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    ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Thursday issued a notice to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on an application filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking permission to submit additional evidence on record.

    The court had exempted Mr Sharif from personal appearance since he was in Lahore in connection with Quran Khawani for his deceased wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

    During the proceedings, the prosecution filed an application before accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik for submitting the response on the request of mutual legal assistance (MLA) related to the Flagship investment reference.

    However, the defence counsel objected that since the testimony of the prosecution witness was in process, the bureau could not file the application at this stage.

    He also requested the court to provide a copy of the questionnaire to the accused before recording of testimony under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

    Next proceeding scheduled for today

    During the proceedings, witness Mohammad Kamran — who was the investigation officer in the Flagship investment reference — also submitted a compact disc (CD) containing the speeches of Mr Sharif given on the floor of the National Assembly, as well as his address to the nation soon after the Panama Papers leaks.

    He said that the stance taken by Mr Sharif in the speeches was different from what he had taken before the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Panama Papers case.

    When the defence counsel asked the witness about the source of the video footage, the investigation officer said he had obtained this record from PTV producer Shahid Mehmood Malik.

    He informed the court that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), constituted by the Supreme Court to probe allegations made in the Panama Papers, had written several requests for MLA to the UK and Saudi authorities.

    After obtaining the record from the JIT, NAB as a follow-up sent letters to the authorities in the UK and Saudi Arabia and conveyed to them that the inquiry had been transferred, said Mr Kamran. He requested the court to place the relevant documentation on the judicial record.

    But since the defence counsel raised objections, the accountability court put off the matter to Friday (today).

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    In this file photo taken in December, 2017, Nawaz Sharif addresses a public rally in Quetta. — AFP/FileIn this file photo taken in December, 2017, Nawaz Sharif addresses a public rally in Quetta. — AFP/File

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    QUETTA: A senior leader of the Balochistan National Party-Mental (BNP-M), Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, has claimed that the federal government has violated the 18th Amendment by neglecting the Balochistan government while signing agreements with foreign countries about natural resources of the province.

    In a statement issued here, he claimed that China had reservations over the reported understanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for making the latter the third partner in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

    The senator said there were widespread speculations that the Pakistan government might have signed a deal with Saudi Arabia for giving the latter permission to explore natural mineral in Reko Diq and to establish an oil refinery in Gwadar.

    He alleged that by seeking a foothold in Balochistan, Saudi Arabia wanted to use its proxies against its regional rival Iran because the province shares a lengthy border with the country. But, he added, his party would not allow anyone to turn the province into a war zone of foreign countries’ proxies.

    Mr Jamaldini said that despite foreign pressure the BNP-M had always opposed attempts to use Balochistan as a battle ground for international powers.

    Expressing reservations over what he called the federal government’s repeated attempts of bypassing the provincial government of Balochistan, the senator claimed that the central government had never tried to take the provincial leadership into confidence over deals it had signed on Balochistan.

    He said: “We are not against development and we have always respected Saudi rulers, but we can’t tolerate centre’s behaviour of neglecting the provincial government and Baloch leadership while taking decisions about future of our people.”

    Talking about Pakistan’s offer of mediation between Saudi Arabia and its opponents in Yemen, Senator Jamaldini said the government should use its influence for ending the war between them.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    Senior leader of BNP-M, Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini addresses a press conference. — File photoSenior leader of BNP-M, Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini addresses a press conference. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Power said on Thursday that K-Electric (KE) has to clear all its books and ledgers before the utility’s sale to Shanghai Electric.

    The committee, chaired by Senator Fida Muhammad, was informed about the ongoing financial dispute between KE and various government entities.

    The KE management said the company owed around Rs50 billion to the government in different heads but at the same time various public departments and companies have to pay Rs65bn to the power utility.

    It was suggested that there should be a debt swap to clear off pending dues on all sides. While the committee members were nodding to the idea, it was opposed by the bureaucracy.

    The committee was informed that due to the dispute there was no power purchase agreement between KE and the Central Power Purchase Company. KE obtained a stay order to maintain a status quo for three years from the High Court of Sindh.

    Secretary Power Irfan Elahi said KE has to pay to the National Despatch and Transmission Company, Central Power Purchase Company, and Sui Southern Gas Company, etc. which are under or related to the federal government.

    “On the other hand there are some subsidy amounts that the Ministry of Finance has to clear. There are pending bills of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) but why should the federal government clear such bills,” he added.

    Responding to a question about how a crisis-like situation could be avoided, the secretary power said the best way out was to have a bilateral agreement between KE and government entities.

    “We suggest that there has to be a bilateral agreement settling books between KE and the SSGC, and likewise with each entity,” Mr Elahi said. “But I suggest that is possible only if the Senate Committee takes the initiative and directs the finance ministry to hold a joint meeting of KE, Power Division, and the Petroleum Division to resolve the issue. This matter cannot remain on stay order forever,” secretary power added.

    The committee noted that the matter had to be resolved especially when KE is set for selloff.

    The committee directed secretary power and the officials of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to devise a workable solution to reduce electricity thefts from the country. The Pepco officials were also directed to present the details of cases filed against the staff and officers involved in electricity thefts in all power distribution companies.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    A view of K-Electric’s Bin Qasim Power Station II in Karachi.—Dawn file photoA view of K-Electric’s Bin Qasim Power Station II in Karachi.—Dawn file photo

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    KARACHI: Several gunmen in plainclothes entered the Karachi Press Club (KPC) late on Thursday night and harassed journalists, according to a statement issued by the KPC’s office-bearers.

