Nawaz Sharif to attend Kulsoom’s funeral

In this picture released by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party, jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif greets a welcome party in Lahore on Sept. 12 after being released temporarily on parole. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Nawaz Sharif to attend Kulsoom’s funeral

  • Wife of former-PM will be laid to rest in Lahore on Friday
  • Punjab government releases inmates on parole for twelve hours which lawyers say could later be extended to five days

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday released ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar on parole, a move which will allow them to attend the funeral of Nawaz’s wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who died on Tuesday.

The trio, accompanied by Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s younger brother and president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), left for Lahore from Rawalpindi on a special plane from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

Kulsoom died at the age of 68, in London, after succumbing to a long battle with cancer. Her remains will be brought back to Pakistan for burial.

“Permission is hereby granted in favor of prisoner Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif s/o Muhammad Sharif, former prime minister of Pakistan, presently confined in Central Prison, Rawalpindi, to attend the funeral prayer of his wife late Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, at Jati Umrah (Raiwind), Lahore,” a notification issued by Punjab government’s Home Department, on Wednesday, said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Shehbaz had submitted a request seeking permission for the three to be allowed to attend the funeral. According to the notification, the permission has been granted for only twelve hours which lawyers say can be extended up to five days.

Ex-premier Nawaz and daughter Maryam were lodged in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail after being handed jail sentences for 10 and seven years, in a corruption case.

Advocate Sharafat Ali, an assistant to the family’s legal team, said that the duration of the parole would be extended on the request of the family. “It is prerogative of the Home Department to extend the duration of the parole. We hope it will be extended to at least five days,” he told Arab News.

Under Pakistan’s Prison Rules, neither of the three can move outside their residence in Jati Umrah, Lahore, while a police escort will be responsible for their safety and security.

Shortly after Kulsoom’s death, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the family that they would be extended full legal support, within the ambit of the law and constitution.

Kulsoom was undergoing treatment at London’s Harley Street Clinic, since August last year, after she was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma.

She underwent multiple surgeries and at least five chemotherapy sessions during the time, and was finally placed on life-support from July this year.

With the family deciding to bury Kulsoom in Lahore, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, PML-N's Information Secretary, said that the body will be brought back to Pakistan on Friday.

“Shehbaz Sharif has been assigned the responsibility to bring back the remains [of Begum Kulsoom]. He will take the first available flight to London for the purpose,” Khan told Arab News.


Karachi police chief asks his cops to be clean, lightly armed

Updated 23 September 2018
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Karachi police chief asks his cops to be clean, lightly armed

  • Karachi police to replace Kalashnikovs, Sub Machine Guns (SMGs) with pistols and revolvers for officials on patrol, escort and picket duties
  • Taking back automatic assault weapons from policemen in a city such as Karachi, where people and groups are heavily armed, is not a wise decision, says former IG Sindh, Afzal Ali Shigri

KARACHI: The chief of police in Pakistan’s seaside megacity of Karachi has introduced reforms in an effort to win public hearts.

“The police persons should be nicely dressed, should be neat and lean and should demonstrate good manners,” Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh, the city police chief, told Arab News.
Shaikh, on Saturday, issued a notification, reading; “SMG/automatic assault weapon should not be displayed or pointed toward general public during escort movements or mobile patrolling.”
The directives, from Shaikh, which were forwarded for strict compliance to his subordinates, read: “All assault weapons are to be replaced with pistols/revolvers.”
According to priority, the motorcycle squad will have only pistol or revolver.
For escorts, police patrolling mobile, picket points and Madadgar, 15 mobiles will be allowed to have one SMG each. The rest of the police on these duties will have pistols only.
“It has been observed with great concern that all police persons deployed for patrolling, pickets or escort duties are armed with SMGs, and the display of automatic assault weapon in an urban setting not only scares people but also results in casualties in a case of even accidental firing,” reads the notification.
Shaikh, in an interview with Arab News, said he has carried this and all other measures to reform the police who are infamous.
“I am making police people-friendly. I want a police force which is loved by the people and upon seeing them, criminals should run away,” Shaikh said. “Currently the people are running away from the police. It hurts me a lot that the police are defamed due to a few.”
Shaikh said that he had identified 197 officials who are black sheep of the police force. “Policemen are involved in kidnapping. Would anyone call them policemen? They are kidnappers, they are criminals. They are dacoits but they have no more any place in police force,” the enthusiastic police officer vowed.
Although his good intentions are hailed by many, former officials have criticized the decision of taking automatic weapons back from the police.
“It’s no less than a suicide to take back automatic weapons from police in a city where huge caches of arms are recovered on a regular basis,” Afzal Ali Shigri, former Inspector General of Police Sindh, told Arab News.
In the 1980s, Shigri recalled, the policemen in Karachi would have sticks to deal with criminals. “But it’s not Karachi of those past times. It has remained a center of violence although peace has been restored. The city has faced every type of actors of violence which exists in this country. The city has been host to sectarian, ethnic violence besides hardcore terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State-inspired youths,” he said.
Shigri said even the common people are armed. “How do we expect police with a pistol to deal with a criminal having an assault rifle?” he asked.
One has to take several aspects before taking such major decisions, the former IG said, adding that instead of AK-47 and other assault weapons with a large range, the police should be armed with close-range weapons like the MP5, which are good for urban centers.
Shaikh said that after assuming power as city police chief he has not only focused on finding black sheep within an otherwise great police force but is also working on building their capacity.
On Saturday another notification issued by Shaikh reads: “It is to state that since last two years no firing refresher courses have been arranged for the constabulary, so training should be provided.”
In his letter to principals of the Saeedabad and Razzakabad police training colleges, Shaikh has requested firing training for 540 policemen in the first phase.