Senior TTP commander killed in NWA clash
Three militants, army official killed in Boya clash
PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has said that one of its senior commanders Mohammad Hasan was killed in a recent clash with Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan.
In a statement issued by TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid on Saturday, the outlawed group said Hasan, who hailed from Kabul, was killed in clashes in North Waziristan’s Boya area.
The statement added that Hasan had recently been released from an Afghan prison and had “reunited with his comrades” in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, at least three militants and one security official were killed in clashes in North Waziristan Agency on Saturday. According to ISPR, clashes between the security forces and militants started during clearing operation near Boya area of North Waziristan Agency. The security forces were clearing in South East of the Boya. - Agencies
ECP demands immediate electoral reforms
Islamabad: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has demanded immediate electoral reforms from government. According to private TV channel reports, secretary Election Commission Ishtiak Ahmad Khan presented the recommendations to the Electoral Reforms Committee of Parliament.
ECP has advised the government to make amendments in Article 224 to introduce biometric system e-voting machine. It has also recommended allowing expatriate Pakistanis to vote in the elections. ECP has advised the government to extend the time period between dissolution of assemblies to elections from 30 days to 40. ECP has also suggested that the Reserved Seats in the parliament should be awarded according to the number of votes received by a party instead of number of seats won by it. - PPI
SBP keeps policy rate unchanged at 10pc
Karachi: The State Bank of Pakistan has decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 10.0 percent. The decision was taken by the Central Board of Directors of SBP at its meeting held under the chairmanship of Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra in Karachi Saturday.
The complete text of the decision is as follows:
The post July monetary policy decision period continued to witness stable macroeconomic conditions. This was most visible in the headline variable of inflation that declined to 7.0 percent YoY in August 2014, which is its lowest level since June 2013. Moreover, after recording an improved 4.1 percent growth rate in FY14, real economic activity is expected to continue in FY15. The other highlight of this stability is the gains on fiscal liberalization: shrinking budget deficits, contained government borrowings, and improved debt profile.
Following on the actual number of 8.6 percent in FY14, the average CPI inflation during Jul-Aug 2014 is recorded at 7.4 percent. This declining trend is broad based since both measures of core inflation, Non-Food Non-Energy (NFNE) and trimmed mean, also decelerated YoY to 7.8 percent and 7.14 percent in August 2014 as compared to 8.7 percent and 7.9 percent in June 2014, respectively. Although actual low inflation might weigh positively on market sentiments, it is the future path of inflation that matters for monetary policy decision. The current outlook of around 8 percent average CPI inflation for FY15 might change adversely if the subsidy to electricity is cut and Gas Infrastructure Development Cess is levied.
After demonstrating low growth since 2008, real economic activity started to show signs of revival in FY14. Continuation of the current growth momentum, however, primarily hinges on agriculture productions in FY15. This is because Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) growth might remain constrained due to continued energy shortages; reduced production capacity of independent power plants; low supply of gas to fertilizer plants; lower domestic and international prices in the sugar sector; and higher inventories and slower exports growth prospects in food and textile sectors, respectively.
Incorporating the latest trends in exports and imports, oil payments in particular, trade deficit is going to dominate the composition of external current account deficit, even with a healthy growth in workers’ remittances. Declining private capital inflows, foreign direct investments in particular, would present continued challenges in managing the balance-of-payments position. In this regard, realization of expected privatization receipts and issuance of dollar-denominated Eurobond/Sukuks would be important.
In addition to the risks identified above, ongoing political impasse, delay in the finalization of fourth IMF review, and the current heavy rains and floods, which have engulfed central and southern Punjab, threaten the nascent recovery in economic activity. The former two would weigh more on the private capital inflows. The latter can potentially disrupt the output and supply chain of the perishable food items, which challenges an otherwise benign inflationary outlook. While it is going to take some time before the full extent of damages arrive, initial opinions and past experiences suggest that the current floods would damage some khariff crops and may disrupt supply chain temporarily. Besides having implications for economic growth, floods can also create macroeconomic imbalances by putting pressures on fiscal and external sector. Moreover, supply of loanable funds in the credit to private sector market may also be adversely affected, at least initially. Reflecting these apprehensions indeed, there is deterioration in SBP-IBA’s Consumer Confidence Survey of September 2014 as well.
Policy vigilance requires balancing the tradeoffs between ensuring the continuation of macroeconomic stability, especially in the external sector, and assuaging the fallout of potential damages due to floods. Therefore, the Board of Directors, State Bank of Pakistan, has decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 10 percent. - PPI
Thousands rescued as death toll from floods reaches 346
ISLAMABAD: The disaster management agency said on Saturday that rescuers with boats and helicopters have evacuated about 50,000 people from the country’s south after raging floods inundated more villages there.
In a statement, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) said that two dozen people were killed in the past 24 hours in Punjab, raising the death toll from rains and flooding to 346.
