China to support Pakistan on all int’l, regional issues: Xi
BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said his country attaches high priority to its strategic partnership with Pakistan and will always support it on all international and regional issues.
The Chinese President in a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain said "China values its deep-rooted friendship with Pakistan and considers it a high priority in its foreign policy," Prime Minister's Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi told APP following the meeting of the two leaders that took place at the China's Great Hall of People.
President Mamnoon Hussain who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to attend the China's 70th anniversary of end of World War II, met President Xi Jinping and discussed ways to further enhance bilateral ties.
Briefing about the meeting of the two leaders, Fatemi said the Chinese President mentioned about the level of excellent and strong relations between Pakistan and China and also termed it an example for other countries.
He said both leaders stressed the need to materialize the joint vision of Pakistan and China for prosperity in the region.
"The two Presidents agreed that Pakistan and China's shared destiny will not only benefit the two countries, but also the whole region," Fatemi said.
President Xi assured President Mamnoon that he had the firm resolve that the Chinese government and companies would keep their maximum focus on the ongoing projects in Pakistan and would ensure their timely completion. - APP
Pakistan says ‘almost all’ Uighur militants eliminated
BEIJING: Almost all members of the Uighur militant group the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) have been eliminated from Pakistan, President Mamnoon Hussain said on Wednesday during a visit to Beijing.
China blames violent unrest in its far western region of Xinjiang on separatist groups like ETIM, who it says want to set up an independent state called East Turkestan and have bases in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Many foreign experts, however, have questioned whether ETIM exists as the coherent group China claims it is.
Meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People, President Mamnoon said Operation Zarb-i-Azb "has been successful in eradicating the terrorism from our country".
"It has also been very helpful in eliminating the ETIM element from our country and I think almost all the ETIM people in our country have been eliminated. Maybe, if they are there, there should be very few," Hussain said.
Pakistan and China reiterated their commitment to the completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in a timely manner.
President Mamnoon said special measures have been taken for the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported.
China and Pakistan are "iron brothers" and always help each other "with great zeal", he added.
The president is in China to attend a military parade marking the 70th end of World War Two in Asia.
Hundreds have died in violence in Xinjiang in the past few years, blamed by Beijing on the militants. Rights groups say the real cause of the unrest is Chinese restrictions on the Islamic faith and culture of the Uighur people who call the region home.
China says ETIM recruits Uighurs who have gone to Turkey and trains them with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, with the intent of returning to Xinjiang to wage holy war.
During President Xi's visit to Pakistan in April, Pakistani and Chinese officials signed a series of more than 50 accords to inaugurate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will create a network of roads, railways and pipelines linking China's restive west to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.
The project is part of Beijing's "Belt and Road" plan to expand its trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia. It will give China easier access to Middle Eastern oil via the deepwater port of Gwadar.
Then there have been security concerns over much of the plan, which relies on developing Gwadar - control of which was passed to a Chinese company in 2013.
The port lies near the mouth of the Gulf of Oman, east of the Strait of Hormuz through which much of the Middle East's crude production passes.
But linking Gwadar to the rest of Pakistan and on to the western Chinese city of Kashgar, 3,000 kilometres away, would involve major infrastructure work in Balochistan. This is one of Pakistan's most unstable provinces and has been dogged for over a decade by a bloody separatist insurgency.
Ethnic Baloch rebels, who oppose Gwadar's development while the province is not independent, have in the past blown up numerous gas pipelines and trains and attacked Chinese engineers. - Agencies
Earlier in April, the army formally announced the creation of a 10,000-man strong special force for protecting the development projects to be carried out under CPEC and the Chinese workers associated with them.
‘Working against’ party policy in LG polls
PTI to serve notices to Azam Swati, Yasin Khalil
PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to take action against dissidents who acted against interest of party by not supporting PTI candidates during the recently held Local Bodies polls in the province.
"We have bagged maximum number of seats, grabbing 9 out of 23 District Nazims slots, and if some party members would not have acted against the party, the winning position would be much better," said Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
Addressing a press conference here at CM Secretariat on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said those party members who violated Local Government Act would now face action by facing termination of party membership besides disqualification through Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Flanked by Provincial Minister for Information, Mushtaq Ghani and Minister for Education, Atif Khan, Pervez Khattak said the Local Government Act in its Article 78 A clearly says that candidates who committed floor crossing would lose seat by facing disqualification within a one period.
