Posts Tagged ‘Education’

MMA leaders hopeful of repeating 2002 election performance

KARACHI: Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) president Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed on Sunday that the alliance would produce on July 25 better electoral results than it did in the 2002 general elections.

“We have done it before and we are going to do it again with enormous support and love of the people of Karachi and elsewhere,” said Mr Rehman, who also heads his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, the largest component of the five-party conglomerate, while addressing a public meeting at Bagh-i-Jinnah in front of the Quaid’s mausoleum. He said the MMA would restore peace in Karachi.

Earlier, the MMA’s local leadership claimed their rally was “among the biggest public gatherings” in the history of the sprawling metropolis.

Mr Rehman said people of the city had a history of supporting religious parties and “this time round it is going to be our day. People are there to support us again and with more zeal”.

He said the MMA would end interest-based banking system and class discrimination. “We’ll be there to look after the country’s poor people, its workers and peasants,” said the MMA chief.

He said vote was the weapon of modern times, which decided who would rule a country. “Use it for those who will give you a real Islamic country,” he said.

MMA’s vice president and Jamaat-i-Islami’s chief Sirajul Haq said the MMA would bring about a true Islamic system if it was elected to rule the country.

He said Quaid-i-Azam had got Pakistan to make it an Islamic country, but the rulers who came later made mockery of the country’s geography and its original spirit and doctrine.

“We’ll make it a true Islamic country, a state that was dreamed and envisioned by the Quaid,” he said.

He said the PML-N and the PPP had failed to run the country in accordance with the vision of the Quaid. “Had they run the country to turn it an Islamic state we all would have supported them. But they have failed,” he said.

He said the MMA would not only support people of Pakistan, but would also help the poor across the world. He said since the MMA’s election symbol was ‘book’, education would certainly be among its top priorities.

Other speakers included Shah Awais Noorani, Maulana Ghafoor Hyderi, Rashid Mehmood Soomro, Ali Mohammad Abu Turab, Allama Arif Wahidi and Dr Mairajul Huda Siddiqui.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018

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MQM-P unveils election manifesto, proposes creation of new provinces

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Saturday announced the party’s manifesto for the upcoming general elections.

The manifesto titled “Empowered Pakistan” focuses on the devolution of power from central level to local bodies and proposes the creation of new provinces.

The complete version can be read ,here,.

Key points:

  • Devolution of power

  • Empowerment of local bodies

  • Creation of new administrative units

  • Transforming traditional democracy into participatory democracy

  • Establishing unity of command

  • Curbing money laundering and adopting realistic economic goals

  • Easy access to basic facilities

New administrative units within provinces

MQM-P proposes the creation of new provinces or “administration units” within Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan “for delivery of effective services to the people and more importantly for a balance[d] growth of all regions simultaneously”.

The newly released manifesto also repeats the party’s core demand for the empowerment of local body governments.

While announcing the key points of the manifesto, Siddiqui said Pakistan was in dire need of good governance and claimed that decentralisation of power will improve the country’s system.

“The demand [for devolution of power] is in accordance with the Constitution,” Siddiqui said and referred to ,Article 140 of the Constitution,, that concerns the local government. According to Article 140, all “political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority” must be devolved to elected representatives of local governments.

MQM-P proposes “full empowerment” of representatives of local bodies and to abolish the “unnatural six districts of Karachi” thus restoring the city to its “fully autonomous metropolitan corporation” status.

Change in traditional democracy

The party expresses its belief that the country’s “traditional democracy” should be transformed into “participatory democracy”, in order to end discriminatory allocation of distribution funds, recruitment of candidates without merit, postings and transfers of “blue-eyed boys [of those in power] against key jobs” etc.

To ensure that power is more evenly distributed, the party proposes a change in electoral laws to make them more inclusive, elimination of quota system, increase in forums for youth and women at tehsil level to ensure their participation etc.

The MQM-P’s manifesto also proposes provision and easy access to basic facilities like health and education for the masses.

Economic challenges and proposals

The manifesto also addresses the economic challenges being faced by the country, including Pakistan’s placement on Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’.

It proposes measures to ensure an improvement in the economy in coming years, including increased checks and balances on “agents who are helping the unscrupulous big businesses to indulge in money laundering”. It urges future authorities to stop setting “artificial targets ” for growth and instead adopt a “pragmatic approach” to “ease the situation”.

The party also calls for a reduction in federal government’s spending, “drastic cuts” in the import of non-essential or luxury goods. Strengthening public sector enterprises like PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills etc. is also included in the party’s recommendations.

Peace and policing

In order to avoid confusion and strengthen the policing system, MQM-P manifesto proposes that the state establishes a “unity of command”, under which the police and Sindh Rangers will be answerable to the provincial government.

The manifesto also calls for prison reforms and an upgrade in police infrastructure.

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Imran Khan unveils PTI manifesto ‘Road to Naya Pakistan’

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Monday unveiled his party’s much-awaited manifesto for general elections 2018, announcing that he would turn Pakistan into a welfare state if voted into power.

Titled “Road to Naya Pakistan”, the manifesto is composed of seven chapters and explains in detail the PTI’s agenda for the next government.

