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No breakthrough: Whereabouts of missing girl remain unknown

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:36

HARIPUR: Little is known about the whereabouts of a girl who was allegedly kidnapped in Pind Muneem village in Khanpur in July. Haripur DPO ordered an enquiry into the incident on Friday.

Dayem Khan, who originates from Chitral and resides in the village, registered a written complaint with Haripur DPO after his 12-year-old daughter went missing from their house on July 21.

He also registered an FIR against Hamesh Khan and his two sons, Abdul Rasheed and Luqman, under Section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code on the same day. The provision deals with kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman for marriage.

According to the complainant, Rasheed was at Central Prison Haripur while Luqman and his father Hamesh were on bail.

Dayem pinned the blame on the Khanpur SHO and the incharge of the police post in the village for accepting bribes from them and steering the investigation process in their favour.

As per the complainant, whenever the police carried out a raid, the accused managed to shift the 12-year-old to another location. Dayem believes his daughter was kidnapped. He requested the Peshawar High Court and Supreme Court to intervene and rescue the girl.

The Investigations SP has been asked to ensure the 12-year-old is rescued.

Without a trace

A large number of children have gone missing in Hazara Division.

The police have failed to find eight-year-old Sher Khan who went missing over a year ago from Abbottabad. Suriya Bibi, his mother, has been running from pillar to post to ensure her son is found.

The police have also threatened her to dismiss the case but she refused to do so.

The police have yet to trace the whereabouts of three schoolchildren who went missing in Abbottabad in July.

Asadullah – a student of class ten – Shoaib and Shah Zaman, who were in the eighth grade, went to school on July 26, but did not return home.

The school administration told their parents all three children had attended their classes and left for their homes with other students.

As per the administration, the students had been absent from school for a couple of days and did not submit a leave application.

When the missing students returned to school for classes on July 26, they were asked to either pay a fine or call their parents to school.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

GBLA-6: By-election postponed to guarantee security to tourists in Hunza

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:35

GILGIT: By-elections for GBLA-6 Hunza have been postponed due to the provision of foolproof security for tourists.

This was said by Farooq Ahmed, a government official, on Friday. The decision to postpone the polls has stoked unrest among political parties who have been preparing for the polls that were scheduled for August 29.

“There are so many tourists in Hunza and other valleys,” Ahmed, who is the deputy director in information department, told The Express Tribune. “The manpower of police and other forces is required to ensure security for tourists. And let me put it on record that the delay of polls has nothing to do with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan.”

This year, Hunza has witnessed a boom in tourism. A large number of rooms at hotels have remained booked throughout the summer.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the polls had been postponed in view of Nawaz and the COAS’s visit to the region. The prime minister and the army chief will participate in a conference regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Election Commissioner Abid Raza had said the new date for the elections will be announced soon. He said this has been done because the home department was unable to provide security for the polls.

Delaying tactics

According to a notification issued from the election commission, a new date for the polls will be announced soon. However, political activists have attributed the delay to the regional government’s fear of losing the polls.

“The polls have been postponed because the government knows their position is weak and defeat is inevitable,” said Himayatullah, a political activist supporting an independent candidate. “They want to buy time to strengthen their position.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Lights out: TESCO suspends power supply to 36 marble factories

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:32

SHABQADAR: Power supply has been suspended at 36 marble and stone-crushing factories by Tribal Areas Electricity Supply Company (Tesco) after they failed to pay their electricity bills.

An official from Tesco confirmed that power supply to factories was suspended. “At least 13 factories were declared [power] defaulters on August 1,” he told The Express Tribune on Friday.

Warsak power station supplies power to 26 marble and 10 stone-crushing factories at Parchavi Michni, Peshawar that border Mohmand Agency. These factories had been paying a lump-sum electricity bill between Rs70,000 and Rs100,000 every month to Tesco.

However, at least 13 of these marble factories defaulted on payments ranging from Rs400,000 to Rs4 million.

