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    Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Naeemul Haq said that the PTI government is committed to establishing peace in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and for the uplift of the people.

    Speaking to Radio Pakistan, the PM's special assistant said that development work had not possible in Fata due to war like conditions, but that the PTI-led government is committed to developing Fata at par with the rest of the country.

    "The government will continue its efforts to streamline Fata and provide opportunities to the people of [the] Tribal belt," he added.

    The PTI leader said that the government would prioritise providing job opportunities to the youth and creating a welcoming atmosphere for foreign investment, with the aim to expedite economic activities in Fata.

    PTI MNA from Fata Jawad Hussain said that the communications infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, had been badly destroyed owing to the counter-terrorism operation in Fata.

    He said that the normalisation of routine life and development works in Fata was a key priority of the incumbent government.

    Hussain said that the government wanted to expedite economic activities in Fata for its economic revival adding that the the same laws would be implemented in the region after its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    He said that the government should take measures to strengthen the Pakistan-Afghanistan border management and added that the Pakistan Army offered unparalleled sacrifices in securing Fata.


    Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Naeemul Haq. — File PhotoPakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Naeemul Haq. — File Photo

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    A Muzaffargarh man shot his sister dead on Thursday night for allegedly refusing a marriage proposal of his liking.

    According to sources within the the Kandai police station, Shoaib wanted his sister to accept a marriage proposal of his choice.

    When she rejected the proposal in favour of her own choice of suitor, the siblings got into a heated argument which ended with Shoaib shooting his sister and fleeing the scene of the crime, police said.

    The woman's body has been sent to the Rural Health Centre for a post-mortem examination and an FIR has been registered in the case.


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    The Lahore High Court on Friday heard a petition pertaining to Pakistanis on death row in various middle eastern countries who are in urgent need of diplomatic assistance.

    The hearing, presided over by Justice Ayesha A. Malik, reviewed an application filed by Justice Project Pakistan's Asma Shafi to highlight the issue.

    Shafi has underscored the need for quick action in her petition, which states that Pakistanis in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, are being executed at an increasing rate. Over the past few weeks alone, nine Pakistanis have been executed, according to the petition.

    Explore:Death penalty report

    The application further highlights that it is the responsibility of the government to keep an eye on the trial proceedings of Pakistanis convicted abroad and assure they are carried out transparently. It is the fundamental right of every Pakistani prisoner to receive assistance on a diplomatic level, Shafi has asserted.

    Shafi has pleaded to the court to issue orders to the government to provide diplomatic assistance to Pakistanis jailed abroad and to take into consideration their trial proceedings.

    The hearing was adjourned until December 12.


    A play depicting death row prisoners staged at the Forman Christian College, Lahore. —File photoA play depicting death row prisoners staged at the Forman Christian College, Lahore. —File photo

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    Responding to claims that she had issued orders to bar women not wearing a dupatta from entering the Ministers Block of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Punjab Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Friday denied the allegation and said the guard who made that claim had been issued a show-cause notice and was being investigated.

    The provincial minister for primary and secondary healthcare said the allegation was "quite absurd indeed".

    Prior to the clarification, reports had been circulating on social media that some women not wearing a dupatta were prevented from entering the building by a security guard, who claimed that he was required to do so by Dr Rashid.

    On Twitter, a woman shared a video of her encounter with the security of the Minister’s Block of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, where she said she had gone after hearing that women were not being allowed to enter without a dupatta.

    In the video, the guard claimed that a woman had come to meet Dr Yasmin Rashid wearing "a certain type of dress", "after which she [Dr Rashid] had given orders that from next time, no one without a dupatta would be allowed entry".

    When asked if the orders were issued in writing, the guard had claimed that they were "verbal orders".

    The guard also claimed that another minister had also said that "you have eyes and should stop 'them' [women in 'inappropriate' dressing] from entering the offices so that every man does not look at 'them' in a certain way."

    When the woman in the video insisted that there was nothing objectionable about her outfit, the guard claimed that this was not his decision and the rules had been changed only a few days ago.

    The woman then asked if she was required to wear the dupatta around her neck or on her head, to which the guard responded that if she did not want to cover her head, she could wear it as a sash.

    She again asked him if there was a written order regarding these instructions, to which he said there was no written order, and that the security had been told that "if we see something we have to be careful".

    When the woman made it clear that she did not have a dupatta, the guard initially asked her if he wanted her to arrange one for him, then relented and issued her a visitor's pass before walking away.

    This video was shared on Friday by a user on Facebook, who said it had been recorded by her aunt. It was not clear when it was shot.

    Another user, Noor Imran, had shared a similar experience on Twitter on Oct 16, claiming that she was refused entry to a government building because she wasn't wearing a dupatta.

    In subsequent tweets, she added: "My colleague with me had a headscarf and a dupatta [and] lent me hers to enter. I threw it on my shoulder and told her to let me go now. She [the guard] then said, “Cover your head with it”. I was like why? I have a dupatta now! And I walked off."

