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    KARACHI: As a major relief and incentive for the students of Sindh, new provincial Minister for Transport Syed Owais Qadir Shah on Wednesday announced a 50 per cent discount in fares for their travelling in public and private transport. The initiative would be launched in Thar, Mithi and Umerkot and would be expanded across the province gradually.

    While talking to reporters after visiting sites of under-construction bus line services — Green Line, Orange Line and Yellow Line — the minister said the programme for the relief of students had already been launched by issuing a notification in that regard for Mithi, Thar and Umerkot. The students of these areas would need to show their student cards or prove their identity to avail the 50pc discount in fares, he said.

    “The transporters who defy the set rules would face action if any complaint with evidence is received,” he said. “The programme is aimed at facilitating the students of Sindh. We have launched this facility from small cities and soon you would see more cities join the list, including Karachi and Hyderabad. In case of violation of government orders, the students are appealed to register their complaints with the local transport department, which would take action against the respective transporters.”

    He also alleged that the federal government was not releasing funds for the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit project, which had stalled its progress. The project, he said, was almost 80 per cent ready but due to the lethargic attitude of the federal government, Karachiites had been suffering for long.

    Launched in February 2016, the Rs17 billion federal government-funded bus project was announced to be completed in a year with 18.4 kilometres dedicated track, including an 11km elevated section. The project — approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council — is being executed by the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company.

    Starting from the Powerhouse Chowrangi in Surjani Town, the bus service will now terminate at Merewether Tower after passing through Nagan Chowrangi, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Gurumandir, with more than 20 stations on its route to cater to 300,000 passengers daily. However, as work on the project and other bus lines continues, Karachiites have few options of commuting in the sprawling metropolis.

    “It has been quite unfortunate that when it comes to any project in Sindh, the federal government is always seen treating it as the last priority. The federal government-funded projects in other parts of the country never see such hiccups. However, we in the Sindh government have some good news for the people of Karachi in the transport sector. We would soon announce them,” said the minister.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    Minister says the programme has already been launched in Mithi, Thar and Umerkot.— FileMinister says the programme has already been launched in Mithi, Thar and Umerkot.— File

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    MITHI: Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah has expressed frustration over performance of the many non-governmental organisations purportedly working on nutrition in Thar and said their work has been completely “unsatisfactory” for the past many years.

    The only solution to recurring droughts and subsequent deaths of children and mass migration of Tharis was framing of long-term policies and implementing them in letter and spirit, he said during a visit to Mithi Civil Hospital here on Wednesday.

    He said the Sindh government had planned a mega scheme for tackling malnutrition and its complications commonly found in the desert region since it was one of the major problems confronting Thar.

    Mr Shah, who arrived in Thar on a two-day visit along with senior officials of different departments, expressed his grief over unabated deaths of children in Thar and said there was still much to be done to save lives of infants and pregnant women.

    He ordered health officials to make all-out efforts to provide quality healthcare to patients and free ambulance service to the serious ones to help shift them to teaching hospitals in Karachi and Hyderabad. “I will not tolerate refusal [of] free service to patients,” he warned.

    He said that he would take up the issue of construction of a modern hospital for children in Mithi with the chief minister and asked members of civil society to discourage the practice of underage marriages, which was also one of the reasons behind maternal and infant deaths.

    He said the Sindh government had directed heads of medical universities to send doctors to Thar and a number of teams were already working in Thar to provide best healthcare facilities to people.

    He announced distributing fodder among Tharis for their starving livestock and said the process of distribution would start within next few days. “Tharis leave their homes only after they find no fodder and water for their cattle and we are ensuring that water is supplied to all Thar areas with all available means including canal water and reverse osmosis plants,” he said.

    Mr Shah said that payment to the private firm, which ran the RO plants, would be made within next few days. It was very painful to see Thari women walking several miles on foot in search of water, he said, adding that he would summon irrigation officials and order them to release water into the only channel of the desert region, the Rann Minor.

