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The Times of India
Priyanka's plunge seen as direct challenge to Yogi in his bastion
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:11:55 GMT
Congress leaders and cadres are literally electrified with the entry of Priyanka Gandhi in UP’s electoral arena and they feel that she along with Jyotiraditya Scindia can change the political equations in the state. more...
'India to stay fastest-growing nation in 2019, 2020'
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:38:35 GMT
According to the UN's World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019, India's GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.6 per cent in 2019-20 from an estimated 7.4 per cent in the current fiscal ending March 2019. The growth rate may come down to 7.4 per cent a year later. more...
BJP on Priyanka: Admission of Rahul's failure
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 08:58:49 GMT
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Congress president opted for a "family alliance" after facing "rejection" from various parties of the grand alliance. "The Congress has basically announced that Rahul Gandhi has failed and needs crutches from within the family. Because of his rejection by grand alliance parties, he opted for a family alliance," he said. more...
What Rahul said on Priyanka's new 'mission' in UP
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:58:02 GMT
"Congress is fighting for its ideology ... Priyanka and Jyotiraditya are young and strong leaders and with their help we want to change the politics of Uttar Pradesh," Rahul said.Rahul's comments came hours after Priyanka became AICC general secretary and was made in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Scindia was given the charge of western UP. more...
Never seen sun-induced stoppage in my life: Kohli
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 07:02:34 GMT
Rain interruption in cricket bringing the Duckworth-Lewis method into consideration is nothing new. But here it was the sun that troubled the batsmen by coming right in the line of their view, forcing play to stop for about half an hour. Indian captain Virat Kohli said he has never experienced a sun-induced stoppage in his life. more...
Pak captain Sarfraz Ahmed in racial abuse row
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:38:29 GMT
Pakistan cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed stirred a controversy when he racially abused South Africa pacer Andile Phehlukwayo during the second One-Day International (ODI). Phehlukwayo and Rassie van der Dussen put together a 127-run stand as South Africa defeated Pakistan by five wickets on Tuesday. more...
6 Indian sailors killed in ship accident off Russia
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:57:57 GMT
more...
Many firsts in this year's Republic Day parade
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:55:15 GMT
India’s 70th Republic Day parade this Saturday will have many firsts — display of Army’s newly acquired artillery guns, march by an all-women paramilitary contingent and lady officers leading all-male teams. Thirty years after the induction of Bofors guns, the Army for the first time will showcase its new big guns — M777 and K9 Vajra self-propelled guns. more...
'Disappointed that collegium decision not uploaded'
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:12:25 GMT
Retired Justice Madan B Lokur Wednesday said he was disappointed that the December 12 decision of Supreme Court Collegium was not uploaded on the apex court's website. more...
How water crisis may worsen bank NPA problem
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 10:42:56 GMT
At a time when the banking sector is grappling with mounting NPAs, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report released Wednesday said water risks could pose further "liquidity constraints" on the strained balance sheets of banks. According to the report, close to 40% of the gross credit exposure of Indian banks is in sectors where water risks are significant. more...
Cong to contest assembly, LS polls alone in Andhra
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:25:45 GMT
more...
Couple who fell from cliff in US were 'intoxicated'
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:23:02 GMT
An Indian couple, who plunged 800 feet to their deaths after taking a selfie at a cliff in California's Yosemite National Park, were "intoxicated" at the time of the incident, according to autopsy results. Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, were "intoxicated with ethyl alcohol" prior to falling 800 feet from Taft Point on October 25. more...
PM Modi recounts self-discovery solo jungle trips
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 11:49:59 GMT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed he used to spend days "reflecting" alone in the jungle, in a new interview seeking to burnish his religious credentials as tough elections loom. "Not many people know this, but I would go away for the five days... somewhere in a jungle," PM Modi told the popular Humans of Bombay Facebook page. more...
Amazon Sale: 15 gadgets available at 70% discount
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 02:25:55 GMT
more...
Here’s why 'new' iPhone can be beneficial for Apple
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 02:19:47 GMT
more...
Sexual misconduct charges against Bryan Singer
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:07:22 GMT
Bryan Singer has again been hit with allegations of misconduct for engaging in sexual encounters with underage boys. more...
The Virat Kohli wedding collection
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 09:08:23 GMT
more...
Young Indians you need to know about
Tue, 22 Jan 2019 13:02:52 GMT
more...
The Dawn News - Home
Finance Minister Asad Umar presents third finance bill amidst loud protests
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 17:01:29 +0500
Finance Minister Asad Umar presented the third finance bill for the current fiscal year during the National Assembly session being held on Wednesday evening. Earlier, Umar, without revealing any specifics, had said the 'mini-budget' — technically the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill of 2019 — would help generate more revenue for the government. Speaking amidst loud jeering by opposition lawmakers, the finance minister described the bill as a measure to address the people of Pakistan's needs. "This is not a budget, this is a corrective package aimed at addressing various sectors of the economy," the finance minister clarified at the start of his speech. Salient features of Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill of 2019 49 per cent tax on small and medium enterprises reduced to 20pc. Interest on agri loans reduced from 49pc to 29pc. Introduction of interest-free revolving credit of Rs5 billion (qarz-i-husna) Withholding tax on bank transactions waived off for tax filers. Ban on purchase of vehicles for non-filers lifted for locally manufactured cars up till 1300CC capacity, but higher taxes will apply. Small businesses exempted from submitting withholding tax returns every month; will do so only twice every year. Rs20,000 fixed tax on marriage halls reduced to Rs5,000. Pilot scheme to be introduced in Islamabad to facilitate traders in filing and paying taxes. Duty on news print abolished completely. Investment in solar panels and wind turbines to be exempt from duties and taxation for five years. Reduction and abolishment (in some cases) of duties on raw materials to support export industries. Super tax on non banking companies to be abolished. Continuation of 1pc per annum reduction in corporate income tax. Capital loss carry-over to be allowed for 3 years (stock trading). Taxes on cars with engine capacity of 1800CC and above to be increased. Taxes on mobile duties rationalised: taxes on budget sets to be reduced, high end sets to become more expensive. Tax refunds to be worked out; promissory notes to be issued by mid February. Gas Infrastructure Development Cess to be removed from fertiliser production. Duty on diesel engines for agricultural applications to 5pc from current 17pc. Starting his speech with an assessment of Pakistan's economic condition, the finance minister said his aim had been to eliminate all factors that necessitate a return to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package by successive regimes. "The Constitution ensures the rights of the underprivileged segment of society and it is the Pakistani government and parliament's responsibility to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, this responsibility was never fulfilled," the finance minister continued. "I wish to recommend measures for the prosperity of this country," he added. "The people sitting on my right [the opposition had left nothing when they were leaving the government. Instead of reforming themselves, the last ruling regime tried to buy an election. The budget deficit, as presented by them [in their budget], should have been 4.1 but the actual deficit at the end of the year clocked in [much higher]," he said, speaking above opposition shouts of "Liar, liar!" "They destroyed the electricity [generation and distribution] system and left us a Rs450bn deficit. The gas [distribution] system which had never witnessed a deficit has now recorded Rs150bn deficit," he complained. "Similarly, the deficit was around Rs30bn in Railways." "They left the country indebted with Rs2,500bn to Rs3,000bn in loans that were not shown in the books," he further alleged. "I wish those shouting 'Liar, Liar!' right now had called out their own ministers when they were in power," he said after recounting the challenges he said he had inherited. "We took several difficult decisions, and I appreciate that the people realised that these difficult decisions were necessary," the finance minister said. "I want to give them the good news that these difficult decisions are yielding dividends: the deficit is reducing, exports are increasing and imports are declining. We need to bring a balance in revenue and expenditure as it is vital for growth. Our imports are touching a dangerous point. We have to increase exports and bring reforms in the agriculture and other sectors," he said. "The camera is recording [when I say this]: At the time of the next election, the PTI govt will not have to purchase an election [like our opponents attempted to]. The years 2022 and '23 will witness the highest growth as compared to the period from 2008 to 2023," he claimed. Umar said the opposition will guide the government in its efforts to bring reforms in the economy. He said the PTI has given preference to the livelihood of youngsters. Considering that small and medium-sized businesses hold an important position for the growth of the economy, he announced a reduction in the tax on small and medium enterprises. A cut in interest rate was also announced on agricultural loans, along with a reduction in the low-incoming housing tax. What was expected from the mini-budget Earlier today, the federal cabinet headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan was given a briefing on the bill, after which it was taken to the parliament for debate. The supplementary budget was expected to offer major incentives to boost the stock market, housing, agriculture and industrial sectors, besides imposing punitive duties on luxury imports. According to the finance ministry’s adviser and spokesman Dr Khaqan Najeeb Khan, the mini-budget would support ease of business processes, simplify procedures and facilitate business by reducing bureaucratic red-tape. Informed sources, however, said the government was planning to reverse documentation reforms introduced for the equity markets in a bid to turn around the declining stock index which fell from its high at 53,000 points in 2016 to around 38,000 points at present. The package was also likely to include the reduction and removal of some tax rates, commissions and capital gains tax. Third bill for fiscal 2019 The 'mini-budget' would constitute the third finance bill for fiscal 2018-2019. The National Assembly had in May 2018 passed the Finance Bill 2018-19 during the tenure of the PML-N government, the basic structure of which remained the same as announced by then Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Apr 27, 2018. Then, in September 2018, Umar had presented the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government's amendments to the budget announced by the PML-N. The highlights of the amendment included a cut in federal development programmes and measures to bring the budget deficit down to 5.1 per cent. Tax rates were lower than the previous year and the tax relief that had been granted by the PML-N was revoked from salaried persons earning more than Rs200,000 per month. The tax rate in the highest income tax slab was raised from 15 pc to 30 pc. The rate of withholding tax on banking transactions for non-tax filers was increased to 0.6pc Other developments included an increase in federal excise duty on imports of luxury vehicles and duties on 'expensive' cell phones. Customs duty was also increased on more than 5,000 'luxury' items. Regulatory duty was increased on the import of more than 900 items. The Insaf Sehat Card facility was expanded to Fata and Islamabad Capital Territory. Read more: The good, the bad and the uncertain of PTI's 'mini-budget' Opposition opposes govt decision to announce mini-budget On Jan 16, the government had sought the opposition’s support for the mini-budget announced today. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had facilitated two meetings between the government and opposition in which the issues of the mini-budget and formation of committees of the NA were discussed. However, leaders of various political parties had opposed the government’s plans, saying the mini-budget "will add to the miseries of public" and "badly affect the commerce and industrial sectors in the country". Parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate, Sherry Rehman, had in a statement expressed her reservations over ever-increasing prices of various commodities. Similarly, several PML-N leaders, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, had also criticised the government’s move to present another finance bill. Speaking at a news conference on Jan 12, the PML-N leaders had lashed out at the PTI government for what they termed "directionless and failed" economic policies, which they claimed had drastically brought down the country’s growth rate in just five months. more...
SC overturns Shah Hussain's acquittal in Khadija stabbing case, orders arrest
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 09:43:39 +0500
The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the appeal of Khadija Siddiqui ─ a law student who was stabbed 23 times in Lahore in 2016 ─ and overturned the Lahore High Court's 2018 acquittal of Shah Hussain, ordering his immediate arrest. Siddiqui had accused Shah Hussain of attacking her on May 3, 2016, near Lahore's Shimla Hill where she, along with her driver, had gone to pick up her younger sister from school. A judicial magistrate on July 29, 2017 had sentenced Hussain to seven-year imprisonment; however, Hussain was acquitted by the LHC the following year. A three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, after hearing arguments from both sides on Wednesday, accepted Siddiqui's appeal to overturn the acquittal and declared the LHC's verdict null and void. On the court's orders, Shah Hussain was taken into custody from outside the courtroom. Khadija Siddiqui speaks to the media outside the Supreme Court. ─ DawnNewsTV "Today is a victory for all women," said Siddiqui while speaking outside the court after her appeal was accepted. "Today for every woman, a precedent has been set that by raising your voice you will be victorious in the battle against truth. The truth can never be hidden, it always comes to light. And today's decision has proven that if you misuse your power, you will reap what you sow as has happened today." Responding to a question, Siddiqui said that cases must be defended on the basis of their merits, not on the basis of scandal or character assassination. Barrister Salman Safdar, a member of Siddiqui's legal team, told the media that Shah Hussain had also been given a chance to address the bench today "because he is a lawyer in the making". The lawyer also praised the court for providing "much deserved justice" in the case. Barrister Hassaan Niazi alleged that Siddiqui and her legal team had faced pressure at different stages, including at the trial court, the sessions court and the high court. Earlier, as the hearing commenced, Justice Khosa asked if Hussain was in court and was told that he was. "We want to see if the high court's conclusion is based on the evidence presented," Justice Khosa said. "The high court did not take a look at the complete case evidence presented to it," Siddiqui's lawyer argued. "Khadija [Siddiqui] was Hussain's class fellow. The defendant stabbed her 23 times, including two swipes at her neck. According to doctors, her wounds were bleeding when she was brought to the hospital," the lawyer said, adding Siddiqui's sister was also presented in court as a witness of the incident. Read more: Khadija was stabbed 23 times in Lahore. Here's how she put her attacker behind bars SC questions delay in naming Hussain The CJP questioned the delay in naming Hussain as the stabber. "Siddiqui knew the defendant, he was her classmate, and yet she named Hussain five days after the incident," the chief justice pointed out. "She was not in her senses [at the time of the attack]; she did not recognise the doctor," the lawyer replied, later adding that doctors had termed Siddiqui's condition critical. The lawyer told the bench that Shah Hussain attacked Siddiqui with a knife "with intention" and that he did not attack her driver. "Siddiqui's sister was in her senses; why was Hussain then named in the case after a delay?" asked the CJP. When the chief justice asked about the wounds inflicted upon Siddiqui, the lawyer said "12 of the wounds were two-inches-deep". "The front of her neck was not wounded; she could have spoken on the matter," the top judge noted. The Punjab government's prosecutor also opposed the LHC's decision to acquit Hussain. "They were both law students and both decided to practically study the law," Justice Khosa commented. "Two hair [samples] were found in the car; were they sent for forensic testing?" the chief justice asked. Siddiqui's lawyer said while directions were given to send the hair for forensic testing, representatives of the lab, when asked, said that the samples never reached them. "The word 'high-profile' was used in the case multiple times; should the law be changed for high-profile [offenders]?" the chief justice asked. He added: "A crime is a crime, be it high or low profile." "The high court did not correctly examine the evidence," Siddiqui's lawyer reiterated. "Why did the defendant want to kill Khadija [Siddiqui]? He could have attacked her where there was no one [to see him]," Justice Khosa said. "The record does not mention any motive behind the attempted murder," Siddiqui's lawyer said. "To shoot someone is easier than stabbing. Usually, the motive behind killing is 'if [she is not] mine then [she] won't be anyone else's'," the chief justice remarked, adding that the other common motive for murder is blackmailing on the girl's part. "Neither of these reasons came to light in this case," he added. Justice Maqbool Baqar pointed out that no class fellow of Siddiqui and Hussain had testified in the case. "The real question is who attacked Siddiqui," Justice Khosa observed. "The relationship between Siddiqui and Hussain ended seven months prior to the incident; they both continued to study in the same class after the relationship ended," Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said. Following a brief break in the hearing, the court accepted her appeal and declared LHC's decision null and void. Subsequently, Hussain was taken into custody from the courtroom. Siddiqui, who is currently studying law in the United Kingdom, arrived in Pakistan earlier this week. Case history A judicial magistrate had on July 29, 2017, sentenced Hussain to seven-year imprisonment under Section 324 (attempted murder) of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), two years under Section 337A(i) (causing injuries), five years under Section 337A(ii), one year under Section 337F(i), three years under Section 337F(ii) and five years under Section 337F(iv). However, a sessions court in March 2018 had commuted the rigorous imprisonment by two years awarded by the trial court to Hussain while setting aside the other minor penalties. Hussain, the son of a senior LHC lawyer, then appealed against his conviction in the high court and was acquitted in June 2018. LHC Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem in his detailed verdict had written: "The injured witness ordinarily is not disbelieved but the circumstances of this case forced me to disbelieve the injured prosecution witness." "I am satisfied that the prosecution has failed in its duty to prove the guilt of the appellant (Hussain) beyond reasonable shadow of doubt and the benefit of the doubt is always extended in favour of the accused." The judge observed that marks of injury on a witness are only an indication of his presence at a spot but not affirmative proof of credibility and truthfulness: "It is not a universal rule that each and every word coming from the mouth of injured person is truth." "Mere presence of injuries would not stamp that he is a truthful witness. His testimony is to be tested and appraised on the principles applied for appreciation of any other prosecution witness," Justice Naeem had ruled. The then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken notice of Hussain's acquittal and forwarded the case to a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, the new chief justice, for hearing. The appeal was accepted by the court a few days later. more...
Pilot martyred as PAF aircraft crashes near Mastung
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:03:34 +0500
A pilot of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was martyred in an air crash near Balochistan's Mastung area on Wednesday. The accident occurred during a training mission being carried out in a multi-role aircraft, said a statement issued by the Directorate of Media Affairs of PAF. "The PAF reports with regret that an F-7PG aircraft, while on a routine operational training mission, crashed near Mastung," it said. Take a look: Thrifty at 50: How the Pakistan Air Force keeps ageing Mirages flying The PAF statement said that the cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. However, a board of inquiry has been ordered by Air Headquarters to determine the cause. Last year in June, two PAF pilots were martyred when an FT-7PG crashed during landing at the Peshawar Air Base. F-7PGs were first inducted into the PAF in 2002 as a replacement for the F-6, which were then decommissioned. Later the force inducted the trainer FT-7PGs. The PAF had previously operated F-7Ps. At least 13 F-7PGs/FT-7PGs have been lost during their 17 years in service. The PAF has more than 50 of the Chinese-made aircraft in its fleet. more...
