What a front page

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PM who never bothered about sessions in last 14 months now wants to have one everyday.  

Funny how they are boasting democracy in the parliament. Don’t they remember last night?

NS has failed democracy today. Rigged Govts will always remain weak and damage democracy.

Be the Hero Imran! you are the One that your country has been waiting for..

Untiring Imran Khan puts talks on hold till Nawaz’s resignation

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan speaks to protestors in Islamabad's D-Chowk.—Reuters/File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Two weeks into his anti-government protest in the federal capital, Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan maintains his defiant stance that the prime minister step down in order for an independent investigation of alleged election rigging.

In an address to protestors who have been encamped at D-Chowk for nine days, the PTI leader on Wednesday refused to continue negotiations with the government and was resolute on continuing the sit-in till the time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif steps down.

“There will be no negotiations with your team now. No resignation, no negotiations,” he told a crowd of supporters.

Thousands of PTI supporters have camped outside Parliament in Islamabad’s high-security Red Zone in anti-government protests against alleged election rigging in the 2013 polls. In his fresh address today, Imran remained unflinching in his demand for Nawaz’s resignation and said that he will not give in to the government’s efforts to “buy him out”.

A fifth round of negotiations between the government and PTI ended earlier today, with no apparent sign of a breakthrough.

The talks took place at PTI leader Jehangir Tareen’s residence. DawnNews correspondent Samar Abbas said the body language of the government team appeared to show that it had yet to achieve a breakthrough in the deadlock.

The PTI has put forward a list of six demands, which include the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – a demand from which the party is not willing to budge.

“How can I get justice with Nawaz Sharif still in the chair,” he said speaking to the crowd after talks failed again.

Imran said that, for the past 14 months after the May 2013 polls, he had tried all possible options but had been denied justice at every avenue. “All doors were shut on us, and they hid behind stay orders,” he said.

Imran rejects deputy PM offer

The PTI claimed the government was willing to accept all of the PTI’s six stated demands except the prime minister’s resignation.

“I set out on the streets (for justice) in May and today I have come to this point. On pressure from the people, the government is ready to accept all demands but is not willing to accept Nawaz’s resignation. If I could get justice under Nawaz, I would accept. But the prime minister is himself involved in rigging. How can I expect to get justice,” he said.

Imran claimed the government was trying to bribe him by offering him the position of deputy prime minister, but he did not accept.

“They even tried to bribe me by offering me the position of deputy prime minister. They are willing to go to any level to clear the crowd of supporters here,” he said.

Imran’s statement backed earlier reports from sources that the government was willing to give him the post of deputy premier for a span of three months to supervise the probe into election rigging allegations.

“I did not accept. We have all the evidence (of election rigging). I’m telling the nation: if we back down now, there can never be an independent inquiry under Nawaz Sharif,” Imran told protestors.

No word from government

Meanwhile, there was no word from the government following the end of talks with the PTI.

The government has previously said it is ready to open a judicial investigation into the rigging allegations and accept all demands except the resignation of the prime minister.

Imran had termed Wednesday as the “final round of talks” and the last chance for the government to reach a solution.

If the deadlock persists even after Wednesday, the PTI chief had said that he would announce his “next step” accordingly. He has warned of reprisals if any action is taken against the demonstrators.

 

Why everyone in Pakistan must support Imran Khan for Democracy

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I believe we can all agree that Pakistan needs, above all else, strong state institutions and the rule of law. These are the only way in which a proper modern country can function. They are necessary to ensure the social stability necessary for a functioning democracy and a prosperous market economy.

But when powerful individuals can sway the institutions of the state to serve themselves, when they can bend the rule of law and use the mechanisms of the state for private gain, then that can no longer be called a modern state. When there are individuals, business leaders or politicians or cultural icons that are not equal subjects to the state and its laws, when they can rise above the state and undermine it, then that is closer to a medieval, feudal state. And in that situation, democracy and aspirations for economic development are but a cruel joke.

