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Dawn News RSS feeds

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    The value of the dollar shot up by as much as Rs11.70 in the interbank market during intrading trading on Tuesday, before closing at Rs133.64.

    It had closed the previous day at Rs124.27 to the dollar a day earlier.

    The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) explained the move as reflective of current account dynamics and a demand-supply gap in the foreign exchange market.

    "Although the current account deficit narrowed in August 2018, a consistent increase in the oil import bill on account of rising international oil prices has exerted pressure in the foreign exchange market," the central bank said in a statement.

    "The SBP is of the view that this adjustment in the exchange rate along with lagged impact of recent hikes in the policy rate and other policy measures to contain imports will correct the imbalances in the external account," it continued.

    The SBP will continue to closely monitor the situation and stand ready to intervene in case of any unwarranted volatility in the foreign exchange market," it concluded.

    The dollar has been on an appreciating trend, reaching Rs124.30 in the interbank market on Oct 5, with rates in the open market reaching Rs127.80 on Saturday.

    The interbank rate today rested at Rs124 as the market opened, rose to Rs138, then dipped to Rs133.

    For the past few days, the open market rate of the US dollar has been Rs4-5 higher than the interbank rate. The open market rate is Rs134 to Rs135 today, according to General Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan Secretary Zafar Paracha.

    Currency dealers fear the alarming increase will fan panic in the market for dollars, causing a buying frenzy for the US dollar.

    Take a look: Road to Washington

    They speculate that the sudden increase in the price of the USD could be a result of rupee devaluation — the fifth time since Dec 2017 — by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in order to secure a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Fund has demanded the government devalue the rupee by at least 15 per cent.

    "The central bank has given an indication to let the rupee go with market forces," a broker was quoted as saying by Reuters. The rupee is widely believed to be under a managed float. However, with the pressure that the currency is facing, observers had predicted further devaluation as they said it would be hard for the SBP to defend it for much longer.

    Saad Hashmi, research director for brokerage Topline Securities had said last week: “Given the foreign exchange reserves at the SBP, I don’t think the bank has enough fire power to bring the rate down.”

    He added that he expects “a slight devaluation at this point, and then eventually a 135-140 level in the next eight to 12 months”.

    Bankers and experts have said that the rupee value in the currency market was already reflective of its true position, suggesting that there was no need for the government to further devalue the local currency.

    Zafar Paracha had earlier warned that an immediate devaluation could result in market disequilibrium similar to earlier instances when banks were offering high price of dollars and open market trading was much below the official rates.

    Forex Association President Malik Bostan advised the government to be cautious. "It shouldn't devalue the currency so much that it robs people of their purchasing power," he said.

    "They [government] are going to the IMF now and they have devalued the currency on the Fund's demand. I think the government has shot itself in the foot."

    Not all believe that reaching out to the Fund for help is alarming. Suleman Maniya, head of research at Shajar Capital told Reuters that it was a "positive rather than a negative thing" as it would assure stakeholders that the government would meet the targets that it sets for itself. The shortage of foreign reserves, though, is cause for concern, according to Reuters.

    The state bank’s foreign reserves were down to $9 billion in the week ending Sept 19, enough to cover just two months' worth of imports, down some $300 million from the previous week, according to SBP data.

    Though the Finance Ministry has not clarified how much money the country needs in foreign reserves, Finance Minister Asad Umar has said that Pakistan has to make external debt payments amounting to $8bn by December this year.

    Pakistan’s economy has been wobbly for months amid speculation that Prime Minister Imran Khan's new government would request the country’s 13th IMF bailout since the late 1980s.

    A formal announcement in this regard was made yesterday, with the government confirming that it would approach the IMF for balance-of-payments support and enter into a stabilisation programme.

    Market analyst Muzammil Aslam, while speaking to DawnNewsTV said that once Pakistan would receive funds from the IMF, the economy would stabilise.

    "I don't think it will go up to Rs150, the government won't allow the economy to spin out of control," he added.

    Senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Ali Zaidi said that the jump in the exchange rate would "affect everyone, even us ministers".

    "But just bear with it for a while and everything will fall into place," he said.


    Currency dealers fear the alarming increase will fan panic in the market for dollars, causing a buying frenzy for the US dollar. — Photo/FileCurrency dealers fear the alarming increase will fan panic in the market for dollars, causing a buying frenzy for the US dollar. — Photo/File

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    Five officials working at the Islamabad International Airport (IIA) were injured in two separate incidents on Tuesday, DawnNewsTV reported.

    A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) official was injured when an aerobridge collapsed, while four employees of Gerry's dnata suffered injuries when the ceiling of the baggage handling section collapsed.

    As the Gulf Airline's flight GF771, heading from Islamabad to Bahrain, began to taxi, it was separated from a passenger boarding bridge which then collapsed.

    The collapsed bridge at Islamabad International Airport. — Photo provided by author
    The collapsed bridge at Islamabad International Airport. — Photo provided by author

    Bridge operator Mohammad Mudassir was moving the bridge back when it collapsed. He suffered injuries from the broken glass, however, the airline proceeded safely towards its destination, airport officials said.

    Later in the day, a baggage handling section belonging to Gerry's dnata experienced the collapse of its ceiling, resulting in injuries to four people and damage to two computers which were rendered useless.

    According to airport officials, the injured were rushed to the trauma centre for medical attention.

    Meanwhile, a four-member inquiry board was formed to probe the aerobridge collapse. The inquiry board will be headed by Deputy Director General of Airport Services Syed Amir Mehboob. Other members include Director Projects Lahore Airport Siddiqur Rehman, Manager Peshawar Airport Ubaidur Rehman, and Senior Deputy Director Kamal Khan.

    The inquiry board will investigate the reasons behind the bridge's collapse and whether the bridge was properly attached to the aircraft. It will also look into the damages incurred post-accident and the quality and performance of other passenger boarding bridges at the airport.

    The findings will be presented before the relevant authorities in two weeks.

    Earlier this month, the airport manager of the Islamabad was dismissed after stray dogs were seen wandering the facility's premises on video.

