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    The military on Friday announced that it has inducted an indigenously developed A-100 rocket as part of its Multiple Launch Rocket System of the artillery corps.

    "With a range of over 100 kilometres, the rocket is a highly effective and potent interdiction that can effectively disrupt [the] enemy's mobilisation and assembly," read a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

    According to the ISPR, a ceremony was held to mark the induction with Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa as the chief guest.

    Examine:Test results: Have nuclear weapons secured Pakistan?

    Speaking on the occasion, the army chief paid "rich tributes to scientists and engineers for indigenously developing [the] A-100 Rocket which shall augment the existing conventional firepower capabilities of Pakistan Army".

    Gen Bajwa emphasised the army's resolve to strengthen its conventional capabilities so "the challenge of a full spectrum threat can be met successfully".

    The army chief lauded the role of the defence industry which has "maintained steady progress in the recent times and has contributed to the defence of Pakistan", the ISPR said.

    "With a range of over 100 kilometres, it can effectively disrupt enemy mobilisation and assembly," says ISPR statement. —Reuters/File

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    ISLAMABAD: With a controversy raging regarding the government spokesman on economy, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has called upon the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government to prove its transparency by releasing complete details of all cabinet members.

    In a statement, PML-N central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded that in the aftermath of the Farrukh Saleem episode, the appointment notifications of the prime minister’s entire cabinet must be shared to avoid further confusion.

    Ms Aurangzeb said it was essential to make public such details as Dr Farrukh Saleem’s was a disgraceful and embarrassing situation for the government.

    Demand follows information minister’s remarks Dr Farrukh Saleem was never appointed government’s spokesman

    “What if the prime minister or any of his ministers commit an irreparable blunder and later they flee and exonerate themselves by saying they were not formally notified to that office. They would claim that all steps taken by the cabinet were a farce because they did not receive a notification,” she said.

    The former information minister stressed that considering deplorable governance and one blunder after the other, it was even more essential to see these notifications in order to fix responsibility of the disasters later.

    Ms Aurangzeb demanded that the government bring forward their announced and unannounced advisers and the people of Pakistan should be told who sat in core government meetings without any official notification.

    On Thursday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that Dr Saleem was not a spokesman for the government while referring to the latter’s statement about Pakistan’s economy in which he had termed it to be ‘ailing’.

    In his tweet, Mr Chaudhry had stated: “Clarification is needed Saleem Farrukh is not spokesperson of the Government. We ought to have appointed Dr Sb Govt’s Spokesperson on economy but later it transpired that PM office has banned any hirings so his Appointment could never transpire, he is free to have any opinion.”

    Earlier, Dr Saleem had said in a TV programme that the government was not curing the disease, but hiding the symptoms. The results of devaluing the rupee were not good, he said, adding that despite 30 per cent devaluation of the rupee exports were still on the decline.

    On Oct 9 last year, Mr Chaudhry had issued a tweet confirming Dr Saleem’s appointment. “Ministry of Information is pleased to announce that Dr Farrukh Saleem will be the Government’s spokesperson on Economy and energy issues, notification shall follow accordingly @SaleemFarrukh,” he wrote.

    Dr Saleem had been regularly attending meetings held at the Prime Minister House between October and until Dec 24, 2018.

    Talking to Dawn, Dr Saleem said the official media and record of the Board of Investment were the proof of his involvement in official affairs. However, he did not specify if he had been with the government on a voluntary basis or that he was hired to assist the government.

    Ms Aurangzeb in her statement demanded: “FIRs must be registered against those impersonating and infiltrating meetings of national interest without any formal notification because this practice is raising many dangerous questions.”

    Without naming Dr Saleem, she said that those who had lied regarding their positions or impersonated government office for personal enrichment should be tried in courts.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    PML-N central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded that in the aftermath of the Farrukh Saleem episode, the appointment notifications of the prime minister’s entire cabinet must be shared to avoid further confusion. — File photoPML-N central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded that in the aftermath of the Farrukh Saleem episode, the appointment notifications of the prime minister’s entire cabinet must be shared to avoid further confusion. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday declined a request by former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani to constitute a bench comprising all its judges to hear a case relating to devolution of health institutions after the 18th Amendment.

    “Bearing in mind the sensitivity of the issue pertaining to the 18th Amendment and by taking precautionary measures and also realising that time was an issue before the present five-member bench, it will be in the fitness of things if the case is heard by a full court,” argued Mr Rabbani.

    But Justice Ijazul Ahsan, a member of the five-judge bench, observed that vires of the 18th Amendment were not in question before the Supreme Court.

    Raza Rabbani wanted the hospitals’ management matter to be heard by all judges of the apex court instead of the five-member bench

    The bench had taken up a constitution petition seeking management control of three hospitals — the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) — since the subject of health had been devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment.

    Once bitten, twice shy, retorted Mr Rabbani representing the NICVD, and recalled how at the time of the 18th Constitution Amendment, the Supreme Court had issued a short order in response to which parliament had to pass the 19th Constitution Amendment. Subsequent to which petitions were filed before the Supreme Court and as a result, the Parliamentary Committee, established under Article 175A of the Constitution for the appointment of judges, became redundant.

