National articles

522,025 children to be administered polio vaccine

522,025 children to be administered polio vaccine

SIALKOT – As many as 522,025 children below five years would be administered anti-polio vaccine during a three-day national anti-polio campaign to be started in Sialkot district from March 7. Sialkot District Coordination Officer (DCO) Mujahid Sher Dil said this while presiding over a meeting. The DCO said 1,037 mobile teams, 130 stationed teams and 49 transit teams of Sialkot health department would cover all the four tehsils, Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur, to administer

SC forgives Dogar for PCO oath

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted an unconditional apology by former de-facto chief justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Abdul Hameed Dogar for taking oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) in violation of SC’s November 3, 2007 restraint order and terminated the contempt of court notice issued to him.
The court also withdrew contempt of court notice against dysfunctional PCO judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain after his counsel SM

Suicide car bomb, ambush kill 15 in northwest

PESHAWAR – A suicide car bombing and an ambush by militants targeting police in the northwest of the country killed 15 people including nine officers on Thursday. In Hangu, a suicide car bombing targeting police killed nine people, including three officers and injured more than 30. Officials said police patrolling the Hangu bypass road attempted to stop a car reportedly loaded with 300 kilogrammes of explosives, but the bomber hit a police van killing nine people.
Hangu police

Shahbaz reorganises his cabinet

LAHORE – In a major development, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has reconstituted his cabinet by including just one new minister and filling the portfolios left vacant by the Pakistan People’s Party ministers’ ouster by awarding additional charges to his existing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ministers.
The Unification Bloc received no ministerial slot in the first phase of the cabinet restructuring. Zulfiqar Khosa is the new addition in Shahbaz’s cabinet, bagging the slot

Tahir calls Bloc’s meeting, invites PML-Q as well

LAHORE – With the Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s Unification Bloc facing a troubled situation and members getting out of control, bloc leader Dr Tahir Javed called an emergency meeting of the party on Friday in the committee room of the Punjab Assembly.
In a shrewd tactical decision, Javed invited not only the original bloc members but the rest of the PML-Q parliamentarians to attend the crucial meeting as well, which was followed by a grand feast. “We have been served notices of

No such thing as Punjabi Taliban, says Shahbaz

ISLAMABAD – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday criticised Interior Minister Rehman Malik for using the term “Punjabi Taliban” in the federal cabinet meeting, saying such statements could fan provincialism. He was talking to media outside the home of slain Shahbaz Bhatti where he condoled with the aggrieved family.
He said that terrorism was a national issue but some elements were trying to politicise the condemnable act of murder of Minorities Minister Shahbaz

Gas outages to end by mid-March, says prime minister

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday announced that gas load shedding would end by the mid of March, adding that 1,100 megawatts (MW) of electricity were in the pipeline which would be inducted in the main system in the near future.
Talking to a delegation of the Federation of the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the prime minister said the government had already inducted more than 1,700 megawatts of additional electricity since coming into

Increase in petroleum prices slashed by 50%

KARACHI – Following a day of hectic negotiations in Karachi between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the government announced a 50 percent reduction in the recent increase in prices of petroleum products late on Thursday night.
“The increase in prices of petroleum products now stands at five rupees, and a notification would be issued on Friday after formal approval from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani,” Federal Finance Minister Dr Hafeez

Minister’s killing – PPP MPs stage rare show in National Assembly

ISLAMABAD – Law Minister Babar Awan led a token walkout of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) members of the National Assembly on Thursday against the government – which is led by the PPP itself – to join the Pakistan Muslim League-N, PML-Q, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement to condemn the murder of slain Minorities Affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti and hold the government responsible for it, just as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced a three-day official

No immunity for Raymond Davis, judge decides

LAHORE – Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Yousaf Aoujla on Thursday dismissed an application filed by Raymond Davis that claimed he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and could not be tried in Pakistan.
While dismissing the application, the court said Davis could not produce any document issued by the government which could prove his stance. As per details, the judge continued the hearing against Davis at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Thursday.
Earlier, Syed Zahid Bukhari

ISI director general to get extension again

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has advised President Asif Ali Zardari to extend Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s service for another two years, Online news service reported.
Since Pasha is already serving an extension, extending his service further requires a favorable advice of the prime minister to be duly approved by the president. Therefore, Gilani has already moved a summary to the president, sources privy to

US likely to provide financing for Diamer-Bhasha Dam

ISLAMABAD – The US has assured Pakistan that it would take up the issue of financing for $13 billion Diamer Bhasha dam under the Kerry Lugar Bermen (KLB) bill disbursements for the next fiscal year 2011-12.
An official source said US had asked Pakistan to perform the ground breaking ceremony of the project that would help getting timely financing for the project from the US government from next fiscal year’s releases under KLB bill.
He said no details had been worked out

All PSEs to be audited as per rules, says PAC

ISLAMABAD – Expressing serious concerns over non-production of record by Frontier Works Organization (FWO) before federal audit authorities, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)’s special team on Thursday said all the public sector entities must be audited under the government’s rules of business.
Zahid Hamid chaired the committee meeting. The audit accounts of the Ministry of Defence and Defence Productions for the year 1992-93 and 2001-02 were reviewed. The auditor general of

Indo-Pak talks to resume at end of March

ISLAMABAD – The interior secretaries of Pakistan and India would meet in New Delhi on March 28-29 to resume the Indo-Pak dialogue, which has been suspended since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said in a weekly press briefing on Thursday.
“Following agreement to resume a full-spectrum dialogue between Pakistan and India, the first meeting under the resumed process will be held on March 28-29 in the Indian capital,” said Janjua. “[The]

Committee to resolve FBR seniority issues

ISLAMABAD – The government has decided to ponder over the seniority issues which were causing frustration among the customs and income tax group officers since last few months by constituting a departmental committee to get recommendations within three weeks.
A notification issued by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday said that the FBR chairman had constituted a committee to resolve the issues of integration of the Inland Revenue Service. Administration Member Tahir

Balochistan lawyers continue protest against abductions

QUETTA – Lawyers in Balochistan continued to protest for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday against the police’s failure to find two abducted judges and four lawyers. They boycotted court proceedings throughout the province after 11am and protested outside Quetta Press Club, shouting slogans against the governments.
Balochistan Bar General Secretary Aminullah Kakar told the protesters that the government had failed to find the abducted judges and lawyers and there was no writ

SC doubts judiciary’s independence if PC rejects JC’s recommendations

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday questioned the independence of the judiciary if the parliamentary committee (PC) on judges’ appointment could reject the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP). Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said this while conducting hearing on pleas against the rejection of one-year extension in the service of six additional judges of high courts by the PC.
Other members of the four-member SC bench are Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid