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Press freedom day: Karachi declaration issued at media conference

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:17

KARACHI: Delegates at the International Media Conference 2015 issued on Sunday a Karachi declaration, calling upon the government of Pakistan to respect as well as implement all international instruments on the protection of journalists, including binding and nonbinding resolutions, covenants and declarations of the United States.

Journalists, editors and media representatives from Pakistan, international and regional organizations met at the International Media Conference held in Karachi which was organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day.

Journalists from 15 countries representing International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and other journalist unions took part and helped finalise the declaration. The conference was also attended by Federal Executive Council (FEC) members and editors and journalists from different newspapers.

They delegates recalled that there was a high number of violations against journalists in Pakistan, in particular the killing of journalists, which has reached over 100 in the last decade. Pakistan has been identified as one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world.

The demanded that instruments on the protection of journalists be implemented within national laws and that the justice system be overhauled to end impunity.

The declaration urged the authorities to establish rights for families of killed journalists for compensation, directly or through media institutions, and the setting up of a solidarity fund for the victims.

Media organisations, they said, have a duty of care and moral responsibility for the safety of all their journalists, in particular news gatherers, staff or freelancers, to provide hostile-environment safety training and equipment, medical care and life insurance.

The declaration also noted that media editors have a responsibility to systematically publicise crimes against journalists, investigate them as thoroughly as possible and expose any failure of government to make the perpetrators account for their crimes.

In the declaration, primacy of quality training and education for journalists, was acknowledged.

Impunity

It was declared that, in view of journalists being killed every year while carrying out their jobs, most of those incidents of violence remain uninvestigated and unpunished, and that urgent action is required by authorities to put an end to them.

Recommendations

Place the issue of the safety and protection of journalists, at every opportunity, on the agenda of national, regional and international institutions; To work with the IFJ at international level, in particular through the relevant structures of UNESCO, the United Nations and the Human Rights monitoring mechanisms in the United Nations system; To seek the help of the IFJ’s expertise to establish detailed database of all the killed journalists with the view to take legal action whenever possible; Develop amongst its unions and members a culture of being responsible for their own safety and a duty of care towards each other; Continue monitoring the safety of journalists .

Finally, the participants expressed their appreciation and thanks to the Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan, for his efforts to help organise the Karachi International Media Conference.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Altaf’s speech: Khurshid Shah condemns statements against army

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:17

SUKKUR: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah on Sunday condemned the statements made by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain against the army, saying that such tirade against state institutions is not acceptable.

Addressing the media in Sukkur on Saturday, Shah expressed concerns over MQM supremo’s live telecast.  Opposing resolutions against the MQM chief in provincial legislatures, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart said that the move sets a bad precedent.

“If we start talking about our armed forces, it will only benefit our enemy. Our enemies want to see turmoil in the country,” the PPP leader said.

In his speech on Friday, the mercurial MQM leader criticised the military and said the party had always been discriminated against. The controversial speech drew sharp reaction from all quarters including the military.

In a series of tweets after the address, the military’s spokesperson lashed out at the MQM chief’s expletive-laden verbal outburst.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Price of law enforcement: 7 policemen kidnapped near Rahim Yar Khan

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:16

BAHALWALPUR: Seven policemen were abducted on Sunday from a police checkpoint near Rahim Yar Khan, close to the Sindh-Punjab border. Police launched a search and rescue operation but it yielded no results.

An assistant sub-inspector, a head constable and five constables were kidnapped from the checkpoint in the Machka area by the Sultushar gang, said a police official.

An operation was immediately launched to locate and rescue the policemen. The search party also combed the river area with the help of boats.

However, the operation had to be stopped as darkness fell. The search party has set up camp in the locality and will resume their efforts in the morning.

“We have requested additional forces to assist us in the operation,” Rahim Yar Khan DPO Sohail Zafar Chatta said. “We shall succeed in rescuing our colleagues.” He said he was personally monitoring the entire operation.

