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    ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed claimed on Tuesday that the National Highway Authority (NHA) has achieved targets set for it during first 100 days of the government.

    Speaking at a press conference, he said the NHA generated Rs3.72 billion by taking several austerity measures, increasing revenue, auctioning vehicles and retrieving its encroached land.

    He said the authority earned Rs1,412 million in revenue generation due to good governance, Rs1,596m from campaign against encroachments, Rs208.8m from auctioning government vehicles, Rs36.1m from reduction in expenditures and Rs468.2m in respect of audit.

    However, the NHA is still facing acute financial crisis and its all main projects (including those executed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) are said to be halted by the contractors due to non-payment of their outstanding dues of Rs40 billion.

    The minister said he had put an end to serving of tea to the officials and guests as an austerity measure. “We have abolished entertainment bill of the NHA after which tea is not being served to the officials,” he added.

    However, a lavish hi-tea was served to the NHA officials and members of media groups after the press conference.

    There have been reports that the NHA had not passed through a financial crisis in which its liabilities have crossed Rs40bn mark.

    The amount of liabilities, in terms of payments of contractors is increasing with every passing day because after certain days the authority is bound to pay the dues of contractors at 7 per cent interest rate. Once the construction work stops because of non-payment of dues, the contractor also charges prolongation charges (for its labour, machinery, etc., on the site). Therefore, liabilities of NHA are increasing by Rs600m per month (Rs200m due to 7pc interest and Rs400m because of prolongation charges).

    The contractors of NHA have not received payments since May and the cheques issued by the caretaker government had bounced the same month. A month ago, the government released Rs8bn for NHA against over Rs40bn liabilities and the second tranche is expected to be released next month.

    The minister said establishment of monitoring and elevation cell, mechanism of internal audit, improvement of toll plazas and public facilities in service areas, inauguration of national road safety strategy and road safety education were a few steps included in good governance initiatives of the government.

    He said facilities of e-tendering, e-bidding and e-billing have been introduced and special audit of plans from the Auditor General of Pakistan as well as inquiry of land acquiring of the National Highway Foundation would ensure transparency in award of projects.

    Mr Saeed said 187,000 saplings of different species had been planted throughout the country as part of the Green Pakistan Campaign initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    He said two rest houses at Naraan and Kaghan had been converted into tourist resorts to generate income.

    Provision of informative assistance to passengers, inauguration of help application, up-gradation of helpline 130, and one-window operation regarding driving licence authority were a few steps pertinent to be mentioned, he added.

    Mr Saeed said new road projects would be awarded on the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis and Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) model under which the NHA would not depend on government funding for executing new projects.

    Asked why action was not being taken against illegal construction of outlets in services areas of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M-2) by a contractor, the minister said: “Whatever we have done so far is not a small thing. We will go against other encroachments in future.”

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Authority still facing acute financial crisis; all main projects are said to be halted by the contractors. — APP/FAuthority still facing acute financial crisis; all main projects are said to be halted by the contractors. — APP/F

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    KARACHI: President Arif Alvi on Tuesday visited the homes of slain police officer Ashraf Dawood and constable Mohammad Amir, who were martyred during last week’s attack on the Chinese consulate general.

    A statement said that the president offered his condolence to the bereaved families.

    He paid tribute to the slain policemen for their “supreme sacrifices” while defending the lives of the Chinese consulate staff. He said that the nation was proud of them.

    “We salute our heroes who sacrifice their lives so that we can live in peace,” he said.

    Assistant Sub-Inspector Dawood, 48, lived in Lyari. He joined the Sindh police in 1990.

    Mohammad Amir lived in Neelam Colony, opposite the shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi, in Clifton.

    Dawood and Constable Mohammed Amir were killed while fighting three armed men who stormed the Chinese consulate general in Clifton on Friday. The attack was foiled and all three militants were killed.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    President Arif Alvi on Tuesday visited the homes of slain police officer Ashraf Dawood and constable Mohammad Amir. — FilePresident Arif Alvi on Tuesday visited the homes of slain police officer Ashraf Dawood and constable Mohammad Amir. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) demanded on Tuesday that the government enhance punishments for those misusing their powers to issue religious decrees (fatwas).

    Presiding over a meeting of the CII, its chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz said the council had prepared a comprehensive document — Paigham-i-Pakistan — in January this year that had been acknowledged by senior clergymen belonging to all four mainstream schools of thoughts in the country.

    The document signed by 1,829 religious scholars declares several actions un-Islamic — including suicide attacks against the state, spreading sectarianism and anarchy in the name of religion and issuing a call to jihad without the consent of the state.

    Government seeks council’s guidance for making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state

    “The responsibility to implement recommendations of the CII is with the government and we want severe punishments for those clerics who misuse their powers and issue fatwas declaring Muslims non-believer or non-Muslim and pronounce them liable to be killed as per Sharia law,” Dr Ayaz said, adding: “All such decrees have been rejected by the council.”

    The CII suspended its agenda regarding triple talaq [divorce] in one sitting to discuss a request by the government for devising an implementation framework to replicate the ‘State of Madina’ in Pakistan.

    The request was forwarded by Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan who arrived in the meeting hall at around 11am and remained there for more than two hours. The ministers conveyed a message of Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking the CII’s guidance for making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state on the pattern of that established by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Madina.

    The ministers also invited the CII members to participate in the opening of the Kartarpur border crossing scheduled for Wednesday (today). The members were informed that the prime minister would soon attend a meeting of the council and discuss the proposed framework after it was finalised.

    The council was scheduled to take up the issue of announcing triple talaq at one go, but suspended the agenda due to the presence of the two ministers and continued to discuss the government request for devising the implementation framework after the ministers left the meeting.