One of the primary points of the manifesto, Khan said, is to turn Pakistan into a Islamic welfare state — a model the principles of which he said are also followed in Scandinavian countries.

Read the entire PTI manifesto ,here,.

“We will make the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) autonomous and pursue all cases of corruption,” Khan said. “We will empower the people and devolve the power to the village level.

“We will introduce a non-political model of policing like the one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the rest of the provinces as well. And to ensure that Pakistanis get instant and quality justice, we will introduce comprehensive judicial reforms.”

Khan outlined the major issues of all the regions and vowed to resolve them. “We will bring prominent changes to the administrative structure in Karachi; ensure successful completion of Fata’s merger with KP and will allocate specific funds for it; promote politics of understanding in Balochistan; raise the movement of south Punjab province, and empower Gilgit Baltistan.”

Special report: ,Demystifying political manifestos through a business lens,

The PTI chief further said that his party would boost the economy by creating 10 millions jobs and promoting small-to-mid-level industries. “We will make Pakistan business-friendly and turn the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into a game-changer by enhancing bilateral relations.”

Khan also talked about water preservation via the building of dam, which he said would make the agricultural industry profitable for the farmers.

The manifesto, he said, also has plans on introducing educational reforms in schools, religious seminaries and vocational centres.

,PPP was the first, among the major political parties to share its manifesto, ,followed by PML-N,.

Khan said that his party would safeguard national security and defeat the terrorists’ narrative, human resources, finances and weaponry to tackle the internal threats the country faces. However, he said that in order to curb the proliferation of arms and ammunition at international level, the PTI government would also invite India for strategic discussions.

He also delineated his party’s environmental agenda, saying that they would “plant 10 billion trees to tackle environmental changes.”

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SC allows PTI’s Rind to contest elections

ISLAMABAD: The Sup­r­eme Court on Thursday al­­lowed ,Sardar Yar Moham­mad Rind,, provincial president of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Balochistan, to contest the upcoming elections by suspending the Balochistan High Court’s (BHC) verdict that had ,barred, him from the contest.

Mr Rind submitted his nomination papers for National Assembly’s constituency NA-260 in Sibi district and Balochistan Asse­mbly constituency PB-17 in the same district. The appellate tribunal had barred Mr Rind from contesting elections for concealing an FIR registered against him and for submitting a ‘fake’ master’s degree.

The two-member division bench of the BHC had upheld the appellate tribunal’s judgement and subsequently Mr Rind had filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Mr Rind told the apex court that his master’s degree was in fact a madressah degree which he had declared in the 2008 elections. But, he said, he had chosen to not submit this time around as it was not verifiable by the Higher Education Commission. The three-member SC bench headed by the chief justice of Pakistan ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to allot a symbol to Mr Rind for contesting the elections. The apex court issued notices to other parties in the case.

Published in Dawn, July 06th, 2018

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Axact CEO, 22 others sentenced to 20 years in jail in fake degrees case

A sessions court on Thursday convicted Axact chief executive officer Shoaib Sheikh and 22 others in the ,fake degrees scam case,, awarding them a total of 20 years imprisonment each.

District and Sessions Judge Islamabad Chaudhry Mumtaz Hussain, however, acquitted three co-accused in the case namely retired Lt Col Younas, retired Col Jamil and the wife of Shoaib Sheikh, Ayesha Shoaib, for want of evidence.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs1.3 million on each of the convicts.

See: ,The spectacular crash of Shoaib Shaikh’s digital empire,

The accused were handed down sentences under various charges, amounting to a collective punishment of 20 years each. However, since all the sentences will run concurrently, the maximum time each convict would have to spend in jail is seven years.


The 23 convicts were sentenced to:

  • Three years rigorous imprisonment (RI) along with a fine of Rs100,000 under Sections 419/109/34 of PPC
  • Three years RI along with a fine of Rs200,000 under Sections 420/109/34 of PPC
  • Seven years RI along with a fine of Rs500,000 under Sections 468/109/34 of PPC
  • Seven years RI along with a fine of Rs500,000 under Sections 471/109/34 of PPC

The prosecution failed to prove the offences under Sections 36 and 37 of the Electronic Transaction Ordinance, 2010 and Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010, hence the accused were acquitted of these charges.


All the convicts, including Sheikh, had earlier been released on bail and were not present in the court today when the judgement against them was announced. Since they did not turn up for the announcement of the verdict, the court cancelled their bails and issued non-bailable perpetual arrest warrants against them.

Sheikh, as well as the other convicts, were nominated in a First Information Report (FIR) lodged against them on June 7, 2015 under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 473, 109/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 4 of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.

The FIA maintained before the court that an inquiry dated May 19, 2015 was started against the respondent M/s Axact Ltd Islamabad region for preparing and selling degrees of fake online educational institutions with fake accreditation bodies and enticing innocent people through impersonation as student counsellors within Pakistan and abroad.

Consequently, a raid was conducted at Axact’s offices in Karachi’s DHA. According to the petitioner, during an on-the-spot interview, the IT company’s regional head Col (retd) Jameel Ahmad, Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Younas and other officials could not provide a plausible justification regarding their online fast-track prior learning assessment (PLA) education operation.

