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The Times of India
Cong could not deliver on job creation, neither can Modi: Rahul
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:34:04 GMT
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday admitted that the UPA government had been "unable" to deliver on the 30,000 jobs it promised to create, but was quick to point out that it is a goal the BJP-led NDA will also fail to meet at the current rate. more...
Mumbai: IMD removes heavy rainfall alert
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:50:20 GMT
Modi's visit to Israel 'historic': Netanyahu at UN
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:19:31 GMT
In July, Netanyahu said, Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. "You may have seen the pictures. We were on a beach in Podera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalinisation device," Netanyahu said during his address to the United Nations General Assembly. more...
Strong quake near Mexico City kills at least 226
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:15:17 GMT
At least 226 people were killed by a powerful earthquake that struck central Mexico on Tuesday, the nation's civil protection agency said. The earthquake struck on the 32nd anniversary of a temblor that killed thousands in the capital. more...
In jail, Ram Rahim wishes to speak to Honeypreet
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 02:19:00 GMT
ONGC strikes 'good' offshore oil, gas find: Sources
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:03:20 GMT
The latest discovery of India's largest oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp to the west of its Mumbai High offshore fields is estimated to hold in-place reserves of about 20 million tonnes, sources with knowledge of the matter said. more...
Did netas help Dawood's brother extort Rs 100cr?
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:06:07 GMT
Iqbal Kaskar, who was arrested on Monday for issuing extortion threats to a builder is believed to have collected around Rs 100 crore from developers and jewellers in the Thane region in the last three years, a police officer said. more...
Man stalks woman from Mumbai to Delhi
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:58:07 GMT
Flipkart & Amazon Diwali sales: The best deals
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:22:34 GMT
Youths go under knife for Kate Middleton's dimples
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:55:16 GMT
These iPhones and iPads are set to change today
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:06:06 GMT
SBI Life IPO opens today: All details here
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:46:32 GMT
The IPO which opens today will close on September 22. The equity shares are proposed to get listed on both NSE and BSE. The price band has been fixed at Rs 685-700 per equity share for a total of 12 crore shares which are on sale by the promoters of face value of Rs 10 each. more...
Centre for double-decker buses on inter-state routes
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:55:11 GMT
The Centre has drawn up a plan to introduce double-decker luxury buses on long distance inter-city routes. The 75 such routes include Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Jaipur, Lucknow-Gorakhpur, Vadodara-Mumbai, Srinagar-Jalandhar, Kozhikode-Kochi, Bengaluru-Mangalore and Vishakhapatnam-Bhubaneswar. more...
Canal in Bihar collapses day before inauguration
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:11:43 GMT
Women in male-dominated professions
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:10:39 GMT
IT firms look to benefit from fresh H-1B process
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:14:07 GMT
Companies use premium processing to expedite the processing of H-1B petitions paying $1,225, in addition to the regular filing fee of over $4,000. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guarantees processing these petitions within 15 calendar days. more...
5 killed as rains cause landslides in Sikkim
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:47:41 GMT
Five persons were today killed as landslides casued due to incessant rains occurred in different parts of Sikkim. more...
Buffett calls pessimists about US 'out of their mind'
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:45:13 GMT
"Whenever I hear people talk pessimistically about this country, I think they're out of their mind," Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said on Tuesday night. Buffett said he expects the Dow Jones Industrial Average to be "over 1 million" in 100 yrs, up from Tuesday's close of 22,370.80. more...
The Dawn News - Home
Pakistan, US agree to remain engaged as Abbasi meets vice president Mike Pence
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:05:21 +0500
Pakistan asks OIC to become voice of Rohingya's plight Pakistan, Iran for deepening bilateral cooperation Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, with the two sides resolving to remain engaged and carry forward the relationship that has been on a downward trajectory since announcement of the US policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.Abbasi’s meeting with VP Pence is the highest contact between the two sides since the policy was announced on Aug 21. Pakistan had after the policy announcement postponed the then planned bilateral interactions.The meeting on the sidelines of the 72nd UNGA session in New York was held in a cordial atmosphere, a handout issued by the Foreign Office said. "Prime Minister [Abbasi] shared Pakistan’s concerns and views with regard to the US strategy for South Asia," it said. Also read: 'No point in PM Abbasi meeting US VP Pence at UNGA,' says Senate chairmanAbbasi and Pence agreed to work together to carry forward the bilateral relationship and discussed matters relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. "It was agreed that the two countries would stay engaged with a constructive approach to achieve shared objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region," the FO statement said. “It was a good meeting,” Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua told reporters after the 45-minute meeting that US had requested. Responding to questions, she termed the progress made at the meeting as an “ice-breaker”. She said a US delegation will visit Pakistan next month to continue the process of bilateral dialogue, according to a Radio Pakistan report.Fractious Pakistan-US relations got further strained last month when President Trump unveiled his administration’s policy on Afghanistan and South Asia. The policy lays special emphasis on kinetic operations to subdue Taliban militancy in Afghanistan, envisions greater role for India in Afghanistan and the overall regional security, and has been particularly hawkish on Pakistan accusing it of being an insincere partner in the fight against terrorism.The new policy, which was seen here as humiliating, disrespectful to Pakistani sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, and indifferent to Islamabad’s security concerns, prompted a re-assessment of ties at the highest level.Editorial: Pak-US-Afghan cooperation is keyThe process is yet to complete, but indications from different levels of government point towards an existing consensus that there is no other option, but to stay engaged with US.Pakistan asks OIC to become voice of Rohingya's plight Pakistan expressed “deep concern” over the ongoing Rohingya crisis on Tuesday, urging the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to play a leading role and become a “voice of conscience” for the Rohingya. PM Abbasi delivers statement at the OIC Contact Group meeting.— PM Office Addressing the OIC Contact Group meeting at the UN headquarters, PM Abbasi assured the OIC that it would have Pakistan's “firm and abiding support to this virtuous cause”.“Pakistan reiterates its commitment to take full part in any humanitarian effort by the OIC or UN to help the Rohingya Muslims,” the prime minister said.Abbasi said over 400,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes and seek protection and shelter in neighbouring countries, demanding an end to this “systematic and endemic discrimination”.He said the international community must exert its utmost pressure on the Government of Myanmar to stop the carnage of the Rohingyas. Pakistan also demanded of the Government of Myanmar to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, and ensure safety and security of the Muslim Rohingya population.The prime minister said Myanmar must create favourable conditions for the safe return of all Rohingya refugees and grant legitimate rights including citizenship, communal participation and representation and freedom of movement, to the Rohingya, as equal citizens of Myanmar.Pakistan, Iran for deepening bilateral cooperation Also on Tuesday, Pakistan stressed maintaining a positive trajectory in bilateral relations for promoting trade and economic cooperation with Iran. PM Abbasi meets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.— PM Office Prime Minister Abbasi in a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UNGA session also discussed strengthening of relations between the two countries, besides focusing on the issue of regional peace and security.President Rouhani, reaffirming Iran's commitment to strengthen ties with Pakistan, emphasised that the two countries should work together closely in deepening cooperation in areas of border management, trade, and investment.Abbasi thanked the president for Iran's support to the legitimate struggle of people of India-held Kashmir for their right to self-determination.The two leaders agreed that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and a politically negotiated settlement is vital for achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan.Underscoring that Afghanistan's neighbouring countries were seriously affected by the growing instability in Afghanistan, they emphasised the need for adopting a regional approach for bringing an end to the prolonged Afghan conflict. more...
Afghan president at UN urges dialogue with Pakistan to curb extremism
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:24:03 +0500
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appealed Tuesday to Pakistan to work together to curb extremists, seeing an opportunity as the US sends in more troops.Addressing the UN General Assembly, Ghani said US President Donald Trump's new Afghan strategy sent a signal to Taliban guerrillas that they cannot win on the field and must negotiate peace.“We welcome this strategy, which has now set us on a pathway to certainty. The Afghan people have looked to the United States for this type of resolve for years,” Ghani said.Editorial: Pak-US-Afghan cooperation is keyTrump last month announced an Afghanistan strategy that reversed his previous calls to wind down America's longest war, which was launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He instead has sent thousands more troops to Afghanistan and pledged a tougher line on Pakistan for its alleged support to militants. “We now also have an opportunity for a dialogue with our neighbours on how we can work together earnestly to eliminate terrorism and contain extremism,” Ghani said.“I call upon Pakistan to engage with us on a comprehensive state to state dialogue on peace, security and regional cooperation leading to prosperity,” he said.Fractious Pakistan-US relations got further strained last month when President Trump unveiled his administration’s policy on Afghanistan and South Asia. The policy lays special emphasis on kinetic operations to subdue Taliban militancy in Afghanistan, envisions greater role for India in Afghanistan and the overall regional security, and has been particularly hawkish on Pakistan accusing it of being an insincere partner in the fight against terrorism.The new policy, which was seen here as humiliating, disrespectful to Pakistani sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, and indifferent to Islamabad’s security concerns, prompted a re-assessment of ties at the highest level.The process is yet to complete, but indications from different levels of government point towards an existing consensus that there is no other option, but to stay engaged with US.Despite challenges in their relationship, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US have launched a new trilateral mechanism to counter Daesh threat. A meeting of the trilateral process was hosted by Afghanistan last week where the three pledged to continue the fight against the common threat of terrorism. more...
