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Mashal’s family files appeal in PHC against acquittal of 26 men

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Mashal Khan’s family on Wednesday filed an appeal in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) challenging the acquittal of 26 people in the 23-year-old student’s mob murder case.

The appeal, filed by Mashal’s brother Aimal Khan, argues that the decision by the Haripur Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) should be set aside and those acquitted should be awarded capital punishment as substantial proof against them exists.

The appeal states that the 26 men acquitted on all charges admitted to their involvement in a procession that was held right after their release from custody following the ATC’s decision. Video proof of their involvement is also present, among other things, making the prosecution’s case against them very strong, read the appeal.

The ATC’s decision, the appeal argues, would “encourage the respondents to commit such acts in the future”.

The acquittal is also against the principles of Qisas, it says, adding that the evidence of the men being present at the crime scene with the common objective to kill has not even been contradicted in the court.

Following the submission of the petition, Aimal said that a total of five appeals will be filed in the case on a step-by-step basis.

Meanwhile, Fazl Khan, Aimal’s counsel, said that direct and indirect threats were being made against him as well as the lawyers representing Mashal’s father for pursuing the case, demanding the government to take action.

Mashal, a Mass Communications student at Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University, was beaten and shot to death by an angry mob on April 13, 2017, after being accused of blasphemy.

A Haripur Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Feb 7 sentenced the prime accused, shooter Imran Ali, to death, handed jail sentences to 30 people, and acquitted 26 others.

Mashal’s family was not satisfied with the verdict.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday after a meeting with the family’s lawyers at the PHC, Aimal said the family had “decided to challenge the verdict minutes after it was announced”.

“We have included video clips of their speeches in our appeal as proof,” Fazl had said, adding that these individuals had played a major role in the killing of Mashal Khan.

Ayaz Khan, senior lawyer and another member of the legal team, said: “We are going to challenge the whole verdict, including the acquittal of 26 accused, the lesser sentences of 30 others”, and the acquittal of the main accused, Imran Ali under sections 120-B, 148, 149, 324, 427, and 297 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and 11-WW and 21-I of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Ayaz Khan also pointed out contradictions in the verdict, saying that at the beginning of the detailed judgement it is stated that the lynching was planned and all the men arrested had played a role in the killing. However, at the end of the verdict, 26 men were acquitted citing insufficient evidence.

“We are hopeful that with this appeal, Mashal will finally get justice from the high court,” he said.

 

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Mines & minerals department generates Rs 2.10 bln in 2017

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mines and Minerals Department has successfully generated over Rs 2.10 billion revenue during the previous fiscal year by introducing stern monitoring and check system on mining processes in the province.

However, the statistics available with Department of Mines and Minerals state that five regional camp offices for  surveillance and monitoring have been established at various districts including Abbotabad, Karak, Swat, Peshawar and Chitral in an effort to curtail the illegal mining and ensure control over misuse and unauthorized exploitation and exploration in the province.

In order to tighten nose on violators, district offices have been established under the regional camp offices for effective monitoring and regulation of the mining processes in order to curtail losses to the provincial exchequer.  District camp offices have been established in Abbotabad, Manshera, Haripur, Kohistan, Peshawa, Nowshera, Buner, Shangla, Swat, Malakand, Kohat, Hangu, Bannu, DI Khan and Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to the Planning Officer for the KP Mines and Minerals department, the mechanism for monitoring of the mining activity has been effective because it has generated favorable results by achieving the set goals for revenue generation.

During the previous fiscal year, Rs 2.10 billion target was set which was achieved successfully. The revenue generation has been made possible through bringing the illegal mining into the mainstream, imposition of proper royalty and tax on the tonnage of mining carried out and proper check on challans issued to lease holders.

The initiative is intended to pinpoint the mines granted to lease holder which are not performing as per required standards and will also check whether proper rules and regulations are being followed.

 

 

 

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35 held for selling meat on meatless day

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: District administration officials on Wednesday carried out operations in two different localities in provincial city and arresting 35 shopkeepers for violating rules by selling meat on meatless day..

As per details shared by official of district administration saying that additional assistant commissioner Irfan Ali conducted raiding multiple restaurants and found that some butchers were selling out meat outside their shops on prohibited day. The action against butchers and restaurants owners was taken on direction of deputy commissioner Islam Zeb, official informed.

During raid, the detained shopkeepers include nanbais, bakery manager, butchers and restaurants owners for violating rules and regulations. Additional Assistant Commissioner on the occasion warned the shopkeepers and butchers to avoid violating rules and regulations next time otherwise stern action would be taken against them.

He categorically said that action against arrested persons would be taken in light of law.

Similarly, the officials also carried out operation in Ring Road and detaining 19 shopkeepers including owners of bakery and sweets, butchers and owners of restaurants.

During the raid carried out by additional assistant commissioner Humayun Khan in which manager of Hyper-Mall at Ring Road was also arrested. The rates of vegetables and fruits were checked by officials of district administration and arrested those shopkeepers involved in overcharging customers.

