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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday ordered the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to put an end to the illegal occupation of land by Khokhar Palace in Lahore.

    A two-member bench headed by the top judge, while hearing a suo motu case at the Lahore registry on alleged land grabbing by the Khokhar brothers, ordered the ACE to take action in light of a report on the matter submitted today by ACE Director General Hussain Asghar and to submit another report on the matter within 10 days.

    The court had earlier taken notice of a complaint made against the brothers by an overseas Pakistani who accused the duo of illegally occupying his land and building Khokhar Palace there and registered an FIR against the brothers.

    On Dec 25, Afzal was arrested outside the Lahore registry. He was granted post-arrest bail by a judicial magistrate at Model Town courts the next day.

    On December 28, the SC had ordered ACE to complete its investigation against the Khokhar brothers and to register a case against all those Revenue Department officials who were involved in allowing consolidation of the land.

    According to the ACE report submitted today, the Khokhars have occupied 40 kanals of state land and paid only one of the 10 people from whom they purchased land.

    The report added that Khokhar Palace was built on joint lands forcibly taken from various people.

    "The Khokhar brothers have received bail till your retirement," Asghar told Justice Nisar who is set to retire on Jan 17.

    The chief justice warned that the court would do away with the Khokhars' joint lands. "Empty Khokhar palace and pack up your things," he thundered. "I will not let such thuggish behaviour take place in Pakistan."

    He suggested that an educational institute be set up in place of Khokhar Palace similar to that being introduced at PM House.

    Justice Nisar observed that the Khokhar brothers appeared to exert and extraordinary amount of control in the area. "A fly cannot fly there without their go-ahead," he said. "Such people have destroyed Pakistan."

    The top judge said that the ACE should register cases and take action as per the law.

    During the hearing, the lawyer for the Khokhar brothers said they were innocent and because of land-grabbing culture, all allegations were being placed on them.

    "The land-grabbing culture was introduced by the Khokhar brothers," the top judge responded.


    On Dec 25, Afzal Khokhar was arrested outside the SC Lahore registry. — File photoOn Dec 25, Afzal Khokhar was arrested outside the SC Lahore registry. — File photo

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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

    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 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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    BADIN: Former president Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday he was not afraid of graft and other cases and vowed to face all of them with courage even if 50 more were instituted against him.

    Speaking to his party’s lawmakers, leaders, workers and supporters at a rally held in a village near Matli, the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman said he had won elections even when he was in jail.

    He said his critics and “forces arrayed against his party” were welcome to level “baseless allegations” against him because he had “given the people of Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and other backward areas their rights”.

    “Do frame cases against me over such measures, but the cases about theft of goat will not work,” he remarked.

    Mr Zardari went on to urge the “unwise forces and people” not to tease him and his party, adding that the followers of Shaheed leaders would not succumb to the pressure tactics being employed against them.

    He said he was talking in Urdu because he wanted to send a clear message to “the dumb and blind sitting in Islamabad, who were devoid of wisdom and political acumen”.

    “Those who do not know how to run the government have been brought into power,” he said.

    Neither the rulers nor the bureaucrats were in a position to take forward the mission of serving the people, he said.

    He said that only PPP leaders knew what the people of different regions needed and added that both Z.A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto were visionary leaders. That was why they were respected by the masses.

    Mr Zardari said that Sindh’s former information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon contested elections from jail and defeated a wealthy opponent who had been carefully chosen to take him on.

    If he and other PPP leaders would be imprisoned they would become even more popular, he said.

    The former president said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan was going from country to country to collect $2-3 billion as loan or grant, adding that countries could not be run in such a manner.

    He said that after the PTI government came to power the country’s stock exchange had lost $50 billion. The country had some $8bn before the PTI had come to power at the Centre.

    Due to a shortage of irrigation water, over 0.7 million acres of fertile land in Badin, Thatta and Sujawal districts had been devoured by the sea, Mr Zardari said, adding that the whole of Sindh was actually facing a severe water crisis because it was a lower riparian province.

    He said the poor farmers were facing a cash crunch because they were not being allowed to sell their sugar cane, adding that if they were not allowed to sell their commodity they would switch over to other crops, like cotton.

    Mr Zardari said he had already directed the Sindh government to begin lining all the water channels, including those meant for irrigation, to save water from going to waste.

    Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said the PPP leadership was not afraid of threats from “some insane people who have been imposed on the people of the country”.

    He said it would be “an unfair and dangerous” move to run the affairs of Sindh from Islamabad.

    Mr Shah said his administration was contemplating moving the courts against the unfair share of water being supplied to Sindh for the past many months, adding that every district in the province was facing drought-like conditions. He expressed the hope that he would get relief from judiciary.

    He said that all the “conspiracies of undemocratic forces” would ultimately die down.

    Mir Ghulam Ali Khan Talpur, the MNA from Badin, also spoke on the occasion. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari attended the rally.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari says he won elections even when he was in jail. — File photoPPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari says he won elections even when he was in jail. — File photo

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    QUETTA: Provincial Home Minister Mir Zia Langove has said blasts in Pishin and Panjgur indicate that hostile intelligence agencies operating from Afghanistan are behind acts of terrorism taking place in different parts of Balochistan, but pledged that members of security forces would foil such acts.

    “Hostile spy agencies are busy in making plots against Pakistan and they have been funding and arming terrorists targeting members of our security forces and innocent people of Balochistan,” Mr Langove said while talking to journalists in Civil Hospital’s Trauma Centre where he met victims of the Pishin blast.

    “The US and Nato forces have now been defeated in Afghanistan and, therefore, the United Nations should now set up a task force for ensuring peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

    Denouncing double blasts in Pishin and Panjgur, Mr Langove said that despite terrorists’ attacks morale of members of security forces of Pakistan was high and such incidents could not deter the government and security forces’ resolve to continue the war against terrorism.

