SC to hear plea seeking to declare 2013 polls null and void on Oct 29
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court accepted the plea of a former judge of the apex court, seeking to declare the 2013 general elections null and void, for preliminary hearing.
Retired judge of the apex court Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui had asked the court to announce fresh elections, and initiate criminal action against members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
A three judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk, will take up the case on October 29.
The petition, which names the ECP and federal government as respondents, calls on the top court to declare the 2013 elections "without jurisdiction and without any legal affect" as well as a "nullity in the eyes of the law".
Justice Siddiqui’s counsel Mian Allah Nawaz submitted the petition, which argues that the 2013 elections are a challenge to the "role and constitutional functions of the SC, and the court has the duty and power under Article 184(3) of the Constitution to come to the rescue of beleaguered citizens of Pakistan".
The application adds that the applicant has been gravely affected by the general elections on account of gross illegalities, malpractices and violations committed by the ECP before May 11, 2013.
Justice Siddiqui alleges that the ECP purchased defective ink from the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratories and National Database and Regulation Authority (NADRA), and supplied it to returning officers and presiding officers for use in polling stations.
The petition also questions why officials of the ECP failed to follow the "statutory pre-requisites to the electoral process."
Justice Siddiqui said he interviewed officials of the election body, as well as carried out an inquiry into allegations of rigging in the elections, particularly during the pre-poll process.
"I observed that the ECP willingly, deliberately without hiding intentions did not perform its duties within the mandatory statutes," said the request.
A similar petition filed by former interior minister Mian Zahid Sarfaraz was also listed for the same day.
Justice Siddiqui retired from the Supreme Court in October 2011, and was among the judges ousted on November 3, 2007, by former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
According to sources, he was close to former CJP Ifitkhar Chaudhry during his tenure.
Co-accused acquitted in Daniel Pearl case
HYDERABAD: An anti-terrorist court (ATC) in Hyderabad on Friday acquitted Qari Hashim, a co-accused in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping-cum-murder case, for lack of evidence.
Hashim was arrested in August 2005 in conjunction with the kidnapping and was locked up in Hyderabad’s central prison.
Defence counsel Sher Mohammad Leghari had filed an acquittal plea under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code, arguing that there was no evidence against his client.
According to Leghari, Hashim had been apprehended for arranging a meeting for Daniel Pearl with Mubarak Ali Shah Gillani. The court acquitted the accused for lack of evidence.
Pearl went missing in Jan 2002 in Karachi and a month later the government announced that he had been killed after receiving and examining a videotape containing scenes of his beheading.
In May 2002, a decapitated body was recovered from a shallow grave and after a DNA test, the government announced that the body was of Pearl. However, the announcement was made shortly after the July 15, 2002 verdict against prime accused Ahmed Omar Seed Shaikh.
Omar Shaikh, co-accused Fahad Nasim, Sheikh Adil and Syed Salman Saqib faced an inside trial held in central prison Hyderabad in 2002.
ATC judge Syed Ali Ashraf Shah had awarded the death sentence to Omar Shaikh and life imprisonment to the co-accused. They have filed an appeal before the Sindh High Court whereas the Sindh government has filed an appeal for enhancement of the sentences awarded to the co-accused.
Omar Sheikh and the co-accused were kept in Karachi central prison and then were transferred due to security reasons to the colonial era Hyderabad central prison in May 2002.
Additional 2500 MW power should come to system by Feb 2015: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday directed the Ministries of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Water and Power and Finance Division to ensure that additional electricity of 2400 to 2500 MW comes to the system by February 2015, both in the case of LNG and new on-site generation.
He said line losses and theft of electricity should be controlled at all costs and serious steps be taken against theft of gas, irrespective of official status of the persons involved.
The Prime Minister was chairing a joint ministerial meeting of the energy sector held here at the PM House.
The meeting was attended by Ministers for Water and Power, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Information and Broadcasting, Senator Parvaiz Rashid, Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal, Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique.
The Prime Minister was briefed about the status of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import and its availability for the power sector and informed that first consignment will reach Pakistan by February 2015 and to be available to the power sector.
The Prime Minister gave approval of making the consignment available to Kot Addu Power Plant which will produce 1200 MW, as well as four other private power plants Orient, Saif, Saphire and Halmore collectively producing 800 MW of electricity.
The consignment will also be provided to Jamshoro power plant for producing 400 to 500 MW of electricity.