    She updated the Twitter thread on Thursday saying two of her colleagues had visited the same place again, and one who had a dupatta but did not have her head covered was stopped and asked to cover her head.

    According to Imran, the colleague said she had entered without it the day before and asked why she had to cover her head today.

    Imran said on Twitter that, "I was told this is a rule for the entire minister’s block".

    The PTI also tweeted a denial about reports alleging that the minister was responsible for the orders.

    "One should not hurl any blame/allegation without concrete evidence. You may report the incident to concerned authorities," they wrote.


    Dr Yasmin Rashid. — File PhotoDr Yasmin Rashid. — File Photo

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    A newly recruited female employee at a Karachi-based software house was discriminated against on the basis of her attire and asked to either stop wearing her hijab at work or resign, it emerged on Friday.

    The incident came to light through a Facebook post which detailed how the female recruit, just a few days into her employment with Creative Chaos, was purportedly asked by her manager that she could keep her job only if she takes off her hijab.

    The said person told Dawn.com that the implication was that hijab would spoil the company’s image as an "all-embracing workplace".

    Read: Hijab — a hurdle for a job?

    The discriminatory policy was reportedly defended in a meeting of the affected employee with the company's chief executive, who, the woman claims, refused to make the demand in writing but pushed her to resign, even recommending her two Islamic banks as possible alternatives.

    Furthermore, the victim says that she was warned not to consider legal options against the company.

    After the Facebook post narrating the incident went viral and drew sharp criticism on social media, the company's CEO publicly confirmed that the incident had indeed taken place, and also issued an apology.

    "Yesterday, a senior member of our staff asked a colleague to resign on unprofessional and unethical grounds," admitted Jawwad Kadir. "She was told that her obligations may come in the way of her performance.

    "Not only is this action disgraceful but shows extremely poor moral judgement by her hiring manager. I take full responsibility for this failure and am deeply ashamed that a colleague was put through distress and trauma."

    Read: Guard who denied women entry to Punjab secretariat 'for not wearing dupatta' issued show cause notice

    Kadir, in his public apology, stated that the manager responsible has been suspended and a transparent inquiry ordered. Moreover, he said that the victim has been asked to withdraw her resignation and resume her job.

    However, his statement made no mention of the employee's claim that he himself had also asked her to resign on the controversial grounds.

    Dawn.com approached Kadir for clarification; he had not responded till the time this story was published.


    A female employee was reportedly asked by her new employer to pick between her hijab and job. — FileA female employee was reportedly asked by her new employer to pick between her hijab and job. — File

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    A ceremony was held in Quetta on Friday to celebrate the passing-out of 1,400 young students, who completed their primary education under an accelerated learning programme (ALP) launched by the Balochistan government in collaboration with Unicef.

    The programme seeks to provide primary education to out-of-school children within three years — as opposed to the usual six years — to overcome the age gap created because of the school years missed by the children and adolescents.

    An ALP student receives her certificate from Balochistan Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai. — Photo by author
    An ALP student receives her certificate from Balochistan Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai. — Photo by author

    "Nearly 1.1 million children are currently out of schools in Balochistan," Palvasha Jalalzai, the provincial education chief of Unicef, told DawnNewsTV. However, Balochistan National Party's central leader Sanaullah Baloch put the alarming figure of such children at more than 2m.

    According to Jalalzai, the main objective behind the launch of ALP was to make sure the precious time of overage children did not get wasted.

    See: Schools without roofs: the state of govt-run schools in Balochistan

    Balochistan Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai receives a bouquet from a child. — Photo by author
    Balochistan Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai receives a bouquet from a child. — Photo by author

    A particularly worrying aspect of the current state-of-affairs is that most of the out-of-school children in Balochistan are girls. In fact, an estimated 62 per cent of girls aged between five and 16 are deprived of education in the province, according to Balochistan education secretary Noorul Haq Baloch.

    The situation isn't significantly better for male children either, with 34pc of boys out of schools.

    "We have only one primary school in an area of 33 square kilometres in Balochistan," Sanaullah Baloch, the BNP leader and MPA, revealed. In comparison, he said, there was one primary school every 4 sq km in Punjab, 2.8 sq km in Sindh and 3.8 sq km in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Under ALP, 202 centres have been set up across Balochistan, with nearly 12,000 children enrolled in them.

    The former government of chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch had imposed an emergency in the province to enroll out-of-school children. And despite a severe financial crisis, the Balochistan government pays over Rs4 billion in salaries to teachers monthly. Yet the provincial education sector paints a bleak picture.

    "What an irony that we have only one girls' middle school per 361 sq km," Sanaullah Baloch lamented.


    ALP students hold their primary education certificates at a ceremony in Quetta on Friday. — Photo by authorALP students hold their primary education certificates at a ceremony in Quetta on Friday. — Photo by author

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    Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday stressed that arduous measures need to be taken in order to avert the water crisis facing Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

    Addressing the opening session of a two-day international symposium titled Creating a water secure Pakistan in Islamabad, the chief justice said that it is unfortunate that no one in Pakistan made any dedicated efforts to construct dams and water reservoirs in the past 40 years.

