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    RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has decided to establish foreigners’ security cells in the Central Police Office (CPO) and the Home Department as well as in all the districts with requisite staff and logistics.

    All foreigners will inform their first arrival to the desks concerned.

    The District Foreign Security Cell (DFSC) will be headed by an officer not below the rank of superintendent of police (SP) and additional secretary of the Home Department.

    All foreigners will report their first arrival to District Foreign Security Cell, home dept says

    The DFSC, containing China desks, will also be established in the offices of the capital city police officer (CCPO), city police officers (CPOs) and the district police officers (DPOs).

    Observing enhanced international investment in the province and the expanding role of foreigners in development activities, the government has chalked out fresh standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the security of foreigners/Chinese nationals.

    According to the fresh guidelines issued to all divisional police chiefs and commissioners by the Home Department, all foreigners shall report to the DFSC concerned on their arrival for the first time and will also inform it about their departure details.

    The DFSC will sensitise them about their responsibilities and provide them written instructions (in English/Chinese languages) regarding security.

    A computerised database and biometric record of each foreigner living or working in the jurisdiction of the police concerned will be maintained and tallied with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s record.

    Since the tourism industry has been suffering due to security issues, the Ministry of Tourism in coordination with provincial tourism department will be responsible for devising a mechanism to ensure security of the tourists.

    Tour operators may be advised to inform the tourism ministry in advance about the arrival of the foreign tourists.

    Many people in the tourist category normally stay in the provincial capital or major cities but some of them visit difficult and remote parts of the province and may expose themselves unnecessarily to the dangerous environment. Security officials must inform them about the dangers and risks involved in such areas and ensure that undue risks are not taken.

    There are a large number of students coming to Pakistan for studying in various educational institutions and they need to comply with all rules and regulations.

    The major issue with the students is that they do not only stay beyond the expiry of their visas but also join such seminaries that function under the umbrella of proscribed organisations.

    The provincial government suggested making sure that no student would be allowed to study in the province if they do not possess a study visa.

    Moreover, all educational institutions must be bound to provide information about the foreign students within two days of submission of admission applications from such students. No admission to educational institutions under the student visa will be made without checking the NOC issued by the Home Department.

    Conversion of the status of a visa from tourist/business to student shall be discouraged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreigners intending to study in public/private institutions or seminaries will route their request through their respective embassies for maintenance of record.

    The students will not be allowed to change the institution without approval of the government.

    The higher education and health departments will share the data and details of foreign students studying in colleges and universities with the Home Department or the city police office.

    Many foreigners are staying in Punjab for work purposes and running their businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons, etc. It is difficult for the police to provide security to every foreigner, therefore, it is the responsibility of their employers to ensure that all safety precautions are taken and they remain in contact with the law enforcement agencies.

    If the foreigners are self-employed, they should keep regular interaction with the law enforcement agencies to inform them about their safety and concerns.

    However, they will be strictly advised by the DFSC to hire private security guards.

    The recommendation to stop a project will be submitted to the regional police officer who will forward it to the CPO/Home Department for placement before the cabinet subcommittee on law and order for further decision.

    Focal persons for foreigners

    All project managements will nominate a focal person to liaison with the Home Department and the DFSC concerned about security issues.

    In case of an emergency, the focal person will be responsible for coordinating with the DFSC on behalf of the project management.

    A small dedicated unit, “deployment unit”, including persons from the Special Branch, representatives of the project concerned and the local police, will be deputed to provide security to the project.

    Proper security organisations will be established for each major project to avoid breakdown in the chain of command.

    The DFSC will issue an advisory for foreign tourists and foreigners traveling to its area.

    The responsibility of overall security for all projects remains with the police and joint visits of DCs and CPOs will be planned to residences and project sites to check the security arrangements.

    The joint task team should visit each site periodically and identify the shortcomings. And elite trained staff with arms and ammunition will be deployed at the vulnerable projects. They will ensure that the weapons allocated to security guards are operational and in a good condition.

    The security advisory committee constituted in each area will also share their objectives about the foreigners and their activities with the DFSC concerned.

    Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019

    All foreigners will inform their first arrival to the desks concerned. ─ APP/FileAll foreigners will inform their first arrival to the desks concerned. ─ APP/File

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    OKARA: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has approved Rs9.5 million compensation for the victims of the February 2018 terrorist attack in Kharan district of Balochistan and ordered the two employer companies to pay Rs20,000 per month to each of the six families for the next three years.

    About 11 months back, labourers Mazhar, Shahzad Ali, Riaz, Waqas, Fakhar Rafique and Amant Ali of Okara village Kikriwala were killed during the terror attack.

    The workers were asleep at the [mobile phone tower] construction site when the incident took place. Another labourer Faryad Husain of village 49/2-L (Okara) suffered injuries.

    After this act of terrorism, CJP Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the incident as a case of human rights. After the proceedings, the CJP ordered the two companies to pay compensation worth Rs9.5m.

    The family of each of the six deceased will get Rs1.5m. A sum of Rs0.5m will be given to injured Faryad Husain. The district and sessions judge received two cheques from the companies.

    A cheque issued by one firm had some error and the judge returned it for correction with a letter to the Kharan deputy commissioner and a copy of it was also sent to the Okara DC and set Jan 15, 2019, deadline for receipt of the cheque at the court.

    Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019

    Six labourers died in terror attack in Kharan last year. — File photoSix labourers died in terror attack in Kharan last year. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: Only 30pc of children are registered in Pakistan, which also makes it difficult to identify children in cases of death and untoward instances, the Ministry of Human Rights told a parliamentary committee.

    The Senate Special Committee on the Issue of Increasing Incidents of Child Abuse met on Monday at Parliament House with Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in the chair.

    Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Rabiya Javeri Agha said the protection of children is a huge challenge.

    “The laws are very clear but their implementation is a challenge. As per the directions of the committee, we have written letters to the provinces, asking them for data about incidents with children but we have not received a reply. The ministry is relying on private data and is serious about making a credible database,” she said.

    Ms Agha said the best child protection centre is in Punjab and that though there is a child protection centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, its performance is not up to the mark due to a lack of resources.

    Deputy Inspector General of Police Islamabad Faisal Ali said that during the last five years, 260 non-registered and 300 registered cases have come into the police’s knowledge.

    “Police stations have been directed to register cases of missing children without delay and special barracks have been made for children who are arrested for seeking alms,” he said.

    Replying to a question, he said there is no mechanism for exchanging data between the police and the Federal Investigation Agency.

    The committee was informed that 3,445 cases of child abuse have been reported last year, according to data collected by NGOs.

    Senator Sadiq said the surge in cases of child sexual abuse is an important point to note. She expressed annoyance that the Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari was not attending the meeting and said she had not been there in the last one either.

    A representative of the ministry informed the chair that the minister was in the Prime Minister’s Office.

    Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that according to government data, some 25 million children are currently out of school.

    He wondered why underage offenders are not kept in juvenile centres even though such a facility exists in KP.

    Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019

    Human rights ministry says it makes it difficult to identify children in cases of death and untoward instances. ─ File photoHuman rights ministry says it makes it difficult to identify children in cases of death and untoward instances. ─ File photo

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    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that a request has been made to the UK Central Authority regarding absconding PML-N leader Ishaq Dar's extradition and that the ministry now awaits a response.

    A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice was hearing a case related to Dar's non-appearance before the apex court in a corruption case pertaining to owning assets approximately valued at Rs831.7 million, disproportionate to his known sources of income.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar wondered if any "practical work" has been done to repatriate Dar who left the country for the United Kingdom in 2017 and has not returned since despite multiple summons by the apex court.

    Read more: The insider: Ishaq Dar

    "Why haven't any funds been recovered from Ishaq Dar, Fawad Hassan Fawad and Ataul Haq Qasmi?" the top judge questioned, adding that funds also had to be recovered from PML-N's Pervaiz Rasheed.

    The principle information officer apprised the court that a "two-month deadline lapsed yesterday so notices for recovery will be sent today."

    Justice Ijazul Ahsan recalled that the National Accountability Bureau had to write a letter to the British government for Dar's extradition.

    "I don't think that the Foreign Office has played any role on this issue," the chief justice interjected.

    At this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' representative told the court that the Foreign Office had already written to the UK Central Authority. "Now their reply is awaited," the representative added.

    The chief justice reiterated his disappointment at Dar's failure to appear before the court before adjourning the case for a month.

    Dar, the ex-finance minister in the PML-N government, has been in London since October 2017 owing to what his counsel claims is "a medical issue".

    In December 2017, an accountability court had declared him an absconder after he failed to appear in a corruption reference against him. He is accused of amassing assets beyond his known sources of income.

    In May 2018, the Supreme Court had suspended his Senate membership, while in June 2018, the interior ministry had issued red warrants against him.

    Former finance minister Ishaq Dar left Pakistan in 2017 and has never returned since. — FileFormer finance minister Ishaq Dar left Pakistan in 2017 and has never returned since. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: Contrary to the claims of the minister of state for interior about excessive drug use by students in the capital, a new survey has found that no more than 2pc of students in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar are regular drug users.

    Quaid-i-Azam University’s Department of Sociology released the findings of a survey conducted in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission at a seminar on Monday, a statement said, in order to dispel notions of exaggerated figures on drug use in education institutions in Pakistani cities.

    The seminar was based on data collected from public and private educational institutions for four ajor cities under the HEC Thematic Grants Project.

    4,997 students from schools, colleges and universities in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar were surveyed

    The principal investigator, Dr Imran Sabir, said that the survey found that “not more than 2pc of students are regular drug users in educational institutions”.

    Dr Sabir said that figures based on a ‘secret’ report by an NGO reported by the media had caused confusion and hype about unusually high rates of drug abuse in education institutions.

    Based on the same NGO report, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi recently claimed that 75pc of female students and 45pc of male students in the capital are addicted to drugs, including crystal meth, also known as ice.

    QAU’s new survey has a sample size of 4,997 students from schools, colleges and universities from Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. It found that 21pc of surveyed students from public and private institutions do not consider drug abuse risky behaviour, but most students – 79pc – believed that drugs can have negative consequences on health and social aspects of life such as family, education and employment.

    Dr Sabir said peer pressure plays a crucial role in adopting on-campus drug use.

    Mr Afridi, who was invited to the seminar as the chief guest, praised the QAU Department of Sociology for organising the event to highlight a realistic picture of drug use in educational institutions.

    Dean of Social Sciences Dr Wiqar Ali Shah praised the role of the youth in restraining drug use in educational institutions.

    QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali also spoke at the event about the dangers of drug use, saying that drug abuse is linked to numerous social problems including health issues, terrorism, suicide and damage to the fabric of society.

    He told the youth to be vigilant and report incidents in which they come across any activity related to drug use, and said the youth must learn to say no if they are offered drugs.

    Journalist Mohammad Amir Ghauri also spoke at the seminar about how to curtail drug use, adding that the youth is the future of the nation and may act as a neighbourhood watch force.

    Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019

    4,997 students from schools, colleges and universities in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar were surveyed. — File photo4,997 students from schools, colleges and universities in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar were surveyed. — File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) has directed government institutions to commercialise research breakthroughs in the country.

    The commission, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, issued the directive after a hearing of stakeholders in Islamabad on Monday.

