Posts Tagged ‘sindh’

Chinese ambassador invites Pakistanis to take advantage of CPEC and Chinese expertise

  • ,’Close friends’,

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Tuesday invited Pakistani citizens to take advantage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as Chinese expertise.

He was addressing the ,CPEC Summit,, being hosted by the Dawn Media Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, which kicked off at Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah on Monday.

Various speakers — including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Punjab and Sindh chief ministers, and several prominent researchers and analysts — had addressed the conference on the first day of the event.

Talking about the Chinese model of economy, Jing, while quoting Chinese President Xi Jinping, said that China has the largest foreign reserves. “In the past 40 years, China has developed; it has combined a socialist system with a market economy that suits the country.”

He extended his cooperation to Pakistan, saying, “China wants the entire region to develop. We want Pakistan, our iron brother, to develop.”

Read: ,Caution and optimism at CPEC conference,

“Our purpose is a better life for Pakistani people [particularly] through the scientific implementation of CPEC,” he said, adding that currently, his government was focusing on the infrastructure structure [under the project].

“I am sure with our combined efforts, CPEC will be successful and our state to state relations will be further strengthened and become an example for the [global] community,” he remarked.

‘Close friends’

Senator Mushahid Hussain also spoke at the event, touching upon bilateral relations between the two countries. “When we look at China-Pakistan relations, both countries are seen as best friends. Pakistan is the only country that supports the core interests of China, and vice versa.”

Pakistan has supported China in all its border conflicts, he added, saying: “Economic power is shifting from the West to the East. China is growing from a regional to a global power. It has become a major player in international politics and global affairs, like climate change.”

A day earlier, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that CPEC has now become a reality. “Two power projects under the initiative have been completed and the third one is about to be finished.”

“We look upon CPEC as a partnership between two governments,” he had said, adding, “It is a new form of cooperation.”

The summit is one of the biggest events to be held in the country on CPEC aimed at educating the public about the objectives of CPEC and its umbrella project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

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‘CPEC is a reality’: Two-day summit kicks off in Karachi

  • ,’CPEC is not a debt trap’,
  • ,’CPEC is a reality’,
  • ,’CPEC not only about economic growth’,
  • ,’CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.’,
  • ,’China and Pakistan have enjoyed great relations for past 5 generations’,
  • ,‘KP’s hospitality being extended to economic friendships through CPEC’,
  • ,‘One can’t imagine CPEC without Gwadar’,
  • ,Objectives of CPEC,

The ,two-day CPEC Summit,, being hosted by the Dawn Media Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, kicked off at Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah on Monday.

Various speakers, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, addressed the conference on the first day of the event.

While addressing the summit, PM Abbasi remarked that while the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was unheard of merely three years ago, the world acknowledges it as a reality today.

The prime minister and all of the other speakers discussed the importance of CPEC with the attendees of the summit.

Representatives of all four provinces discussed the importance of the joint initiative with reference to the development that it has brought to their particular region.

‘CPEC is not a debt trap’

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his address talked about the progress and development made in the country during the tenure of the PML-N’s government.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

“This event proves that Karachi is changing,” he said, adding that when the PML-N came to power in 2013, the city was known for target killings and extortion.

“This is an age of development and growth, with the speed of an electron,” he remarked.

Talking about the Belt and Road initiative, he termed it a huge opportunity. “Pakistan will become a hub of development with the help of this project.

“We made regional connectivity a key component of our Vision2025 project,” he said, terming CPEC the biggest flagship project of the One Belt One Road initiative.

PM Abbasi, Sindh CM Shah, Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the first day of CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

PM Abbasi, Sindh CM Shah, Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the first day of CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

“China extended its hand towards Pakistan when no one wanted to invest even 10 dollars.”

Addressing the reservations about CPEC, Iqbal said: “There are lobbies that are not happy with CPEC — it is not a debt trap.”

“Some say China will become the East India Company; they haven’t read history. China seeks partnership. There is nothing to fear for Pakistani businesses [...] this is propaganda.”

“Long live China-Pak friendship,” Iqbal concluded.

‘CPEC is a reality’

PM Abbasi addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

PM Abbasi addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

“We look upon CPEC as a partnership between two governments,” said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi — the event’s chief guest — at the inauguration of the summit in the morning. “It is a new form of cooperation.”

“Three years ago CPEC was unheard of — today it is known globally. The BRI initiative of Chinese President Xi is a project for generations,” he said, “Recently, we discussed security and connectivity with Afghanistan, which also recognises CPEC as an opportunity.”

“CPEC has now become a reality — two power projects under the initiative have been completed and the third one is about to be finished.”

‘CPEC not only about economic growth’

For the past 40 years, China has made every effort to develop and grow its economy, said Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing in his address.

“We’ve combined socialism and market economy to benefit people.”

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing speaking at the CPEC Summit. ? DawnNewsTV

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing speaking at the CPEC Summit. ? DawnNewsTV

“China wants to see its relationship with Pakistan serve as an example for its relations with other states,” said Jing while speaking on the CPEC.

“We look at CPEC as a significant project. I’m proud that after five years of implementation, it [CPEC] has contributed to Pakistan’s development.”

“CPEC is not just about economic growth; we want to develop a community.”

‘CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.’

Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif addressed the summit in the session ‘View from Punjab’.

“CPEC has helped strengthen the federation of Pakistan; today, Pakistan is a happening place and CPEC has proven that it is a country where people’s money is safe,” he said.

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif — DawnNewsTV

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif — DawnNewsTV

“CPEC has been a turning point in Pakistan’s history,” he said, adding: “Those who doubt intentions of the Chinese are enemies of Pakistan.”

He negated the impression that CPEC was limited to one area or province, saying, “Together with Sindh, Balochistan, KP, FATA and AJK, we will build a better tomorrow.”

“China is one of Pakistan’s most reliable friends. Once the Chinese were convinced that people of Pakistan rightly deserved their support, then came President Xi’s vision of ,Belt and Road Initiative, (BRI) which came to be known as CPEC,” said Shahbaz.

Praising China’s support further, the Punjab CM said there has been no conditions or mantra of “do more” — a reference to the ,often repeated demand from the United States, — from the neighbouring country.

“CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.”

‘China and Pakistan have enjoyed great relations for past 5 generations’

Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah addressed the summit in the session ‘View from Sindh’.

“The past five generations of the Chinese leadership and previous Pakistan governments have all had a great working relationship with each other,” the CM said.

