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    MINGORA: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said on Saturday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government was introducing a transparent and accountable system after which no ruler would dare to loot public funds like in the past.

    He was speaking at a meeting with elders and area people at his residence in Matta, Swat. He said that following the vision of Imran Khan the PTI-led government would successfully bring the country out of the crisis.

    “In the past, the rulers did not take serious steps to take the country out of financial crisis and put it on the track of development, but the PTI government is determined to lead the country in positive direction and soon the nation would feel the change in every sector,” he said, adding that the government would introduce a system which would automatically scan the fair and unfair people.

    “We will make an example of corrupt politicians for the people in future so that they will not dare to loot public funds and we will award those politicians and officials who would serve public,” he said.

    The chief minister said that the KP government was aware of the problems of Malakand division and Swat. “Our government has made proper planning to resolve the issues of war-torn and flood-hit Malakand division,” he said.

    He said that unfortunately the province was facing a resource crunch and that was because of the past rulers who looted the province and initiated no policy to make the region developed and prosperous.

    He said that people of Swat had faced multiple problems in the past, but now an era of development and prosperity had begun.

    “Our province is rich in resources and the government knows how to put the resources to the service of its citizens and development of the region,” he said.

    Mahmood Khan said that Swat was rich in resources like minerals, forests and water and had high potential for international tourism.

    “We have already initiated several mega projects, including motorways, which will not only boost the tourism industry, but also change the standard of life here,” he claimed.

    The chief minister thanked the people of Swat for electing PTI candidates in the general elections and said that in return the government would address their issues. On this occasion, he also listened to public problems and issued orders to the relevant departments to resolve them on priority.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018

    KP Chief Minsiter Mahmood Khan says PTI-led government is introducing a transparent and accountable system. — File photoKP Chief Minsiter Mahmood Khan says PTI-led government is introducing a transparent and accountable system. — File photo

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    RAWALPINDI: The Punjab education department has asked the police’s Special Branch to help prepare lists of government schoolteachers who are running private tuition centres or working for private academies in the evening.

    The provincial government banned private tuitions and academies run by government teachers in May, along with barring teachers from teaching classes at private academies.

    A senior District Education Authority official told Dawn there were reports that many schoolteachers from public sector educational institutions are working at private academies and helping students score higher in annual examinations.

    There are also reports of private schools opened by government teachers to earn money, he said, adding that schoolteachers must pay attention to students in school but many schools’ results in the previous annual examinations were not good.

    He said the provincial education department has sought lists of teachers working at private academies.

    The authority has started working on the list, with help from the Special Branch.

    Teachers have criticised the ban, saying the government should ban government doctors from running private practices.

    “If doctors are allowed to run private practices, then there should be no ban on teachers working in the evening. Teachers’ salaries are not enough to make ends meet, and they have to do additional work,” Punjab Teachers’ Association district president Raja Shahid said.

    He said the government hired teachers to teach, but then involved them in election duties, polio campaigns and other health-related drives.

    “The government wants to keep teachers busy in other work instead of imparting education,” he said.

    Mr Shahid said the government had asked teachers to enrol more students in their schools, adding that it was not possible for teachers to pay attention to students if they were occupied with such work.

    “Personally, I am not in favour of working in private academies, but there are some teachers who need an additional income to run the kitchen for their big families and other necessary things, such as their children’s higher education fees,” he said.

    He said the standard of education was falling in government-run schools due to the wrong kind of policies, not because of the negligence of teachers, who are giving students their full attention.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018

    The police’s Special Branch will help prepare lists of the government schoolteachers.— FileThe police’s Special Branch will help prepare lists of the government schoolteachers.— File

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    KARACHI: The Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) on Friday awarded degrees to its students who graduated around 30 years ago from the Dow Medical College, but could not get their degrees at convocation.

    Officials said a total of 425 graduates of the 1989 batch had been invited to the convocation of whom 130 came from the country and abroad.

    They said the convocation had a “symbolic” significance since the graduates had individually got their degrees then from the University of Karachi with which the DMC was affiliated years before DUHS was established. They said the convocation of that batch could not be held because of restive conditions in the metropolis.

    ‘We still can associate fond memories with these walls and corridors’

    Dr Saeed Quraishy, vice chancellor, DUHS, said at the convocation that the event had provided an opportunity to old colleagues to meet each other, revive old memories of college days as well as see what “our peers have achieved over the years”.

    “We still can associate fond memories with these walls and corridors, be it the auditoria, the old anatomy lecture hall and, the old faithful tree and window sill present outside the anatomy lecture hall.

    How many of us have sat on that windowsill and waved goodbye to friends or prospective spouses as the point buses got ready to leave for the day,” said the VC.

    Officials said families of 89 graduates also attended the convocation as Dr Quraishy conferred shields and degrees upon the graduates.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018

    Officials said a total of 425 graduates of the 1989 batch had been invited to the convocation of whom 130 came from the country and abroad. — Creative Commons/ FileOfficials said a total of 425 graduates of the 1989 batch had been invited to the convocation of whom 130 came from the country and abroad. — Creative Commons/ File

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    Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Sunday inaugurated Rahman Baba Express which will reduce travel time between Peshawar and Karachi to almost 26 hours, reported Radio Pakistan.

