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    GILGIT: Relatives and other residents blocked a major road and ransacked a government hospital in Chilas town over the death of a heart patient alleging delay in treatment.

    The police said Saeed Alam, a 50-year-old resident of Shaheen area, was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital, Diamer, on Thursday morning after he complained about a heart attack, but he didn’t survive.

    Relatives of the deceased accompanied by residents later ransacked the hospital alleging that delay in treatment caused the patient’s death.

    They later placed the body on a major road, burned old tyres and staged a sit-in shouting slogans against doctors and health department.

    The protesters alleged that when the patient was taken to the hospital, no doctor was there.

    Haji Akbar, Abdul Rehman, Maulana Saja and other speakers demanded strict action against the hospital employees responsible for death.

    The protesters stayed put for six hours and went away after the administration held talks with them.

    Meanwhile, the doctors boycotted outpatient departments in Chilas town’s hospitals over the mob attack and harassment.

    They claimed that the patient had died of the negligence of relatives and not doctors’.

    The doctors insisted that the relatives were advised three days ago to take the heart patient to a modern city without delay for treatment, but they didn’t act accordingly.

    They demanded protection for their community’s members.

    Patients complained that the strike inconvenienced them.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    The police said Saeed Alam, a 50-year-old resident of Shaheen area, was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital, Diamer, on Thursday morning after he complained about a heart attack, but he didn’t survive. ─ File photoThe police said Saeed Alam, a 50-year-old resident of Shaheen area, was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital, Diamer, on Thursday morning after he complained about a heart attack, but he didn’t survive. ─ File photo

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    ISLAMABAD: A senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Jahangir Khan Tareen, has filed in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) an application seeking acquittal in a case relating to an attack on the Parliament House and Pakistan Television building during the 2014 sit-in.

    ATC judge Syed Kausar Abbasi Zaidi, after a preliminary hearing of Mr Ta­reen’s plea, issued a notice to the prosecutor and adjourned the matter to Feb 12. The court had granted exemption to Finance Minister Asad Umar, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Education and Professional Training Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Ijaz Chaudhry and other PTI leaders from personal attendance for Thursday’s proceedings.

    The court, however, adjourned proceedings on a plea seeking acquittal of President Dr Arif Alvi in the same case. Mr Alvi has also been nominated as a suspect allegedly inciting violence during the sit-in by the PTI.

    Though Mr Alvi being president of the country enjoys constitutional immunity in criminal proceedings, he had in September filed a petition seeking acquittal in the case.

    Judge issues notice to prosecutor for Feb 12

    According to Article 248 (2) of the Constitution, “No criminal proceeding whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any court during term of office.”

    Police invoked relevant sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act against PTI chief Imran Khan and its leaders Dr Alvi, Mr Umar, Mr Qureshi, Mr Mehmood and Raja Khurram Nawaz for inciting violence during the 2014 sit-in at D-Chowk in Islamabad.

    According to the prosecution, three people were killed and 26 others injured, while 60 were arrested during the violence. The prosecution submitted 65 photos, sticks, cutters, etc, to the court to establish its case.

    Anchorperson’s indictment deferred Separately, the special judge, central, deferred the indictment of Dr Shahid Masood, anchorperson and former chairman of PTV.

    The court was scheduled to charge-sheet Mr Masood in the PTV corruption case. However, the suspect challenged certain sections of the law invoked against him.

    The judge reserved the ruling.

    According to the investigation, Mr Masood being managing director and chairman of PTV was involved in embezzlement of Rs37 million in acquiring PCB media rights in 2008 when an agreement was signed with a fake company namely M/s ISS. The investigators claimed that money had also been released, thus causing a loss of millions of dollars to PTV as the state-run television failed to acquire PCB media rights from 2008 to 2013.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Judge issues notice to prosecutor for Feb 12. ─ DawnNewsTVJudge issues notice to prosecutor for Feb 12. ─ DawnNewsTV

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    LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is serving a seven-year sentence in the Al Azizia Steel Mills case, has complained about `poor’ facilities in the jail.

    He said there was no TV set in his cell and the heater was malfunctioning. Only one newspaper was being given to him.

    “However, I am in good health,” Mr Sharif was quo­ted as having said by a PML-N leader who met him in Kot Lakhpat jail on Thursday.

    A couple of days ago Mr Sharif had complained abo­ut flu and fever, requesting a meeting with his physician.

    Mr Sharif’s mother, dau­g­h­ter Maryam, nephew Ha­m­za Shahbaz and PML-N leaders Mushahidullah Khan, Khwaja Asif, Marri­yum Aur­an­gzeb and Rana Sanaullah were among the visitors.

    Nawaz Sharif denied that he had sought an NRO-like (National Reconciliation Ordinance) pardon from anyone.

    “Those claiming that I have sought NRO should better shed light on it,” Mr Sharif was quoted as having said.

    The ousted premier expressed surprise over reports that he was looking for an `NRO’.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan and some members of his cabinet have said more than once that opposition leaders, especially the Sharif family, were trying to secure `NRO’. The opposition has rebutted the claim.