    Although matters discussed between the cabinet members and the Islamic scholars were not shared with the media, a CII member told Dawn that the issues being faced by the council had been conveyed to the ministers.

    The ministers were told that the general impression during tenures of the previous two governments was that the CII was only an “obligatory burden”.

    Ali Mohammad Khan sought the council’s support for eliminating religious extremism from the country and suggested that there should be regular interactions between Islamic scholars and legislators.

    Later talking to the media, the religious affairs minister said the government wanted to eradicate interest-based economy in the country. “The government wants to eliminate this menace, but during the time we want to encourage non-interest-based banking in the country,” Dr Qadri said.

    The CII will take up the issue of triple talaq at its next meeting.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Government seeks council’s guidance for making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state. — FileGovernment seeks council’s guidance for making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state. — File

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    KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has asked the prime minister to play his role in rectifying lacunas in the provisional results of the sixth population census by ordering a five per cent sample audit of census block in Karachi.

    The party expressed concern over reports that the government was going to validate the results of the census without conducting the five per cent sample audit.

    In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, MQM-P’s deputy convener Nasreen Jalil said the provisional results of the 2017 census showed Karachi’s population at 15.6 million, whereas national and international experts and organisations believed the true population of the city to be anywhere between 25m and 30m.

    She said it was decided that a sample audit would be carried out of the census blocks, but recently the census commission had declined to hold the audit. “I believe the summary has been moved for notifying the Census 2017 provincial results to be declared as final results,” she said.

    “The acceptance of Census 2017 provisional population count, if declared as final, will result in depriving Karachi of almost half of its due share in resources and representation for the next 10 years and more if the next census is not held in time,” she told the prime minister in the letter.

    Terming the census figure for Karachi “distorted, fudged and mala fide”, she warned that it could have serious repercussion not only on economy but also on the political stability of the country.

    Requesting the prime minister to pay attention to this matter and take action, she said: “The country cannot afford such injustice to the people of Sindh, particularly Karachi.”

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Party writes letter to PM, asks to conduct a five per cent sample audit. — FileParty writes letter to PM, asks to conduct a five per cent sample audit. — File

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    QUETTA: A Reform Act­ion Plan framed by the Balochistan’s finance depar­t­ment for increase in taxes on taxable and non-taxable entities was approved by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani at a meeting held here on Tuesday.

    The meeting decided that a resource mobilisation conference would be convened soon and in the upcoming financial year all tax-collecting departments would be given certain targets for tax collection.

    The meeting also decided to give awards to those provincial government departments which will meet their tax-collection targets. For the implementation of the Reform Action Plan, the finance department has given guidelines to all respective departments. These departments can make polices and give suggestions in accordance with already provided guidelines.

    The meeting noted that a large chunk of funds was spent on semi-government departments and it was decided that these departments should be made independent and profit-oriented through necessary reforms.

    The finance department briefed the chief minister on tax recovery by Excise and Taxation, Industries, Agricu­lture and Energy dep­a­r­tments. Mr Alyani said that through reforms, per­f­o­r­mance of these dep­artments could further be improved.

    The meeting stressed the need for setting up Khuzdar and Bostan Industrial zones. The chief minister said that every department should play its role in increasing taxation and for this purpose they should learn lesson from other provinces.

    “We are fortunate enough that Balochistan’s resources are much greater than its population and because of its strategic geographic location, Balochistan would soon become the hub of regional trade and investment and it would play an important role in the development of the country,” the chief minister said.

    He said there was no dearth of competent and honest officers in the province and the government would encourage those officers to work fearlessly and provide them with a clear policy about taxation.

    He said if the province did not increase its revenue through increase in taxes there was possibility that the provincial government would have no funds for payment of government servants’ salary.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


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    Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi speaks to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Tuesday.
    Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi speaks to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Tuesday.

    ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Spea­ker Asad Qaiser has hinted at further delay in the formation of house committees when he expressed the hope that he would be able to constitute them during the next session scheduled for Dec 10.

    Talking to reporters after his meeting with Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi here on Tuesday, Mr Qaiser stated that he was in contact with both the government and opposition parties over the issue and hopefully it would soon be resolved ‘amicably’.

    “I hope when there is a new assembly session, committees will be constituted,” Mr Qaiser said.

    Responding to a question, he said the issue of chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was basically between the government and the opposition.

    “You know that actually the decision is to be made by the government and the opposition. I am hopeful that this issue will also be resolved soon,” the speaker said.

    According to the tentative parliamentary calendar, the sixth regular NA session was scheduled to start from Nov 26, but it was delayed for two weeks with mutual understanding between the government and the opposition.

    Mr Qaiser said that plans were afoot to hold a conference of speakers of all the legislatures in the country to benefit from each other’s experiences.

    He said that during his five-year tenure as speaker, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had passed some 172 acts and he believed that some of those legislations like the right to information and the act about usury could be beneficial to other provinces as well. He expressed the hope that parliament would work for the betterment of the people. He said the provincial and federal governments would have to work together to solve the problems faced by the country, which was passing through a difficult economic situation.

    Speaking on the occasion, Pervaiz Elahi expressed concern over the behaviour of the opposition members in the Punjab Assembly, but hoped that they would also participate in the public welfare legislations. He alleged that the previous government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had stopped a number of projects initiated by him as chief minister, causing a loss of Rs200 billion to the province.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


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    LAHORE: The PML-N has issued a sketch showing its president Shahbaz Sharif in solitary confinement in a small detention cell at the National Accountability Bureau, Lahore.

    “Shahbaz Sharif has been detained in a 10 x 10 cell. He has been detained for a crime he has not committed. This cell is located in a narrow corridor with seven cells on each side. This sketch is made by a PML-N parliamentarian,” the PML-N said on Tuesday.

