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    Niaz Muhammad and his son Zahir Shah — who lost their lives in a foiled terror attack at the Chinese consulate in Karachi— were laid to rest in Quetta on Saturday.

    On Friday, three heavily armed militants were shot dead in an encounter with law enforcers during a gun-and-grenade attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi. The attack also claimed the lives of two police officials.

    According to preliminary investigation, the three armed men came out of a white Suzuki Liana car around 9:30am after parking it near the consulate. As they proceeded towards the consulate with Kalashnikov in their hands, two policemen posted at a checkpoint opened fire on them. CCTV footage showed that the attackers became panicky and resorted to a grenade attack.

    Two of the attackers then moved towards the visa facility near the reception area of the consulate. A private guard immediately shut the main gate while a female official of the consulate closed the door of the visa facility area. In an attempt to break open the armoured gate, the militants resorted to heavy firing, leaving the two visa applicants — Niaz Muhammad, 55, and his son, Zahir Shah, 25 — dead.

    Niaz Muhammad (right) and his son Zahir Shah (left) were laid to rest in Quetta on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
    Niaz Muhammad (right) and his son Zahir Shah (left) were laid to rest in Quetta on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

    The father and son were applying for Chinese visas for business purposes. The two, who were from Quetta's Pashtun Abad area, had been doing business in clothing with China for over a decade.

    The funeral prayers for the duo were offered in Quetta's Eastern bypass area on Saturday. A large number of people participated in the prayers.

    Muhammad leaves behind his wife, seven daughters and three sons.

    "Since morning, there has been mourning in our house," a visibly emotional Habibur Rehman, Muhammad's younger brother, told DawnNewsTV.

    Rehman criticised the Sindh government for not cooperating with them. He said that the government had not provided any ambulance services and they had brought the bodies of their loved ones to Quetta themselves.

    Rehman also complained that no one from the the Balochistan government had contacted them "to extend any support".

    No MPA or official from the Balochistan government or Sindh government had attended the funeral prayers of the father and son, Rehman said.

    When contacted, central leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Noor Muhammad Dumar, expressed "deep sorrow over the loss of precious human lives in Karachi".

    He admitted that officials had failed to participate in the funeral prayers of the victims.

    Dumar said that very soon an official delegation from the Balochistan government will meet the bereaved family to offer condolences.

    Shortly after Friday's attack, Prime Minister Imran Khan had strongly condemned the incident and said: "Such incidents will never be able to undermine Pak-China relationship that is mightier than Himalaya and deeper than Arabian sea".

    Other political leaders, including Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif, had also condemned the attack.

    ‘Suicide mission’

    CTD officer Raja Umar Khattab, who is investigating the case, said the militants did not wear ‘suicide jackets’ though it appeared they were on a ‘suicide mission’ as they intended to kill and die. Timely action of the police and other law enforcers ‘foiled’ their bid to enter the consulate, he believed.

    “If they had succeeded in entering the consulate, they might have caused more damage,” apprehended the official.

    Khattab believed that the banned insurgent group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) was involved in the attack, who claimed responsibility before the operation was even over.

    According to him, the assault bears resemblance to an attack on the Chinese nationals in Balochistan some months ago when the suspects had used an explosive-laden vehicle to target their vehicle but missed it.

    Ambulance volunteers transport a body in front of the Chinese consulate after an attack in Karachi on November 23. — AFPAmbulance volunteers transport a body in front of the Chinese consulate after an attack in Karachi on November 23. — AFP

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    The Pakistan Railways (PR) will begin a "grand operation" from Monday for the removal of encroachments along both tracks of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), officials said.

    The decision was taken after Justice Gulzar Ahmed of the Supreme Court ordered authorities to immediately removed encroachments from railway lines and revive the KCR.

    Justice Ahmed, who was chairing a meeting at the apex court’s Karachi registry, said time should no longer be wasted in the revival of the KCR, which was abandoned around two decades ago.

    Examined: Encroach if rich

    Railways officials told DawnNewsTV they have already started the implementation of SC's orders and that they "will ensure the end of all encroachments".

    Justice Ahmed, who is the acting Chief Justice of Pakistan in the absence of Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had last week directed the city's deputy commissioners to remove encroachments to clear the route of the KCR as well as the land in their respective areas after the divisional superintendent of PR said that most of its land was encroached upon.

    The KCR was commissioned in 1964, originally to help employees of the Pakistan Railways travel between their jobs — at and around the City and Cantonment railway stations — and their residences in Karachi’s eastern neighbourhoods. The service became a full circle of 44km in 1970 and connected Karachi’s four main work areas: the port, the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE), the city’s central commercial areas such as Saddar and the Landhi Industrial Area.

    The KCR remained the public transport of choice for the people of Karachi till 1984 when the number of its trains was reduced. Reasons for the move included lack of maintenance and repair, a yawning gap between rising expenditure due to higher fuel and operational costs and decreasing revenue due to subsidised tickets and the government’s inability to spend money on the improvement of tracks and stations.

    According to the Karachi Mass Transit Cell, the number of level crossings — points where a railway line crosses a road or any other thoroughfare — also increased in the city, causing KCR trains to take longer to complete their journey. At one stage, there were 34 level crossings on the KCR route.

    The KCR finally shut down in 1999, forcing thousands of its daily users to travel by buses.