    A large number of PML-N workers gathered outside the Kot Lakhpat jail and chanted slogans in favour of their leadership. A couple of them were in chains to express solidarity with Nawaz Sharif.

    Maryam Nawaz had brought lunch for her father.

    Talking to reporters outside the jail, Senator Mushahidullah said Nawaz Sharif was the biggest stakeholder in the country’s politics. He said Mr Sharif was being punished for not bowing down. “Some elements are happy to see Mr Sharif in jail.”

    He alleged that Shaukat Khanum Hospital’s money had been transferred to the accounts of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sisters in Dubai. “The prime minister will have to account for this.”

    Rana Sanaullah expressed the hope that Mr Sharif would get relief from the high court as the prosecution had been unable to bring forth any evidence of corruption against him. “Nawaz Sharif is facing politics of revenge,” he claimed.

    He said those who had “installed the PTI government through rigged polls” should now admit their mistake and take corrective measures. “If the present economic conditions persist for another three months, businesses will be forced to pack up,” he warned.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif says there is no TV set in his jail cell, the heater is malfunctioning and he only gets one newspaper. ─ File photoFormer prime minister Nawaz Sharif says there is no TV set in his jail cell, the heater is malfunctioning and he only gets one newspaper. ─ File photo

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    LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday began proceedings to declare Kamran Kiyani, a brother of former army chief retired Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Paragon City Housing Society’s director Nadeem Zia and another absconder in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal scheme case.

    As the court resumed hearing on the reference, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a report stating that warrants for the arrest of the three suspects had not been served upon them since their residences were found locked.

    NAB Special Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua asked the court to start proceedings under sections 87 & 88 of Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) to declare Kiyani and others absconders.

    Judge Syed Najamul Hassan admitted the request and directed the NAB to start the process to declare the three suspects absconders. The judge also directed the bureau to publish the warrants in newspapers against the three suspects by Feb 11.

    Explaining the absence of Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, an official of the Kot Lakhpat jail told the court that Mr Sharif was supposed to appear before a medical board.

    Mr Sharif’s counsel Amjad Pervez stated that there would be no harm in appearance of the opposition leader in court if the medical board permitted him.

    The prosecutor said the defence counsel had been repeating same stance for the last two hearings. He also accused the counsel of employing delaying tactics.

    The judge adjourned further hearing till Jan 24 and also directed the NAB to furnish readable copies of the reference filed in the case. Three suspects -- former principal secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, former director general of Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema and Shahid Shafique of Bismillah Engineering -- were produced by the NAB during the hearing.

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

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

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

    The NAB also accused Cheema of misusing his authority with criminal intent and awarding Rs14 billion contracts of the low-cost housing scheme.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    NAB Special Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua asks court to start proceedings under sections 87 & 88 of CrPC.NAB Special Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua asks court to start proceedings under sections 87 & 88 of CrPC.

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    LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Schools Education Murad Raas says the registration of private schools will be cancelled after Feb 12 if they fail to comply with orders of the court about reducing school fee.

    He told reporters outside the Punjab Assembly on Thursday he was receiving complaints from the parents against private schools for not reducing school fee and not complying with the order of the court.

    He said private schools were given deadline of Feb 12 regarding decrease in fee.

    He said additional fees taken from the parents would be returned to them according to the court orders and if private schools did not return fee, parents should contact his department at 0336-7251214.He said the draft of a regulatory authority was being vetted by the law department and once legislated, the regulatory authority would deal with the issues of private schools in the province.

    He said the draft would be presented before the assembly for approval in its next session.

    Mr Raas said a software was designed to disseminate relevant departmental information to stakeholders.

    He said the programme would also help policy formulation, decision making and transfer/posting of school teachers. He said that 7,500 teachers were required to move forward the agenda of education promotion in schools education department.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Private schools were given deadline of Feb 12 regarding decrease in fee. — FilePrivate schools were given deadline of Feb 12 regarding decrease in fee. — File

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    KARACHI / LAHORE: Just a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the removal of heads of the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) over the gas crisis that gripped Punjab and Sindh last month, new managing directors of the companies were appointed on Thursday.

    “SSGC’s board of directors has appointed Imran Farookhi, DMD (corporate affairs), as the acting managing director till a new incumbent is appointed,” said a statement issued by the company. “Mr Farookhi has been assigned the charge of acting MD in addition to his own existing portfolio of DMD (corporate affairs).”

    “The new acting MD has a rich professional experience of over 31 years,” said the statement citing professional profile of Mr Farookhi. “A mechanical engineer by profession, Mr Farookhi obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from the NED University of Engineering and Technology in 1986. Mr Farookhi joined the SSGC as acting DMD in June 2016.”

    Similarly, the government appointed Amir Tufail as SNGPL managing director after accepting resignation of outgoing MD Amjad Latif.

    Outgoing MDs of SSGCL, SNGPL were removed by PM over gas crisis

    Mr Tufail, the SNGPL’s deputy managing director (services), took over the charge of the office of MD for a probationary period of 90 days.

