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The Times of India
Imran Khan writes to PM Modi, calls for resumption of peace dialogue
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 20:36:58 GMT
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to PM Narendra Modi seeking resumption of dialogue between the two countries. More specifically, and significantly, Khan has sought a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on the sidelines of UNGA. more...
India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 02:50:25 GMT
Men in Blue dispatched a listless Pakistan by eight wickets with as many as 21 overs to spare in their Asia Cup clash. The total game lasted 72.1 overs, something the Indians would be very happy about. more...
Cabinet clears ordinance to criminalise triple talaq
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 20:19:12 GMT
Disregarding resistance from political opponents and the Muslim clergy, the Union Cabinet cleared an ordinance on Wednesday to criminalise instant triple talaq on the ground that the controversial custom, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, was still being used against women of the minority community. more...
'RSS has discarded parts of Golwalkar’s thoughts'
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 21:07:40 GMT
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said that the saffron fountain-head has discarded chunks of “Bunch of Thoughts” — a compilation of speeches of its former head Guru M S Golwalkar — which was for long the lodestar for the organisation. more...
Supreme Court judges split in ‘urban Naxal’ case
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 22:02:13 GMT
A three-judge Supreme Court bench on Wednesday expressed contrasting views on the sustained assertions of arrested rights activists in the “urban naxal” case that evidence against them was forged and Pune police’s claims linking them to the banned CPI (Maoist) were unsustainable. more...
No UAE court order to extradite Michel to India
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 21:34:10 GMT
A day after a UAE court was asked by local authorities about legal provisions regarding possible extradition of foreign nationals to a third country, it transpires that while the court order can help India seek the custody of alleged AgustaWestland middleman and UK national Christian Michel, it is not specific to him. more...
NRC claims process to start on September 25
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 21:20:40 GMT
The Supreme Court on Wednesday green-lighted filing of claims and objections on inclusion and exclusion of names in final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam from September 25 for a period of sixty days, a process awaited by more than 40 lakh people excluded from the list. more...
Rape accused bishop quizzed for 7 hours
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:09:22 GMT
more...
All about Amazon's biggest acquisition in India
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 02:43:39 GMT
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BJP in a bind over Manohar Parrikar’s ‘replacement’
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:43:08 GMT
more...
Pakistan stamps show terrorists as victims in J&K
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:29:33 GMT
The Pakistan Post has issued 20 “commemorative” postage stamps portraying slain terrorists and some others as “victims of atrocities by Indian troops in Kashmir”. Along with the images, the stamps carry captions such as ‘use of chemical weapons’, ‘use of pellet guns’, ‘mass graves’, ‘braid chopping’ and ‘Burhan Wani (1994-2016) freedom icon’. more...
Afghanistan President discusses security situation
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:08:05 GMT
On a visit to India, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani held closed door discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while the two sides discussed the security situation in Afghanistan and future Indian development projects. more...
Body of BSF jawan killed in Pak firing ‘mutilated’
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 21:48:36 GMT
The body of a BSF jawan killed on Tuesday due to “unprovoked” firing from Pakistan in Jammu’s Samba district was reportedly found in a mutilated condition with wounds to the neck. An official statement from BSF stated that the soldier’s body was found with “multiple bullet injuries on his torso including neck". more...
Shivpal’s exit to hurt party’s prospects: SP MP
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:01:32 GMT
SP’s Lok Sabha MP from Mainpuri Tej Pratap Singh, who is the third generation politician in the Yadav family in UP, said on Wednesday that the breaking away of Shivpal Yadav from the party would hurt its prospects in the 2019 general elections. more...
Post-J&J, govt plans law to put onus on med cos
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 22:42:19 GMT
In an apparent response to the Johnson & Johnson faulty implant case, which will get support from patients and consumer groups, the government is set to introduce a legal provision under which a company manufacturing medical devices will have to offer compensation to patients in case of an adverse event. more...
Father chops off girl’s arm for marrying a dalit
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 22:16:27 GMT
A father attacked his 20-year-old daughter and her newly-wed husband in Hyderabad on Wednesday, chopping off her left forearm and slashing her jaw. Banjara Hills police said the father was upset over the inter-caste marriage — the woman an OBC, her husband, B Sandeep (22), a Dalit. more...
Walmart buy: Flipkart staff set to gain
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:54:48 GMT
Flipkart employees with stock options look set to make solid gains from Walmart’s acquisition of the Bengaluru-based e-tailer. ​​​​​The employees have received emails asking them to tender a part of their shares under the employee stock option plan (ESOP). The email said the share buyback programme will be completed by the end of this month. more...
Here’s where you should head this Halloween
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 10:19:46 GMT
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The Dawn News - Home
Law will take its course, PTI responds to judgement
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:25:05 +0500
LAHORE: Stating that the decision of the Islam­abad High Court (IHC) to suspend the accountability court’s verdict in the Avenfield reference was on a “procedural basis”, Infor­mation Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the government fully respected the country’s courts. In a statement issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s media department on Wednesday, Mr Chaudhry said that the country’s courts were functioning independently and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was also an independent and autonomous institution and the government had no role to play in its activities. Mr Chaudhry, who is also the information secretary of the ruling PTI, said the government respected the IHC’s order like all its previous judgements. He said the government as well as the people of Pakistan wanted action against all those involved in corruption. Bilawal terms the verdict ‘relief’ to Sharifs “The people of Pakistan want that their looted wealth brought back to the country and the government is working to achieve this objective,” he asserted. Stating that the nation was now aware about the character of the Sharif family, he alleged that the Sharifs were yet to provide evidence of its ownership of billions of rupees. He said the law would take its course and the case would further unfold. Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari termed the IHC verdict a “relief to the Sharif family”. In a statement issued from Bilawal House Karachi, the PPP chairman said that after the death of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the Sharif family was going through “testing times”. “The PPP and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto fought for the independence of judiciary and were an integral part of this important movement. The PPP has also suffered at the hands of judicial verdicts but not once have we disrespected the courts,” he added. The PPP chairman said he could not comment on the legal aspects of this verdict as courts were yet to decide on the appeals. “We believe that our courts should not seem to be seen as part of any political victimisation. Rule of law and independence of judiciary are essential for any democratic system to thrive,” he concluded. Similarly, PPP Punjab president Qamar Zaman Kaira in a separate statement said that as soon as the accountability court had announced 10-year jail term for the PML-N’s supreme leader, it was being expected that the (Islamabad) high court would bail out the ex-premier. Mr Kaira said Nawaz Sharif had always been getting relief [from courts] and the it was repeated once again on Wednesday. He said the grounds the IHC had made as basis in its verdict for releasing Nawaz Sharif would be known only in the detailed judgement. Mr Kaira, however, said that so far only punishment had been suspended as the former prime minister would have to face the case and submit the money trail for the assets to which he had admitted ownership. Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018 more...
