- RSS Channel Showcase 6888753
- RSS Channel Showcase 7459094
- RSS Channel Showcase 2450693
- RSS Channel Showcase 6337948
Articles on this Page
- 12/05/18--11:20: _Islamabad looks for...
- 12/05/18--10:56: _Karachi man booked ...
- 12/05/18--00:16: _PSX witnesses anoth...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _Replies of ex-CM Kh...
- 12/05/18--17:55: _PM, army chief disc...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _WSSP employees obse...
- 12/05/18--17:55: _President House set...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _Govt to close down ...
- 12/05/18--17:55: _Rivals dragged me i...
- 12/05/18--17:55: _PTI government will...
- 12/05/18--17:55: _PM’s aide unearths ...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _Marriyum Aurangzeb ...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _Punjab will have un...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _Three of Sindh's fo...
- 12/05/18--17:56: _Board recommends te...
- 12/05/18--21:53: _NAB produces Shahba...
- 12/06/18--00:29: _CJP assails FBR for...
- 12/05/18--21:53: _Accountability cour...
- 12/06/18--02:03: _PTI minister Azam S...
- 12/06/18--01:06: _Unfortunate that In...
- 12/05/18--17:56: Replies of ex-CM Khattak, others sought in contempt case
- 12/05/18--17:55: PM, army chief discuss security situation
- 12/05/18--17:56: WSSP employees observe strike against salary delay
- 12/05/18--17:55: President House set to be opened to general public on 8th
- 12/05/18--17:56: Govt to close down mines without safety measures
- 12/05/18--17:55: Rivals dragged me into cases, Nawaz tells court
- 12/05/18--17:55: PTI government will fall under burden of its own follies: Abbasi
- 12/05/18--17:55: PM’s aide unearths another scam involving Nawaz
- 12/05/18--17:56: Marriyum Aurangzeb framed me in corruption case, Qasmi claims
- 12/05/18--17:56: Punjab will have uniform syllabus by 2020: minister
- 12/05/18--17:56: Board recommends tests to diagnose Shahbaz’s ailment
- 12/05/18--21:53: Accountability court sends Shahbaz on judicial remand
- 12/06/18--02:03: PTI minister Azam Swati resigns 'to uphold moral authority'
Japan's National Security Adviser (NSA) Kentaro Sonoura on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and conveyed his country's desire to further strengthen the bilateral relations, Radio Pakistan reported.
During the meeting, the prime minister said Islamabad looks forward to establishing a greater level of cooperation with Japan, particularly in the areas of trade, investment, infrastructure, and human resource development.
The prime minister encouraged Japanese investment in Pakistan, which he said has immense economic potential, having a young population and unexplored mineral wealth.
Imran Khan acknowledged the importance of Japan as a development and investment partner and expressed satisfaction over the cordial relations between the two sides.
The Japanese adviser underscored Japanese high respect for Pakistan in fighting terrorism.
PM Imran Khan acknowledges the importance of Japan as a development and investment partner during a meeting with Japan's NSA Kentaro Sonoura. —PID
Karachi police on Wednesday registered a case against a man over charges of attempting suicide and others, after he climbed an electric pole in Korangi area reportedly to protest against police’s alleged harsh attitude and to "have other demands fulfilled".
Awami Colony police booked Mohammed Shakir under Sections 325 (attempt to commit suicide) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or for shorter terms) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The area's Station House Officer (SHO) Shahid Khan, said the case had been registered on behalf of the state and the suspect was arrested.
Shakir on Wednesday afternoon climbed a pole of high-tension wires passing through the Korangi neighbourhood.
After receiving information about the situation, police alerted K-Electric officials, who had the power supply suspended in the locality to save the man.
The police officers who reached the scene tried to persuade Shakir to come down, but to no avail.
They sought help from the fire brigade, which sent a snorkel that was eventually used to bring the man down from the pole. A fire brigade official said the man did not receive any injuries during the episode.
SHO Shahid told Dawn that the man had been "suffering from depression".
Eye-witnesses said Shakir, who is an alleged drug addict and works in a factory in the area, was protesting against the police for subjecting him to an 'undesirable attitude' after drugs were recently found from his possession. At times, the man also made demands that he should be allowed to have a "love marriage".
Section 325 of the PPC reads: Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
According to Section 511: Whoever attempts to commit an offence punishable by this Code with imprisonment for life or imprisonment, or to cause such an offence to be committed, and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence, shall where no express provision is made by this Code for the punishment of such attempt, be punished with imprisonment of any description provided for the offence for a term which may extend to one-half of the longest term of imprisonment provided for that offence or with such fine *daman as is provided for the offence, or with both.*
The man, who reportedly suffers from depression, was brought down using a snorkel of the fire brigade. — DawnNewsTV
The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), after staging a brief rally in the previous session, experienced another slump on Wednesday, with its benchmark KSE-100 Index losing 888 points in intraday trading — a loss of two per cent.
Trading opened at 39,607 points before the index gradually dropped to 38,719 points at around noon.
The recent bearish trend followed the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) decision to raise key lending rate by 150 basis points (bps) to 10 per cent as well as a fall in the value of the rupee last Friday.
The benchmark index has so far shed more than 3,000 points under the PTI government. The benchmark KSE-100 Index was at 42,447 points when the incumbent setup had came into power in August.