    Ever since the KCR was abandoned nearly two decades ago, its tracks and stations have been encroached upon across the city, as seen here in Nazimabad.— White Star/FileEver since the KCR was abandoned nearly two decades ago, its tracks and stations have been encroached upon across the city, as seen here in Nazimabad.— White Star/File

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    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman said on Saturday that the terror attacks in Karachi and Orakzai tribal district yesterday "are part of the same conspiracy" and that "foreign elements are involved who want to destabilise the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) project".

    The governor along with Corps Commander Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar and Inspector General Frontier Corps Maj Gen Rahat Naseem Ahmed visited the site of the blast in lower Orakzai district which claimed 34 lives.

    The explosion, which according to officials was a suicide bombing, took place near an imambargah on Friday morning.

    While talking to reporters, Governor Farman said stern action would be taken against the culprits behind the attack.

    Lt Gen Mazhar confirmed that the blast was a suicide attack and that 12 kilogrammes of explosives had been used.

    The lower Orakzai area, formerly an agency, is situated near the Hangu district, and the explosion took place in main Kalaya bazaar of the district.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan had "strongly condemned" the terrorist attack in Orakzai as well as the one foiled on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi.

    He labelled the twin attacks "a planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper".

    "Let there be no doubt in anyone's mind that we will crush the terrorists, whatever it takes," he had affirmed on Twitter soon after the attacks.

    KP Governor Shah Farman says KP Governor Shah Farman says "foreign elements are involved behind the Karachi and Orakzai attacks who want to destabilise the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) project". —Dawn archives

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    As the investigation into Friday’s attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi made headway on Saturday, police officials suspected Harbiyar Marri, the exiled leader of the banned Balochistan Liberation (BLA), of being the mastermind of the deadly assault that left two policemen and as many civilians dead.

    Police officials say the attack, carried out with the assistance of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was an attempt to strike against the growing diplomatic and economic relations between China and Pakistan.

    In a case registered by the Sindh police’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) against Marri and 12 of his aides, including BLA commander Aslam 'Acchu' alias Miraq Baloch, investigators said their initial findings had shown that the attack was "a failed and shameful attempt to harm the Pakistan-China relationship".

    Editorial: Friday's Karachi, Orakzai attacks bloodily underline that Pakistan is still facing complex militant threats

    According to the first information report (FIR) registered by CTD police on behalf of the state through Boat Basin Station House Officer under charges of murder and terrorism, etc., “BLA accepted the responsibility for the attack and identified three slain militants along with their pictures as Azal Khan Baloch, Razik Baloch and Rais Baloch.”

    “The BLA is supported by Indian agency RAW,” reads the application written by SHO Boat Basin with the FIR.

    The 13 masterminds and facilitators of the attack as listed in the FIR include Harbiyar Marri, Aslam alias 'Acchu', Bashir Zeb, Noor Bux Mengal, Karim Marri, Capt Rehman Gul, Nisar, Gaindi, Sheikhu, Sharif, Hamal, Munshi and Agha Sherdil.

    According to the FIR, the militants involved in the attack remained in continuous touch with the said persons during the assault.

    Apart from explosive material, arms and ammunition, a BLA flag was also recovered from the possession of the three killed militants.

    A BDS official checks a bag belonging to an attacker outside the Chinese consulate in Karachi on Friday. —AFPA BDS official checks a bag belonging to an attacker outside the Chinese consulate in Karachi on Friday. —AFP

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    LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has launched investigation into the affairs of the OPF Housing Scheme (Overseas Pakistanis Foundation) on charges of fraud.

    According to a NAB spokesperson, the bureau has started a probe against the OPF Housing Scheme Phase-I (Extension) administration after receiving complaints that it had sold more plots than the land available in the society. The complainants said they were not being given their plots despite paying the amount.

    He said the NAB had asked other affectees of the scheme to file their claims with it within the next two weeks. He said claims would not be entertained submitted after two weeks.

    REFERENCE: The bureau has decided to file a reference against former Sargodha University vice chancellor and five others for illegally opening sub-campuses in Lahore and Mandi Bahauddin and embezzling millions of rupees.

    “The NAB will file the reference against former VC University of Sargodha Muhammad Akram, former registrar retired Brig Rao Jamil, Lahore campus former CEO Mian Javed, Mandi Bauddin sub-campus CEO Waris and his partner Naeem and former director admin Akram next month,” an official told Dawn.

    He said none of the suspects had so far sought for plea bargain.

    The suspects are accused of opening illegal campuses and extorting millions of rupees from students who suffered a great deal as they could not get degrees. Following a series of protests by students, the chief justice of Pakistan had taken a suo motu of the matter and directed NAB to investigate it.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Investigation underway after complaints of the scheme having sold more plots than the land available in the society. — FileInvestigation underway after complaints of the scheme having sold more plots than the land available in the society. — File

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    LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has failed to appoint regular chairmen of seven boards of intermediate and secondary education in the province, while it is completing its first 100 days.

    Almost all important and top posts of BS-19 and BS-20 in education boards in Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Bahawalpur are lying vacant for the past over one and a half years and ad hocism is reigning supreme. The boards have conducted matriculation and intermediate as well as their supplementary examinations without the top boss in the office.

    Punjab Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun says the department had evolved selection criteria for boards’ chairmen afresh besides forming a search committee for the purpose.

