Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog

Channel Description:

Dawn News RSS feeds

older | 1 | .... | 2920 | 2921 | (Page 2922) | 2923 | 2924 | .... | 2937 | newer

    0 0

    LAHORE: The Punjab government promises a uniform curriculum at least for primary schools in the province next year.

    “A uniform curriculum for primary schools in the province will be introduced by March 2020,” Schools Education Minister Murad Raas told the Punjab Assembly here on Thursday. He was responding to a written question in the House.

    He said the curriculum would also include a certain portion of religious teachings and that uniform syllabus for higher levels would be introduced in due course.

    Replying to a query about existence of both English and Urdu mediums in state-run schools, he chided former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for it saying the PML-N leader introduced English medium without making available teachers for the purpose.

    He said English would be taught in primary schools as a language and other subjects would be taught in Urdu.

    Irritated by criticism of his leadership, PML-N lawmaker Samiullah Khan asked why the PTI could not introduce a uniform curriculum during its five-year rule in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Minister tells PA English will be taught as language, other subjects in Urdu

    He also pointed out that Mr Raas ‘desecrated’ the chair, being held by deputy speaker Dost Mazari, by saying to it while sitting in his own seat “to [ignore the opposition members’ talk and] move forward”.

    Mr Khan said the minister attempted to dictate the chair through the remark.

    This tempted a treasury member to point out that PML-N’s Waris Kallu too had desecrated the chair during last Monday’s proceedings by objecting to senior MPA Mian Shafi’s presiding over the session. The Monday’s issue thus resurfaced in the ensuing debate and led Mr Mazari to give, as acting speaker, his ruling on it.

    Quoting Article 67 of the Constitution, the ruling said that the House shall have power to act notwithstanding any vacancy in the membership thereof, and any proceedings in the House shall not be invalid on the ground that some persons who were not entitled to do so sat, voted or otherwise took part in the proceedings.

    It said that assumption of chair at the commencement of the sitting on Jan 7, 2019, by Mian Shafi Muhammad was absolutely in accordance with the rules and was further validated by the motion adopted by the House, and the entire proceedings on Jan 7 were valid and in accordance with law.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

    Minister tells PA English will be taught as language, other subjects in Urdu. — FileMinister tells PA English will be taught as language, other subjects in Urdu. — File

    0 0

    LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board chairman Muhammad Akram on a contempt petition, questioning his failure to not include a chapter on fundamental rights in the textbooks for primary and secondary schools.

    Justice Ayesha A Malik in 2015 had directed the board’s chairman to hear the point of view of the petitioner and other stakeholders and consider the issue of inclusion of a chapter on the fundamental rights in the textbooks.

    However, the petitioner’s counsel Sheraz Zaka told the court that despite a lapse of three and a half years the court order had not been complied with.

    He submitted that the inclusion of fundamental rights chapter in the curriculum would create awareness among the youth and children about their rights, regretting that no effort had been made in this regard despite the court order issued to this effect on April 8, 2015.

    He asked the court to issue a contempt notice to the board’s chairman and seek an explanation from him on the non-compliance of the order.

    After hearing the arguments, Justice Malik issued a notice to the board chairman and directed him to file his reply by April 8.

    FOOD WASTAGE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued notices to federal and the provincial governments on a petition seeking legislation against wastage of food.

    Advocate Ahmad Pansota filed the petition contending that a huge quantity of food was wasted during marriage functions and other such events but there was no law in the country to check the practice.

    He said the laws relating to preservation of food were available in other countries but no such law had been enacted in Pakistan.

    He pointed out that neither the federal nor provincial government had initiated any step to prevent the food wastage. He said it was the constitutional obligation of the governments to provide food to every citizen and avoid its wastage.

    He asked the court to direct the governments to make an effective law to check food wastage.

    After hearing initial arguments, Justice Jawad Hassan issued notices to the federal and Punjab governments and sought their replies within a fortnight.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

    Despite lapse of 3.5 years the court's order has not been complied with, petitioner’s counsel tells court. — FileDespite lapse of 3.5 years the court's order has not been complied with, petitioner’s counsel tells court. — File

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to continue the travel ban on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwarts, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

    The decision was made at a federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at his office on Thursday.

    The cabinet in its meeting on Dec 27, 2018 had decided to place names of 172 suspects of the fake bank accounts and money laundering case, including top PPP leaders and Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz, on the Exit Control List (ECL). However, the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the case, had expressed surprise on Dec 31 over placing of the names of Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Mr Shah on the ECL and ordered the government to review the decision.

    Party urges Supreme Court to take notice of ‘dictatorial move’

    The cabinet in its last meeting had referred the matter to a special committee of the interior ministry to review it. On Thursday, the committee presented its report to the cabinet recommending removal of 20 names from the ECL, including those of the PPP leaders.

    However, Prime Minister Khan and his team rejected the recommendations and decided that the names of the top leaders of the PPP would remain on the ECL.

    “The federal cabinet has decided not to remove names of Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Mr Shah from the ECL,” said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry at a press conference held to brief the media on the decisions made by the cabinet.

    He said names of the PPP leaders would remain on the ECL until a detailed written order of the Supreme Court was received. “After going through the order, we will decide whether the names of the PPP leaders should be removed from the list or the government should file a review petition against the apex court’s decision,” he added.

    The minister said another committee — comprising Law Minister Farogh Naseem, the PM’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi and Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan — had been constituted to review the travel ban on the 172 suspects. The committee will present its report to the cabinet in its next meeting.

    The names of the 172 suspects were placed on the ECL on the recommendations of a Joint Investigation Team formed by the Supreme Court.

    Meanwhile, the PPP has reacted to the cabinet’s latest decision and termed it a “dictatorial decision”.

    “The cabinet decision has not only exposed the ‘ugly’ face of Imran Khan but the fact that dictatorship is prevailing in the country which does not even accept the decisions of the Supreme Court,” said PPP leader Dr Nafisa Shah in a statement.

    She claimed that the JIT report was prepared by the PM’s Assistant Shahzad Akbar who misused his authority and the PM’s office. “It seems that Imran Khan is scared of Bilawal Bhutto’s politics and employing negative tactics,” she added.

    The PPP leader called on the apex court to take stern notice of the government’s “rigidness” and alleged that the “puppet” government was “using accountability and the ECL as tools for arm-twisting of political opponents”.

    Giving details of other decisions taken by the cabinet, the information minister said the cabinet expressed satisfaction over the government’s economic policies which, according to him, had started bearing fruit.

    He said the prime minister ordered the law ministry to compile a negative category list in 48 hours as per directive of the apex court of the government jobs which could not be given to Pakistani nationals having dual nationality.

    Gas shortage

    The cabinet also discussed prevailing gas shortage in the country as a result of which the people are facing problems in the chilly weather.

    Mr Chaudhry said one of the biggest gas supply distribution systems in the world, which was in Pakistan, had started giving losses to the government because only 28 per cent of the people were receiving gas through it while others were turning on their stoves through other sources, including liquefied natural gas. “Majority of the people are deprived of gas but the mammoth system is giving us losses.”