Factors leading to bloodbath
While the government has been pretty comfortable politically, the economy remains in the eye of the storm. The government has had to grapple with fast depleting foreign exchange reserves and ever-widening deficits.
The rupee closed at 139.06 to the dollar in the interbank market on Nov 30 — a depreciation of 3.8pc in its value.
Bankers said the rupee plunge happened as the SBP silently watched the demand for dollars rising on imports and external debt payments. It was so intense and sudden that the dollar surged to Rs144 at one point on Friday before closing lower.
Also on Nov 30, the SBP raised its key policy rate by 150 basis points to contain inflation, a product of several economic factors, most notably a weaker rupee.
Spectators and analysts, however, had expected just a 1pc hike in the policy rate, DawnNewsTV reported, adding that the increase brings the policy rate into double digits amid reports that the move is linked to talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a bailout package.
The timing of the twin moves suggests Pakistan has finally started fulfilling some pre-conditions of a fresh IMF loan, though Finance Minister Asad Umar has said he is in no hurry to get it. The government does not disagree with the Fund’s concerns on economic fundamentals, bankers and analysts say.
Also, it does not disagree with the Fund’s prescription for curing our ailing economy: let the overvalued rupee find its real market worth, minimise energy subsidies, reduce development and non-development expenses, hike interest rates — and choose economic stability over growth in the process.
Stockbrokers monitor share prices during a trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange. — AFP/File
PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday sought replies from former chief minister and current defence minister Pervez Khattak and two others on a petition against the possession of a botanical garden’s land in Nowshera by the district administration.
Justice Qaiser Rasheed Khan and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan directed Pervez Khattak, former Nowshera district nazim and current MPA Liaqat Khattak and then Nowshera deputy commissioner Iftikhar Alam to respond to the University of Peshawar syndicate’s petition in writing within three weeks and explain why contempt proceedings shouldn’t be initiated against them.
The UoP’s syndicate had filed the petition against the Nowshera district government for cancelling the lease of the land allotted for the Botanical Garden and Centre of Bio-Diversity and taking the possession of that land in early 2016.
The high court had issued a stay order against the land’s possession.
UoP syndicate insists possession of botanical garden land in Nowshera violates court order
However, the petitioner claimed that the respondents didn’t follow the court’s order.
During the hearing, Justice Qaisar Rasheed observed that if former CM Pervez Khattak was bent on giving the university’s land to a private university, he should use his personal land for the purpose.
He asked additional advocate general Sikandar Shah why he had been representing the respondents as during contempt proceedings, he had to act as the prosecutor against the alleged contemnors.
Waseemuddin Khattak, lawyer for the petitioner, said as the CM, Mr Khattak had ordered on Feb 24, 2014, to hand over around 500 kanals of the botanical garden’s land for setting up the Air University and Technical University but the high court declared that order illegal on June 9, 2014.
He said the district nazim had cancelled the lease of the land measuring 567 kanals on Feb 3, 2016, while the administration asked the UoP to hand over the land to the government.
The lawyer said the high court had asked the respondents to maintain status quo on the matter but they took the land’s possession and locked the main entrance to the botanical garden.
He said the botanical garden had many unique species of fishes and plants, which were being researched on, and if they were not taken care of properly, the facility would lose its worth.
The petitioner claimed that in Dec 2003, the UoP’s syndicate had approved the establishment of the Centre of Plant Biodiversity, which included the setting up of a Botanical Garden in Azakhel, Nowshera. He said the Higher Education Commission had sanctioned a grant of Rs37.86 million to help the university establish the centre.
The petitioner said the Nowshera district government had leased out the 689 kanals land to the university in Dec 2005 to establish the centre for 99 years but the university got a notice from it in Dec 2015 showing the intention for lease cancelation.
He added that after the university responded to the notice, the district government issued an order on Feb 3, 2016, cancelling the lease of 567 of the total 689 kanals land.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
Former KP CM Pervez Khattak is accused of taking possession of land allotted for the Botanical Garden and Centre of Bio-Diversity in Nowshera. — File photo
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa on Wednesday discussed the prevailing security situation in the country.
“Matters relating to the armed forces and overall security situation were discussed during the meeting,” the Prime Minister Office said in a one-line statement on the meeting.
A source at the PMO claimed that the talks were wide-ranging and covered the latest sedition cases against Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan leadership, ongoing counterterrorism operations under Raddul Fasaad and challenges on the external front.
There was no independent verification of the agenda of the meeting.
A day earlier, a military spokesman in a briefing to foreign journalists had said that there had been major progress on the security front. He had told the journalists that security situation in the country had largely improved through successful clearance operations and it was heading towards stability.
Having restored peace in the country, he added, Pakistan wished to see peace beyond borders, especially in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, the US government sought Pakistan’s help for the peace process in Afghanistan.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
PM Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa discuss prevailing security situation in the country. — File photo
PESHAWAR: The employees of Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar (WSSP) on Wednesday observed strike against delay in payment of their salaries.
The sanitation staff, tube well operators and drivers of the garbage trucks and vans didn’t perform their duties and staged a protest demonstration outside their regional office in Kohati area.
Due to the strike, garbage of the city was not picked. There are around 4,000 employees working in WSSP. A large number of sanitation staff, tube well operators and drivers participated in the demonstration and chanted slogans against the WSSP high-ups.
