LAHORE: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Saturday revealed that Principal Secretary Azam Khan has admitted that he gave the diplomatic cypher to PTI chief Imran Khan — which had been “stolen” from the records of the Prime Minister’s House.
Accusing the PTI for the missing cypher, Dar said: “The cypher is missing from the archives and the audio leaks have laid bare their plan.”
The finance minister was addressing a press conference flanked by the top brass of the PML-N, including Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.
The finance minister blamed the previous PTI government for economically devastating the country, saying that they [PTI] have brought the economy where all the macroeconomic indicators are blinking red.
“Imran Khan pauperised the country and brought to the brink of default,” he said, claiming that his ultimate agenda was the “total annihilation” of the country.
The finance minister said that the Official Secret Act was violated.
“Khan is solely responsible for this whole travesty,” he maintained, adding that if we do not take action to bring this matter to its logical conclusion, then it would be another breach of the Constitution.
He further revealed that the cabinet has inspected all aspects in this regard in detail. “The minutes that were created regarding the diplomatic cypher are present; however, the original document is missing,” Dar added.
“This proves that conspiracy was not hatched by the incumbent coalition government instead the PTI was behind this,” he said, adding that a meeting of the National Security Committee has also been held in this regard.
Playing the purported audio leak of the former prime minister, Dar said: “We will betray our constitution if we do not take it to its logical end.
“The mess created in four years could not be cleaned in four-five months; however, our efforts will be to stop the destruction and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s team is working to provide relief to the masses.”
‘Mastermind of conspiracy against Pakistan’
Maryam, in the beginning of her address, expressed her happiness that people got a huge relief, alluding to the petrol price cut announced by Dar a day earlier.
“I do not want to say his [Imran Khan’s] name, but I am forced to, so that truth comes before the nation,” she said, calling him a “protagonist” as well as the “mastermind of this conspiracy against Pakistan”.
The PML-N vice president said that the more one listen to Khan’s leaked audio, the more they know what a “heinous game” the PTI chief played against Pakistan.
Regarding the previous audio leaks of the incumbent government, Maryam said that no matter how many audios of PML-N leaders are leaked none of the leaders will be heard speaking against the country.
“PML-N will never compromise on the security of Pakistan,” she asserted.
‘Biggest liar of century’
Recalling Khan’s ouster, Maryam said that when the PTI chief realised that his party members were turning against him and he was about to lose his power, Khan started spreading his “foreign conspiracy” narrative.
“Since day one I knew that he [Khan] was lying as he is the biggest liar of this century,” she said, adding that this wasn’t just conspiracy but this was also “tampering”.
Accusing the former prime minister of forging the sensitive documents of Pakistan, she said that Khan conspired against the foreign policy of Pakistan.
“PM Shehbaz told me that no country is ready to write a letter to Pakistan because of this fitna Khan [Imran Khan],” Maryam said, adding that other countries are afraid of communicating with Pakistan.
The PML-N vice president further added that the audio leaks are enough to indict Khan for his wrongdoings.
“You can look at the Supreme Court’s verdict, Khan even violated the order of the apex court while leaving his office,” she mentioned, adding that the highest court of the country has given its ruling against the former premier.
“The nation has been held hostage by this evil mind since last four years,” she asserted.
Maryam suggests Bani Gala should be raided to recover cypher
The PML-N vice president said that the PTI has hired a lobbying and PR firm for $25,000 per month to build its public and media relations in the United States.
Maryam said that Khan has been labelled as a traitor. “Even an animal is loyal to its owner but you [Khan] failed to stay faithful to your country,” she said.
The PML-N vice president said that Khan played with the country, and targeted the martyrs of the Pakistan Army under the guise of a cypher, which was not even real.
“You conspired against the martyrs, destroyed the country for your own interests and spoiled diplomatic relations,” she said while taking a jibe at the former prime minister.
She added that the PTI chief’s Bani Gala residence should be raided to recover the cypher.
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.
Zardari ropes in Balochistan electables as electioneering gears up
- 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.