Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

Dawn News RSS feeds

older | 1 | .... | 2887 | 2888 | (Page 2889) | 2890 | 2891 | .... | 2937 | newer

    0 0

    A by-election is underway in Punjab's PP-168 [Lahore-25] for the seat vacated by PML-N stalwart Khawaja Saad Rafique after he was elected as MNA from NA-131.

    The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has fielded Malik Asad Ali Khokhar, who was earlier given the ticket to contest general election from NA-136 (Lahore-14) but lost. The PML-N has fielded advocate Rana Khalid. Overall 11 candidates are contesting the by-poll.

    A total of 126,900 voters are registered in PP-168, out of these 73,724 are male while 53,188 are female voters.

    There are a total of 83 polling stations in the constituency and 22 of these have been marked sensitive. 3,000 police officials have been deployed in the area and voters are going through a three-step checking process before entering the polling booth.

    Polling stations are being monitored through CCTV cameras. A ban has been placed on the display of weapons of any sort. 77 overseas Pakistanis have registered to vote in the constituency.

    The PPP has not fielded any candidate and announced its support for the PML-N candidate. Punjab PPP secretary general Chaudhry Manzoor announced support for the PML-N candidate after a delegation, led by PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik, visited the PPP Secretariat.

    Both PTI and PML-N candidates vigorously campaigned for the by-election and tried to woo the voters by holding public meetings as well as approaching them in a door-to-door campaign.

    According to sources, out of total 4,677 Pakistanis from Lahore’s PP-168 settled in dozens of countries across the globe, only three individuals— one each from Germany, Spain and the United Arab Emirates — chose to get themselves registered to vote in the by-election in the constituency.


    The PPP has not fielded any candidate and announced its support for the PML-N candidate in the by-polls. — FileThe PPP has not fielded any candidate and announced its support for the PML-N candidate in the by-polls. — File

    0 0

    The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and former MPA from south Punjab, Shaukat Basra announced his departure from the party on Thursday, having joined hands with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

    The announcement followed a meeting with PTI stalwart Jahangir Khan Tareen who extended an invitation to the politician to join the party.

    Later, having made his decision, Basra met with Prime Minister Imran Khan who welcomed him into the PTI fold and recognised his contribution to national politics.

    The PTI official Twitter account also confirmed the development, saying that the premier expressed happiness at Basra's decision to join PTI.

    The premier expressed hope that Basra will be able to put his political acumen to better use from the platform of the PTI, Radio Pakistan reported.

    Speaking on the occasion, Shaukat Basra said he chose PTI "after being impressed by the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and PTI, not for the party ticket or any position".

    According to Radio Pakistan, Basra expressed complete faith in Imran Khan's leadership and pledged his devotion to taking forward the PTI mission.


    The premier expresses hope that Basra will be able to put his political acumen to better use from the platform of PTI. —Photo provided by authorThe premier expresses hope that Basra will be able to put his political acumen to better use from the platform of PTI. —Photo provided by author

    0 0

    Prime Minister Imran Khan, while chairing a meeting on ease of doing businesses, issued directives for the preparation of a comprehensive plan to simplify procedures related to government approvals. He called for addressing the taxation issues and taking measures to facilitate investors and businesses, Radio Pakistan reported.

    PM Khan was chairing a meeting on Thursday to review the progress of improving the ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment to facilitate the conversion of local and foreign investors' interests into actual investments.

    During the meeting, it was decided that the premier would chair a review meeting on the 'ease of doing business in the country' every month.

    Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif briefed the meeting that efforts were being done to revive the confidence of the private sector in government policies and put in place a framework to facilitate the business community.

    According to the report, the BoI chairman said the board was working as an "agent of change" to facilitate business transactions, remove impediments in the way of the materialisation of investors' interests into actual investments and for the "smooth functioning" of businesses in the country.

    According to Radio Pakistan, Sharif also briefed PM Khan on various issued that were being faced by the business community including taxation, access to finance, regulation, policy issues and "red-tapism".

    Sharif said that BoI was actively working with the provincial governments and the relevant ministries to remove barriers in the way of establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

    He further informed the premier about the 'Naya Pakistan Diaspora Fund' which was being set up to promote Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and rural development in the key areas of education, health, and infrastructure development.

    The BoI chairman also shared information about the investment framework which has been structured to attract and materialise investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, and Malaysia.


    PM Khan was chairing a meeting to review the progress of improving the ease of doing business. — Photo courtesy of Radio PakistanPM Khan was chairing a meeting to review the progress of improving the ease of doing business. — Photo courtesy of Radio Pakistan

    0 0

    After criticism from Pakistani Twitterati, the BBC on Thursday stated that the omission of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav's mention from its interview with Finance Minister Asad Umar was "not an act of censorship" and that it was edited out because the programme was too long to be broadcast on TV.

    In an interview to BBC’s Stephen Sackur for the well-known show Hardtalk, the minister answered questions regarding various issues of national importance. The TV version of the interview, however, did not contain his mention of Jadhav, who was sentenced to death in 2017 by a Pakistani military tribunal for his involvement in espionage.

    See: Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

    "The reason Kulbhushan Jadhav’s name was deleted from the TV version of the HARDtalk interview with Asad Umar has a simple technical explanation," said a tweet from the programme's Twitter handle. "The recorded interview was too long for our broadcast slot and so had to be edited."

    The channel said Jadhav's name had been omitted from the TV version of the interview and not the radio version, and that it was not done to censor the minister's words.

    Because "clearly confusion has been caused", the broadcaster said it would restore the omitted "short section" to the programme and air the new TV version again tonight as well as tomorrow morning.