The protesting employees were addressed by All Municipal Workers Union chairman Riaz Khan, general secretary Abid Sohail and vice-chairman Shakeel Hashim. They said that the provincial government had released salaries to the government servants on November 28, but despite lapse of a week thousands of WSSP employees were not paid their salaries.
Company’s CEO terms the strike unlawful
They said that the sanitation company had released huge salaries of its high-ups, but the lower staff was ignored.
The provincial government has hired many officers for WSSP on high salaries, but they have failed to deliver, the speakers alleged. Prior to establishment of WSSP, they said, the sanitation and water departments of the city were headed by grade-16 officers who would take salaries in the range of Rs60,000 to Rs70,000.
However, for the same work the provincial government has appointed a chief executive officer, four regional managers, including that of operations, projects and human resource and planning, they said, adding that each regional manager also had two assistant managers.
The speakers said that WSSP was facing financial problems due to hiring of high-ups on huge salaries. They said that prior to establishment of WSSP, the sanitation and water services would cost the provincial kitty in millions, which had now increased to billions.
The employees called off their strike when WSSP released their salaries to the regional banks. A big rush of the employees was seen inside and outside the banks as they lined up to get their salaries.
WSSP chief executive officer Engineer Khan Zaib termed the employees’ strike illegal, according to a statement issued here. He stated that it was a violation of the Essential Services Act and disciplinary action would be taken against the protesters.
He said that the employees should have given a prior notice to the company before launching the strike. Mr Zaib claimed that the company had transferred the salaries to the accounts of 75 per cent of employees on November 25. He said that there was a problem in the transfer of salaries to the account of 25 per cent employees which had been transferred successfully on December 4.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
There are around 4,000 employees working in WSSP. — File photo
ISLAMABAD: After the opening of three Governor Houses and a government rest house in Murree to the general public, the highly secured and spacious President House, commonly known as Aiwan-i-Sadr, is set to welcome visitors on Saturday (Dec 8).
A spokesman for President House Tahir Khushnood told Dawn on Wednesday that they had decided to open President House only for one day and people with their families could visit it from 9am to 4pm. So far no decision had been made to make it a regular feature, he said.
Mr Khushnood said the move was in line with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) promise to allow public access to the state buildings. Under this policy, he said, the governor houses had already been opened to the general public.
No decision yet to make it a regular feature, according to spokesperson
On Saturday, the spokesman said, the visitors would have the opportunity to take a round of a mini-zoo inside President House, besides enjoying walk on green lawns and visiting the historic halls situated on the fifth floor, where oath-taking ceremonies of top government functionaries, including the prime ministers, took place.
Asked about the difficulties which the visitors could face due to the [residency’s location in the highly-secured Red Zone area], Mr Khushnood said the government would definitely devise a plan in consultation with police and security agencies and the visitors would be allowed to enter the premises after a thorough search.
Spread over a vast area on Constitution Avenue between the Parliament House building and Pakistan Secretariat’s cabinet block, President House had remained a centre of politics in the past when the country had strong presidents having the power to dissolve the National Assembly and dismiss an elected government under Article 58-2(B) of the Constitution, introduced first time by the military dictator and then army chief Gen Ziaul Haq in 1985 through the Eighth Amendment. The controversial article had been used by former presidents Gen Zia, Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari four times since 1988.
It was during the previous government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) under the then president Asif Ali Zardari that parliament through the 18th Amendment removed the controversial article from the Constitution in 2010. However, since Mr Zardari was also the head of the party, therefore, President House remained in the political focus almost throughout the PPP’s tenure until the Supreme Court took notice of the use of the official residence of the president, who should be a non-partisan person as head of the state, for political meetings.
As the military rulers, Gen Zia and Gen Pervez Musharraf, mostly lived in Army House in Rawalpindi, they occasionally used President House as their residence.
Prime Minister Imran Khan himself has not been residing at PM House and the government is working on a plan to convert it into a research university.
A month after Mr Khan assumed office, Governor Houses in Karachi (Sindh), Lahore (Punjab) and Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) were opened for general public.
The Sindh Governor House was the first state building that had been opened to the general public. On the occasion, Governor Imran Ismail himself greeted visitors and took a round of the gardens as well as some sections of the building which had been cordoned off. The visitors were happy to see the office of Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and eagerly took in the memorabilia.
Later, Punjab Governor House in Lahore and a rest house known as Government House in Murree were also opened for public on the PM’s directives.
The Government House is an architectural legacy of British rule, and has been the site of several historic events. In 1960, then president Gen Ayub Khan and Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru met at Government House in Murree.
Later, then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto met Indian minister for external affairs Swaran Singh at Government House, where they sat by a window through which Kashmir could be seen to illustrate to the Indian minister how close Kashmir was to Pakistan. Bhutto also stayed at Government House for three days to prepare for a visit to India for the Simla talks, and was confined there when Gen Ziaul Haq imposed martial law.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif used to visit Government House regularly and was confined there when Gen Musharraf imposed martial law. Gen Musharraf also stayed at Government House when Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed.
On September 30, the historic Governor House in Peshawar was opened for general public. On the occasion, Governor Shah Farman welcomed students of three government girls colleges.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
PTI govt has decided to open President House only for one day, says spokesperson. — File photo
PESHAWAR: The mines without safety measures for workers will be closed down, warned mines and minerals development minister Dr Amjad Ali on Wednesday.