    He took notice of forced revenue collection from weekly cattle markets in Thar towns and directed the deputy commissioner to immediately stop the practice and keep it suspended as long as drought conditions prevailed in Thar.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    Murad says the Sindh govt had planned a mega scheme for tackling malnutrition in the desert region. — DawnNewsTV/FileMurad says the Sindh govt had planned a mega scheme for tackling malnutrition in the desert region. — DawnNewsTV/File

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    PESHAWAR: MPA Shaukat Ali Yousfzai took oath of the office of provincial minister for information and public relations here on Wednesday.

    Mr Yousafzai was previously appointed provincial government spokesperson; however, his elevation to the post of information minister was being expected after his election to the provincial assembly in the by-polls from his native Shangla district.

    The oath-taking ceremony took place at the Governor House and Governor Shah Farman took oath from Mr Yousafzai. Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was also present.

    Meanwhile, the provincial administration department also issued a notification, saying that in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 132 (1) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the governor on the advice of the chief minister has appointed MPA Shaukat Ali Yousafzai as provincial minister for information and public relations department.

    Mr Yousafzai had also served as information minister for a short period in the previous PTI government.

    The number of KP cabinet ministers has now surged to 12 following the appointment of Mr Youafzai as minister.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    MPA Shaukat Ali Yousfzai takes oath of the office of provincial minister for information and public relations.— FileMPA Shaukat Ali Yousfzai takes oath of the office of provincial minister for information and public relations.— File

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    HARIPUR: The police on Wednesday announced the arrest of one of the two suspected killers of a local journalist.

    Sohail Khan, the 28-year-old correspondent of a local daily, was gunned down on Oct 16.

    Ali Sher and Hamayun Mussarat, sons of Mussarat Iqbal of Hattar village, were nominated in the murder FIR.

    Police promise early arrest of other suspect

    DPO Mansoor Amman told a news conference here that the local investigators with the support of intelligence agencies tracked the suspects’ presence in Chaman area of Balochistan.

    He said a police team arrested Hamayun Mussarat from Chaman border as he was trying to cross into Afghanistan.

    The DPO said the other suspect, Ali Sher, was at large but he would be held very soon.

    PROTEST WARNING: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists president Afzal Butt on Wednesday warned that the journalists would launch a series of protests across the country before staging a sit-in outside parliament house if the killers of Haripur-based two journalists were not arrested without delay.

    He was addressing a condolence reference held by the Haripur Union of Journalists for slain journalist Sohail Khan.

    Mr Butt said journalists were exposed to violent attacks in the country.

    “The killing of Bakhshish Elahi and Sohail Khan of Haripur district is enough to corroborate that Pakistan is really a dangerous place for media persons,” he said.

    The PFUJ president said those lacking the knowledge of human rights and freedom of speech and expression should quit the profession as a person claiming to be a journalist must know about constitutional rights of the citizens and had to work for their protection.

    He warned that if the police didn’t arrest the killers of two journalists without delay, journalists would begin a series of protests not only in Hazara division but also in other parts of the country before staging a sit-in outside the parliament house in Islamabad.

    Former president of the National Press Club, Islamabad, Shakil Anjum condemned the killing of two Haripur-based journalists and said the journalists in other parts of the country would help the families of the deceased get justice.

    President of the Doctors Association, Haripur, Dr Hasnain Raza Turabi said the killing of journalists in Haripur showed the government’s weakness against outlaws.

    Khyber Union of Journalists president Saiful Islam Siafi claimed that the police were using delaying tactics for the arrest of the journalists’ killers despite the assurances of KP Assembly speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani and thus, increasing insecurity of other journalists.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    Slain journalist Sohail Khan.— FileSlain journalist Sohail Khan.— File

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    ISLAMABAD: Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Wednesday laid out a set of proposals aimed at taking implementable steps to resolve the Kashmir issue.

    She was speaking at a seminar on Youm-i-Tasees Day of Kashmir held at the Republic University College in Islamabad.

    Dr Mazari said Pakistan should propose a solution to the Kashmir problem resembling the Irish peace accord.

