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MQM joins former allies endorsing ‘crucial’ delimitations



• PPP stands alone on 90-day demand; urges Nawaz, Maryam not to back polls delay
• JUI-F unable to grasp rationale behind PPP’s ‘aggressive approach’
• ECP invites JI, MQM for consultations on electoral roadmap

KARACHI: The ECP’s announcement to initiate fresh delimitation in light of the notification of the latest census results seems to have put the former coalition partners on a collision course.

Only a day after the PPP demanded elections within 90 days — which would only be po­s­sible if the delimitation exe­rcise is put off — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) joi­ned the ranks of those endorsing fresh delimitations, the others being PML-N and JUI-F.

The PPP leadership in Pun­jab has urged PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz not to back delay in elections as it would hurt their prospects of contesting the elections.

After a meeting of its coordination committee on Saturday, MQM-P also vowed to take all possible steps for this demand, including legal course. It said the fresh delimitation exercise was crucial for free and fair polls.

“The fresh delimitation is now a legal requirement after the new census results. It’s also crucial for free and fair elections. The MQM-P would take every possible constitutional and legal course to make it happen,” said the party spokesman in a brief statement.

On Friday the PPP, after its CEC meeting, claimed it had agreed to approve the digital census results in a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) — which has now become an excuse to delay polls — only after assurances that the move would not cause any delay in the polls.

Hinting that the party may take a “legal course” for its principled stand if its last attempt to convince the Election Commission of Pakistan on August 29 to meet the 90-day constitutional deadline remained unsuccessful, the party said the next central executive committee meeting of the party to be held in Lahore in September would announce a final strategy.

Talking to Dawn, Senator Waqar Mehdi reaffirmed the PPP stance saying the party had kept its options open in case the ECP insisted on delaying the polls beyond the constitutionally-mandated deadline.

“In this case, the party would definitely consider legal options and also go to public to seek their opinion. We are clear that the Constitution is supreme which says that the general elections should be held within 90 days,” he said.

‘Politicising constitutional issues’

The key partners of the PPP in the recently-dissolved coalition government, however, don’t seem to agree with the party’s emerging strategy. On its strong position for the polls within 90 days, the PML-N has already asked the PPP to “refrain” from politicising constitutional issues while supporting the ECP stance for fresh delimitation before the next general elections.

The JUI-F, on the other hand, finds itself “unable to understand” the reasons behind the PPP’s fresh aggressive approach.

“We are unable to understand the PPP strategy,” said the JUI-F spokesman Aslam Ghauri.

“The PPP chief minister was there in the CCI when the census was approved. We also believe that the Constitution should prevail and we’re ready for the polls whenever they are held. But if the law says that the delimitation is crucial before the next polls, we think there’s no harm in it. Heavens would not fall if the polls were delayed for a month or two.”

Nawaz urged for timely polls

On the other hand, the PPP Punjab advised PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz not to favour a delay in polls as this would not be in their interests either.

“We request Mr Sharif and Ms Sharif to support the PPP’s demand to hold general elections in 90 days. They should not agree to the proposal to take the polls beyond 90 days,” PPP leader Faisal Mir told a presser in Lahore on Saturday.

Flanked by PPP Punjab information secretary Shahzad Cheema and Munawar Anjum, Mr Mir said if Nawaz and Maryam agreed to the delay then “both might not be able to contest elections yet Shehbaz Sharif and Ahsan Iqbal and others would remain eligible [to contest]”.

Mr Cheema said the PPP would use all legal options if the polls were delayed. “It will be a violation of the Constitution if the elections are delayed on any pretext,” he said and added in next week’s meeting with the Election Commission of Pakistan, the PPP would make the same demand.

ECP consultation

Separately, the ECP has invited Jamaat-i-Islami and MQM leadership for separate meetings on Monday on the electoral roadmap for the upcoming general elections.

According to notices issued to MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and JI emir Sirajul Haq, the ECP invited the two leaders to discuss the electoral roadmap with their feedback on delimitation of constituencies, upgradation of electoral rolls, conduct of general elections, schedule of election, other related matters, reported.

Zulqernain Tahir in Lahore also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2023


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Imran’s life ‘in danger’, moved to lower class cell in Adiala Jail: lawyer



Former prime minister Imran Khan’s lawyer, Naeem Haider Panjutha, claimed on Tuesday that the PTI chief was moved to a lower class cell at the Adiala Jail last night and feared the ex-premier’s life was in danger.

Imran was shifted to Attock jail on August 5, 2023, after a court sentenced him to three years in prison in the Toshakhana case for concealing details of gifts he received as the prime minister of Pakistan.

After his sentence in the Toshakhana case was suspended by the Islamabad High Court, the government detained the ex-premier in the cipher case. He has since remained behind bars on judicial remand.