He said the party would also take action against those PTI leaders who formed groups against our candidates. In this connection, Chief Minister took names of Senator Azam Swati and MPA Yaseen Khalil who will be asked to clarify their positions over allegations of supporting other candidates.
Giving details of violation by PTI member, Party Organizer, Fazal Khan said in Town III of Peshawar, 10 members were elected, but they did not take part in voting. In Takht-e-Nusrati Tehsil of Karak district which PTI won but four members did not participate in voting. In Charsadda three votes were not polled.
Similarly in Buner district, 11 PTI members did not came for voting and among these one contested against the party candidate. Two female candidates of reserved seats did not cast vote in Malakand. The party will take action against them.
Fazal Khan said in Abbotabad district, PTI has 11 members out of whom three are elected and remaining are on reserved seats. The reserved seat members did not cast vote for party candidate. He said the district nazim elect from Abbotabad also belonged to PTI and action would be taken against him for contesting against party recommended candidate, Ali Jadoon.
Party Organizer said credible reports are also received about violation of party rules by senior leaders including Senator Azam Swati and MPA, Yaseen Khalil.
Both the party members would be asked to clear the position and decision would be taken in view of reply filed by them against the allegations. - APP
Amid new tensions, Sartaj Aziz due in Kabul today
KABUL: National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz is scheduled to arrive in Kabul today, as relations between the neighbours are getting increasingly acrimonious.
Aziz will participate in a three-day international conference, which begins in Kabul today. Representatives from 70 countries and organisations will attend the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference.
Pakistani media reported Aziz would try during his visit to mend fences with Afghanistan, which blames Pakistan for failing to rein in terrorists on its soil.
Afghan officials claim a wave of recent attacks in Kabul, which killed many people including civilians, were planned in Pakistan.
Last night, the Presidential Palace in Kabul said the biggest issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the presence of terrorist groups, particularly the Haqqani network, in the neighbouring country.
In the build-up to the event, President Ashraf Ghani said: "We want to revitalise the Silk Road and turn Afghanistan into a regional hub for connecting Central Asia to South Asia."
Participants will review progress made since RECCA-I, including in areas of trade and transport, energy, minerals extraction, private investments, vocational training and disaster preparedness. - Pajhwok
Army kills 31 terrorists in Khyber, NWA
PESHAWAR: Army action near the border with Afghanistan in Khyber Agency and North Waziristan on Wednesday killed as many as 31 terrorists, while their hideouts were also destroyed.
According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), action in Khyber agency left 14 terrorists dead.
At least 17 terrorists were killed in Shawal area of North Waziristan where the army had launched a ground operation.
The army had on August 20 announced that it was launching a ground operation in Shawal, having pounded it for days through aerial strikes.
Pakistan condemns NWA drone strike
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday condemned a US drone strike which killed at least five suspected militants in Shawal area of North Waziristan.
A drone had fired two missiles at a compound in Karwanda area of Datta Khel Tehsil in North Waziristan, just 2.5 kms from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on Tuesday. The strike left at least five suspected militants dead.
"Pakistan condemns such strikes which are in disregard of our territorial sovereignty and international law," a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.
COAS oks death sentences of five terrorists
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday approved death sentences of five “hardcore terrorists”, according to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The condemned terrorists include persons involved in the attack and subsequent breakout from Bannu Jail, attacking police officials in Gadap town near Karachi, destroying a girls school in Khyber agency and an attack on a polio vaccination team, said a statement released by the ISPR.
This is the second approval of death sentences by the army chief following Supreme Court’s recent judgment giving legal cover to the establishment of military courts in the country.
Out of the six terrorists sentenced Wednesday, five were awarded the death sentence and one was awarded life imprisonment, according to the ISPR.
Details of ruling
The ISPR statement also issued details of the convicts and the crimes for which they were sentenced.
