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    The law ministry informed a National Assembly standing committee on Wednesday that the summary for a second extension in military courts has been forwarded to the federal cabinet for approval.

    The information regarding the military tribunals, whose two-year term will expire in March 2019, was provided during a meeting of National Assembly's Standing Committee on Law and Justice.

    The session of the sole standing committee formed in the lower house of parliament so far was held with Riaz Fatyana in the chair. In attendance at the meeting were Shahbaz Sharif and Khawaja Saad Rafique, the two PML-N MNAs who are both in National Accountability Bureau's custody and were brought to the session upon issuance of production orders.

    Also read: Govt considering second extension for military courts

    Answering a question, Malaika Ali Bukhari, the law ministry's parliamentary secretary, informed the committee that the interior ministry had sent a summary regarding the extension in military court's term to the law ministry, however, the summary "did not mention a time period" for which the tribunals could be extended.

    She said after approving the summary, the law ministry forwarded it to the federal cabinet for approval.

    In case the government decides to give a second extension to the military courts, it will have to get a constitutional amendment passed from both houses of parliament.

    The military courts were allowed to try civilians accused of terrorism in January 2015, soon after a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014. In the attack, 144 people — mostly children — were killed by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

    Examine: The sun has set on Pakistan's military courts — here's why it should never rise again

    The courts were given a two-year constitutional cover as both houses of the parliament passed the 21st constitutional amendment with the inclusion of a sunset clause despite fears among lawmakers that the tribunals they were authorising would not be able to ensure due process to the suspects and might undermine democracy.

    The courts remained dysfunctional from Jan 7, 2017 (due to expiry of the two-year constitutional cover) till March 2017, when the military courts were extended for another two years by the parliament amid controversy that the constitutional cover could not be given to the Military Act under which the military courts were resumed.

    On December 13, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak had informed the National Assembly that the military authorities had to decide 185 cases of terrorists in three months (till March).

    NAB law

    During the meeting, PML-N MNA Rana Sanaullah inquired about the progress on a possible amendment in the National Accountability Ordina­nce (NAO) 1999.

    The ministry's representatives informed the body that it would take another month or two before legislation in this regard could take shape. Sanaullah directed the ministry to present the draft of the bill within 45 days.

    Committee chairman Fityana expressed the concern that the law ministry was bringing forward very little new legislation and that efforts should be made to increase its number. He directed the ministry to brief the committee at the next session about various issues of national importance and legal reforms.


    Military courts were allowed to try civilians accused of terrorism in January 2015, soon after a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014. — Online/FileMilitary courts were allowed to try civilians accused of terrorism in January 2015, soon after a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014. — Online/File

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    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday announced that a list of 172 individuals placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the recommendation of a joint investigation team (JIT) probing the fake accounts case will be sent to a review committee functioning under the interior ministry.

    Addressing a press conference in Islamabad following a meeting of the federal cabinet, Chaudhry said the move was in accordance with orders of the Supreme Court, which had directed the cabinet on Monday to reconsider its “hasty decision” of placing the names of 172 people, including Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and other PPP stalwarts, on the no-fly list.

    The ECL review committee of the interior ministry will present a report before the cabinet next week stating the reasons "why the placement of the [172] names on the ECL should be reviewed".

    Editorial: Meaningful accountability

    "After looking at the material [submitted by the review committee], it will be decided how this matter goes forward."

    Explaining the procedure of adding names on the ECL, Chaudhry said the relevant investigation agency first sends its recommendations to the interior ministry. The ministry then forwards the names to the cabinet for implementation.

    He said the current cabinet had made the "principled" decision to add names of suspects on the no-fly list whenever a JIT or agency sends them "and according to that same policy, we added the [172] names on ECL when they were sent to us by the JIT". He said there were precedents in national politics to support this decision.

    "We have seen that in Pakistan, whoever could prove to be helpful in investigations was made to flee the country," he said, citing the "most glaring" example of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who he alleged had fled the country on then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's airplane and has since not returned.

    And so the cabinet will decide the fate of the 172 individuals' names keeping in view these "bitter examples" following the review committee's recommendations, the minister revealed.

    On the recommendations of the JIT, the federal cabinet had in its meeting on December 27 decided to place the names of 172 individuals on the ECL, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Murad Ali Shah, Farooq H. Naek and several other leaders and provincial ministers belonging to the PPP.

    5 units put on privatisation priority list

    Chaudhry announced that the cabinet has decided to place five projects and units on the government's priority list for privatisation. These include the 1,230 MW Haveli Bahadur Shah power project, government shares in Mari Petroleum Company, Lakhra coalmines, Services International Hotel in Lahore. In addition, a cabinet committee will finalise matters regarding the sale of K-Electric.

    Also, he said, a committee led by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak has been tasked with identifying nearly 150 properties on "prime" state land. The list of such properties will be presented in the next cabinet meeting and a decision will be made regarding their disposal.

    The minister separately announced that the government has decided to add three vacancies of judges in the Islamabad High Court. The court will now have nine judges in addition to its chief justice.

    Social schemes brought under council

    As part of the government's flagship programme to end poverty, the cabinet decided to bring all organisations and schemes focused on social issues and poverty alleviation, such as the Benazir Income Support Programme and Pakistan Baitul Mal, under the umbrella of the Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council.

    Headed by Dr Sania Nishtar, the council will coordinate with all departments to devise a coordinate programme to effectively lift the poor segments of society.

    Customs duty abolished on drilling equipment

    The cabinet also decided to abolish the additional customs duty on the "temporary import of major equipment of exploration drilling wells". This was done because the government believes that foreign investment in oil and gas exploration sectors should not be taxed, but taxes should be levied on the income from such investment, Chaudhry said.

