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It’s Official: Mike Pence enters 2024 White House race

Launching his campaign will put Pence face-to-face with former President Donald Trump…reports Asian Lite News

Former US Vice President Mike Pence has filed the official paperwork to join the 2024 presidential race and is slated to announce his bid on Wednesday to enter an increasingly crowded field for the Republican Party’s White House nomination.

The 63-year-old, who considers himself “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order”, will formally launch his campaign with a video, speech and townhall event in the early voting state of Iowa on Wednesday.

Launching his campaign will put Pence face-to-face with former President Donald Trump, reports the BBC.

Relations between the two soured after Trump turned on Pence for lacking “courage” after the latter refused to help overturn the 2020 election results.

They have largely kept their distance since January 6, 2021, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol and were heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”.

On his part, Trump had said that Pence “very greatly disappointed me” on the day the electoral votes were certified.

Calm and soft-spoken, Pence began his career in conservative politics as a talk radio host. He was elected to the House in 2000 and served until 2013.

When Pence was the Governor of Indiana from 2013-17, he passed the largest tax cut in the state’s history and signed bills to restrict abortion and protect religious freedom.

Besides Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is planning to announce his candidacy on Tuesday at a town hall event in New Hampshire, where the first Republican primary election will be held.

After his 2016 presidential bid failed, Christie allied himself with Trump, leading the incoming president’s transition team and preparing him for debates against incumbent President Joe Biden in 2020.

But Christie has become a critic of Trump since the Capitol riot, calling the latter “a TV star, nothing more, nothing less”.

After months of speculation, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 bid during a live Twitter Spaces event, which was plagued by a technical glitch, delaying his announcement by at least 20 minutes.

The other names that that have already announced their bids for the Republican Party nomination are former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Indian-American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former two-term Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, businessman Perry Johnson and conservative radio host Larry Elder.

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Pak rights body demands repeal of blasphemy laws

Only in 2021 at least 90 and in 2022 around 100 individuals faced blasphemy threats either at workplaces or during fields activities…reports Asian Lite News

Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) has demanded the repeal of the blasphemy laws and to stop the practice of victimization in Pakistan.

The registered cases, either imprisoned or not, have reached a whopping number of around 3,000 while the non-registered cases are more and both categories are most scary, have relocated and finding protection within the country or other parts of the land. The prisoners should be set free, the protections of non-registered should be ensured, HRFP has demanded, according to an official release.

HRFP, on the basis of its recent findings and investigations has urged authorities of Pakistan that at least 1472 individuals were charged under the blasphemy cases from 1987 to 2016 with 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmadiyas, 187 Christians, 21 Hindus and others.

“The numbering of registered cases has reached around 3000 in 2023 because of increasing average during the last 5 to 7 years while the non-registered are doubled. The data shows that until October 2019, 17 people convicted of blasphemy were on death row, while many others are serving life sentences for related offenses (295 A/B/C), and as per media reports since 1990 to 2019 at least 65 people have been murdered over claims of blasphemy,” the HRFP said in an official press release.

Only in 2021 at least 90 and in 2022 around 100 individuals faced blasphemy threats either at workplaces or during fields activities. From registered and non-registered cases only few got bails, and got a chance to flee and relocated in other places but the all are facing threats all the time even imprisoned or not, the release added.

Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) stated that the laws in Pakistan have been misused against religious minorities as soft targets and innocents of all religions even to Muslims as well, that enables and encourages the perpetrators for legal discrimination and persecution on the name of religion and beliefs.

When a Christian, Hindu, or other member of a religious minority is attacked, the entire family and community may also come under attack, according to Naveed Walter, the President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP). In the past, there are examples when whole minorities’ communities have been set on fire, like in Gojra in 2009 and in Joseph Colony, Lahore in 2013.

Naveed Walter president HRFP said that the recent example of an imprisoned from last 4 years is of Noman Masih a Christian youth of 22, the local court on 2 June 2023 in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur has sentenced him to death and imposed a fine of PKR 200,000 for allegedly sharing blasphemous content through WhatsApp.

