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    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan was informed at a meeting on Wednesday that over 40 bidders and construction companies had applied for providing land and constructing housing units under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme (NPHP) of the federal government.

    Briefing the meeting on the progress of the programme, Housing and Works Secretary Dr Imran Zeb said that an encouraging response had been received from bidders/companies to the government initiative.

    He said that 41 bidders/companies had applied for constructing housing units and providing land for plots/apartments/houses in major cities of the country.

    The secretary also apprised the prime minister of functions of the ministry and its attached departments and organisations such as the Pakistan Public Works Department (Pak-PWD), Estate Office, National Housing Authority, Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation, Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation and National Construction Limited.

    17-member task force formed to look into affairs of the Naya Pakistan project

    Mr Zeb also shared achievements of various organisations with regard to their mandated functions.

    The meeting was informed that efforts were under way to ensure complete transparency in the process of allotment of official accommodation to government employees and getting vacated illegal occupation from official accommodation.

    The prime minister was informed that currently the Ministry of Housing and Works was facing a shortfall of 26,724 housing units in different parts of the country. The secretary also highlighted various issues relating to Pak-PWD and other departments of the ministry.

    Prime Minister Khan said that the government was cognisant of the issues being faced by its employees in the housing sector, especially provision of official accommodation in the federal capital and provincial headquarters.

    Mr Khan said that the PTI government’s programme of constructing five million housing units/flats over the next five years would help address the issue of shortage of official accommodation for government employees.

    He expressed concern over under-utilisation of human resources and expertise available with various organisations of the housing ministry and directed that a comprehensive plan be prepared to ensure optimum utilisation of the available human resources.

    An official press release issued after the meeting did not mention what progress had been made by the housing ministry for the formation of a new housing authority — Naya Pakistan Housing Authority (NPHA) — which was proposed by the prime minister to be set up within 90 days of the formation of the new government.

    The main objective of the formation of the new authority was to provide one-window facility to all investors/bidders of the NPHP. The prime minister had also announced that he would oversee the working of the new authority.

    Meanwhile, a 17-member task force has been formed to look into affairs of the NPHP.

    Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018


    17-member task force formed to look into affairs of the Naya Pakistan project.. — APP/File17-member task force formed to look into affairs of the Naya Pakistan project.. — APP/File

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    The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to pay Rs1.4 million for a provincial government advertisement in which his photograph was featured.

    The apex court issued the order while hearing a suo motu notice pertaining to media advertisements by the governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar directed the chief minister to pay the amount within 10 days either from his own pocket or using PPP funds. He pointed out that former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had paid at least Rs5m for an advertisement featuring his picture.

    The court also directed the KP government to submit its reply over publication of former chief minister Pervez Khattak's picture in two advertisements by Monday.

    The KP information secretary submitted a report in court today seeking 10 days to submit a reply, but the court rejected the report, with Justice Nisar remarking that the KP government was attempting to mislead the court.

    He reprimanded the information secretary for what he said was the unlawful defence of political figures by a government servant.

    On Feb 28, 2018, the chief justice had taken suo motu notice of government's awarding of advertisements to the media at "nation's expense".

    The court had constituted a three-member bench and directed the information secretaries of the three provinces to submit the record of advertisements awarded to print and electronic media.

    The court also asked the authorities to provide details of how many advertisements were provided to each media house.

    The chief justice had said that the provincial governments run advertisements in the media with large logos and pictures to promote their projects, "yet 4,500 schools in Sindh are deprived of potable water".

    On March 8, 2018, the court had ordered then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif to reimburse the national exchequer Rs5.5m after a Punjab government newspaper advertisement carrying his photograph was displayed in the court.

    On April 4, 2018, the chief justice, during a hearing of the case, had deemed using pictures for self-promotion as inappropriate. "The use of pictures in government ads on TV or in print is henceforth prohibited by the court," he had ruled.


    Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was asked to pay Rs1.4 million within 10 days. — APP/FileSindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was asked to pay Rs1.4 million within 10 days. — APP/File

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    Refugees and migrants sleep in makeshift tents across France as they wait to seek asylum. Image:Reuters
    Refugees and migrants sleep in makeshift tents across France as they wait to seek asylum. Image:Reuters

    Nestled in the safety of a shared Parisian apartment, 28-year old Muhammad Khan recounts his perilous voyage to European shores on a boat that nearly capsized.

    Without any prior nautical training, Muhammad Khan, an illegal Afghan immigrant sailed through the Mediterranean Sea with three others on their way from Turkey to Greece.

    “We saw death from very close,” Khan says.

    "We were crying and holding on to each other to keep the boat straight.”

    Once in Greece, Khan and his three colleagues — one of whom is Pakistani — made their way to Paris.

    For the last three years, these undocumented migrants have been trying to survive each day in an African dominated neighborhood of Paris that is notorious for crime. And much like other undocumented settlements all over Parisian suburbs, their locality is overcrowded with poor living conditions.

    Every year, thousands of Pakistani and Afghan nationals make desperate attempts to reach European countries via Iran and Turkey. Some are in search of better jobs; others are fleeing discrimination and persecution.

    Few are fortunate enough to succeed in reaching Europe and make their way beyond.

    And even then, there is no guarantee for the life and opportunity they had desperately hoped for.

    Out of the frying pan into the fire

    "We are yet to be granted asylum," says one immigrant, reluctant to be named.

    Fearing deportation, many undocumented settlers are not allowed basic healthcare, education and other necessary social services because they either lack paperwork or have their applications stuck in bureaucratic intricacies.

    To make things worse, the French National Assembly recently passed a controversial immigration bill that shortens asylum application deadlines, doubles the time for which illegal migrants can be detained to 90 days, and introduces a one-year prison sentence for entering France illegally.

    Critics say immigrants are treated as criminals. And the undocumented immigrants themselves have to constantly keep a low profile for fear of being identified and deported.

    And if deportation is in someway avoided, a fractious public opinion and negative attitudes towards refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants makes it much harder to maintain legal residence.

    Trouble at home, a struggle abroad

    Since January 2016, over 65,000 Pakistanis have been intercepted by Iran and handed over to levies and FIA at the Pak-Iran border, an FIA source informs Dawn.com.

