National articles

Former French PM Villepin questioned over Pakistani arms scandal

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

Strict UK visa policy global, not Pakistan-specific: UK HC

ISLAMABAD: The restriction on migration from non-European states to United Kingdom was global and not Pakistan-specific, UK High Commissioner Adam Thomson said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“The UK’s coalition government seeks to tighten migration taking place from all non-European Union states,” he said. Steps were recently taken by the UK government to reduce the number of people migrating for work or residence to create more job opportunities for British citizens,

Shahbaz, Malik call on army chief to discuss security

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday called on Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani to discuss the country’s security, with emphasis on counter-terrorism efforts by the military and provincial law enforcement agencies.
“Shahbaz called on the army chief and whenever he meets General Kayani the discussion is only on the security situation,” Senator Pervez Rashid told Pakistan Today. A security official said the army chief discussed matters pertaining to the law

Punjab Police is an unbridled horse, AG tells Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Advocate General Khawaja Haris Ahmad on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that police was neither in the control of provincial government nor did it act on its advice.
He appeared before a three-member SC bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, which was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to a clashes taken place between police and lawyers at Aiwan-e-Adl on Oct 1.
The court

Govt needs to put its house in order: Hafeez

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday said the government also needed to put its own house in order by reducing non-development expenditures and cutting the size of the federal cabinet to win the people’s support on the Reformed General Sales Tax.
At a background briefing on the reformed GST, organised by the Information Ministry for newspaper editors and TV anchorpersons, the finance minister was asked whether he was in favour of cutting the size of the cabinet,

SC declines stay on leasing Reko Diq gold mines to foreign companies

ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court bench on Wednesday declined to grant
a stay order on leasing of the Reko Diq gold mines in Balochistan, worth over $260 billion, to foreign exploration companies.
The bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday was hearing a petition against leasing out Reko Diq gold and copper mines in Balochistan to foreign companies by the federal