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    The Supreme Court on Saturday directed Packages Limited to pay Rs500 million in lease payments for its factory built on government land following the expiry of the lease agreement in 2015.

    A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the matter at the Lahore registry.

    The court decided that the land will no longer be leased out to anyone and will instead be auctioned with first priority given to Packages Limited for its purchase.

    The chief justice expressed amazement at the fact that since the lease's expiration nothing was done with "the [revenue] people just sitting around".

    "Is this the country's law? Those responsible for the renewal of the lease did nothing," he remarked, adding that "these poor people [Packages Limited] are honest to have come forward themselves to make the payment".

    The chief justice then asked the Lahore Deputy Commissioner (DC) Saliha Saeed to explain the matter from the beginning.

    DC Saeed said that from 1955 to 1985 Packages Limited was given government land on lease for its factory. In 1989, the lease was renewed for a further 30 years.

    Then, on July 6, 2015, Packages Limited applied to the Board of Revenue (BoR) for another extension, a matter which was still pending.

    The deputy commissioner said that in 2017 the BoR was also provided with all relevant documentation pertaining to the land along with other details.

    Justice Nisar asked a senior member of the BoR present in the court to explain what the delay was. "Please explain clearly why this matter is still pending."

    The chief justice then inquired, "Where is [the director general] DG NAB? If we can capture Mansha Khokhar, no one can escape the law, no matter how respectable."

    The BoR official (Member Colonies) admitted that a lot of applications were pending review. He said that a new policy had been formulated under which government land will no longer be leased.

    He said that previously there was no policy formulation for the leasing of government land and the matter had been waiting for a decision by a committee comprising the provincial ministers of law, revenue, and finance.

    "What was the mandate of this committee? Not a single rupee was paid since 2015," the chief justice said while addressing the BoR official. "Who were the provincial ministers at that time?"

    The BoR official responded by saying, "Rana Sanaullah and Ayesha Ghaus Pasha were the provincial ministers for law and finance." He also added that since the new policy's formulation, an application had been submitted to the chief minister to call a cabinet meeting at the earliest and review the matter.

    The court announced the dissolution of the lease and ordered the company to pay a sum of Rs500 million as due payment.


    Court decides the land will no longer be leased and will instead be auctioned with first priority given to the company. —Photo courtesy Packages Ltd's Facebook accountCourt decides the land will no longer be leased and will instead be auctioned with first priority given to the company. —Photo courtesy Packages Ltd's Facebook account

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    The PML-N, through its official Twitter handle on Saturday, tried to convey its message to the ruling PTI that it was time for the party “to stop being arrogant and unprepared” and advised them to do their “homework, decide on a course and stick to it without taking [anymore] U-turns”.

    The PML-N’s Twitter onslaught was in response to a similar move by PTI a day earlier following former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's press conference. On Thursday, Abbasi assailed the incumbent government’s economic policies, claiming the country faces an unprecedented economic crisis.

    This did not set well with the PTI as it took to Twitter and posted a series of 10 tweets in which it not only criticised Abbasi for what they termed were attempts to “mislead the public”, but also issued corrections and clarifications in response to the 'claims' he had made in the press conference.

    “The former prime minister said that ‘inflation is at 10-year high’ which is not true. The CPI inflation was between 5.9-7.9% also reaching 10.9% in 2013-14 during PML-N and had crossed 20% under the PPP government. Whereas, in 5 months of the PTI tenure inflation is between 5.8-6.2%,” read one tweet by PTI.

    PML-N responded a day later with 14 tweets, alleging that the “PTI has failed to revive exports and has brought manufacturing activity to decline”.

    “One big reason for the forced recession is the inability [of the PTI government] to decide once and for all if they will go to the IMF programme. Please decide and let the markets know,” read another tweet.

    The PML-N capped off its comeback with: "You can’t tweet your way out of a recession."


    The PML-N’s Twitter onslaught was in response to a similar ‘feat’ by PTI a day earlier following former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's press conference. — FileThe PML-N’s Twitter onslaught was in response to a similar ‘feat’ by PTI a day earlier following former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's press conference. — File

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    NAEEMUL Haq says he believes Sheikh Rashid only wants an SC interpretation over whether a person facing a NAB probe can head the PAC.—Online
    NAEEMUL Haq says he believes Sheikh Rashid only wants an SC interpretation over whether a person facing a NAB probe can head the PAC.—Online

    RAWALPINDI: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq on Saturday distanced the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from the announcement by Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed that he would challenge in court the appointment of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman.

    Speaking at a news conference here on Saturday, Mr Haq defended the government’s decision to nominate Mr Sharif as the PAC head, saying the opposition leader had assured the government through National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser that he would not preside over the meetings of the committee when the audits of the projects undertaken during the term of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government would come up before it.

    Denying any differences within the ruling coalition over the issue, Mr Haq said that Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to Mr Sharif’s nomination as the PAC head as the opposition had stalled the legislative process in parliament by refusing to become part of its committees if the opposition leader was not offered the PAC’s chairmanship.

    PM’s aide denies any differences within ruling coalition over PAC chief selection issue

    He said the government wanted to carry out some important legislation for the welfare of the public for which the committees were required. The government had decided to give the chairmanship of 18, out of 38 committees, to the opposition.

    In response to a question, Mr Haq said it would be wrong to say that the railways minister had not accepted the prime minister’s decision, adding: “As far as I know, he [Mr Ahmed] only wants an interpretation from the SC over whether a person facing a NAB [National Accountability Bureau] inquiry can head the PAC. It does not mean that he is not accepting Imran Khan’s decision.”

    The senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and close aide to Prime Minister Khan acknowledged that the nation was presently facing a difficult time due to the economic conditions, but claimed that the country was moving towards prosperity. He said that Mr Khan would next week announce “revolutionary measures” for eradication of poverty.

    He said that friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had helped Pak­istan in improving its economy.

    The prime minister, he said, did not believe in “political victimisation” and all the cases presently being faced by the PML-N and PPP leaders had been filed by the previous governments. Even the government was perturbed over some of the actions taken by NAB against the corporate sector, but it did not want to influence or interfere in the bureau’s affairs.

