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    Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said that the ministry is ready to compensate the affectees of the scheduled anti-encroachment drive on Pakistan Railways land, subject to availability of funds.

    The minister said that 10,000 houses built on 160 acres of land belonging to Pakistan Railways would be razed during the drive as per SC orders. The railways minister said that he was bound to follow the orders of the apex court.

    "I have told the divisional superintendent [Karachi] to go ahead [with the anti-encroachment operation]," he told a ceremony in Rawalpindi.

    "We are ready to compensate them [the affectees of anti-encroachment drive], subject to the availability of funds. I will go to Karachi and check if we have funds," he said, adding that if there weren't enough funds, he would not be "responsible for what happened during the last 70 years".

    Rashid added that he has requested for a solution under which the government will construct quarters or [residential] blocks for the affectees so as they are not deprived of their accommodations.

    "The issue of accommodation is very serious in Pakistan," he added.

    The minister announced that another train is being inaugurated on Dec 25. He also announced that a new double track is being constructed between Karachi and Peshawar. He said that crossing around schools situated along the railway tracks will be closed.

    Encroachment drive continues in Karachi

    The anti-encroachment drive in Karachi continued on Monday while encroachments on Burns Road and adjoining areas were being removed.

    Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saifur Rehman said that heavy machinery was being used to remove encroachments from areas surrounding Burns Road. He appealed people and shopkeepers to voluntarily remove encroachments from roads.

    Amid anti-encroachment drive across the city, kiosks and carts reemerged in Saddar area on Monday. The encroachments on main arteries had been causing hurdles in the smooth flow of traffic.

    Separately, authorities in Karachi have marked illegal constructions in 45 parks and grounds in Karachi's district central. The illegal constructions — which are set to be demolished — include police stations, mosques and marriage halls.


    The minister put the onus of responsibility for displacing thousands of people on the shoulders of the Supreme Court.— DawnNewsTVThe minister put the onus of responsibility for displacing thousands of people on the shoulders of the Supreme Court.— DawnNewsTV

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    Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that had erupted on the eighth floor of Karachi's under-construction Bahria Icon Tower, DawnNewsTV reported on Monday.

    At least three fire engines had reached the site of the blaze, the source of which is still unknown, to put out the fire.

    Sources within the fire brigade department earlier claimed that the fire had been contained, but eyewitnesses said that it had yet to be extinguished, with one Twitter user saying that the blaze had reignited.

    The fire department said that firefighters had difficulty reaching the inside of the building, since smoke had accumulated within the glass-encased eighth storey. Cooling of the building is now underway.


    At least three fire brigades have reached the site of the blaze. ─ Photo courtesy TwitterAt least three fire brigades have reached the site of the blaze. ─ Photo courtesy Twitter

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    Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Monday acknowledged that the provincial government needs to work with the Centre to successfully complete the K-IV water project following a meeting with Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda.

    During the meeting in Karachi, Vawda and Shah also agreed on increasing transparency in the K-IV water project which was launched to end Karachi's water woes.

    Vawda told Shah that the prime minister had been informed that the budget for K-IV project had increased.

    The federal minister said that a recommendation for an audit of the K-IV budget had been made in order to maintain transparency. The chief minister responded that the Sindh government had no objections to the recommendation.

    During the meeting, Chief Minister Shah also pointed out that due to uneven water levels at the Sukkur barrage, Balochistan was not getting its share of water. He said that the problem will persist until the "position of Sukkur barrage is fixed".

    The meeting was also attended by Sindh Minister for Local Bodies Saeed Ghani.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ghani said that the provincial government was "constantly working" to put an end to water theft in the province. He vowed to cooperate with Vawda in any step that the federal minister wished to take against water theft and illegal hydrants.


    Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda speaks to reporters in Karachi. ─ DawnNewsTVFederal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda speaks to reporters in Karachi. ─ DawnNewsTV

    Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda meet to discuss implementation of the K-IV water project for Karachi. ─ DawnNewsTVSindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda meet to discuss implementation of the K-IV water project for Karachi. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    BankIslami on Monday announced via press release that its payment system had been successfully restored and was "absolutely secured".

    The statement added that all of the bank's services could be accessed and operated as per usual, which includes using other banks' ATMs, internet banking and its mobile application.

    According to a digital security website krebsonsecurity.com, the data of over 8,000 account holders of about 10 Pakistani banks was sold in a market of hackers. As concerns about a breach of credit and debit card data spread in banking circles, around 10 banks blocked all international transactions on their cards.