Statements of some of the employees clearly showed that their sale agents were impersonating highly qualified student counsellors working for the fraudulent, non-existent and fictitious educational institutes. They also pretended to be based in the USA as they used UAN numbers of the United States and persuaded prospective students to deposit huge amounts of money in the offshore accounts operated by Axact in lieu of online degrees/certificates/diplomas and attestation/legalisation from different government bodies, according to FIA.

Syed Ashfaq Naqvi, the special prosecutor for FIA, argued that the software company sold fictitious degrees to different people in Pakistan and abroad and brought a bad name to the country.

He said the FIA had conducted a thorough probe and after completing due procedure filed the challan against the convicts in the trial court.

Additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Pervaizul Qadir Memon had acquitted Sheikh and 27 others in the fake degrees case on October 31, 2016. Later the judge was sacked on February 15, 2018 due to his admission of receiving Rs5 million bribe for acquitting the accused.

However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in April this year had ,set aside the acquittal of Sheikh and others, and remanded the case back to the sessions court for a retrial.

The 16-page judgement authored by IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had declared that “the impugned judgement is vitiated on the sole ground of the pecuniary interest of the presiding judge against whom the charge of accepting illegal gratification stands established”.

The Axact saga

Axact first came into the limelight in 2015 when a New York Times report titled “,Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions,” outlined how the “secretive Pakistani software company” had allegedly earned millions of dollars from scams involving fake degrees, non-existent online universities and manipulation of customers.

According to the report, Axact had created a series of fake websites involving “professors” and students who it said were in fact paid actors.

Umair Hamid, a vice president of Axact, was last year sentenced to 21 months in prison in the US for his role in the international diploma mill scheme. In addition to the prison term, Hamid, 31, from Karachi, was ordered to forfeit $5,303,020. He had pleaded guilty on April 6, 2017 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

In January, Chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the Axact fake degree scandal after international news reports said over 3,000 UK citizens had purchased fake degrees from Axact in 2013 and 2014.

That news had come just months after an in-depth investigation by Canada’s national broadcaster uncovered that hundreds of people working in diverse fields across Canada possess bogus degrees issued by Axact.

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PML-N’s 2018 manifesto unveiled with a call to ‘honour the vote’

Senior PML-N leaders on Thursday presented the party’s ,manifesto, ahead of the July 25 general elections at a ceremony in Lahore.

Former state minister Marriyum Aurangzeb began by reading out a message from former prime minister and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, who regretted the “political conspiracies” his government was allegedly subjected to after coming into power in 2013.

The fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Pakistan in connection with CPEC-related investment had to be postponed proved “how harmful dharnas (sit-ins) were for the national interest”, he was quoted as saying.


See PML-N’s complete manifesto for 2018 elections ,here,.


Sharif also criticised the “unprecedented” court decisions that led to his ouster as prime minister and removal as party head.

Examine: ,The PML-N made bold claims in its 2013 manifesto. How many of those promises did it keep?,

It is incumbent upon the PML-N to ensure the progress of democracy, political harmony, protection of rights of minorities, respect for women and supremacy of the Constitution in Pakistan, he said.

PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif presents the manifesto. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif presents the manifesto. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif in his address claimed that the PML-N had introduced 11,000MW electricity to the national grid in its recently-concluded five-year tenure. Shahbaz, whose speech was briefly interrupted by a heckler, said his party had brought peace to the entire country, especially Karachi, through military operations.

“The [PML-N] manifesto is a roadmap to include Pakistan among the top 25 world economies,” ,said, party leader and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal. The policy statement envisages the introduction of an “agricultural industrial revolution” in Pakistan, he added.

All set for launch of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Election Manifesto for 2018 General Elections. President PML-N Mian Shahbaz Sharif will present party Manifesto. ,#PMLNManifesto2018, ,pic.twitter.com/W9uFKI3wnU,

— PML(N) (@pmln_org) ,July 5, 2018,

In its manifesto, headlined with the slogan “Vote ko izzat do — khidmat ko vote do” [Honour the vote — vote for performance], the party has, among other elaborate promises, pledged to:

  • Aspire for economic transformation by raising the GDP growth rate to over 7 per cent
  • Expand scope of investments
  • Minimise losses in state-owned enterprises
  • Eliminate poverty by 2030 through welfare programmes
  • Enable enterprise creation and employment
  • Impart technical training among people
  • Continue tax reforms to raise the tax-to-GDP ratio from 13pc to 16pc
  • Create at least 100,000-200,000 jobs
  • Expedite completion of long-term CPEC plan
  • Promote value addition in agriculture and increase productivity
  • Assist farmers with a farmer support package
  • Increase the size of the IT industry from $3.1 billion to $10bn
  • Expand e-governance and citizen-centric services
  • Bridge the digital divide by doubling the access to affordable broadband
  • Scale up free public Wi-Fi hotspots to all major cities
  • Increase representation of youth in democratic forums
  • Open Pakistan to the world
  • Improve Pakistan’s ranking to the top 50 on tourism and competitive index
  • Add 15,000MW of power by 2025, including 5,000-7,000MW through Thar coal and hydroelectricity
  • Provide energy coupons to the poor and require other segments to pay commercial rates
  • Ensure speedy implementation of National Water Policy
  • Create a world-class railway system
  • Achieve universal primary enrollment by 2023
  • Increase education spending to 4pc of GDP and funding for higher education to 0.5pc of GDP
  • Ensure universal access to preventive and primary health care
  • Undertake proper registration of madressahs through a system agreed by all stakeholders
  • Launch special welfare programmes for the uplift of minorities
  • Increase maternity leave duration up to six months, with a minimum leave period of three months
  • Establish community-level “Awami Adalat” [public courts] in easily accessible locations
  • Reimagine the national narrative to foster tolerance, dialogue and diversity
  • Rehabilitate and mainstream recruits of extremist organisations through social welfare programmes
  • Hold dialogue with India to reduce tensions on an equal and strictly reciprocal basis for regional peace
  • Strengthen inter-institutional dialogue to develop a shared vision of strategic issues
  • Fortify ties with China even further, develop relations with Russia
  • Make administrative and regulatory changes to ensure freedom of speech and expression

