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Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

Creating hysteria: Police chief slagged off for ‘parade plot’

4 hours 38 min ago

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan gave the inspector general of police a dressing down for blowing out of proportion the arms cache seized from two men in Islamabad and erroneously linking it to a plot to sabotage the March 23rd parade.

While taking a strong exception to the publication of media reports about the security of the Pakistan Day parade, Chaudhry Nisar took out his anger on IGP Tahir Alam Khan and other members of the Islamabad police, said a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry on Monday.

Nisar reprimanded the IGP over the issue, saying one could not link the seizure of the weapons during a search operation to the 23rd March parade without any concrete evidence. The minister said the inspector general’s actions were tantamount to creating unnecessary panic and alarm.

The ministry spokesperson pointed out that  all law enforcement agencies were working in close coordination, day and night, ahead of the Pakistan Day parade.

On Sunday, the Islamabad police claimed to have foiled a plan to sabotage the 23rd March parade by arresting two suspects and recovering a huge cache of arms from their possession. The alleged suspects, identified as Sagheer Ahmed and Raja Safeer Akber, were arrested during a raid in Ghauri Town, a suburban housing society.

Police had revealed that the suspects include the son and guard of the Ghauri Town Housing Society owner, Haji Ali Akber, a local real estate developer who has heavily invested in several housing societies in the federal capital.

On a tip-off, police raided a house in the locality and seized six Kalashnikovs, three 12-bore rifles, two 30-bore pistols, two SMGs, 9mm pistols, repeaters and 2,834 rounds of ammunition from the suspects’ possession.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

New beginning: PM happy with ‘qualitative change’ in Afghan ties

4 hours 50 min ago
ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pak-Afghan relations have been witnessing a ‘qualitative change’ since the President Ashraf Ghani-led national unity government took over in Kabul last year. He was speaking to Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad Janan Mosazai, who called on him at the Prime Minister House Monday morning. 

Ambassador Mosazai thanked the Pakistan government for providing generous support to Afghanistan in the wake of the havoc caused by the recent avalanches.  He also thanked the prime minister for sending a message of solidarity to the Afghan president over the loss of many lives in the natural calamity.

Premier Nawaz said Pakistan stood with its brotherly neighbour in this hour of need, adding that he
was deeply troubled to learn about the devastating avalanches in Afghanistan.

Pakistan will be happy to provide further assistance that the people of Afghanistan might be in need of to meet this challenging situation, he said.

He expressed satisfaction over the increased security cooperation between the two countries and said the recent visits of army chief General Raheel Sharif to Kabul have proved quite helpful in streamlining important matters.

The prime minister approved appointment of a focal person for following up on implementation of the decisions taken during an inter-ministerial meeting between the two countries on a daily basis. A similar focal person would be appointed from the Afghan side as well.

Premier Nawaz was pleased to note that the first meeting of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Business Council would be taking place in the next few weeks to attract international investors to both the countries. He further said Pakistan hoped the Afghan peace and reconciliation process would speed up and reach a successful conclusion soon.

Ambassador Mosazai said Afghanistan was highly appreciative of Premier Nawaz Sharif’s vision of peaceful coexistence with all neighbouring countries. “There is a strong domestic consensus in Afghanistan on peace efforts these days,” he added.

Matters relating to Afghan Transit Trade and CASA 1,000 power transmission project also came under discussion during the meeting.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Ineffectual governance: Private firm continues to illegally occupy coalmine at Lakhra

5 hours 6 min ago

KARACHI: Despite allegedly reneging on a promise to set up a mine-mouth coal-fired power plant in Lakhra, the Fateh Group, a small industrial conglomerate, is being allowed by the Sindh government to continue extracting coal from an 8,000-acre state-owned coalfield to sell on the open market, allegedly with the backing of local politicians who have prevented the provincial government from taking action against the company.

Fateh Group, which was awarded a contract in 2005 to manage the coalfields under the promise that it would set up a 200 megawatt power plant that runs on coal, has been mining between 800 and 1,000 tons of coal every day and selling it on the open market, but appears to have made no moves to set up the power plant it promised the government. Yet despite an apparent violation of its contract, the Sindh government appears to be taking no action against the company.