    He said that water reserves in Pakistan have decreased to an alarmingly low level and if drastic measures are not taken now, Pakistan could run dry by 2025.

    Justice Nisar said the judiciary could not have remained oblivious to the issue as it has the obligation to protect the interests of the citizens.

    He said that the judiciary took this issue and passed a judgement, urging the executive to play its role for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam.

    Justice Nisar said the dam fund was created as the country did not have the capital required to construct large dams.

    "There was an overwhelming response from the public and even children and pensioners made contributions to this fund," he told the attendees of the symposium.

    The chief justice added that the sensitisation of the issue at a national level has made the nation realise the importance of water conservation and management.


    Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar addresses a symposium. — DawnNewsTVChief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar addresses a symposium. — DawnNewsTV

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    The chief executive officer of a Karachi-based software house was asked to resign on Friday after a newly recruited female employee was told to either stop wearing her hijab at work or leave.

    The incident came to light through a Facebook post which detailed how the female recruit, just a few days into her employment with Creative Chaos, was told by her line manager that she could keep her job only if she would take off her hijab.

    The said person told Dawn.com that the implication was that her wearing the hijab would spoil the company’s image as an "all-embracing" workplace.

    Read: Hijab — a hurdle for a job?

    The discriminatory policy was reportedly defended in a meeting of the affected employee with the company's CEO, Jawwad Kadir, who, the woman claims, refused to make the demand in writing but pushed her to resign, even recommending her two Islamic banks as possible alternatives.

    The victim says that she was also warned not to consider legal options against the company.

    After the Facebook post narrating the incident went viral and drew sharp criticism on social media, Kadir publicly confirmed that the incident had indeed taken place, and also issued an apology.

    "Yesterday, a senior member of our staff asked a colleague to resign on unprofessional and unethical grounds," admitted Kadir. "She was told that her obligations may come in the way of her performance.

    "Not only is this action disgraceful but shows extremely poor moral judgement by her hiring manager. I take full responsibility for this failure and am deeply ashamed that a colleague was put through distress and trauma."

    Apology shared by Creative Chaos on Facebook.
    Apology shared by Creative Chaos on Facebook.

    Read: Guard who denied women entry to Punjab secretariat 'for not wearing dupatta' issued show cause notice

    Kadir, in his public apology, stated that the manager responsible had been suspended and a transparent inquiry ordered. Moreover, he said that the victim has been asked to withdraw her resignation and resume her job.

    However, his initial statement made no mention of the employee's claim that he himself had also asked her to resign on the controversial grounds.

    Later in the evening, the software house in a Facebook post said Kadir had been asked to step down "for workplace discrimination".

    In an email sent to board members and associates, titled "My apology is not enough", Kadir said he was resigning as CEO of the software house.

    "I have crossed a line which I deeply regret," Kadir wrote in the email, a copy of which was provided to Dawn.com by a source.

    "I have jeopardised the image of Creative Chaos and tarnished its reputation due to my inability to act in accordance with the ethos of [the company] and moral code of human decency," he added. "The buck stops at the CEO."


    A female employee was reportedly asked by her new employer to pick between her hijab and job. — FileA female employee was reportedly asked by her new employer to pick between her hijab and job. — File

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday invited Qatari investment in all sectors of Pakistan's economy, especially in agriculture, livestock, and energy.

    He also expressed hope for early implementation of Qatar's decision to import 100,000 workers from Pakistan.

    The prime minister expressed these views while talking to Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of the State of Qatar, who had called on him in Islamabad to convey felicitations and best wishes on behalf of the Emir of Qatar on PM Khan's election.

    The foreign minister of Qatar conveyed the Emir's keen desire to work with the new leadership in Pakistan to further strengthen close and cordial relations between the two countries.

    Expressing appreciation for the warm sentiments of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the PM reciprocated by underlining the commitment of his government to build mutually beneficial relations with Qatar.

    Referring to an increase in Pakistan's exports to Qatar, PM Khan hoped that bilateral trade will further expand in the coming years.

    Qatari FM meets Pakistani counterpart

    Earlier in the day, the Qatari foreign minister held talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office.

    According to a statement released by the FO, Al Thani congratulated FM Qureshi on assuming office and conveyed a desire to work with Qureshi to cement the relations between Pakistan and Qatar.

    "FM Qureshi underscored the importance of the relationship between Pakistan and Qatar. Discussing bilateral, political and economic relations between the two countries, the ministers decided to hold the next Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in December this year," the statement read.

    The FO reports that it was also agreed upon to hold bilateral political consultations.

    "FM Qureshi highlighted the huge potential for bilateral cooperation in energy, petroleum and petrochemical, agriculture and livestock sectors," the FO statement reads.

    The statement adds that during the meeting, FM Qureshi reiterated his request for fast tracking the recruitment process for Pakistani workers, reminding his Qatari counterpart of the discussion held between them in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly last month.

