Irfan Haider

Aug 232017
Director of KP's first home for street children resigns, cites corruption as the reason

Zamong Kor: false starts and 'vanity' allegations Major (retired) Harris Khan Khattak, the director of Zamong Kor — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's "model" home for street children — resigned from his post on Wednesday while levelling allegations of corruption against the home’s board of directors (BoD).Khattak alleged that the chairman of Zamong Kor’s BoD, Imtiaz Gillani, used the school funds to buy a car worth Rs2 million, adding that other members of the board were also involved in embezzlement of the organisation's funds.According to Khattak, he has also informed the KP chief minister of the situation.Gillani, on the other hand, dismissed the allegations while talking to Dawn and said that all of the organisation’s decisions were taken according to a set procedure. “The car was bought through the board’s approval as well,” he said, adding that Khattak was “not taking enough interest in the organisation’s affairs”.Zamong Kor: false starts and 'vanity' allegations Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's had launched the first-ever institute for street children in the province in November 2015.At the launch, Khan had praised Reham Khan — his ex-wife and former ambassador for street children in the province — for highlighting the problems of local street children.At the time of the launch, the KP government had said that the home would accommodate 1,000 street children and provide them with education, health, recreation, sports, boarding, food, career, psychological counselings and other necessary facilities.An additional 100 kanals of land had to be acquired by the government to build a sports grounds, an auditorium and [Read More…]

Aug 232017
SC moved to include words 'sadiq' and 'ameen' in oaths taken by judges, generals

A petition has been filed in Supreme Court's Lahore registry to include the words sadiq and ameen (honest and righteous) to the oaths taken by judges and army generals after their appointments. Filed by lawyer Ch. Muhammad Anwar on behalf of Barrister Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party, the petition states that accountability is being applied discriminately to civilians in Pakistan while judges and generals "are being sheltered and protected and considered as immune from accountability".The higher judiciary and military courts in the country have become "sacred cows", the petition reads, adding that the judiciary is even making rules which in certain cases are to be made by the parliament. Also read: Parliament awaits data about perks of generals, officials"From the very birth of Pakistan, [the] parliament has remained at the mercy of judiciary and dictators," the petition says, urging the SC not to "take over the jurisdictions of parliament as it has done in Article 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(g)". The Supreme Court had last month disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for being "dishonest" in his 2013 nomination papers.The petition seeks the apex court's directions to make SC judges and army officers "surrender their accountability to the public" through the parliament. "In fact, the accountability of all the elected and selected persons is the privilege of parliamentary committees."The petition has been filed in the SC at a time when the government has revealed its plans to amend Articles 62 and 63 to reduce the [Read More…]

Aug 222017
FO rejects Trump's allegations of terrorist 'safe havens' in Pakistan

The Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday rejected United States (US) President Donald Trump's allegations that Pakistan offers safe haven to "agents of chaos", as he announced America's new strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia. Talking tough on Pakistan, Trump had said, "We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations," warning that vital aid to Islamabad could be cut. "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he said. "That will have to change and that will change immediately."The FO, issuing a rejoinder to the US president's statements said: "As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. Instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, the US needs to work with Pakistan to eradicate terrorism."The FO said it is "disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation" in the fight against terrorism. "No country in the world has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. No country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside our borders," the FO asserted. Responding to Trump's call for more US troops in Afghanistan, the FO reiterated Pakistan's view that there is "no exclusive military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan"."The military action during the last 17 years has not brought peace to Afghanistan, and [Read More…]

Aug 172017
PM Abbasi directs against using his photographs in govt's media campaigns

In an unexpected move, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday issued directives against printing his photographs in any governmental media campaign or advertisements.According to the notification, a copy of which is available with DawnNews, the premier has directed all ministries, divisions, federal governmental organisations, corporations, companies, departments and bodies that his picture should not be printed anywhere on publicity campaigns.The Supreme Court had already barred government officials from airing or printing publicity campaigns for 'rulers' on government expenses.The move by the newly-elected prime minister is being considered in total contrast to the policies of his predecessor Nawaz Sharif, who reportedly spent massive amounts on his publicity campaigns. Abbasi is an electrical engineer with a master's degree from George Washington University. He had served as the minister of petroleum and natural resources in Nawaz Sharif’s third term, which ended on July 28, 2017, after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz as Pakistan’s prime minister.Abbasi has remained mostly unbeaten in his political career, having only lost to PPP candidate Ghulam Murtaza Satti in 2002. However, aside from that particular contest, he has won every election he has contested in from 1988 till 2013. Click for detailed story

Aug 142017
US Secretary of State Tillerson felicitates foreign minister on Independence Day

United States (US) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday to felicitate him on the 70th Independence Day anniversary of Pakistan, said a press release issued by the ministry. He conveyed the best wishes on behalf of the US Government and the American people to the government and people of Pakistan. He also congratulated the foreign minister on assuming office and expressed his desire to work with him for achieving common objectives.The foreign minister thanked Secretary Tillerson and said that the call was an apt reminder of the long history of relations between the two countries. He added that the US had been a partner in Pakistan’s journey of development, both in the socio-economic and defence sector.Asif said the current leadership of Pakistan was committed to strengthening relations with the US. He also underscored the need to build a dynamic and diverse relationship underpinned by mutual trust, sincerity, and confidence.The minister said that Pakistan would benefit the most if peace and stability were achieved in Afghanistan as the success and sustainability of Pakistan’s economic reforms depend upon a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He expressed the country’s willingness to work with the US once the policy review on Afghanistan is unveiled. He emphasised that a political settlement to conflict in Afghanistan was common objective of Pakistan and the US.Secretary Tillerson later extended an invitation to the minister to visit the US to carry on the conversation. The minister reciprocally invited Secretary Tillerson to visit Pakistan, which [Read More…]