NAB issues bailable warrants for Ishaq Dar's arrest
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:47:29 +0500
An accountability court on Wednesday issued a bailable arrest warrant against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, after he failed to comply with a summon issued earlier by the same court.The reference filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the directives of the apex court against Ishaq Dar is related to possession of assets beyond his known sources of income. During the hearing, Dar's protocol officer Fazal Dad appeared on behalf of the minister and told the court that Dar was unable to appear as he was out of the country due to his personal engagements. The protocol officer, however, was unaware of the date of Dar's return.On this, NAB Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar appealed the court to issue arrest warrants of the accused. Subsequently, the judge of the accountability court Mohammad Bashir issued a bailable arrest warrant for Dar, directing the authorities to arrest and produce the minister on September 25. The minister will have to submit a surety bond worth Rs1 million to secure his bail. The court also warned that non-bailable arrest warrants will be issued on Sep 25, if Dar fails to appear before the court. The Supreme Court (SC), in its Panama Papers case verdict, had ordered the NAB to investigate those named in a report filed by the Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) who was probing the Panamagate. The JIT had pointed out an exorbitant increase in Dar's assets from 2008 to 2009. NAB authorities summoned Dar but he failed to appear, arguing that NAB could not summon him following his petition against the Panama case verdict, since the decision under which the bureau was investigating was under review.The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has reportedly submitted Dar's tax return data from the last 20 years to NAB. The SECP has also handed over the records of seven companies owned by Dar and his family members to the anti-corruption watchdog. more...
Bank Alfalah declared best bank for 2017
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:00:52 +0500
KARACHI: Bank Alfalah Chief Risk Officer Suhail Yaqoob Khan receiving the Best Bank Award for 2017 from State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa (extreme left). Institute of Bankers chief Husain Lawai is standing next to Mr Khan. KARACHI: Bank Alfalah received the Best Bank Award for 2017 for demonstrating “the most significant contribution to national development and the most effective management of its resources, including its employees, clients, franchise community and financials”. It received the honour at the second Pakistan Banking Awards, which were jointly organised by the Institute of Bankers, A.F. Ferguson and Company and Dawn Media Group on Tuesday. United Bank received the same award last year. However, Bank Alfalah was also declared the Best Bank for Customer Franchise. It received the award for extending and expanding its Islamic franchise and raising public awareness. Six banks given awards in eight different categories in second Pakistan Banking Awards Telenor Microfinance Bank was declared the Best Bank for the Unbanked for paying attention to financial inclusion by expanding its outreach through rural and low-income urban penetration and diversification among all segments of account holders. It also received the Best Microfinance Bank Award for its performance in terms of penetration, outreach efficiency and access to low-income communities across Pakistan. Habib Bank was declared the Best Bank for Small Business and Agriculture for its performance, diversification and quality of SME and agriculture lending nationwide. United Bank was declared the Best Bank for Corporate Finance and Capital Market Development. It excelled in promoting capital market development, deepening secondary markets and providing advisory services to optimise the efficient use of industrial and commercial assets. Meezan Bank was declared the Best Islamic Bank for expanding its Islamic banking franchise and raising public awareness. JS Bank received the Best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Bank Award for its conduct of responsible business. A number of bankers, including State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa, participated in the ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bajwa said the banking sector plays a vital role in economic development. He added that the awards will encourage banks to improve their performance. The jury for the awards consisted of former State Bank governor Salim Raza, senior bankers Azhar Hameed, Shahzad Naqvi, Feroze Rizvi and Zeelaf Munir.Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017 more...
PML-N leaders’ row reveals internal split
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:00:40 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The prime minister’s endorsement of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s contention that Pak­istan needs to “put its house in order” has exposed cracks in the ranks of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and provided an opportunity to opposition parties to criticise the government’s foreign and security policies.In his latest assault on his own party’s government, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday advised Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi not to embarrass the country at the international level.On the other hand, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) expressed serious concerns over the statements coming from cabinet members and called for a full-fledged debate in parliament on this “serious national security issue”.Also read: Interior minister rejects Nisar’s claim about security threatIn a recent TV interview, the foreign minister had stressed the need to “put our own house in order” and keep tabs on banned organisations, such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, admitting that the groups were operating from within Pakistan. Nisar continues to contradict PM, ministers’ stance; opposition seeks explanation of foreign minister’s remarks Even Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal endorsed the foreign minister’s viewpoint, vowing to take strict action against banned outfits that resurfaced under new names.In a statement issued through his spokesperson, PML-N stalwart and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar had disputed both ministers’ statements, saying that comments on sensitive and important issues must be based on facts, and not assumptions.He had earlier said it was strange that at a time when the army chief was asserting that Pakistan had rendered enormous sacrifices that the world must acknowledge, the two ministers were parroting the position that Pakistan should “do more”.He said that both men had been ministers for the past four years, but had never expressed these views in meetings of the cabinet or the National Security Committee.Responding to the prime minister’s statement, where he agreed with Khawaja Asif on the need to “clean house”, Chaudhry Nisar told a group of reporters on Tuesday that while it was necessary to put “our house in order”, the prime minister should avoid “embarrassing Pakistan internationally”.Chaudhry Nisar’s latest comments came a day after the media reported that Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa — during an interaction with parliamentarians — had underscored that putting “our house in order” was a pre-requisite for gaining respect among the comity of nations.Perhaps in the wake of the army chief’s remarks, the former minister also softened his tone, saying that there was a need to take practical measures instead of making mere claims.He alleged that such statements from government officials were equivalent to supporting the narrative of the country’s enemies. He was of the view that such remarks could weaken Pakistan’s stance at the international level, adding that despite the presence of foreign troops there, terrorists had established safe havens in Afghanistan.Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said that PM Abbasi had, in fact, seconded US President Donald Trump, who had already warned Pakistan over its alleged failure to take action against terrorist groups operating from inside the country.Talking to reporters at the National Press Club, Mr Shah said that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal had been the part of the federal cabinet of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the last four years, and should also tell the nation who was responsible for the present state of affairs in the country.Mr Shah argued that while whatever was being said was true, “speaking this truth will damage the country”.If the government was to be believed, the former interior minister was the one responsible for the present state of affairs, he said, adding that Chaudhry Nisar had denied this allegation.“This shows the contradictions within the government,” Mr Shah said, terming it a result of the failure of the ruling party’s foreign policy.Also on Tuesday, the PTI wrote to National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, asking him to summon the prime minister, the interior and foreign ministers to seek an explanation for their remarks.The letter, written by PTI MNA Murad Saeed, asks the speaker to call a special session for this purpose.In his letter, Mr Saeed regretted that while the army chief had asked the world to “do more” in his Defence Day speech, government ministers were putting the same demand to Pakistan. He said that the prime minister should be asked to explain why there was a contradiction in the statements of civil and military leaders.Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017 more...
Bangladesh PM says Myanmar must take back Rohingya
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:50:27 +0500
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued a new call for Myanmar to take back some 420,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in the Buddhist-dominated country.Hasina, speaking to Bangladeshi activists in New York where she is attending the United Nations General Assembly, also called for greater international pressure on Myanmar over the new crisis which has unfolded in the past three weeks, media reports said.“We have told Myanmar, they are your citizens, you must take them back, keep them safe, give them shelter, there should not be any oppression and torture,” she told a meeting late Tuesday in New York.The Bangladeshi prime minister said Dhaka was making diplomatic efforts to persuade Myanmar to take back the refugees.“But the Myanmar government is not responding to the calls. Rather, Myanmar is laying landmines along the border to stop the return of Rohingyas to their homeland,” she said.Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in a speech hours earlier that the country would take back verified refugees. Myanmar considers the Rohingya illegal migrants from Bangladesh and refuses them citizenship, even though many have lived there for decades.At a meeting of Islamic nations on the sidelines of the UN assembly, Hasina said Yangon was spearheading a state-sponsored propaganda campaign to call the Rohingya 'Bengalis', adding that they must be given Myanmar citizenship.Hasina sought “urgent humanitarian assistance” from Muslim nations to cope with the influx of Rohingya who have fled what she called “ethnic cleansing”, the state BSS news agency reported. “It is an unbearable human catastrophe. I have visited them and listened to the stories of their grave sufferings, particularly of women and children,” she said. “I would like you all to come to Bangladesh and hear from them about the atrocities in Myanmar,” she added.The majority of of the refugees are women and children. While Bangladesh has earned international praise for opening its doors to the Rohingyas, aid agencies have warning of a growing humanitarian crisis as authorities struggle to provide even basic facilities for the new arrivals.The 420,000 now in makeshift shelters around the border town of Cox's Bazar have added to about 300,000 Rohingya who moved into camps in the region following earlier waves of violence in Myanmar.Earlier in the day, Aung San Suu Kyi said in her much-anticipated address that she does not fear global scrutiny over the Rohingya crisis, pledging to hold rights violators to account and to resettle some of the 410,000 Muslims who have fled army operations in her country. She offered no concrete solutions to stop what the UN calls "ethnic cleansing". Amnesty International said that the Nobel peace prizewinner was "burying her head in the sand" by ignoring army abuses. In a 30-minute televised speech, she said that Myanmar stood ready "at any time" to repatriate refugees in accordance with a "verification" process agreed with Bangladesh in the early 1990s. Those "verified as refugees" will be "accepted without any problems and with full assurance of their security and access to humanitarian aid", Suu Kyi said.It was not immediately clear how many Rohingya would qualify to return. Myanmar's government previously said it will not take back people linked with "terrorists" and suggested that many of those who fled had set fire to their own villages before leaving.Suu Kyi insisted that army "clearance operations" finished on September 5 without any further militant attacks. But AFP reporters have seen homes on fire in the days following September 5, while testimony from refugees arriving in Bangladesh suggests army operations have continued."If nothing has happened since September 5th, and all the Rohingya have left, who burned them?" Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch told AFP.Rights monitors and Rohingya refugees allege the army — often flanked by ethnic Rakhine mobs — systematically torched their villages. Around 170 Rohingya villages have been razed to the ground, the government says, nearly 40 per cent of the total in Rakhine.Suu Kyi said the "majority of Muslims in the Rakhine state have not joined the exodus... more than 50pc of the villages of Muslims are intact". more...
