Posts Tagged ‘Rain’

Emirati prince flees to Qatar seeking asylum, criticises Abu Dhabi

An Emirati prince is seeking asylum in Qatar after fleeing the UAE saying he feared for his life because of a dispute with the rulers of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, ,The New York Times reported, on Sunday.

Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad al-Sharqi, 31, is the second son of the emir of Fujairah, one of the seven monarchies making up the United Arab Emirates. He arrived in Doha on May 16, the report said.

Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, right, in Fujairah in March. — Photo courtesy AFP via NYT

Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, right, in Fujairah in March. — Photo courtesy AFP via NYT

Abu Dhabi is the capital and richest emirate of the UAE.

Speaking to the The New York Times, Sheikh Rashid accused Emirati rulers of blackmail and money laundering but did not offer evidence to back up his claims.

He also spoke of tensions within Emirati elites over the UAE’s commitment of troops in the war in Yemen.

Sheikh Rashid said there had been more UAE war deaths than the 100 that have been reported publicly and said “there have been more deaths from Fujairah than anywhere else”.

An Emirati official contacted by AFP declined to comment, but UAE minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash made a veiled reference on Twitter to “conspiracy against this or that ruling family by those who lack courage and instead resort to leaks and interviews”.

Along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates ,cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017,, accusing Doha of supporting Islamist groups and being too close to Gulf archrival Iran.

Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas, denies the accusations.

The New York Times report said that Sheikh Rashid appeared to be the first time in the UAE’s nearly 47-year history that a member of one of its seven royal families had publicly criticised its rulers.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - July 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm

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Fafen to monitor polls in all 272 NA constituencies

ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) — a coalition of over 50 leading civil society organisations — will deploy 19,000 observers across 272 National Assembly constituencies to monitor voting and counting processes at 85 per cent of the total polling stations to be set up by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the July 25 elections.

According to a press release issued on Sunday, Fafen will deploy 9,884 observers in Punjab, 4,225 in Sindh, 3,549 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including tribal districts), 1,117 in Balochistan and 225 in Islamabad Capital Territory.

Fafen’s accredited, non-partisan and trained observers will observe the election day environment outside polling stations, incidents of electoral and political violence, if any, pre-polling preparations at polling stations, voting, vote counting and ECP forms-filling processes and barriers to women voting.

Fafen observers will be trained to gather required data and documents from assigned polling stations to enable the network to conduct parallel vote tabulations (PVTs) in up to 272 National Assembly constituencies. The PVTs will provide a comparison of a statistically-valid sample of polling stations’ vote-tallies gathered by the observers against official copies of the election forms.

Fafen will also observe vote consolidation process at the offices of returning officers through 272 consistency coordinators. Based on its observation, it will release its preliminary report on July 27.

Fafen has already been observing the pre-election phase through 272 constituency coordinators and 130 district coordinators to provide an assessment of political environment and implementation of election-related laws, rules and regulations since January. The purpose of this observation is to contribute to the evolution of an election process that is free, fair, transparent, accountable and in accordance with the requirements laid out in the Elections Act 2017.

Based on its observation, Fafen has produced periodic updates, information briefs and reports in an effort to provide objective, unbiased and evidence-based information about the quality of electoral and political processes to the ECP, political parties, media, civil society organisations and the citizens.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018

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SBP announces monetary policy, says 13-year high growth rate of 5.8pc achieved in FY18

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa on Saturday said that Pakistan had achieved a 13-year high growth rate of 5.8 per cent in the Fiscal Year 2017-18 and the average CPI (consumer price index) inflation was well below the 6 per cent target.

Announcing the monetary policy, Bajwa said the SBP had decided to increase the policy rate by 100 bps to 7.5 per cent effective from July 16. The decision was made to curb aggregate demand and ensure near-term stability.

The SBP governor said the challenges to Pakistan’s economy had further accentuated. First, the provisional SBP estimate for fiscal deficit in FY18 was 6.8 per cent as opposed to 5.5 per cent estimated in May 2018.

The current account deficit, he said, had also increased to $16.0 billion during Jul-May FY18 as opposed to $11.1 billion in the corresponding period last year. That meant that aggregate demand had proved to be higher than previously thought, he added.

Second, he said, June (YoY) inflation clocked in at 5.2 per cent, and the average headline inflation for FY19 was expected to cross the 6 per cent annual target.

Core inflation numbers and their one-year ahead projections at around 7 per cent also reflected demand pressures, he added.

Third, on the external front, he said, though both exports and workers’ remittances were performing better, the sheer size of imports continued to pressurize FX reserves. The real economic activity repeated its strong FY17 performance.

However, towards the end of FY18, some challenges cast shadows on the capacity of the real sector to continue treading this high growth path, Bajwa added.

In the agriculture sector, the SBP Governor said the most important concern was the shortage of water, which was likely to constrain agriculture production below the target in FY19.

The manufacturing sector is also poised to show a mixed picture owing to high base-effect, the on-going monetary tightening and some sector-specific issues whereas construction allied industries are likely to perform at par.

Taking stock of these developments and the spillover on the services sector, SBP projects FY19 GDP growth to be around 5.5 per cent as compared to the annual target of 6.2 per cent.

Turning to CPI, the average headline inflation for FY18 stands at 3.9 per cent.

However, this picture is changing rapidly as is visible from the rising (YoY) headline and core inflation for June 2018 at 5.2 and 7.1 per cent, respectively.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - July 14, 2018 at 11:25 pm

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Nawaz Sharif, Maryam arrested by NAB, shifted to Adiala jail

Former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were arrested by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials upon their arrival in Lahore on Friday night, and subsequently whisked away to Islamabad on a chartered flight.

The two were separated and taken from the Islamabad International Airport in two convoys to the Central Jail in Adiala, Rawalpindi, for a medical examination.

As per official procedure, the examination was carried out in the presence of the Islamabad magistrate and senior police officials.

Meanwhile, a NAB prosecution team had approached the accountability courts seeking an exemption for Nawaz and Maryam’s appearance before the court. NAB Additional Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told the court that the convicts cannot be produced before the court due to a high-security risk.

The accountability court conceded the request and appointed Magistrate Wasim Ahmed to execute the warrants of imprisonment at Adiala. By this exercise, the authorities eliminated any chance of producing Nawaz and Maryam before the court the same night or next morning.

Media representatives who had gathered to cover the production of Nawaz and Maryam before the court were not allowed to enter the premises of the court complex.

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz being led out of the plane by NAB officials.

There was a lack of clarity over where the two would ultimately be incarcerated, at least for the short term.

