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Updated: 2 hours 10 min ago

Education options: IB diploma orientation held at Beaconhouse

4 hours 43 min ago

Beaconhouse School System has introduced an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) in the twin cities, said a press release issued by the school. Becoming an IB school is a rigorous quality conscious conduit comprising candidacy and authorisation stages. Beaconhouse Educational Complex (BEC) is already a candidate school, now, pursuing the plan to get authorisation.

As a part of familiarising all stakeholders in the process of introducing the programme, which would run parallel to the A’ Level programme, an orientation session was held for prospective students and their parents.

Nazia Adeel, the diploma programme manager (DPC), introduced the design, its objectives and acceptance rate in national and international universities.

Nassir Kasuri, northern region executive director highlighted BSS’s mission to provide high-end quality education.

He also explained the rigorous process involved in hiring highly-qualified people for the administration and as teachers and how they underwent foreign training for professional development purposes.

Kasuri also highlighted the unique curriculum requirements of the diploma programme and how it would contribute to the development of the country at large.

“One of the distinct features of the IB programme is its commitment to foster international mindedness in students founded on the sense of justice and fairness through a carefully developed curriculum that ensures academic, worldly, and humane success,” he said.

Kasuri also pointed out how the “Green Campus” at Beaconhouse Educational Complex with purpose-built sports facilities is an ideal place to pursue the unique curriculum that combines academics, sports, and research for success in all aspects of life.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Uplift projects: Secretaries allocated districts to monitor performance

4 hours 44 min ago

MUZAFFARABAD: 

The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has ‘allocated’ districts among secretaries to monitor development projects and departmental performance.

The secretaries have been asked to submit monthly progress reports to the chief secretary, according to a document available with The Express Tribune.

According to the document, each secretary will visit their allocated district to monitor both physical and financial progress of the uplift projects and also determine any reasons for delays.

“Each secretary will also visit the line departments to check the presence of employees, their quantity and quality of work, services being provided by them to the public and the complaints being registered,” the official document says.

The document says that the secretaries will carry out their monthly tours by spending two days in the districts.

“The secretary will be responsible for taking corrective measures within one month from the date of receiving monitoring reports. He is bound to submit the action report of any department to the chief secretary within in seven days.”

The capital city and Muzaffarabad district has been allocated to Forests Secretary Farhat Ali Mir, Bagh District to Planning and Development Secretary Zaffar Nabi Butt,  Rawalakot District to Board of Revenue  Member Nayeem Ahmed Sheraz, Pallandri  District to Population Welfare Secretary Farooq Tabasum, Kotli District to State Disaster Management Authority Secretary Akram Sohail, Hattian District to Education Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas Khan,  Mirpur District to Higher Education Secretary Mahmood Khan,  Bhimber District to Physical Planning and Housing  Secretary Muhammad Khalil,  Haveli District to Communication and Works Secretary Illyas Abbasi and Neelum District to Industries Secretary Muhammad Ehsan, the document says.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Book launch: Manto’s magic crosses language barrier

4 hours 47 min ago

ISLAMABAD: With an aim to educate the youth about culture, art and literature of Pakistan, Mujahid Eshai begins his journey as an editor with launching a collection of Manto’s non-fictional essays “Manto on and about Manto” here Friday evening.

A gathering of friends and literature enthusiasts filled up the hall of South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) office to listen to the translator speak about his latest release. Speakers at the event discussed literature in Pakistan and the fine art of translation.

Eshai started his speech with how most literature available for youngsters in book stores in Pakistan is in English. “Children in Pakistan and Pakistanis abroad do not know much about art, literature and culture of Pakistan,” he said. With such a book, this can be the first step.

Eshai took a year an a half to compile and skim through some of the finest writings of Sadat Hasan Manto and translated 18 of his (Manto’s) work and three of his mentors work in the book.

He told The Express Tribune that the art of translation was challenging. “Each and every word can be translated but brings out a different meaning. I had to be very careful about the selection of the right words,” he added.

Manto as a person, Eshai thought, was misunderstood. He stated that Manto’s fiction, non-fiction, radio and stage plays, contribution to Bombay Film Industry all of it is not available to us. “This was a search for the man from within for what he wrote,” said Eshai.

“Ills that he talks about, the attitudes, relations, anarchy, everything is exists,” he said.