    “Dozens of gunmen in plainclothes entered the KPC at 10:30pm, harassed journalists, examined different rooms, kitchen, upper floor of the building and sports hall. They forcibly made videos and took pictures with mobile cameras.”

    The incident caused concern among journalists and when some of the KPC members inquired about them, they did not get any satisfactory reply.

    The armed men came in at least six double-cabin vehicles, land cruisers, Prado and other vehicles, besides a police mobile.

    The KPC office-bearers immediately informed Additional IG Karachi, Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh, about the incident. He assured them of an immediate inquiry.

    The club’s president, Ahmed Khan Malik, and secretary Maqsood Yusufi termed it a violation of sanctity of the club and urged the governor and the chief minister of Sindh to order an inquiry and take action against the “intruders”.

    Journalists have called for a protest on Friday afternoon against the incident.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    Karachi Press Club building. — File photoKarachi Press Club building. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Frontier Corps DIG Brig Rizwan Baig claimed on Thursday that majority of the people [involved in militancy in the province], after having rejected anti-state elements’ propaganda, were willing to join the mainstream and, for this purpose, they needed government help for better facilities and chances of livelihood.

    Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which met at the Parliament House, Brig Rizwan, in response to a question about unrest in Balochistan, said that before the FC was deployed, there were lots of issues, but now the situation had started improving.

    He said that the FC had in a bid to help the locals constructed several shops and handed them over to the locals free of cost for doing business, while several other such steps were being taken.

    He said that the FC had proposed a date processing plant in Punjgur, while several development works had also been carried out, such as hospitals and schools for the locals.

    Brig Rizwan said that the insurgency in Balochistan had the support of vested interests.

    Briefing the committee, Frontier Corps DIG seeks more funds, helicopter for paramilitary force

    He further said that the FC, despite limited capacity, had been providing security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and pilgrims and making efforts to minimise the effect of Baloch militants’ propaganda and reject the insurgents’ anti-state narratives.

    He also briefed the committee on FC’s organisational structure, achievements and budgetary provisions for enhancing its capacity as well as new and old checkposts.

    In his presentation, Brig Rizwan told the committee that the FC needed a Cessna aircraft for operational exigencies such as recce, internal security operations and causality evacuation.

    The committee meeting, presided over by Senator Rehman Malik and attended by, among others, senators Kulsoom Parveen, Javed Abbasi, Asad Junejo, Rana Maqbool and Shibli Faraz, appreciated the performance of the FC and observed that for countering terrorism, the measures taken by the FC and other law enforcement agencies were highly commendable.

    The committee recommended early release of funds for FC’s projects and called upon the government to provide the paramilitary force modern equipment and helicopter on an urgent basis as it was in need of a helicopter to monitor large areas in Balochistan.

    The committee also recommended fencing of of the Iran-Pakistan border.

    The committee took notice of closure of flight operations from several cities of Balochistan and directed the Civil Aviation Authority to submit a report in this regard, as the committee members said that it was the right of the people of Balohistan to avail flight facilities in their native areas.

    Banking data hacking

    The committee also took notice of hacking of banking data and directed FIA cybercrime director retired Capt Mohammad Shoaib to submit a report on the issue at the next meeting. The FIA official said that his agency was in touch with the State Bank and the committee would be informed about the outcome of meetings between the two sides.

    The committee chairman said that the Senate panel would be soon calling a meeting with representatives of banks, the FIA and State Bank.

    Aasia Bibi case

    In response to a question asked by Senator Javed Abbasi, the special secretary of the interior rejected media reports that the Christian woman recently acquitted of a blasphemy charge by the Supreme Court had left the country.

    The official told the committee that Aasia Bibi was in the country and her name had not been placed on the Exit Control List nor the government wanted to do so.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    Balochistan FC DIG says militants have rejected anti-state propaganda, need better facilities for livelihood. — AFP/FileBalochistan FC DIG says militants have rejected anti-state propaganda, need better facilities for livelihood. — AFP/File

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    LAHORE: Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz said on Thursday the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had been politicised as it was giving clarifications for its own deeds.

    Speaking to reporters outside the Punjab Assembly, the opposition leader alleged that the NAB was pursuing double standards as Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif was summoned in the Punjab Saaf Pani Company case but he was arrested in the Ashiana housing inquiry.

    “A month has passed by since the NAB arrested Shahbaz Sharif but nothing has been proved against him. Even the Supreme Court imposed fine on the NAB for taking sides,” he said.

    Hamza said the NAB law was draconian and admitted that his party committed a mistake by not doing away with it. He said (PM) Imran Khan Niazi was talking of accountability of others but he himself was wanted in the NAB case in the use of government helicopter illegally.

    “Niazi Sahib is doing politics of containers. He should better work for the betterment of the country’s economy and improve its image,” he said and demanded accountability of premier’s sister Aleema Khan for owning an offshore company.

    He further said a commission should be formed to investigate alleged rigging in the 2018 elections. “A commission should be constituted for the audit of the 2018 polls and it will be clear who committed rigging,” he said.

