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    An accountability court in Lahore on Monday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) an extension in the physical remand of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiyana Housing Scheme case, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The court extended Sharif's remand until Nov 7 while announcing its verdict on NAB's request for a 15-day physical remand of the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

    This is the second extension given to NAB since Sharif was first remanded for 10 days on October 6. The court had earlier extended the remand by 14 days on Oct 16.

    Sharif was produced before an accountability court in the morning for a hearing of the case amid tight security. NAB had requested the court to grant a 15-day physical remand of Sharif saying that the anti-corruption body had not yet completed its investigation.

    NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua, after submitting a report of the investigation so far, told the court that NAB has prepared a feasibility report that had strengthened its case. He claimed that the feasibility report prepared for the housing scheme by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) was based on "falsehood". He said that the national exchequer had suffered a loss of millions of rupees due to Sharif's "illegal steps".

    NAB prosecutor further said that Sharif had illegally handed over Ashiana housing scheme's contract to Bilal Qidwai, who was a consultant of the Punjab Land Development Company and a suspect in the corruption case. Janjua also claimed that the scheme was used to benefit Paragon Housing Society.

    According to NAB's report, a copy of which is available with DawnNewsTV, says that the Sharif had illegally ordered Sheikh Alauddin complete the project through a public-private partnership. It further alleged that Sharif was not cooperating in the investigation "due to his authoritarian behaviour as well as his cleverness".

    However, Sharif — who presented his arguments himself — rejected the allegations and stated that it had been 25 days [since his arrest], yet NAB had been unable to present any proof against him. He refuted all allegations against him and said that he had answered all of NAB's queries several times.

    "I feel sad that NAB has levelled false allegations against me," he said. He also dismissed NAB's claim that his order for a public-private partnership in the project was illegal and said that the meeting in which he had directed Sheikh Alauddin to start working on the scheme as soon as possible, was on record.

    In response to NAB's claim that the feasibility report had wrongly estimated the project's cost at Rs14 billion, Sharif said that the anti-corruption body should question LDA instead of him.

    After Sharif concluded his arguments, his lawyer Amjad Pervez claimed that the case against his client was based on an "assumptions" and added that the report prepared by NAB did not mention that Sharif was involved in corruption.

    He told the court that NAB had not allowed his client to meet his newborn grandson, neither has the body allowed him to get a diabetes test.

    Strict security measures were taken prior to Sharif's arrival in court. Containers were placed to block the road leading to the building and all routes to the court were blocked as well. Police contingents were deployed along the route and outside the court building. Police and Rangers officials were also posted inside the court building.

    PML-N supporters, lawyers — apart from legal counsel of Sharif and NAB — and media personnel were refused entry in the courtroom, which led to verbal confrontation between lawyers, party workers and police.

    Ashiana Housing scam

    Shahbaz Sharif is primarily accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the Ashiyana project to the LDA, resulting in the award of contract to Lahore Casa Developers , causing a loss of Rs715 million and eventual failure of the project.

    The former chief minister had also directed the PLDC to award consultancy services of the project to M/s Engineering Consultancy Services, Punjab, for Rs192 million, whereas the actual cost was Rs35m, as quoted by Nespak.

    Fawad Hasan Fawad, a former principal secretary to the prime minister, and Ahad Khan Cheema, LDA’s ex-director general, have already been arrested in the Ashiyana case and are in jail on judicial custody.

    The bureau has recently launched another investigation against Shahbaz Sharif to look for his “illegal” assets. NAB initiated this inquiry on reports that Shahbaz possesses assets beyond his known sources of income.

    During interrogation earlier, Shahbaz Sharif said his son Salman looked after the family business.

    “Salman Shahbaz provided some record to NAB, but it sought more details from him, terming his reply unsatisfactory,” an official had said.


    Shahbaz Sharif talks to his counsel in an accountability court. — DawnNewsTVShahbaz Sharif talks to his counsel in an accountability court. — DawnNewsTV

    Shahbaz Sharif arrives in accountability court. — DawnNewsTVShahbaz Sharif arrives in accountability court. — DawnNewsTV

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    SHEIKHUPURA: The police arrested two personnel of Rescue 1122 on charge of raping a Sikh teenage girl at Nankana Sahib on Sunday.

    According to the first information report (FIR) registered with the City Nankana Sahib police by the victim’s family, the 15-year-old girl, who was also mentally challenged, went missing. The family looked for her everywhere but found no trace.

    At around 1:30am, the family members of the girl found a Rescue 1122 ambulance parked by the roadside for long time which looked suspicious. When probed further, the found both the suspects committing crime with their daughter. The police registered a case and arrested both the suspects.

    Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also took notice of the incident and made a post on her Twitter account, saying “Abuse of vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated. Was forwarded a case of abuse of a differently-abled Sikh girl in Nankana Sahib. FIR has been registered and the SHO informed us they have arrested two persons in the case”.

    However, sources in Rescue 1122 headquarters in Lahore denied the allegations, claiming that according to the medical report, the girl was not raped.

    Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2018

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    FIR says family members of the girl found her in a Rescue 1122 ambulance parked by the roadside. — FileFIR says family members of the girl found her in a Rescue 1122 ambulance parked by the roadside. — File

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    LARKANA: Sindh Minister for Local Bodies Saeed Ghani has said that National Accountability Bureau’s actions are creating difficulties for Sindh government to execute day to day affairs and accused the federal anti-graft agency of overstepping its authority in the province.

    Talking to journalists after offering fateha and laying wreaths on Bhuttos’ graves in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto on Sunday the minister said: “We’ve no objection to NAB’s work if it remains within its constitutional limits but we feel it [NAB] is crossing its constitutional authority in Sindh,” he said.

    He said that they were aware NAB was empowered to investigate graft cases but unfortunately Sindh was facing what he called targeted actions by the bureau.

    He said that NAB’s stepped up actions in Sindh had made the officers jittery and reluctant to go ahead with development works because they feared having to face inquiries in future after completion of works during the party’s tenure.

    “I am personally thinking of inviting officers of NAB, court registry, FIA and Anti-Corruption Establishment to witness the process of tenders so as to assure them that all works are being carried out in accordance with law and set procedure,” said Mr Ghani.

    He claimed the investigation agencies were in the habit of initiating action after completion of projects and schemes on the basis of shortfalls and lacunas in the process or completion of development works.

    He said that a large number of employees recruited under a contingency plan in different districts had been fired on the directives of judicial commission on water, which led to worsening of sanitation issues in Larkana and elsewhere.

