Dawn – FIA scrutiny finds Fauzia Kasuri, Murad Ali Shah, Faisal Vawda to be dual nationals

Ali Waqar

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 16 June 2018. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has handed over to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) a list of 122 nomination papers it has found to have been filed by candidates holding dual nationality.

The list includes several prominent names, including the PPP’s former chief minister of Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Faisal Vawda and veteran politican Fauzia Kasuri, who is currently associated with the Pak Sarzameen Party.

There are a few double entries in the list, as the FIA has considered nomination papers filed for different seats separately even if they have been filed by the same person.

There are a total of 49 anomalies in the nomination papers filed for the National Assembly, 53 in papers filed for the Punjab Assembly, 11 in papers for Sindh, eight in papers for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in papers filed for the Balochistan Assembly.

The data was gleaned from the FIA’s Integrated Border Management System, which records traveler data of all incoming and outgoing passengers traveling across the Pakistani border.

“This database was utilized to identify the foreign travel document presented by the traveler at immigration counter while embarking / disembarking on the journey,” the report said.

The FIA received a total of 19,880 records from the ECP, which it parsed through its system to identify 122 individuals who had traveled on foreign passports.

Out of the total, 60 were found to be UK nationals, 26 American nationals, 24 Canadian passport holders, three Irish, two from Belgium and one each who held passports issued by Singapore, Australia, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain and even Uzbekistan.

The FIA said the identification of people was limited by the data it has available in its repository. It also stated that “contesting candidates who have traveled on a foreign travel document as per our record but have initiated renunciation process to surrender their foreign nationality have been treated as foreign travel document holder”.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1414511/fia-scrutiny-finds-fauzia-kasuri-murad-ali-shah-faisal-vawda-to-be-dual-nationals

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The Times of India – Fearing targeted killings, Sikh families flee Peshawar

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 15 June 2018. Afraid of targeted killings, Sikh families from Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan are reportedly fleeing to safety after the gunning down of a local community leader Charanjit Singh recently.

A prominent Sikh of Peshawar, Radesh Singh Tony, told TOI over phone on Tuesday that as many as 40-45 families had migrated to Sikh majority areas of Hassanabdal – Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Lahore in the past about two weeks.

“No doubt, we are continuously living in fear and the recent killing of Charanjit has only triggered a fresh wave of migration of Sikhs to safety,” said Radesh. Charanjit, a grocery shop owner, was killed on May 29 in Peshawar while he was in his shop.

Online media reports published on Tuesday mention that Sikhs in Peshawar were not only cutting their hair to conceal their identities, they were also fleeing to Sikh-majority areas in Pakistan. However, the incidents of cutting of hair by Sikhs in Peshawar was not confirmed by Radesh, who is also president of Khalsa Peace and Justice Foundation of Pakistan.

He stated that there were a total of around 1,000 to 1,400 Sikh families living in Peshawar, adding that many families had migrated to the city from restive frontier areas of Pakistan.

Another Sikh leader from Panja Sahib, Hasanabdal, who didn’t want to reveal his name for fear of being singled out, said that more than 50 families which had migrated from Peshawar were staying in Gurdwara Panja Sahib.

“Their future appears to be bleak. They can’t return fearing being targeted by Taliban or fundamental Islamist groups, who extort money and force them to embrace Islam. If they are refused, they kill Sikhs and forcibly abduct their daughters,” he said. Hasanabdal didn’t rule out the possibility of cutting of hair by many Sikhs for security reasons.

Confirming the migration of Sikh families from Peshawar, president of Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, Harpal Singh Bhullar said Sikhs in Peshawar were scared after targeted attacks on them. A Sikh jatha under the aegis of Mardana society is in Pakistan to observe the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev.

Meanwhile, Gopal Singh Chawla, the controversial general secretary of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and a close aide of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, has uploaded a video message denying migration of Sikhs from Peshawar.