    “A single network is behind all incidents of terrorism taking place in different parts of Balochistan and that network is using names of different armed groups and it is operating from Afghanistan,” the minister said.

    He appealed to doctors to end their strike as efforts were under way to recover kidnapped Dr Ibrahim Khalil.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    QUETTA: Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove enquires after the health of a man who was injured in a bomb blast on Sunday.—OnlineQUETTA: Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove enquires after the health of a man who was injured in a bomb blast on Sunday.—Online

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    KARACHI: Observing that there could not be any progress in Sindh amid a controversy between the centre and the province, President Arif Alvi has urged the Sindh government to join hands with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government for the implementation of the Karachi package.

    Talking to reporters at the Governor House on Sunday on the occasion of the Vintage and Classic Harley Davidson Motorcycles exhibition, he ruled out the possibility of governor’s rule in Sindh.

    “Neither I nor the governor is indulging in politics,” he said. “I want Sindh and the federal governments to work together.”

    The president rules out the possibility of imposition of governor’s rule in the province

    He lauded the performance of Sindh Governor Imran Ismail for the promotion of cultural activities in the city.

    However, he said that the governor was of the view that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government was reluctant to extend cooperation.

    “My efforts would be to get the cooperation from the Sindh government because it has to work with the federal government for the Karachi package and both the governments have to join hands for development work,” the president said.

    In reply to a question, President Alvi said he had come to the event on the invitation of the governor and it was for the first time that he had seen so many bikes. “We have to take along old and new culture.”

    He said the governor was playing an important role in promoting social, cultural, literary and other healthy traditions in Karachi.

    He said the decision to open the Governor House and President House was welcomed by the people.

    On the occasion, Governor Ismail told the media that the Governor House was no longer a “no-go area” as its doors had been open for the public.

    He said that soon there would be a three-day literary festival in the Governor House, where educational, literary, cultural seminars, workshops, books exhibition and other constructive activities would be organised.

    Lauding the owners of the vintage and classic motorcycles, he said such exhibitions provided an opportunity to the people to see how to maintain and take care of rare and old motorcycles.

    The governor said the exhibition of the vintage and classic motorcycles had increased the interest of youths about history, progress and technology of the manufacturing of motorcycles.

    Some 50 Harley Davidson motorcycles brought from different parts of the country were on display at the exhibition.

    Visitors took keen interest in the motorcycles and made selfies with them at the exhibition.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Neither I nor the governor are indulging in politics, says President Arif Alvi. ─ APP/FileNeither I nor the governor are indulging in politics, says President Arif Alvi. ─ APP/File

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    LAHORE: The Saudi and Qatari royal families are, like every year, hunting houbara bustards in the designated areas of Punjab after paying fees which the previous PML-N government had waived.

    And the authorities are awaiting the arrival of the members of the royal families of the UAE, saying the limited hunting would not endanger the migratory birds which fly to relatively warm areas every winter.

    The annual three-month hunting season starts in Pakistan on Nov 1 and lasts till Jan 31. South Punjab districts are the main hunting areas and major beneficiaries are the Arab rulers.

    Officials said on Sunday each group of royal families had paid $100,000 to the federal government for permission to hunt houbara bustards. An equal amount of money had also been paid to the Punjab government for allocation of the hunting area. The permission is for 10 days and each group can hunt up to 100 houbara bustards.

    Officials said the previous government was not charging any fees for the hunting for the past nearly three years. They said the group of the Saudi Arabian royal family was hunting the birds in their designated Vehari, Multan, Mianwali and Sargodha districts.

    Those from Qatar were hunting in Layyah, Khushab, Jhang and Bhakkar.

    The royal guests from Dubai had been allocated two areas – Muzaffargarh and Bahawalpur including Fort Abbas in Bahawalnagar. Those from Abu Dhabi had been allocated Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Chakwal.

    Officials said the mandatory fees had been imposed on the directions of the prime minister. For stay beyond the initial 10 days limit, an additional $100,000 would be charged. Half of the fees would be spent on the development of the assigned area, 35 per cent for the improvement of the houbara bustard habitat and 15 per cent on security.

    A fee of $1,000 each is for bringing along one falcon and taking it back home. Hunting beyond the limit of 100 birds would entail a fine of $1,000 per bird.

    Hunting is allowed only through falconry and use of firearms is prohibited. Only notified dignitary is allowed to hunt. Advance camping is allowed for them which is required to be removed within seven days of the departure of the dignitary.

    Officials said as per the federal government directions, provincial, divisional and district level committees had also been formed. The one under the chief secretary and comprising secretaries of different departments concerned was required to coordinate with the federal government for licensing and approved hunting areas, approval of schemes received from the divisional areas development committee considering sector wise guidelines, requirements and available funds, and monitoring the progress and utilisation.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    For stay beyond the initial 10 days limit, an additional $100,000 would be charged. ─For stay beyond the initial 10 days limit, an additional $100,000 would be charged. ─

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    PESHAWAR: The 7th International Hindko Conference concluded here on Sunday with a renewed pledge by the participants to work for promotion of Hindko and other native languages along with the associated cultures.

    The two-day moot was jointly organised by the Gandhara Hindko Board and Gandhara Hindko Academy under the theme of “Achieving national unity through the promotion of Hindko and Indo-Aryan languages".

    Board chairman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi oversaw the arrangements while Mohammad Ziauddin, Prof Adnan Gul and Dr Salahuddin were the convener, chief organiser and moderator of the event, respectively.

    Govt urged to issue annual grants to the Hindko board and academy

    A total of four sessions were held on second day of the conference.

    The chief guest of the first session was a Gojri language researcher from Malakand, Malik Raza Khan.

    The presidium members were Turkish scholar Dr Halil Toqer, Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi, Prof Hafizullah, Shafiq Ahmad, Prof Adnan Gul, Khwaja Yawer Naseer, Dr Salahuddin and Ghayyur Sethi.