    She made it clear that she was not referring to any specific clause of the said accord but the broad concept on the basis of which the accord was signed and implemented.

    Dr Mazari also referred to the East Timor independence based on the concept of self determination and said Pakistan should press the Kashmir case on these lines.

    She also said Pakistan should ask the United Nations to document all the Kashmiris who qualified to vote in the referendum based on the UN resolutions whenever it took place.

    She said such documentation needed to be done in India-held Kashmir and also of the Kashmiri diaspora across the world.

    The minister said the citizens of Azad Jammu Kashmir had already been documented because they were participating in regular elections.

    Ms Mazari condemned the brutal repression of innocent Kashmiris by India in India-held Kashmir.

    She added that it was time for Pakistan to move beyond clichés and take concrete steps that put India on the defensive.

    Such specific and well-argued steps would compel India to explain its refusals thereby exposing the weakness in its position on Kashmir and reaffirming the right of self determination for the Kashmiris.

    The seminar was also addressed by defence analyst retired Lt Gen Amjad Shuaib and senior anchorpersons Dr Moeed Pirzada and Fahd Hussain.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    Dr Mazari says Pakistan should propose a solution to the Kashmir problem resembling the Irish peace accord.— FileDr Mazari says Pakistan should propose a solution to the Kashmir problem resembling the Irish peace accord.— File

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has rejected the bail application of a detained suspect in a case pertaining to alleged abduction, rape and murder of a six-year-old girl.

    Police claimed to have booked three suspects along with their two absconding accomplices for allegedly abducting the minor girl on April 12 and murdering her after subjecting her to sexual assault within the remit of the Orangi Town police station.

    The victim’s body was found in a deserted area on April 12.

    The incident sparked a violent protest by her family and residents of the area.

    One of the three detained suspects had moved an application seeking post-arrest bail on the basis of an affidavit said to have been signed by the slain child’s parents.

    The ATC-I judge pronounced his verdict, which was earlier reserved after hearing arguments from the defence and the prosecution.

    In his order, the judge observed that the case record showed that the accused was connected with the serious crime of kidnapping of a minor girl, who was subsequently murdered after being raped.

    He further observed that admittedly the applicant was related to the complainant party and prima facie there appeared to be no reason for his false implication in the present case.

    The judge noted that the complainant as well as the father and the mother of the victim appeared before the court and had disowned the contents of the affidavit, which the suspect claimed that they had signed “voluntarily”.

    The complainant and the parents claimed that they were “forced” to sign the affidavit.

    He further noted that the medical report available on record showed that the minor girl was murdered after being raped and one of the suspects had confessed his involvement in the incident before a judicial magistrate.

    “It is the settled law that for the purpose of grant/rejection of bail only tentative assessment of the material available on the record is to be drawn and deeper appreciation is prohibited, hence at this stage I find no merits in the bail application, the same is rejected,” ruled the judge.

    Earlier, a detained suspect had moved the bail application through his defence counsel Imamuddin Chandio, who argued that despite the fact that his client’s name was not mentioned in the FIR, the police implicated him on the basis of suspicion in the light of the statement of the complainant due to old grievances of the families.

    Only a few days before the incident the father of the deceased child and the suspect had quarrelled with each other, the counsel added.

    On the other hand, assistant prosecutor general Mohammad Noonari vehemently opposed the bail plea arguing that the applicant was a co-accused in the case.

    The applicant had instigated the suspect and his two sons to commit the offence in order to “teach a lesson” to the victim’s father and offered them Rs250,000 for performing such an act, the prosecutor claimed.

    Mr Noonari claimed that the said affidavit had been obtained through harassment, as the witnesses had disclosed this fact to him.

    He pleaded to dismiss the bail plea.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    The girl's body was found in a deserted area on April 12. The incident had sparked a violent protest by her family and residents of the area. — FileThe girl's body was found in a deserted area on April 12. The incident had sparked a violent protest by her family and residents of the area. — File

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    A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday ordered the police to submit a progress report regarding the recovery of missing children by November 15.

