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    The Balochistan Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution where it urged the federal government to constitute a national commission to settle what it termed the “injudicious distribution of projects and funds under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)”.

    Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) lawmaker Sanaullah Baloch tabled the resolution which was backed by legislators from both treasury and opposition benches demanding an equal share for the province.

    "Balochistan's current share under CPEC is only 4.5 per cent," Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said while commenting on the resolution. If we don’t include Gwadar Port and HUBCO projects, then “Balochistan's share in CPEC is reduced to a meagre one percent”, Jam Kamal complained.

    While talking about the feasibility of the resolution, Baloch said the "western route [of CPEC] has been completely ignored and all projects have been diverted towards the eastern route".

    “Balochistan has been ignored in the $62 billion [CPEC] project in terms of development schemes and allocation of funds,” read the resolution. Despite having a wide coastal belt and plenty of mineral resources, Balochistan has repeatedly been denied its due share, the BNP-M lawmaker said.

    Baloch mentioned that 99 per cent investment was done with regards to industrial development on the eastern route, ignoring Balochistan.

    Chief Minister Jam Kamal further complained that during the last five years the province was ignored by Islamabad and that only Rs300 billion out of the Rs5,000 billion were spent in Balochistan.

    On the other hand, Raisani raised complaints about the transparency of the project and demanded that the provincial assembly should be taken into confidence regarding the CPEC-related agreements.

    Editorial: CPEC and Balochistan

    Dawn had earlier highlighted that the federal government describes the Gwadar-Hoshab-Surab road as a section of the western route in its official briefs and maps when in fact it is the southern common alignment. The government does so because this is the only road that has been built in Balochistan over the last five years.

    The reality is that this road is neither part of the western route nor is it a CPEC project at all. This scheme was conceived during the period of General Pervez Musharraf. Construction work on it began in 2007, long before CPEC came into being. The federal government insists on showing it as part of the CPEC’s western route just to deflect political pressure and criticism and to disingenuously show that progress has been made on the route in Balochistan.

    Over five years have passed since the memorandum of understanding on CPEC was signed in 2013 and progress on the western alignment remains virtually nonexistent. In fact, zero progress has been made on the 750km stretch of Balochistan component of the western alignment. Even worse, nearly three-fourths of the Balochistan component (Zhob-Quetta-Surab section) is not even included in the CPEC infrastructure portfolio.

    The only section that is officially on the CPEC infrastructure agenda is the D I Khan-Zhob section (205km) but here too no progress has actually been made. In contrast, construction work on the eastern alignment is likely to be completed by the end of 2019.

    Earlier this month, ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) founder Saeed Ahmed Hashmi had said that Federal Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar has confirmed that the western route is not part of the CPEC.

    “The apprehensions of the people and political forces of Balochistan have proved to be true after the federal minister’s statement,” Hashmi had said, adding that if the planning minister’s statement was true then it would be a big injustice with the people of Balochistan.

    During a meeting of the Balochistan cabinet in December, the members were reportedly left shell-shocked at the end of a briefing on the progress of CPEC projects in the province when it was revealed that no progress had been made in any projects outside Gwadar and a meagre share of the province was revealed in the overall portfolio of CPEC projects.

    The briefing was provided by the CPEC Cell that the Balochistan government has recently established with help from the World Bank.

    In April, former Balochistan chief minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo had said that his province was being neglected by the federal government in the CPEC project. “More than Rs5,000 billion is being spent on the CPEC, but Balochistan is not receiving even one per cent of it,” he had said.


    "Balochistan's current share under CPEC is only 4.5 per cent," says Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal. —Online/File

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    PML-N lawmaker Khawaja Saad Rafique on Friday appeared in the National Assembly for the first time since his incarceration, after his production orders were issued by the speaker.

    Rafique, who is currently being probed over corruption charges, termed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law as a "black law that had been used to victimise political opponents since its inception". He raised questions over the accountability process, claiming that it was not fair and transparent.

    "Even the accountability during the PML-N government was not transparent," Rafique said during his NA speech.

    The former Railways minister lamented the delay in the issuance of his production orders and said that if NA Speaker Asad Qaiser had issued them earlier, the assembly proceedings would not have been interrupted.

    "The parliament is still not independent," Rafique claimed. "If it were truly independent, the speaker would have issued my production orders on the first day. I have met the speaker a few times and he is a genuine and strong man. I realise that he faced a lot of pressure and as a result of your (assembly's) efforts, today I got the chance to speak here."

    Referring to his arrest in the Paragon Housing Society scam, he said that the NAB could not produce any evidence of wrongdoing against him. He claimed that a "dear old friend" of his was forced to turn into an approver, however, even "he had failed to produce anything" against the PML-N lawmaker.

    Rafique said that the assets and income that he had been declaring in his tax returns for years was now being used as "a charge sheet" against him. He warned that members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) that will soon have to face the same fate as opposition leaders "in order to create a balance".

    "We don't want to see anyone behind bars," he said. "Does the Pakistani electorate vote for us so that we can hurl accusations at each other and damage each other's reputations?"

    Rafique said that the opposition and government benches must stop fighting each other and instead fight against poverty, illiteracy and other challenges that the country is facing.

    He also commented on the speculation of former president Asif Ali Zardari's looming arrest and warned that the event will cause disturbance throughout the country.

