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    Yet another fake screenshot doctored to pose as a Dawn.com news article surfaced on social media on Saturday.

    The fake post attempts to mislead the public and stakeholders by suggesting that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz is expecting and falsely claims that "Dawn news" has obtained her medical reports.

    The doctored image — besides reporting news which is completely false — also has a whole host of differences from what an authentic Dawn.com news article looks like.

    In order to ensure authorities and the public do not fall prey to such mischievous machinations in future, the following points detail how it can be identified that the screenshot is fake.

    1. Headline

    A typical Dawn.com news article has a headline with only the opening letter capitalised, except for proper nouns which also begin with a capital letter. The headline in the fake screenshot has the first letter of every word capitalised.

    Also, entire words are never written in block letters with the exception of acronyms such as NAB or PCB.

    Besides this, a colon is used prior to indicating a source.

    A good example to illustrate all of the points above is this headline:

    'PPP nominates Aitzaz Ahsan as candidate for president: sources'

    2. Twitter and print icons

    A quick click on any of our news articles will reveal that the twitter bird and print icons are different from the ones shown in the fake screenshot.

    The twitter bird has more pronounced feathers and the printer page has two dots, both of which are missing from the doctored image.

    Note the twitter bird and printer page in this screenshot of an authentic Dawn.com article.
    Note the twitter bird and printer page in this screenshot of an authentic Dawn.com article.

    3. Stylistical differences with Dawn

    The language used in the fake screenshot is not consistent with Dawn's style guide. Mistakes in sentence construction have been underlined in the image below.

    Besides this, "Dawn news" is an incorrect attribution to any of our sources for news (Dawn refers to a newspaper source or reporter, Dawn.com a web reporter, and DawnNewsTV a television reporter) all of which are always italicised when mentioned in the body of the story.

    Moreover, there are no paragraph breaks in the screenshot, which is never the case with a Dawn.com story.

    Mistakes pointed out in the fake screenshot.
    Mistakes pointed out in the fake screenshot.


    This is not the first attempt to mislead the public by circulating fake news using Dawn.com platforms.

    From January to April, 2017 Dawn.com came under multiple cyber attacks where attempts were made to hack and hijack its official social media accounts and the accounts of its staff. The attempts failed. The statement released at the time reads:

    “Hate speech and content that is blasphemous, indecent, prohibited, illegal, or likely to arouse societal discord or disturb tranquility will not be tolerated,” the statement said.

    Hackers and malicious groups attempt to damage reputations and stir up virulent and negative campaigns to serve their agenda... Dawn had been a target of such online campaigns in the past, too.

    The group sought its readers’ help in the “fight against hackers who are bent upon spreading fear, hatred and disinformation; who through their actions, are attacking our shared commitment to the progress of Pakistan”.


    A screengrab of the fake news screenshot circulating on social media.A screengrab of the fake news screenshot circulating on social media.

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday kicked off a countrywide 'Clean Green Pakistan' drive to tackle the challenges of rising pollution and global warming and with a resolve to create a Pakistan "even cleaner than Europe".

    The prime minister launched the drive at Islamabad College for Girls by planting a sapling and sweeping the lawn of the college.

    Khan was accompanied by his Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistants Iftikhar Durrani and Naeemul Haq and Senator Faisal Javed besides representatives of international organisations.

    Holding the broom, the white-clad prime minister also picked up garbage and disposed it off before proceeding to wash his hands, setting an example for youngsters to follow proper cleanliness methods.

    On the first day of the nationwide movement, ceremonies were held across the country to clean various localities and plant trees, attended by citizens as well as government authorities.

    While addressing the ceremony in Islamabad, the prime minister congratulated the students and teachers of the college for holding a successful launching ceremony of the five-year-long drive for a cleaner and greener Pakistan.

    Khan recalled the role played by students for fundraising of Shaukat Khanum Hospital across the country and urged them to replicate the same dedication for this drive.

    The premier expressed concerns over polluted rivers in the country and pollution rising to an alarming level in Lahore, particularly in winter.

    He said according to a study, excessive pollution shortens life expectancy by 11 years on average.

    “The rising pollution will mar the future of our upcoming generations,” he added.

    He said besides cleanliness, enhancement of the green cover was equally essential as Pakistan was the 7th-most affected country for global warming.

    He said after successful completion of a 'billion-tree tsunami' in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government had launched a five-year '10-billion tree tsunami' across the country.

    Khan said the glaciers will deplete fast if the world failed to tackle the challenge of global warming and the planet will become unlivable for the future generations.

    He hoped that after plantation of 10 billion trees, the weather pattern of the country would be changed altogether.

    The prime minister said the cleanliness drive will not remain confined to posh areas but it will also cover the slums and reiterated his governments plan to regularise and provide housing to slum dwellers.

    The drive also includes the construction of landfill sites in all areas to ensure proper disposal of garbage.

    The prime minister also interacted with representatives of international organisations and shared with them the government's future plans to cope with climate change and global warming.

    Later, Advisor Aslam told APP the government would change the public mindset and behaviour to make this initiative a success.

    He said the drive would be funded by both the government as well as donors.


    Prime Minister Imran Khan waters a tree planted to kick off the Prime Minister Imran Khan waters a tree planted to kick off the "Clean Green Pakistan" campaign. — APP

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    In order to curb unabated street crimes, a newly established ‘street watch force’ comprising 1,870 police personnel was deployed in Karachi on Saturday.

    Addressing the force personnel at Garden police headquarters, where SSPs of all districts of the city were present, Additional Inspector General (AIG) Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh announced that the force will be deployed at "hot spots" where street crimes are rampant.

    He pointed out that new motorbikes have been provided to the security force: 80 to South and City areas, 80 to district East and 20 each to Malir, West and Korangi.

    Four policemen riding two motorbikes will perform their duty for eight hours in designated areas. Mostly newly recruited policemen have been deployed for this purpose.

    District SSPs will head the street watch force in their respective areas, the AIG said.

    The force's personnel have been directed to respond to any information regarding street crimes immediately.

    Meanwhile, the city police chief announced a Rs50,000 reward for the policeman who was shot at and wounded by robbers in Sukhan area.

    Another policeman was shot at and wounded during an 'encounter' with street criminals in Shah Latif Town area late on Friday night.

    Separately, three suspected street criminals were arrested in an injured state after an encounter in Malir City area, also on Friday night.

    Malir SSP Sheeraz Nazeer claimed that the injured suspects were involved in several street crime incidents.


    A policeman stands alert in Karachi in this file photo.A policeman stands alert in Karachi in this file photo.

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    ISLAMABAD: Finance Minis­ter Asad Umar on Saturday said the government will have to take difficult decisions that would be painful for people but necessary under international commitments to get out of the current severe economic situation.

    Speaking at a news conference after his return from Indonesia where he formally applied for the IMF bailout, the minister rebutted the narrative in the Trump administration that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was responsible for Pakistan’s debt problems and the need for IMF bailout and said talks with Saudi Arabia for oil supplies on deferred payments were in progress.

    He said the government would have to make a stop-gap arrangement for external financial resources to support foreign exchange reserves until the IMF programme was finalised. An exercise for short-term borrowing was in the process for the prime minister’s approval.