    Slots lying vacant for last one and half years

    Answering a question that the department had not yet issued an advertisement to begin the process [for selection], Mr Humayun said, “We have sent a summary to the chief minister and waiting for its return with our fingers crossed.”

    It may be mentioned that the minister had told Dawn in the beginning of October that the boards would have regular chairmen by the first week of November.

    Divisional commissioners also served as [respective] seven boards acting chairmen but most of them never attended [boards] offices that halted boards’ important as well as sensitive working. However, they charged their dues accordingly and [in some cases] got late-sitting allowances – without any accountability.

    Early this month, the Punjab governor had [for the first time] intervened in the boards’ affairs and ordered relieving divisional commissioners of the additional charge. He offered additional charge of Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Sargodha boards’ chairmen to colleges’ principals serving in BS-20, while the Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sahiwal and Multan boards’ chairmen office charge was given to respective boards’ secretaries serving in BS-19.

    The order says that the acting chairmen have been appointed for a period of four months or till the arrival of a regular incumbent, whichever is earlier.

    Since there is no permanent solution to the problem, a new debate has begun in boards as to how a person can hold the posts of board secretary and chairman simultaneously as the earlier one is a procurement and procedural authority and the latter is sanctioning authority. “Who will maintain check and balance?” a board official asked.

    The official says the boards have suffered a serious setback owing to suspension of active working in boards that range from procurements to make arrangements and hold examinations as well as mark papers in a fair and transparent manner.

    The official says the boards’ budgets remained stuck, vehicles parked without repair and maintenance.

    During the PML-N rule, the Punjab higher education department had tried to induct bureaucrats as boards’ chairmen while offering them MP-I scale. It twice advertised the [chairmen] posts during the second half of 2017 but even the lucrative salary package could not woo the bureaucrats. The then higher education department secretary had believed that only sharp and ingenious bureaucrats could take the education boards a few notches up.

    While the bureaucrats did not show interest, the search committee had shortlisted and interviewed the candidates from amongst the senior and experienced educationists and submitted its recommendations in favour of top candidates. The department had, however, aborted the whole selection process leaving the education boards struggling without their heads.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Slots lying vacant for past year and a half; ad hocism is reigning supreme. — APP/FileSlots lying vacant for past year and a half; ad hocism is reigning supreme. — APP/File

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday said he had directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to conduct a security audit of all diplomatic missions and provide bulletproof jackets to the policemen deployed there.

    “We are also working to accomplish the safe city project on a war-footing basis,” he said while speaking to Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, who called on him here at the CM House.

    Consul General Wang Yu, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IG Dr Kaleem Imam and principal secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro were also present at the meeting.

    Mr Shah said the force deployed at Sindh-Balochistan border had been instructed to strengthen their security and checking mechanism.

    “Sindh and Balochistan governments are jointly working to keep an eye on the movement of terrorists and outlaws at the [inter-provincial] borders,” he said.

    He said China and Pakistan were tested friends and important development partners and the attack on the Chinese consulate general in Karachi was carried out because the friendship of the two neighbours was not tolerable to “enemies”.

    A spokesperson for the CM House said that the Chinese envoy appreciated the efforts and timely operation of the provincial government.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    “We are also working to accomplish the safe city project on a war-footing basis,” says Sindh CM. — Screengrab“We are also working to accomplish the safe city project on a war-footing basis,” says Sindh CM. — Screengrab

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    HYDERABAD: Leaders of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (PST) and its allied parties have distanced themselves from Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pak­istan’s (TLP) call for coun­trywide protest on Nov 25 and said they were never part of TLP.

    Speaking at a hurriedly-called press conference at the local press club on Saturday, Khalid Hassan Attari, Imran Soharwardi, Allama Jawad Raza Barkati, Allama Muharram Din Qadri and others said that they condemned hate speeches by TLP head Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

    They demanded immediate release of activists of Tanzeemat-i-Ahle Sunnat, a conglomerate of various religious parties including Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, Darul Uloom Ahsanul Barkat, Dargah Syedna Sakhi Abdul Wahab Shah Jilani Trust and Paigham-i-Mustafa.

    They called for stopping crackdown against their parties and said that around six activists of PST and other parties had been arrested by Rangers and police since Friday night soon after the arrest of TLP chief.

    They said that they condemned hate speeches by TLP chief and terrorist attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi. They had always remained staunch supporters of Pak army and never used objectionable language against institutions of the state, they said.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Demand immediate release of activists of Tanzeemat-i-Ahle Sunnat.Demand immediate release of activists of Tanzeemat-i-Ahle Sunnat.

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    LAHORE: After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tweet about arranging makeshift shelters for the homeless, the Punjab government has sprung into action and erected tents at three different locations in the city to accommodate such people.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the first “Panah Gah” in front of the city railway station on Nov 10, announcing that four more such shelters would be established in Lahore at Icchra, Chauburji, Data Darbar and Shahdra for the homeless where they would also be provided with food.

    The prime minister had called this initiative “first step towards transforming Pakistan into a welfare state”.

    Though work on the first shelter had begun, no one from the government had come forward to offer relief to the poor homeless people who became more vulnerable with the advent of winter.

    The prime minister intervened and tweeted: “I have asked CM Punjab to set up tents for people sleeping on footpaths and provide them food until the Panah Gahs (shelters) are built, as the weather is turning increasingly cold”.

