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Pakistan PM Nawaz extends stay of Afghan refugees for six months

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday granted an extension in the stay of registered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan for another six months – till December 31, 2016.

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of States and Frontier Regions shall immediately engage with UNHCR and Government of Afghanistan for gradual relocation of refugee camps in Pakistan to Afghanistan,” spokesperson for the prime minister said.

Sharif issued the directive on Wednesday after reviewing the ‘Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees’, said the Prime Minister’s Office.

It is to mention that the validity period of the “Proof of Registration” cards – that allow Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan – was set to expire on June 30, Dawn online reported.

But now, following the approval by the prime minster, the registered Afghan refugees can legally stay in Pakistan till the approved date.

The PM’s spokesperson further said that in order to facilitate relocation and as a gesture of continued goodwill, Pakistan shall commit provision of free of cost wheat for the relocated camps in Afghanistan for a period of three years.

“Quantum of wheat shall be determined by a certified number of refugees returning from camps in Pakistan and authorised daily entitlement according to the standards of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),” the spokesman said.

However, this extension in stay will be given only to the Afghans who are “Proof of Registration” card holders and legally reside in Pakistan.

There are only 100,000 registered refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said provincial information minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.

“We don’t suggest any aggressive campaign against Afghan refugees, but we have been hosting them for the past 35 years and it is time they should go back to their country,” Ghani said.

Unregistered Afghans had become a major security issue for the government, he added. About 6,000 Afghans have chosen to return home from Pakistan in 2016, well below last year’s figure of 58,211, the UN’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.

Registration cards allowing a temporary legal stay for Afghan refugees last received a six-month extension after they expired in December 2015.

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South Asia

Nasirul Mulk takes oath as caretaker Pakistan PM to hold transparent elections

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Islamabad, June 1 : Retired Justice Nasirul Mulk took oath as Pakistan’s seventh caretaker Prime Minister at a ceremony on Friday, hours after the National Assembly was formally dissolved to hold free and fair elections.

President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to Mulk, who was unanimously nominated for the post by both the government and opposition, with former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi describing the retired judge as a someone whose appointment “no one would object to”, reports Dawn news.

The oath-taking ceremony comes hours after the third National Assembly in a row managed to complete its five-year constitutional term.

However, it is only the second National Assembly under civilian rule which completed its tenure, as the one which came into existence in 2002 continued to function under the former President Pervez Musharraf.

The three National Assemblies have elec­ted seven prime ministers over the last 16 years, reports Dawn.

Justice Mulk is one of the seven judges who signed a restraining order on November 3, 2007, when Musharraf imposed emergency and forcibly sent the judges home.

(IANS)

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Pakistan Supreme Court orders ex-PM Nawaz Sharif removed as head of his political party – judge

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ISLAMABAD: In another blow to the ruling PML-N, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ruled that a disqualified individual cannot head a political party.

The apex court elaborated that a person disqualified under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution can not head the party. As a result of this verdict, all decisions taken by Nawaz as PML-N’s president stand null and void.

As a consequence, Senate tickets issued by Nawaz are also declared void, throwing the fate of March 3 Senate elections in doubt.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded on Thursday the hearings of several petitions against the recently-passed Elections Act 2017.

A three-member bench had been hearing several petitions challenging specific clauses of the act that led to Nawaz Sharif’s appointment as party president following his dismissal as prime minister last year.

During today’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the country’s leadership is respectable, adding that the media misreported the court’s remarks.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

Addressing the Pakistan Peoples Party counsel Latif Khosa during the hearing, the chief justice remarked that there would be a difference in rallies held by you or [slain party leader and former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

Another petitioner’s counsel, Farogh Naseem, argued that there is a precedent of a court order against a political party’s head.

The chief justice remarked that in other countries intra-party elections are held but the situation is different in Pakistan.

“The party head is an important position,” the chief justice observed, adding that in Pakistan people are willing to sacrifice their lives for their leaders.

Disqualification to party president
Following Nawaz’s disqualification as prime minister in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case, the ruling party managed to amend the Constitution to allow the former premier to retain his chairmanship of the PML-N.

As a result, the Elections Act 2017 was passed by Parliament bringing Nawaz back as the party president despite his disqualification from the National Assembly.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, MNA Jamshaid Dasti, National Party and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), among others, challenged the law for allowing a disqualified parliamentarian to become a party head.

The petitions, challenging specific clauses of the Elections Act 2017, state that Nawaz’s appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.

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Imran Khan gets married for a third time, marries faith healer Bushra Maneka.

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Imran Khan is no more single, and it’s official. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has confirmed that their chairman has tied the knot for a third time.

Photographs of Imran Khan’s Nikah with Bushra Wattoo have been unveiled. The photographs show Imran and a veiled Bushra along with several others, including PTI leaders Awn Chaudhry and Zulfi Bukhari.

On January 3, media was abuzz with reports of the PTI chief having contracted a third Nikah with the lady he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

But the party said that the Nikah ceremony was solemnised in Lahore on Sunday by Mufti Saeed.

Party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry has wished the couple a happy married life.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

After much drama, Imran had broken his silence about his third marriage last month, clarifying that he had only sent a wedding proposal to Bushra and was awaiting her response.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson for the PTI chief, Imran had sent a marriage proposal and the lady had sought time to consult her family, especially her children, before making any decision.

The statement insisted that the PTI chief would announce it publicly if Bushra accepted the marriage proposal.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

Last month, a local newspaper had claimed that Imran had already married for a third time and the woman in question was someone he used to visit for spiritual guidance.

The report also claimed that the wedding was held in Lahore on January 1 and was attended by Imran’s close aides.

In response, the PTI said an extremely private and sensitive matter was made the subject of an erroneous story leading to all manner of public conjecture.

“This has put an unacceptable burden, especially on the children of Bushra and Khan, who have had to learn of such a private and intimate issue from the media,” the statement said.

Stressing the need for restraint, Imran had urged the media to “give the two families, especially the children, their privacy”.

Imran Khan was previously married twice, but neither of his marriages lasted. He married Jemima Goldsmith, a British socialite, in 1995. The relationship ended in divorce in 2004. He then married journalist Reham Khan in 2015, but the marriage ended after just 10 months.

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