    BankIslami had on Oct 27 reported a cyber attack targeting bank accounts held by customers. It said that Rs2.6 million had been stolen from international payment cards, after which it had stopped such transactions, allowing biometrically verified payments only on ATM cards within Pakistan.

    BankIslami's statement today said that customers could now access other banks' ATMs for cash withdrawal as well as BankIslami's national ATM network for fund transfers — including the Inter-Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) service, as well as online utilities and bill payments.

    The statement said that the Point of Sales (PoS) services would also be restored soon.

    The press release said that BankIslami holds customers safety in "utmost priority" and that it had ensured that customers did not suffer any loss. The statement added that the bank was in contact with customers and was keeping them informed about the situation.

    "We appreciate our customers’ firm faith in us throughout this period and hereby reassure that we have put in place all the measures necessary and upgraded the system’s resilience to safeguard the Bank and its customers."

    They said they were confident that the efforts would further strengthen customers' safety and security.


    BankIslami announces that its payment system has been successfully restored and is BankIslami announces that its payment system has been successfully restored and is "absolutely secured". ─ File

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    A medical board constituted on the orders of a Lahore sessions court has confirmed that a 50-year-old prisoner who was previously scheduled to be executed suffers from chronic schizophrenia and requires regular medical treatment.

    Saleem Ahmad, who was sentenced to death for killing his sister, was scheduled to be hanged on November 7 last year.

    However, District and Sessions Judge Abid Hussain Qureshi had later suspended his black warrant on a plea filed by Barrister Sarah Belal of the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), who argued that the prisoner could not be executed as he was mentally unwell. The court had then ordered the constitution of a medical board to investigate his mental health.

    Belal had said at the time that the jail authorities obtained Saleem's death warrant despite the fact that they kept him in isolation due to his erratic behaviour caused by his severe mental illness.

    "After detailed history and evaluation, the Board is of the opinion that [the prisoner] is suffering from chronic schizophrenia," says a report issued by the seven-member medical board that convened at the Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) in Lahore. Submitted in June this year, the report was presented in the court today.

    "Considering his long psychiatric illness, aggressive behaviour and hallucination, he requires regular medical treatment," the report adds, terming the death-row inmate as a "high-risk patient".

    While testifying before the court, Dr Mohsin Saqib, a consultant psychiatrist at PIMH, ascertained the findings of the medical board and suggested that Saleem, who is imprisoned at the Kot Lakhpat Jail, be transferred to PIMH for treatment, a press release issued by the JPP said.

    The doctor "also asserted that the [prisoner] claims to have undergone shock therapy and has a history of mental illness dating back to his time prior to his arrest.

    The court will next hear the case on December 6.

    Saleem was arrested in Lahore on July 30, 2001, for killing his sister, Nasreen Begum, after she allegedly refused to lend him money. According to the JPP, he has been on death row for 14 years.

    The prisoner was sentenced to death in 2004, even though the investigation officer testified about being aware of his mental illness and the trial court acknowledging that he was “insane” and “did not have any orientation about time and space”.

    Saleem filed an appeal before the Lahore High Court in 2013, where his state-appointed counsel did not challenge the prosecution’s version of the case and the death sentence was upheld. Later, the Supreme Court also dismissed his appeal in May 2017 and a mercy petition forwarded by the jail authorities was rejected on October 19 the same year.

    JPP Spokesperson Muhammad Shoaib commented on the development by saying: “The government has always had plenty of evidence of Saleem’s debilitating mental condition. Now with the country’s most trusted psychiatric facilities confirming this diagnosis, not only is it clear that Saleem is not fit to be executed, but it is imperative that he be moved to a secure mental health facility at the earliest. He has been deprived of adequate care for too long, and was nearly executed for it. Hanging the mentally ill serves no criminal justice purpose, and it appears that our judiciary is recognising this as well.”

    Earlier this year, while taking up the matter of Kaniz Fatima and Imdad Ali, both death row convicts who suffer from mental disabilities, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had questioned how the state could execute mentally unsound persons.

    "Neither reason nor sensibility allow me to believe that we can execute a mentally ill or disabled person," the top judge had remarked at the time.


    Terming Saleem Ahmad a Terming Saleem Ahmad a "high-risk patient", doctors say he requires regular medical treatment. — File

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    A second additional sessions judge in Jacobabad on Monday sentenced two brothers to life imprisonment after they were found guilty of murdering one brother's wife in 2011.