    The PM also stated in the same tweet that Panah Gah spots were also being established in Peshawar and Karachi.

    Following the tweet, the chief minister ordered his workforce to immediately set up makeshift shelters at Data Darbar, Railway Station and Thokar Larry Adda and provide quilts and food to the homeless.

    People at the Panah Gah and on social media appreciated the step to help the homeless.

    The prime minister has stressed the poor and the homeless needed to be protected and taken care of and added that the PTI government was committed to building a social net for them so that everyone had a shelter and access to health and education. He said those coming to the Panah Gahs represented the voiceless who were not even voters. He said the visitors should also be offered food.

    He added that a Board of Governors (BoG) would oversee the maintenance and functioning of these centres. The BoG will finalise the policy for the shelter homes.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the first “Panah Gah” in front of the city railway station on Nov 10. — White StarPrime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the first “Panah Gah” in front of the city railway station on Nov 10. — White Star

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    TARBELA: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday showered praise on the Special Service Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army, calling it the best special force of the world.

    The army chief said the SSG had proved this through professional performance and great sacrifices rendered with sweat and blood.

    This he said at the SSG headquarters that he visited on Saturday in connection with the installation ceremony of the group’s colonel commandant.

    Earlier upon arrival, the COAS laid a wreath at the Martyrs Monument, according to a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations.

    Maj Gen Abid Rafiq was installed as the first colonel commandant of the SSG.

    Talking to the guests including serving and retired officers and men of the SSG, Gen Bajwa hailed their unmatched contributions, especially during counterterrorism operations.

    The SSG, he said, was the best special force of the world and they had proved this through their excellent performance.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

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    DADU: The Supreme Court-appointed commission on drinking water and drainage in Sindh on Saturday took notice of inordinate delay in completion of a water supply scheme at Machhi Mori and directed departments concerned to stop payment to a contractor of an under-construction drainage scheme.

    Retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who heads the one-man commission, visited the scheme’s site and asked public health engineering department’s engineer Nazeer Ahmed Shaikh why work on the ponds had not been started yet.

    He observed that even after Rs82 million had been released to the contractor, the work had not moved ahead from the position he had witnessed during his previous visit. No rehabilitation work of the scheme had been carried out either as directed earlier, he said.

    Dadu Municipal Committee chairman Ghulam Mustafa Brohi said the work had been delayed as the water supply scheme had been redesigned and it would now be connected with the old water supply scheme of the city at Dua Chowk so that it did not get mixed with sewerage lines.

    Justice Muslim directed DC Salim Raza Khuhro and PHE engineer Shaikh to prepare a PC-1 for the scheme and said that care must be taken to ensure that fresh water did not mix with old sewers. The scheme should be completed at the earliest, he said.

    He visited under-construction drainage disposal scheme at police headquarters and along embankments of Dadu Canal and was shocked to see sewage and human waste being released into the canal at Dodani Shaikh and Shahjhan Park.

    He directed the municipal committee chairman Ghulam Mustafa Brohi to immediately stop releasing the city’s sewage into the canal and ordered him to remove all drains and stop payment to the contractor of the drainage scheme.

    He advised the officers concerned to shift the drainage scheme to a suitable spot because it happened to be near the sites for IBA College, district headquarters hospital and Dadu campus which would also have their residential colonies, hence the present site was not suitable for drainage disposal ponds.

    District sessions Judge Jamshed Ahmed Awan and Deputy Commissioner Raja Shah­zaman Khuhro also accompanied Justice Muslim during the visit.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Commission tells municipal committee to immediately stop releasing the city’s sewage into the Dadu Canal. — Dawn/FileCommission tells municipal committee to immediately stop releasing the city’s sewage into the Dadu Canal. — Dawn/File

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday came down hard on the counsel for two leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement over their absence during the hearing of two cases pertaining to allegedly facilitating an incendiary speech of party founder Altaf Hussain.

    Several senior leaders, including Dr Farooq Sattar, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Qamar Mansoor, Rehan Hashmi, Amir Khan and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, along with nearly 200 party workers have been booked in around 26 identical cases.

    Two ATCs have indicted them in 23 identical cases so far.

    On Saturday, the ATC-X judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, took up two identical cases registered at the Sohrab Goth police station.

    All the accused were present, except Mayor Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui.

    Confessional statement of suspect in May 12 case recorded

    Defence counsel Irshad Bandhani moved an application pleading to exempt the mayor from personal appearance for one day, assuring the court that he would appear on the next date.

    Defence counsel Shaukat Hayat and Abid Zaman also moved an application submitting that their client, Rauf Siddiqui, was visiting Saudi Arabia for renewal of his wife’s iqama after obtaining proper permission from the ATC-I judge and pleaded for one-day exemption from appearance.

    The judge came down hard on the counsel for not producing the court’s order allowing the suspect to travel abroad.

    While allowing both applications, the judge warned them that the interim bail granted to Mayor Akhtar in the case would be cancelled if he failed to appear in court on the next date of hearing.

    The judge also expressed extreme displeasure over the absence of Inspector Nusrat, the investigating officer of both the cases, without properly intimating the court.

    A police official had informed the court that the IO could not attend the court since he had undergone an eye surgery and was currently under treatment in a private hospital. However, no medical certificate was produced in this regard.

    The court directed the official to submit a medical certificate regarding his purported surgery.