    “Amir Tufail is the senior-most executive of the company working since 2004. He is a chartered accountant with more than 27 years of working experience in and outside the country. After 90 days, the government will regularise him as SNGPL MD,” said an official source.

    The outgoing MDs of the SSGCL and the SNGPL were removed by the prime minister in view of a report of an inquiry committee. The committee had been constituted by the prime minister to fix responsibility for problems faced by the consumers due to gas shortage in recent days. The committee had submitted its report to the PM on Tuesday.

    The petroleum ministry’s senior officials reportedly bade farewell to outgoing SNGPL managing director Amjad Latif. They expressed sympathy with him over the abrupt decision of the prime minister though the gas import and allocation policies rested with the federal government.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    The outgoing MDs of SSGCL, SNGPL were removed by PM Khan over the gas crisis. ─ Reuters/FileThe outgoing MDs of SSGCL, SNGPL were removed by PM Khan over the gas crisis. ─ Reuters/File

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    PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday disposed of a writ petition filed by former MNA retired captain Mohammad Safdar with the direction to National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, not to arrest him without issuance of an arrest warrants in any inquiry against him.

    The bench comprising Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani and Justice Mohammad Ayub also directed the petitioner, Mr Safdar, who is son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to appear before NAB, if required, in any of the inquiries against him.

    Mr Safdar had moved the court apprehending his arrest by the NAB with the request to issue directives to the bureau not to arrest him without legal proceedings.

    Barrister Mudassir Amir appeared for the petitioner and contended that his client had frequently been issued call-up notices by the bureau.

    He pointed out that the petitioner had appeared in October last year before a team of NAB in an inquiry pertaining to alleged misuse of authority when he was MNA from NA-2, Manshera.

    He stated that the NAB had normally now been arresting suspects after asking them to appear in connection with any inquiry through a call-up notice without issuance of arrest warrants.

    He contended that the Supreme Court in one of the judgments had pronounced that the arrest warrants should be issued by the NAB at least 10 days before arresting a suspect.

    Deputy prosecutor general of NAB, Mohammad Jamil, stated that despite issuance of call-up notices Mr Safdar had not been appearing before the NAB’s team in an inquiry pertaining to his assets, which were apparently disproportionate to his known sources of income.

    He contended that the petitioner would never be arrested in illegal manner.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    NAB contends that the petitioner would never be arrested in an illegal manner.  — FileNAB contends that the petitioner would never be arrested in an illegal manner. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s trade deficit fell sharply by 15 per cent in the month of December 2018 compared to November, driven largely by decline in fuel imports and machinery.

    When compared to December 2017, the decline is even sharper, falling by 18.6pc, according to the official figures of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shared with the federal cabinet on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, exports showed sluggish growth of 5.48pc compared to December 2017 despite a massive devaluation of almost 33pc since then. Exports touched $2.08 billion in December 2018 compared to $1.97bn last year.

    Exports show sluggish growth, ministry claims regulatory duties have compressed imports

    The half yearly exports posted a paltry growth of 2.19pc to $11.21bn from $10.97bn over the corresponding months of last year. The numbers show the government still has more ground to cover in order to fulfill its pledge to revive exports.

    Trade deficit has been at the heart of the economy’s difficulties in the external sector, hitting an all-time high of $37.6bn last year, and respite on this front has been long-awaited. The government wasted no time to tout the figures.

    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a media briefing held immediately after the cabinet meeting said that the prime minister drew confidence from the decline in the trade deficit.

    The premier told the cabinet when presented with the figures that “we are moving in the right direction,” Fawad remarked.

    Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar said that his government is coming up with a five-year economic plan focusing on increasing exports from the country. He said the proposed policy will be focused on producing growth in the country.

    In a late night press release, the finance ministry also touted the figures. The statement, which was a departure from standard practice, said that the “[g]overnment’s policy measures have resulted in shrinking of trade deficit, decline in imports and increase in exports which augurs well for overall balance of payment of the country.”

    “The trade deficit that stood at $17.7bn in July-December 2017 has shrunk by 5pc to $16.8bn in the corresponding period in 2018”, the release highlighted.

    In absolute terms, trade deficit dipped to $2.36bn in December 2018 from $2.78bn in November 2018. On the same pattern, it fell from $2.9bn in December 2017.

    The value of imported goods in the period of July to December was recorded at $28.03bn, down 2.29pc or $658 million from the import bill in the corresponding months of last fiscal year, which was $28.69bn. The decline in imports was steeper in December 2018 which fell by 8.8pc to $4.44bn from $4.8bn over the corresponding month in 2017.

    “This trend is even more pronounced in respect of imports under regulatory duty (RD) regime, where the import value has declined from $5.2bn in July-December 2017 to $4.4bn in July-December 2018, showing a contraction of 16pc (effective on 1994 tariff lines),” the statement from finance ministry claimed, adding that on a month to month comparison, the data “reflects an import compression of over 12pc.”

    According to the press release, imports under the RD regime fell by 23pc during December 2018 when compared with December 2017.

