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    Police authorities on Saturday announced the launch of a separate lane for motorcyclists on the arterial Sharea Faisal road in Karachi.

    “A separate ‘yellow lane’ has been launched for motorbikes on Sharea Faisal from Saturday (today),” said Additional IG Karachi Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh.

    Talking to reporters, the Karachi police chief said it would be mandatory for all bike-riders to wear helmets while an awareness campaign to this effect will also be launched.

    "This is the first time that a separate track is being made for motorbikes alongside main corridor of the city. This being a model project, other major corridors will also be provided with such tracks for motorbike users," Mayor Wasim Akhtar had said last month. The track will cover the entire distance from Malir Halt to Metropole Hotel, he added.

    AIG Shaikh revealed that efforts were underway to set up a separate lane for heavy vehicles on Mai Kolachi road as well.

    Separately, DIG Traffic Karachi Javed Ali Mahar in a meeting with the ‘traffic enforcement unit’ of Sharea Faisal directed police officers to ensure that all motorcyclists ride their two-wheelers in the separate lane while wearing helmets. People travelling in cars must wear seat belts as well, said a spokesperson for the traffic police.

    ‘Three model roads’

    Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam has directed the Karachi police chief to turn Sharea Faisal, Abdullah Haroon Road (between Metropole signal and Do Talwar roundabout) and I.I. Chundrigar Road into "model roads" with zero tolerance for violation of traffic rules.

    The provincial police chief through a letter has also asked AIG Shaikh to persuade owners of petrol pumps located within the limits of these model roads to ensure that "no fuel is sold to any motorcyclist not wearing a helmet".

    A view of the separate lane set up for bike-riders along Sharea Faisal. — Photo: Karachi policeA view of the separate lane set up for bike-riders along Sharea Faisal. — Photo: Karachi police

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    A sessions court in Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday sentenced a man to death on three counts and imposed a fine of Rs0.9 million on him for the rape and murder of a minor girl.

    Additional District and Sessions Judge Usman Wali Khan announced the verdict, sentencing the convict under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), and 376 (punishment for rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

    The minor girl was kidnapped on January 26, 2017, during a wedding ceremony in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Dera Ismail Khan in an area that falls in the jurisdiction of the Town police station.

    A First Information Report was registered on a complaint of the girl's paternal uncle by Town police, who initially treated the matter as a missing person's case.

    According to police, the child's body was found two days later after which an investigation was conducted which led to the arrest on January 29 of the minor girl's distant cousin, Mohammad Bilal, who confessed to the rape and killing.

    Police investigators told the court during the trial that Bilal abducted his minor cousin, took her to a place where he raped her, and later hanged her to death. They also revealed that Bilal had sent a marriage proposal to the victim's family for her elder sister which was turned down by them.

    The girl's family members were present during the trial and expressed satisfaction at the outcome.

    The court has ordered that of the Rs0.9m fine imposed on the convict, Rs0.7m be given to the girl's family.

    The judge also informed the convict that he can challenge the verdict within 15 days.

    Rise in child abuse cases

    A report released by the NGO Sahil had revealed in August that cases of child abuse increased by 32 per cent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017.

    Read: More than 12 children abused every day in first half of 2018: report

    The report found that a total of 2,322 child abuse cases were reported by newspapers in all four provinces, as well as Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In comparison, 1,764 such incidents were reported from January to June 2017.

    More than 12 children were abused every day during the January to June period of this year, the data shows.

    One of the authors of the report, Mamtaz Gohar had told Dawn that although child abuse cases were expected to fall in the wake of the Zainab rape and murder case, they had unfortunately increased.

    “However, another view is that the Zainab murder case gave victims’ families courage to speak out rather than hide incidents of sexual abuse. The good thing is that, soon after that case, a drastic change has been noticed in the attitude and behaviour of families towards such cases,” he said.

    Imran Ali, who was convicted for the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur earlier this year, was executed in October.

    Bilal had sent a marriage proposal to the girl's family for her elder sister which was refused by them. —Photo provided by authorBilal had sent a marriage proposal to the girl's family for her elder sister which was refused by them. —Photo provided by author

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday ordered the demolition of the walls of Punjab Governor House, in a follow-up to his promise in his first address to the nation of turning the Prime Minister House and governor houses into public spaces.

    Education minister Shafqat Mehmood had announced in September that the Governor House in Lahore will be opened to the public. The promise was fulfilled when the building was opened by the PTI government later that same month.

    Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan confirmed the prime minister's instructions to tear down the walls at a press conference held after a meeting of the Punjab cabinet.

    He remarked that the Governor House walls "were there to put fear in the hearts of people".

    Chohan said such institutions had always remained inaccessible with people considering it unthinkable to just walk in.

    "Governor House is not a historical building. It is an office," he stressed.

    Chohan revealed that Prime Minister Khan had instructed Chief Minister Usman Buzdar that the walls be brought down. He said the steps to this end will be taken within the next 48-72 hours.

