National articles

11 Pakistanis join a cellular network every minute

11 Pakistanis join a cellular network every minute

ISLAMABAD – In every minute 11 Pakistanis join a cellular community, more than 430,000 SMS are sent and 160,000 calls made. Even though the cellular industry pays the highest tax, it contributes 3 percent to the country’s GDP with revenue of Rs 357.7 billion in the year 2009-10 compared to Rs 333 billion in the previous year.
According to official sources, incomes of 6 out of every 1,000 Pakistanis are dependent on the telecom industry. Half of Pakistanis including women have

PIEDMC departing CEO bids farewell to CM

LAHORE – Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company outgoing Chief Executive Officer Gen (r) Tariq Javed had a farewell meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif. The chief minister lauded the outgoing CEO’s performance and in recognition of his work presented him with a momento from the provincial government.
Tariq Javed resigned from his post on medical reasons in November 2010. During his one year at the CEO office, in addition to optimizing

Photo exhibit

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) hosted a photography exhibition by the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), bringing together photographs from across Pakistan taken in flood-affected areas by the its own aid workers. The exhibition will be displayed in Islamabad for a week after which the collection will travel to Lahore, Karachi and Geneva.
The collection of some 30 photographs was chosen from a pool of over 200 pictures by organisers, Stacey Winston

CAA delays construction of airstrip at Thar coalfields

KARACHI – The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is arbitrarily delaying starting construction of an airstrip in Islamkot, Tharparkar district, aimed at facilitating foreign investors to reach Thar coalfields by air. Despite the fact that the Sindh government had released Rs 315 million to the CAA last year, the authority has not spent even a single paisa for the airstrip’s construction.
The provincial government had approved the location of the airstrip with a total cost of Rs

Karachi Circular Railway set to become broken dream

KARACHI – The $1.58 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project might be cancelled as the government is not taking any interest in solving various related issues for the past one year, sources have claimed. One such issue that needs to be handled immediately is the re-lending of funds by the Japanese government.
The government of Japan would invest $1.58 billion for reviving the KCR to mitigate the traffic problems in the city. These funds would be directly provided to the

Altaf demands more provinces to ‘strengthen country’

KARACHI – Demanding that there should be more provinces in Pakistan, MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Sunday said the creation of new provinces will strengthen the country instead of weakening it.
“The Hazara and Seraiki people are demanding new provinces. A referendum needs to be held on the issue,” he said via telephone from London while addressing the largely attended ‘Jalsa-e-Qaumi Yakjehti’ (national solidarity public meeting). He also demanded the government should reduce its

Punjab seeks Centre’s help to arrest US Consulate driver

LAHORE – The Punjab government has dispatched an official letter to the federal government to play its role for the immediate custody of the US Consulate driver and car which ran over and killed Ubaidur Rehman in a bid to help Raymond Davis, Pakistan Today learnt on Sunday.
According to sources, the letter sought federal government’s help to unearth mystery behind the movement and the killing spree of Davis and his accomplices, who managed to escape from the scene. The letter

Mugger kills student on resisting robbery

LAHORE – A mugger killed a man on showing resistance at an attempted robbery in the precincts of the Ghalib market police station on Sunday, while Mujahid Squad Police caught the killer.
The deceased, 22-years-old Muhammad Adnan, was a student of Intermediate, originally from Mardan, living in Lahore for studies. According to police, an armed man held Adnan on gun point at the backside of the Home economics collage in Gulberg and tried to robe him.
Adnan showed resistance

SSGC to check gas losses with WB loan

KARACHI – With the assistance of a $200-million loan from the World Bank (WB), the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) intends to implement WB’s Natural Gas Efficiency Project for the purpose of reducing unaccounted-for gas (UFG) [gas loss through leakage and other reasons].
Under this project, the SSGC would replace approximately 5,750km of distribution pipeline – excluding the main supply line – during the next five years along with overhead and underground leak survey, and

Forces gaining control in Mohmand Agency

MOHMAND AGENCY – The security forces cleaned up more areas from militants in their operation in the Mohmand Agency and arrested ten suspected men on Sunday, while a large number of people migrated from the areas due to escalation in military operation.
The security forces’ ongoing operation in Mohmand Agency became intensified and gunship helicopters, jet planes, tanks and heavy artillery were being used in it. The security forces making continuous advance in various parts of the

Reqo Diq mining – Balochistan govt presenting record of deals in SC today

ISLAMABAD – Complete record of Reko Diq deals with the foreign exploration and mining companies will be presented by the Balochistan government before the Supreme Court today (Monday).
Advocate General Balochistan Salahuddin Mengal will present the record before a four-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday.
The bench is hearing petitions against leasing of Reko

Hearing in PR land scam resumes today

ISLAMABAD – A four-member Supreme Court bench will resume hearing today over Pakistan Railways land leasing in Lahore at a meager price, causing Rs 25 billion loss to the national exchequer.
The court will examine the replies of three retired generals including former Inter Services Intelligence chief Javed Ashraf Qazi, Lt Gen (r) Saeeduz Zafar and Maj Gen (r) Hamid Hassan Butt, who administered the Pakistan Railways in 2001, and are allegedly involved in the Rs 25 billion

66,000 drugs registered under Drug Act 1976

ISLAMABAD – As much as 66,000 drugs have been registered in the country by December 2010, 55,000 of them as active drugs, under Drug Act 1976. According to Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) Chairman Haroon Qasim, around 10,000 are imported drugs while about 1,000 drugs have been de-registered over the last many years for several reasons like international withdrawals, safety recalls etc.
In a statement, he said the registered drugs included medical

Govt committed to reconciliation, says Gilani

MULTAN – Government will persist in its policy of reconciliation, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani said while talking to a delegation led by president of district bar association, Arbab Syed. Gillani said government had taken such steps as restoration of 1973 Constitution along with implementing 18th and 19th amendments.
The PM also affirmed government’s commitment and strong belief in media’s freedom and judiciary’s independence. He stressed that lawyers, civil society media

Safety of Pakistanis in Egypt will be ensured: FO

ISLAMABAD – All Pakistanis in Egypt are safe and if needed, they will be rescued from the troubled country, said the Foreign Office here on Sunday.
The Foreign Office spokesman, Abdul Basit, in a statement, said there were at least 150 Pakistani families in Egypt and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassy in Cairo were in close contact.
He said the government of Pakistan would take every possible step to ensure the wellbeing and safety of Pakistani citizens.

In Syria, the silence before the storm?

DAMASCUS – On the surface all is calm in Syria, tightly ruled by the same authoritarian party for half a century, despite the upheaval in several of its Arab neighbours. Below, ordinary Syrians are quietly captivated by the tumult.
The government has barely commented on the six days of unprecedented protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and its control over the media has stifled public reaction in a country struggling with similar poverty and unemployment.

‘State, provinces need new socio political contract’

KARACHI – A new social and political contract between the State and provinces is the need of the hour and the only way out of the myriad of societal problems that afflict the country today, claimed political leaders, intellectuals and civil society representatives at a seminar organised by the Indus People’s Forum on Sunday titled ‘Survival of the State: Ideology, Economy and Governance’.
“Religious extremism is being patronised within Pakistan,” said National Party leader