“The mines owners are bound by the law to adopt all necessary safety steps for their workers in mines. We will close down the mines functioning without such measures and will take legal action against mine leaseholders,” the minister told reporters at the Peshawar Press Club.
Dr Ali said the department had launched the online management information system in the first 100 days of the government to increase transparency and curtail illegal mining activities in the province.
He said the online management information system would not only increase the department revenue but would also help check illegal mining in parts of the province.
Minister says online MIS launched to check illegal mining
Accompanied by mines and minerals secretary Khaista Rehman, director general Muntazir Khan and other officials, the minister said the system also supported data compilation.
He said the government launched a modern mining cadastre system to ensure effective administration and regulation of mining rights and accurate mineral resource management by checking corruption.
The minister said the system would also ensure the security of the applicants’ priority, tenure of mineral titles, and provision of online reporting of various fiscal and regulatory issues.
He said the Mines Safety and Regulation Act, 2018, had been presented before the provincial cabinet for its final approval.
The minister said the mining department had contributed over Rs500 million to the exchequer by collecting taxes, while an additional amount of Rs40 million was collected as excise duty during the first 100 days of the government.
He said the department had begun a geological mapping project to tap minerals in the province.
The minister said the department had conducted around 451 inspections for underground mining, while 724 mines had been registered.
He said Rs0.4 million had been generated on head registration of different mines.
He added as many as 11 inquiries had been initiated in corruption and other cases and the relevant people had been awarded punishment as well.
Dr Amjad said a cell had been established at directorate of mine and minerals development department, wherein more than 16 complaints had been registered.
He said 83 mine workers had been given safety and awareness training, while 100 rescue operations were conducted during the first 100 days of the government.
He said initiatives had been taken for the provision of medical facility to mine workers, while scholarship programme had been introduced for their children to get free education from first to 10th grade.
The minister said the scholarships had been offered for the children of special persons.
The department officials, who were in attendance, said KP was rich in natural resources, which would be exploited to generate money.
They said Karak, Kohat, Haripur, Mardan, Swabi and Charsadda districts had sufficient gold deposits but they had yet to be explored.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
A coal miner wipes sweat off his forehead. — File photo
ISLAMABAD: Testifying before the accountability court in the Flagship Investment reference on Wednesday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that he had been dragged into the controversy by his political rivals.
Mr Sharif responded to 137 of the total 141 questions put to him by Accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code under which an accused person is given an opportunity to rebut the prosecution evidence or share any relevant material with the court.
In response to a question as to why he had been implicated in this case, the PML-N supremo said that rival politicians had levelled allegations against him and the Wajid Zia-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had falsely nominated him in this case.
JIT deliberately avoided recording statement of Qatari prince, former PM says
Addressing Mr Sharif, the judge said that while he was prime minister he was too busy to have oversight of the business of his children, but after the JIT and NAB started investigations, he might have sought details from his sons about their business.
Mr Sharif said that his children were not dependent on him as they were independently running their businesses. He said that his son, Hassan Nawaz, was running a business of sale and purchase of property through different companies.
Mr Sharif said that his late father Mian Mohammad Sharif had looked after his entire family during the period he was forced to live in exile. “And it was my father who set up businesses for my sons to enable them to earn a livelihood.”
The judge remarked that the matter could have been solved had Hussain Nawaz or Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani joined the investigation.
The ex-PM said that since he had never been associated with any of the businesses of his children, he did not rely upon the letter of the Qatari prince in defence.
He said the JIT members “deliberately and dishonestly” avoided recording Al-Thani’s statement since the Qatari prince verified the stance of the Sharif family with regard to the money trail.
“Prince Al-Thani even asked for the questionnaire from the JIT prior to their visit to Doha…it is only after the JIT maliciously refused to accede to his very reasonable request…on contrary [JIT] imposed strict and unreasonable conditions for recording of statement,” Mr Sharif said, adding that the JIT never tried to dispel the impression they had created in the mind of the Qatari prince.
About his employment with Capital FZE, the company owned by his son Hussain, Mr Sharif said that he had been associated with the company only “for the sole purpose of facilitating my travel to and from the United Arab Emirates, initially during the period of my exile”.
The Supreme Court in its July 28 judgement had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding a public office for not declaring un-withdrawn salary from the Capital FZE in his assets’ declaration.
In his testimony, Mr Sharif questioned the legality of the JIT’s requests seeking mutual legal assistance from the UAE and said that it was not admissible evidence as per the law of evidence.
Judge Malik then adjourned the proceedings till Thursday (today).
Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Mr Sharif, assured the judge that his client would complete his testimony on Thursday and then he would continue final arguments in the Al-Azizia reference.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
JIT deliberately avoided recording statement of Qatari prince, former PM Nawaz Sharif says. — File photo
RAWALPINDI: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Wednesday that the opposition did not need to do anything against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government as it would fall under the burden of its own follies.
“The opposition has an option of in-house change, but it will not go for it. It is in the hands of the PTI government to complete its five-year term, but it has failed to deliver,” he replied to a question during a ‘Meet the Press’ programme of the National Press Club, Rawalpindi camp.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had hinted at reshuffling the federal cabinet, but the move would not bring any difference. Mr Khan would sack his ministers just to divert the people’s attention, he added.
Accompanied by former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and former MNA Malik Shakil Awan, the senior PML-N leader said the present government was “not capable of meeting the economic and political challenges as it has come into power through rigged elections”.
Commenting on Imran Khan’s claim that the armed forces supported his party’s manifesto, Mr Abbasi said that the army always backed a government and not the manifesto of a political party.
“The government lacks direction and it has no policy to bring the country out of financial crisis. People are laughing at the prime minister over his government’s performance during its first 100 days,” he said.
He said the PTI did not learn from history and used foul language against its opponents for the past five years.
He said the PTI government was taking political revenge and instituting false cases against the opposition leaders. The prosecution, he said, had failed to establish any case against PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif even after taking him into custody for the past 60 days.
Mr Abbasi said that normally a 10-day remand of a person nominated in a murder or attempted murder case was granted, but the opposition leader had been in NAB custody for 60 days. “No financial allegation was levelled against Nawaz Sharif or Shahbaz Sharif and the PML-N government performed well during its previous term,” he claimed.
In reply to a question, he said the ruling party always sought mid-term elections either to improve its majority or when it wanted a way to avoid challenges.
The former prime minister said the government had ignored parliament as it opened the Kartarpur border without taking it on board. “We are not against the move, but the country’s foreign policy should be discussed in parliament before taking a decision,” he added.
Talking about the Model Town incident, he said the best solution to the issue was to determine the type of weapon used in the incident and identify the persons who fired the shots. Mr Abbasi said the PML-N had left behind better economic conditions as the country’s GDP growth was at 5.8 per cent and foreign exchange reserves were $16.23 billion.
He said the stock index stood at its highest level during the PML-N government, but after that it crashed several times. “We had devised a five-point agenda to take the country to development path and one of them was to bring more people into the tax net,” he added. He said the tax amnesty scheme was introduced to broaden the tax net and it should be implemented. “I think one who does not pay taxes despite having resources is a corrupt person,” he said.
The PML-N leader said the country was passing through the worst financial crisis, but the federal cabinet was presenting a rosy picture, which showed immaturity of the government.
“The LNG import contract was good for the economy and it brought the country out of the energy crisis. I am ready to answer questions about it at any forum,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
Former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says opposition does not have to do anything to harm the PTI government. — File photo
ISLAMABAD: The government claims to have unearthed another scam of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif relating to his private visits abroad at the government’s expense, causing losses running into millions of rupees to the national exchequer.
“Nawaz Sharif has made 25 private foreign trips during his rule from 2013 to 2018 on taxpayers’ money of Rs250 million,” the prime minister’s adviser on accountability, Shahzad Akbar, said at a press conference on Thursday.
Mr Akbar, who is also head of the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), said that of these 25 foreign trips, some were made to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah along with family members and friends. “Although Mr Sharif is a rich man, even then he performed Umrah on taxpayers’ money,” he said.
The adviser also gave details of misuse of official aircraft for private tours by Mr Sharif, saying his one Umrah trip cost Rs35m. Responding to a question, he said the ARU had completed its investigation into the private foreign visits of the former premier and referred it to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a fresh case of misuse of authority.
“Some other cases of misuse of authority are already being investigated against Nawaz Sharif and it will be the fresh one and will be dealt with separately by NAB,” he added.
Mr Akbar claimed that under a recently signed agreement on exchange of information about assets of citizens, the Swiss authorities would provide details of Pakistanis’ assets stashed in Switzerland within the next six weeks. He said the treaty had been pending for the last five years and the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had intentionally ignored it.
The adviser alleged that the PML-N rulers had avoided signing the agreement to save their own skin, otherwise details of their assets in Swiss banks could have been exposed.
He said the government had information that after the Panama Papers leaks most of the Pakistanis had shifted their money and assets from Switzerland to other countries. “As a result, we have sought details of Pakistanis’ assets of the last five years from Swiss authorities.”
In reply to a question, Mr Akbar said that details of Swiss bank accounts were also available with the German authorities and, therefore, the German government was also being contacted to get such details.
He said the government had also prepared a draft protocol to be signed with the British Virgin
Islands (BVI) authorities and expressed the hope that the details of assets of Pakistanis in the United Kingdom would also be shared with the Pakistan government.
“During Panama Papers leaks investigation, we faced disappointment that the British Virgin Islands did not provide us details of assets of Pakistanis, but once the protocol is signed, the required information will also be received from there,” he added.
The prime minister’s adviser said the protocol would be presented in the federal cabinet which was likely to formally approve initiation of negotiations with the British authorities in its next meeting.
He claimed that the ARU was also getting information about another undeclared house of Mr Sharif in London which was in the name of his wife Kalsoom Nawaz.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
Prime Minister's adviser Shahzad Akbar says Nawaz Sarif made multiple private foreign trips trips on taxpayers' money. — File photo
ISLAMABAD: Former PTV chairman Ataul Haq Qasmi on Wednesday alleged that former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb framed him in a corruption case.
In an interview to Samaa TV, he also alleged that Ms Aurangzeb was a liar and was not faithful to her party (PML-N).
Last month, the Supreme Court had declared Mr Qasmi’s appointment illegal and said the perks and privileges awarded to him were not according to law. Moreover, the court also disqualified him from working in government institution in future.