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah — DawnNewsTV

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah — DawnNewsTV

He added: “When China stood isolated on the world stage, it was Pakistan under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that staunchly supported its neighbour. Today, China Pakistan Economic Corridor has seen light of day because of President Xi Jinping and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s vision.”

Speaking about the development taking place in Sindh under the CPEC plan, CM Shah said: “CPEC has resulted in the optimal utilisation of two commercial ports and the opening of Keti Bunder. The development of our commercial ports is in line with the CPEC plan, and Sindh pledges its full cooperation and facilitation in this regard.”

“Sindh had started working towards renewable energy projects long before the formal launch of CPEC and it remains the the only province which has a land grant policy for renewable energy parks,” the CM said, adding that the long-term vision of the Sindh government has produced “turning results.”

He elaborated that Sindh currently contributes 930 megawatts of wind energy to the national grid, “a large chunk of which comes from three early-harvest CPEC projects.”

He also told the audience that an additional 300MW generated through wind power projects would be added to the grid once the projects are completed in October 2018.

‘KP’s hospitality being extended to economic friendships through CPEC’

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Secretary Hassan Ansari, who was representing the KP government at the summit, said that the province is responsible for the production of 15pc of Pakistan’s natural gas output.

“In hydropower, KP has the potential of producing 30,000MW of energy. There are a number of fruits that grow in the province around the CPEC route,” Ansari briefed the attendees of the summit.

Ansari also said that two hydropower projects in Chitral are part of the CPEC framework.

‘One can’t imagine CPEC without Gwadar’

Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, who claimed to be representing the people of Balochistan and not the provincial government, said, “CPEC could not be conceived without Gwadar.”

Bizenjo said that Balochistan constitutes 43pc of Pakistan, and is home to Reko Diq, the second largest copper reserve in the world, and many other minerals.

“The people of Balochistan are hopeful that CPEC will grow and when it does, they will get to grow with it,” he explained.

Objectives of CPEC

A symposium, “The dynamics of economy and finance”, preceded the inauguration ceremony.

The discussion featured, among others, former State Bank governor Ishrat Husain and former finance ministers Shaukat Tarin and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

It’s one of the biggest events to be held in the country on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor aimed at educating the public about the objectives of CPEC and its umbrella project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

The highlight of the second day will be a session titl¬ed “The view from China”. Yao Jing is slated to be the main speaker.

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Karachi power dispute: PM Abbasi directs SSGC to enhance gas supply to KE

    Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, after a high-level meeting in Karachi on Monday, directed the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to supply as much gas as required by K-Electric (KE) to provide electricity to the city.

    The special meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) was called to resolve a dispute between the the two utilities which has led to the city suffering from extensive load-shedding.

    “The city will have electricity as well as water, as water is supplied using electricity,” Abbasi said, adding that Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail has been tasked with determining within 15 days what dues are owed by which company.

    “The load-shedding in Karachi will end completely when 100 per cent of the bills are being paid,” the prime minister said in response to a question.

    He said that KE had given a written statement saying that all its furnace oil plants were working at full capacity, suggesting that the additional load-shedding being currently faced by the city is due entirely to limited gas supply.

    Abbasi said that the electricity production in the country was in excess of demand but it cannot afford to bear the burden of those who do not pay their bills and, therefore, load-shedding would continue in areas with high incidence of electricity theft.

    He said that the centre has done a lot more for the city than was due. “If Sindh asks for buses for the Green Line project, we are ready to provide them as well,” the prime minister said.

    He dismissed any possibility of KE being privatised and assured that the company was operating according to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority tariffs and therefore cannot charge any more or less than the decided dues.

    KE reported it had Rs52 billion in outstanding claims against the KSWB, while the SSGC said it has claims of about Rs80bn against KE, excluding a Rs7bn security deposit required for increasing gas supply to 190mmcfd (million cubic feet per day). Separately, the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) has Rs30bn claims against KE.

    The ,centre and the Sindh government, had also laid the blame on each other as the dispute lingered on at the cost of Karachi’s citizens.

    Meanwhile, a Nepra committee had found ,KE at fault for the excessive electricity shortage,, but also requested the government to increase the gas quota for the power utility to ease public sufferings.

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    SC orders provinces to devise mechanism for provision of security to VIPs

      Days after it ,ordered the withdrawal of security, from non-entitled persons, the Supreme Court on Monday directed all provinces to devise within a week a mechanism to determine who should be entitled to state security.

      While hearing a suo motu case on the matter today, the court remarked that the action had been taken to save the state’s resources. It noted that well over Rs1 billion were being spent a year on providing security to those not entitled to it.

      “[However,] objections are being raised on media that people have been put under risk,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar noted, clarifying that those who need security should be provided with it.

      “Provide security to Nawaz Sharif if he should have it; he is the former prime minister,” Justice Nisar said, but added that the law should be taken into account while determining who is entitled to security.

      “No relative of a minister should be provided official security,” he warned.

      He also said that the court will look into the misuse of government vehicles.

      The CJP also expressed dissatisfaction with the numbers provided by the Sindh government’s counsel on withdrawn personnel.

      Meanwhile, Inspector General (IG) Islamabad Sultan Taimuri informed the court that security personnel provided to 264 individuals had been withdrawn since the SC’s earlier order, while a threat assessment committee had been formed to determine how many people had been provided security in violation of the Interior Ministry’s directions.

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      Two-day event about CPEC objectives opens today

        KARACHI: The Dawn Media Group, in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, will host The CPEC Summit at Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah on Monday and Tuesday (April 23 & 24).

        It’s one of the biggest events to be held in the country on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor aimed at educating the public about the objectives of CPEC and its umbrella project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

        Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will be the chief guest on the opening day. Other prominent guests include Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing.

        A symposium, “The dynamics of economy and finance”, will precede the inauguration ceremony. The discussion will feature, among others, former State Bank governor Ishrat Husain and former finance ministers Shaukat Tarin and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

        The highlight of the second day will be a session titl­ed “The view from China”. Mr Yao is slated to be the main speaker.

        Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2018

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        Mechanism ready for resolution of KE-SSGC row

          ISLAMABAD: The Centre is expected to set a time frame and mechanism for settlement of huge dues to and from K-Electric, including at-source deduction of some provincial bills, to facilitate ,smooth functioning of two, Karachi-based utilities — Sui Sothern Gas Company and KE — and ease the sufferings of Karachiites.

          A senior government official said the Centre had prepared working papers for a special meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) to be presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday (today) on the single point agenda of the prevailing power crisis in Karachi.

          The crux of the working papers, said the official, was that both utilities needed cash and gas flows for streamlining in the interest of the people of Karachi irrespective of lapses and hidden objectives of some stakeholders.

