National articles

Reforms body down to two options to incorporate SC directives

Reforms body down to two options to incorporate SC directives

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) is considering two options to incorporate the Supreme Court’s recommendations on Article 175-A, which deals with the mechanism for the appointment of judges.
In its meeting on Tuesday, the committee discussed options that included a constitutional amendment and a resolution to be adopted in the joint session of parliament to give effect to the recommendations of the Supreme Court.
Talking to reporters

Govt softens stance on GST bill to garner support

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has conveyed a tacit message to its allies and opposition parties that it will accommodate their recommendations in exchange for their support to the reformed general sales tax (GST) Bill.
A source told Pakistan Today that the federal government was in contact with its coalition partners and opposition parties to chalk out differences over the GST. “It has been decided to show some flexibility in order to appease the concerns of political parties

Senate body asks govt to withdraw GST on food items, medicines

ISLAMABAD: Finalising its recommendations, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance has unanimously asked the government to withdraw sales tax on food items, medicine and education-related stationery material, as proposed in the Reformed General Sales Tax Bill 2010.
The committee also asked the government that flood surcharge should not be imposed on people or firms having annual income less than Rs 500,000.
The committee said that all the above-mentioned items were part and

COAS orders inquiry into alleged irregularities in NLC

ISLAMABAD: Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani on Tuesday ordered a high-level inquiry into alleged irregularities in the National Logistic Cell (NLC).
“A serving corps commander has been nominated to head the inquiry along with two major generals as members. Appropriate action will be taken on the completion of the inquiry, per relevant army rules and regulations,” an ISPR statement said.
In a recently held meeting, the Public Accounts Committee pointed out massive embezzlement

Sarkozy calls reporters ‘paedophiles’ over Karachi affair reports

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out when asked about alleged 1995 Pakistani arms kickbacks, saying that if journalists questioned him without proof he might as well call them all paedophiles.
“This is crazy,” Sarkozy told journalists on Friday on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lisbon in an exchange that was picked up by French Internet sites late Monday.
“No one among you believes I arranged bribes and kickbacks for submarines for Pakistan, it’s

Shirani refuses to take charge of CII

ISLAMABAD: The new chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Muhammad Khan Sherani, on Tuesday refused to take charge of the council, saying the appointment was not made under Article 228 of the constitution.
Without explaining how the appointment did not conform to the constitution, he said, “I will accept the position if the appointment is made according to the constitution.”
Article 228 says, “(4) The President shall appoint one of the members of the Islamic

Senators take on govt over unbridled corruption, GST

ISLAMABAD: As Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh on Tuesday told Senate that there was no other option but to implement the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the General Sales Tax (GST), the senators lambasted the government for not controlling corruption in its ranks and taxing the poor instead.
Rejecting the finance minister’s sugar-quoted arguments in favour of the GST, the senators termed the new tax ‘suicidal’ for the already over-burdened people and asked

Troika discusses stronger ties with China

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani held an important meeting on Tuesday to discuss Pakistan’s quest for deepening its ties with China.
Gilani called on Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, where the COAS was also present, according to an official statement.
“Matters concerning security situation were discussed during the meeting as part of consultative process,” it said.
A senior official

Repealing blasphemy law will fuel militancy: minister

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti said on Tuesday Pakistan would not repeal its controversial blasphemy law but might amend it to prevent abuse because scrapping the legislation could fuel militancy.
“(Repeal) is not being considered though we are considering changing it so that misuse of the law should be stopped,” Bhatti said.
He said consultations with Islamic clerics and representatives of religious minorities on amending the law would soon

Will FIA question Elahi, Gul and Shah for Benazir’s murder?

ISLAMABAD: The intention and sincerity of the Pakistan People’s Party government to expand the investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto will be clear only if all those she had named in her letter are also served a questionnaire similar to the one FIA sent to former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf.
Political circles have termed the government’s decision to expand the investigation by involving Musharraf a political gimmick to hoodwink the people and divert their

Govt dissolves BoDs of all DISCOs, GENCOs, transmission companies

ISLAMABAD: Giving impetus to the power sector reforms, the government has announced dissolution of the existing board of directors of the all power distribution, generation and transmission companies with immediate effect from November 22.
An official notification on Monday issued said the existing boards will cease to function immediately and new boards will be notified as soon as possible. This decision has been made in the wake of ongoing power sector reforms.

President may pardon Asiya on PM’s advice

ISLAMABAD: The Presidency has not yet received a mercy petition regarding the pardon for Asiya Noreen, who has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, but the president would act on the prime minister’s advice in this matter, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said on Monday.
Babar made the statement as Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti racked up pressure on President Asif Zardari to pardon Asiya.
“According to my own investigation, it was a

The Reko Diq scandal

Historically gold prospects always attracts adventurers, the sites are usually fought over, not only by individual prospectors and/or mining companies but by nations.
Possibly the biggest copper and gold deposit in the world, why should Reko Diq be an exception? On Nov 11 the Supreme Court (SC) issued notices to the Federal Govt and the Govt of Balochistan (GOB) on a petition accusing them of selling Pakistan’s assets, and that too without greater transparency, to a foreign

Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan begin talks on drug trafficking tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan will consider deepening their cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking in Islamabad on November 24 and 25.
The ministers and senior officials of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan will discuss deepening their cooperation in their fight against drug trafficking in a series of meetings under the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani, the

Nawaz made no commitment to cooperate with PPP, says Nisar

ISLAMABAD: In his telephonic conversations with President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on the occasion of Eidul Azha, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif did not commit to his party’s unconditional cooperation with the PPP’s top brass, Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Monday.
“The president and prime minister made phone calls to condole the death of Nawaz’s uncle. After passing their condolences, Gilani told Nawaz that the

ABD likely to give $100m loan for Uch-II Power Plant

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is likely to approve on December 13 a private-sector loan of $100 million – with a political-risk guarantee of $50 million – for the 404-megawatt Uch II Power Plant in Balochistan.
The project involves the construction, erection and operation of the low British thermal unit (BTU) combined cycle power-plant. Uch II would be constructed adjacent to the 586 MW Uch 1 Power Plant at Dera Murad Jamali, which has been operational since 2000.

FIA includes Musharraf in Benazir murder probe

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team probing the Benazir Buhtto murder case has included former president Pervez Musharraf in the investigation and sent him a 32-point questionnaire on several key issues.
Referring to a letter written to Musharraf by Benazir Bhutto in which she informed him about threats to her life, the investigation team has asked the former military ruler why foolproof security was not provided by his regime to Benazir even after the Taliban