Nov 172017
 
19,000 illegal immigrants from Pakistan handed over by Iranian authorities in 2017

Iran has handed over 19,000 Pakistanis arrested for crossing the border illegally during the ongoing year, a security official told DawnNews on Friday.The Pakistani citizens had entered Iran through "less frequented routes" along the 900-kilometre border with the country in their bid to reach Greece and other European countries, a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official, who requested anonymity, told DawnNews.The official said that most of the illegal immigrants had belonged to Mandi Bhauddin, Gujrat, Sialkot and other densely-populated areas of Punjab. However, he said, very few of them managed to make it to Europe as most were arrested soon after they entered Iran.He also revealed that even though Iran had constructed a 64km wall to deter people from crossing the border illegally, human smugglers used routes in Mashkail, Mand-Bilo Turbat and Panjgoor to enter the neighbouring country. He said that FIA had set up a team comprising five senior officials to take action against immigrants who illegally tried to sneak into Iran after Levies officials found 15 bullet-riddled bodies in Kech earlier this week. The victims had been seeking a way to enter Iran in order to leave for Europe in order to find jobs. Click for detailed story

Nov 172017
 
PTI may expel lawmaker who accused Ali Ameen Gandapur of patronising teenage girl's abusers

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Dawar Khan Kundi — who recently accused Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Minister Ali Amin Gandapur of patronising men accused of stripping and parading a teenage girl naked in Dera Ismail Khan earlier this month — faces an uncertain future in PTI after the party's chief and information secretary made differing statements regarding the action to be taken against him. PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Friday announced that he would expel Kundi for falsely accusing Gandapur, but the party's central information secretary, Shafqat Mahmood, hastily issued a clarification soon after stating that a different path would be taken in dealing with the matter.Kundi had earlier written to Khan requesting him to ensure Gandapur's removal from his ministerial position, pressure him into withdrawing his support for the suspects and ask the girl's family for forgiveness. In the letter, Kundi described Gandapur as "a source of embarrassment for the party", and alleged that Gandapur provided "support for the criminals in the case in which an orphan girl was paraded naked by eight armed men" in DI Khan. "I visited the family a week before and they asked — in fact, requested — me to make sure that Ali Amin Gandapur, revenue minister KP, is forced to withdraw his support for the criminals," Kundi said in his letter.Responding to the allegations leveled against him by Kundi, Gandapur had said the attempts to link him with the incident were "shameful". "Those accusing me of patronising the accused are unaware of the police [Read More…]

Nov 172017
 
370,000 Afghan refugees registered in four months: report

The National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) has registered 370,000 un-documented Afghan refugees across the country over the last four months, Radio Pakistan, the state-run broadcaster, reported on Friday.The authority has expedited the registration process of un-documented Afghan refugees, a Nadra spokesman was quoted as saying.The largest number of refugees were registered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the report, 230,000 refugees were registered in KP alone. The authority is aiming to register a million Afghan refugees, which its officials say will be done by January 16, 2018. Earlier, the campaign was supposed to end on Dec 31, 2017.A total of 21 registration centres have been set up in the country, including 11 in KP.Nadra, the Afghan Commissionerate and the Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation are jointly running the registration campaign. The country has some 1.5 million registered refugees, one of the largest such populations in the world, according to the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR). More than a million others are estimated to live here unregistered.The country’s law-enforcement agencies had launched a crackdown on unregistered Afghans in the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks in the country.The International Organisation of Migration, which assists and monitors the movement of migrants across the world, reported that 248,189 undocumented Afghan nationals had returned or were deported from Pakistan in 2016. Click for detailed story

Nov 172017
 
Dr Asim Hussain removed from PPP Karachi's leadership

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday removed Dr Asim Hussain from the presidency of the Karachi division, ostensibly due to the latter's ill health and ongoing treatment.A press release issued by the PPP stated that Bilawal appreciated Hussain's services for the party and that he would be given a new and important assignment upon his return after the completion of his medical treatment abroad. "Dr Asim Hussain worked dedicatedly for PPP as Karachi Division President despite poor health deteriorated [sic] during his incarceration," the PPP chairman said in a statement.The Supreme Court on Thursday also ordered the Interior Ministry to strike Hussain's name off the Exit Control List (ECL), allowing him to travel abroad for medical treatment. Click for detailed story

Nov 172017
 
Lebanon's Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France

'Start of a solution' Regional clash Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was on Friday preparing to leave Saudi Arabia for France, a move aimed at defusing political turmoil sparked by his shock resignation in Riyadh. The Lebanese premier is due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Saturday after allegations from Hariri's political rivals back home that he was essentially being held hostage by the Saudi authorities. The announcement of the visit came after Hariri met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Riyadh on Thursday, with Lebanon's former colonial power Paris hoping to ease a crisis that has driven up tensions between regional titans Iran and Saudi Arabia. Hariri, a dual Saudi citizen, has been in Riyadh since issuing a statement on television there on November 4 that he was stepping down because he feared for his life while also accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilising his nation. The announcement — which reportedly took even some of Hariri's closest aides by surprise — and his subsequent failure to return home to officially quit in person, fuelled speculation that he was acting under orders from his Saudi patrons. Both Hariri and Riyadh denied claims he was being held against his will, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisting he could leave the country “when he pleases”. Macron's office said the French leader would meet Hariri at noon on Saturday. 'Start of a solution' Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who had accused Saudi authorities of “detaining” Hariri [Read More…]

