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Friday, 18 May, 2018 I Ramzan 2, 1439 I Rs 19.00 I Vol VIII No 320 I 20 Pages I Islamabad Edition

terror strikes again g

fIqa hanfIa CITY sEhR LaHoRe 3:30 am ISLamaBad 3:27 am KaRacHI 4:20 am fIqa JafaRIa LaHoRe 3:20 am ISLamaBad 3:17 am KaRacHI 4:10 am

IfTaR 6:55 pm 7:05 pm 7:11 pm 7:05 pm 7:15 pm 7:21 pm


fc fOils terrOr bid in Quetta, killing all five terrOrists


t least six terrorists were killed in two separate attacks on security forces on thursday in Quetta and nowshera after a “high-value target” of the lashkar-e-jhangvi (lej) was killed on wednesday night in balochistan’s kili almas in an operation by security forces that also resulted in the martyrdom of military intelligence’s col sohail abid and head constable sanaullah, who succumbed to his injuries on thursday evening. the attacks also resulted in at least 20 people getting injured, including security officials.

the key terrorist was involved in the killings of over 100 members of the hazara community as well as police personnel, the military’s media wing reported. as per the details, six people including four security personnel were injured in an attempt to attack the frontier corps (fc) help centre in Quetta on thursday night. “vigilant fc soldiers fired at the terrorists and stopped their entry,” ispr said in a statement and added that all five attackers were killed by the security forces in an exchange of fire. “situation under control, four fc soldiers injured in exchange of fire in survey 31 area near chaman housing society,” said ispr, adding that the

Shehbaz says whoever arranged interview not a friend of Nawaz’s g

One terrOrist killed in nOwshera, 14 injured

Islamabad: MI Col Sohail Abid laid to rest with military honours in Bara Kahu, Islamabad, in a funeral attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa among other military officers. Staff Photo

thursday’s attacks in retaliatiOn Of OperatiOn against lej in Quetta On wednesday night




bomb disposal team was advancing on the site of the terrorist attack to conduct neutralising, search and sweep operations as per the sOps. while there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the military’s media wing said that the attackers were suspected to be afghan nationals. “the failed attempt was a response to the killing of their key terrorists last night in kili almas,” ispr added. meanwhile, emergency and rescue teams were dispatched to the site of the attack, following which an emergency was imposed in the hospitals of Quetta. earlier, balochistan home minister sarfraz bugti confirmed that fc

madadgar centre came under attack and multiple blasts and gunfire were heard in the vicinity. following the abortive attack, punjab inspector general of police (igp) arif nawaz issued the orders to field officers including ccpO, rpOs and dpOs to beef up the security across punjab in a bid to avoid any untoward situation. it is pertinent to note that the operation on wednesday night had

taken place when security forces intercepted and killed a terrorist leader of the lashkar-e-jhangvi (lej). “security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in killi almas area of balochistan on pointation from apprehended high-value target about the presence of suicide bombers along with other terrorists in hideouts,” ispr reported.


US will put Col Joseph on trial, assures FO STORY ON PAGE 03

sOme party leaders call fOrmer pm’s recent statements detrimental tO party

PTI moves IHC over ‘breach of secrecy’ in foreign funding case




fIqah-E-hanfIa lahoRE sEhR: 3:30 am IfTaR: 6:55 Pm

Islamabad sEhR: 3:27 am IfTaR: 7:05 Pm

fIqah-E-JafaRIa kaRaChI sEhR: 4:20 am IfTaR: 7:11 Pm

lahoRE sEhR: 3:20 am IfTaR: 7:05 Pm

Islamabad sEhR: 3:17 am IfTaR: 7:15 Pm

kaRaChI sEhR: 4:10 am IfTaR: 7:21 Pm


Friday, 18 May, 2018

Cabinet approves placement of fata reforms bill in na


iSlAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday approved placement of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Reforms Bill in the national Assembly (nA) and the establishment of a medical city in Islamabad. Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the cabinet approved the agreement between Pakistan and Russia on settlement of mutual financial claims and the obligations on operations of the former USSR. The cabinet also approved the amendment in the policy of commercial import of arms and ammunition, placement of national Disaster Management Authority under the Prime Minister Office and amendment in the master plan of CDA, in Sub-zone C of Zone-IV of Islamabad. Furthermore, the federal cabinet approved the signing of an agreement on technical cooperation between Pakistan and Brazil, and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between national Vocational and Technical Training Commission and Territory and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka. The cabinet gave approval of managing director, Pakistan Software Export Board, MP-I scale under Ministry of Information and Technology, and also approved the amendment in section 5 and section 6 of the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 as amended vide PEMRA (Amendment) Act, 2007. Moreover, the cabinet approved appointment of date of coming into force of the University of Baltistan Order, 2016, ratification of notifications of tariff determinations/decisions by nEPRA issued by Power Division, implementation of Peshawar High Court judgment in writ petition no4169 P/2015, and deletion of Synthetic Fiber Development and Application Centre and Plastic Technology Centre, Karachi from the administrative control of Textile Division. The federal cabinet also gave approval to the signing of MoU on water resources management between Pakistan and Australia, ratification of the decisions taken by Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases in its meeting held on May 9, and approval for legislation for the establishment of Al-Karam International Institute, Bhera and placement of the bill before the parliament. Moreover, the cabinet approved the formation of a committee for implementation of the orders of Supreme Court, in human rights case no623-P/2017 (in the matter of substandard cardiac stents). App

2017 Quetta church attack victims await compensation, sC told QUETTA: The 2017 Quetta church attack victims are still to receive Rs7.2 million in compensation despite a lapse of five months, the Supreme Court was told on Thursday. During the hearing, a representative of the Christian community told the two-member bench, comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, that the amount of compensation provided to affectees is Rs7.2m short of what was promised to them. On inquiry by the bench as to what took so long, the deputy commissioner of Quetta told the court that there was a delay in the provision of the medico-legal reports. Hearing this, the bench ordered that surgeon Dr Ali Mardan provide the court with a sworn statement explaining the matter. “Does it take this long for the MLR to be provided?” the judges asked while adjourning the case until June. At least nine people were killed and over 50 injured when terrorists stormed the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on December 17, 2017. Officials said security forces intercepted and shot one bomber outside but the second attacker managed to reach the church’s main door where he blew himself up. Following the attack, both the federal and provincial governments had announced monetary compensation for the victims. The sum, however, has yet to be disbursed despite several months having lapsed, over which the apex court had last week taken a suo motu notice. StAff RepoRt




n the aftermath of former prime minister nawaz Sharif’s comments on the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-nawaz (PML-n) appears to have become stuck in a tight spot, with fissures among the leadership becoming severe and catching the public’s eye. In a meeting of the party leadership on Thursday, Shehbaz Sharif lashed out at the person who arranged nawaz Sharif’s interview with a local English daily, adding that he was no friend of nawaz Sharif’s. Meanwhile, taking exception to his brother Shehbaz Sharif and Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statements regarding his interview, nawaz Sharif chided them both and asked them to support his stance. He said that he would stick to his guns and stand by his stance he took in the said interview. The PML-n is facing a difficult situation in the form of strong backlash unleashed in response to the hard-hitting statements made by the party’s supreme leader Mian nawaz Sharif. Moreover, the party may have to deal with more desertions in the next few weeks, compounding the difficulties the party finds itself in now. The meeting brought to fore the internal fissures and discord over the former PM’s recent statements with some leaders terming his stance as detrimental to the party. At one point during the meeting, the debate got so heated that Kh Saad Rafique stood up and left the room after some party leaders accused him of being a stooge of the establishment. While party’s senior leader Ch nisar has been avoiding party meetings since his clash with the party’s top leadership, Rafique has joined the angry leaders club after being blamed by Sharif’s close associate of being an ‘agent of the establishment’ and for playing a double role in


the party. Party insiders claim that the aggressive statements by the three-time prime minister Sharif have done more damage to the party than the military establishment or any other institutions as more and more party leaders are being offended due to these ‘self-flagellating’ statements. However, Sharif and his daughter, the heir apparent to the party’s leadership, Maryam nawaz, seem undeterred and unnerved. The PML-n president expressed this in response to a question asked by a PML-n MnA, as to who arranged nawaz Sharif’s recent interview which sparked a national controversy. According to details, Shehbaz further said that despite being proud of nawaz, he will advise him to give comments on sensitive issues after consultation. Shehbaz also said that democracy is the only route to progress, adding that, the Indian PM narendra Modi has set a record of atrocities in occupied Kashmir. Up to four PML-n MnAs from South Punjab were of the opinion that nawaz’s recent statement on the Mumbai attacks and the government’s role in the Khatam-e-nabuwwat amendment earlier damaged the reputation of the party. PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also attended the conference, along with some 120 other lawmakers belonging to the party. Chaudhry nisar Ali Khan, however, did not attend the meeting, despite being present in the Parliament. Lawmakers said that these recent statements will create problems for the party during the elections. Shehbaz, while addressing the participants, said that the PML-n completed all its promises and ushered an era of development in its tenure. He added that the party will take their achievements to the electorate during the upcoming general elections. PM Abbasi had chaired a similar meeting of the party lawmakers on Wednesday, in which, the PM had taken PML-n lawmakers into confidence over the developments after former prime minister nawaz Sharif’s statement on the Mumbai attacks.


A party leader told Pakistan Today that during the party’s special sitting held on Thursday at Punjab House, nawaz rejected the advice forwarded by Shehbaz Sharif, with some of the party leaders even believing that Shehbaz has failed as the party leader. “nawaz not only rejected the advice of his younger brother but also admonished Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for supporting his [Shehbaz’s] cause instead of advising him. nawaz plainly told PM Abbasi that he would seek his advice when and if needed but for the time being, PM Abbasi should mind his own business and rather than taking the side of the military establishment, he should implement orders given by him,” the source said. The source added that nawaz told the party leaders present that he would not compromise on principles and would remain steadfast in his quest for fixing the wrongs. “The former premier said that he had said nothing wrong in his interview and whatever he said was a fact. For this truth, nawaz said that he is ready to pay any political price but he would not step back.” Without naming anyone, the three-time premier told the meeting that he knew that some party leaders were under pressure from certain quarters while some party lawmakers were seeking justification for leaving the party. Another party leader told Pakistan Today that the internal differences and mistrust within the party ranks came to the fore during the meeting when the party’s senior leader Rafique came under harsh criticism from Senator Asif Kirmani, who while speaking to Chaudhry Sher Ali, claimed that some party leaders like Rafique were hell-bent on damaging the party. “Kirmani alleged that Rafique was reporting details of party meetings to some quarters and his character was shady,” the source said. Talking to media separately, Rafique and Kirmani said that there was no bad blood between them and no such incident took place between the two.

CPne vP sehgal Families of Kharan gun attack victims being threatened, SC told elected as board COURT ORDERS OKARA POLICE TO PROVIDE SECURITY TO FAMILIES ISLAMABAD StAff RepoRt

Families of the labourers who were killed in a gun attack in Kharan on Thursday requested the Supreme Court (SC) for security, saying that they were being threatened by a local contractor. On May 3, six labourers belonging to Okara were shot down while fixing a telecom tower in the Liji area in Balochistan’s Kharan district. Two days after the incident, the chief justice had taken a suo motu notice and formed a two-

member bench, comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, to hear the case. During the hearing on Thursday, the families of the victims claimed that they have not received any financial compensation from the authorities and added that those who claimed to pay compensation are “lying”. Upon which, Justice Bandial assured them that they would be paid the compensation they are owed. The counsel representing Ufone apprised the court that the widows of three labourers would receive Rs20,000 per month for the period of three years, while the company would pay for the educational expenses for their children as well. The apex court on Wednesday ordered the cellular service provider, Ufone, to submit a complete financial plan for compen-

sation to the families of the labourers who died in the attack. It may be noted here that the Balochistan government had submitted details of its compensation package that promised Rs1 million for families of victims that died in the attack besides issuance of Rs500,000 to the family of the wounded labourer. While, the additional advocate general said that the Punjab government had prepared a summary and would pay Rs1 million to each family. The court consequently ordered the provincial governments to submit the compensation money to Okara’s district judge who would distribute it among the victims’ families. It also directed Okara police to provide security to the families. The hearing of the case was adjourned until the first week of June.

director of ICoCa

GEnEVA: Council of Pakistan newspaper Editors (CPnE) Vice President Ikram Sehgal has been elected as the board director of International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA) for the Industry Pillar. Sehgal replaced the outgoing director John Davies. He is holding the seat to represent the views and perspectives of private security companies at large. All members of the CPnE congratulated Sehgal upon his election. They expressed that Sehgal was a deserving candidate with his unique personality and grip over the issues. Sehgal has made the whole country proud with his successful election, CPnE conveyed in its press release. StAff RepoRt

NAB chief says accountability has ‘nothing to do with elections’ JUSTICE (R) IQBAL DISTRIBUTES RS110M AMONG VICTIMS OF BOGUS HOUSING SCHEMES ISLAMABAD StAff RepoRt

national Accountability Bureau (nAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Thursday said the bureau has nothing to do with the elections. “nAB has nothing to do with (2018)

elections be it pre or post elections and the bureau upholds a policy of ‘accountability across the board’,” Iqbal said while addressing a ceremony in Rawalpindi. Justice (r) Iqbal shared that in the last seven months, 226 suspects were arrested, 25 proclaimed offenders were arrested and presented before court and references were filed against 217 corrupt individuals. “If a case is lodged unlawfully against any individual, it is shelved as the anti-corruption body does not believe in victimisation,” observed Iqbal. The nAB chairman said that the elimination of corruption without any bias was their priority for which the officials were diligently performing their duties.

RS110 Million DiSTRiBUTED AMonG ViCTiMS oF BoGUS HoUSinG SoCiETiES: nAB on Thursday distributed Rs 110 million among 809 affectees who bought different plots in fake/bogus housing societies but were not provided with any land in return. A special ceremony was organized in this regard at the bureau’s headquarter in Islamabad where the nAB chief expressed that the motive of the anti-corruption body was to recover the money minted by illegal housing societies and give it back to the victims. The nAB chief stated that up till now, the accountability watchdog has recovered and distributed as much as Rs 296


billion among different institutions and victims. “nAB is adopting the policy of ‘Accountability for All’ without any discrimination,” said the chairman. Justice (r) Javed Iqbal detailed that besides recovering the embezzled money, numerous absconders and fugitives were also apprehended as a result of the directives issued by the bureau. “As many as 226 accused were arrested in the last seven months while 217 references were filed in different accountability courts and 25 fugitives were made accountable before the law,” detailed the chairman. The nAB chief revealed that soon he will convene a meeting of officials from

land-related departments including CDA, RDA, ICT, LDA, PDA, QDA and KDA so that the officials can be apprised of their shortcomings and a proper mechanism could be devised to protect the citizens from land mafia. The Chairman nAB appreciated the devoted efforts of Rawalpindi bureau of nAB and hoped that the officers will continue to serve with the same vigour for the eradication of corruption and to recover looted money from corrupt individuals. The cheque distribution ceremony was attended by Deputy Chairman nAB, Prosecutor General accountability, Director General Rawalpindi and other senior officials.

Friday, 18 May, 2018



StAff RepoRt

FTER Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) website mentioned July 31 as the date of 2018 general elections, the commission later clarified that the date is yet to be announced. The ECP website had initially mentioned July 31 in the schedule of 2018 elections, but retracted quickly after reports circulated on media. Clarifying the matter, ECP spokesperson Altaf Hussain told media, “The date and schedule of elections is not something to be hidden.” “[Only an] empty link was put on the ECP website,” he said, adding that a date for elections would be announced after mutual consultation. He further told media that the commission would welcome all national and international observers. Although the ECP has not yet made any formal announcement pertaining to the date for countrywide polls, previous reports had suggested that the

eCP dIsoWns eleCtIon date after PostIng It onlIne commission had recommended holding 2018 elections by the end of July. According to media reports, ECP officials had earlier pondered over the dates of July 25 or 26 (Wednesday or Thursday) to conduct the polls. The ECP had already started working on the summary for elections date, reports said earlier this month, which would be forwarded to the president. Following an approval of the summary by the president, they said further, the ECP would issue a schedule for polls. The incumbent government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker govern-

ment will take over to oversee the general elections. As per the Constitution of Pakistan, the caretaker prime minister is appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the opposition leader in the national Assembly. Both the premier and the opposition leader are yet to announce the name of caretaker PM. They have to first present names of three nominees each from which the consensus candidate is appointed as the caretaker prime minister. The prime responsibility of the caretaker government is to ensure that the elections are held in a transparent manner and the basic functions of the government con-

tinue without an elected setup in place. inT’l oBSERVERS noT BARRED FRoM CoVERAGE: The election watchdog clarified that it has not barred international observers from covering the 2018 general elections, refuting the media reports claiming issuance of such orders. In a press release on Thursday, the ECP wrote, “It is being made clear that the election commission considers all observers (national and international) an important part of the polling procedure. A comprehensive planning is being carried out for all observers so that no hurdle is faced while observation of election.” The ECP further told that the interna-




Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday stated that the United States (US) has assured Pakistan of launching an investigation against Defence Attaché Colonel Emanuel Joseph involved in a road accident that led to death a youth in Islamabad. During a weekly presser, the spokesperson in an attempt to explain the abrupt departure of the envoy—already booked at Kohsar Police Station—said that the accused couldn’t be tried in Pakistan as he held diplomatic immunity; however, he will be put on trial in the US. The details on the matter of ‘diyat’ paid to the victim’s family were not available with the FO, he added. Commenting on the travel restrictions imposed on US diplomats and their families in Pakistan, Dr Faisal said that the decision was made in response to the restrictions on Pakistani diplomats under which the US diplomats were barred from travelling beyond 25 kilometre radius. In reply to a question about why other restrictions were also imposed on the diplomats of US, the FO spokesperson said replied that Pakistan only withdrew additional facilities that were provided to the US officials. These special facilities included permission to use diplomatic license plates, tinted car windows and installation of communication devices in their vehicles. Moreover, Dr Faisal condemned India’s act of not permitting the daughter of renowned Pakistan poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, 72-year old Moneeza Hashmi, to speak at an event in their country even though she had been extended an invitation. Expressing Pakistan’s commitment to the two-

state solution of the Palestine-Israel conflict and recent Gaza violence, the spokesperson asserted Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will be attending the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Turkey to discuss the Israeli attack on Palestinian protesters in Gaza that killed 60. “The government and people of Pakistan stand firmly with the Palestinian people also renews the call for the establishment of a viable, independent and the contiguous state of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters,” he added. In pursuance of the seven principles agreed in the meeting between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his visit to Kabul on April 6, the two sides finalised the APAPPS, which operationalised the six working groups envisaged under APAPPS, the FO statement said. APAPPS provides a framework to deepen interaction in all spheres of bilateral engagements. It is also a mechanism for finding solutions to bilateral areas of concern. He said both sides agreed that effective and full implementation of APAPPS would contribute towards the common objectives of eliminating terrorism and achieving peace, stability, prosperity and

development of the people of the two countries. The spokesperson said that Pakistan condemned the multiple missile attacks on Jazan and Riyadh by the Houthi militia. The successful interception of the missiles by the Saudi forces prevented loss of innocent lives and was commendable, he added. He said, “Pakistan reiterates its solidarity with Saudi leadership and people and stands by Saudi Arabia against any threats to its territorial integrity and threats against Harmain Sharifain.” He also said that PM Abbasi had extended the deepest felicitations to Dr Mahathir Muhammad on becoming the prime minister of Malaysia. “The prime minister underscored that the unprecedented victory of Pakatan Harapan is the clear demonstration of Malaysian people’s trust in the dynamic and inspirational leadership of Dr Mahathir,” he added. PAKiSTAn ConDEMnS inDiAn CEASEFiRE ViolATionS AlonG loC, WB: The FO has also summoned the Indian acting deputy high commissioner and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in Hotspring’s Sector. “This year, the Indian forces have carried out more than 1000 ceasefire violations along the LoC and WB, resulting in the martyrdom of 24 innocent civilians and 107 others getting injured,” he said. The unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing since 2017 when the Indian forces committed 1970 ceasefire violations, he said. The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws, he added. “The Indian ceasefire violations are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” he said.

