National articles

Shutdown in IHK against killing of Maulana Showkat

Shutdown in IHK against killing of Maulana Showkat

Srinagar – Complete shutdown is being observed on Saturday against the killing of a leading Kashmiri religious scholar and the President of Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadith, Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah.
He was martyred in a blast outside a mosque at Maisuma in Srinagar when he was on his was to offer Juma prayers.
Call for the shutdown has been given by the All Parties Hurriyet Conference Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, veteran Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani and Jammu Kashmir

Ministry of Religious Affairs to present Hajj policy-2011

ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of Religious Affairs is all set to present the draft of Hajj policy-2011 before the Federal Cabinet for final approval as it has already been discussed in the Senate and National Assembly Standing Committees on Religious Affairs.
This year, according to draft of the new policy, around 179,256 intending pilgrims will be sent to Saudi Arabia for performing the religious obligation under both the government and private Hajj schemes.
After getting the

BISP distributed Rs 78 billion among deserving people: Chairperson

ISLAMABAD – Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Farzana Raja said that the government under the BISP has distributed Rs 78 billion amongst four million deserving families.
Talking to a private news channel, she said the target of incorporating 0.7 million poor families would be achieved by June 2011.
She said in order to ensure poor families receive facilitates as soon as possible, a poverty survey is being conducted throughout the country and NADRA is

New spell of rains start in parts of country: MET office

ISLAMABAD – The Met Office has forecasted on Saturday that a fresh spell of rains will start in several parts of the country during the next 24 hours.
According to a private news channel, a thunder storm was followed by rains in Peshawar on Saturday early morning.
The Meteorological Department has predicted of rain in the next 24 hours in Islamabad and Rawalpindi along with several other parts of the country.
“Strong winds and thunder storms followed by rain is expected

PM seeks support, Nawaz says he won’t rock the boat

LONDON – The PPP and the PML-N on Friday agreed to join hands to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the country. The leadership of both parties made the pledge when Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called on PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif at his Park Lane apartment in London to inquire after him following a heart surgery.
Nawaz has been resting since the surgery performed last month. Both leaders had an hour-long meeting and discussed political and economic situation

Hundreds of CIA operatives still in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Despite the US providing a list of all CIA-linked contractors operating in Pakistan to authorities as demanded in the wake of the Raymond Davis fiasco, almost all such “dubious characters” still happen to be inside Pakistan. The US authorities have shared with Pakistani officials the exact number of CIA-linked contractors in Pakistan, as well as details of their whereabouts and nature of jobs.
Defence circles in Islamabad believe that almost all details required have

Punjab surrenders half of its water to other provinces

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD – The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) decided in a meeting chaired by its Chairman Rao Irshad held on Friday to allocate 45 percent of Punjab’s share of water to other provinces.
It was decided in the meeting that Punjab would surrender its water share by almost half and the province would get 18,000 cusecs of water. The meeting indicated that Sindh would get about 50,000 cusecs of water from the Mangla Dam for Kharif crops.
The emergency meeting was

‘Culture of impunity’ in Pakistan, says US report

WASHINGTON – A US report said Friday that Pakistan had a “culture of impunity” on human rights abuses and stated that security forces were operating outside the control of the civilian government. An annual State Department survey on human rights reported widespread concerns in Pakistan – a key US war partner – including violence against women, child labour, corruption and discrimination against religious minorities.
The report said Pakistan had not held anyone accountable for a

SBP predicts 2-3pc GDP growth

KARACHI – Expressing “cautious optimism” over a stable rupee and comfortable external accounts despite foreign funding drying up sharply, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reiterated on Friday that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth would range between two and three percent for the current fiscal year.
Concerned over what it called a “disheartening outlook” on inflation, the central bank expressed fears that despite a marginal ease in its Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11)

SC orders govt to recover money from ‘all pilgrims’

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Friday directed the government to recover the money within one week from all pilgrims, including journalists, who had undertaken the Haj pilgrimage from the national exchequer.
A six-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing a suo motu case against alleged corruption in the Haj arrangements. The court also directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to register criminal cases against the officials of the

Mirza spills the beans, says MQM behind his removal

KARACHI – The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was playing innocent now, said former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza, but his removal had much to do with the party as MQM chief Altaf Hussain and Coordination Committee Deputy Convener Farooq Sattar had repeatedly demanded that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership remove him.
“Altaf Hussain asked President Asif Ali Zardari six times to remove me,” Mirza told reporters at a reception for the Pakistan Cricket Team at Chief

Man desecrates Bible to ‘avenge’ Quran burning

LAHORE – A 24-year-old man desecrated the Bible at the gates of Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church on Lawrence Road on Friday in order to “avenge” extremist US preacher Terry Jones’ desecration of the Holy Quran. Police arrested the man and registered a case against him under section 295-A of the PPC.
Police said Akhtar Hussain, a resident of Kasur, had first tried to force entry into the church, whereupon security guards at the gates stopped him and asked for identification.

Captured suicide bomber says 400 more in training

ISLAMABAD – A teenager arrested as an accomplice to the country’s deadliest suicide bombing of the year has said that up to 400 suicide bombers are being groomed to wage carnage in the nation.
Umar Fidayee, 14, said the would-be bombers were being trained in North Waziristan. He made the remarks in an interview aired on Friday from his hospital bedside, where he is being treated after detonating a hand grenade in the April 4 attack that killed 50 people at the shrine of Sufi

No CNG sale from Monday: suppliers

LAHORE – CNG sales in Punjab will be closed from Monday for an indefinite period as the All Pakistan CNG Association has announced to shut all CNG stations against the discriminatory policies of the Punjab government.
The All Pakistan Petroleum Retailers Association (APPRA) has also announced to join the strike and shut down all petrol filling stations, demanding the Punjab government immediately evolve a policy regarding lease of petrol filling stations in the province.

Radioactivity alert!

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) on Friday admitted that traces of airborne radioactive iodine believed to have originated from the crisis-hit Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in Pakistan.
However, it said it was a tiny amount and billions of times lower than levels that could be of any consequences to public health. “Because of the large distance from Japan and air mixing along the path, the radiation reaching Pakistan is

Sindh affairs echo in Senate

ISLAMABAD – Senators on Friday put the debate on president’s address to the joint sitting of parliament on second priority and raised other national issues.
Taking part in the debate, Senator Abdur Rahim Mandokhel urged the government to evolve a strategy for implementing the unanimous resolution passed by the joint sitting of the parliament.
Without referring anyone, he said those giving decree of murder were being patronised and protected. Without mentioning the culprits,

Funding to HEC blocked

ISLAMABAD – Amidst the controversy over the proposed devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) to the provinces, the Finance Ministry on Friday blocked the quarterly grant of Rs 7.7 billion to the commission. The amount allocated for the fiscal year 2010-11 was supposed to be released on April 1.
However, the ministry refused to release the grant, saying it could not be released until the HEC’s fate was decided. Talking to Pakistan Today, HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Leghari