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The Times of India
Haryana-born Manushi Chhillar crowned Miss World 2017
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:17:45 GMT
Congratulate Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:18:05 GMT
6 terrorists killed, IAF commando martyred in J&K
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 12:51:15 GMT
Six terrorists were gunned down in north Kashmir's Bandipora district on Saturday in an encounter in which a Garud commando of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was also killed, a defence spokesperson said. more...
'Disconnect between Pak army HQ, troops on LoC'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 12:51:23 GMT
SA batsman slams a record 490 in one-day game
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:52:06 GMT
Believe it or not! A 20-year-old South African batsman Shane Dadswell on Saturday scored a record 490 runs for his club NWU Pukke against Potch Dorp 1st in a 50-over game. more...
Gujarat polls: BJP releases 2nd list of candidates
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:43:41 GMT
'Modi only world statesman to stand up to China'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 10:17:33 GMT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only world statesman to have stood up to China's Belt and Road Initiative even though the US has been silent on the ambitious project till recently, a top American expert on China said. more...
'IS fighters evacuated as part of US, UK deal'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:47:20 GMT
Hundreds of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists were smuggled out of Raqqa in Syria last month as part of a deal struck by the US and UK armed forces, a media investigation has claimed. more...
Centre may withdraw this facility to push e-payments
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:46:58 GMT
A senior functionary of industry body CAIT said the Centre may withdraw the bank cheque book facility in the "near future" to encourage digital transactions. more...
Manushi Chhillar after winning Miss World 2017
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:30:30 GMT
Photos of fbb Femina Miss India World 2017 Manushi Chillar crowned Miss World 2017 more...
Revenue collected under GST in Oct at Rs 95,000cr
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:24:32 GMT
The revenue collected under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in October was Rs 95,131 crore and average revenue shortfall of states has come down to 17.6 per cent, Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi said on Saturday. more...
'Rafale deal win-win partnership for India, France'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:51:28 GMT
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday said the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets would bolster India's security and it was a "win-win partnership" for both the countries. more...
Mathews, Thirimanne fifties hand SL advantage
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 11:00:15 GMT
At stumps on Day 3, Sri Lanka were 165/4, trailing India by just seven runs with captain Dinesh Chandimal (13*) batting alongside Niroshan Dickwella (14*). more...
Lebanon PM confirms he will return to Beirut
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 15:00:33 GMT
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri confirmed he will return to Beirut in time for Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday, as political turmoil rocks his country following his resignation announcement in Saudi Arabia. more...
Rafale deal: Rahul slams Sitharaman, her 'boss'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 11:03:27 GMT
'Body with capsized Emerald Star life jacket found'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:36:02 GMT
Karni sena: Foot soldiers fighting 'discrimination'
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 11:54:59 GMT
Named after Karni Mata of Deshnoke town, the organisation's members consider themselves foot soldiers of SRKS and Lokendra Singh Kalvi their chief. Its members are mostly unemployed youth and under graduates grappling with identity crisis. more...
Ensure changes in 'Padmavati': Raje to Irani
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:36:27 GMT
On Saturday Raje has written to union information and broadcasting minister, Smiriti Irani to ensure that film should not be released without the necessary changes, demanded by the aggrieved community. more...
The Dawn News - Home
Operation against Faizabad protesters deferred by 24 hours
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 08:13:36 +0500
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday morning ordered the district administration to defer by 24 hours an operation of security forces against protestors camped out at the Faizabad Interchange.The minister's orders to allow the protestors more time to disperse before taking action came shortly after a heavy contingent of Islamabad Police, Frontier Corps and Rangers personnel ─ equipped with tear gas and shell guns ─ arrived at the Faizabad Interchange early on Saturday morning. Television footage had shown the security personnel dressed in riot gear.The decision to defer the operation was made after talks were held with the protestors. The district administration was not included in the talks between the government and the participants.It was decided that Senator Raja Zafarul Haq will head a negotiating team which is expected to hold a second round of talks with religious leaders and scholars later today. The talks were ongoing on Saturday evening.The protesters belong to various 'religious' parties, including the Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST), and have been calling for the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017 ─ which had earlier been deemed a 'clerical error'.On Thursday, the National Assembly had passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017 to restore Khatm-i-Nabuwwat laws to their original form and make sections relating to it "more effective." Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form via the bill.Section 7B states that the status of Ahmadis remains as stated in the Constitution of Pakistan, while section 7C states that if an enrolled voter's belief in the finality of Prophet Muhammad's prophethood is contended, they shall have to sign a declaration reaffirming their belief, failing which their "name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim."In light of Thursday's development, Iqbal said that the religious groups' protest ─ which has been on-going since November 8 ─ is no longer justified. Religious activists stage sit-in as they protest in Islamabad. —AFP In a continuing effort to find a peaceful solution to the protest, which has disrupted life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for over a week, Iqbal appealed to the religious leaders and asked them to call off the protest.Iqbal urged the religious leaders to end their sit-in for the sake of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) so that the city may be protected from harm.He added that it was a legal obligation on the protestors to adhere to the orders of the Islamabad High Court, which had a day earlier directed the capital administration to clear the Faizabad Interchange within 24 hours.The deadline set by the Islamabad High Court lapsed this morning while the possibility of a showdown between the government and the protestors loomed. Tension at the Faizabad Interchange, which had remained high in the morning, appeared to have quelled a little after Iqbal's orders were issued.In his appeal to the religious hardliners at Faizabad Interchange, Iqbal said that the 'strengthening' of Khatm-i-Nabuwwat clauses by the Parliament was "historical". He assured the protestors that the clauses "will not be changed till the Day of Judgement".This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters. more...
India wants Kulbhushan's mother to accompany wife for proposed meeting with spy
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:51:16 +0500
India has sought an additional visa for Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother and a permission for her to meet the convicted spy after Pakistan offered to allow his wife a meeting on humanitarian grounds, a Foreign Office (FO) source told DawnNews on Saturday.The FO only confirmed that it had received India's response to the offer and was looking into it.In its response, India has expressed reluctance in sending Jadhav's wife alone to Pakistan and insisted that his mother's application is also processed, the source said. India maintains that Jadhav's mother has a right to meet her son. Pakistan had on Wednesday informed India that it would be willing to allow a meeting between the self-confessed spy and his wife "on humanitarian grounds".The meeting would take place on Pakistani soil, the Foreign Office spokesman had told reporters. more...
LoC violations 'highly unprofessional and unethical', DGMO tells Indian counterpart
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:43:09 +0500
Pakistan has conveyed it to India that the “deliberate targeting of innocent civilians” along the line of control by Indian forces was “highly unprofessional and unethical”, the military’s media wing said on Saturday.According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan’s Director General Military Operations (DGMO) made "an unscheduled hotline contact" with his Indian counterpart and recorded protest against the targeting of civilians [by Indian forces] in Nezapir, Chirikot and Battal sectors along the LoC.“Such provocations are causing loss of innocent civilian lives and are potentially dangerous to invoke an unbearable response,” the ISPR said.In September, the apex body for civil-military coordination on national security matters had vowed to defend Pakistan against all forms of external aggression, placing a particular emphasis on countering the aggressive stance adopted by neighbouring India.The National Security Committee (NSC), chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, had expressed deep concern over repeated ceasefire violations by India along the LoC, which had resulted in the loss of several innocent lives.The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir has been witnessing cross-border shelling for quite some time, in sheer disregard of a November 2003 truce agreement. The ceasefire violations mostly culminate in civilian casualties. more...