President PMLN Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif launching the manifesto of the party. ,#PMLNManifesto18, ,https://t.co/iv8SWZo3HZ,

— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) ,July 5, 2018,

Private sector is the generator of jobs. We will implement policies to help private sector grow & expand. PMLN will provide an attractive investment climate by bringing down the cost of doing business & facilitating the prospective businessmen. ,#PMLNManifesto2018,

— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) ,July 5, 2018,

What is a manifesto?

A manifesto is known as a “published verbal declaration” through which parties express their “intentions, views and vision” about national issues and also make public their “motives” and “targets” which they plan to achieve after assuming power.

Political experts believe that a manifesto is actually a pledge a political party makes with people before elections and later it acts as a gauge to measure its performance.

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SC suspends high court order barring PTI Balochistan president from contesting elections

The Supreme Court on Thursday suspended the ,Balochistan High Court (BHC) order, barring Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Balochistan President Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind from contesting the upcoming elections.

Rind will now be able to contest the elections for NA-206 and PB-17 while the SC continues to hear his appeal against disqualification.

Rind, who filed an appeal against the high court’s order in the SC, told the apex court today that his master’s degree was in fact a madressah degree which he had declared in the 2008 elections but had chosen to not declare this time around as it was not verifiable by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Therefore, the omission does not signify dishonesty on his part, he argued.

The three-member bench, headed by the chief justice, then suspended the BHC decision, ordering the Election Commission of Pakistan to allot Rind a symbol to contest the poll on and issuing notices to the parties in the case.

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US warns Pakistan against outbreak of drug-resistant typhoid fever

WASHINGTON: The United States issued a health warning for Pakistan on Wednesday, alerting people against an ongoing outbreak of “extensively drug-resistant” ,typhoid, fever that does not respond to most antibiotics.

In a statement issued in Washington, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged all travellers to “Pakistan or anywhere else in South Asia” to take extra care with food and water and get a typhoid vaccination.

The CDC said the level-two alert had been triggered by the observation that several travellers to Pakistan returned to their home countries with the disease.

“All travellers to Pakistan are at risk of getting XDR typhoid fever. Those who are visiting friends or relatives are at higher risk than are tourists and business travellers,” CDC warned.

It also urged travellers to these areas to take extra care to follow safe food and water guidelines. The guidelines include information that can be useful for those living in Pakistan as well.

What is the current situation: The outbreak of XDR typhoid fever began in Hyderabad in November 2016. This strain of Salmonella Typhi does not respond to most antibiotics used to treat typhoid fever.

The outbreak has spread to the city of Karachi and to multiple districts, and several deaths have been reported.

Public health authorities in Pakistan are identifying possible typhoid fever cases, starting typhoid vaccination campaigns in the most affected districts, and spreading educational messages about proper hand-washing and safe food and water practices.

In the United States, public health officials have increased efforts to quickly interview and test samples from patients with suspected typhoid fever.

The guidelines that could be useful for both travellers and citizens of Pakistan: Get the typhoid vaccine: Two typhoid fever vaccines are easily available – an oral vaccine and an injectable vaccine. The oral vaccine can be given to those at least six years old and should be given at least one week before travel. The injectable vaccine can be given to those at least two years old and should be given at least two weeks before travel.

Safe eating and drinking habits: Because the bacteria that cause typhoid fever are spread through contaminated food and water, risk of infection can be reduced in several ways: Wash your hands often, especially before eating; avoid eating food prepared by anyone who is sick or has recently been sick; if you get sick, immediately seek medical care. If you get sick after returning from Pakistan seek medical care and tell your healthcare provider where and when you travelled. Learn more about typhoid fever, how to prevent it, and what to do if you think you have it. The information is available on various health website.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2018

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Bilawal says building dams is not judiciary’s job

NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that building dams is the job of the legislature and government, through consensus.

Talking to journalists at Zardari House here on Wednesday, he said there was not a single country in the world where the judicial branch of government had constructed any dam. Therefore, the job must be left to the government, legislature and executive.

He was apparently referring to the ,chief justice’s repeated calls for the construction of dams, to face the challenge of future water crises.