Musarrat Bibi from Pakpattan who was alleged with coworker Muhammad Sarmad for burning Quranic pages on 15 April 2023. Both got bails but the threats did not come to an end as like the two nurses Mariam and Neush case of Faisalabad who falsely alleged to blasphemy on 8 April 2021, imprisoned and got bails, Naveed Walter added, as per the HRFP release.

There are case studies of non-registered like James Masih, a Christian sanitary worker in Tehsil Headquarter (THQ) hospital Layyah was charged for blasphemy on 5 October 2022 by local Muslim woman Nazia during a conflict of medical examined from doctor Maqsood where James Masih was performing his duties. Nazia provoked people by her video on social media to kill James Masih and family alleging that he spoke against Prophet Muhammad and harassed her as well. Jackson Sohails case is also one of the non-registered cases who belonged to Faisalabad and on 13 October 2022 he was alleged for blasphemy when he was at workplace in Lahore and had a conflict with colleague there. The normal lives are harder for all categories, HRFP added.

Naveed Walter said that the mob attacks and targeted attacks are common in these cases. He mentioned Ashok Kumar a sanitation worker of Hyderabad who was accused of burning the Qur’an in August last year when a violent mob attempted to kill him but police arrested him before reaching of mob to get him.

Similarly, a Hindu teacher who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court on 8 February 2022 over charges of blasphemy in Ghotki, Sindh was also a survivor of mob attack.

Naveed Walter said the recent other series of murdering minorities in multiple issues are not coming to an end but have been increasing day by day.

“On 6 May 2023 a Sikh man Paramjit Singh Panjwar has murdered in Lahore. On 12 April 2023 Pervaiz Masih a Christian was shot to dead in Turbat. On 31 March 2023 Dayal Singh a Sikh businessman in Peshawar was murdered and a year before Dayal Singh’s cousins Kuljit Singh and Ranjit Singh were murdered in Peshawar. On 30 March 2023 Dr. Birbal Genani, a Hindu doctor was murdered in Karachi. On 7 March 2023 Dr.Dharam Dev Rathi was killed in Hyderabad. These are the few examples of this half year,” Naveed Walter added. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Pakistan under Norway scanner

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Australia to end migrant worker exploitation

Employers who are found to have exploited migrants will be prohibited from further hiring workers on temporary visas…reports Asian Lite News

The Australian government on Monday announced a crackdown to better protect temporary visa holders from exploitation and employers who are caught violating the new federal laws could face criminal penalties.

According to a report published by thinktank the Grattan Institute in May, one in six recent migrants to Australia is paid less than the minimum wage, reports Xinhua news agency.

Under the changes, which will be introduced to parliament within weeks, coercing someone into breaching their visa condition will be made a criminal offence.

Employers who are found to have exploited migrants will be prohibited from further hiring workers on temporary visas.

Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles described the current situation as a “crisis of exploitation”.

“When migrant workers are being underpaid – it hurts all of us, driving wages and conditions down for everyone,” he said in a statement.

“These reforms will help workers speak up and target those employers who do the wrong thing.”

A section of the Migration Act will also be scrapped to make it easier for visa holders to report exploitative behaviour.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) will receive an extra A$50 million ($32 million) in funding for enforcement activities.

“Over the last 10 years our migration system has drifted deeper and deeper into reliance on low-paid temporary migrant workers who we know are routinely exploited,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said.

“We are in consultation on systemic changes to our migration system which will ensure it works in the interests of Australian workers and businesses, and we are also doing the work necessary to ensure that no one who comes to this country is exploited or abused.”

ALSO READ: Australian economy unhurt by China’s economic coercion

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Pakistan’s epidemic of ‘enforced disappearances’ now hits Punjab

Pakistani agencies are now implementing the same modus operandi that was used in Balochistan…reports Rahul Kumar

Pakistan’s legendary human rights abuse of “enforced disappearances” in strife-torn Balochistan is now getting mainstreamed in the Punjab province as various paramilitary forces and agencies go on a kidnapping spree.