    Most of the hapless Pakistanis who decide to undertake this arduous journey belong to Punjab’s Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur and other areas.

    The officer goes on to say that a worsening law and order situation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has also forced many to leave Pakistan for the sake of economic and social security abroad.

    Additionally, a large number of Afghan nationals also use unfrequented routes through the porous 900 kilometer long border between Pakistan and Iran to sneak in and out illegally. Most of these Afghans belong to the volatile South-western region in Afghanistan where the Taliban have launched deadly attacks in the aftermath of the fall of the Afghan government since October 2001, marking the beginning of the insurgency.

    "We can’t go forward with our lives nor back to our homes," a Pakistani asylum seeker, Israr Ahmed tells Dawn.com.

    Israr had applied for political asylum in France after his request was rejected by the Swedish government. But since there has been no progress on his application, he now plans to move on to Germany, a refugee friendly country, to apply for asylum.

    Many like Israr have cases regarding their legal status pending in the French courts — unless they have already been rejected.

    Interestingly, many Pakistanis and Afghans end up marrying older European women for the sake of nationality.

    "The married ones are in trouble now," the immigrants say in unison.

    They say Pakistani men enter marriages with EU passport holders but fail to recognise how different their cultures and traditions are. "A man is not able to stop his European wife from going out of the house," says one immigrant, recognising that the culture allows women to have agency which women back home may not have.

    Fearing deportation, many undocumented settlers are not allowed basic healthcare, education and other necessary social services. Image: LCI, 2018
    Fearing deportation, many undocumented settlers are not allowed basic healthcare, education and other necessary social services. Image: LCI, 2018

    The pressure of surviving in a big city

    With a rent of 1200 euros per month (approximately RsRs180,000), Muhammad Khan and his colleagues struggle to keep a roof over their heads.

    There is no chance of getting a formal job because Khan and his colleagues lack licenses and work permits that allow them to legally find jobs in Paris. So they have to make ends meet by doing odd jobs — or they starve.

    "We all are doing cash based work and operate in the black market and pay no taxes," Khan informed Dawn.com. In such cases the transaction is neither recorded nor reported.

    According to him, their daily jobs include selling small but expensive items at slashed prices. A pack of cigarette that costs about 10 euros is then unlawfully sold at 5 euros or less on street corners.

    He continues, “What we can do and eat is all thanks to the police that lets us earn a living. They are also human beings after all.”

    Khan and his peers have been repeatedly arrested and then released by the Paris police on humanitarian grounds.

    And once they are released, the migrants take their unauthorized trade to another district under the jurisdiction of a different police station.

    But most illegal and undocumented immigrants and settlers survive on assistance from the outside; charity organizations are kind enough to provide food and other necessary commodities to them.

    "Weekly we get 12 milk packs from one organization," Israr Ahmed says.

    He continues with a somber smile, “it’s almost like begging.”


    Names have been changed to protect the identities.


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    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday ordered the district election commissioner of Lahore to personally deliver a second notice to Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the chief of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), in a case regarding his party's registration and funding.

    A five-member commission, headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, heard the case today.

    Neither Rizvi, who was taken under "protective custody" last week, nor his counsel appeared before the commission.

    At this, the ECP issued another notice to the TLP chief and instructed the district election commissioner to ensure that the orders are obliged to.

    The ECP adjourned the case till December 5.

    The case against TLP was initiated after the Supreme Court lambasted the ECP earlier this month for registering a party that had disrupted life in the twin cities last year.

    The top court had expressed surprise that the right-wing party had been registered with a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) by an individual residing in the United Arab Emirates.

    Supreme Court was also amazed that the ECP's director general of law could not even answer if the person, who applied for TLP's registration as a political party, was a Pakistani citizen, a dual national or a foreign citizen.

    ECP had also admitted that the body had allowed TLP to contest the general elections but the party had failed to provide details of the funds that it used to finance its campaign.


    Khadim Rizvi could not have appeared before the ECP as he is currently in Khadim Rizvi could not have appeared before the ECP as he is currently in "protective custody". — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The federal government decided on Tuesday not to resort to gas loadshedding for domestic and commercial consumers in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the current winter season by inducting imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the network.

    “The gas utilities will be allowed volumetric adjustment and financial impact on cost neutral basis in accordance with the ECC’s decision of 11th May 2018,” said an announcement issued after a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar.

    Sources said under a “gas banking mechanism” approved by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi-led ECC, about 170-180 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of regasified LNG would be injected into the distribution network of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) for three winter months.

    Allows tandoors to pay bills on previous rates

    An official explained that the impact of the sale of RLNG to domestic and commercial consumers had worked out at about Rs15 billion last year and was adjusted through the gas banking mechanism. This required formal regulatory approval by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to allow the gas utility meet its revenue requirements in its accounts.

    The ECC also decided that the recent increase in gas prices will not be applicable for tandoors, and they will continue to pay their gas bills on the previously applicable rates. The decision was taken in view of concerns that the increase in gas prices was resulting in increase in the prices of tandoori roti and naan.

    Additional Secretary In charge of Petroleum Division Mian Asad Hayaud Din explained the gas load management requirements from December to February and presented three options.

    He said the SNGPL should be asked to inject the LRNG volumes for consumption by domestic and commercial consumers provided Ogra allowed volumetric adjustment and financial impact on cost neutral basis in line with the ECC’s decision of May 11.

    Otherwise, given the wider difference in the natural gas sale price for domestic use and the RLNG price, the SNGPL should be provided direct subsidy against injection of RLNG volumes for use by domestic and commercial consumers based on actual RLNG consumption. In the absence of these two options, the SNGPL will have to manage the load of domestic and commercial consumers through varied level of pressure management during off-peak hours.

    It was reported that existing gas load management policy allowed top priority to the domestic and commercial sectors, followed by second priority to the power sector and zero-rated industry, third priority to the general industrial, fertiliser and captive power, and fourth priority to the cement including its captive power and fifth was given to the CNG sector.

    The SNGPL has reported average gas consumption by domestic and commercial consumers in summer months of 2017 at around 528 mmcfd which increased to 867 mmcfd during winter 2017-18 and created a shortfall of 339 mmcfd. The company resorted to different methods to manage this shortfall which included pressure management during off-peak hours, diversion of 150 mmcfd gas from general industrial consumers to domestic and commercial and injection of RLNG to the tune of 160-170 mmcfd in the system for use by domestic and commercial consumers.