    The education minister had earlier said that the schools and vocational training institutes located inside the compound of the Punjab Governor House, which is spread over 700 kanals, will be separated and the gubernatorial office itself would be converted into a museum and an art gallery. The property's grounds will be opened to the public as a park, which will include a small zoo.

    Provincial departments' performance

    Briefing the media about the cabinet meeting, the information minister said a detailed briefing was given by cabinet members to the prime minister regarding the performance of their departments and their future targets.

    He said Khan urged the provincial cabinet to expedite efforts for the economic and social uplift of the common man. Additionally, Chief Minister Buzdar was given instructions to monitor the performance of the provincial departments.

    The minister said that the "effects" of the previous committees' actions and their "accomplishments" were there for everyone to see and vowed that no person shall be given undue favours any more.

    He said the expenditure of the Chief Minister's Secretariat had been reduced from Rs55 billion to Rs7-8 billion, whereas the Prime Minister's Secretariat witnessed savings of Rs18 billion.

    Chohan said the ministers had also been asked to provide a 2-page summary of what they had achieved and what they have targetted to achieve.

    He said the prime minister had spoken to the Price Control Committee regarding inflation and the rise in prices of commodities and how prices can be better controlled.

    Prime Minister Khan also expressed reservations regarding transfers and postings across the province, Chohan said.

    He said an event will be hosted between December 8 and 10 regarding the provincial government's performance which will unveil the achievements of each department.

    Every minister will share his or her ministry's performance with the people through press conferences between December 10 and 20, Chohan added.

    A view of the Punjab Governor House in Lahore. —Wikimedia CommonsA view of the Punjab Governor House in Lahore. —Wikimedia Commons

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    KARACHI: Investigators have achieved a “breakthrough” in their probe into the attack on the Chinese consulate as it has emerged that one of the killed militants had stayed in Karachi and carried out a prolonged reconnaissance while more than a dozen suspects and their abettors have been detained for interrogation, it emerged on Saturday.

    Three heavily armed militants were shot dead in a shoot-out with police and Rangers during a gun-and-grenade attack on the Chinese consulate. Two police officials and two visa applicants, a father and son, were also killed in the Nov 23 assault.

    The banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed credit for the attack.

    Consulate’s reconnaissance

    Sources familiar with the proceedings of the investigation told Dawn on Saturday that it emerged during the probe that one of the killed militants, Abdul Raziq, resident of Kharan, with his accomplice Abdul Latif, hailing from Khuzdar in Balochistan, had visited Karachi on Aug 6 also. They both stayed at hotels in Lyari and Saddar and conducted reconnaissance of the consulate.

    More than 15 suspects and abettors detained for questioning

    With the help of technology, it has also been discovered that the killed militants had also stayed in Sindh’s two cities, Shahdadpur and Sukkur, before going back to Quetta. They returned to Karachi via Hub, Balochistan, on the night of Nov 23 and stayed for a while in the Shershah area of Karachi before launching the gun-and-grenade attack.

    Sources told Dawn that a system launched by the Sindh police with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority a few days before the attack on the foreign mission was providing much help to the investigators.

    Biometric authentication

    The Sindh police on Nov 17 formally launched the biometric verification services at the Central Police Office in Karachi, which would help access record of criminals and identify unclaimed bodies with Nadra’s help.

    The police now have access to data of at least one million criminals across the country, said the sources. A software has been provided to all hotels in the city and with the writing of a name and the computerised identity card number in a register the data will be transferred to the police’s control room “within 30 seconds”.

    The sources said that this software helped the investigators ascertain that the killed militant Raziq and his accomplice Latif had stayed at two hotels in the city. It appeared that Raziq was commanding the attack on the consulate.

    They said the technology was helping the investigators in intensifying the search for the suspects and their abetters.

    At least 15 suspects and their accomplices have been detained for questioning, added the sources.

    They revealed that the investigators had learned that the BLA separatists had been planning a deadly attack on the Chinese consulate for the last eight to 10 months.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    More than 15 suspects and abetters detained for questioning. — DawnNewsTV/FileMore than 15 suspects and abetters detained for questioning. — DawnNewsTV/File

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    ISLAMABAD: As soon as the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) implemented its new mobile phone registration system, some users complained of being unable to connect to their networks.

    “There is a message that reads that mobile network is unavailable though signals are showing. I have not been able to make and receive calls the whole day,” said Rehmat Khan, who got a Samsung set as a gift from the UK.

    Irfan Sheikh, who also got a mobile phone as a gift from abroad, also complained that he was unable to receive calls.

    “Dialers complain of a recorded message that my phone is off,” he said.

    Confusion about the system persists among users who are still unaware how the system works and if their mobile phones will become junk from Dec 2 (today).

    When contacted, the PTA maintained that all cell phones had been automatically registered with the authority.

