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The Times of India
Live: RJD should be given chance to prove majority, says Tejashwi
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:05:10 GMT
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BJP-Nitish tie-up to strengthen saffron ranks
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:12:20 GMT
The re-alignment between BJP and JD(U) will increase NDA’s clout but could also spur a reworking of relations within the remainder of the opposition where even bitter foes like SP and BSP might be tempted to joining hands to prevent being steamrollered by a saffron-led juggernaut. more...
Listened to my conscience: Nitish quits as CM
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:39:56 GMT
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar resigned from his post of Bihar's chief minister on Wednesday. The decision was announced after he met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at the Raj Bhavan today. more...
Amit Shah to contest RS poll from Gujarat
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:16:23 GMT
Health minister J P Nadda made the announcement after the party’s parliamentary board meeting on Wednesday. I&B and textiles minister Smriti Irani will be BJP’s other Rajya Sabha nominee from Gujarat. Irani’s tenure as an MP of the Upper House ends on August 18. more...
Privacy can’t override right to food: Centre to SC
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:30:13 GMT
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GST impact: Cheaper to eat sweets at shop counter
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:12:08 GMT
If you have the sweet at the counter and walk out after paying the bill, many mithaiwalas will charge 5% GST. But if you decide to enjoy it after asking a waiter to get it, the shop may ask you to pay 18%, if it’s air-conditioned. It is the same for dhokla, the favourite Gujarati snack. more...
How Nitish Kumar returned to NDA fold in 5 hours
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:31:26 GMT
It was little after 6pm when news surfaced that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was heading to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi's residence. Amid the alliance trouble brewing in the state for the past 20 days, it was not hard to guess what the reasoncould be. Soon, channels began flashing that Nitish is going to resign. more...
PM Modi hails Nitish Kumar's stand on corruption
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:09:30 GMT
Soon after Nitish Kumar tendered his resignation to Bihar Governor, PM Modi tweeted "125 crore citizens support and welcome the fight against corruption." more...
Nitish colluding with BJP, alleges Lalu Prasad
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:01:34 GMT
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Tried my best to save alliance: Nitish's top quotes
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:39:26 GMT
Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned as the Chief Minister of Bihar saying it had become difficult for him to run the Grand Alliance government. Here are his top quotes. more...
Delhi: 5 killed as out-of-control truck crushes SUV
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:49:22 GMT
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Defamation suit: HC imposes cost on Kejriwal
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:26:00 GMT
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10 die of TB every day in Delhi, finds NGO
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:04:47 GMT
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'US won't sit idle in event of India-China conflict'
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:04:42 GMT
"Should the ongoing push and shove turn into a hot war, Washington is expected to provide logistical, intelligence and material support to India’s military," said Mohan Malik, professor of Asia-Pacific Center for Security in Honolulu. "It might even dispatch an aircraft carrier and submarines to the Indian Ocean to monitor and deter Chinese naval assets," he said. more...
1st Test: Dhawan, Pujara tons deflate Sri Lanka
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:23:12 GMT
India made a resounding start to their tour of Sri Lanka with Shikhar Dhawan and Chesteshwar Pujara hitting centuries each to help their side post 399/3 on Day 1 of the first Test in Galle on Wednesday. Dhawan fell short of a deserving double-ton by 10 runs while Pujara remained unconquered on 144 at the close of play. more...
Nitish responds to PM's tweet, says 'thank you'
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:06:28 GMT
JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for appreciating his decision to step down from the post of Bihar Chief Minister. more...
Gujarat flood toll at 111; 17 of a family perish
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:54:51 GMT
Receding flood waters in Banaskantha revealed a massive tragedy in Khariya village of Kankrej taluka on Wednesday when bodies of 17 members of a family were recovered from the banks of Banas River. Villagers watched in disbelief as the bodies were recovered one after another from the muck. more...
'Snapdeal OKs Flipkart's $900-950m offer'
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:39:12 GMT
Shareholders of Snapdeal will now have to approve the deal, the sources told Reuters, declining to be named as the discussions are not public. Snapdeal and Flipkart were not immediately available for comment. more...
The Dawn News - Home
Nisar was excluded from PML-N's consultative meetings, wants to know why: interior ministry
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:06:46 +0500
An interior ministry spokesperson on Wednesday, speaking on behalf of Chaudhry Nisar, dismissed media reports stating that efforts were being made to placate the interior minister and that he is angry with the PML-N leadership. "The truth is that the interior minister had adopted a contrary position on some important matters in the PML-N's internal meetings, after which he was excluded from the consultative process," the spokesperson said.The spokesperson said the interior minister is seeking an explanation for his exclusion from the PML-N's meetings, and wants to know if the decision was made due to his opposing stance, or due to some other reason. The interior ministry spokesperson further said that unless a clarification is provided, "it will be difficult to resolve problems in a positive manner." The statement followed reports on Wednesday that it was unlikely that Nisar would make his political differences with the PML-N leadership public after he was reportedly assured that no change in the chain of command of the federal government would be made against his wishes.A senior official of the PML-N had spoken to Dawn, stating that Nisar's change of heart came when Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called on him and assured him that no minister junior to him would be nominated as prime minister in the event that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.The official said that Nisar had differed with the prime minister over a plan to appoint any minister other than the interior minister as a stopgap arrangement in case the premier was disqualified by the apex court.The interior minister, who had also reportedly been against the way the government had fought the Panamagate case, had twice invited the media to make an "important announcement". He had deferred the press conference both times, the latter time in deference to the victims of the Ferozepur Road bombing attack in Lahore. more...
US politician Wasserman Schultz fires Pakistani-origin IT staffer arrested for fraud
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 00:21:56 +0500
United States (US) Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz fired a Pakistani-origin information technology (IT) staffer following his arrest on a bank fraud charge at a Virginia airport where he was attempting to fly to Lahore.Wasserman Schultz spokesman David Damron said Imran Awan was fired by the Florida lawmaker on Tuesday. Awan's attorney, Chris Gowen, confirmed that his client was arrested at Dulles Airport on Monday. He said Awan was cleared to travel and had informed the House of his plans to visit his family before the scheduled trip. The 37-year-old Awan of Lorton, Virginia, was arraigned Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank fraud. He pleaded not guilty and was released pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program, including the restriction that he not travel beyond a 50-mile radius of his home, according to the court. An affidavit filed with the criminal complaint states there is probable cause to believe that Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, engaged in a scheme to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union based on misrepresentations made to obtain a loan. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Brandon Merriman said in the affidavit that the misrepresentations revolved around written assurances that the home serving as collateral for the loan was a "principal residence". Merriman said that the credit union normally does not provide home equity lines of credit when the home used to secure the loan is a rental. That's because they are riskier forms of collateral. The investigation, which included physical surveillance and interviews, determined that the couple did not reside at the property used to secure the loan. The agent also attested that bank records show $283,000 was wired to two individuals in Pakistan. He stated that agents followed Alvi in March to Dulles International Airport and that she was allowed to board a flight. She has not returned. She has a return flight for September 2017, but the agent said that he believes Alvi has no intention of returning to the US. The FBI agent also stated Awan purchased a flight ticket to Doha, Qatar, and then to Lahore, Pakistan. He purchased a return flight for a date in January 2018. Gowen says the federal bank fraud count stems from a "modest real estate matter" and is motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry. He said he's confident Awan "will soon be able to clear his name and get on with his life". A preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 21, according to Gowen. more...
Pakistani diplomatic officials abducted in Afghanistan rescued in operation
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:25:04 +0500
Two Pakistani diplomatic officials abducted in Afghanistan last month were recovered in an operation conducted by Afghan security forces, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told Pakistani officials in Kabul on Wednesday. The two were members of staff of the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jalalabad. They were kidnapped while they were travelling from Jalalabad to Torkham.Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal had assured the Pakistani government that Afghanistan's security institutions and intelligence agencies were looking for the abducted officials. President Ghani personally phoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires in Kabul to inform the mission that Afghan security forces had recovered the officials.Subsequently, the two officials were handed over to the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul by the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are expected to return to Pakistan soon.Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua conveyed the Pakistani government's gratitude over the safe recovery of the diplomats to Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai. more...