    The chief guest greeted the board and the academy for the work on Indo-Aryan languages. He thanked both the bodies for paying attention to the Gojri and other languages and cultures.

    The second session’s chief guest was Right to Public Services Commission’s chairman Mushtaq Jadoon. The presidium had a Brahvi language scholar Dr Salahuddin Mengal, Mohtarma Munawwar Ahmad, Dr Mohammad Nawaz, Raja Noor Mohammad Nizami, Mian Karimullah Qureshi and Ahmad Nadeem Awan.

    Those who read out papers were Dr Halil Toqer, Kohistani language writer from Swat, Inamullah, Mohammad Akhtar Naeem, Prof Aurangzeb Hur, a Seraiki language scholar Sadia Kamal, Dr Mohammad Nawaz, Dr Rukhsana Qamar and Karimullah Qureshi, the Pahari language expert.

    The third session speakers included Iqbal Sikandar, Malik Nasir Daud, Prof Hamidur Rehman, Dr Tajuddin, Aziz Ejaz and Qudsia Qudsi.

    The fourth session, the last one, was devoted to music. Ustad Saeed Paaris, Zulfiqar Bhatti, Ahmad Nadeem Awan, Junaid Siddiqui, Ameer Hamza and Zeeshan Ghaznavi sang folk songs and entrained the audience.

    A resolution was passed by the gathering in the end that demanded of the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to issue annual grants to the Gandhara Hindko Board and academy as these organisations were not only working for the promotion of Hindko, but also for other Pakistani languages and cultures.

    The second part of the resolution called for extending the Gandhara Hindko Academy project, which was being run under public-private partnership. Shields and certificates were also distributed among the participants.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Govt urged to issue annual grants to the Hindko board and academy. — File photoGovt urged to issue annual grants to the Hindko board and academy. — File photo

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    PESHAWAR: The tourism department has planned to explore tourism potential in Kurram tribal district and Samana, a small hill station in Orakzai tribal district, according to officials.

    They said that the department had included Kurram tribal district and Samana in its five-year plan. The department has selected total 25 areas in the province including southern belt and parts of the merged districts where the sites would be identified for promotion of tourism.

    In the first phase, five areas including Kurram and Samana near Hangu have been selected where the department would identify tourist attraction spots. Civil secretariat for the seven merged districts has allocated funds for tourism, archaeology and culture in the ongoing Annual Development Programme.

    Sites to be identified in 25 areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

    An official told Dawn that the department had prepared destination investment management plan for the areas that would be developed for tourism. For new areas, the department would apply three-pronged strategy to protect its natural beauty, resources and prevent unplanned construction near the tourist sites.

    The official said that the department would identify locations in the five areas including Kurram valley before opening it for domestic tourists and development of infrastructure. He said that proper master plan would be implemented in new destinations of the province to preserve natural beauty and prevent mushroom growth of commercial activities.

    Under the proposed plan, the department would identify tourist attraction places in Kurram valley; at a distance of about five hours drive from Peshawar because of bad condition of the main road, with the consultation of local people and administration.

    “The master plan carries demarcation of land to be applied in Kurram to protect its environment and address cultural sensitivities of the area,” said the official, adding that survey would be conducted in new areas for identification of sites.

    This is worth mentioning that development authority for the seven merged districts of erstwhile Fata had conducted study for the identification of tourist attraction places. A Lahore-based consultant firm was tasked to identify locations in the area along the Afghan border. The firm was paid Rs1.6 million but the report did not see light of the day.

    After demarcation, the department would build roads for new locations and work out plan for development of recreational and other required infrastructure. Officials said that Kurram valley had huge potential for tourism because of its climate, terrain and greenery.

    Speen Ghar (White Mountain) also called the Indian Caucasus, which is 15,620 feet above the sea level, overshadows the entire Kurram valley and beautiful locations like Parachinar, Zeran, Malana, Piwar, Tari Mangal, Parachamkani and other places nestled in its foothills. Flora and fauna of Speen Ghar, a natural demarcation line between Pakistan and Afghanistan, could attract mountaineers and trackers from the country and abroad.

    Environmentalist and coordinator of Sarhad Conservation Network Dr Adil Zareef said that government should take ecology of the areas into consideration before implementing its plan and opening new locations for tourism.

    He said that the department should learn lesson from Galiyat, Swat and Saiful Muluk Lake and should not promote tourism at the cost of ecotourism and adopt all measure for the conservation of natural beauty and habitats.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Sites to be identified in 25 areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. — File photoSites to be identified in 25 areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. — File photo

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    HARIPUR: A school principal and a female teacher were arrested and sent to jail for allegedly subjecting a girl student to corporal punishment, police said on Sunday.

    Both the accused were on pre-arrest bail from a local court since the registration of case.

    Khalabat Township police quoted Waheed Khan, a resident of Sector No 4 in Khalabat Township, as saying that his daughter, Bushra Khan, student of 10th grade at Iqra Public School, was severely beaten up by school principal, Abid Khan and female teacher, Aniqa Bibi on Oct 16, 2018, over unknown reasons. He said she had lost her senses and started behaving like a mentally unsound person.

    The complainant told the police that when she was taken to a private doctor who referred her to psychiatry ward of Ayub Medical Complex, Abbottabad, where she remained admitted for several days. He accused the principal and the female teacher of hitting his daughter in the head which resulted in her developing psychological complications. On his complaint, the police had on Oct 28 registered a case against the school head and the female teacher under section 13/34 of the Child Welfare Protection Act, 2010.

    The accused had, however, obtained bail before arrest from the local court which was cancelled by additional sessions judge-II on Saturday, leading to arrest of both the accused from the courtroom.

    The female teacher was sent to Haripur jail the same day, while the police produced the principal before the judicial magistrate for obtaining his physical remand, but the court declined to grant the same, and sent him on judicial remand on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, the school principal denied that he or any of the teachers of school had ever subjected the girl to corporal punishment. He claimed that the girl was already a psycho patient and was undergoing treatment.