          The SSGC and K-Electric will be directed to finalise the terms of their agreements relating to gas supply and payments under a tight time frame. The Sindh government would also be asked to firm up a separate arrangement between KE and the Karachi Sewerage and Water Board with the facilitation of the federal government.

          PM to chair cabinet panel meeting on power crisis in Karachi today

          The official said the finance ministry had expressed its willingness to make arrangements for payment of KSWB bills on the condition that it would make at-source deduction against the provincial share in the federal divisible pool. The federal authorities have, on their part, concluded that the KSWB bills were responsibility of the provincial government, more so after the devolution under the 18th Amendment in the Constitution and the 2009 Nat­ional Finance Commission award.

          It is against this background that the federal ministers for power, railways and water resources, prime minister’s adviser on finance Miftah Ismail, secretaries of finance, power, water, privatisation and cabinet and managing directors of the Pakistan State Oil, SSGC and KE have been called to the CCoE meeting to be held at Governor’s House in Karachi.

          Through a letter, Power Minister Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari also conveyed to the Sindh chief minister that “the KWSB is the responsibility of the government of Sindh on account of the 18th Amendment, and such responsibility cannot be overridden by any contractual agreement”, and said that support, input and cooperation of the provincial government in resolving the pending disputes are, therefore, key to moving forward on a positive manner.

          As things stand now, KE has Rs52 billion claims against the KSWB, while the SSGC has claims of about Rs80bn against KE, excluding Rs7bn security deposit required for increasing gas supply from contractual 10mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) to 190mmcfd.

          Separately, the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) has Rs30bn claims against KE.

          An official said the Sindh government had also been told that it was simply unimaginable that it or its departments kept sitting on payables worth billions of rupees to KE. “The provincial government entities, including KWSB, are also important stakeholders who cannot shirk their responsibility of paying for electric power services being provided to them. The resolution of issues therefore also involves an element of recognition and redressal of provincial government departments default,” the power minister said.

          Informed sources said the finalisation of KE-SSGC issues on supply of gas, payment of outstanding bills and signing of agreements could not be made as KE wanted to link it with payments from the KSWB and make it part of the terms of agreement between the SSGC and KE.

          The SSGC declined to accept such a demand, saying it was an independent entity responsible for its dues, supplies and affairs and could not be expected to take responsibility in any manner possible for a provincial entity.

          The federal government also told K-Electric that since it had been charging late payment surcharge to all its consumers both in the public and private sectors, it could not get away with its late payment surcharge to the SSGC, though numbers could be verified by chartered accounts in the light of its late payment surcharge to consumers and payable by it to the gas company.

          Similar was the case with about Rs30bn payable by KE to the NTDC on account of 650MW electricity import.

          It was also reported that KE’s existing plants were capable of running on alternative fuel whose cost was a pass through in consumer tariff, but it partly compromised its profit margins.

          Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2018

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          Bahadurabad rendezvous: Shahbaz meets MQM-P leaders in Karachi

            Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, during a second visit to Karachi in as many weeks, met with senior leaders of the MQM-P’s Bahadurabad faction on Sunday and vowed to make the metropolis “the New York of South Asia” if his party was elected to power in the upcoming polls.

            Addressing a joint press conference with MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui after a meeting with the party’s leadership ? including Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, Nasreen Jalil and Faisal Subzwari ? Shahbaz claimed he had not come to Karachi with a political agenda. “I came here as a Pakistani,” he said.

            “What happened with this city in the past is a tale of cruelty, but there is no use crying about it now. Yes, there must be accountability for it,” he said, asking where development funds released for Karachi over the years had disappeared.

            He claimed that when Nawaz Sharif was given the mandate, he decided that if peace did not return to Karachi, there would be no peace in Pakistan. “He tasked the Rangers to bring peace to Karachi and gave them freedom of action. They did a good job and today peace has returned.”

            “But peace and justice are joined together and peace cannot be sustainable if socioeconomic needs remain ignored,” he added.

            Claiming he did not visit Karachi with the intention of “political point-scoring”, Shahbaz said he had requested the MQM-P to maintain peace, and to propagate a message of peace and brotherhood, friendship and keep progressing. “We are with them in this,” he said.

            “Peace and justice are the needs of the hour,” he said.

            The Punjab chief minister also touched upon the ongoing tussle between electricity provider K-Electric and the Sui Southern Gas Company, which has led to an increase in loadshedding for residents of the city.

            “There is no doubt that the KE is mostly to blame,” he claimed. “Whatever liability is there, it is their responsibility. Ramazan is coming and KE has to resolve their self-made issues,” he said. “Without delay, the entire city must get around-the-clock electricity in Ramazan.”

            “If we speak the truth, then issues can be resolved. But if we twist them and talk around the issues, nothing will happen. That’s how 70 years have been wasted and no work has been done.”

            “We have a good idea of our political strength in Karachi. All parties will try [to outperform each other in the upcoming election]. If we get the opportunity, we will turn the cities pain into happiness,” he promised.

            “We will work together to provide water to each household, we will provide public transport ? we will build a Blue Line, a Green Line, a Yellow Line, a network of streets and flyovers will be built, we will provide jobs to the youth of Karachi, and if we get an opportunity, we will big one of South Asia’s biggest technical universities here.”

            “But these things will happen when we work together. No one can do it alone. If we do not band together… Our names will not be taken in history. The day is not far, given the potential of this city, that it will become South Asia’s New York, and the world will see it,” he claimed.

            MQM-P’s Siddiqui, who also addressed the press conference, said party leaders had explained the city’s issues to Shahbaz.

            “What Sindh’s provincial governments have done for the last 10-12 years with citizens is before everyone today,” he said.

            He touched upon the MQM’s concerns regarding the census results and their impact on the delimitation of constituencies in the run-up to the General Election, claiming there is a quickening conspiracy afoot to limit the representation of Sindh’s citizens in the government.

            He asked for greater powers to be given to the local government so it can function independently economically, administratively and politically.

            “The packages you announced are being disbursed, but their disbursal is slower than the rate of growth of the city’s issues,” he told Shahbaz. “This process should be sped up so Sindh’s citizens don’t get the impression that they are second or third class citizens.”

            Following the press conference with Siddiqui, Shahbaz also addressed gatherings in Lyari and Baldia Town, where he made similar promises to citizens: provision of clean drinking water, cheap and quality public transport, “not just one metro, but many metros”, including an Orange, Blue and Green Line, a network of roads and flyovers, job opportunities for the youth, technical training for the youth, interest free loans for small businesses.

            Shahbaz in Lyari also lambasted the PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. “When I come to Karachi, the PPP gets angry. When I go to Peshawar, the PTI gets angry [...] When I show them the mirror, they get upset,” he said.

            “The PTI and PPP are two sides of the same coin [...] don’t fall into their trap,” he added.

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            Over 13,600 police guards withdrawn across the country on CJP order

              LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: More than 13,600 police personnel deputed for the security of unauthorised persons across the country were withdrawn on Saturday in compliance with the order of Chief Justice of Paksitan Mian Saqib Nisar.

              The unprecedented action taken by the federal and provincial governments will affect many politicians, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former interior minister Aftab Sherpao, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, as well as police officials, journalists, bureaucrats, foreigners and judges.

              The data provided by law enforcement agencies shows that ,4,610 police personnel in Punjab,; 5,005 in Sindh; around 3,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; 829 Balo­chistan Constabulary and police personnel in Balo­chistan, 246 in Islamabad have been called back to their stations following the chief justice’s directive.

              Move draws sharp criticism as it affects many politicians, judges, police officers, journalists, civilians and foreigners

              The CJP had asked the inspectors general police (IGPs) of the provinces and Islamabad on April 19 to withdraw security which had been provided to the non-entitled persons.

              The chief justice during his visit to the Peshawar registry had taken notice of the deployment of a large number of police personnel at the residences and offices of the unauthorised persons. He directed the Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Islamabad police chiefs “to withdraw the police security within 24 hours from those people who are not entitled, and submit affidavits to the effect duly attested by oath commissioner on next date of hearing April 23 in Islamabad.”

              Appearing before the chief justice, Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa IGP Salahuddin Mehsud said around 70 per cent people with police security in the province were not entitled to it under rules. He said he had issued directives for the withdrawal of around 3,000 police personnel from unauthorised persons and gave an undertaking that the security would be withdrawn by Saturday evening.

              The Punjab police withdrew a total of 4,610 police personnel provided to the non-entitled personalities, including parliamentarians, judges, journalists and police officials for their security. From Lahore alone, 2,480 policemen, including Elite force personnel, were withdrawn from the offices and houses of 441 unauthorised persons.

              According to the official figures obtained by Dawn, the Punjab police had “accommodated” in violation of the entitlement criteria as many as 1,853 persons across the province awarding them one or more police personnel for their protection. The statistics showed that 469 officials of the lower judiciary had been provided 626 police officials without their entitlement for the extra security.

              The police personnel were withdrawn from the officials of the lower judiciary on the CJP order. Besides, 3,984 policemen were called back from their security duties with 297 politicians, 527 civil administration/police officers, 54 journalists, 250 religious leaders, 23 lawyers and 233 other persons who were not authorised to keep police security.

              In Sindh, sources said, a total of 5,005 police guards had been withdrawn from unauthorised person till late Saturday evening.

              In Balochistan, the sources, some 829 security officials belonging to Balochistan Constabulary and police had been withdrawn from the security of non-entitled people.

              In Islamabad, the 246 policemen deployed for the protection of politicians, civil judges and officials of the judiciary, retired and serving police officers, district administration, some foreigners, civilians and bureaucrats without their entitlement to keep them were asked to report back to their respective stations.

              Committee formed

              Islamabad IGP Dr Sultan Azam Temuri said a committee headed by DIG police security and comprising officials of Nacta, security and intelligence agencies would soon be constituted to deal with the requests for police security in future.

              Maryam’s reaction

              In her reaction to the move, Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, tweeted that the chief justice would be responsible if any harm was caused to her father. “My Lord, snatch the security of the (former) prime minister who had targeted terrorists by looking directly into their eyes but if, God forbid, anything happened to him, only you (CJP) will be responsible for it,” she tweeted.

              ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who lost his only son in a suicide attack, said he frequently received advices from security agencies to take extraordinary measures for his protection. He said hundreds of die-hard workers and leaders of his party faced tragedies not because of any private enmity but for the larger cause of the country.

              Earlier on Friday, the JUI-F chief’s personal secretary sent a letter sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG seeking proper security. “The JUI-F chief is serving as chairman of the parliament’s Kashmir committee and “is facing security threats”.

              Zulfiqar Ali from Peshawar also contributed to this report

              Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2018

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              Rao Anwar sent on judicial remand until May 2 in Naqeebullah killing case

              • ,Rao Anwar held responsible for killing,

              An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi sent former senior superintendent of police Rao Anwar to prison on juidical remand on Saturday until May 2 in a case pertaining to the ,extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud,.

              The former SSP, 11 of his detained subordinates and 14 absconders are accused of abducting Naseemullah, aka Naqeebullah Mehsud, for ransom and later killing him, along with three other detainees, in a staged encounter in Malir on January 13.

              The accused cops had initially dubbed the murder an ‘encounter’ against militants.

              Anwar, along with other suspects, has also been booked for planting false evidence — pistols and hand grenades — on Mehsud and three others after killing them in the shootout, and later registering a false case against the deceased under the Sindh Arms Act for illegal possession of arms and explosives.

              See: ,Rao Anwar held responsible for Naqeeb’s killing,

              On Saturday, a visibly calm Anwar was escorted by the police to the ATC in an armoured personnel carrier. He refused to answer reporters’ questions, saying the challan of the case has yet to be submitted in court.

              The investigating officer of the case requested the court to send Anwar on judicial remand, and sought a week’s time to submit a final challan for the case.

              He informed the court that a new joint investigation team (JIT) has been formed to investigate Anwar over the killing and the challan will be submitted as per the JIT’s recommendation.

              The counsel representing Anwar, Amir Mansoob, opposed the plea for remand, contending that until the cases registered against Mehsud and the other deceased are declared false and withdrawn, a case could not be registered against the former SSP.

              After hearing all arguments, the administrative judge of the ATC sent Anwar and another suspect, Shakeel, to jail on judicial remand till May 2. Meanwhile, the judicial remand of ten other suspects, including DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh was extended until an unspecified date.

              Rao Anwar held responsible for killing

              Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that the JIT formed on the Supreme Court’s directives had held Anwar and three others responsible for the killing of Mehsud in a fake encounter.

              “The JIT found Rao Anwar guilty of killing an innocent person, Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a fake encounter,” a JIT member who wished not to be named told Dawn.

              It may be recalled that 11 police officials had already been arrested in the case before Anwar was taken into custody following his ‘surrender’ before the SC in Islamabad on March 21. Around 15 accused police officers have been declared as absconders in the case.