Skipper Sarfraz makes 'racist' remarks directed at South African batsman
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:41:55 +0500
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was heard on camera making racist remarks directed at South African batsman Andile Phehlukwayo who, along with Hendrick van der Dussen, had guided Proteas to a series-levelling win against the green shirts in the second One-Day International on Tuesday. As South African batsman Andile Phehlukwayo got lucky despite playing a risky shot, a stump mic picked up Sarfraz saying: "Hey black [man], where is your mother sitting? What prayer did you get her to say for you today?" (Abay kaalay, teri ammi aaj kahan baitheen hain? Kya parhwa ke aya hai aaj tu?) Up in the commentary box, Mike Haysman was heard asking Ramiz Raja what the captain had said. Raja responded: "Difficult really to translate that. It's a big long sentence. [He's] obviously feeling that the left-hander has been very lucky." Sarfraz's remarks could land him in hot water if the International Cricket Council decides his comments constitute an offence under its code. The ICC's Anti-Racism Code for Participants states that the following conduct, if committed by a participant at any time during, or in relation to, an international match, shall amount to an offence: "Engaging in any conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise), which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person in the position of a player, player support personnel, umpire, match referee, umpire support personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin". If, after due process is followed and a judicial commissioner has determined that an offence has been committed under the code, the offender will be handed an appropriate sanction depending on whether or not they are a repeat offender. Sanctions for the above-mentioned offences under the ICC's code. Soon after the match, former paceman Shoaib Akhtar had tweeted that the skipper must "explain himself to the media and public regarding his comments to the batsman". Although the general sentiment among the public on social media appeared to be in Sarfraz's corner, some Twitter users pointed out that the captain's remarks were offensive. Sports journalist Taha Anis said: "People are actually saying Sarfraz should get away with it because racism is acceptable in Pakistan. Shouldn't he get an even more severe punishment precisely because racism is so accepted that we need to do our best to curb out this menace?" Asia News International News Editor Smita Prakash pointed out that there is "little awareness that it is a racial slur" in the Indian subcontinent. more...
India tries to blunt Pakistan’s initiative, sends own invite
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:56:54 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Wary of Pakistan’s invitation to negotiations over the agreement on the planned Kartarpur Corridor, India on Tuesday asked Pakistani officials to visit New Delhi for talks on the issue and suggested Feb 26 and March 7 as the two possible dates for the meeting. “India has also proposed two set of dates, 26 February and 7 March 2019, for the visit of Pakistan delegation to New Delhi to discuss and finalise the modalities so that the Indian pilgrims can visit the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor at the earliest,” the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement issued in New Delhi. The statement was issued in response to the draft agreement on Kartarpur Corridor shared by Pakistan with India on Monday and the accompanying invitation to initiation of negotiations for its finalisation. By giving a counter-invitation to Pakistan instead of accepting its invitation for negotiations, India seemed to be avoiding the tough choice between rejecting the proposal and accepting Islamabad’s call for talks. New Delhi proposes two dates for visit by Islamabad team for talks on pilgrims’ visit to Kartarpur gurdwara Pakistan had asked the Indian government to “urgently send a delegation to Islamabad” for negotiating the agreement. India has during PM Narendra Modi’s tenure avoided resumption of dialogue with Pakistan on the pretext that its terrorism concerns are not being addressed. The Modi government has been particularly suspicious of Pakistani move to offer opening of Kartarpur Corridor on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, in November this year even though it accepted it out of its domestic political compulsions. The Indian government had sent two cabinet members — Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh — to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the project in November. Later, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj claimed that the two ministers went to the Gurudwara ‘to offer pra­yers’ and had not been trapped by Pakistani ‘googlies’. Her comments were in response to Foreign Minis­ter Shah Mahmood Qure­shi’s remarks that Prime Minister Imran had “bowled a googly at India by opening the Kartarpur border corridor.” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal, who is also Pakistan’s focal person for negotiations on the Kartarpur Corridor agreement, talking to Dawn on the Indian invite said that it’s clear to everyone that Islamabad’s invitation came before Delhi invited it. The Indian external affairs ministry further said that it had shared the coordinates of the zero point (crossing point) of the corridor along the International Border with Pakistan. This, it said, was done in line with “the decision taken by the Government of India on 22 November 2018 to expeditiously realise the long pending proposal to establish Kartarpur Corridor”. Pakistan’s FO had while sharing the draft agreement and extending invitation to India said that its actions were in accordance with “Islamic principles that advocate respect for all religions and Pakistan’s policy of promoting inter-faith harmony and religious tolerance and also in line with Quaid’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.” Pakistan is to construct the nearly four-km-long corridor from the border to the Gurudwara in Kartarpur Sahib, whereas India is to develop the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak, in East Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, to the international border. Once the corridor is operational, Sikh pilgrims from India would enjoy visa-free access to the shrine. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Govt not behind complaint to Twitter regarding lawyer Reema Omer's tweet: info minister
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:19:48 +0500
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has denied the government's involvement in reporting lawyer Reema Omer's tweets — that debated the status of military courts in the Constitution — to the micro-blogging site. On Monday, Omer said that Twitter had received "official correspondence" that her tweets were in violation of the Pakistani law. "Interesting times where 'officials' see references to the law — i.e., the Constitution + judgements of high courts — as a violation of the law," she had said. Responding to her tweet, Chaudhry clarified that the government did not have any correspondence with Twitter over Omer's tweets. "This is absolutely an academic debate; why would govt question that debate?" he asked. "Thank you, Sir. Appreciate your clarification," Omer replied. She, however, said "it leads to more questions: Is Twitter making up these emails? Is some impostor pretending to be a government official making these complaints? Or are these complaints being made 'officially', but without the government’s knowledge?" In recent months, users, both local and international, have reported that they have received notices from Twitter labelling their tweets in violation with Pakistani law. Earlier this month, DawnNewsTV anchor and senior journalist Mubashir Zaidi said that he had received an email from Twitter saying that his tweet regarding the murders of politician Ali Raza Abidi and SP Tahir Dawar was "in violation of Pakistani law according to a complaint it received" from Pakistan". more...
British Airways team to visit Islamabad airport next week to assess security measures
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:10:20 +0500
A team of senior officials from Britain's national flag-carrier will be visiting Pakistan next week to inspect whether all prerequisite security measures are in place before the airline resumes its flights to Islamabad in June after a 10-year break. "The main purpose of the visit will be to engage the Pakistani authorities on the critical security measures which British Airways (BA) will require full implementation of before they commence operations in June," read a letter written by British Deputy High Commissioner Richard Crowder to Secretary Aviation Division Shahrukh Nusrat. During the visit, according to the letter, the BA team would like to visit the new Islamabad International Airport to "see first-hand the security measures in operation and to understand the infrastructure and services in place to support [BA] flights to and from Islamabad". The deputy high commissioner wrote that the resumption of directs flights to Pakistan by Britain's flag-carrier was excellent news for both the countries. "I see British Airways' return as a vote of confidence in the future of our two countries' links, and, of course, a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years," he wrote. BA's head of worldwide airports, Paul Coventry, International Risk Adviser David Craig and Director Safety and Security John Monks will be visiting the country on January 29-30. The team is expected to visit the Islamabad airport on either day of their visit. In September 2008, British Airways had suspended all its flights to Pakistan "for an indefinite period" citing security concerns in the aftermath of the Marriott Hotel bombing that claimed more than 50 lives and injured more than 250 people. The airline last month decided to resume direct flights from London Heathrow to Islamabad’s new airport. According to a press release issued on BA's website, the route will launch as a three-per-week service, operated on a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with return fares starting from £499 [roughly Rs91,000]. more...
Supreme Court rejects petition seeking Sindh CM Murad Shah's disqualification
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:31:20 +0500
The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a petition seeking the disqualification of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on the grounds that the petitioner had failed to produce enough arguments to satisfy the court. A three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Yahya Afridi, heard a petition filed by Roshan Ali Buriro of the Sindh United Party demanding that Shah be disqualified on account of his dual nationality. Justice Bandial pointed out that the Sindh chief minister had renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2013, therefore, he could not be disqualified on those grounds. The bench further said that the petitioner's intent was questionable as he was a political opponent of Shah. "The prima facie [grounds for] disqualification are not clear in this case," Justice Bandial declared. Buriro had earlier filed a similar appeal with a returning officer that had been turned down. He had then approached the Sindh High Court which also dismissed his petition. Following the high court's decision, the petitioner approached the top court. The bench, during the hearing today, said that the petitioner had not challenged the returning officer's verdict in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which is the relevant legal forum, and instead approached the high court. "Why was the petition filed in the high court when a legal forum is available?" Justice Muneeb asked. "Everyone keeps filing appeals for disqualification of office bearers in high courts or the Supreme Court," he regretted. LHC turns down appeal for Aleem Khan's disqualification A petition seeking the disqualification of Punjab Assembly's lawmaker Aleem Khan was dismissed by the Lahore High Court today. The petition was filed by Rana Ahsan of the PML-N, who had lost the election for PP-158 last year. He accused Khan of hiding assets and urged the court to disqualify him under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Khan's lawyer Advocate Azhar Siddiq said that his client had not hidden any offshore companies or overseas assets and that he was an "honest and trustworthy taxpayer". He termed Ahsan's petition as "political revenge". The court had reserved its verdict on the case on Monday. more...
