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In CNN interview, Imran Khan demands US to sack Donald Lu for ‘bad manners, sheer arrogance’

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  • “For some reason, which I still don’t know, they (Biden administration) never got in touch with me,” Khan laments.
  • Says he aspired to import oil from Russia, but for “some reason, this was taken against him.
  • “I would regret the trip to Russia if we had known about the invasion and I [had] still gone in,” Khan adds.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Monday called on the United States for dismissing Donald Lu, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, for “bad manners and sheer arrogance as he “threatened” Pakistan.

In an interview with CNN, Khan said the US diplomat told Pakistan’s ambassador that unless “you get Imran Khan removed in a vote of no-confidence — which was not tabled but he seemed to know about it — Pakistan will suffer consequences”.

“And then goes on to say, of course, if you get rid of him through the vote of no-confidence, all will be forgiven — such arrogance […] by the way Becky, this guy should be sacked for bad manners and sheer arrogance,” Khan told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

The PTI chairman said he presented the cypher before the federal cabinet, the National Security Council (NSC), as it was a “blatant interference in Pakistan’s affairs”.

When asked whether he got in touch with US President Joe Biden or other officials, Khan said the NSC had decided to issue a demarche and protest to the US in Pakistan as well.

He mentioned that President Arif Alvi had also asked Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to hold an inquiry into the matter.

Biden administration never got in touch with me: Imran Khan

In a response to a question, Khan said he had a “perfectly good” relationship with the Donald Trump administration, and it was only when Joe Biden came into power that the relations became strained.

“… for some reason, which I still don’t know, they (Biden administration) never got in touch with me; there was no US ambassador in Pakistan, I had no idea,” Khan said.

The PTI chairman noted that his first priority was the people of Pakistan, and he aspired to import oil from Russia, but for “some reason, this was taken against me as if I was being anti-US”.

Giving reasons as to why he believes Washington was behind the regime change, Khan said that the US embassy was calling members of his party, “some of the backbenchers”, who were not happy. “Why were they meeting them?” he questioned, adding that they were the first ones who then jumped ships.

“Why would the US embassy be interested in the backbenchers of our party?” he said.

Replying to a question regarding the current government being an “American replant”, Khan said: “It’s with their blessing […] we all call them imported government but the worst thing is they are a bunch of criminals. 60% of the cabinet is on bail.”

Regarding him being in Moscow on the day when Russia announced war in Ukraine, the former premier reiterated that his visit was planned a long time back and all the stakeholders in Pakistan were on board — the military wanted a hard way from the Russians, the government wanted oil — hence, everything was planned a long time ago. 

“How would I know that the day I land in Moscow, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin would decide to go into Ukraine.

“I would regret the trip to Russia if we had known about the invasion and then I [had] gone in because I do not believe in military solutions,” he said in reply to a question about whether he regretted his trip to Russia or not.

“I do not believe in military solutions and I have opposed all military ways of achieving political ends,” he said.

Speaking about the next elections: “Whenever the next elections take place not only we will run but I can predict right now that this will become the biggest party in Pakistan’s history because the people are so incensed and feel insulted that these criminals are being forced on his who have been plundering the country for 30 years.

“There is anger in Pakistan and unfortunately because of this becoming public […] there is anti-Americanism. When unpopular governments are fostered on the people the resentment then goes to the US. And unfortunately yes there is anti-Americanism in Pakistan,” the former prime minister said.

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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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