Asides

PM thanks Trump for hospitality, says Pakistan ‘will do everything’ to facilitate Afghan peace

Taking to Twitter, the premier also appreciated Trump for “his understanding of Pakistan’s point of view”, “his wonderful way of putting our entire delegation at ease” and for showing him around the White House.

Imran also said he was “surprised” by the reaction given by India to President Trump’s offer to mediate between Pakistan and India to enable dialogue for resolving the Kashmir conflict.

“Generations of Kashmiris have suffered & are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” the prime minister stressed, noting that the Kashmir dispute has held the subcontinent hostage for 70 years.

His coment came hours after India’s foreign ministry denied Trump had been asked by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mediate the Kashmir conflict with Pakistan.

“We have seen President Trump’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on the Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by Prime Minister Modi to the US President,” said Raveesh Kumar, official spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

“It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.”

While speaking to the press alongside Trump at the White House, Prime Minister Imran had said that the US, being “the most powerful” country in the world, could play the most important role in bringing peace to the subcontinent.

In response, Trump said that India had also asked him to mediate.

“I was with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi two weeks ago. We talked about the subject and he actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’. I said where, he said Kashmir, because it has been going on for many, many years.

“I was surprised to know how long it has been going on. I think they would like to see it resolved, you [Pakistan] would like to see it resolved […] and if I can help, I would love to become a mediator,” said Trump.

In a separate tweet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran thanked the Pakistani-American community “for showing up in such large numbers” at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC to welcome him on his maiden visit to the US after assuming office.

Jubilant Imran promises ruthless accountability

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the party workers who gathered to welcome him on his return from the United States.

“We have to transform all institutions which had been destroyed by thieves who only want to loot Pakistan,” he said while speaking to charged party workers who thronged Islamabad International Airport in the wee hours of Thursday morning to welcome him.

Earlier in Washington, thPM told members of the US Congress that Pakistan and the United States shared the same objective of reaching a peaceful solution in Afghanistan.

The need for better coordination between the US and Pakistan for restoring peace to the war-ravaged Afghanistan was also discussed at a meeting on Tuesday between PM Khan and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo.

The prime minister said that Pakistan would continue to work with the US to promote the Afghan peace process, but it would not be easy. Pakistan was trying its best to get the Taliban engaged not just with the US but also with the Afghan government and would continue to do so, said Mr Khan.

“Secretary Pompeo emphasised the continued importance of the United States and Pakistan working together to advance shared priorities, including Pakistan’s significant role in supporting the Afghan peace process and counterterrorism,” said a statement issued by the US State Department after the meeting.

“Secretary Pompeo welcomed the occasion to discuss opportunities for enhanced cooperation including expanded trade and investment opportunities.”

Mr Pompeo looked forward to continued progress from Pakistan on shared security priorities, including defeating terrorist organizations, which he hoped would form the basis of a reinvigorated partnership, the statement added.

This was a follow-up on their Sept 5, 2018 meeting in Islamabad and took place at the Pakistani ambassador’s residence in Washington.

Unlike the formal setting of the ambassador’s residence, the meeting on the Hill outside the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office was informal and friendly. It was organised by the Pakistan caucus, which is co-chaired by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, and Congressman James Banks, a Republican. The caucus made elaborate arrangements for PM Khan’s first visit to the Hill, with halal food — sushi and vegetable samosas included — arranged neatly on one side, and non-alcoholic drinks on the other.

Ahead of the PM’s address, Speaker Pelosi told the audience how she was introduced to Pakistan as an undergrad, when another student, dressed in a sari, asked her to read books on Mohammad Ali Jinnah. That woman was Naila Ahmed, the daughter of former ambassador Aziz Ahmed. Reading those books taught her the “greatness of statesmanship” and made her realise that the relationship between Pakistan and the US was “important”.

The prime minister said Pakistan was trying its best to get the Taliban engaged not just with the US but also with the Afghan government and would continue to do so. “The whole country is standing behind me, the Pakistan Army, the security forces, all are behind me. We all have one object and it is exactly the same objective as the US, which is to have a peaceful solution as quickly as possible in Afghanistan,” he added.

PM Khan said his meetings with President Donald Trump and Secretary Pompeo were very encouraging and he told them that moving forward the bilateral relationship required mutual trust. “I hope that from now onwards our relationship is on a different level,” he said, noting that unfortunately over the past 40 years, specifically the last 15 years, a lot of misunderstandings had developed.