    He said that he had convened a meeting of mayors and chairmen of Larkana and Sukkur divisions on Monday to try to hammer out a permanent solution to the problem in the light of the commission’s decision.

    Mr Ghani conceded the issue of unpaid salaries in local bodies department and said that it was restricted to certain districts only. A committee would be constituted soon to work exclusively on the resolution of the issue of pensions and arrears of employees, he said.

    SUKKUR: The minister told media persons in Jacobabad on Sunday that the PTI leaders who were talking against the 18th Amendment knew nothing about Constitution.

    The talk of abrogating the amendment would be considered a conspiracy against the country because the amendment had strengthened the bond of trust between smaller provinces and big province of Punjab, he said.

    He said that under the separation of powers the prime minister, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff, chief ministers and provincial ministers had to exercise their authorities keeping within the limits demarcated by Constitution.

    He said that the Constitution authorised the federal government to impose governor’s rule but made it subject to special conditions. There were no such conditions as to justify governor’s rule in Sindh, he said.

    He said that attempts were being made to malign Pakistan Peoples Party with stories about bank accounts but soon this new drama would also run out it course and prove to be fake.

    The minister said in answer to a question that Nawaz Sharif’s refusal to meet Asif Zardari was his own decision and such things was part of normality as every party had to follow its own policy.

    He said that in recent past a vicious propaganda was spread about grouping in PPP but it proved false as the total number of votes polled to PPP saw a steady increase after every election.

    He said that he had visited site of water supply scheme where work was under way in coordination with USAID. It would soon be completed to supply clean and purified drinking water to Jacobabad people, he said.

    Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2018

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    LG Minister Saeed Ghani speaks to the media in Sukkur on Sunday.—DawnLG Minister Saeed Ghani speaks to the media in Sukkur on Sunday.—Dawn

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday took notice of the transfer of the Islamabad police chief after 'fake news' began circulating that he had been removed from his post for not picking up a phone call from a federal minister.

    Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Jan Mohammad, a retired lieutenant and a BS-20 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), was posted out from the force and his services were surrendered to the establishment division on Saturday.

    The government's Fake News Buster Twitter account on Sunday rubbished local media reports that the IGP had been transferred because he did not attend minister Azam Swati's phone calls.

    A clarification shared by the account quoting the Interior Ministry spokesperson claimed that the ministry rejected the "baseless" reports.

    The spokesperson explained that the summary for the IGP's removal was sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan three weeks ago, and that it faced approval delays due to the PM's busy schedule and his travel.

    However, sources close to the development told Dawn that the decision to transfer the IGP, who had been appointed before the general election, was made last week. The decision was made over some issue, the sources said, but did not share the exact reason behind the transfer.

    The CJP summoned the Secretary of Interior to court today to explain why the IGP Islamabad was transferred.

    "We will not allow our institutions to be compromised because of some senator, minister, or his son," the top judge asserted.

    "We've heard that the IGP was removed at the behest of some Veer (brave man)," Justice Nisar commented. "The rule of law will be upheld."

    The Islamabad police chief is currently in Malaysia on ex-Pakistan leave to attend a course, and will return on November 5 and hand over the charge to his successor if the government has appointed any officer in his place by then.

    Sources told Dawn that he was transferred from the capital police while he was abroad. Currently, DIG Security Waqar Chohan has been looking after the office of the IGP Islamabad in his absence.

    The names of four officers are currently under consideration for the post of the IGP Islamabad but so far no one has been finalised, according to the sources. They said two of them had already showed reluctance to fill the post.

    This is not the first controversial police transfer under the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government. There were two reshuffles of provincial police chiefs in September and October after the new government was elected.

    Amjad Javed Saleemi, the Sindh IGP, was replaced by Kaleem Imam, the Punjab IGP, in September after the Pakpattan controversy on Aug 24.

    The DPO Pakpattan was abruptly transferred in the middle of the night after it emerged that he had not visited the Maneka family's residence after they were intercepted on their way to Darbar.

    The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) chief, Khalid Dad Lak, who was tasked with probing the matter and submitting a report to court said that the order for the DPO Pakpattan's transfer "flowed from the chief minister's office", while then Punjab IGP Kaleem Imam "acted as a rubber stamp".

    Around the same time, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IGP Muhammad Tahir was appointed Punjab IGP, replacing Imam.

    Amjad Javed Saleemi was in October transferred to Punjab, where he replaced Muhammad Tahir, prompting Nasir Durrani, the head of the police reforms commission and a favourite with Prime Minister Imran Khan, to step down.

    However, Saleemi's transfer was temporarily suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan since it was a violation of its Sept 3 directives banning postings and transfers of government officials in the wake of the Oct 14 by-polls.

    He assumed charge in Punjab after the by-polls.


    Islamabad police chief Jan Mohammad. ─ DawnNewsTVIslamabad police chief Jan Mohammad. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    PESHAWAR: Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali Khan has said that reports about landing of Israeli plane in Islamabad is a serious matter and asked the government to clarify its position in the parliament.

    In a statement issued here on Sunday, he said that denial by the foreign and information ministers about landing of Israeli jet in the federal capital was insufficient and the matter should come under debate in the parliament.

    He said that reports about landing of Israel jet was related to national security while information minister was joking with the nation.

    This report should come under discussion in the parliament and the government must explain details of this ‘secret mission’, he added.

    Asfandyar said that an Israeli jet had never landed in Pakistan during last 70 years.

    He declared that as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was in the government, arrival of Israeli mission in Islamabad could not be ruled out.

    He said that three superpowers and three nuclear states had presence in the region and the government should maintain balance in relations with big powers.

    He called for review of internal and external policies to protect the country’s interests.

    Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2018

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    ANP leader says the PTI government must explain details of this ANP leader says the PTI government must explain details of this "secret mission".— File

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    PESHAWAR: Describing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government as the product of rigging, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao on Sunday asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to stop pushing opposition parties to the wall otherwise he will be unable to develop consensus on any of the important national issues.

    Speaking at a public meeting at Ring Road on the sixth foundation day of QWP, Mr Sherpao said that PTI had not won the election, but it was brought into power under a plan of ‘controlled democracy’ through ‘institutionalised’ rigging in the July 25 general elections.

    He said that his party’s mandate was stolen in the general election and it was not the first time that such an attempt had been made to introduce ‘controlled democracy’ in the country and keep the people away from real leadership. He said that election observers of the European Union had also termed the electoral process non-transparent.