    In the radio version, while answering a question regarding alleged threats to Chinese investment in Balochistan and the "anger" generated by it among some people in the province, Umar states: "This is not anger of the people of Balochistan, these are activities of sponsored terrorists who receive training, funding [and] material from outside Pakistan. And is there a serious attempt to try and destabilise Balochistan and through that, try and subvert CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor]? Of course, there is. There is a concerted effort to do that."

    When pressed by the host on who these external forces were, the minister responds: "Led by India, of course. Pakistan arrested a senior operative from India, his name is Kulbhushan Jadhav; he is in the custody of Pakistan and he gave details of how the Indian intervention in Balochistan and others parts of Pakistan is taking place. So is there terrorist intervention in Balochistan? Absolutely yes, [but] what the people of Balochistan thought has been expressed through the free will of those people by electing a government of Balochistan which stands by CPEC, which wants greater engagement of CPEC in their province."

    The part "Pakistan arrested a senior operative from India, his name is Kulbhushan Jadhav; he is in the custody of Pakistan and he gave details of how the Indian intervention in Balochistan and others parts of Pakistan is taking place" was omitted from the TV version of the interview by the BBC.

    'Typical bias'

    Earlier on Thursday, human rights minister Shireen Mazari had sharply criticised the BBC for allegedly censoring the interview and deleting the part about Jadhav, terming it "typical bias" on the part of the broadcaster.

    "Shameful how BBC censored and chopped off Asad's mention of Indian spymaster Jhadav! Typical bias of BBC!" she wrote on Twitter.

    Her tweet led to journalists and social media users questioning show host Stephen Sackur on Twitter whether the interview had indeed been censored.

    Columnist Mosharraf Zaidi wondered if the Indian government had influenced the BBC's decision to delete Jadhav's mention.


    A screengrab from Finance Minister Asad Umar's interview on BBC's Hardtalk programme.A screengrab from Finance Minister Asad Umar's interview on BBC's Hardtalk programme.

    0 0

    An important development in the murder case of Maulana Samiul Haq took place on Thursday as the deceased's personal secretary, Ahmed Shah, was arrested by police.

    The arrest took place with the assistance of the maulana's relatives, police told DawnNewsTV.

    Maulana Sami, an influential religious scholar and former senator, was assassinated by unidentified suspect(s) at his residence in Rawalpindi on November 2.

    The maulana's personal secretary had "disappeared mysteriously" funeral his funeral. Despite repeated efforts, police said they had previously been unable to locate him.

    The secretary is currently being interrogated regarding the murder.

    "Maulana Samiul Haq's secretary can prove to be a very important figure in this case," a police official told DawnNewsTV.

    One month into the killing, police had been unable to make any significant progress in the investigation into the murder of the Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam-Sami chief.

    On December 5, however, an interim charge sheet of the case was submitted by the police to the airport judicial magistrate.

    The interim charge sheet contains the statements of the victim’s son and a report on more than 12 individuals, the mobile phone data of the maulana and a police investigation report.

    However, the report does not identify a prime suspect.


    "Maulana Samiul Haq's personal secretary can prove to be a very important figure in this case," according to the police. —AFP/File

    0 0

    Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday claimed to have arrested a suspect from Karachi who allegedly lured widowed and divorced women for marriage through social media and then blackmailed them to extort large sums of money.

    The deputy director of FIA's Cyber Crime Wing, Abdul Ghaffar, said the agency received a complaint from a woman on December 3 and after holding an inquiry, arrested the suspect.

    The suspect has been charged with Section 14 (electronic fraud), 21 (offences against modesty of a natural person and minor), and 24 (cyberstalking) of The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

    The held suspect had also identified himself as an official of a "fake" agency, revealed the official.

    During FIA's investigation, it transpired that the suspect created multiple online identities, one of which was a Facebook ID by the name of "Wajdan Ali". He sent messages in bulk on Facebook messenger claiming that he is a "well-wisher of widows" and is interested to marry them.

    According to the complainant, the suspect asked her to meet him and expressed his desire to marry her. Upon meeting the suspect, the woman was shown "fatwas (religious decrees)" and the two performed a nikah without a Nikah Khwan (marriage officiator).

    After having performed the "nikah", the suspect told her: "We have to keep our nikah a secret."

    A few days later the complainant received a call from an unknown number and the caller told her that he was in possession of an "objectionable" video of her and if she wanted to get the video deleted then she should pay Rs200,000, the FIA official revealed while sharing details of the preliminary investigation.

    The cybercrime official said that the complainant in her statement before the investigation agency disclosed that the held suspect made videos of her and then blackmailed her.

    Due to the compromising nature of the video, the complainant paid him a sum of Rs30,000 through Easypaisa on December 8, as the "first installment".

    The official explained that the modus operandi of the suspect was that he showed himself as an official of "Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)", which is a fake agency, and used to tell women that he could not declare the marriage public because the “agency personnel” would take him and her (his wife) to task in case their marriage was made public.

    “He would lure women to chat with him on virtual American numbers which he would generate using an application on the internet,” said the cybercrime wing official.

    Ghaffar said the suspect had assumed that such numbers were not traceable and would change numbers intermittently and ask girls to chat over Whatsapp as "Facebook is not secure".

    “He [the suspect] would then insist to meet these women at a 'hotel' in Clifton near Do Talwar, where he would record their videos with the help of hidden cameras,” disclosed Ghaffar.

    “He would then use the videos to blackmail the women and extort large sums of money,” added the official.

    He said the suspect has extracted Rs0.6 million from one woman and Rs30,000 from another after recording their videos.