    “I am sure that the Supreme Court will come out with a judgement in this case while taking care of all issues but interpretation flowing out of such verdict may become problematic,” the counsel argued.

    On Friday, the Supreme Court also issued a notice to the Punjab government regarding a similar situation about the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Lahore and postponed further proceedings for Monday next.

    Referring to a query raised by the Supreme Court whether the federal government could construct and run a hospital in any province if it wished to do so, the counsel cited Articles 97, 137 and 142 of the Constitution, adding that from the collective reading of these articles it became clear that it was the legislative competence which determined the executive competence.

    The hospitals and health in all the constitutional documents from the Government of India Act, 1935, have been on the provincial list and after the 1962 constitution they have become residuary subjects.

    During the hearing, the chief justice observed that what the counsel was advancing was that running of hospitals should be left to the provinces and that the poor people of the province should be left to the mercy of the provinces if they did not decide to set up health facilities.

    And once the federal government built a hospital to fill the vacuum, the executive authority must be given to the province to run the establishment, the chief justice observed.

    The counsel said that Article 142 suggested that the legislative competence in terms of hospitals and health was exclusively of the province. And since the legislative competence of the hospitals and health was with the province, therefore the executive competence would also be with the province.

    The intention of the legislature in keeping hospitals and health with the province is evident from the constitution of 1962, wherein other lists were dropped except for the State list and deliberately hospitals and health were made residuary subjects.

    Similarly in the 1973 Constitution and the 18th Amendment where a class of hospitals was to be given to the federal government, the counsel argued, it was so mentioned in the Entry 16 of the federal legislative list.

    Mr Rabbani stated that if the federal government began to trespass into the constitutional domain of provinces on the basis of perception that it could do better, then the federal scheme of the 1973 Constitution as well as the parliamentary structure and the provincial autonomy would go to the winds.

    It would then be better to amend the Constitution and introduce a presidential and unitary form of government so that at least the sanctity of the Constitution is maintained, the counsel contended.

    By retaining the administrative control of these hospitals, the federal government had done a constitutional wrong and a wrong could not be allowed to be perpetuated, he contended.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Raza Rabbani says hospitals’ management matter should be heard by all judges of apex court instead of five-member bench. — File photoRaza Rabbani says hospitals’ management matter should be heard by all judges of apex court instead of five-member bench. — File photo

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    HYDERABAD: Cantonment police on Friday lodged a case regarding the death of a four-year-old boy who died allegedly after consuming rotten potato chips at an eatery on Dec 29 last year.

    The FIR was registered under Sections 319 and 322 PPC on a complaint lodged by SHO of Cantonment police station Raees Khanzada because Abdul Sattar Mallah, father of the victim, had refused to file the case.

    The SHO said that Mr Mallah’s wife had taken her twin children Umer alias Humayoon and four-year-old Aliza to a burger shop in Cantonment area. When they returned home, condition of the children deteriorated and they were rushed to a private hospital where Humayoon died while Aliza was still under treatment, he said.

    He said that Mr Mallah refused to lodge the FIR and submitted his written statement in this regard. A video statement of Mr Mallah was also recorded. Food inspector of Canto­nment Board Hyderabad Ishaque Ahmed had obtained samples of food for chemical analysis, he said.

    Customs seize huge cache of contrabands

    Officials of custom intelligence and investigation wing on Friday seized Indian gutka, cigarettes, betel nut, crockery as well as fabrics when they were being smuggled in six trucks and trailers. Officials reportedly detained two drivers for questioning and assessing value of the seized goods, which were worth about Rs50m according to a rough estimate.

    During separate actions on National Highway near Saeedabad, Hatri bypass and Hyderabad toll plaza, the officials seized 400 bags of Indian gutka worth Rs15-20 million. The gutka was to be sold across Sindh. Gunny bags stuffed with gutka were hidden underneath chaff to dodge the law enforcers.

    In another trailer intercepted by officials Iranian crockery worth Rs15 million was seized. Tyres and 100 bags stuffed with betel nut worth Rs10 million was also confiscated. The officials also confiscated bundles of foreign fabric and 100 cartons of foreign cigarettes whose cost was estimated at Rs10 million.

    Sources said that drivers of four trailers fled while two drivers were detained for questioning. According to custom official Shafique Ali, the seized goods were being weighed as their weight would determine their actual cost.

    According to him, it was not yet known where these goods were being taken to and interrogation of drivers would provide some lead definitely.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Four-year-old boy died of alleged food poisoning while his sister is still in hospital. — File photoFour-year-old boy died of alleged food poisoning while his sister is still in hospital. — File photo

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    KARACHI: The City administration launched a three-day cleanliness campaign on Thursday in those parts of the city where garbage was disposed of by the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB).

    Official sources said that a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting chaired by Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani in his office.

    They said the meeting was also attended by representatives of SSWMB, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, district municipal corporations, deputy commissioners concerned and both the Chinese companies awarded contract for garbage collection in districts South, West, Malir and East.

    The sources said that it was decided in the meeting that Changyie Kangjie Sanitation Company would collect waste in districts South and East districts, while Hangzhou Jinjiang Company would manage garbage in districts Malir and West.

    The two contractors were told in the meeting that they were bound to carry out manual sweeping, mechanical sweeping and mechanical washing of the streets and roads.