    He said the prime minister directed the petroleum ministry to formulate a comprehensive policy on the use of gas.

    The minister said former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had left a burden of Rs157 billion circular debt to be paid by the gas sector, adding that there was no debt on the sector when Mr Abbasi had assumed charge as petroleum minister during the term of the last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

    Talking about Rs1.5 million one-month electricity bill of Prime Minister House, the minister said Imran Khan was astonished why the PM House had received such a heavy bill despite the fact that he had cut down its expenditures and use by not living in it.

    “During former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure 85,000 electricity units were consumed by the PM House and now half of it is consumed. Even then the present consumption is quite higher than the PM’s expectations,” he added.

    Mr Chaudhry said the prime minister ordered an audit of the staff responsible for managing the PM House.

    According to him, the cabinet decided to appoint senior officials as heads of different government departments on temporary basis.

    Aviation Secretary retired Squadron Leader Shahrukh Nusrat has been made acting managing director of the Civil Aviation Authority and retired air marshal Arshad Malik acting chief executive officer of the Pakistan International Airlines. Muhammad Saleh Farooqui has been given additional charge of managing director of the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company.

    Anjum Asad has been appointed member of the National Tariff Commission and Ayesha Aziz managing director of the Pak-Brunei Investment Company.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

    PPP urges the Supreme Court to take notice of the cabinet's 'dictatorial move'. ─ Photo courtesy Murad Shah FacebookPPP urges the Supreme Court to take notice of the cabinet's 'dictatorial move'. ─ Photo courtesy Murad Shah Facebook

    0 0

    KARACHI: The Sindh legislature on Saturday passed a resolution, unanimously expressing its immense displeasure over the reduced gas supply to Sindh, warning Islamabad to end the “unconstitutional” gas loadshedding, or face a protest to be launched by everyone living in the province.

    The legislature also unanimously passed The Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Bill, 2018 with the aim to widen the facilities to cure heart diseases across the province.

    A joint resolution was moved by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Mohammad Hussain, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani and Grand Democratic Alliance’s Nand Kumar, expressing concern over the prolonged gas shortages across Sindh that had gravely impacted the province’s economy, industries and homes.

    Lawmakers want an urgent meeting of the Council of Common Interests convened to help resolve issues

    The resolution reads: “This house resolves and recommends to the Government of Sindh to approach [the] federal government to take notice of violation of Article 158 of the Constitution by the Federal Ministry. Due to the shortage of gas the domestic as well as commercial consumers are facing a lot of difficulties in the province of Sindh.”

    It further stated that the department concerned “shall within a period of one month from the date of communication of the resolution by the assembly secretariat”, apprise the assembly of the action taken on the resolution as required under the Rules of Procedure of the Sindh Assembly.

    CCI meeting

    The speakers demanded that a meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) urgently be called to address the issue and provide relief to the people of Sindh.

    The resolution expressed deep concern over the incessant gas outages across the province, which is the largest contributor to nationwide gas production.

    Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the issue of adequate gas supply to Sindh had been raised in the meetings of the CCI previously and his government was in touch with Islamabad to make sure that the people of Sindh should not suffer because of such outages.

    He referred to a previous meeting of the CCI, in March last year during the previous federal government, in which the attorney general had been appointed to recommend a comprehensive policy on the gas supply issue as raised by his government.

    He said the Sindh government had sent its comments to the AG in a timely manner while none of the other provincial governments did that at which they had been asked to send their comments within a month or they would be deemed in agreement with the policy.

    Mr Shah said the then chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had supported Sindh’s stance. He said apart from him with KP CM’s support, there were three other members who belonged to Sindh and could back his government’s stand. He hoped Balochistan would also be there to support Sindh.

    He appreciated the opposition for moving the resolution and backing him. He said he would use that support to ask Islamabad to convene an urgent meeting of the CCI to discuss the issue.

    He said he hoped the federal government would give its due right to Sindh, adding that he had met the federal ministers for petroleum and power and other top officials from Islamabad who had accepted his argument on the matter.

    He said he hoped that the federal government would give its nod for the wind corridor project.

    Sindh opposition’s top priority

    Opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi said that despite representing the PTI, which ruled Islamabad, Sindh was their top priority.

    He said gas wells were getting depleted, warranting new explorations.

    PTI’s parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Shaikh said his party had supported the resolution as it would not leave the people of Sindh in the lurch.

    Minister Ghani referred to the Constitution saying it clearly accepted the first right for the use of gas by the province where it was produced.

    MQM-P’s Khwaja Izharul Hasan said the gas issue had persisted for a few years as it had forced the K-Electric to shut down its gas-powered plants. He asked the chief minister if Sindh was getting its gas royalty share.

    GDA’s Nand Kumar said no gas was being provided to the areas where gas was being produced.

    Ghulam Qadir Chandio, Heer Soho and Abdul Rasheed also spoke.

    Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases

    Earlier, the select committee presented its report on The Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Bill, 2018, saying it had approved it after making minor corrections and amendments under different clauses and found it fit to be passed by the assembly.

    Later, Health Minister Azra Pechuho presented the bill clause by clause and the house passed it unanimously.

    Its statement of objects and reasons said: “At present there is only one cardiovascular hospital in Sindh namely National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases located in Karachi which does not cover all the patients coming from the entire province of Sindh due to heavy load of patients.”

    It further said that to facilitate poor cardiac patients of the province by providing quality care and to enhance the teaching skills of undergraduates and postgraduates and to make them at par with the international counterparts, “it is expedient to establish an institute known as the Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and to enact a law in the matter”.

    The bill further said that the headquarters of the institute would be at Karachi/Sukkur.

    Alternative dispute resolution

    Besides, the house also unanimously passed The Code of Civil Procedure (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2018, which introduces alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to shed burden on the courts and provide quicker justice in civil cases to save the litigants from spending high costs and time.

    The bill said the ADR offered mechanisms such as mediation and conciliation, which were internationally recognised as a vital part of the justice system.

    The house discussed calling-attention notices by Heer Soho, Tanzila Sheedi, Marvi Rashdi, and Ghanwer Isran on various issues.

    They set Monday to discuss an adjournment motion tabled by Nida Khuhro regarding the federal government’s “lack of interest” in the National Finance Commission Award.

    The Sindh Zakat and Ushr (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was introduced.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

    SINDH CM Syed Murad Ali Shah speaks during the assembly session on Thursday.—PPISINDH CM Syed Murad Ali Shah speaks during the assembly session on Thursday.—PPI

    0 0

    The Supreme Court on Friday, a day after the family of late Air Marshal Asghar Khan opposed the closure of a case related to financial scams of the 1990s, summoned the defence secretary to apprise it of the status of cases against army officers allegedly involved in the case.

    The apex court had notified Khan's heirs after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) last month suggested that the case relating to the implementation of the 2012 verdict be closed since the authorities did not have enough evidence to launch a criminal prosecution against the individuals named in the judgement of the apex court.

    In 1996, Asghar Khan had filed a human rights petition in the SC, accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of doling out money to a group of politicians in the 1990s.

