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    LAHORE: Scores of shopkeepers launched a massive protest by blocking the main road after an elderly fruit seller died of a cardiac arrest during an anti-encroachment operation in the Multan Road (Chungi) vegetable and fruit market on Friday.

    The shopkeepers also besieged the encroachment team head (city assistant commissioner), forcing the officials to leave the area. They refused to lift the body of 60-year-old Sharif from the road and end the protest till registration of criminal cases against all those conducting the anti-encroachment operation.

    Read: No injustice to be done during anti-encroachment drive: PM

    “We will neither remove the body of Sharif nor will we end the protest until registration of cases on murder charges against the officials who launched the operation,” Qaisar, a vendor, told Dawn.

    “What this government wants to do with us... it seems it wants to kill the poor people,” he deplored.

    The city administration had decided a couple of days ago to launch operations in city’s five vegetable & fruit markets including the one on Multan Road (Mandi stop) near Mansoora. A team comprising city and respective zonal / town officials and led by AC (City) Ahmad Raza Butt removed 300 temporarily built shops in the market and arrested four people for protesting and offering resistance.

    The teams even crushed fruits and vegetables under the wheels of the tractors.

    “Some officials manhandled the vendors including Sharif who collapsed and died on the spot,” alleged a vendor.

    AC Ahmad Raza Butt told Dawn the operation was carried out in the light of instructions issued by the agriculture department.

    “This market was turned into a non-formal set-up as no auction had been done for a long time. Those who had been allotted shops had left the businesses and these were being used for other purposes such as workshops. Many people had illegally occupied various spaces and the operation was meant to remove such encroachments / businesses and revive the market,” he claimed.

    He denied that the vendor died due to manhandling. In fact, the vendors were selling fruits / vegetables in a street leading to the market and the operation was carried out only inside the market, he said.

    “Whenever such operations are carried out, the vendors start fleeing with their wheel carts. So the vendor might have suffered a heart attack in a bid to hastily move away,” he said.

    The protesters held talks with the senior officials including the SP (city) and demanded that the Chief Justice of Pakistan take notice of the situation.

    “We appeal to the CJP to take suo motu notice and order registration of cases against the officials,” a protester demanded.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    Shopkeepers block Multan Road after the death of an elderly fruit seller during an anti-encroachment operation in the vegetable and fruit market. — White StarShopkeepers block Multan Road after the death of an elderly fruit seller during an anti-encroachment operation in the vegetable and fruit market. — White Star

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    ISLAMABAD: A day after meeting the minister for parliamentary affairs, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar on Friday sought the opposition’s cooperation in formation of much-awaited standing committees and smooth running of the house’s business.

    The speaker met leaders of two main opposition parties — the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) — and assured them that standing committees would be formed during the coming session of the National Assembly commencing from Monday.

    Meanwhile, the PML-N demanded issuance of production orders for Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and another party leader, Khawaja Saad Rafique, as both of them are under detention while facing corruption cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau.

    The speaker also sought the opposition’s support for constituting a high-powered committee for strengthening parliament.

    Qaisar holds separate meetings with PPP, PML-N leaders

    In the morning, PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah called on the speaker at his residence, while PML-N legislators Marriyum Aurangzeb and Rana Sanaullah met him in his chamber in the evening.

    The delay in the formation of over three dozen committees has badly affected the legislative work of parliament as the National Assembly, which came into existence in August after the general elections held in July, is functioning with only two recently formed committees, including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

    Under the rules, the speaker is bound to constitute all standing and functional committees of the house within 30 days after the election of the leader of the house (prime minister). Since PTI chairman Imran Khan was elected prime minister on Aug 18 last year, the speaker had time till Sept 17 for the formation of the committees.

    According to National Assembly Secretariat, the speaker and Khursheed Shah discussed formation of standing committees, legislation and matters regarding other parliamentary affairs.

    Seeking the opposition’s cooperation, Speaker Qaisar said it was a joint responsibility of both the government and the opposition to make environment of the National Assembly favorable and maintain its dignity. “We have to uphold parliamentary norms, mutual respect and tolerance for each other for smooth functioning of parliament,” he added.

    He said criticism was the right of the opposition but it should be productive and not for the sake of criticising opponents. The speaker stressed the need for joint efforts to overcome the challenges confronting to the country. “The opposition has to play a positive role in resolving national issues through parliament,” he emphasised.

    Mr Qaisar lauded the role of the opposition in making environment of the house more friendly and peaceful.

    Talking about the formation of standing committees, he said parliamentary committees were an important organ of parliament and without their formation enactment of laws was not possible.

    “Formation of parliamentary committees is my foremost priority and I am in contact with members of treasury and opposition benches to resolve this matter as soon as possible,” he added.

    “The issue of formation of parliamentary committees would be resolved through mutual consensus in the upcoming session of the National Assembly,” he assured, adding: “Law making is the prime responsibility of parliament and through effective legislation we can solve public issues and increase the dignity of parliament.”

    Emphasising the need for presence of members in the house, the speaker said: “Presence of members in parliament reflects their seriousness in the proceedings of the house.”

    Khursheed Shah appreciated “balanced” role of the speaker in running the house and assured him of full support of his party in the formation of standing committees. He also appreciated the speaker for resolving the issue of the chairmanship of the PAC and making efforts for formation of standing committees and expressed the hope that the task would soon be accomplished with consensus. He stressed the need for cooperation between the government and the opposition for smooth legislation.

    Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan conceded the chairmanship of the all-powerful PAC to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif to end a nearly four-month impasse between the government and the opposition over the issue that had forced the speaker to stop the process of formation of the committees due to the opposition’s threat to boycott these bodies if the ruling party did not offer the office to Mr Sharif as per “parliamentary traditions”.

    Sources said that an understanding between the government and the opposition had already been reached on the distribution of the chairmanship of 38 standing committees. Under the agreed formula, the chairmanship of 18 committees would go to the opposition while the remaining 20 committees would be headed by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its allies.

    However, they said, the two sides were yet to discuss the committees to be distributed among the treasury and opposition members.

    The opposition parties, the sources said, wanted to head important committees like those on interior, foreign affairs, power and finance.

    Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan on Thursday called on the speaker and stressed the need for early formation of standing committees and the matters pertaining to the agenda of the coming session of the National Assembly, according to an official announcement by the NA Secretariat.

    During meeting with the PML-N leaders, the speaker assured them that the remaining 36 standing committees of the lower house would be formed during the coming session.

    Talking to Dawn, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the speaker also assured them that he would issue production orders for Shahbaz Sharif and Saad Rafique before beginning of the next session. She said the speaker was also making efforts for formation of a high-powered committee for strengthening parliament and he also sought the opposition’s support in this regard.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    Qaisar holds separate meetings with PPP, PML-N leaders.— DawnNewsTV/FileQaisar holds separate meetings with PPP, PML-N leaders.— DawnNewsTV/File

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    UNITED NATIONS: The president of the UN General Assembly will visit Pakistan from Jan 18 to 22 at the invitation of the government, according to the spokesperson for the UNGA president.

    This will be the first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region by the president of the UN General Assembly since María Fernanda Espinosa assumed office in September.

    A statement said that she is “looking forward to strengthening the ties between Pakistan and the UN, promoting multilateralism and continuing my work with Pakistan on the priorities for the 73rd session of the GA”.

    She will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, as well as representatives of the UN and of civil society and women’s organisations.

    Ms Espinosa’s delegation includes her Chef de Cabinet, Senior Adviser, a communications specialist, a coordination officer and her personal assistant.

    Travel costs are being covered by Pakistan and by the regular budget of the UNGA’s Office, according to the statement.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    This will be the first visit to the Asia-Pacific region by the president of the UNGA since Espinosa assumed office.—AFP/FileThis will be the first visit to the Asia-Pacific region by the president of the UNGA since Espinosa assumed office.—AFP/File

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    QUETTA: The federal government has assured the Balochistan government that it would be taken on board while taking decisions on exploration and development of natural resources and it would be given share from the resources.

    The decision was taken in a meeting on Friday which was attended by Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Fed­eral Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan and other concerned authorities.

    Moreover, the meeting decided to set up a joint working group comprising federal and provincial authorities which would take decisions on exploration and development of natural resources in the province.

    The joint working group, besides protecting the rights of Balochistan, will also decide other issues such Sui mining lease, licencing zones, 18th Constitutional Amendment, Petroleum Policy and article 172 (3) and 158 of the Constitution. The meeting agreed on removing reservations of Balochistan and asked the working group to submit its report within a month.

    Provincial ministers Mir Saleem Khan Khosa, Mir Zia Langove, Engineer Zamarak Khan Piralizai, Mir Omer Khan Jamali, Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, Noor Muhammad Dummar, Deputy Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail and senior concerned officials of ministry of petroleum and Balochistan government attended the meeting.

    Participants also discussed extension in Sui mining lease, petroleum policy, powers of the provincial government, issuance of licences for mining and exploration in mineral rich areas, agreement signing with exploration companies, the province’s share in mineral-related income, installation of LPG plants and extension of Saindak project’s mining area.

    Furthermore, the meeting deliberated on exploration and development of mineral resources in Block 28, gas pressure, reduction in gas rates and the issues of Pakistan Mineral and Development Corporation, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd and gas distribution companies, and generation of employment opportunities and economic activities by the companies involved in mining and exploration.

    Jam Kamal, while referring to coalition of the Balochistan Awami Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf at federal and provincial level, said that the two coalition partners would set a precedent of bilateral cooperation.

    “We have witnessed high-level meetings in the past but didn’t see implementation of decision but now there should be progress on all decision because the centre is responsible to take all provinces together.” He stressed upon quick installation of LPG plants in the province.

    Endorsing Jam Kamal’s stance, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the OGDCL and PPL must prepare for the partnership with the provincial government in exploration of mineral and gas projects. He pledged to protect the rights of the province.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    QUETTA: Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan (centre) holds a meeting with members of the Balochistan cabinet on Friday.—APPQUETTA: Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan (centre) holds a meeting with members of the Balochistan cabinet on Friday.—APP

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    KARACHI: The Karachi Eat Festival (KEF), despite competition from several other smaller festivals held in the city, enjoys a cult-like status and on Friday, the event’s opening day, Karachiites thronged the Beach Park in Clifton to partake in the latest culinary offerings that aim to push the traditional boundaries of fast food and gourmet meals.

    “With around 95 food stalls this year, almost 56 are of home cooks, or budding ‘foodpreneurs’, who don’t have restaurants of their own, who are the real gems of the festival,” says Omar Omari of CKO Event Architecture, the organisers of the festival.

    There are many success stories that have come out from the KEF. Wingitt, Desi Gali, Jucy Lucy all started off as stalls at the KEF and ventured out and became big businesses. Babamoo is one such success story that has emerged from the KEF and has made a name in Karachi’s culinary world.

