Saturday, 10 February, 2018 I Jamadi-ul-Awwal 23, 1439 I Rs 17.00 I Vol VIII No 223 I 16 Pages I Karachi Edition
NAB to investigate Pakistanis’ investment in Dubai real estate
Punjab govt and nab lock horns g
FBR RECEivES CoNFiRmAtioN oF 55 out oF 100 PAkiStANiS who iNvEStEd iN uAE CAPitAl STORY ON PAGE 03
LNG corruption case against PM Abbasi set for hearing on 12th STORY ON PAGE 03
Zealots demand acquittal of Mashal’s murder convicts
PRotEStERS ChANt SlogANS AgAiNSt mAShAl ANd govt, vow to kill ‘BlASPhEmERS’ iN FutuRE AS wEll
PuNjAB govt SPokESmAN SAyS NAB ChiEF’S REmARkS REgARdiNg NoN-CooPERAtioN ‘uNtRuthFul’ LAHORE
he war of words between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Punjab government escalated on Friday after the latter accused the anti-graft watchdog’s chief of making frivolous statements regarding non-cooperation by provincial departments, while the former reasserted its claims. Reacting to a Punjab government statement that criticised NAB Chairman justice (r) javed iqbal for making public remarks instead of using official channels, a NAB spokesman said that the bureau wrote four letters to the provincial government seeking record of the investigation of various cases against Chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, but it received no response. he said that the letters had come following several verbal requests made by NAB went unnoticed. “the Punjab government’s statement is not based on facts as NAB used all channels of communications to seek the provision of record of 56 public limited companies, which met with failure,” the statement concluded. Earlier in the day, the Punjab government said: “there is no truth in the statement [of the NAB chief] as all the departments of the government are fully cooperating with the accountability bureau.” “A high-profile official, such as the NAB chief, should avoid giving public state-
NAB SPokESmAN SAyS wAtChdog RECEivEd No RESPoNSE FRom PRoviNCiAl govt dESPitE SEvERAl wRittEN ANd vERBAl REmiNdERS
ments against the [Punjab] government whose hallmarks are transparency and merit,” the Punjab government spokesman said, adding that “if the bureau’s chief has had any complaints towards any of the provincial departments, he should have had officially communicated to the government for its redressal.” ‘PUNJAB GOVT NOT COOPERATING’: NAB and the Punjab government have entered a protracted exchange of allegations after the NAB chief decided to come after the government over “corruption in several public-listed companies of the province”. on thursday, javed iqbal had complained that the departments of the Punjab government were not cooperating with the anti-graft body, and warned that such an attitude would not be tolerated in the future; a claim later categorically denied by the government’s spokesperson. the NAB chief had said that he would make all-out efforts in cancellation of the bail of the influential culprits who pressurise witnesses, while warning that those who give directives on “someone’s orders will eventually have to bear the brunt of their wrongdoings”. on February 8, the NAB chief took notice of the non-provision of record by the government and asked the bureaucracy in Punjab to provide the NAB with details and abide by the law as non-provision of information to the bureau is against the law and comes under hampering with the inquiry under the NAB law. last month, the NAB had also sought
records from the Punjab chief secretary after a report for the government failed to comply with the request of the NAB pertaining to the provision of the record. Earlier, the Punjab government had published an advertisement in local papers on jan 28, drawing public attention to the matter pertaining to a closure of an inquiry into an illegal award of a contract to a private company for extracting minerals in Chiniot. At the time, the spokesperson of the government had said that the public advertisement was aimed at “setting the record straight”. he went on to allege that the NAB had closed the inquiry despite it was told to conduct an inquiry into the matter. PTI SUBMITS ADJOURNMENT MOTION ON NAB CHIEF’S STATEMENT: As the NAB and Punjab government enter a low-key quarrel, the Pakistan tehreek-e-insaf (Pti) chipped in to cash in on the situation. the party submitted an adjournment motion on Friday following the NAB chief’s statement that departments of the Punjab government were not cooperating with the bureau. the adjournment motion was submitted by the Pti leader and opposition leader in Punjab Assembly mehmoodur Rashid. the motion said that the NAB chief had said that non-cooperation of the Punjab government was intolerable since Rs84 billion was looted. in his motion, mehmood called for a debate in the provincial assembly so that the truth is revealed before the nation.
ECP scuttles Rabita Committee’s move to sideline Farooq Sattar Imran demands judicial inquiry into extrajudicial killings in Punjab
STORY ON PAGE 03
Pakistan demands US pay for border fencing with Afghanistan
STORY ON PAGE 03
ElECtioN wAtChdog SAyS oNly PARty ChiEF CAN NomiNAtE CANdidAtES STORY ON PAGE 04
Pti ChiEF ACCuSES Cm ShEhBAz oF PAtRoNiSiNg ExtRAjudiCiAl killiNgS, PolitiCiSiNg PoliCE STORY ON PAGE 02
02 NEWS KLF cancels launch of Abida Hussain’s book on Benazir
KARACHI: The launch of Abida Hussain’s book on Benazir Bhutto was canceled by the organisers of Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) after they were sent a legal notice by the former prime minister’s daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. Titled ‘Special Star: Benazir Bhutto’, the book contains details of various aspects of the late Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader’s life. It contains details of her early education, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s execution and her first meeting with Abida Hussain. It also covers Benazir’s first and second tenure as the prime minister, leading to her exile. Benazir’s daughter Bakhtawar called the book full of lies and fabrications and alleged that the author tried to portray a wrong image of her mother and based the book on a fake affiliation with her. Bakhtawar also criticised Abida Hussain for writing the book 10 years after her mother’s death when she cannot defend herself. “Absolute lies against my mother, 10 years after her death, when she cannot defend herself,” she said. According to sources, KLF founder Salma Adil, Oxford University Press Managing Director Amina Syed and the author Abida Hussain were sent a legal notice by the former prime minister’s daughter. Following the notice which warned the publisher to stop the launch ceremony, the book launch was canceled and Abida Hussain’s name was taken off the KLF participants list. “See, we had published this book and we intended to launch it at KLF,” Amina said, “At present, we have canceled the launching of the book and stopped its sale as well.” Amina further said that the book would go through a review process by experts and the future strategy would be decided later. In her defence, Abida Hussain said that she had written the book in praise of Benazir and failed to comprehend what Bakhtawar found objectionable. STAFF REPORT
Gen Bajwa approves death for seven terror convicts RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has approved the death sentences of seven terrorists convicted by a military court for involvement in terrorist activities, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Friday. According to the ISPR press statement, the convicts carried out multiple attacks on civilians, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the armed forces. They were also held responsible for killing 85 people and injuring 109 others, the statement said. Arms and explosives were also recovered from the militants’ possession. It said that a military court had also sentenced five other convicts to jail. All seven convicts, who were members of proscribed organisations, admitted their offences before a magistrate and the trial court, and were subsequently awarded death sentences, the ISPR said. The convicts were identified as Atlas Khan, Muhammad Yousaf Khan, Farhan, Khalay Gul, Nazar Moon, Nek Maeel Khan and Akbar Ali. STAFF REPORT
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
ImrAn demAnds judIcIAL InquIry Into extrAjudIcIAL KILLInGs In PunjAB LODHRAN
AKISTAN Tehreek-eInsaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday demanded the constitution of a judicial commission to investigate the extrajudicial killings in Punjab, particularly after the arrest of notorious former policeman Abid “Boxer”. Addressing a rally here ahead of the by-elections in NA-154 Lodhran, Imran called on the Supreme Court to take notice of the extrajudicial killings and form a judicial commission to investigate into the matter. The PTI chief referred to the arrest of former Inspector Abid “Boxer” who has allegedly confessed to a string of encounters and made startling revelations that these were conducted on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. “Abid Boxer has confessed to killing two brothers on directives
of Shehbaz Sharif, while a youth named Mudassir was killed in Kasur on suspicion of criminal assault,” he said, adding that during the Shehbaz’s reign, 870 people were killed in Punjab of which 137 were killed in Kasur alone. “It is inevitable for the police not to be corrupted if a chief minister asks them to carry out extrajudicial killings,” he said. “Unlike Punjab police, KP police did not shed a drop of blood while probing minor Asma’s case. While Punjab police killed an innocent person while probing Zainab case,” he said. Predicting the fall of the “pharoah”, Imran said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has already been shown the door and “now Shehbaz’s end is near”. Terming the Sharifs a mafia, Imran said that mafia has bought everyone in the country, including the opposition. “Mafia destroys institutions,” he said. The PTI chief also slammed the PML-N for filing cases against
him and disqualified party leader Jehangir Tareen, alleging they were politically motivated. “We respect state’s institutions and the Supreme Court, and we have asked Jehangir Tareen to accept whatever decision given by the court,” Imran said. ECP WARNING: Earlier in the day, District Returning Officer Hammad Ijaz wrote to the PTI chief directing him not to take part in the rally citing a Dec 20, 2017, order and its own code of conduct which bars lawmakers and ministers from visiting a constituency after issuance of the by-election schedule. “ECP expects political parties, their leadership and candidates to comply with the code of conduct to increase public support for fair and transparent elections,” the notice reads. Moreover, it advised Imran to abide by the code of conduct in letter and spirit. ALI TAREEN ISSUED NOTICE: Later in the night, the ECP issued a notice to PTI candidate Ali Tareen for breaching the body's code
of conduct. Tareen has been instructed to appear before the district election commissioner, either in person or through a counsel, on February 11 as the party's rally was within the limits of the constituency. 10 CANDIDATES CONTESTING: ECP also issued a polling scheme on Friday which underlines the schedule of the by-polls that will take place on February 12. According to the ECP, the constituency has a total of 431,002 registered voters, who will cast the ballot at 328 polling stations. A total of 1,043 polling booths have been set up at the stations, where 338 presiding officers and 1,043 assistant presiding officers will be on duty on voting day. Seven out of the ten candidates that will contest the NA-154 by-poll are independent. Jehangir Tareen’s son, Ali will be contesting the by-poll while Iqbal Shah from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Ali Beg from Pakistan People’s Party will be contending the elections.
IHC directs probe against Musharraf under NAB ordinance ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
The Islamabad High Court has directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to start a probe against former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf for allegedly having assets beyond his known means of income. The IHC bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb ruled that the former military dictator to be tried under the NAB Ordinance of 1999. The IHC ruling confirmed that everyone, including retired military officials, can be tried under NAB laws if found involved in corrup-
tion or corrupt practices. The former president was previously protected from prosecution due to his being a serving military officer and also head of state. Answering a question on whether the bureau has jurisdiction to inquire into or to investigate the alleged offences of corruption or corrupt practices against Musharraf, the court ruled that a member of the Armed Forces who has also been president of Pakistan cannot claim immunity or exemption from being subjected to the Ordinance of 1999. Likewise, it added, a member of the Armed Forces after retirement or resignation becomes exposed to being proceeded against under NAB laws because the immunity ends upon the end of serv-
ice. The order has come in response to a petition filed by a retired military colonel, Inamul Rahiem, wherein he sought IHC directions for NAB to initiate an inquiry against Musharraf as the assets he had declared in his nomination papers were beyond his known sources of income. On April 25, 2013, the bureau had informed the petitioner that his complaint could not be entertained for want of jurisdiction because, as a member of the armed forces, Gen Musharraf was immune from being proceeded against under the NAB Ordinance, 1999. Rahiem, however, had argued before the court that Musharraf was not immune from being accountable under the NAB laws.
SC orders high courts to speed up Axact cases FIA DG TELLS CJP APPEALS AGAINST ACQUITTAL OF AXACT EXECUTIVES ACCUSED IN FAKE DEGREE SCAM YET TO BE TAKEN UP BY COURTS ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday directed the high courts in Sindh and Islamabad to promptly decide the pending cases regarding the Axact fake degree scandal, as it rescinded its order to put the names of all the accused on the Exit Control List (ECL). The court ordered Shaikh, who is also the owner of Bol Network, to submit a written reply in the case and hand over his passport to the Sindh High Court. The bench took back its order to place names of the accused on ECL on the request of senior journalists, including Sami Ibrahim and Javed Soomro, and directed Shaikh to submit a written guarantee that he would not leave the country. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar conducted a hearing of the suo motu notice of the Axact scam. He maintained that Pakistan’s reputation is at stake but the investigation in the case is quite weak and frail. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Basheer Memon told the court that the websites of at least 330 universities are being operated by Axact but
they have no campuses. He said that Axact is not affiliated with the said universities while a person can receive any degree from the website on the basis of experience in an hour and at the cost of Rs500,000. “I possess the experience in law. Can I receive a PhD degree?” the CJP inquired. “Yes, you can receive the degree of law and English on the basis of experience,” replied Memon. He also told the judge that Axact has its own platform which conducts accreditation. The CJP remarked that universities are established under a law while the Axact degree process was ongoing from 2006-2015. “If the information is correct then a fraud was committed by the people. FIA initiated the investigation when the news came on media. What can the FIA do to prove the crime?” he asked. Memon responded that the accused were acquitted by the IHC at which the CJP asked about the veracity of rumours about the judge in the case being paid for granting bails to the accused. “Did the FIA presented evidence in the IHC?” questioned CJP. Memon replied that the appeal is still pending following which the reg-
CJP WITHDRAWS ORDER TO PUT SHOAIB SHEIKH, OTHER ACCUSED ON ECL AFTER ASSURANCES FROM SOME JOURNALISTS FROM BOL TV istrar IHC told that the February 22 has been set for hearing of the petition. Furthermore, the CJP also directed the SHC to constitute a bench to hear the case decide over it within a month. As proceedings began on Friday, a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nisar ordered to place the name of Axact chief Shoaib Shaikh and six other accused on the Exit Control List (ECL). However, the order was taken back on the assurances of the accused and some journalists associated with Axact’s sister concern, Bol News, that they will stay in the country. The court was informed that around 70 per cent of the company’s revenue comes from the said universities, while the software export company also has nine other business units. Expressing displeasure at the Peshawar High Court (PHC) registrar’s absence from court despite clear orders, the CJP took a suo moto notice of the fake degree case in the PHC and ordered FIA to file an appeal in the case. The SC also directed the lower courts to suspend bails of the accused if they do not cooperate with the courts. Bol Television’s former employees, who were also present in the
court, said that they have not been paid since 2015. “There are around 40 affected people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and many others across the country,” the employees said. The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) also filed an application in the court highlighting irregularities in Axact’s businesses and its linkages with Labbaik media house, which operates Bol. Shoaib Shaikh was then issued a notice by the SC to submit his reply on the application by the PBA, while the channel’s former employees were also asked to submit an application. “We will decide the case after looking at both sides,” the CJP remarked, before adjourning the hearing for two weeks. Chief Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice of the Axact fake degree scandal last month after international news reports said over 3,000 UK citizens had purchased fake degrees from Axact in 2013 and 2014. The recent news came just months after an indepth investigation by Canada’s national broadcaster uncovered that hundreds of people working in diverse fields across Canada possess bogus degrees issued by Axact.
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
nAB to InvestIGAte PAKIstAnIs’ Investments In duBAI FBR RECEIVES CONFIRMATION OF 55 OUT 100 PAKISTANIS WHO INVESTED IN DUBAI’S REAL ESTATE SECTOR ISLAMABAD
ATIONAL Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Friday decided to send the case of Pakistanis’ investment in the real estate sector of Dubai to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after months-long debate in the parliamentary committees and media. On the other hand, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for the first time claimed that it received confirmation of 55 Pakistani nationals who invested in real estate in Dubai. At the same time, a reporter of private a media outlet— who was allowed to speak in the committee’s meeting on request of members— claimed that he had received a list (soft copy) of around 5, 000 Pakistanis who have invested in real estate sector of Dubai. According to the reporter, over 5,000 super-rich Pakistanis bought luxury residential villas, flats, and estates in renowned localities in the UAE capital. The documents contained particulars of some 33, 737 rich families from various countries in all. Interestingly, the list was received by the journalist from a top official of FBR in 2015. Later, the journalist claimed that the same list was shared by someone with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Committee member Asad Umar said that it has been established through the exercise of past two years that both the FBR and FIA were lying and misleading the parliamentary body by saying that they had no list of Pakistani investors in Dubai. Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Rana Afzal Khan said that the government could probe into the new revelation about Dubai investment if the journalist shares the name of the FBR officials, who shared the list with him. However, the members of the committee turned down the suggestion saying that reporters cannot share sources. FBR spokesperson Dr Muhammad Iqbal said since the new disclosure was not part of
ASAD UMAR SAYS FBR, FIA HAVE BEEN MISLEADING NA BODY BY HIDING THE LIST OF PAKISTANI INVESTORS the agenda, he could not comment on it. “I personally do not know about the record the FBR had in 2015,” he said. Earlier, the spokesperson said that the FBR was investigating the list of 100 people shared by the FIA. “In developments of last week, the Dubai government confirmed the 55 names out of the 100. We have received 35 copies of passports and verification of data is in the process,” Iqbal said, adding that the FBR was investigating the tax data and other records of the said people. Rana Afzal, on the occasion, claimed that Ministry of Finance was going to hold a meeting on the Dubai investment issue in the evening on Friday. He said no institution can officially make a statement or progress until verified evidence is available. Abdul Rasheed Godel, a member of the committee, said that “who can say that there is no evidence of investment in Dubai as the whole nation has been noticing the advertisement in media about investment opportunities in Dubai real estate”. NA committee Chairman Qaisar Ahmed Sheikh, who chaired the meeting, said that the Supreme Court has already taken a notice of the issue. The country’s top court has directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military
Intelligence (MI), the Foreign Office and the Federal Investigative Authority (FIA) to share their information about foreign bank accounts and foreign assets held by Pakistani citizens. During the meeting, Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal, chairperson of the sub-committee on finance, presented final findings of the committee on Dubai investment issue. Referring to recommendations of the committee, she said, as the concerned institutions, like the FBR and FIA, claimed that they could not get information despite repeated attempts from Dubai, the issue may be taken up at an executive [prime minister] level to get the relevant information. She said on the directives of the committee the FIA shared names of 100 Pakistanis who own properties in Dubai. Later on, the committee recommended that not only Dubai but the illegal investments by Pakistanis in other countries should also be investigated. The findings said SBP had never allowed anyone to invest in properties abroad. She said a NAB’s representative informed the committee that the bureau has the power and rule to investigate illegal investments abroad. Later the members of standing committee unanimously decided to send the Dubai investment case to NAB for investigation, for which the National Assembly speaker would also be consulted.
