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Prince Muqrin appointed Saudi deputy crown prince M ANAMA—Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 68, will be Saudi Arabia’s next crown prince or king, a royal order has said. Under the order issued by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on Thursday evening, Prince Muqrin, who kept his current post as second deputy premier, was appointed as deputy crown prince.

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Relief in POL prices from April 1 ALI SYED ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Observer has learnt that people of Pakistan are likely to get substantial relief in petroleum prices by up to Rs 5.61 per liter from April 1, 2014 because of two main factors that include the downwards trend of prices of POL in international market and fast depreciation of US dollar. Keeping in view the said two factors, Ogra has recommended to Miistry of Petoleum and Natural Resources the reduction in price of petrol by Rs 1.72 Continued on Page 7

NATO names Stoltenberg as next leader B RUSSELS —NATO chose former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as its next leader on Friday at a time when the Western military alliance must deal with a resurgent Russia following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Stoltenberg will take over as secretary-general of the 28-nation grouping on October 1, succeeding former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has led NATO since 2009. Stoltenberg, the first Norwegian to occupy NATO’s top post, will take over at a time when NATO, seen by some as a Cold War relic, has gained new relevance because of concerns about what the Ukraine crisis says about a newly assertive Russia.—Reuters

Get sons of former PM, Governor back

................................................ PPP’s stand on MQM’s Martial Law call ................................................ We wish UN were even handed

See Page 04

Gulf security, Iran figure in Obama, Abdullah talks US mulling to supply surface to air missile to Syrian Opp

UN Council passes resolution against armed drones Pakistan-sponsored resolution adopted with overwhelming majority LIAQAT TOOR


President Barack Obama, making his first visit to Saudi Arabia since 2009, met King Abdullah on Friday for two hours of talks that aides said would focus on Middle East peace, Iran and ways to strengthen moderate Syrian rebels. The King, accompanied by a number of senior princes, had the meeting at his desert farm at Rawdat Khuraim northeast of the capital Riyadh, witnesses said. The King and Obama, there with US Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, made no public statements, reports Gulf News. But in the run up to the visit, officials had said Obama would aim to persuade the monarch that Saudi concerns that Washington was slowly disengaging from the Middle East and no longer listening to its old ally were unfounded. Last year senior Saudi

ISLAMABAD —A landmark Pakistan sponsored resolution was adopted with overwhelming majority on Friday in the United Nation’s Human Rights Council against use of armed drones. The resolution urges the member states to ensure that the use of armed drones comply with their obligations under international law, including the UN Charter, human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality. The resolution also called for convening an interactive panel discussion of experts on legal questions pertaining to this issue as recommended in the report of Mr. Ben Emerson, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. The panel discussion will take place at the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva

to be held in September 2014. The resolution was adopted as a result of Pakistan Mission’s close coordination with like-minded States to sensitize the international community on this important legal matter at the United Nations, a press release issued by Foreign Office said. Pakistan has consistently raised the issue at all relevant international fora including the United Nations. In November, 2013 Pakistan had successfully included references on the use of drones in a UN General Assembly resolution that urged member states to comply with their obligations under international law. Other UN bodies where Pakistan has raised this concern include the UN Security Council, Committees of UN General Assembly dealing with disarmament and international security issues and Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons.

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India incapable of tackling two-front war with Pak, China

US President Barack Obama meeting with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim, Saudi Arabia, Friday. officials warned of a “major wants more American sup- viding assistance to the Syrshift” away from Washing- port for rebels. ian rebels, had improved. US Deputy National Seton after bitter disagree“That’s part of the reaments about its response to curity Adviser Ben Rhodes son why I think our relationthe “Arab spring” upris- said coordination with the ship with the Saudis is in a ings, and policy towards kingdom on Syria policy, stronger place today than it N EW D ELHI —The Indian Air Force has dropped a Iran and Syria, where Riyadh particularly regarding proContinued on Page 7 bomb with its alarming admission that it will be difficult for it to tackle a combined threat from China and Pakistan, raising questions about the country’s ability to fight a two-front war, said a report published in Hindustan Times. The IAF has told an InP E S H AWA R —The leaderdian Parliamentary panel that ship of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has Pakistan would certainly fish approved major changes in in troubled waters if China the sides. However, they had agreed to ex- the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were to launch offensive opTARIQ SAEED erations against India. It, tend the ceasefire at least during the course government. of talks. The decision was taken however, stressed that China P ESHAWAR — While the meeting between The government side is being repre- after the approval of party the Government committee and the Taliban negotiators scheduled to be held on Fri- sented by the seasoned bureaucrats and chief Imran Khan during a day, could not take place, the member of experts on tribal and Afghan affairs namely meeting of the PTI’s core Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negoti- Federal Secretary Ports and Shipping Habib committee two days earlier. ating committee Prof Ibrahim has said there Ullah Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Announcing the decision was no deadlock in the negotiation process FATA Arbab Arif, Rustam Shah Mohmand on Friday, KPK Informabetween the government and Taliban and and Fawad Hassan Fawad, an Additional tion Minister Shah Farman the fresh round of parleys could take place Secretary in PM secretariat. The Taliban said that Mushtaq Ghani, negotiators include known militant com- Qalandar Khan Lodhi, anytime. The two sides, it may be recalled had manders Qari Shakeel, former TTP spokes- Ikramullah Khan Gandapur met in Spin Thall Orakzai agency on man Maulana Azam Tariq, Maulvi Bashir and Ziaullah Afridi have ISLAMABAD—The Accountbeen inducted into the proWednesday and discussed host of issues and Maulvi Zakir. Talking to media persons in vincial cabinet and would ability Court of Islamabad on though they could not develop consensus Friday accepted the exempon a number of thorny issues with major Peshawar Friday Prof Ibrahim said that the be assigned the portfolios tion pleas Continued on Page 7 later. Provincial Agriculture being the release of prisoners from both for former Minister Shehram Khan prime ministers Yusuf Continued on Page 7 Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) corruption case. A judge of accountability court Muhammad Bashir heard the case pertaining to I SLAMABAD —The Execu- cluding resettlement, con- velopment & Reform, Water L AHORE —Punjab Assem- the OGRA multi-billion tive Committee of National struction of offices, colo- & Power, Finance, WAPDA bly secretary Rai Nawaz Economic Council (ECNEC) nies, project access roads and Government of KP to was sent on a one-month Friday approved Dasu Hy- and pre-construction activi- monitor the issues relating leave after his sons dro Power Project (Stage-I) ties. The stage I will be com- to land acquisition for en- thrashed a traffic warden at rationalized cost of pleted in a period of five suring propriety of the land for issuing them a ticket K A R A C H I —The negotiaRs.486,093.3 million with years. Once complete, Dasu cost. It was further decided for road violation. tion process between the FEC of Rs.218,547.5 million Power Project will generate that the Ministry of Water Rai Nawaz was initially to be located at District Up- electricity at a unit cost of and Power will confirm that removed from his post and Muttahida Qaumi Moveper Kohistan, Khyber Rs.2.14/kwh. The ECNEC NOC from the concerned made an officer on special ment (MQM) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Puktunkhwa. Dasu Hydro meeting was chaired by the EPA has been obtained. The ECNEC also ap- duty by Chief Minister has hit snags following Power Project is designed Federal Minister for FiShahbaz Sharif but later for 4320MW comprising of nance, Senator Mohammad proved 34.5MW Harpo Hy- Punjab Assembly Speaker confronting statements of Ishaq Dar at Prime dro Power Project at a modiPPP leaders. According to two stages i.e. Stage I and Rana Mohammad Iqbal Stage II (2160MW each) on Minister’s Office on Friday. fied cost of Rs.9.5 billion sent the official on one- sources, MQM is now The ECNEC also consti- with FEC of Rs.6.1 billion. Indus River. month leave following an mulling to determine pubThe Stage I of the pro- tuted a Committee compris- The location of the project inquiry conducted on the lic opinion whether it should join the Sindh govposed project envisages the ing representatives from is at Harpo Lungma, District speaker ’s behalf. ernment or not. construction of 2160MW Ministries of Planning, DeContinued on Page 7 Continued on Page 7 Former president and Dasu Hydro Power project and acquisition of land in-

No deadlock in Govt-Taliban negotiations: Ibrahim

KP govt okays reshuffle in cabinet

Rustam hopeful of Haider Gilani, Shahbaz Taseer release

may not pose “a collusive threat” if hostilities were to break out between India and Pakistan. Setting off alarm bells, a senior IAF officer informed the Parliamentary standing committee on defence that a “collusive threat” from China and Pakistan would be difficult to tackle but the air force was prepared for it. “We have made plans in case of contingency-III (two-front war),” he said, adding that India had upgraded its policy against China from dissuasion to deterrence.

OGRA scam case

Court grants exemptions to Gilani, Raja Ashraf

ECNEC approves Rs 495.5b Dasu, Harpo power projects Energy essential for socio-economic uplift: Dar

PA secretary suspended after sons thrash traffic warden

scam. Accepting the pleas, the court granted exemptions from appearance in the court to Yu u s u f Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. During the course of proceedings, main accused Tauqir Sadiq along with Jawad Jamil, Mansoor Muzaffar and Kamal Mari were produced before the court. Ex-

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MQM, PPP talks hit snags PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari, Governor Sindh Dr. Ishratul Ibad, Rehman Malik and Syed Owais Muzaffar played vital role during the negotiation process. MQM sources said that the PPP invited MQM thrice in last 10 days to join the Sindh government, but confronting statements from some PPP leaders have stalled the

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WB, ADB, JICA extend $950m loan to Pakistan for reforms in energy sector Under loan’s terms, feeders showing over 50% losses will be outsourced to private sector; Monitoring units to be set up in MoWP, MoPNR ALI SYED ISLAMABAD—The three international financial institutions (IFIs)—World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have extended $ 950 million as soft loan to Pakistan under the head of energy sector reforms and development policy. The loan has been given to Pakistan at the interest rate of just 2 percent for 25 years which

is also extendable for five more years. The WB has given to Pakistan $500 million, ADB $400 million and JICA $50 million. “We have signed the documents with the said three donor agencies along with the terms and conditions under which the whole power and oil and gas sector will be made efficient by introducing reforms,” a senior official at Ministry of Water and Power told Pakistan Observer. Pakistan has already cleared the huge circular debt of Rs480 billion and will have to take

measures to slow down or erase the emergence of new circular debt and for this the government will initiate some concrete measures under the loan agreement. Under the loan terms, the authorities concerned will be bound to outsource the loss making feeders of five electric power distribution companies (PSECO, MEPCO, HESCO and SEPCO). The feeders which are showing over 50 percent losses will be outsourced to private sector.

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The IAF currently operates 34 fighter squadrons, against a desirable 42. In a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the panel asked the IAF to scale up its capabilities by speeding up the acquisition of 126 French Rafale fighters, a deal worth Rs 120,000 crore. The panel flagged concerns about poor border infrastructure on the Indian side, at a time when China has ramped road, rail and air connectivity across the line of actual control (LAC).

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Key economic indicators showing modest improvement: IMF K ARACHI —The International Monetary Fund said Friday that Pakistan’s key economic indicators were showing modest improvement but warned militancy and crime could threaten growth and investment. The IMF warning came in its country report reviewing Pakistan’s performance under a $6.7 billion bailout loan package. The Pakistani government is in talks with the country’s Taliban faction to try to end the militants’ bloody seven-year insurgency, which has claimed thousands of lives. “For the fiscal year 2014-15, growth is forecast to accelerate to about 3.7 per cent, and will continue to accelerate in the medium term,” the report said. “Security conditions in Pakistan remain difficult with significant terrorist activity, as well as sectarian Continued on Page 7

Balochistan govt suspends 260 teachers OBSERVER REPORT Q UETTA —The Balochistan Education Department has suspended 260 teachers for not performing their duties well in different districts of the province. Secretary Education Balochistan, Ghulam Ali Baloch told edia on Friday that the suspended teachers belonged to Dera Bugti, Loralai and Pishin districts of the province. “160 teachers from Loralai district have been suspended,” Baloch said. He said the teachers remained absent from their

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Experts concerned over increasing rate of child, maternal deaths BAJAUR—Tribesmen and health experts on Friday showed concern over increasing rates of child and maternal deaths in the tribal areas and called upon the government and non-governmental organization to accelerate efforts for providing basic health facilities to the women and children of the agency. They were speaking at a day-long sensitization seminar on mother and child health, the first ever event of its kind organized by FATA, KP health programme in collaboration with USAID, here at Agency head quarter hospital. Large number of tribesmen, elders, political worker, religious scholars, female activists, senior officials of the administration, health department and representatives of world health organization and Unicef attend the seminar. They said that condition of existing health facilities in the agency was very poor and insufficient and it did not meet the need of population. They said that maternal mortality ratio in the agency had been increased for the last several years and currently Bajaur was on the top for its highest ratio of maternal mortality. Agency Surgeon Dr Zakir Hussain while speaking at the seminar pointed out QUETTA: Chief Minister of Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik awarding shield to a next of kin of a martyred journalist during that large number of women in the entire agency particularly in the remote and farMedia Day function at a local hotel. flung areas died during and following pregnancy and child birth due to lack of proper health care facilities.

Dacoits loot gold ornaments

MUZAFFARGARH—Unknown dacoits allegedly looted gold ornaments, cash, mobile phones and other valuables from a house at Mehmood Kot, some 25 km away from here on Thursday midnight. According to police, three unknown armed dacoit barged into house of Akhtar Farooq in the limits of Mehmood Kot police station on Thursday midnight and held the family hostage at gun point. They allegedly looted 4-tola gold ornaments, Rs 20,000 in cash, two mobile phones and other valuables from them and fled. On receiving information, police reached the spot and started investigation.—APP

Lack of access to skilled medical care during child birth, societal infrastructure, social barriers and lack of awareness are the major causes of increasing maternal mortality ratio in the Agency,” said Dr Hussain. He stressed the need of creating awareness among the people about family planning as it plays a key role in provision of reproductive health services in the agency. “As solid step to control increasing population is the need of the hour and this is the responsibility of every citizen particularly the elders, religious and political leaders to come forward and highlight the importance of family planning in their area as proper interval in children is vital for the durable development of agency,” he added. Notable religious scholars Maulana Mohammad Hanif and Maulana Ahmed Noor have highlighted the importance of family planning in Islam. In the seminar Dr Misal Khan Afridi Coordinator of Fata, KP health programme in Bajaur briefed the audience about the activities of this programme. He said that this USAID funded programme which recently launched in Bajaur was working in seven districts of Malakand Division and four tribal agencies of FATA. He said that the programme only focusing on mother and children health care facilities. He informed the participants that

through the programme 20 women from various remote and far-flung areas have been selected for an 18 months long basic training of maternity services and after completion of the training they would be capable to run maternity clinics in their areas. He added that reasonable stipend will be given to the trainees that would continue after six months of completion of their training and they would also provide free of cast equipment and medicines. Speaking on the occasion Additional Political Agent Tariq Khan said the government making its efforts to improve mother and children health care facilities in the agency. He admitted that population growth rate in agency remained very high during last few years and resultantly people in the region particularly women and children had been facing shortage of basic health facilities. He claimed that most of health care units and hospitals that had been destroyed during militancy had been reconstructed while several new health units in the remote and far flung areas would be established soon. He asked the nongovernmental organization to cooperate with the government for provision of basic and modern health facilities to the tribesmen as only government can’t provide basic health facilities to the people.—APP

ANF recovers Rs338m heroin, Seven involved in Air pollution kills 7m in 2012 power stealing charas, arrests 13 persons sent to jail I SLAMABAD —Air pollution contributed to breathe,” she added.

ISLAMABAD—Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) re- ered 440 gram of fine quality heroin tactfully

covered over 3 kilogram of heroin, 291 kg cha- concealed in cloth. The parcel was sent by ras, 1.5 kg methamphetamine and 10800 psy- Begum Noor r/o Sultanabad, Karachi and was chotropic tablets with arresting 13 drug peddlers. destined for cyprus. ANF Rawalpindi arrested Muhammad ANF conducted seven operations in the provinces of Punjab, KPK and Sindh, said a Mumtaz r/o Tramari Chowk, Islamabad and recovered 1.05 kg charas from his personal pospress release. ANF Peshawar road check team seized session, while he was traveling on a motorcycle truck registration No. TKA-723 and recovered registration No. BM-ICT-665. The accused was 280 kg charas, tactfully concealed in secret cavi- arrested near main gate of Benazir Bhutto Hosties of the vehicle and arrested two persons, pital, Murree Road, Rawalpindi. ANF Lahore arrested Sultan Muhammad r/ namely Lal Haider r/o Jamrud, Khyber Agency and Haji Haider r/o Jamrud, Khyber Agency o Peshawar and Muhammad Siddique r/o Qasur and recovered 2.40 kg charas from their personal have been arrested at the spot. ANF Karachi airport team arrested possession. The accused were arrested near Niazi Muhammad Shaban r/o Orangi Town, Karachi Bus Stand, Band Road, Lahore. ANF Lahore arrested Jan Sher r/o Khyber and recovered 3 kg heroin, 10800 psychotropic tablets and 1.50 kg methamphetamine from his Agency, Anwar Ali r/o Lahore and Shahzad Anjum r/o Lahore and recovered 6 kg charas hand baggage. The drugs were tactfully concealed in a trol- from their personal possession. ANF Lahore arrested three persons near ley bag. The accused was to travel from Karachi to Bangladesh by PIA flight No. PK-266. On Niazi Adda, Band Road, Lahore and recovered further investigation, his accomplice namely 1.2 kg of charas from their personal possesr/o Kamari, Karachi was also sion. FAISALABAD—A car mela will Naseer-Ud-Din Cases against all the accused persons have arrested near Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Karachi. be held at D-Ground under disANF Karachi intercepted a parcel at Fed- been registered in ANF Police Stations and furtrict government on April 6, said Ex office Shahrah-i-Faisal Karachi and recov- ther investigations are under process.—APP DCO Noorul Amin Mengal while addressing a press conference here Thursday.He said that Executive, performer, sports, rare, luxury cars will be placed in the Mela being organized first time in the history of city.MPAs Muhammad Nazaw Malik, Faqeer Hussain Dogar, Haji ABDUL KHALIQ QURESHI Hazara Bar has produced num- Mansehra, Battagram, Khalid Saeed, Director Lyallpur ber of stalwarts who are known Kohistan, and other areas also Museum Mian Attiq and others ABBOTTABAD—Justice Mian for their integrity and profes- attended with officials of diviwere also present on the occasion. Fasih-ul-Mulk, Chief Justice sional skill. sional administration. Muhammad Nawaz Malik Peshawar High Court has This he said while addressChief Justice paid rich will be chairman of the event. asked the young lawyers to ing a reception arranged by tributes to the lawyer’s comDCO said that all arrange- follow the footsteps of their Peshawar High Court Bar As- munity for their role in the ments have been finalized to elders who were an icon of the sociation Abbottabad Circuit restoration of judiciary and hold the event.—APP this noble profession as bench in the honour of outgo- said that nobody can suppress ing Chief Justice of Peshawar the voice of the masses who High court Mr. Justice Mian sacrifices their lives for the Fasih-ul-Mulk who is going to delivery of justice to the retire on April 7, 2014 here at crushed peoples. Bar Club the other Mr. Justice Fasih-ul-Mulk day.Meanwhile, the new nomi- told that recruitment of civil nated chief justice of Peshawar judges in the province will be High Court Mr. Justice Mazhar shortly started to fill the vacant Alam Khan Miankhel also at- seats in lower judiciary. He intended the reception along formed that 53 Kanal land has judges of Abbottabad Circuit been acquired for the judicial Bench Mr. Justice Waqar complex at Havelian and after Ahmed Seth and Justice completion of the initial reMrs.Irshad Qaiser. quirements of funds will be Officials of lower judiciary made available for the confrom Abbottabad, Haripur, struction of the complex.

Car mela on April 6

Lawyers’ role in restoration of judiciary hailed

PESHAWAR—Seven accused allegedly involved in power stealing by using direct hooks were sent to Central Jail Peshawar on judicial remand. The Pesco checking teams with collaboration of Police Station Peshawar, arrested seven more accused involved in power stealing by using direct hooks. They were produced before the PESCO’s Special Magistrate who sent them to Central Jail Peshawar on judicial remand. The accused include Hazrat Shah resident of Faqir Kali, Niaz Ali of Pajjagi Road, Shafa-Ud-din of Sharbat Qila, Zahoor of Tehkal Payan, Abdul Manan of Daman Afghani, Sajad of Ghari Hamza and Azirur-Rehman resident of Ghudi Kali. Similarly, the disconnection teams of Hangu division disconnected power supply to 21 villages due to non-payment of Rs 260million and removed 2710 direct hooks. Power supply from nine different categories distribution transformers were disconnected to village Doaba Hangu due to non payment of Rs.10million. PESCO management warned electricity stealers to stop power pilferage otherwise strict action would be taken against them.—APP

an estimated seven million deaths worldwide in 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The United Nations health agency said that polluted air is the cause of about one in eight deaths and has now become the single biggest environmental health risk, Press TV reported. Air pollution-related deaths are most commonly from heart disease, strokes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is also linked to deaths from lung cancer and acute respiratory infections, it added. Maria Neira, head of the WHO’s environmental and social public health department, warned against the risks from air pollution, saying they are now far greater than previously thought. “The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all

The body says developing and emerging countries in Southern Asia, South East Asia and East Asia are mostly affected, with 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths to outdoor air pollution in 2012. The WHO puts the blame on unsustainable policies in transport, energy and waste management sectors, as well as in industry. The UN health body has urged governments and health agencies to devise appropriate policies to reduce risks caused by air pollution, especially for vulnerable children and the elderly. Indoor pollution is mostly caused by cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves, while outdoor pollution is mainly due to transport, power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking.—APP

HYDERABAD: Relatives of Zohaib Qureshi addressing a press conference against non

arrest of his murderers. Rs150m released for Afridi for potable water development in F —The governFATA region ment has released Rs 150 milAISALABAD

lion for the provision of potable water in FDA City. A spokesman for Faisalabad Development Authority (FDA) said on Friday that work on the project had started and drinking water would be provided to the city within three months.—APP


Textile and Industries Senator Abbass Khan Afridi on Friday underlined the need for development and streamlining system in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He said that no attention was paid in the past for the progress and development of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region. Talking to Pakistan Television channel, he said that there is need to focus on the developmental projects in the area so that the people could take the country forward in a proper manner. He claimed that population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas is more than the province of Balochistan. Minister said that peace and progress in Federally Administered Tribal Areas would benefit the people living across the country. Abbass Khan Afridi vowed that all out efforts would be made to provide the FAISALABAD: Director Lyallpur Museum, Mian Attiq briefing MPA Khalid Saeed, MPA basic amenities of life to the Najma Afzal and DCO Noor ul Ameen Mengal about the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Museum masses living in this part of the region. after inaugurating it at Art Council.

Plan afoot to convert 30,000 hectares land into forests P ESHAWA R —Chief Conservator of Forests, Hasham Ali Khan said Friday that plan was afoot to convert 30,000 hectares land in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under forestry and vegetative cover every year under Green Growth Initiative (GGI) Programme to offset the growing effects of global warming and climatic change. As per the KP Government 5-year “Billion Trees Tsunami” GGI programme, the KP’s forest area would be enhanced from 20 percent to 22 percent by 2018 that would entail converting 30000 hectares additional land into forest every year through massive afforestation drive, he told APP. Likewise, enrichment plantation on 9000 hectares in deplete forests would be carried out every year. As many as 15.597 million saplings of different species would be sown in 2700 hectares land with an assistance of national building departments, general public and farmers in Spring PlanPESHAWAR: Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa offering Dua after inaugurating Provincial Headquarters of Rescue 1122 at Cantt.

Girl, mother of six abducted BASHIR AHMAD REHMANI HAFIZABAD—A young unmarried girl and a mother of six children were abducted from two different villages on Friday. According to police exmember district council Hafizabad Rai Muhammad Zaman alongwith eight accused armed with sophisticated firearms raided the house of Muhammad Imran s/o Abdul Razzaq in village Uddoki, tortured him (Imran) and other family members and forcibly abducted his sister Saba Batool and whisked away in two cars. A case was registered against Rai Zaman and eight others. However, neither the abductee has been recovered nor any accused has been arrested so far. According to another report Sheikh Muhammad Razzaq father of six children has abducted 45-year-old Khursheed Begum w/o Muhammad Yousaf, also mother of six children and lured her away. The police have registered a case. According to villagers accused had developed illicit relations with Khursheed Begum since long. Meanwhile, unidentified burglars have decamped with grocery items and cash and snatched away an Applied For bike from a minor boy at two different places. According to police source, unidentified burglars broken into the grocery store of Ghazanfar Abbas on Madhrianwala road and have made away with merchandise worth Rs. 82000/and cash amount of Rs. 15000/-.

Eradication of hunger, poverty a big challenge RAFIULLAH MANDOKHAIL Z HOB —“Eradication of hunger and poverty is a big challenge for our country, while livestock has contributed its due share in alleviating poverty in the under developed areas of Pakistan ”. This was stated by Provincial Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development Dr. Umer Babar, while chairing a meeting here in Zhob. Deputy Director Livestock Dr. Baha ul Haq Mandokhail, Deputy Director Sherani Dr. Juma Khan Babar, Dr. Masam, Dr. Musa Jan, Dr. Muhammad Mir and Dr. Abdul Razzaq were also present on the occasion. Deputy Director Dr. Baha ul Haq Mandokhail briefed the provincial secretary. Secretary said that purpose of his visit was to resolve the difficulties of livestock in the area and steps taken by the department could also be reviewed. He said. Provincial Secretary said that Livestock was an important sector of the rural economy that contributed about 60 per cent to the economy. Livestock and Dairy De-

velopment department was mobilizing all available resources to raise standard of living of local livestock owners and usefulness of the department. He said. Secretary Babar further said that livestock was the backbone of the economy of millions of people in Balochistan - was being set on modern lines and the provincial government mobilizing all resources to increase the productivity of livestock through interventions of modern technologies. In current fiscal year Rs. 0.5 billion allocated for different projects in various parts of the province. He added. Highlighting the importance of livestock he said, “Livestock is an important sub-sector of agriculture in the country. In Balochistan the sector has important status and 60% of population is associated with it, contributing more than 40% to the provincial economy”. Mr. Babar said. He added. The provincial secretary also visited dairy farm. He was flanked by Deputy Directors and veterinary staff.

Protestors baton charged MANSOOR PIRZADA G HOTKI —Police

baton charged villagers, who were protesting against a petroleum company in the late hours of Thursday, in Daharki. The villagers, including women and children of villages near to Qalu Buriro told to the media persons that the said Company has closed the road which was straight to their villages. They had been using the old road since last ten decades, they are now compelled to go via a new road which is totally unsafe and lengthy, said the protestors. Heavy contingent of police arrived on the scene and baton charged on the protesting villagers. Villagers protested and chanted slogans against the Mari Petroleum administration and demanded of opening of old road, if their demands will not meet they will accelerate the protest movement, threatened the villagers.