    ‘Karachi is an audience hungry for innovation in the area of food’

    Run by brothers Ibad and Nabil, along with two other partners, the Babamoo stall was in full swing on the first day as the orders had already started rolling in moments after the KEF was officially open. “When we first took part in last year’s KEF we wanted to launch an item that hadn’t been introduced to foodies in Karachi before — the jacket potato and innovative toppings. To be honest we had not expected it to sell much as it was a niche product. However, the outcome and feedback we got was tremendous. Within five hours we had sold off the stock we had planned for three days.”

    The brothers opened up their first restaurant in March. Nabil is of the opinion that “Karachi is an audience hungry for innovation in the area of food and the KEF is an essential place that provides a platform to budding foodpreneurs.”

    Tayyaba Gul’s patisserie tucked away in one corner at the KEF is another such home-based venture that is introducing to the Karachi audience flavours from France. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, she returned to Pakistan almost two years ago and established Le Saint Honoré Pâtisserie, which focuses entirely on French desserts. Her signature offering are smaller versions of the St. Honoré cake, also known as St. Honoratus cake, which is a pastry named for the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

    According to Omari, the design philosophy behind KEF is to make the festival look premium but making it accessible to everybody. This allows those from all walks of life access to a shared space at the same time, and on Friday the KEF seemed to have successfully accomplished this vision.

    A parking map, event layout and stalls list is provided on the Facebook page of the festival. The KEF 2019 will continue on Saturday and Sunday, from 12.30pm to 10.30pm.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    A FULLY loaded jacket potato ready to go and crowds (right) at the festival at Clifton’s Beach Park on Friday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White StarA FULLY loaded jacket potato ready to go and crowds (right) at the festival at Clifton’s Beach Park on Friday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

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    LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said on Friday he laid the foundation of judicial activism in the country with full bona fide.

    “This judicial activism was never meant to interfere in the jurisdiction of other institutions or to humiliate anyone,” Justice Nisar said at a farewell dinner by the Lahore High Court Bar Association. “It was not an aggression.”

    Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar: Herald Person of the Year 2019

    Chief Justice of Pakistan-designate Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan and other judges were also present.

    Justice Nisar said he always kept in mind the constitutional limits of the judiciary and other institutions. The sole purpose of his visits to hospitals was to ensure correct utilisation of government resources.

    The chief justice said he would have made mistakes intentionally or unintentionally but whatever he did was for the rule of law only. He reiterated that he never tried to disgrace anyone.

    Sharing his experience of holding open courts, the chief justice said he met people in public hospitals having no money to buy medicines.

    He regretted that the people were not getting justice in time in courts. “We also miss quality of arguments by lawyers in the courts nowadays,” added the chief justice. He advised the judges of district judiciary to do their work like a passion, and not a job.

    The chief justice said he witnessed top lawyers of their time like Ijaz Batalvi and SM Zafar advancing arguments in courts well before joining the legal profession. “My association with Lahore High Court is 56-year-old as I used to visit this premises with my father during my school days,” he said.

    “My whole life, I tried to become a fair judge as it carries a great reward in life after death.”

    He urged lawyers to do hard work as they were part and parcel of the judicial system. He lamented that petitions being filed under section 22-A of Cr.P.C (against non registration of FIR) had hijacked the courts. He said the judges were not supposed to ensure registration of cases.

    He pointed out that a police reform package was going to be introduced on Jan 14 in Islamabad with the support of the law and justice commission.

    Chief Justice Nisar told the bar with a pride that Supreme Judicial Council had decided all the pending references against the judges and was left with two only. The judiciary was holding its accountability on merit, the chief justice added and urged the lawyers to also put their house in order.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    Justice Nisar says he always kept in mind the constitutional limits of the judiciary and other institutions during his term. — FileJustice Nisar says he always kept in mind the constitutional limits of the judiciary and other institutions during his term. — File

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    The federal government has decided not to enter an International Monitory Fund (IMF) programme for now, DawnNewsTV quoted Finance Minister Asad Umar as saying on Saturday.

    The finance minister made the remarks while talking to businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commence and Industry (KCCI).

    Umar said that instead of rushing into the IMF programme, the government was exploring alternative options.

    Furthermore, the finance minister announced that the government will unveil a mini-budget on Jan 23 instead of Jan 21. He associated the two-day delay to a foreign trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan's.

    More to follow


    Finance Minister Asad Umar says the government is going to unveil mini budget on Jan 23.— DawnNewsTVFinance Minister Asad Umar says the government is going to unveil mini budget on Jan 23.— DawnNewsTV

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    ISLAMABAD: Even after two-and-a-half years, the city managers have failed to properly implement the recommendations of the Senate to regulate housing societies.

    In 2016, two reports compiled by the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice had pointed fingers at the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the local administration for the mushroom growth of illegal housing schemes and the violation of layout plans by genuine cooperative housing societies.

    The reports, which were adopted by the Senate in 2016 and by the CDA in March 2018, are yet to be properly implemented.

    Two reports prepared by a standing committee in 2016 pointed fingers at CDA and capital administration for growth of housing societies

    In one of the reports about the cooperative housing schemes, the Senate had recommended that the violations of layout plans committed by housing schemes may be accommodated by amending the regulations.

    However, the house had directed the civic agencies that no compromise should be made regarding public parks.

    After being informed that green areas and amenity plots had been sold out by housing societies, the Senate had recommended that any land adjacent to the housing schemes may be bought and utilised as public parks while space for graveyards should be acquired in the vicinities of the societies.

    Two to three cooperative societies can also make joint ventures for providing and maintaining such a space. The report also said alternative sites should be given for public buildings.

