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    LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: The dense fog that has blanketed several parts of Punjab for the past few days is unlikely to continue beyond Sunday as an approaching westerly wave is expected to cause rain, as well as snowfall at scattered places, across the country over the next three days.

    Fog may, however, return with more intensity in the latter part of next week, a weatherman said.

    The northern parts of Pakistan are expected to receive above-normal rainfall during the current winter season due to weak El Nino conditions, according to a forecast by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. El Nino involves fluctuating ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific that influence the weather all over the world.

    According to the Pakistan Met Office, a westerly wave, which is likely to approach western Pakistan on Sunday, may grip upper and central parts of the country on Monday. Under the influence of this weather system, rain (with snowfall over the hills) has been forecast in Malakand, Hazara, Mardan, Peshawar, Kohat, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, D.G. Khan, Quetta and Zhob divisions, besides Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, while the same weather has been forecast for isolated places in Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Multan, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, Sukkur, Karachi and Makran divisions from Sunday evening till Tuesday.

    Visibility drops to 20 metres in Kasur, Faisalabad

    Snowfall over the hills is also expected in Malakand division (Swat, Chitral, Kalam, Malamjabba, upper Dir), Hazara division, Murree and Galliyat, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan on Monday and Tuesday.

    The Met Office reported thick fog on Saturday at some places in the plains of Punjab, with the most affected being Kasur and Faisalabad where visibility dropped to 20 metres. Visibility was 50 metres in Narowal, 200 metres in Layyah and Gujranwala, 500 metres in Toba Tek Singh, 600 meters in Lahore and Multan, 700 metres in Dera Ghazi Khan and 800 metres in Sialkot.

    The minimum temperature in Skardu was minus 8 degrees Celsius, in Astore, Hunza and Gupis -4°C, Kalam -2°C, Bagrote and Dir -1°C, while it was 1°C in Quetta, 4°C in Islamabad, 5°C in Peshawar, 2°C in Murree, 6.2°C in Lahore and 16°C in Karachi.

    Rainy winter

    The ‘Asia-Pacific Impact Outlook’ for December 2018 to February 2019 issued by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on Friday says that considering the warm ocean conditions prevailing in the Pacific, there is consensus that weak El Nino conditions are likely to develop and continue through the winter season.

    The outlook forecast that above-normal rainfall is likely during the winter season till February 2019 over some areas of northern parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and some areas of north Myanmar. Normal to above-normal temperatures is likely to prevail over most parts of the region.

    The forecast recommended that countries that are at risk from significant climate deviations during the next few months should assess local risk due to El Nino and other factors. Local assessment is important because the El Nino can affect locations and sectors differently. The prevailing climate and socio-economic conditions, which can also vary dramatically across locations, could either lessen or amplify the impacts, it says.

    According to Pakistan Meteorological Department, the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan are already facing moderate to severe droughts based on the satellite and observation data analysis. Currently, 19 districts of Sindh and 11 districts of Balochistan are facing moderate to severe droughts. Below normal rainfall was recorded over most of the southern parts of the country as predicted by the Met department. Major rainfall deficit was experienced over Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan from June to November 2018. The rainfall deficit of 71.9 per cent was experienced in Sindh, 46.9 per cent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 44.2 per cent in Balochistan.

    Currently Tarbela and Mangla dams are half-filled, which is lowest in the last nine years, according to the PMD.

    Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018


    Fog may return with more intensity in the latter part of next week. — FileFog may return with more intensity in the latter part of next week. — File

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    LAHORE: The PML-N has demanded the government provide it a copy of party president Shahbaz Sharif’s medical report.

    A special medical board in Lahore on Tuesday had examined Mr Sharif to ascertain the “exact nature of his ailment”.

    “Four days have passed since Shahbaz Sharif’s medical examination was conducted by a special board constituted by the Punjab government, but it is not providing us the report,” Attaullah Tarar, a spokesperson for Shahbaz Sharif, said in a statement issued here on Saturday.

    He said the PML-N failed to understand why the government was not sharing Sharif’s medical report. “We want to know the findings of the medical board, so that Mr Sharif’s treatment can begin in the light of those findings,” he said, adding that the government should also explain the reasons for not sharing the report with the Sharif family and the PML-N.

    The board comprising Fatima Jinnah Medical University (FJMU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Amir Zaman Khan, Allama Iqbal Medical College head of oncology Prof Dr Muhammad Akram, FJMU head of radiology department Prof Dr Shahzad Karim Khwaja, FJMU head of pathology Prof Dr Farrukh Kamal, FJMU head of medicine Prof Dr Bilquis Shabbir, FJMU head of urology Dr Khizar Gondal and FJMU endocrinologist Dr Muhammad Adnan Hashim had examined Mr Sharif.

