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    HYDERABAD: Sindh Inspector General of Police Syed Kaleem Imam has said work is under way to have a uniform and standardised Police Act with (the Musharraf era) Police Order, 2002 as the baseline to ensure effective policing.

    He was speaking to the media after chairing a meeting of police officers of the Hyderabad range at Shahbaz Hall on Saturday. DIG Naeem Shaikh was also present.

    “The process of police reforms is under way in line with SC chief justice’s directives,” he told a questioner. The CJP had observed that there should be a uniform and standardised Police Act in Pakistan.

    “The [Musharraf era] Police Order, 2002 is perhaps the baseline for police reforms. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has produced police reforms; one meeting was held in this regard on Dec 26 and another one is scheduled for Jan 2, 2019. Emerging principle is that police reforms should be uniform and standardised in all provinces to have effective policing,” he said.

    Regarding rotation policy for Police Services of Pakistan (PSP) cadre officers, he said that the establishment division had to draft it. A draft was being prepared regarding all 15 departments of police for which Sindh police department had also submitted its input. He said that once it was finalised police officers serving for 10 years would be shifted and given new assignments in other provinces.

    He said that police indeed provided security in high-profile cases, including those of politicians, because they were often exposed to different conditions. It was state’s responsibility to ensure their security and avert any threat. He said that such individuals were provided security after assessment of their cases done by provincial intelligence committee. He said that security was indeed provided not only to politicians but other stakeholders like religious seminaries. It would continue to be available wherever needed, he added. He clarified that it was not about VVIP security alone.

    The IGP avoided sharing information regarding the reported headway in the ex-MQM MNA Ali Raza Abidi’s assassination case. He said that divulging anything at this stage would be tantamount to compromising the entire investigation of this high-profile case. He said that police needed time in this regard. “We have good leads but I will not share them right now as in such cases the suspects who have harmed someone are benefitted,” he said.

    The provincial police chief said that targeted killings had registered a significant decline after arrest of suspects and presentation of charge-sheets against them in courts. “Some groups have surfaced but they will be arrested soon as we have got leads. Targeted killings are continuing as some groups are involved in it with some motivated intent and we have learnt about it. Police are doing their best to ensure that they are arrested,” he said.

    IGP Imam told a questioner that the Sindh chief minister appreciated police’s overall performance. He said that last year 46 cases of kidnapping were reported and all hostages were recovered. This year, he added, 35 cases had been reported, indicating a drop in the heinous crime and showing that policing remained effective. He said that the establishment of a forensic lab in Sindh on the pattern of Punjab’s, was approved by the provincial government and it would start working within the next two and half years.

    He said that transnational crime was an international phenomenon and police had evidence of involvement of those groups of Pakistani origin that were based abroad. He said that some of such suspects were arrested and related details would be shared with the media.

    Speaking in the context of terrorism, the IGP said that radicalisation and ideological issues were there and in some cases hostile agencies supported such elements.

    He said that police were trying to provide a better environment to people. The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Rangers and police had played an important role in this regard.

    Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018

    IGP Kaleem Imam speaks to the media in Hyderabad on Saturday.—DawnIGP Kaleem Imam speaks to the media in Hyderabad on Saturday.—Dawn

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    ISLAMABAD: The Met Office has denied social media rumours that temperatures in Rawalpindi fell to -3ºC, saying that the temperature has been hovering around -1ºC.

    “The last week of December is very cold, and the temperature of -1ºC is also above average for this month, but there is no evidence that the temperature gauge fell to -3ºC,” a Met Office official said.

    In response to the widespread rumours, officials also held a brief meeting in the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) to discuss the matter and experts noted that the rumour was incorrect.

    “PMD has an observatory in Chaklala, and the lowest temperature recorded there was -1ºC,” the official said, adding that according to international standards temperature measuring equipment has to be around 1.5 metres above the ground and direct wind should not have any impact on the measuring gauge.

    “A mercury level of -1ºC in Rawalpindi and Islamabad during December is normal but -2ºC or -3ºC is not normal,” the official added.

    The official said the claims circulating on social media must have been based on measurements made by individuals with any mercury or alcohol-based thermometer.

    “The temperature close to the ground is lower and that is the reason frost is visible on the ground in the earning morning hours, and similarly a sheet of frost is also present over vehicles’ windscreens,” the official explained.

    “Grass and leaves have water content that freezes, similarly metal and glass gets cold and adds to the declining mercury,” the official said.

    Severe frost conditions observed this winter have also been due to the lack of rainfall in the second half of the month.

    Average December rainfall in Islamabad is over 40 millimetres, while this year the capital received a little over 30mm.

    Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018

    The PMD has an observatory in Chaklala, and the lowest temperature recorded there was -1ºC, says a Met official. ─ Photo by Khurram AminThe PMD has an observatory in Chaklala, and the lowest temperature recorded there was -1ºC, says a Met official. ─ Photo by Khurram Amin

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    SUKKUR: Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Saturday it was very unfortunate that whoever served the country had to face the wrath of the establishment.

    Addressing a gathering in Kashmore, he said politicians better understood problems of the country and were therefore in a better position to find their solutions. But, he added, people in the country’s institutions were not ready to listen to him.

    Mr Zardari, who visited Kashmore on the invitation of PPP leader Sardar Saleem Jan Mazari, said that the government could not frighten him by putting his name on the Exit Control List. He said he would not leave country because people were with the PPP. The people of the country strongly supported him and with this support he was ready to face all problems, he said, adding that he had always been with the people and would remain with them in future.

    PPP leader says government cannot frighten him by putting his name on ECL

    He said both governments of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had been toppled, but she continued her struggle for the rights of people.

    He said after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto problems were created for the PPP, but the party had not only won the 2008 general election, but its federal and Sindh governments with the strong support of people had remained successful in completing their terms.

    He said the PPP government in Sindh had launched many development projects in the province.

    Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial government was taking measures for bringing about improvement in all sectors, adding that the special focus of the government was on health and education sectors.

    He said the problems of Kashmore highlighted by Mr Mazari would be solved on a priority basis. All roads in the district would be constructed, he added.

    In his address, Mr Mazari termed Kashmore a fort of the PPP, saying that it could be manifested from the victory of the party in all constituencies in the district in the July election.

    Provincial ministers Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani, Syed Jawed Ali Shah, Gul Mohammad Jakhrani, Maqbool Shaikh, Ahsanur Rehman Mazari, Mir Abid Sundrani, Haji Abdul Rauf Khoso as well as local leaders of the PPP were present on the occasion.

    Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018

    Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari says the government cannot frighten him by putting his name on the ECL. ─ DawnNewsTVFormer president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari says the government cannot frighten him by putting his name on the ECL. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    SUKKUR: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that Pakistan Peoples Party’s apprehensions about imposition governor’s rule on Sindh were unfounded. He was of the view that the party wanted to become “political martyr” but the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government would not let it succeed in such efforts.

    The governor was speaking to the media at Sukkur circuit house before his departure to Khangarh town in Ghotki district on Saturday.

    He denied having discussed imposition of governor’s rule on Sindh with Prime Minister Imran Khan at any stage. “Actually, PPP people had started the propaganda due to the fear that their leadership may meet the same fate [the ousted prime minister] Nawaz Sharif has met.