    The SNGPL expected the total system shortfall during winter to remain generally unchanged at the last year’s level with minor variation depending on weather conditions and had proposed it be allowed to charge Rs36 per MMBTU higher rate to consumers or provided subsidy or allowed volumetric switching.

    Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018


    Allows tandoors to pay bills on previous rates. — FileAllows tandoors to pay bills on previous rates. — File

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    QUETTA: Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) president Sardar Akhtar Mengal has sought a political solution to the issue of missing persons, saying that the problems of the province would not be resolved by building dams or the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

    He was addressing a news conference at a protest camp organised by families of missing persons on Wednesday.

    Sardar Mengal criticised the government for not addressing the issue of missing persons and said that nothing was being done for their recovery.

    “We will not let the federal and provincial governments sit comfortably until they find these missing persons. The BNP will table a resolution in the provincial assembly regarding the issue,” he said.

    BNP-M chief says Balochistan’s problems won’t be solved by building CPEC or dams

    Sardar Mengal said the federal government had a year to come up with a solution to the problem, and the BNP would not sit silent during this time but consistently press the rulers to resolve the matter.

    He said that missing persons should be released immediately and if they were involved in any crime, there should be an open trial against them.

    “It is the responsibility of the present government to meet the mothers and sisters sitting in freezing temperatures under the open sky,” he said.

    The families of missing persons also filed a petition in the Supreme Court but nothing happened, he regretted.

    Apart from a list of missing persons, the BNP chief said, he had included other demands of his party on the agenda given to the federal government.

    Sardar Mengal said that Mama Qadeer Baloch had travelled more than 2,000km on foot along with a group of Baloch women and men from Quetta to Karachi then Islamabad to raise voice for missing persons.

    The BNP, he said, also participated in the long march and took part in all protests raising the issue. When the government was being formed, he said, political parties provided lists for ministries. “We didn’t give a list for ministries, but the BNP provided a list of the missing persons to the federal government,” MNA Agha Hassan Baloch said, adding that there was no positive response from the government till now.

    Members of provincial assembly Naseer Shahwani and Ahmed Nawaz Baloch, Mama Qadeer and chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) Nasr­ullah Baloch were present on the occasion.

    Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018


    QUETTA: Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal talks to relatives of missing people during his visit to the protesters’ camp at the Quetta Press ClubQUETTA: Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal talks to relatives of missing people during his visit to the protesters’ camp at the Quetta Press Club

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    China on Thursday donated Rs6 million more for the families of two policemen who embraced martyrdom while protecting the Chinese consulate in Clifton on November 23 from a deadly attackclaimed by banned Balochistan Liberation Army.

    China's Consul General in Karachi Wang Yu distributed Rs3 million each among the heirs of the deceased assistant sub-inspector Ashraf Dawood and constable Amir Khan at a ceremony held at Central Police Office, which was attended by Sindh Inspector General Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam, Karachi Additional Inspector General Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh, other senior officers and relatives.

    Speaking on the occasion, the Chinese diplomat appreciated the services of the martyred policemen.

    He pointed out that China had already donated Rs6 million among the heirs of the policemen, bringing the total amount donated thus far to Rs12 million. He added that people were still collecting donation through a campaign in China as they appreciated Sindh police’s services.

    IG Imam expressed gratitude for the gesture and gave special recognition to the services of the martyred policemen, saying that they were "assets of Sindh police".

    In the terror attack foiled by security services, two civilians, a father and son, named Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim, were also killed, and a private security guard injured by the attackers.

    Three armed terrorists were shot dead by police and rangers during the encounter, according to Sindh Police and the army's media wing.


    The Chinese diplomat expresses solidarity with the families, says China will always remember the policemen's sacrifice. —Photo courtesy Sindh policeThe Chinese diplomat expresses solidarity with the families, says China will always remember the policemen's sacrifice. —Photo courtesy Sindh police

    Consul General Wang Yu distributing the sum among the heirs of the deceased. —Photo courtesy Sindh policeConsul General Wang Yu distributing the sum among the heirs of the deceased. —Photo courtesy Sindh police

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    A joint investigation team (JIT) report on the Islamabad police chief's transfer ─ submitted in the Supreme Court on Thursday ─ has concluded that Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati misused his office and was given special treatment by authorities.

    Swati, a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), was accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police Jan Mohammad — an allegation over which the SC had pondered taking action against him under Article 62 of the Constitution before forming a JIT.

    The former IGP's transfer took place after Swati’s son registered a case against a family of slum dwellers for allegedly trespassing on his family’s land. Five people, including two women, were arrested for trespassing on the land and beating up Swati’s guards.

    They were released after a day’s detention as police said a settlement had been reached between the minister and the detained family.

    The JIT report, which was submitted to the Supreme Court today, deduced that Swati, by virtue of his post, "wielded his influence and prevailed upon the authorities by misusing his office and profile, leading to the arbitrary and discriminatory treatment to the private citizens i.e. Niaz Muhammad family, at the hands of police."

    The JIT report observed: "The police since inception of the occurrence did not hold the investigation in a just and fair manner. In view of the above circumstances, actions and inactions by the Police pursuant to the FIR, one can easily conclude the deliberate negligence of police officials, in proceeding with the investigation. Infact the police has colluded with the Swati family in furtherance to their designs."

    Additionally, the JIT report said that Swati "was given special treatment by the relevant authorities".

    The JIT also found that senior police officials, after an initial probe, "left the investigation to be handled by the juniors". According to the report, as per the assertions of certain police officials, once they came to know that it was a "matter of ordinary nature" they "eased to the extent that they did not bother to know the subsequent developments undertaken by their juniors at the Police Station".

    The report observed that these statements were contrary to their own observations before the JIT, where they stated that the deputy inspector general Operations and the senior superintendent police Operations accompanied Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi to Swati's farmhouse "on the next date of occurrence".

