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    LAHORE: The Punjab government on Thursday reconstituted a new five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the 2014 Model Town incident.

    The team will be headed by Inspector General of National Highways & Motorways Police (NH&MP) Allah Dino Khwaja.

    The members of the committee included a representative of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Col Mohammad Attiqueuz Zaman, a representative of the Military Intelligence (MI) Lt Col Irfan Mirza, Deputy Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB) Mohammad Ahmed Kamal and Gilgit-Baltistan Police Headquarters DIG Qamar Raza Jiskoni.

    The Punjab home department issued a notification to the effect on Thursday stating that the JIT head shall depute one of the members of the team for the purpose of submission of the report under section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, as required under section 19 (1) of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

    It was said to be the third JIT which was formed to investigate the Model Town incident in which as many as 14 workers of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek were killed and scores of others injured during clash with the police.

    It’s third team that will investigate killing of 14 PAT workers; no Punjab police official is member of panel

    The first [JIT] was headed by the then IGP Punjab Arif Mushtaq some 15 days after the Model Town incident.

    Interestingly, the Punjab government took almost a month for the reconstitution of the new JIT to probe the incident in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court.

    A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, had disposed of the suo motu notice on Dec 5 after the Punjab government apprised the bench that a new JIT was going to be formed to investigate the Model Town case.

    Bisma Amjad, the daughter of Ms Tanzila Amjad, who was killed on June 17, 2014 in Model Town police action, had submitted an application to the chief justice, seeking formation of a new JIT to probe the killing of innocent workers of PAT and Idara Minhajul Quran.

    Expressing distrust in the earlier [JIT] reports, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri had also made his appearance in the court on Dec 5 urging it for a new JIT saying that no progress has been made in the case.

    The second five-member JIT formed on Nov 17, 2014 had conducted and finalised the investigation in May 2015, exonerating former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and former provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah from charges of ordering or abetting the police action.

    It was headed by Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema and comprised ISI’s Col Ahmad Bilal, Intelligence Bureau’s Director Mohammad Ali, Senior Superintendent of Police Rana Shahzad Akbar and DSP Crime Investigation Agency Khalid Abu Bakr.

    Meanwhile, the PAT chief welcomed the decision of reconstituting the JIT terming it a step towards right direction to take the accused to the court of law.

    “I think the martyrs of the Model Town incident got justice after struggle of four and a half years,” read a statement of Dr Tahirul Qadri issued on Thursday.

    He said the main purpose of the struggle was that head of the new JIT should not be from the Punjab police.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    14 PAT workers had lost their lives in the infamous Model Town incident of 2014. — File14 PAT workers had lost their lives in the infamous Model Town incident of 2014. — File

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    KARACHI: The All Paki­stan Newspapers Society (APNS) has criticised what it has called the uncalled-for and misleading observation by federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry that the future of print media in Pakistan is bleak.

    In response to what the minister said at a media talk, the secretary general of the society, Sarmad Ali, said the print media is presently facing financial difficulties due to the policies of the government that “intends to control the media and to silence the dissenting voices”, according to an APNS statement on Thursday.

    The APNS reiterated its resolve to fight against the adverse conditions and ensure that the print media successfully braved the crisis, it added.

    “The past 70 years’ history of the print media is witness to the fact that despite all odds, censorship, curtailment of advertisements and other tactics to intimidate media by different civil and military regimes the print media not only survived but flourished,” the statement said.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that the future of print media in Pakistan is bleak. ─ APP/FileInformation Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that the future of print media in Pakistan is bleak. ─ APP/File

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    SARAJEVO: Bosnian prosecutors on Thursday charged seven people, including two Pakistani men, with people smuggling.

    The group is suspected of ferrying at least 46 people through Bosnia into EU member state Croatia, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

    They made at least $40,800 from the trade, it added.

    One Iraqi and two Pakistanis, who allegedly ran the criminal group, falsely presented themselves as migrants “in order to make contacts with persons ready to pay large amounts for illegal smuggling towards EU countries”, prosecutors said.

    Bosnia has become a key transit country carrying migrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa towards the European Union.

    More than 23,000 people have trudged through the mountainous Balkan state since the start of January 2018 in a bid to slip across the border to Croatia and move on into other EU countries.

    While most manage to continue north, many have been thwarted by border police.

    An estimated 4,500 and 6,000 migrants are currently in Bosnia.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    The group is suspected of ferrying at least 46 people through Bosnia into EU member state Croatia, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. ─ File photoThe group is suspected of ferrying at least 46 people through Bosnia into EU member state Croatia, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. ─ File photo

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    LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz, her husband retired Capt Mohammad Safdar and some other party leaders met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail here on Thursday.

    When Mr Sharif’s daughter arrived at the jail, the PML-N workers and supporters showered her car with rose petals and chanted slogans in favour of the party leadership.

    On her return from the prison, she tweeted: “Just came out of Kotlakhpat jail. MNS [Mian Nawaz Sharif] was fine and Alhamdolillah in high spirits.

    “Thank you everyone for your prayers, unflinching support & good wishes. God bless you all.”

    In his meeting with Maryam and his mother in jail last week, the former premier had asked for his wife Kulsoom’s photographs.

    Mr Sharif was shifted to the Kot Lakhpat jail on Dec 25, a day after he was sentenced by the accountability court in Islamabad to seven years’ imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case. He was also fined Rs1.5 billion and $25 million.

    The court also barred him from holding a public office for 10 years after completion of the sentence.

    Former federal ministers Khurram Dastgir and Rana Tanvir also met Mr Sharif on Thursday.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    Maryam Nawaz waves to supporters as she arrives at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail. ─ Photo courtesy TwitterMaryam Nawaz waves to supporters as she arrives at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail. ─ Photo courtesy Twitter

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    ISLAMABAD/WASHING­­TON: The Foreign Office on Thursday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s remarks on ties with Pakistan and said the government was keenly waiting for the engagement at the highest level.