    “All cell phones prior to the implementation of the phone registration scheme have been synced with their respective networks. Phones purchased after Dec 1, the date of implementation of the new system, will now have to be PTA compliant,” a senior official told Dawn on Saturday.

    He said the PTA had developed the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) to curtail counterfeit mobile phone usage, discourage mobile phone theft and protect the consumer interest.

    These are devices that are not registered with the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) and may be mass produced by manufacturers who do not comply with international standards of production, resulting in the infiltration in the market of counterfeit, possibly hazardous, mobile phones.

    The official said the system had been developed to identify substandard, fake and illegally imported mobile phones, register and block the non-compliant devices. He recommended that consumers purchase only the PTA approved mobile phone sets after Dec 1.

    Consumers can text the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) printed on the box of brand new handsets to 8484. They should only pay for the handset after they receive a reply from the PTA that the mobile phone set is compliant with its regulatory standards.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    Confusion about the system persists among users; people unsure if their mobile phones will become junk from Dec 2. — FileConfusion about the system persists among users; people unsure if their mobile phones will become junk from Dec 2. — File

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    SWABI: Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leaders Ali Wazir and Dr Said Alam Mahsud submitted an application for pre-arrest bail in a local court on Saturday.

    The two along with PTM MNA Mohsin Dawar were stopped from flying to Dubai at Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday because their names are on the exit control list (ECL).

    They were told that their names were put on the ECL because of several offences committed by them at the controversial public meeting held at Government High School playground in Swabi on Aug 13. A total of 19 people were nominated in the FIR registered at the Swabi city police station on the day of the public meeting.

    Liaquat Yousafzai, PTM district head, said that MNA Mohsin Dawar did not come to Swabi because he had already secured bail before arrest.

    Mr Wazir, the other MNA, told Dawn that they stayed at the FIA’s Peshawar office at night and arrived at the Swabi judicial complex in the morning where he submitted an application in the court of additional session judge of Swabi, Ijazul Haq Awan.

    He said it was against the spirit of freedom to put their names on the ECL. “It was not a constitutional act,” he added.

    There was a constitutional procedure for lawmakers under which the speaker of the National Assembly would have to be informed before their names were placed on the ECL, he pointed out. “We were stopped at the Bacha Khan Airport without any such procedure,” he complained.

    The two lawmakers and Dr Mahsud would appear before the court on Tuesday.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

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    DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A suspected Taliban militant was killed and three security personnel were injured in an encounter in the Daraban area of Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday.

    According to sources, security forces launched an operation in the Gara Alam locality on information about the presence of Taliban militants there.

    On seeing members of security forces encircling the area, the militant opened fire and lobbed hand grenades at the security forces.

    The security forces returned fire, triggering a gun battle which continued for 14 hours before the militant was killed.

    He was identified as Abdul Hakeem, son of Abdur Rehman. He hailed from Gandapur tribe of Kulachi tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan. He was wanted by police in a number of terrorist acts.

    Three security personnel, who were injured in the encounter, were taken to hospital.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    Three security personnel were injured in the encounter. — FileThree security personnel were injured in the encounter. — File

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    PESHAWAR: Just a day after the ruling party was criticised over the issue of missing persons, alleged attempts to roll back the 18th Amendment and the failure to keep its promise of a new province, President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday claimed that discussion among the prime minister, the chief of the army staff and the judiciary was under way to resolve the issue of missing persons and denied that the government was in favour of undoing the 18th Amendment.

    “We should look into this phenomenal issue to ascertain that where these people (missing) have gone, who picked them etc,” said President Alvi while addressing a press conference at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor House.

    According to president, southern Punjab province is a bigger task than KP-Fata merger

    “Discussion is under way among the prime minister, army chief and judiciary to address this issue, which requires attention and transparency,” asserted the president, who was accompanied by Governor Shah Farman and provincial information minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai.

    Before forming the government in August, Dr Alvi said, he personally had made a commitment with Balochistan National Party chairman Sardar Akhtar Mengal that the issue of missing persons would be resolved and had sought his cooperation in this regard.

    Responding to a question, the president dispelled the impression that the ruling party was in favour of rolling back the 18th Amendment. One component of the 18th Amendment was to build capacity of the provinces after devolving subjects to them, he said.

    Only a day back the PPP chairman while carrying out a detailed examination of the 100-day performance of the PTI government had reminded the ruling party of its promises, including those related to missing persons and creation of a separate province, and declared that the opposition party would not allow attempts to roll back the 18th Amendment to succeed.

    Asked if he would play his role to defuse tension between the government and opposition at the Centre, President Alvi said the government should not be very reactive towards the opposition. He said he had held a discussion with Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members and advised them to focus on their work instead of engaging in a war of words. “I have suggested that instead of engaging in a war of words with the opposition the government should undertake some work that can generate debate,” he said.