    The suspect is a matriculate and resident of New Karachi who appeared to have gained "expertise" in use of modern technology. The FIA was also probing the role of the hotel, said the senior official.


    Suspect extracted Rs0.6m from one woman and Rs30,000 from another after recording their objectionable videos. —Dawn ArchivesSuspect extracted Rs0.6m from one woman and Rs30,000 from another after recording their objectionable videos. —Dawn Archives

    0 0

    The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted the apology of televangelist and lawmaker Aamir Liaquat Hussain and dismissed the contempt of court case initiated against him for violating earlier undertakings regarding not to use hate speech or derogatory language against individuals, including media persons.

    A three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar concluded the case after Hussain placed himself at the mercy of the court. The court accepted his unconditional apology.

    Earlier, when Hussain appeared before the court he said that his lawyer was not present after which CJP Nisar asked him to call his lawyer as they would hear the case today. Following a break, the hearing was resumed.

    On November 7, the apex court rejected Hussain's unconditional apology and indicted him under Article 204 of the Constitution.

    The apex court was seized with a set of petitions moved by anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada, Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, Mir Ibrahim-ur-Rehman and Najam Aziz Sethi that accused Hussain of flouting the March 28, 2017, order restraining him from carrying out defamatory campaigns and conducting television shows in an unethical manner.

    The objectionable content in question were aired on the Bol TV programme “Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga” on March 9 last year.

    Earlier, the SC had also imposed a fine of Rs20,000 on Hussain for his absence when the case was taken up and directed that the amount of the fine be deposited in the account of the SC-created Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams fund.

    The charges stated that the parliamentarian was found guilty of committing the contempt of the court within the meaning of Article 204 of the Constitution, read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003, punishable under Section 5 of the ordinance whose offence was cognizable by the apex court.

    The petitioners, represented by senior counsel Faisal Siddiqui, earlier contended that 13 orders had been passed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and even bans had been slapped on Hussain on a number of times, but all in vain, adding that he should be dealt with sternly for the breach of his earlier undertakings.

    They had requested the apex court to initiate contempt of court proceedings under Article 204 of the Constitution and under provisions of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.


    A three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded the case after Hussain placed himself at the mercy of the court. — File photoA three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded the case after Hussain placed himself at the mercy of the court. — File photo

    0 0

    The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a 20 per cent decrease in fees charged by upscale private schools, and ordered them to return half the fees they had charged for summer vacations. The order is applicable to private schools across the country whose fees are in excess of Rs5,000.

    The court, while hearing a case pertaining to exorbitant fees charged by private schools, had in October ordered the institutes to furnish their respective audit reports, and formed a committee to find an amicable solution to the issue of exorbitant fees being collected from parents.

    The audit reports for Beaconhouse School System, The City School, Lahore Grammar School, Roots School System, Bayview Academy and 15 other schools, which were submitted before the court today, mentioned that the directors and top officials of the schools had received Rs62 million in salaries in 2017. A total of Rs512m was spent on employees' salaries in one year, while Rs5.2 billion was spent in five years, the report said, adding that various facilities were also provided.

    The chief justice, commenting on the large amounts, wondered, "Have these schools bought uranium mines or gold mines?"

    "Each director gets a salary of Rs8.3m each month," Justice Nisar said. He observed that the LGS audit report appeared to be incorrect, and expressed his displeasure with the auditor, saying they should be caught and handed over to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

    "Children are not getting relief of even Rs2 ... You have taken advantage of citizens to mint money," the chief justice asserted. "If children are unable to pay these fees, they cannot get admission to these schools."

    "Private school owners have opened schools in rented bungalows and earn huge amounts off each room," the chief justice observed.

    "No school had its fees approved by any regulator," Faisal Siddiqui, the counsel for students' parents, told the court.

    Justice Ijazul Ahsan noted that the schools had provided incorrect figures in their audit reports. "Look at how directors are receiving Rs8.3m in salaries," he said.

    "If you try ripping up or even eating Rs8.3m, it will be never ending," the chief justice commented.

    BSS counsel Shahid Hamid argued that Beaconhouse had paid Rs764m in taxes. He also told the court that Punjab had about 54,000 private schools.

    "You may have paid a lot of taxes, but the students are not getting any benefit from them," Justice Ahsan responded. "They will only be benefited when the fees are lowered."

    "If childrens' education is being affected, then the court will play the role of a parent," Justice Nisar asserted.

    The FBR chairman and FIA director general were summoned to court immediately.

    The chief justice remarked that the FBR should check the tax record for the last seven years and, addressing the BSS lawyer, said that he would not let them close down their schools.

    "We will take action against anyone who tries to shut their school down," he warned.

    The secretary Law and Justice told the court that certain schools had increased their fees by 63pc in five years.

    The court was told by Ayesha Hamid, a lawyer for the schools, that all were ready to reduce their fees by 8 per cent, to which the top judge responded that the decrease was much too small.

    Justice Ijaz noted that if there is an 8pc increase in school fees annually, there would be a 32pc increase in four years.

    "You people say you are making up for the shortcomings of government schools," he said, "But actually, you have established a monopoly."

    "All schools should be consulted over whether they are ready to decrease their fees by 20pc," Justice Ahsan suggested.

    "The fees should be reduced by 20pc and the schools should also return the summer fees," Justice Nisar asserted.

    "We will decide in the future how much you can increase your fees," the chief justice said, deciding that a 5pc fee increase annually was appropriate. He added that a regulator could later see whether the fee increase needed to be set any higher.

    The court subsequently ordered a 20pc reduction in the fees of all private schools, and directed them to return 50pc of the fees they had charged for summer vacations.

