Dawn – NAB summons Shahbaz today in three corruption cases

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 20 August 2018. The National Accoun­tability Bureau (NAB) summoned on Monday former chief minister and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif for his alleged involvement in three corruption cases.

NAB has been conducting inquiries against Mr Sharif in different corruption cases, including Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme, Punjab Power Development Company (PPDC) and the potable water project.

Mr Sharif was directed to appear before the NAB investigating team at 11 am in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing scheme corruption case and at 2 pm again in the PPDC case.

The PML-N president has already appeared three times before the NAB investigating team and recorded his statements.

In the past, Mr Sharif had requested the NAB team to suspend its investigation till the general election 2018.

PML-N chief faces investigation in cases related to Ashiana housing, Punjab Power Development Company and Saaf Pani project.

The NAB team has now resumed the investigation after the general election and started summoning people in the cases.

In the PPDC case, Mr Sharif was facing charges of illegal appointments.

The NAB investigating team had rejected his reply to the questionnaire in the case and termed it incomplete and unsatisfactory.

According to a notification available with Dawn, NAB said: “You (Shahbaz Sharif) are hereby called upon to appear on August 20 at 2 pm at Investigation Wing-II, NAB Thokar Niaz Baig before combined investigation team to record your statement regarding nomination of Syed Farrukh Ali Shah as member NEPRA (Punjab) and his appointment as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) PPDCL.”

Mr Sharif was also summoned in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case over disclosures of former principal secretary Fawad Hassan during investigation.

Fawad was arrested by NAB for alleged misuse of authority and awarding contracts illegally in the housing scheme while serving as the secretary of implementation to Mr Sharif in 2013.

The clean water case pertains to alleged corruption in Punjab Saaf Pani Company.

Mr Sharif had earlier appeared before NAB’s joint investigation team in the Saaf Pani case and answered questions put to him by investigators.

The company was established by the Punjab government to conceive, plan, design, execute and manage projects for the provision of safe drinking water, in terms of both access and quality, to communities living in rural areas of the province.

His son-in-law Ali Imran Yousuf is also facing corruption inquiries in both the PPDC and PSPC scams. The bureau has written to the interior ministry to bring him back from abroad through Interpol.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1428054/nab-summons-shahbaz-today-in-three-corruption-cases

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Dawn – ‘Navjot, we want peace’: Sidhu talks about encounter with General Bajwa, what to expect from PM Khan

NDTV 19 August 2018. Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in an interview with NDTV on Saturday opened up about his exchange with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Jawed Bajwa during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony, and shared what he thinks India could expect from the new Pakistani PM.

Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan, on Khan’s invitation, had sparked backlash from conservative quarters in India, including Haryana Minister Anil Vij and activists belonging to Indian PM Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, who criticised the Indian politician and called him ‘disloyal’ for visiting Pakistan.

Photos of the event showing Army chief General Bajwa hugging Sidhu also prompted curiosity about what had transpired between the army chief and Indian politician.

‘Khan was not nervous’

Sidhu said it was a “great honour” to have been invited to Khan’s oath-taking ceremony.

“It was a very humbling kind of experience that a 35-year-old relationship of trust culminated in an invitation from him when he became prime minister of Pakistan.”

When asked whether Khan seemed nervous during the ceremony, Sidhu laughed. “Not at all, he was not nervous. I personally feel he was as confident as I’ve always seem him.”

“After the swearing in, he walked up to me and gave me a big hug and said, ‘Thank you very much for coming,’ and then he said, like an elder brother would say to a younger brother, ‘Shabaash, I’m proud of you.'”

“Then we had a conversation for almost 30 to 40 minutes at the Secretariat where he met the winning World Cup team and I was with them. So it’s just a great feeling, to be part of all this, part of [the] celebration.”

General Bajwa’s gesture of goodwill

When asked why he had met General Bajwa twice at the ceremony, Sidhu clarified that General Bajwa was not the only military man to greet him at PM Khan’s oath-taking ceremony.