    Former provincial minister Rana Mashhood said: “We will not allow such an accountability in the country. The opposition members are being summoned by the NAB but it is lenient towards the ruling party.”

    He asked why no action was being taken against PTI leader Faisal Vavda for being a bank defaulter and dual national.

    Mashhood said he would file a defamation case against the provincial education minister for maligning him.

    Meanwhile, Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan said Rana Mashhood was the front man in Hamza’s poultry business. He also accused Mashhood of committing corruption in the youth festival and said the NAB was carrying out accountability according to law.

    Mashhood dismissed the information minister’s allegations, saying Hamza had paltry share in the poultry business and how could he control the whole business. “I have not committed corruption of a single penny in my life,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz. — DawnNewsTV/FileOpposition leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz. — DawnNewsTV/File

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    KARACHI: The World Bank has offered $400 million assistance to the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board for improving water and sewerage services in Karachi. The Sindh government has agreed in principle and decided to go ahead with the plan.

    This emerged from a meeting on Thursday when a World Bank team led by senior water resources management specialist Andreas Rohde called on Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani in his office here.

    The other members of the team were senior water and sanitation specialist Farhanullah Sami, associate investment officer Sarah Afridi and water resources specialist Basharat Saeed.

    Minister Ghani was assisted by local government secretary Khalid Haider, managing director of water board Khalid Shaikh, DMD planning of water board Ayub Shaikh and others.

    Suggests reforms in working of KWSB

    The World Bank delegation briefed the minister about projects for remodelling on modern lines the water and sewerage system in Karachi and assured its financing by the Bank.

    The minister inquired about details of the projects from the water board managing director and other officers concerned and directed them to prepare and finalise all details for early execution of the plan.

    Replying to a question, the minister told Dawn that the World Bank delegation also suggested reforms to improve the working of the water board and sewerage system which included water and sewer lines’ condition, survey and rehabilitation, improving water supply in low-income communities and monitoring of industrial discharge into the sewerage and storm-water system.

    Agreeing to the proposed reforms, he told the Bank delegation that the Sindh government had taken initiative in this regard and with assistance and coordination, the project would certainly be implemented on a fast-track basis.

    In reply to a question, MD water board Khalid Shaikh said that projects would be implemented in phases and first phase would be completed in three years.

    He said $400m financing was part of $16 billion package offered by the World Bank, which would be implemented in three phases spreading over a 10-year period.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    World Bank also suggests reforms in working of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board. — File photoWorld Bank also suggests reforms in working of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board. — File photo

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    KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the secretary for transport, the commissioner and the mayor of Karachi as well as the general manager of the National Highways Authority to appear before it on Nov 15 in a petition about the deteriorating traffic situation in the provincial metropolis.

    The two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar also directed the NHA to file a report by next hearing regarding directions issued previously to make the Lyari Expressway fit for heavy vehicles.

    At the outset, the lawyer for the petitioners pointed out that the route map, earlier filed by the traffic DIG, was not being implemented in letter and spirit. Whereas an office-bearer of the transporters’ body informed the bench that land had already been earmarked by the provincial authorities for bus and truck terminals, but the provincial government had yet to establish the proposed terminals to reduce the traffic load in the city.

    The focal person for the transport secretary, Yar Mohammad, claimed that both terminals had been established and made functional. However, the counsel for the petitioners and a representative of transporters’ body denied the same.

    Mining firm restrained from coal extraction till next hearing

    The bench observed that its earlier order reflected that the NHA was impleaded in this matter with some directions to make the link road and Lyari Expressway fit for heavy vehicles, but it failed to file a report and directed the lawyer for the NHA to come up with the report at the next hearing.

    The bench also summoned the transport secretary, the Karachi commissioner, the city mayor and the NHA GM to appear in person on Nov 15 to provide assistance to the court.

    The lawyer for the petitioners also sought time to file an order of the Supreme Court carrying directions for the local administration to make the Zulfikarabad oil terminal fully functional.

    In a previous hearing, the traffic DIG through a report informed the bench that 88,278 heavy vehicles were fined for the violation of traffic rules, 2,747 such vehicles were fined for the violation of time restriction, 122 cases were registered and 3,941 vehicles detained from April 2017 to September 2018.

    Faisal Bangali and others had moved the SHC against the relevant authorities over the worsening situation of traffic in Karachi and sought rerouting of heavy vehicles through non-residential areas as well as improvement in public transport.

    They asked the court to issue directives for the authorities to improve public transport and introduce other alternatives to help commuters and reduce the burden on the existing transport. The court was further asked to order the authorities to strictly conduct fitness tests of vehicles running on city roads.

    The SHC had imposed a ban on the movement of heavy vehicles in the city during daytime in March last year. However, the apex court set aside the order in May 2017 and observed that the SHC order was against a 2007 verdict of the apex court.

    Permit for exploration of coal

    The Sindh Lakhra Coal Mining Company assured the same bench on Thursday that they would not start extraction and exploration of coal till next hearing after the permit awarded for the exploration of coal was challenged.

    The petitioner contended that the permit was awarded to the Sindh Lakhra Coal Mining Company for the exploration of coal over 1,818 acres in Jamshoro through a notification issued in July.

    The petitioner further submitted that a permit was issued without inviting any bid and during the tenure of the caretaker government in Sindh and sought restraining order against handing over the possession of land to the respondent for exploration/extraction till next date.