One killed, two injured in roof collapse

tation Campaign 2014 in KP, the Forests Chief maintained. He said spring plantation campaign was in progress across the province and a stock of 15.597 million fit plants were available to meet the set target. Forests on 18,000 hectares would be protected from grazing of livestock with an objective to supplement natural regeneration through active participation of the local community, farmer sand general public, Hasham Khan remarked. Two billion plants would be sown in next five years under the Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation programme, he said, adding these measures would help increase forest areas from existing 20 percent to 22 percent in next five years. He said 3.308 million saplings in Southern Circle, 7.401 million in Northern Forest Region-II Abbottabad and 4.888 million would be sown in Malakand Forest Region-III Swat. In addition to plantation over 5200 hect-

ares outside existing forests, 2700 hectares (6671.6 acres) land would be brought under plantation cover during ongoing Spring Season whereas walnut plants would be raised on 370 hectares. Focus is being made on plantation on canal and roads sides while plants would also been sown in graveyards in Cities to control environmental pollution. Industrial and business community, wood based and environmentally related industries, chambers of commerce and industries, private educational institutes, religious institutions, community based organizations, civil society organizations forest owners/right holders, farmers, NGOs and general public are being encouraged in afforstration campaign to combat the challenges of environmental pollution and global warming. He asked public and farmers to sow maximum plants as they can for their better future.—APP

Rain likely at isolated places of country

UoS holds Urdu conference

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Friday forecast rain-thunderstorm at isolated places of Malakand, Hazara, Islamabad, Rawalpindi Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. According to the synoptic situation, a westerly wave is affecting upper parts of the country and likely to move over Kashmir during next 18 hour. The weather would remain dry in most parts of the country during the next 24 hours. The lowest minimum temperatures recorded during the last 24 hours were Kalam 00 C. The highest maximum temperatures recorded were Mirpurkhas 37 C and Mithi 36 C. The minimum temperatures recorded in the other cities were Islamabad 12 C, Lahore 16 C, Karachi 24 C, Peshawar 13 C, Quetta 04 C, Skardu 06 C, Murree 03 C, Muzaffarabad 07 C, Gilgit 09 C, Faisalabad 17 C, Multan 16 C and Hyderabad 20 C. The chief amount of rainfall recorded during last 24 hours was Zhob 35 mm, Multan 16, Rawalpindi (Chaklala 08), Islamabad (Zeropoint, Saidpur 07, Golra, Bokra 06), Abbotabad, Quetta, Khuzdar 11, Shorkot 08, Risalpur, Chirat, SaiduSharif, Malamjabba 07, Kalam 06 and Parachinar 05 mm.—APP

MANDI BAHAUDDIN—University of Sargodha, Mandi Bahauddin Campus organised Urdu Conference on Friday at a local hotel. The purpose of the conference was to give awareness about the language and highlight its importance in linking people of the Indo Pak subcontinent with each other. Dr. Sahadit Saeed presided first session of the conference. Hussain Ahmed Paracha and Dr. Rahid Ahmed Khan were the chief guests on the occasion. Dr. Sahadat Saeed presided first session of the conference. Professor Rashid Misbah, Dr. Zia ul Hasan, Dr. Amjad Hussain, Waris Warriach and other prominent educationists were the speakers. They in their respective address raised awareness about Urdu language and said that it was heritage for us and it is our responsibility to protect and promote Urdu language. They said Urdu passed several historical stages and at every stage it adopted a new shape. They said it was a language that linked people of the subcontinent. It is product of local and invaders languages mix-up and as such it has a special characteristic to absorb other languages quickly. They said when people from different origins and areas live together under a flag of one state they form a nation and the language they commonly speak adopts status of a national language as well as their identification. It was strange all proceedings are conducted in English in our superior courts; they urged government to abandon this practice and direct superior courts to use Urdu language.

Parents, teachers urged to focus on students’ character building ABDULLAH MADNI T IMERGARA —Registrar, University of Malakand Sher

MULTAN—A roof of an old bahadar Khan urged parents and teachers of school to

HYDERABAD: Rangers personnel stand alert during protest by the members of Hindu community against attack on Kali Mata Mandir (Temple) by unknown persons at Site Area.

house caved in at Liaqatabad on old Shujabad Road which killed a youth and injured his father and a brother here on Friday. According to Rescue 1122 sources, 18-year-old Adeel was killed while his 60-year-old father Muhammad Aslam and 20year-old brother Tauqir were injured when the roof of their house collapsed in rain. The injured were shifted to Nishtar Medical Institute and later discharged.—APP

focus on character building of their children. Addressing a prize distribution ceremony as chief guest at the University Public School (UPS) Chakdara on Friday he said the nation needed educated citizen. He said education was the only means to progress, development and prosperity. He distributed certificates and trophies among position holder students of the school. Controller of examination, University of Malakand Muhammad Shahid Khan, Dean of sciences Prof Dr Rahmat Ali, Dean of Biological sciences Prof Dr Mir Azam, Dr Izzat Khan, parents, teachers and notables of the area were also present on the occasion. Meanwhile, central secretary information Awami National Party and ANP spokesperson, senator Zahid Khan on Friday inaugurated the Banda Talash water supply scheme to be built with the assistance of RAHA project with a total cost of Rs.12.7 million.


Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus Service

Towards an efficient society ATHAR ALI KHAN


N efficient transport system, which facilitates timely move ment of thousands of people to their work places in a hassle fee, smooth and honourable manner can rightly be considered as the backbone of the economy of a nation. No mega city of the world can expand, flourish, prosper and sustain without a suitable transport system. We are all witness to the well-organized transport system of the developed cities like London and New York and other cosmopolitan cities, which are used by millions of people daily for their dayto-day work. Governments in these countries know the significance of mass transit system and therefore invest heavily in this sector for easing transportation of the people. Realizing the importance of mass transit system, Government of the Punjab, under the stewardship of Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, kicked off work on the first ever bus rapid transit system of Pakistan in Lahore , the heart of Pakistan, in February 2012. At a cost of Rs. 29.8 billion, the project was executed in a record time of 11 months, the shortest possible duration for executing such projects. The system, later named as Metrobus System, is benefitting 150 thousand people daily in Lahore.

Encouraged by the success of the system in the provincial metropolis, the Punjab Government has decided to spread the fruits of progress to other cities if the province as well. Ground breaking ceremony of Metrobus system in RawalpindiIslamabad was performed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on the eve of Pakistan Day on March 23, 2014. Total length of the track will be 22.5 Kilometers and completion time of the project is 10 months. Rawalpindi and Islamabad are commonly called twin cities because of the location, geographical proximity, climate and other socio-economic and historical reasons. Heavy influx of people is witnessed every morning in these two cities as thousands of people daily travel between the two cities for jobs, education, business and for various other reasons. Since its very foundation, Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, has attracted people from all over Pakistan, making it one of the most cosmopolitan and urbanized cities of Pakistan and centre of economic and service activities which attract people from all over the country. The population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1961 to 1.30 million in 2012, making it the ninth largest city in the country. Adjacent to the Southern edge of Islamabad lies

the city of Rawalpindi. Being Headquarter of Rawalpindi Division and a close neighbour of the Federal Capital, Islamabad, the population of Rawalpindi City has rapidly increased

over the years. Murree Road is one of the busiest and most preferred link between the twin cities due to its shorter length and direct approach. During the last few years there has been an unprecedented increase in vehicular traffic in the city, especially along Murree Road, resulting in severe traffic congestion on this route. This congestion causes excessive delays, environmental pollution and associated socio-economic problems for the daily

commuters. Public transport is one of the major contributors in the traffic mix and the quality of service being provided is of poor standard. The greater Islamabad– Rawalpindi Metropolitan Area is the third largest conurbation in Pakistan with a population of over 4.5 million inhabitants. The Twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are growing at a rate of more than 4 percent per annum, indicating a higher than national growth due to significant migration. With present growth trends it is expected that the population would increase to 7.0 million in twenty years’ time.Since both cities have grown into each other, significant amount of commuting takes place between the two cities. Currently private transport is the major means of mobility between two cities comprising of Mazda, Toyota Hiace, and Suzuki vans plying on various routes within and between the two cities. There is no organized urban bus transport service operating in the city and

between cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Level of service offered by the minibuses is far below any acceptable standard.Traffic volumes of over 210,000 vehicles ply on three major corridors connecting both the cities carrying around 525,000 passengers. It is estimated that public transport demand of around 153,000 passengers is available on daily basis between the two cities. Interestingly this passenger demand is concentrated around a corridor which is of high density and strategically located to provide for reasonable patronage for a rapid transit system. Based on studies conducted by Government of Punjab and Capital Development Authority, the two governments (Federal & Provincial) joined hands to launch a Metro Bus project to connect the twin cities and alleviate the traffic congestion on this corridor. In a meeting held in Lahore on 19th January 2014, co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Minister of Punjab, it was decided that the project shall be funded on 50:50 sharing basis by the Federal Government & Government of the Punjab. As the Punjab Government has already completed successfully a similar Metro Bus project in Lahore, Prime Minister of Pakistan decided that the Provincial Government will execute this project through Rawalpindi Development Authority

(RDA) as the single executing agency for both parts of the project. It will work in close coordination with the Capital Development Authority for the Islamabad Part of the project. Punjab Metrobus Authority will control the operation & maintenance of the project after its completion. PMA will also coordinate with CDA at O&M stage of the project. The project will start from near Flashman Hotel on Mall Road Rawalpindi and follow the existing Murree Road upto Faizabad. It will then turn left into the federal territory and follow I.J.P. road upto 9th Avenue. Thereafter, it will turn right and follow the 9th Avenue in Islamabad then turn right on Jinnah Avenue upto the end of Blue Area. From Blue Area a connection to Secretariat stop will be provided through the open space behind parade ground. It will cross the Constitution Avenue and another couple of main roads through underpasses. However, the remaining length of this section is also designed on a lower level in an open Trench section keeping in view various security constraints. Total length of the track will be 22.5 Kilometers which will be constructed at a cost of Rs.44 billions. The length of 8.6 km of Metro Bus corridor in Rawalpindi area shall be elevated structure whereas about 14 km in Islamabad

Continued on Page 7

shall be at-grade but made signal-fre ing grade separations at various int

Get sons of former PM, Governor back


Response to airline tragedy


ESPITE optimism expressed by the two sides after their direct par leys about prospects of the peace process, inside reports suggest misgivings and presence of a wide gulf that may ultimate undermine the spirit with which the dialogue was initiated. There are reports of a kind of deadlock due to rigid stand adopted by the TTP over the question of release of non-combatants and accusations that the Government side was violating the ceasefire. The situation would become clear during the next few days as the ceasefire is expiring and it would be seen if the TTP extends it or not. TTP is reportedly making extension of the ceasefire conditional and is not willing to release even non-combatants while demanding of the Government to do so. As per reports, the issue of abduction and detention of three important personalities – Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani; Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Governor Salman Taseer and Ajmal Khan, elderly Vice Chancellor of Peshawar University was also taken up with Taliban but they took strange plea on the matter. They are reportedly demanding release of three of their fighters in exchange for non-combatant VC and are not agreeable to release the sons of the former PM and Governor on the ground that they belong to parties with which Taliban are at war with and therefore, cannot be categorized as non-combatants. Given this kind of approach, it would be really difficult to move forward towards successful culmination of dialogue. We believe that release of these high profile people should be one of the top agenda items of the talks from the Government side. No doubt, abduction and captivity of any individual is tragic and condemnable because of the humanitarian considerations, suffering of the individuals concerned and their families; however, the case of sons of the former PM and Governor deserves special attention as these offices are considered to be state symbols and their sanctity and respect has to be restored. One may differ with their policies and personal traits and activities but after all it is question of agonies of the families and those who have been abducted for no fault of theirs. They were not involved in antiTaliban activity and therefore, should be released without wastage of further time to create congenial atmosphere for talks to proceed ahead.

PPP’s stand on MQM’s Martial Law call P

PP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Thursday, apparently set con ditions for MQM’s joining of the Provincial government of Sindh, which has become a hot media topic these days. He told MQM that it will have to address PPP’s reservations regarding controversial statements of its chief in support of Martial Law and the breakup of Sindh. It is now for the MQM leadership to respond to the demands of the budding PPP leader, who is assuming prominence with the passage of time, making mature statements over national issues, barring, of course, some outbursts against leaders of other political parties. But the points raised by Bilawal indicate that the parties have now started to take principled stands on making and unmaking of alliances and coalitions, which should be the case in a genuine democracy. In the past, we saw cobbling together of coalitions for the sake of personal or party interests and as a consequence the system suffered immensely. It is because of this that despite remaining part of the coalition for five long years, PPP and MQM could not make a sincere embrace and parted ways. Now again, backdoor discussions are underway to pave way for a fresh alliance and the situation would become clear during the next few days despite public statements on the contrary made by some of the PPP and MQM leaders. We, however, firmly believe that the approach adopted by Bilawal is a step in the right direction as no coalition can survive for long if there are fundamental differences. The MQM is, of course, entitled to its own views on political and national issues but it is also true of other political parties and there should be no compromise over fundamental questions and issues. The controversial statement of MQM leader asking the Army to impose Martial Law has evoked strong reaction from overwhelming majority of people of Pakistan, who firmly believes that democracy is the only answer to the problems facing the country. If there are shortcomings in the system, it is duty of the political parties including MQM to help overcome them, rather than to plead for wrapping up of the system.

We wish UN were even handed T

HE UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a Western backed reso lution declaring Crimea’s breakaway referendum illegitimate and refusing to recognize Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. The resolution garnered 100 votes in favour, 11 against and 58 abstentions in the 193nation Assembly, despite Moscow’s aggressive lobbying. The passage of the resolution is a welcome development as it sends a strong message to Russia that the international community would not sanction its illegal step of annexing a part of a sovereign state. Though the referendum is being quoted as a justification for annexation of Crimea but the UN resolution highlights the hollowness of the annexation process. The resolution is non-binding and it would not yield any worthwhile impact on the posture of Moscow but it is surely expression of disapproval from the international community. However, its comfortable passage also raises other questions about conduct and policies of the Western world that has been pursuing double standards in international relations. Instant resolutions are passed and quick responses given whenever Western core interests are threatened but a one-eyed policy is followed when it comes to other issues and interests of weaker nations. What Americans did in Iraq and now doing in Afghanistan is no less a crime than Moscow has committed in Ukraine. Use of drone attacks in Pakistan or any other part of the world also constitutes grave violation of sovereignty of states but Washington is unmoved and continues with its unilateral approach. The policy of regime change is also nothing but naked interference and intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. We wish a fair evenhandedness on part of the world body while dealing with issues of similar nature happening anywhere in the globe.

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A dangerous liaison arrested from Rajasthan by the Delhi police, which claimed it had averted a terror attack in the ongoing Lok Sabha Mohammad Jamil poll campaign period. On Email: Sunday, Indian daily the ‘Hindustan Times’ carried yet another story FGHANISTAN and the US based on the story published in the seek Pakistan’s cooperation New York Times, which was in fact in bringing peace in the excerpts of the book written Carlotta war-ravaged country, and Pakistan Gall stating that the terror attack on has been doing all it could to fa- the Indian Embassy in Kabul in cilitate the peace process in Af- 2008 that left 58 people - including ghanistan. But Afghan National two top Indian officials killed and Directorate of Security (NDS), CIA over 140 injured, was sanctioned and RAW have unleashed propa- and monitored by senior officials of ganda campaign against Pakistan, Pakistan’s ISI. “It was sanctioned and they are working in tandem. and monitored by the most senior NDS feeds foreign missions and officials in Pakistani intelligence. media in Kabul, and continues to The bombing of the Indian embassy insinuate that ISI is involved in pro- in Kabul revealed the clearest evividing material support to Afghan dence of ISI complicity in its planTaliban. Indian media also contin- ning and execution”, were the exact ues with the onslaught. Recently, words of the author. What could be the idea behind two news of terror attack have made headlines in Indian media. digging the 2008 terror attack at this The first one: ‘Afghanistan alleges point in time? It could be an effort Pakistan link into attack on Kabul to cover up their pernicious designs Hotel’. On Sunday, Times of India against Pakistan. There is incontrocarried the news of attack on Kabul vertible evidence that India and Afhotel that left nine civilians dead ghanistan are providing financial including an AFP journalist. The and material support to Baloch SubNational Security Council, which Nationalists (BSN) for pursuing is chaired by President Hamid separatist agenda against Pakistan. Karzai, in a veiled reference to Pa- Presence of BSN’s leaders in Afkistan said the attack on the hotel ghanistan and their frequent visits was carried out was in fact the work to India are a case in point. Indoof foreign intelligence services. Af- Afghan sinister designs are detrighan leadership has often been lev- mental to the interest of Pakistan eling charges against Pakistan and where many forces are involved to destabilize the state. Last month, its intelligence agencies. The same day, Indian daily Balochistan home minister Sarfaraz ‘The Asian Age’ carried a story, Bugti in a local TV channel’s prowhat it said, about top Indian gram said: “Many missing persons Mujahideen’s (IM) terrorist Zia-ur- are in Afghanistan’s training camps Rehman alias Waqas, a Pakistani set up by Afghan intelligence agency national wanted for several bomb- to impart training Baloch insurings across India. It claimed that gents”. He added that Pakistan is not he along with his associates was epicenter of terrorism but the West,

News & Views


where dissident Sardars’ scions have found safe havens to operate through their proxies to destabilize Balochistan. In another interview with the AFP, he had blamed Indian RAW for supporting Baloch militant groups. CIA is involved in stirring crisis in Pakistan, but when Congressmen are involved in activities to the detriment of Pakistan, it is a matter of very serious concern. On 8th February 2012, the United States Committee on Foreign Affairs had convened a congressional meeting for an exclusive discussion on the gravity of situation in Balochistan. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Republican Dana Rohrabacher, held a session to discuss target killings and human rights situation in Balochistan, and termed it a matter requiring urgent attention. This provocative meddling of some half a dozen US congressmen in a matter strictly an internal affair of Pakistan is despicable and condemnable. There are three main groups supported by the aliens i.e. Brahmdagh Bugti, Dr. Allah Nazar and Javed Mengal. Some Baloch rebels have been provided safe havens in India, England while others in America to organize their movement for greater Balochistan. After Pakistan came into being on 14th August 1947, Afghanistan was the last country to recognize Pakistan because of its leadership’s perception that Pushtoons on both sides were inseparable. However, one of the fundamental reasons for strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been non-acceptance of Durand Line by the latter as an international border between the two countries. In this backdrop, attitude of present Afghan government is understandable. It is

worth mentioning that in NWFP (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) a referendum was held in July 1947 in which 289244 votes were cast in favour of the NWFP’s union with Pakistan and only 2,874 votes for union with India. Secondly, the world courts have universally upheld the binding bilateral agreements with or between colonial powers and are passed down to successor independent states, as was the case with most of Africa. A unilateral declaration by one party has no consequence and has no effect. President Hamid Karzai should stop accusing Pakistan of supporting the Taliban or blaming it for every act of terrorism in Afghanistan. He seems to be overwhelmed by concerns about his security after the new government would be installed after forthcoming elections. Secondly, the peace process is moving forward as desired by President Karzai. In fact, the situation will unfold after the NATO forces are withdrawn, as the opposition of the Northern Alliance conglomerate to any Taliban presence in an Afghan government is an open secret. The Northern Alliance conglomerate could accept some compromised Pakhtuns who have made fortunes out of the occupation to give a wider national character to a postwithdrawal regime, but they would not accept the Taliban in any event. Anyhow, Pakistan and Afghanistan should remember that despite differences and contradictions, they are bound with each other through religious, cultural, historical and economic ties over centuries. In view of the geopolitical situation and current world political scenario, it is imperative for the Muslim countries to develop strong economies through cooperation. —The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.

Closing eyes to realities terests of a few –mainly representing the feudal lords and the masses - and to people Ali Ashraf Khan not having narrow minded pretations of both Islam and secularism. This has brought us to a stage where a growHE 74th Pakistan Day after ing number of people are forced passing of the historic reso through unscrupulous media talks to lution in Lahore in 1940 has feel that we might have reached a been another occasion for our point of no return. people to muse about fate of the Spending my Pakistan day in the country, about what we have city of my birth and the home town achieved since 1947 and where we of our Prime Minister Lahore I saw have failed. Almost 67 years after a huge billboard sponsored by a Pakistan’s foundation and 13 years company expressing with amazing after the fateful jumping of Gen- openness what many of us feel and eral Musharraf into the US war in fear. It said: “Pakistan Day –expect Afghanistan many dreams have the best and fear for the worst”. How been shattered. A country where all have we ended up like this? MisMuslims – not only deobandis- management and bad governance would be able to order their lives started showing its colours immeaccording to the tenets of Islam diately after the debacle of East and where non-Muslims would en- Pakistan. It was at that time that we joy the protection of the state and in the Rotaract Club of Lahore had freedom of religious practice. The coined for the first time the phrase founder of the state Quaid-e Azam “Who lives, if Pakistan dies and Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his fa- who dies if Pakistan lives”. But mous speech of 11th August 1947 now such an outspoken comment had said that among others this: on the current situation when na“You are free; you are free to go tion is on a serious crossroad due to your temples, you are free to go to failure of leaders and aspersions to your mosques or to any other by Pakistanis who usually avoid place or worship in this State of straightforward opinions shows Pakistan. You may belong to any how desperate the people feel. religion or caste or creed — that The current government is still has nothing to do with the busi- trying to turn the car around that is ness of the State.” running towards the precipice. The Regardless if we interpret this talks with the Taliban are a last-ditch as a promotion for a so-called effort to save the country from over‘secular state’ as some insist or of all civil war in the face of what will an Islamic state as others want it to happen in Afghanistan later this year be understood – in both types of or from the next round onwards if states this could have been the case they don’t leave Afghanistan comif implemented in proper letter and pletely. The move of the West to rein spirit. But instead the state has tain power in this region after the been made a hostage to vested in- recent summersaults they faced in


Ukraine and Crimea. A split in European Union and US is bound to come as a result of this power play US started on EU crutches, which has rather given confidence to China and Russia in East and Germany in Europe to think first in their own national interest but we have not realized and prioritized ours. Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project here on Sunday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was optimistic about talks with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan that have been initiated by his government. He expressed this hope that if successful the peace achieved with TTP will restore peace in the country. But this seems to be a day dream only. The Prime Minister and his government fail to understand that even if peace talks with the Taliban are successful and some kind of arrangement with the Pashtun’s is reached this would not solve the problem of militancy that we are having in Pakistan. What we usually call ‘Punjabi Taliban’ is not Taliban at all. Actually they are Punjabi jihadist and their militancy is closely related to partition, Indo-Pak relations, to the resolution of Sir Creek, Siachin, to jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan and to an external fight that could not be fought officially by the Pakistan army but had to be fought by proxies that were created by the state for that purpose. This includes the army and the security institutions and the created proxies do have until today the support of those. The backlash of the jihadis coming back from jihad to their homes in Punjab, but also in Sindh and Baluchistan is what makes our cities, small towns and

villages all over the countries insecure. This also means that those jihadi elements will not be bound by any peace agreement that may come into power, that is point one. Point two is that the state is actually unable to negotiate peace with the jihadis because their supporters are sitting within the state, they are part of it. In such a case the government turns out to be in no position to solve the problem because it is part of the problem itself in the form of sympathizers everywhere in the administration, the political parties, the army, the Intelligence agencies, the police, the Frontier Constabulary... Best proof was the huge rally taking place in Lahore on Sunday and carrying proudly the posters of Khadim-e-Aala Punjab with no protest from the official side. This is a very bad news but it doesn’t help to close the eyes on it. To deal with this situation we will need much more time than the peace talks will take. No army operation can be of any help here. And it is not clear if we have that much time to sort things out. Only the other day Afghanistan government has alleged Pakistani intelligence agencies hand in Kabul Hotel attack, this has some hidden agenda behind it particularly coming at a time when PML (N) government is doing all that it can to win the hearts and minds of religious activists involved in present crises that has destroyed Pakistan’s total image abroad and we are facing threat of financial and economic collapse. God save Pakistan if we can’t. —The writer is Karachi-based senior columnist.

