71-year-old Imran Khan, wife get 14 years jail in ‘graft’ case

News Network
January 31, 2024

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Islamabad, 31: Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and his wife were sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in jail after being found guilty of graft in a case involving gifts he received while premier.

The verdict, a week before national elections, comes a day after Khan was given a prison sentence of 10 years in a case related to leaking state secrets. 

"Another sad day in our judicial system history, which is being dismantled," a spokesperson for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party told media. 

It was not immediately clear if Khan's sentences were to run consecutively or concurrently following a trial held inside the jail where he has been detained for much of the time since his arrest in August.

But Khan's lawyer Salman Safdar confirmed to AFP he had been sentenced alongside his wife, Bushra Bibi, who had been on remand throughout the trial.

"Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi have been sentenced. Bushra Bibi has not been arrested as yet," Safdar said.

The pair married in 2018, months before Khan was elected prime minister.

Bibi, a faith healer who met Khan when he approached her for spiritual guidance, is rarely seen in public.

About 127 million Pakistanis are eligible to vote on election day next Thursday, with Khan and PTI at the centre of debate despite being squeezed out of the limelight.

The ballot has already been marred by allegations of rigging, with Khan barred from running over a previous graft conviction and his party subject to a massive crackdown.

Since being ousted in 2022, Khan has been buried by court cases he claims have been triggered to prevent his return to office after a campaign of defiance against Pakistan's military kingmakers.

Khan had accused the powerful military -- with whom he ruled in partnership for much of his tenure -- of orchestrating his ouster in a US-backed conspiracy.

When Khan was first arrested in May last year, riots broke out across the country.

But his street power was killed by a military crackdown that saw thousands of supporters detained -- 100 of whom are facing closed-door military trials -- and dozens of senior leaders forced underground. 

"You have to take revenge for every injustice with your vote on February 8," Khan said in a statement posted on his X profile reacting to his 10-year sentence on Tuesday.

"Tell them that we are not sheep that can be driven with a stick."

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News Network
February 27,2024

A new report has published details of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas, under which the occupying regime will free 400 Palestinian abductees in exchange for the release of 40 held in captivity by the Gaza-based resistance group.

The swap deal, which will be accompanied by a six-week truce, came as part of the recent talks in the French capital Paris between Israeli, American, Egyptian and Qatari representatives. Al Jazeera reported.

Citing unidentified sources involved in the discussions, the report said Israel has agreed to free 400 Palestinians held in the regime’s prisons in return for 40 Gaza captives. 

Israel has also agreed to the gradual return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza – with the exception of young men, who are "of recruitment age," and the entry of further aid and temporary shelters into the besieged territory, including heavy machinery and equipment.

The regime has further agreed to halt its warplanes over the Gaza Strip, including intelligence-gathering ones, for eight hours.

The report came after an Israeli delegation traveled to Doha, where Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani separately met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said that he hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza by next Monday, when asked when he thought a truce could begin.

“Well I hope by the beginning of the weekend. The end of the weekend. My national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close. We’re not done yet,” Biden said when asked when he thought a truce could begin.

“And my hope is that by next Monday [March 4] we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Israel waged a genocidal US-backed war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

However, almost five months into the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has failed to achieve its objectives of "destroying Hamas" and finding Israeli captives despite killing 29,782 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 70,043 others.

A week-long humanitarian ceasefire in late November saw an exchange of 240 Palestinian abductees held by Israel with 105 captives, including 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners, in Gaza.

Israel believes 130 captives still remain in Gaza, while there are thought to be 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, many detained without charge.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has slammed the heads of Muslim states for failing to cut their relations with the Israeli occupation regime.

During a meeting with the participants at the 40th International Qur'an Competition in Tehran on Thursday, the Leader called on Muslim countries to openly express their opposition to Israel, sever ties with the regime and cut off support for it.

Ayatollah Khamenei also called on people in Muslim countries to press their governments to take stronger action on Gaza.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the Palestinians' plight in the Gaza Strip as the most important issue of the Muslim world today, adding, "Certainly, the Muslim world is mourning for Gaza."