    Mr Sherpao recalled that during Ayub Khan’s era basic democracy was introduced while in General Zia’s regime party-less elections were held to keep the political parties out of the democratic process. He said that now ‘selected democracy’ had been imposed under Imran Khan.

    QWP chief claims PTI brought into power under a plan of ‘controlled democracy’

    He said that slashing the share of smaller provinces in National Finance Commission award would weaken the federation. He warned that if 18th amendment was rolled back it would deepen the sense of deprivation among the provinces, particularly Pakhtuns.

    “Keeping in view flawed policies of the incumbent government, it is bound to fail and the onus will be not only on PTI rulers, but also on those who have brought them into power,” he maintained.

    Calling for a new social contract, he said that efforts should be made to end the despondency among Pakhtuns. He said that before general elections, the PTI leadership had claimed that they had solutions to all the problems facing the country, but now it had passed on the burden to people in the shape of price hike and joblessness.

    Mr Sherpao recalled that PTI chief had claimed before the election that he would prefer to commit suicide to seeking financial assistance from International Monetary Fund (IMF), but now he was travelling from country to country with a begging bowl to seek loans. He demanded of the federal government to disclose the conditions attached to the financial assistance extended by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

    Commenting on economic condition of the country, he said the government on the one hand talked about construction of five million houses, on the other it was collecting money for building dams. He asked that the government whether building dams was important or constructing five million houses.

    He said it seemed that Imran Khan was still standing on a container as he had been using indecent language against his political rivals.

    The QWP chief said that the defeat of PTI candidates in by-elections had vindicated their stance that the general election was rigged. He said that Pakhtun-inhabited areas had been witnessing violence for about four decades. He said that many Pakhtuns had been living as internally displaced persons under poor conditions. “It is responsibility of the state to provide relief and protection to the people,” he said.

    Mr Sherpao urged the government to introduce reforms in the erstwhile FATA to expedite the merger process. He congratulated the Afghan government for holding parliamentary elections which, he said, were important for continuity of democratic process.

    Party’s general secretary Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, provincial chairman Sikandar Sherpao and Hashim Babar also spoke on this occasion.

    Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2018

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    Aftab Sherpao addresses a public meeting in Peshawar on Sunday. — White StarAftab Sherpao addresses a public meeting in Peshawar on Sunday. — White Star

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    ISLAMABAD: The ongoing tussle between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the opposition parties over the issue of the chairmanship of all-powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has started affecting the functioning of parliament as National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser is unable to constitute other committees as well due to the opposition’s boycott threat.

    Sources in the NA Secretariat told Dawn that the speaker had been facing a difficult situation due to the “rigid attitude” of both the government and the opposition over the issue as both of them had refused to budge from their stated positions.

    The opposition parties want that the PAC chairmanship should be offered to them as per the parliamentary traditions and they have already nominated Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif for the post.

    PTI ready to go ahead with committees even without opposition, says Fawad Chaudhry

    On the other hand, the ruling PTI is unwilling to give the PAC chairmanship to the opposition, saying that it could not allow the opposition parties to review the projects that had been initiated and executed by them during their own governments.

    Under the rules, the speaker was bound to constitute all the standing and functional committees of the house “within 30 days after the election of the Leader of the House (prime minister)”. Since PTI chairman Imran Khan had been elected prime minister on Aug 18, the speaker had time till Sept 17 for the formation of over three dozen house committees.

    According to the sources, all the opposition parties had already handed over the names of their members for the committee to the NA Secretariat as per the rules, but the speaker had to stop the process when the opposition announced that its members would withdraw from all the committees if the PAC chairmanship was not offered to them.

    There is no restriction on the government in the rules to give the chairmanship of the PAC to the opposition parties, but it has been a parliamentary practice and tradition for the past 10 years that the office is given to an opposition member in order to ensure transparency in the financial matters.

    In the Charter of Democracy, signed by the PML-N and the PPP in London in May 2006, the two parties had agreed that “the chairmen of public accounts committees in the national and provincial assemblies will be appointed by the leaders of opposition in the concerned assemblies”.

    The PAC is the apex parliamentary watchdog that oversees the audit of revenue and expenditure by the government and it is considered to be the most powerful and important committee of parliament.

    When contacted, Minister for Infor­mation Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the PTI was earlier divided over the issue, but now it had decided that the PAC chairmanship would not be offered to the opposition leader, who was already facing corruption charges and currently under detention.

    Mr Chaudhry asked how Mr Sharif could be allowed to head a committee that would be auditing the projects undertaken by his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

    The minister, however, said a final decision in this regard was expected to be taken in PTI’s parliamentary group meeting to be presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday before start of the National Assembly session.

    About the opposition’s threat to boycott the committees, Mr Chaudhry remarked that in his opinion the speaker should go ahead with the formation of the committees without the representation of the opposition members as “no one should be allowed to make parliament hostage”.

    PML-N spokesperson Marri­yum Aurangzeb told Dawn that they were determined to stay away from all the committees if the speaker did not fulfil his commitment to appointing Shah­baz Sharif as the PAC chairman.

    Similarly, when contacted, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Naveed Qamar also criticised the government and the speaker for delaying formation of the committees. He said the PPP was a part of the combined opposition and a signatory to the Charter of Democracy and, there­fore, it considered the PML-N’s stance on the issue as “correct and legitimate”.

    Rejecting the information minister’s reasoning, Mr Qamar said the PAC had already cleared its backlog and now it was set to review the audit reports of the financial year 2018-19. Under these circumstances, he said, it had become more imperative that the PAC should be offered to the present opposition.

    The PPP leader claimed that Speaker Asad Qaiser had assured them in the presence of Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that the PAC chairman would be nominated from the opposition parties.

    The speaker in a recent TV interview had stated that the PAC chairmanship issue was between the government and the opposition and that he was ready to play the role of a bridge.

    A source close to the speaker said that Mr Qaiser was perturbed over the situation and had already met Prime Minister Imran Khan over the issue.

    Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2018

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    National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser is unable to constitute other committees as well due to the opposition’s boycott threat. — Photo/FileNational Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser is unable to constitute other committees as well due to the opposition’s boycott threat. — Photo/File

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday ordered a committee looking into regularisation of all Banigala properties in Islamabad to submit the outcome of its meeting by tonight.

    Informing the court that a committee had been created and would meet today, Additional Attorney General Nayyar Abbas Rizvi asked for more time.

    But the top judge denied the request and inquired why they should be given time, adding that the court was the one that had created the committee.

    He ordered the committee to submit the outcome of its meeting by 10pm tonight.

    The person who initiated the case should be the first one to pay the fee, pointed out the CJP.