    The JIT report also concluded that the stated position of Swati family and their domestic help regarding the Niaz Muhammad family's cow grazing on their land had "no basis whatsoever", and added that it was a "false, concocted, fabricated, inconsistent and factually incorrect" position.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar questioned how poor and disenfranchised individuals had been given threats, and said he had asked the JIT to ascertain whether there was any case against their treatment.

    The SC subsequently summoned a reply from Swati on the report, and the top judge asked for the minister to be summoned to court by 4pm.

    His lawyer, Ali Zafar, told the court that Swati was in Vienna attending the International Atomic Energy Agency Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology.

    CJP Nisar questioned if ministers of this sort should be appointed, and noted that the charges against Swati could be framed around Article 62(1)(f).

    Zafar told Justice Nisar that Swati would return on Dec 3, and said he would prepare a response a week after his return.

    The chief justice wondered what the lawyer was doing since it was "an important issue", to which Zafar responded that it would take him some time to prepare the reply.

    "Why not call the minister back from his trip?" CJP Nisar asked. He then called the affected family to the rostrum and informed them that the court is fighting for their honour.

    He said he had heard the family had reconciled with the minister and remarked: "We don't believe in such settlements. Who gave you the right to settle?" he asked.

    The court summoned a reply from Swati on the JIT report and ordering copies of the report to be given to all the parties, adjourning the case until next Tuesday.


    Azam Swati, a member of the ruling PTI, was accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police Jan Mohammad. ─ File photoAzam Swati, a member of the ruling PTI, was accused of playing a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police Jan Mohammad. ─ File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will take up in the second week of next month a long pending dispute spanning more than 70 years over a property which belonged to a Hindu family but requires determination: can the asset in question be treated an evacuee property or not?

    The last time the case was taken up by the Supreme Court was in 2007 when a two-judge SC bench headed by Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar granted leave to appeal to a petition moved by senior counsel Akram Sheikh on behalf of Sheikh Abdul Waheed who bought the property in question during an auction.

    The late Lala Roshan Kapoor, who passed away in India on March 19, 1945, owned a number of properties in Lahore including the disputed property. He was survived by his wife Santosh Lata Kapoor and children Permod Kumar Kapoor, Vinod Kuman Kapoor and Anod Kumar Kapoor.

    After the partition of the sub-continent, a guardian judge, Lahore, appointed Santosh Kapoor as guardian of the children and properties of the minors and also permitted Permod Kumar to continue his studies at Simla (India).

    The last hearing was held in 2007 when the petitioner who bought the property in an auction was granted leave to appeal

    On June 18, 1948, the Kapoor family moved an application before the custodian judge under Section 17 of the West Punjab Protection of Evacuee Property Act of 1948 for the restoration of the properties in their favour.

    By an order of July 21, 1948, the custodian judge restored the vacant portion of the property known as West End Building Lahore for their residence, but the restoration order came with a condition that the refugee allottees of the properties would not be ousted or dispossessed though the owners would have the rights of landlords.

    Another condition was that if the Kapoors chose to stay abroad, the order for restoration of the property would stand cancelled in respect of one of the properties which were in possession of the government of Pakistan.

    Later, the Kapoor family obtained from the rent controller, Lahore, an order in 1950 of eviction of Ms Umatul Hussain also known as Begum Mohammad Ismail from the property in dispute. She took an objection that the property in question was still an evacuee property, but the deputy custodian (general), Lahore, in 1955 held that the property was non-evacuee. Later in an appeal, the custodian judge through an order of December 1955 took a contrary view that notwithstanding its restoration, the property continued to be evacuee.

    Meanwhile, there was a parallel litigation in respect of the disputed property which was already under equitable mortgage in favour of the New Bank of India. The bank obtained a decree in February 1952 for sale of the property and the same was sold through an auction in November 1956 in favour of the late Sheikh Mohammad Saeed (predecessor in the case).

    The executing court confirmed the sale in July 1960 which later gave rise to three revision petitions before the erstwhile High Court of West Pakistan against the confirmation of the sale.

    In October 1979, the Lahore High Court held that the property was non-evacuee.

    Later, the custodian court through its order of June 1986 took the view that the property in dispute to the extent of the shares of Permod Kumar Kapoor and Vinod Kumar Kapoor who had left Pakistan had reacquired the status of evacuee property and deemed to have been validly allotted in favour of claimants/displaced persons.

    When the case was taken up by the Supreme Court, it deliberated that the question of reacquiring the status of evacuee property would not arise merely on the ground that Vinod and Permod Kapoor, who were citizens of Pakistan within the meaning of Section 3 of the Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951, had subsequently left for England on Pakistani passports in 1957-58.

    Then it was argued before the apex court that Santosh Kapoor was duly appointed as guardian of the children by the guardian judge, Lahore, besides the children had duly appointed their mother as their general attorney for their properties and to conduct and defend court cases on their behalf.

    There was no evidence on record to show that any member of the Kapoor family had left Pakistan on or after 1947 on account of the setting up of the dominions of Pakistan and Indian or on account of civil disturbances or the fear.

    Unfortunately, the owners and auction-purchasers of the disputed property were dragged in unnecessary litigation for more than five decades.

    It was lastly contended before the court that the confirmation of the sale of the disputed property through public auction could not be invalidated by way of collateral proceedings.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    The last hearing was held in 2007 when the petitioner who bought the property in an auction was granted leave to appeal.— AFP/FileThe last hearing was held in 2007 when the petitioner who bought the property in an auction was granted leave to appeal.— AFP/File

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    KARACHI: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) dominated the third day of the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) organised by the Defence Export Promotion Organisation at the Karachi Expo Centre.

    The day began with a PAF conference titled ‘Self-reliance through research, innovation and development’ which stressed the importance of collaborations and technology transfers in defence.

    In his welcome address on Thursday, Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi said that he was deeply grateful to all of Pakistan’s valued friends who shared and understood the need for joint collaboration and work with Pakistan.

    “The relentless efforts, dedication and commitment of Pakistan’s scientific teams, leadership and defence partnerships have helped Pakistan produce one of the most versatile and reliable fighter aircraft, JF-17, a defence marvel,” he said.

    Pakistan Ordnance Factories introduces indigenously produced velocity measuring weapons system

    “Self-reliance,” he said, “was a desired goal of many nations. However, the future will be about smart defence and joint collaborations, especially in defence and also in the field of military aviation.”