Until last reports, more than 1,000 police officials from Rahim Yar Khan had been participating in the search and rescue operation. According to the search party, the kidnappers were hiding in the river area.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and issued orders to the relevant authorities to immediately rescue the abducted police officials and arrest the criminals behind the kidnapping. He said the kidnappers should be meted out harsh sentences.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also taken notice of the abduction and issued directives to rescue the kidnapped policemen as soon as possible.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Rigging evidence: PTI chalks out new strategy

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:16
ISLAMABAD: 

As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) faces difficulties in finding evidence of systematic rigging in 2013 elections, the Imran Khan-led party has started working on a two-pronged strategy: to extract desired statements from its witnesses or establish their own role in rigging the polls.

The PTI is mainly relying on official records, election commission and Nadra’s response, statements of different politicians, and reports from non-profit organisations and media to establish its case before the three-member judicial commission inquiring allegations of electoral fraud during the previous general elections.

The party has presented the names of 14 witnesses to prove its rigging claims. The commission headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk will begin recording their statements on May 6. Three more important people – former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, former chief election commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and former Nadra chairman Tariq Malik – are also in the PTI’s wish-list who may be called anytime during the proceedings.

The party leaders believe they have credible evidence how Nadra’s report was tampered with after the ouster of Malik and the word “fake” was replaced with “unverified”. The current Nadra chairman, who is believed to be a close friend of National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq’s son from school days, will also be made a party.

PTI leader Ishaq Khakwani also confirmed that neither the list submitted before the commission by the party nor the questionnaire given by the commission was final to prove rigging.

In a recent chat with media persons, PTI chief Imran Khan claimed the party had a video of Punjab’s former caretaker chief minister admitting that officials were not obeying his orders.

Insiders in the PTI told The Express Tribune the party was reluctant to summon former chief election commissioner Ibrahim and former Nadra chairman Malik, who would be contacted with Pakistan Peoples Party’s assistance. In case he is ready to record a favourable statement, then the commission will be requested to arrange a video link with Malik, who now lives in the US, they added.

The sources claimed the party had dropped the idea to rely on former election commission official Afzal Khan for favourable statements.

PTI leader Khakwani said the party had identified Ebrahim and Malik as the key witnesses. The PTI leaders believe that a few instances indicate many aspects of rigging: former chief justice’s “pressure tactics” against the caretaker setup; appointment of Ebrahim as the chief election commissioner despite his alleged involvement in a case related to Pakistan Steel Mills; and the appointment of political parties’ favourites as provincial chief election commissioners.

As a backup plan, in case these officials do not cooperate with the PTI, Khakwani and Jahangir Tareen have been tasked to collect evidence showing a nexus between Ebrahim and Justice Chaudhry, the sources said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Pak-China Corridor: Foreign elements fanning doubts: Ranjha

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:15

ISLAMABAD: Some foreign elements wanted to create misunderstanding about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha said talking to PTV. The federal government has already briefed all the political parties and provincial governments on the CPEC, but some elements were unleashing propaganda against the economic corridor. It should be noted that some political parties have objected to the route of the Gwadar-Kashgar road link.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2015.

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Taken: Boy rescued, kidnappers arrested

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:15

NOWSHERA: A boy who had been kidnapped for ransom approximately a week ago was rescued by Akbarpura police on Saturday. Two of the accused kidnappers were also arrested. Akbarpura police official Akhtar Naseer said Awal Khan had been abducted by then unidentified men on April 27 from outside his house. According to Naseer, the Nowshera DPO and DSP issued special directives for the recovery of Khan. Evidence led the police to the boy and the two accused abductors Maula Dad of Kohatian, Chamkani and Jehandir, a resident of Mohallah Dhobian in Akbarpura. During initial interrogation, the two men reportedly confessed to having kidnapped Khan for a ransom of Rs1.2 million. Both the accused were later handed over to the counter-terrorism department for further investigation.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Déjà vu: Committee on G-B status dubbed a poll ploy

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:12

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a recent public meeting announced formation of a committee on the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). It is the fourth such committee in 35 years. The prime minister held out an assurance that the committee’s recommendations will be implemented, but local political parties are sceptical as they believe it is a ploy by the ruling PML-N to win the upcoming elections in the region.

All previous committees had failed to decide the matter. The first committee was constituted by the then prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in 1975, the second was formed by military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq during his rule, while the third, a subcommittee of the Senate Human Rights Committee, was unveiled during President Asif Zardari’s tenure.