Funeral prayers offered for 24 killed in Bela bus inferno
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:54:29 +0500
Funeral prayers for 24 of the 27 people killed in a deadly road accident in Bela earlier this week were held in Balochistan's Panjgur area on Wednesday. Twenty seven people, including women and children, burned to death when a Panjgur-bound bus collided with a truck near Lasbela Cross on Monday and caught fire, destroying both vehicles within seconds, leaving the bodies charred beyond recognition. The ill-fated bus belonging to Jehanzeb Coach Service had left Karachi in the evening on Monday and met with the accident a few hours later near Lasbela Cross, around 3 kilometres from Bela City. The fire destroyed both the vehicles. Moments after the collision, the coach's fuel tank caught fire and destroyed the coach, leaving only a few seconds for the passengers trapped inside to come out. Sources said the bus had only one door that made it difficult for the passengers to evacuate the vehicle. They added that the truck was carrying smuggled Iranian oil which caused a huge fire following the collision. A total of 33 passengers, including women and children were on board, along with four members of the bus staff. Nearly half a dozen people were injured in the deadly collision. The bodies were shifted from Civil Hospital Bela to the Edhi morgue in Karachi. The funeral prayers of 24 of the deceased were held at the Panjgur Tablighi Markaz Ground in the Khadabadan an area of Panjgur. The bodies of the three others killed in the accident were handed over to their families. A case was registered against the owner of the bus and the unidentified driver under charges of murder and criminal negligence on Monday evening. The FIR said that the bus went out of control and collided with a truck after one of its tyres burst. It said the bus was in a dilapidated condition, its tyres were weak and it was overloaded at the time of the accident. The police report stated that the driver of the truck also burned to death. Initially, 25 bodies had been recovered from the bus and one from the truck, whereas one of the injured succumbed to his burn wounds. The Balochistan government on Tuesday announced Rs10 million in compensation for the families of the victims. more...
Money laundering to be made non-bailable offence
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The government is set to introduce on Wednesday (today) key amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act 2010 and the Federal Investigation Act (FIA) 1974 as part of the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 to comply with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). According to Dawn sources, Finance Minister Asad Umar will brief the federal cabinet on the supplementary finance bill, explaining the reasons and targets of reform packages for various sectors of the economy including small and medium enterprises, agriculture, industry, housing, stock market and exports. Take a look: Pakistan deserves international support, not a place on the FATF grey-list The sources added that various changes to laws and regulations had been under discussion for months to address shortcomings related to terror financing and money laundering, but did not materialise for various reasons. Now the government has found an easier legal course in the form of a money bill 2018-19. Many laws being amended through finance bill to meet FATF requirements Most of the changes would be made in the FIA of 1974, AML Act 2010, and the related tax laws to facilitate inter-agency coordination and investigations. The amendments, which had been finalised by a committee led by the finance minister, refer to all related agencies working on matters relating to FATF that put Pakistan on the grey list last year for not ‘doing enough’ to meet UN resolutions against organisations purportedly involved in terror financing and money laundering. These sources said that money laundering would be defined as an offence for which bail would not be available, and a crime punishable under various clauses of a series of laws. The punishment for those involved in the illegal transfer of funds is being enhanced under the new money bill to three to 10 years, from the existing maximum imprisonment clause of a two-year term. The fine, an official explained, was also being increased from Rs5 million to Rs50m for a director of an exchange company found involved in money laundering, hundi or hawala business. Likewise, the properties of such persons would also be attached as case property for six months instead of the 90 days under the existing laws. Further, a new section in the proposed money bill would also extend the jurisdiction of FIA to the whole of Pakistan, including new tribal districts recently merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in accordance with the provisions of Article 247 of the Constitution. Some changes are to be made to the Foreign Exchange Regulation Action of 1947 to improve the powers of the State Bank of Pakistan and limit the transportation of foreign exchange and local currency within and outside the country. Under another proposed section, various tribunals dealing with money laundering, tax laws and hundi and hawala, etc, will be required to complete their business in six months’ proceedings in cases referring to illegal financial transactions, including the sale, purchase and transmission of money and other instruments, including minerals. The FIA will be given permission to seek information regarding financial transactions from banks under a well-defined mechanism that does not allow low-grade FIA staff to misuse power or information. At a review meeting in Sydney, Australia, earlier this month, FATF had generally shown satisfaction over Islamabad’s efforts and its roadmap against money laundering and terror financing. Pakistan had assured FATF of compliance with steps planned in the next review, scheduled in Paris on February 17-18. Another onsite inspection of Pakistan’s performance will be due in May. During the May and September meetings later this year, regulators and law enforcement agencies will be expected to demonstrate results in the form of investigation, prosecutions, convictions, supervisory actions, sanctions with resulting impacts on compliance by financial institutions, implementing cross-border currency and border controls, and the enforcement of a regulatory regime at the borders. In June last year, Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime and to address its strategic counterterrorism financing-related deficiencies by implementing a 10-point action plan. The successful implementation of the action plan and its physical verification will lead FATF to remove Pakistan from its grey list or else move into the black list by September 2019. In August last year, Pakistan was found deficient on anti-money laundering/counterterror financing laws and mechanisms. The authorities are required to upgrade agencies and their human resources to be able to handle foreign requests to block terror financing and freeze illegal and targeted assets. By the end of September next year, Pakistan has to comply with the action plan it committed to with FATF in June. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
PM seeks economic assistance package from Doha
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:56:54 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Seeking another bailout package, this time from Qatar, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday assured overseas Pakistanis in Doha that he would turn the motherland into a developed and economically strong country. During his two-day official visit to Qatar that began on Monday, the prime minister met Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, business community of Qatar and overseas Pakistanis, according to the Prime Minister Office. The red carpet was rolled out to welcome Prime Minister Khan at the Diwan-i-Amiri where a formal ceremony was held in his honour. He was presented a guard of honour by a smartly turned-out contingent of the Qatari Amiri Guards, and the national anthems of both countries were played. A one-to-one meeting was held between Prime Minister Khan and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim. They discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral ties and regional and international matters of mutual interest. The two sides also held delegation-level talks. Imran holds meetings with Qatari emir, businessmen; addresses public meeting in capital The Pakistani side asked the Qatari government to reduce the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and make its supplies on deferred payments under the existing 15-year supply contract. Presently Pakistan’s LNG import bill is said to be $4 billion per year. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf led government has been criticising the contracts signed by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for LNG import from Qatar at a price equivalent to 13.39 per cent of the international benchmark crude oil price, and two terminals set up by the private sector for re-gasifying imported LNG. Before this, Prime Minister Khan obtained economic bailout packages from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. According to the PM Office, during the PM’s visit to Qatar, all issues of bilateral nature were discussed, particularly the strengthened economic and trade relations between the two countries. The emir of Qatar hosted a lunch for the prime minister and the members of his delegation. Prime Minister Khan also met Chairman of the Qatar Businessmen Association (QBA) Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim bin Faisal Al-Thani and Hussain Alfardan, one of the Middle East’s leading businessmen. The QBA chairman conveyed interest of Qatari businessmen in investing in Pakistan. The investment areas include hospitality, large-scale manufacturing, transportation and food production. The meeting was followed by another meeting with Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, who briefed the prime minister on FIFA 2022 World Cup preparations. He promised to focus on encouraging skilled manpower import from Pakistan. Sheikh Nawaf Bin Nasser Bin Khaled Al-Thani, a representative of the NBK group, also called on the prime minister. The prime minister also met a delegation of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce led by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al-Thani and including leading importers of the Gulf state. The meeting concluded with a resolve to increase imports from Pakistan and providing a bilateral framework of trade which will enhance Pakistani exports to Qatar. Representatives of the Sikh community in Qatar also called on the prime minister and thanked him for the groundbreaking of Kartarpur Corridor which was the longstanding desire of the community globally. PM addresses public meeting Speaking at a public meeting at Al Wakara Stadium in Doha that was organised by the Qatari government, Prime Minister Khan said his government would boost tourism to such an extent that it would help stable the crippling economy of Pakistan. “We will generate so much money through tourism that we will have no need to get dollars from abroad,” he added. “I am happy to address overseas Pakistanis in my first public gathering after become prime minister,” the prime minister said. He said Pakistan had the potential of four types of tourism — historical, beach, religious and mountains — even then the country was lagging behind in this field as compared to other countries which had only one type of tourism. “Malaysia has only beach tourism while Turkey has beach and historical tourism but their annual income from it is $20bn and $40bn, respectively,” he added. The prime minister did not miss an opportunity to criticise previous rulers of the country saying they had looted the country with both hands. “The way Pakistan was looted with both hands no other country could survive if it would have happened there.” Reacting to the remarks of Imran Khan, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said the prime minister was introducing Pakistan as a “corrupt” state before the world. The prime minister said he had met a number of foreign investors and heads of renowned firms who had wanted to invest in Pakistan but could not do so due to “corruption” and “complicated” tax regime. “Now we have reduced number of taxes from 36 to 16 and as far as corruption is concerned, you should not be worried about it. Not a single scandal of the incumbent government has come to fore in its first five months.” Terming overseas Pakistanis “backbone” of the country, he said Pakistan was running because of remittances being sent by expatriate Pakistanis. “The time is not far away when people will come to Pakistan for jobs,” he claimed by assuring participants of the public gathering that people would soon get fruits of sagacious policies of the government. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
