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    MIRAMSHAH: A delegation of religious scholars and ulema visited Miramshah and Mir Ali areas in North Waziristan tribal district where they were briefed about return of peace and normalcy in the region.

    The delegation also visited local garrison where they were briefed about the prevalent environment in North Waziristan, army’s operation against militancy and endeavours for socioeconomic uplift of people of the area.

    The delegation included Mufti Abdul Raheem, Allama Amin Shaheedi, Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, Mufti Mohammad Naeem, Mohammad Raghib Hussain Naeemi, Pir Mohammad Aminul Hasanat, Allama Iftikhar Hussain Naqvi, Maulana Zahid Mehmood Qasmi, Dr Qibla Ayaz, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil and Mohammad Yaseen Zafar. Local ulema, including Maulana Abu Rizwan Mohammad Alam, Maulana Qari Mohammad Roman and Maulana Sabirullah, also joined the delegation.

    Genral officer commanding 7 Division, Major General Mumtaz Hussain, while interacting with ulema highlighted the measures being taken for development and economic revival in North Waziristan. The delegation appreciated the efforts and resolve of security personnel against militancy.

    Later, the delegation drove through Miramshah city, witnessed Sarbankai Model Village, Miramshah bus stand, reconstructed market, DHQ hospital, Army Public School and Stadium Complex.

    Thereafter, the delegation went to nearby Mirali town and besides interacting with Maliks they also visited Pak Sweet Homes Orphanage.

    The delegation members later departed for Islamabad.

    Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2018


    Delegation of religious scholars and ulema was briefed about return of normalcy and peace in the region. — File photoDelegation of religious scholars and ulema was briefed about return of normalcy and peace in the region. — File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The first-ever burns and plastic surgery centre of the province has been flooded by the patients unnecessarily referred from other hospitals, prompting the top plastic surgeon to ask the health department to direct the hospitals not to refer normal patients to the facility.

    The burns and plastic surgery centre was made operational recently at Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar.

    “We are receiving patients from other hospitals where they can be managed properly but they have been sent to us. It has overburdened the centre after a month of its launch,” Prof Mohammad Tahir, the director of the centre, told Dawn.

    According to him, about 80 per cent of the burn patients can be treated in their own areas and sending all patients to the centre is an encroachment upon the right of the serious people, who required highly specialised treatment.

    Director wants district hospitals to avoid unnecessary referrals

    “I have requested the health minister and health secretary to issue directives to the district level hospitals to stop referral of burns cases here because there are 30 plastic surgeons, who work in the hospitals and they are required to manage the people with burn wounds. However, we are ready to receive those patients, who need microvascular surgery, and other complicated cases that are not manageable at the district hospitals,” said Prof Tahir.

    He said that the centre had 40-bed for burn patients. He said that all the beds were occupied just within a month of the start of the centre because patients came there from all the districts of the province. “If the district hospitals continue sending patients here, it would be difficult for us to admit those patients, who really need to be hospitalised here,” he added.

    Prof Tahir said that even patients were being sent to the centre from Khyber Teaching Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital despite the fact that both the health facilities had the services of plastic surgeons and dedicated wards there. He added that both hospitals had 30-bed wards and four plastic surgeons and there was no need for the patients to be referred to the centre.

    “We have communicated to both the hospitals to avoid unnecessary referral of patients to the centre because we want to concentrate on the treatment of people, who require highly specialised services,” he said.

    The plastic surgeons at the centre said that Mardan, Swabi, Dera Ismail Khan and Swat had the services of plastic surgeons but patients were coming from there to the centre. “We have requested the health department to put in place basic infrastructure for management of plastic surgery patients at the district hospitals so they can provide treatment to the people locally,” they added.

    They said that even general surgeons could manage the burns patients provided they got some equipment. “We have asked the health department that the district hospitals should contact us prior to sending patients here,” they said. In Bannu, Timergara and Chitral, the government of Germany had established 20-bed units that should be strengthened to reduce load on the centre and benefit people to get treatment in their own districts.

    The health officials said that they would make sure that patients did not come to the centre if treatment was possible in their native districts. The health department has also planned to set up 20-bed burns ward in every division in line with the directives of Peshawar High Court to ease workload on the centre and enable it to focus on the treatment of the patients with electrical and critical burn wounds.

    “Presently, we are getting people with superficial injuries and they are treatable at the local level. Even plastic surgeons in many districts can do skin grafting because they have been trained here and are qualified,” said sources at the centre.

    Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2018


    Man looks after his brother suffering from severe burns. — File photoMan looks after his brother suffering from severe burns. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has expressed his reservations regarding the parliamentarians’ honesty while carrying out development projects.

    “The parliamentarians do receive commissions and fill their coffers from development funds,” he said while talking to media persons in Faisalabad on Thursday.

    He said the parliamentarians would be asked to recommend development schemes and added that the development funds would directly go to those schemes.

    “The PTI government will ensure there should be no pilferage in development funds,” he said.

    Meanwhile, chief minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill has also said the Punjab government would transfer funds to the districts and the parliamentarians would only be allowed to recommend different development schemes in their respective areas.

    “The government will transfer funds for the approved schemes and ensure there should not be corruption of even a single penny,” he claimed.

    Earlier, addressing the convocation of a private university, the governor said all the universities of Punjab would be shifted to solar power, clean drinking water would be provided to the students and arrangements would also be made to preserve rainwater, our Faisalabad correspondent adds.