    The Senate had also directed that the role of the CDA and capital administration officers and officials in the mushroom growth of illegal housing societies should be identified.

    The CDA was also recommended to acquire land for the development of sectors and get land in Zone 3 for the Margalla Hills National Park.

    However, the sources said, the recommendations of the upper house of parliament were not properly implemented.

    When contacted, CDA spokesman Syed Safdar Ali claimed that the civic agency had been implementing the recommendations.

    “Nothing is pending on our part and approval will be processed once formalities are completed. During the last four year, no scheme has been approved formally as documentation is not completed by sponsors,” he said.

    But sources said the level of violations made by housing societies was so enormous that in many cases it was practically not possible for them to comply with the recommendations.

    For example, they added, it was recommended that land adjacent to a housing society which violated its layout plan should be bought by the same society to provide public parks and graveyards.

    “In the surrounding of many societies, no unutilised land is available,” said the sources.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, the civic agency issued notices to 13 housing societies for the recovery of Rs1.5 billion pending against them in terms of excess charges, extension of development period, changes in approved layout plans and development without obtaining no-objection certificates.

    According to CDA documents, Cabinet Division Society has to pay Rs181 million, Engineers’ Society Rs71 million, Khayaban-i-Kashmir-I Rs261m, Margalla View Rs93m, Ministry of Interior Housing Society Rs94m, Multi Gardens-I, Rs337m, Tele Gardens Rs83m, Zarkoon Heights Rs16m, Bahria Town Phase-7 Rs3.8m, Capital Enclave Rs41m, CBR Town Rs34m, Gulberg Town Rs34m and Jinnah Town Rs91m.

    Officials said the CDA on and off took action against housing societies which had got layout plans approved or had NOCs but there were over 100 totally illegal housing societies against whom no proper action was taken on time. In most of such societies, their operators have sold out plots to the citizens.

    They said in such schemes on the directions of the CDA now utility connections were not being provided to the residents.

    The CDA spokesman said action was being taken against both illegal housing societies and those that had deficiencies in their layout plans.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    2006 reports point fingers at CDA and capital administration for growth of housing societies.— File2006 reports point fingers at CDA and capital administration for growth of housing societies.— File

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    KARACHI: On the 109th day of their sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club and following a protest rally they had staged a day earlier, the 1,751 dock workers of Port Qasim Authority were paid their long overdue salaries on Friday.

    It was a sigh of relief for the workers, who were paid five months’ salaries, from July 18 to November 18, through two cheques of a total amount of Rs20.547 million after a meeting between representatives of Huaneng Fuyun Port and Shipping (HFPS), which handles berths three and four at Port Qasim, and representatives of the workers, social workers, human rights activists and trade unionists.

    The cheques were handed over by Chen Long, executive director of the HFPS, to Hussain Badshah, the secretary general of the Workers Union of Port Qasim. Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation, as the convener of the Workers Action Committee for Dock Workers, was also present.

    He and Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research congratulated the workers for successfully holding their ground by carrying a peaceful protest for so long and for finally seeing their demands met by their employers. “We are extremely happy for the poor dock workers and their families,” Karamat Ali told Dawn.

    The workers are now to be paid only their December salaries and they have also been asked to fulfil certain recruitment requirements by their Chinese employers in the contracts offered to them.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    The workers have also been asked to fulfil certain recruitment requirements by their Chinese employer.— AFP/FileThe workers have also been asked to fulfil certain recruitment requirements by their Chinese employer.— AFP/File

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    KARACHI: Opposition members in the Sindh Assembly, barring two minor parties, on Friday walked out of the house, accusing the deputy speaker of “bulldozing” their business and showering “undue” favours upon the treasury benches.

    The treasury benches, on the other hand, said members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Grand Democratic Alliance — which collectively formed the combined opposition in the assembly — left the house on “baseless” issues having nothing to do with the betterment of their constituents.

    Initially, the MQM and the GDA joined the PTI to march out of the house when all of them accused Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari, who was presiding over the proceedings, of not allowing them to ask supplementary questions during Question Hour.

    IT minister says steps being taken to install 10,000 security cameras in Karachi

    With the opposition — barring Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s Abdul Rasheed and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s Mohammad Qasim — out of the house, there was smooth sailing for the treasury benches, which took advantage of the conditions and concluded Question Hour early.

    All the five calling-attention notices were filed by the opposition members and none of them could be taken up as the movers were absent.

    Similarly, a privilege motion filed by MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain could also not be taken up. However, as soon as the house was tackling other business, Mr Hussain returned along with some other colleagues and GDA’s Nand Kumar.

    He demanded the chair to go back to the day’s agenda and allow him to move his privilege motion.

    The chair said the time for the motion had lapsed.

    Mr Hussain’s certain words were inaudible to the galleries. However, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani requested the chair that his words be expunged.

    The MQM-P lawmaker later stayed for a while in front of the chair and warned: “Now, we’ll tell how the house is run.”

    Later, he fired a broadside at the chair along with PTI’s parliamentary party leader Haleem Shaikh as both accused her of forming “a dictatorship”.

    The bitterness in the house emerged during Question Hour when Information Technology Minister Taimur Talpur was criticised, first by PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman and then by GDA’s Mustafa Jatoi while the former was responding to queries.

    Both sides exchanged personal remarks directed against each other.

    Spelling bee?

    Mr Jatoi insisted that the minister should spell out the word “science”. His assertion was regarded as non-serious for a parliamentarian by the treasury benches.

    Soon, the opposition benches rose and protested when the chair jumped to the next question when, as opposition members insisted, they were yet to ask supplementary questions.