“All the three army chiefs had to come and meet the people sitting in the front row, so I met the naval chief and the air marshall as well. And in between, Bajwa sahab walks up to me and says, ‘You know, I’m a general who wanted to be a cricketer.’ So it was his dream.”

On his second encounter with the general, Sidhu said: “He [General Bajwa] was very warm and he said, ‘Navjot, we want peace.’ That was wonderful to hear.”

“Without me saying anything, he said that, ‘When you celebrate the 550th birthday of Baba Nanak … we’ll open the Kartarpur-Sahib Corridor.’ It was like a dream come true and I was so overjoyed.”

“He asked, ‘Happy?’ I said, ‘Yes sir, I’m very happy,’ and he came forward and said, ‘We’ll even think of doing better things,'” Sidhu told NDTV.

Sidhu also said that he and General Bajwa also bonded over their shared lineage: “He’s a [Punjabi] Jat. Bajwas, Cheemas, Sidhus, Sandhus, they come from the Jat family.”

What to expect from PM Khan

When asked what one could expect from the new prime minister, Navjot appeared sure that “there will be no compromises. He will not compromise.”

“The second thing that I can be very sure of is that he has clarity of thought. He will listen to everybody, but he will do what he thinks is the right perspective.”

“When you have someone that you feel is a person of credibility, of trust, someone who’s gone through the ordeal of life, someone who’s actually taken those hard, tough tests and had the tenacity to claw out of those difficult situations, because character is not made in a crisis, it is exhibited, and that is where I am coming from,” he said.

“I have hope, and I have that trust. Only time will tell, the next six months, one year. Because nobody can actually come up with a policy and implement it in five months, six months. That’s too early. I think you’ve got to give someone at least a year to assess the direction in which he is going to go.”

“And there’s one thing I am sure about, he will be taking the positive direction and according to me, positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

‘Hope India takes step towards Pakistan’

Recalling PM Khan’s first address to the nation after the election, in which the PTI chief had said if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two, Sidhu expressed hope that “India takes that one step.

However, he added, “Whatever has to be done, has to be done by the government.”

“I think we need to take cognisance of the fact that this is a change, and any change will bring hope,” he added.

“I pray to God that India takes that one step, because this is something which is new, this is something which is a new dawn, and ultimately, if we have to move forward [with] peace and talks on the table, moving in a positive direction is the only way.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427992/navjot-we-want-peace-sidhu-talks-about-encounter-with-gen-bajwa-what-to-expect-from-pm-khan

The Hindu – Pakistan Minister Syed Ali Zafar’s message would have left Vajpayee happy

Visiting acting Law and Information Minister says there is a thaw in India-Pakistan relations.

Suhasini Haidar

New Delhi – India, 18 August 2018. The decision to send a Pakistani delegation to attend former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s funeral was taken by “all stakeholders” including Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan, said visiting acting Law and Information Minister Syed Ali Zafar.

“This was an occasion where all felt that Pakistan must be present and share your grief,” Mr. Zafar, who is part of the caretaker government demitting office, said in an interview to The Hindu.

Positive move

“A very positive move and hopes of a thaw came during Mr Imran Khan’s speech after the election and then the call by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi [to congratulate Mr. Khan] changed the mood positively.”

Mr Zafar met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, one of the very few meetings she has had with Pakistani officials since her visit to Islamabad in December 2015, after which the Pathankot airbase attack derailed ties.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said the two leaders had remembered a “visionary (Vajpayee) who dreamed [of a] terror-free and prosperous subcontinent,” a reference to India’s demand that Pakistan end support to terror groups.

Recites poem

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mr Zafar, who recited Mr. Vajpayee’s poem from his visit to Lahore in 1999, “Jung nahin hone denge (We won’t allow a war)”, also said that he hoped there would be other “less sad” meetings when “[India-Pakistan] issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, will be resolved through dialogue.”

Asked if tensions between the two countries had been discussed in his meeting with Ms Swaraj, Mr. Zafar replied, “This was not the occasion to discuss issues of a political nature.”