“Officials from the Inspectorate of Mines patrol that area round the clock. They can take action against these illegal mines that are operating in broad daylight,” said one official familiar with the matter.

When contacted for comment by The Express Tribune, the Sindh Mines Chief Inspector Rafique Chandio said, “We know that it is illegal activity because the coalfield is dedicated for a power plant, but cannot take action because the matter is now under litigation. The government had issued notices to Fateh Group [in 2011] warning to cancel their lease because they allegedly violated the agreement, but they have gotten a stay order from a court,” he said.

Sources said that, two years ago, the Sindh government tried to send the Jamshoro police to stop the mining activity, but were prevented from taking action after Sindh Assembly member Faqirdad Khoso and Malik Asad Sikandar, both from the Pakistan Peoples Party, intervened on behalf of Fateh Group. Khoso, who belongs to the area, however, denied his involvement in the matter.

The company, however, disputes this account and blames the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for not fulfilling its end of the bargain. “We submitted a feasibility report to set up a coal-fired power plant after consultations with Wapda, but it was rejected by the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) [the government body that licenses independent power producers (IPPs)],” Ataur Rehman, legal advisor to Fateh Group told The Express Tribune. The company also alleged that NEPRA never set a power tariff for the coal-fired power plant and so it was not able to invest in the plant.

Government officials allege that the feasibility report was unprofessional and not adequate. “They submitted a feasibility report conducted by unskilled persons and was not up to the mark to set up a power plant,” said one additional secretary in the Sindh energy department who declined to be identified.

Rehman claimed the government did not give them enough time to address the PPIB’s objections. However, when asked why Fateh Group was continuing to mine coal despite not being able to set up the power plant, Rehman declined to comment, except to say that the case was currently in court.

Background

A total of 16,000 acres in the Lakhra area of Jamshoro, now known as the Jamshoro Khanot Coal Mines, was dedicated for coal-fired power production in 1990 by then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, when the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the idea and a semi government company Lakhra Coal Development Company (LCDC) was formed. LCDC is 50% owned by the Pakistan Mineral Development Company, a federal government entity, 25% by the federal Water and Power Development Authority and 25% by the Sindh government.

The company was asked to set up mechanised mines and two power plants. LCDC started work on 8,000 acres of the land and set up the 150 MW Lakhra Power Plant. The other half of the land was given back to the Sindh government, which in 1995, tried to lease out the land to the private sector for power infrastructure development.

The land was leased out to Smith Associate Power and Mining Company in 1995, but their lease was later cancelled after they failed to deliver on their promises. During Musharraf’s term in office the provincial government gave the land to the Fateh Group in 2005, which has similarly failed to set up a power plant.

Irfanullah Marwat, who was mines and mineral development minister in 2005, told The Express Tribune that he had revoked the lease soon after the company failed to set up a coal washing plant, which was part of its lease conditions. “This is lignite coal, so a washing plant was essential to clean it and improve its quality,” he said. “The Fateh Group had attempted to import a coal washing plant from Ukraine but failed to get one. After a year, we cancelled their lease. Later, the PPP-led government again allotted the land to the same company.”

Fateh Group’s legal advisor claimed that the company had been able to procure the coal washing plant, but the government’s cancellation of their lease prevented them from setting up the plant.

Yet even officials who worked in the PPP-led government say they had cancelled the lease. Aftab Khokar, who worked at the Sindh Director General of Coal Mines and dealt with this case on behalf of the Sindh government, told The Express Tribune: “The coalfield lease issued to the Fateh Group has been cancelled since 2011 because they did not live up to their agreement. This is government property, but the company is not handing it back to the government and still extracts the coal from mines,” adding that the case against the company has been pending in courts for a few years.

LCDC lease

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has cancelled the lease of the Lakhra Coal Development Company (LCDC), which is the only company in Pakistan that excavates coal to run a power plant. The order has been issued by provincial energy department.