    IMF mission due on Nov 7, CPEC not to blame for debt crisis

    The minister said the US was a key stakeholder in the IMF with about 16.5 per cent votes but enjoyed no veto power in its decision making that required majority 51pc votes. He said no government in Pakistan irrespective of any political background could compromise on national security and the PTI government, too, would not opt for an IMF programme if conditionalities are of that nature.

    He was responding to a question related to comments by US State Department spokesperson Hea­ther Nauret that Pakistan found itself in the current situation partly because of Chinese debt and that the US would examine Pakistan’s debt position from all angles in evaluating any type of loan programme.

    The “statement of state department spokesperson is 100pc wrong”, he said explaining that Pakistan’s financing gap for the current year was about $12 billion and total repayments to China averaged $300 million over the next three years. “We totally disagree with that statement,” Finance Minister Umar said, adding that he had already explained this to the US representatives and also to IMF chief Christine Lagarde. “The American narrative is totally wrong narrative.”

    The minister said there was nothing in the CPEC agreements and loans that should be kept secret. Rather, it should be known to the world, placed before parliament and shared with the IMF that how a real friend China extended attractive financing to Pakistan for the long term. He said the Chinese embassy had endorsed this position in a recent tweet.

    The finance minister also denied a statement by his cabinet colleague Fawad Chaudhry that unacceptable conditions from friends – Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE – compelled Pakistan to go for the IMF bailout. He declined to go into details about the hype around $10-12bn support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE and why it fizzled out saying the decision to go for the IMF programme was “taken with their consultation and there was no condition demanded either by Saudi Arabia, the UAE or China at all. I won’t comment more”.

    Mr Umar said the IMF programme was inevitable in the given circumstances when export competitiveness had been destroyed and debt profile aggravated over the past five years and the people would have to brave the impact of the consequential inflation and squeeze on growth. He said the IMF programme would be a helping hand for Pakistan to gradually sail through the tough economic circumstances. “We can perhaps live without the IMF but this could be more painful,” he said.

    The minister said an IMF mission would visit Islamabad on Nov 7 for talks to determine the size of the balance of payments support before which the government would prepare Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies for discussions and agreement. He said Pakistan’s current year debt repayments were about $9bn but obviously it would not entirely be available from the IMF.

    He said the some support would also come from bilateral and multilateral creditors and investors in the market once the IMF certificate is available along with financing. He said the size of the IMF funding was not yet clear but the programme would be for three years with front end disbursements.

    Mr Umar did not agree that last week’s currency devaluation and stock market crash was because indecision or policies of the government saying the currency was devalued on the signal from the State Bank of Pakistan and it was a considered decision of the PTI that exchange rate should be determined by the central bank without any political interference from the finance ministry.

    He said Pakistan had so far availed a total of 18 programmes of the IMF, including two by the PML-N, eight by the PPP and eight by the military governments and hence it was not unique for the PTI that was forced upon it because of decline in foreign exchange reserves on the domestic front. On the external side, he said the policies of President Trump, including sanctions on Iran and trade war with China, led to oil price increase and economic uncertainty in the international market besides increase in US interest rates and currency crises in Turkey, Greece and Argentina.

    Responding to a question, the minister said he would not take refuge behind the IMF for tough economic decisions that had become unavoidable because of the poor policies of the previous government. He said the economic problems could not be addressed unless the export sector was supported to reduce trade gap because of about $60bn imports and $25bn exports.

    He said the lower middle income group could suffer the most in the medium term because of corrective economic structural reforms and he had also sought advice from multilateral lenders how the impact of stabilisation should be minimised on this class. On its part, he said, the government had increased gas prices for this segment by 10pc compared to 143pc of the rich while exempting the export-oriented sectors.

    Similar approach would be applied when electricity rates are increased to restore competitiveness of the export sector.

    In reply to a question on bringing back funds held illegally abroad by Pakistanis, he said Switzerland was on top of the countries who have not shared details of that wealth and he had taken up the matter with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which has agreed to intervene for mutual information sharing.

    In response to another question, he said he did not agree that privatisation of public sector entities like Pakistan Steel Mills and PIA was a solution to address their continuous losses but getting them out of the clutches of the bureaucrats and politicians and giving under professional management teams to turn around them. He said it was also not true that their staff was a cause of their disaster but the governance failure.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Finance Minister Asad Umar. — Online/FileFinance Minister Asad Umar. — Online/File

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    KARACHI: A rickshaw driver in a poor locality of the city was caught off guard when he discovered transactions of three billion rupees had been made in his name from a private bank account, it emerged on Saturday.

    A resident of Korangi, Muhammad Rasheed, came to know about the colossal transaction from his bank account when the Supreme Court-mandated Joint Investigation Team (JIT) — set up to probe into money laundering cases — summoned him and recorded his statement.

    “I was asked to visit the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] office where officials showed me the record of my bank account,” he told a private news channel.

    FIA team has been investigating money laundering cases since September

    “They said that transactions of some three billion rupees were made through my bank account. I shared all the facts with the investigators and told them that I opened a bank account only once in my life when I was hired by a private company in 2004. It was a salary account and I worked for the company for merely 15 days. I quit to start my own work. Other than this, I am unaware of any other detail.”

    When queried about his former employer, he said he was unable to recall its name and only remembered that its office was situated somewhere near Tariq Road.

    Rasheed was confident that he had managed to convince FIA officials about his innocence.

    “My family and I live in a rented place. I work hard to make both ends meet. I can’t even imagine such a huge amount. I suspect my salary account was being used for all those transactions,” he said.

    Since September, the JIT has been probing money laundering cases revealing several suspicious accounts during the inquiry. One of which was a private bank account of a food vendor in Orangi that was found to have more than two billion rupees.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    This file photo shows a rickshaw.This file photo shows a rickshaw.

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government is all set to launch Industrial Policy 2018 to facilitate private sector investment growth by providing an enabling eco-system in line with its 100-day agenda.

    The policy, which will replace 2003-04 industrial policy, will come into effect after the chief minister’s approval and seeks to increase productivity and competitiveness of the industry.

    The policy envisages a level playing field for domestic and foreign players across all sectors to create jobs for the province’s growing skilled labour force. It will also include measures to incorporate the disenfranchised segments – impoverished districts, women and disabled persons.

    The core policy guidelines will be aimed at revamping special economic zones and industrial estates through attractive incentives, optimal locations, dedicated infrastructure, business friendly regulatory regime and participation of private sector in development, marketing and operation.

    The policy will look to increase productivity, expand access to finance, establish credit bureaus and investment matching programme, change governance environment through private sector input in policy-making and establish Industrial Intelligence Unit.

    In addition to announcing the policy, Punjab Industries, Commerce and Investment (IC&I) Department will also establish two new technology universities and making another varsity functional to provide higher education to three-year diploma holders in the province.

    The students opting for technical education who lack higher degrees are compelled to take up menial jobs. The universities to be established in D.G. Khan and Taxila – in addition to the ready-to-make-functional Rasul University of Technology in Mandi Bahauddin – will offer Bachelor of Engineering degree to diploma holders.

    The IC&I department has also finalised the establishment of Punjab Skill Development Authority to address student registration, curricula development and ensure quality examination system. The department is also working to restructure and revive Skill Advisory Forum.