Protesting Neelum-Jhelum power project employees demand induction into Wapda
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 01:07:07 +0500
Some 300 non-gazetted employees of the NJHP Company, a subsidiary of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) executing the Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (NJHP), have been protesting non-fulfilment of their demands, including their induction into Wapda, for three days near the project site. However, neither Wapda nor the Water and Power Ministry has paid any heed to their demands.The protesters claim they were recruited to work for Wapda, but later classified as employees of the NJHP Company, which they fear will be terminated after completion of the power project. The government employees demand to be made a part of Wapda so that they may continue to hold stable jobs as Wapda employees after completion of the project, which is expected to be operational in 2018, prior to the next General Election. The protesters on the third day of the strike held a sit-in outside the office of NJHP Managing Director (MD) retired Brig Mohammad Zareen in the Chattar Klass neighbourhood of Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Muzaffarabad area. Shaikh Altaf, president of the Wapda Labour Union (CBA) in NJHP, warned the government of agitation if the protesters’ demands were not met, adding that the employees would take to the main Muzaffarabad-Kohala road along with their families. “We will also disrupt the construction work if our peaceful protest cuts no ice with Wapda’s management,” he cautioned.Altaf explained that all employees – whether daily wagers, contractual or regular – were appointed to work on the Neelum-Jhelum power project under Wapda rules. However, in 2014, they were declared as employees of the NJHP Company “in contrast to the employer’s initial stance that all employees would eventually be a liability of Wapda”. Despite the fact that the project is close to completion, neither Wapda nor the NJHP Company has devised an HR (human resource) policy which will help secure the future of the non-gazetted employees, he said.Some four years ago, he explained, the NJHP Board of Directors, headed by the Wapda chairman, had constituted an HR committee. However, the committee failed to devise an HR policy for the employees despite holding at least 10 meetings, Altaf said.“For the last four years we have been told that the HR policy is being prepared but now we are convinced that the high-ups were employing delaying tactics,” he claimed.“We are afraid that the authorities just want to keep us calm until the commissioning of the project next year,” he added.“Unfortunately the more flexibility we show, the more Wapda takes us for granted,” he lamented.Earlier in January, the employees had staged a protest demonstration on the same issue in Muzaffarabad, which was terminated after the management had made some promises to resolve the issue. AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider had also written a letter to Wapda chairman in this regard. According to his staff, he too was assured that an HR policy was being formulated for these employees.Despite several attempts, the NJHP MD could not be reached for comment. more...
Abducted Balochistan higher education secretary returns home
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:53:36 +0500
Balochistan's higher education secretary, Abdullah Jan, who was abducted from Quetta four months ago returned home Wednesday evening, family members told DawnNews.Unidentified gunmen had picked the official up from Quetta's Sabzal Road area at gunpoint when he was on his way to work. He was kidnapped when the 6th national census was underway throughout the country and a large number of government employees, including those from the education department, were participating in the process."My father has safely reached home," Attique Khan, Jan's son, told DawnNews. He said his father's physical condition was not good. It is not yet apparent whether the official was recovered by security forces in an operation, or set free after payment of ransom. He was abducted on March 15, 2017.Deputy Inspector General of Police Abdul Razzaq Cheema, Home Secretary Akbar Harifal and other high-level government officials visited Jan's residence upon his return.No group claimed the responsibility for his abduction. more...
Oil tankers’ operators agree to end strike after successful talks with govt
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:08:37 +0500
The second session of talks between government authorities and All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) on Wednesday reportedly proved successful after the APOTA members were assured that their demand for an increase in freight fares will be considered, DawnNews reported.The oil tankers’ operators announced to end their three-day long strike during a press conference following their meeting with the government authorities.Long queues of motorists were witnessed at filling stations across the country following a severe shortage of petrol as the ongoing strike by APOTA entered its third day.Meanwhile, Karachiites taking strong exception to the plea adopted by the oil tanker operators attributed the situation to rampant disrespect for the rule of law and inability of the administration to ensure alternative options for the smooth supply of petroleum goods across the country. The APOTA has been on strike since July 24, for an indefinite period, in protest over a number of issues pertaining to the issuance of traffic fines by the Motorway police, strict regulations relating to the fitness of their vehicles and differences over transportation fare with the oil marketing companies. The oil tankers’ operators had said that they would continue their strike until their demands were met by the government and refused to follow safety standards introduced in 2009. Big crowds of motorists and motorcyclists were witnessed at filling stations, especially at the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) outlets, where fuel is supplied by the PSO's own tankers.Due to the shortage of furel, transport on roads is less than normal and people are facing difficulties in reaching their offices, DawnNews reported.After consultations with the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), the government on Tuesday did offer a major relaxation to oil transporters in terms of an extended schedule for compliance with safety standards for transportation of oil products — but to no avail.On the other hand, Ogra suspected the oil marketing companies for orchestrating the strike through oil tankers owners and pledged not to compromise on safety standards.The Ministry of Petro­leum and Natural Resources had convened the meeting of representatives of the APOTA, All Pakistan Carr­iage Contractors Associa­tion (APCCA) and oil marketing companies (OMCs) to convince the oil tanker owners to call off the strike.Meanwhile, the supply of petrol is continuing as usual at the pumps of the PSO, said the PSO spokesman, adding that PSO had satisfactory stock of petroleum products. more...
Pakistan's military industrial base is better than India's: Gen Sarath Chand
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:36:33 +0500
Pakistan's military industrial base is "better" than India's, said India's Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lieutenant General Sarath Chand, as he "slammed" the performance of ordnance factories at home, Times of India reported.According to the Indian daily, Chand said on Tuesday that "Pakistan probably has a better industrial base, as far as defence production is concerned, than our country," adding that Pakistan exported more defence equipment than India. Speaking at the inaugural session of AMICON 2017, a two-day conference organised by the Indian army and the Confederation of Indian Industry, Chand criticised India's ordnance factories for not keeping up with changing technology and not undertaking enough research and development initiatives.He wondered if the poor functioning of the factories was caused by a "lack of accountability", read the TOI report."It is very hard to see ordnance factories changing in the present state. Overall, it has become an unsuccessful method of supporting our defence requirements," observed Chand.According to the Indian daily, Chand further highlighted the importance of a military industry in times of war, adding that India had been "let down" by "friends [...] whenever the chips have been down." more...
CM Sindh criticises NAB ordinance, vows to stand by accountability bill
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:33:29 +0500
A visibly irritated Murad Ali Shah criticised the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 in his Sindh Assembly speech on Wednesday, vowing to press for the bill repealing the ordinance.Earlier in the Sindh Assembly, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Pakistan) lawmaker Faisal Subzwari had questioned the provincial government's "mala fide" intention in passing the NAB Repeal Bill which, in his view, was an attempt to protect the corrupt. Taking offence over Subzwari's comments, the Sindh chief minister clarified that the government would have "no role in the appointment of a chairman" of the proposed accountability body. The chairman will be appointed by a committee consisting of three members, each from the treasury and opposition benches as well as the speaker, who will have the decisive vote in case of a dispute, said Shah.He also took the opportunity to criticise the federal government for its inaction in certain cases. The federal government has passed laws regarding NAB and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which enable them to prosecute the government's own officers, he said, responding to the opposition's concern that "the cat cannot be the protector of milk." "We should let the federal government pass laws for us and we should pass laws for them, or ask another country to pass laws for the country if your argument is to be accepted," Shah argued.The chief minister also criticised NAB policy of plea bargain and their operations. He claimed that a tractor company which was receiving subsidy from the government was involved in financial irregularities worth Rs1.5 billion but had received a "clean chit" from NAB. "It was only after we reopened the case after NAB closed it, that we found out," he said. Criticising NAB Ordinance 1999, Shah said that the law was such that no one else could take up a case already taken up by NAB, which was problematic.He also cited an accountability law passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as an argument supporting the Sindh government's view that the assembly could legislate on the matter.The opposition walked out of the house while the bill was being passed and announced that it would collectively take the issue to courts. The National Accountability Ordinance 1999 Repeal Bill 2017, first passed on July 3, aims to repeal the applicability of the NAO in departments and autonomous bodies controlled by the provincial government. It was sent back to the assembly by governor Sindh who asked it to reconsider and discard the bill for being "repugnant to the provisions" of the NAO 1999 and the Constitution. more...
