National articles

‘Disappointed’ Nawaz shows PPP the door

‘Disappointed’ Nawaz shows PPP the door

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif formally announced his party’s decision to part ways with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Friday and said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would most likely dissolve the provincial cabinet to form a new one that would exclude PPP ministers.
Following a five-hour meeting of the party’s executive council to discuss future strategies, Nawaz told a press conference that the decision to part ways with the PPP in

Gilani won’t shut door on PML-N

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told parliamentarians at the Parliament House on Friday that despite the Pakistan Muslim League-N’s grievances against the Pakistan People’s Party-led government, it would continue to follow its policy of reconciliation.
“This (reconciliation) policy has introduced a new political culture of tolerance and cooperation in the democratic system. We will continue the policy of taking all political forces on board on national issues,

Tens of thousands march across Arab world

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON – The escalating revolt in Libya on Friday emboldened protesters across the Arab world, where tens of thousands flooded streets from Tunisia to Yemen to demand better lives and greater freedom.
Government forces shot dead at least two protesters in Tripoli, television stations reported. Moamer Gaddafi appeared on the central Green Square to make an impassioned speech of defiance, after witnesses described swirling clashes on streets all around the city between

Davis refuses to sign charge sheet, files application for release

LAHORE – Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor Raymond Davis, who was charged with double murder after shooting dead two men in Lahore last month, refused to sign a charge sheet in a preliminary hearing at the Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday and insisted that he had diplomatic immunity, lawyers said.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Yousaf began a regular hearing of the case, at the start of which the accused was told to sign a charge sheet, but Davis refused to

PPP for reconciliation, others say move start of new power game

LAHORE – In response to the PML-N’s decision to part ways with the PPP in Punjab, PPP leaders on Friday renewed their pledge to continue politics of reconciliation in the province. However, other political forces called the move “a start of a new power game in Punjab”.
Federal Minister for Labour and Manpower Khurshid Shah said the PPP would play the opposition’s role in Punjab, adding however, that it would continue its policy of reconciliation. He said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif

‘MQM not to join govt until demands are met’

LAHORE – The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will not join the federal cabinet until its demands are met, MQM Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Haider Abbas Rizvi said on Friday.
He was talking to journalists after visiting the residence of US national Raymond Davis’ victim. Rizvi said that the MQM’s stance was based on principals and the party would stand by its philosophy.

2,570 foreigners entitled to immunity, NA told

ISLAMABAD – Fuelling speculation that the government might certify that Raymond Davis was entitled to diplomatic immunity, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Friday told the National Assembly that 2,570 foreigners including diplomats and non-diplomats working at embassies and consulates of 78 countries in Pakistan were entitled to diplomatic immunity, adding that among them was one non-diplomat at Lahore consulate of the United States.
In a written reply

SC directs railways secy to submit report on land scam

ISLAMABAD – Hearing a petition against the Railways land scam, allegedly worth more than Rs 25 billion, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Railways secretary to submit a comprehensive report within two weeks. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani held that the court would also examine the transparency of the transfer of money in the deal.
Mian Gul Hassan advocate told the court that

PTCL chief, two directors sent packing

KARACHI – The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has reshuffled its entire management with the chairman and two directors being forced to resign on February 24. PTCL told its shareholders in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad stock exchanges on Friday that PTCL Chairman Najeebullah Malik and directors Salman Siddiqui and Khursheed Ahmed Junejo had resigned, adding that Walid Irshad would continue to serve as chief executive officer for the next term.
Saeed Ahmad Khan

Goodbye to you my (dis)trusted friend …

NEWS ANALYSIS – The marriage of convenience of strange bedfellows could not consummate and the three-year “unnatural alliance” between the two pole-apart political rivals finally broke down. The 45-day deadline, which was extended for another 48 hours, expired and the PML-N announced to part ways with the PPP in the Punjab.
It was expected and certain as the PML-N had already started preparing grounds to say “goodbye” to the PPP with Nawaz Sharif publicly taking on the federal

Government to raise $2b from shares of banks, energy companies

ISLAMABAD – The government plans to raise $ 2 billion by offloading shares of banks and energy companies on the local stock exchanges as well as exchangeable bonds in the international markets to bridge the rising fiscal deficit during the current fiscal year. Privatisation Minister Syed Naveed Qamar said in a statement that the government would offload some of its shares in the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Kot Addu Power Company (KAPCO) and Pakistan

Zardari seeks Kuwait’s help for enhanced ties with GCC

KUWAIT – President Asif Ali Zardari and Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Friday vowed to further strengthen ties between the two countries through enhanced trade cooperation and joint ventures. Zardari also sought Kuwait’s support to enhance relations with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and said Pakistan had initiated strategic dialogue with the council.
After his arrival in the Gulf state, President Zardari discussed with Sheikh Sabah the potential of

Pakistan to seek conversion of 50% of annual diesel from Kuwait to grant

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan will seek conversion of 50 percent of its annual diesel imports from Kuwait to grant along with the proposal to extension credit facility from 60 days to 90 days. An official source on Friday said the proposals would be discussed with the leadership of Kuwait during President Asif Ali Zardari’s two-day official visit to the country.
Pakistan imports nearly 3.4 million tonnes of diesel and 1 million tonne of furnace oil from Kuwait annually. The government is

EPA DG transferred after being sent on forced leave

ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of Environment has transferred Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Director General Asif Shujah to National Energy Conservation Centre (ENERCON). It is learnt that a few months ago, the ministry decided to send Asif Shujah on a forced leave after differences erupted between him and the higher authorities over some important issues.
“He has been transferred to ENERCON which is an attached department of the Ministry of Environment,” said an

PML-N unlikely to go for early elections

NEWS ANALYSIS – Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif finally announced his party’s split with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Punjab on Friday. While certainly dealing a blow to the PPP and its recent reconciliatory efforts, the PML-N leader stopped short of announcing an all-out war against the PPP for the time being.
The message from Sharif’s press conference – where he announced the decision to part ways with the PPP, blaming President Asif Ali Zardari for leaving

GLOW brings exciting offer

LAHORE – With the beginning of the cricket season, GLOW, Pakistan’s most vibrant and distinguished youth brand by Warid Telecom, has introduced a new SMS bundle, 100 SMS @ 50 paisas/day to any number, any network in Pakistan. The offer has been designed keeping in mind the pocket size and needs of the youth segment.
Also, an interesting IVR-based service called ‘Fantasy Cricket’ will be available the customers to set up their team and receive regular updates/reminders on the