    Shahbaz Sharif elected PAC chairman unopposed

    Leader of Opposition in the Parliament Shahbaz Sharif was unanimously elected as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

    Shahbaz's name for the position of PAC chairman was suggested by PML-N lawmaker Sheikh Rohail Asghar and was accepted without opposition. The PML-N president thanked the parliament for placing their trust in him and promised that he will ensure that the "accountability process is transparent".

    Furthermore, he stressed the importance of improving the process of accountability.

    Shahbaz also congratulated PPP leader Khursheed Shah, the former PAC chairman, for running the committee effectively.

    Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Aamir Dogar, who was also present on the occasion, congratulated Shahbaz on behalf of the government.

    The first formal PAC meeting will take place on Dec 28, Shahbaz announced.

    Shahbaz's election as the PAC chairman comes after a nearly four-month impasse during which the government vehemently objected to his nomination due to his alleged involvement in the Ashiana scam that is currently being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau.

    Shahbaz is one of the prime accused and is currently under judicial remand. His designated residence in Islamabad was declared as a sub-jail after the National Assembly speaker issued his production orders so that the PML-N chief could attend the ongoing parliamentary session.

    The opposition had refused to nominate another member, arguing that according to parliamentary tradition, the leader of the opposition heads the PAC.

    The government finally relented to the opposition's demand last week.

    Meanwhile, PTI's Riaz Fatyana was elected as chairman of Standing Committee on Law unopposed.

    'Statement regarding girls taking drugs unfortunate'

    PPP lawmaker Shazia Marri objected to a recent statement issued by State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi, where he had claimed that 75 per cent of female school students in the federal capital use drugs.

    Marri claimed that Afridi's statement was "unfortunate" as it can make parents wary of sending their daughters to schools.

    "A country that is already facing challenges with regards to girls' education and where we are trying to change an environment [that discourages female education], news that 75 per cent of the girls use drugs will discourage parents from sending their daughters to schools," Marri argued, adding that instead of issuing alarming statements, the government should take action.

    Responding to Marri's objections, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, said that Afridi's statement had been "misunderstood". She claimed that the state minister was talking about "private, elite schools" where the consumption of drugs by female students had "increased by 75 per cent".

    She disagreed with Marri's stance that the minister should not have given this statement, saying that such issues cannot be "swept under the carpet" and needed to be addressed.

    "What we don't see we don't care about," said Mazari. "I believe that we should ring alarm bells in our society, this is a big issue.

    "Parents who send their children to these elite schools do not want to know... Maybe this is the sort of alarm bells (sic) that was needed." She assured that the issue had come up in the cabinet meeting and the ministries of education and interior had been directed to devise policies to deal with the "growing issue" of drug usage in educational institutions.

    Marri, in response, reiterated that the government should be "careful" on sensitive issues and instead take tangible actions such as "making it compulsory for schools to take drug tests of students".

    To this Mazari agreed, adding that a law must be passed that would make it mandatory for private schools to hold drug tests.

    'WEF report on gender disparity in Pakistan is wrong'

    Mazari also contended the veracity of the World Economic Forum's recent report on gender disparity in Pakistan.

    She acknowledged that gender inequality exists in Pakistan but denied that it was as severe as portrayed in the report.

    "The report placed us behind Saudi Arabia," the minister said. "This is wrong. "We are talking to WEF to correct their record.

    "The report says that no woman in Pakistan had ever become a minister. We have had female ministers in the past and now as well. The government is taking more steps to end gender inequality."


    PML-N lawmaker Khawaja Saad Rafique speaks on the floor of the assembly. — DawnNewsTVPML-N lawmaker Khawaja Saad Rafique speaks on the floor of the assembly. — DawnNewsTV

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    KARACHI: City Mayor Wasim Akhtar approved on Friday payment of over Rs20 million for immediate disbursement of salary and pension of Christian employees of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation before Christmas.

    He also announced that the children belonging to the minority community would get free entry to the Karachi Zoo on the occasion of their religious festival.

    The mayor was speaking to a delegation of elected representatives from the Christian community who called on him at his office seeking payment of salary and pension to Christian staff of the city’s municipal administration.

    The delegation also discussed issues pertaining to cleanliness, water and sewerage system in their areas.

    It informed the mayor about the problems being faced by them in different Christian localities and asked him to bring improvement in sanitation and security conditions especially around the main churches.

    The mayor said that KMC would fulfil its responsibilities in connection with the provision of municipal facilities to the Christian community on Christmas to enable them to celebrate their religious festival in a better manner. He said minorities had equal rights in Pakistan.

    “All governmental organisations will ensure that the minority community is provided with all necessary facilities on their festival,” he added.

    The mayor said that development scheme would be prepared for Essa Nagri so that roads and sewerage problems in that area could be resolved on a permanent basis.

    He said that the KMC would in coordination with district municipal administration make all arrangements for cleanliness and lighting in areas where the Christian community members resided.

    He also directed that PC-1 be prepared for developing a park in union council-5.

    The mayor said that he, district municipal chairmen and other elected representatives would visit churches on Christmas to wish the Christian community and to show unity with them.

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


    Children belonging to the minority community would get free entry into Karachi Zoo on Christmas.Children belonging to the minority community would get free entry into Karachi Zoo on Christmas.

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government is set to hold the ‘Prime Minister’s 100-Day Agenda for Punjab’ event at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Saturday (today).