    He announced that a high-powered committee had been formed to make efforts for development and alleviation of Karachi. The convener of the body will be Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and will include lawmakers from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

    The cabinet also approved a loan of 130 million euros for the next phase of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project.


    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTVInformation Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

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    The Pakistan Army on Wednesday shot down a second Indian ‘spy drone’ within a span of two days along the restive Line of Control, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter.

    "Pakistan Army troops shot down another Indian spy quadcopter. Today in Satwal Sector on Line of Control," the tweet read.

    The tweet included picture of the spy drone, but the ISPR chief did not give any more details, at least immediately, as to how deep the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had intruded into Pakistani airspace.

    On Tuesday, he had tweeted that army troops had shot down an Indian spy quadcopter in Bagh sector along the LoC.

    “Not even a quadcopter will be allowed to cross [the] LoC, In Shaa Allah,” the ISPR chief had added.

    It was a clear reference to the claim made by the Indian government more than two years ago that their army commandos had carried out surgical strikes in AJK, on Sept 28, 2016, days after an attack on an army base in Uri in held Kashmir had left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

    Not only that Pakistan had rejected the claim outright as a figment of imagination, the release of the so-called surgical strike videos had also triggered scathing attacks from the Indian opposition parties, alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party government was using it for political gains.

    The very claim was recapitulated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an exclusive interview to ANI news agency on Tuesday, which was carried by all Indian media outlets.

    According to military sources, the Indian military uses quadcopter for aerial photography of Pakistani posts along the LoC as part of its intelligence-gathering operations and target selection before carrying out cross-LoC shelling.


    A picture of the drone that was shot down by the army. — DG ISPR TwitterA picture of the drone that was shot down by the army. — DG ISPR Twitter

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed displeasure at the Sindh government's disinterest in recovering hundreds of thousands of acres of illegally allotted and grabbed land in a case pertaining to deforestation in Karachi.

    The chief justice, while heading a three-member bench in Islamabad today, asked if any measures were taken by the provincial government regarding its forest land.

    "Seventy thousand acre land has been leased illegally," Sindh's additional advocate general told the top judge, adding that demarcation of forest land was underway.

    Read: Report reveals how Sindh has been robbed of its forests

    When Justice Ijazul Ahsan enquired how Bahria Town got hold of forest land, the petitioner, Qazi Athar, said that the property developer was given 11,000 acres of forest land in Karachi and another 4,000 acres in Nawabshah.

    The chief justice expressed disappointment at the Sindh government's inaction to recover its land, saying: "Forests are very important for the environment. If [they] do not want to work, they should leave this country. Such people are not capable of running the government.

    "I have never seen a government that is admitting that its land has been illegally occupied but is still not taking any action."

    The petitioner alleged that PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari had converted forest department's 2.8 million acres into revenue land — a move he said was later declared null and void by the Sindh High Court.

    Furthermore, the petitioner claimed that the then Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah did not get a satellite survey of the land conducted despite the existence of court orders.

    The land, the petitioner alleged, was later transferred to Bahria Town, Omni Group and others in complete violation of the court orders.

    At this, the chief justice ordered Bahria Town CEO Malik Riaz to appear before the court in the next hearing. "Malik Riaz is illegally occupying 18,000 acres of forest land. He is very fond of talking on the rostrum, so now he should come."

    Justice Nisar said that he would not grant Malik's counsel his request for adjournment, summoning him to the Karachi registry on January 9, when the case will next be heard.

    The court also ordered the parties concerned to furnish their reports in the court by January 7.


    Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed disappointment at the Sindh government's inaction to recover its land. — FileChief Justice Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed disappointment at the Sindh government's inaction to recover its land. — File

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    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday issued the initial delimitation list of erstwhile Fata in which it proposed the addition of 16 seats to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from the eight newly-constituted districts.

    According to the proposed delimitation, three seats each have been suggested from Bajur and Khyber districts; two seats each from Kurrum, Mahmand, South Waziristan and North Waziristan districts; while one each from Orakzai and Frontier Region districts.

    The ECP has said that it will receive objections over the proposed delimitation from January 3 to February 1. The objections filed in this regard will be heard from February 3 to March 1, while a final report will be issued on March 4.


    Following are the constituencies proposed by the ECP

    1. PK-100 Bajur-I, population: 351,555
    2. PK-101 Bajur-II, population: 348,386
    3. PK-102 Bajur-III, population: 393,743,
    4. PK-103 Mahmand-I, population: 243,426
    5. PK-104 Mahmand-II, population: 228,931
    6. PK-105 Khyber-I, population: 314,569
    7. PK-106 Khyber-II, population: 348,756
    8. PK-107 Khyber-III, population: 323,648
    9. PK-108 Kurrum-I, population: 339,247
    10. PK-109 Kurrum-II, population: 280,306
    11. PK-110 Orakzai, population: 254,356
    12. PK-111 North Waziristan-I, population: 271,057
    13. PK-112 North Waziristan-II, population: 272,197
    14. PK-113 North Waziristan-I, population: 321,077
    15. PK-114 North Waziristan-II, population: 352,988
    16. PK-115 Frontier Region, population 357,687

    In May last year, former president Mamnoon Hussain had signed the 25th Constitutional Amendment Bill into law, thus merging Fata with KP.

    The bill, approved by parliament as well as the KP Assembly, had been signed by the president at a special ceremony also attended by KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, head of Fata Reforms Committee Sartaj Aziz and National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua.