Sources suggest that the provincial government intends to allot the 8,000 acres of LCDC land among private contractors and companies who already sell coal in the open market. A copy of the cancellation order, made available to The Express Tribune, addressed to management of LCDC said, “You are violating the agreement for not having mechanized coal mining and also sell the coal in open market, therefore government cancels your lease.”

A senior LCDC official said that they have dedicated land for the coal power plant that now generates only 30 MW. “We used to excavate around 800 tons and supply it to the power plant. Since it has reduced its generation capacity from 150 MW to only 30 MW, the board of directors has decided to sell the coal in open market because the mining activity must continue; otherwise the entire system will collapse.”

Despite many attempts to contact them, Sindh Energy Minister Murad Ali Shah and his secretary Agha Wasif Abbas did not respond to requests for comment.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

No more welcome: 2,000 unregistered Afghans deported since APS attack

5 hours 15 min ago

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has deported around 2,000 unregistered Afghans after the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014.

“Pakistani authorities have clearly conveyed to the Afghan government that around three million refugees are posing grave security risk and it is now working to send back non-registered Afghan refugees at the earliest to minimise these risks,” security officials told Daily Express on the condition of anonymity.

These sources said that after the approval of the National Action Plan (NAP) the provincial governments have been directed to arrest illegal Afghans and deport them immediately.

“It has been clearly conveyed to Afghan authorities that around all the three million refugees will be repatriated by December 2015, and meanwhile no action will be taken against the registered refugees,” the sources said, adding, “it has also been conveyed that action is only being taken against those Afghan refugees who have not got themselves registered properly.”

The sources said that intelligence agencies have proof which was handed over to the Afghan authorities that there are unregistered Afghans who are involved in terrorist activities and crimes, creating law and order problems in Pakistan which cannot be tolerated anymore.

The official sources said that the same was conveyed by the Army Chief Raheel Sharif in his last visit to Kabul. “It is most likely that PM Nawaz will visit Kabul sometimes this month and the issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees and immediate deportation of illegal Afghans remains on the agenda.”

The official sources said that the government has expedited measures including registration and containing them to their refugee camps and restrict their activities. “Police have expedited a campaign against unregistered Afghans in Peshawar and other parts of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” the source said adding, “Unregistered Afghans travelling or staying in the province are being deported to their country under the section 14 of the Foreigners Act after fulfilling legal requirements.”

According to UNCHR report, there are 1.78 million registered Afghan refugees while 0.68 million are unregistered out of total 2.46 million refugees. “Pakistan is hosting Afghan refugees since long and time and again has reminded the international community that these people are a burden on its fragile economy apart from the fact that they (unregistered Afghan refugees) are also involved in criminal and extremist activities in Pakistan,” says the report.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Prizes not promises: Gifts galore continues on ‘Josh Cricket World Cup Inaami Scheme’

5 hours 19 min ago
FAISALABAD / LARKANA / KHAIRPUR / TAMIWALA: 

The gift bonanza on ‘Josh Cricket World Cup Inaami Scheme’ continues with cooperation of Express Media, McDonald’s Pakistan, and Fast Food Marketing.

M Tariq Rasheed from Faisalabad won a microwave oven on giving accurate replies to two out of three questions put up for the South Africa-West Indies match. Mohommad Sajjad from Khairpur Tamiwala area of Bahawalpur won a dinner set for giving a correct answer about Australia-New Zealand match, while Imtiaz Ali of Larkana bagged a juicer-blender machine for answers regarding the Sri Lanka-England match.

Resident editor of Daily Express in Faisalabad, Express correspondent in Khairpur Tamiwala Ejaz Bhutta and bureau reporter in Larkana Mahmood Ali Pathan handed over the gifts.

The beaming winners thanked Express Publications and McDonald’s Pakistan for the gifts. They said that Express was promoting sports in society, which is a healthy trend.

Under the ‘Josh World Cup ka aur Inaam Express, McDonald’s kay’ scheme, numerous gifts can be won by answering three simple questions via SMS before the start of matches.

Winners are selected through a lucky-draw. Gifts include motorcycles, refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, LCD TV, air-conditioners and many other items.