The Islamabad chief commissioner had initially issued a notification declaring the Sihala Police Training College Rest House in the capital city “as sub-jail for keeping the convicted prisoner Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, ex-prime minister, and Mariam Nawaz, who have been arrested by NAB authorities, with immediate effect and till further orders.”

However, a second notification followed, stating that Sihala would serve as a sub-jail only for Maryam and that the preceding notification would be considered void ab initio.

Conflicting reports continued to make the rounds, with some stating that both Nawaz and Maryam would be incarcerated at Adiala, while others said Maryam would be separated and shifted to the Sihala rest house.

Return to Lahore

Nawaz and Maryam had taken off from Abu Dhabi for Lahore shortly after 6pm PST on the last leg of their journey home from London.

Their flight, Etihad Airways flight EY243, was earlier scheduled to land at 6:15pm PST at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport, but suffered a nearly three-hour delay.

An airport official, when approached by our correspondent, had stated the reason for the hold-up in Abu Dhabi as a delay in an Etihad flight arriving from Bangkok, which was supposed to fly EY243′s passengers to Lahore.

The flight eventually took off at nearly 6pm PST and landed in Lahore at 8.45pm.

According to media reports, dozens of security officials entered the plane after it landed and asked other passengers to leave. The duo’s passports were seized by a three-member Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team. Their immigration formalities were completed on board the plane.

The two were taken into custody at around 9:25pm and put on a chartered plane to Islamabad.

Nawaz and Maryam had been ,convicted by an accountability court in the Avenfield corruption reference, last Friday and handed jail sentences of 10 years and seven years, respectively. The former was found guilty of owning assets beyond known income, while his daughter was convicted for aiding and abetting her father in covering up a “conspiracy”.

After the verdict was announced, Nawaz and Maryam had ,said they would return to Pakistan, and appeal against the decision.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Punjab government had made arrangements to take the father-daughter duo into custody upon arrival and shift them to Adiala Jail, where they are supposed to serve their jail term.

PML-N workers rally in support

In Lahore, authorities had braced to maintain law and order as thousands of PML-N workers and supporters had gathered at various points in the city to welcome the ousted premier and his daughter.

Security officials at the site of the rally. ? DawnNewsTV

Security officials at the site of the rally. ? DawnNewsTV

Large parts of the city were locked down as the state seemed determined to prevent supporters from reaching the airport.

PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, whose caravan had gathered at Lohari Gate, had led the main welcoming rally to the airport to accord his brother and PML-N supremo Nawaz a warm welcome.

PML-N's Mushahidullah Khan in a heated conversation with ASF personnel. ? DawnNewsTV

PML-N’s Mushahidullah Khan in a heated conversation with ASF personnel. ? DawnNewsTV

When Nawaz and Maryam were flown out, he was en route to the airport. PML-N workers who were part of the rally were chanting slogans of “Rok sako tau rok lo (stop us if you can)” and “Vote ko izzat do (respect the vote)”.

According to media reports, no PML-N supporters were allowed onto airport premises.

,#PMLN workers and supporters have come out in various parts of #Lahore to welcome the ousted premier and his daughter. #DawnToday,

A post shared by , Dawn Today, ( on Jul 13, 2018 at 10:09am PDT

‘Not afraid of being arrested’

While waiting at the Abu Dhabi airport for his flight home, Nawaz spoke to reporters from various news organisations over the phone.

During the call, Nawaz wondered how a flight “that is never late” had been delayed today and urged people to “think about who delayed this flight and why.”

When asked if he believes that returning to Pakistan in the current “tense” situation was a good idea, Nawaz said that he knows “what the situation in the country is like”.

“I know I have been handed a 10-year sentence and Maryam has been given seven years in jail, but we are returning because this country’s fate needs to change — we need to change it.”

“The media also needs be brave and take a stand in the face of it all,” Nawaz said, adding that the media’s freedom is being curbed today because “they see that this nation has risen and the media is rising and they are afraid. Why else would they do all this?”

“What is happening in this country today, what is happening in Lahore, raises questions regarding the elections. No other province is facing the situation we see in Lahore: hundreds of our party workers have been arrested; people are being pressured into switching loyalties. All of this forms a question mark on the credibility of the election,” Nawaz said.

“I am not afraid of being arrested. If I was, why would I be coming back? It does not matter if NAB or the people who have sent NAB personnel arrest me from here [Abu Dhabi] or from Lahore. I am ready for it,” Nawaz said.

BBC correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan Secunder Kermani, who was at Abu Dhabi airport, said that Nawaz and Maryam were in a lounge at the airport but security personnel would not let reporters through, so they had to huddle around a phone in a different lounge in order to speak to him.

Just conducted a surreal press conference with Nawaz Sharif on the phone – he’s in a airport lounge in Abu Dhabi but apparently security won’t let reporters come in – so we huddled around a phone (in a different lounge) with the speaker on, top lines of what he said coming soon

— Secunder Kermani (@SecKermani) ,July 13, 2018,

Earlier, in a video message, ,tweeted by Maryam,, the former premier had urged his followers to stand with him when he arrives and “change the fate of the country”.

“The country is at a critical juncture right now,” Nawaz said in the recording. “I have done what I could. I am aware that I have been sentenced to 10 years [in prison] and I will be taken to a jail cell straight away — but I want the Pakistani nation to know that I am doing this for you.”

Security ramped up

Cellphone services have been partially suspended in certain parts of Lahore, and as many as 2,000 Rangers personnel have been deployed at and around Lahore Airport where ? according to sources ? the Interior Ministry, in a meeting two days ago, had decided to contain Nawaz and Maryam, sources said.

Police officers deployed at Lahore airport. ? AP

Police officers deployed at Lahore airport. ? AP

Heavy contingents of police have been deployed at all entry points to the city, and containers have been readied to block off main roads.

A police official claimed that the arrangements were made to avoid any terrorism-related incidents, and that no orders had been passed to arrest political workers or to block the motorway.

Punjab Home Department sources earlier told Dawn that anyone holding a rally would have to seek prior permission from the deputy commissioner as per the Election Commission of Pakistan Code of Conduct, but so far no one has sought any permission in Lahore.

The sources had said that authorities would not allow any processions to go to the airport. Multiple blockades have been set up on roads across the city.

Three helicopters and the Punjab Chief Minister Prof Hassan Askari’s airplane have been placed at NAB’s disposal in the eventuality that Nawaz and Maryam will need to be transported to Rawalpindi.