PTI moves IHC over ‘breach of secrecy’ in foreign funding case PARTY ALLEGES ECP’S ORDER CONTAINS ‘MATERIAL IRREGULARITIES’ ISLAMABAD StAff RepoRt

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday submitted a petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) to nullify the March 12 decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in which it ordered the formation of a committee to scrutinise the details of the PTI’s funding sources. Dissident founder member of PTI and the petitioner in the case, Akbar S Babar, had filed the case before the ECP in 2014 after he developed differences with Khan over internal corruption and abuse of laws governing political funding. The petitioner had alleged that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies, registered under Khan’s name, and that money was sent through illegal ‘hundi’ channels from

the Middle East to accounts of PTI employees. As per ECP’s March 12 verdict, a three-member committee was to scrutinise all documents and evidence in the presence of the petitioner, the respondents and their lawyers. The scrutiny committee, headed by the ECP director general law and comprising two auditors from the defence establishment, was formed on April 3, with a mandate to complete the scrutiny process in one month. The committee could not make any significant progress during the month as PTI failed to submit financial documents, particularly bank statements of its accounts, sought by the committee. PTI had also objected to the terms of reference (ToRs) of the committee and an alleged breach of secrecy, with the media reporting the scrutiny process. A local media outlet reported on Thursday that PTI had filed an application in ECP seeking secrecy of the scrutiny of its foreign funding, after which ECP had issued notices to the petitioner and Babar for a May 28 hearing on the application. The petition claims that ECP’s March 12 order “suffers from material irregularities”, which is the “outcome of the ignorance of the law on the subject”. It also claimed that the “im-

pugned order is based on mala fide intentions and is not passed in a transparent manner”. The petition said that although IHC had ordered ECP to keep account details to itself, the committee formed by ECP “didn’t bother [with] the orders passed by IHC and shared all confidential documents with Respondent no 2 (Babar). It is further noteworthy that Respondent no 2 (Babar) made public all the proceedings of the committee via his social media accounts”. The petition also claimed that Babar had participated in the proceedings of the committee “which is a sheer violation of the SC guidelines” and alleged that he “is not free from malice or ill will and just aimed to harass the petitioner (Khan)” after his expulsion from the party. The petition quoted an SC judgment on a previous case ‘Hanif Abbasi vs Imran Khan and others’, which stated that “it is the duty of the SC to scrutinise accounts of political parties on the touchstone of Article 63 of the PPO read in the light of Article 17(3) of the constitution. In this behalf, the ECP must act transparently, fairly and justly, without discrimination among different political parties seeking election symbols to contest the election to the constitutional legislatures of Pak-

istan. For undertaking such scrutiny, it shall be reasonable for ECP to examine the accounts of political parties within five years of the objected accounts of that party having been published in the official gazette.” The petition also observed that two members of the first committee had distanced themselves from it “due to personal reasons”, after which it was dissolved. A second committee was constituted, the ToRs of which are “violative of the observation of the SC, as well as IHC order”. “This power of assessing and deciding whether a political party has received contributions or donations from any sources prohibited can be exercised by ECP on its own motion based upon the facts available in the public domain or revealed by information provided to it, subject to the condition that the information emanates from a credible source, that it is reliable and verifiable and is not a mala fide fabrication meant to harass and prejudice a political party, its leaders or its members,” the petition said. The petition prayed that the “committee proceedings be declared void, unlawful and without lawful authority against the constitution and law on the subject in the interest of justice.”




ELECTION WATCHDOG SAYS INT’L OBSERVERS ARE NOT BARRED FROM COVERING POLLS tional election observers can send their applications to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is the standard operating procedure. “ECP will issue permission letters to all international observers,” the release said. It was mentioned that observation of elections was part of the section 238 of 2017 elections act. On Wednesday, the ECP had announced that it had prepared a code of conduct for foreign observers in the upcoming general elections. The election commission said that foreign observers can come to Pakistan for four to six weeks. It was widely circulated on social media that the orders were in fact to ban all international observers.

sC suspends death sentence of bKU attack mastermind iSlAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered to suspend the death sentence awarded to the mastermind of the attack on Bacha Khan University, Akbar Ali. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, who was presiding over a two-member bench, directed that the complete record of the case be submitted by the military court while adjourning the hearing for an indefinite period. It is imperative to mention that Akbar Ali had been awarded a death sentence earlier by a military court after 22 people were killed after radicals armed with guns and bombs targeted the university in Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on January 20. Three days later, on January 23 five facilitators of the attack had been arrested, however, only four were presented in front of the media. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations Director General (DG ISPR), Taliban commander Umer Mansoor and his deputy Zakir were responsible for orchestrating the attack. StAff RepoRt

nawaz, establishment go back a long way, says asif zardari PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday alleged Pakistan Muslim League-nawaz (PML-n) Quiad nawaz Sharif of being in cahoots with the establishment for the past 30 years. He expressed these views while addressing an Iftar dinner in Lahore where the former president criticized politicians for deceiving their country in the quest for power. “The country must always come first,” Zardari said. “They are not ready to be loyal to their own country in the quest for power.” The politician also decried the problems of the common man. “When people came to Pakistan what did they bring here and what do they own now?” he said. NewS DeSk

lhC dismisses treason pleas against nawaz lAHoRE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday dismissed pleas submitted by opposition parties to initiate treason proceedings against former prime minister nawaz Sharif owing to his controversial statements regarding the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The petitions were filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistani Awami Tehreek (PAT). Justice Mirza, after hearing the arguments of the petitioners, declared the petitions unmaintainable and advised the petitioners to approach the proper forum required for such pleas. The opposition parties filed the petitions in the LHC on May 14, to register a treason case against the former prime minister regarding his controversial remarks on Mumbai attacks. The petition alleged that nawaz’s statement was against the national security and state institutions. The petitioner pleaded the court to initiate proceedings under Article 6 of the constitution against him. Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was also mentioned as a respondent in the petition apart from nawaz. On May 12, nawaz gave an interview to a local daily in which he had stated, “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” “We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it,” he added. StAff RepoRt


Friday, 18 May 2018





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JinnAh Convention, PAk-ChinA FRienDshiP CentRe in neeD oF DiRe Attention ISLAMABAD



ShAh NAwAz MOhAl

HE construction of Jinnah Convention Centre located near the Red Zone and Pak-China Friendship Centre located near Chaand Tara Chowk, Shakarparian, was completed back in 1997 and 2010 respectively. These two buildings are the most sought-after, easily accessible spots for large gatherings in the twin cities. Be it seminars, conferences, book fares, business expos, board meetings or any other event, both the government and private sector prefer to hold big events either at either of the two places due to ease of access, large hall capacity and affordable rates as compared to high-end hotels and clubs. During a recent visit to the Jinnah Convention Centre, this scribe observed that the restrooms there were in shambles and a majority of the seats, sofas and other furniture was either in need of repair or was broken. More importantly, the absence of a proper cafeteria has

forced students, participants and the visitors to the convention centre to walk for kilometres to reach Aabpara or Bara Kahu for food and water. The centre, also known as the National Convention Centre was originally the brainchild of former prime minister, (PM) Benazir Bhutto to commemorate 50 years of Pakistan's existence on the world map. Although the work was initiated and largely completed during her second tenure, she was not in power at the time of its inauguration and therefore, the project was launched by her successor and now deposed premier, Nawaz Sharif. The first event to take place at the convention centre which is aptly named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the first extraordinary summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It is pertinent to mention here that

Training of ROs for 2018 General Elections commences ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The training of Returning Officers (ROs) for Islamabad and Rawalpindi for the next general elections, has started. Three ROs for three constituencies of Islamabad, seven ROs for National Assembly constituencies of Rawalpindi and 15 ROs for Provincial Assembly constituencies are being trained. The training session will continue for three days. During the workshop, ROs will learn to scrutinize the nomination papers of election candidates. Moreover, ROs will be informed about the polling scheme of a constituency. According to Election Commission, for the preparation of polling results, ROs will be given information related to form 48 and form 49. Officers will also receive training to get familiarized with the Result Management System. Meanwhile, the process of training District Returning Officers (DROs) from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had begun from May 15 at Peshawar and Quetta, while the training of DROs of Punjab and Sindh started on May 16. In total, 133 District Returning Officers and 849 Returning Officers are being imparted training. According to sources, internationally trained experts and professionals are conducting the training courses.

Punjab Food Authority arrests four persons for processing animal waste TAXILA STAFF REPORT

Punjab Food Authority (PFA) and Hassanabdal’s local administration conducted a joint raid on a compound and arrested four persons that were found involved in the processing of animal waste for human consumption. The animal waste was initially collected from various cities including Wah, Haripur, Hazro, Hassanabdal, Kamra and Attock and after being processed it was sent to various cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). PFA arrested the four people under PFA laws and sealed the compound.

according to official documents that surfaced in the media back in 2014, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had earmarked the convention centre for privatisation, however, the plans were shelved later on. The Pak-China Friendship Centre, on the other hand, is a gift from the people of China to their Pakistani brothers and sisters. It was built by China at the cost of 3 billion Pakistani rupees and inaugurated by disgraced PM Yousaf Raza Gillani. Spread over an area of 12 acres, the state-of-the-art, scenic centre boasts lush green lawns, easy access from the heart of the city, a main hall with a seating capacity of 800, exhibition halls, boardrooms, art galleries, 105 apartments, study rooms, 8 conference halls with a capacity of 200 persons each and a cinema. During the Metropolitan Corpora-

tion Islamabad (MCI) meeting last month, the city managers' mismanagement and lack of concern were evident. The reading rooms were locked and gathering dust as they were never operationalised or opened for the general public, a large number of floor tiles were missing and the washrooms were simply unusable. "Other than zero concern and initiative for cleanliness and maintenance, I’ve observed that prayer rooms for women are almost always locked and it is really hard for us to offer prayers,’ said Bushra Khanum, a frequent visitor at the expo. The third venue of a similar scale has also been in the eye of the storm. The newly inaugurated Metropolitan Club in F-9 park invited the wrath of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in April 2018. The project is now in doldrums as mere days after its inauguration, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has taken notice and directed Rawalpindi NAB Director General (DG), Irfan Mangi to initiate an inquiry into the 1.9 billion rupees project.

Exercise does not delay decline in people with dementia: study PARIS AGENCIES

While physical exercise may stave off dementia, it does not delay mental decline in people after they´ve been diagnosed, a study in nearly 500 people with the condition reported Thursday. While a fitness regime improved physical fitness in people with mild to moderate dementia, it "does not slow cognitive impairment," researchers reported in The BMJ medical journal. It is generally accepted that exercise can delay the onset of Alzheimer´s and other forms of dementia. But whether or not it can slow symptoms after the onset of mental decline, has been the subject of much debate. For the latest study, researchers took 494 people in England who had

been diagnosed with dementia and assigned 329 of them to an exercise programme. They took part in 6090-minute group sessions in a gym twice a week for four months, and home exercises for an additional hour per week. The average age of the group was 77. Participants were assessed at six and 12 months after starting the programme. The researchers noted that cognition had declined in both the exercise and non-exercise groups. In the exercise group, the decline was steeper, "however, the average difference was small and clinical relevance was uncertain," said a press statement. Commenting on the study, Brendon Stubbs of King´s College London´s Institute of Psychiatry, said its findings was "enormously important" for the care of people with Alzheimer´s disease.

"Whilst previous smaller studies have suggested that exercise can prevent or improve cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer´s disease, this robust and very large study provides the most definitive answer we have on the role of exercise in mild-moderate Alzheimer´s disease," he said via the Science Media Centre. "The search for effective lifestyle interventions that can delay cognitive decline in dementia must continue." A separate study, published in the journal Jama Psychiatry, among English people aged 65 and older, said people with fewer financial resources appeared to be at higher risk of dementia. According to the UN´s World Health Organization, about 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer´s Disease -- the most common form with about two-thirds of cases.


340C 190C

DRAP concerned over ‘contradictory’ court rulings Islamabad: “Conflicting” judgements by various high courts regarding medicine prices and interim injunctive orders by manufacturers and importers have become a cause of concern for the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). DRAP’s report in a suo motu case pertaining to prices of medicines states that civil suits related to the matter are not permissible under Section 39 of the Drug Act 1976 and the same section says that civil courts do not enjoy jurisdiction in the matter. The report also says that matters pertaining to import, quality control, export, fixing of prices, registration and licensing falls under the purview of the DRAP. DRAP has also claimed in its report that only the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has jurisdiction in the matter. STAFF REPORT

Two foreigners held with 1.5kg heroin at Islamabad airport Islamabad: The Airport Security Force (ASF) foiled a bid to smuggle one and a half kilogramme heroin worth millions in international market, to Dubai and arrested two foreigners including a female drug pusher here on Thursday. The ASF sources said that during search of baggage of two foreigners leaving for Dubai through international airline flight PK-233 at new Islamabad airport, 1.5 kilogramme heroin was recovered. The ASF seized the recovered heroin worth millions of rupees in the international market, arrested the suspects Johnson and Jennifer stating to be hailing from Nigeria. STAFF REPORT

Govt working to curb climate change, says GB CM Islamabad: Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister (CM) Hafiz Hafeez-urRehman has said that his government is devising a strategy to ensure protection of Glacier Lakes outburst and environment in the area. Talking to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director in Gilgit, he welcomed the extension of the glacier lakes outburst project to GB. The chief minister assured of his support to the NGOs that work for GB’s development. PPI

WHC and GLT launch education, peace campaign ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The launch ceremony of different wings of human development under the auspices of World Humanity Commission (WHC) and Global Learning Trust (GLT) was held here on Thursday. “It is only through education that masses are alleviated from poverty and the provision of equal opportunities can be ensured,” said GLT Ambassador and WHC President Rubina Ali, while addressing the gathering at the launch. Rubina said that it was difficult to reach out to all the people of Pakistan by sitting in Islamabad. “That’s why we made contact with the community set up at the district level to be well-versed about the problems of humanity,” she said adding that her organisation aims to work in diverse sectors like education, health, gen-

der, interfaith harmony, SME, industry, and community development among other fields. Established in 2005, GLT is a nonprofit organisation. It is a multidisciplinary-NGO/trust which started its


operations in Gawadar and later on expanded with permanent offices in Islamabad (Head Office), Quetta, Gawadar, Pasni, Musa Khel, Loralai, Qila Saifullah, and Dalbandin. GLT aims to act as a bridge be-

tween traditional and modern systems of governance and society. “Its effectiveness in managing complex programmes and collaborations with an international network of partners allows us to work in a variety of sectors,” Rubina apprised the gathering. The trust is also focused on social transformation through its work on peace and interfaith harmony under peace, interfaith harmony and prosperity wing at the district level. It further deals with tribal issues, federal government projects like the Benazir Income Support Programme/Navtec, Afghan Refugees special projects under the SAFRON Ministry/UNHCR and incorporates youth initiatives under the youth wing for city government, women empowerment, gender and social mobilisation under farmers association as cross-cutting themes in all of its work.


Friday, 18 May, 2018




AGING battles between forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised government and Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, along the country's west coast have displaced tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians, especially from the coastal province of Hodeida, an international rights group said in a report released Thursday. The Yemeni government offensive supported by ground troops and air cover from a Saudi-led coalition is part of attempts to regain control over rebelheld areas along the country's west coast, Amnesty International said. The offensive has sent Yemenis fleeing to government-controlled areas including Aden, the group said, warning that "the worst could be yet to come." The report includes testimonies of displaced Yemenis who described "terri-

fying mortar attacks, air strikes, landmines and other dangers" amid the offensive. They also said fleeing the clashes was costly, forcing them to sell precious belongings to fund the perilous trip. "It was really a difficult trip. By God we suffered. There were rockets flying above us," said a 25-year-old woman who was not identified in the report. "Someone would stop us and

say there are projectiles, and then someone else would stop us and say there are landmines, and we would just scream." She described scenes of dead bodies, including ones "ripped to pieces" en route. The report, citing the United Nations, says fighting along Yemen's west coast has displaced 100,000 people in recent months, mostly from the Red Sea

Mideast conflicts connected by vying powerbrokers

DUBAI agencies

The modern Middle East has been plagued by ruinous wars: country versus country, civil wars with internecine and sectarian bloodletting, and numerous eruptions centered on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But never in the last 70 years have they seemed as interconnected as now with Iran and Saudi Arabia vying for regional control, while Israel also seeks to maintain a military supremacy of its own. Russia, the United States and Turkey make up the other powerbrokers in a region where not only wars but proxy battlefields within those wars are on a feverish and hostile footing. The ongoing wars in Syria, Yemen, this week's mass killing of Palestinians by Israel in Gaza, Turkish-Kurdish hostilities, and the potential for an all-encompassing war sparked by an Iranian-Israeli conflagration in Syria or Lebanon, all have tentacles that reach across borders and back again. Suggestion in recent years of a Sunni/Shiite schism across the Middle East and Persian Gulf appears much less a factor than the jockeying of the key actors with the most military, financial and diplomatic muscle who are trying to shape the region in their image, or at least to the satisfaction of their national security and various leaders' hubris. Here's a look at each of the main power players, whom they are aligned with, and what their ultimate goals are. ISRAEL: Direct conflict with Iran has been simmering and briefly looked like it might burst into full-blown conflagration after Israel launched a blistering bombardment of Iranian positions in Syria, killing Iranian fighters after an alleged Iranian rocket barrage toward its positions on the annexed Golan Heights. The exchange followed several earlier suspected Israeli strikes on Iranian positions in Syria. A much weakened Iran, the continuation of the Gaza blockade — which is also imposed by Egypt — with a ferociously controlled border, and no concessions to the Palestinians with regards to land for peace. IRAN: The rapprochement with America under President Barack Obama is now ashes. Sanctions relief, running to hundreds of billions of dollars, is at risk, as Washington targets Tehran again, though a nuclear deal may be salvaged with EU nations, Russia and China. Iran has pretty much accomplished a goal its officials have often trumpeted, building a corridor of power from Iran across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean. In

all those countries, it funds and arms powerful Shiite militias and has enormous political influence. It seeks a continuation of the nuclear deal with the other global signatories, hoping to bolster its financial coffers. There has already been discontent in Iran that sanctions relief was not flowing to the people. RUSSIA: President Vladimir Putin has ruthlessly filled the US vacuum in Syria, waging an air campaign that has left a trail of dead in Aleppo and Ghouta among other locations. Moscow's support of Assad turned the tide of war in his favor when defeat seemed imminent several years ago. Russia is also allied to Iran. But it also hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for its Victory Day celebrations hours before Israel's attack on Iranian positions in Syria, raising speculation the two were quietly coordinating so that Israel kept well away from Moscow's forces and planes in Syria. Russia's regional goal in is to sustain and build on the major foothold it now has in the Middle East, beyond Syria, notably where the US might have once before. US: "Traditionally we've tried to play a role of fireman in the Middle East. Now we're playing the role of arsonist," says Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department and Pentagon official who runs the Mideast program at the Center for a New American Security. That seems to have plenty of currency in the region now, though some would also argue the US has long played an incendiary role in the region, from reinstating the shah in Iran in the 1950s up to and including its wars in Iraq to the present day. The administration is in complete synch with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Saber-rattling with Iran could escalate, and it shows no urgency in pushing for Israel-Palestinian negotiations. SAUDI ARABIA: Also emboldened by Trump, the Saudi crown prince is determined to make his mark. Riyadh is spending billions of dollars in the Yemen war, leading a Gulf Arab coalition against Iranian-allied Shiite Houthi rebels. Thousands of civilians have been killed by Saudi airstrikes and starvation in the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Prince Mohammed has made vague threats that the kingdom will build a nuclear bomb if Iran starts its program again. TURKEY: For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it's almost exclusively about the Kurds, who in an alliance with the US helped defeat the Islamic State group in Syria and in the process captured a quarter of the country. This has infuriated Turkey to the point it launched a military campaign seizing a pocket of northern Syria, and it threatens to attack Kurds all the way to the Iraqi border. The presence of US forces among the Kurds is perhaps the only thing that's held Turkey back this long. Ankara views Kurdish fighters in Syria as an extension of the Turkish Kurdish PKK, which it considers a terrorist group. To break Kurdish strength and, above all, prevent a Kurdish autonomous mini-state in Syria along its border. I

port city of Hodeida. The port is a vital lifeline from which most of the Yemeni population's food and medicine comes. The coalition accuses the Houthis of using Hodeida and other ports to receive supplies of arms and ammunition from Iran. Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war pitting the coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis since March 2015. The coalition aims to restore the government of self-exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power. The three-year stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 3 million. It has also damaged Yemen's infrastructure, crippled its health system and pushed it to the brink of famine. The impoverished country is also now the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people in need of assistance. Malnutrition, cholera and other diseases have killed or sickened thousands of civilians over the years.