    "He also offered the professional services of the Pakistani workforce for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar," the FO statement says.

    The FO has also said that FM Al Thani thanked FM Qureshi and reiterated his invitation to him to visit Doha on mutually convenient dates which FM Qureshi accepted.


    Prime Minister, Imran Khan exchanging views with Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minster and Minister forPrime Minister, Imran Khan exchanging views with Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minster and Minister for

    Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar during a meeting held at the PM Office in Islamabad. —APPForeign Affairs of the State of Qatar during a meeting held at the PM Office in Islamabad. —APP

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    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday issued the polling scheme for the second round of by-elections scheduled for Sunday.

    A total of 858,866 male and female voters will be eligible to cast their ballots in the October 21 by-polls for the National Assembly constituency of NA-247 Karachi and the provincial assembly seats PS-111 Karachi and PK-71 Peshawar.

    The time for campaigning for the by-polls will end at 12 midnight on Friday. Candidates will not be allowed to hold rallies, corner meetings or conduct door-to-door campaign after the deadline, while violators will be served with jail terms and fine, according to the ECP.

    The three seats were vacated after the candidates elected on them in the July 25 general elections tendered their resignations. All three of the winners belonged to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

    Arif Alvi, who was elected from NA-247, resigned after being elected the country's president. Imran Ismail, who had won from PS-111 (Karachi South), gave up his seat after being appointed as the Sindh governor, while Shah Farman resigned from PS-71 Peshawar after being named the govenor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


    A woman casts her ballot during the by-election in Lahore on October 14. ─ AFP/FileA woman casts her ballot during the by-election in Lahore on October 14. ─ AFP/File

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    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday issued the polling scheme for the second round of by-elections scheduled for Sunday.

    A total of 858,866 male and female voters will be eligible to cast their ballots in the October 21 by-polls for the National Assembly constituency of NA-247 Karachi and the provincial assembly seats PS-111 Karachi and PK-71 Peshawar.

    The time period of campaigning for the by-polls ended at 12 midnight. Candidates will not be allowed to hold rallies, corner meetings or conduct door-to-door campaign after the deadline, while violators will be served with jail terms and fine, according to the ECP.

    The three seats were vacated after the candidates elected on them in the July 25 general elections tendered their resignations. All three of the winners belonged to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

    Arif Alvi, who was elected from NA-247, resigned after being elected the country's president. Imran Ismail, who had won from PS-111 (Karachi South), gave up his seat after being appointed as the Sindh governor, while Shah Farman resigned from PS-71 Peshawar after being named the govenor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    NA-247

    According to the ECP, 240 polling stations have been set up in NA-247, which has a total of 546,451 registered voters.

    More than 900 members of the polling staff will perform duties during the by-poll in the constituency, which comprises areas of Defence, Clifton, Old City area, Kharadar, Ranchhore Line etc.

    Twelve candidates are in the run for the seat. Besides PTI’s billionaire foreign-qualified candidate Aftab Hussain Siddiqui, prominent contenders are Sadiq Iftikhar of the MQM-P, famous TV artist Qaiser Khan Nizamani of PPP, Arshad Vohra of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Ali Nawab of the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and seven independent candidates.

    The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and PML-N are not contesting the by-election.

    PS-111

    Eighty polling stations have been established in the Sindh Assembly constituency of PS-111. The constituency has 178,965 registered voters.

    According to ECP, 80 presiding officers and 320 assistant presiding officers will perform duties on election day. Fourteen candidates are in the race for the seat.

    PK-71

    A total of 133,451 voters will be eligible to cast their ballots in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly constituency of PK-71.

    Eighty-six presiding officers and 307 assistant presiding officers will perform duties at the 86 polling stations set up in the constituency.

    Five candidates are in the run for the election from PK-71.

    Facilitation centre set up

    The ECP has set up a facilitation centre to assist voters regarding the by-elections in the three constituencies.

    The facilitation centre will function between 8am and 6pm on Sunday. Residents will be able to seek details of results of by-polls in their constituencies after 6pm.


    A woman casts her ballot during the by-election in Lahore on October 14. ─ AFP/FileA woman casts her ballot during the by-election in Lahore on October 14. ─ AFP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Friday highlighted the need for ending mistrust among the provinces to end resistance to the construction of major water reservoirs and suggested introduction of satellite telemetry system to measure and monitor amount of water released to the provinces.

    “We need to build trust among the provinces,” said President Alvi while also calling for a careful study of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan to safeguard the country’s water rights in a timely manner.

    The president was speaking at a three-day international symposium on “Creating a water-secure Pakistan”, which was organised by the Supreme Court in conjunction with the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan at the Supreme Court building.

    He said Pakistan’s water storage capacity was limited to only 30 days which was reducing further with time due to sedimentation. In case new water reservoirs were not built, the irrigation supply would drop substantially to the level that the country had in the 1960s when there were no reservoirs and the population was not as large, he added.

    This would lead to serious water conflicts which could be addressed only by taking timely action and therefore there was a need for building large water reservoirs, Dr Alvi said.