“So what I hope is that by the time I leave, I would have made people here understand our point of view,” he said, explaining that 70,000 Pakistanis had been killed and billions of dollars were lost when the country was “fighting the US War on Terror”.

“Pakistan had nothing to do with 9/11. Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war,” he said, adding that 40 different militant groups were operating in Pakistan and the governments weren’t in control.

“So, while the US expected us to do more and help [the] US win the war, Pakistan was at that time was fighting for its own existence” and felt that their sacrifices were not appreciated, he said.

“We hope from now onwards our relationship will be completely different and rest assured I will make sure that our relationship is now based on truth … and mutual respect.”

 

Female suicide bomber attack leaving Nine dead in DI Khan

Dera Ismail Khan    –   At least nine people, including six police personnel, were martyred and around 30 others injured in two connected terror strikes on Sunday near Dera Ismail Khan city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The first attack was carried out at a roadside checkpoint near Kotla Syedan village in the outskirts of the town wherein four bike-riding militants opened fire on two on-duty policemen, Constable Jahangir and Constable Inam, killing them on the spot.

When the bodies of the slain policemen were brought to the district hospital, a burqa-clad woman suicide bomber, already sitting there, targeted the people who gathered around the ambulance outside the trauma centre of the hospital.

Seven people, four of them policemen and three civilians, were martyred and around 30 injured in this subsequent suicide blast. The seriously injured people were shifted to the Combine Military Hospital.

Banned militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the “revenge” attacks.

The woman bomber, aged around 28 years, came on foot and blew herself up,” said district police chief Saleem Riaz. He said that 7 to 8kg explosive material was used in the bomb.

The officer feared rise in the death toll as a number of the wounded were in critical condition. He said that the policemen deputed at the entry of the hospital carry out searching and frisking of the visiting men but females are exempted from body search due to the tradition and customs of the area.

Officials said the suicide bombing by a female extremist was first ever and an unexpected incident in the region.

TTP Spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani in a statement claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying these were carried out as retribution for the killing of two Taliban commanders by counter terrorism police around a month ago. But he denied the suicide bomber was a woman.

But another policeman insisted the suicide bomber was a woman. He said the mutilated head of the bomber was recovered and sent along with pieces of her hairs and feet for forensic examination.

Officials at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) said five dead bodies and at least 30 injured people have been brought to the medical facility.

Condemnations

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on an official visit to the US, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks, and expressed grief over loss of lives.

 

PML-N leader Miftah Ismail files for pre-arrest bail at Sindh High Court

 

PML-N leader Miftah Ismail on Friday submitted an application for pre-arrest bail at the Sindh High Court (SHC), a day after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal signed his arrest warrants and dispatched teams in Karachi and Islamabad to take the former finance minister into custody.

Ismail reached the courtroom after submitting the bail application.

In an informal conversation with media, the PML-N leader said there was no need for NAB to conduct raids, adding that he had received notices after 3pm yesterday. He said whenever the accountability bureau had summoned him, he had appeared before it.

A NAB team is also at the SHC premises today, where Ismail and former managing director of Pakistan State Oil Sheikh Imranul Haque, for whom arrest warrants were also issued, are present.

On Thursday, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested by a 12-member NAB team in the LNG (liquefied natural gas) import contract case.

Ismail said Abbasi’s arrest was illegal, adding: “Pakistan has never seen a man as sincere as Abbasi”.

Hours after the arrest of the former premier, NAB officials had raided Ismail’s residence in Karachi’s DHA but returned empty-handed as the former finance minister was not found at home.

Though there was no word from NAB officials about the motive behind the raid and its link with Abbasi’s arrest, a senior leader of the PML-N, Mohammad Zubair, said that personnel of the anti-graft watchdog had searched Miftah’s residence.

“I went to his [Miftah’s] house when I came to know that there were NAB officials outside the residence,” Zubair told Dawn. “At around 6:30pm NAB officials with women personnel went inside his house and carried out a detailed search. He was not there. He has not been in contact with his family or any PML-N member as his phone has remained switched off since afternoon. We and his family are concerned about him and no one yet knows his whereabouts.”

NAB arrests former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

 

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday from the outskirts of Lahore.

He is the latest political leader and the second premier from the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to be arrested.

Abbasi was arrested for his involvement in the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) scandal, said a statement released by the accountability bureau. NAB escorted the PML-N leader to its local Lahore office.