    On a suo motu, the apex court in April had taken up illegal constructions in Banigala on a letter written by PTI Chief Imran Khan.

    The PTI leader had invited the court’s attention towards the large-scale encroachment on the botanical garden, unchecked and unplanned construction in Banigala, massive denuding due to large scale tree felling and pollution of the Rawal Lake due to sewage.

    CJP Nisar on Monday added that Prime Minister Khan should pay the regularisation fees, as it would set the standard for everyone else.

    "The prime minister should set an example, so that others also follow," CJP Nisar said, adding that it was up to the PM how he regularises the properties.

    PM Khan's lawyer Babar Awan informed the court that the premier was ready to pay.

    Taking aim at the Capital Development Authority (CDA), CJP Nisar said that while the prime minister may be ready to pay the fees, it was being delayed by the authority.

    The top judge reiterated that the prime minister should pay the regularisation fees, otherwise the court would give orders to the finance department to recover it.

    "A leader should be an example," CJP said.

    The hearing of the case was postponed until tomorrow.

    In a previous hearing of the case on Oct 1, the Supreme Court said that it was the job of the PTI government to regularise all properities in the area, including the residence of PM Khan.

    The top court had ordered authorities to demolish all encroachments around Korang riverbed in the light of a report drafted by the Survey of Pakistan.


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

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday took suo motu notice of the transfer of the Islamabad police chief and summoned a complete record of the transfer in the wake of 'fake news' reports that he had been removed from his post for not receiving a minister's telephone call.

    Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Jan Mohammad, a retired lieutenant and a BS-20 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), was posted out from the force and his services were surrendered to the Establishment Division on Saturday.

    The government's Fake News Buster Twitter account on Sunday rubbished local media reports that the IGP had been transferred because he did not attend minister Azam Swati's phone calls.

    A clarification shared by the account quoting the Interior Ministry spokesperson claimed that the ministry rejected the "baseless" reports.

    The spokesperson explained that the summary for the IGP's removal was sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan three weeks ago, and that it faced approval delays due to the PM's busy schedule and his travel.

    However, sources close to the development told Dawn that the decision to transfer the IGP, who had been appointed before the general election, was made last week. The decision was made over some issue, the sources said, but did not share the exact reason behind the transfer.

    Court will not tolerate political transfers: CJP

    The CJP summoned the Secretary of Interior to court today to explain why the IGP Islamabad was transferred.

    "We will not allow our institutions to be compromised because of some senator, minister, or his son," the top judge asserted.

    "We've heard that the IGP was removed at the behest of some Veer (brave man)," Justice Nisar commented. "The rule of law will be upheld."

    The hearing resumed after a break, with the CJP asking if the secretary Interior had been summoned, to which Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti replied in the affirmative.

    "The secretary should come with the complete record and tell us why the transfer took place," Justice Nisar said.

    "The court will not tolerate such political transfers," the CJP said, noting that "there was also a transfer in Punjab, and this transfer happened within a matter of days. The attorney general's office should also provide a report on this."

    "How were the IGPs reshuffled just days after being posted?" he wondered. "The Islamabad IGP was transferred exactly the way that the Punjab IGP was transferred."

    The CJP summoned the records for the transfers of both the Punjab and Islamabad IGPs' transfers.

    "Tell the secretary Interior to provide the record for both police officers. The rules were fixed in the A.D. Khowaja case," the CJP said, referring to the controversial transfer of the former Sindh police chief.

    "Tell us when he [the Islamabad IGP] was transferred," the CJP demanded.

    He added that the hearing would resume in the open court once the secretary Interior arrived in court.

    The court expressed its displeasure over the delay in the secretary Interior's arrival in court as the hearing resumed. "Should the court wait for you?" the CJP asked the official.

    Once in court, the secretary Interior told the bench that the Islamabad IGP's transfer was handled by the Secretary of Establishment.

    The court asked the secretary Interior whose jurisdiction the capital police falls under, to which he responded that it fell under the Interior Ministry's purview.

    "You have no idea that the IGP under you has been transferred," the CJP commented, to which the secretary Interior responded that he had not been consulted at the time of the transfer.

    "Attorney general sahab, if you were aware that the secretary Establishment was behind the transfer, you could have called him too," the CJP said. "Should we now sit and play Ludo while we wait for him to come here?"

    The attorney general's request to postpone the case was rejected by the court, which directed the secretary Establishment to shelve his other commitments and appear before the bench by 3:30pm.

    Abrupt police transfers raise eyebrows

    This is not the first abrupt police transfer under the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government. There were two reshuffles of provincial police chiefs in September and October after the new government was elected.

    Amjad Javed Saleemi, the Sindh IGP, was replaced by Kaleem Imam, the Punjab IGP, in September after the Pakpattan controversy on Aug 24.

    The DPO Pakpattan was abruptly transferred in the middle of the night after it emerged that he had not visited the Maneka family's residence after they were intercepted on their way to Darbar.

    The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) chief, Khalid Dad Lak, who was tasked with probing the matter and submitting a report to court said that the order for the DPO Pakpattan's transfer "flowed from the chief minister's office", while then Punjab IGP Kaleem Imam "acted as a rubber stamp".

    Around the same time, then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IGP Muhammad Tahir was appointed Punjab IGP, replacing Imam.

    Amjad Javed Saleemi was in October transferred to Punjab, where he replaced Muhammad Tahir, prompting Nasir Durrani, the head of the police reforms commission and a favourite with Prime Minister Imran Khan, to step down.

    However, Saleemi's transfer was temporarily suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan since it was a violation of its Sept 3 directives banning postings and transfers of government officials in the wake of the Oct 14 by-polls.

    He assumed charge in Punjab after the by-polls.

    Islamabad police chief's replacements

    IGP Islamabad Jan Mohammad is currently in Malaysia on ex-Pakistan leave to attend a course, and will return on November 5 and hand over the charge to his successor if the government has appointed any officer in his place by then.

    Sources told Dawn that he was transferred from the capital police while he was abroad. Currently, DIG Security Waqar Chohan has been looking after the office of the IGP Islamabad in his absence.

    The names of four officers are currently under consideration for the post of the IGP Islamabad but so far no one has been finalised, according to the sources. They said two of them had already showed reluctance to fill the post.


    Islamabad police chief Jan Mohammad. ─ DawnNewsTVIslamabad police chief Jan Mohammad. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    Two Rescue 1122 workers have been suspended over their alleged involvement in the suspected sexual assault of a Sikh teenage girl at Nankana Sahib on October 27, a district emergency officer said on Monday.