IHC judge says won’t let govt sweep Faizabad sit-in reports under the rug ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Pakistan demands us pay for Afghan border fencing ISLAMABAD AGENCIES
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Washington must pay for the fencing of the Pak-Afghan border. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said that the fencing of Pak-Afghan border “won’t cost [the US] much”. The minister’s demand comes a month after the US suspended military aid to Pakistan. “The war [in Afganistan] is costing the US much more,” he was quoted as saying in the interview. Explaining the importance of securing the porous border shared by Pakistan and Afghanistan, Asif said that the fencing will put a stop on the entry of militants that come under the guise of refugees. He added that a fenced border was in the “mutual interest” of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Any free movement from their side to our side, or our side to their side, can breed mistrust and obviously some terrorist activity on our side or on their soil,” he said. He claimed that as many as 700,000 people were crossing the border unchecked each day which posed a risk to both countries. “These issues are facilitating terrorism,” he said. He said the repatriation of two million Afghan refugees was crucial for establishing peace in the region because refugee camps were breeding grounds for militants. Asif disclosed that almost 600,000 refuges, that had been sent back to Afghanistan, had returned to Pakistan. He called on the US and the rest of the world community to help Pakistan in hosting such a large number of refugees and in making Afghanistan safe for those returning.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday expressed displeasure at the government’s failure to submit the Senator Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee report into the Khatm-eNabuwwat amendment issue and details of the agreement between the Faizabad sit-in protesters and government, warning the officials of contempt proceedings if the reports were not promptly submitted. Hearing the case, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui expressed displeasure at the government’s failure to present Haq’s report, as well as the defence secretary’s failure to submit the report regarding the agreement between the protesters and government and the mention of army chief’s name in it.
“We will not allow the matter to be brushed under the carpet,” the judge remarked. Deputy Attorney General Arshad Kiyani informed the court that the signature of one member of the committee was not in the report, therefore, it could not be submitted. The court directed the defence secretary to resubmit the report at the next hearing. The head of the Intelligence Bureau was present in court but also failed to submit the required audio recording after which he was summoned again on February 12. Earlier, IHC declared the agreement between the government and Faizabad protesters unconstitutional and illegal, saying that the protesters committed blasphemy and the state surrendered before them. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, while hearing the case petitioned by
ordinary citizens and the religious group, observed that the agreement doesn’t have any legal standing. On November 6, workers of Tehreek-eLabbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and activists of other religious groups camped at the Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad against the hastilyabandoned change in the oath of elected representatives, virtually paralysing the twin cities for more than two weeks. Police and Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel had launched an operation against the protesters after the high court had ordered the clearance of the bridge that connects the federal capital with Rawalpindi. The same day, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had advised Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to “handle the Islamabad dharna peacefully”.
nAB summons nawaz but he ain’t going ISLAMABAD: The National Account Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi has summoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday to record his statement in the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment cases; however, Nawaz has refused to appear before the accountability watchdog. According to sources, Nawaz said that the matter is sub judice, adding that he is answerable to the court only. Sources informed Pakistan Today that the NAB has also sent a notice to the ex-premier in this regard as the bureau is likely to file supplementary references against him in the next week. The sources further said that the NAB has also received the script of an interview of Hussain Nawaz taken by Hamid Mir, a private TV anchor, which will be made part of the interim references. Nawaz and his family are facing corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case. Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, are nominated in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar are only accused in one. STAFF REPORT
LnG corruption case against Pm set for hearing on 12th ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday decided to take up a petition filed by Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi over alleged corruption in the award of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract. The petition filed through Advocate Latif Khosa will be heard by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on February 12. It alleges that Abbasi indulged in massive corruption in the LNG contract awarded in 2015 as the minister for petroleum and natural resources. The counsel further requested court to order National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate investigation against the PM in this regard. The petition states that importing LNG without agreement is illegal, calling into question the integrity of PM Abbasi. It points out that transparency is a must when awarding contracts of public interest. The petitioner prayed to the top court to declare it as a matter of fundamental rights. STAFF REPORT
MASHAL KHAN’S MURDER
Zealots demand acquittal of convicts RALLY LED BY TAHAFFUZ KHATM-EPROTESTERS CHANT SLOGANS AGAINST NABUWAT LEADER QARI IKRAMUL HAQ GOVT, MASHAL KHAN AND VOW TO KILL INCLUDED PARTICIPANTS FROM JUI-F AND JI ‘BLASPHEMERS’ IN FUTURE AS WELL MARDAN STAFF REPORT
A large number of activists belonging to political and religious parties of Mardan on Friday came out on roads to protest the convictions of 31 suspects in the Mashal Khan murder case. An anti-terrorism court had convicted 31 out of 57 as it let the 26 go scot-free despite “strong video evidence”. The rally led by Mardan’s Tahaffuz Khatm-eNabuwat leader Qari Ikramul Haq was joined by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) activists, besides locals, who were chanting pro-blas-
phemy slogans as they vowed to do what they did to Mashal, in future too. The protesters gathered at Pakistan Chowk were holding banners inscribed with anti-government and anti-Mashal slogans as they chanted slogans against them. One of the banners in the rally read “Mashalyon [Mashal supporters], stop us if you can!” Advocate Syed Akhtar, a JI leader and one of the counsels of the accused in the Mashal Khan murder case, in his address to the rally said the “entire ummah” stands behind those who have been convicted. He said the protesters wanted to warn the government that if it goes ahead
with appealing the acquittal of the 26 men in court, then “we will block the roads”. It may be mentioned here that a local religious party leader had earlier said that the acquitted men would also join the rally and address the participants of the protest. Several men acquitted by the court, including Ajmal Mayar, attended the rally and were given a ‘Ghazi’ welcome. The JI had also held a gathering in Mardan on Thursday to ‘welcome’ those acquitted by the anti-terrorism court (ATC). On Wednesday, the JUI-F and JI’s workers had gathered at the Mardan Motorway Interchange and protested against the verdict given by an Anti-Terrorism
Court (ATC) in the Mashal Khan murder case. The charged crowd had chanted slogans against the slain student Mashal Khan and vowed to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. On April 13, 2017, Mashal Khan, 23, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan was lynched by a mob, allegedly comprising of his fellow students riled up by allegations of blasphemy against the young man. As details of this bone-chilling event, including a video recording of the event, were reported, a different picture started to emerge— one that had nothing to do with blasphemy. It is pertinent to note here that the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked by the court with probing the murder of Mashal Khan also found the student had not committed blasphemy. The JIT in its report stated that a group in the university had incited a mob against the 23-year-old on the pretext of blasphemy.
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
CJP says ElECtions aCt 2017 rEviEw not nawaz sharif sPECifiC ISLAMABAD
Senate body passes Transgender Protection of Rights Bill 2017 ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights here on Friday passed, “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017 to ensure a conducive environment for the transgender community to live with dignity and respect like any other citizen of the country. “The bill is focused on the welfare of transgenders, who have an equal right to live according to their own free will and get as much respect as other people of the society”, said Senate committee chairperson, Senator Nasreen Jalil. The committee considered two bills on the same agenda, one moved by Senator Rubina Khalid, Senator Samina Saeed and Senator Kalsoom Parveen while the second bill was tabled by Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja, and after thorough discussions a clubbed bill was unanimously passed. The Senate body approved the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), which suggested that no separate board was required for the identification of transgenders, rather it was better to consider their own self-perceived gender. However, the council said that if there was any complication in the inheritance issue and the matter was referred to the court, medical board can be conducted on orders if required. The committee strongly condemned forced disappearance of people and recommended that a new commission on forced disappearances should be established with a new chairperson. “No one is above the law and any person, innocent or accused, should be tried under the law,” committee members suggested.
IKRAM SEHGAL Pakistan’s signature event is the traditional Pakistan Breakfast hosted jointly by Pathfinder Group and Dow Martin Group. Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the Chief Guest at the event being held since 2002. Pakistan faces a serious crisis of image internationally, the Pakistan Breakfast has been successful in dispelling the negative perception before a very precocious audience. PM Abbasi’s performance was above par, he was on the dot when he said, “There are two Pakistans, one is on the CNN and the other is the reality” reflecting that at times the international media has shown bias in very quickly disseminating any news that paints Pakistan is a negative manner. The PM commented that the huge gap between perception and reality was bridged to a large extent by forums such as the Pakistan Breakfast. The guests at the event meet with senior Pakistan leaders in every walk of life to exchange views with a world audience in a very candid manner. Numbering at least 250 braving the early morning cold at what has now become the traditional venue, the Steigen-
HIEF Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday stated that the Supreme Court (SC) was not limiting its review of the Elections Act 2017 to deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif alone, and would take a holistic view of the legislation to ascertain its implications. Heading a three-judge that resumed hearing arguments in the petitions challenging the Election Act 2017, Chief Justice Nisar also said that the apex court has no jurisdiction to interpret the election law on the basis of Islamic injunction. Justice and Democratic Party’s (JDP) lawyer Sheikh Ahsanuddin claimed that the amended Elections Act was only passed to enable Nawaz Sharif to retake his position as chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PMLN), even though the Constitution does not allow a disqualified person to head a political party. Taking the floor, Advocate Bhutta echoed arguments presented by Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rasheed’s lawyer Barrister Farogh Naseem and Pakistan People’s Party’s counsel, Latif Khosa, in previous
hearings. He said that there was no way a person disqualified by the apex court could become a political party chief. To this, the CJP reminded him that the new law passed by parliament could allow any convicted person to assume the position of political party head. On Feb 6, Naseem had made a similar argument that the Elections Act 2017 was passed only 17 days after Nawaz’s disqualification, which indicated its mala fide intent. When the CJP asked how the appointment of a disqualified person as party chief contradicts the Constitution, he had said that according to Article 63-A of the Constitution, important powers were vested in the office of party chief, including the disqualification of a legislator belonging to their party. “The party chief can [thus] also influence legislation and the election of a prime minister [by exercising that power],” Naseem had argued. In his arguments on Feb 7, Khosa had raised similar questions over the timing of the passage of the Elections Act 2017, terming it “suspicious”. He said that the Act negated Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution and the court had the authority to protect it. In Friday’s hearing, Chief Justice Nisar said that the apex court can only
nullify a law if it contradicts the Constitution. He also pointed out that a representative of the Election Commission of Pakistan was in the Standing Committee when the Elections Act 2017 was being drafted. NO SC JURISDICTION IN MATTERS OF RELIGION: Dasti’s lawyer Azhar Siddique argued that any legislation passed by the National Assembly cannot undo Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution. He further stressed that a political party chief “can influence millions of voters.” Siddique claimed that the recently passed election law also violates Islamic teachings. However, Chief Justice Nisar remarked that if the counsel wanted to examine Section 203 of Election law with touchstone of religious provision, he should approach the Federal Shariat Court. “It is an exclusive domain of the FSC,” he said. “We have no jurisdiction,” the chief justice said. The court asked Siddiqui to outline provisions in the Constitution that have been violated through the election law. The bench also hinted that the lawyer may have to pay a heavy cost for filing of a frivolous petition. Responding to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) lawyer Gohar Nawaz Sindhu request to disqualify lawmakers who had voted in
favour of this law, the CJP remarked that the bench will slap heavy fine if the petition does not hold up. The court noted that some parameters had to be set in order to filter filing of frivolous petition. The hearing was later adjourned till Monday, Feb 12. In Thursday’s hearing, Chief Justice Nisar had observed that matters related to Nawaz Sharif becoming the head of a political party do not fall under the purview of the Article 6 of the Constitution. The bench had asked PTI lawyer Babar Awan, if someone sentenced to life imprisonment could remain party head. The CJP also noted that PML-N’s constitution gives immense power to the party head. He then questioned whether or not a person being party head could run its affairs from behind bars. When Awan cited judgements to substantiate his case, the CJP asked him whether any law made by parliament can be struck down on the basis of a judge’ opinion. Likewise, is there any judgment, wherein a law has been struck down on a person-specific or mala fide basis, he added. The CJP said that parliament is the supreme law-making body, but if it makes a bad law, there is need to establish this as a fact through constitutional provisions.
ECP scuttles Rabita Committee’s move to sideline Farooq Sattar KARACHI AFTAB CHANNA
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday scuttled the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Rabita Committee’s move to ostensibly sideline Dr Farooq Sattar by stating that only the party chief or a person nominated by him could award Senate tickets. The development comes after the Rabita Committee authorised party leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to award Senate tickets and communicate with authorities over the upcoming elections. MQM-P leader Faisal Sabzwari said that the committee leaders decided to write a letter to the ECP after they were unable to meet Sattar at his residence on
Thursday night to break the deadlock over the names of the candidates, particularly Kamran Tessori, for the upcoming Senate elections in March. In the letter written to ECP, the MQM-P Rabita Committee stated that the authority to issue party tickets rests with the committee, not the party chief. “According to Section 19(a) of the party’s constitution, the authority to nominate candidates for election rests with the Rabita Committee,” the letter said, adding that the Rabita Committee had in its session finalised the names of the candidates. However, the ECP officials in their response stated that the authority to issue tickets rests with the party chief or a person nominated by him. On Thursday,
Sattar and Rabita Committee had submitted separate lists to the ECP, naming the aspirants for the Senate seats. SABZWARI BAFFLED BY SATTAR’S ATTITUDE: In a press conference on Friday, Faisal Sabzwari told journalists the ultimate decisionmaking authority always rested with the Rabita Committee which empowers the party chief to act on its behalf. Sabzwari reiterated that if the party chief’s decision was against the party policy then he [including Rabita Committee] would be unable to accept those decisions. SATTAR TO VISIT BAHADURABAD HQ: He alleged that Sattar had told the committee members that if Tessori will not contest then the
The Pakistan Davos Breakfast
berger Belvedere, people from at least 35 nations were in attendance. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto’s presence, made even better was graciously acknowledged by PM Abbasi. At Breakfast 2018, democracy was the winner in the eyes of those who attended the function. Meant to project a Pakistani’s soft and positive image, the Pakistan Breakfast is an attractive venue for in-
vestment. Questions were raised in 2017 about the direction in which Pakistan was heading as a democratic entity, this time around the event progressed smoothly in a totally noncontroversial manner, appreciated very much by the Davos crowd. Guests from Singapore, the USA, UK and Japan were especially interested about the security challenges being faced by Pakistan and how it could af-
fect regional stability. The optimism and confidence displayed by PM Abbasi while elucidating Pakistan’s future outlook and in answering some very direct and probing questions in a totally unruffled manner was appreciated and received positively by the gathering of a very knowledgeable crowd. During his two day stay in Davos, PM Abbasi addressed a panel consisting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun, Caixin Global Managing Director Li Xin, Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev, AECOM CEO and Chairman Michael Burke, Singapore Minister Chan Chun Sing and China National Machinery Industry Corp Chairman Ren Hongbin. Later on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting he held meetings with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Chief Executive Officer Tadashi Maeda, Uber CEO Dara Khowsroshahi, Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke, Siemens AG CEO Joe Kasser, Mitsubishi Corporation Chairman Ken Kobayashi, Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) CEO
MQM-P will not contest Senate elections either. Earlier in the day, Dr Sattar after consulting his aides in the afternoon announced that he would visit the party’s Bahadurabad office later during the day. Addressing a presser outside his residence in the PIB Colony, Dr Sattar said that he would chair a Rabita Committee’s meeting over the Senate nominations at 7 pm. However, he did not show up at the Bahadurabad office. “If a leader is responsible for taking the party ahead, he should also be given authority,” Sattar asserted. “This can’t happen that all failures are due to the leader, while he has got no authority.” However, he maintained that he would award tickets to the Senate candidates. Ishige Hiroyuki and Trina-Solar CEOChairman Jifan Gao. Davos presents a huge potential for Pakistan, unfortunately, it has never been adequately represented at this forum on a consistent basis. In contrast, Indians have a contingent of over 200 top entrepreneurs at Davos, promoting their country and selling their wares. The global village has become increasingly interconnected and fast-paced with technological breakthrough, demographic shifts and political transformations having far-reaching societal and economic consequences. Pakistan needs to do more to communicate its case to the world given that it is a greatly misunderstood country, the initiatives taken every year by Pathfinder and Dow Martin groups on their own need to be boosted to be more effective. While a Pakistani Head of State or of Government needs to represent Pakistan Davos every year, the private sector participation also needs to be drastically expanded if we are to take advantage of commercial opportunities that can be networked in Davos and government-to-government interaction without the restraints shackles of redtapism and protocol (the writer is a defence and security analyst).
WEATHER UPDATES SATURDAY
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
26 C 0
27 C 14 C 0
PPP looks to benefit in Senate elections from MQM-P’s internal bickering
Sri Lanka High Commissioner Major General (rtd) Jayanath Lokuketegodege and Consul General in Karachi GL Gnanatheva (center) inaugurating Sri Lankan Food Festival at Avari Towers Hotel along (Left to Right) Manoj S Manaperi, attache at the Consulate General in Karachi, Avari Towers Hotel PR Manager Madiha Owais and Beach Luxury Hotel General Manager Azeem Qureshi.
