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CJP Bandial asks political leadership to refrain from violating law

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  • Ours is not a political role, CJP Bandial 
  • CJP says political wars should be fought but on the streets.
  • Govt had filed plea in top court against PTI’s long march.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday asked the political leadership to refrain from violating the law and the constitution, or else there would be consequences.

“Ours is not a political role,” CJP Bandial said while heading the fivei-member bench hearing the government’s contempt petition against PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi are also part of the bench.

The government through the petition is seeking orders restraining Khan from creating a law-and-order situation in line with the party’s proposed long march to Islamabad.

Advising the Attorney General for Pakistan to read the reports of the security agencies, the CJP said political wars should be fought but on the streets.

“The reports indicate that PTI had violated the promises [made to the court],” the AGP said, informing the court he was not provided with the copies of the reports to which the bench said the court would give him the reports.

“You want to avoid a war in the streets, so de we,” the CJP said adjourning the court till Wednesday, October 26, 2022 adding, “If something comes up in the meanwhile, we will take needed measures”.

The petition was filed by the Interior Ministry on October 13, requesting contempt of court proceedings against the former PM, under Article 204 of the Constitution for flouting and disregarding the orders of the apex court passed on May 25, 2022, on the petition filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association.

In its petition, the federal government told the apex court that the PTI chief is making announcements of marching towards Islamabad, which was a violation of a court order.

“Imran Khan is making announcements to attack Islamabad,” says the plea. It urged the Supreme Court to direct the PTI chief to ensure the implementation of its orders related to protests and sit-ins.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial with Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, and Justice Sayyed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi as members took up the plea for hearing.

At the outset of the hearing Attorney General of Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali presented his arguments in the case.

The government’s lawyer told the court that on its May 25 order, the law enforcement agencies had confined themselves to the Red Zone after which PTI supporters started pelting stones at the law enforcers and resorted to violence in the federal capital.

Recalling the events, the AGP said that it was decided that the PTI leadership would sit with the government and finalise the protest plan. But despite assurances from the party, Imran Khan directed workers to reach D-Chowk, he added.

Khan called his workers to converge on D-Chowk despite assuring the court he would not do so during the proceedings, the AGP recalled. The Srinagar Highway was opened for traffic on the court’s order. The PTI had asked for the Parade Ground but the workers thronged the D-Chowk on the contrary, the AGP added.

“…workers headed towards the Red Zone and then clashes broke out with law enforcement agencies. Protesters vandalised public and private properties,” the AGP said adding that the PTI’s lawyers were in contact with the party leadership during the proceedings that led to the Supreme Court’s May 25 order.

Ausaf also read out the Supreme Court’s May 25 order before the five-member bench. “The order forestalled us from apprehending [PTI] workers. It directed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inspector General Islamabad and the interior ministry to submit reports.

The AGP urged the Supreme Court to issue an interim order to stop Imran Khan’s planned long march to the federal capital. When asked what did he want, the AGP said, “Imran is inciting an attack on Islamabad and calling it jihad. He is provoking people through his fiery speeches.

“Protect citizens’ fundamental rights is the It is the state’s responsibility.”

“According to you (AGP), the court order had already been breached. You were the executive authority and following the court order. Now, you have the freedom to take preventative measures,” Chief Justice Bandial observed.

He noted that 31 people had been injured in the “Azadi March” and public property was destroyed. “Imran Khan was gone the next morning.”

“We will study reports in this matter. You should gear up for the situation as per the law,” the CJP directed the attorney general with regard to the security measures during the PTI’s march that Imran Khan said would not be delayed past October.

“You are telling us [the PTI] aims to march towards Islamabad and stage a sit-in again. You can handle the situation, while staying within the confines of the law,” Justice Bandial said adding, “As of now, it’s just speeches”.

The CJP said the government should be able to manage the law-and-order situation wherever there were threats in the urban areas of the country.

“We [the court] should be asked to stop the crowd, but there is none right now,” the chief justice observed.

The court however rejected the government’s request to issue an interim order for stopping the PTI’s planned long march and called on the AGP to come to the next hearing after completing his homework.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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