    The minister, while addressing the inauguration ceremony, said that the fare for the train will be only Rs1,350. He announced that two VVIP nonstop trains will also be launched in the next two months as well as three trains for tourists.

    He vowed to pay back the ministry's Rs25 billion loan through fares. He said that VVIP services will be offered to passengers to pay off the loans of Pakistan Railways.

    He added that he has already ordered the authorities to remove encroachments from around the Peshawar Railway Station. According to Rashid, the remaining encroached lands will also be recovered soon.

    "About 20 new trains will be launched next year," he said, adding that freight trains will also be increased from 10 to 15 to reduce the department’s losses.

    He added Jahangira and Nowshera stations will be developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

    Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed  addresses the inauguration ceremony of Rahman Baba Express.— DawnNewsTVFederal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses the inauguration ceremony of Rahman Baba Express.— DawnNewsTV

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    LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) says it is gravely concerned at the way people’s fundamental right to dignity is being eroded, ostensibly in the name of accountability.

    In a statement on Saturday, HRCP has expressed serious concern at the fact that a professor at the University of Sargodha, Mian Javed Ahmed, died in judicial custody in Lahore District Jail on Friday and he was reportedly in handcuffs even after death. That such photographs commonly go viral on social media networking sites as a matter of sensation rather than news is a question of ethics per se, but this does not detract from the facts of the case.

    “The innocence or guilt of those taken into custody by state institutions such as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) needs to be established under the law and with strict and transparent regard for due process. Hyper-accountability – especially when accompanied by the sort of social signals sent by the image of a dead man in handcuffs or, earlier, a university professor brought to the court in chains – will not make for a more honest society.

    “Similarly, using the Exit Control List as an arbitrary tool to harass elected parliamentarians and those perceived as political dissenters will not make for a stronger society – or one more able to withstand honest criticism. HRCP urges the state to keep in view the principle that the right to dignity is an inalienable right, and that the tools and procedures available to maintain the rule or law be used justly and transparently,” it said.

    Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2018

    Mian Javed Ahmed died in judicial custody in Lahore District Jail on Friday. — FileMian Javed Ahmed died in judicial custody in Lahore District Jail on Friday. — File

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    More than 1.5 million people are expected to cast their vote in the local bodies by-elections in multiple districts of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday, DawnNews reported.

    About 183 candidates are contesting over 24 seats in six Karachi districts, where polling is underway in 1,352 polling stations in 339 constituencies. Four seats are vacant in Karachi's district West, eight in Malir, six in South, four in Central, two in East and one in Korangi.

    Voting is also underway in Sindh's Umarkot district and Dhoro Naro, as well as in Sukkur and Khairpur.

    In KP, polling is ongoing on 334 seats in 24 districts. More than 2,000 security personnel have been deployed at 85 polling stations in Peshawar. Votes are also being cast in 10 districts of Mansehra.

    More than 1.5 million people are expected to exercise their right to vote. — FileMore than 1.5 million people are expected to exercise their right to vote. — File

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    Information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said that the prospect of the opposition PML-N and PPP coming together to launch a movement against the government did not make the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) administration nervous at all.

    Talking to reporters in Lahore, the minister in his customary sarcasm-laced tone said the government would, in fact, welcome the PPP and PML-N joining hands because it would make it convenient to deal with them together. He even went so far as to suggest a name for such an alliance: "Thugs of Pakistan" — a play on the title of the 2018 film Thugs of Hindostan.

    He said while the Bollywood movie had performed badly in cinemas, "Thugs of Pakistan" would prove to be an even bigger failure.

    He once again claimed that the political careers of PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif have ended. "This is the last segment of the film of 1985 politics," the minister added.

    Editorial: As the accountability net tightens, what exactly are the PPP and PML-N agitating for?

    Chaudhry said Pakistan had faced a debt of Rs6 trillion when the government of former president retired General Pervez Musharraf ended, but the debt rose by 84 per cent to Rs30 trillion when Nawaz Sharif's tenure ended. "Where has this money gone?" he asked.

    He alleged that Sharif's children had become "billionaires" at an age when an average Pakistani child isn't even eligible to be issued a national identity card.

    The minister said all eyes were on the accountability court in Islamabad, which will announce its verdict in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investment references against Sharif on Monday. Noting that the references had taken 15 months to conclude, Chaudhry said the case was "straightforward" as it concerned the question of where the money came from to purchase high-end properties in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia by the Sharif family.

    Recounting the efforts of the government to end a culture of corruption, he said it was now time for an improvement in Pakistan's economy. He claimed that those who were predicting that the country would go into default regarding its balance of payments were left red-faced when the UAE announced its intention to deposit $3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan to support the country’s foreign currency reserves and help enhance liquidity. More such announcements will be made in the coming days, Chaudhry revealed.