Anchor Aamir Liaquat leaves Bol TV citing monetary dispute
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 23:06:46 +0500
Televangelist and talk show host Aamir Liaquat on Saturday resigned from Bol TV saying the channel owed him money.The anchorperson, who had earlier also 'resigned' during a live programme, this time took to Twitter to announce his resignation from Bol TV.“The journey has come to an end and not a friendly end. Now I am not part of #BOL. They owe me my dues,” Liaquat tweeted. The Bol Network was quick to respond to Liaquat’s announcement, calling it a “thoroughly unprofessional practice”. In a statement it said, “Bol and its management had received no prior notice or intimation in this regard from Dr Aamir Liaquat’s side.” Following Bol's statement, Liaquat again took to Twitter, this time through a video message, where he rebuffed the criticism made by Bol TV.Liaquat claimed that he had given prior intimation and had also returned the company’s vehicles under his use. “However, I have kept one vehicle with me, which I will only return when my dues are cleared,” he said. more...
'Conspirators' will gain nothing but defeat, says Maryam Nawaz
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 19:52:53 +0500
'PML-N leaders not intimidated by accountability' The daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, on Saturday warned that those "conspiring against the PML-N will gain nothing except defeat".While talking to journalists during her visit to NA-120 constituency in Lahore, she said: "The PML-N is united and would remain so." “The party believes in politics of serving the people," she said. "By the grace of Allah, we will win the 2018 general election."The NA-120 seat was won by Kulsoom Nawaz in September after the former premier was deposed. Since Kulsoom was diagnosed with lymphoma and was undergoing treatment in London, Maryam ran the election campaign.The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, on Friday initiated the process to place ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and four of his family members — including Maryam Nawaz — on the Exit Control List (ECL).The other members of the family who may face travel restriction are Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hassan, and son-in-law retired Capt Mohammad Safdar.An accountability court had earlier declared Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders for skipping court proceedings in references pertaining to their family’s Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and Flagship Investment Ltd.'PML-N leaders not intimidated by accountability' During a separate tour of Lahore, PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz said the PML-N leaders were not intimidated by accountability since they faced similar challenges during Pervez Musharraf's regime.“We have some reservations about the current situation. It is crucial that all the requirements of justice are fulfilled.” In a conversation with media representatives, Hamza assured that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar would "definitely return to the country". He claimed that Dar had served the country to the best of his abilities.He insisted that the National Assembly must ensure that the upcoming general elections are held on time. more...
Five bullet-riddled bodies found near Turbat
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 10:49:52 +0500
Five bullet-riddled bodies were found in Turbat's Tajaban area in Balochistan on Saturday morning, Levies sources said.The sources added that locals had spotted the dead bodies and informed levies personnel. Senior police and security forces officials had arrived at the spot shortly after and recovered the bodies in order to begin investigations.The bodies were shifted to District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Turbat. Levies said that all the victims had received multiple bullet injuries and belonged to Punjab's Gujrat district. The incident comes days after 15 bullet-riddled bodies were found near the same area. The victims were attempting to enter Iran on their way to Europe and belonged to various districts of Punjab. Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) had taken responsibility of the attack and an alleged BLF commander involved in the incident was later killed during an intelligence-based operation by Frontier Corps (FC) on Friday. more...
Five militants, one Indian soldier killed in gun battle in held Kashmir
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:30:53 +0500
Five suspected militants and an Indian air force commando were killed during a fierce gunbattle on Saturday in India-held Kashmir, which also left another soldier injured, the Indian military said. The shootout began when soldiers cordoned off a neighbourhood in the northern area of Hajin following a tip-off that armed militants were hiding there, said army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia. “Five militants have been killed in the operation,” Kalia told AFP. “One IAF (India Air Force) soldier was killed and another army soldier was injured.”On Friday a militant and a police officer were killed in the outskirts of Srinagar during a brief shootout. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir's mostly Muslim population and most people support the separatists' cause. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. more...
‘Embattled’ Dar may leave finance ministry soon
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:57:52 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The decision to replace embattled Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has been made at the highest levels of government, a senior government official told Dawn. According to the official, the only option the government now has is to replace Mr Dar. “The decision was taken after getting a green signal from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif,” he said. The source added that it had not yet been decided whether an adviser on finance would be appointed or a full-fledged minister, who must be a member of parliament. What was most likely, he said, was that a non-elected adviser would be appointed and the decision would be made public in the next couple of days. The source said a list of likely advisers had already been drafted. Two of the people being considered for the job are Shaukat Tarin, who served as finance minister in the PPP government, and Dr Ishrat Husain, who was governor of the State Bank of Pakistan during Pervez Musharraf’s regime. But the list contains other names too which the source was not willing to divulge. List of possible ministers or advisers ready Speculation rife in Islamabad and in the media suggests that name of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail is also on the list, as is that of Ahsan Iqbal, currently holding the twin ministerial portfolios of interior and planning. A final decision on who the replacement for Mr Dar will be has yet to be made. Mr Tarin told Dawn that he had not been contacted by anyone in the government about this. He also ruled out the idea of becoming a finance minister or a financial adviser. “I am very clear on this: I do not wish to be finance minister or an adviser” he said, but added that he could consider helping out in some other capacity, “such as on some council or committee, but even that depends on who else is going to be a member,” he said. “If a council is stuffed with useless people, there is no sense in serving on it.” The source painted a picture of disarray in the bureaucracy. No bureaucrat in the finance ministry had the courage to move any file, resulting in delays in major decisions, he said. “There is complete chaos within the tax machinery as well,” he said. FBR chairman Tariq Pasha has started seeking approval from Mr Dar even on minor issues like the issuance of press statements. Mr Pasha worked with Finance Minister Dar very closely and was considered his close associate. He was also likely to be replaced as the new adviser would consider his own team, the source added. Mr Dar was indicted on Sept 27 in a corruption reference but has continued to serve as finance minister amid strong criticism from opposition parties. An accountability court on Nov 14 issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the minister due to his absence from court. The court is hearing the corruption reference against the finance minister who is accused of accumulating assets worth an estimated Rs831.7 million, which is disproportionate with his known sources of income.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
Pakistanis to get equal opportunity to invest in CPEC economic zones
