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    Senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan on Monday said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) should not have imposed the 100-day plan upon itself to gauge its performance after coming into power.

    Speaking to reporters at the Lahore High Court Bar Association, the PPP stalwart said a 100-day benchmark is used to measure performances of governments in countries with presidential systems, and not in parliamentary democracies.

    Such a measure is deployed in presidential systems because a president being the head of the government is conferred a lot of executive powers to implement his policies, he said.

    In Pakistan's parliamentary system, "the PTI should not have applied a 100-day criterion upon itself since it does not have a majority in the upper house (Senate)", Ahsan added.

    Read: PM Khan puts greater focus on 'future plans' in 100-day review speech

    In response to a question, he said the direction of the government's policies will become apparent but that it should be "given some time".

    Barrister Ahsan claimed that a large part of the country, in the form of Sindh province, "steadfastly stands with the PPP", as evident from the party's repeated victory in Sindh in general elections of the past decade.

    He said political opponents had "done a lot of propaganda" against the PPP regarding deaths in Thar and the lack of development in Sindh but the province "is with PPP as usual".

    "That is what they are worried about," he added, without naming any party.

    He played down reports of differences between Railways Min­is­ter Sheikh Rashid and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, saying: "A struggle sometimes starts between ministers from day one."

    See: Rashid caught on camera mocking ‘picnicking’ Fawad

    The actual issue for the ruling coalition, Ahsan said, is its failure to present a basic policy and vision for the country so far.


    Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan speaks to reporters in Lahore. — DawnNewsTVBarrister Aitzaz Ahsan speaks to reporters in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV

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    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Monday that although Pakistan was committed to facilitate a negotiated end to the 17-year-old Afghan war, it could not do the task alone and that other regional countries, including India, needed to play their part.

    Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, he said Pakistan alone could not bring peace in Afghanistan as it was a "shared responsibility" of regional countries including India, Iran, Tajikistan and China.

    "Since India is present in Afghanistan, its cooperation in this regard will also be required," said Qureshi.

    Also read: Pakistanis helped trace Osama’s whereabouts, US told

    The foreign minister informed the lower house that a number of meetings for peace in Afghanistan had already taken place in Doha (Qatar) and the United Arab Emirates.

    He said US president Donald Trump in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked Pakistan to help and facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan which he said Pakistan was already doing. The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had also visited Pakistan thrice in this regard, he noted.

    Qureshi said when Prime Minister Khan was in the opposition, he (Khan) used to say that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict.

    Today, he said, there was a convergence of opinion after more than 15 years that Afghanistan needed a political settlement.

    "All the stakeholders, including the United States, Afghanistan and the Taliban, are on board," he said.

    Speaking about relations with India, the foreign minister expressed the hope that New Delhi will reciprocate Pakistan's goodwill gesture of taking the initiative to open the Kartarpur corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims.

    Qureshi said the opening of the Kartarpur border on Pakistan's side had created goodwill for the country at the international level.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of India "unwillingly" had to accept the Pakistani offer to open the corridor and they later approved it through a resolution in a cabinet meeting.

    Change in narrative on OBL

    Earlier, Maulana Abdul Wasay of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) recalled that in response to the US president's recent tirade against Pakistan, the government had stated that Pakistan had helped the US in tracing Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

    He said Islamabad's previous stance was that the country's security and intelligence agencies were not aware of bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and the US military operation in Abbottabad which killed him.

    Wasay claimed that the latest statement of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government showed that they (security agencies) were not only aware of bin Laden's whereabouts but also provided intelligence to Washington and facilitated the US raid in Pakistan.

    "This statement has created doubts in the minds of the people of Pakistan," he added.

    The JUI-F leader said previous rulers used to say that Pakistan was fighting its own war against terrorism but now it was being said that it was not our own war.

    "If the present policy is correct then who is responsible for the killings of thousands of people, including security personnel, civilians and politicians," he questioned.

    Foreign Minister Qureshi welcomed the JUI-F MNA's proposal that the parliament should have a full-fledged debate on the country's foreign policy.

    Meanwhile, the NA unanimously passed a resolution in connection with the International Human Rights Day, reaffirming the lower house's "commitment to the undeniable rights of every individual".

    The resolution, which was presented by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, called upon the government to ensure the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution for all citizens.


    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks in the National Assembly on Monday. — DawnNewsTVForeign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks in the National Assembly on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

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    PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal on Monday rubbished the reports that the opposition party was ready to show flexibility on their stance that the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be given to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif.

    Dawn had earlier reported that the PTI has informally conveyed to the PML-N that it was ready to offer the PAC chairmanship to anyone from the party other than Shahbaz Sharif, and has also proposed the name of former National Assem­bly speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

    However, Iqbal rejected these reports saying “it’s a tradition for the past 10 years that the opposition leader is appointed as the PAC chairman”. “The PPP and PML-N both have respected this tradition,” he added.

    The former minister said that the PML-N will not compromise on the appointment of PAC chairman.

    “By appointing their own PAC chairman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, the PTI has made its intentions clear that it was running away from accountability,” Iqbal said, adding that the PTI only wants to “hold the opposition accountable and not itself”.

    Quoting sources, Dawn had reported that the top PML-N leadership was considering the names of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif and Pervaiz Malik for the chairmanship of the most powerful parliamentary committee, instead of Sadiq.

    NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, who has been struggling to run the house smoothly since his election to the office due to the continuous squabbling between the treasury and the opposition members, is on a tightrope because of the ongoing tussle over the issue of the PAC chairmanship as he has to stop the process of the formation of the committees due to the opposition’s threat to boycott all the committees if the ruling party does not offer the PAC chairmanship to Sharif as per ‘parliamentary traditions’.

    Qaiser, who is currently on an official visit to Iran, had last week met Prime Minister Imran Khan with other members of the ruling party and discussed the issue of formation of the house committees and the strategy to break the deadlock over the PAC chairmanship.

    And before going to see the prime minister, the speaker had held a consultative meeting with the ruling party members and informed them about his ‘number of meetings’ with the opposition on the issue of the formation of the standing committees.

    On Monday, the National Assembly started its sixth session with Speaker Qaiser still struggling to end a deadlock between the government and the opposition over the issue of the chairmanship of the PAC.


    "PTI is running away from accountability [...] it only wants to hold the opposition accountable," says Ahsan Iqbal. —AFP/File

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    An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Monday sentenced a man to life in prison on two counts for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl.

    The convict, 26-year-old Babar, was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs200,000.

    Judge Abdul Qayyum Khan of the special ATC issued the verdict after hearing final arguments from the defence and the prosecution.

    The court recorded the statements of a total of 14 witnesses during the course of the proceedings. The state was represented in the case by Advocate Mian Tufail.

    A case had been registered against the convict on charges of rape and murder at Muridke Saddar police station.

    Rise in child abuse cases

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

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

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

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

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

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


    A case had been registered against the convict on charges of rape and murder at Muridke Saddar police station. — FileA case had been registered against the convict on charges of rape and murder at Muridke Saddar police station. — File

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    KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the agriculture secretary to appear before it on Dec 18 along with the relevant record after owners of sugar mills in Sindh through a petition challenged Sindh government’s recent notification fixing sugar cane price for the current season at Rs182/40kg.

    The counsel for the petitioner millers submitted in court that on Oct 30, the high court had directed the provincial authorities to set up a sugar cane control board as per the Sugar Factories Control Act, 1950 and the board should convene its meeting immediately to fix the sugar cane price in accordance with Section 16 of the act.

    However, the counsel submitted, a notification fixing the sugar cane price at Rs182/40kg was issued on Dec 7 by the provincial government. He contended that the authorities concerned failed to fulfil the parameters of Section 16 of the act while fixing the price.

    The bench had also directed sugar mills to send a notice to the cane commissioner for showing their intention regarding commencement of cane crushing process strictly in accordance with Section 8 of the Sugar Factories Control Act, 1950.

    Agriculture secretary given notice for Dec 18

    Describing the price as “unjustified”, the counsel urged the court to seek minutes of the Nov 20 meeting [of stakeholders] on the cane price issue.

    A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali directed the agriculture secretary to appear in court along with the minutes, if any, and relevant record on Dec 18.

    On Oct 30, the same bench had asked the provincial authorities to set up the sugar cane control board within the next 10 days.

    The board will convene its meeting immediately to fix the sugar cane price, according to the court’s directive.

    It had ruled that the price of sugar cane fixed by the sugar cane control board must be notified by the provincial government before Nov 30.

    BADIN: Sindh Minister for Agriculture Ismail Rahu has said that millers should have agreed to the price fixed by the provincial government instead of going for litigation, Hanif Samoon reports from Badin.

    Speaking to the media and later to this reporter, Mr Rahu held that the government had fixed the rate of Rs182/40kg to provide maximum relief to the growers badly affected by drought and drought-like conditions in many parts of the province.

    He pointed out that Sindh’s agriculture sector was currently facing a crisis due to a severe shortage of water in the system.

    He said that Badin was among the worst-hit districts and its 68 dehs had already been declared drought-hit.

    In certain other areas, including those falling within the command area of Sukkur Barrage that had been affected for the first time, and those around the Kotri Barrage the situation was assuming an alarming proportion with each passing day.

    He said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership was seriously monitoring the situation as water crisis was dealing a severe blow to the provincial economy.

    “It’s a grave issue of Sindh. Both the party leadership and provincial authorities concerned are seeking experts’ opinion on how to save the agriculture sector from devastation,” he added.

    Mr Rahu expressed his dismay over the federal government’s “indifferent” attitude towards the crisis.

    He asked officials of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) to pay heed to Sindh’s frantic appeals for an equitable distribution of water among all federating units.

    In reply to a question, he said that more dehs of Badin district could be declared drought-hit amid aggravating water crisis and in the light of the reports prepared by the officials concerned.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali directed the agriculture secretary to appear in court along with the minutes, if any, and relevant record on Dec 18. ─ File photoA two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali directed the agriculture secretary to appear in court along with the minutes, if any, and relevant record on Dec 18. ─ File photo

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    KARACHI: The anti-encroachment staff of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation on Monday removed all illegal constructions from footpaths in several parts of the city on the 36th day of the ongoing campaign.

    Officials said that all encroachments on footpaths and pavements at Sohrab Goth and Gohar Plaza were removed.

    Besides, they said, encroachments were also removed from a storm-water drain in Baldia Town.

    The officials said that the operation against encroachments was in progress smoothly as no resistance was seen at Al Asif Square in Sohrab Goth area where hundreds of illegal constructions were removed and the action was completed peacefully.