Whether we like to admit it or not, Pakistan today does not look very much like a healthy modern state. On the one hand we do have elections, but what is the point of elections if the electoral process does not have the confidence of the people? The Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has declared victory in the last elections with barely 15% of the votes counted, and claimed a huge parliamentary majority as well. Small wonder then, that the opposition, led by Imran Khan, can raise hundreds of thousands of protesters to challenge the outcome of the vote.

I support Imran Khan’s position. Khan is not challenging or undermining the constitution or indeed the state. He is challenging the power clique of the Sharifs, who have long since entrenched their power base at the heart of the Pakistani political system, and have hijacked it to set them above the rule of law.

The election fraud at the last election and the way in which the courts have failed to redress it are only the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are not marching on Islamabad and risking violent confrontations with the police or even the army because Imran Khan has made allegations. They are marching because they are coming face to face with startling corruption and administrative ineptitude every day when they have to deal with the institutions of state. Corruption and ineptitude festered by the self-serving Sharif clique.

Furthermore, the right to peaceful protest, which is what Khan is using for his rally, is well within the law and the constitution. Sharif’s plans to use force if necessary to stop protesters entering Islamabad, on the other hand, are not what a democratic leader of a modern state would do when faced with peaceful protest. They are the actions of a man who is afraid that he cannot answer when a question over the legitimacy of his power and authority is raised. They are the actions of a dictator, or of a leader who is on his way to becoming a dictator. And that does not bode well for Pakistan.

So yes, we all agree that we need a stable Pakistan, in which the rule of law and the constitution are upheld, so that democracy can flourish and our society can prosper. And it is very unfortunate that right now Imran Khan’s actions are sowing instability. But surely the kind of stability that we need is that of a healthy democracy under the rule of law, not the stability we have had in the past under dictators and autocrats under the rule of force. Pakistan is heading in a very worrying direction again under Sharif, and we all need to rally in defence of our democracy before it is too late.

That is why I support Mr Imran Khan.

written By.
Azeem Ibrahim, an International Expert in Strategic Policy Development.

IMRAN KHAN ANNOUNCES ‘CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE’ MOVEMENT

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

CRICKETER-TURNED-POLITICIAN TELLS SUPPORTERS TO STOP PAYING TAXES AND UTILITY BILLS TO FORCE GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday announced that he was launching a civil disobedience movement to force the sitting prime minister to resign and call for fresh elections.

“I ask all Pakistani citizens not to pay tax, including general sales tax, or any utility bills, to protest the sitting Pakistani government that won through fraudulent elections in 2013,” he told thousands of his supporters in Islamabad on the third day of his party’s “long march.”

Khan accused the government, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in particular, of bribing stakeholders during the 2013 elections to secure a landslide victory. He also warned the government to resign within two days or he would lose control of his followers.

“I promised the interior minister [Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan] that my workers would not cross into the ‘Red Zone’ but I can’t control you indefinitely,” he said. “After two days, my workers will no longer be in my control and can cross into the ‘Red Zone’ and occupy Parliament House and even drag [Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif out,” he warned. Later, he said he would personally lead his followers into the ‘Red Zone’ if the Sharifs did not resign within two days. The ‘Red Zone’ in Islamabad is the location of several foreign embassies and offices and Parliament House. The interior minister said on Saturday that no action would be taken against the protesters unless they tried to enter the ‘Red Zone.’

The government has already announced intent to initiate dialogue with Khan, but he said during his speech that he would not settle for anything less than the resignation of Nawaz Sharif. “I know you [Sharif] will try to send people to convince me to back down,” he said. “Don’t waste my time.”

However, Khawaja Saad Rafique, railways minister, said the government was ready to accept any constitutional demand of Qadri and Khan. “I have requested them to meet us for talks, as this would be the most useful process to meet their demands,” he said.

Also addressing supporters on Sunday, Canadian-Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri said that what he called a corrupt system of governance could not be changed without a revolution. “The country’s survival will be at stake if Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are allowed to rule the country,” Qadri said. “We don’t want mid-term elections … what we want is revolution,” he said, adding that corruption and plundering of the national wealth was rampant. “We will not allow this system to continue any more.”