    He made it clear that those people who had plundered the nation’s wealth would be brought to justice.

    In response to another question, Mr Haq said the prime minister had already taken notice of the shortage of gas and electricity in the country. He said the government was making all-out efforts to eliminate the menace of loadshedding from the country before the next summer.

    Talking about the retrenchments in the media industry, Mr Haq said the prime minister was constantly in touch with the owners of media houses and the government was making every effort to stop sackings from newspapers and TV channels.

    “It is intolerable to see people losing jobs during our government. We will stop it and there will be a [good] development within this month,” he said. But at the same time, he said the government had no resources to release advertisements to the news organisations like the previous governments used to do.

    He said there were outstanding dues of Rs9 billion which the previous governments had not paid to the news organisations. He alleged that it had been revealed during the audits that some of the advertisements which had been released had not been published.

    He also expressed the hope that soon there would be peace in Afghanistan due to the efforts of the prime minister. He said that US President Donald Trump had also expressed the desire to meet Mr Khan.

    He said the US was presently holding direct talks with Taliban and hopefully there would be peace in Afghanistan in the next few months.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


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    PESHAWAR: Bomb disposal unit personnel collect evidence at the site of a car bomb blast in the Kali Bari area on Saturday. The explosion left six people injured.—Abdul Majeed Goraya / White Star
    PESHAWAR: Bomb disposal unit personnel collect evidence at the site of a car bomb blast in the Kali Bari area on Saturday. The explosion left six people injured.—Abdul Majeed Goraya / White Star

    PESHAWAR: Six people, including two women, were injured when a powerful bomb blast ripped through a street in the Peshawar cantonment on Saturday morning, police said.

    The blast occurred at around 8.45am on Qazi Street, a narrow lane connecting Kali Bari Road with the Sunehri Masjid within the jurisdiction of the West Cantonment police station. The improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in a car parked next to a mosque, which is said to be linked to Jamaatud Dawa organisation.

    Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti, a resident who lives in a street next to the spot where the blast occurred, told Dawn he was leaving for work when the powerful tremor shook the area. “When I rushed out, the entire area was engulfed in thick smoke,” he said, adding that within minutes rescuers had arrived on site. He said that the explosion severely damaged his residence and nearby houses. However, Mr Bhatti added that since the school in the area and most offices were closed at the time of the attack, there were fewer casualties.

    IED-rigged car was parked next to a mosque

    The blast also damaged the mosque’s wall, windowpanes and shutters of houses and shops nearby.

    City police chief Qazi Jamilur Rehman told reporters that the white Corolla car used in the attack was packed with eight to 10 kilograms of explosives. He said that the vehicle was parked next to an empty plot and it would be premature to say something regarding its target at this stage.

    “The entire vehicle had blown up and only (its) engine part remained intact,” said bomb disposal squad chief Shafqat Malik.

    Mr Rehman said that the area usually did not see much traffic at the start of the day, which resulted in fewer casualties. He said that the police would look at the CCTV footage to see where the vehicle had come from.

    A CCTV image showed a white car parked in the street by a suspect who left the street after covering his head with a shawl. Soon after the suspect left the street, the car blew up.

    A police official told Dawn that the owner of the vehicle had been identified as Naik Mohammad, a resident of Jamrud. The official said that they were also sharing images of the suspect who drove the car to the attack spot with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) for identification. Regarding the target of the attack, the official said it was not immediately clear as to what the target was, but it appeared that the purpose was to create panic as no high-value targets were around at the time.

    A spokesperson for the Lady Reading Hospital told Dawn that six injured had been brought to the hospital and three of them had been discharged after treatment.

    The injured were identified as Mohammad Farooq, Mukhtyar Bibi, Ibrahim, Umair, Rubi Frances and Rehmat Gul.

    Sources told Dawn that security forces had conducted an operation in the Wazir Dhand area of Jamrud tehsil a couple of hours after the blast and taken a suspect into custody. They said that a search operation was continuing in the area till the filing of this report.

    The law and order situation in the provincial capital has considerably improved during the past two years and according to the city police, there were six terrorist attacks in the city last year.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


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    ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the Rs35 billion fake accounts case requested the Supreme Court on Saturday to order freezing of assets of the Zardari Group Pvt Ltd — which include Bilawal House in Karachi and Lahore and Zardari House in Islamabad — as well as those of the Omni Group.

    Both groups, the JIT alleged in its fresh report, had amassed assets through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime.

    Earlier the JIT furnished before the apex court a voluminous report in which it recommended placing names of 172 individuals on the Exit Control List (ECL), including PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

    Assets have been amassed through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime, investigators allege in fresh report

    But the court while hearing the case on Dec 31 took exception to placing the names on the ECL, particularly that of the chief minister, and directed the cabinet to reconsider its hasty Dec 27 decision.

    In the fresh report, the JIT contended that prima facie evidence brought to the record during investigations clearly indicated that the Zardari and Omni groups, which started with a paid-up capital of Rs600 in 1981 and Rs6,000 in 2001, respectively, had amassed assets through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime.

    The evidence suggested, it said, that the groups had a history of laundering their illegal proceeds abroad through illegal channels of Hundi and Hawala.

    The report requested the apex court to order freezing of the assets of both groups held through different subsidiary and front companies and those held in the name of their directors, pending the final adjudication by the accountability courts, lest this “money laundering cartel” should shift their assets abroad.

    The report highlighted that the International Business and Shopping Centre (IBSC) project identified by the JIT to be a “Benami” of Asif Zardari held in the name of his then front man Iqbal Memon (International Builders) was frozen in 1998. Later when Iqbal Memon got exposed and left the country for Canada, the property changed hands in 2000 through AR Developers of Nasir Jamal and ultimately came back in 2008 to be held by Asif Zardari, this time through Park Lane Pvt Ltd.

    In its first report, the JIT had mentioned a transfer of Rs357 million from 12 fake accounts into the accounts of Ms Parthenon. It transpired that Ms Parthenon was a front company of M/s Park Lane since it had no independent business of its own when it entered into a joint venture with Park Lane.

