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    ISLAMABAD: The accountability court has decided to put about 70 questions to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for recording his statement in the Flagship Investment reference.

    The court put over 120 questions to Mr Sharif in the Avenfield properties reference and 151 in the Al-Azizia reference. The former prime minister has so far responded to 148 of the 151 questions.

    Lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris told Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik that the testimony of former premier would be completed by Thursday as the court would remain closed on Wednesday (today) on account of Eid Miladun Nabi.

    He said that his client was taking time in giving his response because there were too many questions.

    Mr Haris said that the Supreme Court had set Dec 10 as the new deadline for the accountability court to conclude the proceedings in Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references.

    Accountability court posed 120 queries in Avenfield reference and 151 in Al-Azizia reference to former PM

    The judge said that he would try to shorten the questionnaire as it would consist of 70 to 75 questions.

    He said the prosecution and the defence counsel might be asked to advance their final arguments after Mr Sharif concluded his testimony under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

    Mr Haris continued the cross-examination of last prosecution witness Mohammad Kamran, the investigation officer in the Flagship Investment reference.

    The witness testified that he had thoroughly examined the available record and then prepared the investigation report.

    He said that the record was obtained from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) headquarters, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Supreme Court.

    He confirmed that the tax details of Mr Sharif were part of the report prepared by the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate the Panama Papers revelations.

    He, however, admitted that it was not in his knowledge whether the relevant details were provided by Mr Sharif to the JIT on his own or the investigators had procured these from the FBR.

    During the investigation, the JIT could not get any response to the request seeking mutual legal assistance (MLA) related to Capital FZE, a company owned by a son of Mr Sharif, he said. Some of the documents were photocopies of the computer screen’s screenshots.

    These screenshots were in fact details of the salary Capital FZE allegedly disbursed to Mr Sharif, on the basis of which he was disqualified by the Supreme Court for not declaring this in his asset declarations.

    ‘Arbitrary accountability’

    Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, after attending the proceedings in the accountability court, alleged that the PML-N leadership was witnessing arbitrary accountability.

    She said that the party leaders were facing the trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court.

    She alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan had started giving NRO-like deals from his home as he managed to clear his own sister Aleema Khan in the case related to living beyond means.

    According to her, the opposition would not remain silent on this favouritism and it demanded formation of a joint investigation team to probe whether the prime minister’s sister misused charity funds to accumulate assets or otherwise.

    Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018


    Accountability court posed 120 queries in Avenfield reference and 151 in Al-Azizia reference to former PM. — APP/FileAccountability court posed 120 queries in Avenfield reference and 151 in Al-Azizia reference to former PM. — APP/File

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    LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday disposed of three bail petitions of Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to provide 10 days to the petitioner to approach appropriate legal forum, in the light of a recent judgment by the Supreme Court, if his arrest warrants are issued.

    Mr Hamza appeared before a two-judge bench along with his counsel Azam Nazir Tarar to plead the bail petitions. The opposition leader was already granted pre-arrest interim bail by the court.

    The bureau’s lawyer told the bench that no arrest warrants had been issued so far in any of the three inquiries pending against the petitioner. He argued that the bail petitions in the absence of any arrest warrants were infructuous.

    Advocate Tarar pointed out that the Supreme Court recently ruled in Ayaz Khan Niazi’s case that the NAB, after issuance of arrest warrants, should give 10 days to a person for approaching relevant court for bail.

    The bench headed by Justice Tariq Abbasi observed that there was no need to keep the bail petitions pending with the court as the judgment of the apex court provided the petitioner an ample time to avail legal remedy in case of issue of arrest warrants.

    The counsel said he would not press the petitions for further extension of bail if the NAB was ordered to comply with the SC judgment in the case of petitioner.

    At this, the bench disposed of the petitions as withdrawn and directed the NAB to act in accordance with the judgment of the apex court if arrest warrants were issued for the petitioner.

    Mr Hamza had filed bail petitions against his possible arrests in three inquiries pending against him with the NAB, in Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Ramzan Sugar Mills and assets beyond means cases.

    The counsel had previously argued that the petitioner had been appearing before investigation teams of the NAB and provided them with all the required information and documents.

    He said the NAB summoned a person in one case but made arrest in another case, citing the example of Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif’s arrest, who is also father of the petitioner.

    The counsel said there were serious apprehensions that the NAB might arrest the petitioner too at the time of his appearance for inquiry.

    The bench had allowed the bail to Mr Hamza subject to furnishing two surety bonds of Rs1000,000 each.

    BAIL GRANTED: The bench granted post-arrest bail to Pak-Arab Housing Society owner Ammar Gulzar in a NAB corruption reference subject to two surety bonds worth Rs1 million each.

    Mr Gulzar, a former senator and also son of late PPP senator Gulzar Ahmad, was accused of defrauding public at large by selling files of his society more than the available plots.

    The NAB alleged that Mr Gulzar collected Rs10 billion from people who purchased files of Pak-Arab Society Phase-II, which was not approved by the Lahore Development Authority.

    Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018


    Hamza appears before a two-judge bench along with his counsel Azam Nazir Tarar to plead the bail petitions.— DawnNewsTV/FileHamza appears before a two-judge bench along with his counsel Azam Nazir Tarar to plead the bail petitions.— DawnNewsTV/File

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    LAHORE: Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda says Pakistan wants to resolve all the water-related issues with India in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

    “I am ready to sit with India to resolve these issues amicably. But I will never compromise on our country’s water rights, sovereignty and dignity. I will neither do any wrong with India nor will allow India to do the same with my country,” the minister said while responding to various questions raised by journalists during a media talk at Wapda House on Tuesday.

    The question was raised in the context of India’s delay in getting its hydropower projects at Chenab and Jhelum basins inspected by Pakistani authorities during the last few months after initial willingness.

    “On various occasions during the past, the situation appeared to be problematic and difficult especially at a time when both the countries were about to resolve various issues. So I don’t want to comment in a way that makes the situation problematic while resolving the water-related and other issues,” said the minister who was flanked by the Wapda chairman, retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain, Federal Secretary Shumail Khwaja and Joint Secretary Syed Mehr Ali Shah.

    Speaking about water allocation and distribution issues among the provinces, he claimed that the chief ministers, his ministry and other stakeholders were on the same page. For this, he said, a sum of Rs1 billion had been arranged to install telemeters so as to end provinces’ complaints about the water share. This project, he said, was not executed by the outgoing PML-N government.

    He said he and his team, within a short span of time, had removed various problems in the construction of Naulong Dam in Balochistan. “I am happy to announce that we have resolved the funding issues, paving the way for launching this project in near future,” he claimed.

    He further said the issues related to Dasu, Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams were being resolved on a fast track. He said: “I wouldn’t like to keep important matters secret from the people of Pakistan; every institution including the judiciary and NAB are welcome to see and monitor what we are doing.”

    He said the PTI government was reviewing the list of those honest and capable officers / bureaucrats who remained sidelined as OSDs during the five-year term of the PML-N government.

    “There is an impression that N-league still dominates the bureaucracy. But I believe that there are few such bureaucrats. Still there are many honest and competent officers who spent most of time during N-league government as OSDs. We are reviewing the lists of such officers so as to appoint them at important positions,” he said.

    He said his ministry had decided to convert Wapda into a corporate entity so that it could work independently.

    Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018


    “I am ready to sit with India to resolve water issues. But I will never compromise on our country’s water rights.“I am ready to sit with India to resolve water issues. But I will never compromise on our country’s water rights."— DawnNewsTV/File

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    LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claims to have seized more than 2,000 biometric verified SIMs of telecom companies in Punjab being used for grey trafficking and fraud.

    Officials say the government should take this matter seriously as such SIMs may be used in disruptive activities in the country.

    About four years since the Biometric Verification System (BVS) was launched under the National Action Plan, the ‘misuse’ of verified SIMs continues unabated, exposing the shortcomings of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and telecom operators.

    The need for the BVS was felt after the terror attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014 in which more than 150 people, mostly children, were martyred.

    “The FIA Cyber Crime Punjab raided many areas in Lahore and Multan and seized more than 2,000 BVS SIMs being used for grey trafficking and other fraudulent activities and arrested eight suspects during the last few days,” an official told Dawn.

    He said the suspects managed to get such SIMs taking advantage of the loopholes in the system thus not only causing a loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer through grey trafficking but also depriving citizens of handsome money by offering ‘prize schemes’. “Such SIMs are also used by fraudsters who get pin-code of the credit/debit cards from citizens by introducing themselves as officials of an intelligence agency or army,” he said, adding that it was not easy to trace such suspects as they got BVS SIMs in the name of the people (mostly in rural areas) who had no idea that their information was being misused.

    “The misuse of BVS SIMs for grey trafficking and other such activities is alarming. It is feared that such SIMs may be used for disruptive activities, therefore immediate steps are needed by the PTA and telecom operators to deal with this problem,” the official said.

    Asked how fraudsters laid hands on such a huge number of BVS SIMs, PTA spokesperson Tayyaba Iftikhar told Dawn that the aim of BVS was to ensure “proof of life” whereby SIMs were issued only after biometric verification of subscribers’ finger/thumb impressions. “Each verified SIM is traceable to its CNIC owner and the sale channel which issued it.”

    According to the PTA, after conclusion of re-verification drive in 2015, a total of 98.3 million SIMs which were not verified through BVS were blocked. “By Sept 30, 2018, count of active connections is 152 million, all of which have been verified through BVS.”

    About measures to stop the BVS SIMs falling in the hands of disruptive elements, the PTA spokesperson said: “The PTA is not a law enforcement agency. All instances of illegal issuance of SIMs, reported to PTA, are forwarded to the law enforcement agency(s) for further investigation and punitive action under the Telecom Act 1996 and PECA 2015.”

    When asked why the misuse of SIMs continued despite the BVS launched four years ago, Ms Iftikhar said: “Effective implementation of the law can have a positive impact and help in limiting fraud cases.”

    As regards grey trafficking, the PTA said it had rationalised the international termination rates to eliminate the margins for grey traffic. “On the technical front, PTA actively identifies illegal termination channels to mitigate them as well as share relevant information with the FIA for law enforcement actions against grey operators. The said actions have helped increase legitimate traffic from around an average of 450 million minutes per month during 2014 to around an average of 900 million minutes per month during 2018,” it said.