    He said girls were outshining boys and added in a lighter vein that he apprehended that soon a quota would have to be allocated for the boys in the educational institutions.

    Mr Sarwar said water filtration plants would be installed in all the jails, while hepatitis screening of the prisoners would also be ensured for their treatment.

    Denying having any differences with the chief minister, he said Usman Buzdar used to consult him on different issues.

    Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2018


    Parliamentarians do receive commissions and fill coffers from development funds, says Punjab governor. ─ DawnNewsTVParliamentarians do receive commissions and fill coffers from development funds, says Punjab governor. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday granted approval for the launch of a new private airline from Sialkot International Airport.

    Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, AirSial Chairman Fazal Jillani and other members of the local business community met with the prime minister and Minister for Privatisation and Aviation Muhammad Mian Soomro in Sialkot, Dar told DawnNewsTV.

    The airline is to be launched through cooperation with local traders and businessmen. The chairman of AirSial said the airline would become operational within the next year.

    The businessmen thanked the premier for the government's assistance in the launch of the airline.

    The prime minister remarked that Sialkot is fast becoming a major hub for investment and that the government would provide additional facilities to the area.

    "The airline's launch will create jobs and stimulate business activity in the region," the premier said.

    The business community in Sialkot in 2009, after establishing the international airport in the export hub on a self-help basis, had decided to launch the airline to provide a cheaper travelling facility to the region's traders along domestic and international routes.

    The airline was to be established under the joint supervision of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Sialkot International Airport.

    The Sialkot business community has also planned to set up a food and vegetable processing/packing centre close to the airport to boost exports.

    Exporters in Sialkot, in addition to construction of the airport, have also completed the construction of a dry port, export processing zone, small industrial estates and inter-city roads on a self-help basis under the city development package.


    The airline is to be launched with cooperation from local traders and businessmen. ─ Photo courtesy authorThe airline is to be launched with cooperation from local traders and businessmen. ─ Photo courtesy author

    Prime Minister Imran Khan meets members of Sialkot's business community. ─ Photo courtesy authorPrime Minister Imran Khan meets members of Sialkot's business community. ─ Photo courtesy author

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    A list of 172 people named as suspects in the fake accounts case, who have been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) was acquired by DawnNewsTV on Friday.

    Warning: learning curve ahead

    The list includes the names of well-known politicians, public servants, lawmakers, businessmen, bankers and public servants. Some prominent names include:

    • Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PPP chairman and MNA
    • Asif Ali Zardari, MNA and PPP co-chairman
    • Faryal Talpur, MPA and PPP leader
    • Murad Ali Shah, Sindh chief minister
    • Qaim Ali Shah, MPA and former Sindh chief minister
    • Abdul Ghani Majeed, Omni Group
    • Anwar Majeed Khawaja, Omni Group
    • Muhammad Arif Khan, Omni Group
    • Ali Kamal Majeed, Omni Group
    • Khawaja M. Salman Younis, Omni Group chief officer
    • Nimr Majid Khawaja, Omni Group
    • Malik Riaz, Bahria Town CEO
    • Ahsan Raza Durrani, Summit Bank president
    • Hussain Lawai, Summit Bank president
    • Bilal Shaikh, Sindh Bank president
    • Ahsan Tariq, Sindh Bank president
    • Syed Ali Raza, National Bank of Pakistan president
    • Ali Azeem Ikram, SECP executive director

    Earlier this week, a joint investigation team (JIT) probing money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts told the Supreme Court that a close nexus had been found between a troika of Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group. In a report, submitted to a two-judge bench headed by the chief justice, revealed that at least 29 bank accounts had been identified as fake which had been used for money laundering of Rs42 billion.

    The top court had ordered the Zardari Group, Omni Group, Bahria Town, Faryal Talpur and others, including contractors/builders, to file their comments on the JIT report by the next hearing, that will be held on Dec 31.

    Yesterday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had announced in a press conference that the federal cabinet had decided to place all 172 of the suspects named in a joint investigation team's report in the fake bank accounts case on the ECL.

    Chaudhry explained that the decision was taken because "this money belongs to the people of Pakistan".


    PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and former president Asif Zardari are included in the list of people placed on ECL list. — File photoPPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and former president Asif Zardari are included in the list of people placed on ECL list. — File photo

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    The Punjab government on Friday withdrew a notification for the formation of the Punjab Healthcare Commission board after the Supreme Court took issue with the establishment of the board without its approval.

    On December 25, the SC had dissolved the Board of Commissioners and issued contempt notices to Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid, the provincial chief secretary, and the secretary and additional secretary health asking why the board was formed without the apex court's approval.

    A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case at the Lahore registry today, during which the top judge, while addressing Dr Rashid, said they had not expected that she would violate the court's order.

    Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that the provincial chief secretary had submitted a written reply in which he said that he had been misguided on the issue. The chief secretary said that he was simply informed of the people to be included in the board, and not whether they had the appropriate background.

    Punjab Advocate General Ahmed Awais subsequently withdrew the earlier notification and assured the bench that approval would be taken before finalising the names of those included on the board.

    The SC, taking strong notice of the alleged humiliation meted out to retired Justice Amir Raza A Khan in the first meeting of the Punjab Healthcare Commission board had in November dissolved the board and ordered a new one to be formed within two weeks.

