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- 10/11/18--19:17: _Suspect gets bail i...
- 10/11/18--19:46: _Anti-encroachment o...
- 10/11/18--19:17: _PHC orders sessions...
- 10/11/18--19:46: _69km rural roads fo...
- 10/11/18--23:06: _SC extends deadline...
- 10/12/18--00:09: _COAS Bajwa meets to...
- 10/11/18--19:17: _Govt may review app...
- 10/12/18--03:35: _Pakistan’s chilli p...
- 10/12/18--01:50: _Zainab murder case:...
- 10/11/18--19:17: _SC objects to regis...
- 10/12/18--04:23: _FM Qureshi says SCO...
- 10/12/18--02:41: _FIA arrest two, inc...
- 10/12/18--02:45: _CJP takes notice of...
- 10/12/18--08:36: _Election campaigns ...
- 10/12/18--10:56: _Immigration departm...
- 10/12/18--18:48: _National Water Coun...
- 10/12/18--18:48: _PM reiterates govt’...
- 10/12/18--18:48: _BNP-M to keep worki...
- 10/12/18--18:47: _Unregistered mobile...
- 10/12/18--18:48: _TLP threatens to pa...
- 10/11/18--19:17: Suspect gets bail in transgender person murder case
- 10/11/18--19:46: Anti-encroachment operation stopped in Lahore
- 10/11/18--19:17: PHC orders sessions judge’s compulsory retirement
- 10/11/18--19:46: 69km rural roads for Punjab CM’s home district
- 10/12/18--00:09: COAS Bajwa meets top British civil-military officials in UK visit
- 10/11/18--19:17: Govt may review appointment of non-career diplomats, says IHC
- 10/12/18--03:35: Pakistan’s chilli production scorched by water shortages, theft
- 10/12/18--01:50: Zainab murder case: Imran Ali's death warrants issued for Oct 17
- 10/11/18--19:17: SC objects to registration of parties that oppose Constitution
- 10/12/18--04:23: FM Qureshi says SCO 'more than just a regional platform'
- 10/12/18--02:41: FIA arrest two, including Romanian citizen, for ATM fraud
- 10/12/18--18:48: PM reiterates govt’s resolve to complete Fata-KP merger
- 10/12/18--18:48: BNP-M to keep working for people’s rights, says Mengal
- 10/12/18--18:47: Unregistered mobile phones to become unusable after 20th: PTA
- 10/12/18--18:48: TLP threatens to paralyse country if Aasia Bibi is acquitted
PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday granted bail to a man suspected of being involved in murdering a transgender person and dismembering the body here lately.
Justice Roohul Amin Khan accepted the bail petition of suspect Mohammad Farooq asking him to deposit two surety bonds of Rs200,000 each.
It ruled that the order won’t have any bearing on the murder case against the prime suspect, Sadaqat, as the role of suspect Farooq in the crime was different from his.
Sajid was killed, body dismembered in August
The transgender person, Sajid alias Nazo, was killed in the jurisdiction of Pishtakhara police station on Aug 16.
The local police claimed that SHO Ijazullah along with other police officials during routine patrolling saw a young man put a shopping bag in a rickshaw on Bara Road and recovered pieces of a human body from the bag.
They said the man, Mohammad Farooq, told them that the body parts were of a transgender person, Sajid alias Nazo, and that his friend, Sadaqat, killed him before chopping the body into pieces with a dagger and an axe.
The police insisted that on the pointation of the arrested man, Sadaqat was held and more body parts were recovered from him.
They also claimed to have recovered a pistol from Sadaqat, who reportedly disclosed that he had hid the dagger and axe in a nearby field.
Abdul Kareem Khan, lawyer for the petitioner, denied any recovery from his client and insisted that the petitioner wasn’t involved in the murder.
He also said his client didn’t record confessional statement with the magistrate.
The lawyer said the police didn’t assign any role to his client in the murder.
He said even if the police’s version of the case was believed to be true, the petitioner could be charged only with concealing evidence.
The lawyer said the police didn’t mention no independent witness while claiming recovery of a shopping bag with human organs from his client.
The bench observed that it appeared from the records that an iota of evidence had not been collected during investigation to show the petitioner’s involvement in the murder and therefore, sharing his common intention, abetment or premeditation with Sadaqat in the murder was a debatable question making his case to the extent of murder arguable for the purpose of bail.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018
Peshawar High Court. — File Photo
LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) led government has stopped the anti-encroachment operation in Lahore until the Oct 14 by-elections because of the deployment of staff and resources for by-elections in Lahore for two NA and as many PA seats.
Commissioner Dr Mujtaba Paracha confirmed the stoppage of the operation, saying that the resumption of the operation, which was going on with a great success, would be decided after the bye-polls.
The city is witnessing an active electioneering by PML-N and PTI candidates for NA-124 and NA-131 and PP-164 and PP-165.
A city district government official, however, told Dawn on the condition of anonymity the decision was taken for political reasons, mainly to woo voters, who were annoyed because of the operation. Officials engaged in the operation were facing resistance by the people, and in many cases they had to retreat from encroached sites. On Thursday, a team headed by the cantonment assistant commissioner faced resistance by the residents of Mauza Mota Singh. A mob attacked the officials, broke glasses of their vehicles and damaged a crane, according to official sources.
By-election deployment or politicking?
The official said the merciless operation was creating sympathy for opposition candidates as they exploited the operation a political victimization of PML-N voters.
Since its inception, the operation faced severe resentment and resistance in the city. Scores of people resisted teams in Harbanspura on Oct 3 by blocking Canal Road. The team, led by the Shalimar assistant commissioner, was to demolish illegal marriage halls and other structures on and retrieve over 30 kanals. Similarly, on Thursday the residents of Mauza Mota Singh (Cantonment) did not let the teams retrieve 24 state kanals adjacent to a park.
