- Once again, Imran’s life is in danger, party’s lawyer says.
- Why these cases are being filed in Islamabad, asks PTI leader.
- Khan should be allowed to appear virtually before court, urges Awan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Advocate Babar Awan on Friday claimed there was strong evidence suggesting that a plan was being hatched by foreign agencies to launch another assassination attempt on PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
It should be noted that during the PTI long march, a gunman opened fire at the former prime minister in Wazirabad, Gujranwala district in November last year, injuring him in the legs.
“Some people mocked my media talk adding that the government maintains two stances on Imran Khan’s life attempt,” Awan said speaking at a press conference at PTI’s office in Islamabad.
“One was: no life attempt was made on Khan and the second he was attacked by a religious fanatic.”
The former premier, who was ousted in a vote of no confidence last year, had reiterated twice that he would be attacked, while the joint Investigation Team (JIT) had also established Khan was shot at from three different directions, he added.
“Once again, Imran’s life is in danger and we have strong evidence to support it. New assassination attempts are being schemed against Khan,” claimed the PTI stalwart.
Demanding answers from the government regarding the security risks and threats facing the PTI chief, Awan underlined that more than 100 cases had been registered against Khan in Islamabad alone.
“Why these cases are being filed in Islamabad? Who shut the CCTV cameras? Who removed security from the anti-terrorism court (ATC), and who called the security personnel off the judicial complex?”
He went on to say: “The lawyers of Islamabad deem the Kachehri (Judicial Complex) as a death trap”.
During Imran’s appearance before ATC, there was no security in sight. “Why can’t Khan be allowed to appear virtually before the court when his attacker can be allowed to do so?” Babar asked.
He said Khan should be dealt with by the rule of law but he should also be allowed to appear virtually before the court.
“In order to deprive Imran Khan of his personal security, lawsuits are being filed against his personal security staff,” Awan said while mentioning that Ahmed Niazi, the PTI chief’s security in-charge was facing such cases.
Awan revealed they were informed that Khan would be called to Kachehri and killed there. “The PTI chairman is being stressed to come out and appear before the court,” he said.
“There are two kinds of cases against the PTI chief. The cases of atrocities that took place in May are also being registered against us[PTI].”
He said around 120 party workers had been detained, adding, there had been numerous killings in Kachehris in the past.
Awan said the First Investigation Report (FIR) would definitely be filed for the Wazirabad incident, and demanded that PM Shehbaz and his government give PTI in writing that if anything happened to Khan, their [government] would be responsible for it.
Youth, election 2024 and politics
Youth play a determinantal role in defining the future of nations. They play a role in the democratic process and nation-building. Development, prosperity, democracy and unity of a nation greatly depend on the youth. They have the potential and energy to combat the difficulties and find innovative ways to resolve the issues.
They steer a nation’s wellbeing and democratisation process and shape the future for the next generation. They have the willpower to face the odds.
In the case of Pakistan, they are even more important, as the country is blessed with a youth bulge. Almost two-thirds of the population is below the age of 30.
Youth are expected to play a determinant role in the upcoming elections. Data published by the Election Commission of Pakistan shows 59.10 million registered voters fall in the age bracket of 18-35. The majority of them (31.8 million) reside in Punjab, followed by Sindh (11.6 million) and KPK (10.8 million). Further, a decent number of voters are under the age of 25.
Youth are the priority of all major political parties and they are in a race to attract them. They are busy devising slogans, which can act as a pull factor. PTI is at the forefront, as it has been selling the “brand youth” for many years. It contested the last election by engaging youth. The party claims it made the youth a prominent political force.
On the other hand, the PPP is trying hard to attract voters. Bilawal Bhutto is running the campaign and presenting himself as a voice of the youth. He is assisted by his young sister. It is a smart move, as the leadership of other political parties is quite old.
PML-N joined the race after winning the election of 2013. The party devised a strategy to engage the youth and launched one of its trademark programmes — the laptop scheme — to sell its narrative to the youth. Now, they are striving hard to engage the youth.