    About two million drought-hit and impoverished residents of Tharparkar and Cholistan amplified the human side of this problem, President Alvi said. Due to poor water management, thousands of children in the drought-hit areas lost their lives, he added. The situation in Tharparkar was an example of how bleak the things could become in other parts of the country if adequate water management measures were not immediately adopted, he said.

    The president called for adopting world’s best water management practices including building of water reservoirs and dams, planning for water conservation, water audit techniques, water pricing, enhancing the irrigation efficiency and water productivity, water reuse and recycling methods, satellite telemetry system for equitable distribution, adoption of drip and sprinkler irrigation techniques.

    According to him, another cause for concern is power generation that serves as a lifeline to the industrial sector. The gap between demand and supply of power was widening, he said, adding that energy shortfall was seriously hampering the industrial growth, causing drop in foreign reserves and GDP growth. He explained that the power sector was plagued with the issue of a circular debt. Reliance on thermal power generation rather than hydel means of power production was one reason for the current state of affairs, he argued.

    According to the 2015 state of industry report of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Pakistan has the potential of generating 40,000 megawatts of hydro power. Thus the need of the hour was to shift to efficient and cost-effective means of power generation, the president said.

    Earlier, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar in an open and frank manner conceded to what he called criminal negligence during the past 40 years that the aspect crucial to the nation’s survival was not attended to properly. Being an agrarian economy, the chief justice observed, water was highly important for Pakistan particularly when it relied upon the single source of the Indus River and its tributaries to cater to almost all of its water requirements.

    However, the chief justice said, “We do not want our posterity to live a miserable life.” He added that the people were not going to die but live by building dams.

    According to the World Resources Institute, Pakistan will rank 23rd out of the top 33 most water-stressed countries by 2040. The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources says Pakistan may run dry by 2025 if present conditions continue to prevail.

    Pakistan had touched the ‘water stress line’ in 1990 and crossed the ‘water scarcity line’ in 2005, yet relatively little had been done to improve the situation, the chief justice said.

    The compounding evidence of the urgency of the situation is the recent report of an inter-governmental panel on climate change, which has been hailed by the scientific community as the final call to action. If the global temperature by the year 2100 increases by merely two degrees Celsius, the country can face resource shortages, famines, droughts, natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, increased spread of diseases, damage to delicate ecosystems, and an increased rate of glacial melting.

    Pakistan is particularly precariously placed in this context, with icy mountains to the north, deserts to the south west, floodplains in the north east and an expansive coastline to the south. There was increasing risk of flooding and droughts if the river system was not effectively managed, the chief justice said.

    Therefore, Justice Nisar said, it was pertinent that Pakistan immediately begin to adopt measures to solve the problems that contributed to water scarcity. He said the right to water was part of the fundamental right to life and thus must be guaranteed to the citizens of Pakistan. “As the custodians of the constitution, the judiciary must ensure that such right is enforced, particularly considering the grim and precarious situation that Pakistan is in at the moment,” he observed.

    Recognising the importance of water for the preservation of life, he said, the Supreme Court had recently passed a judgement that highlighted risks posed by water scarcity and its security. He explained that the SC also directed the executive to take all the necessary steps to commence the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

    The chief justice also highlighted the need for comprehensive water policies to regulate extraction of groundwater. Due to unreliable canal supplies groundwater was relied upon for irrigation, he said, adding that this drained aquifers and caused an increase in cost of extraction, shortage, depletion of lake and stream water flow.

    Earlier, Wapda chairman retired Lt Gen Muzzamil Hussain gave a briefing on Pakistan’s water conditions.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    President Arif Alvi speaks at an event. — Photo/FilePresident Arif Alvi speaks at an event. — Photo/File

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    ISLAMABAD: In a detailed judgement on a petition of former foreign minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif against his disqualification on the Islamabad High Court order, the Supreme Court has declared that an elected member cannot be disqualified for life by invoking Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution unless dishonesty is established in appropriate judicial proceedings.

    Attributing dishonesty to every omission to disclose an asset and disqualification of a member for life could never have been the intention of parliament while incorporating Article 62(1)(f) in the Constitution, wrote Justice Faisal Arab in the detailed judgement issued on Friday explaining reasons for setting aside the IHC order on June 1.

    The detailed judgement has put a lid on the raging debate that the Panama Papers case had introduced a concept of strict liability and a mere omission may lead to disqualification of an elected member.

    Detailed judgement in Khawaja Asif case ends the impression that mere omission is enough to disqualify elected members

    The IHC had disqualified Mr Asif on April 26 under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for not disclosing salary drawn from a UAE firm. In his petition, the former minister argued that the IHC by holding him disqualified had taken an exception against an elected parliamentarian especially when no allegation of corruption, fraud, embezzlement, accumulation of wealth, money laundering, misappropriation of public property or public funds or abuse of public authority for private gain had ever been levelled against him.

    Justice Arab was part of the three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, which had taken up the petition and set aside the IHC ruling.