FIA gets SC nod for probe against owners of 2,700 properties
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:25:05 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The Fede­ral Investigation Agency got a green signal from the Supreme Court on Wednesday to inquire from the owners of 2,700 properties identified recently by the agency about the sources that led to acquisition of the assets abroad. A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar also asked FIA Director General Bashir Memon to kick-start the campaign by summoning at least top 20 people in the list of owners of the properties stashed abroad and ask them to submit affidavits explaining the sources of their wealth — whether the capital to acquire the properties was transferred illegally or legally out of Pakistan. Take a look: SC wants to get back Rs600 billion stashed abroad by Pakistanis The court had taken up a suo motu case relating to illegal transfer of money from Pakistan to foreign countries. The case was initiated when it came to the notice of the court that a large number of Pakistani citizens are maintaining accounts in foreign countries without disclosing to the local authorities or paying taxes on them in accordance with the law. The apex court also hinted at helping out the FIA in its endeavour in case it has any capacity issue. Adjourning the proceedings for a fortnight, the court also asked the FIA to inform it about those reluctant to share information about the sources of their income. In that case, the court said, it would summon and ask them to furnish affidavits explaining their sources. The FIA chief informed the court that the agency had detected about 2,700 properties owned by Pakistanis in different countries, adding that the agency intended to ask them about the sources of their wealth. The court turned down FIA’s request to give it a month to conduct the exercise and instead granted the agency 15 days to do so. At the last hearing on Sept 3, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) had informed the court that a staggering $150 billion was stashed alone in the United Arab Emirates through 550 properties. Smuggling of money During the proceedings, the court expressed concern over unchecked smuggling and sought periodic reports on measures taken to check smuggling of money through hawala and hundi. At the outset, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor informed the court that the present government intended to bring out a mutual legal assistance (MLA) bill 2018 and it would soon be submitted to the cabinet for approval. A report submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) under the Task Force for Recovery of Unlawfully Assets Acquired Abroad explained that in view of the urgency the federal government intended to promulgate the MLU bill in the form of an ordinance and it would be placed before parliament for final approval. In line with the resolve of the new government against money laundering, police launched a crackdown on the hundi and hawala business on Sept 15 in Peshawar where a large number of illegal hawala agents were apprehended and foreign and local currencies worth Rs29 million were seized along with a large quantity of hardware data, including mobile phones, laptops and CPUs. The attorney general informed the court that similar raids would also be conducted in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and other cities. On taxing the foreign assets of Pakistani citizens and residents, the report said, the ARU was working on ratification of avoidance of double taxation with Switzerland, which was ratified earlier this year by Pakistan but awaiting ratification from the Swiss side. The Foreign Office had been asked to seek earlier ratification from the Swiss side and, if needed, a high-powered delegation be sent for its ratification and implementation of exchange of information under its purview, it added. Officials from the FBR and ARU are working on listing other jurisdiction where Pakistan needs to renew or enter into similar agreement with which the FBR will be able to tax any asset of Pakistani citizen or resident in the respective jurisdiction. Moreover, the report said, the unit with the assistance of the Foreign Office had negotiated and agreed upon a partnership for justice and accountability between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The report explained that through this working partnership both sides had nominated a single point person for all mutual cooperation on the operational level between the UK and Pakistan who shall liaise on all requests for mutual legal assistance, extradition and all relevant exchanges on matters pertaining to money laundering, financial crimes, asset recovery, immigration and organised crime. The report said that ARU in its working with UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) recently carried out a joint operation in one such pending case where a person required in an FIA case in Pakistan had absconded from Pakistan to the UK. He had allegedly laundered up to Rs250m from Pakistan as proved through banking records. This information was shared with the NCA wherein it was shown that the money was transferred from Pakistan to Dubai, from Dubai to Switzerland and the US and eventually landed in the UK, the report said. It added that the NCA after confirmation of money trail and evidence acted swiftly and on Sept 17 arrested two individuals from their UK home who had real estate worth 8 million pound, in addition to expensive cars and numerous bank accounts. “The NCA is in process of seizing the assets and properties and is in constant contact with ARU and FIA. But due to the request and laws in the UK, we are not disclosing the identity of this Pakistani individual publically,” the report added. State Bank Governor Tariq Bajwa said the properties detected in the UAE had been taken as a pilot project and it would soon summon such people to explain the source of the properties. Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018 more...
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia pledge to defeat terrorism
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:25:05 +0500
PRIME Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.—APP ISLAMABAD: Reaffirming their intention to stand by each other at all times, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have pledged to continue their decades-old partnership to defeat the scourge of extremism and terrorism. The two countries reiterated the pledge during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meetings with Saudi leadership in Jeddah on Wednesday. The PM called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and extended an invitation to the Saudi leadership to visit Pakistan at an early date. “The offer was graciously accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office. Saudi King, Crown Prince accept PM Imran’s invitation to visit Pakistan Acknowledging each other’s efforts and sacrifices, the two sides agreed on the need to promote peace and security to ensure progress, development and prosperity. As the PM briefed the Saudi leadership about Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices in its fight against terrorism and highlighted the role of “actors trying to destabilise Pakistan”, the latter apprised the former of the steps taken by the Kingdom to curb extremism and terrorism and shared views “on the forces spreading extremist ideologies in the region”. Mr Khan strongly condemned the efforts to promote religious extremism, sectarianism and terrorism. Both the countries expressed complete solidarity with each other in their “efforts at preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity”. The two sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation as well as their collaboration at the regional and multilateral forums to promote peace and security. Guard of honour It was the prime minister’s first foreign visit after assuming office. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood. He was received by King Salman at his palace in Jeddah, where Mr Khan was presented with a guard of honour and a state banquet was hosted for him and his entourage. In the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relationship, the regional and global political situation and the issues confronting Muslim Ummah, according to a statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). They expressed their desire to further enhance and diversify bilateral cooperation and to continue close coordination on issues of mutual interest. Crown Prince hosts dinner for Imran During the visit, the PM also held a meeting with the Saudi crown prince, who hosted a dinner in his honour. The two leaders accompanied by their ministers and senior officials, held detailed discussions on ways to strengthen bilateral relationship and on the regional political and security situation. They exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defence, economic, commercial and cultural sectors, developing joint ventures in line with their respective developmental needs, strengthening collaboration in human resource sector and addressing the issues faced by Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi leadership congratulated Pakistan on its successful democratic transition, in a peaceful and fair manner and felicitated Mr Khan on his election as the PM. Appreciating the PM’s idea of transforming his country into a welfare state based on Islamic socio-economic principles, the Saudi leadership assured Pakistan of its maximum assistance. Pakistan thanked Saudi Arabia for its steadfast and continued support. ABU DHABI: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE’s Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan here on Wednesday after completing his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.—APP Plight of Kashmiris discussed The PM informed the Saudi leadership about the plight of the Muslims of India-held Kashmir, suffering grievous human rights violations. Mentioning the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights violations in held Jammu and Kashmir, he stressed the need for Islamic solidarity and unity in raising the issue forcefully at the UN Human Rights Council. The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to the just struggle of the Palestinian people to restore their rights and achieve the independence of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They also stressed that the international community must respect the just struggle of the people living under foreign occupation and the legitimate right to self-determination, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. With a view to developing tangible and meaningful bilateral cooperation in key areas, the two countries agreed to intensify consultations and coordination in order to strengthen their strategic partnership. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their historical and brotherly ties, rooted in bonds of common religion, shared culture and values and quest for regional and global peace and security. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the convergence of views on a host of regional and global issues, as well as the issues faced by Muslim Ummah. They reaffirmed their intention to stand by each other at all times. Pakistan praised the Saudi leadership on a smooth and successful organisation of Haj this year and acknowledged the eminent position of respect and reverence among the Muslim Ummah enjoyed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz. It also commended the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Overseas Pakistanis Meanwhile, the prime minister also addressed the Pakistani community in Jeddah in which he assured them the government would constitute the ministry of overseas Pakistanis so that it could become helpful for the expats as well as the investors. The PM and his delegation later arrived in Abu Dhabi from Saudi Arabia. Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018 more...
Islamabad part of solution in Afghanistan: US
Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:25:05 +0500
WASHINGTON: Pakistan has to be a part of a solution in Afghanistan, says a Pentagon report, summarising the US military chief’s recent visits to friendly nations, including Pakistan. The report, released this week, says that the main purpose of Gen Joseph Dunford’s visit to these nations was to “maintaining and building alliances”. Gen Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, also reached out to “prospective partners to encourage cooperation and interoperability.” Pentagon report quotes America’s top military official as saying Pakistan can help bring Taliban to peace talks The report says that the chairman visited Islamabad early this month because “Pakistan is key to the ‘South Asia Strategy’ that President Donald Trump espoused in August 2017. Pakistan has to be a part of a solution in Afghanistan.” The report notes that Gen Dunford joined US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. The report also includes a quote from Gen Dunford about the US team’s meeting with Gen Bajwa. “When we talked to Gen Bajwa on a military-to-military level, we listened to the prime minister very carefully [and] we listened to the secretary very carefully,” the US general said. “The objectives were very consistent between the secretary and prime minister. Gen Bajwa and I agreed that we will leverage the military-to-military relationship for the secretary and prime minister and, more importantly, for President Trump’s South Asia Strategy.” The report, however, also highlights the need to implement the decisions taken at the US-Pakistan meetings. “Actions speak louder than words and the Pakistani leaders agreed to ‘reset’ their relationship with the United States,” it adds, backing it up with another quote from Gen Dunford. “What we want to see: the Taliban at the peace table dealing with Afghans,” Gen Dunford said. “And we believe the Pakistanis play a unique role in bringing the Taliban to the peace process.” Talking to journalists here earlier this week, Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi also said that Islamabad’s relations with Pakistan were gradually improving and it was no longer an aid-based relationship. “Our relationship with the US has turned the corner and is, now moving in the right direction,” he said. “It is not on the lowest ebb.” He said that seeking US aid was not Pakistan’s primary consideration. “We want good relations with or without security assistance. We can work without US assistance.” The Pentagon report points out that from Islamabad, Gen Dunford flew to New Delhi to join US Defence Secretary James N. Mattis, and Secretary Pompeo for the 2+2 Talks with Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. In India, the US team discussed regional and global concerns, such as Afghanistan, North Korea and terrorism, with Indian leaders. It also refers to a statement by Ms Sitharaman, saying that the military-to-military cooperation had been a “key driver” of the US-India relationship. The report includes Secretary Pompeo’s quote, saying: “We have a responsibility to advance those shared values: rule of law; national sovereignty; good governance; the protection of fundamental freedoms, rights and liberties; free, fair and reciprocal trade relationships and peaceful resolutions of territorial and maritime disputes.” From New Delhi, Secretary Mattis and Gen Dunford went to Kabul on an unannounced trip and met US, coalition and Afghan officials. The visit was a chance to hear directly from those most directly affected by strategies in the region. Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018 more...
Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar released from Adiala jail after IHC suspends Avenfield sentences
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:24:21 +0500
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, were released from Adiala jail on Wednesday after the Islamabad High Court suspended their respective prison sentences in the Avenfield corruption reference earlier in the day. PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif along with senior party leaders reached Adiala jail in the evening to receive Nawaz after the IHC issued their release orders. A large number of PML-N supporters also gathered outside the prison to receive their supreme leader. Television footage showed a security vehicle driving the Sharifs through a massive crowd of supporters, some showering rose petals on the vehicle while others waved party flags and chanted slogans. The Sharifs were escorted to Nur Khan Airbase, Chaklala, amid tight security from where they were flown to Lahore in a private aircraft. The convoy moved at a slow pace as the route was crowded with supporters and workers of PML-N, who took to the streets to celebrate the release of their leader. Nawaz Sharif pictured at Nur Khan Airbase. The Sharifs reached Lahore later in the night where a large number of party supporters had gathered outside the Haj Terminal to welcome them. Subsequently, the Sharif family was escorted to their Jati Umra residence located in the outskirts of Lahore. Earlier in the day, an IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the petitions by the Sharifs and Capt Safdar against the verdict announced by the accountability court on July 6. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Raheel Munir, Mehtab Khan and Murtaza Javed Abbasi in the Jail Superintendent's room. The judges accepted the convicts' petitions against the Avenfield verdict, ruling that the sentences would remain suspended until the final judgement on their appeals. "For the reasons to be recorded later on, the petitions of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Mohammad Safdar are allowed," said Justice Minallah. A date will now be fixed for the hearing of the appeals. The court granted bail to Nawaz, Maryam and Capt Safdar and ordered them to pay Rs0.5 million as surety bonds. PML-N workers present in the courtroom started cheering as the IHC's verdict was announced. Dozens of jubilant supporters chanted “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!” outside the court. Leader of the Opposition and Nawaz's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, following the verdict took to Twitter to share a verse from Surah Al-Isra [17:81]: "Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart." Javed Hashmi, a former PML-N member who quit the party for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, also reached Adiala jail after Nawaz's release orders but was reportedly not allowed to enter. The development is the latest twist in a series of court cases involving the former prime minister, beginning with his ouster from office last year in the Panama Papers verdict to facing multiple corruption references in the accountability court. The accountability court on July 6 had announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau, handing the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB. A PML-N supporter celebrates following the court ruling. —AP His daughter was given 7 years for abetment after she was found "instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father" and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau. According to the verdict, she "aided, assisted, abetted, attempted and acted in conspiracy with her father". "The trust deeds produced by the accused Maryam Nawaz were also found bogus," the judgement had noted. Nawaz's son-in-law was given 1 year jail time — for not cooperating with NAB, and aiding and abeting Nawaz and Maryam. Final arguments The NAB's special prosecutor Mohammad Akram Qureshi concluded his final arguments today, following which the high court reserved the verdict in the case. Qureshi argued today that after the fixation of appeals against the conviction of the Sharif family in the Avenfield reference, the IHC could not have entertained petitions seeking suspension of sentence. He further said that since Maryam had prepared a forged declaration of trust in order to rescue her father, "she was equally responsible as she connived to dodge the legal course". When the court asked him if the forged documents had led to her conviction for owning assets beyond means, the prosecutor replied: "Maryam hatched the conspiracy." Qureshi further argued that Maryam was living with her father as a dependent and so "the properties in her name presumably belonged to her father". Justice Athar Minallah remarked that "the NAB, after conducting thorough investigation, couldn't bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the Avenfield apartments, but you want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption". Qureshi responded that the "law of evidence empowers the court to presume facts in certain situations". The prosecutor was reminded that there is room for giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused, and that the precedents of the apex court bound the bureau to follow certain procedures in order to shift the burden of proof on the accused persons. At this, Qureshi said that "since the properties belong to a foreign jurisdiction, therefore, it is a distinguished case and these were not applicable to this case". Meanwhile, Khawaja Haris — the lead defence counsel — said that since the NAB law relates to foreign properties, the stance taken by NAB is without any legal force. more...
India outclass Pakistan in one-sided Asia Cup affair
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:00:21 +0500
India have easily secured an easy win against Pakistan in a Group A match of the Asia Cup 2018 played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. The Indian team was off to a steady start in the second inning with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were slowly rotating the strike and keeping things moving in the early overs in their effort to chase Pakistan's meagre 163-run target. The action really started in 8th over when Usman Khan conceded 19 runs, including two sixes and a four. India was at 46 runs at the end of this over. India stood at 58 at the loss of no wickets after Ashraf bowled the 10th over. Sharma scored a huge six on the second ball of the 12th over, sending India's total to a booming 82-0. Two balls later, he scored his first 50 of the match, bringing the total to 85-0. Sharma's stroke of luck didn't last as he was caught out on the first ball of the 13th over, when India stood at 86-1. This was the first wicket to fall for India and was taken by Shadab Khan as he bowled his first delivery of the match Hundred came up for India in the 16th over as Fakhar Zaman replaced Shahdab Khan mid-over as the latter seemed to have hurt his back while following through on the third ball of the over. India's second wicket fell at 104 in the 17th over when Dhawan played a reckless cut shot off Faheem Ashraf's ball straight to Babar Azam at backward point. The match, a one-sided affair at this point, went on swiftly as India cruised though the last leg of the run chase after the Green Shirts seemed to have conceded defeat in their heads already. The match ended in the 29th over when Ambati Rayudu smashed Shoaib Malik's final ball for a four. Pakistan innings Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq opened the batting for Pakistan, whereas Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar shared the new ball for India. The Indian pacers stuck to a tight line and length in the opening two overs, which put the pressure on young Imam. He tried to accelerate the scoring by charging down the pitch and paid the price, nicking one behind to MS Dhoni. Kumar strikes twice as Pakistan wobble early — ICC Babar Azam walked in to partner Zaman, but their partnership barely lasted a couple of minutes, as the latter top-edged a Kumar delivery in the 5th over and was caught by Chahal. Shoaib Malik, who replaced Imam, struck the innings' first boundary in the 6th over before Azam struck two boundaries of his own in the 7th to take the score to 20-2. After that spree of boundaries runs dried up again as Kumar and Bumrah's accurate bowling allowed few opportunities to the batters to free their arms. The first bowling change was introduced in the 10th over as Bumrah was replaced by Pandya. By the end of that over, Pakistan were 25-2. Azam struck a boundary each in the 11th and 12th overs, boosting the score to 39-2. Malik plays a drive against India — PCB Malik danced down the track in the 13th over to hammer the innings' first six off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav. MS Dhoni did a massive favour to Malik in the 16th over, dropping what should have been a fairly comfortable catch for the veteran wicketkeeper. At the end of that over, Pakistan were 60-2 and had recovered from the early setbacks. However, the run rate was under four an over, which gave India the edge. That edge lessened a little in the 18th over when all-rounder Pandya suddenly went down due to a mysterious illness and had to be stretchered off the field. Azam and Malik run between the wickets — AP A couple more quiet overs followed as Pakistan were 80-2 at the end of 20 overs. Azam and Malik's 82-run stand came to an end when the latter had his stumps disturbed by Yadav when he was just three shy of his half-century. In the 24th over, Yadav could have sent Malik packing as well, only to see Kumar drop the catch. Pakistan were dealt another blow in the 25th over when they lost their captain Sarfraz when he tried to clear the long-on fence, only to see Manish Pandey take a blinder of a catch. Sarfraz leaves the field after being dismissed during the Asia Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India — AFP But the biggest setback of them all came in the 27th over when a direct hit from Ambati Rayudu saw Malik take the slow walk back to the pavilion. At this stage, Pakistan were 100-5 and clearly second-best in the contest. Hard-hitting Asif Ali smashed a maximum in the next over but then edged one to Dhoni at the start of the 29th over to leave Pakistan reeling at 110-6. The young Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were given the uphill task to rescue the team out of the pickle that the top-order had created. Jadhav celebrates after dismissing Shoaib Malik — AFP The two youngsters survived the next overs but survive is all they did. On the final ball of the 33rd over, Shadab too was dispatched by Jadhav. The score at this point stood at 121-7, with India well and truly on top. The question at this point was not how many Pakistan will score but how many overs they will survive. The pairing of Ashraf and Muhammad Amir, however, showed some resilience, and brought up the team's 150 in the 39th over. Their 37-run stand came to an end in the 42nd over, following which it didn't take long for India to run through the rest of Pakistan's tail. Their final wicket fell in the 44th over, by which time they had managed just 162 runs. Earlier, Sarfraz won the toss, opted to bat first and named the same side that had sauntered to victory against Hong Kong in their opening match of the tournament. Members of Indian, left, and Pakistani teams stand as the national anthems of their countries are played. — AP India brought back Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah after resting them in yesterday's match against Hong Kong. The duo took Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed's place in the side. The match began after both the teams' national anthems are played — a practise common in football but now being replicated in cricket as well. Line-ups Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan Shinwari India: RG Sharma (c), S Dhawan, JJ Bumrah, YS Chahal, MS Dhoni †, KM Jadhav, KD Karthik †, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, HH Pandya, AT Rayudu more...
