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    KARACHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 35 per cent in the first five months of the current fiscal year, mainly due to a sharp drop in Chinese investments.

    The State Bank reported on Monday that the FDI during July-November FY19 clocked in at $880.7 million against $1359m in the same period of last fiscal year; a decline of $478m or 35pc.

    FDI from China decreased to $554m during the period under review compared to $912m last year. Pakistan has been largely dependent on China for its FDI since total investments from the country during the last fiscal year stood at $2.85bn. The inflow from China constituted 66pc of the total FDI in FY19.

    “Investors are moving ahead, but cautiously and with a wait-and-see attitude” said Abdul Aleem, Secretary General of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was upbeat about more foreign investment in the future, pointing to the acquisition of 29pc shares of Elengy Terminal Pakistan Ltd (ETPL) by Dutch giant Vopak announced late last week.

    FDI had been on a declining trend in the country till FY2012, when it hit a trough of $820m but began rising from FY2013, led mainly by Chinese investments under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But those have begun to taper off now as the early harvest projects draw to a close.

    The government officials are preparing to leave Beijing for the 8th Joint Cooperating Committee talks to develop a framework to guide the second generation of Chinese investment flows into the country, primarily through the construction of the Special Economic Zones and the agriculture sector.

    The central bank report shows the outflow of portfolio investment rose to $330m in the five months compared to an outflow of $100m during same period of last fiscal year.

    Furthermore, the overall foreign private investment fell by 56pc to $550m in the five months. Pakistan’s economic hardships have grown in the last year as the authorities failed to curtail the rising current account deficit amid declining reserves.

    The government after assuming power in August sought help from Saudi Arabia and was successful in securing a $3bn bailout, of which it has already received $2bn, with the last payment due in January next year.

    However, the government will not be able to use these funds to pay off its foreign liabilities.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


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    ISLAMABAD: Journalists held demonstrations in major cities on Monday to protest layoff by the Jang group.

    Representative bodies of journalists led the protests in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

    In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital journalists boycotted proceedings of the KP Assembly in protest against large-scale sacking of journalists and other employees by the Jang group.

    The media group management cut hundreds of jobs last week and shut down some of its publications, including Awam and Daily News.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Representative bodies of journalists led the protests in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.Representative bodies of journalists led the protests in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

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    RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is in Egypt on an official visit, called on Commander in Chief of Egyptian armed forces and minister of defence and military production Gen Mohamed Zaki and Chief of the Staff of Egyptian Armed Forces Lt Gen Mohamed Farid Hegazy.

    Matters of mutual interest, military-to-military relations, defence and security cooperation were discussed during the meetings, said a press release issued here by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday.

    The Egyptian leadership highly appreciated the professionalism of the Pakistan Army and determination of the nation in combating terrorism. Both sides agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in multiple fields, including joint ventures, defence production, training and intelligence. The two sides also agreed to improve cooperation for regional peace and stability.

    Al-Azhar’s grand sheikh welcomes Paigham-i-Pakistan fatwa on issues arising from extremism

    The COAS also met Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar. The sheikh commended the efforts of the Pakistan Army in eliminating the scourge of terrorism from the country.

    He also appreciated the issuance of Paigham-i-Pakistan fatwa on issues arising from extremism by religious scholars of all schools of thoughts of Pakistan.

    He added that Islam is a religion of moderation and a complete code of conduct, which must not be linked to terrorism and extremism in the global community.

    The army chief emphasised the need to harness Muslim youth towards enlightenment, technological advancement, moderation and harmony.

    Earlier, on arrival, a smartly turned out contingent of the Egyptian Army presented a guard of honour to Gen Bajwa at the ministry of defence.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Chief of the Staff of Egyptian Armed Forces Lt Gen Mohamed Farid Hegazy on Monday.—APPChief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Chief of the Staff of Egyptian Armed Forces Lt Gen Mohamed Farid Hegazy on Monday.—APP

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    LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated another probe against former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique and his brother former Punjab health minister Khwaja Salman Rafique for possessing assets beyond their known sources of income.

    The Khwaja brothers are already in the NAB Lahore custody in connection with the Paragon City Housing Society scam on physical remand.

    “The NAB has started another probe against the Khwaja brothers for possessing assets beyond known sources of their income. Besides, the bureau is also looking into some contracts of buying locomotives during the tenure of Saad Rafique as the railways minister,” a source told Dawn on Monday.

    The source said the NAB may summon Saad Rafique’s first wife Ghazala, as she was one of the partners in Paragon City.

    The NAB claimed that Saad, through his benamidar wife Ghazala, and brother Salman in association with Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia had established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue that was converted into a new project, namely M/s Paragon City Pvt Ltd.

    “Record shows that Paragon City is an illegal society. The suspect in collaboration with Zia and Butt cheated the members of public at large and obtained illegal pecuniary benefits from the funds of said illegal housing project. Saad Rafique is operating this illegal housing project through the co-accused persons who are collecting deposits from general public despite clear directions of the Lahore Development Authority that this project is unapproved. The suspect has been continuously obtaining illegal/illegitimate funds/benefits from the said project, as he obtained 40-kanal plots in his own name and in the name of his brother (Salman),” the bureau alleged.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    The Khwaja brothers are already in the NAB Lahore custody in connection with the Paragon City Housing Society scam. — FileThe Khwaja brothers are already in the NAB Lahore custody in connection with the Paragon City Housing Society scam. — File

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    KARACHI: The municipal administration of the city on Monday warned that criminal cases would be registered against the shopkeepers involved in re-establishing encroachments.