    The case was initiated by the air marshal after Benazir Bhutto's interior minister, retired general Naseerullah Babar, had claimed in the National Assembly in 1994 that the ISI had disbursed funds to "purchase" the loyalty of politicians and public figures so as to manipulate the 1990 elections, form the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), and bring about the defeat of the PPP.

    Sixteen years after the petition was filed, the SC in its judgement — penned by then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry — ruled that the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140m to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives.

    According to the FIA report, 18 politicians in their statements submitted in the SC denied receiving the funds to allegedly manipulate the 1990 polls.

    The agency has contended that the statements of witnesses recorded in the case so far had gaps and did not correlate with each other. Moreover, the investigation agency has also remained unsuccessful in securing financial records from the relevant banks since the matter is 24 years old.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing the case today, questioned how the court could just dismiss its decision. "We will get further investigation done," he asserted, adding that Salman Akram Raja would assist the court.

    "How can this case proceed?" he asked. "A verdict has already been announced, but look what's happening now, when it is time for implementation."

    Justice Nisar recalled that it had been suggested "that some individuals should be separated from the case".

    "That should not happen," Raja said. "A man has said 'I have distributed the money'," he pointed out.

    "We will not let Asghar Khan's efforts go to waste," Justice Nisar asserted. "The Asghar Khan family was not taken into confidence over the suggestion that the case be closed. If the FIA lacked the authority, it could have gotten the investigation done by another institution," the chief justice added.

    "When the verdict was announced, I met then-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry," the top judge recounted. "I said to Chaudhry that he had announced such a massive verdict that if the court now does nothing more, even that was enough."

    "The Asghar Khan and Asia Bibi case verdicts are historical," Raja commented.

    "A military court is trying the army officers who were involved. There is a separate trial against civilians," the chief justice said. "The cabinet had said that a military court would try them (army officers). How can we reach a final conclusion after separate investigations?" he wondered.

    "We don't know what action the military has taken so far, why not summon a report from them too?" he suggested.

    "Don't get the impression that the military is beyond the jurisdiction of this court," Justice Nisar said. "As the chief justice, I would like to tell them that all this is within our jurisdiction."

    "Why don't we summon the defence secretary?" he suggested.

    The court in today's hearing decided that it was not satisfied with the conclusions reached by the FIA and asked the agency to submit a response to Khan's family's joint reply.

    The SC also ordered that a notice be sent to the defence secretary and asked him to apprise the court on which army officer's cases were sent to military courts and what progress had been made in the investigation. The court ordered the reply to be submitted in a week and adjourned the case until Jan 25.

    The Supreme Court decided that it was not satisfied with the conclusions reached by the FIA. ─ File photoThe Supreme Court decided that it was not satisfied with the conclusions reached by the FIA. ─ File photo

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: With the confirmation of another case, the total count of polio cases in the country reached nine in 2018.

    The confirmation of the ninth case came two days after the departure of World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who was on a visit from Jan 6 to 8.

    Mr Ghebreyesus had said that the missing children and refusal by parents were major challenges to the eradication of poliovirus from the country.

    “Pakistan also needs to stop transmission of the virus from Afghanistan. Our New Year’s wish is ‘zero’ polio by end of 2019. The children of Pakistan and the children of the world deserve nothing less. Failure to eradicate polio would result in global resurgence of the disease, with as many as 200,000 new cases every year, all over the world,” he had said while addressing a press conference at the WHO head office, hours before heading home.

    The last case was reported from Bana Manji Wala village near Lakki Marwat, where a 16-month-old girl (Anam, daughter of Afzal Khan) was brought with initial symptoms of paralysis. Her specimen was collected on Dec 20, 2018. Incubation of sample took 20 days to confirm. The paralysis was assumed due to poliovirus or some other reason.

    An official of polio programme, requesting not to be named, said that according to the mother, the child developed respiratory tract infection with high fever and cough on Dec 6, 2018.

    “The family took the girl to a medical facility and within few days her condition improved and she started playing as children do. She remained on oral medicines for respiratory infection and showed no signs of weakness in any part of the body till Dec 16, when mother noticed the child was not walking properly and had developed weakness in left lower limb,” he said.

    “According to the mother, the child had received over seven Oral Polio Vaccines. The family had returned from Quetta in November after staying seven months with her spouse. The child received OPV doses at Quetta and Lakki Marwat and they never ever refused OPV,” the official said.

    “Blood samples for serological assessment of immunity status have been taken from the patient and three other children from the same family,” he added.

    Official said that at times, despite being vaccinated, the child got infected with poliovirus.

    The official website of the polio programme shows that in 2018 as many as three cases each were reported from tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Two cases were reported from KP and one from Sindh. No polio case was reported from Punjab, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir in 2018.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

    The official website of the polio programme shows that in 2018 as many as three cases each were reported from tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. ─ AFP/FileThe official website of the polio programme shows that in 2018 as many as three cases each were reported from tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. ─ AFP/File

    0 0

    After more than four months of dilly-dallying, India has agreed to fulfil its commitment of getting its two hydropower projects — 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal — inspected by Pakistani experts, officials said on Friday.

    Pakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehr Ali Shah said a delegation of Pakistani experts will visit the two Indian project sites on Chenab River for an inspection, scheduled for later this month.

    "India has also given positive signals regarding inspection of other projects constructed on Chenab River," he revealed while speaking to DawnNewsTV.

    Examine: Why the Indus Water Treaty has stood the test of time

    Shah said Pakistan had achieved this "success" after forcefully raising the issue of India's violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

    Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda hailed the development as a "major breakthrough", saying a delegation led by Shah will visit the Indian hydropower projects at the Chenab Basin for an inspection between January 27 and February 1.

    "It’s indeed a feather in [the] Ministry for water resources’ cap. We welcome this gesture from India and we expect the same spirit for resolution of other outstanding issues," the minister said in a series of tweets.

    Vawda observed that Pakistan and India have been engaged in the dispute relating to IWT "for ages", but New Delhi had now agreed to schedule the visit of Pakistani experts "due to our continued efforts".

    India had originally agreed to allow Pakistani experts to inspect the aforementioned two projects during the 115th meeting of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters (PCIW) held between the two countries from August 29 to 30 in Lahore last year.

    Besides agreeing to an inspection of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal projects, which was scheduled for September, India had also consented to a survey by Pakistani experts of the Kishanganga project at Jhelum basin at a later stage. Reciprocally, Pakistan had agreed to allow India to carry out inspection of Kotri Barrage over the Indus after September.

    After initially scheduling the inspection of the projects at Chenab Basin by Pakistani experts from October 7 to 11, New Delhi had postponed the same on the pretext of local bodies’ elections in the respective areas.

    During the last week of October, the Pakistani Indus water commissioner had telephoned his Indian counterpart, Pradeep Kumar Saxena, and urged him to give a schedule for the experts' visit. However, Saxena then said it wouldn’t be possible during the first or second week of De­c­em­ber due to local Punchayat elections in Indian occupied Kashmir — the region where these projects are located.