Politicians react to IHC's suspension of the Sharifs' sentences
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:20:19 +0500
PML-N supporters chant 'Go Imran Go' to celebrate IHC order In a move that has stirred the political scene, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has suspended the prison sentences of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Captain (r) Safdar in the Avenfield case, granting them interim relief. Following the verdict, the court granted bail to Nawaz, Maryam and Capt Safdar and ordered them to pay Rs0.5 million as surety bonds. Once the bonds were secured, the Sharifs and Safdar were released from Adiala jail and escorted to Nur Khan Airbase, Chaklala, amid tight security from where they were flown to Lahore in a private aircraft. Marriyum Aurangzeb bursts into tears upon hearing the IHC's verdict. What led the IHC to suspend the punishment given by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court? Will the Sharifs go back to jail after an 'interim relief'? Analysts weigh in: 'NAB was not able to answer questions' Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N "This case had been going on for a while and the whole nation was listening to what the judges had to say during the proceedings. NAB was not able to answer their questions. I wish this day would have come sooner and Mian Nawaz Sharif would have been able to spend some time with his wife ailing wife and would have gotten a chance to take care of her in her final days. However, this is all fate. Let's all pray that we find Mian Nawaz Sharif amongst us soon." 'The Sharif family has still not proven where their wealth came from' Fawad Chaudhry, PTI "The Sharif family has still not proven where their wealth worth billions has come from. This verdict has been given on procedural basis. Once the matter moves forward I am sure justice will find its way." 'Independence of judiciary is essential for any democratic system to thrive' Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PPP "The decision comes as a relief for the Sharif family. After Kulsoom Nawaz’s untimely death, the Sharif family was going through testing times. The PPP and Benazir Bhutto fought for the independence of judiciary and were an integral part of this important movement. The PPP has also suffered at the hands of judicial verdicts but not once have we disrespected the courts. We believe that our courts should not seem to be seen as part of any political victimisation. Rule of law and independence of judiciary are essential for any democratic system to thrive. 'Even a blind a person would now see that these cases do not have legal standing' Ahsan Iqbal PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal reacts to IHC order "I thank God that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Safdar have succeeded today. This trial holds a lot of importance as even a blind person would [now] see that these cases had no legal or constitutional standing. These cases were political and meant for pre-poll rigging and meant to sideline Nawaz Sharif from the election race so that Imran Khan can get a fake victory." 'We had hope in Justice Minallah' Mohammad Zubair, PML-N "Justice Athar Minallah [who presided over the bench today] was the spokesperson of Justice (r) Iftikhar Chaudhry when the lawyers movement was underway. I will not praise Justice (r) Chaudhry but Justice Minallah is an excellent judge. We were hopeful when he was on the bench. Pakistan has had a history of judgements which courts cannot defend later. We are not the first in Pakistan who have criticised court order, there are examples from Maulvi Tamizuddin to Nusrat Bhutto. There was no [corruption] case here, we respect the judiciary's decision." 'Sharifs destination is still Adiala Jail' Faisal Javed, PTI "Firstly, I want to point out that the conviction and corruption charges are still very much there. This IHC judgement simply suspends their punishment. Their destination is still Adiala Jail because I am confident they will go back. The Sharif's were not able to establish a source of income or money trail. So this celebration will be shortlived like the April 20 celebration where they looked equally happy." "This is not unexpected' Qamar Zaman Kaira, PPP "When the Avenfield verdict first came out, it was already expected that if there is an appeal in the case, the Sharif family might be set free. This is not unexpected as Nawaz Sharif has always been given relief in the past, same is the case today. We will know more once the detailed verdict comes out." 'This order once again raises questions on accountability in Pakistan' Nafisa Shah, PPP "[I] am not sure whether today's court order on suspending Panama punishment is about law or politics, but the system has always bailed the Sharifs out. Of course this order once again raises many questions on accountability laws and processes in Pakistan." more...
Religious affairs minister discusses treatment of Xinjiang Muslims with Chinese envoy
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 19:00:54 +0500
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri met Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Xing on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest, chief among them the treatment of the Xinjiang Muslim community. "Pakistan's friendship with China is above and beyond any political agenda, the roots of which lie deep within the people," said Qadri. The federal minister remarked that the CPEC was a matter of national priority and expressed full confidence in it. Moving onto more urgent matters, Qadri spoke about the Muslims facing numerous restrictions in China's Xinjiang province and demanded that they be given relaxations. "The placement of restrictions increases the chances of an extremist viewpoint growing in reaction," the minister told the Chinese ambassador, asserting that concrete steps need to be taken to weed out such a mindset and promulgate interfaith harmony. The two also discussed talks between religious scholars belonging to Xinjiang and Pakistan. "The Chinese government is the bearer of Sufi and moderate thought and resolves to sort the differences between various religious groups," said the Chinese ambassador. He invited Qadri for a visit to China which the federal minister accepted. The Chinese ambassador also provided assurances to facilitate the visit of a Pakistani religious delegation to the Xinjiang province. "Exchange of viewpoints between religious scholars of both countries is vital for better interfaith relations," Xing remarked. He said that there were 20 million Muslims living in China who enjoyed complete freedom to practice their faith. "Pakistan is an important representative of the Muslim world and we want to further strengthen Pak-China relations on an Islamic level," Xing said adding that they will take the Muslim community living in China into confidence for achieving the same. He expressed China's interest in working with Pakistan to develop an educational curriculum for the Muslim community. "With Pakistan's cooperation, China desires to work for the social development of the former Fata region and Afghan migrants," he added. more...
No formal consultation with New Delhi on opening Kartarpur Corridor, says FO spokesperson
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 20:25:18 +0500
Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said there has been no formal communication regarding opening the Kartarpur Corridor between Pakistan and India, Radio Pakistan reported on Wednesday. "However, Pakistan is open [for discussion] on the issue," Dr Faisal said during his weekly media briefing. Earlier this month, the government had said that it had proposed to open the Kartarpur border crossing with India for Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib without a visa. Earlier on Tuesday, the Pakistan Sikh Council held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club to thank the government over their decision to open the Kartarpur border for the 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak. "This is good news not just for the Sikh communities of both Pakistan and India but for Sikhs living all over the world as well as it will enable Sikh pilgrims to visit their places of worship here without a visa, representatives of the community said during the press conference. Responding to a question, the FO spokesperson said that a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Shusma Swaraj has not been finalised yet. The FO spokesperson also said that Pakistan denounces the use of force by India against innocent civilians in held Kashmir. He said that ongoing human rights violations in India-held Kashmir by the New Delhi regime are highly condemnable. Dr Faisal said that blatant human rights violations in India-held Kashmir are on the rise. He said Indian forces killed 14 youth in Kulgam, Sopore, and Samba areas recently. Replying to another question, Dr Faisal said the next meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) is expected to be held in the second week of October. He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have also discussed the restoration of the consular services in Jalalabad as soon as possible. 'FO clears Pakistan's position in Iran's nuclear deal' Regarding Iran's nuclear deal, the FO spokesperson said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) represents a very good example of the settlement of complex issues through dialogue and diplomacy. He said unilateral withdrawal and arbitrary rescinding of the agreement, which was an outcome of decade-long efforts of diplomats, would undermine the confidence of the international community in dialogue and diplomacy. He said Pakistan's position in Iranian nuclear deal is in line with the principles of upholding international agreements as per the international law and global relations. more...
India bans instant divorce by Muslim men
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:05:07 +0500
India's government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce. The government decision came after it failed to get approval of parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of triple "talaq" violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women. Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are governed by the Islamic law for family matters and disputes. The laws include allowing men to divorce by simply uttering the Arabic word "talaq", or divorce, three times and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post. The government will have another six months to get the parliament's approval for the ordinance to become law. But in the meantime, suspects can be prosecuted using the ordinance. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that nearly 22 countries, including neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice and appealed to the opposition to approve the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill. All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong, they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the law board's position. After the Supreme Court verdict, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government introduced a bill criminalising the practice and it was approved in December by the lower house of Parliament, where his party commands a majority. But it couldn't get the approval of the upper house, where the opposition controls the majority of seats. The main opposition Congress party is opposing a three-year prison sentence for the offenders and wants a parliamentary committee to discuss the issue to reach a consensus. It favours a lesser sentence. In India, triple talaq has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious laws in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched. more...