On September 26, Imran was shifted to Central Jail Adiala from District Jail Attock following IHC orders passed on a plea filed by the PTI.

Last night, the police ramped up security in the vicinity of the Adiala jail by deploying elite commandos and setting up additional security pickets to ensure foolproof measures. The decision was taken in light of recommendations by the Special Branch and relevant departments following a survey of Adiala Jail.

Talking to reporters in Islamabad today, Panjutha, spokesman to Imran on legal affairs, said Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi met the former prime minister in Adiala Jail today.

“There is danger to Imran Khan’s life,” he claimed. “Imran can be slow food poisoned … he is being mentally tortured and his movement has been restricted.”

Panjutha alleged that he had received reports last night that the PTI chief was moved to a lower class cell. “Security personnel has been stationed outside the cell and mobile phones have been taken for them,” he said, claiming that these were new ways of “breaking” Imran.

The PTI lawyer added that a petition pertaining to Imran’s conditions in jail was filed in the IHC and the application was fixed for hearing on October 5.

“There were objection [by the court] earlier that the matter has already but decided but no directions have been passed on Imran Khan’s health, which is a basic fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution,” Panjutha added.


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LHC orders Punjab govt to ensure PTI leader Hassaan Niazi’s contact with father



The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the interim Punjab government to ensure that contact is established between incarcerated PTI leader Hassaan Niazi and his father within a fortnight.

The order comes on a petition filed by Hassaan’s father, Hafeezullah Niazi, who petitioned the court to recover and allow a meeting with his son, who is in military custody.

Hassaan, a barrister and nephew of PTI chairman Imran Khan, was in hiding after the May 9 riots. He was arrested from Abbottabad on August 13 and handed over to the military for trial over his alleged involvement in the attack on the Lahore corps commander’s house.

On August 15, Hassaan’s father, Hafeezullah, filed a petition in the LHC seeking recovery of his son.

Two days later, a military official wrote to the police, requesting it to hand over Hassaan’s custody to the military for “trial by the court martial”.

Before the LHC began hearing the father’s plea, the police submitted a report in the court on August 18, detailing the offences in which the former was found to be allegedly involved.

The report was submitted by Punjab Additional Advocate General (AAG) Ghulam Sarwar while Justice Sultan Tanveer presided over the hearing.

The AAG informed the LHC in the hearing, “Hassaan Niazi has been handed over to the military”. He added that Hassaan was “named in the Jinnah House attack case and was a main suspect”.

The interim Punjab government told LHC in the hearing on August 26 that visiting a suspect in military custody was not allowed under any law.

Additional Advocate General Ghulam Sarwar Nahang stated in the hearing that the SC had already taken note of the trials of the May 9 suspects in military court and the question of the suspects’ meeting with family members was also pending before it.

He said proceedings in the high court on the same question of law would complicate the matter.

On September 28, barrister Faiz Ullah Khan Niazi submitted that 45 days have passed and since then the petitioner has been unaware of the whereabouts of his son.

In today’s hearing, a single-member bench comprising Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad ordered the Punjab government to establish contact between Hassaan and his father within a fortnight.

According to the written order, a copy of which is available with, the petitioner’s lawyer told the court his client would be satisfied if he was allowed to establish contact with his son.

According to the order, the government officials maintained that since the matter is still pending adjudication before the apex court, it is “in the fitness of the circumstances to adjourn the case till the decision is passed by the Supreme Court”.


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Knee injury forces Arshad Nadeem out of Asian Games a day before javelin throw final



Pakistan’s star javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem was on Tuesday ruled out of the Asian Games, under way in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, due to a chronic knee injury, the athlete confirmed to

Nadeem, a trailblazer and beacon of hope for the future of athletics in the country, won silver at the World Athletics Championship in Budapest earlier this year.

However, in a big blow for his fans, the athlete dropped out of the Asian Games just a day before the tournament’s Men’s Javelin Throw final, scheduled for Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by Pakistan’s Chef de Mission at the Asian Games, Nadeem had complained of “persistent pain for several weeks” at the first training session in Hangzhou on Sept 27.

It said the concern had become particularly pressing in the aftermath of the World Athletics Championship.

“On Oct 2, he again complained of pain in the right knee and express a desire to undergo an evaluation to determine the impact on his ability to participate in the Javelin Throw event at the Asian Games,” the statement said.

Subsequently, the Pakistan contingent’s chief medical officer recommended a comprehensive check-up of Nadeem who then underwent a thorough examination, including a non-invasive test i.e. MRI at a local
hospital here in Hangzhou.

“After consulting the medical personnel, Nadeem has now decided not to participate in the Asian Games in order to prevent any untoward situation that may hinder his training program and participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” the statement concluded.


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