“The police arrested six people for intervening into official working. Likewise, a team of the Lahore Ring Road Authority and the district administration also faced resistance during a mega operation in Bahria Town this week,” another official said.
MASTER PLAN: The master plan of Lahore needs to be updated in view of the ever increasing population and expansion in limits of the city to cope with the future challenges. The present master plan of Lahore was approved in 2004 which is valid up to 2021. However, after expansion in Lahore Development Authority’s limit to the level of entire Lahore division in 2013, its scope has been extended to four districts of the division. Recommendations and proposals by stakeholders will be welcomed for making a viable master plan for the city. These views were expressed in a meeting held at the NESPAK Headquarters on Thursday. The Nespak managing director asked for collecting data for the new master plan with the help of GIS.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018
A marquee is demolished along Kashmir Highway during CDA’s operation in Islamabad in September. — File Photo
PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth on Thursday ordered the compulsory retirement of district and sessions judge Mohammad Azim Khan Afridi over misconduct.
The judge was punished for scandalising judiciary through a malicious campaign, said high court registrar Khwaja Wajihuddin.
The registrar issued two notifications announcing Azim Afridi’s compulsory retirement from service under Rule 4(1)(b)(ii) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government Servants (Efficiency and Disciplinary) Rules, 2011.
Azim Afridi punished for scandalising judiciary, says court registrar
Mr Afridi was elevated as an additional judge of the Islamabad High Court in 2011 on quota for Fata.
However, the judicial commission for appointment of judges didn’t confirm him as the high court judge in 2012 and therefore, he resumed his service as the district and sessions judge in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Thereafter, he began a legal battle by moving the Islamabad and Peshawar high courts for relief on the matter.
Last year, the sessions judge sent a letter to the country’s president requesting him to refer the issue of his non-confirmation by the judicial commission to the parliamentary committee.
He however didn’t get the relief from both forums.
As sessions judge, Mr Afridi had leveled different allegations against a former Supreme Court chief justice and some other judges and alleged mala fide intent on their part by not confirming him as high court judge.
He was subsequently suspended by the PHC chief justice in Apr 2018.
The first notification issued by the PHC pertained to a complaint filed by Saifur Rehman in 2013, which was received by the PHC through the Supreme Court’s human rights cell.
The complainant had leveled four charges against Mr Afridi.
The first three charges pertained to his alleged support to a criminal required to Saudi Arabia in some cases. The fourth allegation against him was that the accused/office had written ridiculous articles against the judges of superior courts which were available on his website.
Mr Afridi had alleged that the said complainant was a drug baron and had leveled baseless allegations against him.
That case continued to linger on for many years and finally an inquiry officer submitted his report on Sept 14, 2018. The inquiry officer gave clearance to the officer on the first three charges, whereas about the fourth charge the inquiry officer observed that the officer had got himself engaged in some social media campaign and activities which were uncalled for and recommended for issuing of strict warning to him to be careful in future and observe discipline in the department.
However, the chief justice did not agree with the recommendation of the inquiry officer for issuance of strict warning to the officer and observe that the officer was liable for imposition of a major penalty as provided in the concerned rules.
It observed that the rules didn’t empower the inquiry officer or inquiry committee to recommend the extent of penalty to be imposed.
“As he has on his credit pensionable service and therefore, with leniency in awarding him major penalty his compulsory retirement from service will commensurate to the misconduct committed by the accused/officer,” the chief justice ruled.
The second notification said Mr Afridi had on Mar 20, 2018, submitted a complaint before the President of Pakistan, the prime minister, the speaker National assembly, the Senate chairman and others directly without adopting the proper channel, which was a breach of service discipline and thus, amounting to gross misconduct.
It added that the complaint contained remarks and scandalous narrations against a former chief justice of Pakistan, serving Supreme Court judges and chief justice, and high court judges, which was tantamount to ridiculing the judiciary.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018
Peshawar High Court. — File Photo
LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has decided to construct 69-kilometre long rural roads in Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s home district at a cost of Rs832 million, deviating from the prime minister’s directions to shun “constituency-based development schemes”.
The DG Khan Highway Division executive engineer has issued a notice for the prequalification of contractors (firms) for the construction of 23km metalled road from Kharar Buzdar to Hingloon Katch (Peer Ghnun), besides two strips — 29.4km and 16.6km — from Surthok to Theekar via Gata Rekih.
The separate cost of three strips of the metaled roads has been quoted as Rs259 million, 340m and Rs233.77m.
The notice demands submission of tenders till Oct 20 and explains that the contractors having experience of handling Rs200 million and above road projects in the tribal area of DG Khan and Rajanpur districts would be considered for the job.
Sources say that Prime Minister Imran Khan had openly opposed in a meeting with the Punjab cabinet members the “constituency-based development schemes”, saying the PTI government would not focus on such ventures.
They say the PTI government advertised the DG Khan roads construction schemes’ tender despite the fact that it had neither given its maiden budget, nor announced the Annual Development Programme (ADP) so far.
Since the prime minister had barred discretionary grants, sources in the Punjab government wondered from where huge funds had been allocated for the road construction schemes.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018
A file photo of CM Punjab Usman Buzdar.
The Supreme Court on Friday extended the deadline for an accountability court to conclude two pending references against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif until November 17.
The chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), who was heading the three-member SC bench that heard Accountability Judge Arshad Malik's appeal, warned that if the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments references were not wrapped up by Nov 17, the accountability court would have to hold proceedings on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Accountability judge Arshad Malik, who is hearing the corruption references against Sharif, had written to the SC, requesting an extension in the deadline set earlier to conclude the cases.
During today's hearing of Malik's request, Sharif's lawyer, Khawaja Haris, requested the court to grant a six-week extension, however, his request was turned down by the bench and a five-week extension was granted. Haris asked the court to "listen to him at least once", to which CJP Mian Saqib Nisar replied: "We listen to you every time, yet an impression is created that we don't consider your request."
