Select News Sources
Select All  Countries  Deselect All Select All  Languages  Deselect All Select All  Categories  Deselect All
Sri Lanka
Main/Latest News
National News
Regional/Local News
World News
Business News
Science & Technology News
Health News
Sports News
Cricket News
Entertainment News
Lifestyle News
Education News
Employment News
Cultural/Religious News
Weekend Features
Desis Abroad
Off-Beat News
Available Newsfeeds Your Selections
Personalize your News Headlines!

Find your favorite Desi newspapers and organize them all in one place here!

Click on the "Select Newspapers" button below to see available newsfeeds from Desi newspapers organized by country of origin, language & categories, then make or change your selections. Your selections will be saved for the duration of your visit.

If you are a registered ODW user, then please log in before making or changing your selections, and your selections will be automatically saved for all your visits. If you are not a registered user, sign up! Its quick, easy and free!

Please note that we make the entire newsfeed content from a newpaper available on our website. Clicking on the "more..." link on the newsfeed will take you to the newspaper site, which will open in a new window. We hope you find the latest and constantly updated headlines with links to all your favorite newspapers organized at one place a time-saver!

The Times of India
Banks continue to hit debit card customers with decline charges
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 22:30:00 GMT
Hardik Pandya to be booked for Ambedkar tweet
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:03:01 GMT
Water crisis: B'luru heading towards 'Day Zero'
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 01:05:36 GMT
An analysis shows that at least 200 cities across the world are facing a severe water crisis while 10 metropolitan cities, among them Bengaluru, are fast moving towards ‘Day Zero’—a situation where taps start running dry. more...
Govt to fully fund education of martyrs' children
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:15 GMT
The government will now fully fund the education of martyrs' children, said a notification today from the defence ministry.Earlier, the education of these children was funded, but only up to Rs 10,000 a month. That limitation, on what's called "educational concession", has now been removed. more...
Here is what Zuckerberg said on Indian elections
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:18:47 GMT
Rahul, BJP in war of words over alleged data leaks
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 08:03:43 GMT
India successfully test-fires BrahMos missile
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:27:49 GMT
India today successfully flight-tested its precision strike BrahMos weapon, which is called the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile. At 8:42 this morning, the BrahMos hit its designated target with pin-point accuracy in Pokhran, Rajasthan. more...
One night on the deadly Yamuna Expressway
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:32:00 GMT
7 'India-first' features in Google Maps
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:16:32 GMT
Revoke passports of ‘bank fraudsters’: ED to MEA
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 22:53:35 GMT
Delhi budget 2018: Highlights
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:26:18 GMT
'Pakistan army using jihadis to kill minorities'
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 03:34:52 GMT
A Washington-based Pakistani activist Nadeem Nusrat has claimed that his country’s army is colluding with jihadist groups to carry out ethnic cleansing of minorities in Pakistan, reported ANI. more...
How to retract Facebook apps' access to your data
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 05:20:30 GMT
How PM’s book helped a student fight depression
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:34:33 GMT
Gujarat man makes 1,264 abusive calls to cops
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 01:37:07 GMT
Allegedly beaten by Aslali police a few years ago over a land dispute, Ishwar Bhoi, 40, a resident of Bhoiwas in Kamod of Daskroi, had been planning vengeance against cops. Bhoi, who had been abandoned by his wife very early into his marriage, also had psychological problems. more...
Model jumps from the 6th floor to avoid rape
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 13:55:55 GMT
Don’t let others snatch from your family
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 11:04:08 GMT
Gujarat: Sardar Patel statue garlanded with bottles
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:02:51 GMT
The streak of vandalism hitting statues in some parts of the country has touched Gujarat. A statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy Prime Minister of India, was garlanded with empty soft-drink bottles at a library in Shertha village of Gandhinagar on Wednesday. The statue had been unveiled by former deputy PM and BJP veteran L K Advani in October, 1992 — two months prior to the demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Adalaj police have registered an FIR and have initiated an investigation. more...
The Dawn News - Home
JIT links Perween Rehman’s murder with land grabbing
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:26 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The Sindh police conceded before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the mysterious murder of Perween Rehman, the director of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), Karachi, was the result of a conspiracy hatched by those threatened by her efforts against land grabbing and her championing of the Goth Abad scheme. The report of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), appointed to probe the March 13, 2013 murder of Ms Rehman, was furnished by Deputy Inspector Gen­eral of West Zone, Karachi, Amir Farooqi before a three-judge bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed. The interim report stated that the linking of Qazi Bilal, believed to be a senior commander of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan who was reportedly killed in a police encounter on March 14, 2013 — a day after the murder of Ms Rehman — with the murder as prime suspect was in all probability false. Report disputes police claim that OPP director was killed by a Taliban ‘commander’ Ms Rehman was going home from her office when unidentified assailants approached her car on a motorcycle on Manghopir Road near Banaras Flyover and opened fire. She rece­ived gunshot wounds in her neck and was rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital by her driver where she died. Advocate Raheel Kamran Sheikh, appearing on behalf of Aquila Ismail, Ms Rehman’s sister, expressed his confidence over the interim report by stating that the JIT was heading in the right direction but expressed the apprehension that its composition might be changed in future. However, Additional Advo­cate General for Sindh Shaharyar assured the court that the composition of the JIT would not be changed. The JIT report contended that the JIT found the accounts of Sub-Inspector Ashfaq Baloch and former SHO of Peerabad police station Abdul Moeed about linking Qari Bilal with the murder simply unbelievable. According to the report, Qari Bilal was probably killed over an internal dispute between Taliban factions but his body was subsequently picked up by the two police officials who claimed that he was killed in an encounter. Other police staff conceded that Abdul Moeed was considered to be personal staff officer of District West SSP Asif Ijaz Sheikh and was more powerful than any other police functionary in the district, the report stated, adding that it would have been easy for him to manipulate the collection of evidence, for instance changing the spent bullet casings collected to ensure that they matched. It said that Ashfaq Baloch had a patchy professional record and had been previously involved in professional missteps. While Baloch lied about the facts of the encounter in which Qari Bilal was said to be killed, he was not involved in a wider manipulation. The JIT held former SI Abdul Moeed as an officer who enjoyed extremely bad reputation both in terms of integrity and professionalism. Currently, he has been dismissed from police service over some other matter and also facing a murder charge in an unrelated case. According to the report, the JIT was of the opinion that Moeed most likely did play a central role in the manipulation of evidence, but there was no evidence on record to prove this. The JIT admitted that the ‘real investigation’ into the death of Ms Rehman began three years after her murder, and due to the lapse of time, it was difficult to gather technical evidence that would have assisted in the investigation. While concluding, the report said the JIT needed to examine the context of a wider motive behind the murder before submission of a final report to try to find a concrete link between the work that Ms Rehman was doing and the elements or forces that were most affected and impacted by her efforts. The court then ordered the JIT to submit the final report by April 24. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
ATC judge orders police to produce former SSP Malir Rao Anwar
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 10:07:29 +0500
Staged enounterAn Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) judge ordered the police to produce former SSP Malir Rao Anwar before the court on Thursday, during the hearing of a case regarding the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud. Investigation officials told the court that Anwar would be produced before an administrative judge, after which he would appear before the ATC. ATC Judge Khalida Yaseen, however, dismissed this argument, and ordered police to produce Anwar during the ongoing hearing. Ten other police officials who had been arrested earlier also appeared in court today. The hearing was adjourned for a recess. Anwar, who is the chief suspect in the case was arrested a day earlier on the orders of the Supreme Court. Police had filed a charge sheet against 25 officials including Anwar before an ATC judge earlier this month. With the former SSP's arrest, the total number of officials that are in police custody has gone up to 11 while 14 police officials are still absconding. After eluding law enforcement agencies for over a month, Anwar finally appeared before the SC on Wednesday. After being arrested on the chief justice's orders, he was shifted from Islamabad to Karachi last night. He is being investigated for his suspected involvement in the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah in a staged 'encounter' in Karachi in January 2018. Also read: Dawn Investigation: Rao Anwar and the killing fields of Karachi He had last been seen at Islamabad airport trying to flee the country on a Dubai-bound flight earlier this year, however, he was stopped by immigration officials. Since then, there had been no trace of the absconding officer, despite the fact that the SC had given a deadline for his arrest and called upon intelligence agencies and the Federal Investigation Agency to help Sindh police nab him. Staged enounter Naqeebullah Mehsud — whose name was given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, relatives of the deceased had told Dawn. Hailing from South Waziristan, he was among four suspects killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis in January 2018. Anwar had alleged that Naqeebullah was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant, but a later statement reportedly issued by a spokesperson for TTP's South Waziristan chapter had termed the claim "baseless", clarifying that the deceased had no links with the banned militant outfit. Naqeebullah's family had also disputed Anwar's claim, saying that the 27-year-old had no links with any militant organisation. In January, an inquiry team of senior police officers probing the alleged extrajudicial killing of Mehsud had found that the Waziristan native was killed in a fake encounter which was staged by then-SSP Malir Anwar on January 13. The high-level inquiry committee had also concluded in its initial report submitted to the Sindh police that the deceased man had no militant tendencies. Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that former SSP Rao Anwar will appear in the Sindh High Court. That error is regretted. more...