    They were also told that they were responsible for lifting of garbage from door to door free of cost in their assigned districts and later its transfer to the designated stations for further disposal into the landfill sites.

    The companies are also bound to put the garbage containers and trash cans at various spots in their respective districts.

    The sources said that the meeting decided that a three-day cleanliness campaign would be started in selected areas of the four districts in consultation with the respective deputy commissioners.

    They said that the commissioner asked the deputy commissioners to monitor the work of lifting and disposal of garbage as per contract made with the companies being carried out.

    The sources said that it was also decided that the deputy commissioners would submit their respective reports on the performance of the two Chinese companies with their comments to the commissioner in next meeting to be held next week.

    They said that the deputy commissioners’ reports and comments would be forwarded to the Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

    350 more shops razed

    The Anti-enchrochement Estate & Enforcement department of the Karachi Development Authority continued its grand anti-encroachment operation on its land in Korangi No 5 ½ and razed 350 more shops illegally constructed on drains.

    Over 300 shops constructed illegally on KDA land and drains in the area were demolished on Wednesday when the grand anti-encroachment operation to retrieve illegally occupied city land was launched in the neighbourhood.

    Officials sources said that the operation against encroachments and illegal building constructed on the KDA land was continue under the supervision of Director General Samiuddin Siddiqui.

    They said that Director Estate and Enforcement Dildar Hussain Shah was monitoring the operation.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Two contractors have been assigned manual sweeping, mechanical sweeping and mechanical washing of streets and roads. — File photoTwo contractors have been assigned manual sweeping, mechanical sweeping and mechanical washing of streets and roads. — File photo

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government has allowed Inspector General of Police Amjad Javed Saleemi to attend one-week training course in the United Kingdom on the latest techniques for investigation into terrorism and organised crime.

    Starting from today (Jan 5), the ‘Open CTD Investigation Officers Course’ will end on Jan 12 and the Punjab government issued a no objection certificate (NOC) in this regard. Additional IG Counter Terrorism Department Punjab Muhammad Tahir Rai will also be accompanying him in the course.

    According to a notification issued by Services & General Administration Department, both the senior police officers were allowed to attend the training course abroad, subject to no financial obligations on the part of the Punjab government. An official termed the permission to the head of the Punjab Police to attend training course abroad a rare step. Since the course was meant for the officers of the CTD, many of his colleagues were bewildered on the decision of the IGP to attend the same, he added.

    According to the earlier practice, only those senior police officers were preferred for such kind of training courses whose retirement was not due in the near future. On the other hand, the official, who did not want to be named, said Mr Saleemi was attaining the age of superannuation after 11 months.

    The official added that the selection of some police officer from those serving in BPS-21 would have been the most appropriate for the course as he would have shared his experience and knowledge for a long time.

    During his stay in the UK, the IGP would also visit the College of Policing, UK, to study training modules of the UK Police. He will also meet the Chief Constable to discuss issues of mutual interest.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Amjad Javed Saleemi is the serving Inspector General of Police in Punjab. — FileAmjad Javed Saleemi is the serving Inspector General of Police in Punjab. — File

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that although the Constitution gives a CM right to allot lands, but he had not allotted “even one inch to anybody”.

    The chief minister said this while talking to the media at the inauguration of a three-day Sixth Sartyoon Sang Crafts exhibition organised by the Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) in collaboration with the Sindh government on Friday.

    Responding to a question, he said ever since he had taken over as the chief executive of the province in 2016 he did not allot land to any person or organisation.

    ‘I have not allotted even an inch of land to anyone since taking over charge of chief minister’

    He said he did not receive any notice from the National Accountability Bureau for his appearance on Friday. “I don’t know how media aired this news,” he said.

    When asked about the report of a joint investigation team (JIT), he said that he would not discuss the JIT report because the Supreme Court had forbidden discussion on it in the media. Otherwise, he said, he had credible material to respond to each and every allegation against him.

    To another question, the chief minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to provide buses for the Green Line project during his visit to Karachi where he had also presided over a meeting on development projects.

    “The minutes of the meeting are available and anybody can read them,” he said, adding that otherwise the provincial government was ready to procure buses for the project.

    He added that the Sindh governor might not have read the minutes of the prime minister’s meeting. “I am surprised that after three months of the prime minister’s meeting the Sindh governor says that the provincial government has to procure buses,” he said.

    Talking about relationship between the federal and the provincial governments, the chief minister said: “The Constitution has determined the working perimeters between the Centre and provinces and if both, will work within their constitutional limits there will be no problem.”

    The functions of the governor were also very clear in the Constitution, he said, adding: “He [governor] knows it very well.”

    He recalled that whenever prime minister visited Karachi he had received him and attended the meetings in which he was invited. “We are political people and would never disgrace the highest constitutional offices,” he said.

    Mr Shah deplored that the media was not focusing the core issue of poor revenue collection by the federal government. “This is an important and glaring issue that the federal government has failed to achieve its revenue recovery targets,” he said.

    He said that the collection by the Federal Board of Revenue had shown only two per cent growth while the Sindh Revenue Board’s collection had shown 18pc growth.

    “We are in a better position because we are focusing on our governance, performance and service to the people while they [federal government] are engaged in unproductive work and futile exercise of giving exaggerated political statements,” he said.