    Footage obtained by DawnNewsTV showed a pack of at least five stray dogs roaming outside the airport's lounge in the basement. In a potential safety hazard, the dogs could be heard barking at passengers proceedings towards the parking with their luggage.

    Officials at IAA had told DawnNewsTV this was not a one-off incident; strays dogs have been spotted on the airport's premises regularly in recent weeks.

    The newly constructed airport was inaugurated less than six months ago in May after going through its share of hiccups.


    As the Gulf Airline's flight GF771 began to taxi, it was separated from an aerobridge which collapsed.As the Gulf Airline's flight GF771 began to taxi, it was separated from an aerobridge which collapsed.

    — Photo provided by author— Photo provided by author

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    The government has appointed political scientist and journalist Dr Farrukh Saleem as its spokesperson on economy and energy issues, it emerged on Tuesday.

    While making the announcement on Twitter, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said a notification will be issued regarding the appointment later.

    An economist, financial analyst and TV personality, Saleem also writes columns for English-language daily The News.

    The news of his appointment comes a day after the government announced its decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance-of-payments support and entering into a stabilisation programme.

    Amidst reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants his cabinet members to take the parliament and masses into confidence over his government's economic plans, Dr Saleem's appointment appears to be a move aimed at addressing continuing uncertainty on economic policy and its impact on local markets.

    The government's IMF announcement had come on Monday after the stock market suffered an over 1,300-point plunge, losing almost Rs270 billion of its capitalisation — the highest single-day loss in a decade.

    Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had appointed Dr Saleem to formulate terms of reference for identifying causes of ever-increasing losses of the Pakistan International Airlines.


    Dr Farrukh Saleem. — Photo courtesy: Zemtv.comDr Farrukh Saleem. — Photo courtesy: Zemtv.com

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    The value of the dollar shot up by as much as Rs11.70 in the interbank market during trading on Tuesday before closing at Rs133.64.

    It had closed the previous day at Rs124.27 to the dollar a day earlier.

    The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) explained the move as reflective of current account dynamics and a demand-supply gap in the foreign exchange market.

    "Although the current account deficit narrowed in August 2018, a consistent increase in the oil import bill on account of rising international oil prices has exerted pressure in the foreign exchange market," the central bank said in a statement.

    "The SBP is of the view that this adjustment in the exchange rate along with lagged impact of recent hikes in the policy rate and other policy measures to contain imports will correct the imbalances in the external account," it continued.

    The SBP will continue to closely monitor the situation and stand ready to intervene in case of any unwarranted volatility in the foreign exchange market," it concluded.

    The dollar has been on an appreciating trend, reaching Rs124.30 in the interbank market on Oct 5, with rates in the open market reaching Rs127.80 on Saturday.

    The interbank rate today rested at Rs124 as the market opened, rose to Rs138, then dipped to Rs133.

    For the past few days, the open market rate of the US dollar has been Rs4-5 higher than the interbank rate. The open market rate is Rs134 to Rs135 today, according to General Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan Secretary Zafar Paracha.

    Currency dealers fear the alarming increase will fan panic in the market for dollars, causing a buying frenzy for the US dollar.

    Take a look: Road to Washington

    They speculate that the sudden increase in the price of the USD could be a result of rupee devaluation — the fifth time since Dec 2017 — by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in order to secure a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Fund has demanded the government devalue the rupee by at least 15 per cent.

    "The central bank has given an indication to let the rupee go with market forces," a broker was quoted as saying by Reuters. The rupee is widely believed to be under a managed float. However, with the pressure that the currency is facing, observers had predicted further devaluation as they said it would be hard for the SBP to defend it for much longer.

    Saad Hashmi, research director for brokerage Topline Securities had said last week: “Given the foreign exchange reserves at the SBP, I don’t think the bank has enough fire power to bring the rate down.”

    He added that he expects “a slight devaluation at this point, and then eventually a 135-140 level in the next eight to 12 months”.

    Bankers and experts have said that the rupee value in the currency market was already reflective of its true position, suggesting that there was no need for the government to further devalue the local currency.

    Zafar Paracha had earlier warned that an immediate devaluation could result in market disequilibrium similar to earlier instances when banks were offering high price of dollars and open market trading was much below the official rates.

    Forex Association President Malik Bostan advised the government to be cautious. "It shouldn't devalue the currency so much that it robs people of their purchasing power," he said.

    "They [government] are going to the IMF now and they have devalued the currency on the Fund's demand. I think the government has shot itself in the foot."

    Not all believe that reaching out to the Fund for help is alarming. Suleman Maniya, head of research at Shajar Capital told Reuters that it was a "positive rather than a negative thing" as it would assure stakeholders that the government would meet the targets that it sets for itself. The shortage of foreign reserves, though, is cause for concern, according to Reuters.

    The state bank’s foreign reserves were down to $9 billion in the week ending Sept 19, enough to cover just two months' worth of imports, down some $300 million from the previous week, according to SBP data.

    Though the Finance Ministry has not clarified how much money the country needs in foreign reserves, Finance Minister Asad Umar has said that Pakistan has to make external debt payments amounting to $8bn by December this year.

    Pakistan’s economy has been wobbly for months amid speculation that Prime Minister Imran Khan's new government would request the country’s 13th IMF bailout since the late 1980s.

    A formal announcement in this regard was made yesterday, with the government confirming that it would approach the IMF for balance-of-payments support and enter into a stabilisation programme.

    Market analyst Muzammil Aslam, while speaking to DawnNewsTV said that once Pakistan would receive funds from the IMF, the economy would stabilise.

    "I don't think it will go up to Rs150, the government won't allow the economy to spin out of control," he added.

    Senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Ali Zaidi said that the jump in the exchange rate would "affect everyone, even us ministers".

    "But just bear with it for a while and everything will fall into place," he said.


    Currency dealers fear the alarming increase will fan panic in the market for dollars, causing a buying frenzy for the US dollar. — Photo/FileCurrency dealers fear the alarming increase will fan panic in the market for dollars, causing a buying frenzy for the US dollar. — Photo/File

    0 0

    More than 100 people, including two policemen and employees of the Sindh Chief Minister House, were arrested in Karachi on Tuesday as the traffic police began taking action against people travelling on the wrong side of the road.