Pakistan, Russia concerned over growing IS threat
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:32 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have expressed “grave concern” over growing threat of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in the region. The concern was expressed at the seventh meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism held here on Wednesday. Noting their “grave concern”, the two sides observed that “the returning IS fighters from the conflict zones to countries of origin or third countries constitute a major security threat to various parts of the world, including this region”. Also read: Why is Russia warming up to Pakistan? They emphasised the need for regional cooperation to counter the threat. Last month, foreign ministers of Pakistan and Russia Khawaja Asif and Sergey Lavrov had at their meeting in Moscow expressed deep concern over presence of IS in Afghanistan and criticised the US and Nato for ineffective handling of the situation. The two stayed short of accusing the US and Nato of allowing IS’s proliferation in Afghanistan, whose terrorists are now camped on the borders of Pakistan and Central Asian Repub­lics neighbouring Afghanistan. Mr Lavrov had on that occasion criticized the US and Nato for failing to provide explanations about the flights of unmarked helicopters to areas having IS presence. Khawaja Asif, meanwhile, sharing the concern had said: “Some of the IS terrorists have been relocated or have relocated themselves from the Middle East to Afghanistan, particularly its northeastern parts. This is very alarming.” According to Afghan media, IS carried out 60 deadly attacks in Afghanistan last year. The bilateral dialogue covered the counter-terrorism situation at the regional and global level, actions taken by both countries to tackle the menace of terrorism as well as bilateral cooperation on the issue. “The two sides reaffirmed the commitment for promoting bilateral cooperation for countering terrorism. They also agreed to cooperate at the United Nations and other international fora for combating terrorism,” the Foreign Office said. Relations between Pakistan and Russia have been improving for years now and the two have made major great strides since 2007 when the ties were renewed after a long estrangement during the cold war era. The evolving geo-strategic landscape and more specifically India’s growing closeness with the US and the lingering conflict in Afghanistan have been major contributors in promoting convergence between the two. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar says only state can declare jihad
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:26 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar University in Egypt Dr Shawki Ibrahim said on Wednesday that only courts could declare a person infidel while the state was the only authority to declare jihad. Endorsing the Paigham-i-Pakistan, a document issued by the government which offers a unanimous counter-narrative to extremist ideas by collating fatwas (edicts) against terrorism, he said extremism leading to terrorism, blasphemy and declaring any Muslim a non-believer were prohibited in Islam. “Groups like Daesh (the militant Islamic State) have strayed away from the message of Islam but they are targeting Muslim youths through social media,” Dr Ibrahim said while addressing a roundtable conference titled ‘Paigham-i-Pakistan and terrorism’ organised by the Council of Islamic Ideology. Calls for using modern tools of information to counter extremism The conference discussed the practical aspect of the Paigham-i-Pakistan to eradicate extremism and noted that the use of social media and internet was essential to counter the motives of the fanatics. The grand Mufti of Al-Azhar said that only grand muftis were authorised to issue decrees and not semi-literate clerics who issued decrees after reading a few books being “holed up in caves”. Referring to militant leaders with religious linkages, he said, “Similarly we need to counter the mindset which does not believe in boundaries of the states.” Dr Ibrahim lauded the efforts of Islamabad against extremism and said that the Paigham-i-Pakistan should be spread across the country to eradicate the extremist mindset. He stressed the need for providing “protection of Shariah” to the message of the Paigham-i-Pakistan and said that modern tools of information like social media should be used to counter the radical mindset. He said that Egypt, too, was formulating a national narrative on similar lines and the document would be signed by mainstream clerics. Dr Aftab Ahmed, a religious scholar, highlighted salient features of the Paigham-i-Pakistan, which offers a national narrative endorsed by clerics of all four major sects in the country — Barelvi, Shia, Deobandi and Ahle Hadis. He said senior clerics had signed the document that said declaring security forces non-Muslim was incorrect and fighting them was a rebellion, while support had been extended to the operations launched against terrorists, including Raddul Fasad. Barrister Zafarullah, the adviser to the prime minister on law, said that the fanatics presented an unrealistic interpretation of Islam. Muslims had been left behind in terms of progress during the past 500 years mainly for ignoring scientific developments, he said. “We need to understand the reasons that led us to formulate the national narrative. The Muslim world cannot survive without understanding the concept of modern statehood, social sciences and current international laws,” Mr Khan said. “Besides we cannot ignore modern laws and thought on rights of women, minorities and children while discussing human rights.” Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
120 killed in Syria as govt, rebels pound populated areas
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 10:55:36 +0500
BEIRUT: Almost 120 people were killed across Syria during a 24-hour period beginning on Tuesday night as both pro-Assad forces and rebels bombarded heavily populated areas without any thought for the lives of non-combatants. In one of the deadliest attacks in the Syrian capital in the country’s seven-year civil war, 44 people, most of them women and children, were killed when anti-government fighters fired mortar shells on a busy market in Damascus on Tuesday night. In another bloody scene, an airstrike killed 21 people, 16 of them children, in a rebel-held province in northwestern Syria on Wednesday. The children, between seven and 10 years old, were leaving their schools in Kfar Batkeeh village when jets began flying overhead. Raghda Ghanoum, an activist near Kfar Batkeeh, said the children and four adults took cover in a cave nearby, where the airstrikes hit. Ghanoum said she documented 21 victim names, including 16 children. Meanwhile, government forces pounded opposition-held areas in Douma, the largest town in Eastern Ghouta, with shelling and airstrikes on Tuesday, killing 56 people. Read: Syria conflict rages as war enters eighth year The violence in both government-held and opposition-held areas came as Syrians celebrated Mother’s Day, turning the occasion that ushers the spring season into a blood-spattered day for families on both sides of the conflict. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 were people killed in the airstrikes on Kfar Batkeeh village. The organisation put the death toll in the market shelling in Damascus at 43, including 11 pro-government fighters. Videos of the aftermath posted online showed scenes of chaos, with people screaming and bodies and store mannequins strewn across the ground. Hospital director Mohammed Haitham al Husseini told Al Ikhbariya TV that 35 others were wounded in the mortar attack, with six in intensive care. He said most of the casualties were women and children. Witnesses told state-run TV that the mortar shells fell during rush hour in the popular market on the eve of Mother’s Day, celebrated in the Middle East with the start of spring. A child said he was out shopping with his family for Mother’s Day when they heard a huge explosion. “Everyone started running, and people were going into narrow streets to give first aid to others,” the child said. A woman in the hospital said her niece, who was wounded by shrapnel, lost her four-year old son. “We just saw him in the morgue,” the woman told Al Ikhbariya. The TV network did not identify the woman or the child. The government blamed the attack on rebels in the eastern Ghouta suburbs, where Syrian troops and Russian warplanes have been waging a major offensive over the past month that has killed hundreds of people. Assault on Douma The first-responders group, known as the White Helmets, said 56 civilians were killed on Tuesday in Douma, the largest town in eastern Ghouta, as government forces stepped up their assault to dislodge the last pockets of resistance in the region outside the capital. Video from the White Helmets showed rescue workers surrounded by fire and ongoing shelling struggling to retrieve survivors from a building in Douma. The assault on eastern Ghouta has displaced 45,000 people, the United Nations said. Before the latest offensive, it was estimated that 400,000 people were trapped in the besieged region. The rebels first seized the area in 2012. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Zuckerberg admits Facebook made mistakes
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 10:35:38 +0500
LONDON: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg broke four days of silence on Wednesday and admitted that mistakes were made in safeguarding user data. His statement came amid a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm. Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday that Facebook has a “responsibility” to protect its users’ data. “If we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” he wrote. Zuckerberg and Facebook’s No 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, have been quiet since news broke on Friday that Cambridge Analytica may have used data improperly obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users to try to sway elections. Zuckerberg said the company has already taken the most important steps to prevent such a situation from happening again in previous years. For example, it reduced the access outside apps had to user data back in 2014, though some of the measures didn’t take effect until a year later, allowing Cambridge to access the data in the intervening months. Read: How Facebook data helped Trump find his voters Earlier on Wednesday, an academic who developed the app used by Cambridge Analytica to harvest data said that he had no idea his work would be used in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and that he’s being scapegoated in the fallout from the affair. Alexandr Kogan, a psychology researcher at Cambridge University, told the BBC that both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have tried to place the blame on him for violating the social media platform’s terms of service, even though Cambridge Analytica ensured him that everything he did was legal. “My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,” he said. “Honestly, we thought we were acting perfectly appropriately, we thought we were doing something that was really normal.” Authorities in Britain and the United States are investigating the alleged improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political research firm. Facebook shares have dropped some 9 percent, lopping more than $50 billion off the company’s market value, since the revelations were first published. The head of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, was suspended Tuesday after Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast hidden camera footage of him suggesting the company could use young women to catch opposition politicians in compromising positions. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Nawaz says Justice Isa’s remarks ‘not ordinary’
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:19 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The remarks of Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court regarding the judgement in the Panama Papers case echoed in an accountability court on Wednesday as ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif termed them “not an ordinary” development. “The persons within the judiciary and from outside are commenting on the verdict,” said Mr Sharif, supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), after attending the trial proceedings in a reference filed against him and his children on the orders of the Supreme Court. While deciding identical petitions filed by political rivals of Mr Sharif, the apex court disqualified him from holding office of the prime minister and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file three references against him, his daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hassan and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar. Ousted PM links rupee fall against dollar to ‘chaos’ caused by Panama case judgement Hearing a petition of a local PML-N activist seeking disqualification of MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Justice Isa passed the remarks on Tuesday that the Panama Papers case involved four Avenfield flats in London of the Sharif family, but Mr Sharif was disqualified for holding an Iqama (work permit) of the United Arab Emirates. Outside the accountability court, Mr Sharif said that legal experts like S.M. Zafar and even the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had termed the Panamagate decision a weak judgement. He also asked why Justice Dost Mohammad did not attend the full-court reference. “Before passing such an order like in the Panama Papers case, the judges should at least think whether this would be acceptable to the masses,” he said. “The apex court’s bench consulted the Black Law Dictionary to justify the verdict against me,” he said. “I have respect for every institution and in order to restore the deposed judges I resorted to a long march in 2009,” he recalled. “Neither I nor the people of Pakistan accepted the decision that removed me from the PM house for not receiving salary from my son,” claimed Mr Sharif. On the other hand, the court cleared Imran Khan despite his confessions to own an offshore company, Mr Sharif said, adding that the apex court disqualified PTI’s leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, but unlike what it had done in our case, neither the matter was referred to NAB nor the SC appointed a monitoring judge to ensure timely conclusion of the case. Likewise, Sheikh Rashid had concealed properties worth billions of rupees and the court was passing the remarks that it also had to consider Mr Ahmed’s intention, said Sharif. He claimed that unlike references related to Rental Power Projects, Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, National Insurance Corporation Limited, National Logistic Cell and SGS-Cotecna involving billions of rupees kickbacks, there was not a single penny of corruption alleged in three references filed against him. Mr Sharif claimed that during his tenure of over four years, the dollar remained stable, but due to the chaos caused by the Panama case judgement, the value of the US currency went up rapidly. Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir on Wednesday disposed of an application which requested the court to confine star witness Wajid Zia to only relevant portions of reports of the Joint Investigation Team. The court declared that the witness may be asked to testify on his own and admissibility of evidence will be decided at the time of final verdict. Meanwhile, Khawaja Haris Ahmed, counsel for Mr Sharif, cross-examined prosecution witness Norin Shehzadi. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Aides to decide if ex-PM’s name should be on ECL or not