    Similarly, Plots C5 and 6, Clifton, Karachi, where Bahria Icon Towers was constructed, were identified and frozen in 1998 as “Benami” of Asif Zardari held in the name of Galaxy Construction owned by his then front man Saleem Akhter. This property again come back to be held by Asif Zardari through Galaxy Construction owned by his present front man Dr Dinshaw Hoshang Ankleseria.

    The JIT recommended that the apex court should also order the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan not to change the ownership through the change of directors of any of the companies holding the assets in question.

    The report also mentioned different assets owned by teh Zardari Group like Opal 225 Saddar, Karachi, IBSC Saddar of Park Lane, different farm houses in Tando Allahyar and Nawabshah, a set of some houses in Clifton called Bilawal House, agricultural land, different properties owned by Faryal Talpur, different vehicles of Asif Zardari that belonged to Tosha Khana, including bullet proof vehicles BMW 760, Lexus 570 and Mitsubishi SUV, and assets in foreign countries known to be held by Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur.

    Likewise the assets owned by the Omni Group and its directors included 16 sugar mills in different districts of Sindh, 19 power generation companies, agriculture farms, real estate and agriculture land, vehicles and bank accounts, the report said.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    Assets have been amassed through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime, investigators allege in fresh report. — APP/FileAssets have been amassed through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime, investigators allege in fresh report. — APP/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari called on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence on Saturday before leaving for Karachi.

    This was the second meeting between the two leaders in as many days as earlier they had met at a wedding ceremony in Islamabad on Friday.

    Aamir Fida Piracha, a spokesman for former president Zardari, said that the two leaders “discussed the prevailing political situation” in the country.

    He rejected reports aired by some private TV channels that during the meeting Maulana Fazl urged the PPP leader to have a meeting with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif presently serving a sentence in the Kot Lakhpat jail.

    The spokesman claimed that the issue of a “meeting with Nawaz Sharif” did not come under discussion in the meeting. He provided no further details of the meeting.

    PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah had last month said that a meeting between Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif in near future could not be ruled out. However, before any such meeting, an accountability court convicted Mr Sharif in Al-Azizia case on Dec 24.

    A banking court has extended interim bail of Mr Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till Monday (tomorrow) in a case pertaining to alleged laundering of Rs4.14 billion through 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts.

    Later, talking to reporters, the JUI-F chief claimed that his meeting with Mr Zardari was not pre-decided and that he had been informed about Mr Zardari’s visit to his residence just an hour ago.

    “There was no agenda for the meeting. I have nothing to tell you or give you any news,” the Maulana said. “Neither any plan of convening another multi-party conference of the opposition came under discussion nor we discussed any programme to hold joint public meetings,” he said, adding that they simply had a “chit-chat”.

    Though both the PPP and the JUI-F leaders are trying to downplay the meeting, political experts are giving importance to it in the wake of the ongoing trial of Mr Zardari and other opposition leaders.

    “There is no option other than (the formation of) a grand opposition alliance,” the Maulana said, hinting that he was still making efforts to form an alliance of the opposition parties.

    “Will we all meet when we all are in jails?” he said while criticising both the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for not being able to forget the past and failing his efforts to forge unity in the opposition’s ranks.

    Responding to a question, the JUI-F leader said he had conveyed his concerns to Mr Zardari over the failure of the opposition parties to come out with a joint strategy. He said that opposition parties needed courage to make a decision.

    He said the PML-N people were bearing the brunt whereas pressure was being exerted on the PPP as well through different means.

    He said he had personally requested Leader of Oppo­sition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif to consult all opposition parties and convene an MPC, but there had been no progress in this regard. He said if PML-N and PPP continued with the same attitude, it would be more damaging for the opposition and then there would be talks about “deals”.

    The Maulana said he considered the incumbent rulers “enemies of Pakistan’s ideology”. He said there were talks about recognising Israel and the government had adopted a strategy to seek public opinion through leaking reports and floating ideas. He said if Pakistan recognised Israel then it would be amounting to accept the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    FORMER president Asif Ali Zardari in conversation with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.—OnlineFORMER president Asif Ali Zardari in conversation with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.—Online

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    LAHORE: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday directed Syed Babar Ali Shah of the Packages Industries to deposit Rs500 million with the Supreme Court as a token amount to be adjusted against unpaid rent for using a state land since expiry of lease in 2015.

    A two-judge bench headed by the chief justice also ruled that the land leased out to the industry would be put to sale through open bidding instead of extension in the lease deed.

    A civil society member, Abdullah Malik, had filed an application to the court challenging the possession of the Packages Industries on the state land measuring 231 kanals and 19 marla despite the expiry of the lease. He complained that the industry had not been paying a single penny to the government against its possession and also established a shopping mall on the leased land in violation of the law.

    Banks surveyors to assess actual rent

    Senior lawyer Dr Parvez Hassan appeared on behalf of Syed Babar Ali Shah and stated that the land was first given to his client in 1955 on a 30-year lease for the purpose of establishing industry. The lease was extended for another 30 years in 1985 while an application for the extension of the lease was pending with the authority concerned since 2015, he added.

    However, the counsel maintained that the shopping mall had not been constructed on the leased land but the purchased land of the industry. Chief Justice Nisar took strong notice of the inordinate delay in decision on the application for the extension of the lease. He said the officials involved in the delay had been enabling the industry to prolong its possession on the land unlawfully.

    Later, the Lahore deputy commissioner and member (colonies) of Board of Revenue (BoR) appeared on the court’s direction. Explaining the delay in decision on the application, the member (colonies) stated that the government had not made any policy to revise the leases of the state land rather decided to auction them.

    The bench observed that the inaction on the part of the government officials caused an annual loss of Rs200 million to the national exchequer.

    Dr Hassan assured the chief justice that his client was ready to pay rent for the land’s possession after the expiry of lease whatever amount the court would determine.