    NAB spokesperson Nawazish Ali Asim was not available for comment.

    Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif was shifted from Islamabad to Lahore NAB on Tuesday. He was arrested on Oct 5 by the NAB in the Ashiana case.

    He will be produced before an accountability court for further extension of his physical remand on Wednesday (today).

    Earlier, he attended the third consecutive session of the National Assembly after his detention when Speaker Asad Qaiser issued his production order.

    In his two speeches on the floor of the assembly, Mr Sharif had lashed out at the NAB, alleging that there was an “unholy alliance” between the bureau and the ruling PTI.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    The PML-N has issued a sketch showing its president Shahbaz Sharif in solitary confinement in a small detention cell at the National Accountability Bureau, Lahore. — AFP/File photoThe PML-N has issued a sketch showing its president Shahbaz Sharif in solitary confinement in a small detention cell at the National Accountability Bureau, Lahore. — AFP/File photo

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    LAHORE: The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has started washing its 500kV and 220kV transmission lines across the country to ensure smooth power evacuation, transmission and despatch to the 132kV distribution system and onward supply to consumers.

    The activity will also avert any major power breakdown, as the deposition of pollutants of smog emerging from fuel emissions, industrial smoke, foggy weather etc cause reduction of the lines’ insulation level, disturbing smooth power flow and leading to breakdowns especially in winter.

    According to a senior NTDC official, lines, insulators, towers, discs and conductors will be washed, nuts and bolts tightened and nests removed.

    From Nov 23 to 26, teams worked on lines passing in Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Guddu, Jaranwala Road, Sargodha, Nishatabad, Jhang, Rawat, Nokhar, New Lahore, ISPR (Sangjani), Mansehra, Mandi Bahauddin, Sheikhupura and Islamabad, according to NTDC Managing Director Zafar Iqbal. He told Dawn that decreasing insulation level of the 500kV double circuit Port Qasim transmission line caused occasional tripping and interruption of power transmission and supply to distribution system. They were mainly due to deposition of pollutants emerging from the sea salt impact and fuel emission from the adjacent K-Electric’s oil-fired power plant.

    “The initial stretch (8-9km) of the line, which is situated near the sea and the plant, is very critical, as it needs an immediate rehabilitation to avoid any untoward event in near future,” he explained. He said the 55km-long Port Qasim transmission line originated from its plant and ends at Hub, connecting Jamshoro-Guddu transmission lines.

    Insulators, he said, played an important role in transmission lines as whenever there was pollution, the insulation level decreased. It happens when some stick material falls on the insulators as a result of a mixture of emissions and air moisture.

    “To deal with this issue at this line, the NTDC is working on a pilot project to replace the normal insulators with RTV (room temperature vulcanising) coated insulators on first 10-km stretch of towers in first phase. The coating actually prevents material from sticking to insulator surface. It is a preferred solution worldwide and reduces the frequency of washing,” the official explained.

    “From Dec 26, we will start executing this pilot project, as the shutdown of the Port Qasim plant has been approved in this regard,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    According to a senior NTDC official, lines, insulators, towers, discs and conductors will be washed, nuts and bolts tightened and nests removed.According to a senior NTDC official, lines, insulators, towers, discs and conductors will be washed, nuts and bolts tightened and nests removed.

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    LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the chief traffic officer (CTO) to start enforcing the condition of wearing safety helmet on pillion riders from Dec 1 without any discrimination.

    The court further directed the CTO to issue challan tickets to motorcyclists having no side mirrors on their bikes.

    Earlier, Punjab Safe City Authority’s Chief Operating Officer Akbar Nasir told the court that there had been a visible decline in violation of traffic rules following the start of e-challan. He pointed out that around Rs30 million had been collected under the head of e-challan.

    CTO Liaqat Malik stated that traffic rules had been strictly implemented by the police. He said 324,000 motorcyclists had been issued challan tickets so far for not wearing helmet. He claimed that a number of motorcyclists remained unhurt during road accidents due to helmets.

    The court expressed satisfaction over the performance of the traffic police and directed the CTO to continue implementation of traffic laws in letter and spirit. It ordered the officer to start issuing challans for not wearing helmet by pillion riders as well from Dec 1.

    Previously, the court had directed the inspector general of Punjab police to strictly implement restriction of wearing helmets in the whole province.

    Several lawyers had filed petitions for the implementation of traffic laws citing an increase in the death of motorcyclists in road accidents.

    One of the petitioners contended that a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that in Pakistan 25.3 deaths per 100,000 occur due to road accidents, which is much higher than international ranking. He said as per the WHO fact sheet of 2011, more than 90 per cent world mortalities on roads occur in low and middle income countries. The petitioners asked the court to order the police to implement all traffic laws, including wearing of helmet by the motorcyclists in the province.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    The court further directed the CTO to issue challan tickets to motorcyclists having no side mirrors on their bikes.The court further directed the CTO to issue challan tickets to motorcyclists having no side mirrors on their bikes.

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government is scheduled to separately unveil its reform agenda relating to the Prime Minister’s 100-day Programme on Dec 10, officials told Dawn on Tuesday.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to announce steps taken by the federal government during the 100-day timeline on Nov 29.

    Officials in the Punjab government said most probably he would also announce the steps by the Punjab government, which have already been finalised in league with the federal government, in Lahore on Dec 10.

    The PTI had announced bringing about a huge change in Pakistan in first 100 days of its government. And opposition parties are accusing it of doing nothing during this period.

    Reforms in at least 12 basic sectors likely

    Officials in Punjab say they have been working on introducing reforms in at least 12 basic sectors directly having impact on people. Main of them included health and education sectors. The programme also included giving new policies, and introducing a new local government system.

    The Punjab cabinet had also approved various draft laws and policies in its meeting a few days ago which officials say are included in the reform agenda.