    Informed sources in the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation told Dawn that perpetrators would be booked and arrested under relevant sections of Pakistan Penal Code and Sindh Public Property (Removal of Encroachment) Act.

    Meanwhile, they said, action against encroachments in different areas of the city continued as the KMC’s anti-encroachment staff removed the extended floors and other encroachments in front of shops in Khori Garden area of district South.

    They said that the shopkeepers were also warned not to establish encroachments again, or FIRs would be lodged against the perpetrators.

    The officials said that hotels and shops built on footpaths around Munawwar Chowrangi, Gulistan-i-Jauhar were also removed. They said that the encroachers had built a hotel and eight shops there.

    The officials said that action would be completed in the vicinity after removal of encroachments around the Continental Bakery.

    Besides, the officials said that as many as 12 shops and 25 floors made illegally near Munawwar Hospital, Block H of North Nazimabad, were demolished by the anti-encroachment staff.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Officials say hotels and shops built on footpaths around Munawwar Chowrangi, Gulistan-i-Jauhar were also removed.Officials say hotels and shops built on footpaths around Munawwar Chowrangi, Gulistan-i-Jauhar were also removed.

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    HYDERABAD: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that inter-provincial water distribution is in accordance with the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord and if there is a shortage of water in the river system, it is borne by all provinces.

    He was speaking to the media at Ghulam Mohammad Barrage (better known as Kotri Barrage) in Jamshoro on Monday. He said Sindh government should have built dams and water reservoirs but no attention was paid. “No one else can be held responsible for this,” he said, adding that it is right time that attention be paid to it (building storages) and the problem be resolved.

    The governor said that the federal government had already released its committed funds for the K-IV project, pointing out that the delay caused in the construction had escalated its cost to Rs125 billion from Rs25bn. He said that several changes were made in the project but the federal government still wanted its completion at all costs.

    Governor Ismail termed media reports about water flows “jugglery of figures” and claimed that “Sindh is getting its due share ... it is not treated differently”. He asked a questioner as to where water was being stopped.

    ‘He is panicked because of corruption cases against him’

    Commenting on [former head of state] Asif Ali Zardari’s recent remarks, the governor said they appeared highly inappropriate in terms of the country’s stability. He said according to Mr Zardari, barring him all others had been introduced by army. “Asif Zardari is panicked; he must disclose that who had brought him [to power]. He [Mr Zardari] was facing confusion because there were charges of corruption against him”, he said.

    “After Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom, he projected himself as the hero but it is not going to last any longer.

    The governor said that if investigations found him to be involved in corruption, he might be arrested.

    About Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s performance, he said that his party was being asked to account for its 100 days, but the question was being asked by those who had done nothing in the past 70 years.

    Housing projects

    Governor Ismail distributed keys of flats, built by the Saylani Welfare Trust, to some of the allottees of the 92 flats project for low-income group at a ceremony held here on Monday. He also performed the ground-breaking of a 200 flats project in Bismillah City, Latifabad Unit-10, at a separate ceremony.

    Speaking at the SWT ceremony, the governor said he had invited the trust to sign a joint venture with the government to build more residential units for deserving people under the prime minister’s five million houses project.

    He said he would ask the PM to help acquire land for 5,000 flats in Hyderabad district. He said he had already selected the proposed site.

    The governor visited site of the newly-built flats and inaugurated SWT’s 200 flats site in Kohsar, Latifabad.

    Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh, MQM-P MPA Nadeem Siddiqui, SWT founder chairman Bashir Ahmed Farooqui and a large number of guests atten­ded the ceremony.

    MUET convocation

    Governor Ismail gave away gold and silver medals and certificates to meritorious students and degrees to 940 graduating students at the 22nd convocation of the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) in Jamshoro on Monday.

    Speaking at the programme, he congratulated the successful students and hoped that they would prefer to serve this country to the best of their abilities, besides going for higher studies.

    Universities do not have a traditional role these days; they are now playing a pivotal role in producing leadership, contributing to the country’s economic development and helping resolve social issues, according to him.

    The governor particularly ackno­w­led­ged the services of MUET teachers and performance of students in this regard. He pledged his due cooperation with the university administration in getting its issues resolved.

    He stressed the need for research and efforts towards meeting major challenges like controlling population growth, overcoming energy and water crises, addressing environmental issues etc and hoped that the faculty and graduating students would do their best in this regard.

    Seven gold and 30 silver medals were awarded to best students, including toppers while 42 students received merit certificates at the convocation. Nine scholars were also awarded PhD degrees.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    GOVERNOR Imran Ismail speaks at the 22nd convocation of MUET in Jamshoro on Monday.—OnlineGOVERNOR Imran Ismail speaks at the 22nd convocation of MUET in Jamshoro on Monday.—Online

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    ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of China Yao Jing on Monday said the government of Pakistan should create public awareness to stop deforestation and launch plantation at a massive level to increase the forest cover in the country.

    “We were also facing the same issue due to which in the 1990s it was decided to make a green wall in China. As China is a larger country compared to Pakistan, we had more problems but we addressed them by creating public awareness. I am hopeful that Pakistan would also address the issue as the government has shown a commitment,” he said while talking to Dawn after a media briefing held at the Ministry of Climate Change.

    The ambassador said it takes time to increase the forest cover but once efforts are started with a full commitment things are surely improved.