    After a reminder in November, Islamabad had on December 24 once again urged India through a letter to fulfil the commitment it made in August to schedule the hydropower projects' inspection by Pakistani experts.

    Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah and members of his team talk to Indian Indus Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena and other members of his delegation during a meeting in Lahore in August. — APP/FilePakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah and members of his team talk to Indian Indus Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena and other members of his delegation during a meeting in Lahore in August. — APP/File

    0 0

    Days after a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) steward was offloaded from a flight for consuming alcohol, the national flag carrier warned its pilots and cabin crew of stern action against officials found intoxicated while on duty, the airline's spokesman Mashhood Tajwar confirmed on Friday.

    Tajwar said that officials found violating the national flag carrier's strict rules against alcohol consumption can face suspension or termination of employment.

    "It is totally banned and whoever caught will be dealt with in accordance with corporation rules and regulations, which include termination as a maximum punishment," he explained.

    According to a Jan 9 internal safety bulletin issued by PIA, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has recommended alcohol testing of cabin crew during ramp inspections as per the UAE Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) Programme.

    The GCAA has established the means to "test any flight crew operating a foreign aircraft subject to the UAE SAFA Programme" following the promulgation of requirements prohibiting the use of psychoactive substances including alcohol, the bulletin stated.

    The bulletin also laid out mandatory requirements that flight operators must adhere to, including: - That crew members are aware of and adhere to the operators' regulations as they pertain to psychoactive substances. - That crew members submit to testing as and when required by the GCAA without obstruction or complication. - That crew members will be understood to be on duty when they are observed by the GCAA inspector "performing aviation safety activities" or their name appears on the declaration of the intended flight. - That crew members understand the GCAA will report violations to the relevant authorities. - That effective remedial actions are taken to prevent recurrence of any hazards reported by the GCAA.

    The bulletin stated that "strict compliance is required".

    PIA warns its pilots and cabin crew of stern action against officials found intoxicated while on duty. ─ File photoPIA warns its pilots and cabin crew of stern action against officials found intoxicated while on duty. ─ File photo

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has explained that it had advised all banks to provide information about bank accounts of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

    Clarifying a news item headlined “PTI operating 18 undeclared bank accounts: SBP report” published in Dawn, the State Bank’s chief spokesman said on Thursday that the ECP had in July last year approached the SBP for assistance in obtaining information about PTI’s bank accounts from 2009 to 2013 as per the commission’s mandate enshrined in the Con­stitution and the Elections Act, 2017.

    “SBP while discharging of its duties advised all banks to provide the required information/data directly to ECP by due date, as per procedure laid down under the law,” the clarification said, denying issuance of any report relating to the PTI’s bank accounts to the ECP.

    “SBP neither maintains the database of banks’ individual accountholders nor possesses any related information/record thereof. Banks being the custodian of customers’ information may directly provide this information to various agencies, on case-to-case basis, as per procedure laid down under the respective laws. Therefore, it is out of question that SBP has reported 18 undeclared bank accounts of PTI out of total 26 to the ECP,” it added.

    Informed sources confirmed that the data, which revealed that the PTI was operating 18 undeclared bank accounts, had directly been provided by the scheduled banks to the ECP on the advice of the State Bank.

    The letter to the State Bank governor on July 3, 2018. — Dawn
    The letter to the State Bank governor on July 3, 2018. — Dawn

    According to documents available with Dawn, the ECP director general (law), who heads the commission’s scrutiny committee mandated to examine the allegations of receipt of funding by the PTI from prohibited sources, had written a letter to the State Bank governor on July 3, 2018, seeking assistance from the SBP in obtaining information rela­ted to PTI’s bank accounts.

    The information sought included list of bank accounts maintained by the PTI anywhere in Pakistan from 2009 to 2013, with data-wise details of transactions, country-wise list of all funds transferred to the PTI accounts from abroad during the period separately for each financial year, including particulars of remitters, and monthly bank statements of all the accounts for each financial year (2009-2013).

    Subsequently, the State Bank had on July 12, 2018 written letters to the presidents/chief executives of all banks with copy of the letter. “….You are advised to provide the requisite information directly to the Election Commission of Pakistan before July, 16, 2018 positively under intimation to the State Bank of Pakistan. In case of non-existence of PTI account with your bank, a NIL position may kindly be reported to the Commission,” the SBP letter read.

    Credible sources insist that the data showed the PTI was operating 26 bank accounts across the country, but only eight of them had been declared before the ECP.

    Former ECP secretary Kanwar Dishad, while talking to Dawn, said it was irrelevant if the SBP had provided information about PTI’s bank accounts directly to the ECP or the data had been generated from the banks on its directives. He said the ECP enjoyed the powers to take back the symbol of any political party found to have been involved in concealing its funding and bank account details.

    Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

    SBP spokesman says ECP approached SBP for help in obtaining information about the bank accounts. ─ File photoSBP spokesman says ECP approached SBP for help in obtaining information about the bank accounts. ─ File photo

    0 0

    Source: Shutterstock
    Source: Shutterstock

    Internet users in Pakistan have been buying and selling items since the days of infuriatingly slow dial-up connections. But it is only in the last few decades that online shopping has transformed consumer habits and revolutionised businesses all over the world.

    According to State Bank of Pakistan stats, in Pakistan e-commerce industries witnessed a growth of 93.7% for the year 2018.

    The sales of local and international e-commerce merchants for FY2018 have reached almost Rs40 billion.

    This is good news. But where we celebrated reduced carbon emissions, rental cost cutting for retailers, availability of cheap deals and the ease of swift transactions as favourable byproducts of online marketplaces— long and complicated procedures, shipping delays, the risk of fraud and misleading practices have put a damper on e-commerce optimism.

    Read: Pakistan’s booming e-commerce market is just getting started

    Wins and drawbacks

    The dynamics of online businesses in Pakistan have changed in the last few years. Today we are fortunate enough to have online marketplaces with:

    • proper payment systems in place
    • affordable ready-made solutions to start an online store and
    • the help of service providers to start a business on the internet.

    Not only that, users have been building successful businesses utilising nothing but their personal profiles on major social media platforms with absolutely zero technical know-how of website building.

    Online stores today have some semblance of transparency and are more personalised. Unlike other stores in the past, e-stores are now more reachable than ever; people operating behind online stores are known, their offices are public knowledge and they organise frequent press conferences.

    Read: As Alibaba buys Daraz, many ask: what next?

    But there also exists mistrust between buyers and sellers due to careless product entries, misleading pricing and other online services collapsing.

    Companies invest plenty to gain sizable business but often fail to counter campaigns that damage the company’s reputation and the reputation of e-commerce as a whole.

    Common misleading practices

    1. Inaccurate product listing

    Shopping starts from going through products in a category or in a search result. The idea is to find the required item fast, but nothing is more cumbersome than getting a completely unrelated product in the resulting list.