IRSA ASkS SInDH to ReSolve wAteR CRISIS of BAloCHIStAn to AvoID PoSSIBle lAwleSSneSS Karachi
HE Indus River Systems Authority (IRSA) instructed the Sindh province on Friday to help resolve the irrigation water crisis of Balochistan to contain the likely agitation by the crop growers that may worsen the law and order situation. According to the sources, IRSA Chairman Sher Zaman Khan has forwarded a letter to Sindh Secretary Irrigation Jamal Mustafa, asking him to personally look into the matter and resolve the matter at the earliest. “I am to bring the issue of short
supplies in Balochistan canal system to your kind notice and am of the considered opinion that you will leave no stone unturned while resolving the complaints of Balochistan province. Both the PatFeeder and Kirthar canal systems of Balochistan province are suffering from severe shortages of water”, Sher Zaman said in a letter, a copy of which is exclusively available with Pakistan Today. “Despite following the complaints of Balochistan province to Irrigation Department Sindh vide letters No IRSA/CE(0) /11/47887 and IRSA/CE(0) /11/52734 dated 31.01.2018 and 1.2.2018 respectively, no tangible improvement is visible in the system.
“It is also pertinent to mention here that IRSA is releasing water for Sindh and Balochistan provinces even more than their indents to encompass the conveyance losses. “The farmers’ community is agitating in Balochistan province and is announcing strikes, dharnas and road blocks on the nonavailability of water which may create law and order situation in the province. “IRSA will appreciate your personal intervention for resolving the issue and for the issuance of strict directions to allied/concerned staff for provision of legitimate irrigation supplies to Balochistan province as per IRSA authorization without any delay”, it concluded.
Karachi: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Friday asked the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) members of provincial assemblies for support in Senate elections on March 3. PPP MPA Saeed Ghani said that the party would take benefit from the MQM-P’s internal differences in the Senate polls. The schedule for Senate polls for the seats from the federal capital and FATA was withheld due to procedural hitches stated to be the presidencies failure to extend the Elections Act 2017 to FATA through an order and determining the manner in which polling is to be held for the aforementioned seats, under Article 59 of the constitution. A confirmation that polling for all 52 Senate seats will take place on March 3 came later after the schedule for seats from Islamabad was announced on Feb 4, as well as, the announcement of the schedule for FATA seats. By the looks of it, PPP seems to be the biggest loser, the reason being 18 of the party’s senators, including Chairman Raza Rabbani being replaced by newcomers. Although nine senators from the ruling PML-N are also retiring, the party is still expected to gain seats by the exercise, despite the recent change in the Balochistan Assembly which replacing PML-Q’s Abdul Quddus Bizenjo replacing PML-N’s Sanaullah Zehri for the chief minister slot. Elections will be held for seven general and four reserved seats from each province, including two each for women and technocrats, four seats from Fata, two from Islamabad and two minority seats. The 52 members who are due to retire in March include Senate Chairman Nayyer Bokhari, Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, National Party chief Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, PML-N chairman Raja Mohammad Zafarul Haq, former interior minister Rehman Malik, former chairman of Senate Farooq H. Naek, former law minister Moula Bux Chandio, Islamuddin Sheikh, parliamentary leader of MQM in the Senate Babar Ghauri, Afrasiab Khatak, Haji Adeel, Zahid Khan, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, Mushahidullah Khan and Zafar Ali. Staff RepoRt
Intezar murder case: Sindh govt transfers chief prosecutor Karachi: The Sindh government on Friday changed the chief prosecutor in Intezar murder case. In a report, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) detailed that Intezar Ahmed was killed after the police’s Anti Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) officials intentionally opened fire on his car on Khayaban-e-Ittehad on January 14. It further said that police personnel Daniyal and Bilal were directly involved in the killing. However, Muqaddas Haider, who was serving as the ACLC SSP when the incident took place was cleared and acquitted. Via a notification issued on Friday, state counsel Abdul Razzar Gujjar has been transferred from court number 6 to court number 9. Separately, Ahmed’s father alleged that evidence of his son’s murder has been destroyed. Addressing a press conference, Ishtiaq Ahmed, said his son was murdered on January 13 and the case was handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on his request. He recalled that a joint investigation team (JIT) was also made, but was suspended. Ishtiaq argued that despite assurances by the Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights a new JIT had not been formed. He claimed that the girl, Mahrukh’s, who was supposedly friends and schoolmates with his son, father had called him from the United States and threatened him saying that “his brother serves on a key post in Karachi.” Staff RepoRt
SHC issues notices on Dr Villagers, local politicians protest against illegal constructions in Karachi Asim’s plea challenging Karachi: A large number of people belonging to different organizations on Friday reached Karachi Press Club (KPC) to protest against alleged forcible shifting of villagers to give land to real estate tycoons. The protest was led by Jiye Sindh Qaumi Muhaz (JSQM) leader Illahi Bux Bikak, Shireen Asad, Sarman Brohi and Jiye Sindh Mahaz (JSM) Chairman Khaliq Junejo and others. The protesters carrying placards and banners chanted slogans against illegal constructions on the encroached land of the poor people. They asked that the China cutting of villages and rural areas should be stopped and those involved in this mega land grabbing should be brought to justice. Staff RepoRt
Murad asks ADB to speed up financing for BRT station construction Karachi: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has given 10 days to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) country director to work out its financing plan for the construction of an underground and mezzanine floor for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station near Mazar-e-Quaid so that a final decision could be taken to start the project. The decision was taken in a meeting in which Pakistan Resident Mission Ms Xiaohong Yang along with Mian Shaukat Shafi, ADB Urban Unit head and others had called on Shah here at the CM house. The projects which came under discussion include supporting public-private partnership investments in Sindh, the proposed ‘Sindh Education Sector Investment Programme’, as well as, ongoing and future energy sector projects, and ongoing and future transport projects particularly, Sindh roads and the Karachi BRT. The chief minister said that the major objective of the BRT is to improve the urban transport system (UTS) of the provincial capital. He thanked ADB for providing technical and financial support to implement a BRT corridor and strengthening institutions and organizations managing the urban sector. Staff RepoRt
charges in graft case
Karachi: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and others on a petition of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Dr Asim Hussain seeking to restrain a trial court from framing charges against him in a corruption reference. Dr Asim, who has recently been made the chairman of the Sindh HEC, faces charges of committing massive corruption during his tenure as the federal minister for petroleum and natural resources in the previous PPP government. He moved the petition in the high court, assailing the verdict of an accountability court that rejected his request not to frame charges against him and quash the reference involving embezzlement of Rs17 billion. In the petition, he submitted that the anti-graft body filed the reference on the basis of fake documents. Hence, it would be unfair to frame charges against him in the case, he added. The PPP leader pleaded with the judges to restrain the accountability judge from framing charges against him and order quashing of the reference. In the reference, Dr Asim has been accused of committing corruption of Rs17 billion in the award of illegal contracts for five gas fields in Sindh to Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL). The PPP leader is also facing another reference for allegedly misusing his authority for getting plots allotted fraudulently and encroaching upon state land for expansion of his hospital, money laundering, which caused a loss of Rs462 billion. Staff RepoRt
Karachi Literature Festival begins, brings variety of talent on one platform Karachi Staff RepoRt
The 9th edition of Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) began at a local hotel here on Friday in Karachi. While addressing the inaugural ceremony, Oxford University Press Founder of Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festival Managing Director Ameena Saeed said that KLF, which was started in the year 2010, is the mother of all festivals in the country as it gave birth to literary, musical, film and theater festivals in Lahore, Hyderabad, Faisalabad and Gwadar. Being impressed by the KLF, the Children Literature Festival was also arranged and more than 46 such kinds of festivals have taken place in the country, she said, adding that KLF is not the name
of an event but it’s a struggle that brings academia, scholars and artists at one platform. “KLF is like a smaller varsity which gives an opportunity to the rising stars of Pakistan to gather at one platform to test their vision and ideas”, she added. Ameena further said KLF represents every segment of the society that exists in Pakistan. The purpose of the KLF, according to German Philosophy, is “More Light”, she added. “KLF is open to all and it’s free where youth will get an opportunity to read out their poems and stories at the festival,” Ameena went on to say. She said that the number of participants in the KLF has been drastically increasing as there were just 5,000 participants in KLF 2010 as compared to
as many as 200,000 in KLF this year; there were 35 performers in 2010 only which has now inflated to 259. The festival will host Kamila Shamsi to indulge her in a conversation on her newly launched novel Home Fire which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prizeone of the most prestigious awards in the literary world. Further, transgender activist Kami Chaudry and politician Nafeesa Shah will be a part of the panel to discuss the relevance of #MeToo Movement- a movement to highlight the prevalent sexual harassment of women specially at the workplace. Other than that, the festival will also feature discussions on the impact of fiction on politics, history of Sindhi Literature, the transition from the old to the new style of poetry and much more.
06 FOREIGN NEWS
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
CongrEss nArrowly pAssEs bipArTisAn budgET MEAsurE, Ending us govT shuTdown WASHINGTON
HE House moved swiftly early on Friday to reopen the federal government and pass a $400 billion budget deal, overcoming opposition from both liberal Democrats and tea party conservatives to endorse enormous spending increases despite looming trillion-dollar deficits. The 240-186 vote came in the predawn hours, putting to bed a five-anda-half hour federal freeze that relatively few would notice. Many who did quickly labeled it a pointless, headscratching episode. The shutdown was the second in three weeks. The breakdown came largely in the Senate, when after a day of inaction, Republican Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky went rogue and stalled a vote in protest over his party’s willingness to bust the budget. But Democrats also had their divisions and wrangling, largely with liberal upset the measure were not tied to any plans to assist the “Dreamer” immigrants. Most Democrats opposed the measure, following the lead of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who tried and failed to use the moment to secure a promise for a separate vote on immigration. Up to the final minutes, it was not clear the bill would pass and many Democrats held their votes, al-
lowing the tally to creep slowly and giving no indication which way it might fall. House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Congress to avoid a “second needless
Egypt launches offensive against ‘terrorists’: spokesperson
shutdown in a matter of weeks — entirely needless.” There was far less drama in the Senate, where the measure sailed through by a 71-28 tally. President Donald Trump
has promised to sign the bill into law. The White House was forced to order the government shutdown shortly after midnight, but leaders quickly hustled to move before federal employees
Turkey orders arrest of 17 pro-Kurdish leaders over criticising Syria oﬀensive ISTANBUL
Egypt on Friday launched a major security operation involving the army and police against “terrorist and criminal elements and organisations” across the country, the army spokesman said. The army spokesman said the operation covers areas in Sinai, the Delta, and the Western Desert and it follows a three-month deadline set by President Abdel-Fattah alSisi to crush a years-long Islamist insurgency. “The law enforcement forces began this morning implementing the comprehensive confrontation against the terrorist and criminal elements and organisations in northern and central Sinai,” an army spokesman said in a televised statement. The army spokesman said the operation will involve operational and training maneuvers to tighten state control on the country’s crossing points with neighboring countries, and urged full cooperation with the law enforcement forces involved in the operation.
Turkey ordered the arrest of 17 people including the co-leader of the main pro-Kurdish political party over opposition to the military’s offensive in Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Friday. Since the launch of the campaign in northwest Syria’s Afrin nearly three weeks ago, authorities have said they would arrest those who criticise or oppose it. So far, some 600 people have been detained for protests or for social media posts against the offensive. Anadolu cited the Ankara prosecutor’s office as saying the 17 suspects now facing arrest were accused of seeking to stir street protests and clashes under the guise of opposition to the Afrin offensive. Among them was Serpil Kemalbay, the coleader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), it
said. The HDP, parliament’s second-largest opposition party, is the only major political party to oppose the campaign – dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” – against the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin. The party is scheduled to hold its annual congress in Ankara on Sunday. The HDP’s other co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas, is in jail over alleged links to Kurdish militants and is among many leading members of the party imprisoned on similar charges, which they have denied. The YPG is designated by Ankara as a terrorist group and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil in which more than 40,000 people have been killed. President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey will strip the word “Turkish” from the name of its main medical association after the group publicly opposed the campaign.
Trump administration may target immigrants who use food aid, other benefits WASHINGTON AGENCIES
The Trump administration is considering making it harder for foreigners living in the United States to get permanent residency if they or their American-born children use public benefits such as food assistance, in a move that could sharply restrict legal immigration. The Department of Homeland Security has drafted rules seen by Reuters that would allow immigration officers to scrutinize a potential immigrant’s use of certain taxpayer-funded public benefits to determine if they could become a public burden.For example, US officials could look at whether the applicant has enrolled a child in government preschool programs or received subsidies for utility bills or health insurance premiums. The draft rules are a sharp departure from current guidelines, which have been in place since 1999 and specifically bar authorities from considering such non-cash benefits in deciding a person’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States or stay in the country.
were due back at work, hoping to minimize the disruption. A shutdown essentially cuts the federal workforce in half, with those dubbed non-essential not allowed to work, while military and essential workers remain on the job. The House vote ensured most employees would report for work as usual. The White House kept its distance from the quarreling on Capitol Hill. Trump did not tweet and aides did not try to assign blame. Senate GOP leaders, however, were clearly irked by the debacle. In his attempt to sway Paul to relent, Sen John Cornyn of Texas declared his fellow Republican was “wasting everyone’s time” and prompting a shutdown for “no good reason.” But Paul, the resident contrarian, repelled suggestions to stand aside. “I didn’t come up here to be part of somebody’s club. I didn’t come up here to be liked,” Paul said. The budget agreement is married to a six-week temporary funding bill needed to keep the government operating and to provide time to implement the budget pact. The bill includes huge spending increases sought by Republicans for the Pentagon along with a big boost demanded by Democrats for domestic agencies. Both sides pressed for $89 billion for disaster relief, extending a host of health care provisions, and extending a slew of smaller tax breaks.
“Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the US government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations,” the document states. “An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”
Receiving such benefits could weigh against an applicant, even if they were for an immigrant’s US citizen children, according to the document. “The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer,” said Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman. “Any potential changes to the rule would be in keeping with the letter and spirit of the law – as
well as the reasonable expectations of the American people for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.” In 2016, nearly 383,000 people who would be subject to the new standards obtained permanent residence while already in the United States, according to DHS statistics. The rules would not apply to permanent residents applying for citizenship, but would apply to a wide range of people living or working in the United States, including close family members of US citizens and workers employed by US companies. In addition, nearly 620,000 other immigrants living abroad obtained US permanent residence through the State Department in 2016. If DHS publishes a new rule, the State Department will decide then whether to change its guidance, said Ashley Garrigus, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. US immigration law has long required officials to exclude a person likely to become a “public charge” from permanent residence.
Trump, Modi discuss Afghanistan security WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI AGENCIES
US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have reiterated their commitment to supporting security and stability in Afghanistan, a media report said on Friday. According to a report in The Times of India (ToI), the two leaders discussed the situation in South Asia via a phone call. “Both leaders also expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law,” TOI said, quoting a White House readout of the phone call. The Maldives crisis was triggered by a surprise Supreme Court decision to release from jail former president and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed and eight other political prisoners. According to TOI, Trump and Modi also decided to continue working together on matters of security in the Indo-Pacific region. “Affirming President Trump’s South Asia strategy, they [the two leaders] reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s security and stability,” the White House was quoted as saying. According to TOI, Modi and Trump also exchanged views on Myanmar and ways to address the plight of the Rohingya refugees. Trump and Modi discussed further steps to ensure denuclearisation of North Korea, the report said. “Finally, the leaders agreed to strengthen security and economic cooperation as they look forward to the ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between their defence and diplomatic officials in April,” the report added. According the TOI, the ‘2+2 dialogue’ was announced after the White House meeting between Modi and Trump in June 2017. The dialogue would be held between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from India along with their American counterparts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, TOI said.
FOREIGN NEWS 07
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
dEATh Toll Tops 220 in four-dAy rEgiME AssAulT on syriA rEbEl EnClAvE ERBIN
YRIAN regime jets have pounded Eastern Ghouta, sending the death toll from a four-day assault on the rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus soaring past 220. Violence also flared in eastern Syria on Thursday, where the US-led coalition said it had killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters to fend off an attack on its Kurdish allies. The clash marked a fresh escalation between Washington, which has threatened the regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons, and Damascus, which labelled the latest incident in eastern Syria a “war crime.” Moscow also slammed the USled strikes, with Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia saying he had lodged a protest about the assault during a closed-door Security Council meeting. “To confront those who really fight international terrorism on the ground in Syria is criminal,” he said. The UN Security Council on
Thursday failed to back a UN appeal for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire in Syria. In Eastern Ghouta, which lies east of the capital and has been besieged since 2013, residents had no time to mourn their dead or treat their wounded from the previous day’s bombardment. “These are the worst four days that Eastern Ghouta has ever gone through,” said Hamza, an overwhelmed doctor at the Erbin clinic who was treating wounded patients.
“From 2011 until now, there has never been the level of bombardment we’ve seen in the last 96 hours.” The death toll mounted steadily throughout Thursday, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights giving 75 civilians dead by the evening. Three died of wounds suffered on Wednesday. That brought to 228 the number of civilians killed since the regime launched a campaign Monday of heavy air raids on the area, which has
One dead, 62 wounded in mosque attack in Libya's Benghazi BENGHAZI AGENCIES
Twin bomb blasts struck a mosque in Benghazi in eastern Libya on Friday, killing one person and wounding more than 62, the city's main hospital said. The explosions hit the mosque at the start of weekly prayers in Libya's second city, which lies 1,000 kilometres east of Tripoli, a security source told AFP. One bomb was hidden in a coffin in the courtyard of the mosque and another in a shoe cabinet at the entrance, the source added. At least one person was killed and 62 wounded, according to a spokeswoman for the city´s Al-Jala hospital, Fadia al-Barghathi. The blast follows twin car bombings on January 24 outside a mosque in Benghazi that left nearly 40 people dead. There was no claim of responsibility for that attack, which under-
scored the ongoing chaos in the Benghazi region which is controlled by the forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar. Haftar, who opposes a UNbacked unity government based in Tripoli, announced Benghazi's "liberation" from militants in July last
year after a three-year campaign, but sporadic violence has continued. Libya has been wracked by violence and divisions since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising. On September 11, 2012, suspected militants linked to Al-Qaeda attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, killing ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
an estimated 400,000 residents. Among them were at least 58 children, the Observatory said. “Children and teachers are terrified that at any moment they could be hit. The siege means there is nowhere for them to escape,” said Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria response director. “There must be an immediate halt to the fighting and an end to the siege.” Moayad al-Hafi, a rescue worker, said his team was targeted as they retrieved bodies near Erbin. “As we were pulling out the children and the dead from under the rubble, they targeted us with five rockets — directly targeting us,” said Hafi, 24. At least two civilians were killed in retaliatory rebel mortar fire on government-controlled areas of Damascus, according to state news agency SANA. AFP correspondents said mortars were raining down on Bab Touma on Thursday night. Eastern Ghouta was one of several so-called de-escalation zones agreed last year by three of the main outside players in the conflict – Turkey, Iran and Russia.