“If three provincial assemblies have rejected the construction of a dam and their own report says that the dam will not be feasible when India is opposed and criticised for undermining the rights of lower riparian areas, then the same argument should be considered for dams at home,” he said.

Bilawal said that it was the PPP which constructed small dams in Sindh, but there was a need for consensus for the construction of other dams.

Opposes postponement, boycott of elections

Answering a question, he said there had been a water crisis in Pakistan and the PPP had been struggling to overcome it since the time of Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister.

He said the federal government did not support the PPP on that important issue and there was no other political party to raise the issue.

Bilawal said Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa never introduced any project for water whereas the PPP had been seriously working on it as 1,800-kilometre-long canals had been lined, which would save water; 2,000 reverse osmosis plants were installed to make water sweet and drinkable. Asia’s biggest water filtration plant was installed in Nawabshah whereas no filtration plant was installed by any other province.

He criticised the Indus River System Authority’s role and said that the PPP regularly raised the issue on the floor of the assembly. However, as the elections were approaching, every party was talking about water crisis.

‘No reason to postpone elections’

He said he was in the field and campaigning with his election manifesto, but the others who had not presented their manifestos might want a delay in elections so they could rig and win. Otherwise there was no reason for postponing the polls.

Bilawal said he had been receiving an overwhelming response from the people since he left Karachi. “The rivals did a lot of propaganda against the PPP and thought they would make the people believe their lies, but they got a clear message that the people were with the PPP and wanted a people’s government,” he said.

Answering a question, he said the PPP wanted free and fair elections on time.

In reply to a question about a post-election alliance with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, he said it would be really difficult owing to the PTI policy on terrorism, water, democracy and their views about Benazir Bhutto.

He said the people were not with any puppet alliance, politicians, nor they wanted any puppet government. “Those who talked about division of Sindh and those who wanted to save Sindh are together without any manifesto and agenda,” he said.

‘Smooth second democratic transition’

He said the PPP had always struggled for democracy and would never step back from it. “Pakistan has progressed towards democracy and it is a success that Pakistan is going for a smooth second democratic transition and the elements against democracy are united to sabotage it but the people are with us,” he said.

He asked those forces to leave it to the people as any threat or pressure would not work and the people would elect the party they wanted.

Answering a question about a possible boycott of elections by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Bilawal said the PPP had always discouraged boycotts and had earlier advised the PML-N not to boycott elections and if they (PML-N) foresaw their defeat, it did not mean they should run away from the race.

He said that every party should be in the race and the decision should be left to the people.

Earlier, he was warmly received by party workers and supporters at Khan Pump on Sanghar Road, where he arrived at around 2.30am.

Addressing the gathering, he said the PPP had carried out huge development works throughout Sindh.

Bilawal later reached Zardari House, where he stayed overnight and left for Sakrand at around 3pm. His caravan would proceed on the National Highway from Sakrand to Qazi Ahmed, Moro, Naushahro Feroze, Khairpur and would stay overnight at Sukkur.

Later, speaking to party workers and supporters at Sakrand, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari praised sacrifices of the people of the town for democracy during the MRD movement.

He said that it was his first election and he was among the people with a promise to continue the vision and mission of his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and serve the people.

He said the comprehensive manifesto of the party had solutions to the problems of inflation, energy shortage, poverty, education, health and water.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2018

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CJP dispels impression of running someone’s poll campaign

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday rejected a perception that he was running someone’s election campaign and explained that it was his passion that took him to visit a hospital in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

“Yesterday an impression was created as if I am on someone’s election campaign,” the chief justice said while hearing a case relating to non-completion of a Rs1.3 billion hospital project as well as a postgraduate college in Rawalpindi on a petition moved by politician Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

CJP Nisar and Sheikh Rashid visit hospital in Rawalpindi on Sunday. ? File

CJP Nisar and Sheikh Rashid visit hospital in Rawalpindi on Sunday. ? File

On Sunday, soon after hearing Mr Rashid’s petition, ,the chief justice paid a visit to the Women, Chest Diseases Centre Hospital Rawalpindi, which is at an advanced stage of completion.

The CJP’s visit stirred quite a controversy when an impression was created that his visit would help Mr Rashid in his election campaign. Mr Rashid is contesting the election from NA-60 and NA-62 (Rawalpindi).

Justice Nisar says he visited Rawalpindi hospital for the sake of people and not to help someone

“I have nothing to do with Sheikh Rashid or have any political relationship with him,” the chief justice said during the hearing of the case he held inside the committee room instead of Courtroom No 1 due to some health reasons.

“We have gone there (hospital) for the sake of the people and not to help someone,” the chief justice said, adding that the Supreme Court had nothing to do with whether people voted in favour of Sheikh Rashid or not.

Mr Rashid told the court that a particular section of social media was running a vilification campaign against the chief justice.

After the hearing, he told the media that construction of the hospital remained suspended for the past 13 years, adding that some people were unhappy since the construction process had commenced.

During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman informed the court that the mobilisation process had been completed and another 18 months would be required to complete the infrastructure. He said a committee would be constituted under the supervision of doctors to oversee the project.

The court suggested inclusion of one of its senior officers Khawaja Dawood as a member in the supervisory committee and directed that a monthly report on the completion process of the hospital be furnished before the court.