The third committee had been tasked to recommend amendments to the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order 2009 to empower the local populace under political expediency. The PPP government is said to have dealt with the issue halfheartedly.

The key demand of the G-B people is status of a full-fledged province but none of the three committees ever considered their demand and continued to linger on the issue with ad-hoc arrangements.

“The PML-N is also contesting the forthcoming elections for the G-B legislative assembly and the PM’s announcement has come right before the election scheduled for next month,” said Nawaz Khan Naji, the president of Balawaristan National Front (BNF).

The announcement should not be taken as a serious move on the part of the federal government, he told The Express Tribune, adding successive governments in Islamabad since 1948 had denied the people of G-B their economic, political and constitutional rights.

The Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement (GBUM) also rejected the committee. Its Secretary General, Shahzad Agha demanded formation of another committee that comprised local people and representatives of the G-B-based political parties. Let the people of this region decide their destiny themselves.

The president of the G-B chapter of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) was of the view that the federal government was trying to hoodwink the people with such hollow announcements. He alleged that the present caretaker chief minister and the governor of G-B were appointed to rig the forthcoming polls.

Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, chairman of the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Asad Umar of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are also not convinced that the committee ould be of any utility. “I agree with the political leaders of G-B that the announcement by the prime minister is merely a political stunt. A government that continuously ignored people’s demand for the establishment of a FATA should not make tall claims about G-B,” Sherpao said. Islamabad has also failed to address such issues in Azad Kashmir, he remarked. “I don’t expect an early decision about the future status of Gilgit-Baltistan by the federal government,” Sherpao predicted.

Asad Umer also poured scorn on the committee, saying the move was aimed to win the G-B elections with false and fabricated promises. He was of the view that both PPP and PML-N are trying to exploit the people of G-B.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Landmine: Four servicemen injured in blast

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 18:03

BANNU: Four members of the security forces were injured on Sunday  when the vehicle they were patrolling in hit a landmine planted by unidentified militants in Spin Warm area of North Waziristan Agency. A security official said that several vehicles of the forces were patrolling the area on Sunday, when one of them hit a landmine. He said four personnel including, Shehzad, Babar, Jamaludding and Saifullah were injured in the blast, while their vehicle was also damaged. Meanwhile, a security forces official was killed and another injured in two separate attacks in South Waziristan Agency on Sunday. Some unidentified militants shot dead an official on duty at a check-post in Sararogha area and fled. Separately, a rocket fired from an undisclosed location hit a check post in Khamrang area of Wana, injuring an official. Security forces have started a search operation in the area, officials said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Karachi Mubarak Festival: A call to reclaim public spaces

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 17:41

KARACHI: The first session of ‘Karachi Mubarak Festival’ (KMF), organised by MAD School in association with ‘I Am Karachi’, was celebrated at the Aladdin Amusement Park on Saturday.

It was near dusk, with the sky growing dark in the distance, when Aladin Amusement Park transformed into a melting pot of cultures. The diverse populace of Karachi gathered at the park to revere the spirit of the city. KMF is an attempt to celebrate the cultural flamboyance of Karachi through music, art and dance.

The event kicked off with a marching band ushering people into the ground. It was followed by a series of performances to highlight the mix of ethnicities in Karachi.

The first performance was a Balochi dance followed by a Sindhi dance. The flamboyant performers set the stage ablaze with their quirky moves on the traditional tunes.

The next performance was given by LOL Waalay. The improvisational comedy troupe not only gave a riveting performance but also engaged the audience in their act to make them feel a part of their troupe. The whimsical jokes of the troupe made the audience burst into laughter from the beginning till the end.

The performers in the Pashtu dance were garbed in traditional Pukhtun outfits with a red jacket embroidered with golden beads. Their performance was soothing to the eyes as the lights on the stage became blurred and the effect of the sparkling golden beads formed a surreal view.

Performers from ‘We Are One’, a group of five strangers brought together by MAD School’s Lyari Star Project’ gave a performance on Pakistani pop songs. It was followed by ‘The Mobsters’, a dance group of 10 teenagers.

The last performance was given by the Punjabi dancers who enthralled the audience with their moves on the tunes of traditional Punjabi music. The event concluded with the performance of Mai Nimani, a singer from Thar.