Authorities intercepted Abbasi’s vehicle at Lahore toll plaza when he was on his way to meet PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.

The former premier was due to appear in the accountability court at 10am on Thursday [today]. However, he recused himself from appearing on the pretext that he was busy to appear in court.

The arrest warrant –a photocopy of which was reportedly shown at the time of arrest – says that Abbasi is “accused of commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under Section 9(a) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.”

The warrant also states that the former prime minister will be presented in the court for “such period as may be necessary for finalisation of the investigation”.

PML-N leader and spokesperson Mariyum Aurangzeb condemned the incident and said NAB had arrested him without an arrest warrant.

She added that Abbasi’s arrest was “highly expected from the Imran Khan-led federal government”.

Passengers relieved as domestic airfare reduced by Rs 20,000

The domestic flight fares in Pakistan have been reduced by twenty thousand rupees.

According to travel agents, the return ticket of Karachi to Islamabad and Lahore has been lowered to Rs35,000 to Rs40,000 from Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 and further decline is expected.

According to aviation sources, the reason behind the reduction in fares is due to the inclusion of two airplanes in Air Blue. This has also been officially confirmed by Air Blue spokesperson that two new Airbus A320’s have been added to the fleet.

Huawei announces $100m investment in Pakistan

 

ISLAMABAD: Huawei, a leading Chinese mobile phone company, will invest $100 million in Pakistan this year, which envisaged a technical support centre along with the regional headquarters in Islamabad, a top official of the Huawei Group announced on Wednesday.

Huawei Group Vice President Mark Xueman said Pakistan is a strategic market therefore the company will set up regional headquarters in Islamabad at a cost of $55 million that will create job opportunities for young engineers from the country.

Mark Xueman called on Planning and Development Minister Makhdum Khsuro Bakhtyar, for talks, which were also attended by Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project Director Hassan Daud.

“Huawei will also invest $15 million in its technical support centre in Pakistan and it will also hire more workforce for it, taking the number of its staff from 600 to 800 this year,” Xueman told the minister. “Huawei is eager to initiate more projects in Pakistan on grant funding from Chinese government.”

Bakhtyar, while appreciating Huawei’s continued engagement in Pakistan, said that the leading technological company could support Pakistan in developing and upgrading of information technology (IT) sector of Pakistan.

He noted that Huawei has 25% share in the mobile industry of Pakistan and is also the top tax-paying Chinese company in the country. He lauded Huawei’s engagement with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the smart schools project.

The minister underlined the need for exploring new business models for future projects and joint ventures in Pakistan. “Huawei can contribute to the government’s e-governance initiative as well in centralising data to improve efficiency and productivity,” he told the Chinese delegation.

The minister opined that Huawei could support IT start-up projects in Pakistan to benefit the youth in this important sector. He assured the Huawei Group of his ministry’s all possible cooperation in the future joint ventures.

Hafiz Saeed arrested in terrorism financing case

Authorities on Wednesday arrested outlawed Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on terror finance charges, a spokesman for the Punjab chief minister said.

Shahbaz Gill said Hafiz Saeed was arrested near the town of Gujranwala. “The main charge is that he is gathering funds for banned outfits, which is illegal,” he said.

The Punjab Counter Terrorism Department said in a statement that Hafiz Saeed had been arrested while going to a court in Gujranwala to seek pre-arrest bail but was remanded in custody. A CTD official said Hafiz Saeed had been presented in an anti-terrorism court and later sent to prison. He added that the charge sheet against him will be presented soon. The official further said that a case against Hafiz Saeed had been lodged under the anti-terrorism act. The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.

A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest.

On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Hafiz Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts, including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc. These non-profit organisations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed the arrest of Hafiz Saeed. Trump, who didn’t name Saeed, said, “After a ten-year search, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!”

Flocks of Birds Halt Flight Operations at Lahore Airport

 

At least seven Lahore-bound flights have been forced to land in other cities following a bird strike at Allama Iqbal International Airport, officials said on Wednesday.

According to a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) official, large flocks of birds was at the airport today. Therefore, the aviation authority is not allowing any of the flights near the airport.

A spokesperson of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Mashood Tajwar said the flights were diverted because of safety concerns. He also apologized to the passengers for the delay.

As per the airport sources, a Lahore-bound PIA flight PK-734 from New York was asked to land at Sialkot airport in the early hours of Wednesday.