    Currently, a technical system on PTA’s directions was being deployed by the telecom industry, envisioned to identify grey channels which employ sophisticated evasion techniques to ensure that bulk of grey traffic was blocked prior to termination, the PTA said.

    Another official was of the view that the PTA needed to improve the BVS, making the whole procedure foolproof so that SIMs might not fall in the hands of fraudsters, grey traffickers or disruptive elements. “The PTA needs to take immediate steps binding the cellular companies to have a system in place at their franchises or small outlets to stop misuse of the BVS. A fresh effort is needed to plug loopholes in the BVS as it should not be treated as a forgotten step of the past,” the official added.

    Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018


    Officials say the govt should take the matter seriously as such SIMs could be used in disruptive activities.— AFP/FileOfficials say the govt should take the matter seriously as such SIMs could be used in disruptive activities.— AFP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Scores of students were injured during a clash between two ethnic groups at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Tuesday night.

    According to the police, the clash started between the two groups outside the hostels of the university.

    The students had gathered at different spots over the arrest of two of their colleagues after the recovery of narcotics from their possession.

    A car hit a group of students belonging to one of the ethnic groups.

    The students alleged that the vehicle was driven by a student affiliated with their rival group and claimed it was a deliberate attempt.

    Shortly afterward, students belonging to the group whose members had been hit by the car gathered in the open area in front of the hostels and started arguing with their rivals that later turned violent.

    The students from both the groups beat each other and also damaged public and private property, including vehicles.

    During the clash, over a dozen students were injured. According to the police, some of the students also displayed weapons and fired a couple of shots.

    The police and Rangers reached the university and till filing of this report efforts were being made to control the situation.

    Secretariat Police Station House Officer SI Shabbir Tanoli said the two groups of students clashed over a petty issue.

    Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018


    According to the police, some of the students also displayed weapons and fired a couple of shots. — DawnNewsTVAccording to the police, some of the students also displayed weapons and fired a couple of shots. — DawnNewsTV

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    ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has issued a production order of Opposition Leader and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif for a third time to enable him to attend the upcoming session of the lower house of parliament starting from Friday, sources told Dawn here on Tuesday.

    The session has been summoned by the speaker on the requisition of the opposition which wanted to discuss a number of issues, including the alleged political victimisation of the government’s opponents by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

    The opposition submitted the requisition notice signed by 88 members soon after the prorogation of the assembly on Nov 9.

    NAB’s role, govt’s 100-day performance and price hike are part of opposition’s five-point agenda for session starting from Friday

    The opposition has submitted a five-point agenda with the notice for discussion during the requisitioned session.

    The agenda includes a discussion on “use of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a tool for political coercion, government’s 100-day performance, economic situation in the country, especially the alarming price hikes and inflation, progress of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and law and order situation in the country”.

    This is the second time that the speaker has to summon the assembly session on the requisition of the opposition since the arrest of Mr Sharif by NAB on Oct 5 in connection with the investigations into Aashiyana housing scam.

    Earlier, the opposition had submitted the requisition notice hours after Mr Sharif’s arrest and the session was convened on Oct 17 for which Mr Sharif was especially brought to the Parliament House by NAB authorities from Lahore after issuance of his production order by the speaker.

    Later, the speaker again issued the production order of Mr Sharif for the regular session of the assembly which continued from Oct 29 to Nov 9.

    In his two speeches on the floor of the assembly, Mr Sharif had lashed out at NAB, alleging that there was an “unholy alliance” between the bureau and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and complaining that the bureau had been active only against PML-N people.

    Mr Sharif had also raised questions over a meeting between NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal and Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking the former to explain under what capacity he had met the prime minister, who was also facing investigations by NAB.

    New cases against ex-PM

    Sources in the PML-N said that the party members would also lodge a protest in the assembly over the government’s decision to forward four new cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family to NAB as well as against the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on charges of hiding their foreign assets, misuse of funds in erecting a security fence around the Raiwind residence of Sharifs; plundering of funds allocated for entertainment and gifts; unauthorised use of the prime minister’s aircraft by Maryam Nawaz and the then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

    Announcing the government’s decision in a news conference last week, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had alleged that a ‘hidden’ property of the Sharifs had been found in the United Kingdom. He had claimed that the government had collected documentary evidence of the property rent that the Sharif family used to receive from 2012 to 2016 for the property.

    The opposition parties, particularly the PML-N and the PPP, have been criticising NAB for the past one year for its alleged “one-sided accountability”. The opposition parties allege that NAB, which had been created by former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in 1999 through an ordinance, had always been used as a tool for carrying out political victimisation of opponents.

    The opposition members even submitted a “question of privilege” in the National Assembly and demanded immediate intervention of the house in the matter. The speaker did not first give weight to the opposition’s move, but later assured them that he would take up the matter with the NAB chairman.

    The opposition once again included the issue of alleged political victimisation by NAB on top of its agenda, indicating that the bureau would come under fire in the upcoming session as well.

    The opposition is already flexing its muscles to give a tough time to the government over the recent incidents, including the martyrdom of police officer Tahir Dawar in Afghanistan.