    “Data indicates that the import compression measures taken in the supplementary Finance Act, 2018 have firmly taken hold and are now effectively curtailing imports as per policy regime of the government,” the statement said.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Exports show sluggish growth, ministry claims regulatory duties have compressed imports. — FileExports show sluggish growth, ministry claims regulatory duties have compressed imports. — File

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    PESHAWAR: Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday said Pakistan was being called a ‘battleground’ between China and America due to the wrong policies of the government.

    “Regrettably, our country is being called a battlefield between China and US,” Mr Fazl told a condolence reference held for the party’s provincial chief and parliamentarian, Maulana Amanullah Khan, here.

    Awami National Party central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz provincial president Amir Muqam, Jamaat-i-Islami provincial chief and Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Pakistan People’s Party provincial president Humayun Khan, Qaumi Watan Party general secretary Hashim Babar, JUI-F general secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and leaders of other parties also spoke on the occasion.

    Fazl claims PTI govt wasted over $35bn Chinese investment to please US

    The speakers paid rich tribute to the deceased and eulogised his struggle for democracy and religion.

    Coming down heavily on the ruling PTI over its policies, the JUI-F chief said the government had wasted over $35 billion Chinese investment to get the US blessings.

    He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project was a game changer for the country but the government made it controversial and that the government was safeguarding the interests of the US and Jewish lobby.

    Mr Fazl said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was declared a friend of his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, while the sitting prime minister was talking about peace and friendship with the country’s archrival.

    He said despite the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, the government received a cold response from New Delhi, who had rejected the offer of talks and friendship.

    The JUI-F chief said the National Accountability Bureau was being used as a tool to victimise political opponents of the government.

    He said the PTI had abolished its own Ehtesab Commission in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Mr Fazl said his party had demanded the abolition of the NAB during discussion on 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010 but the PPP and PML-N did not support the demand.

    “Now, let these two parties bear the consequences,” he said in a lighter vein.

    The JUI-F chief said parliament could do away with the NAB if the KP government amended the law to abolish the Ehtesab Commission.

    He said military ruler Pervez Musharraf had created NAB to blackmail politicians and that he had opposed the move at that time, too.

    Mr Fazl said a group of corrupt elements could not hold fair accountability of others.

    He said his party was fighting to liberate the country from foreign powers and their agents.

    “We will take our fight to its logical end to get real freedom,” he said adding that the successive governments did not make decisions independently and were dictated by foreign powers.

    He said the supremacy of the Constitution would bring social, political and economic stability in the country.

    The JUI-F chief said foreign agents were trying to distort the image of Pakistan.

    He alleged that Britain continued to treat Pakistan as its colony and that the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case proved his apprehension in that respect.

    Addressing the reference, ANP leader Main Iftikhar Hussain alleged that the establishment was patronising Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    He said the PTI government would collapse in the centre if the establishment withdrew its support.

    The ANP leader called for unity among opposition parties, especially PPP and PML-N.

    He said all corrupt men had joined the PTI to protect their ill-gotten wealth and political careers.

    Mr Hussain said Premier Imran Khan had been installed to bring changes to the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

    He demanded more autonomy for provinces to strengthen federation instead of the rollback if the 18th Amendment.

    The ANP leader urged Pakistan, big powers and other neighbours to play their role for the political settlement of the Afghan issue.

    He said neighbours and big powers should not waste the ‘golden opportunity’ to end war in Afghanistan as the US had given clear indication of withdrawing its forces from the war-torn country.

    Mr Hussain also appealed to Maulana Fazl and Asfandyar Wali to use their influence to pave the way for a peaceful solution of Afghan war.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a condolence  reference for JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Amanullah Khan in Peshawar on Thursday. — White StarMaulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a condolence reference for JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Amanullah Khan in Peshawar on Thursday. — White Star

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    KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has reserved its judgement in a case pertaining to an alleged attempt on the life of American educationist Debra Lobo made by an Islamic State-inspired convict.

    Convicted accused Saad Aziz, alias Tin Tin, has been charged with shooting at and wounding Ms Lobo, the vice principal of Karachi’s Jinnah Medical and Dental College, on Shaheed-i-Millat Road in April 2015.

    The ATC-XI judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, reserved his judgement after recording the evidence and final arguments from the prosecution and defence sides.

    According to the prosecution, the veteran educationist was on her way home in Defence Housing Authority in a car when the attack took place at approximately 3pm.

    Although she survived the attack, Ms Lobo suffered two bullet wounds on her hand and face.

    Aziz, who along with other IS-inspired youths had been sentenced to death by a military court in the cases pertaining to the Safoora Goth carnage and killing of social media campaigner and human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud, was booked in the present case registered under Sections 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the Ferozabad police station.

    During the trial, Advocate Mohammad Jiwani, defence counsel for Saad Aziz, contended that his client was framed in the present case and that there was no evidence available to establish his role in the offence.

    The prosecutor argued that an eyewitness had identified Saad Aziz as the primary shooter in the incident, during an identification parade.

    The court was asked to punish the detained accused.