Similarly, a Jeddah-Lahore flight PK 760 was diverted to Multan airport while another PIA flight coming from Dubai was made to land at Karachi airport. Another Lahore-bound flight from Doha was sent back to Qatar.

Sources say that the authority is making efforts to avoid bird strike incidents and resume the flight operations as soon as possible.

SC issues notice to TLP chief Khadim Rizvi on Punjab govt’s petition for bail cancellation

A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed, took up the provincial government’s petition at the Supreme Court Lahore registry.

The bench asked the Additional Prosecutor General Mazhar Sher Awan what Rizvi’s main crime was.

Awan responded that the TLP chief had given speeches against the judiciary and riled up people.

“These are the facts of the case, speak about the law and tells us Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s crime,” said Judge Malik.

“What is wrong with the high court’s decision to release Khadim Hussain Rizvi on bail?” he asked.

The apex court expressed displeasure with the additional prosecutor general for being unable to provide the court with proper assistance.

“You don’t know the merits of the case; who drafted it?” Judge Malik asked, adding: “How many individuals’ bail do you want to have cancelled?”

Awan said that they had only submitted a petition for the cancellation of bail for Rizi and Ata Mohammad.

The judge asked if Awan had read the case file, as Mohammad was the complainant of the case and the additional prosecutor general was referring to him as a suspect.

The SC issued notices to the TLP chief on the Punjab government’s appeal and adjourned proceedings.

Rizvi and the then TLP patron-in-chief, Pir Afzal Qadri — who is also nominated in the same case — were granted bail in May this year. Qadri’s bail expired on July 15 but was extended on medical grounds.

The two were taken into “protective custody” by the state during a crackdown in November 2018 after the TLP announced it would observe martyrs’ day on Nov 25, 2018.

The provincial government, in its appeal, has argued that the high court “did not fulfill legal requirements” in its decision to grant bail, which was made in May this year.

NAB freezes assets of Shehbaz Sharif and his family

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday ordered to freeze assets of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and his family members in a case pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income, a private TV channel reported.

In separate letters written to various departments including excise and taxation, revenue and district governments, the NAB has ordered that all moveable and immoveable assets belonging to Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his family members should be frozen with immediate effect. The anti-graft watchdog has also banned sale, purchase and transfer of all properties belonging to former Punjab chief minister and his family members including Hamza Shehbaz, Sulaiman Shehbaz, Nusrat Shehbaz and Tehmina Durrani.

The letters have been sent to deputy commissioners (DCs) of Haripur and Model Town, and director generals of excise department, Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Lahore Development Authority (LDA), SECP, Judicial Housing Authority and JDA.

The frozen assets include three properties belonging to Tehmina Durrani in Hairpur’s Pir Sohawa tourist resort; two Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs owned by Shehbaz; two plots (87 and 96) in Model Town’s block-H owned by Nusrat Shehbaz; two plots belonging to Tehmina Durrani in DHA Lahore’s Phase-V; 14 properties belonging to Hamza and Sulaiman; Shehbaz family’s trading assets in Ramzan Sugar Mills, European-Asian Trading Co, Madina Trading, Sharif Feed Mills, Madina Construction Co, Sharif Poultry Farm, Sharif Dairy Farm, Ramzan Energy, Sharif Milk Products, Crystal Plastics, Chiniot Power, Ag Energy Consultants, Al-Arabia Sugar Mills and Unitas Power.

NAB on October 5, 2018, had arrested Shehbaz in connection with the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme case. However, it also initiated another inquiry against him for allegedly owning assets beyond known sources of income. During investigation into the case, the NAB arrested few suspects, including Shehbaz’s son, Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz. Some suspects revealed that they had been doing the job for Sharif family. Later on, NAB arrested one Mushtaq Chini, who later became an approver against Shehbaz. NAB had also sent questionnaires to Shehbaz’s wives, daughters and other family members, seeking details about assets, businesses and properties. However, now NAB has decided to freeze the assets as Shehbaz and his family members could not satisfy the investigation team.

ICJ gives verdict in favor of Pakistan in Kulbhushan case

 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday announced its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access immediately and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.

The ICJ, however, rejected all other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, restricting Pakistan from executing the sentence, securing Jadhav’s release and ordering his return to India.

Accompanied by English Queens counsel Barrister Khawar Qureshi, a 13-member Pakistani delegation, led by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor along with the Foreign Office’s Director General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal and comprising officials of the ministries of law and foreign affairs, was present in the courtroom.