Interior minister rejects Nisar’s claim about security threat
Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:00:46 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday agreed that the country was faced with enormous security threats and challenges, but insisted that the civil and military leaderships were fully aware of the situation. Responding to a point of public importance raised by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan last week about the claim made by his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Mr Iqbal told the upper house of parliament that not only the prime minister and the army chief but all members of the cabinet committee on national security were aware of security threats. He said the committee met on a regular basis to review matters relating to national security. Chaudhry Nisar had claimed that only four individuals — two armed forces personnel and two civilians including him and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — were aware of the serious threat. Mr Iqbal, however, said there was no such forum where only four individuals were informed about a national security threat, adding that the cabinet committee on national security was the appropriate forum. He said many forces had issues with Pakistan’s nuclear capability and stability while some saw revival of the country’s economic potency as a threat to them. He referred to the statements emanating from New Delhi against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including the ones from the foreign minister and the army chief. But he said there was no challenge which could not be overcome with national unity. “We will not need any external foes if there is anarchy in the country,” he warned. He said the tool of disinformation was being used in the cyber age to create anarchy in the country and division among institutions and society. He called for prudently tackling the situation. The minister also touched upon the US president’s recent remarks in which he tried to blame Pakistan for US failure in Afghanistan. He said the government and state institutions were fully aware of all challenges and were taking appropriate steps accordingly. Earlier, Aitzaz Ahsan said Chaudhry Nisar had identified the civilians who were aware of the threat, but not mentioned the armed forces personnel. He said Mr Nisar was apparently referring to the former army and ISI chiefs because both had been changed after the disclosure was first made. “That means none among the present civil and military leadership is aware of the threat he was referring to.” Mr Ahsan proposed that the matter be discussed in detail at a meeting of the Senate committee of the whole where Chaudhry Nisar could be invited to give an in-camera briefing. Responding to another point raised by Senator Usman Kakar, Mr Iqbal said some organised gangs in Afghanistan wanted to carry out terrorist activities in Balochistan. Mr Kakar had raised the issue of closure of 300 coal mines in Harnai district by the FC Balochistan on the pretext of security clearance after a bomb blast on Aug 13 left six FC personnel dead. The interior minister said such steps were taken on the basis of intelligence information and were temporary in nature, adding that the steps were necessary to avert any threat of loss of precious human lives in subversive activities. Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, while referring to the issue of Baloch separatists placing posters in Geneva, said that while Pakistan was accused by the West of harbouring terrorists, Switzerland was encouraging separatists and terrorists from its soil. “We should not take this issue lightly,” he said and asked Law Minister Zahid Hamid to convey to the foreign minister that he should come to the house on Wednesday (today) for an official statement on the issue. Mr Rabbani also referred to the media reports which said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would be visiting the United States to address the United Nations General Assembly. However, he will not be meeting President Donald Trump, but the US vice president, on the sidelines of the assembly. The Senate chairman termed it downgrading of Pakistan and a ridiculing step against a country which had played an important role in the war on terror in the region. He pointed out that the US supplies passed through air and land routes of Pakistan. “My advice is that he [PM Abbasi] should not meet the US vice president. If Trump has no time for Pakistan, Pakistan should not have time for Trump,” he remarked.Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017 more...
PPP MPA booked for alleged assault of Karachi corps commander's protocol
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:28:22 +0500
Karachi police on Tuesday registered a case against PPP MPA Tariq Masood Arain and more than 12 armed guards over charges of attempted murder as the lawmaker's guards allegedly assaulted a security squad protecting the family of Corps Commander Karachi Lt-Gen Shahid Baig Mirza.A first information report (FIR), registered on complaint of army Havaldaar Fahimullah Jan with Darakhshan Police, claimed the complainant and his colleagues were on duty when four men in a car tried to obstruct the VIP protocol of the corps commander's family, upon which they were instructed to stop and check the vehicle.The obstructing vehicle was intercepted near Saba Avenue, and the four men inside were asked to produce their CNICs, which they failed to produce, the FIR claimed. Meanwhile, two boys later identified as Moon and Asad made telephonic contact with a person named Tariq, who immediately sent two vehicles with 15 to 18 armed men carrying sub-machine guns (SMGs), the complainant alleged.One person, later identified as Manzoor, who arrived with the gunmen in a Land Cruiser threatened and beat up members of the VIP security squad. Their accomplice, later identified as Jehangir, and others assaulted sepoys Arif, Ali Jan and the complainant, according to the FIR.Moon and Asad also beat them up and snatched two official SMGs and two magazines, the complainant alleged, adding that he and two other members of the security squad were injured and treated at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Complex where a medico-legal examination was carried out.The complainant claimed they were beaten at the behest of Tariq Masood Arain, an elected MPA from Shaheed Benazirabad currently serving his third term as a member of the provincial assembly. more...
At UNGA, Trump threatens 'total destruction' of North Korea
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:13:58 +0500
United States (US) President Donald Trump, in a combative debut speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), threatened the “total destruction'” of North Korea if it does not abandon its drive toward nuclear weapons. Trump, who has ramped up his rhetoric throughout the escalating crisis with North Korea, told the murmuring crowd at the UN on Tuesday that “it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront” Kim Jong Un and said that Kim's “reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons” poses a threat to “the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life. “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” Trump said about the North Korean leader.He said of the US: “If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Elected on the nationalist slogan “America First,” Trump argued that individual nations should act in their own self-interest, yet rally together when faced with a common threat. Using bellicose language rare for an US president at the rostrum of the UN, Trump touched upon hot spots around the globe, declaring “The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes.” He urged nations to join together to stop Iran's nuclear programme he declared the deal to restrain it an “embarrassment” for the USand defeat “loser terrorists” who have struck violence across the globe. He denounced “radical Islamic terrorism,” the inflammatory label he has recently shied away from. He warned that some violence-plagued portions of the world “are going to hell.” And he made little mention of Russia. North Korea drew most of Trump's attention and anger. Trump, who has previously warned of “fire and fury” if Pyongyang does not back down, claimed that “no one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea.” And he scolded nations that it was “an outrage” to enable and trade with North Korea, seeming to slight China, though he did not mention it by name. Addressing the UNGA is a milestone moment for any president, but one particularly significant for Trump, a relative newcomer to foreign policy who has at times rattled the international community with his unpredictability. He has pulled the US out of multinational agreements, considered shrinking the US military footprint in the world and deployed bombastic language on North Korea that has been criticised by other world leaders.Trump frequently belittled the UN as a candidate and some within his White House believe the UN acts as a global bureaucracy that infringes on the sovereignty of individual countries. He urged the world leaders to embrace their own “national sovereignty to do more to ensure the prosperity and security of their own countries. But the president stood before world leaders and a global audience and declared that UN members, acting as a collection of self-interested nations, should unite to confront global dangers. “I will always put America first. Just like you, the leaders of your countries, should always put your countries first,” said Trump, who assured the UN that the US would not abdicate its leadership position in the world but needed other countries to contribute more. “The US will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies,” the Republican president said. “But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal in which the United States gets nothing in return.” World leaders, many of whom will be seeing Trump in person for the first time, were certain to take the measure of the man and parse his every word for clues on how he views the US role in the world and within the UN. Trump's remarks produced surprised chatter in the crowd and the North Korean delegation, assigned by a lottery to a seat near the front, departed as the president began speaking. Trump also called the UN-backed Iran nuclear deal “an embarrassment” to the US and suggested it was “one of the worst” international pacts ever struck. And he hinted that his administration, which has accused Tehran of aiding terrorism in the Middle East, could soon declare Iran out of compliance with the deal, which could unravel it. “I don't think you've heard the end of it,” Trump said. “Believe me.” He vowed again to take the fight to terrorists but warned that parts of the region were so plagued by violence and poverty, they were “going to hell.” He also decried the “disastrous rule” of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and urged the UN to step in. “It is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch,” Trump said. “To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and of great peril,” he said. “It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.” Outside of an oblique reference to a threat to Ukraine's sovereignty, Trump made no mention of Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin. He again chastised the UN for what he said was its bloated budget and bureaucracy but did not threaten Washington's commitment to the world body. He pledged the US would be “partners in your work” to make the organisation a more effective force for world peace. While running for office, Trump had labeled the UN weak and incompetent. He has suggested it was “not a friend” to the United States or democracy while deriding it as “a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” He spoke often during the presidential campaign about putting “America first,” and has withdrawn from some multilateral agreements that he found unfavourable to the US, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He also announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which would leave the US one of the few countries outside the pact.Aides have since suggested Trump would be willing to renegotiate terms of the deal but European leaders have dismissed that approach. The administration has shied away from talk of nation-building or creating democracies through the use of the US military. “We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions or same systems of government,” Trump said at the UN. He added that he does expect all nations to “respect the interest of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.” more...