    To another question, he said that he had respect for the position of the governor and the governor was under oath to work in consultation with the chief minister and his cabinet.

    Earlier inaugurating the exhibition, he said the objective of the exhibition in the city was to provide market linkages to rural women and artisans so that they could display and sell their products directly.

    He appreciated the SRSO for its efforts for poverty reduction particularly of poor womenfolk and said that handicrafts and artefact help create harmony among different cultures and added such platforms help indigenous artisans to market their products.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    "I have not allotted even an inch of land to anyone since taking over charge of chief minister," says Murad Ali Shah. — File photo

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has told a representative of the federal government that the decisions — like reducing life of solar and wind projects from 20 to 15 years — taken by the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) are illegal and unconstitutional.

    The chief minister made this observation during his meeting with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Energy Shahzad Qasim, who called on him here at CM House.

    The meeting was attended by Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Principal Secretary to the CM Sajid Jamal Abro and Energy Secretary Musadiq Khan.

    Mr Shah asked the special assistant that all such decisions be withdrawn because the Council of Common Interest (CCI) was the only constitutional forum to decide policy issues regarding electricity.

    “The unilateral and arbitrary decisions of the cabinet committee on energy has created an alarming situation that is adversely affecting provincial interest,” he said and pointed out that the subject of ‘electricity’ appeared at Entry No 4, Part-II of Schedule IV in the Federal Legislative List of the Constitution and the CCI was the only constitutional forum to decide such policy issues.

    “Any policy decision by the CCoE on electricity is a clear transgression and infringement into the domain of the CCI,” he said.

    The chief minister further said that the CCoE had unilaterally directed reduction in the life of solar and wind projects from 20 to 15 years. It had also imposed a selective embargo on processing of ongoing small hydro, wind and solar projects, he said.

    Call to continue all renewable energy projects

    The CM urged the special assistant to continue all the renewable energy (RE) projects under the RE policy 2006. Elaborating the policy, he said that it provided a lucrative fiscal and monetary incentives to investors.

    “It [the policy] offers attractive returns on equity of 17 per cent [in US dollars] and the power purchaser is responsible for providing interconnection to the transmission lines. The wheeling of electricity is allowed and it allows net metering, billing and facilitates the projects to obtain carbon credits,” he added.

    “I would suggest that the CCoE and the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) should not take any decision regarding electricity in future because the CCI is the right forum,” he suggested.

    Mr Shah said that if the RE projects and tariffs as low as under five cents were not allowed to develop, the public exchequer would continue to bleed by expensive energy and forex outflows on fuel purchase.

    Mr Qasim, who is an energy expert, said that if 1,000 MW RE power projects were installed the government would be able to save Rs14 billion in the foreign exchange every year. “We have to focus on the production of RE projects,” he added.

    The chief minister said that Sindh had a 60km-long and 80km-wide wind corridor coastal belt. He added that the province was known as the country’s energy hub because it had the capacity to produce 55,000 MW wind energy in Thatta, 10GW solar energy, 130 MW Hydero (low head and run of the river), 1,000 MW biogas cogeneration, 500 MW water energy (Karachi produces 11,000 tonnes garbage daily) and 550 MW geothermal.

    “The federal government is requested to approve the stuck up RE projects so that work could be started,” he said.

    Mr Qasim assured the chief minister of his support and congratulated him on the almost completed Thar coal mining and power project. “It was a difficult task but Murad Ali Shah with his commitment made it possible,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah says Centre's decisions regarding power projects are illegal and unconstitutional. — File photoSindh CM Murad Ali Shah says Centre's decisions regarding power projects are illegal and unconstitutional. — File photo

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    KARACHI: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said on Friday that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government was supposed to bring buses for the Green Line bus rapid transit project, but so far it had failed to do so.

    Talking to reporters at the Pakistan Lifestyle and Furniture Expo exhibition, he said that the share of the federal government in the Green Line project was 80 per cent and the remaining 20pc was the responsibility of Sindh government.

    “Till date, they [Sindh govt] have not brought buses for the project and I am going to write them that they should hand it over to us if they are not interested; the federal government will bring buses and make the project operational for the people of Karachi,” said the governor.

    Transport minister says the federal government is just playing politics on the issue

    He said that there was no master plan for Karachi and a city without such an important document certainly faced serious issues.

    He said that the Sindh government was suggested to have a time-frame regarding implementation of Karachi development projects, a third-party audit, but it did not respond to the proposal.

    In reply to another question, Governor Ismail said that he would have no objection if the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government wanted to display its flag on the city’s development projects.

    The governor said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was taking special interest in development of Karachi and Sindh and recently he held a meeting to review the projects being undertaken by the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Limited (KIDCL).

    “The jurisdiction of the KIDCL has been extended to all over Sindh and [it would] take up new projects worth around Rs50 billion,” he added.

    An APP report quoted the governor as telling a private TV channel on Friday that the projects included desalination plants, reinforcement of Northern Bypass, removal of debris, water and sewerage system, gray water for industrial sectors, etc.

    “We have been facing hurdles with the Sindh government being run by the PPP, but we are trying to go with them for the completion of the public welfare projects,” he said, adding that the Green Line would be operational within the next four to six month.

