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    LAHORE: Scores of lawyers hailing from Gujran-wala, Faisalabad, Sargodha and other divisions staged a demonstration; first outside the courtroom of the Lahore High Court chief justice and later outside the Punjab Assembly demanding creation of new benches of the high court in their respective divisions.

    The charged lawyers, holding placards and banners, marched towards the LHC chief justice’s courtroom despite being stopped by the police personnel on duty.

    They chanted slogans for establishment of high court’s regional benches and also threatened to lock down the district courts in their respective divisions on Nov 14 if the demand was not met.

    The lawyers claimed the creation of new benches was their fundamental right.

    Later, they marched on The Mall and gathered outside the Punjab Assembly to register their protest. They also torched tyres and kept the road blocked almost for an hour. Some of the lawyers also protested outside the Governor House.

    A full court comprising all the LHC judges had in 2016 resolved that there was no need to create more permanent regional benches. Headed by the then chief justice, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, now a judge of the Supreme Court, had held a three-day session to deliberate upon the question of establishing more benches in five divisions of Punjab.

    “After extensive deliberations the full court ruled that the demand for establishing new additional benches of the Lahore High Court cannot be acceded to,” the decision of the full court had maintained.

    The LHCBA had welcomed the decision.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    Lawyers protest outside the Punjab Assembly demanding creation of new benches of the high court in their respective divisions, while a man throws used tyres on the road from a mini-bus which these lawyers had reportedly brought with them for burning. — White Star / Aun JafriLawyers protest outside the Punjab Assembly demanding creation of new benches of the high court in their respective divisions, while a man throws used tyres on the road from a mini-bus which these lawyers had reportedly brought with them for burning. — White Star / Aun Jafri

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    LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency, Punjab, claimed on Wednesday to have arrested 15 suspects [this week] in connection with the online bank fraud in which ‘impostors’ allegedly deprived people of millions of rupees. Some of the victims include well-educated people.

    “We have a case with us in which a retired army officer has been defrauded by an imposter who obtained his bank details (pin-code of credit/debit card) introducing himself as a Subedar (a non-commissioned army man) and deprived him of his money (in the bank),” FIA Punjab Additional Director (banking/cyber crime) Hammad Raza Qureshi told Dawn on Wednesday.

    “I asked the retired army officer how come you being a well-aware person provided your bank details to the impostor,” he said.

    In another case, Mr Qureshi said a professor deposited Rs1.2 million with the account of a ‘fraudster’ who offered her an online job in the United States. “We are surprised as to how are the educated persons falling prey to these online frauds.”

    “The online banking fraud is on the rise and both educated and illiterate persons are its victims,” Mr Qureshi said, adding the FIA Punjab has arrested this week 13 suspects of banking fraud from Sargodha and Chiniot.

    “We are working on various complaints but we want that the people should not provide any [bank] information to any one even someone introducing himself/herself as a bank official,” he said.

    Mr Qureshi said the people should not respond to telephone calls from imposters that they had won a cash prize or a car under Benazir Income Support Programme or else. “In most of the cases the FIA ends up finding fake IDs of the SIMs used for such calls. Awareness can be an effective tool to save oneself from such online frauds,” the FIA officer said.

    FIA Cyber Crime Incharge (Gujranwala) Asif Iqbal told Dawn that there had been a phenomenal increase in the number of online bank fraud complaints.

    “We have arrested two suspects in Hafizabad for depriving as many people of Rs500,000 after obtaining the code of their credit cards,” Mr Iqbal said, adding that FIA had been working on other complaints and would soon make more arrests in this regard.

    “Compared to 2017, this year there has been a manifold increase in online banking fraud and the people needs to be cautious about this,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    FIA claim to have arrested 15 suspects [this week] in connection with the online bank fraud.— Reuters/FileFIA claim to have arrested 15 suspects [this week] in connection with the online bank fraud.— Reuters/File

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    LAHORE: The Punjab chief secretary has conveyed all administrative secretaries to make 54 senior and junior officials under them to respond to NAB direction of depositing millions of rupees they had received as higher salaries in authorities or public companies during the Shehbaz Sharif government.

    The 54 include low-income junior officials who had considered “better” salaries in public sector companies and authorities a life-time chance to get something extra for their families. They say whatever they earned was spent on their families, and the requirement to return the money to the government has ruined them.

    Among the senior officials is Mr Ahad Cheema and Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry who have been arrested by NAB in corruption cases.

    Ahad Cheema owes Rs51 million

    A direction issued by the Implementation and Coordination Department on Wednesday asks all administrative secretaries to follow the instructions by NAB regarding the recovery of the higher salaries from the 54 officials under them who had worked in the public sector companies and other bodies.

    A letter sent by NAB to the Punjab chief secretary on the basis of which the direction has been issued is also attached. This letter mentions the names of the officials and the amount outstanding against them.

    The letter says that NAB had in two earlier letters in August and September requested the provincial government to disseminate orders of the Supreme Court among the officers who had volunteered to repay the excessive salaries drawn by them, requiring them to deposit the (extra) amount in the name of NAB chairman within three months from the date of court’s orders without fail.

    But, the letter says, none of these officials have deposited any amount as yet, requesting the chief secretary to issue a reminder to all these officials, asking them to deposit the excessive salaries before Nov 20 as per the Supreme Court directions.

    The letters say that the list of the officials has been worked out in league with the accountant general’s office.

    The highest amount mentioned by NAB in the list is Rs 51.423 million shown against Mr Ahad Khan Cheema who was the first to be arrested by NAB and who is now on judicial remand. The second highest amount is Rs 28.35 million shown against Mr Waseem Ajmal who was also arrested by NAB for alleged irregularities in the Saaf Pani Company and is on judicial remand.