    The Senate of Pakistan had received the bill from the Ministry of Law and Justice after its passage from the KP's provincial assembly on May 28.

    The constitutional amendment bill seeking the merger of Fata within a year's time had been passed by the National Assembly and the Senate in the same month amidst opposition by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.

    Subsequently, the ECP used provisional census data to carry out delimitation of constituencies under the Election Bill of 2017.


    Election commission will receive objections over the proposed delimitation from January 3 to February 1. —Dawn ArchivesElection commission will receive objections over the proposed delimitation from January 3 to February 1. —Dawn Archives

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    LAHORE: Although former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been given ‘better class’ in the Kot Lakhpat jail, the Punjab government on Wednesday said it could not provide a prisoner to him who could serve as his ‘orderly’ and that he would have to maintain his room on his own.

    Inspector General of Prisons Shahid Saleem Beg said “Nawaz Sharif has been asked to maintain his room” to serve out the seven-year ‘rigorous’ imprisonment handed down to him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills/Hill Metal Establishment reference.

    Speaking to media personnel in the presence of Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar at the Governor House, the prisons chief said Mr Sharif’s case was highly sensitive and he could not be allowed to go outside his barracks in the prison. He said Mr Sharif’s “rigour had been kept within his barracks”.

    Read: Nawaz might have enjoyed better prison conditions — if he had ever looked into improving them

    According to the jail manual, he said, the former premier had been asked to maintain his room himself.

    However, he later clarified to Dawn that Mr Sharif had not been put to any rigour, adding that the manual allowed elderly inmates certain concessions on that count.

    “Any issue related to Nawaz Sharif in jail could bring a bad name to Pakistan,” Mr Beg said.

    Meanwhile, responding at the press conference to a question about the PTI government’s stance on the Sindh government, Governor Sarwar said the federal government did not want any confrontation with any political party and instead wanted to take all political parties along.

    “The PTI is neither planning nor intending to oust any provincial government,” he said and added that the incumbent government would continue to root out corruption from society that had eaten up all the resources and left people to live in abject poverty. He said the PTI was crusading against corruption for the past 22 years and could not compromise on the matter.

    The PTI government believed that it was corruption that had destroyed institutions like state-owned hospitals and even deprived the masses of clean drinking water, he said.

    Mr Sarwar said the country could not progress and attain prosperity without a surgical operation to root out the cancer of corruption.

    About the inclusion of all the chief ministers in the National Finance Commission, he said the chief ministers were on the same page and that the federal government would take all provinces along. The smaller provinces needed to be taken care of, he added.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    Punjab govt says former premier Nawaz Sharif's 'better class' status in jail does not allow an assistant. — File photoPunjab govt says former premier Nawaz Sharif's 'better class' status in jail does not allow an assistant. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party leader Qamar Zaman Kaira says the party has the capability to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government but won’t do so and let it complete the term so that its ineptness stands exposed before the masses.

    “We have the ability and required number to oust the PTI government but are observing restraint only to fully expose its incompetence before the masses by letting it complete its constitutional term,” he said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

    Mr Kaira said the PPP could have checked formation of the National Assembly after the “tainted” polls had its leadership wished so, but for the sake of democracy it accepted the “manipulated” election results.

    Criticises delay in removing the names of the chief minister and others from ECL

    He said that soon after the release of a joint investigation team’s report on fake bank accounts, the PTI ministers rushed to topple the Sindh government, adding that the chaos created by the ministers during the last two weeks was aimed at “covering their own incompetence”.

    He wondered whether the JIT had been formed to probe the fake bank accounts or lay a trap around the PPP leadership. “We do know that their aim was to encircle Asif Ali Zardari through the JIT. But we are not afraid of it.”

    The former information minister asked what message the PTI government desired to give by placing the name of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on the Exit Control List as the step created a [political] crisis. He regretted that despite a clear-cut directive by the Supreme Court, the government was using delaying tactics to remove the names of the chief minister and others from the ECL by forming a review committee.

    He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was talking of closing the Asghar Khan case while in the opposition he was hyperactive for a court verdict on the issue.

    Mr Kaira said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would visit the Punjab capital for one day on Jan 5. He would cut a cake to mark the birth anniversary of the late prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the Lahore High Court and return to Karachi in the evening.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira criticises delay in removing the names of the chief minister and others from ECL. — File photoPPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira criticises delay in removing the names of the chief minister and others from ECL. — File photo

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    LAHORE: The governor has summoned the Punjab Assembly session on Monday (January 7) afternoon and the assembly secretariat has issued a notification to the effect.

    Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi will chair the sixth session of the 17th House in which at least six draft bills will be tabled.

    Meanwhile, the speaker chaired a meeting on Wednesday to review progress on under-construction new building of the assembly. The buildings department and National College of Arts briefed the meeting about the construction work.

    The speaker emphasised that the new assembly building should have foolproof security arrangements and a mosque and hostel there should also be completed at the earliest with proper sitting arrangements for MPAs’ drivers.

    He also sought installation of the most modern sound system at the new building after comparative study of the systems installed at National Assembly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh assemblies.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    The governor has summoned the Punjab Assembly session on Monday afternoon. — File photoThe governor has summoned the Punjab Assembly session on Monday afternoon. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: Representatives of lawyers of the federal capital on Wednesday announced to continue their strike which is entering its third week.

    The district bar association convened a general body meeting in the bar room in F-8 markaz.

    According to District Bar Association Islamabad President Riasal Ali Azad said they have decided to continue the strike till their demand regarding the rotation of judges of the subordinate judiciary is met.