    The provincial government is expected to present a report on the performance of its various departments.

    The federal government has already presented its 100-day performance report acknowledging the ministers’ performance. Though there were rumours of replacing low performers, but the prime minister did not make any changes.

    In Punjab, only a few ministers explained their respective departments’ performance and future plans at press conferences. Some ministers are also complaining that there is no room to perform as their allocated department and budget are too meager to take any measures except disciplining different activities.

    There were also reports in the electronic media that the chief minister’s secretariat had prepared a performance report of all ministers, wherein the performance of most of them was shown below the mark. However, the chief minister’s spokesman, Dr Shahbaz Gill, had immediately refuted these speculations.

    Meanwhile, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also tweeted that the ‘Clean and Green Punjab’ remained an important part of the government’s 100-day agenda, claiming that the government planted 10.3 million trees in all nine divisions of the province.

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


    The provincial government is expected to present a report on the performance of its various departments.The provincial government is expected to present a report on the performance of its various departments.

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    Demolished chambers of lawyers in F-8. — White Star
    Demolished chambers of lawyers in F-8. — White Star

    ISLAMABAD: Lawyers on Friday locked down the district courts and ‘detained’ judges of the subordinate judiciary in protest against the demolition of some of their chambers.

    Late the night before, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) conducted an anti-encroachment operation on the direction of the district judiciary and removed 21 lawyers’ chambers illegally constructed on the footpath and in the emergency exit of the district courts.

    In retaliation, lawyers declared the district courts a no-go area and also shut down a block housing 20 courtrooms.

    Allege the drive was planned to disrupt their strike against govt’s proposal for transferring lower court judges

    Some judges and litigants were still in the courts and managed to get out later on.

    The Islamabad Bar Association had already announced a boycott of the courts a few days ago after the government’s proposal for the posting and transfers of judges of the subordinate judiciary of Islamabad to provincial high courts.

    A judge of the subordinate judiciary told Dawn that he was finding it difficult to administer justice in such hostile conditions.

    On the other hand, lawyers have denied that they locked down the courts or detained judges inside courtrooms.

    Islamabad Bar Association President Riasat Ali Azad told Dawn lawyers had announced they will boycott court proceedings starting Dec 21 till their demand regarding the rotation of judges is accepted.

    He alleged that sessions court judges deliberately ordered an anti-encroachment operation a day before the strike was to begin.

    Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had in February this year assured lawyers of the rotation of judges of the federal capital to other provincial judicial service and vice versa. The government had recently submitted a proposal before the apex court in this regard.

    The proposed amendment in the Islamabad Judicial Service Rules, 2011 says: “A judge of the subordinate court may be sent on deputation to any revenue court, tribunal, special court, or any federal government office where such office requires a judge to be posted. In addition, a judge may also be sent on deputation to any other province should there be a demand from that province and the judge being sent on deputation agrees to such transfer.”

    Under the proposed amendment, “such deputation shall not be for a period in excess of three years.”

    Mr Azad said the proposal is “unacceptable”. He said that lawyers were demanding the posting of judges to provincial judicial service not to the federal ministries and divisions within the Islamabad.

    Islamabad High Court Bar Association Secretary General Raja Faisal Younis said the judges should have taken the bar into confidence when ordering the anti-encroachment operation in the district courts.

    Regarding the rotation of judges, Mr Younis said the chief judges had already assured lawyers of inter-provincial transfers of judges and that this should be done before his retirement on Jan 17, 2019.

    The chief justice had earlier this year taken notice of the encroachments on football ground by lawyers, which is still pending adjudication.

    Lawyers argue it is the government’s responsibility to construct a complex to house lawyer’s offices.

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


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    LAHORE: The new provinces should be on administrative rather than linguistic grounds, demands Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.

    Addressing his party workers, he said “for the first time, all parties – both in government and in opposition – are now in favour of south Punjab province and this opportunity should not be missed. Stock of administrative issues should be taken and the initiative be taken. By creating new provinces on administrative preferences, issues like unemployment, education and poverty alleviation can be better handled. It will further ensure judicious allocation of funds, better resource mobilisation and justice at local level. All these steps need to be taken and taken urgently,” he said.

    He expressed his satisfaction over court’s allowing formation of new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for a probe into Model Town incident. “The previous government formed the JIT unilaterally, which also worked unilaterally: totally ignoring the PAT point of view. The present government has also played a positive role in formation of a new JIT, which is praiseworthy. The PAT is convinced that justice will only be delivered when characters behind the veils are unveiled. The new JIT would, hopefully, do the job as per satisfaction of heirs of those killed in the incident.”

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


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    KARACHI/LAHORE: The Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday warned against alleged ‘efforts’ to turn the country into a ‘one-unit’ and vowed to resist any move aimed at rolling back the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

    Speaking at a meeting of PPP parliamentarians and other party leaders at Bilawal House, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari expressed their confidence in the “power of the people” and said that the party would face any “cruel move” from authorities which had been campaigning for “political victimisation in the name of accountability”.

    “The PPP, under the leadership of Shaheed Mohtarma [Benazir Bhutto] faced worst dictatorship of Gen Zia,” a statement issued by Bilawal House after the meeting quoted Mr Zardari as saying.