    Addressing the mediapersons, Mr Yao said Pakistan and China had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which Beijing would support Pakistan to increase its forest cover.

    “The MoU, which was signed during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China last month, is just a start. It is the 40th anniversary of Chinese development and opening up to the world. We can share a lot for better management of environment.”

    He said the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative was not only possible but can make a difference. He said China would support Pakistan in all such projects.

    Earlier, Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the MoU inked between the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Climate Change of Pakistan aimed at enhancing and strengthening bilateral relations in the field of forestry and climate.

    He lauded the Chinese government’s environment projects of Eco-Civilisation and Green Wall of China. He said these projects increased the forest cover in China from 12pc to 18pc which constituted 500,000 square kilometres. Moreover, the green wall stopped the spread of deserts.

    Mr Aslam said China had supported professionals from Pakistan through participation in training courses on forestry, wildlife, rangeland improvement, wetland management and desertification control in the past.

    “Since Pakistan is also in the process of implementing massive afforestation projects, we will get an opportunity to learn from the Chinese experience,” he said.

    About the recent Conference of the Parties (COP 24), which was held in Poland and participated by Mr Aslam, he said China took the leading role throughout the conference.

    He said Pakistan had completed one billion tree tsunami project and was going to complete the 10 billion tree tsunami project in the five-year tenure of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government.

    “China has constructed three dams which are being used to recharge the underground water. We also want to learn from China and get its support in recharging the underground water,” he said.

    In reply to a question, Mr Aslam said in the past palm trees were planted along with development projects, especially roads and metro bus projects.

    “However, we will plant such trees which are environment friendly and help in increasing the forest cover,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam talks to media on Monday. Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing is also present. — OnlineAdviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam talks to media on Monday. Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing is also present. — Online

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    LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has prepared a reference against the PML-N president, Shahbaz Sharif and former principal secretary to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif Fawad Hasan Fawad, in the Rs14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing project case and sent it to the anti-graft watchdog chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal for approval.

    “The main charge against Shahbaz Sharif is misuse of authority, while Mr Fawad is accused of making assets worth Rs740 million illegally, besides misuse of authority,” an official source told Dawn on Monday.

    He said a relative of Mr Fawad had contacted NAB for plea bargain, but so far Mr Fawad had not himself consented for it. “Mr Fawad will have to deposit his liability (Rs740m) to the national exchequer as he made the amount illegally,” he said.

    “The reference will be filed in the accountability court after the approval of the executive board of the bureau under chairman,” he said.

    With regard to investigation against Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif for allegedly possessing assets beyond his known sources of income, the source said: “The bureau is investigating some benami accounts in this respect.”

    In the Ashiana housing case, Shahbaz is accused of misuse of authority for canceling the award of the project’s contract to successful bidder M/s Chaudhry Latif and Sons and instead obliging M/s Lahore Casa Developers (JV) -- a proxy group of M/s Paragon City (Pvt) Limited (which is allegedly developed by former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique) -- thus causing millions of rupees losses to the exchequer.

    Mr Shahbaz also allegedly directed the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), resulting in award of contract to the Lahore Casa Developers (JV). This allegedly caused Rs715 million loss to the exchequer and ultimately failed the project.

    “Shahbaz is also accused of directing the PLDC to award consultancy services of the project to M/s Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab for Rs192m, whereas the actual cost was Rs35m as quoted by Nespak.”

    On the other hand, Mr Fawad could not provide money trail of his assets. Mr Fawad, being implementation secretary to then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in 2013 is also accused of misusing his authority.

    “Mr Fawad had called the project director of Ashiana housing project to his office and warned him of consequences. Under the garb of allegations of wrongdoings in the award of the contract to M/ s Latif and Sons, he forced him (PD) to cancel it,” said the source. Mr Fawad had reportedly confessed (to NAB) that the contract of the successful bidder was cancelled at Shahbaz’s behest.

    Former LDA director general Ahad Khan Cheema is also facing NAB references in Ashiana housing case and was accused of making assets (worth Rs660 million).

    All the three suspects – Shahbaz, Fawad and Cheema --- are on judicial remand. Shahbaz Sharif is currently attending the National Assembly session in Islamabad after the speaker issued his production order.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Leader of the Opposition in NA, Shahbaz Sharif, is currently under judicial custody. — FileLeader of the Opposition in NA, Shahbaz Sharif, is currently under judicial custody. — File

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    KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Rangers authorities to dismantle their checkpoints set up on city roads that were no longer in use.

    Justice Gulzar Ahmed passed this order while heading a meeting at the apex court’s Karachi registry to review progress on the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in the metropolis.

    The meeting was attended by the chief secretary, home secretary, metropolitan commissioner, senior officers of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi Development Authority, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Sindh Building Control Authority, Pakistan Railways, police, Rangers, cantonment boards and others.

    Sources told Dawn that an assistant director of the KMC’s anti-encroachment department submitted a report stating that operations were conducted in 35 areas for removal of encroachments in the light of the apex court’s directives.

    The report stated that 143 unauthorised shops and 300 pavement set-ups had been razed during an operation in the Dawood Chowrangi area.

    Justice Gulzar Ahmed reviews progress of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi

    It stated that 55 cabins, 150 pavements and 148 illegally raised walls had been demolished in Mehran Town. It added that 70 walls and 30 pavements had been demolished during an operation in the fish market on Nishtar Road.