Under an agreement between National Accountability Bureau and Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Tesco suspended power supply till payment of bills. The official added there were at least 64 marble and 30 stone-crushing factories in the entire agency which were paying bills under the lump-sum formula.

One of the marble factory owners in Parchavi said Tesco suspended power supply to all factories instead of the factories that defaulted. He added this shows Tesco’s intention to thwart the local industry.

He said the factories were paying bills equivalent to electricity consumption of 24 hours even though the area faces 12 hours of load-shedding.

The factory owner said there is uncertainty regarding the payment of bills as Tesco is urging factories to pay bills in installments while NAB wants factory owners to pay bills directly to them.

At least 1,000 labourers are directly affected by the suspension of power supply.

“The government should give incentives to marble factories to develop the marble city which is only five kilometres from the area,” the factory owner said. “On the contrary, the government has suspended power supply over the failure to pay previously unpaid bills which have been mostly paid in cash to Tesco officials but have been added to the bills.”

Mohmand Agency has substantial marble resources and locals have established marble factories. The government has been working on the marble city for several years. However, it has still not been completed even after repeated claims from the government that work will commence soon on the initiative.

However, the political administration has been receiving considerable funds to develop the marble city. Similarly, factory owners and locals are accusing Tesco officials of widespread mismanagement in electricity bills.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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List of heirs: Dir Hotel’s construction stayed over property dispute

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:30

PESHAWAR: A division bench of the Peshawar High Court has stayed the construction of Dir Hotel, situated in Upper Dir district, after daughters of former ruler of Dir state, Nawab Shahjehan Khan, challenged the provincial government’s order that ousted them from the list of his legal heirs.

Justice Qaiser Rasheed extended the stay order that was granted on the last hearing and sought the provincial government’s comments by the next hearing scheduled for September 27.

When the hearing commenced, petitioner Nawabzadi Badshah Sultana’s counsel Abdul Samad Khan said the property on which Dir Hotel is being constructed belonged to the former nawab of Dir.

Abdul Samad added it was sold at Rs530 million. He said the sale was illegal as the names of former ruler’s daughters have been removed from the family tree with the intention to deprive them of their legal share in their father’s property. As the last surviving daughter of the former ruler, the petitioner took the case to the high court against order of the secretary of Home and Tribal Affairs Department for depriving her and her sisters of their legal share in their father’s property.

Past proceedings

After the state was merged with Pakistan, a commission was constituted to determine the property that belonged to the nawab and to the government. After an enquiry on September 15, 1972, Land Dispute Inquiry Commission separated the property into two sets. One belonged to the government while the second set was declared private property.

Abdul Samad maintained the private property belonged to legal heirs of the nawab and should have been distributed among them.

“However, it was divided solely among the sons of the nawab while the daughters’ names were removed from the list of legal heirs of the former ruler, despite them being entitled to obtain legal share out of it.”

He said daughters of the nawab filed an application in a local court where it was dismissed and another application was filed at a sessions court. He added the application was decided in favour of the nawab’s sons, forcing his daughters to take the case to PHC against the ruling. A sub-ordinate court had rejected claims of daughters of the late nawab.

The ruling of the sub-ordinate court and home department secretary was set aside for reinvestigation and proper division of the property, the petitioner’s counsel said. However, he added, after completing the enquiry, the home department secretary divided the property among the nawab’s sons and deprived his daughters.

At the previous hearing, Justice Qalandar Ali Khan had said the PHC, after setting aside the subordinate court’s judgment, should have returned the case to the same court.

While replying in the affirmative, the petitioner’s counsel had said the PHC referred the case to the provincial government for relief, but the daughters were deprived of their share.

ANF put on notice

The same bench also issued notice to Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) for not complying with court order to de-freeze the petitioner’s bank accounts after completing his sentence.

Petitioner Abdul Wali Khan’s counsel Mohib Jan Salarzai told the bench Abdul Wali was arrested in a narcotics smuggling case in 2013 and was jailed.