    Additionally, the court passed the order that private schools can only increase their fees by 5pc each year, and ruled that no private school would be shut.

    The court directed FIA to freeze the accounts of LGS, and FBR to scrutinise its tax records and to seize the details of its accounts. Additionally, the court said that an audit should be conducted of 21 other private schools.

    The case was adjourned until Dec 26.


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar expresses displeasure over 'incorrect' audit report submitted by school. ─ File photoChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar expresses displeasure over 'incorrect' audit report submitted by school. ─ File photo

    0 0

    PTI candidate Malik Asad Ali Khokhar emerged victorious in the by-election held on Thursday in Punjab's PP-168 (Lahore-25) constituency by a margin of 687 votes, according to provisional results aired by DawnNewsTV.

    Khokhar reportedly obtained 17,579 votes whereas his opponent, PML-N's Rana Khalid, received 16,893 votes.

    The seat for PP-168 was vacated by PML-N stalwart Khawaja Saad Rafique after he was elected as MNA from NA-131 constituency.

    Malik Asad Ali Khokhar was earlier given the ticket to contest general election from NA-136 (Lahore-14) but had lost that seat.

    Earlier in the day, polling began at 8am and continued without a break till 5pm. Overall 11 candidates contested the by-poll.

    A total of 126,900 voters are registered in PP-168, out of these 73,724 are male while 53,188 are female voters.

    There were a total of 83 polling stations in the constituency and 22 of these had been marked sensitive. 3,000 police officials were deployed in the area and voters went through a three-step checking process before entering the polling booth.

    Polling stations were monitored through CCTV cameras. A ban was placed on the display of weapons of any sort. Furthermore, 77 overseas Pakistanis had registered to vote in the constituency.

    The PPP had not fielded any candidate and announced its support for the PML-N candidate. Punjab PPP secretary general Chaudhry Manzoor announced support for the PML-N candidate after a delegation, led by PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik, visited the PPP Secretariat.

    Both PTI and PML-N candidates vigorously campaigned for the by-election and tried to woo the voters by holding public meetings as well as approaching them in a door-to-door campaign.

    Use of 'modified' polling boxes

    PML-N's senior vice president in Punjab, Malik Nadeem Kamran, sent a letter to the ECP secretary claiming that the party had received "several complaints from polling stations across PP-168 regarding modified polling boxes being used".

    The ECP secretary was requested to urgently investigate the matter as "the opening of the polling boxes in which votes are inserted is wider than it normally is...there is enough space to put one's hand through the opening of the polling box".


    The PPP has not fielded any candidate and announced its support for the PML-N candidate in the by-polls. — FileThe PPP has not fielded any candidate and announced its support for the PML-N candidate in the by-polls. — File

    0 0

    WASHINGTON: The core purpose of US economic engagement with Pakistan is to ensure that it’s not a failure in the future and stops being such a poor country, says a senior official of the US Treasury Department.

    David Malpass, Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday that the Trump administration also wants to ensure that any IMF loan to Pakistan is not used to repay its Chinese debt.

    Pakistan is seeking an $8 billion extended loan facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail itself out of a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple its economy. The two parties are still discussing the package and a final decision is expected early next month.

    At this House Financial Services Committee hearing on international financial institutions, several US lawmakers expressed concern that Pakistan may use the IMF loan to repay some of the $60bn loans it is borrowing from China for CPEC. Some lawmakers also argued that this huge Chinese debt was responsible for the economic challenges Pakistan was facing.

    Read more: US eases fears Pakistan will use IMF loans to clear China debt

    Congressman Ed Royce, a California Republican, reminded Mr Malpass that in July this year Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that there’s no rationale for using IMF and American tax dollars — that are part of the IMF funding — to bailout Chinese bond holders. What’s the administration doing to prevent this, Congressman Royce questioned.

    “With regard to Pakistan, Secretary Pompeo is exactly right. So, we are working and making clear within the IMF that if it were going to supply any funding to Pakistan that it would not be used to repay Chinese loans,” Mr Malpass said.

    “We are trying also to make sure that Pakistan changes its economic programme, so that it’s not a failure in the future. So, that’s the core of our purpose with regard to Pakistan,” he added.

    Later in the hearing, Congressman Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, raised the issue again.

    “Looks like IMF will loan the money to Islamabad so that they can send the money to Beijing. What would we do to make sure that the IMF is not used, in effect, just to pay back China?” he asked.

    “We will make strong efforts, and I believe successful efforts, to make sure that what you describe doesn’t happen, meaning a payoff of Beijing via Islamabad,” Mr Malpass said.

    “But Pakistan has not been successful yet at all in finalising a package with the IMF. So, it’s something that we follow closely,” he added. “One of the things that we are aware of and do follow is that IMF loans tend to be shorter maturity loans and China’s loans to Pakistan have been longer maturity loans.”

    When Mr Sherman demanded to know how would Washington make sure that Islamabad follows the conditions attached to an IMF package, Mr Malpass said: “We will look for ways that that round-tripping does not happen the way you described.”

    Helping Pakistan overcome its economic deficiencies, however, was even more important, he added.

    “Important in this, in my view also, is the structural reforms in Pakistan that are necessary for it to stop being such a poor country,” Mr Malpass said.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    David Malpass, Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday that the Trump administration also wants to ensure that any IMF loan to Pakistan is not used to repay its Chinese debt. ─ AP/FileDavid Malpass, Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday that the Trump administration also wants to ensure that any IMF loan to Pakistan is not used to repay its Chinese debt. ─ AP/File

    0 0

    KARACHI: The city’s temperature is likely to drop further before normalising by Sunday, the Meteorological department said on Thursday. The maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in Karachi were 26.5 and 14 degree Celsius, respectively.