    ELECTROCUTED: A Pesco lineman was electrocuted in Hattar village, police said on Sunday.

    Police quoted Pesco officials as saying that lineman Akhtar Nawaz was fixing a fault on a low tension line of a petrol pump near Kutli Nehr area of Hattar when the electricity supply got restored from the grid station.

    The official fell off the pole after suffering electric shock and suffered head injury which proved fatal. He was removed to hospital but doctors pronounced him dead.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Bushra Khan is a student of 10th grade. — File photoBushra Khan is a student of 10th grade. — File photo

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    ABBOTTABAD: Five members of a family died of suffocation caused by gas leak in Qalandarabad area here on Saturday night.

    According to police, Naveed along with his family, including his wife and three children aged from three to seven years, went to sleep in a room of the house, but forgot to switch off a gas heater. All the five were found dead on Sunday morning.

    Police insisted performing autopsy of the bodies of the victims, but the relatives refused.

    However, the Qalandarabad police registered FIR and started further investigations.

    Later, funeral prayers of the victims were held amid touching scenes.

    Meanwhile, a tourist died while six members of his family, including his wife and five children, were injured, when their car skidded off the road and fell into a deep ravine Bagnother area. They were coming from Islamabad.

    Police with the help of locals shifted the body and the injured to Ayub Teaching Hospital Complex. The ill-fated family belonged to Mansehra. The injured were identified as Monza, wife of the deceased named Arif, and children Talal, Umer, Ajiya Bibi, Atiya Bibi and Amna.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Police insist on performing autopsy of victims' bodies, but relatives refuse. — File photoPolice insist on performing autopsy of victims' bodies, but relatives refuse. — File photo

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    LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has expressed his serious doubts about independence of state institutions saying that only such an impression is being created. He claimed that attempts were made to “make them follow instructions”.

    Speaking at a press conference at the local press club on Sunday, he argued that “if they [institutions] are free to perform, then what had compelled the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government to induct Shahzad Akbar as its adviser on accountability”.

    He wondered that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had unearthed money trail in cases against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif but failed to find facts regarding the 1990 elections while investigating the Asghar Khan case and eventually prayed to the Supreme Court to close the case.

    ‘Adviser on accountability shuttled between FIA, NAB and JIT teams’

    He alleged that the adviser [Mr Akbar] used to shuttle between FIA, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the joint investigation team (JIT) [looking into money laundering and fake accounts allegations against PPP leadership and its associates] which showed that he had influenced them.

    Mr Khuhro described the JIT findings as ‘ex parte report’ and condemned that the PTI government created a hype, merely basing on its contents, and put on the exit control list the names mentioned in it as suspects.

    18th Amendment

    Regarding the question of 18th Constitutional Amendment’s adoption without much debate, he explained that it was unanimously passed after a parliamentary committee thoroughly discussed it over a period of one and a half year and the finalised it.

    The senior PPP leader reminded the PTI that it did not enjoy a comfortable majority in the National Assembly and that support from its allies was ‘fragile’. He said the federal government should give three per cent out of its own share in the divisible pool to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) instead of going for unconstitutionally cutting town share of provinces. He remarked that the [federal cabinet] was not over and above the Constitution to take such steps.

    He pointed out that of the 57 per cent share of provinces in the NFC (National Finance Commission) Award, Punjab enjoyed the lion’s share (51pc) followed by Sindh (24pc), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (14pc) and Balochistan (9pc). He said Sindh contributed 70 per cent revenue to the Centre but was being ignored.

    He accused the PTI government of having slashed Sindh’s Rs500 billion development funds, declined to support its wind power and solar energy projects and restricting their scope to 50 megawatts and put the coastal highway, canals’ lining and others projects in cold storage. He drew similarities between the PTI government and military dictatorship.

    Zardari’s appearance in court

    Answering a question about [PPP co-chairman] Asif Ali Zardari’s scheduled appearance in the banking court on Monday (today), Mr Khuhro said he intended to do that for confirmation of his pre-arrest bail. In reply to another question, he advised the questioner not to talk about Mr Zardari’s arrest before the judiciary’s could issue directives in this regard.

    Mr Khuhro also ruled out removal of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah merely on the basis of the JIT’s findings.

    Commenting on PTI’s stand that the Sindh governor would look after development projects in Karachi alone, he remarked that through such moves, the federal government was trying to make Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s dream of dividing Sindh come true.

    Larkana PPP leaders Nooruddin Abro and Shakeel Memon were present at the press conference.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    PPP Sindh President Nisar Khuhro claims that attempts are being made to PPP Sindh President Nisar Khuhro claims that attempts are being made to "make them follow instructions". ─ File photo

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    RAWALPINDI: Punjab Law Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja said on Sunday that the government was working to make amendments to Police Order 2002 to make the force people friendly.

    “The government is bringing new reforms to improve the police working and bridge the gap between the police and the citizens,” he said while chairing a meeting on law and order held at the office of the city police officer (CPO) Rawalpindi.

    CPO Abbas Ahsan, SSP investigations Syed Ali Akbar, Chief Traffic Officer Mohammad Bin Ashraf and other senior police officials attended the meeting.

    Says govt is bringing reforms to improve police working and bridge gap between the force and citizens

    The minister asked the police officers to improve working of the front desks established in the police stations to facilitate crime victims and utilise all resources to address public problems on a priority basis.

    He also directed the police to activate reconciliatory committees, comprising notables and political figures, at the police station level. It will improve governance and help bring police and public closer to resolve neighbourhood problems at the community level and prevent crime, he said.

    The minister also directed the police officers to hold open katcheries in their respective areas to address public problems. He asked the police to expedite crackdowns against criminals, especially drug peddlers and illegal weapons.

    The minister expressed satisfaction over the police fight against crimes but asked them to improve working and change their attitude towards the citizens.