Results of the lucky-draw are published each day in The Express Tribune, Daily Express and Sindh Express.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

4 dead as rains cause building to collapse in Rawalpindi

5 hours 37 min ago

At least four dead bodies were pulled from the rubble of a building that collapsed in of Wah Cantt area of Rawalpindi on Monday evening, as heavy rains claimed as many 13 lives in different parts of Pakistan on Monday, Express News reported.

Rescue workers in Rawalpindi were sifting through the rubble in Wah Cantt and had so far managed to shift one injured child and bodies of four people to the hospital, with many more still believed to be trapped under the debris.

A family had rented the building located on the main Grand Trunk Road, near Gate No 3 of Wah Cantt. The building collapsed due to heavy rains.

Read: Alarming level: Sirens wail in Pindi as rain lashes twin cities

Residents rushed to rescue the trapped family on self-help basis. Rescue 1122 arrived two hours after the incident, causing delays in rescue effort. Authorities said that it may take a while to finish the operation.

The building had been built on an encroached section of a storm drain. It is suspected that rising water in the drain coupled with heavy rains caused the unfortunate incident.

 

 

Water rose to 14 feet in Nullah Leh. PHOTO: ONLINE

 

The twin cities have received heavy rainfall over the past few days and sirens have been sounded on multiple incidents.

Read: Weather woes: Five killed in rain related accidents

As many as 13 people were killed in rain related incidents in different parts of the country on Monday.

Apart from the four reported deaths in Rawalpindi, a woman and her daughter had died in Bahawalnagar after the roof of their house collapsed overnight.

In Lahore, two people were killed after the roof of their house in Shahdara caved in

In Faisalabad, a labourer was killed and another was injured when the roof of an under-construction house caved in at Peoples Colony.

In Peshawar, four paramiltary soldiers were killed when the roof of their check-post caved in.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Gas leakage: Explosion in house leaves three dead

5 hours 51 min ago

QUETTA: A woman and her two children were killed and three others wounded in an explosion caused by the leakage of gas inside a house in Hazara community’s neighbourhood Marriabad in Quetta on Monday. According to a police official, the explosion that occurred at 3am rocked the entire neighbourhood. The roof of the house caved in after the explosion.  He said that Fatima Bibi went into the kitchen to make breakfast and turned on the stove upon which an explosion occurred. The fireball killed Fatima Bibi, eight-year old Mohammad Ali and two-month-old Bibi Zehra instantly. Her husband and two children were pulled out of the debris in injured condition.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

On the cards: Seven new E&T projects get go ahead

6 hours 17 min ago
LAHORE: 

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday gave approval to four Excise and Taxation projects. Three other projects were approved in principle but the chief minister asked an implementation committee to devise a better strategy for them.

The approval came after a steering committee, constituted for the projects, reported that the projects suggested were viable.

Legislation regarding the projects is expected to be completed in 45 days, Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) Senior Member Salman Sufi said.

The implementation committee comprises SMU members and representatives from the chief minister’s office, the Excise and Taxation Department, the Punjab Information Technology Board, the Traffic Police, and Home, Transport, Finance and Law Departments.

The initial approval for the projects was granted earlier in February.

A steering committee formed in this regard submitted its reports on the financial and legal aspects of the project. Sufi said that four of the proposed projects had been granted approval by the chief minister. He had asked the implementation committee to devise a better strategy to implement three projects.

Projects granted approval

Among the four projects granted approval is the Dealer Vehicle Registration System (DVRS).

The idea is to register vehicles and issue licence plates at the point of sale.

Once dealers sign the DVRS and pay advance tax, the Excise and Taxation Department will issue standardised licence plates.

The dealers will charge customers for the registration fee and a convenience charge at the point of sale. The customer will receive a registered vehicle that has a licence plate registered under his or her name. This system will be put in place 90 days after the date of legislation.

Another project, the Token Payment Identification Sticker, has been suggested to remove the need to set up checkpoints to check whether vehicles have paid token tax. Under the project, licence plates will carry an identification tag indicating that the tax has been paid.