Mr Qasmi claimed that Ms Aurangzeb was not familiar to any journalist and even she was not sincere to any political party. He also claimed that she (Ms Aurangzeb) showed a lot of attitude to him.
He said that the court did not find anything against him due to which a case was made regarding budget of his programme.
He said that he would file an appeal against the court judgement.
While replying to a question, Mr Qasmi said that some elements wanted to trap former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in that case but former information minister Pervaiz Rasheed took the responsibility for it.
Mr Qasmi said he was ready to go to jail if his appeal was rejected by the court. He said that if some elements wanted to send a 70-year-old person to jail they can.
Meanwhile, Ms Aurangzeb, in a statement, said that Mr Qasmi was her elder and she held him in high esteem.
She said that Mr Qasmi had contributed a lot to the promotion of education, literature and culture. She said whatever Mr Qasmi said would be correct and she had no problem with him.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
Former PTV chairman Ataul Haq Qasmi made the allegation during an interview. — File
LAHORE: The Punjab will have a uniform syllabus by March 2020, says provincial minister for school education Murad Raas.
“The syllabus will be ready by August 2019 and books printed by the time the next session starts by March,” he said in the Punjab Assembly. He said a committee had been formed and it’s working on the project and regularly conducting meetings. Experts from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had also been included because eventually the syllabus had to be implemented in the entire country.
“We want to further expand the scope of the committee to have wider opinion. Once the draft of the policy and syllabus is ready, it would be duly shared with the public to have a debate on all contours of it,” Mr Raas assured.
Responding to a question by Naseer Ahmad, the minister explained that the new syllabus would be aimed at promoting “critical thinking and analysis.” “The current syllabus encourages rote learning and not critical faculties. This needs to be addressed.”
When pressed further to explain what “uniform” would mean, the minister said the government planned to start with official schools and madressah (seminaries) and would eventually take the syllabus to the private schools as well.
“All three sources of education (government, private schools and seminaries) would have to have the same system of learning,” he said.
Talking about the Daanish School System, the minister said he could neither defend these schools nor could he wind it up. “Each student in Daanish School is costing Rs18,000 a month compared to Rs1,400 in a government school. How can one defend this kind of dichotomy,” he claimed.
“But they cannot be closed either as students have progressed to a certain level. Closing these schools means ruining their future which the government does not want to do,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
Syllabus will be ready by August 2019 and books printed by the time the next session starts by March, says Murad Raas. — File
KARACHI: The conviction rate in three provincial anti-corruption courts remained zero in the nine months of the current year, as only the fourth one convicted accused persons and that too in only eight corruption-related cases, it emerged on Wednesday.
The collective data obtained by Dawn suggested that the overall conviction rate stood at 14.04pc as the accused persons in 85.96pc cases were acquitted.
Out of the 114 disposed of cases, accused persons were acquitted in 106 cases by the four special provincial anti-graft courts and convicted in eight cases only.
Around 1,425 graft cases were pending trial before the four provincial special anti-corruption courts — one each in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana — till Sept 30.
Karachi’s anti-corruption court disposed of 57 cases — 49 acquittals and eight convictions — from Jan 1 to Sept 30.
The four provincial anti-corruption courts had a backlog of 1,425 pending cases after disposal of 114
The acquittal rate stood at 85.96pc and conviction 14.04pc. The court had a backlog of 106 pending cases.
Hyderabad’s anti-corruption court decided only three cases and acquitted the accused persons in all cases. With a 100pc acquittal rate, the court had the backlog of 761 pending cases.
Sukkur’s anti-corruption court decided 27 cases, wherein all the accused persons were acquitted as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against them.
With a 100pc acquittal rate, the court had a backlog of 477 pending cases.
Similarly, Larkana’s anti-corruption court decided 27 cases and acquitted all the accused persons for lack of evidence against them. Eighty-one cases were pending trial.
The statistics showed that the provincial Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) had received around 2,590 corruption-related applications from Jan 1 to Aug 31. It registered 93 FIRs about corrupt practices in the nine zones across the province in the eight months in addition to 97 old FIRs.
Of the total of 190, 151 FIRs were finalised while the fate of 39 remaining was still not decided, revealed the figures.
The statistics further showed that 1,065 inquiries were initiated in addition to 2,766 old ones. Of the total 3,831, 2,205 inquiries were finalised and 1,629 remained undecided.
The ACE claimed to have detained 46 suspects this year and submitted charge sheets in 1,469 cases (1,356 old and 113 new) before the trial courts.
However, the figures revealed that only 11 absconding suspects were tracked down in the nine months as 523 were still at large.
Low conviction rate
Responding to Dawn’s queries, the additional director (legal) of the ACE Sindh, Rizwan Ahmed Tirmizi, said complainants in most of the trials against the officers/officials of the police and revenue departments of the provincial and local governments were the main reason for the low conviction rate, as the complainants in a majority of cases deviated from their initial statements before the courts.
“We are no longer entertaining applications related to these departments and agencies,” he said, adding that now the ACE Sindh was working on selected cases, particularly those instituted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), that would improve the ratio of conviction.
However, the provincial anti-graft watchdog’s legal head deplored that at times NAB took over the cases in which the ACE had already initiated inquiries. “Around five to six good cases have been taken over by NAB,” said Mr Tirmizi.