    A case had been registered against the brothers, Ghulam Haider Rind and Ali Haider Rind, for the murder of Ali's wife by the victim's mother, Gulabi Khatoon, in Jacobabad's Safar Mandarani village.

    Wazira Khatoon was murdered because she had not had children.

    Judge Owais Ahmed Abro announced the verdict in the murder case against the brothers and also imposed a fine of Rs200,000 on each accused.


    The two brothers were sentenced to life in jail on Monday. — AFP/File photoThe two brothers were sentenced to life in jail on Monday. — AFP/File photo

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    BankIslami on Monday announced via press release that its payment system had been successfully restored and was "absolutely secured", as it recovers from last month's cyber attack.

    The statement added that all of the bank's services could be accessed and operated as per usual, which includes using other banks' ATMs, internet banking and its mobile application.

    According to a digital security website krebsonsecurity.com, the data of over 8,000 account holders of about 10 Pakistani banks was sold in a market of hackers. As concerns about a breach of credit and debit card data spread in banking circles, around 10 banks blocked all international transactions on their cards.

    BankIslami had on Oct 27 reported a cyber attack targeting bank accounts held by customers. It said that Rs2.6 million had been stolen from international payment cards, after which it had stopped such transactions, allowing biometrically verified payments only on ATM cards within Pakistan.

    BankIslami's statement today said that customers could now access other banks' ATMs for cash withdrawal as well as BankIslami's national ATM network for fund transfers — including the Inter-Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) service, as well as online utilities and bill payments.

    The statement said that the Point of Sales (PoS) services would also be restored soon.

    The press release said that BankIslami holds customers safety in "utmost priority" and that it had ensured that customers did not suffer any loss. The statement added that the bank was in contact with customers and was keeping them informed about the situation.

    "We appreciate our customers’ firm faith in us throughout this period and hereby reassure that we have put in place all the measures necessary and upgraded the system’s resilience to safeguard the Bank and its customers."

    They said they were confident that the efforts would further strengthen customers' safety and security.


    BankIslami announces that its payment system has been successfully restored and is BankIslami announces that its payment system has been successfully restored and is "absolutely secured". ─ File

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    The capital city police on Monday issued driving licence to a transgender person, Ali Layla, after administering all practical driving tests, DawnNewsTV reported. This is the first time a transgender individual has been issued a driving licence in the federal capital.

    Later, Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Amir Zulfiqar met Layla and vowed that the problems of transgender community would be solved on a priority basis, the police spokesperson said.

    Marking a first in the history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial government had issued driving licences to 15 transgender persons in March this year.


    The Islamabad Traffic Police issued Ali Layla a driving licence after administering all practical driving tests. — Photo courtesy Islamabad policeThe Islamabad Traffic Police issued Ali Layla a driving licence after administering all practical driving tests. — Photo courtesy Islamabad police

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    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday formally notified the Federal Information Commission with an aim to expedite the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act across the country.

    Speaking to the media in Islamabad, Chaudhry said that if departments failed to provide information sought from them under the law, citizens can approach the commission, which will ensure that the requested data is released within a month. If the information is not released within 20 days, the citizens can take the matter to a civil court.

    Chaudhry said that the Act will particularly benefit journalists, as they will be able to confirm information from government officials and also keeps tabs on ongoing developments on the governance front.

    The implementation of the Act will also be useful for citizens who come forward with evidence of corruption, as they will be able to check if the government is acting upon the information provided, the minister said.

    The information minister said RTI laws were already being implemented in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the PTI was in power. Though he did not comment over implementation in Sindh and Balochistan, Chaudhry claimed that "systems that are in place [in those provinces] are being hindered".

    He also took a jibe at the opposition, repeating the government's stance on its refusal to appoint the opposition leader as the Public Accounts Committee's chairman.

    "We only say that they (the opposition) let us audit the projects initiated by Nawaz Sharif, and then the PPP or PML-N can audit projects initiated by us. In their attempt to hinder this system, they insist that the younger brother [Shahbaz Sharif] should audit the projects initiated by his older brother," he said, terming the demand "unethical".

    100 days

    Chaudhry also touched upon the government's performance in its first 100 days. The information minister claimed that "there is no precedent" of the number of initiatives taken up by PTI in the past 100 days.

    "There are six themes and 34 initiatives that we have taken and we have done a lot of work on them as well. You will see on the 29th," he said.