The projects, including Fast Track LNG Terminal, SSGC LNG Terminal, Gwadar Nawabshah LNG Terminal and Pipeline, Private LNG Terminals, GEI, PGPL and Bahria to import 2BCFD LNG, enough to generate up to 15000 MW, will be expedited.
The Prime Minister was also informed that there are opportunities for producing affordable power from mobile mounted on-site power plants through 26 gas fields in the country having a potential of 1000 MW.
The Prime Minister also directed the relevant agencies to implement the already provided tax relief in the LNG Policy.
He directed the Ministry of Water and Power to ensure that in future, if bills are issued without meter-reading, it will be specified on the bill that this is a `presumptive bill’, and any excess amount charged will be adjusted when the meter is read; the meter will be read at least once every three months.
The Prime Minister said the demand of the people to have affordable electricity was justified and also a promise of the PML(N) government. He vowed to regularly chair meetings of relevant ministries for better coordination and to achieve desired results within the stipulated timeframe.
The Prime Minister said all those working in relevant departments have to work round the clock. He said any lapse will not go unpunished and any good work they do will not go unrewarded.
Imran announces ‘decisive war’ on November 30
GUJRAT: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has said that he won’t leave the Islamabad sit-in venue even if he has to live there inside a tent.
While addressing his party’s rally in Gujrat on Friday, the PTI chairman reiterated his resolve to continue his sit-in in the federal capital till PM Nawaz Sharif stepped down.
"I will never end my sit-in," he assured his supporters. "Even if there is a time when we don’t have funds to set up lights and music system; I will live in a tent alone. But will not leave the venue."
The PTI leader said the nation had decided to resist oppressors, which is why they came in large numbers in his rallies in cities including Karachi, Lahore, Mianwali, and others.
"People have awoken. They have realised that the time for change is now," he said. "Those who have seen me in cricket, they know I always fight till the end."
The PTI chairman asked all Pakistanis to reach Islamabad on November 30.
"A sea of people will reach Islamabad on November 30," he said. "Supporters prepare yourselves; it will be the largest crowd in history of Islamabad."
The PTI chairman added that his party will hold rallies after Muharram.
Imran argued that PM Nawaz was not resigning as he had to receive kickbacks from billions of dollars worth of contracts he had signed."
"He will not step down as will lose billions of rupees."
Regarding resignations of PTI members from Parliament and provincial assemblies, he said they had on principle decided not to go back to fake and bogus assemblies.
"Who are you to not accept our resignations," he said while referring to PM Nawaz. "We will not go back in Parliament, and will cancel the party membership of anyone who opposes our decision."
Maulana Fazl’s comment deplorable Imran condemned Thursday’s attack on Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Quetta, which killed at least one of his workers but added that his comment regarding women participants in his rally were deplorable.
"I did not like the way you talked about women who come to our sit-in," he said. "We want our mothers and daughters to contribute in making a new Pakistan."
He rejected Maulana’s claims of teaching his supporters western ideals, saying that they talk about Islam and Iqbal.
Thank you, Qadri
The PTI chairman in his address thanked Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri for staging a sit-in in Islamabad for over two months.
"I thank you Dr Qadri," he said. "The way PAT workers resisted the Gullu Butts of Punjab Police on August 31 is commendable."
He said PAT and PTI’s objectives were different, and that he will continue to protest till those who rigged 2013 general elections were held accountable.
Funds for PTI
The former cricketer also made an appeal for donations to the Pakistani nation, saying he will work for public as opposed to others who worked for investors and capitalists.
"I want money from you, the public. You will run my sit-in," he said. "If I get the funds, the movement will spread throughout the country."
Responding to former president Asif Zardari’s comments about PTI’s sources of income, he said, "I get the money not the way you got it," he said. "This money is not from corruption or theft. It is a donation by the Pakistani nation."
Iranian border personnel fire mortar shells inside Pakistan
QUETTA: The Iranian border force fired six mortar shells at Pakistan’s bordering town of Mashkail in the early hours of Friday.
The official who requested anonymity said that there was no loss of life in the incident and that the mortar shells landed near Mashkail.
He said the Frontier Corps (FC) swiftly retaliated and fired mortar shells in response, bringing the firing from the Iranian side to an end.
"Mortar shells fired by Iranian border personnel landed 3000 metres inside Pakistani territory," he said.
The official stated that panic prevailed in the area owing to loud explosions that rocked the Pakistani town.