The diversity of the festival was a close depiction of the Karachi that ‘I Am Karachi’ campaign wants to achieve. Nida Butt, the director of festival, was positive about the future of the city.

“We have lived under the shadow of violence for a long time and the ‘I Am Karachi’ campaign is a social and cultural response to this problem,” said Butt. “Karachi Mubarak Festival is an endeavour backed by ‘I Am Karachi’ to reclaim our public spaces and fill them with arts, culture, theatre and sports.”

She urged the audience to be a part of upcoming sessions of KMF to be organised in various parts of Karachi. “I invite all residents of Karachi to come out with their families on May 10 and May 16 to join us at Frere Hall and Port Grand, respectively,” Butt said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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‘Militants’ killed after Rao Anwar attack yet to be identified

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 17:41

KARACHI: The suspected militants killed following an attack on former Malir SSP Rao Anwar on the Malir Link Road on Saturday evening have yet to be identified, while the police have registered a case about the incident.

Anwar is currently facing suspension after he addressed a controversial press conference on Thursday about the arrests of two suspects, Tahir alias Lamba and Mama Junaid, who he claimed were members of the Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing. A joint investigation team has been formed to probe his allegations.

Anwar’s armoured convoy came under attack on Saturday evening when, according to him, he was on his way to visit the site where Bin Qasim DSP Abdul Fateh Sangri was killed on Friday. Assailants on motorcycles and a car hurled a hand grenade at the former SSP’s convoy. Anwar claimed that five suspected militants were killed in the ensuing encounter, while their accomplices escaped.

Although the deceased suspects have yet to be identified, the police believed that they were affiliated with militant outfits. “They may have belonged to alQaeda or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,” Steel Town SHO Haroon Korai told The Express Tribune, adding that there was so far no development in the case.

The police have registered FIR No 130/15 on behalf of the state against the militants killed and their absconding accomplices under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Further investigations have been initiated.

The bodies of the militants were taken to the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth for identification. “The bodies will remain here while we wait for their heirs,” said Ghulam Hussain, the morgue in-charge, while talking to The Express Tribune. “Some people visited the morgue but they did not return.”

Meanwhile, the bodies of four suspected militants killed late on Saturday night in an alleged encounter with the Counter Terrorism Department in Ittehad Town, Baldia Town, also remained unidentified at the Edhi morgue.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015. 

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Gun goes off: Girl kills herself accidentally

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:04

MUZAFFARABAD: A 10 grade girl student shot herself dead at her residence in the Bagh area, some 130 kilometres from here, after she triggered a gun accidentally. Police said that Sobia Noor, a resident of Lower Mallot Bagh, shot herself in the head, when she accidentally fired from her father’s riffle. The police said that the father of the girl was not present at the home, when the incident took place. The 16-year-old victim was laid to rest at a local graveyard without medico-legal formalities, police said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.

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Mishaps: 13 injured in AJK road accidents

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:04

MUZAFFARABAD: At least 13 people were injured in different road accidents across Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Thursday. According to the police, a passenger van collided with a car coming from the opposite directed near Chatarpari area of Mirpur, injuring 11 passengers. The police shifted the injured of the two vehicles to Mirpur district hospital, where the doctors said that five of them, including a woman, are in critical condition. A motorcyclist was injured separately when his bike was hit by a speeding bus on Allama Iqbal Road in Mirpur. Zaheer Ishfaq was admitted in the Mirpur hospital where doctors said his condition was stable. Another motorcyclist was injured when a speeding car hit his bike in Bhimber city. He was shifted to a hospital where doctors said that his condition is stable.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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Industrial concerns: ‘Why can’t there be new sugar mills?’

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32

LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) sought replies on Thursday from federal and Punjab governments on a petition challenging a ban on establishment of new sugar mills and expansion in the existing ones. 

Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi heard a petition moved filed by the Ibrahim Sugar Mills.

Mills Chief Executive Officer Umar Farooq submitted through his counsel that the Industries Department was not allowing him to install a new plant. He said the government banned the establishment or extension of sugar mills by amending the Punjab Industries (control on establishment enlargement) Act in 2006. He said the then governor had approved the amendment.