    Optical clip lens for smartphones
    Optical clip lens for smartphones

    Gimbals are popular among video makers worldwide. A photographer approached me during an event to know the price of a 'gimbal' I was using. But I was using a simple mini tripod (exactly what is shown in the screenshot). I asked him what made him call my mini tripod a gimbal. Following up to with his reply, a simple search on Daraz confirmed what misled him. Out of the first 16 items in that search, only three are actually gimbals.

    What we have here is a product detail of an item. Interestingly, the two pictures of supposedly the same item show two entirely different products. But which one will the buyer purchase?

    2. Not enough detail

    Product description doesn't give much away
    Product description doesn't give much away

    Without human interaction or examining the product in person, pictures and the corresponding description is the only way to learn about a product. International stores insist on paying attention to the presentation of a product in order to find a seller.

    The description and specifications are hardly provided in our local stores, let alone be organised and relevant. Some of the top proclaimed stores sometimes don’t even provide proper product shots.

    Of course, all we need to know about a fitness tracker before buying it is that it's 'black, leather, comfortable and trendy.'

    3. Careless content writing

    Careless and inaccurate content writing
    Careless and inaccurate content writing

    Duplicating information is very common between similar products to cut the work load. This often misleads and confuses the customers.

    Presenting here a 'smartphone lens' that can be used as a tripod.

    When it comes to describing the products you sell, it pays to use the right words with their proper definition. Using the wrong terms to describe items not only makes a store look bad, it increases returns and charge backs. It can also land you in legal trouble.

    4. Not knowing the product and its market

    Keeping up with the change in the market is key to delivering quality products buyers are looking for. Cheap knock-offs of trending products take vendors nowhere, in fact it drags the host website down with them.

    Mini AC
    Mini AC

    During the peak of the deadliest heat wave in Pakistan a few years ago, an impossibly affordable battery driven mini "AC" was introduced at Yayvo to beat the heat. It was sold in hundreds within days before the item was assigned a different title.

    Turns out that the device was not at all how it was initially advertised.

    The tiny toy AC claimed to keep a room cool enough in hot weather, but the description wasn't clear enough. The site advertised the product as if it was something larger and better than other cooling devices. In reality it was very small and could barely push air to a table distance. There was also a tray to put two or three cubes of ice in it. It was sold for Rs3,000 initially, while it is available in local shops for Rs500 only.

    Surprisingly, it couldn't be found under the "sold out" label after a couple of days of its launch. After a few days it was listed again under a different title.

    5. No stock management

    Selling products without having them in position is what causes problems like delayed delivery, cancellation of the order or dispatching something entirely different.

    Unhappy users naturally prefer trying their luck elsewhere, like real shops.

    6. Defective items and replicas

    Replicas are sent against the full price of original luxury products. Poorly made replicas of branded clothing made from extremely cheap fabric is common. Users receive faulty and damaged goods purchased directly from official vendors of reputed companies.

    Cheap replicas
    Cheap replicas

    An unfortunate but recurring problem is that users receive defective items or replicas with lengthy return policies. Recently, a cousin received absolute garbage in the name of clothes, that didn't even last a day.

    Wristwatches, jewellery, luxury gift items are charged for the original amount but instead, cheap replicas are sent to customers.

    "Misleading Product Listing" as they are termed, don't show the real picture of the products they sell. This is more common in clothing items.

    7. Delivery issues

    Gorilla pod after opening the package
    Gorilla pod after opening the package

    Delivery guys are often found being aggressive in collecting the money first and not allowing buyers to open or inspect the package before. Often, customers recieve either a damaged product or an inaccurate one.

    But according to the delivery guys (personal experience included), it is the company that tells them to collect the payment first.

    8. Defaming other e-stores

    Online campaign against an e-store
    Online campaign against an e-store

    Sudden spike of complaints on social media targeting specific online store is a sign of nasty form of business competition done through engineered contents. This cold war plants the seeds of doubt in consumers, which apparently not only harms the targeted store but the entire e-commerce culture as well.

    Digital marketing companies and supposed-users need to look at the larger picture and take responsibility by saying no to such campaigns that they would never admit to being a part of.

    9. Overpricing and fake discounts

    Overpriced camera
    Overpriced camera

    Not all stories of giving false discounts during mega sales events are fake and they are not limited to the discount seasons.

    Overpricing an item and adding small discount while still keeping the price higher than the original is another decades-old practice, which has unfortunately migrated to digital market spaces.

    Here a 700D camera, that is available for Rs55,000, is being sold for Rs58,000 with supposedly a '17% discount.'

    10. Fake reviews

    Fake review by a vendor
    Fake review by a vendor

    Reviews within e-stores are supposed to be an authentic way knowing a service, product or vendor but are often plagued by positive reviews that are fabricated. Negative reviews were never even published on many of the store websites.Users should leave a feedback and buyers must review their purchases in that section, whether good or bad. Review system of e-stores should be assigned symbols to separate buyers' reviews from general feedback.

    Such a review system can discourage fraudulent vendors and will help professional sellers to grow and reach consumer numbers they deserve.

    11. Reporting system

    'Report' feature on AliExpress
    'Report' feature on AliExpress

    Keeping an eye on every vendor and every product on massive online stores is not humanly possible. Reviews system works best to inform other consumers about the products but a 'report' option to management will be an efficient method in identifying suspicious vendors, faulty products and other important issues that require serious action.

    And of course, a dedicated staff to monitor the reports is crucial in this accountability process.

    12. After sales service

    Who could deny the importance of 'After Sales Services.'

    Yayvo's timely reply
    Yayvo's timely reply

    Online businesses are no different in this regard. In fact, there’s more value in it since customers are going to order something they have not inspected in person. We have seen time and time again that in case of getting a defective or wrong item, the process of returning the product is often long and unfriendly, and getting the money back is a very painful process.

    These complications can be reduced if only vendors double check the items they are dispatching.

    How can it be fixed?

    Leaving a buyer unhappy does not mean the loss of one customer. It means that one buyer can stop hundreds of potential buyers, and a happy buyer can multiply the business just as much.

    By no means do all Pakistani online stores suffer the above-mentioned mountain of problems. Some are doing a phenomenal job, while some have more room for improvement than others.

    To have happy buyers, companies under the spotlight need to act like true leaders and take responsibility to reduce damaging elements to the online shopping experience.

    At this stage, they also have a responsibility to strengthen the foundation of e-commerce first, before chasing the title of "the largest".

    At the end, I should add that there are web stores in the market that keep coming up in discussions for their professional approach. Presentation of products including pictures and necessary details on HomeShopping and AllMyTech, as well as their search results are far better than the top advertised and advanced e-stores.

    Following are some suggested steps that can be useful in reducing the discussed threats to our e-commerce culture:

    • Provide proper training to content writers and vendors to present their products correctly.

    • Improve the in-store system of 'Product Reviews.'

    • Improve customer service as well as 'After Sale Services.'

    • Allow users to report a seller directly and easily to the concerned management.

    • Take necessary action toward incompetent vendors.

    • Strict action needs to be taken against scamming sellers under cyber-crime, and affected buyers should be compensated on a priority basis.