    According to earlier tests conducted in Islamabad, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif is suffering from a kidney infection, has a lymph node in his chest and there are chances of recurrence of cancer. The CT scan report of Mr Sharif showed a number of problems and his medical fitness certificate suggests adding more doctors, including an oncologist and a urologist, to the medical board examining his health.

    In the light of his early medical reports, the NAB has shifted Mr Sharif to a ventilated room in the NAB Lahore building.

    Shahbaz has been in NAB’s custody since Oct 5 in the Ashiana scam.

    Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018


    “Four days have passed since Shahbaz Sharif’s medical examination was conducted by a special board constituted by the Punjab government, but it is not providing us the report,” says Attaullah Tarar.“Four days have passed since Shahbaz Sharif’s medical examination was conducted by a special board constituted by the Punjab government, but it is not providing us the report,” says Attaullah Tarar.

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    International public policy and gender reforms specialist Salman Sufi announced on Sunday that he has been chosen as an inaugural member of the international Vital Voices Solidarity Council (VVSC).

    The VVSC "is a unique endeavour bringing together men who are allies in the fight to raise global awareness on behalf of women and girls around the world."

    The VVSC seeks to focus on "human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual violence and harmful practices, and engaging boys and men in meaningful conversations about masculinity."

    Additionally, the council seeks to identify and nominate men to receive the annual Solidarity Award which will be presented in New York City on International Human Rights Day.

    Sufi, the former director general of the Punjab Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit and a former member of the Special Monitoring Unit (SMU), tweeted the news, saying that he was honoured to have been chosen as one of 12 men from around the world who will work to end violence against women.

    "In the conservative Pakistani society, women experience the world differently," Sufi was quoted as saying on the VVSC website.

    Sufi is responsible for the establishment of a survivor service model which has gained international attention – the Violence Against Women Centres (VAWC) — as a part of the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act.

    The VAWCs offer first aid, medical and forensic assistance, police reporting and investigation, legal aid and post-trauma rehabilitation. According to Sufi, the VAWC must be seen as "a statement from Pakistan to its women that violence is no longer acceptable".

    "Our women’s lives shall no longer be outlined by the atrocities committed against them, but through their achievements as empowered and equal citizens of Pakistan," he had said.


    Salman Sufi, an international public policy and gender reforms specialist, acknowledges that women experience the world differently in Pakistani society. ─ File photoSalman Sufi, an international public policy and gender reforms specialist, acknowledges that women experience the world differently in Pakistani society. ─ File photo

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    President Arif Alvi in a message on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday called upon all citizens to contribute towards eliminating corruption and paving the way for economic growth and prosperity.

    Alvi recalled that International Anti-Corruption Day was observed due to the 2003 ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption which sought to raise public awareness about financial crimes.

    "This day serves as a reminder not only to the people of Pakistan but also to the citizens of all nations around the globe about the harmful effects of corruption," he explained.

    Describing corruption as "a major hindrance against development and prosperity", the president said that it hurt business and the economy, which "in turn sabotages the prosperity of the nation".

    "Corrupted economies remain unable to function properly because corruption prevents free functioning of the natural laws of the economy. As a result, corruption in a nation's political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer," he added.

    Billions of rupees in public funds are lost annually to corruption, directly affecting "the ability of the government to provide even proper basic services to the public", the president said.

    "NAB being the apex anti-corruption agency of Pakistan has been mandated to keep this menace in check as well as to create awareness among the public at large about corruption," Alvi said, noting that the "sheer scale of this challenge calls for combined efforts to confront it head on".

    Although the government is committed to eradicating this menace, he said, NAB alone cannot win this fight.

    He called upon and urged all segments of society to unite in bringing out changes in attitude and contribute towards efforts in putting an end to corruption to support economic growth in order to bring prosperity.

    More details to follow.


    President Arif Alvi calls upon citizens to play their part in the fight against corruption, saying that NAB alone cannot win this fight. ─ DawnNewsTVPresident Arif Alvi calls upon citizens to play their part in the fight against corruption, saying that NAB alone cannot win this fight. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    KARACHI: An hours-long sit-in on the Superhighway (now known as Motorway-9) by workers, contractors and allottees of the Bahria Town housing project on Saturday, also joined by certain lawmakers, caused immense inconvenience to road users who remained stuck in a traffic jam for a considerable time, officials and witnesses said.

    Two police officers were suspended for dereliction of duty and the police announced registration of a case against the protesters after higher authorities took notice of it.