    Justice Nisar had taken a suo motu notice in December regarding commercialisation of research breakthroughs.

    National Health Services (NHS) Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Executive Director of the National Institute of Health Dr Aamer Ikram, Chief Executive Officer of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) Sheikh Akhtar Hussain and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission Dr Tariq Banuri were among those who attended the hearing.

    The Law and Justice Commission asked the Higher Education Commission to consider setting up a “biotech park” for benefit of undergraduate and postgraduate students. The HEC was also asked to arrange training modules in biotechnology, life sciences, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

    Dr Javed Akram, Vice Chancellor of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) , told Dawn that the Ministry of National Health Services had assured the commission that a committee would be established by Jan 15 to ensure clinical trials of researches.

    Dr Akram said universities, the Pakistan Health Research Council, HEC, Pakistan Science Foundation and other institutions spent around Rs100 billion a year on research, but their breakthroughs were never commercialised. Thus the consumer has no option but to spend an amount 10 to 20 times higher on different products.

    There were a number of breakthroughs, but the public did not benefit from them because of pressure from international companies, he added.

    “When I was vice chancellor at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University, a research study was started to make artificial skin since, according to a study, the ratio of burn injury cases was the highest in Pakistan.

    “After becoming UHS vice chancellor, I shifted the research to this institution and finally we came up with artificial skin in our laboratory last year. We contacted Drap for issuance of licence for commercial manufacturing, but it was not done,” he recalled.

    Had the licence been issued, “we could have manufactured artificial skin and reduced mortality from 70pc to 40pc”, Dr Akram added.

    According to him, skin costs $700 per square inch in the international market, but in Pakistan it can be sold for just Rs710.

    Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019

    UHS VC says despite Rs100bn annual spending on research, breakthroughs were never commercialised. — File photoUHS VC says despite Rs100bn annual spending on research, breakthroughs were never commercialised. — File photo

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    The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the housing ministry to resolve the issue of the alleged illegal occupation of the Capital Development Authority (CDA)'s property by Islamabad police.

    According to CDA — which petitioned the apex court on the matter — a house allocated to a CDA member was first occupied in 2007 to provide residence to the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Islamabad. The house has since been in police possession and is currently occupied by the incumbent IGP Islamabad Muhammad Amir Zulfiqar, the CDA alleges.

    A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was told by a CDA official today that at least 200 more quarters have yet to be vacated by the police department.

    IGP Zulfiqar, when called to the rostrum by the chief justice, claimed that he was unaware of any such situation, saying: "I have just found this out."

    "You came [to the capital] for the Lal Masjid operation and ended up illegally occupying flats," observed the chief justice.

    "How will [the country] function if law enforcers who are supposed to obey the laws will break them themselves."

    Subsequently, the court disposed off the case and ordered the minister for housing to look into the matter.

    In the same hearing, the secretary housing briefed the court on the operation in Karachi to clear illegal occupants from government properties, saying that a committee comprising members of the National Assembly has been formed to oversee the matter.

    "Aside from Karachi, there were 563 government properties that were illegally occupied and out of these 516 have been recovered," the housing secretary said.

    At this, the top judge remarked that the reason a two-month period was granted in Karachi was due to the law-and-order situation there. The Governor Sindh called me personally for this and [assured] that he is working on the matter in a personal capacity," the chief justice said.

    CDA claims that Islamabad police has been illegally occupying its property in the federal capital since 2007. — FileCDA claims that Islamabad police has been illegally occupying its property in the federal capital since 2007. — File

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    The Supreme Court on Tuesday assigned the assets-beyond-means investigation against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Azam Swati to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Islamabad police.

    The court passed the orders while hearing a suo motu case regarding the 'unlawful' transfer of former Islamabad police chief Jan Mohammad.

    The police official's transfer took place after Swati’s son had registered a case against a family of slum dwellers for allegedly trespassing on his family’s land. Five people, including two women, were arrested for trespassing on the land and beating up Swati’s guards.

    They were released after a day’s detention as police said a settlement had been reached between the minister and the detained family. The altercation, coupled with the IGP's transfer, had caught the attention of the media as well as the apex court.

    "We will not end the case against Azam Swati yet," Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said today during the hearing, adding that the court would hear the case again once reports from police and other agencies were submitted.

    Addressing the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan, the top judge said that he had not yet registered a first information report (FIR) against the senator.

    "You are still maintaining your loyalties," Justice Nisar said as he directed the police chief to meet him in his chambers.

    On November 19, the court-formed joint investigation team (JIT) had held Swati and his employees responsible for the altercation that took place at his farmhouse and allegedly transpired into the police chief's transfer.

    "Has the JIT report been thrown in the bin?" Justice Nisar asked today.

    Swati's counsel Ali Zafar apprised the SC bench that his client had already resigned from his post.

    "He has only resigned from the ministry," said the judge, adding that in the detailed judgement the bench will include their opinion on the matter from the point of view of Article 62(1)(f) ─ the same section that led to the disqualification last year of Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen.

    "Is he eligible to remain a member of parliament now," Justice Nisar wondered, noting that Swati's name is still associated with the ministry.

    Meanwhile, IGP Zulfiqar briefed the court on measures taken by his department, saying that a 'challan' has been filed against Swati's son Usman as well as Najeebullah Khan Muhammad, Faiz Mahmood and Jahanzeb.

    "Nothing was done against the person who manages the affairs," Justice Nisar said. "Is it because he is a bigwig?"

    He said that if the police chief did not want to provide justice to the people, "what are you the inspector general for?"

    "The JIT report said that police made a special deal with the minister," he said. "My impression of you has been ruined. "I'm trying to strengthen you, but you keep falling short."