    Probe sought into alleged meeting of special assistant to PM with JIT members investigating fake accounts case

    “I don’t see this phase is as bad as that of [General Zia regime] was. History is witness to our resolve, temperament and courage. We have always emerged stronger after every phase of oppression.”

    Mr Bhutto-Zardari in his speech said that basic utilities of the people were being cut down and the economy was on the verge of collapse, but the government was busy in pursuing its agenda of political victimisation.

    “This whole scenario is being created to push the country towards a ‘one unit’ but we will not let them do that. We will not even allow the government to roll back the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. We will go to any extent to resist any [such] move,” the PPP chairman said.

    Inquiry demanded

    Meanwhile, leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party on Friday questioned the alleged meeting of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar with officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) hours before a joint investigation team (JIT) probing the money laundering case against former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur finalised its report, and demanded investigation into recent activities of the premier’s aide, including forensic investigation of his mobile phone.

    Senior PPP leader and Sindh Local Bodies Minister Saeed Ghani first took to social media and put a direct question to the PM’s Special Assistant, Mirza Shahzad Akber, over Twitter, questioning his meeting with FIA officials at its headquarters on Dec 19.

    Mr Akber, however, took no time and denied Mr Ghani’s allegations in his tweet, saying he was spending time with his mother who was ill and was being treated at a hospital.

    The denial did not convince the PPP leaders who later in the noon addressed a press conference at Bilawal House after the court extended the bail of Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur and demanded a probe into “serious charges against the key government member”.

    “The denial over social media is not enough,” Mr Ghani said. “It’s a very serious allegation which, we firmly believe, is true. If it’s not and Mr Shahzad Akbar is confident enough to face it then we demand a proper investigation.

    “The CCTV footage of last 48 hours of the FIA headquarters should be saved and then a geo-fencing of his mobile phone should be conducted which would show his presence over the last few days,” the PPP leader said.

    He said that the federal ministers and key leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf kept predicting moves of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and judicial decisions which turned true after a few days.

    “If you link such statements from the ministers and the PTI leaders with the meetings of Mr Shahzad Akbar you will find answers to all questions as to how the government is using national institutions for their political agenda,” said Mr Ghani, who was flanked by adviser to the chief minister of Sindh on information Barrister Murtaza Wahab and senior PPP leader Aajiz Dhamra.

    He also said that courts and national institutions like NAB should not appear to be seen a part of any political victimisation. The rule of law and independence of judiciary were essential for any democratic system to thrive, he said.

    PPP Punjab’s leaders also objected to the alleged meeting of the PM’s assistant on accountability with members of the JIT.

    Central deputy information secretary of the PPP Munawwar Anjum and Punjab’s general secretary Chaudhry Manzoor said the meeting between Mr Akbar and the JIT members had exposed victimisation of opposition leaders in the name of so-called accountability.

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


    Probe sought into alleged meeting of special assistant to PM with JIT members investigating fake accounts case.Probe sought into alleged meeting of special assistant to PM with JIT members investigating fake accounts case.

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    Four members of a tribe were shot dead in a suspected 'honour' killing case in the Lotar area of Upper Kohistan on Friday, DawnNews reported on Saturday citing local police.

    According to Kohistan District Police Officer (DPO) Raja Abdul Saboor, the quartet, which included two women and two men, were murdered on the orders of a jirga (tribal council) and over suspicions of illicit relations.

    The police official said that the slain men and women were cousins and that their bodies have been transferred to Dasu Rural Health Centre for post-mortem examination.

    DPO Saboor said that a First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against a certain Rehmat Ali —another cousin of the deceased.

    Furthermore, the DPO said that investigation into the case as well as raids to arrest the accused are underway.


    DPO Kohistan says the murders were committed on the orders of a jirga. — FileDPO Kohistan says the murders were committed on the orders of a jirga. — File

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    GUJRAT: As many as 25 women have been killed in Gujrat district during the current year, showing a significant decline in honour killings compared to the last few years.

    Most of the women were killed by their kin either to preserve honour or to settle domestic disputes. However, none of the suspects involved in these cases have been awarded punishment by the courts due to procedural hitches and reconciliation between complainants and accused.

    The number of women killed during 2017 was 41 with 35 killed in 2016, 36 in 2014 and 51 in 2013. The conviction rate has been very low even though the state itself becomes complainant in such cases after legislation to the effect a few years ago. Most of the cases were reported in rural areas.

    Conviction rate very low

    A senior police investigation officer told Dawn that he believed culture and traditions were the main reason behind violence against women. He stressed effective legislation and awareness campaigns to contain such violence as suspects would often get released on technical grounds mainly due to pardon or reconciliation with complainants, who were, ironically, the victim’s relatives.

    Asad Gujjar, the spokesman for the Gujrat police, told Dawn that all the 39 nominated suspects involved in these 25 reported cases of 2018 had been arrested.

    He said challans in all cases were sent to the courts. Three cases were quashed since two of them were suicide cases and in third one the parties reconciled and two cases were still under investigation.

    He said five women had been killed over honour and 20 others were slain over marriage and other domestic disputes. He said that the ratio of such cases had witnessed a sharp decline in comparison to the previous years as the number of all murder cases in the district had also decreased in the year 2018.

    According to a rough estimate of the year 2018, around 100 people were murdered in various incidents as the number of such cases was more than 200 some 15 years ago.