Pakistan’s team, headed by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, had reached The Hague earlier in the day to hear the verdict. The team also included Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

he ICJ said that even though it had found Pakistan in violation of Article 36 the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), “it is not the conviction and sentence of Mr. Jadhav which are to be regarded as a violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.”

The most the ICJ said it could do was to order Pakistan to cease violation of Article 36 and review the case in light of how that violation may have affected the case’s outcome.

Article 36 of the Vienna Convention simply states that when a national of a foreign country is arrested, they must be informed of the right to have their country’s consulate notified and should also have the right to regular consultation with their consulate’s officials during their detention and trial.

Pakistan had argued that Article 36 is not applicable to persons believed to be involved in espionage.

“The Court notes that Pakistan acknowledges that the appropriate remedy in the present case would be effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence,” it observed.

To this end, Pakistan was directed to immediately inform Jadhav of his rights under Article 36, grant India consular access, and then review the case while considering, under the laws of Pakistan, how not doing so earlier may have impacted the case’s outcome.

“The Court considers that the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention, and its implications for the principles of a fair trial, should be fully examined and properly addressed during the review and reconsideration process,” the court directed.

“In particular, any potential prejudice and the implications for the evidence and the right of defence of the accused should receive close scrutiny during the review and reconsideration,” it said.

“The Court notes that the obligation to provide effective review and reconsideration can be carried out in various ways. The choice of means is left to Pakistan,” it added. However, it stressed that, “Pakistan shall take all measures to provide for effective review and reconsideration, including, if necessary, by enacting appropriate legislation.”

While that matter is decided, Pakistan has been directed to suspend the execution of the death penalty awarded to Jadhav.

Banned JuD leader Hafiz Saeed arrested in Punjab

 

Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was on Wednesday arrested in connection with a terrorism financing case while on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala, officials of the Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department confirmed.

According to a spokesperson for CTD Punjab, Saeed was sent to prison on judicial remand after the counter-terrorism department presented him before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC).

The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.

Earlier, according to CTD sources, Saeed was arrested by CTD Punjab in the Gujranwala jurisdiction while he was on his way to an ATC in Gujranwala to seek bail.

A JuD spokesperson also confirmed the arrest to Reuters.

On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the banned JuD, including Saeed and Naib Emir Abdul Rehman Makki, were booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The CTD, which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JuD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts, including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

These non-profit organisations were banned in April as the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JuD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan.

On Monday, a Lahore High Court division bench sought replies from the Ministry of Interior, Punjab home department and CTD on a petition filed by JuD chief Saeed and his seven aides challenging an FIR carrying a charge of terror financing.

In February, Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had warned Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.

Risks to the global financial system have virtually put the country’s entire machinery into an aggressive mode to show tangible progress within two months of the warning.

While the meetings were taking place, the government had announced a ban on JuD and Falah-e-Insanyat Foundation to partially address the concerns raised by India that Pakistan supported these and six similar organisations, including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) or at least considered them low-risk entities.

Inzimam Ul Haq decides to step down as chief selector

 

Inzamam-ul-Haq while addressing a press conference on Wednesday announced that he would no longer be the chief selector of the men’s cricket team after July 30.

“I think it is time to step down, I will complete my term that ends on July 30,” said Haq, who was addressing the media for the first time after Pakistan’s disappointing World Cup campaign.

“When i returned [from United Kingdom], I told the Pakistan Cricket Board [PCB] that I did not want to continue with my position. I joined in 2016 and have spent a good time here. Now, I have decided that new people should come, with a new thinking and ideas.

“I thank the PCB and the team who respected my choices,” he said.

When asked if he would take on another role in the management, Haq said: “I am a cricketer, this is my bread and butter. If the board offers me another role, apart from selection, I would consider it.”

He, however, said that the board has not made him any offer as yet.

Speaking on the team’s performance during the recently concluded World Cup, in which Pakistan failed to qualify for the top four, Haq said he believed the team’s performance was good. “Pakistan defeated the two finalists, won four matches. But they were unlucky that they were ruled out [from the semifinals] due to the NRR [net run-rate].”

On a question regarding the selection of the team, he said that it was done with the consensus of the coach and captain. “The 11 [players] who play in the team are decided by the captain and coach; they can take my advise but the decision is theirs.”

“Shoaib Malik has played for us for a long time; it happens sometimes that the player selected does not perform — it does not mean the selection was wrong or the player is bad.