    They are followed by Nasir Javed (Rs 20.770 million), Mr Mujahid Sher Dil (Rs 20.41 million), Mr Ali Sarfraz Hussain (Rs 19.91 million), Mr Najam Ahmed Shah (Rs 19.300 million), Mr Khalid Majeed (Rs 15,499 million), Dr Sohail Anwar (Rs 12.08 million), Mr Nabeel Javaid (Rs 11.913 million), Mr Akbar Nasir Khan (Rs 10.59 million) and Capt (retired) Muhammad Usman (Rs 9.10 million).

    Others include Muhammad Ali Ammer (Rs 5.58 million), Muhammad Zulqarnain (Rs 3.912 million), Dr Nadeem Suhail (Rs 1.39 million), Jawad Ahmed Qureshi (Rs 6.316 million), Rafaqat Ali Bhangoo (Rs 8.193 million), Abdul Razzaq (Rs 9.49 million), Dr Tahir Ali Akber (Rs 6.83 million), Syed Tahir Raza Hamdani (Rs 5 million), Syeda Shabnam Najaf (Rs 6.1 million) and Ayaz Ali Khan (Rs 7.27 million).

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    .— AP/File.— AP/File

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    PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday asked the prime minister and Election Commission of Pakistan to respond to a petition seeking Imran Khan’s disqualification from holding any public office on multiple grounds, including on the failure to mention his alleged daughter in nomination papers for the July 25 general elections.

    Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim fixed Dec 13 for the next hearing into the petition filed by NA-35, Bannu, candidate Inamullah Khan, a leader of the Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party.

    Imran Khan had won the NA-35 seat in the July 25 elections but later vacated it to retain another National Assembly seat also won by him. During the last hearings, the court had sought a reply from the prime minister through the advocate general’s office.

    However, the bench observed on Wednesday that as the premier’s name was mentioned in the petition, a notice should be issued to hm.

    Abdur Rasheed Khan and Hayatullah Khan, counsel for the petitioner, said Imran Khan had concealed important facts in his election nomination papers and therefore, he was not righteous and sagacious in line with articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

    PJDP chief and former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had announced ahead of the elections that his party would challenge the candidature of Imran Khan in all constituencies the PTI had planned to contest election in.

    Lawyer Rasheed Khan said the petitioner had raised important objections but the returning officer of the constituency rejected them and accepted the nomination papers of Imran Khan.

    He added that the petitioner had also filed an appeal with the election appellate tribunal in Bannu but the appeal was turned down prompting him to file the instant petition.

    The lawyer said the petitioner had annexed important documents including judgments of courts in US related to the famous case of Sita White and her daughter, Tyrian White, which proved that the latter was daughter of Imran Khan.

    He alleged that while Mr Khan had not been admitting in Pakistan that Tyrian White was his daughter, he had admitted the fact in foreign countries.

    The lawyer claimed that in the nomination papers, Imran Khan had only mentioned his two sons and not his daughter.

    He said the premier had concealed the properties belonging to his spouse, Bushra Bibi, in the nomination papers.

    The lawyer said the worth of Imran Khan’s Banigala mansion was only mentioned as Rs11.4 million, which was undervalued.

    He added that even at the time of its purchase, the price of that land was around Rs50 million.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    Prime Minister Imran Khan.— AFP/FilePrime Minister Imran Khan.— AFP/File

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    TAXILA: Estranged PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday dispelled the impression that he had left the party.

    “I am still an integral part of the party,” he said while addressing a select group of party workers in Wah.

    He said he had differences with party leadership over some issues but this did not mean that he had left the party.

    Nisar said he had been with the party for the last 35 years and could not even think of harming Nawaz Sharif or PML-N.
    He said had Nawaz Sharif acted on his advice, there would have been a PML-N government in the country today.

    He said he had advised Nawaz Sharif against appearing before the six-member joint investigation team.

    He said he should have avoided a clash with institutions especially the judiciary and military.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    Says he has differences with party leadership over some issues but this doesn't mean that he has left the party.— AP/FileSays he has differences with party leadership over some issues but this doesn't mean that he has left the party.— AP/File

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    KARACHI: The provincial Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has recommended to the Sindh chief secretary for registration of an FIR against former Karachi mayor and Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal and 24 current and former officials of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board for their alleged involvement in illegal allotment of 82 acres of amenity land in Mehmoodabad in 2009.

    The ACE also sought permission from the chief secretary for the arrest of Mr Kamal as well as other suspects.

    Official sources told Dawn that the ACE conducted a probe into the alleged misuse of total 82 acres of land — 49.75 acres belonging to a sewerage treatment plant, known as TP-II, in Mehmoodabad, and subsequent china-cutting on over 33 acres of the land reserved for the S-III project — and concluded that the suspects illegally allotted the land in question for “personal and political gains”.

    The inquiry found that the illegal allotment and china-cutting caused an accumulative loss of around Rs10 billion to the exchequer.

    The ex-Karachi mayor and 24 others illegally allotted amenity land for ‘personal and political gains’

    The final inquiry report named Mr Kamal, then KWSB chief Fazl-ur-Rehman, KMC and KWSB officials including Tariq Naseer, Najam-uz-Zaman, Syed Zaheer Abbas Zaidi, Saif Abbas, Mohammad Nadeem, Alley Ahmed Naqvi, Mohsin Ansari, Tahir Naseer, Zulfiqar Ali, Muneer Ahmed Abbasi, Zubair Khan Jakhrani, Qaiser Ali, Abdul Malik, Shamsuddin, Nadeem Khan, Syed Adil Ali, Badar-ud-ddin, Zubair Khan, Sikandar Ali Qureshi, Zamir Hussain, Tufail Ahmed, Jugdesh Kumar.

    The Anti-Corruption Commi­ttee-I is headed by the chief secretary and the ACE could not lodge an FIR and cause any arrest without his approval.

    The sources said the chief secretary might take up the final inquiry report in a week for further action.