    The outgoing chief justice, Mian Saqib Nisar had in February assured lawyers of rotation of judges of the subordinate judiciary in Islamabad to other provinces and that necessary legislation will be done to give this legal cover soon as well.

    Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan had submitted a proposal before the Supreme Court that allowed the posting of judicial officers in different ministries and divisions within the federal capital.

    The district bar has already rejected the proposal and threatened to ‘lockdown’ the federal capital if the proposal is not revised and judicial officers are not transferred to judicial services in the four provinces.

    A senior lawyer pointed out that the proposal was not prepared by the attorney general alone as there advocates general of other provinces as well of Islamabad were members of the committee which finalised the proposal.

    Former president of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) and incumbent Advocate General Islamabad Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri was also a member of the said committee.

    Mr Azad, who was an associate of Advocate Jehangiri, defended his senior and said that the attorney general had not convened a meeting with representatives of the bar association before finalising the proposed amendment.

    While the matter is pending adjudication before Justice Nisar, Mr Azad held a meeting with the outgoing chief justice and then also met with the federal law minister and Justice Dr Farogh Nasim.

    He termed his meeting with the chief justice a “courtesy call”.

    During their strike, lawyers detained about 20 judges of the lower courts in their courtrooms after which about 60 judicial officers went on a ‘pen-down’ strike till lawyers end boycotting court proceedings.

    According to recent statistics from the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, there are over 38,000 pending cases with the district judiciary of Islamabad. On average, more than 1,000 cases are being instituted in sessions courts every month.

    Senior lawyers of the federal capital expressed disappointment over the state of affairs and how their local leadership is handling the matter.

    Some said the rigid stance was politically motivated as the district bar association is going to elect office bearers on Jan 12. IHCBA’s elections are also expected in February.

    Senior hierarchy of lawyers is also distancing itself from the ongoing ‘unrest’.

    During the strike, lawyers also constructed illegal chambers in all corners of the district court premises. About 70pc if the new, illegally constructed chambers have been raised by the associates of a couple of senior lawyers including one currently holding a constitutional post, sources in the district bar told Dawn.

    The police have said they will not be able to provide ample security to the sessions court due to the construction of so many illegal chambers. The court premises came under a terrorist attack in March 2014 when four to eight terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at people present there.

    During the attack, 12 people including additional district and session judge Rafaqat Awan were killed and 28 were injured.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    Lawyers to continue strike till their demand regarding rotation of judges of subordinate judiciary is met. — File photoLawyers to continue strike till their demand regarding rotation of judges of subordinate judiciary is met. — File photo

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    LAHORE: Governor Chaudhry Sarwar says a Punjab Aab-i-Pak Authority is in the offing and the government is committed to make available clean drinking water to whole of Punjab population in the next five years.

    The authority will look after the potable water-related issues including filtration plants and water schemes.

    Speaking to media persons at a ceremony to hand over 100 sewing machines for women prisoners in Punjab jails to the IG Prisons at Governor’s House on Wednesday, he said the unsafe drinking water was playing havoc with people, causing death to some 1.1 million people annually.

    He regretted that some 20 per cent of population in Punjab was suffering from water-borne diseases and in some cases of sampling eight out of 10 persons were being found infected with hepatitis.

    Asserting that this needs to be stopped, he said he had urged the pharmaceutical companies’ owners to come forward and serve the humanity. On his request, he said, the pharmaceutical companies had committed to provide hepatitis medicines for 15,000 patients. He said the patients in jails and policemen in police lines would also be given medicines.

    The governor said the Punjab government in collaboration with the WHO had started screening policemen across the province as well as establishing mobile clinics to screen people in far-flung areas.

    The governor said the Sarwar Foundation (being run by his wife) had committed to set up “hunerga” in all women jails and added the women inmates would be provided with sewing machines. He said the foundation initially needed 500 sewing machines but the philanthropists committed 1,100 machines within three days of the announcement.

    In the first phase, he said, the IG Prisons was being provided with 100 sewing machines and the remaining would reach prisons by the end of this month.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    Governor Chaudhry Sarwar says a Punjab Aab-i-Pak Authority is in the offing and the government is committed to make available clean drinking water to whole of Punjab population in the next five years. — File photoGovernor Chaudhry Sarwar says a Punjab Aab-i-Pak Authority is in the offing and the government is committed to make available clean drinking water to whole of Punjab population in the next five years. — File photo

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    LAHORE: The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) has provided data of 40,000 “untraced vehicles” to the higher authorities over fear of potential threat to public safety in the city.

    The authority also blacklisted over 100 “cloned cars” after identifying the original registered vehicles, requesting the police to help trace and impound them. This development was crucial in the wake of security threats and the rising crime rate in the city, an official told Dawn.

    The authority issued e-challans to 400,000 vehicles, including cars and motorcycles, in the last six months or so. The data about the untraced vehicles and cloned cars surfaced during the same period, he said, adding that cloning was a practice of illegally using a vehicle identification number belonging to a legally registered car to hide a vehicle’s identity.

    The authority obtained data of several “cloned” cars bearing the same registration number, model, colour, manufacturing company etc making it almost impossible for officials to access them over traffic violations.

    PSCA suggests dept revamp system, register vehicles in owners’ names

    The official said the 40,000 untraced vehicles (mostly cars) came to light when drivers committed traffic violations, but the authority could not access their details through the database. It dispatched e-challans to residential addresses of the violating motorists, but found the details fake or incomplete. The authority high-ups got alarmed when the data of 40,000 vehicles could not be verified in the record of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department, he added.

    The official called it a major blunder on part of the excise department, saying the officials entered “fake or incomplete” addresses of vehicle owners while recording data in haste.