    The protest sit-in by “victims of Bahria Town” took place despite a recent decision of the police authorities that no main roads and highways would be allowed to be blocked. Officials and witnesses said that scores of people, including women, started their protest from Defence Housing Authority and for a while they protested on Sharea Faisal before moving towards the Superhighway.

    “[Thousands of] people, including women, staged sit-ins at different places on the highway from around 10am to 4pm,” officials said. As a result, smooth passage of traffic on both tracks “suffered badly”.

    Officials said that most of the protesters were workers, contractors and allottees of Bahria Town, but certain lawmakers and political leaders belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the PPP also joined their protest.

    The police officials said that the security in-charge of Bahria Town was also among the leaders of the protesters.

    Initially, the protesters staged a sit-in outside Bahria Town but later on they staged another sit-in at Kathore, adding to the traffic mess. The traffic coming from Hyderabad was diverted to the link road leading to the National Highway from Gulshan-i-Hadeed.

    Similarly, the traffic going from Karachi to Hyderabad was diverted towards the Northern Bypass from where motorists travelled to Quaidabad-Gulshan-i-Hadeed towards the link road on their onward journey to Hyderabad.

    At around 4pm, the protest ended.

    Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018


    The sit-in was staged by allottees of the Bahira Town housing project. — APP/FileThe sit-in was staged by allottees of the Bahira Town housing project. — APP/File

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    Two Chinese nationals were arrested by police after a raid at an illegal alcohol factory in Islamabad's sector F-10/4 area, a police spokesperson said on Sunday.

    Large quantities of beer of various brands, as well as machinery to brew the alcohol were recovered from the house where the manufacturing unit had been established.

    The two suspects were producing as well as selling alcohol of various brands, the police spokesperson told DawnNewsTV. They were arrested after they failed to present a licence or permit to run the brewery.

    A first information report (FIR) was registered against the duo under Section 3/4 of Prohibition (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979 at the Shalimar police station.

    Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Waqaruddin Syed congratulated the police team that carried out the raid on Saturday over their performance.

    He directed all officers to continue the crackdown against drug peddlers and added that such individuals, who are set on disrupting the peace in society, should not be dealt with leniently.


    Large quantities of beer of various brands, as well as machinery to brew the alcohol were recovered from the house where the manufacturing unit had been established. — Photo courtesy of Islamabad PoliceLarge quantities of beer of various brands, as well as machinery to brew the alcohol were recovered from the house where the manufacturing unit had been established. — Photo courtesy of Islamabad Police

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    In an interesting turn of events on Saturday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry offered to voluntarily step down from his post in favour of Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid after the latter was 'overheard' claiming that Prime Minister Imran Khan had discussed a portfolio "reshuffle" with him.

    Sheikh Rashid’s ‘controversial’ comments were aired by a section of private media channels. Seemingly unconscious of an open mic, he was talking to a person before the start of a press conference in Lahore when he made the remark.

    During the ‘off-camera’ discussion, the railways minister claimed that the prime minister had called him four times to deliberate on the matter. Moreover, criticising Chaudhry's recent trip to the United Kingdom, Rashid reportedly said that the minister was having a “picnic in London”.

    As soon as news about these comments started making rounds on social media, Chaudhry took to Twitter saying he will be “more than happy to vacate [his] position for Sheikh Rasheed and serve as MNA”.

    “We all use trust [and] powers bestowed by [the] people of Pakistan, and [the] PM decides who is best fit in the role,” the information minister said. He, however, made it clear that until he is a minister he will "not bow to blackmailing of advertisement lobby”.

    Later in the day, Rashid appeared on a private media channel and tried to issue a ‘clarification’ about his earlier remarks, saying Chaudhry was like a younger brother to him.

    “I have no intention to take over the information ministry. Even if the premier offers me the portfolio I will politely refuse,” Rashid said while talking to ARY News.

    It is pertinent to mention that the prime minister has reportedly summoned a meeting of the federal cabinet on Monday to review the performance of federal ministers on an individual level.


    Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid claims the prime minister called him four times to deliberate on Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid claims the prime minister called him four times to deliberate on "a proposed portfolio reshuffle". —Dawn Archives

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    The National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) Rawalpindi office on Sunday sent a notice to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, asking the father-son duo to appear before the bureau on December 13.

    According to NAB spokesperson Nawazish Ali Asim, the notice has been sent in pursuance of a case regarding Park Lane Estates (Pvt) Limited, a Karachi-based real estate firm.

    PPP leader Farhatullah Babar told DawnNewsTV that Bilawal's name is among the shareholders of the company.