    Similarly, the report further stated that 25 shops, 30 wall-fixers and 30 pavements had been removed/demolished during an operation in the Khajoor Bazaar. In the Sarrafa Bazaar, 300 unauthorised pavements were removed and 20 walls pulled down, it added.

    The report added that 22 shops, 70 cabins and 71 sunshades built/erected illegally were removed during an operation in Baldia Town while another 40 shops, 30 wall-fixers and 40 pavements were also demolished in Peetal Gali.

    Housing colonies on KWSB land

    KWSB’s managing director Khalid Shaikh, deputy MD Asadullah and others also appeared and submitted a progress report.

    They informed the judge that there were around 25 to 30 such areas where housing colonies were constructed near the water pumping stations or sewerage treatment plants of the water utility, adding that these accommodations were for the officers so that they could look after 24-hour operations of these pumping stations/plants.

    Their report further mentioned that while the land of these housing societies was not mentioned as amenity land in any master plan, these accommodations did not mean encroachments since the same were considered a part of the water board’s land.

    The report stated that there was a housing colony in the vicinity of the Sewerage Treatment Plant-II in Mehmoodabad, but since the plant was lying dysfunctional and the untreated water was being diverted to the TP-IV, the land in question was not required by the water utility.

    However, the KWSB officers informed that they could not get the land in question vacated since enormous residential buildings had been built on it while the water board had no ownership rights in respect of the subject land.

    The officers proposed that the ownership rights of the land in question may be given to the KWSB so that it could initiate action against encroachments.

    Justice Ahmed directed Sindh Advocate General Salman Talibuddin to hold a meeting with the Karachi commissioner to resolve the matter.

    The AG informed the judge that the operation for removal of encroachments from amenity plots, public parks and storm-water drains was continuing in compliance with the court directives.

    No action taken against residential buildings

    However, the law officer said no action was taken against residential buildings which had been built in an illegal or unauthorised manner since it was required to first serve notices on the occupants of such houses/residential buildings asking them to voluntarily vacate those premises.

    He proposed that in case the anti-encroachment staff visited any residential areas and the residents showed ownership documents, (along with the fact that a number of cases in this regard were also pending before the courts concerned), the apex court may issue necessary directives to the relevant courts to decide such matters on a priority basis within a specific period of time.

    The apex court’s judge asked the authorities concerned to continue operation against encroachments from public parks, footpaths, amenity plots and storm-water drains.

    To a query regarding the barricades placed on roads, Rangers officers informed the judge that some pickets set up on roads for security purposes had not been removed so that the deployment of troops could be made as and when required in the wake of any untoward situation.

    However, the judge asked them to ensure that the pickets no more in their routine use be dismantled and unnecessary barricades also be removed from a portion of Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road.

    The divisional superintendent of Pakistan Railways submitted a progress report, stating that the operation was under way for removal of encroachments from the land belonging to the Railways as well as the tracks of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and the tram in the city and the same would be retrieved from encroachers.

    The meeting would resume at 3pm on Tuesday (today).

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Justice Gulzar Ahmed reviews progress of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi. — FileJustice Gulzar Ahmed reviews progress of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: Concluding final arguments in the third and last reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed told the accountability court on Monday that Mr Sharif was not a formal employee of Capital FZE.

    The Flagship Investment reference is the third reference prepared by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the Supreme Court’s directive.

    The apex court had in its July 28 judgement directed NAB to file three references — Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment — against the former premier.

    Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir had on July 6 convicted Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield Properties reference.

    The remaining two references were transferred to another accountability court headed by judge Mohammad Arshad Malik.

    Defence counsel concludes arguments in Flagship Investment reference

    Judge Malik heard the final arguments in the Al-Azizia reference.

    The SC has directed the accountability court to conclude the proceedings and announce the verdict in both the references by Dec 24.

    During Monday’s hearing, Khawaja Haris told the court that Mr Sharif was not a regular or formal employee of Capital FZE since his son Hussain Nawaz had issued his appointment letter as chairman of the Capital FZE board in 2006 after the former premier applied for a visa of the United Arab Emirates.

    He said Mr Sharif needed a valid iqama in order to travel to the UAE and for this reason his son had appointed him chairman of the Capital FZE board.

    The counsel argued that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the SC to probe the Panama Papers case had not asked any question about the company when he appeared before it to record his statement.

    He told the accountability judge that Mr Sharif did not hide his employment with Capital FZE from the apex court during the hearing of the Panama Papers case.

    It may be mentioned that the SC had in the July 28 judgement disqualified Mr Sharif from holding a public office for the reason that the former premier did not declare his un-withdrawn salary from Capital FZE in his assets declaration form.

    In response to a question by the judge as to “how Nawaz Sharif [got] inducted in the company”, Khawaja Haris said that “Capital FZE was a one-man sort of company and his son appointed him chairman of the board committee to enable him to travel the UAE”.

    When asked “was there any board to which Nawaz Sharif was heading and is there any resolution from the board to appoint him as chairman”, the counsel said that since it was an informal appointment, there was no resolution at all. There was no board in fact. Mr Sharif was appointed chairman, but later on his post was amended as chairman of the Capital FZE board and this amendment was made with a pen on his employment contract, he added.

    Cash flow chart

    Khawaja Haris argued that star prosecution witness Wajid Zia produced a cash flow chart and admitted that he was not its author. “Wajid Zia told the court that data entry operators in the JIT prepared this cash flow chart, but he did not disclose their identities for security reason,” the defence counsel said, adding that no official from the Federal Board of Revenue was summoned by the JIT to verify the cash flow chart.