    The PSCA took up the matter with Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi. It also submitted suggestions to the excise department to revamp its system and register vehicles in the name of their owners with help from the National Database and Registration Authority.

    The IGP later informed the chief secretary about it and suggested taking emergency measures to avoid any mishap. In a letter, the IGP asked the chief secretary to engage the excise department authorities to dig out facts and address the issue, he added.

    Moreover, the authority gathered figures of 50,000 motorcycles that were being used as motorcycle rickshaws in the city. Originally, the vehicles were registered as motorbikes with the excise department.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    The authority issued e-challans to 400,000 vehicles, including cars and motorcycles, in the last six months or so. — Photo courtesy of Pak wheels/File photoThe authority issued e-challans to 400,000 vehicles, including cars and motorcycles, in the last six months or so. — Photo courtesy of Pak wheels/File photo

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  • 01/02/19--17:50: Nip, fog reign supreme
  • LAHORE: Light rain and snowfall over the hills, and dense fog in many cities in the plain areas made the weather cold and affected life in most parts of the country on Wednesday.

    Fog in the plain areas caused tripping of power stations disrupting power supply in most parts of Punjab. Tripping of feeders within cities like in Lahore greatly affected life and business.

    The Met department reported that rain, snowfall and fog kept temperatures low in the country. The minimum temperature in Skardu was -8 degrees C, Gupis -7, Astore, Bagrote and Kalam -4, Malamjabba and Kalat -3, Parachinar, Murree, Rawalakot, Quetta and Dir -2. It was 3 in Lahore and Jhang, 3.4 in Dera Ghazi Khan and 3.5 in Narowal.

    Murree received 13mm of rain, Islamabad 7mm, Rawalpindi 5mm, Balakot 15mm, Pattan 9mm, Kakul 8mm, Dir, Kalam and Malamjabba 6mm, Parachinar 3mm, Chitral, Drosh, Saidu Sharif and Mirkhani 1mm, Rawalakot 12mm, Muzaffarabad 10mm and Bagrote 1mm.

    Murree recorded 5 inch of snowfall, Kalam and Malamjabba 3, and Hunza and Gupis 1.

    Fog reduced visibility to just 10 metres in Kasur, 50 in Sialkot, 100 in Sahiwal, Kot Addu and Gujranwala, 300 in Bahawalpur, and 500 in Faisalabad, Gujrat, Jhang, and Sukkur.

    Fog thickened in Lahore on Wednesday morning reducing visibility to 50 metres at the airport around 8am. But it shortly cleared therefore there was no impact on the flight schedule.

    The motorway police reported dense fog at the national highway from Lahore to Manga Mandi, Pattoki, Renala Khurd and Okara. Sahiwal, Harrapa, Chichawatni, Mian Channu and Khanewal too remained fogbound.

    Motorway from Multan to Khanewal and Lahore to Sheikhupura was closed to all types of traffic during the early hours of Wednesday.

    The Met department forecast mainly cold and dry weather in most parts of the country in the next 24 hours. Foggy conditions are expected in the plains of Punjab, upper Sindh and Peshawar division during morning/night hours. Frost is also expected in few upper parts of the country in morning hours.

    A blanket of fog developed on Wednesday night prompting the authorities to close the motorway from Lahore to Kot Momin.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    Light rain and snowfall over the hills, and dense fog in many cities in the plain areas made the weather cold and affected life in most parts of the country on Wednesday. — File photoLight rain and snowfall over the hills, and dense fog in many cities in the plain areas made the weather cold and affected life in most parts of the country on Wednesday. — File photo

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    KARACHI: A man died under controversial circumstance in the Defence area on Wednesday.

    His relatives, however, alleged that police had detained Qaim Ali and he died in their custody because of torture. But the police denied his arrest and claimed he died of a heart attack outside the house where he worked as a driver.

    As the media highlighted the incident, the inspector general of police and the provincial government took notice of it and ordered an impartial probe to ascertain the veracity of the claims.

    The Defence police said a man, identified as Tariq Mustafa, informed them about his driver, Qaim Ali, who he said had suffered a heart attack while sitting in his car outside his home. He sought police’s help for shifting him to a hospital, said a police spokesperson in a statement.

    After receiving the information, the police shifted him to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) in a mobile van, where doctors pronounced him dead.

    “The deceased was neither arrested by the police nor died in their custody,” said the spokesperson.

    However, the driver’s relatives, who arrived at the NICVD and then shifted the body to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for a post-mortem examination, claimed that he was arrested by the police and died in their custody.

    A relative present at the JPMC told Dawn that a police party raided a house in Defence area late on Tuesday night and detained Qaim Ali and other persons from a party.

    The relative said that the police brought Qaim at the NICVD at around 4:15am on Wednesday, dropped him outside the hospital and disappeared.

    Referring to the CCTV footage at the hospital, the relative said that the hospital staff brought him inside where he was pronounced dead.

    Later, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Human Rights Dr Khatumal reached the hospital with his relatives and other residents of Thar and shifted the body to the JPMC.

    Additional police surgeon Dr Sheeraz Ali Khowaja told Dawn that Dr Raja Memon conducted the autopsy and reserved the cause of death for the report of a histopathological and chemical examination.

    He added that there were no apparent marks of torture.

    Meanwhile, IGP Dr Syed Kaleem Imam took notice of media reports about the incident and directed the DIG-South Sharjeel Kharal to conduct an impartial probe and submit a report.

