National articles

Right to Information Bill to be finalized in February

ISLAMABAD – Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira informed the National Assembly that Right to Information Bill-2011 would hopefully be finalized in February.
Speaking on floor of the House, the minister said that Freedom of Information bill was now called as the Right to Information after the passage of 18th amendment. “Our government is in contact with all provincial governments for taking their point of view on the bill,” he said.
Kaira said that in-put

1,014 arms licence requests have MPs’ forged signatures

ISLAMABAD – The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was informed on Monday that the Ministry of Interior had traced 1014 arms licence applications that had parliamentarians’ forged signatures.
The PAC, which met with Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the chair, directed the Ministry of Interior to make a report to the committee on the cancellation of arms licences issued on forged signatures, in three months. Interior Secretary Qamar Zaman Chaudhry informed the committee that his ministry

Govt to sanction only 700MW RPPs, says Pervez Ashraf

ISLAMABAD – The government will sanction rental power plants (RPPs) for the production of only 700 megawatts of electricity, instead of the planned 1,950MW, Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Monday.
Talking to reporters at the National Press Club, he said the government had decided not to implement expensive rental power plants. He said several projects had been delayed by adverse travel advisories.
Ashraf said electricity load shedding would

Government asked to revive magistracy to curb inflation

ISLAMABAD – The provincial chief secretaries on Monday asked the government to revive the old magistracy system to enforce the hoarding act in order to deal with the rising inflation, an official source said.
The provincial chief secretaries were speaking during a specially convened meeting chaired by Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan to finalise recommendations for the PPP ministerial and PML-N joint committee. The implementation of profiteering and hoarding act by

Pillion riding banned in Lahore for 2 days

LAHORE – City District Government and Lahore Police on Monday banned pillion riding for two days in the city to maintain law and order on Hazrat Imam Hussain’s (RA) Chehlum, today.
According to Police City Division Superintendent Dr Shahzad, the ban was imposed to prevent violence on Hazrat Imam Hussain’s (RA) Chehlum and appealed to motorcyclists not to violate the ban. However, he said that the pillion riding law would not apply to women, children and the elderly.

Nawaz rejected demand for long march

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif recently did not comply with the advice by his party workers for staging a long march to Islamabad in case the government failed to implement the reforms agenda within 45 days, Pakistan Today learnt on Monday.
Relaxing by a campfire at a recreational park in Cholistan with his friends, Nawaz was advised by PML-N workers to stage a long march to the capital. A source in the PML-N who accompanied Nawaz during his trip said

PIA owes Rs 139,614m in foreign, domestic loans

ISLAMABAD – Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar on Monday informed the Lower House of parliament that the state-run-airliner owed Rs 139,614 million on account of domestic and foreign loans as of November 30, 2010.
In a written statement, the minister said it was a common practice for airlines globally to acquire aircraft fleet on credit or lease (project financing). In line with this practice, the PIA had also financed its acquisition of Boeing 777 fleet, ATR fleet and Airbus A-310

Gabol says his name was put on ECL by a lowly official

ISLAMABAD – Exposing indiscipline and chaos in the government, PPP leader Nabeel Gabol said on Monday his name was put on the Exit Control List (ECL) by a junior bureaucrat and the government had no role in the move. Speaking in the National Assembly on a point of personal explanation, Gabol said he had no differences with his party.
“I want to remove the impression that there is a rift between me and my party. The mischief of putting my name on the ECL at Karachi Airport was

Suicide bomber kills 35 at Russia’s biggest airport

MOSCOW – A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and injured more than 130 on Monday at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, Russia’s biggest. President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the attack, which analysts said appeared to fit a pattern of bombings by militants fighting to create an independent “emirate” in Russia’s north Caucasus region.
“The explosion was right near me, I was not hit but I felt the shock wave – people were falling,” said Yekaterina

‘Moonis Elahi bagged Rs 220m of NICL money’

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that an accused who embezzled Rs 5 billion in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam had told investigators that he had given Rs 220 million to Moonis Elahi, son of former Punjab chief minister Pervez Elahi, from the plundered money.
A three-member bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday was hearing a suo motu case against alleged corruption of

SUITES FOR MPs – PM throws ball in parliament’s court

ISLAMABAD – Partially accepting the PML-N’s concerns on the parliament lodges’ extension project, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani referred the plan to House and the Library Committee of the National Assembly, saying that the government would accept whatever decision the committee took.
In response to the opposition leader’s point of order on the project, the prime minister informed the House that it was initiated in 2008. “The CDWP with Assef Ahmed Ali as Planning Commission

Make sure parliament is on top, opposition tells government

ISLAMABAD – Expressing reservations over the way the country was being governed and parliament being run, the opposition on Monday asked the government to ensure the supremacy of parliament so that other institutions could stay out of the driving seat.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and PML-Q unanimously demanded the government to make parliament meaningful. Faisal Saleh Hayat said Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in his recent statement had levelled charges of bribery on

Altaf urges Army to ‘support revolution’

KARACHI – Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Monday asked the army and the judiciary to support “the oppressed people’s revolution” and urged those “who repeatedly imposed martial law in the past” to come forward and bring an end to the growing crime in Punjab.
“The oppressed people’s revolution is the fate of Pakistan. I am sure that the army and the judiciary will extend their support to this revolution against landlords and capitalists. If there is a need to

Federation softening towards Balochistan: Raisani

QUETTA – The Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has said that the approval of 32 development schemes, shelved years ago, worth Rs 28 billion for Balochistan clearly indicates the change in the attitude of the federal government and signified success for the people of Balochistan.
Raisani said this while talking to reporters on Monday at Quetta airport upon his arrival from Islamabad after chairing the meeting of Central Development Working Party (CDWP). The

LHC adjourns hearing on BoGs

LAHORE – Advocate General Punjab Khawaja Haris on Monday told Lahore High Court that Punjab government is fulfilling its commitment and accordingly neither any student has been expelled from any college nor fee has been increased. He pointed out that teachers are not fulfilling their part of the commitment and they are still using students for holding violent protests and demonstrations on the roads on the issue of Board of Governors (BOGs) for vested interests.
On this the

Health secretary summoned for bogus medical colleges petition

LAHORE – Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Monday issued notices for Feb 25 to secretary health and other respondents on a petition challenging opening of four medical colleges in the province. Advocate Noshab A Khan filed the petition stating that the government of Punjab inaugurated four medical colleges without fulfilling basic requirements.
He said it should have approved recognition of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for validation of