    Mr Dawar, who was chief of Peshawar police’s rural circle, was kidnapped in Islamabad on Oct 26, and his body was found later in the Afghan province of Nangarhar.

    Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018


    PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif is seen in this file photo.— FilePML-N president Shahbaz Sharif is seen in this file photo.— File

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    As the country celebrated Eid-i-Miladun Nabi on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the nation to make a "firm pledge that it will follow [the] life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in true spirit whilst rising above any petty interests".

    "He [PM Khan] urged countrymen to promote unity, tolerance, brotherhood and interfaith harmony," according to a tweet shared by the Government of Pakistan.

    President Arif Alvi's message said: "We should give preference to collective national and religious interests and bring positive change in our deeds and actions to transform the country in accordance with the state of Madina."

    While speaking at the two-day international Rehmatul-il-Alameen Conference at Islamabad's Jinnah Convention Centre, President Alvi shared teachings of the Prophet and how people could learn from them.

    Alvi said the Prophet was a great role model for mankind in every aspect of life and that "we should follow the golden teachings of the Prophet in their true spirit", reported Radio Pakistan.

    Appealing to everyone, including himself, the president wished he could embody the patience and forgiveness exemplified by the Prophet, so that "we could have mercy in the society", he said.

    The president also spoke of what he has "seen on the streets of Pakistan", saying while people are ready to give their life for 'Namoos-e-Risalat', they are not working on his 'uswah' [preachings].

    Eid-i-Miladun Nabi is being celebrated today with religious enthusiasm and solemnity across the country. Leaders from other political parties also shared messages on the occasion.

    PML-N shared messages from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and president of the party and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif.

    Nawaz in his message said that "our success in this world and the hereafter will come from following the teachings of the Prophet".

    According to Radio Pakistan, the day began with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in all the provincial capitals.

    The report added that special prayers were offered after Fajr for the unity of the Muslim community and for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

    Processions are also to be taken out in parts of the country.

    In Karachi, the main procession will be taken out from Memon Mosque and will culminate at Nishtar Park where the main Mehfil-i-Milad will be held, Radio Pakistan reported.

    Strict security measures have been taken to avoid any untoward incident.


    President Alvi  speaking at the two-day international Rehmatul-il-Alameen Conference at Islamabad's Jinnah Convention Centre. — DawnNewsTVPresident Alvi speaking at the two-day international Rehmatul-il-Alameen Conference at Islamabad's Jinnah Convention Centre. — DawnNewsTV

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    At least nine people were injured in an explosion inside a mosque in Balochistan's Chaman area on Wednesday evening, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The prayer leader (khateeb) of the mosque was among those injured in the blast that took place during maghrib prayers, police sources said. The mosque is located on Taj Road in Chaman, which lies near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

    Damage caused at the site of the explosion. — DawnNewsTV
    Damage caused at the site of the explosion. — DawnNewsTV

    The explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) hidden inside the mosque, police sources told DawnNewsTV. The blast was so powerful that it was heard far and wide.

    The injured were rushed to Civil Hospital Chaman for medical treatment where a state of emergency was imposed to treat the injured.

    TV footage following the blast showed smoke inside the mosque and shattered glass lying on carpets.

    Police, Levies and Frontier Corps officials cordoned off the site of the explosion. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.

    The incident comes on a day when Eid Miladun Nabi is being celebrated across the country. Strict security measures have been taken in connection with the processions being carried out today.

    Chaman is considered a sensitive town in Balochistan as it shares a border with Afghanistan's volatile Kandahar province.

    Earlier in August, one person was killed and 10 others, including two security personnel, were injured when an explosive device fitted in a motorcycle went off at Mall Road in Chaman.


    People are gathered inside the mosque where the blast took place. — DawnNewsTVPeople are gathered inside the mosque where the blast took place. — DawnNewsTV

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    Renowned political cartoonist and Dawn staffer Rafique Ahmed, better known as Feica, suffered a stroke after which he was hospitalised at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) on Wednesday.

    Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of Feica's illness and announced that the provincial government will bear the expenses of his treatment.

    Shah, according to his spokesperson, enquired AKUH doctors about Feica's health and prayed for his full recovery.

    Rafique Ahmed was born in 1957 in Multan and went to the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore. After graduating, he started working with several magazines and newspapers, including The Muslim, The Star, Dawn, Hurriyat and the Frontier Post.


    Rafique Ahmed, better known as Feica, is one of the most renowned political cartoonists in Pakistan. — FileRafique Ahmed, better known as Feica, is one of the most renowned political cartoonists in Pakistan. — File

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    A day after the clash between two ethnic groups at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), which left over a dozen people injured, the situation returned to normalcy following a successful round of talks between the protesting groups, DawnNewsTV reported on Wednesday.

    The representatives of Quaidian Student Federation (QSF) reportedly mediated talks between the two parties.

    Police officials along with the Station House Officer of Secretariat police station arrived outside the campus to keep the situation under control.

    The university administration did not file a first information report with the police. However, according to a letter sent to the Islamabad chief commissioner, a meeting was held between high-ranking officials of the varsity, chaired by QAU registrar, to decide future course of action.

