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Hard hitting: ‘Sack Sanaullah, probe murder allegations’

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:50

Former Faisalabad mayor Chaudhary Sher Ali on Saturday said Law Minister Rana Sanaullah should be sacked and investigated for his alleged involvement in 20 murders.

Addressing a gathering of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers, Ali said, “People like Sanaullah hinder good governance.”

Ali, father of State Minister of Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, said a man in custody had told police that he had killed 20 people at the behest of an SHO patronised by the law minister.

“Provincial Assembly Members (MPA) Malik Nawaz, Mian Muhammad Tahir Jameel, Irfan Manan and my son were on his hit-list,” Ali told the workers.

“It is unfortunate that such a powerful man should be behind so many killings,” he said.

Ali said the prime minister and the chief minister should immediately launch an inquiry against Sanaullah.

“If they do not investigate this matter now, they will suffer a set back,” he said.

He said such leaders should not be allowed to hold public office.

He said Sanaullah should be held accountable for his actions. “He has ruined the image of our government,” he added. He said a complaint against the law minister would be moved to the chief minister.”Our concerns should be taken seriously,” he said.

Ali urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to launch an operation in Faisalabad to rid the city of criminals.

“I have told the prime minister that if killers are found within PML-N’s ranks, the government will lose credibility,” he said.

The meeting was also addressed by MPA Tahir Jameel, MPA Rao Kashif Rahim, MPA Raza Nasrullah Ghumman, MNA Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, former mayor Malik Muhammad Ashraf, former MNA Mian Amjad Yaseen, former MPA Zeeshan Elahi, former MPA Chaudhary Shafiq Ahmad Gujjar and former MPA Khawaja Abdus Salam.

Sanaullah’s response

Talking to The Express Tribune, Sanaullah said Ali was not in a “stable state of mind.”

He said an investigation team had examined the claims of the suspect and had weighed the merits of his confession.

“The team found nothing incriminating against me,” he said.

“I have committed no crime nor am I involved in any such activity,” he said.

He said Ali’s allegations were “nothing but a bundle of lies.”

He said, “Most party leaders do not take him seriously. He likes to hold dramatic public meetings.”

Sanaullah said Ali had raised the issue so that he could control the local body elections.

“He will not be allowed to dictate terms of the local government elections.”

The law minister said he would raise the issue with the PML-N leadership so that action would be taken against Ali for violating party discipline.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Murder mystery: Two arrested for murder

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:42

CIA police arrested two people on Saturday for killing a man. Abdul Rasheed had gone missing in 2013. Police said they had arrested Rasheed’s wife Razia and a man named Akram for his murder. “Razia and Akram had wanted to marry each other.

However, Razia’s parents married her to Rasheed. Later, they planned to murder Rasheed. Razia asked Rasheed to take her to her parents’ home. On the way, they stopped near the BRB Canal where Akram was hiding. He strangled Rasheed with Razia’s help. They then dumped the body in the canal,” police said. Razia told her family that Rasheed had gone missing when they were visiting a shrine, police said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Street crime: 2 shot dead by robbers

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:40

Two people were shot dead by robbers on Saturday.

Yasir, 27, was shot dead by unidentified men in Iqbal Town at his mobile-phone shop. “He was at his shop when two gunmen tried to rob him. When he put up resistance, the robbers shot him several times and fled,” police said. Yasir was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Separately, Kashif, 25, was shot dead in Ravi Road area. Police said he was on his way to work when two gunmen riding a bike stopped him. They told him to hand over his mobile phone and cash. “They shot him on resistance. He was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors pronounced him dead,” police said.

Ravi Road Investigation Officer Abdul Majeed said police had collected forensic evidence from the crime scene and recorded statements of eyewitnesses.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Burial rights: Hindu graveyard unused after unrest over opening

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:37

A Balmiki Hindu community graveyard in the city has been lying unused for over a year after a demonstration led by a local cleric had prevented its inauguration planned for May 24, 2014.

In its order of August 12, 2012, the SC had asked the city government to remove encroachments from the graveyard located on GT Road near the Cooperative Store bus stop and restore it for the community’s use.

A community representative complained that though the graveyard was restored in its original form, the government had caved in to pressure from the cleric at a nearby mosque, Qari Razaul Mustafa, and cancelled the inauguration.