    They said that action against encroachments on both sides of Sohrab Goth would continue on Tuesday.

    The assistant commissioners concerned were also present during the operation.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    PEOPLE look on as heavy machinery demolishes encroachments in the Sohrab Goth area on Monday. Officials said the operation went off smoothly.—OnlinePEOPLE look on as heavy machinery demolishes encroachments in the Sohrab Goth area on Monday. Officials said the operation went off smoothly.—Online

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    HYDERABAD: The Sindh chapter of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has reacted angrily over issuance of a notice to party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference.

    PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro condemned the NAB move and warned it against resorting to such “third degree tactics”.

    Chairing the general council meeting of the party’s Hyderabad district chapter at the residence of its district president here late on Sunday evening, Mr Khuhro said that the party leadership and cadre considered issuance of the notice “a vindictive action”.

    “Such actions are forcing PPP workers to start agitation against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government,” he warned.

    Khuhro threatens agitation against PTI govt

    He said the prime minister was making state institutions controversial by stating that they [the institutions] were supportive of his party’s manifesto.

    Mr Khuhro told party workers that PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari would address them on Dec 15 in Hyderabad. He expressed the hope that workers would accord him a historic welcome like they had done on Oct 18 last year.

    At the gathering, he said, party workers would renew their resolve that they were with the party leadership.

    PPP information secretary Moula Bux Chandio said that party workers were proud of their co-chairman. He recalled that it was during Mr Zardari’s tenure as head of the state that the 1973 Constitution was restored and provinces got autonomy.

    He said now the PTI government was victimising Mr Zardari, who had already remained imprisoned for 11 years in “false” cases.

    He noted that similar forces were out to keep Mr Zardari away from politics. PPP workers would not let this conspiracy being hatched by anti-democratic, anti-Pakistan forces succeed, he added.

    He pointed out that the PTI government was not ready to take action against Aleema Khan, the prime minister’s sister, whereas opposition parties’ leaderships were being harassed with false cases.

    Sindh Minister for Works and Services Nasir Shah said that it would be Asif Zardari’s first visit to Hyderabad to meet party workers. He would be accorded a historic welcome, he said.

    He assured the audience that the Sindh government would not let any unjust action happen in the name of encroachments’ removal. He accused the PTI [federal] government and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) of committing excesses against people in the name of anti-encroachment operation.

    Observing that only the poor were suffering due to the operation, Mr Shah pointed out that the Sindh government had already filed a review petition in the apex court against the ongoing drive to put an end to these “excesses”. He said the affected people would be provided alternative places in compensation.

    Syed Ali Nawaz Shah and Saghir Qureshi also spoke.

    MNA Hussain Tariq Shah, Dost Ali Jaisar, Ali Mohammad Sahito, Ahsan Abro and other activists were among those present at the gathering.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro warns that the party may start agitating against the PTI government. ─ DawnNewsTVPPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro warns that the party may start agitating against the PTI government. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the overall law and order situation in Sindh is satisfactory, but the recent incidents of terrorism called for further improvement of security.

    “The government is committed to eliminating street crime,” the CM said, adding that a targeted operation against the drug mafia, land mafia and their patrons was going on in the city. He urged all institutions of law enforcement to join hands for better results.

    The chief minister stated this while presiding over the 23rd Apex Committee meeting at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Humayun Aziz, Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Shah, Minister for Works Syed Nasir Shah, CM’s Adviser on Law Murtaza Wahab, the advocate general of Sindh, Rangers DG Maj Gen Mohammad Saeed, IGP Dr Kaleem Imam, Home Secretary Kazi Kabir, the prosecutor general of Sindh, the additional IG of the CTD and provincial heads of intelligence agencies.

    The agenda of the meeting was to review implementation of the 22nd Apex Committee meeting, briefing on the security situation, review of the National Action Plan, discussion on the investigation and prosecution of anti-terrorism cases. During the meeting, important decisions were taken including implementation of the National Action Plan, seminaries and public and private educational institutions, Karachi Safe City project, street crime, CPEC projects’ security, security of shrines and uplift work in katcha areas.

    Apex Committee decides no NOC would be issued for new seminaries

    The meeting also discussed attack on the Chinese Consulate, blast at Quaidabad and rehabilitation of people affected by the anti-encroachment operation.

    Regulation of seminaries and NGOs

    The corps commander said that scrutiny of all educational institutions must be conducted, including the regulation and inspection of funds, their utilisation and curriculums.

    The meeting, besides deciding that the seminaries constructed on the main roads would be requested to relocate away from the main arteries, said that no NOC would be issued for new seminaries

    At present geotagging of all the 10,033 seminaries had been completed which included 2,309 which had been closed, while 7,724 were functional where 547,695 students were enrolled, including 818 foreigners.

    Karachi Safe City

    Regarding the Karachi Safe City project, the chief secretary told the meeting that the project had been terminated from the public-private partnership (PPP) modality and an advisory committee and a core committee were constituted for devising a mechanism to streamline it.

    The Rangers DG said that the project should be not merely installation of cameras but called for devising proper system. The corps commander suggested that with the launching of the Safe City project cybersecurity should be ensured before handing over the project to any operator.

    The meeting decided to launch the project within a specified area such as the red zone, Sharea Faisal and the entry and exit points of the city on a pilot basis. The home department was asked to start the project by inviting interest from Nadra, Pakistan Army and Chinese firms.