    Information minister Fawad Chaudhry talks to reporters in Lahore on Sunday. — DawnNewsTVInformation minister Fawad Chaudhry talks to reporters in Lahore on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

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    Local bodies by-elections in multiple districts of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took place amid slim turnout on Sunday, DawnNews reported.

    More than 1.5 million registered voters were scheduled to exercise their polling rights in today's elections. Voting began at 8am and continued until 4pm, without any breaks.

    The results of the by-polls will be announced on Dec 24.

    About 183 candidates were contesting over 26 seats in six Karachi districts, where four seats were vacant in the West, eight in Malir, six in South, four in Central, two in East and one in Korangi.

    Voting was also held in Sindh's Umarkot district and Dhoro Naro, as well as in Sukkur and Khairpur. By-polls were also taking place in multiple Badin and Thar districts.

    Overall, polling over 65 seats was underway in 1,352 polling stations in 339 constituencies throughout Sindh.

    In KP, polling held on 334 local body seats in 24 districts. More than 2,000 security personnel were deployed at 85 polling stations in Peshawar and administration has imposed Article 144 in the city. Votes were also also being cast in 10 districts of Mansehra.

    A woman in interior Sindh casts her vote in the local body by-polls.— Photo courtesy: Hanif SamoonA woman in interior Sindh casts her vote in the local body by-polls.— Photo courtesy: Hanif Samoon

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    At least two workers of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) were shot dead in an armed attack by several pillion riders on the party’s office in Karachi's Rizvia Society on Sunday night, police said.

    Around one dozen armed men riding six motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on the PSP town office in Usmania Colony and fled, said Rizvia Society Station House Office Nawaz Brohi.

    As a result, two persons were killed and two others sustained injuries, the officer added. He confirmed that all four victims belonged to the PSP.

    The deceased were identified as Azhar Rehmat, 35, and Naeem Ramzan, 40. The injured were identified as Fahad Akhtar, 30, and Yasir, 35.

    According to police, the condition of the injured is also critical.

    The dead and injured were shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

    A heavy contingent of police and Rangers reached the site of the attack and started an investigation, DawnNewsTV reported.

    People are seen at the site of the attack in Karachi's Rizvia Society. — DawnNewsTVPeople are seen at the site of the attack in Karachi's Rizvia Society. — DawnNewsTV

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    In some of Quetta's suburbs, 40 to 65 per cent of children aged between six months and five years are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. This was revealed by a nutrition officer from Unicef, Dr Faisal, while talking to DawnNewsTV on Sunday.

    "The worst areas are Quetta's Panjpai tehsil and Kahan in terms of undernourishment," he said.

    Unicef and Balochistan government's health department conducted a joint screening in Quetta, Pishin and Killa Abdullah districts of the province. Over 2,500 teams were formed to screen children from December 5 to 8, according to Dr Sher Ahmed Satakzai, the provincial coordinator for Balochistan's lady health workers programme.

    World Health Organisation principles dictate that an emergency be declared when the number of malnourished children reaches 15pc, Dr Faisal said.

    Editorial:Malnutrition reality

    In view of severe drought-like conditions, the Balochistan government has already declared an emergency in 14 districts of the province. The government has decided to conduct a screening of children in drought-hit districts as well including Chaghi, Noshki, Washuk and Kharan, Dr Satakzai said, adding that lady health workers would be tasked with carrying out the job.

    Medical experts believe poverty, a lack of clean water and inappropriate food are the primary underlying reasons behind acute malnutrition.

    Province-wide numbers

    Over 30,000 children below the age of five years have been found severely malnourished across the province during a separate screening process conducted by a nutrition cell over the course of the last two years.

    Ghulam Mustafa, the deputy manager of the nutrition cell said a screening of over 400,000 children and 200,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers was conducted in the province.

    "Over 100,000 mothers were found anaemic," he said.

    Over 30,000 children below the age of five years have been found severely malnourished across the province. — Photo provided by authorOver 30,000 children below the age of five years have been found severely malnourished across the province. — Photo provided by author

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    HYDERABAD: Retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who heads the one-man judicial commission appointed by Supreme Court on water quality and drainage system in Sindh, on Saturday visited a water scheme in Kandhkot and ordered an inquiry into release of sewage into a natural waterway.

    Justice Muslim expressed his reservations over working of the executive engineer, who claimed that the entire amount required for the procurement of pipes had been released. The judge asked the DC to assess value of the purchased pipes. He was also directed to assess the amount utilised by the PHE department against this scheme. The reports were required to be submitted in the commission by the DC on Dec 29 and the DC, chairman/CMO and executive engineer were told to attend the commission’s deliberations.

    Residents of the area recorded their reservations over the scheme before the commission. One of them, Aftab Bachkani from Haibat Khan village, stated that the local municipality was using four acres of land for the area’s sewerage system. According to him, the same land has been converted to New Sabzi Mandi with the result that sewage was flowing into Sindh Dhoro, a natural waterway, and farmlands.