              According to the IO’s report submitted before an ATC, policemen in plainclothes had picked Naqeebullah Mehsud, along with two other persons, and took them to the Sachal police post where the two others were separated from Mehsud.

              When one of the witnesses asked the policemen about their abduction, a policeman replied that they were being taken to see Rao Anwar and then they (captives) would “make their way to heaven”.

              The two witnesses — who were eventually released by the police — told investigators that they were later taken to an unknown location where they also saw Mehsud. When one of them spoke to Mehsud, the latter said that police were demanding Rs1 million against his release, but he could not arrange even Rs50,000.

              The report further stated that the witnesses, after being released, came to know through the media that Rao Anwar and his associates had allegedly killed Mehsud and three others in a staged encounter in the Shah Latif Town area on Jan 13 and dubbed them as militants.

              Mehsud’s father lodged a case on Jan 23 against Rao Anwar and others on the basis of the findings of a three-member inquiry committee, which had said that, prima facie, the encounter was coordinated, fake and staged. Police investigators claimed that Anwar played a central role in the case.

              The SC later took notice of the killing after the incident sparked outrage on social media and protests by political and religious parties and rights organisations.

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              4,610 police guards withdrawn from security of unauthorised persons in Punjab

              • ,Security protocol withdrawn in capital,

              In light of a recent Supreme Court order, the Punjab police has withdrawn as many as 4,610 personnel deployed for the security of influential persons not entitled to official security.

              The apex court had on Thursday directed the inspectors general of police of the four provinces and Islamabad to withdraw security provided to unauthorised persons within 24 hours.

              In a report submitted in SC’s Lahore registry on Saturday, Punjab IG retired Capt Arif Nawaz revealed that a total of 4,610 police guards had been withdrawn from non-entitled persons. They include:

              • 297 policemen withdrawn from the security of politicians

              • 527 withdrawn from civil administrative officers and police officers

              • 469 withdrawn from judges of lower courts

              • 54 officials withdrawn from media persons

              • 23 policemen withdrawn from the security of lawyers

              Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar praised the Punjab police chief over the action but reminded him to ensure provision of security to those persons who are entitled to it as per policy.

              “Lest it happens that an incident occurs tomorrow because of a lack of security,” he added.

              See: ,Cut in security detail at Jati Umra,

              The CJP said as per his information 7,000 policemen were assigned the security of non-entitled persons. He directed the Punjab IG to submit a complete report regarding the withdrawal of security personnel within two weeks.

              Security protocol withdrawn in capital

              Meanwhile, IG Islamabad Dr. Sultan Azam Temuri also issued orders to withdraw security from individuals not entitled to it.

              A total of 246 personnel of Islamabad police were withdrawn from unauthorised persons including:

              • 50 from politicians

              • 86 from civil judges

              • 33 from former IGs and police officers

              • 21 from officers of Islamabad administration

              • 3 from foreigners

              • 53 deployed for the security of bureaucrats, media representatives and civilians

              On Friday, Sindh IG A.D. Khowaja too had ,ordered immediate withdrawal, of thousands of police guards from unauthorised persons as per directions of the SC order. It is expected that around 4,000 policemen would be withdrawn and deployed for policing in Karachi alone.

              Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG Salahuddin Mehsud had already ,assured the court of similar action, on Thursday. He had disclosed that around 3,000 personnel had been deputed with different persons of which around 70 per cent were not entitled under rules.

              According to a ,Dawn report,, people in 12 categories are entitled to security. They are president and former presidents; prime minister and former prime ministers; Senate chairman, National Assembly speaker, speakers of provincial assemblies; chief minister and visiting chief ministers; governor and visiting governors; provincial and federal ministers; judges of apex courts and lower courts; chief secretary, home secretary, secretary to the CM, secretary to the governor, commissioners, deputy commissioners, senior police officers of the rank of SP and above; persons having security threat duly conveyed by the home department in writing and security provided under the orders of honourable courts.

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              Federal, Sindh govts spar over Karachi power crisis

                ISLAMABAD: With no immediate solution in sight to the suffering of Kara­chiites, the electricity crisis in Karachi appears to be turning into a major pre-election issue between the federal and Sindh governments.

                The federal government on Friday took a public stance on the gas supply dispute between K-Electric (KE) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and said the authorities could not succumb to the “blackmailing” of the former utility. This happened at a time when Karachi’s consumers continued to endure hours-long outages due to power shortage.

                Power Minister Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari categorically said that matters could not move forward on the issue of enhanced gas supply to KE without payment, or an agreement on mechanism for payment, of Rs80 billion receivables.

                He criticised Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for “politicising the crisis” by calling upon political parties in his province to jointly hold a sit-in outside the prime minister’s office in Islamabad.

                The minister asked Mr Shah to stop influential people in Sindh from stealing electricity in order to ease the suffering of Karachiites.

                For his part, Sindh’s chief minister went a step further and threatened to “raise the issue forcefully in the Council of Common Interests and National Economic Council next week” and not to participate in discussions on other issues.

                Mr Shah said the federal government owned 70pc shares in the SSGC and 25pc in KE. The Karachi-based power utility was privatised without the consent of the provincial government, while the federal government guaranteed outstanding liabilities of the Karachi Water Board.

                He was of the opinion that the federal government was responsible for resolving the dispute between the SSGC and KE which was threatening to shatter peace in the country’s largest city.

                “It seems the PML-N government has decided to target the people of Sindh for categorically rejecting it in the polls,” Mr Shah said, adding that consumers of Hyderabad and Sukkur were enduring outages of between 16 and 20 hours.

                Speaking to journalists after presiding over a meeting with senior officials of KE, SSGC and petroleum division, Mr Leghari said the dispute between the two utilities had been discussed in detail at the meeting.

                He said a consumer lost his electricity connection on non-payment of only two monthly bills. How was it possible then for a big consumer like KE to continue receiving natural gas after failing to pay such a huge amount for such a long time. The law should be applied to all concerned fairly and equitably.

                The KE had its own perspective and wanted to recover receivables from the Sindh government and Karachi Water Board, said the power minister. But the payment of those dues was a provincial matter and should be dealt with at that level.

                He said the meeting asked the representatives of the Sindh government, petroleum division, SSGC and KE to sit down and settle their issues while the ministry of finance was asked to assist the parties in reaching an agreement as early as possible.

                In response to a question, Mr Leghari said the principal amount payable by KE to SSGC stood at Rs13.7bn while the remaining Rs60-70bn was late payment surcharge based on standard policy. It should be realised that the dispute involved public money and must be settled accordingly. Gas would have to be supplied under a valid gas supply agreement.