    Humidity decreased from 69 per cent in the morning to 20pc in the evening.

    There is no forecast for rain. The minimum temperature on Friday is likely to range from 13 to 15 degree Celsius.

    “Temperature is likely to drop four to five degrees more with the decrease in moisture, a special feature of Karachi’s weather which doesn’t let its temperature get warm or cold too fast,” said Met director Shahid Abbas.

    All coastal areas experienced the same phenomenon, he pointed out, adding that it’s the Siberian winds making Karachi cold these days.

    “Siberia is the coldest point in the world with temperature at times dropping to as low as -76 degrees in the end of December.

    “Though the freezing winds lose their bite as they reach Karachi, the city is still cold for most Karachiites who are not used to cold weather,” he said.

    Cold winds also blew in summer but they gradually got hot as they interacted with warm weather conditions in different regions. Southern parts of Punjab and upper parts of Sindh were currently experiencing similar weather conditions, he said.

    As for other cities in Sindh, the maximum temperature in Dadu was 22.4 degrees Celsius, Sukkur 24.5, Hyderabad 23.5, Mithi 26 and in Mirpurkhas 24.5 degrees Celsius.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Temperature likely to drop 4-5 more degrees with decrease in moisture, says Met director. ─ AFP/FileTemperature likely to drop 4-5 more degrees with decrease in moisture, says Met director. ─ AFP/File

    0 0

    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has demanded that the federal government immediately restore gas supply to the province, saying that the gas closure amounted to depriving many people of their livelihoods.

    The chief minister recalled that although Sindh produced 70 per cent of its total production in Pakistan, it was being deprived of gas supply in violation of Article 158 of the Constitution under which Sindh had the first right over the gas. “We are not only being deprived of this right, but domestic consumers are also facing its brunt while industries, power projects and CNG stations are closed, which has taken the entire province in the grip of a severe crisis,” he said.

    The chief minister further said that non-supply of natural gas was also adversely affecting the generation of electricity.

    Meanwhile, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Transport and Mass Transit Minister Owais Qadir Shah, former minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro and Adviser to the Chief Minister Murtaza Wahab, recording their severe protest over the closure of gas supply, said that the federal government had failed to resolve the prime issues of the people of Pakistan.

    Provincial ministers slam federal government

    The ministers, who were speaking at a joint press conference here on Thursday at the Sindh Assembly Building, said that before coming to power the PTI had made tall claims of doing justice and upholding the rule of law, but after assuming power, it had committed flagrant violation of Article 158 of the Constitution. “How is it possible in a welfare state ... that the people of Sindh are first deprived of water and now being denied gas supply,” they said and added that two things were crystal clear that either the PTI government was incompetent or it was wittingly deviating from the Constitution.

    They said that the government of Sindh had already taken up the matter with the federal government and was also in constant touch with the stakeholders and the people to express solidarity with them.

    Mr Shaikh said that they had conveyed Sindh’s stance to the federal government and added that they would record their protest at every forum. He said that despite the promises of the federal government, the gas supply had been decreased and demanded that the prime minister take immediate notice of the situation and issue directives for the restoration of gas supply. He said that Sindh had no representation in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and Sindh had not been taken into confidence on power agreements.

    Minister threatens to support protesters

    Mr Shah said if the federal government did not restore gas supply immediately to the industries and CNG stations, the government would put its weight behind the industrialists and transporters in their protest against the federal government.

    He said the closure of CNG stations had badly affected public transport in Karachi which had mostly disappeared from the roads. He said more than 100,000 people could not reach their workplaces because of transport shortage.

    Barrister Murtaza Wahab said the PPP believed in respecting the Constitution and every article mentioned in the Constitution was important for it.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    0 0

    HYDERABAD: Speakers at a seminar organised by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) at a local hotel on Thursday demanded a ban on all coal-powered electricity generation pla­nts in the country, especially those being installed in Tharparkar.

    They also vowed to launch a movement against use of coal for power generation.

    PFF chairman Moham­med Ali Shah told the seminar titled ‘Social and environmental impacts of Thar coal power project’ that a forum was being established to resist the use of coal in power generation at Thar in the larger interest of the desert region’s population.

    Their lives, livestock, fertile land and environment all are at stake, according to him.

    Sindh Agriculture Uni­ver­sity (SAU) Prof Dr Mohammad Ismail Kum­bhar called for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to address the issues highlighted by the PFF chief and the media regarding the hazards involved.

    Mr Shah said that coal-powered plants must be banned across the country. Instead, he stressed, government should focus on renewable sources of energy.

    “There are four prominent types of coal used around the world [for the purpose] — lignite, bituminous, sub-bituminous and anthracite — and lignite discovered in Thar and known as brown coal contains less amount of carbon and a greater amount of water. It’s the dirtiest and worst kind of coal,” he said.

    He claimed that emission from this category of coal was considered to be responsible for premature death.

    He pointed out that the Thar coalfield was divided into 12 blocks. Initially, block I and II were leased out to a private corporate firm for mining. It was in block II where practical work for surface mining and installation of 660MW power plants was started in 2015.

    “The lignite coal of Thar will produce dirtiest energy in Pakistan,” he claimed.

    The other issues that needed to be looked into were land disputes, dewatering of the Gorano reservoir, cost of land estimated at a lower side, absence of a resettlement policy for the affected Thari villagers etc.