    However, the lawyer for the respondents argued that there was no illegality in awarding the mining permit and the summary was floated during the tenure of the elected government.

    The lawyer contended that the possession of the land had not been handed over to them yet. However, the lawyer and the chief executive officer of the mining firm assured the bench that they would not start extraction and exploration till Nov 22.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    NHA ordered to file report over directions issued to make Lyari Expressway fit for heavy vehicles. — File photoNHA ordered to file report over directions issued to make Lyari Expressway fit for heavy vehicles. — File photo

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Thursday handed down death sentence to a convict and life imprisonment to two others for killing a man over non-payment of ‘protection’ money of just Rs2,000.

    The convicts — Abdul Raheem, Ahmed Hassan and Anwar alias Baloch — were found guilty of kidnapping Saleem-ud-Din, demanding extortion money and killing him over non-payment.

    On Thursday, the ATC-II judge pronounced her verdict, which was earlier reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

    The judge found the accused Abdul Raheem guilty of kidnapping the victim, a factory owner, killing him over non-payment of protection money and causing terror in society. He was handed down capital punishment.

    The court also found two co-accused Ahmed Hassan and Anwar alias Baloch guilty of sharing common intention in the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the victim.

    According to the prosecution, the accused persons had abducted Saleem-ud-Din, who was working as manager in a local factory located in the remit of the Gabol Town police station in 2014.

    They demanded extortion from him, the prosecution further mentioned. However, Raheem shot dead the victim over his failure to pay a petty amount of Rs2,000 as extortion.

    Later, they were detained and booked in a case registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 365 (abduction) and 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (punishment of acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

    The investigating officer of the case had submitted an investigation report against the three detained accused persons while it declared their fourth accomplice as an absconder.

    The judge indicted them. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest. The court had directed the prosecution to produce its witnesses in the case.

    During the trial, the detained men recorded their statements under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, denying the allegations put up by the prosecution.

    The defence counsel contended that their clients were innocent, but the prosecution had falsely framed them in the present case. They pleaded to acquit the detained men.

    On the other hand, the assistant prosecutor general Ali Raza Abbasi contended that the prosecution had evidence to establish the role of the accused in the kidnapping of the victim, demands by the accused persons to pay extortion (protection) money. However, the accused persons along with their absconding accomplice kidnapped the victim and shot him upon his failure to fulfil their demand for a petty amount of Rs2,000 as protection money.

    The prosecutor argued that the video footage captured by a closed-circuit television camera had captured the accused persons and the captive, wherein the latter were visible and identified.

    Earlier, the court had deferred the pronouncement of the judgment in the case last month, as the defence counsel moved an application pleading to allow the defence to produce more witnesses in the case and record their evidence before passing the verdict.

    Naqeebullah trial proceedings transferred

    Meanwhile, the ATC-II transferred the record of the trial proceedings pertaining to the killing of an aspiring model Naseebullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, and three others in an alleged encounter after kidnapping them for ransom by the former SSP Malir Rao Anwar Khan and his detained and absconding accomplices.

    Prosecution sources told Dawn that the cases pertaining to the extrajudicial killings of the four men after their kidnapping for ransom, foisting fake recoveries of arms and explosives and lodging false criminal cases against them had been transferred to the ATC-III in compliance with the order passed by the Sindh High Court last week.

    The high court had ordered the transfer of the cases after Naqeeb’s father had expressed no confidence in the judge of the ATC-II after it granted post-arrest bail to suspended SSP Rao Anwar in the main murder case and subsequently in the second case of foisting fake recoveries and lodging false criminal cases against the victims by dubbing them as “terrorists”.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    One convict is sentenced to death, two others with life imprisonment for killing a man over non-payment of Rs2,000. — Photo/FileOne convict is sentenced to death, two others with life imprisonment for killing a man over non-payment of Rs2,000. — Photo/File

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    MAULANA Fazlur Rahman addresses the rally on Shahrah-i-Quaideen.—Online
    MAULANA Fazlur Rahman addresses the rally on Shahrah-i-Quaideen.—Online

    KARACHI: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal staged a huge rally on Shahrah-i-Quaideen on Thursday where leaders of the five-party alliance vowed to continue their struggle across the country for the “protection of the blasphemy law”.

    Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who is the MMA president, criticised the Supreme Court’s verdict to acquit Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case, saying that the decision was taken “only under pressure of international forces”. He, however, took the opportunity to target more the government of his rival Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for the final verdict in the Aasia Bibi case.

    “The incumbent rulers were brought in power under a set agenda,” he said. “They have been brought to power to weaken Pakistan’s sovereignty and ideological identity. But we are here to counter every such move which is against Islamic guidance and the ideology of Pakistan. We are not afraid of any state action and would continue our struggle to achieve our target.”

    Without naming any individual or organisation, he said “the agents of Jews” had brought a planned agenda, but warned that he and his party would never let anyone “hoist Israeli flag in Pakistan”. The MMA chief also announced that they would hold rallies and protest demonstrations across the country on Friday [today] against the release of Aasia Bibi and gave a roadmap of activities from the platform of the alliance for the next few weeks.