    Street crime

    The last Apex Committee had decided to introduce law reforms to control street crime which had been drafted and submitted to the law department for vetting.

    The Rangers DG giving a presentation on street crime said that since January 2017, 3,641 criminals had been arrested. He said 43 per cent of the street criminals were under-matric, 38pc illiterate. He said 2,851 street criminals were habitual criminals, 648 drug peddlers, 92 pickpockets and 50 gamblers.

    In the light of the last Apex Committee meeting, a standard operating procedure for non-CPEC projects has been notified. There are 93 non-CPEC projects with a 952 workforce of foreigners. The law enforcement agencies have deployed 2,878 personnel for their security.

    There are 10 CPEC projects in progress in Sindh where 2,878 Chinese are working. For their security 2,843 personnel have been deployed. Apart from government security, the CPEC projects have been provided 843 private security guards.

    In the light of the last meeting, it was decided that appeals against the acquittal of hardened criminals/terrorists would be filed.

    The Apex Committee was informed that the names of 62 institutes or buildings named after Altaf Hussain or his family members had been changed.

    The home secretary said that the security audit of all 1,899 shrines/dargahs/churches/temples/Jamaat Khanas and gurdwaras had been conducted. Some security weaknesses had been pointed out to the home and Auqaf departments.

    The implementation of NAP was also discussed and it was disclosed that out of 119 terrorists, the military and antiterrorism courts had awarded death penalty to 23 and two had been awarded life imprisonment. The meeting was told that 16 terrorists had been executed.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the overall law and order situation in Sindh is satisfactory, but the recent incidents of terrorism called for further improvement of security. ─ DawnNewsTVSindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the overall law and order situation in Sindh is satisfactory, but the recent incidents of terrorism called for further improvement of security. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to abolish the Peace and Reforms Committee formed earlier last month for the erstwhile Fata merged with the province lately even before the body held its first meeting.

    The seven-member committee headed by senior minister for tourism and sports Mohammad Atif Khan was notified by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Nov 27.

    Information minister Shaukat Yousafzai told Dawn that the government had decided to abolish the ministerial committee as the government had decided to do away with the secretariat for merged areas.

    He said the committee was tasked with deciding the fate of that secretariat and since the government had decided to do away with the secretariat, there was no need for that committee.

    Mr Yousafzai said special secretaries of finance, planning and development and home and tribal affairs departments would oversee the merged areas’ affairs.

    Minister says no need for committee after decision to do away with secretariat for merged areas

    He, however, said the committee hadn’t been abolished and a formal decision about it would be made in the cabinet’s meeting scheduled later this week.

    The announcement to abolish the committee comes as its head and senior minister Mohammad Atif Khan is abroad. It was not known whether Mr Atif is on board about the decision.

    The notification of the committee, which did not include even a single secretary, including additional chief secretary of the merged areas secretariat, had caused concerns among government officials.

    The KP police chief was the only official, who was part of the committee besidesfive ministers and a retired bureaucrat.

    There were also reports of lack of trust between police and civil bureaucracy over the KP-Fata merger process.

    A source told Dawn that the government was making some changes to the committee and that another proposal in this regard would be floated through the chief secretary’s office after accommodating the changes.

    He claimed that the chief minister would likely to head the new committee and a clerical mistake made the senior minister its head.

    The source said the committee to oversee the merger process was necessary as there was other mechanism available with the provincial government to regulate the process.

    The notification showed that law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan, finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhgara, information minister Shaukat Yousafzai, government spokesperson Ajmal Wazir, provincial police chief Salahuddin Khan Mehsud and head of the Chief Minister House’s Strategic Support Unit Sahibzada Saeed were its members.

    Under its ToRs, the committee was responsible for proposing reforms initiatives for ensuring peaceful environment, setting strategic direction and policy level direction to all relevant departments for smooth implementation of government policies and development initiatives.

    It was also supposed to take up issues with the federal government for smooth transition and earmarking of current and development funds, making liaison with police and other law-enforcement agencies for peace, reviewing progress of various initiatives undertaken by various department assigned to provincial government, review of public sector development program and annual development program projects and formulation of new budget and ADP.

    The committee was also tasked with reviewing the local government initiatives and doing any other task assigned by the government for deliberation and suggesting a way forward for new initiatives.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai says no need for committee after decision to do away with secretariat for merged areas. — File photoKP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai says no need for committee after decision to do away with secretariat for merged areas. — File photo

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    KARACHI: A banking court has extended till Dec 21 interim bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur for a fifth time in a case pertaining to alleged laundering of Rs4.14 billion through fake bank accounts.

    Former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza, Anvar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed have been detained over their alleged involvement in facilitating around 29 fake bank accounts and Rs4.14bn money laundering.

    Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, Zain Malik, son-in-law of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz, along with 14 other bankers and businessmen, have also been booked in the case.

    The former president, his sister and around 11 other suspects on interim bail appeared before banking court judge Tariq Mehmood Khoso on Monday.

    Judge issues notice to Landhi prison chief over absence of undertrial banker from hearing

    Prison officials produced detained businessman A.G. Majeed, but informed the court that Mr Lawai was detained in Adiala jail, Rawalpindi, while Mr Raza could not be produced since he recently underwent a surgery of one of his knees.

