National articles

No Blackwater in Pakistan, Malik tells National Assembly

No Blackwater in Pakistan, Malik tells National Assembly

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the talk of US security agency Blackwater’s presence in Pakistan, Federal Minister for Interior Affairs Rehman Malik said on Wednesday that 483 foreigners were living in the capital and all of them were civilians.
Responding to a query during question-hour in the National Assembly, the minister said none of the foreigners living in the capital were from Blackwater or any other foreign agency. He told the house that the Ministry of Finance had provided Rs

Pakistan, Afghanistan pledge cooperation against extremism

KABUL: Pakistan and Afghanistan have vowed to work more closely to combat extremism, Afghan president’s office said on Wednesday after talks between Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Karzai’s office said in a statement that the pair spoke by telephone on Tuesday evening and discussed areas where the two neighbours could cooperate more, including on economic ties.
“Both sides emphasised more cooperation and coordination between security institutions of the

Inflation squeezes household budgets

PESHAWAR: Sugar prices reached their record high of Rs125 to Rs130 per kilogramme in the Utility Stores of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday.
This came as a blow to the citizens who are already suffering because of the strike at all tanoors (ovens) to protest the increase in the prices of bread because of a general increase in prices of other items of daily needs. The rise in sugar prices has been attributed to the floods which destroyed many crops in Peshawar valley,

Military to raise India UNSC seat issue with Petreaus

ISLAMABAD: The military leadership, perturbed over the US’s endorsement of India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, will raise this issue with General David Petreaus, commander of American and allied forces in Afghanistan, arriving in Pakistan on Thursday.
The government has already conveyed its annoyance over the US move to Washington through diplomatic channels but the country’s military brass will also take up this issue with the US military authorities

Senate passes Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Upper House on Wednesday passed the long-awaited ‘The Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill 2010’, to provide relief to those employees who were appointed in corporation service or autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies or in government service during the period from November 1, 1993 to November 30, 1996 and were dismissed, removed, terminated from service or forcibly offered golden shake hand during the period from November 1, 1996 to October 12, 1999 amidst opposition

Cabinet slams US backing to India for UNSC slot

ISLAMABAD: Annoyed by the US backing for India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, Pakistan on Wednesday slammed the Obama administration for the decision warning it would have severe implications on regional peace and stability.
The federal cabinet, in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, approved a resolution against the US move, calling it
“incomprehensible”. The resolution, approved on the eve of President Asif Ali Zardari’s

Riyadh worried about Qaeda during Haj

MAKKAH: The Saudi interior minister on Wednesday said he would not rule out an Al Qaeda attempt to disturb security during the annual haj pilgrimage, which begins next week.
“We cannot trust them (Al Qaeda). We do not rule out any attempt to disturb the security of haj,” Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz told reporters when asked about a possible Al Qaeda threat.
“We are ready for any act that might take place. God willing, nothing of that will happen, out of respect to this

Jamali meets Nawaz today

LAHORE: The Muttahida Muslim League (MML) has ventured to invite the Pakistan Muslim League-N for unification with the MML committee head Mir Zafarullah Jamali all set to meet PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif at his residence today (Thursday).
Sources privy to the development said that former prime minister Jamali would visit Nawaz, also a two-time former prime minister, alone because he was disallowed to accompany other members of the MML committee formed by Pir Pagara.
“The one

Malik and Kaira differ ‘sweetly’

ISLAMABAD: An interesting situation developed on Wednesday when two important PPP federal ministers locked horns over the jurisdiction of action against sugar hoarders.
During a media briefing on cabinet decisions, Interior Minister Rehman Malik warned hoarders to bring sugar stocks into the market or get ready to face action, while Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said action against hoarders was the prerogative of provincial governments.
“I ‘request’ the hoarders to

SC rejects report on Adiala inmates

ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court bench on Wednesday rejected a report by the attorney general, stating that the 11 missing prisoners of the Adiala Jail of Rawalpindi were not handed over to the intelligence agencies.
The bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was informed by Attorney General Moulvi Anwarul Haq that as per allegations, he contacted the concerned quarters, who informed him that these missing

Opp says ‘No’ to more taxes – House in turmoil

ISLAMABAD: As the government blocked a joint resolution by the Pakistan Muslim League-N and the PML-Q in the National Assembly against spiraling prices, Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan vowed on Wednesday that the opposition would not let the PPP-led government pass any bill to impose more taxes on the people.
The house was up in arms when the government went out of its way to block the resolution which the opposition parties were pushing through. Realizing that things

Political change to start from Punjab next month

LAHORE: The possibility of an imminent political change at the top has gained credence once again with increasing brinkmanship and political manoeuvring involving all major political actors in Pakistan.
Sources said the chances of change at the top had become almost a reality and that too not a distant one. It was leant that the process of change would start from the Punjab, where the PPP and the PML-Q have reached a political understanding to topple the PML-N government in the

16 killed in Karachi violence

KARACHI: At least 16 people were killed and another three injured in a fresh wave of violence in Karachi on Wednesday.
Kalakot police said bodies of two men were found near the post office adjacent to Baloch Chowk in Lyari. The victims were identified as Jamil and Zakir, believed to be associated with the Baba Ladla gang in the area. Soon after the bodies were found, a gun battle erupted between two gangs of Lyari – the Baba Ladla group and the Muslim Shahzad group – following

No employee being laid off, says Rabbani

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the prime minister Senator Mian Raza Rabbani on Wednesday briefed the parliament on decisions taken by the Implementation Commission on the 18th Amendment, saying during or after the process of devolution of functions to the provinces, the existing employees of these ministries or divisions would not be laid off.
“Rather, it would be ensured that terms and conditions of the service of those employees shall not be varied to their disadvantage. It was further

Cabinet approves flood tax, GST

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved the reformed General Sales Tax (GST) Bill and a one-time imposition of the flood tax amidst tough resistance from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
The MQM ministers did not even follow the prime minister’s request not to make their opposition public and let a message of unanimity be passed on. After the meeting, Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar went public, saying the MQM did not support the cabinet

Karzai invites Gilani to Kabul

ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday telephoned Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and extended a verbal invitation to him for his first official visit to Kabul in the near future.
Karzai expressed his desire to discuss the entire range of bilateral relations during the visit. The prime minister accepted the invitation and expressed confidence that high-level contacts would bring the two fraternal countries even closer, a press release stated.
The two leaders

64 Pakistanis arrive at Wagah

LAHORE: Haggard and tired, after being imprisoned for years, 64 Pakistanis released by India arrived at the Wagah border on Tuesday. They were received there by South Asia Partnership, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Pakistan Institute for Labour Education and Research and members of the civil society.
Of those released, 55 were fishermen who belonged to districts and fishing villages of Karachi and Thatta, while the rest were imprisoned for various crimes, and were released after