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Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan in January

Nawaz Sharif will allocate tickets to the candidates for the next general elections, Sadiq said, adding that the polls would be held in the country in 2023….reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif will return to the country next month from London where he has been living in self-exile for almost four year, a party leader said.

Economic Affairs Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq made the claim while speaking in a TV programme, Geo News reported.

Nawaz Sharif will allocate tickets to the candidates for the next general elections, Sadiq said, adding that the polls would be held in the country in 2023.

“It seems that the assemblies would be dissolved between March-June 2023,” he predicted.

The PML-N supremo left for London in November 2019 following his illness as then Prime Minister Imran Khan had permitted him to go abroad for medical treatment.

In 2018, an accountability court sentenced Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, while he was also sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a 1.3 billion PKR fine in the Avenfield properties reference.

In 2019, the Lahore High Court (LHC) after suspending his sentence, allowed Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for medical treatment.

ALSO READ: Pakistan caves in China’s demands

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ISI ex-chief Faiz Hameed to seek early retirement

The news of Lt Gen Hamid’s retirement comes a day after family sources said that Pakistan Army’s Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Azhar Abbas had sought early retirement as well.

Lt Gen Faiz Hameed — former intelligence chief and the current commander of Bahawalpur Corps — has decided to take early retirement, the media reported on Saturday.

The news of Lt Gen Hameed’s retirement comes a day after family sources said that Pakistan Army’s Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Azhar Abbas had sought early retirement as well.

The two army men were listed among the six army officers nominated by the General Headquarters for the army chief’s post, Geo News reported.

CGS Lt Gen Azhar Abbas decided to bid farewell, seeking early retirement, his brother confirmed to Geo News on Friday.

Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed

“I confirm that Lt Gen Azhar Abbas has sought earlier retirement to maintain his grace, honour and dignity as a decorated officer of Pakistan Army,” he said.

“Known for his professionalism, farsightedness and leadership, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas has decided to bid farewell, seeking early retirement — true to his personality,” a trusted family source said.

It may be noted that Lt Gen Hameed was the director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan while Imran Khan was prime minister.

ALSO READ: Top brass Azhar Abbas’s early retirement hints at rift within Pak army

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Shehbaz Sharif leaves for two-day visit to Turkey

According to Geo News citing a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the two leaders will also hold wide-ranging discussions encompassing bilateral relations, the regional situation and other issues of common interest…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif landed in Turkey for a two-day visit to the Western Asian country for deepening the defence cooperation between the two countries.

Taking to Twitter, Sharif said, “Being in Turkey feels like being home, overwhelmed by the warmth of our Turkish brothers and sisters. Our bilateral ties have entered a new era of strategic partnership under the leadership of President Erdogan. We are on course to unpack the full untapped potential of relationship.” Upon his arrival, PM Sharif was received by Istanbul’s deputy governor, senior Turkish civil and military officials, and diplomats of the Pakistani Embassy and Consulate at the Islamabad International Airport, Geo News reported.

The prime minister is undertaking the visit at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Before leaving for Turkey, the Pakistani PM said that he is there to inaugrate the third MILGEM Corvette Ship, which represents the deepening of defence cooperation.
“Leaving for 2-day visit to Turkiye at the invitation of my brother President Tayyip Erdogan. Inauguration of third MILGEM Corvette Ship represents deepening of defence cooperation between our two brotherly countries. High-level exchanges are a defining feature of our partnership,” he said in a tweet.

According to Geo News citing a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the two leaders will also hold wide-ranging discussions encompassing bilateral relations, the regional situation and other issues of common interest.

During his stay in Istanbul, the president of the ECO Trade and Development Bank (ETDB) will call on the prime minister, the FO said, adding that the PM will also interact with the leaders of the Turkish business community.

Pakistan and Turkey enjoy a good relationship where the latter has supplied various models of combat UAVs to the former country, according to The Balochistan Post-English.

According to the information on the microblogging site Twitter and Pakistan-based defence blogs, Chinese CH-4B UAVs were spotted over Bolan, Balochistan, where the rebels killed two SSG Commandos, reported The Eurasian Times.

Notably, the MILGEM project, based on joint collaboration between the two countries, represents a significant milestone in the Pakistan-Turkey strategic partnership that continues progressing on an upward trajectory, Geo News reported.