    These include amendments to the property tax to grant concession on property tax in six districts where the related system is computerised, policy on relocation of sugar mills in the province, industrial and labour policies, Punjab Occupational Safety and Health Act 2018, Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2018.

    The cabinet also approved the draft Mianwali Namal Institute Act, province-wise health insurance programme, amendments to the Punjab Motor Vehicles Rules 1969 under Provincial Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1965 and to the Punjab Restaurant Invoice Monitoring System Rules 2015 and Punjab Sales Tax for Service Enforcement Rules 2014.

    Others include amendments to the Indus River System Authority Act 1992 (Chashma Right Canal Lift Irrigation Canal project), laws allowing imposition of sales tax on intercity transportation, transportation of luggage through roads or provision of services through pipelines.

    Amendments to the Punjab Right to Information Act 2018, Punjab Right to Public Service Act 2018, Police Order 2018 (ADR committees), Punjab Prevention of Conflict of Interest Act 2018 and Punjab Whistleblower Protection Act and Vigilance Commission Act 2018 were also approved.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Officials in the Punjab government said most probably he would also announce the steps by the Punjab government, which have already been finalised in league with the federal government, in Lahore on Dec 10. — Online/File photoOfficials in the Punjab government said most probably he would also announce the steps by the Punjab government, which have already been finalised in league with the federal government, in Lahore on Dec 10. — Online/File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: Defending the travel ban on Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfi Bukhari, the Ministry of Interior has requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to dismiss the petition seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

    On the other hand, Mr Bukhari has declined to provide any evidence regarding his offshore businesses to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) until his name is unilaterally removed from the ECL.

    In a detailed reply submitted to the IHC in response to the petition, the interior ministry explained the reasons for which Mr Bukhari was placed on the no-fly list. “The Honorable court may please dismiss this petition with costs,” it added.

    Zulfi Bukhari’s name included in ECL on recommendation of NAB which is probing corruption allegtions against him, IHC informed

    The reply said NAB had offered Mr Bukhari to proceed abroad even when an inquiry was pending against him.

    According to the reply, Mr Bukhari through his counsel filed a representation before the interior ministry for the removal of his name from the ECL and the same was forwarded to NAB on Sept 14.

    “In response, NAB vide their letter dated Oct 5 informed that the request of the petitioner has been considered and recommended one-time permission.”

    The ministry stated: “The case of the petitioner was received from NAB on May 10, 2018 for placement of [Bukhari’s] name on ECL. At that time the constitution of subcommittee of the cabinet on ECL was under process hence, as a pre-cautionary measure, director general immigration and passport was directed to place the name of the petitioner on blacklist so that he may not abscond.”

    The ministry said: “The name of the petitioner [Bukhari] was placed on ECL on Aug 4, 2018 on the recommendation of NAB and the case was also considered in the meeting of cabinet subcommittee held on June 22, 2018 and July 6, 2018 respectively, who recommended for placement of the name on ECL which was ratified by the cabinet.”

    The IHC was scheduled to resume hearing of Mr Bukhari’s petition on Tuesday but the court could not conduct the hearing and fixed it for Dec 3.

    On Nov 19, NAB submitted its written report and claimed that Mr Bukhari was not cooperating with the investigators probing the case related to his alleged illegitimate assets.

    The bureau stated: “The respondent (NAB) has initiated the inquiry proceeding against the petitioner as per mandate of law to probe into allegations of corruption and corrupt practices under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.”

    It said Mr Bukhari “did not cooperate with NAB by knowingly and willfully not joining the inquiry proceedings, even after issuance of four summons.

    In his petition, Mr Bukhari maintained that he “is a British citizen of Pakistani origin … and is currently at Islamabad … his spouse and children are domiciled [in UK] where his business interests are managed from.

    The petition said Mr Bukhari was cooperating with the investigation team but “was shocked and dismayed to learn” that he was placed on the ECL.

    According to the petition, Section 3 of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance 1981 provides for a right of review for any order made by the federal government but such a review only creates an illusory remedy.

    Talking to Dawn, Mr Bukhari accused NAB of carrying out his media trial.

    He claimed that he was cooperating with NAB and responded to every call-up notice.

    “Had I not cooperated with NAB, the bureau would have arrested me for non-cooperation which they didn’t.”

    He said NAB sought certain documents from him which were not available in Pakistan.

    When asked whether he would avail a one-time permission to travel abroad to procure the required record, Mr Bukhari said he was not interested in a one-time waiver and wanted his name removed from the ECL for good.

    He said NAB went beyond its authority by putting him on the ECL that too during the ongoing inquiry. “In civilised countries inquiries are kept secret until the case is finalised against a suspect,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    On the other hand, Bukhari has declined to provide any evidence regarding his offshore businesses to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) until his name is unilaterally removed from the ECL. — File photoOn the other hand, Bukhari has declined to provide any evidence regarding his offshore businesses to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) until his name is unilaterally removed from the ECL. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The growing population of stray dogs and wild boars has perturbed the residents of the capital city who have sought Prime Minister Office’s directives to eliminate the animals.

    Sources said 64 complaints had been registered with the recently-launched Pakistan Citizens Portal of the PM Office against stray dogs and wild boars.

    The portal is an initiative of the PTI government to allow the citizens to register complaints regarding their basic problems for swift resolution.

    The residents of Islamabad filed 64 complaints regarding stray dogs and pigs with the portal. The federal government has forwarded the complaints to the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) for early resolution.

    The capital city has been facing the growing population of wild boars and stray dogs. One can easily find a pack of boars in different city areas. These wild animals are also causing road accidents, particularly at nights.

    Officials of the CDA and MCI said a decade ago wild boars and stray dogs were not an issue as at that time locals and foreigners used to hunt them down. But later the capital administration imposed a ban on the use of weapons because of security issues.

