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A Stubborn Imran Khan May Lose The Match

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A Stubborn Imran Khan May Lose The Match

A Stubborn Imran Khan May Lose The Match

Islamabad: Pakistan’s political crisis deepened on Thursday as dialogue between protesters headed by Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and the government broke down. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while willing to negotiate, has ruled out the possibility of him stepping down. Besides, eleven out of the twelve parliamentary parties have declared their support for him. The current agitation is also viewed by many as one being orchestrated by the ‘old guard’ that includes the Army and, according to one ‘defector’ from Imran’s party, even the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The fragile dialogue between the government and protesters that had on Wednesday raised hopes of resolution of the political crisis made no headway on Friday as Pakiatan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahir-ul-Qadri also refused to meet the government’s negotiating team.

After briefly relenting late last night, opposition leader and chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Khan withdrew from talks and declared that he would continue the protest “till the end”.

Prime Minister Sharif, during a meeting with senior journalists, said if the government accepts the demands of and PAT the country will face numerous challenges, Express News reported.

“Out of 12 political parties in the Parliament, 11 are supporting the government,” Sharif said.

“We respect people’s mandate. We can’t even imagine using force against dharnas. We are ready to hold talks,” he said.

In a significant development, the Pakistan supreme court on Thursday rejected the government’s plea for an order for the eviction of protesters besieging the Parliament, saying it is an administrative matter and should be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Emboldened by the court’s stand, Khan stepped up pressure on the Sharif-led government, announcing that he would not talk to the government until the Prime Minister resigns and called for a nationwide protest. A visibly charged Khan this afternoon called on his supporters to expand the civil disobedience movement into all the provinces.

“It is our democratic right to protest … we are not breaking any laws. I request the supreme court to have these containers removed so that life can return to normal,” said Khan, addressing his supporters camped outside the parliament. “The talks with the government are over. How can these talks proceed when we first want resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?” Khan said.

Khan asked his supporters from all provinces to converge in Islamabad. He vowed to fight “until the last ball”.

Thursday was the eighth day of the Khan-led movement against Sharif, a campaign that has partially paralysed life in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi as containers and police personnel guard state buildings against protesters.

Although, Khan is unflinching in his demand for the premier’s resignation, observers said the party chairman has “no option left” as his earlier calls for a civil disobedience movement and the mass resignation of lawmakers from assemblies have yielded no results.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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Temple

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