    "The Right to Information Act in itself is a huge contribution," he added. Chaudhry also pointed out that a project to build a university for media sciences was underway.

    "It is not a joke to plan a university, but we did it in 100 days," he claimed.

    Chaudhry also revealed that the information ministry had decided to merge Radio Pakistan and PTV under a single body. Associated Press of Pakistan will be converted into a "digital service" so it can compete with international news agencies like Reuters, the information minister revealed.


    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry speaks to media in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTVInformation Minister Fawad Chaudhry speaks to media in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

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    A teenage girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped in Karachi's Mehmoodabad area earlier this month, police said on Monday.

    The girl, who is around 16 years old, was kidnapped from near the army graveyard in Chanesar Goth on November 11.

    Her family lodged a kidnapping case at Mehmoodabad police station and police subsequently managed to recover the girl from Qayyumabad neighbourhood of Korangi. A suspect has also been arrested in this regard.

    The investigation officer (IO) of the case, Mohammed Moin, told Dawn that police suspected that the girl had been kidnapped "with the ulterior motive of subjecting her to sexual assault".

    The officer said police brought the girl to the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for a medical examination to ascertain whether she had been raped or not.

    The IO said he approached the police surgeon to arrange a female medico-legal officer (MLO) for the medical examination, but she [the officer] appeared reluctant to visit the hospital for assessment of the alleged rape victim.

    Dr Sheeraz Ali Khowaja, the additional police surgeon at JPMC, while talking to Dawn corroborated that in rape cases, the victims' families and IOs suffered immense difficulties due to an acute shortage of lady MLOs at government hospitals of the city.

    The official said he has written several letters to the authorities concerned, drawing their attention towards a lack of female doctors for post-mortem and medical examinations of women but so far no concrete steps have been taken by the health authorities to overcome this problem.

    Dr Khowaja said Mehmoodabad police brought the teenage girl to the hospital for a medical examination at 3:00pm on Monday but her examination could not be conducted till the evening as no female MLO was available for the purpose.

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


    Medical examination of the alleged rape victim delayed due to non-availability of female medico-legal officer. — AP/FileMedical examination of the alleged rape victim delayed due to non-availability of female medico-legal officer. — AP/File

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    The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) on Monday ruled out the possibility of any “immediate action” against the private educational institutions situated in Karachi's residential areas.

    Earlier in the day, many media houses reported that the SBCA has issued notices to all schools operating in residential areas ordering them to wind up their operations within a month’s time.

    However, SBCA Director Iftikhar Kaimkhani clarified that the authority had only made the educational institutions “alert” while preparing them to move their facilities to the buildings, meeting all regulations by the start of next academic year.

    “There is a confusion, I think, among the educational institutions and people after we issued the public notice,” Kaimkhani told Dawn.

    The SBCA further said that the regulatory body does not intend to “touch any of the running schools this academic year, neither does it plan to bulldoze or vacate them”.

    “We realise the sensitivity of the situation and can’t make such a big decision all of sudden,” Kaimkhani said, adding that the building control authority was in touch with the private schools’ association and other educational institutions and “we have made our position clear to them as well”.

    The SBCA in its “public notice” had said that it was illegal to “run a business in residential areas or to use a residential place for any other purposes”.

    The notice, which the SBCA said should be treated as ‘Final Notice’, further read: “Private Schools Association of Karachi is also requested to ensure shifting of their schools/educational institutions/tuition centres on proper designated premises/plot during winter vacations.”


    SBCA does not intend to “touch running schools this academic year, neither does it plan to bulldoze or vacate them”, says SBCA Director Iftikhar Kaimkhani. —Dawn ArchivesSBCA does not intend to “touch running schools this academic year, neither does it plan to bulldoze or vacate them”, says SBCA Director Iftikhar Kaimkhani. —Dawn Archives

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    ISLAMABAD: The last prosecution witness in the Flagship Investment reference, an investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau, admitted during cross-examination on Monday that the anti-graft body had no proof that both sons of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif were dependent upon him for the business they established.

    Appearing before an accountability court, NAB investigation officer Mohammad Kamran also testified that during the investigation he did not come across any witness or evidence that directly linked the former premier with the Flagship Investment and other 16 UK-based companies owned by his sons.

    As per the report prepared by a six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT), headed by additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Wajid Zia, Hussain Nawaz established Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Steel Mills when Mr Sharif was in exile following the October 1999 military coup that toppled the PML-N government, while he along with his brother Hassan Nawaz started business in the UK in 2001.