Altaf Hussain 'congratulated target killers' for PSP men's murder: Sindh Rangers
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:12:33 +0500
'Alarming that S. African, British soil used to plot attacks in Karachi' Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain allegedly congratulated target killers on the murder of two members of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) in Karachi's Orangi Town area, a Pakistan Rangers Sindh spokesperson said in a press conference Wednesday.During the press conference, Sindh Rangers' Col Qaiser Khattak announced the arrest of the suspected target killers and revealed their alleged links to the London wing of the MQM. The arrested men, identified as Mohammad Raheem and Mohammad Danish, allegedly gunned down two PSP workers named Abdul Majid alias Nadeem Maulana and Arshad alias Laal Khan in a suspected targeted attack in Orangi Town on July 17.The Rangers spokesperson said that the alleged killers had been informed of the targets a month ago.The suspects rode by on a motorbike and shot down the two political workers, Col Khattak told the press briefing. He added that the suspected shooters had accomplices nearby who have not yet been arrested. The Rangers spokesperson said that the suspects had confessed to their crimes, named a few of their accomplices and also admitted that they were responsible for spreading anti-state propaganda that incited hatred against "Pakistan Army and law enforcing agencies". They were also responsible for writing pro-Altaf slogans on Karachi's walls.The Rangers spokesperson said that special teams had been formed to arrest the suspected target killers, who had been picked up and were identified by an eyewitness. He added that the weapon and bike used in the murder were also recovered.An audio recording of a message retrieved from the arrested men and allegedly sent by the MQM founder was played during the press conference. In the audio clip, a man can be heard congratulating the suspected target killers for "a successful event".According to the Rangers spokesperson, the suspected target killers were contacted via WhatsApp by a man named Abdullah from South Africa. Col Khattak added that on July 20, Rs50,000 was transferred to one of the suspects' account. The colonel claimed that MQM London workers in Pakistan were planning to kill political leaders and workers on the orders of Altaf Hussain, Nadeem Nusrat, Qamar Teddy and Abdul Rashid alias Babu Bihari. He added that the paramilitary force had strong leads on the murders of policemen earlier this year and that an investigation is ongoing. "The people of Karachi will soon hear more good news," he promised.He claimed that the Rangers would soon catch the culprits, adding that Karachi's law and order situation is a lot better than it was in the past. "The city is not facing an alarming law and order situation anymore," he said, adding that times when a phone call would lead to a shut down of the city are long gone. "Any plans to disrupt Karachi's peace will be foiled," the colonel claimed. The Rangers spokesperson also said that the paramilitary force is aware of several banned organisations operating from Afghanistan. "We have arrested many terrorists," he told the media. "Many are on the run but we will catch them soon."In the end, he said he wanted to "give a message" to Karachi's youth. He asked young people to stay away from "extremist elements" in London, South Africa or any other country which is "openly against the state of Pakistan", and to abstain from involvement in heinous crimes and the murder of innocent citizens as "it will result in serious consequences for not only those involved but also for their families".'Alarming that S. African, British soil used to plot attacks in Karachi' "It is alarming that South African and British land is being used to plot terrorism and bloodshed in Karachi," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said after he was briefed about the arrests of the alleged target killers and their association with MQM London by Director General (DG) Sindh Rangers Major General Mohammad Saeed.The interior minister lauded the Rangers' efforts to uphold peace in Karachi and told the DG Rangers to send a detailed reference report to the interior ministry.He added that the ministry would raise the issue with both countries' governments with complete evidence. more...
Police arrest 20 Panchayat members who ordered 'revenge rape' in Multan
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:47:04 +0500
A search operation is underway to arrest the members of a panchayat (village council) who fled after ordering a man to rape a 17-year-old girl, police said on Wednesday.According to SHO Malik Rashid, the search operation began after two cases were registered against the members of the council at a police station inside the Violence Against Women centre in Multan.The council, comprising at least 40 men, was convened in Muzaffarabad's Rajpur area after a 12-year-old girl, F*, was raped by a man while cutting grass in a field on July 16, reads the First Information Report (FIR) filed at the police station.On July 18, the panchayat ordered F's brother to rape 17-year-old N*, the sister of the accused. According to the police, N was dragged to the area where the panchayat was convened and was raped before the men and her parents.After the incident, the parents of N filed an FIR on July 20, while a second FIR was filed on July 24 by F's family, who had initially wished to keep the matter quiet. After the cases were registered, the police started investigations and arrested 20 of the council's members, including the head of the panchayat who gave the order. Search operations for the remaining men are underway.*Names have been changed to protect privacy. more...
Supreme Court to focus on Jahangir Tareen's offshore company in disqualification case
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:35:39 +0500
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday initiated proceedings on PML-N stalwart Hanif Abbasi's petition seeking the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen over the alleged non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies, as well as receiving foreign funding for PTI.Before the hearing formally started, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar asked if every disqualification case would now be brought to the apex court. "It is Tareen today, tomorrow it will be some other member of the Parliament," he observed. "This has to stop somewhere. There are other forums which can look into these matters."To this, Abbasi's counsel Azid Nafees replied that the case was brought before the apex court in light of the Panamagate case, but the answer did not entirely satisfy the bench. Nonetheless the hearing proceeded as scheduled.As the arguments commenced, Nafees, while presenting his evidence, claimed that Tareen had concealed the fact that he owns agricultural land.The lawyer further alleged that Tareen did not pay taxes on the land, and also that his company had received loans worth Rs49 million which were later written off.He also brought up a fine worth Rs70 million levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan on Tareen for 'insider trading'. The judges noted that this had happened 12 years ago and in any case signalled that Tareen had been keen to clear his name of any wrongdoing."Tareen has [also] gone on record to say that his children own offshore companies — these facts mean that he is not sadiq and ameen anymore," the petitioner's lawyer continued. "Tareen gave his children monetary gifts too," he added.Upon this, the judges asked: "How is giving one's children gifts equivalent to not being sadiq and ameen?" The judges pointed out that it was clear from the documents submitted that Tareen had given money to his children as gifts, and that there is nothing illegal about giving or receiving monetary gifts within the family."The gifts were a front to create benami fortunes," the lawyer argued.To which the chief justice responded: "How do we take this assumption to be true?"During his arguments, Nafees referred to the Panamagate case, in which a joint investigation team was created to look into the offshore companies of the prime minister's children and the sources of money used to set up the businesses. He advanced the argument that the investigating team had also looked into the practice of giving gifts, but this was shot down by the bench, who told the counsel to "forget about the JIT." The reasoning provided was that the sources of funding were not clear in the Panamagate case, which was not so in the case pertaining to Tareen."What do you want from us?" Chief Justice Nisar asked Abbasi's counsel, adding that the court would not summon Tareen's tax returns and that his children's tax returns were confidential. At this point, Tareen's lawyer said that Abbasi's counsel wanted the court to summon the tax returns so that they may be able to find something to build a case on."We're not here to scrutinise Tareen's tax records — this is the responsibility of the tax authorities," the chief justice remarked. "We're only looking at how [Tareen's] offshore companies were set up.""The real question should be how much money was used to set up the offshore company and whether there were sufficient funds available [to Tareen] abroad to set it up," he added.The bench later posited several questions for Tareen to answer, including: how and when was the offshore company set up; who is the legal and beneficial owner of the company; how much money was used to set it up; how was the money transferred abroad to set up the company.The hearing of the case was adjourned till Thursday, July 27. more...
SC expresses displeasure at progress on Quetta carnage report
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:52:56 +0500
Key recommendations of the commission's report Admonishing Balochistan police and health officials, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday expressed severe displeasure on the lack of progress made on recommendations made in the Quetta Inquiry Commission report.A three-member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was hearing a case pertaining to the deadly suicide bombing in Quetta on August 8 last year, which had claimed 76 lives, including 57 lawyers.The report of the Justice Qazi Faez Isa-led inquiry commission into the carnage had touched upon the callous disregard for human life shown by doctors and paramedical staff which responded to the incident. The commission had regretted that the absence of doctors and other staff of the Sandeman Provincial Hospital, where the suicide bomber had struck, contributed to the severity of the incident, with some victims undoubtedly dying after not receiving timely treatment.In its 110-page report, the one-man commission cited testimonies by lawyers to establish that apart from one notable exception, doctors and other staff of the hospital did not render medical or any other assistance to those lying wounded at the blast site. Since the blast occurred inside the hospital’s premises, the absence of doctors and others is inexplicable, it noted.Read more about the report's damning indictment of government inaction here.Ordering the provincial government to ensure active operations in Quetta's trauma centres and the up-gradation of Sandeman hospital, the Supreme Court has sought additional reports on the progress made on the inquiry commission's recommendations from the police, health department and the provincial government. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Aitzaz Goraya also informed the court that five terrorists involved in the incident have been killed, one is under arrest, while search for two fugitives is ongoing.The court has adjourned the hearing till September 12, asking the relevant departments to deliver on promises made after the tragedy.Key recommendations of the commission's report • The National Action Plan should be made into a proper plan, with clear goals, a comprehensive monitoring mechanism, and periodic reviewing. • Nacta (National Counter Terrorism Authority) must be activated. It must do what the Nacta Act mandates. • The public space needs to be reclaimed to counteract the virulent propaganda of the terrorists. The laws and Constitution need to be reestablished and the state must re-exert itself. • The Anti-Terrorism Act needs to be enforced, and terrorists/terrorist organisations must be proscribed without delay.• The federal and Balochistan governments must develop and maintain a databank with information or perpetrators/suspects of heinous crimes and terrorists organisations. • Forensic laboratories should be not under the jurisdiction of the police, but of scientists. The results/tests should be uploaded in a central databank and easily accessed from any province. • All crime scenes should be professionally secured, forensically examined and extensively photographed as soon as possible. • Protocols or standard operating procedures should be developed with the help of experts. • The shortcomings of the hospital, government of Balochistan and police need to be addressed and removed. • All educational institutions, including madaris, need to be registered. • Entry into and departure from Pakistan needs to be properly monitored; all persons must have the requisite documentation.• The customs authorities should ensure that contraband is not brought into the country. • If the media broadcasts and propagates the views of terrorists, then those doing so must be prosecuted in accordance with the law. • The amount of compensation for the legal heirs of the decea­sed and for the injured should be expeditiously distributed. more...