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58:09 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to start construction work at Gwadar Port by March 2018, and contrary to earlier reports in the media, has agreed that Chinese and Pakistani investors will get an equal opportunity to invest in economic zones that will be established along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on the CPEC, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Friday.The media reports had suggested that only Chinese investors would be accommodated in the economic zones and Pakistanis will be barred from investing there. This assumption was laid to rest at the meeting, where the lawmakers were told that Pakistani investors would have an equal opportunity for investment.A spokesperson for the prime minister said that Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, who is also Interior Minister, gave the participants of the meeting a detailed briefing on the CEPC.The participants were informed that a feasibility study of the construction of Gwadar Port was complete, and the construction could begin as early as March 2018. The project will be completed in three years.Previously, the government had claimed that the project would be complete by Dec 2018. The participants were told that the 19km-long East Bay Expressway of Gwadar had been constructed — 14km along the shore and 5km offshore. The Southern Bay Expressway will be completed by Jan 2017 and the Northern Bay Expressway by Dec 2018.Regarding water facilities at the Gwadar Port and free economic zone, the meeting was informed that water was being provided through various sources and means as the main reservoir of drinking water had dried up. The projected water requirement in the free economic zone would rise to 20 million gallons per day (MGD) by 2018 and up to 243MGD by 2028. The present requirement of water in Gwadar is 19MGD and it is expected to rise up to 300MGD by 2030.The prime minister was informed hat the seventh meeting of the Joint Working Group of CPEC would be held in Islamabad on Monday.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
NAB moves to put names of Sharif, four relatives on ECL
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:57:52 +0500
LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, on Friday initiated the process to place ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and four of his family members on the Exit Control List (ECL). According to the NAB Isla­mabad spokesman, the other members of the family who may face travel restriction are Mr Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hassan, daughter Mar­yam and son-in-law retired Capt Mohammad Safdar. An accountability court had earlier declared Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders for skipping court proceedings in references pertaining to their family’s Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and Flagship Investment Ltd. On Thursday, NAB had requested the ministry of interior to put Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s name on the ECL after an accountability court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for him. Mr Dar, like Mr Sharif’s sons, has continuously been absent from court proceedings in a reference against him for owning assets beyond his known sources of income. A senior official told Dawn on condition of anonymity that NAB Lahore had written to its headquarters requesting that Hussain and Hassan’s names be placed on the ECL. The NAB spokesman in Islamabad confirmed the other three names — Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Capt Safdar — that had been recommended by NAB Lahore to be placed on ECL. The headquarters would ask the interior ministry to proceed further. The official in NAB Lahore said according to the procedure, they would first place Hussain and Hassan’s names on the ECL and if they still did not appear before the accountability court, then NAB would request cancellation of their passports. Earlier in October, Hassan told journalists that the summons, warrants or proceedings by NAB did not apply to him or his brother Hussain as they were also British nationals. The brothers, who live in the UK, are accused in three references ordered by the Supreme Court in its July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case. On Oct 9, the court, while hearing the references, had accepted NAB’s plea to declare Hassan and Hussain proclaimed offenders. The NAB Lahore spokesperson, however, has denied writing to the NAB headquarters or to the interior ministry asking them to place their names on the ECL.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris after Saudi 'hostage' rumours
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:43:50 +0500
Escalating battle for influence 'Start of a solution' Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in France on Saturday from Saudi Arabia, where his shock resignation announcement two weeks ago sparked accusations that he was being held there against his will.Hariri is in Paris at the invitation of France's President Emmanuel Macron, who is attempting to help broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears over Lebanon's fragile democracy. Hariri and his wife Lara, who landed at Le Bourget airport outside the French capital at 7:00 am after flying in from Riyadh overnight, were due to meet Macron at noon. A source close to the premier told AFP that Hariri's two youngest children, Loulwa and Abdelaziz, born in 2001 and 2005 respectively, had stayed behind in Riyadh “for their school exams”. His elder son Houssam, born in 1999, was due to arrive in Paris separately from London. “Hariri does not want to mix his children up in this affair,” the source said. The couple were whisked to their Paris residence in a seven-car convoy under tight security. “To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie,” Hariri had tweeted just before his departure, adding to repeated denials of the rumours from Saudi officials. A source close to Hariri said the premier had held an “excellent, fruitful and constructive” meeting with powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman before he left. Hariri, a dual Saudi citizen who has previously enjoyed Riyadh's backing, announced his resignation on November 4. He said he feared for his life, accusing Iran and its powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilising his country. Escalating battle for influence But Hariri's failure to return from Saudi Arabia prompted claims he was essentially being held hostage there, including from Lebanese President Michel Aoun who refused to accept his resignation from abroad. Hariri's resignation was widely seen as an escalation of the battle for influence between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. His attempt to step down also coincides with a purge of more than 200 Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen. Hariri met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Riyadh on Thursday as Paris, which held mandate power over Lebanon for the first half of the 20th century, seeks to ease the crisis. In another development, Riyadh on Saturday recalled its ambassador to Berlin in protest at comments by Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel which were interpreted as a suggestion that Hariri acted under Saudi orders. Without mentioning Saudi Arabia directly, Gabriel had on Thursday said he shared concerns about the threat of instability and bloodshed in Lebanon and warned against “adventurism”. “Lebanon has earned the right to decide on its fate by itself and not become a pinball of Syria or Saudi Arabia or other national interests,” he had said earlier in the week. 'Start of a solution' Ahead of Hariri's departure, the Lebanese president — an ally of Hezbollah — welcomed the announcement of the trip to Paris, expressing hope that it was the “start of a solution”. “If Mr. Hariri speaks from France, I would consider that he speaks freely,” Aoun said in a statement.“But his resignation must be presented in Lebanon, and he will have to remain there until the formation of the new government.” There is no indication of Hariri's plans after the visit, which Macron has said could last “a few days or weeks”. But the French leader has insisted he would be free to return to Lebanon to either formally resign or rethink his decision. France's intervention was the latest in a string of European efforts to defuse tensions over Lebanon, where divisions between Hariri's bloc and Hezbollah have long been a focal point in a broader struggle between Riyadh and Tehran. Hariri — whose father, ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri, was killed in a 2005 car bombing blamed on Hezbollah — took over last year as head of a shaky compromise government which includes the powerful Shiite movement. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisted from Madrid that “unless Hezbollah disarms and becomes a political party, Lebanon will be held hostage by Hezbollah and, by extension, Iran”. Hariri's resignation comes as the long-standing rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran intensifies and as Riyadh undergoes a major shake-up under the ambitious crown prince. more...