                “There has been no consumer so far who has received gas without a gas sales agreement. When such a requirement is there for even poor consumers, KE could not be given a different treatment,” the minister said.

                When asked why 650MW of electricity was being supplied to KE from the national grid without an agreement, Mr Leghari said the facility was being extended to the people of Karachi so that they do not suffer too much.

                He said some people might have had high expectations from the emergency meeting and that the government did want to end the misery of Karachiites, but KE gave a new twist to the dispute. The power utility had perhaps something else in mind and did not proceed as expected.

                He made it clear that the federal government would not succumb to any blackmailing because of public sensitivities. The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority was an independent regulator and its chairman did not attend the meeting because doing so was outside the regulator’s domain.

                A senior official said the government team complained to the KE team, led by its chief executive Tayyab Tarin, for frequently taking matters to court instead of resolving them and on making profits without improving the transmission and distributing network.

                The issue of non-payment of Rs30bn to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company against supply of 650MW was also brought to the table.

                Mr Tarin told reporters before the meeting that KE had processed Rs6bn payment against security deposit and was ready to streamline payment of the principal amount of Rs13.7bn, but SSGC was not ready to sign a gas supply agreement. Sadia Dada, the KE’s spokesperson, said the SSGC was insisting on payment of Rs60bn interest and late payment surcharge.

                Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2018

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                War of words intensifies between K-Electric, SSGC

                  ISLAMABAD: The ,war of accusations, intensified between the two Karachi-based public utilities — privatised power firm K-Electric (KE) and state-owned Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) — as consumers continued to suffer extended power outages in hot and humid weather.

                  Both firms are publicly listed companies on the country’s stock exchange and yet appeared questioning each others accounting standards apart from hurling accusations against each other for gas shortfall and resultant power crisis in city of more than 20 million people.

                  The blame-game appeared to have started after power regulator — National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) — ,blamed KE for not utilising its full generation capacity, and at the same time asked the government to increase gas supply to KE for higher power generation to ease public sufferings.

                  In statement on Wednesday, KE said the Nepra’s suggestion for higher gas supply supported the power utility’s stance that 500 megawatts of energy shortage was due to gas constraints but at the same time played down for technical reasons its inability to utilise spare generation capacity highlighted by the regulator.

                  The gas utility — SSGC — on the other hand claimed the Nepra’s findings “truly justify SSGC’s position” that KE used gas issue as a pretext for additional loadshedding instead of setting its priorities right.

                  It accused the KE of neither clearing its outstanding dues worth Rs80 billion, or depositing Rs6bn security deposit as committed at a meeting under Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, nor entering into dialogue for signing a gas sales agreement (GSA)— a prerequisite for gas sales to any consumer.

                  The SSGC reiterated that gas shortage was not a surprise phenomenon and had repeatedly been brought to the notice of KE management to sign gas sales agreement because the original four-decade old agreement covered only 10 mmcfd while the actual gas supply is eight times higher. It said the gas company was following the government’s gas load management plan that gave priority to domestic consumers who have been increasing over the past 40 years.

                  The gas company said its numerous attempts to bring KE to the table to sign a fresh GSA had failed as the KE avoided negotiations and defaulted on its payments while SSGC did not stop gas supplies to a defaulting customer “just for the people of Karachi.” It said the KE also did not honour its commitment made with Sindh’s chief minister to appoint one of the top independent chartered accountancy firms to reviewing and analysing financial statements and other relevant records of SSGC and KE from 2004-05 to date to determine overdues.

                  “Is SSGC unjustified in demanding overdues when it has to pay off the financial institutions, banks and of course the exploration and production companies it purchases gas from?,” asked the SSGC.

                  KE, on the other hand, insisted its generation capacity continued impaired by reduced gas supply by SSGC. It said the better gas supply could have covered the shortcomings at KE plants highlighted by the regulator, adding that the alternate fuel utilisation involved lengthy technical parameters and immediate solution was higher gas supply.

                  Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2018

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                  Baloch activist says RAW asked him to heckle Nawaz in 2015

                    WASHINGTON: A senior Baloch activist claimed on Tuesday that he heckled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during his 2015 visit to Washington at the behest of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

                    Ahmer Mustikhan, foun­der of the American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) group, posted three online statements on Facebook on Tuesday after a district court in Maryland rejected an appeal to muzzle him.

                    AFB’s two Indian supporters — Soumya Chowd­hury and Krishna Gudipati — had filed the appeal, asking the judge to stop Mr Mustikhan from publicly sharing the internal affairs of the group. The court agreed with the Baloch activist’s plea that the US constitution guaranteed his freedom of expression.

                    Mr Mustikhan, who is also a journalist, claimed in the videos that he was “let down” by RAW operatives working from the Indian embassy in Washington. He identified one of them as Nagesh Bhushan who, Mr Mustikhan said, manned RAW’s Balochistan Desk.

                    On Oct 22, 2015, Mr Mustikhan heckled Mr Sharif during his speech at the US Institute for Peace in Washington and was removed by security personnel as he continued shouting for several minutes.

                    He then appeared on a series of Indian talk shows, explaining why he heckled the prime minister. He also heckled other Pakistani leaders, particularly former president Pervez Musharraf.

                    “I did this with a heavy heart, as I have no fight with Nawaz Sharif. He is an elected prime minister,” he told Dawn.

                    “Others, I heckled willingly.”

                    Mr Mustikhan said that India was supporting terrorism in Pakistan and this support started after the Kargil war and that’s why the current insurgency had continued for 12 years.

                    Mr Mustikhan claimed that RAW encouraged militants to kill Punjabi, Pakhtun and even Sindhi civilians. “We have no fight with civilians. They are our brothers,” he said. “They gave me a lot of mental torture [for opposing their plans]. They say if you kill, you are a hero otherwise you are zero.”

                    Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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                    Man dies as protest against rape, murder of minor girl turns violent in Karachi

                      The alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Karachi’s Manghopir area sparked protests on Tuesday, with the family of the deceased child demanding justice by placing her body on the road.

                      The girl, who had gone missing two days ago, was ,found dead in bushes in Manghopir, on Monday night. She was later identified on Tuesday as a resident of Baloch Para, Orangi Town.

                      An initial medical examination had suggested she was sexually assaulted and strangulated to death following which DNA samples were taken to confirm the findings.

                      Relatives and area residents placed the body of the deceased girl on Orangi Road in protest, which also turned violent with demonstrators pelting stones at police and nearby vehicles.