    A social scientist belonging to the University of Gujrat says Pakistan has high prevalence of violence against women owing to various factors such as a patriarchal society where gender inequality at various levels was accepted as a norm. Men had assumed higher status in society irrespective of caste, creed, finance and education, he said.

    “Pakistani society is complex with various ethnic groups, but when it comes to gender inequality almost all groups, classes and sects seem to follow this rule. This unequal power lies at the root of violence against women,” he explained.

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


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    An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday extended till January 5 the physical remand of PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique, who are being probed by the National Accountability Bureau in the Paragon Housing scam case.

    After the brothers were brought to the accountability court today amid tight security, NAB's Special Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua presented his arguments on behalf of the bureau.

    The NAB prosecutor told the court that, during the 10-day initial remand, the bureau probed the funds allegedly received by the siblings from Saadain Associates and Executive Builders.

    Janjua further apprised the court that a certain Farhan Ali was handling the accounts of Executive Builders and Paragon, alleging that Rs6.2 million had been transferred directly into Saad's account from Paragon's.

    Saad, according to Janjua, claimed that the transfer was a payment of commission but did not provide them with any details.

    Janjua said that NAB investigators asked Saad and Salman to provide the whereabouts of the people to whom they had provided "services" — a request the brothers did not oblige to, he claimed.

    "We want to record those people's statements but they [the Khawaja brothers] aren't telling us anything," the prosecutor complained.

    Amjad Pervez, the Khawaja brothers' counsel, argued that the commission obtained by their clients from Executive Builders had been declared in the tax returns.

    "The facts told by the Khawaja brothers are being distorted," he said.

    The siblings' counsel opposed NAB's request for an extension to their remand, saying that "granting of remand to settle internal disputes of people" was unfair.

    On Dec 12, the court had granted the bureau a 10-day physical remand of the brothers, a day after they had taken the siblings into custody following the rejection of their petition to obtain pre-arrest bail.


    The Khawaja brothers arrived at the court today amid tight security. — File photoThe Khawaja brothers arrived at the court today amid tight security. — File photo

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    KARACHI: PPP leader Faryal Talpur and former president and party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari pictured on their arrival at the banking court on Friday.—Online
    KARACHI: PPP leader Faryal Talpur and former president and party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari pictured on their arrival at the banking court on Friday.—Online

    KARACHI: Interim bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur was extended till Jan 7 in a case pertaining to alleged laundering of Rs4.14 billion through 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts after a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor on Friday sought time for filing a final charge-sheet against them.

    Amid rising apprehension about the possible arrest of the siblings, senior leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party including Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Saeed Ghani, Rehman Malik and a large number of party activists had gathered on the premises of a banking court since morning.

    Slogans in their favour filled the air when the ex-president with his sister and around 11 other suspects in the case arrived at the banking court to appear before Judge Tariq Mehmood Khoso. The charged activists continued to chant slogans in favour of Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur outside and inside the packed courtroom, leading the judge to order them to maintain the decorum and leave the courtroom.

    Prosecutor seeks time to file final charge-sheet in accounts case; PPP deplores leak of JIT report contents

    At the outset, FIA’s prosecutor Mumtaz Malik informed the court that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the case had submitted its report in the Supreme Court. The prosecutor said he was awaiting orders from the apex court and requested for time to submit the final charge-sheet against the suspects.

    Granting the request, the judge adjourned the hearing till Jan 7, extending interim bail of the ex-president, his sister along with around 11 other suspects till then.

    Earlier, the judge directed the investigation officer to expedite the process of proclamation and attachment of the properties of five absconding suspects, including UAE national Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, till the next date.

    Besides the ex-president and his sister, real estate tycoon Malik Riaz’s son-in-law Zain Malik and 14 other bankers and businessmen have been booked in the case, while former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza, Anvar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed have been detained for their alleged involvement in facilitating the transactions.

    Dispelling apprehensions about their immediate arrest by the FIA, defence counsel Farooq H. Naek said: “Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur cannot be arrested until the final charge-sheet is submitted in the court.”

    ‘JIT report leak’

    While the apex court is scheduled to take up the JIT report at its Lahore registry on Dec 24, its contents were being leaked from time to time, PPP leader Khursheed Shah said, deploring “the media trial of his party”.

    The senior leader said: “We have seen the court’s good and bad eras and their good and bad decisions. We are mentally prepared for everything, but our media trial is being conducted.”

    The PPP leader said that no one had seen the JIT report, as its contents were being leaked from time to time that amounted to media trial of the party.

    “The media trial before the judicial trial forms the minds of the people,” he said and regretted that the sub judice matters were discussed in the media while Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) acted as a silent spectator.

    Detained businessmen, banker

    Earlier, prison officials informed the court that while two detained suspects Abdul Ghani Majeed and former PSE chairman Hussain Lawai had been shifted to the Adiala jail, Rawalpindi, for interrogation by the SC-appointed JIT, the detained businessman, Anvar Majeed, could not be produced before the banking court due to his ailment.

    The judge sought written explanation from the Landhi prison’s superintendent regarding non-production of both the suspects despite issuance of their production orders on the last date.

    Initially, the FIA detained ex-PSE chief Lawai and Taha Raza in July for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts in three private banks. A case was later registered against all the suspects under Sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.

    Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2018


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    A man from Sargodha, demanding to be made the prime minister, climbed a mobile tower in Islamabad on Saturday to call attention to his demands, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The man not only called for the authorities to make him the premier but also proposed that if they do so, he will ensure Pakistan's debts are paid off within the next six months.