    Preliminary work has also begun to bring Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority, Punjab Vocational Training Council and Punjab Skills Development Fund under the umbrella of industries department. In addition to that, the department has established Small Industrial Estates in Gujranwala and Wazirabad which are currently awaiting formal inauguration.

    In line with the 100-day agenda of the present government, the department has completed two projects for ground-breaking at Faisalabad Industrial Estate. The projects include a joint venture between Deli JE Glass-ware Limited and Haier Pakistan & Deli JW Glassware China and the launch of Renault Pakistan by Al-Futtaim Automotive Pakistan.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


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    QUETTA: The revenue collection by the Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Quetta recorded a 42 per cent year-on-year growth to Rs5.9 billion during the first quarter of 2018-19.

    Collector Ashraf Ali on Saturday said that the the customs duty collection rose to Rs2.107bn and sales tax to Rs2.592bn during the July-September period of this fiscal year, exceeding the respective targets of Rs1.517bn and Rs1.782bn.

    Similarly, the collectorate raised Rs1,035m under the income tax head, surpassing the target of Rs788m. The Federal Excise Duty collection was Rs105m

    Ali said this unprecedented revenue collection has been made possible due to enhanced surveillance on clearances at Customs Stations Taftan, Chaman and NLC Dry Port Quetta, strengthening of the department’s en route check-posts and speedy disposal of seized goods and vehicles through auctions.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


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    ISLAMABAD: The Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has barred security personnel deployed in and outside polling stations for by-elections being held across the country on Sunday (today) from meddling in the counting process.

    A code of conduct issued for the security personnel from Pakistan Army, Pak­istan Rangers, Frontier Corps, Frontier Consta­bulary, Levies forces, police and other security agencies contains a long list of do’s and don’ts.

    A security man will be required to provide peaceful environment at polling station for completion of counting process unless a malpractice in counting process has been identified. “In that case, he shall inform his officer in-charge through the fastest means available, who in turn shall inform Returning Officer or Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan for action against the Presiding Officer,” reads the code of conduct.

    ECP’s code of conduct for by-elections contains a long list of do’s and don’ts

    The security personnel have been asked not to arrest any person inside the polling station unless explicitly instructed by the presiding officer to do so.

    The code of conduct requires them to perform their duties in accordance with the law and within the confines of the mandate assigned to Pakistan Army and civil armed forces to assist the ECP in the conduct of free, fair and transparent be-elections, by providing secure environment for maintenance of law and order, providing security to presiding officers during transportation of polling bags from the offices of returning officers to polling stations and providing security, during transportation of election material, to presiding officers after completion of polling and counting at polling stations till receipt of record in the offices of returning officers.

    According to it, the security personnel are required to remain impartial throughout the election process in general and during the voting process in particular. They will not act in favour of or against any party or candidate in any manner whatsoever and render their fullest cooperation to the presiding officer for maintenance of order and for ensuring un-interrupted voting at the polling station.

    They have been asked to check each voter before he or she enters the premises of a polling station to ensure that no person can bring with himself/herself any weapon / explosive or undesirable item, including mobile phones, which could sabotage the polling process, facilitate voters and ensure that they are properly queued. Elderly, transgender persons, pregnant women, women with infants and disabled voters are entitled to have prioritised dealing.

    The personnel of the army and civil armed forces (deployed inside and outside) a polling station while performing their duties are supposed to first report to the presiding officer any irregularity or malpractice they observe inside or outside of polling station and act according to the instructions issued by him in that regard. In case, the presiding officer does not act to prevent the commission of any reported irregularity or malpractice, the security personnel will immediately bring the matter to the notice of their designated officer-in-charge who in turn will inform the returning officer or the ECP secretary to take action against the presiding officer.

    The security personnel have been asked to acquaint themselves with the fact that one polling agent of each contesting candidate is by law allowed to perform his/her duty at each polling booth; however, only one polling agent of each candidate will be allowed by the presiding officer to observe counting process and tabulation of results, and be aware of the fact that polling agent of each candidate who observed the counting process is, by law, allowed to take copy of Form-45 (Result of the Count) and Form-46 (Ballot Paper Account) from the presiding officer. Similarly an observer, if any, who is present at the time of counting, may also receive the copies of the forms from the presiding officer.

    While performing duties inside the polling station they will be required to coordinate in a manner that snapshot of Form-45 (Result of the Count) and tabulated result has been taken and sent through Result Trans­mission System (RTS) to Election Commission and Returning Officer by res­pec­­tive Presiding Officers. In case, due to any technical reason, the RTS is not functioning, the Presiding Officers shall not wait at the polling station and shall move to the office of the Returning Officer immediately along with polling record.

    The personnel have been told to allow the accredited observers and media persons to enter a polling station for a brief duration. Media persons will be allowed along with cameras for making footage of the voting process or counting process; however, they will not make footage of the screened off compartment to maintain the secrecy of ballot.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    ECP personnel counting votes — FileECP personnel counting votes — File

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    LAHORE: Members of polling staff and security personnel bring material for the by-elections to a polling station set up at a government school.—Online
    LAHORE: Members of polling staff and security personnel bring material for the by-elections to a polling station set up at a government school.—Online

    ISLAMABAD: The stage is set for crucial by-elections on 35 national and provincial assembly seats on Sunday (today) with the main contest expected between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as both the parties are claiming public support on the basis of “56-day performance” of the PTI government.

    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has completed the arrangements for holding by-elections on 11 National Assembly seats and 24 seats of the provincial assemblies.

    Most of the seats were vacated by those elected on more than one seat in the July 25 general elections, including Prime Minister Imran Khan who won in all the five NA constituencies he had contested.

    • Four seats vacated by Imran in focus • Overseas Pakistanis to vote for first time • 370 candidates vying for 35 NA, PA seats

    The final list of candidates issued by the ECP shows a total of 370 candidates are in the run — 120 for 11 NA seats (eight in Punjab, and one each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Islamabad) and 250 for 24 provincial assembly seats (11 in Punjab, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two each in Sindh and Balochistan).

    Though tough contest is expected between the PTI and PML-N on a number of seats, the political and election experts are focusing on four seats vacated by Prime Minister Khan, who has retained his Mianwali seat after the general elections.

    The PML-N in its election campaign highlighted the government’s decision to increase the prices of gas and its decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package on what the party called tough conditions. The PML-N also alleged that its president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had been detained by the National Accountability Bureau only to keep him away from the masses during the election campaign.

    On the other hand, the PTI claims that the tough decisions and corrective measures which it had taken to improve the economy “ruined by the two previous governments” will bear fruit within months.

    In what appears to be a face-saving move, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) which performed badly in the July 25 general elections, particularly in Punjab, has decided to support the PML-N candidates in the province, except for in Rahimyar Khan and Faisalabad. The PPP is also supporting the PML-N’s candidate in Islamabad. However, there are reports that not all the PPP candidates have formally announced withdrawal of their candidature in favour of the PML-N candidates despite an agreement between the top leaders of the two parties.

    As many as 1,727 polling stations out of the 7,489 set up for by-polls across the country have been categorised as ‘highly sensitive’.

    According to the ECP, 848 out of 5,193 polling stations in Punjab, 544 of 1,555 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 201 of 544 in Sindh and 134 of 197 in Balochistan have been classified as ‘highly sensitive’.