Civilian Muhammad Sabir Shah alias Ikram Ullah s/o Sher Hazrat: The convict was an active member of proscribed organisation. He was found involved in abetting the murder of Advocate Syed Arshad Ali in Lahore. He admitted his offence before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on solitary charge and awarded the death sentence.
Civilian Hafiz Muhammad Usman alias Abbas alias Asad s/o Ali Dost: The convict was an active member of proscribed organisation. He was found involved in sectarian killings in Quetta and an attack on police officials. He was convicted for killing of Hassan Ali Yousafi, advocate Waliat Hussain and other civilians. He also abetted in the murder of two industrialists namely Syed Talib Agha and Syed Jawad Agha belonging to a particular sect. He was also convicted for attacking and killing four police officials, including DSP Hassan Ali, Constables Nasrullah, Sifatullah and Muhammad Taqi. He admitted his offence before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on eleven charges and awarded the death sentence.
Civilian Asad Ali alias Bhai Jan: The convict was an active member of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was found involved in possessions of arms and explosives and attacking officials of the Sindh Police, in the Quaidabad area of Karachi which resulted in the death of three individuals including DSP Kamal Mangon and ASI Akbar Hussain and injuries to nine other individuals including three head constables. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on five charges and awarded the death sentence.
Civilian Tahir s/o Mir Shah Jahan: The convict was an active member of Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan. He was involved in attacking /breaking of Bannu Jail owing to which number of terrorists managed to escape from the jail. He was also found involved in attacks on Law Enforcement Agencies which resulted in death of one soldier and injuries to another soldier. He admitted his offence before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on three charges and awarded death sentence.
Civilian Fateh Khan s/o Mukaram Khan: The convict was an active member of proscribed organisation. He was found involved in the murder of a civilian, attacking polio workers, individuals of law enforcement agencies and armed forces personnel which resulted in the death of a child, eleven Khasadars, two army officers, twenty two soldiers and injuries to one civilian, nine Khasadars and twenty five soldiers. He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on eight charges and awarded the death sentence.
Civilian Qari Ameen Shah alias Ameen s/o Minar Shah: The convict was an active member of TTP. He was found involved in an attack on a Girls Primary School in Khyber Agency, providing funds for terrorists activities, exploding an improvised explosive device (IED) and possessing explosives.
He admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on four charges and awarded imprisonment for life.
3 policemen killed in Peshawar raid targeting Taliban
PESHAWAR: Militants killed three police officers and wounded several more on Wednesday in a botched police operation on a Pakistani Taliban hideout in Peshawar, police and residents said.
Senior police official Mian Saeed said the gunmen opened fire after police launched a routine house-to-house search in Urmar Payan village, triggering a gunfight which lasted more than half an hour.
“Three policemen were killed and eight wounded in the exchange of fire. One attacker was also killed while others fled the area,” Saeed told AFP.
Peshawar has suffered numerous Taliban attacks but he said it was not yet clear if the gunmen were militants or criminals.
The attackers used a grenade and fired a mortar, Saeed said, adding that the police had fought bravely despite casualties and forced them to flee.
Police later recovered “mortar shells and other explosive material” from the house.
Peshawar police chief Mubarak Zeb confirmed the clash and casualties.
The city suffered the worst terror attack in history in December when Taliban gunmen massacred more than 150 people at an army-run school, most of them children.
But since then there has been something of a lull in violence. The last deadly attack in the city came in February when three heavily armed Taliban militants stormed a Shia mosque, killing 21 people.
Pakistan has been waging a major offensive against insurgent hideouts in the northwest for over a year in a bid to quell an insurgency that has raged for more than a decade.
Officials say nearly 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of the latest offensive.
Indian firing along LoC is open aggression against Kashmiris: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said unprovoked Indian firing along the Line of Control is not only aggression against Kashmiris but also amounts to targeting the conscience of the global community.
Inaugurating a newly constructed sports stadium in Bagh, Azad Kashmir, as part of the developmental projects for the districts affected by earthquakes, the premier said:
“Pakistan is continuously keeping the international community abreast of these provocations, ceasefire violations and trampling of human rights of Kashmiris by Indian troops.”
Nawaz Sharif said “Pakistan would continue to raise a voice for our Kashmiri brethren till they realise their right of self-determination.”