    “Killing wild boars is a violation of Wildlife Act so hunting of this animal is banned,” said an official of the capital administration who requested not to be named.

    Sources in the CDA and MCI said complaints received from the Prime Minister Office had been forwarded to the concerned directorates for action.

    When contacted, Director Sanitation Sardar Khan Zimri said the MCI had constituted two shooting teams which on an average eliminated 15 dogs daily.

    He said special focus was being paid to the complaints referred from the Pakistan Citizen Portal.

    “We are supposed to kill dogs only as far as wild boars are concerned our environment wing is responsible to take any decision on it,” he said, adding the city had witnessed an increasing population of stray dogs and wild boars for over a decade.

    Director Environment Irfan Niazi told Dawn that according to the Wildlife Act, no one was allowed to kill wild boars. But the MCI can adopt chemical elimination of the wild animals.

    He said in the past the civic agency used to poison wild boars but for over a decade this practice had been abandoned.

    But shooting of stray dogs by the civic agency has been criticised by NGOs. Several officials of the MCI said instead of shooting the dogs the civic agency should adopt some scientific method to eliminate them.

    Overall complaints

    The sources said so far over 600 complaints had been referred to the CDA/MCI from the Citizen Portal and a majority of them were related to streetlights, most of which are currently non-functional in the city.

    “We are attending all complaints being referred to us,” said an official of the MCI. He, however, said the MCI had been facing shortage of funds. “But within the available resources, we are trying to deliver the best,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Sources said 64 complaints had been registered with the recently-launched Pakistan Citizens Portal of the PM Office against stray dogs and wild boars. — Photo by Ali Umair Jaffery/FileSources said 64 complaints had been registered with the recently-launched Pakistan Citizens Portal of the PM Office against stray dogs and wild boars. — Photo by Ali Umair Jaffery/File

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    PESHAWAR: Gas supply to many areas of the provincial capital will remain suspended for two days due to shifting of the pipelines from the route of Bus Rapid Transit project.

    An SNGPL spokesman said on Tuesday that main gas pipelines of 12” and 8” diametre on GT Road near Jinnah Park would to be re-routed.

    He said to carry this major shifting the supply of natural gas to many localities along the GT Road from Tarnab Farms to Jinnah Park localities, interior city, entire walled city such as Gulbahar, Nishtarabad, Hashtnagri, cantonment, Khyber Road, Warsak Road, Governor House, Chief Minister House, Kohat Road and the areas along Ring Road would remain suspended from 8pm on Nov 28 (Wednesday) till 5pm on Nov 29 (Thursday).

    The official requested all the SNGPL consumers both in the residential and commercial/industrial areas to take extreme caution and switch off all the gas-run appliances during the shutdown to avoid any mishap.

    He assured the consumers that the SNGPL’s technical staff would complete the process of shifting the major pipelines within shortest possible time.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Gas supply to many areas of the provincial capital will remain suspended for two days due to shifting of the pipelines from the route of Bus Rapid Transit project. — AFP/File photoGas supply to many areas of the provincial capital will remain suspended for two days due to shifting of the pipelines from the route of Bus Rapid Transit project. — AFP/File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The procedural technicalities and frequent design changes are likely to push the completion of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s flagship Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project beyond the new deadline, officials claim.

    The Peshawar Development Authority, the executing agency, has set March 23 as the new deadline for the launch of the multi-billion rupees bus service, which has been delayed by 11 months.

    Work on the BRT has been suspended at six locations due to the procedural technicalities and other hurdles.

    Officials blame delay in start of bus service on technicalities, frequent design changes

    According to the original plan, the BRT buses were to ply the track in May 2018.

    The government changed the deadline for the project’s completion many times.

    The frequent changes to the BRT design has escalated the project’s cost from Rs49 billion to Rs69 billion. The Asian Development Bank is financing the project.

    The PDA officials insisted that the meeting of the new deadline greatly depended on two state entities i.e.

    Wapda and Pakistan Railways, which were to lay new transmission line on Sonehri Masjid Road in cantonment areas and issue no objection certificate for the installation of heavy girders to complete elevated track over the cantonment railway station, respectively.

    A relevant official told Dawn that work on BRT track on the Sonehri Masjid Road had been suspended for four months due to the delay in the shifting of the existing power cables.

    He said the power lines passed over the elevated portion of the BRT track and the construction won’t resume until the Wapda relocated them.

    “Delay in the removal of electricity lines has delayed civil work for more than three months. The PDA may not meet the new deadline if the Wapda does not finish its work immediately,” he said, adding that the authority had scheduled to start work on Wednesday.

    The official said the PDA had been waiting for the Pakistan Railways’ NoC for the installation of girders over the cantonment station to complete the elevated portion of the track.

    He said a total of 18 girders would be installed over the railway track.

    The official said the NoC request was submitted to the railways two months ago and even the due payment had been made for land acquisition but action on it had yet to be seen.

    Sources said the PDA had paid Rs450 million to the Pakistan Railways for acquiring land and using its space at four different locations.

    They said the PDA would pay an additional amount of Rs120 million to the railways for putting up the elevated track in Karkhano Market near Hayatabad.

    The sources said the PDA purchased around 30 kanals of land from the cantonment board at Aaman Chowk near Gorra Qabristan at the ‘very high’ rate of Rs1.2 billion.

    They said Rs300 million had been paid to the board.

    The intersection including a public park has already been used for traffic.

    Separately, the PDA will pay Rs1.8 billion to the Wapda, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited for relocating their installations.

    When contacted, Engineer Shah Nawaz, the Pakistan Railways focal person for BRT project, claimed that the PDA didn’t submit girder launching plan and safety certificate to the ministry.