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:19 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday set up a sub-committee to decide whe­ther the names of over 800 people, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, would be placed on Exit Control List (ECL) or not. The cabinet that met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair has assumed the responsibility to decide the ECL cases, instead of the interior ministry. The sub-committee comprises Law Minister Bashir Mehmood Virk, Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Law Barrister Zafarullah. Cabinet, not interior ministry, to rule on foreign travel ban cases A member of the cabinet, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that the cabinet would decide the fate of over 800 people, including Mr Sharif and his family members, regarding the ECL. Asked if any timeframe was given to the sub-committee, he said: “No timeframe has been given to it but it will accomplish its task soon.” The National Accountability Bureau, which is pursuing three corruption references against Nawaz Sharif and his family in the accountability court of Islamabad, has recommended placing their names on the list. But the interior ministry has not acted upon the recommendation. Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal briefed the cabinet on the ECL policy and said out of 800 names, 600 had been put on the ECL in August 2016. Last week Mr Iqbal and his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan engaged in a war of words on the ECL issue as the former said he had devised a new ECL policy under which only the federal cabinet would decide the fate of people whose names were to be put on the list. Chaudhry Nisar said the decisions on the ECL were being taken somewhere else, instead of the interior ministry. The issue surfaced when an opposition leader, Naveed Qamar, raised the question on the floor of the National Assembly on March 15 why names of Nawaz Sharif and his family members were not being placed on the ECL despite recommendation by the NAB. The cabinet also took some other decisions, including app­roval of the Deep Sea Fishing Licensing Policy 2018 and the National Food Security Policy. The cabinet approved establishment of a fund at the State Bank of Pakistan for line of credit facility for microfinance banks and microfinance institutions. It approved appointment of presiding officer in Special Court (offences in banks-II) Lahore; appointment of judges in Special Court (central-II & III) Lahore and Special Courts (central) Rawalpindi; and extension in deputation period of member technical, Customs Appellate Tribunal, bench-II, Lahore. The meeting also approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between China and Pakistan in the field of forestry, an MoU for establishment of Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation bet­ween Pakistan and Tanzania, signing of an agreement for establishment of a joint commission between Pakistan and South Africa, signing of an MoU on cooperation in tourism with Sri Lanka and Pakistan, signing of an MoU between the Foreign Service Academy and Banda­ranaike International Diploma­tic Institute of Sri Lanka, signing of an MoU between Pakistan Gems and Jewellery Develop­ment Company and Gems and Jewellery Research and Training Institute of Sri Lanka, signing of an MoU with Brazil in the field of health, signing of an agreement with China on cooperation in frontier health quarantine and signing of an MoU with Germany for establishment of Pakistan-Germany Renew­able Energy Forum. The meeting also accorded approval to extension in the contract employment of the chief executive officer of the Pakistan Industrial Develop­ment Corporation. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Tribunal told to rehear plea seeking Jhangvi disqualification
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:04:09 +0500
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed an election tribunal to rehear a petition seeking disqualification of MPA Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, son of defunct Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan’s founder Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. Justice Atir Mahmood passed the order, disposing of a writ petition moved by a voter of PP-78 in Jhang, who contended that the tribunal had dismissed his plea on technical grounds. Before the tribunal, the petitioner had submitted that Mr Jhangvi was not eligible to hold a public office as he was involved in 17 different cases of criminal nature and his name was included in the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. The petitioner said the tribunal ignored his objections and dismissed the election petition for being non-maintainable. He asked the court to review the tribunal’s decision and declare the MPA disqualified. However, Justice Mahmood disposed of the petition with directions to the tribunal to rehear the petition and decide it in accordance with the law. Mr Jhangvi was elected a member of the Punjab Assembly from PP-78 in a by-election held in December 2016. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Why Putin is still genuinely popular in Russia
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 10:48:28 +0500
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin (centre) poses with prizewinners of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics after a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20.—Reuters VLADIMIR Putin won big on Sunday. According to the central election commission, the Russian president glides into his fourth term after winning his biggest ever election victory, with nearly 77 per cent favouring him. His nearest rival was an affluent multi-millionaire communist who got more than 11pc by presenting himself as a Putin-plus, with a programme of nationalising the oligarchs property instead of merely controlling it. Ksenia Sobchak, the nearest candidate to a liberal, had less than 2pc support. Alexei Navalny, the boldest agitator against corruption, banned from standing, advised Russians not to vote. But they did. Reports of ballot stuffing, harassment of observers and people coerced to go to the polls by their employers abound. We can be sure they will not render the result void. This was a coronation. Putin's popularity is a mystery to many in the West. He has invaded Ukraine, grabbed its Crimean region for Russia and sponsored a rebellion against the government in Kiev while lying about the presence of Russian troops fighting with the rebels even as their corpses were returned to Russia. He has committed Russian forces to assist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in suppressing his rebels with the utmost brutality. The economy turned sharply down in 2014, as the oil price fell and as economic sanctions were imposed. The charge made by British Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia is likely to have sanctioned the use of a nerve agent against the Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury earlier this month has been dismissed with sarcastic contempt, with no effort made to assist the British authorities. Putin, in his victory speech said that the UK’s allegations added to his majority. He seems, at present, invulnerable. At a gathering of mainly young Russian liberals, Lev Gudkov, the veteran pollster and head of the independent Levada Centre, showed the graphs which underpin the success: a loss of popularity for Putin after his 2012 election and then, with the taking of Crimea and the Russian-sponsored hostilities in Ukraine, a huge spike upwards to some 80pc of support, a doubling of the figures. In spite of declining incomes, rising prices and the viral videos showing the luxury in which senior officials live, Putin has stayed at or near these heights, unthinkable for a democratic politician. There has been, and remains, no alternative to Russia’s strongman. The common wisdom about elections — since Bill Clintons adviser James Carville fashioned his famous it's the economy stupid! sound byte — is that voters punish politicians in power during hard times. But Russians aren’t like democratic citizens. They prize inevitably given their history stability, and thus strength at the top. Shorn of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union, they rejoice in the return of part of it. Gudkov observed to his audience that many of the reflexes of the Communist period remained active in Russia a quarter of a century after the Soviet Union’s demise. Noted political commentator Andrei Kolesnikov added that Stalin has, for some years, stood as a symbol of order: people were not interested in large-scale protests, let alone revolution. Stability is all. This appears to speak for a fourth presidential term in which tough leadership, patriotic propaganda, the marginalisation of liberal causes such as minority rights and continuing defiance of a West pictured as both effete and threatening will continue to be the major tropes. Yet Putin, not being stupid, must fear that the economy, mixed with youthful rejection of the rule of aging and massively enriched top officials, may have its way in the end. In a briefing in London last week, Sergei Guriev, chief economist at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Developmwent, gave a sombre assessment of the economic state of Russia in Putin’s coming term. Guriev left Russia in 2013, fearful for his freedom, as a new repression gripped the country. A world-class economist, he is a symbol of the drain of Russia’s best brains losses which, he told his audience, continue. The recession, now ending, has cost the country some three per cent of its GDP, most of which up to 2.5pc is due to the fall in the oil price, which descended to below $40 a barrel last summer, but has since climbed to $70. Russia’s economy grew by 1.5pc in 2017 a rate Guriev expects to continue for the next 3-5 years. Growth of 1.5pc is anaemic for a country that should like other middle-income states be growing much faster. Investment, domestic and foreign, is low; the energetic wooing of Chinese President Xi Jinping has yielded results falling below Putin’s hopes. The Chinese, greatly expanding their interests throughout the world, are ultra cautious in Russia. Last week, a planned $9 billion stake by a little-known Chinese energy company in the Russian oil giant Rosneft was delayed, amid statements from the Chinese rating agencies of uncertainties around the purchase. The burden of the recession, Guriev says, was borne by households that saw incomes shrink by 10pc — a large drop for middle-income families and a huge loss for the poor as commodities become more expensive. These middle- and low-income Russians, the majority, may realise it isn’t much featured in Russia’s news media — that the very rich are richer than they were before the recession. A recent analysis shows Russian inequality rising faster than even in China, resulting in what Guriev said were huge increases in wealth for 0.001pc of the population a few tens of thousands of super-rich people. Russians are, by any standards, highly educated and often ambitious. But the pattern of the Putin years has been one of low investment, and little development of modern industries that would attract the clever and upwardly mobile young and thus a corresponding growth of a brain drain which has benefitted the West. With a low-growth economy, Russia’s claim to be a superpower pales before the continuing dominance of the United States and the fast-rising economic and strategic power of China. Gurievs analysis, devoid of political spin, points to Putin’s new term as being one of economic stagnation, which in turn will prompt continued aggression towards the West, with needed reforms once more ignored. A surly beast from the east, and thus a dangerous one. Putin’s triumph will not make him more inclined to cooperate with a West that will be, perhaps for all of his last term, more useful as an enemy than a friend.—Reuters Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Pakistan reaffirms support for Afghan reconciliation process