It said floodwaters wreaked havoc in Punjab province and was now passing through remote areas in the southern Sindh province.
It said so far no deaths have been reported from Sindh province.
Floods have also killed 200 people in the India-controlled part of Kashmir since September 3 when monsoon rains triggered flash floods in the Himalayan region.
The Federal Flood Commission (FFC) has said that the rivers Chenab and Indus are flowing in Low Flood.
According to daily FFC report, the river Chenab is in low flood at Panjnad Headworks with falling trend, where the inflow is 176,000 cusecs & outflow is 160,000 cusecs.
Multiple cases registered against PTI, PAT
ISLAMABAD: Multiple cases have been registered against Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf over alleged terrorism, abduction and stealing of cameras from Pakistan Television station (PTV) in police station secretariat Saturday. A case has been registered against 10 unidentified PAT workers for beating SSP Operation Asmatullah Junejo. Another case was registered over stealing of cameras during attack on PTV station allegedly by PAT and PTI workers. Meanwhile, one more case was registered against alleged abduction of NADRA driver and for making him hostage. - DNA
Govt asks SC to revisit order for appointments of top offices
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has asked the Supreme Court to revisit its judgment of June 12, 2013, in the case against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, claiming that it is causing gross miscarriage of justice, as well as the violation of the Constitution in the way the government can appoint heads of various statutory, autonomous bodies and regulatory authorities.
Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti this week moved a fresh application with additional grounds for revisiting paragraphs 26 and 27 of the judgment.
The court has fixed a hearing of the appeal on September 24 before a five member bench.
The federal government, in its fresh plea, has also expressed apprehension that any recommendation made by the commission with regard to any appointment is bound to erode the authority of the prime minister and cabinet.
“The President has to act on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet. It appears, in light of the observations made in paragraphs 26 and 27 now, that legal authority has been vested in a commission and its recommendations are being made binding upon the prime minister. This is contrary to the scheme of the Constitution and the parliamentary form of the government,” the application reads.
The government further contended that the judgment has become the source of injustice, and violation of the Constitution and several other laws besides creating a perception of an ineffective administration considered responsible for delaying appointments in key organs.
It is further stated that the commission is not statutory or representative in character. However, the government acted in good faith and intended to comply with the judgment; therefore no review was sought within prescribed times. With the passage of time, it became apparent that the observations made in paragraphs 26 and 27 of the judgment were actually in derogation of the Constitution and various laws, and these have also created unforeseen difficulties, the application says.
It also said the government was approaching the court by filing a concise statement, but stopped short of making a formal prayer for reconsideration of the judgment with the belief that once those significant anomalies were brought to the notice of the court, it may invoke its inherent jurisdiction to revisit or reconsider the judgment.
The government also stated that the court had previously revisited its own judgments when it noticed they were causing a gross miscarriage of justice, or were contrary to any provision of the Constitution or law. Recently, the top court had reviewed its judgment in the judges’ pension case.
While the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had hailed the decision as a victory at that time, it is now seeking a revisit of that judgment.
In its June 12, 2013, verdict, the court had ordered the constitution of a three-member commission comprising competent and independent members, with impeccable integrity, for the appointment of the heads of government offices.
The court had observed that it was the fundamental right of a citizen under Article 9 of the Constitution that national wealth and resources must remain fully protected, whether under the control of banks or autonomous and semi-autonomous organisations. The commission should be mandated to ensure that all public sector appointments were made solely on merit.
The government though has struggled to appoint heads of a number of government institutions in light of the order and the creation of the committee in compliance with the court’s orders.
Important government offices which are vacant include: Chief Election Commissioner, chairmen of FST, Export Processing Zone Authority, Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Karachi Port Trust, Vocational and Technical Training Commission, Services Tribunal, Employees Review Board, Implementation of Tribunal of Newspaper Employees, Intellectual Property Rights Organisation, Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Pakistan Council of Research and Water Resources, Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, National Institute of Oceanography, National Trust Population Welfare, Council of Works and Housing Research and Science Foundation and director general of Pakistan Institute of Management, chief executive of Pakistan National Council of Arts, managing directors of Associated Press of Pakistan and National Trust for Disabled and director general of National Institute of Electronics.
US to sell 160 mine-resistant vehicles to Pakistan
WASHINGTON: The US State Department has approved the sale of 160 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, spare and repair parts to Pakistan for an estimated cost of $198 million, said a press release issued by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency on Friday. The state department’s nod comes as Pakistan is engaged in Operation Zarb-i-Azb, a full-blown military offensive in the northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan, and has also begun action against insurgents in Khyber Agency.
According to the release, the government of Pakistan had requested to purchase 160 Navistar MRAP vehicles, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and equipment training, US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency of the US has delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale, whose principal contractor will be Navistar Defence Corporation in Madison Heights, Michigan. - INP
14 Pakistanis repatriated after being released from Bagram prison in Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD: United States has released 14 Pakistani prisoners from Bagram prison in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Saturday.