Suu Kyi breaks silence over Rohingya crisis, says 'does not fear global scrutiny'
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:12:08 +0500
No more violence? Siege mentality In her much-anticipated address, Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday that she does not fear global scrutiny over the Rohingya crisis, pledging to hold rights violators to account and to resettle some of the 410,000 Muslims who have fled army operations in her country.The de facto leader of Myanmar, however, offered no concrete solutions to stop what the UN calls "ethnic cleansing". Amnesty International said that the Nobel peace prizewinner was "burying her head in the sand" by ignoring army abuses. Her speech was warmly welcomed in Myanmar.Communal violence has torn through Rakhine state since Rohingya militants staged deadly attacks on police posts on August 25. Hundreds have been killed and hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya driven out of mainly Buddhist Myanmar into Bangladesh.Suu Kyi has been strongly criticised by the international community for failing to speak up publicly for the stateless Rohingya or to urge restraint on the military.In a 30-minute televised speech on Tuesday, she reached out to her critics, deploying the soaring rhetoric that once made her a darling of the global rights community.In an address timed to pre-empt likely censure at the UN General Assembly in New York, she said that Myanmar stood ready "at any time" to repatriate refugees in accordance with a "verification" process agreed with Bangladesh in the early 1990s.In less than a month, just under half of Rakhine's one-million-strong Rohingya minority has poured into Bangladesh, where they now languish in one of the world's largest refugee camps.Those "verified as refugees" will be "accepted without any problems and with full assurance of their security and access to humanitarian aid", Suu Kyi said.It was not immediately clear how many Rohingya would qualify to return.But the subject of their claims to live in Myanmar is at the heart of a toxic debate about the Muslim group, who are denied citizenship by the state and considered to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.Myanmar's government has previously said it will not take back people linked with "terrorists" and suggested that many of those who fled had set fire to their own villages before leaving.Suu Kyi's pledge to repatriate the refugees "is new and significant", said Richard Horsey, an independent analyst based in Myanmar, explaining it would in principle allow for the return of those who can prove residence in Myanmar -- rather than citizenship."However, there continues to be a live crisis in the north of Rakhine," he said.A siege mentality has emerged in Myanmar with the UN, international NGOs and foreign media the focus of anger for apparent pro-Rohingya bias.Many Facebook users changed their profile picture on Tuesday to carry a banner with a photo of 'The Lady' and a message reading, "We stand with you Daw Aung San Suu Kyi" — using an honorific.No more violence? In an address delivered entirely in English, Suu Kyi insisted that army "clearance operations" finished on September 5 without any further militant attacks.But AFP reporters have seen homes on fire in the days following September 5, while testimony from refugees arriving in Bangladesh suggests army operations have continued.Fresh satellite date published by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday purportedly shows 214 Rohingya villages in ashes."If nothing has happened since September 5th, and all the Rohingya have left, who burned them?" Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch told AFP.Inside Myanmar, supporters say that the 72-year-old leader lacks the power to rein in the army, with which she is in a delicate power-sharing arrangement.Deftly avoiding blaming different ethnic groups or the army for violence, Suu Kyi promised to punish anyone found guilty of abuses "regardless of their religion, race or political position".Rights monitors and Rohingya refugees allege the army — often flanked by ethnic Rakhine mobs — systematically torched their villages, while the UN has accused Myanmar's military of "ethnic cleansing".The army denies that, insisting its operations are a proportionate response to the raids by Rohingya militants, whom they label "extremist Bengali terrorists".Amnesty International, which once tirelessly campaigned for Suu Kyi's release from house arrest, pilloried her speech saying 'The Lady' and her government are "burying their heads in the sand" about the horrors unfolding in Rakhine.Around 170 Rohingya villages have been razed to the ground, the government says, nearly 40 percent of the total in Rakhine.Suu Kyi said the "majority of Muslims in the Rakhine state have not joined the exodus [...] more than 50 percent of the villages of Muslims are intact".Rakhine has been in lockdown, with independent access impossible, something Suu Kyi suggested will change since Myanmar does not fear "international scrutiny."Siege mentality While stories of weary and hungry Rohingya civilians streaming into Bangladesh have dominated global headlines, there is little sympathy for them among Myanmar's Buddhist majority.Around 30,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also been displaced -- apparent targets of the August 25 attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).Many in Myanmar reject the existence of a Rohingya ethnicity and insist they are "Bengalis" — illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.Loathing for the Rohingya has brought the public, including prominent pro-democracy activists, into an unlikely alignment with an army that once had them under its heel. more...
3 security officials injured in Kurram Agency landmine blast
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:25:45 +0500
'Militants killed in Balochistan' Three security officials were injured when a vehicle belonging to security forces hit a landmine in Kurram Agency on Tuesday, sources in the political administration said.The injured were shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Kohat as forces launched a search operation in the area. 'Militants killed in Balochistan' Two suspected militant commanders belonging to a banned outfit were killed by security forces in Balochistan's Dera Bugti district during an operation today, security sources said.Two militant camps were destroyed in the area, and forces also recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition from the demolished camps, the sources said, claiming that the suspected militants were involved in a series of terrorist activities in Dera Bugti area. The dead were shifted to Dera Bugti hospital.The army had launched Operation Raddul Fasaad in February following a spate of terror attacks in the country, which claimed more than a hundred lives and left hundreds injured.The operation seeks to eliminate the "residual/latent threat of terrorism", consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan's borders. more...
Court instructs IGP Sindh to 'personally' monitor Tania Khaskheli murder case
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:09:07 +0500
The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed Inspector General of Sindh Police A.D. Khawaja to provide protection to the parents of Tania Khaskheli, a 19-year-old who was allegedly murdered by an influential landlord in Jhangara-Bajara town near Sehwan on September 10.The SHC chief justice directed IGP Khawaja to personally monitor investigations into the murder case.The SHC, which had taken notice of the murder, issued instructions to Khawaja after Senior Superintendent of Police Jamshoro Irfan Bahadur submitted a report before the court.Earlier on Tuesday, the two accused in the murder case were remanded to police custody for seven days by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Hyderabad.Khan Noohani and his henchman, Maula Bukhsh Noohani, were produced before the ATC by the police for a remand hearing after section 6/7 of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 was inserted in the first information report filed against them by Tania's father, Ghulam Qadir Khaskheli.Last Saturday — according to Tania's father — an influential wadera (feudal lord) of Jhangara Bajara town, Khan, along with his armed associates, had barged into the family's house and shot Tania dead.The girl’s parents claimed that Khan had been pressing them to marry Tania to him, but they had turned down the proposal. They alleged that Khan had twice tried to kidnap the girl in the recent past.On Saturday evening, they said, Khan, along with Maula Bukhsh and an unknown person, barged into their house and attempted to intimidate them with their weapons. They alleged that the armed men tried to take the girl away, but on strong resistance put up by the family, Khan got furious and shot dead Tania.A few days ago, Maula Bukhsh was picked up by the police while Khan was arrested on Monday night. more...
Young maid found hanged in Karachi bungalow was murdered: report
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:18:24 +0500
Case background A four-member medical team from Civil Hospital in Karachi on Tuesday set aside an earlier medical report after it determined that a teenage girl found hanged inside a home in Karachi's Defence Housing Authority last week was, in fact, murdered.In a postmortem examination, the Civil Hospital medical team had determined that the death of 17-year-old Fatima was actually caused by strangulation, Additional Police Surgeon Qarar Ahmed Abbasi, a member of the team, told DawnNews on Tuesday.The four-member team ─ comprising Abbasi, Professor Farhat Mirza, Police Surgeon Ijaz Khokar and Dr Sumayya Syed ─ added that wound marks were found on Fatima's lips and chin, Abbasi added.After discovering wounds and bruises on her body, Abbasi added, the team had also collected samples to further investigate whether Fatima had been raped. The new revelations flew in the face of an earlier medical report into the matter. A medico-legal officer at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) had previously termed Fatima's death a an apparent suicide in her initial report, citing the absence of injury marks on the deceased's body. However, the medical team at Civil Hospital declared that observation "null and void" in its own version of events.Case background Fatima, daughter of Abdul Haq, was found hanged inside a bungalow located on Karachi's Khayaban-i-Badban on Saturday. Clifton SSP Dr Asad Malhi had told Dawn that the victim had been working as a maid at the home.She had been living on the first floor of the house while her employers, a couple, were residing on the ground floor.The house owner, Syed Hasan Mazhar, had said in his statement before the police that usually Fatima woke up at around 11:30 am. He added that on the day of her death, he had left home for work and travelled a short distance when he received a phone call from his wife, during which she stated that she had gone upstairs to check up on the girl and found her hanging from the ceiling fan. Upon returning home, he had informed the police of the incident and moved the body to JPMC for a medico legal examination. more...