Amar Nath Randhawa, the Hindu Sudhar Sabha secretary general, said the cleric had led a crowd to the site and held a demonstration two days before the inauguration date. Randhawa said there were around 400 Hindus in the city. The graveyard had been in their families’ use for decades, he said. “We would want the government to keep control of the facility and let us [Hindu families] use it for burial of our dead,” he said. He said the community lacked the influence needed to maintain the facility on its own. “We fear that we will not be able to ensure security of the graveyard from miscreants who may attempt to encroach upon it,” he said. Randhawa said he had been receiving death threats from unidentified people since he took up the matter of encroachments at the graveyard. Last week, his request for protection was granted by the court and the police were ordered to assign an official for his security.

Qari Razaul Mustafa said he had protested against the graveyard’s inauguration because he was opposed to use of the facility for other religious rituals (besides burial). He said the Hindu community should use the graveyard only to bury their dead. “They [the community] should not be allowed to use it to hold other rituals. There is no Hindu population in this neighbourhood. The use of the facility for other religious rituals will disturb Muslim residents of the area,” he said.

Mustafa said the case had been decided in favour of the Hindu community by (late) Justice (r) Rana Bhagwandas [Justice Bhagwandas was not part of the two-member SC bench that had heard the case]. The cleric also alleged that the Hindu community intended to build a temple at the facility.

Asked why the government could not implement SC’s directive, Tariq Masih Gill, parliamentary secretary for Ministry of Human Rights and Minorities Affairs, said the Hindu Sudhar Sabha had stopped a delegation from the ministry, including him, to visit the facility for inauguration. “They had said there could be unrest in the area and asked us to stay away from the scene,” he said. Gill said he was willing to take up the matter with high ups if a formal complaint was lodged with his office for the purpose. He observed that the community would not get possession of the graveyard till it took initiative in the matter.

DSP Usman Haider, who said he had mediated a settlement between the parties last year, said that besides the Hindu community the graveyard had been used (for burial of dead) by some Christian families. He claimed that the dispute over the graveyard’s use had started after some Hindu families brought their dead for cremation. He said the use of the graveyard had been restricted since partition to burial of those who died under 10 years of age or above 100 years of age.

The DSP said he planned to call a meeting of the parties in the coming week and try to settle the dispute. He claimed that the inauguration of the graveyard had been postponed last year and keys to its entrance given to the cleric after consultation with representatives of both Hindus and Christians. Randhawa denied that he had been consulted on the matter.

In its order dated August 12, 2012, the SC had given a month to the Punjab chief secretary, the Lahore Development Authrty director general and the DCO Lahore to ensure removal of encroachments from the site. The court had also sought reports from chief secretaries of all four provinces on the condition of other graveyards of the Balmiki community.

Following the directive, the CDGL had spent Rs3.3 million on construction of a boundary wall, a facility for funeral service and toilets and installation of a gate at the entrance.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Higher education: Govt to convince VCs for reducing tenure

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:34

LAHORE: The Higher Education Department (HED) has convened a meeting with vice chancellors (VCs) on Sunday (today) to confer with them regarding a proposal to shorten the tenure of VCs from the current four years to two years.

“It seems that the government is reluctant to pass an ordinance in this regard in view of the opposition from academics,” said a VC who did not want to be named.

He said the government apparently wanted to influence the administration of public universities which were autonomous institutions. He said the VCs would oppose the move.

Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Dr Nizamuddin said that a meeting had been called. He refused, however, to share its agenda.

The Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Associations (FAPUASA) issued a statement on Saturday urging Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the HED secretary to not pursue the move. “It is a conspiracy by the bureaucracy and some politicians to enhance their influence at universities,” the federation said.

FAPUASA Punjab chapter president Hassan Mobeen Aalam said the federation would hold protest demonstrations at all universities if the government moved to implement the proposal.

Punjab University Academic Staff Associations secretary Mahboob Hussain and vice president Abid Hussain Chaudhry said reducing the tenure of VCs would increase the influence of politicians and bureaucrats.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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No holds barred: PFA looking to handcuff restaurateurs found endangering lives

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:32

LAHORE: Punjab Food Authority is looking to make laws governing the quality of food sold in the province more stringent. It is only a matter of time before selling substandard food items will be made a non-bailable offence, PFA Operations Director Ayesha Mumtaz told The Express Tribune. 

The PFA has begun holding deliberations with stakeholders to make food-related crimes cognisable under a new law which will provide for imprisonment and fines.