    The chief traffic officer was told to chalk out a strategy to improve the traffic movement in the garrison city as public complaints were increasing against gridlocks.

    The CPO briefed the minister about the crime situation and efforts being made by the police to arrest criminals. He said steps were being taken to improve the efficiency of the police.

    Earlier, glitches in data entry had forced the police to maintain manual record of cases in the police stations.

    Observing the lack of interest in police working, especially after establishing the computerised front desks, the regional police officer had directed the police to maintain manual daily diary (roznamcha) at all the police stations as computerised record was not safe due to the fear of hacking.

    Since the online computerised record keeping and data entry was introduced in the police department, the police had stopped maintaining the daily diary (roznamcha) manually.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Says govt is bringing reforms to improve police working and bridge gap between the force and citizens. — File photoSays govt is bringing reforms to improve police working and bridge gap between the force and citizens. — File photo

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    SHEIKHUPURA: Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar paid a surprise visit to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital on Sunday and suspended a doctor from service on the patients’ complaints.

    He went to various wards of the hospital to inquire after the patients who complained about the shortage of medicines and other facilities in the hospital. They also complained about the indifferent behaviour of Dr Muzamil and the CM passed immediate orders to suspend him from service.

    Talking to the media, the CM said the medicines shortage and other problems in the DHQ hospital would soon be resolved. To a question regarding the deteriorated law and order situation in the district, the CM directed the district police officer to improve the situation as soon as possible.

    Mr Buzdar added that the PTI government would complete its five-year term and the conspiracy behind speculations about the dissolution of the PTI government would be foiled.

    Later, he held a meeting with the district officers in the local services club and urged them to serve the people and resolve their problems without discrimination.

    The CM also visited the local prison and the Children’s Hospital. At the hospital, he gave directions to the doctors and paramedics regarding care of the children.

    Punjab Minister for Disaster Management Mian Khalid Mehmood, who belongs to Sheikhupura, also accompanied the CM.

    The CM proceeded to Lahore after a stay of about one hour.

    INDIAN LAWYERS: A delegation of 22 lawyers from India, led by Sardar Pratap Singh, visited the Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib.

    Talking to the media, the delegates expressed satisfaction over the hospitality and security arrangements made for them by the Pakistani government and people. Sardar Pratap Singh advocate expressed gratitude to Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar for granting them visa without any complication.

    The delegation also visited the Nankana District Bar Association and exchanged views with local lawyers.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar paid a surprise visit to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital on Sunday. ─ Photo courtesy Usman Buzdar TwitterChief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar paid a surprise visit to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital on Sunday. ─ Photo courtesy Usman Buzdar Twitter

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    The Supreme Court while hearing the fake accounts case on Monday ordered that the names of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah be removed from both the exit control list and the joint investigation team's report on a probe into the case.

    The court also ordered that the case be forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and directed the anti-corruption watchdog to wrap up its investigation within two months.

    The top court was hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay into a 2015 Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probe into money laundering of billions of rupees via fake bank accounts. Both Bilawal and Shah were named in the report submitted to the top court last month by the JIT which was tasked to probe the case.

    Read more: Zardari, accomplices ‘grabbed’ state entities: JIT report

    Several bigwigs, including former president Asif Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and Omni Group's Anwar Majeed, were all nominated in the case. Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain have also been included in the probe.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar today grilled the state prosecutor over why the government had decided to place Bilawal on the no-fly list after the JIT recommended the placement of 172 people named in its report on the ECL.

    "The JIT will have to clarify one thing: Why did it involve Bilawal in this matter?" Justice Nisar asked. "What did Bilawal do?"

    The chief justice wondered if the PPP chairman's name had been included upon "someone's directives".

    He asked state prosecutor Faisal Siddiqui if the reason behind Bilawal's inclusion in the investigation was to "defame someone".

    He also expressed annoyance at the placement of the Sindh chief minister's name on the ECL.

    Subsequently, the court ordered the removal of Bilawal and Shah's names from the ECL and JIT report, and sent the case to NAB, directing it to conclude its investigation within two months.

    The JIT report had earlier said that a close nexus had been found between a troika of Zardari Group, Omni Group and Bahria Town.

    The chief justice today observed that the fake accounts appeared to be connected to politicians, Bahria Town and Omni Group. He said the court had yet to see whether Omni Group had ties to politicians named in the JIT report, and if both were linked to Bahria Town as well.

    Omni Group lawyer Munir Bhatti denied the existence of a nexus between the three different companies.

    He urged the bench to "allow him to show [the court] the real picture" and told the bench that Omni Group had bought the sugar mills in accordance with the law.

    "But the mills were not available for free, were they?" the chief justice asked. "The money came through the fake accounts."

    Bhatti said that his client had not done anything illegal by buying sugar mills on subsidies and added that the figures mentioned in the JIT report were not a single record.

    "Do you know anything about layering, Mr Bhatti?" Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who is part of the bench hearing the case, asked the lawyer. Bhatti responded in the negative.

    "Then why are you presenting arguments?" Justice Ahsan asked.

    The chief justice said that the findings of the JIT report cannot be dismissed and the court has to examine the replies from the respondents. Bahria Town, Zain Malik, Zardari, Talpur, Anwar and Abdul Ghani Majeed, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan have all submitted their responses to the court.

    Meanwhile, Anwar Majeed's lawyer Shahid Hamid, who had also appeared before court today, said that instead of verifying the JIT report itself, the apex court should let the FIA determine its authenticity, since the latter had initially taken up the case. He urged the court to allow the companies, that are owned by the Omni Group but are not named in the JIT report, to continue functioning.

    SECP explains 'important facts' in response to JIT report

    The SECP, in its response, also said that the JIT had not approached it for comment or given it an opportunity to "explain the correct legal position" on the matter of acquisition of shares of Arif Habib Bank and Atlas Bank by Suroor Investment Ltd.