It is pertinent to mention here that the launching ceremony for the first Corvette for the Pakistan Navy, PNS Babur, was performed in Istanbul in August 2021 while the groundbreaking for the Second Ship, PNS Badr, was held at Karachi in May 2022.
PM Shehbaz Sharif last visited Turkiye in May-June 2022, reported Geo News. (ANI)

Shehbaz Sharif leaves for two-day visit to Turkey

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Business PAKISTAN UAE News

Mashreq Bank signs strategic partnership with Bank Al Habib Pakistan

Mashreq’s QuickRemit service is now available to 40 global destinations…reports Asian Lite News

Mashreq Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in the UAE, has signed a strategic partnership with Bank Al Habib Pakistan to offer free remittance transfers from the UAE to Pakistan.

The collaboration will support Mashreq’s faster cross border payment product, QuickRemit, which was originally launched in 2017. Customers using the application will not be charged remittance fees when sending money to Pakistan.

Mashreq customers can also enjoy unprecedented benefits and significant cost savings, while sending instant money transfers at their convenience, from their home – via Mashreq’s online and mobile banking channels, in a safe and secure manner.

According to latest figures, the UAE hosts around 1.27 million Pakistanis, the second-largest Pakistani expat community in the world. The UAE is also the second largest source of remittance to Pakistan. Statistics from the State Bank of Pakistan revealed USD 474.3 million was sent in remittance payments from the UAE to Pakistan in September this year.

Kartik Taneja, Head of Payments, Mashreq, said: “Remittance payments play a vital role for the huge Pakistani diaspora living and working in the UAE as they send essential funds back home. We are delighted to partner with Bank Al Habib Pakistan to offer money transfers through our QuickRemit application, making the process as simple, seamless and secure as possible.”

Aun Ali, Group Head – Business of Bank AL Habib on this auspicious occasion commented: “I would like to congratulate both Bank AL Habib and Mashreq Bank team on this affiliation, which will help both organizations in serving Pakistani expatriates for instant, simple and secure transaction processing. Bank AL Habib continues to play a vital role in routing remittances through official channels and feels immense pleasure to provide our services in collaboration with Mashreq.”

Mashreq’s QuickRemit service is now available to 40 global destinations.

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Lt Gen Asim Munir is Pakistan’s New Army Chief

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has appointed former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head Lt General Asim Munir as the new chief of army staff (COAS), reports Asian Lite News

Lieutenant General Asim Munir was on Thursday appointed as the new chief of army staff (COAS) of Pakistan, ending weeks of intense speculation and political tussle in the country.

“The Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has decided to appoint Lt. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir as the Chief of the Army Staff using the constitutional authority,” Pakistan Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted.

Aurangzeb said that a summary of the same had been sent to Pakistan President Arif Alvi.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan government confirmed that it had received the summary from the Ministry of Defence with a “panel of names” for the appointment of the new COAS.

“The PM office has received the summary from the Ministry of Defence with a panel of names for the appointment of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Army Staff. The Prime Minister will take a decision on the appointments as per the laid down procedure,” the Pakistan prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Gen Bajwa, 61, is slated to retire next week after a three-year extension.

General Qamar javed Bajwa

On Tuesday, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the summary had been forwarded to the PMO from the defence ministry. “The rest of the steps will be completed soon,” he tweeted.

Pakistan’s defence minister has warned opposition leader and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that the coalition government will deal with him, after the completion of the appointment process of the new Army chief.

“The process will complete in two to three days. The excitement will end, after which we will deal with Imran Khan,” the Pakistan defence minister was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

He made these remarks on the floor of the Pakistan National Assembly, hinting at the formal announcement of the key appointment within the next three days.

This comes after the process to appoint the new army chief started on Monday as Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote a letter to the country’s Defence Ministry for a summary of the potential candidates. (ANI)

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In a first, Pak govt extends olive branch to Imran’s PTI

In response to the government offer, the PTI leadership also showed willingness and authorised the president to engage with the government…reports Asian Lite News

For the first time since coming to power in April this year, the Shehbaz Sharif-led government has initiated a dialogue with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), sources said.

The development comes after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met President Arif Alvi on Friday and offered dialogue to resolve political issues, The Express Tribune reported.