    The commission directed the deputy commissioner to hold an inquiry into the matter independently and interact with the complainant, chairman/chief municipal officer (CMO) and executive engineer of the public health engineering (PHE) department. He asked the DC to submit a detailed report in the commission.

    RO plant at school

    Justice Muslim also visited the reverse osmosis (RO) plant installed at the Govt Higher Secondary School, Kandhkot, and noted that the plant was not in use despite being functional as it had only one tap and installed inside the school hence inaccessible to the general public.

    The judge asked the contractor and project director concerned to appear before him with details of plant’s installation and the payments made by the federal or provincial government.

    He directed a magistrate to visit RO plants within his jurisdiction and submit a report regarding their functioning and whether they were catering to people’s water requirement.

    Garhi Yasin water scheme

    Justice Muslim also visited Garhi Yasin, where he found a pumping station completely encroached upon and another one ill-maintained though functional.

    The deputy commissioner was asked to ensure that the municipal committee would file an application for removal of the encroachments from the amenity plot in line with the apex court’s orders.

    The judge asked the town committee chairman and Garhi Yasin town officer to appear before him on Dec 28. He also ordered restoration of the pumping station, rehabilitation of the oxidation ponds in the town and widening of the pond by the PHE after identifying the area.

    Bhan Syedabad visit

    During his visit to Bhan Syedabad in Jamshoro district, Justice Amir Hani Muslim had found the town’s filtration plant non-functional since 2010.

    He asked for the list of the officers who were present on the date of its completion.

    Notices were issued to the officers asking them to appear before the judge on Dec 28. PHE chief engineer Shamsuddin Sheikh has also been asked to ensure the officers’ appearance whether they were serving or had retired.

    The Jamshoro DC had stated that the water supply scheme remained slow and needed improvement. The executive engineer, sub-engineer, sub-divisional officer and contractor, besides the chairman and town municipal officer, were directed to appear before the judge on Dec 28.

    The commission noted that the executive engineer and other officers failed to ensure requisite improvement in the Bhan Syedabad water supply scheme. The Jamshoro DC, after his visit, had suggested that three motors be got repaired but the executive engineer did not do this although such expenses were covered in the maintenance cost.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    Residents claim the local municipality is using four acres of land for the area's sewage system. ─ File photoResidents claim the local municipality is using four acres of land for the area's sewage system. ─ File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal said on Sunday that the anti-corruption watchdog had established a separate cell for registration of complaints of the business community.

    It has been learnt that the cell has started its work and complaints are being entertained separately.

    Reviewing the performance of NAB, Justice Iqbal said in a statement that the eradication of corruption had become imperative as the menace had spread like cancer.

    Chairman decides to probe mega frauds instead of laying hands on petty offences

    Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar have said several times in the recent past that the business community and investors were afraid of NAB’s activism and what they called “harassment”.

    A parallel complaints cell for the business community has also been set up at the Prime Minister Office.

    According to the All Pakistan Contractors Association, the contractors who had executed mega development projects during the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-N government were being harassed by NAB. As a result, all development activities have come to a halt and even the projects being carried out under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have stopped.

    The NAB chairman has decided to only investigate mega frauds and white collar scams instead of laying hands on petty offences. Now petty corruption cases will be sent to relevant anti-corruption departments and the Federal Investigation Agency.

    Justice Iqbal said that according to recent survey reports, 59 per cent people expressed confidence in the performance of NAB whereas Pakistan has been ranked at 107th in the Inter­na­tional Economic Forum’s Inter­na­­tional Corruption Perception Index.

    “Each and every person wants to eliminate corruption but the single most viable solution of achieving the goal is to ensure self-accountability and if everybody avoids corruption, nepotism and bribery, this will definitely help in materialising the dream of making Pakistan free of corruption.”

    He said steps were being taken to check the menace of money laundering and return the money stashed abroad to the country.

    NAB, he said, had fixed a period of 10 months from complaint verification to filing reference against the corrupt. The complaint verification, inquiries and investigations were being strictly concluded within the prescribed time frame of 10 months only, he added.

    Taking mega corruption cases to logical conclusion was a priority of NAB, he said, adding that the bureau had filed 105 mega corruption cases in various accountability courts from out of a total of 179 mega corruption cases registered.

    Justice Iqbal said NAB conducted white collar corruption investigations after securing comprehensive evidence, documentary proofs and as per law. “Right now, as many as 1,210 corruption references involving Rs900 billion are at various stages of hearing in different accountability courts,” he added.

    He said NAB had deposited record over Rs297bn in the national exchequer after recovering from the corrupt elements. The ongoing investigations into fake housing and cooperative societies would be concluded soon, he added.

    He said that the bureau had filed a reference against Mufti Ehsan in a Modaraba case and the latter had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined Rs9bn. The NAB chief said the bureau was trying its best to apprehend 34 culprits involved in Modaraba/Musharaka scandals and repatriating absconders from abroad through Interpol.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal decides to probe mega frauds instead of laying hands on petty offences. — File photoNAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal decides to probe mega frauds instead of laying hands on petty offences. — File photo

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    LAHORE: The cold wave intensified in the plains of Punjab and Sindh on Sunday after thick fog blanketed Lahore and some other cities, bringing down day temperatures.