Nov 162017
 
NAB requests interior ministry to put Ishaq Dar's name on ECL

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requested the Ministry of Interior on Thursday to put the name of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the Exit Control List (ECL), DawnNews reported.The decision in this regard was taken during a meeting chaired by NAB Chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal, read a statement issued by NAB's spokesperson.An accountability court on Tuesday had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Dar over his continuous absence from proceedings in the assets reference against him. Click for detailed story

Nov 162017
 
'World's oldest' 48-feet long sleeping Buddha statue unearthed in Haripur district

A centuries-old statue of the sleeping Buddha was unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district, DawnNews reported on Thursday.Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology And Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad said,"The 48-feet long sleeping Buddha's statue dates back to the third century which makes it the world's oldest sleeping Buddha statue."He told DawnNews that archaeologists found the statue, with its head intact, during excavations near Bhamala Stupa."We have discovered more than 500 Buddha-related objects during excavations in addition to the 48-feet long sleeping Buddha,” he said.The latest discoveries by the archaeologists have opened new chapters in the history of the ancient Taxila valley civilisation.“This is one of the few sites in the world to have the cruciform Stupa which was reserved for Buddha himself,” Samad had earlier told Dawn. Click for detailed story

Nov 162017
 
NA passes Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017 to 'strengthen' Khatm-i-Nabuwwat clauses

The National Assembly on Thursday evening passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017 to restore Khatm-i-Nabuwwat laws to their original form and make sections relating to it "more effective." The bill was tabled by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, who assured the house that he and his family "were Muslims and believed in the finality of prophethood". "My family and I are ready to lay our lives for the honour of Prophet Muhammad," the law minister offered to his critics, some of whom have insisted on his resignation for his alleged role in the affair.Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal stepped in to support the beleaguered lawmaker, assuring him that: "In a state, faith and connection to God is a matter between him and God. No person can make a decision on anyone's faith.""I will ask my brother [Zahid Hamid] that your faith is your personal matter and you do not need to present any clarifications regarding your faith," he added.Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form via the bill.Section 7B states that the status of Ahmedis remains as stated in the Constitution of Pakistan, while section 7C states that if an enrolled voter's belief in the finality of Prophet Muhammad's prophethood is contended, they shall have to sign a declaration reaffirming their belief, failing which their "name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim."Hamid said [Read More…]

Nov 162017
 
Hariri is free to leave 'when he pleases', says Saudi foreign minister

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is free to leave Saudi Arabia “when he pleases”, the kingdom said on Thursday, rejecting accusations from Beirut that he was being held in Riyadh following his shock resignation. Hariri has been in the Saudi capital since announcing there on November 4 that he was stepping down.Lebanese President Michel Aoun this week accused Saudi authorities of “detaining” the premier. Aoun said on Thursday that Hariri's decision to accept an invitation to travel to France could be the “start of a solution” to the crisis sparked by his resignation. Speculation has swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a dual Saudi citizen. But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh that Hariri was free to leave “when he pleases”. Also read: Saad Hariri’s ‘resignation’ has not gone as smoothly as Saudis wantedJubeir is the highest ranking Saudi official to comment on the situation. Aoun has refused to accept the prime minister's resignation from abroad. “We hope that the crisis is over and Hariri's acceptance of the invitation to go to France is the start of a solution,” Aoun said on the official presidential Twitter account. “I am awaiting the return of Prime Minister Hariri from Paris for us to decide the next step with regards to the government,” he added. Click for detailed story

Nov 162017
 
Bodies of 15 killed in Turbat flown to Lahore

The bodies of 15 people killed near the Pak-Iran border in Balochistan a day earlier were shifted to Lahore on Thursday for burial in their home districts in Punjab. The victims had been killed by unknown gunmen in the Buleda Gorak area of district Kech on Wednesday. They belonged to Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot and other parts of Punjab. Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti accompanied their bodies to Lahore. The funeral prayers of the victims had been offered earlier in the day in Turbat amid tight security. Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa and other civil and military officials participated in the funeral.Read: The perils of Pakistani migrants heading to EuropeAfter the funeral, Zehri had chaired a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation in the aftermath of recent wave of terror acts in the province. Lt Gen Bajwa and other senior officers also attended the meeting, during which the authorities decided to take stern action against those involved in the brutal killing.A senior administration officer who requested anonymity told Dawn that the 15 had been killed while trying to sneak into Iran through unfrequented routes. The victims had been trying to enter Iran illegally and then proceed to Turkey to enter Greece for the sake of employment, he said. Click for detailed story

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