    The bench, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, was hearing a case regarding more than 20 missing children. At the start of the hearing, the court expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of progress and said that proper work for the recovery of missing children was not being done.

    Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Amin Yousufzai told the court that prior to a previous hearing of the case, two missing children had been found.

    He said that advertisements had been placed in Sindhi, Urdu and English newspapers after which two children — Sajid from Faisalabad and Farwa from Karachi's Korangi — had been recovered.

    Yousufzai told the court that a team under his leadership, formed by the Sindh inspector general, is in contact with the police of other provinces regarding the recovery of the missing children.

    He said that since 2014, 129 children had been recovered.

    During the hearing on Thursday, parents of a missing girl Saima from the Baldia area said that she had been missing for two years.

    Parents of missing children present in court said that the police were not being cooperative.

    The court told the police that the case of missing children was a dangerous issue and ordered them to look into all its aspects.

    The judges added that the police should work seriously for the recovery of the children and should use model devices in the process.

    Speaking to media after the hearing, Yousafzai said that they were taking steps for the recovery of missing children and had contacted the police and Joint Protection Bureaus of all provinces.

    He added that they were also contacting the family members of the missing children.

    A petition was filed by the Roshni Research and Development Welfare in 2012 seeking court orders for the provincial police to consider the missing children’s cases, who went missing from different parts of Karachi, a cognizable offence, and register FIRs in that regard.

    The NGO alleged that cases of missing children were not properly investigated by the police which resulted in many avoidable deaths.


    Sindh High Court. — File PhotoSindh High Court. — File Photo

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    A policeman was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Quetta's Nawan Killi area on Thursday morning, police said.

    Head Constable Muhammad Musa was going to work on his motorcycle and when unidentified attackers opened fire on him and escaped unhurt from the site of the attack, police said.

    The police officer died on the spot. His body was shifted to Quetta's Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

    Police and other law enforcement personnel reached the site of the attack and launched an investigation into the incident, which police said appeared to be a targeted killing.

    Police officers are said to be high-risk targets in Balochistan.

    Balochistan has been divided into two areas – A and B – based on how their security is organised. Police are responsible for maintaining law and order in Category A areas ─ 10 per cent of the province ─ while Category B is under the control of the Balochistan Levies. However, 90pc of violent crime occurs in Category A areas that are covered by police.

    The high level of organisation in police ranks is believed to be one of the factors that incite violence against it by terrorist outfits.

    Around 2001, at the onset of the deterioration in Balochistan’s security situation, Baloch separatists would target police constables in Quetta, mainly because most cops hailed from Punjab.

    With the passage of time, as the ethnic composition of the police department changed, sectarian and militant outfits began carrying out attacks against cops. In recent years, most targeted attacks against policemen have been claimed by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) or the TTP.

    A number of attacks in Balochistan last year targeted senior police officials.

    Former district police officer Killa Abdullah Sajid Mohmand and his guard lost their lives in a TTP-claimed blast near Boghra Road in Balochistan's Chaman area on July 10.

    Former deputy inspector general Police Telecommunication Hamid Shakeel Sabir and two other police officials were killed in a TTP-claimed suicide bombing in Quetta's Chaman Housing Society on November 10.

    Seven policemen were among 14 people killed in a suicide blast near the Balochistan police chief's office on Quetta's Gulistan Road on June 23, while at least 20 other people were injured in the attack which was claimed by both the Jamaatul Ahrar and IS.

    At least eight people, including seven policemen, were killed and 24 others injured in an explosion targeting a truck carrying police officials in the Sariab Mill area of Quetta on October 18. The attack was claimed by the TTP.

    On July 13, former superintendent police Mubarak Shah and three other policemen were gunned down in Quetta's Killi Deba area in an attack claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, and on Nov 15, SP Muhammad Ilyas and three members of his family were gunned down in Quetta's Nawan Killi area.

    In addition to major attacks, seven policemen were kidnapped in Balochistan's Awaran area on June 29 ─ Eid day ─ but later released when security forces blocked all entry and exit points of the area.