He added after the completion of the trial, the court declared he was released but his bank accounts had yet to be reopened. 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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For renewal: 28 business owners of Malakand given cheques

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:23

PESHAWAR: The owners of small business — which were affected due to militancy — in Malakand Division were given 28 cheques worth Rs20 million by Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA).

The cheques were handed out by SMEDA K-P chief Javed Khattak to the owners of small businesses at the authority’s regional office in the city on Friday.

They were given as part of the Economic Revitalization of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata (ERKF) project started by the K-P government with the support of World Bank to help the small traders of K-P and Fata revive their businesses that were affected due to militancy.

The industries marble and tourism industries are the main businesses in Malakand Division, which have been badly affected.

The provincial chief said so far SMEDA has provided Rs1.266 billion to 1,549 individuals in K-P and Fata to help restart their business. Among the beneficiaries, he added, 401 were from Fata.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Zulfiqar Ali Khan and traders were also present on this occasion.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Paralysis of civic services

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:21

Among the first impressions that non-residents of Karachi get of the city when they arrive here is that Pakistan’s largest metropolis is one large garbage dump. For the residents of Karachi, it is more than a garbage dump — it is a forever looming health hazard. Deadlines to clean up the city and campaigns to beautify it have previously only disappointed, changing little about Karachi’s dirty realities. The new chief minister seems determined to set things right and has instructed the civic authorities to clean up the city in eight to 10 days’ time. It is hoped that this time, the city will get its due share of attention. Murad Ali Shah has also vowed to repair and reconstruct roads, and improve the drainage system.

Why the city’s roads and drainage are in perpetual need of repairs and why the quality of construction always so poor are questions that are never really answered. As things stand, Karachi fails on all measures of providing a decent living standard to its residents. It produces around 20,000 tonnes of solid waste, with at least 18,000 tonnes of it burnt in drains and open spaces. Hardly 2,000 tonnes of garbage makes it out of the city while the remaining keeps piling up on the streets, roads and other open spaces. The chief minister’s efforts to clean up this waste is a much-needed step but also highlights the great confusion regarding which body is responsible for the various aspects of the city’s upkeep. It is hoped that now, following the local elections, there will be more systematic handling and a sustainable effort in keeping the city clean and better maintained. While the chief minister’s orders are welcome, the coming days will be a test for Karachi’s civic authorities. It is hoped that proper long-term plans will be devised and implemented for the various aspects of the city’s upkeep. Cleaning up Karachi is a must if Pakistan’s largest metropolis is to present a more vibrant face of the country to the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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American University attack exposes weakness of security institutions

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:20

ISLAMABAD: Months after a group of militants killed students at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, the enemies of education struck again when they attacked defenseless pupils and their teachers at a higher education facility in Kabul.

Those who committed this heinous crime in the Afghan capital on Wednesday are mysteriously silent and no group has claimed responsibility. However, the style of the attack on the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul is nothing new and many Afghans have already pinned responsibility.

Certain groups will be seen as the culprits until they publicly distance themselves from the attack. This has not happened yet. The impact was felt on this side of the border and, in a show of cooperation, Pakistani forces acted quickly on a tip-off provided by the Afghan officials.

Inter-Service Public Relation, the military’s information wing, says the Pakistan Army “carried out a combing operation in an area closer to the Pak-Afghan border to verify the presence of miscreants. This was based on the three Afghan cell numbers provided by authorities in Kabul”. Over a phone conversation, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that all SIMs used during the attack were from a “network owned and operated by an Afghan company and its signals spill over to some bordering areas”.

Although no side has reported any progress on finding the masterminds of the attack, Pakistan’s immediate response was that it is a must to target the suspects. The army chief assured the Afghan president of complete cooperation on any further information from Kabul.

Militants may have attacked the university because of the “American” in its name, but the institute is as local as they come. Afghan educationists say there is no justification for the attack, even if the institute has an American label. All the students and majority of the teachers are Afghans and the pupils pay the fee from their own pockets.