    Leaders vow to ‘continue struggle for protection of blasphemy law’, decide to hold protests today

    “After this successful rally, we would be gathering in Lahore on Nov 15 for a million march and then on Nov 25, the MMA would organise a Khatm-i-Nubuwwat conference in Sukkur. We would not compromise when it comes to respect of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] and use our every legal and constitutional right for peaceful protests,” added the maulana.

    The rally was also addressed by Karachi chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami and MMA Hafiz Naeemur Rahman, who warned that the people of Pakistan would not accept Aasia Bibi’s flight from the country and the government would have to pay a heavy price for any such move.

    “Before coming to power, Imran Khan had vowed not to seek assistance from the IMF but he within three months of his government has started begging from the international body. Similarly, when he was in opposition he had warned the then government against any move that could affect the blasphemy law. It’s so unfortunate and uncovers the true character of Imran Khan and his party that he is taking all those measures which he had opposed in the past,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

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    HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad circuit bench of the Sindh High Court on Thursday observed that cases of missing persons were on the increase in society and once someone went missing no clue was found to his whereabouts.

    Justices Abdul Maalik Gaddi and Fahim Ahmed Siddiqui made the observation while hearing a petition filed by Suleman Bhand seeking recovery of his brother Abdul Ghafoor Bhand who had been missing for the past two years.

    The court fixed hearing of the case for Dec 4 at 11am with directives to Hyderabad Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Naeem Ahmed Shaikh to step up efforts for recovering the missing person and exempted the officer from personal attendance.

    The DIG assured the bench that he would direct all SHOs concerned that henceforth if any person disappeared in their jurisdiction, stern action would be taken against them.

    Dadu deputy superintendent of police (DSP) submitted details of criminal record of the petitioner Suleman and his relatives which was made part of the court record. The court noted that the joint interrogation team probing the case had held five sessions so far but no clue to the missing person’s whereabouts had been found yet.

    The DIG informed the court that the JIT’s sixth session was chaired by Dadu SSP and its report was filed by additional advocate general Sindh which was made part of the record.

    About the allegation that DSP Rasool Bux had demanded Rs200,000 from the petitioner, the DIG sought two weeks’ time to get to the bottom of the charge. The court granted him time and the DIG assured that he would make his best efforts to recover the missing person and produce him before the court.

    The JIT report recommended that the DIG should constitute a special team comprising senior police officers to investigate the case (FIR No. 16/2016) lodged by the petitioner at B-Section police station, Dadu. Another FIR (49/16) lodged by Ali Asghar, another brother of the missing person, accused some suspects of abducting Ghafoor.

    The report said that Suleman stated that DSP Rasool Bux Siyal, then DSP Dadu, had demanded Rs200,000 for the release of Ghafoor and refused to release him when the family failed to pay.

    Suleman said in the petition that his brother Ghafoor, a cattle trader, had gone missing on Jan 7, 2016, when he was carrying Rs250,000, a golden chain and ring.

    According to Dadu DSP’s report, 11 cases were filed against Ghafoor from 2000 to 2014, 14 cases were lodged against Suleman from 1989 to 2015, 26 cases were registered against Suleman’s son, Farooq from 2010 to 2015 and eight cases were lodged against Ghafoor’s son, Abdul Qadir in 2013.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    High court bench says authorities could not find any clues of whereabouts of people who have gone missing. — File photoHigh court bench says authorities could not find any clues of whereabouts of people who have gone missing. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment on Thursday endorsed the Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s (JCP) recommendation for the appointment of Justice Athar Minallah as the next chief justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

    Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, JCP on Nov 1 recommended Justice Minallah for the post of IHC chief justice.

    Justice Minallah will assume office of IHC chief justice on Nov 27 as the incumbent chief justice, Mohammad Anwar Khan will attain the age of superannuation on Nov 28.

    As per Article 175-A of the Constitution, the eight-member parliamentary committee will send the confirmation of Justice Minallah to the prime minister who shall forward it to the president for appointment.

    He will be the third IHC chief justice since the high court was re-established in Jan 2011.

    IHC was established during the regime of ex-military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf.

    Sardar Mohammad Aslam was the first IHC chief justice and after his elevation to the Supreme Court (SC), a judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice M. Bilal Khan became the chief justice.

    In its July 31, 2009 judgement, SC sacked over 100 judges of the superior judiciary and declared IHC void.

    IHC was revived under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the Islamabad High Court Act, 2010 was promulgated.

    The act provides a chief justice and six judges from the provinces and territories. After the re-establishment, another LHC judge, Iqbar Hameedur Rehman was appointed the IHC chief justice. He was elevated to SC in Feb 2013 and Justice Anwar Kasi was made the chief justice.

    Justice Athar Minallah was third on the seniority list in the IHC till the sacking of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, the former senior puisne judge who was removed last month for accusing the Inter Services Intelligence, the premier intelligence agency, of manipulating decisions of the superior judiciary in a speech delivered during an event organised by the Rawalpindi Bar Association.

    Subsequently, Justice Minallah became the senior puisne judge.

    Though Justice Siddiqui has filed a petition before SC to stop the oath taking till a decision on his petition — in which he challenged his removal — is taken, the Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment on Thursday finalised the appointment of Justice Minallah as the next IHC chief justice.

    Justice Minallah is the eldest son of Nasrum Minallah, who was a commissioner during the 1960s and 70s. He is the son-in-law of Justice Safdar Shah who was part of the bench that convicted and sentenced former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto but wrote a dissenting note against the conviction, for which he faced the wrath of the then military dictator, Gen Ziaul Haq.