France gives €130m loan for Peshawar bus project
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:12 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The French government has decided to provide a soft loan of 130 million euros (Rs19.5 billion) for the Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project. Economic Affairs Divi­sion Secretary Noor Ahmed, Ambassador of France Marc Barety and Country Direc­tor of the French Development Agency (AFD) Jacky Am­prou signed the credit facility agreement here on Tuesday. The Executive Commit­tee of National Economic Council had approved the revised PC-1 of the project in November last year, while the federal cabinet accorded approval to the signing of the agreement with the AFD early this month. The AFD and Asian Development Bank have co-financed the project. The revised cost of the project is Rs66.437bn ($593m), including foreign exchange component of Rs53.32bn shared by the ADB and AFD. The project will contribute to the government’s strategy to resolve the issues of urban transportation. It will provide safe, efficient and comfortable user-friendly mass transit system, which will be well integrated with the existing transport facilities. It will also help in improving energy efficiency and air quality through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. To date, the AFD has committed 880m euros financial support, while the Peshawar project will open new avenue of collaboration in the urban development sector, according to the French embassy in Islamabad. France through the AFD is working in Pakistan, providing technical and financial support to develop low-carbon infrastructures. The AFD is an inclusive public financial institution and the main actor in France’s development policy. It makes commitments to projects that genuinely improve the everyday lives of people, in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas territories. It has been fighting against poverty around the world for over 75 years by supporting policies and investments that benefit the poorest populations. Streng­thening social ties between individuals, groups and territories is now central to its projects in the sectors of education, health, employment, urban planning and climate. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Agreement signed for $3bn deposit from Abu Dhabi
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:20 +0500
KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) for $3 billion to be deposited in the SBP account. The announcement came from the Foreign Office in a Twitter post at 8:30pm which added that the funds “will help Pakistan achieve financial stability and overcome economic challenges.” SBP Chief Spokesperson Abid Qamar, talking to Dawn separately, confirmed the development and said the central bank will release details possibly on Wednesday. He expects the amount to arrive in the country within a week but no final details were available. The agreement was signed between SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa and ADFD Director General Saif Al Suwaidi at the latter’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi. “If $3bn is placed in the SBP account, the amount could be utilised for foreign exchange payments,” Qamar told Dawn. “But the central bank will not transfer local currency equal to this $3bn to the government account.” He explained that funds in rupee equivalent from a foreign currency loan are directly transferred into the account of the government after the foreign exchange is received in the SBP account. Pakistan has been facing an acute shortage of foreign exchange and the situation is more serious in the wake of high current account deficit which widened to $7.98bn in the first half of the current fiscal year. The SBP reserves had fallen to $6.9bn on Jan 11 from $12.793bn in Jan 2018. Pakistan signed a similar agreement with Saudi Arabia for foreign currency deposits of which $2bn has been received while the last tranche of $1bn was still is still awaited. Along with these inflows, the government hopes to get loans from Beijing. It was also reported in media that the country could borrow from Chinese banks on commercial rates. The UAE is the second largest trade partner of the country, after China. During July-December FY19, the imports from UAE were $5.119bn and $8.901bn in full fiscal year 2018. However, exports to the kingdom were extremely low, at $636m during the first half and $1.379bn in FY18. Pakistan’s external sector has been under stress for more than two years now but latest data from December 2018 show a possible turnaround. The current deficit shrank, albeit marginally, on the back of strong remittance growth and flat growth in the trade deficit. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
China to pick Afghan Taliban as political force: envoy
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:04 +0500
PESHAWAR: Chinese Ambas­sador in Islamabad Yao Jing has said that his country will “pick Afghan Taliban as a political force” in the backdrop of their participation in the ongoing peace talks with the US and at other forums. Speaking at a roundtable conference at the Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar, on Tuesday, he said that Beijing supported Pakistan’s fresh initiatives for facilitating efforts for political settlement of the Afghan conflict and confidence-building measures in relations with Kabul. Asked about apparent lack of eagerness on the part of China in the ongoing talks for political settlement of the Afghan issue, the envoy said that his country had contacts with both the Taliban and the Afghan government. China had deputed a special envoy who was visiting the Taliban’s political office in Doha, he added. “China will pick them (Taliban) as a political force because they are now part of the Afghan political process and they have some political concerns. They have to be allowed to play a legitimate role in the future political settlement,” he further elaborated his government’s policy on the Afghan peace process being discussed at different forums. Pakistan’s initiative for facilitating Afghan peace process supported “If possible, China can exert pressure on the Taliban to join the peace process,” said the ambassador who had served in Kabul and New Delhi before taking over his new assignment in Pakistan. He urged all external stakeholders, including Afghanistan’s neighbours, to play their role for peace in the war-ravaged country. “Afghans have been suffering for the last 40 years and they deserve peace and stability,” he said. Supporting Pakistan’s fresh initiatives for facilitating talks between the Taliban and US administration, he said that China backed this ongoing process and had also played its role in the Moscow meeting and at other forums. Mr Yao said that Afghans were very friendly towards China which had close relations with their country. “When we look towards west, the immediate challenge for us is Afghanistan having many international terrorist organisations.” He said that Central Asian states had their own version and vision about Afghanistan and the same was the case of Russia, Iran and Pakistan. “We are very much hopeful about a peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue, but this is a very complicated issue, which requires a lot of patience,” the envoy said. The US might announce withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan where elections were around the corner, he added. Clarifying his country’s stance about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), particularly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he accused western media of spreading negative propaganda against the project. He dispelled the impression that China wanted to establish its economic hegemony in the region through the BRI and the CPEC. “Why would China want to control Pakistan through the CPEC and why would we spend money to control Pakistan? China could not control Pakistan in the 1960s when you (Pakistan) were in a more difficult position. At that time both countries had good relations,” he said, emphasising that Beijing’s foreign policy was never based on influencing or controlling other countries. He said that China had developed a new concept of foreign policy based on the BRI. “You should understand China first, instead of judging [it] from the western propaganda. Please talk to us, understand China’s intentions and let us focus on peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said. Mr Yao said that the CPEC was purely an economic project, but regional rivalries, militancy and relations among the regional countries could affect the project. He said that India had its own assessment and understanding about the economic corridor. He said that China had very close relations with Pakistan and the CPEC was part of its own development strategy. The ambassador said that the Gwadar port was presently a “losing” project and the Chinese company which took over it in 2011 was paying $14 million subsidy annually. He said that Pakistan had handed over the port to a Singaporean company in 2008 which had brought only one second-hand crane there. He said that the CPEC did not encompass the whole relations between the two countries but it was only one part of the bilateral ties. He said that China had been supporting Islamabad at regional and international forums and had started trilateral cooperation comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. The CPEC would play a major role in this regard, he added. Worried over the prevailing insecurity in the region, the envoy said that the BRI could become a victim of regional instability, insecurity or even state-to-state relations. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
NAB forms body to grill Zardari, Faryal in fake accounts case