More troops were called to Mashkail and surrounding areas to effectively man the border.
Friday’s incident comes a week after Iranian border guards attacked and killed an FC soldier and injured another three in Pakistan’s Mand area.
Similarly, 30 Iranian border guards stormed inside Pakistani territory and took the residents of Nokundai, another Pakistani border town, hostage.
Recent incidents prompted the two countries to hold a joint meeting in Tehran with Inspector General Frontier Corps Major General Ejaz Shahid and Iranian guards Chief General Qasim Razai agreeing to boost intelligence cooperation with respect to the porous border.
KP Assembly condemns suicide attack on Fazl
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday passed a unanimous resolution condemning the suicide attack on JUI (F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Quetta on Thursday. The resolution, moved by Provincial Minister for Information Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, said the House strongly condemns the attack.
In another resolution, the House called for opening Lowari tunnel for three days a week during winter season to facilitate people of Chitral. - NNI
MQM lawmaker says time has come for a ‘Mohajir’ province
KARACHI: During a session of the Sindh Assembly on Friday, a lawmaker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said the time had come for a separate province for ‘Mohajirs’.
"The Urdu-speaking people of Sindh are subject to discrimination therefore we demand a separate province for them," MQM MPA Kamran Akhter said on the floor of the assembly.
Akhter alleged that merit was not the criteria during the examination conducted for the Sindh Public Service Commission, adding that at least 8,000 students had dropped out as a result of the Centralised Admission Policy.
He claimed that he was representing the people’s call for a separate province for the Urdu-speaking population of Sindh.
Akhter’s statements come after the MQM parted ways with the PPP-led governments in Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well as Gilgit-Baltistan. The party chose to quit the alliance with PPP following statements from Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari targeting MQM chief Altaf Hussain as well as the Karachi-based party large.
Our demands will soon be met: Qadri
HARIPUR: PAT chief Tahirul Qadri, while addressing his sit-in Haripur on Friday, told supporters that he is confident of achieving goals set during his 70-day protest in Islamabad. Qadri was firm in his belief that the 70-day sit-in Islamabad had awakened the nation.
"Our demands will very soon be met. If the government does not fulfill our demands, it doesn’t matter. The time is not far when our demands will be fulfilled," said an eager Qadri.
Dr Qadri lauded the efforts of his supporters in the journey towards ‘revolution’ and thanked the crowds in Haripur for attending his address without a formal announcement.
"The government will eventually have to go and this system will also have to go. Pakistan will then get the vision which Quaid-e-Azam promised us." Qadri went on to question the ‘so-called democracy’ being practiced in the country. "What kind of a democracy is this, where the chief minister and prime minister are accused of killing people and continue to keep their jobs. I curse such a democracy," said Qadri.
India offers Pakistan ‘full cooperation’ to eradicate polio
NEW DELHI: India on Friday offered Pakistan "full cooperation" for eradicating polio from its soil and said it is a "cause for concern" for it that the neighboring country accounts for 85 per cent of the world’s polio cases.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan noted that previous attempts by the two
countries for cooperation on this front have made no "significant progress" and lauded Pakistan’s latest initiative to fight polio, saying a similar strategy paid off in India, which has successfully removed the crippling virus.
"I have been through the plan (Pakistan’s) and find that the script is perfect. Pakistan has resolved to set up monitoring cells at the grassroots level. They are also talking of involving social groups, a strategy which worked wonderfully in India," he said on the occasion of World Polio Day.
Extending cooperation to Pakistan, Vardhan said India’s social mobilization network for fight against polio has been lauded by leading international organizations, WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and United States Centre for Disease Control.
An official statement from the Health Ministry said that the plan was originally conceived in Delhi in 1994 when Vardhan was the state’s health minister.
"Pakistan accounts for 85 percent of the world’s polio cases today, a cause of concern for India," it said.
Recalling that the two countries had talked of institutionalizing cooperation on polio eradication through a joint working group following the foreign minister-level talks between them in September 2012, he said there was no significant progress on this front.
Vardhan stressed that India was exposed to the risk of polio outbreak again as the disease was "just a bus ride away" due to its presence in Pakistan. - INP
Khattak confident to achieve desired results of development through foreign donors
PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has said that he was confident that the collective wisdom backed by technical expertise of the development partners, sustained political will and donors’ commitment will provide necessary inputs for achieving successful results under Strategic Development Partnership Framework (SPDF). He was addressing as chief guest the 3rd Strategic Dialogue (Donor Conference) on Development Partnership framed by KP Govt for donor countries and agencies at Islamabad.