    Another 7,000 commuters were challaned as the police treated elderly violaters and violaters with families leniently by issuing tickets to them, Additional IG Karachi Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh said.

    According to a traffic police spokesperson, over Rs930,000 was fined in total during today's action.

    The crackdown began after AIG Shaikh ordered that commuters travelling wrong-way be arrested and their vehicles seized.

    Among the first offenders caught as part of the action were two police officials, who were arrested for driving on the wrong side near Zainab Market. They were shifted to Artillery Maidan police station.

    The arrests are being made under Section 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) of the Pakistan Penal Code, traffic police officials told DawnNewsTV.

    They said action against wrong-way goers was started in all areas after the Karachi police chief issued directions to ensure implementation of traffic rules and regulations.

    Later in the evening, AIG Shaikh issued orders for the release of all violators after seeking assurance that they will "never violate [the] law again".

    Two motorcyclists while talking to DawnNewsTV said they were forced to drive wrong-way because they were no u-turns on their route.

    AIG Shaikh had on Monday visited several busy roads of the metropolis, and in a meeting with police officers decided to implement a plan to improve the flow of traffic on major thoroughfares.


    In this file photo, traffic police officials communicate with motorcyclists.In this file photo, traffic police officials communicate with motorcyclists.

    0 0

    The lawyer representing Omni Group in a money laundering case on Tuesday claimed that the group's offices in Karachi were ‘raided’ by law enforcement officials.

    Lawyer Muhammad Jamshed said, “There has been a raid on the offices of Omni Group near Hockey Stadium [in Karachi]."

    He also claimed that the raiding party had cordoned off the area at the time of the alleged raid.

    While talking to Dawn, the lawyer said that the men did not present any search warrant and forced the guards to leave the premises.

    “The CCTV cameras installed inside the office premises have also been disconnected,” Jamshed claimed.

    However, the lawyer did provide some screengrabs from a security camera feed in which unarmed men in civilian clothes were pictured inside the premises a while before midnight.

    The lawyer alleged that the raid was carried out by officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA ), claiming that it might be an attempt “to plant incriminating evidence, albeit illegally.”

    Jamshed was of the view that “since the JIT has found that no offence has been committed by the Omni Group or their sponsors, therefore, the officials are acting in desperation and conducting a raid in the middle of the night”.

    When asked if the Omni Group will file a complaint with police regarding the alleged raid, the lawyer said there was “no point involving the police in this”.

    “They [police] don’t lodge any complaint in a matter in which FIA is involved,” he said.

    Khawaja Anvar Majeed, a close aide of former president Asif Zardari, and Abdul Ghani Majeed of the Omni Group are the prime accused in the Rs35 billion fake accounts case which is currently under investigation by the FIA.

    The Majeeds were arrested by the FIA on the Supreme Court premises on August 15.

    Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge SC bench has taken up the case which was initially being heard at a banking court in Karachi.


    The Majeeds were arrested by the FIA on the Supreme Court premises on August 15.  —FileThe Majeeds were arrested by the FIA on the Supreme Court premises on August 15. —File

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    The domestic flight operation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) experienced a delay on Tuesday evening due to stoppage of fuel supply by Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the airline's spokesperson said.

    While speaking to Dawn.com, PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar said that PSO had refused to supply fuel to the national carrier due to outstanding dues.

    As a result, PK-306 from Karachi to Lahore, PK-370 from Karachi to Islamabad, and PK-536 Karachi to Sukkur were delayed for a period of two hours.

    The fuel supply was restored between 8-8:30pm following which the domestic flight operation resumed.

    Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesperson, when asked to comment on the development, said that the authority was unaware of such a delay.


    A PIA airplane on the runway. —File photoA PIA airplane on the runway. —File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday requested the Supreme Court to allow him to become a party in a pending reference seeking to revisit the 1979 controversial death sentence handed down to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

    “Applicant’s grandfather Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was brutally executed in consequence of a stroke of a pen,” the 10-page application drafted by Farooq H. Naek stated, adding that his (ZAB) life cannot be brought back by a similar stroke but his dignity and valour can be restored and reflected correctly to some extent in the books of precedents and legal history of this country.

    “At the end of the day, the applicant before this esteemed Court is a ‘Nawasa’ fighting for the cause of his ‘Nana’,” the application stated.

    Former president Asif Ali Zardari has moved a reference under Article 186 of the Constitution which was pending before an 11-judge special bench to seek court’s opinion on revisiting the 1979 conviction to ZAB, which critics call a ‘judicial murder’.

    Says he wants to apprise SC of material facts which led to the ‘unjust and brutal judicial murder’ of his grandfather

    The last time the hearing took place by the Supreme Court was in January 2012 when it had temporarily suspended licence of Advocate Babar Awan, pleading the reference, to practice law in the court. It also asked for replacement of the counsel with another counsel to represent Asif Zardari and while admitting that this was indeed one of the most important cases in the history of this court had also decided to resume further hearing when the former president nominates another counsel.

    On Tuesday, Mr Bhutto-Zardari stated in the application that throughout his life ZAB wanted to uphold the rule of law and his motto of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’ was a testament to his yearning that every man gets his fair due.

    It was a loud cry echoing the chords of justice that “let justice be done though the heavens may fall,” the application argued, adding that this passion of the applicant’s grandfather, however, did not derail the irony that was to befall him.

    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: Pakistan's most divisive political leader

    The spirit of justice that ZAB so admired, was nowhere to be found when he himself was adorned with the noose of injustice, the application stated, adding that ZAB was charged, convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, sentenced and executed on the testimony of an approver in the greatest miscarriage of justice that was ever to befall this country.

    The application argued that his grandfather was hanged but his ideology remained and for years to come the applicant’s family had to deal with the 1979 case.

    “It is a blot not just on the history of the family but a wretched stain on the entire judicial system of Pakistan and remains so till date. It is in order to remove this stain and correct the wrong in history that the applicant has preferred the instant application of impalement as a party to the captioned reference,” the applicant contended.

    Mr Bhutto-Zardari is now the heir to the trust and confidence that the people of Pakistan had reposed in his grandfather, the application stated, adding that the applicant was currently the chairman of PPP and was representing the desires of his family, the Jialas of PPP and the people of Pakistan in general.