The CJP also warned that the court will take action against judges who delay cases and added: "The accountability of judges has started."
"Action will be taken under Article 209 against judges who take up less cases," the chief justice announced.
Meanwhile, in the accountability court, Sharif's counsel urged the judge to recall the investigation officer in the Al-Azizia case as they wished to ask him some more questions regarding other witnesses of the case.
The request was granted and the court issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until October 15.
Former premier Nawaz Sharif is facing corruption references in an accountability court. — Photo/File
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in a visit to the United Kingdom (UK) held meetings with top civil-military officials, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor said on Friday.
COAS Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan was "moving steadily towards enhanced stability and is ready to take the Pakistan-UK bilateral security relationship to the next level for mutual benefit, and in other fields of common interests", the ISPR statement said.
The army chief, who was given a guard of honour upon his arrival, met the UK Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sir Nicholson Carter, after which delegation-level talks on cooperation and the security environment were held.
Gen Bajwa also called on UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson, the Prime Minister's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SREP) Gareth Bayley and National Security Advisor (NSA) Mark Sedwill.
During the meetings, the "evolving regional security environment" was discussed along with matters of mutual interest.
"The discussions ranged from the bilateral bond created by the sizeable Pakistan diaspora in Britain as well as shared interests in evolving global geopolitical and geoeconomic environment," the ISPR statement added.
The British leadership also commended Pakistan for its "positive efforts" for regional peace and stability, ISPR said.
British officials are "unanimous in acknowledging Pakistan’s extraordinary achievements in Counter Terrorism and commended the improved security situation in Pakistan," the DG ISPR added.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa held meetings with top civil-military officials from the United Kingdom during a visit to the country. — Photo courtesy of DG ISPR Twitter
ISLAMABAD: Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday disposed of a petition filed against the appointment of Ali Jahangir Siddiqui as Pakistani’s ambassador to the United States.
Justice Minallah observed that the petition was filed against the previous regime for making such appointment and it was now up to the new government to review the appointments of non-career diplomats.
The petition was filed by advocate Hassan Murtaza Mann and Barrister Sajeel Shaharyar.
The petition requested the high court to set aside the nomination of Mr Siddiqui for being “ultra vires of the law, Constitution and policies” and direct the government to withdraw the “impugned order”.
Highlighting that Pakistan’s ambassador to the US should be known for “experience, achievements and eminence in the arena of diplomacy in the best interest of the nation”, the petitioners had requested the court to direct relevant authorities to appoint a suitable candidate.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018
The blue bangles make a happy sound as 22-year old Kalnawati pulls down the dupatta on her head to hide her face. Sitting under a tree, she agrees to talk, after her husband Ramesh nods in assent. Once he agrees, so does Indira’s husband, Rajesh.
The green fields dotted with ready-to-pick dundicut red chillies (locally called longi) and the blue sky make a perfect pastoral backdrop for these dozen or so chilli pickers in colourful attire. They are daily wage workers at Kamal Khan Noonwani’s land in the village named after him in Mirwah, in Sindh’s Mirpur district.
The province of Sindh contributes around 85% of red chilli production in Pakistan, the fourth largest producer of red chillies after India, China and Mexico. In fact, the nearby town of Kunri was once known as the ‘chilli capital of Asia’ and still has the country’s biggest chilli bazar of Pakistan.
Nearly 70% of the rural population in Sindh work in the agriculture and livestock sector.
“The sandy soil in the coastal belt of Pakistan and the dry climate is perfect for growing chillies,” said Rashid Maher, spokesperson of the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority. Maher is the general manager of the Area Water Board for Nara Canal – the longest of the 14 canals in Sindh, running for about 355 kilometres. “The coastal belt where chilli grows best also happens to be at the tail-end of the Nara canal,” he said. The crop requires less water than other crops but more frequent watering – every 15 days.
“But due to the rotational system for distribution of available water in the irrigation system, more popularly known as warabandi, the water did not get to the farmers till the end of the third week, and the plant wilted and died before fruition,” explained Maher.
This is a big loss, as chillies are quite profitable. “A farmer with a 25 acre field can make more profit growing chilli than cotton,” Maher said. Today a 40 kg sack of dried chillies will fetch the farmer PKR 10,000 (USD 75). In comparison a 40 kg sack of cotton will sell for PKR 2,000-3,800 (USD 15-28) depending on the international demand.
Latifa, who grows wheat, cotton, sugarcane and even chillies on her small patch of land, says it is not easy being a small farmer at the tail-end of the canals. “We are never sure if we will be able to get the right amount of water at the right time,” she said exasperatedly.
This year despite perfect weather conditions, chilli production has plummeted because of a lack of water for irrigation.
This has been as massive let down for farmers. There are an estimated 160,000 chilli growers in Kunri alone, according to the Market Development Facility, a multi-country private sector development program funded by the Australian government.
Only 40% of the usual 100,000 acres that is cultivated for chilli every year in Umerkot and Mirpurkas districts was covered this year.
“Every year the produce would be as much as 0.15 million tonnes, but this year the production will not be more than 55 tonnes,” estimated Mian Salim, president of the Red Chilli Grower’s Association, a farmer who has not only been growing chillies for the last 40 years but supplying seeds as well. “Our nurseries with chilli seeds were ready but there was no water for three months from March onwards when the seedling is transplanted and it needs regular watering,” Salim said, resignedly.
Salim himself had bought seeds worth PKR 500,000 (USD 4,050) to grow on 40 acres of land (previously he would grow chillies on up to 100 acres) and prepared the nursery too. “But we could not transplant and all my money just went down the drain,” he said. Those who did complained that the fruit wilted and died prematurely, said Salim, who blamed it all on “mismanagement” by the government’s water authorities like SIDA. “There is enough water in the canals for everyone, but only if the more powerful landlords would stop stealing our share!”
