of 1,000 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns. It's a level of consistent production that the Ravens have never had. In Jackson's six seasons, Baltimore has had only one 1,000 running back -- Mark Ingram in 2019 -- but no one who comes close to Henry's running style.

On his excitement of playing alongside Henry, Jackson said, "I just get the ball and [say], 'Go, big guy, go.' I'm cheering like the fans."

The Ravens have had the NFL's most dominant rushing attack over the past five years without having a dominant running back.

It has been Jackson who has elevated Baltimore's ground game, leading the team in rushing in each of the past five seasons, which is an NFL record streak for a quarterback. That streak includes Ingram's Pro Bowl 2019 season, and it's one of the reasons no Ravens running back has carried the ball more than 202 times since Jackson became the starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season.

Baltimore's split workload in the backfield doesn't mesh with the usual game plan involving Henry, who always carried the Tennessee Titans' running game. He has led the NFL in carries in four of the past five seasons, averaging 305 carries each year over that stretch.

"Well, I know this: If [Henry] carries it 300 times, we're having a hell of a year. I can tell you that," Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. "It means we're running it a lot. It means we're up in games. We want him to finish, [and] we want him to be the closer."

ON THE FINAL day of Ravens minicamp, coach John Harbaugh was asked if there was any concern about the wear and tear Henry has accumulated over his eight-year career.

"I watched the wear and tear that he put on defenses, and ours included, over the years," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens are banking on Henry going against the trend for aging running backs. Over the past decade, only three running backs have produced 1,000 yards rushing at age 30 or older: Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore and Raheem Mostert.

Last season, at age 29, Henry had one of his worst seasons in recent memory, stirring up questions about his age and decline. His average rushing yards per game (68.6) and yards per carry (4.2) were his worst since 2018.

But Henry's struggles could be the result of the Titans' below-average offensive line more than his running ability. He had 106 rushes where he was contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

He still has speed. Henry's four carries when he reached a top speed of 20-plus mph were tied for fourth among running backs. He still can break tackles. Henry's average rushing yards after first contact last season (2.21) ranked first in the NFL.

"I have mad respect for him and all the things he's accomplished, and I still see he has a lot of tread left on the tire," Smith said. "So I'm just excited for him to show the world exactly what he can do."

Baltimore believes Henry can maintain a high production level because of what they call "an elite" work ethic. Henry reported for the first day of the Ravens' offseason workout program and participated in the first organized team activity.

"I'm big on earning my respect from my teammates," Henry said. "That's all I want to do is earn the respect from everybody in this building and show them that I'm ready to come work, help everybody get better in any aspect that I can, be a leader in any type of way how I carry myself and by the way I work on the field [and] in the weight room and be attentive in meetings."

Henry's tenacious workouts in the offseason often go viral. In May, a social media post showing Henry sprinting up a hill behind the end zone of the SMU's stadium received 345,000 views.

This is the same mindset Henry brings to the Ravens' weight room.

"He attacks everything with such a high level of intent -- intent with tenacity," said Scott Elliott, the Ravens' strength and conditioning coordinator. "That's why he's Derrick Henry. That's why what we're going to help him do is keep that same trajectory.

"He's had one heck of a career, [and] our goal is that it gets even better from here. [It's] not [about] age, not years of service -- none of that. He keeps getting better and better."

NO RUNNING BACK over the past decade has averaged more rushing yards (85.3) against Baltimore, including the playoffs, than Henry.

But the Ravens weren't prepared to see that serious side of him in the spring. A mistake in an offseason practice would ruin his day.

"It literally pisses him off to do anything wrong," Ravens running backs coach Willie Taggart said.

Coaches remind Henry that it's only practice. Coaches try to console him, pointing out that everyone makes mistakes.

"One thing about Derrick -- he works," Harbaugh said. "He is a worker, 100% every day, locked in, asks questions, ready to go at practice, in the weight room, training room. [I'm] very impressed. This guy is a true pro, ultimate pro."

Even when Henry couldn't make a voluntary practice, the coaches would still hear from him. He wanted to know everything that was going on. He'll text Taggart about what plays they put in that day or ask a question about what he saw on film from that practice.

"He is not coming in here feeling like, 'Hey, I've done this; I've done that.' You don't see any of that," Taggart said. "It seems like he's been a Raven all his life. He can fit in the room seamlessly. He's been awesome.

"You kind of assume [that] a guy that's had that much success will come in and have his way of doing things. Derrick wants to understand how we're doing it, and he wants to do everything he can to help this football team win a championship."

AFTER HENRY AND the Titans ended Baltimore's promising season in 2019, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta met up with the coaching staff at the Pro Bowl. DeCosta was amazed by what he observed from Henry.

"I saw his humility," DeCosta said. "This is a guy who ran for like -- I don't know how many yards that season [1,540] -- and all the players kind of gravitated towards him that week, and it was a tremendous respect.

"That resonated with me as a guy who scouts for a living, and having the chance to kind of step aside and watch his career unfold. It's been very impressive to me."

DeCosta attempted to acquire Henry at last year's trade deadline, and he thought there was "a reasonable chance" of getting it done. After getting over the disappointment of not landing Henry last season, the Ravens targeted Henry in one of the deepest free agent pools for running backs.

But not all the Ravens were sold on Henry being a fit in Baltimore. The Ravens have run their offense primarily out of the pistol formation, and Henry has traditionally lined up in an offense where the quarterback has been under center.

"I'm not going to lie, I questioned that until he got here," Taggart said, "and [I saw] the big man move his feet, and I'm like, 'Woah.' It's really impressive for a guy that size to move the way he does."

For Henry, it's a new team, a new offense and new opportunity. Many of the Ravens players see Henry as their final piece to win a championship. Henry sees the Ravens as his best chance to not leave the game empty-handed.

"I just love playing this game, and [I'm] going to continue to play until I feel like my time is up," Henry said. "I'm excited for -- [playing for] a great organization. ... I'm really wanting to hold that trophy up at the end of the year."
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