    The officer, Akram Panwaar, said that a high-level committee has also been created to investigate the incident and once the crime was proven, strong departmental action would be taken against the rescue officials.

    According to the medico-legal examination report, no tears, bruises or laceration were found in the examination of the victims body. However, the girl will be taken to Lahore today for further tests.

    The results of the tests will arrive in a minimum time frame of two months, said Investigative Officer Basharat Ali, adding that the suspects would be kept in custody on physical remand for further investigation.

    According to the first information report (FIR) registered with the City Nankana Sahib police by the victim’s family, the 15-year-old girl, who was also mentally challenged, went missing on Sunday.

    The family looked for her everywhere but found no trace.

    At around 1:30am, the family members of the girl found a Rescue 1122 ambulance parked by the roadside for long time which looked suspicious. When probed further, the found both the suspects committing the crime with their daughter.

    The FIR added that when the victim's family made noise, the suspects drove the ambulance away, threw the victim near a sugar mill on Nankana Road and escaped.

    A spokesperson for the district police on Monday said that the suspects had been arrested after a case was registered against them in the City police station.

    The spokesperson added that an investigation was being launched on the complaints of the Sikh community.

    He added that all requirements to bring justice will be undertaken.

    Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also took notice of the incident on Sunday, saying: “Abuse of vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated. Was forwarded a case of abuse of a differently-abled Sikh girl in Nankana Sahib. FIR has been registered and the SHO informed us they have arrested two persons in the case”.


    The girl went missing on Sunday. — File PhotoThe girl went missing on Sunday. — File Photo

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    At least four people were injured in an improvised explosive device blast targeting tehsildar car in the Bajaur Agency's Charmang area on Monday.

    Tehsildar Haseeb Khan and three Levies personnel were injured in the blast, DawnNewsTV reported.

    Earlier this year, in February, security forces foiled a terrorism bid in the agency by killing two suspected suicide bombers during an intelligence-based operation near the Pakistan-Afghan border.

    In September 2017, local tehsildar Fawad Ali and four Levies personnel were killed when a remote-controlled bomb went off a roadside the agency's Loye Mamond area.

    This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.


    At least four people were injured in an improvised explosive device blast targeting tehsildar car in the Bajaur Agency's Charmang area on Monday. — File PhotoAt least four people were injured in an improvised explosive device blast targeting tehsildar car in the Bajaur Agency's Charmang area on Monday. — File Photo

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    The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking review of the top court's judgement regarding reopening of the Hudaibya Paper Mills (HPM) reference.

    A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had rejected the NAB appeal on Jan 5 against the quashment of the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibya corruption reference by the Lahore High Court in 2014. The same bench heard the review petition today.

    The 39-page NAB review petition, which was filed through special prosecutor Imran-ul-Haq, had argued that the Jan 5 judgement of the SC in the Hudaibya case was in conflict with the Panama Papers case verdict issued by a larger bench and was, therefore, required to be revisited.

    At the outset of the hearing, the bench asked the NAB prosecutor to point out flaws in the SC judgement.

    Haq argued that the accused in the corruption reference had never been indicted.

    "It's your own doing, you may delay the indictment for years if you wish," Justice Isa told Haq, observing that the bureau had failed to proceed with indicting the accused even though the Hudaibya reference was filed in the year 2000.

    Justice Isa noted that it was during the rule of an army general that the reference was filed. "There was no political pressure on [NAB]" not to file the reference, he remarked.

    The reference was filed against members of the Sharif family in 2000 over the opening of alleged “Benami” foreign currency accounts in 1992. But the SC bench asked NAB today whether it was a crime to open foreign currency accounts abroad.

    "No, it is not a crime," prosecutor Haq responded.

    The prosecutor further argued that former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who had turned approver against the Sharifs in April 2000, had backtracked from his confessional statement after the LHC quashed the reference.

    And the respondents in the reference never appeared before a court. The LHC judgement was flawed due to these two reasons, the prosecutor said.

    The court then grilled NAB over why Dar's statement had been recorded before a magistrate. Justice Isa observed that an approver's statement could not have been recorded before a magistrate following an amendment in the accountability laws.

    "Even if Ishaq Dar confessed to everything, what effect would it have on the case?" he asked.

    Justice Alam wondered for how many years the sword of Damocles could be hung above a person.

    With the NAB prosecutor having failed to satisfy the bench with arguments against the earlier SC judgement, the court rejected the review petition filed by the bureau.

    Hudaibya reference: journey through courts

    NAB had prepared the HPM reference against the Sharif family after the 1999 military coup which toppled the Nawaz Sharif government.

    The LHC had on March 11, 2014 quashed the reference, but NAB did not challenge it in the apex court. The matter resurfaced during the hearing of the Panama Papers case.

    A five-judge bench hearing the Panama Papers case had made a number of observations on the revival of the HPM reference. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, in his dissenting note in the April 20, 2017 verdict, had also discussed the reference in detail and criticised the chairman and the prosecutor general of NAB for not challenging the LHC judgement.

    Subsequently, NAB had filed an appeal in the apex court against the LHC verdict, but the bureau could not satisfy the three-judge SC bench for filing a time-barred case.

    In its detailed judgement, the apex court had held that legal process was abused and due process was denied to Nawaz Sharif, his brother and then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and other respondents through “protracted” proceedings in the reference.

    “We have come to the painful conclusion that respondents 1 to 9 were denied due process,” Justice Isa had written in a 34-page verdict.

    “The legal process was abused by keeping the reference pending indefinitely and unreasonably,” the judgement had regretted, adding that the respondents were denied the right to vindicate themselves since the reference served no purpose but to oppress them.

    In its review petition, NAB held the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the regime of former president Gen Pervez Musharraf responsible for keeping the Hudaibya corruption reference against the Sharif family adjourned for an indefinite period.

    This was the reason why the NAB authorities did not show interest in prosecution of the reference, the petition explained. “Keeping the reference 5 of 2000 (Hudaibya reference) adjourned sine die was a collusive arrangement of PPP, PML-N and regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf,” it contended.


    A view of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — FileA view of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — File

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday suspended the 'unlawful' transfer of the Islamabad police chief after it emerged that he had been removed from the post following verbal directives from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    The CJP had taken suo motu notice of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Jan Mohammad's transfer today in the wake of conflicting reports about the reasons behind ─ and timeline of ─ his transfer.

    IGP Jan Mohammad, a retired lieutenant and a BS-20 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), was posted out from the force and his services were surrendered to the Establishment Division on Saturday.