“Our meeting was positive, and I sensed a feeling from both sides that there could be progress, and I hope that in the coming days we could see more such meetings and progress,” Mr. Zafar, who flew back to Islamabad on Friday night, added.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-minister-syed-ali-zafars-message-would-have-left-vajpayee-happy/article24720134.ece

Dawn – Indian cricket star Sidhu arrives in Pakistan for Imran’s oath-taking with ‘message of love’

Former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday arrived in Pakistan to a warm welcome to attend the oath-taking ceremony of prime minister-elect Imran Khan, who had brought the 92′ World Cup home.

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 17 August 2018.

Talking to reporters soon after his arrival in Pakistan, Sidhu said he had come to the country as a goodwill messenger and “with a message of love” to become a part of Khan’s happiness.

He said he was saddened today by the demise of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who he recalled had started the friendship bus service between the two countries.

Answering a question, he said he had brought a Kashmiri shawl as a gift for Khan. He also entertained reporters with a few couplets conveying a message of peace and love between the two neighbours.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Khan has invited several Indian and Pakistani cricket stars of his time to the oath-taking ceremony scheduled for tomorrow at the President House. President Mamnoon Hussain will administer the oath.

According to PTI Senator Faisal Javed, besides Sidhu, India’s former cricket legends Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev had been invited.

Khan has also remembered his colleagues and invited Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Moin Khan and Aaqib Javed who had played the 1992 Cup final at Melbourne, Australia.

After having secured a simple majority in the July 25 general elections, the PTI is in a comfortable position to form its government at the Centre with its allies.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427553/indian-cricket-star-sidhu-arrives-in-pakistan-for-imrans-oath-taking-with-message-of-love

The News – Hope for a religious corridor

Tridivesh Singh Maini

New Delhi – India, 15 August 2018. The Sikh community the world over is getting ready to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary in November 2019 of the First Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev.

Many would-be pilgrims wonder whether they will be able to visit their holy sites in Pakistan, including the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Narowal district, where the Guru spent the last years of his life.

Reviewing the preparations to commemorate the Guru’s 550th birth anniversary, Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh said he would write to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, requesting that Sikh devotees be granted free access through a special corridor connecting Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan for at least a week during the main celebrations for Guru Nanak Dev.

Over the past two decades, civil society activists from Punjab, India, US organisations like the Institute of Multitrack Diplomacy as well as large sections of the Sikh diaspora, have called for visa-free access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

In 2010, India’s Punjab assembly passed a formal resolution in support of a ‘religious corridor’ from India to Pakistan to facilitate visa-free pilgrimages.

The Pakistani government’s response has been positive. In May this year, Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner to India, speaking at a function in Ludhiana stated, “We are considering India’s request to develop a corridor between the two religious sites”. However, a formal decision is awaited.

India too understands the relevance of the demand for the religious corridor, but cites ‘security issues’ as the main obstacle. Shashi Tharoor, head of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs and former minister of state for external affairs had visited Dera Baba Nanak, India, in May 2017.

Commenting on the demand for such a religious corridor, the committee stated that there was a: “….long-pending demand of people for establishment of an exclusive corridor from the Indian side to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through which pilgrims can pay homage without any visa or passport.”

Tharoor had commented that, given the current tensions between both countries, going ahead with this corridor appeared impossible.

As India and Pakistan celebrate 71 years of independence, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, is just one illustration of how Partition led not just to mass migration and personal tragedies, but also how communities were separated from their historic religious shrines.

Sikhs in their Ardaas (daily supplication) continue to pray for access to gurdwaras in Pakistan. In 2006, they received a glimmer of hope when a bus service was launched between Amritsar-Nankana Sahib, under the regime of former Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

The Sikh diaspora has also continued to lobby with the Pakistani government to renovate the gurdwaras, as well as for easier access – which has been impeded by tensions between India and Pakistan.

As a new government led by former cricketer Imran Khan takes oath, it remains to be seen how ties between India and Pakistan will shape up. In recent years, Sikh pilgrimages to Pakistan have been largely unaffected except for more than three occasions in 2017, when religious pilgrims were sent back at the last minute.