Aug 142017
Five of a family drown at Hawkesbay

Five people, belonging to the same family, drowned off Hawkesbay beach on Monday, police and medical officials said.City SSP Adeel Hussain Chandio told Dawn that the five persons had drowned near Nasir restaurant.Initially, two teenaged girls, Dua Fatima, 16, and Hamna Imran, 14, were swept to dangerous waters by strong waves, where they drowned.Zakir Husain, 42, father of Dua Fatima, tried to rescue the girls, but drowned trying. Two other persons, namely Usama, 20, and Amin, 22, also drowned while trying to rescue the three.Though SSP Chandio told Dawn that the bodies of all five have been retrieved, the additional police surgeon at Civil Hospital Karachi, Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi, said that till late Monday evening, the bodies of only Zakir Hussain and his daughter, Fatima, had been brought to the hospital for legal formalities.The tragedy occurred despite a ban on swimming by the provincial government. Police officials said that a large number of people head to the beaches on public holidays, making it impossible for them to cope with the situation with their limited resources. Click for detailed story

Aug 132017
Chinese vice premier arrives in Islamabad ahead of 70th Independence Day celebrations

Vice Premier of the State Council of China, Wang Yang, accompanied by a high-level delegation, arrived in Islamabad on Sunday to participate in the 70th Independence Day celebrations of Pakistan. “Vice Premier Wang is undertaking the visit to Pakistan on the directions of President Xi Jinping as a special gesture to participate in the 70th Independence Day celebrations of Pakistan,” said a press release from the Chinese Embassy on Saturday.During his visit, the vice premier will attend an August 14 flag-hoisting ceremony as a special guest and is expected to meet President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. His visit on the country’s important milestone is a reflection of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China.Wang will participate in inauguration ceremonies of several China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and witness the signing of bilateral memorandums of understanding between the two countries. Click for detailed story

Aug 132017
PTI to distribute pamphlets to answer 'Nawaz's questions on his ouster' at Pindi gathering today

Nawaz riles up Lahore 'Why was an ordinary citizen allowed to use state machinery' The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday said that it had prepared a response to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's repeated questioning of why he was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate verdict.In nearly all of Sharif's speeches that he delivered on his way to Lahore from Islamabad, he demanded to know the reason for his disqualification. "Someone tell me, why was I deposed?" he had asked, repeating the question frequently during his four-day GT Road rally last week. The PTI is set to distribute the pamphlets, titled "We will tell you why you were disqualified", by helicopter at the gathering at Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh today. The pamphlets list 10 reasons as to why the PTI believes Sharif was ousted from the public office. PTI's pamphlet listing down reasons for Nawaz Sharif's disqualification. 'Mian Sahab this is why you were deseated': You took advantage of your position [as PM] and looted taxpayers' money. You built offshore companies in your children's name for money laundering. You hid your wealth and assets from ECP, SECP, FBR and the public by lying on your documents. You engaged in money laundering with help from Ishaq Dar and other dishonest government officials. You cheated tax collecting authorities for 30 years. You lied to the Parliament and public in your address about Panama leaks and tried to mislead court. You and your children tried to mislead the joint investigation team and [Read More…]

Aug 122017
Political cacophony unnerves investors

KARACHI: The outgoing week brought devastation for stock investors, with the KSE-100 index plunging by 1,589 points (3.4 per cent) to close at 45,288. The trading volume remained thin as participants were cautious because of continued political uncertainty.Even the ongoing result season failed to boost sentiments. Arif Habib Ltd attributed the adverse performance during the week to investors’ nervousness over the political show of strength, heavy foreign selling and unimpressive economic data, such as a widening trade deficit and declining foreign exchange reserves.Topline Securities stated that investors booked gains in the outgoing week after rising 2.1pc in the earlier week. Political theatre drew the masses again as ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s cavalcade drove from Islamabad to Lahore with leaders of his rival party also breathing fire.The average trading volume dipped 46pc to 190 million shares. Major trading was witnessed in retail favourites led by Azgard Nine, TRG Pakistan and K-Electric. The average traded value declined 42pc to Rs9.6 billion.Foreigners sold equities worth $31.2m during the week. Foreign selling was concentrated in oil marketing companies ($8.5m), banks ($6.7m), exploration and production companies ($6.3m) and cements ($4.3m).The foreign sell-off was absorbed by insurance companies that bought shares valuing $7.4m followed by mutual funds ($6.5m).According to Arif Habib Ltd, commercial banks took away 336 points from the index, followed by fertilisers 251 points, cements 238 points, oil and gas exploration companies 185 points, and power generation and distribution companies 104 points. Topline Research calculated sector-wise index erosion, with engineering going down 7pc, fertiliser [Read More…]

Aug 122017
Independence Day ceremony to be held at Parliament House after 17-year gap

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday gave his approval to a proposal for the Independence Day flag-hoisting ceremony to be held at Parliament House.The shift in venue, from Islamabad Convention Centre to Parliament House, came after Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani formally made a suggestion to the prime minister in a letter sent on June 19.In his letter, Rabbani had said that the flag-hoisting ceremony should he hosted in the Parliament House courtyard when a democratic government is in power, and that Senate approved of his suggestion unanimously. The hosting of the ceremony in Parliament House will send a message to the people of Pakistan that their elected representatives are at the helm of affairs, Rabbani had said."Past dictators had tried to deprive the people of their right to rule by limiting this symbolic ceremony to close quarters," he had explained.The Senate chairman has been informed of the approval for shift in venue. Arrangements for the event will be made by the Cabinet Division. Click for detailed story

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