Jun 052016
PMIC receives a small allocation again

KARACHI / KARACHI / PUL-E-ALAM / ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission (PMIC) – a supervisory arm of the prime minister’s secretariat tasked to monitor federal government institutions – has once again been allocated a relatively paltry sum in the new budget probably due to its ‘not so extensive’ engagements. The budgetary allocations for the upcoming financial year 2016-17 suggest that the PMIC’s annual budget has been given Rs64,904,000, compared to Rs62,000,000 allocated to it in the outgoing financial year 2015-16, showing a marginal increase of 4.7 per cent. Supposed to keep a watchful eye on the functioning of federal ministries, divisions and departments, the PMIC has not been in the spotlight the way other inspection and accountability organs have been.  This is because the PMIC has traditionally been regarded as a less effective body due to various factors. In comparison with the PMIC that is run under the direct supervision of the premier, the federal ombudsman is an independent constitutional body fully autonomous in taking decisions against any federal government institution. The PMIC chairman requires the PM’s prior approval before any operational activity while there is no such requirement for the federal ombudsman who acts in an independent capacity. “This is the main reason why the number of complaints that the PMIC receives against the federal government bodies is far less than those received by the federal ombudsman,” the officials shared with The Express Tribune. A well-placed source in the PM Secretariat said the federal ombudsman’s annual budget is several [Read More…]

Apr 162016
Zarb-e-Aahan: Half of Rajanpur’s riverine area cleared  (Front page)

ISLAMABAD / MULTAN / BAHAWALPUR / DG KHAN:  The military took over the command of an ongoing operation against criminal gangs holed up in the riverine area of Rajanpur district on Saturday as helicopter gunships carried out more sorties, hitting hideouts of gangsters in the region. “Army troops deployed. Take over charge of [the] operation. Cordon reinforced,” Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, the director general of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) wrote on Twitter. Police and Rangers personnel would continue to participate under the army’s command, he added. The operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Aahan, was launched towards the end of March by the Punjab police and the paramilitary Rangers against criminals, especially against the gang of Ghulam Rasool, alias Chottu. The police called in airpower from the military on Wednesday after facing stiff resistance from the gangsters who have also kidnapped around 20 policemen. Helicopter gunships launched air assaults on Friday but a day later the military decided to take over the operation command.  “Whatever resources required will be employed to accomplish the mission,” Lt Gen Bajwa wrote on his official Twitter handle.  Updates will be regularly shared with the media, he added. According to reports pouring in from the front-lines, army troops, backed by 10 helicopter gunships, have gone six kilometres deep into the area controlled by the Chottu gang in the Kacha Jamal area of Rajanpur. Police sources added that 600 commandoes are conducting the operation, while Rangers personnel are used as reserve force. Reports also suggest that forces [Read More…]

Mar 292016
Metro bus closure: Significance of affordable transport being felt

RAWALPINDI:  The significance of subsidised fares on the Metro Bus Service has been noticeable for the last three days as commuters in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have been forced to pay higher fares due to its temporary closure. Thousands of people use the buses to travel to intra-city and intercity locations in the twin cities for work or leisure every day. Since the subsidised service started in June last year, no privately run transporters have been plying the same routes in Rawalpindi. The Rawalpindi City District Government suspended the bus service on March 27, after religious activists observing a chehlum for assassin Mumtaz Qadri ransacked multiple bus stations. “I work at a private bank in Blue Area in Islamabad. I live in Tench Bhatta and have been using the metro to get to work,” said Sidra Anjum, who took a cab to work on Tuesday. Ans Khan, who runs a shop in F-8 Markaz, said that it had become difficult for him to get to work after the suspension of service. “Travelling on the metro helped me save money. Now I have to spend more just to get to Islamabad,” he said. Taxi drivers have been making hay of the sully gap on Murree Road for two days. There is no public transport from Saddar to Faizabad on major road in the city, and cabbies have been taking multiple passengers in cabs while charging them Rs100 each for the 10-kilometre stretch, said Muhammad Zeeshan, who was standing [Read More…]

Feb 292016

ISLAMABAD:  It’s 7:30pm and The Express Tribune’s reporters are in line at a security check behind three ambulances. “Has something gone wrong already?” One asks; but no, it hasn’t. Standby ambulances are standard practice at concerts abroad, the other assures. After moving through a series of checkpoints, the reporters enter The Rock Musicarium, immediately impressed by the lighting and sound which has just been set up. The crowd is thin, seemingly only teenagers from other cities. The organisers are giving final instructions to the ushers on crowd management and area access. Ticketholders continue to trickle in, some of them very young — unsurprising, given that it is an all-ages event. The opening act, Database, takes the stage, without being introduced. Many in the crowd don’t realise live performances have started, but the high energy, one-hour set, featuring mixes of Major Lazer’s Lean On, Eric Prydz’s Generate and How Deep is Your Love by Calvin Harris and Disciples initiates head-bobbing in the crowd. Yet, it is only when they drop the SomeWhatSuper track Bandook that the crowd really gets into it. While not as polished or nuanced as the acts that followed, particularly in terms of transitions, the duo was an effective opening act, charging the crowd and getting them warmed up for the feverish dancing to follow. Talal Qureshi, wearing a waistcoat over a kurta-shalwar, walks on to the stage. The uber-talented DJ-cum-producer starts solo, before being joined by Adil Omar and later, QB. The upbeat intro to the boys’ [Read More…]

Jan 122016

RAWALPINDI: A woman was killed and at least five other persons were injured in two separate rain-related incidents in Rawalpindi.Basri Bibi, 50, was killed and four other women were injured when a wall collapsed in Gangal village of Kaller Syedan. The injured were identified as Rubina Bibi, 30; Asma, 27; Nadia, 25; and Musarat, 48.The women had gathered at a house to condole the death of a woman in the village.The boundary wall of the house collapsed due to the accumulation of water on a tent affixed to it. They were shifted to Kallar Syedan Tehsil Headquarters Hospital.The injured women are stated to be out of danger.Separately, a 22-year-old man was injured when a building collapsed near Mankiala railway crossing due to rain. Rescue 1122 pulled out 22-year-old Faqir Hussain from the rubble and shifted him to Rawalpindi District Headquarters Hospital.Islamabad, Rawalpindi and the adjoining districts received long-awaited winter rain on Tuesday for much satisfaction of farmers in the arid Potohar region.According to Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Islamabad received 79 millimetre rainfall. PMD said more rain, with snowfall over the hills, was expected at isolated places in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Foggy conditions are likely to prevail over plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh during morning hours, it said.Rainfall recorded in the twin cities till 7pm on Tuesday was 23 millimetre at Saidpur Village, 34 millimetre at PMD Colony, 39 millimetre at Rawalpindi Medical College, and 33 millimetre at Chaklala.Rescue 1122 said water flow in Nullah Leh was normal [Read More…]

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