BNP-M supports PTI government in center in exchange for pledges

In this file photo, supporters of Pakistani cricket star-turned-politician and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan holds a giant cricket bat with the colors and initials of the party as they cheer during a political campaign rally by Khan’s ahead of the general election in Multan on July 20, 2018. (SS MIRZA/AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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BNP-M supports PTI government in center in exchange for pledges

  • Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Balochistan National Party-Mengal join forces in the center with six-point agreement
  • Recovery of missing persons and repatriation of Afghan refugees are part of PTI’s pledge to BNP

KARACHI: The Balochistan National Party-Mengal on Wednesday agreed to support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the center, in return for six pledges designed to benefit the people of the province. However, independent analysts described most of the promises as “impractical” and “unsustainable.”
“We have announced support for PTI after ensuring maximum gains for our province and people,” said Agha Hasan Baloch, a BNP spokesman. He said the “issue of missing persons” was top of the agenda and that if his party can help the victims’ families, it would consider this a success.
“We consider that all missing persons should be recovered and those guilty of any crime should be produced before the courts,” said Baloch. “Our party is equally hopeful that the PTI’s central government will send all Afghan refugees back to their country as they have not only led to an increase in crime rate but also changed the demography of the province.”
After signing what he called a “landmark agreement” with the BNP, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed that missing persons would be treated as a priority.
However, independent experts said that initiatives relating to missing persons and the repatriation of Afghan refugees would be almost impossible to implement and were simply a ‘face-saving’ exercise for the BNP.
Political analyst Saeed Sarbazi said the issue of missing persons could only be even partly resolved by a powerful government in the center. “Unfortunately, the future PTI government seems to be weaker due to its own not so-strong electoral strength.”
Syed Ali Shah, a journalist in Quetta, said the demand for Afghan refugees to be sent home is a genuine concern shared by the Balochistan Awami Party. However, he doubts that the PTI agreement can be honored.
“This does not seem implementable and appears as mere face saving for the BNP since it was their election slogan and the basis on which the party got votes,” said Shah, who broke the story that an Afghan National had been elected in the Quetta constituency in the July 25 general elections. Ahmed Ali, who was standing for the Hazara Democratic Party, received 5,117 votes, winning the provincial assembly seat. However, the Election Commission of Pakistan blocked the notification of Ali’s victory.
Shah said Pashtuns have also suffered as a result of the influx of Afghan refugees, because a large number of them have settled in Pashtun-dominated areas.
“These refugees have penetrated our politics, our institutions and have taken our jobs,” Shah said. He added that Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and the Pashtun National Party do not speak out against the refugees due to their vote banks in the Afghan community, a large number of whom have obtained Pakistani nationality.
Pakistan hosts 1.4 million Afghan refugees, about 317,900 of which are in Balochistan, said Qaiser Khan Afridi, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pakistan. He added that the UNHCR acknowledges that Pakistan has strongly upheld the principle that refugees should not be forced to return to their home countries against their will, and that all returns should be voluntary, in safety and dignity.
“These principles are enshrined in the tripartite agreement between the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and UNHCR continues working on their observance and upholding in Pakistan,” said Afridi. “The recent elections are about to usher in a new government with whom the UNHCR is keen to continue its work and advocate for a longer-term extension of PoR (proof of registration) cards and protection of refugees rights.”
Sarbazi said Baloch Nationalists, including the BNP, on one hand want to garner support through their core issues such as missing persons, fair employment quotas and the distribution of national resources, while on other hand pressuring the center to repatriate Pashtun ethnic refugees to prevent further changes to the demography of the region.
Amir, who doubts PTI will keep promises, says the BNP wants to prove its Baloch nationalistic credentials by focusing its demands on the pressing issues facing Balochistan rather than seeking ministerial positions.
“However, failure of PTI to fulfil the promises could further erode the trust of the people of Balochistan in parliamentary politics” he added.