MQM seeks distribution of NFC award on basis of district population
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:08:19 +0500
HBL New York branch closure In a bill tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has sought the distribution of the National Finance Commission (NFC) award between districts on the basis of their respective populations. The MQM ostensibly seeks a greater share of resources for urban Sindh, which has a markedly higher population density than other areas of the province but has struggled to cope with administrative issues at the local level.At the moment, provincial governments hold the authority to distribute the award amongst projects, rather than allocating a certain amount to each district. The PPP's Naveed Qamar opposed the bill — which will require an amendment in Article 160 of the Constitution — saying that distribution of the NFC award is a provincial matter. On the other hand, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab, who at first opposed the bill, appeared convinced after a while.However, Qaumi Watan Party Chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao maintained that the bill was tantamount to an attempt at weakening the federal government. The bill was forwarded to the relevant committee of the house, by the NA deputy speaker, who was presiding over the session. Another MQM lawmaker, Kishwer Zehra, additionally introduced a second bill to extend the benches of higher courts to district headquarters. This bill was also referred to the relevant standing committee. The NA also adopted a resolution to construct new small dams in the country — presented by MQM's Dr Fouzia Hameed — after it found support from the treasury benches, with Shaikh Aftab noting that small dams are the "need of the hour". The NA also adopted a resolution from PML-N's Shakeela Luqman brought for an incremental increase in the educational allowance provided to the children of government employees after the treasury bench raised no objections to it.HBL New York branch closure In response to an attention notice on the closure of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and United Bank Limited (UBL) branches in the US, Parliamentary Secretary of Finance Rana Afzal said that as many as 142 branches of Pakistani banks are still operating worldwide.He added that banks were bound to abide by the laws of the land in foreign countries. Afzal said that the HBL's matter is not related to money laundering, but regarding its failure so streamline its operations, resulting in the imposition of a $225 million fine. He informed the NA that the State Bank of Pakistan had constituted a committee to look into the matter as well. more...
Civil-military huddle reviews Muharram security arrangements for Karachi
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:01:51 +0500
Law enforcement authorities from civil and military institutions on Tuesday participated in a high-level meeting held at the Corps Headquarters Karachi to review security arrangements for the month of Muharram, a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said."Security should be tightened around places of worship, majalis and along the streets where mourning processions will be carried out," the statement quoted Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Shahid Baig Mirza, who was chairing the meeting, as saying."All security institutions should coordinate through mutual channels of communication to ensure that peace is maintained," the general added.Lt Gen Mirza highlighted the importance of coordination between security establishments and religious leaders, members of the ulema and the residents of Karachi, the statement said.During the meeting, the efforts of the Rangers, police and intelligence agencies for establishing peace in Karachi were lauded, the statement added.Earlier this week, the police had decided to ask the organisers of majalis, mourning processions and other religious activities to get their licences renewed so that better security arrangements could be planned after analysing the number of events and venues.The decision was announced at a meeting — chaired by Sindh IGP A.D. Khowaja and attended by AIGs, DIGs, SSPs and other senior officers across the province — held at the Central Police Office more...
Two suspected LeJ target killers arrested in Karachi ahead of Muharram: CTD
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:32:41 +0500
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Tuesday claimed to have picked up two suspected target killers allegedly belonging to banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Karachi.In a press release, the CTD said the two men — Muhammad Abdullah Majid and Adnan Ahmad — were involved in sectarian murders and were planning to carry out more attacks during the upcoming month of Muharram.The two men were arrested during a targeted raid in Bandhani Colony of Liaquatabad near Quba mosque. The CTD also recovered three 9mm pistols, 15 bullets and one motorbike from the suspects' custody.According to CTD SSP Naveed Ahmed Khawaja, the recent rise in the number of target killings based on ethnic and sectarian affiliations in the metropolis had pushed the CTD to undertake special search operations in various parts of Karachi."There were reports that banned jihadist and sectarian outfits were planning to carry out targeted killings of members of their rival sects during the forthcoming month of Muharram," Khawaja said.During an initial questioning, the held suspects "confessed" to killing several people including those belonging to their "rival sect".“They were planning more killings during Muharram,” the CTD SSP claimed.Naveed Khowaja told Dawn that the seized pistols were sent to the police’s forensic lab, which confirmed that the same weapons had been used in recent sect-based murders. more...
3 security personnel among 4 killed in Sukkur cement factory explosion
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:43:28 +0500
At least two policemen, a Rangers official and a factory worker lost their lives on Tuesday when a large cache of explosive material was accidentally triggered at a cement factory in Sukkur while officials were trying to deactivate it.A Rangers press release late Tuesday said 226 kilograms of explosives, 3,064 safety fuses, 2,940 metres detonating chord and 2,668 detonators were found in and around Rohri cement factory during a search operation ahead of Muharram. The material exploded while a police bomb disposal squad attempted to deactivate it. Seven Rangers personnel, two policemen and four factory workers were injured in the blast, Rangers said. Seven critically injured in the blast were shifted to Karachi via a special Navy aircraft, while joint investigations are underway. The explosives were to be used in the breaking down of large stones, which as part of the cement-making process.Correction: It was earlier reported that Bomb Disposal Squad in-charge Malik Tahir had lost his life in the incident. However, police later confirmed four deaths while saying that Tahir is critically injured and has been shifted to Karachi for treatment. The error is regretted. more...
NAB to send summons to London for Sharif family's appearance in corruption references
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:26:52 +0500
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday gave former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and other family members another seven days to appear before the accountability court in connection with the Supreme Court-mandated corruption references.NAB ordered that the family should appear before the court on September 26, directing that the summons be dispatched to the Sharif family's London address. Maryam Nawaz and her husband retired Captain Muhammad Safdar left for London on Monday to meet the rest of the family there.During the court proceedings, NAB prosecutors told the court that they were not allowed entry into the Sharif family's multiple homes and had to hand the summons to the guards at each of the properties.The prosecutors also said that earlier, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz had refused to receive the summons.PML-N leader Asif Kirmani, who appeared in court on the Sharifs' behalf, said that the family was not present [in court] as they had all gone to be with Kulsoom Nawaz who is recovering from surgery. Kirmani also told the court that Kulsoom is scheduled to undergo another surgery in the next couple of days, therefore an exact date for the family's return cannot be ascertained. A PML-N leader close to the Sharif family had told Dawn on Monday that “Nawaz Sharif and his children will not appear before the accountability court and they are likely to skip all the proceedings of the accountability courts.”Last month, the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had chosen not to appear before NAB after they were asked to join the investigation in different cases.“The Sharifs are anticipating the outcome of these references, therefore they have no plans to appear before the accountability courts,” the PML-N leader had said.A NAB official had told Dawn that the accountability court might issue bailable or non-bailable arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family if they did not turn up in court after receiving two summons. “We had exercised restraint and not issued arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family after they refused to join the investigation,” he had said. NAB usually issues arrest orders for suspects, even in “petty white-collar crime cases”, but NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry appears to be soft on the Sharifs.Counsel for the Sharifs Advocate Amjad Pervez did not confirm whether his clients had told him to appear before the accountability court or not.“There has been no consultation on their or my appearance before the accountability court,” Advocate Pervez told Dawn.Maryam, who had led the NA-120 by-election campaign on behalf of her mother Kulsoom Nawaz for over a month, left for London on a foreign airline flight hours after her mother won the by-poll with over 61,000 votes.Maryam and retired Capt Muhammad Safdar’s departure has already triggered speculation that the entire Sharif family has gathered in London and may not return to face corruption and money laundering references filed against them in the accountability courts. more...
Allegations in PTI's disqualification reference 'baseless, misleading': Gulalai
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:40:30 +0500
The estranged lawmaker of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Ayesha Gulalai, on Tuesday rejected all the allegations levelled against her by the party as she submitted a reply before the Election Commission of Pakistan in a reference filed by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq for deseating the lawmaker.In her written reply, Gulalai argued that the allegations in the said reference were “baseless and misleading”. “The reference is an attempt to silence me for raising my voice against harassment,” Gulalai said.Gulalai has been accused of abstaining from voting for the PTI’s designated candidate in the recent elections for the office of prime minister, which the party believed constituted a valid and actionable ground under Articles 63A(1)(a) and 63A(1)(b)(i) for declaring her a defector.“I couldn’t attend the NA session due to illness,” Gulalai maintained in her reply. The counsel for PTI also submitted documents against the former party lawmaker. The ECP asked both sides' counsels to present their arguments in the next hearing and adjourned the proceedings until September 26.PTI chairman Imran Khan had declared Gulalai a defector and written to the NA speaker and the chief election commissioner (CEC), seeking commencement of the process for her disqualification.Article 63A of the Constitution deals with the circumstances under which a lawmaker can be disqualified on grounds of defection.Inserted by the 18th Amendment, the first two sub-clauses of the article state that the lawmakers can be disqualified if they either resign from membership of their party or join another party, or “vote or abstain from voting in the house contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which they belong” with regard to the election of the prime minister.Such a lawmaker “may be declared in writing by the head of the parliamentary party to have defected from the political party, and the head of the parliamentary party may forward a copy of the declaration to the presiding officer, and shall similarly forward a copy thereof to the member concerned”.The PTI letter also mentioned a show-cause notice issued to Ms Gulalai on Aug 10, arguing that since she did not respond to it, she had “acquiesced to the issuance of the declaration against [her]”.On August 1, Gulalai had announced her exit from the party amid a flurry of scathing allegations against Imran Khan and other top party members.Gulalai made the announcement moments before the election of a new prime minister, citing "ill-treatment" of women in the party as the reason behind her decision. She claimed that she had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken.Prior to her resignation Gulalai, who is a former PPP member, had been a staunch and vocal supporter of the PTI and Imran Khan, often featuring in prime time talkshows to defend party policies. more...