    Overseas Pakistanis

    For the first time in the country’s history, overseas Pakistanis will cast their votes through i-voting. The ECP launched the Overseas Voting System on Sept 1 for the by-elections.

    Out of 790,000 Pakistanis living abroad, of which 631,909 were eligible for i-voting, only 7,419 people registered to vote.

    Punjab

    This province in general and Lahore in particular are set to witness exciting electoral battles. The by-elections in the country’s most populated province have acquired great significance due to the minor difference in the number of seats won by the PML-N and the coalition headed by the PTI in the general elections.

    Eighty candidates are contesting on eight NA seats from Punjab. In Lahore, there are contests on NA-124 and NA-131, Rawalpindi (NA-60 and NA-63), Chakwal (NA-65), Gujrat (NA-69), Faisalabad (NA-103) and Attock (NA-56).

    There will be contest on 11 Punjab Assembly seats — two in Lahore (PP-164 and 165), one in Faisalabad (PP-103), Toba Tek Singh (PP-118), Attock (PP-3), Jhelum (PP-27), Sahiwal (PP-201), Multan (PP-222), Muzaffargarh (PP-272), Rahimyar Khan (PP-264) and D.G. Khan (PP-292).

    Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had lost the July 25 elections on two seats, this time is contesting the election from party stronghold of NA-124 Lahore. This seat was vacated by Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz.

    Former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, who had lost the previous election to PTI chief Imran Khan with a narrow margin of 600 votes in NA-131 Lahore, is again in the run, this time facing Humayun Akhtar Khan of the PTI. A tough contest is expected in this Lahore constituency.

    The National Assembly seats of Gujrat (NA-69) and Chakwal (NA-65), which were vacated by Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, are being contested by PML-Q and PTI joint candidates Moonis Elahi, the son of Mr Elahi, and Salik Hussain, the son of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

    In Rawalpindi’s NA-60, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid’s nephew Rashid Shafique is contesting on the PTI’s election symbol of ‘cricket bat’. He is facing Sajjad Khan of the PML-N. The ECP had postponed the election in this constituency at the eleventh hour in July after the conviction of then PML-N candidate Hanif Abbasi in the ephedrine case.

    Malik Khurram Ali Khan of the PTI and Malik Sohail Khan of the PML-N will be in an electoral contest in NA-55 (Attock) where PTI’s retired Maj Tahir Sadiq had won in the general elections.

    Little-known Ali Nawaz Awan of the PTI and Waqar Ahmad of the PML-N will run for NA-53 (Islamabad). Imran Khan had defeated Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the general elections from this constituency.

    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

    In this province, 59 candidates — including seven for one National Assembly seat (NA-35) and 52 for nine provincial assembly seats — are in the run.

    For the provincial assembly constituencies, the by-elections will be held in PK-3 Swat, PK-7 Swat, PK-44 Swabi, PK-53 Mardan, PK-61 Nowshera, PK-64 Nowshera, PK-78 Peshawar, and PK-97 and PK-99 D.I. Khan.

    The National Assembly seat from Bannu (NA-35) was vacated by PTI chief Khan, who had defeated former KP chief minister Akram Khan Durrani in the July polls.

    This time, the MMA has fielded Zahid Durrani, the son of Akram Durrani, to face PTI’s Naseem Ali Shah, the son of former MNA Maulana Naseeb Ali Shah.

    In PK-78 and PK-99, the July 25 elections had been postponed due to the killing of candidates Haroon Ahmad Bilour of the ANP and Ikramullah Khan Gandapur of the PTI, respectively, in suicide bombings.

    In PK-78 Peshawar, late Haroon Bilour’s wife Samar Haroon Bilour is the ANP’s candidate and she is facing PTI’s Mohammad Irfan.

    Late Ikramullah Gandapur’s son is the PTI’s candidate for PK-99 D.I. Khan seat. PK-44 Swabi fell vacant after Asad Qaiser retained his National Assembly seat. Asad Qaiser’s brother Aqibullah Khan has now been awarded the PTI ticket.

    Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, vacated two provincial assembly seats in Nowshera (PK-61 and PK-64). His son Mohammad Ibrahim Khattak and brother Liaquat Khan are now contesting for the two seats.

    Sindh

    The PTI has fielded Alamgir Khan as its candidate from NA-243 (Karachi) where Mr Khan had won in the general elections. Amir Waliud Din of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Hakim Ali of the PPP and Sharafat Ali of the PML-N are among 22 contestants in the constituency.

    The two provincial assembly seats where polling would be held are PS-30 Khairpur and PS-87 Malir-I.

    Balochistan

    By-elections will be held on two provincial assembly seats in Balochistan — PB-35 Mastung and PB-40 Khuzdar.

    The general elections were postponed in Mastung following the suicide attack on an election rally of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani on July 12 in which more than 150 people, including Mr Raisani, had died.

    The PB-40 Khuzdar seat became vacant when Balochistan National Party (BNP) chief Akhtar Mengal opted to retain his NA seat.

    Saleem Shahid contributed to this report

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Members of polling staff and security personnel bring material for the by-elections to a polling station set up at a government school.—OnlineMembers of polling staff and security personnel bring material for the by-elections to a polling station set up at a government school.—Online

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    ISLAMABAD: In a move to determine non-filers’ investments in the real estate, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has identified more than 16,000 tax evaders who paid zero taxes despite investing billions in the sector during last two years.

    These individuals who did not even posses national tax numbers (NTN) were identified following an exercise to weed out investors pouring billions into propoerties, but were not brought under the tax net by FBR.

    During last two years, more than 80,000 transactions worth approximately Rs800 billion (as per deputy commissioner rates) have been identified but the market value of these transactions is likely to be much higher than the stated figure.

    This data was accumulated by the Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited, a subsidiary of FBR which automatically detects real estate investments exceeding Rs4 million and records it on the board’s system.

    In order to ensure the sector is accurately documented, the government in its recent budgetary announcements mandated all real estate transactions from July onwards to be linked with the filing of tax returns.

    A well placed source at the board told Dawn that FBR has already started issuing notices to high net worth individuals who are not registered with the tax authority. He also said that the board will start issuing notices to those individuals who are registered as filers but avoided filing their returns.

    He added that in the first phase, 200 notices have been dispatched to these individuals across the country. “This is a continuous process and all these people will be issued notices in the next phases”, he added.

    The government has asked FBR to identify high-net-worth individuals and bring them under the tax net. However, an official told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that despite collecting sufficient data from various sources, Finance Minister Asad Umar has still not given the go ahead to initiate action against them. “We have almost finalised our clamp down plan on tax evaders”, the officer said.

    FBR has also issued notices to approximately 1,000 individuals who have purchased properties in Dubai along with those who have bought properties in the UK. In addition to that, the board has also identified individuals who were purchasing luxury vehicles without NTNs.

    The FBR official believes that the notices will help tax bodies to determine whether the recipients have declared properties through their tax returns in this country or not. “We don’t know exactly how much investments were made in Dubai,” he added. FBR will be to determine the volume of tax evasion and investment after receiving replies from these notices.

    .“We are not even sure about the accuracy of the addresses provided in the data”, the tax official admitted.

    He said the board received this data during the previous government’s tenure, but the top management was apparently unwilling to issue notices to tax avoiders. “Now, we have received a go ahead from the new government”, the official said.