    The detailed judgement explained that all nondisclosures of assets could not be looked at with the same eye. “In our view, no set formula can be fixed with regard to every omission to list an asset in the nomination paper and make a declaration of dishonesty and impose the penalty of lifetime disqualification,” it contended.

    While considering a case of dishonesty in judicial proceedings what should not be lost sight of is that a legitimately acquired asset may not be declared on account of inadvertence or honest omission on part of a contesting candidate. This may happen as an honest person may perceive something to be right about which he may be wrong and such perception cannot necessarily render him dishonest though the omission would invariably result in rejection of his nomination paper if such a fact is pointed out to a returning officer at the time of scrutiny of nomination papers or in proceedings available under the election laws, the judgement explained.

    It added that there were many conceivable instances where an omission to declare an asset on the face of it could not be regarded as dishonest concealment. Mere omission to list an asset could not be labelled as dishonesty unless some wrongdoing was associated with its acquisition or retention which was duly established in judicial proceedings, the verdict said.

    Even the proviso to Section 14(3)(d) of Representation of Public Act (RoPA) envisaged that rejection of a nomination paper on account of failure to meet the requirements of Section 12 of RoPA would not prevent a candidate to contest election on the basis of another validly filed nomination paper.

    Referring to the case of Mr Asif, the judgement explained that his disqualification was sought on the ground that he had AED5,000 in his account maintained with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the UAE. That account Mr Asif failed to disclose in his nomination paper filed at the time of contesting the general elections due to oversight, as he had disclosed the same in the statement of assets and liabilities filed in the year 2015 as required under Section 42A of RoPA.

    According to the judgement, a complete bank statement of the said account is on the record which reflects that the petitioner opened his account on April 17, 2010 with a sum of AED5,000 and five years later closed it on July 7, 2015. In the present case neither a case of conflict of interests is made out nor has any wrongdoing associated with any asset belonging to him has been established in order to warrant interference in proceedings in the nature of quo warranto.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    PML-N leader Khawaja Asif. — Photo/FilePML-N leader Khawaja Asif. — Photo/File

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    LAHORE: Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States Ali Jahangir Siddiqui did not appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, on Friday in connection with a transaction of Rs150 million between him and Fawad Hasan Fawad, the former principal secretary to the prime minister.

    NAB had summoned Mr Siddiqui to quiz him on charges that he had transferred Rs150m to the account of Mr Fawad before his appointment as ambassador to the US.

    During interrogation, Mr Fawad is reported to have claimed that he had received Rs150m as a ‘loan’ from Mr Siddiqui.

    “Neither Mr Siddiqui tur­n­ed up nor his lawyer appe­ared before NAB on Friday,” an official of NAB said.

    NAB had termed Mr Siddiqui’s reply in the case of stocks manipulation “unsatisfactory”.

    The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had criticised former prime minister Shahid Kha­qan Abbasi for appointing Mr Siddiqui for the post, citing nepotism.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    Pakistan's ambassador to US Ali Jahangir Siddiqui. — Photo/FilePakistan's ambassador to US Ali Jahangir Siddiqui. — Photo/File

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    KARACHI: Former PML-N Senator Syed Nehal Hashmi, who previously faced imprisonment for his controversial remarks against the judiciary, on Friday criticised the armed forces while defending the role of politicians in the development of the country.

    The politician, addressing a function at the Karachi Medical and Dental College, alleged that the armed forces had “done nothing for the defence and betterment of the country” and that the weapons acquired for the defence were “merely showpieces”.

    Soon after television channels had broadcast news reports about Mr Hashmi’s hard-hitting speech, the PML-N launched a damage control exercise and dissociated from what the former senator had said about the military.

    Senior PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said that Mr Hashmi’s statement had nothing to do with the party and reflected his personal views.

    “Mr Hashmi has been expelled from the PML-N, so the party cannot take any action against him,” he said. “He was sacked after he refused to step down as a senator on party orders over the statement that he made against the judiciary. One may disagree with state institutions but this is not the way to register a protest.”

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


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    LAHORE: The government representatives on Friday took the flak after a guard at the Minister’s Block of the Punjab Civil Secretariat stopped a woman from entering the premises without a dupatta on her head.

    The issue surfaced when a woman uploaded a video on social media showing that a guard had prevented her from entering without a dupatta. It shows the guard telling the visitor that the orders had been orally given by Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and Chaudhry Zaheeruddin from the Public Prosecution Department.

    Both of them vehemently denied issuing any such order and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, through its official account, also condemned the allegation.

    Dr Yasmin Rashid tweeted: “This is quite absurd indeed! Neither has such an instruction been given nor is it possible to discriminate against anyone on this pretext. Have taken notice of this. The guard has been investigated and a show cause notice is being issued to him.”

    Her party page also supported her tweet: “The Minister @Dr_YasminRashid has not issued any discriminatory orders like this. One should not hurl any blame/allegation without concrete evidence. You may report the incident to concerned authorities.”