    Defence counsel Shaukat Hayat informed the court that Mr Lawai had been shifted to Adiala jail for interrogation by a joint investigation team on the directives of the Supreme Court. The prison authorities failed to produce him before the trial court, which was a violation of the laws, he said and pleaded for calling an explanation from the Landhi prison’s superintendent regarding his non-production.

    The judge issued a notice to the Landhi prison chief to explain why the undertrial banker was not produced. However, the court put off till Jan 2 the hearing on the bail application moved by Taha Raza due to the absence of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) prosecutor and investigating officer. The court also extended interim bail of Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur and around 11 other suspects till the next hearing.

    Initially, the FIA detained Mr Lawai and Taha Raza in July for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in three private banks.

    A case was later registered against all the suspects under Sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    Former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur appear before a banking court for the hearing of a money laundering case. — File photoFormer president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur appear before a banking court for the hearing of a money laundering case. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has expressed his displeasure over delay in the completion of development schemes in backward areas especially the southern Punjab.

    “You are busy in drafting PC-1s while general public badly needs healthcare, education and other civic facilities,” he reprimanded the bureaucrats. “The affairs of the government can no longer be run like this,” he added.

    Chairing a meeting to review public welfare schemes and other ongoing projects relating to backward areas, Mr Buzdar asked ensuring early completion of clean drinking water schemes as well as development projects relating to healthcare and education sectors.

    Annoyed over delay in completion of ongoing schemes aimed at providing quality health and education facilities to backward areas, he said, “It is our job to provide facilities to the general public at their doorsteps.”

    The chief minister directed that the development schemes pertaining to backward areas especially the southern Punjab should be completed within their time frame. The respective departments should work proactively to provide relief to people living in far-flung areas.

    He said the Punjab government would set up Arazi centres in remote areas under land record information management system.

    “Identification of land has been completed for setting up Arazi centres that will provide facilities to people living in backward localities,” he said.

    Mr Buzdar stressed that difficulties of people should be realised and action would be taken against those failing to solve the problems of commoners.

    He said special attention had been paid to social sector development in annual development programme. Education, healthcare, provision of clean drinking water and durable development of other sectors would remain PTI government’s main priorities. He said a realistic ADP was being designed for these sectors.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. ─ Photo courtesy Usman Buzdar TwitterPunjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. ─ Photo courtesy Usman Buzdar Twitter

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    GILGIT: Lady health workers have boycotted the current anti-polio campaign in all 10 districts of Gilgit-Baltistan to press for their demands.

    According to a press release issued by the GB lady health workers association on Monday, the lady health workers have been conducting anti-polio campaigns in GB since 1996, but they are not getting health allowances.

    It said health department workers, including contingent employees, had been getting health allowances since 2014, but the lady health workers had been denied this facility.

    “Officials of the health department are not ready to meet our demands. They accept our demands are genuine but are not ready to address them. No official has contacted us so far,” it said.

    Talking to Dawn, vice president of the lady health workers association Ghazala Peerzada said that even service structure had not been made for lady health workers so far. “Many workers have retired, but they are not getting pension. We have no privileges like other government employees have,” she regretted.

    She said they were being pressurised to end the boycott.

    The nationwide anti-polio campaign started on Monday to vaccinate more than 38 million children under five years of age.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world that have reported poliovirus cases this year.

    Meanwhile, GB Chief Secretary Mohammad Khurram Agha inaugurated the campaign by administering polio drops to a child in Gilgit.

    Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Samiullaah Farooq reviewed the progress of the first day of anti-polio campaign during a meeting.

    He ordered strict action against those lady health workers who tried to disturb the campaign.

    The district health officer told the meeting that the performance of health employees and volunteers remained good.

    The meeting was attended by officials of the district administration, health department, police and GB scouts.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    Lady health workers say that despite conducting polio drive for years, they don't get health allowances. — File photoLady health workers say that despite conducting polio drive for years, they don't get health allowances. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine announced a ‘Minorities’ Empowerment Package’ on Monday wherein new legislation and implementation of existing laws will help the marginalised religious communities of the province.

    He also mentioned a taskforce being set up to monitor human rights policies in the province. The minister announced this at an event at Alhamra Arts Council to mark the Human Rights Day in collaboration with Christian Care Foundation.

    The empowerment package includes implementation of job and education quotas, sentence remission system, skill development trainings, quota in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and religious education in government schools for children from various faiths.

    “We are also focusing on skills development and have kept aside Rs25 million for scholarships. We are also working on development and housing schemes specifically for the minority community,” he added.

    Utilisation of the development budget 2018-19 has started through a Minority Development Fund worth Rs450m and, under the Punjab Local Government Act 2013, the department is also ensuring implementation of the by-laws for registration of marriages among the minorities.

    Mr Augustine claimed that an action plan had been drafted by the Provincial Task Force on Human Rights to actualise the goals of the Punjab Human Rights Policy 2018. According to the plan, district committees for human rights would be established, which had been approved by the cabinet committee on legislative business.

    “We have also established a web-based Complaint Management System designed by the Punjab Information Technology Board for effective communication and resolution of human rights issues,” he said.

    Barrister Saeed Nasir, head of the Punjab Treaty Implementation Cell, gave a brief history of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was a result of the immense collateral damage after the world war and was drafted to avoid a third war. Pakistan had signed and ratified most of the seven conventions of the UN that dealt with human rights, but there was no proper implementation. The functions of the Treaty Implementation Cell included formulation of an effective mechanism for the implementation of the UN Conventions, sustainable development goals and GSP Plus.