    Amicus curiae Faisal Siddiqui said that according to the JIT, Swati had no role in the former IGP's transfer but noted that the transfer was done the same day that he had failed to answer his phone.

    Siddiqui, however, said that as per the JIT, Swati had provided misinformation about two of his assets. At this, the chief justice asked if there was any forum apart from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) where the matter could be sent.

    Siddiqui said that action could be taken against the former minister through criminal law while disqualification proceedings could also be taken for concealing assets.

    "One man is not 'sadiq' (truthful) and 'ameen' (righteous) so how can he be a member of parliament?" the top judge wondered.

    Siddiqui said that Swati's assets were not in line with his sources of income.

    "Exceeding his authority was proven by [the] JIT already," Justice Ijazul Ahsan said as Justice Nisar asked Swati's counsel to opine how the case could reach its conclusive end.

    "Tell us about the assets that are concealed," the top judge said, to which Zafar suggested that the FBR could investigate it.

    "A case should be registered against a person who misuses his authority and beats the poor," the top judge reiterated.

    Subsequently, the court referred the probe against Swati to the FBR and police.

    PTI leader Azam Swati faces a probe into his assets. — File photoPTI leader Azam Swati faces a probe into his assets. — File photo

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    Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Tuesday lashed out at journalists for asking a question regarding his stance on comments made by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq, who had questioned the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government's efforts to turn Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state.

    While talking to reporters after attending an event arranged to honour the late JI leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed in Lahore, Chohan was asked about Haq's claim that the ruling party had not taken any "step towards building a Madina-like Islamic state".

    The question angered the provincial minister, who criticised the media for being "inconsiderate" for asking him about Haq's comments at an event arranged in memory of Hussain, the late JI Emir.

    "You should not ask such a question which can create a contradiction, out of respect," Chohan told media representatives.

    The minister also declared that the media "should not be out of bounds".

    His statements prompted a protest from journalists, who said that the media has the right to ask questions and the minister could choose not to answer.

    They demanded that Chohan retract his statement and surrounded him when he started to leave. The journalists pointed out that Chohan had made political statements himself when he alluded to "looters" and "thieves" in his media talk.

    The provincial minister left without any further statement.

    This is not the first time a minister from the ruling PTI has acted brashly with journalists. Last week, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda lost his cool when Dawn's senior journalist Khaleeq Kiani asked him about the government's decision to award the Rs300 billion Mohmand Dam project on a "single" financial bid of a consortium that includes Descon, a company owned by the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce.

    "Your party had strongly criticised the LNG deal because it was done on a single-bid basis, and now your government has awarded the contract of Mohmand dam on a single-bid basis. How can you say it is legitimate?" Kiani had questioned.

    Vawda did not take the query kindly, saying: "I could have expected such a question from Dawn only. I am not responsible for something that happened before my birth... Because you are my elder I am answering this question. If this was someone else, I would not have answered and also set aside the mic."

    At this, the reporters at the press conference objected to his choice of words and started walking out in solidarity with Kiani. Vawda then attempted to placate the media personnel but his efforts were in vain as reporters and cameramen staged a walkout.

    Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan says media Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan says media "should not be out of bounds". — DawnNewsTV

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    The Afghan president's special envoy for regional consensus on Afghan peace met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday, in what was his first visit abroad following his appointment to the new position.

    Mohammad Umer Daudzai conveyed President Ashraf Ghani's greetings to the Pakistani leadership and expressed Afghanistan's "strong desire to work closely with Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest", a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.

    The special envoy also relayed "deep appreciation of the sincerity and vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for peace and stability in Pakistan", the press release added.

    Daudzai acknowledged that the fact that Qureshi visited Kabul thrice within a span of four months was "a clear proof of Pakistan's strong support for Afghanistan".

    During his visit, the envoy briefed the foreign minister on the nature of his position which entails that he "help create harmony among the various stakeholders".

    The foreign minister welcomed Daudzai and assured him of Pakistan's commitment to peace in the region. He said stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's own national interest, and necessary for economic development and prosperity in the region.

    Qureshi highlighted the growing global view that the suffering of the Afghan people needs to be brought to an end through a peaceful resolution of the conflict. He assured the envoy that Pakistan "would do all to help the people of Afghanistan see the earliest possible end to bloodshed and enter a new phase of peace and prosperity".

    The Afghan special envoy noted that the two countries had a "unique relationship marked by commonalities and similarity of interests". He stressed that the relationship needed to be utilised to its fullest through various bilateral cooperation mechanisms.

    He communicated the Afghan government's strong desire to take maximum advantage of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in all areas of cooperation.

    Daudzai noted that "enhancing bilateral trade and economic activities and more regular cultural and people-to-people contacts was the need of the hour", according to the FO statement.

    To this end, both sides agreed to regularly exchange high-level visits and recognised that the "brotherly feelings between the two people" owing to historical bonds must be harnessed to usher in a new era in Pak-Afghan relations.

    Talks with the Taliban

    The first US-Taliban talks facilitated by Pakistan were held last month in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which United States diplomats and Taliban representatives met with the aim of finding a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan.

    The meeting in Abu Dhabi was also attended by officials from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    This month's talks, the fourth in a series aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, are scheduled between Taliban leaders and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces and a possible ceasefire in 2019.

    Leaders of the hardline militant group have, however, rejected the Kabul government’s offer for direct talks, despite growing international pressure in favour of the Western-backed Afghan government having a seat at the table.