    In the previous hearing, the court had summoned the IO to record his statement on an ‘A’ class report submitted by him, seeking closure of one of the two pending cases.

    Around 26 identical FIRs were registered against the MQM leaders and workers under relevant sections of the law at different police stations in the city.

    Confessional statement of jailed ‘MQM man’ recorded

    A judicial magistrate on Saturday recorded the confessional statement of a suspect in a case pertaining to the May 12, 2007 mayhem.

    The suspect, Mirza Rizwan Baig alias Chapati, has been booked in one of the cases pertaining to violence, rioting, attempted murder and terrorism.

    Mayor Akhtar is also among 20 accused who have been booked in two identical cases under relevant sections of the law registered at the Airport police station in 2007.

    Last week, an ATC allowed the IO to grill the suspect in prison in connection with the May 12 mayhem. The suspect was initially arrested for possessing an illicit weapon.

    The IO moved an application before a judicial magistrate (South) and submitted that the suspect was willing to record his confessional statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

    After completing legal formalities, the magistrate recorded his confessional statement in which he confessed to his involvement in an armed attack on a rally to welcome the then deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in which around 12 people were killed and around 15 others wounded.

    He confessed that Hameed alias Sciencedan, Taqi Mamu, Mansoor and others were also involved in this armed attack, adding that he was associated with the MQM and the party helped him get a job as a ward boy in a government hospital in 2013.

    He deposed that he went into hiding in New Karachi after the law enforcers launched an operation in 2016.

    He said he had killed Sunni Tehreek’s Qasim alias Pappu on Kashmir Road in 2010; in 2009 he killed another ST activist Sattar near Gora Qabrastan; also killed MQM-Haqiqi’s Farooq alias Tanky and injured another Attaullah.

    He confessed to his involvement in extortion and attack on the office of a private television channel on Aug 22.

    After recording confession, the magistrate sent him to prison on judicial remand.

    Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies by different political parties and the legal fraternity who had attempted to receive the then deposed chief justice at the Karachi airport ahead of a lawyers’ gathering.

    Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after nine hours of being restricted to the airport. Akhtar was the provincial home adviser to the chief minister at the time.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Confessional statement of suspect in May 12 case recorded. — FileConfessional statement of suspect in May 12 case recorded. — File

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    PESHAWAR: A bill meant to restrict the use of tobacco, its trade and production for reducing high incidence of diseases caused by smoking has been back-burnered for a long time with the relevant officials blaming influential cigarette makers and growers for it.

    The proposed law introduced in the provincial assembly in Sept 2016 has yet to be taken up by the house, whose many members, including the ruling PTI’s, are the beneficiaries of production, trade and manufacturing of tobacco products.

    The proposed legislation seeking the creation of smoke-free public places and protection of people from passive smoking and tobacco-related ailments says the shopkeepers will be fined for selling cigarettes to people below 18, while its sale will be banned within 100 meters distance of schools and colleges.

    Officials blame delay in legislation on influential cigarette makers

    The officials feared that the draft law, which was sent to a select committee of the KP Assembly six months after its introduction, was unlikely to see the light of the day in light of the influence of those related to tobacco business in the current political dispensation.

    They said the government had assured growers that their reservations regarding the law would be removed by a select committee before the bill was approved.

    The officials said it was a massive trade, especially in Mansehra and Swabi districts, were the main focus of attention of the multinational cigarette-manufacturers, which got the finest produce from KP.

    The farmers argued that the new law would deprive them of their earning from the cash crop and that they would revert to the growing of opium if the government went for the proposed legislation.

    They said there was an understanding that the bill would be tabled in the assembly for passage after amendments in line with the farmers’ demands, but it didn’t take place.

    The officials said few members of the select committee tasked with finalising the draft law had tobacco-related businesses.

    They insisted that both farmers and cigarette manufacturers had joined hands to resist the bill, which also proposed ban on the advisement of cigarettes.

    Under the proposed law, the violator of the law will be liable to penalty of Rs1,000, which will be increased to Rs10,000 in case of repeated offences and caries three-month jail term or fine or both.

    The bill called KP Prohibition of Smoking/Tobacco Products and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Bill, 2016, will repeal the federal laws, including the West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking Ordinance, 1959, (W.P. Ordinance XII of 1959); The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema Houses Ordinance, 1960, (W.P. Ordinance IV of 1960) and The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002, (LXXIV of 2002).

    The World Health Organisation, which provided technical support to the health department for drafting the bill, is also concerned about long delay in the legislation.

    A representative of the WHO said his organisation wanted measures to restrict the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, paan, gutka and naswar, and supported legislative matters taken by its member countries against its consumption.

    The officials said tobacco was known as a carcinogenic agent and Pakistan being signatory to WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 2014, was required to take steps for the control of its use.

    Pakistan Chest Society, an organisation of chest physicians, has long been campaigning for the passage of the proposed law to protect the people from diseases like cancer, TB and asthma.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Officials blame delay in legislation on influential cigarette makers. — APP/FileOfficials blame delay in legislation on influential cigarette makers. — APP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has for the first time come forward to formulate standards for cars being manufactured in the country.

    However, stakeholders fear that the move could create hindrances in the manufacture of auto parts.

    The issue that there were no standards in the country for cars assembled as well as parts manufactured was pointed out by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in a recent report.