“Twenty youngsters are playing right now and it seems like they will play for Pakistan for the next 15-20 years and will win victories.”

Sudanese military, protesters sign power-sharing document

 

Sudan’s ruling military and the pro-democracy movement have signed a political document that is part of a power-sharing deal meant to end the country’s deadlock after weeks of stalled talks.

The two sides representatives from the military council and the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters signed a so-called political declaration, one of two documents that are part of the deal.

The other document, a constitutional declaration, is likely to be signed within days.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday in the country’s capital, Khartoum, and representatives of both sides shook hands.

The signing is a key step in the country’s transition after months of street protests that prompted the military to oust autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir and take over the country in April.

Norway arrests Muslim cleric after Italian terror trial

 

COPENHAGEN: A Muslim cleric found guilty in Italy of planning terror has been detained in Norway on an Italian arrest warrant, The Norwegian domestic security agency said.

Iraqi-born Mullah Krekar was detained late on Monday, the PST security agency said.

It was not immediately clear whether he would be extradited.

The agency tweeted hours after an Italian court found Krekar guilty of attempting to overthrow the Kurdish government in northern Iraq and create an Islamic caliphate, and sentenced him to 12 years.

Italian prosecutors had alleged Krekar, who is based in Norway, is behind Rawti Shax, a European network aimed at violently overthrowing the government in Kurdistan. Krekar, who has denied the allegations, plans to appeal, said his Italian lawyer, Marco Vernillo.

In 2015, European authorities arrested 15 Iraqi-Kurdish nationals on terrorism-related charges. Rawti Shax recruited foreign terrorist fighters to be sent to Iraq and Syria and provided logistical and financial support, according to the Italian prosecutors who spearheaded the probe. They alleged that Krekar was the leader.

Only Krekar and five others were charged, according to Vernillo.

Krekar, born Najm al-Din Faraj Ahmad, had refused to travel to Italy, fearing he would be extradited to Iraq after the trial.

A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan who came to Norway in 1991, the 63-year-old cleric has several convictions in Norway, including for threatening Prime Minister Erna Solberg. He also praised the 2015 extremist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Norwegian officials have long wanted to get him out of the country.

International Court of Justice to pass the verdict on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav case today

 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will announce its verdict in Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case today at 6pm.

The Hague-based ICJ, which is the United Nations’ top court, said it “will deliver on Wednesday 17 July, 2019 its judgement in the Jadhav case (India v. Pakistan)”. Pakistan’s team, headed by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, is at The Hague to hear the verdict. The team also includes Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

In his subsequent trial at a military court, Jadhav had confessed to his involvement in terrorist plots.

The spy was subsequently sentenced to death in 2017. However, India insisted that Jadhav was not a spy and said he was kidnapped in Pakistan.

On April 10, 2017, Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa had endorsed the death penalty for Jadhav. In June 2017, the Indian spy had filed a mercy petition against the death penalty, in which he again confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities.

However, before Pakistani authorities could make a final decision, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), after being approached by India, had ordered a stay in his execution through an interim order.

ICJ hearing

During the hearing of the case in the international court, India denied Jadhav was a spy and had asked the ICJ to order his release because he was denied consular access and not allowed to choose his own defence lawyer.

Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan had in turn argued that Jadhav was an Indian spy sent to Balochistan to destabilise the country and therefore not entitled to consular access. He had said that “India’s claim for relief […] must be dismissed.”

Khan had told the court that Jadhav ran a network “to carry out despicable terrorism and suicide bombing, targeted killing, kidnapping for ransom and targeted operations to create unrest and instability in the country”.

“His unlawful activities were directed at creating anarchy in Pakistan and particularly targeted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Khan had told the 15-judge bench.

India’s lawyers told the court in February that it was a “farcical case” based on “malicious propaganda”, while Pakistan’s lawyers hit back by accusing Jadhav of “terrorism”.

The last hearing coincided with a sharp spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours after a suicide bombing in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama, although relations have since improved.

Family meeting

India also accused Pakistan of harassing Jadhav’s family in 2017 during a meeting that it said was held in an “atmosphere of coercion”.

It said Jadhav’s conversation with his mother and wife was “tutored and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan”.

Jadhav, on the other hand, said he “saw fear” in the eyes of his mother and wife when he met them in Islamabad on December 25, 2017, adding that an Indian diplomat accompanying them was “yelling at them”.