    Mohammad Umer Daudzai says the foreign minister's visits to Kabul are a Mohammad Umer Daudzai says the foreign minister's visits to Kabul are a "clear proof of Pakistan's strong support for Afghanistan". —PID/File

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    An antiterrorism court (ATC) in Karachi has dismissed a request made by the sister of Perween Rahman to summon the members of the three Supreme Court-appointed Joint Investigation Teams (JITs), which had detained and grilled the accused persons allegedly involved in the murder of the renowned social activist, it was learnt on Tuesday.

    Five accused — Abdul Raheem Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati, and three co-accused: Ayaz Shamzai alias Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan, and Ahmed Khan alias Ahmed Ali alias Pappu Kashmiri — have been charged with her murder.

    Rahman, head of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) who devoted her life to the development of the impoverished neighbourhoods across the country, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.

    Advocate Salahuddin Panhwar, who represented the slain activist's sister, had moved an application before the judge of the ATC-XIII on Monday, contending that at the very initial stage of the case, police high-ups had disclosed at a press conference that the real culprits behind the murder of Rahman had been killed in a ‘police encounter’.

    Therefore, the activist's sister approached the Supreme Court for the constitution of a commission to probe the case, Panhwar said, adding that later on, the apex court constituted the three JITs. The counsel asserted that the JIT members were important witnesses in the case at hand and requested that they may be summoned to testify before the court.

    Explore:Perween Rahman's murder: the great cover-up

    The defence counsel for the accused men opposed the request by Rahman's sister, arguing that the investigating officer of the case had neither cited the members of the JITs as witnesses in the charge sheet nor recorded their statements under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code during the investigation. Therefore, the counsel asked the ATC to reject the application seeking to summon the members of the JITs.

    After hearing arguments from the defence and prosecution sides and the complainant’s counsel, the judge dismissed the application, observing that the plea had been filed at a belated stage only to prolong the case without any justification.

    The trial court has already declared two absconding suspects — Noor Muhammad and Ehsanuddin — as proclaimed offenders and separated their cases from the trial of the five detained accused persons.

    According to the prosecution, some of the detained accused during interrogation had confessed to their involvement in the crime and disclosed that local leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) had allegedly hired Taliban militants to kill Rahman.

    It added that Ayaz and Raheem, who were said to be local leaders of the ANP, were living near the OPP office and allegedly tried to obtain a designated area to build a karate centre, but Rahman refused to allow it.

    The prosecution further said that all the accused persons were present in a meeting held in January 2013 at Raheem's residence in which they planned Rahman's assassination, adding that they hired a local commander of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Moosa, and Mehfoozullah alias Bhaloo to kill the OPP head.

    Initially, a case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Pirabad police station.

    Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 was subsequently incorporated in the case on the basis of a judicial inquiry conducted by the then district and sessions judge (west) Ghulam Mustafa Memon on the orders of the SC.

    Perween Rahman had a personal rapport with the women in Orangi. — Photo courtesy OPPPerween Rahman had a personal rapport with the women in Orangi. — Photo courtesy OPP

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    Firdous Shamim Naqvi, the Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly, on Tuesday urged Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to fulfil his party's promise of giving to the opposition the chairmanships of eight standing committees, including that of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by the next session.

    The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, in a letter addressed to the chief minister, reminded him that PPP leaders "had agreed that eight committee chairmanships will be given to the opposition".

    Naqvi put forth the demand that "keeping with the spirit of democracy, the chairmanship of PAC" and Rules of Procedure and Privilege Committee should go to the opposition.

    "We hope that for the better working of the legislative and improved efficiency of the parliamentary assembly you would announce the standing committee prior to the assembly session on Wednesday," he added.

    Prior to submitting the letter, an important meeting of the opposition parties — including parliamentary leaders of PTI, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) — was held in the Sindh Assembly, with Naqvi at the helm.

    During the meeting, it was observed that the National Assembly had appointed its PAC chairman, but in Sindh, the provincial government had still not done so.

    It was agreed that the issue of the PAC chairmanship would be raised during the next Sindh Assembly session on Wednesday and if PPP does not immediately appoint the chairman, the opposition would boycott the session.

    Naqvi wrote a second letter to the speaker of the Sindh Assembly, informing him that "the opposition had already proposed the names from the opposition benches" for the Business Advisory Committee but that "the treasury has yet to confirm their members from their side."

    The opposition leader said "it would be appreciated if this committee [is] announced before the session starting Wednesday, 9 Jan 2019."

    On December 13, after a long impasse, the government had agreed to let the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif chair the PAC in the NA — a longstanding demand by opposition benches in the assembly.

    Sindh's opposition parties decide to raise the issue of PAC chairmanship in the Sindh Assembly session on Wednesday. — File photoSindh's opposition parties decide to raise the issue of PAC chairmanship in the Sindh Assembly session on Wednesday. — File photo

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    RAWALPINDI: In order to put an end to the VIP culture, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) scrapped all protocols and extraordinary arrangements for government and non-government officials across the country.

    This was done on the directive of the airlines’ president Air Marshal Arshad Malik who asked the PIA to follow the regular procedure at all level.

    The president and chief executive officer of the national flag-carrier will also not be able to enjoy protocol and extraordinary arrangements.

    The PIA also launched an austerity campaign and withdrew staff reserved for facilitating the cabin crew members and redeployed them on their normal duties at airports across Pakistan.

    According to sources, the PIA management put an end to the special treatment being provided to its pilots and cabin crew.

    The facilitating staff has been withdrawn leaving the airlines’ crew members to handle their baggage on their own.

    The staff has been redeployed on normal duties, including wheelchair handling. In addition, the cabin crew rooms have also been abolished.

    The airlines claimed that the move was part of ongoing reforms and austerity steps and to improve service delivery.

    The PIA was providing loaders to the cabin and cockpit crew at the time of boarding and disembarking for carrying their luggage. The loaders were provided extra allowances for the special duties.

