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Electoral Reforms Act 2017 approved amid PTI walk out

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Parliamentary committee on electoral reform has given green signal of election act 2017 amid Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) walk out from the meeting for not considering its proposals.

The meeting of parliamentary committee for electoral reforms held Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the chair and approved the election act 2017. Talking to media, Chairman committee Ishaq Dar claimed that all parties were on one page over the approved act and expressed their satisfaction. “Nine different bills have been merged in the election act 2017 as the rules regarding the bill will be drafted on later stage,” Dar said.

Earlier, as the meeting started the PTI members boycotted the meeting over committee’s refusal to accept their recommendations. The PIT’s Shafqat Mehmood, after the boycott, said that overseas Pakistanis should be given voting right and without biometric verification electoral process could not be made transparent but committee did not work over the issue.

Arif Alvi alleged that PTI urged the biometric verification but committee did not paid any heed as they were not ready to change the system. Head of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Aftab Sherpao termed the approval of bill as historic after the 18th amendment bill. JI leader member Sahibzada Tariqullah said despite some reservation- biometric verification, voting for overseas Pakistanis and women’s 10 percent share- JI supported the bill.

The meeting was attended by members of the committee, officials of Election Commission of Pakistan and Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. A constitutional amendments bill relating to Election Commission of Pakistan is pending finalization before the committee.

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Pak, China to deal threats on CPEC jointly: Janjua

ISLAMABAD (Online): Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua has said that Pakistan and China are well aware of the challenges to CPEC and both the countries would tackle them mutually.

She was speaking on prospects and challenges of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hosted by Pakistan Council on China (PCC), here on Tuesday. While discussing CPEC she said that it is flagship project of One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. The opportunities of this strategically important project are significant for the entire region. She said that Pakistan’s long-term prosperity is linked to regional peace and development.

“Our long term idea of economic development is reflected in “Vision 2025”, which emphasizes regional connectivity and economic cooperation. CPEC is a natural choice for Pakistan and China. Pakistan’s eastern neighbor has publicly announced to oppose CPEC but we are well aware of these challenges” she said.

Janjua said that as the flagship project of OBOR, CPEC is destined to serve as a game changer for the whole region. Speaking on the occasion, Chargé d’affaires Embassy of China Islamabad Lijian Zhao highlighted the role of Pakistan and China for regional connectivity and trade by saying that ” OBOR carries the virtue of peaceful cooperation, openness ,inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win spirit. He said that CPEC is an unprecedented undertaking in the history of China-Pakistan relations” he said.

Forum also discussed cultural, educational and economic dimensions of CPEC, President of Pakistan Council on China former Foreign Secretary Inam-ul-Haq said that Pakistan and China enjoy an unique history of mutual respect, trust and friendship.

He said that CPEC is the foundation for regional cooperation that would improve economic growth and offer trade diversifications. Dr. Ishtiaque Ahmed, Vice Chancellor Sargodha University said that some hundred Pakistani students were studying in China in 2000, but now they are in thousands.

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Won’t let Altaf step outside his house in London: Kamal

KARACHI (NNI): Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal said on Wednesday that his party would protest in London and won’t let MQM founder Altaf Hussain step outside his house.

Addressing a press conference, Kamal said that his party workers did not die while collecting hides. He said that it was MQM founder and former party chief Altaf Hussain that had killed them. “Will stand up and fight till the last breath,” he said. “We will be victorious in the end,” he added.

Mustafa Kamal said that Altaf Hussain had died on 22 August 2016. He said that PSP workers were demanding vengeance for the murder of the worker. “Till my last breath, I will not put weapons into the hands of our party workers,” he said. “This better be the murder of a party worker of PSP,” he added.

Mustafa Kamal said that PSP would protest outside the residence of party chief Altaf Hussain in London and won’t let him come outside his house. The PSP chief said that he has set a time for his meeting with the British High Commissioner.

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PML-N shatters all moral standards by using offensive language: Naeem ul Haque

ISLAMABAD (NNI): In response to Water and Power Minister of State Abid Sher Ali’s allegations, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s spokesperson Naeem ul Haque on Wednesday took a swipe at legislators of the ruling party by stating that now even the police do not comply their orders as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has lost his moral and constitutional jurisdiction to hold his office in the wake of Panamagate case.

Calling the premier a head of all corrupt mafias, Haque said if Imran Khan is proclaimed offender, order the police to arrest him but you won’t dare to call for his arrest being an offender yourself, implying that the ruling family is facing corruption charges.