    He said that seeking a cost-effective solution to the aerial defence needs as well as taking the domestic regional industry to the next level, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra and the Air Weapons Complex in Wah remained the solid base for the indigenous defence production capability.

    Other speakers at the conference included Nigerian Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, Air Cdre Cemal Balikci of the Turkish Air Force and Air Cdre Rajapaksha of the Sri Lanka Air Force who shared perspectives of self-reliance through research, innovation and development.

    ‘Karachi Show’

    Later, a large number of civil and military, foreign and national dignitaries, families, and war veterans gathered at Nishan-i-Pakistan at Sea View for the ‘Karachi Show’ that included a fly-past, free-fall para jumps, a counterterrorism and beach assault demonstration and rifle drill put together by the three armed forces of Pakistan.

    The PAF airshow included JF-17 Thunder, Fighting Falcon F-16 and Super Mushshak doing aerobatics.

    The show was also attended by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar.

    Speaking on the occasion, CM Shah said that the show highlighted the resolve and preparedness of the armed forces of Pakistan for contributing peace in the region.

    Greeting participants of the event who have performed with the utmost dedication, he said: “Today our belief has been reaffirmed that our armed forces are ready to face and thwart any threat posed to our nation.”

    He congratulated all the stakeholders, including Pakistan Navy, for the successful conduct of IDEAS-2018.

    “Visiting participants in the exhibition from our friendly countries and their presence in the arena is a matter of profound privilege and great honour for all of us,” he said, adding that successful conduct of IDEAS-2018 was a message to the entire world that Pakistan was a peace-loving democratic country.

    Velocity measuring system

    Also on Thursday, the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) introduced indigenously produced “Velocity Measuring System” weapons system.

    According to a POF press release, Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal formally inaugurated the weapons system at a POF stall. This defence system helps and assists ground forces in measuring the velocity of rounds fired from 2 to 20mm calibre.

    The defence production minister lauded the achievements of POF and praised its R&D team for developing the latest system for the Pakistan Army.

    Earlier, the minister was received by POF chief Lt Gen Sadiq Ali at the POF stall and briefed her on capabilities of POF and the detail of newly developed POF products launched during IDEAS-2018.

    Amjad Iqbal from Taxila also contributed to this report

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    KARACHI: (clockwise) A Pakistan Air Force aerobatic team presents a scintillating display during an air show at Nishan-i-Pakistan at Sea View on Thursday. Special Service Group commandos rappelling down from a Pakistan Navy helicopter during a counterterrorism demonstration. A paratrooper demonstrates free-fall para jump during an exercise. Sindhi folk musicians perform at the venue.—Photos by White Star/AgenciesKARACHI: (clockwise) A Pakistan Air Force aerobatic team presents a scintillating display during an air show at Nishan-i-Pakistan at Sea View on Thursday. Special Service Group commandos rappelling down from a Pakistan Navy helicopter during a counterterrorism demonstration. A paratrooper demonstrates free-fall para jump during an exercise. Sindhi folk musicians perform at the venue.—Photos by White Star/Agencies

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    ISLAMABAD: A court in Islamabad sent Shahid Masood, a former chairman of Pakistan Television Corporation, to Adiala jail on a 14-day judicial remand in the PTV corruption case on Thursday.

    The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) produced the TV anchor in the court of senior civil judge Mohammad Inamullah and informed him the agency no longer needed Mr Masood’s custody because his interrogation was over.

    The charge against Mr Masood is that he embezzled Rs37 million when he was chairman and managing director of PTV by signing an agreement with a fake company, M/s ISS, for negotiations with Pakistan Cricket Board for acquisition of broadcast rights. The investigators claimed that the agreement caused a loss of millions of dollars to PTV.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    The former chairman of the state-run TV is sent to jail on a 14-day remand in the PTV corruption case.— FileThe former chairman of the state-run TV is sent to jail on a 14-day remand in the PTV corruption case.— File

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    ISLAMABAD: Following a surge in influenza cases in different parts of the country, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued an advisory, asking authorities to counter the spread of the viral infection. All health professionals have been advised to meticulously try and detect suspected influenza-like illnesses as well as severe acute respiratory infections.

    Influenza — more commonly referred to as the seasonal flu — is usually a self-limiting disease, which means everyone doesn’t need antiviral treatment or diagnostic tests. It is highly contagious however, and can spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. The virus can contaminate hands as well as many other surfaces. Patients with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes, cardiac and lung disorders, are all at high risk. Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under the age of five are also prone to developing severe or complicated viral infections that may require specific medical interventions.

    According to the NIH, vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the infection. The World Health Organisation recommends seasonal influenza vaccination for pregnant women, children aged 6-59 months, the elderly, individuals with chronic medical conditions and health care workers.

    The advisory also emphasises that simple preventive measures like washing hands, wearing a mask, employing cough etiquette and vaccination can limit the spread of the virus. The advisory also highlights that the Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division of the NIH regularly monitors the situation and has also issued seasonal awareness and alert letters for doctors concerning the spread of the virus.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    Simple preventive measures like washing hands, wearing a mask, employing cough etiquette and vaccination can limit the spread of the virus. — AP/FileSimple preventive measures like washing hands, wearing a mask, employing cough etiquette and vaccination can limit the spread of the virus. — AP/File

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    KARACHI: Police authorities on Thursday announced the closure of second track of M.A. Jinnah Road for the construction of the Green Line bus project from Dec 1. One track of the road was already closed in October 2018 for the same reason, an official said on Thursday.

    The spokesman for the Karachi traffic police said that the road leading from the Numaish traffic intersection to Capri Cinema would remain closed for development work of the federal government-funded project.

    All traffic meant to move on the track has been advised to take alternative routes.

    “From December the development work will begin on M.A. Jinnah Road on the second track from Numaish towards Capri due to which the road will be closed. Traffic will be diverted from Numaish to People’s Secretariat and then to Preedy Street,” he said.

    Although he did not mention any time period of the road closure, an official privy to the details said that the work would take “weeks”.