“Under the new law, anyone found guilty of food-related crimes will be jailed…they are endangering people’s lives.”

The authority has proposed that food-related offences be made cognisable on a complaint by food safety officers (FSO). Mumtaz said the chief minister had approved of imprisonment for such crimes. “That way, no one will be able to go around the law.” She said a stringent law could serve as a deterrent.

Mumtaz said the PFA was going to start an evening shift to keep a check on eateries operating in late hours. “At present, we have a team of 24 FSOs and assistant FSOs in Lahore…New staff will be inducted through the National Testing Service (NTS).” She said there was a strict merit policy so that all new inductions would be made on merit alone.

“The main problem with the food businesses we come across is their lackadaisical attitude towards quality and food safety.” Proprietors spend millions on the right ambience, the right location and frills, she said. Some of them buy franchises of famous international brands and spare no funds in their marketing. “But they ignore standard operating procedures and they just don’t care about hygiene or cleanliness.”

She stressed the need for consumers to know what they were eating. “We came across some restaurants that were serving food stored for over a month. The cooks dressed up leftover food and served it sizzling hot to customers.”

When the dish is served hot with tantalising flavour, consumers tend to believe that it’s fresh, she said. “That, unfortunately, is not always true.”

Mumtaz said restaurants had an ethical responsibility to let consumers know exactly what they were being served. “They [restaurants] try to skirt their ethical responsibilities…but they have us to reckon with.”

Recently, the Lahore Restaurants Association held a protest demonstration against the PFA’s crackdowns.

Mumtaz said that the LRA, however, did not represent the entire restaurant sector. “It is an association of famous brands and food chains that want to continue enjoying the liberty of endangering people’s lives…This we cannot allow.”

She said the LRA had argued that they should be given preferential treatment because they paid taxes. “It’s a good thing that they’re paying taxes and contributing to the national exchequer, but everyone is equal before the law.” She said the PFA had never discriminated towards small or big businesses.

“I have a reputation that I do not accept bribes or quail under pressure…businesses don’t even bother approaching me for favours.”

She said the chief minister’s unequivocal support for the campaign had been instrumental in enabling the authority to do its work.

“During some raids, restaurateurs ask what makes me an authority on food quality…But you don’t need to be a food technologist to implement the law.” She said the PFA does have a team of qualified food technologists and professionals.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Pakistanis brawl with other migrants over access to Greek ‘floating refugee camp’

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:29

KOS: Pakistani migrants desperate to get off the Greek island of Kos fought with each other on Saturday while nearby a passenger ship chartered to house and process refugees lay empty 24 hours after it had arrived.

Outside the island’s main police station, about 50 migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran threw stones and exchanged blows as tempers boiled over in the intense mid-summer heat.

Pakistanis have little chance of getting aboard the ship, the Eleftherios Venizelos, as priority is being given to Syrians. Greek authorities had said on Friday that the ship would primarily cater to Syrians, who are being treated as refugees fleeing a civil war in their country. Pakistanis, on the other hand, are being considered as ‘migrants’.

The Syrian ‘refugees’ have been deemed to have greater rights under international law than the Pakistani ‘economic migrants’. The ultimate destination for most of these economic migrants is northern Europe with the hope of finding more support and jobs.

A few hundred Asian migrants had gathered at a local police station hoping to register and obtain papers which would allow them to stay temporarily in Greece, when the brawl began.

But the station was closed on Saturday, owing to a religious festival in Greece. But some migrants thought that those from other countries may get preferential treatment. They started rival chants of “Afghanistan!”, “Pakistan!” and “Iran!”, with fists and stones following soon after.

At least one man was kicked on the ground, while others wandered around with blood on their faces.

Other members of the crowd moved in to cool tempers and calm returned after several minutes of disorder.

Riot police, drafted in earlier this week from the mainland to reinforce local officers on the normally tranquil holiday island, watched from the sidelines. “We didn’t intervene because our priority is to protect the police station,” one riot policeman told Reuters.

Later, a group of Iranians tried to break the police line blocking access to the police station. But the riot police beat back the crowd with batons during the brief affray.

On Tuesday, local police used fire extinguishers and batons against migrants after violence broke out in a sports stadium where hundreds of people, including young children, were waiting for immigration papers.

About 40 riot police were subsequently sent to the island to keep order.