    He argued that Mr Sharif’s sons, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, were running their respective businesses in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia and that they were never involved in any wrongdoing.

    The defence counsel said that both Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were dependent upon their grandfather, Mian Mohammad Sharif, and even Mr Sharif’s son-in-law Mr Safdar was used to get pocket money from Mian Sharif while he was living in Saudi Arabia.

    After Khawaja Haris concluded his arguments, judge Arshad Malik directed the prosecution to start final arguments from Tuesday (today).

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


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    ISLAMABAD: Vowing to increase salary structure of the bureaucracy and wealth creation in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that in 1935 commissioners and brigadiers were getting such a hefty monthly salary that they could buy 70 tolas of gold.

    “In 1935 commissioners and brigadiers could buy 70 tolas of gold with their monthly salary,” the prime minister said while addressing a function organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

    He said [today] the salaries of bureaucrats had fallen down because the rate of wealth creation had also dived down in the country.

    Wants change in ‘mindset’, promises gas and electricity to industry at ‘competitive’ rates

    The prime minister held the previous governments responsible for the present economic difficulties of the country and said that nothing had been done for wealth creation in previous decades. He said there was a mindset in the country that making money [even through legal means] was wrong. “The present pathetic economic situation is because of the same mindset.”

    Pledging to provide ease of doing business especially to the investors and business community in the country, the prime minister said he could not focus on the problems of businessmen during first four months of his government, adding that most of the time he and his team had spent on finding ways to tackle foreign debts and issues connected with their retirement and servicing.

    He said the government had separated tax collection from tax policy making as earlier both were being done by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). “Unfortunately, we utilised our energies in tax collection in the past but no tax reform was made to facilitate investors and businessmen,” he said, adding that it was for the first time the government had decided to provide gas and electricity to industry on competitive rates so that they could complete with their rivals in India, Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries.

    Mr Khan said the people of the country in general and bureaucracy in particular had to change their mindset that wealth creation was not a bad thing. “Today we want people and bureaucracy to support businesses.”

    He said that if countries like Singapore and Malaysia with total population of five million and 60m, respectively, could increase their annual exports to $220 to $230 billion, then why not Pakistan with a population of 200m could improve its exports from only $24 billion per year.

    Promising the business community a “better investment environment”, the prime minister said the government was promoting wealth culture in the country to provide opportunity of wealth creation to investors.

    “Today chairman Federal Board of Revenue was saying in a meeting that wealth creation was not a bad thing. I was happy to hear this from a bureaucrat like him because it means that mindset of bureaucracy is also changing,” he said.

    The prime minister had said the same thing at a separate event on Thursday.

    He said the menace of poverty could not be overcome without wealth creation. “When the money is earned, its trickledown effect reaches even the lowest segment of society.”

    Prime Minister Khan said special efforts were being made to bridge the gap between private and public sectors and to reach out to the private sector to revive their confidence in government policies and put in place a framework that facilitated business community in its business pursuits.

    Meeting with party leaders

    In a separate meeting with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders hailing from Gujranwala and Faisalabad, the prime minister assured them of resolving issues being faced by small industrialists and farmers.

    He said he would soon direct Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to hold meetings with PTI representatives in the province and devise strategy to solve their problems.

    The prime minister assured the PTI leaders from Gujranwala of establishing a Lahore High Court bench in Gujranwala division.

    Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018


    Wants change in ‘mindset’, promises gas and electricity to industry at ‘competitive’ rates.Wants change in ‘mindset’, promises gas and electricity to industry at ‘competitive’ rates.

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    The days when Muslim immigrants had to worry about Halal food in New York are long gone.

    Today, the Halal food business in the city is booming; Halal carts have become so popular that many people getting food there don’t even know what the word means.

    “I want to do Halal for lunch today,” an American friend tells me.

    To him Halal is just another kind of cuisine.


    A Sikh man waits for his dinner order.
    A Sikh man waits for his dinner order.

    If you’re buying a hot dog in the Big Apple, chances are you're buying it from from a Halal cart.

    On any given day, parked amongst a handful of other options is ‘Sammy’s Halal Cart’.

    Adnan prepares chicken for the lunch rush hour.
    Adnan prepares chicken for the lunch rush hour.

    Halal food vendors have a variety of sauces including hot sauce, white sauce and green sauce.
    Halal food vendors have a variety of sauces including hot sauce, white sauce and green sauce.

    The change hasn’t happened overnight. In 2007, a New York Times article observed that New Yorkers were ditching hot dogs for more filling Halal food options popping up around the city.

    A little over a decade later, the hot dog stands the article talked about are practically dead. And Halal is now considered a staple food in the city.

    Chicken over rice has quickly become a go-to quick bite for many New Yorkers.
    Chicken over rice has quickly become a go-to quick bite for many New Yorkers.

    “What would you like?” asks Muhammad Adnan Arif, with a smile.

    Adnan spends about 11 to 12 hours a day inside the cart, only leaving to pray and use the restroom.
    Adnan spends about 11 to 12 hours a day inside the cart, only leaving to pray and use the restroom.

    Adnan, an immigrant from Pakistan is in his early thirties, and one of two men who work at the cart during the day. He moved to the United States in 1995.

    In his time here he has seen New York change, and yet stay the same.