Zakir Jalali, an Afghan educationist and writer, argues there is no justification for attacks on educational institutions.

“All the students and teachers are Afghans. Even those who disagree with the US policies study at the university,” Jalali told The Express Tribune on Friday.

He said there is no difference between students who study at the American University and those of Kabul University.

The assault on August 24 once again exposed fragile security arrangements in the Afghan capital. The attack came at a time when the Taliban also increased their attacks in the north, south and eastern parts of the country.

On my last visit to Kabul in March, I noted that almost every building is heavily guarded and secured. It is difficult for people to gain access unless they cross several barriers and tough security checks.

However, the gunmen entered the American University and fought with security personnel for nearly ten hours.

Authorities should have increased security after gunmen kidnapped an Australian and an American teacher of the university on August 8. An Indian aid worker, Judith D’Souza, was abducted in Kabul in June and was later released.

Afghan leaders, who are involved in their own political squabble, will have to review the weaknesses in Kabul’s security arrangements.

It is also widely believed that militants enjoy some support from the security establishment and this has helped them sneak into sensitive and secure buildings.

While Afghans still are in shock over the university attack, President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah are involved in a power struggle and have failed to reach an understanding at their second meeting in Kabul on Thursday.

A section of the Afghan media is critical over the failure of security bodies to prevent attacks in Kabul and said its institutions are not paying attention to the issue at hand.

Private Afghan newspaper Arman-e-Melli believes the violence has created serious problems for Kabul residents.

“Nowadays, Kabul residents are critical over the performance of security institutions in the capital city and are questioning why they do not have a precise strategy to thwart such incidents which disturb the peace and security in the city,” stated a piece published in the paper this week. The attack on the university was the second brazen attack in five months.

The Taliban attacked one of the most secure security offices in Kabul on April 19 and killed 64 people and injured over 350 others.

Last month, IS bombers brutally killed nearly 80 Hazara protesters in Kabul when most security personnel and the police were deployed to protect the presidential palace and the office of the chief executive.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Drugs: a bleak picture

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:15

Drug addiction and usage at the individual level is often poorly understood, even less so at macro national levels. Pakistan has received a warning from the UN Ofice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that unless urgent steps are taken, there is a high risk of it becoming a narcotics-consuming country. This is extremely bad news. Drug traffickers, those who are the movers and shakers of the gloabal drugs industry, target developing countries like Pakistan with young populations because they can build a solid market for their products. This facilitates the moving of drugs in an environment that is ‘friendly’ to trafficking. As yet Pakistan has not reached that point of dependency, but it is close. There are two main ‘drug hubs’ globally — Latin America and Afghanistan, with the latter producing the largest amount of opiates by volume, around 70 per cent of illicit drugs, with 42-43 per cent of that being trafficked through Pakistan.

The trade is transformative, and the annual UN World Drug Report details how states become consumers as a result of being transit countries. Today Karachi is the largest in-country transit hub for drugs and there is a need to allocate more resources, for Pakistan agencies to work even more closely than they already do with the UNODC and expand technical resources. This is a problem ‘in process’ and the UNODC warning must be heeded if we are not to fall into the trap of dependency. It is anecdotally reported that recreational drug use among young people, particularly in the expanding middle class, is widespread. There is little empirical evidence of the drug-using profile nationally. The UNODC report can also be seen as an opportunity rather than as just a threat. It is not too late to make the necessary interventions that can head off a deadly dependency. Political commitment will drive the quality or otherwise of the response to the UNODC warning, and the government would do well to heed wise advice.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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Revenue generation: Rents of govt properties to be rationalised

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:14

PESHAWAR: The district government proposed to rationalise rents of properties in parts of the city to bring them at par with market rates and generate revenue. The rents have not been increased for the last two decades.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting held at district government secretariat on Friday.

While talking to The Express Tribune city district nazim Arbab Muhammad Asim, who chaired the moot, said the policy had been approved in the meeting to rationalise rents of properties owned by the city government which had not been done for the last 15-20 years.