In just a couple of months since the Baloch community was protesting over the State-sponsored kidnapping of Mahal Baloch and atrocities on other Baloch women, Pakistani agencies are now implementing the same modus operandi on people in Punjab – Pakistan’s most prosperous and powerful region.

The latest to be abducted is lawyer and rights activist Jibran Nasir, who was reportedly picked up on Thursday night. According to his actor wife Mansha Pasha, nearly 15 armed men in plain clothes picked him up. Nasir’s abduction is one of the recent spate of high-profile abductions in the last few weeks beginning with the Pakistani Army’s crackdown on Imran Khan’s supporters in the wake of the audacious May 9 mass attacks on army properties.

This follows the abduction of anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan who had been arrested from Sialkot and has remained missing since then.

Similarly, senior journalist Sami Abraham had been kidnapped by unidentified men in Pakistan capital Islamabad, but was lucky as he came back a week later. Abraham’s abduction was dramatic as his car was intercepted by four vehicles after he left the BOL TV office and nearly ten men took him away. Abraham’s driver was left behind with the car but no keys.

In just a fortnight, former Pakistani army official, Major Adil Raja’s mother and sister were attacked twice by gunmen in unmarked vehicles. Raja claims they were dragged and terrorised on May 16. Soon after on 1 June, Raja’s mother, uncle and cousin were abducted from Rawalpindi, the seat of the Pakistani Army, by armed men, in unmarked vehicles.

The flood human rights abuse taking place across the country including the Punjab province has drawn attention from the besieged Baloch community. In a tweet, Baloch activist on enforced disappearances, Mama Qadeer Baloch said: “The cycle of #enforceddisappearances, which began in remote corners of #Balochistan due to the absence of civil society and modern technology, is spreading to #Pakistan’s bustling cities. If we don’t unite, it will affect each of us individually. I support Jibran’s friends and family and demand his immediate release”.

A heavily militarised Balochistan has been witnessing thousands of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and tortures. The mineral-rich but poverty-infested province has been fighting for independence for the last seven decades from Islamabad’s control. The Baloch even claim that the hundreds of mutilated and rotting bodies found on the roof of the Nishtar hospital in October 2022 belonged to the Baloch people who had been forcibly kidnapped.

The Baloch have held one of the longest protests of over 5,000 days demanding the release of their kidnapped brethren. Most of the protestors happen to be women looking for their fathers, brothers and sons – killed or kidnapped by Pakistani security and spy agencies. The agencies have been increasingly using strongarm tactics against Baloch women and students by assaulting and abducting them.

Pointing out the Pakistani Army’s ingenuous ways to torture people, Mahganj Baloch of the Baloch National Movement told India Narrative in an exclusive interview that “the ISI tortured me in a hospital and not in a torture cell”. She was always surrounded by men from the Pakistani army, the Frontier Corps and the ISI. She added that most of the disappeared Baloch women do not come back and their families do not have access to courts or legal remedies.

Enforced disappearances and torture, which was exclusive to the Baloch till now is being deployed by the Pakistani government across the nation.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with

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Shehbaz refutes PTI’s claims on rights abuses

PTI is holding demonstrations overseas and claiming in international media that human rights violations are taking place in Pakistan…reports Asian Lite News

Rejecting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) ‘propaganda’ against rights abuses in the country, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday that every case related to the violence committed by the party on May 9 is being dealt with due process under the law, media reports said.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister wrote: “I assure everyone that the culprits are being dealt with under the law and that I will ensure that no rights violations take place,” The News reported.

Violent protests erupted in Pakistan on May 9 leaving dozens injured across several cities with demonstrators attacking military buildings after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested.

