Pakistani court acquits ex-PM Khan’s loyalist accused of inciting attack on army general’s residence

In this picture, taken on May 9, 2023, supporters of former Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan clash with police during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Lahore. (Photo courtesy: AFP/File)
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Updated 03 June 2023

Pakistani court acquits ex-PM Khan’s loyalist accused of inciting attack on army general’s residence

  • Dr. Yasmin Rashid was released by the anti-terrorism court due to lack of ‘incriminating material’ against her
  • She served as a provincial health minister and was arrested after an audio leak which she said was ‘doctored’

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court on Saturday acquitted a female leader of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party following her arrest last month on charges of inciting people to target the official residence of a top general in Lahore who stormed the building and set it on fire.

The incident took place on May 9 when Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court on corruption charges, leading to violent protests in various parts of the country. Hundreds of people vandalized government buildings which also included sensitive military installations.

The development was followed by audio leaks of PTI leaders, suggesting the senior party members were instigating their supporters to target state properties.

Former Punjab health minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid, who is known for her loyalty to Khan, was also accused of provoking people on the basis of a recorded phone conversation, though she maintained her audio clip had been “doctored” to falsely implicate her in the case.

In this picture, taken on January 30, 2023, former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's aide Dr. Yasmin Rashid gestures during a press conference in Lahore. (Photo courtesy: APP/File)

“Investigating Officer has requested for 14-day physical remand of Yasmin Rashid for Photogrammetry, Voice Match Tests and recovery of mobile phones etc. whereas perusal of record reveals that neither Dr. Yasmin Rashid is nominated in FIR [police complaint] nor involved through supplementary statement and she was summoned in this case on the disclosure of co-accused which has no evidentiary value in the eye of law,” said the court while announcing its decision.

“Since no incriminating material is available on record to connect her with the commission of offence, therefore, request of Investigating Officer is turned down and she is accordingly discharged from instant case,” it added. “She be released forthwith, if not required in any other case.”

The police and caretaker administration of Punjab said they had arrested people involved in vandalism through scientific means, including facial recognition and geofencing.

The former prime minister’s party questioned the arrests of its leaders and supporters after Rashid’s release, saying they had been thrown into prison on fake cases.

“Who will be punished for keeping thousands of PTI workers, including Dr. Yasmin Rashid, in jail for 24 days in a false case and spreading false propaganda in the media,” the PTI asked in a Twitter post.

It added that Rashid was an elderly woman who had survived cancer and spent her whole career as a medical practitioner saving people’s lives.

Khan has denied in the past that his party members were involved in the violent May 9 protests while pointing a finger at intelligence agencies for orchestrating the mayhem to justify a crackdown on his party.

Pakistan’s election regulator to announce national poll schedule in December, dismisses rumors of delay

Updated 17 sec ago

Pakistan’s election regulator to announce national poll schedule in December, dismisses rumors of delay

  • The ECP has already published the final list of national and provincial constituencies ahead of the polls
  • The Feb. 8 elections were originally meant to take place in November and were rescheduled for Jan.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will release the schedule for the upcoming national polls in December, confirmed its top official on Friday, amid speculations of a possible delay in the electoral exercise despite the release of the final list of constituencies earlier in the day.
The ECP announced last month the vote, originally expected in November and then scheduled for the last week of January, would instead take place on Feb. 8, a date chosen following consultations with the country’s President Dr. Arif Alvi that were requested by the Supreme Court.
Pakistan’s parliament was dissolved by the president on then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice on Aug. 9, setting the stage for a national election amid political and economic crises. A caretaker administration subsequently took over with the constitutional mandate to hold new elections in 90 days.
According to Pakistan’s Geo News, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja had a brief and informal chat with journalists after the ECP released the list of national and provincial constituencies for the national polls.
Asked about when the commission planned to release the election scheduled, he said: “Count 54 days backwards from February 8,” suggesting that the announcement could be expected in the third week of December.
Pakistan’s previous administration amended the Elections Act to empower the ECP to fix and announce the election date and specifying the timeline for the announcement of the election schedule which needs to be done about 54 days before the polling day.
The election commissioner also dismissed fears of any further delays in the national polls, saying the ECP had been “proactively handling election-related responsibilities” to ensure fair and transparent electoral contest in the country.