“The various decisions taken in the meeting will be tabled in the district council for approval which can then easily be passed from the council,” Asim said.

It was also decided the city district government will decrease the lease duration of properties given on rent to five years. Asim said the lease duration of properties which was 99 years earlier was reduced to 33 years. “Now, we reduced the time to five years.”

Moreover, the responsibility of renovation and repair of properties will now reside with tenants. The administration said action will be taken against those who failed to renovate rented shops.

Asim also said it was also decided that 25 kanals of land of the district government on main GT Road will be used for the construction of commercial buildings and parks so that more revenue could be generated.

“We have also proposed that employees wear uniforms at Peshawar bus stands, proper boundary wall and gates for entrance/exit at stands be constructed and water filtration plants also be set up at them,” he said.

Naib nazim Syed Qasim Ali Shah, coordination director Sahibzada Muhammad Tariq and other district government officials were also present at the meeting.

A handout was also issued in this regard which confirmed the decisions taken at the moot. It added the district nazim issued directives to quarters concerned to conduct surveys in order to identify market rates of properties. The submission deadline for the report is one week.

The document also stated more than 70% of tenants who had registered shops with their names had given it to second parties to charge more rents against officials notified prices. “It was decided during the meeting that directives would be issued to authorities to take action against such shopkeepers who were violating laws,” the handout revealed. However, it added traders in the city will be taken into confidence before action against such tenants.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.


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Now clean up Punjab

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:11

It is becoming ever clearer as time passes that the government of Punjab as well as the federal government, are unwilling or unable for a dark portfolio of reasons, to take the same robust action against extremist groups as elsewhere in the country. Statistics provided by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) give the lie to government claims of an across-the-board improvement in the security situation. Instances of security-related operations carried out against terrorists and ‘anti-state elements’ under the National Action Plan (NAP) are shown to be higher in Punjab than in any other province nationally.

What can only be described as disgraceful — indeed shameful — partiality, is clearly in play. Claims by the Punjab government that there is no need for Rangers deployment in the province are rendered nonsensical by the numbers. Equally fallacious are the claims that there is no problem with extremist groups in the province, this despite south Punjab in particular being infested with madrassas of known and patently obvious extremist leanings that operate under the blind eye of the provincial administration.

The Nacta data exposes the mendacity of those who for whatever reason are willing to allow extremist elements free rein, and it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that there is at the very least sympathy within the political and administrative strata of Punjab for extremist groups; and that protection is afforded to them for a political quid pro quo — votes in the ballot box. This conclusion will be loudly denied by those that run Punjab, but with 135 terrorists killed in the province alone and it topping the list of cases of hate speech — 71 per cent of the national total of 1,342 — their denial is mere fatuity. The army in Fata and the Rangers in Sindh are doing what they were tasked to do under NAP, yet Punjab continues to keep snakes at the bottom of the garden. It does the rest of the country a considerable — and deadly — disservice by failing to clean up and then having the audacity to say that it does not need to anyway. Quit the duplicity Punjab and sort it out. Now.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.

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performance: DPO bound to present report 

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:41

SWABI: Every district police officer is bound to present a six-month performance report to the district council. This was said by Swabi DPO Javed Iqbal. He was speaking during a meeting with local government representatives on Wednesday.

Iqbal added the district nazim could ask the IGP to conduct an enquiry into a case.

“In the new police ordinance, the district nazim, naib nazim and district public safety commission has the power to assess the performance of the police and report it to high officers,” he said. “The police are always ready to serve the public and they need their cooperation in establishing peace in the district.”

On the occasion, the local government members lauded the efforts of the police force for maintaining peace and security in the district and also gave approval to appoint 500 recruits.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.