The Leader emphasized that the resistance forces in Palestine and Gaza are acting in accordance with the Holy Qur'an and are standing against the enemy, but wondered whether Muslim countries and their leaders were implementing the Qur'anic teachings regarding the Gaza situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the people of Palestine will achieve a victory through God's assistance, noting that the Muslim world would witness the destruction of the "Zionist cancerous tumor" by God's grace.

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News Network
February 23,2024

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Bengaluru, Feb 23: The opposition BJP and JD(S) staged a protest against the Congress government in Karnataka over passing of resolutions against Narendra Modi-led administration’s step motherly treatment, which rocked the Legislative Assembly proceedings on Friday, forcing adjournments.

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Assembly, meanwhile, at its meeting Chaired by Speaker U T Khader decided to extend the session by a day to Monday, which was otherwise scheduled to conclude today, for passage of the finance bill and Chief Minister’s reply to discussion on the Budget.

The Opposition demanded that the government withdraw the resolutions.

Leader of Opposition R Ashoka even read out a “counter resolution” condemning the resolutions moved and passed by the government on Thursday as “false, imaginary and politically motivated”, and accused the government of blaming the Centre to hide its failures.

As the opposition’s resolution was read without following due procedures and without the consent of the Speaker, it was not considered or put to vote.

The state government had on Thursday moved and ensured passage of resolutions urging the union government to make sure that no injustice is done to the state in allocation of financial resources, and to frame a legislation regarding fixation of MSP for all crops of farmers.

As the House met for the day on Friday, BJP and JD(S) members trooped into the well of the House.

Ashoka said resolutions were brought against the central government all of a sudden and unilaterally, without bringing it to their notice or discussing it at the BAC meeting; it was also not mentioned in the agenda.

“Why did the government bring the resolution in a hush hush manner, despite having a majority in the House? They could have mentioned it in the agenda and introduced the resolution openly as per procedure and we too would have put forward our stand and objections against the resolutions.

Assembly and its rules have been insulted,” he said while demanding that the resolutions be withdrawn.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil, who had moved the resolution on Thursday, defended the government’s action and said the resolution was passed keeping the interest of Karnataka and its people in mind. It was against the injustice meted out to the state and was with facts and figures.

“We had moved the resolution and it was brought by the large number of members of this House. It is the unanimous voice of the people of Karnataka and I condemn the opposition’s objections to this unanimous voice of seven crore people of the state,” he said.

Noting that the government doesn’t need opposition’s consent to bring any resolution in the interest of the people of the state, Patil said resolutions have been moved and passed as per law and there is no question of withdrawing it. “You (opposition) introspect whether you are for Karnataka’s interest or want to do politics.” This elicited a sharp reaction from Ashoka, who asked what Congress MPs from Karnataka were doing in the Parliament, instead of raising the issue there, to which Minister Krishna Byre Gowda retorted by saying that BJP’s 25 MPs in Lok Sabha from the State never raised any issue in the interest of the state. This led to heated arguments between both sides.

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the Congress which ruled the country for about 55 years in 75 years of independent India, had kept the devolution of funds to states at 20 per cent for a long time; it took 30 years to raise it to 30 per cent after protests and struggle by several states.

The UPA government for 10 years did not heed to the demand of raising it to 40 per cent, but the Modi government soon after coming to power raised it to 42 per cent.

This led to a strong counter from the Congress side, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for some time.

As the House met again, BJP continued to protest from the well of the House, even as Minister Krinsha Byre Gowda requested them to allow the proceedings to go on normally.

To this, Ashoka said, they will withdraw the protest if the government withdraws the resolution.

The state government wants confrontation with the Centre, he further claimed. “If you (govt) don’t want to withdraw your resolution, the chair should allow us to move a resolution in favour of the central government, and let’s discuss it.” With both sides refusing to budge and BJP-JD(S) continuing to protest from the well of the House, the Speaker tried to transact some business amid sloganeering by opposition members.

Amidst the din, the Speaker allowed tabling of certain reports and passage of two bills without any discussion. Even as the Speaker was putting the bills to vote for its passage, Ashoka read out the opposition’s counter resolution, which was neither considered by the Chair, nor it was put to vote.

As the chaos continued, the Speaker adjourned the House to Monday. 

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