    Probe conducted on SC orders

    The sources said the ACE recorded statements of 33 persons and retrieved the documentary evidence containing 2,700 pages during the course of the inquiry.

    They said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the water commission had authorised the Sindh government to conduct the inquiry into the alleged illegal usurpation of 82 acres of land.

    In its findings, the report stated that it had been established beyond a reasonable doubt that 49.75 acres of the land controlled by the KWSB was amenity land reserved for the TP-II project in Mehmoodabad.

    There was no rule or law enabling the suspects to transfer or allot the amenity land for residential and commercial purpose, the report said.

    “In total, 82 acres of the amenity land had been illegally usurped,” the report stated, adding: “Despite the stay order of the high court and restriction by the then chief minister, the accused persons managed illegal resettlement, whimsically. It’s a clear case of misuse of property to the benefit of accused and their handpicked beneficiaries.”

    The acts of commission and omission by accused persons completely led to cause a delay in functioning of the TP-II project and Greater Karachi S-III project resulting into jacking up of revised price posing a burden of Rs5bn as revised cost. Besides, the delays also led to increasing ecological and environmental trouble for Karachi at large, the report stated.

    Over 49 acres allotted to Preedy Street affectees

    The report stated that the TP-II was established in 1980 in Mehmoodabad and handed over to the KWSB in 1983.

    At present, 49.2 acres had been allotted/leased by the KMC to the so-called affectees of the Corridor-III, Lines Area project, through illegal encroachment.

    It stated that on Dec 26, 2008 the then KWSB chief Fazl-ur-Rehman sent a note to the board’s chairman/city nazim Mustafa Kamal in which he proposed over 49.25 acres of the land to the then City District Government Karachi for utilisation of the same for 1,459 affectees of Preedy Street (Lines Area).

    Mr Kamal approved the proposal and the said portion of land was handed over by the KWSB to the CDGK on Feb 9, 2009, it added.

    The report stated that at the time of such process of allotment of plots to the affectees of the Lines Area project, citizens of Karachi, including Ardeshir Cowasjee had filed a lawsuit in the Sindh High Court regarding the illegal allotment of the amenity land of the TP-II.

    It also mentioned that at the time of filing of the lawsuit in the SHC the petitioners had submitted/attached certain documents (site sketch of the land) which indicate that 132 acres of land was reserved for amenity purposes (treatment plant). There was no encroachment at that time and at some portion some installations and ponds were available, while the rest of the land, approximately 100 acres, was reserved for future extension, it added.

    The report mentioned that it further transpired that on Nov 22, 2008 an application was sent to the Sindh CM, mentioning that the CDGK was going to allot the amenity land reserved for TP-II to persons of own choice. It said the CM stated: “Pl. Ensure that no encroachment takes place on amenity plot and report.” The same was sent to the chief secretary, but the “ex-Nazim did not consider it too,” and the accused persons acted in disregard of the laws, the report stated.

    The inquiry report concluded that by no rule or law the amenity land could be allotted/transferred to any other functionary whatsoever and there were a number of judgements passed by superior judiciary in this regard while the principle of the change of the amenity land was well-settled.

    The report stated that the law of land acquisition for the public interest provided for compensation to the displaced persons, but not adjustment through free-of-cost plots as an alternative arrangement. “However, they were chosen to be compensated with plot against plot by the accused Mustafa Kamal, the Nazim, Javed Hanif, the then DCO [district coordination officer].

    Meanwhile, during the course of inquiry, the ACE summoned Mr Kamal.

    He had told the ACE that he had allotted in good intentions around 49 acres to the affectees of Lines Area project, who were displaced due to the construction of Preedy Street, better known as Corridor-III, for their resettlement. He said that the then City Council had also adopted a resolution in this regard.

    He stated that the plots in question were given temporary lease and the present government could cancel the allotment.

    He made it clear that he had no link and was not responsible at all for whatever china-cutting took place on KMC land.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    The ACE also sought permission from the chief secretary for the arrest of Mr Kamal as well as other suspects. — Reuters/FileThe ACE also sought permission from the chief secretary for the arrest of Mr Kamal as well as other suspects. — Reuters/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will chair a meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) parliamentary party at the Parliament House and attend the National Assembly session on Thursday.

    According to a source close to the prime minister, Mr Khan will take the lower house of parliament into confidence on his recent visits to China and Saudi Arabia. He will also apprise his party members of the current economic situation in the country and the government’s efforts to overcome the crisis.

    The prime minister is attending the NA session after the opposition urged him on Wednesday to come to the parliament and inform the nation under which conditions he obtained bailout packages from Saudi Arabia and China.

    On Wednesday, the prime minister held a series of meetings, including the one with parliamentarians from tribal districts, and assured them of resolving issues being faced by the people of their areas.

    Mr Khan also met members of the National Assembly Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir. Both were previously associated with the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement.

    The prime minister also met MNAs from Swabi, Mardan, Naushehra, Charsadda and Peshawar and sough details of development projects in their areas.

    He would the lawmakers that problems of their areas will be solved on priority basis. He said the government had inherited multiple problems, including economic crisis, unemployment, poverty, water shortage, poor tax collection system and corruption, but hoped that the PTI government would rid the country of all these crises. “After six months the situation will be under control.”

    The prime minister said the PTI government had set a new example to review the performance of all ministers, adding that without noticing the false propaganda of the opposition, the government was committed to fulfilling its promises made to the nation.

    Mr Khan also presided over a meeting on poverty alleviation and directed the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to control stunted growth in children.

    He was informed that most of the complaints of stunted growth were coming from tribal areas and Balochistan.

    The prime minister stressed the need for using the local government system to provide monetary assistance to the poor and needy people.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    ISLAMABAD: Members of National Assembly Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM Office on Wednesday.—APPISLAMABAD: Members of National Assembly Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM Office on Wednesday.—APP

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    ISLAMABAD: Inspector General of the Balochistan Frontier Corps Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum informed a Senate panel on Wednesday that enemies of Pakistan planned to raise the level of violence in the province to force the United Nations to intervene and declare it an independent state.