    After hearing final arguments from both sides, the judge reserved his verdict in the case to be pronounced later.

    Aziz, a business graduate from a prestigious Karachi institution, along with his other accomplices was handed over to military authorities in January 2016 to face trial before military courts in 18 cases.

    Later, the convicts were handed back to jail authorities.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


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    ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has told the federal government that the prime minister’s initiative to set up a university at the Prime Minister House would violate the city’s master plan.

    The authority has told the federal government it will have to alter the master plan if it wishes to set up a university in a government building.

    Sources in the CDA said that the authority informed the government in an official letter on Wednesday that, according to the capital’s master plan, a university cannot be opened in an administrative building.

    Authority suggests involving recently-notified commission revising master plan

    They said the CDA told the government that a university in the Prime Minister House would be “non-compatible use” of a government building.

    The CDA told the government that the commission recently notified to carry out a comprehensive revision of Islamabad’s master plan could be asked to look into the university matter as well.

    The inaugural ceremony and conference for the Islamabad National University – which is to be set up in the Prime Minister House – was held last month.

    The government had announced at the time that the university was envisioned as an institution designed to support research-based policymaking.

    According to the government, it would initially consist of the Institute of Advanced Studies, which would be tasked with providing science-based annual reports to the government on emerging challenges facing Pakistan and the world, and a PhD programme would be started there at a later stage.

    However, the CDA’s objections may set the government’s plans back by at least six months, which is the amount of time the aforementioned commission has to revise the city’s master plan.

    CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed that the CDA wrote to the government explaining that a university could not be opened at the Prime Minister House without changing the master plan.

    He said the CDA told the government that a university would be non-compatible use of a public building.

    Sources said the Ministry of Federal Education had asked the CDA through the Ministry of Interior to give its perspective on the plan to open a university in the Prime Minister House.

    A source in the authority said the CDA submitted its view “in response to a letter from the education ministry”.

    The government may also find it difficult to get the university’s bill passed in parliament; although the bill would pass in the National Assembly, the PTI does not have enough seats in the Senate to pass the bill without the opposition’s support.

    Sources said that the government will have to get a bill passed by parliament in order to offer degree programmes, including PhD programmes, at the university, which cannot offer programmes without a charter.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Authority suggests involving recently-notified commission revising master plan. — FileAuthority suggests involving recently-notified commission revising master plan. — File

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    TAXILA: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Rawalpindi circle detected corruption worth Rs95 million in government departments and arrested 208 employees on the charge of taking bribe from the citizens during 2018.

    Talking to newsmen here on Thursday, ACE Rawalpindi Director Arif Raheem said 1,539 complaints of corruption against government employees were received on the basis of which 1,219 inquires were conducted and 80 first investigation reports (FIR) lodged.

    He said a sum of Rs0.283 taken from the citizens illegally were recovered from government officials. He said 208 government employees were arrested on the charge of corruption. They included 203 employees in grade 1-15, two in grade 16, two in grade 17 and one employee in grade 18.

    The official said 109 corruption cases were registered during the year. Inquiries were also initiated against mega corruption scandals, including against the managing director of the Waste Management Company and the recruitment of ghost employees.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Official says 109 corruption cases were registered during the past year. — FileOfficial says 109 corruption cases were registered during the past year. — File

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    QUETTA: Berating bureaucracy for creating what they called hurdles, mayors of Quetta and Khuzdar and chairmen of district councils announced plans to hold a demonstration and a sit-in outside the Balochistan Assembly on Saturday against the “injustice done to local bodies institutions”.

    Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, they accused the bureaucracy of failing to resolve problems of the people in the last four years.

    Quetta Mayor Dr Kaleemullah Khan Kakar, Khuzdar Mayor Mir Abdul Rahim Kurd, Chairman of Pishin’s District Council Essa Roshan, Chairman for Kila Abdullah Malik Usman Achakzai and chairmen of other districts and municipal corporations said that after they had taken the oath of office the authorities concerned denied them their powers and were also creating hurdles in smooth running of their affairs.

    They said that they took up the issue of powers of local bodies at every forum but failed to get their due rights.

    “We also demanded making local bodies a partner of provincial government by giving 40 per cent development funds to the institutions,” Dr Kaleemullah Kakar said, adding the government and bureaucracy, instead of releasing funds, were spending the same themselves.

    Mayors and chairmen of district and municipal committees demanded that the term of local bodies, which was ending on Jan 28, should be extended till March 28.

    They expressed the hope that Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani would accept their demands and help in empowering local bodies institutions, besides getting their funds released.

    They said that the government had slashed funds of local bodies in the current financial year.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    LG officials say they took up issue of powers of local bodies at every forum but did not get their due rights. ─ Photo courtesy Syed Ali ShahLG officials say they took up issue of powers of local bodies at every forum but did not get their due rights. ─ Photo courtesy Syed Ali Shah

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    KARACHI: The Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh recommended the establishment of six garbage transfer stations on scientific lines, a master plan for water distribution in the provincial capital and sought timely completion of treatment and effluent plants.