The sources said the president told him that his message would be conveyed to the PTI leadership.

In response to the government offer, the PTI leadership also showed willingness and authorised the president to engage with the government, the sources added.

Dar held two meetings with the President in the last three days.

“The PTI wants the announcement of date for the early general elections. If the government agrees, then the PTI is willing to re-join parliament for a dialogue on the electoral framework.”

It is also reported that the purpose of the meeting between Dar and Alvi was to ensure that the process regarding the appointment of new army chief would culminate smoothly, The Express Tribune reported.

Under the law, the President can hold back the summary with regard to the appointment of army chief sent to him for 25 days.

The sources, however, said the appointment of an army chief is a very sensitive matter, and it will not be in the national interest to delay the process.

A PTI leader told The Express Tribune that if the government appoints an army chief in violation of the settled process, then the president may hold the summary for reconsideration.

He, however, said that the party would not dispute the appointment of any general as the army chief. “Now, the appointment of the new chief is not an issue of PTI,” he added.

However, he remarked that the civil and military leadership are not on the same page regarding the appointment of the new chief.

The Express Tribune has learned on good authority that the summary regarding the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) is yet to be initiated by the Defence Ministry.

One source claimed that the summary can be initiated anytime in the next 36 hours, but if the summary is delayed further, then the government may approve the appointment of the new army chief through the federal cabinet.

However, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader rejected the report regarding differences between the civil and military leadership on the matter.

He said that the decision has already been taken and the announcement would be made next week.

ALSO READ: Islamabad HC says Imran’s life under threat as per intel reports

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Sharif to return to Pakistan in December

Nawaz Sharif also said his party is against the politics of revenge and hatred while its prime objective is to make the country self-reliant…reports Asian Lite News

Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has said that he wants to return to Pakistan immediately, adding that the consultations over it are underway, media reports said.

He said that the people in Pakistan are facing financial problems not political, while reiterating that the general elections in the country will be held at the designated time, Samaa TV reported.

The PML-N supremo said that Imran Khan’s long march has failed, adding that his rhetoric – which has sown the seeds of lies, hatred, and division – could not flourish, Samaa TV reported.

Nawaz Sharif also said his party is against the politics of revenge and hatred while its prime objective is to make the country self-reliant.

He suggested that the coalition government should start programmes like youth loans and provision of free electricity to people consuming less units.

PTI chief Imran Khan had earlier called out Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for consulting his elder brother Nawaz Sharif regarding the appointment of the new Army chief, The News reported.

“How can the PM consult a fugitive [Nawaz Sharif] on a chief of army staff’s appointment,” he asked, referring to Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to London last week.

“It is impossible to imagine that a convicted and fugitive person will now take important decisions in Pakistan,” he said.

The former premier added that they are only thinking about protecting their wealth, questioning whether they should “be trusted with the important decisions of the country?”

ALSO READ-Govt will not succumb to PTIs pressure, say Sharifs

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Imran under tight security at Lahore residence

Check-posts have also been set up at the entry and exit points of Zaman Park, while more security cameras have been installed to ensure safety…reports Asian Lite News

In view of security concerns for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, a security wall has been constructed outside his Lahore residence, a media report said.

According to Express Tribune, security was enhanced outside the former Prime Minister’s residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park area after a security alert was issued by the Special Branch.

Check-posts have also been set up at the entry and exit points of Zaman Park, while more security cameras have been installed to ensure safety, the report said.

A special desk has also been set up to keep a record of people visiting the former premier’s residence. Authorities have posted women police officers for checking at the entry points.

Meanwhile, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Lahore, Ghulam Muhammad Dogar, visited Zaman Park and reviewed the security arrangements.

Advisor to Punjab’s Chief Minister on home affairs, Omar Sarfraz Cheema, also reached Zaman Park and said that according to the latest reports, the PTI chief is facing security threats for which his security is being increased.

Cheema added that federal government agencies were not included in the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the Wazirabad attack on Khan because the latter has doubts about their heads.

President Arif Alvi is expected to arrive at Zaman Park on Friday to meet the PTI chief, Express Tribune reported.

The letter written by Khan to the President is expected to be considered during the meeting.