    During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, he said that Balochistan had become a battleground for a global game.

    “Things are being manipulated just like in Libya and Yemen. In the past, unrest was created in some areas of Balochistan, but it is the first time that efforts are being made to create unrest across the province. However, our success is that the people are rejecting the conspiracy,” he said.

    Minister says collective efforts needed to strengthen institutions, law enforcement agencies

    While sharing the history of the province before creation of Pakistan, Maj Gen Anjum said the Quaid-i-Azam spoke about the issues of Balochistan, but Britishers told him that Balochistan was an ordinary tehsil of Uttar Pradesh.

    He said that the FC was ensuring security of all the matters from railway tracks to pilgrims. Earlier, only 15,000 pilgrims travelled through Balochis­tan, but now around 150,000 pilgrims were using this route.

    “People have rejected the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Baloch Republican Army, Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front and Lashkar-i-Balochistan. These organisations have failed to engage or attract youths and the militant Islamic State group does not have its footprint in the province. In just one year weapons worth Rs3 billion have been seized,” he said.

    “There are thousands of success stories in Balochistan, but media only shows bomb blasts and terrorism. When people of the province hold rallies in favour of Pakistan, media highlights the stories regarding donkeys. On the other hand, the foreign media use Bollywood and Hollywood movies and claim that it is going on in Balochistan,” he claimed.

    Maj Gen Anjum said that besides maintaining law and order in Balochistan, the FC was running nearly 100 schools from its own resources and providing free healthcare to the people. He said that soldiers were protecting and shielding the national assets just because of their love for the country.

    “The FC has set up 77 schools in Balochistan in which 24,500 students are studying and built 12 hostels for poor children. We have built more than 60 medical centres which treat 260,000 patients annually,” he said.

    Minister of State for Interior Sheheryar Afridi said that practical and collective efforts were needed to be taken to strengthen institutions and law enforcement agencies.

    The committee’s chairman, Rehman Malik, said the nation stood by the Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism and anti-state elements. The Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), in collaboration with the Afghan intelligence agency was carrying out terrorist activities in Balochistan, he alleged.

    He said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself admitted to his government’s involvement in Balochistan.

    The committee called for strengthening the FC by increasing its budget and fully equipping it with modern gadgets and a helicopter.

    Mr Malik asked for a separate housing scheme for the Balochistan FC, particularly for the families of martyrs.

    He informed the committee that he had taken notice of hacking of banking data of the customers and directed the interior ministry, State Bank of Pakistan and Federal Investigation Agency to submit their reports on the matter within 10 days.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    Pakistani Army soldiers arrive at the Balochistan Police Training College in Quetta when it was attacked by terrorists in 2016. -AFP/FilePakistani Army soldiers arrive at the Balochistan Police Training College in Quetta when it was attacked by terrorists in 2016. -AFP/File

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    RAWALPINDI: After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Aasia Bibi was brought to Islamabad onboard a special aircraft on Wednesday night, Dawn learnt through reliable sources.

    The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base.

    Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons.

    Authorities concerned were also tightlipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the country.

    On Tuesday, Italy stated it would help Aasia leave Pakistan because her life was in danger in the country following charges of blasphemy that put her on death row for eight years.

    Her husband Ashiq Masih has reportedly stated that they could be killed by those opposing her acquittal. The authorities previously said they may bar the Christian woman from travelling abroad as a review petition against her acquittal had already been filed.

    Earlier, the international Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) had quoted Ashiq Masih as saying in a telephone call: “I appeal to the Italian government to help me and my family leave Pakistan. We are extremely worried because our lives are in danger. We don’t even have enough to eat because we can’t go out to buy food.”

    Aasia’s case has prompted groups such as ACN, which has close ties to the Vatican, to demand protection for Christians in countries where they are a minority.

    Soon after the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) blocked roads in major cities of the country for three days, condemning the judges who had acquitted Aasia Bibi, the prime minister and the army chief.

    The TLP called off the protests after striking a deal with the government under which it could bar Aasia from leaving the country.

    Aasia’s lawyer Saiful Mulook fled to the Netherlands a couple of days ago because of fears for his safety.

    In a message sent to AFP soon after she was freed, Mr Mulook said: “I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land.”

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    Aasia Bibi was acquitted by SC last week. — File photoAasia Bibi was acquitted by SC last week. — File photo

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday informed the federal cabinet that his maiden official visit to China was "more successful than expected" and that the host country has "assured every kind of assistance to Pakistan".

    The prime minister, while briefing the cabinet, said that for the first time in the history of Pak-China bilateral relationship, the latter assured the former its full support in the agriculture sector.

    During the meeting, the premier also approved a summary empowering the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to issue a tax directory. The FBR will publish a separate tax directory for members of the parliament.

    Furthermore, the federal cabinet approved the appointment of Rizwan Memon as chairman of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, and sanctioned the issuance of a license to Liberty Air Ltd.

    On the recommendations of the ministry of interior, the cabinet also gave its approval to take several individuals into protective custody.

    A variety of international agreements were also given the green light, chiefly among which were exchange-of-prisoners treaties with England and Ireland.


    Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the federal cabinet at the PM Office. — APP/FilePrime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the federal cabinet at the PM Office. — APP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday that a large quantity of smuggled Direct-To-Home (DTH) equipment worth Rs78.3 million was seized from various markets in a countrywide crackdown against illegal devices.

    A two-judge bench headed by Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan was also told that 30 FIRs had been lodged during the crackdown and 39 people arrested by the Customs Department and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

    As a result of the nationwide enforcement operations, the commercial sale and availability of smuggled DTH equipment in the local markets had almost ended, said a report furnished before the apex court through Additional Attorney General Nayyar Abbas Rizvi.