    Industry insiders fear, however, that more bureaucratic hurdles will be created

    It was suggested that the government establish a national standards/safety authority for the auto sector; now, MoST has directed the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) to take the lead and formulate standards for auto vehicles too.

    The CCP had pointed out: “Realistically, they have no standards to meet or tests to pass,” adding that “car recalls for technical issues are purely at the discretion of the companies and there is no authority for consumers to go to if they are sold sub-standard products.”

    MoST has written to the PSQCA pointing towards the issues highlighted by the CCP, emphasising that there is a need to bring about legal and regulatory changes to establish a sepa­rate, independent and empowered vehicle stan­dards and safety authority at the national level to deal with technical and consumer aspects in the automobile sector.

    The ministry has stated that regular complaints are received against cars assembled in the country and referred to the report by the CCP in its letter that the lack of any framework was one of the major reasons automobile manufacturers feel no pressure to improve standards.

    Currently, the PSQCA has over 100 items on the compulsory list, including three-wheeler auto rickshaws, motorcycles, and tractor parts, that have been put under its domain this year.

    An official of the PSQCA said that the authority has testing laboratories in Lahore and Karachi for motorcycles and auto rickshaws, while the establishment of facilities for tractors is under way.

    To formulate standards for cars, a meeting was recently scheduled between auto-part manufacturers and the Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati in Islamabad.

    However, it was rescheduled due to Mr Swati engagements.

    On the other hand, auto-part manufacturers maintain that formulating standards for cars and parts was technically difficult but the implementation of these standards was a serious issue.

    “There were too many authorities in the country. For example, the Engineering Development Board is under the Ministry of Industries and Production that regulates the sector and the PSQCA is under MoST,” said Amir Allahwalla, former president of the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers.

    He explained that currently, all car assemblers in Pakistan were reputable international brands and they have standards that are recognised internationally.

    “All the parts that we manufacture in Pakistan are tested either here or forwarded to testing labs, mainly in Japan,” said Mr Allahwalla, adding: “If there were quality labs in the country we would get certification from here — but if conditions remain the same, that certifications are obtained from abroad, then the formulation of standards will only add another bureaucratic hurdle to the sector.”

    However, an official of the PSQCA said that the government plans to devise a policy to encourage the establishment of testing labs in the private sector and not in the public sector.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Industry insiders fear, however, that more bureaucratic hurdles will be created. — FileIndustry insiders fear, however, that more bureaucratic hurdles will be created. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The controversy over the discussion at the Nov 15 federal cabinet meeting on the Senate chairman’s ruling barring the information minister from attending the current session of the house, created by contradictory statements by two ministers, refuses to die as Fawad Chaudhry has reiterated his claim that the cabinet did take up the issue.

    In an interview with a private TV channel on Saturday, Mr Chaudhry claimed that after receiving the news about the ban on his entry to the Senate by the chairman at the end of the cabinet meeting, he had himself raised the matter and the prime minister while expressing annoyance had told him that he had already talked to Sadiq Sanjrani on the issue.

    When his attention was drawn to the statement of Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan made on the floor of the house in which he had denied that the cabinet had expressed annoyance over the Senate chairman’s ruling and also the prime minister’s quote that no one had the right to humiliate ministers, Mr Chaudhry said that Mr Khan might have left the meeting when the issue came under discussion.

    Asked if the parliamentary affairs minister had made a “wrong” statement, Talal Chaudhry emphatically said “he is wrong.”

    Responding to a question, the information minister hinted at boycotting the Senate proceedings, when he said that he would not go to the house, if not invited.

    The controversy surfaced a day after the cabinet meeting when responding to the points raised by the opposition members in their speeches, in which they had lashed out at the government for confronting parliament by discussing the conduct of the Senate chairman in the cabinet meeting, the parliamentary affairs minister claimed that the chairman’s conduct did not come under discussion at the cabinet meeting.

    Though the clarification satisfied the opposition members, it raised many questions and prompted demands for action against the information minister for misleading the nation, misquoting the PM and spreading disinformation.

    PPP parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman welcomed the statement made by the minister for parliamentary affairs, saying the cabinet should take proper action against the information minister. “The Senate had already taken the required action and now we want to see action from the executive,” she insisted.

    Mr Chaudhry, in a media briefing after the cabinet meeting, claimed that the cabinet had expressed annoyance over the ban put by the Senate chairman on his participation in the ongoing session of the house unless he tendered an apology for chiding top opposition leaders by name. He also quoted Prime Minister Imran Khan as saying “nobody had the right to humiliate ministers like this”.

    The information minister claimed that the entire cabinet, including the prime minister, expressed annoyance over the ruling.

    “We will also have to formulate a strategy if the chairman cannot strike a balance (in the conduct of the house proceedings),” Mr Chaudhry said, adding that he was being asked to apologise for asking where trillions of rupees provided to Balochistan over the last 10 years had been spent. He also rebuked the Senate chairman by saying that he (the minister) had been elected by securing a large number of votes whereas Mr Sanjrani had not been directly elected.

    The information minister said that the prime minister had tasked Defence Minister Pervez Khattak with amicably resolving the issue with the Senate chairman.

    The next day, the issue was raised in the Senate by former chairman Raza Rabbani who said the Senate chairman’s ruling had evoked a strong reaction from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government and some remarks had also been attributed to the prime minister. Mr Rabbani noted that the chair’s rulings had not been questioned even during dictatorial regimes.