Kim Jong un's sister makes historic visit to south Korea SEOUL AGENCIES
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister joined athletes and officials from around the world at the South's Winter Olympics on Friday, the first member of Pyongyang's ruling dynasty to set foot in its rival since the Korean War. Kim Yo Jong was part of a diplomatic delegation led by ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam — the highest-level North Korean official ever to go to the South — as the Games trigger a diplomatic rapprochement between the rivals. Ahead of the opening ceremony, the South's President Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Yong Nam at a leaders' gathering in Pyeongchang, but Seoul's Blue House said US Vice President Mike Pence did not and left before the event ended. Both Washington and Tokyo are regularly threatened by Pyongyang, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did shake hands and exchange words with Kim, Seoul's spokesman said. Moon is scheduled to have lunch with the Pyongyang delegation on Saturday.
US forces in Afghanistan attack anti-China militants KABUL AGENCIES
US forces in Afghanistan have attacked networks of anti-China militants in an action that is likely to please Beijing, which had called for Western cooperation in its fight against a group it says wants to split off its Xinjiang region. The strikes in the northern province of Badakhshan destroyed Taliban training camps which support militant operations in Afghanistan as well as operations by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in the border region with China and Tajikistan, Afghanistan’s NATO-led mission said in a release on Thursday. “The US strikes support Afghanistan in reassuring its neighbours that it is not a safe sanctuary for terrorists who want to carry out cross-border operations,” it said. The force gave no more details about the attacks or any estimate of casualties but it said the ETIM was behind attacks both inside and outside China and two of its members had been involved in a 2002 plot to bomb the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. “They pose a threat to China and enjoy support from the Taliban in Badakhshan and throughout the border region,” the force said. The group is drawn from members of China’s mostly Muslim Uighur minority, who speak a Turkic language and live in Xinjiang in China’s far west. In Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said he did not have information about the issue, but that fighting ETIM was a “core counter-terrorism concern” for China.
“Striking against terrorism is the responsibility of all countries in the world,” Geng Shuang told a news briefing on Friday. In 2016, Beijing was angered at a US State Department report that said there was a lack of transparency or information from China about incidents it called terrorism, and that cooperation on the problem was limited. The United States has since urged China to play a bigger role
in combating global terrorism. In the past, some Western countries have been reluctant to share intelligence with China on terrorism issues, citing concern about possible human rights abuses in Xinjiang. China has long been worried that instability in Afghanistan could spill over into Xinjiang. Hundreds of people have been killed in violence in recent years in Xinjiang. Beijing blames the bloodshed on militants and separatists, though rights groups say the unrest is more a reaction to repressive Chinese policies.
Iraq seeks $100 billion to reconstruct transport, agriculture and oil sectors BAGHDAD AGENCIES
Iraq seeks around $100 billion in foreign investment in transport, energy and agriculture as part of a plan to rebuild parts of the country and revive the economy after a three-year war on Daesh or ISIS. The government’s National Investment Commission published a list of 157 projects it will seek investment for at an International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq to be hosted by Kuwait from February 12 to 14. Some of these projects are about rebuilding destroyed facilities like Mosul’s airport, while others are new investments to strengthen and diversify the economy away from oil, said an economic adviser to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. “All together, they cost about $100 billion,” the adviser, Mudhar Saleh, told Reuters. Sixteen projects carry a price tag of $500 million or more, according to the
list. Rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses and telecommunications is key to providing jobs to the young, to end the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and put an end to several decades of political and sectarian violence. Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015. A US-led coalition supported the Iraqi forces, especially in the battle to dislodge them from Mosul, their de facto capital in northern Iraq, in July. The United States government will not contribute funds at the conference but will instead encourage investment from the private sector and Gulf Arab allies, US and Western officials said. A US official in Baghdad said 100 US companies were participating in the conference. Three rail projects top the list: a 500-
kilometre line from Baghdad to Basra in the south estimated to cost $13.7 billion, a line from Baghdad to Mosul in the north estimated at $8.65 billion and an $8 billion metro for the capital.
Iraq reopened to foreign investment in 2003 after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, but the vast majority of the billions invested went to increasing its oil and gas production.
with a daily output of 4.4 million barrels. At the conference, Iraq will seek investment in the downstream oil industry including in storage tanks, refineries and petrochemical plants to process its crude into plastics and fertilisers. Saleh said investments in the oil industry and agriculture will probably be easier to attract than other sectors given the country’s vast crude reserves, available land and water wealth. Total land offered for investments to grow “strategic crops” is nearly 1,500 square kilometers (580 square miles). Iraq, one of the world’s largest wheat importers, aims to achieve self-sufficiency and possibly become a net exporter of the grain. “We feel there will be support for Iraq, from the Americans, the Europeans, the Arab countries, the United Nations, and humanitarian organisations,” said Saleh.
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
Tickets for Senate’s vacant seats Dangerous trends
HE Senate is also called the House of Federation to reinforce the idea that the chamber symbolises the federation. Unlike the national Assembly where representation is based on population, the Senate has equal representation from all four federating units. Besides undertaking legislative activity the Senate also conducts the oversight and accountability of the Executive. In view of its mandate the upper house is supposed to have members with a federal rather than a strong centrist or parochial outlook. The Senators can be politicians, academicians, professionals or prominent members of the business community. What matters is that they possess the required intellectual stature, courage and a fair knowledge of how the system works. The Senate should not be a place for people who have nothing to contribute during the debates and are there simply to vote obediently in line with the party policy. It goes to the credit of the Senate that its members have on several occasions in the past given preference to loyalty to the federation over loyalty to their party. What is more while holding accountable they never treated any institution as a holy cow. The Senate working has suffered in the past whenever two categories of individuals managed to get inducted into it. First, the moneybags who got party tickets on the basis of their fabulous wealth or won as independent candidates through horse trading and then joined the ruling party. The second category comprised those who lacked the required intellect but were given party tickets for no other reason than blind loyalty to the party boss. This category simply toed the party line, making little contribution to the Senate debates. Unfortunately both categories are working hectically this time to enter the Senate in bulk. For 52 vacant seats there are more than 140 candidates. Wary of the recent parliamentary coup in Balochistan PM Abbasi has promised to name and shame those indulging in horse trading in the Senate elections. Abbasi has however conveniently forgotten to mention the lot some of the mainstream parties including PML-n have nominated for Senate which is not known for anything other than sycophancy or wealth.
Dragons guarding the treasure-trove? Government departments defy NAB requests for case records
n western democracies where rules of the political game are scrupulously followed, or in a society where rule of law prevails, a well-established bureaucracy is a permanent feature, while governments may come and go. Bureaucrats are expected to follow lawful commands and implement policies of political masters in a neutral, professional manner. Individual liking, vested political or personal interests do not intrude in this process. In Pakistani society, where people delight in taking short cuts and cutting corners for quick overnight gain, an independent bureaucracy, the very backbone of nation building, also stands starkly politicised, with known favourites, who like bad coins return with every tenure of their political patrons, monoplising lucrative and powerful posts, and indulging in all manner of illegalities while still remaining ‘untouchable’. Servile ‘civil servants’ willingly hitch their star to a particular political wagonor personality and slavishly perform every bidding, right or wrong, instead of reserving their ultimate loyalty for the state. The case of the ‘vanished’ Swiss Bank Account documents and the alleged recent record-tampering in a crucial case involving the Sharif family by the (technically still!) SECP chief are blatant and criminal instances, not to talk of repeated mysterious arson of incriminating material. Bureaucratic decline and fall over the last three decades have now reached a point where the nAB chairman on Thursday warned that dilatory tactics of some Punjab government departments in handing over relevant record of high-profile cases currently under investigation, even three months after the graft body had requested them, will no longer be tolerated. Promising across the board accountability (including self-accountability) against corruption and fraud, the chairman denied nAB affiliation with any party, partiality, element of conspiracy against democracy or vindictiveness in its investigations, rightly pointing out that massive national debt of $84 billion demands answers regarding past disbursements, of massive corruption cases swept under the carpet. The Punjab government spokesman’s reply was guiltily evasive, replete with allegations, exaggerations and inaccuracies, and even obliquely critical of the simple nAB request for concerned record, a defiant example of the very mindset that the nAB chairman seeks to cure. LDA black sheep and Double Shah’s, also beware.
Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami
Arif Nizami Editor
Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad Joint Editor Lahore – Ph: 042-36300938, 042-36375965
Vagaries of Consciousness Waqar Masood Khan
new amnesty scheme is on the anvil. For politicians, few things are more irresistible than the thought of offering an amnesty scheme that would appease the businessmen while filling the national coffers. In last 60 years, the country has seen a spate of such schemes, all marketed as one-last-chance before the gates would be closed. Alas, this last chance keeps returning. The new scheme has a slightly different marketing strategy. The Panama and Paradise Papers is the background, which has brought to fore significant assets held by Pakistanis abroad. The aim, therefore, is to induce them to bring this wealth in the country or at least declare it to the tax authorities. Two different types of tax rates would be applicable under the two regimes: the former at a higher rate (4pc) and the latter at a lesser rate (2pc). What kind of immunities would be available is not immediately evident. In several statements reported in the press, it is stated that those declaring/bringing-back their wealth under the scheme would enjoy complete immunities under various tax laws, banking and financial laws as well as penalties under the penal code. Although, it is not yet clear, some groups have demanded similar amnesty for the residents also. Before we examine the proposed scheme, we would briefly reflect on the history of amnesty schemes and their performance in achieving the intended objectives. nearly a dozen amnesty schemes have been designed since 1958. Until 2000, on average, a scheme was offered after every ten years. Typically, it would happen at the time of a major political change, such as in 1958, 1969 or 2000, each of which marked a military takeover. In recent years, the frequency has increased. The very fact that such schemes were periodically announced betrays the failure of successive schemes in achieving their objectives. The most celebrated scheme was designed in 2000 when the military government had just assumed power. There was an unprecedented commitment of the military to support the ideas designed by a cabinet of professionals and ministries of finance and revenue. In fact, the amnesty scheme was only a small part of larger reform, which, on the one hand, cleansed FBR (a huge purge of officers at senior level), and, on the other, launched a basic scheme of documentation of the economy at the grass roots level. The army officers volunteered to accompany survey teams for documentation. As soon as the traders’ class sensed a threatening taxation regime throwing a net around them, there was a massive push back. Strikes became a norm and eventually talks started between them and the government. The tax scheme that finally emerged was based on an adhoc assessment about the size of business and perfunctory GST and income tax liabilities were worked out without much documentation. The amnesty scheme did attract sizeable disclosures of assets, but did not mean much in terms of altering the revenue fortunes of the government. Thereafter, things starting drifting to new issues and focuses. Even the cleansing was termed as based on
Say no to amnesty Would the present scheme meet any diﬀerent fate than its predecessors? whimsical assessments rather than solid evidence law that endows the executive the authority to of wrong doings. The extensive documentation grant blanket immunities to offenders. Second, the legal regime and the international was never released nor ever made any use of. Curiously, the two democratic governments environment prevailing today is markedly different since 2008 have offered multiple schemes during than that prevailed when any major scheme was their tenures. In 2008, an asset declaration offered. For instance, the anti-money laundering scheme, at 2pc tax, only attracted Rs2.5 billion and countering financing for terrorism worth of assets. A bigger and bolder scheme (AML/CFT) regime instituted since 2010 has failed to get the parliamentary approval. A side brought nearly all criminal offenses as predicate scheme for releasing customs duty evaded vehi- offenses to entail AML/CFT penalties. Initially, fiscles was also offered which attracted more than cal offenses, except smuggling, was excluded from the purview of AML, but in 2016, this exclusion 50,000 vehicles. The PML-n government has already offered was also removed. The scope of the proposed three schemes. First, in December 2013, an scheme would inevitably require immunity from amnesty was given to those investing in selected AML obligations, which would be untenable. Third, Pakistan is facing significant chalindustries from asking their sources of investment (but not from any criminal liability) made until lenges at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Un body, monitoring and 2015. This had a limited enforcing AML/CFT scope and estimates of its regimes globally. Despite success are not available. having achieved significant Second, the small-traders Despite having achieved progress in developing an were offered a registration significant progress in AML/CFT regime in Pakscheme in 2015 where their istan, comparable to internainitial capital was exempted developing an AML/CFT tional best practices, FATF from disclosure of sources. regime in Pakistan, is not entirely satisfied by The scheme was an utter enforcement and implemenfailure, despite claims of comparable to international tation performance of Paktraders’ leaders that at least best practices, FATF is not istan. A FATF plenary is a million traders would be being held on 18th February registered. Third, to imentirely satisfied by prove valuations in the real 2018 in Paris that would be enforcement and estate sector, a scheme was taking up Pakistan’s case offered that would have valthat may lead to placing it implementation ued properties on FBR deunder the grey list, which performance of Pakistan termined values and would would be a setback to counhave attracted rates at 10pc, try’s efforts to preserve its 7.5pc and 5pc for holding ranking in the white list. period of up to one year, two Proposed scheme would be years and three years, respectively, and none for viewed with great suspicion and would weaken longer period. This has also not succeeded in elic- Pakistan’s case. iting significant declarations. Finally, even the diluted schemes offered by Viewed in this background, we doubt if the the present government had attracted significant present scheme would meet any different fate criticism from IMF, World Bank and FATF. The than its predecessors. The following arguments proposed scheme is likely to receive more noisy support this conclusion: response from these platforms. Pakistan is a sigFirst, the proposed scheme runs the risk of at- natory to United national Convention Against tracting immediate judicial scrutiny besides invit- Corruption 2005, which was ratified in August ing adverse reaction from the international 2007. The scheme would also be violated of our community. The chief justice has already called obligations under this convention. the key officials of FBR, SBP and SECP to inquire There are no two views that our tax system about their efforts into the wealth of Pakistanis is broken and needs extensive repairs. Amnesty held abroad. The proposed immunities are exten- schemes, however, are no remedy. Documentasive and run counter to the principle of trichotomy tion of economic transactions, broad-based use of powers as held by the Supreme Court in the of technology, elimination of tax exemptions and case of national Reconciliation Ordinance (nRO) withdrawal of presumptive tax regimes are the 2007. If the wealth abroad has been earned law- primary requirements to build a system that can fully, it doesn’t attract any penalty and hence capture the true tax potential of the economy. All needs no immunity from any penal liability. This this is a painstaking enterprise that cannot be leaves only such wealth that was either illegally short-circuited through one-off efforts like an transferred from Pakistan or earned abroad ille- amnesty scheme. gally. In either case, it is not merely a question of tax evasion but a number of other penal liabilities. Waqar Masood Khan is a former finance It is doubtful whether parliament would have the secretary. He may be contacted at: authority under the constitution to frame a special email@example.com
A vacuum Russia finds hard to fill Solid reasons BaBer ali Bhatti
n the wake of Trump’s ceaseless tirade against Pakistan, Russia provided explicit gestures in favour of Islamabad. In August 2017, Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, censured Trump’s South Asia strategy and insisted that Islamabad is “a key regional player to negotiate with. Putting pressure (on Pakistan) may seriously destabilise the region-wide security situation and result in negative consequences for Afghanistan”. US strategy against Pakistan has created an opportune vacuum for Russia to reshuffle the positions of its strategic allies in its favour. The growing fissures between the US and Pakistan provide Russia with a golden opportunity to strengthen its multifarious ties with Pakistan and thereby to further expand its influence in the region and beyond. History is testament to the fact that such opportunities become available to states once in a decade or perhaps centuries and those nations which only focus on immediate needs at the cost of geostrategic and long term objectives miss such opportunities. In this respect, Pakistan figures as a key regional player that can be detected on Russia’s radar for regional alliances. Donald Trump stated that “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the
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last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools”. After Trump’s unabated anti-Pakistan policy statements, Pakistan axiomatically finds itself in the unquestioning need of alternative and virtually equal powerful ally. The situation potentially brings a series of opportunities for Russia: to enhance its regional influence, to get active engagements in South Asia, to expand and consolidate its alliance and to gain economic benefits by the substantial symbiosis with Pakistan. However, there are concerns that these opportunities will only bring short-term gains with no long-term strategic outcomes for both Russia and Pakistan. There are multiple factors which support the fact that both countries will have to put serious efforts for long-term strategic outcomes. Russia seems unclear and reluctant to fill the vacuum. There could be various reasons for it. Due to uneasy economic situations in both countries, they have limited resources for mutual investments and joint business projects. The second reason for concern is Russia’s virtually non-transparent and unpredictable moves towards Pakistan. Under the third president Dmitry Medvedev (2008-2012), Russia’s policy toward Islamabad was more transparent. In 2008, Russia’s foreign policy concept declared Pakistan as one of the key regional powers that Russia intended to develop relations with on bilateral and multilateral levels. Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012 led to changes in Russia’s policy in South Asia. It seemed to be less clear. The first indication of this was a short notice cancellation of the
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Dushanbe Four summit in Islamabad in 2012 due to President Putin’s inability to visit Pakistan. Shortly after that this platform ceased to exist. Thereafter, mutual military exercises of Russia and Pakistan in 2016 sparked the existence of healthy cooperation. Helicopter deals and second friendship military exercise in 2017 seems considerable addition to mutual cooperation. However, these developments do not appear enough to detect the exact or explicit position of Pakistan in Russia’s foreign policy framework. While Russia-Pakistan full-scale military cooperation gives the appearance of close and solid relations between the two, on the contrary, it camouflaged poor economic interdependence and lack of strategy for bilateral cooperation. These ambiguous developments and lack of clear policy towards Pakistan indicates that vacuum is complex that seems hard to be filled by Russia. There is hardly any mention of current policy. Russia and Pakistan should focus on less visible, but more important, fields of partnership to start with formulating the roadmap for bilateral relations and facilitating trade between them. A trusted partnership with both India and Pakistan is possible only if Russia realises and articulates their independent value for itself, makes its policy South Asia-oriented, protects its ties with India and Pakistan from the third countries’ influence, and avoids U-turns and any kind of unpredictability in its regional strategy. Baber Ali Bhatti is associated with Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org I