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:56:54 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday formed a combined investigation team (CIT) to probe alleged ‘fake’ bank accounts and money laundering suspicions against top Pakistan Peoples Party leadership, bankers and players in the real estate business. The CIT, which is an internal NAB mechanism, was formed by the bureau’s chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, in a high-level meeting held at the NAB headquarters. The CIT, headed by Irfan Naeem Mangi, Rawalpindi NAB DG, started functioning on Tuesday. Mr Mangi was part of a joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe the ‘Panama leaks’ revelations against ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The recent meeting was attended by the NAB prosecutor general, director general operations, director general NAB Rawalpindi and other senior officers. The CIT is to summon all 172 persons suspected on the issue and record their statements. A combined investigation team will summon all 172 persons named in JIT report According to the NAB spokesperson, the SC judgement pertaining to the fake accounts case was reviewed at the NAB meeting. NAB chief Javed Iqbal is to directly supervise the official proceedings of the CIT, as per law. It was decided at the meeting that investigations into fake bank accounts and money laundering would be taken to their logical conclusion in the light of the judgement of the apex court and on the basis of solid evidence. The accountability bureau has asked the media to meanwhile avoid speculation. In a recently issued judgement, the Supreme Court directed NAB to file references against the accused in an accountability court in Rawalpindi or Islamabad, and not in Karachi. The interior ministry has already placed the names of 170 persons suspected of wrongdoing on the issue on the Exit Control List (ECL), including Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former chief minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Anwar Siyal, and Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz. The names of PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah have been removed from the ECL, but they will have to take recourse to a plea bargain or face the case against them. The NAB initially starts an inquiry on any complaint. In case credible evidence is found, the inquiry is turned into an investigation, after which it is decided whether or not a reference should be filed in an accountability court. In this specific case, the prime minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had said that NAB will not go for an inquiry but will initiate investigation on the basis of the inquiry conducted by the JIT formed by the SC. In the JIT report, 172 people have been accused of having fake bank accounts and indulging in money laundering. The filing of 16 different references against them was recommended. According to the SC order given on Jan 14, 170 accused, including Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, and Malik Riaz, will continue to remain on the travel watchlist. The apex court asked NAB to conclude its investigation within two months; those found guilty of corruption will have two options – either face a reference or ask for a plea bargain. Though the JIT had recommended 16 references against the accused, how it would treat the JIT report and how many references would be filed depended on NAB. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Opposition accuses Punjab govt of ‘protecting’ culprits
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday continued debate on the Sahiwal tragedy for a second consecutive day as opposition members reiterated their demand for a parliamentary committee to oversee the investigations, alleging that the Punjab government was trying to cover up the “cold-blooded murder” of three members of a family by personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD). Also read: Fake encounter in Sahiwal Responding to the opposition’s demand that the report of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the Punjab government to probe the incident should be presented before parliament, federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari told the house that the interior minister would receive the report at 6.30pm and would lay it before the house soon after receiving it. However, when the session was adjourned by the chair at 8.05pm, neither Ms Mazari nor any minister was present in the assembly. Take a look: What the Sahiwal shooting tells us about police culture A member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from Sahiwal, Rai Murtaza Iqbal, termed the incident a “test case” for the government of his own party, suggesting that the PTI government should apologise to the nation and the members of the deceased family over the incident. “The government as a first step should have admitted that it has failed to protect the lives and apologise to the whole nation and the (affected) family,” Mr Iqbal said, demanding that “either the case be referred to military courts or the accused CTD personnel be tried before a special court to decide the case within two to three months”. Mr Iqbal said it was a challenge for the PTI government to prevent the country from becoming a “security or a police state”. Another MNA from Sahiwal, Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), disclosed that the deputy commissioner of the area had confirmed to him that no resistance was offered from the occupants of the car as claimed by the police. Another PML-N MNA from Vehari, Sajid Mehdi, was of the opinion that after seeing the video clip of the incident, there was no need for formation of the JIT. He asked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to visit the house of the affected family and tender apology. He regretted that on one hand, the PTI members were shedding tears on the incident and on the other, they were defending the culprits. Pakistan Peoples Party stalwart Syed Khursheed Shah alleged that the Punjab government was “completely involved” in the incident. He expressed his surprise over the Pun­jab government’s decision to pay Rs20 million compensation to the family, after declaring them terrorists. “Had it ever happened that a terro­rist was paid Rs20 million?” he asked. Mr Shah said a parliamentary committee be formed to carry out investigations and see as to who had actually provided information to the CTD officials who carried out this operation. PPP’s Nawab Yousuf Talpur questioned as to why the CTD abandoned the bodies at the site, if they were terrorists? The most hard-hitting and emotional speech of the day was delivered by PPP MNA and PTI dissident Naz Baloch, who asked both the prime minister and the chief minister to step down after taking responsibility of the incident. “Please return our old Pakistan. We don’t want your Naya Pakistan,” Ms Baloch said, while condemning the Sahiwal incident. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
PTM activist remanded in police custody till 25th
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:12 +0500
KARACHI/MINGORA: The administrative judge of antiterrorism courts on Tue­s­day remanded a Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) activist in police custody for questioning till Jan 25. Police produced Alamzeb Mehsud before the court and contended that he along with around 15 nominated and over 250 unknown accomplices had allegedly used provocative language against state institutions during their speeches at the behest of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen at a rally in Sohrab Goth on Jan 20. Meanwhile, leaders of the PTM and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party urged the government to release Alam­zeb and provide justice to Hayat Khan. Addressing pro­testers belong­ing to PTM’s Swat chapter at Nish­at Chowk, they said peaceful protest was the right of every citizen yet the police arrested Alamzeb and other PTM activists in Kara­chi where they held a peaceful rally. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Rocket hits ANP leader’s home in Bajaur
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:12 +0500
KHAR: The house of a senior leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) came under attack in the Nawagai area of Bajaur in the early hours of Tuesday, residents and officials said. They said a rocket was fired on the house of Sheikh Jan Zada near the Nawagai bazaar, some 32km west of Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur tribal district. The incident took place when the ANP leader was present in his home. They said the rocket fired from an unknown location hit a boundary wall of the house which was partially damaged. However, no casualty was reported in the incident. Soon after the attack, local residents launched a search operation but they did not find any suspect in the surrounding areas. Later, personnel of Bajaur Levies force visited the house and examined the damaged wall. Sheikh Jan Zada remained president of ANP Bajaur tribal district three times. He is also the founder president of All Bajaur Political Parties Alliance, established in 1995. Members of the ANP leader’s family told reporters that they had no enmity with anyone and that they didn’t know who could be behind the attack. ACCIDENT: A car in the squad of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister for communications and works hit a private pick-up in Bajaur on Tuesday. Eyewitness said the incident occurred in the Shandi More area when the minister was on his way to Civil Colony. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Pakistan doubles its wheat contribution to Saarc food bank
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:04 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has doubled the quantum of wheat from 40,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes as its share for the ‘Regional Food Bank’ maintained by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc). Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan made the announcement on Tuesday at the 10th meeting of the Saarc Food Bank board in Islamabad. The meeting was to take place in December 2018 but was rescheduled to January 21 to 22. The food bank board’s last meeting was held in Kathmandu in September 2016. The Saarc region with 1.788 billion people has annual food grain requirement of 244 million tonnes and the total reserve represents 0.2 per cent of the total requirement though the reserve had jumped by 100 per cent from the 1988 stock to 486,000 tonnes in 2007. At the Islamabad meeting, the board formulated recommendations for operationalising the bank, and it was decided that the international development partners working in the region would also be engaged in this regard. The meeting deliberated on various aspects of the food bank and Saarc member states including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka were actively engaged during the meeting. Senior Joint Secretary Dr Javed Humayun, being the nodal point from Pakistan in the bank chaired the board meeting. Speaking on the occasion, the minister for national food security and research highlighted the need to enhance joint efforts to address regional challenges such as climate change and also shifting of focus on enhancing intra-regional supply of food products. For this purpose, the Saarc food bank provided an excellent platform to its member states to interact with each other for intra-regional supply of food grains, he said. Saarc countries were tied in several commonalities of culture, food and environment that could lead them in making joint efforts to end hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the region, he said. National Food Security and Research Secretary Dr Hashim Popalzai underscored the important the role of the food bank to supply grains in the region to achieve the goal of regional food security as our region was home to nearly one-fourth of the world population. He said all members of the Saarc food bank could mutually work out the modalities for operationalising the bank with the support of the Saarc secretariat. He said Pakistan had surplus production of food grains, which could be supplied in the region. Pakistan had agreed to double the quantum of wheat as its assessed share to the food bank as per decision of the third board meeting, held in Kabul. The Saarc Food Security Reserve (SFSR) was established by the member states in 1987 during the third Saarc summit, which was held in Kathmandu in 1987 with an objective to provide a reserve of food grains to meet food emergencies in member countries. The initial size of the reserve was 199,800 tonnes which was raised to 241,580 tonnes in 2002. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Senate committee to consider abolition of special courts
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:57:12 +0500