    Nights have been chilly in the plains so far, but sunshine and higher temperatures provided relief after the chilly nights.

    Safety guide: How to safeguard your health from smog

    However, there was no sunshine till noon in Lahore and adjoining cities like Kasur on Sunday as thick fog persisted into early afternoon. Hence Lahore’s maximum temperature could rise to just 16.3 degrees Celsius on Sunday as against 22 Celsius the previous day.

    Authorities at Lahore airport said fog was developing over the runway and the flight operations would be suspended if visibility deteriorated late in the night.

    The maximum temperature in Kasur was 16.8 Celsius on Sunday while it hovered around 22 Celsius the previous day.

    The Met department said fog had reduced visibility to 50 metres in Lahore and Kasur.

    The motorway was closed from Lahore to Kot Momin at 8.20am due to the poor visibility. It was reopened at around 11am.

    The motorway was closed to all kind of traffic from Peshawar to Rashkai. The National Highway remained blanketed with thick fog from Lahore to Pattoki. A portion from Khanewal to Multan too remained shrouded in fog.

    The fog reduced visibility to 100 metres in Narowal, 300 metres in Dera Ismail Khan, 400 metres in Faisalabad, 500 metres in Joharabad, Sukkur, Khanewal, Multan, Moenjodero, Dadu and Bahawalpur, 700 metres in Mangla, 800 metres in Sialkot and Sahiwal and 900 metres in Kot Addu.

    The maximum temperature in Multan was recorded at 19.7 degrees Celsius, in Okara at 18.5, in Mianwali and Kot Addu at 22, in Jhelum at 18.8, in Gujran­­wala at 18, in Gujrat at 19 and in Jhang at 22.

    Skardu was the coldest place in the country with a minimum temperature of 11 degrees below Celsius. It was followed by Gupis at -7, Astore, Kalam and Gilgit -6, Hunza -5, Quetta and Rawalakot -4 and Bagrote, Chitral, Dir and Drosh -3.

    The Met department said chilly and foggy conditions would continue to persist in Punjab’s plains over the next few days.

    The weather will remain mainly cold and dry in most parts of the country and very cold in the northern regions.

    Foggy conditions are likely to persist in the plains of Punjab, upper Sindh and Peshawar division. Frost has also been forecast for upper parts of the country.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    A HORSE-cart passes amid heavy fog near Lahore on Sunday.—M. Arif / White StarA HORSE-cart passes amid heavy fog near Lahore on Sunday.—M. Arif / White Star

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    HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party returned victorious on six seats, followed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan with four wins, according to unofficial results received so far, in by-election for local bodies held in different parts of the province on Sunday.

    The other major contestant, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, finished with dismal numbers in elections that went held in a smooth and peaceful manner throughout the day.

    In Hyderabad, the polling remained lacklustre in three union committees (UCs) where MQM-P won one more and PPP retained its seat. Eleven polling stations were set up in UC-87 (Hali road), UC-21 (city) and UC-53 (Hussainabad) where personnel of Rangers and police were deployed in and outside the polling stations.

    MQM-P’s Parvez Wasim won UC-21 seat with 1045 votes, beating PPP’s Adad Sahto who secured only 24 votes while independent candidate Imtiaz Alam finished runner-up with 431. The seat had fallen vacant after MQM-P’s Salahuddin resigned as chairman of UC-21 to contest general election.

    PPP retained UC-53 seat in Hussainabad which had become vacant after the party leader Abbas Khan’s death this year. Abbas was brother PPP MPA Abdul Jabbar Khan. PPP’s Syed Sajjad Ali Shah won the seat with 1,267 votes, beating MQM-P’s Jehangir Kaka who received 687 votes out of 7,541 registered votes.

    MQM-P got one more seat of ward’s general councillor in UC-87, which had fallen vacant after Ibrar Abbas, an independent candidate, resigned in protest against delay in development works in his ward.

    BADIN: PPP’s Ali Ahmed Nizamani won the seat of chairman of Mir Ghulam Mohammad Khan Talpur union council by securing 2,916 votes while his opponent Qari Mohammad Moosa Zangejo of Mirza Group polled 770 votes.

    The seat had fallen vacant after the death of Syed Aakil Shah Bukhari of Mirza Group some five months ago. Tight security arrangements were made during the polling process because of simmering opposition between PPP and Mirza Group supporters.

    In Matli town, PPP’s Mohammad Imran Kashmiri won councilor seat in Ward-7 by securing 1,173 votes. His rival Munir Ahmed Nizamani could get only 918 votes. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of Ajmad Arain of PPP a year ago.

    MIRPURKHAS: MQM-P won all three seats of councillor up for grabs which had fallen vacant after the death of one and resignations by two councillors.

    In Ward-6, MQM-P Raeesuddin Chohan won by securing 446 votes while his rival PPP Ishtiaque Baig got 331 votes. In Ward-23, MQM-P Imran Qureshi won by 496. His rival candidate PPP’s Naeem obtained 291 votes and PTI’s Mohammad Iqbal polled 230 votes.