The lawyer argued that the Constitution guaranteed right to do lawful business. He said the ban violated the fundamental rights. He requested the court to set aside the ban.

The judge observed that it appeared that the ban was meant to maintain the monopoly of existing sugar mills. He sought a reply from the respondents and adjourned the hearing until May 16.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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Meritorious service: IGP felicitates outstanding police officials

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32
LAHORE: 

The practice of felicitating police officials who put their lives at stake to secure citizens’ lives and properties will be continued, IGP Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera said on Thursday.

He was speaking at a ceremony organised at the Central Police Office to distribute cash and certificates among policemen for outstanding performance. Sukhera said the force would not rest till the last criminal standing had been arrested.

IGP Sukhera said crime had gone down by 30 per cent following the lifting of a moratorium on execution of convicts on death row.

He said the promotion process for head constables to DSPs would be completed in two months.

IGP Sukhera said 5,000 new seats would be created to facilitate the promotion of constables to head constables.

He said police would set up additional schools and get them affiliated with noted institutions to ensure the provision of quality education to children of police officials. IGP Sukhera said a system giving officials the opportunity of discussing their problems directly with him had been put in place at the CPO.

He said foolproof security arrangements would be made for foreign cricket teams.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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Coveted office: Saud Majeed may be named governor today

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32

LAHORE: The federal government is likely to appoint Muhammad Saud Majeed as the new governor for the province on Friday (today), The Express Tribune has learnt.

A source in the chief minister’s secretariat has said that the appointment may be announced after a meeting scheduled on Friday between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Majeed.

Talking to the Tribune, Majeed confirmed that he was scheduled to meet the prime minister.

However, he refused to comment on whether or not the federal government was considering him for the office of the governor.

Majeed has said that the agenda of the meeting includes consultation on selection of party candidates for upcoming by-elections in Multan and Mandi Bahauddin districts.

Majeed belongs to Bahawalpur district.

He is one of the politicians from southern Punjab who had remained loyal to the Sharif brothers during the military government of General Pervez Musharraf. He has served as head of the public policy affairs at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

The office of the governor has been vacant after Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar’s resignation on January 28. Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal has since been serving as an acting governor for the province.

Meanwhile, a petition seeking Iqbal’s removal from the caretaker officer and directions for the federal government to make a permanent appointment to the office is pending a hearing with the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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Contempt of court: Arrest warrants issued for nine cops

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32
FAISALABAD: 

Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Amjad Iqbal on Thursday issued arrest warrants for 11 police officials for failing to comply with court orders.

The court had summoned the police officers in several cases but they did not appear.

The judge then issued non-bailable arrest warrants for ASI Ikram of Saddar police station, Muhammad Nawaz of Sahianwala police station, Muharrar Tariq Mehmood, Constables Ashraf and Falak Sher, SI Sanaullah, SI Khadim Hussain, head constables Asghar Ali, Ghafoor Hussain, Boota and Bashir Ahmad of Chak Jhumra police station.

The judge ordered that Babar be produced before the court on May 5, Muhammad Nawaz, Tariq Mehmood, Ashraf and Falak Sher on May 21, Sanaullah, Khadim Hussain, Asghar Ali, Ghafoor Hussain and Boota Bashir on May 18, 2015.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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LHC orders UAF, BZU degrees for Ghazi University students

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32
DERA GHAZI KHAN: 

Lahore High Court Multan Bench has issued orders that 855 students of the Zakariya University and Agriculture University Faisalabad will continue their studies at Ghazi University and their degrees would be issued from the universities they were admitted to. The BZU and the UAF have filed an inter-court appeal against the ruling.

Students started celebrations and distributed sweets on receiving the news.

Pervez Alam, one of the students, said that he had got admission in the UAF Dera Ghazi Khan campus three years ago. “We were enrolled with the UAF. We took the exams given by the UAF. However, after we passed the exams, we were given degrees issued by the newly-established Ghazi University,” Alam said. He said that the students had not signed up for those degrees.

Another student, Omair Sultan, said that the Ghazi University had yet to be recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). “This means that the degrees given to us had no value,” Sultan said. Ghazi University Controller of Examinations Malik Altaf Hussain told The Express Tribune that there were 723 students of BZU and 132 students of Agriculture University Faisalabad at Dera Ghazi Khan University.