ISLAMABAD: A Senate committee has decided to consider abolishing special courts and merging them with normal courts to avoid controversies. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Special Committee on Law Reforms that was presided over by its convener Farooq H. Naek and held in the Parliament House on Tuesday. It was attended by senators Rana Maqbool Ahmed and Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, former senator Chaudhry Muhammad Anwer Bhinder, senior lawyer Raja Inam Amin Minhas and retired Justice Mohammad Raza Khan. The committee approved its terms of reference and decided to hold its formal meeting in the first week of February. The agenda items to be taken up at its next meeting include considering the tiers of the court system and abolishing the special courts and merging them with ordinary courts. Advocate Minhas referred to the recent remarks of Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and said that special courts — like accountability, anti-terrorism and narcotics courts — should be abolished or placed in the sessions divisions to avoid controversies over their jurisdiction. The committee decided to write a letter to the Ministry of Law and Justice, seeking a report on the work carried out with regard to law reforms in the country within seven days. It asked the ministry to send an officer concerned to brief the Senate committee on the matter at its next meeting. The committee will also write letters to other relevant departments and organisations in this regard, including the Pakistan Bar Council and provincial bar councils, Law and Justice Commission, National Commission for Women Rights, National Commission of Child Abuse and National Commission for Human Rights. Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
Shahbaz moves LHC for bail
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:56:54 +0500
LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday approached the Lahore High Court for grant of bail in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case, 47 days after an accountability court sent him on judicial remand. Under the law, a suspect can seek bail soon after being sent on judicial remand by the trial court. Mr Sharif was sent on judicial remand after the accountability court on Dec 6 last year denied the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) request for further physical remand. The bureau had kept Mr Sharif in custody for 62 days since his arrest on Oct 5, 2018. Former Punjab chief minister Sharif is charged with misuse of authority by unlawfully assuming powers of the board of directors of the Punjab Land Deve­lopment Company (PLDC), and awarding a contract to an ineligible proxy firm that resulted in the failure of the Ashiyana housing scheme. The scam caused a loss to the public exchequer and deprived 61,000 applicants of houses. It is also alleged that Mr Sharif’s directive to entrust the project of a housing scheme to the Lahore Development Authority from the PLDC and intervention into affairs of the company was in violation of the Companies Ordinance, Memorandum and Article of Association and Corpo­rate Governance Rules 2013. NAB alleged that the former chief minister through his unlawful acts and misuse of authority caused a loss of Rs660 million to the exchequer and the overall project cost Rs3.39 billion. However, in his bail petition filed through Advocate Amjad Pervez, Mr Sharif denied all these charges as false and frivolous. The counsel has sought relief of bail on 30 grounds, including one on medical reasons saying that the petitioner — who is more than 67 years old — had left-sided sciatica since 1994 due to which he had to exercise regularly and needed physiotherapy. The advocate said that since the arrest of the petitioner, medical boards had examined Mr Sharif twice and his lab reports were shared with his personal doctor in England, who had advised further clinical examination in London. He said that as per blood test reports, Mr Sharif’s tumour marker Chromogranin-A had been found to be elevated and a CT scan revealed new development of small but significant lesion in the lateral limb of left adrenal and thickening of the pyloric wall of the stomach. The lawyer pleaded that although some of the tests had been carried out, the facility of the most important test namely “DOTA Octreotide Scan” was not available in Pakistan. He argued that Mr Sharif’s case needed to be considered on compassionate and humanitarian grounds as his detention may put his life in jeopardy. On merits of the case, the counsel stated that the implication of the petitioner was prompted by mala fide intention on the part of the prosecution as he was neither nominated nor attributed to any role on the basis of which NAB started proceedings. He said it was a matter of record that the petitioner had submitted written replies to all call-up notices issued by NAB, appeared before the court when required and furnished whatever information was sought. Yet, the lawyer contended, the NAB chairman proceeded to issue his arrest warrants against the settled law that the arrest was not desirable even in the most heinous offences as long as the suspect extended cooperation. Denying the charges against Mr Sharif, the counsel contended that the option of exploring Public-Private Partnership mode was in good faith and had a complete background. He said there was nothing on record to show any dissent or reservation by anyone whosoever in the hierarchy. He said the contract in question was also terminated by the PLDC Board itself on April 17, 2017. He argued that no money from the public exchequer was either paid or was due under the contract, nor any government land was transferred. Mr Pervez added that no funds had been raised and no transaction either monetary or otherwise had taken place. The lawyer explained that as per the contract, the developer was to develop the project land and to construct apartments using his own funds and labour without contribution from the public exchequer. The developer, he said, was entitled to the transfer of land as consideration of the construction of apartments, and since no progress was made in the regard the contract was cancelled. Hence, said Mr Pervez, the question of any monetary loss whatsoever did not arise at all. The counsel pleaded that the prosecution’s case based upon documentary evidence — which was already in its possession — and the investigation to the extent of the petitioner stood completed so Mr Sharif’s further confinement would not serve any purpose. A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan and Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf, will take up the bail petition on Wednesday (today). Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2019 more...
JIT holds CTD officials responsible for family members' killing in Sahiwal 'encounter': minister
Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:32:54 +0500
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to investigate Saturday's police 'encounter' in Sahiwal has held officers of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) responsible for the killings of three "innocent" members of the same family, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat announced on Tuesday. Addressing a press conference after a meeting that was held to review the JIT's preliminary report, Basharat said the government has decided to remove several officers of the CTD upon recommendations of the investigation team. According to the minister, the Additional IG operations Punjab has been immediately removed from his post and ordered to report to the federal government, the AIG CTD Punjab has been removed, the DIG CTD has also been removed and ordered to report to the federal government, the SSP CTD and DSP CTD Sahiwal region have been suspended. Editorial: Citizens should not have to fear being killed Additionally, five CTD officials involved in the 'encounter' have been ordered to be presented before an anti-terrorism court after being challaned in the case. The minister revealed that the JIT head has sought additional time to further investigate and present facts concerning Zeeshan Javaid, the fourth person killed in the CTD operation who the agency alleges has links with a terrorist outfit. "It is our commitment with the nation that we have to fulfil the requisites of justice and leave no stone unturned to provide justice to the affected family," Basharat said at the news conference, adding that the provincial government will treat the incident as a "test case" to ensure justice is done. Although the minister evaded most of the reporters' questions saying an "in-camera briefing" will be held for media representatives on Wednesday to reveal all facts, he maintained that the Sahiwal operation was "100 per cent correct" despite the family members' killing. The JIT probing the incident in which four people were killed had submitted its preliminary report to the Punjab government in the evening today. A high-level meeting headed by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar was held to review the report and receive a briefing from the JIT head. Besides Raja Basharat, Punjab minister Abdul Aleem Khan, the chief secretary and additional chief secretary for home, Punjab Inspector General of Police Amjad Javed Saleemi as well top officials from relevant agencies attended the meeting. Additional Inspector General (AIG) Ijaz Hussain Shah, who headed the JIT, was in attendance as well. In what law enforcers had initially described as an 'encounter' with terrorists, an elite division of the Punjab police had on Saturday killed four people: parents Khalil and Nabeela, their teenage daughter, and their neighbour Zeeshan. The killings sent a shock wave across the country as one of the three surviving children who were witness to the episode denied the official version in a video that went viral on social media. The Punjab government had constituted a JIT under the supervision of AIG Shah to investigate the incident. Chief Minister Buzdar had said the JIT would submit its preliminary report after 72 hours by Tuesday (today). Additional IG Ijaz Hussain Shah speaks to reporters on Tuesday. — Photo by Mian Ramzan Earlier today, while speaking to reporters, AIG Shah said that the report that would be presented today could not be considered a "final report". He said a comprehensive report on a tragedy of this nature could not be completed in two or three days. According to the AIG, six personnel of the CTD have been taken into custody and are being questioned. He added that the JIT team had recorded the statements of five eyewitnesses. The eyewitnesses in their accounts claimed that police had fired the first bullet and the individuals who were killed in the incident had not seemed to cause any trouble. A day prior, the JIT team had also visited the scene of the incident, collected evidence and recorded eyewitness accounts. According to one eyewitness, police started firing from their vehicle as a result of which the children's mother was struck, following which she fell onto the children. The police then removed the children from the car and started firing again, they said. Sahiwal 'encounter' Khalil, a resident of Kot Lakhpat, Lahore, his wife Nabeela, their 13-year-old daughter, and their neighbour, Zeeshan, were on their way to a wedding in Burewala when they were killed in firing on their car near the toll plaza on GT Road in the Qadirabad area. Three children in the car survived. Khalil and Nabeela's minor son sustained a bullet injury while their two other daughters remained unhurt. According to an initial medical examination, Khalil sustained 13 bullet wounds in his chest and head, his wife Nabeela sustained four, Zeeshan was found to have 10 bullet injuries; and Areeba, six bullets, hospital sources told DawnNewsTV. CTD officials initially said those killed in the shooting were terrorists belonging to the proscribed Daesh (ISIS) militant organisation. The CTD spokesperson identified one of them, Zeeshan, as an active member of the banned outfit, explaining that the terrorists used to travel with families to avoid police checking. The CTD Sahiwal team was conducting a joint Intelligence-Based Operation on the basis of information from the CTD and a sensitive agency, the spokesperson said, adding that they had to retaliate when they came under fire from those in the car. As the news flashed on TV screens, scores of relatives of the deceased family took to the streets, blocking traffic on the Lahore-Kasur road to protest the murder. To ascertain facts, the prime minister had ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter. Later that evening, Chief Minister Buzdar directed IG Police Amjad Javed Saleemi to ensure the arrest of all the personnel involved in the killing of the four persons. Amid countrywide outrage, the CTD on Sunday changed its stance, saying it was actually following Zeeshan — the man behind the wheel of the car that was showered with bullets — because he was a facilitator of terrorists, and regretted the killing of Khalil and his wife and daughter. more...