Traffic plan

The caretaker government devised an alternate traffic plan on the eve of the arrival of Nawaz Sharif at Lahore airport on Friday.

Map of Lahore showing roadblocks around the city.

Map of Lahore showing roadblocks around the city.

Traffic coming from Islamabad will enter Lahore via motorway through Thokar Niaz Beg, Qazilbash Chowk and Shaukat Khanum Chowk. Traffic from GT Road will enter the city via Kala Shah Kaku through Thokar. Traffic from Kala Khatai Road will enter via Shahdara Chowk, Begum Kot and Faizpur Interchange through motorway. Traffic from Multan Road will enter via Bund Road and Mohlanwal Road. To exit Lahore, use Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Johar Town Main Boulevard, Shaukat Khanum, Qazilbash Chowk, Motorway Interchange or Multan Road.

The international travellers have been asked to reach at least six hours prior to the departure time at designated areas in Lahore. They will be transported to airport via a shuttle service which will be provided from Bhatta Chowk, Chungi Dogaij, Gajjumata, Mehfooz Park and Niazi Shaheed Park.

Solemn farewell

Mayam had taken to Twitter to post pictures of scenes in London ahead of the father-daughter duo’s departure.

In one picture, the father and daughter were seen bidding farewell to Kulsoom Nawaz, who is said to be comatose and admitted at a London hospital.

Told my kids to be brave in the face of oppression. But kids will still be kids. Goodbyes are hard, even for the grownups. ,,

— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) ,July 12, 2018,


بہادر باپ کی بہادر بیٹی اس قوم کے مستقبل ک جنگ لڑنے آرہی ہے ,#حاضر_وطن_کی_خاطر, ,,

— ZM (@ZeshanMalick) ,July 12, 2018,

,#حاضر_وطن_کی_خاطر, ,,

— Faisal Ranjha (@ranjha001) ,July 12, 2018,

Sentenced for corruption

The two PML-N leaders are returning to Pakistan to face a prison sentence handed out on July 6 by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference case, in which the judge ruled that Nawaz, Maryam and her husband Captain Safdar own assets beyond known income. They were respectively handed jail sentences of 10, seven and one year each.

The father-daughter duo were also fined £8 million and £2 million respectively. The money will go into the state treasury.

All three of them have also been disqualified from running for public office.

The Avenfield reference ? which was related to the purchase of four flats in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London ? was among the three corruption references filed by NAB against the former premier and his children on the Supreme Court’s orders in its [landmark July 28 Panamagate verdict.

Besides Nawaz, Maryam and her husband Captain Safdar, NAB had also nominated Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz — Sharif’s sons — as accused in all three SC-ordered corruption references.

Though the Sharif family insisted that they had purchased the apartments through ‘legitimate’ financial resources they remained unable to disclose those resources before the accountability court or the Supreme Court.

One day after the sentence was announced, NAB obtained arrest warrants for Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar. Safdar, who was in Pakistan at the time offered his [arrest to NAB officials in Rawalpindi][8] on July 8.

Nawaz and Maryam were in London when the verdict was announced, as they have been with the ailing Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with cancer last year and is reportedly comatose. They announced that they would return to Pakistan to appeal against the sentence after the verdict was issued.

A day before the verdict was announced, Nawaz and Maryam had [appealed to the accountability court][9] to postpone the announcement of the verdict for a week citing Begum Kulsoom’s health as the reason for seeking the delay. The appeal was turned down.

Addressing a party conference in London with Maryam by his side before his return, Nawaz said he had decided to return to the country to fulfil his pledge to ‘honour the vote’, “despite seeing the bars of prison in front of my eyes”.

“Is there any Pakistani who has had three generations of his family go through an accountability process only to find out that no corruption was ever done?” he asked during the presser that was broadcast live on Facebook.

Nawaz also criticised the court’s decision to sentence his daughter to a seven-year term in jail, saying those who did so “did not even remember in their hate what stature daughters have in Pakistan”.

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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SC puts on hold FIA probe against Zardari, Faryal till polls

FORMER chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai being produced before apex court on Thursday.—Online

FORMER chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai being produced before apex court on Thursday.—Online

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from pursuing its investigation against PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake bank accounts case till the coming general elections are over.

“We do not want excuses that the July 25 elections are rigged,” observed Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar while hearing a suo motu case regarding the slow-paced investigation on part of the FIA in pending inquiries relating to fake accounts and suspicious transactions worth Rs35 billion. These accounts were allegedly used for transactions of heavy amounts obtained through receiving bribes and kickbacks.

The apex court also explained that its July 9 order had not asked for placing the names of the two leaders on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, a member of the bench, cautioned FIA Director General Bashir Memon to ensure that no complaint of harassment was made during the investigation, suggesting that the agency should not summon anyone who was not related to the investigation.

Explains that no order has been issued to put names of two leaders on ECL

The complaints of corruption should always be probed, the court said but clarified that the present hearing was not aimed at damaging the credibility or harming the integrity of any individual named as accused in the case.

“We will hear the case of those who have been put on the ECL and decide the case after hearing them while remaining within the confines of the law,” the chief justice said.

The case revolves around a 2015 inquiry into the suspicious transactions when 29 ‘benami’ accounts were identified of which 16 were opened in the Summit bank, eight in the Sindh Bank and five in the United Bank Limited. Seven individuals were involved in suspiciously transacting Rs35bn through these accounts.

Removed chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, said to be a close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, and co-accused Taha Raza, corporate unit head of the Summit Bank, have been ,arrested by the FIA, in the case.

Earlier, the ,Supreme Court had ordered the interior ministry, to immediately place the names of a number of individuals identified as accused by the FIA on the ECL so that they might not leave the country until the investigation was concluded or till further orders.

The individuals are: Anwer Majeed, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Noreen Sultan, Kiran Aman, Summit Bank Chairman Naseer Abdullah Lootah, Muhammad Iqbal Khan Noori, Muhammad Ashraf, Muhammad Iqbal Araen, Muhammad Umair, Adnan Jawed, Qasim Ali and Azam Wazir Khan.

On Thursday the chief justice wondered how an impression was created in the media that the apex court had ordered placing the names of Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur on the ECL when ,nothing of the sort had been stated,.

“We did not even summon Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur in person before the court,” the chief justice explained.

Pointing to senior PPP leader Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the chief justice observed that he should have removed vagueness if he had any about the orders before briefing his party after attending a meeting on the subject. If he felt any ambiguity, he should have moved an application to seek clarity on the order.

Farooq H. Naek, another PPP leader and lawyer, regretted that the FIA had hurled allegations that Mr Zardari had received Rs15 million in his accounts when he was not a director of the Zardari Group Pvt Ltd.