The police launched a crackdown against all those allegedly involved in the violence, vowing to hold each one of them accountable. However, PTI is holding demonstrations overseas and claiming in international media that human rights violations are taking place in Pakistan.

Sharif said Pakistan fully respects and is committed to all its constitutional and international obligations on human rights.

He said the PTI chief in his interviews with international media outlets is openly and deliberately disinforming local and foreign audiences by “glib-talk laced with fake news and plain misrepresentation”, The News reported.

“His expedient description of the post-May 9 events as ‘human rights abuses’ and ‘stifling of the right to political protest’ is not only misleading, but aimed at manipulating and swaying opinion-makers outside the country,” Sharif wrote.

The premier categorically stated that what PTI did on May 9 was a “brazen attack on the state of Pakistan, with malafide intent and sinister objectives”.

“No country in the world will tolerate such an attempt at destroying its integrity,” he said, The News reported.

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Haley attacks Trump, DeSantis over Ukraine

Haley and many of her rivals polling in single digits are trying to differentiate themselves from DeSantis…reports Asian Lite News

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, UN ambassador under former President Donald Trump, went after her ex-boss and 2024 rival Ron DeSantis on Sunday over their refusal to say whether they want Ukraine to win its war against Russia.

In recent town hall events, Donald Trump, the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, said that he wanted the war to end, but that he would help Ukraine and Russia negotiate a settlement.

Florida Governor DeSantis, Donald Trump’s nearest rival for the Republican nomination, said recently that he supports a settlement to the war, and that he hopes fighting will end by the time the next president takes the oath of office in January 2025.

Haley, the only woman in the race for the Republican nomination, lambasted DeSantis for saying this year that Ukraine was a “territorial dispute”, a comment that drew widespread criticism and that he has since walked back.

“For them to sit there and say that this is a territorial dispute – that’s just not the case, or to say that we should stay neutral,” Haley told voters in the early nominating state of Iowa during a televised CNN town hall event.

“It’s in the best interest of our national security for Ukraine to win,” she added.

Ukraine is an issue that divides Republicans, because of an isolationist streak among many of the party’s primary voters.

Haley, 51, a former South Carolina governor, declared her White House bid in February but finds herself in a crowded Republican field that will reach double digits this week with the entrance of more contenders, including former Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump dominates the field among potential Republican primary voters with 49% support. DeSantis is next with 19%. There is a yawning chasm between them and the rest of the field, including Haley; she has just 4% support, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted in May.

Haley and many of her rivals polling in single digits are trying to differentiate themselves from DeSantis, in the hope that he stumbles and they can become the main alternative to Trump.

But some have also begun to criticize Trump himself, after months of shrinking away from attacking the former president out of a fear of alienating his hardcore supporters.

On Sunday she also criticized Trump for congratulating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week after the country was elected to the executive board of the World Health Organization. Trump has also praised the North Korean leader in the past.

“Kim Jong Un is a thug,” Haley said. “I don’t think we should congratulate dictators.”

Trump also took fire from DeSantis and Pence over congratulating Kim, in separate weekend events in Iowa, the state that kicks of the nominating battle next year.

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PTI President Parvez Elahi sent to jail

Elahi was detained for the third time by the Punjab ACE on Saturday after a local court in Gujranwala awarded him relief in two corruption allegations…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Parvez Elahi on Sunday was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in illegal appointments case, reported Geo News.

On Sunday, a Lahore anti-corruption court denied the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment’s (ACE) request for physical detention of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi in the Punjab Assembly unlawful recruitments case. Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Virk sentenced the former Punjab chief minister to 14 days in prison.

Earlier today, the former Punjab chief minister, who was arrested by ACE authorities for allegedly making unlawful appointments in the Punjab Assembly, appeared in court in Lahore under tight security, Geo News.

Elahi was detained for the third time by the Punjab ACE on Saturday after a local court in Gujranwala awarded him relief in two corruption allegations.

According to an ACE spokeswoman, Elahi illegally recruited 12 people for grade 17 jobs in the Punjab Assembly.