    Referring to Mr Chaudhry’s remarks that Sadiq Sanjrani was not directly elected like himself, Mr Rabbani said Senate chairman held a constitutional office and the procedure for his election was defined in the constitution. President of Pakistan is also indirectly elected and the chief executive, after his election as member of the National Assembly, is also indirectly elected as prime minister.

    The Senate chairman, while using his powers given in the rules, had barred the entry of Mr Chaudhry for the two sittings of the Senate after his refusal to tender an apology over his nasty remarks about the opposition members during the proceedings.

    Soon after the imposition of a ban on the information minister and the cabinet meeting on the same day, a PTI delegation headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak met the Senate chairman.

    Interestingly, the official press release issued by the PTI about the meeting appeared to be in contrast with the information minister’s briefing about the cabinet meeting as it said the defence minister had assured the Senate chairman of his cooperation.

    Despite repeated attempts, parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Khan could not be contacted for comments.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    Chaudhry says Senator Ali Khan may have left the meeting when issue of banning him from Senate came under discussion. — FileChaudhry says Senator Ali Khan may have left the meeting when issue of banning him from Senate came under discussion. — File

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Friday expressed its extreme displeasure at SSP Akhtar Farooq, who is currently posted as personal security officer of the Punjab chief minister, for not turning up to testify in the murder case of renowned social activist Perween Rahman.

    Five detained accused — Abdul Raheem Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati along three co-accused Ayaz Shamzai alias Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan and Ahmed Khan alias Ahmed Ali alias Pappu Kashmiri — have been charged with her murder.

    Orangi Pilot Project head Perween Rahman, who devoted her life to the development of impoverished neighbourhoods, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.

    On Monday, the ATC-XIII judge had taken notice of absence of Mr Farooq, directing the DIG Investigation to ensure his presence to record his statement since he was an important prosecution witness.

    When the matter was taken up on Friday, the senior policeman was found absent again.

    A report was also submitted on behalf of the DIG Investigation, who maintained that SSP Farooq had been posted in Punjab and assured that he would appear before the court on the next date.

    The judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, expressing displeasure over the police officer’s continuous absence, again told the DIG to ensure his presence on the next date and fixed hearing for Nov 27.

    Then SSP West Farooq has been named as witness in the case since he was the first investigating officer who had grilled the main accused Abdul Raheem, alias Swati and also recorded his ‘confessional’ statement under Section 21H (conditional admissibility of confession) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

    It may be recalled that the Sindh High Court had recently directed the trial court to conclude the trial expeditiously within two months.

    Policeman’s bail plea rejected

    The same court meanwhile rejected two applications moved by a police official seeking his release on bail.

    Eight ACLC officials, including the then SHO Tariq Mehmood, then inspectors Azhar Ahsan and Tariq Raheem, head constable Shahid and constables Ghulam Abbas, Fawad Khan, Mohammad Daniyal and Bilal Rasheed have been charged with killing 19-year-old student Intizar Ahmed on the night of Jan 13 in Defence Housing Authority.

    Defence counsel contended that applicant Asghar Ahsan was behind bars since his arrest because his name was merely mentioned in the FIR, adding that his continuous detention would not serve any purpose since he was not required for investigation anymore.

    Vehemently opposing the bail plea, the prosecutor questioned why, being a senior police officer, the applicant did not stop his subordinates from firing on the victim, who lost his life.

    According to the joint investigation team, all accused were responsible for the illegal and unlawful act done by them, but they did not challenge these findings at any forum, the prosecutor argued, asking the court to dismiss the bail plea.

    The judge also dismissed an application moved by another detained police official Tariq Raheem seeking provision of better class facilities in prison, observing that he was facing trial in a heinous offence under the provision of Section 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, as a boy of 19 years age had lost his life due to illegal and unlawful act of the applicant and the police charge sheeted him under these sections.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    SSP West is named witness in the case since he was the first investigating officer who had grilled the main accused. — FileSSP West is named witness in the case since he was the first investigating officer who had grilled the main accused. — File

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    KARACHI: The Karachi Development Authority on Saturday submitted a progress report before the Supreme Court about the ongoing anti-encroachment drive and claimed to have cleared around 5,500 amenity plots.

    The report stated that in compliance with an earlier order of the apex court, the KDA with the help of law enforcement agencies and the estate and enforcement department had so far demolished the encroachments from 5,485 amenity/ST sites in many KDA schemes and townships.

    The anti-encroachment drive was started in November last year and the exercise was still in progress, it said.

    Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who was heading a meeting at the apex court’s Karachi registry about encroachments, directed the authorities concerned to continue their ongoing operation.

    Meanwhile, Justice Ahmed also directed the provincial authorities to make functional the forensic laboratory in the province in two weeks.

    Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018

    The anti-encroachment drive was started in November last year and the exercise is still in progress. — Urban Resource Center/FileThe anti-encroachment drive was started in November last year and the exercise is still in progress. — Urban Resource Center/File

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday revealed that the next campaign the Supreme Court would support would be centred around population control.

    Speaking to Geo News following a fundraising event in Birmingham for the construction of dams here, Justice Nisar said that he is planning to spearhead a drive spreading awareness about population control.

    "A task force for family planning under Health Secretary Captain (retd) Zahid Saeed was already created and has come up with a report on the matter," he said.