    The airline management had to provide a separate room for loaders with a telephone facility at each airport where at least three to four loaders remained on an alert and had to carry the baggage of crew members, including pilots, stewards and airhostesses.

    “Sometimes the loaders also got tips from crew members for carrying their baggage to and from the airplane,” a senior official of the airlines said, adding this facility had continued for about 30 to 40 years.

    None of the other airlines was offering such a facility to their crew members.

    A PIA spokesman said the loaders had been redeployed for facilitating passengers, especially those with special needs. The redeployed staff will help passengers using wheelchairs during arrival and departure.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    The president and chief executive officer of the national flag-carrier will also not be able to enjoy protocol and extraordinary arrangements. ─ Photo courtesy PIA Facebook pageThe president and chief executive officer of the national flag-carrier will also not be able to enjoy protocol and extraordinary arrangements. ─ Photo courtesy PIA Facebook page

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    ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee has proposed giving a boost to construction activities in Gwadar, especially construction of houses, so that businesses in the port city could flourish.

    The Senate Committee on Maritime Affairs made the recommendation during a meeting on Tuesday after Senator Shamim Afridi complained about poor housing facilities in Gwadar.

    Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini also agreed with the committee’s suggestion, saying that construction activities should be allowed in those zones in the port city which have been cleared in the master plan to meet accommodation requirements.

    He briefed the Senate committee on hurdles in the way of the port city’s development and steps being taken to remove them.

    Mr Jamaldini informed the committee that a railway network was still missing in the city, besides there was a shortage of skilled workforce.

    “Besides tax incentives the Gwadar port needs subsides like those offered to Port Qasim for 15 years. These steps are important at a time when Saudi Arabia is showing interest to invest in Gwadar,” he said.

    During his presentation, the GPA chairman responded to queries and complaints by the committee members.

    Some members complained that while development of Gwadar was being planned, interests of local fishermen had not been taken under consideration.

    Mr Jamaldini replied that a new fishery was being developed in Gwadar. He said that space had been allocated for residential areas for local people of the city.

    Some members of the committee were of the view that a false impression was created about business opportunities in Gwadar through advertisements during the tenure of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. They said the move attracted a large number of investors who purchased land in the port city from local people at throwaway prices.

    Senator Mohammad Akram of the National Party claimed that local fishermen were still being dislocated in Gwadar.

    Senator Rana Mahmoodul Hassan lamented the downgrading of the fishing industry in the country.

    Senator Kauda Babar said a sub-committee was formed by the chairperson of the main committee, Nuzhar Sadiq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. The sub-committee, he added, prepared a report about Gwadar’s problems.

    The chairperson gave the Ministry of Maritime Affairs a month for its feedback on the report prepared by the sub-committee.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

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    PESHAWAR: A 20-member delegation from China visited the Peshawar Museum and historical sites here on Tuesday.

    Members of the delegation took considerable interest in the findings and discoveries relating to Gandhara civilisation and praised the directorate of archaeology and museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for its efforts to protect Buddhist artefacts as well as sites.

    The general manager of the Tourist Information Centres, Mohammad Ali Syed, welcomed the Chinese guests.

    Curator Mohammad Asif briefed the delegation on the archaeological sites in Pesha­war, said a press release issued by the Tourism Corpora­tion of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    The officials expressed the hope that the visit would provide an opportunity to the Chinese guests to share their experiences and know­ledge with archaeologists and researchers which could be beneficial for excavations on archaeological sites and historical buildings.

    The Chinese delegation also visited the historical Masjid-i-Mahabat Khan, Qis­sa Khawani Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar (Andar Shehr), Ghanta Ghar, Chowk Yadgar and other sites of interest in the city.

    Terming Peshawar a historic and safe city, the foreign visitors said the people of the city and other parts of KP were hospitable and friendly.

    The officials informed the visitors that there were over 6,000 archaeological and heritage sites in KP where research was being carried out.

    “The followers of Buddhism would find a treasure trove of Buddhist statues and heritage after thorough research and revival of these sites,” they said.

    Mr Syed said the visit of foreign dignitaries was meant to highlight the importance of heritage and archaeological sites related to Buddhism in KP, besides promoting religious tourism in the province.

    He said the government had taken a number of steps for attracting foreign tourists, scholars and researchers to the province. The official said a comprehensive policy had been evolved for preserving and protecting the archaeological sites and places.

    He said that initiatives were being taken to carry out excavation on archaeological sites with modern techniques and methods.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    MEMBERS of the Chinese delegation take interest in artefacts during their visit to Peshawar Museum onMEMBERS of the Chinese delegation take interest in artefacts during their visit to Peshawar Museum on

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    LAHORE: Turkey’s Maarif Foundation on Tuesday formally assumed the management of all educational institutions in Pakistan previously linked to Fethullah Gulen’s organisation.

    There are 28 Pak-Turk schools in different cities. Schools in Karachi and Islamabad were handed over to the foundation on Friday and those in Lahore on Tuesday.

    Take a look: On the mysterious deportations of Turkish teachers

    The Supreme Court had earlier instructed the government to declare Gulen’s organisation a terrorist group and ordered handing over of the schools to the Maarif Foundation.

    Turkey had established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 after a coup attempt. It was tasked with taking over the administration of overseas schools linked to Gulen’s organisation. It also establishes schools and educational centres internationally.

    The Pak-Turk schools were administered by a foundation linked to Gulen, once an ally of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. However, since the abortive coup attempt in 2016, the Turkish leadership has blamed Gulen for sponsoring the overthrow attempt, resulting in a global crackdown on the religious and educational network led by him.

    Ankara accuses Gulen of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

    However, the students of Pak-Turk schools and their parents had protested against the government for handing over their teachers to Turkey and later the schools to the foundation.

