Posts Tagged ‘Rawalpindi’

CJP removes vice chancellors of four Punjab universities

    LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Sunday made vice chancellors of three public sector universities resign, announcing the posts would be filled afresh on merit through the newly constituted search committees.

    The vice chancellors of Fatima Jinnah Medical Uni­versity (Rawal­pindi), Faisal­abad Medical University and Rawalpindi Medical University complied with the order without delay.

    But the vice chancellor of Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), Prof Uzma Qureshi, was suspended by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar after she insisted that her appointment had been made on merit and that her career would be tainted if she tendered resignation.

    The chief justice told her that the court had full knowledge about the role of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in her appointment. Prof Qureshi, however, kept saying that her appointment had been made without any political consideration or pressure.

    When asked about her relation with the interior minister, she said Mr Iqbal was the student of her father only. “Attempts have been made to malign me,” she added.

    CJP Nisar observed that the court could not tolerate any appointment made without transparency.

    A two-judge bench headed by the chief justice was hearing a suo motu case about the appointment of vice chancellors at the public universities.

    Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafiq, health secretary Najam Shah and higher education secretary Nabeel Awan were present in the court. Minister for Higher Educa­tion Syed Ali Raza Gilani also appeared on court’s direction.

    The chief justice directed the education minister and secretary to discuss the matter with the chief minister and reconstitute an inquiry committee to decide pending complaints against Prof Qureshi regarding her research work.

    The chief justice further directed them to appoint the senior most professor of the university as acting vice chancellor till the appointment of a regular vice chancellor.

    Justice Nisar ordered the health minister and secretary to constitute new search committees for the appointment of vice chancellors at the three medical universities. The education secretary told the court that the search committee earlier constituted for the Punjab University could be tasked with the LCWU matter.

    The court accepted the suggestion.

    Meanwhile, the education secretary stated that the appointment of a regular vice chancellor at the Punjab University would be made by Aug 5. He said that since the university was the biggest institute of the province, a large number of candidates had applied for its top slot and the scrutiny process would take considerable time.

    Having been irked with the statement, the chief justice told the secretary that he never came across a DMG officer like him who was trying to protect the interest of political government with all means.

    “Who is responsible for over two-year delay in the appointment — secretary, minister or chief minister?” asked the chief justice and observed, “It shows incompetence of the government.”

    CJP Nisar directed the secretary to make the appointment of a regular vice chancellor at the Punjab University within six weeks.

    He also ordered the government to constitute new search committees for the ap­­p­oint­­ment of vice chancellors at other three medical universities.

    Earlier, Prof Dr Zakraya Zakir, who tendered resignation as acting vice chancellor of the Punjab University the other day, urged the court to show compassion in his case. He said he served the university for 28 years with a spotless career.

    CJP Nisar snubbed him and said the court was fully conversant with his financial affairs even. “If you want to confront the court, we can refer an inquiry to the Federal Investigation Agency,” the chief justice said to Prof Zakir.

    Before concluding the proceedings, the chief justice told the health minister that he was not bound to appear on the next proceedings unless required by the court.

    “But keep Khawaja Saad Rafique alert, as anything can happen anytime,” the chief justice asked him on a lighter note.

    Khawaja Salman Rafique is younger brother of Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq who is facing a NAB inquiry into a land deal.

    Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2018

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    Opening of Islamabad airport delayed again

      THE entrance of the new Islamabad International Airport (top) which is scheduled to open on May 3. (Bottom left) A full-body scanner. The new airport’s baggage claim section (bottom right).—White Star/Reuters

      THE entrance of the new Islamabad International Airport (top) which is scheduled to open on May 3. (Bottom left) A full-body scanner. The new airport’s baggage claim section (bottom right).—White Star/Reuters

      RAWALPINDI: The opening of new Islamabad International Airport on Wednesday was delayed once again but this time at the eleventh hour when the operational preparedness was complete and new flight schedule had been announced through the media.

      The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the facility would now become operational on May 3 as prime minister’s adviser on aviation Sardar Mehtab Ahmed wanted more system and equipment testing to achieve complete satisfaction.

      The new airport, built at a cost of Rs105 billion, was earlier scheduled to become operational on April 20.

      Airport is capable of handling nine million passengers and 50,000 tonnes of cargo every year in its first phase

      Mr Ahmed expressed his satisfaction during an inspection of the airport on Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the adviser.

      In pictures: ,New and shiny Islamabad International Airport gets final touches ahead of inauguration,

      “The state-of-the-art system and equipment need to be tested and trialed further to bring it to the level of international standards,” the spokesman said, adding: “Opening of the new airport was rescheduled to do more tests and trials in order to improve reliability and efficiency of systems.”

      After the rescheduling announcement, a fresh Notam (notice to airmen) was issued by the CAA headquarters, saying “the airport will be operational on May 3, 2018”.

      The surprising announcement of rescheduling was made at a press briefing at the new facility by Nadir Shafi Dar, CAA’s director planning, and Syed Aamir Mehmood, director media coordination of the CAA.

      Briefing journalists about features and other facilities at the new airport, Mr Mehmood said the airport was capable of handling nine million passengers and 50,000 tonnes of cargo every year in its first phase. After its expansion, it would be able to serve up to 25m passengers a year by 2025, he added.

      “The new airport will become the country’s hub and boost its business and economy. It is expected to provide multiple direct and indirect jobs and reap enormous economic benefits for the country,” he said, adding that the successful completion of the airport reflected the ability of the CAA to build a world class airport that had become a pride of the country.

      Metro and private transport will be providing round-the-clock services for public convenience.

      Mr Mehmood said it took almost 11 years to build the new airport, adding that its 190,370-square-metre four-level passenger terminal building had been designed to facilitate passengers and stakeholders.

      In reply to a question about security of the airport, he said that since the new airport was located in two districts — Attock and Rawalpindi — the issue of responsibility of police security had been taken up with the Punjab home department to make a decision which city would handle the security.

      Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had last Friday paid a surprise visit to the new airport and inspected the terminal building and other facilities and sought a report on the shortcomings in two days.