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Terror-related incidents decline as street crimes surge in Peshawar

Salman Yousafzai

PESHAWAR: Although a sharp decline has been witnessed in terrorism-related incidents in the provincial capital, acts of violence and street crimes continue to plague the city, official figures of Peshawar Police Department revealed.

Only 10% of the cases prosecuted in 2016 and five percent in 2017 concerned serious crimes while the remaining were minor cases under local and special laws, anti-narcotics law, arms ordinance, and other petty offenses, a provincial government document revealed. The figures indicate that significant time and institutional resources of the police, prosecution, courts and correctional services are being taken up by relatively minor offenses while the more serious crimes are being under-reported and under-prosecuted.

A police officer told on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to talk to media that there is a significant weakness in the investigation of serious offenses, a lack of forensic evidence-gathering capability, and the unwillingness of the public to appear as witnesses.

“As a result, there are serious failings in prosecution”, he said, adding that an unacceptably high number of trials for serious offenses result in acquittals for lack of sufficient evidence. “The problem is even acute in sensitive categories of offenses like cases of terrorism, organized crime involving weapons and narcotics, and instances of violence against women” he added.

Violent crimes including street crimes, extortion and murders increased in 2017 for a second consecutive year, revealed official statistics of Peshawar Police.

According to police annual Peshawar Police statistics, crimes reported in Peshawar in various forms such as 370 murders cases were registered in different police stations of Peshawar in 2017 and police investigated 96 cases. 482 cases of attempt to murders, 25 cases of rape, 10 sodomy and 52 cases of kidnapping were registered in different police stations of the provincial capital. The statistics revealed that 12 cases of kidnapping for ransom, two cases of child lifting and 54 cases of abduction were reported in separate police stations of Peshawar last year.

Apart from murders and kidnapping, other street crimes have also been increased in 2017 as total 104 robbery cases, 18 cases of dacoity, 127 cases of burglary, 185 cases of theft, 69 cases of car theft, 17 cases of other vehicles theft, 10 cases of car snatching, nine cases of other motor vehicles theft, 101 cases of motorcycle theft, 40 cases of motorcycle snatching were registered in different police stations.

24 cases of extortion, eight cases of extortion in which extortionists use explosive material were reported, according to official documents.

According to official statistics obtained by The Frontier Post revealed that 6406 cases of crime against persons and property have been registered in Peshawar for further investigation among 6406, the court has decided 50 cases and only in two cases, criminals were convicted and in 48 cases, the alleged culprits were acquitted during 2017. In 2016, 5719 cases of crime against property and people were registered in different police stations of Peshawar and 58 cases were decided by the court while the rest were pending. Among 58 cases, in seven cases the criminals were convicted while in 51 cases the alleged accused were acquitted.

The criminal justice system is also inefficient as regards the prosecution of serious and violent offenses.  According to the reported rates of the prosecution and conviction of offenders are increasing over the previous few years, these statistics are distorted by very high rates of prosecution and conviction for minor offenses.

Capital City Police Chief Muhammad Tahir Khan said that we need to improve the investigation wing of police department and prosecution. He said that low conviction rate is not only incompetency of police department; it is also incompetency of public prosecutors. He suggested combine performance of evaluation of police, prosecutors, and judiciary on daily basis. Tahir further said that the decline in the terrorism incidents was due to the commendable performance of KP police and also the sacrifices given by its jawans and officers.

An analysis of the nature and categories of cases received by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prosecution Service from 2014 – 2016 shows that approximately 65% of these cases result in the conviction, a mere 6.5% on average lead to acquittals and 8.5% are compounded i.e. a settlement between the accused and accuser is reached.

Less than 1% of the convictions result in appeals. A closer analysis indicates, however, that the high conviction and disposal rates are bolstered by a higher than expected proportion of cases concerning petty offenses.

A police investigator said that the criminal justice system is inefficient in investigating and successfully prosecuting serious offenses, it is unduly efficient and coercive in the prosecution of minor offenses.

He added that main problem originates with the governing legislation which makes it relatively easy to prosecute and convict defendants for minor offenses.

“The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provides for the arrest and detention of the accused in a vast array of relatively minor cases and the police are incentivized to arrest and charge, and the prosecution to seek easy convictions of the accused in such cases in order to demonstrate performance” he disclosed.

The high levels of arrest, prosecution and conviction for minor offenses have over-burdened the judicial system resulting in a high pendency of cases, delays, and inconsistent sentencing, he said.

He suggested that enhance coordination between and accountability of criminal justice institutions; improve investigation, prosecution, and trial processes for serious offenses; reduce arrest, prosecution, conviction and incarceration for minor offenses; and develop capacity, infrastructure, and resources of criminal justice institutions.

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Resolution submitted in KP Assembly

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The dissident MPA of PTI on Wednesday submitted a resolution in Khyber Pakhtukhwa Assembly seeking pointing out mega corruption and irregularities in Billion Tree Tsunami Program (BTTP) of the provincial government.

The resolution stated the PTI Chief Imran Khan announced BTTP under which he claimed to get plant as many as one billion trees across the province, followed by an announcement of four-year BTTP by the provincial government at a cost of billions of rupees.