    “We look forward to positive engagement with the US at the leadership level,” FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing. He was giving his reaction to President Trump’s comments about Pakistan during a cabinet meeting.

    Mr Trump repeated the allegation of Pakistan being duplicitous in its dealings with America. He, nevertheless, expressed his desire for better ties with Islamabad.

    US president says he wants to meet new Islamabad leadership in not-too-distant future

    “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. We want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy, they take care of the enemy. We just can’t do that,” President Trump had said.

    About engaging with the Pakistani leadership, he said: “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.”

    Mr Trump’s comments show that his view of Pakistan has not changed even though he may have expediently changed his strategy on dealing with it.

    One of his closest allies in Congress, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, even offered a free trade deal to Pakistan if Islamabad persuades the Taliban to participate in the US-backed Afghan peace process. Senator Graham, known in Washington as a Trump ally who often floats ideas that the Trump administration wants debated, made this offer in a CNN interview on Wednesday.

    Soon after that, President Trump outlined his new Afghan strategy in the cabinet meeting, seeking greater roles for India, Russia and Pakistan in fighting the Afghan Taliban.

    Mr Trump’s views reflect those of two prominent think tank experts who also underlined the need to persuade Pakistan, India, China and Russia to fight the Taliban in articles published in The New York Times and The American Conservative magazine on Wednesday.

    The US president had last month written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Pakistan’s help for Afghan peace process. Islamabad later facilitated a meeting between the United States and Taliban in Abu Dhabi that was also attended by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Another meeting has been planned in Saudi Arabia, but its dates have not been made public as yet.

    “You are aware that on the request of the US and the Afghan government, Pakistan is facilitating peace talks between the United States and the Taliban,” the FO spokesman recalled.

    Notwithstanding the accusation of housing the enemy, Dr Faisal looked on the bright side and said: “President Trump’s remarks are indeed a departure from his tweet of January 1, 2018.”

    Mr Trump had on the New Year Day in 2018 tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

    The FO spokesman underscored that Pakistan wanted peace to return to Afghanistan so that Afghan refugees in Pakistan could return home and there could be “beginning of an era of prosperity and normalcy in the region”.

    Responding to a question about the death of Baloch separatist Aslam Baloch alias Achhu in a suicide attack in Kandahar, he said the Afghan government had so far not shared any details with Pakistan.

    “We expect that the Afghan government undertakes a comprehensive inv­es­tigation to find out and clarify how a terrorist comma­nder from a banned terrorist outfit was residing in an Afghan city and who were providing him refuge in Afghanistan,” he said, adding: “It is important that Afghanistan does not let any country, terrorist group or individual to use its territory against Pakistan.”

    Ties with Bangladesh

    Commenting on elections in Bangladesh, Dr Faisal welcomed Awami League’s success and expressed the hope that the party would during its tenure in office adopt a forward-looking approach in ties with Pakistan.

    “We want Pakistan-Bangladesh relations to move forward in line with the 1974 tripartite agreement. We welcome the newly elected government in Bangladesh and hope and expect that it would help take the bilateral relationship away from the irritants that it has faced in the recent times,” the spokesman said.

    The Awami League-led coalition won the violence-hit elections held last Sunday to get a consecutive third term in office. Opposition parties in Bangladesh have rejected the polls as “farcical”.

    Pakistan-Bangladesh ties have remained tense since the Awami League came to power in 2009 and restarted the trial of people accused of ‘war crimes’ during the 1971 separation. This has been a major irritant in the bilateral relationship. Since the inception of ‘War Crimes Tribunal’ in 2010, a total of 52 accused have been sentenced to death. Six of them have been executed so far.

    Pakistan has consistently called for adherence to the Tripartite Agreement of April 1974 under which Bangladesh’s founding father Mujibur Rehman had ended prosecution of the elements his government had accused of ‘war crimes’ during the 1971 events.

    The 1974 agreement signed in Delhi by the then foreign ministers of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan had included a commitment from Dhaka that “the Government of Bangladesh had decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency”.

    Corruption cases

    Responding to a question, the FO spokesman shared details of the corruption cases against diplomats and other employees of the foreign ministry. Probe into cases of an accountant posted in Bulgaria, deputy head of mission in Singapore and ambassador have been completed. The case against high commissioner in South Africa, he said, was sub judice.

    Allegations against the ambassador in Portugal could not be substantiated and the officer has been cleared, he added.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan looks forward to engaging positively with the US at a leadership level. ─ File photoForeign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan looks forward to engaging positively with the US at a leadership level. ─ File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has claimed that economic policies of the government have completely failed and the country faces an unprecedented economic crisis.

    Addressing a press conference along with Marriyum Aurangzeb and Musaddiq Malik on Thursday, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that everyone should think seriously about the future of the country after government spokesman on economy Dr Farrukh Saleem exposed ‘faulty’ economic policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

    “After the confessional statement of Farrukh Saleem that alarm bells are ringing, every Pakistani, every institution, parliament and opposition should be concerned about the poor performance of the government,” he added.

    Mr Abbasi said the government had failed to resolve economic issues. “I have not seen in my political career of 35 years that the government spokesman is speaking against the government,” he added.

    He said that according to Dr Saleem, the government was trying to hide the adverse impact of its faulty policies on the economy. “It is a matter of great concern if the government itself admits its economic failure,” the former premier said.

    Khaqan Abbasi says rupee has been devalued by 30pc but imports are still showing a downward trend

    Again quoting the government’s spokesman, the PML-N leader said the government was taking additional loans to show what he called ‘so-called’ performance.

    Mr Abbasi said foreign exchange reserves of the country had plunged to the lowest level in the last decade and the GDP growth rate had dropped to three per cent from 5.8pc last year. “It means that the economy will suffer another loss of Rs1,400 billion,” he added.