      The prime minister also visited the domestic arrival lounge and issued some instructions to aviation secretary Irfan Elahi after noticing some serious flaws. He inquired about the cafeteria for airport employees, including those of the Airport Security Force, CAA and airlines. He inquired about the arrangements to restrict visitors from approaching the entrance of passengers’ arrival lounge after noticing that there was no fence to prevent the visitors.

      Non-availability of flight kitchen at the new airport has been a major shortcoming as the Pakistan International Airlines management has to transport thousands of meals from Benazir Bhutto International Airport’s flight kitchen to the new airport by catering trucks every day.

      Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2018

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      ‘Hybrid war’ imposed on country to internally weaken it, says Bajwa

        ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Saturday a “hybrid war” had been imposed on Pakistan to internally weaken it, but noted that the enemies were failing to divide the country on the basis of ethnicity and other identities.

        “Our enemies know that they cannot beat us fair and square and have thus subjected us to a cruel, evil and protracted hybrid war. They are trying to weaken our resolve by weakening us from within.” Gen Bajwa said in his speech at the passing-out parade of cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul while referring to the strategies of the ‘enemies’ employing political and other means of interventions.

        This was the second time in a week that the army chief has indirectly referred to a ,new movement, launched in the name of rights of Pakhtun people.

        Speaking at events in Peshawar and Rawalpindi on Thursday, he had ,cautioned against the “engineered protests”, and emphasised that “no anti-state agenda would be allowed under the garb of those protests”.
        He believes that these protests have been instigated to undo the gains made by the armed forces in the fight against terrorism.

        Editorial: ,Is PTM a destabilising threat to this country or a testament to its resilience?,

        Army chief gives credit to sacrifices and courage of people, particularly tribesmen of KP and Fata, for success against terrorism

        A selection of video testimonials of the graduates, released by the Inter-Services Public Relations, included cadets from the Federally Adm­inistered Tribal Areas (Fata) who mentioned contributions of the Army in restoring peace and normality to their areas. The line of messaging in the testimonials was aimed at challenging the narrative of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement that is built around deprivation of and discrimination against Pakhtun people, besides denial of their basic rights.

        Among the cadets, who got commissioned in service at the ceremony, were 67 cadets from Balochistan and 31 from Fata.

        The army chief vowed to defeat the nefarious designs of “inimical forces”.

        “We also refuse to be pulled asunder on issues of sect, ethnicity, caste or creed. The diversity of Pakistan is our strength. The very resilience of Pakistan comes, not just from our military capacity, but from the synergetic mix of a people who have come together, willingly towards a single purpose,” he said.

        He credited the successes against terrorism to “the willing sacrifices and matchless courage of our people in general and Pashtun tribesmen of KP and Fata in particular”.

        Gen Bajwa noted that the armed forces were determinedly focused on the “primary objective” of “eradication and elimination of terrorism” and said that the action was indiscriminate against terrorists of all hues and shades.

        “As a result of past and ongoing operations, Pakistan has eliminated almost all organised terrorist presence and infrastructure from its soil. We are now going after the residual and scattered traces of this menace under the banner of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad,” Gen Bajwa said while giving the current status of counter-terrorism operations.

        He also touched on external issues, including Afghanistan, and reaffirmed the support for the reconciliation process there.

        About Kashmir, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s political and moral support to the basic right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and said the route to peaceful resolution of Pak-India disputes — including the core issue of Kashmir — ran through comprehensive and meaningful dialogue.

        “While such dialogue is no favour to any party, it remains the inevitable precursor to peace across the region. Pakistan remains committed to such a dialogue, but only on the basis of sovereign equality, dignity and honour,” he added.

        Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018

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        SC orders Najafi report be made part of court record in Model Town case

          Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday ordered the Lahore High Court to wind up pending cases regarding ,2014 Model Town incident, within two weeks.

          While at the Supreme Court’s (SC) Lahore registry today, Justice Nisar also ordered Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Aijaz Awan to hear pending cases related to the Model Town incident — in which 14 people had been killed and a 100 others injured in a police assault — on a daily basis. He then cancelled all of the ATC judge’s leaves.

          The trial has been pending before the ATC against police and civil administration officials. A private complaint filed by Idara Minhajul Quran, a sister organisation of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), is also pending adjudication before the trial court.

          The chief justice also ordered Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman to make ,Justice Baqar Najafi’s report on the Model Town incident, part of the court record. He ordered Rehman to submit the report to the SC’s Lahore registry by 4pm today.

          Last week, Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the delay in proceedings in the Model Town incident case after meeting a delegation of the victims’ families at the Lahore registry.

          The chief justice had summoned record of the case and also sought a report from the advocate general.

          On June 17, 2014, as many as 14 people had been killed and 100 others injured when police launched an assault on Pakistan Awami Tehreek supporters who were gathered outside the residence of party chief Tahirul Qadri in Model Town, Lahore during what the provincial government had dubbed an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation. The incident has since been remembered as the Model Town tragedy.

          A judicial commission, formed in 2014 to investigate the incident, had pointed at the government as being responsible in its report, saying that the police had acted on higher authorities’ orders, which had led to the bloodshed.

          The report, authored by Justice Najafi, was kept secret for three years, till the Lahore High Court ordered the Punjab government to make it public in December last year.

          Delineating the chronology of events, Justice Najafi had reported that then Punjab Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah seems to have already decided on June 16, 2014 that the PAT chief would not be allowed any opportunity to hold a long march from Rawalpindi to Lahore, as the latter planned to do on June 23, 2014.

          This single-minded determination of the minister to thwart Qadri’s political objectives ended up influencing the police’s heavy-handed strategy in dealing with the situation, which resulted in the needless loss of lives the very next day, Justice Najafi argued in the report.

          Though Justice Najafi himself does not affix responsibility for the tragedy, he invites readers to review the facts and circumstances and “easily fix the responsibility of the unfortunate Minhajul Quran incident” themselves.