ROM the moment the Malaysian plane went miss ing, the government has been ham-handed in its dealings with grieving families and the global glare of attention. It delayed for hours saying anything after the plane first vanished, and over the next few weeks much of the information it disseminated was conflicting, wrong or misleading. Such a bizarre disaster would be difficult for any government to deal with, and a fair amount of uncertainty and confusion is expected. But the Malaysian government has shown signs of a deeper malaise that comes from a half century of rule without challenge or transparency. When the prime minister was about to make a statement recently, his spokesperson told reporters there would be no questions. According to Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations, writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, when reporters pressed for more access, the reply came back: “Go watch a movie.” Malaysia, ruled by the same governing coalition since independence, has enjoyed strong economic growth, and we had hopes before last year’s election that, if the vote was free and fair, the country would be on a path toward a more competitive democracy. Mr. Najib has taken steps toward modernization and reform, but the election fell short. Mr. Najib’s coalition won a majority of seats in Parliament largely through gerrymandered districts, while the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim won a popular majority and disputed the outcome. Clearly there is rising popular discontent with corruption, authoritarianism and ethnic favouritism of the ruling powers. It is especially disturbing that the government has renewed its politically motivated prosecution of Mr. Anwar on dubious charges of sodomy in order to sideline him from politics. On March 7, he was sentenced to five years in prison by a court, overturning a 2012 acquittal. The move had the effect of removing him from eligibility to run in an important by-election. The use of the sodomy charge is shameful and archaic, but as Graeme Reid of Human Rights Watch pointed out this month in Foreign Policy, if upheld, it could effectively remove Mr. Anwar from politics for 10?years. Malaysia should not tolerate this brazen manipulation. It is entirely premature to say what happened to the airplane. But it is not too early for Malaysia’s rulers to draw lessons from their unsteady performance of recent weeks and commit themselves to transparency and openness. Their alternative is not working. — The Washington Post *****

Myanmar’s population census


HE journey from decades of military rule to a status where the benefits of democracy are available to all can be one of selfdiscovery, especially for Myanmar’s military junta. The intention to conduct a population census is one step forward towards a fair society. The authorities must apply caution coupled with consideration. The population count must not serve to misrepresent the state’s Rohingya Muslim community who are being served as underprivileged and oppressed citizens in a country burning with civil strife. An insincere questionnaire will not present an exact picture to officials on who should benefit from education, health care, housing and transport, based on race and ethnicity, in what is a purported move towards a fair society. Myanmar must realise that the international community and human rights groups are watching their actions. It will affect their reputation among investors and their international standing. Yesterday’s violence in which Buddhist monks attacked the homes of aid workers who provided assistance to Muslim victims of sectarian violence in the Rakhine state is a case in point. The plight of the Rohingyas cannot be ignored. Their status must be legalised under the constitution. — Gulf News

Fine feathers make fine birds. —Proverb


Pak Resolution in the dock a democratic government as the model in mind, to be followed the newly established state. Akbar Jan Marwat by Unfortunately, as an dent state, military dictators, for more than half of our life, have ruled us directly. In interregHE Pakistan rResolution, num, when there where civilian govwhich was to latter become ernments, those civilian government the basis of Pakistan; our have been very weak and pliable; founding father delineated some car- and have generally been controlled dinal principles, to be followed after by the military from behind the the establishment of a new country scenes. It has to be pointed out that as is evident from the text of the reso- all military dictatorships in Pakistan lution. These cardinal principles were unmitigated disasters; preventwere: (a) Democracy as highlighted ing democracy from taking root. Thanks to the ingenuity of our by the majority principle; (b) provincial or state autonomy;(c) Safe- ruling classes, Pakistan succeeded, to guard of the rights of minorities; and compel a majority to secede from a (d) the establishment of a modern and minority, after the 1971 war with Inautonomous Muslim polity, where dia. The record of our federal govthe state or states would be sovereign. ernments against other federating Seventy-four years after the pas- units also left much to be desired. Resage of the Pakistan resolution, and peated Military operations were carsixty-seven years after the establish- ried out in Balochistan; and the due ment of our separate country; the ques- rights of the Baloch masses were detion, which begs an answer, is, how nied. Today, because of these overfar have we followed the basic prin- bearing policies of our various cenciples, that our founding fathers had tral governments, secessionist movelaid down for us? It would be instruc- ments are going on in Balochistan. A tive to briefly examine, as to how high degree of discontent, against the closely, we as an independent nation, federal government; is present in the have adhered to those cardinal prin- other two small provinces of Sindh ciple. Our founding fathers clearly had and KPK as well. In spite of miss


governance and venality, the Pakistan’s peoples party, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, introduced a legislation in favour of provincial autonomy through the fifteenth constitutional amendment. The credit of changing the colonial era name of NWFP, to Khyber Paktoon Khawa, also goes to PPP, and another left wing party, the ANP, which ruled the province at that time. Our founding father, especially Mr. Jinnah, was very cognizant of the rights of minorities. Being Genuinely concerned about the plight of the Muslim, who were to be inevitably left behind in India; Jinnah Sahib, wanted to ensure, that religious minorities in Pakistan, had all social, religious and economic rights available to them, as equal citizens of the new state. The situation, regarding treatment of our religious minorities today, is unfortunately, a far cry, from what Jinnah Sahib had envisioned. In today’s Pakistan policies of religious extremism and intolerance hold sway. Jinnah’s policies of tolerance and equality towards religious minorities, seems to have taken the back seat. After Punjab, the religious extremists have now turned their attention to the religiously liberal province of Sindh. Forced marriage with edu-

cated Hindu girls and then their conversion to Islam under duress seems to be on the rise. Finally, Jinnah’s concept of a modern and progressive Muslim state; has also it seems fallen by the way side. Rigid and reactionary interpretation of Islam, by our rightist religious political parties, seems to be in the ascendant. The incumbent right wing PML-N, government, in a display of cowardly abdications of state authority, is bent upon holding negotiations with a proscribed militant organization the TTP which as per its own claims, has killed or maimed more than fifty thousand civilians and Army men. In today’s reactionary society in Pakistan, religious political leaders have the audacity to call Taliban our brothers, and their war dead as Shaheeds. These bigots are not willing to give the same honour to our soldiers, who have achieved martyrdom in fighting against religious militants. Under these conditions, we as have to honestly decide, whether as a nation we have followed the path shown to us by our founding fathers; or have we gone astray. —The writer is author, citizen journalist and entrepreneur.

Crimea crisis: War of politics? M Omar Iftikhar


O know the motives behind Russia’s antagonistic behaviour against Crimea, it is important to look at the Crimea-Russia history, which dates back to the 1850s. Russia faced defeat in Crimea during the Crimea War (October 1853 – February 1856) by the hands of the alliance that included France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. Where their political history is just one facet of the conflict, the geography of Ukraine is perhaps one reason it is receiving Russia’s onslaught. The warm water naval base of Sevastopol, situated at Crimea’s southwest, owned by Russia under a lease agreement from Ukraine until 2047, is what may have fuelled the Crimean Crisis. The port also came under the limelight when Russia was accused of sending weapons, through Sevastopol, to Bashar al-Assad dur-

ing the Syrian crisis. Sevastopol is now part of Russia as a federal state, and hence, Ukraine has lost its strategic location to Russia. Although Russia shall own the port until 2047, NATO allies are in fact controlling the Black Sea coastline, which may also be a cause for Russia’s military showdown. Moreover, US and the European Union are viewing President Putin’s advancement into Crimea in light of the Budapest Agreement of 1994 or the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. One of the points mentioned in the Agreement states that, “Russia will respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.” US and the EU, who haven’t accepted the referendum nor Russia’s occupation of Crimea, have imposed sanctions on Russia. However, these sanctions are not fuelled by Crimea’s referendum, but are in fact directed at Russia’s bold move to send its forces into Crimea following the protests that compelled the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country. It is

also important to understand the factors behind Russia’s involvement in the Crimean Crisis. Although this issue seems to be of political in nature, in reality, it has its roots settled in Crimea’s geographical location. Russia – and almost every other developing or developed country – has its focus on capturing a key natural resource – gas. Tracing the gas pipelines moving from Russia into Europe, we see that they pass through Crimea and Ukraine. Following the referendum, Crimea seceded from Ukraine, joined Russia, and now has the liberty to privatize all assets that fall in its geographical borders – the same assets that, prior to the referendum, were controlled by Ukraine. Furthermore, Russia also had its focus on the Skifska gas field and it is interesting to observe Russia’s personal feud in crisis. ExxonMobil, a US based oil and gas corporation, recently won a bid, beating Russia’s LUKOIL, to control the region that houses the Skifska gas field. This indicates that the Cold War is still going on and will affect US-Russia ties

in the future. US, UK and the EU will have their concerns over Russia’s plans now that it has taken over Crimea. If The Kremlin’s aggressive strategies do fall into place, President Vladimir Putin just might make his way into Ukraine. The eastern part of Ukraine, home to proRussian population, will accept Russia’s hegemony. However, if Russia does take over Ukraine then two events will take place: first, Europe will lose its largest country to an arch nemesis and second, Russia will obviously tap into Ukraine’s energy resources. In the latter case, US will impose intense sanctions on Russia because of President Putin’s undue influence over Crimea and Ukraine. How will the Crimea-Russia-Ukraine situation affect the USRussia relation is yet to be seen. However, it is certain that the Cold War will continue, until there is a decisive winner. In this case, both countries cannot accept defeat. —The writer is a freelance columnist.

Views From Abroad

Obama mulling more aid to Syria David Ignatius


HE Obama administration, stung by reversals in Ukraine and Syria, appears to have decided to expand its covert program of training and assistance for the Syrian opposition, deepening US involvement in that brutal and stalemated civil war. This stepped-up assistance program is likely to be discussed during talks Friday between President Obama and Saudi King Abdullah. US endorsement of the program would tighten America’s links with Saudi Arabia after a period of noisy disagreement about Syria policy. But it also would complicate already tense relations with Russia and Iran, the two key backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Obama appears more comfortable with a covert approach than with direct military intervention, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another selling point is that the enhanced aid program would have a counter-terrorism focus. The United States would help train Free Syrian Army fighters to combat al-Qaeda extremists, even as the rebels launch guerrilla attacks against Assad’s army. Critics argue that an expanded training and assis-

tance program, first recommended by Obama’s top advisers in mid-2012, is long overdue — and that delays have allowed extremists and Assad’s forces to brutalize Syria. But Obama has been cautious about descending what he sees as a slippery slope. So far, despite pledges of support for the opposition, he has authorized only a limited program of covert training and mostly nonlethal assistance. He also recognizes the chequered history of such covert efforts, from the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to Nicaragua. Details of the plan were still being debated, but its likely outlines were described by knowledgeable officials: (a) Syrian opposition forces would be trained in camps in Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The number of Syrian opposition fighters who would receive training would roughly double, to about 600 per month. (b) The CIA would oversee training, expanding the program that it currently manages. The administration is still discussing whether US Special Operations forces and other military personnel should play a role. Syrian rebels have argued that Special Operations trainers would provide better help, without the CIA’s political baggage. (c) The rebels have been pleading for two years for antiaircraft missiles to stop Assad’s air

force, but Saudi Arabia wants US permission before delivering them. To reassure the United States, the opposition has proposed tight controls on these weapons, known as “MANPADS.” Only five missile launchers would initially be furnished. Each use of them is to be videoed, and each would be fitted with a tracking device and a remote shutdown mechanism. As of late, the administration still appeared to be weighing the issue. (d) Vetting of opposition forces would continue during and after the training. Recruits with extremist links supposedly would be weeded out as trainers learned their backgrounds. Saudi Arabia has agreed to exclude any fighters who have worked with three jihadist groups: Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. (e) The sometimes fractious “friends” of the Syrian opposition would, in theory, be united behind this program. Qatar, which in the past funneled aid to organizations known as the Islamic Front, support that later made its way to al-Qaeda extremists, has agreed to halt this assistance. Qatar has also offered to finance the combined program in its first year, which could run to hundreds of millions of dollars. Saudi Arabia, a sharp critic of Qatar, may resist this

donation. It is unclear what role would be played by Turkey, which has been accused of allowing Muslim extremists to operate across its border with Syria. (f) To stabilize what is today a badly fragmented Syria, the program would provide assistance for local councils and police in areas that have been cleared of Assad’s forces. The opposition has also requested specialized training to maintain border security. Finally, the program may seek to establish corridors for delivery of humanitarian assistance, though it is unclear how aggressively the United States and its allies would be prepared to protect these humanitarian zones. The expanded program would “send a clear message to the Assad regime that there is no military solution to the struggle,” according to a March memo to the White House from the opposition. Assad “has no incentive to talk” now, the memo argued, because he thinks he is winning. The rationale, bluntly stated, is that to reach an eventual diplomatic settlement in Syria, it is necessary now to escalate the conflict militarily. This has been a hard pill for Obama to swallow, but prodded by the Saudis, he seems to have reached that point. — Courtesy: The Washington Post

Speaking room..!


NE day I lay in my bed, tears flowing down my cheeks, “Speak to me God!” I whispered. “Look around Bob!” said a voice in my head, “Your room speaks in words loud and clear! Look up at your ceiling!” I cleared my eyes looked at my ceiling and from its loftiness heard a message, “Stop feeling low! Aim high! Walk tall!” “Wow!” I said, “and to think I’ve

never listened.” “And didn’t you hear the door when you walked in?” whispered same still voice. “No,” I said then stared hard at the door, till I heard a deep rumble, “Push hard enough and you’ll get through Bob!” “The clock is also speaking!” I said excitedly. “Every second, every second, every second, every second!” “What’s it trying to say?” I asked “Every second counts!” “This is cool!” I said. “You’ve taken the words from my mouth!” said voice above my head and as I looked up I heard the gentle whisper of the fan blades saying, “Be cool! Be cool!” “Do all rooms speak like this?” I asked “You just have to listen hard my son! Most of us don’t, we just throw

ourselves into bed in despair and close our ears to gentle advice all around, turn and look at the mirror Bob!” “You want me to look at myself?” “No listen to it!” I did and from looking glass heard mercurial voice whisper, “Always reflect before you act!” “That, has been my problem,” I whispered back, looking at the mirror, “hey I’m talking back to it!” “Of course you will!” chuckled the voice in my head, “You can argue with them, even throw a tantrum, but what they have to say doesn’t change a bit!” “Maybe I’m old fashioned!” I said, “and this room talking stuff is a little hard to believe!” “There’s someone on the wall who has to say something about that, look at your calen-

dar!” “Be up to date!” whispered the calendar to me. “Yes I will!” I said, “Yes I will!” I moved to the window and looked out, “Now look at the vastness outside and see how small your problems are Bob!” said same still voice as the window opened itself wider. “When you have a God perspective, your worries grow smaller!” “I smiled as I went back to my bed, listened hard and heard gentle voices speaking to me; words of wisdom! There were no tears in my eyes anymore, just gladness in my heart. Listen to your room dear reader; often the One above speaks through what we take most for granted..! —

Voice of the People Arabic paper in CSS ZAIN UL ABIDEEN Arabic paper of CSS, since 2011, has been a matter of concern for the aspirants who choose Arabic among the optional subjects. Sometime, it is designed partially out of course while other time it carries questions, which do not make clear sense. In the exam held in 2014, leaving out two questions, Arabic paper ‘B’ was totally out of course. According to the format of the paper, four questions are picked from the ‘prescribed poetry’ of pre-Islamic period and four Odes of Hassan bin Thabit but it was a deadly blow of visualizing failure to students when they saw that the poetry portion in paper was unseen and that they could solve only two questions of the whole paper. Omitting option of attempting paper in Urdu without prior notice was another problem for those students who, along the year, studied Arabic Literature in Urdu. To leave the examination hall within half time of the paper was the only option with the three thousand unfortunate aspirants who went for the subject. It is learnt from some sources that changes have been brought in the course of Arabic and that the paper of the last exam was from the newly designed course. The question is, why the new course is introduced in paper without prior announcement? Why students are crushed and daunted to appear in competitive exams? Who is responsible for playing havoc with the destiny of those students? The incessant violation of rules of FPSC envisions the institution as of no concern with her duties and the students’ future. Papers must be prepared from the course prescribed by FPSC and the institution must follow and implement its formulated rules strictly; otherwise Supreme Court has the authority to bring her on the right track. —Islamabad

Democracy is the only option FATIMA ISLAM Democracy in Pakistan has been a topic of debate for several years and yet there is little consensus on whether democracy or dictatorship is in the best interest of Pakistan. The question is how is democracy defined and whether Pakistan was ever a democratic State? This needs to be determined before arguing on which type of political system would be better for the country. First and foremost the prerequisite of democracy is free and fair elections but little evidence is found to support the argument that the electoral process in Pakistan is fair. Votes could be bought by political parties for as cheap as Rs 10. Another practice which is common in the elections is of rigging and it does not allow the votes to be cast in a proper manner. In Pakistan a major crux of the population and the political parties and leaders support a democratic system of government. Any attempts to harm democracy in the country are treated with strong resentment from both the ruling party and the Opposition. Despite all these facts it is believed that in Pakistan a democracy could never survive for long due to the incompetent people at the helm of affairs in the so called democratic system. There are various problems associated with Pakistani brand of democracy, which does not allow it to be a successful form of government like it has been in the neighbouring country, India. A major reason for the failure of democracy is the amount of institutional imbalance in the country. Since independence the military and intelligence agencies were organized and developed while the democratic and political institutions were weak and vulnerable. This imbalance has always fortified bureaucracy and dictatorial governance. Secondly there has always been problem with Pakistani politicians in reaching a consensus on various policy issues. When policy matters are continuously debated in the Parliament, it does not allow a democratic government to settle down and acts as a barrier for it to flourish. Moreover, the type of leaders and political parties also determines how successful a democracy would be. For years the same political parties have stayed in power with the same bunch of supporters. They follow their old policies and do not realize the fact that their policies should evolve and change with time. The reason for this is that the supporters continue supporting the party because of their affection for the founder of the party and they do not care about the fact whether the current leader is competent or not. There is no doubt that democracy is a generally acceptable

Commendable legislation ARSALAN ALI BUGTI


would like to draw your attention to the recent initiative taken by the Sindh Assembly in passing bills on healthcare and environment protection, respectively. This is a very positive step, which I hope will pave the way to more stringent environmental control, the need for which grows more urgent with the passage of time. At present, the damage being caused to the environment in Sindh, particularly in the urban areas has reached a horrific state of affairs. In addition, it needs to be ensured that these bills do not suffer the same fate, which other previous bills from the Sindh Assembly suffered, and were relegated to the dustbin of history. At present, Karachi releases 87% of its raw sewage into the sea, without any treatment. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, with the promulgation of this bill, things will change. Therefore, the implementation of the clauses in this bill, which include the formation of Sindh Environment Protection Agency, should be undertaken on a priority basis. —Via email way of going about the affairs of a country, however it is essential that the democracy fulfils the requirements of a true democracy which ensures complete freedom for people and fair elections bringing in honest and upright leadership. —Islamabad

No relief for employees in sight SRH HASHMI According to Sharafat Kazmi’s report of March 27, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has advised the government employees not to have high expectations from the upcoming fiscal budget 2014-15, which would mean that perhaps it was all right for them to have low expectations. However, in his written statement submitted to the National Assembly, the Finance Minister has stated categorically that there will be no increase in the salaries and pensions of state employees and pensions of the elderly retired government servants who dedicated the prime years of their lives to the state. I must say it would cause great hardship to those government employees who, through sheer honesty or lack of fair opportunities, are unable to raise substantial additional funds and do not resort to misusing of their official positions despite all odds. With the galloping inflation, just how are they expected to survive? I remember, even last year, the government initially ruled out any increase in salaries or pensions of government employees but was forced through protests to reverse the decision. Perhaps the Minister is using the same approach again thinking that with the announcement of a certain percentage increase, people may demand more but threatened with no increase at all. However, nothing is certain: this business-friendly government is no friend of the masses. If it was not so, how could it have the heart to give Rs. 320 billion worth of exemption from duties and taxes to businessmen in a short span of seven months, as reported in the press. And by the way, despite government servants’ minimum pension having been raised to Rs. 5,000, that of the Employees OldAge Benefits Institution (EOBI) which was supposed to be linked to government pensions, has remained at Rs. 3,600 since January 2012. We know governments have to cut down expenses wherever possible but in our situation of rampant corruption and revenue leakages, a better approach would be to prevent this revenue leakage and increase revenue generation instead of singling out vulnerable people for discriminatory treatment. —Karachi

Earth Hour ZULQARNAIN SEWAG In her collection of essays, ‘More in Anger’ published in 1958, Marya Manes said ‘the earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future’. The movement for Earth Hour was started in 2007 from Australia with primary aim to save the planet earth. Lights are switched off for an hour to harmonize with this event under the flag of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Due to greed of human beings countless species have been wiped out and uncountable are on the verge of extinction. Global warming has not only changed the biodiversity but the schedule and intensity of weathers and seasons as well. Pollution has stung the beauties of nature and has made the cosmos filthier. Progress on the cost of nature has resulted in floods, famines, cyclones, diseases, glaciers melting and tsunamis. What man calls progress is basically retrogress. Man has left no place in the name of invention and discovery. Result is obvious and immense. Earth Hour is not mere switching off lights once in a year for an hour and then using lights lavishly but it demands preserving biodiversity, protecting vulnerable species, safeguarding precious habitats, making the environment pollu-

tion free, cleaning the universe and maintaining natural ecosystem. The movement for Earth Hour can only succeed if the pollutant countries work impartially and sincerely for common interests disbanding their notional haughty grudges. Media can play an integral role in creating awareness and educating masses for loving and protecting nature. Human survival is directly linked with the preservation of nature. If we will abuse it, it will reciprocate in same way definitely, rather more rigorously. —Jhang

Poverty killing MADAD ALI KHOSO Poverty is one of the most gigantic problems across the globe. But unfortunately killing due to poverty is norm of the day in Pakistan. According to a survey report, the poverty rate in Pakistan has jumped from 23.5 percent to 37.5 percent in three years. Thousands of people in our country lack adequate access to clean drinking water, food, and clothes. It is an epitome of poverty in Pakistan that thousands of people have been dying of hunger, thirst and different ailments in Tharparkar. In wake of the rising inflation and unemployment, thousands of Pakistani are victim of poverty. People are committing suicides and murdering their own children due to dismal circumstances created by poverty. It is reported that seventy percent people in Pakistan live below the poverty line. An irony of fate is that on one hand MNAs, MPAs and Ministers in our country are leading fast living while poor people are dying of hunger and thirst. The need of the hour is that government should take suo motu notice of this to eliminate poverty from country. —Islamabad

Sui Gas hazards in Rawat SHAHZAD HUSSAIN BHATTI Provisioning of consistent Sui Gas to the resident of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) society, G.T. Road Rawat has become hard due to the negligence of the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL), engaged in the business of transmission and distribution of natural gas. Unfortunately, installation and functioning of 22 CNG stations in Rawat was approved, without following the relevant rules and regulations, as only one CNG station can be setup in an area of 02 kilometer radius.The residents of Atomic Colony and Police Colony are affected directly due to this dirty corruption. The SNGPL staff interlinked the domestic and commercial distribution lines due to which compressor of CNG stations suck gas available in domestic gas pipes. The residents of the said colony are compelled to use alternate source of energy like LPG cylinder etc which is much costly. Despite the closure of CNG stations on different days, the stoves of the households still remain dormant, while they regularly pay their SNGPL bills. The small children and toddlers are forced to go to school without breakfast due to unavailability of natural gas. The residents have demanded high ups to ensure timely supply of natural gas and separate domestic line of the PAEC and Police colonies. They are being agitated by the conduct of the SNGPL to come out for demonstrations and block the G. T. Road – the lifeline of the national economy. —Rawalpindi

DISCLAIMER THE articles, columns and letters are published on these pages in good faith. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.


South Korea proposes aid for North if it halts nuclear arms programme S EOUL —South Korean President Park conducting its third nuclear test. Geun-hye proposed a broad range of economic aid for impoverished North Korea on Friday if it agrees to give up its nuclear program. It was not immediately clear how the North would respond to the proposal, made in a speech in Dresden, Germany, but it has repeatedly rejected the idea of abandoning its nuclear program, which it says is a necessary deterrent against U.S. hostility. North and South Korea have been technically at war since the end of their 1950-53 civil conflict, as the fighting ended with a mere truce, not a treaty. North Korea threatened nuclear strikes against the South and the United States last year after the United Nations tightened sanctions against it for

Park said the two Koreas must put confrontation behind them and start the work of preparing for unification, and offered to help develop the North’s economy, agriculture and social infrastructure. “In order for these efforts for us to become one again to bear results at an early time, North Korea must go on the road to denuclearization,” Park said. She also offered to help the North join the international financial system and proposed the establishment of liaison offices on both sides to promote exchanges. Park’s proposal continues a series of policy initiatives by Park and her predecessor offering huge economic incentives in return for the North giving up its nuclear

ambitions. Five countries including the South and the United States in 2005 also struck a deal with the North to provide economic aid in return for an agreement to end its nuclear arms program, which Pyongyang has since torn up. On Thursday, the North ridiculed Park in scathing commentary for her comments at a nuclear security summit earlier in the week in The Hague where she spoke about the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation posed by North Korea. “Explicitly speaking about the nuclear issue, there may be the denuclearization of the whole Korean peninsula but no unilateral denuclearization by the north under any circumstances,” it said. “She had better not

even dream about it.” North Korea has accused the United States of maintaining nuclear weapons in South Korea and planning to invade the North, which Washington denies. North Korea’s economy is about a thirtieth of the size of industrial powerhouse South Korea and often has trouble feeding its people. Its missile launches and nuclear tests since 2006 have led to U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban arms trade and cut it off international financial system. In the latest rebuke of the North’s arms provocation, the U.N. Security Council condemned its ballistic missile launch this week as a violation of resolutions and said it would hold discussions on a response.—AP

Xi Jinping gets secret, sumptuous French menu PARIS—The menu will remain secret, but there’s no doubt that famed chef Alain Ducasse has concocted a sumptuous meal for the Chinese president as he wraps up his state visit to France in the Palace of Versailles. Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were invited to a private dinner with just President Francois Hollande on Thursday, after attending a concert at the Royal Opera at Versailles — chosen as a symbol of French culture. France launched a charm offensive for Xi’s visit, hoping for bigger business opportunities with China. About 50 commercial accords were signed worth an estimated total of 18 billion euros ($24.8 billion). The three-day visit, which prompted small protests and tangled Paris transport, celebrates the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China. “Welcome to France, Mr. president. You are here in a friendly country,” Hollande told his Chinese counterpart during a ceremony Thursday. He didn’t mention human rights or media freedom issues that activists hoped he would raise with the Chinese president. France’s Socialist leader praised the “spirit of adventure” of President Charles de Gaulle in 1964, when France broke with many Western allies and recognized Communist China’s government.—AP

Rajapaksa releases Indian fishermen after UN vote COLOMBO—Sri Lanka’s president ordered the release on Friday of 98 Indian fishermen detained for poaching as a “goodwill gesture” after New Delhi abstained in a vote on a U.N. resolution that approved an international inquiry into alleged war crimes on the island. India, Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner, backed two prior resolutions, but on Thursday unexpectedly took a neutral stand on the demand for a probe into actions by both Sri Lankan state forces and Tamil rebels during the 26-year conflict that ended in 2009. “The president ordered the release of all Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture,” Mohan Samaranayaka, a spokesman for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told Reuters. A total of 23 states voted in favour of the U.S.-led resolution, 12 against and 12 abstained. Among those who voted against were China and Pakistan, while India withheld its vote over concerns that the investigation would be “intrusive”. Sri Lanka says poaching and illegal fishing by Indian fishermen depletes the catches of its own fishermen. The arrests have caused friction with India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu and become a regional issue in campaigning for an Indian general election that starts on April 7.—AP

EU reform must be fair to non-euro members LONDON—Germany joined Britain on Thursday in calling for European Union reforms that are fair to (EU) countries outside the euro zone, bolstering British Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts to placate eurosceptics at home. In a joint editorial in the Financial Times, British and German finance ministers George Osborne and Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was important that EU countries outside the euro zone - like Britain - are not disadvantaged by deeper integration of the currency union. German support came as Cameron has been trying to satisfy powerful eurosceptic factions in his Conservative Party as well as voters defecting to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP). “Future EU reform and treaty change must include reform of the governance framework to put euro area integration on a sound legal basis, and guarantee fairness for those EU countries inside the single market but outside the single currency,” Osborne and Schaeuble wrote. Cameron has promised to negotiate sweeping changes to the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU and, if reelected next year, to hold a referendum by 2017 on whether Britain should stay in the 28-country bloc. “Making sure that the UK and other countries outside the euro remain on a level playing field is vitally important,” a spokeswoman for Cameron said. —Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping, centre left, and France’s Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault, leave after a meeting in Paris.