Commenting on the conviction rate in the cases prosecuted by the federal anti-graft watchdog, Mr Tirmizi said: “The conviction rate in the cases of the National Accountability Bureau appears to be higher because they even counted the cases of plea bargain as conviction”.
Secondly, he complained that the ACE was short-staffed as it was being manned by 550 officers and officials against the sanctioned strength of over 1,300. He said the vacant posts could not be filled because of a restraining order against fresh appointments issued by the Sindh High Court in 2015.
However, the statistics suggested that the provincial anti-corruption watchdog had failed to show any outstanding performance in the last few years.
Figures of previous years
The ACE had arrested 81 persons in 2017.
A total of 367 FIRs (249 old and 174 new) and 1,274 inquiries (3,123 old and 1,126 new) had been finalised. Charge sheets in 1,579 cases were filed before the anti-corruption courts.
The four courts convicted the accused persons in only 26 and acquitted in 182 cases. By the end of the year, 1,371 cases were pending trial.
It further showed that 66 absconding suspects were tracked down while 504 were still at large.
The ACE had claimed to have arrested 210 accused persons in 2016.
Around 175 FIRs were finalised and charge sheets in 259 cases were submitted before the courts. However, the accused in only 12 cases were convicted and those in 192 cases were acquitted.
Around 1,345 cases were pending trial before the four courts by the end of year while 508 absconders were also at large.
The ACE had claimed to have arrested 122 accused persons in year 2015.
Around 264 FIRs were finalised and charge sheets in 180 cases were submitted before the courts. However, the accused were convicted only in 21 of the cases.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
The four provincial anti-corruption courts had a backlog of 1,425 pending cases after disposal of 114. — File
LAHORE: The special medical board in its initial report has suggested some tests, including CT-Scan, MRI and Echo, besides complete blood tests for former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif to diagnose the exact nature of his ‘disease’.
An official privy to the information told Dawn the board members, including vice chancellor of the Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Prof Aamir Zeman Khan, submitted a report to the NAB through health department on Wednesday after medical examination of Shahbaz Sharif.
The other members of the board included Allama Iqbal Medical College head of oncology Prof Dr Muhammad Akram, FJMU head of radiology Prof Dr Shahzad Karim Khwaja, head of pathology Prof Dr Farrukh Kamal, head of medicine Prof Dr Bilquis Shabbir, head of urology Dr Khizar Gondal and endocrinologist Dr Muhammad Adnan Hashim.
He said that during examination the board got Shahbaz Sharif’s ultrasound conducted after he complained of constant abdominal pain.
The ultrasound report revealed that the former chief minister had undergone a hernia surgery, the official said, adding that the report, however, was silent on the cancer or any other disease.
The medics also noted the disease’s history after Shahbaz Sharif told them about his surgery conducted abroad in the past. He said the medical board in its initial report said the findings were inconclusive and required more tests, including CT Scan, MRI, Echo and complete blood tests, to reach any conclusion.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018
Medical board says the findings of earlier lab results were inconclusive and required more tests. — File
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday produced PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif before an accountability court in Lahore to seek another extension of his remand in connection with the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.
Sharif, who was arrested by the NAB on October 15, has had his remand extended multiple times — the last of which took place on Nov 28. That eight-day extension expires today, following which the corruption watchdog seeks another extension.
In today's hearing, NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua is expected to apprise the court of the investigation's progress and request a further 15-day extension in Sharif's physical remand.
According to NAB, Sharif had abused his powers during his time as the chief minister of Punjab.
Sharif is being represented by Amjad Pervaiz, while the case is being heard by accountability judge Syed Najmul Hasan.
As Shahbaz was produced before the court, a commotion took place outside the courtroom after police denied lawyers entry on the purported orders of Superintendent of Police Iqrar Haider. Contingents of female officers were also posted outside the courtroom as women tried to force their way in. The disturbance did not die down despite Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz's appeals for calm during the hearing.
Meanwhile, several PML-N workers were arrested from outside the court building following clashes with security officials.
PML-N workers clash with police outside the court building; arrests made. — DawnNewsTV
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday assailed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and an income tax official for "slowing down" an investigation and "putting in cold storage" the case of Pakistani citizens holding undisclosed foreign bank accounts and properties abroad.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, while heading a three-member bench of the apex court, initially ordered the issuance of contempt-of-court notices against the two officials, but later rescinded the orders.
"We had made a joint investigation team so that the process could be sped up," the chief justice said, asking the officials to explain what they had done in the past one month since the JIT was formed.
"You have wasted a month-and-a-half of the court's time." Justice Nisar complained. "We had asked for the details of 20 people [who held assets abroad]. The FBR is using delaying tactics."
The FBR chairman told the court: "We have completed the initial investigation; the rest is to be done by field officers."
At this, the chief justice observed that the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) had provided FBR information on the matter but the latter "put it in cold storage."
During the hearing today, the court also suspended Land and Revenue Department member Habibullah, only to retract the orders later upon being asked for mercy.
The chief justice also inquired about the financial details of Aleema Khanum — Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister, who has been identified as benamidar of a property. The top judge asked where the documents on the case were. He was told that the files were in Lahore.
Earlier, a notice was issued to her through email as well as delivered at her home address, but her domestic staff said she was abroad.
"We sent you to Lahore to get them," Justice Nisar said, observing that people had created thousands of properties abroad and the FBR's "sympathies were still with them."