    Finance Minister is scheduled to visit FBR on Monday to brief tax officials on the preliminary requirements of the International Monetary Fund and measures to be implemented by the tax authorities.

    Despite a dozen attempts to reform the tax system, the results have been dismal so far considering the extremely small tax base and present tax-to-GDP ratio of 9pc.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    A high rise apartment block in Karachi. The FBR identifies more than 80,000 transactions worth Rs800 billionin the real estate sector during the last two years.—File photoA high rise apartment block in Karachi. The FBR identifies more than 80,000 transactions worth Rs800 billionin the real estate sector during the last two years.—File photo

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    LAHORE: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Saturday the future of the Sharif family was bleak and claimed that a number of PML-N legislators were ready to announce the formation of a forward bloc in the Punjab Assembly but “we are showing leniency”.

    Interacting with media persons after attending a session of a conference held in memory of the late Asma Jahangir at a hotel, he said the PML-N was facing disintegration.

    The minister claimed that the PTI would win all the seats in the by-elections being held on Sunday (today).

    He said the PTI had to seek an IMF bailout package because of the (plunder by the) last PML-N government. “We need $8 billion to retire debt,” he said. “When your house is plundered you seek outside help to run it and attempt to catch the robbers,” he said, reiterating that the plunderers would not be spared.

    He said the loan being obtained by the PTI government would be retired after improvement in the economic conditions of the country. “The difference this time is that the voter and the government are committed that they would not allow the repetition (plunder) of the past 10 years,” he said.

    Earlier while speaking at the conference, he said there was no threat to democracy in Pakistan. Referring to the remarks by former ANP parliamentarian Bushra Gohar, the minister said: “Democracy is endangered whenever someone talks of luxury flat. But we will not spare the plunderers. Every time the big looters are caught, they create an impression that democracy is in danger.”

    He said the country had Rs13,000 billion debt when Gen Musharraf left. It swelled to Rs28,000bn in the last 10 years. Rule of law could not be established with slogans, he said and promised that the PTI government would introduce real democracy in the country. He said there was a trust deficit with regard to institutions, politicians and democracy.

    Ms Bushra asked as to why NAB did not proceed against the ANP government if it had committed corruption. “Go for accountability and avoid allegations,” she said.PPP’s MNA Nafisa Shah also spoke on the occasion.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry — FileFederal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry — File

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    LONDON: The family of Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother who faces the prospects of becoming the first person to be executed for blasphemy in the country, said they hoped the Supreme Court would free her.

    But in any case they feared for their future living in Pakistan under the blasphemy laws, they told AFP.

    Bibi, who has been on death row since 2010, is at the centre of the high-profile case that has divided Pakistan and drawn prayers from the Vatican.

    On Monday, the Supreme Court heard her last appeal and said it had reached a judgement, which it has yet to reveal.

    “We are hopeful that whatever the court proceedings are it will come out as positive for us,” her husband Ashiq Masih said.

    Her daughter Eisham Ashiq added: “I will be very happy the day my mother will be released. I will hug her and will cry meeting her and will thank God that he has got her released.”

    Bibi’s family are in London on a visit organised by Aid to the Church in Need, a charity.

    But her family said that if Bibi is released, it would be difficult to stay in her homeland.

    “Pakistan is ours: we were born there, raised there,” Masih said.

    “The only tension we have is the blasphemy law. Aasia Bibi, after her release, can’t stay there in the presence of this law. Living in Pakistan for us is very difficult. We don’t go out of our home and if we go, we come out very carefully. Life in Pakistan for us is very difficult,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Aasia Bibi with her family — FileAasia Bibi with her family — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued a notice to a TV channel on Saturday for airing news reports deemed to be against Federal Finance Minister Asad Umar and the Minister of State for Interior, Shaharyar Afridi.

    The regulator directed the TV channel to air rebuttals or furnish evidence in support of its reports which it aired on Friday night.

    Titled “Notice on False News”, the Pemra notice pertains to some tickers on the TV channel that referred to a statement by Prime Minister Imran Khan about the performance of Mr Umar during an informal meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). The other report was about the renovation of Mr Afridi’s house.

    “From the tickers it was transpired that the prime minister had expressed displeasure over the performance of federal finance minister for his policies,” Pemra said in the notice.

    It said that by airing such reports, the TV channel had violated provisions of the 2015 Electronic Media Code of Conduct.

    Pemra asked the TV channel to prove authenticity of its reports and submit a reply by Monday (Oct 15).

    The notice said if the TV channel concerned failed to provide evidence in support of its reports, it should tender an apology. If it failed to reply to the notice within the specified time, the matter would be decided ex-parte by the authority.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Minister of State for Interior  Shaharyar Afridi. — FileMinister of State for Interior Shaharyar Afridi. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over an inept police investigation that led to imprisonment of a child for eleven years, with the child ultimately attaining majority in prison.

    “Police appeared to be more interested in protecting the perpetrators of the crime,” said Justice Qazi Faez Isa while commenting on the case during a hearing on an appeal taken up by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

    The appeal was filed by Muhammad Adnan (who was once a child) against the March 24, 2014 order of the Lahore High Court that had upheld the Sept 15, 2010 decision of the Juvenile Court, Sheikhupura, of convicting him and sentencing him to life imprisonment under the Control of Narcotics Substance Act 1997.

    Court calls for speedy trial of children, early disposal of their appeals

    The appellant was arrested while he was driving a motorcycle rickshaw from which a huge quantity of narcotics was recovered, including four maunds and three kilograms of charas and 180 grams of heroin.

    The leave to appeal was moved before the Supreme Court against the high court judgement in 2014, which was granted by the apex court under Article 185(3) of the Constitution last year. Though the trial court convicted the appellant for life, its judge observed that the case was poorly investigated and police furnished challan of the case after a gap of two years, and that too following specific directives issued by the court. The court also overlooked Section 10(7) of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000, which holds that if the trial is not concluded within a year the accused should be released on bail, especially when (s)he is not responsible for the delay.

    Moreover the nominated co-accused who later absconded were not proceeded against, one of whom was a police constable. Who owned the rickshaw was also not ascertained.

    The Supreme Court regretted that the appellant was not even a teenager when the narcotics were seized from the rickshaw. “Can a child of such a tender age be the owner, or be deemed to be the owner, of the huge quantity of narcotic drugs which had been seized?” Justice Isa asked.

    He also asked if the appellant could be considered the owner of the rickshaw.

    “None of these matters were investigated by police,” said Justice Isa and added that the juvenile court, according to section 4 of the said ordinance, was required to ensure that the interest of the under-trial child was fully protected.

    However, the trial court did not consider many questions that it should have and rather treated the appellant as an adult. It thought the child had full understanding of the situation, Justice Isa regretted.

    The high court, which exercised the appellate jurisdiction, “perpetuated the error” and its judges also treated the appellant as an adult offender as they too did not consider the questions which should have been among the “points to be determined”, he said.

    The prosecution’s case against the appellant was that police had received prior information that a huge quantity of drugs was going to be transported in a rickshaw, Justice Isa observed. As a result, a police picket was set up, but the co-accused slipped through and security personnel instead arrested the appellant who did not try to run away.