    Governor Ismail argued that the PPP leadership would not necessarily sent to jail as it was too early to reach a conclusion [about the judiciary’s decision in the money laundering and fake accounts cases against them]. Even then, if PPP wanted to become ‘political martyr’, it was their own choice, he added.

    In reply to a question about claims of a forward bloc emerging in the Sindh Assembly, the governor said was it was PPP’s internal matter, adding: “We have nothing to do with it”.

    “Our job is to address the issues being faced by the masses, and not to work towards toppling the Sindh government,” he said.

    Governor Ismail also expressed his grief over the fresh spate of targeted killings in Karachi, and acknowledged that some key suspects had been arrested and more were likely to be arrested. He hoped that the arrests would help security agencies reach the culprits. He hinted that security agencies had reached the killers of former MNA Ali Raza Abidi.

    He noted that all three attacks that took place this week were targeted against activists of what once was the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). “This makes one to believe that they [targeted killings] were aimed at pitting former MQM leaders against each other and provoke them to engage in armed clashes so as to disturb the city’s law and order.” The force behind this seemed to be bent upon disturbing law and order in Sindh, he said.

    Commenting on the provincial government’s performance, Governor Ismail said people of Sindh, especially those of rural areas, were experiencing worst ever civic conditions but the government appeared indifferent as if it was unable to feel their pain. “It doesn’t have some time to spare to look into people’s issues; it’s busy too busy in other matters,” he remarked.

    “We have discussed the situation at a meeting and taken certain decisions, which have been conveyed to the prime minister,” he said.

    “We are, however, here to help the masses; we will do our best to mitigate people’s sufferings,” he said.

    When his attention was drawn to the problems being faced by people visiting various police stations, the governor said he had already talked to the inspector general of Sindh and asked him to address the issues.

    Commenting on PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s recent speech, he said it was beyond his apprehension as to which battle Mr Zardari was talking about and where was the battlefield.

    “It’s not we who have instituted cases against him and his associates; the cases had already been investigated when we came to power,” he said.

    He said PTI never intended to engage itself in a legal of street battle with its political rivals but if others opted for it, they would find PTI strong enough to defend itself.

    The governor observed that the JIT (joint investigation team] report on these cases was terrible and extremely difficult to challenge. He said that if anybody want to fight the legal war or want to fight the war on the streets; it was their wish but we would not impress from their threats and accountability would be continued.

    He said that Imran Khan had talked for installation of de-sanitation plants as well as supply of water in Karachi but when Sindh government would not cooperate then how it would work on it, however, he said that he work on it.

    Later, Governor Ismail along with other PTI leaders including Haleem Adil Shaikh proceeded to Gohar Palace in Khangarh town where MPA Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar, belonging to the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) welcomed him.

    The governor met MPA Sardar Raheem Bux Khan Bozdar, chairman of the Ghotki district council and Haji Khan Mahar. He conveyed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message to Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar.

    The visiting PTI leaders then left for Tar Bungalow where Minister of State for Interior Sheheryar Afridi and Dubai’s prince Sheikh Nehiyan bin Mubarak have been staying.

    The PTI leader’s meeting with GDA leaders last about three hours but its media coverage was not allowed.

    According to reliable sources, they discussed a strategy vis-a-vis a political situation arising out of the Dec 31st proceedings of the Supreme Court in the massive money laundering and banking scam.

    The PTI leaders were expected to hold a press conference in Khangarh on Sunday.

    Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018

    GOVERNOR Imran Ismail being received by Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar in Khangarh on Saturday.—DawnGOVERNOR Imran Ismail being received by Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar in Khangarh on Saturday.—Dawn

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    KARACHI: The Pakistan Association for Mental Health (PAMH) has said the country is increasingly getting ‘depressed’ with each passing day; while its largest city is offering much larger figures of people suffering from mental disorders.

    “The actual number of the people with depression and other mental disorders is much more than the recognised 37 per cent aggregate and the same for Karachi is even much worse,” said Dr S Haroon Ahmed, president of the PAMH while speaking to Dawn on Saturday.

    He said the stress level was getting worse in the country with the passage of time with every fourth house had mental health problem requiring specialised help for treatment.

    The PAMH officials said the organisation was deeply concerned about the rising incidence of mental disorders in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi.

    “The stress related to everyday life is taking its toll,” it said.

    People are depressed because of erratic electricity, because of unsatisfactory water and gas supply, and the galloping food prices, said Dr Saima Qureshi, general secretary, PAMH, and project coordinator for awareness, Dr Salamat Kamal.

    Experts said every hurdle that hindered the smooth everyday life caused increased stress level in people; and, as the time passed they turned into illnesses requiring specialised assistance.

    The PAMH officials said daily hardships suffered by people in commuting between the workplace and home, insecurity due to law and order breakdown and political uncertainly, all such factors were taking their toll.

    “The sad part of it is that the impact of such stressors on human psyche is going unrecognised,” said a PAMH official.

    A brief report compiled by the PAMH said: “Add to the depression, the stressed people are opting out to drugs, religiosity and / or suicides.”

    It said that the stress-ridden environment was impacting on the individual and community at large, with behaviour changes like violence, sickness and withdrawing into self.

    Dr Ahmed said 25 per cent of the people with mental disorder suffered from depression and women were depressed twice as that of men.

    “Biological reasons and most restrictive environment causes increased depression among women,” said Dr Ahmed.

    He said at least a person in every second house in the city was taking tranquilisers.

    He blamed the free availability of anti-depressants without prescription in the market.

    PAMH officials said targeted killings, street crimes, sex-related offences, including the barbaric act of kidnapping, rape and murder of young children, were playing havoc with the mental health of people.

    “At least the avoidable stressors need urgent attention by the state by providing amenities such as clean water, unadulterated food, genuine medicine, transport, hygienic environment, curbing crime and security,” said an official.

    The PAMH report said it would like to be whistleblower for the impending disastrous consequences that would tear apart the very fabric of the society, stealing away the productive potential and innovative capacity of the nation’s workforce.

    “The superficial explanation for the state of affairs and sermons to observe moral values of the land cannot correct this course which our society has taken,” it said.

    The officials of the association said the PAMH had decided to organise a four-week awareness campaign next month to highlight the need for action both by the government and society.

    Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018

    Actual number of people with depression, other mental disorders much higher than recognised 37pc. ─ File photoActual number of people with depression, other mental disorders much higher than recognised 37pc. ─ File photo

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    Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Turkey on a two-day official visit next week at an invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Foreign Office announced on Sunday. It will be his first visit to the country after coming into office.

    A high-level delegation will accompany the premier on the January 3-4 trip, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar and Adviser to the Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.

    According to the FO, Khan will hold a meeting with the Turkish president to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations between the two countries. The two leaders will also exchange views on the regional and international situation.

    The prime minister during his visit will also address a business forum and meet Turkish businessmen and potential investors during his stay in Ankara.

    Khan's visit to Turkey will further reinforce the "historic and unparalleled ties" between the governments and the peoples of the two countries, the FO statement said.