    Conflicting reports about IGP's transfer

    The government's Fake News Buster Twitter account on Sunday rubbished local media reports that the IGP had been transferred because he did not attend minister Azam Swati's phone calls.

    A clarification shared by the account quoting the Interior Ministry spokesperson claimed that the ministry rejected the "baseless" reports.

    The spokesperson explained that the summary for the IGP's removal was sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan three weeks ago, and that it faced approval delays due to the PM's busy schedule and his travel.

    However, sources close to the development told Dawn that the decision to transfer the IGP, who had been appointed before the general election, was made last week.

    The decision was made over some issue, the sources said, but did not share the exact reason behind the transfer.

    The IGP's transfer is the latest among a series of reshuffles in police postings.

    'Court won't tolerate political transfers'

    The CJP today summoned the secretary Interior to court today to explain why the IGP Islamabad was transferred.

    "We will not allow our institutions to be compromised because of some senator, minister, or his son," the top judge asserted.

    "We've heard that the IGP was removed at the behest of some Veer (brave man)," Justice Nisar commented. "The rule of law will be upheld."

    The hearing resumed after a break, with the CJP asking if the secretary Interior had been summoned, to which Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti replied in the affirmative.

    "The secretary should come with the complete record and tell us why the transfer took place," Justice Nisar said.

    "The court will not tolerate such political transfers," the CJP said, noting that "there was also a transfer in Punjab, and this transfer happened within a matter of days. The attorney general's office should also provide a report on this."

    "How were the IGPs reshuffled just days after being posted?" he wondered. "The Islamabad IGP was transferred exactly the way that the Punjab IGP was transferred."

    The CJP summoned the records for the transfers of both the Punjab and Islamabad IGPs.

    "Tell the secretary Interior to provide the record for both police officers. The rules were fixed in the A.D. Khowaja case," the CJP said, referring to the court's suspension of the controversial transfer of the former Sindh police chief by the PPP government.

    "Tell us when he [the Islamabad IGP] was transferred," the CJP demanded.

    He added that the hearing would resume in the open court once the secretary Interior arrived in court.

    Secy Establishment transferred IGP without consulting me: Secy Interior

    The court expressed its displeasure over the delay in the secretary Interior's arrival in court as the hearing resumed. "Should the court wait for you?" the CJP asked the official.

    Once in court, the secretary Interior told the bench that the Islamabad IGP's transfer was handled by the secretary Establishment.

    The court asked the secretary Interior whose jurisdiction the capital police falls under, to which he responded that it fell under the Interior Ministry's purview.

    "You have no idea that the IGP under you has been transferred," the CJP commented, to which the secretary Interior responded that he had not been consulted at the time of the transfer.

    "Attorney general sahab, if you were aware that the secretary Establishment was behind the transfer, you could have called him too," the CJP said. "Should we now sit and play Ludo while we wait for him to come here?"

    The attorney general's request to postpone the case was rejected by the court, which directed the secretary Establishment to shelve his other commitments and appear before the bench by 3:30pm.

    'PM Office dissatisfied with IGP's performance'

    Once the secretary Establishment reached court, the CJP asked him to explain the real reason behind the transfer.

    "The issue of the IGP's transfer has been going on for some time now," the secretary Establishment told the bench. "The Prime Minister's Office is not satisfied with the IGP's performance."

    The attorney general told the SC that IGP Jan Mohammad was transferred after PM Imran Khan issued verbal orders to this effect. The summary for the transfer was also submitted in court.

    "Why don't we also transfer you?" the CJP asked the secretary Establishment. "Do you have the authority to do whatever you please? Are you building Naya Pakistan this way?" he asked.

    The court observed that the secretary Establishment should not have had any role in the transfer, and said it would examine whether it was made on the basis of malicious intent.

    The court directed the secretary Establishment to "take instructions from the PM and submit a response".

    The federal government was told to submit a response by Wednesday. The court subsequently suspended the transfer, maintaining that it was not in line with the law.

    Abrupt police transfers raise eyebrows

    This is not the first abrupt police transfer under the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government. There were two reshuffles of provincial police chiefs in September and October after the new government was elected.

    Amjad Javed Saleemi, the Sindh IGP, was replaced by Kaleem Imam, the Punjab IGP, in September after the Pakpattan controversy on Aug 24.

    The DPO Pakpattan was abruptly transferred in the middle of the night after it emerged that he had not visited the Maneka family's residence after they were intercepted on their way to Darbar.

    The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) chief, Khalid Dad Lak, who was tasked with probing the matter and submitting a report to court said that the order for the DPO Pakpattan's transfer "flowed from the chief minister's office", while then Punjab IGP Kaleem Imam "acted as a rubber stamp".

    Around the same time, then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IGP Muhammad Tahir was appointed Punjab IGP, replacing Imam.

    Amjad Javed Saleemi was in October transferred to Punjab, where he replaced Muhammad Tahir, prompting Nasir Durrani, the head of the police reforms commission and a favourite with Prime Minister Imran Khan, to step down.

    However, Saleemi's transfer was temporarily suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan since it was a violation of its Sept 3 directives banning postings and transfers of government officials in the wake of the Oct 14 by-polls.

    He assumed charge in Punjab after the by-polls.

    Islamabad police chief's replacements

    IGP Islamabad Jan Mohammad is currently in Malaysia on ex-Pakistan leave to attend a course, and will return on November 5 and hand over the charge to his successor if the government has appointed any officer in his place by then.

    Sources told Dawn that he was transferred from the capital police while he was abroad. Currently, DIG Security Waqar Chohan has been looking after the office of the IGP Islamabad in his absence.

    The names of four officers are currently under consideration for the post of the IGP Islamabad but so far no one has been finalised, according to the sources. They said two of them had already showed reluctance to fill the post.


    Islamabad police chief Jan Mohammad. ─ DawnNewsTVIslamabad police chief Jan Mohammad. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    Major General Saleh Mohammad Saleh Megren Al-Ameri — the commander of UAE Land Forces — on Monday called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, according to Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj General Asif Ghafoor.

    The army chief and the Emirati commander, the DG ISPR said, discussed "regional security situation and cooperation in the fields of defence, security and military training between both the armies".

    The DG ISPR said that Major General Al-Ameri also appreciated the "Pakistan Army’s efforts in fight against terrorism".

    The gathering of the two military leaders follows a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and a high-level UAE delegation by their Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber.

    According to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan has asked the UAE for a deferred payment facility for the import of oil, similar to the one agreed with Saudi Arabia.