He claimed that there were certain ‘forces’ who didn’t want to see Sikhs living in prosperity in Pakistan and were spreading canards. He spoke about the targeted killing of Charanjit in Peshawar and its aftermath.

Intelligence sources here said they were keeping an eye on the turnout of events in Peshawar and migration of Sikhs, which could also lead to the community members’ exodus from Pakistan to India.

“Chawla’s statement can’t be trusted since he is a voice of the ISI, which gives direct command to the Evacuee Trust Property Board and PSGPC to toe its anti-India agenda,” said sources.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/fearing-targeted-killings-sikh-families-flee-peshawar/articleshow/64593939.cms?

The Hindu – Pakistan Taliban chief Fazlullah killed in USA drone strike in Afghanistan

Washington USA/Islamabad Pakistan, 15 June 2018. Chief of Pakistan Taliban Maulana Fazlullah has been killed in a United States drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, an Afghan Defence Ministry official confirmed on Friday.

Fazlullah, who has been designated as a global terrorist by the USA and carried a bounty of $5 million, had been on the run since his loyalists were routed in a major military operation in Pakistan’s Swat district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in 2009.

The USA military said on Thursday it carried out a strike targeting a senior militant leader in Afghanistan. It, however, did not identify him.

“USA forces conducted a counter-terrorism strike, June 13, in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization,” Lieutenant Colonel Martin O’Donnell said in a statement.

He was taken: Afghan spokesman

Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish confirmed to CNN that Fazlullah, who is believed to be in his 40s, was killed in the strike on Wednesday.

The Express Tribune, citing sources, also said the drone strike that took place in the Nur Gul Kalay village of Dangam district killed Fazlullah and four other Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) commanders.

Fazlullah, also known by the alias Radio Mullah or Maulana Radio due to his long sermons on a private radio channel, and his commanders were having an Iftar party at a compound when a remotely piloted U.S. aircraft targeted them, reports said.

The TTP, however, did not confirm the death of its chief in the drone strike.

He was behind school, Malala attacks

Fazlullah had directed numerous high-profile attacks against the USA and Pakistani targets since he was appointed the group’s leader in 2013, including the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 151 people, including more than 130 children.

The USA says Fazlullah ordered the 2012 attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who became a global symbol of the fight for girls’ rights to schooling.

The USA strike comes amid a ceasefire between the Afghan Taliban and Afghan security forces to mark the end of the Ramzan month.

General John Nicholson, Commander of USA Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support, said the USA would adhere to the ceasefire announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which did not include USA counterterrorism attacks on other terror groups.

In 2014, there were reports that Fazlullah was killed. However, that information turned out to be false. In 2010, similar news about his death had broken out but later proved false.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-taliban-chief-fazlullah-killed-in-us-drone-strike-in-afghanistan/article24172922.ece?homepage=true

The News – Ruet-e-Hilal Committee to meet on Thursday for Eid moon sighting

Kararchi – Sindh – Pakistan, 13 June 2018. The Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will meet for sighting of Eid moon on Thursday with Mufti Munibur Rehman in the chair.

The authorities have set up Special Cells to collect evidence of moon sighting from different parts of the country.

People have been asked to approach the relevant authorities to submit evidence.

Here are the contact number people can dial to submit the evidence:

Mufti Munibur Rehman: 0300-9285203 and 0321-2022000

Noor Islam Shah (DG R &R): 0333-5453499

Hafiz Abdul Qudoos (Deputy Director 0333-2697051 and line numbers 021-99261412 &021-9926413.

Eidul Fitr is the holiday that marks the end of Ramzan-u-Mubarak.

Beside the Central Ruet-e-Hial Committee, zonal moon sighting bodies hold their meetings in major cities of the country to collect the evidence regarding the sighting of crescent.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/329339-ruet-e-hilal-committee-to-meet-on-thursday-for-eid-moon-sighting

Dawn – Alleged target killer of Sikh leader Charanjit Singh arrested: CTD

Hassan Farhan

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 14 June 2018. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Thursday said it had arrested the alleged murderer of prominent Sikh social activist Charanjit Singh in Peshawar.