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          ‘Engineered protests’ won’t be allowed, says army chief

            RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa gives a medal to a woman whose relative embraced martyrdom in the line of duty during a ceremony held at the General Headquarters on Thursday.—INP

            RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa gives a medal to a woman whose relative embraced martyrdom in the line of duty during a ceremony held at the General Headquarters on Thursday.—INP

            ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that “engineered protests” would not be allowed to reverse the gains of counterterrorism operations and cautioned the nation against forgetting sacrifices of “real heroes”.

            The army chief was speaking to notables in Peshawar and at an investiture ceremony at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

            Gen Bajwa did not name the ,social movement for the rights of Pakhtun people,, Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), but it was abundantly clear from his remarks, which included references to PTM’s demands for clearance of mines and removal of check-posts, that he was referring to their protests.

            Bajwa cautions against forgetting sacrifices of ‘real heroes’

            Apparently, the army chief was forced into giving his position on the protests after leaders of some mainstream political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, expressed their support for the PTM protests that are being seen as a movement for the rights of Pakhtuns. The PTI chief had also said that he would raise the PTM concerns with Gen Bajwa.

            The movement was initially launched in protest against the ,extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, in Karachi and for getting justice for the slain young man. A 10-day-long protest held in Islamabad to press for the arrest of suspended SSP Rao Anwar, who is allegedly involved in Mehsud’s killing, earned the PTM sympathies from all sections of society, encouraging leaders of the movement to expand their agenda to include other grievances of Pakhtuns.

            The military was initially receptive to their demand of ,seeking justice for Naqeebullah,, but later became critical of the motives of its leadership, especially after the movement got support from Kabul and some other world capitals. These concerns got reinforced when PTM leaders talked about seeking “international guarantees” for redressal of their grievances and taking their issues “to the United Nations” and appealing “to the global society”.

            Speaking about PTM’s demands for removal of what they call “mines” and “check-posts”, Gen Bajwa said: “Measures to facilitate general public at check-posts without compromising security and clearance of unexploded ordnance were already in process on completion of kinetic operations”.

            He, however, cautioned against haste in the process. “No one is more interested than security forces to have such peace and stability environment which allow their complete de-induction. However, threat is still residing across the border and some disorganised residual potential including the ones morphed into Afghan refugees. Therefore we still need to move with caution”.

            Notwithstanding genuine problems of peaceful citizens, he maintained that military’s concern was that “no anti state agenda in the garb of engineered protests etc aimed at reversing the gains achieved at heavy cost in blood and national exchequer succeeds”.

            At the ceremony at the GHQ, Gen Bajwa regretted that no sooner had peace returned to Fata than a “movement was started”.

            On this occasion, he warned against forgetting the sacrifices of “real heroes”, who laid down their lives for the country, saying nations that forget their heroes were wiped off. He also pointed to the “limited ability” of “our nation” to “remember history”.

            “The people in the country and outside, who are against Pakistan’s integrity must know that the Army with the public backing would not allow anything to happen to the country,” he added.

            Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2018

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            Islamabad braces as TLP workers disrupt life in Lahore

            • ,CM Punjab chairs advisory meeting on security situation,
            • ,Govt fails to arrest Rizvi, others,
            • ,Faizabad debacle,

            Security has been beefed up in the capital and adjoining areas after the latest deadline given by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to the government for the implementation of its demands lapsed on Thursday.

            A heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies has been deployed at the entry and exit points of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. A joint flag-march of the army and LEAs was also held in the capital, according to a security official.

            Meanwhile, TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi has escalated a protest he has been leading at Lahore’s Data Darbar since April 2.

            He is pressing for the implementation of the ,Faizabad agreement, which was brokered by the army last year, between the government and leaders of Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA), of which TLP is an offshoot.

            Pir Afzal Qadri, chairperson of the TLP, told party workers after the 4pm deadline lapsed today that they must “come out on the streets and not go back until Rizvi announces an end to the protest”.

            Following Qadri’s orders, TLP workers have taken to the streets in various locales of Lahore. According to reports, they have also attempted to intimidate commuters and citizens with sticks and batons.

            They have also blocked various key traffic intersections in Lahore, including the busy Thokar Niaz Beg.

            Reports also state that the flow of traffic from Shahdara till the motorway has been choked considerably. There are also reports of clashes between TLP workers and commuters. Law enforcement agencies are reportedly present but are refraining from stepping in.

            TLP leadership’s words caused a chain reaction in Sahiwal where party workers created blockages on the Lahore-Multan motorway at Chichawatni bypass and near View Hotel at Lahore-Sahiwal bypass; they vowed to not end their sit-in until orders come from Lahore.

            TLP workers block a thoroughfare in Sahiwal — Photo by author

            TLP workers block a thoroughfare in Sahiwal — Photo by author

            Temporary demonstrations and sit-ins were also reported in Mian Channu city in Khanewal district as well as in Kabirwala on the National Highway.

            In Hyderabad, TLP workers blocked Hyder Chowk, whereas the party’s spokesperson in Karachi told Dawn that they are planning to march from Numaish Chowrangi to the Karachi Press Club at 7pm.

            According to DawnNewsTV‘s sources, TLP leaders have also been considering blocking the Lahore-Islamabad motorway as well as the GT Road to paralyse inter-city movement.

            “If the 11-point Faizabad agreement, which includes provisions like the release of arrested workers and withdrawal of cases against them, is not implemented, the entire country will be on the roads next Friday,” Qadri had told journalists last week.

            CM Punjab chairs advisory meeting on security situation

            With TLP workers choking major arteries of Lahore, an advisory meeting was called by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to discuss the situation.

            During the meeting, the chief minister was briefed on the security situation of the province.

            The meeting was also attended by provincial law minister, the spokesperson of the Punjab government, the chief secretary, and officials from different law enforcement agencies.

            Govt fails to arrest Rizvi, others

            Last week, the TLP chief and some TLYRA leaders were declared proclaimed offenders by an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. Law enforcement agencies, however, have been unable to make any arrests.

            The spokesman for the Punjab government, Malik Ahmed Khan, had admitted that arresting Rizvi and other TLYRA leaders was proving to be difficult for the provincial authorities.

            Speaking to DawnNewsTV regarding the protest, Khan had said Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was in constant contact with the protesters and was trying to convince them to abandon the sit-in.