The PTI leader went on saying that it is only a matter of time before the premier would face another trial for murdering 14 citizens in the Model Town incident in Lahore. READ ALSO: Panamagate JIT report concocted on Imran Khan’s whims, claims Abid Sher Ali In an angry tirade of abuse and allegations, Haque said that PML-N had broken all ethical and moral standards by persistently using inappropriate language.

On leaders of PML-N coalition partners in Balochistan who came forward in defence of the premier, He alleged that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and National Party (NP)’s Hasil Bezenjo have taken undue favours from the premier and they along with the PM are no more trustworthy.

“These individuals are only standing by the premier as they are aware of their corrupt designs will surface and end forever if Nawaz Sharif gets disqualified,” he remarked. Joining in conversation, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry insisted that the Sharif family is deceiving the entire nation. Appearing optimistic over the final judgment in Panamagate case, he said it would be concluded by this Friday.

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Fawad Chaudhry predicts PM Nawaz’s last day in power

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry has on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif submitted forged material in the Supreme Court and the coming Friday would be his last day in power.

Fawad Chaudhry held a media talk outside the apex court and termed Nawaz Sharif a liar. He also told that the main argument of PM’s lawyer is that the assets belong to his father and children, and he does not know about any details.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Chief Siraj-ul-Haq said the government is trapped and no one can save it now. He said Nawaz’s government is just like a paper boat now, which has to drown at every cost.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Latif Khosa once again demanded resignation from Nawaz Sharif, and praised the job of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) members who completed their responsibility despite being pressurized and threatened by the incumbent government.

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CPEC to help in boosting country’s economy: President

F.P. Report

LAHORE: President Mamnoon Hussain has called upon the government officers to serve people with dedication and commitment.

He was addressing a function at National College for Public Policy in Lahore on Wednesday.

The President emphasized that only those nations progress in the world whose individuals and officials perform their national duties actively and with complete commitment at every stage of life. If these principles are weakened during the discharge of public services and responsibilities then it should be construed that the state of affairs is not heading in the right direction.

The President stressed on avoiding development of such trends. He underlined that only those nations can imprint their positive image in the comity of nations which successfully meet the challenges. Pakistani nation has been grappling with various challenges for the last seventy years and now by the Grace of Allah Almighty the time has come to reap the fruits of hard work.

The President underscored that construction and operationalization of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) demand same commitment which was witnessed during the struggle for stability of Pakistan after its creation. He hoped that as loyal citizens of the country every individual and government machinery will never let this passion fade from their heart.

The President said that if every citizen of the country is filled with such passion then no one would be worried about the supremacy of constitution nor the masses would complain that the government and its institutions left them at the mercy of circumstances.

No hurdle can be placed in the path of progress of that country where its administration follows these golden principles while performing its duties. Same is the logic behind organizing such courses for training of officers working at different tiers of the state, added the President.

On the occasion, the President gave away Certificates to participants of 106thNational Management Course and 21st Senior Management Course. Rector National School of Public Policy, Azmat Ali Ranjha also addressed the ceremony.

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Pakistani infant successfully treated in India to return soon

NOIDA (NNI): The five-month-old Pakistani baby, Rohaan, who was promised treatment by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj after his father tweeted about his inability in getting a medical visa to India for his son’s treatment two months ago, is all set to return to Pakistan after a successful surgery in a Noida hospital, reported Times of India.

Rohaan’s family, which is currently in India, will soon fly back to Pakistan after permission from the doctors who will be monitoring his health for a few more days.

The baby and his parents arrived in India on June 12, following which his treatment started at a private hospital in Noida’s Sector 128. “The child has been successfully operated upon and his health condition is being monitored. He will be discharged soon,” a spokesperson for the hospital said.

Rohaan, who was suffering from a congenital heart disease called transposition of the great arteries with ventricular septal defect (VSD) or a hole in the heart, underwent a high risk surgery called Arterial Switch Operation with VSD closure. The four-hour long surgery was conducted on June 14, after which he was put on ventilator support for a few days.

The boy’s father, Kanwal Saadik, had tweeted on May 22 to Swaraj and Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying that his child was ‘suffering’ due to delay in medical treatment and he was unable to get a visa apparently due to the change in procedure of medical visa application due to prevailing tensions between the two countries. After a series of tweets from the father and other Twitter users from India and Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj took note of the case.

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Murad urges fed govt to allow provinces to collect GST

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said that he has been requesting the federal government to hand over collection of sales tax to the provinces because the consumers are closer to them.

This he said while talking to Country Representative of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tokhir Mirzoev who called on him at the CM House in Karachi.