Latifa, said the more influential farmers somehow, always get “enough water and at the right time.” According to Salim, the Nara canal is supposed to bring in 13,000 cusecs of water to the tail-enders. However, nearly between 2,500 to 3,000 cusecs is used up in the upper stretch, between Sukkur up to Sanghar.
“This is where cotton, sugarcane, rice and wheat (crops requiring frequent irrigation) is grown at the same time when we need water for our chilli crop,” he said adding that the land in the upper region of Narais owned by the “more influential people — including those in the parliament, in the army and the bureaucrats” who use illegal machines to draw and pump water from the canal and its distributaries.
A physical survey carried out by farmer’s association, of which he is a member, found as many as 650 pumping machines strewn across that part of the canal and to which the water authorities turn a blind eye. “The warabandi does not apply to them and no one dare stop them,” he said.
A SIDA official, on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that it was happening in collusion with the irrigation officers. “Yes there are illegal pumps, not as many as 650, but I would say around 300 installed by the feudals who pay bribes for them to remain there to draw water.”
More than people like Salim, it is the chilli pickers like Indira and Kalnawati who are the worst affected. Less production means less work to be divided among more farm hands. For many households, the male members will migrate to other cities, leaving the women with more responsibilities and more work.
Women play a huge role in bringing the red spice on to our tables.
But that is the case in the agriculture sector of Pakistan as a whole. “It’s like a bad television reception where you do not see the actual film, you just hear a lot of crackling! In the same way, women’s work off the radar. We work long, quietly and remain unrecognised,” Latifa, a woman farmer in Mirpurkhas, summed up their predicament. She blamed TV, Pakistani movies and even school books that stereotyped rural life with male farmers driving tractors, hoeing, spraying pesticides and women only fetching water and bringing food.
In her case, Latifa works at various farms – wheat, cotton and chilli – and is the main bread-earner for her family while the husband works “when he feels like it”.
A 2018 UN report states that agriculture in Pakistan has undergone “feminization” employing nearly 7.2 million rural women becoming the “largest” employer of Pakistani women workers.
Yet their multidimensional work with “lines between work for economic gain and work as extension of household chores (livestock management) and on the family farm… “does not get captured”.
The FAO says the Sindhi rural women in agriculture should be recognized as women farmers not just as sharecroppers or farm hands. Women in rural Sindh work, on average, between 12 to 14 hours a day. They represent 48% of total labour input for winter crops and 49% for summer crops, yet only 5% own land.
A village woman’s work is never done
Every day since the chilli season began, Indira and Kalnawati have been picking the chillies since dawn and stop around 1:00 pm in the afternoon.
Rajesh and Ramesh also help in picking and together they are able to fill two sacks (of 40 kg each) and earn PKR 300 (USD 1.70) for each sack.
But the men’s work ends there. Once home, they rest before going off to meet other men and catch up on the affairs of the world. For women it is back to the grind and to carry out the left over chores. “We head back to the field to cut grass for the livestock,” said Indira. By the time this work gets done, it’s almost sundown, she says.
“Once I get home, I rest and wash up, before heating up the cooked food and making fresh bread for the family,” she continued.
If she has one wish, Indira whispers so her husband cannot hear, it is to “sleep in just a little while longer and not head for the farm for just one day”. But she dare not since her daily wages help bring the rations for the next day’s meal.
Support for this story was provided through a fellowship under the DFID-funded Informing Change in the Indus Basin Project led by the International Water Management Institute. The views expressed are solely those of the author and in no way reflect those of IWMI or DFID
This story was reproduced with permission from The Third Pole
An Anti-terrorism Court (ATC) on Friday issued the death warrants for Imran Ali — the man convicted for the rape and murder of Zainab Amin.
According to an order issued by ATC Judge Sheikh Sajjad Ahmed, Ali's death sentence will be carried out on October 17 at Lahore's Central Jail.
"Today's warrants were issued after President Arif Alvi rejected Ali's appeal for clemency in the Zainab case on October 10," said Prosecutor Abdul Rauf Watoo.
Ali, a resident of Kasur, was accused of being involved in at least nine incidents of rape-cum-murder of minors, including Zainab's which he had confessed to during her murder investigation.
Out of the seven rape and murder cases registered against Imran, the court has given its verdict in five.
The ATC on February 17 had given him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a 7-year jail term and Rs4.1 million in fines. The four death penalties were for kidnapping, raping and murdering Zainab, and for committing an act of terrorism punishable under Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA).
In total, Imran Ali has been sentenced to 21 counts of death, three life sentences and a cumulative 23 years in jail.
He has also been set a Rs2.5 million fine by the court, which is other than the Rs255,000 that he has been sentenced to pay as diyat. Only two cases against Ali remain pending.
Justice for Zainab
Zainab's rape and murder earlier this year had sparked outrage and protests across the country after the six-year-old, who went missing on January 4, was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur on January 9.
Her case was the twelfth such incident to occur within a 10 kilometre radius in the city over a 12-month period.
The heinous nature of the crime had seen immediate riots break out in Kasur — in which two people were killed — while #JusticeforZainab became a rallying cry for an end to violence against children.
The Punjab government had declared the arrest of Ali, the prime suspect, on January 23.
On June 12, the Supreme Court rejected Ali's appeal against the death sentence handed to him for the rape and murder of Zainab, noting that the petitioner had admitted committing similar offences with eight other minor victims and "in that backdrop, he did not deserve any sympathy in the matter of his sentences".
Imran had filed the appeal challenging the death sentence handed to him in February, claiming his trial was not fair.
Imran Ali — File
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court asked on Thursday whether a party whose head propagates views against the Constitution can be registered as a party under the Political Parties Act by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“When someone says, ‘I do not believe in the Constitution’, [can his party] be registered under the Political Parties Act,” wondered Justice Qazi Faez Isa. Referring to the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) and its chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, he asked whether someone could be allowed to violate the Constitution even if he had a just cause.