    Justice Minallah joined Pakistan Customs and rose to senior positions but later resigned and started practicing law.

    Following the sacking of former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, he joined the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of the judiciary.

    However, after Justice Chaudhry’s restoration, he became a critic of the judiciary because of excessive suo motu cases which led to the pendency of routine cases.

    Justice Minallah was appointed as IHC judge in June 2014 and is considered one of the finest judges in the superior judiciary.

    In the last few years, he authored landmark judgements in matters related to civil litigation including real estate, criminal cases, the environment and missing persons.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    Justice Athar Minallah — Photo Courtesy: FacebookJustice Athar Minallah — Photo Courtesy: Facebook

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    ISLAMABAD: A total of 409 drone attacks have been conducted in Pakistan since January 2004, in which 2,714 people have been killed and 728 injured.

    The majority of the strikes were carried out during the government of Pakistan Peoples Party between 2008 and 2012. Sources within the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) recently shared details, claiming that the period saw 336 aerial attacks, in which 2,282 people lost their lives and 658 received injuries. The officials added that 2010 alone saw 117 attacks that cost 775 people their lives and injured another 193. Between 2013 and 2018 — during the government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — a total of 65 drone attacks occurred. A total of 301 people died and 70 were injured. In 2018, two drone attacks have been conducted so far. One person was killed and one was injured.

    It is, however, worth remembering that the top leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan has been killed in drone attacks.

    The attacks over the years have targeted the areas of Bajaur, Bannu, Hangu, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Nushki, Orakzai, and South Waziristan. The officials of Nacta added that 289 attacks were conducted in North Waziristan alone, in which 1,651 individuals were killed and 421 were injured. South Waziristan saw 91 attacks that killed 707 individuals and injured 215. There were 13 strikes in the Kurram Agency that killed 110 and injured 32, five in the Khyber Agency that killed 57 and injured 29, four in the Bajaur Agency that killed 129, two in Hangu that killed seven and injured two, one in the Mohmand Agency that killed 18 and injured 18 and one in Nushki that killed two.

    Nacta sources say 336 aerial attacks took place during PPP’s government while 65 occurred when PML-N was in power

    Terror attacks

    At least 19,177 civilians and officials have been killed so far and 47,869 have been injured in the18,850 terror related attacks in Pakistan since 2001, the officials stated. The attacks, they said, mostly targeted Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and were carried out through different methods that included bomb explosions, hand grenade attacks, mine explosions, missiles, rockets, and suicide attacks. Terrorists also targeted minorities geared to instigate sectarian violence and employed sophisticated methods, including the usage of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) — vehicle explosive devices as well as radio controlled improvised devices.

    During the current year — 2018 — 405 terrorist attacks have taken place in the country, in which 133 officials and 233 civilians have been killed and 348 personnel and 567 civilians have been injured.

    In Punjab, 14 incidents of bomb blasts, suicide attacks and engagements with terrorists led to the deaths of six LEA officials and as many civilians during the year. Four officials and 52 civilians have so far been injured.

    Sindh has seen 11 incidents of terror related attacks, which included strikes on LEAs, through bomb explosions, hand grenade attacks and general aggressive engagement with terrorists. The province has also had to contend with suicide attacks and IED explosions. Two LEA officials and as many civilians lost their lives and eight officials as well as six civilians have been injured.

    There were 51 incidents targeting LEAs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the year. 21 personnel and 11 civilians have been killed and 55 officials and 57 civilians have been injured in these attacks.

    In Baluchistan, 172 incidents were recorded — mostly targeting LEAs. Ranging from bomb explosions, to suicide attacks, and involving sectarian violence. The officials stated that 58 personnel and 193 civilians have lost their lives in the current year. 166 officials and 396 have been injured as well.

    In Fata, during the current year, there have been a total 150 incidents involving LEAs in the tribal districts. According to the officials, 42 personnel and 21 civilians have been killed, with another 110 and 52 injured.

    Gilgit-Baltistan has also seen an unfortunate six incidents during the year, with officials reporting that four personnel lost their lives. Four LEA officials and as many civilians were injured. Only one incident of a mine explosion was recorded in Azad Kashmir during the year. One official was injured.

    Fortunately, Islamabad, the capital of the country has remained safe the entire year.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    Nabila Rehman, a resident of North Waziristan, holds during a news conference in Washington a drawing she made depicting a drone strike that killed her grandmother. — AP/FileNabila Rehman, a resident of North Waziristan, holds during a news conference in Washington a drawing she made depicting a drone strike that killed her grandmother. — AP/File

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    MULTAN: President Arif Alvi has said all the Muslims were ready to scarify their lives for the honor of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), however no innocent person should be harmed over the blasphemy issue.

    Addressing the participants of a one-day Sufi conference organised by the Bahauddin Zakariya University’s Islamic Studies Department here on Thursday, the president said Islam propagates protection of rights and the message should be highlighted.

    “People should get their rights, and the facilities of justice, education, health, employment and housing should be provided to all the people in Naya Pakistan,” he said.

    Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said there was a need to follow the teachings of saints to improve the country’s image.

    He said the PTI government wanted the seminaries’ students to have skill-oriented education to enable them to play a role in the country’s development.