Brazil grows wary of Venezuela under Maduro, reduces support

Erdogan cancels election rallies to rest voice

ANKARA—Embattled Turkish Prime Minis- cording of top security officials discussing SAO PAULO—Brazil, Latin ter Tayyip Erdogan withdrew from election possible military action in Syria. America’s biggest economy and diplomatic power, has toned down its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro because of disappointment over how he is handling mounting economic problems and opposition-led street protests. The shift, while subtle, has deprived Maduro of some of the regional backing he wants at a time of food shortages, high inflation and political uncertainty in the OPEC nation. Broadly speaking, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff remains an ally of Maduro. While Rousseff is more moderate, both are part of a generation of leftist Latin American presidents who grew up opposing proWashington governments and believe they are united by a mission to help the poor. However, Rousseff has been increasingly disappointed by some of Maduro’s actions and has reined in the more enthusiastic support that characterized Brazil-Venezuela relations under his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, according to two officials close to Rousseff ’s government. Rousseff is worried the Venezuelan government’s repression of recent street protests, and Maduro’s refusal to hold genuine dialogue with opposition leaders, may make the political crisis worse over time, the officials said. Worsening turmoil could, in turn, endanger the sizeable interests of Brazilian companies in Venezuela.— Reuters

rallies on Friday to rest his voice, his office said, after weeks of campaigning marred by leaks and corruption allegations which he has cast as a plot to unseat him. Erdogan had difficulty speaking at rallies in southeastern Turkey on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s local elections, his hoarse voice drawing ridicule from his detractors and pledges of solidarity from his die-hard supporters. An official at Erdogan’s office said he would rest in Istanbul while Friday’s rallies in Konya and Kayseri go ahead, attended by ministers, MPs and municipality officials. The elections will be the first test at the ballot box for Erdogan’s AK Party since antigovernment demonstrations last summer and a graft scandal that erupted in December and has seen a steady stream of leaked recordings emerge on social media. Erdogan, who has delivered speeches at some 60 events around the country in recent weeks, denounced as “villainous” on Thursday the leaking on YouTube of a re-

The posting took what Erdogan has cast as a campaign against him by his political enemies to a higher level, impinging on a highly sensitive top-level meeting. Turkey’s telecoms authority (TIB) blocked access to YouTube after the leak, a week after barring Twitter over what it said were violations of privacy. Tech-savvy Turks quickly found ways around the Twitter ban, which stirred public outrage and international condemnation. “Now I know what he did with the Twitter bird. Erdogan swallowed it,” wrote one user as Erdogan addressed a rally in the eastern city of Van on Thursday, mocking the falsetto tones emanating from a man better known for his thunderous voice. Erdogan’s supporters had a different view of his affliction. “You sacrificed your voice for us, we sacrifice our life for you,” read the banner at a second rally in the city of Diyarbakir, where tens of thousands had gathered on Thursday.—AP

Judge cites lack of remorse, gives newlywed bride more than 30 years M ISSOULA —The defendant’s tears notwithstanding, a federal judge cited a lack of remorse as he sentenced a Montana woman to more than three decades in prison for pushing her newlywed husband to his death in Glacier National Park. Twenty-two-year-old Jordan Linn Graham took the stand Thursday during her sentencing hearing to offer a tearful apology to the family of Cody Johnson, 25, who died just eight days after their marriage last summer. But U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy appeared unmoved. Prosecutors had recommended a prison term of 50 years to life. They said Graham lured Johnson to the top of a 300-foot cliff in Glacier park on July 7 and pushed him over, then lied repeatedly to investigators in an attempt to cover up the crime. Outside the courthouse, Johnson’s mother,

Sherry Johnson, said she felt she could now go on with her life. “I do feel that I can move forward with this, yes,” she said. Sherry Johnson’s sister-in-law, Celeste Watson, said after the sentencing that the family still doesn’t know the truth about what happened. “But we have to accept what went on here today and move forward,” Watson said, according to the Missoulian. In December, as the case was being heard by a jury, Graham dropped her claims of innocence and pleaded guilty to seconddegree murder just before closing arguments in the trial. Prosecutors in return dropped a first-degree murder charge and a count of making a false statement. Before sentencing, Graham addressed the judge and assembled friends and family members.—AP

Forget the drama: A solution for Crimea ANATOLE KALETSKY


RESIDENT Vladimir Putin has miscalcu lated and Russia now faces deeper isolation, tougher sanctions and greater economic hardship than at any time since the Cold War. So declared President Obama after the NATO summit in Brussels. European leaders have sounded even tougher than Obama, though less specific. Some whose countries lie far from Russia — for example, British Prime Minister David Cameron — have whipped themselves into a fury reminiscent of King Lear: “I will do such things — what they are, yet I know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth.” For more specificity we must turn to pundits. Geopolitical experts have predicted global anarchy because of the violation of postwar borders; economists have warned of crippling trade wars as European financial sanctions collide with Russian energy counter-measures, and eminent financial analysts have argued that investors and businesses are dangerously under-pricing enormous geopolitical risks. Yet Putin seems unperturbed by these threats — and financial markets seem to agree with him. Since the Crimean referendum in mid-March, stock markets around the world have rebounded to almost their record highs, and the ruble and the Moscow stock exchange have been among the world’s strongest markets. Investors seem to have accepted the Russian annexation of Crimea as a fairly harmless fait accompli, with no major consequences for global prosperity or even for Europe. Markets do not always get politics right. But in this case there are persuasive reasons for putting more faith in the calm financial judgment than in dramatic headlines and belligerent political rhetoric. Putin and the markets are probably right because the Russian leader has already achieved all the main objectives he set himself after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich in Kiev. His initial objective was to punish Ukrainian nationalists and their Western allies for ousting Yanukovich by inflicting on Ukraine a serious geopolitical loss and military humiliation. This he has done spectacularly. More important, Putin has delivered to the Russian people their first territorial conquest since the 1940s. And not just any old territorial conquest — but one with historical and strategic importance, as well as sentimental and cultural resonance for every Russian who had dreamt of retiring in the Crimea, a region whose status in the old Soviet Union could be roughly equated to Florida or the Cote d’Azur. By annexing Crimea, with its spectacular scenery, beautiful resorts and balmy climate (at least by Russian standards), Putin has won enormous popularity with the Russian public. Perhaps most important, Putin’s rapid reaction put a stop to any potential political contagion — where the populist overthrow of a corrupt and authoritarian oligarch in Kiev might have metastasized into a revolutionary movement that could sweep across Eastern Europe all the way to Moscow. Just as the Arab Spring had swept across North Africa to Cairo. Not bad for a week’s work. Now, as he plans for the coming months and years, will Putin prefer to enjoy the fruits of his victory in Crimea? Or will he seek further confrontation with the West by trying to expand Russian territory even more or trying to reconstitute the old Soviet Union? Though nobody can be sure of the answer, the past behavior, not only of Putin but of most Russian leaders, has been primarily defensive. This makes the first option more likely — as long as the West and Ukraine do not seriously challenge the annexation of Crimea, which Putin must now regard as his greatest historic achievement and his guarantee of popularity and power. Since all Western leaders recognize that Crimea will not be recovered — and is not worth fighting for — there will soon be no point in seriously challenging Russia’s annexation, any more than the West challenges Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. Once Western pressures subside on Crimea, Russian threats to intervene in the rest of Ukraine will likely disappear. That, in turn, will mean no tightening of Western sanctions against Russia. For despite the belligerent tone of this week’s remarks from Obama and other Western leaders, their content was quite conciliatory. They all agreed that sanctions would be tightened only if Russia takes further action against Ukraine or other countries. If that doesn’t happen — and there is no reason to think it will — the current cosmetic sanctions could remain in place forever without causing any major inconvenience to either side. Once this stalemate is acknowledged, as it presumably will be after a few months of posturing, all sides in the conflict will have strong incentives to agree on a mutually satisfactory resolution. Putin will want to restore relations with the West. Ukraine will desperately want to restore Russian trade and avoid resentment among the Russianspeaking population. And the West will want Russian cooperation in stabilizing Ukraine — since Russian hostility would permanently cripple the Ukrainian economy, making it far too expensive for the European Union to support. Luckily, the main conditions of a mutually satisfactory deal are clear and have in fact been suggested by all sides at different times. It includes a new Ukrainian constitution with decentralized powers for the Russian-speaking regions, de facto, if not de jure; acquiescence in Russian control of Crimea, and agreement that Ukraine will not be economic ready or militarily eligible to join either the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union for at least a decade or two. Why, then, is almost nobody predicting such a conciliatory, negotiated resolution to the Ukraine crisis? The main reason is one I have often noted in this column, when discussing far more mundane battles over monetary and fiscal policy in Washington. Politicians, the media and even financial analysts often have vested interests in dramatizing confrontation — the media because battles are more interesting than negotiations; politicians because confrontations makes them seem tough; analysts because high drama justifies high pay. —Courtesy Reuters



URING the beginning of the 20th cen tury, the United States emerged as argu ably the most powerful nation. It speeded up the end of WWI, and was in the driving seat during WWII. Ironically, US didn’t want to be involved in these two wars. During WWI, many Americans were thanking the Atlantic for its separation from Europe during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, who was busy with internal affairs of his country. It wasn’t until 1917 when America went to the war after the sinking of the Motor Vessel, the Lusitania. But, after the end of WWI, US returned its focus on the home front with limited attention to the outside world. At the near end of Wilson’s presidency, the world wanted US to be part of the League of Nations, which US

didn’t want to join, even though America’s signature was in the Versailles Treaty (WWI Peace Treaty). When WWII broke out in 1938, US stood idle and as a matter of fact, it was so neutral that America was the main supplier of raw materials to Japan during the first years of the war. It was however Japan that dragged US into the war by attacking Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. At the end of WWII, the United Nations Organization (UN) was formed and New York City was chosen to be home of this newly formed organization which was formed to end all conflicts and prevent wars. US by now had become undisputedly the super power. In any conflict or a dispute in the world after that it was required to mediate or intervene. The world clearly saw the capability of US. The only country in the world that has a presence on the Seven Seas, US became the most

powerful country with a strong economy, thus adding burden on its governing administration too. In addition, the American home front is very demanding. One third of the world’s wealth is in US. But, is the world changing or is it the pressing need back home that US wants to do: Governing the inside and forgetting the outside? Simply put, US and the whole world can’t afford seeing the Red, White and Blue out of any political formula. In March 2012, I wrote an article in Arab News, “Syria — Where are the Americans?” And later on I had to write an article, “America: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” which was published on Jan. 26, 2013. I ask this question again: On Syria, where are the Americans after President Barack Obama drew a red line for Syria if it used chemical weapons against its own people? The answer is that

the Americans didn’t interfere in Syria to end the biggest atrocities in modern time. Instead, they went to Iran, the country which backed Bashar Assad and even provided him and his regime with all the financial and military aid. And this is how all the political rift started between Saudi Arabia and US. And this rift was not too secret. The whole world noticed. This is one reason why people around the world are watching the outcome of Barack Obama’s visit to the Kingdom when he holds talks with Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. President Obama’s visit is very important because the two countries have the capabilities to solve several issues. The visit will strengthen the bond between the two nations. The relation is based on strategic need with mutual understanding of each other’s interests. The visit comes amid regional and world turbu-

lent times. The situation in Syria is becoming unbearable, Iran intentions are not clear, Egypt is approaching a milestone in its way out of the Arab Spring and Libya is in chaos and most important is the issue of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Riyadh and Washington had in the past cooperated on many issues of global interest. The meeting between the two top leaders is expected to be candid and the visit is expected to find solutions to regional and international issues. The Saudis and Americans have differences on many issues, but, like every time both countries will be able to navigate around these issues and solve them. Saudis and Americans are known for their ability to adjust the sails if they can’t control the wind. And finally, in the past year, the world was following the Obama drive to modify or change the health care system. —Courtesy Arab News

Gulf security, Iran figure in Obama, Abdullah talks

Towards an efficient society From Page 3

From Page 1 was in the fall (autumn) when we had some tactical differences about our Syria policy,” he told reporters on Air Force One. Rhodes added that one of the main topics Obama and Abdullah would discuss would be how to empower the moderate opposition to counter Assad and isolate extremist groups. One area where Riyadh has long differed from Washington is in Obama’s reluctance to supply rebels with surface-toair missiles, sometimes known as MANPADS. The Washington Post reported on Friday that the US was ready to increase covert aid to Syrian rebels under a new plan which included training efforts by the CIA, and was considering supplying MANPADS. The White House has not closed the door to the possibility of such a move in the future, but an official said its position had not changed. Obama has shown himself wary of being drawn into another conflict in the Muslim world after working hard to end or reduce American military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, supplies less petroleum to the United States than in the past, safeguarding its energy output remains important to Washington, as does its cooperation in combating Al Qaida. Rhodes said Washington would not ignore Saudi concerns about Iranian action in the Middle East while it pursued a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme. “We’ll be making clear that even as we are pursuing the nuclear agreement with the Iranians, our concern about other Iranian behaviour in the region, its support for Al Assad, its support for Hezbollah, its destabilising actions in Yemen and the Gulf, that those concerns remain constant,” he said. The Saudi king was accompanied in the talks by Crown Prince Salman, Prince Muqrin, who was named second-in-line to rule on Thursday, and Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal. Powerful Interior Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef, who recently met top US officials in Washington to discuss Syria, was not present according to a list of participants supplied by US officials.

Key economic indicators showing violence and urban criminal activity, which could depress investment and growth.” The peace talks were a key campaign pledge for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before he was elected to office for a third time last year, but have so far made little progress. As well as the Taliban threat, Pakistan is also facing a rising tide of sectarian bloodshed mainly targeting minority Shia Muslims, and rampant criminal violence in the economic capital Karachi. The report was prepared

MQM, PPP talks hit snags From Page 1 talk process. Sources said that MQM had refrained from counter bashing on the directives of party head Altaf Hussain. They said statements from the PPP side showed they were under-pressure from within the party. PPP leader Rehman Malik has again reached Karachi to clear the air between both the parties. —INP

Balochistan From Page 1 duties for last few months and despite repeated warnings they were not coming to their schools to teach the students. “We have decided to ensure presence of teachers in government-run schools,” Baloch said. Balochistan is legging behind other provinces in terms of key social indicators and education is one of them. According to the Balochistan Education Department, there are more than 5000 ghost teachers and more than 3000 ghost schools across the province. “Our main effort is to remove concept of ghost teachers, once and for all,” Ghulam Ali Baloch stated. He said most of the government-run schools were closed in the aftermath of unrest in Balochistan’s troubled Dera Bugti district. The education department has put the female education ratio in Dera Bugti at only two per cent two years back.

KP govt okays reshuffle in cabinet From Page 1 Taraqai has been elevated to the position of a senior minister. Taraqi’s portfolio is yet to be announced but sources say he is likely to get the charge of the Communication and Works Department. The much expected change in portfolios of Health Minister Shaukat Yousafzai has also been approved and he has now been assigned the Ministry for Industries.—INP

From Page 1 after the IMF team met Pakistani finance minister Ishaq Dar and other officials in Dubai last month to discuss the economic performance, approval and release of the $550 million third instalment of the loan. The meeting was held outside Pakistan because of security worries, the fund said. The central State Bank of Pakistan spokesman Friday confirmed that $550 million had been transferred from the IMF to bring foreign exchange reserves $9.1

billion. The Washington-based lender also pointed to rising inflation in the current fiscal year. “Inflation is projected to hover around 10 per cent in the remainder of this fiscal year before easing to around 5-7 per cent in future years,” it said. Delays in implementing key reforms to address energy challenges, improve the business climate, broaden the tax base and improve tax administration, could also damage economic prospects, the report said.—AFP

PA secretary suspended after sons thrash From Page 1 According to police, the two brothers, both sons of PA secretary Rai Nawaz, allegedly tortured the warden when he fined them a day earlier in Lahore. Both the accused, Rai Mumtaz and Rai Najam, were arrested following the scuffle and were presented before a local court on Friday which released them on bail against sureties of Rs 50,000 each. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the

Punjab Assembly, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed of the Pakistan Tehrik-iInsaaf filed an adjournment motion in the provincial assembly against the chief minister’s move. The PTI leader was of the view that the chief minister was not authorised to remove the Punjab Assembly secretary and questioned about what kind of justice was being dispensed where a father had to bear the punishment for the deeds of his sons.

Rangers mix business with law and order From Back Page its own construction needs,” a Rangers official namely Ahsan Ali, who is deployed as a supervisor at this centre, told Pakistan Observer. “This is a land of KU and we (Rangers) are using it for running our construction material centre,” he said, adding that “We sell cement blocks, crush stones and sand.” “Not only this, we also provide our services in digging and demolishing of houses,” the supervisor said, adding that “We use sweet water of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KW&SB) in manufacturing of cement blocks.” “The blocks which are manufactured in the centre are used in construction of paramilitary force pickets and offices in the metropolis,” he said, adding that “We also sell all

types of construction material to general public for construction.” “Our material usually used in construction of bungalows and apartments because of high quality,” the supervisor said, adding that “We have hired private transporters to drop block, crush stones and sand at any place in the city.” “If Rangers need construction material, then they bring their mobile along and jawan worked as a mason for uploading and offloading the construction material,” he added. “I have no idea about any construction material centre of Rangers,” Pakistan Rangers Sindh Spokesman Major Sibtain said. “I don’t know any commercial business of the paramilitary force in the city,” he reiterated.

Prince Muqrin appointed From Page 1 He will become the next crown prince in case of vacancy or the next king if both the posts of crown prince and king are vacant at the same time, King Abdullah said in a royal order carried by the Saudi Press Agency. King Abdullah said that Prince Muqrin’s latest appointment could not be altered or replaced in any manner, reports Gulf News. The order said that more than three quarters of the members of the commission tasked with choos-

ing the rulers in Saudi Arabia have endorsed the nomination of Prince Muqrin as deputy crown prince. The youngest surviving son of King Abdul Aziz was last year appointed as the kingdom’s second deputy prime minister, a post that has historically made the incumbent second in line to become king. It was formerly held by late King Fahad, King Abdullah, late Crown Prince Sultan and late Crown Prince Nayef.

shall be at-grade but made signal-free by constructing grade separations at various intersections. Ten stations in the Rawalpindi Part and fourteen in the Islamabad Part are provided along the corridor. Functional elements at the stations include ticketing booths, concourse level passenger transfer, escalators, platform screen doors turnstiles for automatic fare collection and all other amenities for passenger convenience. A central ITS control room is also included in the project to control the whole operation of the Metro Bus system. Initially the provision of a 10 lane Underpass (2 Lanes for Metro Bus and 8 Lanes for mix traffic) along the 9th Avenue was proposed at Peshawar Morr intersection. Later on, in view of the traffic issues at Peshawar Morr intersection, ongoing Widening/Rehabilitation of Kashmir Highway and its link with new Islamabad Airport, it was decided to dovetail the Metro Bus corridor in the interchange already designed by CDA which will cost Rs. 6.75 Billion. The same will be simultaneously executed with Metro Bus Project.

No deadlock From Page 1 Taliban and government had not refused demands put forward by each side during direct talks held earlier this week. He, however, said that confidence would increase from both sides if exchange of prisoners takes place. Prof Ibrahim said that a meeting between the government and Taliban committee was scheduled for Friday but no contact had been made so far. Ibrahim said all out efforts would be made to make the ceasefire into permanent peace. In the meanwhile, Rustam Shah Mohmand, who has also served as Pakistan’s envoy to Afghanistan, hoped the government steps could lead to the release of the sons of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and late Punjab Governor Salman Taseer who are reportedly in the custody of Taliban. Rustam Shah disclosed that soon the officials would be informed of these steps which he sounded confident would yield positive results. The Taliban leadership, it may be recalled, had during talks with the government dialogues committee on Wednesday expressed its inability to set free the scions of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and slain Governor Salman Taseer though it has hinted at release of the former Vice Chancellor of Islamia University Peshawar, prof Ajmal Khan who has been in the Taliban’s custody for the last many years.

UN Council From Page 1 The adoption of this resolution underscores the success of Pakistan’s diplomacy in garnering international support for its principled position on the use of armed drones in violation of international law. This will further strengthen the country’s efforts to address the issue of drones, the release added.

Court grants exemptions From Page 1

pressing displeasure over the non-appearance of another accused Ziaur Rehman, the court ordered to produce him during next hearing or else arrest warrants will be issued. The counsel for Zia apprised the court that his client was undergoing treatment abroad, adding that he will return as soon as he recovers. The court ordered to present the medical certificate of the accused and adjourned the hearing till April 09.—INP

EC forms DVEC for drastic increase in voters’ turnout PO selected to represent media STAFF REPORTER K ARACHI —The Provincial Election Commission, Sindh had launched a programme for imparting education and awareness among the adult population for getting them enrolled in electoral system through enlistment in voters’ list. The Commission had in this regard, constituted a 20-member as ‘District Voters Education Committee (DVEC)’ for district central, which would function under the aegis of Regional Election Commissioner Karachi, Syed Nadeem Haider. Peoples from different walks of lives had been given due share for representing their particular segment of society that belonged to, and had named that forum, and A meeting of DVEC was held at the office of Regional Election Commissioner within the premise of office of the Deputy Commissioner, district Central Thursday. Stakeholders from different political parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan people’s Party attended. District Central Deputy Commissioner Dr Syed Saifur Rehman presided over the meeting while Sub-Division Gulberg Assistant Commissioner Syed Shujaat Hussain was also present. In his inaugural address, Regional Election Commissioner Karachi, Syed Nadeem Haider said that though the voters’ turnout in this past elections held in 2013 was improved as compared to elections held in 2008 from 42 percent to 60 percent but still this was not a limit to be declared as satisfac-

tory. The Election Commission had been striving enthusiastically for upgrading the voters’ inclination by educating them to realize the worth and potential of their participation in the electoral system. He said that the neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and India had successfully managed to motivate the people of these respective countries and the voters’ turnout had escalated up to 90 percent. Election Commission had an intention to raise the voters’ turnout from that 60 percent of 2013 up to 90 percent for which various programmes had been launched and the formation of DVEC was one of its salient programmes wherein the representatives of civil society had for the first time been taken on board. These representatives from different walks of life had volunteered them for playing their pivotal role in educating the masses about the worth and potential of the power of their ballot. The Regional Election Commissioner Karachi said that the International Forum for Electoral System (IFES) had since past 5 years been assisting the Election Commission in its strenuous efforts for promoting the electoral culture with heightened turnout of the voters in elections. The IFES would also be assisting the Election Commission in future while providing technical know-how to the people involved in the promotion of voters’ turnout. He also said that as the Supreme Court of Pakistan had given a date for conduction of local body polls, the Election Commission would present well-established election booths,

which would facilitate the voters to take part in the electoral system with ease and comfort. While speaking on the occasion, District Central Deputy Commissioner Dr Syed Saifur Rehman said that he would personally monitor the progress of the DVEC and would be available for any assistance in this regard. He said that it was a tradition in past to commence activities pertaining to conduction of elections but this time the Election Commission had started its working years before next conduction of elections. The formation and onward working of the DVEC would help raise the voters’ turnout and it would be witnessed in forthcoming local body elections in November 2014. He said that it was the collective responsibility of entire civil society to play their role with respect to raising the voters’ turnout and should in particular focus on spatial settlements with respect to imparting education about democratic system of balloting as women in slums were half restricted to have their say in elections. Speaking on the occasion, MQM member provincial assembly Rehan Zafar appreciated the Election Commission for forming the DVEC. He said that MQM had vigorously been motivating the youth for their enlistment in voters’ lists and had diligently raised the largest number of youth as Parliamentarians. It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan Observer had been selected as member of the DVEC with regard to media representation.

WB, ADB, JICA extend $950m loan From Page 1 Under the loan Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA) will be detached from the National Transmission Dispatch Company (NTDC). All the discos will be bound to show on their websites the operational information showing how much electricity the said Disco is getting from Gencos (electric generation companies). They will also be bound to show on the websites the daily payments to Gencos. The distribution companies will also be showing in their respective websites the details about the subsidy the government is extending, with data sowing the recovery against the electricity bills in their respective jurisdiction. This whole exercise will expose how much the discos are efficient or inefficient and the consumers will also be able to know about the efficiency

level of their discos. Apart from it, the monitoring units will be established both in Ministry of Water and Power (MoWP) and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MoPNR) and the said units will be assigned to provide the quarterly report to the economic coordination committee (ECC) where in the progress on energy sector reforms will be examined. Under the loan covenants, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources will be bound to display the model petroleum concession agreements and Ogra will come up with notification of three prices to enable producers to start developing new incremental gas production under the petroleum policy.

ECNEC approves Rs 495.5b From Page 1 Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan and the executing agency will be Water and Power Development Authority. It will be completed in four years. The AFD of France and Kfw of Germany will finance the project through a loan of 70 million Euros. The additional cost will be met from WAPDA’s own resources. The project cost includes construction of 132KV double circuit transmission lines from project site to Skardu. The Finance Minister, on the occasion, said that energy is an essential ingredients for socio-eco-

nomic development and economic growth. He said that hydro power is low cost, environment friendly source of electricity. He added that the government, in line with the vision of PML-N leadership, will make use of the potential of the natural resources of the country for the benefit of the people. The meeting was attended by Kh. Mohammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power, Mr. Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Mr.

Relief in POL prices from April 1 From Page 1 per liter, HOBC (high octane blending component) by Rs 4.66 per liter, LDO (light diesel oil) Rs5.16 per liter, and high speed diesel (HSD) by Rs 2.16 per liter. The Ogra has recommended the decline in price of kerosene oil by Rs 5.61 per liter. The Ogra has worked out the decline in the price of high speed diesel (HSD) by Rs 2.16 per liter by include Re0.18 per liter which the ECC has approved as the crude transportation cost on HSD to the PakArab Refinery Company (Parco). In case the finance ministry accpets the recommendations worked out by Ogra, the new price of petrol will stand at Rs 108.31 per liter from April 1, HOBC Rs136.57 per liter, kerosene oil Rs101.15 per liter, high speed diesel (HSD) Rs113.85, light diesel oil (LDO) Rs 95.06 per liter. The government is under pressure to ensure the relief to masses because of the reduction in oil prices in glo-

bal market and depreciation of dollar against Pakistan Rupee and to this effect Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has time and again promised that the relief will be passed to the masses.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Development, Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Minister for Industries & Production, Ms. Anusha Rehman, Minister of State for Information Technology, Mr. Jam Kamal Khan, MOS Petroleum, Mr. Mohammad Zubair, Chairman Privatization Commission, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Advisor to CM Sindh on Finance, Federal Secretaries and senior officials of the federal and provincial governments.—INP

India incapable From Page 1 The panel warned that the pace of China’s military modernisation and infrastructure development had affected the “strategic balance” between the two countries.—INP

Jilani meets Rep Viclosky WASHINGTON DC—Pakistan Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani called on Rep. Peter Visclosky (D- Indiana), Ranking Member Defence Subcommittee of House Appropriations Committee Friday at the Capitol Hill. A range of issues in bilateral relations came up for discussion. Ambassador Jilani also briefed Rep. Visclosky on domestic and regional developments. The meeting was characterized with cordiality with a mutual desire to further strengthen bilateral partnership. Congressman Visclosky visited Pakistan in February and had meetings with the leadership. —PR

‘Unbelievable’ US pressure led to UN resolution, Lanka says COLOMBO—Sri

Lanka on Friday blamed “unbelievable” US pressure on member states that led to the UN adopting a resolution censuring Colombo on its human rights record after a vote at the UNHRC session. “The intensity of the pressure was unbelievable. Countries were told that heads of state of countries which sponsored the resolution would be making official visits. Those visits will be in danger unless they supported the US,” Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister, G L Peiris said. Peiris said the US was using the defence agreements the member countries had signed with them for protection against attacks from other countries.