    It will "also help to explore new areas of cooperation and collaboration between the two countries, particularly in the area of economic, trade and commercial relations", it added.   The prime minister has visited several countries — including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Malaysia — after his election to the top office in an effort to strengthen bilateral and economic relations and secure foreign investment for the country.

    Pakistan and Turkey have enjoyed close ties over the years. In February, during the vote on US's motion to ‘grey list’ Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting, the only country left opposing the motion was Turkey.

    And in August, even before he had taken the oath of the prime ministerial office, Imran Khan had extended his support to Ankara, which at the time was embroiled in an intense trade dispute with the United States.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — PM Office/FilePrime Minister Imran Khan (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — PM Office/File

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    Sindh Governor Imran Ismail on Sunday alleged that the Sindh government was busy "saving corrupt people" despite the fact that the entire province was in a state of unrest.

    He was speaking to media representatives in Ghotki district after meeting individuals from various schools of thought, including members of political, religious and traders communities, at the Raja Palace.

    "[It is] the process of accountability which will be done with everyone," the governor said, in a reference to the ruling PPP's criticism of corruption investigations against its leaders.

    He said Ghotki had a big share in the provincial revenue but the district had received nothing from the government. "Ghotki should have hospitals, colleges and universities," he added.

    Fellow Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Haleem Adil Shaikh said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah should resign from his position on "moral grounds". Shah was recently placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) as part of an investigation into the fake bank accounts case.

    He said all constitutional means will be exercised to bring "change" in the Sindh Assembly. "Change will come soon, the party has just started," he added, without elaborating.

    Shaikh said the contacts of PPP members with the PTI were increasing day by day and soon some "big good news" would be shared with the public.

    MPA Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar, the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leader who had welcomed Ismail to Ghotki on Saturday, said Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi will also visit the district upon invitation.

    He claimed that there was royalty of Rs10.5 billion in Ghotki but because of the government's incorrect policies, citizens could not get relief.

    The citizens have not benefited from the 18th Amendment because there are no health or education facilities for them, Mahar added.

    On Saturday, Governor Ismail had said that the PPP’s apprehensions about the imposition of governor’s rule on Sindh were unfounded. He was of the view that the party wanted to become “political martyr” but the PTI government would not let it succeed in such efforts.

    Govt move for anti-PPP support

    Meanwhile, in an apparent bid to strengthen the anti-PPP camp in the province, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry will travel to Sindh on Monday and hold discussions with senior political leaders.

    Speaking to Dawn, he said that the prime focus of his visit was to discuss the post-JIT report situation with political leaders of interior Sindh, including Awami Tehreek chief Ayaz Latif Palijo and GDA leaders.

    The schedule of the meetings would be made by the Sindh governor.

    The Joint Investigation Team report recently submitted to the Supreme Court in the fake accounts case held the top PPP leaders, including Asif Zardari, and the Omni Group of Companies responsible for massive money laundering through fake accounts.

    Around 29 bank accounts have been identified as fake which were allegedly used for money laundering of Rs42 billion.

    On the basis of the JIT report, the government has placed the names of all 172 persons identified in the report on the ECL.

    Sindh Governor Imran Ismail on Sunday said that all of Sindh was in unrest but the government was busy saving corrupt people. — File photoSindh Governor Imran Ismail on Sunday said that all of Sindh was in unrest but the government was busy saving corrupt people. — File photo

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    Balochistan Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Ziaullah Langove on Sunday vowed to make "every effort possible" for the safe recovery of missing persons of the province.

    Talking to reporters after meeting family members of missing persons at a protest camp in Quetta, Langove said the people of Balochistan had become victims of "politics" and that the same would no longer happen in the future.

    "We will try to remedy the grievances of our people," he promised, but added in the same breath that the figures of missing persons circulating in the country are "contradictory".

    Editorial: Little progress on missing persons

    "It can take us some time to reach the facts," said Langove, who was appointed as the home minister on Tuesday. He earlier served as the minister for forests and wildlife.

    He vowed to ensure the recovery of missing persons while acting "according to the state laws and Constitution" and urged the relatives of such people to "leave politics" and support him in his efforts.

    The minister said that Balochistan was currently in a "state of war" and the province and Baloch people had suffered immensely due to the unrest.

    "Political personalities have played with the emotions of missing persons' relatives," he said, adding that the government would try to resolve the issue by addressing concerns on "both sides".

    He also cautioned that the state had the right to investigate people who "do not accept the country's law and Constitution".

    Nasrullah Baloch, chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, said they had provided a list of 110 missing persons to the provincial government.

    "[We] are not doing any politics in the name of missing persons," he said, in an apparent response to Langove.

    "Our objective is the recovery of our loved ones."

    Balochistan Home Minister Ziaullah Langove addresses the media after visiting a Baloch missing persons camp in Quetta. — Photo provided by authorBalochistan Home Minister Ziaullah Langove addresses the media after visiting a Baloch missing persons camp in Quetta. — Photo provided by author

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    LAHORE: Thick fog that blanketed south Punjab on Sunday caused many road accidents, killing several people, including an officer of the Motorway Police, and injuring many others.

    The Motorway Police said the 6km stretch of Khanewal to Lodhran highway from Jahanian, Dunaypur to Chowk Maitla witnessed accidents every 200 or 300 metres.

    Patrol officer Muhammad Saeed was securing the scene of an accident after the collision of a bus and a truck due to dense fog near Basti Malook, Multan sector. While he was placing reflecting cones and amber light around the bags of wheat that fell from the truck, a bus hit him from the rear, resulting in severe injuries.

    The officer was rushed to a nearby hospital but he could not survive. The deceased was a resident of Chah Shaheedanwala, Bhakkar. He leaves behind his widow and one-year-old daughter.

    The Motorway Police reported that thick fog in south Punjab covered the National Highway from Chichawatni to Mian Channu, Khane­wal, Multan, Bahawalpur, Ahmadpur Sharqia and Tarinda Muhammadpannah, disrupting traffic a great deal.

    The Met department said foggy conditions were likely to continue in the plains of Punjab, upper Sindh and Peshawar division during Sunday night and Monday morning. Cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country over the next 24 hours. Very cold, dry weather in night hours and frost in morning hours are expected in upper parts of the country.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Patrol officer Muhammad Saeed was securing scene of an accident when a bus hit him. — File photoPatrol officer Muhammad Saeed was securing scene of an accident when a bus hit him. — File photo

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    MUZAFFARABAD: Sardar Hassan Ibrahim of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party (JKPP) clinched victory in by-election for the Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly constituency LA-19 (Poonch-III) in Rawalakot on Sunday, defeating former AJK president and prime minister Sardar Yaqoob Khan of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) by 814 votes.

    Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Sardar Tahir Anwar stood at third position among a total of six candidates.

    The seat had fallen vacant on Nov 4 due to death of Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, who was chief of the JKPP and father of the winning candidate.

    As the late leader commanded great respect in AJK, there were calls from different quarters after his death that rival parties should avoid fielding their candidates against the JKPP nominee in the by-election.

    However, PPP was the first party to announce on Nov 21 that its senior leader Sardar Yaqoob Khan would contest by-election as he did not want to give a “walk-over” to his opponents due to the “peculiar political situation” in the constituency, dominated by Sudhan tribe.

