National articles

Shahab might replace Gilani

Shahab might replace Gilani

KARACHI – As the political scenario has been turned upside down, the ruling party has to decide a new prime minister in case a no-confidence vote against Yousaf Raza Gilani succeeds in the parliament.
Sources told Pakistan Today that Makhdoom Shahabuddin is likely to be nominated by the PPP as the new prime minister of the country. The sources said the former federal finance minister and close aide of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shahab would be nominated the new prime

Statements being drafted to weaken charges against Zardari

ISLAMABAD – In a bid to weaken cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, top legal wizards associated with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and holding top government positions have undertaken an exercise to draft ‘deviatory’ statements to be presented in courts of law on behalf of investigation officers and other prosecution witnesses.
A source privy to this development on Sunday told Pakistan Today that the exercise, which seemed to be an attempt to pave the way for of

Afghan delegation arriving tomorrow to discuss Taliban

ISLAMABAD – A delegation of Afghan Peace Council will arrive in Islamabad on Tuesday on a two-day visit to hold talks with Pakistani leadership and furnish a formal request for Islamabad’s help for the success of ongoing ‘reconciliation process’ with the Taliban.
Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani will lead the delegation of Afghan Peace Council, which is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The 70-member council was formed by the

Will PML-Q go the PPP way?

ISLAMABAD – The MQM’s withdrawal from the coalition has put the PML-N in a catch 22 situation, while PML-Q’s role has become critical in the emerging political scenario. Although power-sharing parleys between the PPP and the PML-Q are on for the last many months, the two parties have so far failed to finalise the modalities of a formal deal.
A source in the PML-Q said the Chaudhrys were double minded over whether to join the PPP-led coalition government. He said party leaders and

MQM deals deadly blow to coalition

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI – The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Sunday finally pulled out of the ruling coalition as it decided to sit on the opposition benches in the Centre, forcing the already number-weak government into a minority with 160 members on its side in a House of 342.
A minimum of 172 members are required to form a simple majority in the National Assembly. The MQM decision came after its coordination committee, which simultaneously met in Karachi and London, chose to sit

Govt staying, with or without MQM: PM

LAHORE – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that his government would stay in power with or without the MQM or any other ally.
Talking to reporters at the Walima ceremony of Hassan Baloch, son of JI leader Liaquat Baloch, Gilani said he had been elected unanimously by parliament and did not see any crisis in the country. The PM said he had cordial relations with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who had always shown sagacity.
“I hope Nawaz will not let the democratic system

MQM will not leave Sindh govt

KARACHI – The MQM on Sunday said all issues of contention with the government pertained to the federal level, therefore the party would not be leaving the Sindh government.
Addressing a press briefing outside the party headquarters, MQM spokesman Faisal Sabzwari said, “The Rabita Committee did not discuss tabling a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. We will not leave the coalition partnership in Sindh, because all issues we have relate to the federal

PML-N holding its cards close

ISLAMABAD – Following MQM’s decision to quit the coalition government, the PML-N has said that it will adhere to a wait and see policy before making a final decision over the latest political development.
The PML-N, the second largest party in the House with 91 MPs, said it had not yet decided if it would support a no-confidence move against the prime minister. “No decision will be made in haste,” said MNA Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for the PML-N. He said the party leadership “is

Pakistan ready for comprehensive dialogue with India

ISLAMABAD – Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit has said that the Kashmir issue must be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the people of the state and the UN resolutions, according to a private TV channel on Sunday.
Speaking with the channel, he said that it was too much difficult to maintain peace and stability without resolving the (Kashmir) issue. “Pakistan is ready for meaningful and comprehensive dialogue with India on core issues such as Kashmir, Siachin and

Turkey to install 150mw power plant in Punjab

LAHORE – In order to overcome current power crisis, a 150 megawatt power plant will be installed in Punjab with technical support from Turkey, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced after his return from his official visits to Turkey and the United kingdom.
Talking to journalists at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, the chief minister said that the Punjab government signed multiple agreements with the Turkish government in various fields like environment, education and

Opposition, govt allies reject hike in petrol prices

ISLAMABAD – Opposition parties and two allies of the PPP are flexing their muscles to take the government head-on for an unprecedented hike in the POL prices, vowing on Saturday to vociferously protest against the increase in and outside parliament.
Talking to Pakistan Today, representatives of the PML-N, PML-Q, MQM, ANP, JI, JUI-F and PPP-Sherpao said it was unfortunate that the already hard-pressed people of Pakistan had been forced to pay for the government’s corruption and

President signs 19th Amend Bill

KARACHI – President Asif Ali Zardari signed the 19th Amendment Bill on Saturday making it a part of the 1973 constitution. Parliament had passed the bill and it was sent to the president for his consent.
The bill was prepared and moved to both houses on the Supreme Court’s recommendations. The signing ceremony, held at the Bilawal House, was attended by Senate Chairman Farooq Naik, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms

Thick fog envelops Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

LAHORE – A majority of areas of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained under thick fog on Saturday, severely disrupting air, road and rail traffic in the two provinces.
The fog also forced authorities to announce the suspension of operation at Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, until 10am today (Sunday). The Motorway (M2) was closed for traffic between Lahore and Pindi Bhattian, while rail traffic also suffered due to foggy conditions, while the Pindi Bhattian-Islamabad

2011’s first drone attack kills 15 in North Waziristan

PESHAWAR – In the first drone attack of 2011, three US missile hits at various places in North Waziristan Agency on Saturday killed 15 suspected militants and injured several others.
The US drone targeted militant vehicles and compounds in Speen Wam and Data Khel tehsils of the agency. Speen Wam is considered a crucial route connecting North Waziristan with Thall area of Hangu district, which is adjacent to Kurram and Orakzai agencies, while Data Khel is situated along the Pak

Pakistan, India exchange lists of N-installations

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and India on Saturday exchanged lists of their nuclear installations and facilities in accordance with a bilateral agreement that prohibits attacks on each other atomic assets.
The South Asian nuclear rivals exchanged the lists despite lingering tensions in the wake of Mumbai attacks that occurred back in November 2008 and brought the Indo-Pak peace dialogue to halt.
“The governments of Pakistan and India exchanged lists of their respective nuclear

2011 kicks off with a swine flu death in Karachi

KARACHI – The first swine flu death of 2011 in the city was confirmed on Saturday. According to sources at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), Iftikharullah, 34, a resident of North Nazimabad, was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday with high fever, body ache, flu and some respiratory problems.
His blood samples were sent to the Civil Hospital Karachi and the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH); however, he died on Saturday at the ASH, and the AKUH confirmed that he was suffering

MQM delegation calls on Zardari

KARACHI – A delegation of the MQM on Saturday called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House. The delegation included MQM parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly Sardar Ahmed and provincial ministers Raza Haroon, Adil Siddiqui and Dr Sagheer Ahmed.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan was also present. Haroon told reporters outside Bilawal House that it was not a formal meeting and they were invited at the ceremony of the 19th Constitutional Amendment’s signing. With