    Adnan says because the cart is metallic, it becomes cold during the winter and warm during the summer.
    Adnan says because the cart is metallic, it becomes cold during the winter and warm during the summer.

    He stays in his cart all day, only stepping out to use the restroom and say his prayers.

    At sunset, he can be seen saying praying Maghrib right outside his cart, using a flat cardboard box as a prayer mat.

    Adnan says Maghrib prayers outside his cart.
    Adnan says Maghrib prayers outside his cart.

    Adnan's line of work allows him to have a unique view of the city.

    He interacts with all sorts of people; from devout Muslims who come to the cart because they are particular about how the meat is slaughtered, to drunk college students who just need a quick, affordable bite to eat after a long night of partying.

    Adnan counts money at the end of the day.
    Adnan counts money at the end of the day.

    During Adnan's shift he is usually joined by a worker who is also an immigrant from Morocco.
    During Adnan's shift he is usually joined by a worker who is also an immigrant from Morocco.

    Like Adnan, the owners of Sammy’s Halal Cart are also Pakistani.

    Adnan says that he likes working for people who understand his cultural and religious background and needs.

    At the end of each shift the workers divide the tips that have been collected.
    At the end of each shift the workers divide the tips that have been collected.

    When Adnan isn’t grilling chicken or managing the books, he is making calls to Pakistan, catching up with his wife and children.

    Customers line up outside the cart on the busy 6th Avenue and West 4th Street intersection.
    Customers line up outside the cart on the busy 6th Avenue and West 4th Street intersection.


    These photos were originally photographed for a group show called ‘Photographing New York,’ currently on display at the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.


    Muhammad Adnan Arif was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He moved to the United States in 1995. After initially driving a taxi for a few years, he has been working at a Halal Cart in Manhattan. He comes in every morning at 7 am and leaves at around 5 pm. He stays in the 5' by 10' cart all day, only stepping out to pray and use the restroom. The cart he works at is a Sammy's Halal Food cart, which is one of the many halal food carts that have taken over New York City. — Fahad NaveedMuhammad Adnan Arif was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He moved to the United States in 1995. After initially driving a taxi for a few years, he has been working at a Halal Cart in Manhattan. He comes in every morning at 7 am and leaves at around 5 pm. He stays in the 5' by 10' cart all day, only stepping out to pray and use the restroom. The cart he works at is a Sammy's Halal Food cart, which is one of the many halal food carts that have taken over New York City. — Fahad Naveed

    Muhammad Adnan Arif was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He moved to the United States in 1995. After initially driving a taxi for a few years, he has been working at a Halal Cart in Manhattan. He comes in every morning at 7 am and leaves at around 5 pm. He stays in the 5' by 10' cart all day, only stepping out to pray and use the restroom. The cart he works at is a Sammy's Halal Food cart, which is one of the many halal food carts that have taken over New York City. — Fahad NaveedMuhammad Adnan Arif was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He moved to the United States in 1995. After initially driving a taxi for a few years, he has been working at a Halal Cart in Manhattan. He comes in every morning at 7 am and leaves at around 5 pm. He stays in the 5' by 10' cart all day, only stepping out to pray and use the restroom. The cart he works at is a Sammy's Halal Food cart, which is one of the many halal food carts that have taken over New York City. — Fahad Naveed

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    The Islamabad police on Tuesday registered a first investigation report (FIR) against five persons — including the security guards of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif — for violently assaulting a Samaa TV cameraman a day earlier.

    TV footage on Monday had showed Syed Wajid Ali, the cameraman, lying on the ground outside the parliament building after a security guard allegedly shoved him for coming in the way of the PML-N supreme leader while recording him.

    Another guard was then seen rushing towards the cameraman and kicking him squarely in the face. The guard, as per the footage, then escapes the scene in one of the vehicles of the protocol.

    The cameraman, who lost consciousness due to the kick, was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims). According to doctors, Ali had sustained injuries on his lip, where he was administered three stitches, and on his head.

    The FIR registered today on the complaint of the cameraman names three guards from Sharif's convoy and two unknown assailants. The case has been registered under Sections 355 and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code

    According to the FIR, Wajid the cameraman said that he was attacked by two security guards upon the instruction of their chief while he was trying to take photographs of Sharif leaving the parliament building.

    "I became unconscious as a result of the torture," Wajid is quoted as saying in the FIR.

    The incident happened in the presence of Usman Cheema, Wahab Kamran and other journalists, the FIR added.

    Later, two of Nawaz's guards named Mansub and Mohsin were presented before a civil judge, who remanded the duo on judicial custody for 14 days.

    Cameraman hit the guard first: Nawaz

    Sharif, while speaking to the media, described the incident as unfortunate and assured that "every measure will be taken in accordance with the law."

    The former prime minister regretted the incident but claimed that the assaulted cameraman had first hit his guard with his camera.

    "That is no way [to behave]," Sharif said. "[But] the cameraman had hit the guard on his forehead with his equipment."

    "I will aid the investigation into the matter in every way possible and I will also take action against the guards who are involved in this," Sharif said, adding that he would never want to hurt the people who are reporting about him and his family "in this difficult time."

    Additional reporting by Javed Hussain and Mohammad Imran


    Cameraman claims two guards assaulted him on the orders of the chief security guard. — FileCameraman claims two guards assaulted him on the orders of the chief security guard. — File

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in Konya while on an official visit to Turkey at the invitation of the president of the Constitutional Court of Turkey.