By manipulating the documents, the candidates were recruited in the provincial legislature. “The illegal recruitments were made through fake testing services,” claimed the spokesperson reported Geo News.

Imran divorced Reham Khan via email at Bushra Bibi’s behest, claims former aide

Bushra Bibi summoned by NAB

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Rawalpindi has summoned Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi on June 7 to record her statement as a trustee of the Al-Qadir University Trust in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) UK settlement case, Pakistan-based The News International reported.

The NAB’s combined investigation team (CIT) summoned Imran Khan on June 7. The sources have revealed that Bushra Bibi’s statement will be recorded as a witness. NAB under the new law is bound to tell a person whether he/she is being summoned as an accused or a witness to record the statement. Following the procedure, the NAB’s CIT has already recorded the statements of previous government ministers. NAB also asked for the records of all the donations that Al-Qadir University has received and those who donated to the trust, The News International reported.

Last week, NAB told the accountability court that the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Bushra Bibi was not required. The CIT was not satisfied with the response given by Imran Khan in his last appearance and asked him to respond to NAB’s questionnaire on June 7, which was given to him in his last appearance, The News International reported citing sources.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case has been extended till June 19 against the surety bonds of Rs 500,000, Pakistan-based Dawn reported. Earlier, the PTI Chief Khan arrived at the Federal Judicial Complex shortly after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed him to approach a relevant accountability court within three working days. The judge extended Khan’s bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case till June 19 against surety bonds worth Rs 500,000, as per the news report.

The Al-Qadir Trust case alleges that the PTI chief and his wife, Bushra Bibi, obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from a real estate firm for legalising PKR 50 billion that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government, as per the news report. On May 9, the PTI Chief was arrested after which a protest sparked across Pakistan. (ANI)

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Imran Khan’s trial likely in military court

Asif said Imran’s trial in a military court was more likely to take place provided that evidence of his involvement in the mayhem came to light…reports Asian Lite News

He also confirmed that no case had been registered against Imran so far in connection with the May 9 attacks, the media outlet reported.

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said the chances are that PTI Chairman Imran Khan could be tried in a military court in connection with his alleged involvement in the May 9 attacks on civil and military installations in different cities — days after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had hinted at that possibility too, a media outlet reported.

The Defence Minister told The Express Tribune that the former premier could stand trial in a military court if evidence of his involvement in the May 9 violence surfaced in the coming days.

He also confirmed that no case had been registered against Imran so far in connection with the May 9 attacks, the media outlet reported.

“Definitely… there are chances that Imran Khan can be tried in a military court,” the minister said while responding to a question if the deposed premier could be prosecuted under the Army Act.

Earlier, Asif was reported as saying that no decision had been made in connection with trying Imran under the Army Act but he had not ruled out that possibility, allegedly on the grounds that the PTI chief was the mastermind behind the May 9 violence and knew everything about what was happening on that day.

Now, Asif has said Imran’s trial in a military court was more likely to take place provided that evidence of his involvement in the mayhem came to light, Express Tribune reported.

The Defence Minister’s remarks have come on the heels of the statement by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who said Imran would face trial in a military court for his “role” in the May 9 attacks.

ALSO READ: Crackdown on Imran’s network expands to Punjab, KPK

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Crackdown on Imran’s network expands to Punjab, KPK

Fresh steps have been taken to break-up the Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, following key arrests, reports Atul Aneja

The operation to dismantle the eco-system marshalled by Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan has continued its steady advance, but some key roadblocks need to be cleared before a new military-backed dispensation can assume power in Islamabad.

In the last 24 hours, fresh steps have been taken to break-up the Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, following key arrests.

These include detention of former Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi, a top ally of Khan who was produced in court on Friday.

Elahi was rearrested in another corruption case shortly after being released on the orders of an anti-corruption court in Lahore.

As the establishment focused on the power hub of Punjab, another former Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar of the PTI also parted company with the ex-PM.