    A number of operations have been conducted in different parts of the province, including Quetta and Zhob, and probe teams set up to investigate different attacks.

    According to the police department, it has lost over 834 officers and constables in different incidents since 1979.


    Police and other LEAs reached the site of the attack and began an investigation into the incident. ─ APP/FilePolice and other LEAs reached the site of the attack and began an investigation into the incident. ─ APP/File

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    ABBOTTABAD: Baba Haider Zaman, the chairman of Tehreek-i-Sooba Hazara, died at a private hospital in Islamabad on Wednesday where he was admitted for the last several days. He was 86.

    Baba Haider Zaman got nationwide fame after Abbottabad riots in 2010 when he opposed re-naming of the erstwhile NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He demanded that Harzar division should be given the status of a separate province.

    Till his death, he was organising rallies and holding meetings for creation of a new province for the people of Hazara. Although the movement for Hazara province could not be run effectively yet he addressed large public meetings in Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan and other areas for the purpose.

    Baba Haider Zaman was a soft spoken but straightforward person. In his speeches, he would point out the mistakes and wrongdoings of the local and national leaders. He would accuse the major political parties of ignoring poor segments of the society, especially the people of Hazara.

    Baba Haider Zaman remained a provincial minister in the cabinet of the then chief minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Shearpo. He contested elections against Mian Nawaz Sharif in the general elections of 1993 and in 1997 for National Assembly seats. However, he lost both the times.

    He was offered party ticket for provincial assembly elections by PML-N to withdraw from the National Assembly seat but he turned down the offer. Later, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, who had won two seats of National Assembly, retained the seat of Abbottabad and was elected prime minister.

    Baba Haider Zaman also remained district nazim of Abbottabad in 2005.

    Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, the former governor and chief minister of the province, in his message on the death of Baba Haider Zaman said that he was a symbol of pride and a committed person, who stood for the rights of the people of Hazara.

    He said that Baba Haider Zaman never compromised on principles. “He was a hardliner for the cause of his supporters and never let them down at any stage,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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    Baba Haider Zaman.— FileBaba Haider Zaman.— File

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    The Punjab Assembly on Thursday adopted 43 motions aimed at slashing the annual provincial budget for fiscal 2018-19 with majority consensus.

    Since the PML-N did not attend the budgetary sessions in protest against the suspension of its six MPAs, no resolutions for budget cuts from their side could be tabled.

    As a result, the budget and the finance bill, which could have otherwise taken days to get approved, were approved within minutes.

    "This is the first budget of Punjab's history that has been accepted by all," Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in his speech. "This is an honour for me and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

    "We will not do any illegal work nor stop any legal work. We will work in all districts with the consultation of the members of this assembly," he promised.

    The chief minister also said that "a pre-budget discussion will be held before the next budget" and that "the next budget will be devised after consulting the MPAs."

    Punjab's annual budget, finance bill and developmental schemes for fiscal year 2018-19 were first approved with majority consensus on October 16.

    During that session, the cabinet members had been apprised of the salient features of the provincial budget and annual development schemes envisioned for the province, for which cabinet members had presented their viewpoints in return.

    However, the all-important session had been marred by the PML-N led opposition's rowdyism, with members of the treasury and opposition coming to blows during Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Bakht's speech.


    A File photo of Punjab CM Usman Buzdar.A File photo of Punjab CM Usman Buzdar.

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    The National University of Sciences And Technology (Nust) Islamabad and Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) have been listed among the top 100 varsities of Asia by the QS Asia Universities Rankings 2019.

    Both universities have improved their rankings this year and are placed in the top 100 institutions in the QS list, which names about 500 varsities.

    Nust climbed up from 112 last year to 87 in the 2019 rankings, while Lums, which was placed at 103 last year, moved up to 95.

    Quaid-i-Azam University, that stood at 133 last year, also improved its ranking and is placed at 109 in the 2019 list. Karachi University also made it to the rankings in the 251-260 grouping.

    QS evaluates universities based on six indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty students ratio, citation per faculty, international faculty ratio and international students ratio.