2 UN peacekeepers freed in Congo's southeast province KINSHASA: An official in Congo says two United Nations peacekeepers have been released after being held by rebels in the country's southeast. Tanganyika province vice-governor Ali Omar Simukinje told The Associated Press Thursday that the peacekeepers from Benin had been held by the Mai Mai militia and were freed Wednesday. UN Congo mission spokeswoman Florence Marchal confirmed the peacekeepers' return. She said they are currently at the UN peacekeeping base in Nyunzu and will be transferred to Kalemie. The two went missing May 11 in Nyunzu territory after 13 peacekeepers went on a mission from Kongolo to Kalemie. There were no further details on their release. Eastern Congo has long had problems caused by a myriad of armed groups that compete for the region's mineral wealth. Kidnappings for ransom are common. agencies

Denmark pulls special forces out of Iraq

Burundi votes in referendum on extending president's power BUJUMBURA agencies

Burundi's president joined long lines of voters Thursday in a referendum that could extend his rule until 2034, despite widespread opposition and fears that deadly political turmoil will continue. "I thank all Burundians who woke up early in the morning to do this noble patriotic gesture," President Pierre Nkurunziza said after casting his ballot in his home province of Ngonzi. Nkurunziza had campaigned forcefully for the constitutional changes that include extending the length of the president's term from five years to seven. That could give him another 14 years in power when his current term expires in 2020. Burundi's president is the latest in a number of African leaders who are changing their countries' constitutions or using other means to prolong their stay in power.

Nkurunziza's opponents want him to go, saying he has ruled longer than Burundi's constitution allows. More than 1,200 people have been killed in protests since he decided in April 2015 to pursue a disputed third term. Observers have expressed alarm at reported violence and intimidation of perceived opponents of the referendum in recent days, including threats of drowning and castration. A presidential dec r e e criminalized calls to abstain from casting a ballot Thursday. Bujumbura, the capital, had long lines of voters as security forces were deployed across the city. Five million people across the country were registered to vote. Voting appeared to be going smoothly in most areas, although activist group iBurundi, which monitors alleged abuses by authorities, reported some allegations of intimidation.

Brazil charges 11 people with trying to set up Islamic State cell BRASILIA agencies

Brazilian prosecutors have charged 11 people with planning to establish an Islamic State cell in Brazil and trying to recruit jihadists to send to Syria, the federal prosecutors office in the state of Goias said on Thursday. Two Brazilians are being held

in a maximum security prison and five others, arrested since October, were freed pending trial. Federal police tracked the alleged Islamic State militants through their social media messages after Spanish police provided telephone numbers found on a Brazilian arrested in Spain for belonging to a jihadist group, newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported.

STOCKHOLM: NATO-member Denmark said Thursday its special forces taking part in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq would be withdrawn following the IS defeat. "We have now reached a point where we can begin withdrawing our special forces because (IS) no longer has control over large areas in Iraq," Danish foreign minister Anders Samuelsen said in a statement. Up to 60 special forces were sent to Iraq in 2016 to train and advise Iraqi soldiers after a vote by the Danish parliament. The forces also took part in operations on the Iraqi-Syrian border, providing intelligence and ad hoc air support. "Their Iraqi partners are now ready to stand on their own two feet," Danish defence minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said in the statement. "(IS) have been forced away from virtually all the areas which the terrorist organisation occupied in Iraq," he added. agencies

Egypt's military kills 19, arrests 20 in Sinai operation CAIRO: Egypt's military and police forces have killed 19 militants in an exchange of gunfire and arrested 20 suspects, in a continuing crackdown in Sinai, the military said in a statement on Thursday. Security forces launched a large-scale security operation in February to crush militants who have waged an insurgency that has killed hundreds of security forces and residents over many years. The statement said the militants were killed over the past few days. Their deaths bring the total of those killed since the beginning of the operation to at least 296 including 35 military personnel, according to Reuters calculations based on military statements. Militants in Sinai intensified their attacks after the ousting by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the military in 2013 of Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood. agencies

Britain risks crashing out in 'no deal' Brexit, warns Irish PM SOFIA agencies

Britain risks crashing out of the EU without a withdrawal deal unless substantial progress is made in talks ahead of a crucial summit next month, the Irish prime minister warned Thursday. Leo Varadkar said he had yet to see a proposal from London that "remotely approaches" a solution to the vexed

question of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, facing bitter splits in her government over the post-Brexit trading relationship with the bloc, held one-on-one talks with Varadkar and EU Council President Donald Tusk on the sidelines of a summit in Sofia. Varadkar warned that time was running out to agree the terms of Britain's withdrawal agreement, saying a June 2829 summit in Brussels would be vital.


Friday, 18 May, 2018



EU united on Iran deal, will talk with US: Merkel


USSIA and China moved Thursday to extend their economic influence in Iran, while Europeans are finding it harder to ignore efforts by Washington to isolate Tehran economically. In one of the most concrete moves yet against renewed US efforts to choke off Iran economically, a Russian-led trade bloc signed an interim trade deal with Iran and signalled plans to negotiate a free trade zone. Meanwhile, Iran's oil minister said that Chinese state-owned oil company CNPC was ready to replace Total on a major gas field project in Iran if the French energy giant pulls out. The fate of Total's participation in the gas project demonstrates the difficulty the European Union faces in resisting Washington's move as European firms stand to lose much more from busting US sanctions. Earlier this month US President Donald Trump's controversially pulled Washington out of an international deal with Iran that placed limits on its nuclear programme in return for easing economic sanctions. China, Russia and EU members Britain, France and Germany were also signatories of the 2015 pact, opposed

Washington's abandonment of the deal which Iran had respected. But companies around the world now face a difficult choice as Washington has previously slapped huge fines on firms which bust US sanctions. This week the EU launched work on a plan to keep the nuclear deal alive and French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that one reason is "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran. However Total has indicated it will go forward with the investment only if it wins an exemption from Washington on the sanctions. Other European firms are likely to

Israel hits hamas base GAZA CITY: Israel hit a Hamas base in an air raid Thursday in response to gunfire from the Gaza Strip, but weeks of deadly mass protests and clashes along the border may be reaching an end as Ramazan begins. Tens of thousands have protested along Gaza's border with Israel since March 30 calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their homes now inside Israel. The largest demonstrations coincided with the move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, which saw Israeli forces kill some 60 Palestinians. The death toll led to international condemnations of Israel and calls for an independent investigation. Israel rejects those calls, saying its actions are necessary to stop mass infiltrations from the blockaded Palestinian enclave controlled by Islamist movement Hamas. On Wednesday, Israeli officials seized upon remarks by a senior Hamas member who said 50 of the 62 Palestinians killed this week were members of the group, arguing it showed the protests were not peaceful. But the Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, did not give further details about whether they were members of the group's armed or political wing, or what they were doing at the time they were killed. Another Hamas official did not confirm the number, but said those participating were demonstrating peacefully. The protests, which have seen unsuccessful attempts to break through the fence, have dwindled since Monday, and the start of fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday may further lessen interest. Friday -- when the protests usually peak -- will be a key test over whether the current round of unrest will continue on any level. The demonstrations were initially meant to end on May 15, but Hamas officials have said they want them to continue. agencies

Catalonia gets new leader determined to achieve independence

MADRID: Fervent Catalan secessionist Quim Torra was sworn in Thursday as the restive Spanish region's new leader, with his demands for an independent Catalonia set to prolong a standoff with Spain's national government. Torra formally took office at a ceremony in the Catalan capital, Barcelona. He was elected by the Catalan parliament's secessionist lawmakers on Monday. In a sign of the simmering tension, Spain's national government in Madrid, which usually sends a representative to regional government ceremonies, declined to attend the swearing-in. It said Catalan authorities had tried to dictate which central government officials could be present — a condition that Madrid rejected. The spat over Catalonia's future has brought Spain's worst political crisis in decades, though its three main political parties stand united against Catalan independence. agencies

make a similar calculation that the US market is worth much more to them than Iran. Danish shipping giant Maersk Tankers said Thursday it would cease its activities in Iran, while German insurer Allianz has also announced it plans to wind down its business deals there. Meanwhile Russia, one of the strongest defenders of the Iran nuclear deal, tightened its trade ties with Tehran. In the Kazakh capital Astana, the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union trade bloc signed an interim trade deal with Iran that lowers tariffs on hundreds of goods.

SOFIA: All European Union member states still back the Iran nuclear deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, adding that they would continue to talk to Washington about the issue after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement. "All member European Union states are still backing this agreement, despite the fact the United States has decided not to, and we will continue talks with the United States," she told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU leaders in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Merkel said her planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday was not linked to EU problems with Trump. May met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers. Trump has since imposed new sanctions. "The leaders reiterated their firm commitment to ensuring the deal is upheld, stressing that it is important for our shared security," the spokeswoman said. "They pledged to work with the many parties to the deal to this end. The leaders stressed that Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal." agencies

EU to start Iran sanctions blocking law process on Friday SOFIA: The European Commission will launch on Friday the process of activating a law that bans European companies from complying with US sanctions against Iran and does not recognize any court rulings that enforce American penalties. "As the European Commission we have the duty to protect European companies. We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process of to activate the 'blocking statute' from 1996. We will do that tomorrow morning at 1030," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "We also decided to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran. The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation will Iran," Juncker told a news conference after a meeting of EU leaders. agencies

Slovak president says EU countries ignoring Russian interference BRATISLAVA: European countries are ignoring evidence of Russian interference in their politics and the destabilizing effect on the region of policies that will make Europe more reliant on Russian energy, Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska said on Thursday. Kiska, who is not a member of any political party, is a pro-Western voice in NATO and euro zone member Slovakia but has limited executive powers. He said this week he would not seek reelection next year. Former prime minister Robert Fico, who was replaced in March by his deputy Peter Pellegrini of the same leftist Smer party that dominates the government, has often spoken against sanctions imposed by the European Union over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. "We openly speak about Russian spies active in our countries. And many politicians, my country included, turn a blind eye thereto," Kiska told the Globsec security conference in Bratislava. "We face propaganda and hoaxes attacking our societies, and we do not search for its originators. Because we already know," he added. Unlike neighboring Poland and Hungary,

Slovakia has avoided clashing with Brussels over the rule of law, but was the only central European country not to expel any Russian diplomats over the March poisoning of a Russian former double agent in Britain. Britain says Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and '80s. Moscow denies any involvement in the attack, which sparked the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War. Russia has also denied accusations of meddling in the US and French presidential elections and launching cyber attacks against the West. Speaking at a conference also attended by Russia's United Nations envoy Vassily Nebenzia, Kiska described the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, preparatory works for which are set to begin off the German coast, as selfish and harmful to EU stability. An initiative of Russia's Gazprom and five European companies, and with German backing, the gas pipeline on the Baltic seabed will connect Russia directly with Germany, bypassing eastern Europe and limiting flows via Ukraine. agencies

South Korea offers mediator role as doubts prevail over North Korea-US summit SEOUL: South Korea said on Thursday it intends to play the role of mediator after North Korea threatened to pull out of a summit with the United States aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. North Korea on Wednesday said it might not attend the June 12 summit in Singapore if the United States continued to demand it unilaterally abandon its nuclear arsenal, which it has developed in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions to counter perceived US hostility. Doubts over the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump arose on Wednesday when Pyongyang denounced USSouth Korean military exercises as a provocation and called off high-level talks with Seoul. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told parliament that North Korea and the United States had differences of views over how to achieve denuclearisation. Trump acknowledged on Wednesday it was unclear if the summit would go ahead. "It is true that there are differences of opinion between the North and the United States on methods to accomplish denuclearisation," Kang told lawmakers, according to Yonhap News Agency. A South Korean presidential Blue House official said the South intends to more actively perform "the role of a mediator" between the United States and North Korea. Trump will host South Korean President Moon Jaein at the White House on May 22. The Blue House intends to "sufficiently convey (to the United States) what we've discerned about North

Korea's position and attitude... and sufficiently convey the United States' position to North Korea", thereby helping to bridge the gap, the official said. Asked if she trusted Kim Jong Un, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang said: "Yes." Japan's Asahi newspaper reported that the United States had demanded North Korea ship some nuclear warheads, an intercontinental ballistic missile and other nuclear material overseas within six months. The newspaper, citing several sources familiar with North Korea, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to have told the North Korean leader when they met this month that Pyongyang might be removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism if it complied. The Asahi also reported that if North Korea agreed to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation at the Singapore summit, Washington was considering giving guarantees for Kim's regime. agencies


Japan Railways says sorry for 25 seconds early departure SHIGA PREFECTURE: In the US, you might expect a passenger rail operator to apologise for being late. However, in Japan — where sleek, high-speed trains are famous for arrivals and departures that you could set your watch by — leaving a station just 25 seconds early is nothing short of a disgrace. That is what happened earlier this month at Notogawa Station in the central Shiga Prefecture, when a train mistakenly pulled away from the platform almost a half-minute ahead of schedule – at 7:11:35 a.m. instead of 7:12. "The great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable," Japan Railways said in a statement about the May 11 incident involving a Shinkansen bullet train. Japan Today reports, "The trouble started when the conductor of the train (an express that makes its final stop at Nishi Akashi Station in Hyogo Prefecture at 9:14) mistakenly thought it was supposed to leave at 7:11, and so closed the doors of the 12-car train at that time. Realizing his mistake almost immediately, he looked down the platform, didn't notice anyone standing there, and so decided to just go ahead and leave 25 seconds early rather than reopen the doors and have to shut them again (a process that might have ended up making the train depart later than 7:12 exactly)." Another Japanese news site, Sora News 24, explains, "25 seconds may not seem like anything to complain about, but this happened on a Friday morning, when most passengers are people on their way to the office or school." Moreover, while this sort of thing is apparently rare in Japan, it is at least the second time in about six months that it has occurred. agencies

Italy's 5-Star and league put final touches to govt deal ROME: Italy's two anti-establishment parties met on Thursday to finalize a governing accord that would slash taxes, ramp up welfare spending and pose the biggest challenge to the European Union since Britain voted to leave the bloc two years ago. The farright League and the 5-Star Movement, which emerged as two of the biggest parties from an inconclusive election on March 4, have been discussing a common policy agenda to form a coalition government and end more than 10 weeks of stalemate. agencies


Friday, 18 May, 2018

Just how fragile is trump’s North Korea diplomacy? new YOrker


RObiN WRigHt

HEsE days, the eeriest thing about the demilitarized zone in Korea, the world’s most fortified border, is the silence. From a south Korean mountaintop, you can peer through a powerful telescope across the no man’s land of the D.M.Z., past the wide imjin River, and into the rising hills of north Korea. On the other side, an enormous statue of the country’s late founding father, Kim il sung, is posed confidently astride a pedestal, facing south, as if he were heading in that direction. For years, both Koreas waged psychological war along this hundred-and-sixty-mile frontier. From the south, banks of huge loudspeakers—some stationary and some mobile—blared news from the outside world, messages urging north Koreans to defect, and annoying K-pop music. they were so loud that they could be heard six to twelve miles away. in 2015, north Korea threatened to attack the sound system for its critical and high-decibel-blasting broadcasts about the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang countered with its own propaganda, albeit less audibly, because of electricity shortages. this month, the loudspeakers on both sides were dismantled. it was the first step taken after the summit of Korean leaders, on April 27th, and ahead of President trump’s meeting with Kim, on June 12th. the only sound in the D.M.Z.—for now, anyway—is a howling wind. the new diplomacy is still fragile. in a surprise announcement, north Korea indefinitely suspended the second round of talks between senior officials from the two Koreas—due to be held at the D.M.Z. on Wednesday. it blamed joint military exercises between south Korean and U.s. military forces. Pyongyang viewed the operation as “a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” north Korea’s state-run Central news Agency reported. the trump Administration was totally blindsided by the move, just five days after secretary of state Mike Pompeo returned from his second round of talks with Kim to prepare for the trump summit. Kim had even told Pompeo that he understood the “need and utility” of continued exercises between two countries with which north Korea is still technically at war, the state Department told reporters. the White House scrambled to clarify and respond. “We are aware of the south Korean media report. the United states will look at what north Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies,” the White House press secretary, sarah Huckabee sanders, said in a statement. it was a bizarre turn in what has been highly unusual diplomacy since north Korea initiated outreach, on January 1st. Over the weekend, north Korea had just promised to take the next step forward in a cere-