"Yes," was a brief reply from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam when she was approached to confirm reports about the released prisoners. No further details about the prisoners was provided.
Earlier, reports suggested that a group of freed Pakistani had been handed over to officials at Noor Khan Airbase after they were airlifted from the Bagarm jail.
This was the second group of Pakistanis released from US custody within a month. - Agencies
Shah Mehmood admits Imran had met Qadri in London
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) heavyweight Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday disclosed that his party chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief had a meeting in London.
In an interview with a TV channel here, the PTI vice-president Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri had not reached any agreement in writing during the meeting but they did exchange views on political situation in the country.
He further said that party spokesperson Shireen Mazari had no knowledge of the meeting between the chiefs of two parties, adding that it is a prerogative of a leader to choose when to make any information public.
Qureshi added that it is a routine thing for political leaders to have meetings with one another and there is nothing to be shocked about.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi's disclosure does answer some questions being raised in the media in connection with the timing and strategy being followed by the PTI and PAT for their protest demonstrations continuing in Islamabad for more than a month.
Remote-controlled bomb kills one in Turbat
QUETTA: One person was killed and another two were injured in a roadside blast in Balochistan’s troubled Turbat area on Saturday morning, levies said.
Muhammad Tariq, a levies official, told media that militants targeted the vehicle of Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) through a remote-controlled bomb in Dasht Tehsil of Kech district. He said initially three persons were seriously injured in the blast. However, one of them succumbed to injuries on way to hospital. The blast also damaged the vehicle of the FWO.
FWO workers were engaged on a road construction when targeted by militants. No group has claimed the responsibility for the attack, however, Tariq suspects Baloch separatist-backed armed groups may be behind the incident.
The FWO is an organisation working for developmental engineering in Pakistan, which includes tunneling, earthen dams, the construction of bridges and roads among other things.
Oil tankers torched in Mastung
In a separate incident, armed militants torched two oil tankers near the Mastung area of Balochistan late Friday night.
According to levies sources, armed militants opened fire at two oil tankers on the Taftan-Quetta highway. The tankers caught fire after indiscriminate firing by armed militants. - Agencies
CJP terms increasing litigation as major challenge
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Nasir ul Mulk, said Saturday that the major challenge being faced by the Judiciary is to tackle increasing litigation, urging the Judiciary to adopt proactive approach to decide cases expeditiously.
He was speaking at a meeting of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) in the Supreme Court’s building. The Committee reviewed the performance of district judiciary with reference to disposal of cases.
The Chief Justice observed that since it has been more than two years when National Judicial Policy was revised, therefore, it needs to be revisited to further improve the performance of justice system. He desired that in this regard the Chief Justices of the High Courts may make recommendations for consideration of NJPMC.
He stressed for revisiting the strategies to make them responsive to meet the challenge of ever growing litigation.
The Committee also reviewed the implementation status of its recommendations regarding allocation of additional funds to strengthen district judiciary in terms of human resource and infrastructure. The Committee recommended that the process of recruitment against the sanctioned posts may be completed as early as possible.
The Chief Justices of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan informed the meeting that shortage of judges and lack of proper infrastructure is adversely affecting the performance of Judiciary in AJ & K and requested the Committee to make recommendations for strengthening the Judiciary in terms of human resource and infrastructure.
After deliberations, the Committee recommended to the Government for allocation of funds for strengthening the Judiciary of AJ & K and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Committee also considered the complaints of District Attorneys regarding their deficient service structure and disparity in pay and allowances and made recommendations to the Provincial Governments for improving their service structure. - DNA
Bilawal’s pledge to ‘take back’ Kashmir sparks fierce reaction in India
KARACHI: While India’s External Affairs Ministry shrugged off Pakistan Peoples Party’s Bilawal Bhutto’s pledge to ‘take back’ Kashmir as “far from reality”, social media was less forgiving.
In a statement made on Friday, the PPP patron-in-chief vowed not to leave behind “even an inch” of Kashmir.
“I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because, like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan,” proclaimed Bhutto as he addressed party workers in Multan.
The story was picked up on Saturday by most of top newspaper websites in India, sparking fierce reaction from members of the public and well known personalities alike in the neighbouring country.
“We are in the process of looking forward and looking forward does not mean that our borders will be changed. We made it very clear that as far as we are concerned, the integrity and unity of India is non negotiable,” Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said, according to the Times of India.
Hardly impressed with Bilawal’s statements, many across the border took to social media to mock the patron, advising him to first bring Pakistan under control before thinking about Kashmir. Many also claimed that Bilawal’s statement on this sensitive issue was representative of his political inexperience.
“Where were these Pakistani politicians when Kashmir was under floods? It was Modi and the Indian government which helped Kashmir, not Pakistan. On what grounds can they think that Kashmir is theirs?” said one comment on the Times of India website. - Agencies
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