Text Bulletin 1500 hrs
Supreme Court has rejected PTI's plea to disqualify Prime Minister in Panama Papers case.
Minister of State for Information says the court's decision is in line with the stance adopted by PML-N.
Senate has been informed that Pakistan has signed a forty year agreement with China for the operations of Gwadar Port.
Commerce Minister says increased import of LNG will help overcome gas shortage in the country.
Foreign Office reiterated Pakistan wants result-oriented, constructive engagements with India to address all issues including Kashmir dispute.
Supreme Court has rejected PTI's plea to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers case and directed constitution of a Joint Investigation Team to probe the matter.
Pronouncing reserved judgment of the five member bench, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the JIT should be finalized within seven days.
The investigating team would submit its report to the bench of the Supreme Court on fortnightly basis.
The team will have representatives from Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau.
Head of the bench said it is a majority verdict of three to two judges. In their dissenting notes Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed said the Prime Minister should be de-notified.
The verdict comprises 540 pages and includes dissenting notes of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmad. The judgment has been written by Justice Aijaz Afzal.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa appreciated all parties to the case for displaying patience during hearing of the case.
Speaking to newsmen after announcement of the verdict, Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that court's decision has vindicated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's stance of establishing a joint investigation commission to probe the matter.
He said the apex court on Thursday exclusively established that the evidences presented before the court were insufficient.
Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the judgment is victory of democracy and people of Pakistan.
He said the judgment reflects that the failed politicians who intended to derail democracy have once again been defeated.
Railways Minister Saad Rafique talking to media said the government will fully cooperate with JIT.
He said that it is victory of Nawaz Sharif his team, and democracy loving people of Pakistan.
In his comments with Radio Pakistan Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said the judgment of the court is in line with the stance adopted by PML (N).
She said the Prime Minister had offered Joint Investigation Team so that there is transparency in investigations. She expressed the confidence that investigations of JIT would endorse the viewpoint of PML (N) and the Prime Minister.
Spokesman of the Prime Minister Musadik Malik expressed satisfaction over pronouncement of the verdict and said the opposition should have no objection to formation of the JIT.
In a tweet message, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the nation on Supreme Court's decision of not disqualifying the Prime in the Panama Papers case.
Counsel for Prime Minister's sons Salman Akram Raja said that majority decision is the real decision of the court.
He said the court has decided to go for investigations, which was our plea from the very beginning.
He said dissenting notes are no more than personal opinions.
Senate was informed on Thursday that Pakistan has signed a forty year agreement with China for the operations of Gwadar Port.
This was stated by Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo during the question hour under the agreement, China will carry out all development work on the Port.
Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Trainings Baligh-ur-Rehman told the House that one hundred thousand less educated and unskilled youth will be imparted training in different market oriented trades under the fourth phase PM's Youth Skill Development Programme.
He said that the main objective of his programme is to meet national, regional and international market demand of skilled labour force.
To a question, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz responding to a question told the House that Pakistan is continuing diplomatic efforts for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
He said that consular access is also being provided to the detainee.
Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar told the House that a total of two polio cases have so far been reported from Lodhran and Diamer this year.
She expressed the confidence that the country will be able to eliminate the virus this year.
The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline has begun, which is likely to be completed by 2020.
During question hour, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the construction of pipeline will also create job opportunities in backward areas along its route.
To a question, he said all new gas connections are provided strictly on turn basis through computer generated lists.
To another question, the Minister ruled out any discrimination against Sindh in provision of gas to the province. He said Sindh is getting more gas than it had been receiving in the PPP government.
On a point of order, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah urged the government to uphold Parliament's supremacy and honour.
He said it was the Parliament, which provided support to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the hour of need.
Later, PPP members boycotted the proceedings of the House.
Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir says Pakistan is transitioning from low growth to higher growth phase by addressing the supply side bottlenecks in energy and infrastructure sectors.
Making a policy statement in the National Assembly on Thursday, he said that the transitioning phase indicates strong positive impact on broader economic activities.
The Minister said that Pakistan's merchandise exports rose by ten percent in March this year.
The Minister said Pakistan's exports to EU have increased from 4.52 billion euros in 2013 to 6.28 billion euros last year.
The Commerce Minister said import of Liquefied Natural Gas increased by 144 percent this year, which will help overcome gas shortage in the country and meet the requirements of industry, especially fertilizer and power generations.
The House will now meet on Friday morning at 10:30.
Pakistan says the will of people in Occupied Kashmir is clearly visible in their outright rejection of sham elections there.
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in his weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday that brute force against innocent Kashmiris who refused to participate in shame elections reflected suppression of the human urge for freedom.
He expressed Pakistan's concern over statement last week by Indian Home Minister that the Indian Government will control the situation within a year and that New Delhi would do whatever it could for the purpose.
The spokesperson pointed out that this statement has been followed by operation against educational institutions. Dozens of colleges have been attacked injuring thousands of students both boys and girls.
The spokesperson said Pakistan wants meaningful, result-oriented, sustained and constructive engagements with India to address all issues particularly the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.
Replying to a question about RAW agent Kulbhushan Yadav, the spokesperson said he was tried in a transparent manner on charges of espionage, sabotage, subversion and terrorist activities in Pakistan.
To another question, he said disappearance of retired Colonel Habib Zahir of Pakistan Army from Nepal is a classic case of entrapment.
He reiterated that there was no organized presence of Daesh in Pakistan.
Eight more suspects involved in lynching Mashaal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, were arrested on Thursday.
According to police sources, the number of arrests in this case has risen to thirty two.
Meanwhile, a rally was taken out in Swabi on Thursday condemning the murder of Mashaal Khan.
The protestors demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of this inhuman act.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has termed the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran a failure and said the US is carrying out a comprehensive review of its policy towards that country.
Talking to reporters, Mr Tillerson said, the deal has failed to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran and only delays its goal of becoming a nuclear state.