    He said the current account deficit had increased from $1.8bn to $2bn. “They have devalued the rupee by 30pc even then imports of the country are showing a downward trend,” he said.

    The former prime minister urged the government to decide whether it wanted to get monetary assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or not. “If the government had decided it four months ago the country would have not faced the prevailing economic crunch. If the government and the IMF are on the same page then why the government is hesitating in getting loan from it,” he added.

    He accused the government of increasing inflation, gas and electricity rates and joblessness, slowing down economic growth and putting development activities to a halt.

    Responding to a question about a reported controversy in the award of Rs309bn Mohmand dam contract, Mr Abbasi said he had great respect for Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, but now he [Mr Dawood] had to decide whether he wanted the contract for his firm Descon or his position in the government.

    He said the government ministers admitted that the Mohmand dam project had started during the PML-N government in 2017.

    Talking about the recent remarks of Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda over summoning by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, he said the committee had not called the minister, but the secretary of his ministry.

    “The PAC does not call ministers, but the secretaries,” he said.

    “I agree with Mr Vawda that he is not a servant of anyone else’s father but the people of the country.”

    In reply to a question about the National Accountability Bureau, the former prime minister described the NAB law as ‘black law’ and said all parties should have consensus for its early repealing.

    He said he had read in newspapers on Thursday that NAB had started two more investigations against him. “I have not been summoned by the bureau so far,” he added.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    Ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the rupee has been devalued by 30pc but imports are still showing a downward trend. ─ File photo courtesy CNNEx-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the rupee has been devalued by 30pc but imports are still showing a downward trend. ─ File photo courtesy CNN

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    ISLAMABAD: Accusing the government of playing havoc with the economy and pursuing a policy of witch-hunt and rejecting what it described as the government’s plan to introduce a mini-budget, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday asked the government to mend its ways or be ready to face the music.

    “We do not want confrontation, but want to see political and economic stability in the country. But if the government continues to push us against the wall, we will definitely bounce back,” PPP leader Dr Nafeesa Shah said at a press conference. Former PPP MNA Palwasha Khan was also present on the occasion.

    She said the opposition would stage a strong protest at an appropriate time if the government continued to paralyse the economy and the country through its unwise policies. She said the government had no direction, roadmap and solution to the problems the country was faced with.

    She accused the government of using accountability as a smokescreen to hide its incompetence and poor governance. She said the Sindh government was being victimised and referred to the Supreme Court proceedings during which the chief justice of Pakistan questioned the reason for placing 172 individuals — including the Sindh chief minister — on the Exit Control List (ECL), noting that the joint investigation team (JIT) report was a tentative document that had yet to undergo judicial scrutiny.

    Alleges that PTI administration has wrecked country’s economy

    She said the CJP had also wondered how a province could be paralysed and asked the government to review its decision. Ms Shah was of the view that review meant a corrective action, but regretted that the government merely formed a review committee which, according to her, was contempt of the court order.

    Rejecting the government’s plans to levy massive taxes to add insult to the injury of the people bearing the brunt of price hike and loadshedding of gas and electricity, she said the government had devalued the rupee twice in four months. She claimed that inflation would jump to double digit this year as a result of the government’s imprudent policies.

    The PPP leader said that the PTI used to criticise previous governments for foreign loans, but it had obtained a commercial loan from China at a high interest rate.

    She also blasted the government for a Rs300 billion cut in development expenditure and said reports suggested that the government was to pay $4bn in fines on account of lost international cases.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    “We do not want confrontation, but want to see political and economic stability in the country. But if the government continues to push us against the wall, we will definitely bounce back,” PPP leader Dr Nafeesa Shah said at a press conference. ─  Dawn/File“We do not want confrontation, but want to see political and economic stability in the country. But if the government continues to push us against the wall, we will definitely bounce back,” PPP leader Dr Nafeesa Shah said at a press conference. ─ Dawn/File

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    The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that Bahria Town and Malir Development Authority's (MDA) accounts all over the country be unfrozen, clarifying its previous orders.

    Bahria Town counsel Aitzaz Ahsan, who had filed the miscellaneous petition on Thursday, told a three-member SC bench today that private banks all over the country have sealed his client's accounts on the orders of the State Bank of Pakistan.

    "Due to accounts being sealed, the release of Bahria Town employees' salaries and other development work has ceased," the counsel said. "Malir Development Authority's accounts have also been frozen."

    Read: Zardari and Omni groups, Bahria Town barred from trading properties under investigation

    At this, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading the SC bench, clarified that the court had only ordered "the monitoring of two accounts", adding that "the FIA exceeds its authority."

    "We had said the same regarding the school case," the top judge recalled. "We had passed orders regarding 27 schools and they started sealing schools."

    Read: SC orders 20pc reduction in private school fees over Rs5,000

    Justice Nisar also asked Ahsan why his client had "still not changed Bahria's name despite court orders?"

    "A period of six months was given for that," the counsel replied.

    "Those six months have still not lapsed?" the judge asked, to which Ahsan simply said: "Sir, the renaming process is underway."

    "I so wish that I change Bahria Town's name right now," Justice Nisar said.

    It is pertinent to mention here that in March 2015 a court in Rawalpindi had restrained the Bahria town CEO Malik Riaz from using the name ‘Bahria’ for his housing society. In August 2018, the magnate had received another blow after the sessions court of Rawalpindi rejected his appeal seeking the nomenclature.


    CJP passed the orders for Bahria and MDA's accounts to be unfrozen and wrapped up the petition. — FileCJP passed the orders for Bahria and MDA's accounts to be unfrozen and wrapped up the petition. — File

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    This article was originally published in Dawn on Jan 4, 2011.

    LAHORE:“I remember Bhutto saying history is written in the blood of martyrs,” Salman Taseer said while giving an interview to monthly Herald in 2008, two years before he was gunned down by his security guard in Islamabad.