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:26 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for Afghanistan’s reconciliation process. “Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated Pakistan’s support to the efforts for Afghan reconciliation under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” said a statement from PM’s Office on the prime minister’s meeting with Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal. The two discussed bilateral relations and initiatives for peace and stability in Afghanistan. The Afghan envoy conveyed to Mr Abbasi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s desire for meaningful engagement with Pakistan in all areas of interaction. Afghan envoy conveys to PM Abbasi President Ghani’s desire for meaningful engagement Mr Ghani had last week invited Mr Abbasi to Kabul for initiating “a state to state comprehensive dialogue”. The dialogue is meant to fix the problems in bilateral relations that were preventing cooperation between the two countries. The invitation was extended during National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua’s visit to Kabul last Saturday following President Ghani’s offer of holding unconditional dialogue with the Taliban and improving ties with Pakistan. Sharing his views about a Pak-Afghan dialogue, Mr Abbasi told the Afghan envoy that bilateral engagement should be strengthened to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse fields. He laid emphasis on institutional interaction and high-level exchanges to enhance bilateral trade, economic cooperation and transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan. Mr Abbasi also underscored the need of deepening connectivity between the two countries and expediting ongoing regional projects, including TAPI and CASA1000. The prime minister condemned the suicide attack on Kabul’s Karte Sakhi shrine in which at least 26 lives were lost. The attacker targeted Nauroz celebrations at the shrine. The attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State group. “Pakistan strongly condemns today’s reprehensible suicide attack close to Ali Abad hospital and Kabul University. We are grieved at the loss of precious and innocent lives in this brutal attack of terrorism,” the Foreign Office said in a separate statement. “Pakistan reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations and expresses solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan in their fight against the menace of terrorism,” the statement added. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Three surcharges re-imposed on power consumers
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:19 +0500
ISLAMABAD: In line with a commitment it made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Wednesday allowed the federal government to re-impose three surcharges on electricity consumers. The three surcharges amounting to Rs1.55 per unit would be charged to consumers paying their bills regularly to finance Rs110 billion worth of theft, system losses and non-recovery of power companies. While allowing the surcharges, the regulator noted that its hands were tied under the law to allow them as decided by the federal government under section 31(5) of the Nepra law but said the existing tariff would remain unchanged. Nepra allows decision under commitment made to IMF Two of the surcharges are the Neelum-Jhelum Surcharge at a rate of 10 paisa per unit, aimed to generate about Rs7.5bn per annum, and Financing Cost Surcharge at a rate of 43 paisa per unit, to ensure collection of Rs30-32bn for debt servicing of the Power Holding Private Limited. The third surcharge, namely the Tariff Rationalisation Surcharge, levied at an average rate of Rs1.02 per unit is meant to reduce overall power subsidy on the budget and to keep the tariff uniform across the country through cross-subsidy. This would vary from one distribution company to another and yield about Rs70bn per annum. The regulator confirmed that the Lahore High Court had termed these surcharges unconstitutional on May 29, 2015, but the judgement was challenged by the federal government before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the operation of the high court’s verdict had been suspended. It said similar petitions were also pending against surcharges before high courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad, Balochistan and Sindh, but explained that since the distribution companies were parties before the respective high courts they would have to follow court orders. Talking about the merits and demerits of levying of surcharges, the regulator said that “Nepra has not levied any of such surcharges; rather it is the federal government which has the statutory power to do the same. Nepra has only been requested to simply indicate the amount of such surcharges imposed by the government in schedule to tariff for the purposes of recovery...”. Under section 31(5) of the Nepra Act, 1997, the federal government had the power to levy any surcharge and any such surcharge was to be considered as a cost to be included in the tariff determined by Nepra, the regulator said. Nevertheless, the regulator also put on record that despite government’s powers, it considered revenue shortfalls a result of inability of the distribution companies to recover the determined tariff. “The Financing Cost Surcharge is a burden on the paying consumers as a result of inability of the Discos to realise the full amount. This also incentivises Discos to underperform,” Nepra noted. The regulator said the interveners and affected groups should approach the federal government for the redressal of their concerns over the surcharges. An official explained that continuation of the three surcharges would not increase current tariff but would deprive the consumers a legitimate tariff reduction determined by the regulator over the past two years. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Power consumers to get Rs2.20 per unit relief for February
Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:03:39 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The power tariff for all distribution companies, except K-Electric, is estimated to decrease by about Rs2.20 per unit due to lower fuel costs in February and better energy mix. The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) has filed a petition before the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for a tariff cut on behalf of the distribution companies of ex-Wapda. The regulator is expected to hold a public hearing in the matter on March 27. Under the practice in vogue, distribution companies are charging significantly higher estimated fuel charge to power consumers and later adjusts these against actual cost in the subsequent month with the power regulator’s approval. The practice helps power companies generate billions of rupees as windfall from consumers in advance and have better cash flows without financing costs. The relief in electricity rates would not be applicable to agricultural consumers and residential consumers with less than 300 units of monthly consumption under a decision of the PML-N government on the grounds that these categories were already being provided subsidised electricity and hence do not qualify for monthly fuel price cut. In its petition, the CPPA reported to the regulator that it had charged a higher reference tariff of Rs7.26 per unit to consumers in February, but actual fuel cost turned out to be Rs5.07 per unit. Therefore, there was a legal requirement to return Rs2.20 per unit to consumers. The petitioner said that some 6,979 Gwh (Gigawatt hours) were generated in February and 6,808 Gwh could be delivered to distribution companies due to about 2.25pc losses in the transmission system. The CPPA said hydropower generation had improved to about 19.44pc of total electricity generated in February since the opening of canals after annual closure in January. Hydropower has a zero fuel cost. Also, wind and solar plants together contributed about 2pc energy at no fuel cost. The power generation from furnace oil-based power plants came down to 8.33pc in February compared to about 20.4pc electricity of furnace oil plants as hydrogenation improved. The furnace oil-based generation cost stood at Rs10.16 per unit. The natural gas-based generation contribution to the overall power mix was 24pc and its per unit cost was worked out at Rs4.71 per unit. On the other hand, the power production from imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) stood at 19.2pc in total supply. The RLNG-based generation cost surged to Rs9.02 per unit in February, up from Rs6.33 in December 2017. The share of coal-based generation increased to 15.79pc in February against 11.7pc in December. Its fuel cost of generation increased to Rs5.8 per unit in February from Rs4.3 per unit in December 2017. The price of electricity imported from Iran stood at Rs11.05 per unit and contributed about 0.5pc to the energy pool. The CPPA said total energy was generated at a total cost of Rs34.25bn or Rs4.9 per unit while 2.25pc lower supply was delivered to distribution companies at a cost of Rs34.5bn or Rs5.067 per unit. The CPPA said the actual generation cost was lower that it had already charged in connivance with the regulator and hence extra money collected from consumers needs to be refunded through adjustment in the next billing month - under automatic fuel pass through mechanism. Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018 more...
Rao Anwar arrested after finally appearing before SC in Naqeebullah murder case
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:05:23 +0500
Anwar has 'done no favours' by surrendering: CJPBack to Karachi'Staged encounter'Former SSP Malir Rao Anwar, who is being investigated for his suspected involvement in the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud in a staged 'encounter' in Karachi, was arrested today when he finally appeared before the Supreme Court after eluding law enforcement agencies for over a month. Anwar's appearance before the court today was a surprise to many. He had last been seen at Islamabad airport trying to flee the country on a Dubai-bound flight on January 23 before he was stopped by immigration officials. Since then, there had been no trace of the absconding officer, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had given a deadline for his arrest and called upon intelligence agencies and the Federal Investigation Agency to help Sindh police nab him. The court had finally warned on Monday that action would be taken against those providing shelter to Anwar. On Wednesday, soon after Anwar appeared before the three-judge bench hearing the suo motu case against Mehsud's murder, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered police to arrest him. "Take Rao Anwar into custody," the CJP said after rejecting his request for protective bail. Dawn Investigation: Rao Anwar and the killing fields of Karachi Justice Nisar also directed police to ensure that the former SSP isn't harmed in custody. After the hearing ended, Anwar was taken away in an armoured personnel carrier and later handed over to Sindh police officials. He will be shifted to Karachi in the evening. Journalists chase an armoured vehicle carrying Rao Anwar. — AP The bench has also ordered the formation of a new five-member joint investigation team, headed by Additional IG Aftab Pathan, to probe Mehsud's killing. On Anwar's request, it also ordered the authorities to unfreeze Anwar's bank accounts so his children do not face financial difficulties. Anwar's salary must also be paid, the CJP said after the officer was taken into custody. He said no institution, including the judiciary, will influence the investigation, which he said "must be transparent." Anwar has 'done no favours' by surrendering: CJP On Anwar's counsel's request, the court withdrew the contempt notice issued to the officer last month, but ruled that his name will remain on the Exit Control List until the probe is completed. The court in its order said that Inspector General of Police Sindh A.D. Khowaja will be responsible for Anwar's protection till the conclusion of the case and Mehsud's relatives will not create any difficulties for the ex-SSP Malir. Anwar had arrived at the court under tight security and was taken directly to Courtroom number 1, where the hearing into Mehsud's murder case took place. It is not yet clear whether he had shown up to court voluntarily. IG Khowaja was also present in court for the hearing. "We had heard many tales of your bravery," the chief justice said at the outset of the hearing, "but if you are so brave, where had you been hiding like a coward all these days?" The former SSP Malir replied that he was facing "some threats" which he had mentioned in a letter sent to the CJP. "I am guiltless and am being framed in this case," he claimed. His counsel, Shamim Rehman, informed the bench that Anwar had now "surrendered". But Justice Nisar remarked that Anwar had "done no favours" by surrendering, and it had been inappropriate of him to write letters to the CJP. "Prove your innocence before the [new] joint investigating team," he told Anwar, adding that he would be considered innocent till proven guilty in the eyes of the law. Back to Karachi Later in the day, Karachi police brought former Anwar back to the city under strict security. Police are likely to present the former SSP Malir before the court on Thursday in order to obtain his physical remand. Meanwhile, an official informed Dawn that police have already conducted investigations in cases pending against Anwar. “The JIT formed on the orders of apex court would conduct further probe in case there is any new development,” he said. 'Staged encounter' Naqeebullah Mehsud — whose name was given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, relatives of the deceased had told Dawn. Hailing from South Waziristan, he was among four suspects killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis in January 2018. Anwar had alleged that Naqeebullah was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant, but a later statement reportedly issued by a spokesperson for TTP's South Waziristan chapter had termed the claim "baseless", clarifying that the deceased had no links with the banned militant outfit. Naqeebullah's family had also disputed Anwar's claim, saying that the 27-year-old had no links with any militant organisation. In January, an inquiry team of senior police officers probing the alleged extrajudicial killing of Mehsud had found that the Waziristan native was killed in a fake encounter which was staged by then-SSP Malir Anwar on January 13. The high-level inquiry committee had also concluded in its initial report submitted to the Sindh police that the deceased man had no militant tendencies. more...