    In Ward-39, MQM-P’s Junaid Qureshi obtained 685 votes and his rival PPP’s Javed Ahmed got 68 votes.

    Jubilant MQM-P workers distributed sweets and took out rallies on motorcycles to celebrate the victory.

    Six polling stations were set up where MQM-P, PTI and PPP had established camps to help their voters in casting votes. Personnel of police and Rangers were deployed in and around all polling stations to maintain law and order.

    NAWABSHAH: PPP won two seats in UC Hassan Jamali and Gohram Marri. PPP’s Haalar Khan Jamali secured 2,937 votes to win the district council seat in UC Hassan Jamali while his opponents Abdul Jabbar Jamali, an independent candidate, secured 2,460 and Farzana Jamali of PTI got 94 votes.

    The seat had fallen vacant after Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified PPP’s Abdul Fateh Jamali over institution of cases against him by National Accountability Bureau.

    In Ward-3 PPP’s Niaz Hussain Marri won councillor’s seat in UC Gohram Marri by securing 615 votes while his rival Moosa Juno and Saifal Juno (both independent candidates) received 272 and 71 votes, respectively.

    According to regional election commissioner Nadeem Haider, a total of four seats had fallen vacant in Shaheed Benazirabad district out of which two candidates had already won unopposed.

    He said that seats of chairman and member district council UC Khair Shah were won by Allah Ditto Zardari and Aijaz Zardari of PPP unopposed.

    MITHI: PPP’s Ghulam Nabi Loond won councillor’s seat in UC Kaloi town by securing 2,790 votes defeating independent candidate Allah Jurio Loond who was polled 2,350 votes. Allah Jurio was supported by disgruntled PPP leader Mohammad Khan Loond.

    The seat had fallen vacant after the death of chairman of Arbab Group, Raees Fakir Mohammad Loond, a year ago.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    PTI finishes with dismal numbers in the LG polls. ─ File photoPTI finishes with dismal numbers in the LG polls. ─ File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The government has warned to take action against the staff of UN agencies if poliovirus is not eliminated from the sewerage water in Peshawar, one of the three countrywide districts where the virus circulates.

    The warning came from the prime minister’s focal person for polio, Baber bin Atta, at a meeting held with Unicef and WHO staff at Nishtar Hall here on Saturday. He also said that UN was fully responsible for eradication of the virus in Peshawar as the WHO and Unicef ran the complete campaign.

    “The government wants results,” he told staff of both the agencies, according to sources. They added that the focal person said that government was concerned about virus circulation and wanted full-fledged drive in all 97 union councils including the 18 declared high-risk areas.

    “The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) lays emphasis on elimination of poliovirus not on case count, therefore, focus should be laid on making water sample negative,” he said.

    Focal person to prime minister on polio says govt wants results

    Under a changed strategy the UN had hired about 3,000 female community health workers and 250 UC polio officers including district health communication officers and UC communication officers and UC polio eradication officers. “The deputy commissioner, who has been assigned tasked under National Emergency Plan for Polio to spearhead the campaign, lacks powers to take action against the absent staff,” said sources.

    They said that Peshawar deputy commissioner also complained that there was no performance criterion and he could not take any action against the Unicef and WHO staff as both the agencies ran the campaign in the district.

    On Sunday, the deputy commissioner ordered the officials to cut honorarium of the union council polio eradication chairpersons for under-performance. In a circular, he said that positive sewerage water sample for the last more than one year despite presence of sizeable workforce in polio eradication campaign, action against relevant officials would be taken in shape of deduction from their dues.

    The circular said that 25 per cent of the total Rs12,500 honorarium per campaign wouldn’t be paid to those, who did not show up at the pre-campaign meeting of the UPEC while they would lose 20 per cent for staying away from morning assembly and 30 per cent for not attending the union council level meetings held during the campaign.

    The administrative officers would get 25 per cent less for their failure to comply with the directives. The district health officer and assistant district health officers have also been directed to inspect anti-polio activities and make sure that all children get the oral polio vaccine.

    According to the letter, sent by deputy commissioner to the officials concerned, more than 10,000 children remain unimmunised in every anti-polio drive owing to absence of CHWs as they are not bothered to cover the missed children and so is the case with union council monitors, who are not willing to take care of the areas, lying out of their domain.

    “There are reports of fake finger marking. Currently, no mechanism exists to hold anyone accountable for poor performance. We can neither appreciate good performers nor guide bad ones and “passing the buck” has become a normal practice,” it said.

    The circular said that a proper criterion should be devised to emulate staff’s performance and pave the way for creation of a healthy environment for the sake of betterment of the programme.

    Sources said that the workers involved in anti-polio campaign didn’t come under the domain of district administration.

    They said that four UN polio workers have been relieved of their responsibilities from Peshawar district due to poor performance.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    WHO and Unicef ran the entire polio campaign, says PM's focal person for polio. — File photoWHO and Unicef ran the entire polio campaign, says PM's focal person for polio. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The federal government has asked the World Bank to close an education project in Sindh since it suffered from delays in disbursement and had partially achieved its objective of increasing enrolment in schools.