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
COMMENT 09 Editor’s mail
Send your letters to: Letters to Editor, Pakistan Today, 4-Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan. Fax: +92-42-32535230 E-mail: email@example.com Letters should be addressed to Pakistan Today exclusively
CPEC and Balochistan
2018: Delivering more than the electoral count seems to hold the weapon of all weapons up its contracts; but America is surely in a strategically sleeves: the ability to test the Shia-Sunni divide suitable position when it comes to affecting Pakwith new challenges. The writer cannot stay China growing trade relations particularly naïve or refrain from mentioning that extremist CPEC. With a great lot of mercenaries of our sectarian clerics do harbour some sympathy for own creating waiting in their wings there is a the ISIS-led wave of terrorism. The Parachinar chance that many global actors will be gearing and Quetta terrorist attacks of June 2017 signify up to recruit some to their advantage using their proxies like ISIS. If that terrorists have been Uncle Sam’s track record successful in creating the is to be trusted, its agenperception amongst cies will not lose an opsome to be working on portunity to put sectarian grounds as the The security situation Pak-China growing ecoShia were targeted in during elections has nomic partnership under both these attacks at two serious security risks. different places, almost also traditionally been a The challenge of simultaneously. The terelections becomes even ror acts were claimed by headache in Pakistan more serious when we both the local affiliate of saad aWan that has recently got consider that the masses the Islamic State terror have been trained by the group and by Jamaat-ulupgraded to a migraine leaders of the street polAhrar (JuA), a splinter T’S understandable that the game of mu- group of the Tehrik-eitics to stage their protest when you put the sical chairs in politics has got the ability Taliban Pakistan. The on the roads in any way to give rise to a new arrangement. Being collusion between the ISIS/Daesh factor in the mix possible. This may crea poor nation, yet rich in resources and a local terrorists and their ate opportunities for dolpowerful and important actor on the foreign companions can lar jihadis for easy world stage, there is lot at stake for all pursuing easily be seen here, and access to paradise with a share in the power-pie, come time for elec- it can also be seen that maximum head count intions. When the stakes are high enough, the they have been trying to validate themselves as cluded in their deeds. Also the perception has players must exert whatever it takes to be the working on sectarian lines to enter the ripe mar- already been created that the elections will not power brokers the next time around. Some hope ket of like-minded for human resource. ISIS survive rigging, come what may, which has enfor a better representation in the national assem- breathes and lives on publicity for recruitment, raged the political workers and has made them bly but for some the target can be nothing short and what better time for this than the long an- ready for protests even before the first vote has of premiership and they can go to any limit to ticipated and potentially well covered event like been cast. This has been facilitated by the miachieve such a goal. gratory birds from Canada under Qadri’s pa“Elections 2018”. Election season in Pakistan has historically There is no doomsday scenario as long as we tronage and also by the excessive dependence been plagued with accusations of foul play and are aware of the challenges, the flash-points and on social media for news. A political movement money has always been pushing the mayor to the the triggering factors of terrorism. The damage can be started, staged or can also be hijacked or office, be it purely politcontrol must start way be- inflated by the use of social media platforms ical circumstances or a fore the elections by the like Facebook and Whatsapp. Who has the final dictatorship: in a dictasecurity forces. The po- say when it comes to the control of these social torship it’s both money tential terror targets, and media networks? It’s again the unappeasable The challenge of elections and the metal (as in milithe sympathisers of ISIS western visitors in Afghanistan, led by USA, tary arsenal) that produce in particular, and other whose agencies will have control over social becomes even more a combined effect deciterrorist factions must be media news in the background. serious when we consider sively. One cannot help Waiting in Canada and UK, the cherished monitored and penetrated mentioning actors like for intelligence gathering. sons of the west, Qadri and Altaf Hussain, that the masses have been Shaukat Aziz here as a The fire-brand sectarian would be depending on these media genies and paradigm of such. But in leaders with a track the protesting public to muster the strength for trained by the leaders of elections under a demorecord of sectarian intol- their street punch while they enjoy the proteccratic environment, the erance must already be tion of asylum or bullet proof cabins. On the the street politics to stage tug of war for each conapproached and a reason- other hand, ISIS will also be eying the electheir protest on the roads stituency is more of a able sense of conduct tions and the dollar-backers of ISIS would also battle ground where posmust be conveyed earlier be waiting to test their monster unleash its in any way possible sibilities of protest over than elections. The intel- powers in Pakistan after they have done the fairness of elections and ligence sharing and nec- same in Syria and Iraq. While the local security subsequent actions and essary intelligence situation must be under a watchful eye; bereactions of all parties infootprint must go beyond cause of them having a greater excess to revolved have been known to cause havoc. Add to the borders not ignoring ISIS, beneficiaries in sources, the imported “visionaries” (or that the free flow of weapons that go side by side Afghanistan or across the globe. molvis), the imported terror bands, our imwith the election culture, the electoral process While the political scene has been further ported neighbours and the imported media plathas the tendency to deliver fairly more than just embellished with the inclusion of Tahreek-e- forms must be accounted for before the vote the electoral count. Labbaik in the mix, the visitors in our neighbour- count starts otherwise the “Election Day” may The security situation during elections has ing Afghanistan are worth keeping an eye on. provide with unprecedented “results”. also traditionally been a headache in Pakistan America’s stay in Afghanistan is pointless in the that has recently got upgraded to a migraine sense that it has not been able to make much of Saad Awan is an English teacher with a when you put the ISIS/Daesh factor in the mix an impact on the political or social engineering master's in English literature providing training that did not haunt the previous elections here. of the masses there and could also not get the in English proficiency to students for graduate This becomes even more dangerous when ISIS kind of war booty it got from Iraq in terms of ‘oil institutes.
Watch for outside players
THE CPEC, called a game changer for the people of Balochistan, has not resulted much since Gwadar’s own local people have not benefited from it. They are downtrodden and poor people who don’t even have onetime meal to eat. It is said that the CPEC projects will eliminate poverty from Balochistan and put this downtrodden province on the track of progress and development. The CPEC is a vast economic oriented project but will it boon this backward province is a hot topic. The answer to this question can be traced from various aspects or projects being run in Balochistan, be it, Saindak or the Reko Diq projects, in which various natural resources are found but Balochistan gets the least share of it. While 1952, the first oil field in Pakistan was discovered in the province of Balochistan near a Sui gas field. During the same time period, Sui gas field, which remains the biggest natural gas field in Pakistan, was discovered and by 1955 and it was supplied to different areas of the country. It is important to note here that the first provinces to get supply from Sui gas were Punjab and Sindh. Whereas in Dera Bugti, located in Sui, the area which has come to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy is underdeveloped and remains deprived of this resource. Lastly, the Balochistan province, which provides Pakistan with numerous resources such as Copper, Gold, Silver, Iron-ore, Chromite, Gypsum, Fluorite, Magnetite, Barite, Vermiculite, Asbestos, Marble, Granite, Quartzite, Sulphur, Limestone, natural gas, Coalfield and many to name but in return what they give to the people of Balochistan is poor education, poor health facilities, unemployment, poverty and tag the label of being backward, uncivilized and anti-state. Do they really deserve this? ZEESHAn nASIr Turbat
Peshawar traffic TRAFFIC problem in Peshawar is getting worse with every coming day, although traffic congestion is a regular feature in all big cities; in Peshawar it is not only disgraceful but hazardous and prone to accidents. With the increasing population the problem of traffic control has become very severe. It kills our valuable time. We cannot reach home, school, college and hospital in time. Moreover, traffic jam is putting great impact on environment such as emission of carbon dioxide gas, noise, exhaust fumes, and dust etc. Many vehicles drivers such as bus, small car, rickshaw, and wagon drivers do not follow traffic rules. Most of them are driving on both side of the road, taking a large chunk of road space and some drivers have little knowledge about traffic rules. Traffic police is doing little efforts to avoid traffic jams. Traffic rules should be imposed with an iron hand. Sufficient traffic police should be posted in important places and unlicensed vehicles should be removed. MuHAMMAd ZuBAIr nizampur
Safety for children AFTER the recent horrendous incidents such as that happened in Kasur, Mardan and other cities, it is pragmatically required on the part of respective authorities to do the needful to protect the children from sexual abuse and molestation. Though child abuse or molestation is considered a taboo subject in our society but there is no doubt that this curse is widespread and playing with the life of our children. It is an obligation and responsibility of parents and teachers to protect the children. It is high time for the Centre and provisional governments to come with up with necessary material that impart needed education to the children against paedophiles. The authorities concerned must take hard-nosed measures to hunt down all such culprits or rings and also bring down online child and other pornography forums. BABA FAIZ Ball nigwar
Multan Road widening THE usual trend is to lambast the government for every conceivable ill and overlook the major development projects. For instance, Multan road from Thokar niaz beg to Hudiara Drain is under the widening process. The road in its present state cannot take the load of thousands of vehicles of all sizes that ply on it daily. As a result, the road-users have to put up with terrible road congestion round the clock. Public time is wasted when vehicles are stuck in long lines. Punjab government has decided to widen the road and develop it into eight lanes, four lanes each way. This will greatly ease the vehicular movement on the stretch of ten kilometers from Thokar niaz beg to Hudiara Drain. Multan road serves as the main entry and exit artery to the provincial capital. Some circles have even criticized this project merely for the sake of criticism. On the contrary, a large majority of people who use this road appreciate Punjab government decision of developing this road into eight lanes. Better yet, service lanes should have been planned on both sides of the road to facilitate the flow of the traffic, as thousands of vehicles add up to our roads every month. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif deserves much credit for enlarging the road network in the province. TArIq KHAn Lahore
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
NAB iNitiAtes iNquiry AGAiNst OGrA ISLAMABAD
ATIONAL Accountability Bureau (NAB) has finally swung into action and launched an inquiry against Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) over the allegations of corruption worth billions of rupees, ‘reckless’ grant of licenses to oil marketing companies and LPG refinery license to an unknown company, etc. Copies of the document available with Pakistan Today disclose that NAB has initiated an inquiry against OGRA on finding complaints of heavy corruption and massive irregularities etc. Glaring anomalies have been committed to and by OGRA under the leadership of incumbent OGRA Chairperson Uzma Adil. According to documents, there was a three-year delay in recovering Rs 13 billion from Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) by not implementing Lahore High Court’s decision by Justice Ayesha Malik in the case titled “SNGPL VS OGRA”. The documents stated that a sum of Rs 13 billion as gas development surcharge with 18 per cent mark-up remained un-
recovered from SNGPL by OGRA from May 2013 to November 2015. Documents further shed light on reckless licensing by OGRA “on loot sale basis” to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and LPG refinery license to a virtually unknown company, Ms Falcon. The license was issued within three days of the company submitting its initial application, the documents further stated, whereas none of the directors of the company were cleared from agencies which is a legal requirement. Sources said that OGRA chairper-
Abraaj claims to have gotten clean chit from KPMG NEWSDESK The Abraaj Group, one of the largest and most influential private equity funds in the developing world made headlines last week after investors raised questions over the handling of funds, accusing the group of utilising funds for operations rather than investments. However, according to a recent statement by Abraaj a thorough review by a forensic accountant into the private equity fund did not find any abnormalities. After investors including the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showed concerns over mishandling of funds, Abraaj hired KPMG to conduct a thorough forensic review of part of its billion-dollar healthcare fund. In a statement released here, Abraaj said that Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund had appointed KPMG in January 2018 to investigate and verify payments and receipts of the fund. It further said that the review was conducted in line with international standards. It further added “KPMG has now completed its findings and reported that all such payments and receipts have been verified, in line with the agreed-upon procedures performed, and that unused capital was returned to investors,” said a Financial Times (FT) report. Abraaj had earlier claimed that funds worth $ 200 million were not utilised due to delay in approval from regulatory bodies to deploy hospitals in Pakistan, Kenya and Nigeria. The group later said that it was a minor roadblock and has been communicated to investors.
son has now cancelled the licenses of Falcon on the ground that the company does not fulfil the required term and conditions. Documents further said that the eligibility credentials of consultant turned OGRA Member (Oil), must be checked to verify his visits to the UK and his dual nationality while holding a public office. Violating the Supreme Court judgment in Suo Moto case No. 13 of 2016 in the cases of eligibility of the NAB officers; massive anomalies were observed in the appointment of Imran
Ghaznavi as OGRA Senior Executive Director (C&MA) by the incumbent chairperson. Ascertainment of the ways and means position/budgetary provision prior to the creation of the highest post of SED (C&MA) approved by OGRA Budget Committee was not carried out, said documents. According to documents, no prescribed eligibility and the raison d'être for the creation of the post and appointment of OGRA SED (C&MA) was not issued and Service Regulations 2005 were not amended to incorporate the new position of SED (C&MA) and its Gazette Notification to give it legal effect. “Why was a TV actor, who is wholly unqualified for such a senior level position, appointed as OGRA SED (C&M)?” said documents. It is worth mentioning that a few decades back, regulatory regime was created with legislative clothing to safeguard the public interest through such regulatory bodies, relatable to the economic sector of the country. And OGRA is an apex regulator of the oil and gas sector but due to regulatory capture by the regulatees, the roles have been reversed.
Pakistan-Germany should increase eﬀorts for B2B partnerships: Haroon
LAHORE After a bumpy start to the day, Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) managed to stand its ground in the second session. The week which opened with bleeding global markets failed to offer investors excitement. In sync with emerging markets, KSE 100 index too exhibited volatility in the outgoing week. The final trading session witnessed the KSE 100 index dropped 393.63 points to 43,286.24 in the first session. The second session brought a much-needed relief for investors when the index gained 146.73 points to mark its intraday high of 43,826.60. The index settled higher by 103.83 points at 43,783.70. Global sell-off, on-going pension liabilities case against big banks and falling oil prices dented investor sentiments. The absence of any major positive triggers and continued foreign selling did not help either. Investors preferred to book profits or remain sidelined. This led the market to close at 44,809 points, down 492 points (-1.1 per
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Showing dissatisfaction over the report of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) regarding misappropriation in the promotion process for National Bank of Pakistan’s (NBP) employees, members of National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance asked SBP to reevaluate selection criteria for the appointment of NBP and president promotion of other employees. SBP was asked by the committee to present a report on the recommendations of the committee. SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa while briefing the committee about the bank’s assessed report on performance, length of services and apportionment of 50 marks in the interview, suggested the committee to forward the same to NBP Board for further action. However, members of the committee Asad Umar, Mian Abdul Manan and Nafisa Shah rejected the findings saying that no appropriate report was submitted by SBP. Asad Umar said that the SBP was unable to clear simple selection criterion followed in the appointment of NBP president. Another MNA from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Rashid Godel suggested the committee to leave the issue as there were many other issues on agenda. Interestingly, NBP President Saeed Ahmed was also present in the meeting, but he remained silent. Officials from SBP, however, claimed that the Ministry of Finance is the appointing authority for NBP president. They said that they would reply if the case was put on agenda at the next meeting of the committee. Committee also criticised the SBP for not responding to the query about the details related to the appointment of National Bank President Saeed Ahmed. Tariq Bajwa promised to provide the details at the next meeting.
Pakistan rice export touches $1.06bn KARACHI APP
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue and Federal Minister Haroon Akhtar Khan has called for re-doubling of efforts to strengthen business-to-business partnerships and forge new collaborations between Pakistan and Germany. "Pakistan is an ideal market with vast opportunities for investment in many sectors of the economy and the German investors should benefit from our pro-investment and business-friendly policies to make healthy returns on their investments," he said while talking to Federal Re-
public of Germany Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler, who met the minister along with representatives of the German-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce at FBR House on Friday. Haroon Akhtar Khan appreciated the ongoing local German investment and business initiatives in Pakistan and hoped the number of German companies engaged in business in Pakistan would grow considerably in the coming days given a vast improvement in the law and order and security situation in Pakistan. He also briefed the envoy on the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation and its military and para-military forces for eradicating the evil of terrorism and contributing to
the regional security. Martin Kobler told the minister the strength of the German economy was its medium-sized companies and it would be good for businessmen from both German and Pakistan to forge business collaborations and join partnerships in the medium-sized enterprises in Pakistan which he conceded had a huge potential for growth in coming years. He said the number of German companies operating in Pakistan could increase substantially through a greater initiative from the German-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and the efforts of its members for presenting a true and softer image of Pakistan to the outside world.
Market Daily: KSE 100 settles 492 points WoW basis STAFF REPORT
NA committee rejects report on NBP promotion process
cent), marginally lower on WoW basis. The KMI 30 index lost 940.11 points intraday and ended short of 102.42 points. The KSE All Share Index closed 54.22 points in the green with 173 advancers and 180 decliners. Foreigners were net sellers of $ 8.5 million worth of shares during the week against buying of $ 12.6 million during the last week. On the local front, individuals were net buyers of $ 8.7 million whereas mutual funds were net sellers of $ 5.0 million. Traded volumes were down 4 per cent whereas traded value was down 3 per cent during the week. The market volume depleted further and was recorded at 225.49 million. Azgard Nine Limited (ANL +5.59 per cent) was the top pick of investors followed by Aisha Steel Mills Limited (ASL +3.37 per cent), volume 16.46 million, and Fauji Foods Limited (FFL +4.99 per cent), volume 14.93 million. On the sector front; cement and E&Ps declined by 4 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively whereas food and personal care was up 1 per cent. Market capitalisation of commercial banks re-
mained flat. Century Paper and Board Mills Limited (CEPB +4.36 per cent) declared financials for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. The company posted a 22 per cent growth in sales compared to the last quarter which resulted in 87 per cent appreciated in net profit. Earnings per share clocked at Rs 1.81 against Rs 1.27 in the same period last year. The week was host to the second IPO of the year. The book building process of AGP Limited completed with a strike price of Rs 80.00 which oversubscribed 1.598 times. AGP Limited is offering 35 million shares constituting 12.50 per cent of its total paidup capital. The company is in manufacturing, marketing and sales of pharmaceutical products and healthcare products. The company has a strong foothold across the country through a comprehensive access to about 32,400 pharmacies in Pakistan through Muller & Phipps Pakistan Private Limited. Technically speaking, market bulls staged a comeback and pushed the 100 Index up +522 points from its intraday low albeit amid thin participation.