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Anti-state diatribe: Govt to file reference against Altaf  

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:37

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Wednesday said the government will send a reference to British authorities against Altaf Hussain for inciting people to violence and attacking media houses in Karachi. “The state is playing its role. We will send a reference to British government against Altaf Hussain whose address provoked people to violate the law and attack private property,” he said speaking in a PTV programme. He said the government was taking required steps to deal with the situation and was also in contact with the British government. The Minister said that when in the past we had complained against Altaf Hussain, the British government replied that there was freedom of expression in their country. “But, this time we expect that they will seriously consider our concerns,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Search operation: Five militants killed in Balochistan

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:34

QUETTA: Five militants were killed in combing operation in the Chattar area of Nasirabad district of Balochistan on Wednesday.

According to officials, security forces started the search operation in Chattar, a border area between Nasirabad and Bugti tribal area against the presence of militants. “Five militants were killed in the combing operation,” security sources said and added that the operation is still going on.

In another search operation conducted in Saryab Road area on Wednesday, two suspects were arrested. They were identified as Ahsanullah and Abdul Kabeer.

Meanwhile, an IED blast took place in Awaran district on Wednesday, injuring eleven people.

According to sources, the blast hit the New Bus Stop area of Awaran district injuring eleven people, while the condition of five is said to be critical

Security forces and police rushed to the site and shifted the injured to the hospital. Investigations are being carried out to find the culprits. However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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UN convention: E-governance key to check corruption: NAB chief

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:31

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has said that e-governance is an important step to check corruption to digitise connection between public officials and communities, leading to accountable and inclusive decision making.

An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based Monitoring and Evaluation System (MES) in NAB has been introduced to automate all functions of operations division, he said while addressing the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on Prevention of Corruption at Vienna, Austria, according to a message received the other day.

He said now complaint verification, inquiry, investigation and filing of reference have been automated as software has in-built Executive Dash Board (EDB) functions which reflect day-to-day work right up to field level.

These efforts have been duly acknowledged by international community and Pakistan’s Global Ranking in ICT over the years have improved as per world economic forum report published in year 2015 which was in 2013 at 105th position, in 2014 at 111th position and in 2015 at 97th position, he said at the international convention.

The NAB chairman told the UN forum that corruption not only undermines development of any country but also deprives people of their due rights and considering these facts, NAB was established as Pakistan’s apex anti-corruption institution with responsibility of elimination of corruption through a holistic approach of awareness, prevention and enforcement.

Qamar Zaman said the government has introduced IT to bring transparency and minimise the chances of corruption and corrupt practices in government departments’ employment and procurement.

The chairman of NAB said the bureau was essentially a complaint driven organisation which was established to eradicate corruption and chalked out a comprehensive operational methodology for proceeding of cases, inquiry and investigation.

NAB’s investigation officers strictly follow Code of Conduct and Zero Tolerance Policy on basis of evidence as per law. He told the UIN forum that NAB has recovered Rs277.909 billion since its inception and received 3,21,318 complaints which were all disposed of according to law.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Delicate issue: SC rejects Kalabagh dam review plea

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:29

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court declared on Wednesday that the review petition seeking the apex court to instruct the executive for building the Kalabagh dam was not maintainable.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, had reserved judgment on July 18 over a petition filed by the Engineers Study Forum under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

AK Dogar, representing the Forum, had argued that the construction of Kalabagh dam was a matter of public importance and the petition pertained to fundamental rights. Dogar said the court could advise parliament in this regard in view of its public importance.

Pakistan, he feared, would be facing a severe water crisis in the next 10 years if Kalabagh dam was not constructed. He requested the SC to grant adequate opportunity for hearing.

However, Justice Gulzar Ahmad, a co-author of the four-page judgment, observed that the review jurisdiction did not allow re-hearing of cases already decided more so when the court “has given conscious and deliberate decision on the point of law … while disposing of the constitution petition before it”.

Similarly, points not raised at the time of hearing of the constitution petition “cannot be allowed to be raised in the review proceeding”, says the order.

Similarly, the court maintained that the court was not bound to give indefinite hearing to the counsel appearing for a party before it nor the counsel could claim such a privilege.