    Mr Kamran said that during the investigation “no person who joined the investigation had made any oral or written statement that accused Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Hassan Nawaz Sharif were dependent[s] of accused Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif in the year 2000 or at any time thereafter”.

    Ex-premier meets ailing Shahbaz in NAB custody

    During the cross-examination, the investigation officer said: “I had not come across any document that the accused Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif had paid any amount or in cash for providing working capital to Flagship Investment Ltd” and other companies.

    Responding to another question, the witness said NAB could not find any proof that Mr Sharif had sent money to his son Hassan Nawaz while he was studying in the UK to meet his day-to-day expenses.

    According to the prosecution witness, the Sharif children were running their business in the UK in a lawful manner and were never questioned by any regulator or authority for any wrongdoing.

    “I had not come across any oral or documentary evidence showing that accused Hassan Nawaz Sharif had been accused of money laundering…[or] of wrongdoing of any nature whatsoever concerning any of the aforesaid companies,” he said.

    The witness said it came to his notice that the business being carried out by accused Hassan Nawaz Sharif in the UK was to purchase, refurbish and then re-sell properties.

    Lead defence counsel Khwaja Haris Ahmed continued cross-examination of the NAB investigation officer till the rising of the court.

    Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday (today).

    Nawaz meets Shahbaz

    After attending the court’s proceeding, the ex-PM visited Ministers’ Enclave to meet his detained brother and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif.

    PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, who was arrested by NAB on Oct 5 in the Ashiyana Housing Scheme case, had recently complained of throat infection but his latest medical reports showed traces of Chromogranin A, an indicator of neuroendocrine tumour.

    Doctors have recommended him to get a CT scan done immediately as he had a history of spinal cancer.

    According to the sources, the former premier stayed about an hour with his younger brother. He inquired after his health condition and medical treatment being provided to him in the custody of NAB, the sources said. They also discussed the inquiries being carried out by NAB, the sources added.

    While talking to journalists outside the accountability court last week, the ex-PM claimed that there was no evidence to prove corruption allegations against his brother. He said NAB’s investigation into assets beyond means against his brother indicated that they had failed to bring any evidence of corruption against him.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif comes out of the accountability court’s building on Monday.—OnlineFormer prime minister Nawaz Sharif comes out of the accountability court’s building on Monday.—Online

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    KHUZDAR: Five people, including the divisional director of education department of Kalat, were killed in road accidents on Monday.

    Police said that Mir Mohammad Bangulzai, divisional director of education department, was travelling from Mastung to Khuzdar in his official vehicle when it overturned due to over-speeding in the Kalat range area.

    The officials said three people travelling in the vehicle suffered injuries and were immediately shifted to a nearby health facility. Later they were referred to Quetta, where Mr Bangulzai died during treatment.

    The body of the senior education department officer was later handed over to his family, the police said.

    Another fatal accident on the Quetta-Karachi highway claimed four lives in the Lasbela area, officials said.

    The police said four persons were travelling in a pick-up van that collided with a passenger coach going from Quetta to Karachi.

    “All the four people suffered serious injuries and died on the spot,” said Lasbela deputy commissioner Shabbir Mengal.

    The deceased were identified as Saleh Taj, Mohammad Ramzan Sheikh, Sherdil and Ghulam Nabi.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    Three people travelling in the vehicle suffered injuries and were immediately shifted to a nearby health facility. — FileThree people travelling in the vehicle suffered injuries and were immediately shifted to a nearby health facility. — File

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    QUETTA: Officials of the customs anti-smuggling wing raided a train at the Quetta railway station and seized a large quantity of smuggled foreign goods worth Rs250 million.

    The train had come from the border town of Chaman. Quetta Customs Collector Ashraf Ali said at a press conference here on Monday that the seized goods included cigarettes, mobile phone sets, auto parts, air conditioners, LCDs, crockery, heaters, blankets and many other items.

    He said the raid was conducted after receiving information that smugglers were using Quetta-Chaman passenger trains for their illegal business.

    The customs team which conducted the raid included Additional Collector Zubair Shah and Deputy Collector Preventive Maqsood Baloch. Personnel of police and Frontier Corps also took part in the search operation that continued for about six hours. However, no one was arrested.