New TTP wing of trained suicide commandos behind Lahore attack
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:17 +0500
LAHORE: Law enforcement agencies have identified a new militant network, an offshoot of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as the group responsible for Monday’s attack on Lahore’s Ferozepur Road.The suicide attack near the Arfa Karim IT Tower was the first deadly assault by the Taliban Special Group (TSG), which comprised highly trained suicide attackers (fidayeen commandos), a senior police officer told Dawn on Tuesday.Earlier attacks in the provincial capital, including the one on The Mall, had been claimed by Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the TTP based in Afghanistan, he said. The United States had placed the JuA on its list of specially designated global terrorists last year for staging multiple attacks targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel and law enforcement agencies.The police officer said the emergence of the TSG had raised concerns among law enforcement agencies, who were viewing it as an emerging new challenge. The TSG commandos have been trained to carry out massive and deadly attacks, he said.Contrary to earlier reports, the police officer said preliminary investigation revealed that the attack had not been carried out using a motorcycle. Law enforcement agencies have examined registration documents of the 10 motorcycles at the site of the attack and learned that they had all belonged to the victims, he stressed. It was more likely that the suicide bomber was brought to the site of the attack by one or more facilitators on a rickshaw or another vehicle, he said.The identity of the facilitator(s) would be hard to establish considering that the only CCTV camera installed near the site was not functional at the time of the attack. However, the dismembered remains of the suicide attacker had been sent for forensic analysis, the police officer said.Monday’s attack claimed 26 lives, including nine policemen, and left 54 others injured. No more casualties were reported on Tuesday while 11 of the injured were discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment.Jinnah Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Sohail Saqlain told Dawn that post-mortem of 23 victims had been conducted. The post-mortem examination of the remaining three victims had not been carried out because their identity was yet to be established.According to the information obtained from public hospitals, nine of the 54 injured were being treated for major injuries. Most victims had been brought to hospitals with multiple fractures, Dr Saqlain said. The blades, spring and other sharp, jagged objects used in the explosive material had critically damaged the soft tissues of most victims, he said.Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced financial assistance of Rs2 million for the families of those who had lost their lives in the attack. Those seriously injured in the blast will be given Rs1m, while those with minor injuries will be given Rs300,000 each.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Al-Aqsa Mosque dispute poised to become a religious conflict, UN envoy warns
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:15:59 +0500
The UN envoy on Middle East peace has warned that the developments over the past 11 days in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem have demonstrated the grave risk that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could become a religious one that could ultimately engulf the rest of the region. While recognising that Israelis and Palestinians, fortunately, have not succumbed to the torrent of violent upheaval that has engulfed the region in recent years, Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told an open debate in the UN Security Council that for nearly a century, despite myriad peace efforts, one conflict has evaded solution. His briefing to the 15-nation Council highlighted the latest clashes and rising tensions over the past two weeks in the Old City in Jerusalem. Violence has resulted in deaths on both sides. These developments demonstrated the grave risk of turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious one and dragging both sides into the vortex of violence with the rest of the region, Mladenov said, stressing the need for all parties to show restraint and promptly end this crisis. Noting that the final status issue concerning Jerusalem needs to be negotiated and decided by the two sides, he urged Israel to fulfil the responsibility to uphold its obligations under international human rights law and humanitarian law. He also urged Palestinian leaders to avoid provocative statements that further aggravate an already tense environment. The latest incidents have taken place against a backdrop of other developments, the envoy stressed. Throughout the month, Israel continued to advance its plans to construct settlements in East Jerusalem. I must once again emphasise that settlement activity in occupied territory is illegal under international law and undermines the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous, sovereign Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution, he warned. On a positive note, it was pointed out that an interim power purchasing agreement between the two sides was signed on 10 July, which set the stage to negotiate a more comprehensive power purchasing agreement towards Palestinian energy independence. In addition, an agreement was reached to increase water supply for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Turning to the situation in Gaza, he reiterated that the political standoff between two Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas has taken the two million people living in the tiny enclave hostage. Since violently seizing control of Gaza, Hamas has tightened its grip on power and suppressed dissent, he explained. The punishing measures taken against Hamas, including electricity cuts, have worsened the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Whatever the political differences between the Palestinian factions, it is not the people of Gaza who should pay the price, Mladenov underscored, calling on Palestinian leaders to address the destructive consequences of the split. Finally, he said recent events are a reminder of how easy it could be to reach a dangerous escalation, and he, expressed hope that Israel's agreement with Jordan and positive engagement with religious authorities would result in actions that would circumvent violence in the future. We must not lose focus on the need to restore a political perspective, on the need to bring Palestinians and Israelis back into an environment that is conducive to negotiations on a final status arrangement and avoids turning the national Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious one, he emphasised. more...
No victory in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s support: US military chief
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:11 +0500
WASHINGTON: Recent experiences indicate that the United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s support, says US military chief Gen Joseph Dunford. And US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said that a recent decision to stop reimbursements to the Pakistani military was not part of a tougher new US policy for Pakistan but it did reflect ground realities. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford underlined Pakistan’s role in bringing peace to Afghanistan at the Aspen Security Forum in California on Sunday, when he was asked if the ongoing review of the US Afghan policy included Pakistan. “Absolutely. I mean this is from New Delhi to Tehran when we talk about South Asia and a critical element of our strategy in the region has to be Pakistan,” said Gen Dunford while explaining that the Trump administration was reviewing its policies for the entire South Asian region and not just Afghanistan. “And we cannot be successful in Afghanistan — we’ve seen that over the last several years — unless we have a higher degree of cooperation from Pakistan. So Pakistan is absolutely an integral part of the strategic review that’s ongoing,” said the US general, stressing Pakistan’s key role in the region as well as in Afghanistan. At a news briefing on Friday, Secretary Mattis was asked if his recent refusal to certify Pakistan’s cooperation in eliminating the Haqqani network was part of the new strategy that the White House and Pentagon experts were working on. “No. This is simply an assessment of the current state of play. It’s not a — it’s not a policy. It is a reality. You know, we’re just defining the realities,” Mr Mattis said in his response. The refusal blocked about $50 million of reimbursement to the Pakistani military and may affect future reimbursements and military assistance, until the secretary certifies that Islamabad has taken sufficient steps against the Haqqani network. At the Aspen seminar, Gen Dunford also warned against placing artificial timelines on operations in Afghanistan, as the Obama administration did when it announced its intent to withdraw all US troops from there by 2014. Putting a timeline was not good for the confidence of the Afghan people, and it caused hedging behaviour in the region as well, he said. “It undermines our cooperation with Pakistan if they don’t believe we will be there long enough to establish security and stability,” he added. The general said he could give details of the ongoing review but he believed that a strategy had to “provide more capability on the ground” for it to have a chance of being successful. “And so I do believe that additional forces for the Afghan security forces would make them more competitive” and would help the conventional forces combat the militants with “more power”, he added. Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Khawaja Asif also holds UAE work permit
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Following Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s confession that he had obtained Iqama (work permit) of the United Arab Emirates, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif was also found to be a holder of such permit of the Gulf state. The defence minister claimed on Tuesday that he had submitted details of his Iqama to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Federal Board of Revenue about 27 years ago. “My Iqama is with the ECP and the FBR for the last 27 years,” the minister said in a statement reported by Geo TV. Khawaja Asif, who also holds the portfolio of Minister for Water and Power, was replying to allegations levelled by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) that he had not declared his UAE work permit before the ECP and FBR and that keeping Iqama of a Gulf state while holding a public office was a “clash of interests”. The minister disclosed that he had also been holding an account in a Dubai-based bank since 1983 and even today he was receiving money in Pakistan through the same banking channel. The PTI’s deputy secretary general, Usman Dar, alleged that Khawaja Asif had not declared his Iqama before the ECP and FBR and said he would also expose corruption and corrupt practices of the minister. In a statement, the PTI leader said Khawaja Asif, while serving as defence minister of the country, held work permit of a private firm in Dubai. “Khawaja Asif has never declared his income from the offshore company,” he claimed. Mr Dar said the PTI had started consultation with its legal team for preparing a case for disqualification of Khawaja Asif who, according to some media reports, can be a possible candidate for the office of the prime minister if Nawaz Sharif steps down. “We will also send Sialkoti yes-man of the prime minister home under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Possible candidate of prime minister’s office has been found more corrupt than the incumbent prime minister,” he said. Prime Minister Sharif is also facing the charge of possessing the UAE Iqama, but he has not declared it before the ECP and FBR. However, his lawyer Khawaja Haris submitted an application to the Supreme Court on Saturday claiming that the prime minister had declared his Iqama at appropriate forums. Usman Dar claimed that the defence minister had obtained Iqama from the firm which had been awarded contracts by the PML-N government. “Holding Iqama of any foreign country is a way of escape,” he said.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Rs102bn laundered through ‘gift back arrangement’