Addressing a press conference, Buzdar said: “First of all, I condemn the May 9 incidents. The military installations which were targeted were properties of the state of Pakistan and I believe we should avoid such incidents.”

Buzdar was referring to the shocking May 9 attacks on key military icons including the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, the residence of the Lahore corps commander as well as the martyrs’ memorial.

There were desertions as well from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ex-PM’s base. Former chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak on Thursday surrendered the party’s provisional presidential position.

Over 80 PTI members have already deserted Khan’s sinking ship. These include former Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, ex-information minister Fawad Chaudhry among a large number of lesser luminaries. On Friday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif claimed that PTI Vice-Chairman and former foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is now jailed following the May 9 attacks, will part company with Imran Khan as soon as he finds an alternative.

“Shah Mahmood had told me he wanted to join the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) when he left the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party),” the defence minister was quoted as saying.

He also claimed that Qureshi had met PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in this regard.

As nodes of Khan’s influence are rooted out step-by-step, three problems remain. These include tackling the judiciary, especially Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who has backed the ex-PM so far. Second, Khan’s support base in the diaspora has also to be weakened. Finally, decks have to cleared for the return from London of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been convicted for corruption following the Panama Papers leak, before general elections can be staged in October.

As reported by India Narrative earlier, considerable thought is being given to designating the PTI as a terror outfit, following the May 9 attacks.

The terror designation of PTI will have three key implications. First, it will eliminate intervention by the courts to save Khan from the wrath of the establishment. Pakistani analysts are of the view that once the party is designated as terrorist, any related development will be out of the courts’ jurisdiction. In that eventuality, the decks will be cleared to try Khan in military courts, over which the civilian courts would be unable to exercise any jurisdiction.

Second, declaration of the PTI as terror organisation can also weaken Khan’s supporters abroad. Once the party is declared terrorist, the Pakistani establishment has the right to seek extradition of the party kingpins abroad, provided there is an extradition treaty with the host country.

Third, some Pakistani commentators say that the fear of PTI being branded as a terrorist organisation is adding urgency to the desertions from the Party.

Regarding Nawaz Sharif’s return from exile in London, the PML (N) will file a review plea in the Supreme Court to revisit the decision of disqualifying the former PM of holding public office and post of party president, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News.

Pakistan Supreme Court had imposed the ban for hiding unpaid salary from his son in the Panama case.

Sharif has demanded resignation of the Bandial, who has been accused of favouring Khan.

It has been reported the CJP Bandial’s cousin, a supporter of PTI is the wife of former Lahore Corps Commandeer Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Salman Fayyaz Ghani. Ghani is facing court martial for his alleged role in allowing May 9 rioters to enter the Corps Commander’s residence in Lahore.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with

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Erdogan vows new constitution

The current Turkish constitution was introduced in 1982 and has been amended 19 times since then….reports Asian Lite News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to introduce a new constitution to replace the current one, as he officially began a new five-year term as the Turkish head of state.

In his inauguration speech at the presidential palace, Erdogan on Saturday said the current constitution was “a product of the (1980) coup” and that it needed to be replaced with “a libertarian, civil and inclusive one” that would strengthen democracy.

The current Turkish constitution was introduced in 1982 and has been amended 19 times since then. The last amendment in 2017 introduced a presidential system and abolished the parliamentary system, Xinhua news agency reported.

Erdogan, sworn in by the country’s parliament for a third term as President earlier on Saturday, also said the country had set foot on a new path and was entering what he called the “Century of Turkey,” urging the Turkish people to “transcend the limitations of election-focused discussions” and “turn their gaze toward the future”.

Erdogan won 52.18 per cent of votes in the presidential runoff on May 28 against his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the centre-left Republican People’s Party.

The President, who has been leading the country since he became Prime Minister in 2003, became the first executive president of Turkey in 2018 following a constitutional referendum in 2017 which changed Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential one.

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