Pakistan PM to discuss Indus Basin restoration at UN climate conference in Dubai today

Updated 31 min 55 sec ago

Pakistan PM to discuss Indus Basin restoration at UN climate conference in Dubai today

  • Ninety percent of Pakistan’s people and more than three-quarters of its economy resides in the Indus Basin
  • Kakar has also interacted with world leaders on the sidelines of COP28 conference and met the IMF chief

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar will attend a discussion session today, Saturday, on the ecological restoration of the Indus Basin at the United Nations climate change conference in Dubai.
Kakar is on a week-long visit to the Middle East to interact with some of the top leaders in the region to promote investment opportunities in Pakistan. He arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to spearhead his country’s delegation at the 28th UN Conference of Parties (COP28) that began on Nov. 30.
Pakistan is among the most vulnerable nations in the world to climate change and has set up its own pavilion at the conference venue to highlight some of the most-pressing issues related to a rapidly accelerating climate crisis.
“The @LivingIndus has arrived at #COP28,” United Nation Pakistan announced in a social media post on Friday. “Dr. @AdilNajam will be one of several panelists discussing investment in ecological restoration during a session at #Pakistan Pavilion this Saturday, in presence of Prime Minister @anwaar_kakar.”



Living Indus, the country’s biggest climate initiative that is estimated to cost $11-17 billion, was launched with UN support by former climate change minister, Senator Sherry Rehman, last year in September.
The initiative aims to protect and restore the health of the Indus River, which is crucial for the economy, environment and well-being of millions of people in Pakistan.
The Living Indus project focuses on addressing the challenges faced by the Indus River system, including water scarcity, pollution and habitat degradation, through various conservation and sustainable management strategies.
According to the information available on its website, 90 percent of Pakistan’s people and more than three-quarters of its economy resides in the Indus Basin. More than 80 percent of Pakistan’s arable land is irrigated by its waters, and nine out of the ten largest cities in the country are situated within 50 kilometers or less of the waters of Indus.
The Indus River has served as the vibrant core of the social, cultural and economic life of what is now Pakistan for well over 5,000 years. However, Senator Rehman warned last year it was the world’s second most polluted river today.
The prime minister already met with Pakistani climate experts at his country’s COP28 pavilion on Friday where he was briefed on various initiatives to deal with the looming climate crisis.
He also interacted with world leaders on the sidelines of the conference and held a conversation with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva who appreciated progress made by his administration to maintain economic stability and timely implementation of planned reforms in Pakistan.


Indian woman, who married Pakistani Facebook friend, returns to bring children back to Pakistan — husband 

Updated 02 December 2023

Indian woman, who married Pakistani Facebook friend, returns to bring children back to Pakistan — husband 

  • Anju, who later changed her name to Fatima, married an Upper Dir resident Nasrullah in July after traveling to Pakistan 
  • The woman has 15-year-old daughter and four-year-old son in India, where she faces a divorce case by her first husband 

Peshawar: A 34-year-old Indian woman, who traveled to Pakistan and married her Facebook friend in the northwestern Upper Dir district in July, returned to India this week to bring her two children from India to Pakistan, her Pakistani husband said on Friday. 

The woman, Anju, converted to Islam and changed her name to Fatima before getting married to Nasrullah, her Pakistani Facebook friend, on July 25. The couple made headlines in both countries at the time of their wedding. 

However, Fatima this week returned to her home country via the Wagah border crossing between Pakistan and India, with her husband saying she would return to Pakistan within a few months. 

“Anju has gone to India to bring her two children to Pakistan and to face a divorce case filed by her first husband,” Nasrullah told Arab News, adding the case could not be decided in her absence. 

Fatima has a 15-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son who live in India, according her husband. 

The woman traveled to Pakistan on a one-month visa that expired in August, but she continued to live with her husband in Pakistan. The 34-year-old decided to return to India after multiple visa rejections by Pakistani authorities and to “resolve her family issues.” 

Nasrullah said he wanted the Pakistani and Indian governments to help his wife bring her children to Pakistan. 

Late last month, the couple was seen visiting historic places in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore in videos shared on social media. 

“It is my last day in Pakistan and my journey since I came here has been very good,” Fatima said in one of the videos. “Every day is spent well here.” 

She praised the Pakistani people for the respect they gave her and their hospitality. 

Following their court marriage in July, the couple had received widespread love and respect from Pakistanis, with multiple Pakistani commercial enterprises announcing generous gifts for them. 

PM visits Pakistan Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, appreciates experts for efforts to mitigate climate risks

Updated 01 December 2023

PM visits Pakistan Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, appreciates experts for efforts to mitigate climate risks

  • Development comes ahead of PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s address with the World Climate Action Summit on Saturday
  • He will present Pakistan’s ‘vision for change,’ advocate for shared commitments to mitigating climate risks, Islamabad says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Friday visited his country’s pavilion at the venue of United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, or COP 28, in Dubai, his office said, adding the caretaker premier appreciated efforts of Pakistani experts for the mitigation of climate-related risks. 

