National articles

PML-Q MPs want party to steer clear of ‘unreliable’ Fazl

PML-Q MPs want party to steer clear of ‘unreliable’ Fazl

ISLAMABAD – A majority of PML-Q lawmakers in the joint parliamentary party meeting on Thursday called the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Fazlur Rehman “unreliable” and advised the Chaudhrys to avoid striking any power-sharing deal with the JUI-F in Balochistan.
A source in the PML-Q told Pakistan Today that the party parliamentarians were sceptical about Fazl’s departure from the coalition, saying he would rejoin the government soon. He said a number of party lawmakers also

Absence of Baloch leader – JUI-F sticks to Balochistan govt

ISLAMABAD – The JUI-F decided against joining the PML-Q to form a coalition government in Balochistan as it did not have even a single Baloch member in the provincial assembly to be appointed the chief minister.
The JUI-F Central Executive Council (CEC), which met on Wednesday, was divided over whether to continue as part of the present political set up in Balochistan or make a move to form its own government with its parliamentary leader Abdul Wassey as the chief minister, a

Pakistan won’t allow US ground operations

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday said it would not accept any ground operation by US troops in the Tribal Areas.
“The US knows our red lines on the issue and they will not cross them. Pakistan does not expect the United States to complicate matters involving counter-terrorism,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in his weekly press briefing.
“The NATO and ISAF mandate is restricted to Afghanistan and Pakistan’s security forces are capable of taking action against

Convention against abductions comes into force

GENEVA – An international accord aimed at preventing abductions – a fate affecting tens of thousands of people throughout the world – came into force Thursday, the United Nations said.
The International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was launched by the UN General Assembly in 2006, became law following its ratification last month by Iraq and Brazil. This took the number of ratifications past the required 20 countries, the United

Two MI officers gunned down

KARACHI – The bodies of two Military Intelligence (MI) officers were found in Baloch Para of the Bhains Colony area in Quaidabad on Thursday.
Sukhan police told Pakistan Today that the locals informed the police about the two bodies after which they were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. Witnesses told the police that they heard gunshots and later saw a white Toyota Corolla leaving the area.
Hospital sources told Pakistan Today that both victims were

Property scam – arrest Senator Waqar, if need be, SC tells NAB

LAHORE – A full bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Punjab director general (DG) to review the investigation into the forex-cum-property scam of Rs 1.38 billion and arrest the real culprits, including five bigwigs who were earlier spared by NAB.
The bench was hearing the bail matter of one Mohsin Ayub, a forex-cum-property dealer who is in jail for a property fraud.

Shahzain sent on 7-day remand

QUETTA – Balochistan Police on Thursday presented Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) leader Shahzain Bugti in Anti-Terrorist Court on Thursday and obtained a seven-day physical remand.
He was taken to the ATC court-I of Judge Muhammad Ismail Baloch who granted the remand on the request of the prosecution. Shahzain, along with his 27 guards and party workers, was arrested at Baleli checkpost by the Frontier Corps on Wednesday.
Talking to reporters outside the court, Shahzain said his

‘Banks wrote off Rs 74b in 2 years’

ISLAMABAD – The banks have been generous enough to write off loans worth Rs 74.384 billion during the past two years. In a written statement, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh informed members of the Lower House on Thursday that of these loans, 49 percent loans were written off by private sector local banks, around Rs 36.315 billion.
In contrast, foreign banks wrote off loans of Rs 29.984 billion, while public sector banks wrote off loans of Rs 8.085 billion. Of the public

Taxes, commission take away Rs 25 per litre from petrol users

KARACHI – The federal government’s taxes and the commission of the oil-marketing companies cost petrol consumers about Rs 26 per liter.
The total value of the 17 percent GST (about Rs 13 per liter), Rs 10 Petroleum Development Levy (PDL) and about three percent commission of OMC jack up fuel price by Rs 25 per litre, Kalim A Siddiqui, president of the Petroleum Marketing Business of Byco Petroleum pointed out the facts in a meeting with reporters in Karachi on Thursday.

Aasia pardon case – LHC quizzes DAG for hiding govt plan

LAHORE – Justice Nasir Saeed of the Lahore High Court Thursday, hearing a petition against possible grant of the presidential pardon to blasphemy convict Aasia bibi, reproached Deputy Attorney General Nasim Kashmiri for hiding facts from the court regarding the government’s plan on the issue.
The judge was hearing four identical petitions filed by Shahid Iqbal, Nasir Rasool and others seeking the court’s orders for stopping the government from granting the presidential pardon to

SC dismisses appeals by PTCL employees

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed dozens of appeals filed by the employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL), seeking benefit of Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS).
A three-member Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, announced the judgment which had, earlier, been reserved. The employees had applied for the benefit of VSS but were denied on the ground that they

Pakistan can provide trade corridors to friends: Zardari

ISTANBUL – President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said Pakistan was well positioned to provide trade and communication corridors through its territory and ports to its friends and partners.
“We are ready to provide energy as a bridge and develop win-win scenarios,” the president said while addressing the 11th summit of ECO (Economic Coordination Organisation) on Thursday. He said the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and TAPI gas pipeline projects should be seen in that context.

AJK Council passes budget

ISLAMABAD – The Azad Jammu Kashmir Council passed its budget of Rs 9.007 billion for 2010-2011 and revised estimates for 2009-2010 worth Rs 6.251 billion on Thursday.
Minister in charge of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council Secretariat, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, while presenting the budget, said the share of AJK government was 66per cent of the total budget which is 50per cent higher than that of the last year.
He further mentioned that against the target of Rs 3.85 billion

PPP and MQM can’t decide who’s boss

KARACHI – Yet another development venture – the much-awaited Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Transit CNG Bus Project – is in limbo because of political bickering between the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its coalition partner the MQM.
The PPP-led Sindh government and the MQM are at odds over who should take credit for the project, delaying the much-awaited scheme for the past 20 months, well-placed sources in the Sindh Transport Department told Pakistan Today.
Under the plan, at

‘Rape and right to privacy are not a joke’

KARACHI – The insensitive handling of the coverage of a recent gang-rape case in Karachi has been condemned by several quarters concerned, including War Against Rape (WAR) and the Hurmat network, an alliance of organisations working for advancing, promoting and strengthening the ethical dimensions of work with survivor of violence.
“Unfortunately, despite the increase in reporting of such cases, which shows that the media and the state are beginning to recognise and acknowledge

Fog delaying PIA flights

KARACHI – While most of the airlines in Europe are fighting the snowy weather, the Pakistan International Airlines is facing delays because of foggy conditions.
The flights scheduled to Bhawalpur, Raheem Yar Khan, Faislabad, Sialkot, and Multan on Thursday were delayed and they could not reach their destinations till Thursday night. Recently, PIA’s two Boeing-777 and one jumbo passenger planes have reached London.
The PIA spokesperson informed the flights stuck at the

Shariat Court’s ruling draws anger from women’s rights activists

LAHORE – The civil society has criticised the Federal Shariat Court’s decision to declare sections 11, 28 and 29 of Woman’s Protection Act ‘a violation of the Constitution’.
A statement issued here on Thursday said: “We, the members of civil society, strongly condemn the Federal Shariat Court’s attempt to revert, the Women’s Protection Act’s Clause 11, 25, 28 and 29 back to Hudood Ordinances”. It said that it was after a long struggle that resulted in the repealing of Hudood