    In its final progress report, placed before the Supreme Court, the commission, headed by retired Justice Ameer Hani Muslim, made several recommendations, including proper disposal of garbage, improvement in water distribution and sanitation, revamping of environmental body and establishment of a centralised complaint cell in Karachi to address complaints about civic issues.

    The commission, which was established in January last year, and is set to complete its tenure on Jan 15, in its final report said that the recommendations were based on its directives passed from time to time and the undertakings/commitments given by various departments, agencies and individuals.

    Judicial commission places final progress report, making various recommendations, before Supreme Court

    Solid waste

    The commission suggested the establishment of six garbage transfer stations in Karachi on scientific lines and said that this scheme had been included in the annual development programme (ADP) of 2018-19 and required a follow-up and implementation by the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB).

    Another scheme about development and transformation of landfill sites to meet international standards has also been made part of ADP 2018-19 and the provincial government needed to identify and set up such landfill sites for all districts in Sindh for proper disposal of solid waste.

    The SSWMB has to carry out waste-to-energy projects through the ADP schemes during the current fiscal year, it added.

    The report further said that the SSWMB would be activated in other divisional headquarters of Sindh during the current financial year.

    Water and sanitation

    The commission observed that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board must prepare a water distribution and sanitation master plan to meet the existing and future needs of the city.

    The existing water supply schemes needed to be rehabilitated and the government should come up with a phased plan within three months. Improving the quality of drinking water by rehabilitating and updating the existing water filtration plants through close monitoring and the task of monitoring may be assigned to the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources after proper evaluation and fulfilment of formalities, it added.

    The commission urged the provincial and federal governments to address the issues related to K-IV on a priority basis and said that water losses, which consumed about a quarter of Karachi’s total water resources, must be checked while flow meters at all important water supply stations must be in place by June 30.

    It also underlined the need for timely completion of a number of water supply schemes in the provincial metropolis and recommended setting up a centralised complaint cell at the commissioner’s office to address public complaints regarding all civic issues in Karachi.

    The final report further stated that the completion/rehabilitation of treatment plant-I (TP-I) and TP-III must be completed by July and December 2019, respectively, and TP-IV be completed as per schedule (at the end of 2020).

    The commission also asked Defence Housing Authority to complete a 2MGD treatment plant at Seaview by April and to ensure that no untreated waste was discharged in the sea after the completion of the said TP.

    The TP-V is committed to be installed by the Karachi Port Trust within two years near the Mai Kolachi Bypass and the combined effluent treatment plant at Nooriabad SITE should be completed by June 2019 while similar effluent plants at SITE in Hyderabad and Sukkur must be completed by December 2019, subject to budgetary allocations.

    Environment

    The commission recommended a complete overhauling of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency by strengthening its physical, technical and academic capacity. The Sepa DG has suggested the establishment of climate change, research and development and law enforcement wings, it added.

    The provincial government should take steps to establish environmental laboratories, set up Sepa offices at district level and Sepa must complete the survey of all industrial areas.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Judicial commission places final progress report, making various recommendations before Supreme Court. — FileJudicial commission places final progress report, making various recommendations before Supreme Court. — File

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    KARACHI: Some 1,750 dock workers of the Port Qasim Authority on Thursday took out a peaceful rally from Regal Chowk to the Karachi Press Club to highlight their issues with their employers for which they have been protesting for the last 108 days.

    Social workers, human rights activists and trade unionists also joined in the rally to show their solidarity with the workers’ cause.

    Abdul Wahid, a dock worker, said that they did loading and unloading work at all the port berths but the problem occurred at berths three and four, which are coal terminals and whose management has been taken over by a Chinese company, which was not paying them for their work. “We have not been paid for eight months now by them. When they were new, we also in good faith worked for them for free because we wanted to be nice to our Chinese brothers. Our countries have maintained very good relations over the years after all,” he said.

    ‘PTI leaders, when in opposition, helped us get renewed our contracts, but now they are looking the other way’

    “We had thought that they were just going through teething problems and that they would pay us sooner or later. But after it became clear to us that they had no intention of paying us our wages, we demanded it,” said Fareed Khan, another dock worker. “That’s when they also started firing us.”

    Mukhtar Khan, who was also protesting at the rally, explained when asked how their families were coping with the situation: “We are earning from our work at the other berths such as numbers one and two. But times are hard as that money is not enough after all to make two ends meet,” he said.

    Mohammad Akbar said that there were many of them and all did not find work every day. “There are over 1,700 workers and each day they contract different men. For example on day one there will be one to hundred of us who will be taken on for the work. Then on day two 101st to 200th worker will be called to work. It is like a rotation system of work. So everyone doesn’t earn wages daily. We depend then on our monthly salaries, which we have not got since June 2018,” he said.

    About their income before the crisis, Abdul Ghaffar, another labourer, said that usually a common worker or loader would get Rs23,000 and a crane operator Rs43,000 a month. “Daily wages were like a bonus income and fluctuated between Rs1,000, 1,500 and 2,000,” he said.

