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‘Nawaz must return at the earliest to save his party’

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LAHORE:

Amid swirling speculations about PML-N’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif’s homecoming, a majority of the party’s parliamentarians wants him to return to the country to save his rudderless party which was sailing through pretty turbulent waters, a well-placed party leader said.

A party parliamentarian speaking on the condition of anonymity said they were aware of the media reports about the elder Sharif’s possible return. However, there was no confirmed development in this regard internally.

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He said that the matter of his return was now beyond his and his family’s wishes, stressing it had become a necessity for the party supremo to save his party. “He should and must return at the earliest,” he emphasised.

The parliamentarian of the embattled party reckoned that Nawaz Sharif will have to overcome his fears of potential hardships that await him upon his return for the sake of his party’s future. “Cases should not stop Nawaz Sharif from returning now especially knowing that party is currently passing through testing times.”

Read more: ‘Difficult decisions’ cost PML-N dearly: Nawaz Sharif

He noted that the concerns expressed by Federal Minister Mian Javeed Latif over the party not doing enough to get Nawaz Sharif absolved from the politically motivated cases were legitimate. He admitted that indeed the party has not been able to make any considerable progress in the last few months.

“This state of a lull in the given matter is not justifiable no matter what the hiccups were,” the party leader feared.

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Need for a fresh narrative

The PML-N leader went on to point out that the party was in dire need of a new narrative to appease its voters, saying that the overused narrative of ‘vote to izzat do (respect the ballot) had died down. The party does not have any narrative now, he added.

He said the party leadership should hold meetings to come up with a “sellable narrative” at par with PTI’s popular rhetoric.

He revealed that there was a debate within the party that if the party had not accepted to offer a compromise on government, the ‘vote to izzat do’ narrative would have pummelled PTI in general elections.

“By forming a government, PML-N breathed life into PTI’s deflating popularity. It was us who washed all PTI’s sins and shouldered all their mistakes,” he said.

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“However, what was done was done, now it was important for the party to get to grips with the ground reality and develop a practical narrative. A new narrative can be mainstreamed in about a month.”

Also read: Nawaz tasks Maryam with countering Imran’s narrative

He said that from how PTI’s protesting workers were mistreated, to what unfolded in the provincial assembly during their tenure, is not politics. “Politics is not about unabashedly hanging on to power. Every political party instead of doing politics, of late, is looking toward ‘gate number four’,” he stated in a tacit reference to the establishment.

“Every political party wants to be in their good books and have their backing. He said that thus far they do not know of any commitment which was not met from the ‘other end’ from which they can deduce that they were double-crossed.”

When asked if party leadership in London was satisfied with Finance Minister’s performance, he said that he does not have any direct acknowledgement of that “but if I were them I would not be satisfied”.

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Another senior party leader taken to be close to Sharif’s family not only refused to answer the question of Nawaz Sharif’s return but also said that asking him the question of his return was akin to making fun of the party’s inabilities and failures.

It is pertinent to mention here that there were rumours of Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan soon, and these rumours were being aired by people from within the party. But these rumours were nothing new, as many leaders have in different times speculated about his return.



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Punjab

Crow stuck in kite strings saved on LHC premises

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LAHORE:

Rescue officials on Thursday rescued a crow that was entangled in kite strings on the premises of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The bird’s distress was noticed by litigants and lawyers and also by other crows, who were cawing loudly and circling the tree. Rescue 1122 was then called to rescue the bird. 

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Arriving promptly, the rescue team, despite its effort was unable to reach the trapped crow and another vehicle with a ladder bucket was summoned. 

Two rescue officials then managed to reach the crow. The officials gave the bird medical aid and water before untying and setting it free. The effort took around two hours during which the 1122 personnel, who were perceived to be a threat, also had to deal with other crows circling the tree. 

Speaking to The Express Tribune, rescue staff said that “all life is precious, whether it belongs to humans or animals”. They added that they were fulfilling what they believed was their obligation.

Unlike people, animals cannot call for help and thus, the rescuers said, they were happy to be able to help the bird.



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Relative of Gill’s driver remanded to police, wife sent to jail

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ISLAMABAD:

A district and sessions court in Islamabad granted on Thursday the Islamabad police’s request for physical remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill’s driver’s brother-in-law, while sending the driver’s wife to jail.

The court announced its judgment shortly after reserving it after hearing the accused’s counsel’s arguments.

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Following the court announcing its judgment, the counsel for the wife filed a post-arrest bail petition, on which the court later issued notices. Judicial Magistrate Salman Badar has summoned the police and prosecutor tomorrow, asking for the wife to kept in jail tonight.

Earlier this week, Gill was arrested on charges of sedition and inciting the public against state institutions.

Read Court grants police two-day physical remand of Shahbaz Gill

Following Gill’s arrest, the ICT police raided his driver’s home and maintained that the driver’s family had protested in a government car.

During court proceedings today, the accused’s counsel Faisal Chaudhry said that the incident took place at 9pm last night and claimed there was “video evidence proving that the police entered [the driver’s house] without a warrant”.