    • Stay in constant communication with other stores, share information regarding guilty sellers and discourage others from walking the same path by making the information public.

    Do you agree with us? What Pakistani web stores do you visit? What improvements do you want to see online stores in Pakistan make?

    Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    0 0

    Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz on Friday claimed that her father was suffering from a pain in his arm, "which is most likely to be angina", and complained that Sharif's cardiologists "have been trying to get access to him all day but [the] permission [has] not [been] granted".

    The ousted prime minister is serving a seven-year sentence for corruption in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.

    "He [Nawaz] needs to be examined by the doctors who are privy to his complicated medical history," Maryam wrote on Twitter.

    Sharif had undergone an open-heart surgery about three years ago in London.

    Maryam, who had visited her father in the jail on Thursday, also retweeted a post by a PML-N worker, who claimed that although Sharif had been complaining about the pain in his arm since the morning, his personal doctor had not been allowed to examine him.

    "Dr Adnan [Sharif's personal doctor] has urged [the] Medical officer that Mian sb is [a] heart patient and pain in arm is [a] very dangerous symptom, but he has been asked to visit on Monday," he tweeted.

    Punjab govt refutes claim

    Dr Shahbaz Gill, the spokesperson for the Punjab chief minister, in a video refuted claims that Sharif was being denied a meeting with his personal doctor, saying Maryam's allegations were "completely false".

    Contradicting Maryam's tweet, he claimed that Dr Adnan had contacted the jail administration to request a meeting with Sharif at 5:38 in the evening.

    However, Gill stated, a jail doctor had already conducted Sharif's medical check-up earlier in the day; the doctor found the PML-N chief to be healthy and his blood pressure, sugar level and ECG to be normal. Dr Adnan was therefore directed to visit the jail tomorrow to meet Sharif and he acknowledged the same, the spokesperson added.

    Jail security officials had earlier told DawnNewsTV that the prison's medical officer, Dr Afsar Khan, conducted Sharif's medical check-up at around 4:30pm today. They quoted the doctor as saying that the former prime minister's condition was fine and there was no active complaint by him. His blood pressure, pulse and blood sugar levels were all normal.

    Ahsan Iqbal's warning

    Meanwhile, senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal in a tweet alleged that the government was "deliberately" depriving Nawaz and his brother Shahbaz of medical facilities.

    "If something happens to the health of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, [we] will have a case registered against Prime Minister [Imran Khan], the chief minister, interior secretary and the jail superintendent," the former federal minister cautioned.

    Sharif had requested a meeting with his physician after complaining of flu and fever earlier this week. He had also complained about "poor" facilities in the jail. “However, I am in good health,” he was quo­ted as having said by a PML-N leader who met him on Thursday.

    The PML-N quaid was taken to Adiala jail after he was sentenced to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case on December 24 by an accountability court in Islamabad. He was later shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail on his own request.

    The former premier was fined Rs1.5 billion and $25 million. The court also barred him from holding a public office for 10 years after completion of the sentence.

    Nawaz Sharif Nawaz Sharif "needs to be examined by the doctors who are privy to his complicated medical history," Maryam says. — AP/File

    0 0

    Police on Friday arrested two security guards from Jamshoro who allegedly attacked a Chinese national in Karachi's DHA neighbourhood with a knife and robbed him of Rs3 million cash and other valuables late on Thursday night.

    The held suspects are guards of a private security company named Polizia, DIG South Sharjeel Karim Kharal said.

    The injured Chinese national, Shi Qingpu, was residing in Karachi while doing private business, the officer revealed.

    Darakshan police said Shi was at his residence located on Khayaban-i-Rahat in DHA Phase VI on Thursday night when his two guards stabbed him and made away with Rs3m in cash.

    After receiving information about the incident, the DIG South established a special team which managed to arrest the suspects after they had fled Karachi, at Jamshoro Toll Plaza. The cash looted by the suspects, a mobile phone, the knife used in the incident and a Mauser pistol were recovered from them by the police.

    The injured foreigner was admitted to a private hospital in Clifton where SSP South Pir Mohammad Shah and Clifton SP Suhai Aziz met him. His condition was stated to be out of danger.

    Meanwhile, Sindh Inspector General Syed Kaleem Imam appreciated the performance of the DIG South and DIG Hyderabad over the arrest of the suspects.

    The Chinese national was at his residence on Thursday night when the two suspects attacked him with a knife. — AFP/FileThe Chinese national was at his residence on Thursday night when the two suspects attacked him with a knife. — AFP/File

    0 0

    A recent report issued by World Health Organisation (WHO) has shed light on the issue of child marriages in Pakistan saying such practice is most common in rural areas. It further said that more than 140 million underage girls are likely to get married between 2011 to 2020.

    According to the WHO report titled 'Demographics of child marriages in Pakistan', child marriage remains a serious concern in Pakistan, with 21 per cent of girls getting married before reaching the age of 18, especially in the rural areas.

    Editorial:Child marriage bill

    Formal marriage or informal union before age 18 occurs throughout the world, it added. However, being forced into marriage before one was able to give consent violates the basic human rights of boys and girls, the report said.

    It further said that the percentage of child marriage remained high in Sindh, with 72 per cent girls and 25 per cent boys becoming victims to this menace, however, the highest number of girl child marriages were recorded in the tribal areas of Pakistan, with 99 per cent girls married under this unlawful traditional practice.

    More than 140 million underage girls likely to get married between 2011-2020. —Reuters/FileMore than 140 million underage girls likely to get married between 2011-2020. —Reuters/File

    0 0

    GILGIT: Federal minister for Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Khan Gandapur has said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government will remove 70 years of political deprivation of GB people.

    He said that constitutional rights would be granted to GB people as per their wishes.

    The minister stated this during a meeting with GB Council members, including Ashraf Sada, Arman Shah, Saeed Afzal, Syed Abbas and Wazir Ikhlaq in Islamabad, according a press release issued by the ministry on Friday. Mr Gandapur said the constitutional package for GB had been prepared and was being given final touches.

    The federal minister said fruit trees would be planted in GB during the upcoming season under the billion tree programme, adding these plants would be according to the climatic conditions of the region.

    He said establishment of a tourism university in GB was being considered to exploit the region’s huge potential in tourism sector.

    Besides, he said a mechanism was being formulated to provide small loans to common people.

    Mr Gandapur said minerals policy needed to be formulated to boost export of natural stones of the region. He said the federal government would take initiatives for betterment of health and education sectors in the region.

    The minister asked GB Council members to take interest in resolving people’s issues regardless of political affiliations.

    Earlier, GB opposition leader Captain retired Mohammad Shafi Khan also met the federal minister and informed him about GB people’s issues, particularly their political deprivation. Mr Gandapur assured that constitutional rights would provided to the GB people.

    Published in Dawn, EOS, January 13th, 2019

    Ali Amin Khan Gandapur says constitutional rights would be granted to GB people as per their wishes.— FileAli Amin Khan Gandapur says constitutional rights would be granted to GB people as per their wishes.— File

    0 0

    WASHINGTON: There has been an outbreak of an extensively drug-resistant Salmonella Typhi in Pakistan where 5,372 cases of this typhoid fever were reported between 2016 and 2018, says an official US report.