Jamaat-e-Islami devised an entirely different strategy. It launched the “Bano Qabil Programme” to impart skills to the youth. It is an innovative programme that focuses on real-time intervention and engages youth in productive activities. It is a unique initiative that shows political parties can serve the people without power. Other parties only promise to deliver on their programmes if get elected to run the government.
MQM, once a party of young people, is losing on this front. The leadership is quite old and is not able to devise a concrete programme for the youth. The race among political parties to secure the support of youth provides an opportunity for the youth to play their role.
Unfortunately, despite such a critical role and race among political parties to secure youth support, Pakistan could not build an enabling environment for youth development. There is no second opinion youth in Pakistan are dynamic, innovative and full of energy. However, they are facing numerous challenges due to a lack of an enabling environment.
First, youth face challenges — lack of belonging, inclusion, participation, recognition and legitimacy. Youth are excluded from the decision-making and implementation process. They are treated as followers and their views are not appropriately entertained. The process starts with education where children are not allowed to choose the fields of their interest. Elders compel youth to vote for their preferred candidates based on political affiliation, caste, ethnicity, etc.
The problem is so deep-rooted even the chairman of PPP has to face it. Bilawal Bhutto is the head of PPP and the party is selling it to attract the youth. But, the chairman of PPPP says he is still young and has to learn. If Bilawal faces this dilemma, then one can imagine the seriousness of the challenges for the common youth. It is unfortunate, but a hard reality.
Second, the importance of education and skill development is well-recognised to turn youth into a positive and productive force. Nations with better education systems always thrive and lead the world. It is frustrating to note Pakistan is badly lagging behind the world in educating its youth. The country has a literacy rate of 62.3%. It also includes people who can only read and write their names. This means almost 90 million people are uneducated and 56 million fall in the category below the age of 30. Moreover, 22.8 million children are out of the education system and millions attend madrassas without formal education or skills. It is against the spirit of the Constitution.
The Constitution of Pakistan committed through articles 37-B and 25-A that the state will provide education to every child. Article 37-B states, “State shall be responsible for the eradication of illiteracy and provision of free and compulsory education up to secondary level, within minimum possible time”. Article 25-A says, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.
Instead of fixing the problem, the state is shedding off its responsibility by privatising education. Private education institutes are flourishing by leaps and bounds due to private sector-friendly policies. According to the Pakistan Education Statistics Report, private institutions make up 38% of the total number of educational institutions and accommodate 44% of children (22.70 million).
The quality of education is another problem. Formal education institutes, including professional universities or institutes, are not putting effort into imparting market-oriented skill training. They produce graduates with no or limited life skills. There is also a shortage of quality public professional and skill development institutions.
According to the Education Statistics Report, the private sector constitutes 56% of skill development and vocational institutes. Moreover, the government could not mobilise the business community to fulfil their obligations in the true spirit of Pakistan’s Apprenticeship Ordinance.
These factors raise the cost of acquiring skills for youth and contribute to lower human capital development. According to a recent report by the World Bank, Pakistan’s Human Capital Index only has a value of 0.41. It should be a matter of concern for our country. This indicates productivity of Pakistani human capital will be only 41%, which is very low compared to other countries.
Based on the above discussion, we can infer youth is a slogan for political parties to attract young voters. They have minimum interest in quality education and building skill development institutions by following the vision of Father of Nation.
They are not ready to take the actions needed to ensure the constitutional rights of youth, including quality education. They only launch fancy programmes like laptop schemes or youth programmes when in power. They keep talking and do nothing. It is frustrating for the youth. It also opens doors for exploitation.
Pakistan needs to understand if we do not take the required actions, the youth, being dubbed as an asset, will be turned into a liability. We live in the era of fifth-generation warfare (FGW) and youth act as a frontline. Undedicated and skill-deprived youth cannot fight this war, let alone win the war.
In conclusion, the youth will have to recognise their political strength.
They must join hands and launch political entities. These entities should be different from student unions, which the political parties have badly exploited for their gains. It will help youth enhance their bargaining power and compel the political parties to solve their problems.
SC to hear reference against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto death sentence next week
- 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.
ECP expected to announce election schedule on December 14
- 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.