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Altaf Hussain terms MQM merger ‘a forced marriage, made for divorce’

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  • Altaf Hussian issues statement after MQM merger announcement.
  • Says he is thankful to those who brought MQM factions together.
  • Merger will only strengthen my politics, says MQM founder.

LONDON: Founder Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain on Thursday, termed the reunification of MQM splinter groups a “forced marriage” bound to end in a bad divorce.

Talking to the media after a court appearance at the London High Court, the MQM founder and leader Altaf Hussain welcomed the development, saying it will only strengthen his politics and his continuing influence in the city. 

Altaf said that the establishment should expedite the reunification efforts saying he was thankful to those who brought them together. He added that the Muhajir nation could see how genuine leadership was removed by using force to create artificial leadership.

Altaf Hussain added that he was overjoyed at the merger of MQM factions, as this will help him direct his criticism towards one party rather than various factions, which was confusing for everyone.

Hussain said MQM-P had launched a case against him at the London court to snatch nearly half-a-dozen properties from him. Those who used to call him their father have betrayed him for the sake of money and power politics, but they will not succeed.

Two senior MQM-P leaders, on condition of anonymity, said that Altaf Hussain’s supporters who disappeared after the crackdown in 2016, have resurfaced in the last few months. 

They said the MQM workers often ask them questions for going against Altaf Hussain and not taking a stand for him the way supporters of Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan stood by them in difficult times.

They said the Altaf Hussain factor cannot be eliminated from Karachi unless the MQM-P delivers for the local communities.

MQM-P reunification

In a presser on Thursday, MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, MQM Organisation Restoration Committee founder Dr Farooq Sattar and Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) Mustafa Kamal reunited under the banner of MQM-Pakistan.

Kamal established the PSP in 2016 and Sattar formed the MQM Restoration Committee in 2018 after developing differences with the party.

Political commentators termed the move “major”, saying that the merger of the old guard will definitely affect the 2023 General Elections if the party remains intact.

In a press conference flanked by the top brass of the party, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said the “graveness” of the situation in Sindh’s urban areas requires all people to join hands.

“It is important that under the circumstances, the people, whose families laid down their lives for Pakistan’s formations, should come together for a historic struggle,” the MQM-P leader said. 

Politics

SC to hear reference against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto death sentence next week

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  • Nine-member bench, headed by CJP, to hear reference.
  • Last hearing of reference was held on Nov 11, 2022.
  • SC to also hear IHC ex-judge Shaukat Siddiqui plea on removal.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is set to take up the 12-year-old presidential reference on revisiting the controversial death sentence awarded to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto next week, The News reported Friday. 

A nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the presidential reference on reconsideration of Bhutto’s death sentence judgment on December 12.

The decision to fix the instant case was made under Section 2(1) of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, by a three-member committee comprising CJP Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

According to Supreme Court Registrar Jazeela Aslam, the other members of the larger bench are Justice Masood, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

It is pertinent to mention that former president Asif Ali Zardari, on April 2, 2011, had approached the apex court through a presidential reference under Article 186 of the Constitution to seek its opinion on revisiting the trial of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The last hearing of the reference was held on November 11, 2022.

Earlier, an 11-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had conducted five hearings in the presidential reference.

Babar Awan, the then federal law minister in the PPP regime, had earlier appeared as the federal government’s lawyer in the case and presented lengthy arguments. However, on January 17, 2012, Awan’s law practice license was suspended for criticising the court’s order in the Memogate case. Later, the case was adjourned due to a change of counsel who were appearing in the instant reference.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also fixed the petition of sacked Islamabad High Court (IHC) Judge Shaukat Siddiqui challenging his removal for misconduct on December 14.

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ECP expected to announce election schedule on December 14

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  • ECP has published final list of delimitations.
  • CEC says ECP aware of its duties regarding polls. 
  • Calls on public to participate in elections.

ISLAMABAD: Amid heightened political temperature in the country, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is expected to announce the schedule for much-awaited general elections on December 14, The News reported Friday. 

Political parties are busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the polls which are slated to take place on February 8 next year.

The electoral body recently published the final list of delimitations clearing a major hurdle to the announcement of the polls. It is in the final phase of appointment of district returning officers, returning officers and assistant officers as per the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017.

According to Sections 50 and 51 of the Elections Act, a district returning officer is appointed for each district or a specified area and a returning officer for each constituency for elections to an assembly. 

The provincial election commissioners as well as the Election Commission Secretariat have furnished lists of government officers for the election duty. Their appointment will follow the election-related training.

Separately, in a message on the occasion of National Voters Day, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said the printing and delivery of the final electoral rolls had been completed successfully. He said the ECP was fully cognisant of all its constitutional and legal responsibilities regarding elections and related matters. 

CEC Raja also referred to the Election Commission’s full preparedness and commitment and assured the voters of complete security, privacy and transparency throughout the election process. The chief election commissioner called on the public to participate in the polls to shape their bright future.

The Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP for poll arrangements, putting to rest election delay rumours.

Last week, the ECP also notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, paving the way for the announcement of the election schedule.

The CEC also reiterated that elections will take place at its scheduled time and maintained that the commission will ensure complete security during the polls.

He also urged the people to use their right to vote for the “bright future of the country and nation” and cooperate with the ECP to ensure peaceful elections.

Raja also reminded the people that they have “power of vote,” asking them to cast their ballot while keeping in view the future of their children.

National Voters Day is observed each year on December 7 to create awareness among the masses about the importance of vote registration and encourage the electorates to use the power of the ballot to elect their representatives.

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Zardari ropes in Balochistan electables as electioneering gears up

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  • Former minister Sikandar Imrani among others join PPP.
  • Zardari welcomes Balochistan leaders into party’s fold.
  • Development comes amid heightened political activities.

Several electables from Balochistan including former chief minister and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Abdul Qudous Bizenjo joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the run-up to the February 8 elections.

The development came in a meeting with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore on Thursday, according to a statement issued on the party’s social media channel on Thursday.

During the meeting, former Balochistan minister Sikandar Imrani, Syed Nizamuddin, Syed Hameed, Naseer Ahmed Bizenjo and Mir Abdul Wahab Bizenjo also joined the PPP.

Zardari welcomed them into the party folds.

The development comes amid heightened political temperature in the country with political parties busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the elections slated to take place on February 8, 2023.

Last month, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif succeeded in wooing at least two dozen prominent politicians from Balochistan into the party ranks.

The electables included Jam Kamal Khan, Mir Saleem Khosa, Noor Mohammad, Baba Buledi, Sardar Masood Luni, Rubaba Buledi, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Shoaib Nosherwani, Ramin Jan Muhammad Hassni and Muhammad Khan Lehri joined the PML-N ranks.

PPP leaders Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Sardar Fateh Muhammad, and Faiq Jamali jumped ship to join the PML-N.

From the National Party, Mujib Mohammad Hassni and former senator Dr Ashok Kumar, while Zeenat Shahwani of BNP-M and PTI’s Muhammad Jamali and Sardar Atif Sanjrani also joined the PML-N.

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