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Pak- India Relations
Amendment Bill for the revival of military courts has finally been passed this week by the National Assembly with two- third majority. Government has been trying to convince political parties to approve this constitutional amendment and after a series of discussions, it managed to get support from the political parties. The bill will now be presented to Senate, where it would again need two-thirds majority approval in order to become law. If the bill is passed, it will reinstate military courts for another two years.
Meanwhile The Islamabad High Court (IHC) acquitted former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi, former DG Hajj Rao Shakeel and former joint secretary Aftab Islam in Hajj corruption case, a scandal that surfaced in 2010. Kazmi and Aslam were sentenced to 16 years each in jail last year. The three convicts were also ordered to pay a penalty of Rs 150 million each. The convicts had filed appeals in the IHC and after a series of hearings the court acquitted the three accused.
Meanwhile former information minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sharjeel Inam Memon, who was arrested earlier this week by law enforcement agencies, was released on Saturday. Mr Memon was arrested soon after he landed at Islamabad airport over corruption cases. PPP leader, after his release, strongly criticized the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for its failure in ‘across the board’ action against those named in corruption cases. Memon had left the country in 2015 to Dubai after the anti-corruption department launched a crackdown against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats as part of the Karachi operation.
The nation celebrated 77th Pakistan Day on March 23 that marks historic Lahore Resolution of 1940 in which All- India Muslim League had demanded a separate country for the Muslims. On this occasion, Pakistan expressed hope that its ties with India will improve in the near future and the issue of Kashmir will be resolved peacefully. Addressing the Pakistan Day parade, President Mamnoon Hussain said that Pakistan wanted peaceful and friendly relations with its neighbours including India. However, he regretted that the irresponsible attitude of India and its continuous violations at the Line of Control had put the region’s peace and stability at risk. Meanwhile, while greeting Pakistani nation on its National Day, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee also said that India is committed to building ties with Pakistan in an environment free from terror and violence.
Meanwhile officials from both the countries met in Islamabad and Lahore to resolve water issues and to discuss three Indian projects on the Chenab River that Pakistan fears would decrease the flow of water into its territory. After the meetings, Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif told the media that talks on the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric schemes would be held in Washington next month, with the World Bank as the mediator. However officials in New Delhi told the Indian media that they had not received any formal communication about the Washington meeting. Late last year, India suspended talks on the treaty, which distributes the eastern tributaries of the Indus — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi to India and the western tributaries — Jhelum, Indus and Chenab — to Pakistan.
Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of violating the treaty by building dams on the western rivers. India says that the treaty unduly favours Pakistan by giving it a greater share of water.
Atleast 40 people were injured while four died in an attack near the Houses of Parliament in London. During five minutes of mayhem the attacker, identified as Khalid Masood, sped across Westminster Bridge in a car, ploughing into pedestrians. Later he ran through the gates of parliament building and stabbed an unarmed policeman before being shot dead.
London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Khalid was British national and had a range of convictions for assault including possession of offensive weapons and public order offences from 1983 to 2003. However, Masood had never been convicted of any terrorism offences and that he ‘was not the subject of any investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack’. According to media reports the terrorist, Khalid Masood, was in Saudi Arabia three times and taught English there.
Meanwhile British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the attack and said it is “wrong” to describe the terror attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament as “Islamic terrorism”. Leaders from across the world have also voiced their solidarity with the UK over the attack. US President Donald Trump spoke by phone to British Prime Minister Theresa May to offer his condolences and support. Moreover security has been beefed up in the country and several arrests have been made in this regard.
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