    According to a press release issued by the public relations office of the Supreme Court, the top judge during the meeting highlighted the "special love and affection" between the people of Pakistan and Turkey.

    Ergodan, while welcoming CJP Nisar to the city of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, also expressed his warm sentiments for the people of Pakistan.

    The top judge participated in the "Seb-i-Arus" ceremony held in Konya to commemorate the death anniversary of Maulana Rumi, where he witnessed the "samah" [whirling dervishes] ceremony as part of the commemorative events.

    Earlier in the day, Justice Nisar held a meeting with the president of the Constitutional Court of Turkey, Prof Dr Zuhtu Arsalan, in Ankara.

    According to the press release, the two sides exchanged views on legal and judicial matters of mutual interest.

    The top judge briefed his Turkish counterpart on the workings of the judicial system of Pakistan. He also outlined the initiatives being taken by the SC to further the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan.

    The top judge said that the SC was working to ensure that the "executive would take all possible measures to uphold these fundamental rights".

    ​In this regard, CJP Nisar briefed Dr Arslan on "his initiatives for water management, population control, provision of health facilities, and ensures justice and rule of law".

    Dr Arslan briefed the the top judge on the working of the Turkish judicial system, informing him that the Turkish Constitutional Court system was one of the oldest in the Europe.

    During the meeting, CJP Nisar and the president of the Turkish Constitutional Court "agreed to further strengthen institutional collaborations between the highest courts of the two countries".


    CJP Nisar called on President Erdogan on Tuesday in Konya while on an official visit to Turkey. — Photo courtesy authorCJP Nisar called on President Erdogan on Tuesday in Konya while on an official visit to Turkey. — Photo courtesy author

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday highlighted the part Pakistan is playing in the negotiations between the United States and the Afghan Taliban — a round of which were held in the UAE a day earlier.

    The prime minister, in a tweet from his official Twitter account, reiterated that his government will do all they can to "further the peace process" and end "almost three decades of suffering of the brave Afghan people".

    Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, meanwhile, appreciated "international recognition of Pakistan’s commitment and efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan", adding that the country "has and always will work towards establishing peace in Afghanistan and building a more connected, prosperous neighbourhood".

    The prime and the foreign ministers' remarks come a day after United States diplomats and Afghan Taliban representatives met in the United Arab Emirates for the first round of talks facilitated by Pakistan on finding a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan.

    The meeting in Abu Dhabi was also attended by officials from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    There were no statements from the participating parties at the end of the daylong meeting, although Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal had officially announced the start of the talks through a tweet.

    “Talks are being held in UAE,” Dr Faisal tweeted as the meeting in the UAE got under way. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and expressed the hope that the engagement that began in the UAE would “end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region”.

    It was the third meeting between the Taliban and US officials since the appointment of Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as US special envoy for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Their meeting last month had continued for three days.

    However, it was the first meeting sponsored by Islamabad and also the first outside Doha which hosts Taliban’s political office and was the venue of the earlier two rounds. It is believed that the latest meeting was convened outside Qatar to underscore Pakistan’s role in arranging it and at the same time allowing participation of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, both of whom had last year cut diplomatic ties with Doha.

    Ambassador Khalilzad led the US side, whereas Taliban were represented at the talks by their ‘political negotiators’ from Qatar office.

    Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had confirmed in a statement sent to VoA the participation of insurgents’ political negotiators in the meeting with American officials.

    "Talks revolved around withdrawal of occupation forces from Afghanistan, ending the oppression being carried out by the United States and her allies," Mujahid said in a statement today, adding that "views were exchanged with the said countries about peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

    "Moreover, preliminary talks were held with the said countries along with the State Department’s Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad at the end of the day.

    "Meetings in this negotiations process shall continue today."

    Pakistan had arranged the meeting after receiving a request from US President Donald Trump for help in the peace process a fortnight ago. Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the Pakistan-backed meeting in the UAE during his visit to Peshawar last Friday.

    The Afghan government was not represented at Monday’s meeting because Taliban have stood firmly on not talking to the Afghan government, whom they call the puppet regime, and insisted on talking directly to the US.

    The Afghan government, however, held consultations with the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE a day before the talks with Taliban. Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, who took part in the quadrilateral meeting on Sunday, tweeted on Monday that “President Ashraf Ghani’s roadmap for peace presented at Geneva and direct engagement of Afghan government with Taliban for intra-Afghan dialogue” were discussed.

    Kabul, despite not getting a seat at the talks, is seeing the process positively. The Washington Post quoted Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for President Ghani, as having said that the US-Taliban meeting was being coordinated with the Afghan government. “The Afghan government supports any effort and action that paves the way for an Afghan-led peace process,” he said.


    PM Khan hopes that Pak-aided US-Taliban talks end PM Khan hopes that Pak-aided US-Taliban talks end "almost three decades of suffering of the brave Afghan people". — File

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    Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Tuesday said reports stating that Pakistan had voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions a day earlier were mistaken.

    "Pakistan, in accordance with its consistent policy, voted against the General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on execution, with a view to abolishing the death penalty," Dr Faisal said in a tweet.

    He clarified that Pakistan's vote was "inaccurately recorded" in favour of the resolution "due to technical issues".

    "The Permanent Mission of Pakistan has taken up this matter with the UN Secretariat to put the record straight."

    The Amnesty International, which opposes the use of death penalty, had reported on Monday that Pakistan was among the four UN members which changed their vote to support the resolution. The other three countries were Dominica, Libya and Malaysia.

