Two former Pakistan premiers summoned in high treason case

The combo shows former premiers of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, left, and Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2018

Two former Pakistan premiers summoned in high treason case

  • A petition was filed against ex-PM Nawaz Sharif to try him for high treason after his controversial interview with journalist Cyril Almeida, in which Sharif said the 26/11 Mumbai attackers belonged to Pakistan
  • Former Prime Minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi is accused of leaking details of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting summoned on Shairf’s statement, thus violating his oath

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared before Lahore High Court on Monday in a high treason case filed against him after his controversial interview given to the daily newspaper Dawn.
Among the co-accused appearing alongside Sharif were ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and journalist Cyril Almeida.
Sharif, after his ouster from the government, had said in his interview with Almeida for Dawn that the attackers involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks belonged to Pakistan. The interview sparked controversy across the country and led to a National Security Council (NSC) meeting held on his statement.
Abbasi, the then prime minister, was accused of sharing the NSC meeting’s minutes with his predecessor and the party supremo, Nawaz Sharif, which was a violation of the Official Secret Act of 1923.
Civil society activist Amna Malik filed a petition against Sharif, claiming his controversial interview had dented the country’s image and sovereignty. She argued that Abbasi violated his oath as PM by leaking the confidential information to Sharif and thus prayed to the court that all three respondents — Sharif, Abbasi and Almeida — should be tried for high treason according to Article 6 of the Constitution.
Security around the court premises was beefed up: Heavy contingents of Rangers and police were deployed as several Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers gathered outside the court awaiting the arrival of their party’s supremo and surrounded him as soon as Sharif reached the premises.
As the hearing began, the three-judge bench comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Atir Mahmood and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir, questioned the Deputy Attorney General, Mian Tariq, about the action taken by the government under Article 6 of the Constitution.
The court noted that “this is a sensitive issue.”
“Taking action under Article 6 is the government’s job,” Justice Jahangir remarked.
Justice Naqvi ordered a complete report on the matter to be submitted to the court by the attorney general.
During the last hearing, Almeida’s name was placed on the Exit Control List and non-bailable warrants for his arrest were issued after his failure to attend the previous hearings.
Almeida’s counsel, Advocate Ahmed Rauf, had filed written replies and comments on behalf of his client before Monday’s hearing, after which the court ordered the journalist’s name to be removed from the no-fly list and the warrants were withdrawn.
During the hearing, Abbasi’s lawyer requested the court adjourn the hearing until after the by-polls scheduled to take place on Oct. 14. Accepting the request, the bench adjourned the hearing until Oct. 22.


Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.