    Speaking to Dawn, Personal Secretary to Chaudhry Zaheeruddin denied the involvement of the minister, and said whoever had done this was involved in character assassination.

    “Thousands of people including women of all ages and attire enter inside everyday, and no one is told this,” he said. “Someone is playing a prank of some kind for tarnishing our image,” he said, adding “there are no such rules and no such orders.”

    Social media user Sidra Butt posted a video saying she had gone to the Minister’s Block to find out veracity of an earlier claim she had heard about not being allowed inside without a dupatta and she found it to be true.

    “Went to the Minister’s Block, Civil Secretariat lhr today coz I heard of this issue that you can’t enter without a dupatta. They refused me too. I asked for written orders and there were none. They used your name ma’am @Dr_YasminRashid . You can see. @PTIofficial #NayaPakistan”.

    She said she also asked politely for the written orders but was told that the orders had been orally communicated.

    The guard in the video says the orders were given by the health minister after a woman came earlier, ‘inappropriately dressed’. He said that after that incident Dr Rashid had told the guards not to allow entry to any woman who had not covered her head. Punjab Commission for the Status of Women chairperson Fauzia Viqar said, “instead of controlling how men should behave, women are controlled as always. Society needs to train its men if gender violence and discrimination is to end.”

    PU NOTICE:

    In a somewhat similar case, the Punjab University administration on Friday directed the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IBB) admin officer to remove the notice directing the girl students to wear dupatta on the premises of the institute.

    A notice was signed by IBB Administrator Muhammad Rafiq in which the dress code for both boys and girls was defined and adherence was asked for.

    The notice prohibited the boys from wearing shorts or ‘casual clothes’ and instead allowed pants and shirt or shalwar qameez only and girls were restrained from wearing shirts short of knee-length, and nothing other than a shalwar or trouser was allowed.

    PU Registrar Dr Khalid Khan told Dawn that they had removed the notice and would take disciplinary action against the administrator who posted it. Quoting the administrator, he said the notice was posted on the direction of the head of the department, Dr Saima Sadaf.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    Dr.Yasmin Rashid. — File PhotoDr.Yasmin Rashid. — File Photo

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government is mulling over reducing the tenure of elected local government representatives to three years to facilitate smooth implementation of the new local bodies system in the province at the earliest.

    The current tenure of the local government representatives is four years.

    Considering the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s experience in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sources say the Punjab government is considering in the new legislation that there should not be a gap between change of hands.

    The government also plans to carry out fresh delimitation for elections to the new village and neighbourhood councils. “Delimitation is already mandatory following the recent national census,” a source in the local government said.

    Sources say the law minister has scheduled a joint meeting of the law and local government departments early next week to identify issues and finalise a draft law.

    The government also plans to use some funds from the Rs148 billion surplus budget for the effective functioning of local bodies institutions after elections. Some 30 per cent of the development budget allocated to the local government department would be transferred directly to the village and neighbourhood councils.

    Around 60pc would go to districts.

    In the existing system, an official said, each union council in urban and rural areas is receiving around Rs4 million and Rs2 million annually that is mostly used to pay salaries and utility bills. In the new system, the official added, each council would receive up to Rs10 million a year to execute development works.

    Sources say other features of the new local government system include dividing the existing 4,016 union councils into around 7,000 village and neighbuorhood councils. Six councillors – three on general seats and one each on youth, women and labour seats – will be elected directly by the people. The candidate securing maximum votes from among three general councillors will automatically become chairman of the village council, who will also be ex-officio member of the district council.

    At metropolitan, corporation and municipality levels, lord mayor, mayor and chairmen would contest elections on party basis and get elected directly.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    A view of the Punjab Assembly. — File PhotoA view of the Punjab Assembly. — File Photo

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  • 10/19/18--19:18: PA hit by quorum crisis
  • LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly collapsed twice to the quorum crisis on Friday in a short span of less than two hours proceedings though the Treasury was able to meet the number game on both occasions.

    Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari also must have set a new tradition as, after the second quorum call, he kept instructing the Treasury to bring members sitting in the lobbies to the House and then waited for the members to sneak in before ordering counting.

    No one reminded the young parliamentarian from the south that he was custodian of the House, not of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

    “This is immaturity mixed with loyalty,” someone quipped in the press gallery. The Speaker’s instructions, however, worked and the cabinet members, led by Raja Basharat – the minister for law and parliamentary affairs – scrabbled outside to bring members in the House and meet the figure of 93 required for the proceedings.

    The House, supposed to debate the all-important budget for the current fiscal, suffered a jolt from outset when the Opposition refused to join the proceedings in protest against suspension of its members which the Speaker had ordered for hooliganism on the budget day.

    The Treasury only made situation bad for itself when Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat stood up to not only endorse the suspension on behalf of the ‘entire House’ but also demanded the chair to form a parliamentary committee for fixing the responsibility for the damages, which he put at Rs0.9m, done on the day and also recover the money from those found guilty.

    In absence of the Opposition, the entire debate on budget was reduced to “cursing financial sins and corrupt practices of the previous government and eulogy for the vision of the prime minister”.