The Guru’s 550th year celebrations provide a good opportunity for both the Pakistani and Indian governments to work together and set up a religious corridor for a week, as requested by the Sikh community worldwide.

Joint seminars could also be held where scholars from both sides may discuss the relevance of Guru Nanak Devji’s philosophy not just in the context of Punjab and the Sikh community, but all of South Asia, which is afflicted by similar problems of poverty, and intolerance and militancy in the name of religion.

The Pakistani government could also move ahead on the Baba Guru Nanak International Project that was initially to be set up at Nankana Sahib. The project was shifted to Islamabad, with the EPTB citing land acquisition as the main impediment.

Indian Punjab’s minister for culture and tourism, Navjot Singh Sidhu who has been invited for Imran Khan’s swearing in, himself a former cricketer, at a press conference on August 2 this year had rightly suggested that celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary could begin from Pakistan.

Said Sidhu: “That is where I see hope. I am seeing an ‘umeed ka suraj’ (dawn of hope). I see him (Imran Khan) as an instrument of realising the dreams. I want to take my Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to Nankana Sahib to start the celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.”

To begin with, India and Pakistan could allow Sikh pilgrims access to Kartarpur Sahib as well as other religious shrines. Cultural links between the people of both countries are currently largely restricted to movies, TV dramas, ghazal concerts and cricket.

In this scenario, the Sikh heritage of Pakistan (especially the legacy of Guru Nanak Dev) is an important component that has been captured very well by books like ‘Walking with Nanak’ by Haroon Khalid and ‘Lost Sikh Heritage in Pakistan’ by Amardeep Singh.

The next step would be to start easing the visa process. One of the reasons the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service has not been successful is because it is so difficult to secure a visa for the other side. In this respect, setting up consulates in Amritsar and Lahore would be an important step.

Many believe that Guru Nanak Dev’s humanitarian philosophy can bring both countries closer. At this point, all eyes are on India and Pakistan to see whether they will make a break from the past to grab this opportunity – or continue to allow other issues to take centre stage.

The writer is a Delhi-based policy analyst associated with The Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/355313-hope-for-a-religious-corridor

Dawn – PTI lawmaker submits resolution for south Punjab in provincial assembly

In an apparent attempt to fulfill the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s promise for the creation of a new province comprising the southern part of Punjab, a PTI lawmaker newly elected to the Punjab Assembly has submitted a resolution seeking the House recommend that the federal government initiate the process for the creation of a Southern Punjab province.

Arif Malik

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 15 August 2018. “This House strongly recommends to the federal government [that it] initiate the process of creation of Southern Punjab [province] immediately,” reads the resolution submitted by MPA Mohammad Mohsin Leghari.

The PTI had included the formation of a new province in south Punjab to their election manifesto in May this year while absorbing a political party calling itself the Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM; the South Punjab Province Front).

The JPSM mainly comprised estranged leaders of the PML-N who had formed the platform for the single-point agenda of carving a new province from the southern parts of Punjab.

Under the PTI-JPSM deal, the PTI was to set in motion the procedures to create a new province in south Punjab within 100 days if it formed the government.

Interestingly, the PTI’s bitter opponents, the PPP and the PML-N, had also been vocal in their support for a new province in south Punjab.

During electioneering for the 2018 polls, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and PTI’s Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi had announced their support for the new province on the same day.

Addressing a press conference on April 15, Qureshi had said that the PTI endorsed the demand for the creation of a southern Punjab province “not for linguistic reasons but on administrative grounds to mitigate the miseries and sense of deprivation being faced by some 35 million people living in Bahawalpur, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions”.

Similarly, Shahbaz Sharif, while talking to journalists, had gone a step further and said that his party had committed to the cause of reviving the Bahawalpur province as well as creating a South Punjab province.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also said in April that his party had raised the issue of the establishment of a south Punjab province.