    The top 10 universities on the list are:

    1. National University of Singapore (NUS)
    2. The University of Hong Kong
    3. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)
    4. Tsinghua University, China
    5. Peking University, China
    6. Fudan University, China
    7. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    8. KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, South Korea
    9. The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
    10. Seoul National University, South Korea

    Lums campus. — Photo/FileLums campus. — Photo/File

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    The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the authorities to produce 20 people who hold properties abroad and had opted for the previous government's amnesty scheme, during the next hearing of the case.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading a three-member bench, issued the orders while hearing a case pertaining to the foreign accounts held by Pakistanis. During today's hearing, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Jahanzaib Khan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Basheer Memon, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa and the attorney general appeared before the court.

    The FIA submitted in the court a report detailing foreign properties of Pakistani citizens. "You've stated that the foreign properties owned by Pakistanis are estimated at $100 billion," the CJP said while addressing the FIA chief. "A dam could be built in Pakistan with such a huge amount."

    While briefing the bench on the report, Memon revealed that 894 Pakistanis have properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Out of these, 374 individuals have taken advantage of the government's amnesty scheme, 150 people have admitted that they have properties abroad, 69 people said they have shown their properties in their tax returns and 82 people denied having any property abroad.

    According to the FIA director general, 150 people out of the total 894 own 203 properties, with each estimated to be worth a minimum of Rs50 million.

    "When will you take action [against the suspects]?," the CJP asked Memon, who responded that the agency has restrained itself for two months because of the government's amnesty scheme.

    State Bank Governor Bajwa informed the court that it is now "very difficult" to launder money of the country.

    When asked by the CJP why the government was not taking action against the identified suspects, the attorney general stated that the government could not arrest these people under the law.

    The FIA chief informed the court that the agency has details of foreign properties of several people, but possesses no details of their bank accounts and neither do their banks fall in the jurisdiction of local laws.

    At this, the bench ordered that 20 people who own properties abroad be produced in the court at the next hearing, scheduled for November 1.


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. — FileChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. — File

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during his upcoming four-day trip to China, Radio Pakistan reported.

    This will be PM Khan's first official visit to China since assuming office. He was extended an invitation by Chinese leadership and will travel to China on Nov 2 along with a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

    PM Khan, who attended an investment conference in Saudi Arabia earlier this week and returned with a $6 billion bailout package from Riyadh, is also expected to undertake a visit to Malaysia over the next few weeks.

    In an address to the nation on Wednesday night, the PM said he expected Saudi-like monetary assistance from two other friendly countries, after which the government may not need to seek as big a loan from the International Monetary Fund as had been planned earlier.

    During PM Khan's visit to China, the two sides are expected to review the "entire range of bilateral relations" and sign agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) of cooperation in "diverse fields".

    After meetings with top officials in Beijing, PM Khan is expected to visit Shanghai to participate in First China International Import Expo, "where Pakistan is exhibiting a wide range of export products".

    Radio Pakistan reported that PM Khan will be a keynote speaker at the inauguration of the expo.

    It added that he will hold meetings with other world leaders as well as leaders of the Chinese financial and corporate sector on the sidelines of the Shanghai forum.


    Prime Minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File PhotoPrime Minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File Photo

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    Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Thursday claimed that his luggage had been misplaced by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) twice this week as he travelled from Islamabad to Kabul.

    Expressing his annoyance in a tweet, Zakhilwal said: "Second time in a row in a week my suitcase goes missing on Islamabad-Kabul PIA flight and then ends up in UK. Could it be just coincidental mismanagement?"

    PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar said that a complaint has been lodged by the passenger and the matter is being investigated.


    Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Thursday said that his luggage had gone missing on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Islamabad to Kabul for a second time this week. — FileAfghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Thursday said that his luggage had gone missing on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Islamabad to Kabul for a second time this week. — File

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    The Punjab Assembly on Thursday adopted 43 motions aimed at slashing the annual provincial budget for fiscal 2018-19 with majority consensus.