    "There will be a conference regarding this in the Supreme Court... on December 12 or 13, and the prime minister and I will also be part of the conference."

    "Your [country's] resources are shrinking and that will continue to eventually create disparity and saturation [of resources]," the CJP said. "This is one of the most fundamental issues of the country and it needs to be combated."

    According to the 2017 census, which was held after a gap of 19 years, the country’s population has been counted at 207,774,520 living in 32,205,111 households. Top government officials have decided to reduce the population growth rate of 2.4 per cent per annum to 1.5pc.

    The Centre and the provinces last Monday decided to form task forces within their jurisdictions to control rapid population growth.

    The task forces will consider recommendations made by a task force constituted earlier on SC orders, and will submit a comprehensive action plan to the Council of Common Interests, taking into account the future implementation strategy of the action plan, the financial aspects and other issues relating to garnering support of all segments of society for the success of a comprehensive population control programme.

    Justice Nisar, while speaking about the fundraiser, said that the response for his call to funds had been overwhelming.

    "When an eight-year-old child and and 84-year-old woman both have contributed [to the fund] then who else is left? The whole country has come together to make this fundraising a successful movement."

    Justice Nisar says nation's resources are shrinking and this would continue unless the overpopulation is controlled. — FileJustice Nisar says nation's resources are shrinking and this would continue unless the overpopulation is controlled. — File

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday approved a social protection framework for the vulnerable segments of the society, ensuring that they were protected against certain issues affecting them.

    The comprehensive social protection framework is aimed at overcoming the challenges of poverty, health, stunted growth, education and would enable the youth to realise their potential and extricate themselves out of the generational poverty traps.

    Chairing a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council, the prime minister also approved the policy recommendations for a medium-term structural reform framework of the economy, read a statement issued by the PM Office media wing.

    Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar, premier's adviser Dr Ishrat Hussain, former State Bank governor Syed Saleem Raza, Lahore School of Economics professor Dr Naved Hamid, economist Sakib Sherani, Associate Professor at LUMS Dr Faisal Bari, and other senior officials were present during the meeting.

    The meeting was briefed on the policy recommendations for mobilising finance for development, enhancing exports and strengthening SMEs, tax reforms, job creation impact of major policy actions and social protection priorities in Pakistan, in the light of the deliberated proposals of the working groups of the Economic Advisory Council.

    The policy recommendations were finalised to focus on acceleration of underutilised areas including agriculture, housing, small and medium enterprises in terms of incentives, reliance on export-oriented and labour intensive growth, reversal of anti-export bias, enhanced system automation and use of technology, transparency in trade regime, facilitating importers, job creation through skill development, ease of doing business through business-friendly environment while focusing on productivity and moving on technology sophistication.

    Finalisation of these policies is for laying the foundation of a sustainable, inclusive, job creating and export-oriented economic growth strategy as part of the government's 100 Days Plan, it added.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs meeting of EconomicPrime Minister Imran Khan chairs meeting of Economic

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    The Sindh government has invoked the 1960 Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law to detain 156 leaders and workers of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) for 30 days.

    The MPO was promulgated by the governor of the then West Pakistan on Dec 2, 1960, during the martial law of Gen Ayub Khan. Since then this controversial law has regularly been used and misused by the successive governments.

    According to police officials and documents obtained by Dawn on Sunday, the detainees were held after accusing them that they were in the 'habit' of creating an adverse law and order situation by blocking main roads and causing immense inconveniences to the citizens.

    Most of them were arrested on Friday night over staging protest sit-ins in Karachi and other parts of Sindh soon after the arrest of their leader, Khadim Hussain Rizvi in Lahore.

    Sindh government has issued orders to this effect on the request of police authorities.

    The officials said that Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam on Saturday had written a letter to Sindh Home Secretary Abdul Kabir Kazi, requesting him to issue detention orders under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order, 1960.

    Two deputy inspector generals (DIGs) of Karachi’s West and East Zone and four DIGs of Hyderabad, Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad, and Mirpurkhas, respectively, had submitted their reports to the Sindh IGP, suggesting that TLP workers be detained under the relevant law to avoid any mishap and untoward incident.

    A senior police official told Dawn that the home secretary had then issued orders for the detention of leaders and activists of the TLP, numbering a total of 156, of which most were apprehended from Karachi.

    According to the detention orders issued by the home secretary: “The members of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) are in the habit to harass the general public, instigating mobs against honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in the judgement of Aasia Bibi case and challenging the writ of the State by blocking the public thoroughfares, damaging the public property and creating panic among the masses.”

    The orders continue to state: "They will create [an adverse] law and order situation and cause harassment amongst the general public, which will become [a] potential danger to public peace.”

    Therefore, under Section 3 (1) of the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960 "the held workers of the religious party shall be detained for a period of thirty days from the date of their arrest".

    Their custody shall be placed under the care of the superintendent of the Central Prison in Karachi. The detained shall be at liberty "to make a representation to the provincial government against this order", the orders further state.

    The official added that apart from the detention of 156 leaders and workers of the TLP under MPO, 44 others have been arrested under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, as they had allegedly resorted to violence near the Quaid's mausoleum on Friday night.

    Among the 44 TLP members arrested under terror charges, three of them were office-bearers of the party in Sindh.

    TLP workers being detained by police. —Online/FileTLP workers being detained by police. —Online/File

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