On this occasion Senior Minister for LG Inayatullah, Senior Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai, Minister for Finance Muzafar Said, Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Khalid Pervez and other concerned highlighted development strategies of provincial govt.
The missions heads, country/ Directors and emissaries of 22 donor agencies including World Bank, Asian Development Bank , DFID, USAID,
GIZ, KSW, Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), UNDP, JICA, AUS AID, EU, Norway, Canada and the Netherlands, spoke on the occasion. The donors assured full support and assistance in human development efforts of the provincial govt.
Pervez Khattak while thanking the donor agencies for support and assurances in furthering the developmental strategies of KP govt, said that his govt is also revamping its policing and security forces and resourcing them with latest equipment to mitigate security risks.
However he said we welcome the inputs and assistance of our development partners to augment our efforts in financial challenges related to peace and security in our neighborhood. "I am pleased to note that the development partners are cognizant of these challenges and have debated their cause-and-effect relationship at length", he maintained.
"We assure our development partners that we have planned elaborate development strategies to expedite and tap the growth potential of the province, based on the realistic assessment of its comparative and locational advantages," he added.
These strategies, he said, are being refined during the deliberations with the sectoral experts and completed with clear milestones and targets with robust monitoring mechanisms to be put in place to ensure results, which both the donors and the government have agreed as the key deliverable of the Strategic Dialogue.
He said his govt considered LG elections as key to solving problems of people at local and expediting the pace of development at grossroots level whereas we have entrusted all the authority to election commission and we can hold LG polls in the province on short notice of ECP.
He said that our sincerity could be gauged from the fact that we are transferring 30-35% of provincial resources to Tehsil and Village Councils under newly introduced LG act while other provinces have just copied the local councils of Gen. Zia regime and this fact could be ascertained by studying LG acts of all the provinces.
He said that our receipts have also been increased without imposing new taxes that spoke success of our transparent policies. He said we have introduced effective monitoring system to ensure presence of staff and availability of facilities in health and education centers throughout the province whereas result oriented reforms have been introduced in all the govt departments with encouraging outcomes.
The Chief Minister said that his govt has initiated an ambitious agenda of Transformational Development whose key elements included improvement in governance and service delivery through reforms, accountability/ transparency and bringing citizens closer to the state, economic development by harnessing comparative advantage of the provincial natural resources, institutional strengthening for better utilization of resources, concerted efforts to enhance government-donors coordination. - APP
Nawaz says immunisation right of every child, vows to eradicate polio
3 more polio cases detected
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Friday that a comprehensive communication strategy was being evolved which would promote immunisation as the right of every child and also called upon every segment of the society to ensure that children were being given their due rights.
A ceremony was held at the Prime Minister House in relation to World Polio Day. On the occasion, the premier met polio-affected children and their parents.
Later, the prime minister administered polio vaccination drops to children and expressed commitment on behalf of his government towards eradicating the crippling virus. He said all resources were being made available to eradicate polio.
Prime Minister Nawaz added that the premier’s office had recently adopted a polio eradication initiative for monitoring and reviewing progress on the issue, which he termed as one of "utmost importance".
He said a Prime Minister’s Focus Group for polio emergency had also been constituted to hold monthly meetings to assess the performance of the eradication program.
Despite efforts by the government and other stakeholders, the number of polio cases in the country have increased by four times in the year 2014 when compared to the corresponding period last year.
"As many as 217 cases of polio have been reported in the current year in Pakistan," said Dr Zubair Mufti, a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had told a news conference in the capital on Thursday.
At least 12 cases were reported from Afghanistan and only six from Nigeria during the current year, he added.
Dr Mufti said the virus could only replicate in the human intestine so it has to be ensured that every child was vaccinated.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization says three more polio cases have surfaced in Pakistan, bringing the number of those affected by the crippling disease in the country this year to 220.
The statement came as many nations observed World Polio Day on Friday to create awareness about polio. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries where polio remains endemic. The highly contagious virus is transmitted in unsanitary conditions but is easily fended off with a vaccine.
Dr. Elias Durry, who heads WHO’s polio eradication efforts in Pakistan, says most of the cases were detected in the county’s northwest, where Pakistani Taliban have banned immunizations and attacked polio vaccination teams in recent years.
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