“We will make a separate province (of south Punjab) and end the deprivation of this belt if you people support us,” he had told a political gathering in Multan.

He had also raised the slogan, ‘Ghinson, Ghinson, Sooba Ghinson’ (we will get the (new) province), in front of a cheering crowd.

According to Article 239 of the Constitution, the process of creating new provinces requires a two-thirds majority in separate votes in the two houses of parliament and then a further two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly of the affected province.

Given the current party position of arch-rival parties in the parliament, as well as in the Punjab Assembly, the creation of the province has become a complex issue.

The PML-N and the PPP, both a part of the opposition in Punjab and the Centre, will not easily let the PTI have the credit of a new province despite the fact that both of the parties had already endorsed the cause of a new province in south Punjab.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427151/pti-lawmaker-submits-resolution-for-south-punjab-in-provincial-assembly

Dawn – Jinnah’s words

Editorial, 13 August 2018. August 11 is of particular significance to Pakistan’s minorities. It reminds them of the iconic words spoken by the founder of the nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah on that day in 1947, words that contained the promise of a country where they would not be discriminated against on the basis of their faith.

“You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state….” declared the Quaid-i-Azam in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly.

In 2009, 11 August 2018 was designated National Minorities Day by the PPP-led coalition government, an initiative continued by the PML-N.

Participants at a convention held this year to mark the day emphasised the importance of including members of minority communities in national decision-making processes and in all tiers of governance.

They also called for Mr Jinnah’s iconic speech to be made part of the Constitution so it could provide guidance for the formulation of laws and policies in the country.

It is deeply unfortunate, but not surprising, that 70 years after Independence, minorities in Pakistan should still have to ask for a more inclusive society.

Most leaders who came after Mr Jinnah disregarded his words. Some appeased right-wing elements, even actively patronised them.

In fact, matters have come to such a pass that religion is often the touchstone of one’s worth as a citizen of Pakistan, and what one can expect from the state.

Non-Muslims cannot aspire to the highest offices in the land for which only Muslims, according to the Constitution, are eligible.

That in itself makes non-Muslims second-class citizens, excluded from serving their country in certain capacities, a discrimination based solely on faith.

Religious triumphalism means anyone advocating a secular ethos, essentially what Mr Jinnah was doing in his above-quoted speech, invites the risk of being called a traitor or an infidel, allegations that can result in a grievous outcome to the individual.

Meanwhile, a landmark judgement by Justice Tassaduq Jillani which ordered the state to take specific policy measures to address the persecution of minorities and ensure their rights has been gathering dust since 2014.

A constitutional democracy can only be strengthened when all citizens, regardless of their faith, actually believe they are equal before the law.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1426733/jinnahs-words

Sikh24.com – Pakistani Sikh pilgrims barred from starting pilgrimage to Sri Hemkunt Sahib

Sikh24 Editors

Rishikesh – Uttarakhand – India, 09 August 2018. A group of 39 Pakistani Sikh pilgrims, headed by Bhai Himmat Singh, was reportedly barred by the Indian administration at Rishikesh from departing for having a glimpse of Sri Hemkunt Sahib on August 8.

Notably, these Pakistani Sikhs have gone to India to pay obeisance at the hilly Sikh shrine Sri Hemkunt Sahib.

Sharing the development with Sikh24, the officials of Sri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust informed that 39 Sikhs had arrived at Gurdwara Hemkunt situated on Lakshman Jhoola Road of Rishikesh on August 7.

They added that all these Pakistani Sikhs were suddenly barred by the administration on August 8 when they were about to begin their journey for paying obeisance at Sri Hemkunt Sahib.