‘HE IS HURRYING UP COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS US PRESIDENTS—CLINTON, BUSH, AND OBAMA. HE IS RACING INTO IT. HE WANTS TO RECEIVE A NOBEL PRIZE’ mony over three days, from May 23th to May 25th, to dismantle its Punggye-ri nuclear facility. it pledged to plant explosives in tunnels deep under Mt. Mantap, where six nuclear tests have been conducted since 2006, and blow it up. A pool of foreign media correspondents, the north claimed, would be invited as witnesses. “A very smart and gracious gesture!” trump had responded in a tweet, on saturday. Kim, the third leader from a dynasty that has ruled north Korea for seven decades, is a master gamesman. if he ever follows through, destroying the nuclear-test facility would make for high theatre—and recurrent cable-news cycles—but perhaps won’t be much of a concession. the sixth nuclear test, in september, was estimated to be eight to seventeen times stronger than the bomb dropped by the United states on Hiroshima, in 1945. But the north Korean test also triggered an artificial earthquake that registered a magnitude of 6.3, according to the U.s. geological survey. it shook houses far across the border, in northeastern China. U.s. and Chinese scientists subsequently claimed that Mt. Mantap—suffering from “tired mountain syndrome”— was sufficiently unstable and that the tunnels might now be unusable. (Both the United states and the soviet Union also suffered earthquakes after carrying out nuclear tests.) A recent report in science magazine suggested that the mountain may now be slowly collapsing. north Korea has long depended on tunnel technology. tunnels hide some of the country’s biggest secrets. Between 1974 and 1990, four tunnels were discovered running from the north under the D.M.Z. deep into south Korea. there may be dozens more still undetected, south Korean officials told me. Pyongyang dug the tunnels through bedrock and later equipped them with lights and ventilation, to infiltrate troops into the south in the event of war. i visited the so-called third tunnel of Aggression earlier this month. it came within thirty miles of seoul. it was large enough for thirty thousand troops to pass through in an hour. it was detected, on a tip from a north Korean defector, in 1978. Visitors can now tour the tunnel after clearing a south Korean military checkpoint into the D.M.Z. You put on a hard hat and take a little tram down a steep slope, two hundred and forty feet into the earth. A list of instructions advises, in English and Korean, “Do not enter the tunnel drunk” and “People with respiratory and heart problems should not participate in this tour.” Claustrophobia, too. Access to the tunnel ends at a concrete slab installed by the south to demarcate the border. Outside the tunnel, i took pictures—in a sign of the tentatively changing times—of fourteen south Korean soldiers posing in playful positions around three giant initials: a red “D,” a darkgreen “M,” and a bright-blue “Z.” south Koreans of disparate political positions are generally relieved at

the prospects of imminent American diplomacy— after the escalating “fire and fury” rhetoric by trump last year—and a hiatus from the noise tensions. there’s a near-desperate hope in south Korea that trump’s top-down diplomacy—embraced impulsively by the President—will fare better than the deliberate step-by-step negotiations tried by the Bill Clinton and george W. Bush Administrations, which failed. trump has been offering the biggest reward up front. By agreeing to a summit, in singapore, he was basically offering legitimacy to a ruthless Communist regime and, potentially, providing the aid that would allow it to survive. “We can create conditions for real economic prosperity for the north Korean people that will rival that of the south, and that is our expectation,” Pompeo told CBs’s “Face the nation,” on May 13th, three days after returning from his second trip in two months to Pyongyang. “it will be American know-how, knowledge, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers working alongside the north Korean people to create a robust economy.” the challenge will be what north Korea actually surrenders. Kim will have to confess the location and details of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of tunnels on the other side of the D.M.Z. which hide his military treasures. “some think north Korea has built ten thousand underground facilities since the nineteen-sixties,” the retired lieutenant-general in-Bum Chun, a former director of operational planning for the south Korean Joint Chiefs of staff, told me. the facilities reportedly include troop bunkers along the D.M.Z.; facilities for up to five thousand metric tons of chemical weapons, one of the world’s largest stockpiles; underground hangars; and three underground runways to allow tunnel takeoffs by military aircraft. the impending summit was technically designed to discuss “denuclearization”—a term first used, in 1992, to get around talk of “disarmament,” which north Korea feared would make it sound more vulnerable in a volatile neighborhood. Over the weekend, however, the trump Administration declared that more than north Korea’s nuclear arsenal will be negotiated in singapore. “Denuclearization is absolutely at the core of it, and it means not just the nuclear weapons,” the national-security adviser, John Bolton, told ABC on sunday. “north Korea’s previously agreed, several times, in fact, to give up its uranium-enrichment and plutonium-reprocessing capabilities. We’ve got the ballistic-missile issues on the table. We’ve got to look at chemical and biological weapons.” After their meeting last week, Pompeo said that Kim fully understood that the U.s. goal is complete denuclearization. in public, however, north Korea has been ambiguous, at best. south Koreans know that the singapore summit is the riskiest U.s. initiative ever undertaken. it begins with the biggest reward that the

United states can bestow—Washington’s formal recognition of the Kim dynasty, now in power through three generations over nearly seventy years—even before a framework of topics is formally agreed. But current and former officials are calculating that trump wants some kind of agreement, if only a broad statement of principles, more than south Korea does. the officials believe that he thinks it will salvage his Presidency. “trump needs a red herring,” Haksoon Paik, the chief director of the Center for north Korean studies at the Center for north Korean studies, told me. “With the midterm elections and Russian investigation—and the prospect that he may face impeachment—trump wants the global diplomatic agenda to play into domestic politics,” nam sung-wook, a former head of the institute for national security strategy, who has travelled to north Korea fourteen times, added. “He is hurrying up compared to the previous U.s. Presidents—Clinton, Bush, and Obama. He is racing into it. He wants to receive a nobel Prize.” indeed. On May 9th, trump was queried about whether he thought that he deserved the nobel Peace Prize because of his north Korea diplomacy. “Everyone thinks so, but i would never say it,” he told White House reporters. in seoul and along the D.M.Z., south Koreans—both supporters and skeptics of the new diplomacy—told me that they don’t care much about trump’s motive, as long as it refocusses his energies through the rest of his Presidency. Just six months ago, inflammatory rhetoric threatened to end a truce that has been in place since 1953. the noisy belligerence produced drastic predictions of a conflagration far costlier than the first Korean War. it could easily produce a quarter-million deaths in seoul—a city of ten million people just ninety minutes from the D.M.Z.—and a million casualties in all of south Korea, military experts told me. north Korea would almost certainly be harder hit. One of my final stops was at the observation post near Paju, where some of the fiercest battles of the Korean War raged. i peered through big binoculars, grounded on posts, at spooky Peace Village, on the other side of the D.M.Z. it’s often referred to as Propaganda Village. it appeared modern, with concrete apartment blocks and buildings and roads. But it is reportedly a shell that provides an illusion of life— largely motionless, like the nearby statue of the country’s first leader. the sign atop the observation post declared “End of separation, Beginning of Unification.” As i left, i thought how it will take big and bold and tangible diplomacy by the American and Korean leaders—a lot more than turning off the propaganda loudspeakers or blowing up a tunnel of doubtful use—to really insure that the D.M.Z. is permanently silent.




isiting Kabul last month, i found the hot topic of conversation around the city was the growing hope for a peace process with the taliban. Even though the fighting continues, nearly all serious observers believe a political settlement in Afghanistan is the only plausible alternative to open-ended war. so while taliban leaders over the last month have announced their annual spring offensive and disputed Kabul and Washington’s sincerity about making peace, they concurrently show signs of flexibility in how they envision a potential peace deal. U.s. and Afghan leaders may be able to at last jump-start a viable peace negotiation, but it will take creative contacts with taliban leaders and reasonable consideration of their core demands. Earlier this year, a series of taliban attacks in Kabul made peace seem as remote as ever. since then, we have seen signs of progress: Afghan President Ashraf ghani has issued a major peace offer to the taliban, pro-peace demonstrations have spread across much of Afghanistan, and high-profile conferences in Uzbekistan and indonesia have helped galvanize international support for ghani’s peace effort. Will these developments change the taliban’s unwillingness to negotiate directly with Kabul? speaking to a range of contacts in Kabul who

maintain channels to taliban figures, i heard one message consistently: After nearly two months of relative silence, they believe it is very unlikely taliban leaders will accept ghani’s offer, for two reasons. First, the taliban deem the Kabul government illegitimate, and their war’s religious justification depends on this argument—accepting Kabul as a negotiating partner would imply a degree of legitimacy. second, while the offer contained elements that the international community rightly considered bold and new, it did not address the taliban’s core demand that foreign troops leave Afghanistan. Fairly or unfairly, the taliban believe ghani’s offer merely reaffirmed that they can “surrender” at any time by joining Afghanistan’s current system. in spite of those demands, i see a strategic opportunity. since 2001, the taliban have fought to end the foreign troop presence and remove what they consider a puppet government in Kabul. For much of this time, the taliban insisted that every foreign troop leave before they would discuss Afghanistan’s political future, and that their pre-2001 “islamic Emirate” return to power. My conversations and the work of other researchers, however, consistently suggest that these demands have softened significantly over time. instead of an immediate troop withdrawal the group now seeks a general timetable, potentially one tied to specific milestones in a peace process. Moreover, most of my contacts say the taliban now accept the bulk of the post-2001 order in Afghanistan—including elections and greater rights for women and ethnic minorities. they will insist on at least

a nominally new constitution that establishes a new government, but even this might closely resemble the status quo so long as it allows the taliban to demonstrate that they ended the post-2001 system that (in their view) foreign troops imposed. these positions are still more than what Kabul or Washington currently are, or should be, prepared to accept. they also do not imply the taliban will show restraint this fighting season; for now, all parties continue to treat their military and dialogue efforts as separate. the building blocks they imply, however—a conditional timetable for the U.s. troop presence, a process to amend (or ultimately reissue) the Afghan constitution, and the election of new leadership under that constitution—are well within what skilled diplomats and military planners can begin to work with. to do so, the first step is to establish a quiet workaround to the years-long impasse over whether the taliban should negotiate with Washington (as the taliban argue) or with Kabul (as all other parties argue). some may argue that the taliban must cave on this point before any larger negotiation is possible, but the issue has already delayed talks for too many years, and a viable workaround likely lies in an expanding network of back channels, intermediaries, and personal relationships between Afghan leaders and their taliban countrymen. Dexterous use of these channels could at last allow for a less formal, but more substantive, dialogue among Kabul, Washington, and the taliban. While the state Department – and specifically Alice Wells, state’s tough and experienced senior of-

ficial for south Asia – must lead this fundamentally diplomatic effort, support from the rest of the U.s. government is vital. the Pentagon can hammer out scenarios in which U.s. troops redeploy or adjust their mission in response to positive steps by the taliban, thus turning our military presence into diplomatic leverage. the intelligence community can provide vital insight on what the taliban and other parties could accept in a potential peace deal. the White House can message at the senior most levels that the trump administration’s goal is in fact to pull troops out of Afghanistan, but only in the context of a meaningful peace agreement that addresses U.s. counterterrorism interests. Having worked on this effort for the state Department from 2010 to 2017, i can attest to the many obstacles to reviving the peace process, and i am pessimistic that formal negotiations will start anytime soon. it might nonetheless be possible to at last hold a substantive discussion of Afghanistan’s political future—and the U.s. role in it—that includes the taliban in an informal setting. One should never be too optimistic about breakthroughs in the long-stalled Afghan peace process, but in Kabul it is hard not to notice that important pieces are creeping into place. Johnny Walsh is a senior expert on Afghanistan at the U.S. Institute of Peace, focusing on the Afghan peace process. He spent 2007-2017 at the State Department working primarily on issues related to Afghanistan.


Friday, 18 May, 2018

This is not a ‘real’ article

Asghar Khan case again!

But this is your ‘real’ religion, right?

Time for closure?


traNgeLy, if it hadn’t been for two of the more unconventional chief justices in the Supreme Court’s history, the asghar Khan case would never have seen the light of day, especially after efforts to brush it under the carpet for two decades. But, one way or the other, the case seems to have come to light, once more, at a fitting time considering out tense political climate. Didn’t former PM Nawaz Sharif propose, just the other day, a national commission to identify traitors so they could be “hanged in public?” and didn’t his handpicked PM go a step further and suggest a truth and reconciliation commission? But, then, wasn’t the asghar Khan case also about unearthing the truth about hidden hands – which Nawaz now refers to as aliens – providing influence and bucket loads of money to selected politicians to keep PPP from snowballing into power? and wasn’t Nawaz, now the ideological champion of the people’s vote, also named as the principal beneficiary of the rs140 million doled out to the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI)? he naturally succumbed to selective amnesia when confronted by the press. But even if he did take the money, he is said to have explained, he was ready to return it. FIa must now finally proceed, as directed by the court back in 2012, to prepare cases against the accused. With the court also making sure that the senior brass – COaS as well as ISI chief at the time – also face the music, an unlikely, and unprecedented, political cleansing might be on the cards. But, since the government must decide what action will be taken in light of the 2012 verdict, how it postures with regard to Nawaz Sharif will be instructive. So far any court ruling has been dubbed part of a conspiracy. either way, yet another verdict continues to rub Nawaz the wrong way as his corruption trial reaches its climax.

Faraz TalaT


he first thing we hear from believers when an atrocity is committed in religion’s name, is that this isn’t ‘real’ Islam. that may well be true. the article that you’re reading right now, which I fear may not to win the next Pulitzer prize, is not a ‘real’ article. the real article, as it exists in my mind, is a literary masterpiece. the real article, the way I imagine, is so insightful and visionary that it would solve most of this country’s problems, and help me knock allama Iqbal off his pedestal as our national poet. regrettably, you – the reader – may not be able to experience the sheer bliss and blessed ingenuity of this literary piece that I believe in. you may only read actual words that manifest before you, and judge the content that is presented. Liberal Muslims take pride in the fact that ‘real’ Islam is as progressive and modern as they see themselves. the Islam, in which we believe, has no tolerance for violence and injustice. It’s a religion that allows women, nonMuslims, and other minorities all the rights

they need. all of that may well be true. When Shahzad and Shama were beaten, killed, and burnt in a brick kiln for allegedly committing blasphemy, it did not matter to them what ‘real’ Islam theoretically is or isn’t. they were two Christians in an Islamic republic, left to fend off for themselves against a theocratic system the way it exists in real life. Shahzad and Shama did not care much for how you – a moderate, peaceful Muslim – practice Islam in your 10-marla bungalow in Dha. What came upon them in November 2014, was the Islamic force as a geopolitical reality; not a religious theory. When a non-Muslim speaks of his or her struggles in an Islamic country, the implied criticism is almost never directed at Islam as a religion, but Islam as a political institution. It is vital to differentiate between the two. Islam, to you, is a link to something larger than life. It is a source of spiritual solace; a comforting way of life; the fountainhead of a glorious culture that binds you to a billion and a half other people on the planet. In the forgotten parts of a society, ‘Islam’ is that which tells a non-Muslim that he is not allowed to have lunch, at the risk of being arrested and imprisoned for three months. religion is a governing institution that tells a non-practicing Muslim traveller with diabetes, that he cannot have his mid-day snack at a local restaurant, which must remain closed. If he must eat, he has to go to a posh 5-star hotel whose restaurants are seemingly exempt from the Islamic laws which the rest of us are obligated to abide. Non-Muslims who report feeling alienated, ostracised, otherised, invisibilised, and abused; are told by the Muslim majority that their experiences are a mere hallucination. ‘real’ Islam doesn’t alienate or abuse non-Muslim minorities, and ensures that they receive all the rights and respect that they require. the minorities cannot comment on the greatness of ‘real Islam’ that exists in the sulci of our

moderate brains. they can only comment on what’s been done to them in real life, in the name of Islam. all they can do is remark on the laws imposed upon them by an Islamic theocracy. all they can do, is discuss the provisions of the Council of Islamic Ideology; laws that criminalise even the mildest critique of religious bodies as ‘blasphemy’; the restrictions enforced on them by ehtaram-e-ramzan (pardon me, “ramadan”) ordinance; and discrimination against them in the field of politics, with a law that outright bars nonMuslims for being considered for Presidency. at the same time, women and transgender people throughout the country may never know the geniality and softness of ‘real Islam’. all that they’ll ever know, is the experience of being told by a bearded man that their freedom is ‘against Islam’, and therefore unacceptable. the moderate Muslim’s job, in this case, is to tell the victims that their frustration is at best ‘misguided’, if not blasphemous. those who have been wronged under the existing theocracy, and the rise of Mullahism, don’t need you – a moderate Muslim ally – to argue with their experience. they’d like you to listen. your belief that ‘real Islam’ is perfect and just, is not being challenged. What is being challenged, is a political power that marginalises and silences countless of our fellow citizens. What’s being resisted, is the weaponisation of a faith system that isn’t meant to be weaponised against minorities and political dissidents. If you find my argument unconvincing, remember that this is not a ‘real’ article anyway. this is merely an imperfect manifestation of a flawless, secular vision. you may evaluate this piece not for what it actually is; but what it is intended to be. Faraz Talat is a medical doctor from Rawalpindi and an ardent traveller who writes frequently about science, social politics and international relations.

Economic th 18 Amendment – a great idea lost vulnerabilities The need of time is to empower people of Pakistan

Debt time bomb


hatever the outgoing government has achieved on the economic front, or otherwise, it has done so on the back of a record 50.6pc ($31b) increase in external debt, which cumulatively stood at a colossal $91.8b as of end-March. and considering the trajectory and the time interval, it would not be wrong to assume that the psychological $100b mark might not be too far as the new fiscal approaches. also, approximately $15b of old loans are due next year, which is why Miftah Ismail tried to get on the right side of international financial institutions during his recent spring meetings in Washington, though with very little luck. add to that the 10-hour daily load-shedding for industry announced for ramzan – on top of the strange tripping at tarbela that blacked out two provinces for 10 hours on Monday — and it becomes crystal clear just why PML-N’s claims of laying the foundations of an economic revolution are just election-talk. the ramzan electricity schedule now has aPtMa (all Pakistan textile Mills association) up in arms. already most textile export businesses have shut down shop in Pakistan and moved away precisely because of the high cost of doing business, especially electricity and gas. Now once again industry is put aside because of the added sensitivity of a ramzan so close to the election. PML-N must be made to explain just what made it increase total debt by more than 50pc? It could not be, of course, that all of the $31b was eaten up by mega projects and motorways. Whichever party now forms government will have to immediately scramble to pay back old maturing loans, to the tune of many, many billions, and then also make provisions – that is incorporate more loans – for operational expenses of the government. Debt numbers, economists say, never lie. and Pakistan’s debt became a time bomb long ago, but it seems it is set to detonate sooner rather than later now.

Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami

Arif Nizami Editor Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

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Haroon KHawaja


aKIStaNI politics is an epitome of power struggle. the political leadership does not seem inclined to understand the demands of a heterogeneous society. the country is considered to be a transitional democracy and an evolving federation undergoing teething problems. Can an improved institutional arrangement transform Pakistan into a more “democratic society”? the answer in theory is fairly obvious: the diffusion of power to grass root level. a high degree of autonomy for localities and groups within the state is essential for freedom within a democracy. In an attempt, based on an understanding between the major political parties, to create the impression that devolved autonomy is being enhanced, the 18th amendment became an act of parliament on april 19, 2010. this amendment introduced changes to about 36 per cent of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. 102 out of 280 articles of the Constitution were amended, inserted, added, substituted or deleted. 292 of the 342 members of the National assembly voted in favour of the amendment. the amendment turned the president into a ceremoKarachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9


nial head of state and transferred power to the prime minister. reformers have touted the measure as a necessary shift to a more federal system. the cynics regard it as a step to weaken the federation and, therefore, jeopardise the country’s security and homogeneity. With eight years of hindsight since the birth of 18th amendment, there are certain lessons to be learnt and conclusions to be drawn. the amendment, while necessary to devolve power to epicentres closer to the grass roots, has raised some grave concerns about how political compulsions can result in unintended outcomes. autonomy is all about control over power and resources. the amendment has redefined the structural contour of the state through a paradigm shift from a heavily centralised to a predominantly decentralised system, but has failed to address the consequences of the failure of provinces to devolve power and resources down the chain. though the amendment mandates the establishment of local governments in all four provinces, it provides little clarity on which administrative or financial powers are to be delegated to them. the trickle-down effect of this vertical devolution has not been equitably distributed to the lower tiers (districts, tehsils, union councils, and villages) by the provincial capitals. the amendment does not in any way guarantee people’s control of police, finance, revenue and other related departments. this has resulted in an increase of ethnic divide based on provincialism in addition to provincial governments becoming strong and rich enough to compete with and insubordinate the federation. the amendment also eliminated the “Concurrent List”, an

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enumeration of areas where both federal and provincial governments may legislate but federal law prevails. Laws governing marriage, contracts, firearms possession, labour, education, health, environment, bankruptcy, and 40 other diverse areas were devolved to the provinces and each provincial assembly was given the power to draft its own laws on these issues. this has generated concerns about the ability of the constitution to create a homogeneous society. Provinces have since challenged the national accountability law (to suit the needs of provincial leaders). there is no longer a nationwide legislation to ensure that high-quality and safe drugs and medicines are prescribed. the question of environment and ecology which is so vital to the development of a green economy also does not have a harmonious direction in the country. Without a standardised curriculum being taught throughout the country, our students are likely to lose a common link so vital in binding them as one nation. this has started to promote regionalism instead of nationalism. In an already bitterly divided society, such distinctions can become a recipe for disaster in times to come. On the security front, while the amendment has devolved law and order as a provincial subject, it is in direct conflict with article 148 of the constitution (which makes it the responsibility of the federal government to ensure provincial security). While the Council of Common Interests sits as a federal body headed by the prime minister with chief ministers of all provinces as members to resolve any conflicts between the federation and provinces, there are serious conflicts and questions that cannot be addressed without revisiting the 18th amendment



in light of the outcomes since its enactment. additionally, provincial governments need to review their rules and bring amendments therein to further devolve fiscal, policy and planning authorities to the district, tehsil, union council and village level through elected local governments. Provinces also need to address inter-province disparities by constituting District Finance Commissions, ensuring fiscal equity at the grassroot level. there should be national regulatory authorities to monitor provincial compliance with national minimum standards. a devolution true in letter and spirit is likely to empower people and make them masters of their own destiny. Such devolution will make districts epicentres of people power, thereby reducing (or possibly eliminating) the demands of more provinces in the country. the districts infrastructure already exists to accommodate strong district legislature and executive (hence, no new assembly buildings and no layers of bureaucracies). and most importantly, this system will act as the nursery to generate and train future leaders of the country. the need of time is to empower people of Pakistan. the federalist and devolutionary paradigm introduced by the 18th amendment has been swinging between narratives of “too little too late” and “too much too soon”. the 18th amendment, in its current form, is a great idea that has been polluted by way too many discrepancies and loopholes coupled by lack of political will to enforce its spirit. For a better and stronger future of the country, this amended needs a serious rethinking. Haroon Khawaja is Chairman of Pakistan Freedom Movement



Friday, 18 May, 2018

Editor’s mail

Send your letters to: Letters to Editor, Pakistan today, 4-Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan. E-mail: Letters should be addressed to Pakistan today exclusively

Palestine Solidarity Day PaKIStaN has all long been quite rightly supporting the people of Palestine and it is good to note that Palestine Solidarity Day is being officially observed throughout the country on May 18 Friday. according to the reports, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan abbasi has reiterated that the government and the people of Pakistan will continue supporting their Palestinian brethren and presenting their case at every forum. the day is being observed so to demonstrate complete solidarity with the Palestinians in the wake of Israeli troops killing dozens of Palestinian men, women and children during clashes and protests along the gaza border against the US embassy opening in Jerusalem on Monday. accordingly, Pakistan’s ambassador to the world body UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi the other day has also called for an independent inquiry into Israel’s state terrorism in gaza. Dr Maleeha Lodhi said this while talking to media in New york the other day after her address at the UN general assembly during the 6th review of the UN global Counter-terrorism Strategy. She said Pakistan condemns the massacre of Palestinians and calls on the world body to conduct an independent investigations into the tactics used by Israeli force, no condemnation is enough top of the brutal massacre of women and children by Israeli forces, unresolved political disputes such as in azad Jammu and Kashmir also need to be incorporated in UN’s global counter terrorism strategy as both internal and external factors lead to violence, there is a need for a strategy to address the causes of violent extremism. Dr Maleeha Lodhi quite emphatically state Pakistan has always condemned all forms and manifestations of terrorism whether state, group or individual. Needless to mention that Dr Maleeha Lodhi is forcefully and emphatically presenting Pakistan point of view on all issues of international and regional importance and concerns, please. thanks. ZAHID RIFFAT Lahore

The enemy within It is very much within and it is not Nawaz Sharif alone

SulTan MaHMood Hali


nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. an enemy at the gate is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor not appears traitor, he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and be wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. he rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. a murder is less to be feared.” Marcus Tullius cicero the above quote from Marcus tullius Cicero, roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, rome’s greatest orator, prose stylist and roman constitutionalist, rings true of Mian Nawaz Sharif. apparently, in sheer desperation, with the noose of incarceration closing in on himself and his progeny, the former three-time prime minister has committed the cardinal sin of treachery against his own country. the Mumbai attacks in 2008 caused irreparable damage to Pak-India relations besides the loss of precious lives. the Composite Dialogue process was scuttled; Pakistan was blamed squarely and has continuously been flogged by India for not having taken adequate legal action against the alleged perpetrators of the heinous crime. Pakistan’s narrative, on the contrary, has been quite different. It did arrest some of the suspects who were tried but in light of the evidence provided; Pakistan’s judiciary did not find merit in apportioning blame and finding the suspects culpable of planning and executing the mass murder. India not only provided flimsy evidence, but did not allow consular access or an investigative team from Pakistan to meet or cross question the sole surviving attacker ajmal Kasab. he was hanged hurriedly, while his confession too was reportedly obtained under duress. Both Indian and international analysts have concluded that the Mumbai attacks were a false flag operation and served Indian interests rather than Pakistan’s. In 2013, Times of India disclosed a real story about this incident, which

was later removed from internet. as per this report, a former Under Secretary of the Indian home Ministry, r v S Mani, revealed that, “the Indian government, and not Pakistan, was behind the parliament (13/12, 2001) and Mumbai (26/11 2008) attacks in India.” the officer of home ministry was categorical in his revelation that, this was orchestrated by India to formulate and strengthened the counter-terrorism laws in India and to defame Pakistan. according to the times of India Shri Mani submitted a signed affidavit in the court. these documentary evidences were given to a member of CBI-SIt probe team, Satish verma. the facts revealed that these attacks were set up “with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation.” But, apart from this, this Indian narrative provided India an opportunity to prepare a case against Pakistan, based on which it blocked negotiations with Pakistan on core issues including Kashmir. the first victims of the Mumbai attacks were the head of Maharashtra’s anti-terrorist Squad hemant Karkare and his team. Inspector general hemant Karkare, the chief investigating officer of the Malegaon Mosque blasts and Samjhauta express carnage in which 59 Pakistanis were burnt alive, had arrested a serving officer of Indian army, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and members of his extremist anti-Muslim group, abhinav Bharat. Karkare was under tremendous pressure from the Sangh Parivar, the Saffron extremists of India, to drop the charges against the Indian army officer but he declined. When the Mumbai attack took place, Karkare and his team were duped into rushing to the attack scene and were killed by unknown assailants. For his bravery, hemant Karkare was awarded the gallantry award of ashoka Chakra posthumously but his widow refused to accept the award on his behalf. Former Inspector general of Police Maharashtra, S M Mushrif, in his bold an incisive book ‘Who Killed Karkare?’ has revealed that the Mumbai attack was an inside job and stage managed to eliminate hemant Karkare and a number of other odious aims. Demanding re-investigation into the 26/11 incident, the former senior Indian police officer, with a distinguished career, states that the claims made in the book are so shocking that it made him feel unsecure about his own country. recently, german scholar and analyst elías Davídsson’s book the Betrayal of India: revisiting the 26/11 evidence has raised a storm in India. the erudite scholar has painstakingly laid bare the Indian plot of orchestrating the Mumbai attack. Davidson has concluded that Indian state’s investigation of the attacks was a big eye wash to deceive the state narrative and cheat Indian and international audiences, just to blame

Pakistan. the author blames Indian establishment and their US partners and writes, “It is highly plausible, that major institutional actors in India, the United States and possibly Israel, were complicit in conceiving, planning, directing and executing the attacks of 26/11; evidence of a deceptive investigation is even stronger”. Mumbai attacks in November 2008 were projected as India’s 9/11, with an objective to tell US and international community that India was a victim of Pakistani state terrorism and the world needed to ostracise Pakistan. the Indian media went into a mad frenzy to build anti Pakistan sentiments and rage amongst Indian, and, to some extent, Pakistani audience. Some Pakistani channels and media houses deliberately supported Indian version and strengthened the Indian case. elias Davidson has rebutted the Indian narrative and proved with authenticity that Indian version was totally concocted, based on deceit and outright lies, and that it was promulgated through a well thought out disinformation campaign ensconced in hyperbole. the book is based on perceptive and critical analysis of the official narrative of 26/11 and the author has endeavoured to go through court documents and testimonies of dozens of important witnesses and their linkages with media outbursts parroted by Indian media It brings us back to the question as to Mian Nawaz Sharif’s motive behind blaming the state of Pakistan for dispatching the terrorists and not concluding the lawsuit against the accused. With the FatF meeting due in June, in which Pakistan is likely to be placed in the black list and face serious economic sanctions, India’s narrative against Pakistan being accepted and Donald trump’s warnings to Pakistan ringing true, Nawaz Sharif may have cooked Pakistan’s goose. he may be inviting a crackdown on Pakistan, its nuclear assets and the country being isolated and declared a failed state. One pertinent question that arises is why Nawaz Sharif did not ensure that the trial against the alleged protagonists of Mumbai attacks is concluded while he was the prime minister? the journalist Cyril almeida, flown into Multan on a special aircraft arranged by the government of Pakistan to interview Nawaz Sharif and accorded vIP protocol, speaks of state’s complicity. the enemy is very much within and it is not Nawaz Sharif alone. he may have caused irreparable damage and the state has to fight back, but it is the international protagonists, whose agenda the enemy within is advocating.

The journalist Cyril Almeida, flown into Multan on a special aircraft arranged by the government of Pakistan to interview Nawaz Sharif and accorded VIP protocol, speaks of state’s complicity.

Sultan Mahmood Hali is a retired Group Captain and author of the book Defence & Diplomacy. Currently he is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host.

Foreign investment PaKIStaN needs foreign investment, no matter from where it comes, for maintaining and sustaining pace of economic growth and for continuation of accelerated developmental activities in different parts of the country. It is indeed quite good to note that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has recorded a 2.4 per cent increase in 10 months of the ongoing financial year touching appreciable figure of 2.237 billion dollars. the rise has come in the wake of energy and construction projects. according to the reports in the media quoting the country’s central bank data, the inflow from China alone rose to 1.414 billion dollars mainly through Chinese companies working on different China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPeC) projects across the country. Beijing is investing heavily in power sector and investment of 749.9 million dollars in this sector for the first ten months of fiscal year 2017-18 from 514.5 million dollars in the corresponding period of last year. Other sectors including construction, telecommunications, oil and gas exploration and financial business also received DFI in varying figures. In all fairness, Pakistan has been expecting to receive huge and quite encouraging response from the international investors of countries across the globe following restoration of peace but somewhat unpleasant political situation created problems in this regard. however, the situation is considerably improving and peace and stability all over the country and more importantly in the tribal areas has certainly improved country’s image internationally and the gradual increase in Foreign Direct Investment is an indication to foreign investors confidence in investment conducive environment which now prevails in Pakistan for some time, please. thanks. MUHAMMAD MURTAZA ZEESHAN Lahore

No justification at all WOrthy lady Information Minister Marriyum aurangzeb is trying in vain to justify hours long live coverage of public meetings of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz and extensive coverage to the proceedings in the legal cases against Sharif family by state-owned Ptv by saying that he is a national leader and the cabinet has given her the power to make policies and this is her discretion. It is submitted for her kind information that Nawaz Sharif was certainly a national leader when he was the prime minister of the country, now he is a disqualified prime minister and not even head of the ruling party, if the ruling party leaders want to give him the status of their Quaid for life it is their discretion but still he and his family members are not entitled to such live and extensive coverage by Ptv. Furthermore, if Ptv is to give such coverage to a national leader, then asif ali Zardari and Imran Khan are also the national leaders and their public meetings should also get the same treatment. If Sharif family pays for air time to the Ptv and radio Pakistan for giving such extensive coverage then it is all right and such payment should be made in hard cash and on commercial rates for private sector advertisements. If she has been given the power to make policies then she should use this for issuing guidelines for improving performance of her ministry and its subsidiaries Ptv and radio Pakistan keeping in view the national interests and not promoting the disqualified prime minister and his family in a highly manner. the prime minister and entire federal cabinet have been using their energies and resources for defending the disqualified prime minister and his daughter in criticising the national institutions going quite out of the way. they should persuade their Lifetime Quaid to stop criticising the national institutions directly and indirectly and lead a retired life quietly, please. M A H SHEIKH Lahore


Friday, 18 May, 2018

KP politico-religious parties laud rHC for ‘honouring’ moon sighting testimonies Central ruet-e-Hilal Committee Considered testimonies of moon sigHting from Buner, manseHra and otHer areas PESHAWAR shAmim shAhiD

PM seeks new aPPointMents desPite ban ISLAMABAD


shAhzAD pArAchA

RIME Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is trying to appoint blueeyed persons on important positions despite the ban on new appointments which was imposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to prevent pre-poll rigging. Sources told Pakistan Today that government wants to appoint its close aides on important seats before dissolving the assembly and that is why the PM Office, on the direction of PM Abbasi, has issued the circular. All ministries and divisions have been requested to furnish information about important vacant posts along with the information on board of directors of departments, senior officers said. The incumbent government’s tenure is due to end on May 31 so before that, the government wants to induct blue-eyed persons as well as board members in important departments. Sources said that the government is trying to induct retired bureaucrats in the board of National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) as the tenure of previous has ended. Ministry of Commerce had proposed Ministry of Commerce Additional Secretary Syed Arshad Ali, Al-Baraka Bank Group Advisor and Board Member Shafqat Ahmad, Marines Group of Companies Managing Di-

rector Asim Azeem Siddique and Nazish Afraz for NICL board. Moreover, MoC had instructed that the summary of appointment of Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) chairman be sent to the cabinet after conducting the interview. Sources said that MoC had conducted the interviews on Thursday and the matter would be soon sent to the cabinet. Sources further said that MoC had asked to expedite the work on the appointment of one member of National Tariff Commission as this seat has been vacant for more than one year. Sources also said that the government had also appointed the board members in National Security Printing Company (NSPC) board on Thursday. Government is also interested in the appointment of House Building Finance Company Limited (HBFL) managing director as the finance ministry had sent the summary recently. Sources said that presently there are 10 positions vacant in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Similarly, the government has extended the tenure of Joint Secretary Muhammad Zargham Eshaq Khan till December 2018. Recently, the government had appointed Shaukat Hussain as Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman, just twenty days ago while removing the Zafar Abdullah from the seat.

With people from all over the country jubilating over the commencement of Ramzan on same-day throughout the country, the politico-religious leadership of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is accrediting the achievement as the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee ‘honoured’ its testimonies of sighting the moon. The Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee in its Karachi meeting on Wednesday confirmed receiving testimonies of sighting the moon from certain districts and parts of the KP including Buner, Mansehra, Hangu, Swabi, and others. And on the grounds of the evidence, the committee chairman Mufti Muneeb Ur Rahman had announced first Ramadan from May 17, 2018 (Thursday). In the light of the decision, people from all over the KP and adjacent tribal region embarked on fasting unanimously. Besides local people, the Afghan refugees scattered throughout the region have also broken away from previous traditions of fasting one day earlier to synchronise with Saudi Arabia. Jamiat Ul Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Information Secretary Abdul Jalil Jan, when contacted by this

scribe, expressed pleasure over same-day fasting throughout the country and praised the committee in this respect. He said, “In past, the Central Ruet-eHilal Committee didn’t entertain moon sighting evidence from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and this time it did.” On such grounds, he recalled that ulema and people from this province remain firm on their moon sighting testimonies and have observed fasting and Eid with the difference of one day. In response to a question, the JUI-F leader said that in future this tradition could be strengthened if the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee held its meeting on 29th of every month in accordance with the Islamic calendar. Ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and advisor to Chief Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said, “We were in contact with the federal government and Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee for the last several years and finally the Central committee has entertained the moon sighting testimonies from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” He said that same-day fasting and celebration of Eid could strengthen the solidarity in the country, therefore, this trend needs further promotion and encouragement. Mufti Shahab Ud Din Popalzai, Khateeb of historical Qasim Ali Khan Mosque who often comes under criticism for making Eid and Ramadan announcement before of Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, has not yet issued any statement this year. Last year, he had gone ‘missing’ before the announcement and it was later found that he had flown to United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was allegedly forced by the law enforcing agencies to travel to Dubai, sources claimed.

Crackdown on dawn in Balochistan in wake of nawaz’s statement: reports A local English Daily, Dawn, has reportedly “vanished” from the circulation in certain areas of Balochistan, locals claimed. According to reports, the distributors informed the locals that they were “told not to distribute the newspaper because it ran Nawaz’s controversial statement and was ‘pro-Nawaz’”. “FC confiscated the newspaper on Tuesday,” locals claimed. Talking to Pakistan Today, local journalists, including members of Turbat Press Club, also confirmed that the circulation of the newspaper was “disrupted”. A senior member of Dawn told Pakistan Today that he was aware that there were problems in distribution but “they were sorted out”. However, another senior member of the media organisation said: “We have been receiving reports of disruptions in the distribution of the newspaper in various parts of the country. Right now, we are collecting more details, and are investigating to ascertain the reason behind these disruptions.” The senior member didn’t comment on a question pertaining to reasons behind the newspaper not running the news over the matter. Furthermore, a journalist on his Twitter shared that “Dawn is not allowed to be distributed in most cantonment areas, in some DHAs, almost entire Balochistan and dozens of cities of Pakistan”. “I am told that DAWN newspaper is not allowed to

be distributed in most cantonment areas, in some DHAs, almost entire Balochistan and dozens of cities of Pakistan. Supreme Court, PM House, all political parties, military authorities and media are mum about it. #DeafeningSilence” His tweet was corroborated by another user, who wrote: “The News was arbitrarily banned in Cantonment several months ago. As from today DAWN has been arbitrarily banned in Cantt too. Is this what we call.” However, their claims were contradicted by some social media users, who replied that they have been receiving the copies of the said newspaper. On May 12, Dawn ran an interview, titled: ‘For Nawaz, it’s not over till it’s over’. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif ’s statement on the 2008 Mumbai attacks in the interview has drawn ire of top civil and military leadership. Nawaz had said: “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” It is pertinent to mention here that country’s largest TV station Geo was forced off the air and was later allowed to resume transmission after talks with the military on demands it makes changes in political coverage, according to a report published in Reuters. news Desk

Pakistanis, Afghans weave a livelihood on Emirati coast Far from his home in Afghanistan, Nour rises each morning before the sun’s rays touch the coastal Emirati town of Kalba for a new day weaving fishing cages. The 50-year-old takes his place alongside fellow labourers, praying toward the holy city of Makkah. Then he sips on his first cup of tea, a moment of serenity before work begins. Kalba is located on the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates. Unlike the capital Abu Dhabi 200 kilometres west, which faces the Arab Gulf states, Kalba is perched on the Gulf of Oman, looking out toward Pakistan and India beyond. The town has become a hub for the craft of weaving fishing cages, attracting dozens of Afghans and Pakistanis seeking to earn a living in the calm and oil-rich Gulf nation. NO DAYS OFF: The fishing cage, or wire net, used in the Gulf of Oman is shaped like an igloo, with an oval-shaped inlet. The popular Shaeeri and Zoubedi fish can swim in through the narrowing passage, but cannot find their way out.