    Inspector Arshad Latif — who had set up the picket, apprehended the appellant and also was the complainant in the case — had stated that the appellant was driving the rickshaw, but admitted when cross-examined that he made no attempt to determine the ownership of the rickshaw nor sought its registration book nor wrote to the authority concerned to determine in whose name it was registered. The inspector added that the narcotics belonged to one Muhammad Riaz.

    “We, therefore, without any hesitation can state that the prosecution completely failed to establish its case against the appellant, let alone establishing it beyond reasonable doubt,” said Justice Isa.

    Considering the provisions of the ordinance and keeping in mind that the Constitution envisages the protection of women and children it would be appropriate to order that trial of juveniles be concluded by juvenile courts without delay and appeals against conviction be expeditiously decided, said the apex court.

    Thus the chief justices of the provinces and the Islamabad High Court through their respective registrars should issue necessary directives to prioritise the hearing of appeals filed by juvenile convicts and also direct that appeals by such convicts are so highlighted on the file covers of the appeals.

    Requisite instructions by the chief justices should also be issued to juvenile courts to ensure expeditious conclusion of the trials.

    The juvenile courts should be further directed not to entertain routine requests for adjournments, Justice Isa said while asking the Supreme Court office to insert the word “juvenile” on the file covers of all criminal petitions and appeals filed by juvenile convicts and to prioritise their fixation in court.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Court calls for speedy trial of children, early disposal of their appeals. — Photo: FileCourt calls for speedy trial of children, early disposal of their appeals. — Photo: File

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    KARACHI: Minister of Finance Asad Umar on Saturday strongly denied all reports about a possible rift between him and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    Speaking to Dawn upon his return from Bali — where he submitted a formal request for balance of payments support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — the finance minister said, “I heard these reports on the way back from Bali.” He added that these reports were false and those outlets that have run this report, as per his information, will be deleting the content from their website.

    The next IMF mission will visit Pakistan on Nov 7 and consultations will continue for another 10 days, the minister said. When asked about the size of the facility Pakistan will be asking for, he said that decision has not yet been made.

    When asked whether he has met with the prime minister since his return from Bali, he said no, adding that he is scheduled to meet on Sunday morning, but there has been ample contact via messaging services. “We interact ten times a day” he said, “and the contact is constant”.

    “He knew Pakistan was going to land up with the IMF all along,” he said. “He knew the writing was on the wall, and most likely we will land up with the IMF.”

    He said the clips being shown on TV where Mr Khan was heard saying that the country should not go to the IMF are at least four years old. “There was only one day where Imran Khan said during a rally that we will not go to the IMF and I messaged him right away after that speech,” he said. Imran Khan was sure all along that Pakistan will go to the IMF during the campaign, the finance minister said.

    He said the government communicated nothing more than an in-principle decision to approach the IMF for balance of support in Bali. “I had three meetings with the IMF,” he said. “The first one was with Jaffar Mojarrad. The second was with Jihad Azhour and then finally with Christine Lagarde and David Lipton. So there were multiple meetings. The Lagarde meeting lasted about half an hour,” he told Dawn, adding that the other two meetings were the same duration.

    He emphasised that whatever agreement Pakistan eventually has with the IMF must be built around structural reforms. When asked what exactly the structural reforms might consist of, he said privatisation was not on the menu and “there has been no discussion about any Value Added Tax” either, but reduction of the losses of the state owned enterprises was a key part of the envisaged reforms. He added that this is what the government team communicated as a priority. “This is our priority” he underlined, “what they will ask for as their priority we will wait to see once we meet.”

    When asked about the appointment of a serving Air Marshal as chairman PIA, he said the search for a CEO was still ongoing, and that is a crucial appointment.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Minister of Finance Asad Umar — FileMinister of Finance Asad Umar — File

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    PESHAWAR: On the directive of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Peshawar High Court’s chief justice has ordered constitution of a commission comprising Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan to probe the 2014 Army Public School carnage in which over 140 people, mostly students, were martyred in Peshawar.

    A bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had on Oct 5 ordered the formation of an inquiry commission comprising a Peshawar High Court judge to probe the incident.

    A notification was issued by the PHC’s registrar Khwaja Wajihuddin, which stated: “Whereas, the august Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing Human Rights Case No 18200-K of 2018 in the matter regarding martyrs of APS, Peshawar, has passed the order Dated: 05.10. 2018 for constitution of the commission comprising a Senior Judge of the Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, who shall conduct a thorough probe into the matter as per the grievance of the complainants which (commission) shall submit a report within six weeks from the date of order i.e. 05.10.2018.”

    It added that Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan was appointed as commission for the stated purpose.

    Justice Ibrahim Khan was elevated to the high court as additional judge on Aug 11, 2016, and was subsequently confirmed as a judge of the high court on Jun 1, 2018.

    He had joined the judiciary as additional district and sessions judge in Nov 1993. Before his elevation, he served against several important judicial posts and remained district and sessions judge in different districts. He has also served as accountability court judge in Peshawar.

    The APS incident left 144 persons, including 122 students martyred.

    The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken notice of the issue in April this year when during his visit to Peshawar several parents of the de­­ceased students had app­roached him and requested him to redress their grievances.

    Subsequently, on May 9, a SC bench headed by the Chief Justice issued verbal orders for conducting an inquiry into the occurrence through a judicial commission comprising a judge of the PHC. However, as no written order was communicated to the high court, therefore, the commission could not be constituted.

    On Oct 5, the apex court again took up for hearing that case and issued a written order for formation of the commission.

    The prime grievance of the complainants is to hold the officers concerned res­ponsible for negligence as they did not respond to the threat alert prior to the incident.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    This file photo shows children from Sweet Homes pay tribute to APS attack victims.This file photo shows children from Sweet Homes pay tribute to APS attack victims.

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    LAHORE: Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts in Pakistan, jurists from home and abroad, diplomats, civil rights activists and politicians assembled at a local hotel on Saturday to pay homage to the late Asma Jahangir whom they termed her fearless warrior of human rights recognised the world over.

    Their words were not mere traditional posthumous praise for a departed soul. These words just narrated how she courageously fought against the mighty, had the faulty laws corrected and ensured justice for the marginalised men and women even at the peril of her own safety.

    The speeches were interspersed with rolling down of tears, clapping in appreciation of Asma’s rebellion against injustice and sudden sparkling of eyes of the speakers, making one feel as if they had become excited by imagining her in real time action. Prominent among the audience were veteran jurists Aitzaz Ahsan and Abid Hasan Manto.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said he learnt from Asma the importance of rights and began taking suo motu notices of matters involving the downtrodden because of this education. “I am blamed for my suo motu notices but I took my first one on her pointation,” he said, explaining how Asma pointed out the torture of a young girl Tayyaba on his first working day as the chief justice, and he provided justice to her.

    He said as a family friend he knew Ms Asma closely. She turned out to be one of the best human rights fighters ever and her legal acumen was amazingly of high quality. “Without her, we would not have been able to achieve the standards of human rights which we have. The lawyers in Pakistan were ahead of their Indian counterparts in fighting for human rights because of Asma," he said.

    The chief justice said he had made it easy for all to approach the superior judiciary for justice in line with the desires of Ms Asma, expressing his annoyance with the handcuffing of university professors by NAB in Lahore.

    “Teachers should be respected even if they have committed any wrong,” he said, narrating how a German judge honoured writer Ashfaq Ahmad when he failed to deposit his traffic violation fine.

    Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali said Asma was a remarkable human being. She was a voice against tyranny, and for the downtrodden. Her landmark case “Asma JiIani vs government of Punjab” forever buried the ‘might is right’ theory. “We will take her mission forward,” he said.

    Former Australian High Court Judge Michael Kirby mentioned how Asma made him wrote the Commonwealth Charter of Human Rights and got it approved from Queen Elizabeth. He also mentioned a letter from the International Bar Association’s president, offering respects for an amazing woman (Asma).

    European Union Ambassador to Pakistan Jean-Francois Cautain said Asma was a true human rights defender, and a supporter of international fundamental rights which are embedded in the European Union treaties. “I agree with her that human rights is not a job, it’s a conviction. And I also add that it is a passion,” he said.

    Indian jurist Colin Gonsalves said lawyers in his country were far behind in the sphere of human rights because of Asma who was an inspiration across the borders. “You have faced terror which we did not. But we now fear it. I am taking back home her spirit of daring the mighty,” he said.

    German Ambassador Martin Kobler said before assuming charge of his office in Pakistan he met Asma to seek her guidance on how to work here. She was a teacher and a truthful person.

    Afghan activist Orzala Nemat narrated how as a refugee child in a camp in Peshawar she was inspired by Asma and realised that she would have to be a lawyer to fight for her and others rights.

    Former HRCP Secretary General I A Rehman said Asma had the conviction that all people were entitled to equal treatment and kindness.

    Supreme Court Bar Association President Pir Kaleem Khurshid, LHCBA President Anwarul Haq Pannu, Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Kamran Murtaza, Indian poet and activist Kamla Bhasin and Advocate Ahsan Bhoon also spoke, lawyers Azam Nazir Tarrar and Abid Saqi moderated whereas Asma’s daughter Sulema Jahangir presented welcome address and two short movies on the life and work of her mother.

    In the post-lunch session ‘Freedom of Expression and Shrinking Spaces for Dissent’ speakers from different countries talked about the issues they faced.

    Artists paint Asma Jahangir’s picture at the conference. — White Star
    Artists paint Asma Jahangir’s picture at the conference. — White Star

    India’s editor of the news site The Wire, Siddharth Vardarajan, spoke about the high profile murder of two journalists but added that while the situation was not as bad as in Pakistan, India was still facing a huge problem. Mainly he said self-censorship was the issue. There is also trolling against media houses and journalists, misuse of defamation in courts, and other problems that is affecting the freedom of the media.

    A senior editor from Sri Lanka, Dilrukshi Handunetti, spoke about how several journalists had laid down their lives and risked other things to fight for freedom in her country, but despite being ‘somewhat free’, there was still a lot of self-censorship. And while the new government had promised justice, none of it was yet seen.

    Editor of The News, Peshawar, Farzana Ali, said self-censorship meant the death of journalism. She recounted experiences where she was pressured for her freedom of expression, as well as for being a woman.

    Steven Butler from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said around 60 journalists had been killed since 1992, however Hamid Mir, who was moderating the panel, said the figure among Pakistani journalists was above 100. Butler said in South Asia more and more licence was being given to ‘elected autocratic governments.’

    Nepali editor Kanak Mani Dixit said thought must be given to vernacular or regional reporters who face the worst circumstances, threats and intimidation yet get the least protection.

    At the end of the first day, adviser to UNDP on human rights Ali Dayan Hasan read out resolutions which included that self-censorship must come to an end and Pakistan’s Article 19A must be reviewed as it is very selective in giving freedom of expression.

    Meanwhile in the session about empowering women in the criminal justice system, Faisal Chaudhry, advocate Supreme Court, said there were about 39 laws that were female specific, but these were not being implemented. “Women have been ignored in almost all sectors of life, but this may be one of the most important sectors: the criminal justice system, including policing (investigation), prosecution and adjudication.”

    Salman Sufi spoke about how Asma Jahangir had guided him in his work regarding Violence against Women Act.

    DPO Amara Athar said women must be emotionally strong within themselves to withstand a negative lobby against them instead of giving in to the pressure. “We are streamlined instead of mainstreamed, even in our training,” she said.

    Other resolutions that were read out at the end of the day included issues pertaining to the independence of judiciary. It was decided that Article 184-3 must be reviewed, and limits must be created to suo motu powers; family laws must be reformed especially with regard to dissolution of marriages; more women must be included in the workforce; regarding cyber laws, there must be clear distinction between free speech and cyber terrorism; there must be training for lawyers and judges regarding cyber space so they understood it better, and data protection laws must be reviewed.

    The resolutions were accepted by the house.

    Earlier, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had an interactive session with the audience.

    He said politicians must be tried on the basis of their misuse of funds and tax laws should be used. But discriminatory attitude towards a politician was detrimental to democracy.

    “Selective accountability does not work,” he said.

    Meanwhile, it was mentioned that former chiefs of army were accused of money laundering and were living in foreign countries but they were not asked any questions.


    Excerpts: for Side Bar

    Reema Omer, International Legal Adviser for ICJ, South Asia

    “The judiciary should be all inclusive because young female lawyers face a lot of harassment in the field – we need a complete overhaul in this sector. He system of judicial appointments need to be more inclusive towards women.”

    I A Rehman, veteran human rights activist

    Over the years, Asma Jahangir became the voice and the conscience of the people of Pakistan... When Asma became silent, the nation became silent.

    Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbassi

    You can’t have this law- hang them all, we will sort them out later. Accountability of politicians is done at the polling stations.

    Kamla Bhasin, poet

    Feminism is the only ‘ism’ that has focused on patriarchy. No other ideology has done that.

    Siddharth Vardarajan, Editor of The Wire

    A section of the South Asian free media is itself turning against the idea of dissent. Readers and viewers themselves must come out and support free media so that it can exist.

    Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2018


    Chief Justice Saqib Nisar addresses the Asma Jahangir Conference. — White StarChief Justice Saqib Nisar addresses the Asma Jahangir Conference. — White Star

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    Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Sunday said that the government has finalised a mutual legal assistance law to obtain evidence from foreign jurisdictions about financial crimes and mega corruption cases involving Pakistanis, reported Radio Pakistan.

    While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Akbar said the law will soon be placed before the cabinet and it will be brought first through an ordinance and then presented before the parliament.

    This law is more open and will empower the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency to carry out the investigations as per the international treaties, Akbar was quoted as saying. Agreements will also be signed with China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the exchange of information.

    The former NAB deputy prosecutor general said that a bilateral treaty is again being ratified with the Swiss authorities which will enable the country to get the details of the bank accounts opened by Pakistani nationals, adding that Pakistan has already signed a treaty with the United Kingdom which will help speed up the investigations into different high profile asset cases.

    Akbar is scheduled to visit UK next week where he will "meet with his counterpart of national crime agency and also hold discussions on the pending requests for extradition, including that of former finance minister Ishaq Dar", reported Radio Pakistan.

    Earlier this month, the government had claimed to have detected over 10,000 properties of Pakistanis worth billions of rupees in the United Kingdom and the UAE.

    “Interestingly, information about half of the properties in the two countries were available with previous governments, but no action was taken because any such action could expose the rulers too,” Akbar had said at a press conference with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.


    Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar. — FileSpecial Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar. — File

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    Polling was carried out without any interruption on Sunday in bye-elections for 35 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies across the country.

    Barring a clash between PTI and PML-N workers outside the Shamsabad police station in Rawalpindi and sporadic scuffles elsewhere, the day largely remained peaceful.

    With results from more than 96 per cent polling stations of the 11 constituencies of National Assembly available with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were ahead with four seats each. The PML-Q retained two seats vacated by its leaders while Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal snatched back the NA-35 Bannu seat previously won by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    Polling official opens the ballot box at a polling station in Islamabad. —APP
    Polling official opens the ballot box at a polling station in Islamabad. —APP

    Consolidated, the coalition government gained six seats in the by-poll to the opposition's five. The break-up in the National Assembly is now 182 coalition seats to the opposition's 159. The by-election for the one remaining seat — Karachi's NA-247, vacated by President Arif Alvi — is to be held next Sunday (October 21).

    Of the provincial constituencies contested, PML-N was leading on five constituencies of the Punjab Assembly and one of KP Assembly. Meanwhile, PTI was ahead on four provincial seats in Punjab and five seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    The PPP-Parliamentarians was emerging victorious on the two provincial assembly seats on which by-elections were held in Sindh. In Balochistan, BNP was ahead on one seat while an independent candidate was leading on the other.

    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was quick to claim that PTI had “once again emerged as the largest political party of the country in the by-election”.

    Following unofficial confirmation of his victory from Lahore's NA-124 constituency, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressed his supporters and expressed reservations over the conduct of elections.

    "I ask the chief election commissioner this: who is in charge at a polling station? I visited around 40 polling stations today where presiding officers were not in charge. Do you understand what I am saying? Answer me this," he demanded.

    "Presiding officers had no authority whatsoever. This is what we call rigging. This is what we call the negation of public opinion. This is what we call disrespecting the people's mandate. These are the things that lead to a country's ruin," he declared.

    According to preliminary results, Abbasi won comfortably with more than 75,000 votes, defeating PTI's Ghulam Mohiuddin who obtained around 31,000 votes.

    Awami National Party leader Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, whose party was leading on 3 provincial assembly seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said there was "no reason for him to believe that today's by-elections were not transparent”.

    Possible decline in votes for PTI

    Although the voter turnout was understandably lower than the general election, the PTI seemed to have experienced a much larger decline in turnout than its rival parties in the key constituencies.

    Based on the results received so far, some key points to be made:

    NA-131 Lahore, previously won by PTI (Imran Khan) was likely to go over to the PML-N (Saad Rafique) after a close contest. This was not particularly surprising, given that Imran Khan's margin of victory on that seat in the July 25 election had been a wafer-thin 0.36pc and Rafique had always been a very strong contender.

    NA-35 Bannu, previously won by PTI (also by Imran Khan), went to the MMA's Zahid Akram Durrani. This was, again, not surprising considering that the PTI's most bankable candidate had only managed a 2.84pc victory margin in the July 25 election. The winning candidate's father, Akram Khan Durrani, had polled over 106,000 votes in that contest.

    In NA-124 Lahore, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N handed a thumping defeat to PTI's Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan. The seat was considered a safe bet for Abbasi, considering it is a PML-N stronghold and had been vacated by Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, who won it by a massive margin of 25.24pc in the July 25 general election.

    NA-60 Rawalpindi proved to be a real nail-biter. According to the most recent results, the PTI candidate, Shaikh Rashid Shafiq, was barely ahead of his rival, the PML-N's Sajjad Khan. This was surprising, considering NA-60 is the home ground of Shafiq's uncle, Shaikh Rashid. This ought to have been an easy fight for the PTI, but Shafiq's nomination had not sat well with the local PTI leadership.

    Similarly, NA-56 Attock, where the PTI's Tahir Sadiq had won by a comfortable margin of 16pc of total votes cast in that constituency on July 25, swung strongly back to the PML-N this time. The PML-N's contender in both contests, Malik Sohail, clearly enjoys strong local backing, having received 99,000 votes (on July 25) and nearly 117,000 votes (on October 14) in the two contests. He also seems to have more successfully mobilised his voters compared to the PTI, as is evident from a higher vote count than the general election. This is a surprising feat, considering voter turnout is generally much lower in by-polls.

    NA-69 Gujrat, as expected, went to the PML-Q's Moonis Elahi. Moonis' father, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, had swept the July 25 election for this seat with a comfortable 33.5pc margin of victory. The seat is a stronghold for the PML-Q, and it was expected that it would be retained.

    Likewise, NA-243 Karachi and NA-53 Islamabad returned, as was expected, to the PTI. The PTI had won with margins of 41pc and 27.5pc in the July 25 election both constituencies, respectively. The turnout was considerably lower, however.

    NA-63 Rawalpindi and NA-65 Chakwal were comfortably retained by the PTI and PML-Q, respectively. Both were expected to be tough fights, but the PTI seemed to have mobilised a healthy number of workers in Rawalpindi, and the PML-Q seemed to have benefited from the PML-N's withdrawal of its candidate from the Chakwal seat.

    Fate of overseas votes to be decided later

    The ECP will decide on Monday whether to include the votes cast by overseas Pakistanis through the i-voting facility in the final count.

    The decision will be taken after Nadra briefs the commission on the i-voting exercise, which has been undertaken for the first time.

    If approved by the ECP, the votes of expat Pakistanis will be incorporated in Form 48, the Consolidated Statement of Results of the Count, along with the postal ballots.

    Out of 7,364 overseas nationals registered for i-voting, 6,233 cast their votes in today's by-polls, according to the ECP.


    A person makes a thumb impression on a voters list at polling station during the by-election in constituency NA-103 Faisalabad. —APPA person makes a thumb impression on a voters list at polling station during the by-election in constituency NA-103 Faisalabad. —APP

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday directed the West range SSP to provide adequate security to a former investigating officer of the high-profile Baldia factory fire case.

    The ATC-VI judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the Karachi central prison, passed this order on an application moved by Sub-Inspector Jahanzeb.

    The police official submitted in his plea that he was the former IO of the Baldia factory fire case and was recently receiving threatening phone calls from unidentified persons over his engagement in the high-profile trial.

    He pleaded to direct the police high-ups to provide him adequate security due to threats to his life.

    The special public prosecutor for Rangers, Sajid Mehboob Sheikh, informed the court that all-out help and protection would be provided to the police official, who was reportedly facing security threats.

    He also held out an assurance that the Rangers would help in tracing the anonymous callers, who was/were hurling such threats at him.

    Allowing the application, the court directed the West range SSP to ensure adequate security was provided to the police official.

    Nine accused — including Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui; Abdul Rehman, alias Bhola; and Zubair, alias Chariya — have been charged with setting ablaze a garments factory in Baldia Town with the help of its four gatekeepers — Shahrukh, Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmood and Ali Mohammad.

    The prosecution claimed that the suspects acted on the instruction of the then head of the MQM Karachi Tanzeemi Committee Hammad Siddiqui, after the factory owners did not pay protection money.

    Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2018


    He also held out an assurance that the Rangers would help in tracing the anonymous callers, who was/were hurling such threats at him. ─ File photoHe also held out an assurance that the Rangers would help in tracing the anonymous callers, who was/were hurling such threats at him. ─ File photo

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