National articles

Truck with 40 metric tonnes of copper stolen

Truck with 40 metric tonnes of copper stolen

QUETTA: A truck carrying 40 metric tonnes of blister copper extracted in the Saindak Copper-Gold Project was stolen last week in the coastal district of Lasbela, Pakistan Today learned on Thursday.
According to sources, the vehicle was part of a convoy of about 32 trucks, all carrying blister copper – mixture of Copper and Gold – from Saindak to Karachi under the heavy escort of Balochistan Frontier Corps and Pakistan Customs.
They said that the truck went missing somewhere

Qureshi’s candidacy for NSPP rector irks bureaucracy

LAHORE: Voices of concern are being raised in the bureaucratic circles over the candidacy of Establishment Secretary Ismail Qureshi, the prime minister’s only choice, for the rector of the National School of Public Policy (NSPP), which is an apex public sector institute for training the highest echelons of the civil service and senior executives from the private sector.
It appears that the nomination of Qureshi, already on extension after his retirement, is set to sail through

Security protocol being ignored in issuing visas to Americans

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Embassy in Washington is issuing visas to Americans intending to travel to Islamabad, ignoring all the clearance requirements set by the country’s security agencies.
“There was a need to resolve a months-long row between Washington and Islamabad over the delay in visa issuance by both sides, which lasted up until August this year that led to the decision by the Presidency to empower Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani to start issuing visas to Americans on

Minister recommends pardon for blasphemy convict

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti on Thursday presented a report on the Asiya case to President Asif Ali Zardari, recommending pardon for the convict.
In a similar development, Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue President Jean Louis Cardinal Tauran also called on Zardari and thanked him for taking interest in the case. The report along with supporting documents concluded that the blasphemy case against Asiya was registered on grounds of

Sindh minister gifts ‘dead’ falcons to Zardari’s Arab friend

KARACHI: Sindh Wildlife Minister Dr Daya Ram Essrani has gifted nine precious hunting peregrine falcons, recovered by his department during a raid, to an Arab dignitary who is reportedly a close friend of President Asif Ali Zardari.
The falcons were recovered on the first day of Eidul Azha during a raid at the Jinnah International Airport from where the endangered and protected birds were being flown to Doha, Qatar. After the raid, the conservator of the Sindh Wildlife Department

Former French PM Villepin questioned over Pakistani arms scandal

PARIS: A French judge questioned former prime minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday about corruption allegations linked to the deaths of 11 French engineers in a Pakistani bombing in 2002.
Villepin, who was questioned for four hours as a witness by investigating magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke, had said Friday he had “very strong suspicions” that French officials received illegal payments related to arms deals in 1995.
Witnesses have alleged the Pakistan bombing was

PML-Q, MQM, JUI-F likely to boycott GST vote today

ISLAMABAD: The PML-Q, MQM, JUI-F and other minor political parties, who have vowed to oppose the Reformed General Sales Tax Bill 2010 in totality, are likely to boycott the voting on the recommendations finalised by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Friday, as experts say the parties have no other option left with them.
“These political parties, including my party, the PML- Q, who have decided to oppose the anti-poor bill, will find themselves in a fix when the report

Opp parties want agriculture sector taxed

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday recommended rationalising of penalties under the reformed general sales tax (RGST) and tax exemption for food items, medicines and educational stationery.
The committee also included the dissenting notes of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), PML-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in its report to the Senate.
All opposing political parties

Senators vow not to fuel ‘corruption furnace’ with taxpayers’ money

ISLAMABAD: Senators from across the political divide on Thursday vowed not to fuel the “corruption furnace” of a non-performing government with the taxpayers’ money, asking Islamabad to first put its own house in order before taxing the poverty-stricken people.
Taking part in the debate on the General Sales Tax (GST) Bill, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Senator SM Zafar said tales of the corrupt practices of rulers were being told across the globe.
“Why should the

No headway in PPP’s GST talks with allies

ISLAMABAD: The marathon meetings between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its three coalition partners – the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and Awami National Party (ANP) – failed to make any headway over support for the controversial reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) Bill.
Although President Asif Ali Zardari held a crucial meeting with ANP President Asfandyar Wali to win his party’s support for the bill, no progress could be made. Minister for

No one is above the law: Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it had jurisdiction under the constitution to serve notices to intelligence agencies as no one was above the law.
“The Supreme Court has wider jurisdiction under Articles 184(3) and 185 of the constitution to issue notices to the respondents in cases of public importance,” the court ruled.
A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and

EU will assist Pakistani security agencies

ISLAMABAD: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the programme ‘Civilian Capacity Building for Law-Enforcement in Pakistan’ aimed at assisting Pakistan for capacity building of its law enforcement agencies and to enhance the capability of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) was signed between the European Union (EU) and Pakistan on Wednesday.
According to MoU, EU would provide technical assistance to build the capacity of provincial police forces in Khyber

Commission submits Tori Bund breach report to Sindh CM

KARACHI: The judicial commission, which was constituted by the Sindh government to investigate the Tori Bund breach that flooded many areas of the province during the recent disaster, submitted its report to the government on Wednesday.
The senior member of the commission, Justice (r) Zahid Qurban Alvi, handed over the sealed report to Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah at the Chief Minister’s House. The other member of the commission, Justice (r) Ghulam Nabi Soomro, also

‘Blasphemy law doesn’t apply to non-Muslims’

ISLAMABAD: A petition with a contention that blasphemy law, and the subsequent capital punishment under it, does not apply to non-Muslims and women is likely to be filed in the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) tomorrow (Friday).
The petition drafted by Dr Muhammad Aslam Khaki, senior Supreme Court lawyer and noted teacher of Islamic Jurisprudence and Jurisconsult to the FSC, states that according to Muslim jurists, capital punishment for blasphemy could not be accorded to non-Muslims

US adds Pakistan’s charity to terror list

WASHINGTON: The US on Wednesday added Pakistan’s Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, a charity associated with a banned militant group, to its official list of blacklisted terror organizations.
The US State Department said that the Falah-e-Insaniyat (FeF) had been dubbed an “alias” of the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is already on the State Department’s list of “designated foreign terrorist organizations”.
Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for

Pakistan must address our concerns over cross-border terror: India

NEW DELHI: Demanding redressal of its concerns over cross-border terrorism in an “effective and transparent” manner, India on Wednesday said it was necessary for a “comprehensive, serious and sustained” dialogue between India and Pakistan.
It also expressed willingness to look at existing bilateral visa agreement that was signed in 1974 to facilitate travel by bonafide businessmen from both the countries amid complaints by a Pakistani industry body that tough visa norms in India

Saudi Arabia pays SR 6.665 million to compensate Pakistani pilgrims

LAHORE: Saudi Minister for Hajj Fawad Salam Al-Farsi on Wednesday handed over a cheque worth Saudi Riyal (SR) 6.665 million to Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Allama Hamid Saeed Kazmi in Jeddah to compensate pilgrims who failed to receive accommodation during Haj this year.
In a telephonic conversation, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Hajj Mission, Makkah Mukarram, stated that the money would be distributed among 26,660 pilgrims who could not get accommodation in a tent city of