    Members of the meeting, that included faculty deans, hostel provosts and resident officers, decided to take action against those responsible for the damage caused to the property of the university and teachers, and keep police on call.

    According to the letter written by the administration to the chief commissioner, a copy of which is available with DawnNewsTV, the situation was "tactfully brought to normalcy, at least for the time being" with the assistance of police, Rangers and security personnel on campus.

    The administration requested the Islamabad Capital Territory for reinforcements of police and Rangers as students had been seen carrying sticks on campus.

    On Tuesday night, violent clashes took place between students of two groups outside the hostels of QAU. The fight had started after a car allegedly hit a group of students belonging to one of the groups. The students alleged that the vehicle was driven by a student affiliated with their rival group and claimed it was a deliberate attempt.

    Students from both groups beat each other and also damaged public and private property, including vehicles. According to police, the groups were also in possession of weapons and fired shots.

    Shortly afterwards, students belonging to the group whose members had been hit by the car gathered in the open area in front of the hostels and started arguing with their rivals that later turned violent.

    The students from both the groups beat each other and also damaged public and private property, including vehicles.


    Cars damaged in clashes between student groups. — Photo provided by authorCars damaged in clashes between student groups. — Photo provided by author

    Cars damaged in clashes between student groups. — Photo provided by authorCars damaged in clashes between student groups. — Photo provided by author

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    At least two people were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near a vehicle in Bajaur tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday evening, a district official said.

    An improvised explosive device (IED) planted along the road by unidentified miscreants went off as the vehicle passed through the Charmang area of Bajaur's Nawagai tehsil, an official in the district's political administration told DawnNewsTV.

    Two people riding the vehicle, identified as Amanullah and Gul Badin, died as a result of the explosion. Their vehicle was also totalled by the impact.

    Security forces sealed the area — which lies close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — after the blast and started a search operation.

    This is the second reported incident of violence today, when Eid Miladun Nabi is being celebrated across the country. An IED explosion at a mosque in Balochistan's Chaman area left nine people injured, also in the evening.

    The blast in Bajaur comes days after a tribal elder was seriously wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Nawagai tehsil.

    Fencing of hundreds of kilometres of border areas along with Afghanistan’s Kunar province has been underway in Bajaur to secure Pakistan from cross-border terror attacks.

    The number of attacks in the country has fallen by around 70 per cent due to a combination of military offensives against Taliban bases along the Afghan border and government initiatives to tackle militancy, but attacks on security and civilian targets continue to occur occasionally.


    An IED planted along the road by unidentified miscreants went off as a vehicle passed through the Charmang area. — Reuters/FileAn IED planted along the road by unidentified miscreants went off as a vehicle passed through the Charmang area. — Reuters/File

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    Noted poet and prose writer Fahmida Riaz passed away on Wednesday evening in Lahore. She was 72.

    The eminent progressive writer, who was also hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature, had been suffering from illness for the past few months.

    She was also a human rights activist and the author of more than 15 books on fiction and poetry. Her collection of poetry includes ‘Patthar Ki Zaban’, ‘Dhoop’, ‘Pura Chand’, ‘Admi Ki Zindagi’ and more. Her novels include ‘Zinda Bahar’, ‘Godaavari’ and ‘Karachi’. She was famous for her revolutionary and contrary to tradition poetry.

    When Badan Dareeda, her second collection of verse, appeared in 1973, she was accused of using erotic and sensual expressions in her poetry. The themes prevalent in her verse were, until then, were considered taboo for women writers.

    Fahmida Raiz also contributed to the Urdu literature as a translator. Whether it was Ismail Kadare from Albania or Maulana Rumi, she was knowledgeable about world fiction and classical poetry.

    Born into a literary family of Meerut (India) in July 1946, Fahmida Riaz, in addition to her literary pursuits, always played an active role in social and political activities.

    She lived in self-exile for over six years in India when former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq ruled over Pakistan.

    She was appointed managing director of what was then the National Book Council of Pakistan during the first PPP government (1988-90). In Benazir Bhutto's second tenure as prime minister, she became associated with the ministry of culture.

    In 2009, she was appointed the chief editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board in Karachi.


    Fahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn ArchivesFahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn Archives

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    Noted poet and prose writer Fahmida Riaz passed away on Wednesday evening in Lahore. She was 72.

    The eminent progressive writer, who was also hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature, had been suffering from illness for the past few months.

    She was also a human rights activist and the author of more than 15 books on fiction and poetry. Her first literary work was published in 1967, titling ‘Pather Ki Zuban’. Her collection of poetry includes ‘Dhoop’, ‘Pura Chand’, ‘Admi Ki Zindagi’ and more. Her novels include ‘Zinda Bahar’, ‘Godaavari’ and ‘Karachi’. She was famous for her revolutionary and contrary to tradition poetry.

    When Badan Dareeda, her second collection of verse, appeared in 1973, she was accused of using erotic and sensual expressions in her poetry. The themes prevalent in her verse were, until then, were considered taboo for women writers.

    Fahmida Raiz also contributed to the Urdu literature as a translator. Whether it was Ismail Kadare from Albania or Maulana Rumi, she was knowledgeable about world fiction and classical poetry.

    Born into a literary family of Meerut (India) in July 1946, Fahmida Riaz, in addition to her literary pursuits, always played an active role in social and political activities.

    She lived in self-exile for over six years in India when former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq ruled over Pakistan.

    She was appointed managing director of what was then the National Book Council of Pakistan during the first PPP government (1988-90). In Benazir Bhutto's second tenure as prime minister, she became associated with the ministry of culture.

    In 2009, she was appointed the chief editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board in Karachi.

    Condolences pour in

    PML-N spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb expressed sorrow over the demise of Fahmida Riaz and termed it a loss not only for literature but also for democracy. The former information minister praised the progressive writer for her work. “Fahmida Riaz had worked sincerely throughout her life for the rights of women,” she said.

    Famous writer Kamila Shamsie also expressed grief over the death of Famida Riaz and termed her "one of the brightest of lights in the dark days" of dictatorship.


    Fahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn ArchivesFahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn Archives

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who is in the United Kingdom for a week-long visit, has said that construction of dams is imperative for Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported on Thursday.

    The chief justice while, talking to British parliamentarians of Pakistani origin in London, said that funds are required to construct Diamer Bhasha Dam. He said that the unresolved water crisis will force the people to migrate from the country if not addressed.

    Justice Saqib Nisar also visited the British Parliament yesterday. Separately, he participated in a reception held in his honour by the lawyers of central London.

    He praised the role of overseas Pakistanis for their parent country and told the audience of the reception that overseas Pakistanis play a crucial role to stabilise the country's economy.

    Talking about Pakistan's current situation, the chief justice said that the country is prospering and justice is available on equal basis to all castes and creeds. He added that he is the chief justice of the entire country and not of a particular party or sect. "Requirements of justice are being fulfilled in the country," he added.

    Justice Saqib Nisar's visit to the UK is aimed at raising funds for construction of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams. He is expected to return on Nov 28.

    The Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams fund has so far received Rs7.9 billion.

    On July 4, the apex court had issued directives that the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams should start immediately, and appealed to the Pakistanis — including those residing abroad — to donate for the cause.

    The court had formed a committee to monitor the progress of construction and directed that an account be opened with the SC's registrar in which all donations will be collected. It also said that all those donating for the cause will not be asked of their sources of income.

    The chief justice had initiated the donation process by announcing Rs1 million donation for the cause during the hearing of a case pertaining to the construction of Kalabagh dam.

    "It was said that 'even the Supreme Court's father' cannot construct dams," the CJP had noted, reminding the naysayers that the Constitution had given the court the power to make it happen.


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar during his interaction with British Parliamentarians of Pakistan heritage at the Houses of Parliament today.— Photo Release by Pakistan High CommissionChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar during his interaction with British Parliamentarians of Pakistan heritage at the Houses of Parliament today.— Photo Release by Pakistan High Commission

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    Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif was presented before a Lahore accountability court on Thursday for National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for his transit remand.

    Accountability court judge Syed Najmul Hassan is hearing NAB's request.

    This is the third time NAB is requesting for the PML-N president's transit remand. On November 10, Shahbaz's physical remand was extended until Nov 24. Earlier, on November 6, an accountability court in Islamabad had extended his transit remand until Nov 10.

    National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has issued a production order for a third time to enable the leader of the opposition to attend the upcoming session of the lower house of parliament starting from Friday, sources told Dawn on Tuesday.

    The session has been summoned by the speaker on the requisition of the opposition which wanted to discuss a number of issues, including the alleged political victimisation of the government’s opponents by NAB.

    The opposition submitted the requisition notice signed by 88 members soon after the prorogation of the assembly on Nov 9. The opposition has submitted a five-point agenda with the notice for discussion during the requisitioned session.

    The agenda includes a discussion on “use of NAB as a tool for political coercion, government’s 100-day performance, economic situation in the country, especially the alarming price hikes and inflation, progress of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and law and order situation in the country”.

    This is the second time that the speaker has had to summon the assembly session on the requisition of the opposition since the Shahbaz's arrest by NAB on Oct 5.

    Security arrangements have been tightened today and a large contingency of police have been deployed around the accountability court.

    Roads leading to the court have also been closed with containers.

    Allegations against Sharif

    According to a NAB notice sent to the former Punjab chief minister on January 16, 2018, Sharif is accused of ordering the cancellation of award of contract of Ashiana-i-Iqbal to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons, and engineering the award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, which resulted in the loss of approximately Rs193 million.

    He is also accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), resulting in the award of contract to Lahore Casa Developers, causing a loss of Rs715m and the ultimate failure of the project.

    NAB has also accused Sharif of directing the PLDC to award the consultancy services of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab (ECSP) for Rs 192m while the actual cost was supposed to be Rs35m as quoted by Nespak.


    Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif arriving at a Lahore accountability court on Thursday in light of the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for his transit remand. — DawnNewsTVLeader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif arriving at a Lahore accountability court on Thursday in light of the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for his transit remand. — DawnNewsTV

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    At least two people were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near a vehicle in Bajaur tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday evening, a district official said.

    An improvised explosive device (IED) planted along the road by unidentified miscreants went off as the vehicle passed through the Charmang area of Bajaur's Nawagai tehsil, an official in the district's political administration told DawnNewsTV.

    Two people riding the vehicle, identified as Amanullah and Gul Badin, died as a result of the explosion. Their vehicle was also totalled by the impact.

    Security forces sealed the area — which lies close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — after the blast and started a search operation.

    This is the second reported incident of violence today, when Eid Miladun Nabi is being celebrated across the country. An IED explosion at a mosque in Balochistan's Chaman area left nine people injured, also in the evening.

    The blast in Bajaur comes days after a tribal elder was seriously wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Nawagai tehsil.

    Fencing of hundreds of kilometres of border areas along with Afghanistan’s Kunar province has been underway in Bajaur to secure Pakistan from cross-border terror attacks.

    The number of attacks in the country has fallen by around 70 per cent due to a combination of military offensives against Taliban bases along the Afghan border and government initiatives to tackle militancy, but attacks on security and civilian targets continue to occur occasionally.


    An IED planted along the road by unidentified miscreants went off as a vehicle passed through the Charmang area. — Reuters/FileAn IED planted along the road by unidentified miscreants went off as a vehicle passed through the Charmang area. — Reuters/File

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    An accountability court in Lahore on Thursday approved the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for a seven-day remand of the Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif.

    The PML-N president appeared before the accountability court where Judge Syed Najmul Hassan was hearing NAB's request.

    Insisting that he had not committed any corruption, Shahbaz told the court that NAB had not achieved anything from all the physical remands granted so far.

    The NAB prosecutor objected, saying that today the merit of the case was not being discussed — only the request for the transit remand.

    Shahbaz told the court that his family was not given permission to meet him this week despite the court giving an order.

    "I told NAB that meeting [them] is my right, it is not some favour. But NAB did not let me meet my family," he said.

    NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua in response implied that no one had come to meet Shahbaz.

    The court ordered the director general (DG) NAB to allow Shahbaz to meet his family according to the law and added that a meeting should be arranged once a week.

    The court also ordered that Shahbaz's medical check up be conducted.

    Third transit remand

    This is the third time NAB requested Shahbaz's transit remand. On November 10, Shahbaz's physical remand was extended until Nov 24. Earlier, on November 6, an accountability court in Islamabad had extended his transit remand until Nov 10.

    During the hearing today, the NAB prosecutor asked for a seven-day transit remand of the PML-N president, which was approved.

    Janjua said that the speaker of the National Assembly had issued production orders for Shahbaz and added that his physical remand was ending on Nov 24.

    The PML-N president's lawyer said that NAB should be given transit remand of Shahbaz till Nov 24, adding that a seven-day transit remand was not required.

    The lawyer said that when Shahbaz's physical remand ends, he will be presented in the Islamabad accountability court.

    Janjua said that if the NA session ends before Nov 24, Shahbaz should be presented in Lahore.

    The court inquired how long the session was, to which Shahbaz responded, "I have neither a newspaper nor a TV, I don't know".

    NA Speaker Asad Qaiser had issued a production order for a third time to enable the leader of the opposition to attend the upcoming session of the lower house of parliament starting from Friday, sources told Dawn on Tuesday.

    The session has been summoned by the speaker on the requisition of the opposition which wanted to discuss a number of issues, including the alleged political victimisation of the government’s opponents by NAB.

    The opposition submitted the requisition notice signed by 88 members soon after the prorogation of the assembly on Nov 9. The opposition has submitted a five-point agenda with the notice for discussion during the requisitioned session.

    The agenda includes a discussion on “use of NAB as a tool for political coercion, government’s 100-day performance, economic situation in the country, especially the alarming price hikes and inflation, progress of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and law and order situation in the country”.

    This is the second time that the speaker has had to summon the assembly session on the requisition of the opposition since the Shahbaz's arrest by NAB on Oct 5.

    Security arrangements have been tightened today and a large contingency of police have been deployed around the accountability court.

    Roads leading to the court have also been closed with containers.

    Allegations against Sharif

    According to a NAB notice sent to the former Punjab chief minister on January 16, 2018, Sharif is accused of ordering the cancellation of award of contract of Ashiana-i-Iqbal to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons, and engineering the award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, which resulted in the loss of approximately Rs193 million.

    He is also accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), resulting in the award of contract to Lahore Casa Developers, causing a loss of Rs715m and the ultimate failure of the project.

    NAB has also accused Sharif of directing the PLDC to award the consultancy services of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab (ECSP) for Rs 192m while the actual cost was supposed to be Rs35m as quoted by Nespak.


    Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif arriving at a Lahore accountability court on Thursday in light of the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for his transit remand. — DawnNewsTVLeader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif arriving at a Lahore accountability court on Thursday in light of the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for his transit remand. — DawnNewsTV

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    Noted poet and prose writer Fahmida Riaz passed away on Wednesday evening in Lahore. She was 72.

    Her funeral will be held after Asr prayers in Lahore's Askari 1 area on Thursday.

    The eminent progressive writer, who was also hailed by many as a pioneer in feminist literature, had been suffering from illness for the past few months.