Syrians wait to board ‘floating refugee camp’

A few hundred metres from the Kos police station, the white-painted ANEK Lines vessel remained at a quayside with only its crew aboard a day after it had docked while Greek officials debated among themselves how the Syrians should be let aboard.

Nearly a quarter of a million migrants have crossed the narrow stretch of water from Turkey in small boats and dinghies to Europe this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Of these, about half have come to the Greek islands, with numbers surging in the summer when calmer weather makes the crossing marginally less risky.

Early on Saturday, about 300 Syrians had gathered on the quayside in the hope of getting aboard the ship – a car ferry belonging to ANEK Lines which operates routes to the Greek islands and across the Adriatic to Italy – where about 2,500 people are due to be housed and processed.

The Greek government chartered the vessel to ease conditions on Kos, where several thousand migrants are staying in hotels if they can afford it, or more often sleeping in tents or the open.

However, as hopes of a swift embarkation faded, the Syrians retreated from the quayside to find shade in the midday heat.

Officials from the local administration, police and Greek coast guard were discussing what to do.

“It’s a team operation to find the safest solution and to gather the migrants safely. There are a large number of people,” a coast guard official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official did not know when embarkation would start.

Migrants keep turning up on Kos

Meanwhile, migrants kept arriving from the Turkish mainland, which lies within sight of Kos. The coast guard said it had rescued 212 people on the island’s northeastern coast who were in four inflatable dinghies and one speedboat. As they had no valid travel documents, they were arrested for entering the country illegally and taken for questioning.

Just after dawn on Saturday, Reuters witnesses saw three dinghies each carrying around 30 to 50 people, mainly families from Syria and Iraq as well as young men, coming ashore.

Later, six men, a woman and a baby from Iran arrived, some crying and nearly fainting, after a 3-1/2 hour journey from Turkey.

In the distance was another boat with about 10 men paddling with one oar and their hands.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Disaster management: Satellite images be used to assess flood damage, says CM

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:28

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday ordered relief activities to continue in flood-hit areas.

Sharif gave the directions during a video conference with members of the Cabinet Committee on Floods present in various districts, DHQs and at the Civil Secretariat. He said all facilities should be provided to those housed in relief camps. The chief minister said satellite images of damage to crops and houses should be used to assess the losses.

He said the survey of losses underway should be complete and comprehensive in all respects. Sharif said this was necessary to ensure that no one was deprived of their rights. The chief minister said all precautionary measures should be taken in the wake of the increase in the water level in River Sutlej. Sharif ordered the evacuation of people dwelling in villages in Kasur in the vicinity of the river.

The chief minister said a survey of losses in flood-affected areas had commenced. He said the survey should be conducted along the lines of the one undertaken last year. Sharif said satellite images of areas before and after floods would validate the transparency of the survey.

He said no stone would be left unturned with regard to rehabilitating the flood affected. Sharif said compensation would be provided to those affected in line with losses incurred. The chief minister said the flow of water in rivers should be continuously monitored. He said members of the Cabinet Committee on Floods should regularly inspect relief activities and precautionary measures.

Development projects

Sharif said on Saturday that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had pioneered the culture of quick and transparent completion of development projects province-wide over the last seven years.

Sharif was speaking to various lawmakers. The chief minister said the government had saved billions of rupees by effectively negotiating with the lowest bidders in connection with the development projects.

The chief minister said billions of rupees were saved in projects in the solid waste management sector, the Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur, the laptop distribution scheme and the distribution of thousands of vehicles under the Chief Minister’s Apna Rozgar Scheme. Sharif said the monies saved on this account were being spent on the welfare of the public. The lawmakers felicitated the chief minister for saving billions of rupees. They said this had only been made possible due to his vision. The lawmakers said Sharif had been serving the people around-the-clock and had been employing national resources for welfare of the people.

I-Day arrangements praised

Sharif appreciated the work of the Cabinet Committee on Law and Order, the law enforcement agencies and other relevant departments for making foolproof security arrangements on Independence Day.

The chief minister said all steps had been taken to secure citizens’ lives and properties on the occasion.

JI leaders call on CM

Sharif said the government was determined to overcome terrorism, religious extremism and the energy shortfall.

The chief minister was speaking to Farooq Paracha and Liaquat Baloch of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). He said the government’s efforts on this account had been baring fruit. The chief minister said unity, solidarity and consensus were the need of the hour.

