Pakistan army chief gets three-year extension

In this March 23, 2017 file photo, Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrives to attend the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 August 2019
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Pakistan army chief gets three-year extension

  • Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension
  • The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment, says the official statement

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, was handed a three-year extension on Monday as tension with neighboring India flared this month over the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister's office said.
The two nuclear-armed countries have exchanged fire along the disputed line of control (LoC) that separates Pakistani and Indian sides of Kashmir following India's decision to revoke special status for its portion of Kashmir.
"The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment," the prime minister's office said in a statement announcing the decision.
Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension.
Relations between Pakistan and India had already been strained after a suicide car bombing in February that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-administered Kashmir and led to an aerial dogfight between Pakistani and Indian jets.
Pakistan observed a 'Black Day' on Thursday to coincide with India's Independence Day celebrations. Newspaper issues had black borders and politicians, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, replaced their social media pictures with black squares. Flags on government buildings flew at half-mast.
Since Saturday there has been a series of protests against the decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government to revoke the autonomy of India's only Muslim-majority region.
Officials said security forces had been pelted with stones on 47 occasions on Saturday night in the Kashmir Valley, and more than 20 on Sunday. One said the protests were growing more intense.
During Bajwa's tenure the military has been accused by opposition politicians of electoral manipulation to bring Prime Miniter Imran Khan to power. Media outlets have also complained about strong restrictions on free speech.
The military, which has ruled Pakistan for nearly half its 72-year history, has denied interfering in politics or muzzling the media


UAE citizens in Pakistan cast votes as balloting begins for Federal National Council

Updated 2 min 12 sec ago
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UAE citizens in Pakistan cast votes as balloting begins for Federal National Council

  • More than 200 UAE citizens in Pakistan are expected to cast their vote
  • Half of the council this year is expected to be women: UAE envoy

ISLAMABAD: The UAE envoy to Pakistan was the first to cast his vote on Sunday at the UAE embassy, as balloting began for the country’s citizens residing or working abroad to elect a political candidate to represent them in the Federal National Council (FNC), a parliamentary body for the seven emirates that make up the UAE.
According to UAE officials, more than 200 of the country’s citizens live in Pakistan including over 60 residing in the capital, Islamabad.
“This is the fourth election for the Federal (National) Council in UAE, and we are really proud of this democracy process in UAE,” Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to Pakistan said while speaking to Arab News during the balloting session at the embassy in Islamabad.
The UAE has more than 118 diplomatic missions around the world which have set up polling booths for citizens to cast their votes, Al-Zaabi said.
“The (polling for the FNC) election in Pakistan will be held in Islamabad and at the consulate in Karachi on September 22 and 23. The big election in UAE will be held between October 2 to 4, followed by results... announced on October 5,” the UAE Ambassador said.
FNC, as per the provision of the UAE Constitution, was established in 1971 and comprises of 40 members representing the Arab peninsula’s seven Emirates; with Abu Dhabi and Dubai having the most number of seats followed by Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, and less populated Fujairah, Ajman, and Umm al Quwain with the least.
In the past, all members were appointed by the emirates’ respective rulers, but in 2006 the method was revised to introduce a partial form of democracy that allows the people of UAE to elect 20 FNC members through an electoral process.
“We started in 2006 and now we are in 2019 and this year it is totally different because half of this council will be women. UAE and its leadership support women empowerment and encourages females to be part of the country’s legislative decisions,” Al-Zaabi said.
The Ambassador, widely known for his philanthropic activities in Pakistan and his continued efforts to strengthen fraternal ties between the two countries said: “We have reached our goals to support democracy and encourage the people in UAE to be part of this democratic process.”