“He presented to you the real face of your society and if you can fix it then you may” said Eshai.

Sharing his views poet Harris Khalique said “Manto was brave in dealing with taboos. The more we read, the more we understood”.

Eshai plans to launch his second edition of Manto’s writings in his next book which He said will be out by next year.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

PTI sit in: Nov 30 rally gets NOC

5 hours 2 min ago

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration on Friday issued No Objection Certificate (NoC) to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for holding November 30 rally at D-Chowk after signing an agreement through mutual understanding.

The administration submitted a report before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) following the direction of Justice Athar Minullah who had earlier ordered both parties to settle the issue through mutually understating and submit a report in court.

According to the agreement the venue of rally will stretch from Parade Avenue to Jinnah Avenue across the MCB office. It was also agreed that rally will be end before midnight on November 30, and PTI organisers will ensure that participants exit the area in a safe and orderly manner.

Similarly, it was agreed that Constitution Avenue and the state buildings within the Red Zone shall be secured by the administration with containers. It was also decided that no one will be arrested for violating Section 144 without prior permission from the district magistrate or additional district magistrate.

PTI shall also deposit an entertainment duty with the excise and taxation department, the agreement states. The agreement was signed after PTI MNA from NA-48 Islamabad Asad Umar and a legal team held a meeting with Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mujahid Sherdil on Nov 27.

After submitting a report, Justice Minullah disposed of the application filed by PTI which requested the court to declare Section 144 illegal.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.

 


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Education for all: E-9 countries urged to raise education spending to six per cent of GDP

5 hours 3 min ago

ISLAMABAD: An E-9 ministerial review has urged the respective governments to raise education spending to between four and six per cent of gross domestic product or 20 per cent of total public expenditure to achieve the Education for All (EFA) goal.

A joint statement was issued after the 10th E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting in Islamabad on Saturday.

The E-9 is a forum of nine countries, formed in 1993 to achieve the goals of UNESCO’s Education for All (EFA) initiative. The “E” stands for education and the “9” represents Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and China.

The rationale behind including these countries in the initiative was that they represent over half of the world population and more than 70 per cent of the world’s illiterate adults.

“We recognise that the EFA agenda remains unfinished in each of the countries in terms of fulfilling the equal right to relevant and quality education for all. At the same time, multifaceted social and economic transformation and the changing landscape of international cooperation have given rise to new challenges for educational development,” the joint statement said.

The meeting has also committed to enhancing the collaboration among the E-9 countries to implement and monitor the framework for action of the post 2015 education agenda, which will be adopted at World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea in May 2015.

They also reaffirmed that education was a fundamental human right of all people and an essential condition for inclusive and sustainable human and social development.

They stressed on efforts to ensure that all children, youths and adults have equal access to quality learning opportunities from early childhood care and education to tertiary and higher education in both formal and informal settings.

They also vowed to address marginalisation and inequalities in access to learning opportunities.

“We acknowledge that the priority action for the E-9 countries should focus on the improvement of the professional capability and performance of teachers and education personnel, in particular school principals, and the policies that enable them to deliver effective and quality learning,” the statement read.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Zoning violations: Home should not be where the embassy is: SC

5 hours 3 min ago

ISLAMABAD: 

A case into non-conforming use of residential units in Islamabad took an unexpected turn on Friday when the apex court inquired about rules and regulations under which foreign missions had been operating in residential areas.

The issue at hand was the denial of the right to free movement of area residents in the face of security arrangements around such facilities.

The two-member Supreme Court bench also gave the capital’s civic agency two weeks to provide a comprehensive report on the extent of the illegal practice, including how often the Capital Development Authority (CDA) exercised discretionary powers to grant special permission for land use violations in residential areas.

The bench, headed by Justice Jawad S Khawaja, was hearing a case filed by a private firm which is operating its business in a residential unit in Sector F-7/4. The firm was previously served a notice by the CDA over the violation, against which it moved the Islamabad High Court. The IHC had decided the case in favour of the CDA, after which the firm moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

During the course of the hearing, the counsel for the firm claimed that the CDA grants special permissions for commercial use of residential plots, even though it is not entitled to do so.

When the court asked about security blockades set up in streets and roads by diplomatic missions housed in residential units, the counsel for the CDA said such permissions were granted by relaxing prevailing rules while considering the security situation in the country.