The FBR was directed to present its report on the matter in court on December 13.
"You have wasted a month and a half of the court's time," Justice Nisar tells FBR.
An accountability court in Lahore on Thursday sent PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to Kot Lakhpat jail on judicial remand in connection with the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.
Shahbaz will be produced before the court again on Dec 13.
Shahbaz, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on October 15, has had his remand extended multiple times — the last of which took place on Nov 28.
That eight-day extension expired today, following which he was produced before the court, with the corruption watchdog seeking another extension of his physical remand.
The request for physical remand was, however, turned down by the court.
In today's hearing, Shahbaz's lawyer Amjad Pervez told the court that details of his client's finances from 2011 to 2017 were clearly stated in the records of his tax return. He added that "tax laws did not require citizens to mention details of gifts".
Furthermore, Shahbaz had withdrawn money from his personal account, which is not a crime under Pakistan's law, Pervez said. He argued that there was no evidence of Shahbaz spending more than his income.
"It would have been a crime if [Shahbaz's expenses] had exceeded his tax returns," Pervez said, urging the court to refuse NAB's demand for extension of a physical remand.
Pervez said that Shahbaz was being accused of corruption because he is a politician and a former Punjab chief minister.
NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua apprised the court of the investigation's progress and requested a further 15-day extension in Shahbaz's physical remand. According to NAB, Shahbaz had abused his powers during his time as the chief minister of Punjab.
Accountability judge Syed Najmul Hasan heard the case.
Protests and clashes outside court
As Shahbaz was produced before the court, a commotion took place outside the courtroom after police denied lawyers entry on the purported orders of Superintendent of Police Iqrar Haider. Contingents of female officers were also posted outside the courtroom as women tried to force their way in. The disturbance did not die down despite Shahbaz and Hamza Shahbaz's appeals for calm during the hearing.
Meanwhile, several PML-N workers were arrested from outside the court building following clashes with security officials. Reacting to the arrests, PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed that the party's "peaceful workers had been arrested" and demanded their immediate release.
She said that baton charge on "our peaceful protest is proof of the government's incompetency".
Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan accused PML-N leader Hamza for "masterminding" the clashes outside the court, adding that "the PML-N is on its way towards the policy of collision".
Allegations against Shahbaz
According to a NAB notice sent to the former Punjab chief minister on January 16, 2018, Shahbaz is accused of ordering the cancellation of award of contract of Ashiana-i-Iqbal to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons, and engineering the award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, which resulted in the loss of approximately Rs193 million.
He is also accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company to assign the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to the Lahore Development Authority, resulting in the award of contract to Lahore Casa Developers, causing a loss of Rs715m and the ultimate failure of the project.
NAB has also accused Shahbaz of directing the PLDC to award the consultancy services of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab for Rs 192m while the actual cost was supposed to be Rs35m as quoted by Nespak.
PML-N workers clash with police outside the court building; arrests made. — DawnNewsTV
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati has tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to DawnNewsTV.
"To uphold my moral authority, I sent my resignation to the PM [and told him] that I cannot work under these conditions," Swati said.
"Now I will defend my case without any portfolio or authority."
Swati, a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), is currently fighting a case in the Supreme Court over allegations that he played a role in the transfer of former Islamabad Inspector General of Police Jan Mohammad.
The SC at one point had pondered taking action against Swati under Article 62 of the Constitution before forming a joint investigation team to probe the case.
Details to follow
Azam Swati resigns as the federal minister for science — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the federal cabinet on Thursday, termed it unfortunate that Indian media have Pakistan's positive gesture of opening the Kartarpur border a "political colour".
"Unfortunately the Indian media has given Kartarpur [border opening] a political colour, as if we did this to gain some sort of political mileage [...] This is not true. We did it because it is part of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's manifesto," the prime minister said
"We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists; we should open them up and facilitate the people," he added.
"The Sikh community has responded very positively to the effort [to open the Kartarpur border]. It is to them what Madinah is to us Muslims. We hope that India will also respond positively in return," Prime Minister Khan said.
Foreign policy matters
In reference to Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad's meeting with the prime minister yesterday, the cabinet was told that "Pakistan's role in the region is now being recognised".
"Pakistan has always played an active role to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and it is a matter of great satisfaction that the United States has recognised Islamabad's contribution to this effect," the prime minister was reported as saying.
Touching upon Pakistan's offer to act as mediator in the Yemen conflict, Prime Minister Khan said, "We talked to Saudi Arabia and Iran on the matter, Iran's foreign minister gave us the go-ahead to try and see what could be done. We will try our best in this regard as well."
The prime minister also came to his ministers' defence, saying that: "The finance ministry, planning and commerce ministries should be lauded for the efforts they have made under great pressure."
The prime minister added that despite difficulties and challenges, various multinational companies have pledged to invest in Pakistan.
"Let me name a few of the companies that are planning to invest here. Suzuki's chairman promised an investment worth $450 million, The Coca-Cola Company will invest $500m and PepsiCo will invest $400m," the prime minister said.
"Exxon — which is the largest gas drilling company in the world — has come back to Pakistan after 27 years. They are immediately investing $200m in the country and they are saying that by next summer, they expect to know exactly how many off-shore gas reserves we have," he added.
"We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists, we should open them up and facilitate the people." — DawnNewsTV