He said the civil and military leadership were on the same page in connection with the war against terrorism.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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AFC Cup qualifiers: K-Electric through to next round

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:26

KARACHI: K-Electric (KE) confirmed their place in the next round of the 2016 AFC Cup qualifiers, courtesy  a goalless draw between Mongolian champions Khoromkhon FC and Bhutan’s Druk United FC on Saturday.

Despite collecting four points and scoring four goals in two matches, the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions were nervously watching Group A’s last match, which would determine their standing in the pool.

Hosts Druk United were under pressure to win the last match on Saturday; however, the Mongolians held them in a goalless draw.

According to KE manager Zabe Khan, the dream of AFC Cup remains intact, with the club to begin their preparations for the second round soon. “The dream continues for us,” Zabe told The Express Tribune. “We became the PPFL champions this year and then made our debut at the AFC Cup. We are overjoyed.”

Zabe said that the biggest challenge for his side was the venue and playing at an international arena for the first time. “It’s been a great experience so far, and it also taught us to deal with different weather conditions. It’s huge for KE to be going international for the first time and playing well in such tough competition.”

Bangladesh’s T Shaiekh Jamal Dhanmondi Club have also booked their place from Group B in the next round.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Anti-Army Remarks: Hearing of plea against Zardari put off

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 15:21

LAHORE: An additional district and sessions judge sought comments on Saturday from the Mughalpura SHO by August 22 on a petition seeking a treason case against PPP leaders, two former prime ministers and others over alleged hate speech against Pakistan Army. The judge had earlier sought comments from the SHO at a previous hearing. He was informed that the petition had been sent to the authorities concerned for advice. No advice had been received on Saturday. Muhammad Ilyas had filed the petition submitting that a speech against the army amounted to treason. He accused Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2015.

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Award for excellence: Ronak Lakhani honoured with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:53

KARACHI: In recognition of her selfless services to differently-abled persons, the government has honoured Ronak Lakhani with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, the fourth-highest decoration given to any civilian in the country based on one’s extraordinary achievement.

Since she is considered one of the pioneers when it comes to social causes, the news of honouring her with the prestigious award did not come as a surprise for her team at the Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP).

Lakhani has been a force behind the organisation that fiercely took the cause of helping the individuals with intellectual disability to become a part of the mainstream society and providing opportunities with preparing Pakistan’s team for Special Olympics World games in 1991 for the first time.

Although SOP became an organisation in 1989, but Lakhani’s close-friend and a colleague, Asma Hasan, said that the idea was with Lakhani since 1986.

Hasan also said that the characteristics that set Lakhani apart is her compassion and her humility while being a part of SOP.

“We are extremely proud of her, she is a force behind SOP, and this organisation will go to new heights with Lakhani being a chairperson now,” Hasan told The Express Tribune.

“Lakhani is very hard working and very down-to-earth, in fact she joined SOP as a volunteer 25 years ago, then she became the secretary and now the person we all look up to,” she said, adding, “It’s really her selflessness that sets her apart, and she deserves this [Tamgha-e-Imtiaz] honour.”

SOP has regularly competed at the World Games since 1991.

Recently, the contingent competed at the Los Angeles World Games where they bagged 35 medals, while SOP also won hearts at the Athens World Games 2011 by securing 56 medals.

SOP’s mission, according to its website, is  to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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Independence Day speech: President calls for crackdown on graft

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:53

President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday counted corruption and illiteracy among the major challenges that the nation must fight against along with terrorism in its journey towards economic prosperity.

“Illiteracy and corruption are some of the many challenges that our country is facing. However, we will soon have to overcome these challenges,” President Hussain said while speaking at an ‘Independence Day’ event on Friday.

He said corruption and malpractices had put Pakistan’s economic prosperity and administrative structure on the backburner. “It is time to kick off a serious crackdown against corrupt people in Pakistan,” he added.

The president said despite facing a number of challenges, the nation stands alongside the Pakistan Army against the menace of terrorism. He recalled the December 16 massacre at a military-run school in Peshawar and pledged to continue the war against those who challenged writ of the state. “The war against terrorism will continue until terrorism is eliminated from the country,” he said.

Mamnoon said the government has shown strong political will to purge various areas and cities from the menace of lawlessness, terrorism and extremism. He said it was part of this resolve that the Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies were performing their responsibilities in an effective manner to bringing peace in the country.