Moreover, the FIA had appointed Najaf Mirza head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) it had constituted to investigate the matter, he said, recalling that Mr Mirza as the then superintendent of Karachi jail had been accused of inflicting a wound on the tongue of Mr Zardari during an investigation in 2005. His name had been mentioned in the FIR registered on behalf of Mr Zardari.

The court, however, observed that no official could be removed unless he had been heard by the court, adding that Mr Naek should file an application to raise the apprehensions he had expressed.

The court, however, asked the FIA not to summon Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur or any one contesting elections until the polls were over, emphasising again that the elections would be held in a fair and impartial manner.

The court regretted the role of the State Bank of Pakistan which it said had taken three days to open the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund and even avoided to take up the call of the apex court’s registrar.

Senior counsel Raza Kazim told the court that he was representing 76-year-old Anwar Majeed who was a heart patient. The court said that the case was in preliminary stage and Mr Majeed would be summoned whenever needed.

On a query, the FIA DG told the court that the banks had started cooperating with the agency but the court said that the FIA would need the assistance of experts, offering to appoint a JIT of experts with clean background.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018

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Army to have no role in poll results transmission: ECP

ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad says security cameras will be installed at 18,000  polling stations across the country.

ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad says security cameras will be installed at 18,000 polling stations across the country.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said on Thursday that the army would not have a role in the transmission of election results the responsibility for which would remain with presiding officers, and stressed that the commission had complete control of the electoral exercise.

“The army will only provide security in accordance with the Constitution and will have nothing to do with the conduct of elections,” ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad told a press conference on Thursday.

He rejected the claims that the army had been given extraordinary powers in connection with the elections.

Also read: ,The ECP has given magisterial powers to army officers on election duty, but what does that really mean?,

The army would have the same powers it had in previous elections, he said, and added that the army had been deployed at polling stations in a number of by-polls held in previous years on the demand of major political parties.

Secretary says 108 candidature cases are still pending with courts

Asserting that the control of elections remained with the ECP, he said the polling staff had been appointed and trained by the ECP, scrutiny of nomination papers was conducted by returning officers drawn from the judiciary, ballot papers were printed by the ECP, a polling scheme was prepared by the returning officers and so on.

Nevertheless, the ECP appears to be in a fix as it has over 100 cases involving nomination of candidates for National and Provincial Assemblies still pending in courts of law.

In what puts a big question mark on the fate of the polls which are less than two weeks away, the cases of 108 candidates out of a total 849 contenders for National and Provincial Assemblies are pending in the courts, with 81 in Sindh alone, followed by 22 in Punjab and five in Balochistan.

Mr Fateh said the printing of ballot papers for many of such constituencies had been put on hold. He, however, expressed the confidence that the cases would be decided soon to enable the ECP to get the ballot papers printed and transported down to the polling stations on time.

He said under the plan, the printing of ballot papers is to be completed by July 20, and transported to polling stations by July 24. He said most of the election material including ballot boxes, partition screens, tamper evident bags and stationery bags had already been transported to polling stations.

Condemning the recent suicide attack on a corner meeting of the Awami National Party in Peshawar, he said it proved that the law and order situation in the country was not normal and that the ‘monster’ continued to rear its head. He described the decision to deploy the army at all 85,000 polling stations as timely and right. “It would have been too late had we started efforts for it today,” he remarked.

Mr Fateh said security cameras will be installed at 18,000 polling stations around the country. He said under the standard operating procedure, those cameras would not be installed at places where the secrecy of vote could be compromised.

About the accusations made by some lawmakers that candidates belonging to their parties were ,being harassed and intimated, and a level playing field had been denied to them, he asked the political parties to formally reveal the names of those intimidating them.

Answering a question, he said the National Counter terrorism authority (Nacta) had ,shared the specifics of the threats to political leaders and candidates, with the ECP, and said the ECP would continue to liaise with Nacta. He said there was a threat of candidates being targeted and asked the provincial governments to remain vigilant.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018

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Imran Khan summoned by NAB for ‘misusing’ KP govt’s helicopters

The National Accoun­tability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan next week in connection with an ongoing inquiry against the alleged misuse of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s helicopters for private visits by the PTI chief.

A notice has been issued to Khan to appear before NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on July 18, an official confirmed to DawnNewsTV.

NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal had in February this year ,directed the bureau’s KP director general, to conduct an inquiry against the PTI chief and then-KP chief minister Pervez Khattak over unofficial use of two government helicopters — MI-17 and Ecureuil — by misusing authority.

A press release issued by the bureau had stated that there is documentary evidence that Khan paid Rs2.1 million for using an Mi-17 and an Ecureuil helicopter belonging to the KP government for a total of 74 hours, which amounts to Rs28,000 spent for every hour the helicopters were used.

The NAB report claims that had Khan used a private company’s choppers, it would have cost him an hourly fare of between Rs1m and Rs1.2m for the Mi-17, and between Rs0.5m and Rs0.6m for the Ecureuil.

Citing Pervez Khattak’s principal adviser on technical training and aviation, the report added that the use of KP helicopters can cost as much as Rs0.2m per hour.

It claimed that Khan should have paid the KP government Rs11.1m, but official documents only mention payments worth Rs2.1m.

According to sources, the PTI chief was served summons after the NAB chairman approved an application in this regard by the bureau’s KP chapter.

Khan had claimed at a party meeting that he had not used official helicopters of the PTI-led KP government for personal use.

Former chief minister Khattak has previously appeared before NAB in connection with the inquiry as well. An inquiry had been ordered against him to ascertain if he had the power to hand over ‘sensitive’ assets such as choppers for non-governmental usage.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - July 12, 2018 at 9:25 pm

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CJP denies giving order to place Zardari, Talpur’s names on ECL in fake accounts case

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday denied that he had ordered former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s names be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) in connection to a probe regarding suspicious transactions through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in mainstream banks.

On Monday, Attorney General Khalid Javed told DawnNewsTV that the apex court had issued directives to the Interior Ministry to place Zardari and Talpur’s names on the no-fly list.

Although certain media reports quoted Interior Ministry officials as denying the development on Monday, caretaker Interior Minister Azam Khan confirmed on Wednesday ? contrary to the CJP’s statement today ? that the SC had directed the ministry to place Zardari and Talpur’s names on the ECL on Monday, and that the ministry had complied with the orders.

CJP Nisar in today’s hearing also asked the Federal Investigation Agency to refrain from questioning both PPP leaders until after the July 25 polls.