Qadri has called for Sharif’s arrest over what he alleges was the murder of his supporters, and for the installation of an interim national government. The cleric, who late Saturday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to accept his demands, said he would not be responsible for any repercussions if they were not met.

He said Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister of Punjab province, had no right to sit in government, their cabinets should be dissolved and they should be arrested on murder charges.

Analysts warned there was no quick solution to the impasse. “Apparently there are no signs that the government and the two parties are working towards a solution of the problem … both are sticking to their positions, leading to a deadlock,” said analyst Hasan Askari. “If political leaders fail to resolve this problem and violence starts, then the initiative will shift to the military—either to mediate the problem or see to it that the stalemate is resolved,” he said.

Senior politicians have intensified their efforts to avert a crisis, however. Siraj-ul-Haq, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, met the opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, to discuss the situation. “The entire nation is upset over what is happening in Islamabad … we have to steer the country out of this crisis with a cool mind,” Haq told reporters after meeting Shah in Karachi. “We will not allow democracy to be derailed at any cost.”

Shah confirmed that the government had called an emergency meeting of the Parliamentary Committee to discuss the ongoing protests. “The Parliamentary Committee meeting tomorrow will decide how and which demands can be accepted to avoid any chaos in Islamabad,” he said.

Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of the Opposition in the Senate, said he believed Khan’s allegations were true, but disagreed with the route he had adopted to seek redress. “Even the Pakistan Peoples Party has raised objections to the massive rigging in the 2013 elections, and there is evidence for it, but the way Imran Khan has taken to the streets of Islamabad is not a solution,” he told Newsweek via phone. “It will only raise agitation in the country,” he added.

Attack on Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s Multan home: PML-N activists obtain pre-arrest bail

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi.— File photo

MULTAN: A special anti-terrorism court in Multan on Saturday granted pre-arrest bail to Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz district president Bilal Butt and 18 others who were accused of attacking Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s residence in Multan.

Butt and 18 others appeared in the special ATC today.

On the occasion, Butt denied involvement in the attack and said that he was in fact trying to restrain the workers. He expressed hope that the court would provide him justice.

Judge Iqbal Warraich granted pre-arrest bail to Butt and 18 others until September 4.

Butt and other club-wielding PML-N workers had allegedly stormed the residence of Qureshi on Wednesday with the police registering a case against them on Thursday.

Also read: PML-N workers attack Qureshi’s home in Multan

Meanwhile, the Butt community warned on Saturday that if criticism continued against the community, then it would also stage protests in Islamabad.

The Butt community said the entire community should not be subjected to criticism because of a few characters.

Brief Facebook outage prompts complaints on Twitter

 

File photo

WASHINGTON: A brief Facebook outage on Friday prompted a flurry of complaints and comments on Twitter less than two months after a similar incident affected users worldwide.

 

According to the website downdetector.com, the disruption began around 1600 GMT and appeared to last less than an hour.

 

“Earlier this morning, some people had trouble accessing Facebook for a short time,” the California-based Internet titan said in reply to an AFP inquiry.

 

“We quickly investigated and are currently restoring service for everyone. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

 

Facebook has yet to pinpoint a cause, but the trouble appeared to be a technical issue.

 

During the outage, thousands of users complained they could not access the world’s biggest social network.

 

Similar to the brief June service interruption, Facebook users took to Twitter to vent or post comments, many using the hashtag #facebookdown.

 

“Facebook is Down?! Oh God! Now How the Hell Am I Going to Find Out How My Friends Feel About Facebook Being Down?!” one user tweeted.

 

Another wrote: “Facebook going down for 15 minutes is proof that today’s generation would’ve survived approximately 8 seconds in the 80s.“

 

A Twitter user with the handle @TheTweetofGod wrote, “#facebookdown. Please remain calm and do not attempt to interact with human beings“.

 

Some panicked users even called police for help, according to Twitter posts by a sergeant from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Calls to the sheriff’s office came in on both the emergency and non-emergency numbers, the sergeant said.