New Zealand coach wants rules review after ‘hollow’ World Cup defeat

New Zealand coach Gary Stead has called for the Cricket World Cup’s rules to be overhauled, labelling the showpiece final “hollow” after England defeated the Black Caps on a technicality.

The teams could not be separated at the end of both regular play and a Super Over shootout, so England were handed victory because they had a superior boundary count.

“It’s a very, very hollow feeling that you can play 100 overs and score the same amount of runs and still lose the game, but that’s the technicalities of sport,” Stead told reporters in remarks released by New Zealand Cricket on Tuesday.

He said such a thrilling match, which has been hailed by many experts as the greatest one-day game in history, deserved a better way to determine the result.

“There’s going to be many things they look at over the whole tournament — I’m sure when they were writing the rules they never expected a World Cup final to happen like that,” he said.

“I’m sure it’ll be reviewed (and) there’s many different ways that they’ll probably explore.”

Stead shrugged off suggestions England had been mistakenly handed an extra run after a throw from a fielder hit the bat of a diving Ben Stokes’ and deflected to the boundary in the final over of regular play.

England were awarded six runs but former umpire Simon Taufel said they should only have got five as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run when the throw was made.

Taufel told Fox Sports Australia that the umpires had made a “clear mistake”, as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run when the ball was thrown in by the fielder.

“They should have been awarded five runs, not six,” he said, adding that England’s Adil Rashid should have faced the second-last ball instead of Stokes.

“They’re human as well, like players, and sometimes there’s a mistake but that’s just the human aspect of sport.”

‘We are world champions’

England director of cricket Ashley Giles, when asked if he was concerned about Taufel’s comments, said on Monday: “Not really.”

The former England spinner added: “You could argue the last ball that (Trent) Boult bowled was a full toss on leg stump and if Stokes hadn’t just been looking for two, he probably would’ve banged it out of the ground anyway.

‘We didn’t lose’

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson pointed out his team was not defeated on the pitch, saying it instead fell victim to “fine print” in the rules.

He said that was a shame but the New Zealanders had signed up to the rules that governed the tournament.

“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” he told Newstalk ZB.

The New Zealand captain and his teammates have been widely praised for the grace with which they accepted the gut-wrenching defeat.

“You don’t need to smash your equipment, yell at the umpire, or swear at and threaten rival batsmen, even with the stress of a World Cup on your mind; this news will be foreign territory to some.”

There have been calls in New Zealand to give the team a ticker-tape parade, regardless of the result.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that was unlikely but she wanted to ensure that the players received “a heroes’ welcome” when they returned to the country.

New Zealand Cricket said they were in discussions with the government about when that would take place.

“At the moment, however, with some players arriving back at different times, some not arriving back at all, and others having alternative playing commitments, it’s just not practical,” they said.

Pakistan reopens airspace for civil aviation after nearly five months

 

Pakistan’s airspace has been reopened to civil aviation with immediate effect, the Civil Aviation Authority said on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with India earlier this year.

“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a notice to airmen (NOTAMS) published on their website.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace following the violation of its international boundary and airspace by Indian fighter jets on February 26. In March, it partially opened its airspace but kept it banned for the Indian flights. India had also banned its airspace for flights to Pakistan.

Earlier, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat said: “The Indian government had asked us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward. We are ready to open our airspace if India de-escalates.”

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

The announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until October 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.

Kuwait to issue virtual telecom operator licence

DUBAI: Kuwait is to issue a virtual telecom operator licence, effectively creating a fourth player in a market serving roughly 4 million people.

Virtual network operators do not own the networks they use to provide communications services but instead lease capacity from conventional operators, usually paying them a percentage of their revenue as well as fees.

Kuwait’s Communications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority has issued a request for applications for the license, according to a document seen by Reuters.

State news agency KUNA also reported a licence would be granted.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 14, 2019 and the selected application will be announced by Feb. 6, 2020, the document shows.

Conditions
The applicant will have to partner with a company that can provide it with the technology, know-how and operational and management experience.

The partner will also own at least 40 percent of shares and have a five-year management agreement. Kuwait’s current telecom providers are Zain, Ooredoo, and Viva. Kuwait’s existing telecom providers, as well as anyone holding 25 percent or more shares in Kuwaiti telecom companies, are not allowed to apply.

Foreign ownership would be subject to Kuwaiti law, which restricts non-Kuwaitis to minority ownership.