Congress approves bill delinking Haqqani network from LeT
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58:09 +0500
WASHINGTON: The US Congress has passed the bill that requires Pakistan to work with the Afghan and American forces to destroy the Haqqani network but leaves Lashkar-e-Taiba out (LeT).The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018 — approved by a voice vote by both the House and the Senate on Thursday evening provides about $700 billion for US defence needs in 2018.The NDA 2018 also provides $700 million for reimbursing Pakistan for monitoring the Pak-Afghan border but withholds half of the amount. It also prevents the administration from issuing a waiver for $350m unless the US Secretary of Defence certifies to the congressional defence committees that: “Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe havens, fundraising and recruiting efforts, and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan.“Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistan territory as a safe haven and for fundraising and recruiting efforts. The government of Pakistan is making an attempt to actively coordinate with the government of Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants, such as the Haqqani Network, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting senior leaders and mid-level operatives of the Haqqani Network.”Previous versions of the bill required the secretary to issue a similar certificate for LeT but its name was dropped from the later version, known as the conference.In the conference versions, the House and the Senate remove their differences on various issues and present a reconciled version to the full Congress for approval.Delinking LeT from the Haqqani Network reflects Washington’s desire to keep its focus on Afghanistan and encourage Pakistan to cooperate. Policy makers in Washington feel that linking an India-specific group like LeT with the Haqqani Network could discourage Pakistan from cooperating with the US in the war in Afghanistan.On Friday, the bill was sent to President Donald Trump for signing it into a law.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
UNGA adopts Pakistan-sponsored resolution on self-determination
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58:09 +0500
UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a Pakistan-sponsored resolution reaffirming that the universal realisation of the right of peoples to self-determination was a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights.The resolution, co-sponsored by 75 countries was adopted without a vote in the 193-member Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.Earlier, introducing the resolution in the committee, Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that self-determination had provided hope to people in their struggle against foreign occupation, a right that had been upheld by all major summits of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).The resolution is expected to come up for General Assembly’s endorsement next month.The text also declared the General Assembly’s firm opposition to acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, since these have resulted in the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination and other human rights in certain parts of the world.The resolution called on those states responsible to cease immediately their military intervention and occupation of foreign countries and territories, as well as all acts of repression, discrimination, exploitation and maltreatment.It is a message of support from the international community to peoples, everywhere in the world, who still find themselves subjugated and oppressed and struggling against foreign occupation. “It is my earnest hope that this august body will once again adopt the resolution by consensus, and that more of you will join as cosponsors to show your firm and unwavering commitment to the right to self-determination for all occupied, oppressed and suffering people of the world”, said the Pakistan’s UN ambassador.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
US troops told to ignore child abuse in Afghanistan
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58:01 +0500
WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defence has advised American soldiers to ignore child sex abuse in Afghanistan as a culturally acceptable phenomenon, says a Pentagon report.The department’s “cultural-awareness training for US personnel deploying to Afghanistan … identified child sexual abuse as a culturally-accepted practice in Afghanistan,” says a report the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office released on Thursday afternoon.The Inspector General, however, said that his review did not lead him to a specific command or policy guideline that “expressly discouraged personnel from reporting incidents of child sexual abuse”. But in some cases, US military personnel deployed in Afghanistan told that “nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation”. They were also informed that it was not a priority for the US command to discourage such practices and it was best to “ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it”.Controversy erupted last year after a New York Times report alleged that the Pentagon had prevented US troops from reporting when Afghan police and militia officials sexually assaulted children. The report claimed that some US troops were punished when they reported the abuse. The Pentagon rejected the report as incorrect but US lawmakers instructed the inspector general to investigate the matter and send a report to Congress.The IG’s report noted that the US Army and Air Force training do not discuss paedophilia in Afghanistan, but Navy and Marines do. The Navy training manual “advises readers to control and overcome any frustration caused by cultural differences that they may experience during their deployments,” while the Marines were told “to be mentally prepared to encounter this attitude, and to ‘move on’.”Also, several current or former service members told investigators they were told to ignore the behaviour.They were told that if they witnessed child sexual abuse, “they should let the local officials or police know and not interfere with the locals,” the report said. “The interviewee said that the reason given as to why not to interfere was due to maintaining cooperation with the Afghans”.Another interviewee told investigators that the chain of command didn’t care until The New York Times reported on the issue.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
PTV current affairs director sacked after allegations of harassment, misuse of authority
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:03:50 +0500
Pakistan Television (PTV) on Friday sacked its suspended director of current affairs, Agha Masood Shorish, following allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of authority by multiple staffers at the state-run broadcaster.A total of five inquiries had been initiated against Shorish, including three for sexual harassment. PTV's 14 producers had also filed a complaint against him in the Islamabad High Court, and the issue was also taken up in the National Assembly. Shorish, who was suspended three months ago for negligence, had continued to receive his salary and all other benefits during his suspension period. He also officially retired around a decade ago after reaching the age of superannuation.The executive also reportedly used PTV's legal resources to defend himself in the court even though the organisation was not a party in the case.The Information Ministry issued a notification for his termination after participants of a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi decided to remove officers who were bringing a bad name to state-owned organisations, were posted even after retirement or had caused financial harm to them, sources said.Tanzeela Mazhar, a former PTV employee who was among the main complainants against Shorish said in a tweet on Friday: "Finally, [the] darkest chapter of harassment, corruption and nepotism is closed. Thank you everyone who stood by us to make this happen." She thanked PPP lawmakers Saeed Ghani and Shazia Marri, and multiple TV anchors for their support. Marri had moved a calling attention notice regarding complaints by Mazhar and her fellow anchor Yashfeen Jamal earlier this year in the NA upon which the State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had said that an unbiased committee would investigate the matter. Mazhar had resigned from PTV later, since she said she could not keep drawing a salary without being given work by the PTV. “I resigned because the man in question was reinstated," Tanzeela Mazhar had told Dawn.com earlier.Explore: PTV anchor resigns from post amid harassment controversy"Even though our contracts were renewed, we were not being given air time. To take a government salary but not work was unacceptable to me,” she had said.“When I raised my voice, people responded with [degrading] comments about women, and our character and personal lives, without understanding that what we do in our private lives is a private matter,” Mazhar said while speaking of the reprisals to a social media campaign she ran against the man in question.“I plan to raise awareness about what harassment is, as most people do not take it seriously until a person has been beaten up or raped,” Mazhar added. more...
Energy ministry proposes changing fuel colour to ensure purity
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58:19 +0500