Peshawar Zalmi knock out Karachi Kings, qualify for PSL 2018 final
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:51:46 +0500
Road to Eliminator 2Team NewsLine-upsKarachiites' hopes of watching their team contest the Pakistan Super League 2018 final at the National Stadium were dashed after their beloved Karachi Kings lost out to Peshawar Zalmi by 12 runs in their Eliminator match in Lahore on Wednesday. The defeat at the Gaddafi Stadium meant the Kings were knocked out of the T20 tournament, whereas Zalmi qualified for their second straight final and will get to defend their title against Islamabad United in Karachi this Sunday. Comment: Karachi Kings — the PSL franchise hated by many of its own The match's start was delayed for more than an hour due to overnight rain and a wet outfield. But the ground staff worked diligently to make sure the play was possible. The delay, however, meant that the all-important encounter was reduced to 16 overs per side. When the match finally began, Zalmi, who were put into bat first, sent out Kamran Akmal and Andre Fletcher to open their innings, whereas Mohammad Amir and Usman Shinwari shared the new ball for the port city side. The opening over was quiet before Akmal livened things up in the second, hitting a 6 and a 4 off of Shinwari. It was Fletcher's turn to do the same in the 4th over, although his 6 was a mishit and could've landed anywhere. In the 5th over, Akmal demonstrated to his West Indian partner how to hit clean 6s. He plundered Shinwari for 25 runs in that over, taking his side to 54-0. Zalmi were officially off to a flying start. Fletcher showed he was a quick learner, hitting three boundaries in Ravi Bopara's first and the innings' sixth over. With nothing working, Amir tossed the ball to leg-spinner Usama Mir, hoping for a Mir-acle. It didn't work; Akmal smacked three more boundaries, bringing up the fastest half-century ever scored in PSL history. It took him just 17 balls this time. Akmal, who has found an extra couple of gears in PSL 2018, smacked two more in Danish Aziz's first and innings' 9th. The Kings finally found some joy in the 10th over when Bopara removed both the openers. Before sauntering back to the dugout, Akmal hit the Brit for another. Here's that eventful over: After 10 overs, Zalmi were 120-2, with Mohammad Hafeez and Liam Dawson, who by the way had hit a 6 the first ball he faced, in the middle . With just 6 overs left to play, Zalmi batters were taking added risk. It paid off sometimes: It did not the other. At this point, Zalmi had lost three wickets — all picked up by Bopara. Shinwari had been decent in death overs in PSL 2018 with his yorkers. He targeted Darren Sammy's legs on the opening ball of 14th over, making it clear what his strategy was going to be. After missing the opening ball, Sammy found a way, digging Shinwari's full-length ball and sending it over cow corner. Zalmi's 150 was up in that same over before Dawson fell prey to Shinwari. Captain Amir was one of the few Karachi bowlers who had bowled well on the night. He had been stingy in the 13th and again gave away just 6 runs in the 15th, finishing with figures of 4-0-16-0. Three wickets fell in the final over bowled by Saad Nasim but Zalmi managed to scored 11 off it, finishing with 170-7 in their allotted 16 overs. With a mammoth total to chase, the Kings started off brightly as Joe Denly hit a trio of 4s in the opening over bowled by Hasan Ali. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was also in attendance. It was either the chief justice's gaze or the pressure of the situation that got to Denly's partner Mukhtar Ahmed; he attempted an ugly hoick in the second over and got out. Babar Azam, who has had a terrific PSL 2018, walked in. After Denly hit a 6 in the 4th over, Azam smacked back-to-back boundaries in the 5th — at the end of which the Kings were 37-1. Their run rate was decent but not nearly good enough to help them score the 134 further runs they needed off just 66 balls. The Denly-Azam carried on for the next three overs, mixing boundaries with binaries and helping their side to 69-1 after 8 overs. Two action-free overs piled up pressure on Karachi duo whose side needed a massive 89 runs from the final 6 overs to make the final. The 11th and 12th over saw a couple of boundaries but a couple was not good enough at that stage. Karachi needed many boundaries every over but Denly and Azam just couldn't catch up to the rocketing run rate. Both the batters brought up their half-centuries in the 12th over but the gargantuan task of getting their team over the distant line had yet to be accomplished. Azam's 45-ball 63-run innings came to an end in the penultimate over. Denly (unbeaten 79 off 46 balls) tried with all his might but could not get the job done. The Kings fell 12 runs short and were knocked out of PSL 2018. Akmal was named the man of the match for his blistering innings. Road to Eliminator 2 The Kings already spurned a chance to directly qualify for the final after losing to Islamabad United in a lop-sided qualifier last weekend. Zalmi, meanwhile, survived by the skin of their teeth last night, defeating Quetta Gladiators by just one run in the first Eliminator. Team News Pacer Mohammad Amir led the Kings as Imad Wasim and Shahid Afridi were both out injured and Eoin Morgan didn't travel to Pakistan. The Kings drafted in Mukhtar Ahmed, Zulfiqar Babar and Danish Aziz into their squads as covers for the missing. Line-ups Karachi Kings: Denly, Mukhtar, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Bopara, Rizwan, Mir, Usman Shinwari, Mills, Amir, Aziz Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran (wk), Fletcher, Hafeez, Nasim, Sammy (capt), Dawson, Jordan, Asif, Wahab, Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul more...
26 killed in Kabul as IS suicide bomber targets Nauroz celebrations
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 15:48:51 +0500
Little incentive for talksA suicide bomber on Wednesday killed at least 26 people, many of them teenagers, after detonating a device among a crowd of people in Kabul who were celebrating the Persian new year Nauroz, officials said. The militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack ─ the fifth suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in recent weeks ─ via its propaganda arm Amaq, SITE Intelligence Group said. The Taliban earlier denied involvement on Twitter. Another 18 people were wounded in the blast, Interior Ministry Spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said, “all of them civilians”. There were fears the figure could rise, however, with the Health Ministry giving a higher toll of 29 people killed and 52 wounded. Afghan officials often give conflicting tolls in the wake of attacks. The bomber, who was on foot, detonated his device in front of Kabul University and a hospital that was opposite, Rahimi said. The blast occurred less than 200 metres from Karte Sakhi shrine where many Afghans gather every year to mark Nauroz ─ but had been unable to reach it due to heavy security for the holiday. So he “detonated himself among teenagers returning from there”, Kabul police chief Mohammad Daud Amin told Tolo News. Bloodstains could be seen among scattered belongings on the road at the site of the attack. A man who was standing metres from where the explosion happened told Tolo that he saw “at least four bodies in blood” on the ground. IS has attacked the same shrine once before, in October 2016, when gunmen killed 18 people gathered to mark Ashura. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose government has been repeatedly lambasted for its inability to protect its citizens, condemned the attack in a statement as a “crime against humanity”. Taliban and IS militants have increasingly targeted the war-weary city in recent months as United States and Afghan forces ramp up air strikes and ground offensives against the groups. Wednesday's blast comes days after a Taliban suicide attacker blew up a bomb-laden car in Kabul, causing multiple casualties. Some Western and Afghan security experts believe the Haqqani Network has been behind some of the attacks in Kabul in recent months, including those claimed by IS. The Taliban, Afghanistan's largest militant group, faces growing pressure to take up a recent offer by President Ghani of peace talks to end the 16-year war. So far it has given only a muted response. Little incentive for talks This latest suicide attack underscores the growing challenge facing Afghan and foreign forces to protect the already heavily militarised city. Authorities had increased security ahead of Nauroz festivities, which militants have previously struck with deadly force. General John Nicholson, who leads US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, recently told reporters that protecting Kabul was a priority for foreign troops. “Kabul is our main effort right now, to harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the international community that are here because of the strategic impact that has and the importance to the campaign,” Nicholson said. But he acknowledged that preventing further attacks would be challenging in the sprawling city that is poorly mapped and extremely porous. The latest attack comes as US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford visits Afghanistan to assess the military campaign against insurgents ─ weeks before the start of the spring fighting season, which is expected to be particularly bloody this year. Despite calls for the Taliban to sit down with the Afghan government, the group appears to have few reasons to negotiate. The Taliban has been resurgent since the withdrawal of US-led Nato combat troops at the end of 2014, taking back territory and devastating Afghanistan's beleaguered security forces. In October, insurgents controlled or influenced nearly half of Afghanistan's districts ─ double the percentage in 2015, the US government's office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in January. Over the same period, the watchdog said, the number of districts under Afghan government control or influence fell to its lowest level since December 2015. more...