    His violent death adds another bloodstained chapter to the history of a country that has been frequently held hostage by agents of hatred. Taseer was born in 1946.

    From the archives: Blasphemy law claims another life

    His father Mohammad Deen Taseer (famously known as M.D. Taseer) was a poet and guides to legends like Faiz Ahmed Faiz as well as being one of the founders of the Progressive Writers’ Movement in the 1930s.

    His mother Christabel (Bilquees) was a British leftist activist and elder sister of Alys, later Alys Faiz. The two sisters had left their homes and come to India where they met their future husbands.

    Taseer studied at Saint Anthony’s School and the Government College Lahore — institutions where he was a few years senior to Nawaz Sharif.

    In the 1960s, he went to England to study accountancy. Early in his professional career, he successfully set up two chartered accountancy and management consultancy firms in the UAE and Pakistan.

    In 1994, he established First Capital Securities Corporation Limited (FCSC), a full service brokerage house and had been actively involved in establishing other companies in the financial services sector as well as the telecommunications, media, insurance and real estate/property development sectors in Pakistan.

    Taseer authored a number of articles on investment and financial subjects.

    When he picked up the pen to write on politics, there was little surprise that he chose Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as his topic. The outcome was ‘Bhutto: A political biography’.

    Taseers’s association with the Pakistan People’s Party went way back in time. In his maiden speech after taking charge as governor of Punjab in 2008, he declared that he wanted to turn Lahore into another Larkana for the PPP.

    He was elected to the Punjab Assembly from Lahore in the 1988 election. That was his only electoral victory and he lost the elections in 1990, 1993 and then in 1997.

    Taseer was among the PPP stalwarts who were drawn to Gen Pervez Musharraf, even though he did not formally join the general’s establishment until agreeing to be a federal minister for commerce and industry in the caretaker set-up of Muhammadmian Soomro in 2007-08.

    While the caretakers wrapped up after overseeing the general election in 2008, the tag of being a Musharraf associate stuck to Taseer until his death.

    The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz strongly criticised his appointment as governor in May 2008. The PML-N called him a Musharraf’s man “installed to destabilise its government in Punjab”.

    Over the next two and a half years, Taseer was involved in a war of words with the PML-N, especially Shahabz Sharif’s law minister Rana Sanaullah.

    The worst in the series came when Sanaullah targeted the Taseers in a malicious campaign that found the law minister distributing ‘objectionable’ pictures of the governor’s family among media personnel and MPAs outside the Punjab Assembly.

    Salman Taseer was not known to take any accusation levelled against him lying down and would react with anger to anything that was thrown his way.

    And he was not averse to initiating a few attacks and a few controversies of his own. He was perhaps the only man from his party to have raised voice for the construction of Kalabagh dam. He said the dam was the “need of the hour”.

    As governor, he frequently clashed with the Sharifs. He invoked his experience as a fortune-maker as he sought to win over Punjab’s trading community and applying his own ideology to paint the Sharifs as the supporters of extremist groups.

    He was severe on both Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah after some photographs which made it to the newspaper pages showed the provincial law minister currying favour with leaders of a banned outfit in the run-up to a bye-election in Jhang last year.

    Later on in the year, Sanaullah targeted the governor for disappearing and going on a clandestine visit abroad, leaving the province without its constitutional head.

    Taseer remained defiant in the face of punches thrown at him. Some time later he turned up in person at a Lahore photo exhibition to prove his detractors wrong after a section of the media had reported that he had gone on another of his foreign missions.

    Taseer never made any secret of his take on the Sharifs with whom he had long and unsuccessfully contested power in Lahore and Punjab. It appeared as if he was eager to use his position as the governor to press his case.

    Taseer was also tortured by police in November 1992 when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister — an incident which he later remarked had rid him of all fears about his person.

    In what could have led to his assassination, he also followed a line on the blasphemy law which was independent of the PPP. He spoke with passion about the case of Aasia Bibi who had been sentenced to death by a lower court, and even committed to seeking a presidential pardon for her.

    Read: Lawyers shower roses on Taseer killer

    This landed Taseer in trouble with a group of people who accused him of trying to protect a blasphemer. There were protests outside the Governor’s House in Lahore and rallies in other parts of the country. Some relatively less known clerics issued edicts calling for his head. This led to concerns being expressed about his safety, something he himself was not always too bothered about.

    Governor Taseer was all too keen to steal a few moments for himself, his family and friends from the hectic itinerary he had to follow as the constitutional head of the province of Punjab.

    A Dawn newspaper story the day after Taseer's violent death
    A Dawn newspaper story the day after Taseer's violent death

    Farrukh Shah, his media adviser, said Taseer would often “prefer to move without security” and would say he was not afraid of death.

    A couple of messages Salman Taseer sent out during his last days sum up his views on what turned out to be the last of his many battles.

    The son of a poet, he quoted Faiz in a television interview:

    ‘Rakht-i-dil baandh lo, dil figaro chalo / Phir hameen qatl ho aayen yaaro chalo’

    (Let’s charge our bruised hearts and go; Come friends, let it be our heads again).

    As a man keen to stay abreast with times, he tweeted on the Internet only days before his assassination:

    “I was under huge pressure sure 2 cow down b4 rightist pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I’m the last man standing.”


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    LAHORE: Consumers in many urban and rural areas of Punjab faced a terrible situation for a second consecutive day on Thursday after different power plants, transmission lines and grid stations tripped again either due to dense fog or technical fault, forcing major power distribution companies (Discos) to resort to shutdowns and load management for several hours.