Justice Isa was part of the two-judge bench that had resumed hearing on the 20-day sit-in held at the Faizabad interchange in Islamabad/Rawalpindi by the party in November 2017. The bench presided over by Justice Mushir Alam had held the last hearing in the case on April 26.
Justice Alam asked if ECP had ever taken a position on the matter and whether it was empowered to take any action against such parties?
Intelligence agencies submit report on Faizabad sit-in
Attorney General Anwar Mansoor explained that the ECP registers the parties but conceded that although protesting lawfully is everyone’s right, holding a protest so as to paralyse routine life is indeed unconstitutional. He added the ECP had the authority to revoke the registration of any political party.
The court issued a notice to the ECP to furnish the application under which the party had been registered and asked the attorney general to assist the court in determining whether the commission or the federal government was empowered under the Elections Act 2017 to take measures for regulating the parties.
“Now we can reflect upon what lessons we have learnt because the heat of the moment has gone,” Justice Isa said. “We can now see who did what.”
He asked whether occupying a building could be considered part of a protest. “Is there one Pakistan or many Pakistans?”
Justice Alam said the right of association did not permit propagating opinions against the fundamentals of Pakistan and wondered whether persons constituting the party had displayed a conduct aimed at strengthening the integrity and sovereignty of the country.
When the attorney general said the party had even been allotted an election symbol to contest the general elections, Justice Isa asked: “Can Al Qaeda [after] saying openly that they don’t believe in the Constitution of Pakistan be registered as a party by the ECP if it submits an application?”
The court expressed annoyance when a director of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) suggested his organisation did not get any complaint about blocking of channels like Dawn News and Geo in certain parts of the country.
Justice Isa reminded the official that he was taking a divergent view on the matter because during previous proceedings senior counsel S.A. Rehman, who appeared on behalf of Pemra, had conceded that the organisation had received complaints about the blocking of channels in certain areas.
“How dare a government functionary stop distribution of newspapers unless they forget the sayings of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who founded Dawn,” Justice Isa said, adding that Pakistan was created by people bestowed with a certain vision.
He then told the Pemra official the court could order registration of a case against him for committing perjury or initiate contempt of court proceedings, but the attorney general suggested that an investigation should be carried out before taking any drastic measures.
At this Justice Isa said: “We are not living in a police state and should the media be silenced for not following a particular agenda? Some people think they own Pakistan when the people of Pakistan own this state.”
Defence Secretary Ikramul Haq submitted to the court a report on behalf of the intelligence agencies, which suggested the TLYRA leaders should be summoned to explain the manner in which they acted during the sit-in.
The report explained that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) acted in accordance with the government’s directives to facilitate negotiations between the government and TLYRA and the talks resulted in calling off of the sit-in by the protesters.
The dangerous law and order situation across all major cities and violent attacks on government functionaries had played an important role in determining the terms of the Nov 27 agreement.
The report explained that speculation about a possible conspiracy was given credence by irresponsible remarks by those in influential positions. A false impression was created that the ISI was behind the sit-in.
In reality, the spying agency made every effort to support the government in bringing about a peaceful resolution of the problem.
The operation against protesters was conducted in accordance with the order of the Islamabad High Court, which had directed the administration of the federal capital to take action against the demonstrators.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — Photo/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi delivered a statement at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO) 17th Council of Heads of Government in Dushanbe on Friday, in which he recalled Pakistan's "largest and most effective counter-terrorism operations" in recent years and offered to share the country's expertise in combatting terrorism through the 'SCO Regional Anti Terrorist Structure'.
Speaking during the meeting, attended by representatives of the permanent members of the organisation, FM Qureshi expressed Pakistan's support for the SCO charter.
He said that more than just a regional platform, the SCO was a "fulcrum representing the hopes, the aspirations, the dreams and the expectations of nearly half of humanity".
Qureshi said that the world was in a "state of flux" and a "global architecture for peace, security and development, that treats all sovereign states on the footings of equality and respect" was required.
"By subscribing to these principles, [the] SCO presages such an architecture," he said.
The foreign minister also reiterated Pakistan's previous proposal for the establishment of SCO-Pakistan corridors for trade, transit and energy.
During the Council's meeting, FM Qureshi said that peace and security in Afghanistan were essential for stability in the region and said Pakistan supported the organisation's contact group on Afghanistan, hoping to see them contribute "more effectively" for peace and stability in the country.
Qureshi also thanked the SCO secretariat for facilitating Pakistan's induction into the organisation's programmes and processes.
"We are happy to note that in addition to finalising financial arrangements, this meeting will conclude significant understandings on trade, scientific collaboration, environmental protection and food security, among others."
In his address, Qureshi also offered suggestions to build upon the momentum the organisation had generated so far.
These suggestions included an SCO-wide mechanism to conduct trade and adopt a long-term view on development projects that would benefit the whole region.
"The Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] merit the SCO’s full support," Qureshi said.
He added that lessons could be learnt from within the SCO community on issues such as eradicating poverty and fast-tracking development.
FM Qureshi further proposed that an "SCO wide visa regime" for business individuals could promote "intra-regional and trans-regional contracts".
He also suggested exploring the feasibility of a "joint SCO airline".
Qureshi added that organisation should "open up more meaningfully to observers and dialogue partners" and the capabilities of the youth should be utilised.
The foreign minister expressed his gratitude to the chairman of the council as well as the Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda and the people of Tajikistan for their hospitality.
"Tajikistan is Pakistan’s close neighbour, a good friend and a dear brother. The bonds of kith and clan and culture and commerce tie the Tajik and Pakistani nations in an abiding relationship," he said in conclusion.