    “The applicant wants to apprise this Court of material facts which led to the unjust and brutal judicial murder of his late grandfather.”

    The applicant has seen the worst in his life. His grandfather was hanged; both his paternal uncles were murdered. His mother, whose lap was God’s cradle for him, was martyred in a gun and bomb attack while displaying her passion to help the people of Pakistan.

    “It is pertinent to mention that justice has not been dispensed in any of the cases above. So much sacrifice for this country itself warrants that the applicant be heard regarding the real facts and circumstances of the case surrounding the brutal and unlawful execution of his grandfather,” the application said.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari appeals to SC to allow him to become party in pending reference seeking to revisit the 1979 controversial death sentence handed to ZA Bhutto. — Photo/FilePPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari appeals to SC to allow him to become party in pending reference seeking to revisit the 1979 controversial death sentence handed to ZA Bhutto. — Photo/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Journalists and media workers held rallies across the country on Tuesday in protest against downsizing, stopping of advertisements and measures aimed at curbing newspapers circulation and TV channels’ transmission in certain areas.

    The protest rallies were held on the call of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ-Afzal Butt group).

    In Islamabad, journalists and media workers took out a procession that set off from the National Press Club and ended at a roundabout near the Parliament House. Members of civil society, lawyers, doctors, teachers and labour union leaders joined them to express their solidarity with media houses.

    Speaking on the occasion, PFUJ president Afzal Butt demanded that the government break its silence over the issue.

    “Instead of imposing curbs on free flow of information and stopping government advertisements, the information ministry should hold owners and managements of TV channels and newspapers accountable who were not paying salary to media staff and some of them even sacking journalists,” he said.

    Speaking on the occasion, senior lawyer of Supreme Court Ali Ahmed Kurd expressed his solidarity with journalists and media workers and condemned unannounced curbs placed on media organisations.

    He said that free thinking and freedom of expression were basic rights of the people and these rights were must for progress of any society and the nation.

    Veteran journalists Nasir Zaidi, Nasir Malik and Nusrat Javed, civil society activist Tahira Abdullah and leaders of several trade unions also addressed the rally.

    They said the country’s leading newspapers and TV channels were facing unannounced restrictions, while circulations, distribution and broadcast of some TV channels had been stopped in certain areas of the country.

    They also condemned the owners and managements of some media organisations who were not paying salary to their staff in time and said that in some TV channels, anchors and top executives had been hired at hefty salary packages, but salary of low-paid workers was being delayed for two to three months.

    Karachi

    Dozens of journalists along with human rights activists and political leaders marched from the Karachi Press Club to the Governor House and staged a sit-in to protest against unannounced censorship and layoff of their fraternity members.

    The protest march and sit-in, jointly organised by the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) and All-Pakistan News Employees’ Confederation (Apnec), warned the government against any action on the freedom of expression and demanded that the media owners protect economic rights of their employees.

    Addressing demonstrators, PFUJ secretary general Ayub Jan Sarhandi said the struggle for freedom of the press and for the rights of working journalists and media workers would continue despite all odds. The struggle, he said, was part of the countrywide campaign of the PFUJ and it would not let anyone usurp democratic rights of the people and ensure economic well-being of journalists and media workers.

    Lahore

    The PFUJ, Apnec and Punjab Union of Journalists held a protest against downsizing, censorship and non-payment of salary to journalists and media workers.

    A number of journalists gathered at the Chairing Cross on the Mall Road and protested against imposition of censorship on media outlets.

    The journalists said the censorship was damaging the media industry and resulting in downsizing.

    “Hundreds of media workers have already lost their jobs and the government should not force them to take to the streets,” they said.

    Punjab Minister for Information Fayyazul Hassan Chohan met the protesting journalists and said the government would contact the owners of media houses for payment of salary to journalists and media workers.

    He said the government would stop advertisements to those media organisations which did not pay salary to their workers.

    Peshawar

    Journalists and media workers started their protest march from the Peshawar Press Club and gathered at Sher Shah Suri Road.

    The protest was organised by the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) on the call of the PFUJ.

    KhUJ president Saif-ul-Islam Saifi, Peshawar Press Club president Alamgir Khan, political leaders Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, Maulana Abdul Jalil Jan, advocate Farah advocate Haji Mohammad Afzal and the president of the KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry addressed the participants of the protest.

    Speaking on the occasion, leaders of the media community recalled the ordeal faced by journalists and other media workers during the recent militancy when around 115 journalists lost their lives while performing their duties, but successive governments neither launched any investigation into the matter nor arrested the culprits or extended any financial support to mem­bers of the affected families.

    Quetta

    In Quetta and other parts of Balochistan, hundreds of journalists, editors, media workers and local newspapers’ owners also staged protest rallies.

    Members of the Balochistan Union of Journalists, Quetta Press Club and workers of different print and electronic media organisations staged a protest rally outside the Quetta Press Club.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    This file photo shows a journalist from Quetta protesting curbs on media.This file photo shows a journalist from Quetta protesting curbs on media.

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    NAWABSHAH: Two accused in the sexual harassment case of a girl student, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University (SBBU) Nawabshah Vice Chancellor (VC) Arshad Saleem and English department head Amir Khattak, tendered their resignations on Tuesday.

    Farzana Jamali, a SBBU final-year student, had accused the two of harassment and lodged an FIR against them on Sept 4, 2018, in which the accused had obtained pre-arrest interim bail. Amir Khattak is the main accused in the case.

    Addressing the Sindh chief minister in his resignation, the VC said he was under tremendous mental stress and pressure. He was submitting his resignation to facilitate 100 per cent free and fair justice, he added.

    According to sources, the latest development in the case, which started 42 days ago, was due to the intervention of an MPA and senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who met Farzana Jamali and her father at Nawabshah on Monday.

    “Justice prevailed at last”, Farzana Jamali told reporters. She was protesting outside Nawabshah Press Club for justice with the support of various political parties, including the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and others.

    It was not only her victory, but also of every female student, she said and vowed to continue her education.