    Dr Alvi announced that he would activate his office in the National Assembly. He said he was not in favour of a presidential form of government. Pakistan had experienced parliamentary form of government but the existing system needed improvement, he said, adding that the government did not have the two-thirds majority to change the current system. “Every system depends upon people. If people are good the system is also good,” he remarked.

    About the Fata-KP merger, the president said the KP government was looking for Rs100 billion financing from the Centre. He said that polls for the KP assembly in seven tribal districts would be held before May 2019. He said that Rs1 trillion would be utilised on reconstruction and rehabilitation work in these districts in next 10 years in addition to increasing three per cent share of KP in the National Finance Commission Award. Establishment of infrastructure for lower courts and magistrates was a major task for the government, he said. However, he announced that Levies and Khasadars forces in the merged districts would not be abolished.

    Explaining the reasons for delay in creating a separate province in Punjab, Dr Alvi said that southern Punjab province was a bigger task than the merger of Fata and KP.

    About the Peshawar BRT project, the president said the government would complete the project by June 2019. He also announced that the government would create 30,000 more jobs to recruit local people in police.

    Dr Alvi said he was also briefed about the plan for exploration of tourism sector in the province and the department concerned had identified 20 new areas in this regard. He said the government should not allow uncontrolled and unplanned construction in tourist attraction areas of the province. He said that ill-planned construction had damaged natural beauty of Murree hills and other areas.

    Earlier, the president visited the Bilour House to condole the demise of Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour, who was killed on July 10 in a blast during a party meeting in Peshawar. Dr Alvi offered fateha for Haroon Bilour and met Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Haroon’s widow MPA Samer Bilour.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

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    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has reiterated its demand for framing of rules by the Supreme Court for regulating the exercise of powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution by the top court.

    A meeting presided over by Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor as chairman of the council also constituted a special committee comprising the AG, PBC vice chairman Kamran Murtaza and the chairman of the executive committee to call on Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar at the earliest and request him for consideration of the demand, Mr Murtaza told Dawn.

    The council in a resolution suggested that in case the matter was fixed on the judicial side, the Supreme Court should consider constituting the full court consisting of all its17 judges.

    Committee set up to meet chief justice for consideration of demand

    It also passed a resolution asking Law Minister Farogh Naseem to resign as a member of the council since being the minister he cannot practise as a lawyer under PBC rules.

    When this resolution was being adopted, senior counsel Raheel Kamran She­ikh abstained, whereas Tahir Nasser­ullah Warraich — another member of the PBC — left before voting. Maqsood Butter and Shafiq Bhandara opposed the motion whereas nobody from the opposition participated in the meeting.

    The resolution regarding framing of rules for Article 184(3) was adopted on a letter written by Raheel Kamran Sheikh to the members of the council arguing that the article was as much a source of power as dispensation of justice in relation to the enforcement of fundamental rights, which usually have more than one interpretation on the scope and limits of the rights sought to be enforced in any matter.

    The manner in which it has been used in the last one decade provides ample evidence that it is a vital source of empowerment of the court vis-à-vis other organs of the state, the letter said.

    Exercise of Article 184(3) had always been in debate and in September Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had expressed his intention of determining the jurisdiction exercised under Article 184(3) to regulate the powers of the court. Then the court had taken up a case relating to the scope of the article that empowers the top court to initiate suo motu proceedings on matters it considers against the law.

    The frequent use of suo motu powers by retired Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had raised many eyebrows among the legal fraternity who repeatedly highlighted the need to determine limits or constraints for the exercise of suo motu jurisdiction, so that the judiciary’s credibility was not eroded. The lawyers were of the view that the excessive use of Article 184(3) under the public interest litigation could seal the fate of the aggrieved party, especially when an altogether different issue cropped up in collateral proceedings and a totally different aspect was brought to the notice of the court.

    The letter stated that it was historically established that such a power had been exercised and used to substantially undermine the doctrine of dichotomy of powers and for intrusion in the affairs of other organs of the state, particularly the executive, for the judicialisation of politics and used as an alternative to the writ of quo warranto exercise.

    The letter contended that historically speaking, hearings in most cases under Article 184(3) have been conducted by the bench headed and constituted by the chief justice meaning thereby that the views of the top judge virtually dominate the interpretation vis-à-vis the nature, scope and limits of the fundamental right.

    It highlighted that there was no right of appeal provided against any order, judgement or decision under Article 184(3).

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    Committee set up to meet chief justice for consideration of demand. — FileCommittee set up to meet chief justice for consideration of demand. — File

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    KARACHI: The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has expressed deep concern over the condition of freedom of the press in the country, saying the media is undergoing a phase of extreme suffocation and unnecessary restrictions.

    The CPNE through a resolution passed at a meeting of its standing committee headed by council president Arif Nizami said that although there is no direct censorship, the current condition of the media is far worse than it was in the past.