    As the tripped plants could not be made operational till 7:30pm on Thursday, a team of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) took over maintenance control of the Guddu-747 plant that has stopped working because of damage to some equipment installed in its switch yard. “Our team finally took over the plant and started working to rectify the fault amid replacement of the damaged equipment. The fault occurred in the switch yard of this plant in the morning, leading to suspension of power generation and tripping of the 500kV transmission lines connected with this plant,” an NTDC spokesman told Dawn.

    The plants that tripped owing to fog included 1,200MW Balloki (Kasur), 124MW KEL, 195MW Nishat Chunian, 185MW Nishat Power, 125MW Saif Power and 200MW Orient Power. The urban and rural areas affected due to power breakdown included Lah­ore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nan­k­ana and Okara of the Lahore Electric Supply Company, Fai­salabad, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot and Jhang of the Faisal­abad Electric Supply Company and Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Lodhran, Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Vehari, Pakpattan, Muzaffargarh, Lay­yah, Rajanpur, Alipur, Taunsa, Khanpur, Sadiqabad, Mian Channu and Chichawatni of the Multan Electric Power Company.

    Some areas falling under service jurisdiction of the Gujaranwala Electric Power Company and the Islamabad Electric Supply Company also faced power distribution issues due to breakdown.

    Since power generation by various plants went out of the system and there was already zero generation by 1,200MW Havaili Bahadur Shah (Jhang) and 1,200MW Bhikki plant (Sheikhupura) due to suspension of re-gasified liquefied natural gas supply, the Discos’ power allocation quota considerably squeezed. “We have no option but to observe load management in the prevailing situation as there is no supply according to our demand,” said a spokesperson for Lesco. He said the situation would start improving once power supply to the company was ensured according to its demand.

    Meanwhile, the NTDC management said the badly affected power system by dense fog was being normalised gradually. “NTDC engineers and staff managed to restore 500kV Sahiwal-Lahore, 500kV New Lahore-Balloki, 500kV Guddu old, 747MW Guddu, 500kV Rahimyar Khan, 220kV Yousafwala-Kasso­wal, 220kV Bahwalpur-Lal Soha­nra, and 220kV Okara-Sarfraz­nagar transmission lines,” the NTDC spokesman claimed in a press release.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    LAHORE: Commuters drive their vehicles on a road amid heavy smog on Thursday. Smog levels often spike during winter in Punjab, making driving difficult and even dangerous. But on Wednesday and Thursday the weather conditions caused several feeders in the provincial capital to trip, cutting electricity supply to many areas.—AFPLAHORE: Commuters drive their vehicles on a road amid heavy smog on Thursday. Smog levels often spike during winter in Punjab, making driving difficult and even dangerous. But on Wednesday and Thursday the weather conditions caused several feeders in the provincial capital to trip, cutting electricity supply to many areas.—AFP

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    LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday issued warrants for the arrest of Kamran Kayani, brother of former army chief retired Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Paragon City Housing Society’s director Nadeem Zia and another in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.

    As the court resumed hearing on the reference in the housing scam, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) produced three suspects, including former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, former director general of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema and Shahid Shafique of Bismillah Engineering. They were on judicial remand.

    A NAB prosecutor told the court that Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, also an accused in the case, was in Islamabad on transit remand to chair meetings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He said Kamran Kayani, Nadeem Zia and Khalid Hussain never joined the investigation despite repeated summons and that NAB had declared them absconders.

    At this, Judge Syed Najamul Hassan issued arrest warrants for the three absconders and handed over copies of the reference to the three suspects present in the court. A lawyer appeared on behalf of Mr Sharif and received a copy of the reference. The judge adjourned further hearing till Jan 10.

    Kamran Kayani has already been declared an absconder in the Rs15 billion DHA-City (Lahore) scam. NAB had issued his arrest warrants in the case and also asked the Ministry of Interior in 2017 to take up the matter with Interpol for the issuance of his red warrants. However, the red warrants were yet to be issued.

    NAB produces Fawad Hassan Fawad, Ahad Cheema and another suspect before accountability court

    NAB in its reference accused Shahbaz Sharif of misusing his powers as the chief minister of Punjab. It said the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) following due approval of its board of directors (BoD) awarded the contract for infrastructure development of the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing scheme to successful bidder namely M/S Ch. A. Latif & Sons in 2013.

    It said the PLDC issued Rs75 million as mobilisation advance to the contractor company whereas no complaint had been received by the company’s BoD against the bidding process. However, then chief minister Sharif acting unlawfully on a so-called complaint assumed powers of the PLDC’s BoD referred the matter to the Anti-Corruption Establishment to kneel down the successful bidder.

    He said the investigation revealed that a company namely CONPRO Services (Pvt) Limited, which filed the so-called complaint, had bribed then Punjab secretary implementation Fawad Hassan Fawad. The complainant company is believed to be owned by Kamran Kayani, NAB alleged.

    The reference said the former chief minister without a lawful authority ordered the PLDC to entrust the housing project to the LDA when Mr Sharif’s close aide Ahad Cheema was heading the authority as its director general. It said the LDA undertook the project under public-private partnership to give unlawful benefit to a blue eyed firm M/S Bismillah Engineering Services, which was proxy firm of M/S Paragon City (Pvt) Limited.

    NAB also accused Mr Cheema of misusing his authority with criminal intent and awarding Rs14 billion contracts of the low-cost housing scheme. It said Mr Cheema received illegal gratification in form of 32 kanals land from the owners of Paragon developers as a reward of the contract.

    The bureau alleged that Mr Fawad cancelled the contract and awarded the same to M/s Lahore Casa Developers on an inflated price. It said the government had to pay Rs6 million as fine to the successful bidder.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    NAB produced three suspects, including former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, in court. — FileNAB produced three suspects, including former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, in court. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Cen­tral Development Working Party (CDWP) on Thursday cleared a revised $986 million polio eradication programme and deferred a decision on a Rs48 billion small dam project in Sindh due to unresolved issues.

    The CDWP meeting was presided over by Minister for Planning and Develop­ment Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar and attended by representatives of relevant federal ministries and provincial governments.