    Regional Director of Human Rights Lubna Mansoor said that the federal government would ensure protection of human rights. Secretary Asim Iqbal highlighted the department’s progress on the 100-day plan.

    Children from Search for Justice presented a special drama highlighting violation of human rights, while schoolchildren also presented a beautiful solo performance.

    Parliamentarians Mahendra Pal Singh, Musarrat Cheema, Sumaira Ahmed Bukhari, Asma Bukhari, Sadia Sohail Rana, Mahnaz Rafi, Sumaira Batool, Pastor Anwar Fazal, and Garrison College Vice Chancellor Ubaid Bin Zakaria were also present.

    Director of the department, Mohammad Yousuf, said that it was a “unique day” because people from every section of society had come together to promote peace and brotherhood.

    At the end of the ceremony, certificates were distributed among activists, schoolchildren and employees of the human rights department. A memorial shield was also presented to the minister.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine announces a ‘Minorities’ Empowerment Package’. ─ APPPunjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine announces a ‘Minorities’ Empowerment Package’. ─ APP

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    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has challenged the federal government to disclose the names of persons whose “ill-gotten’ wealth worth 400 million pounds has been seized abroad as a result of the government’s efforts — as claimed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar.

    In case of its failure to reveal the names, the PPP has demanded an apology from the government and sacking of the special assistant.

    It is worth mentioning that a few days back Barrister Akbar claimed that because of the efforts made by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government foreign bank accounts of some politicians had been frozen.

    However, he did not disclose the names of those politicians or give the list of countries and banks in which those accounts existed.

    PPP leader Farhatullah Babar, while talking to Dawn, said that the special assistant had claimed that 400 million pounds of politicians in foreign bank accounts had been seized.

    PML-N claims agreements for sharing information about Pakistanis’ foreign accounts were signed by its govt, not PTI’s

    He said the government should make the names of those politicians public and provide details of amounts, banks and countries involved. In case of failure, the government should apologise to the nation and sack the special assistant, he added.

    Rejecting a claim of Prime Minister Imran Khan that his government has made agreements with 26 countries for the information exchange about the wealth some Pakistanis had kept abroad, Mr Babar claimed that those agreements were signed by former finance minister Ishaq Dar in 2016 and not by the PTI government.

    “Mr Khan is falsely claiming the credit and maligning his opponents. Falsehood has been exposed and the self-respect demands an apology,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb alleged that the prime minister was trying to get the credit of agreements signed by the previous PML-N government.

    She claimed that some projects which were actually launched by the PML-N government were now being inaugurated by the PTI government.

    “The PTI government is also trying to steal some MoUs (memorandums of understand) which were signed by the previous government,” she added.

    “We do not expect that the proven liar-in-chief and certified Sadiq and Ameen prime minister will apologise for lying to the nation about the MoUs, but he should at least be ashamed of his shallow act,” Ms Aurangzeb said sarcastically. Despite making many attempts for taking his response on the PPP and PML-N leaders’ claim, Barrister Akbar could not be contacted.

    While speaking on the matter, PTI’s member of the National Assembly Farrukh Habib told Dawn that Barrister Akbar was making efforts for the recovery of what he called the nation’s stolen money.

    However, he said, the special assistant was the right person to comment on the PPP, PML-N leaders’ claim.

    “Sometimes such information is not disclosed because otherwise desired results cannot be achieved,” he said.

    When contacted by Dawn, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that only Mr Akbar could speak on the matter.

    Ishaq Dar

    Meanwhile, former finance minister Ishaq Dar claimed he had signed the agreement with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2016 in Paris due to which it had become possible to get information about accounts of Pakistanis in 26 countries.

    Talking to Geo TV on Monday, he said: “Because of the agreement it has become possible that the government of Pakistan can get information about accounts of Pakistanis since September 2018. I signed the agreement but never took credit of it. Information about the agreement is available on the OECD website and anyone can confirm it from the website,” he said.

    In reply to a question, Mr Dar said allegations levelled by Mr Akbar were baseless. He said he did not own any property in any country other than Pakistan.

    “The PTI government has been misleading people by telling lies. Ministers make tall claims and later say it was just a slip of tongue. I don’t have property anywhere in the world. If government has any information about my property it should make it public,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018


    Former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar says PTI's Former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar says PTI's "falsehood has been exposed". — File photo

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    The Supreme Court on Tuesday retracted its earlier decision to ban the construction of buildings with more than six storeys in Karachi, and ordered that new high rises can be erected in accordance with the law.

    In March 2017, the apex court, while hearing a case on the non-availability of potable water and deteriorating sanitation conditions in Karachi, had imposed a ban on construction of high-rise buildings in Sindh. It had restrained the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and cantonment boards from issuing building approval plans for new high-rise and multi-storey commercial and residential projects.

    In May 2017, the SBCA, acting on the orders passed by the Supreme Court, had imposed a complete ban on the construction of high-rise buildings beyond ground-plus-two storeys — a decision challenged by the Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) in the top court.

    An SC bench, while hearing the case in Karachi registry today, retracted its order — much to ABAD Chairman Hasan Bakhshi's relief.