    Hussain Badshah, the secretary general of the Workers Union of Port Qasim, told Dawn that they were surprised to learn of the intentions of the Chinese. “But if we raise our voice to point out the injustice, they tell us to go home.”

    “Basically,” he said, “the Chinese need to be educated about Pakistan’s labour laws so that they take our charter of demands seriously. We have been working at the dockyard since 1981, we deserve some respect.”

    Badshah also said that they had had issues in the past too like in 2016 when their two-year contract had expired and politicians, including current Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail and Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, were by their side making speeches in their favour as the Muslim League-N was in power then. “It was thanks to them that our contracts were renewed then. But now when they are in a position to do something for us and direct the Chinese to treat us right, they are looking the other way,” he said.

    “The Chinese say they will bring their own labour from China for the work here. Then where are we to go?”

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    ‘PTI leaders, when in opposition, helped us get renewed our contracts, but now they are looking the other way’ — File‘PTI leaders, when in opposition, helped us get renewed our contracts, but now they are looking the other way’ — File

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    LAHORE: Gas supplies to industrial, fertiliser and power sectors was restored on Thursday after the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited teams repaired damaged portion of the 36 inch diameter pipeline at Bhong, near Sadiqabad (Rahim Yar Khan), about 650km away from here.

    Since the miscreants had blown up the pipeline early Wednesday, the SNGPL’s teams rushed to the spot and started repair work.

    “Our teams finished the repair work at about 7am on Thursday and restored supplies to industrial, fertiliser and power sectors. At present all sectors are receiving gas through this pipeline,” SNGPL’s newly appointed Managing Director Amir Tufail said while talking to Dawn.

    The situation had also affected supplies to domestic sector in parts of Punjab including Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, DG Khan and Faisalabad.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


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    MITHI: Prime Minister’s Spe­cial Assistant on Power Shahzad Qasim on Thursday visited Thar coal power project’s block-II and received a briefing on the laying of a 143km-long railway track from the site to the nearest main railway line.

    The aim of laying the new track is to facilitate transportation of coal to the lignite-fired power plants in Jamshoro and certain other areas.

    The briefing was arranged by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) at the block-II site and attended by Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh, the firm’s CEO Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi and chairman of Engro Energy Limited Ahsan Zafar Syed.

    PM’s aide Shahzad Qasim pledges to help get necessary approvals

    Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah reportedly provided his special aircraft to the PM’s aide, who took an aerial view of the project site and coal fields and Thar Foundation projects along with the energy minister.

    Imtiaz Shaikh said that the Sindh government always rema­in­ed willing to work with the federal government on any energy project.

    This [collaboration] would not only help further harness indigenous energy resources but would also contribute to the efforts towards making Thar the “energy capital of Pakistan”.

    Speaking at the briefing, Shah­zad Qasim said that the federal government was committed to support the Thar coal project in every possible manner.

    Endorsing SECMC’s proposal on the rail track, he advised the mining firm to formally submit it with the relevant federal authorities and held out the assurance that he would help initiate the process for its approval from the federal and Chinese stakeholders including the Pakistan Railways.

    “I will take up the proposal [of the rail track] at federal government’s forums to get desired funding and the necessary approvals,” said Mr Qasim.

    Giving his personal view, he described the proposal as “very much practicable” and said it could be executed within a short span of time.

    Mr Qasim appeared impressed by the achievements of the public-private partnership between the Sindh government and SECMC and remarked that it was going to make Tharis’ dreams into a reality.

    SECMC chief Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi said at the briefing that the firm was very close to producing electron from the 660MW twin power plant.

    He also highlighted the vitality of the proposed rail track between the coal source and national electricity network.

    Mr Qasim, along with Mr Shaikh and SECMC executives visited the mining sites, power plants and social welfare projects.

    They also travelled in women-driven dumpers and visited the New Senhri Dars village, where a number of displaced Thari families are being resettled.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    PM’s Special Assistant on Power Shahzad Qasim and Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh along with SECMC executives visit a site at Thar Coal project’s block-II on Thursday.—DawnPM’s Special Assistant on Power Shahzad Qasim and Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh along with SECMC executives visit a site at Thar Coal project’s block-II on Thursday.—Dawn

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    MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) capital witnessed a complete shutter down strike on Thursday against the environmental issues caused by the diversion of Neelum River for commissioning Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP).

    The strike call was given by an alliance of civil society activists who include lawyers, traders, political workers and students under the banner of “Darya Bachao, Muzaffarabad Bachao (Save River, Save Muzaffarabad) Committee.”

    The committee has been persistently organising different events to draw attention of the authorities concerned towards serious environmental issues following reduced water discharge in Neelum river beyond Nauseri – the composite dam site of NJHP-- from where water is diverted through a tunnel system to the powerhouse in Chattar Klass.

    Once roaring Neelum river now gives the looks of a small rivulet right from Nauseri to Domel, where it merges in Jhelum river.

    Nauseri is located some 40km northeast of Muzaffarabad.