The judges expressed displeasure at the response and Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani, the other member of the bench, observed that this does not seem to happen anywhere except Pakistan. “Who has given [foreign missions] the right to block public passages under the grab of security… why don’t they move to Diplomatic Enclave,” Justice Usmani observed.

The bench observed that they were aware that the CDA rules the city but did not have knowledge that the authority also formulates rules to give legal cover to its illegalities.

The court ordered the CDA to present a report detailing the number of special permissions granted since 2005 for commercial use of residential units.

“The CDA should also inform that how many such applications it received during this period, in how many cases the permissions were granted or declined, and under what rules.”

The CDA counsel said the authority served over 2,000 notices on land-use norm violators in the recent past.

According to a report compiled by the authority in November 2013, the number of non-conforming uses of residential units in Islamabad is 2,057. The violators include foreign missions, non-governmental organisations, political parties, media houses, educational institutes, private hospitals and clinics, seminaries, and other businesses outlets.

The same report says that around 19 foreign missions are also operating in residential areas. These embassies include Lebanon, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, Afghanistan, Romania, Bahrain, Jordan, South Africa and Brazil.

Some embassies, United Nations and other non-government organisations have unlawfully closed adjoining streets and roads around their offices, cause great disturbances for the area residents.

In 2008, the CDA had also given special permissions to foreign missions to erect bombproof walls along their boundary walls for security purposes, but such permissions were misused and a number of missions placed them far beyond the permissible limits, using the gap created between the walls to make parking lots.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.

 


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Appointment of CEC to be finalised before Dec 1: Khursheed Shah

8 hours 11 min ago

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah on Friday said the appointment of the new chief election commissioner (CEC) would be finalised before December 1.

He said a ‘desire of consensus’ led to a failure in the appointment of CEC, adding that the appointment would be made before the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif contacted me for consultation, but I was in an assembly session. Later, I telephoned him, but he was in the mosque for Friday prayers,” Shah said, adding that because of time constraints, a one-on-one meeting was not possible with the premier.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, set a deadline for the government and opposition to appoint a new CEC by December 1 and warned that further delay may cause the court to issue a notice to the chief executive of the country.

The apex court also withdrew the notification of its judge, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, as acting CEC with effect of December 5.

Shah, in response to a question, confessed that he was still not sure which candidate would be suitable for the slot of CEC.

“Former chief justice Tassadaq Hussain Jillani was the best choice, but because of Imran Khan’s allegations, he backtracked from the race,” he added.

“I would recommend Imran Khan’s name for CEC,” Shah said appearing to be irritated, and adding that Imran had criticised every candidate suggested by the government and the opposition.

Shah also held the government responsible for not amending the Constitution to find a suitable candidate for the position of the CEC.

After the assembly session, the leader of the opposition, while addressing the media in his chamber, said the restriction to choose only a judge for the CEC post was problematic since most judges are aged, and the position is very demanding.

“We want to see someone young, energetic and committed,” he added. “We tried to consult to each political party for a consensus based on the appointment of the CEC.”

“Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) had suggested a candidate for CEC but we informed them about our political issue with him,” Shah said.

Criticising the PTI, he said the party was demanding reforms but was not participating in the process of electoral reforms.

Further, Shah said, “We will pick one name among the proposed names of aged judges,” referring to the failure of the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) to initiate a process for an amendment in the Constitution to broaden the scope of choice for the appointment of the position.

“I approached the apex court seeking permission to amend the Constitution, but despite assurance by the AGP, the government could not initiate the process of a constitutional amendment,” Shah said.

“One thing I can tell you with clarity is that we have no option but to pick a 70-plus candidate for CEC,” he concluded.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Foreign powers backing Imran Khan to destablise Pakistan: Saad Rafiq

8 hours 20 min ago

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Railways Saad Rafiq claimed on Friday that a foreign lobby was using Imran Khan to destabilise Pakistan, Express News reported.

Shortly after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s press conference in the federal capital, Rafiq, along with other Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, alleged that his [Imran] actual target was to damage Pakistan’s national interests.

Responding to Imran’s allegations of printing extra ballot papers, Rafiq said it was standard operating procedure adopted by the Election Commission of Pakistan in all previous elections.

Regarding rigging in his constituency, Rafiq argued that neither a written complaint nor any photographic or video evidence was presented as proof by PTI.