    Imitating the PPP, the ruling PML-N also jumped into the fray by launching Sardar Tahir Anwar, a former AJK minister, as its candidate.

    According to unofficial results compiled by the election commission from all 169 polling stations by Sunday evening, Hassan Ibrahim obtained 17,590 votes as against 16,776 votes secured by Sardar Yaqoob.

    The PML-N candidate scored 10,255 votes. Pro-independence candidate Liaquat Hayat obtained 2,083 votes while two other candidates secured less than 1,000 votes each.

    There were a total of 92,427 registered voters in the constituency.

    It may be recalled that the late JKPP chief had lost June 2011 election to Sardar Yaqoob Khan of the PPP from this constituency by around 10,000 votes.

    After Mr Khan’s elevation as AJK president in August 2011, Mr Ibrahim did not contest by-election which saw Farzana Yaqoob replacing her father in the assembly.

    In July 2016 general elections, Mr Ibrahim defeated Ms Yaqoob of the PPP by around 10,000 votes as an ally of the PML-N.

    However, within two weeks of general elections, Mr Ibrahim had switched over to opposition benches after developing differences with the PML-N over the latter’s support to PPP in elections against one of the five reserved seats for women and nomination of an “apolitical person” (Sardar Masood Khan) for the president’s office.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    There were a total of 92,427 registered voters in the constituency. ─ File photoThere were a total of 92,427 registered voters in the constituency. ─ File photo

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    QUETTA: Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove visited a protest camp set up by relatives of missing persons on Sunday and assured them that the issue of missing persons would be resolved soon.

    “The issue of missing persons will be resolved in the next three months,” Mr Langove said.

    Chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Nasarullah Baloch informed the minister that a list of 110 missing persons had been handed over to the previous government, but nothing was done to find them.

    “We do not want to do politics on the issue, but seek recovery of our people. It is responsibility of the provincial government to listen to grievances of missing people’s relatives sitting in the camp for several days despite severe cold in Quetta,” Mr Langove said.

    Later talking to newsmen, the home minister said that the government was taking the issue of missing persons seriously and wanted to address it as soon as possible.

    Reassures protesters that kidnapped doctor will be recovered soon

    He said six to seven hostile agencies were disturbing peace in the province. “Those who have joined hands with the insurgents against the state and living in mountains or neighbouring countries have been added to the list of missing persons, but the provincial government will move forward by following all legalities.”

    Mr Langove said that the whole country, particularly Balochistan, had been in the grip of violence for two decades and people were being killed or kidnapped, adding that innocent people were brutally murdered in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.

    He said unfortunately families of missing persons had been distracted and lured to pick up arms against the state, but “we seek to bring them back to the negotiation table”.

    Nasarullah Baloch and Voice for Baloch Missing Persons vice chairman Mama Qadeer Baloch said: “Our cases had been in courts since 2005, but we don’t want to create hurdles for the provincial government.” They said a list of 110 missing persons with complete details had been provided to the provincial government and “we have categorically denied our affiliation with any group because we have been demanding that if any missing person has committed a crime he should be produced in courts”.

    Striking doctors

    The home minister also visited a camp of striking doctors in civil hospital and assured them that law enforcement agencies were making all-out efforts for the recovery of Dr Ibrahim Khalil.

    He said the government itself was concerned over the kidnapping of senior doctors and asked protesters to call off their strike.

    However, members of the doctors’ action committee said that they would discuss the issue in a meeting of the committee’s general body and then take a decision in this regard.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    QUETTA: Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove shakes hands with Voice for Baloch Missing Persons vice chairmanQUETTA: Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove shakes hands with Voice for Baloch Missing Persons vice chairman

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    KARACHI: Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information, Law and Anti-Corruption Murtaza Wahab speaks at a press conference on Sunday. He was accompanied by other Pakistan Peoples Party leaders.—PPI
    KARACHI: Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information, Law and Anti-Corruption Murtaza Wahab speaks at a press conference on Sunday. He was accompanied by other Pakistan Peoples Party leaders.—PPI

    ISLAMABAD: The tussle between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which is in power in Sindh, has intensified over the fake bank accounts and money laundering case, which is set to be taken up by the Supreme Court here on Monday (today).

    PTI leaders have demanded resignation of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for allegedly committing corruption in connivance with PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari and others.

    On the other hand, PPP has warned the federal government of dire consequences if any attempt is made to arrest top PPP leaders, including its chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who is also facing the fake bank accounts case.

    The PTI, according to sources, is making efforts to topple the PPP-led Sindh government if the chief minister does not resign. Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting at Banigala and tasked Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry with meeting leaders of political parties of Sindh, other than the PPP, aimed at seeking their support for dislodging the PPP government.

    Minister says there is no plan for governor’s rule or repeal of 18th Amendment; Khursheed Shah warns against arrest of Bilawal

    PPP is the majority party in the Sindh Assembly with 99 seats while the PTI and its allies have a total of 64 seats. The PTI requires 18 more members to outnumber the PPP to form its government in the province. However, it is believed that it would be a hard nut to crack to defeat the PPP in the provincial assembly as the party enjoys a formidable position in the province since long and has been in office there for over a decade.

    Talking to Dawn on Sunday, Fawad Chaudhry said he would start his two-day visit to Sindh on Monday (today) and meet political leaders of interior Sindh, including Awami Tehreek chief Ayaz Latif Palijo and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leaders. “I will meet Ayaz Latif Palijo, Arbab Rahim, Zulfiqar Mirza (whose son Hasnain Mirza is an MPA), Ameer Bukhsh Bhutto (son of Mumtaz Bhutto), Pir Pagara and others,” he added.

    “...We do not want to dislodge the PPP government in Sindh but want to forge consensus on the demand for resignation of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to ensure fair trial of Asif Ali Zardari and company,” the information minister said.

    He said the PTI had no intention to impose the governor’s rule in Sindh or repeal the 18th Amendment.

    Meanwhile, Zulfi Bukhari, special assistant to the prime minister on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development, demanded the resignation of CM Shah.

    He wrote on Twitter: “While only land grabbers/thieves/mafia come to Zardari cartel’s rescue, a new low was reached by Murad Ali Shah when held accountable for his corruption. Shame on him for being a blind servant trying to justify his loyalty by stooping so low without any respect.”

    Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, who belongs to the PTI, claimed that some MPAs belonging to the PPP had contacted the PTI and said they did not want to remain part of the PPP any more.

    He told media that a forward bloc was being formed in the PPP in Sindh as many of PPP leaders were fed up with “corrupt” practices of the party’s top leaders.

    The governor alleged that the Sindh government was busy saving corrupt people despite the fact that the entire province was in a state of unrest.

    Talking to the media in Ghotki after meeting people from different schools of thought at the Raja Palace, he said all constitutional means would be explored to bring a change in the Sindh Assembly, adding that the change would come soon.

    PTI leader Halim Adil Shaikh said their contacts with PPP members were increasing day by day and soon some good news would be shared with the public.

    Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar, an MPA of the GDA who hosted Governor Ismail in Ghotki, said Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi would also visit the district on his invitation.

    Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Zaidi said some PPP MPAs wanted to get rid of Sindh government.

