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Change in design, cost of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit to increase by Rs2.5b

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: An increase of 2.5 billion rupees in cost of Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit is expected due to over a dozen changes introduced in design of the project.

The Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit is a multi-billion project of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government to provide comfortable and latest traveling facilities to the people of province.

According to Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) sources, major changes in design of the project have been introduced which will increase the cost of the project by Rs2.5 billion.

Nine major changes have been introduced in three sections which include construction of underground station at Aman Chowk and construction of new flyover with Arbab Skindar Khan Khalil Flyover for BRT.

Meanwhile, it has been decided to keep a passage way for airport near CSD in Section II and bus stop opposite to FG School has been shifted to Aman Chowk.

It has also been decided to pass the bus via flyover in Tatara Park and Tehkal so that the flow of traffic should not be affected.

An increase of 2.5 billion rupees was expected due to changes brought in project for bringing betterment in it.

However, Director General (DG) PDA, Israr ul Haq insisted that the changes brought in the project for its betterment would not affect cost of project and it will be completed at cost of earlier allocated amount of Rs49 billion.

He said that we want to complete the project at earlier but don’t want any hitch in the project in haste.

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PML-N’s former MNA Umer Ayub joins PTI

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Former Member of National Assembly (MNA) belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Umer Ayub has joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday.

Ayub announced to part ways with ruling PML-N in a meeting with PTI chief Imran Khan in Bani Gala.

The meeting was attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister (CM) Pervez Khattak among others. The fresh member expressed his trust in the party manifesto while PTI chairman welcomed the new member.

Ayub has quitted PML-N months away from General Elections 2018.

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Calling elected representatives mafia, thieves not acceptable: PM Abbasi

F.P. Report

HAFIZABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Saturday that calling elected representative mafia, thieves and dacoits in the court of law is not acceptable under any circumstances.

Speaking in Hafizabad during the distribution of health cards in the area, the premier said polling stations decide the result of politics, and the decisions of masses are above all.

The premier added that the government accepts all decisions of the court, irrespective of the people and whether history accepts it or not, however, he reiterated that the government won’t accept censure of any law made in the parliament.

“The institutions should remain under their limits and should not interfere in the domain of other institutions,” he said.

Prime Minister Abbasi also said political results come through polling stations, adding that one of its decision came in Lodhran in which the masses voted for the politics of Nawaz Sharif, and its next decision will come in July 2018 general elections.

He added that parliament is an institution which goes under accountability after every five years, it is important for every institution to work under its domain.

The prime minister reiterated that the government won’t let rigging take place in the upcoming Senate elections.

“The elected representatives either can serve themselves or the masses. They can’t do both,” he said.

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Mediator Sardar Ahmed calls on Dr Farooq Sattar to dissolve MQMP factions

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed has called on Dr Farooq Sattar, chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) on Saturday to appease him amidst a rift between Bahadurabad and PIB Colony factions of the political party for reconciliation.

The meeting came today ahead of intra-party elections announced by Dr Sattar during his address delivered to general workers’ convention earlier this month.

Sardar Ahmed who was hailed as leader of mediating committee by both the factions had quit the efforts a few days ago citing disappointment on parts of party members in both groups however, he has stepped up efforts again.

On the other hand, opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan said that all senior members of the political front consider Dr Sattar as their leader however, he should relinquish those who attempt to ‘light fire within the party’.

All those who are conducting politics only to cater to their personal gains and not for the people would be exposed, he added.

Separately, MQMP central district chairman Rehan Hashmi has refused to take part in any organizational activity of the party ahead of General Elections 2018. He has also refused to take part in intra-party elections scheduled for coming Sunday.

Hashmi has maintained that he would not take part in any party activity until the rift is resolved.

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Accountability process accelerated besides recovery of missing persons: NAB Chief

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Justice (R) Javed Iqbal has said that process of accountability has been accelerated alongwith recovery of missing persons.

Present Chairman NAB is rendering duties at two posts simultaneously; other post is Head of National Commission for Missing Persons. Being head of the Commission for Missing Persons, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has helped recover 2800 missing persons and handing over to their families.

After assuming charge of Chairman NAB, he has improved the performance of National Commission for Missing Persons. Most importantly, Chairman NAB has denied to receive salary as head of National Commission for Missing Persons.