    "We have borne many difficulties these last two years," Bakhshi told media representatives outside the court. "This was a major problem for us. Our 500 projects were stuck for approval and another 500 projects' material was ready. Our 500 billion worth of investment was stuck.

    "We are grateful to the Supreme Court. Now the SBCA, water board and other departments should also cooperate with us."

    The Abad chair noted that the court has directed Karachi's builders to construct "according to the law", adding that "we respect the law and will cooperate with the SBCA."

    Bakhshi also offered his organisation's assistance to Prime Minister Imran Khan in his plan to construct five million houses during his tenure.


    Apex court says construction of new structures can continue Apex court says construction of new structures can continue "in accordance with the law". — PPI/File photo

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    PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique were on Tuesday taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for their alleged involvement in the Paragon Housing Society scam, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The NAB prosecutor, after delivering his arguments before a two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court, said that the brothers' request for bail should be rejected by the court.

    More details to follow.


    Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique's request for bail was denied by the court.Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique's request for bail was denied by the court.

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    PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique were on Tuesday taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for their alleged involvement in the Paragon Housing Society scam case, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The NAB prosecutor, after delivering his arguments before a two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Justice Tariq Abbasi, said that the brothers' request for bail should be rejected by the court.

    In his arguments, the bureau's prosecutor said that NAB was conducting its investigation against the Khawaja brothers on the basis of the law and added that they were certainly linked to the Paragon Housing Society.

    He said that Rafique's wife had partnered with Qaisar Amin Butt in the housing scheme, and that the brothers had received money from the housing society.

    "The Khawaja brothers have admitted that they took millions of rupees as commission," the prosecutor claimed, adding that Saad's brother-in-law was also a partner in the society.

    "If money is earned through illegal means and still mentioned in tax returns, it doesn't make it legitimate," he contended.

    The NAB prosecutor said that in a statement given to NAB, Shahid Butt had said that Saad used to come to every meeting and issue people allotment letters.

    He stated that the inquiry against the two brothers was initiated during the PML-N government.

    "The NAB chairman has remained a judge," he said. "He doesn't have an animosity against nor friendship with anyone. He works according to the law."

    More details to follow.


    Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique's request for bail was denied by the court. — DawnNewsTVSaad Rafique and Salman Rafique's request for bail was denied by the court. — DawnNewsTV

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    All opposition parties in the National Assembly have reaffirmed their demand that the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be given to the leader of the opposition, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif announced on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the joint opposition leadership, Shahbaz said the opposition leaders had once again concluded that the opposition leader should become the PAC chairman, "which has been the tradition for the past 10 years".

    Editorial: PTI must break deadlock over PAC chairmanship

    Accompanied by PPP and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal leaders, Shahbaz said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had been giving the "lame excuse" that he, being the PML-N head, could not preside over the audit review of matters pertaining to his party's previous government.

    Shahbaz said the opposition parties had devised an alternative to avoid this possible conflict of interest: He (Shahbaz) can be nominated as the PAC chairman, but he will not head meetings in which audit paras of the previous PML-N government are scrutinised. Instead, a sub-committee can be formed to examine matters related to the previous administration, and the PTI can nominate its own chairman for the sub-committee, Shahbaz added.

    "[But] the opposition has made it clear that the PAC chairman will be the opposition leader," the PML-N president said, adding that he was thankful to the opposition parties for reposing their confidence in him through their "rightful stand".

    Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif calls on Speaker Asad Qaiser. — Photo: NA Secretariat
    Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif calls on Speaker Asad Qaiser. — Photo: NA Secretariat

    Shahbaz later met Speaker Asad Qaiser in his chamber and informed him about the decision of the opposition parties that the PAC chairmanship should be held by the opposition leader.

    PPP leader Raja Pervez Ashraf while talking to reporters said the opposition parties had suggested that while Shahbaz could be named as the PAC chairman, the committee would be chaired by a PTI lawmaker during meetings in which audit paras of the Nawaz Sharif government are to be scrutinised.

    "This issue is not as complicated as it has been made," he said.

    Standing committees a 'top priority': speaker

    Also on Tuesday, the speaker chaired a meeting of senior government leaders to find ways to kick-staff legislative business in the lower house.

    Speaker Asad Qaiser chairs a meeting of govt leaders. — Photo: NA Secretariat
    Speaker Asad Qaiser chairs a meeting of govt leaders. — Photo: NA Secretariat

    The meeting was attended by the ministers for defence, foreign affairs, law and justice, Kashmir affairs, parliamentary affairs; NA deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri, PTI chief whip in NA Malik Aamir Dogar and the parliamentary secretary for law and justice.

    Participants of the meeting gave their suggestions to make the legislative process expeditious and effective.

    Speaker Qaiser directed the ministers to start communicating with opposition parties to jointly work on promoting issues of national and public interest.

    He said it was his "top priority" to remove all obstacles in the formation of standing committees. He expressed the hope that all such hurdles would be removed in the current NA session.

    The deadlock

    The National Assembly had gone into its sixth session from Monday with Speaker Qaiser still struggling to end the deadlock between the government and the opposition over the issue of the PAC chairmanship.

    Last week, Qaiser during a chat with reporters had stated that he was in contact with both the government and the opposition parties over the issue of the committees and hopefully it would soon be resolved “amicably”.

    The speaker had to stop the process of the formation of the committees due to the opposition’s threat to boycott all the committees if the ruling party did not offer the PAC chairmanship to Opposition Leader Shahbaz as per the “parliamentary traditions”.