    Following the federal government’s request, the World Bank has initiated the process for cancellation of the project that was to support the second phase of the Sindh government’s ‘Second Sindh Education Sector Reform Programme’.

    The development objective was to raise school participation by improving sector governance and accountability and strengthening administrative systems, and measure student achievement.

    According to a World Bank report, progress towards project objectives was ‘moderately satisfactory’

    A World Bank report said that the overall progress towards project development objectives was moderately satisfactory, that reflected an increased number of basic quality standard schools from 992 in 2015-16 to 1,336 by November 2018, and increased annual transition rate from Class V to VI from 58.1 per cent to 69.2pc in 2017. The increased annual transition rate was targeted to be from Class I to II before the project closing.

    The report said implementation had accelerated since mid-2018 and the disbursement linked indicator (DLI) amounting to $10.4m was achieved in September 2018. However, it added, since the project suffered from delays in disbursement, the government decided to close it without seeking further extension. The closing date for the project was Dec 31, 2018, whereas the project was due to be completed during 2013-17 period.

    The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank group had approved a soft loan of $400m for the project in March 2013. So far, $321.4m had been disbursed while the undisbursed amount remained to be $49.7m. The total cost of the project was $2,600, including the IDA loan of $400 million.

    The indicators set for the project were to increase net enrolment rate for primary school children aged between six and 10 years; middle school children aged 11 to 13 years; high school students aged 14 to 15 years; and annual administration of the students’ achievement test in Class V and VIII in government schools.

    Results from a conditional analysis suggested that children from poor households and girls in rural areas suffered the largest school participation shortfalls. There were sizeable differences in school participation rates across districts; some districts also exhibited large urban-rural gaps in school participation.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    Federal government asked WB to close an education project in Sindh due to delay in disbursement. — File photoFederal government asked WB to close an education project in Sindh due to delay in disbursement. — File photo

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chef Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Sunday that two important projects pertaining to channelisation of the Indus River from Guddu Barrage to Sukkur Barrage and socioeconomic development in Thar had been included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and sent to the Joint Working Group (JWG) for final approval.

    CPEC’s highest forum, the Joint Coordination Committee, had taken up the two projects in its meeting held in China last week and referred them to the JWG so that it could give its approval in its meeting scheduled to be held in March 2019.

    The 180-km-long channelisation of the Indus and financing of the Thar Foundation working in education, health, socio-forestry and bio-saline agriculture in the desert region would have a great impact on the overall development of the province, the CM told reporters after attending the convocation of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law (SZABLU) on its Korangi campus.

    The JWG will also take up socioeconomic development in Thar

    Accompanied by Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, CM Shah said: “I presented the two projects in the JCC and most probably they would be approved by the relevant Joint Working Group in their meeting to be held in March.”

    About channelisation of the Indus, he said: “It is a mega project and the provincial government is working to complete its required formalities and through the Joint Working Group it would be forwarded for final approval from CPEC authorities.”

    He said that it would be a great project for the development of the agriculture sector. It would not only save water but would control water logging and salinity in the districts located on both banks of the river. The channelisation would help save the area from floods and develop large agricultural lands in the kacha areas, he added.

    Talking about the socioeconomic sector, Mr Shah said that he told the Chinese authorities that the Thar Foundation was already working in education, health, socio-forestry and bio-saline agriculture in Thar.

    “I proposed to them to approve the project for Thar Foundation so that it could be implemented in the Thar area where a coal-fired power plant is being established under the CPEC projects,” he said.

    He said that the Chinese authorities appreciated the efforts of the provincial government and referred the project to the JWG, which would meet in March 2019. “I am sure it will be approved.”

    Replying to a question, he said that his government was ready to form standing committees in the provincial assembly during the last session. “These committees are formed by the assembly and we are ready for it in the next assembly session,” he said.

    Promises funds for SZABUL

    Earlier, addressing the first SZABUL convocation, he said it was a matter of great pleasure and satisfaction for him that the Sindh government succeeded in setting up the first law university of Pakistan.

    He congratulated the vice chancellor, faculty members and students on achieving this milestone.

    “For me SZABUL is a success story and this convocation ceremony is the logical conclusion of a long journey,” he said, adding that when most public sector organisations were not coming up to the expectations, SZABUL emerged as a robust and financially sound organisation.

    Addressing the law students, he said they were the judges and lawyers of tomorrow. “In fact, the performance of the justice system is dependent on the quality of your professionalism, skills and knowledge,” he said.

    He added that there was a strong linkage between the qualities of human resources available to the judiciary and the functionality, integrity and legitimacy of the courts systems. “I am confident that you will exceed the expectation of all of us and prove to be an asset to be followed by the rest of country.”

    “Your interest in education, your integrity, honesty, sincerity for the job may elevate you to the highest position in the judiciary and this society is looking towards you,” he said.