The IMF Country Representative discussed economy of Sindh, development activities and fiscal relations between the provincial government and the center. He also discussed the IMF report released recently in which emphasis has been given on the usage of federal funds more sagaciously particularly for social sector and simultaneously provincial government should enhance its own resources.

The Chef Minister said that the Sindh government has achieved almost all its tax collection targets by Sindh Revneue Board (SRB) Excise & Taxation but only Board of Revenue remained little lagged behind in achieving its target. “The SRB achieved the target of Rs78 billion while the Excise department collected over Rs52 billion,” he said. He added that agriculture Income Tax target has been increased from Rs650 million to Rs1 billion. “We are introducing reforms in agriculture income tax and hope we would be able to achieve the target of Rs1 billion,” he said.

The chief minister said that the total provincial receipts are Rs199.626 billion while the major chunk of Rs627.3 billion comes from the federal government. “We are trying to increase our own resources,” he said. He added that mostly the federal government fails to achieve its recovery targets, therefore major shortfalls occur in the federal transfers to the province which affect the cash flow of the provincial government badly.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that he has repeatedly requested the federal government to allow provincial governments to collect sales on behalf of the Center for onward distribution among the provinces as per their agreed share. “I am sure the provincial governments would be able to collect more than the targets given to them by the federal government because they are too close to the consumers,” he said and added that the federal government was reluctant to do so.

He said under the new policy the provincial government has devolved Property Tax to local councils and it has great scope and potential to enhance the recoveries. “This would definitely strengthen finacila position of the local councils,” he hoped.

He said that he has tried to develop better fiscal policy under which budget is released in time and special attention has been given to social sectors such as education Rs202 billion which is 24 percent higher than the last financial year. Similarly, health sector has been given Rs100.32 billion which is higher by 25.5 percent than last year. Murad Shah said that for the first time Rs14 billion have been allocated for Maintenance & Repair (M&R) for the maintenance of the existing infrastructure. “This means not only the government is reconstructing the new infrastructure but giving special attention to maintain the exiting building and road network,” he said.

The IMF Country Representative said that fiscal management is most important for a provincial government. “The provincial government is doing better but even then study of the entire financial system is necessary for future planning and management,” he said. On this the chief minister urged him to support the provincial government for the purpose.

The chief minister directed Secretary Finance to hold a meeting with IMF country Representative in Islamabad and assign the study as suggested by IMF. Those who attended the meeting include Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi and two officers of IMF.

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ECP to announce verdict on MQM’s petition today

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday reserved verdict on Muttahida Quami Movement Pakistan’s (MQM-P) petition against victory of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) candidate Saeed Ghani in NA-114 by-poll held on July-10.

MQM-P has filed petition in ECP to declare results of NA-114 by-poll annul. As per details available, counsels of aforementioned plaintiffs summed up their arguments today, upon which ECP reserved verdict.

Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel of Saeed Ghani, apprised electoral watchdog that not a single complain, pertaining to irregularities in vote count, was lodged by opponents. “How tampering could be possibly done after results were forwarded to ECP,” remarked Aitzaz during proceedings.

MQM-P’s lawyer claimed that rules were violated in 21 polling stations while compiling outcomes, so results of these polling stations should be declared annul. ECP, after completion of arguments, reserved verdict which would be announced today (Thursday).

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Anusha Rahman dismisses JIT report as ‘trash’, based on dishonesty

ISLAMABAD (APP): PML-N leader and Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication, Anusha Rahman, has rubbished the report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), labelling it “trash” based on “dishonesty”.

Speaking to the media as the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panama case on Wednesday, Rahman said the JIT’s findings were not final and questioned if another JIT would be formed to investigate the allegations against the existing JIT.

“The JIT report has lost its standing in front of the Supreme Court. It’s a trash basket and uses harsh, condescending language. Will they now form another JIT to investigate the allegations against this JIT,” she remarked. Claiming that the JIT went beyond its mandate, the PML-N leader alleged that the JIT members abused their authority.

“JIT members are government employees and abused their powers. The JIT chairman gave the nation’s money to his relative,” she said. She further mentioned that “49,000 pounds have been allegedly paid to a private company on the basis of mutual assistance. A clarification is also needed on this.”

“The JIT presented Ishaq Dar’s statements and records in the wrong way. Nothing was presented regarding Prime Minister’s property,” she said, claiming that the trial against the PM was “one-sided”. “What kind of a JIT is this, that its report was made public and is even available on the internet?” she questioned. “Nawaz Sharif is the Prime Minister now and will remain the Prime Minister tomorrow, and in 2023” she added.