ALSO READ-Imran attempting to ruin Pak through agitation, says Shehbaz

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Only PM to appoint army chief ‘at any cost’

However, the source said both brothers agreed not to give in to Khan’s demand for snap elections…reports Asian Lite News

 As crucial discussions among various staakeeholders around the next Pakistan army chief’s appointment gain momentum within and outside the country, the Sharif brothers have reportedly decided in a London huddle that the prime minister will not buckle under any ‘pressure’ to make the all-important appointment – come what may, media report said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Thursday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been issued a diplomatic passport, paving the way for his impending return to the country, Dawn reported.

In the face of looming pressure from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to appoint a new army chief that would be acceptable to him, and announce early polls, both Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his elder brother Nawaz Sharif have decided that the powers of the premier to appoint the army chief will not be surrendered at any cost, a reliable source privy to the talks between the two brothers in London said, Dawn reported.

Insiders said that the prime minister had reportedly flown to London to place the options he was conveyed by certain quarters before his elder brother in the context of the fast-changing political scenario.

However, the source said both brothers agreed not to give in to Khan’s demand for snap elections.

“PM Shehbaz told Nawaz that almost all Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties are on the same page over the premier’s powers to appoint the army chief and complete the incumbent government’s tenure till August 2023. They (PML-N and allied parties) are even ready to sacrifice their government, but will not budge from their stance,” the source maintained, Dawn reported.

Nawaz’s children – Maryam, Hassan and Hussain – were also present in the meetings.

A PML-N insider said the coalition government had “certain pressures” from some quarters over the issue of army chief’s appointment and fresh polls. “That is why Shehbaz reached out to the party supremo to decide whether to accept some demands or not,” he said.

The prime minister had rushed to London on Wednesday on his way back from Egypt to have the ‘final word’ from his elder brother and party’s supreme leader, who has been in a self-imposed exile for three years, over the appointment of the new army chief. Sources said an extension to Gen Bajwa was also discussed during the meeting. Gen Bajwa’s tenure is set to end on November 29, Dawn reported.

This was Shehbaz Sharif’s third visit to the UK since taking over as premier in April this year.

ALSO READ-Govt will not succumb to PTIs pressure, say Sharifs

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Sikh Jatha arrives in Pakistan for Gurpurab

Indian Sikh pilgrims who will travel to Pakistan would visit Dera Sahib, Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib…reports Asian Lite News

Indian consular team in Pakistan is coordinating with the Sikh jatha who are there to visit various Gurdwaras on the occasion of Gurupurab.

They are on the ground facilitating their safety and security during their stay in Pakistan.

“@IndiainPakistan consular team is on the ground, with the Indian jatha visiting Pakistan for Gurupurab, coordinating with jatha leaders, local authorities for their safety, security and to facilitate their visit to various Gurdwaras in Pakistan,” tweeted the High Commission of India, Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Sikh pilgrims expressed disappointment after the Pakistani authorities rejected 586 visas, out of a total 1496 visas, of Indian Sikhs, wanting to visit the Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

“SGPC had applied for 1496 visas, out of which, 910 were approved but 586 were rejected. The visas are valid for 10 days, and those whose visas were rejected have been disappointed a lot. Government should not reject the religious visa,” said Harbhajan Singh.

“Both governments need to provide the facility of On Arrival Visa. The Visa office must be open at Attari-Wagah Border. The buses which used to run earlier, for the darshan of the Gurdwara of Pakistan were also stopped. That should run again. Like Delhi Lahore bus. Amritsar Nankana Sahib even the Samjota Exores train has been stopped. We should connect the people of both countries through religious places. “, he further stated.

Guru Nanak’s birth celebrations are scheduled to be held in Pakistan from November 6-15.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee spokesperson Harbhajan Singh said that on November 8, the pilgrims will be celebrating the Guru Nanak Dev’s anniversary at Pakistan’s Nankana sahib.

Indian Sikh pilgrims who will travel to Pakistan would visit Dera Sahib, Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib.

Pakistan on Friday informed that its High Commission in New Delhi has issued nearly 3,000 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims to attend the week-long birth celebrations of Guru Nanak.

“On the occasion of the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued 2,942 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to attend the Birth Celebrations scheduled to be held in Pakistan from 6-15 November 2022,” the Pakistan High Commission in India said in a statement. (ANI)

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