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:17 +0500
ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the Federal Board of Revenue issued notices to over 2,785 wealthy Pakistanis who have allegedly laundered Rs102 billion during the outgoing fiscal year by describing the money as “gift”. An official told Dawn on Tuesday that these individuals had been asked to explain the sources of their income. Under the existing laws, gifts are exempted from taxes and a large number of such individuals with high net worth are using the option as safe means of transferring income, assets and wealth without contributing to the national revenue. When contacted, newly appointed Director General of Intelligence and Investigation Shad Mohammad confirmed the issuance of notices to these people who received hefty gifts from various quarters. FBR issues notices to 2,785 wealthy people to determine their sources of income In the first stage, he said the source of income was not clear from cross-verification of their income tax returns. “We are closely coordinating with the regional tax offices (RTOs) for enforcement of these notices.” The RTOs will scrutinise the cases to determine whether or not these expensive gifts came from legitimate sources. The cases involving money laundering through “gift back arrangements” were unearthed during the scrutiny of tax returns filed by the wealthy individuals last year. It was found that income was declared in many returns, but taxes paid on the income were nominal. The wealth statements of the individuals showed that their net assets were running into hundreds of millions of rupees, and even higher in some cases. The anti-money laundering cell of Intelligence and Investigation, Inland Revenue, has launched investigation against the identified people who put assets worth millions of rupees in the gift category while filing their returns, according to the official. Data collected by the cell revealed that 2,785 rich individuals declared receipt of gifts worth Rs102bn in their wealth statements in the tax year 2016. In three of the cases, the individuals declared gifts worth Rs1bn and above, with the biggest amount of gift received being Rs1.7bn. At least eight individuals declared gifts worth between Rs1bn and Rs500 million. In the third category, 97 individuals declared gifts worth between Rs500m and Rs200m. Likewise, 97 people declared having received gifts worth between Rs200m and Rs100m and 280 individuals between Rs100m and Rs50m in their wealth statements. A total of 2,348 people declared having received gifts worth between Rs50m and Rs10m. In cases where it is found that a “gift back arrangement” has been employed with the intention of evading tax, the assets of the individuals concerned can be confiscated under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 and criminal references filed against them in the Special Court of Customs and Taxation. Laundering the proceeds of tax evasion through schemes such as “gift back arrangements” are liable to punishment with rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years, along with heavy fines as well as forfeiture of the properties involved. Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Article 62 applies if crime is committed: PTI lawyer
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), which usually prefers to quote the decision of the dissenting judges in the Panama Papers case judgement, on Tuesday referred to the majority ruling to emphasise that Article 62 of the Constitution, which deals with the disqualification of parliamentarians, should only be invoked when there is a clear breach of law.Naeem Bokhari, who represents PTI chief Imran Khan, referred to Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed’s observation that Article 62(1)(f) could not be allowed to be used as a tool for political engineering by the Supreme Court, nor should it arrogate to itself the power to vet candidates on moral grounds.“Under our constitutional dispensation, Pakistan is to be governed by the representatives chosen by the people and not chosen by any institution or a few individuals,” Justice Saeed had said in the judgement.Similarly, the counsel recalled Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan’s remark that the court did not feel inclined to arrogate to itself a power or exercise a jurisdiction which had not been conferred on it by any act of parliament or even by Article 184(3) of the Constitution, which deals with the enforcement of fundamental rights. Bokhari cites majority verdict in Panama Papers case in Imran’s defence These arguments come even as the party argues — before a bench hearing the Panama Papers case — that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is no longer sadiq or ameen as he has not been truthful to the court, the nation or the National Assembly, and should, therefore, be disqualified.Mr Bokhari was arguing before a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, which had taken up a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi. The petition seeks the disqualification of Imran Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen for non-disclosure of assets, existence of their offshore companies and belonging to a foreign-aided party.The counsel referred to the majority judgement when Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked him whether his client had been rendered dishonest under Article 62.Justice Bandial also wondered how Article 62(1)(f) would be applicable when there were two views in the Panama Papers case: a minority judgement which suggested that moral violations such as not fulfilling Haqooqul Ibad (the rights of man) were sufficient grounds for disqualification, whereas the majority view held that only a violation of the law would attract such punitive action.This became important especially when mis-declarations in nomination papers regarding the ownership of a foreign property might attract criminal penalties, but tax evasion or non-filing of income tax returns might not, Justice Bandial observed. The judge also highlighted that no action had so far been taken against legislators who were found guilty of mis-declaration.But the counsel argued that the non-declaration of foreign assets by his client did not constitute a violation of any law. Mr Khan claims that he had acquired the Draycott Avenue flat in London in 1984 and disclosed its ownership in 2000 to capitalise on a tax amnesty scheme.Under the election laws, Mr Khan had to declare the property before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), but he lost the 1997 elections, the counsel recalled.The chief justice also reminded Mr Bokhari that the petitioner’s case was not that Mr Khan had laundered money to purchase the London flat. The petitioner was, in fact, arguing that as the beneficial owner of the property, Mr Khan was supposed to declare it in his tax returns.He said that while availing the amnesty scheme might relate to the tax part, by not disclosing it to the ECP, Mr Khan had rendered himself “not honest”, which fell under the scope of Article 62.A sealed box containing the income tax returns of Mr Khan was submitted to the court.Mr Bokhari also submitted banking transactions showing how money came to Mr Khan’s accounts while he played professional cricket in London and Australia, but the documents were not certified.The counsel conceded that some of the banks used for these transactions did not exist anymore, at which the chief justice wondered how he got hold of the transaction details. Mr Bokhari clarified that the documents had come from Mr Khan’s accountant and said he would travel to London to have them certified.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Govt, oil tanker owners fail to find way out
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: After late night consultations with the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), the government on Tuesday decided to offer a major relaxation to oil transporters in terms of an extended schedule for compliance with safety standards for transportation of oil products. Despite the government’s firm stand on implementation of safety standards earlier, the development came amid fears of political opposition taking advantage of the situation arising from fuel shortage. The protesting oil tanker owners will be called for another round of talks on Wednesday (today). Earlier, as the meeting between government officials and oil tanker owners fell through, the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) announced that they would continue their strike until their demands were met by the government and refused to follow safety standards introduced in 2009. It was reported that the country had enough oil stocks for consumption for 10-11 days, but supply disruptions could emerge in some parts of the country in the absence of transportation. A fresh round of talks slated for today On the other hand, Ogra suspected the oil marketing companies for orchestrating the strike through oil tankers owners and pledged not to compromise on safety standards. “Our talks with government have failed and the strike will go on,” APOTA chairman Yousuf Shahwani said after attending the meeting co-chaired by the secretary petroleum and the Ogra chairperson.The Ministry of Petro­leum and Natural Resources had convened the meeting of representatives of the APOTA, All Pakistan Carr­iage Contractors Associa­tion (APCCA) and oil marketing companies (OMCs) to convince the oil tanker owners to call off the strike. Without taking any punitive action, Ogra had hired the services of two separate third-party inspection companies to verify claims by the oil marketing companies that up to 40 per cent tankers were complying with the 2009 Ogra technical standards for fuel transportation and to identify the reasons for frequent accidents caused by substandard tankers. After the inconclusive meeting the angry representatives of the oil tanker associations’ chanted slogans against the motorway police and the Ogra. Mr Shahwani said the APOTOA and the APCCA presented their list of demands and the government refused to accept it. He said the associations decided not to talk to the government officials anymore as the behaviour of the Ogra chairperson was “derogatory”. “We were told by the Ogra chairperson that the regulator wouldn’t talk to them as they are not Ogra licencee,” he said, adding that it was the oil marketers that were licensed by the authority. The tow associations, thus, would not comply with Ogra’s regulations, he added. Besides the regulations, representatives of the oil tanker association were critical of the National Highway Authority’s (NHA) police treatment, alleging them of