    Justice Nisar had summoned Dr Rashid and members of the PHC board to explain the resignation of the retired judge from the post of the commission’s chairperson. Expressing his 'disappointment' with Dr Rashid, the chief justice said: "We had a lot of expectations from you. What kind of people have you appointed as board members?"

    He had observed that the political government would not be allowed to impact the independence of regulatory authorities.

    "The healthcare system is directly linked to lives," Justice Nisar remarked in today's hearing, adding: "We will certainly not accept such sort of boards. The board should have acclaimed persons."

    Addressing the provincial health minister, the top judge said that the SC was ensuring that issues regarding hospital lifts and provision of water were resolved.

    The hearing of the case was postponed until January 4.


    CJP Nisar says he had not expected Dr Yasmeen Rashid to violate a SC order. — File  photoCJP Nisar says he had not expected Dr Yasmeen Rashid to violate a SC order. — File photo

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday granted approval for the launch of a new private airline from Sialkot International Airport.

    Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, AirSial Chairman Fazal Jillani and other members of the local business community met with the prime minister and Minister for Privatisation and Aviation Muhammad Mian Soomro in Sialkot, Dar told DawnNewsTV.

    The airline is to be launched through cooperation with local traders and businessmen. The chairman of AirSial said the airline would become operational within the next year.

    The businessmen thanked the premier for the government's assistance in the launch of the airline.

    The prime minister remarked that Sialkot is fast becoming a major hub for investment and that the government would provide additional facilities to the area.

    "The airline's launch will create jobs and stimulate business activity in the region," the premier said.

    The business community in Sialkot in 2009, after establishing the international airport in the export hub on a self-help basis, had decided to launch the airline to provide a cheaper travelling facility to the region's traders along domestic and international routes.

    The airline was to be established under the joint supervision of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Sialkot International Airport.

    The Sialkot business community has also planned to set up a food and vegetable processing/packing centre close to the airport to boost exports.

    Exporters in Sialkot, in addition to construction of the airport, have also completed the construction of a dry port, export processing zone, small industrial estates and inter-city roads on a self-help basis under the city development package.


    The airline is to be launched with cooperation from local traders and businessmen. ─ Photo courtesy authorThe airline is to be launched with cooperation from local traders and businessmen. ─ Photo courtesy author

    Prime Minister Imran Khan meets members of Sialkot's business community. ─ Photo courtesy authorPrime Minister Imran Khan meets members of Sialkot's business community. ─ Photo courtesy author

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    The tortured body of a minor girl who had gone missing a day earlier was found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Nowshera district on Friday.

    A post-mortem examination performed on the nine-year-old child's body suggested she was raped before being murdered, District Police Officer Nowshera Mansoor Aman said.

    According to police, the girl was reported missing at 10pm on Thursday after she did not return home from a madressah where she was receiving Quranic lessons.

    Her body, bearing signs of torture, was found on Friday morning from a graveyard near her house. It was then shifted to a hospital, where a postmortem examination suggested rape and murder.

    A first information report has been lodged and a joint investigation team has been constituted to ascertain the facts of the child's death and to trace the culprits, DPO Aman told DawnNewsTV.

    Rise in child abuse cases

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

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

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

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

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

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


    The minor child was reported missing at 10pm on Thursday after she did not return home from a seminary. — FileThe minor child was reported missing at 10pm on Thursday after she did not return home from a seminary. — File

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    Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem on Friday explained that names of people who have been nominated in a case are only placed on the exit control list (ECL) if there is suspicion that they will not return to the country if they travel abroad.

    While talking to the media in Islamabad, the law minister said that it was not necessary to consider the stance of a suspect before adding their name to the ECL.

    Naseem explained that the recommendations of departments which want to place someone, even a lawmaker, on the ECL are submitted to the federal cabinet by the interior ministry.

    Referring to a recent report prepared by a joint investigation team probing the fake accounts case, he said that the people named in the report will get the chance to defend themselves in court. Naseem said that the list of 172 people named in the JIT report who have been placed on the ECL, will also be produced in court.

    Naseem further said that the incumbent government will do everything to ensure that the rule of law is imposed in the country. He insisted that the accountability process in the country should continue.

    When asked about the leaking of the JIT report, Naseem responded that "big news often leak" in the media. He, however, said that the JIT report's surfacing on the media will not affect the case proceedings.


    Law Minister Farogh Naseem says suspects in fake accounts case will get the chance to defend themselves. — DawnNewsTVLaw Minister Farogh Naseem says suspects in fake accounts case will get the chance to defend themselves. — DawnNewsTV

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the formation of an advisory council which will give recommendations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on issues related to foreign policy.

    The approval was granted on December 24 following which a notification was released on Friday by the ministry listing the 18 members which will form the council. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will head the advisory body.

    In addition to former ambassadors and foreign secretaries, experts from academia have also been appointed so that they may share the results of research carried out by their respective institutions which will benefit the formation of foreign policy.

    Issues such as national resource constraints and other economic issues will be given special attention, read a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

    "One criticism which we often face is that our foreign policy always focuses on defence, and economic issues are overlooked. Keeping this in mind, we have included individuals who are associated with the fields of economics and trade," the Foreign Office said.

    Not only has the foreign office been attached to the council but institutions like the Foreign Services Academy will also be associated with the council, it added.

    The Foreign Office further stated that a meeting of the advisory council will soon be held in which all the rules and regulations formulated will be presented after which the process of holding regular meetings will continue.