    Sindh Environmental Pro­tec­tion Agency (Sepa) deputy director (technical) Muneer Abbasi said that ecological conditions should be restored without any compromises on sustainable development. He said that major environmental issues which were arising out of the proposed activity related to solid waste, air emission and occupational health safety. He stated that the issues pertained to emission of gases, smoke and ambient air quality.

    “We are addressing the issues in the light of possible effects after the project is put into operation,” he said.

    A resident of Gorano village, Mr Bheemraj, said that Tharis fretted about the saline water reservoir as it was taking its toll on the entire environment and ecology of the region. He said the court of law had also been moved over it.

    Asim Nawaz Khan, Suleman G. Abro, Pushpa Kumari, Dastagir Bhatti, Bukshal Talho, Nazeer Qureshi, Ishaq Mangrio and others also spoke.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Sindh Agriculture University professor wants an Environmental Impact Assessment to address issues highlighted. ─ File photoSindh Agriculture University professor wants an Environmental Impact Assessment to address issues highlighted. ─ File photo

    0 0

    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has provided to the defence counsel a copy of the CD containing video footage of the shoot-out during an armed robbery in which 10-year-old girl Amal Umer was allegedly killed.

    A detained accused, Khalid, has been charged under relevant sections of the law.

    The accused had moved an application under Section 265-C of the CrPC through his counsel, seeking a direction to the investigating officer of the case to provide a copy of the purported video footage of the alleged armed robbery and firing by the accused that claimed the girl’s life.

    The antiterrorism court-VIII judge, who took up the matter on Wednesday in the judicial complex inside the central prison, allowed the application and directed the IO to provide a copy of the CD to the defence counsel. The matter was fixed on Jan 8.

    Amal Umer, who was travelling along with her parents in their car, died after she was hit by a bullet fired by a policeman in a Defence locality on Aug 13 during the alleged shoot-out.

    According to the prosecution, the police had arrested Khalid on Sept 24 in some other cases pertaining to robbery and illicit weapons and claimed that during questioning the suspect disclosed his involvement in the murder of the girl and also robbing her parents and others.

    Earlier, the case took an interesting turn, as the prosecution pointed out defects in the investigation and loopholes in charge sheets submitted by the investigating officer to the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts.

    Investigating officer Imdad Ali Khawaja had submitted a charge sheet against accused Khalid before the ATCs’ administrative judge but it was silent about the police party, which had taken part in the alleged shoot-out.

    The IO had named Khalid as an accused in the charge sheet and said his alleged accomplice Shahzad had already been killed.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Amal Umer, who was travelling along with her parents in their car, died after she was hit by a bullet fired by a policeman in a Defence locality on Aug 13 during an alleged shoot-out.  ─ Photo provided by Beenish UmarAmal Umer, who was travelling along with her parents in their car, died after she was hit by a bullet fired by a policeman in a Defence locality on Aug 13 during an alleged shoot-out. ─ Photo provided by Beenish Umar

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: Former information minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Marriyum Aurangzeb has claimed that by releasing an anonymous application against her to the media, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has defied the orders of the chief justice of Pakistan and, therefore, committed contempt of the court. She demanded that the bureau be reprehended for this act.

    “There is a clear directive of the Supreme Court that NAB should not share any information with the media before completion of an inquiry or filing of a reference,” she said while speaking to reporters outside an accountability court on Thursday.

    She appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar to ensure implementation of his orders.

    Ex-minister says by sharing application against her with media the anti-graft watchdog has defied CJP’s orders

    Warning NAB against humiliating people, she asked: “Is there any law which will protect the honour and respect of politicians in this country?”

    A few days ago, the media reported that NAB had started an inquiry against Ms Aurangzeb.

    The former minister alleged that NAB had deprived her of the right of fair trial under Article 10-A of the Constitution.

    She said the name of the complainant against her should be shared with the media.

    Ms Aurangzeb said she was always open to accountability, but warned that she wouldn’t let anyone berate or even think of insulting her. She said she would gain even more credibility from this frivolous smear campaign regardless of what NAB would get out of such a tainted act.

    Ms Aurangzeb alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was trying to sell the ‘NRO narrative’ as a distraction from its disastrous rule. She said the PTI government knew that the people had rejected this narrative and understood the inability and incapacity of “this group of corrupt and incompetent individuals masquerading as the so-called ambassadors of change”.

    The former minister alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan had destroyed the national institution for accountability by infiltrating and influencing it politically, adding that this tactic wouldn’t work for too long.

    “Will the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee stop with 150 court appearances of Nawaz Sharif? Will the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif result in withdrawal of skyrocketing inflation gifted by the PTI to people? Will the illegal abduction of Saad Rafique without any filed reference fill up Pakistan’s depleting foreign reserves? Will putting an illegal travel ban on Hamza Shahbaz result in lowering of electricity and gas prices which are crushing the people of Pakistan? Will launching and advertising a frivolous inquiry against her mask the disastrous failures of the incompetent PTI government? Will smear campaigns against her in the name of anonymous applications hide glaring theft of public money by Aleema Baji and the NRO gifted to her by the prime minister?” she asked.

    Ms Aurangzeb said that the PTI government had led the country to a dangerous crisis on every front.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Ex-minister says by sharing application against her with media, the anti-graft watchdog has defied CJP’s orders. — File photoEx-minister says by sharing application against her with media, the anti-graft watchdog has defied CJP’s orders. — File photo

    0 0

    LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday expressed its displeasure with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for delaying filing of reference against Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and former principal secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad in Ashiana Housing Scheme scam.

    Judge Syed Najamul Hassan Bokhari observed that the NAB showed ‘efficiency’ when it needed physical remand of a suspect but remained idle when it came to filing a reference.