    At this, Chief Justice Nisar directed the counsel to deposit Rs500m with the court within a week as a token amount for the rent to be determined by a team of banks surveyors. He also asked the counsel to submit by Monday a list of top five banks surveyors to be selected for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of the rent. The chief justice also directed the BoR to hold demarcation of the whole land to examine whether the industry had encroached upon any state land.

    Meanwhile, the court also issued notices to the lessees of 32 petrol pumps in Lahore who, according to the DC, had been holding the possession of the land despite cancellation of their lease since 2017.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    Banks surveyors to assess actual rent of the properties leased by industrial groups. — FileBanks surveyors to assess actual rent of the properties leased by industrial groups. — File

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    LAHORE: The accountability court on Saturday allowed the NAB to interrogate Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in jail for another inquiry against him on charge of accumulating assets beyond means.

    The NAB prosecutor said since Sharif was in jail on judicial remand in Ashiana Housing Scheme scam another inquiry regarding assets beyond means was in process against him and his two sons Hamza and Salman. He said a reference in this matter would soon be filed in the court.

    The prosecutor asked the court to permit the investigators to interrogate Mr Sharif in the Kot Lakhpat jail and the court allowed the request.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    Investigators will interrogate Shahbaz in Kot Lakhpat jail. — FileInvestigators will interrogate Shahbaz in Kot Lakhpat jail. — File

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    LAHORE: Power crisis in Punjab worsened on Saturday after most of the gas-fired power plants stopped generation, leaving millions of consumers with no option but to face unprecedented loadshedding during chilly weather.

    The major power distribution companies (Discos)– Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) and Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) –started observing frequent outages without any schedule due to increasing shortfall besides forced shutdowns on the pretext of protecting the system in an uneven situation.

    “At present, there is no generation from all gas-fired power plants except 1,200MW Haveli Bahadur Shah (Jhang) and over 200MW Orient Power. The main issue is unavailability of gas for the plants as only 130MMCFD is being supplied to Haveli and Orient plants,” a senior official of the power ministry told Dawn.

    “The total demand (on average) on Saturday remained at 10,500MW whereas the supply ranged between 7,000 to 8,000MW. So the shortfall ranged between 2,000MW to 3,000MW, leaving Discos with no option but to observe loadshedding on an hourly basis,” the official added, requesting anonymity.

    According to another official, the major power plants that continue to be out of the system either due to gas shortage or other technical reasons include 1,200MW Balloki (Kasur) and 1,200MW Bhikki (Sheikhupura). The Haveli Bahadur Shah (Jhang) plant is in operation but it is not being operated as per its capacity due to short gas supply.

    “Balloki plant is not in operation since Friday after the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd suspended its supply. Similarly, Bhikki too is not working due to unavailability of gas. Only Orient and HBS (Jhang) are in operation,” the official added.

    He said most of the gas had been diverted to domestic sector since its demand continued rising with the increase in cold. He said the hydel power generation was also squeezing gradually due to low water flows. On Saturday, the 969MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower operation too went out of the system after the engineers started carrying out its detailed inspection (four units, electrical and mechanical equipments etc) for 29 days under the contractual obligation. “Now the ongoing loadshedding is not limited to Punjab alone, as it is being observed by the Discos of other provinces too,” he said.

    Meanwhile, a spokesman for Lesco said the company had started loadshedding in all those areas falling under service jurisdiction of all categories (1 to 5) of high loss feeders.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    Major power distribution companies started observing frequent outages without any schedule due to increasing shortfall. — FileMajor power distribution companies started observing frequent outages without any schedule due to increasing shortfall. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration demolished construction outside the home of former Senate chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari as part of a joint anti-encroachment operation to retrieve land belonging to Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

    The operation was carried out on a rainy Saturday in Kot Hathial, on land that, according to a Survey of Pakistan and CDA report, belongs to the university. However, locals have said the land is un-acquired and belongs to them, and that they have legal documentation in their support.

    CDA enforcement teams, backed by ICT officials, police and Rangers, began the operation from Mr Bukhari’s home, demolishing servant quarters and guard rooms outside his expansive residence. The total area, from the boundary line to Mr Bukhari’s house, is said to be 24 kanals.

    PPP workers and supporters protested at the site and claimed the government was victimising the party leader. Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat and other ICT and CDA officials held talks with Mr Bukhari.

    Sources said Mr Bukhari told government officials he is the legitimate owner and possesses all the required documents.

    Anti-encroachment operation carried out to retrieve QAU’s land, nine homes,15 structures razed

    He said that of the 64 kanals in the area, he owns 24 while the 36 kanals belonging to others is un-acquired and in the possession of private individuals. He told the officials that the CDA and QAU had no right to claim the land.

    After demolishing construction at Mr Bukhari’s residence, CDA teams turned to under-construction homes in the area, demolishing nine homes and 15 structures that included walls and cattle rooms.

    The deputy commissioner told Dawn that demarcation will be carried out again for the satisfaction of local landowners.

    However, the operation will continue on undisputed land until Jan 9, he said.

    “Today, a total of 80 kanals of built-up area was recovered by demolishing houses and structures and walls,” he added, saying that 100 kanals of open land was also retrieved and handed over to the QAU in the presence of CDA staff.

    A statement from the CDA also said that 100 kanals of open land was retrieved on the first day of the operation and handed over to the university’s administration.

    A few days ago, QAU issued a statement saying that the university had carried out new on-the-ground demarcation of its land through the Survey of Pakistan in April and May 2017, and coordinates have been fixed on the boundary line.

    “As per Survey of Pakistan report, all the land on the west side of the main stream coming from Shahdara Valley and flowing between Wapda grid station and Bhara Kahu belongs to Quaid-i-Azam University,” the statement said, referring to land on which Mr Bukhari and others have built their homes. The area where construction has taken place is surrounded by land in the university’s possession.

    According to QAU, an area spread across 1,709 acres, 4 kanals and 12 marlas was acquired by the CDA between 1967 and 1972 for the University of Islamabad – now known as QAU.

    Vacant possession and on-the-ground demarcation of the land was not given to the university by the CDA, due to which the university has inherited a number of illegal occupants including nine villages spread across around 298 acres inside the university’s campus, as well as illegal encroachment from outside.