Seeking details of Benazir’s assets disrespect to a martyr: Zardari
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:04:56 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court, challenging its Aug 29 order in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case in which the court had sought details of his and those of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s foreign assets. Terming the seeking of details of Ms Bhutto’s assets disrespect to a martyr, Mr Zardari argued in the petition that such details had nothing to do with the case and that it was out of context and against his fundamental rights. A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar which is seized with a petition filed by the Lawyers Foundation for Justice president Feroz Shah Gilani asked Mr Zardari in the Aug 29 order to submit an affidavit highlighting details of foreign assets and bank accounts, including Swiss accounts, belonging to him, his slain wife, children (Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari) and other dependants. Mr Gilani’s petition seeks recovery of public amount allegedly wasted against the backdrop of the NRO in 2007. He nominated Mr Zardari, former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and former attorney general Malik Abdul Qayyum as respondents in the case. PPP co-chairman challenges apex court’s Aug 29 order in National Reconciliation Ordinance case Moved by senior counsel Farooq H. Naek, the review petition argued that the Aug 29 order had erroneously shifted the burden of proof to Mr Zardari, asking him to prove his innocence. This is something that Mr Zardari has done time and again and even he has been acquitted multiple times on merit. The actual burden of proof, the review petition argues, remains on the party which has brought the case before the court. The Aug 29 order prime facie aimed at seeking to gather information which would somehow incriminate Mr Zardari, it added. This is against the spirit of Article 13 of the Constitution which provides protection against double punishment. Moreover, the review petition says, setting Oct 5, 2007 as date from which financial information of Mr Zardari and his family should be included in the affidavit is arbitrary, ad hoc and does not find basis in the law. The Aug 29 order has also failed to take into account the practical difficulties that would occur in attempting to gather information required to be furnished in the affidavit sought under the order. The record is likely to have been shredded and no longer available, especially when it comes to old property documents and details of their sale and purchase price, it says. The order is also in violation of Article 4, 175 (2) and 187 (1) of the constitution which guarantees rights of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with the law, establishment and jurisdiction of the courts and issue and execution of processes of the Supreme Court, respectively. Thus, the petition of Mr Gilani does not fall within the purview of Article 184(3) of the constitution, the review petition says, adding the Aug 29 order is asking for the details for a period spanning over a decade. Even under income tax law the limitation prescribed for assessments by Section 121 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 is five years and anything before the same is exempt from assessment. Moreover, under Section 60 of the Election Act 2017, a candidate is only to furnish a statement of his assets and liabilities for the preceding year whereas under the Aug 29 order the affidavit to be supplied covers the period from Oct 5, 2007 till date, which is unheard of. Even under the election law a candidate is only supposed to furnish details of his spouse and dependent children whereas the order seeks details of the children who were not dependant, the review petition says. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
Former Myanmar columnist jailed for 'abusive' posts about Aung San Suu Kyi
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 17:44:01 +0500
A former columnist for Myanmar's state media has been jailed for seven years for "abusive" Facebook posts about Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a court official said on Wednesday, the latest case threatening free expression in the country. Ngar Min Swe was sentenced for sedition on Tuesday, Yangon's Western District Court spokesman Htay Aung told AFP. "He was convicted for writing abusive posts on Facebook against State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, making people get the wrong impression of her," Htay Aung said. Myanmar faces widespread condemnation for infringing on freedom of expression following the jailing earlier this month of two Reuters journalists who reported on the Rohingya crisis. Ngar Min Swe worked as a columnist under the previous military-backed government. He has spent the years since Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party rose to power in 2016, penning screeds against her and the party. He was arrested on July 12, the same day he posted about Suu Kyi receiving a kiss on the cheek from United States President Barack Obama during his state visit in 2013. This innocuous gesture of greeting came in for criticism from a conservative Myanmar public, especially supporters of the army-aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) — like Ngar Min Swe, who took to social media to make sexist inferences about the state counsellor. more...
15-member women's cricket squad announced for Bangladesh tour, Australia 'home' series
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:23:22 +0500
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced a 15-member squad for the women's cricket team's tour to Bangladesh and the bilateral ‘home’ series against Australia in October. The squad was selected by the Women’s National Selection Committee headed by Jalaluddin, according to a press release issued by PCB's media department. With Bismah Maroof unavailable for selection on account of a surgery, Javeria Wadood was named the captain of the team. However, Maroof might be included for the series against Australia subject to her full recovery, the statement said. Pakistan will play Bangladesh in four Twenty20 Internationals (Oct 1, 3, 4 and 6) and one One-day International (Oct 8) in Khulna. Later, the team will fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to attend a four-day acclimatisation camp from Oct 11 to 14, before featuring in a bilateral ‘home’ series against Australia. The series comprises of three ODIs (Oct 18, 20 and 22) and as many T20Is (Oct 27, 29 and 30). The three ODIs are part of the ICC Women’s Cricket Championship which is also a qualification process for the next ICC Women’s World Cup. At the conclusion of the home series, the women’s team will depart directly from Malaysia to West Indies to participate in the ICC Women’s World T20. Pakistan are placed in Group ‘B’ along with Australia, New Zealand, India and Ireland with the group matches to be staged in Guyana from November 9. Pakistan will also play two warm-up matches against South Africa and Bangladesh on Nov 4 and 6 respectively. Selected players: Javeria Wadood (captain), Bibi Nahida, Ayesha Zafar, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Sidra Amin, Omaima Sohail, Nida Rashid, Sidra Nawaz, Sana Mir, Nashra Sundhu, Anum Amin, Natalia Parvaiz, Aliya Riaz, Diana Baig, Aiman Anwar. Reserves: Kainat Imtiaz, Iram Javed, Fareeha Mehmood, Ghulam Fatima, Saba Nazir more...
US suspension of aid not a ‘life or death situation’ for Pakistan, says navy chief in Washington
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:05:00 +0500
Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi on Monday said that India’s sea-based nuclear weapon initiative had compelled Pakistan to take steps for maintaining strategic balance in the region. Talking to media persons at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Admiral Abbasi, who is visiting US to attend an international sea-powers symposium, rejected the “myth” that Pakistan was seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan. The navy chief said though the decision by US to suspend security assistance to Pakistan was not a favourable one, it was not a "life or death situation". Sea-based nuclear deterrence Abbasi defended Pakistan’s decision to match India’s sea-based nuclear programme while responding to several questions from the representatives of the US media. “Sea-based nuclear weapons provide an assured second strike capability which disturbs the equation, so unless we equate that, the imbalance might induce India to start a conventional war,” he said. “We have legitimate concerns and our programme is aimed at discouraging India from doing so.” In April this year, Pakistan conducted the second flight test of its Babur-III nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). The missile was tested from a submerged platform off Pakistan’s coast in the Arabian Sea and flew to strike a target at an undisclosed location. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced that the missile “incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy, at a range of 700 kilometres". While Abbasi admitted that Pakistan had tested the Babur-III missiles to meet the Indian challenge, he dismissed a journalist's implication that Pakistan had developed this missile with China’s assistance. “It’s an all indigenous programme. I will leave at that,” he said. Abbasi explained that Pakistan has an elaborate programme for ensuring the security of the assets it has developed to counter the Indian threat, “which provides all the tools, procedures and settings under a central command that runs through Strategic Plans Division". The admiral said that in 2016 Pakistan signed an agreement with China for procuring eight submarines, which will be delivered by 2025. These are all conventional submarines and are not nuclear capable. Pakistan not seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan Abbasi also rejected “the myth” that Pakistan was seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is a separate, sovereign country and we respect it as that. Whatever strategic depth we have is our own,” he said. The naval chief said political changes in Pakistan will not affect its Afghan policy and the country will continue to support peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan, he said, did not want large ungovernable territories in Afghanistan because it had repercussions. “Terrorists take refuge in Afghanistan and use its territory for launching attacks into Pakistan. The most recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan were conceived, planned and executed from Afghanistan. That’s why we are trying to fence our border,” he said. “We are all for a political solution to the Afghan problem.” US-Taliban talks Responding to a question about US-Taliban talks in Qatar, he said: “We welcome these talks. We hope that some sort of solution comes out of that.” “This is a good beginning that the US is engaged with the Taliban.” He said the best hope for peace in Afghanistan were the quadrilateral talks that Pakistan had arranged in Murree in 2016. However, those talks, he said, had been sabotaged by leaking the news of Mullah Omar’s death. Admiral Abbasi rejected the suggestion that Pakistan was financing the Afghan Taliban. “The Taliban’s biggest source [of money] is the drug trade and we are trying to stop that. About 30-40 per cent of this trade is carried through the maritime route,” he said. The naval chief urged that the US should share intelligence gathering with Pakistan to combat drug trafficking through sea routes. 'Pakistan is not North Korea' The navy chief disagreed with the suggestion that Pakistan was being isolated like North Korea. “Equating North Korea with Pakistan is not right. North Korea does not have a legitimate threat from a neighbour, which is responsible for dismembering it,” he said. Abbasi explained that North Korea was cut-off from the rest of the world as opposed to Pakistan, which works alongside international forces because Islamabad realises that a country cannot live in isolation. US-Pakistan relations The Pakistan navy chief said his country wanted a good relationship with the US, based on mutual respect, not security or economic assistance. “Security assistance is not our primary consideration. We want good relations with or without security assistance. We have enough resources in Pakistan. We can work without US assistance,” he said. Admiral Abbasi noted that the US recently cancelled the programme which enabled Pakistani military officers to attend theUS defence institutions. “We are still sending our officers to the US, funding the programme from our own resources,” he maintained. He said all three services chiefs were out of the country, visiting the US, China and Russia and the visits conveyed the message that “we want to stay engaged with the international community, with both East and West". Abbasi said that Pakistan was looking for new and updated jet aircraft for surveillance purposes as the P3C surveillance planes that were given by the US more than 10 years ago were now outdated. “We are ready to acquire them from any source, including the US,” he said. No Chinese base in Gwadar Admiral Abbasi dismissed the concern that China was setting up a base at the Gwadar port, and insisting that “there’s absolutely no truth to that". “There are no plans to hand over any base to foreign navies anywhere in Pakistan,” he said, emphasising that Gwadar was purely a commercial harbour and only Pakistan Navy would have a base there. He said so far no foreign warship had entered Gwadar, but whenever that happens it would be open to all other navies including French, Royal and that of the US. US-India maritime agreement Abbasi said that Pakistan had noticed that the US and India had recently signed maritime agreements, but added that such deals were not “a zero-sum game". The US, he said, will also participate in multinational maritime exercises in Pakistan in February next year, where some 50 navies from around the world — including China — will take part. A similar exercise had been held in 2017 in which 37 countries participated. Abbasi said that unless there was a political resolution with India, there might not be any joint Pakistan-India maritime exercises but under the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, the two countries as members work together. more...