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has sought formal approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to introduce fuel markings in oil products, starting with kerosene, to control adulteration.In a summary sent to the ECC, the Petroleum Division of the MoE has reported that introduction of fuel marking system in kerosene would increase its price by Rs1.22 per litre that would be paid to a single bidder — Authentix — from the United Kingdom. The ECC led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to take up the issue for approval early next week.Sources close to secretary petroleum said a total of six companies — four from UK, one from Singapore and one local firm of German origin — were requested to bid for the project for one year but only two responded with pre-qualification documents and only one firm submitted formal bid which was accepted. Consumers to pay additional cost for marking system After the successful completion of kerosene marking system, the programme will be expanded to all other products followed by local refineries and marketing companies, which will introduce fuel markers and charge the additional cost to consumers, the summary suggested.Secretary Petroleum Sikandar Sultan Raja said the annual local production of kerosene stood at about 140,000-150,000 tonnes for domestic consumption. The fuel is not dyed. The present price differential between kerosene and high-speed diesel (HSD) is approximately Rs31.40 per litre, which provided ground for adulteration in HSD by adding kerosene. This not only reduced the availability of kerosene to the intended beneficiaries (the poor man) but also significantly impacted revenues as the government is charging almost 40pc taxes on HSD compared to almost negligible tax on kerosene.Therefore, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi before becoming the prime minister had decided to introduce Fuel Marking Programme (FMP) in a phased manner to discourage fuel adulteration and tax evasion. It was decided to mark primarily kerosene and then moved on to other fuels such as HSD, light-diesel oil (LDO) and petrol. M/S Authentix, UK was the successful bidder with quoted cost of Rs1.22 per litre for the fuel marker of marked product for six months trial period and then offer three paisa per litre discount for another six months.Kerosene specifications are reported to have been revised in consultation with the oil industry and it was decided to make it “blue dye” to avoid adulteration in other petroleum products.The ECC has been asked to approve kerosene marking with the issues pertaining to adulteration and quality maintenance for petroleum products to be monitored and supervised by the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) at all stages.The secretary recommended that Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) be authorised to execute the contract with the successful bidder and liaise with the representatives of the government agencies and others for successful implementation of kerosene marking programme under Ogra supervision.The additional cost of Rs1.22 per litre for fuel marking allowed for inclusion in the ex-depot sale price of kerosene through existing monthly pricing mechanism. Initially, the FMP has proposed to be implemented for one year, and then depending on efficacy of the programme it will be extended or revised with fresh tendering. Ogra will be required to ensure that kerosene is marked before leaving refinery premises and may independently inspect the quality of HSD and petrol with the help of Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) or other third party inspectors at different stages of the petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) supply chain ie local refineries; OMC deports and retail outlets.Also for deregulated fuels, oil companies will be directed to arrange fuel marking services out of their margins and Ogra to carry out field testing and other related activities.During the bidding process, Ogra had declined to be part of a technical committee on the issue of conflict of interest. Likewise, the HDIP expressed concern that it was not made part of the technical committee at a proper stage and instead co-opted at the last leg with the opening of single technical bid.Therefore, kerosene has a negligible revenue impact because of its limited market. In contrast, HSD sales across the country are now going beyond 800,000 tonnes against monthly consumption of around 600,000 tonnes of petrol. The sales of kerosene and LDO are generally less than 10,000 tonnes.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
19,000 illegal immigrants from Pakistan handed over by Iranian authorities in 2017
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:39:47 +0500
Iran has handed over 19,000 Pakistanis arrested for crossing the border illegally during the ongoing year, a security official told DawnNews on Friday.The Pakistani citizens had entered Iran through "less frequented routes" along the 900-kilometre border with the country in their bid to reach Greece and other European countries, a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official, who requested anonymity, told DawnNews.The official said that most of the illegal immigrants had belonged to Mandi Bhauddin, Gujrat, Sialkot and other densely-populated areas of Punjab. However, he said, very few of them managed to make it to Europe as most were arrested soon after they entered Iran.He also revealed that even though Iran had constructed a 64km wall to deter people from crossing the border illegally, human smugglers used routes in Mashkail, Mand-Bilo Turbat and Panjgoor to enter the neighbouring country. He said that FIA had set up a team comprising five senior officials to take action against immigrants who illegally tried to sneak into Iran after Levies officials found 15 bullet-riddled bodies in Kech earlier this week. The victims had been seeking a way to enter Iran in order to leave for Europe in order to find jobs. more...
Former MQM-P sector head arrested in Dr Naushad killing case
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58:53 +0500
HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad police on Friday claimed to have arrested a “former activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Shahid Abbasi alias Dancer” and described him as the main suspect involved in the murder of senior party activist Dr Naushad on October 25. The Rangers in a statement also issued on Friday claimed to have arrested an activist of the MQM-London “involved in supplying illegal arms to various sectors of the party”. Hyderabad DIG Javed Alam Odho, along with Hyderabad SSP Pir Mohammad Shah, shared details of Shahid Dancer’s record and his arrest. He said according to the investigation held so far, Dancer killed Dr Naushad over some personal issues and not with a political motive.“The held activist is a former sector in-charge in MQM-P’s organisational structure. He was earlier acquitted in a case pertaining to the murder of Saleem Inquilabi, another MQM activist who was gunned down in November 2004,” the DIG said, adding that he was released on bail on Oct 5 in a double murder case. The victims were identified as Jehangir Parhiar and Pyar Ali Samoon. The DIG said that Dancer was recognised with the help of CCTV (closed-circuit television camera) footage and the information shared with police by people. “Shahid Dancer is involved in 16 different criminal cases,” he said.He said he had recommended a reward of Rs100,000 and commendation certificate for the police team that resolved the Dr Naushad murder case. A police source said that great efforts were involved in the arrest of Shahid Dancer as he kept changing locations, including Tando Mohammad Khan, Sanghar and Korangi [Karachi], to escape arrest since having committed the murder. They said the suspect might have failed to find a proper place to hide because his identity was established through the CCTV footage. Another police source said that the suspect was finally picked up from the Lyari area of Karachi. He told the police during interrogation that for one day, he stayed on the premises of the Hyderabad Civil Hospital, yet another source in police said.MQM-L suspectKARACHI: The Pakistan Ran­gers, Sindh, on Friday claimed to have arrested an activist of the MQM-London, Mohammed Adnan Qureshi, in the Gulberg area of the metropolis. “The held suspect used to provide illegal weapons to members of different sectors linked with Nine Zero [the now closed headquarters of the Altaf Hussain-led MQM],” said a spokesman for the paramilitary force. Besides, he said, the suspect was also involved in extortion, wall-chalking and other crimes including harassing people to enforce strikes. In other such actions, a dozen other suspects were arrested by Rangers personnel. They included an Afghan national, Fitratullah, who was arrested in the Sohrab Goth area for entering and staying in the country illegally. The 11 other suspects were rounded up in different actions for their involvement in street crimes and drugs-related offences, the spokesman said.Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017 more...
PTI may expel lawmaker who accused Ali Ameen Gandapur of patronising teenage girl's abusers
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:35:14 +0500
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Dawar Khan Kundi — who recently accused Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Minister Ali Amin Gandapur of patronising men accused of stripping and parading a teenage girl naked in Dera Ismail Khan earlier this month — faces an uncertain future in PTI after the party's chief and information secretary made differing statements regarding the action to be taken against him. PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Friday announced that he would expel Kundi for falsely accusing Gandapur, but the party's central information secretary, Shafqat Mahmood, hastily issued a clarification soon after stating that a different path would be taken in dealing with the matter.Kundi had earlier written to Khan requesting him to ensure Gandapur's removal from his ministerial position, pressure him into withdrawing his support for the suspects and ask the girl's family for forgiveness. In the letter, Kundi described Gandapur as "a source of embarrassment for the party", and alleged that Gandapur provided "support for the criminals in the case in which an orphan girl was paraded naked by eight armed men" in DI Khan. "I visited the family a week before and they asked — in fact, requested — me to make sure that Ali Amin Gandapur, revenue minister KP, is forced to withdraw his support for the criminals," Kundi said in his letter.Responding to the allegations leveled against him by Kundi, Gandapur had said the attempts to link him with the incident were "shameful". "Those accusing me of patronising the accused are unaware of the police system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Police in KP is completely free from political influence and it is impossible for any minister or political leader, including me, to intervene in their work," Gandapur maintained.On Friday, Imran Khan, while talking to media over a video link, termed Kundi a "dissident" and "a liar." "He has had differences with the party for long, but we are now expelling him from the party," Khan said. "This is not the first time. He has been issuing statements against the party and the KP chief minister over the last one year. He does not even attend our meetings," the PTI chief claimed, adding that the party was going to take action against him.Handing a clean chit to Gandapur, Khan said he had personally contacted the KP Inspector General of Police, who had rejected the impression that he was under an any political pressure in connection with the investigation of the case. "Ali Ameen himself says 'hang the responsible by the neck'," Khan said as he ruled out the possibility of Gandapur's involvement in the incident. However, PTI Central Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood in a subsequent statement said that Kundi had not been expelled from the party as yet. "Kundi is being served with a show-cause notice as complaints of grave violations of party discipline were received against him," he said."The PTI has a mechanism for inclusion and exclusion from the party," he added. "Action will be taken as per the rules and regulation of the party if allegations against Kundi are proved," he said."A grave violation of party discipline could also result in expulsion," he added. more...