 

“#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don’t call us about it being down,” he urged in a post fired off from the @LASDBrink account.

 

Saudi king labels Israeli offensive in Gaza a war crime

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah criticised international inaction over Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he described as involving mass slaughter and “war crimes against humanity”, in a speech read out on his behalf on state television. -Reuters Photo

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah broke his silence on Friday over the three-week-old conflict in Gaza, condemning what he saw as international silence over Israel’s offensive and describing this as a war crime and “state-sponsored terrorism”.

Saudi Arabia, which regards itself as a leader of the Sunni Muslim world, has played only a background role in the diplomacy to reinstate calm in Gaza, leaving the main Arab pursuit of a ceasefire to close ally Egypt and fellow Gulf monarchy Qatar.

“We see the blood of our brothers in Palestine shed in collective massacres that did not exclude anyone, and war crimes against humanity without scruples, humanity or morality,” Abdullah said in a brief speech read out on his behalf on state television.

“This (international) community, which has observed silently what is happening in the whole region, has been indifferent to what is happening, as if what is happening is not its concern. Silence that has no justification.”

His speech, which focused mainly on what he described as a Middle East-wide threat from militancy, followed criticism by some Saudis on social media, including prominent clerics, over Riyadh’s quiet response to the Gaza crisis.


Political complications


The kingdom’s policy towards Gaza is complicated by its mistrust of the territory’s ruling Hamas, a movement with close ideological and political links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Riyadh regards as a terrorist organisation.

Saudi Arabia believes the Brotherhood has a region-wide agenda to seize power from established government leaders, including the kingdom’s al-Saud dynasty, and has quarrelled with Qatar over its support for the group.

Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a political analyst in the United Arab Emirates, said the speech was a bid to rebut accusations that Saudi Arabia – along with allies Egypt and the UAE – was happy to see Hamas weakened by Israel’s offensive, which was prompted in part by increasing Hamas rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

“People want to see a stronger position from these three countries and it is not coming over very strongly,” he said.

The kingdom’s muted response to the crisis so far has been echoed across a region already absorbed by a series of civil wars, insurgencies and internal political strife that have erupted in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings.

Since the Israeli air and ground onslaught began, Saudi Arabia’s public expressions of condemnation over the violence have been mostly limited to statements following the weekly cabinet meetings, and to pledges of humanitarian aid.

Newspaper coverage, which often follows the official line in Saudi Arabia, has often relegated the conflict to inside pages in sharp contrast to previous Israeli incursions into Gaza.

Some editorials have taken the rare step of blaming Hamas for the bloodshed, in which 1,509 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed, rather than Israel. There have been 66 Israeli deaths, 63 of them soldiers.

Riyadh took a far more prominent role at past junctures of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It sponsored the 2002 Arab peace initiative offering the Jewish state an end to conflict with all Arab states in return for the creation of a Palestinian state and return of Palestinian refugees. Israel rejected it.

Since the offensive began, however, King Abdullah has met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon to discuss the crisis.


Ceasefire collapse


The conflict in Gaza has coincided with Saudi attempts to navigate multiple regional crises, including political chaos in Egypt, two separate insurgencies in its neighbour Yemen and wars in Iraq and Syria.

This regional turmoil is set against Saudi Arabia’s bitter rivalry with Shia power Iran and its fears of rising influence exerted by Sunni militant groups the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which seek to topple the al-Saud dynasty.

In his speech, Abdullah condemned militants who he said were killing innocent people and mutilating their bodies in contravention of Islamic teachings.

He also called on the region’s leaders and religious scholars to prevent Islam from being hijacked by militants.

He further said he was disappointed by the lack of any follow-up from other countries to his proposal two years ago to establish an international centre to combat terrorism.

Israel declared a Gaza ceasefire over on Friday only hours after it was announced, saying Hamas militants violated the pact 90 minutes after it took effect and apparently captured an Israeli officer while killing two other soldiers.

The truce was the most ambitious attempt yet to end the fighting and followed increasing international alarm over the soaring Palestinian civilian death toll.