Flight attendant slipped away in Canada: PIA
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:05:12 +0500
LAHORE: A PIA flight attendant has slipped away in Canada and reportedly sought asylum there, it emerged on Tuesday. Fareeha Mukhtar was part of the crew on a PIA flight from Lahore to Toronto last week, a PIA official told Dawn. “On its scheduled return to the country, Ms Mukhtar did not turn up [in Toronto] and the flight of the national flag carrier had to proceed without her,” he said, adding that the PIA administration had launched an inquiry into the incident after suspending her from service. According to a source, the attendant was suspended a few years ago as well for her alleged involvement in smuggling mobile phones and foreign currency. "She was banned from flying on international flights, but somehow managed to get the Toronto flight last week and slipped away upon reaching there." Athar Awan, the spokesperson for PIA, told Dawn that Ms Mukhtar had been suspended and a show-cause letter sent to her. “An inquiry into the matter has been ordered and the PIA is pursuing the matter with Canadian authorities.” When his attention was drawn to reports that Fareeha Mukhtar had sought asylum in Canada, he said he had no information. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
Miftah Ismael frowns at budget reversals
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:05:12 +0500
KARACHI: Former finance minister Miftah Ismael, who drew up the last budget approved in May, severely criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for undoing the ban on non-filers of tax returns from buying property and new cars. “This is a very negative step,” he told Dawn after the mini-budget was announced. “When we introduced this ban, there was a lot of lobbying from the auto sector and property developers for reversing it, but we stood our ground. It seems the PTI couldn’t stand up to these interests.” He said the tax regime should move such as to further constrain the space for non-filers, while providing incentives to people to come into the tax net. “In the years to come, we would have made it impossible for non-filers to even have a bank account or buy tickets to travel on foreign airlines. We should constantly be tightening this noose, but instead they’ve reversed it completely.” Terms undoing ban on non-filers of tax returns ‘very negative step’ At the same time, he claimed, his budget had reduced the top marginal tax rate from 30 to 15 per cent for salaried people as well as individuals who own business. “They have taken it back to 29pc, which is very wrong,” he said, adding that the reason for that step was to encourage people to come into the tax net. He said that for years the PTI had been saying that indirect taxes were the wrong way to go because they burdened the poor, “yet today we saw them introduce Rs93bn indirect taxes like regulatory duties”. “I’m happy about cigarette and mobile phone taxes,” he said, but added that his experience in government taught him that using regulatory duties as revenue measures could raise the cost of doing business. He also took issue with Finance Minister Asad Umar’s characterisation of the last budget as “unrealistic”. “He says we underestimated expenditures by Rs250bn, so show us where. Which expenditures are underestimated? Every single penny we were going to spend was accounted for.” Likewise, with the revenue side, he said, last year’s revised revenue estimates were Rs3,935bn. “On that Rs3,935bn I added another Rs500bn, which is a 12.7pc increase. Hardly unrealistic, given GDP growth, the devaluation of the exchange rate that raises rupee collection since most revenue is collected at the port, and the tax revenue inflows from the amnesty scheme.” The amnesty alone could bring in a percentage point worth of revenue, he said. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
Imran reaches Saudi Arabia amid reports Pakistan may seek aid
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:05:12 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Prime Min­ister Imran Khan reached Saudi Arabia on his first foreign visit after assuming office. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood. Upon arrival at Prince Moh­am­med bin Abdulaziz Inter­national Airport, Prime Minister Khan was received by Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Madina and Pakistan’s Amb­assador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hisham bin Siddique along with other officials. In Madina, the prime minister and his delegation visited Masjid-i-Nabawi where the doors of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) final resting place were opened for them. The delegation offered Maghreb prayers at Riyadhul Jannah. Later, the delegation travelled to Jeddah where Prime Minister Khan is scheduled to call on King Salman and hold a bilateral meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to discuss re­gional and international issues. The Saudi King will also host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court, said an official statement. Secretary General of the Organi­sation of Islamic Cooperation Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen will also meet Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan is a leading and active member of the organisation. The prime minister and his delegation will arrive in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday evening. Prime Minister Khan’s decision to choose Saudi Arabia as the destination of his first official visit abroad has given rise to speculations that Pakistan will seek Riyadh’s economic assistance instead of going for a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
SC terms fears over Kalabagh dam misconceived
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:04:56 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dubbed fears and misgivings against the construction of the Kalabagh dam as misconceived and based on certain preconceived premises and presumptions. Many of the concerns raised against the Kalabagh dam would be remedied through strict adherence to the terms agreed upon by all the provinces in the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 in letter and spirit, says the detailed verdict issued by the Supreme Court. The 26-page verdict, which decided the petitions and other connected cases regarding acute shortage of water and construction of dams in the country, also asks the provinces to honour the 1991 accord that sought distribution of water among the provinces as per their respective shares. Authored by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, the verdict recalls how considerable headway in political concerns about the Kalabagh dam project had been made in the 1990s by the Council of Common Interests (CCI), which is the highest executive forum under the Constitution for recording concurrence of the federating units on matters involving their common interests. Detailed verdict asks provinces to honour 1991 water accord Nevertheless imperceptible vested interests managed to block progress in implementation, the judgement says, recalling that the Kalabagh dam was to be built on the Indus River with a capacity of 6.1 million acres feet (MAF). On July 4, a three-judge apex court bench had ordered opening of an account titled DIAMER BHASHA AND MOHMAND DAM FUND-2018, with a direction to the federal government, Wapda and the executive authority to take effective measures in the light of CCI’s unanimous decisions to develop 4,500MW Bhasha dam and 700MW Mohmand dam. The verdict holds the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams as a national cause, because they are being built for the benefit of the citizens who undeniably have a stake in it. The contribution from citizens would not only instil in them a sense of ownership and belonging, but also inculcate in the executive a sense of responsibility, accountability and obligation towards the citizens, the judgement says. This ‘pennies-from-many’ model can go a long way in contributing to this national developmental project that should, as far as possible, be completed with local resources, it adds. To pre-empt the concerns of sceptics, the verdict also makes a reference to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is said to be the largest dam in Africa. For its construction that began in 2011, revenue was earned through different fundraisers including athletic events and lottery draws. Around 60 per cent work on GERD has already been completed while the project is expected to be ready with domestic funds only. Drawing on this example, the apex court took the initiative to establish the ‘Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund’ in which people from all walks of life were encouraged to contribute showing their resolve to this project. Steps to remove water scarcity The SC also proposes steps for addressing the issue of water scarcity like the improvement of infrastructure and equipment. Pakistan needs to employ methods to efficiently use its freshwater sources in order to ensure a sustainable water supply. Methods of water conservation such as zero tillage, precision land levelling, bed and furrow planting, and efficient irrigation systems including sprinkler and drip irrigation systems would go a long way in reducing water wastage. The verdict says adequate drainage systems would help control salinisation, while canal lining would also substantially reduce water seepage. It says the crops grown in Pakistan should be regulated, perhaps with a shift in focus from water-intensive crops to the crops that do not require a lot of water, e.g. cool season legumes. Not only dry farming can be introduced and promoted, extraction of groundwater for all types of use — industrial, commercial and agricultural — must also be regulated, the judgement says, adding that timely monitoring via metering should be adopted. However, it emphasises, private groundwater extraction for domestic use in urban areas should be done away with entirely, allowing the municipal authorities only to provide water. Water pricing According to the verdict, there should be regulations pertaining to waste treatment. All industrial and municipal entities should be required to treat their wastewater before disposal. Recycled water can then be used for toilet flushing, industrial processes, irrigation and recharging the groundwater. Most importantly water pricing for every use should be rationalised. Water should be priced to reflect the true cost of water provision for various purposes, as this will encourage more responsible use of water and have the effect of reducing water wastage and increasing water supply, it says. To encourage responsible use of water, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) can install meters to monitor and reduce the amount of water losses, the verdict adds. The court states that there should be active environmental upgrade. Forestation would not only help protect groundwater sources but also reduce the impact of climate change. The practice of rainwater harvesting should be adopted. Rainwater should be collected from hard surfaces such as roofs and stored for on-site reuse for various purposes. In rural areas, it can be used for irrigation, whereas in urban areas, it can be used to wash cars, water gardens and even flush toilets. Rainwater harvesting would reduce the strain on water supply, the detailed judgement says. Capacity building, awareness The verdict also asks for capacity building of different organisations, including the Ministry of Water Resources, Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, Water and Power Development Authority, Irsa, and Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources. With greater amount of cooperation and coordination between them, the problem of water shortage can be resolved swiftly through concerted efforts. Finally, it adds, the public should be educated in water issues and conservation techniques and methods of efficient use of water through awareness campaigns. Certain practical conservation techniques include simple sustainable home living methods such as closing taps when water is not needed, avoiding the use of hose pipes to wash cars or water plants, and taking short showers instead of long baths. To this end, awareness can be inculcated immediately through print and electronic media. As a long-term measure, awareness about water conservation should be imparted at schools so as to change the mindset of future generations, the judgement says. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