    The DIG told Dawn that there was no ‘foul play’ and the Defence police only shifted the man to the hospital.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    IGP Dr Syed Kaleem Imam took notice of media reports about the incident and directed the DIG-South Sharjeel Kharal to conduct an impartial probe and submit a report. — File photoIGP Dr Syed Kaleem Imam took notice of media reports about the incident and directed the DIG-South Sharjeel Kharal to conduct an impartial probe and submit a report. — File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Wednesday approved appointment of prominent human rights activist Rukhshanda Naz as the first anti-harassment ombudsperson of the province.

    Briefing journalists following a meeting of the provincial cabinet, Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said that the cabinet approved appointment of Ms Naz as the province’s first anti-harassment ombudsperson.

    The government had failed to appoint an anti-harassment ombudsperson in the province since the enforcement of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in 2010 that prompted a non-governmental organisation to move Peshawar High Court for the purpose. The court ordered appointment on the position in September 2017.

    Cabinet amends rule to entrust welfare of transgender persons to social welfare and women protection department

    In November 2017, the then cabinet had approved amendments to the Act to pave way for the appointment of ombudsperson to hear cases of harassment against women at workplaces.

    Mr Yousafzai said that a search and scrutiny committee headed by chief secretary proposed three names for the ombudsperson and the provincial cabinet after detailed discussion agreed to appoint Ms Naz on the position.

    Official documents show that the search and scrutiny committee in its meeting on September 26, 2017 had shortlisted three candidates including Ms Naz, Mah Talat and Shakeela Begum from a panel of five candidates.

    The cabinet also decided to frame a comprehensive policy regarding formation of new districts in the province.

    Mr Yousafzai said that setting up new districts put strain on the provincial exchequer; therefore, such units would be formed on the basis of need instead of political grounds.

    The cabinet also formed a three-member committee comprising senior member Board of Revenue and secretaries of finance and local government departments to devise a policy in this regard. “The committee has also been notified,” said the minister. He said that in future, no new district would be created on political basis; however, no change would be made to the earlier formed districts.

    The cabinet also formed a committee to determine eligibility of engineers for getting technical allowance. He said that currently, about 480 engineers were entitled to get technical allowance while a similar number was demanding the same allowance.

    The minister said that the committee would comprise officials of finance, law and administration departments and would present its report within three months.

    The cabinet also approved amendments to KP Rules of Business, 1985 to entrust the welfare of transgender persons to social welfare and women protection department.

    Mr Yousafzai said that previously social welfare department had shared a draft transgender protection policy with law department; however, it could not have been implemented before amending the KP Rules of Business, 1985.

    He said that the cabinet also approved a two-member selection committee for the formation of KP Prevention of Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commission. The committee would shortlist three names to be appointed as chairman and members of the commission.

    He said that PTI MPA Arshad Ayub Khan was selected from treasury benches while ANP’s Sardar Hussain Babak would represent opposition in the committee.

    The cabinet also approved Rs1 billion for the Billion Tree Tsunami Programme. He said that provincial forest department prepared a proposal, costing Rs27.38 billion and.

    He said that half of the amount would be provided by the federal government while the provincial government would contribute the remaining half.

    The minister said that forest department had asked for Rs3.75 billion for the current year; however, the cabinet allowed Rs1 billion for the purpose and of which finance department would provide Rs500 million while the remaining amount would be provided form the coffers of the Forest Development Corporation.

    Mr Yousafzai said that cabinet also allowed the transport department to ink agreement with National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP). It will allow the NH&MP to patrol the Swat Motorway. The provincial government will bear the cost of the policing.

    The cabinet also decided to hold its next meeting in Khyber tribal district. Chief Minister Mahmood Khan also directed his cabinet members to regularly visit the merged districts. A schedule will be issued soon in this regard.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    KP cabinet in 2017 approved amendments to Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act to pave way for the appointment of ombudsperson to hear cases of harassment against women at workplaces. — File photoKP cabinet in 2017 approved amendments to Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act to pave way for the appointment of ombudsperson to hear cases of harassment against women at workplaces. — File photo

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    US President Donald Trump on Thursday said that he "looks forward to meeting the new leadership in Pakistan" but not without accusing Islamabad of "housing the enemy", CNNreported.

    Trump's remarks came when he was making a point about his ongoing disagreement with Congressional lawmakers over allocation of finances that has led to a partial shut down of the US government.

    The US president, while addressing a cabinet meeting, defended his demand to build a $5 billion wall, questioning why "we give away money to other countries but not to our own country".

    "It's unfair when we give money to Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador and they do nothing to us," he added.

    Trump reminded his audience that it was him who had discontinued the funds given to Pakistan, saying: "When we give money to Pakistan, $1.3 billion, I ended that. A lot of people don't know it, because they haven't been fair to us."

    The US president, who last month wrote to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking Pakistan's assistance in achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war, said he wants to have better relations with Pakistan but levelled a grave allegation in the same breath.

    "We want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy, they take care of the enemy," he said. "We just can't do that. So, I look forward to meeting with the folks from — and the new leadership in Pakistan, we'll be doing that in the not-too-distant future. I ended the 1.3 billion we paid, it's like water, we just do it."

    Trump has been consistent in his criticism of Pakistan since he launched his South Asia and Afghanistan strategy despite multiple attempts made by the two governments to fix the problems in their ties.

    In November 2018, a row that began with Trump's interview to Fox News had led to a series of tweets by both the US head of state and PM Khan.

    President Trump, while talking about the reasons for ending the over a billion dollar annual aid for Pakistan at the beginning of the year, had said the country didn’t do “a damn thing for us”.

    Subsequently, Prime Minister Khan had led the sharp reaction by political leaders to Trump’s tirade against Pakistan by hinting at review of foreign policy options and asking the US president to introspect on the real reasons for America’s failure in Afghanistan.