            Faizabad debacle

            The protests in the capital at Faizabad had begun last year after a change to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath via the Elections Act 2017 came to the fore. Despite the government terming it a clerical mistake and immediately moving to bring the document back to its original form, the opposition and TLYRA demanded action against those involved.

            Violent protests then spread across the country after the federal government used force against those camping at Faizabad. The protests were eventually called off when the government accepted most of their major demands under an army-brokered agreement.

            The demands of the protesters included making public the Raja Zafarul Haq report — containing details of the investigation into the clerical error, the release of all arrested protesters, formation of committee to suggest action against those who used force against protesters, and full implementation of an earlier agreement between Punjab government and TLYRA.

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            Gen Bajwa says nation ‘should not forget’ military’s sacrifices in Fata

              Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday complained that Pakistanis had a “history of forgetting its [the nation's] heroes” while remarking that “just days after peace returned to Fata, people have started another movement.”

              He made the remarks during a solemn ceremony held at General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi where he conferred awards on martyred military personnel for acts of gallantry during military operations.

              “They [our martyrs] who sacrificed their lives for the country are our real heroes,” Gen Bajwa said towards the end of the ceremony, adding that as a nation “we should always remember their sacrifices”.

              A large number of military officials and the heirs of martyred personnel were in attendance.

              During the ceremony, 32 officers were awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Distinction), two officers were awarded the Tamgha-i-Jurat (Medal of Courage), 33 officers and soldiers were awarded the Tamgha-i-Basalat (Medal of Good Conduct), and four officers and soldiers were awarded a United Nations Medal.

              The medals of martyred military personnel were received by their family members.

              A day earlier, during a Corps Commanders’ Conference, Gen Bajwa had stressed that for the peace and prosperity of Fata, it is imperative that the region is “mainstreamed” and merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa according to the wishes of its people.

              The army chief’s statements come in the wake of a major rally staged by the ,Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) on Sunday,. One of PTM’s demands is the restoration of routine life in Fata, which has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.

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              Govt refuses to put Sharif family on ECL, NAB tells president

                ISLAMABAD: National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Tuesday presented the bureau’s annual report for the year 2017 to President Mamnoon Hussain.

                The report claimed that ,the government was reluctant, to place the names of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family on the Exit Control List (ECL), while names recommended after theirs have been put on the list.

                According to the report, 107 people were removed from the ECL and 93 were placed on it on the recommendation of the country’s principal anti-corruption watchdog last year.

                The report said that NAB had asked to include on the ECL, names of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children Maryam Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and his son-in-law retired Capt Safdar. All of them are being tried in accountability courts regarding the Panama Leaks reference. The government has however not taken any action to place their names on the ECL.

                Following NAB’s recommendations to include the Sharif family on the ECL, the bureau had advanced the names of several other individuals involved in corruption cases. They include ,former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, retired Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi, ex-director general (marketing) Pakistan Railways Khalid Naqi, and Ramzan Sheikh — a former director of the construction company, Hasnain Constructions.

                The names of all these individuals have been added to the ECL, as they have been facing corruption cases for leasing out Pakistan Railway owned-land at nominal rates to the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club.

                The name of Amjad Kayani, brother of former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, has also been placed on the ECL due to his connection with a case related to the construction of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Valley in Islamabad.

                The annual report of the bureau said that a total of 409 individuals accused by NAB had been put on the ECL until Dec 31, 2017, compared to 423 on Jan 1, 2017.

                Last year, 93 names were put on the ECL including 39 on the direction of NAB Karachi, 27 on the recommendation of NAB Rawalpindi, 14 on the advice of NAB Lahore, 10 on the direction of NAB Multan and three on the recommendation of NAB Balochistan.

                During the same year, 107 names had been removed from the ECL including 35 from Lahore, one from Multan, 33 from Rawalpindi, 26 from Karachi, nine from Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and three from Balochistan.

                Remarks from the president

                President Mamnoon Hussain said that NAB officers must continue to work honestly and must be unbiased while investigating cases, as corruption-free management was the hallmark of the bureau.

                Earlier, during a meeting with NAB chairman at the presidency, President Hussain appreciated the annual report and said, “Indis­criminate action against everyone is the basis for eradication of corruption. It will restore the confidence and trust of the masses in national institutions.” He emphasized that corruption could only be eliminated if, “all of the reservations of the courts and public against NAB are removed.”

                The president also highlighted the need to ensure that the ongoing investigations by the bureau did not affect the pace of development in the country.

                Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018

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                Intelligence reports suggest vetting residents near new Islamabad airport

                • ,Shifting of airport staff,

                RAWALPINDI: An intelligence agency has expressed concerns over loopholes in the security of the new Islamabad airport and has suggested “extreme vetting” of those residing in surrounding areas.

                According to sources in the agency, it has been suggested that experts equipped with the latest technology should be deployed to ensure security is not breached.

                The official Dawn talked to said Airport Security Force (ASF) personnel will be deployed on more than 80 watch towers built around the airport to keep an eye on suspicious activities.

                It has also been suggested that intelligence agencies be involved in vetting residents of the area, especially recently settled families and madressahs.

                Some construction projects in the area have been delayed due to security reasons and the proximity of the airport funnel area to the motorway could pose many risks since any vehicle can force its way into the restricted area.

                Editorial: ,New Islamabad airport,

                It was suggested that a fence be established on both sides and a police checkpost be set up outside the premises so no one can enter the restricted area.

                According to the sources, ASF will take control of the airport runways on April 12 and the security of the airport terminal will be taken over later on.

                Pakistan Rangers have already been deployed at the airport.

                VVIP movement will be conducted through the PAF Base and the Benazir Bhutto International Airport till construction work on state lounges at the new airport is completed.

                Shifting of airport staff

                Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Khan has called a meeting of all private airlines heads to discuss shifting of Technical Ground Services (TGS) from Benazir Bhutto International Airport to the new Islamabad International Airport.

                According to sources, the meeting will be held at Benazir Bhutto International Airport on Tuesday at 2.30pm.

                Besides the heads of all airlines, the secretary Regional Transport Authority, airport manager and other officials concerned will participate in the meeting.