    On the basis of the report of a Joint Investigation Team formed by the Supreme Court in the fake bank accounts/money laundering case, names of 172 suspects — including Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Murad Ali Shah, Qaim Ali Shah, Faryal Talpur and Anwar Siyal — have been placed on Exit Control List after which they cannot travel abroad. The hearing of the case will take place today (Monday) at the Supreme Court and stern orders are expected that may include arrest of top PPP leaders.

    However, PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah said in a statement any attempt to arrest Mr Bhutto-Zardari would be a “dangerous game” and create unrest in the country. “Arresting Bilawal is impossible but it can happen. Similarly, it is quite difficult to impose governor rule in Sindh but it also can be done through martial law,” he said.

    He said attempts were being made to enforce one-party rule in the country.

    Nasir Shah, another leader of the PPP and Sindh minister, said in a press conference that the PTI was trying to seek loyalties of PPP MPAs through horse-trading.

    He questioned why the PTI leadership was making contacts with PPP MPAs, adding that Murad Ali Shah would not resign.

    Nasir Shah claimed that many PTI legislators were fed up with PTI policies and they could be contacted by the PPP. “We can also give tough time to the PTI at the centre,” he added.

    Adviser to the Sindh chief minister on information and law Murtaza Wahab said all 99 PMAs of the PPP were firm and would never leave the party.

    He said Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were being targeted just for exposing inefficiencies, undemocratic conduct, and anti-people policies of the federal government in the parliament.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

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    KARACHI: Police on Sunday claimed to have foiled a major terrorism plot by defusing a seven-kilogram bomb planted in a motorbike in the old Subzi Mandi area.

    Acting on a tip-off provided by an ‘informer’, contingents of police conducted a raid early on Sunday morning in Kernal Basti at old Subzi Mandi, where they came under a gun-and-grenade attack, but no one was wounded in the assault. The police detained seven suspects.

    The police seized three hand grenades from the spot besides a motorbike which was rigged with electric wires, triggering suspicion in the law enforcers, said Karachi East SSP Azfar Mahesar.

    The Bomb Disposal Squad was called in, who defused an explosive device attached to the motorbike.

    7kg bomb attached to a motorbike defused near old Subzi Mandi

    Mr Mahesar said that the bomb weighed around seven kilograms containing nuts and bolts. It was attached to a remote control device. Regarding the motorbike, the officer said that it was stolen in PIB Colony on Saturday evening and its owner had lodged its report at the police station concerned.

    TTP group

    The SSP-East said he believed that the suspects who attached the bomb to the motorbike belonged to the Mufti Shakir-led Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan based in Afghanistan.

    “Mufti Shakir-led group was involved in deadly suicide attacks on the slain CIA SP Chaudhry Aslam and Inspector Shafiq Tanoli in the vicinity of the same area in the past,” recalled SSP Mahesar.

    “This area has remained a stronghold of banned militant outfits,” admitted the senior officer.

    “We have information that the militants were planning a terror attack on the Eve of New Year,” the officer said.

    The investigators were also looking into the possibility that this network might be operating from Central Prison Karachi.

    “The police have recovered some evidences from the spot, which indicated this group’s links with Central Prison,” said Azfar Mahesar.

    ‘Possible target’

    DIG-East Amir Farooqi, who visited the crime scene, told Dawn that they suspected that the militants’ possible target might be a centre in the same vicinity of their supposed rival school of thought.

    However, SSP Azfar Mahesar added that there were at least “five high value targets” in the same vicinity and over the past two months, they had been receiving reports that terrorists might target anyone of them to sabotage the peace in the provincial capital.

    He said a case had been registered at the Counter-Terrorism Department of police against unidentified suspects under the terrorism act on behalf of a PIB police officer.

    Meanwhile, IGP Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam announced Rs100,000 cash award and appreciation certificate for the Bomb Disposal Squad and the police party for defusing the huge bomb in the old Subzi Mandi area.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    The police seized three hand grenades from the spot besides a motorbike which was rigged with electric wires. — File photoThe police seized three hand grenades from the spot besides a motorbike which was rigged with electric wires. — File photo

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    GWADAR: The protesting fishermen of the port city of Gwadar on Sunday called off their month-long strike after successful negotiations with officials of the provincial government and the Gwadar Port Authority.

    Official sources said that Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Mir Dostain Khan Jamaldini and the provincial government officials held negotiations with Fishermen Alliance leader Khuda-i-Dad Wajo in a protest camp where a large number of fishermen were present.

    Mr Jamaldini and Additional Deputy Commissioner Anis Ahmed Gorgage said that demands of the fishermen were justified and informed the protesting fishermen that the government had accepted their all demands.

    They said Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani had ordered the Gwadar Port Authority to construct a jetty in Gwadar.

    Among the fishermen’s demands included their access to the sea for fishing at the eastern side of Gwadar coast. They were of the view that with the construction of Eastbay Expressway fishermen would be denied their access up to the sea where they had been fishing for decades.

    “We want protection of our centuries-old livelihood,” Mr Wajo said while announcing to call off the strike.

    However, he said, if implementation on the demands was not begun within a month the fishermen would again launch a protest.

    Provincial Minister for Information Zahoor Buledi, MNA from Gwadar Mohammad Aslam Bhootani, Senator Kohda Babar and MPA of the area Hamal Kalmati have played an important role in the success of negotiations.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Fishermen will launch another protest if implementation to meet demands didn't start in a month. — File photoFishermen will launch another protest if implementation to meet demands didn't start in a month. — File photo

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    KARACHI: Civil society representatives have urged President Arif Alvi to set up a task force to find a ‘workable’ solution of human rights and labour rights.

    They also called for establishing a commission for rights of the minorities in the light of a Supreme Court’s recent decision.

    A delegation that called on President Alvi on Saturday at the Sindh Governor House also raised issues of missing persons, curbs on media freedoms and retrenchment of employees in media houses.

    The delegation also presented a memorandum of the issues being faced by the rights activists.

    “Civil society and labour rights activists from all provinces of Pakistan have urged the president to ensure provision of fundamental human rights including labour rights to all citizens ensured under the Constitution,” rights activist Karamat Ali told a press conference here at the Karachi Press Club on Sunday.

    Civil society asks president to set up task force for human, labour rights

    Besides Mr Ali of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Mohammad Tahseen, executive director of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP) Lahore,;Ali Palh, coordinator, Sindh Human Rights Defender Network, Hyderabad; Bushra Arain, president of the Lady Health Workers Association, Lahore; Liaqat Ali Sahi, general secretary of the State Bank Democratic Worker Union (CBA), Karachi; Rashida Dohat, director of the Omar Asghar Khan Foundation, Islamabad; Nasir Aziz, secretary general of the National trade Union federation, Karachi addressed the press conference.

    Mr Ali said that the president heard the delegation members very patiently and assured that their grievances would be addressed.

    Enforced disappearance no solution to terrorism

    The civil society’s memorandum highlighted the violation of freedom of association, freedom of press, right to free trial, minorities, women and children rights.

    “We have proposed to set up a task force comprising senior government officials, experts from private sector and civil society representatives to find a workable solution,” he said.

    The civil society raised the issue of missing persons.