10-year-old girl raped LAHORE—A ten year old girl was allegedly raped in Mustafa Town here on Friday triggering protest demonstration by her relatives. According to police sources, two persons took the girl to a nearby factory and raped her. Local people recovered the affected girl from a room of the factory. Police reached the spot and arrested two accused workers of the factory from the spot.

“There were financial arrangements (between US and them). They were even asked, are you a friend or not?” he said. The US-moved resolution, which called for an international probe into alleged war crimes during the civil war that ended in 2009, was adopted with a 23-12 vote with 12 abstentions, including India, in the 47-member UN Human Rights Council at Geneva yesterday. “India for example, they had voted in favour of the US both in 2012 and 2013. They departed from that course of action this time. This is a very significant development,” Peiris said, adding that he saw a clear division that favoured Sri

Lanka.India said the resolution imposed an “intrusive approach” of international probe mechanism which was counterproductive apart from being “inconsistent and impractical”. Some of the leading nations too had abstained such as Japan. Saudi Arabia and UAE voted against the resolution while Australia and New Zealand both refused to co-sponsor the resolution, Peiris stressed. He said the government’s position was there should not have been a debate at all. “This has shown that countries have to conform to the will of the powerful countries. Sri Lanka had the courage to stand up,” he said.—Online

Bilawal urges arrest of culprits STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—Pakistan

People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while taking serious notice of attack on a Hindu temple in Hyderabad directed Sindh Government to immediately initiate investigation into the sad incident. PPP would ensure full security of places of worship of minority and any discriminatory treatment would not be tolerated. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari asked Sindh Chief Minister to take measures for the arrest of the perpetrators.

Rangers mix business with law and order AAMIR MAJEED K ARACHI —The Pakistan Rangers were deployed in the strife-torn metropolis to maintain law and order, but the paramilitary force has engaged in running its own construction business, it was learnt on Thursday. However, Rangers officials clearly disown involvement of paramilitary

force in any private business. Investigation into affairs of Pakistan Rangers have disclosed that the paramilitary force is running business of construction material in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Sohrab Goth. In Gulshan-e-Iqbal, the Rangers construction material centre is located at back side of Sheikh Zaid Islamic Research Centre (SZIRC) while at Sohrab Goth; the

paramilitary force centre of construction material is situated at Tool Plaza. It was revealed that the Rangers had established these two centres to cater its own construction needs but later they have started selling it in the open market. It was also disclosed that Rangers personnel are deployed at these centres and they worked as a mason in

manufacturing of cement blocks which are used in construction of houses. To establish this fact, this scribe visited Rangers construction material centre in Gulshan-e-Iqbal in guise of a buyer. It was situated at backside of SZIRC and on the land of University of Karachi (KU). A large number of cement blocks and huge quantity of sand and crush stones were

seen in open plot of area approximately 5000 square yard. It was also disclosed that the paramilitary force is using water connection of KU in manufacturing of cement blocks. “Rangers has established this centre namely Karachi Block Works (KBW) in 1994 to cater

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MQM suspends Saleem Shahzad party membership OBSERVER REPORT L ONDON —The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has suspended basic membership of its leader Saleem Shahzad for violation of discipline on Friday. His membership has been suspended for indefinite period. The MQM said in a statement it has noth-

Raza Rumi fired at in Lahore, driver killed OBSERVER REPORT L AHORE —Unknown gunmen on Friday opened fire on famous political commentator and journalist Raza Rumi’s car, killing his driver. “Was fired at near Raja Market. My driver is wounded. I was dreading this day,” Raza Rumi posted this message on Twitter. According to reports, the driver was injured in the armed attack and succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid on Friday strongly condemned the firing on the vehicle of senior journalist/anchor Raza Roomi. The minister expressed his heartfelt condolence over the sad demise of the driver, who was killed in the incident. He prayed to Allah Almighty to rest his soul in eternal peace and grant courage to his family to bear the loss with fortitude. He also prayed for early recovery of injured Raza Roomi.

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ing to do with the business dealings of Saleem Shahzad. Meanwhile, talking to media Shahzad said he will soon make revelations to expose ‘corrupt mafia’ within the MQM. He said he would expose corrupt elements who have hijacked the party to make money.

Smoking bans cut premature births and child asthma attacks


ANNING smoking in public places has helped to cut premature births by 10 per cent, according to new research from the United States and Europe. A study in The Lancet medical journal found that while the impact of anti-smoking laws varies between countries, the overall effect on child health around the world is positive. “Our research shows that smoking bans are an effective way to protect the health of our children,” said Jasper Been of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, who led the study. He said the findings should help to accelerate the introduction of anti-smoking legislation in cities, countries and districts which have yet to do so. Laws banning smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants, offices and other workplaces have already been proven in previous studies to protect adults from the health threats associated with passive smoking. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 nonsmokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke. By 2030, if current trends continue, it predicts tobacco’s

death toll could be 8 million people a year. Only 16 percent of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 40 percent children worldwide are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, the WHO says. Public health experts hope that as more and more countries in Europe and around the world adopt stricter legislation on smoking in public places, the health benefits will swiftly start to become evident. Friday’s research in The Lancet, which analyzed data on more than 2.5 million births and almost 250,000 hospital attendances for asthma attacks, was the first comprehensive study to look at how anti-smoking laws affect children’s health. With results from five North American studies of local bans and six European studies on national bans, it found rates of both pre-term births and hospital attendance for asthma fell by 10 percent within a year of smoke-free laws coming into effect. “Together with the known health benefits in adults, our study provides clear evidence that smoking bans have considerable public health benefits for perinatal and child health,” said Been. He said it also provided “strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level.”

Umbrellas are in great demand in twin cities these days due to constant rains.

Change of Capital’s top police officers

Lawyers refuse to call off strike, demand ‘do more’ ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—In spite of the removal of the top police officers of the city, which was a persistent demand of the lawyer community in the wake of March 3 deadly at-tack on District courts, lawyers of the District and High Courts have refused to call off hunger strike as well as weekly boycott of the courts. On Friday, which is the boycott day, no court work was done and a large number of lawyers joined the hunger strike camp in the parking of the District Courts in F-8/4. Talking to Pakistan Observer a number of lawyers expressed their dismay at the government’s lackluster response to their demands. “Removal of IG and SSP was one of our five demands,” said Naseer Kiani President of the District Bar. It may be mentioned here that some three weeks after the terrorist bomb and gun attack on the district courts, two top officers of the Islamabad police were shown the door on Wednesday. Inspector General of Police (IGP)

Sikandar Hayat and Senior Superintendent of Police (Operation) Dr Mohammad Rizwan were directed by the Ministry of Interior to report to the Establishment Division. They have not yet been given any post. According to sources in Establishment Division, the government is sending Dr Rizwan back to Punjab while Sikandar Hayat’ fate is hanging in balance. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Khalid Khattak and Assistant Inspector General of Police Dr Sultan Azam Temuri were given the additional charges of the IGP and the SSP (operation), respectively. According to Naseer Kiani four points still remain unaddressed. Elaborating fur-ther, he said one of their main demands was construction of District Courts complex and shifting of the district courts there. At present the courts are working in rented building. Another point was action and lodging of FIR against the officials of the District Administration and Police who could not come to the rescue of the lawyers and general public, he

Plastic bags, disposable cups banned in colleges R AWALPINDI —Ban has been imposed on use of plastic shopping bags and disposable glasses and cups in all the government colleges of Rawalpindi division. The ban has been slapped under the directives of government of Punjab whereby it has been warned that the principal of the respective college will be held responsible if shopping bags and disposable glasses and cups are used. Sources said that Punjab government was informed by the health department that use of disposable glass in the colleges have led to accelerate inflow of mosquitoes and other sects in the colleges. Government of Punjab on the basis of this report has banned use of shopping bags and disposable glasses in the colleges particularly in girls’ colleges in the province. —Online

Ambassador of Iraq Dr Rushdi Al-Ani with Pakistan’s Ambassador designate to Iraq Muhammad Iftikhar Anjum, Ambassador of Bosnia Nedim Makarevic, Ambassador of Bahrain Mohamed Ebrahim Mohamed, Ambassador of Nepal Bharat Raj Paudyal,Ambassador of Tajikistan Sherali Jononov, High Commissioner of India TCA Raghawan, Ambassador of Qatar Sayar Abdul Rehman Al Mawadah, PML (N) Leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Ambassador of Yemen Abdo Ali Abdul Rahman Al-Shawafi, Ambassador of the State of Palestine Walid A M Abu Ali, Ambassador of Algeria Dr Ahmad Benflis and Ambassador of Lebanon Mona Eltannnir during a dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Iraq in honor of Pakistan’s Ambassador designate to Iraq.—PO photo by Sultan Bashir

Efforts to stop availability of sub-standard food SHARAFAT KAZMI ISLAMABAD—Acting in accordance with directions of Member Administration CDA Mr. Amir Ali Ahmed, Directorate of Health Services (DHS) is vigorously active to eliminate the availability of sub-standard, adulterated and un-hygienic food stuff from the Capital City. Directorate of Health Services has been carrying on its successful campaign against sub-standard and un-hygienic eatables in the city for quite some time. In line with the directions of Member Administration strong and on the spot action as per law is taken against

the violators of the principles of public health and the relevant laws. Moreover, zero tolerance is being shown towards the food handlers who don’t follow the law and commit a second offence. The DHS is further trying that all food handlers must wear proper dress i.e caps, aprons and gloves etc. The DHS teams during last week conducted several operations in this regard in different areas of Islamabad. During this activity 70 notices and 24 challans were issued while First Investigation Reports (FIRs) / Isteghasas were also lodged against restaurants at F-11.

Two restaurants in Sector F-11 were partially sealed. Similarly, 12 liters of sub standard Ketchup, 16 litters of non-branded cooking oil, 5 packets of expired mayonnaise and 40 utensils including kettles, cups and plates were also confiscated confiscated. The confiscated food stuff and utensils were done away with afterwards. Directorate of Health Services is conducting this campaign by two specially constituted teams; each led by food inspector and supervise by a health officer while Director Health Services personally looks after the performance of the field teams.

Road safety workshop for women STAFF REPORTER I SLAMABAD —Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) arranged a workshop at Women Welfare Development Division in G-7 to give road safety tips to female and inculcate better awareness among them about traffic rules. More than 100 women attended the workshop where SP (Traffic) Ilyas Hashmi spoke about community policing techniques of ITP and efforts of the force in ensuring safe road environment in the city. In concluding ceremony, he also informed them as how special measures are being taken to curb various traffic violations in the city and also informed about traffic rules and regulations. He said women can play an important role in educating the future generation about traffic rules and hoped this workshop would be greatly beneficial for them.

He said that educational teams of ITP visit various organizations as this exercise is helpful in providing a disciplined traffic system to the masses. About the perfor-

mance of ITP, he said that ITP’s personnel have not only helped to establish a disciplined traffic system in the Capital but also reduced ratio of accidents. The education

said. Mohsin Akhtar Kiani President of the IHC Bar said payment of compensation for the dead and the injured lawyers at par with the judges or the government officials is another important point in our list of demands. Lawyers strongly reject the Rs500,000 payment for the dead and Rs70,000 for the injured. We condemn Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s statement regarding payment to the lawyers and demand of the government to pay lawyers equally with the government officers. Deployment of Rangers in the District Courts is another demand of the lawyers which is yet to be fulfilled. Advocate Khalid Iqbal Chaudhry, Media Advisor of the District Bar while talking to Pakistan Observer Friday said daily cabinet of the Dis-trict and IHC Bars assemble in the Shohda Hall (former Gilani Hall) where they ex-press solidarity with the participant lawyer of the hunger camp. Daily we offer Fateha for the departed colleagues and reiterate our pledge to continue struggle until our de-mands are fulfilled he said.

team of ITP briefed the participants on the history of ITP, the targets given to the force and its achievements, safety measures for pedestrians, road crossing code,

causes of accidents and how to protect one-self, defensive driving and its requirements, practice to prevent risky situations on road, planning for a long journey, positioning car or lane discipline, right of way on junctions and road markings, safe overtaking, traffic sign boards and traffic light signals and perils of using mobile phone while driving. Director Women Welfare Development Division, Arif Sahmeem appreciated the efforts of ITP for arranging such an informative programme and hoped for further improved performance of ITP in future. The participants said it was a comprehensive presentation by education team of ITP ad they have learnt lot of things but also got corrected on many aspects on which they were not so clear in their minds about the rules while driving on the road. Later, Director Women Welfare Acting SSP Traffic, Ilyas Hashmi giving certificate to a participant of 2 days Road Development Division preSafety Workshop at Women Welfare Development Centre. sented shield to SP (Traffic).

Collaborative efforts for promotion of research, teaching of conflict studies stressed Fajar Zohr Asr

05:30 01:30 05:00

Meghrab at Sunset Isha 08:15 Brothers in Islam establish regular prayers & charity

March 29 MR. Gordon Brown, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Global Education will be addressing the Youth Forum on 29th March, 2014 at 17001800 hours, at the Convention Centre. Islamabad. Governor Punjab and the Minister for Education will also address on the occasion. The Youth Forum will be followed by Press Conference at 1800-1850 hrs. April 3 INAUGURATION Ceremony of Jamia Masjid Abubakar Siddique will be held on Thursday, 3rd April at Multi Gardens, Sector B-17, Block B Markaz by Multi Professionals Cooperative Housing Society.

STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD —The participants of consultation on the topic of “Research and Teaching of Conflict Studies and Conflicts in Pakistan” resolved to undertake collaborative efforts for promotion of research and teaching of peace and conflict studies at higher education institutions of Pakistan. The consultation was organized by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (ISAPS) in collaboration with Open Society Foundations (OSF) and was attended by senior academicians, university faculty members, researchers from various think tanks and representatives of civil society. The main objective of the consultation was to bring academics of various disciplines of social science together towards improving teaching and research content on the issues pertaining to peace and

conflicts with focus on generating Pakistan specific knowledge. The participants deliberated upon various aspects, challenges and opportunities related to the topic and identified existing gaps in academic discourse on peace and conflict resolution. The participants unanimously agreed that Pakistan is facing with multiple political, ethnic, religious, sectarian and environmental conflicts which require immediate attention in research and teaching at Pakistani universities. They termed Peace and conflict resolution as vital preconditions for sustainable economic growth, democracy and development. The delegates also suggested for offering of special courses, research grants, scholarships, promotion of culture of seminars, dialogues, conferences and close interaction among universities & research institutes for improving teach-

Preston University Spring Splash starts STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD —Preston University organized ‘Spring Splash 2014’ here on Friday with the competitions of ‘Qirat’,

petitions marked the opening of the week-long festivity. Public and private universities of eminence from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Kohat, Peshawar,

**** FASHION Click PK & Quick Services has planned to hold Youth-e-Pakistan Fun Gala today (Saturday) at Bahria Mini Gold Club Islamabad. March 30 NATIONAL Youth Parliament and Knowledge City Islamabad will start kite-flying competition from (Sunday) tomorrow at F-9 PArk. The residents of the Capital city will participate in kite flying competitions to herald the sprin.

ing of peace and conflict studies at higher education institutions of the country. Ahmed Ali of Institute of Social and Policy Sciences underlined the importance of assessment of the state of social science disciplines in close collaboration with academics, universities, HEC in order to strengthen research and teaching of conflicts studies. In this regard, he also suggested development of case studies, production of relevant reading material which could be included in the course content. Dr. Abdur Rehman of Quaid-i-Azam University in his detailed presentation stated that in Pakistani universities are offering very few courses on understanding violence, extremism, terrorism and conflict resolution while conflict resolution mechanisms do not exist at schools and colleges. He underlined the

Chancellor Preston University Dr Abdul Basit with the winners of Inter University Qirat competition.—PO Photo by sultan Bashir ‘Bilingual Debate’ and ‘Sports com-

Lahore and other cities of Punjab

Parliament to join ‘Earth Hour 2014’ celebrations today ISLAMABAD —Lights of the Parliament will be switched off during Earth Hour today (Saturday at 08:30pm to 09:30 pm) to show Pakistan’s commitment of joining hands with the world for energy conservation. Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has said that the Parliament of Pakistan is the first ever legislature in the world to opt for solar energy completely. He has also confirmed that the lights of the Parliament will be switched off during Earth Hour to show Parliament’s commitment of joining hands with the world for energy conservation, combating impacts of

climate change and global warming. Earth Hour candle lighting ceremony will be held in the Parliament House from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm today (Saturday). It is celebrated on the last Saturday of March every year. Millions of people around the world switch off their lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm (20:30) in their local times on the last Saturday of March each year. The day is observed in order to conserve energy and draw the world’s attention to the cause of environmental degradation.—Online

8 POs and six outlaws nabbed I SLAMABAD —Islamabad Police have arrested 14 outlaws including eight proclaimed offenders from various areas and recovered weapons and looted items from their possession, a police spokesman said on Friday. In special crackdown against the absconders, various police stations of Islamabad nabbed eight proclaimed offenders wanted to police in crime cases of heinous nature. Meanwhile, Secretariat police arrested an accused Fiaz for having 30 bore pistol while Margallah police nabbed an accused thief Qamar Ali.

CIA police arrested accused Waris for possessing 30 bore pistol while accused Zafar Iqbal was arrested by Tarnol police for selling petroleum products illegally. Shehzad town police arrested two thieves accuseed Qaisar Masoh and Babar Masih. Cases have been registered against these nabbed persons and further investigation is underway from them. During general hold up, Islamabad police impounded 77 bikes and three vehicles for being driven without authentic documents while black papers were removed from 14 tinted glass vehicles.—APP

are taking part in all the competitions. Public and private universities of eminence from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Kohat, Peshawar, Lahore and other cities of Punjab took part in all the competitions including Qirat, Bilingual Debate, Drama, Singing, T-20 cricket, Table Tennis, Badminton and Football competitions. The universities which participated in this competition were Quaide-Azam University, Islamabad, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Punjab University, Lahore, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, WISH University, Islamabad and Preston University, Islamabad, Kohat and Peshawar. In Qirat Competition, first position was won by Hafiz Muhammad Tayyab of Punjab University, Lahore. Second prize in the competition was awarded to Madiha Ansari of Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi. Hafiz Hanzala of Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi got the third position in the competition.

need for inclusion of topics related to of rights and duties of citizens and constitutional provisions on human rights and peaceful techniques of resolution of conflicts in curriculum. While citing 2013 Global Think tanks Index report, Muhammad Feyyaz form National Management College Lahore informed that 4 out of top 100 think tanks of the world , 4 out of Top 65 defence and national security think tanks are from South Asia. Among these think tanks, no one is from Pakistan expect one among 70 environment think tanks. He further stated that performance profile of all research organizations reflect a complete vacuity of tradition of peace research, theory building, scientific study of conflict and conflict analysis and absence of rigour and application of theoretical constructs in South Asia. He stressed upon need for

indigenization of conflict resolution processes and methodologies. Dr. Anwaar Ahmed Member National Committee on Development of Social Sciences HEC highlighted the importance of strengthening of social sciences for inculcating the values of peace, tolerance, critical thinking and conflict resolution among Pakistani youth. In concluding remarks, Dr. Nasser Ali Khan Vice Chancellor University of Haripur emphasized over close interaction among academic, research organizations and policy makers in order to resolve various socio economic problems being confronted by Pakistani society. He was of the view that social scientists should undertake efforts to highlight the soft image of the country at national and international level. “Pakistan has very rich centuries old cultural heritage, we need to highlight it”, he added.

No negative environmental impact of Metro Bus Project RAWALPINDI —Experts on Friday said the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project (MBS) has no negative environmental impact rather it would help reduce air, noise and dust pollution at Saddar-Faizabad section of the Murree road. They said existing physical, biological, economic and environmental conditions were thoroughly assessed prior to initiating the mega transport project and found increased rate of environmental pollution caused by bumper-to-bumper traffic during peak hours, traffic signals and frequent traffic jams throughout the day at the main artery. During a public hearing held here at the Liaquat Memorial Hall, representative of National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) Adeel Pervez said no tree would be cut at the project site as 8.6 kilometer elevated track from Flashman’s Chowk Saddar upto Faizabad would be constructed in middle of the existing road. With launching of the mass transit scheme, he said, environmental conditions would improve as there would be no traffic mess and smoke emitting from stranded vehicles causing air and noise pollution.

Besides, commuters traveling between twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad would have cheap, fast and decent public transport service, he said. He apprised that approximately 22 kanal of land would be acquired for setting up 10 bus terminals at Rawalpindi section of the bus project. He said efforts are being made to acquire maximum land from government and avoid private buying. However, the project affected people would be compensated judiciously. Director Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Naseem-ur-Rehman said the MBS is socially, economically and environmentally beneficial for the common man. He said quarterly environmental assessment of the 10-month project would be carried out at the construction site to protect citizens from any negative affect during the period. Among others, representatives of Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) including Project Director, SP Traffic participated in the public hearing and expressed their views on different environmental aspects of the project.—APP

NA Speaker urges students to equip themselves with modern technology STAFF REPORTER I SLAMABAD —Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Speaker National Assembly has said that future of the country rests in hands of the youth and our young people has all the capabilities and potential to steer the country out of present challenges. He expressed these views while meeting with a group of students of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Parliament House on Friday. Talking to the group, the Speaker said that education is essential for the growth and development of any country and only those nations have made progress who accorded top priority to their education sector. He said that nation has lot of expectations from its youth and they should equip themselves of modern time technology and work hard to coup with challenges confronted to the country and to come up the expectations of the nation. The Speaker Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq with the students of Lahore University of Management Science at said that Pakistan is facing Parliament House. menace of terrorism and exof extremism and terrorism in the country as well tremism which has disrupted civic life of citizens as in the region” he added. He called upon the country. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq shared with the stuand economic activity in the country. “We are youth of the country to come forward and join dents about the composition, working and funccommitted to peace and stability and elimination hand for the prosperity and development of the tioning of the National Assembly and its Standing Committees.

Govt working to improve energy sector

Students performing on stage during a ceremony to celebrate Women’s Day organized by Hashoo group.

ISLAMABAD —Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said that Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), government is working on different projects to improve energy sector. He said that Foreign Bank had given approval for execution of the power project which will pass through the Central Asian States (CAS), to benefit Pakistan. Talking an interview, he said that 1000 mega watt energy would be available in Pakistan in the next few years. Minister said that the power project would help resolve the energy problem besides strengthen relations with CAS.—APP

Biennial int’l convention of Islamic Medical Association SHARAAT KAZMI ISLAMABAD—Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) will hold 23rd biennial international convention from April 4 to April 6 in Islamabad. Convention Convenor Prof. Muhammad Iqbal Khan and other members of Convention Organizing Committee including Prof. Muhammad Iqbal, Doctor Saeed ullah Shah, Dr. Hameed Mumtaz Durrani ad Dr Nadeem Ikram, addressing a press conference here at National Press Club on Friday said that more than 150 renowned Doctors will deliever lectures to the particitipants during the two days event. He said over 3,000 delegates, across from the country were expected to attend this convention. He said that PIMA not only work for resolving doctors problems but also making efforts to bring reforms on national

level in medical field. “It will be open to all medical, dental and allied professionals for participation” he added. He said that leading medical professionals from abroad will also participate in the convention. “PIMA holds its central convention every two years in different cities where large number of doctors from all over the country meets,” he said. He said that the pre-convention workshops are planed on professionalism, contemporary medical issues, quality assurance and accreditation in health care system. “Special programmes are also planned for female doctors, medical students and sessions on career planning. A social evening and a scientific exhibition are also part of this event” he informed. He said that 18 organizing committees in connection with convention have been established.

Will wait and watch Modi’s claims: Mirwaiz Pins hope on new government in New Delhi SRINAGAR—Reacting to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narindera Modi’s remarks that his party will pursue Vajpayee’s policy vis-à-vis Kashmir, profreedom camp has stated that they will adopt wait and watch policy as far as Modi’s claims are concerned. “We will adopt a wait and watch policy and will closely monitor what their measures will be for the Kashmir resolution,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman Huriyat Conference (M) said. He added that it has been observed in the past that during elections tall claims are being made and at the end of the day these claims turn out to be a ‘hoax’. However, Mirwaiz observed that at the time when the people of India are choosing their government at New Delhi-it must be understood that it is the Kashmir issue that needs to be resolved for a sustainable peace not only in India but in the entire sub-continent. He added that the defense expenditure has reached to 48 billion dollars and due to Kashmir issue more than 40% of India’s population is living under below poverty line. Mirwaiz maintained that the people in India must understand the importance of Kashmir resolution so that new horizons could be scanned with hope and zest.

Kashmiri students harassed by police in Indian Punjab ISLAMABAD—Kashmiri students who had gone to Indian city Bhopal to appear in an entrance examination have said that the police of Indian Punjab harassed and demanded bribe from them while they were travelling in a train in Ludhiana city of Punjab. A number of students told media on phone in Srinagar that the Punjab police arrested a Kashmiri student namely Syed Irfan Hussain of Dooru area of Sopore on the pretext that he was carrying a cigarette packet, KMS reported. “They took him along and when other Kashmiri students staged a protest, they demanded Rs 5,000 as bribe in exchange for his release,” a Kashmiri student said. He said that all the Kashmiri students contributed from their pocket money to collect Rs 5,000 but only managed to raise Rs 3,000.