    Major General Al-Ameri (L) and COAS Bajwa (R) discuss regional security, cooperation. — ISPRMajor General Al-Ameri (L) and COAS Bajwa (R) discuss regional security, cooperation. — ISPR

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    The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday announced its new office-bearers as part of its rebuilding of the party structure.

    After party chairperson and Prime Minister Imran Khan signed off on the appointments, PTI secretary general Arshad Daad said that senior party leader Ejaz Chaudhry has been made the central additional secretary general.

    Muhammad Ghulam Sarwar has been appointed the west Punjab president, whereas Umar Dar has been handed the reins in central Punjab.

    The west and central regions were previously led by Chaudhry Mohammad Ashfaq and Abdul Aleem Khan, the minister for local government and community development in Chief Minister Usman Buzdar's cabinet.

    Eng Atta Ullah Khan Shadi Khel, meanwhile, has been made the north Punjab president; he replaces Amir Kiyani.

    "The PTI will organise itself till the lowest levels," said Daad.


    Senior PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry — FileSenior PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry — File

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    The opposition in the National Assembly on Monday staged a walkout in protest against the alleged "deliberate" delay on the part of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in producing Shahbaz Sharif for the session.

    As per Speaker Asad Qaiser's production orders, the NAB Lahore team was directed to produce Sharif, the opposition leader, for the session of the lower house at 4pm.

    Although the PML-N president was flown to the capital from Lahore for the previous session, he was driven to the city via the motorway today. NAB authorities also took him to Islamabad's Polyclinic for a check-up before the NA session.

    Sharif's delayed arrival in the Parliament House meant that he could not chair a meeting of PML-N's parliamentary party, scheduled for an hour before the session's start. In his absence, senior leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Asif jointly led the meeting.

    Talking to reporters after reaching the parliament, Sharif said NAB had avoided bringing up via airplane on the pretext of different reasons.

    "They didn't want to bring me [to Islamabad] in an airplane," the opposition leader claimed, adding that the bureau had used the suspension of flight and unavailability of seats as an excuse.

    "I was made to travel via the motorway despite an ache in my back," he said.

    Speaking in the assembly, PML-N lawmaker Rana Tanveer Hussain said NAB had caused a "deliberate" delay in producing the opposition leader.

    "NAB was supposed to bring the opposition leader for the session at 4pm," he said, adding that the speaker's production orders had not been complied with.

    Boycotting the session, PML-N members then staged a walkout in protest. They were joined by the PPP and other opposition parties.

    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi urged the opposition members to end their boycott, saying "if this institution has to move forward, it has to do so using both its wheels [treasury and opposition]".

    "[I] request the respected members of the opposition to not render the entire house meaningless in this manner," he said.

    Speaker Qaiser then assigned Qureshi and State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan the task of convincing the opposition members to return to the house.

    The duo managed to cajole the opposition into returning to the session, with Qureshi thanking them for ending the boycott.

    When the session resumed after an evening prayer break, Sharif was seen entering the assembly along with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, who has been pulling out all the stops in recent days to unite the oppositon against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government.

    During today's session, the speaker administered the oath of office to 10 out of the 12 MNAs-elect who were elected in the by-polls earlier this month. Two prospective lawmakers were not present in the session.


    Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman enter the National Assembly together on Monday. — DawnNewsTVOpposition leader Shahbaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman enter the National Assembly together on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

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    Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi on Monday said the government was taking measures to facilitate and encourage overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country, Radio Pakistan reported.

    Afridi said this while talking to overseas Pakistanis at the Pakistan Embassy in Doha, Qatar, during his two-day visit to the Gulf state.

    The overseas Pakistanis have a key role to play in the country's economy, and soon the expats will be given a favourable investment climate in their own country, he said.

    The minister of state also attended the international conference on internal security along with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. The conference started today and will continue till Wednesday.

    During his interaction with the Qatari dignitaries, the minister emphasised on the need to increase bilateral economic, security and cultural cooperation with Qatar.

    On the Kashmir issue, Afridi said Pakistan will never compromise on its principled stand on the matter and will continue to support Kashmiris on every forum.


    Minister of State Shehryar Afridi calls for increasing bilateral economic, security and cultural cooperation with Qatar. —FileMinister of State Shehryar Afridi calls for increasing bilateral economic, security and cultural cooperation with Qatar. —File

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    ISLAMABAD: After a delay of more than 15 months, the government has finally restored powers of the Directorate General Intelligence & Investigation (DGII) to carry out criminal prosecution against tax evaders.

    The statutory regulatory order (SRO) 116, which allowed the DGII to conduct investigation into sales tax evasion, was declared illegal in a Lahore High Court (LHC) judgment in July last year.

    Official Spokesperson Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Dr Muhammad Iqbal told Dawn that under the new notification — SRO1301 — DGII will be conferred with powers which were not restricted by the LHC in its 2017 judgment.

    He said that minor changes were made in the SRO1301 to exclude powers like blacklisting of taxpayer, etc. which were highlighted in the court order. However, he said, under new orders the DGII will have the powers to raid a business, conduct investigations and make arrests.

    Following the LHC judgment, the previously registered FIRs and criminal prosecution, which were already in motion, had been set aside and quashed.

    To provide legal cover to earlier decisions, government through the Finance Bill 2018, proposed section 30A in the Sales Tax Act 1990 whereby the powers were conferred to DGII to conduct investigation into sales tax evasion.

    Regarding the past cases including lodging of FIRs, a validation Section 74 was proposed to the Sales Tax Act 1990.

    As per amendments, the validation section provides a legal cover to the orders of DGII in retrospect even before these powers were conferred through the Finance Act 2018.

    As per new notification, DGII Inland Revenue will be able to carry out intelligence activities on all tax related issues including under-reporting, tax evasion, tax fraud and revenue leakages.

    The department will also collect third party information relating to financial transactions like investment, expenses and details of persons.

    It will establish and develop linkages with all major national, provincial and other databases to collect relevant information.

    The department was empowered to identify cases of sales tax evasion and carry out inquiry, investigate, audit, whichever it deems fit to retrieve the loss of revenue.

    The powers will also allow it to identify and investigate in accordance with applicable laws in cases of tax fraud having any financial implications and punishable as offence.

    Transfer at FBR

    The government on Monday transferred Customs Intelligence and Investigation Director General Shaukat Ali to the Federal Board of Revenue as member.

    The transfer of a senior tax officer has become the first one after the PTI-led coalition government appointed Dr Jehanzeb Khan as the FBR chairman.