The Third-Party Liability Mandatory Insurance will ensure that all vehicles have minimum insurance cover. The provincial government will sign a memorandum of understanding with insurance companies in this regard to “prevent exploitation of vehicle owners”. After the MoU is signed and timelines to settle claims are agreed upon, vehicle insurance will be made mandatory. Another project, called Value Added Services, will offer consumers vanity licence plates at a premium. The timeline for the implementation of this project is 60 days from the date of legislation.

Better strategy required

The chief minister gave the implementation committee two weeks to devise new strategies with regard to these projects and present them. These projects include a bid to standardise licence plates province-wide. Another project, the Automotive Registration Card, will allow for real-time updates regarding stolen vehicles, token tax and traffic offences, to be uploaded on ARC servers and be made accessible to law enforcement agencies and the Excise and Taxation Department.

The project entails registering a licence under the vehicle owner’s name.

Any change in ownership of vehicle will require changing its licence plate as well. All token tax and traffic fines will also be associated with the licence plate.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

New resolve: ‘Lawyers will oppose military courts till the end’

6 hours 19 min ago

LAHORE: Pir Masood Chishti, newly elected president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, said the legal fraternity would never accept military courts. He was speaking at a ceremony held on Monday to welcome the LHCBA’s newly elected cabinet.

Chishti said the bar would continue to defend its petition against military courts, filed before the Supreme Court. He said heads of institutions were responsible for strengthening their respective organisations therefore the government and the chief justice of Pakistan should address the shortcomings of their institutions and strengthen them. Chishti said the lawyers would play an active role in strengthening the judiciary and democracy but would never accept military courts. LHCBA secretary Ahmad Qayyum and other office bearers were also present on the occasion. The outgoing cabinet had arranged the ceremony to welcome their successors. Separately, the Pakistan Bar Council announced on Monday that it would observe March 3 (today) as a day of mourning as a protest against the government’s failure in arresting perpetrators of a terrorist attack at the Islamabad district courts last year. In a statement, the bar’s vice chairman Azam Nazir Tarar lamented the government’s failure to catch the culprits or take stringent measures to secure the court premises.

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Environment-friendly: Plant to extract fat from flesh operational

6 hours 22 min ago
LAHORE: 

A fat-extraction plant, first of its kind in the country, was test run in Kasur on Monday. It uses a safe, environment-friendly and cost-effective technology to extract fats from fleshing produced by tanneries, said an official from the Environment Protection Department.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has installed the plant under its One UN Joint Programme. The plant was commissioned in 2012 at a cost of Rs145 million.

The government has contributed Rs50 million, the Kasur Tanneries Waste Management Agency Rs18 million and the UNIDO Rs68.8 million to the project.

The official said that the plant was capable of extracting 1.9 kilogrammes of oil from 10 kilogrammes of fleshing. It would help reduce solid waste pollution by up to 90 per cent and loads of fleshing in Kasur from 50 – 70 tonnes a day, the official said.

He said some locals had been operating units that boiled fleshing in open pans. “The total installed capacity of these units is approximately 276 tonnes a day. They use wood and leather trimmings as fuel that contribute to pollution.”

Environment Protection Secretary Iqbal Muhammad Chauhan said the department was exploring methods to run the new plant on commercial basis through public-private-partnership. The plant would meet its expenditures from its earnings, Chauhan said.

He said its operation had been delayed owing to negligence of the officials concerned. “All issues have now been resolved.”

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

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Russian opposition leader Nemtsov shot dead near Kremlin

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 20:39

MOSCOW: Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a fierce critic of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, was shot dead near the Kremlin in central Moscow late on Friday, just two days before he was supposed to lead a major rally against the war in Ukraine, investigators and police said.

“In central Moscow, a man with documents in the name of Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov was killed,” an interior ministry spokesperson told AFP early Saturday, declining to give further details.

Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed the  death, saying it had opened a criminal probe.

“According to preliminary information, an unidentified person shot at Boris Nemtsov no fewer than 7-8 times from a car as he was walking along the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky bridge,” investigators said in a statement.

 

http://i1.tribune.com.pk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/boris-nemtsov-photo-afp.jpg

Medics lift the body of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on Moskvoretsky bridge near St. Basil cathedral in central Moscow. PHOTO: AFP

 

The committee, which reports directly to Putin, said that “experienced” investigators had been put on the case.