    30 FIRs have been lodged and 39 suspects arrested, SC told

    The report was submitted in line with a suo motu case relating to easy availability of Indian DTH or magic box in the Pakistani markets. The DTH Satellite TV is the latest technology to deliver digital TV to households.

    At the last hearing, the apex court had constituted a committee consisting of member (customs), the FIA’s additional director general and a member of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to find out the source of smuggled goods and to take steps to curb the smuggling.

    The report suggested that the customs authorities have been ordered to maintain vigilance on the markets along with sustained enforcement operations to deter the individuals from re-engaging in open sale or distribution of such equipment.

    The report recalled that the Federal Board of Revenue has also enhanced enforcement measures adopted by the customs field formations which resulted in seizures of goods and other contraband items, including DTH equipment worth Rs24.8 billion during 2017-18.

    In view of the crackdown, the report said, members of the Business Association, Hall Road, Lahore, had assured the government teams that illegal DTH equipment will not be stored or sold in future.

    But the report conceded that mere enforcement measures would not be sufficient to completely root out the transportation or availability of DTH equipment used for illegal broadcasting of Indian content in the country. Therefore, a holistic strategy needs to be worked out by all agencies/regulators to address this issue.

    Thus the committee proposed measures like Pemra’s suggestion to grant concessions from duty or taxes for the import of equipment and other accessories to successful bidders in the awarding of DTH licences – a process which is in progress and likely to be completed soon.

    In the absence of local DTH, the subscribers were opting for other illegal means, which include Indian DTH services, the report feared.

    The FIA authorities have also stepped up efforts to dismantle the modalities through which money charged from the subscribers in Pakistan is being siphoned out to India via the UAE. Pemra has been encouraged to share the mobile numbers of the persons involved in the illegal business of DTH-C-Line, including provision of equipment and recharge of accounts, the report said, adding that after the receipt of this information all the FIA field circles engaged in the anti-money laundering investigations will hold inquiries to retrieve more evidence for the registration of cases, arrest of accused persons and for their prosecution, etc.

    Pemra has also suggested a technological solution which can effectively disrupt the reception and rebroadcast of Indian content using smuggled DTH equipment or those imported through regular channels after modifications by the local vendors.

    But the proposal required support of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for blocking the internet protocols addresses of the websites which were either running the illegal C-Line/CC-CAM or advertising the illegal Indian DTH in Pakistan, the report said.

    It also suggested engaging Frontier Corps through the interior ministry for keeping strict vigilance on borders and to check flow of such equipment into the country.

    Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018


    30 FIRs have been lodged and 39 suspects arrested in crackdown against DTH equipment sales, SC told.30 FIRs have been lodged and 39 suspects arrested in crackdown against DTH equipment sales, SC told.

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday declared the appointment and monetary benefits bestowed upon Attaul Haq Qasmi, the former chairperson and managing director of Pakistan Television (PTV), as illegal.

    In a short order read out by Justice Umar Atta Bandial, the court held former ministers Pervez Rashid and Ishaq Dar as well as former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad responsible for Qasmi's appointment and the financial benefits he had received.

    The court declared Qasmi as a "beneficiary of illegal acts". Rashid and Dar are guilty of "[ignoring] the law and disregarded their duty to confer benefits on Mr. Qasmi", while Fawad is guilty of his "failure to act with due diligence in processing the summary for appointment of the Director of PTV from a person-specific recommendation as opposed to a panel of three names as required by the Esta Code".

    The court estimated that PTV had suffered a loss of Rs197,867,491 and ordered that the sum be recovered from the guilty in the following ratio:

    • Qasmi: 50 per cent
    • Rashid: 20 per cent
    • Dar: 20 per cent
    • Fawad: 10 per cent

    A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had heard the suo motu case and reserved its verdict earlier this year.

    In its detailed order, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the top court pointed out the "irregularities/illegalities" in Qasmi's appointment as managing director as well as the chairman of the state broadcaster.

    "Summaries were moved for relaxation of the upper-age limit of 65 years for such appointment and for the approval of a handsome salary package of Rs.1,500,000/- in addition to other perks," the verdict said.

    The bench also noted that a "sum of Rs284,163,733 was paid to [Qasmi for] expenses incurred by him or on his behalf".

    The verdict further said that PTV is a public sector entity, therefore, Qasmi's appointment and the perks granted to him were open for scrutiny "particularly considering the seemingly arbitrary manner in which he was appointed, despite being overage".

    The court order held Qasmi responsible for PTV's "sharp decline both financially and in its reputation" because he lacked the "skill and experience of running a company".

    The detailed verdict mentioned that during the course of the case, the attorney general had informed the court that the PTV chairperson is elected by its board and that the government or the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage (MOIBNH) has no role in the decision.

    However, Qasmi's counsel had argued that the appointment of Qasmi was made on the recommendation of the federal government that "exercised its discretion that it thought fit at the relevant time and this court has no jurisdiction to interfere with such discretion/decision making power".

    The verdict acknowledged that under Article 83 of the Articles of Association of PTV, government has the authority to nominate directors to the board — as pointed out by Qasmi's lawyer — but deemed the argument irrelevant as it refers to the appointment of directors and not the chair.

    The bench also questioned the grounds of Qasmi's appointment, saying that in order to run an entity like PTV, "business management skills and experience of running a big company are the basic requirements for an MD/chairman", remarking that these requirements were not considered by the government.

    Furthermore, the verdict noted that the summary of the terms and conditions of Qasmi's appointment, that was sent to the prime minister by the MOIBNH, mentioned that the former chairperson's monthly salary of Rs1,500,000 was "slightly higher" than that of his predecessor, Muhammad Malick who received Rs1,380,000.

    Qasmi had ignited controversy in April 2017 when he appointed himself PTV MD while also remaining the chairman of the state-run broadcaster.