    In reply to a question, the governor said that the Karachi mayor had demanded Rs200 million from the provincial government to lift debris generated in the aftermath of the anti-encroachment drive. However, he said the mayor did not get the funds.

    About Orange Line train project for Karachi, he said talks would be held with the World Bank for funds.

    Transport minister

    Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah on Friday said the Green Line project belonged to the federal government and had it been spearheaded by the provincial government, buses would have already been running on roads.

    “This [Green Line] is the federal government’s project; else everyone would have seen its completion in time,” he told reporters at his office.

    Mr Shah urged Islamabad to get the Green Line project completed as soon as possible and hand it over to the Sindh government for its operation as it was part of a deal that provided that the provincial authorities would control its bus service and computer system.

    The minister said the Sindh government had written several letters to the Centre asking that when would the project be handed over to it.

    “The federal government is just playing politics; as a matter of fact, it does not want to do anything. Here, the Sindh government is ready [to run the project] while on the other hand, the federation is making excuses.”

    He said it took time to procure new buses. The federal government had issued tenders and released funds, he added.

    He hoped that the prime minister would not take “yet another U-turn” and make sure that the project was started and provide relief to the people of Karachi.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    WORK on a section of the rapid bus project is stalled for reasons best known to the federal and Sindh governments.—OnlineWORK on a section of the rapid bus project is stalled for reasons best known to the federal and Sindh governments.—Online

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    KARACHI: Expressing its extreme displeasure over absence of suspects from the hearing of cases pertaining to the May 12, 2007 mayhem, an antiterrorism court on Friday directed the authorities concerned to ensure their appearance on the next date.

    The suspects — including Umair Siddiqui, Raees, alias Mama and Mirza Naseeb Baig, alias Rizwan Chapati — have been booked in the eight cases recently reopened for trial on a directive of the Sindh High Court.

    On Friday, the case was fixed before the ATC-II judge, but the suspects did not turn up for a second time. On the last date of hearing, the judge had found them absent and directed to show up on the next hearing.

    Finding them not present on Friday, the judge expressed his extreme displeasure over their absence and ordered all of them to make it on the next date, and fixed the matter for Jan 14.

    Around 65 cases, which the police had declared ‘A-class’ (unknown or untraceable accused), have been reopened for trial on the directives of the Sindh High Court.

    Of the eight present cases, six were registered at the Airport police station and one each at the Bahadurabad and Ferozabad police stations.

    It may be mentioned here that Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Umair Siddiqui and around 19 other suspects have already been indicted in four of the seven cases already pending a trial before the ATC-I and ATC-II.

    The then provincial adviser on home, Wasim Akhtar, Umair Siddiqui, Mohammad Nasir and Nasir Zia were booked in identical cases registered under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 registered at the airport police station in 2007.

    Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies organised by political parties and the legal fraternity that had tried to welcome deposed chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on his arrival at the Karachi airport to attend a gathering of lawyers.

    Justice Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after having been restricted to the airport for nine hours.

    Wasim Akhtar was adviser to the Sindh chief minister on home at the time.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies organised by political parties and the legal fraternity in May 12 riots. — File photoAround 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies organised by political parties and the legal fraternity in May 12 riots. — File photo

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    At least four people, including a woman, were injured on Saturday in a blast in Kala Bari market located in the Saddar area of Peshawar, according to Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Peshawar Qazi Jamil.

    However, according to sources at the Lady Reading Hospital, where the wounded were shifted, six people were injured in the blast.

    The area was cordoned off by security forces after the explosion.

    CCPO Jamil said that about eight to ten kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the blast. The material was planted in a white Corolla, he added.

    Furthermore, the police official said that the footage of security cameras installed in the area will be analysed during investigation.

    Bomb Disposal Unit chief Shafqat Malik said that the explosive was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and was concealed inside the door of the car.

    This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.

    Security officials cordon off the site of the blast. — Photo by authorSecurity officials cordon off the site of the blast. — Photo by author

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    LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has admonished the bureaucracy for delaying various welfare projects and even went on to ask them, “If I have to do all the work, what are you doing?”

    Mr Buzdar, who is usually censured by his political opponents for appearing docile, sprung into action against, what many called, ‘a powerful bureaucracy’ and warned them to shun their go-slow policy or go home.

    The chief minister was chairing a marathon meeting on Friday at the Civil Secretariat to review the progress on various development schemes for remote and backward areas of the province. Administrative secretaries briefed the chief minister about the progress made so far.

    Mr Buzdar also stamped his authority by declaring in the meeting that only the bureaucrats who performed would be given respect and honour. “You better perform practically instead of engaging in lip service.”

    He directed that work should be carried out speedily to develop the backward and far-flung areas, saying that he would not tolerate any delay. “I need performance and the officials delaying the welfare schemes will be held accountable,” he warned and asserted that the bureaucracy should realise what problems were being faced by the public.

    CM takes public servants to task for delaying welfare projects

    The chief minister directed that schools in remote areas should be urgently switched to solar power. Former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had announced distributing some 17,000 solar sets to power public schools in remote areas of the province; the energy department was assigned the task but the project could not take off and the schools remained without electricity.