    The opposition parties claim that Qaiser in a meeting with them had previously agreed to their demand of nominating Shahbaz as the PAC chairman, but later backtracked from his commitment due to resistance from his party members.

    The PTI is unwilling to give the PAC chairmanship to Shahbaz, saying it could not allow him to review the projects that had been initiated and executed by the government of his elder brother Nawaz Sharif.

    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has stated many times that the government could go ahead with the formation of the committees without the opposition.

    The inordinate delay in the formation of the committees has started to affect the functioning of the parliament, which has almost become dysfunctional as far as legislative work is concerned. With the present government already completing its 100 days in office, the NA has been able to only pass the Finance (Supplementary) Bill.

    Under the rules, the speaker was bound to constitute all the standing and functional committees “within 30 days after the election of the Leader of the House (prime minister)”. Since the prime minister was elected on August 18, the speaker had time till September 17 for the formation of over three dozen house committees.

    All the opposition parties had already handed over the names of their members for the committees to the NA Secretariat as per rules, but the speaker had to stop the process when the opposition announced that its members would withdraw from all the committees if the PAC chairmanship was not offered to them as per tradition.

    Although there is no restriction on the government in the rules to give the chairmanship of the PAC to the opposition parties, it has been a parliamentary practice and tradition for the past 10 years that the office is given to an opposition member in order to ensure transparency in financial matters.


    Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif talks to reporters in the parliament alongside leaders of other opposition parties. — Photo by authorOpposition leader Shahbaz Sharif talks to reporters in the parliament alongside leaders of other opposition parties. — Photo by author

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    The suspected leader of a 'rickshaw gang' that targeted over 200 women was arrested in an injured condition along with a companion after exchanging fire with Ferozeabad police in Karachi, Senior Superintendent of Police East (SSP East) Azfar Mahesar said during a press conference on Tuesday.

    Cash, dozens of valuable women's handbags and jewelry worth hundreds of thousands were recovered from the duo.

    On the special directives of the SSP East, Jamshed Town Superintendent of Police (SP) Shamyl Riaz had formed a team consisting of Ferozabad Station House Officer (SHO) Aurangzeb Khan Khattak and Ghulam Nabi Afridi.

    The team had received information that three suspects were in the PECHS area of the city.

    As soon as they saw the police, the suspects started firing. In the resulting shootout, the gang leader was injured, the official said.

    Police subsequently surrounded the area, arresting the injured suspect and his companion.

    The suspect revealed that for four and a half years, his four-member group had used to target women.

    Apart from snatching valuables, the gang also used cutting tools to cut and take off women's bangles and jewelry.

    During a subsequent police raid, over 70 valuable handbags snatched from women, hundreds of thousands of rupees in cash, as well as over 50 mobile phones and laptops were recovered from the accused.

    A motorcycle and a rickshaw used to conduct street crimes were also recovered.

    According to a press release issued by the police, the suspects had been arrested and served time in jail before for murder and robbery. They formed their gang while they were incarcerated.

    Most of their crimes were carried out in the PECHS, Tipu Sultan, Clifton, Nursery and Gulshan-i-Iqbal areas of Karachi.

    Two and a half months ago, one of the suspect's companions was arrested by the Bahadurabad Station and is currently in jail.

    Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Karachi Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh has announced a cash reward and congratulatory certificate for Ferozeabad police.


    Cash, dozens of valuable women's handbags and jewelry worth hundreds of thousands were recovered. — Photo courtesy of authorCash, dozens of valuable women's handbags and jewelry worth hundreds of thousands were recovered. — Photo courtesy of author

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    Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar on Tuesday announced the 'mobile tax policy' for foreign visitors after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) released details of duties imposed on imported handsets.

    In a series of tweets, Azhar said that people flying into Pakistan will be allowed to register one handset without having to pay duty charges. Furthermore, foreign visitors will not have to register or pay duty charges on mobile devices that fulfil the following conditions:

    • Cellphones that use a roaming network

    • Will be used in Pakistan for less than 30 days

    • Phones that have been used in Pakistan before Dec 1, 2018

    Visitors can pay duty charges and register their handsets at the airports or in any custom house across the country, Azhar said. He also clarified that mobile phones will not be confiscated during the process of registration.

    In order to curb illegal imports of handsets, the FBR and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have laid out new procedures for regularisation of unregistered mobile devices.

    Users of illegally imported mobile devices have until Dec 31 to get their phones regularised with the PTA, without having to pay penalty charges. The body also clarified that after the deadline of Dec 31, no option would be available to regularise illegal mobile devices. All such devices will be liable for seizure/outright confiscation. In addition, all such devices will be permanently blocked through Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) by the PTA.

    The customs procedures for imports of non-commercial mobile phones will be implemented through customs notification SRO1455 of 2018 and Customs General Order 06 of 2018 issued on Nov 30.

    Import through couriers

    The FBR has also notified new procedures for import of unregistered mobile devices by individuals through postal service or courier for personal use or gift.

    The customs authorities will detain such imported phones and then issue a stamped declaration form to the applicant, who will have to apply for certification of compliance (CoC) via PTA portal by submitting documents.


    Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar says foreign visitors will be able to register one handset without having to pay duty charges. — File photoMinister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar says foreign visitors will be able to register one handset without having to pay duty charges. — File photo

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