The president also spoke about the Indian forces’ aggressiveness on the Eastern border and said the government would not compromise over its defence line, if there was any threat.

‘Open heart’ on Kashmir

He also urged India to come up with an open heart to resolve the core issue of Kashmir. “Pakistan wants to resolve all the longstanding disputes with India, including that of Kashmir, through dialogue,” he said.

President Manoon Hussian said business activities in Pakistan were increasing, generating investment opportunities for the investors especially the foreign investors, who, he said, were rushing to invest in country. “On the economic front, the government has adopted solid policies for the economic turnaround,” he said.

He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not only in favour of Pakistan but the whole region would get the benefits of the project. “The CPEC will bring prosperity in the region,” he said, adding: “The whole nation stands united against anti-state elements who don’t want early execution of this economic corridor. We are ready to remove all the obstacles in way of this project.”

Remembering the sacrifices of the Muslims of Indian subcontinent, he urged the Pakistani nation to follow in the footsteps of the nation’s forefathers and work together for the betterment of the country.

The president warned against the anti-state elements, which, he said, are posing serious threats to national unity. He also counted other challenges faced by the nation including flood, natural disasters and miseries of internally displace persons.

The president lauded the ‘culture of tolerance’ among the political parties, adding that unanimous decisions were being taken on national issues, which, he said, was a good sign.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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The horror continues: Child abuse scandal erupts in Multan

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:52

MULTAN: Police have booked five accused out of eight in a child abuse scandal in Multan. The accused were said to have captured videos with the threat of uploading them on internet on disclosure of the tragedy.

Police have also conducted raids in search of the rest of the three accused. According to the police, the child abuse scandal came to light after the disclosure of Pakistan’s biggest child abuse scandal in Kasur.

A spokesman to City Police Inspector Rana Zaheeruddin Babar said the Mumtazabad police have registered child sex abuse complaint against eight accused.

They are Ehtisham Sindhu, Ahmed Baloch, Arbaz, Shan, Jafar Ghouri, Juna, Mohsin and Irfan. The accused were involved in sexually abusing a 9th class student RF* and capturing it on video.

The accused were blackmailing the family in order to receive more money and the family lodged complaint after failing to meet the demands by the culprits.

The victim’s father Rana Sajid lodged his complaint with Mumtazabad police stating that his son was 13 or 14 years old. He was studying in 9th class when his class fellow Muhammad Tayyab and Islam kidnapped him at gunpoint three months ago.

The kidnappers shifted his son at a deserted house where three accused Ehtisham Sindhu, Ahmed Baloch, Niyiaz sodomized the boy and the rest of the five accused captured videos.

The accused were blackmailing the family for the last three months and receiving heavy money for not uploading the video on internet.

Mumtazabad police have arrested the five accused and conducted raids for the search of the rest of the three accused, police spokesperson added. (Initials used to protect victim’s identity)

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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Unwavering: Pakistan vows to support Kashmir’s struggle

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:49

NEW DELHI: Pakistan renewed its pledge to Kashmir’s freedom struggle on the 69th anniversary of the partition of the sub-continent.

Addressing the Independence Day celebration ceremony in the heart of New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave, Ambassador Abdul Basit said that Islamabad would not abandon the Kashmiris and their struggle against oppression.

“Aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir can neither be ignored nor put on the back burner,” said Basit in a strongly worded speech delivered during the ceremony at the High Commission. “No matter how much more time does their legitimate struggle take, Pakistan will never abandon Kashmiris and their cause,” the envoy added.

The high commissioner said Pakistan has always desired normal and cooperative ties with India. “It is necessary to settle all outstanding issues, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Basit asserted.

During his brief speech after hoisting the country’s national flag at the Chancery, Basit also highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place in Pakistan on the economic front and its “fight” against terrorism, saying the country’s economy was showing “encouraging” signs of recovery.

“The China-Pakistan economic corridor is a testament to Pakistan’s potential and unparalleled opportunities the country offers for investment,” the diplomat said.

Earlier, deputy high commissioner Mansoor A Khan read out the Independence Day messages from President Mamnoon Hussain and Premier Nawaz Sharif.

While relations between the two nuclear-armed countries remain frosty, their national security advisors are scheduled to meet in the Indian capital later this month as a confidence-building measure.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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8 militants gunned down in FR Bannu

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:48

Security forces killed eight militants in retaliatory fire on Friday following an attack on their checkpoint in the Daryoba Agency area of Frontier Region Bannu.