Mr Rehman said the earlier plan envisaged three operating theatres, but now the number had been increased to 14.

In his petition, Sheikh Rashid had requested the court to order the authorities concerned as well as the federal government to complete the two projects — the hospital and the government degree college for women — so that fundamental rights of thousands of citizens be safeguarded by providing basic health and educational facilities.

According to the petition, the project envisaged the 400-bed women hospital in Rawalpindi which was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council at a cost of Rs1.3 billion on Aug 5, 2005 which should have been completed within two-and-a-half years.

The project was aimed at providing basic health facilities to the patients of Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum and surrounding areas.

Despite being one of the most populated cities of Pakistan, the petition argued, Rawalpindi had only three government hospitals with a total capacity of 1,450 beds.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2018

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Caretaker govt not interested in holding fair polls: ANP

CHARSADDA: Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan has alleged that caretaker government is not serious in holding fair and transparent elections.

Addressing a ceremony in Taragzai here on Sunday, he said that caretaker government was running election campaign as ‘B team’ of a particular political party. He said that development schemes were still being executed.

It was a question mark on the credibility of Election Commission of Pakistan, he added.

The ANP chief said that his party was supporting holding of fair and transparent elections. He said that it would have dire consequences if the elections became controversial.

He said that Kalabagh Dam was a controversial issue but some elements wanted to make worsen the situation by touching that dead issue. He added that three provinces had passed resolutions against construction of Kalabadg Dam.

Mr Khan said that ANP did not care of power rather the party was struggling for future of the nation. He demanded stern action against those candidates, who were violating the rules of ECP.

Coming hard on Qaumi Watan Party leadership, he said that the party had nothing to do with the politics of Pakhtuns. He said that candidates of other parties were fighting for tickets but ANP respected the opinion of workers during award of tickets.

Mr Khan said that tickets were awarded to candidates after consultation with the workers. He said that ANP didn’t award tickets to those people, who landed in the party through parachutes. He said that everyone knew about the sit-in and protests in Banigala against the sale of tickets.

The ANP chief alleged that former PTI government closed doors of education on children of nation.

He said that the ANP-led government had played pivotal role in development of the province particularly the sectors of education and communication.

He hoped that ANP would sweep the coming elections and form government in the province.

Meanwhile, Zarbakht Zulfiqar Ali Khan, the great grandson of Bacha Khan, has said that he could not think of quitting ANP.

He said that it was an honour for him to be great grandson of Bacha Khan Baba and grandson of Abdul Ali Khan. He said that he had the right to stand for his people as those were teachings of Bacha Khan and Abdul Ali khan. He said that he would continue to work for protecting Pakhtun rights.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2018

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IB chief transferred in another round of bureaucracy shuffle

ISLAMABAD: The interim government on Friday made another round of large-scale ,changes, in the federal bureaucracy.

Dr Muhammad Suleman Khan, a grade-22 officer of the police service who has been director general of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) since May 7 this year, was made national coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta). His predecessor retired Lt Cdr Ihsan Ghani, who also belongs to the police service, will now head the IB. Mr Ghani is set to retire in August this year. The government reverted within three days its decision about the transfer of information secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera because of the Supreme Court’s directives.

Mr Sukhera, a grade-22 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) who had been transferred as education secretary on June 26, was made information secretary again on Friday.

Sukhera brought back as information secretary within three days

Arshad Mirza, also a grade-22 officer of PAS, who was posted as information secretary, has been made education secretary.

Usman Akhtar Bajwa, a grade-20 officer of PAS who was working as Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman, has been directed to report to the Establishment Division. Ishrat Ali, a grade-21 officer of PAS, who was working as director general passports, has been made CDA chairman.

Apart from changing the portfolios, the interim government has formally appointed Muhammad Saleem new chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). The post had been lying vacant since December last year.

Mr Saleem, who was working as principal information officer, took charge of his new office on Friday.

It may be recalled that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had imposed a ban new appointments after the date for the general elections was announced in April. However, after a hearing at the ECP, Mr Saleem’s name was cleared because he had been appointed by the last PML-N government on the directives of the Supreme Court after fulfilling all formalities.

The PML-N government had also appointed Shaukat Hussain new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan on May 11, but an appeal against the decision has been filed in the ECP.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2018

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‘We have to fulfil BB’s promise’: Bilawal unveils PPP’s election manifesto

The PPP on Thursday became the first major party of the country to make public its ,manifesto, ahead of the July 25 general elections.

The manifesto was launched by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in Islamabad in the presence of senior party leadership, including co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

Titled ‘BB ka wada nibhana hai Pakistan bachana hai‘ (We have to fulfil BB’s promise and save Pakistan), the manifesto pledges to curtail hunger, rebuild the country’s economy and foster harmony between different institutions of the state.

This is what Benazir Bhutto had dreamt of.
Aur humain
BB ka waadaa nibhana hai; Pakistan bachana hai : ,@BBhuttoZardari, ,#BBKaWaadaNibhanaHai, ,#PakistanBachanaHai, ,#PPPManifesto2018,

— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) ,June 28, 2018,

The policy statement is guided by an extension of PPP’s original slogan: “Roti, kapra aur makaan; ilm, sehat, sab ko kaam” (Bread, clothing and shelter; education, health and jobs for everyone)


See the full PPP manifesto for 2018 elections ,here,.