Justice (R) Javed Iqbal is continuously visiting the office of National Commission for Missing Persons to placate concerns and grievances of the heirs of missing persons to recover their dear ones. Families of the missing persons not only laud the services of Chairman NAB and Head of National Commission for Missing Persons.

Due to laudable performance of Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, Supreme Court has also forwarded complaints to National Commission for Missing Persons. Instead of spending official resources, he prefers to spend from own resources for recovery of missing persons.

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LHC rejects petition challenging Senate nomination of PM’s sister

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Saturday dismissed a petition of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ( PTI) challenging the nomination papers of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s sister Sadia Abbasi for the forthcoming Senate polls.

An appellate bench of the high court gave this verdict after hearing arguments of both sides. PTI leader Andleeb Abbas challenged the returning office’s decision to accept Sadia Abbasi’s nomination for the Senate on a seat reserved for women.

Abbasi’s lawyer argued that the petitioner did not raise objections on his client’s nomination papers before the returning officer during their scrutiny. He stated the petition was not maintainable and requested the court to dismiss it.

In the petition, the PTI leader argued that the premier’s sister had concealed details of her assets in the nomination papers. Besides, she also possessed the nationality of more than one country, therefore, she was not eligible to be a senator, the petitioner argued.

The PTI leader pleaded with the bench to declare the premier’s sister ineligible to contest the Senate polls.

Meanwhile, the bench also dismissed another petition filed by the PTI leader through which she challenged the acceptance of PML-N candidate Nuzhat Sadiq’s nomination papers for the Senate polls.

Andleeb Abbas challenged Ms Sadiq’s nomination, arguing that she had not placed on record any proof to show that she had surrendered her dual nationality.

The PML-N candidates – Sadia Abbasi and Nuzhat Sadiq – had filed nomination papers for the Senate seat reserved for women from Punjab, which were accepted by the ECP’s returning officer after their scrutiny.

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Zainab rape, murder case: Imran Ali handed 4 counts of the death sentence

F.P. Report

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court, declaring Imran Ali, the man accused of raping and murdering of six-year-old Zainab Amin in Kasur last month guilty of the charges brought against him, on Saturday handed him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a 7-year jail term and at least Rs2 million in fines.

The verdict was announced at Lahore’s Central Jail in Kot Lakhpat on Saturday.

The four death penalties were for kidnapping, raping and murdering Zainab, and for committing an act of terrorism under Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act. The life sentence, along with a Rs1 million fine, was handed to Ali for sodomy. Another 7-year jail sentence and Rs1 million fine were imposed for concealing the body in a trash heap.

Prosecutor General Ehtesham Qadir, who spoke to media after the sentencing, said the accused had been given ample chance to defend himself, but he chose to confess his crimes despite being told clearly that any information he divulged would be used against him.

“When he was read the charges, we asked the court to let Imran Ali deliberate the matter for 40 minutes,” the prosecutor said. “The convict was then told that anything he says will be used against him in court, after which he confessed. After this, we also proved the voluntariness of the convict in court and then proceeded to trial.”

Nonetheless, the prosecution chose to submit all its evidence to court so that the case remained airtight. The prosecutor also said this was “the first case to examine scientific evidence” in a case of this nature.

The convict now has 15 days to challenge the verdict and file an appeal.

Zainab’s father, Haji Muhammad Amin, had arrived in Kot Lakhpat to witness the verdict early on Saturday morning.

Security had been increased in and around the central jail and the movement of everyone going in and out of the jail was monitored.

The trial in the case was concluded on Thursday when ATC-I Judge Sajjad Ahmad reserved the verdict after cross examination of all the prosecution witnesses completed by state counsel Muhammad Sultan who was appointed by the trial court to represent the suspect, Imran Ali.

The accused had initially denied guilt when charges were framed against him, and had opted to contest the trial. However, he made a confession soon after and was indicted on Feb 12. On Feb 14, the ATC recorded his complete statement.

Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani, private counsel for the suspect, had withdrawn his power of attorney after the suspect made confession before the trial court. The lawyer claimed his conscience did not allow him to defend a killer.