    “We have urged the government to find a lasting solution for the problem. Enforced disappearances are no solution to the issue of terrorism or anti-state activities. Those involved in any criminal cases must be brought to courts and dealt in accordance to the law,” Mr Ali said.

    “The actions by the state and non-state actors in recent years have resulted in curbs on freedom of expression and freedom of media. A recent raid on the KPC by plain-clothes armed men is one example of harassment of journalists,” he said, adding: “Retrenchments of media people, drastic reduction in government ads to newspapers and TV channels, unannounced sanctions against some media houses, surveillance and harassment of those using social media as a platform of expression are other examples of increased hindrances in the way of the right to expression.”

    “As civil society, we believe that it is important to put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure the freedom of expression and free media in accordance to the Constitution and international best practices,” he said.

    Regarding minorities rights, Mr Ali said that the president was requested to take practical measures to ensure implementation of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision regarding minorities’ rights. “We have requested to establish the Minority Rights Commission, which is the centre point of the Supreme Court decision.”

    He said that the government was urged to consider the guidelines issued by the National Commission for Human Rights for adoption at all levels and take necessary measures including required legislation for recognition and protection of human rights defenders.

    ‘Social security for all’

    Regarding labour issues, Mr Ali said: “We have requested the president to ask the federal government to conduct an immediate review of all laws concerning to labour and human rights to bring them in conformity with the international commitments and constitutional provisions. This may follow by making appropriate institutional arrangements to implement these laws and policies. Civil society should be consulted in all such processes.”

    The Piler official said trade unions had already shrunk to the lowest ebb in Pakistan. “Of the 65 million labourers, only about one per cent are unionised. This is an alarming situation both for a society and democracy. There might be multiple factors for this drastic decline of trade unions. Restrictive laws are a major hurdle in exercise of the right to association and collective bargaining.”

    He said it was also important that the legislation and policy making process be expedited in provinces in accordance to the provisions of the Constitution and the International Labour Organisation’s conventions ratified by Pakistan.

    “We have requested the president to intervene and ask the federal government to take appropriate measures to universalise social security for all citizens. First step may be to combine all the labour welfare institutions and universalise social security coverage for all workers.

    He said a large number of rural population was landless and shelterless. While the government had already started housing programme for shelterless and underprivileged, “we believe that land reforms are essential to end poverty and marginalisation”, he said.

    “We have urged the government to start with distribution of the state land among landless haris as a first step. There are multiple studies suggesting that enough state land is available to distribute, which may provide a piece of 5-7 acres to a landless family,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Civil society representatives have urged President Arif Alvi to set up a task force to find a ‘workable’ solution of human rights and labour rights. ─ File photoCivil society representatives have urged President Arif Alvi to set up a task force to find a ‘workable’ solution of human rights and labour rights. ─ File photo

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    HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P) information secretary MNA Dr Nafisa Shah has accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of trying to thrust one-party rule upon the country observing that the democratic dispensation is slowly moving towards authoritarianism.

    She also accused the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of undermining institutions. She posed a question as to why the FIA was calling for shelving the Asghar Khan case probe.

    She claimed that the opposition was being decapitated and judicial activism, born out of reinstatement of [former chief justice of Pakistan] Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry-led judiciary, was continuing.

    Ms Shah was addressing a press conference at the local club on Sunday. PPP information secretary Aajiz Dhamra also spoke. The party’s divisional and district level leaders including Ali Nawaz Shah Rizvi, Dost Ali Jaisar, Aftab Khanzada and Ahsan Abro were also present.

    She said PPP chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari in his Dec 27 speech [in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto] presented a dangerous scenario, and added that the country was slowly moving towards a dictatorship. She noted that a list of 172 names was issued following the party chief’s speech and these names were put on the exit control list. This was done even before the joint investigation team’s report could be taken up by the Supreme Court.

    Nafisa Shah said that the FIA was endeavouring to implicate the PPP leadership [in money laundering and fake accounts cases] whereas it expressed its inability to investigate the 25 years old Asghar Khan case. She termed the moves starting on Dec 27 “political engineering”.

    “The day the list was issued, the stock market crashed; the national kitty is left with $7bn to $9bn, which is not sufficient even for two-three months,” she said.

    ‘Federation is being harmed’

    “The PTI government is harming the federation; if robbery is committed on the Sindh government, this will weaken the federation,” the senior PPP leader warned alluding to speculations about imposition of governor’s rule on the province.

    She said if the opposition leadership was paralysed, it would undermine democracy. “When­ever the country headed towards dictatorship, PPP got alert,” she said.

    Ms Shah reminded the prime minister that PPP faced all dictators, General Ayub Khan, General Ziaul Haq and Gen Musharraf whereas Imran Khan hardly attended parliament sessions on two to three occasions. “It is a government where the prime minister spends time in addressing people through television instead of turning up at parliament,” she said.

    Nafisa Shah condemned federal ministers’ statements intimidating the Sindh chief minister by asking him to resign though the entire JIT report was a “pack of conjectures”. It is yet to go through legal scrutiny; it claims that out of 850 given a call up notice, around 750 were heard; it doesn’t reflect statements of the present and former Sindh chief ministers whose names are now on the ECL. She pointed out that collusion between institutions and the [federal] government was too apparent as [adviser to the PM on accountability] Shahzad Akbar referred to the JIT report as if he read it repeatedly or he himself wrote it.

    Judicial commission

    Ms Shah also termed the Supreme Court-mandated judicial commission on water and sanitation in Sindh “a parallel structure of governance” which, she alleged was acting beyond its mandate. “We want each institution to work within its constitutional limits. Supremacy of democracy must remain intact but currently everyone including the media and civil society were getting affected, she said.

    She called for the setting up of JITs to ascertain why the ehtesab commission in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was wound up; how contracts were awarded in that province; and who borne expenditure of PTI’s sit-in and prime minister’s Banigala residence.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    PPP-P information secretary Nafisa Shah speaks at the press conference in Hyderabad on Sunday.—DawnPPP-P information secretary Nafisa Shah speaks at the press conference in Hyderabad on Sunday.—Dawn

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    ISLAMABAD: The National University of Modern Languages (Numl), which is not a medical university, has granted affiliation to a college that offers medical education, the auditor general of Pakistan pointed out in a report detailing irregularities in public-sector universities.

    The 2017-18 audit report released a few days ago stated that Numl granted affiliation to the Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute (AFPGMI) in Rawalpindi in 2006.

    “The affiliated institute was providing medical education whereas no such education was being imparted by Numl,” the report said, adding that the audit was not provided the constitution of affiliation committee as per the guidelines of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

    The report said the HEC had clarified that the university will consider applications for affiliation from institutions offering programmes similar to those offered by the university. The report said the affiliation of a medical institute with a non-medical university was “un-justified and irregular”.

    The report quoted a response from Numl, in which the university’s management said that affiliation with the AFPGMI was granted on Jan 5, 2006, for a certificate in medical administration and not for any degree programme. Numl also immediately took action and advised the AFPGMI to seek affiliation for a diploma in medical administration where this course is being offered, on receipt of an HEC letter dated Nov 17, 2016.

    In its meeting on Nov 9, 2017, the departmental audit committee (DAC) directed the management to get the records regarding HEC’s affiliation criteria verified by the audit, the report said.