    Trump's stance on Pakistan has since softened considerably with him acknowledging in his letter to the PM last month that the "war had cost both USA and Pakistan."


    Trump says he will be meeting the Pakistani leadership in the Trump says he will be meeting the Pakistani leadership in the "not-too-distant future". — File

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    KARACHI: Police on Wednesday claimed to have arrested 10 men, including dealers and security personnel, for their alleged involvement in issuance of fake arms licences and weapons in the city and other parts of the country.

    DIG-CIA Arif Hanif told a press conference that those arrested included five arms dealers, personnel of police, FC and government officials.

    He said police got a report that a gang was involved in issuance of fake arms licences to criminals in the city. He said that as part of their strategy to trace and bust the gang, the law enforcers also got issued fake arms licences from the same people.

    10 online fraudsters also arrested

    “This gang had prepared thousands of fake arms licences, which were provided in Fata, Peshawar, Balochistan and other parts of the country,” he said. “This is a highly professional gang, which works underground for a considerable period of time.”

    The DIG said that police constable Saeed Nawaz was also held and he told the police that he used to get details/documents of buyers from arms dealers and provided the same to the office superintendent concerned.

    He said that they were also probing that how fake arms licences were verified from the National Database and Registration Authority.

    The police also seized a US-made weapon brought here from Afghanistan from the custody of the held suspects.

    SSP-CIA Fida Hussain Janwari told Dawn that there were at least 20 members in that gang.

    The 10 held suspects were booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, as police considered them as “facilitators” of terrorists.

    10 suspects ‘involved in online fraud’ held

    Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on Wednesday claimed to have arrested 10 suspects allegedly involved in an online fraud.

    Acting on tip-off, the paramilitary force conducted raids in Korangi, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Surjani Town and arrested Mohammed Ibrahim, Syed Ali Atif, Irfan Bashir, Syed Shah Mir, Mohammed Naveed, Kamran, Azam Rehman, Nazarul Qadir, Munir Khan and Faizan Rafiq.

    “This gang is involved in cybercrimes,” said a Rangers spokesperson.

    Sharing details of the case, he said that a man, Mustafa Kamal, approached the Rangers with a complaint that he had transferred Rs1.1 million through online banking to Qadir for purchase of two cars, but the suspect switched off his mobile phone and disappeared.

    The Rangers conducted an inquiry into the complaint and with the help of intelligence agencies apprehended the suspects.

    During initial grilling, the suspects “confessed” to having committed online frauds on the pretext of providing cars at cheaper rates.

    After receiving money through bank accounts concerned, the members of this gang switched off their phones and disappeared.

    They also disclosed that they had committed fraud with over 150 people since 2008 through classified ads in newspapers and then through OLX application.

    The held suspects were being handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency for further legal action.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    Police show copies of the fake arms licences to the media seized from the custody of the arrested suspects [right]. — White StarPolice show copies of the fake arms licences to the media seized from the custody of the arrested suspects [right]. — White Star

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minis­ter Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday expressed his happiness over enrolment of displaced Thari children in the model school built within the recently established New Sen­hri Dars model village in Thar coalfield’s block-II.

    A batch of 48 students belon­ging to the Bheel community was enrolled in the model school on Tuesday.

    In his message to mark the occasion, Mr Shah said: “I am quite happy that we have not only given them good houses for living but are providing education to their children.”

    The model village has been set up for the displaced families of the block-II near Islamkot.

    Most of the newly enrolled students are entering school for the first time.

    The Thar Foundation, opera­ting 24 schools in Islamkot and Mithi taluka of Tharparkar district, has enrolled 2,300 students.

    The chief minister said that only a few days ago, the Sindh government through the foun­da­tion shifted the Bheel com­mu­nity to the model village and on Tuesday, their children were enrolled in the new school. It is a three-storey building with a capacity of 900 students from pre-primary to grade 10.

    With the enrolment of the displaced families’ children, the number of total students at the school has crossed the 300 mark as children from the nearby villages have already been enrolled there.

    Mr Shah said more students would be enrolled in the coming week as the process of shifting families to the village was continuing.

    Out of 172 displaced fami­lies, 36 have been resettled another 30 would be shifted to the village within the next 10 days.

    The process could be comple­ted by the end of March.

    Relief programme in progress

    Thar district administration on Wednesday reported to the provincial authorities that under the ongoing relief programme for the drought-hit areas, more than 97,000 ration bags had been distributed among families of pregnant and lactating women (PLWs) in the first two phases till the turn of 2018. The third phase has been started on Jan 1.

    A report submitted by the Thar deputy commissioner said that 989 ration bags were distributed on Wednesday.

    It said the PLWs, identified by the health department and its affiliated organisations, had been duly registered.

    “Till date, 60,650 bags have been distributed in the phase-II while 36,656 bags had already been distributed in the phase-I,” said the report.

    “Today (Wednesday) 632 families were given 50kg-bags of wheat in Phase-II.

    “Moreover, 18 families who had not collected wheat bags in Phase-I, approached their respective sentinel points and collected wheat bags to their previous phase. Till date, 246,927 families in Phase-I and 248,804 families in Phase-II have received wheat bags ...”

    It said the district and taluka hospitals in Thar had provided outpatient services to 338,157 children, who included 67,202 children below the age of five years, over the past six months.