    He assured Vice Chancellor Qazi Khalid Ali that he would provide all the required funds so that the under-construction university building in Korangi could be completed.

    Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018

    Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah addresses a press conference. ─ File photoSindh Chief Minister Murad Shah addresses a press conference. ─ File photo

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    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, while addressing a press conference on Monday evening, said the “real face of Nawaz Sharif has been unmasked today", referring to the judgement by an accountability court earlier in the day against the ousted premier in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference.

    The court handed a seven-year jail sentence to Nawaz Sharif and ordered that his properties be seized.

    Chaudhry was speaking to the media alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar.

    The information minister said that the people who are still defending Nawaz Sharif should be ashamed of themselves because the money involved in the scam belongs to the people of Pakistan.

    “As per the NAB law, if a person is unable to justify the sources of his earnings then that amount is considered as corruption," he said, adding that Nawaz Sharif was unable to provide money trail for his assets, therefore, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

    Shahzad Akbar also addressed the press conference and briefed the media persons about the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report in the ongoing 'fake' accounts case against former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.

    "The JIT should be commended for the way in which it has unearthed the facts," Akbar said.

    The premier's assistant said, “The JIT report has revealed the presence of a ‘Zardari system’ functioning across Sindh to facilitate corruption through fake accounts.”

    Talking about the contents of the JIT report, Akbar said a separate chapter has been dedicated to Summit Bank which was established to conceal corruption.

    The JIT's findings linked the fake bank accounts to Zardari, claiming that the PPP-Parliamentarians president's personal expenses were also paid through the accounts' funds.

    Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court banned the trading and transfers of the properties of the Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group which are mentioned in a report submitted by the JIT probing the fake bank accounts case.

    The report stated that payments for the upkeep of Bilawal House's pets and for 28 sacrificial goats were also made through the said fake bank accounts.

    Furthermore, the JIT report claimed that the expenses of the Zardari family's residences in both Karachi and Lahore — commonly known as Bilawal House — were paid through fake bank accounts.

    "The real face of Nawaz Sharif has been unmasked today," says Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. —DawnNewsTV

    "The real face of Nawaz Sharif has been unmasked today," says Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. —DawnNewsTV

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    The Sindh High Court on Monday accepted a petition challenging Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Arif Alvi's presidency.

    The petitioner, Azmat Rehan, alleged that President Alvi had "tampered with court records" and was ineligible to hold the office of Head of State.

    According to Rehan, Alvi had thrice changed his statement in court during hearings of a 1977 case against him pertaining to the Alvia Trust, which he claimed Alvi was a co-trustee of.

    The petition also claimed that the PTI leader had submitted incorrect documents in court, due to which he acquired ownership of 1,810 acres of land near Hawkes Bay beach. It said that the current chief justice of the Sindh High Court had also issued an order against Alvi earlier.

    It contended that a person who has "tampered with court records cannot become the country's president".

    The court issued notices to the respondents, including the Election Commission of Pakistan and the federal government. The respondents have been ordered to submit their replies by Jan 1.

    The petition claims that President Arif Alvi, during hearings of a 1977 case, had tampered with court records. ─ File photoThe petition claims that President Arif Alvi, during hearings of a 1977 case, had tampered with court records. ─ File photo

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    Ahead of the accountability court's verdict which will decide the fate of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in two corruption references, the PML-N supreme leader said that his conscience was clear.

    Nawaz was speaking to party members on Monday at a farmhouse in Islamabad, from where he is expected to head to the accountability court to hear the verdict in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investment references. He also met his lawyer Khawaja Haris at the farmhouse of Abbas Afridi, a PML-N leader and former senator. Hamza Shahbaz is among the party leaders who have gathered at the farmhouse to meet the PML-N supremo.

    Nawaz struck a defiant tone ahead of the verdict, saying: "I do not have any sort of fear; my conscience is clear. I have done nothing that would force me to bow my head. [I] have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty."

    The former prime minister was confident that "there isn't much in the cases".

    He also lambasted the ruling PTI government for "derailing Pakistan once again", and claimed that it has "sabotaged the country's journey towards prosperity".

    Nawaz Sharif arrived from Lahore to Islamabad early Sunday and then met his younger brother and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif at Ministers' Enclave.

    In September 2017, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed three references against Nawaz Sharif – regarding Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia, and Flagship Investment – on the Supreme Court's directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which deseated Nawaz as the prime minister.

    On July 6, accountability judge Mohammad Bashir handed down convictions to Nawaz, Maryam, and son-in-law Capt Mohammad Safdar (retd) in the Avenfield Properties reference and jailed them for 10 years, seven years and one year respectively. But on Sept 19, the Islamabad High Court granted them bail after suspending the sentence. NAB’s appeal against the suspension of the sentence remains pending before the top court.

    The other two references concern the setting up of the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia, and Flagship Investment in the UK. The accountability court has charged Nawaz in both references under Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

    Nawaz Sharif arrived from Lahore to Islamabad early Sunday. — File photoNawaz Sharif arrived from Lahore to Islamabad early Sunday. — File photo

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