    Ms Leghari said the opposition members could ask those supplementary questions in the next question as well. However, the opposition members did not accept her suggestion.

    Leader of the Opposition Firdous Naqvi walked out from the house and others from his party, the MQM-P and the GDA followed him. Minister Ghani said the opposition’s attitude was “immature”, which instead of focusing on core issues was only confined to playing to the galleries.

    Old and obsolete curriculum

    Later, MMA’s Rasheed, on a point of order, pointed out “thousands of errors and mistakes” in the school textbooks.

    He said the education department should rectify those mistakes as some of them were grave.

    Education Minister Sardar Shah admitted that the curriculum was old and obsolete, which merited to be changed at the earliest. He said the syllabus was last reviewed in 2006. His ministry had held a meeting of the curriculum board last year and efforts were being made to revise and improve it.

    “I totally agree with the member’s view. I have personally seen more mistakes and errors in the textbooks than Mr Rasheed,” said Mr Shah.

    He said order for the current year’s textbooks had already been placed and if they had not been published yet, they would be revised on priority.

    He said he had set a deadline for 2020 to revise the entire curricula.

    To another assertion by Mr Rasheed about reduction of seats in the Benazir Bhutto Medical College Lyari, Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said the issue belonged to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, which regulates and decides the ratios of seats in medical colleges and universities.

    She said the issue was not in the hand of her ministry to reduce or increase the seats.

    About the nursing institute, she had ordered an inquiry into maladministration in the institute.

    GDA’s Nand Kumar demanded early recovery of kidnapped Sukkur trader Ramesh Kumar.

    Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Chawla said the provincial government’s efforts had reduced kidnappings for ransom and efforts for Mr Kumar’s recovery were already in full swing.

    TLP’s Mohammad Qasim condemned the federal government for resorting to “victimisation” of opponents. He said the arrest of his party’s leader was against the Constitution.

    The house fixed the debate on an adjournment motion moved by Heer Soho regarding “failure and apathy” of the Indus River System Authority in sanctioning Sindh’s due share of water on Wednesday.

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

    Plan to install 10,000 cameras in Karachi

    In Question Hour, the house was informed that a consultant had been hired to prepare a feasibility report and PC-I of the project of installation of 10,000 cameras in the city.

    Answering a question, Information, Science and Technology Minister Talpur said that the project of installation of cameras in the city was initiated by the home department on the orders of the Supreme Court.

    He said that process of hiring the consultant was under way.

    To another question, the minister said that the provincial government did not earn any revenue from the installation of mobile phone towers as the matter was under the domain of the federal government and did not pertain to the provincial information, science and technology department.

    In reply to a question, the minister said that as many as 39 websites were being maintained by different provincial government departments.

    Besides, he said that there was no IT training centre at district level.

    Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019


    The opposition members accuse the deputy speaker of “bulldozing” their business.— FileThe opposition members accuse the deputy speaker of “bulldozing” their business.— File

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday lauded Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid as he advised her to not be fazed by criticism.

    Dr Rashid has been on the receiving end of severe criticism by the chief justice in recent weeks, first over the issue of Punjab Healthcare Commission's board and then on a lack of legislation regarding Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute.

    The chief justice had expressed his disappointment with Dr Rashid's performance since taking charge, saying that he had a lot of expectations from her.

    However, in what seemed a departure from his evaluation of the minister's conduct, the chief justice today appreciated Dr Rashid when told by the minister that his recent remarks had led to the opposition demanding her resignation.

    "[We] will not let you resign; you should keep doing your work," the top judge said while addressing Dr Rashid during the hearing on private universities. "There is no need to be worried. You are very respectable. Your entire career has been stainless."

    Justice Nisar offered the minister advise from personal experience, saying: "Campaigns are run against us as well; there are such Whatsapp groups. Should we stop working in such a situation then?"

    "Your character is worthy of admiration and we do not have the words to appreciate with," the judge added.


    Justice Nisar (R) had voiced his disappointment with Dr Yasmin Rashid's (L) performance in recent weeks but appreciated her conduct today. — FileJustice Nisar (R) had voiced his disappointment with Dr Yasmin Rashid's (L) performance in recent weeks but appreciated her conduct today. — File

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    The federal government has decided not to enter an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme for now, Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Saturday.

    The finance minister made the remarks while talking to businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commence and Industry (KCCI).

    Umar said that instead of rushing into the IMF programme, the government was exploring alternative options.

    Furthermore, the finance minister announced that the government will unveil a mini-budget on Jan 23 instead of Jan 21. He associated the two-day delay to an impending foreign trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    The finance minister said that his visits of Lahore and Karachi were regarding a one-point agenda: the amended finance bill, which he said will facilitate businessmen.

    Umar indicated that the amended bill will also carry "some good news" for the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) .

    The minister said that he consulted all stakeholders over the upcoming mini-budget, assuring the assortment of businessmen that tax anomalies will be eliminated in the budget.

    The minister rejected the impression that the government was only borrowing money, stressing that several agreements have also been signed to bring investment into the country.

    "The impacts of the investment agreements will start surfacing from the next week," he added.

    Asad Umar, even before he was sworn in, had said that the economy would need an infusion of more than $12 billion within six weeks.

    In a later interview with Bloomberg, he had said that the nation’s financial gap was somewhere between $10bn to $12bn, adding that the new government would need a bit extra so it doesn’t “live on the edge”.

    In October last year, Saudi Arabia had announced a $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan’s ailing economy. The package includes $3bn in balance of payments support and just as much in deferred payments on oil imports.