Later, the court provided the suspect with state counsel to complete the trial proceedings.

The prosecution had presented at least 56 witnesses against the suspect in addition to forensic evidence, including the DNA and polygraph tests.

The trial court had concluded the proceedings within four days. The Lahore High Court had given seven days for completion of the trial.

A special prosecution team headed by Abdul Rauf Wattoo prosecuted the suspect during the trial. Prosecutor General of Punjab Eihtesham Qadir Shah also monitored the trial proceedings on the instructions of the Supreme Court that had taken a suo motu notice of the Zainab case.

Explaining the reasons behind conducting the trial inside the jail, the PG had said it was done for the suspect’s protection and that the law also permitted such precautions for such cases.

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Nawaz says people’s thumb more powerful than umpire’s finger

F.P. Report

LODHRAN: After euphoria of victory in NA-154 by-poll, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PML-N) president Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif says he is sensing a ‘good atmosphere’ in days to come as the election is drawing near.

“When it comes to decision making, people’s thumb is more powerful than umpire’s finger,” he said while speaking to the workers convention in Lodhran.

Nawaz Sharif expressed his resentment with his ouster following court’s verdict and asked the rally participants: “Will you keep witnessing your elected PM facing this embarrassment over and again?”

In an indirect reference to Imran Khan, Sharif said the ‘blue-eyed’ [Laadla] said he would be learn lesson from Lodhran by-election defeat. “Have a fear of God; you lost the polls by 27,000 votes. Don’t ever feel yourself superior.”

“Every constituency of Pakistan will be turned into Lodhran in 2018 polls. Ladla (dear one in English) claimed that PTI would learn lesson from Lodhran defeat, but rather nation would teach him lesson now”, claimed Sharif.

He urged people to make ‘big decisions’ in the next general elections. He sounded confident that his party PML-N would emerge victorious in the polls, once again. The ex-PM also asked the participants: “Will you protect the sanctity of your vote [or not]?”

Would you allow your vote to be trampled upon like happened in the past, the former PM inquired.

Sharif said Hamza Shahbaz and Maryam Nawaz would again make it to Lodhran and interact with the locals there.

While extending verbal onslaught against landmark July-28 judgment, Sharif claimed that even corruption allegation of single penny does not exist against him. “When nothing was found, the apex court ousted me over receiving salary from son”, asserted Sharif.

While apprising goals achieved by PMLN-led federal government, Sharif claimed that they eliminated power cuts in just four years and restored peace in Karachi.

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Zardari retracts and regrets his remarks about Rao Anwar

F.P. Report

KARACHI: After inviting wrath of Pakistanis from across the country and abroad, Former President Asif Ali Zardari realized that his chosen wrong words for wrong man.

“The former president has regretted the remarks he made in interview with a private channel Friday that sought to give the impression of supporting the absconding former SSP Malir Rao Anwar” spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

“Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has described his words as mis-spoken and regretted any offence to anyone”.

The former President also acknowledged in another TV interview today that his words about Rao Anwar were indeed mis-spoken, the Spokesperson said..

The former President has also denounced extra judicial killings as “abhorrent, criminal and unacceptable” and called for bringing to justice all those involved in it, the Spokesperson said.

Enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings are twins of a deepening curse. It is unthinkable that the Pakistan People’s Party would support it in any form or manner, the Spokesperson said. The party’s record in and out of the parliament is a testimony to it.

The former President realizes that his remarks made unwittingly in the flow of conversation may have caused anguish and has regretted it.

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PM Abbasi meets Nawaz Sharif in Jati Umra

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif at his residence Jati Umra.

During the meeting, the leaders exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and political matters while agreeing on intensifying the public campaign.

PM Abbasi told Nawaz that several projects including those related to energy are speedily in completion phase. He said that the government is trying hard to transfer the benefits of the development projects to the public.

CPEC will prove to be a game changer in the region, added the PM.

Nawaz Sharif said that he is visiting Lodhran to thank the public for voting in favour of PML-N. He maintained that they will only accept the decision of public as they are the real heirs of Pakistan.

Sharif brothers and Maryam Nawaz alongwith several other party leaders will attend the workers’ convention in Lodhran today where the former premier will thank the public for PML-N’s win in by-election.