    Under the revised Emer­gency Plan for Polio Eradi­cation programme, international agencies would fina­nce a $347m exercise to be concluded in 2021. The meeting was informed that polio was expected to be eradicated from Pakistan by the end of 2019, but two more years would be req­uired for follow-up to ensure complete eradication of polio’s core reservoirs.

    The CDWP recommended second revision of the Emergency Plan for Polio Eradication worth $986.3m. It was reported that about $640m had already been spent on the polio eradication programme over the past years. The last phase of about $326m was launched in 2014 with the hope that the crippling disease would be eradicated within the timeframe of the programme, but polio cases started to re-emerge over the past couple of years, leading to travel ban on Pakistani travelling abroad.

    The two organisations of the United Nations — Unicef and World Health Organisation — are involved in delivery of polio vaccination, supplementing immunisation and interruption of wild polio virus in the country.

    The CDWP observed that given the national priority for polio eradication, a holistic action plan should be put in place to ensure zero polio cases in the country as per national and global commitments. The sponsors were asked to devise a monitoring mechanism for smooth implementation of the emergency polio campaign, secure the provincial governments’ commitment for reimbursement of loans and run a robust campaign jointly with the provinces to eradicate the core reservoirs where sewerage water was contaminated with poliovirus.

    The planning minister asked the relevant agencies to provide breakup of social mobilisation and communication expenditure for the next three years.

    The project was provisionally recommended to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for approval.

    The meeting also took up the Nai Gaj Dam Project with a revised cost of Rs47.73 billion but deferred a decision on it because of a series of unresolved issues. The meeting asked the water resources division to resolve outstanding issues within a week so that the project could be referred to Ecnec for approval.

    The minister observed that since Nai Gaj dam would overcome water shortages and irrigate an area of 28,000 acres in Sindh, it should be jointly financed by the provincial and the federal governments.

    Because of fiscal constraints, the federal government alone could not bear the entire cost, he added.

    He said that considering importance of the project, work on it should be expedited without any further delay and the Ministry of Water Resources should resolve designs issues.

    Under its financial powers, the CDWP can itself approve projects costing no more than Rs3bn while the projects of higher estimated costs are approved by Ecnec on technical grounds.

    The CDWP meeting also returned two projects of transport and communication sector and one project of housing and works due to non-compliance of earlier decisions. The projects include construction of a road over Mali Bund, another road from Dumlottee Wells up to link road adjacent to the Education City in Malir, Karachi, and RCC pre-stressed bridge at Lassan Thakral Logran Breela Daigi-Da-Pattan in Mansehra.

    The CDWP extended the deadline for completion of three projects without any cost or scope revision, including the New Minerals Survey Scheme Phase-VI worth Rs1.085.3bn, the Nutrition Programme for Sindh with an estimated cost of Rs4.118bn and the E-Office Replication at all Divisions of the Federal Government Projects worth Rs440.3m.

    Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2019


    ISLAMABAD: The Minister for Planning and Development, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar, chairs a meeting of the Central Development Working Party on Thursday.—APPISLAMABAD: The Minister for Planning and Development, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar, chairs a meeting of the Central Development Working Party on Thursday.—APP

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    The Supreme Court on Friday, while hearing a suo motu case on the use of drugs in private as well as government educational institutions, rejected the report submitted by the Lahore police and ordered that an advertisement campaign be launched on social media against drugs.

    Advertisements to create awareness should be run from tomorrow, said Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, adding that the police to dissuade [the court] comes up with a report about how many [people] have been arrested and how many have been let go.

    He directed all four provincial chief secretaries, the in-charge of the anti-narcotics division, and secretaries of other relevant ministries to call a meeting and devise an action plan within a week.

    The development comes a day after the Punjab government decided to launch a campaign against narcotics in schools. “A special campaign will be launched in educational institutions to save them from narcotics and a committee has been constituted to work on this issue,” Punjab Schools Education Minister Murad Raas said at a meeting with private school owners on Thursday.

    "The National Action Plan was enforced to tackle terrorism; similarly, a plan should be made against drugs," said Justice Ijazul Ahsan during today's hearing, equating the dangerous affects of drugs on the young generation to the impact of terrorism.

    The hearing was adjourned for a week.

    A civil society member, Abdullah Malik, had last year submitted his application before the chief justice during a hearing of human rights cases at the Lahore registry of the Supreme Court.

    Malik has said easy availability of drugs in educational institutions was destroying the lives of students while the government took no action. He said the Punjab government had committed criminal negligence by not launching a crackdown on drug peddlers. He said the future of the country would be at risk if the students were not rescued from the menace of drugs.


    The Supreme Court last year took suo motu notice of the use of drugs in private as well as government educational institutions. — FileThe Supreme Court last year took suo motu notice of the use of drugs in private as well as government educational institutions. — File

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    The Supreme Court on Friday took exception to the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) hand in a delay in the construction of a hospital in Islamabad, and summoned the NAB chairman and prosecutor to the chief justice's chambers.

    The court was hearing a suo motu case on the condition of hospitals in Islamabad. In an earlier hearing of the case, the SC had asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to allot land for the construction of a hospital within 15 days.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan in today's hearing enquired about the progress on the allotment of land to the hospital.

    The judges noted that the government of Bahrain had wanted to give Rs10 billion for the construction of the hospital, and that the CDA had been given 15 days to make a decision regarding the allotment of land for the hospital.

    "What has happened with regards to its construction?" the chief justice asked, to which Ministry of National Health Services Secretary Zahid Saeed said that no progress had been made.

    The CDA lawyer informed the court that NAB had launched an inquiry into the allotment of the land after an application regarding the matter had been filed.

    Justice Nisar expressed his displeasure that the accountability watchdog "begins disrespecting people after it receives a single application".