    According to the resolution, it seems as if newspapers are being subjected to economic sanctions in a bid to indirectly control the freedom of the press. By subjecting newspapers to ‘economic death’, an attempt is being made to end the freedom of expression and information, which is against the basis of the freedom of the press.

    The resolution termed the proposed ‘media regulatory authority’ an unwise measure dangerous for the print media. The print media obtained freedom after a long struggle and steps to bring it under a regulatory authority seem dictatorial and are fanning fears among the newspaper circles.

    The resolution also expressed concerns over various complaints of editors about restrictions on circulation or distribution of their newspapers in various parts of the country.

    It stressed unity amongst all media teams, media organisations and other stakeholders and called upon them to formulate a joint strategy to ensure an end to indirect restrictions on the media.

    In this respect, Mr Nizami was authorised to contact all media stakeholders, media organisations and journalist communities. The meeting decided to organise an extensive media convention for promoting the freedom of press.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

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    The parents of Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student who was killed in a Texas school shooting in May, are suing the parents of the shooter for negligently and irresponsibly storing their firearms.

    Abdul Aziz and Farah Naz have joined a lawsuit in which some of the 10 victims' families are alleging that the shooter's parents knew their son was experiencing extreme emotional distress but failed to take basic steps to responsibly store and prevent him from accessing their firearms, according to a Nov 28 press release issued by Everytown for Gun Safety’s litigation team.

    The petition also alleges the shooter’s parents failed to respond to and address warning signs that their son posed a risk to others.

    "No other parent should ever have to experience this unbearable grief," Sabika's parents said. "For a mother and a father, this trauma and mourning stay until their last breath. We are grateful to everyone in the US and around the world who met us in person and reached us through emails, print, electronic and social media to express solidarity and empower us to endure this most profound tragedy."

    The petition was filed just days before Sabika's 18th birthday on Dec 1, the press release said.

    Sabika, a Karachi teenager whose family lives in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal area, was studying at Santa Fe High School in Texas on a US State Department scholarship under the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme.

    She was among 10 students gunned down on May 18, 2018, inside the school by another teenager with white supremacist tendencies.

    According to her father, Sabika — the eldest among three sisters but younger than her brother — was due to return home on June 9. Her family had been counting the days till her return. She was laid to rest in Karachi.

    17-year-old Sabika Sheikh was among 10 people killed in a school shooting in Texas in May 2018. ─ Photo courtesy Facebook17-year-old Sabika Sheikh was among 10 people killed in a school shooting in Texas in May 2018. ─ Photo courtesy Facebook

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    MUZAFFARABAD: A German national associated with the refurbishment project of Mangla powerhouse shot himself dead in the highly guarded compound for foreigners late on Friday night, a police official said on Saturday.

    Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mirpur Riaz Haider Bukhari told Dawn that 59-year-old Sorin Daniel Petermayer was residing in a bungalow in the residential colony of Mangla powerhouse where he ended his life after midnight at about 12:30am for reasons police were trying to ascertain.

    The Mangla powerhouse is situated in the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, some seven kilometres from Mirpur city.

    Mr Petermayer had been working as site manager for the past one year for General Electric Company (GE), an American multinational conglomerate which has taken up refurbishment work of Mangla power plant.

    According to SSP Bukhari, after landing in Islamabad from Frankfurt on Friday morning, Mr Petermayer had travelled to Lahore to attend some meeting in connection with his job from where he came to the site of the powerhouse in Mangla along with three other people.

    At about 12:30am, a female Pakistani engineer, who had accompanied him at the Lahore meeting and was also staying in the same compound, rushed to his bungalow after hearing a gunshot, only to find him lying on his back on his bed in a pool of blood, he said.

    The SSP said that Mr Petermayer had shot himself in the neck with a pistol which was in his firm grip even after his death.

    While ruling out any possibility of terrorism, SSP Bukhari said the compound was a high security zone where trespassing by outsiders was next to impossible.

    He said the body of the deceased was sent to the German embassy in Islamabad through the representatives of Wapda after a post-mortem exmination in Mirpur. “The provisional post-mortem report suggests it to be a case of suicide but we will give a final statement in this regard only after completion of investigation,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    The Mangla powerhouse is situated in the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. — FileThe Mangla powerhouse is situated in the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. — File

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    KARACHI: The administrative judge of accountability courts on Saturday granted four-day transitory remand of an officer of Punjab, who is facing a case pertaining to alleged corruption of Rs700 million in police funds.

    A day earlier, the National Accountability Bureau had arrested SSP Rai Aijaz in Karachi over his alleged involvement in the scam.

    On Saturday, NAB officials produced him before the administrative judge to seek his transitory remand for taking him to Lahore where the bureau has issued his arrest warrant.

    The NAB officials told the judge that the suspect had served as an SSP in Nawabshah and Gujrat and that during his posting in Gujrat he was involved in corruption of Rs700m in police funds.