    After the closure of the track leading to Numaish from Capri Cinema in Oct 2018, traffic is being diverted to Bahadur Yar Jang Road as an alternative route.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    M.A. Jinnah Road.— DawnM.A. Jinnah Road.— Dawn

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    KARACHI: Sindh has deployed more than 300 police personnel along its border with Balochistan after investigators found that the suspects involved in last week’s foiled attack on the Chinese consulate here had come from the neighbouring province, a senior official said on Thursday.

    The move, he said, was a follow-up to the decision taken at a meeting presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and attended by Chinese Consul General Wang Yu, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Inspector General Dr Kaleem Imam and other senior officials of the provincial government.

    He agreed that the available resources and manpower of the Sindh police did not allow the law enforcement agency to properly man all the 63 Balochistan border posts and it was incidents like the consulate attack which pushed the authorities towards adopting temporary measures.

    “A total of 323 policemen have been deployed at 63 Balochistan border posts,” he said. “It’s the sanctioned strength for a dedicated purpose which [is] keeping an eye on the movement of people and spotting terrorists or outlaws on the [inter-provincial] borders. These posts were supposed to check regular movement of people from the two sides. Of the 63 posts, 31 are in Jacobabad, 19 in Kashmore and 13 have been set up in Qambar.”

    63 posts have been set up in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Qambar

    Three heavily armed militants were shot dead in an encounter with law enforcers during a gun-and-grenade attack on the Chinese consulate in the city that also claimed the lives of two police officials and two visa applicants last Friday morning. The assault on the consulate, situated in the “high-security zone” of Clifton’s Block-4, also left a private guard of the foreign mission wounded.

    Later, the banned Balochistan Liberation Army promptly claimed credit for the terrorist attack and the police during the investigation traced their route to reach their target. An initial probe convinced the authorities that its planners, handlers and perpetrators had come from the neighbouring province.

    Though the Balochistan border posts were built years ago, the officials said, their effectiveness always came under question whenever such an incident hit Karachi.

    “These posts were actually set up in 2006 after the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in the wake of growing threats from separatist militants,” said the official. “However, it has always been a tough job due to limited resources, poor infrastructure on the border and a large part of the terrain which cannot be manned round the clock. In 2016, the same move was initiated after twin suicide attacks targeted an Eidul Azha prayer congregation in Shikarpur that killed a policeman and left around a dozen people wounded. The decision was made to strengthen security after it was established that the handlers and perpetrators had come from Balochistan. The move proved short-lived.”

    This time, he said, the police authorities had made detailed plans and taken effective measures that would prove fruitful in tracking the movement of people at the inter-provincial borders.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    63 posts have been set up in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Qambar. — AFP/File63 posts have been set up in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Qambar. — AFP/File

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    KARACHI: The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) that works in partnership with the Sindh government in the Thar Coal project, has distanced itself from the views of its former chief executive officer Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, whose resignation from the post was accepted on Tuesday

    In a statement issued by the company on Thursday, it categorically and vehemently refuted Mr Shaikh’s allegation of the Sindh government being callous to Thar’s issues. It described Mr Shaikh’s claims, published in Dawn’s Nov 29 issue under the headline ‘Ex-CEO says he quit SECMC over Sindh govt’s ‘callousness’ to Thar’s issues’, as his personal views.

    The statement says: “These views are not endorsed by Engro Corporation or its associated entities and affiliates in any way. The company works in partnership with the Sindh government in the Thar Coal project and has always appreciated the much needed support that has consistently been provided for realisation of this mission. In addition to being the largest equity partner in SECMC, the Government of Sindh has provided the back up for the sovereign guarantee of $700M (USD) for the mining project and developed key infrastructure in the region without which the project would not have progressed”.

    It says the SECMC is a brilliant example of a public-private partnership model. While challenges remain, the company is confident in delivering the landmark Thar Coal project as per the communicated timelines, according to the statement.

    It makes it clear that with the support of Sindh government and other sponsors, the commercial operation date of the 3.8 million tonnes per annum coal [production] and the [commissioning of] 660MW power plant remains on track.

    Separately, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information Barrister Murtaza Wahab also reacted strongly to Mr Shaikh’s remarks. In his statement, Mr Wahab said: “It seems that Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh has found an exciting career opportunity whose first requirement is to bash his former employers and the enablers of the project, the provincial government of Sindh.”

    He described Mr Shaikh’s remarks as “unfortunate, uncalled for and contrary to reality”.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    SECMC's former chief executive officer Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh.— Aurora/FileSECMC's former chief executive officer Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh.— Aurora/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Adelte, the Spanish company that had installed a passenger boarding bridge at the new Islamabad International Airport, on Thursday distanced itself from the incident in which the bridge had recently collapsed.

    Two staff members of the airport were injured when the air bridge collapsed on Oct 9.

    During a meeting on Nov 22, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation that the matter was investigated and a final report would be presented on Dec 7.

    CAA director general Hassan Baig said the CAA was looking into the causes of the incident such as design faults, human error, maintenance fault and communication gap.

    “It can be all four. But so far it seems to be a design fault,” Mr Baig told the Senate committee.

    According to the official, the air bridge collapsed possibly because of a loose pin. He backed his argument by explaining to the committee that similar design faults had been detected with a passenger boarding bridge (PBB) at the Karachi airport and at the Bacha Khan International Airport Peshawar.

    Following the incident, Emirates declined to use jet bridges citing inadequate safety standards as reason.

    Senate committee chairman Mushahidullah Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said the incident was a cause of embarrassment for the national flag carrier and directed the CAA for immediate remedial measures.

    However, Adelte challenged claims by the CAA that there is a design fault in any of the PBBs installed by it, citing lack of evidence.

    “All PBBs installed by Adelte were installed in perfect condition in accordance with the agreed specifications contained in the contract agreements signed with the CAA. CAA itself issued taking over and completion certificates after inspection and testing the jet bridges,” the private company said.

    In a statement, Adelte maintained that after installation of the PBBs, “proper operation and maintenance of the PBBs was and is the responsibility of the CAA and Adelte has no role regarding the same under the Contract Agreements with PCA”.

    In fact, Adelte pointed towards possible human error when the company said that it had alerted the Civil Aviation Authority on several occasions before the Oct 9 incident towards the safety and structural hazards that could arise from improper operation by untrained and unskilled operators and inadequate preventive measures.