Ahsan Iqbal stresses upon Pakistan's need to 'bring its house in order'
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:49:57 +0500
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said Pakistan needs to bring its house in order before asking the world for investment.Speaking at a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related seminar, Iqbal said, "I will repeat what Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif have already said — we need to bring our house in order before we ask the world to invest in Pakistan.""We are close to achieving this goal," he said adding that the whole world is facing rapid political, social and financial changes."The time of civil wars has passed and the world is moving towards inclusiveness and the power in all great countries lies in the in universities, not in missiles or military arsenals," Iqbal said during his address.He added: "Our commitment to peace is not a weakness but a strength, which is why we want to strengthen our ties with Afghanistan and settle disputes through talks.""China has made a lot of progress but we lagged behind while we should be learning our lesson from it, it [China] has provided its people with a better quality of life and managed to do it with stability and zero conflict," Iqbal said while discussing Pakistan's future after the completion of various CPEC projects."We have produced 10,000 megawatts of power in the past four years, if we bring our house in order we will be able to do much more in that span of time," he said while adding that Pakistan is poised to become a major country in region once the projects under the CPEC programme come to a conclusion. "Sadly, while CPEC has become reality people are busy in propagating about it negatively, some call it the 'China-Punjab Economic Corridor', while others call it the next East India Company," Iqbal said adding that there is no truth in these statements as making colonies is not China's agenda and CPEC is the most transparent project ever initiated in Pakistan. more...
Bank of China allowed to begin operations in Pakistan
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:01:25 +0500
KARACHI: The Bank of China (BoC) has been allowed to commence banking business in the country, said the State Bank on Monday. This is the second Chinese bank which has been allowed to operate in Pakistan. Earlier, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) opened two branches in Karachi and Islamabad on May 20, 2011. The ICBC provides various services including corporate finance, investment banking, foreign deposits, project loans, and working capital loans. “In Pakistan, the BoC aims to provide specialised banking services to serve the financing needs of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects by leveraging on its experience and global technology platform,” said the SBP. The focus will be on providing financial services for CPEC-related projects Earlier in May, the State Bank had issued a licence to BoC. The BoC has complied with the important regulatory and operational requirements necessary to commence banking business in Pakistan.The BoC is a subsidiary of China Central Huijin, the investment arm of the Government of China. The BoC is the 4th and 5th largest global bank in terms of tier-1 capital and total assets, respectively. It is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Globally, the footprint of BoC is spread across 50 countries out of which 19 are located across China’s One Belt One Road initiative. “The BoC’s entry into Pakistan will not only further strengthen the bilateral relationship of Pakistan and China but will also represent growing confidence of international investors on the country’s banking sector and the stable economic outlook,” said the SBP. Habib Bank Limited is the first Pakistani bank which has recently opened a branch in the industrial city of Urumqi, China. Increasing bilateral trade requires banking services between the two countries. China is now the biggest trade partner of Pakistan while the trade volume has been increasing rapidly each year.Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
Abbasi arrives at UN to tackle thorny issues
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:01:04 +0500
UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will highlight the Kashmir and Rohingya issues in his address to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly and is likely to use his interactions with American officials to halt a rapid deterioration in US-Pakistan relations.The prime minister, who reached New York on Monday afternoon, is scheduled to meet a dozen world leaders during his four-day stay, but all eyes are focused on his Sept 21 meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence.The Trump administration sent not a very subtle message while scheduling President Donald Trump’s engagements with world leaders: Pakistan was kept out of even casual meetings with Mr Trump. The US president’s first casual meeting on Monday was with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Haseena Wajid when he walked up to her after addressing a UN Management, Security and Development event and greeted her warmly.Later in the week, President Trump is also scheduled to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. But diplomatic sources in Washington say that PM Abbasi’s meeting with the US vice president also conforms to the Trump administration’s new strategy. PM is likely to use his Sept 21 meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence to halt deterioration in ties The administration usually brings forward the vice president for detailed, strategic dialogues and the Abbasi-Pence meeting reflects Washington’s desire for holding serious talks with Pakistan on the Afghan issue.However, unlike former prime minister Nawaz Sharif last year, Mr Abbasi plans to attend the US president’s reception for the world leaders this week, which could lead to a brief encounter with Mr Trump.When President Trump announced his new strategy for South Asia in his Aug 21 speech, he blamed Pakistan for continuing to shelter Taliban militants — a charge Pakistan vehemently denies.But after the speech, US officials said at several briefings that they wanted to hold an extensive dialogue with Pakistan on the Afghan issue because they desired to work with Islamabad in defeating the militants who were a threat to the entire region. Washington also tried to send two delegations to Islamabad but Pakistan asked it to reschedule the meetings.Briefing the Pakistani media on the prime minister’s engagements in New York, three senior Pakistani officials — Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi and Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry — tried to downplay the impact of US-Pakistan relations on his engagements at the UNGA.“The prime minister is not here for US-Pakistan relations, this is a global meeting,” said Ambassador Lodhi. “Our policies are not unifocal.”Ambassador Chaudhry said that Washington took the initiative for arranging the Abbasi-Pence talks. “They initiated it because they want to re-engage with Pakistan,” he said. “If you want to define the UNGA as a bilateral event, you will be wrong.”The foreign secretary said the United States sought to engage Pakistan in their efforts to stabilise Afghanistan because “the Afghan dispute cannot be resolved without Pakistan”.All three rejected the suggestion that Pakistan had allowed militants to maintain safe havens in the country and outlined Islamabad’s views on this issue.“Our policies are made in Pakistan. They were never made in Washington and never will be,” said Ambassador Lodhi when asked if the Abbasi-Pence meeting could change Islamabad’s views on Afghanistan.Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
Pakistani man arrested in Spain on suspicion of 'promoting terrorism'
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:55:09 +0500
Spain's Interior Ministry on Tuesday said that the police have arrested a Pakistani man suspected of "promoting terrorism and militant propaganda" on social media networks. A ministry statement said that the 25-year-old resident of the northern Catalan city of Lleida was part of a cell partially dismantled with the arrest of three Pakistani brothers in Lleida last year. The ministry said that the man detained on Tuesday had become "more engrossed in radical activities" in recent weeks. Sixteen people were killed in attacks in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, and another Catalan coastal town last month. The militant Islamic State group had claimed the attacks. Spain says its police have been involved in the arrests of 200 suspected activists since the country raised its security alert to one step below the maximum in June 2015. more...
41 candidates of NA-120 to forfeit security deposit with ECP over low votes
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:18:06 +0500
Out of the 43 candidates that contested NA-120 by-elections on Sunday, 41 will have to forego the security deposit submitted with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as they all failed to secure the required votes from the total ballots cast in the constituency.According to Section 43 of the Representation of People Act 1976, any candidate who fails to get one-eighth (12.5 per cent) of the total votes cast in a constituency from where they contested the polls, would have to forego the security deposit.The unofficial results of the NA-120 by-elections shared by the ECP apprised that only two candidates — Kulsoom Nawaz of PML-N and Dr Yasmeen Rashid — managed to secure more votes than the required minimum threshold.There were 321,786 registered voters in the constituency of which 126,869 turned up to cast their vote on Sunday, thus the voting turnout is 39.42%, read the ECP document, a copy of which is available with DawnNews. However, 1,731 votes were rejected in the scrutiny process and 125,129 votes were declared to be accurate, it stated.Based on the data shared by ECP, the minimal vote threshold was set at 15,641 votes, and only Kulsoom Nawaz and Dr Yasmeen Rashid stood clear of this threshold by securing 61,745 and 47,099 votes, respectively.PPP’s Faisal Mir and Jamaat-i-Islami’s Ziauddin Ansari, however, received only 1,414 and 592 votes, respectively.Jamaatud Dawa-backed candidate Yaqoob Sheikh, who contested the polls as an independent candidate, managed to bag only 5,822 votes — still considerably more than the combined votes of Jamaat and PPP.According to an earlier Dawn report, the security deposit is currently set at Rs4,000 for the National Assembly and Rs2,000 for a provincial assembly seat.Though the security deposit is not a large amount, but in Pakistani politics, anyone whose security deposit is forfeited is considered to have suffered a humiliating defeat. However, to discourage non-serious candidates in future, the ECP has proposed to increase the security deposit from Rs4,000 to Rs50,000 for the National Assembly and from Rs2,000 to Rs25,000 for a provincial assembly.The deposit shall not be refunded to a candidate who has received less than one-fourth of the total number of votes cast, read the proposal which is yet to be approved. more...