    Five days later, under immense pressure, he was replaced by then information secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, who was appointed as acting MD at the time.

    The two had developed differences, which led Qasmi to resign in December last year saying that it had become "increasingly difficult... to work for the restoration of [the] past glory of PTV".


    Attaul Haq Qasmi ignited controversy in April 2017 when he appointed himself PTV MD. — File photoAttaul Haq Qasmi ignited controversy in April 2017 when he appointed himself PTV MD. — File photo

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    A sessions court in Lahore on Thursday fixed for hearing a petition against police officials for their failure to register a case against Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) head Ashraf Jalali and others for threatening the top judiciary and inciting the armed forces to stage a mutiny in the aftermath of Aasia Bibi's acquittal.

    Filed by citizen Abdullah Malik, the petition states that the station house officer (SHO) of Civil Lines police station in Lahore had failed to file a first information report (FIR) against the aforementioned leaders of religiopolitical parties.

    "The local police is reluctant to take action against the accused [due to] their presence in the ruling class and having direct contacts with the police and others," the petitioner said.

    A copy of the application to lodge an FIR, dated November 1 and addressed to the Civil Lines SHO, states that TLP leaders had threatened the judges of the Supreme Court, passed an edict to murder the country's Constitutional prime minister and incited their party workers to spark riots.

    The petitioner prayed to the court to pass orders to ensure legal action is taken against the TLP leaders as well as police officials, if the latter are reluctant to register a criminal case against the former.

    Additional Sessions Judge Mohammad Ahmed Khan Kharal accepted the petition today and directed Civil Lines SHO to furnish his report on November 14.


    Khadim Hussain Rizvi is one of the TLP leaders accused of threatening the judiciary. — FileKhadim Hussain Rizvi is one of the TLP leaders accused of threatening the judiciary. — File

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    A teenaged schoolgirl consumed rat poison in an Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) village on Thursday, less than 36 hours after she was allegedly raped by her teacher.

    The girl is out of danger at a hospital and the suspect has been arrested, police said.

    The 15-year-old victim, a resident of Karela Payin village of Kotli district’s Nakyal subdivision, was assaulted after 11pm on Tuesday night when her penurious parents were away from home to visit a relative in Lahore, Nakyal police station house officer (SHO) Faisal Siddique told Dawn by telephone.

    Quoting from an application lodged by the victim’s father at on Thursday morning, the SHO said the girl studied in eighth grade in a state-run middle school of the area where the suspect served as a contractual teacher.

    The 25-year-old suspect would off and on take the girl to his home for tuition and guidance, etc., “but we did not consider it unusual in view of his status as a teacher and spiritual father”, the victim's father told the police.

    On Tuesday, when the complainant and his spouse were in Lahore, the teacher rode the victim on his bike to his shop, located near his house, and raped her there, the SHO said.

    He dropped her back home at about 2am on Wednesday, he added.

    Upon returning home, the victim did not tell anything about her ordeal to her aunt, who was staying with the family, according to the SHO.

    The girl's father said when he and his wife returned home on Wednesday evening, they inquired about their daughter's absence from home for some time the previous night.

    “She was nervous and scared… and on my exhortation she narrated the ordeal she had gone through at the hands of the teacher,” the complainant said, adding that they had decided then to refer the matter to the police.

    However, at about 8am on Thursday morning, the victim consumed rat poison, apparently out of shame and fear, and was rushed to Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital Nakyal, he said.

    SHO Faisal told Dawn that according to the provisional medical report submitted by a female medical officer at THQ Hospital, the “occurrence of sexual intercourse had been proved.”

    “The victim was not in a good condition when her initial statement was recorded by police at the hospital, wherein she said she trusted her teacher and did not have any idea that he would resort to such a shameful act,” the official said, adding that a detailed statement would be recorded after her condition improves.

    According to the SHO, the suspect was apprehended from his home in the evening.

    The victim was shifted to DHQ Hospital Kotli earlier in the day and her condition was said to be stable.

    Police have registered a case under Section 375 of the Azad Penal Code (APC) and Sections 5 and 10 of the Zina (Enforcement of Hadood) Act, 1985 against the teacher for committing rape and under Section 325 (attempt to commit suicide) of APC against the victim for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to herself, the SHO said.

    Since the beginning of 2018, there has been a marked upsurge in the reporting of sexual abuse cases across Pakistan. The brutal rape and murder of Zainab Ansari in Kasur earlier this year in particular shocked the entire country, with #JusticeforZainab becoming the rallying cry in a nationwide drive to end violence against children.


    A provisional medical report has confirmed that the victim was sexually assaulted. — AP/FileA provisional medical report has confirmed that the victim was sexually assaulted. — AP/File

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    The Task Force on Civil Law Reforms on Thursday announced that it has devised a policy to reform the Code of Civil Procedure in order to bring it in line with present day issues.

    The task force submitted a report in this regard to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Law and Justice Division saying it seeks to provide "fair, substantial, inexpensive and speedy justice".

    The report stated that a core team focused on the task of civil law reforms had been created based on the recommendations of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem.

    This team has already started the process of drafting amendments to the Code in line with the government's policy.

    The report also added that the law minister had recommended taking into consideration recommendations made by senior lawyer Zafar Iqbal Kalanuri in a detailed presentation in which the latter had outlined issues affecting the civil justice system as well as proposed solutions to them.

    These recommendations included the need for effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods.

    The task force created on Sept 12 has also listed its terms of reference (ToR), which include: the speedy and effective disposal of cases; ensuring fair trial; possibilities for an effective ADR; reduction of incompetence and corruption; amendment of archaic substantive and procedural civil laws; adjudication according to accepted judicial and statutory principles of law; expansion of the judiciary with respect to the number of judges; provision of even-handed justice; and a complete overhaul of the civil justice system, including the laws of evidence.