Nemtsov launched his political career as the governor of Nizhny Novgorod region in central Russia and rose to became a vice prime minister in the late 1990s under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.

After leaving parliament in 2003, he helped establish and led several opposition parties and groups.

Nemtov’s murder comes ahead of a major opposition rally scheduled to take place on March 1.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

World Cup: Australia win toss, elect to bat against New Zealand

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 20:20

AUCKLAND: Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat in the World Cup Pool A game against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

New Zealand, who have won all their three games, kept the same side which has featured from the start of the tournament.

Australia, whose second game against Bangladesh was washed out in Brisbane last weekend, brought in fit-again skipper Michael Clarke for George Bailey and fast bowler Pat Cummins for Josh Hazlewood from the line-up which beat England in the opening game two weeks ago.

Teams:

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Luke Ronchi (wkt), Ross Taylor

Australia+: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wkt), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins

Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA) and Richard Illingworth (ENG)

Tv umpire: Sundaram Ravi (IND)

Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

Weather: Mostly sunny and humid; 27 degrees

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Walkout from house: Senators take up cudgels over corridor route

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 19:38

ISLAMABAD: Opposition members staged a walkout from the upper house of parliament on Friday after senators from Khyber-Pakthtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan voiced concern over the alleged route diversion of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Already, some of them have taken up cudgels with the government over the perceived route changes and even threatened to turn the project into “another Kalabagh dam” — alluding to the controversial but perpetually shelved project — if the original route is changed.

At the end of the question and answer session in the first sitting, Senator Zahid Khan of the Awami National Party pointed out that despite strong reservations of the people of Balochistan and K-P, the federal cabinet decided to go ahead with the improvised route of the economic corridor rather than constructing the route as per the original plan from K-P to Balochistan.

“This is an injustice with the other provinces… changing the route blocking any economic and business opportunities that backward areas of these two under-developed provinces would have their way,” he said.

“We have already conveyed our reservations to the government and today we are again walking out,” said the ANP senator who stormed out of the house in protest. He was followed by other senators from opposition parties.

Subsequently, Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari adjourned the house till Monday without bringing the protesting senators back to the house.

Earlier, Senator Haji Ghulam Ali drew attention to the plight of the people of Chitral, many of whom are stranded following the snowfall-triggered blockade of Lowari Top. Heavy snowfall has cut off the entire district from the rest of the country.

Paying homage to Bhagwandas

The Senate earlier paid tribute to former Supreme Court judge Justice Rana Bhagwandas for his outstanding services to the country and its judicial system. The former chief justice died on February 23.

The Senate chairman recalled the valued services of Bhagwandas for strengthening of the country’s judiciary and judicial system.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmed added that Bhagwandas has rendered significant efforts for upholding the honour of judiciary. The house also observed one-minute’s silence in honour of the late SC judge.

Earlier, the Senate was informed by Shaikh Aftab Ahmad that 181,743,000 ballot papers were printed for the May 2013 elections.

Some  109,158,600 ballot papers were printed from M/s Printing Corporation of Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi Presses and 72,584,400 from Pakistan Security Printing Corporation (Pvt) Ltd Karachi.

The state minister pointed out that no contract had been awarded to any private printing press .

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

In February: Eight children fall prey to measles in Pishin

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:37
QUETTA: 

At least eight children lost their lives to a preventable disease, measles, in February alone in a remote district of Balochistan, raising the fatality count to 21 during the last 14 months.

Chairman Union Council Barshor Pishin district Abdul Wali Kakar confirmed the casualties. However, Director General Health Balochistan Farooq Azam said only six children had died in the beginning of February in Pishin district. “The affected area has been vaccinated after the outbreak of measles,” he told The Express Tribune.

While responding to a question as to why anti-measles campaign has not been launched in Balochistan like other provinces, the director general health said the chief minister has allocated the funds now. “The mass campaign would be launched at the beginning of March to vaccinate around three million children across Balochistan,” he said.

At least 21 children have so far died from measles during the year of 2014-15, he noted.