    Considering the hardships faced by public servants in hilly areas of Dera Ghazi Khan, the chief minister decided to double their ‘hill allowance’ from Rs500 to Rs1,000.

    Mr Buzdar also directed to expedite work on welfare schemes and improve cleanliness arrangements in big cities. He stressed that healthcare, education and clean drinking water schemes in remote areas should be completed on priority, and reported to him. He also called for arranging latest means of transport for people in under-developed areas.

    OPEN COURT: The chief minister later met hundreds of people from several districts at the secretariat’s Darbar Hall.

    He spoke to every visitor, who apprised him about their difficulties and presented applications to him. Mr Buzdar issued orders on the spot for solution to the problems. He also directed to provide the best treatment to sick children.

    Speaking to the visitors, the chief minister said solving problems of the people was his prime responsibility.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Punjab CM takes public servants to task for delaying welfare projects. — FilePunjab CM takes public servants to task for delaying welfare projects. — File

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    LAHORE: The National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) told an accountability court on Friday that a reference regarding the Ramzan Sugar Mills (RSM) was being prepared against Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and would soon be filed.

    NAB claims that Mr Sharif, being chief minister of Punjab, had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in Chiniot district primarily to benefit the sugar mills owned by his sons. It said Rs200 million was spent for this purpose from public money. NAB had already filed a reference against Mr Sharif and others in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.

    Hearing the RSM case, Judge Syed Najamul Hassan took notice of the absence of Mr Sharif and asked a NAB prosecutor to explain the situation. The prosecutor told the court that Mr Sharif had been in Islamabad on transit remand since Dec 12 as the NA speaker had issued his production order for the attendance of the assembly’s session and meetings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

    NAB claims PML-N leader misused his authority as chief minister of Punjab to benefit factories owned by his sons

    “If this is the situation, why didn’t you get his transit remand extended from the court?” the judge asked the prosecutor and also summoned the superintendent of the Kot Lakhpat jail.

    After a while, the superintendent app­ear­ed in court and stated that Mr Sharif was detained in a sub-jail that fell within the domain of Rawalpindi jail. He said the police force sought for the production of Mr Sharif was not provided to the jail. The superintendent said a letter was written to SP headquarters Iqrar Shah for the provision of the force. The letter was answered with an excuse of shortage of police force, he added.

    Advocate Amjad Pervez, the counsel for Mr Sharif, stated that Islamabad police was supposed to produce his client in court. However, the judge observed that it was the responsibility of Lahore police to produce Mr Sharif for the extension of transit remand. The counsel pointed out that a medical board had advised Mr Sharif one-week rest in the light of his MRI test report.

    The judge adjourned the hearing of the case till Jan 10 and also issued a show-cause notice to the SP headquarters.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    NAB claims PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif misused his authority as chief minister of Punjab to benefit factories owned by his sons. — File photoNAB claims PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif misused his authority as chief minister of Punjab to benefit factories owned by his sons. — File photo

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    Six people, including two women, were injured on Saturday in a blast in Kala Bari market located in the Saddar area of Peshawar, according to sources at the Lady Reading Hospital, where the wounded were shifted.

    All six injured were in a stable condition Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Peshawar Qazi Jamil said. Earlier, Jamil had had said that four people had been injured in the explosion.

    CCTV footage of the Peshawar blast

    At least three stores were damaged by the bomb's impact. The area was cordoned off by security forces after the explosion.

    Jamil said that about eight to ten kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the blast. The material was planted in a white Corolla, he added.

    “It was an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion and the explosive material was fitted inside the vehicle,” he told AFP.

    Bomb Disposal Unit chief Shafqat Malik agreed that it was an IED explosion and added: “All of the vehicle had blown up and only (its) engine part remained intact.”

    The CCTV footage of the blast shows an identified man parking and exiting the said vehicle before wrapping himself in a shawl. The explosion takes place as he walks out of the frame.

    The blast today was the first of 2019 in the provincial capital. The last IED explosion took place in October, that left a civilian and a paramilitary soldier injured.

    Over the past few years, KP has seen a sharp decline in the number of violent attacks. According to a study conducted by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, last year 40 attacks were recorded in KP in which 72 people were killed and 174 injured. Suicide attacks across the country dropped from 23 in 2017 to 18 in 2018.

    Security officials cordon off the site of the blast. — Photo by authorSecurity officials cordon off the site of the blast. — Photo by author

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    Four school children in Karachi suffered burn injuries on Saturday when their van caught fire, DawnNewsTV reported citing Orangi Town police.

    The police said that the children were shifted to Civil Hospital Karachi, where two of the injured quartet were admitted to the burns centre.

    The hospital's burns centre incharge, Dr Ahmer, said that the children had received minor injuries and were out of danger.

    According to a fire brigade official, the van was carrying children to their school when it caught fire due to a short circuit.

    The short circuit occurred as the vehicle was heat up, the official said, adding that the van's inner portion was badly damaged due to the resultant blaze.

    School van caught fire, six children injured. — Photo by authorSchool van caught fire, six children injured. — Photo by author

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    An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday extended the physical remand of PML-N leader Khwaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khwaja Salman Rafique till January 19 in connection with the Paragon Housing Scheme ‘corruption’ probe.