FM Qureshi at the SCO meeting on Friday. — Dawn
After an investigation conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), two individuals from a gang —one Romanian citizen and one Pakistani — have been arrested on the charges of committing ATM fraud and stealing from people, FIA sources told DawnNews on Friday.
The FIA source said that 130 ATM and credit cards were seized from the possession of the suspects.
They added that laptops, cameras as well as a 1,000 'fake' ATM cards were also seized during the arrest.
The FIA official said the suspects have stolen tens of millions of rupees from citizens. After stealing the money, the suspects would escape overseas.
The official said that other suspects from the gang will also be arrested soon.
In January, the FIA had arrested six Chinese nationals for allegedly stealing data with skimming devices and illegally drawing cash from ATMs in Defence Housing Authority and Abdullah Haroon Road near Zainab Market in Karachi.
In February, a judicial magistrate indicted Chinese national Xu Zhoping — also arrested in January —in a case pertaining to identical allegations of stealing data and illegal cash withdrawals from an ATM facility of a private bank in the Bahadurabad area of Karachi.
One of the two individuals arrested by the FIA was a Romanian citizen. — File Photo
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo motu notice of "alleged illegal encroachments" on properties owned by the Hindu community in Sindh, DawnNewsTV reported on Friday.
A notification issued by the Supreme Court (SC) Registrar's office today stated that the CJP had taken notice of the issue on a video released by Bhagwan Devi, a retired professor, in which she claimed that the Hindu community in Sindh was the victim of "the worst lawlessness and mismanagement".
In the video, that came to light last week, she said that the land mafia was taking over properties owned by Hindus in Sindh, especially Larkana, on the basis of "false power of attorney". Devi added that affected members of the community were also being threatened into silence.
"Many Hindus of Larkana have sold their properties and are ready to leave [the country]," she regretted, adding that many have already left.
She also claimed that a "situation similar to that of Native Americans was being created for the local Hindus". She accused Sindhi nationalists and the authorities for remaining silent.
Devi said that she had been protesting before the Larkana Press Club for the past 15 days with husband Bhagwan Das, a paediatrician and a professor. She appealed to the "CJP and 205 countries" to take notice of the Hindu community's plight.
The notification from the registrar's office said that the CJP will hear the case on October 18. Notices have been issued to the attorney general for Pakistan, advocate general of Sindh, secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, secretary of human rights, Sindh chief secretary, secretary of Minority Affairs Department, Sindh government and the Larakna district commissioner.
Dr Bhagwan Devi talks about Hindu community's plight in Sindh. — Screengrab Facebook
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finalised all arrangements regarding the by-election to be held on October 14 in 35 constituencies — 11 of National Assembly and 24 of provincial assemblies, ECP spokesperson Nadeem Qasim said on Friday.
Meanwhile, the election campaign of all political parties contesting the by-polls across the country would come to an end at midnight today — 24 hours before the polling day.
According to the ECP’s directives, on the midnight of October 12 and October 13, all public meetings and the political campaign would come to a halt.
The ECP spokesperson has reiterated that it is the responsibility of ECP to hold a free, fair and transparent election to ensure the continuity of smooth democratic process in the country.
“Ballet papers, ballot boxes and other necessary items have been handed over to all relevant presiding officers,” Qasim said.
Explaining the rules and procedures, the ECP official said: “Use of mobile phones would not be allowed in certain areas of the polling station. Moreover, the voter should bring his/her original CNIC to franchise the right of vote.”
He said that ECP would take stern action against those found violating the rules.
Moreover, military personnel would be deputed in and around the polling stations to carry out security arrangements and to assist other law enforcement agencies.
Qasim announced that so far 7,316 overseas voters have been registered through the i-voting system, which was a pilot project of ECP. “The overseas Pakistanis would be allowed to cast their vote during polling timing on October 14 — 8am to 5pm.”
By-election will be held in 35 constituencies — 11 of National Assembly and 24 of provincial assemblies. —File
The Directorate General of Immigration and Passports on Friday blocked the passports of former Railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khwaja Salman Rafique following an application filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with its ongoing investigation into the Paragon Housing Scheme ‘corruption’ case.
With the approval given by the immigration department, the Rafique brothers along with their acquaintance Qaiser Amin Butt have been blacklisted under category 'B' for future passport facilities, which means that the trio "shall not be granted passport facilities without the approval of the directorate general".
On October 11, Saad and Salman had filed petitions in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking protective bail and legal protection against the alleged harassment at the hands of NAB. However, the petitions were turned down by the court that same day.
The counsel for Saad Rafique had informed the bench that the former minister had been served call-up notices regarding inquiries into different cases. He had requested the court to grant a 15-day protective bail to his client, citing the by-polls scheduled for October 14 in Saad's constituency.
But the bench questioned why the PML-N leader had not approached the Lahore High Court, which was the appropriate forum for him to seek protective bail, and turned down both petitions.
NAB had launched an investigation in November last year into a mega land scam involving Khwaja Saad Rafique’s Paragon Housing Society in Lahore and the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC).
Saad Rafique maintains he had neither been director nor a shareholder of Paragon City Private Limited or ever had any say in its affairs.
Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and ex-railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique. —File photo
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to call the first meeting of the National Water Council led by Prime Minister Imran Khan in the last week of this month to set water sector targets for the country and resolve inter-provincial disputes.
The country’s first-ever National Water Policy approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in April this year required the creation of a National Water Council to address the country’s water issues, including development of reservoirs.
Headed by the prime minister, the council also includes the four chief ministers and the federal ministers for water resources, finance, power and planning and development. The group will also include five private sector water experts. The prime minister of Azad Kashmir and the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan are required to attend the council meetings as well.
Matters relating to implementation of water policy will be discussed in council’s first meeting later this month
Informed sources said that a host of water sector issues and future challenges will be discussed, including the allocation of 1,200 cusec water for Karachi.