“It is the function of Court to regulate hearing of the matters fixed before it and at the same time to ensure that it has given adequate time to the counsel for hearing in a given case. What is the adequate time for hearing of a given case, it is not for the counsel appearing for a party before the Court to decide rather it is more a function of the Court.”

It also noted that the court at the time of handing over its judgment was fully conscious of its implications and had in mind all the issues which were raised by AK Dogar. “The review petition accordingly is not maintainable, (and) is dismissed.”

On January 9, 2015, a bench headed by former chief justice Nasirul Mulk, dismissed identical petitions for the construction of Kalabagh dam, observing that it was responsibility of the government to convene a meeting of Council of Common Interests to resolve the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.


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UNODC report: Pakistan risks becoming drugs-consuming country

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:26

KARACHI: The UN has warned that unless Pakistan takes steps to curb transit of drugs through its territory, it risks turning into a narcotics consuming country.

“Slowly and surely, they [drug traffickers] are building a market for illicit drugs here,” said Cesar Guedes, the Pakistan representative of UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), while unveiling the annual UN World Drug Report in Karachi.

“Russia was once a transit country for drugs, but after many years it became a net consuming country,” he said, as he pointed out that Brazil too had gone from being a transit country to become a consuming country over a period of 20-25 years replacing the US as the top cocaine consumer. “Pakistan is not at that stage yet, but more needs to be done [to prevent that],” he said as he went on to hint that drug traffickers target emerging economies with large youth base for their products.

Guedes pointed out that there are two major drug hubs in the world: Latin America for cocaine and Afghanistan for opiates. With Afghanistan producing 70 per cent of the world’s illicit drugs, around 42-43 per cent of this is trafficked through Pakistan.

“Karachi is the largest transit hub of drugs,” he said while explaining UNODC Pakistan chapter’s decision to launch the report in the metropolis instead of the federal capital. “We need to allocate greater resources, team up, provide greater technical resources to curb drug trade,” the UNODC official said.

He later told The Express Tribune that UNODC’s role in the country has gone through ups and downs and has evolved over the past 30 years as per the requirement, shifting from tackling poppy cultivation to currently providing technical assistance in detecting, intercepting and forensics of trafficked drugs.

Ajaz Ali Khan, Secretary of Narcotics Control Ministry, said the government had seized around 342 tonnes of illicit narcotics worth $2.5 billion in 2015. It coincided with a dramatic increase in cooperation with UNODC. He agreed with Guedes that Karachi suffers the most in the drug war and requires special treatment. “We need to focus on demand reduction,” Khan said as he outlined his strategy for curbing the drug trade included controlling drug demand and supply simultaneously to curb it.

He pointed out that the government is pursuing a three-pronged counter-drug strategy that focuses on curbing supply of drugs, demand of drugs and international cooperation. “If your [drug trafficking] preventive efforts are good, they [drug traffickers] divert [to other pliable routes].”

Revealing that while the role of provinces in tackling drug trafficking has increased since the 18th constitutional amendment, Khan said the federal government was still working with the provinces on countering drug trafficking. “It is the need of the hour for the provinces to do more for drug demand reduction.”

Global drug usage

Globally, of the 247 million drug users, cannabis was the most widely consumed narcotic with 182.5 million users.

The report showed that opioids and cannabis are the most prevalent form of drugs in Pakistan. It also showed that cocaine and amphetamines were also consumed to a lesser extent. It also showed that drug production in Pakistan stood at nine tonnes of opium with poppy being cultivated over 372 hectares in 2015. This was up from five tonnes with poppy being cultivated over 217 hectares in 2014. At the same time, Pakistan reported having destroyed poppy over 605 and 1,010 hectares in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Contradictory reaction: PPP speaks with two voices on minus-Altaf MQM

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:23

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party, which holds key opposition positions in both houses of parliament, is not speaking with one voice on the future of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in parliamentary politics, especially after its chief Altaf Hussain’s stinging diatribe against the state of Pakistan and its institutions.