    Accountability court judge Syed Najamul Hassan extended the remand after NAB representative Waris Ali Janjua claimed that billions of rupees were transferred to the accounts of "Gufran and Qadeer" — the sons of Khwaja Salman Rafique and Nadeem Zia respectively.

    The official told the court that 12 to 13 accounts of Paragon were under investigation, adding that they plan to interrogate Gufran as well.

    The NAB officer told the court that multiple suspect transactions had been made through the accounts of Paragon City and that the State Bank of Pakistan had informed the watchdog thrice about the transactions.

    Janjua further said that MS Executive Builders is also under probe, whereas notices have been issued to more than 30 people for investigation.

    Defence counsel Amjad Perve opposed the NAB's plea for extension of remand, saying that the prosecutor was repeating old arguments. He argued that all the data of his clients was already available to the watchdog.

    During an earlier hearing, the NAB had claimed that Saad, through his benamidar wife Ghazala, and brother Salman and in association with Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia had established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue that was converted into a new project, namely M/s Paragon City Pvt Ltd.

    “Record shows that Paragon City is an illegal society. The suspect in collaboration with Zia and Butt cheated the members of public at large and obtained illegal pecuniary benefits from the funds of said illegal housing project," the bureau had alleged.

    A NAB prosecutor had said, "Paragon Housing Society is illegal; an approval for its construction was not obtained."

    "Ninety people from whom the Khawaja brothers took money but did not allot plots to have contacted NAB. They also took a lot of commission from Executive Builders' accounts," he had added.

    The NAB had taken Khawaja brothers into custody last month after rejection of their petition to obtain pre-arrest bail. Subsequently, the NAB had also launched a probe against them under the suspicion of assets beyond known income.

    File photo shows Khawaja Saad Rafique.— DawnNewsTVFile photo shows Khawaja Saad Rafique.— DawnNewsTV

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    The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Saturday demolished the lawn of PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari's house, claiming that it was built on encroached land that belonged to the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

    The move was strongly condemned by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who described the operation on Bukhari's residence as "a tool of political oppression".

    "The operation against Nayyar Bukhari's house is shameful," said Bilawal in a statement. "It is an attempt to suppress political opinion."

    The CDA recently decided to conduct an anti-encroachment drive to clear the land that belongs to QAU. According to a joint action committee of the university, about 298 acres had been encroached upon. Earlier this week, following protests from QAU joint action committee members, sources in CDA and Islamabad Capital Territory administration had said that an operation was being planned to retrieve QAU land from the encroachers.

    Bilawal demanded that the authorities also conduct an operation at Banigala — Prime Minister Imran Khan's personal residence. It is pertinent to mention here that a suo motu case regarding houses allegedly built on encroached land in Banigala is being heard in the Supreme Court.

    PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari also came to Bukhari's defence, advising the government to wise up.

    "Nayyar Bukhari is being targeted for political revenge," the former president said. "His house was attacked under the cloak of [an encroachment] operation.

    "He has all the ownership documents. This kind of a maneuver is political blackmailing. He (Bukhari) will not be scared by these vengeful activities."

    The apex court had taken up illegal constructions in Banigala on a letter written by Prime Minister Khan. The premier had invited the court’s attention towards the large-scale encroachment on the botanical garden, unchecked and unplanned construction in Banigala, massive denuding due to large scale tree felling and pollution of the Rawal Lake due to sewage.

    The court ordered the regularisation of properties built in Bani Gala but the CDA has held off the procedure until the revision of the city's master plan.

    CDA workers carry out anti-encroachment drive in Islamabad. — File photoCDA workers carry out anti-encroachment drive in Islamabad. — File photo

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    The body of a 12-year-old boy was found on Saturday in fields near a village named Sahab Kalok in Mandi Bahauddin, DawnNewsTV reported citing police.

    According to the victim's family, the child had left his house on Friday for fishing at a canal along with his friends but never returned, following which a search was launched in the area. The body was found in a sugarcane field today.

    The deceased's family members along with other locals held a protest and urged the police to arrest the accused.

    Saddar Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Tahir Majeed Khan told DawnNewsTV that family had nominated a trio of suspects, of which two have been arrested while raids are being conducted to arrest the third.

    The DSP said that a post-mortem examination will establish if the child was subjected to sexual assault or not prior to his murder, adding that a case has been filed at Civil Lines police station.

    DSP Majeed claimed that a first information report (FIR) of the incident has been registered. However, a copy of the FIR had not been provided by the time this report was published.

    The slain boy had left home on Friday for fishing with friends but never returned. — FileThe slain boy had left home on Friday for fishing with friends but never returned. — File

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    KARACHI: Political headwinds are growing in Pakistan, warns Fitch Solutions - the macro research arm of the global credit rating agency - in a report issued on Friday.

    “The government will struggle to deliver results given growing downside risks to policy-making stemming from a growing opposition and rising influence of religious hardliners, as well as deteriorating foreign relations with the west,” said the report.

    “We at Fitch Solutions believe that the government would need to deliver tangible economic improvement if its still-high popularity is to continue through the parliamentary term,” the authors state.

    Pakistan’s economy is faced with growing challenges that will adversely hit the lives of the common citizens. As one example, the CPI-based inflation has reached a four-year high at 6.78 per cent in Oct, 2018 before easing to 6.2pc in December. The rising inflation has come on the back of around 25pc depreciation in the Rupee against the greenback during last year coupled with high international oil prices during the first half of 2018.