Meanwhile, the Hurriyat (M) has expressed hope that whichever political party comes to power in New Delhi, it would initiate a result-oriented and meaningful dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue. Stating that Kashmir dispute has a historical context, the conglomerate said instead of approaching it through the prism of economic concessions and packages time has come to address it seriously and find a solution through political means so that lasting peace is established in the region. A statement was issued in this regard after a meeting of the executive council of Hurriyat (M), chaired by its chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The meeting was attended by all the members of executive council including Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Gani Lone, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Agha Syed Hassan Al Moosvi Al Safvi, Musadiq Adil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza. Terming the intractable issue as the main cause of instability in South Asia and main source of tension between India and Pakistan, Hurriyat (M) urged people of India to prevail on the political leadership of the country to resolve the issue at the earliest. “At a time when people of India are passing through an important phase of

electing a new dispensation in New Delhi and Indian mainstream parties are presenting their election manifestos before the electorate, need of the hour is that people of India recognize the perils of the pending Kashmir issue and stress upon their leadership to take measures to resolve the issue which has held peace, progress and stability of this region at ransom,” reads the party statement. “Kashmir dispute is a political and humanitarian issue. It is the main cause of instability in South Asia and also the main source of continuous tension between India and Pakistan.” The participants said Hurriyat (M) has always supported serious and meaningful dialogue to resolve Kashmir. “Hurriyat considers the participation of India, Pakistan and Kashmiri resistance leadership important to make such a process successful.” Asserting that Kashmir was an international issue recognized by United Nations, the participants stated that Kashmir issue should be resolved either by implementing the relevant UN resolutions or through tripartite dialogue. Hurriyat (M) leaders said 40 percent of Indians are living under miserable poverty even as the defense expenditure has already crossed 48 billion dollar mark.—NNI

AJK Prime Minister stresses early completion of 1700 schools ISLAMABAD—Prime Minister Azad Jammu Commission high ups to plead early release and Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majid Friday stressed for expedited completion of 1700 boys and girls schools under construction in various districts of AJK so that students should take benefit of quality education at their doorsteps. Talking to Deputy Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) Maj. Gen. Muhammad Asif Azeem , the AJK Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the pace of work and appreciated the completion of various development projects in Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Dhirkot and Rawalakot. Deputy Chairman apprised the AJK Prime Minister about the under construction and new planned projects in AJK cities and rural areas. At the occasion he said that due to budget constraints and Chinese counterpart funds allocation is causing slow pace of work. At the occasion AJK Prime Minister assured that he will call on Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Planning

of required funds for the projects. AJK PM agreed that due to paucity of funds projects construction is slow which also resulted in cost escalation. Deputy Chairman said that ERRA needs extra Rs. 15 billion for speedy completion of schools projects in AJK. He urged that if federal government increases fiscal allocation by Rs. 20 billion then it will helpful for the other projects completion. During the meeting Deputy Chairman told the AJK Prime Minister that more than six thousands projects including infrastructure, roads, schools, colleges, water supply schemes, livelihoods etc have been completed. ERRA has planned to construct 85 new projects which will cost Rs.27 billion, he added. Deputy Chairman said that development of various facilities including sports stadiums, community centers and elaborate water and sewerage system will further improve the quality of life in the urban areas.—APP

Hurriyet leaders put under house arrest, detention ISLAMABAD—The authorities have placed the All Parties Hurriyet Conference leaders including Shabbir Ahmad Shah under house arrest in Indian occupied Kashmir. The authorities put Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Zafar Akbar Butt, under house arrest while Indian police arrested Muhammad Yousuf Naqash from his house in Srinagar and lodged him in a police station, KMS reported. The actions were taken to stop the leaders from visiting different areas of Baramulla district and address public meetings.—APP

Missing boy traced in Maharashtra: Delhi Police S RINAGAR —Delhi Police said it has solved the mystery of a Kashmiri boy who was missing from the past four months. A Delhi police official told Srinagar-based news gathering agency CNS that 15-yearold Roman Amin Ganai of Jandwaal in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, who had gone missing from Mahindra Park area in Azadpora New Delhi on November 20 last, was located by Delhi police from Manjhgawoun area of Maharashtra. “After receiving inputs, we raided a deserted dilapidated hut in Manjhgawoun area of Maharashtra. The boy is stable and his father and relatives are with him,” the official said, adding, investigation is on in this regard and so far no one has been arrested.—NNI

Indian police arrested senior leader of APHC, Shabbir Ahmad Shah in Srinagar.

Pakistan and India urged to settle Kashmir dispute

Two youth martyred, one Indian trooper killed S RINAGAR —Indian troops in their fresh Ganderbal urged Pakistan and India to act of state terrorism martyred two Kashmiri youth in Kathua district, today. The troops killed the youth at JammuKathua Highway during a clash with mujahideen. One trooper was killed while six persons including three troops were injured in the clash. After the incident, the troops launched a massive military operation in the area using helicopters. The authorities closed the JammuPathankote Highway for vehicular traffic. Earlier, one civilian identified as Jeet Ram was killed and three others were injured in a shootout near an army camp in Janglote area of the district. The leaders of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front addressing gatherings in different areas of Islamabad, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts appealed to the Kashmiri people to keep away from the forthcoming sham elections in the occupied territory as they were held by India to strengthen its illegal hold on Jammu and Kashmir. Senior leader of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, addressing a meeting of his party activists in Behama area of

demonstrate realism and resolve the Kashmir dispute as per the recognized international principles for ensuring permanent peace and stability in South Asia. APHC leaders, Mukhtar Ahmed Waza and Syed Bashir Andrabi, addressing public meetings in Islamabad and Pulwama areas while Javed Ahmed Mir in a statement in Srinagar said that Kashmir was an internationally recognized dispute, which should be resolved by implementing the relevant UN resolutions. Indian police arrested Hurriyet leaders, Shabbir Ahmed Shah and Muhammad Yousuf Naqash and placed Zafar Akbar Butt and Nayeem Ahmad Khan, under house arrest in Srinagar, today, to prevent them from addressing public gatherings. The police also raided the residences of Hurriyet leaders, Mushtaq-ul-Islam and Farooq Ahmad Dar, harassing the inmates. An Indian trooper committed suicide by shooting himself with his service weapon in Krishna Ghati area of Rajouri district. This incident raised such deaths among the Indian troops and police personnel in the occupied territory to 308 since January 2007.—KMS

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Kashmir Affair’s and Gilgit-Baltistan Barjees Tahir giving shield to former Prime Minister of AJK Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan during the confernce “Kashmir: Challenges and Prospects” held at Muslim Institute.

Two-day international conference on Kashmir concludes ISLAMABAD—A two-day international ter as well as before the Standing Com- most important stakeholders in the issue. conference on “Kashmir: Challenges and Prospects”, for drawing the attention of the international community to its gravity for reaching a practical and lasting settlement of the seven-decade old dispute. The conference, organized by the think tank MUSLIM Institute, commenced, was addressed by numerous Pakistani and international luminaries and experts on issues of global politics and international relations, said a news release issued here on Friday. Addressing the concluding session as chief guest, leader of the house in Senate, Raja Zafar ul Haq ensured to personally take the recommendations reached by the conference and the issues deliberated by the experts to the Prime Minis-

Geelani calls protest against death sentence of 529 persons by Egyptian court

mittee for Foreign Affairs for proposing further action and debate. Leader of the Kashmiri liberation movement, Syed Ali Gillani also made a telephonic address saying that the Kashmir issue goes to the heart of Pakistani identity as an Islamic state and the homeland of Muslims in South Asia. He stressed that Pakistan must not settle for negotiations until it is in a position of strength to back its principled stance in the face of Indian aggression. Prominent Kashmiri leader, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq also addressed the conference by video link stating that the fate of sixteen million people depends on the outcome of the Kashmir dispute. The dispute cannot be bilateral by definition as the Kashmiri people themselves are the

Poll not a referendum on Kashmir: JI chief

We won’t launch door-to-door poll boycott campaign

SRINAGAR—While appeal- S RINAGAR —Terming the elections as an ing for peaceful protest demonstration after the Friday prayers on 28 march against the mass death sentence of 529 persons including the spiritual guide of Muslim Brotherhood Muhammad Badie by an Egyptian court, chairman All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Geelani addressed all Islamic Scholars and Muslim Ummah that this incident is not of a particular country, sect or party, but it is the matter of all Muslim Ummah and it is a religious duty of every Muslim to raise his voice against these incidents. Geelani also said that the General Al-Sisi is a Jewish agent and he is helping the international agenda of Zionist movement. Geelani sahib appealed the secretary general and officials of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) that they should come forward to stop the state terrorism of Egyptian army generals and save the lives of Islamists in Egypt.—NNI

Afzal Guru’s family should have been informed before execution: Shinde N EW D ELHI —Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has said that the family members of hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should have been notified before carrying out the execution. He said the responsibility of informing family members of the death row convict lies with the secretaries and something went wrong in Guru’s case. “As far as Afzal Guru’s case is concerned, I had already instructed and given the file four days before. And that was the job of the Secretaries (to inform his family). But something went wrong somewhere and they didn’t inform a day before but informed in the night that the following day was his execution. In such cases I am of the view that the family must be informed properly as per jail rules,” Shinde told NDTV.—NNI

“We are committed to a peaceful struggle for our rights”, he remarked. Turkish Member of Parliament, Mugisuddin stated that India is a status quo power and is not bothered to change the current situation. It has tried to take advantage of the global war on terrorism for labelling the Kashmir dispute as terrorism. She stressed that the Muslim world must stand together and shoulder to shoulder to ensure that the fate of their disputes is no dictated by others. Former head of the ISI, General Hameed Gul stressed the need for Pakistan to stick to its principled stance at all international forums and actively lobby for placing pressure on India for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.—APP

administrative issue Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) chief Mohammad Abdullah Wani has said it was neither a referendum nor a plebiscite. “Elections are for the administrative affairs and in no way can affect any dimension of Kashmir dispute. Polls are for electricity, roads and water since 1947 polls never affected reality of Kashmir dispute,” JeI chief Mohammad Abdullah Wani said. “Elections are for the administrative affairs and in no way can affect any dimension of Kashmir dispute. Polls are for electricity, roads and water-since 1947 polls never affected reality of Kashmir dispute,” Mohammad Abdullah Wani-JeI chief said. He added polls can never be a substitute of Kashmir resolution as the same is not a referendum nor a plebiscite but clearly an exercise for administrative issues. “Even if 3% people vote- we have seen in the past that governments form. If only 1% people will vote still the formation of the government is inevitable.”

Reacting to the recent statement of Huriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wherein he described the role of NDA vis-à-vis Kashmir more than UPA, JeI chief stated that everyone has right to express the opinion about any mater but it has been the policy of every Indian government to maintain rigid attitude towards Kashmir. “If the governments in India would have been serious for Kashmir resolution- the same would have been resolved long ago.” Stating that election boycott is not the one point agenda of Jamat-e-Islami (JeI) Ameer Jamaat stated that his organization is too busy in other party works that it could not launch a door to door campaign against polls here. Wani stated that his organization has right from day one believes that Kashmir is a dispute and needs to be resolved through the implementation of UN resolutions. However, if UN resolutions are not implemented, the dispute could be resolved through tripartite dialogue, Wani added.—NNI

Jaleel Andrabi sacrifices his life for dignity of every Kashmiri SRINAGAR—On the eve of 18th death anniversary of noted human rights activist and lawyer, Jaleel Andrabi, who was killed allegedly by a unit of Army led by Major Avtar Singh, his family hit out at the Government of India and Jammu and Kashmir for “shielding the armed forces involved in human rights violations in the State.”Jaleel’s family said he was abducted on March 8, 1996 by Government gunmen while travelling with his wife from the High Court. Later his decomposed body was recovered from Jhelum on March 27, 1996. A murder case was registered against Major Avtar Singh and others after the Jaleel’s family pursued the matter in the High Court. Jaleel’s brother, Arshad Andrabi, said

Jaleel internationally highlighted human rights violations by armed forces in JK. “His address at a session of the United Nations SubCommission on Human Rights in August 1995 did not go well with the Indian authorities. After that, Jaleel was under constant threat of forces and government gunmen to stop him from pursuing cases of human rights violations. Braving all threats, he stood undeterred continuing with his mission. He was finally killed in cold-blood by Major Avtar Singh,” Arshad. “Despite evidence against Major Avtar Singh and other accused in the case, the Government of India and state government left no stone unturned to protect and help him to settle in the United States. —NNI

MUZAFFARABAD: Managing Director of Kashmir Bank Fazlur Rehman and Secretary Food and Agriculture Idrees Tabassam shaking hands after signing an agreement.

President asks businessmen to help attract foreign investment

PTA authority meeting reviews the budgets I SLAMABAD—An Authority Meeting of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) held here on Friday. Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Member (Compliance & Enforcement) Mr.Zafarullah Khan, Member (Finance) Mr. Tariq Sultan chaired the meeting. In the meeting revised budget estimates of year 2013-14 and budget of year 2014-15 were reviewed. Besides other developmental activities, it was decided in the meeting that special steps would be taken for the betterment of staff of PTA. A new scheme would be launched wherein on the basis of best performance, through competition, cash rewards would be given to the lower staff of each department as per rules. This would improve the performance of the Staff. The Authority passed the budget with necessary amendments.—PR

Hashoo Group appoints Josef Kufer ISLAMABAD —Hashoo

Group has welcomed Josef Kufer as the newly appointed President of the Hospitality Division. With an extensive and accomplished career as leader in the hospitality industry within luxury and upscale hotel brands in over 14 countries across five continents, Kufer brings his innovative leadership to oversee Hashoo Group’s local and international Hospitality Division. Kufer says, “I am very excited to have joined the Hashoo Group. We will focus our energies on strengthening our guest service experience, our brand’s positioning, and expansion opportunities in key global destinations. Furthermore we will focus on streamlining and enhancing operational efficiencies to ensure maximization of both short and long term performance goals of the Pearl Continental and Marriott Hotels in Pakistan.” Hashoo Group owns nine five-star hotels (two under the Marriott and seven under Pearl Continental) and three five-star hotels under construction, along with it’s diversified business interests, spanning from oil and gas exploration and production, information technology, investments, minerals, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, travel and tourism to real estate and commodity trading.—PR

ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador, Richard G Olson called on Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar.

Olson, Dar discuss issues of mutual interests SHARAFAT KAZMI ISLAMABAD —US Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Richard G. Olson called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Finance Ministry on Friday to discuss matters of mutual interest between the two countries. The Finance Minister discussed with the Ambassador his forthcoming visit for Economic Working Group in Washington DC, where he will hold meetings with the important US officials and attend the World Bank’s Spring Meetings. The Minister hoped that his meetings and interaction in Washington DC will lead to further strengthening of economic relations be-

tween the two countries. The Minister emphasized that an expeditious reimbursement of Coalition Support Fund will be helpful. The Ambassador assured the Finance Minister that the US would continue to work with Pakistan for regional peace and stability. He briefed the Finance Minister on scheduling of his meetings with the US officials to discuss possibilities of exploring new avenues in energy and economic cooperation. He informed the Minister that all meetings have already been set and agenda has been firmed up. Dr. Waqar Masood, Finance Secretary and Rana Assad Amin, Advisor to Finance Ministry were also present in the meeting.

Pak-China economic corridor set to impart economic boom ISLAMABAD —A delegation of Guangzhou Global Chamber of Commerce of China visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry led by its Vice Chairman Mr. Zhong Shi and said that Pak-China Economic Corridor will usher in a new era of economic development between the two countries, as it will bring revolutionary progress, especially in Balochistan and Kashgar. He said the businessmen of both countries should take maximum benefit of the Free Trade Agreement signed between Pakistan and China to improve bilateral trade. He said the bilateral trade has reached US$ 12 billion and there is great potential to improve it. He said many Chinese companies are already working in Pakistan while many more are looking at it as a promising country for investment and joint ventures. He said ICCI and Guangzhou Global Chamber

should strengthen bilateral collaboration to bring the private sectors of both countries even closer. In his welcome address, Khalid Chaudhry, Acting President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said China is the largest trading partner of Pakistan and many Chinese companies by working in Pakistan are rendering great contribution to the economic development of our country. He said the grant of GSP Plus to Pakistan by the EU has created many new opportunities for investment and Chinese investors should take full benefit of such opportunities by investing in Pakistan’s textile sector. Energy sector of Pakistan also offers tremendous prospects to foreign investors and Chinese companies should also enhance investment in this sector to earn lucrative returns.—INP

Pakistan Post offers Express Services ISLAMABAD —Pakistan Post is offering a full range of Express Services to cater the varied needs of the customers, specially trade and commerce. Urgent Mail Service (UMS) is a fast, reliable, efficient and secure home delivery service with widest network for dispatch of documents and parcels, said an official of Pakistan Post. He said that computerized track and trace system also available.—APP

PESHAWAR: Syed Said Badshah Bukhari, Secretary Finance, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, presiding over 23rd annual meeting of Bank of Khyber at BoK Head office on Friday. Imran Samad, Managing Director (Acting) and BoK Member Board Dr Ehsan-ul-Haq are also present on the occasion.

—Howard Schultz

CCBPL establishes competency development centres ISLAMABAD—In line with its policy of empowering its people, Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited (CCBPL) has recently constructed and brought into operation two state-of-thearts Competency Development Centres , in Karachi and Lahore respectively. These facilities will serve to enhance skills and capabilities of CCBPL employees through vocational education to be imparted by worldrenowned organization, City & Guilds of the U.K. The CDCs in Karachi and Lahore became operational on March 5 and March 7, respectively. These facilities will help CCPBL employee’s gain valuable learning of international standards, which reflect the company’s commitment to its people. CCBPL’s Director of Human Resources, Amara Bashir, said, “This is an initiative that is the first of its kind, as it is a great milestone for CCBPL. We strongly believe that investing in people is essential for achieving organizational growth.” CCBPL’s top strategic priority is to equip its employees with comprehensive trainings on core business requirements. The Company utilizes the latest technologies within the Coca-Cola system for its operations. The CDC curriculum is designed to complement these technological changes by developing a training curriculum for its employees. City & Guilds is a leading organization that provides training services to providers, employers, and trainees across a variety of sectors to meet the needs of today’s business environment. Its qualifications are valued by employers and delivered to over 10,000 training centres across the world to help individuals develop their talents and abilities for future career progression.—PR

Industry since its establishment in November last year. He expressed the hope that PSJCCI would play an important role to further augment Pakistan - Saudi trade and investment ties and exploring new avenues of trade between the two countries. The Chamber would help bring the chambers of commerce and industry of the two countries further closer, the President said and urged its office bearers to focus on increasing Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom was amongst the top 10 major export destinations of Pakistan. Commenting on various challenges confronting the business community, the President said the government was fully alive to the problems and concerns of the businessmen and all possible steps were being taken to provide an enabling and conducive environment for trade and investment in the country. Referring to the recent turnaround of the economy, the President said that due to corrective measures and policies of the government, economic indicators were showing positive signs and the confidence of both domestic and foreign investors to invest in Pakistan is also being restored. The President said the government was receptive to the invaluable suggestions of the business community and urged them to come forward and share their ideas and suggestions with the government for economic growth and stability.—APP

First-ever transaction of Rs 3b in Islamic banking

ZPC, Al-Baraka sign Musharka-based transaction

ISLAMABAD: CEO Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Shafqaat Ahmad shaking hand after signing an MoU with Chairman Zaver Petroleum Hashoo Group Saddruddin Hashwani, on First Petroleum Upstream Sector Long Term Musharka Facility valuing Rs 32 billion, at a local hotel.—PO photo by Sultan Bashir

ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—Bank al-Baraka and Zaver Petroleum Corporation (ZPC) Friday entered into Islamic transaction facility ‘Musharka’ to the tune of Rs3 billion. CEO of the bank Shafqaat Ahmed and Chairman/CEO of the petroleum corporation Sadruddin Hashwani formally signed the ‘first-of-a-kind’ deal here at the Marriott. Representatives of the partner banks, UBL, Askari Commercial Bank, Bank of Punjab, Dubai Islamic Bank and Burj Bank also attended the signing ceremony. Addressing the signing ceremony, CEO of al-Baraka, Shafqaat Ahmed said the transaction was indeed a steppingstone towards a long-term mutually beneficial business relationship. He expressed gratitude to Zaver Petroleum that has come forward to opt for the Musharaka facility, which is based on 5-year Shariah compliant financing. Through this facility, the transaction dynamics will remain within the sanctity of Shariah guidelines. “This is the first Islamic transaction by the Zaver Petroleum that shows their confidence in the Islamic banking which is becoming increasingly popular banking choice for Pakistani customers,” he said. Shafqaat Ahmed said time had come for Islamic banking and “with my decades of long

experience in banking sector, I can foresee in near future it (Islamic banking) will lead the banking sector as major banking and finance indicator.” About al-Baraka’s investment and network, he said al-Baraka as a Global Islamic Bank; with presences in 15 countries and three continents very much believes in Pakistan. We believe in the opportunities the country offers and potentials it has for the investors. With al-Baraka’s asset base of over US$ 21 billion equity of US$ 2 billion and profit of US $ 258 million, al-Baraka is the largest Islamic banking group in the world. It is Pakistan’s second largest Islamic Bank in terms of total assets. CEO of Zaver Petroleum and Chairman of Hashoo Group Sadruddin Hashwani said he was also looking forwarding to more such syndicated financial transactions. Zaver is the name of my mother and I have an emotional link to its growth and expanding. Welcoming the offer by the partner banks, he said, the transaction will go a long way in boosting our oil and gas projects. “We have drilled a number of wells and are going to expand our network by the end of 2014,” he informed. Director of the ZPC Sarah Hashwani was also present on the occasion.

External Inflows from GCC provided cushion to exchange rate AMANULLAH KHAN KARACHI—Pressure on foreign exchange

The evolving social and digital media platforms and highly innovative and relevant payment capabilities are causing seismic changes in consumer behavior and creating equally disruptive opportunities for business.

ISLAMABAD—President Mamnoon Hussain Friday stressing importance of business community in national economy urged them to complement government’s efforts by helping attract foreign and domestic investment in the country. Talking to a delegation of Pakistan - Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PSJCCI) here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President underscored important role of the entrepreneurs in the ongoing economic turnaround of the country. He called upon them to step up efforts and complement government’s initiatives to fully exploit the geo-strategic location of the country and benefit from the trade concessions offered to the country. He also mentioned the liberal incentive packages being offered by the government to attract foreign and domestic investment in diverse fields. The delegation of PSJCCI led by its President Mian Mehmood included Mian Muhammad Hanif Senior Vice President, Nauman K.Dar Vice President, Sardar Tanveer Iyas Khan, Vice President, Khalid Firoz Vice President, Muhammad Ajaz Malik Founder Director and Dir. Finance, Mian Muhammad Ahmad Founder Director, Mian Waqqar Aziz Founder Director and Adnan Ahmad Assistant Secretary General. The President congratulated the first cabinet meeting of the Pakistan - Saudi Joint Chamber of Commerce and

reserves held with the State Bank of Pakistan has eased significantly in March 2014; not only has Pakistan met lumpy IMF repayments and expects substantial inflows from the IFIs before end-June 2014, the market has responded very positively to the unanticipated inflow of US$ 1.5 billion from a GCC country. As a result, after remaining stable throughout January and February 2014, the PKR appreciated significantly in March, following a shift in sentiments in the FX market said the Second Quarterly Report for FY14 on the State of Economy, released by SBP today. According to the report, by the end of first half of FY14, there was a perceptible improvement in the country’s macroeconomic indicators. Inflationary pressures have softened (post November); pressure on FX reserves and the PKR parity has

eased in December 2013; LSM is showing improvement, which is supported by an increase in credit to the private sector; and as reported by the Ministry of Finance, the fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP declined in first half of FY14. Improvement in the fiscal and external accounts in the second half of FY14 depends on the expected proceeds from the auction of 3G licenses and Coalition Support Fund inflows. However, if expected official external inflows are realized in second half of FY14, SBP’s FX reserves are likely to exceed our initial projection for the full year. The report traced the recent comfort on the external side to an unanticipated US$ 1.5 billion inflow into SBP’s reserves, which may have triggered market expectations that Pakistan may receive a facility to defer oil payments in Q4-FY14. “Along with dampening inflationary expectations for the remaining part of FY14, this has changed the market’s interest rate

outlook. SBP projects average inflation in FY14 to be in the range of 8.5 to 9.5 percent.” Due to a decline in cotton production, the prospects of achieving the GDP growth target in FY14 could be undermined. However, LSM continues to post strong growth, which bodes well for the country’s overall economic growth. The rebound in LSM is supported by investments in alternate energy sources; improved power supply (after the resolution of the circular debt); capacity enhancement (in steel, paper, fertilizer, beverages, and rubber) in past few years; and increased lending to private sector businesses, especially in fixed investment loans. The government borrowing from commercial banks also increased in the second quarter. It mobilized Rs 188.1 billion from commercial banks during the quarter, against a net retirement of Rs 179.1 billion in the first quarter of the year.

Government was not able to contain its borrowing from SBP within the limit agreed with the IMF. “However, with the bilateral inflows in February and March 2014, and other external inflows expected in second half of FY14, these targets should be easier going forward.” Because of a slowdown in spending and an increase in revenues, the fiscal deficit during first half of FY14 narrowed to 2.1 percent of GDP, compared to 2.7 percent in the same period last year, as reported by the Ministry of Finance. The incidence of fiscal austerity fell on development spending both at the federal and the provincial level. This may be attributed to lack of external funding. “In our view, there is a need to rethink this avenue of fiscal consolidation within context of the long-term growth prospects of the economy.” The reduction in the budget deficit eased the pace of domestic debt accumulation

during second quarter. This, along with the lumpy US$ 1.2 billion repayment to the IMF and favourable exchange rate movement during Q2-FY14, allowed for a marginal decline in the public debt stock during this period. The report expressed concern about Pakistan’s debt profile, as its composition has witnessed a sharp shift towards the shortest tenor. This exposes the government to increasing rollover and interest-rate risks. While SBP retains its view to rebalance Pakistan’s domestic debt towards long-term paper, there was an improving trend in Q2-FY14, which has been maintained in Q3. The government mobilized Rs 105.6 billion through PIBs during the quarter, which was the highest amount raised after four quarters. This change in market sentiments can be traced to falling projected inflation, which means that the market does not expect further interest rate hikes.





