    The collector said such an action had been made possible due to strengthening of the customs anti-smuggling wing.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    Goods included cigarettes, mobile phone sets, auto parts, air conditioners seized at Quetta-Chaman intersection. — FileGoods included cigarettes, mobile phone sets, auto parts, air conditioners seized at Quetta-Chaman intersection. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has stated that “external forces” are involved in the botched terrorist attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi and the government knows “very well” about the perpetrators.

    Speaking at a ceremony in connection with collection of donations for the families of the police personnel martyred in the attack here on Monday, the minister without elaborating said the increasing economic and strategic cooperation between Pakistan and China had upset “enemies” and they were carrying out such “foolish acts” out of frustration.

    Chinese Deputy Head of Mission in Islamabad Lijian Zhao was also present in the ceremony.

    The Chinese community in Islamabad and in China has launched a campaign to collect funds for the families of Assistant Sub Inspector Ashraf Dawood and Constable Amir who sacrificed their lives to foil the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi on Friday.

    Fawad says commission has been launched for implementation of Right to Information Act

    The minister paid tributes to the martyred police personnel and said the fund-raising campaign for their families was proof of deep-rooted relations bet­ween China and Pakistan.

    He said the attack was part of a “big conspiracy” to sabotage Pakistan’s friendly relations with China, but the enemies would never succeed in their nefarious designs. He said the world fully knew as to who was standing for peace and stability in the region and who was trying to sabotage it.

    Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan’s armed forces, police, intelligence and other law-enforcement agencies and the people had rendered unprecedented sacrifices in this war against terrorism.

    “Had any other country faced a similar situation and fought such a long war against terrorism, it would have become disintegrated by now,” he added.

    The Chinese deputy head of mission said the Chinese people were raising funds for the families of the martyred police officers. He said the attackers should remember that China had a population of over 1.4 billion and if each Chinese citizen donated one yen, 1.4 billion yen would be collected. He disclosed that a Chinese citizen had decided to donate one month’s salary to the families of the policemen.

    Mr Zhao said they wanted to tell terrorists that their efforts to sabotage Pakistan-China friendship would never succeed.

    Later, speaking at a ceremony to launch Federal Information Commission for implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act, the information minister said the provision of setting up of the commission was there in the law but the previous governments were hesitant about implementing it.

    He even named PPP’s Khursheed Shah and PML-N’s Mushahidullah Khan for hiding away from disclosing facts and figures about more than a trillion rupees spent over uplift of Balochistan.

    “This will not happen now and each government department will be obliged to give information in 10 days and if any department does not comply, the case will be taken up by the commission which will then arrange the information within 30 days,” he said.

    Mr Chaudhry said the three-member commission would have powers of civil courts and the powers of summoning and contempt. The commission notified by the government earlier this month is headed by former information secretary Mohammad Azam and comprises civil society activist Zahid Abdullah and lawyer Fawad Malik.

    The minister said 34 initiatives had been taken by the government under six themes during its 100 days in office and Prime Minister Imran Khan would brief the nation about it at a ceremony on Thursday.

    He said the RTI Act would be more beneficial for the journalists who could ask any question like how much advertisements had been given to a particular newspaper or TV channel in a month and who had been given contract of a particular project and at what cost.

    He said that politics of most of the opposition members was over now and they had contested last elections of their life.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    INFORMATION Minister Fawad Chaudhry says growing economic and strategic cooperation with China has upset ‘enemies’.—INPINFORMATION Minister Fawad Chaudhry says growing economic and strategic cooperation with China has upset ‘enemies’.—INP

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    TAXILA: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday announced that the government would provide land to Sikh organisations for construction of modern hotels in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal, besides construction of a railway station in Kartarpur to provide state-of-the-art board and lodging facilities to Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan.

    He was talking to reporters after seeing off Indian Sikh pilgrims who departed for Lahore through special trains after offering their religious rituals at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassanabdal.

    He said Pakistan Railways (PR) had offered 10 acres of land each in Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib and five acres of land in Narowal to Sikhs’ organisations for establishment of five-star hotels to facilitate Sikh pilgrims. Trains would be run from Nankana Sahib to Kartarpur and hostels would be constructed near all Sikh pilgrimage sites, he added.

    The minister said the present government wanted to provide all facilities to Sikh pilgrims. He said the government was investing millions of rupees for modernisation of Hassanabdal and Narowal railway stations. He said that for better supervision of the Hassanabdal railway station, its administrative control would be transferred from Peshawar division to Rawalpindi division on Dec 1.