    Maarif Foundation president Prof Dr Birol Akgün said in a statement that his organisation was taking over schools, institutions and facilities in several countries linked to Gulen through bilateral and multilateral agreements on behalf of the Republic of Turkey.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    There are 28 Pak-Turk schools in different cities and were previously linked to Fethullah Gulen’s organisation. — File photoThere are 28 Pak-Turk schools in different cities and were previously linked to Fethullah Gulen’s organisation. — File photo

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    KARACHI: The Grand Democratic Alliance has demanded from the federal government to give substantial package for Sindh and urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to formulate policies pertaining to Sindh in consultation with its allies in the province.

    This demand was made by the GDA core committee comprising chiefs of the four political parties and leaders in the alliance.

    The participants in the meeting, presided over by Pir Pagara at his residence here in Kingri House on Tuesday, reviewed the overall evolving situation in the country with specific reference to political developments in Sindh, ongoing investigation against the PPP leaders and organisational matters of the alliance.

    Rules out any alliance with PPP and reposes confidence in accountability process

    The meeting which lasted for over three hours was attended by Pir Sadruddin Shah Rashdi of PML-F, Ayaz Latif Palijo of QAT, Dr Safdar Abbasi of PPP-Workers, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim of Peoples Muslim League, Murtaza Khan Jatoi of NPP, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, Hasnain Mirza, Sardar Ali Gohar Khan Mahar, Tariq Hasan Khan, Nusrat Sahar Abbasi, Nand Kumar Goklani, Sardar Ghaus Bux Khan Mahar and others.

    Ruling out possibility of any political alliance with the Pakistan Peoples Party in the near future, the GDA reiterated its determination to continue to raise its voice for rights of people in the elected houses.

    It also extended its full support to the ongoing accountability process in the country and demanded that the process be taken to its logical end and all corrupt elements be taken to task.

    Briefing journalists after the meeting, Pir Sadruddin Shah said that the alliance after reviewing political situation decided to further stabilise and activate the alliance and organise it at the grass-roots level.

    He said that Sindh was infested with problems and those responsible for the situation were known to people and media very well.

    “However we will raise all the pressing issues and voice of the people from every forum.”

    Replying to a question, Ayaz Latif Palijo said that the alliance fully supported the ongoing accountability process, which was going in the right direction, because all those who had plundered the national kitty or resources of Sindh did not deserve any concession.

    “It is a long-standing demand that the corrupt people are taken to their logical end.”

    Mr Palijo described the condition of the health institutions in Sindh as pathetic.

    Growers of sugar cane were deprived of the price fixed by the government for their crops, he said.

    He said that the government had announced that it would make recruitments in government departments and in this connection the vacancies should be filled not on political grounds but on merit only.

    Referring to the Sindh chief minister, the QAT chief said that Syed Murad Ali Shah was facing severe allegations of corruption and as such he should quit the office of the chief minister.

    He said that the GDA also had demanded a special package for Sindh to provide some relief to people who were facing grave problems.

    Concern over citizenship, water shortages

    The meeting also expressed its severe concern over water shortage in Sindh, power and gas loadshedding and giving citizenship to Bengalis and Afghans in Sindh and called for immediately reviewing the decision.

    In response to a question, Sardar Rahim of the PML-F said that the GDA would hold a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan when he would be visiting Ghotki on the invitation of Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar.

    He said that falling rupee value and rising dollar rate, increasing imports and reducing exports of Pakistan manifested severe economic crisis in the country.

    Dr Arbab Rahim said that the accountability process ought to continue without any exigency and obstacle.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    This demand was made by the GDA core committee comprising chiefs of the four political parties and leaders in the alliance. ─ Online/FileThis demand was made by the GDA core committee comprising chiefs of the four political parties and leaders in the alliance. ─ Online/File

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    KARACHI: A day after seasoned politician Dr Farooq Sattar announced his plan to bring all splinter groups to one platform, his rivals in the Bahadurabad group of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan on Tuesday warned him that “criminal or civil” action would be taken against him if he did not stop using the MQM-P name, its flag and election symbol.

    A letter issued in this regard by convener of the MQM-P’s coordination committee Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui identified Dr Sattar as the head of the Organisation Restoration Committee — a body he formed in October last to “reorganise the party on ideological lines as it was in 1986”.

    While the MQM-P expelled its former convener in November 2018, its letter stated that Dr Sattar’s basic membership was terminated by the coordination committee on Sept 13, 2018.

    It stated that despite expulsion he had been employing MQM-P’s name, its flag and symbol “for own self-use, which is unauthorised, mala fide and unlawful, amounting to piracy and misuse”.

    “You are hereby warned not to repeat your mala fide act as aforesaid, as in none of your media or other appearances you should be seen to hoist the MQM Pakistan party flag and its symbol ie kite in your vicinity,” the letter said, adding: “None of your banners may also be used or reflect the MQM Pakistan party name or its abbreviation, or exhibit the party flag or its symbol, in any manner whatsoever.”

    The letter warned Dr Sattar that if he did not desist “we shall be left with no other option but to report you to the authorities and/or take suitable legal action (criminal or civil) against you”.

    On Monday, Dr Sattar announced his intentions of setting up the Muttahida Qaumi Council (MQC) and said that he would contact Pak Sarzameen Party leaders Mustafa Kamal, Anis Kaimkhani, Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi chairman Afaq Ahmed and others in an attempt to unite all those who were previously part of the MQM.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    MQM-P Bahadurabad faction warns Sattar of MQM-P Bahadurabad faction warns Sattar of "criminal or civil" action over "self-use" of MQM-P intellectual property. ─ File photo

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Monday dismissed an application pleading to examine the members of the Supreme Court-appointed joint investigation teams (JITs), who had detained and grilled the accused allegedly involved in the murder of renowned social activist Perween Rahman.