    In an official statement a few years ago, QAU also accused the former Senate chairman of encroachment on its land.

    Meanwhile the local administration’s actions were criticised by former president Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who said their party’s general secretary was being politically victimised.

    In a statement, Mr Zardari said the “attack in the garb of operation is nothing but political victimisation”. He said Mr Bukhari was in possession of all the required legal documents but was threatened in the name of the operation. He alleged that the “selected prime minister will totally fail to blackmail Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari” through such tactics.

    PPP Senator Rehman Malik, chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, took ‘suo motu notice’ on applications filed by residents of Kot Hathial, Khasra no. 1449/145 and 1449/142 against the CDA’s decision to illegally demolish their homes.

    According to a committee notice dated Jan 4: “The chairman committee has directed that CDA and other local authorities may be restrained to take any such illegal and unlawful action against the lawful owners of the [residences] of Khasra Nos.1449/145 and 1449/142 in Revenue Estate, Kot Hathial, Islamabad. The matter will be considered by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior after public hearing of the above complainants, briefing by the CDA and all other concerned local authorities.”

    The notice issued to the CDA and ICT also said the committee will take up the matter on Jan 7.

    Mr Bukhari told Dawn that the portion of land in question was never acquired by the CDA and not allotted to the university.

    “This piece of land measuring approximately 60 kanals in Khasra no. 1,449/145 and 1,447/142, revenue estate Kot Hathial, Islamabad, was never acquired by the CDA and is still in the names of more than 30 people,” he said, adding that twice in 2006 and then in 2016, demarcation of this land was carried out which supported our claim. Last year, QAU challenged the demarcation and the ICT administration decided to carry out a fresh demarcation.

    “But today without any fresh demarcation, an illegal operation was carried out,” Mr Bukhari said.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    A man carries his charpoy from the debris of his demolished house after the operation on Saturday. — DawnA man carries his charpoy from the debris of his demolished house after the operation on Saturday. — Dawn

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    HYDERABAD: Qaumi Awami Tehreek president Ayaz Latif Palijo has accused Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of playing the provincial autonomy and Sindh ‘cards’ to hide its corruption, and warned that “Sindh is no more a playing card for anyone nor will the people of Sindh allow themselves to be misused”.

    Mr Palijo was speaking at a convention of Sindhi Shagird Tehreek — QAT’s student wing — and the party’s Taleem Bachayo (save education) Conference at Sindh Museum here on Saturday.

    Referring to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s recent speeches and statements pleading the case of Sindh, Mr Palijo wondered that Mr Zardari had become a nationalist within a day.

    He said that if the judiciary and (state) institutions thought that an accused was to be exonerated, then he should not be arrested in the first place.

    PPP accused of using provincial autonomy and Sindh card to save its corruption

    He said that if someone expressed an opinion about interests of Sindh, it should not be misconstrued because Pakistan also belonged to people of Sindh.

    He observed that federal government had not shown any interest in the development of neglected areas of this province. Seventy per cent of schools in Sindh do not have facility of clean drinking water, electricity and boundary walls because of negligible budgetary allocation for education sector.

    He said that in the last 70 years no policy for education was effectively pursued while this sector in Sindh was ruined because funds were stomached over the last 10 years.

    Palijo said that while children of rulers did not study in government-run schools, workers and peasants would send their children to the public sector schools.

    He said that parents should encourage their children to go for different fields.

    He said that Pakistan remained aligned with Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iran for 70 years but it should also improve its ties with Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. He observed that it was corruption that had destroyed Sindh.

    Some resolutions were also adopted at the convention. One of them called for establishment of libraries at council level and setting up of science, arts, medical, engineering and agriculture universities at division level.

    Another one called for doing away with 80 per cent fees of universities and colleges. It demanded that teaching of Sindhi language at private schools be made compulsory and registration of those not following such rule be cancelled.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    PPP accused of using provincial autonomy and Sindh card to save its corruption. — FilePPP accused of using provincial autonomy and Sindh card to save its corruption. — File

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    MUZAFFARGARH: Sugarcane farmers have been waiting for the release of their payments for the last three weeks from the Tandliawala Sugar Mills.

    Earlier, when the crushing season started in the second week of December, the district administration claimed that mills were bound to release cane payments within two weeks.

    The other two mills in the district -- the Fatima Sugar Mills and the Sheikhu Sugar Mills -- cleared payments within two weeks at the rate of Rs180 per 40 kilo whereas Tandliawala Sugar Mills neither committed any schedule nor buying rates with the cane suppliers.

    A Tandliawala Sugar Mills official said they had received no specific instructions regarding payment schedule from their head office.

    Farmers are worried about their payments.

    Mehr Khizar, a sugarcane farmer, said he supplied cane to the Tandliawala Mills very first day of the crushing season as he needed cash to pay the fee of his student doctor daughter but the mills administrations refused to give him the price of his yield.

    Tandliawala Mills Cane Manager Hafeez said their mills ran only 12 hours a day because of short supply of cane to them. He said most of the farmers were supplying cane to Fatima and Sheikhu mills.

    Some farmers alleged that cane managers were getting a Rs1,000 bribe per vehicle but the cane manager denied these allegations.

    Tandliawala Sugar Mills administrations said the payment schedule would be issued soon.

    Dera Ghazi Khan Commissioner Tahir Khursheed said he would make sure that the Tandliawala mills release payments to farmers within a week.

    POLICE: The police seized more than Rs200 million from 18,586 robbers and others criminals in the year 2018.

    District Police Officer Imran Kishwar said the Muzaffargarh police unearthed 38 kilns of liquor and seized 5,000 bottles of moonshine. Dozens of kilogrammes of opium, charss and heroin were also seized from 794 accused, and most of them had been convicted.

    The traffic police chalaned more than 4,000 people for underage driving and imposed a Rs20 million fine altogether on them in the last year. He said his team would improve law and order with the help of local communities.

    While PRO to DPO Mr Nasir Abbasi said that this year awareness program was launched by police in schools and colleges about traffic rules and Helmet was also ensured.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


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    LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday took suo motu notice of excessive payments made to independent power producers (IPPs) and issued notices to them.