“We approached the Pakistani Consulate in India and they asked for sending the names of these Pakistani Sikh pilgrims. But despite making available the names of all pilgrims, there is no response from the Pakistani consulate” he added.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Sikh pilgrims have said that they are eager to begin their journey for Sri Hemkunt Sahib but the deprivation of permission has made them upset.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/08/09/pakistani-sikh-pilgrims-barred-from-going-on-journey-for-sri-hemkunt-sahib/#.W22gbrh9jIU

Dawn – Rochdale grooming gang members to be stripped of UK citizenship, face deportation to Pakistan

Three men convicted of grooming girls for sex in a case that fuelled racial tensions in Britain face deportation to Pakistan after an appeals court upheld a government decision to strip them of British citizenship, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

London – UK, 09 August 2018. The ruling by the Court of Appeal clears the way for the men, all of Pakistani nationality, to be removed from Britain and be possibly deported to Pakistan. They had acquired British citizenship by naturalisation.

Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf were among nine men of Pakistani and Afghan descent convicted of luring girls as young as 13 into sexual encounters using alcohol and drugs. They were based in Rochdale, in northern England.

The three men were jailed in May 2012 but were later released on licence. The gang’s ringleader, Shabir Ahmed, was sentenced to 22 years in jail and remains in custody.

Aziz, Khan and Rauf were convicted on conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation charges. Aziz was not convicted of having sexual intercourse with any child.

The case centres on a decision by Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was home secretary, to strip the men’s citizenship “for the public good”.

The men had challenged the government decision at two immigration tribunals, arguing revoking their citizenship would violate their human right to a family life, as they have children living in the UK. Their appeals were dismissed.

The convicts then approached the Court of Appeal, senior judges of which ruled on Wednesday that the previous tribunals had made a “proper and lawful assessment” of the likelihood of deportation.

A person can be deprived of British citizenship for the public good on the grounds of “involvement in terrorism, espionage, serious organised crime, war crimes or unacceptable behaviours”.

After serving their sentences, the three convicts will have a further legal right to appeal their deportation and the process could take months, according to the BBC.

It quoted a Home Office spokeswoman as saying: “This was an appalling case. We welcome the court’s finding and will now consider next steps.”

The five victims of the gang who gave evidence in the 2012 trial were all white, and spoke of being raped, assaulted and traded for sex, being passed from man to man, and sometimes being too drunk to stop the abuses.

The men, ranging in age from 22 to 59, used various defences, including claiming the girls were prostitutes.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1425951/rochdale-grooming-gang-members-to-be-stripped-of-uk-citizenship-face-deportation-to-pakistan

Tolo News – Imran Khan Formally Nominated As Pakistan’s PM Candidate By PTI

Khan is expected to be sworn in as new prime minister on August 14 on Pakistan’s Independence Day and has said he will “lead by example”.

Islamabad Capital Region – Pakistan, 08 August 2018. After emerging as the single largest side in the national assembly in the July 25 general elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has officially nominated Imran Khan as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, according to Pakistan’s Dawn News.

The 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was nominated by the party’s parliamentary committee during a meeting in Islamabad attended by PTI’s top leader.

“The nomination of Imran Khan will be mere formality,” senior party leader Arif Alvi said before the meeting took place. “All 120 parliamentary committee members are in consensus over this.”

“The final decision on cabinet members will be taken by Imran Khan himself,” he added.

The swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place on August 14, the Independence Day of the country. Initially, the ceremony was supposed to take place on August 11.

Pakistan’s National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected. A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry claimed that allies and reserved seats will take the party tally to 174 seats in the National Assembly, Dawn News reported.

Following the formal confirmation of his nomination, Khan said: “Today, I have been given the biggest of responsibilities.”

“After 1970, this is the first time that the masses have defeated the political elite. This happens very rarely that in a two-party system a third one gets a chance.”

Khan warned his fellow party leaders that they must not govern the traditional way. “There are challenges aplenty for the PTI government,” he said. “The people do not expect us to govern the traditional way; we are viewed as different. If we do traditional politics then we would also fall prey to the public wrath.”

Khan vowed to “lead by example”, saying: “I will make decision on merit and in the national interest, and will never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t myself.

“One hour every week I will give answers to the public, like it happens in England. We will also make the ministers answerable to the public in the truest sense.”

https://www.tolonews.com/world/imran-khan-formally-nominated-pakistan%E2%80%99s-pm-candidate-pti