    The situation escalated when the man, who was waving the Pakistan flag as he put forth his demands, threatened to jump off if he is not made the prime minister.

    In-depth:Why high hills have a high suicide rate

    Faced with an increasingly sticky situation, the district administration along with police officials came up with an inventive solution. They approached mimicry artist Shafaat Ali to help defuse the matter.

    A mobile phone was then handed over to the man under the pretense that he will be speaking to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Shafaat Ali did a successful impression of the prime minister and was able to convince the man to get down from the tower.

    The man was then taken into police custody and shifted to Kohsar Police Station.


    Actor Shafaat Ali successfully mimicks Imran Khan and convinces the man to get down from the tower. —DawnNewsTVActor Shafaat Ali successfully mimicks Imran Khan and convinces the man to get down from the tower. —DawnNewsTV

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    Benazir Bhutto's younger sister Sanam Bhutto arrived in Pakistan on Saturday and met her nephew, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, at Bilawal House in Karachi, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The PPP leaders are reportedly of the opinion that in case of the arrests of PPP-Parliamentarians President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the ongoing money laundering case, Sanam Bhutto should be fielded as a party representative.

    On Friday, the interim bail of Zardari and Faryal Talpur was extended till January 7 in a case pertaining to the alleged laundering of Rs4.14 billion through 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts.

    Amid rising apprehension about the possible arrest of the siblings, senior PPP leaders including Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Saeed Ghani, Rehman Malik and a large number of party activists had gathered on the premises of the banking court.

    However, a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor sought time for filing a final charge-sheet against them. Meanwhile, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the case had submitted its report in the Supreme Court.

    Besides the ex-president and his sister, real estate tycoon Malik Riaz’s son-in-law Zain Malik and 14 other bankers and businessmen have been booked in the case, while former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza, Anvar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed have been detained for their alleged involvement in facilitating the transactions.

    DawnNewsTV also reported that Sanam Bhutto will attend the ceremony to observe the death anniversary of her sister Benazir Bhutto on December 27.

    Sanam is the youngest of Benazir’s siblings — and the only surviving child of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his wife Nusrat.


    Sanam Bhutto will attend the ceremony to observe the death anniversary of her sister Benazir Bhutto on December 27. —PPP Media CellSanam Bhutto will attend the ceremony to observe the death anniversary of her sister Benazir Bhutto on December 27. —PPP Media Cell

    Sanam Bhutto will attend the ceremony to observe the death anniversary of her sister Benazir Bhutto on December 27. —PPP Media CellSanam Bhutto will attend the ceremony to observe the death anniversary of her sister Benazir Bhutto on December 27. —PPP Media Cell

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    A man from Sargodha, demanding to be made the prime minister, climbed a mobile tower in Islamabad on Saturday to call attention to his demands, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The man not only called for the authorities to make him the premier but also proposed that if they do so, he would ensure Pakistan's debts are paid off within the next six months.

    The situation escalated when the man, who was waving the Pakistan flag as he put forth his demands, threatened to jump off if he was not made the prime minister immediately.

    In-depth:Why high hills have a high suicide rate

    Faced with an increasingly sticky situation, the district administration along with police officials came up with an inventive solution. They approached mimicry artist Shafaat Ali to help defuse the matter.

    A mobile phone was then handed over to the man under the pretense that he would be speaking to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Shafaat Ali reportedly pulled off a convincing impression of the prime minister and was able to talk the troubled man into getting down from the tower.

    The man was taken into police custody and shifted to Kohsar Police Station.


    Actor Shafaat Ali successfully mimicks Imran Khan and convinces the man to get down from the tower. —DawnNewsTVActor Shafaat Ali successfully mimicks Imran Khan and convinces the man to get down from the tower. —DawnNewsTV

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    RAWALPINDI: The Adiala jail authorities on Saturday released former Senator Faisal Raza Abidi after receiving his bail orders issued by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

    The Islamabad police had registered an FIR against Mr Abidi for using inappropriate language in a TV interview against the Supreme Court and judges.

    The FIR was registered under Pakistan Penal Code (PPC)’s sections 228, 500, 505(ii) and 34 along with the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in response to a complaint lodged by Supreme Court’s Public Relations Officer Shahid Hussain Kambyo.

    The former senator is facing three cases pertaining to his remarks made in the interview.

    The Islamabad police had arrested him from outside the Supreme Court building on Oct 10 after the third case was registered against him.

    But on Dec 19, the Supreme Court accepted an apology tendered by Mr Abidi but made it clear that the pardon had nothing to do with cases registered against him for defaming the chief justice of Pakistan.

    Adiala Jail Superintendent Mansoor Akbar confirmed to Dawn that Mr Abidi had been released.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018


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    LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) on Saturday declared 47 brands of ice cream and frozen desserts unfit for human consumption.

    The authority has released the sample results of 156 brands of ice cream and frozen desserts and 47 of them failed to meet the standards of Punjab Pure Food Regulations. The samples were collected in September 2018.

    PFA Director General Muhammad Usman said: “The list of the sample results is available on the website (www.pfa.gop.pk) and anybody can download it.”

    The PFA also ordered to stop the production of all those brands that failed to meet the standards in lab test. The authority would again collect samples for laboratory test after ensuring proper reforms.