    The PPP leader said that the party chief has begun consultations with his legal team upon receiving the notice.

    "A team of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto's lawyers will appear before NAB Rawalpindi on Dec 13," said Bilawal's spokesman, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, in a statement issued later.

    It wasn't immediately clear if Zardari plans on appearing before NAB or he too will send a legal team.

    Terming the notice sent to the PPP chairman as "ludicrous", Senator Khokhar said: "Bilawal Bhutto is being questioned regarding matters from a time period when he was merely a year old."

    "These are simply tactics employed by NAB for political revenge and to instil fear in the opposition," the spokesman alleged.

    Pointing the finger at Imran Khan, the PPP leader alleged that the "selected prime minister" wants the playing field to be left empty for him whereas he should have the courage to face criticism and opposition "now that he is in power".

    According to a report by The Express Tribune, the executive board of NAB on May 23 had approved an investigation against Capital Development Authority officials for allegedly allotting land belonging to Punjab Forest Department to Park Lane Estates (Pvt) Limited.

    The firm was previously owned by Zardari, Bilawal and a few others, the publication reported.

    Zardari will be questioned by NAB regarding his source of income when he established the company and Bilawal will be asked to provide details of funds used to obtain shares in the company, the bureau's spokesperson revealed.

    Bilawal was previously served two notices by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe alleged laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts in connivance with bankers and others to several suspected beneficiaries, including former president Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.

    The JIT had sought Bilawal's bank account details for which questionnaires had been sent to him.


    PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. — DawnNewsTV/FilePPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. — DawnNewsTV/File

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    Police on Sunday launched an investigation into a blast that occurred during a Milad gathering organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) at a residential complex in Block-17 of Karachi's Gulistan-i-Jauhar area the previous night.

    Eight people, including a woman and a minor boy, sustained injuries in the incident. The condition of two of them was stated to be serious.

    A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, told Dawn that police suspected "internal rifts" between different factions of the MQM to be a possible motive behind the attack.

    The officer said the incident had assumed significance on account of two reasons: First, the party’s senior leadership was present at the event; second, the explosion occurred a day ahead of the party’s ‘martyrs’ day’.

    300 grams explosives used

    A team of Bomb Disposal Unit of the police’s Special Branch examined the crime scene and submitted their report.

    Quoting the bomb experts' report, SSP East Azfar Mahesar said a bomb weighing 250 to 300 grams exploded outside the tent where the gathering was taking place, near City Bakery.

    Investigators collected "plastic body pieces, pieces of rock, swabs and sand" from the site of the blast.

    DIG East Amir Farooqi told Dawn that they understood it to be a 'cracker blast' as the bomb did not contain ball bearings, nuts, bolts, etc.

    Additionally, it was most probably thrown by bike-riding suspects near the tent.

    The senior officer said although the incident took place at night, investigators were trying to obtain CCTV footage from the area to help identify the suspects.

    'Different angles'

    Inspector General of Police Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam on Sunday visited the crime scene in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, where DIG Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Abdullah Shaikh and DIG East Amir Farooqi briefed him about the incident.

    Later talking to reports, the Sindh police chief said the police were investigating the blast from different angles. Firstly, the blast could have been an outcome of "internal issues", he said.

    Secondly, it may have been a move to create fear and chaos in the area. And lastly, he said, there were "a number of groups" in the city who may have wanted to spoil the peaceful atmosphere in the metropolis.

    "No angle can be ruled out at this stage," he stressed.

    The IGP added that the investigators have "some leads" on the incident and they were working on them.

    Meanwhile, Sharea Faisal Station House Officer Safdar Mashwani said the eight persons who were injured in the blast had been shifted to different hospitals for treatment.

    They were identified as Shaharyar, 25; Faizan, 32; Babar, 40; Azhar, 32; Samina Khatoon, 49; Shan Azeem, 7; Hassan and Shahzad.

    An MQM-P spokesperson said Shaharyar, who was critically injured, is a member of their party's media wing.

    Two of the injured, Faizan and Shahzad, were brought to the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre and they were discharged after being administered first aid, according to Dr Seemin Jamali, the hospital's executive director.

    The duo had sustained wounds on their knees, hands and backs, Dr Jamali added.

    ‘No permission’

    SSP Mahesar said the Milad gathering had been organised by a person named Adnan but without seeking "any permission" and the local police had not been informed about it in advance.

    However, MQM-P leader Iqbal Mohammed Ali told reporters that they had submitted an application to the deputy commissioner East for holding the event.