    The statement also sought to make clear the fact that all members have been appointed and will serve on an honorary basis without affecting or burdening the state treasury.


    All members approved by the prime minister will serve on an honorary basis without affecting or burdening the state treasury. —APP/FileAll members approved by the prime minister will serve on an honorary basis without affecting or burdening the state treasury. —APP/File

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    Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Friday chaired the first meeting of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and said the committee members "will work diligently and without any discrimination".

    "The PAC members would work as a team, under the ambit of law," Sharif said, adding that the former members of the committee had done a great job.

    Briefing the meeting, Additional Secretary PAC said that audit reports of the last eight years are pending before the committee.

    On December 13, after a long impasse, the government had agreed to let Shahbaz Sharif chair the PAC — a longstanding demand by opposition benches in the NA.

    The first meeting was attended by Raja Pervez Ashraf, Naveed Qamar, Raja Riaz, Fakhar Imam, Nasrullah Dreshak, Noor Alam Khan, Sherry Rehman, Riaz Fatyana, Iqbal Muhammad Ali, Semi Aizdi, Rana Tanveer, Hina Rabbani Khar, and Shiraz Mehmood.

    During the meeting, PAC National Wing Secretary Iftikhar Raheem Khan gave a detailed briefing about the working of the committee.

    He said that from 2010 until now, there were 18,043 audit para's pending to which Qamar asked whether these would be taken up.

    In his presentation, the secretary said that during Chaudhry Nisar's time 440 meetings were held and Rs117 billion were recovered. In Nadeem Afzal Chan's time, 148 meetings were held and Rs30 billion were recovered, additionally, 33 cases were sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and 30 were sent to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

    In Syed Khursheed Shah's time, an overview of seven to eight audit reports was completed. Moreover, 168 cases were sent to NAB and 56 cases to FIA, meanwhile, the committee recovered Rs355 billion.

    During today's meeting, an overview of the Royal Palm Golf Club Lahore and other cases were discussed. The chairman said that the committee should be briefed about these cases on Monday.

    PML-N lawmaker Sheikh Rohail Asghar asked what the standard was for sending cases to NAB, in response to which the committee secretary said 168 cases were sent to NAB by the previous committee.

    Sharif requested complete details of NAB cases and added that in the next meeting all details should be provided of cases sent to NAB and FIA by the previous PAC.

    The committee asked for a reply on cases pending with NAB by Tuesday.

    Dreshak said that the committee should not give an impression that it was putting pressure on some institution to which Sharif said that no such impression will be given adding that NAB had said themselves that they would give a briefing on Tuesday.

    The committee members opposed the presence of the FIA deputy director and demanded that only senior ranking officers, grade-20 or above should be sent to represent their respective departments.

    The chairman said that on Tuesday, three to four sub-committees of the PAC will be formed and citizens complaints will also come under discussion in the committee.


    The leader of the opposition says the PAC members The leader of the opposition says the PAC members "would work as a team, under the ambit of law". —PID

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    Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday ratified the death sentences awarded to 22 hardcore terrorists, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

    The convicts were reportedly involved in heinous terrorist offences, including attacks on armed forces, law enforcement agencies, explosions of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IED) to carry out sectarian killings, destruction of communication infrastructure, police check posts, educational institutions, and killing of innocent civilians.

    According to the military's media wing, the convicted terrorists were responsible for the deaths of a total of 176 people, including 19 armed forces personnel, 41 police and Levies officials and 116 civilians, and causing injuries to 217 others. Arms and explosives had also been recovered from their possession.

    Special military courts had awarded death sentences to these convicts. The courts also handed down imprisonments to 15 convicts and acquitted two accused after finding them not guilty.

    All 22 of the terrorists were found to be members of banned organisations. They confessed to their offences before a judicial magistrate and in their statements during their respective trials, according to the ISPR.

    Details of death penalty convictions provided by the ISPR are as follows:

    Khairuddin s/o Muhammad Yousaf, Muhammad Ishaq s/o Asim Khan, Inamullah s/o Khakay Khan, Alam Sher s/o Qayyum Khan, Irfan s/o Zar Khan Yousafzai and Muhammad Shafique s/o Azizullah Jan

    The convicts were found to be involved in the killing of civilians by exploding a vehicle-borne IED in Karachi's Abbas Town. The attack resulted in the deaths of 57 people and injuries to 79 others. They were also found in possession of firearms and explosives.

    Sultan Mehmood s/o Syed Talib

    He was found guilty of abetting a suicide bombing on April 11, 2006, at Nishtar Park in Karachi, which caused the deaths of 54 persons and injuries to 113 others.

    Muhammad Tahir s/o Talimand

    The convict was involved in the killing of a civilian and attacks on armed forces personnel, which resulted in the death of Maj Hafiz Attique Ahmed, Capt Amir Butt, Havildar Abdul Aziz and five other soldiers. Firearms and explosives were recovered from him, according to the ISPR.

    Zafar Ali s/o Muhammad Naeem

    The militant was sentenced for his involvement in attacks on the armed forces, which resulted in the deaths of Naib Subedar Muhammad Hanif, Havildar Muhammad Naseer, Havildar Muhammad Qayyum Ahmad, Naik Iftikhar Ali and two soldiers, and caused injuries to nine other soldiers.

    He was also found in possession of firearms and explosives.