    Moreover, investor confidence has declined significantly in the past six months mainly due to the economic mismanagement of the government visible in the ad hoc mini-budgets, energy crisis affecting the industry, exchange rate volatility and high interest rates.

    The authors of the report say that the PTI will have a hard time facing these economic challenges as the political headwinds grow in ferocity. The report maintains Pakistan’s short-term political risk index score at 48.2 out of 100, described by the authors as “poor”.

    The authors see a galvanised opposition that is “gaining momentum” after the by-elections in 11 national assembly and 24 provincial assembly seats held in October. “The polls served as a barometer for Khan’s approval rating and popularity” the report says, and the outcome “saw the opposition PML-N ... make notable gains.”

    The report adds that in its first half year, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office was “dominated by a series of high profile anti-graft and blasphemy sagas distracting from early attempts at economic reforms.”

    The anti-graft saga itself, the authors note, has been marred by allegations of being “politically motivated”, and notes with concern that the PML-N has “promised political reprisals with a pledge to frustrate the PTIs agenda” following the jailing of their leadership.

    ‘The government would need to deliver tangible economic improvement if its still-high popularity is to continue’

    “In our view, it will be important to observe to what extent the PML-N will carry out these threats over the coming months and to what degree they are successful” the report says.

    The report notes that the government “led by Khan also appears to be struggling with the rising influence of Islamic hardliners, having to give in to their demands on several occasions.” It cites the cases of Aasia Bibi and the government’s decision to drop Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council as examples.

    PTI remains in “pole position” but is increasingly “losing momentum” as it has had to backtrack on its campaign promises of never going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or seek financial help from other countries after PM Khan had to personally visit friendly countries to gather funds in order to avoid a potential default on its liabilities.

    Going forward, “a united opposition poses downside risks to policy-making and enactment in the country” since the PTI does not have a “simple majority in the national assembly” and is “reliant on smaller parties to form the majority coalition partners [who] could leverage a stronger opposition to gain political concessions,” warns the report.

    ‘A united opposition poses downside risks to policy-making and enactment in the country’

    In addition to the internal pressures, the government found itself in “a difficult situation” after the US President Donald Trump and PM Khan traded barbs against each other on social media.

    The report mentions that, “a strengthening relationship with an increasingly outward looking China has likely emboldened Pakistan, but the government is also wary of overreliance on China, and still depends on the US for military aid as well as looking towards the IMF for a bailout package.”

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation. — File photoPrime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: After failing to get former ambassador Hussain Haqqani through Interpol, the government has initiated the process of seeking his extradition from the United States through the Foreign Office on allegations of embezzlement.

    “The Ministry of Interior has transferred a 355-page extradition dossier to the Foreign Office, which will be sent to the State Department for Mr Haqqani’s extradition,” a source told Dawn.

    In this connection deliberations are being held within the Foreign Office over legal aspects of the case.

    Interior ministry has transferred a 355-page dossier to Foreign Office to be sent to State Department for the purpose

    The Supreme Court had, through a suo motu notice related to implementation of an earlier SC order of bringing Mr Haqqani back, directed the government to ensure his repatriation.

    A nine-member SC bench, headed by the then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had on June 4, 2013, directed the government to use all legal channels to bring him back.

    Mr Haqqani, who was at the centre of a controversy over allegedly sending a memorandum to the then US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen seeking his direct intervention to avert a possible overthrow of the PPP government by the military, is currently based in the United States.

    A commission constituted by the Supreme Court commonly known as the ‘Memogate Commission’ had in its report held Mr Haqqani as the originator and architect of the memo.

    The government has on at least a couple of occasions in the past sought Interpol warrants for Mr Haqqani’s arrest, but could not convince the international criminal police to act. On one occasion the request for warrants was turned down because of the absence of a criminal charge, while the second time, when a treason charge had been made against the former envoy, the request was not entertained because treason did not constitute grounds for extradition under the international law, a source said.

    Later, in March 2018, seven years after Mr Haqqani’s resignation over the memogate scandal, a case of embezzlement of $2 million was registered against him, which is now being made the basis for seeking his extradition.

    But, legal experts say, the US Statute of Limitations require that a case must have been initiated within five years of the crime and hence Mr Haqqani’s case does not fulfil that condition.

    The sources at the Foreign Office, who have been following the case, too didn’t appear very hopeful about the extradition request that they would be making. Besides the Statute of Limitations handicap, it is said Pakistan and the US do not have bilateral extradition treaty even though the latter has in the past considered the former’s extradition requests on merit. Admiral Mansurul Haq and Hamish Khan of the Bank of Punjab were extradited in the past.

    The US, legal experts say, does not extradite in ‘political cases’ and Mr Haqqani’s case potentially falls within the political category. They believe that even if the State Department agrees, the process could entail lengthy court proceedings in the US before the extradition could actually take place.

    They note that the shifting grounds for seeking Mr Haqqani’s extradition have damaged the case as well.

    Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

    Hussain Haqqani was at the centre of the Memogate scandal. — File photoHussain Haqqani was at the centre of the Memogate scandal. — File photo

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