    Farzana said she went through trauma, her father was sent to jail in a “fake” case and then her brother was arrested in a “fictitious” case of bomb blast.

    She demanded of the government for a neutral inquiry in the case of her brother Zuhaib Jamali who was in the custody of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Hyderabad.

    Earlier, an enquiry committee was also constituted by the Sindh CM after a series of protests by the victim, her family, political parties and civil society. But the committee headed by Prof Abdul Qadeer gave a clean chit to the VC and the lecturer, concluding that no sexual harassment was proved.

    Farzana also accused a senior Sindh minister of supporting the vice chancellor.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    "Justice prevailed at last," Farzana Jamali, an SBBU final-year student who accused two university officials of harassment, says. ─ Dawn/File

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    NUSA DUA: Pakistan has not yet formally approached the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance, but if bailout talks get underway this week, the goal will be to help Pakistan reach its full potential, the IMF’s chief economist said on Tuesday.

    Addressing a news conference at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Bali, the IMF’s Maurice Obstfeld cautioned that increased Chinese involvement in Pakistan’s economy could bring both benefits and risks.

    Obstfeld said Pakistan is facing financing gaps as it has been hit by a large fiscal and current account deficit, a low level of reserves and a currency he described as “too rigid” and over-valued.

    Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Monday the government would seek to open talks with the IMF in Bali this week for emergency financial assistance.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier sought alternatives to a second bailout programme in five years from the IMF as it impose austerity and limit his vision of an Islamic welfare state.

    Obstfeld said that if the IMF does enter into talks with Pakistan this week on a possible new financing programme, the goal would be reforms that would help Pakistan reach its “immense potential” without providing specific details.

    “The government has expressed its desires to enact deep structural reforms that might break the cycle of Pakistan needing financial support from the Fund,” he said.

    Infrastructure needs: Pakistan needs more infrastructure development, Obstfeld added, and the country could benefit from China’s role in supporting its project financing.

    But China’s involvement could also bring potential risks, he said.

    “It is important that the design of the projects... be solid and excessive debts which cannot be repaid are avoided,” the IMF chief economist said.

    Islamabad has cut the size of the biggest Chinese “Silk Road” project in Pakistan, a reconstruction of the main rail line between the port city of Karachi and Peshawar in the northwest by $2 billion, citing government concerns about the country’s debt levels.

    The changes are part of Islamabad’s efforts to rethink key Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan, to which China has pledged about $60bn in financing.

    The Trump administration has been critical of China’s Belt and Road initiative, saying that it has saddled some developing countries with debts they cannot afford to repay.

    In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “no rationale” for an IMF bailout of Pakistan that pays off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

    Chinese officials have rejected criticism that the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects have burdened Pakistan with unsustainable debts. Instead, the Chinese maintain, they have boosted the country’s economic growth and provided 70,000 jobs.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    Nusa Dua: International Monetary Fund’s Economic Counsellor Maurice Obstfeld (C) is answering questions during the World Economic Outlook press conference on Tuesday.—AFPNusa Dua: International Monetary Fund’s Economic Counsellor Maurice Obstfeld (C) is answering questions during the World Economic Outlook press conference on Tuesday.—AFP

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    KARACHI: Several civil society organisations working in Pakistan have urged the government, particularly the interior ministry, to revisit its decision of rejecting the registration applications of several international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), which have been told to leave the country without any plausible justification.

    Last week, the government rejected the registration of over 18 INGOs. Similar action on a second batch of 29 INGOs is said to be pending.

    In a statement released on Tuesday, members of civil society, representing the Pakistan Civil Society Forum, Pakistan Human Rights Defenders Network, and other national organisations and regional networks stated that INGOs supported Pakistan’s development agenda. “We believe that this decision would negatively impact the country’s development agenda and its image internationally,” the statement said.

    As happens the world over, international civil society works in partnership with the government and local civil society organisations, supporting service delivery, advocacy, research and capacity-building initiatives on education, healthcare, humanitarian work, water, legal reforms and rule of law, among others. They also work on rights and offer support and capacity to strengthen delivery of basic rights, such as human rights, labour rights, rights for women, minorities and the disabled. In 2017 alone, the INGO sector as a whole reached out to 34 million people with humanitarian relief and development assistance.

    The move of rejecting the registration applications of several INGOs also violates the framework of the right to freedom of association, which is enshrined in Article 17 of the Constitution and guaranteed by major international conventions on rights such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 22) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20).

    It was pointed out that the government is required to demonstrate that its restrictions on freedom of association are prescribed by law and backed by parliament. The law is sufficiently precise for an individual or NGO to foresee a violation to the law and the state must demonstrate the necessity of placing such a restriction. But the government provided no reason whatsoever for turning down the registration application of INGOs.

    “If any of these organisations or individuals associated are involved in any unlawful activity or crime they should be prosecuted within the due process of the law. Otherwise, this will be seen as the government’s attack on civic freedom. Pakistan is a functional democracy and cannot afford such actions due to flawed and non-consultative decisions,” the statement further said.

    It was also pointed out that the recent decision would also negatively impact Pakistan’s performance on achieving targets under the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Therefore, civil society urged the government to immediately withdraw the rejection letters issued to INGOs, revisit the INGO Registration Policy Framework 2015 through a consultative process, make sure that accountability and transparency mechanisms should come through a transparent and consultative process and meet the standard of due process, consider the non-governmental sector as a partner rather than a foe and ensure that democratic and civic space is available to all without any discrimination.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    Last week, the government rejected the registration of over 18 INGOs. ─ AFP/FileLast week, the government rejected the registration of over 18 INGOs. ─ AFP/File

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    LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday indicted former inspector general of police Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera in a private complaint filed by Idara Minhajul Quran/Pakistan Awami Tehreek for his trial on charges of killing its workers during 2014 Model Town incident.

    Mr Sukhera who was present in court denied the charges against him and decided to contest the trial. The court adjourned hearing for a day and summoned prosecution witnesses.

    During April this year, the court had also indicted 116 others including officials of police and district administration after they pleaded not guilty in the same case.

    The court had in 2017 partially admitted the private complaint against 125 officials nominated as accused while rejected it to the extent of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and 10 others including federal/ provincial ministers.