Abdul Wali Kakar said dozens of children were affected after the outbreak of measles. “There has been no anti-measles campaign for the last two years,” he said, adding “the negligence led to more deaths of innocent children.”

He said seven children had died in Union Council Khilji while one in Union Council Barshor of Pishin district. These two union councils are in remote areas of the province where healthcare facilities are hardly available to the local people, he added.

“There are several villages where children are still suffering from measles,” Abdul Wali said, adding, “vaccines are in short supply in many villages”.

More than 25 children have so far died after contracting the measles during the past 15 months. These fatalities were reported in northern areas, Nasirabad, Lesbela and other districts.

Sources claim that the deaths of children from measles are not being properly reported in the media because media persons are hardly accessible in remote areas while officials tend to cover up such reports.

Polio vaccinators go unpaid in Balochistan

Though the anti-polio vaccinators are risking their lives during the campaign in some parts of Quetta, they are hardly ever paid their wages on time. The vaccinators, for instance, were not paid for the latest four rounds of anti-polio campaigns in Quetta.

Each vaccinator is paid Rs600, a mere five dollars, per day during the anti-polio campaign.

The delay in releasing their wages – Rs350 from the health department and Rs250 from World Health Organisation (WHO), is adding to the woes of vaccinators who are already exposed to a very dangerous environment.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Additional Secretary Health Abdullah Khan said the money has been released by finance department of Balochistan. “The payment would be made soon,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Nap implementation: 40 terrorists killed in Balochistan, says home minister

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:33
QUETTA: 

At least 40 terrorists and criminals have been killed in raids across Balochistan since December 16, 2014, according to the provincial security czar. “Around 2,500 suspects have also been detained during this period,” Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told The Express Tribune.

According to the Home and Tribal Affairs Department, security forces and law-enforcing agencies have conducted 200 search operations in different parts of the province since the government announced the National Action Plan (NAP) which was prompted by the December 16 deadly rampage at the Army Public School in Peshawar.

Responding to a question, Durrani said the dead criminals included religious extremists, armed robbers and absconders, etc. “They were not only Taliban militants, they also included those who were involved in armed robberies, highway hold-ups and other criminal activities.”

The home secretary said PM Nawaz Sharif has also praised the provincial government for effectively implementing
the NAP.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

PML-N committee: Maryam Nawaz to head G-B polls campaign body

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:29

GILGIT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has entrusted his daughter to head a powerful committee of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) constituted to supervise election campaign for Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) assembly.

“Maryam Nawaz will head the 16-member committee comprising party’s central leadership,” a PML-N spokesman said on Friday.

The formation of the committee comes days after PML-N appointed Kashmir and G-B Affairs Minister Barjees Tahir governor of G-B, triggering criticism in the region.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved the names on the committee that will visit G-B constituencies where elections have been scheduled for May.

The committee members will take full part in the election campaign which will be formally launched on March 19, said the spokesman.

The members of the committee include Saad Rafiq, Hamza Shahbaz, Marvi Memon, Balighur Rahman, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Abid Sher Ali, Hanif Abbasi, Tahir Iqbal, Sajid Mir, Riaz Pirzada, and Murtaza Javed Abbasi among others.

“The members will visit parts of the G-B as part of election campaign and also submit a report based on public feedback to Nawaz Sharif for making improvements in the G-B governance order,”  said the spokesman.

According to PML-N, various observers and media representatives will also be invited to accompany the members in their visit to G-B to ensure transparency in the upcoming polls.

President of G-B chapter of PML-N, Hafeezur Rahman, said foreign media would be invited to oversee the elections as PML-N was in no mood to give a chance to opponents to raise fingers over the polls.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Senate election : Lone PML-N candidate withdraws

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:26

KARACHI: The lone candidate of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PNL-N) for Senate election in Sindh, Zafar Ali Shah, withdrew his nomination forms in support of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) nominee Imamuddin Shaukeen. According to the provincial election commission, Mohammad Bux Khaskheli of PML-F, the covering candidate for Shaukeen, has also withdrawn his form. “Only two out of 28 candidates have withdrawn their nominations forms today. This process will continue till Saturday,” the provincial election commissioner SM Tariq Qadri said. Talking to the media, Zafar Ali Shah said he surrendered his candidature in support of PML-F candidate. “PML-N and PML-F are joint opposition in Sindh Assembly, therefore they want to contest the senate election jointly against PPP,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Loc violation: Indian firing injures girl in Nakyal sector

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:24
MUZAFFARABAD: 

Even as the date of its foreign secretary’s visit to Islamabad approaches, Indian troops continued to violate the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC), injuring a girl on Friday evening. 