Rice export from Pakistan has seen significant growth and crossed $ 1.0 billion by the end of January since July 2017 showing an increase of 29 per cent in value and 15 per cent in quantity. In a statement here on Friday, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Senior Vice Chairman Rafique Suleman said that Pakistan exported total 2.28 million metric tonnes of rice worth $ 1.06 billion in last seven months, whereas in the same period of last fiscal year the figure was 1.971 million metric tonnes amounting to $ 820 million. 'We have come out of the crisis. REAP members were making their untiring efforts and doing aggressive marketing to increase the rice exports and to earn valuable foreign exchange for our beloved country Pakistan,' he re-affirmed. He was hopeful that this year the set target to export more than 4.0 million metric tonnes of Pakistani rice and would earn $ 2 billion.
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
Corporate Corner NBP, Be&Oe, OPf, slic collaborate for protectorate fee collection KARACHI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE), Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) and State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC), signed an agreement for BE&OE protectorate fee collection system in an exclusive ceremony held in Islamabad. This is a major step forward by the four organisations to offer an interoperable digital solution enabling the citizens of Pakistan who are travelling abroad for employment to pay their protectorate fee through NBP’s digital platform. The agreement was signed by NBP President Saeed Ahmed, SLIC Chairman Shoaib Mir, OPF Managing Director (MD) Habib Gilani and BE&OE Director General (DG) Kashif Noor. Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) Secretary Dr Muhammad Hashim Popalzai, NBP Group Chief Payment Services and Digital Banking Mudassir H Khan, NBP Head of Innovation Azfar Jamal and other officials were also present on the occasion. This initiative will not only open the fee collection at numerous branchless banking outlets of partner organisations of NBP but will also remove the previously practised manual mechanism of payment through three banks. This, in turn, will facilitate the one million annual overseas employment emigrants of Pakistan. Under the Emigration Ordinance and Emigration Rules 1979, BE&OE is responsible to control and regulate the legal migration from Pakistan on one hand and look after the interests of the emigrants on the other. BE&OE is the centralised agency of the government of Pakistan to process recruitment demands of the Pakistani manpower through licensed overseas employment promoters for different manpower importing countries. For an emigrant, it is a legal binding to get foreign service agreement protected from the concerned Protectorate of Emigrants (PE) office by depositing government fees. PRESS RELEASE
Haleeb foods partners with iBl
LAHORE: A signing ceremony, between Haleeb Foods and distribution giant IBL took place at IBL’s Karachi office. Speaking on this partnership, Haleeb Foods CEO Memosh Khawaja said “We are immensely pleased to partner with IBL which is a leading distribution house in the country. Haleeb Foods is a pioneer of the Pakistani dairy industry and this partnership with IBL will help us further strengthen our distribution network.” IBL MD Arshad Anis, said, “We are greatly honoured to work with Haleeb Foods as their distribution partners. We take pride in acting as a responsible business partner to our valuable clients. Our extensive distribution network and our singlemindedness towards quality maintenance have positioned IBL to successfully represent leading brands and this partnership with Haleeb Foods is a testimony of this.” PRESS RELEASE
LAHORE: OPPO became Pakistan Super League’s official smartphone partner at a signing ceremony held on Friday in Lahore. Pakistan Cricket Board Director Sales and Marketing Naila Bhatti and OPPO Chief Executive Officer George Long were the official signatories. pr
PAKistAN’s trADe Deficit fOr July-JANuAry 2017-18 wiDeNs 24.18 Per ceNt IMports shot up By 18.92 per cent durIng JulyJanuary of fy 2017-18 KARACHI
AKISTAN’S trade deficit for the first seven months (July-January) FY 2017-18 has widened by 24.18 per cent, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Trade deficit was recorded at $21.546 billion for July-Jan 2017-18 against $17.351 billion in July-January 2016-17. Imports for July-January FY 2017-18 shot up by 18.92 per cent, touching $34.512 billion considering the government’s effort to rein in imports. But, exports during the July-January 2017-18 period rose by 11.11 per cent to touch $12.966 billion against $11.67 billion in the same period last year (SPLY). Month-on-month exports during January declined 0.30 per cent to reach $1.971 billion against $1.977 billion in December 2017. But imports during January increased by 14.20 per cent to touch $5.607 billion despite
the government’s decision to impose SRO on items in October to rein in imports, seemed to have failed altogether. An analyst at Topline Securities while talking to Pakistan Today said that “The exports are increasing slowly as per market expectations, but the imports are still out of control despite all measures by the government.” According to a judgment of the Sindh High Court (SHC), the measures taken by the Ministry of Commerce to overcome the rising imports of the country through an SRO have been rejected as the judges quashed the SRO 1035(1)2017. Now, the imports of all products, on which the Ministry of Commerce imposed a regulatory duty, would be allowed if the SHC order is not challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan within 30 days. “The impact of the devaluation of Pakistani Rupee may come in the next two to three months,” the analyst said. The exports are growing as per the expectations, but the problem is with the growing imports which are creating problems for the current account. Total foreign reserves of the country have come down to below $19.182 billion this week because of the rising import bill.
PIA outlines ‘aggressive’ plan to boost flights to Saudi Arabia ISLAMABAD APP
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the country’s cash-strapped national carrier, says it plans to boost the number of flights it operates to Saudi Arabia to more than 60 a week. The airline, which is struggling to service its debt, is looking to grow its business in Saudi Arabia, with routes to the country being its largest source of revenues, Arab News reported. “PIA has an aggressive plan to boost its presence in Saudi Arabia. We will be increasing our flights to more than 60 per week and opening new destinations,” PIA President and CEO Musharraf Rasool Cyan told. He was speaking on the eve of the inauguration of Pakistan digital edition of the newspaper, www.arabnews.pk.
He said Saudi Arabia has always been very important to the airline, which currently has 55 weekly flights to the kingdom. It flies to four destinations, with 28 flights a week to Jeddah, 10 to Dammam, nine to Madinah and eight to Riyadh. Cyan said that by mid-2018, PIA will be launching flights to new destination AlQassim with three flights per week. In addition to that, the carrier will be adding one flight each to existing routes of Jeddah, Madinah and Riyadh. “This will comprise more than 60 fights to Saudi Arabia thus making PIA the biggest operator from South Asia to Saudi Arabia,” he said. He said PIA plans to open an office in Taif very soon. He added that, besides passenger travel, PIA has finalised a plan to enhance its cargo business in Saudi Arabia, which is likely to increase trade between the countries.
World Bank oﬃcial apprises Miftah Ismail regarding agreements worth $305m
KARACHI: Hashoo Group announced the issuance of rated, secured, long-term, privately placed sukuk of Rs7 billion by Pakistan Services Limited (PSL) at an event held at Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel, Karachi. pr
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
KARACHI: Pak Suzuki under CSR, donated 3,000 safety instructions booklets to National Highway and Motorway Police on January 26. pr
World Bank (WB) Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan appraised Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail about agreements worth $305 million in a meeting here on Friday. The agreements are aimed at supporting projects in Punjab’s agriculture sector and improving the nutrition status of children and women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The country director apprised the adviser of the various recent initiatives of
the WB and discussed the up-coming projects likely to be implemented in the near future. Illangovan reiterated WB’s resolve to keep up support for continuing the process of reforms by the Pakistan government which in the last four and half years has greatly helped the country achieve macroeconomic stability. Miftah Ismail appreciated WB for extending its continuous support to the government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve sustainable economic development in the country. Finance secretary also participated in the meeting.
"SBP had devalued the local currency by 5 per cent in December 2017 which may also help to enhance exports and reduce imports," the analyst claimed. However, the central bank also raised the discount rate by 25 basis points to 6 per cent for the next two months. Analysts at different brokerage houses believed that export of goods may rise to above $22-23 billion if the federal government releases industrialists’ refunds and export’s rebates on time. The country’s goods exports have declined by 1.63 per cent to $20.448 billion in (July-June) 2016-17 from $20.787 billion in the same period last year. Country’s exports stood at $23.667 billion in 2014-15.
NA committee on commerce, textile recommends PsDP proposals ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
The Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile recommended Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) proposals of Ministry of Commerce and Textile amounting to Rs25,626.577 million for the financial year 2018-19 in its meeting held here on Friday under the chairmanship of Member National Assembly (MNA) Siraj Muhammad Khan. The committee was separately apprised about the proposed PSDP of Commerce and Textile Divisions. The Commerce Division additional secretary informed that the division had proposed allocation of PSDP fund amounting to Rs8,550 million for the financial year 201819 for seven projects relating to establishment of new Expo-Centres at Islamabad, Quetta and Faisalabad, expansion and remodeling of Expo-Centre at Karachi, provision of hostel and transport facility to students at Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design Lahore, and an ongoing project relating to Expo-Centre at Peshawar. Later the Textile Division secretary apprised the committee about the proposed PSDP allocation for the division’s project. He informed that Rs11,012.372 million had been proposed for five new projects whereas Rs6,064.205 had been proposed for seven projects which were being resubmitted for approval by the Planning and Development Division. Apprising the committee about the new projects, the secretary said that those projects related to establishment of National Textile University (NTU) campus at Quetta, Garment City Project at Karachi, construction of new library at NTU’s Faisalabad campus and implementation of system for standardisation of high quality cotton. The committee after thorough discussion recommended the entire proposed PSDP of the ministry for inclusion in budget for next financial year and expressed satisfaction on the progress and implementation of the committee’s recommendations by the concerned divisions. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Haji Muhammad Akram Ansari, MNAs Asad-ur-Rehman, Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Tahira Aurangzeb, Zeb Jaffar, Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharral, Nazir Ahmed Bughio, Mussarat Ahmad Zeb, Sajida Begum, Dr Fouzia Hameed, Sanjay Perwani, commerce secretaries and senior officers of the concerned departments.
12 WORLD VIEW
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
Turkey and Iran: On a cOllIsIOn cOurse
JAcoB l ShAPiro
HE Turkish military said on Feb 6 that one soldier was killed and five more were wounded in a mortar attack while attempting to set up a military outpost in northwest Syria. The Turkish military statement did not include any details about who had attacked its soldiers, but Arab News – an English-language daily based in Saudi Arabia – claimed that the attack had been carried out by “Iranian militias.” A Saudi media outlet has an interest in playing this up, but various other reports simply noted that “pro-regime forces” had carried out an attack on Turkish forces. Either way, Turkey and Iran are on a collision course.
The two countries started down this path after Iran and Russia supported an offensive by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime into Idlib province, one of the de-escalation zones whose security Turkey was supposed to guarantee. That offensive, and the regime’s apathy in response to repeated Turkish objections, forced Turkey’s hand and resulted in last month’s Turkish incursion into Afrin. Despite stiff resistance, the incursion is making steady progress, to the extent that Turkey has been trying to set up a military outpost southwest of Aleppo for more than a week. Turkey has already clashed with pro-Assad regime forces in this same location. On Jan. 29, a Turkish convoy of almost 100 armored vehicles, backed by the Turkish air force, attempted to establish a position between proand anti-Assad regime forces southwest of Aleppo. According to the Institute for the Study of War, the convoy met heavy resistance from Assad regime forces, halting the initial Turkish advance. At the time, the only report out of Turkey came from the Turkish General Staff, which noted that a Turkish soldier and a civilian support worker had been
killed by a car bomb attack on a military convoy. The Assad regime has consistently criticized the Turkish incursion without doing much about it. Aside from a few small-scale attacks and some leaks to Reuters claiming deployment of “new air defense and anti-aircraft missiles,” Assad’s forces have focused more on repositioning to defend Aleppo than on directly engaging Turkish forces. This was in part because Turkey’s incursion did not pose an immediate threat. The invasion of Afrin was beneficial to Turkey, however, because it allowed Ankara to connect previously isolated anti-Assad rebel groups and also put Turkey in a better position to threaten Aleppo directly should Assad continue his advance into Idlib. This was not an ideal circumstance for Assad by any means, but it was a limited incursion within tolerable boundaries. Turkey’s recent moves in southwest Aleppo are more ambitious than the initial incursion, as they are increasing the threat to Assad forces. The position the Turkish military is reportedly attempting to establish is well outside of the Afrin region. The Kurdishdominated Afrin region does not
extend all the way to Aleppo; the regional capital, also named Afrin, is about 23 miles (37 kilometers) north of Aleppo. But Turkish forces have pushed well beyond this, reportedly attempting to establish an outpost in al-Eis, a Syrian town of roughly 5,000 that is about 12 miles from Aleppo – but southwest of the city. Furthermore, al-Eis is not in Idlib province – where Iran and Russia had agreed, at least in principle, that Turkey should be responsible for security – but in Aleppo province itself. It makes sense, then, that the Assad regime and its Iranian backers have twice attacked this extension of Turkey’s incursion. Taking Afrin meant shortening the distance from Turkish territory to Aleppo. Setting up an outpost in al-Eis means preparing for a potential assault on the regime’s position in Aleppo. This is why Iran, in particular, has reacted with such hostility to Turkey’s recent moves, with President Hassan Rouhani saying on Feb. 5 that Turkey had flagrantly violated Syria’s sovereignty, and Iran’s foreign minister saying that Turkey’s actions were creating “insecurity, instability, and terrorism.”
Noticeably quiet in this squabble-turned-shelling is Russia, without whose tacit approval Turkey could not have entered Afrin in the first place. (Russia still controls the Syrian skies and would have had to approve any Turkish air deployments across the border.) Russia had a fighter jet of its own shot down by Syrian al-Qaida last week and in response has intensified air raids on jihadist targets in Idlib province. But Russia has not gone so far as to denounce in public Turkey’s invasion of Afrin. Still, Russia may very well have given equally tacit approval to Assad and Iran to attempt to block Turkey from ensconcing itself so far into Assad-controlled territory and so far outside of the stated purview of its Afrin operation. On the one hand, Russia gains from all of this. It has decent relations with Turkey and an even stronger partnership with Iran, but that is an ephemeral state of affairs. Russia has long-term problems with both. The more Turkey and Iran are focused on competing with each other, the less focused they are on competing with Russia. Still, this is too much, too soon from the perspective of Rus-
sia, which is relying on a diplomatic settlement to the Syrian civil war so it can withdraw its military assets from the country in glory. Bringing home a fighter pilot in a coffin, watching its trade mission get bombed in Damascus and seeing the situation on the ground around Aleppo deteriorate to this extent was not part of the plan, and might necessitate new and more substantial Russian commitments to protect Assad. None of this is a foregone conclusion yet. Turkey can still pull back, or at least reach a tense if workable arrangement with Assad and Iran about drawing temporary borders that satisfy the interests of both sides. But military operations like this, once underway, begin to take on a momentum of their own. All it takes is one serious miscalculation of the other side’s intention for a minor skirmish to turn into a more significant battle that would be hard to walk away from. Our view had been that 2018 would not be the year Turkey and Iran confronted each other directly; we expected their partnership, however uneasy, to continue throughout the year. That forecast is now being put to the test.
