‘Q’ forward bloc proves majority in PA

‘Q’ forward bloc proves majority in PA

LAHORE – A dissident group of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, the Forward Bloc has finally reinforced its separate identity after proving its majority in the Punjab Assembly against its parent party.
A group of 47 dissidents of the PML-Q which now constitute the Forward Bloc moved a requisition in the Punjab Assembly Wednesday seeking appointment of Dr Tahir Ali Javed as their parliamentary leader in the House and declaring themselves as the Unification Block. Separate benches

Was Ram Singh Sodho a lonely man?

KARACHI – Ram Singh Sodho, a Hindu Sindh Assembly member who recently resigned and shifted to India, might have decided to move to the neighbouring country to join his family members who were already there. His family members had actually started shifting to India around years ago, people of his home district Tharparkar told Pakistan Today.
They say that one of his sons, Dileep Singh had left the country to settle in the Indian state Gujrat some 10 years ago. Dileep later died in

Raymond Davis case – We can’t afford double standards, say senators

ISLAMABAD – Urging the government to convey to the United States that the issue of Raymond Davis would be decided in accordance with the law of the state, senators on Tuesday said Pakistan could not afford discriminatory double standards.
“The US should be given the message that Pakistan cannot afford double standards and all people, including foreigners, are equal before law of the state and the issue of the US citizen, who allegedly killed two persons in Lahore, will be decided

Country has 1,339 tonnes of gold reserves, Senate told

ISLAMABAD – Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar on Tuesday in informed the Senate that Pakistan had 1,339.25 tonnes of gold reserves. During the question answer session in the Senate, Qamar said in a written reply that the country had 1,339.25 tonnes of gold reserves of which only 7.891 tonnes had been produced in the last five years.
He Pakistan had 1,275.75 tonnes of gold in the Reko Diq area, while the Saindak area had 63.50 tonnes of gold. The minister told the House that

‘Government has secretly raised electricity prices’

ISLAMABAD – The government has reportedly raised electricity prices by Rs 2 per unit secretly and the Upper House of Parliament should take notice of the issue, Professor Khurshid Ahmed said on Tuesday.
“It has been reported that the government has raised the power prices by Rs 2 secretly which is certainly unfair and the house should take notice of the issue,” Professor Khurshid said while speaking on an adjournment motion. Later, the Leader of the House Nayyar Bukhari did not

5 men given death sentence for killing SC additional registrar

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad district and sessions judge on Monday sentenced to death five men for killing an additional registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Syed Hammad Raza, in 2007. Judge Akmal Khan awarded the death sentence with a fine Rs 200,000.
Those sentenced to death are Sharifud din, Bashirud Din, Mumtaz Hussain, Mir Afzal and Mushtaq Hussain. However, accused Muhammad Basharat was given benefit of doubt and the judge ordered his release. In his verdict, the judge

Senate body fails to reach consensus over Election Laws Bill

ISLAMABAD -The Senate Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs could not reach a consensus over the Election Laws Amendment Bill 2011. The bill was introduced by Senator Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari on behalf of the law minister to the committee that met here under the chairmanship of Senator Kazim Khan.
Senator Jehangir Badar, Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, Senator Raza Rabbani and officials of the law ministry attended the meeting. Senator Raza

CDA mints Rs 1.7m while Sabzi Mandi stinks

ISLAMABAD – The local Sabzi Mandi remains littered with rotten fruit and vegetable though the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has claimed to spend Rs 1.7 million a month to keep it clean. “CDA contractors, in connivance with some officials concerned, have only minted money out of leaving the garbage in the mandi,” said a source requesting anonymity.
The source said encroachments were an added source of inconvenience to customers. The CDA, he said, had also failed to improve


US sanctions Iranian, Turkish firms for missile aid

WASHINGTON – The US Treasury on Tuesday blacklisted six individuals and five business entities in Iran and Turkey for providing materials and support to Iran’s ballistic missile development efforts.
The sanctions target a procurement network that has facilitated more than $7 million in transactions for Aerospace Industries Organisation, which oversees all of Iran’s missile industries, the Treasury said in a statement. The actions ban US entities from transactions with the

NICL scam – FIA not allowed to search AKD’s house?

KARACHI – The high-ups of the authorities concerned are continuously interfering in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probing the National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) scam as some bitter facts have come to light. Recently, the FIA joint interrogation team was not permitted to search the house of an important personality of the business community as he is an in-law of Amin Qasim Dada, the main culprit of NICL scam.
“The FIA wanted a search warrant for the house of

Caretakers signed Reko Diq deal: SC

ISLAMABAD – While hearing the Reko Diq lease case on Tuesday, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday observed that the deal was signed under a caretaker government and appeared to have been finalised in a day.
A four-member SC bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday was hearing petitions challenging award of Reko Diq lease contract to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) – a Canadian consortium of

Privatisation commission to have 20 members now

ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the Privatisation Commission (Amendment) Bill 2009, while another bill to amend the Rules of Procedure and Business was referred to the committee concerned.
NA Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi expressed displeasure over the absence of Law Minister Babar Awan, due to which most of the business on the private members’ day could not be adopted. PML-Q’s Dr Attiya Inayatullah said it was the fifth consecutive private

Court defers Qadri indictment

RAWALPINDI – A court on Tuesday deferred the indictment of Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the police commando who confessed to killing Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, his lawyer said on Tuesday. Qadri said he shot dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer outside a cafe after lunch in Islamabad on January 4 because he objected to Taseer’s calls to reform the blasphemy law, which carries the death penalty.
Raja Shuja Rehman, one of Qadri’s lawyers, said that the indictment could not take

US media report on N-programme deplorable: FO

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Tuesday deplored a US media report that dubbed its nuclear programme as a major challenge to the Obama administration’s policy. Commenting on David E Sanger and Eric Schmitt’s article titled ‘Pakistani Nuclear Arms Pose Challenge to US Policy’ published by New York Times on Monday, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said unnecessary alarming reporting about Pakistan’s nuclear programme continued to surface occasionally.

Govt under no pressure to release Davis: PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday dispelled the impression that the government was under pressure to release the US citizen involved in the killing of three men in Lahore.
“The rule of law is supreme and no one is above the law. The matter is sub judice, and we will respect the law of the land,” he told Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raeesani and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information

Police set to charge Davis with double murder

LAHORE – After thoroughly examining circumstantial evidences and necessary details, the Lahore Police has reached the conclusion that Raymond Davis did not act in self defence and would therefore be charged with double murder. A senior police official investigating the case said on condition of anonymity that circumstantial evidences, witnesses and autopsy report did not support the statement by Davis, making the investigators believe that Davis had not killed the two youths, Faizan

PM parries Saad’s questions on Davis

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday avoided comments over the allegations levelled by PML-N MNA Khwaja Saad Rafique that the federal government was having two faces over the issue of US citizen Raymond Davis – one for the US administration and the other for the people of Pakistan.
As soon as the prime minister joined the National Assembly proceedings, Khwaja Saad Rafique, on a point of order, sought the attention of the prime minister and asked him why the