    While hearing multiple public interest cases at the Lahore registry of the Supreme Court, the CJP observed that the billions of rupees paid to the IPPs had ballooned the circular debt.

    “Apparently, the matter involves Rs1.5 billion,” he added.

    Says judiciary has a key role to play in protection of fundamental rights of people

    While issuing notices to 10 IPPs, the CJP fixed the case for hearing on Sunday (today).

    Meanwhile, speaking at a function hosted by the Lahore Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS), the CJP said that the judiciary had a key role in protection of the fundamental rights of people. He regretted that education was the most neglected sector in the country. He said no society or nation could thrive without a good education system, adding that education and health should not be considered business activities.

    “Lack of education results in a down-trodden society,” the CJP said, adding that he had always been concerned over such low literacy rate in Pakistan.

    Recalling his visits to education institutions around the country, CJP Nisar said a majority of Balochistan areas either had no schools or schools there lacked basic facilities such as boundary walls, toilets and clean drinking water.

    He pointed out that in some of the areas school premises had become stables for animals of local landlords.

    The CJP said an honest leadership was crucial for progress and prosperity of any country. He said the law made by the colonial British rulers and being followed in Pak­is­tan was not in consonance with Islam and local traditions. He also stressed the need for synchronising the existing laws with contemporary demands.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


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    RAWALPINDI: The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq said on Saturday that the government will sell unutilised state land to meet the budget deficit in the coming days.

    “State departments have land which has not been utilised for many decades, and the government has plans to sell it on the market rate to overcome the annual budget deficit. The money generated through this will be spent on development,” he said, while speaking at the National Press Club Rawalpindi Camp.

    According to Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Chairman Arif Abbasi and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Chairman Mohammad Asif, Mr Haq said Rawalpindi’s state land will be sold and the earnings spent on development projects for the city.

    He said the government wants to expedite development work and is taking measures to improve the economic situation in this regard.

    Mega-projects, including the Leh Expressway and Ring Road, will be launched in Rawalpindi. Murree Road’s beautification will be started soon, and millions of plants will be planted in the coming spring season, he said.

    He said that in the next five years, Rawalpindi will look like a developed city. New parks will be built and existing parks will be improved.

    When asked about encroachments, Mr Haq said the government has issued clear directions to remove encroachments from pavements and parks as well as government land, while the matter of illegal residential units and the local government will be resolved according to the rules set by the Supreme Court.

    Mr Haq also visited the RDA on Saturday, where he chaired a meeting on projects to uplift the city. The meeting was attended by the RDA chairman, Director General Mohammad Hayat Lak, Metropolitan Planning and Traffic Engineering Director Jamshaid Aftab, Land Development and Estate Management Director Kinza Murtaza, Land Use and Building Control Director Ali Imran and others.

    Mr Haq was briefed on projects such as the RDA Towers, the parking tower, the Nala Lai Express and the Ring Road project, as well as the Water and Sanitation Agency’s budget.

    He directed the authorities to carry out tree plantations on vacant land, and urged RDA employees to work hard and honestly and apply to the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.

    Earlier on Saturday, Mr Haq visited Punjab House and the Governor’s Annexe regarding the establishment of a public sector university there. He was told that the two buildings were not in use because people preferred to stay in the Punjab House in Islamabad.

    Mr Abbasi told Dawn there was a proposal to establish a university for the people so they could seek higher education without paying high fees.

    He said the special assistant visited the sites to submit a report to Prime Minister Imran Khan, and he would announce a policy for the utilisation of the buildings.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    Says govt wants to expedite development work and is taking measures to improve the economic situation in this regard. — FileSays govt wants to expedite development work and is taking measures to improve the economic situation in this regard. — File

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    LAHORE: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry says “altercations” will continue in politics as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government is committed to holding the corrupts accountable.

    “The PTI government will not compromise on accountability because an NRO (concessions) for corrupt politicians betrays its voters,” he said at a book launch on Saturday.

    “No corrupt – either in the opposition or in the ruling PTI – will be spared,” he said.

    Mr Chaudhry said the PML-N and the PPP had adopted a “muk muka” policy and continued looting the national wealth through the same modus operandi – fake companies. Now, he said, the PTI government brought all the corrupt in the dock.

    Calling PML-N and PPP leaders a “mediocre political elite”, the minister said both parties’ leaders destroyed the PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills, PTV and Radio by appointing their cronies, who worked as their paid workers.

    He said PML-N and PPP leaders also made the heads of state institutions like the State Bank of Pakistan, the SECP and commercial banks their business partners and laundered money.

    When the prime minister was told that the country might default, if $2.5 billion not paid, he said, Mr Khan had no option than to approach friendly countries for funds to correct the balance of payments.

    After stabilizing the economy with the help of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China, he said, the prime minister laid a foundation of industrialisation and offered subsidies to the local industry to manufacture products and compete with other countries in the region in exports.

    He said the Afghan issue affected Pakistan for a longer period and divided the society. He said the conflict also affected all institutions, including the media.

    The information minister said the PTI government was introducing different reforms in the media industry and to begin with it wanted to become a client of media houses directly instead of advertisement agencies. “Only then the government will be able to ask media houses owners to ensure releasing working journalists’ salaries with the advertisement payments,” he said.

    Mr Chaudhry said he formed the Wage Board Committee to discuss and finalise the next wage board.

    Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2019


    “No corrupt – either in the opposition or in the ruling PTI – will be spared.” — File“No corrupt – either in the opposition or in the ruling PTI – will be spared.” — File

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    The ruling PTI party and the opposition PML-N found themselves embroiled in a twitter war on Saturday as they exchanged digs and barbs with each other in lengthy twitter threads on the state and direction of the economy, as well as the quality of economic management of each party.

    The trigger for the heated exchange was the press conference held by former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi on Thursday in which he assailed the ruling party’s economic policies and said that the country is heading towards a deep economic crisis.

    This did not set well with the PTI as it took to Twitter and posted a series of 10 tweets in which it not only criticised Abbasi for what they termed were attempts to “mislead the public”, but also issued corrections and clarifications in response to the 'claims' he had made in the press conference.