Russia should broker a modus vivendi in Balancing Asia: India is late to the game Syria between Israel, Iran and Hezbollah
Jerusalem Post oFEr ZAlZBErg
As President Bashar Assad and his allies gain the upper hand, a new phase in Syria’s war has set Israel and Iran-allied militias on a collision course. Israeli officialdom agrees that the next war with Hezbollah, greatly empowered since 2006, will cause enormous harm at home. Residential towers in Tel Aviv will be struck, with many casualties, as will strategic sites like the Ben-Gurion Airport and the maritime gas rigs. That Lebanon would pay a much higher price may offer little consolation to Israelis in harm’s way. To prevent Syria from becoming a spark for Israel-Hezbollah or even Israel-Iran wars, there are two key realms to contend with: control of Syria’s southwest, and the establishment of Iranian and Hezbollah military- strategic assets across Syria. The southwest has been largely quiet because of the southern de-escalation zone established in Syria in May 2017 as part of the Astana deal and strengthened with a subsequent US-Russian-Jordanian agreement in November 2017. The de-escalation allowed Assad and his allies to focus on other parts of the country. Having essentially completed the retaking of the east, they have shifted their efforts elsewhere and other de-escalation agreements, in Idlib and eastern Ghouta, seem to be unraveling. The southwest might be next. Indeed, last month the Assad regime seized some territory in the zone’s northern edge, around Beit Jinn. Because the Syrian Army is probably unable to retake this area
without the help of Hezbollah or other Shi’ite militias, further regime advances might trigger Israel to attack advancing Syrian Army units and militias in order to block Iranbacked forces from establishing offensive infrastructure in the area. Once the militias are in and around Quneitra, it is hard to see who will dislodge them if they want to stay. In parallel, growing Iranian efforts to establish a long-term military presence across Syria conflict with Israeli security interests. Israeli officialdom sees great risk with Iran building a seaport, airport, permanent military bases or high-precision missile factories, which would enable precise attacks on key Israeli facilities. Israeli strikes over the past months against such targets, and more aggressive Syrian reactions, indicate that the Syria war is already entering a new phase. Already, the parties are trying to establish new “rules of the game” through attack and response. But until those rules are clear, a wider war is only a miscalculation away. Redlines, however clearly one side might consider them, are operationally vague. Israeli officials have said that they won’t tolerate a “concentration” of militia forces in the southwest, but how many Hezbollah fighters have to be present before they become a “concentration?” Russia, an important backer of the Assad regime, is the only power in Syria in a position to broker two new sets of understandings to reduce the risk of a larger confrontation. First, Moscow should broker understandings that bolster the deescalation agreement distancing Iran-backed forces from Syria’s armistice line with Israel. To do so, Moscow at the very least should not provide air cover for a regime campaign that includes Hezbollah or militias to retake these areas, and it should use its control of Syria’s airspace to prevent the Syrian Army from using its remaining air assets in the southwest. This alone would likely not suffice. Assad sees the opposition weakening as a result of the termination of US covert assistance and has declared he will retake the entire country. One formula to lessen the
regime’s incentive to break the deal would be for rebels to hang on to their weapons for self-defense and policing and, in return, accept the state’s legitimacy (though not explicitly the regime’s) and the return of its administrative organs (staffed, to the extent possible, with local personnel). Israel would have to settle for a smaller exclusion zone than it has demanded, but this formula would offer a realistic way to keep its foes away and thus reduce the odds of a regional conflagration. Stability in the area could also facilitate a fuller return of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, an element of the 1974 Israeli-Syrian separation of forces agreement, which both Israel and Syria claim to want to restore. Perhaps the most significant challenge to this arrangement would be Russia’s ability and willingness to deliver the regime and Iran should it prefer not to clash with its partners and undermine their cooperation elsewhere. It is particularly unlikely that Damascus and Tehran would accede to this arrangement for the southwest so long as Israel continues to strike their assets in other parts of the country – which is why any local cease-fire is unlikely to endure without a broader modus vivendi. Second, Moscow should, therefore, seek to broker an Israeli-Iranian modus vivendi in Syria, one in which Iran waives construction of precision missile facilities and its military infrastructure in Syria and Israel acquiesces to foreign forces remaining in the rest of Syria pending a deal on the country’s future. To some in Israel, this arrangement would be a concession too many. But Russia is not only a constraint on Israel, it also could be of use as the only actor that has at least some leverage over Iran and its partners. Helping Israel avoid an all-out war that it does not want to fight would be no small service. Israelis, Lebanese and Syrians should all hope that the leadership in Moscow takes a proactive stance and wrestles seriously with the question of how to persuade Iran, and Israel, to pursue stability and prevent a new conflagration in Syria. The author is a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group’s Middle East Program.
Globalist PhiliP Bowring
Finally, India has sent a belated signal to assert a commitment to Southeast Asia. Both India and the Southeast Asian nations are looking for a strategic counterweight to Beijing. The leaders of all 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) paraded through New Delhi this past weekend as guests for India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations. The procession of dignitaries is an indication that ASEAN nations are keen to avoid putting all their eggs in the China basket. The high-wattage presence of the heads of government from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei marks a break from tradition for India. The country usually invites just one chief guest for the fest. As Prime Minister Modi declared in a radio address: “This time, not one but 10 chief guests will grace the Republic Day. This is unprecedented in India’s history.” While the celebration is largely symbolic, it does demonstrate that ASEAN is interested in balancing the growing influence of China, which is pursuing its vast “Belt and Road” infrastructure scheme to tie the region together. As it stands, the Indo-Pacific concept outlined earlier by former U.S. President Barack Obama is gaining traction. Even so, India is late to the game. The BRI, as China’s initiative is known, was put into place five years ago. It spans 70 countries and offers the potential for Chinese investment of $4 trillion – albeit at often nearusurious lending rates. It is designed to see that all roads lead to Beijing, just as 2,000 years ago all roads led to Rome.
India’s ambitions are far more modest. Tiny Bhutan remains India’s biggest recipient of foreign aid, followed at a distance by Afghanistan. The two-day India-ASEAN “Commemorative” Summit in truth celebrated 25 years of a partnership that has mostly been notable for its nonexistence. To make amends, the summit focused on boosting cooperation in the key areas of counter-terrorism, security and connectivity to counter Beijing’s economic and military assertiveness. The group has agreed to set up a mechanism on maritime cooperation to counter the common “traditional” and “non-traditional” challenges they face. Expectedly, the event was closely watched by Beijing. Its foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters wryly that “China is open to all countries developing friendly relations. So, we’re okay with India developing friendly and cooperative relations with ASEAN countries.” It helps India’s cause that it has gained respect among ASEAN member nations after it stayed away from Beijing’s belt and road initiative despite Chinese attempts at persuasion. Delhi believes BRI is an attempt to clip India’s own wings and build a China-centric world order. With its growing stature in the region, India is loath to accept Chinese domination in its own neighborhood. China has been expanding its presence in South Asia, building ports and power plants in countries around India’s periphery including Pakistan and Sri Lanka. India has countered this by beefing up its infrastructure and standing up to China’s incursions along its north-eastern borders, and quietly in Afghanistan. New Delhi is also liaising with Washington and Tokyo who view India as a bulwark against China as U.S. influence has waned. The newly formed Quadrilateral comprising India, Japan, Australia and the United States aims to achieve just that. With many of the ASEAN members locked in maritime disputes with Beijing, critics say, the former are relying on broadening
their linkages with countries such as India. The latter alone in Asia has the size, demographics, economic potential, military capability and civilizational depth to act as a countervailing force to China’s hegemony. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose country Singapore currently chairs ASEAN, said the grouping believes that “India makes a major contribution to regional affairs, helping to keep the regional architecture open, balanced and inclusive.” There are many areas of convergence between India and ASEAN member states. At the summit, Modi emphasized that India shares ASEAN’s vision for rules-based societies and peace. “Freedom of navigation will be a key focus of IndiaASEAN in the maritime domain,” he said. “India shares ASEAN’s vision of peace and prosperity through a rulesbased order for the oceans and seas. Respect for international law, notably UNCLOS is critical for this. We remain committed to work with ASEAN to enhance practical cooperation and collaboration in our shared maritime domain.” It is true that India has already been pursuing an “Act East” policy of developing political and economic linkages with Southeast Asia. However, India’s efforts lack the zeal and ambitiousness of China. Just consider that China’s trade with ASEAN was more than six times India’s in 201617. While China-ASEAN trade accounts for 15.2 percent of the block’s total trade, its trade with India only constitutes 2.6 percent. Thus, while the pomp and show of India’s Republic Day always make for good optics, it is just that – optics. Matching up to Beijing’s clout and winning influence in the region will need some serious efforts on India’s part. It is only starting and there is a long way to go.
Philip Bowring is an Asiabased journalist, formerly the editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and columnist for the International Herald Tribune.
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
‘AfrIcAn MonA LIsA’s’ surprIse redIscovery enthrALs enthusIAsts LONDON
think of it as the African Mona Lisa,” said award-winning novelist Ben Okri, gazing at the long-lost portrait of a Nigerian princess which recently turned up in a London flat. Ben Enwonwu’s 1974 painting of Adetutu ‘Tutu’ Ademiluyi, daughter of a Yoruba king, has taken on almost mythical status in the painter’s native Nigeria. It was last seen in 1975 but is now up for sale after its surprise rediscovery. “It has been a legendary painting for 40 years, everybody keeps talking about Tutu, saying ‘where is Tutu?’,” the Booker Prize-winning writer Okri told AFP. As a prominent Nigerian cultural figure on the world stage, Okri viewed the painting at prestigious London auction house Bonhams, where the work will be sold on February 28. “He wasn’t just painting the girl, he was painting the whole tradition. It’s a symbol of hope and regeneration to Nigeria, it’s a symbol of the phoenix rising,” he said. “I spent hours looking at it, making
up for the time that we hadn’t seen it. It’s been a work of rumour, but here it is, crystallised.” The work was uncovered by Giles Peppiatt, director of Modern African Art at Bonhams after a north London family contacted him following lucrative recent sales of Nigerian artworks. “It was quite remarkable when I walked into this flat in north London and
saw it hanging on the wall, it was about the last thing I expected to see,” he explained. “As soon as I saw it I knew it was authentic, but I couldn’t say that at the time to the owners because you can’t just blurt that out.” After confirming the search for ‘Tutu’ was over, the family “were, not surprisingly, pretty astounded,” he re-
vealed. “It’s a missing masterpiece.” ‘Prize work’: Enwonwu, who died in 1994, is considered the father of Nigerian modernism. He made three paintings of “Tutu”, the locations of all of which had been a mystery until the recent discovery. The works became symbols of peace following the clash of ethnic groups in the Nigerian-Biafran conflict of the late 1960s. “The sitter is Yoruba and Ben Enwonwu was Ibo, so they were of different ethnic tribes,” said Eliza Sawyer, a specialist in Bonhams’ African Art department. “It was an important symbol of reconciliation.” Enwonwu was from a politicallyconnected Ibo family and his father was a traditional sculptor. The painter stumbled upon his most famous muse by accident. “He would go around local villages and sketch local scenes and figures, and he encountered this young woman whom he thought was just entrancing and requested to paint her, not knowing her stature,” explained Sawyer. “She was a little taken back by the request,” she added. “It is the peak of the artist’s career,
there’s also the sitter’s status as a princess and thirdly the painting had been lost. That all creates an awful lot of mystery.” The rediscovered painting was last displayed at the Italian embassy in Lagos in 1975 and was bought by the father of the north London family during a business trip. “It was pretty much regarded as his prize work,” explained Peppiatt. “I think he was secretly in love with the sitter. She is a very pretty lady. It’s pretty audacious, with the light under the chin, which focuses you on the head. As a bit of painting it stands on its own anyway, without any of the other stories,” he added. The painting is expected to sell for around £250,000 ($347,000, 282,000 euros) when it goes on sale jointly in London and Lagos on February 28, but Okri argued that its worth was more than financial. “It gives us a glimpse of an important African reconfiguration of the art of portraiture,” he said. “It’s going to start a fire, start a debate. Never have they given proper due to African painters. This is the perfect work to start” to ask why he added.
Deepika, Ranveer all set for a dream wedding this year?
LAHORE: Mughal series Shehsawar’s directors Shehzad Ahmad Sheikh and Resham Shehzad pose with a group of models in the first annual ceremony of the series held at a local hotel.
I'm very unhappy with Bollywood's current music scenario: Javed Akhtar KOLKATA AGENCIES
Javed Akhtar has an objection with Bollywood's present treatment of music. At the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, the song-writer expressed grief at the music being produced and explained what's missing. "I am very unhappy with the present music scenario in Bollywood. The music that is being produced is not very sympathetic to lyrics any more," said Akhtar. "First of all, they do not get good situations because there is more razzmatazz than emotional depth in the stories. So the situation for songs is not very emotional." He then added, "Besides, the tunes the writers are getting today are not very conducive for writing poetry because of the tempo and the orchestration. The tempo is such that the words do not get established. They do not have the space to breathe." Possibly his biggest qualm with the music is that all the songs are "treated like clap songs". "On the other hand, the music is so loud... every song is treated like a clap song. So the percussion is often above the voice and the music gets ahead of words. So you just can’t understand what the person is singing. May be you only know the ‘Mukhra’ (beginning of a song) and the rest of it gets lost in the cacophony."
Amitabh Bachchan admitted to Mumbai hospital MuMbai: Veteran Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan was admitted to a Mumbai hospital on Friday evening, reported Indian media. According to the Times of India, doctors at the Lilavati Hospital have refused to comment on why he was admitted and said they were evaluating his health. Amitabh, who has a history of abdominal ailments, was earlier admitted to a hospital in 2012 after complaining of severe abdominal pain after an earlier surgery. The actor had a few years ago also revealed that he contracted the Hepatitis B virus while undergoing treatment after an accident on the sets of Coolie, and that 25% of his liver had been destroyed. AGENCIES
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh have always given their fans a lot to speculate about their alleged relationship. But latest reports suggest that the two are (finally!) ready to take things to another level. If the rumours are to be believed, the Bollywood stars are planning to tie the knot in an exotic beach wedding this year. “Yes, Ranveer and Deepika are getting married this year and it is going to be a destination wedding. They both are beach bums and you can expect a beach wedding. It will be an intimate affair though with just close family and friends in attendance,” a source told India.com.
Some reports further suggest that the couple will get married in mid-2018. The two will also host two wedding receptions, one in Mumbai and one in Bengaluru, as Deepika’s family is based there, as per reports. When asked about taking their relationship to the next level, Deepika recently said in an interview: “Hmmm...and what would the next level be? It's not obvious. I don't know if marriage per se... Because I believe every relationship has its natural progression. I'm discovering that myself.” Deepika and Ranveer were last seen in the movie ‘Padmaavat’, which released on January 25 after months of delay due to the controversy it stirred in sections of the Indian population.
Macy’s faces backlash for introducing hijabs NEWS DESK Macy’s faces backlash after it announced its upcoming fashion collection catered to Muslim shoppers, featuring hijabs and more modest clothing options, reported Fox News. The nationwide retailer partnered with Verona Collection, a modern Islamic clothing boutique, founded by Lisa Vogl, who graduated from Macy’s Minority and Women-owned Business Development Program in 2017. On Verona Collection’s website, Vogl said her mission to create the fashion brand came after she converted to Islam and “had a stark realisation that modest and fashionable clothing were both hard to acquire and difficult to afford.”
Vogl started on the collection to give women who were seeking modest clothing more options.
“Verona Collection is more than a clothing brand. It’s a platform for a community of women to express their
personal identity and embrace fashion that makes them feel confident on the inside and outside,” Vogl said in a news release last week. The collection revolves around affordable and modest clothing for both Muslim and non-Muslim women. “Verona Collection offers a unique and understated elegance through everyday essentials designed for versatility and comfort, and through our partnership, we can better serve our customer looking for modest fashion,” Macy’s Fashion senior vice president Cassandra Jones said. However, not all are happy about the new clothing line because of the inclusion of the hijab – a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women, which many see as a sign of female oppression.
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
Change is in the air today, but you can't figure out which direction the wind is blowing. At first, you may be excited with anticipation as you map out your schedule for the near future, only to be drawn back into old fears.
Enjoy the relaxed pace while you can because circumstances will likely grow more complex as the day unfolds. Being pressured to respond doesn't necessarily make you feel good and others may encounter the brunt of your frustration instead of your support.
Don't give up just because it seems like others are trying to prevent you from following your guiding light. Keeping your dreams alive is crucial for your soul, even if fulfillment isn't in the immediate picture.
In theory, you like the idea of being part of a tightly-knit family, but you can do without all the day-to-day dramas that seem to be part of the package now. However, you haven't necessarily failed if you think you're falling short of your personal goals.
. Even though it might seem as if you can't shake your current disillusionment, you do have the power to snap yourself out of your malaise if you so choose. Instead of seeking perfection, just practice accepting things as they are now and finding joy in the moment.
You also must connect with the mundane side of your life today. Anything that helps you keep your feet on the ground should be actively pursued now-- especially practices that blend a spiritual perspective with physical movement, such as martial arts or yoga.
One of your primary roads to personal growth is through your continuing exploration of relationships. However, your current analysis could lead you to the disappointing conclusion that your present state of affairs is quite different than your idealistic dreams.
You might have a sneaking suspicion today that you've been shortchanged and something important is missing in your life. Unfortunately, this reflection of residual childhood longings isn't just a passing whim.
Friends and family may be the current source of drama that begs for your involvement. Nevertheless, it's probably best to observe the unfolding circumstances from a comfortable distance if they don't directly concern you.
No matter how much you have accomplished so far in your life, you still may fall short of your own unattainable ambitions. Nevertheless, you can't travel your individual road to happiness until you understand what motivates you to be successful.
Last night's discouraging dream may still linger on your mind after you wake up today. Unfortunately, it's no easy task to untangle the symbolic meaning of this otherworldly message from your subconscious.
Don't waste time analyzing everything that's wrong with your world. Instead, consciously focus on something that has solid potential. Channel your efforts toward positively changing what you can and leave everything else to the universe.
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Saturday, 10 February, 2018
WEsT IndIEs To Tour PAkIsTAn In MArcH for T20 sErIEs LAHoRe
full-strength West Indies team is expected to land in Lahore next March for a three-match Twenty20 series after Cricket West Indies (CWI) "committed" to tour Pakistan next year. The tour was meant to be played this November, but logistical challenges forced the tour to be postponed. At an impromptu media conference in Lahore on Saturday, PCB chairman Najam Sethi confirmed the schedule for West Indies' tour with the three matches to be played on March 29, 31 and April 1. Sethi also stated that both PCB and CWI agreed to play a series of Twenty20 matches annually over the next five years both in Pakistan and the USA subject to availability of dates. "There were talks to play the series in November, but due to unforeseen weather, we didn't take a risk so we will start our first series from March next year followed by the one in the USA," Sethi said in Lahore. "From then onwards, they will keep coming to Pakistan for the next five years and we will reciprocate by playing in the USA. But the series we will play in the USA will be a triseries with the third team to be decided later." Both CWI and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) gave their approval for the tour subject to the security situation in Pakistan remaining the same as it was during the World XI series and the solitary T20 Sri Lanka played in Lahore recently. "We have not had time to get through procedures and processes to get the tour scheduled in time, but we
are still committed to support Pakistan cricket. Our intention is to return in March," CWI chief executive officer Johnny Grave told ESPNcricinfo. After hosting the World XI and Sri Lanka T20s successfully, the PCB was confident and keen to host West Indies too. However, Sethi had admitted to ESPNcricinfo recently that scheduling remained a concern for CWI. Before they could finalise the schedule, both CWI and WIPA were waiting for an updated security and risk assessment report from Eastern Star International (ESI), an independent security firm owned by security expert Reg Dickason. ESI sent its updated report to CWI on November 3 and the WIPA had its meeting this week before intimating its decision to Grave. After deliberations among its members which includes players, the WIPA was assured that the threat levels had not "materially changed" since the World XI games. "Therefore, they said they would have no objection based on security," Grave said. "They legitimately raised concerns around trying to do these things quickly without the necessary time to review the security plans. And they
also had concerns about our ability to inform and communicate those plans to all the players. "Also, addressing any questions and concerns of the players and team management over the scheduling of the proposed T20 series in Lahore has been a real challenge as most of our squad is either playing in our domestic cricket across the region or playing in the Bangladesh Premier League. And with all the team management in Zimbabwe, we and WIPA needed time before making a final decision." The PCB and the Punjab government (Lahore being the capital) assured that the same level of security would be afforded to the West Indies team as was to the World XI and Sri Lankan contingents. But with time running out, the logistical challenges were growing. CWI is understood to have communicated the same to the PCB during a conference call on November 6. During the call, Grave and Roland Holder, CWI's cricket operations manager, informed PCB officials that even as they awaited the WIPA's decision (the WIPA called an emergency meeting on November 7), the biggest challenge would be
sorting the visas and the travel plans of the T20 squad which was scattered between the Caribbean and Bangladesh, where some players are participating in the BPL. With West Indies playing New Zealand in a limited-overs series following the Tests in December, the same players had submitted their passports at the New Zealand embassies in New Delhi and Washington. So even with the WIPA nod, arranging Pakistan visas within a short span of time was nearly impossible. Both boards tried to find a solution and CWI checked if they could tour late November or early December so the West Indies T20 squad could fly from Pakistan en route to New Zealand. However, the foggy conditions in winter in Lahore was the big hurdle, the PCB informed. According to Grave, West Indies will fly to Lahore after the World Cup Qualifiers in March in Zimbabwe. However, that trip will get a final nod based on an updated security report closer to the tour. "We will now focus our attention on playing in the final week of March, which is after the World Cup Qualifiers and before the IPL," Grave said. "We are now working on an operational deadline. In order for us to be arriving in Lahore end of March, we need to have booked the flights and confirmed the names by mid-February. In order to do that, we would need to have selected the squad by early February and we will need a security assessment [in the] first week of January and also have to get WIPA approval and have a discussion face-to-face with the players. This timeline is not formalised, but that is the broad framework."
