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Political landscape in Sindh has seen various major changes this week. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, from Pakistan People’s Party, resigned from his post and submitted his resignation to Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan. The governor accepted resignation and convened a session of the Sindh Assembly which elected PPP’s Syed Murad Ali Shah as the new leader of the House.
Earlier, Qaim Ali Shah met PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari where Party Chairman eulogised Shah’s services for the party and the province. He said that Shah was a great asset to the party and he stood by three generations of the party. The decision to remove Syed Qaim Ali Shah was taken by party’s chairman Bilwal Zardari Bhutto in consultation with other senior party members. Mr Bhutto also announced the name of the nominated chief minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, at a meeting attended by all legislators. Later, in a brief interview with media, Syed Murad Ali Shah said law and order would be the biggest challenge for his government, adding that he would declare a health and education emergency to improve the performance of the social sector in the province.
In another important development, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s senior Leader Waseem Akhtar and Karachi mayor-designate has confessed to his involvement in the May 12, 2007 mayhem before a joint investigation team, according to media reports. However Mr Akhtar and his party insisted that he had made no “confession”. Police claimed that they had a JIT report in which Mr Akhtar confessed that he planned the violence on the instruction of the party’s high command. Mr Akhtar was arrested on July 19 in a case over treatment of “wounded terrorists” and militants at Karachi’s Dr Ziauddin Hospitals.
As Rangers are carrying out operation in Karachi against target killers and militants, two military men were killed when unidentified assailants fired at their vehicle in the city’s Saddar area this Tuesday. The Jamatul Ahrar faction of banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The military vehicle was fired upon by unidentified gunmen, riding a motorcycle, who immediately fled the scene. The Rangers authorities have revealed that target killers in Karachi are receiving financial assistance from South Africa, Thailand and the United Kingdom. While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, the Rangers authorities further reported that there was an 80% decline in terror related incidents, 75% in target killings, 85% in extortion cases and 83% reduction in incidents of kidnapping. Pakistan Rangers Sindh also rejected allegations of human rights violations in the Karachi operation and said law and order situation in Sindh’s capital had improved due to the operation.
Over in Balochistan armed men gunned down cousin of former Balochistan Assembly deputy speaker in Lasbela district. A security man was also killed in the attack. Meanwhile, at least five people were injured in a bomb blast on Quetta’s Sariab Road.
Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif while talking to a gathering at the Chinese Embassy also said that as the army consolidates the gains of Zarb-e-Azb, it would continue to take action against terrorists of all hue and colour.
Indian army’s atrocities in Kashmir continue and situation in the valley remains tense while Pakistan calls for international community to interfere and help stop violence in Kashmir. Meanwhile Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh plans to visit Pakistan on August 3 to attend South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Home Ministers Conference to discuss a range of issues including the core issue of Kashmir.
Foreign Office Spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria confirmed this during a press briefing. He said on the sidelines of the conference, his meeting with Pakistani counterparts is expected. The Indian home minister will be the first senior Indian government official visiting Pakistan after the Pathankot airbase attack and recent Kashmiri uprising.
According to Indian media the Indian home minister, besides attending the SAARC meeting will likely have bilateral meetings with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria also said that people of Jammu and Kashmir were struggling against the Indian occupation more than 68 years, seeking rights to self-determination. Mr Zakaria also said that Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs had already written a letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner, calling to send a fact finding mission to IoK. Pakistan has also written letters to UN Secretary General, UN Security Council and Secretary General, Organizations of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on this count.
However during the Senate’s Defence Committee session, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that dialogue between India and Pakistan are not possible in current circumstances due to India’s hostile behavior towards Kashmir and Pakistan. Meanwhile India has asked its diplomats to withdraw their children from schools in Islamabad in a move described by an Indian official as a ‘downgrade’ of the diplomatic mission. Islamabad, however, dismissed the move as an “informal, internal” arrangement of the Indian government.
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