    “The former prime minister said that ‘inflation is at 10-year high’ which is not true. The CPI inflation was between 5.9-7.9% also reaching 10.9% in 2013-14 during PML-N and had crossed 20% under the PPP government. Whereas, in 5 months of the PTI tenure inflation is between 5.8-6.2%,” read one tweet by PTI.

    PML-N responded a day later with 14 tweets, alleging that the “PTI has failed to revive exports and has brought manufacturing activity to decline”.

    “One big reason for the forced recession is the inability [of the PTI government] to decide once and for all if they will go to the IMF programme. Please decide and let the markets know,” read another tweet.

    The PML-N capped off its comeback with: "You can’t tweet your way out of a recession."


    The PML-N’s Twitter onslaught was in response to a similar ‘feat’ by PTI a day earlier following former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's press conference. — FileThe PML-N’s Twitter onslaught was in response to a similar ‘feat’ by PTI a day earlier following former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's press conference. — File

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    Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan paid a quick visit to Islamabad on Sunday ─ his first in nearly 12 years ─ and met the prime minister and other top officials as both countries seek to capitalise on the fresh momentum in ties due to a flurry of recent contacts at the leadership level.

    Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, who last visited Pakistan in 2007, was given a red carpet welcome and a 21-gun salute when he touched down at Nur Khan airbase around noon today amid much fanfare in the capital. A troupe of folk musicians and cultural dancers also put on a small show to receive him.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan hugged the crown prince as he stepped off the plane and then, setting aside protocol, drove him personally to PM House where a welcome ceremony was held in his honour.

    A police commando walks past the huge billboards showing the portraits of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed, centre, former President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, left, and Prime Minister Imran Khan to welcome the crown prince to Islamabad. — AP
    A police commando walks past the huge billboards showing the portraits of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed, centre, former President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, left, and Prime Minister Imran Khan to welcome the crown prince to Islamabad. — AP

    Islamabad had been decked out with billboards and panaflexes welcoming the visiting crown prince. — DawnNewsTV
    Islamabad had been decked out with billboards and panaflexes welcoming the visiting crown prince. — DawnNewsTV

    Prime Minister Imran Khan personally received Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed, who was given a red carpet welcome and a 21-gun salute when he touched down at Nur Khan airbase.—DawnNewsTV

    Prime Minister Imran Khan hugged the crown prince as he stepped off the plane at Nur Khan airbase. — AFP
    Prime Minister Imran Khan hugged the crown prince as he stepped off the plane at Nur Khan airbase. — AFP

    Prime Minister Khan walks with the UAE royal at Nur Khan airbase. — Photo courtesy UAE Embassy PK Twitter
    Prime Minister Khan walks with the UAE royal at Nur Khan airbase. — Photo courtesy UAE Embassy PK Twitter

    Setting aside protocol, PM Imran Khan personally drove the crown prince to PM House upon his arrival in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter
    Setting aside protocol, PM Imran Khan personally drove the crown prince to PM House upon his arrival in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter

    The crown prince attended a welcome ceremony held in his honour at the PM House. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter
    The crown prince attended a welcome ceremony held in his honour at the PM House. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter

    At PM House, a guard of honour was presented by a contingent of the armed forces to the visiting dignitary, who reviewed the parade. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter
    At PM House, a guard of honour was presented by a contingent of the armed forces to the visiting dignitary, who reviewed the parade. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter

    Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed receives a guard of honour at a welcome ceremony at PM House during which the national anthems of both countries were played, and the UAE royal was given a fly-past by an impressive formation of JF-17 fighter jets. — DawnNewsTV

    A visibly tense Prime Minister Khan accompanies Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed at the PM House, where a welcome ceremony was held in his honour. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter.
    A visibly tense Prime Minister Khan accompanies Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed at the PM House, where a welcome ceremony was held in his honour. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter.

    Prime Minister Khan walks with the UAE crown prince inside the PM House. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan
    Prime Minister Khan walks with the UAE crown prince inside the PM House. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan

    The prime minister and the crown prince held one-on-one talks during the UAE leader's one-day visit.

    The visitors also held delegation-level talks with the Pakistan side.

    The crown prince held one-on-one talks with Prime Minister Khan, followed by delegation level talks. — Photo courtesy Mohamed Bin Zayed Twitter
    The crown prince held one-on-one talks with Prime Minister Khan, followed by delegation level talks. — Photo courtesy Mohamed Bin Zayed Twitter

    Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan waves goodbye to UAE's crown prince upon his departure at Nur Khan airbase. — Photo: PTI Twitter
    Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan waves goodbye to UAE's crown prince upon his departure at Nur Khan airbase. — Photo: PTI Twitter


    Header photo: Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan reviews a guard of honour at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad. — PID/AFP


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    Two blasts in Balochistan on Sunday left 12 people injured, including three Levies personnel and a member of the Frontier Corps.

    In northern Balochistan's Pishin district, Naib Tehsildar Abdul Malik Tareen was the target of the first attack, police official Tahir Mehmood told DawnNewsTV. An improvised explosive device planted in a motorcycle parked outside Tareen's office detonated as he was entering the building.

    Police said Tareen and two other Levies personnel were injured, along with seven civilians.

    Eight wounded were rushed to Civil Hospital Pishin, while Tareen and gunman Salahuddin were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Quetta for medical treatment.

    Doctors said the naib tehsildar's condition is critical, but all others injured are out of danger.

    In a separate incident, two people including a Frontier Corps soldier and a civilian were injured in a remote-controlled blast in Panjgur district. The wounded were rushed to a hospital for medical treatment.

    A security official who declined to be named said the miscreants targeted an FC vehicle with the roadside remote-controlled bomb in Panjgur bazaar. The blast also damaged the vehicle.

    Sunday's bomb attacks come days after four security personnel were martyred and four others injured while trying to prevent militants from entering a compound inside an FC training centre in the cantonment area of Loralai district. Four attackers, including a suicide bomber, were also killed in that clash.