                The adviser to PM on aviation will discuss transportation of passengers along with their luggage to the new airport and other transportation facilities for private persons working at the airport and daily wage staff.

                Pick and drop of the airlines staff members have also been an issue due to long distance of new airport from the downtown city areas.

                The adviser to PM on Aviation is expected to carry out an inspection visit to the new airport before inviting mediapersons to visit Pakistan’s first Greenfield airport.

                Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2018

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                Islamabad airport set to open despite security concerns

                • ,Breakdown of the terminal building,
                • ,Security,
                • ,Flight kitchen,

                RAWALPINDI: After years of delays and controversies, Pakistan’s first greenfield airport will be operational for international and domestic flights from April 20.

                The Y-shaped airport is located 20 kilometres from Zero Point Islamabad and over 25 kilometres from Saddar, Rawalpindi. It has reportedly been built according to international standards to cement its place as the country’s premier airport.

                A greenfield construction project is one that is not constrained by existing infrastructure. The analogy refers to using unused land for building a project from scratch.

                Arrangements for potable water, food supply yet to be made

                Almost all international and domestic flights will be handled by the new airport, called the Islamabad International Airport (IIA). It will also serve as the primary base of the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which recently got its ,own rebranding with the depiction of the Markhor on its fleet,.

                The IIA is set to be the largest airport in the country and is designed to facilitate 15 million passengers annually in the first phase. The capacity is scheduled to increase to 25 million annual passengers after its expansion.

                The plan to construct a new airport in Islamabad had been conceived just under forty years ago in 1980. There was an increasing number of passengers going through the airport and the old Islamabad airport — later renamed the Benazir Bhutto International Airport — was not intended to cater to so much traffic. The site for the construction of the airport had also been picked near Attock.

                Besides a four-level terminal building, two runways, taxiways, apron and two parking bays for wide-body aircraft A-380 have been built. There will also be a cargo terminal, fuel farm, air traffic control complex as well as a fully-functional state-of-the-art firefighting station and modern rescue facilities.

                The new airport will have 15 air-conditioned jetways or passenger boarding bridges, 13 remote bays for larger aircraft and 7 remote bays for ATR and other smaller planes, in addition to four cargo bays. Of the 15 jetways – two have been specified for the wide-body aircraft A380. The Benazir Bhutto International Airport had no boarding bridges and suffered from a chronically inadequate immigration desk. The small number of immigration officers could not handle the influx of thousands of passengers flying in every day.

                The new airport will have five conveyer belts to assist passengers in claiming their luggage and personal belongings after they exit their planes. All 15 bays will have separate lounges to make it easier for travellers to navigate to the correct waiting areas.

                Breakdown of the terminal building

                At level 1 – there are the international and domestic passengers’ arrival area and collection bays for baggage. Airline offices and the engineering department will also be housed on the first level.

                At level II – there are the domestic arrivals and departure lounges, boarding bridges, visitors’ gallery, car parking, and Immigration counters for international passengers.

                At level III – there are international and domestic check-ins – baggage drop after check-in security scanning, international immigration departure and other airlines offices.

                At level IV – there are state lounges and commercially important persons (CIP) lounges, in addition, a crew briefing hall.

                There will be as many as 28 escalators, six service lifts. 24 elevators for passengers have been installed in the terminal building in addition to 4 inclined travellators (moving walkways) and 10 horizontal. 25 restrooms for passengers have been built in the terminal building, however, there is no facility for transit passengers to deposit their luggage. Instead, transit passengers will have to carry their luggage with them while waiting for their connecting flights. The Benazir Bhutto Airport did not have this facility either.

                A huge parking area for 2200 to 2500 vehicles has been constructed, in addition to a 175-staff car parking bay. And two parking areas have been allocated for state lounge guests. There are nine exit and entry gates to the airport.

                Other amenities include dedicated charging stations for passengers to fuel up their electronic devices. In addition, there are charging boxes for cell-phones that will be operated by high-tech fingerprint recognition systems for keeping the phones safe while they are being charged.

                There will also be a mini-cinema for travellers to relax and watch a movie before embarking on their connecting flights, as well as a food court with a children’s play area.

                From Islamabad, the airport is connected to the Kashmir Highway, while people in Rawalpindi will be able to access it via the Grand Trunk Road. There is no dedicated public transport available to the airport; however, government authorities have plans to inaugurate a metro-bus service for passengers soon.

                Besides all other facilities, 18 water tube-wells and three water dams have been built for the new airport. However, arrangements for the availability of clean drinking water have yet to be finalised.


                More than 500 Airport Security Force personnel will be required to be deployed at the new IIA to ensure safety for all passengers.

                Security officials, however, have already expressed concern over the existing situation of funnel areas of the new airport which are close to the Motorway where lights could be a security hazard.

                Though more than 85 security towers have been built around the airport to ensure that nobody from outside can enter the area, several of the towers lack basic facilities like toilets/washroom, lighting and restrooms.

                “No clean water is available to drink at the security towers, and it’s difficult to keep visual contact from the towers to the airport,” a security official – requesting to remain unnamed — lamented speaking of the lapses in security management.

                The security staff camp is located 12 kilometres away from the airport which security officials consider a cause for concern. The airport itself lacks proper rescue and evacuation mechanisms.

                There are also no alternate routes for VIPs, which according to security officials would have the potential to create traffic bottlenecks as well as security hazards.

                “The Benazir Bhutto International Airport was a smaller airport, which meant that security management was not so complicated. Considering the new airport is significantly larger, the security detail needs to be much more comprehensive. Given the fact that the location of the airport is also in an area where there have been reports of miscreant activities, security arrangements are not water-tight” a security official said.

                He said at the new airport, security management systems, CCTV, and public address systems have been installed complimented with all-night patrolling. There are two bomb pit facilities each on the departure and international sections of the airport.

                Flight kitchen

                Besides the on-site hotel, a flight kitchen, post office facilities and ATMs have yet to be provided to passengers using the new airport. However, the PIA spokesman said that the flight kitchen located at the old Benazir Bhutto International airport, which is more than 30 kilometres away from the new airport will be used for cooking meals, which will be transported in trucks to the new airport.

                Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2018

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                ‘260 flights delayed, cancelled at Islamabad, Karachi airports in 3 months’

                  ISLAMABAD: A special commission constituted on the orders of the Supreme Court to study grievances of passengers has showed delay or cancellation of 260 domestic and international flights from Dec 1, 2017, to Feb 28, 2018, at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi (JIAK) and the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) Rawalpindi.

                  The operators of the flights included Pakistan International Airlines, Air Blue, Shaheen, China Southern, Emirates, Ethihad Airways, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Saudi Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Serene Air.

                  A total 73 complaints regarding lost or damage of baggage were received during the period at the airports of which only 59 were resolved.

                  The commission was constituted on Feb 17, 2018, after the apex court initiated a suo motu in 2011 on the request of now retired Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja who had himself noticed the helplessness of Pakistani expatriates at BBIA.

                  The commission comprised Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Dr Mohammad Raheem Awan, the acting director general Civil Aviation Authority and the director general human rights cell of the Supreme Court.

                  Soon after its meeting on March 3, the commission visited JIAK and observed that only three out of the five scanners for luggage were operational at the international departure resulting long queues at the entrance of the lounge.

                  Commission constituted on SC orders says only 59 of the 73 complaints regarding lost or damage of baggage were resolved at the airports

                  After scanners, there were counters of the Pakistan Customs and Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) but the officials were busy interviewing the passengers and physically checking their luggage despite the fact that they had access to scanners at their relevant desks for monitoring the process.

                  Both ANF and the customs officials were also seen checking travelling documents of the passengers when they were not supposed to do so.

                  Likewise, at the international departure lounge, it was found that the one-window facility consisted of 12 counters for different departments but only three counters were working even though the passengers check-in for three international flights was in progress.

                  However, at the airlines counters, it was observed that the process to issue boarding cards to passengers was smooth and efficiently supervised by the staff of the relevant airlines.

                  At the immigration counter, there were 14 fully equipped counters for screening the passengers but only seven were operational. Consequently, the long and disordered queues were causing frustration amongst the passengers. On query, the in-charge attributed the mismanagement to the shortage of staff as well as non-observance of discipline by the passengers.

                  Most of the passengers interviewed at the departure and arrival lounges complained about indifferent attitude of ASF, ANF and FIA staff.

                  At the counter dedicated for senior citizens, women without male companions and foreigners, the staff was not cautious towards persuading passengers to observe the queue discipline.

                  The rate lists of cafeteria, restaurants and tuck shops triples the retail price and when asked about the reason the commission was told that CAA had approved the prices in 2015.

                  Likewise, the commission visited BBIA on March 9 and observed long lines of vehicles at the entrance of the airport. Surprisingly, the traffic wardens instead of facilitating the passengers were busy checking licences and issuing tickets.

                  At the international departure, three scanners were working out of four whereas the officials of customs and ANF were busy interviewing and physically checking luggage and passports.

                  Like JIAK, only one of the three one-window facilities was manned while other staff was found absent at 9:30am when check-in for three international flights was in progress.

                  At the Air Blue counter, briefing for three international flights was in progress. In front of five designated counters there were long queues but only three were operational.

                  A passenger of the Dubai-bound Air Blue flight complained that a month ago he had come to Pakistan and lost his baggage. Despite complaints and repeated visits, he could not get his baggage or any compensation. Now after spending a month he was going back without any hope for resolution of his complaint.

                  Some international and domestic travellers also recorded their annoyance on frequent delays of flights, denied boarding, loss of baggage, staff and crew behaviour and problems faced by passengers with disabilities.

                  Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018

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                  FIA contacts Interpol for Haqqani’s ‘red notice’

                    RAWALPINDI: The Fed­eral Investigation Agency (FIA) has approached the Interpol Secretariat in Fran­­ce for ,issuance of a ‘red not­ice’, for former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani.

                    According to sources, all formalities required by Interpol’s rules and procedures have been fulfilled.

                    An Interpol red notice is issued to inform member cou­­n­­tries that the person is wanted due to arrest warrants or judicial orders issued by the court of law of a country.

                    Meanwhile, FIA Director General Bashir Memon is leaving for Lyon, Interpol’s headquarters, in France on Sunday to attend a high-level annual conference of intelligence heads of member countries where he will also touch on the issue of obtaining a red notice for Mr Haqqani to bring him back to Pakistan to face trial in the Memogate case.

                    A senior FIA official said that during his stay in Lyon, Mr Memon would engage a law firm, if needed, to pursue the case of issuance of the red notice for the ex-envoy.

                    He said the FIA chief would later proceed to the United States and take up the issue of Mr Haqqani with relevant officials there.

                    The Supreme Court had on March 29 issued an arrest warrant for Mr Haqqani and gave the authorities a 30-day deadline to bring him back after which no excuse would be accepted. The FIA director general had assured the court that a proper case would be registered in the United States if Mr Haqqani refused to return to Pakistan.

                    The apex court had alrea­­dy directed Mr Haqqani to appear before it in the Mem­ogate case, but he failed to comply with the order. On June 4, 2013, a nine-judge SC bench had directed the interior secretary to adopt legal measures to ensure Mr Haqqani’s return to Pakistan.

                    Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2018

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                    PM Abbasi discusses regional security, connectivity with Afghanistan’s Ghani

                    • ,’Current situation does not benefit anyone’,
                    • ,Rejection of Kabul’s allegations,
                    • ,Peace process,

                    Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed the fight against militancy, the Afghan-led peace process, bilateral relations and regional connectivity as they met in Kabul on Friday.

                    Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Abbasi had landed in Kabul for a day-long visit to ease strained relations between the two countries and revive a push for peace talks with the Taliban.

                    PM Abbasi was welcomed by President Ghani. The two later inspected an honour guard at the Presidential Palace in Kabul before heading in for meetings.

                    The PM, accompanied by several other top Pakistani officials on the trip — his first to Kabul since becoming prime minister last year — was scheduled to meet with a string of Afghan officials, according to Ghani’s spokesman, Shah Hussain Murtazawi.