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Pakistani pride hits new levels on first Independence Day of ‘Naya Pakistan’

Updated 14 August 2018
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Pakistani pride hits new levels on first Independence Day of ‘Naya Pakistan’

  • Pakistan has seen an unprecedented level of patriotism in the weeks building up to Independence day
  • Pop-up stalls sell Pakistan-themed merchandise and citizens wave flags as they drive through city streets

ISLAMABAD: You know a big celebration is looming when Pakistan’s cities light up days before a national holiday — and the build-up to August 14th, 2018 has been no exception. In fact, the most anticipated holiday of this year has been met with fervor rarely seen before.
Buildings overlooking the motorway leading into Islamabad have been decked out in green, white and gold lights and the capital is also glittering. Alongside the decorated government and private buildings comes an unprecedented wave of patriotism that has swept the country since the elections a few weeks ago.
There has been a boom in vendors setting up pop-up stalls in Islamabad during the past few weeks selling merchandise to mark the 71st birthday of Pakistan.
T-shirts, mugs, horns, flags, kameezes, hats and even shoes are sold alongside the roads leading into residential areas, markaz, and even the M2 motorway.
It also has become quite common to see large flags being waved on the back of motorbikes, cars — at times with people hanging out of windows or through sunroofs — cars covered in flags on each side, as well as profusions of green, white and gold tinsel.
The patriotic fervor seems to have been triggered by the change in the country’s leadership and anticipation of what is to come when the upcoming prime minister, Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is sworn in and begins his laying his “Naya Pakistan,” the New Pakistan he promised during the election campaign.
Firework shows went off at midnight in major cities including Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore, and a number of small and large celebrations have been planned throughout the country to mark the day.
Social media was buzzing with Independence Day-related posts. Imran Khan, @ImranKhanPTI, posted:
14 Aug 2018: On this Independence Day I am filled with the greatest optimism. Despite our grave economic crises, due to corruption & cronyism, I know if we are united in our resolve, we will rise to the challenge & Pak will become the great nation envisaged by our Quaid and Iqbal.

Nation gears up to celebrate it's 71st Independence Day on 14th August Raja Bazar of Rawalpindi. . . . . . . . . . . #HBLazaadicontest #merapakistan #merahbl #islamic_republic_of_pakistan #travelbeautifulpakistan #dwpazaadi #dawndotcom #pakistan #pictureofpakistan #iropakistan #etribune #urdu #urdupoetry #igpk #creative_pakistan #travelpeacefulpakistan #picturingpakistan #picturepakistan #flashh_pakistan #wu_pakistan #everydaypakistan #pakistanpics #ig_pakistan #pakistan_amazing #st_ofpakistan #letsgotopakistan #travellersofpakistan #pictureofpakistan #shukriyapakistan #pakistanzindabad @travelbeautifulpakistan @dawndotcom @islamic_republic_of_pakistan @streets.of.pk @pakistan_pics @etribune @faces_of_pakistan_ @letsgotopakistan @ig_pakistan @creative_pakistan @wu_pakistan @travelpeacefulpakistan @flashh_pakistan @pakistan_amazing @igerspakistan @shukriyapakistan @dawnnewstv @samaatv @pakistan @pictureofpakistan @picturingpakistan @dawnnewstv @everydaypakistan

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Two youngster's holding a Pakistan's flag on the roads of Jheega Galli, Murree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #HBLazaadicontest #merapakistan #merahbl #islamic_republic_of_pakistan #travelbeautifulpakistan #dwpazaadi #dawndotcom #pakistan #pictureofpakistan #iropakistan #etribune #urdu #urdupoetry #igpk #creative_pakistan #travelpeacefulpakistan #picturingpakistan #picturepakistan #flashh_pakistan #wu_pakistan #everydaypakistan #pakistanpics #ig_pakistan #pakistan_amazing #st_ofpakistan #letsgotopakistan #travellersofpakistan #pictureofpakistan #shukriyapakistan #igerspakistan @travelbeautifulpakistan @dawndotcom @islamic_republic_of_pakistan @streets.of.pk @pakistan_pics @etribune @faces_of_pakistan_ @letsgotopakistan @ig_pakistan @creative_pakistan @wu_pakistan @travelpeacefulpakistan @flashh_pakistan @pakistan_amazing @igerspakistan @shukriyapakistan @dawnnewstv @samaatv @pakistan @pictureofpakistan @picturingpakistan @dawnnewstv @everydaypakistan

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#independenceday #Islamabad #Pakistan #august14 #Faree #Z12

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