highhandedness. The APOTOA presented a list comprising of 10 demands to the government which included the increase in freight rate, exclusion of National Logistic Cell from the oil transportation business, stoppage of oil transportation to Peshawar via train, opening of Kohat tunnel for oil tankers and decrease in explosive permit rate. Mr Shahwani said that explosive department was charging Rs10,000 instead of Rs1,000. The association, he said, will not accept the government plan of increasing the number of oil tankers’ axles from two to five. He said that they had a two-axle agreement with NHA which was in place for the last one decade. Replying to a query regarding the Bahawalpur oil tanker accident, he said the company or the oil tanker was not responsible for the incident but it was the people who were stealing oil who were actually responsible for the loss of lives. Separately, Ogra spokesman Imran Ghaznavi accused the oil companies of working behind the oil tanker strike, adding that they would not be allowed to hide behind tankers for a long time and would be exposed soon. He also accused the oil tankers association of “blackmailing”. Mr Ghaznavi was of the view that the OMCs were trying to avoid implementation of safety standards which were introduced in consultation with the companies who had sought a five-year time for full compliance. Even after those five years, the OMCs failed to comply with standards despite repeated reminders, he said. Three more years have lapsed after the five year commitment and yet certain elements were trying to avoid safety standards, said Mr Ghaznavi. “This is no more acceptable. We are ready to talk with the APOTOA and can make some relaxation but there will be no compromise on the safety of Pakistanis”, he said. “During the entire time neither OMC nor APOTOA raised any objections to the rule but when Ogra started its implementation they have started protesting, said Mr Ghaznavi.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
SC orders govt to block CNICs, freeze bank accounts of absconders
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:43 +0500
KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the interior ministry, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the provincial home authorities to block the computerised national identity cards (CNICs) of all absconders in order to secure their custody.A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, issued these directions while hearing a Sindh government appeal challenging the Sindh High Court’s order to release an accused person after setting aside his conviction.The court also directed them to get the bank accounts of the absconding accused persons frozen at the earliest and asked the attorney general and advocate general to submit compliance reports.The apex court observed that the absconders were making full-throated speeches about respecting the judiciary, but they were not appearing before the courts to face cases. Absconders talk of respecting judiciary but do not appear before court, says SC The judges took serious exception to the state of affairs in which the law enforcement and prosecuting agencies were handling matters relating to the arrest of the absconders.In the criminal acquittal appeal, Sindh prosecutor general Shahadat Awan submitted that the drugs court had convicted Shaukat Masih, but the Sindh High Court had set aside the trial court order. The provincial government had challenged the SHC order in the apex court seven years ago.Initially, the Supreme Court had summoned the respondent but when he did not turn up the court issued warrants for his arrest.Marine pollutionMeanwhile, the same bench directed the managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to furnish a report about measures to retrieve the encroached land of Mehmoodabad treatment plant and resettlement of the occupants.The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court was hearing a set of petitions against increasing marine pollution and disposal of untreated sewage and industrial waste into the sea.The court also sought a progress report about repairing and renovation of the dysfunctional treatment plants in the metropolis.The KWSB chief contended that around 80 per cent renovation of and repair work on Treatment Plant-I and Treatment Plant-II (TP-I and TP-II) had been completed in compliance with the court directives. He added that 92 acres of land belonging to TP-II in Mehmoodabad had been encroached upon.He was of the opinion that the plant could be made functional within shortest possible period on a temporary basis even if 42 acres of the occupied land were retrieved and made available.The KWSB managing director further informed the court that the process of retrieving the remaining 50 acres of land from illegal occupants and providing them with alternative space would take time.The bench directed him to file a progress report regarding the repair or renovation of the dysfunctional treatment plants as well as the measures being taken to recover the 92 acres of occupied land of TP-II and resettlement of the occupants.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
‘Qataris among foreigners issued houbara hunting permits’
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:43 +0500
KARACHI: The federal government had issued at least 13 permits to foreigners to hunt the migratory houbara bustard in the province during hunting season 2016/17, said Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Khuhro on Tuesday.He was responding to legislators’ queries during Question Hour that pertained to the wildlife department in Sindh Assembly’s session that was chaired by Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza. Neither Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who holds the portfolio of the wildlife department, nor any senior official of the department was present in the assembly to answer queries.Mr Khuhro, who responded in the absence of the chief minister, could not give specific as well as convincing answers to all legislators’ queries, though a junior officer of the department present in the officers’ gallery continued to pass on the required information through assembly staffers to him during the session. Responding to a question by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional legislator Nusrat Abbasi, the minister said that earlier the Sindh High Court in a constitutional petition (D 5806) of 2014 challenging a notification — No. DCP(P&I) June 18, 2014/15 (Allocation/UAE) — issued by the foreign affairs ministry allocating various areas to the foreign dignitaries for hunting of houbara bustards during 2014/15 had imposed a ban on hunting. He said that later the Supreme Court in its Jan 22, 2016 judgment set aside the earlier judgment of Aug 19, 2015 on various constitutional petitions regarding the houbara bustard hunting issue. Currently there was no ban on houbara hunting, he said adding that, however, no such houbara hunting permit had been issued by the Sindh government for season 2016-17.He said that the areas allocated by the federal government to foreigners, including Qatari nationals for houbara hunting in Sindh, included Jamshoro, Thatta, Jati, Malir, Dadu, Umerkot, Badin, Jungshahi, Matiari, Sukkur, Khairpur, etc. Replying to another of her questions as to why the houbara bustards were hunted, the minister said that one reason was that hunting was a sport and other was that probably the hunters considered that its meat had some proteins and nutritious value. Replying to another of her questions, he said that other Siberian birds that came here during the winters could be hunted after getting a hunting permit (fee Rs2,000) from the wildlife department during the three-month-long hunting season.Replying to a question as to why the number of migratory birds coming here was declining year by year, the minister said that it depended on climate change; if there was less harsh winter in their Siberian habitat less number of birds would migrate to come here. Marine turtlesResponding to a question by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legislator Shafi Jamote regarding installation of turtle excluding devices (TEDs) in the fishing nets so that turtles did not get caught in the nets, the minister said that installation and monitoring of the TED in the fishing nets used by the fishing boats was not the Sindh wildlife department’s responsibility; it was the responsibility of the marine fisheries department. Answering a question raised by Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislator Waqar Shah regarding steps taken to protect marine turtles, the minister said that over 2.4 million turtle eggs had been recovered and brought to the department’s hatcheries at Sandspit and Hawkesbay beaches, and over 700,000 hatchlings had been released into the sea. He said over 8,200 mother turtles, which had come to lay eggs, had been tagged and out of these over 650 had returned to lay eggs at these beaches again. At least 12 turtles had, with assistance from the international wildlife research and conservation agencies, been tagged with satellite tracking devices so that their migratory routes could be monitored. Responding to a question asked by the legislator regarding sale of turtle eggs at Empress Market in Saddar, the minister said that turtle eggs were not eaten/consumed in Pakistan. The minister also did not respond to a question asked by MQM legislator Dewan Chawla regarding the names and number of species whose eggs were consumed in the country. Responding to a question asked by Pakistan Peoples Party legislator Khair­unnisa Mughal regarding the number of hog deer in the province, the minister said that the hog deer was a shy animal and preferred to live in riverine forest spread over thousands of kilometres along the banks of the Indus covered with tall grass and thick vegetation, so it was very difficult to carry out its census.But according to rough estimates given by natives residing in the habitat, its number could be around 5,000. He said it was a protected animal and its poaching had not been reported and nobody had been caught.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
SECP ordered to audit all foreign companies