    Director Customs Intelligence and Investigation Iram Maqbool Amir was given the additional charge of the department.

    Dr Khan said that it was a routine transfer as he was building his own team to run the affairs of the tax department.

    Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2018


    Government has finally restored powers of the DGII to carry out criminal prosecution against tax evaders. — Photo/FileGovernment has finally restored powers of the DGII to carry out criminal prosecution against tax evaders. — Photo/File

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    GWADAR: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has called upon member states of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) to join hands with Pakistan for a socio-economically and culturally integrated Asia.

    Speaking as the chief guest at a conference of APA’s Standing Committee for Political Affairs here on Monday, he said Gwadar was going to become a major water and land route between the region and continents and it would create trade and economic opportunities for different countries.

    Over 88 delegates from 23 countries and the secretary general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union are participating in the international conference.

    Mr Sanjrani said this forum comprising Asian parliamentary representatives was endeavouring to promote cooperation, democracy, peace and stability in the region. He said the forum would help in guiding members towards modern trends and effective steps for promoting positive politics.

    He said Pakistan supported efforts for resolving issues and for prosperity at the regional and international levels. He said political changes in Asia demanded joint efforts for promoting peace and development in the region.

    “It is our top priority to augment federal and provincial cooperation to strengthen federation,” he said, adding that Balochistan, which was rich in mineral resources and had the potential for economic development, could change the destiny of not only Pakistan, but also the entire region.

    The Senate chairman said improvement was being brought about on a priority basis in social, economic, trade and business activities in order to alleviate poverty and sense of deprivation. He said Pakistan would be able in near future to connect the markets of central Asia, Africa and Europe and it would help reduce time and cost.

    “We are endeavoring for judicious development, access to education and health facilities, justice-based governance and for the promotion of tolerance,” Mr Sanjrani said, adding that Pakistan wanted friendly relations with all countries at regional and international levels.

    Peaceful resolution of disputes with neighbouring countries and cooperation in development was imperative for regional development, he said, adding that the APA countries faced similar problems. He warned that extremism was a threat to the region and the world.

    Talking about Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism, Mr Sanjrani said the country had given sacrifices in the war against terror.

    Balochistan Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, federal minister Azam Swati and Senator Shibli Faraz also spoke on the occasion.

    Foreign delegates from different countries, including Thailand, Syria, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and China are participating in the three-day conference.

    Published in Dawn, October 30th , 2018


    Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. — Photo/FileSenate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. — Photo/File

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    KARACHI: “This village is part of Sindh not Balochistan. But it seems that the Sindh government doesn’t own it. Relevant officials have not announced any compensation for the losses fishermen have suffered because of this tragedy.”

    These sentiments were shared by a number of fishermen Dawn spoke with on Monday during a visit to Mubarak village, a coastal neighbourhood whose shoreline was badly affected by a recent oil spill and is currently undergoing a clean-up operation.

    Located some 46 kilometres from Saddar, the coastal locality is very much part of Karachi’s District West and Keamari Town.

    “There has been no visit by fisheries department officials, the district council chairman, area MPA or even Fishermen Cooperative Society officials, which receives five per cent commission from fishermen on each catch,” said Khuda Bakhsh, an old resident of the village.

    Demand that they be compensated for their losses and people behind the oil spill be punished

    He also criticised the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) which, he said, should have deputed its staff at the site.

    “While Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency officials have visited the beach thrice, apart from the Hub assistant commissioner, since the spill occurred, we haven’t seen Sepa staff here,” he said.

    Fishermen, though appreciative of the clean-up operation, demanded that an independent investigation be held into the incident and responsibility be fixed for the oil spill.

    “We demand that people behind the incident be arrested and fishermen be compensated for their losses,” said Sarfaraz, the area councillor.

    According to him, most villagers are dependent on fishing and can no longer earn their livelihood because their fishing nets had been ruined by the oily sludge and that fish rates had fallen following the incident.

    ‘Messy’ clean-up

    Oil sludge deposits being loaded onto a truck.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
    Oil sludge deposits being loaded onto a truck.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

    Towards the shoreline, one could see two groups engaged in cleaning the beach; the rocky side was being taken care of by Pakistan Navy personnel, all in safety gear, while on the opposite side a number of villagers were seen collecting deposits of oil sludge without properly protecting themselves from the sticky substance.

    Their clothes and bodies were covered with black oily stains. Apparently, there was no coordination between the two groups.

    Upon inquiry, they said that they had been engaged by Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BPPL) to clean the beach.

    “They have registered our names and each of us would be paid Rs2,000 for the job,” Sabir, a young villager, told Dawn.

    Asked how they would get rid of the stains, they said that they would “use petrol and diesel to wash away oil from their bodies”.

    When concerns relating to safety were raised with Rehan Sajjad, a BPPL official present at the site, he said: “Your concerns are genuine and these will be addressed tomorrow [Tuesday] when we resume our work. Actually, it’s our first day and I didn’t have any idea about the nature of the problem here.”

    He conceded that villagers should have been trained and educated about handling oil sludge before getting them involved in the operation.

    However, he added, the company was under no legal obligation to carry out beach cleaning and was doing so under its corporate social responsibilities.

    When similar concerns were raised with Commander Rao Abid of Pakistan Navy, heading the beach clean-up operation at the site, he said that the company should have provided protective gear to the villagers and that he would play his part in that regard.

    On beach cleaning exercise, he said the third phase had started on Monday and a major part of the oil slick had been removed, both manually and mechanically. The removed sludge was being taken away for disposal by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation for incineration.

    “A major challenge has been to remove hard oil traces from the rocks as it’s tough to prevent removed content going back into the sea with high tide. But I think we have managed to overcome this to a great extent,” he said, adding that the operation was likely to be completed later in the day.

    Answering a question about equipment assistance PN sought from some oil companies to remove oil traces, he said it was not the PN’s job to maintain an inventory for oil spills. Oil importing and exporting companies all over the world were required to maintain such equipment and train staff to meet such an emergency.

    According to him, the Sonehri beach has not been affected by oil spill, Bhit Khori has been cleared while an inspection of Manjhar Goth would be carried out.

    Apart from lack of coordination, one serious gap highlighted during this exercise was the fact that though companies provided their equipment for containing and removing oil sludge to the navy, they did not have trained manpower to use those machines.

    The source of the oil spill reported last Thursday has not yet been determined and an inquiry into the incident is pending.

    Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2018


    Navy personnel scratching away hard oil traces from rocks —Fahim Siddiqi / White StarNavy personnel scratching away hard oil traces from rocks —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

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