    When contacted, Board of Investigation president Amir Mehboob told Dawn that he could not comment on the issue until the inquiry is completed and the report prepared.

    Mr Mehboob, who is also the acting deputy director general of CAA, said that it would not be appropriate to fix responsibility until the inquiry is completed which will conclude shortly.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    "CAA itself issued taking over and completion certificates after inspection and testing the jet bridges.”— Tahir Naseer

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    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has appointed 104 law officers to represent it in the Supreme Court and five high courts.

    Sources in the law ministry told Dawn that Prime Minister Imran Khan had signed the summary for the appointments and President Dr Arif Alvi had also accorded his approval.

    The law ministry had forwarded the summary to Prime Minister Khan earlier this month.

    These posts were occupied by the law officers appointed by the previous government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Traditionally, every government after assuming power changes the entire legal team of the previous government and appoints their loyal ones to handle cases in the superior judiciary.

    Out of the 104 newly appointed law officers, 31 were appointed to represent the federal government in the Supreme Court, Islamabad High Court and Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench.

    They are: Additional attorney generals Khurram Saeed and Mohammad Abid Raja, deputy attorney generals Chaudhry Mohammad Hussain, Syed Mohammad Tayyab Shah, Malik Tariq Mehmood Noon, Chaudhry Ishtiaq Mehrban and Khawaja M. Imtiaz, and assistant attorney generals Mohammad Owais Qarni, Mohammad Javed Iqbal, S.M. Raza, Chaudhry Abdul Jabbar, Raja Amir Abbas Hassan, Farah Naz Awan, Raja Saad Sultan, Farrukh Shahzad Dall, Mohammad Aftab Ahmed, Chaudhry Tahir Mehmood, Ahtesham Saleem, Barrister Mohammad Mumtaz Ali, Saqlain Haider Awan, Attiquer Rehman Kiani, Tahir Malik, Hifza Bukhari, Mohammad Nadeem Khan, Maqsood Ali, Kashif Bashir, Nayyar Abbas, Shabbir Mahmood Malik, Zeeshanul Haq, Syed Nazar Hassan and Faisal Mehmood Raja.

    Those appointed for Karachi are: additional attorney general Zahid F. Ebrahim, deputy attorney generals Abdul Jabbar Qureshi, Lubna Pervez, Mohammad Nisat Warsi, Kashif Sarwar Paracha and Kafil Ahmed Abbasi, and assistant attorney generals Anwar Kamal, Ishrat Zahid Alvi, Kilji Bilal Aziz, Barrister Hussain Bohra, Mohammad Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar Khatri, Durdana Tanweer, Waseem Akhtar, Mohammad Nadeem Khan, Aminullah Siddiqui, Osman Ali Hadi, Tariq Ali Khan and Gulam Mohiuddin.

    The rest were appointed for Multan, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Bahawalpur.

    The law officers appointed for Lahore registry of the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court included additional attorney general Chaudhry Ishtiaq Ahmed and deputy attorney generals Rana Abdul Shakoor Khan, Ambreen Moeen, Mian Tariq Shafiq Bhandara, Malik Asrar Ellahi, Aftab Raheem, Mohammad Khalid, Usman Arif, Sarfraz Ali Khan, Malik Asif Ahmed Nissoana, Rizwan Mushtaq, Azmat Hayat Khan Lodhi, Khawar Bashir, Sajid Munawar Qureshi, Mohammad Ali, Agha Shazib Masood, Zarish Fatima, Zahid Sikandar, Zubair Ahmed, Mohammad Matloob, Azeemullah Khan, Shaukat Ali, Faiz Ahmed Gondal, Mohammad Saifullah, Afzal Bashir, Afzaal Azeem, Nasim Riaz, Nadeem Anwar, Mohammad Latif, Mohsin Raza, Syed M. Aslam Rizvi and Zahid Javed Butt.

    Meanwhile, President Alvi accepted the resignation tendered by the five law officers appointed by the previous government.

    The law officers who resigned are: additional attorney general Salman Talibuddin, deputy attorney generals Rashid Hafeez, Mian Faisal Irfan and Abdul Qadir Leghari, and assistant attorney general Mian Mohammad Javed.

    It may be mentioned that President Alvi also de-notified 88 law officers appointed by the PML-N government during its tenure from June 2013 to May 2018.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    The law ministry had forwarded the summary to Prime Minister Khan earlier this month. — AFP/FileThe law ministry had forwarded the summary to Prime Minister Khan earlier this month. — AFP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: During the first 100 days of the government, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has identified some 20,000 high net-worth non-filers.

    The 68-page document — on six sectors — was released in an effort to highlight incumbent government’s achievements in its first 100 days of government including the steps to revive the economy.

    According to the report, in its drive against non-filers, the FBR has issued notices to more than 3,000 high net-worth individuals with tangible assets — including houses in the posh areas of big cities — in the first 100 days.

    While launching the report, Prime Minister Imran Khan lamented that only 72,000 people in Pakistan declared their income above Rs200,000. Mentioning the paltry number, he said that these many people can be found only in Islamabad with income equal or above Rs200,000.

    PM urged the FBR to widen the tax net, linking low tax collection to rising inflation.

    The document also mentions FBR’s collection of data on 150,000 foreign accounts maintained by Pakistan’s residents. The data was received from 29 countries under a multilateral convention on exchange of tax-related information.

    The report highlights that as part of its tax policy, recently approved by the PM, the government seeks to abolish withholding tax on banking transactions and reduce income tax on banking sector for SME, low-cost housing, and agriculture related lending from 35 per cent to 30pc from July 2019 onwards.

    The report also includes measures to harmonise sales tax collection across provinces, review all tax exemptions, prohibiting future tax exemptions without independent cost estimates and introduction of sunset clauses in exemptions.

    Shifting from ad-hoc tax policies, the report also mentions medium-term policy framework launched by the government to guide annual budgets.

    In a bid to strengthen the operational capabilities at the FBR, the board will undertake reforms to enhance its analytics capability, introduce technology-based surveys in major commercial areas and install electronic systems to check phone smuggling.

    The reforms include speedy resolution of pending litigation and audits, activation of alternative dispute resolution mechanism, collection of pending arrears and improved audit targeting underway.