“Tomorrow no one should be able to make excuses that the elections have been rigged,” the CJP said.

Before the elections, all suspects apart from Zardari and Talpur should be included in the investigation, the CJP said.

Justice Nisar, who is heading the two-judge bench hearing the case, also remarked: “It is necessary to clarify which suspects’ names have been placed on the ECL. Are Faryal Talpur and Asif Zardari suspects?”

“If they are not suspects, then why did the media report that their names have been placed on the ECL?” he asked.

“We have still not placed their names on the ECL,” he said, adding: “This impression must be eliminated.”

The CJP said that whosoever’s names had been placed on the ECL would remain there until August 6. If someone turns out to be innocent, their names will then be removed, he added.

“We took this notice on the basis of media reports,” the CJP said. “The corruption scandal should be investigated to reassure poor citizens.”

Zardari’s lawyer, Farooq H. Naek, told the court that his client is being accused of holding Rs15 million in his accounts. He told the court that the PPP co-chairman had no ties to the Zardari Group. “He is not even the group’s director,” Naek added.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that those who haven’t played a role in the case should not be harassed.

The CJP asserted there must be a fair probe into the matter, to which Naek responded that the probe is being conducted by FIA’s Najaf Mirza, whom Zardari had earlier filed a case against.

The chief justice said that a new joint investigation team (JIT) could be set up to probe the case, which concerns a 2015 FIA investigation into fake accounts and fictitious transactions worth up to Rs35 billion conducted through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and UBL.

Seven individuals are believed to be involved in the suspicious transactions, and the fake accounts have allegedly been used to channel funds received through heavy bribes and kickbacks.

“There is already a JIT probing the matter,” Naek told the court, requesting that Najaf Mirza be withdrawn from the FIA probe into the case.

The court, however, rejected the request saying that it could not replace Mirza until a complete picture of the situation emerged.

He added that the court did not wish to impact the impression of politicians, and said that the hearing of this case should be adjourned until after the elections.

‘Fake accounts were not opened’

Summit Bank Vice President Hussain Lawai, who is currently in FIA custody, was presented in court today.

Lawai’s lawyer told the court that the bank’s investment activities had been negatively affected by the ‘media campaign’.

Both judges deliberated over how the media can be stopped from covering the matter.

The lawyer expressed fear that the entire bank may collapse as a result of the court case against it.

“The people’s only issue will be that their money is safe,” the CJP responded, asking Lawai: “What do you have to say about where the Rs35bn came from?”

“The cases regarding the accounts did not reach me,” he told the court.

The bank must provide assurance that fake accounts are not opened, Justice Ahsan said. “Fake accounts have been opened,” he asserted.

The lawyer, however, denied that fake accounts were opened.

But the FIA director general stepped in to tell the court that the administration had opened the fake accounts themselves.

The date of the next hearing has been set as August 6.

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PCB to charge Ahmed Shehzad after dope test turns up positive

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday decided to issue a charge-sheet to Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad after his dope test was confirmed positive by an independent review board.

“Independent Review Board report on doping case has been received by PCB. Cricketer Ahmad Shahzad has tested positive for a banned substance. PCB will issue charge sheet today,” the board said in a tweet.

Independent Review Board Report on doping case has been received by PCB. Cricketer Ahmad Shahzad has tested positive for a banned substance. PCB will issue charge sheet today.

— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) ,July 10, 2018,

A source in the board said that the board had previously refrained from naming Shehzad as it wanted to be completely sure about the dope test because of Shehzad’s seniority.

The source explained that the delay in the results had been because samples were sent to an Indian lab for confirmation after Shehzad was tested positive in Pakistan. The report from India arrived yesterday, confirming results of the previous test.

“A player has reportedly tested positive for a prohibited substance. But under ICC rules PCB cannot name the player or charge-sheet him until the chemical report is confirmed by the Anti-Dope Agency of the government. We should have an answer in a day or two,” PCB had tweeted on June 20.

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Mob attempts to attack Nawaz near Avenfield flat

THIS video-grab shows two unidentified men attacking the door of Avenfield House on Sunday.

THIS video-grab shows two unidentified men attacking the door of Avenfield House on Sunday.

LONDON: An angry mob attempted to attack Nawaz Sharif when he was entering his son’s residence in Avenfield House on Sunday, days after an Islamabad accountability court ,sentenced the ousted prime minister to 10 years in jail, in the Avenfield properties corruption reference.

A video footage available with Dawn shows a group of youngsters trying to break into the building and hurling abuses at Nawaz Sharif. One protester threw a shopping cart at a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s UK chapter while another was seen hurling eggs at the door.

In another footage, dozens of people holding the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) flags are seen protesting and chanting slogans outside the building.

Shortly after the incident, the Metropolitan Police reached the luxury housing scheme area and started a search of vehicles parked nearby. They, however, made no arrests, saying the Sharif family had not lodged any complaint.

Maryam sees Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf behind the incident

Maryam Nawaz termed the attack part of what she called an ongoing escalation being propagated by the PTI and its chairman Imran Khan.

“The kind of language being used by Imran Khan himself in his campaign as well as this attack are all part of the same process which indicates a lack of training in the leader as well as his followers,” said Maryam, while talking to journalists on Monday outside Harley Street Clinic where her mother Kulsoom Nawaz is under treatment.

The PTI’s British chapter distanced itself from the attack and said there was no truth in the accusation that the party’s workers were behind the incident.

“We are not associated in any way with the attack on Hussain Nawaz’s residence or the related protest,” the party’s UK spokesperson was quoted as saying by media reports.

Avenfield House has witnessed frequent scuffles in recent days. On July 6, a heated verbal argument ensued between two groups when one was distributing sweets outside the Avenfield House after the accountability court judge convicted Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and her husband retired captain Safdar in the corruption reference. The move angered members of the PML-N’s UK chapter who then broke into a brawl with two men distributing the sweets.

On June 16, a man entered Kulsoom Nawaz’s room allegedly without permission at London’s Harley Street Clinic, sparking alarm among members of the family.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018

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Erdogan assumes greater powers as Turkey’s new era begins

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to be sworn in for his second term as head of the state on Monday, taking on greater powers than any Turkish leader for decades under a new system condemned by opponents as autocratic.

Erdogan, who has transformed Turkey by allowing Islam to play a greater role in public life and boosting the country’s international stature, will take his oath almost two years after defeating a bloody attempted coup.

The inauguration in parliament after Erdogan’s June election victory will be followed by a lavish ceremony at his palace attended by dozens of world leaders marking the transition to the new executive presidency system.