    People are seen at the site of the blast in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area on Saturday night. — DawnNewsTVPeople are seen at the site of the blast in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area on Saturday night. — DawnNewsTV

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    With an increase in the quota of Haj pilgrims by 5,000, over 184,210 Pakistanis will perform Haj in 2019, said the spokesman of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.

    The Haj agreement for 2019 to this effect was inked by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri and his Saudi counterpart signed the agreement in Saudi Arabia on behalf of their respective countries.

    This year, 179,210 Pakistans had performed Haj.

    A Pakistani delegation led by the religious affairs minister is currently in Saudi Arabia in connection with arrangements for next year's Haj.

    The ministry's spokesman said that Saudi Arabia has agreed to consider a further increase in Pakistan's quota for pilgrims in view of the census results.

    He added that Pakistanis will be granted e-visas.

    It was also decided to include Pakistanis into the Kingdom's "Road to Makkah" project under which all immigration requirements are fulfilled at the airport of origin. Initially, 35,000 pilgrims from Sindh will benefit from the project with their immigration and other formalities completed at the Karachi airport.

    Saudi officials told the Pakistani delegation that the decision regarding waiver of 2,000 riyals additional fee on those performing Umrah multiple times within two years will be taken after seeking the consent of King Salman.

    The spokesman revealed that most of the pilgrims will be provided accommodation at old Mina. The Haj package will likely remain between Rs340,000 and Rs350,000.

    He said that the ministry was weighing various options including decreasing the quota for Haj Group Organisers (HGOs). The arrangement of nearby places of accommodation, improvement in transport facilities, and better food for pilgrims was also under consideration, he said.

    The ministry has already held six consultative workshops in major cities for getting stakeholders' recommendations. In the workshops, pilgrims who performed Haj this year had shared their experiences and recommended improvements in Haj arrangements.

    The spokesman said that the ministry would finalise the Haj Policy 2019 by incorporating feedback from the general public, Haj organisers, banks, airline representatives, master trainers, and representatives of other departments.


    Pilgrims sit and circumambulate around the Kaaba ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Makkah. —AFPPilgrims sit and circumambulate around the Kaaba ahead of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Makkah. —AFP

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    KARACHI: Local manufacturers have stopped production of life-saving medicines, including those for the treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, different neurological disorders, various types of cancers and skin ailments, after their production cost surpassed their retail price.

    The manufacturers have warned the government of an extreme crisis involving various medicines, including life-saving drugs, if prices are not increased by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) as per its own recommendations; pharmaceutical companies are unable to continue producing the drugs at present rates after 40 per cent devaluation of the rupee and increase in fuel prices.

    According to the chairman of the Pakistan Phar­ma­ceutical Manufa­cturers Association (PPMA), Zahid Saeed, only 500 companies are actually producing medicines against 800 licence-holders.

    He told a press conference that drug manufacturers were slowly closing down their industrial units due to unbearable production cost.

    Manufacturers warn of shortage if drug prices are not increased

    The PPMA chairman informed the media in detail about the association’s struggle and the process initiated by it for rationalisation of drug prices after devaluation of the rupee and the proceedings in the Supreme Court. The apex court, after months of hearing, directed DRAP and the government on Nov 14 to notify new prices of medicines within 15 days. “However, no step was taken by the government in this regard,” he added.

    “Similarly, the Policy Board of DRAP was also directed by the SC to review prices of life-saving medicines in view of devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar within 15 days, but unfortunately no step was initiated by DRAP and the government,” he said.

    He said 90 per cent of raw material for production of drugs as well as packaging material was imported and after the rupee’s devaluation it was impossible for drug manufacturers to continue producing medicines at the current retail prices.

    Mr Saeed said closure of industries would lead to costlier drug imports.

    He urged DRAP and the federal government to review drug prices immediately and notify new rates they have presented before the SC. “Otherwise, the manufacturers would be compelled to increase medicine prices on our own as per DRAP’s formula and list given to the apex court,” he added.

    “We are also planning to initiate contempt of court proceedings against DRAP for refusing to comply with SC’s directives. In this regard, we will follow the legal course of action against the drug regulator,” he warned.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    Manufacturers warn of shortage if drug prices are not increased. — File photoManufacturers warn of shortage if drug prices are not increased. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday took suo motu notice of the murder of a woman and her daughter in Jahanian and sought its report from Punjab Inspector General of Police Amjad Javed Saleemi within three days.

    The CJP had taken notice on a footage that went viral on social media showing that two women were murdered by their opponents when they (mother and daughter) were returning after attending court proceedings.

    Taking notice of the issue, the CJP has directed the IGP to submit a report within three days.