The PML-N leader claimed that Imran was “intellectually dishonest” who was dreaming of becoming the prime minister of Pakistan but the voters had yet to support him.

The railway minister further said that while Imran often asks how the PML-N bagged 15 million votes, but never mentions there was an increase in voter turnout and the number of registered voters in 2013.

He explained that their party was well prepared for the May 2013 polls, translating into good performance on election day. “Shahbaz Sharif had given Punjab a model of good governance.”

Rather than making baseless allegations, Rafiq suggested that the PTI chief should insteadt mount legal a challenge if he has any evidences against the PML-N.

PTI’s internal inquiry report on election defeat

Privatisation Commission chairman Mohammad Zubair claimed that a PTI internal enquiry report on its electoral defeat says tickets were sold rather than being distributed on merit.

He added that Imran did not meet his workers and was not aware of ground realties, among other factors.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Protests being held to get justice, not to come into power: Imran

9 hours 30 min ago

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Friday rubbished rumours that his stage-ins were being held to bring martial law into the country. 

“My lifelong struggle cannot be reduced to bringing martial law in the country. My struggle is only to bring true democracy in the country,” said Imran.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said his party had been protesting in the federal capital for the past 106 days to hold those responsible for rigging elections, not to replace Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister of Pakistan.

Imran said electoral reforms won’t do any good until those who rigged the 2013 polls are brought to the book.

“… If we want to move ahead and correct the country’s electoral process, we will have to hold those who rigged the polls, accountable,” he said.

The PTI chief said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) got 6.8 million votes in the 2008 elections when the All Parties Democratic Alliance did not take part in the polls, but this number doubled in 2013, taking the vote count to 15 million.

“This was because the polls were rigged on a large scale,” he said.

Imran said if justice isn’t served in this regard, the next elections won’t be a popularity contest between parties but a competition of who is better at rigging.

The PTI chief went on to point out that numerous target killings had taken place in Karachi but no one had been arrested for the crime.

“15,000 people have been target killed in Karachi. There are strong anti-terror laws but still the killing spree continues as target killers haven’t been arrested,” said Imran.

The PTI chairman argued that he came out on the streets as no institution was willing to provide justice, adding that he will reply to Pervaiz Rashid’s allegations during tonight’s sit-in address at D-Chowk.

He added that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rigged the 2013 polls in Sindh just like the PML-N did in Punjab, pointing out how PPP bagged more votes after “destroying Sindh in five years” than it did after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Extra ballot papers printed

The PTI chairman alleged that over 5 million extra ballot papers were printed from three printing presses in Pakistan, whereas data from two others was not available yet.

“These [extra] votes were added to their candidates’ vote count,” said Imran, adding that 124,000 extra ballot papers were printed in PML-N leader Saad Rafique’s constituency.

 


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Jundullah claims responsibility for attack on polio workers in Quetta

10 hours 26 min ago

QUETTA: The militant organisation Jundullah on Friday claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on anti-polio campaigners in Quetta in which four vaccinators were killed and three wounded.

Commander Ahmed Marwat, who introduced himself as the spokesperson for Jundullah, told a foreign news agency correspondent in Dera Ismail Khan via telephone that the group was responsible for the killings.

“They were Yahood-o-Nasara, western Jews agents, and such attacks will continue on polio workers in the future,” he told the reporter of Mashaal Radio in Dera Ismail Khan.

The targeted attack on the polio team’s vehicle took place on the Eastern Bypass area near Quetta on November 26, where the polio teams were carrying out an emergency campaign. New Saryab Police Station about been informed about the campaign.

A senior police official at the police station said the polio workers started their vaccination campaign without waiting for security personnel – assigned for their safety – to arrive.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Murderer of seven-year-old Hazara girl arrested

10 hours 32 min ago

QUETTA: The murderer of seven-year-old Hazara girl Sahar Batool has been arrested after he confessed to the attempted rape and murder of the minor, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP-Investigation) Quetta Asad Raza revealed on Friday during a news conference.

Raza said the perpetrator was Batool’s neighbour in PSP Colony.

Batool body was found near a garbage dump close to her house in the PSP colony on October 29. Her body bore multiple marks of violence, with visible scars on her body and red marks around her neck.

The perpetrator, Junaid Shahzad, while being investigated, confessed that he had tried to rape the seven-year-old .

