National articles

PML-Q is with you, Shujaat tells Zardari

PML-Q is with you, Shujaat tells Zardari

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Muslim League-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Friday assured President Asif Ali Zardari of not letting the PPP coalition government fall and joining the coalition in case the MQM pulled out of the ruling alliance.
Shujaat had led a delegation of PML-Q leaders to meet Zardari at the Presidency late on Friday. However, the PPP-PML-Q power sharing talks remained inconclusive with Zardari insisting the PML-Q enter into a formal alliance at the Centre

Clinton warns US against abandoning Pakistan

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday warned against abandoning Pakistan, urging Capitol Hill to back the (administration’s) request for the assistance for key allies including Islamabad.
“We are trying to deepen our relationship. There are many challenges confronting us, but we know what happens when we walk away from Pakistan. We did it before, and the results, unfortunately, were quite dire for us,” she told lawmakers in a testimony before a House

Opposition slams PPP’s strike call for Sindh

ISLAMABAD – The opposition parties – the PML-N, PML-Q, JUI-F and JI – on Friday strongly condemned the PPP’s strike call in Sindh against the Supreme Court’s verdict against the Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah’s appointment as the NAB chairman.
However, the government’s coalition partners, the ANP and the MQM, chose not to comment on the strike call. Commenting on the PPP’s strategy, Senator Pervez Rashid of the PML-N said the strike call had exposed the party’s true face.

Lawyers say they will thwart PPP’s strike

ISLAMABAD – The legal fraternity on Friday stood united against the PPP’s strike call against the Supreme Court’s judgment against the appointment of Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah as NAB chairman.
Even the lawyers considered close to the PPP-led coalition government also came down hard on the strike call and called it against democratic norms.
Calling the strike call “a principally wrong decision”, eminent lawyer Justice (r) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim said no strike could be

Capital to have another airport after BB’s name

ISLAMABAD – The PPP government’s obsession to name and rename roads and buildings after Benazir Bhutto continues unabated, as the party leadership has decided to also name the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) after her.
While the federal capital already has Benazir Bhutto International Airport, a press release issued by the Presidency said President chaired a meeting on the progress of the New Benazir Bhutto International Airport project.
The meeting was informed

Bomb goes off early in Peshawar mosque, no casualties

PESHAWAR – A bomb exploded prematurely inside a mosque in Peshawar shortly before prayers on Friday but caused no loss of life, the police said. The bomb detonated 90 minutes before the usual 150, by when a strong congregation was supposed to gather at the mosque in Bhadha Bher village in the suburbs of Peshawar.
“It was a timed device and the target was the Friday gathering but it exploded prematurely,” Kalam Khan, a senior police officer, told AFP, adding that the bomb caused

Gilani, Pasha discuss security, terrorism

ISLAMABAD – Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who recently secured another extension in his service, called on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani here on Friday and discussed with him important issues with the focus on security and terrorism.
Pasha, whose current term as ISI chief comes to an end on March 18, has been given a one-year extension by the president on the advice of the PM, with the former signing the summary in this regard. “The

Zehri has most land, Lot richest amongst senators

ISLAMABAD – Senator Mir Israrullah Zehri turned out to be the biggest landlord among senators, owning 51,555 acres of agricultural land in seven districts of Balochistan, according to the details his assets declared to the Election Commission of Pakistan for the year 2010.
Senator Gul Muhammad Lot appeared to be the richest amongst the senators with a total moveable and immovable property worth Rs 2,824,435,300.
Senator Ammar Ahmed Khan has net assets worth Rs 1152,988,294.

Where’s the stay order on Punjab govt, asks CJP

ISLAMABAD – Taking notice of statements that the Punjab government was functioning under a stay order granted by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Friday said that anyone intending to make such statements must first gather information from the Supreme Court registrar, “instead of maintaining a version which is not supported by the apex court’s record.”
The CJP said this while heading a five-member bench conducting hearing on a case

Pakistan eyes Chinese aid for gas project

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has finalised a portfolio of 32 energy projects to seek financial assistance from China, including the construction of the Iran Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, oil refineries along Balochistan coast and exploitation of Thar coal reserves in Sindh.
Briefing reporters on the energy sector, Petroleum Secretary Imtiaz Kazi said the portfolio of energy projects would be discussed at the next meeting of the energy working group of the two countries. During the

Lahore police covering up ‘encounter’

LAHORE – Despite a 36 hour lapse, Cantt Police’s Investigation Wing has been unable to trace a criminal record to two men gunned down by Baghbanpura Police Station 50-year-old constable during an alleged encounter near the Pakistan Mint Stop on the GT Road on Thursday.
On Friday the families of the youth claimed the Baghbanpura Police had killed them over nothing. On Thursday, Constable Arshad shot dead the two boys when returning to the Baghbanpura Police Station after finishing

President proposes Deedar Shah as NAB head

ISLAMABAD – President Asif Ali Zardari has proposed to reappoint Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah as National Accountability Bureau chairman and sought the opinion of the prime minister as Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, through two separate letters as part of the consultative process mandatory for such appointment.
Spokesman to the President Farhatullah Babar said Nisar’s opinion has been sought through a letter

NA body says law enforcers have failed to deliver

ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Friday criticised the law-enforcing agencies, especially police, over their complete failure to maintain law and order situation. “They are even involved in torture, substandard prosecution and registration of false cases,” it further observed.
The committee held a meeting at the Parliament House with Riaz Fatyana in the chair.
Committee members Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Fauzia Habib, Dr Mehreen Bhutto, Dr

Devolution of Health Ministry – Anomalies surround new drugs pricing policy

ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of Health is engaged in formulating a new drugs pricing policy whereas the fate of Drugs Registration Authority (DRA) and Drug Control Organisation (DCO), the two major bodies meant to implement it, is hanging in balance after the devolution of the ministry to the provinces. The Ministry of Health a few days back had proudly announced that the country would soon have new drug pricing policy which was being formulated in consultation with all the stakeholders

Sindh WWF accused of misappropriating Rs 160 million

ISLAMABAD – Development funds of around Rs 160 million were allegedly misappropriated by Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) Sindh Chapter, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Labour and Manpower was told Friday. The committee, chaired by Dr Ghulam Haider Samejo, was told that the funds had been provided to the Sindh Chapter of the WWF by the head office. Labour Ministry Secretary Arif Azeem told the committee that the WWF head office had granted the sum to the provincial chapter of

EC issues notice to Unification Bloc

LAHORE – In response to the disqualification petition filed against the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) turncoats, the Election Commission of Pakistan has issued notices to nine Punjab Assembly members asking them to furnish their replies within three days while March 19 has been affixed as the next hearing date. Earlier, Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, leader of the Unification Bloc in the Punjab Assembly had filed the petition against nine MPAs, Dr Tahir Ali Javed, Mian Atta Muhammad Maneka,

APCNGA threatens strike against 2-day gas cut

KARACHI – The All Pakistan CNG Association has threatened to call a countrywide strike against the government’s latest decision to continue with two-day-a-week CNG load shedding. Setting aside the announcement made by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that said the ongoing gas load shedding in the country would end by March 15, the Petroleum Ministry has extended load shedding schedule up until June, APCNGA Chairman Ghias Abdullah Paracha said in a statement.
He said CNG station