Erdogan will face immediate and major challenges in his second term, posed by an imbalanced fast-growing economy and foreign policy tensions between the West and Turkey, a NATO member.

He has also pledged to end the state of emergency that has been in place since the failed July 2016 coup and has seen the biggest purge in the history of modern Turkey. In what appeared to be the final emergency decree issued just one day before the inauguration, 18,632 public sector employees were ordered dismissed, including thousands of soldiers and police officers.

After the inauguration, Erdogan will immediately turn to foreign policy, visiting northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan, both traditional first ports of call for a newly elected Turkish leader.

He will then head to more challenging encounters at a NATO summit in Brussels where he will meet with US counterpart Donald Trump.

Turkey’s last PM

The new system was agreed in a bitterly fought 2017 referendum, but the changes have been vehemently denounced by the opposition.

The president will sit at the top of a vertical power structure marked by a slimmed-down government with 16 ministries instead of 26 and multiple bodies reporting to him.

Emre Erdogan, professor of political science at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, said the parliament’s powers were “highly restricted” under the new system.

In one of the most significant changes, the EU affairs ministry, set up in 2011 to oversee Turkey’s faltering bid to join the bloc, will be subsumed into the foreign ministry.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will on Monday go down in history as the 27th and final holder of a post that has existed since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey, and whose origins date back to the Ottoman Empire.

Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday nominated Yildirim as parliament speaker, an appointment likely to be rubber-stamped by the chamber on Thursday.

Those attending the ceremony at the presidential palace on Monday evening will include Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a new sign of the warm ties between Ankara and Moscow.

Among 22 heads of state attending will be Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, regarded with disdain by Washington but an ally of Erdogan, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Fresh cabinet

The new cabinet, due to be announced at 1800 GMT, is expected to have a different look, especially after Erdogan said the government would include non-AKP figures.

The most intense attention will focus on who will be responsible for foreign policy and the economy.

Current Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu could, in theory, continue in his job but reports have said Erdogan may choose his spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, or even spy chief Hakan Fidan to succeed him.

The markets will keep a close eye on economic appointments, keen to see a steady hand at the helm in a fast-growing economy dogged by double-digit inflation and a widening current account deficit.

Erdogan, who first came to power as premier in 2003, won 52.6 per cent of ballots cast in June, higher than the 51.79pc he garnered in the 2014 polls.

His closest rival, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), managed 30.6pc, but the party is now locked in internal battles over its future leadership and direction.

The AKP failed to win a majority in parliament, taking 294 of the 600 seats, meaning it will need its allies in the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has 49 seats, to ensure a majority.

Analysts have said that the partnership with nationalists could push the AKP into more hardline policies, notably on Kurdish issues and relations with the West.

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Facebook enhances security measures ahead of polls

KARACHI: Facing serious criticism for its role in allowing disinformation to spread during the 2016 US presidential elections, Facebook has claimed to have enhanced security measures ahead of the July 25 polls in Pakistan.

The social media giant has increased the number of safety and security people working on this area, with dedicated teams focused on preventing abuse on the platform during elections and started training of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s officials with the goal of increasing transparency and helping authorities promote civic engagement.

Also read: ,Facebook blocks post in Pakistan,

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, Facebook spokesperson in Pakistan Sarim Aziz said “ensuring the integrity of elections around the world, including in Pakistan,” the social media company had taken a number of steps to protect elections from abuse and exploitation, including enhanced security measures to protect pages of political parties and candidates, improving the enforcement of its ads policies and greater ads and page transparency, better use of machine learning to combat fake accounts, and working to reduce the spread of false news.

Spokesperson says steps have been taken to protect elections from abuse, exploitation

“We have also dramatically increased the number of safety and security people working on this area, with dedicated teams focused on preventing abuse on our platform during elections,” he replied to a query about the security measures and Facebook’s coordination with the Pakistani authorities ahead of the general elections.

“We have been working with Election Commission of Pakistan to better understand and address the specific challenges faced here in Pakistan, to inform our community on civic issues, and help ensure that candidates are safe on the platform. Facebook has also been training election commission officials on how our platform works, with the goal of increasing transparency, improving security, and helping authorities promote civic engagement.”

The measures shared by Mr Aziz came as follow-up of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement in ,April 2018 to improve security and transparency, ahead of elections in different countries, including Pakistan. The Facbeook founder had said the social media portal would require all political ads on its platform to clearly mention who is paying for the message and for their identity to be verified, “in a bid to curb outside election interference”.

A few measures shared by the Facebook’s spokesperson in Pakistan have further validated such moves.

,Situationer: Ballot boxes face a Facebook problem,

“We are taking significant steps to bring more transparency to ads and pages on Facebook,” said Mr Aziz. “Anyone can now view active ads from pages on Facebook. The feature will allow our community in Pakistan — and around the world — to see ads across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and our partner network, even if those ads are not shown to you. People can also learn more about pages, even if they don’t advertise. For example, you can see any recent name changes and the date a page was created.”

He replied in the affirmative when asked about removal of fake accounts and groups operating in and outside the country ahead of the general elections. But he did not specifically share the data related to Pakistan.

“Fake accounts can be a major distributor of harmful and misleading content, and we work hard to keep them off the platform,” he said. “We’ve made recent improvements to recognise these inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity — without assessing account contents themselves. For example, our systems may detect repeated posting of the same content, or aberrations in the volume of content creation. In the first quarter of this year, we removed nearly six million fake accounts globally, 98.5 per cent of which we detected before anyone reported them to us,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2018

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ECP takes notice of stoppage of Bilawal’s cavalcade at Uch

BAHAWALPUR: Police on Saturday stopped the cavalcade of PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at Uch Sharif, about 70kms from here, when it was on its way to the shrine of Hazrat Jalaluddin Bukhari over “non-clearance of security”. However, later it was allowed to go.

According to PPP local leaders, as Mr Bilawal’s cavalcade was heading towards the shrine in Uch Sharif’s congested area, a police team stopped it. On asking the reason, a police official said the security clearance for the cavalcade had not been given.

At this, the PPP workers protested, while their chairman had to wait in his car for the security clearance.

PPP divisional coordinator Nawazish Ali Peerzada condemned the stopping of Mr Bilawal’s cavalcade.

However, the cavalcade was later allowed to go to shrine, where Mr Bilawal laid a Chaddar (sheet) and offered prayer. He mixed up with the devotees visiting the shrine.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took notice of the stopping of Mr Bilawal’s cavalcade, a handout said.

