Three more children who had been suffering from measles died in the Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, raising the measles death toll to 96 in Punjab. The deceased have been identified as Haris (2), Babar (1) and Zoya (2) who had been undergoing treatment at the hospital. According to hospital sources, the deceased were from Lahore and Sargodha. As many as 253 new cases have been reported during the last 24 hours from Punjab including 73 from the city hospitals. The number of measles cases reported in Punjab in last six months has reached 13,220.
Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mehmood has termed the ignoring of five percent quota allocated for minorities during the recruitments in Sargodha University as serious maladministration. Mehmood issued these orders on the application of Sargodha University Town All Pakistan Minorities Democratic Movement Chairman Chaudhry Mushtaq Gill. Gill had appealed to the ombudsman that five percent quota allocated for minorities had been totally ignored by Sargodha University during recruitments and the university administration was not willing to implement the rules and regulations at any cost despite repeated requests. The Punjab ombudsman called for explanation from the Sargodha University administration in this regard, and during an enquiry it revealed that it had committed serious violation of rules during process of recruitments of employees. He ordered Sargodha University vice chancellor and registrar to explain their case in this regard. He also ordered them to include five percent minority quota in all recruitments made after March 2010 as per constitution and rules and submit a report to Ombudsman office within a month. Mehmood said that the maladministration of Sargodha University had been proved during the recruitment process and the minority quota had not been mentioned in any advertisement published in the newspapers by Sargodha University after March 2010.
Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahbaz Sharif has said his party had no interest in the politics of sit-ins and protests. He said it was time to resolve people's problems instead of staging protests. He appealed to all political parties to get united. The PML-N has also decided to convene a roundtable conference in the wake of poor law and order situation in Karachi. According to sources, PML-N has ruled out the option of military operation to restore peace in the country’s commercial capital.
A part of an under construction pedestrian bridge on Ring Road collapsed on Wednesday disrupting flow of vehicular traffic in the area. Authorities suspended the traffic from both sides after the incident to remove the debris. According to eyewitnesses, a part of under construction pedestrian bridge in Kamhan Pind area of Defence Phase-IV collapsed on Wednesday morning. No casualties were reported from the incident.
A couple married against their families’ wishes were harassed by their relations on Wednesday, right after procuring the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s approval to stay together. According to the authorities, Yousuf had married Zahida against her family’s will who had lodged a First Information report (FIR) against the couple. However, after hearing the appeal, the high court allowed the married couple to stay together which infuriated Zahida’s family. They physically assaulted the two, but the newlywed couple managed to escape.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) Complaint Cell on Wednesday took notice of a rape case reported in the press involving an eight-year-old female victim at the hands of a landlord’s son in Mangtanwala Area. The Nankana Sahib district and sessions judge (D&SJ) was directed to probe the matter and submit a detailed report regarding the local police’s action against the perpetrator. According to details, a Mango Taaro village resident told the police that her daughter, a second grade student, was abducted on her way home from school. He said that he had gone searching for her when he heard her crying out from the nearby fields. He caught her assailant, 16-year-old Zahid red-handed and transferred him to the police. The victim was shifted to Lahore Children’s Hospital in a critical condition. Police have registered a rape case against Zahid and have commenced proceedings against him.
Five members of a family including four minors were injured when a fire broke out in a house near Peco Road on Wednesday. Rescue 1122 sources said that the fire erupted in a house near Pindi Stop due to short-circuiting and burnt valuables worth thousands of rupees. Fire brigade and Rescue teams reached the spot and rescued the family and shifted the injured to a nearby hospital.
Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer said school-going children were harbingers of safety and could change specific road behaviours of their parents and others as well. Addressing "Road Safety Awareness Seminar for Kids" organised by Safe Communities Pakistan (SCP) at Emergency Services Academy on Wednesday, he said children could play a vital role in building safer communities in Pakistan by sensitising the general public about road usage. Over 250 school children of Elite Grammar School, Balsome House School and Children's Academy High School participated in the seminar which was also attended by members of Executive Body of SCP, including Message Communication CEO Sohail Aziz, TABA Foundation Director Khalid Butt and Road Safety Trainer Asif Khawaja. The objectives behind the seminar were to create the awareness of road safety matters among school children as life safety is a right and responsibility of all. The DG said citizens should abide by traffic rules and regulations while driving as this was a matter of their own and lives of others.
A delegation of Jamaat e Islami (JI) called on Imran Khan at his residence on Wednesday. Led by nominated senior minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Siraj ul Haq, the delegation discussed issues of future coalition government. The main agenda of discussion was the upcoming budget. Khan gave his input regarding the budget to be presented next month. Khan was discharged from the hospital this morning with a special jacket to protect his neck and back bones.