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The lawyer also claimed that the police had vandalized the accused’s home and also beaten them.

“We were to file a petition for habeas corpus today but the police released the news to the media,” said the advocate as he argued that “considering the role the woman played in the case posits her to be discharged” since “all but one provision in the suit are bailable offenses”.

During the proceedings, the accused’s 10-month old daughter began crying and was prevented from meeting her mother upon which Civil Judge Salman Badr ordered the girl to be brought to her in the courtroom.

When the judge asked the woman if she wanted to say something, she stated that “the police broke the door and entered [the house], we only came to know [of the incident] when the police had reached our bedroom. Our privacy was not even considered”.

“More than 20 police officers entered the bedroom and tortured us,” added Nauman.

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“The police entered without a warrant and violated the sanctity of the home,” argued the lawyer.

Advocate Chaudhry was snubbed by the judge for “mentioning Shahbaz Gill’s arrest in another case” and directed to “restrict the arguments to the present case”.

Raid on Gill’s driver’s house ‘legal’

Earlier today the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police stated that the raid conducted on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill’s driver’s house was ‘legal’.

In a tweet, the Islamabad police stated that they were collecting “all evidence” related to the case.

“Wherever legal action is required, the police will do its job,” they said, adding that the scope of this particular case could be extended to other provinces beyond Islamabad.

According to the police, legal action will be taken against those who were found to be “concealing evidence or erasing evidence”.

Advising people to not pay attention to fake news, they claimed that action will also be taken against those spreading “false news and incitement” among the people.

“Islamabad Capital Police will ensure the enforcement of the law,” it maintained.

Gill’s arrest

The federal government confirmed on Tuesday that it had arrested PTI leader Shahbaz Gill for sedition and inciting the public against state institutions.

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Addressing a press conference following the arrest, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah along with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Gill was arrested by the Islamabad Police after lodging an FIR.

He said a “conspiratorial role” of a private TV channel has also come to the fore, adding that Shahbaz Gill, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and the channel’s administration played the role on the instruction of Imran Khan.

The minister furthered that negative propaganda was spread against the martyrs of the army helicopter crash on social media.

Read more Imran sees conspiracy to pit PTI against army

“An attempt was made to incite mutiny and sedition in the Pakistan Army ranks and files. This whole conspiracy is being investigated and the conspiratorial characters are being determined,” he added.

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PTI distances itself

Despite earlier chagrin over the “abduction” of Gill, the PTI appeared to be distancing itself from Shahbaz Gill’s remarks made on the private TV channel.

Talking to Javed Chaudhry on Express News, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that Gill’s narrative was “not the party’s stance” and added that “every person has their own opinion”.

He, however, still insisted that “Shahbaz Gill should be forgiven after withdrawing his statement”.



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Crackdown on smoke-emitting units expedited

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RAWALPINDI:

The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) has expedited a crackdown on smoke-emitting brick kilns, stone crushing units, industrial units and vehicles to prevent smog in the forthcoming winter.

Officials said that the agency has so far sealed a total of 66 brick kilns, 11 stone crushing units and five smoke-emitting industrial units besides seizing 35 obnoxious fume-emitting vehicles.

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The agency has so far registered cases against 79 brick kilns and 10 industrial units for emitting smoke.

A total of Rs900,000 in fines was imposed on owners of smoke-emitting brick kilns, Rs150,000 on smoke-emitting industries, Rs100,000 on stone-crushing units and Rs150,000 on smoke-emitting vehicles.

Punjab Ministry of Environment Secretary Dr Naeem Rauf said that smog is likely to exacerbate in winter and the ongoing drive aimed to take prevent pollution. “We will seal all units, brick kilns and vehicles emitting obnoxious smoke before the onset of winter. The district administration will also take strict action against those who burn crops and garbage,” he said adding that the burning of crop residue, waste and garbage has already been banned.

The official said that a circular has been issued to deputy directors of all 36 districts of Punjab to take strict action against brick kilns using old technology. He said that no brick kiln that did not install the environmental-friendly zigzag technology will not be allowed to operate. “Raiding teams have also been formed for checking them. Only zigzag technology kilns are allowed to manufacture bricks,” he said.

According to the EPA, 1,225 brick kilns have been checked so far and of them, 66 were sealed while cases had been registered against 79 for not having zigzag technology.

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Officials said that so far eleven stone crushing units have been shut down across the Rawalpindi division. They said that the crackdown on polluting units will continue daily.

The Regional Transport Authority secretary has also issued notices to owners to stop plying smoke-emitting vehicles.

The government has also ordered that all kilns be converted to ‘zigzag’ technology, a design change that makes more efficient use of fuel.

An internal zigzag structure in kilns, combined with the use of an air blower, can cut the consumption of coal, slash emissions substantially and improve the quality of bricks produced, officials said.

Traditional kiln owners, however, were demanding a shutdown of no more than a month and insisting on government help to make the design change.

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Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2022.



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