    "Therefore, it is of utmost importance to bring on the record the true legal position and important facts for assistance of this honourable court while considering the report of the JIT to the extent of the purported role of SECP in the scheme of arrangement of three banking companies," it added.

    The SECP informed the court of how the merger and acquisition took place, and all the laws and rules under which it took place.

    It said it had followed up on the matter with all three banks involved in the M&A process for almost a year and a half, it said, adding that the proceedings under the Takeover Ordinance were only dropped after receipt of letters from the State Bank of Pakistan through which it was conclusively established that the transaction is a part of rehabilitation/scheme of arrangement for revival of sick banks, which will ultimately stand merged through an order of the SBP.

    "Consquently, SBP approved the merger of the banks through which shareholders of Atlas Bank, My Bank and Arif Habib Bank were given shares of Summit Bank as per the swap ratio determined and approved by SBP."

    It asked that the JIT's observations "be reconsidered and removed, being factually incorrect and legally misconceived".

    Banking court extends Zardari, Talpur's bail

    A banking court in Karachi extended the interim bail of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur until Jan 23 in the fake accounts case.

    The siblings face allegedly illegally channelled funds through the said accounts in connivance with the chief executive officers of major banks.

    Both PPP leaders appeared in court for the hearing of the case today amid tight security.

    A racket ensued at the premises of the banking court when security officials refused to let PPP supporters enter the courtroom after Zardari and Talpur had made their way inside.

    When asked to order the FIA to file its final charge sheet in the case, the judges said that the SC had halted proceedings in the banking court since it is [currently hearing a similar case].

    The hearing was adjourned until January 23.


    CJP Mian Saqib Nisar in today's hearing asked why the joint investigation team formed by the court to probe the case had included Bilawal's name in its report. ─ FileCJP Mian Saqib Nisar in today's hearing asked why the joint investigation team formed by the court to probe the case had included Bilawal's name in its report. ─ File

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government has appointed Dr Amir Nazir, awaiting posting, as the new programme director/manager of the provincial TB Control Programme allegedly in violation of the laid-down criteria.

    The Primary & Secondary Health Care Department issued a notification of Dr Nazir’s appointment to run the programme meant for fighting tuberculosis, reducing mortality, morbidity and the spread of TB infection.

    The slot had fallen vacant on Dec 31 after Dr Zarafshan Tahir was transferred and posted as Dean, Institute of Public Health (on an additional charge basis).

    Under the mega programme, 2.23 million people were examined in 2017 at all the centres established at all the teaching hospitals, district and tehsil headquarters hospitals of the province. They underwent an elaborated diagnostic procedure under the programme and 223,000 of them tested TB positive.

    According to the job description and the PC1 eligibility criteria, a candidate must have MBBS qualification and 10-year experience at managerial position in the TB Progrmme.

    An official source said Dr Amer Nazir had just served for two years in the Punjab TB Programme and was transferred over some performance issues in Feb 2017.

    The official regretted that instead of hiring an eligible officer, Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid managed Dr Nazir’s posting as the programme head. “Dr Yasmin recommended his name for the slot ignoring many other officers serving there with required qualification and experience. Primarily, they include additional director Dr Mohammad Asif, additional secretary of vertical programmes Dr Sadain, Dr Mohammad Yunis etc.”

    The official document carrying laid-down criteria for the position offers Rs500,000 per month salary package for the selected candidate having MBBS with post-graduation in public health and 10-year experience in TB Control Programme.

    “The programme manager/director overseas coordination and administration of all aspects of ongoing programmes including planning organization, staffing, leading and controlling entire programme activities in Punjab”, reads the document regarding his/her responsibilities.

    It further stated that the director of the TB Programme shall be responsible for coordination with the international donors, partners, corporate sectors and health organizations for technical and financial resource generation.

    The programme is also running 126 one-window TB rooms having all necessary facilities under one roof, including diagnostic process, examination of patients and dispensation of medicines.

    A state-of-the-art lab of international standards was also established during the tenure of former director of the TB Programme.

    The Punjab government was providing approximately Rs 350 million funds to the programme every year besides international funding.

    Talking to Dawn, Primary & Secondary Health Secretary Zahid Akhtar Khan expressed his ignorance about the laid-down criteria defined in the PC1 for the appointment of the TB Control Programme Director.

    However, he said since he believed in merit, the health department would review the decision of making the appointment of Dr Amir Nazir.

    For this, he said, he would personally look into the matter in coming days to make sure appointment of head of the programme was in accordance with the defined criteria.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    According to the job description and the PC1 eligibility criteria, a candidate must have MBBS qualification and 10-year experience at managerial position in the TB Progrmme. ─ DawnNewsTVAccording to the job description and the PC1 eligibility criteria, a candidate must have MBBS qualification and 10-year experience at managerial position in the TB Progrmme. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    LAHORE: The federal and all provincial governments have been asked to work out ways to implement the prime minister’s desire of fixing two percent job quota for special persons in all government departments and issuing driving licences to the deaf.

    The directions received from the federal government in Punjab have been conveyed to the departments concerned for response within a fortnight.

    The officials said the federal and all the provincial governments were conducting the exercise. The scheme, if implemented, would greatly benefit special persons all over the country, they said.

    The letter from the federal government says the employment quota is calculated against the posts being advertised/fixed at a particular point of time. As this practice is leading to negligible appointments against the quota, there is a need to work it (quota) out against the total posts of every department.

    The letter also expresses the prime minister’s desire of issuing driving licenses to the people with hearing loss as per international practices, providing free wheelchairs to persons with physical handicaps and white canes to the visually impaired and giving health cards to all the special persons.

    All the departments concerned have been asked to work out modalities and steps needed to be taken to devise an implementation mechanism, says an official.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    All the departments concerned have been asked to work out modalities and steps needed to be taken to devise an implementation mechanism, says an official. ─ File photoAll the departments concerned have been asked to work out modalities and steps needed to be taken to devise an implementation mechanism, says an official. ─ File photo

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    A Senate committee was informed on Monday that 300 cases of child sexual abuse were registered in Islamabad over the last five years, while another 260 cases went unregistered.