    Ms Rahman, head of the Orangi Pilot Project, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013. Five detained accused — Abdul Raheem Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati along with three co-accused Ayaz Shamzai alias Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan and Ahmed Khan alias Ahmed Ali alias Pappu Kashmiri — have been charged with her murder.

    On Monday, when the ATC-XIII judge took up the case, the assistant prosecutor general and the counsel for the complainant jointly moved an application under Section 540 (power to summon material witness or examine persons present) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

    APG Ghulam Murtaza Maitlo and complainant’s counsel Salahuddin Panhwar contended that at the very initial stage the police high-ups had disclosed in the press conference that the real culprits had been killed in a police encounter upon which the sister of the slain activist had petitioned the Supreme Court to constitute a commission to probe the matter.

    They argued that the apex court constituted the commission and JIT to probe the matter, therefore the members of the JIT were material witnesses in the present case and also cited the judgments passed by the superior courts in this regard.

    The prosecutor and the defence counsel said that the accused would not be prejudiced if their application was allowed.

    On the other hand, Advocates Shah Imroze Khan, Amir Mansoob Qureshi, Abid Zaman and Ajab Khan Khattak, who represented the accused, opposed the plea arguing that the investigating officer of the case had neither cited that the members of the JIT had been witnesses in the charge sheet nor had recorded their statement under Section 161 of the CrPC during the investigation.

    They pointed out that neither the report, under Section 173 of the CrPC, and the JIT’s findings were supplied to the accused before the commencement of the trial, adding that nor the same were admissible evidence as had been held by the superior courts.

    The defence counsel added that the matter pertained to the year 2013 and had not yet been finalised due to the act of the counsel for the complainant.

    The accused are behind bars since the date of their arrest and now the matter is near its end as all the material prosecution witnesses have been examined in the case, but instead of closing the side of the prosecution the APG had filed the present application only to prolong the matter without any reasonable ground.

    The judge, dismissing the application, questioned that if the evidence of members of the JIT was so necessary, as stated by the APG for the state, then why the prosecution failed to associate them as witnesses in the calendar of the witnesses in the case.

    He observed that the charge sheet and the investigation report under Section 173 of the CrPC were submitted by the police after thorough scrutiny by the prosecutor, who was responsible for seeing whether it was complete or incomplete, other necessary papers were attached, and after fulfilling all the legal formalities required by the court.

    “The law does not permit the court to fill up the lacunas in the prosecution case,” the judge wrote in his order.

    He further wrote that the present case pertained to 2013 and could not be finalised due to the above act of the counsel for the parties, adding that now there were directives of the Sindh High Court to finalise the matter within two months and the stipulated time was about to end.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    Perween Rahman, head of the Orangi Pilot Project, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013. ─ File photoPerween Rahman, head of the Orangi Pilot Project, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013. ─ File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), hearing a complaint against Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday, refused to summon former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry as a witness.

    A request was made by senior counsel Hamid Khan, who is defending the sitting judge, to call the former chief justice to testify the affidavit he had filed before the five-judge SJC.

    The reference was filed against Justice Khan when his name surfaced in the list of the people having offshore properties abroad. He was also accused of indulging in money laundering and issued a show-cause notice by the council in February 2017.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who heads the council, rejected the plea raised by the counsel by saying that the SJC would not summon retired judges, but the counsel could ask his witness to appear before the forum on his own.

    Reference involves LHC judge who is accused of owning offshore companies, money laundering

    In his affidavit, Justice Chaudhry has defended Justice Khan by saying that he did not receive any complaint against him from any person, bar, judge or the chief justice of the Lahore High Court during his tenure as the chief justice of Pakistan, and that the sitting judge was not short-tempered or disrespectful to lawyers, litigants or government officials.

    On the contrary, the former CJP said, during his tenure as judge of the high court, Justice Khan conducted himself with the highest dignity and his elevation and working as a judge added to the respect and decorum of the institution.

    Justice Khan, he said, had a good reputation among his brother judges, lawyers and litigants as an upright, honest, hard-working and dedicated judge.

    Justice Chaudhry has contended that he nominated and elevated Justice Khan due to his vast legal and international experience and also because he was an honest and upright citizen. Moreover, Justice Khan was a successful lawyer both in Pakistan and at international forums.

    The former CJP said that Justice Khan told him about his practice in the United Arab Emirates and fact of owning properties and that he was working in the boards of different charitable organisations before his elevation.

    On his request, Justice Chaudhry recalled, Justice Khan joined the judiciary and started the process of disassociating himself from all other engagements and family businesses.

    Testifying on Tuesday, advocate Shehzad Shaukat, who knows Justice Khan since childhood and studied with him in the same secondary school and Punjab University Law College, Lahore, said that Nazar Mohammad Chauhan — the complainant — also studied in the same school.

    Mr Shaukat said the allegations levelled by the complainant were misconceived and not worth the paper they were written on. He contended that the complainant had been removed from the civil service and that he “defames Pakistan, its judiciary and its people through his internet blogs”.

    The lawyer said that he was familiar with the fact that the family of Justice Khan was one of the leading business families of Pakistan and that his brothers and cousins were successful business people.

    The lawyers of the country respected Justice Khan earlier as a thorough professional lawyer and now as a knowledgeable, bold, pleasant and upright high court judge, he added.

    The SJC will resume the proceedings on Wednesday again.

    Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar rejects plea raised by the counsel by saying that the SJC would not summon retired judges. — File photoChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar rejects plea raised by the counsel by saying that the SJC would not summon retired judges. — File photo

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