    The detained police officer told the judge that out of four district police officers (said to be involved in the scam) he alone was being subjected to “victimisation”.

    He further said that his bail application was fixed before the Sindh High Court for hearing on Tuesday and that he had already appeared before the NAB authorities thrice and pleaded for recording his reservations in the court’s order.

    However, the administrative judge granted his four-day transitory remand with the directive to the NAB officials to produce him before the accountability court concerned in Lahore.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    Detained police officer tells judge that he was being subjected to “victimisation”. — FileDetained police officer tells judge that he was being subjected to “victimisation”. — File

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    LAHORE: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Saturday submitted a report on the offshore property of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khanum to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope and declared that she did not avail herself of the tax amnesty scheme benefits.

    While presenting the report in a sealed envelope regarding her property in Dubai on the instruction of a special bench of the apex court, FBR Inland Revenue Commissioner Chaudhry Ishtiaq Khan said a hearing on a notice served on her was fixed for Dec 5.

    The commissioner also maintained that Ms Khanum had never availed herself of any benefit from the amnesty scheme introduced before the general elections.

    In response to the query about the action initiated against Ms Aleema, the commissioner said the FBR had started its proceedings on Feb 8 when a notice was issued to her. He said the initial notices could not be delivered due to her unavailability in Pakistan. However, he said, she later responded to the FBR. The commissioner said she was bound to disclose her Dubai property which she sold it later.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar directed the commissioner to submit a complete record of the FBR proceedings on the matter and also issued a notice to her for the purpose of seeking information about creation of the asset in question, its source and its non-disclosure before the tax authority.

    The court would resume hearing in Islamabad on Dec 6.

    The name of the prime minister’s sister as a benamidar of a property in the UAE had recently surfaced during the hearing of a case about offshore properties owned by Pakistani citizens and money transfer to other countries through illegal means.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

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    KARACHI: The PTI government has placed a great deal of emphasis on attracting foreign investment into Pakistan, and has taken trips to Saudi Arabia, Malyasia, the UAE and China in an effort to spur investor interest.

    “We have found tremendous interest in Pakistan in all these countries,” says Haroon Sharif, chairman of the Board of Investment (BoI) who has the job of coordinating between the investors and the government. “The biggest hurdle for us is surely the weak capacity of the state to deal with private sector investors and find a way to deliver on their needs.”

    He tells Dawn that the state lacks the experience to structure transactions, and it is primarily for this reason that international commitments made by the government come under frequent suspicion locally.

    The lead route to get investments into the country is through construction of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), he says, though other government-to-government deals are also in the works.

    “We are welcoming investments from multiple countries for these zones,” he tells Dawn, adding that pace of work needs to be expedited. “They are being developed by the provinces,” he says, adding “and BoI is keen to get them up and running as soon as possible. The major hurdle is uninterrupted supply of utilities, mainly power but also gas and water.”

    There is currently not enough power in the country to cater to large investments envisioned for these zones, he says, and adds that the possibility of using captive power for the zones is something that he is proposing. This puts the federal government in a bit of a chicken and the egg problem. Captive power becomes feasible if there are plants ready for offtake, but investors will be reluctant to set up plants if a clear supply of reliable power is not available. “We can explore some options like starting construction on captive power at the same time as the plants begin coming up,” he says.

    Out of the four SEZs being built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor umbrella, he says the one in Faisalabad is nearly complete, while that in Rashakai, KP, is in the final stage of getting approval for go-ahead. “Within one year they should be in a position to offer plots of land for investors,” Haroon says. Thus far, they have received 952 applications from various parties, but it is not clear how many of them are looking to set up a plant in the zone and how many are just real estate investors.

    “Eventually the zone will have to become a one-stop shop to be successful,” he says, where banks should be available as well as labour and all other requirements for investment. That will take time.

    Beyond Faisalabad and Rashakai, he says Dhabeji in Sindh is also moving along, albeit slowly. “They are now starting their bidding to find a developer,” the chairman tells Dawn. Provincial governments lack the resources to build these zones, he says, and they are looking for partners who will be interested in a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) arrangement on it. “The concern in that is that if Chinese partners go for BOT, then they might close the zones to Chinese companies only.”

    Gwadar, however, will take time, he says. “The government of Balochistan is still working on it. Our biggest interest is in Gwadar is in the refinery.” That project had its beginnings in the trip to Saudi Arabia taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan, though it is far too early at this stage. “At the moment it is early days, I am still trying to finalise the memorandum of understanding, even the feasibility has not begun yet.”

    One question mark hanging over the refinery project is what the Saudis intend to do with the refined oil output. The location is far from areas where traffic is heavy, so the output will need to be transported a great distance to reach the market. “That is up to them to figure out, whether to use a pipeline to Karachi, but certainly tankers will cost a great deal for this purpose,” says Sharif.