                    PM Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inspecting the guard of honour.— DawnNewsTV

                    PM Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inspecting the guard of honour.— DawnNewsTV

                    ‘Current situation does not benefit anyone’

                    In the meeting between Afghan President Ghani and the prime minister, the two leaders discussed terrorism and the peace process in Afghanistan as well other measures, including the construction of railroad projects, prisoner exchanges and Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), Afghanistan’s ,Tolo News reported,, quoting a statement from Ghani’s office.

                    “Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed on achieving the common aim of regional security through connectivity,” Radio Pakistan said about the meeting.

                    “The Afghan president reiterated that the current situation does not benefit anyone and that any concerns in this respect should be addressed through talks,” Tolo News reported.

                    He also shared details of alleged violations by Pakistan along the Pak-Afghan border.

                    The two sides agreed to creating a timeline and mechanism for repatriation of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, the statement read.

                    “Pakistan’s connection to the Central Asia, energy transition, Quetta-Kandahar-Herat and Peshawar-Jalalabad railroad projects and construction of Peshawar-Jalalabad highway” also came under discussion, according to the statement.

                    Welcoming the Afghan government’s peace offer to the Taliban, Prime Minister Abbasi said an Afghan-led peace process “is the only way to stability in the country”.

                    He also extended Pakistan’s offer for cooperation for peace in Afghanistan and invited President Ghani for an official visit to Pakistan.

                    Separately, in a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, the prime minister “discussed a range of issues, including peace and security, anti-terror efforts,” violations along the Pak-Afghan border and trade relations between the two countries.

                    “Abbasi said Islamabad will ease transport and exports of Afghanistan’s goods to Pakistan and that he hopes Afghan officials will do the same,” Tolo News reported, quoting a statement from Afghan official’s office.

                    Rejection of Kabul’s allegations

                    The visit, aimed at reducing tensions between the two neighbouring countries and further strengthening the Afghan peace process, ,comes in the backdrop of various accusations against Pakistan levelled by authorities in Afghanistan,.

                    A day before the PM’s visit, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal had taken to Twitter to reject Afghan allegations of illegal airstrikes conducted by Pakistan.

                    “Pakistani security forces are undertaking counter-terrorism operations in Bajaur Agency directed against terrorist groups who continue to attack Pakistan from their sanctuaries based on Afghan soil that have resulted in loss of lives and injuries on the Pakistani side,” Dr Faisal tweeted after Kabul alleged that Pakistan had conducted air strikes in the Afghan province of Kunar, causing “huge financial damage”.

                    He added that in a meeting of the director generals of military operations of the two countries, held in Rawalpindi on Thursday, Pakistan had shared details of the operations with the Afghan side, making clear that these operations were on the Pakistani side of the border.

                    Peace process

                    Last month, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had also ,extended support, to Kabul’s proposed political process seeking to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and said Pakistan is ready for one-on-one talks with the Afghan Taliban.

                    President Ghani had ,proposed a ceasefire, and release of prisoners as part of a range of options, including new elections involving the militants and a constitutional review as part of a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that last year alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 Afghan civilians.

                    In return for Ghani’s offer, the Taliban would have to recognise the Afghan government and respect the rule of law, including the rights of women, one of the priorities for Afghanistan’s international partners.

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                    Pakistan has sought UN’s mediation in Kashmir dispute, India has opposed it: UN secy gen

                      United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said that the body was following the Kashmir situation “very closely”.

                      “Obviously this [Kashmir] is a situation that we continue to follow and follow very closely,” Guterres’ said in a statement released by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, a few days after at least ,17 people were killed by the Indian army, in held Kashmir in a fresh wave of violence.

                      “The secretary-general has expressed and will continue to express his concern at the situation [in Kashmir],” Dujarric said. “I think we spoke about it earlier in the week, reminding all parties of the need to protect civilians.”

                      Talking to the media during a routine briefing, Dujarric assured that the “good offices of the UN are available” for both countries to reach a peaceful solution to the dispute. He added that while Pakistan has continuously sought UN’s good offices to resolve the decades-old dispute, India has opposed the body’s mediation.

                      The statement pointed out that concerned parties must be willing to solve the issue in order to avail UN assistance.

                      Dujarric also clarified that the option was not exclusively for India and Pakistan, but for every nation involved in a dispute.

                      Three Indian soldiers and 13 suspected militants died on Sunday in several clashes south of Srinagar, the main city of the region. Besides, four civilians were also killed and dozens injured when police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who poured onto the streets, throwing stones and chanting slogans against the Indian rule.

                      The violent clashes in Kashmir sparked protests in several areas of Pakistan on Friday. Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI), Jamaat-i-Islami, Shia Ulema Council and Jammu and Kashmir Movement announced a “day of protest” to express solidarity with the people of held-Kashmir as well as those ,martyred in an Afghan airstrike, on a seminary in Kunduz.

                      The leaders of the political parties will stage protests in Rawalpindi and Islamabad after Friday prayers.

                      JUI carried out a rally in Sukkur to express solidarity with the people of held-Kashmir. The protesters marched from Madarssa Manzil Gah to the press club, where a demonstration was staged.

                      The protesters demanded that the Indian forces end the use of force against people of held-Kashmir and urged the UN and other international bodies to take notice of the ongoing issue.

                      With additional reporting by Obaidullah Sheikh and Javed Hussain.

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                      Pakistan rejects Afghan claims of violation of airspace

                        The Foreign Office on Friday rejected the allegations levelled by Afghanistan government that Pakistan Air Force violated its airspace to carry out raids inside Afghan territory, ,Radio Pakistan, reported.

                        A statement issued by the Foreign Office clarified that Pakistani security forces were undertaking counter-terrorism operations in Bajaur Agency.

                        The clarification comes on the same day when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is ,visiting Afghanistan, to ease strained relations between the two countries and “revive a push for peace talks with the Taliban”.

                        The military operations are said to be directed against terrorist groups who continue to attack Pakistan from their sanctuaries based in Afghanistan, the Foreign Office said.