After Modi reforms, Moody's raises India credit rating for first time in 10 years
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:46:26 +0500
Moody's on Friday upgraded India's credit rating for the first time in more than a decade, citing economic reforms introduced under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The move comes almost two months after the Moody's and Standard & Poor's lowered their ratings on regional rival China citing the country's ballooning debt burden. Moody's raised its rating on India to Baa2 from Baa3, the first such move since January 2004, saying recent reforms would enhance productivity, stimulate foreign and domestic investment and foster “strong and sustainable growth”. These include a new national goods and services tax and a controversial 2016 ban on high-value bank notes aimed at tackling widespread tax evasion. “Continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India's high growth potential,” the agency said. Modi swept to power in 2014 on a promise to reform India's economy and create jobs for a burgeoning youth population. But critics point out that joblessness remains high and the reforms have not come without pain. They have acted as a drag on growth, which hit a three year low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of the current financial year. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the upgrade “a belated recognition of all the positive steps which have been taken in India in the last few years”. “It's extremely encouraging that there's an international recognition and it merely furthers our determination to follow the track which we have embarked upon,” Jaitley told reporters. The move boosted Indian stocks more than 1pc, while the rupee strengthened to 64.86 against the dollar, from Thursday's 65.29. more...
Key suspect in Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine attack arrested
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:15:30 +0500
'Foreign elements involved in terrorism' A key suspect involved in the bloody suicide attack targeting the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan earlier this year was arrested at an unspecified date in a joint operation conducted by the Rangers and Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Manghopir, it was announced today. CTD Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Amir Farooqi announced the arrest on Friday at a joint CTD-Rangers press conference in Karachi.A cache of weapons and explosive material was recovered from the possession of the terrorist, identified as Nadir Ali alias Murshid Jakhrani by DIG Farooqi.Farooqi revealed that Nadir is the son of a landlord in Kashmore district who had been associated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in the past. The planning of the blast was carried out by Ghulam Mustafa Mazari alias Doctor — a close relative of Lal Masjid clerics — who was killed in an earlier operation in Mastung, Balochistan, he said. Nadir had first met Mazari when he arrived to his village in Kashmore in 2009. The two then grew close and Nadir visited Mazari in the latter's village Abdullah, Rojhan Mazari in Punjab. Nadir also invited Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed's sons Haroon and Haris to his village along Mazari. He then went to Rajanpur where he joined Lashka-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) after being briefly enrolled in Rajanpur's commerce college.He was later introduced to other members of LeJ and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab. He also visited Karachi and Quetta where he met other members of the banned organisation, including Saeed Badiani alias Taqwa, who was involved in the attack on Shah Noorani shrine and was later killed in a CTD operation, Farooqi claimed. Nadir then joined the militant Islamic State (IS) group which he was associated with when the Sehwan blast occurred. DIG Farooqi disclosed that the militants communicated through a "highly secure" messaging application called Threema.The deadly attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, which was claimed by the IS, had resulted in the deaths of at least 88 people and left at least 150 others wounded.Following the bloodbath, the army had launched Operation Raddul Fasaad, saying it was aimed at eliminating the "residual/latent threat of terrorism".'Foreign elements involved in terrorism' DIG Farooqi said the foothold of IS had been weakened in Pakistan after several operations targeting its operatives."After the Mastung Operation, one by one their [IS] militants are being captured. Today, [the key suspect in the shrine attack] has been arrested. They have become very weak here," the DIG CTD said."Their people have escaped and the group's presence is found across the border in Afghanistan," Farooqi said."They (IS) were not operating here. The group's elements used to be associated with various political parties, primarily the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Then they went towards IS," he added."Foreign elements are definitely involved in incidents of terrorism ─ they fund, train and assign targets to these groups," he said.However, the DIG said that the army's operations had limited the group. "They have been eliminated now," he claimed. more...
BLF commander, allegedly involved in killing of 15 near Turbat, killed: ISPR
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:56:04 +0500
Operataion in DG Khan One alleged terrorist involved in the recent killing of 15 migrants near Turbat was killed during an intelligence based operation near the Alandur, Abdur Rehman village in Turbat, the army's media wing said on Friday.Younis Taukali, one of the eight top commanders of the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), was killed in an exchange of fire after the Frontier Corps (FC) cordoned off the area, Inter-Services Media Relations (ISPR) said on Friday. Taukali was killed 20 kilometres west of Buleda and 25km north of where the bullet-riddled bodies of 15 migrants mostly hailing from Punjab were found on Wednesday. A number of human smugglers have been apprehended in a wide-ranging crackdown in Punjab since then.The migrants had been looking to cross into Iran on their way to Europe. Firearms and other items discovered from Taukali's possession. —ISPR The accused had also been involved in attacking FC convoys with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and was wanted for multiple murders, including that of Rehmatullah Shohaz, a founding member of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), the army said.Operataion in DG Khan The Punjab Rangers, along with intellegence agencies, also conducted an IBO in Dera Ghazi Khan, during which 4 "terrorists and their affiliates" were apprehended, the army said. The alleged terrorists belonged to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and had been involved in attacks on police officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, police said. "Automatic weapons, including grenades, were also recovered from the terrorists," ISPR added. more...