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob contacted the Punjab chief secretary and the inspector general of police and sought a report on the incident and said all parties should be given an equal opportunity to run their election campaigns without any hindrance.

After visiting the shrine, Mr Bilawal and his cavalcade resumed their journey to the venue of the public meeting there.

District Police Officer Dr Muhammad Iqbal has said that the cavalcade of Mr Bilawal was halted for making security arrangements because the visit to the shrine was not in the schedule of the PPP leader’s visit.

He explained that the shrine was located in a congested area of Uch Sharif where there were no proper arrangements for light and this might have created security issues.

He added that after the security arrangements were made, the cavalcade was allowed to visit the shrine.

Later, addressing a public rally at Uch Sharif the PPP chairperson said if his party was voted to power, he would bring a revolution in the country for the welfare of the masses.

Mr Bilawal gave highlights of his party’s manifesto, saying it was a people-friendly manifesto aimed at turning Pakistan into an exploitation-free country where employment, justice and economic balances would be ensured for the common man. He said the PPP wanted to provide opportunities for progress and prosperity to all, without any discrimination.

He talked about his mother’s struggle for democracy and role of his father former president Asif Ali Zardari in this regard after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

He said Mr Zardari introduced a number of programmes aimed at people’s welfare.

Paying homage to his mother, Bilawal said her struggle was against the extremists and for the rights of the oppressed people of the country. He said the PPP was the only political party which worked for the poor farmers.

He asked the audience to support the PPP which, he said, would bring prosperity in the country and end exploitation. He said that he would not launch Metro buses and trains but instead provide facilities to the farming community.

He also highlighted the development in Sindh made during the PPP governments.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2018

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Encroached drains, poor waste management put Karachi at risk of urban flooding

KARACHI: Massive encroachments over all major drains, including their outfall points, and the absence of a system to manage solid waste that finds its way into these channels continue to be Karachi’s Achilles’ heel, putting the city at the risk of flooding in monsoon, experts warned on Saturday.

Sharing their concerns over the city’s vulnerability to flooding, they said that Karachi’s weak infrastructure could not withstand heavy downpour and it might face a far more serious situation than what was recently experienced in Lahore where rain-related incidents not only caused extensive damage to infrastructure, but also led to 15 deaths.

“Lahore had 177mm rain but Karachi can’t withstand even 100mm of rain. There would be deluge everywhere,” said Mohammad Yunus representing the Urban Resource Centre.

According to him, Karachi’s main civic problem remains a lack of waste management and heavy encroachments over all major drains.

“Over the past decade, all major storm-water drains of the city [over 40 in number] have been encroached upon and concrete structures, including housing colonies, banks, shops and even markets, have been built over these channels,” he said.

A proper mechanism is needed for waste collection and disposal to save drains from clogging

He referred to encroachments on the land owned by the Karachi Port Trust and development of infrastructure by the Defence Housing Authority as well as by the KPT that resulted in closure of discharge points of city’s natural drains.

Most flyovers and underpasses in the city, he said, lacked a drainage system and the local municipality had to use motor pumps to drain out accumulated rainwater.

“Local officials often argue that rainwater will follow its natural route and discharge on its own. But, this is not how things work. You have to design the infrastructure in a way that helps prevent accumulation of water,” he said.

Drains’ cleaning brings no major improvement

Replying to a question about a recent drive of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to clean up drains, he said so far it couldn’t bring a significant improvement.

One reason was the absence of relevant machinery with the KMC.

Salim Alimuddin, an expert on city’s drainage system who is associated with the Orangi Pilot Project, was of the view that while the government had done some work and laid new drainage lines where there was a need, the actual problem was that the outfall points of drains remained either encroached or clogged.

“No work has ever been done to clear drains’ outfall points. The major outfall points are located in KPT’s jurisdiction. Besides, the construction of markets and other establishments over drains is a serious obstacle in clearing passage of rainwater as these channels couldn’t be de-silted,” he said, adding that the government should have bound project developers to keep a few outlets for the purpose of removing sludge while they were constructing raised infrastructure over drains.

Mr Alimuddin was also critical of prolonged delays shown by the government in cleaning up drains which, he said, should be done at least two to three times in a year.

“Also, it’s time a proper mechanism is developed for collection and disposal of solid waste, most of which presently ends up in drains and clogs them,” he said.

He also suggested immediate removal of construction material/debris lying along the routes of Orange and Green line bus projects that could aggravate public inconvenience in monsoon.

Prof Raza Mehdi of the NED University of Engineering and Technology’s urban and infrastructure engineering department said Karachi’s civic conditions were as poor as they were last year and apparently no work had been done to address rain-related issues.

“There is no short-term solution and a holistic approach is required to bring improvement in civic conditions, including efforts to create awareness on proper waste collection and disposal,” he said.

KMC gets Rs500m to clean 23 drains

When contacted, KMC’s senior director (coordination) Masood Alam explained that the civic body had started cleaning drains and the work was going on at a fast pace across the city.

“We are focusing on 23 major drains with the help of maximum human and financial resource available to us,” he said, adding that though the total amount requested for the work was Rs1.28 billion, the KMC had received Rs500 million.

Mr Alam, however, warned that the purpose of the whole exercise would be defeated if the connecting distributaries feeding the big drains remained clogged.

“Those come under the jurisdiction of respective district municipal corporations. Having said that, meetings are being held with all stakeholders and the KMC is doing its best despite heavy encroachments,” he claimed.

He rejected an impression that the drains were only cleaned in the monsoon season and said that they were periodically cleaned but the matter attracted media attention only in the context of the rainy season.

According to him, proper management of solid waste can help minimise risk of flooding. Right now, 60 per cent garbage ends up in drains.

“Garbage is constantly being dumped into drains. If this waste is managed and recycled, we can also reap a lot of other benefits,” he said.

All storm-water drains in the city had turned into sewage drains and there were no channels left carrying only rainwater, he said.

KPT to install sewage treatment plant

A KPT spokesperson said that the port authorities were not responsible either for managing drains or the waste coming through them.

“We are directly being affected by this waste [though we are not generating it]. However, the KPT has committed to a Supreme Court-mandated commission to install a plant to treat the waste coming from three drains into the sea,” he said.

He declined to comment on encroachment and infrastructure over KPT’s land.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2018

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Caretaker govt lowers petrol price by Rs4.26

The caretaker government on Saturday decided to revise down the petroleum prices in light of directions from the Supreme Court to reconsider the matter of ,recent hike in petroleum prices,.