    "Is everyone except NAB a thief?" the top judge demanded. "They launch inquiries into whoever surfaces and destroy their reputations."

    He added that a NAB official in Lahore is known for "blackmailing people" for personal gain.

    Justice Nisar summoned the NAB chairman and prosecutor to his chambers.

    "Tell [the] NAB chairman that it is possible that his exemption from appearing before the court could be revoked," the chief justice warned, adding that the apex court had in the past given former SC judges exemptions from court apperances.

    "Are the court's orders or NAB's orders more important for CDA?" the top judge asked, while enquiring if the bureau had any standards for conducting its investigations.

    He said that Bahrain's government was enthusiastic about giving Rs10bn for the hospital's construction.

    The federal health secretary informed the court that a 200-bed hospital was being built in Tarlai.

    The top judge said the issue was of CDA's allotment of the land for the hospital, to which Justice Ahsan added that the development authority to was to allot 237 kanals for the purpose.

    Saeed said that the Bahraini government was going to build a nursing university on the land but because of the NAB inquiry, the land could not be allotted.

    The CDA chairman was also summoned by the court.


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal and the bureau's prosecutor general. — File photoChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal and the bureau's prosecutor general. — File photo

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    The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to shelve a pending inquiry against PML-Quaid leaders Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain over lack of evidence, NAB Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua confirmed on Friday.

    NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal allowed withdrawing the inquiries pertaining to huge losses to the national exchequer after the watchdog's Lahore chapter recommended the same.

    Subsequently, NAB authorities filed an application before the accountability court to formally shelve the inquiries, Janjua confirmed to DawnNewsTV.

    Take a look: PML-Q, PTI have been together for five years: Pervaiz

    Both the PML-Q leaders were facing reference over allegedly causing loss to the state exchequer by influencing the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) officials to exempt more than 21 Kanal of land and 28 plots measuring 10 marlas each in a private housing society.

    In 2000, the bureau had launched a probe into the matter and found that the two allegedly purchased the pieces of land through their front men Mirza Aslam Baig and Mohammad Nawaz.

    Surprisingly, the authorities failed to make a breakthrough in the case for almost the next one-and-half decade. Till 2017, the inquiry was transferred to half-a-dozen investigators but to no avail. Finally on Nov 13, 2017, the inquiry was transferred to Waqarul Haq, a NAB investigation officer, who concluded the investigation on a note that it should be closed.

    Meanwhile, both the political leaders had appeared before the NAB authorities a few times in 2017 and 2018.

    During the investigations, the accountability watchdog found that the people who had been mentioned as "front men" were "employees" of Chaudhry brothers and they had purchased the plots for themselves. The reference mentioned that Mirza Aslam Baig had used the residential address of Chaudhry brothers while purchasing the plots.

    The NAB authorities, according to the watchdog, could not find any concrete "evidence, documented or oral".


    The inquiry is being shelved at a time when the PML-Q has become an important pillar for the PTI-led government in Punjab.— FileThe inquiry is being shelved at a time when the PML-Q has become an important pillar for the PTI-led government in Punjab.— File

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    Karachi police on Friday arrested four personnel of the Police Qaumi Razakars (PQR) force after they were found to have allegedly extorted money from couples at Karachi's Seaview by impersonating police officers, said Clifton SP Suhai Aziz.

    “Officials of Seaview check post arrested four persons who presented themselves as SHO Darakshan and his staff,” the officer said.

    “They were extorting gratification from the general public especially young couples,” Aziz said. During an investigation into the matter, it emerged that they were PQR officials wearing police badges.

    Also read:Karachi police chief forbids cops from asking couples for proof of marriage

    The held suspects have been identified as Muhammad Ramzan, Adnan Ameen, Sher Shah Soori and Adnan Muhammad.

    Moreover, police claimed to have recovered one licenced pistol, a car, five mobile phones, and Rs12,000, ostensibly extorted from couples at Seaview, from their possession.


    The four were wearing police badges and presented themselves as SHO Darakshan and his staff. —Dawn archivesThe four were wearing police badges and presented themselves as SHO Darakshan and his staff. —Dawn archives

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    The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday petitioned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the award of a contract for the construction of the Mohmand Dam to a consortium led by a company in which a sitting cabinet member and his family have ownership stakes.

    On January 2, the government announced that the contract for the Rs309 billion Mohmand Dam was awarded to a consortium led by Descon, a company formerly owned by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on a single-bid basis.

    Although Dawood said he had "resigned" from all offices he held in Descon before his appointment as an adviser to the PM, he and his family members continue to hold ownership stakes in the company.

    A joint venture of China Gezhouba, Descon and Voith Hydro was awarded the contract, of which China Gezhouba has a 70 per cent share, while Descon and Voith have a combined 30pc share.

    The bidding process of the dam was made controversial by the government when it considered the consortium's "single" financial bid while another consortium consisting of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), Andritz Hydro and Power China was technically disqualified and its financial bid was not considered.

    PPP leader Chaudhry Zaheer Mehmood in his petition to NAB stated that the award of the contract to the Descon-led consortium is a "conflict of interest and against the law and procedure".

    The petition noted that the FWO-led consortium's "technical bid was found not to be qualified. Thus the single bid was accepted and the contract was awarded to the consortium which included Descon", adding that the "award of contract for the construction of Mohmand Dam raises questions as to transparency and fairness".

    The petition observed that Dawood is an adviser to the prime minister and participates in parliamentary proceedings.

    It maintained that Dawood had committed an offence under Section 9 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, and called for action under the ordinance, saying that a reference should be submitted for adjudication.

    According to a Radio Pakistan report, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda has said the groundbreaking of the dam will take place on Jan 13.

    Overcoming water woes

    The construction of Mohmand Dam is said to be imperative to overcome the problems of water shortage and electricity shortfall in the country. A sum of Rs 2bn has already been allocated for the dam project in the Public Sector Development Programme 2018-19.