A security official said unidentified assailants attacked the Khadim Shaheed checkpoint in the wee hours, prompting the security forces to retaliate.

He said a protracted exchange of gunfire left eight militants dead, while no harm came to any security officials.

Later, the security forces combed the area for suspects after placing restrictions on movement. However, no arrests were made until the time this report was filed.

This is the third militant attack on the Khadim Shaheed checkpoint in the past two months. In the previous attack, two security officials and three militants had been killed.

Meanwhile, two commanders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) surrendered to the security forces in Dera Ismail Khan.

A security official said Alauddin alias Charagh and Fazlur Rehman, associated with the Gandapur group of the TTP, laid down their weapons and surrendered.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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In the lurch: Nearly 200 dead in Libya ‘massacre’

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:43

A battle between Islamic State group and local gunmen in Sirte has left between 150 and 200 dead, a Libyan diplomat said Friday, warning of a massacre in the coastal city.

“A real massacre is taking place, and we call on the international community to intervene,” Libyan ambassador to France, Chibani Abuhamoud, told AFP.

A Sirte council official said earlier that the fighting erupted Tuesday as authorities in the militia-held capital Tripoli, opposed to Libya’s internationally recognised government, announced the launch of an operation to retake the city from IS.

“A real war has been going on in Sirte since Tuesday,” the council official said.

“IS militants and armed residents from the city have been fighting continuously,” he said, adding that Sirte was also being hit by air strikes.

The defence ministry in Tripoli, which was seized last year by a militia alliance known as Fajr Libya, announced Tuesday the launch of “an operation to liberate Sirte”.

It said the offensive was being spearheaded by “youths and residents from Sirte and our air force and revolutionary” fighters.

The ambassador, who answers to the recognised government, said the clashes erupted after the IS assassinated an imam, or Muslim prayer leader, from the influential Al-Farjan tribe at the start of the week.

The jihadists have since been “massacring people, even killing people in their homes,” Abuhamoud charged.

Libya has descended into chaos since the fall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. It has two parliaments and two governments vying for power, one based in Tripoli and one in Tobruk in the east.

Only the Tobruk-based government is recognised by the international community.

IS, which already controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, has exploited the chaos in Libya, notably taking control in June of Sirte, 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of Tripoli.

The jihadists control an eastern district in Sirte, Kadhafi’s hometown, known as Neighbourhood Three.

The Tobruk government has condemned the violence in Sirte and urged the international community to “assume its moral responsibilities” against IS.

It said Tuesday that world powers were using “double standards” by fighting IS in Syria and Iraq and “turning a blind eye” to the growing presence of the jihadists in Libya.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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She’s more than just a dead cow

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:39

‘All living things deserve equal respect’ or that’s what we’re told. And, what about when they die? I literally broke down and felt sick to my stomach last Friday, when I saw a beautiful, buxom, white cow lying dead at a side street in Defence, Phase 1, Karachi. How sick is it that the majority of the Pakistani society turns a blind eye to such matters and sees absolutely no issue with this grotesque image of a deceased being at all?

The response I get from a local Karachiite: “Well, you do realise that people are treated the same in this country?” And, I am appalled at that response. It’s not about whether there was a human lying there or a sphinx cat; it’s about the casual attitude concerning death and the abysmal disrespect towards something, we, so regularly, consume. This laidback approach is what gives rise to animal cruelty. Somehow, it’s totally acceptable to spend a couple of grand on a steak, but when it comes down to dutifully putting the animal six feet under, we either squirm or walk away — indifferent and unfeeling; heading out to the well-prepped aaloo gosht at home.

Coming from the United States and being an active member of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), it was ingrained in me that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. But, somehow, I never turned vegan. Not, until, now. Witnessing a ghastly image of a being, that, in fact, spent her entire life providing her owner with milk and offspring (that were callously snatched from her for meat or sold off) makes me disgusted. I’m repulsed by this society. Pakistan needs to understand, alongside all other societies that don’t value life that animals are splendid beings in their own right, which have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet.