The price of petrol has been decreased by Rs4.26 per litre, that of high-speed diesel by Rs6.37 per litre, kerosene oil by Rs3.36 per litre and the price of light diesel oil has been decreased by Rs5.54 per litre.

During the course of hearing on Thursday, relating to suo motu ,notice of the increase in petroleum prices,, the apex court had directed the federal government to reconsider the matter in order to provide possible relief to the general public.

Meanwhile, Minister for Energy Syed Ali Zafar said in a statement that the federal government had decided to reduce petroleum prices in order to provide relief to the general public.

The federal cabinet, he said, had decided that sales tax rates would be reduced from 17 per cent to 12 per cent for motor spirit and kerosene oil, from 31 per cent to 24 per cent on high speed diesel and from 17 per cent to 9 per cent on light diesel oil.

Ali Zafar said the caretaker government was fully aware of the problems being faced by the people and was determined to reduce their sufferings despite the present financial constraints.

He said the federal government was confident that relief in petroleum prices would not only provide much needed respite to the masses but also reduce the cost of production and give a boost to economic activity.
However, he said the government would suffer an estimated loss in revenue of Rs 10 billion as result of reduction in petroleum prices.

On June 30, the government, on recommendation of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had increased the prices of petrol by Rs7.54 per litre, high speed diesel by Rs14.00 per litre, kerosene oil by Rs 3.36 per litre and light diesel oil Rs5.92 per litre.

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IHC orders removal of Zulfi Bukhari’s name from blacklist

ISLAMABAD: Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court on Friday ordered removal of the name of Zulfi Bukhari, a close friend of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, from the blacklist of the interior ministry, enabling him to travel abroad without any constraint.

The IHC judge ,accepted the petition, filed by Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari aka Zulfi Bukhari, following the June 11 incident when he was briefly stopped from boarding a chartered flight at the Noor Khan Airbase from where he wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah along with Imran Khan, his wife, Aleem Khan and others.

Immigration officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had stopped Mr Bukhari from boarding the plane after detecting through the integrated border management system (IBMS) that his name was included in the interior ministry’s blacklist. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had requested the ministry to ,place his name on the no-fly list,.

Mr Bukhari, a British national, was later permitted to travel.

Matter made headlines last month when PTI chief’s friend was first stopped at airport and then allowed to fly abroad

Justice Farooq had on July 3 reserved the judgement on the petition after hearing arguments of Mr Bukhari’s counsel, Deputy Attorney General Khaliq Thind and Additional Deputy Prosecutor General of NAB Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi.

Arguing before the court, Mr Abbasi said the petition was not maintainable since Mr Bukhari was seeking relief against the directive of NAB. He said that NAB had asked the interior ministry to put Mr Bukhari’s name on the ECL (Exit Control List), but the ministry had put him on the blacklist instead.

The deputy attorney general argued that the interior ministry had evolved a mechanism for including names in the blacklist and that Mr Bukhari was allowed to travel on June 11 under the discretionary power.

At this, Justice Farooq asked how a discretionary power was exercised over a phone call. Did the interior ministry lay down the rules just to break them, he wondered.

Earlier on Monday, the defence ministry, in response to a petition filed by a citizen through his counsel retired Lt Col Inamur Rahim against the use of Noor Khan Airbase for private individuals, told the court that the airbase was used because there was no facility to operate chartered flights at the newly constructed Islamabad International Airport.

The petitioner adopted before the court that Mr Bukhari’s name was included in the blacklist, but he had been allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia on mere a phone call.

The petitioner asked whether the name of a person placed on the orders of the apex court on the blacklist could be removed by any subordinate officer of the FIA and whether the defence secretary was empowered to allow any civilian to use the military base without security clearance from the state secret agencies, especially when the name of that individual was included in the no-fly list.

The court, however, dismissed the petition that sought action against the air force authorities for permitting the private chartered plane to use the airbase.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2018

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PTI to cut taxes after coming to power: Imran

CHARSADDA: PTI Chairman Imran Khan has hinted at reducing taxes after coming to power by sweeping the upcoming ,general elections, and said his party would steer the country out of current crises.

“We will collect Rs8 trillion within one to two months of forming the federal government by reducing taxes in the country,” he told a public meeting here on Thursday.

The event was organised in connection with the PTI’s countrywide election campaign.

Says his opponents promoting family members as party heads

The PTI chairman said the country couldn’t make progress without improving governance, observing merit an elimination of corruption.

He said July 25 (election day) would turn out to be very significant for the country’s future and therefore, the people should step out on that day to elect the PTI to power.

Mr Imran said former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had the opportunity in 1970s to put the country on the path of progress but he missed it.

“Bhutto shouted the slogan of roti, kapra and makan (food, clothing and shelter) but failed to ensure provision of these basic things of life to the people,” he said.

The PTI chief criticised political rivals for serving own ends and few families had monopolised the system in the name of democracy and promoted their members in politics.

“(PPP leader Asif) Zardari has launched son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, (PML-N leader) Nawaz Sharif daughter Maryam and Fazal Rehman son to rule the people. (ANP chief) Asfandyar Wali Khan and (QWP leader) Aftab Sherpao are also doing the same giving the people a false impression that others are ineligible to lead these parties,” he said wondering if that was called democracy.

Mr Imran said Bilawal and Maryam didn’t understand the people’s problems.

He said Nawaz Sharif didn’t become the prime minister ‘on merit’ as he was (Nawaz) groomed in politics during the military regime.

The PTI chief paid tribute to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan for being a great proponent of non-violence.

He said Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah turned out to be a great political leader though his father was not a politician.

Mr Imran said the democratic system won’t flourish in the country until merit was followed in all spheres of life.

He said Pakistan had immense talent but ironically, it couldn’t benefit from it due to the rampant flouting of merit.

The PTI chief said the successive governments’ failure to ensure rule of merit had failed the system over the years.

He also criticised the previous governments for failing to ensure supply of clean cleaning drinking water to the people.

“After 1970, the nation has another chance to change its destiny in the shape of the July 25 elections,” he said.

He alleged that corrupt leaders had bankrupted the country and transferred national wealth abroad.

Mr Imran said Pakistan rupee had crashed to a record low against the US dollar due to the bad economic policies of the last PML-N government, while the country’s debt had surged from Rs6 trillion to Rs27 trillion during the last 10 years.

He said Pakistanis had purchased Rs900 billion properties in Dubai alone.

The PTI chief said the recent rainfall in Lahore had exposed the so-called good governance and development by PML-N leader and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“The nature has exposed the corruption of Shahbaz Sharif in few hours,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2018

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