    The 54-year-old Mohmand dam project was being materialised with the collective efforts of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

    The chief justice has taken a personal interest in the project and helped remove obstacles in the way of its execution.

    No mega project has been undertaken in water sector in the country after the construction of Tarbela dam in 1967, resulting in the energy and water crisis in Pakistan.

    It has been reported that Mohmand Dam will store 1.2 million acre feet of water and generate 800MW hydel electricity besides irrigating 18,000 acres of land. The project will also help protect Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar and other areas from floods during monsoon season.


    A joint venture of China Gezhouba, Descon and Voith Hydro was awarded the contract, of which China Gezhouba has a 70 per cent share, while Descon and Voith have a combined 30pc share. ─ File photoA joint venture of China Gezhouba, Descon and Voith Hydro was awarded the contract, of which China Gezhouba has a 70 per cent share, while Descon and Voith have a combined 30pc share. ─ File photo

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    The Supreme Court on Friday took exception to the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) hand in a delay in the construction of a hospital in Islamabad, and summoned the NAB chairman and prosecutor to the chief justice's chambers.

    The court was hearing a suo motu case on the condition of hospitals in Islamabad. In an earlier hearing of the case, the SC had asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to allot land for the construction of a hospital within 15 days.

    In today's hearing, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan enquired about the progress on the allotment of land to the hospital.

    The judges noted that the government of Bahrain had wanted to give Rs10 billion for the construction of the hospital and that the CDA had been given 15 days to make a decision regarding the allotment of land for the hospital.

    "What has happened with regards to its construction?" the chief justice asked, to which Ministry of National Health Services Secretary Zahid Saeed said that no progress had been made.

    The CDA lawyer informed the court that NAB had launched an inquiry into the allotment of land after an application regarding the matter had been filed.

    Justice Nisar expressed his displeasure that the accountability watchdog "begins disrespecting people after it receives a single application".

    "Is everyone except NAB a thief?" the top judge remarked. "They launch inquiries into whoever surfaces and destroy their reputations."

    He added that a NAB official in Lahore is known for "blackmailing people" for personal gain.

    Justice Nisar summoned the NAB chairman and prosecutor to his chambers.

    "Tell [the] NAB chairman that it is possible that his exemption from appearing before the court [as a former judge] could be revoked," the chief justice warned, adding that the apex court had in the past given former SC judges exemptions from court appearances.

    "Are the court's orders or NAB's orders more important for CDA?" the top judge asked, while enquiring if the bureau had any standards for conducting its investigations.

    He said that Bahrain's government was enthusiastic about giving Rs10bn for the hospital's construction.

    The federal health secretary informed the court that a 200-bed hospital was being built in Tarlai.

    The top judge said the issue was of CDA's allotment of the land for the hospital, to which Justice Ahsan added that the development authority to was to allot 237 kanals for the purpose.

    Saeed said that the Bahraini government was going to build a nursing university on the land but because of the NAB inquiry, the land could not be allotted.

    Later in the day, NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal called on the chief justice in his chambers and briefed him about the matter and explained his stance.

    Meanwhile, the CDA chairman and the NAB prosecutor general also appeared before the chief justice in his chambers.

    The NAB prosecutor general clarified that the bureau didn't stop CDA from constructing of the hospital. “NAB had only sought details from CDA regarding some related issue,” he said.

    "The bureau is currently carrying out an internal inquiry and has not given any given any directive to stop the transfer of land," the counsel said.

    At this, the CDA chairman responded that the accountability watchdog issued notices to CDA officials after which the authority halted progress on the matter.


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal and the bureau's prosecutor general. — File photoChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal and the bureau's prosecutor general. — File photo

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    SC disposes of petition against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, and former president Asif Ali Zardari.
    SC disposes of petition against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

    The Supreme Court on Friday disposed of a petition seeking the reopening of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case against PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, former president retired General Pervez Musharraf and former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum.

    A three-member SC bench, under Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the petition in Islamabad today.

    In July 2018, the apex court had taken up the petition of Advocate Feroz Shah Gilani, the president of Lawyers’ Foundation for Justice, seeking recovery of huge amounts of public money wasted against the backdrop of the NRO in 2007 allegedly by the aforementioned trio.

    In November 2018, the court had asked the petitioner to provide evidence with written arguments to convince the bench on the maintainability of his petition

    At the outset of the hearing today, the chief justice noted that "Asif Zardari, Pervez Musharraf and Malik Qayyum's asset details have arrived".

    Justice Nisar enquired the whereabouts of the petitioner, to which he was told that "Feroz Shah Gilani is ill".

    The chief justice remarked that "a lot of progress has been made in the Omni Group case" and that "the law will make its own way".

    Subsequently, the petition was dismissed.

    The NRO was promulgated in Oct 2007 by the government of the then president Musharraf. Under the ordinance, cases against politicians were removed, paving the way for many of their return to country.


    SC disposes of petition against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, and former president Asif Ali Zardari.SC disposes of petition against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

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    Three children were killed and another sustained injuries in an accidental blast in Killi Behram town of Balochistan's Washuk district on Friday, DawnNewsTV reported.

    According to a statement issued by the Levies force, the children had found an unexploded grenade and were playing with it when it exploded accidentally.

    "The blast occurred at around 12pm when two girls and two boys, aged between seven and 10, were drawn towards a hidden, unexploded grenade and started playing with it. The grenade exploded, killing two boys and a girl on the spot while seriously injuring one girl," read the Levies statement.

    The injured girl was administered first aid in Washuk after which she was shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Khuzdar district for further treatment.


    The blast occurred when four children were drawn towards a hidden, unexploded grenade and started playing with it. —Reuters/FileThe blast occurred when four children were drawn towards a hidden, unexploded grenade and started playing with it. —Reuters/File

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