    He said the Pakistan Railways had asked the PDA to produce the relevant documents required for the issuance of NoC.

    “We are ready to issue the sought-after NoC if the PDA submits the required documents,” he said, adding that the authority had yet to pay Rs120 million for acquiring space in Karkhano Market.

    On the other hand, the PDA abandoned its plan to install concrete girders for building 1.7 kilometers elevated track from the Lady Reading Hospital to the cantonment railway station for bicyclists and pedestrians after an inspection team of Asian Development Bank found the structures faulty.

    Sources said the ADB team observed that the U-shaped concrete girders were so narrow that they couldn’t accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians and therefore, they should be replaced with steel girders.

    The U-shaped concrete girders are to be used for the pedestrians’ movement and overhead bridges in Hayatabad and Chamkani areas. The company has constructed a total of 35 U-shaped girders to be shifted to Hayatabad and other locations.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Concrete girders meant for construction of elevated track for bicyclists and pedestrians have been dumped along Ring Road near Bacha Khan Chowk, Peshawar, after they were found faulty. — Photo by Abdul Majeed GorayaConcrete girders meant for construction of elevated track for bicyclists and pedestrians have been dumped along Ring Road near Bacha Khan Chowk, Peshawar, after they were found faulty. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya

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    ISLAMABAD: The South Asian Associa­tion for Regional Cooperation’s (Saarc) summit remains in limbo for the third year running due to India’s refusal to attend a meeting in Pakistan.

    Islamabad was to host the 19th summit of the regional bloc in November 2016, but India on that occasion forced its cancellation by first pulling out of the meeting on the pretext of “increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in internal affairs of member states by one country”, because of which it claimed the environment was “not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit in Islamabad”.

    It was later joined by its regional allies Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan, all of whom also pulled out citing concerns about terrorism and external interference in an implied criticism of Pakistan.

    Pakistan has not been able to convene the event for the third year now because of a virtual Indian veto. Participation of all member states is mandatory for the convening of a Saarc summit.

    FO spokesman says invitation was extended to Modi in letter written by PM Imran after assuming office

    The new government in Islamabad, while attempting to capitalise on the goodwill generated from initial contacts between the new government and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made a fresh attempt at convening the summit, but the attempt was again stonewalled by India.

    Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal, while speaking at a seminar on Tuesday, spoke about India’s obstinacy on the issue of the Saarc summit in Islamabad. Referring to a letter written by Prime Minister Imran Khan to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi after assuming office, the spokesman said, the invitation for attending the summit in Islamabad was renewed.

    “The letter noted that Saarc summit may now be held and welcomed Mr Modi to visit Islamabad so that a dialogue can be started and we can take it forward,” he said.

    Saarc summits, as per the charter of the body, are to be held once a year or more frequently as required by the situation. The summits are held on a rotational basis inn alphabetical order of the names of member states. However, summits could be held only on 18 occasions in Saarc’s 33 years of existence. Most of the postponements have taken place in the last 17 years.

    Although there have been different reasons for the delays and rescheduling, including bilateral disputes and internal problems of member states, India has been the most common cause in these postponements, if not all. At least on two occasions the hold-ups were because of Pakistan-India disputes.

    India refused to attend the 11th summit on the pretext of a coup in Pakistan and the 12th summit because of the prime minister’s schedule. India on those occasions used the participation card to pressure the hosts.

    Longest delay

    The longest delay was on the occasion of the 11th summit hosted by Kathmandu. On that occasion the summit scheduled for November 1999 was held in January 2002 after delay of nearly two years and two months. On five occasions in the past the venue had to be changed for hosting of the conference — 3rd, 4th, 5th, 15th and 16th summits.

    This time India is insisting that it would not agree to a meeting in Islamabad as long as it does not see any visible progress on its concerns about terrorism.

    Pakistan has time and again denied the allegations and has on several occasions offered dialogue to address the outstanding issues.

    Dr Faisal, while again recalling PM Khan’s letter, said: “We are ready to discuss and resolve all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, people-to-people contacts, religious tourism. We are ready to discuss terrorism.”

    PM Khan is performing the groundbreaking of Kartarpur corridor on Wednesday, which is being dubbed as ‘corridor of peace’.

    An Indian delegation, including some ministers, will attend the ceremony in Kartarpur.

    Dr Faisal said that the progress towards opening of the Kartarpur corridor was a result of Pakistan’s relentless perseverance in its efforts for normalising ties with India despite the latter’s inflexibility.

    He said Pakistan was very clear in its policy of engaging with India, whereas New Delhi was suffering from confusion as shown by the cancelled foreign ministers meeting in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

    The spokesman hoped that the corridor would open other avenues of cooperation between the two countries.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    FO spokesman says invitation was extended to Modi in letter written by PM Khan after assuming office. — Photos courtesy of wiresFO spokesman says invitation was extended to Modi in letter written by PM Khan after assuming office. — Photos courtesy of wires

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    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to overcome basic civic problems of the capital city that included water shortage, non-functional streetlights, land grabbing and dilapidated public parks.

    The prime minister issued these instructions during a meeting held on 15-day review of the performance of the civic authorities, local administration and police.

    A participant of the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister also ordered revamp of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and observed that the civic body had lost its mandate of public service and make Islamabad clean and beautiful.

    Says CDA has lost mandate of public service, directs the civic agency’s revamp

    Reviewing the anti-encroachment drive, Prime Minister Khan ordered across-the-board action while removing encroachment.

    He also directed the CDA and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) to find a solution to the water shortage issue.

    The issue of rusty underground water supply network also came under discussion.

    The meeting observed that almost 40pc of water released from Simly Dam for the capital was wasted due to leakages.

    Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Ali Nawaz Awan, MNA Raja Khurrum Nawaz, Interior Secretary retired Maj Azam Suleman Khan, Chief Commissioner Amir Ahmed Ali, IGP Amir Zulfiqar and other officers attended the meeting.

    The interior secretary briefed the prime minister on short and mid-term initiatives to transform the capital into a model city, progress made towards the revision of the capital’s master plan and successes made so far in the anti-encroachment drive.

    He also apprised the meeting of the initiatives being taken to improve access to service delivery and ensuring responsive governance in the capital.

    The prime minister was informed that a significant progress had been made during the anti-encroachment drive. Besides retrieving 75 acres in Tumair, 114 kanals at the Margalla foothills and land of the botanical garden had also been recovered and handed over to the climate change ministry.

    The meeting was informed that besides clearing markets of encroachers, green areas annexed by houses in various sectors would also be cleared in a few days.

    The secretary said a system of holding open kutcheries in all four zones of the capital had been started to receive and address the complaints of the citizens.

    The computerisation of land record and a computerised complaint management system was being put in place to address land grabbing issues.

    For improved access to service delivery, the number of facilitation centres was being increased from one to five to help citizens in accessing government services.

    Besides, technology was being employed to redress issues and get feedback on the service delivery.

    About the action against drug mafia, especially around educational institutions, the prime minister was informed that so far 117 cases of narcotics had been registered during the last 25 days.

    Besides proactive action by police and the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), plans have been prepared to get the support of the citizens, especially parents of students, to curb the menace of drugs in the capital.

    The secretary also briefed the meeting about other initiatives, including plans of redoing major parks and addressing the issue of water for the residents.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    The prime minister issued these instructions during a meeting held on 15-day review of the performance of the civic authorities, local administration and police. — AFP/File photoThe prime minister issued these instructions during a meeting held on 15-day review of the performance of the civic authorities, local administration and police. — AFP/File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday decided to raise up to Rs340 billion fresh loans to once again bailout the country’s ever-bleeding power sector by pledging major assets of the distribution and generation companies.

    A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Cabinet, presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar.

    In two related, but separate decisions, the ECC ordered finalisation of a mechanism for raising up to Rs200bn in Islamic financing on behalf of Power Holding Private Limited (PHPL) –– an asset-less shell company of the Power Division –– and allowed issuing sovereign guarantee to enable National Power Parks Management Company Ltd (NPPMCL) –– a subsidiary of the federal government and operator of two LNG power plants of 2,453MW –– to raise Rs38 billion.

    A senior official of the Power Division told Dawn that ECC constituted a committee comprising top officials of power, petroleum, finance and law divisions as well as Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan to work out a mechanism for Islamic financing for PHPL through a consortium of banks, led by Meezan Islamic Bank. The committee would firm up the mechanism within a week and the funds would be used to service payables of the oil and gas sector, that is gripped by more than Rs1.2 trillion circular debt including a fresh flow of almost Rs700bn.

    The committee was told that Syndicated Term Finance Facilities of Rs607.035bn had already been executed in the name of PHPL for funding repayment liabilities of Discos. The conventional banks are not ready to commit more funds to the sector, owing to their over exposure.

    Therefore, the government has now decided to raise fresh loans of up to Rs200bn from Islamic banks by pledging assets of Discos and Gencos as collateral. The assets have been identified and earmarked by the respective companies and are being shortlisted by the consortium for first stage of financing worth Rs100bn.

    The banks have so far identified 43 assets and forwarded to valuators of the Pakistan Banks’ Association for their market valuation and have also shared a tentative term sheet worth Rs100-200bn, which is being reviewed by the Ministry of Finance.

    On top of that, the Power Division proposed that an amount of up to Rs200bn be raised from Islamic banks through PHPL to improve liquidity of the sector and create space for structural improvements. The funds would be utilised for funding the repayment liabilities of Discos through Central Power Purchasing Agency. The finance ministry will provide government guarantee for repayment of loan as well as the interest.

    To deliver on this, all the board of directors of Discos and Gencos would be required to agree to hold the properties/assets in the trust for banks. The Power Division has reported that under the present legal dispensation, repayment of markup and principal cannot be charged to the tariff because of this being double accounting.

    In a related decision, the ECC also approved government guarantee to NPPMCL to raise loan of Rs38bn from financial institutions in order to meet remaining cost of its two power plants –– 1,223MW Balloki and 1,230MW Haveli Bahadur Shah in Punjab.

    A Power Division official explained that the two plants were approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in February 2016 at a total cost of Rs190.44bn and the federal government provided Rs114bn cash development loan in 2016 and 2017 to NPPMCL which was directed to arrange the remaining funds on self-finance basis.

    Subsequently, the federal government approved the acquisition of two plants of NPPMCL by Pakistan Development Fund Ltd (PDFL) that was created to take care of $1.5bn “gift” from Saudi Arabia. Rs114bn loan was thus acquired as advance against equity injection by PDFL. To provide further support to meet funding requirements of NPPMCL, the PDFL also provided a short term loan of Rs32.738bn.

    Now the NPPMCL has requested the government to arrange project financing of Rs70bn to pay off remaining costs of the scheme and short-term loan of PDFL. The Ministry of Finance, therefore, decided in consultation with all stakeholders that principal amount of Rs32.738bn provided by PDFL as short-term loan be converted into its equity stake in NPPMCL. The NPPMCL will raise the remaining Rs38bn from commercial banks against government guarantee.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Govt decides to raise loans of up to Rs200bn from Islamic banks by pledging assets of Discos and Gencos as collateral. — AFP/FileGovt decides to raise loans of up to Rs200bn from Islamic banks by pledging assets of Discos and Gencos as collateral. — AFP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan will apprise the nation about the government’s performance during its first 100 days in office on Thursday. He is expected to speak about the progress made vis-a-vis targets set by him after coming to power.