    “I’m sure the Saudis are looking at this as an investment proposition, but there is a strategic interest as well,” he adds. The Kingdom is trying to diversify its investments, for example it putting up a $44 billion refinery in India.

    “I need to build capacity of state institutions to absorb foreign investments. When investors show interest, the state needs to put technical expertise on the table. Request for proposals have to be drawn up, roadshows put up, financial modelling has to be done. Since the state has been doing investment on its own for so long, it has no capacity to deal with private sector partners as such.”

    Foreign investors have shown solid interest to come to Pakistan, he says. “Now it is up to the government how we facilitate them, and how we close the transactions.” He says he has ten proposals from Malaysia alone, “very serious companies that want to come to Pakistan, from education and halal meat to agri business and IT. Can we offer the deal to them? Can we close the deal?”

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    Gantry cranes lined up on Gwadar port. Construction of the Gwadar Free Zone, where industry is supposed to be located, has shown very little forward movement thus far.—File photoGantry cranes lined up on Gwadar port. Construction of the Gwadar Free Zone, where industry is supposed to be located, has shown very little forward movement thus far.—File photo

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  • 12/01/18--18:00: Leader quits TLP
  • MITHI: Abdul Qadir Naimi aka Maulana Mehran who had contested for the PS-54 Dahli seat on a Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) ticket in the July 25 general elections has dissociated himself from the party.

    Speaking at a press conference at the local press club on Saturday, Maulana Mehran announced that he now had nothing to do with the party. “I am no more a part of the TLP,” he declared, and advised his voters, followers and supporters to avoid any act that could lead to a confrontation with state institutions and security agencies.

    Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018

    PS-54 contender Maulana Mehran dissociates from Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. ─ File photoPS-54 contender Maulana Mehran dissociates from Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. ─ File photo

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    In order to "boost Pakistan's economy", Beijing is investing in multiple sectors and launching business ventures instead of providing loans, Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin said in an interview to Geo News.

    The interview — published on Sunday — was held in Lahore a few days after an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi was foiled by the police.

    Dingbin said that during Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent trip to China, the two neighbours had signed 15 new agreements which will lead to increased cooperation in politics and the financial sector and will also improve cultural ties.

    "Instead of hard cash, China plans to eventually provide multiple forms of bailout packages [to Pakistan] in the shape of phenomenal investments in fresh projects," he said, adding that the investments will help Pakistan "overcome its financial crunch".

    He further said that the new ventures that were being launched would broaden the scope of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

    The Chinese consul general claimed that China would "never leave Pakistan in a lurch" and will provide "maximum resources" to ensure that the latter can strengthen its wavering economy.

    In response to a question about Pakistan's crippling debts, Dingbin insisted that CPEC did not contribute to "Pakistan's debt burden".

    He said that only four of the 22 projects launched under CPEC provided concessional loans, while the rest were investment-based and would strengthen Pakistan's economy.

    Chinese consulate attack

    Dingbin said that following the attack on the consulate in Karachi, security around the Lahore consulate's building had been increased. He said that a two-tier security mechanism had been developed in coordination with law enforcement agencies and the Punjab government.

    Praising the bravery of the policemen who were martyred while holding off the attackers in Karachi, Dingbin said that his country's diplomats were considering setting up permanent donation fund, that would not only provide aid to the families of the martyred policemen, but also help the "deserving people of Pakistan".

    Peng Zhengwu, the deputy consul general, who was also present during the interview, praised the bravery of the policemen who were martyred while engaging the attackers, and donated 1,000 RMB (yuan), while Dingbin gave 2,000 RMB.

    Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin says China is investing in multiple sections to Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin says China is investing in multiple sections to "boost Pakistan's economy". — Photo courtesy: Geo News

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    Sargodha police took into custody a husband and his second wife on Sunday after they allegedly slit the man's one-and-a-half-year-old daughter's throat on the "suggestion of a faith healer".

    Deputy Superintendent Police Usman said a faith healer had allegedly suggested to the man and his wife that their daughter was possessed, and if they wished to improve their circumstances, they would have to kill her to dispel the evil spirits.

    The man told police that his daughter was possessed by jinns and would make strange sounds that scared her stepmother. He further alleged that the jinns had taken hold of his daughter overnight and slit her throat, according to police.

    The parents took their daughter's body to District Headquarters Teaching Hospital Sargodha, where hospital staff were alerted by their erratic and suspicious behaviour and called the police. They also found that the infant had old cuts along her arms.

    Police reached the hospital and took the couple into custody. An investigation into the infant's death is underway.

    Sargodha police took a man and his second wife into custody after they allegedly killed their infant daughter amid fears of 'jinn possession'. ─ DawnNewsTVSargodha police took a man and his second wife into custody after they allegedly killed their infant daughter amid fears of 'jinn possession'. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    President Arif Alvi on Sunday urged the nation to buy local products in an effort to ease the 'pressure on the Pakistani rupee'.