    Cases of child abuse have been on the rise in Pakistan. A report compiled by NGO Sahil last year reveals that more than 12 children are abused every day. Instances of child abuse rose 32 per cent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the corresponding period in 2017, it says.

    A Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) official earlier told Dawn that 3,445 cases of child abuse had been reported last year, according to data collected by NGOs.

    Nuzhat Sadiq, the convener of the Senate special committee on the issue of increasing incidents of child abuse, raised concerns over human rights minister Shireen Mazari's absence from the committee's meeting today.

    "The surge in cases of child sexual abuse is a very important matter. The human rights minister did not attend the last session either," Sadiq noted, adding: "This is very non-serious of her."

    Ministry of Human Rights representatives told the Senate committee that Mazari "is at PM House" and were unsure whether she would be able to attend the session.

    Read: 17,862 child sexual abuse cases reported in last five years, NA told

    Capital police officials, while briefing the committee on incidents of violence against children, said that two girls who had been abducted from Islamabad in 2016 remain missing.

    Furthermore, the police officials said, the force had kept over 1,400 street children off the streets at safe shelters but they had soon returned to begging on the streets.

    Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that out of school children are at risk, and pointed out that according to the government's data, there are roughly 25 million children currently out of school.

    The Senator wondered why underage offenders are not "kept at juvenile centres even though such a facility exists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa".

    The Senate special committee during a me­eting on October 16 had expressed dissatisfaction over the absence of a mechanism for an official database to record incidents of child sexual abuse.

    Sadiq had directed the ministry to formulate a line of action and brief it on the issue during its next meeting.

    Human Rights Ministry officials told the committee today that more than 80 laws for child protection exist and that measures are being taken to tackle child abuse cases.

    The officials complained about the provinces' lack of cooperation with the Centre on the issue, saying that letters had written to the provinces but not even one responded.

    After the passage of the 18th Amendment, it is the provincial government’s responsibility to draft a child protection policy. However, no such policy document exists.


    A Senate committee on Monday was informed that 300 cases of child sexual abuse were registered in Islamabad over the last five years. ─ Reuters/FileA Senate committee on Monday was informed that 300 cases of child sexual abuse were registered in Islamabad over the last five years. ─ Reuters/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Religious scholars, clerics and caretakers of various shrines in the country have decried the practice of recklessly issuing fatwas (religious decrees) by some religious leaders and urged the government to devise a mechanism which could streamline the practice.

    These observations were made at the ‘Seerat-i-Rehmatul Aalameen Con­fe­rence’ held here on Sunday under the aegis of the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC).

    A joint declaration issued at the conference underlined that people issuing decrees against the state institutions, the armed forces and the chief of the army staff were causing harm to the country. It termed such decrees a threat not only to the country, but also to Islam.

    Titled Islamabad Decla­ration, the joint declaration said 2019 would be observed as the year to eradicate terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from the country.

    It said no political or religious party in the country should be allowed to do politics on the issue of the Finality of Prophethood.

    The declaration pointed out that killings on the pretext of religious belief was against the teachings of Islam. It said all religious groups and sects denounced decrees for killings and the extremist belief of some sections of society.

    It said people of no sect of Islam could be declared infidel. No one — Muslim or non-Muslim — can be declared as punishable by death. Only courts could deliver a death sentence, it added.

    According to the declaration, people belonging to all religions and sects in the country have equal constitutional rights and they can live in the country as per their cultural and traditional norms.

    Speakers at the conference said that leaders of all religious groups had condemned decrees issued against security agencies and their leaderships, adding that they termed such decrees against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.

    The speakers urged the government to devise a mechanism for putting a check on the practice of recklessly and immaturely issuing decrees, particularly those decrees which are related to some serious issues, such as the Finality of Prophethood.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    People of no sect of Islam could be declared infidel, says religious scholars. — File photoPeople of no sect of Islam could be declared infidel, says religious scholars. — File photo

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    The Supreme Court while hearing the fake accounts case on Monday ordered that the names of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah be removed from both the exit control list and the joint investigation team's report on a probe into the case.

    The court also ordered that the case be forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and directed the anti-corruption watchdog to wrap up its investigation within two months.

    The top court was hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay into a 2015 Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probe into money laundering of billions of rupees via fake bank accounts. Both Bilawal and Shah were named in the report submitted to the top court last month by the JIT which was tasked to probe the case.

    Read more: Zardari, accomplices ‘grabbed’ state entities: JIT report

    Several bigwigs, including former president Asif Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and Omni Group's Anwar Majeed, were all nominated in the case. Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain have also been included in the probe.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar today grilled the state prosecutor over why the government had decided to place Bilawal on the no-fly list after the JIT recommended the placement of 172 people named in its report on the ECL.

    "The JIT will have to clarify one thing: Why did it involve Bilawal in this matter?" Justice Nisar asked. "What did Bilawal do?"

    The chief justice wondered if the PPP chairman's name had been included upon "someone's directives".

    He asked state prosecutor Faisal Siddiqui if the reason behind Bilawal's inclusion in the investigation was to "defame someone".

    He also expressed annoyance at the placement of the Sindh chief minister's name on the ECL.

    Subsequently, the court ordered the removal of Bilawal and Shah's names from the ECL and JIT report, and sent the case to NAB, directing it to conclude its investigation within two months.

    The JIT report had earlier said that a close nexus had been found between a troika of Zardari Group, Omni Group and Bahria Town.

    The chief justice today observed that the fake accounts appeared to be connected to politicians, Bahria Town and Omni Group. He said the court had yet to see whether Omni Group had ties to politicians named in the JIT report, and if both were linked to Bahria Town as well.

    Omni Group lawyer Munir Bhatti denied the existence of a nexus between the three different companies.