Case filed against Haqqani for 'crimes against solidarity, security of state'
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 19:15:25 +0500
A case has been registered against former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani for allegedly causing harm to national security by issuing anti-Pakistan statements during media appearances, DawnNewsTV reported. On Wednesday, a First Information was filed at Preedy police station on the complaint of Advocate Iqbal Haider under Sections 120-B, 121-A, 123-A, and 120-A of the Pakistan Penal Code. "The remarks made by Haqqani [repeatedly] are crimes against the integrity, solidarity, sovereignty and security of the state of Pakistan," reads the FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com. It holds Haqqani responsible for committing offences against the state. Know more: Haqqani claims his ‘connections’ led US to kill Osama In December last year, three people had separately lodged FIRs against Hussain Haqqani with two police stations in Kohat for delivering hate speeches and writing books and articles against the armed forces and the ‘sovereignty of Pakistan’. The complainants alleged that Haqqani was responsible for the Memogate scandal and had issued visas to CIA and Indian agents while serving as Pakistani ambassador to the US. They argued that Haqqani had maligned Pakistan in his books, “which proves that he is a traitor”. The cases were registered under Sections 120(b) (hatching a criminal conspiracy) and 121(a) (waging a war against Pakistan) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Haqqani’s name recently echoed in the apex court during the hearing by a three-judge bench of a set of petitions moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and a group of citizens in connection with the right of overseas Pakistanis to participate in the democratic process. The case had reminded the chief justice of Hussain Haqqani. In 2012, a judicial commission tasked with probing the matter had submitted its report to the apex court. It held Haqqani guilty of authoring the controversial memorandum and said that he “is not loyal to the country”. more...
No hot pursuits into Pakistan, says Pentagon
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:03:11 +0500
WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defence has ruled out hot pursuits into Pakistan to take out terrorists who flee Afghanistan. In a briefing for Indian and Afghan media outlets, a Pentagon spokesperson also said that if Pakistan wants to keep militants within its borders, it could do so, as long as they do not disturb peace and stability in Afghanistan. “Say, for example, we have troops in contact and then the Taliban forces go across the border. They are clearly inside Pakistan then,” said Lt Col Mike Andrews. “We have no authority to go into Pakistan. There’s no change with regard to respecting the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan.” Also read: Tillerson urges Pakistan to step up action against terrorist 'safe havens' The Pentagon official explained that US troops in Afghanistan operated within Afghanistan’s borders only and they had no authority to cross that border. “If there is a way to get that authority, but that would certainly be the exception and not the norm,” he added. US links security aid resumption with Pakistan’s action against ‘terrorist safe havens’ Col Andrews pointed out that an exception did not apply to routine operations, and, therefore, crossing into Pakistan was not going to be a part of normal day-to-day operational rules of engagement for US commanders in Afghanistan. “If the Taliban reside in Pakistan and we are able to provide safety and support and to help secure districts and provinces within Afghanistan, I think that is a trade-off that we’re willing to make,” he said. “Because it’s not necessarily about these people over in Pakistan, it is about the Afghan people.” The Pentagon official said that this year, the official Afghan forces would focus their efforts on taking back the provinces that the Taliban claimed or contested. “And what happens in Pakistan, we can’t have any control on that,” he said. “That’s something within Pakistan, that’s something the nation of Pakistan has got to resolve. Now we’re going to stay focused on Afghanistan.” Col Andrews said that the US expected Pakistan to take steps to ensure there were no sanctuaries where Taliban or other terrorist organisations could hide. “We are hopeful Pakistan will take action, because not only do we feel it is going to serve Afghanistan, but it’s going to help protect Pakistan, India and the entire region,” he argued. Col Andrews also said that the US would not resume its security aid to Pakistan until Islamabad addresses Washington’s concerns over alleged terrorist safe havens within its borders. The Trump administration suspended more than one billion dollars of security assistance to Pakistan after accusing Islamabad of harbouring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. “The US government has been very honest and open both publicly and privately with Pakistan on the things that they need to address before we can move forward with the resumption of the aid that has been suspended,” Col Andrews said. The Pentagon’s comments follow renewed efforts to improve relations between the United States and Pakistan who were once close allies in the war against terrorists. On Friday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on a private visit to Pennsylvania, had a surprise meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence which focused, almost entirely, on Afghanistan. Mr Pence used this meeting to emphasise the need for “Pakistan to do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in their country,” the White House said. The meeting followed a visit to Washington by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua who also received similar messages at her meetings at the State Department and the White House. And on Saturday, a day after the Pence-Abbasi meeting, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that he too is inviting the Pakistani prime minister to Kabul to “initiate state-to-state comprehensive dialogue”. Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
Kabirwala police refuse to book local influential for minor girl's rape, protesting residents say
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:40:13 +0500
Residents of Khanewal's Kabirwala tehsil protested on Wednesday against local police's alleged refusal to investigate an influential accused of raping a minor girl, DawnNewsTV reported. The victim's family had accused a local landlord and one of his servants of kidnapping and raping the child — a grade 3 student — overnight, and then dumping her unconscious body on a farm. The child had been brought to a local hospital in an unconscious state. She underwent treatment for three days before she was allowed to leave. After she was discharged, the victim had been taken to the Haveli Koranga police station for the lodging of a case against the accused. The police had initially noted down the family's complaint, in which both suspects had been named, but only named the servant as a suspect in the FIR. According to the FIR, which was registered with the victim's mother as the complainant, the girl was kidnapped by the servant while her family slept. Soon after the victim's mother woke up, she found the girl missing. She launched a search for her with other family members and was quoted to have said that she witnessed the servant raping the girl at the landlord's house. Angered at the police's alleged refusal to register a case against the landlord, the girl's family and other residents of the area launched protests and demanded the immediate arrest of both the suspects. The protesters have also appealed to the chief minister of Punjab for justice. more...
PM Abbasi condemns Kabul bombing, reiterates Pakistan's support for Afghanistan
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 22:25:04 +0500
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated Pakistan's support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, Radio Pak reported on Wednesday. Talking to Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal that the Prime Minister house, PM Abbasi strongly condemned the suicide blast which occurred at a shrine in Kabul today and expressed grief at the loss of precious lives. The Afghan ambassador appreciated the prime minister’s reaffirmation of Pakistan's support in these testing times. He also said that President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan leadership desire meaningful engagement with Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest. During the meeting, PM Abbasi also underlined the importance of institutional interaction and high-level exchanges to enhance bilateral trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He stressed the importance of economic cooperation and transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan. The prime minister also talked about the need for deepening connectivity between the two countries and expediting ongoing regional projects including TAPI and CASA1000. more...
At least 9 killed in AJK as jeep plunges into ravine
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:24:41 +0500
At least nine people, including four women, were killed and five others, including a woman and a minor, were wounded when a passenger jeep plunged into a ravine along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir's (AJK) Jhelum Valley on Wednesday, police said. The jeep was on its way to Chakothi from Shah Kanja village when it met the tragic accident at about 8:30am near Dakhan area, said Deputy Commissioner Hattian Bala Abdul Hameed Kiani. Chakothi is some 60 kilometres south of Muzaffarabad and Shah Kanja is another 10km ahead of it in Khalana Valley. The ravine which the vehicle fell into flows through Khalana Valley and joins the River Jhelum after passing beneath Kaman Bridge at the Chokothi-Uri crossing point. Kiani said that the area where the accident occurred did not have cellular service coverage so the details of the accident reached administrative officials after a while. “I can confirm that nine people, including the driver, lost their lives in the tragic incident on the spot while another five people have been injured,” he said. The deceased were identified as Khurshid Abbasi, Gulzar Minhas, Haider Jan, Akbar Hussain, Saeeda Manzoor, Saeeda Khadim, Mumtaz Rafique, all of whom were residents of Shah Kanja village; Muhammad Siddique, a resident of Bandi Bala; and Bibi Jan, a resident of Barri Behak village. The injured, four of whom were identified as Raja Aftab, 60, Syed Fayyaz Gillani, 58, Arsalan, 10, and Nazir Fatima, 40, were admitted to District Headquarters Hospital Hattian Bala, where the condition of one of them was said to be critical. There were reports that the death toll had risen to 10, but Kiani could not immediately confirm the reports. Residents of the area said dilapidated and poorly designed link roads in the hilly areas are one of the reasons behind frequent road accidents, in addition to faulty and outdated vehicles. “Link roads are being carved out in hilly areas without any proper engineering survey and design. Even a goods-laden donkey cannot steadily walk through these link roads, let alone vehicles which are mostly outdated,” said a visibly perturbed local who identified himself as Mohammad Aslam. According to residents, most of the vehicles running along different routes have either outlived their normal life span or have been locally altered to accommodate a maximum load beyond their actual loading capacity. Locals have also accused the authorities of turning a blind eye to this issue, despite hue and cry from members of civil society. “The accident should serve as an eye opener for the government to redetermine its priorities," said Mohammad Deen Mughal, another resident of the area. more...