“Sahar used to play with Junaid’s sisters. On the day [of the incident], his sister had gone to school and his parents were not there either,” the SSP said, quoting the suspect’s statement.

“The suspect said that the girl had claimed she would inform her parents about the rape attempt, which is why he strangled her to death,” he added.

The SSP said police already had information regarding the neighbor’s involvement in the crime, and added that it was not a sectarian case.

“Police are further investigating the incident,” Raza added.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

DCO Gujranwala orders arrest of PTI supporters ahead of Nov 30 rally

13 hours 44 min ago

GUJRANWALA: District Coordination Officer (DCO) Gujranwala has ordered police to arrest 93 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers for “security reasons” before they depart for Islamabad to attend the November 30 rally, Express News reported on Friday.

According to a notification issued by DCO Azmat Mehmood, City Police Officer Waqas Nazeer was directed to arrest PTI supporters, while traffic police was asked to prevent them from using their vehicles.

The notification contains a list of 93 names, including some PTI members who contested last year’s general elections.

Further, PTI’s district vice president Qasim Akram Warraich said he received a phone call last night from a police officer in which he was warned that he would be arrested if he attempted to use his vehicle.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Missing girls case: Karachi court accepts bail requests of 3 accused

15 hours 25 min ago

KARACHI: Karachi City Court accepted bail requests of a madrassa teacher and her two accomplices accused of  illegally keeping 36 girls in a house in Karachi’s Liaquatabad area, Express News reported on Friday. 

On November 26, police recovered these girls from the house and sent them to a shelter home. Originally from Bajaur Agency, the girls reportedly went missing from Hameeda Bibi’s madrassa on Jamshed Road near Guru Mandir.

Police presented Hameeda and two of her accomplices before the court today seeking their one-day remand, however, were told that since the suspects were accused of a bailable offense, their remand cannot be granted.

The counsel of the suspects then requested for their bail which was accepted against payment of surety bonds. Hameeda was directed to pay Rs50,000 while the accomplices were told to pay Rs0.1 million each. 

The hearing of this case was adjourned till December 10.

Hameeda owned the madrassa and ran it like a boarding school where they girls used to live. She had been running the unregistered madrassa from home for years.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Graft charges: Auditor general appears before top judicial council

16 hours 14 min ago

ISLAMABAD: 

Auditor General of Pakistan Buland Akhtar Rana on Thursday appeared for the first time before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in connection with a corruption reference sent by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The five-member council, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, has resumed the hearing of the matter. AGP Buland Akhtar appeared in person at the hearing, choosing to contest the case himself.

The council comprises the CJP, two senior most SC judges Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Maqbool Baqir and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Anwar Kasi.

The National Assembly secretary and one senior law officer deputed by the attorney general were also presented during the council’s proceeding, which was held in-camera in courtroom No 7.  Supreme Court registrar Tahir Shahbaz was also present.

Sources said the council has agreed upon the procedure for the proceedings. At the next date of the hearing (December 11), the complainant will submit evidence against the AGP.

The National Assembly had filed a complaint after a recommendation by the PAC sub-committee for disqualification of Rana as auditor general. It is the first time in the country’s history that a complaint has been filed in the SJC seeking the AGP’s disqualification.

Earlier, the SJC had issued a show cause notice to the AGP to file a reply within 14 days on allegations of corruption against him by the PAC.

Rana in his reply rejected the charges raised by the National Assembly panel.

On the last date of the hearing, the council has examined AGP’s reply on November 17 and decided to summon him at the next date of the hearing.

The PAC in August had constituted a sub-committee to probe the allegations against Rana. The committee discovered that there was some truth to the allegations and recommended that a reference be filed for his disqualification under the Article 209 (5) read with Article 168 (5) of the Constitution.

PAC Chairman Khursheed Shah had presented a fact-finding report in the National Assembly on August 11.

The report revealed how the AGP had withdrawn Rs4.62 million from the exchequer on account of excess salary and privileges in violation of standard rules and regulations.

The findings added that Rana was getting 20 per cent additional salary in comparison with a Grade 22 officer, and under the monetisation policy, he availed more than Rs3.1 million between January and March 2014.

It said that matters of revised pay slip and provisional payments to the AGP were deliberately kept hidden for attaining particular financial benefits.

The committee also recommended recovering an amount of Rs4.62 million from Rana.