    “Audit recommends that the decision of the DAC may be implemented and responsibility may be fixed for granting affiliation in contravention of HEC criteria.”

    It also pointed out several irregular appointments the Numl management made on contractual basis, including the appointment of 32 faculty members on academic and 29 officials on administrative posts during 2015-16.

    Numl grants affiliation to college offering medical education despite not being a medical university, report says

    The management of the university, according to the audit report, stated that as per the university’s ordinance the rector was empowered to appoint teachers, officers and members of staff for a period not exceeding two years on a contractual basis, the report said.

    Numl responded: “All these appointments were made through selection committee constituted by competent authority.”

    However the audit contended that the response was not relevant, as provisions of the Numl Ordinance were not observed during the recruitment process. In its Nov 9 meeting, the DAC directed that rules regarding contractual appointment be framed and a revised reply in light of the ordinance may be furnished.

    The report also pointed out the irregular appointment of the Faisalabad regional director and dean of social sciences made by Numl in 2015. The university defended both appointments as being made purely on merit and through a competitive process.

    However, the audit termed these appointments irregular and called for both posts to be re-advertised and for responsibility for these appointments to be fixed.

    Allama Iqbal Open University

    The report also highlighted several audit paras of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) that included irregular expenditure on the purchase of an excessive quantity ofspare parts amounting to Rs24 million and the short collection of admission fees due to fake bank stamps.

    The report said the university’s management incurred expenditure of approximately Rs24.3 million on the purchase of spare parts for machine equipment in the print and publication unit. The audit observed that these spare parts were still in storage and were not used until June 30, 2017, resulting in a blockage of public funds.

    AIOU management told the audit teams that an inquiry committee had already been constituted to look into this matter. Admission form scams were also pointed out. The audit noted that the AIOU in 2013 constituted a committee to verify admissions forms and the fees for B.Ed, postgraduate and PhD programmes related to the 2012-13 spring semesters with respect to checking fake bank stamps.

    The audit pointed out that the inquiry committee’s recommendations have thus far not been implemented as no recovery was made from the concerned officials. The university told the audit teams that the case was sent to the National Accountability Bureau for inquiry and in the DAC held in September 2017, it was decided that a letter seeking an early decision in the case would be sent to NAB from the vice chancellor.


    The report said Comsats management made irregular appointments on the tenure track system (TTS), spending Rs69m, without advertising and without the approval of the selection board and board of governors or the endorsement of the HEC.

    Comsats management replied that TTS appointments were made according to the eligibility criteria mentioned in the CIIT TTSstatements 2009. However, the reply was “not accepted because no documentary evidence was produced”, the report said, adding that the DAC in its meeting in September 2017 decided that posts that were not filled through the selection board should be re-advertised.

    The report said Comsats made 27 irregular appointments of advisers and consultants at fixed monthly salaries and paid approximately Rs26.3m while the principal seat engaged 28 consultants and advisers and paid approximately Rs16.7m during 2015-16.

    All the advisers and consultants were appointed without advertisement and competition, it said. The university replied that according to DAC recommendations the contracts of most of the advisers and consultants were terminated as of June 30, 2017, but the report said the reply was not accepted because the management did not provide a list of consultants whose contracts were terminated.

    The audit report saidComsats bought a car - a Toyota Corolla Atlis that cost approximately Rs2.2m - for a federal minister. The car was allowed to the chancellor, who was also minister for science and technology. The report said the chancellor was not entitled to an official vehicle from the university as the provision of a vehicle to a federal minister was the responsibility of the Cabinet Division.

    The audit rejected the university’s response and recommended that the DAC’s Nov 9, 2017, decision for retrieving the vehicle from the chancellor and placing it in the pool of Comsats vehicles.

    The report also said that the Comsats management at the Islamabad campus, which was the principal seat during 2015-16, appointed 149 officers without observing merit, provincial or regional quotas, which was it was required to as a federally chartered university.

    The management replied that the university was a degree awarding institute recognised by the HEC and the body corporate of the Ministry of Science and Technology. It had its own statues and rules approved by the board of governors and it followed open merit policy and laid down criteria for appointments.

    The report said that the DAC in its 2017 meeting directed the university to follow instructions regarding appointments, being a federally chartered university.

    Quaid-i-Azam University

    Auditors pointed out that the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) management made unauthorised investments of Rs160m without approval from the syndicate.

    The report said the management invested the funds with the Dubai Islamic Bank for three tears without approval. It also said the unauthorised payment of a 20pc special allowance of Rs71m was made to QAU employees in 2015-16.

    The report said the QAU management said the payment was made on the basis of a syndicate decision, but the response was not accepted because a special allowance is only admissible to employees working in ministries and divisions.

    The audit report also highlighted audit paras of the International Islamic University Islamabad, such as irregular appointments of part-time teachers and visiting faculty, and paying medical allowance to employees.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Numl grants affiliation to college offering medical education despite not being a medical university, report says. ─ File photo by Kashif AbbasiNuml grants affiliation to college offering medical education despite not being a medical university, report says. ─ File photo by Kashif Abbasi

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    PESHAWAR: The year 2018 was characterised by hopelessness for the artists, performers and folk singers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as no concrete steps were taken for the revival or improvement of arts and cultural activities despite launch of a comprehensive cultural policy, which according to many art critics was a mere eyewash.

    Ironically, the art scene of the culturally-rich province remained deserted throughout as its destitute actors and performers went through great sufferings. Whether film, stage, theatre, radio or TV, the KP artists and musicians are found performing and singing dirge of their own fallen souls. Misery and gloom are writ large on their faces that earlier were symbols of hope, peace and love.

    “KP artists have been virtually reduced to street beggars as they find neither respect in the society nor an ear to listen to their feeble voice,” said Zardad Bulbul, a noted actor.

    Cultural policy termed mere eyewash

    Despite tall claims, the KP government couldn’t implement its well-drafted cultural policy as neither an art institution was built nor a single project launched to engage artists and literati for promoting the cause of national integration and peace.

    “The so-called KP cultural policy was lost in the bureaucratic files and the artists’ community continued to suffer and a few died during the course while the government aid reached for their burial,” said Mohammad Ilyas, a disgruntled TV actor.

    When approached, most senior artists were of the view that Nishtar Hall should be handed over to the seasoned people related to art and culture on the pattern of Punjab and Sindh provinces where senior artists ran art institutions. The state -run radio and TV also closed their doors to local artists, writers and performers due to lack of funds.

    The KP culture directorate failed to conduct a single cultural or literary event at the Peshawar city’s lone theatre of Nishtar Hall during 2018 as the required funds for different activities couldn’t be released. The artists’ community was seen on roads protesting over delay in payment of their monthly stipends which came close to Rs110 million to be awarded for the next seven months to the deserving artists and singers.

    Sources privy to the matters of KP culture directorate told this scribe earlier that the KP government used to release Rs35 million on annual basis since 2011 for conducting different cultural and literary events, but regretted that 2018 remained dry for the artists and cultural activities as all the letters and reminders fell on deaf ears of the authorities concerned. They said that the officials concerned were not serious about revival of cultural activities in the province plagued by militancy where the artists’ community also suffered.