                      According to eyewitnesses, two people were injured as police resorted to firing and teargas shelling to disperse the protesters. Rangers personnel have been deployed in the area to control the situation, DawnNewsTV reported.

                      A man named Abdur Rehman, who was injured allegedly by police firing, later died after being taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the hospital’s head of emergency section Dr Seemi Jamali said.

                      Taking notice of the incident, Inspector General (IG) Sindh A.D. Khowaja ordered the deputy inspector general (DIG) West to submit a report on the issue.

                      He later informed media that two arrests have been made in connection with the case while an investigation is underway to ascertain the facts.

                      SSP West Omar Shahid Hamid said of the three people nominated by the girl’s grandfather, two have been arrested while police are looking for the third.

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                      Are you a registered voter? If not, here’s what you need to know before the deadline ends

                      • ,’Is my vote registered with the ECP?’,
                      • ,*SMS service*,
                      • ,*District Election Commissioner*,
                      • ,Not yet enrolled?,
                      • ,Visit a display centre,
                      • ,’I’m registered but my info is wrong’,
                      • ,’My vote is registered but shown in the wrong area’,
                      • ,’My vote is fine but someone I know should not have registered’,
                      • ,’Can I opt for postal ballot?’,
                      • ,’Why can’t I still register?’,

                      The Election Commission of Pakistan’s deadline — fixed for April 24 — for ,voter registration and modification of voter lists, for the 2018 general elections is fast approaching.

                      So far, there are 104,267,581 registered voters across the country. If you’re not one of them — or want to check your status — here’s what you need to do:

                      ‘Is my vote registered with the ECP?’

                      Although names of all those who received their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) from 2013 to 2018 have already been added to the voter lists, you should verify the registration of your vote. A total of 8,100,000 new voters have been registered with the ECP.

                      The registration of vote can be verified in two ways: either through a short message service (SMS) or visiting your relevant District Election Commissioner’s office where final lists are available.

                      SMS service

                      The ECP has updated its 8300 SMS and asked voters to check the details of their votes’ registration by sending an SMS with their CNIC number to 8300. An automated response will be received in this regard with the name of your electoral area, block code and serial number.

                      District Election Commissioner

                      You can confirm vote registration by visiting your respective District Election Commissioner’s office, where the final electoral roll is available. The addresses or contact information of the DEC’s offices across the four provinces can be found on the Election Commissions website.

                      Here are some useful links:

                      • ,Telephone numbers of RECs / DECs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata,

                      • ,Telephone numbers of RECs / DECs in Punjab and Islamabad,

                      • ,Telephone numbers of RECs / DECs in Sindh,

                      • ,Telephone numbers of RECs / DECs in Balochistan,

                      Not yet enrolled?

                      If you are already a registered voter, then you just need to show up at a polling station in your constituency with your original CNIC on the day of the election.

                      However, if you are in the age group of 18 years and above and still your vote is not registered, then you will have to take some necessary steps to become a registered voter.

                      Visit a display centre

                      The ECP has set up 14,487 display centres across the country.

                      These centres have been established for registration and correction of details or removal of names from the voter lists. A total of 7,928 centres have been set up in Punjab; 2,585 in Sindh; 2,545 in KP; and 1,429 in Balochistan.

                      You can submit your application along with a CNIC copy to the nearest display centre or the district election commissioner, registration officer, or the assistant registration officer of the district where you want to get your name enrolled.

                      You will have to fill the prescribed Form 15 — available ,online at the ECP website, — for enrolment of your vote.

                      It can also be obtained free of cost from the office of the district election commissioner, the registration officer or assistant registration officer. Don’t forget to keep your original CNIC with you when you return to the display centre for submission of the filled form.

                      ‘I’m registered but my info is wrong’

                      You have received confirmation of the registration of your vote but some parts of the information available with the ECP do not match with what is mentioned on your national identity card. Here comes Form 17 to help you out.

                      You ,will have to download, or obtain the form from any display centre and then submit the filled form to ECP display centre, or regional or district office.

                      Don’t forget to keep your original CNIC with you when you return to the display centre for submission of the filled form. Some parts of the form will be filled in the office of the ECP.

                      At the time of the form’s submission, an ECP official will schedule a date for the hearing of your case. After the hearing, an ECP official will decide the matter.

                      ‘My vote is registered but shown in the wrong area’

                      You can get your vote transferred to the area where you reside, subject to the address mentioned in your CNIC. For this purpose, you will have to ,fill Form 15,.

                      This form can be submitted to the ECP officials at display centres. You can ,download this form, or obtain it from your nearest display centre.

                      Again, you will have to keep your original CNIC as well as other relevant documents [example: utility bills] as proof of your residence. After submitting your form, an ECP official will schedule a date for the hearing of your case. After the hearing, the concerned ECP official will decide the matter.

                      ‘My vote is fine but someone I know should not have registered’

                      You can approach the ECP if you have an objection to the inclusion of the name of any voter. You will have to fill the ,Form 16, in this regard. After submission of the form, the ECP will fix a date for the hearing of the case.

                      You and the person objected against, along with relevant pieces of evidence or documents, will have to appear before the authorities. The ECP officials then decide the matter after listening to both sides and reviewing all available documents.

                      ‘Can I opt for postal ballot?’

                      You can opt for a postal ballot only if you hold a public office and are posted away from your enrolled district. You can also use this option if you are among the dependent family members of a government servant who have been posted away from his or her enrolled constituency

                      Also, if you are a staffer on election duty, you can cast your vote through postal ballots within the dates specified by the commission.

                      Furthermore, a person with any physical disability who is unable to travel and holds a CNIC with a logo for physical disability can use the facility of postal ballot. Besides this, a person detained in a prison or held in custody can also cast his or her vote through postal ballot.

                      ‘Why can’t I still register?’

                      You are not eligible to become a voter if you are

                      • not a citizen of Pakistan;

                      • less than eighteen years of age on the first day of January of the year in which the rolls are prepared or revised;

                      • not possessing a National Identity Card issued by the National Database and Registration Authority at any time till the last day fixed for inviting claims, objections and applications for preparation, revision or correction of electoral rolls;

                      • declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind;

                      • not deemed under section 27 to be resident in the electoral area.

                      Information taken from ECP website

                      Design: Nabeel Ahmed

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                      ‘Why is there no water for Karachi’s homes?’

                      • ,Missing employees of Chinese company,
                      • ,Road construction,

                      Retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, head of the Supreme Court-mandated water commission, on Monday took the managing director (MD) of the Karachi Water and Sewage Board (KWSB) to task in a tense hearing regarding water shortages in the provincial capital.