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TDAP boss warns to sack corrupt employees KARACHI—Chief Executive, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), S M Muneer said that to improve the working of TDAP, the employees involved in corruption and unethical activities, out of total 450 employees would be sacked. Confidence of people and business community is increasing due to business friendly policies of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Finance, Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Commerce, Khurram Dastagir and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Tariq Bajwa and export target of US $ 50 Billion would be achieved. S.M.Muneer stated this at a dinner hosted by Chairman Baig Group of Companies, Dr.Mirza Ikhtiar Baig in his honour. At this occasion, Governor Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and Dr.Mirza Ikhtiar Baig also expressed their views while President All Karachi Industrial Alliance, Mian Zahid Hussain, President KATI, Syed Farukh Mazhar, Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, Khalid Tawab, Ishtiaq Baig, Malik Khuda Bux, Chairman Saphire Group Mian Mohammad Abdullah and others were present.—PR

Qatar LNG import price yet to be decided: Shahid Price will be kept 30 pc below than petroleum ISLAMABAD —The National Assembly country. The Minister said the gov- sidered in this regard by Senate Standwas assured Friday that LNG will be imported from Qatar at the lowest possible price. Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the House during question hour that the government is currently negotiating the procurement of LNG and the import is likely to commence towards the end of current year. The Minister said the price of the LNG has not yet been negotiated. This will be negotiated in a transparent manner after the firming up of all the modalities of LNG procurement. He said that the price of LNG in the country will be kept 30 percent below than the Petroleum. About the construction of LNG terminal, the Minister said work on it is continuing and it is expected to be completed by November this year. On Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, the Minister said the gas couldn’t be imported from Iran till the lifting of sanctions on the country. He said the present government has amended 2012 Petroleum Policy to enhance exploration of oil and gas in the

ernment is continuously exploring all avenues to remove the gas supply side constraints. He said that schedule for CNG stations will be reviewed upon improvement in weather conditions and reduction in consumption by domestic sector. He said Balochistan is being given priority in supply of gas. Though it is difficult to extend network for the supply of gas to the entire province due to scattered population and hilly terrain, yet 13 district headquarters and 25 tehsil headquarters have been connected with gas in the province. Parliamentary Secretary for Cabinet Secretariat Raja Javed Ikhlas told the House that the government has not signed any deal with Saudi Arabia for the provision of arms and weapons. He said reports about sending of personnel of armed forces to a specific country are also baseless. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said that the government wants to give right of vote to the Overseas Pakistanis. He said currently a bill is being con-

ing Committee on Law and Justice and the committee will forward the process after the submission of report. He assured that the Overseas Pakistanis will get the right of vote before the next general elections. On behalf of Minister for Communications, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said planning is being made to enhance connectivity through network of roads and motorways. Besides, Karachi-Lahore Motorway, the government plans to construct Muzaffarabad-Mirpur Motorway. Allocations for these projects will be made in the next financial budget. Work on Hassanabdal-Havelian motorway will soon be started as the land has been acquired for the project. He said new technologies and nonconventional materials have been introduced for the maintenance and construction of roads. He said the Prime Minister has issued directions for early completion of Islamabad Airport and work on the project has been expedited.—INP

Ahsan stresses reforms for socio-economic development SHARAFAT KAZMI I SLAMABAD —“Development is not possible without public sector reforms and we are working with academia and research institutions like SDPI to move forward in reform of Civil Service, Taxation System, Policing, Criminal Justice System and Education”, said the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, while meeting with Dr. Peter Taylor, from International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, which works in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institution (SDPI) to support research in developing countries to promote growth and development through networking and knowledge sharing between scientific, academic, and development communities in the field of Agriculture, Health, Science and Innovation, and, Social and Economic Policies. Federal Minister further said, “we appre-

ciate the valuable input SDPI provided in the formation of our Vision 2025 through its engagement on inclusiveness, issues of energy, development, economy and social sector reforms. We are working to align national research agenda with our development priorities and goals so that there is development dividend for every rupee invested in research. Pakistan is lagging behind in social sector indicators and we plan to give social sectors to priority in our development strategy to develop our human resource potential according to world class standards. Planning Commission is working on collaborative model to promote greater engagements between academia, research and government.” As a way forward for these institutions to enhance their cooperation and assistance in research and development, Federal Minister advised that SDPI should create linkages with the education institutions and launch a debate to bridge knowing-doing gape.

NBP holds 65th annual general meeting

Weekly inflation up by 0.19% ISLAMABAD —The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week, ending on March 27 for the lowest income group up to Rs.8,000 registered an increase of 0.19 per cent as compared to the previous week. The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 204.72 points against 203.34 points registered in the previous week, according to data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The weekly SPI has been computed with base 2007-2008=100, covering 17 urban centers and 53 essential items for all income groups and combined. The SPI for the combined group also increased by 0.08 per cent as it went up from 211.62 points in the previous week to 212.78 points in the week under review. As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined group in the week under review witnessed increase of 10.30 percent. As compared to the last week, the SPI for the income groups from Rs.8001-12,000, Rs.12,001-18,000, Rs.1800135,000 and above Rs.35,000 increased by 0.14 percent, 0.11 percent, 0.07 percent and 0.02 percent respectively. During the week under review average prices of 12 items registered decrease, while that of 08 items increase with the remaining 33 items’ prices unchanged. The items which registered decrease in their prices during the week under review included egg hen, onion, chicken live (farm), wheat flour, wheat,sugar, L.P.G. (11kg cylinder), mash plus (washed), gram pluses washed, masoor plus (washed) , tomatoes and vegetable ghee (loose).—PR

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbassi offering dua after inaugurating Northern Gas Pipelines Limited Customer Service Centre Regional Office at I-9.

Samsung to showcase latest Innovations KARACHI —Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced it will be showcasing a lineup of monitors at its MENA Forum in Malaga, Spain. The line-up includes the UD590, SD590, SD390 and SD391 monitors, all of which provide consumers and businesses with the latest innovations in monitor technology, packaged into a functional and aesthetic design. The UD590 is an Ultra High Definition (UHD) monitor that delivers detailed, highpixel imaging and stunningly realistic colors. It is capable of producing lifelike images with the most accurate color representation. The SD590 features a modern, minimalistic design with a super slim narrow bezel that is nearly invisible, while the elegant design of the SD390 and SD391 introduces a new Touch of Color (ToC) element with pure blue infused throughout the entire bezel. “We are excited to showcase our newest monitors with our partners and distributors here at the Samsung Forum,” said Choong Ro Lee, President of Samsung Middle East and North Africa. “Our new lineup of monitors meets the increasing demand from consumers and businesses that are seeking the highest resolution, improved picture quality, unique designs and the best multimedia for entertainment.”—PR

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig and Ishtiq Baig hosted a dinner reception in honour of Mr SM Muneer, CEO TADP attended by Governor Punjab. Photo shows: US Consul General Michael Dodman, SM Muneer, Nisar Khuhru, President National Bank Syed Iqbal Ashraf, Governor Punjab Ch Muhammad Sarwar, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotiana, Ishtiaq Baig and Mian Zahid Hussain.

KARACHI: Sharmila Farooqi, Special Assistant to Chief Minister Sindh for Culture and Tourism and Susan K Slomback, Chief of Party, USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project pose at Pakistan Hand Embellished Fabrics Industry Conference and Exhibition.

NUML, Askari Bank sign MoU KARACHI—National Bank of Pakistan held its 65th Annual General Meeting at a local hotel in Karachi on Friday 28th, 2014. The meeting was well attended by the shareholders. The Chairman NBP, Mr. Muneer Kamal and President NBP Mr. Syed Ahmed Iqbal Ashraf also attended the meeting. The bank’s performance during the year was highlighted in a presentation to the shareholders. The shareholders were informed that Central bank reduced its policy rate by average 200 bps from 2012 besides linking minimum profit rate on deposit with SBP repo rate thereby increasing the minimum deposit rate to 7% from 6 % last year. Calculation mechanism for profit payment was

also changed. Due to these factors the bank’s interest margin like other banks remained under pressure. The impact on net interest margin was partially offset through volume increase especially in high yielding advance salary, agriculture financing and gold loans The bank posted operational profit (pre-provision profit) of Rs. 27.5 billion compared to Rs. 32.4 billion (restated) last year registering a decline of Rs. 4.9 billion mainly due to the above-mentioned factors. The bank’s pre-tax profitability decreased to Rs. 7.1 billion compared to Rs. 21.4 billion (restated) due to higher provision charge in overseas branches and lower net interest margins.—PR

Buksh Energy to provide technical services for solar ATMs SALIM AHMED LAHORE—Buksh Energy Pvt. Ltd has taken another step in its efforts to promote solar energy solutions in Pakistan by ensuring provision of turnkey solutions for Solar ATMs, which can become a premier solution for facilitating uninterrupted online banking services and overcome electricity shortages in the country. Buksh Energy has taken this step as part of its energy solutions for sustainability and growth of the country. This will help to provide 24/7 online banking services to its customer’s deemed mission critical by the State Bank of Pakistan. The company first introduced its Solar ATM’s in Pakistan in 2012 to cater the needs of commercial setups of Banks in the country with other leading financial institutions in the pipeline. It has partnered with Bank Alfalah, United Bank Limited and Soneri Bank to install solar ATM’s and to ensure

provision of continuous banking services resolving their downtime issues while providing financial benefits and brand equity to banks. Mr. Asim Buksh, Chairman, Buksh Energy said. “Frequent downtime of ATM’s has always created hindrances for the institutions as well as their customers; however, through solar ATMs, this downtime will be minimized.” “By adapting Solar ATM’s, banks can reduce their diesel consumption every month up to 56.4% from 1100liters to 480litres. Ms. Fiza Farhan, Director, Buksh Energy shared her views as, “Solar ATM’s will not only provide the consumer index for banks but it can become a great source for increasing their brand value in fostering efficient and consistent services. It will also enable the banks to reduce the carbon footprint by 5760kg thus paving the way for environment friendly banking and setting an example in the industry for other financial institutions towards green banking.”

ISLAMABAD—National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Askarai Bank Ltd to extend some particle financial protections and welfare to faculty members and staff of the University. In the signing ceremony of MoU, Director General (DG) Brig Azam Jamal and Qaisar H. Abbasi, Country Head Consumer Banking Group Askari Bank, signed an MoU in the presence of Sher Afghan Khanzada, Regional General Manager (North), Malik Suleman Hassan, Area Manager, Islamabad, Salman Fazal, Chief Manager of Askari Bank, Director Finance NUML Tufail Khalil, Deans and Directors of the University. Speaking on the occasion, Qaisar H. Abbasi, Country Head Consumer Banking Group Askari Bank, said that under this partnership with NUML, Askari Bank would provide financial support and facilities to employees at the best ever rates at one place. Besides, it would also be supporting the University in its intellectual and academic pursuits for the benefits of students and faculty, as it would be a contribution from Askari Bank towards a higher cause of education, he added. DG Brig Azam Jamal said it was great honour and pleasure for the University that all the top brass of Askari Bank had gathered under one roof.—PR

ISLAMABAD: DG Brig Azam Jamal and Qasier H Abbasi, Country Head of Consumer Banking Group Askari Bank, exchanging documents after signing an MoU at NUML.

ISLAMABAD: Khalid Ch, acting President ICCI and Zong Shi, Vice Chairman, Ghaungzo Global Chamber of Commerce of China pose for a group photo.

University of Central Punjab clinch Men Volleyball title P ESHAWA R —University of Central Punjab Lahore upset University of Peshawar in the thrilling final of the All-Pakistan Inter-University Men Volleyball Championship played at Agriculture Sports Complex on Friday. Parliamentary Secretary Planning and Development Mian Khaliq-urRehman was the chief guest on this occasion. Director Admission UoP Professor Dr. Hizbullah, Director Sports Agriculture University Swat Khan, Organizing Secretary and Director Sports University of Peshawar Bahre Karam, players, officials and large number of spectators were also present on this occasion. In the thrilling final, it was expected that University of Peshawar would give tough fight to University of Central Punjab but all proved otherwise when University of Central Punjab marched into the victory at 25-20, 25-22 and 25-23. The players of University of Central Punjab players comprising Ali Sher, Majid, Kashif, Abdul Rauf, Fazal, Bilal and Sajid played well by keeping University of Peshawar team under tremendous pressure and won the final in straight sets.

Men Netball Championship from April 15 ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Netball Federation (PNF), in collaboration with Pakistan Sports Board, will be holding the 13th National Men Netball Championship 2014 here at Hamidi Hall of Pakistan Sports Complex from April 15 to 18. A total of 16 teams will be participating in this mega event including , Islamabad, defending champions Army, Police, Navy, Air Force, Wapda, Railways, High Education Commission, Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, KPK, Fata, AJK, GB and LUMS. The President, PNF Zafar Iqbal Awan has formed an eight-member Rules & Technical Committee for the championship which will be responsible to all rules matter in and out of ground. The committee comprises Abdul Razak Arain as Chairman while members include Syed Toqeer Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan, Ajza ul Haq, Nadia Chamkani, Major (R) Saleem, Mudassar Arain and Anwar Ahmed Ansari. The technical officials nominated for the said championship include Maqbool Ahmed, Shazia Yousaf, Uzma Waqar, Anwar Ahmed, Khalid Parvez, Jamaluddin, Yasir Javed, Mohammad Arshad, Shoaib Ahmed, Shahid Amin, Said Nawaz, Muhammad Riaz, Sufyan Quershi and Sohail Ahmed. The PNF will provide the TA/DAs to all participating teams excluded departments as per PNF Rules and also award the trophies, medals, certificates, shields & cash Prizes to successful teams.—APP

For University of Peshawar Mudassir, Saeed Ullah, Aamir and Samar, the main smashes were failed to click in front of solid blocks of University of Central Punjab and thus they were failed to click. On the other hand University of Central Punjab team fully dominated the proceedings and did not allow host University of Peshawar to strike back. In the first set University of Peshawar got the lead of 05, 3-9 and 5-12, 6-17, but University of Central Punjab all the time tied the tally 5-5, 9-9, 12-12, 17-17, and later on the set was also tied at 1919, 20-20 and thus University of Central Punjab won the set by 2520. The same was the situation in the other two sets wherein both the teams struggle their hard for single point. The second set was tied at 77, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13, 14-14, 15-16, 20-20 and 22-22 while the third set was tied at 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 99, 10-10, 14-14, 15-15, 18-18, 19-19, 20-20 , 21-21, 23-23 and thus at the last University of Central Punjab won the battle by 25-23. Earlier, in the first semi-final University of Central Punjab defeated Agriculture University Peshawar by

3-1 in a thrilling match. For Agriculture University Peshawar Naseem, Waqas, Riaz, Sadam, Muhammad Ishfaq played well, specially in the first set they won by 16-25. University of Central Punjab players staged a strong comeback when they won three consecutive sets by 25-20, 25-23 and 25-20. For University of Central Punjab Ali Sher, Majid, Kashif, Abdul Rauf, Fazal Gul and Sajid played well. In the second semi-final University of Peshawar defeated University of Science and Technology Bannu by 3-0, the score was 25-23, 25-20 and 25-21. For University of Peshawar Mudassir, Saeed Ullah, Aamir, Samar, Khalid and Adnan played well while for Bannu Waseem, Asmat Ullah, Waqas, Idress and Mohib played well. At the end, the chief guest gave away trophies and cash prizes to the winners and runners-up. University of Central of Punjab won the winner trophy, University of Peshawar won runners-up trophy while Agriculture University defeated UST, Bannu by 3-0 by taking third position.—APP

Islamabad, KP Police cricket teams share trophy after final washed out I S L A M A B A D —Crickets

teams of Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were declared joint champions of the Police Martyrs’ Memorial Cricket tournament 2014 as the final match between both teams could not be held due to rain. This tournament called ‘All Pakistan Jan Nisar T-20 Cricket Tournament’ was held from March 24 to March 28 and eight cricket teams including Islamabad Police, Frontier Constabulary, Balochistan Police, Punjab Police, Sindh Police, KPK Police, FIA and National Highways and Motorways Police participated in the tournament. DIG (Headquarters) Khalid Khattak said that this tournament was held to remember those gallant cops who sacrificed their lives to protect the lives of others. He said the whole nation is proud of these brave sons of the soil and they would remain always alive in our heart. DIG (Headquarters) said that

Islamabad Police had organized such tournament in the past which was greatly supported. This event dedicated to the martyred cops would be made held in future too, he said. He congratulated AIG (Establishment) Ashraf Zubair Siddiqui and his team including SP Headquarters Gulfam Nasir, SP CID Zubair Ahmed Sheikh, DSP Headquarters Ashraf Shah over making arrangements for this tournament and organizing this event successfully. He said that such activities will also remain continue in upcoming days so that policemen can also participate in the sports activities besides performing their professional duties. In the end, DIG (Headquarters) distributed trophies and prizes among those players who showed good performance in the tournament. The Captains of both team also shared the trophy of the tournament.—APP

Major-Gen. Shahid Hamid Memorial Golf C’ship tees off M ULTAN —The fifth Bank Alfalah Major the amateur category matches. General Shahid Hamid Khan Memorial All Pakistan Multan Open Golf Championship 2014 was teed off by Bank Alfalah regional manager Farooq Qamar Khan at the picturesque Multan Golf Club (MGC) on Friday. Professional and amateurs from across Pakistan and other countries are participating in the three-day event. MGC president Brig. Mukhtar Ahmad told media persons that prize money for professional category top performer has been raised up to Rs 1 million while Suzuki Multan Motors have announced to give 800 CC Suzuki Mehran car to the winner as Hole in One. Three motorcycles including one sponsored by Zong Telecom would be given as prizes to the good performers in

Variety of other prizes would also be awarded to golfers for longest drive, closest to pin, maximum par, maximum birdies, and maximum eagles. The tournament has been dedicated to and named after Late Major General Shahid Hamid Khan who was the patron of MGC and very keen and ardent golfer. His untimely death on March 25 2010 left all the members and staff of MGC grieved and sorrowful, says a release. MGC is one of the best golf courses in the country having a full fledged 18xHoles lush green category A golf playing facility equipped with lighting system at Fairways 9 and 18, sprinkling system, a state of the art sports complex with new exercise machines while renovation of swimming pool was in progress.—APP

MULTAN: Regional Manager Bank Alfalah, Farooq Qamar Khan inaugurating Gen Shahid Hamid Khan Memorial All Pakistan Golf Championship 2014.

KARACHI: Players of Sindh and HEC Women hockey teams in action during National Women Hockey Championship 2014 at Hockey Club.

Alex, Williams excel in England win in disability series

Chromatex Table Tennis Masters Cup begins

L AHORE —A heavy programme was gone Ashraf (MLC) 3-2 Pakistan Railways bt KARACHI—Alex Hammond through in various events on the opening FATA 3-1, Massod Ali (RLY) bt Bilal (FATA) hit a superb half century and Jorden Williams and Jimmy Williams shared seven wicket between as England defeated Pakistan by nine wickets in the second one day international to level the 3-match disablity series 1-1 at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Dubai, according to details received here on Friday. The series deciding third and final one-dayer will be played on Saturday. Jordem Williams captured four wickets for 37 runs and Jummy Williams took three wickets for 28 runs and Alex Hammond 2-26 as Pakistan team batting first, crashed 105 all out in 22.4 overs. Jahanzaib Tiwana smashed 56-ball 58 with seven boundaries and Abdullah hit three fours in his 21. England impaired cricketers in reply raced to victory for the loss of one wickets in 22.4 overs. Alex Hammond blasted seven fours in his 56 off 62-ball. Summarized score. Pakistan 105 all out in 22.4 overs (Jahanzaib Tiwana 58, Abdullah 21, Jordem Walliams 4/37, Jimmy walliams 3/28, Alex Hammond 2/26) England 106-1 in 22.4 overs (Alex Hammond 56, Gordon Laid 35, Calum Flynn 10 not out 10).—APP

day of the 3rd Chromatex Table Tennis Masters Cup here on Friday at Chromatex Table Tennis Hall. Ahmer Malik, Secretary, Pakistan Table Tennis Federation was the chief guest of opening ceremony of the event whose participating teams are Chromatex Chemicals, OGDC, KPK, NHA, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan Railways, FATA,HEC, MLC, Islamabad and Punjab. Following were the results of matches, (Mens team event, pre-Quarterfinals) KPK bt AJK by 3-0, Sajid (KPK) bt Umair 3-0 (AJK), Syed Atif (KPK) Ali bt Seemab (AJK) 3-0, Fahad Khan (KPK) bt Jehangir (AJK) 3-1 Islamabad bt MLC 3-1, Nazim Ashraf (MLC) bt Bilal (ISD) 3-0, Rehan (ISD) bt Allemuddin (MLC) 3-0. Qmar (ISD) bt Jaffar (MLC) 3-0. Rehan (ISD) bt Nazim

3-0, Hamid Siddiqui (RLY) bt Roohullah (FATA) 3-0, Abdul Rehman (FATA) bt Faizan (RLY) 3-0. Masood Ali (RLY) Roohullah (FATA) 3-1. (Women’s Event Resuls, Group League) HEC beat MLC by 3-1, Iqra Saeed (MLC) bt Farah (HEC) 3-1, Saba (HEC) bt humaira (MLC) 3-0, Anam Saeed (HEC) bt MLC beat KPK by 3-0. Nairus Fareed (MLC) 3-0, Saba (HEC) bt Iqra Saeed 3-0,Iqra saeed (MLC) bt Madiha (KPK) 3-0, Nairus Fareed (MLC) bt Sana (KPK) 3-1, Humaira (MLC) bt Noureen (KPK) 3-0, HEC beat KPK by3-1. Sahrish (HEC) bt Sana 3-1, Anam Saeed (HEC) bt Madiha (KPK) 3-0, Atiqa, (HEC) bt Noureen (KPK) 3-0. Men’s and Women’s singles event will start tomorrow.—APP

Sports Gala of IMDC concludes SPORTS REPORTER ISLAMABAD—The Annual Sports Gala of Islamabad Medical and Dental College (IMDC) concluded on Friday here at Main College Campus Barakahu, as the chief guest chairman IMDC Ghulam Akbar Khan Niazi distributed the prizes among the winners and runner-ups MBBS and BDS students of different classes. The boys and girls competed in various sports events including cricket, athletics, football, basketball, table tennis and badminton. Also, traditional disciplines three leg race, sack race, pilo fight, girl skipping, ludo were the part of sports gala that wasted five days. Chairman IMDC Ghulam Akbar Khan Niazi said on this occasion that IMDC was doing well in the professional education and also providing opportunities to the students to take part in the healthy activities and to excel at national level if they have sports talent. “We will support our students to move ahead in the field of sports too, “he viewed. Fazal Karim Faisal was declared the best male players of the year while Nikhar Khan won the female award of the same category. Awais Niazi BDS (football boys), Mohammad Asad Ch Final Year MBBS (basketball), Ashan Khalid 2nd year MBBS (cricket), Mamoona shah 2nd year MBBS (football girls event) were awarded best players in their respective department and received special shields.

LAHORE: A view of polo match played between teams of Pakistan and Chile at Lahore Racecourse Polo Ground

Muqadas bags National Women Squash Championship P ESHAWAR —Muqadas Ashraf of Pakistan Wapda clinched the trophy after defeating sixth seeded Riffat Khan of ZTBL in the final of the 5th ICMS National Women Squash Championship played here at PAF Hashim Khan Squash Complex on Friday. Muqadas Ashraf, a very senior player entered into the Championship as second seed, recorded victory against strong Riffat Khan who also upset top seed and Pakistan No. 1 Zoya Khalid, four ranking player Samar Anjum and Aroma in the first round, quarter-final and semi-final before reaching the grand final. Both Muqadas Ashraf and Riffat Khan were stretched to four sets battle, the score was 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8. Muqadas Ashraf also made two upsets in the Championship by defeating Rushna Mehboob in semi-final and Saima Shoukat in the first round. Muqadas Ashraf of Pakistan Wapda took the first set by 11-6 and did the same with fine knock of winning the second set 11-6. Muqadas has better length shorts and forceful smashes, putting Riffat Khan under tremendous pressure that is why Riffat Khan did some key errors despite leading the second set with 1-5 and 2-6 but Muqadas staged a comeback and tied the tally 6-6 before winning the set by 11-6. It was in the third set in which Riffat Khan made a strong struggle by taking the set 911. Riffat Khan played a slower game while Muqadas speeded up with some strong smashes were also witnessed. After taking the set 9-11 by Riffat Khan, Muqadas Ashraf

gave more speed to the play by putting Riffat Khan in the back of the court. The set was also tied at 6-6, 7-7, 8-8 and 9-all before Riffat Khan took it by 9-11. It was the last and decisive set when Muqadas Ashraf faced tough resistance at the hands of Riffat Khan. Right from the start of the fourth sets, there were strong struggle between the two players for a single points that is why it tied at 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8 and thus Muqadas got it by 11-8. It was Riffat Khan four consecutive final she is playing. “I will try more hard to break the ice of winning the title,” Riffat Khan added. Muqadas while talking to APP, said that she is trying her level best to give the best. “Riffat played well,” . A total of top 16 players including four players from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took part in the Championship carried Rs. 0.1 million as cash prize. At the end of the Championship MNA Aysha Gulalay, who was the chief guest on this occasion, gave away trophies and cash prizes to the players. Speaking on this occasion, PTI MNA Aysha Gulaly said that problems confronting to the players of squash and other games would be solved on priorities basis and the govt of KP has taken some key steps of provision better playing facilities to the players. Qamar Zaman thanked Malik Tajamal Hayat for his support in holding the 5th ICMS National Women Squash Championship, which also carried 0.1 million as cash prizes besides awarding gifts to the players.—APP

Sammy blasts West Indies to thrilling win over Australia M I R P U R —West Indian batting power ejected Australia from the previous World T20 in Sri Lanka and has all but done so again after Darren Sammy pulled off a re-

well he might have, for his 34 off 13 balls was the reason West Indies managed the highest successful chase in their T20 international history.