Pakistan Army retaliated in kind, forcing the enemy to remain silent in the area.

According to local residents, Indian forces opened fire on the civilian population in Nakyal sector’s Kenthigal Dabsi village on the LoC, some 180 kilometres from Muzaffarabad.

A 16-year-old girl Rabia Noor was hit in the neck by a bullet coming from the other side of the LoC, local sources said.  The injured girl was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Kotli for the treatment, where doctors stated that her condition was critical, they said.

Officials of the district administration in  Kotli have also confirmed the Indian army’s firing at the civilian population on the LoC. The firing has created panic among the local people.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

 

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Cleanliness drive: Karachi needs new master plan, Sharjeel Memon

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:20
KARACHI: 

Sindh Minister for Information and Local Government Sharjeel Inam Memon said on Friday that Karachi requires a new master plan for its roads.

“Most of the roads today are encroached upon by shopkeepers’ wares, pushcarts and other structures. Resultantly, people can only use 20 per cent of the road,” he said while issuing strict instructions to metropolitan commissioner about the removal of encroachments from all the arteries.

No cleanliness drive can succeed without people owning the city, he said. At least people should come out on the streets to clean up their localities. The campaign would continue until the whole province is cleaned of waste, encroachments and terrorism, the minister said.

“I must admit in front of the media that we cannot achieve the desired goals neither do we claim 100% cleanliness. However, I believe that with sincerity and good intention, by God’s grace, we will give it our best shot,” he said on the fifth day of ‘Clean, Green and Peaceful Sindh’ drive, after removing wall-chalking in Orangi Town and around FTC flyover on Shahrae Faisal.

MQM MPA Saifuddin Khalid, MNA Mehboob Alam, Managing Director Karachi Water & Sewerage Board Qutubuddin Sheikh, Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali Shah, Administrator West Sajjad Ahmad Memon, Municipal Commissioner Ashfaq Mallah and other officers were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in coordination with district municipal corporations removed a total of over 16, 000 tonnes of garbage from different areas of the city and dispatched it to the landfill sites during the last five days.

The municipal authority also performed fumigation with the help of 30 spray vehicles in the city, whereas colouring of trees, electric poles and pavements was also done in different areas of the city along with removal of wall-chalking and banners.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Prize scheme: Gifts bonanza continues on ‘Josh Cricket World Cup Inaami Scheme’

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 18:17
QUETTA / KARACHI: 

The downpour of gifts on ‘Josh Cricket World Cup Inaami Scheme’ continues with cooperation of Express Media, McDonald’s Pakistan, and Fast Food Marketing.

Shahid Siddiqui of Karachi won a microwave oven and Mohammad Umar of Quetta got a juicer-blender machine on giving the correct answers about Afghanistan-Scotland match.

Express Media Group’s Associate Director Marketing in Karachi Kamran Ahmed and Express News bureau chief in Quetta Razaur Rahman presented the gifts to the overjoyed winners.

Shahid Siddiqui and Mohammad Umar thanked Express Publications and McDonald’s Pakistan for the gifts. They said that Express Media Group is promoting sports in the society which is a healthy trend that other institutions should follow.

It is pertinent to note that under the ‘Josh World Cup ka aur Inaam Express, McDonald’s kay’ scheme, numerous gifts can be won by answering three simple questions via SMS before the start of matches. Winners are selected through a lucky-draw. Gifts include motorcycles, refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, LCD TV, air-conditioners and many other items.

Results of the lucky-draw are published each day in The Express Tribune, Daily Express and Sindh Express.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

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