Data firm suspends CEO over Facebook scandal
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 12:13:08 +0500
Investigations multiplyWatchdog searchesFacebook expressed outrage on Tuesday over the misuse of its data as Cambridge Analytica, the British firm at the centre of a major scandal rocking the social media giant, suspended its chief executive. The move to suspend CEO Alexander Nix came as recordings emerged in which he boasts his data company played an expansive role in Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, doing all of its research, analytics as well as digital and television campaigns. In undercover filming captured by Britain's Channel 4 News, he is also seen boasting about entrapping politicians and secretly operating in elections around the world through shadowy front companies. Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic have demanded answers after it was revealed at the weekend that Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested information from 50 million Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica has denied using Facebook data for the Trump campaign, but the scandal has ratcheted up the pressure on the social media giant — already under fire for allowing fake news to proliferate on its platform during the US campaign. The US media reported on Tuesday evening that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook over the data scandal. Facebook said its top executives were “working around the clock to get all the facts.” “The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens,” the firm said. Cambridge Analytica's board said that Nix would stand aside immediately pending an investigation into the snowballing allegations against him. “In the view of the Board, Nix's recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation,” the company said. In Channel 4's recordings, Nix slights US representatives on the House Intelligence Committee to whom he gave evidence last year, claiming its Democrats are motivated by “sour grapes” and Republicans asked few questions. “They're politicians, they're not technical. They don't understand how it works,” he was caught on camera telling an undercover reporter. He also outlines the use of a secret self-destructing email system. “There's no evidence, there's no paper trail, there's nothing,” he said of the tool, which deletes emails two hours after they have been read. Investigations multiply Channel 4 News broadcast an interview filmed in October last year with defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in which she said she had faced “a massive propaganda effort”. “There was a new kind of campaign that was being run on the other side,” she said. “It affected the thought processes of voters.” Facebook now faces investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, sending its share price tumbling another 2.6 per cent after a 6.8pc plunge on Monday. European Union officials have called for an urgent investigation while British lawmakers have asked Zuckerberg to give evidence to a UK parliamentary committee. Zuckerberg has been asked to appear before the European Parliament. “Facebook needs to clarify before the representatives of 500 million Europeans that personal data is not being used to manipulate democracy,” tweeted parliament president Antonio Tajani. US lawmakers have also called on Zuckerberg to appear before Congress, along with the chief executives of Twitter and Google. Officials in the states of Massachusetts and New York announced they were sending a “demand letter” to Facebook for the facts of the case. “Consumers have a right to know how their information is used — and companies like Facebook have a fundamental responsibility to protect their users' personal information,” New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. Thirteen US consumer and privacy organisations meanwhile released a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to reopen a probe into Facebook, saying the firm's admission so far “suggests a clear violation” of a 2011 consent decree. Watchdog searches A former Cambridge Analytica employee says it was able to create psychological profiles on 50 million Facebook users through the use of a personality prediction app that was downloaded by 270,000 people, but also scooped up data from friends — as was possible under Facebook's rules at the time. The end goal was to create software to predict and influence voters' choices at the ballot box. The company blames the academic who developed the app, University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, for misusing the data, which it says was never used on the Trump campaign, and has in any event been deleted. But the firm's reputation took a severe hit on Monday, with the broadcast of the first batch of secret footage showing Nix saying it could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and sex workers. He also said the firm secretly campaigns in elections around the world, including by operating through a web of shadowy front companies, or by using sub-contractors, according to Channel 4 News. A Cambridge Analytica spokesman told the news programme it does not use “untrue material for any purpose”. Facebook, which says the data was taken without its knowledge, has launched its own investigation into Cambridge Analytica. But it was forced to suspend its probe following a request from Britain's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, who is making her own inquiries into both companies. Denham's office said it had yet to obtain a court warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's servers and was now expecting to secure it on Wednesday. more...
‘Social media poses new challenge for anti-polio campaigns’
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:04:42 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Although there has been improvement in the country when it comes to reducing the number of polio cases, social media poses a new challenge for the polio vaccination programme. “Whenever the time comes to start a campaign against polio, a campaign is started on social media that results in increased resistance to vaccination,” National Coordinator for Polio Eradication Dr Rana Safdar told Dawn. “We have contacted the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to address the issue, and expect that things will improve, but Whatsapp is still a huge challenge for us,” he added. Dr Safdar said that print and electronic media had been sensitised over the last few years about reporting on polio vaccination campaigns. PTA contacted regarding negative propaganda about the vaccine, polio eradication national coordinator says Where they previously ran stories against campaigns and the polio vaccine, he said they were now seeing that print and electronic media were supporting polio vaccination campaigns. “However, whenever a campaign is started against polio vaccination on social media, we face resistance,” he said. In response to a question, Dr Safdar said that old videos, which have already been rebutted many times, were uploaded to social media. “Recently in Nawabshah, a video was circulated in which a person claimed that children were being killed by the polio vaccine. However, during the investigation it was revealed that the video was dubbed or edited and a new voice message was included in it,” he said. He said that while Facebook and Youtube were being contacted through the PTA and would block such messages due to sensitivity of the issue, they were “concerned about Whatsapp, because video messages are circulated from individual to individual or in groups, and it is difficult to stop the circulation of such videos”. “We have been trying our best to stop the circulation of such videos,” he said. Dr Safdar added that although Pakistan has raised the immunity level of children by vaccinating over 95pc of children, two recent incidents had increased problems: the killing of a mother and daughter in Quetta and the kidnapping of polio workers in Mohmad Agency. “However, efforts are being made to address all issues and eradicate the virus for good,” he said. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services Pakistan, having received its lower ever case court of eight in 2017, is on the right trajectory to finish the job this year by maintaining intense pressure on the poliovirus. This conclusion was reached by the National Polio Management Team when it met in Islamabad to review progress on the National Emergency Action Plan and find a strategic direction for the low transmission season in 2018/19. The meeting had observed that the programme needed the support of all segments of society to convey the right messages to communities that still fall prey to negative propaganda about vaccinations, as five out of eight children paralysed by the poliovirus in 2017 came from families that refused vaccinations due to misconceptions. Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
Unsought defence of Sanjrani by Swati surprises many
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:11:27 +0500
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) senator and an aspirant for the opposition leader’s office in the upper house of parliament, Azam Khan Swati, surprised all political parties on Tuesday by issuing a warning against those planning to move a no-confidence motion against newly elected Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. When contacted, a number of senators and politicians belonging to both government and opposition expressed their “surprise” over the statement while terming it “illogical” and without any background. PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry said Mr Swati upon his inquiring told him that he had issued the statement as he had come to know that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been planning to table a no-trust motion against Mr Sanjrani. Mr Chaudhry said Mr Swati had even named a federal minister who had been contacting the senators to plan the move against the Senate chairman. However, PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed termed it a “non-issue”, saying “nothing of this sort is in the offing”. “This is absolutely a non-issue,” Mr Sayed said, adding that such a move was not even thinkable at a time when the new Senate had just been constituted and its first session was yet to be convened. One of the opposition members termed Mr Swati’s statement an effort to appease the Senate chairman who was to make a decision about the new opposition leader in the Senate. He said the statement had been issued by Mr Swati three days after blaming the Senate chairman for violating the rules by accepting the nomination of PPP’s Sherry Rehman as the opposition leader before time. Mr Swati in his letter to the chairman had reproduced the concerned rules of the Senate, implying that the chairman had no knowledge of the Senate rules, he added. In his statement, Mr Swati said the new Senate chairman had been elected by a majority of votes of the senators according to the Constitution and “there is no such provision to bring a no-trust motion against him. “It is uncalled for and violation of the laws, norms, rules and Constitution,” the PTI senator said without elaborating the context. “Anyone trying to tarnish the image of this sacred democratic institution will be taken to task,” he added. Mr Swati, who had stated in the beginning of his statement that there was no such provision to bring the no-trust motion against the chairman, then himself quoted Article 53(7) of the Constitution stating “one can bring a resolution against the Senate chairman in the Senate to be removed by majority of the members”. The PTI senator said: “However, once again, we assure our support to the worthy chairman unconditionally and any such move will be defeated Insha Allah with bigger majority. “We all, regardless of our political party’s affiliation, will defend honour and dignity of the upper house and of the Senate chairman and will not make him a laughing stock and any such move with nefarious design will be defeated on the floor of the house.’’ Expressing her surprise over Mr Swati’s statement, Sherry Rehman, the other contender for the opposition leader’s slot, said he had issued it with some motive perhaps. The PPP senator, who had already submitted her nomination for the office of the opposition leader with the signatures of 33 senators, told Dawn that disinformation was being spread about the Senate procedures. She said the PPP had submitted everything by the book. She explained that they had received a letter from the Senate chairman on March 15, asking them to show their support within seven days i.e. by March 22. “We submitted our majority by close of business,” she said. The race for the office of the Senate opposition leader had taken an interesting turn last week when the PTI claimed to have support of some of the senators on the list submitted by the PPP’s contender. The PTI alleged that Ms Rehman had submitted her nomination to the Senate chairman before time which, according to it, amounted to violation of rules. Mr Chaudhry claimed that the PPP and PTI had 20 members in the Senate and the independent senators from the Federally Adminis­tered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan were yet to make a decision. He said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Jamaat-i-Islami had assured their support to his party. However, Ms Rehman said all the senators had voluntarily supported her nomination. She said the PPP was the largest opposition party in the Senate and, therefore, it had the right to get the opposition leader’s office. Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
KU to form ‘harassment watch committees’ to crack down on abuse
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:03:51 +0500