    Meanwhile, the IGP constituted a team led by Khanewal District Police Officer Rana Muhammad Masoom to arrest the suspects involved in double murder outside court.

    Taj Begum and her daughter Asma went to the sessions court to record their statements when two motorcyclists (their opponents) opened fire on them. Both the women suffered critical wounds and died on way to hospital.

    The IGP said they had constituted teams to arrest the suspects.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar takes notice of viral social media video showing two women murdered by their opponents when they were returning after attending court proceedings. ─ DawnNewsTVChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar takes notice of viral social media video showing two women murdered by their opponents when they were returning after attending court proceedings. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has said that without eliminating corruption and ensuring good governance people could not be facilitated and the provincial government is taking concrete steps to end the scourge of corruption from the province.

    He expressed these views on the World Anti-Corruption Day which was observed in the province on Sunday.

    Mr Alyani said that the Balochistan government had made Anti-Corruption Department and the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team functional to keep strict monitoring of the corrupt elements in the provincial government departments.

    “We didn’t achieve major goals of the provincial development due to corruption.

    “Unfortunately the menace of corruption has enveloped our society and lack of administration in all government departments has emboldened corrupt practices in the province,” he said. The chief minister appealed to the people to help the government purge the corrupt elements from society.

    He urged media and influential members of society to play their role against the menace of corruption.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    “We didn’t achieve major goals of the provincial development due to corruption,“We didn’t achieve major goals of the provincial development due to corruption," says Balochistan CM Jam Kamal Alyani. — File photo

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    KARACHI: The Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh on Saturday granted a “last chance” to a Chinese sanitation company working in Karachi to make its command and control system functional within three weeks.

    The commission, headed by retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, observed that it had passed an order on Oct 30, warning the Chinese firm tasked with the disposal of garbage in South and East districts that not even a single penny would be paid to it if it failed to install its command and control system within 15 days.

    On Nov 7, the contractor and the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) informed the commission that both sides had agreed to outsource the command and control system and it would be made functional within 15 days as per a promise made on Oct 30.

    Judicial commission asks govt to notify Jamshoro DC as administrator of town committee

    However, the lawyer for the Chinese contractor submitted that they had taken all possible steps to make the system functional, but still they needed more time and sought three weeks.

    Justice Muslim said: “As a last chance, time is extended for another three weeks. No further time shall be granted in the case. If the contractor fails to make the command and control system functional, no amount shall be released.”

    However, the commission added that funds for the bills for August would be released forthwith and for September in the next week.

    Jamshoro DC to act as administrator

    The commission on Saturday directed the provincial government to immediately issue a notification empowering the deputy commissioner of Jamshoro as the administrator of the town committee as the Anti-Corruption Establi­shment (ACE) was conducting an inquiry against its chairman.

    There were complaints against chairman of the town committee Faisal Khan and the local government secretary had conducted an inquiry against him and placed the report before the commission in August.

    On the basis of the inquiry report, the commission had directed the ACE to hold an inquiry against the chairman and in the intervening period the financial powers of the chairman was withdrawn through a notification issued on Sept 9.

    However, the Jamshoro DC informed the commission through letters that the chairman had tried to tamper with the evidence to defeat the proceedings.

    When confronted, the chairman admitted that he took home the official laptop which contained official record. He also conceded that purchases were made by him amounting to more than Rs10 million without calling council sessions.

    Therefore, the local government secretary suggested that as per Section 74 of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, the DC may be assigned the powers of administrator of the town committee.

    The commission directed the government to notify the DC as the administrator of the town committee so that the proposed inquiry should not be influenced either by the chairman or any elected member of the council.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    The SC-mandated water and sanitation commission had warned the Chinese firm that it would not be paid if it failed to install its system. ─ File photoThe SC-mandated water and sanitation commission had warned the Chinese firm that it would not be paid if it failed to install its system. ─ File photo

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    LAHORE: PML-N MNA Khwaja Saad Rafiq alleges that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is using drugs and torture as tools for extracting ‘favourable’ statements from the people arrested in the Paragon Housing Society scam.

    “Qaiser Amin Butt is a hapless person suffering from health issues and has somehow fallen in the hands of the NAB. He’s being drugged to extract statements from him that could favour the NAB case against me,” Mr Rafiq said in a media talk here on Sunday.

    Being named as a ‘beneficial owner’ of the scheme, he alleged that the NAB was also using torture as a tool to make Butt and others in custody turn approver against him (Rafiq). He said the NAB officials investigating his case had personal grudges against him thus expecting a fair trial from them was impossible.