    Since the PML-N did not attend the budgetary sessions in protest against the suspension of its six MPAs, no resolutions for budget cuts from their side could be tabled.

    As a result, the budget and the finance bill, which could have otherwise taken days to get approved, were approved within minutes.

    "This is the first budget of Punjab's history that has been accepted by all," Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in his speech. "This is an honour for me and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

    "We will not do any illegal work nor stop any legal work. We will work in all districts with the consultation of the members of this assembly," he promised.

    The chief minister also said that "a pre-budget discussion will be held before the next budget" and that "the next budget will be devised after consulting the MPAs."

    Punjab's annual budget, finance bill and developmental schemes for fiscal year 2018-19 were first approved with majority consensus on October 16.

    During that session, the cabinet members had been apprised of the salient features of the provincial budget and annual development schemes envisioned for the province, for which cabinet members had presented their viewpoints in return.

    However, the all-important session had been marred by the PML-N led opposition's rowdyism, with members of the treasury and opposition coming to blows during Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Bakht's speech.


    A File photo of Punjab CM Usman Buzdar.A File photo of Punjab CM Usman Buzdar.

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    A special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday rejected an application for pre-arrest bail filed by Dr Shahid Masood, a TV anchorperson and former chairman of Pakistan Television, in a case regarding his alleged involvement in embezzlement of Rs38 million.

    According to the prosecution, Dr Masood had signed an agreement with a fake company to negotiate with the Pakistan Cricket Board for grant of rights to the PTV for coverage of matches played in Pakistan. Because of the agreement, the PTV had to face heavy losses.

    The Islamabad District Court had in June issued non-bailable warrants for Dr Masood's arrest following a request of the FIA. He had subsequently appeared before the court and obtained an interim bail.

    Take a look: The dark side of news media

    However, Special Judge Central Kamran Basharat Mufti on Thursday rejected the anchorperson's application for confirmation of his interim pre-arrest bail.

    The judge directed the authorities to arrest Dr Masood and present him before the court.

    Lawyer Shah Khawar presented arguments on behalf of Masood before the court. The former PTV chairman had left the court before the decision on his application was announced.


    Dr Shahid Masood appears for a hearing at a court in this file photo. — White Star/FileDr Shahid Masood appears for a hearing at a court in this file photo. — White Star/File

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    A special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday rejected an application for pre-arrest bail filed by Dr Shahid Masood in a case regarding his alleged involvement in embezzlement of Rs38 million. However, the former chairman of Pakistan Television left the court premises before he could be taken into custody.

    According to the prosecution, Dr Masood had signed an agreement with a fake company to negotiate with the Pakistan Cricket Board for grant of rights to the PTV for coverage of matches played in Pakistan. Because of the agreement, the PTV had to face heavy losses.

    The Islamabad District Court had in June issued non-bailable warrants for Dr Masood's arrest following a request of the FIA. He had subsequently appeared before the court and obtained an interim bail.

    Take a look: The dark side of news media

    However, Special Judge Central Kamran Basharat Mufti on Thursday rejected the anchorperson's application for confirmation of his interim pre-arrest bail.

    The judge directed the authorities to arrest Dr Masood and present him before the court.

    Lawyer Shah Khawar presented arguments on behalf of Masood before the court. The former PTV chairman had left the court before the decision on his application was announced.


    Dr Shahid Masood appears for a hearing at a court in this file photo. — White Star/FileDr Shahid Masood appears for a hearing at a court in this file photo. — White Star/File

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    Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday visited Pakistani troops deployed at the Line of Control in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), the military's media wing said in a statement.

    The army chief appreciated the "operational readiness and high morale" of troops during his visit to the Sarpir and Pandu sectors.

    He said Pakistan Army is "fully invested in peace and stability of the region".

    "However, we are ready and resolute in defending the motherland against any misadventure," Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

    The army chief said the Kashmir issue continues to be a "core unresolved agenda" and reiterated his support for the right to self-determination of Kashmiris.

    "We stand by the Kashmiris in their just historical stance," he was quoted as saying.