    A Lahore High Court full bench dismissed a plea of PAT against non-summoning of the 12 political figures and bureaucrats by the trial court. However, the bench had dismissed a petition by Mr Sukhera against his summoning by the trial court.

    The politicians and bureaucrats include former premier Sharif, former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, now Punjab opposition leader Hamza Shahbaz, former law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq, former foreign minister Khwaja Asif, former information minister Pervez Rashid, former state minister Abid Sher Ali, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, then personal secretary to chief minister Syed Tauqir Shah, then home secretary Azam Suleman, and then Lahore Commissioner Rashid Mahmood Langrial.

    At least 14 persons were killed and more than 100 injured during the anti-encroachment operation outside the Model Town residence of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on June 17, 2014.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    Sukhera who was present in court denied the charges against him and decided to contest the trial. ─ FileSukhera who was present in court denied the charges against him and decided to contest the trial. ─ File

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    ISLAMABAD: Former premier Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had no authority to make statements regarding arrest of his opponents, and termed the recent arrest of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif ‘political victimisation’ in the name of accountability.

    In a brief interaction with reporters after appearing before an accountability court in the Al-Azizia reference, the ousted prime minister said Shahbaz Sharif in his capacity as chief minister had worked day and night to uplift the less developed districts even in far-flung central and southern Punjab.

    The PML-N supremo said the company that the Punjab government had rejected to execute the Metro Bus project was given a contract by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and this needed to be probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

    In response to Prime Minister Khan’s recent remarks about not sparing the corrupt people, Mr Sharif wondered: “Who has given him (Khan) authority to utter such words that he will arrest 50 people? Do such claims suit the government?”

    The government, he added, was politically victimising the opponents in the name of accountability.

    In response to a question, Mr Sharif said there was a dire need to revisit and overhaul NAB laws, as well as ‘black’ laws promulgated by former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. He said the PML-N had set a good tradition as it did not use the draconian laws promulgated by the dictators against anyone and promoted a tolerance-based political culture.

    According to him, the current economic turmoil was due to targeted operations by the government against the opposition. Such intolerance, he said, had destabilised the country that led to the downfall of stocks and devaluation of the rupee.

    Al-Azizia reference

    The prosecution in the Al-Azizia reference informed the accountability court that he had neither written any letter to Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani nor sought permission from the competent authority to record his statement.

    During his cross-examination, investigation officer in the Al-Azizia reference Mehboob Alam, who was the last prosecution witness in the case, said: “I did not associate any person in investigation who may have drawn payment from the account of Nawaz Sharif.”

    While defence counsel Khawaja Haris was yet to conclude cross-examination of the witness, the court adjour­ned the proceedings till Wednesday.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    Former premier Nawaz Sharif. — Photo/FileFormer premier Nawaz Sharif. — Photo/File

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    KARACHI: Expressing serious concerns over the poor investigation of a rape case, the Sindh High Court has issued guidelines to the police for investigation of such cases.

    The SHC also questioned the role of prosecution in the case and underlined the need for proper coordination between the investigating and prosecuting agencies and directed to take measurers for protection of the victims as well as proper training of investigating officers.

    Justice Salahuddin Panhwar of the SHC issued these directives during the hearing of a bail application of a suspect allegedly involved in subjecting a three-and-a-half-year-old girl to criminal assault after abducting her from the house of her maternal grandmother in a Korangi locality earlier this year.

    The court rules that the victim’s dignity must not be exposed to any harm

    The bench in its order observed that surprisingly the IO did not record the statement of the victim’s maternal grandmother since as per the FIR the victim was kidnapped from her house.

    It further said that the IO, Sub-Inspector Momin Ali Mirani, contended that he had not sent the samples secured by the medico-legal officer for DNA though the medical report reflected that the same was referred for a DNA test.

    The IO also said he was working in the investigation wing since 2007, but he was unaware of the basic criterion of investigation and failed to investigate the present case honestly, it added.

    The bench also expressed concerns on the prosecution for its failure to discharge its duty in this case and added that the criminal judicial administration would not be as effective as it should be if the prosecution failed to play its role properly.

    It further said that the supervisory authority (SSPs) of investigation wing at the district level was required to ensure that in future a culprit may not escape the deserved punishment merely because of incompetence or negligence on the part of IOs. The SSPs must also ensure to equip the IOs with latest ways of investigation and in accordance with the directions issued time to time by the higher and superior judiciary as well as involving the prosecution department which otherwise was duty-bound to examine the police report and its faults before its submission in court.

    Justice Panhwar observed that it had always been the requirement of the law that after registration of every FIR of cognizable offence, the investigating agency must immediately depart to the place of the incident, preserving the crime scene, collecting all material things including fingerprints and ensuring the arrest of a suspect as per the law and procedure.

    The bench further asked the police for immediate interviewing of the victim, under a better circumstance, with assurance to the victim that her cooperation was necessary for a proper investigation which includes her medical examination, preservation of clothes etc, and the dignity of the victim must not be exposed to any harm and harassment and she must also be provided all necessary protection by the police.

    “There can also be no denial to [the] fact that if interviewer is not properly skilled, he shall never be able to formulate questions properly, hence such aspect was/is always necessary for interviewer/investigator. It is also needless to say that since criminals are getting advanced therefore, investigation should not only be aware of latest techniques/developments in securing evidence but officers must be provided necessary skills and use of such devices,” the order said.

    The bench directed to communicate its order to the provincial police officer, home secretary and the office of the prosecutor general for its compliance.

    Earlier, on the directive of the bench, the officials of prosecution and investigation submitted compliance reports along with guidelines for investigation in rape offences.

    However, the bench observed, “The perusal of the referred guidelines show that it contains nothing new but all what was always expected rather believed from an ‘investigating agency’ in such like cases”.

    The bench said that the guidelines of police and prosecution were taken on record with the hope that same will not remain on paper only but will be observed in every case.

    During a previous hearing, the bench had issued direction to the inspector general of police and prosecutor general to ensure that competent and well-trained officers shall be investigating the high-profile cases in consultation with the prosecutors. It also sought a report about the action being taken against the IO and prosecutor in the present case.