    The UAE had also announced a package exactly the same size and terms and conditions as given by Saudi Arabia. The all-weather friend, China too, had pledged to lend $2 billion to Pakistan to shore up dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

    Moreover, Islamabad and Riyadh are expected to ink memorandum of understanding (MoUs) to bring in Saudi investment in excess of $10bn this month. Pakistan is also eyeing similar MoUs with China, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia over the next two months.

    The federal cabinet has also approved a strategy to issue so-called 'Panda bonds' in the Chinese market to raise foreign exchange from global markets.

    'Budget bomb'

    Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in a statement strongly opposed the government's upcoming mini-budget.

    The party's vice president, Senator Sherry Rehman, expressed grave reservations against rising inflation and the government's announcement of the mini budget.

    "Will this inquilab sarkar (revolutionary government) announce a new mini budget every four months?" she asked.

    She said that the government should make preparations for an annual budget and that this was not the time to announce a mini budget.

    The PPP leader likened the decision to a "budget bomb" being dropped on the people, based on supposed conditions put forth by the IMF.

    "Every month new taxes are being imposed and some commodity or the other sees a hike in prices.

    "One day the prices of medicines go up and the next, a mini budget is announced," Rehman said adding that the government is "robbing the people of the right to live".

    She said that the "tsunami of change" had now transformed into a "storm of inflation".

    Rehman recalled that inflation stood at 5.8 per cent in July, whereas now it had gone up to 6.2pc.

    She said that those who claimed being "friends of businessmen" are in fact their enemies and declared that the government is incapable of running the economy.

    The PPP leader further criticising the government's performance said that in the past five months, they had "done nothing but raise slogans for economy and accountability".


    Finance Minister Asad Umar says the government is going to unveil mini budget on Jan 23.— DawnNewsTVFinance Minister Asad Umar says the government is going to unveil mini budget on Jan 23.— DawnNewsTV

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    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday lauded Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid's performance and advised her to not be fazed by criticism.

    Dr Rashid has been on the receiving end of severe criticism by the chief justice in recent weeks, first over the issue of Punjab Healthcare Commission's board and then on a lack of legislation regarding Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute.

    The chief justice had expressed his disappointment with Dr Rashid's performance since taking charge, saying that he had a lot of expectations from her.

    However, in what seemed a departure from his evaluation of the minister's conduct, the chief justice today appreciated Dr Rashid when told by the minister that his recent remarks had led to the opposition demanding her resignation.

    "[We] will not let you resign; you should keep doing your work," the top judge said while addressing Dr Rashid during the hearing on private universities. "There is no need to be worried. You are very respectable. Your entire career has been stainless."

    Justice Nisar offered the minister advise from personal experience, saying: "Campaigns are run against us as well; there are such Whatsapp groups. Should we stop working in such a situation then?"

    "Your character is worthy of admiration and we do not have the words to appreciate with," the judge added.


    Justice Nisar (R) had voiced his disappointment with Dr Yasmin Rashid's (L) performance in recent weeks but appreciated her conduct today. — FileJustice Nisar (R) had voiced his disappointment with Dr Yasmin Rashid's (L) performance in recent weeks but appreciated her conduct today. — File

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    Dr Asad Majeed Khan. — Photo courtesy Pakistani Embassy in Tokyo
    Dr Asad Majeed Khan. — Photo courtesy Pakistani Embassy in Tokyo

    Dr Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s new Ambassador to the United States, presented his credentials to US President Donald Trump at a ceremony held at the White House, a press release issued from the country's mission in Washington said on Saturday.

    "Ambassador Khan conveyed the greetings of Pakistan’s leadership to President Trump who reciprocated with similar positive sentiments for Prime Minister Imran Khan," read the press release.

    President Trump, according to the press release, said that he wants to explore opportunities for the two countries to work closely together and to renew their partnership.

    The new envoy arrived in Washington earlier this week to take charge of the effort to renew once close relationship between the US and Pakistan.

    Dr Majeed, until recently Pakistan’s ambassador in Tokyo, replaced Ali Jehangir Siddiqui who was appointed by the PML-N government days before its departure. Siddiqui held the position for more than seven months from May 9 to Dec 25, 2018 before being relieved of his duties by the incumbent PTI government.

    Ambassador Majeed, who was also Pakistan’s deputy ambassador in Washington till 2015, is expected to revive Pakistani lobbies on the Hill that once played an effective role in promoting bilateral ties but have become ineffective due to internal disputes and lack of interest.

    The new envoy’s efforts to re-engage with the Pakistani-American community will be restricted by a US ban that prohibits Pakis­tani diplomats from travelling outside of a 25-mile radius around Washington without approval.


    Dr Asad Majeed Khan assumes charge as Pakistan’s Ambassador to US. — Pakistani Embassy in TokyoDr Asad Majeed Khan assumes charge as Pakistan’s Ambassador to US. — Pakistani Embassy in Tokyo

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    The Supreme Court on Saturday ordered the federal and provincial governments to compensate within one month the affectees of violent protests held in the wake of the release of Aasia Bibi — a Christian woman previously condemned to death on blasphemy charges.

    A two-member bench, under Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar's stewardship, was hearing a suo motu case at the Lahore registry.

    Read: These 7 points explain the Supreme Court's decision to free Aasia Bibi

    Punjab advocate general, at the outset of the hearing, told the court that losses have been estimated to the tune of Rs262 million, adding that the cabinet has approved the estimated figure.

    "You have submitted reports [on estimated loss] but what about the time frame and the mode of payments," the chief justice asked.

    "Have you devised a plan or is this [merely] paperwork?" Justice Aijazul Ahsan enquired.