And in memory of Cecile the lion…

This is not just about a majestic lion who was shot dead in cold blood by a ruthless coward, but just as Cecile, no animal should be hunted for sport or pleasure. No one has the right to brutally torture and humiliate animals, even after they have passed. I urge you to please, stop supporting animal cruelty. Trophy hunting, hunting for sport, skinning animals alive for fur — none of it is acceptable. It’s a vain, cruel and sickening act. Animal abuse and torture is never okay. Please stand up for what’s right and for those who have no voice.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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Death toll rising: Floods claim 207 lives to date, says NDMA

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:37

The ongoing floods have claimed five more lives in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 207. Of these, 49 are children and 63 women, according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

According to the preliminary report compiled by the NDMA, 33 children have been reportedly killed in Punjab and 16 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in the ongoing flooding.

Moreover it is estimated that 1,378,082 people across the country have been affected by the floods so far.

Dr Ghulam Rasul, Director-General Met Office, said that light to moderate monsoon rains have already started in Balochsitan and Sindh provinces. This will continue for some time in other parts of the country as well.

“Though currently the situation is under control and there are no chances of heavy rain in the next few days, it does not mean that we can rule out the possibility of floods in the coming days,” he said.

Half of the monsoon season has passed and half is left as it will come to an end in September, he said.

Till then there could be heavy rain at any place which could generate floods, he observed.

Flood warning

According to latest Meteorological and Hydrological conditions observed by Flood Forecasting Division Lahore, River Indus at Kotri is likely to attain high flood level. Water is expected to range between 450,000 cusecs to 550,000 cusecs till August 18.

Snake bite

According to Met Office this year so far over 500 millimeter rain has been recorded in Tharparkar and more is expected till September.

Meanwhile there has been an increase in the incidents of snake bite in Tharparkar. The number of snakes often increased after heavy rain in the area, according to the officials of district health department.

‘There have been 325 cases of snake bite incident reported in one month. Out of these 105 were reported in the Mithi local hospital,” said an official .of district health department Tharparkar while talking to The Express Tribune over phone.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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NADRA scam: FIA seeks ministry’s help in fake ID probe

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:32

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has asked the interior ministry for help after the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) Karachi offices refused to cooperate with investigators looking into the issuance of computerised identity cards (CNICs) and passports to thousands of foreign nationals.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had directed the country’s premier probe body to investigate and take action against Nadra officials who helped some 5,000 foreigners, including terrorists, obtain fake identities and other documents. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) named some 40 such officials, some of whom are ex-army officers serving at top posts in NADRA, to the authority’s chairman recently.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior FIA official said the agency had to approach the interior ministry after Nadra officials in Karachi refused to help with the investigation. “Nadra Karachi refused to cooperate with investigators looking into the scam, so we have now sought the help of the interior ministry,” he said.

Nisar, after being briefed by FIA officials, directed Nadra Chairman Usman Mobin to visit the authority’s offices in Karachi to take up the issue, said an interior ministry statement released on Friday. He will be accompanied by senior NADRA officials on his visit, interior ministry officials said.

“The Nadra team [visiting Karachi] will present an audit report of all Nadra offices in Karachi to the interior minister within a week,” the ministry’s statement said. “On the basis of the team’s findings, the ministry will take action against all corrupt officials,” it added.

The Nadra director general for Sindh has also been directed to address public complaints by personally visiting various offices in the port city, interior ministry officials said.

When contacted, Nadra officials in Islamabad said they did not have anything to add to the interior ministry statement.

Earlier, the FIA arrested the in-charge and two other officials of the Nadra office in Karachi’s Keamari area for issuing fake passports to detained Indian nationals last month. They were handed over to the FIA Human Trafficking Cell for further investigation.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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Troubling claims: ISI ex-chief plotted to topple govt, says Mushahid

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 21:30

A senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has claimed that during the last year’s marathons sit-ins by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the then Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief had plotted to topple the country’s civil and military leaderships.

In an interview to BBC Urdu at the first anniversary of the sit-ins, Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahid Ullah Khan said the conspiracy was foiled after a civilian intelligence agency, Intelligence Bureau (IB), intercepted a call of the ISI chief Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam who was allegedly giving instruction to create chaos during the sit-ins and take control of the PM House.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presented an audio tape of the conversation to the army chief, General Raheel Sharif, in a meeting held in the evening of August 28, 2014.

“The army chief was astonished to hear the tape and called for General Zaheerul Islam who came to the meeting and after hearing the sound bite acknowledged that it was his voice. Later, the army chief asked Islam to leave,” Mushahidullah said.

The PML-N stalwart claimed that the conspiracy was aimed at toppling not only the civilian government but also the military leadership.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.

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