Bilawal in his speech said the current economic situation in the country in “unstable” and “exclusionary”, the parliament has been reduced to the status of a bystander and state institutions appear to be at loggerheads. He said there was a need to stop the drift that has resulted in the country being isolated in the world.

“We must get the government on a track that is modelled on serving the people,” he said.

In its manifesto, the party has pledged:

  • To free all Pakistani people from the fear of hunger, thirst and helplessness
  • To open opportunities for all children and youth so that they may excel, become active citizens of Pakistan and confident members of the global community
  • To rebuild and build an economy that works for all our people, now and into the future
  • To deepen democracy by fostering harmony among our people, between our people and our state, and among the institutions of our state, and to make the government accountable and answerable to the people by strengthening the parliament and other institutional frameworks
  • To secure rights and peace — for our state and for all our people
  • To reclaim Pakistan’s rightful place in the world

What is a manifesto?

A manifesto is known as a “published verbal declaration” through which parties express their “intentions, views and vision” about national issues and also make public their “motives” and “targets” which they plan to achieve after assuming power.

Political experts believe that a manifesto is actually a pledge a political party makes with people before elections and later it acts as a gauge to measure its performance.

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Mattis underlines US role in eliminating Fazlullah

WASHINGTON: US Def­ence Secretary James Mattis has underlined the role that American forces played in ,removing Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist,, as Wash­ington sends a senior envoy to Islamabad for peace talks.

“The forces engaged against the terrorists basically killed Fazlullah, the head of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP),” said Mr Mattis while talking to Pentagon journalists in Alaska.

This is a rare confirmation of a terrorist’s elimination by a senior US official and comes amid renewed efforts for restoring peace in Afghan­istan where the United States has been engaged in an apparently unending military campaign since 2001.

Usually, US officials do not talk about targeted attacks, particularly when it involves a drone, as it was a US drone that killed Fazlullah. While the US continues to use drones to eliminate terrorists, it prefers not to confirm or deny such attacks. Senior US officials are particularly careful because it’s often difficult to confirm the kill.

Secretary Mattis, however, not only confirmed Fazlul­lah’s elimination but also explained why it was important to do so. Diplomatic observers in Washington see this as a reminder to Pakistan that the US did them a favour by removing their most wanted terrorist. Now, they need to return the favour by cooperating with the United States in its efforts to jumpstart the Afghan peace talks.

The Trump administration is sending a senior envoy — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells — to Islamabad next week to explore the possibility of a permanent peace in Afghanistan.

A transcript released by his office on Wednesday shows Mr Mattis identifying Fazlullah as a terrorist leader “well known” for ordering the 2014 Peshawar School Massacre.

On Dec 16, 2014, six TTP gunmen attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar and killed 149 people, including 132 schoolchildren. It was the world’s fourth deadliest school massacre.

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah’s men killed the “school-going children and teachers” and unleashed a reign of terror in Swat.

“I’ve been to Swat … one of the most stunningly beautiful places you’ll ever go on earth, I’ll tell you.

“If you’ve — for those of you who ever get there, for a good trekking opportunity,” said the US defence secretary while explaining how Fazlullah turned a heaven into a hell.

“There, his reign was known until the Pakistan military threw him out, for the beheadings he was able to carry out there to impose his will, which didn’t last long but was certainly murderous while he was there.”

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah also ordered the murder of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl who “strongly represented education for children”.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018

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Mattis underlines US role in eliminating Fazlullah

WASHINGTON: US Def­ence Secretary James Mattis has underlined the role that American forces played in ,removing Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist,, as Wash­ington sends a senior envoy to Islamabad for peace talks.

“The forces engaged against the terrorists basically killed Fazlullah, the head of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP),” said Mr Mattis while talking to Pentagon journalists in Alaska.

This is a rare confirmation of a terrorist’s elimination by a senior US official and comes amid renewed efforts for restoring peace in Afghan­istan where the United States has been engaged in an apparently unending military campaign since 2001.

Usually, US officials do not talk about targeted attacks, particularly when it involves a drone, as it was a US drone that killed Fazlullah. While the US continues to use drones to eliminate terrorists, it prefers not to confirm or deny such attacks. Senior US officials are particularly careful because it’s often difficult to confirm the kill.

Secretary Mattis, however, not only confirmed Fazlul­lah’s elimination but also explained why it was important to do so. Diplomatic observers in Washington see this as a reminder to Pakistan that the US did them a favour by removing their most wanted terrorist. Now, they need to return the favour by cooperating with the United States in its efforts to jumpstart the Afghan peace talks.

The Trump administration is sending a senior envoy — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells — to Islamabad next week to explore the possibility of a permanent peace in Afghanistan.

A transcript released by his office on Wednesday shows Mr Mattis identifying Fazlullah as a terrorist leader “well known” for ordering the 2014 Peshawar School Massacre.

On Dec 16, 2014, six TTP gunmen attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar and killed 149 people, including 132 schoolchildren. It was the world’s fourth deadliest school massacre.