    At this, the interior department's section officer assured the bench that payments will be made during the ongoing month.

    The court ordered the provincial government to submit an implementation report after making payments within a month.

    During the last hearing of the suo motu notice on loss of properties during violent protest against the release of Aasia Bibi, the apex court had directed the federal and provincial governments to submit their plans for the payment of compensation to those who lost their lives and properties during protests.

    Justice Nisar had expr­e­ss­ed dissatisfaction over reports submitted by the governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtun­khwa about the loss of lives and damage caused to private property by the protesters.

    A Punjab law officer had told the bench that as many as 2,936 activists and their leaders had been detained. He said 503 cases were registered, including 26 under terrorism charges. He had added that the damage caused to public property had been estimated at Rs40.6 million.

    The law officer said the damage to private property was estimated at Rs3.3m in the province.

    The government should have invited the claims through newspaper advertisement, Justice Ijazul Ahsan had observed and said the report was not satisfactory, rather a faulty one.

    An additional home secretary had told the bench that the matter of mode of compensation amount would soon be taken up by the provincial cabinet.

    The Sindh IGP had told the bench that 342 protesters were arrested in 41 cases registered by the police. The report filed by the KP government showed that 62 people were arrested. It said the protesters had not caused any major damage to public and private property in the province. An officer from Islamabad said no incident of ransacking or damage was reported in the federal capital.


    Enraged TLP workers had taken the streets and destroyed public, private properties in the aftermath of Aasia Bibi's acquittal. — FileEnraged TLP workers had taken the streets and destroyed public, private properties in the aftermath of Aasia Bibi's acquittal. — File

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    Pakistan Rangers Sindh on Saturday announced to have arrested a suspected gangster from Karachi, who is said to be wanted in “25 heinous crimes of killings, attacks on law enforcers, extortion, kidnappings, and others”.

    The paramilitary force conducted an intelligence-based operation in Ali Mohammed Mohalla of Lyari and apprehended Shahzad alias Mohammed Azeem alias Faizu Dada who was associated with Ghaffar Zikri gang.

    Ghaffar Zikri was gunned down along with his minor son in an encounter jointly carried out by police and Intelligence Bureau in Lyari last year.

    The Rangers spokesperson said the held suspect was wanted in targeted killings, attacks on state institutions and extortion, and there were at least 25 FIRs registered against him. Moreover, the Sindh government had also announced a reward of Rs0.3 million for his arrest.

    Attacks on law enforcers

    Sharing details of the crimes allegedly committed by the suspect, the spokesperson said Shahzad along with his accomplices carried out at least 11 attacks on the policemen during 2007 and 2008, in which three innocent citizens were also killed during an exchange of fire.

    He also gunned down one Kareem Shah over non-payment of extortion in 2009, besides killing a Baloch person on directions of Ghaffar Zikri in the same year, the official said.

    “In 2011, he shot dead an alleged drug peddler, Shah Jehan. Later that year, he along with his accomplices kidnapped a member of Kutchi Rabita Committee, Jamshed, and killed him.

    The Rangers have handed him over to police for further legal action.


    Held suspect wanted in acts of targeted killings, attacks on state institutions and extortion, says Rangers spokesperson. — Dawn ArchivesHeld suspect wanted in acts of targeted killings, attacks on state institutions and extortion, says Rangers spokesperson. — Dawn Archives

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    An undertrial prisoner escaped from Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) which resulted in the arrest and suspension of two court policemen over charges of criminal negligence, officials said on Saturday.

    The prisoner was brought to JPMC on January 5 and got admitted in the general ward from where he managed to escape early Friday morning (Jan 11) despite the presence of the court police, said JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali.

    The suspect had gunshot wounds on his leg which was previously operated upon. He was admitted again to undergo surgery as he felt difficulty in walking, added Dr Jamali.

    The JPMC director said the policemen deployed at the hospital were present at the time of his escape.

    “Usually, they [the policemen] did not wear uniforms and appeared to be very casual towards their discipline,” Jamali said.

    Editorial:Fake police encounters

    Acting SHO of Saddar police station, Malik Hayat, said that the police have arrested two court policemen while a third official was on the run.

    The SHO said a case has been registered on the complaint of the "commander of court police", Tanveer.

    The officer revealed that the escaped prisoner had been arrested in an injured condition following a recent ‘encounter’ with Korangi police.

    He said the investigators were trying to figure out as to how he managed to escape from the hospital in an injured condition.

    Meanwhile, Minister for Prisons Nasir Hussain Shah took notice of the incident and sought an immediate inquiry report from the Inspector General of Prisons.


    The escaped prisoner was arrested in an injured condition following a recent ‘encounter’ with Korangi police. —Dawn archivesThe escaped prisoner was arrested in an injured condition following a recent ‘encounter’ with Korangi police. —Dawn archives

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    QUETTA: A social worker and former in-charge of local Edhi Centre, Baz Mohammad, was shot dead with a friend in Mahajir Adha in Loralai on Saturday.

    Police said that Mr Mohammad was mobilising the people for taking part in a protest against a recent terrorist attack on Frontier Corps (FC) training centre when armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire on his vehicle.

    As a result Mr Mohammad was killed along with Khayal Mohammad while their four companions were injured.

    Police said that they were attacked when their vehicle crossed the Police Line and Bacha Khan Chowk area. Both the deceased received multiple bullet injuries and died on the spot.

    FC personnel and police rushed to the spot and shifted the body and the injured to the District Headquarters Hospital from where a critically injured man was referred to the Combined Military Hospital.