    While the residents of Muzaffarabad are already reeling from the adverse effects of diversion of Neelum River, the proposed Kohala project, which envisages diversion of Jhelum River through a similar tunnel system, has compounded their worries.

    Witnesses said that it was after a long time Muzaffarabad had witnessed such a successful strike, as all groups of traders were on the same page on this issue.

    All markets, shops, medical stores and kiosks in all neighbourhoods observed the strike. Even the street vendors were not seen anywhere in the town.

    “People of Muzaffarabad have woken up to the disaster wreaked by NJHP,” said Faisal Jamil Kashmiri, a lead activist of the committee.

    He said NJHP was not a mega power project, but a “mega corruption project” at the cost of the lives of people of Muzaffarabad.

    “If any independent and impartial commission probes this project, hundreds of people associated with the execution process will spend the rest of their lives behind the bars,” he said.

    Shaukat Nawaz Mir, a top trader leader, said the movement had begun after “non implementation of agreed conditions” by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

    He said launching power projects in AJK without entering into any agreement with the AJK government amounted toinsult of the people of this territory.

    A similar strike was also held in the town of Garhi Dupatta, some 20 kilometres south of here in Jhelum valley, where demonstrators vowed to go to any lengths to stop Kohala project.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    A man walks past a deserted market in Muzaffarabad amid a complete shutter down strike on Thursday. — DawnA man walks past a deserted market in Muzaffarabad amid a complete shutter down strike on Thursday. — Dawn

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    ISLAMABAD: Civil society groups campaigning against smoking on Thursday presented a new tobacco tax reforms model, and decried the tax collecting body for surrendering to the multinational cigarette manufacturers.

    The new taxation model was presented by Malik Imran Ahmad belonging to ‘Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids’ in collaboration with Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), Human Development Foundation (HDF) and Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH).

    The proposals included demand from the government to implement crucial measures to further strengthen the tax system, regularly increase the excise duty to reduce cigarette affordability, harmonise all taxes across tobacco products and fully implement the international protocol to eliminate illicit tobacco trade.

    Malik Imran said the tax reforms model will also contribute to reduction in adult cigarette consumption by about 2.15pc from 10.4pc among adults in the next three years.

    The civil society members predicted that the tax reforms were expected to generate an additional amount of Rs205.9 billion in over three years.

    Meanwhile, talking to media Malik Imran blamed fall in revenue collections on Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) which benefitted the multinational cigarette manufacturing companies.

    “FBR collected Rs114 billion in FED from cigarette industry in 2016 but it dropped to Rs84 billion the following year due to introduction of three tier taxation system,” Malik Imran said.

    He added: “FBR forwarded the reason for the introduction of three tier system that it would reduce illicit cigarette trade which was around 40pc, but the independent reports suggest that illicit trade was only 9pc.”

    He said that FBR totally relied upon the figures provided by the multinational companies, who in return benefitted from the three tier system under which tax rate was very low. The members of the groups expressed confidence that if recommendation on tobacco tax reform adopted by the government, it will help simplify Pakistan’s tobacco tax system.

    It will also help reduce government’s administrative costs including enforcement and compliance and further align it with best global practices.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    The proposals included demand from the government to implement crucial measures to further strengthen the tax system. — FileThe proposals included demand from the government to implement crucial measures to further strengthen the tax system. — File

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    KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday informed the Sindh Assembly that the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) had collected Rs44.36 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year 2018-19.

    Answering lawmakers’ queries during Question Hour in the assembly, he said that the SRB had collected Rs38bn during the same period in 2017.

    The CM, who also holds the portfolio of finance, said that Sindh was the only province which had consistently been achieving its revenue target.

    He told the house that the provincial government was not running overdraft with the State Bank of Pakistan for last three years.

    Replying to another question regarding the merger of Sindh Bank and Summit Bank, Mr Shah said that the provincial cabinet had decided to merge both the banks.

    He said that in fact Sindh Bank was not being merged with Summit Bank; rather there was a proposal to merge the Summit Bank with Sindh Bank, which would stay as surviving entity.

    “This is under process and will be materialised after approval of the provincial cabinet, Supreme Court of Pakistan and State Bank of Pakistan”, he added.

    The chief minister further said that the Summit Bank was not given any undue favour in the process.

    He said names of other banks were also in consideration but lastly, the cabinet decided to go with Summit Bank.

    When Mr Shah said that the merger process had been halted for some reasons, MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the Grand Democratic Alliance asked him to inform the house about those reasons. The CM replied that the matter was taken up by the apex court and it was still sub judice.

    Replying to another question, he said that an amount of Rs4.2bn was kept in the budget for lower-income groups through Cash Transfer Programme. “An additional Rs 2,000 would be automatically transferred to over 1.8 million families, who are listed in Benazir Income Support Programme in the month of Ramazan,” he added.

    The chief minister said that a programme ‘Unconditional Cash Transfer for Poverty Alleviation’ had been designed for poverty alleviation.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019


    Murad says  the SRB had collected Rs38bn during the same period in 2017. — FileMurad says the SRB had collected Rs38bn during the same period in 2017. — File

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