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to carry out an audit of all foreign companies operating in Pakistan.The directives were issued following the receipt of the report of a joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the kidnapping of a Chinese couple from Quetta, according to a statement issued by the ministry.The audit would be aimed at identifying companies that are not filing tax returns, or are involved in unauthorised activities. Such companies or firms would have their registration cancelled, the statement said.A foreign company has to register itself with the SECP — the corporate sector regulator — before it can operate in Pakistan. Nisar receives JIT report on kidnapping of Chinese couple in Balochistan On May 24, unidentified individuals posing as policemen kidnapped a Chinese couple from the Jinnah Town area of Quetta, while another Chinese national escaped the abduction attempt. The self-styled Islamic State (IS) militant group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.IS also released a video showing their murder on June 8, though authorities kept denying the two had been killed.The minister has also asked the SECP to ensure that the financials and other particulars of all foreign companies are properly scrutinised before their formal registration.The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will also carry out an inquiry against the SECP officials who are ignorant of the activities of ARK Info Tech — the firm that employed the two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped.According to a preliminary report submitted to the interior minister last month, a North Korean national, identified as Juan Won Seo, arrived in Pakistan on a business visa and opened an Urdu academy in Quetta.The two Chinese nationals, Lee Zing Yang and Meng Li Si, also came to Pakistan on business visas and went straight to Quetta on the pretext of learning Urdu. But instead of engaging in business activities, the couple began preaching Christianity, the JIT report said.The Chinese duo was taken into custody by police in Kharotabad days before their abduction. They had also been informed of threats and offered a security detail, but were said to have declined the offer.According to the interior ministry statement, the visas of all foreign nationals associated with ARK Info Tech will be cancelled and they will be immediately expelled from the country. In addition, all cases registered against the company will be pursued.The foreign ministry has also been asked to review visa procedures and properly scrutinise applicants’ particulars to check the trend of individuals obtaining Pakistani visas on the basis of fake particulars and fraudulent means.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also inform the Korean ambassador in Pakistan about the evidence against the Korean national.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Oil transporters' strike: Talks fail as protesters refuse to budge from demands
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 22:02:46 +0500
The nationwide oil transporters' strike seemed headed towards developing into a crisis after a meeting on Tuesday between state officials and the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA), an umbrella organisation for the oil transporters, fell through. On July 24, APOTA had announced a countrywide strike to protest against the revised safety regulations for oil tankers introduced by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) in the wake of the Ahmedpur Sharqia incident, which had resulted in the death of 218 individuals.The supply of petroleum products across the country has been affected by the strike, as the movement of nearly 23,000 oil tankers in the country remains halted.In the Tuesday meeting, chaired by the secretary petroleum, the OTOA Chairman, Mir Muhammad Shahwani, put forward the following demands: The National Logistics Cell be abolished. Lorries be allowed to pass through the Kohat tunnel. Lorries be the only means of oil transportation to Peshawar. The current regulations system be continued and stricter laws not be implemented. The tariff for lorries be increased. The reason cited for the failure of the negotiations was the refusal of the Oil Tankers Owners Association (OTOA) to budge from these demands and its insistence on continuing the protest till they were met.The Ogra spokesperson, Imran Ghaznavi, rejected the demands saying that the authority will not be backed into a corner through "blackmail". He also accused oil marketing companies of backing the strike behind the scenes."The tankers' association is not licenced under Ogra; rather it is the oil marketers that are licenced by Ogra and they are now trying to evade the law through this strike," Ghaznavi said."The oil marketing companies have not been following Ogra's safety regulations," Ghaznavi added, stating that multiple letters sent to the companies by Ogra in this regard had yielded no response."These companies want to play with people's lives, but Ogra will ensure that this does not happen," he said.Ghanznavi clarified that the government wants to resolve the matter but will only do so through civilised discussions. "Threats will not work," he warned."We are ready to hold a dialogue with the marketing companies and will try and hold a discussion with them soon.""The secretary petroleum also wants to resolve the matter, but he has stated that legal action can be sought against oil marketing companies in case of continued non-compliance," Ghaznavi said.The strike was announced days after Ogra fined Shell Pakistan Limited for failing to meet safety benchmarks and held it responsible for the Ahmedpur Sharqia incident. Ogra had hired the services of two separate third-party inspection companies to ascertain whether Shell had complied with the 2009 Ogra technical standards for the transportation of petrol and to identify the reasons for the tragic accident in Ahmedpur.Sources said that the ill-fated tanker did not even meet safety and transportation standards of the company itself, let alone Ogra’s 2009 technical standards.When issuing the fine, the regulator had also estimated that around 85 per cent of oil tankers do not comply with the prescribed standards.The oil industry, fearing reprisals, has been lobbying against any punitive action.The industry is pushing for a grace period of up to two years to allow tanker lorries and oil marketing companies to comply with regulatory standards and is sending out signals suggesting that extreme steps like a ban on non-compliant tankers would lead to product dry-outs.A strike by oil tanker owners earlier this year had caused a great deal of public inconvenience, especially in Karachi, where long queues of motorists and bikers were seen outside many petrol stations. more...
Punjab govt constitutes high-powered JIT to investigate Lahore blast
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:14:15 +0500
The Punjab government on Tuesday issued orders for the constitution of a high-powered joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the Ferozepur Road bombing in Lahore. At least 26 people, nine policemen among them, were killed and 54 others injured in a suicide bomb explosion near the Arfa Karim IT Tower on Ferozepur Road on Monday afternoon.According to initial reports, a bomber rammed his explosives-laden motorbike into over 100 policemen and as many other people who had gathered during an anti-encroachment drive initiated by the Lahore Development Authority in the Kot Lakhpat Fruit Mandi.The blast took place a few hundred yards from the Punjab chief minister’s 80-H, Model Town residence, sending a wave of panic in the vicinity.Tuesday evening, the Punjab Home Department invoked Section 19(I) of the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997 to constitute a JIT to "probe and finalize investigation" in the bombing attack case.A notification to this effect stated that the five-member JIT would have a Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) representative as convener, while representatives of Inter-Services Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, the Criminal Investigation Agency and CTD would be members. more...
S. Asia policy: US team likely to visit Islamabad soon
Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:03:10 +0500
WASHINGTON: A US delegation is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of August to discuss the new US strategy for South Asia with Pakistani officials, says Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. The delegation would include officials from the US State Department and the National Security Council, said the lawmaker while addressing a group of mainly Indians and Pakistanis at a Washington think-tank, the Atlantic Council. On Monday evening, the council’s South Asia Centre arranged a conversation between two former information ministers from Pakistan and India — Mr Sayed and Manish Tiwari — to discuss whether or not “media diplomacy” could challenge the neighbours’ narrative. Mr Sayed used the opportunity to talk also about the ongoing review of the US strategy for South Asia, praising the Trump administration for its decision to develop a new policy for the entire region, instead of clubbing Pakistan with Afghanistan. Mushahid Hussain advises India to avoid Cold War-style confrontation The senator, however, disagreed with Washington’s claim that Pakistan was still allowing militants to use “safe havens” inside its territory for launching attacks into Afghanistan. “The US wants to scapegoat Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan,” he said. His conversation with Mr Tiwari, however, focused on relations between India and Pakistan and both politicians stressed the need for reducing tensions between the two neighbouring states. Both talked about the warmth that visitors from one country received when visiting the other and urged the media to tap these positive sentiments for improving ties. Senator Sayed pointed out that South Asia was home to 20 per cent of humanity, which “needs more interaction, not negativism”. While Mr Tiwari backed the suggestion to restart cricket matches between India and Pakistan, he said he was not sure if a cricket match between promoted peace or was seen as a mini-war between the two rivals. Mr Sayed disagreed, citing the June 18 match during which a former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, defended the Pakistani team when a former Pakistani Test player attacked it. Criticising the policies of the Indian government, the senator urged New Delhi to understand that “size doesn’t equal strength; otherwise tiny Cuba couldn’t have stood up to the US”. He also quoted from the Economist magazine, which said that in today’s India rising authoritarianism did “not allow for reasoned debate/discussion/dissent”. Mr Sayed also asked India to be a part of “Asian century connectivity rather than the Cold War-style confrontation which has led to troubled ties with neighbours”. He described China’s One Belt, One Road policy as the most important diplomatic and developmental initiative of the 21st century, and urged India to join in, instead of opposing it. The senator said former US president Barack Obama failed to figure out a Pakistan policy, which created complications in the region. “We are now waiting to see how President Trump’s approach will be better or different,” he said. The senator said that in India, a new narrative from the ruling party ideologues was being inserted into textbooks by eliminating references to the country’s Muslim past. He said the Indian state’s Hindutva ideology was combining Muslim-bashing at home with anti-Pakistan animus, challenging peace and stability in the region. “Clarity in approach and common ground [are] needed,” he added. “We as nations should have a strategic stake in each other’s economic development backed by the political leaderships,” the senator said, adding that improving ties with India had always been on the political agenda of the Pakistani governments. Mr Tiwari, a senior Congress leader, asked Pakistan not to blame Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi but their own policy of “using terrorist groups as proxies for the current tensions between the two countries”. “The infliction point in India-Pakistan relations was 26/11 [Mumbai attacks]. After 2008, irrespective of the fact that whether there was a UPA government or that was succeeded by a BJP-led NDA government, the relationship with Pakistan has been in a deep freeze,” he said. “There is a very widespread feeling among the people of India, not limited to the government, that action against the perpetrators of 26/11 is a pre-requisite for forward movement between India and Pakistan.” Mr Tiwari alleged that when Mr Modi spontaneously decided to land in Lahore to attend wedding of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter, the response was a terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase in India.Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2017 more...