    Led by Uzma Kardar, the Treasury members were all praise for the “vision of the chairman and how young provincial minister for finance has been able to reflect that human development vision it the budget document”. They counseled patience to those bemoaning price hike and other problems, saying that the people must also realise that these are small and temporary problems – necessary for the betterment of the country.

    The five members who spoke on the occasion enjoyed exemption to digress into political areas and berate the PML-N government for bad governance, even, what they termed, worse financial mismanagement that had left Punjab in disastrous situation. This privilege was, however, denied to a member from the remote area of Rahim Yar Khan, bordering Sindh and Balochistan, who thought the new budget had treated them in the old way.

    “Funds have again been diverted just as the PML-N was doing. Frequent postings and transfers are still ruining the law and order, citing these transfers in his constituency. He claimed incidents of kidnapping for ransom have also increased,” he was still speaking when the chair interrupted to remind him that it was budget debate and he should not venture into irrelevant matters, like governance and transfers. He, however, insisted he was right in his claims because all the claims about human development had not touched his area where there was no degree college and no funds had been made available in the budget as well.

    The six suspended members of the House sat at the main entrance of the assembly building throughout the day to protest their suspension whereas their other colleagues kept protesting inside the assembly premises. All this was still going on when the chair adjourned the session till Monday afternoon.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    Punjab Assembly. — File PhotoPunjab Assembly. — File Photo

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    LAHORE: The Environment Protection Department (EPD) on Friday extended the deadline for the sugar mills to adopt measures to control pollution.

    The decision was taken at a meeting between officials of the EPD and the Punjab Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) to discuss the issues of smog and wastewater.

    The meeting chaired by EPD Secretary Dr Zafar Nasrullah and the chairperson of the sugar mills association also talked about possible solutions to the smog.

    Dr Nasrullah said the sugar industry was one of the major foreign exchange earners. “It is also a green industry which uses non fossil fuels to run,” he said.

    He said the government was not against any businesses but the fact was that it’s time to sensitize those associated with this industry and to highlight the issues of pollution. He said the EPD wanted the sugar mills’ owners to re-examine their methods of disposing of their waste products.

    He also said the owners should communicate with the EPD for technical assistance and come up with a detailed plan where they must highlight the size of their mill, the requirements, and any other issues they may be facing in installing scrubbers or any other machinery for waste gases.

    “I am setting Nov 10 as a deadline for this plan to reach us so that things can be decided and we can forward the details to our district officers,” said Dr Nasrullah.

    “Every mill will have a different time frame to establish this equipment keeping in consideration their size, logistics and financial dispositions,” he said. “However once the plan is decided and owners give us a reasonable deadline themselves, we will take that into consideration. After that date we will take strict measures because a commitment should be respected.”

    He said the deadlines should be reasonable because the EPD could not give indefinite time for implementation. He also said that an assurance letter would be needed from the owners along with each plan.

    Earlier on Sept 17 last, the secretary had given a deadline to the sugar mills’ owners to install scrubbers and other equipment by Oct 20.

    Members of the association suggested that there should be a standardised plan so that everyone could know what was required.

    The EPD secretary said they would soon bring out a manual for basic criteria, equipment needed and that available in the market, and an analysis of which system would be most efficient.

    He said wet and dry scrubber was 95 to 99 per cent efficient and it cost much less than other methods’ expenditure.

    As for water pollution, he said, it was essential that the owners know that they must now begin to conserve water, preferably recycle it because water was now a precious commodity.

    Dr Nasrullah said he would ensure that no team member of the EPD was involved in any kind of blackmailing. “No one will have an attitude of policing,” he said.

    Nauman Ahmed Khan, chairperson of the PSMA, thanked the EPD and said environmental impact must be reduced for upcoming generations.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    This file photo shows Lahore engulfed in smog.This file photo shows Lahore engulfed in smog.

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    QUETTA: Iranian forces fired mortar shells into Taslap, a border town in Chagai district, and nearby areas on Friday, killing an unspecified number of cows and camels.

    “They fired over two dozen mortar shells, causing panic in the villages,” a security official told Dawn.

    “Camels and cattle grazing in the fields were killed as mortar shells hit them,” the official said.

    Before the shelling, the Iranians warned people working in the fields on the Pakistan side to leave the area.

    “People had no option but to leave their fields and take shelter in their houses,” Khuda-i-Nazar, a villager, said.

    The shelling stopped only after contingents of the Frontier Corps and Levies were dispatched to the town.

    According to Sardarzada Umir Muhammad Hasni, a tribal elder, the border areas of Chagai and Makran districts had seen an alarming rise in mortar shelling and rocket fire over the past few months.

    A large number of families have already left their villages for safe places.

    Sardarzada Hasni called upon the federal government to take up the matter with the government of Iran.

    Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018


    Official says Iranian forces fired over two dozen mortar shells. — Photo/FileOfficial says Iranian forces fired over two dozen mortar shells. — Photo/File

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