Mini-budget hikes taxes, cuts uplift spending
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:04:56 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar presents the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the National Assembly on Tuesday.—INP • Excise duty on cars of 1800cc and above doubled • Ban on car, property purchases by non-filers withdrawn • Banking transactions of non-filers to be taxed at 0.6pc • Regulatory duties on additional 312 items • CPEC spending protected ISLAMABAD: Partially reversing income tax relaxations and reducing the development budget, the PTI government announced a supplementary budget on Tuesday with a total fiscal adjustment equal to 2.1 per cent of GDP (roughly Rs805 billion), including Rs183bn worth of revenue measures. Finance Minister Asad Umar delivered his inaugural budget speech for the PTI government in an unusually calm environment — a rare opportunity — as the opposition PPP and PML-N listened to him in silence. The minister reciprocated by conceding that the economic crisis was 15-30 years in the making and not the specific fault of any one political party. Ramsha Jahangir A key reversal on the revenue side was elimination of the restriction on non-tax filers on purchase of real estate and automobiles. In the last budget of the PML-N government, a ban had been imposed on non-filers of tax returns to purchase new cars and property. The car manufacturers and real estate developers were up in arms against the decision that had plummeted car and property sales by up to 50pc. The finance minister claimed that the ban was being removed because it was interfering in the ability of overseas Pakistanis to do business and invest in Pakistan. Even with such a massive fiscal adjustment described by the minister as a ‘bypass surgery’, the target for fiscal deficit for the financial year 2018-19 was put at 5.1pc instead of 4.9pc set in the budget passed by parliament in May this year. Reforms will follow in about a month or so to put the economy on the road to recovery, he said. Mr Umar said the supplementary budget for the current year had become inevitable because of severe economic crisis and necessitated by the “unrealistic” budget announced by former finance minister Miftah Ismail. In that budget, he added, revenue collection was overstated by Rs350bn and expenditures were understated by Rs250bn and Rs286bn projected as cash surplus from the provinces was also unlikely to materialise when they jointly posted a Rs18bn deficit last year despite similar anticipated surpluses. He said the combined Rs890bn impact of these three unrealistic targets would actually take the fiscal deficit to Rs2.78 trillion at the end of the year, or 7.2pc of GDP, instead of Rs1.89tr reflected in the budget books. For his own part, the finance minister provided no budget books for a record or future reference. The public is left to piece together the numbers from the budget speech and a brief press conference immediately following it, after which the minister departed with Prime Minister Imran Khan for Saudi Arabia. The revenue target has been revised downward by Rs45bn to Rs4.39tr. The minister said the development programme had been capped at Rs725bn (down from Rs1030bn in original budget), compared to actual expenditure of Rs661bn last year. Of this the core development to be financed out of budget would be Rs575bn, while Rs100bn infrastructure funding needs of the National Highway Authority would be met through what he called “innovative financing” the details of which would be discussed in the parliamentary committee. In doing development restructuring, Mr Umar said the major initiatives under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor launched by the previous government would be fully protected. Likewise, Rs23bn allocated for large dams will also not be reduced but supplemented with donations on the calls of the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to reduce their completion time from 8-9 years to 6-7 years. The funding to the Higher Education Commission is also unchanged. On top of that, Rs50bn will be provided through public-private partnership to the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company on the instructions of the prime minister. Giving background, the finance minister said the target for last fiscal deficit was set at 4.1pc of GDP, but it reached 6.6pc (Rs2.293tr) that was in reality 8.2pc when taken into account the impact of circular debt kept outside the budget — exactly where it was when the PML-N took over from the PPP in 2013. The external situation was even worse, he said, adding that the current account deficit had climbed to $18.1bn last year from $2.5bn at the end of 2012-13. External debt touched $95bn last year instead of $60bn five years ago and yet foreign exchange reserves were falling rapidly and were enough to cover just 6-7 months of imports. “The alarm bells have been ringing for quite some time,” Mr Umar said, adding: “The crisis is almost on our doorsteps now, unless tough decisions are taken to arrest and then reverse the situation.” Talking about the Rs183bn revenue measures, the minister said that about Rs92bn would be recovered through the use of “modern technology” and without increasing tax rates on individuals — a pointer towards administrative measures used by all governments in the past when undertaking a stabilisation effort. The remaining Rs91bn would be additional revenue “to come from the rich”, non-filers and enhanced duties on expensive mobile phones, import of luxury food items and luxury cars and SUVs. For example, he said the non-filers would now be able to buy property and vehicles of 1800cc and above but at a higher registration rate. The federal excise duty on 1800cc cars and above has been increased from 10pc to 20pc. The minister said the ratio of income tax on all those below annual income of Rs2.4 million (Rs200,000 per month) had been kept unchanged, but income beyond Rs2.4m would be subjected to a maximum of 29pc tax rate on non-salaried and 25pc on salaried, instead of up to 35pc last year. In a political move, the finance minister announced withdrawal of tax exemption on housing allowance, conveyance and sumptuary allowances of the prime minister, ministers and governors. When asked whether such exemptions would also be withdrawn from judges and generals, Mr Umar said no and added that they were government servants and not interested in ruling the nation. He said a projection for Rs300bn collection as petroleum development levy was also unrealistic and had been capped at the last year’s collection of Rs189bn. The tax on all bank transactions by non-filers that was set at 0.6pc by the PML-N government two years ago and then brought down to 0.4pc has also been reversed to 0.6pc. He said the pension for EOBI employees would be increased by 10pc. Likewise, Rs4.5bn would be released immediately for 8,276 houses to be built out of welfare funds that have been stopped by the previous government. He said the prime minister had also approved construction of 10,000 houses in the next phase. The minister said regulatory duty had been imposed on import of 312 tariff lines and increased on another 295 high-end luxury items with additional impact of Rs12-13bn. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
SC appoints ex-judge to run kidney and liver institute
Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:05:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, be appointed chairman of the ad hoc committee to manage and run the affairs of the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI), Lahore. The court also appointed Prof Dr Jawad Sajid, former professor at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lt Gen Shahid Riaz (Engineer), Saifullah Chattha (Nepra member) and Khusro Pervez Khan (former secretary) members of the committee. In July, the apex court had placed Dr Saeed Akhtar, the head of PKLI, on the Exit Control List after it learnt that Rs100 million was being spent on monthly salaries of the employees but not a single kidney or liver transplant had been conducted at the institute. In July, the court learnt that Rs100 million was spent on salaries without a single kidney or liver transplant being conducted at the facility The committee, which can co-opt any financial expert, has been tasked to immediately take over the PKLI’s administration and make the hospital fully functional and operational as soon as possible after removing defects, installing equipment and putting all support services, including relevant staff through competition and transparency. The committee will also ensure that the hospital provides specialised medical and surgical services at affordable rates for which it was originally conceived and visualised. The order stated that other members of the committee would be paid a monthly stipend for their services, the amount of which would be determined on the next date of hearing after four weeks. The court also suspended the PKLI board. According to the SC order, the control of PKLI, its assets, properties, accounts and all relevant books and record should be handed over to the chairman of the ad hoc committee within five days. The committee will submit its report within 30 days. The chairman may convene as many meetings of the committee as he may deem appropriate. However, it will meet at least once in two weeks. School fee hike In a separate development, a three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, will start hearing from Oct 4 the cases related to fee hike by private educational institutions by clubbing together all the petitions pending in the apex court, the Lahore High Court and the Sindh High Court. The court also ordered its office to issue notices to private schools. Both high courts are seized with petitions moved by the private schools as well as the parents against fee hike. The chief justice also took suo motu notice of dysfunctional Board of Governors of the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Lahore, and fixed the matter for Wednesday with notice to the advocate general and health secretary of Punjab. As per media reports, the UHS administrative crisis has reached alarming level due to the absence of its chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG), affecting the fate of over 50,000 students. Under the UHS Act, all the financial and administrative decisions require approval of the BoG. Meanwhile, the chief justice took notice of the death of 10-year-old girl, Amal, by firing at a traffic signal in Karachi. Amal, along with her parents, was on way home. When they stopped at a traffic signal, a robber mugged them at gunpoint. The robber went to the car next to them and while they were waiting for the signal to turn green, one of the shots fired hit their windscreen and another hit Amal in the head. Later, it transpired that the girl was hit by the bullet fired by police at the robber. The court fixed the case for Sept 25. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018 more...