The development came a day after the caretaker chief minister, retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, ordered an investigation into the killing of the Sikh leader along ‘scientific’ lines.

The CTD said that the alleged target killer, Sheheryar, was caught by a special team of the department tasked with the investigation of the case.

It said that the accused has also named some accomplices during the investigation, for whose arrest a separate team has been formed.

Singh was on his way home from his shop when unidentified men opened fire at him on May 29, killing him on the spot.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1414137/alleged-target-killer-of-sikh-leader-charanjit-singh-arrested-ctd

Dawn – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM orders probe into Sikh leader’s killing

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 14 June 2018. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan has ordered investigation into the recent killing of Sikh leader Charanjeet Singh along scientific lines.

He told a Sikh delegation during a meeting in his office here that the law-enforcement agencies would provide security to members of their community.

The CM said investigation into the killing of Chanjeet Singh would be carried out along scientific lines to bring the culpable people to justice.

He also promised the payment of compensation to the heirs of Chanjeet Singh on the pattern of the Shuhada Package.

Retired Justice Dost assured visitors of the effective resolution of their problems and construction of Shamshan Gat, a dispensary in gurdwara and a separate school.

Also in the day, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq met the chief minister at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

The CM told the visitor that his mandate was to hold general elections and it was his top priority to do so in a free, fair and transparent manner.

Promises religious minority effective resolution of problems

He also chaired a meeting here to discuss the situation after the Fata’s merger with KP and formation of administrative units (consolidated divisions).

Chief secretary Azam Khan, additional chief secretary Fata, senior member of the board of revenue, health secretary and other officials attended the meeting.

The chief secretary informed participants about progress on the implementation of Fata reforms and said a committee headed by the law minister would formulate a strategy and prepare TORs on the matter.

The participants discussed the matters on Nizam-i-Adl, FC, tax collection and revenue post Fata-KP merger, said a statement issued here.

Retired Justice Dost said the extension of KP’s governance structure to erstwhile Fata, introduction of transparent governance, extension of laws and rules and regulations there, and introduction of a policy implementation mechanism for tribal region’s mainstreaming were some of the challenges, which needed complete attention.

He said the sooner Fata people got justice, the better it was for the country.

The CM agreed in principle to issue the administrative units, namely consolidated divisions, but said the actual problem would be the unavailability of resources.

“As long as the federal government doesn’t transfer resources, the reforms process will continue moving ahead at a slow pace,” he said.

Retired Justice Dost said the government had to decide about new recruitment, creation of posts, infrastructure development, and holding of local body elections in Oct 2018.

“All these (decisions) need resources,” he said.

The CM asked the relevant authorities to meet Fata elders and educate them about the laws. He said he was hopeful that the elders were fully cognizant of the situation and would cooperate with the authorities.

Retired Justice Dost said Fata needed census and land records for durable peace as the records would steer the region’s development.

He met a group of traders and assured them of realistic policies and steps for their relief.

The CM said the government would certainly give them incentives but traders should help mitigate the problems of the poor people.

He promised necessary action on power and gas outages, implementation of industrial policy, establishment of Kohat Industrial Zone, and resolution of property tax related issues.

The delegation was led by Zahid Shinwari of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and comprised representatives of Kohat, Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi chambers.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1413960/kp-cm-orders-probe-into-sikh-leaders-killing

Dawn – Parties in Gilgit call for abolition of all federal taxes

The Newspaper’s Correspondent

Gilgit – Gilgit-Baltistan – Pakistan, 12 June 2018. A multiparty conference called by the Gilgit-Baltistan Importers and Exporters Association here on Monday declared illegal the imposition of all federal taxes, including the customs duty, on the GB people till settlement of the constitutional status of the region.

The MPC announced complete support for the over two-month-long boycott of the China-Pakistan trade by the GB traders, labourers and transporters, through the Khunjerab pass, against the introduction of WeBOC system at the Sust dry port.