Govt makes last-ditch appeal to Islamabad protesters; hospitals placed on high alert
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:03:01 +0500
Last-minute appeals A festering problem 'Protesters given until 10pm to end sit-in' 'Cold response' The government geared up for a possible showdown with religious hardliners camped out on the federal capital's busy Faizabad Interchange after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered the district administration to take all necessary steps to clear the area latest by Saturday morning.A 10pm deadline for Friday night given to protesters to disperse lapsed without much done on either side. All hospitals in the city were ordered to cancel doctors and paramedical staff's leaves and ask them to be present on duty till further instructions. One thousand personnel were requested from the Punjab Rangers "to perform duty along with police,". The district administration had also requisitioned water tankers and fire brigades to prepare for any eventuality. At least eight ambulances, along with paramedical staff; two fire engines; and three water bowsers would be at the disposal of the district magistrate from Nov 18, an official letter read. There were fears that a crackdown would have serious repercussions, with the government hinting that some of the protesters were armed and would not shy from resorting to violence."We know that there are armed men and we know that there are people with them [the protesters] who are waiting to provoke chaos," the interior minister said in a press conference on the matter late Friday evening. "It is incumbent on the leaders of this protest to make sure nothing untoward happens." "Whoever challenges the writ of the government will be dealt with," he promised. "We have the capability, but we would rather avoid violence." Last-minute appeals A couple of hours before the 10pm deadline expired, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal made what seemed to be a last-ditch effort to appeal to the better nature of the protesters. Presenting himself as the son of 'exceptionally devout' Muslims, he pleaded that the sit-in, which has disrupted life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for the past week or so, be called off as it went against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Saying that "international lobbies" would "use pictures of the protests to further their agenda", Iqbal asked the protesters if they wanted their actions to hurt the state of Pakistan. "The CPEC Joint Coordination Committee's session is scheduled for Nov 20-21. What image of the capital city do we wish to portray? Do we want that the investor who is coming in should run away?" he asked."I assure that there is no shortcoming in the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat laws and a gap that had been created after 2002 has also been filled forever," he said. "Therefore, there is no reason this sit-in should continue and be allowed to disrupt people's lives.""I appreciate your sentiment: you are here to safeguard your love for Prophet Muhammad. However, this country, its parliament, government and armed forces are here to safeguard the finality of prophethood," he assured. "Our faith is just as strong as yours. In light of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad's teachings, I ask you to end this sit in immediately," he said."Do not test the patience of the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Obey the court's orders. We are still open to negotiations with you. We are all Muslims, and our faith in the Prophet Muhammad and Islam is just as strong as yours. Do not question it," he said as he appealed to the protesters. "Leave the judging to God," he repeated at various points during his conference."Else we will be forced to take the step the court has ordered us to take," he said. "I hope that we will be able to end this situation with talks and those who claim to love the Prophet will not instigate their followers towards violence," he said. "It is only the enemies of Pakistan who want to create disruptions in the country," he said.A festering problem The protesters belong to various 'religious' parties, including the Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST), and have been calling for the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017 ─ which had earlier been deemed a 'clerical error' and restored to its original form on Thursday, November 16.To pressure the government on its demands, TLY has occupied the Faizabad Bridge which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road, both of which are the busiest thoroughfares in the twin cities.IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who issued the order to clear the area earlier in the day, made the decision while hearing a petition filed by citizen Abdul Qayyum. Islamabad Deputy Commissioner retired captain Mushtaq Ahmed and the deputy inspector general operations were also present in court today.Taking note of the difficulties faced by citizens due to blockage of the major artery, the court ordered the district administration to ensure the dispersal of protesters, whether through peaceful means or by the use of force. The court also permitted the district administration to exercise its authority and request the deployment of the Punjab Rangers or the Frontier Constabulary, if needed.Justice Siddiqui, in passing the order, had observed that Islam does not permit any harm coming to women, children or the elderly, even in times of war. The judge — who is known for his religious zeal — said that as the protesters' demands had already been accepted by the parliament and executives, they had no more reason to continue protesting. Justice Siddiqui asked why the district administration had been unsuccessful in exercising its authority to end the protest. He pointed out that there is already a designated area for people to register their protests in the capital ─ the Democracy and Speech Corner. Any citizen who wishes to exercise their right to freedom of speech must not inconvenience other citizens, the court said.'Protesters given until 10pm to end sit-in' After the order was passed, the DIG Operations, senior superintendent police and other officers attended a meeting of high-level administration officials chaired by DC Mushtaq Ahmed, where Additional Inspector General Special Branch Muhammad Ilyas gave a briefing.The officials decided that a final warning must be issued to the protesters to vacate the Interchange before a clearance operation takes place, officials said.The district administration said a written warning will be issued giving the protesters until 10pm on Friday to end their sit-in. If they do not do so, only then will an operation take place. The DC further said an operation will take place in the morning, as it cannot take place at night. The police, FC and Rangers will be deployed to assist in the operation, he added.'Cold response' Fed up with the public response in the twin cities, the cold response from the federal government, and intermittent spells of rain which started Tuesday, the protesting clerics had taken to petitioning the IHC for "execution" of their demands.Their earlier demands, most of which have been taken back now, included the removal of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, blasphemy accused Asiya Bibi’s execution, dismissal of cases against religious leaders, and the removal of various extremist clerics' names from the Fourth Schedule.Justice Siddiqui had on Thursday heard the petition submitted by TLY, and subsequently asked for a report compiled by a PML-N committee probing the controversial amendment to the oath to be made public so that "the culprits so determined therein, may very kindly be proceed against under the relevant laws."Earlier this week, Justice Siddiqui, while hearing a petition submitted by Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat supporter Allah Wasaya against the same issue, had ordered the repeal of all amendments in sections pertaining to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017. more...
370,000 Afghan refugees registered in four months: report
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:41:11 +0500
The National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) has registered 370,000 un-documented Afghan refugees across the country over the last four months, Radio Pakistan, the state-run broadcaster, reported on Friday.The authority has expedited the registration process of un-documented Afghan refugees, a Nadra spokesman was quoted as saying.The largest number of refugees were registered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the report, 230,000 refugees were registered in KP alone. The authority is aiming to register a million Afghan refugees, which its officials say will be done by January 16, 2018. Earlier, the campaign was supposed to end on Dec 31, 2017.A total of 21 registration centres have been set up in the country, including 11 in KP.Nadra, the Afghan Commissionerate and the Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation are jointly running the registration campaign. The country has some 1.5 million registered refugees, one of the largest such populations in the world, according to the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR). More than a million others are estimated to live here unregistered.The country’s law-enforcement agencies had launched a crackdown on unregistered Afghans in the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks in the country.The International Organisation of Migration, which assists and monitors the movement of migrants across the world, reported that 248,189 undocumented Afghan nationals had returned or were deported from Pakistan in 2016. more...
Lebanon's Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:23:57 +0500
'Start of a solution' Regional clash Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was on Friday preparing to leave Saudi Arabia for France, a move aimed at defusing political turmoil sparked by his shock resignation in Riyadh. The Lebanese premier is due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Saturday after allegations from Hariri's political rivals back home that he was essentially being held hostage by the Saudi authorities. The announcement of the visit came after Hariri met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Riyadh on Thursday, with Lebanon's former colonial power Paris hoping to ease a crisis that has driven up tensions between regional titans Iran and Saudi Arabia. Hariri, a dual Saudi citizen, has been in Riyadh since issuing a statement on television there on November 4 that he was stepping down because he feared for his life while also accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilising his nation. The announcement — which reportedly took even some of Hariri's closest aides by surprise — and his subsequent failure to return home to officially quit in person, fuelled speculation that he was acting under orders from his Saudi patrons. Both Hariri and Riyadh denied claims he was being held against his will, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisting he could leave the country “when he pleases”. Macron's office said the French leader would meet Hariri at noon on Saturday. 'Start of a solution' Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who had accused Saudi authorities of “detaining” Hariri and refused to accept his resignation from abroad, welcomed the news about the trip to Paris. “We hope that the crisis is over and Hariri's acceptance of the invitation to go to France is the start of a solution,” he said Thursday on the official presidential Twitter account. “If Hariri speaks from France, I would consider that he speaks freely, but his resignation must be presented in Lebanon, and he will have to remain there until the formation of the new government,” Aoun said later in a statement issued by his office.France's intervention was the latest in a string of European efforts to defuse the tensions over Lebanon, where divisions between Hariri's bloc and Hezbollah have long been part of the broader struggle between Riyadh and Tehran. There is no indication what Hariri plans to do after visiting Paris, but Macron had insisted he would then be free to return to Lebanon to either hand in or rethink his decision to quit.Regional clash Hariri's resignation comes as temperatures have soared in the long-standing regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with Riyadh undergoing a major shake-up under ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The two powers are backing opposing sides in the protracted wars in Yemen and Syria — entangling them in a complex web of proxy conflicts. France sparked ire from Tehran after Le Drian accused it of “hegemonic” ambitions in the region during his visit to Riyadh. “France has a biased and partisan approach to the crises in the region and this approach, whether intentionally or not, is even contributing to turning potential crises into real ones,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said on Friday. Meanwhile mutual suspicion of Iran also appears to have pushed US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel closer together, despite the two countries having no official diplomatic ties. In a rare interview with an Arabic-language outlet published on Thursday, Israel military chief Gadi Eisenkot said his country was prepared to share information with Saudi Arabia to face Iran's plans “to control the Middle East.” Earlier both Hezbollah and Iran accused Saudi Arabia of pressing Israel to launch attacks in Lebanon. more...