    A record 121 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of the seventh resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UNGA plenary session in New York, according to Amnesty. While 35 countries voted against the resolution, which was proposed by Brazil, 32 members abstained.

    According to a report released by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) earlier this year, Pakistan accounts for 13 per cent of all global executions since December 2014, when it lifted a de facto moratorium on the death penalty.

    At least 496 people have been executed in the country since 2014.


    In this file photo, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal addresses a press briefing.In this file photo, FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal addresses a press briefing.

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    The Punjab government on Tuesday announced its decision to lift the 12-year-old ban imposed on celebrating Basant saying the festival — which marks the arrival of Spring season — will be celebrated in the second week of February 2019.

    Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, while addressing a press conference in Lahore, announced the Punjab government's decision to celebrate the Basant festival — the traditional kite-flying festival of Lahore that was banned by the government in 2007 following increasing deaths in kite-flying related incidents.

    Chohan said a committee comprising the Punjab law minister, the provincial chief secretary, and other administrative officials, will be formed to deliberate on the modalities about how the negative aspects of the festival can be avoided and overcome.

    "This time Lahoris will surely celebrate Basant," says Fayyazul Hassan Chohan.
    "This time Lahoris will surely celebrate Basant," says Fayyazul Hassan Chohan.

    The provincial minister said the committee would give its recommendations within a week. "This time Lahore's population will surely celebrate Basant," Chohan added.

    The Supreme Court in its order had clarified that there was no restriction on holding the Basant festival and that it should be celebrated while staying within the ambit of law, as well as the rules and regulations defined by the government, the minister said.

    Chohan said that the citizens and the civil society have been demanding permission to hold Basant festival for quite some time following which Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had sought recommendations about holding the Spring festival.

    The chief minister has said that Basant was a cultural festival, "it has no relation to religion. It is for enjoyment," the provincial information minister said.


    Committee formed to deliberate how Committee formed to deliberate how "negative aspects" of the festival can be overcome and avoided, says Chohan. —Dawn Archives

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    NAROWAL: Sixteen students were injured when a train collided with a school van on Sialkot-Lahore track due to fog on Tuesday morning.

    The Lasani Express was on its way to Lahore and hit a van carrying more than 30 students at Pejowali level crossing 10 kilometres short of Narowal due to fog. Sixteen of the students were injured.

    A team of Rescue 1122 with the assistance of locals shifted Muhammad Hassan, Muhammad Saleem, Munawwar, Muhammad Boota, Shahbaz, Bilal, Abdullah, Mahak Iqbal, Muhammad Fahad, Laeba and others to the District Headquarters (DHQ) hospital of Narowal.

    Dr Muhammad Bilal claimed that all the injured students were out of danger.

    Officials of Rayya Khas police station, traffic police and district administration also reached the spot and got information. The residents of Pejowali said thick fog and unmanned level crossing resulted in the accident.

    In another accident, a motorcyclist died after being run over by a train while crossing the track.

    Muhammad Junaid, 25, who resided at Manak village, was going somewhere when a train coming from Lahore hit him. Junaid was run over and breathed his last.

    Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2018


    A file photo of a train accident.A file photo of a train accident.

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    QUETTA: Jamaat-i-Islami emir Senator Sirajul Haq said on Tuesday that people had voted for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in a hope to see an improvement in their lives, but the party had failed to bring any change in any sector during its four months in power.

    Speaking at a press conference here, he said instead of bringing happiness in people’s lives the PTI government has increased prices of oil, gas, and electricity and raised taxes.

    “Questions are being raised about PTI government’s performance,” Senator Haq said.

    He said the Transparency International has reported that 68 per cent corruption has been reported in the works and services department of Balochistan.

    Seeks major share for Balochistan in CPEC

    He said Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani had himself expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of his government.

    Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the JI chief said Balochistan had been deprived of benefits of mega projects and today the provincial government was raising questions over the share of Balochistan in CPEC projects.

    “Balochistan should be given major share in the CPEC,” he said and added that local fishermen in the port city of Gwadar had been protesting for long for their demands.

    Mr Haq accused Indian agencies of being involved in incidents of terrorism in Balochistan. The arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav had proved India’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan, he added.

    He criticised the government for what he called not taking any step for the release of Dr Afia Siddiqui from jail in the United States.

    The JI chief also blamed the PTI government for the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case.

    Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2018


    JI Chief Sirajul Haq seeks major share for Balochistan in CPEC. — File photoJI Chief Sirajul Haq seeks major share for Balochistan in CPEC. — File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will create 7,000 posts for different departments in seven tribal districts, and has asked the federal government for provision of resources in this regard.

    This was announced at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan here on Tuesday, which discussed the overall mainstreaming of the merged districts, according to a statement.

    The chief minister informed the meeting that Prime Minister Imran Khan had assured him that the provincial government would get its due share under the AGN Qazi formula.

    He said the province would get its dues and transfers of resources for the merged areas soon and the KP government would be backed by the centre in accomplishing the tasks post Fata-KP merger.

    He said the prime minister had assured him of expeditious transfers of the provincial dues.

    The meeting was informed the three per cent share of the erstwhile Fata was an additional arrangement for the rapid mainstreaming of the area.

    Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2018


    Jobs for Fata citizens will be created in different departments in seven tribal districts. — File photoJobs for Fata citizens will be created in different departments in seven tribal districts. — File photo

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