    According to schedule, ice cream, juice nectar (drink), fruits-made beverages, edible ghee and oil products will be checked four times in a year. Tap water of Wasa, carbonated beverages, meat-made items, sauce, squash, fruits and vegetables (canned) will be checked twice a year. Apart from this, vinegar, pickles and malted beverages will be checked once a year.

    Meanwhile, the PFA’s vigilance cell and meat safety teams closed four beef shops and seized 1,300kg meat of emaciated and ill animals in different areas of the city.The teams seized 450kg meat from Hajveri Beef Shop, 400kg from Jillani Beef Shop, 300kg from Numan Beef Shop and 150kg from Shahzad Beef Shop. All the [confiscated] stuff was sent to Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company for disposal.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018


    Punjab Food Authority has released sample results of 156 brands of ice cream and frozen desserts. — File photoPunjab Food Authority has released sample results of 156 brands of ice cream and frozen desserts. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The subordinate judiciary’s crisis deepened on Saturday as the district bar association not only continued their strike for a second consecutive day but also started reconstruction of their ‘unauthorised’ chambers within the premises of the district courts.

    On the other hand, all 60 judges of the federal capital decided to not continue administration of justice till the lawyers called off their strike.

    Earlier on Thursday night, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had conducted an anti-encroachment operation on the directive of the district judiciary and removed 21 lawyers’ chambers illegally constructed on the footpath and in the emergency exit of the district courts.

    The lawyers, however, had reconstructed all 21 chambers by Saturday and also continued their strike over the issue of rotation of judges of the sessions court.

    Sources within the district judiciary told Dawn that 40 judges of the sessions west division and 20 judges of east division had decided not to continue civil and criminal proceedings on the cases pending before their respective courts till strike was called off.

    The sources said it was not possible for the judges to conduct the routine proceedings due to the lawyers’ strike. The lawyers, they said, misbehaved with judges and forced them to leave the courtroom.

    It may be noted that this is being done in the district judiciary where as per the recent statistics of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) the backlog is of 38,291 cases and on average over 1,000 cases are added into this pendency every month.

    The lawyers’ bodies of the federal capital issued a strike call to register their protest over the proposal that was tabled before the Supreme Court by the attorney general for Pakistan. The lawyers were demanding rotation i.e. transfer of the judges of the lower courts to the subordinate judiciary of four provincial high courts and posting of judges from these high courts to Islamabad on deputation.

    The government, on the other hand, proposed that instead of posting judges to other provinces, they may be transferred to the departments and ministries of the federal government within the Islamabad Capital Territory.

    According to the president of the Islamabad Bar Association, this proposal was unacceptable since a well-connected judge might rejoin the district judiciary any time after his posting in any government department. He said that the lawyers would continue their strike till their demand for rotation of judges was accepted.

    “The lawyers expect that Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar may pass an appropriate order on the next date of hearing of this case scheduled in the first week of January,” he said, adding that “in case our demand are not met, the lawyers will completely lockdown the entire federal capital”.

    The issue of Islamabad judiciary has been lingering on since the establishment of the city as the planners completely ignored the courts in the layout plan of the federal capital.

    The 1960 master plan of Islamabad did not allocate space for the lower courts and they have been operating in the makeshift arrangements since then.

    In 2005, the government planned to shift the lower courts to the newly-constructed district court complex, but the devastating October earthquake forced the government to defer the shifting.

    In 2007, former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf established the Islamabad High Court. In the absence of a proper building for the high court, the district courts complex was used for the purpose.

    The lawyers encroached upon the green belts, footpaths and every open space within and in the surroundings of the district courts, including a football ground.

    Earlier this year, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice on the lawyers’ encroachment of the football ground and the case is still pending adjudication.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018


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    LAHORE: The government is committed to providing the industry an enabling environment for wealth creation to progress, reduce the current account deficit (CAD), alleviate poverty and add to respect of the country in comity of nations, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday.

    Addressing the members of business community at the office of Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), the prime minister said his commitment to improving industry in Pakistan is two pronged: it can generate wealth and reduce CAD which is hurting the economy.

    “Pakistan, somehow, developed a mindset in the 70s that all wealth creation is a bad thing and it still persists in the bureaucratic and political circles, hindering growth. We tend to confuse profit making and profiteering. The former is legitimate and later is bad. Two big leaders – Mahatir Muhammad of Malaysia and Sheikh Muhammad of the UAE – told me the same thing: let people make money and the country would grow. The Chinese, who had taken 700 million people out of poverty in three decades, also praised virtues of wealth creation in their numerous presentations to us. That is what the PTI government now wants,” he told his audience.

    “For this, the government would ensure that the industry stays competitive in the world. If industry in other countries gets subsidised gas and electricity, so would the industry in Pakistan. If it is facing rebates and refunds issues, that would be solved. The government is currently facing some fiscal crunch and may not be able to solve all these issues in one go. However, it stays committed to solve all these problems for the industry,” PM Khan assured the Aptma leadership.