PTI leaders issue apology for Punjab govt's controversial ad
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:20:44 +0500
MNA Ali Wazir, in Tuesday's National Assembly session, objected to a controversial public service announcement of the Punjab government that reportedly carried racist undertones against the Pakhtoon community. Soon after Finance Minister Asad Umar delivered his budget speech, Wazir — a Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader — raised his objections against the aforementioned ad campaign. Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak agreed with Wazir's viewpoint and issued an apology for the advertisement. "This advertisement is akin to provoking the people," Khattak said. "[We have] directed the Punjab government to immediately stop this advertisement." Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi echoed Khattak's sentiments, adding: "Targeting a particular community flares tempers, and we oppose all such measures." Mohsin Dawar, another PTM MNA, however, said that "an apology should come from the government of Punjab". On September 15, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had claimed that the ad in question was already off air. "This advertisement was immediately taken off as soon it was brought to our attention," he said on Twitter. "It was aired hardly a few times before channels were directed not to air such advertisement. I urge people not to circulate this rejected version." more...
PM Imran Khan arrives in Madina on official tour of Saudi Arabia
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:27:06 +0500
Prime Minister Imran Khan has reached Madina in the first instalment of a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) — his first foreign tour as prime minister. He was received at the airport by the governor of Medina, Shahzada Faisal Bin Salman, and Pakistan's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hasham Bin Siddique. The premier is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Hussain and the prime minister's adviser on commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood. The prime minister and his official delegation will pay their respects at the Holy Prophet's grave and offer evening prayers, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry. During his visit on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, PM Khan will hold meetings with the king and the crown prince. The Saudi king will host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court. Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen will also hold a meeting with the premier. Accompanying ministers will meet their counterparts and discuss bilateral cooperation. On Wednesday, the prime minister and his delegation will travel to the UAE where they will be received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two will discuss issues of mutual interest. more...
CJP takes notice of 10-year-old girl's death in Karachi police 'encounter'
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 21:30:18 +0500
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Tuesday took notice of the death of 10-year-old girl Amal Umer, who had reportedly been shot by policemen during an alleged encounter in Karachi last month. The CJP's notice comes days after Amal's mother Beenish Umer's account of the incident appeared in Dawn. The suo motu notice concerns the "irresponsible firing" by the police as well as the "failure of [a] well-known medical hospital to provide emergency medical aid as required by the law". Take a look: How the system failed us The court issued notices to the Sindh Attorney General, provincial secretary health, former IGP Amjid Jawaid Saleemi and the administrator of National Medical Centre (NMC). The case will be heard on Sept 25, read a notification issued from the office of SC's registrar. Amal was shot during an alleged crossfire between police and robbers that occurred in Karachi's Defence area last month. Later, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Javed Alam Odho admitted that the bullet that killed Amal was fired by a policeman. After she was shot, Amal's parents, who were in the car with her, took her to NMC where she passed away after being denied medical treatment. According to Beenish, the hospital told the injured girl's parents to take her to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre or Aga Khan Hospital. NMC also refused to arrange an ambulance for Amal, who had suffered a head wound. more...
2 Levies personnel martyred in Balochistan's Killa Saifullah district
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:55:15 +0500
Two Levies personnel were martyred and another injured when unidentified armed men opened fire at the security officials in Balochistan's Killa Saifullah district on Tuesday evening, DawnNewsTV reported. According to the Levies officials, the incident occurred at Junction Chowk area of Killa Saifullah. The martyred soldiers, identified as Munir and Akram, died on the spot and their bodies were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital in Kila Saifullah along with the injured officer. Police and Levies officials reached the spot soon after and cordoned off the area as an investigation into the incident went underway. However, the assailants managed to escape unhurt. This incident comes two days after armed men martyred a Levies Risaldar in Killa Saifullah. 265 militants surrender in Quetta As a part of a reconciliation policy, 265 Ferraris belonging to various banned militant organisations, surrendered before the senior government officials at the Balochistan Assembly premises in Quetta on Tuesday. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa and other officials attended the ceremony. "It is a matter of pleasure that these people have shunned violence," Chief Minister Jam Kamal said. The Ferraris were involved in various acts of sabotage including blowing up vital national installations, attacking security forces and targeting innocent people. They belong to Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Khuzdar, Harnai and other parts of Balochistan. more...
Kohli's absence could prove the difference: Sarfraz
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:28:40 +0500
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed believes India could feel the absence of their talismanic captain Virat Kohli in tomorrow's blockbuster match, even if the side has other good options. Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to clash in their crucial Group A match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. While Sarfraz can rely on a full-strength side, India will have to make do without their superstar batsman and regular captain Kohli, who was rested for the tournament. "A part from Kohli, the Indian team has other good players too," Sarfraz said. "[But], Kohli is a big player, and [his absence] could make a difference for India." The Men in Green's captain, however, expects that the Rohit Sharm-led India must have made their adjustments to counter for Kohli's absence. "The Indian team must have done their home work," Sarfraz said. "Good teams always take the field prepared." The margin of error in brief tournaments such as Asia Cup are limited. Keeping that in mind, Sarfraz has told his team to "play every match as it's against India". He expressed satisfaction at his team's form heading into the big game and made a special mention of opener Fakhar Zaman, who had hammered a swashbuckling ton when the sides had last met, in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. "Fakhar Zaman is improving his performances each and every day," Sarfraz said. more...
Sharjeel Memon named as suspect in liquor case challan
Tue, 18 Sep 2018 17:41:14 +0500
Incarcerated PPP leader Sharjeel Memon on Tuesday was listed as one of the accused in a challan submitted to the judicial magistrate by the investigation officer (IO) in a liquor case against the politician. The report said that one of the bottles recovered from Memon's room in Dr Ziauddin Hospital, Clifton contained "two inches of alcohol". According to the challan, on Sept 1 suspicions arose that illegal activities were taking place in the room where Memon was admitted. The IO said that Shakar Din, one of the accused, had admitted that he had dumped a liquor bottle in the dustbin. Muhammad Jam, Mushtaq Ali and Din also confessed to replacing the bottles when the 'raid' took place. All three of them were arrested earlier for allegedly being connected with the presence of liquor at the hospital. The challan also names Assistant Superintendent Jail Naseem Ahmed Shajra and other police officials as suspects in the case. Memon is currently being held in Karachi's Central Jail. The challan says that Memon is in police custody while Din, Ali and Jam are on bail. Other suspects are on the run, according to the challan. Earlier this month, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had conducted a ‘raid’ on a room of Dr Ziauddin Hospital in Clifton, which was declared a sub-jail by provincial authorities, where Memon was staying, and reportedly found "liquor" there. Soon after the bottles were confiscated, the PPP leadership had insisted that the bottles did not contain alcohol but honey and olive oil. The chemical report signed by Director of Laboratories and Chemical Examiner to the Government of Sindh Dr Zahid Hasan Ansari confirmed that one bottle contained honey while the other contained olive oil. Meanwhile, it appeared that Memon's blood also did not contain any traces of alcohol, DawnNewsTV said while quoting the test report. Probe team looking for 'foul play' A special team formed by Karachi AIG Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh and led by DIG South Javed Alam Odho is conducting an investigation into the liquor case against Sharjeel Memon. An official privy to the matter said that if any foul play or manipulation is detected, the investigation team may take new blood samples from Sharjeel and send them for third-party verification. The source also said that the whole episode occurred inside the sub-jail and the jail authorities are responsible for whatever happened within their premises. more...

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