    Two blasts in Balochistan on Sunday left 12 people injured, including three Levies personnel and a member of the Frontier Corps. ─ Photo courtesy Syed Ali ShahTwo blasts in Balochistan on Sunday left 12 people injured, including three Levies personnel and a member of the Frontier Corps. ─ Photo courtesy Syed Ali Shah

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    PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday denied that any efforts were being made for the opposition parties to come together in a "grand alliance" against the government.

    The matter was raised during a press conference in Lahore in which the PPP chief was asked if the expected outcome of a meeting held between party president Asif Ali Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman a day earlier was a "grand alliance" among various parties in the opposition.

    "Sadar Zardari holds frequent meetings with Maulana sahib and yes something does come out of those meetings each time, but I do not believe any efforts are being made towards a grand alliance. We are focusing on issues-based politics and trying to find common ground," Bilawal responded.

    The PPP leader was asked why instead of responding to the allegations made in a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report into the Rs35 billion fake accounts case, he was deflecting them by talking about other issues such as the 18th Amendment.

    Bilawal replied: "I believe we are responding to the allegations. I even did a whole speech on the matter. And where will we respond? This is a legal issue and we respond to legal issues in court."

    "We are not going to be part of any media trial," he stressed. "We are giving our rebuttal in courts. Political attacks on us are being responded to politically, legal issues are being tackled with legal responses.

    Bilawal said the "fake and false" JIT report was nothing but a sham, with political motivations behind it. "Political engineering is their motive, and they want to use the courts for this purpose," he alleged, without saying to whom he was referring.

    Also read:'Fake accounts JIT being used as a tool for political victimisation': Zardari replies to probe report in SC

    "They are not judges ... I will give a judge a legal response. With politicians I will respond like a politician," he said.

    Chuckling at the government's allegation that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman has been "installed" by the PPP, Bilawal remarked: "Even if this were true, it is the constitutional duty of a person holding such an office to follow the law and be non-partisan. His job is to not fall victim to pressures from the government and the prime minister and to fight against such pressures."

    He alleged that all institutions were currently working under pressure from the government and so have been unable to perform or yield results on even a single "deliverable".

    "We made historic progress in our first 100 days of power. They have nothing else so they are using these institutions to target their political opponents."

    He claimed that the Imran Khan-led administration knows they cannot defeat the PPP in elections and so their efforts are geared towards rigging, kicking people out of the race or undertaking "backdoor" activities to ensure their victory.

    Bilawal further stressed that Zardari was willing to respond in any capacity to the JIT report and had already submitted his responses in written and verbally in person.

    He alleged that the former president's justifications and defences were purposely omitted from the report and this was done in an attempt to not only mislead the public but also the court.

    Responding smilingly to questions by journalists regarding the "imminent arrest" of Zardari, Bilawal said he had been hearing such frivolities since he was a year old.

    "We will not be threatened by such statements. We are ideological politicians. However much pressure you put us under, or send our entire family to jail even, we will not compromise in any way on the 1973 Constitution which we restored via the 18th Amendment."


    Bilawal said the Bilawal said the "fake and false" JIT report was nothing but a sham, with political motivations behind it. —DawnNewsTV

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    Police arrested 28 people as a violent clash between followers of two rival schools of thought over the possession of a mosque in Karachi's Mehmoodabad area on Saturday night claimed the life of a young man and resulted in bullet injuries to three others, officials said on Sunday.

    The mosque was handed over to one of the groups — from the Deobandi school of thought — under the orders of the Sindh High Court in the presence of the court’s nazir, who stayed at the mosque till evening prayers on Saturday to ensure a smooth transition.

    “The transition occurred smoothly in the day but at night, at around 11pm, around 150-200 men from Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) attacked the men present inside the mosque,” DIG East Amir Farooqi told Dawn.

    Both sides resorted to fist fights and attacked each other with sticks, the officer said, adding that "some attackers were armed as well".

    At least four persons sustained bullet wounds in the clash and were shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where doctors pronounced one Kashif Hussain, 35, as dead on arrival, officials said.

    Examine:Why are matters of faith beyond discussion?

    The injured persons who were admitted for treatment have been identified as Yamin Ismail, 30; Adeel Afzal, 30; and Raja M Hafeez, 44.

    JPMC Director Dr Seemin Jamali said two of the injured persons were shifted to the operation theatre as they sustained abdominal wounds while the third was discharged after being administered first aid on Sunday.

    Baloch Colony SHO Naveed Soomro, in whose jurisdiction the incident occurred, told Dawn that the dispute between both groups over the possession of the mosque had been going on for more than 30 years.

    He recalled that the high court had given judgement in favour of the Deobandi group about two to three years ago and on recent directions of the court, the police in presence of the court nazir handed over the possession of the mosque to the said group at around 4pm.

    The officer said the police have registered two separate First Information Reports (FIR) against the alleged attackers and detained 28 persons.

    One FIR was registered on behalf of the state through a Baloch Colony police officer on charges of rioting, etc. in which 21 people have been arrested.

    The second FIR was registered on a complaint of the trustee of the mosque under charges of terror, etc. in which seven suspects have been apprehended.

    The SHO said the victims belonged to the Barelvi school of thought and the family members of the deceased wanted to lodge a third FIR on charges of murder against the trustees of the mosque. The police were waiting for their relatives to register the case.

    Examine:Mosque can’t be built on encroached land, notes SC judge

    SHO Soomro said police had reached the site when the firing had already stopped. He said they were trying to determine as to whether the young man died of bullets fired by the attackers or if the persons inside the mosque were also armed.

    An uneasy calm prevailed in parts of Mehmoodabad following the violent clash. The officer claimed, however, that the situation was under control and no untoward incident was reported on Sunday.

    The possession of mosques in the metropolis has remained a bone of contention between supposed rival sects, which sometimes takes an ugly turn.

    Thousands of mosques have also been built on ‘encroached lands’, according to a report by Karachi police.


    At least four persons sustained bullet wounds in the clash. —Dawn archivesAt least four persons sustained bullet wounds in the clash. —Dawn archives

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