“Each cage takes about seven or eight hours of non-stop work,” Nour explains to AFP. The Afghan father of three is a long way from his family and his landlocked hometown of Khost, located near the Pakistan border. “I’ve been working here for nine years,” he says. Nour says he earns 25 dirhams per fishing net, of which he makes one or two each day. Despite the long tedious hours, sometimes oppressive heat, and relatively low financial returns, Nour stays. “I’m happy because I can make money to send to my family at the end of each month,” he says. He is not alone. For decades, the UAE has attracted hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Pakistanis, Filipinos and other Asian nationalities willing to do manual labour that the wealthy local population is not. The industrial zone in Kalba is home to about 50 small enterprises, Emiratiowned and employing about a dozen weavers each.

The employers provide shared living quarters for the men, food—and tea. The weavers, aged 18 to 60, work in their own open spaces with thatched roofs to shield them from the sun. There are no days off. Instead, every two years, workers are given a ticket home for a six-month unpaid break. For many, it is too long a time to go without work, but it is a requirement tied to local labour laws. Making the traps is a craft, as the worker must simultaneously grip and tie fine wires together evenly and very quickly to prevent the entire structure from collapsing before it is finished. To avoid injury, the men tie pieces of cloth or fine aluminium around their fingers. ‘JUMP EVERY DAY’: The only sound in this sleepy weaving community is the sound of Afghan or Pakistani news bulletins on small TV sets, or music played on mobile phones. Herat, 30, sits on a chair listening to music from his native Afghanistan under the straw awning. He faces a mirror to keep an extra eye


on his net progress. “This small fan gets me through the heat of the summer,” said Herat, deftly manipulating the thin wires. He says the temperature can rise to 50 degrees Celsius. “The heat doesn’t stop us from

working,” says Herat, who has lived in Kalba for three years. Akbar, a 55-year-old father, says he arrived in Kalba three decades ago from his native city of Peshawar in Pakistan. Agencies

Friday, 18 May, 2018

additional documents sought from firm seeking Volume X of Jit report ISLAMABAD stAff report

Supreme Court on Thursday sought additional documents from an international firm, Broadsheet, seeking a copy of the Volume 10 of Panamagate Joint Investigation Report (JIT) report. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed gave the order during the hearing and asked Broadsheet’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa to provide additional documents. The counsel will present the documents at a hearing next week. The firm had approached the apex court after an International Arbitration sought copy of volume 10 from the attorney general of Pakistan, National Accountability Buteau (NAB) and Broadsheet in a case pertaining to payments. Broadsheet was hired by NAB to recover offshore plundered money. However, disputes pertaining to the agreement between both the parties were referred to arbitration in London, where the litigation before sole Arbitrator Sir Anthony Evans concluded in an interim award in terms of liability.

Pakistan criticises UNSC over its failure to condemn Gaza violence UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has expressed support to any Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) initiative that is being put forward to ease the difficulties of the Palestinians and has criticised the failure of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to condemn the deadly violence by Israeli troops in Gaza against the Palestinians. During an emergency meeting of the OIC ambassadors held at the United Nations, Pakistan’s permanent representative Maleeha Lodhi stated that one country has blocked the unanimous call of the other 14 members in the Security Council, to issue a statement merely calling for an independent investigation into the incidents. Maleeha said, "The US action to shift its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a violation of the international law and contravention of the UN Charter’s prohibition of the forcible acquisition of territory." It had further been reported that Pakistan will observe “Palestine Solidarity Day” on May 18. Agencies

ahsan iqbal Praises security forces for curbing terror


atC sends interior minister’s assailant on 14-day JudiCial remand ISLAMABAD/LAHORE


stAff report

N his first public speech after being injured in an assassination attempt, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday praised the police and other security forces for their efforts in countering terrorism. Addressing a passing out parade of the counter-terrorism force at Islamabad’s Police Lines, Iqbal highlighted the fact that a record budget has been allocated for the police in the upcoming year’s federal budget. He also promised to build the National Police Hospital, which will cost around Rs2 billion. Recounting improvements in the police’s performance, the minister noted that the first batch of riot police will pass out this year. He added that he wants every police vehicle to be a smart car connected to police headquarters. Iqbal, who was discharged from hospital earlier this week after being treated for nine days, said that he feels proud of security forces and salutes the personnel martyred in the line of duty. “Those who die for their country are lucky,” he said. The interior minister also said that

the country has been the target of terrorists for long, but has finally been able to curb terrorism to a great extent. “We do not want to give our next generations a Pakistan where they have to live in fear,” he said, adding that “we can never hate anyone who carries a Pakistani identity card”. Separately, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal’s would-be assassin, Abid Hussain, was sent on a 14-day judicial remand by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Gujranwala on Thursday. Abid appeared before the court in a case registered against the attack on Iqbal in Narowal. During the hearing, the court ordered for Abid’s polygraph test which

was completed. The court while handing down the remand, also ordered the police to submit a challan of the case. Iqbal was shot and injured on May 6 in the Narowal district of Punjab during a corner meeting of the party in the Qasba Kanjrod area of Narowal. The shooting took place when Iqbal was leaving the meeting, which was held at MPA Rana Manan’s residence. The attacker, identified as Abid Hussain, was arrested and shifted to an undisclosed location. Iqbal was first driven to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital from where he was airlifted in a Punjab government helicopter to Lahore’s Services Hospital.

PPP seeks placement of Benazir murder case suspects on eCl ISLAMABAD stAff report

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Rehman Malik on Thursday wrote a letter to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and requested him to place the five acquitted in the Benazir Bhutto murder case on the Exit Control List (ECL). Malik stated that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) formed to probe the murder of Bhutto had flagged all five terrorists as guilty in the case. Aitezaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Hasnain Gul, Muhammad Rafaqat, and Rashid Hamid Turabi have all been charged in connection with the case. On January 12, 2012, Magistrate Chaudhry Taufiq Ahmed, appearing

as a prosecution witness, said that the accused in custody – Aitzaz Sherazi, Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat Hussain – in their recorded statements on February 2008 had confessed to helping the suicide bomber and being aware of the conspiracy. The JIT formed to probe the assassination revealed the attack on Bhutto had been planned in Akora Khattak by former students of Madrassa Darul Uloom Haqqania and one of the prime suspects in the case had revealed to investigators that she had been targeted due to her stance over the Lal Masjid operation. An Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) official confirmed in the report that he had recorded a telephonic conversation in which Baitullah Mehsud had issued instructions to

some of the arrested terrorists to assassinate Bhutto. However, ISI had refused to appear before the court, saying that the CD regarding the telephonic conversation had been prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). According to phone records, Saeed alias Bilal, Akramullah and Qari Ismael reached Rawalpindi on December 26, 2007, at about 9 pm. They were picked up by accused Rafaqat and Hassnain and taken to Rafaqat’s house in Quaid-e-Azam Colony. The next day, the terrorists visited Liaquat Bagh and the planned route of Bhutto’s convoy. They then went to Hassnain’s house in Shah Jayyona Colony and obtained suicide jackets and weapons, JIT report further revealed.


IHC takes up plea against Sanjrani’s appointment as acting president ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday allowed hearing of a petition pertaining to the appointment of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani as acting president in absence of President Mamnoon Hussain, who departed to perform Umrah on May 15. The petitioner, Advocate Afzal Khan Shinwari, pleaded that according to Article 49 of the constitution, the Senate chairman becomes acting president in the absence of the head of state; however, the Article 41 states that the individual needs to be more than 45 years of age. “Sanjrani, born in 1978, is 40 years old, therefore, he is not qualified to hold the office of the president even in the acting capacity,” the petition argues. The court summoned Attorney General Syed Ashtar Ausaf Ali and sent notices to the respondents. Shinwari, in his petition, argues that the Senate secretariat committed “a grave error and an illegality,” in their appointment of Sanjrani as Senate chairman keeping in mind the Articles of the constitution. Shinwari alleges that the office of the president has been “illegally usurped”, and demands that the May 14 notification issued by the Senate secretariat be termed “unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful as well as null and void.” On the other hand, acting president Sadiq Sanjrani on Thursday approved the appointment of Rai Azhar Hussain as assistant attorney general (AAG) of Islamabad and Muhammad Anwar Dar as AAG of Rawalpindi, replacing Raja Tanvir Akhtar. stAff report

Ramzan welcomed with pleasant weather in Punjab, KP ISLAMABAD: Pleasant weather is expected to continue in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on the first day of Ramzan while the rest of the country continues to experience hot and dry weather. According to the Pakistan Meteorological (Met) Department, rain is expected in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sarghoda, Faisalabad, Dera Ismail Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal along with Quetta and Zhob divisions. However, hot and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country. Karachi’s temperature is expected to rise as high as 40°C, while humidity will be at 40 percent, the Met Office added. Earlier in the week, the MET Office had informed that sweltering heat is expected to persist in Karachi during the first week of Ramazan, with temperatures expected to go as high as 40°C. The office added that winds could blow from the south-west. stAff report

PTM supporters go missing as it steps up protest against ‘disappearances’ KARACHI Agencies

As they were about to enter the office of the Commissioner of Karachi for a meeting to discuss a rally planned in Pakistan’s largest city, leaders of a Pashtun-led rights movement were intercepted by armed men accompanied by paramilitary Rangers. “A car with men in plainclothes pulled up in front of us and men with guns got out and told us to stand still,” said Alam Mahsud, an organiser with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), according to a report published in Reuters. He said three PTM activists with him were put in a truck and taken away by the armed men, as uniformed Rangers stood by. They returned two days later saying they had been interrogated, threatened, punched and kicked by the unidentified men, then handed over to the Rangers, who released them. PTM, which drew nearly 10,000 people to its Karachi rally on Sunday, was

founded in January in protest against alleged extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention and “disappearances” of young Pashtun men. Leaders of the emerging movement have blamed Pakistan’s military for these abuses, in an unusually di-

rect challenge to the country’s most powerful institution. Now, PTM’s activists themselves have started disappearing, according to Mohsin Dawar, one of the movement’s leaders. PTM organisers again blame the

powerful military, saying the movement’s growing popularity in major cities, even amid a local media blackout, has left the security forces feeling threatened. The military’s press wing did not respond to requests for comment on the allegations. In the past, the army has said it does not detain individuals without evidence. Officials from the paramilitary Rangers, which are part of the security forces and have broad powers in Karachi, also did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did the office of the Karachi Commissioner, who is the head of the city government. “ANTI-STATE AGENDA”: In the past month, PTM says dozens of its activists have been detained across the country, while newspaper columnists have had articles on PTM rejected. Some students and academics say they have been threatened and universities forced to call off talks about Pashtun inequality. In the week leading up to the Karachi protest, PTM’s leadership said Rangers and unidentified security officials de-

tained and interrogated more than 100 of its supporters and kept nearly 30 workers in custody. “The amount they are trying to stop us, it shows they are scared,” student activist Manzoor Pashteen, who has become the face of the movement, told Reuters. “I don’t think they know they are our guardians, their behaviour is that of criminals.” Despite the apparent crackdown, the protest in Karachi drew nearly 10,000 people. Pashteen himself was stopped from boarding a flight from the capital, Islamabad, to Karachi on Saturday after the airline told him his ticket had been canceled, he said, adding it took him 40 hours to drive to the city after being stopped and detained several times while on the road. While there has been no official action against the PTM, army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa said recently that “no antistate agenda in the garb of engineered protests” would be allowed to succeed. His comments were widely interpreted as being directed at the group.


Friday, 18 May, 2018

PakIstaN’s ExtErNal dEbt shoots uP, touChEs rECord hIgh oF $91.8 bIllIoN ISLAMABAD



ATA released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities have risen over 50 percent or around $31 billion in almost five years of the current government’s tenure. Adding insult to injury, Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities skyrocketed to a record high of $91.8 billion till the end of March, reported Express Tribune. This figure of $91.8 billion for external debt and liabilities is 50.6 percent higher or increased by $30.9 billion compared to June 2013 when the PMLN took reins of the government. From the total external debt and liabilities, government’s public debt including foreign exchange liabilities stood at $76.1 billion by end of March 2018.

Public debt linked obligations in almost five years’ time has risen by 42.5 percent or $22.7 billion, revealed SBP data. When PML-N took power in 2013, this figure including foreign exchange liabilities was recorded at $53.4 billion. The issuance of sovereign bonds and obtaining expensive commercial loans contributed to the major surge in external debt in the above-mentioned period. The government since coming to power obtained an astonishing $42.6 billion in external loans. As per IMF’s first post-programme monitoring report reveals the country’s gross external debt in terms of exports in 2013 was 193.2 percent, which is expected to touch 316 percent by June this year. And during the above-mentioned period, the country’s gross external financing requirements bulged to $24 billion from $17 billion. And worries have amplified that

New load-shedding schedule for industrial sector unacceptable: FPCCI ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday said the new schedule of ten-hour load shedding for the industrial sector is absolutely unacceptable. Industrial production and revenue generation across the country and in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will take a blow because of the new load shedding schedule while tens of thousands of labourers will face unemployment, therefore, it should be reviewed, it said. The government has repeatedly claimed to have eliminated load shedding but the new load shedding schedule for the industrial sector has exposed all such unfounded claims, said FPCCI President Ghazanfar Bilour. He demanded relief for the industrial sector reeling under multiple issues; therefore, it should not be exposed to further problems. He also asked for an independent probe into the worst breakdown across the country a day ahead of the holy month of Ramadan which resulted in losses to the tune of tens of billions of rupees. A disastrous failure of the power system which left most of the country off-grid and panicked the masses should be embarrassing for those who claim to have revived the ailing power sector, it said. Billions have been spent to improve the power sector but the majority of the concerned departments are still headed by non-technical and incompetent officials which is one of the reasons behind power sector woes, said Ghazanfar Bilour. He said inexperienced bureaucrats have been posted against highly technical posts in the power sector which is destabilising the whole system but the rulers seem unconcerned about it. The President of the Apex Chamber said that the important slots in the power system should be filled by the highly experienced and competent engineers otherwise masses and the business community will continue to pay the price of cronyism by those who matter. Ghazanfar Bilour said that the fault in the power system disturbed life across the country, especially in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it took a toll on masses in the residences, schools, hospitals, courts and offices, etc. which is shocking. APP

Pakistan could struggle to survive financially without the assistance of the IMF. Official foreign currency reserves were recorded at $11.16 billion on May 4th which meant the government had consumed the entire $1 billion obtained from China on the 29th of April. And the gross official forex reserves of $11.16 billion include loans of $6.13 billion the central bank obtained from domestic banks to bolster re-

serves. If these short-term borrowings aren’t included, the level of reserves would roughly stand at the same level as of June 2013. However, because of major foreign and domestic borrowing, debt servicing had now become the single biggest expenditure in the federal budget, projected at $1.62 trillion or 30.7 percent for the next financial year 2018-19.

SBP updates country’s liquid foreign reserves position LAHORE: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday, updated the state of Pakistan’s liquid foreign reserves position. The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $17,067 million as on 11 May 2018. The foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan stood at $10,798.9 million. The net foreign reserves held by commercial banks totaled $ 6,268.1 million, and the total liquid foreign reserves position stood at $17,067 million. During the week ending 11 May 2018, SBP’s reserves decreased by $364 million to $10,799 million. STAFF REPORT



The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) had a lazy beginning to Ramzan, as expected by market analysts. Market participation remained dismal on the bank holiday. Indices drifted lower all day long before the last hour. The bearish spell of selling in the last hour of trading forced indices to close well in the red. The market has now lost 8 per cent in the month to date. The KSE 100 index dropped down to intraday low of 41,833.60 with a loss of 467.60 points moments before close. It settled lower by 431.55 points at 41,869.65. The KMI 30 index toppled a further 806.37 points to settle at 71,364.60. The KSE All Share Index lost 141.57 points with 209 decliners and only 71 advancers. The market volumes depreciated to 56.94 million. Pak Elektron Limited (PAEL -4.96 per cent) was top pick of investors who exchanged 18.39 million shares. The

script marked a fresh 52 week low of Rs 36.94 falling from a 52-week high of Rs123.73. K-Electric Limited (KEL +0.82 per cent) was next with 4.83 million shares traded. The 52-week range of the script is a low of Rs5.34 and high of Rs7.91. Dewan Cement Limited (DCL -4.12 per cent) next on the volume chart, 3.90 million. Commercial banks and cement remained major decliners as they cumulatively deducted 423 points from the index. Auto sector continued its downward trajectory as investors are estimating lower sales of the companies going forward primarily due to the restriction imposed on non-filers in Finance Act 2018, that kept Auto stocks under pressure. Master Wind Energy Group applied for listing on the bourse. The company commenced commercial

operations status on October 14, 2016, and has now placed its draft prospect for public comments. Diamond Industries Limited (DIL) informed all stakeholders through a notice to the exchange that it has settled liabilities with Allied Bank Limited. Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment, the major shareholder of Meezan Bank Limited (MEBL +0.08 per cent), disclosed interest of a foreign firm in buying 9.59 per cent of its 49.10 per cent holding in the bank. Noor Financial Investment has requested the State Bank of Pakistan for permission to carry out the above transaction. Moreover, Balochistan Glass (BGL) notified the exchange that the company has got approval from SECP to issue 90 million shares at a price of Rs10 per share by the way of shares other than right shares.