    “The world sees Pakistan and its potential differently. They see 220 million people as wealth and also know that once Pakistan is able to improve its governance system, it has immense potential. For that potential, friends are ready to help us, and they doing as well. But such financial help should, and can, only be a one-time activity because it fringes upon our sovereignty. Luckily, there are no strings attached to the money received by Pakistan because it came from friends: it rather helped Pakistan improve its image by being cast into a role of a peacemaker. Recently, we helped the USA by arranging a historic meeting with Taliban. It has helped in Saudi-Yemen crisis and now plans to concentrate on Saudi-Iranian troubled relations. It was only because of friends, otherwise seeking such financial aid is a bad omen for a country. That is where PTI government needs help of the industry,” he said.

    “So create wealth, alleviate poverty, generate employment and help country grow and the government would stand with industry shoulder-by-shoulder,” the prime minister urged the industrialists.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018


    Prime Minister Imran Khan says commitment to improving industry is two pronged: wealth generation and reduction in current account deficit. — File photoPrime Minister Imran Khan says commitment to improving industry is two pronged: wealth generation and reduction in current account deficit. — File photo

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    MULTAN: Veteran politician Javed Hashmi has predicted that Nawaz Sharif will be convicted in the National Accountability Bureau’s Flagship and Al-Azizia case as “the institutions won’t let these (cases) prove false”.

    Talking to the media here on Saturday, senior politician said that the purpose of the NAB was to make politicians change their political loyalties.

    “I will not accept this decision as Nawaz Sharif will be convicted at any cost,” he said.

    About creation of south Punjab province, he said the plan was in its final stage and only a U-turn by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government could wind it up. However, he added that taking a U-turn on the issue won’t be easy for the government.

    With regard to Shahbaz Sharif lending support to demand for south Punjab province, he said that he had already predicted it.

    “All the political parties in the parliament have unanimously announced to support the move,” he added.

    He said after becoming the head of the Public Accounts Committee, Shahbaz Sharif could now issue his own production orders for the National Assembly sessions.

    Mr Hashmi regretted that Prime Minister Imran Khan was delivering speeches all over the world, but was absent from the National Assembly sessions.

    “Imran Khan supports presidential system instead of the parliamentary one. He is not competent enough to answer any question in the assembly,” he said.

    He deplored that the media was facing censorship and those (workers) who had made the media a profitable industry were being deprived of their jobs.

    “Media workers are either being rendered jobless or their salaries are being cut. The number of people who struggle for independence of the media is decreasing,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018


    Senior politician Javed Hashmi says NAB's purpose is to make politicians change their political loyalties. — File photoSenior politician Javed Hashmi says NAB's purpose is to make politicians change their political loyalties. — File photo

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    KARACHI: Expressing displeasure at police and judicial magistrates over disposal of cases under ‘A-class’, the Sindh High Court has directed the Sindh prosecutor general and the inspector general of police to furnish details of cases in which A-class reports were filed in courts across the province.

    The A-class reports pertain to those cases in which accused persons are unknown or untraceable.

    The court also asked top officials of police and prosecution to communicate a 2016 judgement (Nasrullah vs. SHO) of the SHC regarding A-class reports to their departments and file complete record of such cases during the last 10 years.

    IGP, prosecutor general reminded of a 2016 judgement regarding A-class reports

    It also directed the member inspection team (MIT) of the SHC to call reports in this regard from judicial magistrates.

    The bench, headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar, observed in its order that it was believed that the magistrates and subordinate courts had no knowledge of the judgement about A-class cases and ordered recirculation of the judgement to all criminal and special courts.

    “The SSPs all over Sindh, who are bound to supervise the investigation of cases, must depute teams of competent officers to monitor the investigation of A-class cases and file reports before magistrates on fortnightly basis while magistrates are competent to take any coercive action against the delinquent officials in case of non-compliance,” it added.

    These directions came during the hearing of an application in which the applicant submitted that he lodged an FIR at the Ferozabad police station, but police failed to arrest the accused and filed an A-class report.

    The applicant added that he had received some information about the accused and approached the district and sessions court concerned for reinvestigation, but the plea was dismissed on the ground that the order passed by a magistrate on the police report was not amendable.

    The bench directed the SSP concerned to entrust the investigation of the case, lodged by the applicant, to any other officer to conduct a probe, record further statement of the victim and others, if any, and file a report before the competent court in accordance with the law.

    It observed that as per the judgement in the Nasrullah case, a report under A-class was not the final or legal disposal of a criminal case as the investigation was continued till the crime was solved and guilt or innocence was determined by the court.

    It said that the responsibilities of police and of the magistrates, who otherwise were ultimate authority and have the supervisory jurisdiction, did not come to an end by filing such papers alone.

    Referring to a recent judgement of the Supreme Court, the bench stated that no investigation can be said to have been completed unless the culprits were identified. A report under A-class will never be an admission of completion of the investigation and, therefore, no question regarding legal disposal of such cases was raised, it added.

    “The attitude of police to believe about disposal of cases under A-class was not only illegal but also against the spirit of investigation while active awareness of magistrates in dealing with such reports was also found to be not in accordance with [supervisory] role,” it added.

    The bench further observed that as per the judgement in the Nasrullah case, the magistrate was bound to call the investigating officer and the victim with regard to the progress in the A-class cases fortnightly, but the magistrate in the present case failed to follow these directions while the district and sessions judge concerned also seemed to have not pursued the guidelines.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018


    Sindh High Court reminds IGP, prosecutor general of a 2016 judgement regarding A-class reports. — File photoSindh High Court reminds IGP, prosecutor general of a 2016 judgement regarding A-class reports. — File photo

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