    The SSP Korangi through a report informed the bench that the IGP had suspended the IO and also demoted him to the rank of ASI and an enquiry officer had also been appointed.

    A deputy prosecutor general submitted that all measures were taken by the prosecutor concerned and such directions were issued to IO but he failed to comply.

    However, the bench observed that admittedly the role of deputy district public prosecutor concerned was lacking in this case who was required to examine the police report before its submission to the judicial magistrate.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    The court rules that the victim’s dignity must not be exposed to any harm. ─ AFP/FileThe court rules that the victim’s dignity must not be exposed to any harm. ─ AFP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday asked civil servants to improve their performance being the ‘backbone’ of the state and said that the bureaucracy should not be harassed by anti-corruption watchdogs.

    Addressing a delegation of participants in 109th National Management Course from the National School of Public Policy, Mr Khan said: “I have also asked National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal that his organisation should avoid undue harassment of civil servants so that they can serve the country without any fear and mental stress.”

    He said the government’s policy of de-politicisation of institutions, meritocracy and transparency offered a great opportunity to bureaucracy to improve its performance and play its due role in translating political vision into reality. “Being backbone of the state, bureaucracy has a huge responsibility to deliver and come up to the expectations of the nation,” he added.

    Vows to protect rights of minorities and ensure equal opportunities

    A participant of the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister said NAB should carry out its operations but not affect mega development projects and investment. Mr Khan said the government recently got vacated state properties/land from illegal occupation worth billions of rupees, but now bureaucrats were afraid of giving approval for other utilisation of the vacated land.

    Highlighting the country’s huge potential in the form of human capital, mineral wealth, strategic location and other resources, the prime minister underscored the need for better management of available resources, improving service delivery, and most importantly, a commitment and passion to serve the nation to the best of one’s abilities.

    Discussing the current economic situation and various other challenges faced by the country, PM Khan said the government was focusing on stabilisation measures and undertaking institutional reforms aimed at improving vital sectors such as education, health and governance.

    During the meeting, a participant asked why the government in its ‘mini-budget’ cut Rs10 billion grant allocated for overcoming the problem of stunted growth in the name of austerity measures, despite the fact the premier in his median speech had vowed to address the issue.

    In response, the prime minister said the government had inherited worst financial crises and, therefore, such steps were taken. “But we will overcome the situation soon and will meet all our commitments.”

    Talking about Pakistan-India relations, the prime minister said he believed in open borders, but now he had realised due to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy that why father of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had presented the two-nation theory. “Modi only acts for the supremacy of Hindus and is trying to isolate Pakistan by all means,” he said.

    Referring to Pakistan’s recent initiative to improve relations with the neighbouring country and their disappointing response, he said it was unfortunate that the Indian leadership failed to realise that the biggest challenge confronting this region was poverty alleviation by improving socio-economic condition of the people.

    Christian delegation meets Imran

    Later, a delegation of bishops from various churches of Pakistan called on the prime minister and assured him that the Christian community would support him in translating his vision for equality into reality.

    During the meeting, Mr Khan said the Constitution provided equal rights to all citizens irrespective of cast, colour or creed and the government would continue to protect rights of the minorities and ensure equal opportunities to participate in national life.

    He acknowledged and appreciated the services of non-Muslim communities, especially the Christian community, in various fields including education, health and social welfare. The prime minister highlighted the need for promoting inter-faith harmony and working hand-in-hand for the development and prosperity of Pakistan.

    The delegation apprised the prime minister of the issues concerning the Christian community and put forward suggestions to promote inter-faith harmony.

    The delegation comprised Bishop Irfan Jamil (Lahore), Bishop Alwin Samuel (Sialkot), Arch Bishop Arshad Joseph (Islamabad), Arch Bishop Sebastian Shah (Lahore), Dr Qaiser Tulles (Lahore), Dr Liaqat Qaiser (Lahore), Bishop Leo Paul (Multan), Pakistan Bible Society general secretary Anthony Lamuel, ex-director of Christian Study Centre Jennifer Jaq Jiwan, representative of Penticostal Churches Dr Jamil Nasir and Rubina Feroz.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets participants of the 109th National Management Course at PM Office on Tuesday.Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets participants of the 109th National Management Course at PM Office on Tuesday.

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    ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court was informed on Tuesday that 895 Pakistanis have been identified as owners of properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 200 of them have been issued notices for justifying acquisition of properties abroad.

    Attorney General Anwar Mansoor told a three-judge bench headed by Chief Jus­tice Mian Saqib Nisar that affidavits were being solicited from those who had been issued notices to ex­­plain about the properties.

    On a suo motu notice, the Supreme Court has taken up the case relating to illegal transfer of money from Pakistan to foreign countries. The case was initiated when it came to the court’s notice that a large number of Pakistani citizens were maintaining bank accounts in foreign countries without disclosing it to the local authorities or paying taxes on the money deposited in the accounts.

    Affidavits are being solicited from owners of properties, AG tells SC

    At the last hearing on Sept 19, the apex court had given green signal to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to inquire from owners of the recently identified properties about the source that had led to acquisition of such assets abroad.

    In response, the AG stated that the agency had received affidavits of 642 owners of different properties in the UAE and the affidavits of rest of the 253 affidavits were still awaited.

    The official explained that some of the people who had been issued notices had already disclosed their properties by taking benefit of the Foreign Assets (Decla­ration and Repatriation) Ordinance 2018, which was promulgated on March 26 by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

    Besides, some of the “owners of such properties” had denied that they had properties abroad and a few of them were facing inquiries by the National Accountability Bureau.

    AG Mansoor further said that in the first stage after receiving all affidavits, the FIA would carry out an investigation and, after being convinced that illegality had been committed, the authority concerned would enter into the next stage of initiating the process for recovery of the assets made abroad through the use of money allegedly looted in Pakistan.

    The court, however, dec­li­ned to accept the AG’s req­uest to allow the agency to access the information, which the Federal Bureau of Revenue is seized with, about the details of those people who had opted for the amnesty scheme so that an investigation could take place.

    As the government had promised that the names of the people who would take benefit of the amnesty scheme would always be kept secret, the court could not issue any orders to breach such trust, the bench observed.