    Sharing her views, seasoned TV artist Shazma Haleem said that the KP artists had a bleak future lying ahead for them. She said that she was so hopeless that she had stopped to be part of any protest. “A writer, performer or an actor should be treated as a person deserving high pedestal in the society. The 2018 proved a dismal year for the KP artists. Even private radio and TV channels showed the way to hard working and talented artists due to financial slump,” she said.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Artists stage a protest in Peshawar over delay in payment of monthly stipend. — File photoArtists stage a protest in Peshawar over delay in payment of monthly stipend. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to treat Azad Jammu and Kashmir on a par with Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in terms of net hydel power profit, and according to rough estimates, AJK is expected to get about Rs12 billion per annum.

    The AJK government has prepared a summary and is moving it to the federal cabinet since the federal government has principally agreed to pay net hydel power profit to AJK, said Additional Chief Secretary for Planning and Development Department Dr Syed Asif Hussain while talking to a group of Islamabad-based journalists who visited Muzaffarabad the other day.

    Currently, AJK gets merely 15 paisa per unit as water usage charges from Mangla dam; KP and Punjab get net hydel profit of Rs1.10 per unit from Tarbela dam and Ghazi Barotha hydel power project, respectively. The payment of profit from net hydel power to AJK may further increase when the Neelum-Jhelum power project is included.

    Since AJK is not part of Pakistan under the Constitution, the state is not entitled to receive share from hydel profit. However, considering it as an issue of justice and equality, the federal government has agreed to give equal share to AJK on a par with KP and Punjab. Since AJK had no representation in the National Finance Com­mission, Council of Common Interests and Indus River System Authority, no benefit was given to AJK, he said.

    Official says Islamabad will treat Azad Jammu and Kashmir at par with Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

    According to Dr Hussain, AJK is significantly contributing electricity to the national grid and the entire electricity produced in AJK is transmitted to the national system. After Mangla and Neelum-Jhelum, the Patrind hydel power project is producing electricity. Two more power projects are coming up in AJK in the private sector — 140MW Bong and 84MW downstream of Mangla by Bong. Karot, Gulpur, Kohala and other power sector projects are coming up. In all, 20 hydropower projects are in the pipeline in AJK, he said.

    Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), two new projects will be set up in the power sector in AJK, with the capacity of producing 2,000MW of electricity. These are 1,200MW Kohala hydropower project and 700MW Karot hydropower project. The total electricity demand of AJK at every given time is 350MW, while the rest of electricity is being imported. Feasibility on another power sector project having the capacity of 974MW was ready for financing, the additional chief secretary said.

    He disclosed that the federal government had cut the development budget of AJK when allocations under the Public Sector Development Programme were reviewed in Islamabad recently. The size of AJK development programme was Rs25.2bn, and after the cut, it has now been curtailed to Rs20bn. Despite financial difficulties, for federal government, it was not a big deal to adjust a cushion of Rs5bn to Rs7bn for a bigger cause.

    According to the additional chief secretary, the development of AJK is not only for the people of AJK, but this is also a trigger for the people of Kashmir on the other side of the border to know how people are living here. Together, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK should be made model areas because of CPEC involvement.

    Dr Hussain said the AJK government had submitted a proposal to the federal government for a link road to AJK under the CPEC. The proposal has been approved by the Joint Cooperation Council. The project called ‘M4’ will link Mansehra with Muzaffarabad via GT Road with Mangla and Mirpur.

    AJK will also have a shorter route if a tunnel is constructed with the federal grant to link Shontur Pass with Rattu. A road between Sanji and Astore already exists. The AJK prime minister has been given a briefing on this project, he said.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Currently, AJK gets merely 15 paisa per unit as water usage charges from Mangla dam while KP and Punjab get net hydel profit of Rs1.10 per unit from Tarbela dam and Ghazi Barotha hydel power project respectively. — File photoCurrently, AJK gets merely 15 paisa per unit as water usage charges from Mangla dam while KP and Punjab get net hydel profit of Rs1.10 per unit from Tarbela dam and Ghazi Barotha hydel power project respectively. — File photo

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    SUKKUR: Strong speculations about a change in the Sindh government engulfed the entire province on Sunday with the epicentre being Khangarh, where Governor Imran Ismail and MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh stayed overnight to discuss possibility of change with Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar and some other members of the political family.

    Speaking to the media, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh remarked that people of Sindh would hear “good news” soon, but ruled out any unconstitutional measures to be taken by his party. “There are many other options,” he explained.

    Governor Ismail, along with Mr Shaikh, arrived in Khangarh in Ghotki district on Saturday and discussed the political situation in the province, with reference to the Supreme Court proceedings in the massive money-laundering and fake bank accounts cases scheduled for Monday (today). Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister, Faryal Talpur and many of their associates have been named as suspects in the probe undertaken by the SC-appointed joint investigation team (JIT). A total of 172 suspects being part of the alleged scam have been barred from going abroad.

    The speculations about a change were further feuled by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s telephonic contact with Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar late on Saturday evening though a few details of the conversation were made public.

    Local reporters repeatedly asked Mr Shaikh about progress of a ‘forward bloc’ he had claimed to be in the offing in the Sindh Assembly to cripple PPP within the house. He, however, neither confirmed nor denied reports of having drummed up considerable support.

    He said not all PPP people [lawmakers] were bad but the good ones had already distanced themselves [from PPP fold]. “Nothing is impossible,” he added, alluding to PTI’s efforts towards bringing about an in-house change.

    He said Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah should have resigned on his own after ascertaining contents of the JIT report.

    He said PTI would have no objection if PPP itself named someone from among them as the chief minister.

    Governor Ismail, MPA Shaikh, Federal Minister for Anti-Narcotics Ali Mohammad Mahar, Grand Democratic Alliance leaders MNA Ghous Bakhsh Mahar, MPA Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar and former MPA Raheem Bakhsh Bozdar had held a meeting at the bungalow of Ali Mohammad Mahar at Tar Ghar late on Saturday evening to discuss political situation in the province.

    On Sunday, all the leaders returned to Gohar Palace in Khangarh.

    MPA Shaikh told a questioner while talking to the media that PTI was in contact with MPAs and the number of its supporters was increasing. “It’s just a start, you will see the climax in coming days,” he remarked.

    Mr Shaikh also said that President Dr Arif Alvi would be arriving in Khangarh on the invitation of Sardar Mahar and Prime Minister Imran Khan had also accepted the latter’s invitation for a visit.

    Sardar Mahar also spoke to the media and said people of Sindh remained deprived of their rights over the past 50 years although 10 districts of the province were rich in natural resources.

    “A change is inevitable to address the issues being faced by the people,” he said.

    He said the 18th Constitutional Amendment had given nothing to the masses.

    Sardar Mahar confirmed that a change was indeed discussed in his talks with the visiting PTI leaders, and said a final decision would be taken by GDA chief Pir Saheb Pagara and PTI leadership.

    Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018

    Governor Ismail and PTI leaders emerge from Mahars’ residence after holding a session on Sunday.—DawnGovernor Ismail and PTI leaders emerge from Mahars’ residence after holding a session on Sunday.—Dawn

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