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah’s men killed the “school-going children and teachers” and unleashed a reign of terror in Swat.

“I’ve been to Swat … one of the most stunningly beautiful places you’ll ever go on earth, I’ll tell you.

“If you’ve — for those of you who ever get there, for a good trekking opportunity,” said the US defence secretary while explaining how Fazlullah turned a heaven into a hell.

“There, his reign was known until the Pakistan military threw him out, for the beheadings he was able to carry out there to impose his will, which didn’t last long but was certainly murderous while he was there.”

Secretary Mattis noted that Fazlullah also ordered the murder of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl who “strongly represented education for children”.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018

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National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua resigns

National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua resigned from the post on Wednesday, allegedly due to differences with the interim government, DawnNewsTV reported, citing sources.

Janjua’s resignation was accepted by Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, according to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division.

Lt Gen (r) Janjua, who had replaced Sartaj Aziz on Oct 23, 2015, was accorded the status of minister of state. His appointment was part of efforts to revitalise the national security division since, during Aziz’s approximately two-and-a-half-year tenure, the National Security Committee had met just four times.

The military too had reportedly been pressing the then government for bringing in a new NSA.

Janjua is the second military official to hold the post after Major General (r) Mehmood Durrani who was NSA during an earlier PPP government.

Janjua held the post of Southern Command Quetta before he retired from the army. Before that, he was president of the National Defence University, the military’s higher education institute and premier think-tank on national security matters.

He also worked on ‘Azm-i-Nau’, a military preparedness exercise with particular focus on India. In December 2017, the then premier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, had tasked Janjua to present the national security policy.

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.

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FBR chief transferred amid bureaucracy shake-up

ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government on Tuesday transferred some top bureaucrats at the Federal Board of Revenue, establishment division and information and interior ministries.

More than 2,000 provincial bureaucrats have been reshuffled so far. The PML-N government during its five-year tenure had posted blue-eyed bureaucrats in the federal secretariat, but the interim government seems reluctant to make changes in the top bureaucracy.

Take a look: ,Code of conduct violation: DMOs empowered to penalise candidates,

On June 13, the establishment division sent a summary to the prime minister’s secretariat and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for routine transfers and postings, but the interim government was dragging its feet on the matter.

At the insistence of the ECP, the interim government issued notifications about a few bureaucrats on Tuesday.

As the election date has been fixed, the government will have to seek prior approval from the ECP regarding postings and transfers in senior cadres required under the Election Act, 2017.

Finance Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan, Commerce Secretary Younus Dagha and Planning and Development Secretary Shoaib Siddiqui, who were appointed by the PML-N government, skipped the first reshuffling.

There are several other important slots where PML-N favourite bureaucrats were posted in the last five years.

On top of the list was FBR chairman Tariq Mehmood Pasha, who enjoyed prize postings in the PML-N government, has been transferred and posted as statistics division secretary. He was replaced by Rukhsana Yasmin. Ms Yasmin became the first female head of this important tax department. Both will assume their new jobs from July 1.

As part of the provincial bureaucracy reshuffling, three inspectors general were made officers on special duty, while Punjab IG Arif Nawaz was posted as narcotics division secretary.

All the four provincial chief secretaries, who had been awaiting posting, were given slots in the federal secretariat.
Former chief secretary of Punjab retired Capt Zahid Saeed was posted as secretary National Health Services, Regulations; former chief secretary of Sindh Rizwan Memon as power division secretary; former chief secretary of Balochistan Aurangzeb Haque as establishment division secretary and former chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was posted as additional secretary (in charge), states and frontier region.

Information secretary Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera was transferred and posted as secretary, federal education and professional training division; and power secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar was posted as interior secretary.

Interior secretary Arshad Mirza was posted as information secretary, while another senior bureaucrat Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, who was awaiting posting, was posted as secretary of the Board of Investment. Mr Khan will assume his new assignment on July 4.

Establishment secretary Maroof Afzal was posted as industries and production secretary; Mohammad Ayub Shaikh as Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan secretary; Dr Sultan Azam Temuri, as member, National Counter Terrorism Authority on deputation; Mohammad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan as Inspector General National Highways and Motorways Police; Sanaullah Abbasi as Inspector General of Police, Gilgit-Baltistan.

Retired Squadron Leader Iqbal Mahmood has been directed to report to Establishment Division, Additional Secretary (In charge) Industries Mian Asad Hayauddin was transferred and directed to report to the establishment division, joint secretary prime minister secretariat Abrar Ahmed Mirza was transferred and posted as joint secretary finance division and Syed Tahir Raza Naqvi was transferred and posted as additional secretary (in charge) parliamentary affairs division. Mr Naqvi will assume his new job from July 19.

To ensure fair play and equitable place for all, the establishment division has also sought details from the ECP regarding transfers and postings through an official memorandum issued on June 8. The ECP replied to the establishment division through an official letter on June 26.

The ECP clarified in its reply to the federal government that cases of postings/transfers of officers in BPS-20 and above shall be referred to the ECP for consideration and approval. The federal secretariat and its attached departments’ postings/transfers can be made on their own and without prior approval of ECP up to BPS-19.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018

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