    He said the Ulema’s recommendations should be sought to fight extremism.

    “The academia from various universities should also be contacted for the same purpose,” he suggested.

    Later, talking to the media, the foreign minister said his recent visit to China was fruitful and meetings with the top Chinese leadership were encouraging.

    He said the next phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was discussed at length with the Chinese leadership. He said a review petition had been filed against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi by Supreme Court.

    “According to my information, Aasia Bibi has not been sent abroad. However, the ministry concerned could provide accurate information in this regard,” he said.

    He said without considering any internal or external pressure, the legal aspects of Aasia’s case should be focused.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    President Arif Alvi — DawnNewsTV/FilePresident Arif Alvi — DawnNewsTV/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday discussed threats to the banking system in the country.

    A team of SBP officers led by Deputy Governor Jamil Ahmed during a visit to the FIA headquarters also discussed with its officials the recently reported cases of banking fraud.

    The FIA team provided the SBP officers with the details of around 1,576 complaints about banking fraud lodged this year.

    The FIA’s officials were led by Director General Bashir Memon during the meeting.

    Sources said that the two sides had different points of view over the nature of threats to the country’s banking system.

    The FIA’s Director Cybercrime, retired Wing Com­mander Mohammad Shoaib, also attended the meeting.

    In a related development, the BankIslami has officially lodged a complaint at the FIA office in Karachi on Thursday regarding siphoning off the amounts from its accounts, according to a senior official of the agency.

    The FIA team maintained that accounts of all the banks were vulnerable as the data of almost all banks operating in the country was vulnerable to attacks by international cyber criminals. The matter should be probed at a fast pace, it insisted.

    But the SBP officers called for adopting a cautious approach to avoid creating panic among account holders.

    As the SBP has acknowledged that there are threats to the banking system mainly because the digital banking has increased its outreach manifold, an FIA team led by the director of Cyber Crime Wing is scheduled to visit Karachi next week to hold meeting with the executives of the banking sector.

    An FIA official told Dawn that the difference of opinion between the SBP and FIA officials was regarding the information of account hacking reaching public, as the banking sector was secretive. “But we say that things cannot be hidden in this digital era so it is better to issue warnings,” he said. “The banks should strengthen their firewalls and safety mechanism.”

    The FIA Cyber Crime Wing has warned that security of all Pakistani banks has been compromised as there are complaints from many parts of the country regarding money being transferred through security breach.

    The FIA director reiterated that the hackers were probably based outside Pakistan and it was easy to breach the security systems digitally from abroad or any distant location.

    He also said that the agency had written letters on the issue to all banks as well as the SBP about a month ago but there was no response.

    “It is good that finally the State Bank has responded to the possible threats even if it does not deem it a serious attack,” the FIA official said, insisting that the “threat is serious and the banking sector is trying to cover it up. That is why most of the major banks have suspended their international ATM transactions and some even have suspended their online service for the time being.”

    On the other hand, a senior official of the SBP said that there was a difference between fraud, cheating and cyber attack etc. “There are cases of cheatings and there are banking frauds but not necessarily it is through cyber skimming,” said the SBP official, adding, “the banking sector is safe and there have not been a large number of cyber attacks on the banking system in the country.”

    However, the official added that the cases had started to come forward due to improved media coverage, social media availability, but all the cases were not related to banking fraud.

    “There are routine cases of prank calls telling people about awards they have been offered by a mobile company, but this is not a telecom company fraud,” the official said. “Besides people find it easier to approach the FIA or police than to lodge complaints with the banking ombudsman.”

    Anyway, the State Bank has decided to work closely with the FIA to resolve the issue and inquire the existing complaints.

    Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

    FIA team has provided SBP officers details of around 1,576 complaints about banking fraud lodged this year. — File photoFIA team has provided SBP officers details of around 1,576 complaints about banking fraud lodged this year. — File photo

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    The Supreme Court on Friday issued a stay order against the Peshawar High Court's (PHC) acquittal of 68 terrorists who had been convicted by military courts.

    A two-member bench of the SC headed by Justice Azmat Saeed also ordered the jail superintendent to halt the release of the accused.

    The accused had received varying sentences, including death, in a number of cases. The PHC had recently overturned the military court sentences on the basis of a lack of evidence. The Defence Ministry had subsequently filed appeals against the PHC's decision.

    Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti on Friday said that the PHC had not taken an accurate review of the facts.

    He said that the accused were involved in crimes such as terrorism and asked that the military court sentences be restored.

    The top court on Friday issued notices to all the parties involved and adjourned the case indefinitely.

    On November 2, the SC also approved the hearing of appeals filed by the federal government against the PHC's decision to set aside punishments awarded to 74 convicts by military courts in various cases of terrorism.

    The Supreme Court stayed the Peshawar High Court's acquittal of 68 terrorists convicted by military courts and ordered jail officials to halt their release.  ─ AFP/FileThe Supreme Court stayed the Peshawar High Court's acquittal of 68 terrorists convicted by military courts and ordered jail officials to halt their release. ─ AFP/File

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    A Pakistani delegation in Beijing is holding talks with Chinese officials today to finalise modalities for economic cooperation, Radio Pakistan reported.

    Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan and State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa are part of the delegation which met top Chinese officials on Friday.