Dr Asim Hussain removed from PPP Karachi's leadership
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:35:44 +0500
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday removed Dr Asim Hussain from the presidency of the Karachi division, ostensibly due to the latter's ill health and ongoing treatment.A press release issued by the PPP stated that Bilawal appreciated Hussain's services for the party and that he would be given a new and important assignment upon his return after the completion of his medical treatment abroad. "Dr Asim Hussain worked dedicatedly for PPP as Karachi Division President despite poor health deteriorated [sic] during his incarceration," the PPP chairman said in a statement.The Supreme Court on Thursday also ordered the Interior Ministry to strike Hussain's name off the Exit Control List (ECL), allowing him to travel abroad for medical treatment. more...
Senate standing committee condemns terrorism in Balochistan
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:47:33 +0500
Religious parties protest in Faizabad The Senate's Standing Committee on Interior passed a resolution against recent incidents of terror in Balochistan on Friday.The resolution said that the committee condemns the killing of DIG Hamid Shakeel, SP Muhammad Ilyas and three of his family members, and the 15 migrants found shot near Turbat.It said that it is clear that India's RAW is involved in spreading terror in Balochistan and has set aside $500 million to fund terrorism in the province to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an allegation first leveled this past week by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Mehmood Hayat.The Senate urged the government to take up the issue of Indian involvement in Balochistan with the United Nations.Religious parties protest in Faizabad The chief commissioner of Islamabad also briefed the committee on the ongoing protest by Tahreek-i-labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan and Sunni Tehreek at the Faizabad interchange, which has severely impacted the flow of traffic between Islamabad and Rawalpindi.Senator Rehman Malik asked why the administration had not taken adequate steps to deal with the protesters and prevented them from camping at Faizabad even though they had prior knowledge of their arrival."Every citizen has the right to protest but creating trouble for the public is a crime," Senator Malik said. The protest should end by dialogue rather than than power, he added. more...
Two killed in 'unprovoked' Indian shelling in AJK: officials
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:46:42 +0500
A woman and a man were killed while at least five others, including a teenager, were injured on Friday when Indian troops resorted to “unprovoked” shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), officials said.The casualties occurred in Poonch district's Abasspur town ─ the same area where an elderly woman was killed in an incident of firing by Indian troops two days earlier ─ and in Nezapir sector of the neighbouring Haveli district.“They (Indian troops) started shelling at about 7am without any provocation. Shelling continued intermittently after,” said Qazi Arsalan, an official at Abasspur police station.In Poonch dstrict, Rashida Begum, a 55-year-old widow of a police constable, was critically injured in Taroti Bala Galli village after shrapnel from a mortar shell hit her, he said, adding that she had succumbed to her wounds on way to the hospital.Abdul Aziz Shaikh, a retired junior grade employee of the education department, was injured after splinters pierced his left thigh in Taroti village, Arsalan said.He was transferred to Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan Hospital after receiving initial treatment in Abbaspur, he added.A parked vehicle was also partially damaged in Taroti bazaar, he said.In Nezapir sector, Mohammad Hanif, 52, was killed and five others were wounded after “heavy” shelling began there around 8:50am, police official Ishfaq Ahmed told Dawn from Forward Kahuta – District Headquarters of Haveli.The injured were identified as Shafqat Hussain, 35, Khadija Bibi, 44, Mohammad Ismail, 40 and a 15-year-old girl.All casualties occurred in Kairni village, official Ahmed said, adding the injured had been admitted to a military-run health facility in Forward Kahuta.Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistan Army's media wing, is yet to issue a press release regarding the incident. However, residents claimed that Pakistani troops “befittingly” responded to Indian shelling.AJK Senior Minister Chaudhry Tariq Farooq vehemently condemned Indian shelling, regretting that the Indian army’s conduct reflected its blatant disregard to its commitments.“Despite agreeing to revive the spirit of the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement, Indian troops are constantly targeting the innocent civilian populations on our side of the LoC, which warrants serious notice by the United Nations and the international community,” he said in a brief statement.The minister was referring to a recently concluded biennial conference of army officials from Pakistan and India in New Delhi, where the loss of innocent lives – mostly women and children ─ as a result of ceasefire violations and unprovoked firing was also discussed, with emphasis to revive the spirit of the Nov 2003 Ceasefire Agreement between the two armies to overcome this ordeal.The heavily militarised LoC has frequently witnessed ceasefire violations for more than a year now, leading mostly to civilian casualties.According to official sources, the latest casualties have pushed the death toll in Indian shelling in AJK since January to 44 while the number of injured persons has swelled to 253. more...
TTP has foothold in Afghanistan, says Abdullah
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:45:10 +0500
WASHINGTON: Afghan­istan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah has said that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has a foothold in Afghanistan and did so by taking advantage of the instability created by the insurgents fighting the Afghan government.In a meeting with editors of the Voice of America radio in Washington on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Abdullah urged Pakistan to see the situation with “clarity” and back international efforts to defeat terrorism in South Asia.Mr Abdullah is the second most powerful person in the Afghan government and also has a strong hold over the Afghan establishment. His acknowledgement of the TTP’s foothold in Afghanistan is the first by an Afghan leader and backs Pakistan’s claim that the Pakistani Taliban are using their camps in Afghanistan to launch attacks into Pakistan. Mr Abdullah, however, said that the Afghan government did not support any terrorist group and was against all those forces which try to destabilise states and governments, whether in Kabul or in other capitals.“We call it insecure areas in Afghanistan,” he said referring to the areas where TTP had established a foothold.However, he clarified that Afghanistan did not differentiate between terrorist gro­ups no matter “wherever they belong, whatever their aims”, adding that the Kabul government knew that “their [terrorists’] goals were against states and nations”.Insisting that the Afghan government did not allow any terrorist activity on its soil, Mr Abdullah said: “There have been cases where one side of the claim by our neighbouring country is right that TTP is a threat to Pakistan”. The Afghan leader, however, refused to accept responsibility for TTP’s activities, saying that the “TTP was not created in Afghanistan but was created at different times, for different purposes, and then they turned against the state and its institutions”.He also rejected the suggestion that friendly relations between Pakistan and China was a cause of concern for Kabul. “The fact that China and Pakistan have good relations is an opportunity to be utilised. And China is also concerned about terrorism and separatist activities on its own soil,” he said.Responding to a question about alleged Taliban sanctuaries in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Mr Abdullah said that the issue of sanctuaries was an important issue but also indicated that despite its concerns, the Afghan government wanted to improve its relations with Pakistan.He also supported his government’s decision to inc­lude Afghan leader Gul­badin Hekmatyar into the government, adding that Kabul would also welcome reconciliation with the Taliban.Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2017 more...

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