MIRPUR: Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy break into West Indies beat Australia in World T20, Group-2 match on Friday. Australia were shattered by markable heist in Mirpur. Chris Gayle gave West Indies a blazing the loss, which left them winless start to their chase of 179 but they from their first two games. Even spluttered in the middle and Aus- victories in their remaining tralia were firm favourites when matches against India and George Bailey handed the ball to Bangladesh may well be inadMitchell Starc with 31 still needed equate to progress to the semi-finals. It has been a harsh lesson from the final two overs. Sammy had other ideas. A half- for a side who entered the tournavolley was smashed over long-on ment as favourites with five wins for six, a flick was finessed to the from their past five games - notafine-leg boundary and another bly, all in faster, more familiar confour was slashed behind point, ditions. Here their batsmen again and Starc’s inability to land the struggled against spin. Not that their total of 178 for 8 ball in the right spots meant 19 runs had leaked from his over, leav- was unable to be defended; on the ing 12 required off the final six contrary, they must have felt conballs. Importantly, Sammy was on fident at the change of innings, strike, though his partner Dwayne even more so after Shane Watson Bravo had contributed plenty to sent down a maiden for the first the chase with 27 off 12 deliver- over of the chase to Dwayne Smith. After that, though, it was ies. Two yorkers from James the Gayle show. His first ball was Faulkner gave Bailey reason to a pearler from Starc, angling in breathe easier, but Sammy fol- and straightening past the outside lowed those with a six crunched edge, but that was about the only over long-off from a full toss and time Gayle looked troubled. Four fours followed later in that another six down the ground to secure the six-wicket win with two same over and the old Gayle magic balls to spare. Sammy threw his was back. He clipped Doug arms up in the air to celebrate and Bollinger over square leg for six

Watson failed to get going for and continued to strike the ball cleanly in all directions, taking 40 the second consecutive game, this from his first 14 deliveries. Smith time stumped for 2 from eight balls edged behind off Starc for 17 but when Sunil Narine turned one past Gayle was the worry for Austra- the bat. Denesh Ramdin was hardly lia, and after his brisk start he settled crisp behind the stumps but such down into a more was Watson’s apparent lack of run-a-ball mode, awareness that his back foot was moving to his half- on the line that Ramdin was able century from 31 to miss the bails on his first attempt at breaking them, then balls. At times he was knock them off at the second try walking singles, and still find Watson short. When Bailey sent a catch to such was the ease with he appeared to midwicket off Samuels for 12, be taking things, Australia were in a spot of bother but on 53 he sent a at 77 for 4, and it looked like spin catch to deep could be their undoing in a tourmidwicket off James nament played in turning condiMuirhead and the tions. But Maxwell showed fate of the match against Pakistan that such bowllooked as if it may ing does not worry him, and here have changed on he followed 16 off a Sammy over that one stroke. The with a couple more sixes, slog runs began to dry swept off Samuels and crunched up, Lendl Simmons over extra cover off Badree. There was no crazily fast halfwas caught in the deep for 26 and century for Maxwell as there had Marlon Samuels been against Pakistan, but his 45 used up 15 balls for from 22 - he pulled a catch to deep his 12 before he was midwicket off Badree - at least put brilliantly taken by Australia on the path to a comBrad Haddin diving petitive total. Brad Hodge, who entered the to his right off match as Twenty20’s leading run Starc. It was the last scorer of all time, had enough exgood thing Starc did perience to steer the innings up for the match - towards the 150 mark, his 35 endBravo clubbed him ing only when he tried to reverse for six later in that sweep Narine and was bowled. The lower order added a few over, and then it was the Sammy boundaries to get the total up to 178 for 8 but it was not enough. show. Those two final West Indies now have every overs were fatal to chance of advancing to the semiAustralia in this finals and maybe defending their match, but their lack title, won in Sri Lanka in 2012 after of big runs from Gayle monstered Australia in the a dance after their top three bats- semi-final with 75 off 41 balls. Ausmen has also hurt tralia will almost certainly fly home them in both games. next week wondering how on As they had in the loss to Pa- earth they can win this elusive trokistan, Australia again relied on phy. Perhaps if Gayle retires beMaxwell to rebuild the innings af- fore the next tournament they ter the top three struggled against might have some chance—AFP quality spin. This time, D a v i d Warner and Sammy .................. 1-0-16-0 Aaron Finch Australia innings: at least Finch b Samuels ............ 16 Bravo .................... 4-0-39-1 made starts Warner b Badree ........... 20 Russell .................. 1-0-15-0 but they fell Watson st Ramdin b Narine2 West Indies innings: in consecu- Maxwell b Badree .......... 45 Smith c Haddin b Starc . 17 tive overs Bailey b Samuels ........... 12 Gayle b Muirhead ......... 53 while trying Hodge b Narine ............. 35 Simmons c Maxwell b c Bravo Bollinger ......................... 26 to force the Faulkner b Santokie ...................... 13 Samuels b Starc ............. 12 pace - Finch was bowled Haddin not out .............. 15 Bravo not out ................ 27 for 16 at- Starc c Russell b Bravo .. 4 Sammy not out .............. 34 tempting a Muirhead not out ............ 1 Extras: (b 2, lb 6, w 2) .... 10 slog sweep Extras: (b 2, w 7, nb 6) ... 15 Total: (4 wickets) ......... 179 off Samuels Total: (8 wickets) ......... 178 Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-101, and Samuel Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-41, 3- 3-107, 4-130 B a d r e e ’ s 41, 4-77, 5-100, 6-152, 7-154, Bowling: ........... O-M-R-W Wa t s o n ................. 2-1-11-0 skidder took 8-171 m i d d l e Bowling: ........... O-M-R-W Starc ...................... 4-0-50-2 stump to K Santokie ............ 4-0-30-1 Bollinger ............... 4-0-34-1 e n d S Badree ............... 4-0-37-2 Maxwell ................ 3-0-28-0 Warner’s in- Samuels ................ 2-0-20-2 JP Faulkner ........ 3.4-0-27-0 nings on 20. SP Narine .............. 4-1-19-2 Muirhead .............. 3-0-21-1

Manchester United considering Moyes sacking

Li to meet Serena in Miami final MIAMI—China´s Li Na advanced to the fi- started with a break and that was very imnal of the WTA Tour´s Miami hardcourt portant for me,” Nadal said. “I felt that I tournament by beating Dominika Cibulkova finished the match playing better. “I think I started the match playing okay, but not playof Slovakia 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 on Friday. Li will next face top seed Serena Will- ing well on the break points.” Raonic hammered eight aces but also iams who beat Russian Maria Sharapova 64, 6-3 in the other semi-final on Thursday. made five double faults. Raonic won just World number two Li hit two aces and 18 points on his second serve, or 39 perhad six double faults but she won 46 of 79 cent, compared to a 57 percent second serve first serve points in the two hour, 20 minute match. Meanwhile, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP Tour´s Miami Masters tournament Thursday by rallying to beat Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Spain´s Nadal, who has lost three times in the Miami final, clinched the victory on the first match point in the third set when Raonic failed to reach a spinning serve out wide on hardcourts at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. “Today was a special opponent with an unbelievable serve and with a strong game from the baseline. Normally I have to be better than him, so I tried to use that strategy,” Nadal said. Top seed Nadal advances to the semis, where he will face seventh seeded Tomas Berdych, who cooled off the red-hot Ukrainian MIAMI: Li Na of China returns the ball to Dominika Alexandr Dolgopolov in Cibulkova of Slovakia during the semi-final of WTA straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), Tour´s Miami hardcourt tournament. earlier in the day. Raonic kept Nadal on his heels with his ratio for Nadal. “He just had the right apstrong serving in the first set. But Nadal proach after that first set,” Roanic said. “We recovered quickly in the second to get a were both struggling quite a bit. He let go a little bit more. He´s been in that situation service break. Nadal was on his toes and moving much more than I have. He dealt with it from quicker side to side as he took advantage a mental and strategical side better than I of Raonic´s slower second serve to win the did.” Nadal has reached the quarter-finals or final two sets to close out the two and a better in his last six appearances in Miami half hour match. He tallied just two aces but won 47 of but he has failed to win the title. He lost 63 points on his first serve. “I was lucky at three times in the final in 2011, 2008 and the beginning of the second set because I 2005.—AFP

Creamer, Uribe lead Kia Classic CARLSBAD (United States)—Paula Creamer and Mariajo Uribe, of Colombia, fired fiveunder 67s to share the lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic on Friday. American Creamer won for the 10th time on the Tour earlier this year at the HSBC Women’s Champions, while Uribe claimed the title at the 2011 LPGA Brazil Cup. “I played pretty solid.I had one bogey, but I gave myself a bunch of opportunities, and you know, putted really well, made some good two-putts,” said Creamer. Cristie Kerr began her tournament with a four-under 68 at the Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club.She was joined in third place by China’s Feng Shanshan, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Lee Mi-Hyang, of South Korea. World number one Park In-bee was one stroke back at three under and shares seventh place with Lexi Thompson, Tiffany Joh,

Azahara Munoz and Lizette Salas. Stacy Lewis fired a two-under 70.She is one of 18 players tied for 12th.Japan’s Ai Miyazato and 2011 US Women’s Open champion Ruy So-Yeon are also in the group at two under. The 27-year-old Creamer had consecutive birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 after beginning her round on the back nine.She added two more birdies on 17 and 18 to make the turn at three under. Creamer birdied No. 2 to reach four-under and she tied for the lead with a birdie at the eighth hole. “And I think it’s an advantage playing early in the morning, and I wanted to take that advantage and try and get as many birdies, but eliminate the bogeys,” Creamer said. Park said she is hoping to improve her short game on Friday.—AFP

Chandimal suspended for one match C HITTAGONG—Dinesh Chandimal will miss Sri Lanka’s final group match against New Zealand after he was sus-

L O N D O N —Manchester United’s senior that enables the Americans to sack him at pended for one game due to Sri Lanka being found guilty

hierarchy is “evaluating all possibilities” as it attempts to arrest the club’s steep descent under David Moyes. Contrary to public statements that Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor will definitely be granted at least a second season as manager, Moyes’ dismissal is prominent among those possibilities. Though Tuesday’s humiliating 3-0 home loss to Manchester City ensured that United’s first post-Ferguson season is statistically the club’s worst in the Premier League era, the review of potential candidates to replace Moyes should not be regarded as a knee-jerk reaction. Key decision-makers within the Old Trafford board have been assessing potential replacements as manager for several weeks and further talks are planned. Having already sanctioned a spend of over 70 million euros on two headline transfers, handed Wayne Rooney a clubrecord contract renewal, and approved an unprecedented recruitment spend for this summer, the Glazer family is said to be concerned that the Scot will continue to damage the value of their asset. Recruited on the recommendation of Ferguson, Moyes was not the majority shareholders’ preferred choice for their first managerial appointment as owners of the club. The award of a six-year contract was essentially a PR play, with Moyes’ contractual terms including a break clause

far less than the full salary costs of that term. Promoted to chief executive officer in the same summer that Moyes was appointed, Ed Woodward is also conscious that his effectiveness in the new post has been assessed in the context of results delivered by another man’s choice as manager. In addition to overseeing a series of performances that saw the Premier League champions’ title defense effectively end in January, Moyes’ managerial decisions have fomented grave internal dissent within United’s coaching, scouting and recruitment staff. A strategy of attributing under performance to the allegedly severely sub-standard squad he inherited from Ferguson has proved particularly divisive. Key players are said to “have had enough of the way Moyes is destroying their reputation” with his repeated assertions that a squad that won the Premier League by 11 points last season required a radical rebuild to have any chance of retaining the title. On the contrary, they believe the Scot’s errant tactics and man management have caused the team’s decline. Senior players talk of Moyes’ failure to understand the essence of Manchester United, and the confusions produced by his management following years of crystal-clear leadership under Ferguson.—AFP

of maintaining a slow over rate for the second time inside 12 months under his leadership. ICC match referee David Boon ruled Sri Lanka were one over short, as they strove to defend 189 against England in Chittagong on Thursday. Chandimal will also be docked 20% of his match fee, while his team incurs a 10% fine. Chandimal had pleaded not guilty to the offence, setting a full hearing in motion on Friday, but the charge and penalty were upheld by Boon. Sri Lanka had deliberated on bowling strategy at length in the final overs of the game, and had also routinely sought to dry the ball, which was becoming covered in dew. The ICC rule allows for reasonable time expenditures beyond the players’ control - presumably including the drying of a wet ball - but despite this, and also having bowled spinners for eight of their 19.2 overs, Sri Lanka were ruled to have taken too long in the field. Chandimal’s previous offence had come on November 21 against New Zealand, in Pallekele. The team had been one over short on that occasion as well, and he had also incurred a 20% fine that served as a warning for suspension. Sri Lanka team manager Michael de Zoysa said Lasith Malinga would captain the side in Chandimal’s absence. In better news for Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene has been cleared of serious damage after his left ring finger was dislocated when he dropped Alex Hales at deep squareleg. He had the finger put back into position and an x-ray confirmed no fracture.—AFP

CARLSBAD, United States: Paula Creamer of the USA hits an approach shot during LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic Golf Championship.

Smoking bans cut premature births, child asthma attacks


ANNING smoking in public places has helped to cut premature births by 10 per cent, according to new research from the United States and Europe. A study in The Lancet medical journal found that while the impact of anti-smoking laws varies between countries, the overall effect on child health around the world is positive. “Our research shows that smoking bans are an effective way to protect the health of our children,” said Jasper Been of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, who led the study. He said the findings should help to accelerate the introduction of antismoking legislation in cities, countries and districts which have yet to do so. Laws banning smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants, offices and other workplaces have already been proven in previous studies to protect adults from the health threats associated with passive smoking. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke. By 2030, if current trends continue, it predicts tobacco’s death toll could be 8

million people a year. Only 16 percent of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 40 percent children worldwide are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, the WHO says. Public health experts hope that as more and more countries in Europe and around the world adopt stricter legislation on smoking in public places, the health benefits will swiftly start to become evident. Friday’s research in The Lancet, which analyzed data on more than 2.5 million births and almost 250,000 hospital attendances for asthma attacks, was the first comprehensive study to look at how anti-smoking laws affect children’s health. With results from five North American studies of local bans and six European studies on national bans, it found rates of both pre-term births and hospital attendance for asthma fell by 10 percent within a year of smoke-free laws coming into effect. “Together with the known health benefits in adults, our study provides clear evidence that smoking bans have considerable public health benefits for perinatal and child health,” said Been. He said it also provided “strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level.”

Senior Provincial Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhru addressing a conference organised by Sindh Textbook Board at Arts Council.

PPP won’t allow any damage to Clifton temple STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—Advisor to Pakistan People’s Party Patron-inChief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for Minority Affairs Surendar Valasai has said his Party is fully committed to the protection of the worship places of minorities across the country and is fully cognizant of the issue of Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple in Karachi Clifton. Valasai said PPP has always led the struggle for minority rights and is the only political party where people from minority community enjoy equal rights in its ranks and file. He said PPP won’t allow any damage or harm to the Clifton temple and its structure under any circumstances and stressed that those who are bent upon politicizing the issue should wait for the technical aspect of the development work and its impact on the temple structures. Surendar Valasai said Hindus, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs and other minorities living in Pakistan are not orphans as PPP leadership has always stood for their rights and protection. He said a elected representatives belonging to Hindu community have visited the said temple twice and will furnish their report to Party leadership today.

Motorists waiting in a long queue to get CNG from a station at MA Jinnah Road.

Qaim for realistic approach for tax on marriage halls STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah while talking to a delegation of Marriage Hall Association (MHA) Karachi has assured them that realistic approach would be applied for recovering services taxes from their business units. He said that the proposal which they have placed today would be got examined from the concerned authorities. He said that Sindh Govt was already following the friendly policy with its all stakeholders to promote business and investment in each sector.

Asmattullah Khan Chairman Marriage Hall Association Karachi Syed Anis-urRehman President, Khawaja Tariq General Secretary Syed Imtiaz Shah and other members were included in the delegation. Talking on the occasion the Chairman MHA Karachi, Asmatullah Khan said that they feel this tariff of tax on their business units as extra ordinary burdens over people. They suggested that government may impose tax on the marriage halls according to their category instead of imposing on parties. They were of the view that this mechanism would be beneficial for all and to prevent all leakages in the recovery.

Biggest enemy of consumer is consumer himself STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—To commemorate World Consumer Rights Day, Helpline Trust had organized a Panel Discussion on “Putting The Consumer First” at a local hotel. In his opening remark, Hamid Maker, Founder Trustee, Helpline Trust stated that the biggest enemy of the consumer is the consumer himself, as he does not demand quality nor is he prepared to lodge a complaint and highlighted the 8 principal guidelines of Consumer Protection laws, right to safety, right to be informed, right to choose, right to be heard, right to satisfaction of basic needs, right

to redress, right to education and right to a healthy environment. He also thanked Sharmilla Faruqui, Member Sindh Assembly and Advisor to CM Sindh, for introducing the Consumer Protection Laws (CPL), Sindh in the Sindh Assembly. He stated that presently, Sindh is the only province in Pakistan without a CPL and hoped that it would soon become a law, so that the consumers of Sindh are protected from substandard, adulterated, contaminated and spurious products. Sharmila Faruqui, who was the Chief Guest, stated that the Consumer Protection Laws (CPL) was prepared af-

ter careful consideration and promised that she would ensure that it is taken up in the next session of the Sindh Assembly and becomes a law. Ambreen Waheed, the Keynote Speaker, spoke about Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and the obligation manufacturers have towards consumers and about truth in marketing and advertizing. Zahid Saeed, MD, Indus Pharma stated that consumers do not demand a warranty when purchasing medicines, which is mandatory and also do not check the date of manufacture and expiry, seals and batch number.

Govt should deal Taliban with an iron hand: Sharjeel STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—Sindh Minister for information, archives and local government Sharjeel Innam Memon in his advice to Hamza Shahbaz Sharif said that the latter should instead of tendering his advices to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, should advise Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and federal government not to bow down before Taliban terrorist. It had better for Hamza Shahbaz Sharif to keep his advices to him for not speaking on issues of terrorism. A severe scale of unrest has already penetrated across the country because of the reconciliatory policy of federal government with Taliban terrorists. Federal government had affronted the constitution of Pakistan by holding negotiations

Health projects under USAID discussed STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—The United States Consul General Michael Dodman called on Sindh Secretary Health Iqbal Hussain Durrani. USAID Sindh Balochistan Chief Leon Waskin, Sindh and Balochistan Health Project Management Specialist Dr Zulfikar Gorar were present. The US Consul General discussed with Secretary Health about general health issues prevalent in Sindh and ways to further promote the collaboration between USAID and Sindh Health Department. The meeting had in particular discussed in detail about health-related issues in Mithi district Tharparkar.

KU to hold workshop on technology STAFF REPORTER KARACHI—Department of International Relations, University of Karachi (KU) is organizing a two-day training workshop on research methodology at Arts Auditorium on Monday. The inaugural session of the training workshop will be held on March 31 and KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Qaiser would the be the chief guest. Dean Faculty of Arts Dean Prof Dr Moonis Ahmar would preside over the inaugural session. Prof Dr S Mutahir Ahmed, Chairman, International Relations Department and Dr. Anila Amber, Chairperson, Department of Psychology would also speak in the inaugural session.

with Taliban. Government of Punjab should now stop patronising the terrorists, said the Minister. Memon while taking notice of Hamza Shahbaz Sharif’s statement said that he should instead advise federal government and Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to strictly act in accordance with the provisions of the constitution to rid the terrorist and terrorism. Federal government should stop beseeching Taliban and deal with them with an iron hand. Likewise, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif should also be advised to stop protecting and patronising terrorists. The Minister for information said that federal government had dissolved the difference between a simple and law abiding citizens of Pakistan and Taliban and Lashkar-e Jhangvi and raised parallel laws to see them separately. Despite

the fact that Taliban terrorists were annihilating the innocent citizens of Pakistan, Government of Punjab was providing them with secure and safe heavens in Punjab, deplored Memon. Hamza Shahbaz Sharif had better realize the real situation and should stop playing a child’s game by making such insane statements that meant to encouraging Taliban terrorists and should rather look at the other side of those families that suffered irreparable loss to the hands of terrorist Taliban, he said adding that federal government had caused a severe scale unrest to penetrate across the country by adopting a policy of mutual understanding with terrorist Taliban and by that policy of reconciliation, 180 million Pakistanis had entered a blind alley of intimidation and premonition, which federal government should review honestly.

Smoking bans cut premature births, child asthma attacks


ANNING smoking in public places has helped to cut premature births by 10 per cent, according to new research from the United States and Europe. A study in The Lancet medical journal found that while the impact of anti-smoking laws varies between countries, the overall effect on child health around the world is positive. “Our research shows that smoking bans are an effective way to protect the health of our children,” said Jasper Been of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, who led the study. He said the findings should help to accelerate the introduction of antismoking legislation in cities, countries and districts which have yet to do so. Laws banning smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants, offices and other workplaces have already been proven in previous studies to protect adults from the health threats associated with passive smoking. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke. By 2030, if current trends continue, it predicts tobacco’s death toll could be 8

million people a year. Only 16 percent of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 40 percent children worldwide are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, the WHO says. Public health experts hope that as more and more countries in Europe and around the world adopt stricter legislation on smoking in public places, the health benefits will swiftly start to become evident. Friday’s research in The Lancet, which analyzed data on more than 2.5 million births and almost 250,000 hospital attendances for asthma attacks, was the first comprehensive study to look at how anti-smoking laws affect children’s health. With results from five North American studies of local bans and six European studies on national bans, it found rates of both pre-term births and hospital attendance for asthma fell by 10 percent within a year of smoke-free laws coming into effect. “Together with the known health benefits in adults, our study provides clear evidence that smoking bans have considerable public health benefits for perinatal and child health,” said Been. He said it also provided “strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level.”

Poorest families to get subsidy through Khidmat Card: Shahbaz SALIM AHMED LAHORE—Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that direct subsidy will be given to the poorest families of the province through Punjab Khidmat Card programme. He said that the aim of this programme is to reduce economic burden on the resourceless families. Name and computerized identity card number of the person obtaining financial assistance will be written on the card, he added. He expressed these views while presiding over a high level meeting, here Friday. The meeting reviewed the pace of progress on Punjab Khidmat Card Programme. Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Food Minister Bilal Yasin, Advisor Dr Ijaz Nabi, MPA Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chief Secretary, Secretaries of Food, Planning & Development and Information Departments, Director Food and other concerned officials attended the meeting. Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab Khidmat Card is another

Ten more trucks with relief goods sent to Thar OBSERVER REPORT LAHORE—Chief Relief Com-

A Malang performing Dhamal during Mela Chiraghan, on the occasion of annual Urs of Sufi Saint Hazrat Shah Hussain.

Solid measures underway for economic development OBSERVER REPORT L AHORE —Punjab

Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has stressed the need for capacity-building of the concerned departments for achieving the targets of economic development and said that Punjab government has taken solid measures for this purpose. He said that information technology has been promoted for capacity-building of institutions and special attention has been paid to developing a skilled workforce in accordance with market needs for economic development. He said that the scope of skills development programme started in four districts of south Punjab has been expanded to 18 districts of the province. He was presiding over a high level meeting, here Friday. Provincial Minister for Indus-

missioner Punjab Nadeem Ashraf has said that on the direction of Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, process of provision of food and water to Thar affectees is continuing and ten more trucks containing 5557 food hampers and 5716 mineral water bottles have been distributed among the affectees of different villages of Thar. He stated this while addressing a meeting of PDMA in connection with provision of relief items to the Thar affectees, today. Chief Relief Commissioner said that process of provision of food and water by Punjab government to affectees of different villages of Sindh affected by drought and famine is continuing. He said that food bags of 21.5 kg each are being given to every family which is enough for a family for fifteen days. These bags containing pulses, sugar, water, ghee, tea, match boxes, salt, chili powder and biscuits while 1.5 litter mineral water bottles are also being supplied.

try Ch. Muhammad Shafique, Member Punjab Assembly Dr. Ayesha Ghous Pasha, Advisor Dr. Ijaz Nabi, Chairman Planning & Development, Managing Director Punjab Metro Bus Authority, Secretary Industry and concerned officials were present. The meeting considered the proposal for setting up Punjab Business Council for achieving the targets of economic development while accelerating the pace economic and industrial development in the province was also discussed. Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that skilled workforce plays an important role in economic development, therefore, Punjab government is implementing a comprehensive programme in this regard and skills development fund has been set up under which training in various skills has been imparted to thousands of youth.

MoU signed for observance of Earth Hour OBSERVER REPORT LAHORE—A memorandum of understanding was signed between Punjab government and WWF of UNO to pledge for observing Earth Hour on March 29 at 8.30pm with 154 countries of the world at Punjab Assembly, Lahore. Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan on behalf of Punjab government and Senior Director Operations Anwar Naseem on behalf of WWF signed the MoU. Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan was also present on the occasion. Speaker Punjab Assembly, Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan said that Paki-

stan is facing energy crisis for a long time and stressed the need to work jointly with the world for checking wastage of energy. He said that load-shedding will be eliminated from the country in a short period as power plants for generation of 22000 megawatt electricity will be installed within next two years in the country with the practical cooperation of world community especially China. He expressed the hope to make the future of Pakistan bright and achieve a dignified status in the comity of nations. Provincial Education Minister, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan said that the tradition of observing Earth Hour at global

level has been started for creating awareness among the people and government institutions to minimize unnecessary use of electricity. He said that every Pakistani should conserve electricity for himself and the nation. He said that with this spirit, we have pledged to play our due role in ridding the earth of energy crisis and environmental degradation side by side developed nations. Director WWF, Sonia Khan informed that observance of Earth Hour was started in Sidney, Australia when 25 lakh people of Australia gathered there and gave a message of conservation of national resources of the earth and refrain from unnecessary use of energy.

public welfare and revolutionary programme of the government under which Khidmat Cards would issued to the poorest families for their financial assistance

while education and health facilities would also be provided through these cards under a phased programme. The Chief Minister directed concerned au-

thorities that planning should be made for running Punjab Khidmat Card Programme on the pattern of Educational Endowment Fund and final recommen-

dations in this regard be submitted at the earliest. Various proposals regarding Punjab Khidmat Card Programme were also reviewed in the meeting.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is presiding over a high-level meeting to discuss Punjab Khidmat Card Programme.

Govt keeping a vigilant eye on price hike OBSERVER REPORT LAHORE —Provincial Minister for Food and Chairman Cabinet Price Control Committee Punjab, Bilal Yasin has said that government is working on a mechanism for providing necessary items to the people in abundance and saving them from pricehike. He said that strict instructions have been issued to the district administration throughout the province to keep a vigilant eye on price-hike and award deterrent punishment to the shopkeepers involved in profiteering. He expressed these views while talking to the journalists, here Friday. The Minister said that government is implementing a comprehensive strategy for maintaining the prices of the edible items at reasonable

Judges serve nation through judgments OBSERVER REPORT L AHORE—Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Justice Umar Ata Bandial has said that duty of Judges is to serve the nation through judgments. Balanced judgments check cruelty and barbarism as a good decision can create peace and harmony in region and blocks bloodshed. The Chief Justice was addressing to a certificate award ceremony of a four-weeks PreService Training Course for newly appointed Civil Judgescum-Magistrates at Punjab Judicial Academy. The greatest virtue of an adjudicator was contentment and uprightness that led him to a just and quick decision. Hon’ble Chief Justice asked the participant judges to hold court with peace of mind and without any fear because not only Lahore High Court but Supreme of Court of Pakistan was also on their back. Hon’ble Chief Justice said that it was his obligation to provide an environment of tranquillity and peace for safeguarding the litigant public, advocates community as well as judicial officers. Hon’ble Chief Justice also advised the judges to give a patient hearing to all the parties irrespective of their status and listen the counsel attentively so that no body could complain against their attitude. He also expressed the resolve to make the Academy a seat of learning by launching more robust, innovative and dynamic programmes aimed at improving practical and theoretical legal knowledge.

level. He said that the prices of vegetables like potatoes, onion and tomatoes are determined daily on the basis of their supply and demand as well as production. He said that the crops of tomatoes and potatoes of Sindh have ended and now the demand of these items is being met through their import from India. He said that besides supply and demand, the administration is keeping a watchful eye on the opportunist profiteers and working in a better manner and the commodities are available at affordable rate in abundance in Punjab as compared to other provinces. Bilal Yasin said that government is paying special attention to progressive farming along with provision of edible items to the masses. He said that the aim of price control committee is to ensure availability of quality food to the people.

Chinese delegation visits PBIT SALIM AHMED LAHORE—A 24-member delegation from Yantai Federation of Commerce and Industry, China visited Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) today. Salahuddin Hanif, Secretary General Pakistan – China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry also accompanied the delegation. Dr Ali Naveed Pirzada, Director General Projects PBIT welcomed the members of the delegation and apprised them of the working of Punjab Board of Investment and Trade as well as investment opportunities in Punjab. The delegation was intrigued by the investment potential in Punjab and showed keen interest in the Garment City project of Punjab government.

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