    Minister says government has offered land in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal to Sikhs’ organisations

    Answering a question, the minister said the decision about a railway track project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would be taken after Dec 25. A new fast track from Peshawar to Karachi would be laid under proper fencing and there would be no level crossing on it, he said, adding that a dry port along the railway track would also be established.

    In reply to another question, he said the government was embarking upon a major project of laying a new double rail track from Karachi to Peshawar. He said the upgrade of infrastructure would help run fast trains on this track.

    He said freight trains were a major source of revenues, adding that the government was committed to launching more freight trains to increase the revenue of the PR and reduce its losses.

    He said the Rehman Baba Express train would be launched on Dec 25. Nine out of 10 passenger train services have been launched while the number of freight trains will be increased to 12 as three more will be launched during the current fiscal year.

    The minister said the PR was working on a project to install broad-gauge railway tracks from Karachi to Peshawar.

    He apologised to Indian Sikh pilgrims for the inconvenience they faced due to paucity of coaches in special trains which resulted in delay of their travelling from Nankana Sahib to Panja Sahib.

    During his visit to the Hassanabdal railway station, he took notice of the slow pace of renovation work. He directed the officials concerned to speed up the pace of work and give the railway station a festive look before the Baisakhi festival in April next year. He also took stock of encroachments on railway land and directed officials to ensure removal of all types of encroachments by Dec 1.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    Railways minister says government has offered land in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal to Sikhs’ organisations. — FileRailways minister says government has offered land in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal to Sikhs’ organisations. — File

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    QUETTA: The provincial government is taking steps to mitigate the impact of environmental issues and climate change, says Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani.

    Chairing a meeting of the Balo­chistan Environmental Protection Council (BEPC) on Monday, he said: “Balochistan is already facing serious environmental issues, particularly water scarcity and drought, thus we need to come up with concrete measures, besides creating awareness about the impact of climate change.”

    The provincial government took a lead in forming the BECP, following reports of the last conference of International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Its main objective was to study and come up with result-oriented recommendations over climate change and environmental degradation.

    Participants of the conference, including environmental experts, discussed in length environmental issues, climate change and the working pattern of the BEPC.

    Alyani calls for creating awareness about climate change

    Furthermore, it was decided to change the name of the Balochistan Environment Department to the Climate Change and Environment Department so as to expedite its efforts towards mitigating the hazards of climate change and environmental issues.

    Balochistan is the first province to take initiatives following the last IPCC report.

    The chief minister said the provincial government would support the measures being taken to curb environmental hazards and the impact of climate change as the province was facing drought while groundwater was also fast depleting.

    He said it was responsibility of every citizen to play his/her role in protecting the environment.

    Mr Alyani directed the authorities concerned to take action against people using sewage water for vegetation which was hazardous for human health.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani calls for creating awareness about climate change. — FileBalochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani calls for creating awareness about climate change. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed has said that arrangements are under way for provision of Sui gas in various parts of the country, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

    “Sui gas will be provided in Gul Jaba village after two weeks, while areas like Kanju, Ali Grama, Hazara, Kabal will get it after six weeks after the KP government issued a no-objection certificate,” the minister said on Monday while presiding over a meeting attended by senior officers from the Ministry of Communications and Managing Director of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) Amjad Latif.

    The SNGPL will provide 600,000 new gas connections this year.

    The minister told the meeting that Sui gas would be provided to everyone keeping aside their political affiliation. He emphasised the need for ensuring quality work of laying of pipelines to avoid any untoward incident in future.

    Mr Saeed said coordination among relevant departments was imperative to ensure fair use of public money.

    He said works of laying various lines related to infrastructure needed to be completed prior to construction of roads to eliminate chances of digging roads time and again.

    “Survey work for provision of Sui gas from Kabal to Tall and Qalagy areas will be completed in 10 days,” he added.

    Earlier in the briefing, the minister was informed that the SNGPL provides services to the people round the clock and that practical steps are taken to achieve the targets.

    A close coordination has been established among Finance, Planning, National Highway Authority and other relevant departments for ensuring provision of Sui gas to the people at the earliest.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    The SNGPL will provide 600,000 new gas connections this year. — FileThe SNGPL will provide 600,000 new gas connections this year. — File

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    PESHAWAR: The police on Monday booked their two officials, including a station house officer, over the custodial death of a suspected cellphone snatcher.

    Agha Mir Jani police station SHO Ebad Wazir and head constable Rahat were booked under Pakistan Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention).