    Most of the cases were reported from Karachi and Hyderabad, warned the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its “Morbidity and Mortality” report.

    The CDC researchers warn that the outbreak in Pakistan involves a Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi strain that is resistant to most antibiotics commonly used to treat the illness.

    The report notes that 29 patients were diagnosed in the US with typhoid fever and all of them had travelled to or from Pakistan from 2016 to 2018.

    The patients include five children with extensively drug-resistant infections. At least one travel-associated case was reported from the United Kingdom.

    Comparing this to the 2006-15 period, the report points out that 79 per cent of US travellers to Pakistan who returned with typhoid fever during that period responded to therapeutic antibiotics.

    The report — “Emergence of Extensively Drug-Resistant Salmonella Typhi Infections Among Travellers to or from Pakistan” — that between November 2016 and September 2017, 339 cases of this extensively drug-resistant Typhi strain were reported in Pakistan, mostly in Karachi and Hyderabad. But the number of cases rapidly increased to 5,372 by the end of 2018.

    The disease is resistant to most therapeutic antibiotics, such as chloramphenicol, ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, fluoroquinolones, and third-generation cephalosporins.

    But it can be cured with azithromycin and carbapenems. Carbapenems are a class of highly effective antibiotic agents commonly used for the treatment of severe or high-risk bacterial infections.

    Researchers say that vaccination can help prevent typhoid fever but warn that common therapeutic antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, should not be used for empiric treatment of typhoid fever patients.

    Instead, Azithromycin should be used to treat patients with suspected uncomplicated typhoid fever and carbapenems for patients with suspected severe or complicated typhoid fever.

    The signs of complications include encephalopathy, which impacts the functioning of the brain, intestinal perforation, peritonitis, intestinal hemorrhage, or bacteremia with sepsis or shock.

    The report also warns against the spread of the drug-resistant Typhi strain to neighbouring countries such as India. It notes that returning travellers from India typically account for 57 per cent to 69 per cent of typhoid fever cases reported to CDC.

    Since a large number of people travel between the United States and South Asia, the US Department of Health regularly monitors outbreaks of various diseases in the region. Air travel monitors reported an estimated 2.4 million trips from the United States to India and 250,000 trips to Pakistan in 2017.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

    The report entitled “Morbidity and Mortality” says that most of the cases were reported from Karachi and Hyderabad.— AFP/FileThe report entitled “Morbidity and Mortality” says that most of the cases were reported from Karachi and Hyderabad.— AFP/File

    0 0

    RAWALPINDI/KARACHI: The Safety Investigation Board (SIB) tasked with a probe into the 2016 crash of a domestic flight that killed all the 47 people on board, including singer-turned-evangelist Junaid Jamshed, has found a ‘lapse’ on the part of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and a ‘lack of oversight’ by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that may have led to the tragic incident.

    On Dec 7, 2016, PIA aircraft ATR42-500 (PK-661) en route to Islamabad from Chitral had crashed into the mountains near Havelian tehsil of Abbottabad.

    “The investigation is nearing a concluding stage, however, some important findings of technical nature require immediate attention/intervention,” said the one-page preliminary report of the SIB.

    Asks national flag carrier to evaluate its oversight mechanism to discover lapses, ascertain shortfalls and undertake improvements

    The SIB, an independent body that comes under the aviation division, has shared its report with the CAA and PIA.

    PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar told Dawn that the SIB’s findings were not a full report on the air crash but initial recommendations. He said: “The SIB’s suggestions will be followed and a reply will be submitted by the airlines.”

    The SIB report said that the sequence of events began with dislodging of one blade of power turbine stage-1, inside engine-1 (left side engine), due to fatigue. This dislodging of one blade resulted in an in-flight engine shutdown and it contributed towards erratic/ abnormal behaviour of No 1 propeller.

    According to the service bulletin, these turbine blades were to be changed after completion of 10,000 hours (of use) on next immediate maintenance opportunity. The said engine was under maintenance on Nov 11, 2016 and at that time these blades had completed 10,004.1 hours (of use) and were due for a change. This activity should have been undertaken at that time, but it was missed out by those concerned, the SIB report said.

    According to it, the aircraft flew approximately 93 hours after the said maintenance activity before it crashed.

    “Missing out of such an activity highlights a lapse on the part of PIAC (maintenance and quality assurance) and a possible inadequacy/lack of oversight by the CAA,” it said.

    “The PIAC should ensure immediate implementation of the service bulletin in letter and spirit on the entire fleet of ATR aircraft, undertake an audit of the related areas of maintenance practices, ascertain root causes for the said lapse, and adopt appropriate corrective measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents,” the SIB recommended.

    It suggested that the PIA should evaluate its oversight mechanism for its adequacy to discover lapses and intervene in a proactive manner, ascertain shortfall and undertake necessary improvements.

    A senior official of the CAA said that the authority would give its view on the SIB report in a few days after reviewing it.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

    The SIB asks national flag carrier to evaluate its oversight  mechanism to discover lapses, ascertain shortfalls and undertake.— Photo courtesy of PIA facebook pageThe SIB asks national flag carrier to evaluate its oversight mechanism to discover lapses, ascertain shortfalls and undertake.— Photo courtesy of PIA facebook page

    0 0

    QUETTA: A total of 119 people — including 15 police personnel — were killed and 114 injured in terrorism-related incidents in Balochistan during 2018.

    Twenty-five terrorists were also killed in encounters and 55 arrested in 1,245 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) in the province.

    Inspector General of Police Mohsin Butt disclosed this while briefing reporters at his office on Friday.

    He said that 1,245 IBOs and 1,869 combing operations were conducted under the National Action Plan across Balochistan in 2018 in which 55 terrorists were killed and 4,188 absconders and 5,449 accused were arrested. They belonged to 22 militant groups.

    He said that another 898 suspects had been arrested during IBO operations.

    IG Butt said that besides seizure of 21,103 weapons, 2,536kgs of narcotics were also recovered. He added that a total of 8,755 incidents of crimes — including 42 sabotage activities, 34 targeted killings and 11 sectarian killings — were reported in 2018 as compared to 9,490 in 2017.

    He said the Balochistan police had started implementing recommendations of the Law and Justice Commission, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, from Jan 8 to hold police accountable and redress public complaints.

    He said the commission’s report would be formally launched on Jan 14 at the Islamabad High Court.

    “The purpose of this exercise is to restore the trust of the public in the police force and bridge the gap between them, besides making police forces accountable so that overall improvement could be made in their capability,” IG Butt told reporters.

    In the recommendations, he said, there was an emphasis on redressing of complaints against police personnel such as delay in registration of FIRs — especially in criminal cases — or delay in arrest of accused in these FIRs.

    He said separate cells had been established in all 33 districts of Balochistan. These cells would be equipped with all facilities, including internet, computers and phones, to receive public complaints via email. He said the complainants would receive feedback about their complaints at each stage.