    The report includes a three-year road map for tax reforms. Under the administrative measures, reforms include digitisation of business processes, customer service improvement, using technology to minimise interface between taxpayers and collectors, national single window for customs, minimising tax collectors’ discretion, inspectors, appraisers and auditors.

    Furthermore, the measures also aim to reform the internal audit wing of FBR which will be subsequently linked with the PM office. The reforms include simplification of tax laws and introducing a one window system with the provinces for tax collection.

    The FBR seeks to introduce technology by establishing central analytics unit to utilise big data and artificial intelligence in addition to forming an integrity and performance management unit to ensure effective internal controls.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    Prime minister urges the FBR to widen the tax net, linking low tax collection to rising inflation. — FilePrime minister urges the FBR to widen the tax net, linking low tax collection to rising inflation. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday resolved that no government employee would be sacked from service.

    A meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan hours before a special ceremony to mark the completion of government’s 100 days in office, decided to separate tax policy from revenue administration in line with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s manifesto.

    To this effect, the cabinet constituted a committee to work out legal and technical modalities.

    The cabinet tasked the committee with working out details with no deadline. The Federal Board of Revenue will remain within the ambit of the existing revenue division with its role to be confined to tax administration and collection. The committee will also find ways for creation of separate division, rules for postings and transfers, administration and reporting line to be posted in the policy division.

    The cabinet reiterated maintaining strict discipline for curtailing fiscal deficit and ensuring that expenditures and revenue remain within the budgeted estimates.

    Tax policy will be separated from revenue administration

    The meeting approved Rs400 million as a technical supplementary grant to resolve the issue of delay in salaries and pensions of employees of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).

    The cabinet, however, directed the PBC to chalk out a comprehensive plan to ensure strict financial discipline and enhancement of revenues for sustainability of the corporation.

    The cabinet approved release of Rs20 billion during the current financial year for the fencing and lighting project on the Pak-Afghan border.

    The meeting discussed the issue of pending payments of the growers and availability of surplus sugar stock in the country and decided to refer it to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet for detailed deliberations and proposing a workable solution to address the issue on priority.

    The prime minister reiterated during the meeting that the interests of the farmers would be protected while resolving the issue of sugar mills.

    The mill owners have warned the government not to start cane crushing until their demands are met.

    The cabinet approved reconstitution of a ‘search committee’ for appointment of the vice chancellor of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad. The committee will be headed by Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari.

    It approved appointment of Ayla Majid, Ghiasuddin Ahmed and Hamid Ali Khan as independent directors of the Central Power Purchasing Agency (Guarantee) Limited.

    The cabinet also approved appointment of Faisal Ahmed, Pharmacist Drug Testing Laboratory, Quetta, as technical member-I of the Drug Court Balochistan, Quetta.

    The meeting ratified the ECC decisions taken during its meeting on Nov 22. The decisions included grant for disbursement of provident fund, gratuity and payroll due to the heirs of deceased employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills, natural gas load management during winter and release of public sector’s surplus wheat to the Poultry Association of Pakistan.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the federal cabinet.— PID/FilePrime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the federal cabinet.— PID/File

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    KARACHI: The launch of a book chronicling 50 years of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) sparked a debate on the transformation of a political party once considered the epitome of resistance to becoming a symbol of reconciliation at the cost of its once committed cadres.

    The book Pakistan Peoples Party ke 50 saal, authored by the party’s old worker Iqbal Yousuf, was launched at the Arts Council on Wednesday evening.

    Various speakers at the programme compared the ‘old’ PPP with the existing one. A few of them gave higher marks to the present leadership of the party, but conceded that they were way behind the vision of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

    Nawab Yousuf Talpur, a member of the National Assembly, said today’s party leadership would have to prove its mettle like its predecessors.

    ‘18 workers, gone missing during Gen Zia’s rule, are yet to be found’

    He said the PPP’s old workers were the party’s living spirit and it was need of the hour to keep their relation with the PPP’s present cadres and leaders intact.

    He claimed the PPP was the only party which encouraged its cadres to criticise their leadership.

    ‘A party of reconciliation’

    Speakers conceded that the past 10 years when the PPP had been ruling the country and Sindh should not be considered as bright as the previous decades.

    “It is better not to add the past 10 years to the party’s history as the author has [done] as the party has turned into a party of reconciliation instead of a party of resistance in those 10 years,” said Masroor Ahsan, known for his firm commitment to the party, though he is among the bitter critics of the PPP.

    He said the era of “politics for prison” had long gone and “now we are living in an era of commercial politics.

    “No one knows where are the four daughters of Waheed Qureshi who had immolated himself in love of leadership during General Zia’s regime.”

    Mr Ahsan said the phenomenon of missing persons was not new as the PPP was among the first political forces, which had endured it.

    “Peoples Party’s 18 workers are still missing since Gen Ziaul Haq’s military rule,” he said.

    He said the era of the workers committed to the party’s struggle had gone and now few people could know of or recognise the top leadership of the PPP.

    N.D. Khan said the PPP’s founder Z.A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto lived on in the form of the legacy they had left for the people of the country.

    He said it was Mr Bhutto who gave the Constitution to the country while ex-president Asif Zardari was the one who removed aberrations added to the original document by dictators and revived its spirit.

    Journalist Mehmood Sham said the book was dedicated to the third generation of the PPP workers and its aim was to revive the “real spirit” of the party.

    He said the book had chronicled the sacrifices of the party workers and it was an effort to keep the leadership’s eyes open about the party’s glowing past.

    “In times where parties are born and die and some of them commit suicide in days and moments, it is a huge achievement for a political party to be alive for more than 50 years.”

    Qazi Asad Abid, Arts Council president Ahmed Shah, Abdullah Baloch, Naz Baloch, Khadim Ali Shah and journalists Mazhar Abbas and Maqsood Yousufi also spoke. The author thanked the audience while Rafiq Patel moderated the proceedings.

    Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018


    The book Pakistan Peoples Party ke 50 saal, authored by the party’s old worker Iqbal Yousuf, was launched at the Arts Council.— Dawn/FileThe book Pakistan Peoples Party ke 50 saal, authored by the party’s old worker Iqbal Yousuf, was launched at the Arts Council.— Dawn/File

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