    Umar Karim s/o Umar Rahim

    He was found to be involved in the killing of a civilian and attacks on armed forces personnel, which resulted in the deaths of Maj Hafiz Attique Ahmed, Capt Amir Butt, Havildar Abdul Aziz and three other soldiers.

    Muhammad Sher Wali Khan s/o Usman Ghani and Rahmat Shah s/o Fawaz Khan

    Both the convicts were involved in attacks on law enforcement agencies personnel, which caused the deaths of Assistant Sub Inspector Noor Zaman, Naib Subedar Hussain Faraz and three other soldiers, and injuries to five others.

    They were also found to be in possession of firearms, the military's media wing said.

    Bakhtawar s/o Muhammad Bar Khan and Rasheedullah s/o Shah Naseem

    The two convicts were involved in the murders of two civilians and attacks on law enforcement personnel, which resulted in the deaths of 28 Levies/police officials and caused injuries to four policemen.

    Faheemuddin s/o Andaz Gul

    He was involved in the killings of police/Levies personnel and attacks on law enforcement officials, which resulted in the deaths of six soldiers.

    Zahir Shah s/o Syed Badshah

    The convict was sentenced for his involvement in the killings of Sepoys Gohar Ali and Aamir Sher of Levies/Khasadar force.

    Said Muhammad s/o Sabzi Aman

    He was involved in an attack on armed forces personnel, which caused the death of Havildar Allah Dita and Sepoy Bacha Hussain.

    He was also found responsible for the destruction of Government Girls Middle School, Gulibagh, as well as the abduction of a civilian for ransom.

    Arab Jan s/o Shahi Khan

    The convict was involved in an attack on law enforcement personnel, which resulted in the death of Sepoy Said Amin.

    Muhammad Ishaq s/o Muhammad Ghafoor

    He was found to be involved in an attack on the armed forces, which caused the deaths of three soldiers, and the destruction of an educational institution. He was also found in possession of firearms.

    Tanhaj Ali s/o Muhammad Zeb Khan

    The convict was involved in an attack on armed forces personnel, which resulted in the death of Naib Subedar Muhammad Hanif, Sepoy Shoukat Ali, and caused injuries to three other soldiers.

    Firearms and explosives were also recovered from him.

    Abdul Rafee s/o Sarkamand

    He was found guilty of attacking the armed forces and law enforcement personnel and thus resulting in the deaths of Naib Subedar Muhammad Hanif, Sepoy Ikhlas Ahmed, Sepoy Shoukat Ali, and caused injuries to six other soldiers.

    He was also involved in the destruction of Government Primary School, Langar and possessed firearms and explosives.

    Muhammad Ishaq s/o Muhammad Ibrahim

    The convict was sentenced for causing the deaths of two civilians and being involved in an attack on law enforcement personnel, which resulted in the death of police constable Yasir Ali and caused injuries to two other persons.


    Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — FileChief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — File

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    Qatar has opened a visa facilitation centre in Islamabad to facilitate acquisition of visas by members of the Pakistani work force, Radio Pakistan reported on Friday.

    Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development, and Qatar's Ambassador to Pakistan Saqar Bin Mubarak inaugurated the centre.

    With the development, Pakistan has become one of the eight countries to have a Qatari visa facilitation centre for swift processing of workers' visas.

    Bukhari, while speaking to the media after the ceremony, said that Doha had promised 100,000 jobs for Pakistani workers and the process in this regard has been initiated.

    The adviser added that the government was also in talks with Doha to adjust in Qatar skilled members of the labour force returning from Saudi Arabia.

    The Qatari ambassador said that visa process had been handled by the Qatari government in the past but now applicants could get their visas processed and approved through the centre in Islamabad.

    Qatari Foreign Minister Moham­mad bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani had, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in November, offered 100,000 jobs for skilled and semi-skilled workers from Pakistan.

    The trade between the two countries had increased by 104 per cent to about $1.6 billion in 2017 from $782 million in 2016.


    Zulfikar Bukhari and Qatar's Ambassador to Pakistan Saqar Bin Mubarak inaugurated the centre. — Photo courtesy Radio PakistanZulfikar Bukhari and Qatar's Ambassador to Pakistan Saqar Bin Mubarak inaugurated the centre. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

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    Fishermen in the coastal city of Gwadar continue to protest against the construction of East-Bay Expressway which has cut off routes to the Arabian sea, thereby affecting their livelihood, DawnNewsTV reported.

    The protest entered its 12th day on Friday with demonstrators camped on the Mulla Moosa bend of the larger Fish Harbour road. A day earlier, they had surrounded the deputy commissioner's office, forcing the additional deputy commissioner to meet with them and listen to their demands. He had assured the fishermen that their demands would be presented to the chief minister.

    The East-Bay Expressway project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. According to details shared by the government, this "6-lane expressway along with a provision of 30 meters wide railway corridor will connect Gwadar Port with Mekran Coastal Highway through the 2,300 acres Free Trade Zone of Gwadar Port".

    Additional Deputy Commissioner Anees Tariq Gorgage being presented with a list of demands. —Photo provided by author
    Additional Deputy Commissioner Anees Tariq Gorgage being presented with a list of demands. —Photo provided by author

    Several political party workers, including those belonging to Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and National Party (NP) have also joined the protest in support of the fishermen.