    The judge also took exception to absence of the bureau’s investigating officer and wing officer despite an order. Later the IO appeared and tendered unconditional apology saying he failed to appear before the court on time due to an urgent meeting.

    However, the judge rejected the excuse given by the officer and observed that the NAB officials did not extend any favour to the court with their appearance. “They are duty bound to appear in courts whenever summoned,” the judge added and directed the wing officer to ensure his presence on next hearing.

    Meanwhile, the IO assured the court that the reference against Shahbaz Sharif and Fawad Hassan Fawad would be filed within two weeks.

    He said the reference against former head of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema, and six other suspects had already been filed in the same case. The court will resume hearing on Dec 21.

    The NAB accused the suspects of causing a loss of Rs660 million to the national exchequer with their corruption in the low-cost housing scheme launched by the PML-N government in the province.

    It alleged that Fawad misused his authority being secretary implementation of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and violated procurement rules to award contract of the housing scheme to a company of his choice. It said initially Rs1.5 billion worth of contract was given to successful bidder –M/s Chaudhry Latif and Sons. Later, Fawad cancelled the contract and awarded the same to M/s Lahore Casa Developers on an inflated price of Rs4bn. It said the government had to pay Rs6m as fine to the successful bidder.

    The bureau accused Shahbaz Sharif of issuing an unlawful order to entrust the housing project to the LDA when his close aide Ahad Khan Cheema was heading the authority as its director general.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Judge says NAB 'efficient' when it wants physical remand of suspects, but is idle when it comes to filing a reference. ─ AFP/FileJudge says NAB 'efficient' when it wants physical remand of suspects, but is idle when it comes to filing a reference. ─ AFP/File

    0 0

    LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Thursday sought complete record of trial court on an appeal challenging acquittal of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in Sabzazar fake police encounter case.

    Khurshid Khanum, mother of two brothers Waseem and Rauf, who were killed in the encounter, had filed the appeal in 2009 after a delay of one year. However, a division bench that took up the appeal at that time had condoned the delay after the appellant gave tangible reasons.

    The woman, through her counsel Aftab Ahmad Bajwa, pleaded that another complainant in murder case of Shakeel, Salahuddin and Ashraf had forgiven Shahbaz Sharif that led to his acquittal in the case.

    She said her husband had not withdrawn the charges. However, she said her husband later passed away and she also did not give up pursuing the case.

    The appellant said the trial court could not acquit the former chief minister of the charges relying on the statement of one party involved in the case. She asked the court to set aside the former chief minister’s acquittal order and issue directions to hold the trial afresh.

    During the Thursday’s hearing, the bench comprising Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin and Justice Chaudhry Mushtaq Ahmad observed that the record of the trial court had not been furnished by the prosecution side despite an order issued years ago. The bench directed the appellant’s counsel to submit the trial court record by Jan 27, 2019.

    Five persons were killed during a police encounter on April 4, 1998 in the jurisdiction of Sabzazar police station and the FIR was registered against 12 persons, including Shahbaz Sharif, on March 29, 2001.

    On March 1, 2008, an anti-terrorism court had acquitted then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif of Sabzazar police encounter case.

    A complainant, Saeeduddin and legal heirs of the other victims had stated before the court that they would have no objection to Shahbaz’s acquittal if he claimed innocence on oath.

    However, Shahbaz’s counsel had turned down the offer and told the court that he would contest the case to have it decided on merits. Finally, the trial court had acquitted Shahbaz Sharif of the charges on merits.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Mother of brothers killed in fake police encounter refuses to withdraw case against PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif. — File photoMother of brothers killed in fake police encounter refuses to withdraw case against PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif. — File photo

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: Military authorities have to decide 185 terrorism-related cases over the next three months as the two-year term of military courts will expire in March.

    In a written reply to a question raised by MNA Mohsin Dawar, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak informed the National Assembly on Wednesday that since the launch of the military operation Zarb-i-Azb the interior ministry had referred a total of 717 cases of terrorism to the military courts.

    Of the total cases, 185 are still under process and they have to be decided before March next year when the two-year term of the courts will expire.

    It is yet to be decided whether the military courts will be given another extension similar to 2017 when they were extended for two years.

    Giving details of the cases decided by military courts, the minister said that a total of 478 cases had been decided, which meant that the conviction rate of the cases was more than 60 per cent.

    He said that a total of 284 convicts had been awarded death sentences and 56 of them had already been executed.

    Similarly, he said, 192 convicts had been awarded rigorous imprisonment, two accused acquitted and 54 cases dropped due to technical reasons.

    The defence minister did not reply to a question seeking names of the terrorists killed or arrested during the operation Zarb-i-Azb, adding that he would obtain details of the insurgents killed or arrested during the military operation from the interior ministry.

    The military courts were allowed to try civilians accused of acts of terrorism in January 2015 soon after a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on Dec 16, 2014.

    The gory incident left more than 144 schoolchildren, teachers and other staff members of the Army Public School, Peshawar, dead. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the massacre.

    The courts were given a two-year constitutional cover as both houses of parliament had adopted the 21st constitution amendment with the inclusion of a sunset clause despite fears among lawmakers that tribunals might not ensure due process of law to suspects and might undermine democracy.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Defence Minister Pervez Khattak says a total of 717 terrorism cases to military courts since Zarb-i-Azb. — File photoDefence Minister Pervez Khattak says a total of 717 terrorism cases to military courts since Zarb-i-Azb. — File photo

    0 0

    PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday directed the interior ministry to make arrangements for the deportation of an Indian national, convicted by a military court of espionage, within one month of the completion of three-year prison term on Dec 15.

    Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan observed that the government departments should have make arrangements for deportation of Hamid Nehal Ansari before the completion of his prison term as keeping him in detention after that date would tarnish the image of the country.

    The bench fixed Jan 22 for the next hearing into a petition filed by senior advocate Qazi Mohammad Anwar on behalf of Mr Ansari complaining that the government had not made any arrangement for the release and deportation of his client as he was set to complete prison term.

    Observes detaining espionage convict beyond prison term will tarnish country’s image

    He said earlier, the high court had disposed of a writ petition of his client after the federal government had given assurance that he would be deported after the completion of prison term.

    The bench sought a report regarding compliance with the court’s order before the next hearing.

    The petitioner, who had gone missing in 2012 from Kohat district, was convicted by a field general court martial on the charges of espionage and anti-state activities on Dec 15, 2015, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

    He denied the charges and claimed that he visited Pakistan to help a female Facebook friend in Kohat as she was in trouble.

    Qazi Anwar said keeping the petitioner detained after the completion of prison term would amount to illegal detention.

    A section officer of the interior ministry said the ministry was in contact with the relevant quarters, including the defence and foreign affairs ministries on the matter.

    He said the travel documents of the petitioner would be made by the Indian high commission for which the interior ministry had requested the Foreign Office to take up the matter with the high commission.

    The officer said under Section 14-C of the Foreigners Act, a foreigner convicted and sentenced to imprisonment in the country should not be released on the expiry of the sentence and should continue to remain in custody for a period not exceeding three months to finalise arrangement for his or her deportation.

    The bench observed that the petitioner had approached the court on several occasions and his case was known to the federal government.

    It added that it was the responsibility of the government to make arrangements for his deportation before completion of his sentence as his date of completion of prison term was known to all relevant departments.

    The petitioner had gone missing after he was taken into custody by intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat district on Nov 14, 2012.

    The high court was informed on Jan 13, 2016, that he was in the custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court.

    In Feb 2016, it surfaced that he was convicted by a military court and was sentenced to three years imprisonment and was shifted to the Peshawar central prison and subsequently to Mardan prison.

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    PHC observes detaining espionage convict beyond prison term will tarnish country’s image. — File photoPHC observes detaining espionage convict beyond prison term will tarnish country’s image. — File photo

    0 0

    LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly is setting new precedents these days. On Thursday, it violated all traditions when Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi ignored calls for quorum, delivered ‘highly partisan’ political speech from his rostrum and once adjourned the House to only restart session in next five minutes.

    It all started when Waris Kahloon of the PML-N stood on a point of order and again requested the Chair for production order for Khwaja Salman Rafique, who was nabbed by the National Accountability Bureau two days earlier. Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat responded by saying that there were no rules to issue such an order.

    “Even if the House, as desired by my colleague, Waris Kahloon, passes a resolution for release of the members and the courts ignore it, where would this House and its prestige stand? The Treasury is not opposing release of any particular person, but only pointing out absence of relevant law that empowers the Chair to issue such an order,” the law minister said.

    Waris Kahloon, however, insisted that the Chair can issue such orders. “If such production orders were not passed (for Maulana Azam Tariq, Moonis Elahi etc.) in the past as the Treasury says, we condemn the act and asked the Chair to issue them now, and he certainly can.”

    Chair violates traditions; minister says no law exists to issue production order for detained member

    Kahloon’s views were supported by former speaker Rana Iqbal, who maintained that the Chair can direct the NAB and it must. “All previous precedents have different context. The law minister is only challenging the powers of the custodian of the House when he cites absence of rules. The Chair has the powers to even set new precedents,” Iqbal insisted.

    As Waris Kahloon again stood up to further elaborate his point, he was snubbed by the Chair: “Please sit down now, you have marked you presence in the house (of Sharifs) that matters to you. In earlier cases, you could not put up courage to oppose Rana Sanaullah who opposed such orders (for Moonis Elahi, his son). Rana Sanaullah is the man responsible for Model Town massacre. You people should have then told your government to appoint better advisers and ministers instead of like Rana Sanaullah.”

    The highly political sermon by the speaker, supposed to be neutral custodian of the House, raised a few eyebrows in the press gallery as well but he kept surprising everyone when only five minutes down the line he was at it again. Advising the Treasury to forget the past and try to build consensus for such an amendment and bring legislation to the House, he said: “I don’t trust the opposition. It can go back on its words once this lot returns to power. They can do it again, but the PTI government should stay positive.”

    He was continuing when the Opposition, failing to get the production order, decided to walk out of the House. “Okay, go out. No issue” was the Chair’s response and he continued telling the Treasury to prepare the draft.

    He was still sermonising when Raheela Naeem of the Opposition returned to point out quorum at around 1.23pm. She kept yelling about the quorum but the Chair kept talking to the Treasury and the law minister assuring him that it would be done soon. After finishing the talk, the Chair told the House that since quorum has been pointed out, “we should disperse for prayers.” The Chair was told by some cabinet members that the agenda has also been completed upon which the speaker announced adjournment of the House for Friday morning.

    The assembly staff told the Chair that since quorum has been pointed out, customary ringing of bells for five minutes was mandatory. “Ok, ring the bells,” they were told. Surprisingly, as members start assembling with bells and the House had the numbers, the Chair restarted the proceedings and told members to come with “call attention notice.” They stayed in session for another 10 minutes before it was adjourned again [for Friday morning].

    Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018


    Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi lashed out at PML-N lawmaker. — File photoPunjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi lashed out at PML-N lawmaker. — File photo

older | 1 | .... | 2887 | 2888 | (Page 2889) | 2890 | 2891 | .... | 2937 | newer