Members of GBLA, representatives of political parties, including PPP, PTI, religious and nationalist leaders, lawyers, labour union leaders and civil society activists attended the conference.

On the occasion, President Awami Action committee Maulana Sultan Raees said GB people had unanimously demanded the due rights enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan. GB should be declared a tax-free zone till settlement of the constitutional status of the region, he demanded.

He warned of dire consequences if their demands were not met.

PPP president Amjad Hussain Advocate saidif Malakand division was exempted from taxes, then why federal taxes were imposed on GB people.

He declared that not addressing GB traders’ demands was a conspiracy against the CPEC project and akin to crippling the local economy.

Shakeel Ahmed Advocate, President of GB Chief Court Bar Association, said the FBR had not accepted the Chief Court’s order regarding suspension of WeBOC at the Sust dry port, which was humiliation of the GB judiciary.

Malik Kifait, president of Diamer Grand Jirga, said GB people had unanimously rejected the WeBOC system.

PTI’s Najeebullah Khan, PPP’s Javed Hussain, and others also spoke on the occasion.

Javed Hussain said WeBOC had been introduced to deprive GB residents of the benefits of China-Pakistan trade and to facilitate traders from the outside.

Ashfaq Ahmed, president of GB importers and exporters body, said so far no official of FBR had contacted them for talks since the suspension of the trade at the Sust dry port, which reflected on their apathy towards the problems of the region’s traders.

The MPC adopted a unanimous resolution, declaring that if the GB traders’ demands were not accepted till June 20, a shutter down and wheel-jam strike call would be given in all the 10 districts of the region.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1413648/parties-in-gilgit-call-for-abolition-of-all-federal-taxes

Dawn – Sikh pilgrims arrive in Hassanabdal to observe Jor Mela

Amjad Iqbal

Taxila – Panjab – Pakistan, 10 June 2018. Sikhs from across the country and abroad poured into Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal, the third holiest site in the Sikh religion, to mark Shaheedi Jor Mela, the 412th death anniversary of the fifth of 10 Sikh gurus, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, on Saturday.

The gurdwara is over a hundred years old, and welcomes hundreds and thousands of worshippers from around the world on religious occasions.

Attendees, Sikh or not, are asked to cover their heads before entering the gurdwara, and no one is asked for their religion, caste or creed when entering. Sikhs prostrate to their Guru as soon as they enter, while a priest*, known as a granthi, recites from the scripture.

Saturday’s festival begins after dusk ends, with a musical ritual known as Kirtan, a form of devotional singing, that is led by two people on a specially designed stage with a harmonium and tablas while surrounding worshippers chime in as they listen.

“Our pilgrimage to Pakistan is above political, diplomatic and military issues, and Sikhs living on the other side of the border consider it the land of the Guru,” said Sardar Jang Singh, who is leading the contingent of 84 Indian pilgrims, while speaking to the press at Panja Sahib.

He said the Sikh community considers Pakistan to be their second homeland, as some of the holiest sites of the religion are situated here.

He added that both Punjabi cultures, taboos, language, dress and living styles are the same, and they have lived in the same environment for decades, which was why both Panjabs are considered brothers that parted 71 years ago but have the same soil.

The 84 pilgrims arrived earlier the same day aboard a special train to Hassanabdal. They were received by Deputy Commissioner Anwarul Haq and Assistant Commissioner Jannat Hussain Nekokara, and were escorted to the gurdwara in a security cordon.

Hundreds of Sikhs and Hindus from across the country, particularly from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and interior Sindh, are also participating in the religious festival.

Speaking to the press, Evacuee Trust Property Board Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal said the government has made elaborate arrangements to ensure the utmost facilities are provided to the pilgrims so they can perform their rituals.

He said the Sikh yatrees will be provided foolproof security during their stay in Pakistan. They will be provided free buses between railway stations to gurdwaras, and 48 CCTV cameras have been installed inside Gurdwara Punja Sahib, he said.