    The injured included Allaud Din, Ali Khan and Atta Mohammad.

    It was the third armed attack in Loralai since the advent of 2019. On Jan

    1, four terrorists wearing suicide vests stormed Loralai Cantonment but were gunned down by soldiers before they could detonate their explosives. On Jan 11, armed men ambushed a FC vehicle near the local college injuring two soldiers.

    Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2019


    Police say that they were attacked when their vehicle crossed the Police Line and Bacha Khan Chowk area. — FilePolice say that they were attacked when their vehicle crossed the Police Line and Bacha Khan Chowk area. — File

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    Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Saturday took notice of media reports regarding the scheduled execution of Khizer Hayat, a mentally ill prisoner on death row, and announced to suspend his sentence till further orders.

    Moreover, the chief justice also fixed the matter for hearing on Monday [January 14], read a statement issued by the Supreme Court.

    Earlier in the day, Hayat's mother Iqbal Bano had moved the court calling for the suspension of his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness.

    On Friday, a district and sessions judge in Lahore had scheduled the execution of Hayat— a death-row prisoner diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia — for January 15 at the central jail in Kot Lakhpat.

    The request filed by Hayat's mother, which was submitted before the court's human rights cell, was reviewed by Chief Justice Nisar. The petition called for the Supreme Court's attention to the fact that a mentally ill prisoner was being sentenced to death.

    It has stated that the judgment passed by Lahore High Court "is not in accordance with law and the Prison Rules".

    The petition has also argued that the court has "mixed the conviction with execution and thereby has dismissed the writ petition on wrong premises".

    It further argued that neither the medical history of the petitioner's son has been taken into account and nor have the medical board's reports been considered which establish the prisoner's ailment.

    The petition notes that "the extensive jail medical records establishing the mental ailment of the condemned prisoner are sufficient to withhold the execution of death sentence till the time the condemned prisoner is fully recovered from the ailment".

    Moreover, the petition has also stated: "There is no way that Khizar Hayat’s execution can be carried out in a manner that complies with Pakistan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention against Torture."

    Hayat was sentenced to death in 2003 over the shooting of a fellow police officer. He has spent nearly 15 years on death row. He was first diagnosed as a schizophrenic in 2008 by jail medical authorities. In 2010, the jail medical officer recommended that Hayat needed specialised treatment and should be shifted to the psychiatric facility. However, this was never done.

    In 2017, the Lahore High Court had stayed the execution of Hayat.

    On Monday, a two-member bench comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Sardar Tariq Masoof will hear the case.

    Hayat's mother, in a letter, requested the chief justice to visit Kot Lakhpat jail's ward for mentally ill prisoners and investigate what medicines were being given to her son.

    She pleaded that his medical records be investigated "to determine why his treatment was not being done properly and why his condition was worsening day by day".

    "I read in Dawn that a prisoner named Khizar Hayat has been sentenced to be hanged," the chief justice remarked, inquiring from the Punjab attorney general which jail Hayat was serving his sentence in. The official replied it was Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail.

    Justice Nisar asked that it be immediately ascertained if Hayat has been diagnosed as mentally ill and sought a report today.

    Meanwhile, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which has been contesting the case, has been running a campaign on social media, asking President Arif Alvi to "grant mercy" to Hayat. According to Article 45 of the Constitution, the president has the "power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority".

    Earlier on Saturday, a press conference was organised by the Pakistan Psychiatric Society to call to attention the prisoner's execution.

    "All medical officers who have examined Khizar Hayat over the years have found him to be actively exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms," said Dr Usman Ahmad Hotiana of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society. "In 2009, Khizar's mental illness got so severe that he got horribly beaten by his fellow prisoners. His injuries were severe enough to require surgeries. After that, he was put in solitary confinement."


    Hayat's mother Iqbal Bano had moved the court calling for the suspension of his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness. — FileHayat's mother Iqbal Bano had moved the court calling for the suspension of his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness. — File

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    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) has rejected the government’s plan to unveil a mini-budget later this month.

    Parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman in a statement expressed her reservations over the ever-increasing price hike and government’s plans to introduce a mini-budget to make lives of the common man more miserable.

    Strongly opposing the plan, Ms Rehman asked if the government which was determined to bring about a revolution would introduce mini-budgets every four months. She advised the government to prepare for the annual budget, saying that this was not the time to unveil a mini-budget.

    She observed that the mini- budget was being unveiled to meet the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “We strongly oppose the decision,” she said. Ms Rehman regretted that the government continued to levy new taxes and increase the prices of one or the other commodity every month.

    She regretted that just a day after increase in the prices of drugs, the government announced its plans about unveiling a mini-budget. “The tsunami of change has turned into a price hike tornado,” she remarked and pointed out that the rate of inflation which stood at 5.8 per cent had gone up to 6.2pc while the growth rate had substantially gone down. Ms Rehman said that those who talked of business-friendly policies had devastated businesses. She said the government had no direction and had failed to efficiently run the economy.

    The PPP leader said that the government had done nothing except chanting slogans of accountability and setting the economy aright.

    Talking to Dawn, she said that the economy appeared to be in shambles while ‘accountability’ was merely being used as a tool against political opponents. She said that the opposition demanded that the government reverse its policy of witch-hunt and stop taking steps that added to the problems being faced by the people.

    Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2019


    Sherry Rehman says that mini- budget is being unveiled to meet conditions set by the International Monetary Fund. — FileSherry Rehman says that mini- budget is being unveiled to meet conditions set by the International Monetary Fund. — File

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