He said the Agriculture University, Faisalabad, had begun the process of issuing degrees to its students.

He said once they completed the semester and met their degree requirements, the students would be issued their degrees. He said nearly 5,000 students studied at Ghazi University. He said the university was going through a critical phase.

“We have limited technical facilities,” he said. “We have been compiling results manually. Still we have announced our results ahead of other universities.” He said the Higher Education Commission had recently issued an NOC for registration of the university.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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Initiative: Boating school to be set up in Dera Ghazi Khan, says commissioner

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32
DERA GHAZI KHAN: 

Dera Ghazi Khan Commissioner Saqib Aziz said on Thursday that the district government would set up Ghazi Ghat Boating School near the bank of River Indus to educate the children of fishermen.

He said the school would open on May 8.

Aziz said the children would be taught various technical courses. He said Toyota was funding the project.

The commissioner said the school would be opened after repair work along the river bank was complete.

He said students would be provided breakfast, uniforms, shoes, bags and books.

He said teachers from the Education Department, the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), the Himmat Organisation and Literacy Department would be appointed at the school.

He said children would be offered scholarships on merit. He said as many as 100 children of fishermen had been identified who were out of school. Aziz said Himmat Organisation would set up medical camps May 7 and May 8.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015. 

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Rule of law: MEPCO officer detained over power restoration

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:32
DERA GHAZI KHAN: 

A Multan Electric Power Company superintending engineer was detained at commissioner’s office after he refused to restore power to 42 TMA water supply schemes of Dera Ghazi Khan.

Power connections had been disconnected three days ago, affecting nearly 300,000 families of the area. The TMA owes Rs223 million to the MEPCO.

Earlier on Wednesday, Commissioner Saqib Aziz had ordered the MEPCO to restore power supply.

On Thursday, when he came to office, he was told that water was still not available in most parts of the district. He then summoned SE Nasir Rasheed for a meeting at 11 am.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the commissioner said he asked Rasheed to restore water to residential areas. “I told him they could suspend supply to government buildings till the dues were cleared,” he said. “I told him that it was urgent that the public have access to water in this hot weather.”

He said he had requested Rs280 million from the provincial government to pay the dues.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Rasheed said he told the commissioner that he could not restore power supply to water schemes till all dues were cleared as per the directions of the government and the Ministry of Water and Power. He said he had told him that he was not authorised to do so.

He said he was then detained at the commissioner’s office till he agreed to restore water to housing schemes. On hearing news of his ‘detention’, MEPCO employees went on a pen down strike. They gathered outside their offices and chanted slogans against the district government. The MEPCO Pegham Union boycotted work and blocked a road in front of the MEPCO Complex. The MEPCO workers said they would continue to protest till the SE was released.

The SE stayed at the commissioner’s office till 3PM. Later, Additional Commissioner Abdul Jabbar and MNA Hafiz Abdul Kareem met the commissioner and the SE. Rasheed left the commissioner’s office after agreeing to restore water supply to housing schemes by Friday (today).

“The detention was illegal,” he said. “The commissioner had no right to do it. District authorities should not intimidate us like this.”

Meanwhile, MPA Syed Abdul Aleem Shah of PP-244 announced to go on a protest against the disconnection if water supply was not by Friday (today). Water supply to TMA schemes had been disconnected in April over the same issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.

 

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Self-sustenance: Cattle distributed among widows

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:31

SARGODHA: Livestock Additional Secretary Ashiq Hussain Dogar on Thursday distributed 200 cattle among widows.

The cattle distribution ceremony was held at the Jinnah Hall Company Bagh.

Sargodha DCO Saqib Manan, Livestock Director Dr Abdul Rauf and the agriculture and finance EDOs also attended the ceremony.

Manan said distribution of cattle among widows would help mitigate poverty and improve living standard.

Rauf said in the first stage, 100 buffloes and 100 sheep were distributed among the widows. He said 1,100 cattle would be distributed over two years. He said cattle would be distributed among women less than 60 years old who did not own agricultural land. He said the Livestock Department had received 511 applications.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.

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