    Apart from authoring more than 15 books on fiction and poetry, she was also a human rights activist. Her first literary work was published in 1967, titling ‘Pather Ki Zuban’. Her collection of poetry includes ‘Dhoop’, ‘Pura Chand’, ‘Admi Ki Zindagi’ and more. Her novels include ‘Zinda Bahar’, ‘Godaavari’ and ‘Karachi’. She was famous for her revolutionary and contrary to tradition poetry.

    When Badan Dareeda, her second collection of verse, appeared in 1973, she was accused of using erotic and sensual expressions in her poetry. The themes prevalent in her verse were, until then, considered taboo for women writers.

    Fahmida Raiz also contributed to the Urdu literature as a translator. Whether it was Ismail Kadare from Albania or Maulana Rumi, she was knowledgeable about world fiction and classical poetry.

    Born into a literary family of Meerut (India) in July 1946, Fahmida Riaz, in addition to her literary pursuits, always played an active role in social and political activities.

    She lived in self-exile for over six years in India when former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq ruled over Pakistan.

    She was appointed managing director of what was then the National Book Council of Pakistan during the first PPP government (1988-90). In Benazir Bhutto's second tenure as prime minister, she became associated with the ministry of culture.

    In 2009, she was appointed the chief editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board in Karachi.

    Condolences pour in

    PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb expressed sorrow over the demise of Fahmida Riaz and termed it a loss not only for literature but also for democracy. The former information minister praised the progressive writer for her work. “Fahmida Riaz had worked sincerely throughout her life for the rights of women,” she said.

    Famous writer Kamila Shamsie also expressed grief over the death of Riaz, calling her "one of the brightest of lights in the dark days" of dictatorship.

    PPP Senator Sherry Rehman on Thursday expressed sadness at Riaz's passing. "She was a poet, activist and feminist in times of profound darkness for the free, creative voice. Her challenge to patriarchy was never ambiguous. May she rest in peace," shared Rehman on Twitter.

    Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also paid tribute to Riaz's work, saying: "Her poetry challenged traditionalism at so many levels as she reflected the voice and emotions of women unchained. Her sensitivity and often sensuality of expression was unique."


    Fahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn ArchivesFahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn Archives

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    Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shehzad Akbar has said that the government has signed agreements with 10 countries to bring "the looted money of the nation" back, Radio Pakistan reported on Thursday.

    Akbar, while speaking to a private news channel, said that the government has gathered important information about the money and that the details about the Rs700 billion "looted public money" will be shared with the nation through media in due time.

    He said that the government will continue the due process of accountability and that a legal process is underway to "bring back the looted money stashed away abroad".

    The prime minister's special assistant also said that the government will protect the interests of overseas Pakistanis and the business community will be facilitated for boosting economic activities in the country.

    A day earlier, while addressing overseas Pakistanis in Malaysia, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also spoken about the efforts being made to facilitate expats in contributing to the country's economy.


    PM's Special Assistant on Accountability Shehzad Akbar says legal process underway to PM's Special Assistant on Accountability Shehzad Akbar says legal process underway to "bring back money stashed abroad". — APP/File

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    Former minister for interior Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday lashed out at the PTI-led government, claiming that it was "running a propaganda against Pakistan abroad".

    The PML-N leader made these comments a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Malaysia where the premier had mentioned that the newly formed government in Islamabad has found itself in a situation where it was facing "unprecedented debt".

    Prime Minister Khan, while addressing a joint press conference with Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, also said that the nation had elected his government and given them [PTI] the mandate of ending corruption.

    "We fear that this propaganda being run by the government will negatively impact the efforts made by our government over the past five years," Iqbal said while addressing the media in Karachi today.

    A similar allegation was made by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday, who said: "When PM Khan speaks [about Pakistan] abroad, he forgets that he is representing the nation there."

    "Imran Khan is facing a lot of problems within and outside Pakistan, which is why he wants his political opponents to be demonised," added the PPP leader while addressing a press conference in in Gilgit-Baltistan.

    CPEC

    "I was the minister in-charge of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and I challenge Imran Khan to use the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) to bring weight to his claims that CPEC projects were not transparent. Tell us where corruption took place in CPEC projects," Iqbal prodded during his talk today.

    "When you [Imran Khan] went to China, you praised the CPEC projects greatly, you said that the energy projects under CPEC are going to help Pakistan greatly. However, here [in Pakistan] you stood in the assembly and flung mud on the project we had started under it."

    "Who do you stand with? Are you with Pakistan and CPEC or are you with this nation's opponents who want to make the project controversial so that it fails.

    "Our hands are clean and we will not be scared away by your threats and if you think that you will be able to hide your own incompetence behind the veil of our arrests, then you are wrong.

    "A man who had not even run a union council has been made the prime minister through a conspiracy and we will prove to the nation that an inexperienced person will remain an anaari (inexperienced)," Iqbal continued.

    "Do not be afraid, we do not want to topple your government; in fact we want you to expose your incompetence fully to the world.

    "You have your time; deliver and show your worth to the world," Iqbal concluded.


    PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal addressing the media in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTVPML-N's Ahsan Iqbal addressing the media in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

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