KARACHI: Hit by three more sexual harassment cases in recent weeks, the Karachi University (KU) announced on Tuesday that a harassment watch committee would be set up in each department/institute and a complaint box would be placed in the Vice Chancellor’s Secretariat. The three-member committee headed by chairperson of a department or director of an institute would consist of two most senior male and female professors. This decision, sources said, was taken on Monday in a meeting chaired by the vice chancellor and participated by heads of all departments/institutes. According to sources, the university’s central committee on sexual harassment is currently investigating a sexual harassment case pertaining to a lecturer at the department of petroleum technology. This committee, which recently found Prof Sahar Ansari guilty of sexual harassment on the campus, comprised Prof Nasreen Aslam Shah, Prof Jamil Hasan Kazmi, president of Karachi University Teachers Society, and Mohammad Ashraf, the deputy registrar academics. The two other cases, sources said, reported in the social sciences faculty were yet be forwarded to the central committee. A KU professor on condition of anonymity told Dawn that most teachers at the meeting shared concerns over the increasing number of sexual harassment cases on the campus which, they believed, was damaging institutional repute. “The committees set up at the departmental level will forward such cases to the central committee after determining veracity of the complaint/s,” he said, adding that students could directly report such matters to the vice chancellor as well. Teachers, he said, were also perturbed over what they described as “malicious campaign of some TV channels” against the university, accusing it of ignoring cases of sexual harassment on the campus. “Teachers expressed dismay over the way some channels are reporting this case and were of the opinion that they should wait for the committee’s findings,” he said. According to a university press release, the inquiry committee for protection against women’s harassment at KU is functioning in accordance with the relevant act with complete autonomy. “This committee has given independent decisions in the past. Any person, group or organisation will not be allowed to exert pressure on the committee. The university vice chancellor will now personally look into such complaints,” it says. The university administration, the press release states, has received a letter from the lecturer at the petroleum technology department against whom the complaint has been received, on March 19, 2018 according to which “he is receiving death threats”. “Therefore, he has been sent on leave until the report of the disciplinary committee is finalised,” the press release further says. Reportedly, this case is also being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
Maulana Fazl to head recently revived MMA
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:03:11 +0500
KARACHI: The recently revived Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal — a political alliance of five religious parties — announced on Tuesday that Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Liaquat Baloch would be the president and secretary general of the MMA, respectively. The names were formally announced at a joint press conference after a meeting of the leaders of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP), Tehreek-i-Islami Pakistan (TIP) and Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith (MJAH). Also read: Situationer: Time ripe for MMA reunion? Addressing the press conference here in Defence, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced that all the five parties would contest upcoming general elections from the MMA platform which would have one election symbol, one flag and one manifesto. He said the manifesto would be declared in the first week of April in Islamabad. He said their doors would be open to reach election understanding and to have seat adjustments with other parties. He added that the alliance would utilise all its energy to enforce the Islamic system in the country to resolve national issues and protect rights of religious minorities, oppressed and the deprived sections of society. He vowed that the MMA would also strive to solve problems being confronted by the people. Liaquat Baloch appointed secretary general of the five-party alliance Besides Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Amjad Khan, Maulana Akram Durrani and Mohammad Aslam Ghauri of the JUI-F; Sirajul Haq, Liaquat Baloch, Prof Ibrahim, Asadullah Bhutto of the JI; Pir Aejaz Hashmi and Owais Noorani of the JUP; Allama Sajid Mir and Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer of the MJAH; Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi and Allama Shabbir Methi of the TIP attended the MMA meeting. Allama Sajid Naqvi could not make it to attend the meeting. MMA secretary general Liaquat Baloch announced the names of the office-bearers of the recently revived alliance. According to him, Pir Aejaz Hashmi, Sirajul Haq, Allama Sajid Naqvi and Prof Sajid Mir will be the vice presidents, Shah Ovais Noorani will be the central information secretary, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Mohammad Khan Leghari, Shafiq Pasrrori and Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi will be the deputy secretary general and Allama Shabbir Methi will be the finance secretary of the alliance. Allama Sajid Mir will be the chief of the MMA manifesto committee. Mr Baloch said a central convention of the alliance would be held in the first week of April in Islamabad where MMA’s manifesto as well as its future strategy would also be made public. Maulana Fazlur Rehman said all their efforts would be to come up to the expectations of 210 million Pakistanis who were mostly disappointed to see that the objectives for which the country was founded were not attained. The country was facing several pressing issues, as there was growing unrest among the people, he said. “We have joined hands to formulate a strategy to restore peace to the country. For this purpose, the MMA will work to protect every citizen. Medina is a role model for us,” he added. In reply to a question, JI chief Sirajul Haq said all their efforts would be aimed at making the country prosper by foiling all conspiracies hatched to divide people on one or the other pretext. Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi said: “We have forged unity to eliminate confusion about sectarianism and will strive to serve the country.” Allama Sajid Mir said the MMA had started its new journey from Karachi where informal announcement had been made for its revival. Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
LHC upholds death penalty for convict in Zainab murder case
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:03:19 +0500
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday upheld the verdict of an anti-terrorism court in the rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab of Kasur, and dismissed Imran Ali’s appeal against his death sentence. A division bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry dismissed the appeal after hearing arguments from the prosecution and the defence counsel. At the outset of the hearing, Advocate Asad Jamal, who represented the convict pro bono, asked the bench to give him more time to prepare his arguments. However, the bench turned down his request and asked the counsel to resume his arguments, stating that otherwise the convict would be assigned state counsel. Also read: How authorities tracked down suspect in Zainab’s case Advocate Jamal then questioned the admissibility of the DNA findings which the trial court had relied on when handing down the conviction. He said there was a misconception that the DNA test was foolproof evidence, and added that the court could not blindly rely on that evidence. Imran Ali pleaded he should be treated with leniency because by confessing to his crime he had saved court’s time He further said that a statement of the laboratory that had conducted the DNA analysis was not available on record. He also challenged the evidence of CCTV footage presented by the prosecution against the convict, saying that the prosecution had itself admitted that the man shown in the footage was only similar to the convict. He also pointed out what he described as several shortcomings in the cross-examination of witnesses. Besides questioning the fairness of the trial, the counsel also assailed the jurisdiction of an anti-terrorism court to hold trial in such a case. The counsel reiterated his request for adjournment but the bench refused to defer proceedings and sought arguments from the prosecution. Additional Prosecutor General Abdul Samad stated that the trial court had awarded punishment in the light of the convict’s confession, DNA analysis and witnesses who had testified against him. After hearing the arguments from both sides, the bench dismissed the appeal and upheld the conviction handed down by the trial court. The convict can further appeal against the high court’s decision before the Supreme Court. Talking to journalists, Haji Amin Ansari, the victim’s father, said he was satisfied with the high court’s decision. He said that justice had been done in this case. In his jail-appeal, Imran Ali had pleaded that he had confessed to the crime and saved the precious time of the trial court. He said that courts in developed countries treated criminals who confessed to their crimes with leniency. However, he added, the trial court had not shown leniency in his case despite his confession. Imran Ali was sentenced to death by the anti-terrorism court on Feb 17, on four counts following a four-day jail trial conducted in the central jail. The convict was also sentenced to life imprisonment and a seven-year jail term in addition to the death penalty. Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
PHC orders early arrest of key suspect in girl stripping case
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 07:04:50 +0500
PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday directed the Dera Ismail Khan police to step up efforts to arrest the prime suspect in the teenage girl stripping case and produce progress report.Justice Roohul Amin Chamkani and Justice Ikramullah Khan was informed by DI Khan deputy inspector general of police Kareem Khan that the police had taken several steps for apprehending the prime suspect, Sajawal, and attached 138 kanals of his land to the state.The bench adjourned the hearing into the case until Apr 26 asking the DIG to submit their progress report.On Nov 22, a high court bench headed by the chief justice had disposed of a petition filed by the alleged victim of stripping, with the direction to the IGP to submit progress report of the investigation to the PHC’s Human Rights Cell director for the perusal of the chief justice. Asks DI Khan police for update in this respect on April 26 In the petition, the girl had made several prayers to the court seeking protection, recovery of film of the incident allegedly made by a local resident, and the arrest of prime suspect Sajawal.DIG Kareem Khan said on the police’s request, the interior ministry had placed the name of Sajawal on the Exit Control List and got his computerised national identity card blocked.He said the police had also registered five FIRs against some relatives of Sajawal, who were suspected of facilitating the main suspect’s fleeing.The bench asked if the police had checked the airports about the fleeing of the suspect abroad.The DIG said the suspect had not prepared passport and therefore, he could not leave the country through legal channels.About the allegations levelled by the victim and her family that the incident was recorded on cellphone by local resident Rehmatullah, he said that so far that allegations could not be proved during investigation.The girl had claimed that around two years ago, the prime suspect had blamed her brother for handing over a cellphone to a female member of their family and despite his denial on oath, the panchayat (jirga)had ordered her brother to pay a fine of Rs300,000 to them.She added that despite the decision of the panchayat, the accused led by Sajawal had paraded her naked in the village.REPLY SOUGHT: A bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Syed Afsar Shah sought comments from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker and other respondents in a contempt petition filed by MPA-elect Baldev Kumar claiming that he had not been administered the oath by the speaker in accordance with an earlier court order.Muhib Jan Salarzai, lawyer for the petitioner, said the speaker had been using delaying tactics in administering the oath to his client. Qazi Mohammad Anwar, lawyer for the speaker, and his client had issued production order for Kumar but the latter could not take the oath on Feb 27 due to protest by MPAs.Kumar was arrested on charges of killing the then adviser to the chief minister, Sardar Soran Singh, as his name was at serial No 2 on the priority list of candidates given by PTI for the seats reserved for minorities.The bench fixed the next hearing for Apr 6 and ordered the respondents, including the speaker and some other MPAs, to file their replies in the case.Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018 more...
Sixth reported explosion in Texas unrelated to bombings: authorities
Wed, 21 Mar 2018 10:03:01 +0500
A sixth explosion further rattled the city of Austin, Texas late on Tuesday, but authorities quickly determined it was not related to a series of package bombs that have killed two people. Emergency officials responded en masse to a reported blast in the southern part of the state capital city, at what local media reported was a Goodwill store. The Austin police department said the explosion was caused by “an incendiary device,” not a package bomb. A man in his thirties was taken to hospital “with potentially serious, not expected to be life threatening, injuries,” Austin's medical services agency said on Twitter. Goodwill Central Texas Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gerald Davis told KVUE television that the injured person was an employee, who had taken a donation that the CEO described as a “pipe-like device". “In an abundance of caution for our Team and customers, all Goodwill Stores will be closed,” the organisation said on Twitter. The Federal Bureau Investigation concurred that the incident was unrelated to the spate of blasts that began in early March. The attacks have been mostly contained to Austin, the state capital with a population of nearly one million, where two people have been killed and several more injured. But just after midnight, in the early moments of Tuesday, a package exploded at a FedEx distribution facility in Schertz, outside San Antonio. Authorities would not confirm media reports that the package contained metal shrapnel and nails. Although there were no serious injuries in that incident, officials said the attacks were related. more...

Connect With Us