    The report submitted in the Supreme Court by the Law and Justice Division added that this was in order to provide The report submitted in the Supreme Court by the Law and Justice Division added that this was in order to provide "fair, substantial, inexpensive and speedy justice". — supremecourt.gov.pk/File

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    Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday denied reports that Aasia Bibi had left Pakistan, saying the recently acquitted Christian woman was still in the country.

    "There is no truth in reports of her leaving the country — it is fake news," Dr Faisal told DawnNewsTV. Aasia Bibi was released from Multan jail last night — a little over a week after the Supreme Court overturned her conviction and death sentence.

    Shortly after the FO's clarification, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry called out the "irresponsible" behaviour of some media outlets for running the news of Aasia Bibi allegedly leaving the country without "confirmation".

    "It has become a norm to publish fake news for sake of headlines," Chaudhry said on Twitter. "#AsiaBibi case is sensitive issue; it was extremely irresponsible to publish news of her leaving the country without confirmation. I strongly urge section of media to act responsible."

    The statements by FO and Chaudhry come on the heels of news reports from a day earlier which stated that Aasia Bibi had left Multan’s women prison and was being flown to an "unknown destination". This particular quote, attributed to Aasia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Malook, led to speculation that she had left the country.

    However, reliable sources on Wednesday night had confirmed to Dawn that Aasia Bibi was brought to Islamabad onboard a special aircraft.

    The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base, said sources. From there, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities are keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons.

    Aasia Bibi's acquittal had sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) is expected to hold a 'million march' in Karachi against the Supreme Court's verdict today.

    Dr Faisal, during a press briefing at noon on Thursday, reiterated that Aasia Bibi was in Pakistan and "in a safe place". "The media should verify such news [before running it]."

    "Aasia Bibi is a free citizen. After the court's verdict, she can go wherever she wants. There is no restriction on the mobility of a free citizen," said Dr Faisal, adding that only the interior ministry or the law could specify if legally her name could be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

    Concern for Aasia's safety

    On Tuesday, Italy stated it would help Aasia leave Pakistan because her life was in danger in the country following charges of blasphemy that put her on death row for eight years.

    Her husband Ashiq Masih has reportedly stated that they could be killed by those opposing her acquittal.

    Earlier, the international Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) had quoted Ashiq Masih as saying in a telephone call: “I appeal to the Italian government to help me and my family leave Pakistan. We are extremely worried because our lives are in danger. We don’t even have enough to eat because we can’t go out to buy food.”

    Aasia’s case has prompted groups such as ACN, which has close ties to the Vatican, to demand protection for Christians in countries where they are a minority.

    Protests following acquittal

    Soon after the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) blocked roads in major cities of the country for three days, condemning the judges who had acquitted Aasia Bibi, the prime minister and the army chief.

    The TLP had called off the protests after striking a deal with the government. Under the five-point agreement, the government said it would not object to the review petition filed against the acquittal of the Christian woman and would "initiate a legal process" to place her name on the ECL.

    Read: TLP ends protest after deal with government

    The agreement was signed by Minister for Religious Affairs Sahibzada Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja, TLP patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri and its central Nazim-i-Aala Waheed Anwar.

    On Tuesday, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the losses caused by the riots that broke out during the protests.

    The CJP directed the federal and the provincial governments to submit reports within three days on the losses and steps taken to compensate victims of these riots.

    'Netherlands offer shelter to Aasia Bibi's lawyer'

    Stef Blok, the Netherlands' minister of foreign affairs, said that the Dutch have offered Malook "a place in the Shelter City program in the Netherlands for human rights defenders at risk".

    The minister, in a tweet, further said that the Netherlands is closely monitoring "the situation of Aasia Bibi".


    In this file photo, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal addresses a press briefing.In this file photo, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal addresses a press briefing.

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    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday that the government wishes to see a decline in the "difficulties" faced by Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently imprisoned in the United States.

    Speaking to reporters in Multan, he said the Foreign Office had taken up complaints raised by Dr Aafia with US authorities during the last few days.

    Dr Aafia, who was convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder and assault of US personnel, is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a US federal prison for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs.

    "We will definitely try," was Qureshi's response when asked by a reporter how successful the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government would be in bringing the imprisoned neuroscientist to Pakistan.

    The minister said Aafia's sister, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, had wanted to meet him and she was given a date for the purpose. However, the meeting could not take place due to her personal engagements.

    "I will [now] meet her next week and hear her out. I will help her in whatever way I can within the limits of the law," Qureshi said.

    The Foreign Office had revealed on Wednesday that Pakistani officials had raised the issue of "respecting the human and legal rights" of Dr Aafia with the US.

    The matter was brought up during a meeting between Alice Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and government officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier this week.

    "[The] US side has promised to look into our request," the FO spokesman said.

    A court in New York had sentenced Dr Aafia, an MIT graduate, to 86 years in prison on September 23, 2010.

    Her sympathisers claim that she was arrested in Pakistan and handed over to intelligence agencies who then transferred her into US custody. Both US and Pakistani officials, however, say that she was arrested in Afghanistan.

    Dr Aafia allegedly went missing for five years before she was discovered in Afghanistan. It is said that she snatched a gun during interrogation in Ghazni and tried to shoot a US soldier. She has also been accused of working for Al Qaeda.

    Alice Wells' visit

    Speaking about the visit of Alice Wells to Pakistan, Qureshi said the US diplomat had had "good" meetings with various stakeholders in Islamabad.

    He said the bilateral discussions held between the two sides show that the Pakistan-US relationship has moved beyond just Afghanistan and 'do more'.

    He attributed the "positive" environment for discussions to his meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The subject of bilateral cooperation in energy and other areas was also discussed during the meetings, the minister added.

    'Political consensus needed for separate province'

    Asked for an update on the government's efforts to create a new province comprising the southern part of Punjab, the foreign minister said the issue required legislation, a constitutional amendment and political consensus.