Export target of mangoes set at 100,000 tons for year 2018 ISLAMABAD GHULAM ABBAS

The export of mangoes from Pakistan would commence from May 20, 2018 during the current season while the export target of mangoes has been set as 100,000 metric tons. Pakistan expects a generous revenue through the export of mangoes keeping in view the devaluation of currency against the dollar coupled with the export of mangoes during the fasting month. According to market sources the production of mangoes, however, is expected to less than 35 per cent due to the negative effect of acute shortage of water and global warming. FPCCI Vice President Waheed Ahmed who is also patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetables Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) and a leading exporter, claims that the CPEC route this year would also be utilized for the first time to export mangoes to China. For the first time 500 to 2000 tons of mangoes export to China via CPEC route is anticipated whereas China can emerge as a big market for Pakistani mangoes once it’s fully developed. Around 20,000 tons of mangoes could be conveniently exported to China while 150 tons of mangoes is to be exported to Japan. Mango promotions in China, Maldives, and European countries would be held during this year to further enhance of export of mangoes. Iran is also an important buyer, however due to unprecedented devaluation of the Iranian currency; the exporters are not expecting to get a good return value of their exports. According to him foreign exchange of $95-100 million would be generated by attaining the export target of 100,000 tons. The Pakistani mango would be part of an essential menu for millions of Muslim fasting around the world while it’s export during the holy month of Ramzan would be an added advantage for the export. The Gulf countries, United Arab Emirates, Saudia Arab and European countries would be major buyers of Pakistani mangoes, however queries in abundance from Chinese buyers are pouring in, expressing keen interest for import of Pakistani mangoes. According to experts, climate change and global warming are serious potential threats to the production of mangoes and due to its negative impact, the overall production of mangoes was 50 per cent less than last year while it’s continued negative impact is anticipated to lead to 35 per cent lesser production. Due to acute shortage of water, mango orchards in Sindh which includes Hyderabad District, Tando Alyar, Mirpur Khas are to be severely affected. The same goes to Punjab where the overall production of mangoes is anticipated to less by 30 to 50 per cent in mango growing areas including Muzzafar Garh, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, and Shujabad. Simultaneously with lesser production, the smaller size of mangoes is also of great concern to the exporters. Due to increase in demand and shortage of supply this year, the wholesale price of mangoes is expected to increase from Rs2,400 to Rs3,000 per 40 kg.

Filer tax regime promotes indirect taxation system, says expert LAHORE STAFF REPORT

ACCA Pakistan hosted an expert discussion on “The Budget 2018–19: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic Reforms” which was aimed at keeping professionals up-to-date with the relevant changes that were being made to the Finance Act through the federal budget 2018–19. This event was an opportunity to deliberate upon the recent federal budget, the opportunities created and challenges posed by it for the ongoing economic reforms in Pakistan. The forum also raised a common voice of all tax experts of Pakistan to share their feedback with Federal Board of Rev-

enue (FBR) and other tax regulators. The panellists included EY Partner Taxation and ICAP Council Member Muhammad Awais, Aamir Ijaz Khan, ICMAP Executive Director Omer Zaheer Meer, ACCA Pakistan Taxation Committee Chairman Kamal Mian, and LCCI Standing Committee on Policy Advocacy Chairman Monim Sultan. The panellists analysed the budget in light of the global standards of fair taxation, its impact on broadening the tax base, ease of doing business and global competitiveness indices and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In the welcome address that was delivered by ACCA Pakistan Head Sajjeed Aslam – he reiterated that the purpose of this session is to achieve the milestones

of emerging Pakistan which had been identified by ACCA as 7 per cent plus GDP growth rate (next five years average), ranking in top 50 for ease of doing business; and ranking in top 50 for global competitiveness indices (GCI). He conveyed that ACCA pledged to create such capacity, competency and talent within the society that will not only provide support for the economic growth of the country but also assist in upholding the trust level of the society. He identified this to be the primary and key role for any accountancy body including ACCA, ICAP, ICMAP and ICAEW and also highlighted that the CPEC is not only about the opportunities but it has allied challenges as well. He elaborated on the 12 tenets of fair

taxation in detail which were identified by ACCA through its global research base and represented in the rest of the world through ACCA’s global tax forum. EY Partner Taxation and ICAP Council Member Muhammad Awais delivered the keynote address. He conveyed that some of the changes that were proposed through this budget in reference to the indirect taxation system under the sales tax law or the customs law have now been implemented through notification with immediate effect, however, rest of the budget announcements will be implemented with effect from July 1, 2018. He suggested that our focus needs to be aligned with the taxation system in the

other part of the world and must be primarily based on the direct taxes instead of indirect taxes. Currently, direct taxes account for 37 per cent and indirect taxes account for 67 per cent of the total tax revenue collection. He also highlighted that the filer tax regime promotes the indirect taxation system and until the elimination of the filer regime system, the burden from indirect taxation cannot be shifted to direct tax and income based taxation system. LCCI Standing Committee on Policy Advocacy Chairman Kamal Mian highlighted that the most difficult thing to do in Pakistan is manufacturing. He endorsed the vision of ACCA for ease of doing business and emphasised upon the simplicity for ease of doing business.


Friday, 18 May, 2018

INquIry rEPort ovEr WEdNEsday’s PoWEr blaCkout subMIttEd to PM



LAHORE: Suzuki Motors CIO Qadeer Saigol, Fulin CIO Chang Yunta, PCJCCI Secretray General Salahuddin Hanif and others attend a trade conference organised by Pak-China Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry. PR

KARACHI: Hamdard University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shabib ul Hasan and Arts Council Institute of Arts and Crafts Principal Shahid Rassam cut the ribbon of the inauguration of the 27th Annual Eid Card Competition at Bait al Hikmah Auditorium Madinat al Hikmah, Karachi. PR



HE massive power breakdown that left Khyber Puknhtunkhwa , Punjab and the Federal Capital without electricity for many hours on Wednesday was allegedly because of a fault in the switch yard of the 747MW Guddu power plant, it has been learnt. Well-placed sources in the power division on condition of anonymity disclosed that Wednesday’s massive power blackout was due to a fault surfaced in the shunt reactor of 747MW Guddu power plant. He said the shunt reactor was damaged and it caused tripping in

the electricity transmission lines and as a result various power plants including Bhikki, Haveli Bahadur Shah etc. stopped power generation as they could not sustain sudden changes in the frequency. He said the shunt reactor was installed in the switch yard of the Guddu power plant and the closure of the 747MW Guddu power plant and other power plants increased the load on the entire power system. The investigation of this massive power cut has been completed and a report has been forwarded to the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi for further action, declaring a fault in switchyard of Guddu power plant responsible for the power blackout, said sources. The sources added that no action against the

WTO dispute settlement body rules in favour of Pakistan in chemical export case ISLAMABAD ONLINE

Maximum relief to be provided to residential customers during ramzan: k-Electric KARACHI: K-Electric is committed to provide maximum relief to its customers during the holy month of Ramzan. Residential customers will be given priority during Sehr and Iftar whereas industrial areas will experience loadshed of up to 6 hours during the night to ensure that maximum relief is provided to residential customers during Ramzan. PR

oPPo announces the world’s first 5g video call demo SHEnzHEn: OPPO Global Research Institute (Shenzhen) announces the company successfully demonstrated the cutting-edge 5G and 3D structured light technology, demonstrating the potential of these technologies and exploring 5G applications and terminals that support UR (Ubiquitous Reality). The 3D structured light technology that supports diversified application scenarios will be commercialized in OPPO phones in approximately 6 months. PR

annual CEo communication session takes place across descon LAHORE: Descon Engineering, a premier EPC company in Pakistan conducted their Bi – Annual CEO Communications sessions to further their foundation of trust and open communication. These sessions were carried out across all Descon operations in Pakistan and overseas. Carried out in March and May, the event was opened by CHRO Ahsan Qureshi, who further passed it on to CEO Abdul Razak Dawood. Speaking on the current situation and future plans of Descon, the intention was to keep all the employees aware of the progress made last year. PR

In a major victory for Pakistan, the supreme dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld the appeal of the European Union (EU) in the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) countervailing duty case in Geneva on Wednesday. According to a report in The News, a threemember bench rejected the appeal of the European Union and upheld the decision of the WTO panel which ruled in Pakistan’s favour on July 6th, 2017. The supreme dispute settlement body upheld the WTO panel decision which had determined measures taken by European Union on the export of PET- a chemical used to manufacture mineral water bottles were in contravention of WTO rules and regulations. As per the panel of WTO adjudicators, the measures applied by the EU on Pakistani PET were contradictory with the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement (SCM) of the WTO. EU had filed an appeal against the original decision. The World Trade Organization (WTO) had decided in Pakistan’s favour in July last year and held measures adopted by the European Commission on the export of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate a chemical used in the making of mineral water bottles) against WTO law and rules. The WTO categorically ruled that measures applied by European Commission on Pak-



istani PET were inconsistent with the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement (SCM) of the WTO. This was considered a big diplomatic success of Pakistan at the multilateral forum in Geneva by trade experts. The report of the WTO adjudicating panel was released in Geneva. The European Union way back in 2010 had imposed a crippling countervailing duty on Pakistan’s PET. As per conservative estimates, the unfair trade protection measures imposed by EU seven years ago caused a loss of approximately 300 million Euros to Pakistan’s nascent chemical industry. Pakistan had filed a case of unfair trade practices in March 2015, against the 28-country European Commission. International trade law experts had termed it as a success of the present government’s economic diplomacy, which would have far-reaching effects in protecting Pakistan’s exports globally.

CCP imposes penalty on shainal Foods for copyrights infringement KARACHI: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has imposed a penalty of Rs5 million on Shainal Al-Syed Foods Limited for violating Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010. National Foods Limited complained to the CCP that Shainal Foods was copying its trademark and logo in packing, marketing, and selling its food products. Moreover, the colour scheme and design of its products were starkly similar to that of the National Foods’ products, which was misleading consumers. The CCP’s enquiry established that Shainal Foods was imitating the logo, packaging, colour scheme and design of National Food’s products, thus potentially harming its business interests as well as misleading the consumers. The CCP’s order noted that though Shainal Foods was given substantial time to amend its branding to address the competition’s concerns, however, no serious effort was made by the company in this regard. The CCP imposed a penalty of Rs5 million on Shainal Foods and directed the company to repackage its products to distinguish them from the products of National Foods. CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices including deceptive marketing. STAFF REPORT

Opposing SNGPL’s and SSGCL’s plea to increase their gas prices for the financial year (FY) 2018-19, participants of OGRA’s hearing have desired an end to cross-subsidy mechanisms, and the value addition sectors should be preferred for the supply of gas. Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Chairperson Uzma Adil Khan has chaired public hearings organised by OGRA at Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta on petitions filed by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). The petitions were to determine the SNGPL’s and SSGL’s estimated revenue requirements/ prescribed prices for FY2018-19. The hearings were attended by representatives of various associations, representatives

of chambers of commerce, members of press and stakeholders like consumers, public, management of the SNGPL and SSGC, as well as other interveners. Senior management and legal counsel of SNGPL and SSGCL made detailed presentations and gave the reasons for their estimated revenue requirement/prescribed prices. They also responded to a number of questions raised by participants/interveners. SNGPL and SSGCL filed their petitions on 29th December 2017 and February 28, 2018, respectively, under Section 8(1) of OGRA Ordinance 2002 and Rule-4(2) of Natural Gas Tariff Rules 2002 to determine their estimated revenue requirement for FY 2018-19. SNGPL requested for an average increase of Rs356.89/MMBTU in its average prescribed price w.e.f 1st July 2018 while SSGCL requested for an increase of Rs109.03/MMBTU in its tariff w.e.f 1st July 2018 for the year 2018-19.

PM discusses tax exemptions, new lPg plants, gas prices in ECC meeting ISLAMABAD

Participants oppose gas price increases for SNGPL and SSGCL STAFF REPORT

responsible would be taken as the enquiry team declared electrical equipment as a main cause of the blackout on Wednesday. An official of the National Transmission and Despatch Company informed that the repair and maintenance work of damaged shunt reactor was in process and electricity was restored through thebypass. Soon, the damaged part will be made functional, said the official. It is relevant to mention that the shunt reactor’s job was to absorb the reactive power and control the voltage in the transmission lines and maintain the voltage at normal range. It is connected with transmission lines and switchyard. The shunt reactor was installed at Guddu in 2015 to control the voltage at normal range.

The increase in prescribed prices were claimed by the petitioners mainly due to projected increase in cost of gas, which is based on the average price of crude oil/fuel oil in the international market, in accordance with the Gas Price Agreements signed between the Government of Pakistan and the gas producers and devaluation of Rupee against the UD dollar. The authority (OGRA) in order to provide equal opportunity to all the stakeholders decided to hold public hearings at provincial headquarters and accordingly issued notices to all the interested and affected persons. The participants opposed the petitions saying that OGRA has already allowed the increase in gas prices and any further increase in gas prices shall have an adverse effect on gas consumers. It was desired that cross-subsidy mechanism should be abolished and the value addition sectors should be preferred for the supply of gas. The participants raised strong reservations on the

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday. The meeting considered a proposal for introducing necessary amendments in the relevant laws for the purpose of ensuring tax exemptions at the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone and constituted a committee to remove any anomalies in the proposed amendments. The ECC also considered the issue of allocation of site to private LNG developers for establishment of LNG Terminal. It was decided that only those sites at Port Qasim would be allocated for the establishment of LNG Floating Terminal which has been declared safe after undertaking Quantitative Risk Assessment. The meeting approved a proposal to allocated 35 MMCFD Mari shallow gas and 40 MMCFD of Mari Deep gas to Pakarab Fertilizer Ltd. (PFL) in order to optimally utilise its available installed capacity, encourage indigenous production of fertilisers and to lesson reliance on imported urea. In order to address the issue of disparity in the sale price and the revenues of SNGPL and SSGCL, the ECC constituted a committee comprising of members from Petroleum Division, OGRA, Finance and Planning, Development and Reforms Division to examine the option of replacing the weighted average cost gas (WACOG) equalisation arrangement with a new arrangement of weighted average sale price (WASP) equalisation arrangement. The committee will examine all aspects of the natural gas sale pricing mechanism and would submit its recommendation to the cabinet within three months. The ECC also approved five localities for SNGPL and six for SSGCL for setting up LPG Air Mix Plants for the purpose of supply of gas to the residents. The SNGPL localities include Bisham, Upper Dir, Kana, Alpuri, and Narrar in Punjab. The SSGCL localities include Dalbandin, Taftan, Zheri, Bekar, Kunri and Killi Balozai. The ECC also approved an amount of Rs1,140 million as three months salaries (Jan to March, 2018) for the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (PSMC). high UFG level of SNGPL and SSGCL and demanded that no relief in UFbenchmarkrk be given on account of gas consumers. It was also stressed that petitioners must endeavour to cut its operating cost to avoian d increase in gas prices. Winding up the public hearings, chairperson OGRA said that it was the duty of the athority to balance the divergent interests of utility companies and consumers. The authority will scrutinize all costs with the help of a team of professional engineers, financial and legal experts. He said that OGRA has provided the opportunity to all the stakeholders in the hearings and thanked for their whole-hearted participation in the proceedings and said that their tangible suggestions will be considered while deciding the petitions of SNGPL and SSGCL. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), has been established by the Federal Government under Presidential Ordinance No. XVII of 2002. It, inter-alia, is empowered to determine the revenue requirement of the gas companies.


Friday, 18 May, 2018

ANtoiNe GriezmANN fires Atletico mAdrid to europA leAGue title MaDRID



NTOINE Griezmann was the hero for Atletico Madrid as the French striker scored twice in their 3-0 win over Marseille in Wednesday’s Europa League final in Lyon, allowing his club to win the trophy for the third time in nine seasons. It is Griezmann’s first major title with Atletico, and a fitting way to bow out if he leaves at the season’s end, with Barcelona tipped as his next destination. Griezmann — brought up in Macon, just 70 kilometers from Lyon — scored once in each half, his lethal finishes coming either side of Marseille losing Dimitri Payet to injury, the French team’s captain coming off in tears.

Griezmann now has 29 goals this season, although it was Gabi’s late strike that sealed the victory. “This is a reward for me after I left home aged 14, for all the work I have put in, the suffering,” said Griezmann, who has spent his whole career in Spain but had only previously won one Spanish Super Cup. Atletico’s triumph comes after agonising defeats to Real Madrid in the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. They had previously won the Europa League in 2010 and again in 2012, the latter coming just six months after Diego Simeone’s appointment as coach. Simeone, who had to watch from the stands due to a touchline ban, called the victory a reward for his side’s hard work and even expressed hope that Griezmann

“We are not far away in sporting terms from teams who are more powerful than us.” Marseille had been desperate to win the second European trophy in their history, on French soil, 25 years after beating AC Milan in the inaugural Champions League final. But it was a flat night for their huge support, who threatened to ruin the occasion by lighting flares and setting off fire-

could be convinced to stay. “This was just confirmation of what Griezmann has been doing year after year,” said the Argentine. “I hope he is happy with us. I have no doubt that there are certain things that could make it more likely that he stays. “He has played three finals with us, has won two, and so that shows that he is not far away from his objective of regularly playing finals.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon calls time on Juventus career TURIN Agencies

GermANy most likely to wiN world cup: uBs ZURICH: Every four years some economists turn their talent for making predictions about global finance to the topic of the World Cup. Will Iceland or Panama lift the trophy this year, or perhaps hosts Russia? Forecasters at Swiss bank UBS on Thursday came up with a more, well, predictable choice: Germany. UBS sees a 24 percent probability that Germany who won in 2014 will win the July 15 final, with Brazil and Spain the next most likely teams to succeed, with a 19.8 percent and 16.1 percent chance respectively. “Germany and Brazil are set for an easy start, while Spain will have to hit the ground running if they are to beat Portugal, the current European champions, in their opening game,” said Michael Bolliger, head of emerging market asset allocation in a report that used econometric forecasting tools. “From there, the going will get tougher for Spain and Brazil, who will possibly face Argentina and England, respectively, in the quarter-finals,” Bolliger said. Host country Russia, meanwhile, is likely to make it to the round of 16 before losing to either Spain or Portugal. As for Iceland and Panama: 0.2 percent and 0.0 percent respectively. The predictions by the world’s biggest wealth manager were based on a statistical model using the results from the previous five tournaments and controlling for factors such as team strength and success in the qualification phase. UBS said that England, France, Belgium and Argentina could still provide some surprises in the World Cup. “Argentina’s fate will strongly depend on the form of their star players in our view, which is an element of uncertainty and hard to capture with our quantitative model,” Bolliger said. France should be able to advance to the semi-final but could face Brazil, another top team, after the possible elimination of Portugal. England, just like Belgium, has a balanced team but would have to get past Brazil to reach the semi-final, he added. Agencies

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced on Thursday that he will leave the Turin giants after 17 years but did not as expected declare the end of his playing career. Buffon, 40, captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Italian Cup triumph this season. “To end this adventure with two new victories was important,” the Italian told a press conference at the Allianz Stadium. “Saturday will be my final match with Juventus.” The former Parma goalkeeper will make his 640th Serie A appearance against Verona in Turin. Buffon said he would like to take more time to reflect on his future which could be either on or off the pitch. “What am I going to do? Saturday, I’m playing a match and it’s the only thing that’s certain,” he continued. “Until 15 days ago, I was sure to stop playing, but I received some exciting proposals, both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch the most interesting was made to me by (Juventus) president (Andrea) Agnelli. Next week,

after a few days of calm reflection, I will make a definite and certain decision.” According to the Italian press Buffon has received offers from top European clubs including Liverpool, Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain. It was a rollercoaster season for Buffon with Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in six decades. His final Champions League game ended in another fiasco last month as he raged into the night at the referee after being sent off late in a semi-final defeat by Real Madrid.