The sources added that when Sindh’s case for the 1,200 cusec water supply to Karachi came up before the CCI meeting, most of the members of the CCI — particularly the representatives of the other three provinces — opposed the proposal.
Reportedly, the chief minister told the CCI that Sindh had agreed to share the federal capital’s water needs in the past under the agreement that Karachi’s requirements would also be met jointly by other provinces.
This was challenged by a representative of the Punjab government who said there was nothing on record to support that claim. On the contrary, Punjab said its request for 200 cusec water supply to Rawalpindi was rejected by Sindh and other provinces and Punjab had to reallocate water — out of its own share accord — to Rawalpindi. It was also reported that it had been decided that all provinces should meet water needs of their cities out of their respective water shares and argued that if water needs of Karachi are to be met by all the provinces, then the requirement of all other cities across the country should also be dealt with similarly.
It was argued that Sindh should have foreseen the future needs of Karachi and, therefore, agreed to give some of its share to Rawalpindi, when it required water, but the Sindh leadership at the time failed to do so. It was also explained by a participant that it appeared that the move to seek water shares for Karachi from other provinces would open a Pandora’s box of similar claims.
Both Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also opposed the suggestion of giving out of their share to Karachi. Instead, it was explained that the water accord of 1991 had taken care of Karachi’s needs and that is how Sindh’s share was apportioned in the first place.
With all these discussions having taken place, Minister for Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza proposed that the matter be referred to the National Water Council.
The source said the meeting will also discuss matters relating to the implementation of the national water policy since its approval, and consider developing a strategy to address water sector issues and challenges as well as debate inter-provincial disputes over water.
The council will also set targets for implementing the national water policy, besides considering a complaint by Balochistan against Sindh for not releasing its due water share. The meeting will also seek input from the provinces to examine if they have allocated enough funds for water projects as promised under the national water charter.
The water policy had given an undertaking that the selection of future water reservoirs would be made with a consensus among all stakeholders — in line with the 1991 water apportionment accord — and after a thorough examination of the impacts on sea intrusion, environmental protection and provincial water rights.
The policy set an initial target of increasing storage capacity of the existing 14 million acre feet (MAF) by immediately starting construction work on the 6.4 MAF Diamer-Bhasha dam, which had already been cleared by the CCI in 2009.
The policy empowered the provinces to develop their master plans within a national framework for sustainable development and management of water resources. It conceded that water resource is a national responsibility, but irrigation, agriculture, water supply, environment and other water-related sub-sectors are provincial subjects.
The policy recognises the need to provide at least 10 per cent of the federal Public Sector Development Programme to the water sector — gradually increasing it to 20pc by 2030. The provinces will also increase expenditure on the water sector as the total allocation of Rs145 billion — 7pc of the combined federal and provincial development budget for 2017-18 — was inadequate to address the many challenges.
Under the policy, water losses — currently estimated at 46 MAF per year — must be cut by 33pc by 2030 through canal and watercourse lining. Water efficiency will also be increased by 30pc by 2030 through improved technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation as well as a realistic water pricing policy.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2018
Council will address country's water issues, including development of reservoirs. — Photo/File
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reiterated the government’s resolve to complete the process for merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
During a meeting with Fata senators at Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan said the government was also striving hard to place an effective local governance system in the tribal districts.
He assured the delegation that the Centre would help the provincial government in provision of basic facilities like health, education and housing.
“The tribal areas will be provided all-out facilities like other parts of the country,” he added.
During the meeting, matters relating to the overall situation in tribal areas, Fata merger and administrative affairs came under discussion.
The prime minister said the tribal people had a right over the region’s resources and these should be spent on the construction and development of the area.
The government had already announced Rs100 billion uplift package for tribal districts.
The landmark merger of Fata and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas with KP took place through a constitutional amendment in the last days of the five-year term of the PML-N government that ended on May 31. The process of transition is still under progress which is now being monitored by the PTI government.
Following the landmark merger of Fata with KP, the provincial government established the offices of deputy commissioner and assistant commissioners by introducing the status of sub-division and districts in the tribal areas which were previously governed under one-and-a-half century old colonial laws called Frontier Crimes Regulations.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2018
Tribal people will be provided all-out resources like the rest of the country, assures PM Khan
KHUZDAR: President of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal has said his party believes in struggling for the rights of the people and that’s why it did not join the federal and provincial governments.
Speaking at a public meeting held in Khuzdar in connection with the election campaign, he said that in the National Assembly he had talked about the pain of the families of missing persons.
Leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, including former MNA and central naib emir of the JUI-F Maulana Qamaruddin, MPA Younis Aziz Zehri, Abdul Rauf Mengal, retired Justice Abdul Qadir Mengal and joint candidate of the BNP-M and MMA for PB-40 Khuzdar Akbar Mengal, were present at the meeting.
Sardar Mengal said: “We resisted all military dictators — Gens Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf — and never compromised on the rights of the people.”
He said his party and its leadership were not afraid of military dictators and a group that had no ideology or agenda could not stop its struggle. He warned of a backlash if an attempt was made to snatch the mandate of the BNP-M and JUI-F.
He said he had been offered ministries at the federal and provincial levels but he opted to stay out of power in the larger interest of the people of the province. He said that his party’s alliance with the JUI-F was a natural one and would continue because serving the people and protecting their rights featured prominently in the agendas of both the parties.
Sardar Mengal said he and his party were not against development but felt that uplift work should involve the poor people deprived of even the basic amenities of life.
“We want jobs for our educated youths and basic facilities — including drinking water, healthcare and education facilities — for our people,” the BNP-M chief said.
He said his party was doing parliamentary politics under the parameters of the Constitution and would not accept any wrongdoing in the elections.
He warned that any attempt to push the party to the wall would be counterproductive.
Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Qamaruddin said his party was honoured to be in alliance with the BNP-M. He urged the workers of both the parties to work hard for the upcoming election.