                        The Foreign Office further clarified that information about the ongoing counter-terrorism operations is shared with the Afghan security forces on a regular basis.

                        Moreover, in the meeting of the Director Generals Military Operations of the two countries held in Rawalpindi earlier in the day, Pakistan shared details of the operations taking place along the Pak-Afghan border.

                        Pakistan urged Afghanistan to focus on taking effective counter-terrorism actions including plugging of large gaps along the Afghan side of Pak-Afghan border, read the Foreign Office statement.

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                        Islamabad, Kabul trade charges ahead of Abbasi’s visit

                        • ,Janjua-Bisaria’s meeting,

                        ISLAMABAD / KABUL: Pakistan on Thursday rejected the Afghan allegations that its air force had violated its airspace and carried out raids inside Afghan territory.

                        “Pakistani security forces are undertaking counter-terrorism operations in Bajaur Agency directed against terrorist groups who continue to attack Pakistan from their sanctuaries based on Afghan soil that have resulted in loss of lives and injuries on the Pakistani side,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal tweeted after Kabul alleged that Pakistan had conducted air strikes in the Afghan province of Kunar causing “huge financial damage”.

                        He said that in a meeting of the director generals military operations of the two countries held in Rawalpindi on Thursday, Pakistan shared details of the operations with the Afghan side indicating that these operations were on the Pakistani side of the border.

                        Khawaja Asif assails NSA Janjua’s meeting with Indian high commissioner

                        He urged the Afghan government to refrain from blame game.

                        Earlier, Reuters quoted a statement from Afghanistan’s ministry of foreign affairs alleging that Pakistani jets dropped four bombs on Wednesday evening in Kunar’s Dangam district.

                        The tension comes ahead of a ,visit to Kabul on Friday by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,, when he and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani are expected to discuss cooperation on stopping militant attacks.

                        Janjua-Bisaria’s meeting

                        Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in an interview with a news channel said that National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua should not have met the Indian high commissioner — at least not in the current circumstances.

                        “Considering the escalation of tensions and atrocities committed by the Indian military in occupied Kashmir, it would have been better if the national security adviser had postponed his meeting with the Indian high commissioner,” Mr Asif said.

                        The minister said there was no doubt that Pakistan was and is always looking for diplomatic solutions to international conflicts, and the goal was to settle disputes with India over the negotiating table. However, the meeting was not timed well and hurt the sentiments of both the Kashmiri and Pakistani people.

                        Mr Janjua held a meeting with the Indian envoy on Tuesday, in which the two discussed the growing tensions between their countries.

                        “Indian violations over the Working Boundary have increased exponentially over the last few years since the Modi government has taken over,” Mr Asif said. About the aggressive posture and hawkish policies of India, he said the BJP was using religious extremism to fuel its populist agenda.

                        The minister’s remarks followed the FO briefing at which spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said that efforts were continuing for resumption of dialogue with India, calling upon New Delhi to end violence in held Kashmir as a first step towards resolution of the longstanding dispute.

                        This he said while responding to a query about the meeting between Mr Bisaria and Mr Janjua.

                        He recalled that Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi Sohail Mehmood had also met Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

                        Mr Doval and Gen Janjua too had met in Bangkok last December and the two reportedly more recently helped resolve a diplomatic row between their countries over harassment of diplomats. A telephonic conversation between the two reportedly paved the way for the agreement on adhering to the 1992 Code of Conduct for treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in each other’s countries.

                        Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018

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                        First plane to land at new Islamabad airport tomorrow

                          The country’s flag carrier, the Pakistan International Airlines, will now carry a portrait of the Markhor, a mountain goat, on its aircraft, highlighting the country’s commitment to preserve the endangered species. The redesigned aircraft may debut at the inauguration of the airport.

                          The country’s flag carrier, the Pakistan International Airlines, will now carry a portrait of the Markhor, a mountain goat, on its aircraft, highlighting the country’s commitment to preserve the endangered species. The redesigned aircraft may debut at the inauguration of the airport.

                          RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is all set to operate a first mock flight from the New Islamabad International Airport on Saturday.

                          However, the airport will be inaugurated formally on April 20 for regular international and domestic flights. The old Benazir Bhutto International Airport will be transferred to the new airport between April 19 and April 20.

                          The “Y” shaped new airport spreads over 19 square kilometres with 15 jetties (passenger boarding bridges), including facilities to accommodate two double-deck A380, the world’s largest airplane, 15 remote bays and seven remote bays for small aircraft such as ATRs. It will be the biggest international airport of the country in terms of landing and passenger handling facilities.

                          For the 15 bays, the same number of lounges have been built to avoid mixing of passengers. The new airport has two runways each 3.5 km long.

                          Families of PIA employees invited to go through a mock check-in procedure before formal opening of airport on 20th

                          The PIA management has decided to conduct the mock exercise of landing a passenger plane and handling the passengers check-in by its staff, crew members, customs, Airport Security Force, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and other relevant agencies.

                          The construction work on the new airport located 30 km from Islamabad started in April 2007.

                          On Saturday, a PIA flight will land at the new airport and nearly 250 family members of PIA employees will come to the airport as passengers of the mock flight. They will pass through the security check, baggage scanning by ASF and search by the ANF and then proceed to the customs counters before getting boarding cards.

                          Wheelchairs will be arranged for disabled and sick passengers who will be boarded on the plane by ambo-lifters.

                          The employees’ families have been issued special passes and directed to reach the airport by 8:45am. Those who will be using their private cars will be issued special passes while the others will be taken to the lounges by the PIA employees.

                          PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Musharraf Rasool Cyan will observe the mock exercise.

                          The new airport will have five level security systems for baggage check, a food court, mini-cinema, children’s play area and car parking for 2,200 to 2,500 vehicles. Besides the public car parking, a separate car parking has been built for the airport staff.

                          Five conveyer belts for international arrival lounge and three for domestic arrival lounge have been erected to facilitate the passengers. Passenger lounges are decorated with truck art works.

                          In its earlier plan, the airport was to have nine bays for parking of aircraft but later the number was increased to 15.

                          The airport also has the provision of extant ion, if required.

                          Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018

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