He is facing a UEFA ban for his verbal abuse of English referee Michael Oliver who he said had “a rubbish bag for a heart” and should “sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, having your drink and eating your crisps”. Italy’s most capped player with 176, Buffon could make his international farewell on June 4 in a friendly against the Netherlands. Buffon holds the record for going 974 minutes in Serie A football without conceding a goal and has kept 300 clean sheets in 655 competitive club matches.

crackers at one end of the stadium, with some even being thrown onto the pitch towards the end. The game carried on regardless, with Rudi Garcia’s side well beaten. “We let our chance go in the first half. Firstly, we had the best chance to go ahead, and secondly an error from us meant we fell behind,” said Garcia. “The score line is harsh but the better team won.”

Neymar worried about foot as he prepares to return from injury SAO PAULO: Brazilian striker Neymar said getting fit for the World Cup following surgery has been the biggest challenge of his career and he is also worried about how his injured foot will respond to top-class competition. “This injury is difficult, and the biggest challenge is right now, going to the World Cup after not playing for three months,” the 26-year-old Paris St Germain forward said on a sponsor’s social media channel. “The expectations are very high, not just from the fans but from me as well, that’s why this is the biggest challenge I’m facing.” He has been out of action since spraining his ankle and fracturing his fifth metatarsal on Feb. 25, which led him to undergo surgery in Brazil. The striker said he feared he would miss the June 14-July 15 World Cup finals in Russia in the immediate aftermath of suffering the injury. “I was a bit worried I might not be ready in time but after I had the scans, they…told me about the surgery, how long the recovery would take, and that helped to calm me down. “I’ve started training with the ball, I’ve started shooting and passing and now it’s just a case of improving,” he added. “I feel good, comfortable, at ease. Agencies

Mark Waugh slams ‘selfish’ India over day-night Test snub SYDNEY Agencies

Retiring selector Mark Waugh has lashed out at “selfish” India for refusing to play a day-night Test during their tour of Australia, accusing the cricketing power of holding back the game. Cricket Australia wanted the first Test in Adelaide from December 6 played under lights to tap into the growing popularity of pink-ball cricket. But India, who are yet to play a daynight Test, said they were not interested in experimenting in such a high-profile series. The Australians have played four day-night Tests since 2015, three of them in Adelaide, winning them all. Waugh, who is stepping down as a national selector when his contract expires on August 31, said the decision was not only disappointing but selfish given the falling popularity of Test cricket. “It´s a little bit selfish from India´s point of view because we need to revitalise Test cricket,” he said in The Australian newspaper Thursday.

“Day-night Test cricket in some countries is going to be one of those ingredients that could transform Test cricket back to where it should be.” CA believes day-night Test cricket is a more television-friendly format and perhaps the only way to revitalise the five-day version of the game which is flagging globally following the rise of the quickfire Twenty20 format. Waugh said Australia, India and England were the only places where Test cricket was “alive and well”. “India´s team is pretty well suited to day-night cricket, they´ve got a string of fast bowlers, so they don´t just rely on the spinners and their batsman are technically very good as well,” he said. “So, for the greater good of the game, I would have loved to have seen that as a day-night Test.” In announcing their decision earlier this month, BCCI administrator Vinod Rai said: “nobody can put a gun on to our head and say play (day-night cricket)”. “There have been doubts about the pink ball itself in Duke and Kookaburra,” he added, referring to the Eng-


lish and Australian ball manufacturers. India experimented with pink ball cricket in its Duleep Trophy domestic championship in 2016 but administrators and top players remain wary about

playing at international level. India are will tour Australia from November 21 to January 19 with four Tests, three Twenty20 internationals and three oneday games on the schedule.

Friday, 18 May, 2018

icc mAy scrAp coiN toss trAditioN from test cricket DUbaI


heavily weighted in favour of the home side. In both instances, that does Test cricket no good at all. On the other hand, no one wants to see 600 plays 500 on pitches that offer the bowlers nothing. Producing tracks like that is the surest way to kill off the format. Numerous others, including Ricky Ponting, Michael Holding, Ian Botham, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh, have also endorsed the idea. “The concerned authorities must look at what Ricky Ponting suggested – no more tosses,” Holding wrote for Wisden India in 2015. “The minor setback there in my opinion, is that tosses are big for television. But that isn’t relevant now, times have changed and interest is waning in Test match cricket. What you need to do now is to make sure you have even contests between bat and ball. For that, there should be no toss and the visiting captain should be allowed to decide what he wants to do after inspecting the pitch.” The English experiment in 2016 resulted in changes. The ECB reported 85% of matches went into a fourth day compared to 74% in 2015 – the highest percentage since 2009. The average score for the first innings was 332, slightly up from 325 in 2015. The average score for the second innings of a match was 343, up from 290 in 2015. A total of 843 wickets were taken by spin in 2016, up from 752 in 2015. Seventy-one of the 142 matches in both divisions were drawn, discounting two abandoned matches, meaning there was a positive result in the other 71 – whereas in 2015, there were 93 results and only 51 draws.


EST cricket’s fundamental starting point may be scrapped, as the ICC’s cricket committee prepares to debate whether or not the coin toss should be removed as a way of reducing home ground advantage in the looming Test Championship, reported Cricinfo. Every single Test match since the very first, between Australia and England at the MCG in March 1877, has begun with a toss of the coin to decide who should bat or bowl first. The home captain flips the coin and the visiting captain calls heads or tails. However, there has been a growing body of opinion that home boards have manipulated conditions to suit their team, in turn adding a disproportionate level of importance to the toss. The proposed remedy is to abandon the coin toss for matches played as part of the Test Championship, to commence with Australia’s Ashes tour of England in 2019, leaving the visiting side to elect whether to bat or bowl first. This would be an extension of the playing conditions now used in the English County Championship since the start of the 2016 season, whereby the visiting team can choose to bowl first, with a coin toss to follow if the captain is not fussed. “There is serious concern about the current level of home team interference in Test pitch preparation, and more than one committee member believes that the toss should be automatically

awarded to the visiting team in each match, although there are some others on the committee who do not share that view.” One of the biggest champions of the concept was former Australia coach Darren Lehmann. He will be absent from the meeting as the representative of international coaches after resigning from his post in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering fiasco. In his 2016 book, Coach, Lehmann was blunt about the scenario facing visiting Test teams. “The biggest challenge to the longest format, for me at least, comes not from Twenty20 but from the surfaces on which matches are being played,” Lehmann wrote. “Put simply, those surfaces are either far too bland or, conversely, are far too

Child footballers got cash award promised by Bilawal, clarifies Football Pakistan KaRachI


kp Govt orGANises sports festivAl for trANsGeNder persoNs PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government organised a sports festival for the transgender community in Peshawar. Transgender persons from KP and Quetta attended the festival and took part in different games including cricket, tug-of-war, football, and badminton. Talking to media on the occasion, transgenders rights activist Komal Shah Afridi appreciated the initiative stating that they enjoyed this a lot. “We are feeling fresh and as you can see people have also come to see us as we participated in different games,” Afridi said, adding this kind of events should be held on regular bases because they increase their confidence. Further, Farzana Jan, President Trans Action KP, said that such events show that transgender individuals are not only for dance or things related to it. “As you can see some of the transgender participants can play cricket and football very well, which shows that they want to play these sports,” Jan said. “We want to show that, like men and women, transgender persons can also play the sports,” the Trans Act president said, adding that the organisation is now working to bring forward the transgenders who want to do modeling and have interest in showbiz. “We have many talented individuals who just need a chance,” he concluded. Agencies

Hockey stAdium to Be Built iN HoNour of mANsoor AHmed

stAff RepoRt

david warner to play club cricket in sydney Sydney: Disgraced former Australian vice-captain David Warner will start his road to redemption by playing club cricket with Sydney’s Randwick Petersham, officials said. The opener is serving a year-long ban from state and international cricket for his part in a plan to use sandpaper to tamper with the ball during the third Test in South Africa in March. But he is free to play at club level and is set to make a return to the field in September. Randwick Petersham club president Mike Whitney, a former Test fast bowler, said Warner will play in at least three of the first four matches of the season. “We’re delighted to have him. He’s one of the best players Australia has had since World War II,” he told the local Southern Courier newspaper on Wednesday. Agencies

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did pay the cash award promised to the players of the Pakistan Street Child Football team in 2014, clarified in a tweet on Thursday. The cash award was announced as an appreciation for the Bronze medal won by the team at the Street Child World Cup, held in Brazil in 2014. According to the tweet, Bilawal Bhutto had fulfilled his promise to the children team, it was, in fact, the Sindh govt that went back on its promises of cash prizes and jobs for the children. “CLARIFICATION: It has been confirmed that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did, in fact, pay the street child team the money he had promised in 2014, but Sindh Govt did not fulfil their promises of cash prize and jobs to the players. Hope he and Sherry Rehman can also make Sindh govt finally do that as well,” the tweet reads. This tweet was a clarification of an earlier tweet that sent out on Wednesday which read: “Requesting Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sherry Rehman, whatever the outcome of Street Child World Cup final is, please don’t call the players to take pictures with them and announce financial rewards, because you still haven’t paid the last batch from 4 years ago.” In April 2014, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari hosted the

Pakistan Street Child Football team at the Bilawal House where he congratulated each player for their performance at the Street Child Football World Cup in Brazil. On the occasion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also announced an award of Rs100,000 award for each player that has still not been received by the players, according to the aforementioned tweet.

Two Sherpa climbers set new summit records on Mount Everest KaThMaNDU Agencies

A Nepali mountaineer climbed Mount Everest on Wednesday for a 22nd time while a female climber Lhakpa Sherpa made it to the top for the ninth time, each setting a new record on the world’s highest mountain, officials said. Kami Rita Sherpa’s 22nd ascent to the summit created a new record for the most visits to the peak of Everest. The 48-year-old reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit via the Southeast Ridge route, accompanied by 13 other climbers including his clients, Tourism Department official Gyanendra Shrestha said from the base camp. His latest ascent took him one summit clear of two

fellow sherpas with whom he had shared the record. “He has set the world record,” said Mingma Sherpa, chairman of the Seven Summit Treks company that employs Kami. “Kami had begun his descent and is expected to reach base camp by the weekend,” Shrestha told Reuters. “Lhakpa Sherpa, who lives in Connecticut, in the United States, reached the top for the ninth time, breaking her own record of the most summits by a woman,” her Nepali hiking company said. Lhakpa, who climbed from the Tibetan side of the mountain, was accompanied by a guide during the ascent, said Rajiv Shrestha of the Seven Summit Club that organised her expedition. Ethnic sherpas, renowned for their endurance and experience at high altitudes, serve as guides for many foreign mountaineers attempting to climb the highest Himalayan peaks.


KARACHI: The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) on Thursday approved the construction plans for a brand-new hockey stadium in honour of deceased national hero and Olympian Mansoor Ahmed. The stadium will be built adjacent to Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium. The idea for a stadium for conceptualised and forwarded by Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Shahbaz Ahmed. “This is a great step by PSB and Shahbaz Ahmed who presented the suggestion. Mansoor had done a lot for Pakistan and the way he left us was not how a hero should have left,” Olympian Islahuddin told a local news source. The 49-year old retired goalkeeper, Mansoor, passed away in Karachi on May 12 after suffering from complications after getting a pacemaker and stents to improve the condition of his heart. Mansoor became a sports icon in the country after his role in helping the country win the World Cup title of 1994 with his brilliant performance. Blocking scores made by the Netherlands in the final, Pakistan won the final 4-3 on a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. “The semi-final and final were very close games and were decided on penalty strokes. We won the semi-final (5-3) and final (4-3), which means it was Mansoor who gave us the memorable victories,” said former coach Khawaja Junaid. Furthermore, the executive committee approved another Rs1 million to provide relief to Mansoor Ahmed’s widow. stAff RepoRt

Friday, 18 May, 2018


terror StrIkeS agaIn COntinuED fROM pAgE 01

PML-n leaders defect to PtI in scores Estranged PTI MNA joins PML-N iSLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

A number of Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) leaders, including sitting as well as former lawmakers, have announced to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), causing a setback to the ruling party. According to details, after meeting PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad, the disgruntled PML-N politicians announced joining PTI. They expressed confidence in the manifesto and leadership of Imran Khan. MNA from Jhang Ghulam Bibi Bharvana and Sahibzada Nazir Sultan met Imran Khan on Thursday and joined his party. Sahibzada Nazir Sultan had won the election from Jhang as an independent candidate before joining the PML-N. In addition, PMLN MNA Ghulam Rasool Sahi and former speaker Afzal Sahi called on Imran Khan at Bani Gali and announced PTI. “I am joining the PTI as a patriotic Pakistani. I cannot remain associated with the PML-N anymore,” he said. Ghulam Rasool Sahi was elected as MNA from NA-75 in Faisalabad after 2013 elections. Other leaders including PML-N MPA Azam Cheela, Ghulam Ahmed Gadi, Sheikh Yaqoob, Rashida Yaqoob, Aslam Bharvana, Asif Kathia and Chaudhry Shehbaz also joined the PTI. The recent statement of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif has sparked anger among the politicians as several PML-N leaders have expressed concerns during parliamentary meeting that was headed by newly-elected party president and Chief Minister of Punjab (CM) Shehbaz Sharif. PTI MNA joINs PML-N: On the other hand, Mussarat Ahmadzeb, a PTI MNA from Swat who is widely known for resisting the teachings of Malala Yousafzai, has joined the PML-N and attended the party’s parliamentary meeting.

According to the statement, three terrorists — two suicide bombers and one high-value target identified as Salman Badeni — were killed after an intense gun battle. The two suicide bombers were of Afghani nationality, ISPR said. One injured militant is in the custody. A combing operation is ongoing in the area. sUICIDE BoMBER TARGETs FRoNTIER CoNsTABULARY IN NoWsHERA: On Thursday afternoon, one person was killed and 14 others injured when a suicide bomber rammed his bike into a Frontier Constabulary (FC) vehicle on Nowshera’s Mall Road near Kachehri Chowk. According to details, 12 of the 14 injured were shifted to Combined Military Hospital, Nowshera while the other two were taken to the DHQ Hospital. The condition of four injured however was stated to be critical. District Police Officer Shahzad Nadeem Bukhari told reporters that the FC vehicle was on the way to Peshawar from Rawalpindi with six personnel, in-

cluding an officer, when it was targeted. The attack had destroyed the vehicle and leaving all the passengers injured. Meanwhile, the Jamatul Ahrar (JuA) has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, as well as, releasing images of the Nowshera suicide bomber. The bomber has been identified as Roohul Ameen alias Qari Usman who was said to be in his early teens, reported a local news publication. The JuA claimed that the attack is part of operation Ibn Qasim and more attacks will be carried out such as this in the future. Following the attack, security measures have been tightened throughout the province. Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa In-

spector General of Police Salahuddin Mehsud had declared the security schedule and strategy for the holy month of Ramzan. It was also reported that there was a high-security alert throughout the province and other parts of the country. MARTYRED CoL soHAIL ABID LAID To REsT WITH FULL MILITARY HoNoURs: The funeral prayer of Colonel Sohail Abid of Military Intelligence, who embraced martyrdom on Wednesday during an operation near Killi Almas, Balochistan, was held in Rawalpindi on Thursday, and he was laid to rest at Bobari near Bara Kahu with full military honours. Col Sohail Abid of Military Intelligence was martyred in the gunfight while four other soldiers were injured, out of whom Head Constable Sanaullah succumbed to his injuries on Thursday evening. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and a large number of senior military officers, soldiers and relatives of the martyred soldier attended the funeral prayer. “When a soldier sacrifices his life I lose part flesh of my body, that night is always difficult to pass. But we remain fully determined to sacrifice anything and everything for the defence of our motherland,” the Inter-Services Public

Relations (ISPR) said quoting COAS in a tweet. Speaking to reporters, slain colonel’s father said that he was proud of his son who sacrificed his life for the country. His brother also commended him for the sacrifice, saying, “Due to the sacrifice of my brother, family’s head is being held high. I am extremely proud of him.” PM, PUNjAB CM PAY TRIBUTE To MARTYRED oFFICER: Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former president Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan paid rich tributes to the martyred officer. PM Abbasi stated that Pakistan’s valiant forces will not rest till the last traces of terrorist elements are wiped out from Pakistani soil. “Our soldiers have paid the price of freedom with blood and there is no higher sacrifice than it. We as a nation are united than ever against the coward enemy,” the PM said. LeJ, a group which subscribes to the hardline Takfiri Deobandi school of Islam, considers Shias apostates and has carried out scores of bloody bomb and gun attacks in Balochistan over the past two decades, most of them aimed at the Shi’ite Hazara community.

Ruckus in Punjab Assembly during last session LAHORE STAFF REPORT

The tenure’s last session in Punjab Assembly witnessed ruckus and disputes between lawmakers of the opposing political parties during the concluding speeches. Despite Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal requesting MPAs to sit on their seats and maintain order in the house, members belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) threatened each other and interrupted the speeches. One such incident occurred, ruling party’s lawmakers protested the remarks of PPP’s Malik Umar

Farooq and even the assembly’s speaker complained to him. A brawl erupted between the lawmakers of ruling and opposition benches and they surrounded the area in front of speaker’s dice. On Wednesday, the treasury passed 12 bills during the Punjab Assembly session on Wednesday before the completion of the government’s tenure on May 31. At the beginning of the session, the opposition members led by Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed came closer to the rostrum of Speaker Rana Iqbal, raising slogans against the Sharif brothers and demanding punishment for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on the charge of committing sedition. They torn apart copies of the day’s agenda and

tossed the pieces into the air, also blaming the government for the country-wide power breakdown. Rasheed said it was the failure of the government which had been bragging about producing surplus electricity in the country. Three new bills were introduced— The Drugs (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2018, The Punjab Legal Aid Bill 2018 and the Punjab Criminal Prosecution Service Inspectorate Bill 2018. The Punjab Fertilizers Bill 2018 was also introduced which the speaker referred to the standing committee concerned for filing a report by May 28th. Nine other bills already introduced in the house and checked by the standing committees concerned were also passed swiftly.

Iranian media outlets speculate Saudi Prince Salman’s death MOnitORing REpORt The apparent disappearance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the public eye has led several Iranian media outlets to wonder if one of the most powerful men in the kingdom might have been killed during an attempted coup last month. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was allegedly hit by two bullets during the April 21 attack on the royal palace in Riyadh and may actually be dead as he has not appeared in public since the incident, Kayhan newspaper reports citing “a secret service report sent to the senior officials of an unnamed Arab state.” As Press TV points out, no new photo or video of bin Salman has been released by Saudi authorities since that day, and the prince “was not even seen on camera when new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his maiden visit to Riyadh in late April.” “Bin Salman was a man who almost often appeared before the media but his 27-day absence since the gunfire in Riyadh has raised questions about his health,” the Fars news agency remarks. The Saudi authorities however are yet to comment on this matter. On April 21 several media agencies reported heavy gunfire emanating from the Saudi royal palace in Riyadh, prompting speculations about a possible coup attempt taking place. The Saudi authorities however claimed that the incident merely involved palace security guards firing upon a drone which allegedly was flying too close to the premises. Published by Arif Nizami at Plot # 7, Al-Baber Centre, F/8 Markaz, Islamabad. Ph: 051-2204545. Email:


E paper pdf 18 may (isb)  
E paper pdf 18 may (isb)