    Examine:A highway where the sea should be

    The fishermen had called for a strike, refusing to undertake any fishing activities on December 27 and 28. Due to the cessation of fishing, not only were the fishermen themselves deprived of the earnings secured after hours of hardwork, but the economy also suffered a significant loss.

    Exporters and factory owners who contribute to foreign exchange reserves were adversely impacted due to the fishing strike, incurring losses in the millions.

    On December 27 when the market did not have fish, the daily shipment from Gwadar which would export fresh fish to Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait, among other destinations, could not export fish to any country.


    Losses in the millions incurred by exporters as fishermen call for a strike on December 27, 28. —Photo provided by authorLosses in the millions incurred by exporters as fishermen call for a strike on December 27, 28. —Photo provided by author

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan instructed the Foreign Office and envoys stationed abroad to carry out efforts for improving the image of Pakistan. He expressed disappointment that "our elite themselves have ruined Pakistan's reputation abroad".

    The premier said this on Friday while addressing the concluding session of the two-day Envoys Conference on Economic Diplomacy in Islamabad.

    "Nowadays, people think of having pride and self-esteem for Pakistan as a 'laughable' matter, but it is something that is of genuine importance," he said.

    "When a nation feels a sense of honour and responsibility towards their country, they are able to achieve things which countries even stronger than them are unable to attain," he impressed upon the audience.

    The participants of the two-day Envoys Conference on Economic Diplomacy in Islamabad. —PID
    The participants of the two-day Envoys Conference on Economic Diplomacy in Islamabad. —PID

    He said Pakistan's current standing presents us with an immense opportunity. "One thing becomes evident that things cannot go on as they are. It can no longer be 'business as usual'," he stressed.

    The premier said Pakistan is sorely in need of a change in mindset whereby we shed our "dependency syndrome". He said our previous leadership took decisions not for the benefit of Pakistan and its people but for their own vested interests, whereby, the foremost concern was where aid would come from.

    Furthermore, Pakistan is in great need of projecting a positive image, the premier said, coming back to focus on this issue throughout his speech. He regretted that past leaders had gone abroad and painted themselves as progressives while labelling the rest of the nation as "extremists" or "fundamentalists".

    Laying special emphasis on overseas Pakistanis whom he termed as "our biggest asset", he instructed ambassadors to realise the fact and ensure their better treatment.

    The prime minister said they [overseas Pakistanis] remain our greatest unutilised asset whom we have managed to ward off from investment owing to the countless hurdles they have to face despite the fact they are desirous of investing in Pakistan.

    He said special lists should be developed for Pakistani entrepreneurs and businessmen competing abroad so we can communicate with them in a better manner. He stressed on the fact that regular contact be maintained with them.

    "The more we remain in touch with them [the better we can build trust]...when our board of investment people go abroad, they should invite them to dinners and hold meetings with them."

    He also instructed the foreign office to develop compassion and better serve these workers who are toiling abroad in 12-hour shifts, after having left their entire families behind in Pakistan.

    "These are special people. The way they work, the country is running because of their blood, sweat and tears. What would we be like without the $19bn we receive due to their hardwork," the prime minister said.

    "Please see to it that they are given assistance. Develop communities of Pakistanis there who could help these people," he instructed the foreign office.

    He said that ambassadors do not meet with these people considering them as "working class" and later complain that "these workers break this law or that".

    "When you don't help them or take care of them when they are already facing a lot of difficulties..[then what else will they do]?" the premier said in exasperation.

    The premier said these very workers will play a special role when we fix our systems and have them come to Pakistan to work, owing to the fact that they would have acquired special skills abroad.

    The premier also stressed upon the fact that new avenues need to be developed for exports.

    "Please be in touch with BOI to see what we can export. We don't have trade with Africa, an emerging economy, and Latin America. Go there and develop a report," he said speaking directly to Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's representative to the United Nations.

    "We don't currently have the level of expertise to penetrate Europe so Africa presents us with a better chance."

    The prime minister also urged the envoys to play their role in keeping a check on money laundering, reiterating the government's commitment to eradicate the plague of corruption.


    The premier regretted that past leaders went abroad and painted themselves as progressives while labelling the rest of the nation as The premier regretted that past leaders went abroad and painted themselves as progressives while labelling the rest of the nation as "extremists". —PID

    "When a nation feels a sense of honour and responsibility towards their country, they are able to achieve things which countries stronger than them are unable to attain," said the prime minister. —PID

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    QUETTA: The Balo­chistan National Party (BNP-Awami) split into two groups on Friday as both groups held their party conventions separately in Quetta and levelled serious allegations against each other.

    Former senator Mir Israrullah Zehri, who is leading his own group, expelled Syed Ehsan Shah, senior vice president of the party, along with five other party leaders from the party, accusing Mr Shah and others of violating the party constitution and working to protect their own interests.

    Mr Shah, the sitting MPA of the BNP-Awami, was elected the member of the Balochistan Assembly on the party ticket in the July 25 general elections.

    On the other hand, Mr Shah organised workers’ convention of his own group and announced that Mir Israrullah Zehri had lost the trust of party workers and majority of central councillors and was, therefore, no more the president of the BNP-Awami.

    Speaking at a press conference after the workers’ convention of his group, Mr Shah said that participants of the convention had decided to hold a two-day central council meeting of the party on Jan 26 and 27.

    He said that after the no-trust in the leadership of Mr Zehri by the party’s majority of central councillors, he had taken over as the acting president of the party.