An accountability court on Wednesday awarded five years jail term and fined Rs 1 million to Rao Abdul Jalil, father of former Haj DG Rao Shakeel, in a land fraud reference. However, the court acquitted former Haj DG in the case. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed the reference in 2007 wherein it was submitted that Jalil got transferred a plot of 208 kanals situated in Sheikhupura through fake documents in his name. The NAB also alleged that former Haj DG also aided his father in the matter. Lahore Accountability Court-II Judge Muhammad Falek Sher after hearing arguments awarded five years jail term and fined Rs 1 million to Jalil but acquitted Shakeel.
A prominent lawyer was shot dead in Lahore on Wednesday. Police said armed attackers fired shots on advocate Zain Ghaffar’s car when he left his home in Lahore’s Defence area this morning. He was due to appear in a local court when he was shot. Rescue team and police arrived at the crime scene and cordoned off the area. Locals said the victim was in a land dispute. Further investigations into the incident have been started.
Balochistan Caretaker Chief Minister Nawab Ghaus Bakhsh Barozai on Tuesday said that the promised peaceful polls took place in the province and the chief minister’s office remained unbiased and uncontroversial during this process at a ceremony organised by Punjab University Academic Staff Association at Punjab University (PU). PU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Mujahid Kamran, Acting President Dr Faheem Aftab, Secretary Javed Sami and faculty members and students were also present. Barozai said that hostile powers had threatened to halt the elections but we had successfully continued with them. In some instances, helicopters were used to transport voters to polling stations, and the caretaker government controlled many incidents of violence. He added that militants were shamelessly using children in terrorist activities by monetary temptation. He said that Balochistan’s own people damaged their province. During the last government, Members of National Assembly (MNAs) were allotted Rs 250 million in funds annually but the Quetta still suffered from poor infrastructure, and he said that there were “no go areas” in Balochistan only because there were no roads. He said that they had abundant mineral and human resources but “we prefer personal interest over national interest”. He held that Punjab was acting like a big brother and had made many positive gestures. According to the caretaker chief minister, ignorant people in the media were presenting a false picture of Balochistan’s problems, adding that its major issue was lack of education and he appealed to the other provinces to accommodate maximum Baloch students in their academic institutions. He explained that Balochis had hospitals but lacked the expertise to run them. He urged the newly-elected parliamentarians to serve the Baloch people at this critical juncture. Addressing the ceremony, Dr Mujahid Kamran congratulated Mr Barozai for holding peaceful elections. He said that the Baloch were brave, loyal and hard working people, willing to sacrifice their lives for their leaders. He said that 97 Baloch students were admitted to Punjab University with no tuition and free boarding facilities and Rs 3,000 monthly scholarship was also awarded to each Baloch student. He praised the Baloch students at PU for being motivated learners. Dr Faheem Aftab thanked Barozai and PU VC Dr Mujahid Kamran for gracing the event. Later, PU VC Dr Mujahid Kamran presented a portrait and books to the caretaker chief minister.
19 buses would be added to the Metro Bus fleet of 45 by the end of June as the bus service’s demanded has exceeded expectations in the provincial capital. The Metro Bus has been inundated with passengers since its opening on February 10. Those behind the project had expected the crowds to dwindle after the initial hype surrounding the shiny 27 kilometre bus corridor dissipated. However, around 120,000 people a day on average were still using the bus service. The Punjab Metro Bus Authority (PMBA) ordered 19 new buses around a month after the inauguration. The buses from China Volvo would arrive in Karachi by June 20, reaching Lahore 10 days later. “We ordered new buses because of the high passenger load,” said PMBA Operations General Manager Uzair Shah. The fleet’s expansion would mean that the buses would not be overcrowded, he added. Some 45 buses were operational on the bus-only track on Ferozepur Road, but the authorities have so far failed to devise an efficient traffic plan for the eight junctions where the bus interacted with general traffic. Thus, the PMBA has struggled to run the buses at fixed intervals as planned. Further, the PMBA recently received a feasibility report from the Turkish company Ulasim for a second potential Metro Bus line from Thokar Niaz Beg to MAOCollege along Multan Road, a length of 12.6 kilometres. Ulasim is also working on a feasibility study for a third line from Azadi Chowk to the Ring Road via the City Railway Station and Daroghewala along GT Road. The report is due in some 30 days. Uzair Shah said that the report for line 2 was a preliminary one and it would likely undergo several changes, so he did not wish to share it.He said that the new Punjab government would decide which route to start work on first. Passengers on the Metro Bus are currently charged a flat rate of Rs 20 per journey. A PMBA official said that the authority would advise the new government to set destination-specific fares, according the rates notified by the Lahore Transport Authority (LTA). According to the LTA rates, the maximum ticket price would be Rs 36 for travelling the length of the 27km track. Shah said that the new government would decide whether to revise the rates or not. He said that cards had been introduced for regular travellers in February shortly after the bus service was inaugurated.