    In reply to a question, IG Butt said that 1,800 more recruitments would be made in the police force and 1,000 of them had been sent to Sindh for basic training, while the remaining 800 would be trained in Balochistan. He said there was sharp decline in crime and terrorist activities in Quetta due to deployment of the newly-introduced Eagle squad comprising 800 personnel.

    He said the strength of the anti-terrorist force (ATF) would be increased to 2,000 in the province. Presently, the number of ATF personnel is around 850.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

    The Balochistan IGP reveals that 25 terrorists were also killed in encounters and 55 arrested in 1,245 IBOs in the province.— Photo courtesy of Balochistan policeThe Balochistan IGP reveals that 25 terrorists were also killed in encounters and 55 arrested in 1,245 IBOs in the province.— Photo courtesy of Balochistan police

    0 0

    PESHAWAR: The Judicial Commission inquiring into the 2014 Army Public School carnage has summoned then Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Hidayat-ur-Rehman and four other army officers for recording their statements before finalising its report about the tragedy.

    The other army officers asked to record their statements are: Chairman, Board of Governors of Army Public School and College, Brig Mudassir Azam; an officer of 102 Brigade, HQ-11 Corps, Inayatullah; Major Doctor Asim Shehzad of the Army Medical Corps; and secretary of the BOG Brig Maj ICB Imran.

    The focal person of the commission, Imranullah Khan, in a media briefing on Friday, said that a letter had been sent to the army officers through the Ministry of Defence by the single-member tribunal comprising Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan of the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

    Those summoned for recording statements include four army officials, former home secretary and police chief

    Similarly, he said that another letter had been sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary to summon the then provincial police officer Nasir Khan Durrani, the then secretary home and tribal affairs department Syed Akhtar Ali Shah and the then deputy inspector general of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Alam Shinwari.

    In both letters the tribunal has asked the ministry of defence and the chief secretary that the schedule of attendance of the said officers be conveyed to the tribunal within three days as the proceedings of the commission were time-restricted and it had to submit its report accordingly.

    The commission had first received a detailed written statement from the ministry of defence to a questionnaire sent by it and subsequently it recorded the statement of a representative of the ministry.

    About the appearance of the army officers, the tribunal in its letter states that after recording the statement of the representative of the ministry of defence, the commission considered the said officers relevant to the APS incident, as essential consequential witnesses, to ensure a thorough probe as per the grievances of complainants and in the light of the directives of the Supreme Court.

    The focal person said that the commission was constituted on Oct 12, 2018 by the PHC on the order of the Supreme Court and had been functioning since Oct 19.

    Answering a question, Mr Imranullah said that the commission had been given six weeks by the Supreme Court during which it had recorded statements of the parents, injured students and officials of police and the CTD. He added that as several important statements were left, the apex court had allowed more time for the probe.

    He said that the commission on Friday also recorded statements of the then capital city police chief Ijaz Ahmad and a police official, Wisal Khan, who had received injuries in the APS occurrence.

    He said that so far the commission had recorded statements of 93 parents of the slain and injured students apart from some officials of the CTD.

    Justice Ibrahim Khan had visited the APS along with his team, including the commission’s registrar Inamullah Wazir, its secretary Ajmal Tahir and the focal person Imranullah on Dec 28. During the visit they were briefed about the incident by Brig Shakirullah and Brig Aamer along with their teammates in detail.

    A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had on Oct 5 ordered the formation of a commission of inquiry comprising a judge of the PHC for probing the APS carnage.

    The APS tragedy of Dec 16, 2014 had left 144 persons, including 122 students, dead.

    The chief justice had taken notice of the issue last year when during his visit to Peshawar several of the parents of the deceased students had approached him and requested him to redress their grievances.

    The prime demand of the complainants is fixing responsibility for negligence on the officers concerned due to which the occurrence had taken place.

    Following the carnage, the parents had come to know about a confidential letter through which the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on Aug 28, 2014, informed different provincial and federal authorities that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had made a plan to carry out terrorist activities targeting the Army Public School and College and other educational institutions run by the army and to kill maximum number of children of army officers to avenge the killings of their accomplices.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

    Years after the deadly attack, survivors and parents of the deceased children are experiencing severe trauma. — AP/FileYears after the deadly attack, survivors and parents of the deceased children are experiencing severe trauma. — AP/File

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: A law suit has been filed against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and his driver, Abid Nawaz, over the death of a police constable in a road accident last year.

    The plaintiff, Aurangzeb Abbasi, who filed the suit under “Fatal Accident Act, 1855”, sought over Rs20 million in compensation from the ex-premier and his driver over the death of his son, police constable Zeeshan Abbasi, in the road accident.

    According to the application, “on September 22, 2018 when Zeeshan was coming from Islamabad to Faizabad, Rawalpindi on his personal bike (RIN-737), a land cruiser (GU-027) rashly and negligently driven by defendant no 2 [Nawaz] hit him from back. As a result of this accident, Zeeshan was badly [injured and] died on the spot.”

    It said the driver was arrested but was granted bail. Since the former prime minister was the owner of the vehicle, he was also responsible for the fatal accident, the plaintiff argued.

    He said his son died due to lack of care. Zeeshan was the bread earner of a large family, the plaintiff said, while seeking compensation of Rs20,647,200.

    The court admitted the law suit and issued summons for the ex-premier and his drive for January 17.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

    Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.— AFP/FileFormer prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.— AFP/File

    0 0

    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) have formed a joint coordination committee to explore prospects for collaboration aimed at realising common goals and objectives.

    The six-member coordination committee has been established with the consent of PTI chief and Prime Minister Imran Khan and MWM chief Allama Nasir Abbas.

    The committee will consist of three members each from the two parties.

    The PTI members will be Naeemul Haq, adviser to the PM on political affairs, Ijaz Chaudhary, central deputy secretary general, and Syed Ali Zaidi, federal minister for maritime affairs.

    Syed Nasir Abbas Sheerazi, Syed Asad Abbas Naqvi and Syed Mohsin Shehryar will represent the MWM.

    The MWM and PTI developed working relations during the 2014 sit-in against the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

    The MWM had raised its voice against the Model Town operation in June of the same year by the Punjab government in which 14 workers of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), led by Allama Tahir ul Qadri, lost their lives.

    The MWM had joined the sit-in in support of PAT, but it did not take long for the party to make an impression on Tehreek-i-Insaf and its leader, Imran Khan, thanks to its disciplined workers who stood their ground in the face of clashes with police and harsh weather.

    The two parties had an electoral understanding for last year’s general election, enabling an MWM candidate to make it to the Punjab Assembly.

    Talking to Dawn, a member of the coordination committee said the body would try to find elements common to the two parties’ election manifestoes and work out a plan for their implementation.

    Among the key issues highlighted by the MWM and already taken up by the PTI-led government were resolution of problems faced by pilgrims at Taftan border with Iran and measures for their security on the Quetta–Taftan road.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019

    .— File.— File

older | 1 | .... | 2920 | 2921 | (Page 2922) | 2923 | 2924 | .... | 2937 | newer