Govt appoints new IGP Punjab ahead of court deadline
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:40:58 +0500
Profile of retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan In compliance with the Lahore High Court's (LHC) orders, the federal government on Monday appointed retired Captain Arif Nawaz Khan as Punjab's Inspector General of Police (IGP). The appointment was announced a day before the court's July 26 deadline for the matter to be decided.A notification dated July 25, signed by Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, deputy secretary to the Government of Pakistan, stated "Capt (retd) Arif Nawaz Khan, a BS-21 officer of Police Service of Pakistan, presently serving under the Government of Punjab, is transferred and posted as PPO, Punjab, in his own pay and scale, with immediate effect and until further orders."On July 18, the LHC had discarded the appointment of the acting IGP, retired Capt Mohammad Usman Khattak, as the permanent Provincial Police Officer (PPO). PPO is another title for IGP Punjab.The court had issued the order while hearing a case pertaining to the enforcement of a number of provisions of the Police Order, 2002 and challenging the appointment of Khattak as the acting IGP of Punjab.Khattak had been made acting IGP on April 12 after the retirement of Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera. He was made permanent on July 17 to meet a deadline issued by the LHC. During a hearing of the case, the petitioner, through his counsel, had argued that the transfer and posting of Khattak as PPO was in violation of the Police Order, 2002.He referred to Sections 11 and 12 of the Police Order, 2002 as well as prior orders of the court, arguing that the IGP could be appointed by the provincial government out of a panel of three police officers recommended by the federal government.The petitioner's lawyer had also argued that the tenure of the IGP is three years, but Khattak would retire in almost three months and could not complete the tenure prescribed in the law.The court, on reviewing the arguments, had subsequently dissolved Khattak's appointment. It had ordered the federal and provincial governments to appoint the PPO strictly in terms of Section 11 of the Police Order, 2002 — which deals with the procedure of appointing a PPO — and Section 12 — which deals with the tenure of an incumbent IGP — before the next hearing on July 26.Profile of retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan Before his appointment, Khan was serving the Punjab government in the capacity of Additional IGP. He was among five officers who were being considered favourites for the post. According to police sources, Khan enjoyed close ties with the last regular IGP, Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera. Khan had actively launched IT-based initiatives under Sukhera and played a role in ushering reforms in the police, including the introduction of training by the army.Khan also served the PSP in the capacity of additional IGP Balochistan; commandant Balochistan Constabulary; assistant superintendent of police Multan, Lodhran, Pakpattan and Ferozwala; SP City Gujranwala, SP Rajanpur, SSP Chakwal, SSP Dera Ismail Khan and DPO Bahawalpur. He also served in the Special Branch in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; the Special Branch and CID in Punjab; DIG Administration in Faisalabad and DIG Training Punjab; DIG Headquarters Balochistan; and Regional Police Officer, Quetta.Born on August 28, 1961, Khan attended a senior management course in Turkey, the Advance Management Course-90 at NIPA Lahore (2006), and the 95th NMC in Lahore (2011/12). more...
London flat was declared under 2000 tax amnesty scheme: Imran's lawyer
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:36:46 +0500
Details of Imran's possession of London flat according to Naeem Bokhari Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, in a statement submitted before the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, has clarified that his London flat was not mentioned in his tax returns but was declared through a tax amnesty scheme in 2000 and subsequently appeared in his election nomination papers for 2002.The court was hearing arguments on a petition that seeks Imran Khan's disqualification on allegations that he owned offshore companies and committed tax theft. The petition was submitted by the PML-N's Hanif Abbasi, who has additionally alleged that Imran and PTI senior leader Jahangir Tareen acquired funds through prohibited and illegal sources. Naeem Bokhari, representing Imran, told the court that to his client's knowledge, foreign income was non-taxable in Pakistan, which is why taxes were not paid on his flat. Imran had declared the said property via a tax amnesty scheme, which meant that it did not need to be declared in yearly tax returns, he claimed. The property was later declared in 2002 in election documents, Bokhari added. Details of Imran's possession of London flat according to Naeem Bokhari 1983: Imran Khan makes first payment for flat in London 1983 - 2003: Ownership of flat not declared in tax returns 2000: Imran declares ownership of flat through tax amnesty scheme 2002: Flat mentioned in 2002 election nomination papers 2003: Flat sold Regarding the money trail of Imran's Bani Gala property, the lawyer presented the PTI chief's cousin, Rashid Khan, as a witness. Rashid testified that he had received money from Imran's ex-wife, Jemima Goldsmith, which was used to buy the property in Bani Gala. Clarifying his stance on the court's request, Bokhari stated that the money for the Bani Gala property was transferred by Jemima to Rashid Khan, and later paid back to Jemima by Imran. The court also questioned whether the PTI chief had enough money to buy the flat in London. Bokhari submitted that Imran had played for Worcestershire and Sussex in England, while he was also associated with New South Wales and played the Kerry Packer World Cricket Series in Australia. Justice Umar Atta Bandial pointed out that the banking transactions only show two payments from Sussex — not a continuous flow of income. Bokhari conceded that some payment records for county cricket played by Imran were unavailable, but said that most have now been found and submitted. Imran Khan's tax records will also prove that he was not involved in tax evasion, maintained Bokhari. Pointing out that the petitioner had not questioned Imran's funds for buying the London flat, Bokhari said that the issues in court were regarding non-declaration of Niazi Services, tax evasion and unduly benefiting from tax amnesty schemes. Justice Azmat Saeed had remarked in the Panamagate case that Article 62(1)(f) cannot be used as a political tool to disqualify someone, Bokhari reminded the court after Justice Bandial led the discussion on implementation of Article 62 of the Constitution. Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution deals with the eligibility of a member of parliament, requiring the members to be "sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen."Abbasi's counsel Akram Shaikh, in his arguments, alleged that the documents submitted by Bokhari were forged, to which Bokhari responded that while he was not sure whether the banks which handled the transactions were still operative, he would ensure that he would provide a legitimate record. The chief justice then asked Bokhari how he had acquired the documents if the banks in question had discontinued operations and what the procedure to authenticate them would be. Bokhari submitted that he had acquired the details through Khan's former accountant and assured the court that he would make all efforts to ensure certified documents were made available to the court. The court adjourned the hearing of the case until July 31, ordering Bokhari to submit all necessary documents tomorrow (Wednesday). The SC will also hear the petition against Jehangir Tareen on Wednesday. more...
National participation needed to defeat terrorism: Gen Bajwa
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:18:30 +0500
Visit to Lahore General Hospital Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday chaired a security meeting at Corps Headquarters Lahore, during which he was briefed about the suicide attack that occurred a day earlier as well as recent updates from Operation Raddul Fasaad.While expressing his grief for victims and their families, the COAS said: “Such incidents cannot lower our resolve to eliminate terrorism from its roots.” “We are breaking connectivity between terrorist masterminds and their facilitators,” he added. While appreciating the police’s role in maintaining peace in Lahore, Gen Bajwa said: “The army fully supports and stands with police and other law enforcement agencies in their role as first responders.” “We have fought against terrorism as a nation and the key to [the successful elimination of terrorist elements] is national participation by reporting every suspicious activity to security forces.”While discussing recent exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan regarding the presence of terrorist elements on each side, the COAS said: “Concurrent blasts at Kabul and Lahore are a testimony of our stance that both Pakistan and Afghanistan are victims of terrorism and will continue to suffer if these actors are able to use Afghanistan's territory with impunity.” He reiterated that Pakistan is ready to help Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist safe heavens in their border areas. Visit to Lahore General Hospital Gen Bajwa also visited the Lahore General Hospital to inquire after those injured in the suicide bomb attack on July 24. The blast, which took place near the Arfa Karim IT Tower on Ferozepur Road on Monday afternoon, had taken the lives of 26, nine of them policemen. Another 54 were reported injured in the attack. According to Rescue 1122, the injured are being treated in various public hospitals in the provincial capital.Lahore's DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf had said that the blast was a "suicide attack" and that “police were the target”. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility, stating that a "suicide attacker" had used a motorcycle bomb to target the police officials. more...
Sindh Assembly passes resolution demanding PM's resignation
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:49:32 +0500
The Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday demanding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should step down from his post for "producing fake documents before the Honourable Supreme Court and its JIT and evading taxes."According to the resolution tabled by PPP lawmaker Khairunisa Mughal, a copy of which is available with DawnNews, a majority of Sindh Assembly members — including Nisar Khuhro, Ghulam Qadir Chandio and Dr Sikandar Mandro — demanded that the prime minister should resign as his move has "shattered the confidence of the people of Pakistan.""It is, therefore, the considered opinion of this August House that Nawaz Sharif should resign forthwith," read the resolution. Multiple factions of the society have called for the prime minister's resignation.On April 24, the speaker of Punjab Assembly blocked the opposition’s move in the house demanding prime minister’s resignation, but allowed the treasury to adopt a resolution reposing full trust in “active and sagacious” leadership of Nawaz Sharif.While addressing his cabinet in Islamabad on July 13, Sharif termed the JIT report a pack of "allegations and speculations" and announced that he will not resign as the prime minister on anyone's call, as the cabinet members suggested that he fight the legal battle to vindicate himself in the Panama Papers case. more...

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