    It postponed further proceedings for two weeks with a directive to update the court about the latest position.

    Notice to Nawaz Sharif

    The same SC bench also issued a notice to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for, as the then chief minister of Punjab, having allotted 1,800 kanals of Auqaf land around the Pakpattan shrine to individuals in 1985 in violation of the Lahore High Court order.

    Former chief justice Nasirul Mulk had taken a suo motu notice of the illegal allotment of the shrine land.

    Subsequently the court had issued a public notice to 8,200 individuals who had purchased land earlier allotted to Dewan Moudood Masud by Nawaz Sharif.

    On Tuesday the environment in the courtroom No. 1 become strained when an exchange of hot words took place between a senior lawyer, Iftikhar Gilani, and the chief justice when the court indicated that it would issue notices to all those who had been allotted the land illegally.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    AG tells SC that 200 Pakistanis have been issued notices for justifying acquisition of properties abroad. — Photo/FileAG tells SC that 200 Pakistanis have been issued notices for justifying acquisition of properties abroad. — Photo/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Deviation of the fiscal deficit from the target indicates the difficulty faced by federal government in running a credible fiscal policy if provincial governments are not legally bound to contribute to such a target, said World Bank’s ‘Pakistan Development Update’ issued on Monday.

    If this issue is not resolved, prudent fiscal policy will not be possible, and Pakistan will be exposed to another cycle of fiscal slippages. Simultaneously, the government needs to tackle other structural fiscal issues.

    The report titled ‘At a Crossroad’, warned that with diminished reserves and elevated debt ratios, Pakistan’s ability to withstand external shocks has weakened significantly.

    Pakistan’s ability to raise funds from the global markets has been impacted by rising US treasury yields, and challenges faced by Turkey and Argentina which would squeeze liquidity from the emerging markets.

    The report says that the policy adjustments are needed to correct macroeconomic imbalances which are likely to decelerate GDP growth to 4.8 per cent during the current fiscal year as authorities tighten fiscal policy and adjust policy levers to correct the imbalances.

    The report suggests that GDP growth is expected to recover by FY2020 to 5.2pc as macroeconomic conditions improve. These projections depend on macroeconomic stability and supportive external environment, including relatively stable international oil prices and a strong recovery in exports.

    The subsequent contraction in domestic demand is likely to decelerate growth in the services sector to 5.1pc, agriculture sector to 3.5pc and industrial sector to 5pc during the current fiscal year.

    The widening twin deficits have increased the public debt-to-GDP ratio to 73.5pc, the highest ever since 2003. One-third of this increase is attributable to the depreciation of rupee against US dollar.

    The new regulatory duties are likely to impact the volume of imports, while also affecting inflation and the country’s export competitiveness.

    In addition to these short-term adjustments, Pakistan must implement a medium-term reform agenda to avoid finding itself in the same situation five years from now.

    The report highlights that Pakistan’s macroeconomic challenges are structural worsened by poor policy choices and a weak external environment.

    The structural challenges are related to low investment rates and the difficulty Pakistan has in increasing investment sustainably, given inadequate financing options: limited fiscal space for public investment, low saving rates and limited FDI for private investment.

    In addition, Pakistan’s exports are at the risk of being thwarted by a no-deal ‘Brexit’ situation since UK is Pakistan’s largest trading partners. However, the report also mentioned that Pakistan could take advantage of US-China tensions if multinationals opt to relocate production facilities away from China to avoid tariffs.

    On the export front, Pakistan’s performance during the last decade highlights economy’s declining competitiveness in the world particular compared to the countries in the region. High customs duties shelter Pakistani firms from competition, discouraging them from venturing into export markets.

    Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2018


    Pakistan could be exposed to another cycle of fiscal slippages. ─ FilePakistan could be exposed to another cycle of fiscal slippages. ─ File

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    The army's media wing on Wednesday announced that Lt Gen Asim Munir has been appointed the new director general (DG) of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

    Following reports that former DG ISI Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar would be retiring on Oct 1, various sections of the media speculated that Lt Gen Munir was next in line for the post.

    The Pakistan Army had in September approved the promotion of Munir and five other major generals to the rank of Lt Gen.

    Lt Gen Munir has formerly served as DG Military Intelligence.

    More details to follow.


    Lt Gen Asim Munir. ─ Photo courtesy ISPRLt Gen Asim Munir. ─ Photo courtesy ISPR

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday wrapped up a case pertaining to the delay in the construction in Nandipur power project after the three-member bench was told that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a reference in this regard.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading the bench, expressed satisfaction over the development and said that NAB should not let the SC's observations "affect the accountability court".

    He added that the application — filed by former defence minister Khawaja Asif — had been rendered ineffective after NAB's reference and dismissed it.

    The chief justice said that the delay in the filing of the reference was due to the law ministry's lack of cooperation.

    Nandipur power project case

    The Nandipur case was initiated in August this year when the SC restored the 2011 petition of former minister for defence Khawaja Asif on alleged corruption in the construction of 525-megawatt combined cycle power plant at Nandipur (Gujranwala). The court had also issued notices to Wapda and the Pakistan Electric Power Company.

    In 2013, the apex court on the petition appointed a one-man commission of retired Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri on the Nandipur project. In its 94-page report, the commission concluded that the national exchequer suffered a colossal loss of Rs113 billion due to negligence of the then federal law ministry for causing delay in giving necessary approval and completing documents for the execution of 950-megawatt power generation projects of Nandipur and Chichon-Ki-Malian.

    The commission ruled that there was negligence on the part of the executive authorities of the federal law ministry, which caused the delay in completion of the projects.

    The report explained that Nandipur and Chichon-Ki-Malian projects could not take off due to the criminal negligence of the federal law ministry on frivolous technical grounds. It added that the law ministry did not clear the issuance of sovereign guarantee of the finance ministry to the contractor, resulting in the termination of work.

    Babar Awan, the then law minister, later told the SC bench headed by then CJP Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry that he was being persecuted by his political opponents.


    Khawaja Asif had levelled allegations of corruption in Nandipur project. — Photo/FileKhawaja Asif had levelled allegations of corruption in Nandipur project. — Photo/File

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