    The city police chief also suspended Ebad Wazir and directed him to report to the police lines, while the provincial police chief ordered an inquiry into the death.

    The development comes after the family members protested the death of suspect Fida Mohammad, a retired Frontier Corps soldier, in custody.

    Police chief orders inquiry, seeks report in three days

    Mohammad Imran, a brother of the deceased, complained to the police that SHO Ebad, police official Rahat and six plainclothesmen raided his brother’s Nawaz Sharif Town house on Sunday evening and took him and nephew Ashfaq Khan away after subjecting them to torture.

    He said the policemen also seized Rs85,000 cash, five cellphones, two motorcycles, two laptops and gold jewellery.

    The complainant said the family rushed to the DSP’s office searching for the detained relatives, where they were told that Fida had died, while Ashfaq was injured.

    He said he identified the body of Fida in the morgue.

    Adnan Fida, a son of the deceased, said the police accused his father of selling stolen cellphones but didn’t failed to recover a single such phone from his house.

    He also said the Agha Mir Jani police acted beyond their jurisdiction by picking up his father from the limits of the Faqirabad police station.

    “When contacted, the Faqirabad police station expressed ignorance about the incident and said they were not informed about the raid (by the Agha Mir Jani police),” he said.

    He said the police claimed that his father had died of a heart attack in custody, but his head bore torture marks.

    The deceased’s family members along with local residents staged a protest against the incident and closed the Ring Road at the Jamil Chowk.

    They dispersed after SSP (operations) Javed Iqbal showed up and assured them of the registration of an FIR against the culpable policemen.

    A statement issued here said city police chief Qazi Jamilur Rehman had suspended SHO Ebad Wazir and ordered the registration of FIR against those responsible for death in custody.

    It added that the suspect was taken into custody in connection with the investigation into the case registered on Nov 21 and that he died during interrogation.

    Meanwhile, provincial police chief Salahuddin Khan Mehsud directed the city police chief to hold an inquiry into the death and produce report within three days.

    An official of the Agha Mir Jani police station claimed that the suspected mobile phone snatcher had died of heart attack.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    Family members of a man killed in police custody and local people block Ring Road, Peshawar, during a protest on Monday. — White StarFamily members of a man killed in police custody and local people block Ring Road, Peshawar, during a protest on Monday. — White Star

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    MANSEHRA: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Babar Saleem Swati on Monday said the Saudi government would execute the Rs2 billion Mansehra water supply scheme abandoned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency earlier this year.

    “The PTI government is committed to addressing the chronic water issue in Mansehra city and its suburbs and will soon launch the mega water supply scheme with the financial assistance of the Saudi government,” Mr Swati told a news conference here. The lawmaker said the provincial government’s talks with the Saudi government on the project were almost finished and that Chief Minister Mehmood Khan would inaugurate work on it soon.

    Lawmaker says CM to inaugurate work soon

    “The water table has plunged in our city and adjoining areas and thus, worsening water crisis. There is a need to address it without further delay,” he said.

    Mr Swati said the Jica had refused to execute to the scheme after the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government didn’t sanction the requisite grant for it.

    He said Mansehra had gone a strategic position for hosting many China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

    “We’ll attract foreign investment here by strictly following international standards in all projects.

    BODY FOUND: A newlywed woman was found dead in a deserted place of Garhi Habibullah area here on Monday.

    SHO of the Garhi Habibullah police station Yasir Khan told reporters that the deceased had gone missing from her Abbottabad house on the fifth day of marriage.

    He said the family of the deceased claimed that she left home to meet a friend on Nov 21 but didn’t return and that they lodged an FIR of her kidnapping with the police the same day. The SHO said the police registered an FIR under Section 302 of CrPC and began investigation.

    FUNDS RELEASED: The provincial government has released Rs180 million development funds for the village and neighbourhood councils.

    “The finance department has released the second tranche of Rs180 million for equal distribution to 194 village and neighbourhood councils,” general secretary of the Nazmeen Ittehad Basharat Ali told reporters here on Monday.

    He said similar amount of money was earlier released for the schemes being executed in village and neighbourhood councils. Mr Basharat said the department would release the remaining two tranches of funds before the end of the current financial year. He also demanded the release of non-developmental funds, withheld since the installation of the local governments in the province.

    Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018


    MPA Babar Saleem Swati says CM to inaugurate work soon.— Dawn/FileMPA Babar Saleem Swati says CM to inaugurate work soon.— Dawn/File

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