Two religious parties candidates bag 11pc of vote in NA-120
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:00:52 +0500
Right-wing vote Use of mosques Infographic by Ramsha Jahangir LAHORE: Results of Sunday’s by-election in the National Assembly constituency NA-120 (Lahore-III) have sprung up some surprises, with two candidates backed by religious parties finishing third and forth and winning together about 11 per cent of the vote cast. Many people had been expecting a better turnout in view of the vigorous campaigns run by almost all major contestants in the race. Some were predicting a better tally for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), while others were writing off the role of religio-sectarian outfits in the competition. However, the two candidates backed by religious parties that appeared to most chip away at the PML-N vote share, together won about 11pc. Neither party — one of which is linked to Hafiz Saeed — existed in 2013. Analysts say the by-election results will certainly concern Nawaz Sharif’s party. NA-120 by-poll saw revival of mosques use for campaigning Although Begum Kulsoom of the PML-N defeated Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Dr Yasmin Rashid, the margin of victory came to around 14,000 in the Sept 17 by-poll from over 39,000 votes back in the 2013 general elections. Unusual for a by-poll, there were 43 players in the contest for the seat that fell vacant after the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PML-N leaders tout Begum Kulsoom’s victory as proof that Mr Sharif remains popular with voters and say the closer margin is largely due to the strong showing by the two candidates backed by religious parties. “Frankly speaking, I’d been hoping for a healthier voter turnout keeping in view the hype created by vigorous electioneering by almost all major players,” says Ahmad Bilal Mehboob of Islamabad-based think tank Pildat. “But, surprisingly, it shrank by 18 to 20 per cent.” Around seven per cent reduction in the vote bank of the PML-N further shocks Mr Mehboob, who thinks that the presumed victimisation of the party leader [in the Panama Papers case] should have motivated the sympathisers enough to at least keep the poll ratio intact, if not improved. “It means that PTI’s point of view on Panama [Papers] case and Nawaz Sharif’s character gained more acceptance among the voters.” Senior political analyst Dr Hassan Askari argues that the committed and hard-line vote did not shift from the PML-N, but others who are not hardcore or are somewhat independent, they seemed to have shifted. “The committed voters remained loyal to the PML-N leadership but the independent thinking or floating voters who had been with the Sharifs on an issue basis either didn’t come out to vote or shifted to the PTI and other parties apparently because the ruling party’s campaign couldn’t give them a clear and convincing message,” he says. Right-wing vote One of the surprises of Monday’s official results was the third-place finish of Azhar Husain Rizvi, an independent candidate backed by Labbaik Ya Rasulallah, a coalition of Islamist groups. He won 6pc of the vote campaigning on a platform of support for strict blasphemy laws. His campaign posters praised executed killer Mumtaz Qadri, a bodyguard who assassinated former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer for suggesting the laws might be reviewed. After his execution, Qadri was hailed by some religious sects as a martyr for Islam. Yaqoob Sheikh, who was himself designated a terrorist by the United States in 2012, captured nearly 5pc of the vote. Sheikh was was an independent candidate, though he was backed by the newly formed Milli Muslim League (MML) that is loyal to Hafiz Saeed. The MML — a political version of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) — represents the Ahle Hadith school of thought. The MML on Monday said it planned to contest another by-election in Peshawar next month. Despite their relatively strong gains, neither the MML nor the LYR is seen as having much chance of winning many seats in 2018. Use of mosques The by-election also saw revival of the use of places of worship for politicking as the candidates backed by the MML and LBY made mosques as their “base camps” for their electioneering. The last time mosques prominently used for political movements in this part of the country was during the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government when the nine-party Pakistan National Alliance had after allegations of rigging in the 1977 general elections launched a Nizam-i-Mustafa movement against the then PPP government. Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi-led LYR, which belongs to the Barelvi school of thought, fully took advantage of 100-plus mosques in the area for Azhar Husain’s campaign. Allama Rizvi used harsh language against the ruling PML-N for hanging Mumtaz Qadri. The Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan of Qari Zawwar Bahadur as well as the Sunni Ittehad Council — both former allies of the N-League — also extended their support to Azhar. The MML made Masjid Al-Qadisia, the JuD headquarters which also happens to be situated in the very constituency, as its main election office. It also made use of other mosques of the Ahle Hadith school of thought, around 40 in number, in the area for seeking votes for Yaqoob Sheikh, who bagged 5,822 votes to stand fourth. The MML’s campaign seemed well financed and organised as in the words of an observer it was matching banner-to-banner, polling camp-to-polling camp with the PML-N and the PTI. In comparison, the Labbaik seemed devoid of resources. It didn’t have women workforce to mobilise its sympathisers among the fair sex, otherwise its tally might have improved further. The PML-N had gradually snatched the right-wing vote from Jamaat-i-Islami over the last two decades or so as the JI nominee could not claim more than a couple of thousands in the last four contests. But the grabbing of 13,000 ballots jointly by the Labbaik and MML shows that the right-wing vote has found new representatives. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
COAS seeks more interaction with parliament
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:00:52 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday said he wanted enhanced interaction with parliament.He was responding to questions raised by members of defence committees of the National Assembly and Senate who were visiting the General Headquar­ters (GHQ) for a briefing on military operations.“The delegation...was given a detailed briefing on the evolving security environment including the situation at the borders and Pakistan’s Army efforts for peace and security. The delegation also had an interactive session with General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS),” the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a press statement.Examine: Of civil and military relationsThe parliamentarians had raised many of the oft-discussed issues including security operations, military courts, defence budget, engagement with the United States, tensions with India, problems in relations with Afghanistan, and civil-military relations. The interactive session, which was originally planned for 30 minutes, went on for nearly three hours. Members of defence committees of National Assembly and Senate have interactive session with army chief at GHQ One of the participants in the meeting said that the engagement was meant to showcase the army’s achievements and to highlight the challenges it was facing. Gen Bajwa told the parliamentarians that he was an ardent supporter of democracy and believed in the supremacy of parliament. The army chief said he was ready to appear before the defence committee or any ‘committee of the whole House’ and answer any queries that the parliamentarians might have.He dismissed rumours of the army’s alleged role in the Panama Papers case as unfounded. One of the parliamentarians, quoting the army chief, said the military had no role in ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s ouster, and for him, the current prime minister was as good as the previous one. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, during a brief stay in London before heading out to New York for the UN General Assembly session, told media that conspiracies against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government were continuing. Like his predecessor, he did not elaborate.During his interaction with the parliamentarians, Gen Bajwa disclosed that he had felicitated Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over the PML-N’s victory in NA-120 (Lahore) by-poll in which Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, spouse of the ousted prime minister, was elected on the National Assembly seat vacated by her husband following his disqualification by the Supreme Court.Talking about the perception that the defence budget consumed a major portion of national resources, the general said, it comprised nearly 18 per cent of the total budgetary outlay. He added that more money was required, particularly in view of certain acquisitions that had to be made, some of which were overdue.On the subject of foreign relations, he underscored that putting the house in order was a pre-requisite for getting a respectful position in the comity of nations. As a principle, he said, Pakistan desired good relations with all other countries especially the neighbours. According to the press statement issued by the ISPR: “The session concluded with the resolve to continue our struggle against the menace of violent extremism through a synergetic, whole-of-the-nation approach based on the principle of ‘collective potential and shared responsibility.”Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
Another MQM-P lawmaker joins Kamal-led party
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:01:45 +0500
KARACHI: Another provincial lawmaker belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan left his party and joined the Pak Sarzameen Party on Monday — a move described by MQM-P chief Dr Farooq Sattar as an act of “buying” his party members.Nadeem Razi, the Sindh Assembly member elected from a Malir constituency (PS-121) in the 2013 general election, also announced that he would resign his PA seat.It took the PSP over five months to poach one more MQM lawmaker since the last MPA, Irtiza Farooqi, had joined the PSP in April.Following the creation of the PSP and the March 3, 2016 return of former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal, nine lawmakers — eight MPAs and one member of the National Assembly — have quit their parties and joined the PSP. One of the nine lawmakers — Hafeezuddin — was associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. PSP ‘giving packages to buy MQM-Pakistan people’ Mr Razi announced joining the PSP at a press conference held at the party’s headquarters in the PECHS area. He was accompanied by Mr Kamal, PSP president Anis Kaimkhani and other leaders.He alleged that the leadership of the MQM-P was deceiving its workers and supporters. He said the MQM-P leaders were taking a different position behind closed doors but in front of the masses they adopted a different line. “Even today, the MQM is still the party of Altaf Hussain,” he added.Mr Kamal welcomed Mr Razi to his party and invited “other people”, apparently his former colleagues in the MQM, to listen to the “call of their conscience” and join the PSP.The PSP chief claimed that thousands of people were joining his party. He was critical of those who were still part of the MQM-Pakistan.He said there had been no change in his stance since his return to active politics and it was because of his efforts that the “Mohajir nation” had closed the chapter of the MQM founder.Mr Kamal also rejected the provisional results of the population census and said that Karachi’s population would increase to 30 million by 2020, but the current census results put its population at a mere 14m.Meanwhile, commenting on the defection, MQM-P chief Dr Farooq Sattar alleged that the PSP was “giving packages to buy MQM-Pakistan people”.Speaking at a two-day carnival organised by the students’ wing of his party at the Federal Urdu Science University, he told those who were claiming to have taken “MQM-P’s wickets” that his party would have a thousand more such people in the upcoming elections. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