The Pakistan prime minister arrived in Dubai this week to attend the World Climate Action Summit during the 28th UN Conference of Parties, which is running from November 30 till December 12 and looks to address some of the most-pressing issues related to what experts say is a rapidly accelerating climate crisis. 

Pakistan, one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, has set up its own pavilion at the conference venue and will use the conference to remind wealthy countries of their “crucial” responsibility in supporting climate-vulnerable nations and the need for “equity and justice” in global climate policies, according to the Pakistani planning ministry. 

During his visit to the Pakistan Pavilion at COP 28, PM Kakar met with Pakistani climate experts, who briefed him on various initiatives to deal with the looming climate crisis, Kakar’s office said in a statement. 

“The Prime Minister was briefed on the efforts being made by Pakistan with regard to the negotiations and facilitation in operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund,” it said. 

“The Prime Minister was also briefed on the ‘Living Indus Initiative’ which is designed to rehabilitate the health of the Indus Basin in Pakistan through climate-resilient approaches and nature-based solutions.” 

Nearly 200 nations agreed on Thursday to launch a fund to support countries hit by global warming, in a historic moment at the start of UN climate talks in the oil-rich UAE. The formal establishment of the loss and damage fund, long sought by climate-vulnerable nations, provided an early win at COP28, where sharp divisions over the phasing out of fossil fuels were immediately apparent. 

The momentous occasion followed Pakistan’s crucial role at COP27 in Egypt, where, as the chair of the G77 and China group, it advocated for the establishment of the fund. 

PM Kakar’s visit to his country’s pavilion came a day ahead of his address at the World Climate Action Summit where he would present Pakistan’s “vision for climate change,” according to the Pakistani foreign office. 

“He will address the summit tomorrow, where he will present Pakistan’s vision for climate change, advocating for common commitments in mitigation, adaptation, climate finance, and the loss and damage fund,” the foreign office said on Friday. 

“He will also emphasize equity and global cooperation for climate resilience. At COP28, Pakistan aims to collaborate with developing countries, for the operationalization of the ‘loss and damage’ fund, a meaningful outcome from the Global Stock Take, and the fulfillment of the long-overdue goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually in climate finance.” 

Pakistan headline inflation rises 29.2% year-on-year on back of gas price hike 

Updated 01 December 2023

Pakistan headline inflation rises 29.2% year-on-year on back of gas price hike 

  • Prices went up by 2.7 percent in November as compared to a 1 percent increase in the month before 
  • Analysts say increase in inflation figures for November is ‘in line with expectations’ after gas price hike 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s consumer price index (CPI) jumped 29.2 percent in November on a year-on-year basis, the country’s statistics bureau said on Friday, with analysts attributing monthly increase in prices to a recent hike in gas tariff. 

The headline inflation was recorded at 26.8 percent in October and 23.8 percent in November last year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). 

Prices went up by 2.7 percent in November as compared to a 1 percent increase in the month before and a rise of 0.8 percent in November 2022. 

Financial analysts say the increase in inflation figures for the month of November was “in line with the expectations” after the gas price hike. 

“The inflation for the month of November is in line with the expectations. The major impact has come from the gas tariff hike,” Samiullah Tariq, a director at the Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, to Arab News. 

“Going forward we hope that the inflation would ease off.” 

In late October, Pakistan announced a sharp increase in the price of natural gas for most households and industries ahead of the cash-strapped country’s first review of a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout it entered in July. 

While the government did not increase the tariff for the protected category (57 percent of the domestic consumers), it increased the fixed monthly charge from Rs10 to Rs400 for this category. 

The price of gas was set at Rs2,100/mmbtu for export process industry, Rs2,400/mmbtu for export captive industry, Rs2,200/mmbtu for non-export process industry, Rs2,500/mmbtu for non-export captive industry, and Rs3,600/mmbtu for the CNG sector. 

In November, Pakistan cleared the first review of the nine-month standby arrangement, paving the way for Islamabad to receive a second tranche of around $700 million from the lender. 

Among the food items that recorded highest increase in November prices were tomatoes (60.42 percent), potatoes (14.92 percent), tea (12.95 percent), onions (12.32 percent), dry fruits (7.91 percent), fish (7.75 percent), eggs (7.15 percent) and fresh vegetables (4.47 percent), according to the PBS. 

Non-food items whose prices recorded the highest increased included gas charges (280.55 percent), woolen readymade garments (8.16 percent), dental services (5.19 percent), transport services (5.11 percent) and solid fuel (3.52 percent).