“We have to show on Oct 14 the same spirit that we showed on July 25,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the two parties would not succumb to pressure even if threats were hurled at them.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2018
BNP-M President Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal addresses a rally. — Photo/File
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced on Friday that the long-anticipated Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) would become functional on October 20 after which all unregistered mobile phones would become unusable.
The DIRBS is an indigenous solution aimed to combat the use of smuggled or counterfeit sets which either serve to reduce tax revenues for the state or pose health problems to unsuspecting consumers.
“We recommend that consumers buy only PTA-approved phone sets after Oct 20. A consumer should text the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number printed on the box of a new handset to 8484. But he or she should pay for the handset only after (s)he receives reply that the set is compliant with the regulatory standards,” said PTA’s director general for services, Talib Dogar.
Device identification system aims to tackle use of fake or smuggled sets which pose health hazards
The technology will help the authorities counter the issue of counterfeit devices that adversely affects the government, mobile phone operators, distributors and consumers, according to Mr Dogar.
These are the devices that are not registered with the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) and may be mass-produced by manufactures who do not comply with international standards of production, resulting in the proliferation of counterfeit, possibly hazardous, mobile phones.
PTA also said it had legalised the nearly 160 million compliant and non-complaint mobile devices, active on all the networks, before the launch of DIRBS. All these devices would not face any service interruption as they would not be blocked by DIRBS.
“However a consumer, who inserts a SIM card other than the one (s)he was using before Oct 20 in a non-compliant mobile device after the amnesty period, will be required to register the phone’s IMEI with PTA within two weeks to be able to continue using the handset,” Mr Dogar said.
Similarly, the consumers who purchase handsets abroad would have to register them in Pakistan by logging onto the PTA’s DIRBS website. After the one-time registration, the consumer would be able to operate the handset after furnishing information about identity card number, the IMEI of the handset and the country’s name where the set was bought, etc.
“In exceptional cases, such users on roaming services, they will continue to use their phones without interruption. However, as soon as they insert a local SIM they will have to register their mobile devices with PTA,” Mr Dogar said.
Another senior officer, Nouman Khalid, explained that in order to create public awareness PTA was sending SMSs to all subscribers about the status of their mobile devices.
The four types of responses that can be received by a subscriber inquiring about the status of the IMEI include “compliant devices”, which are the PTA-approved devices legally imported into Pakistan.
The other response is “valid devices”, which are the ones having valid IMEIs but which are not PTA-approved. To facilitate such users, PTA will auto-register the IMEIs active on mobile networks before Oct 20, and their status will be compliant after the said date.
Mr Khalid said that “non-compliant” devices are those where the IMEI is either not allocated by GSMA or is duplicated. To facilitate such users, PTA will auto-pair all such IMEIs active on mobile networks with specific SIMs before Oct 20. After that date, such users will be able to use their devices with paired SIMs only.
Finally, the “blocked devices” message indicates that the IMEI is blocked as this IMEI has been reported stolen earlier.
Mr Khalid said that after coming into effect the system could help the government increase revenues from $170 million to $200m on imported phone sets.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2018
LAHORE: The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has warned of paralysing the country within hours if the Supreme Court sets Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, free. The TLP directed its local leaders across the country on Friday to start holding sit-ins within hours without waiting for a decision by the central leadership, if she is freed.
“Judges’ remarks have sown doubt among the party leaders and fears that she would be released soon,” Pir Afzal Qadri, patron-in-chief of the TLP, said while addressing a rally taken out to protest the possible acquittal of Aasia Bibi.
Reading out a four-point resolution approved by the party leadership, he said the possible acquittal would be deemed an attack on Islam, the Constitution and blasphemy law. Responsibility for the subsequent law and order situation would rest with the judges, the government and all institutions supposed to protect the Constitution, he warned.
“The central leadership has already decided about a countrywide protest and local leaders should not wait for any message from the central leadership and start their sit-ins immediately,” Mr Qadri said, adding that these “nationwide sit-ins should continue till all those responsible for [Aasia Bibi’s] release are punished, even if the central leadership is incarcerated or killed”.
A number of TLP workers gathered on The Mall in Lahore and other major cities in the country, including Karachi, Multan and Gujranwala, to “pre-empt the acquittal”. Police, unlike previous rallies, did not block Charing Cross till the last moment and even when the rally arrived at the venue, the road was blocked by the party workers who dragged barriers put up to block access to the Punjab Assembly building and encircled the crossing.
Addressing the rally later, firebrand TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi not only seconded the decisions announced by Mr Qadri but also took on the judiciary, inviting the judges to a debate on the blasphemy law and its violations on television.
He concluded his speech by asking the workers to be ready for nationwide sit-ins. “Stay ready and wait for Tuesday when another important announcement would be made,” he said.
In Karachi, the TLP held a big rally warning the government against showing any flexibility in cases pertaining to blasphemy. The participants of the rally demanded the execution of Aasia Bibi and action against those pursuing a campaign in her favour.
Hundreds of participants marched from Hasan Square to Numaish intersection where leaders of the party addressed the rally. Traffic on main University Road and then on M.A. Jinnah Road remained badly affected.
The TLP leaders asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to come up with a clear policy on blasphemy laws and satisfy the people who had voted him to rule under the Constitution.
The charged participants of the rally on motorbikes, buses, cars and pickups chanted slogans vowing to protect the blasphemy law.
A TLP statement said the rally was part of its countrywide movement against the “possible acquittal of blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi”.
“There is a growing campaign for the release of Aasia Bibi and the recent steps coupled with statements from the people of the ruling party suggest that the government is considering a kind of relief for Aasia Bibi,” said Allama Razi Hussaini while addressing the rally.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2018
Right-wing party has directed local leaders to start sit-ins immediately if Aasia Bibi is freed. — Photo/File