    The MNA from Lahore had claimed a day ago that a magistrate before whom Butt did not give statement against him was transferred and then in the presence of the NAB officials a statement of its (NAB’s) choice was extracted from Butt in violation of the Lahore High Court orders.

    The PML-N leader said he and his family had faced a tough time in the past for “speaking their mind”. But, he said, the harsh measures would fail to silence him.

    Responding to a query, he said PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif’s silence must not be taken as part of any ‘deal’ and insisted that “silence also conveys a message”.

    Talking about the PTI government, the former federal minister said “inept” and “incompetent” people had been imposed on the country.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    PML-N MNA Saad Rafiq alleges NAB is using drugs and torture as tools for extracting 'favourable' statements from people arrested in Paragon Housing Society scam. ─ File photoPML-N MNA Saad Rafiq alleges NAB is using drugs and torture as tools for extracting 'favourable' statements from people arrested in Paragon Housing Society scam. ─ File photo

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    GILGIT: Members from both treasury and opposition benches in the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Assembly have strongly reacted to Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan’s arguments in the Supreme Court that at present the government cannot give GB the status of a province.

    During the hearing of a case related to GB’s constitutional status on Friday, the AG informed a seven-member SC bench that GB could not be made a separate province.

    The issue was taken up during a session of the GB Assembly on Saturday by opposition leader retired Captain Mohammad Shafi Khan who said that if GB was a disputed territory then its disputed status should be accepted. He said all constitutional institutions working in the region, including the National Accountability Bureau, should be abolished.

    Mr Khan demanded that the state subject rule should be restored in the region, saying that if the state subject rule was enforced in India-held Kash­mir and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), why it was not intact in GB.

    The GB lawmakers held the Kashmiri leadership responsible for influencing the federal government for expressing such views about the status of GB.

    Javed Hussain of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that according to the United Nations’ resolutions India-held Kashmir, AJK and GB are disputed territories. But, he added, the GB people had not been granted those political rights which were enjoyed by the people of other two territories.

    He said the chief judge of the AJK supreme court could not be appointed from outside.

    Terming the treatment with the GB people discriminatory, Mr Hussain said that they had not been asked before plans were made for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or Diamer-Bhasha dam in the region.

    He claimed that the GB people opposed the GB Order 2018, saying that it was not protected by the Constitution of Pakistan.

    Independent member Kacho Imtiaz Haider claimed that the feeling of alienation among the youth of GB was increasing.

    Sikandar Ali of Islami Tehreek Pakistan alleged that the Kashmir leadership had always opposed granting of rights to GB people.

    PPP member Imran Nadeem Shigri said while separatist movements were active across the world the GB people had always struggled for Pakistan.

    Opposition member Bibi Salima said that the GB people had no other option, but staging a sit-in protest outside Parliament House in Islamabad for their rights.

    GB Law Minister Aurangzeb Khan claimed that a committee formed by the federal government under federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur to recommend political status of GB was trying to roll back powers granted to GB people by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

    Aurangzeb Khan, who is a member of the committee, claimed that in its last meeting held in Islamabad, it was informed that the Kashmiri leadership had been opposing granting of the status of a province to GB. The committee proposed amendments in the GB Order 2018, such as restoration of GB council powers, he said, adding that GB council powers had been shifted to GB Assembly by the PML-N government.

    GB Minister for Works Department Dr Muhammad Iqbal criticised the Kashmiri leadership for what he called its opposition to GB’s provincial status.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    GB lawmakers hold AJK leadership responsible for influencing federal government. — File photoGB lawmakers hold AJK leadership responsible for influencing federal government. — File photo

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    LAHORE: The PML-N has questioned exempting Banigala encroachments from the clean-up operation while demolishing structures of the poor in the anti-encroachment drive.

    “Small shops and kiosks of poor people are being removed daily in the so-called anti-encroachment operation but the authorities seem reluctant when comes the question of large structures of the rich and the influential such as Banigala (where Prime Minister Imran Khan also owns a large estate),” Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz said at a corner meeting for by-polls in PP-168 here on Sunday.

    Pointing at ‘double standards’ in the accountability process too, he said the prime minister talked of arresting 50 people in corruption cases but was not answering the people’s question that how his sister Aleema Khan amassed properties worth billions of rupees abroad.

    He said the accountability agency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa set up by the PTI itself had been closed after incurring expenses worth millions of rupees without achieving any results. He said the PTI leaders would criticise other parties’ governments for not allocating sufficient funds for health and education sectors but the health sector of KP was also in a poor state despite five-year rule of the PTI in the province. The chief justice of Pakistan himself had expressed his displeasure on it, he added.