Sharif family to skip all accountability court proceedings
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:00:57 +0500
Saad’s advice to Maryam LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband retired Captain Muhammad Safdar left for London on Monday, a day before they were scheduled to appear before Islamabad’s accountability court in connection with corruption references, and according to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, the family is likely to skip all the proceedings. Mr Sharif and his sons — Hassan and Hussain — had been summoned, along with Maryam and her husband, in the accountability court on Tuesday. A PML-N leader close to the Sharif family told Dawn on Monday, “Nawaz Sharif and his children will not appear before the accountability court and they are likely to skip all the proceedings of the accountability courts.”Last month, the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had chosen not to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after they were asked to join the investigation in different cases. Maryam, Safdar depart for London hours after victory in NA-120 by-poll “The Sharifs are anticipating the outcome of these references, therefore they have no plans to appear before the accountability courts,” the PML-N leader said.A NAB official told Dawn that the accountability court might issue bailable or non-bailable arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family if they did not turn up in court after receiving two summons. “We had exercised restraint and not issued arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family after they refused to join the investigation,” he said. NAB usually issues arrest orders for suspects, even in “petty white-collar crime cases”, but NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry appears to be soft on the Sharifs.Counsel for the Sharifs Advocate Amjad Pervez did not confirm whether his clients had told him to appear before the accountability court or not. “There has been no consultation on their or my appearance before the accountability court,” Advocate Pervez told Dawn.Maryam, who had led the NA-120 by-election campaign on behalf of her mother Kulsoom Nawaz for over a month, left for London on a foreign airline flight hours after her mother won the by-poll with over 61,000 votes.Maryam and retired Capt Muhammad Safdar’s departure has triggered speculation now that the entire Sharif family has gathered in London and may not return to face corruption and money laundering references filed against them in the accountability courts.Saad’s advice to Maryam A day after Maryam snubbed Railways Minister Saad Rafique over the ‘small margin’ of Begum Kulsoom’s victory, the minister advised her to be careful in her politics.“Maryam Bibi was targeted because she was the daughter of Nawaz Sharif. She needs to be more careful (in politics),” he told a private news channel.He, however, agreed with the comments of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that there was no comparison between Maryam and the late Pakistan Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto. “Of course there is no comparison between Maryam Bibi and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto at this stage as the latter had great sacrifices to her credit,” he said.After winning the election, Maryam had lashed out at the judiciary and the military establishment. Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
Tania Khaskheli’s parents appeal for protection for other daughters
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:01:45 +0500
DADU: Aggrieved parents of Tania Khaskheli, who was killed by an influential landlord in Jhangara-Bajara town near Sehwan nine days ago, have demanded arrest of all suspects involved in the murder. They appealed to the Sindh government to provide protection to their other three daughters as the family was receiving threats from the main suspect, Khan Nohani, and his henchmen.Khurshid Begum, late Tania’s mother, told Dawn on Monday that though the main suspect had reportedly been arrested, still she had a constant fear that he would kill her three other daughters as well after being released from jail.Eighteen-year-old Tania Khaskheli, a student of class-X, was allegedly killed by Khan Nohani and his henchmen after the girl’s parents turned down his marriage proposal. The culprits barged into the girl’s house on Sept 10 at around 3.30pm and proposed to her but when she and her family refused they attempted to kidnap her but then killed her over stiff resistance from the family and ran away. She said that after having killed Tania, Khan Nohani had threatened that he would kill, one by one, the rest of her daughters who were going to school.She said that despite being poor they did not need money nor any aid from anyone; they only appealed to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and IGP to provide them justice.She demanded the IGP challan her daughter’s case in an antiterrorism court and insert sections of Anti-Terrorism Act in the murder FIR. Honest police officers be assigned investigation of the case and her daughter’s killer be hanged, she said.Late Tania’s father Ghulam Qadir Khaskheli appealed to IGP to direct local police to arrest all suspects in the murder case of his daughter and all the influential persons who had supported the main suspect Khan Nohani.Meanwhile, activists of Sindhiani Tehreek took out a rally, demanding security for the family of late Tania and arrest of all suspects nominated in the murder FIR. The local party leaders Sindhoo Mallah and Sabhai Birhamani said that Tania’s family was being pressurised to withdraw the case. Women were not safe in remote villages of Jamshoro and Dadu districts, they said. Our Hyderabad correspondent adds: Leaders of Pakistan Khaskheli Ittehad on Monday demanded arrest of all suspects and facilitators in the Tania murder case and warned if the victim family was not provided justice the organisation would not be silent over this brazen brutality.The Ittehad president Serai Niaz Hussain Khas­kheli said at a press conference at the press club that he hoped the victim family would get justice and all culprits and their facilitators would soon be behind bars as the Sindh High Court had taken suo motu notice of the incident. He accused police of being involved in helping the culprits escape and demanded that all suspects and their facilitators should be arrested immediately and produced before media. He said that he had asked IGP and Sindh chief minister to order inclusion of sections of Anti-Terrorism Act in the girl’s murder FIR.Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...
Urdu university issued fake degrees, says report
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:27:33 +0500
Unfair selection for scholarships ISLAMABAD: An audit report presented to the National Assembly has revealed serious irregularities in the accounts and administrative affairs of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology. The special audit for 2015-16, which was presented to the lower house of parliament last week, was conducted on the directions of President Mamnoon Hussain, who is also the chancellor of the university. It showed the manipulation of student records, fake degrees, irregularities in financial matters and selection of non-deserving candidates for foreign scholarships. The report said the Presidency had asked for the special audit pertaining to the period when Dr Zafar Iqbal was the vice chancellor. Mr Iqbal was removed from the post by the president over a number of allegations, on the basis of an inquiry report. The Federal Urdu University, which also has a campus in Islamabad with over 4,500 students, was accused by auditors of malpractices in managing the examination results. The auditors said the university conducted the annual BCom examination (private candidates, both parts) in August 2014 after registering 1,013 candidates, out of whom 917 appeared in the exam and 269 passed. The university notified the result through its gazette on February 25, 2015, which was made a part of the tabulation register (containing details of marks obtained, status of pass, fail and absent students). “Subsequent to the announcement of the results in the gazette, changes were made to the results of 107 candidates that allowed outsiders to enter,” said the report. It added that 66 candidates were either absent/failed but against their seat numbers pass results were notified with the names of outsiders who neither appeared in the exam, nor were registered with the university. The report said the university management did not provide the receipts of registration and examination of the 66 persons who were declared successful, indicating they were not enrolled with the university, nor did they apply for the examination. “41 candidates were either absent/failed but declared successful in the tabulation register,” the report said, adding similar was the case with 43 candidates of BCom part I exam conducted in 2012 and 42 candidates of BA Part-1 2013. “The management replied that a committee had already been formed which submitted a report to the VC where fake degrees, fake results, irregularities, changes in the results were found that pertained to the period when Dr Masood Mashkoor was the controller examinations,” the report said, adding the case should be referred to an investigating agency. Unfair selection for scholarships The report said the management of the university awarded PhD scholarships to 22 faculty members, of whom only one had passed the National Testing Service (NTS) test. “The university ignored other NTS-qualified candidates and selected only one candidate who had qualified the NTS test and was recommended by the committee. The remaining 21 candidates had neither appeared/passed the NTS test nor were recommended by the committee.” The process of selection was not fair and in violation of the PC-I as well as the SOP issued by the HEC. “The management replied that internal and external faculty had appeared in the NTS test in different phases; hence the management awarded PhD scholarships to the faculty as well as external candidates. Some of the scholarships were awarded to candidates who belonged to the Islamabad campus.” But the auditors said the university’s reply was not acceptable. They also said the management of the university awarded PhD scholarships to six faculty members who did not report back after completion of their studies and an expenditure of Rs37.65 million was incurred on their education. “The management replied that the scholars/employees had been dismissed from the university service.” But the report rejected the reply because the university did not recover the amount and extended undue favours to the beneficiaries. The audit also pointed out the university’s negligence in not utilising Rs80 million released by the HEC in 2014 for the establishment of the Islamabad campus. It said the funds were not utilised before June 30, 2014, and were in a saving account. Other irregularities were also detected, including irregular appointments, unauthorised promotions, unauthorised bank accounts, irregular expenditures worth millions of rupees and the issuance of laptops to two employees under the prime minister’s youth programme. “The internal control of the organisation was weak and also not transparent. The case of irregular appointments of choice persons, selection of scholars for training/PhD course abroad by the VC were the classic examples. Funds were utilised for hiring a security agency owned/managed by a sister of the treasurer of the university even though the university had its own security force,” the report concluded.Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017 more...

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