    A total of 23,723 children, including under-five, were treated indoors during the same period.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    In his message to mark the occasion, Mr Shah said: “I am quite happy that we have not only given them good houses for living but are providing education to their children.” — File photoIn his message to mark the occasion, Mr Shah said: “I am quite happy that we have not only given them good houses for living but are providing education to their children.” — File photo

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    KHAIRPUR: Former Sindh chief minis­ter Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said the federal government cannot run for long because of the way the ruling party is managing the country’s affairs.

    Mr Shah said at an oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected office bearers of District Bar Association here on Wednesday that instead of strengthening economy the government was busy making foreign tours.

    He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership had made tall claims before elections but they had shown dismal per­formance so far after forming the government.

    He said that Supreme Court had questioned federal government’s act of placing names of Sindh chief minister and 171 others on the exit control list. All PPP leaders and activists stood by their leadership like a rock, he said.

    He said the PTI government could never succeed in its designs to oust Sindh government. When PPP was in the Centre it had launched many development projects including the Thar coal project which would generate electricity within two months, he said.

    Towards the end of the ceremony, the DBA passed a joint resolution demanding removal from ECL of names former CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and others. DBA president Yasir Arafat Shar, Jumman Sahito, Shafqat Mahesar and others also spoke at the programme.

    PTI cannot sneak into Sindh by backdoor, says Rahu

    BADIN: Sindh Minister for Agriculture Mohammad Ismail Rahu has said that instead of wasting time to sneak into Sindh govern­ment through backdoor Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf should focus on resolving the country’s burning issues caused by price-hike.

    Mr Rahu said in a press statement and in an interview with this reporter on Wednesday that PTI leaders lacked political sense and they were in dire need of training. They should behave like mature politicians and stop trying to blackmail PPP leadership by hurling childish threats at them, he said.

    He said that Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar’s remarks were historic in response to PTI’s childish stratagems to remove PPP government. PTI leaders should stop daydreaming about forming its favourite government in Sindh after the CJP’s clear warning, he said.

    Some federal ministers and PTI law­makers were devoid of even good manners and capability to handle political situations, he said, adding that politicians must focus on core issues instead of playing dirty politics.

    He said that state agencies, including National Accountability Bureau, should not be used as tools to politically victimise opponents. If such practices were not stopped it would lead to widespread unrest and instability in the country, he said.

    Mr Rahu said that all the democratic forces were united for the defence of the particular clauses in the Constitution, which had strengthened the federating units.

    He asked PTI government to provide due share in water to Sindh and stop conspiring to steal the mandate Sindh people had given to PPP to serve them for five years.

    Those who had been given the task to create forward bloc in Bhutto’s party had been rejected by people and handed humiliating defeat in general election, he said.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


    Former Sindh chief minis­ter Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said the federal government cannot run for long because of the way the ruling party is managing the country’s affairs. — File photoFormer Sindh chief minis­ter Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said the federal government cannot run for long because of the way the ruling party is managing the country’s affairs. — File photo

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    — Online
    — Online

    ISLAMABAD: A joint action committee of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) on Wednesday staged a protest that aimed to draw the government’s attention towards encroachment on university land.

    Protesters, who gathered in front of National Press Club, comprised representatives of the QAU Alumni Association, Academic Staff Association, employees of QAU and students.

    The protesters demanded removal of encroachment from 298 acres of QAU land.

    They said QAU was allotted 1,709 acres by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), but there was a shortfall of 450 acres as 298 acres had been illegally occupied. Besides, 152 acres have yet to be handed over to the university by CDA.

    Speaking on the occasion, QAU Alumni Association President Sikandar Ahmed Rai, Academic Staff Association QAU President Dr Aqeel Bukhari, Muslim Youth

    University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hijazi Syed, renowned educationist and scientist Dr A.H. Nayyar, and others spoke on the occasion.

    They said they would continue raising their voice until the government started operations against the encroachers.

    The protesters said that because of encroachment the university was facing security challenges and hurdles to development.

    According to the university, the CDA had not handed over complete vacant land to the university, thus the institution inherited a number of illegal occupants, including nine villages spread over about 298 acres inside the campus.

    Besides, further encroachment was also carried out by the locals.

    However, the controversy came to an end last year, when on-ground demarcation carried out by the Survey of Pakistan, which was later endorsed by CDA, revealed that the land on the west side of a stream coming from Shahdara Valley and flowing between Wapda grid station and Bhara Kahu belonged to the QAU.

    According to the Survey of Pakistan report, all houses were actually built on QAU land.

    After this development, the university, through public notices, warned the encroachers to vacate the area, but to no avail.

    Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019


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    The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the role of ‘patwarkhanas’ (office for revenue officials) in urban and settled areas to keeping property records.

    Under Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar's stewardship, a three-member bench of the apex court was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the functioning of patwaris, kanungos and tehsildars.

    The bench ruled that patwaris — a term used in Pakistan and India for a land record officer at sub-division or Tehsil level — will have no role in property deals in areas where the Punjab Land Revenue Act (LRA) is followed.

    Furthermore, the court said that from here on verbal agreements in urban areas will not be recognised by law any more.

    Earlier, the chief justice inquired under what law the patwaris were drafting land transfer deeds after the establishment of the LRA.

    "Property transfer through verbal deals in urban areas will not be recognised [by law]," the court said today. "Properties will only be transferred through the Land Revenue Act."

    The chief justice, at one point during the hearing, wondered why patwaris were still "functioning in urban areas, where [property deals] are maintained under Land Revenue Act?"

    "Patwarkhanas are on a rampage," he remarked.

    "The man has reached the moon, why can't these (property deals) records be computerised?"

    Subsequently, the court limited the role of ‘Patwarkhanas’.


    Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar-led bench rules thatChief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar-led bench rules that

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