    The talks follow Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to China, during which 15 agreements and MoUs were signed to enhance cooperation in economy, trade and other sectors.

    During the visit, the two sides agreed to elevate Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership to new heights.

    PM Khan had on Thursday apprised his cabinet of the "successful" maiden visit to China, saying that Beijing had assured Islamabad "of every kind of assistance", and that Pakistan would reap its benefits in the days to come.

    Separately, a 15-member Chinese delegation paid a visit to the National Assembly today and met with Speaker Asad Qaiser, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The delegation, led by Zhang Chunxian, discussed matters of mutual interest with the NA speaker.

    During the meeting, Qaiser pointed out that Pakistan has benefited greatly from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and was told that by Chunxian that China wishes to see Pakistan prosper and flourish.

    SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa and Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan are in Beijing holding talks with Chinese officials to finalise modalities for economic cooperation. ─ Photo courtesy SBP websiteSBP Governor Tariq Bajwa and Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan are in Beijing holding talks with Chinese officials to finalise modalities for economic cooperation. ─ Photo courtesy SBP website

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    Senate Chairman Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani on Friday instructed Sindh government to submit a report on an intrusion into the Karachi Press Club (KPC) the previous night by gunmen in plainclothes, who purportedly also harassed journalists.

    The matter was raised in the upper house of the parliament by National Party president and Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, who asked Sanjrani to seek a report from the interior ministry on the matter.

    "Yesterday, armed men entered the Karachi Press Club and searched it too," Bizenjo said. "They also misbehaved with journalists."

    At Bizenjo's request, the Senate chair asked the Sindh government to furnish its report, adding that the interior minister's response on the intrusion will also be sought later.

    Armed men intrude into Karachi Press Club

    Several gunmen in plainclothes entered the KPC late on Thursday night and harassed journalists, according to a statement issued by the KPC’s office-bearers.

    “Dozens of gunmen in plainclothes entered the KPC at 10:30pm, harassed journalists, examined different rooms, kitchen, upper floor of the building and sports hall. They forcibly made videos and took pictures with mobile cameras.”

    The incident caused concern among journalists and when some of the KPC members inquired about them, they did not get any satisfactory reply.

    The armed men came in at least six double-cabin vehicles, land cruisers, Prado and other vehicles, besides a police mobile.

    Armed men in plainclothes reportedly enter KPC on Thursday night. — FileArmed men in plainclothes reportedly enter KPC on Thursday night. — File

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    The Supreme Court will resume hearing the suo motu case on Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan's (TLP) Faizabad sit-in from last year on November 16.

    In November 2017, TLP workers demanding the resignation of then law minister Zahid Hamid, had staged a weeks-long sit-in at the Faizabad interchange that had virtually paralysed the federal capital and led to several people losing their lives.

    On November 21 of the same month, the apex court had taken notice of the sit-in and directed the defence and interior secretaries to submit a detailed report on the matter.

    Days later, the then PML-N government had launched against the protesters an operation which, when failed, had forced the authorities to cave and Hamid to resign.

    The SC today fixed the case's next hearing for Friday [Nov 16]. A two-member bench comprising Justice Musheer Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, under the former's stewardship, will hear the case.

    The attorney general, interior and defence secretaries, Inspector General of Islamabad police and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) were also issued notices.

    In the case's last hearing, the Supreme Court bench had wondered whether a party whose head propagates views against the Constitution can be registered as a party under the Political Parties Act by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

    Referring to TLP Chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Justice Isa had asked whether someone could be allowed to violate the Constitution even if he had a just cause.

    At this, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor had explained that the ECP registers the parties but conceded that although protesting lawfully is everyone’s right, holding a protest so as to paralyse routine life is indeed unconstitutional. He added the ECP had the authority to revoke the registration of any political party.

    The court had then issued a notice to the ECP to furnish the application under which the TLP had been registered and asked the attorney general to assist the court in determining whether the commission or the federal government was empowered under the Elections Act 2017 to take measures for regulating the parties.

    Earlier this month, the TLP held countrywide protests against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi— a Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death row for blasphemy — condemning the judges on the bench hearing Aasia' case, the prime minister and the army chief.

    TLP workers had staged a sit-in in Islamabad last year and virtually paralysed the capital. — File/APTLP workers had staged a sit-in in Islamabad last year and virtually paralysed the capital. — File/AP

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    The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has recovered nearly Rs330 million from the Lahore residence of a former government officer, a statement issued by the corruption watchdog said on Friday.

    The bureau carried out a raid at the house of the grade-16 former government official, located in Lahore's EME society, after receiving a tip-off about him.

    "Approximately Rs330m that had allegedly been hidden were recovered during the raid on the house," the NAB statement said.

    The bureau is currently keeping the suspect's identity secret "so as not to impede the acquisition of additional evidence".

    According to the NAB statement, the mammoth amount recovered from the official's residence includes Rs100m in Pakistani rupees, Rs170m in the form of prize bonds, and nearly Rs35m in the form of 11 foreign currencies.

    The bureau said it is also carrying out an inquiry regarding proofs of extensive properties allegedly owned by the suspect.

    The director general of NAB Lahore has directed that an inquiry be immediately started against the suspect for allegedly owning assets beyond known means of income, the statement added.

    — Photo courtesy: NAB Lahore— Photo courtesy: NAB Lahore

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