    Mr Khan reviewed the PTI-led government’s performance at a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday. The Prime Minister’s Adviser on Establish­ment Mohammad Shahzad Arbab briefed the meeting on the six-pronged 100-day plan.

    A source in the PM Office told Dawn that the adviser apprised the prime minister of the targets achieved so far as well as future milestones. The source said the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the achievements made under the plan and approved it after a thorough review.

    Imran Khan expresses satisfaction over achievements made under 100-day plan

    The 100-day plan mainly focused on six points — transforming governance, strengthening the federation, revitalising economic growth, developing agriculture and conserving water, revolutionising social service and ensuring national security.

    The prime minister spent a busy day on Tuesday and presided over several meetings.

    A delegation of Coca Cola Company Pakistan and bottling partners Coca-Cola Içecek Turkey, led by regional director from Turkey Orhun Kostem, called on the prime minister and briefed him on the company’s existing investment of $500 million in the country and future plans of $200m investment over the next two to three years that would create new jobs, support ancillary industries and help the government earn incremental revenue through taxes.

    According to a press release issued by the PM Office, the prime minister assured the delegation of all possible support in taking advantage of investment-friendly policies of the present government.

    The delegation also discussed issues related to taxes and black economy that hamper industry’s growth.

    A delegation of Suzuki Motors Corporation headed by its global chairman Osamu Suzuki and comprising Kinji Saito, Masafumi Harano, Shigeo Takezawa, Yusuke Katto and Shafiq A. Shaikh also met the prime minister. Ambassador of Japan Takashi Kurai was also present.

    The delegation briefed the prime minister on the existing investment of Suzuki Motors Corporation and future investment plans in the country, including construction of a second plant to manufacture additional 100,000 vehicles per year.

    The prime minister, while appreciating contribution of Suzuki Motors in the automobile sector, said his government was committed to private sector development, investment promotion, improving ease of doing business and growth of the manufacturing sector.

    Prime Minister Khan also chaired a meeting to discuss the potential of and issues related to livestock, backyard poultry, small and medium dairy farms and agriculture produce markets in the country.

    The meeting was informed that there was a huge potential in the livestock sector, especially the export of meat to China and the Gulf countries. It was told that establishment of foot-and-mouth disease (FMT) free zones in the country and incentivising saving and calf fattening programmes could significantly help in realising the country’s potential in the livestock sector.

    The meeting discussed issues relating to agriculture produce markets and exploitation of farmers by the monopolies created due to dysfunctional market committees. It was briefed on plans to put in place legal framework, upgrade 76 agriculture produce markets in 24 districts with infrastructure development, relocate nine markets and establish six new markets over the next five years.

    Prime Minister Khan directed that a comprehensive plan be chalked out to resolve the issues being faced by the livestock sector. He approved a proposal for establishment of a model agriculture produce market in Lahore which would be replicated in other parts of the country to facilitate farmers.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Imran Khan expresses satisfaction over achievements made under 100-day plan. — FileImran Khan expresses satisfaction over achievements made under 100-day plan. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to probe into alleged money laundering committed by senior Pakistan Peoples Party leaders through fake bank accounts has included the party’s chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in its investigation.

    According to Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s spokesman Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the JIT has sent the PPP chairman a questionnaire containing queries about his bank accounts.

    “Mr Bhutto-Zardari has received a questionnaire and he has to respond by Nov 29,” Mr Khokhar told Dawn when contacted.

    He, however, rejected media reports that the PPP chairman had been summoned by the JIT and said he had only been asked to respond to the queries in the questionnaire.

    Mr Khokhar said that former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur would appear before the JIT on Wednesday (today) in Karachi.

    The JIT was formed on the orders of the Supreme Court last month to probe alleged laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts in connivance with bankers and others to allegedly benefit several people, including Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur.

    The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been investigating a 2015 case regarding fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited.

    Seven individuals, including Mr Zardari, were said to be involved in using the fake accounts for suspicious transactions that were said to amount to Rs35 billion. The accounts were allegedly used to channel funds received through kickbacks.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar while ordering the formation of the JIT had said the investigations could be carried out in Sindh, but the FIA director general was of the opinion that it should take place in Islamabad due to the nature of the case.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    The PPP chairman has received a questionnaire, has to respond to it by November 29. — AFP/FileThe PPP chairman has received a questionnaire, has to respond to it by November 29. — AFP/File

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    An antiterrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday accepted the bail of journalist Nasarullah Khan Chaudhry who has been in police custody for allegedly possessing banned literature.

    According to the Counter-terrorism Department (CTD), it arrested Chaudhry, a journalist associated with Urdu-language daily Nai Baat, in Karachi’s Garden area on Nov 11. The agency alleged that the journalist was carrying some journals and booklets about Afghan Jihad and the Punjabi Taliban which contained material intended to sow discord on sectarian grounds as well as to motivate people to take part in “Jihad”.

    In today's hearing, the journalist's lawyer, Advocate Muhammad Farooq, argued that the CTD did not have any proof against his client.

    The court ordered the journalist to submit Rs100,000 as a bail bond.

    Chaudhry was first remanded into police custody on November 12.

    The CTD booked the journalist under Section 11-F (i) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 (a person is guilty of an offence if he belongs, or professes to belong, to a proscribed organisation), Section 11-W(i) (printing, publishing or disseminating any material to incite hatred or giving projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act or any proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation or anyone concerned in terrorism) and Section 7.


    Journalist's lawyer says the CTD does not have any proof against his client. — Photo courtesy, TwitterJournalist's lawyer says the CTD does not have any proof against his client. — Photo courtesy, Twitter

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