Green passport will one day bring honour to you, PM Khan assures overseas Pakistanis
Tue, 22 Jan 2019 14:49:46 +0500
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday assured overseas Pakistanis that the country's green passport will soon bring them honour around the world. The premier was addressing a gathering of Qatar's Pakistani diaspora at a stadium in Doha on the conclusion of his two-day visit to the wealthy Gulf nation. Pakistan expats await PM Imran Khan's address in Doha. — DawnNewsTV Khan expressed the confidence that Pakistan would earn sufficient money from the tourism sector in the coming days that would eliminate its need to borrow dollars from other countries. "Malaysia makes $20 billion from beach tourism [while] our total trade is worth $24bn," he said, adding that Turkey also makes $40bn from tourism. He reminded the audience that Pakistan has historic sites like Mohenjo Daro as well as some of the oldest cities, including Peshawar, Lahore, and Multan. He said the scenic mountains of the country are considered the best in the world. The holiest sites of the Sikh religion and holy sites of Hinduism and Buddhism are also found in Pakistan, he added. Terming expatriate Pakistanis "heroes", he said the country was standing due to their remittances. "And those who thieve money from the country and send it abroad are the villains of the country. Do you know who are they? I have declared a war against them," he added. "Our rupee is devalued because we don't have enough dollars," the prime minister said, adding that corrupt people stole money from the country, purchased dollars from the ill-gotten money and laundered it abroad. "Let me explain to you the situation [I inherited] in cricketing terms," he told the audience. "Suppose that when I went for batting, we had already four batsmen out against only 20 runs ... as you know I know how to play under pressure [so] our partnership has now started to yield — Miandad and Khan are now standing on the crease." "A time is coming when you will not need to go abroad in search of jobs," the premier promised. He said there was a special blessing of God on Pakistan, where "there is no shortage of anything". Citing the examples of Qatar and several African countries with natural resources, he reminded the expats that a country does not become rich because of money, but because of "good governance". He said certain African countries remain poor despite having minerals and gems because of their governments, but Qatar owes its wealthiness to its capable leadership. He quoted Qatari businessmen as saying that although they were willing to invest in Pakistan, they could not do so because of corruption and a complex system of taxation. Prime Minister Khan said the government has already reduced the number of taxes from 36 to 16. He claimed that his was the first government in the country's history which has been in office for six months "but no scandal of corruption has emerged". PM Khan meets Qatari emir Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Khan met the Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the Diwan-i-Amiri in Doha. Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives at the Diwan-i-Amiri in Doha. ─ Photo courtesy PTI Twitter A red carpet was rolled out to welcome the premier at the Amiri Diwan where a formal ceremony was held in his honour. Khan was presented with a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of the Qatari Amiri Guards, and the national anthems of both countries were played on the occasion. A one-on-one meeting was held between Khan and Sheikh Tamim, Radio Pakistan reported. Both sides discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral ties, and regional and international matters of mutual interest. The two sides also held delegation-level talks. The prime minister had flown to Doha on Monday at the invitation of the Qatari emir. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to the PM Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant Zulfikar Bukhari, Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Haroon Sharif and chairperson of the task force on energy Nadeem Babar. Prime Minister Khan had yesterday discussed bilateral relations with a focus on economic cooperation in a meeting with the Qatari premier and interior minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. LNG contract with Qatar Changing its long-standing position, the government has decided to request Qatar for a reduction in the price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and its supplies on delayed payments under the existing 15-year supply contract. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has been criticising the contracts signed by the previous PML-N government for the import of LNG from Qatar at a price equivalent to 13.39 per cent of the international benchmark crude oil price, and two terminals set up by the private sector for re-gasifying imported LNG. Petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the government would abide by the 15-year agreement with Qatar and another 10-year contract with another supplier that became the basis of the final LNG price with Qatar. Pakistan’s LNG import bill roughly comes to about $4bn per annum. It has been learnt that the government is working on comprehensive energy policy to meet energy requirements with the cooperation of countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar with huge gas reserves. more...
South Africa beat Pakistan by five wickets to level ODI series
Tue, 22 Jan 2019 17:37:28 +0500
Hendrick 'Rassie' van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo guided South Africa to a series-levelling win in a roller-coaster second one-day international against Pakistan at Kingsmead on Tuesday. The pair came together when South Africa were 80 for five in reply to Pakistan's 203. They put on an unbeaten 127 as South Africa won by five wickets with eight overs to spare. Van der Dussen, 29, playing in his second one-day international, made an unbeaten 80 after scoring 93 on debut in South Africa's five-wicket defeat in the first match in Port Elizabeth. “What you look for in new players is composure and calmness at the crease. We're looking for big-match players. He's smashing that door down for a permanent position in our strongest XI,” said South African captain Faf du Plessis. Phehlukwayo was named man-of-the-match after two career-best performances. He took four for 22 in Pakistan's innings and then scored 69 not out to share Du Plessis's praise for what he said was an outstanding partnership. The match went through several phases. An early finish seemed likely when Pakistan crashed to 112 for eight after being sent in to bat. But Hasan Ali, batting at number ten, hit a career-best 59 off 45 balls and helped captain Sarfraz Ahmed (41) put on 90 for the ninth wicket to enable Pakistan to reach 203. Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi took wickets in each of his first three overs to reduce South Africa to 29 for three. Van der Dussen and David Miller (31) put on 51 for the fourth wicket but leg-spinner Shadab Khan struck with his second and third deliveries to swing the odds back towards Pakistan. Phehlukwayo seemed unable to read Shadab's deliveries and a key moment came with his score on seven when he was given out leg before wicket to Shadab. He asked for a review which showed the ball was spinning past his leg stump. “There were too many soft wickets,” Sarfraz said of Pakistan's top-order batting. “Hasan Ali batted very well. We had a chance at 80 for five. We needed one more wicket.” South Africa dominated the early exchanges. Four batsmen succumbed to short-pitched bowling from South Africa's seam bowlers, while three fell to left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. Kagiso Rabada started Pakistan's slide when he dismissed Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, both caught off mistimed pull shots against short deliveries on a pitch which was slow but with steep bounce when the ball was new. Fakhar Zaman and Shoaib Malik also fell to short balls. Teams South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson, Duanne Olivier, Tabraiz Shamsi Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain, wkt), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi more...
PIA flight from Peshawar to Jeddah lands in Karachi after bird strike
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 00:54:01 +0500
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight en route to Jeddah from Peshawar on Tuesday was forced to change course and land in Karachi instead when a bird hit the nose of the aircraft. The nose of the aircraft, which was a Boeing 777 carrying around 300 passengers, was damaged as a result of the bird crashing into it. The pilot was advised to land the plane at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport. PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar said flight PK-735 had taken off at 5pm from Peshawar. Only a few kilometres into its journey, a bird crashed into the aircraft's nose. In-Depth: PIA's turbulent flight into the sunset "We made a decision to land the plane in Karachi at around 7pm and inspect the aircraft for damages. There was a possibility that a part would need replacement and once in Jeddah, there would have been a considerable delay in having the part flown in from Pakistan," the spokesperson explained. Tajwar said the airline's engineers did the necessary repairs at the airport in Karachi and after clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority, the plane departed for Jeddah again at 9pm. more...
China commends Pakistan's role for Afghan peace, says envoy
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 01:30:31 +0500
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing on Tuesday said his country lauds the role being played by Pakistan to bring peace to its war-torn neighbour, Afghanistan. Addressing a seminar at the University of Peshawar's Area Study Centre, the envoy said China was in favour of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and that there were friendly relations between the two countries. It is only due to security concerns that China has been unable to operate much in Afghanistan, he added. The ambassador assured the attendees that the under-developed areas of Pakistan remained the top priority for CPEC. — Photo by author Yao acknowledged that the people of Afghanistan had endured a 40-year-long conflict and that it is their right to live in peace. He praised Pakistan's efforts towards achieving a negotiated end to the Afghan war but added that "the people of Afghanistan will have to decide their own future." He stressed that Beijing will "support any initiative for and all stakeholders in the Afghan peace process". 'Western propaganda' Discussed the progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with students, the ambassador said 22 projects were currently underway in Pakistan as part of the mega project. "Unfortunately Western media has been transmitting propaganda against CPEC," Yao said. He said some people were of the view that the project was a "model to control Pakistan" and asserted that China's foreign policy did not consist of such plans. "At least the people of Pakistan will have to understand China," Ambassador Yao was quoted as saying. Take a look: CPEC and the ‘Great Game’ He said China taking over the administrative control of the Gwadar port was a request that first came from the Pakistan side. The envoy assured the attendees that the under-developed areas of Pakistan remained the top priority for CPEC and that it is China's desire to see Pakistan emerge as an economically strong country. He also informed the participants that a special emphasis was being laid on joint ventures between the two countries in Pakistan. more...

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