                      “Where did the water go? What is happening in Karachi?” Justice Hani ask the head of the water body, noting that even those residing near hydrants were not getting water while others had to line up before daybreak to secure water supplies.

                      The commission — holding its proceedings at the Sindh High Court on Monday — also expressed its anger over the water board’s top official absence when proceedings began.

                      KWSB MD Khalid Sheikh subsequently appeared before Justice Muslim, who asked: “Do you read the newspapers? Do you know that you are being abused?”

                      Sheikh explained that water was being sent to homes on tankers on people’s phone calls and even text messages.

                      At this, Justice Muslim asked: “Why is there no water in taps at homes? You have destroyed the supply and distribution system!”

                      The MD said that he understands people’s woes, adding that the board was facing problems because of K-Electric as well since the supply of electricity has been intermittent.

                      “You do nothing until water lines burst and water enters people’s homes,” Justice Muslim hit back, before asking how sewage water gets mixed with clean water.

                      He also noted that some areas were receiving water while others were not.

                      “Those who are [receiving water] should be grateful,” the MD responded, which further irritated Justice Muslim.

                      “What are you saying? Are you doing people a favour by giving them water?” he asked, reminding the top official that water was a basic right.

                      The retired justice then stated that KWSB valvemen’s complete control over the city’s water supply would have to be curbed. KWSB valvemen regulate water supply in the city by controlling how much, where and when water flows by manipulating different valves that control supply lines. Recent cases have shed light on alleged corruption by these technicians, with some evidence emerging that their services can be “bought” illegally.

                      “Did you ever take action against even one valveman?” Justice Hani asked the KWSB MD when told there were 700 in the city.

                      “I will remove at least 200 people as I leave,” he warned.

                      He directed the official to fix the issue by tonight or he would visit the hydrants at midnight himself to monitor the situation.

                      Missing employees of Chinese company

                      The commission informed officials that it had only stopped future payments to the Chinese firm responsible for lifting garbage in Karachi because the company had failed to hire the required number of employees in the city.

                      It also informed the company’s counsel that the salaries of 1,000 employees — who were never hired — would be deducted from its withheld payments.

                      Justice Muslim also told the representative of the company that the garbage crisis in the city was a result of the missing employees. He told the official to first hire the requisite number of employees and then move on to import equipment from China.

                      The commission was informed that sweepers were being paid Rs18,000 each by the company, and that the company was saving Rs7.5 million by employing fewer employees than stipulated in the contract.

                      “Their performance has improved after payments were stopped for four days,” Justice Hani remarked, adding that he would ensure things get on the right track.

                      The commission also ordered the salaries of absent employees of the district management councils (DMCs) to be stopped while also ordering departmental action against them.

                      Road construction

                      Justice Muslim also reprimanded Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar for failing his commitment to reconstruct Fatima Jinnah Road, adding that the commission had already ordered the removal of encroachments on the mayor’s request.

                      Akhtar responded that the work was taking time as sewerage lines were being replaced.

                      Justice Muslim also ordered the cancellation of the contract of a company responsible for construction around the Hala Naka filter plant, Hyderabad, reproaching the additional managing director of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) for giving the contract to a company “with no background”.

                      Justice Hani also summoned a report on the appointment of a consultant over the Gujjar Naala and Pichar Naala by the provincial chief secretary on Tuesday. “Municipal Commissioner Asghar Sheikh is not qualified for this position,” he said.

                      Citizens informed the commission that the situation of provision of water in Orangi and Baldia Town was abysmal, with one claiming that Baldia Town gets water for only 12 hours in a year.

                      The hearing was subsequently adjourned for one day.

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                      PM invites parties to talks on new provinces

                        BAHAWALPUR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has invited all political parties to a dialogue to reach a consensus on ,the issue of creation of new provinces, in accordance with the demands of the people of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

                        He was speaking in Khairpur Daha near Uch Sharif, about 70km from here, at a ceremony marking the opening of the Uch Sharif-Jalalpur Peerwala road built by the National Highway Authority at a cost of Rs5 billion. The road will link areas in the districts of Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzaffargarh.

                        The prime minister criticised the setting up of the South Punjab Province Front and the leaders who announced its formation. He said that mere holding of press conferences could not create new provinces.

                        Mr Abbasi pointed out that no party could ensure the setting up of a new province all by itself because no party could amend the Constitution alone.

                        All the parties should strive to forge a consensus through dialogue, he said. The formation of new provinces might be in the best interest of the country.

                        In this connection, the prime minister referred to the demand for the creation of Hazara province as well as for other federating units in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

                        In this regard, he mentioned the adoption of two resolutions in the Punjab assembly in the last two years, about the restoration of Bahawalpur province and creation of South Punjab province.

                        It was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he said, that had ensured the passage of the two resolutions. The constitutional amendment, however, could not be passed through the efforts of just one party.

                        Mr Abbasi asked the leaders of the South Punjab Province Front to wait for the people’s verdict on the issue, as the general election was approaching fast. As they had parted ways with the PML-N, they should wait for proper mandate from the people.

                        He was of the view that people would vote for the PML-N and for its supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in the election.

                        The prime minister criticised the Supreme Court’s decision about Mr Sharif’s disqualification for life and maintained that such verdicts could not be viewed with respect because they hurt democracy.

                        He said that Mr Sharif was jailed and punished during the rule of retired Gen Pervez Musharraf but the PML-N leader survived against great odds “while the military dictator and his judges are no longer around”.

                        He reiterated his stance that political issues should not be decided in courts; rather they should be decided on the basis of votes.

                        The politics of truth would prevail and the politics based on lies and abuses would be defeated, said the prime minister.

                        He was of the opinion that the previous governments led by Gen Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari could not match the development works carried out by the present government. In this regard he specifically mentioned the works carried out by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

                        Even now, he said, when only a couple of months remained before the election the PML-N government was continuing to work for the benefit of the masses. He would be inaugurating two development projects every week, unlike those leaders who had predicted the present government’s demise time and again.

                        Mr Abbasi said a road network of 1,700km would change the country’s fate. The PML-N had completed several notable projects, including the Lowari tunnel, Kachhi canal and Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project, which were pending since decades.

                        Several major projects had also been completed in south Punjab, he said.

                        Responding to a demand for up-gradation of the Ahmedpur East tehsil to the status of district headquarters, Mr Abbasi said he would talk to former prime minister Nawaz and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz on the issue.

                        At the local circuit house, the prime minister met delegations comprising PML-N leaders, workers and supporters. He also met lawyers, traders and businessmen.

                        Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018

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