    The government is trying to move forward on all three fronts, and two committees have been formed for the purpose, he said.

    Qureshi said the Balochistan chief minister had promised him a "positive response" on the issue. The PPP has already said it would not object to the issue and while the PML-N "does not apparently oppose" the new province, there is a need for talks with the party to know its actual preferences, he added.

    The PTI had included the formation of a new province in south Punjab to their election manifesto in May this year while absorbing a political party calling itself the Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM; the South Punjab Province Front).

    The JPSM mainly comprised estranged leaders of the PML-N who had formed the platform for the single-point agenda of carving a new province from the southern parts of Punjab.

    Under the PTI-JPSM deal, the PTI was to set in motion the procedures to create a new province in south Punjab within 100 days if it formed the government.

    According to Article 239 of the Constitution, the process of creating new provinces requires a two-thirds majority in separate votes in the two houses of parliament and then a further two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly of the affected province.


    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks to reporters in Multan on Thursday. — DawnNewsTVForeign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks to reporters in Multan on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

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    PPP-Parliamentarians President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday suggested that while "he cannot say whether a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) agreement has been struck between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PML-N, an NRO deal has definitely been reached between the federal government and the maulvis".

    The former president made these remarks while talking to media representatives in Khairpur. Referring to the recently appointed PTI government which according to him "is still in its infancy", Zardari said: "An under-14 team is playing and it still remains to be seen what happens and what doesn't".

    He further claimed that "just like the Nawaz government had come into power after striking a deal [with the powers that be], so has Imran Khan".

    Zardari was of the view that the PTI government's attitude in the assembly was still that of the opposition, and said that in his speech on the floor of the house, he had even urged the government to play its role and leave opposition politics to them, "but nothing makes any difference to them".

    Regretting the current state of affairs in Sindh, he said if the federal government would only release funds for the province, there would be no stopping the development and prosperity of the region.

    "The federation only does things for its own benefit," he said, adding that the government "better change its direction and serve the people of Sindh".

    He also criticised the government approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance, saying the people were already deeply steeped in inflation and instead of providing relief, the government was only bombarding them with further expenses.

    The former president remarked that his party had also had issues with the previous (Sharif) government but "remained silent for the sake of democracy because the people's party has given sacrifices for democracy".

    The Sindh government was committed to serving the people of Thar and was working towards the provision of their every basic need, he claimed.


    "Just like the Nawaz govt had come into power after striking a deal [with the powers that be], so has Imran Khan," says Asif Zardari. —Reuters/File

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    Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman announced that the Rabiul Awwal moon was not sighted anywhere across the country on Thursday, therefore, the month of Rabiul Awwal will commence from Saturday, November 10, and Eid-i-Miladun Nabi would fall on November 21.

    The announcement was made after a meeting of the committee presided over by Mufti Muneeb, DawnNewsTV reported. He also prayed for the progress and prosperity of the country and the people of Pakistan.

    Muslims around the world celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), known in Arabic as the Mawlid al-Nabawi holiday, on 12th of Rabiul Awwal — the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar.


    View of an illuminated mosque during celebrations marking Eid Miladun Nabi in karachi. —AFP/FileView of an illuminated mosque during celebrations marking Eid Miladun Nabi in karachi. —AFP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: The lack of safe water and sanitation is costing Pakistan greatly with the economic burden of poor sanitation in the country at Rs1.25 trillion — about Rs6,305 per capita, a new World Bank report says.

    A publication on the ‘State of Water Supply, Sanitation and Poverty in Pakistan and its Impact on Child Stunting” made public on Wednesday, estimated that currently about Rs1,390 per capita is being spent on water and sanitation in Pakistan, which is about one per cent of GDP.

    However, to provide “safely managed” water and sanitation to the underserved, at least Rs393 billion per annum — 1.4pc of GDP — is needed until 2030. This means that in the next twelve years, the country will have to inject at least Rs4.7tr in the water and sanitation sector to make their access universal by 2030.

    The report, titled ‘When Water Becomes a Hazard’ recommended that budget allocations should target areas with the greatest need. Ideally, a formula should be devised and used for the distribution of water and sanitation funds at district and divisional levels and planning should be done for at least a three-year period, with rolling investment plans. Local governments should be involved in identifying and overseeing water and sanitation schemes, in order to ensure both accountability and targeting.

    Districts with high stunting rates should be prioritised for water quality, drainage, and sanitation interventions. Drainage and toilet-related schemes need to be given a separate head and their own budget code. Currently, water and sanitation use the same budget code, making separate budget estimations impossible.

    Officials believe that at least 90pc of sector spending goes to water supply, with less than 10pc allocated to sanitation. Even funds marked for sanitation are often spent on rural roads or other village civil works.

    Water and sanitation is a provincial and local government mandate but the governance structure remains complex, with many overlaps. To reduce that and narrow the coordination gap, there is a need to clearly demarcate the responsibilities of each water and sanitation department by establishing accountability structures to ensure responsiveness to the needs of various constituencies.

    The 18th amendment shifted all responsibilities in the water and sanitation sector from the federal to provincial and local governments. Although the change could increase accountability in the medium run, it weakens the federal role of setting common policy standards across the country.

    Moreover, considerable confusion remains at provincial level about the roles and responsibilities of each tier of government. The operation of multiple institutions in the sector, often with substantial overlap in their mandate, creates competition for resources and weakens accountability for outcomes.

    The report pointed out that local governments lack the technical capacity and the tools to target resource allocation. The Local Government Act of 2015 needs to define the functions of various tiers of government so as to reduce overlap and enhance accountability.

    At the provincial level, sector planning frameworks remain weak, and there is no clearly articulated sector-wide approach. To make matters worse, resource allocation is not aligned with sector needs.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018


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