The fact-finding report also said that during the course of the committee proceedings, several complaints were received in the PAC wing against the AGP that includes his Canadian nationality and passport without obtaining prior approval of the government; foreign visits without lawful permissions; possession of four different passports: three Pakistani and one Canadian, and availing long periods of leave to complete the residence requirements in Canada for immigration purposes, among other alleged abuses of power.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Assembly session: Legislators trade barbs over rescued girls

16 hours 19 min ago

ISLAMABAD: 

The surprise recovery of 26 girls from a house in Karachi and the countrywide surge in terrorism cases continued to dominate the debate in the lower house of parliament on Thursday as lawmakers met for the second day of the session.

During the session, Shahabuddin Khan, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker who hails from Bajaur Agency, staged a walkout in protest against the Sindh government’s reluctance to hand over the girls who were held captive at a house in Karachi.

The PML-N lawmaker heaped scorn at the Sindh government as it blamed the authorities, including Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, for their unwillingness to resolve the case.

Shahabuddin’s outburst drew a quick response from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Nabil Gabol, who said that the girls were linked to suicide bombers.

“We have apprehensions that these girls were being groomed as suicide bombers,” said Gabol while justifying the decision to hand the girls over to their parents with adequate proof.

He also clarified that the governor had nothing to do with the matter as the issue was being handled by the chief minister.

“We are not to blame if their parents are not coming forward,” the MQM lawmaker added.

Referring to the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) during the heated debate, Shahabuddin had referred the FCR and said being a tribal elder he could do the verifications and in case their parents have committed some mistakes, they should not be punished for that. “Under which FIR the girls have been taken into custody?” he questioned.

During the proceedings, Muhammad Jamaluddin from JUI-F questioned the authorities as to why IDPs were not being allowed to return. “The government and the army are saying that 80 per cent area has been cleared after Operation Zarb-e-Azb, then why are our people not being allowed to go back and restart their lives,” he questioned.

Another member from the tribal belt, Shah Jee Gul Afridi, said that Fata falls under the president, as the house was having a debate over presidential address to parliament, and asked the government to take care of the people.

Afridi also issued a warning, saying “if you left Fata just the way it has been done with Afghanistan, then things would go out of control.”

He also asked the government to acknowledge the sacrifices of IDPs who had left their homes for the sake of peace in the country.

MQM-PPP war of words

The proceedings also witnessed a war of words between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which prompted Parvez Malik, who was conducting proceedings in the absence of speaker and deputy speaker, to expunge some words not fit for parliamentary decorum.

It was Syed Asif Hasnain from the MQM who, while speaking on presidential address, accused the PPP of corruption and that “a corrupt government had once again come to power.”

In response, Abdul Sattar Bachani said the MQM was known for switching sides and even the ruling PML-N was fed up with this approach. He made some harsh comments, some of which were later expunged from the proceedings.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Foreign missions: Political appointees in a tight spot

16 hours 26 min ago

ISLAMABAD: Politically connected officials, also known as non-career diplomats, posted in various foreign missions, are finding themselves in a blind alley as finance departments of the embassies concerned are terming all such postings illegal.

Some of them have made up their mind to go into litigation because finance and account departments of these Pakistani embassies refused to release their pay and allowances, The Express Tribune has learnt.

More than 57 officers from ministries of information, national heritage and commerce, were appointed on a political basis on some 20 missions abroad by the previous government of Pakistan Peoples Party, revealed a senior official dealing with the matter, adding that some of them are not even civil servants

In the latest case, the finance and account department of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington informed the Ministry of Finance Islamabad that the posting of the deputy press attaché was illegal. On the request of the then ambassador Sherry Rehman and with the approval of prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, a temporary post of assistant press attaché BPS-17 was created for the year 2012-13. It was subsequently upgraded again with the approval of the prime minister for Muhammad Faisal Ilyas, stated the letter written by the Finance Division Islamabad to the Ministry of Information and National Heritage on this issue.

In its official response to The Express Tribune, Pakistan Embassy spokesman in Washington said, “it is for the ministry to take a decision on the issue.”

The previous government posted 15 officers from the ministry of information and 20 from the commerce ministry without deliberating on whether these posts were available or not at these missions, revealed officials of ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance.