“In the current scenario, minus-one formula is the only option for the MQM,” Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, told journalists at his chamber on Wednesday. Apparently, the MQM broke off from its all-powerful London office on Tuesday when Dr Farooq Sattar told a news conference that “now the party will be operated from Pakistan.”

However some political commentators call it a ruse to deflect the outrage triggered by Altaf’s vitriolic speech and subsequent attacks on media houses by his supporters. “The situation will become clear in a week or so, we should wait until then,” Shah told journalists.

The opposition leader said that apart from immense pressure from the security establishment, a crescendoing demand from politicians also contributed to Sattar’s decision to publicly disown the London office of his party. “The party [MQM] is registered in Sattar’s name; therefore, there should be no problem in him running the party from Pakistan.”

In the same breath, however, he warned that the London-based MQM leadership would not surrender all powers to Sattar and his colleagues in Karachi.

Referring to the MQM’s Rabita Committee in London, Shah claimed that Altaf was surrounded by people who were under the influence of the Indian lobby. Some workers of the party also support this lobby, he added. Shah brushed aside the claim that Altaf made anti-Pakistan statements in a fit of anger or under some mental pressure or illness. “India’s involvement [in fuelling unrest in Pakistan] cannot be ruled out if seen in the context of a recent statement of fugitive Baloch separatist Brahamdagh Bugti.”

Shah said the interior ministry should have lodged a strong protest with the British government over the anti-Pakistan diatribe of Altaf, who is a British citizen. “The interior ministry should not go soft on this crucial issue,” he added.

When asked if he would support Altaf’s trial for treason, the opposition leader said Article 6 of the Constitution, which relates to high treason, has been abused umpteen times in Pakistan. A former military dictator, Gen (retd) Ziaul-Haq hanged prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had introduced Article 6. “The incumbent government had decided to try another military dictator, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, for treason, but then let him slip out of the country.”

While Shah claimed minus-one formula was the only option available to the MQM, his senior party colleague took the opposite line. “In [Pakistani] politics, minus-one formula has never worked,” said Aitzaz Ahsan, the opposition leader in the Senate. “I don’t think Altaf could be removed so easily and so early,” he added. ”Politics [political careers] do not end overnight.”

Ahsan said the MQM chief had made a blunder by delivering the seditious speech, but it would be too early to claim that Sattar holding the party’s reins meant end of Altaf.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Crime: Traffic warden shot, injured

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:18

RAWALPINDI: Three unidentified men here on Wednesday shot and injured a traffic warden after the traffic officer tried to stop their motorcycle.

Traffic Warden Asif Ali was performing his duties at Dhoke Dalal Chowk. When he tried to stop three men travelling on a motorcycle, one of the biker opened fire on him.

A bullet hit Ali on his left leg. Wajid Satti, spokesperson for the City Traffic police, said that the warden was shifted to the Holy Family Hospital where he was in stable condition.

He said that Chief Traffic Officer Sardar Ghias Gul visited the injured warden and assured him that the attackers would soon be arrested. Ratta Amral Police had registered a criminal case against the unidentified attackers.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Speeding: Man injured in hit-and-run

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:17

ISLAMABAD: A man was injured in a hit-and-run in Jhangi Syedan on Wednesday. Shahzad lodged a complaint with the Noon police that a speeding vehicle (LES-7922), driven by unidentified man, hit his brother while he was crossing a road in Jhangi Syedan and fled. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was under treatment.

The police have registered a case against the driver.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Eidul Azha Preparations: IMC auctions off cattle market

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 21:17

ISLAMABAD: The Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) has auctioned the cattle market at I-12/1 for Rs23.5 million. The concerned departments will ensure proper sanitation and provision of basic facilities at the cattle market, an official said. He said civic agency would also arrange ambulance service for the market to meet any untoward incident. The auction was made to Malik and Co for 13 days, and the contractor had paid 25 per cent of the bid on the first day as per criteria, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News