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PM Imran Khan seeks to bolster ties with US

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  • PM Imran Khan meets Ambassador-designate to US Sardar Masood Ahmed.
  • “Pakistan-US relations are based on partnership and shared goals,” he says.
  • PM emphasises correctly projecting Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday directed Pakistan’s Ambassador-designate to the United States Sardar Masood Ahmed Khan to work on further strengthening bilateral ties between two countries.

The development came during the ambassador and the premier’s meeting at the latter’s office, which was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the PM Office said in a series of tweets.

During the meeting, the prime minister stated that Pakistan desires to have strong ties with all countries including the US.

 “Pakistan-US relations are based on partnership and shared goals.”

The prime minister and US President Joe Biden have not met or held a telephonic conversation since the Democrat came into power last year.

The prime minister said that the connectivity of the Pakistani diaspora is one of the top-most priorities of the government and the United States is home to a very vibrant Pakistani community that acts as a bridge between the two countries.

PM Imran Khan also directed the ambassador-designate to work towards further strengthening Pakistan-US relations, particularly for the enhancement of trade, investment and public diplomacy.

“He emphasized correctly projecting Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities,” the statement read.

PM Imran Khan wished Ambassador Khan — an experienced diplomat and has previously served as Ambassador of Pakistan to China and Permanent Representative to United Nations — success for his new assignment.

Masood had in February replaced former Pakistani ambassador to US Asad Majeed Khan.

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Imran Khan appears before LHC to seek protective bail in two cases

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday appeared before the Lahore High Court (LHC) to seek protective bail in two terrorism cases filed against him in Islamabad. 

The former prime minister, who left his Zaman Park residence a while ago, is on his way to the high court. 

Two cases were registered against Khan and several PTI leaders in Islamabad’s counter-terrorism department (CTD) and the Golra police stations.

Cases were registered following clashes between the PTI workers and the police outside Federal Judicial Complex after Khan reached there to appear before a trial court to attend the hearing of Toshakhana case last week.

According to the police, the protesters resorted to arson and vandalism, and attacked the law-enforcement officials who were performing their duty to maintain law and order in the capital.

The FIR stated that the workers destroyed a police checkpost and broke the main gate of the judicial complex.

As many as 18 people were arrested for arson, pelting stones, and vandalising the judicial complex’s building, said the FIR.

“About two police vehicles and seven motorcycles were burned, and the official vehicle of the station house officer (SHO) was damaged,” it added.

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Imran Khan’s nephew Hassaan Niazi arrested for ‘misbehaving with police’

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  • Niazi shifted to undisclosed location, police sources say.
  • PTI claims Imran’s focal person had obtained bail in all cases.
  • Islamabad police deny arresting 10-year-old during raid.

Hassaan Niazi, the nephew and focal person of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on legal affairs, was arrested from outside an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Monday, police officials told Geo News.

He was arrested for “misbehaving with the police and resisting” at a checkpost, police sources said, adding that he has been shifted to an unknown location.

Niazi’s arrest came after his appearance at the ATC where a hearing of cases registered at Islamabad’s Ramna police station against PTI leaders and workers was being held.

Meanwhile, Advocate Faisal Chaudhry has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the release of the PTI leader. The petition stated that “police abducted Hasaan Niazi from the premises of Judical Complex after he obtained bail in a case.”

Senior PTI leaders including Shibli Faraz, Omar Ayub, Raja Khurram, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, and Farrukh Habib also appeared before the court of ATC judge Raja Jawad Abbas for obtaining bail which was approved.

The bail applications have been approved till April 3 against surety bonds worth Rs50,000.

During the hearing of the cases, the ATC judge remarked: “There are so many suspects that [we] will have to check the history back and forth.”

All of the aforementioned leaders as well as the party’s workers had been booked under terrorism charges for the violence that erupted outside the judicial complex on Saturday where Khan had appeared in the Toshakhana case.

The PTI workers had clashed with police and caused damage to public property. They also set fire to 10 police motorcycles outside the judicial complex and overturned a police officer’s car.

Hassaan Niazi “abducted”, PTI claims

Meanwhile, the PTI claims that Khan’s focal person on legal affairs has been “abducted” by Superintendent of Police Nosherwan Ali Chandio, despite securing bail on all cases registered against him.

“It is the peak of police brutality. Hassaan Niazi, a lawyer whose bail was just approved by the court, has been abducted,” the party tweeted.

“Barrister @HniaziISF has been abducted illegally by @ICT_Police’s SP Nausherwan despite being on bail. We condemn this fascism and demand his immediate release,” the Insaf Lawyers Forum tweeted.

The forum demanded that the country’s chief justice take notice of this “blatant violation of laws.

“The Rule of Law in Pakistan stands suspended,” the tweet read.

PTI leader Farrukh Habib wrote that the police were deployed on both sides of the ATC, so that “they could arrest” them.

“According to lawyers, the police repeatedly said that they have received special orders to pick up Hassaan Niazi and Farrukh Habib. The lawyers informed me about their intentions; I dodged them and escaped after securing bail,” he wrote on Twitter.

PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry, taking to Twitter, called Niazi’s arrest “unacceptable”.

“Arrest of @HniaziISF is unacceptable, he has been arrested from Court premises despite bail call upon ILF lawyers and Bar Associations to join in the protest,” Fawad wrote in his tweet.

Condemning the development, the party’s secretary general Asad Umar said that the Constitution seems suspended following Niazi’s arrest.

“Hassaan Niazi has been arrested despite getting bail from the court. The Constitution now appears to be suspended,” his tweet read.

ICT rubbishes claims of “children arrested”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Islamabad police has rubbished the PTI’s claims of arresting a 10-year-old terming it “propaganda” against the police and other law enforcement institutions.

“Police have not arrested any 10-year-old minor child. A hateful propaganda is being carried out on social media to stop [us] from fulfilling our lawful duties,” the spokesperson said.

The ICT added that the police are performing their responsibilities while remaining within the scope of the law.

“The law is equal for all. Parents should keep their younger children away from crowds,” the spokesperson stated.

Earlier today, the PTI chief also claimed that the police in Islamabad raided homes without warrants to abduct PTI workers and “picked up” their children as young as 10 years old when the workers weren’t at home.

“Fascism at unprecedented levels with police in Islamabad raiding homes without warrants to abduct PTI workers. Where the worker is not present, children as young as 10 yrs are picked up,”

Khan further demanded the “immediate release” of his party’s workers and their children.

“We demand the immediate release of all our workers and their children who have been abducted,” he wrote in his tweet.

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PDM huddle to discuss future course of action today

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  • Meeting summoned after Shehbaz’s meeting with Maryam.
  • PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to participate via video link.
  • Schedule of next general elections to be discussed in meeting.

ISLAMABAD: Amid a worsening political crisis in the country, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has convened an urgent meeting of his coalition partners today to discuss the future course of action vis-à-vis Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, sources said.

The huddle was summoned after the premier’s meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz in Lahore.

Officials, privy to the meeting, shared that Maryam held a detailed meeting with the premier and discussed the party’s future strategy to deal with the PTI chairman.

Sources said both the leaders discussed in detail the recent incidents at Zaman Park and Imran Khan’s visit to Islamabad. 

“They also discussed providing relief to the citizens during the holy month of Ramadan apart from the political and economic situation of the country.”

It was decided in the meeting that Shehbaz would call a meeting of the allied parties of the PML-N government and brief them to about the situation. 

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would also participate through a video link.

Sources said the schedule of the next general elections will also be discussed in the meeting and recommendations will be sought from the leadership of allied parties.

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