These officials, however, claimed that the latest order also applies on two dozen community welfare attachés whose appointments were made by the previous government in an apparent violation of rules. The finance and accounts departments of the missions abroad had already pointed out postings of Sardar Balakh Sher Khosa, son of former governor Punjab Latif Khosa, who was appointed as a counselor on April 4, 2012 in London on a private quota, without observing the rules, they told The Express Tribune.

They further revealed that Syed Akbar Adil Shah, brother-in-law of the leader of opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah, was appointed as a counsellor in Sydney on January 1, 2009.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Six dead, 58 injured in Punjab road accidents

16 hours 54 min ago

VEHARI / LAHORE: Six people died and over 58 got injured in separate road accidents in Lahore and Vehari on Friday, Express News reported.

In Lahore, three children died while 28 others got injured when a school bus plunged into a ravine near Kahna area of Ferozepur Road, Lahore on Friday.

A private school’s van was on way to drop the children off to their homes when due to over speeding it fell into the Roohi Nullah while making a turn. As a result, 28 children got injured.

The locals while using their own resources rescued the children from the nullah and shifted them to a nearby hospital where three of them succumbed to their wounds.

Two of the deceased children have been identified as Anees and Hasham.

Police said about 150 children were present in the bus during the accident, whereas two of them are still missing, and a search operation to find them is underway.

The bus driver managed to flee from the scene after the accident.

Meanwhile, three people were killed while 30 others injured when a passenger bus, enroute to Multan from Pakpattan, collided with another vehicle in Vehari.

The bus was on Multan Road when the driver swerved for unknown reason, colliding with an oncoming bus.

Injured passengers were removed from the vehicles and transported to District Headquarters Hospital Vehari, while others were shifted to THQ Hospital, Multan.

Of the 30 injured passengers, 10 are reportedly in critical condition.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

India violates ceasefire in Charwa sector

17 hours 28 min ago

India’s Border Security Forces on Friday resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling near Charwa sector, Express News reported.

The security forces fired across the border and also shelled a village near the sector.

“Indian BSF resorted to unprovoked firing in Charwah sector this morning . Pakistani Rangers effectively responded to Indian unprovoked firing,” said a Rangers official.

On November 27, BSF had allegedly opened fire across the border in the same area. No casualty was reported.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Pakistan frees 40 Indian prisoners

17 hours 47 min ago

KARACHI: Pakistani on Friday announced the release of 40 Indian prisoners, including 35 fishermen held for violating territorial waters, a day after a major South Asian summit closed.

The fishermen – who had been detained for between one and three years – will travel from Karachi to Lahore, where the two neighbours and arch-rivals have their only active border crossing.

The move came a day after the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in Nepal ended in disappointment, overshadowed by India and Pakistan’s rivalry.

“Pakistan is releasing 40 Indian prisoners (5 civilians and 35 fishermen) tomorrow. With this, (the) number of Indian prisoners released this year will be 191,” the main foreign ministry spokesperson said via a recognised Twitter account.

A week ago Pakistan detained 60 Indian fishermen for straying into its waters.

Such arrests are frequently carried out by both countries, as the maritime border in the Arabian Sea is poorly defined and many fishing boats lack the technology needed to be certain of their precise location.

The fishermen often languish in jail even after serving their term, as poor diplomatic ties between the two arch-rivals mean fulfilling official requirements can take a long time.

The superintendent of Malir district jail in Karachi – where the fishermen were held – Muhammad Hassan Sehto said 424 Indians nationals including 419 fishermen are still in custody.

Relations between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have taken a turn for the worse in recent months, with some of the worst shelling in years along the Kashmir disputed border.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

Influential tribal leader survives bomb attack in South Waziristan

Thu, 11/27/2014 - 23:36

PESHAWAR: An influential tribal leader and chief of a peace committee in Waziristan survived a bomb attack near the Tank district on Friday morning.

Police officials said that Islam Gul’s vehicle was targeted by unidentified militants with an improvise explosive device (IED) on Tank Jandola Road, however, the device went off at a distance from the vehicle.

No loss of life or damage to property was reported.

Gul’s personal security guards opened fire soon after the explosion while security forces cordoned off the area.

No arrests were made in the area – which connects Tank of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with South Waziristan.

Threats to the life of Gul were confirmed by police officials prior to this incident.

A large number of tribesmen belonging to South Waziristan are sheltering in Tank and Dera Ismael Khan since 2009.


Categories: Pakistan & World News

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