    Reiterating the PML-N claim that its mandate was stolen in the July 25 elections, Hamza said they had decided to join the elected houses with a heavy heart only for the cause of democracy. He said the PTI lost with a margin of over 10,000 votes in the by-polls for the National Assembly constituency in Lahore (NA-131) from where Imran Khan had won with a thin lead in the general election.

    He asked the party workers to remain vigilant in the Dec 13 contest for PP-168.

    Recalling that the PTI had been ridiculing Lahore’s metro bus as “Jangla bus”, the PML-N leader said the ruling party itself initiated a similar mass transport project in Peshawar but could not accomplish it despite incurring more than double the cost at which the Lahore Metro had been completed.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz points at 'double standards' in accountability process. ─ File photoLeader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz points at 'double standards' in accountability process. ─ File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The civil society organisations have demanded of the government to take effective steps to promote girl education and discourage child marriages in the province.

    A joint statement of various organisations issued here on Sunday in connection with International Human Rights Day said that according to Unicef report 21 per cent of girls in the country got married before reaching the age of 18.

    The organisations including Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, Peace Justice and Youth Organisation, Provincial Alliance to End Early Child and Forced Marriages, Blue Veins, National Action Coordination Group and Partners for Prevention and Response (P4pR) said that civil society and government should work jointly for rights of the vulnerable segments of the society.

    The statement also quoted a report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), saying the age of 74 per cent of the married girls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was less than 16 years.

    “Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects,” said Qamar Naseem, the programme coordinator of Blue Veins.

    Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network coordinator Taimur Kamal said that by permitting child marriage, the government was responsible for serious harms suffered by the girls. He said that it required a comprehensive response to stop child marriage. “Having a law that sets a uniform, internationally recognised minimum marriage age of 18 for both boys and girls, is an important aspect,” he said.

    District Commission on Status of Women chairperson Shaheen Qureshi said that complications of pregnancy and childbirth were leading causes of death in young women. She said that girls, who married later and delayed pregnancy beyond their adolescence, had more chances to stay healthier and educate and build a better life for themselves and their families.

    “To achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), immediate action must be taken to improve access to education and end child marriage,” said the statement.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    By permitting child marriage, the government was responsible for serious harms suffered by the girls, say civil society activists.By permitting child marriage, the government was responsible for serious harms suffered by the girls, say civil society activists.

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    QUETTA: The Baloch­istan government has expressed concern over the dismal share of the province in development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying that during the last five years only two projects — ­­Gwadar port and Hubco coal-based power plant — have been approved for the province.

    Even these two projects did not directly benefit the people of Balochistan, a spokesman for the Balochistan government said on Sunday.

    The spokesman said that Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani had been making efforts to obtain due share of the province in the CPEC-related projects. He said that an important meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of the CPEC was expected to be held in China during the current month in which the CM and federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar were expected to participate.

    “The chief minister has expressed his desire that major share of Balochistan must be ensured in the projects to be approved in the JCC meeting,” he said.

    He expressed the hope that the Planning Commission would not ignore the desire of the province and would not repeat mistakes made in the past. He said the Balo­ch­istan government would observe the Planning Com­mission’s proceedings in connection with the JCC meeting.

    The spokesman said that the provincial government would make final decision about attending the JCC meeting after observing the attitude of the Planning Commission and receiving the JCC meeting agenda.

    He said that the provincial government had voiced serious concern over denying Balochistan its due share in CPEC-related projects at a meeting held here a few days ago to review the pace of work on the projects in the province. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Alyani.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    Provincial government says only only two projects have been approved for Balochistan in past five years. — File photoProvincial government says only only two projects have been approved for Balochistan in past five years. — File photo

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    KARACHI: Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho will launch the last polio campaign of the current year at Hilal-i-Ahmer near Teen Talwar on Monday.

    Officials in the emergency operation centre (EOC) for polio in Sindh said the province was set to report its lowest case count of polio in a single year “but efforts must continue”.

    They said the EOC would launch the last polio campaign of 2018 in all districts of Sindh which would continue for a whole week in Karachi while in the rest of Sindh it would last for four days.

    Official figures show approximately 8.9 million children aged five or less would be targeted during the campaign. Some 2.3m of the children reside in Karachi. More than 50,000 front line workers will take part in the campaign.

    In Karachi, there are more than 9,000 health workers supported by 2,300 plus area in charges will be part of the effort.

    They will be given security cover by around 5,000 law enforcement agency personnel. Two cases were reported last year.

    Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018


    Sindh is set to report its lowest case count of polio in a single year. ─ AFP/FileSindh is set to report its lowest case count of polio in a single year. ─ AFP/File

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