Australia's Travis Head signs for Worcestershire, targets Test cap English county side Worcestershire announced the signing of Australian international Travis Head for the 2018 season on Friday, with the all-rounder targeting a place in his Test team. The 24-yearold captained Adelaide Strikers to glory in this year's Big Bash League and was the competition's fourth highest run-scorer while he impressed with an innings of 96 in Australia's consolation win over England in the recent one-day series. Head, who has 34 one-day international and 10 Twenty20 caps, could boost his Test prospects as he will feature in all three formats for Worcestershire. Worcestershire, promoted last season to division one of the country championship, said they would be looking for "another leading overseas player" in Head's likely absence for Australia's five ODIs and one T20 in England midway through the campaign. "We are delighted to have signed Travis," said Worcestershire vice-chairman Tim Curtis. "Travis will start the season with us in April and will be with us right through to and including T20 finals day on September 15. He will miss two championship games in June when Australia have an ODI series and a T20I against England over here. "But he is ambitious to play Test cricket and Cricket Australia have encouraged him and other young players to play cricket this summer." AgEnciES
Engro announces association with Quetta gladiators KARACHI PRESS RELEASE
Engro came on board as the official sponsor of Quetta Gladiators, a franchise of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for PSL Season 3 Engro, regarded widely as one of the largest conglomerates of Pakistan – sponsored the franchise as a conglomerate of multiple brands and entities including Olper’s (the flagship brand of its subsidiary Engro Foods), Engro Fertilizers, Engro Energy, Engro Foundation, Engro Polymer and Chemicals and other Engro entities. These brands will be prominently featured as part of the Quetta Gladiator’s team kit among other elements throughout the year. The Pakistan Super League has grown in outreach, size and stature in the first two seasons, allowing brands and corporations space and time to strategize, activate and market their respective messages and products. Speaking at the occasion of the official announcement, Ghias Khan, President of Engro Corporation said, ‘With over a hundred million viewers worldwide and a galaxy of national and international stars The Pakistan Super League is the crown jewel of Pakistani Sport which is why we are very excited to announce our association as official team sponsor of Quetta Gladiators. Quetta Gladiators has consistently been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the PSL. They share our passion for winning and our love for putting the country on the map for the right reasons.” Adding to his thoughts, Quetta’s owner Nadeem Omar said, ‘Engro and Quetta Gladiators are starting this relationship with the hope to capitalize on the true value of franchising in cricket. The franchise, and the game in general, need the support of corporations and sponsoring partners to grow and become self-sustaining entities. We are beginning an exciting journey with Engro and are hoping to elevate the game’s reach and stature in Pakistan with their support. Beyond conventional sports sponsorship, their arm of support allows us to execute ideas that bridge the gap between cricket and the masses. This also was a founding goal of initiating the PSL and for us to invest in the league.’ Quetta Gladiators is a Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise owned by Omar Associates. The franchise is captained by Sarfaraz Ahmed, who is also the captain of the Pakistan National Cricket Team with former Captain Moin Khan as the head coach and Sir Vivian Richards as the franchise’s mentor. The team finished as runners up in both the first two seasons of the Pakistan Super League. The team also has Kevin Pietersen as their icon player and former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson on its roster.
The Pakistani Cricket Fan ARmAn nAdIR CHAudHRy Through all the hard times that have plagued the country; from strings of terrorist attacks, never-ending economic and literacy issues to so much more that has gone wrong, cricket has somehow managed to remain a sport that is followed with the same passion as it was years ago. People may have thought that the absence of international cricket in Pakistan for such a long period would eventually lead to a loss in interest, however, it has only ever grown among Pakistanis. And while support of this kind is a thing to be proud of, it has an undeniable negative side to it. Apart from occasional moments of brilliance, it has been a tough few years for Pakistani cricket and for the most part, the blame has been attributed to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the coaches and the players. It is true that the concerned parties have at times lacked greatly in their attitude, however, something that normally goes unnoticed is that there is a part for fans to play in whatever happens to the cricket team.
It is reasonable to say that the fans are as much a part of a game as the players, coaches and the other staff. Their role extends far beyond just that of seeking entertainment. This role is rarely realized by any of our countrymen and this it is this lack of realisation that is directly proportional to our players’ performance. To understand this role, we need to first consider the dominance of social media in today’s world and particularly on sports. There are a number of pages made for discussing matters particularly related to cricket. On these pages, we see fans share their opinions on any event that holds relevance to cricket. While it is fine for them to express their thoughts on incidents and events related to the sport, so-called loyalists of the sport are often seen crossing the line with their unnecessary, constant criticism of players, the coach and PCB. To top it all off, this problem seems to exist in abundance in Pakistan and India. The general public of both the countries is known to reflect real hypocrisy when it comes to their feelings about the team. The same player who is
appreciated extensively one day is slated to the core on the next. What our people have repeatedly failed to grasp is that what they say has an effect on the mental states of the players. A few examples that come to the mind here are Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal, once believed to be two of the most talented young cricketers around. Umar Akmal had an incredible start to his career. He earned himself a great reputation and went on to boast great statistics almost throughout. Consequently, he was loved by the fans and his performances were widely celebrated. However, then was to come the time of his decline; he suddenly lost form and despite showing flashes of brilliance every now and then, he started looking like a shadow of the player he once was; this is where the fans came in and made things worse. For a player already low on confidence and struggling with a bad time, Umar was definitely not helped, judging by the brutal comments on social media in which every second person puts him down and presents insults that at times even extend to his fam-
ily and other parts of his private and social life. A similar experience was faced by Ahmed Shehzad, who was bestowed with derogatory nicknames in addition to the usual insults by his countrymen. The aim of this article is not to justify the lack of competence and will showed by a number of our players over the years. It is to highlight the ignorant and insensitive nature of our team’s fans that has equally contributed to the team’s downfall. At times when players find themselves devoid of hope, it is the duty of the fans to
motivate and offer support to them in an attempt to revive their confidence instead of contributing in bringing them further down and squashing their career chances. It is high time we think about the effect and relevance of our actions on the team’s performance, accept the responsibility we hold and bring a change in our behaviour. *The writer is a student of A-levels at Aitchison College, Lahore. He is interested in socio-political and economic issues and is keen to write for magazines and newsletters.
SPORTS Saturday, 10 February, 2018
AustrAliA look for winning end to home seAson
Dominant India eye series win Pink Day Johannesburg Agencies
India only need one more win to seal the one-day series against South Africa and they have three matches to do it. Ideally, they would like to finish it off in Johannesburg and allow themselves some room for experimentation in the final two games. While the history of the last five years says South Africa don't lose in pink, the history of the last nine days says they can't win against wristspin and India's intention will be to reinforce that. It's almost as though there's no talking point other than what will happen when Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav come on. What new ways will South Africa's batsmen find to get out to them? Or is there a chance they may eke out a few more runs? One man who can change that narrative is AB de Villiers. He returns to the team after recovering from a finger injury and though he is neither captain nor wicketkeeper, he will have to be the person to raise morale. South Africa could fall into the trap of relying on de Villiers a bit too much, something they have accused India of doing with Virat Kohli. At least in India's case, it's paid off. Kohli's two hundreds in the series so far has India high on confidence but there may still be some issues they'd want to address. The middleorder fell away slightly in Cape Town and, at a venue where big totals can be posted, they will want everyone firing. In the spotlIght South Africa's best hope of countering the spin threat lies in AB de Villierswho has owned the Wanderers when it comes to white-ball cricket. He averages 100.85 from 11 matches at this ground and has scored two of his three hundreds there when playing in pink, including the fastest century in ODI history. While Virat Kohli has been the key of the Indian batting line-up and Shikhar Dhawan has
started to find his touch, Rohit Sharma is still floundering and has yet to make a half-century on this tour. His top-score is 47 in the second innings of the Centurion Test and he has not got past 20 in any of the three ODIs. Run-scoring is hardly an issue for India at the moment but it may become one for Rohit soon. team news De Villiers missed the first three games with a finger injury but has been declared fit and available to play. South Africa may also call on Farhaan Behardien which could push one of David Miller or Khaya Zondo out of the XI. If experience is what's needed to stabilise the side, Morne Morkel may also return. South Africa (probable): 1 Hashim Amla 2 Aiden Markram (capt) 3 JP Duminy, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Farhaan Behardien 6 David Miller/Khaya Zondo, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Morne Morkel 11 Imran Tahir India didn't make any changes from Durban to Centurion or Centurion to Cape Town after concluding that there was no need to mess with a winning combination. They're still winning, so it's likely they will be unchanged as they seek the series win. India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal pItch and condItIons Bethuel Buthelezi cannot afford to put a foot wrong for the next five years after his Test pitch was rated poor by the ICC, so he will want to start getting into the officials' good books soon. Typically, the Wanderers produces high-scoring ODI surfaces and this should be no different. Scattered showers are forecast in the evening but that won't dampen the spirits of the Johannesburg faithful. The Wanderers is a sellout for this match, which means this will be the biggest crowd of the series with 33,000 people expected to pack in.
curiosity of the Twenty20 triangular series spread across two countries is that the Melbourne match will mark the end of the international season in Australia, before the caravan moves to New Zealand for the remainder of the tournament. Having won their opening two matches, the Australian side led by David Warner has the chance to seal a place in the tournament final across the Tasman Sea by making it a hat-trick of wins over an England team irritated by their failure to make the most of a commanding start with the bat on Wednesday. While the fortunes of Billy Stanlake oscillated wildly between Sydney and Hobart, Australia's more consistent themes have been set by the Perth Scorchers pair of AJ Tye and Ashton Agar during the middle overs, and by Glenn Maxwell with the bat. Warner and Chris Lynn are two members of the top six who will hope for more productive evenings in Melbourne, the stand-in captain in particular needing to find runs to back up what has been an impressive captaincy display so far, while Steven Smith prepares to fly to South Africa for the four-Test series in March. England have faced familiar questions about their now customary aggression following the Bellerive defeat, but under the
captaincy of Eoin Morgan they are resolved to keep attacking with both bat and ball. A win would put England in good shape to qualify for the tournament final provided they can find a way past New Zealand, although a loss would make it a particularly glum trip across for the tournament's conclusion with very little margin for error. In the spotlIght After a summer of much discussion about his future, Glenn Maxwell is finally beginning to play the consistent, match-winning role that both he and the Australian team are looking for. His innings in Sydney and Hobart helped guide the Australians home to comfortable victories, while he has also been able to have an impact with the ball. T20 is a fickle beast, of course, and Maxwell will be eager to continue to have an impact on his home ground. England, by contrast, will be hoping for the sort of decision-making error that has frustrated Maxwell and his team many times in the past. Having belted an outstanding 180 on his last visit to the MCG, Jason Roy has not enjoyed quite the same influence in subsequent matches of the ODI series and was fooled by a Kane Richardson slower ball at the Bellerive Oval. They key to Roy's success in the earlier Melbourne ODI was a clear mind and confidence in his teammates, allowing him to attack with unbridled fury and security about his role in the side. Further low scores may serve to cloud this clar-
Roshen Silva's fifty puts SL in firm control Dhaka Agencies
ruwan Perera and Dananjaya off successive balls, and was unlucky to finish without at least one more scalp. Having earlier also trapped Danushka Gunathilaka in front of the stumps, he finished the day with 3 for 35. But it was Dananjaya whose late-morning spell that was of most consequence to the match situation. To him also went the most perfect spin-bowling dismissal of the game so far. Tossing the ball up outside off stump, Dananjaya got the ball to drift away, before it dipped and spat back at the batsman. Mahmudullah offered a forward defence, but so sharp was
Debutant Akila Dananjaya ransacked Bangladesh's lower middle order in the morning, and Roshen Silva compiled a second high-quality fifty in the match, as Sri Lanka claimed a 312-run lead and took iron-grip of the Test. That the surface is a spinners' paradise is plain, but Bangladesh's meekness in the first innings has put them on the brink of a series loss. In the most dramatic period of play on day two, the hosts lost their last five wickets for five runs. Not even an inspired Mustafizur Rahman SRI spell late in the day could undo the LANKA 200 FOR 8 damage sustained before lunch. Also driving Sri Lanka ahead 58*, KARUNARATNE (SILVA on day two were Dhananjaya de 32, MUSTAFIZUR 3-35) AND Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal, none of 222 LEAD BANGLADESH 110 whom got close to a half-cen38*, DANANJAYA 3(MEHIDY tury, but whose innings were vital nonetheless. Bangladesh's spin20, LAKMAL 3-25) BY ners were at times guilty of being 312 RUNS too wayward. Though they delivered their share of dangerous deliveries through the day, many errors in length also speckled their spells. The visiting batsmen rarely allowed good scoring opportunities to go unused. Mehidy Hasan Miraz - the best of the home side's spinners - took two for 29 from his 14 overs, and regularly raised wicket-taking opportunities. Taijul Islam also took two wickets, and Abdur Razzak finished with one. Their most potent weapon, however, was Mustafizur and his cutters. In a spell also envenomed by reverse swing, he took the wickets of Dil-
the turn,that the ball whistled between bat and pad to hit the very top of middle stump. It was his maiden Test wicket. Dananjaya was suitably ecstatic. His remaining dismissals were also off-spin classics. Three balls after bowling Mahmudullah, he lured Sabbir Rahman into an off drive, only for the ball to turn more sharply than the batsman expected. The catch, off the inside edge, would be snapped up low to the ground by Dinesh Chandimal at midwicket. Next over, a similar wicket: another turning delivery, another attempted drive, but this time Abdur Razzak's mis-hit shot went straight back to Dananjaya.
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ity, even in the game's most explosive format. Australia played Travis Head in place of Adam Zampa in Hobart to lengthen their batting order, and this again seems the most likely selection permutation for a team that has now won three T20 matches in a row. Aaron Finch is still to make his return from a hamstring strain, while the NSW left-armer Ben Dwarshuis is the other member of the squad. Australia (possible): 1 David Warner (capt), 2 D'Arcy Short, 3 Chris Lynn, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Kane Richardson, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Billy Stanlake England will consider recalling Liam Dawson's spin after Adil Rashid proved a difficult proposition for the Australians at Bellerive Oval. England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Sam Billings, 7 David Willey, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Tom Curran, 10 Chris Jordan, 11 Mark Wood pItch and condItIons Melbourne's T20 pitches this summer have generally been friendly to batsmen though seam and spin bowlers can benefit from the occasional bit of variable pace and the catching opportunities afforded by the ground's vast boundaries. The forecast is warm, with scattered showers across the day to disappear by game time.
With three wickets having fallen in the space of seven Dananjaya deliveries, Sri Lanka were ascendant. As so often happens when their spinners dominate, the fielding also moved to a higher plane. Fielding at short leg, Kusal Mendis snapped up an inside edge off Taijul Islam's bat, and though the batsman spent no more than two seconds out of his crease, Mendis threw down the stumps in a flash, while Taijul's bat was still in the air. The final wicket in the collapse went to Dilruwan Perera. If by establishing a 112-run lead, Sri Lanka had achieved a commanding position in the game, Roshen was most responsible for leading his side toward impregnability. Measured, and intelligent, he played within his limits, leaving balls that did not threaten his stumps, and yet hitting out at balls that deserved punishment. His footwark was swift and precise. Rarely did the Bangladesh bowlers dominate him for long stretches, though conditions were stacked heavily in their favour. There was no side of the pitch that he favoured, and his 58 not out - to go with the 56 in the first innings - is already more valuable than many hundreds. While Roshen found a middle ground between attack and defence, the other batsmen were generally more partial to one or the other. De Silva, for example, blazed a trail, cracking Taijul for three boundaries in one over, while constantly going deep in his crease to make possible his late cut. Having sped to 28 off 24, his ambition would prove fatal in the end. Attempting to deflect a Taijul delivery with an open face, he missed it completely and had it clatter into his stumps. Karunaratne went in the opposite direction. As Bangladesh's spinners largely turned the ball into him, he played for the straighter ball, and adjusted quickly if the delivery was spinning. His 32 came off 95 balls and featured no boundaries. Chandimal's 30 was compiled in a not dissimilar spirit, though he did score much faster.