*There are no priests in Sikhi. A Granthi reads, sings from or explains the Guru Granth Sahib.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1413096/sikh-pilgrims-arrive-in-hassanabdal-to-observe-jor-mela

The Hindu – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the elephant in the room: Nirmala Sitharaman

However, there are now greater engagements between India and China, the Defence Minister says.

Special Correspondent

Chennai – Tamil Nadu – India, 09 June 2018. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the “elephant in the room” for India, but India does not view its bilateral relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan relationship which “is getting intense”, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

China-Pakistan prism

“There has been an increased dependence of Pakistan’s military on Chinese arms and ammunition. The fundamental reorientation of the China-Pakistan relationship is getting intense. (But) We do not view our relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan relations,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

She was speaking at an international seminar on China’s geopolitics to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Chennai Centre for China Studies here on Friday.

Ms. Sitharaman said there was now a greater engagement between India and China, and with India’s participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the relationship was becoming stronger.

“There is now a greater scope for engagement, and engagement itself can be a very strong way in which the relationship can be bettered,” she said.

The Defence Minister further said that India had good bilateral cooperation with many members of the SCO. “There are many platforms available for engagement.

There is a reinvigoration, there are many mechanisms that are existing whether it is border personnel meet, the dispute redressal meets, crisis management study groups meet, are all actively engaging every now and then,” she said.

‘Create hotline’

However, having a hotline between the two countries would help disputes to be resolved faster.

“A hotline would definitely reduce the time consumed in reaching the empowered group of decision-makers in case there is a crisis at the ground level,” in a reference to the Doklam stand-off between the two countries.

She added that the two-day informal engagement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan “will have some outcome in the short term, but without doubt in the long term the relationship will benefit from it”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/china-pakistan-economic-corridor-is-the-elephant-in-the-room-nirmala-sitharaman/article24116209.ece

The Express Tribune – Indian pilgrims arrive to commemorate death anniversary of 5th Sikh guru

Asif Mehmood

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 08 June 2018. Nearly 100 Indian pilgrims arrived in Pakistan on Friday to commemorate 412th death anniversary of Sikh’s fifth guru Arjan Devji. The central event of Shaheedi din and Jorh Mela will be held at Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore on June 16.

Despite boycott from India’s Shromani Committee and Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, 84 Sikh pilgrims have reached Pakistan, under the supervision of Sardar Jung Singh and Sardar Pritam Singh this year.

The yatrees arrived in a special train from India’s Attari Station to Wahga station Lahore, where Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) secretary Tariq Wazir Khan, deputy secretary Imran Khan, Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s leader Sardar Tara Singh, Sardar Bushan Singh and other officials welcomed them.

Pakistan’s Sikh community fights off Indian allegations on lack of crematoriums

During their nine-day-long stay in the country, the pilgrims will visit Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Panja Sahib Hasanabdal, Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, appear before Sacha Sauda Farooqabad, perform Akhand Path and Bhog ritual on the occasion of Shaheedi din and Jorh Mela. They will return to their country on June 17.

The India Shromani Committee and Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee had applied for the pilgrims’ visa from June 9 to June 19 in deviation from an already approved schedule, which were rejected. The two Indian Sikh committees then boycotted the event for this year.

The Indian authorities, in reaction, even refused to allow special train from Pakistan for the Sikh pilgrims to enter India.

Pakistan denies inciting Sikhs on ‘Khalistan’ issue

However, after telephonic conversation between Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi Suhail Mehmood and Indian High Commissioner Ajay Basariya, the Indian authorities agreed on the special train and the pilgrims were then allowed to leave for Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters, ETPB secretary Tariq Wazir Khan urged the international Sikh community to resolve difference within their ranks through dialogue.

He said India used delay tactics in connection to sending Sikh yatrees to the country this year. He vowed to provide the best possible security, accommodation and other related facilities to the Indian pilgrims during their stay in Pakistan.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1730875/1-indian-pilgrims-arrive-commemorate-death-anniversary-5th-sikh-guru/