    On the other hand, Mr Zehri and Central Secretary General of BNP-Awami claimed that on violation of repeated party discipline by Mr Shah and other five party leaders, more than 200 central councillors of the party passed a unanimous resolution to abolish the party membership of Mr Shah and five other leaders.

    The Central National Council also unanimously elected Mir Asghar Rind the senior vice president of the BNP-Awami.

    They alleged that some elements wanted to divide the party to protect their own interests, but the party would not allow these elements to do so.

    Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018


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    LAHORE: Pakistan has once again urged India to fulfil its commitment made in August this year of getting its two hydropower projects — 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal — inspected by Pakistani experts.

    "We have once again requested our counterpart, Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters, through a letter on December 24 to immediately schedule our experts’ tour to inspect 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal at Chenab Basin," Pakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehr Ali Shah told Dawn on Friday.

    Islamabad had earlier in last month written a letter to New Delhi, reminding it of fulfilling its promise made during the 115th meeting of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters (PCIW) held between the two countries from Aug 29 to 30 in Lahore. During the meeting, India had not only agreed to allow Pakistani experts to inspect the aforementioned two projects in September but also the Kishanganga project at Jhelum basin at a later stage. Reciprocally, Pakistan had also agreed to allow India to carry out inspection of Kotri Barrage over the Indus after September.

    In August, India agreed to invite Pakistani experts for inspection

    “Since we are yet to receive a positive response from our counterpart, we are also planning to serve reminders to India in writing on every alternate day besides making phone calls on hotline. And finally (If they don’t fulfil the promise) we may approach the World Bank under Article 9 of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) to press India to fulfil its commitment,” he added.

    As a result of the 115th PCIW’s meeting, India had earlier scheduled inspection of the projects at Chenab basin by Pakistani experts from Oct 7 to 11. But later, it postponed the same on the pretext of local bodies’ elections in the respective areas. During last week of October, the Pakistani commissioner telephoned his counterpart Pradeep Kumar Saxena and urged him to give a schedule for the tour of experts in November or December’s first week. However, Mr Saxena was reported to have said it wouldn’t be possible during first or second week of December due to local Punchayat elections in the state of India-held Kashmir — the area where these projects are located.

    Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018


    In August, India agreed to invite Pakistani experts for inspection Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal hydropower projects. — File photoIn August, India agreed to invite Pakistani experts for inspection Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal hydropower projects. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Two rain spells next week are going to end the dense fog which on Friday further lowered the minimum temperatures in the plain areas and caused a road accident in Okara.

    The minimum temperature in Lahore, Bhakkar and Sialkot dropped to zero degrees Celsius last night. These were the season’s lowest minimum temperatures of these cities.

    According to the officials, many casualties took place as a result of a pile-up at bypass in Okara last night. They said a car had hit a truck which had stopped suddenly on the highway due to low visibility in fog. A truck and other vehicles which were following also rammed into the car and the truck.

    The Met Office reported the dense fog blanketed more cities in the plains of Punjab and Sindh, badly affecting the movement of road and rail traffic in the country.

    The motorway police said the motorway remained closed from Khanewal to Multan, Lahore to Kot Momin, Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad and Gojra and Peshawar to Rashkai due to poor visibility caused by thick fog during most parts of last night and on Friday morning.

    Two rain spells next week

    The national highway and GT Road too remained blanketed by thick fog, disrupting vehicular traffic from Peshawar to Sindh. Vehicles of all kind moved at a very slow speed.

    The Met department said the fog reduced visibility to 10 metres in Narowal, 30 in Lahore, Kot Addu and Layyah, 50 in Hafizabad, 100 in Gujranwala, 200 in Faisalabad, Bhakkar, Bahawalpur and Jhang, 300 in Khanewal, 500 in Jhelum, Kasur, Multan, Okara and Sukkur, 600 in Sialkot and Sargodha and 800 in Rohri, Mandi Bahaudidn, and Dera Ismail Khan.

    Minimum temperature dropped to -2 degrees C in Kamra, -3.5 in Murree, 1 in Chakwal, 1.1 in Jhelum, 1.2 in Jhang, 1.5 in Layyah and Sargodha.

    Major stations in the upper parts of the country recorded sub-zero temperatures. Skardu recorded -14 degrees C, Astore -10, Gupis -8, Kalam, Gilgit, Quetta, Kalat, Hunza -7, Bagrote, Rawalakot, Dir -5, Malamjabba, Murree -4, Dalbandin, Lower Dir, Kakul, Drosh -3, Balakot, Chillas, Mirkhani, Bunji -2 and Saidu Sharif, Parachinar, Garhi Dupatta, Islamabad, Narowal and Muzaffarabad -1.

    Meanwhile, the Met department says a shallow westerly wave is likely to enter western parts of the country on Monday evening, gripping upper parts of the country in cold on Tuesday. The system would be followed by another westerly wave on Friday.

    Under the influence of these weather systems, rain with snowfall over the hills is expected at scattered places in Quetta, Zhob, Kohat, Malakand, Hazara divisions, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, while light rain is also expected at isolated places in Peshawar, Mardan, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Lahore, Rawalpindi divisions and Islamabad on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    More rain with snowfall over the hills is expected at scattered places in Malakand, Hazara and Rawalpindi divisions, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, while at isolated places in Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore divisions from Friday to Sunday. During this time fog will subside. But it will continue to grip the plains of Punjab, upper Sindh and Peshawar division during morning/night hours in the next three days till it rains next week, keeping weather very cold in most parts of the country.

    Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018


    Children use logfire to keep themselves warm on a road. Bonfires and bon mots go hand in hand during peak winter days. — White Star / M. ArifChildren use logfire to keep themselves warm on a road. Bonfires and bon mots go hand in hand during peak winter days. — White Star / M. Arif

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    QUETTA: Leaders of the Hazara Democratic Party have said that despite knowing the fact, the opponent parties have fielded a former governor of an Afghan province during the Taliban era against the HDP candidate in the by-election on PB-26 in Quetta and the party has decided to defeat him by taking part in democratic process.

    This was stated by HDP chairman Abdul Khaliq Hazara, secretary general Ahmed Ali Kohzad, Seema Sahar and other party leaders while speaking at a public meeting held in Hazara Town on Friday in connection with the election campaign of BAP candidate Qadir Nail.

    The by-election is being held for a Balochistan Assembly seat which has fallen vacant after Mr Kohzad, who had won the seat in the July 25 general elections, was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for being an Afghan national.

    The HDP leaders said that the rival parties had fielded the same candidate who had been defeated in the general elections, adding that through a conspiracy these elements were trying to deprive the Hazara community people of their political rights.

    However, they said that the people of the constituency were aware of the conspiracy and they would foil it through the power their vote.

    The HDP leaders said that the people of the area had given their decision by attending the public meeting in a large number. They were happy to note that the participants included “tens of thousands of women” who were there to express their solidarity with the HDP candidate.

    They said that the HDP had cordial and brotherly relations with Baloch, Pakhtun and other communities and always extended support to all democratic forces in the province as it believed in the supremacy of Constitution, democratic norms and traditions.

    They said that the HDP had always played its role in strengthening democracy and upholding constitutional rule in the country.

    They said that the democratic forces who always struggled for democracy and rule of law were supporting the HDP candidate in the by-election.

    The party leaders said that their rival candidate did not belong to the area and had no awareness about the issues the people of PB-26 were facing. On the other hand, they added, Qadir Nail was a well-known journalist and political worker who always helped the people in solving their problems.

    Sardar Sahil, Zulfiqar Batoor, Dr Aziz and other leaders of the HDP also spoke on the occasion and thanked the people for their participation in the public meeting.

    Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018


    QUETTA: Hazara Democratic Party chairman Abdul Khaliq Hazara addresses a party gathering on Friday.—OnlineQUETTA: Hazara Democratic Party chairman Abdul Khaliq Hazara addresses a party gathering on Friday.—Online

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    LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Friday directed Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda and Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar to give a time frame for the construction of Nai Guj dam in Dadu, Sindh.

    Both ministers appeared before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

    The chief justice told the ministers that an officer of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had informed the bench during the last hearing that a revised PC-1 for the construction of the dam had been issued and its scrutiny by relevant ministries was awaited. The officer had further stated that with the approval of the ministries, the matter would be placed before the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) for a final go-ahead.

    “Now you tell the court how much time is required for the construction [of the dam],” the chief justice asked the ministers.

    Mr Bakhtiar came to the rostrum and told the bench that the projects of water resources were the top priority of the government. He said that Rs12 billion from the public exchequer had already been spent on Nai Gaj dam. He said there were many other water projects that could be considered on merit.

    Vawda says revised PC-1 of project will be forwarded to planning ministry next week

    At this, the chief justice asked the minister to submit a list of the projects in the pipeline.

    About the Nai Gaj dam, Mr Bakhtiar said his ministry was yet to receive the revised PC-1 officially.

    Chief Justice Nisar observed that departmental delays had marred the performance of the government. He noted that in Punjab as well many important summaries remained pending before the cabinet unless the court took notice.

    Mr Bakhtiar said that being the minister for planning and development, he also headed the Central Development Working Party (CDWP). However, he said the competence of the CDWP to approve a project was not more than Rs3bn and that Ecnec would give approval for the dam. Since Finance Minister Asad Umar was not available to attend the proceedings, Mr Bakhtiar said he would convey the court’s order to the minister.

    Mr Vawda informed the court that he had received the revised PC-1 of the Nai Gaj dam and would forward it to the planning and development ministry by next week after examination.

    Chief Justice Nisar reminded the ministers that they had an advantage as not only the government but the court was supporting them on the water issue.

    The bench adjourned the hearing till Jan 4 and directed the ministers to submit a progress report on the issue.

    Talking to reporters outside the SC Lahore registry, Mr Vawda alleged that MQM-London chief Altaf Hussain was involved in the murder of former MPA Syed Ali Raza Abidi in Karachi. He said the government would bring the killers to justice at any cost.

    He said the cases against Asif Ali Zardari were made during the government of Nawaz Sharif and claimed that Mr Zardari had used the word “Ladla” (blue-eyed) for Mr Sharif and his remarks were not directed at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

    Mr Vawda said he never thought that Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would become a spokesman for the Omni Group. He said the law was equal for everyone. “If Bilawal is innocent, he will get cleared of charges,” added the minister.

    Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018


    MInister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda says revised PC-1 of dam project will be forwarded to planning ministry next week. — File photoMInister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda says revised PC-1 of dam project will be forwarded to planning ministry next week. — File photo

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