    The COAS's statement comes days after violence across India-held Kashmir left at least 14 people dead.

    The victims included six who were killed when an explosion occurred among a crowd protesting against Indian occupation.

    'Strain in Pak-India ties will remain until Kashmir is resolved'

    Also on Thursday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan wanted good neighbourly ties with India but the strain in bilateral relations would remain until the Kashmir dispute was taken to its logical end.

    Read: It’s time to resolve Kashmir issue, PM tells India

    Addressing a seminar on Kashmir at the National Press Club, the minister said the entire nation was united on the issue of Kashmir, which is also the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy.

    He said the Indian stance on Kashmir was contrary to the basic principle of the division of the subcontinent, which was based on including the Muslim-majority areas in Pakistan.

    Qureshi said Kashmir was illegally annexed with India and highlighted the role of the Kashmiri Maharaja in this regard.

    He said Kashmir was still on the agenda of the United Nations and the Kashmiri people had drawn the world's attention to this issue by rendering immense sacrifices. He said the Kashmir struggle was not confined to Srinagar anymore, but it was recognised across the world.


    Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa talks to troops at the LoC. — Photo: DG ISPR TwitterArmy Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa talks to troops at the LoC. — Photo: DG ISPR Twitter

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    A stretch of the Sindh-Balochistan coastal belt has become heavily polluted due to an oil spill from an underground pipeline, fishermen complained on Thursday.

    Spillage of tar and oil has wreaked havoc on the entire stretch of the coast from Mubarak Village to Churna Island and a strong stench permeates the area, local residents and fishermen told DawnNewsTV.

    Mubarak Village counsellor Sarfaraz Haroon complained that spill has turned the popular picnic location known for its blue-green water into a black mess.

    He urged the government to take notice of the matter and regretted that the incident was not the first to threaten the local economy, as many such episodes had occurred previously.

    "If the government does not take the matter seriously, sea life will be completely destroyed [in the area]," he said, underscoring the need for immediate action.

    Haroon said that turtles, dolphins, whales, and other marine organisms were all on borrowed time unless remedial steps were taken.

    Local fishermen demanded that the government take strict disciplinary action against the owners of the company responsible for the spill.

    In January this year, the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs was briefed regarding the rising pollution levels in the sea.

    The director general of ports and shipping Asad Chandna had told the committee that 450 to 500 million gallons of raw sewage were being discharged daily directly into the sea without any solution in sight to stop the pollution.


    Tar and oil are wreaking havoc on the entire stretch of coast from Mubarak Village to Churna Island. —Photo provided by authorTar and oil are wreaking havoc on the entire stretch of coast from Mubarak Village to Churna Island. —Photo provided by author

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    Five Punjab University (PU) students allegedly associated with the Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT) were suspended on Thursday for beating up a man who was sitting with his wife on campus.

    The PU administration also suspended a security guard ─ who was present at the time ─ for his inaction.

    Videos of the incident circulating on social media show a large crowd of onlookers gathered outside the PU History Department around the man who is being beaten up by some students, while a woman yells at them to stop.

    "What has he done? He is my husband," she can be heard saying in an attempt to dissuade the perpetrators from beating the man up.

    The man, identified as a Awais Rind, had gone to the History Department to pick up his wife when he was beaten by the IJT students, PU Spokesperson Khurram Shahzad said.

    PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmed took notice of the incident and ordered PU Registrar Khalid Khan to take strict action against the students involved, Shahzad said.

    "No one has permission to take the law into their own hands," the spokesperson said. He added that the incident was "unbearable" and assured that the administration will "maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the campus".

    He said that five IJT students involved in Rind's thrashing have been suspended, along with a security guard who stood and watched instead of preventing them from beating the man.

    A meeting of university administration officials took place today, after which it is expected that a formal notification will be issued announcing the suspension of the five students and the security guard.

    Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar also took notice of the incident and sought a report from teh administration, PU spokesperson said.


    A screengrab of the viral video showing IJT students in Punjab University beating a man.A screengrab of the viral video showing IJT students in Punjab University beating a man.

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