    "Considering pressure on [the] Pakistani rupee, I urge Pakistanis to buy 'Made in Pakistan' [products]," he shared via Twitter. "In this time of crisis, we must try to avoid luxury goods and avoidable imported purchases. If you put your mind to it, there is a long list of daily use imported products."

    "This is what we must do together," added the president.

    His tweet comes a few days after devaluation of local currency against the US dollar was witnessed in interbank trading.

    The US dollar opened at Rs142 on Friday while the local currency further devalued by Rs2 to Rs144. At the close of trade, the exchange rate sat at Rs140 to a dollar for interbank trading as per the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and the weighted average rate at which different banks were transacting dollars for their customers was at Rs140, after closing at Rs134 the day before.

    Later in the evening, the SBP released its bimonthly monetary policy statement in which the bank announces any changes to the policy discount rate, the key rate that determines all other interest rates in the country, as well as providing a snapshot of the state of the economy. The bank surprised markets by announcing a 1.5pc increase in the discount rate bringing it to 10pc, larger than anyone had expected, and the largest increase since the cycle of monetary tightening began earlier this year. The discount rate was 5.75pc at the start of the year when monetary tightening began.

    “The near term challenges to Pakistan’s economy continue to persist,” the SBP said, citing the fiscal deficit (difference between state’s revenues and expenditures), rising inflation and low foreign exchange reserves as the key challenges.

    The SBP said the trade deficit, which was at the heart of Pakistan’s external sector problems that are driving the country towards another IMF programme, would only be addressed if competitiveness of the export sector was addressed.

    "I urge Pakistanis to buy Made in Pakistan," tweeted President Alvi on Sunday. — File

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    Sindhi culture day was celebrated with enthusiasm across the province as thousands of people dressed in the cultural attire poured on the streets in dozens of rallies to mark the occasion.

    This year Sindhi Culture Day's theme was ‘Aekta’ which means unity.

    People wearing ajrak, a block printed shawl, and Sindhi caps danced to the tunes of Sindhi songs as they moved in rallies.

    Several political parties including Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Qaumi Awami Tehreek, and Sindh Taraqi Pasand organised separate rallies in various cities.

    A person carries huge traditional cap during a function in Hyderabad. —APP
    A person carries huge traditional cap during a function in Hyderabad. —APP

    Souvenirs displayed at a stall during an event in Larkana. —APP
    Souvenirs displayed at a stall during an event in Larkana. —APP

    Women enjoy while listening to Sindhi songs during a function at Sindh Museum in Hyderabad. —APP
    Women enjoy while listening to Sindhi songs during a function at Sindh Museum in Hyderabad. —APP

    The PTI took out a rally in Karachi from Insaf House to Governor House. Addressing the participants of the rally, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said Sindh is the land of sufis and saints who always preached love, peace, unity, and harmony.

    Ismail said there is a need to promote the message of love and peace, adding that people of Sindh have great love and passion for its culture.

    Meanwhile, events for intellectual discourse were also organised by different groups and non-governmental organisations.

    Moreover, Information Minister Fawad Chauhdry extended his greetings to the people of Sindh, saying the “biggest heritage of the people of Sindh was their selfless love, while Sindhi cap and ajrak manifested their heterogeneous culture”.

    The Sindhi language was spoken and understood across the globe, he said.

    “The colourful land of Sindh was free of prejudice, hatred, intolerance, and division among its people,” the minister said.

    An artist performs a traditional dance in Hyderabad. —APP
    An artist performs a traditional dance in Hyderabad. —APP

    Folk singer Jigar Jalal performs during a function to mark the Sindhi Culture Day in Larkana. —APP
    Folk singer Jigar Jalal performs during a function to mark the Sindhi Culture Day in Larkana. —APP

    Girls wearing traditional dresses pose for selfies. —APP
    Girls wearing traditional dresses pose for selfies. —APP

    Folk singer performs on stage during a function in connection with Sindh culture day at Sindh Museum. —APP
    Folk singer performs on stage during a function in connection with Sindh culture day at Sindh Museum. —APP

    People wearing ajrak and Sindhi caps danced to the tunes of Sindhi songs as they moved in rallies. —APPPeople wearing ajrak and Sindhi caps danced to the tunes of Sindhi songs as they moved in rallies. —APP

    Folk singer performs during a function to mark the Sindhi Culture Day in Hyderabad. —APPFolk singer performs during a function to mark the Sindhi Culture Day in Hyderabad. —APP

    Folk singer performs on stage during a function in connection with Sindh culture day at Sindh Museum. —APPFolk singer performs on stage during a function in connection with Sindh culture day at Sindh Museum. —APP

    Folk artists perform in a rally held to mark the Sindhi Culture Day in Larkana. —APPFolk artists perform in a rally held to mark the Sindhi Culture Day in Larkana. —APP

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