    He urged the bench to "allow him to show [the court] the real picture" and told the bench that Omni Group had bought the sugar mills in accordance with the law.

    "But the mills were not available for free, were they?" the chief justice asked. "The money came through the fake accounts."

    Bhatti said that his client had not done anything illegal by buying sugar mills on subsidies and added that the figures mentioned in the JIT report were not a single record.

    "Do you know anything about layering, Mr Bhatti?" Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who is part of the bench hearing the case, asked the lawyer. Bhatti responded in the negative.

    "Then why are you presenting arguments?" Justice Ahsan asked.

    The chief justice said that the findings of the JIT report cannot be dismissed and the court has to examine the replies from the respondents. Bahria Town, Zain Malik, Zardari, Talpur, Anwar and Abdul Ghani Majeed, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan have all submitted their responses to the court.

    Meanwhile, Anwar Majeed's lawyer Shahid Hamid, who had also appeared before court today, said that instead of verifying the JIT report itself, the apex court should let the FIA determine its authenticity, since the latter had initially taken up the case. He urged the court to allow the companies, that are owned by the Omni Group but are not named in the JIT report, to continue functioning.

    SECP explains 'important facts' in response to JIT report

    The SECP, in its response, also said that the JIT had not approached it for comment or given it an opportunity to "explain the correct legal position" on the matter of acquisition of shares of Arif Habib Bank and Atlas Bank by Suroor Investment Ltd.

    "Therefore, it is of utmost importance to bring on the record the true legal position and important facts for assistance of this honourable court while considering the report of the JIT to the extent of the purported role of SECP in the scheme of arrangement of three banking companies," it added.

    The SECP informed the court of how the merger and acquisition took place, and all the laws and rules under which it took place.

    It said it had followed up on the matter with all three banks involved in the M&A process for almost a year and a half, it said, adding that the proceedings under the Takeover Ordinance were only dropped after receipt of letters from the State Bank of Pakistan through which it was conclusively established that the transaction is a part of rehabilitation/scheme of arrangement for revival of sick banks, which will ultimately stand merged through an order of the SBP.

    "Consquently, SBP approved the merger of the banks through which shareholders of Atlas Bank, My Bank and Arif Habib Bank were given shares of Summit Bank as per the swap ratio determined and approved by SBP."

    It asked that the JIT's observations "be reconsidered and removed, being factually incorrect and legally misconceived".

    Banking court extends Zardari, Talpur's bail

    A banking court in Karachi extended the interim bail of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur until Jan 23 in the fake accounts case.

    The siblings face allegedly illegally channelled funds through the said accounts in connivance with the chief executive officers of major banks.

    Both PPP leaders appeared in court for the hearing of the case today amid tight security.

    A racket ensued at the premises of the banking court when security officials refused to let PPP supporters enter the courtroom after Zardari and Talpur had made their way inside.

    When asked to order the FIA to file its final charge sheet in the case, the judges said that the SC had halted proceedings in the banking court since it is [currently hearing a similar case].

    The hearing was adjourned until January 23.


    CJP Mian Saqib Nisar in today's hearing asked why the joint investigation team formed by the court to probe the case had included Bilawal's name in its report. ─ FileCJP Mian Saqib Nisar in today's hearing asked why the joint investigation team formed by the court to probe the case had included Bilawal's name in its report. ─ File

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    LAHORE: The Punjab government seems to be getting panicky due to ever-increasing incidents of people using Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s name to get their work done by the government officials.

    It has written the third letter to the bureaucracy serving across the province to refuse any such request and report to the higher authorities as well as the chief minister’s office.

    The civil and police bureaucracy has been complaining about such requests soon after Usman Buzdar took oath as the chief minister. Most of these complaints are coming from the chief minister’s home district – D.G. Khan in particular and other places in general, claim sources.

    Lately, the Implementation and Coordination (I&C) secretary has written a letter to the civil and police bureaucracy asking to report all those persons who are trying to pose themselves as chief minister’s relatives.

    The letter reads: “Some instances have been reported whereby some unknown persons have represented themselves as brothers and relatives of the Punjab chief minister to get their matters resolved.” The government has directed that all civil and police bureaucracy in the province should not entertain request(s) of any such person(s) and the matter be brought to the notice of their respective higher authorities as well as the CM office.

    Earlier, a Punjab cabinet official had twice written letters to the government officials across the province asking them to stay careful about “fake calls and orders” under the chief minister’s name without approval.

    One such letter was written soon after an instruction by the Services Hospital additional medical superintendent (on his letterhead) started making rounds on social media that the chief minister’s sister was admitted to the hospital and the medical unit should visit her in the VVIP-I on a priority.

    The government was also receiving complaints that people had been using the CM’s name to get favours and jobs done at different hospitals, educational institutions and other government offices by impersonating the chief minister.

    The letter, issued in September last year, stated: “The name of the chief minister is being misused in different offices of Punjab by fake telephone calls”. It directed that all officials should verify and confirm the authenticity of telephonic directions from the chief minister’s offices before compliance of any sort.

    Sources say the third letter on the subject of posing as chief minister’s relatives following fake calls issued by the I&C secretary showed some seriousness.

    When contacted to know about the volume of occurrence of such “impersonation” incidents, I&C Secretary Masood Mukhtar said he could not respond to any query while at home in the evening.

    There was a buzz that people were approaching government offices and presenting their selfies with the chief minister to influence officials and get their work done.

    However, sources close to the developments told Dawn that the bureaucracy was facing a serious crisis in D.G. Khan where chief minister’s relatives, close aides and ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders were allegedly approaching government officials to get their work done.

    Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2019


    The Punjab government has written a third letter to the bureaucracy serving across the province to refuse requests of people using Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s name to get their work done by government officials. ─ File photoThe Punjab government has written a third letter to the bureaucracy serving across the province to refuse requests of people using Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s name to get their work done by government officials. ─ File photo

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