“Firing across the LoC and the Working Boundary has increased in recent days, posing threats not only to innocent people but also to regional peace and security.”
The premier said “Pakistan is drawing attention of the United Nations and the international community towards these violations and threats to regional peace.”
He said Pakistan is playing a very important role in the global war against terrorism, adding that Pakistan was conducting a successful operation against terrorism with its achievements being acknowledged by the entire world.
In a message to the global community, Nawaz said the people of Pakistan and their armed forces are fully resolved to eliminating terrorism.
“We will not forgive those supporting terrorists and their organisations.”
“Elimination of terrorism will be Pakistan’s gift to the international community,” said the premier.
Imran lauds CEC’s efforts for electoral reforms
– seeks army security for by-polls
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday lauded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chief Sardar Raza’s efforts for electoral reforms and also sought army deployment for by-polls to be held in NA-122 and NA-154 constituencies.
Talking to media after meeting the Chief Election Commissioner in Islamabad, the PTI chief expressed satisfaction over measures being taken by the ECP to conduct transparent polls in future adding that he has been assured that the mass irregularities which took place in the May 2013 general elections will not be repeated.
“They have already started working on removing loopholes from the system which I had mentioned in my letter to the ECP chief. Those irregularities resulted in the largely unfair and rigged polls of 2013,” Khan told media.
Meanwhile Khan also repeated his demand of ECP members’ resignations saying that the Judicial Commission’s report regarding rigging and the subsequent decisions of election tribunal over three of the four constituencies, whose results were challenged by PTI, shows the ECP members’ inability to conduct free and fair polls.
“What reason do they have now to remain glued to their posts,” the PTI chairman questioned.
He added that his party will go on with the planned sit-in against ECP provincial officials on October 4 in Islamabad.
Talking about the upcoming by-polls in NA-154 and NA-122, Imran Khan said that he has demanded the deployment of army during the by-polls and accused the Punjab police of acting like ‘PML-N police’ when not supervised by a tough authority.
“We want an army man inside and another outside the polling stations to ensure fair and free polls and we have set such a precedent in the KP,” claimed Imran Khan.
The PTI chief told media that he has requested the ECP chief Sardar Raza to grant extension to election tribunal judges until the pending cases are solved.
He also claimed to have urged the ECP chief to take notices to threats issued to ET Judge Kazim Malik after he deseated PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq after declaring his election ‘null and void” in NA-122 constituency in Lahore.
Senate body expresses displeasure over media code
ISLAMABAD: Expressing strong displeasure over the recently-announced electronic media code of ethics, the Senate committee on information and broadcasting questioned the information ministry over why the draft it prepared was not taken into consideration.
The committee, headed by Senator Kamil Ali Agha, met Wednesday at the Parliament House and directed the information ministry to inform the Supreme Court about facts related to the media code announced by the government.
The Senate body was told that the code of conduct was issued and approved by the federal government and was prepared by a committee set up by the prime minister.
The committee insisted that its draft, which was prepared after consultation with all stakeholders, should have been considered and adopted.
The Senate committee also raised questions over the matter concerning the age requirement for Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman announced in a recent advertisement, and observed that it appeared the government wanted to induct “some crony to this lucrative position through such an advertisement.”
The information ministry told the committee that the ‘Access to Information’ draft bill was with the cabinet division and had not as yet been put up before the federal cabinet for approval. The committee decided to write a letter to the cabinet division on the matter.
The committee also expressed displeasure over Indian models appearing on Pakistan’s TV channels, observing that “on one hand Indian forces were shelling mortars into Pakistan while on the other hand Pakistani TV channels were promoting Indian culture and models,” asking for the practice to be stopped forthwith.
The committee castigated Pemra for not exercising its authority to regulate TV channels and their content and for not ensuring implementation of rules and regulations.
Last month, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage formally issued Code of Conduct 2015 for amendments in the Pemra Rules, 2009, under which the electronic media has been directed to ensure that no hate speech is aired in any of its programme.
A notification to this effect was issued per the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan during the hearing of a Pemra case during which the apex court directed the authority to issue the code of conduct for media which would come into force immediately.