The resolution said that after passage of four-year, PTI Chief Imran Khan and KP government claimed that planting of 1.18 billion trees but later the KP government claimed that two billion trees target was achieved and the provincial government announced to plant two billion trees.

The resolution stated that as per the official record so far 240 million trees have been planted instead of tall claim of 1.18 billion.

The resolution sought an inquiry from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to probe irregularities committed in the program especially in purchase of plants without tenders and payment of Rs 6 billion cash payment for purchase of plants.

The resolution recommended the provincial government to refer the matter to NAB so that the persons involved in mega corruption could be punished.

 

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CM directs for accelerated completion of 8 bus stations

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has directed for accelerated completion of eight bus stations of the Peshawar Metro Bus Project and the rest of the requirements along with design should be finalized by February 19.

He also directed to complete all the bus stations as early as possible in order to translate into reality the efforts for giving accelerated commuting facilities in Peshawar city. He also directed to remove the debris from the already completed track of the Metro on both sides to relive the trading community and the pedestrians of problems.

He was presiding over a meeting at Chief Minister Secretariat Peshawar. Chief Secretary Muhammad Azam Khan, Head of Strategic Support Unit Sahibzada Saeed, administrative secretaries and other concerned officials attended.

The Chief Minister was informed about the pace of progress on bus stations, cycle track, parking plazas, Pir Zakori bridge, Jersey barrier, feeder routes, the status of purchasing  buses and the scheme for disposal of old buses on the route.

The meeting was informed that the contractors have already started construction work on eight bus stations and the rest of the stations were in the final phase. Pervez Khattak directed for the construction work on all stations by February 19.

He also directed to remove the obstacles on the cycle track at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. There was no problem in the construction of parking plazas and the work was in full swing.

The technical consultation of the Asian Development Bank delayed the Pir  Zakori level Bridge II, the meeting was informed.

The Chief Minister directed to plan the accelerated completion of Pir  Zakori Bridge level-II out of provincial resources and it should not be  delayed. He also directed for installing modern Jersey barriers on all  sides of the corridor.

Pervez Khattak directed that all prerequisites required for the metro should be completed in all respect by February 19, directing that it should serve as deadline after which there should be no excuse.

He wanted the accelerated completion of Peshawar Metro and would never compromise on it.

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PTI leadership asked to not ignore ideological workers

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Local leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from various union councils of district Peshawar have urged the party central and provincial leadership to not ignored the ideological workers and vowed they are ready to give any sacrifice to accomplish mission of the party Chairman Imran Khan.

They were speaking at workers convention, organized in village Jhagra of Provincial Assembly constituency PK-9. Hundreds of workers from various council unions of district Peshawar were gathered at the convention under leadership of PTI former district vice president, Nawabzada Shakeel Khan Afridi and tribal leader Nawabzada Fazal Karim Khan Afridi.

PTI Central leader, MNA and provincial spokesman, Ali Mohammad Khan was chief guest on the occasion, while MNA Sajid Nawaz, MPA Mehmood Jan and other local leaders were also spoke at the convention.

In their addresses, the local leaders and workers have reposed full confidence over the leadership of Imran Khan and strongly supported his vision elimination of ‘status-quo’ politics and establishment of corruption free Pakistan.

During his welcome speech, PTI leader Shakeel Afridi said the workers are precious asset for the party, which should not be ignored. He said they (workers) are tigers of Imran Khan, which are ready to give any sacrifice to accomplish the party chief mission. He stressed that it was dire need of hour to remove the frustration among the ideological workers and address their genuine concerns on the priority basis.

He said the PTI is the only political party, which held the corrupt rulers accountable. He said Imran Khan is indispensable for the country. He claimed the PTI would clean sweep in the next general election on basis of its good performance during last four and half year rule in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it will form again its government in the province.

Ali Mohammad Khan, while addressing at the convention said the PTI will continue its ongoing campaign against corruption. He said they will build a new Pakistan. He sought the workers support to kick out the corrupt rulers from the country.

He said the PTI will only make the Pakistan a true welfare Islamic state. He asked the charged workers that they will make Imran Khan as Prime Minister of the country, then they loudly responded that ‘yes’.

PTI leader said that the future of Pakistan would be strong in hands of Imran Khan. He said the corruption is biggest issue of the country, saying that his party will eliminate the menace of corruption forever. In this regard, he added the party campaign for corruption free-Pakistan will be further intensified across the country.

At the end, Nawabazada Fazal Karim Afridi extended special gratitude to workers for their active participation in the convention. He urged the party central and provincial leadership to give proper attention to ideological workers and should resolve their concerns on priority basis.

 

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Bannu Airport to create opportunities: Durrani

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Durrani Tuesday expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for approving Rs 715 million grant for upgradation and extension of Bannu Airport.

Talking to various delegations at his residence, he said A-320 and B-737 plans could land on the airport, adding that the airport would be a gift for local people.

He said now the local people would not have to travel to other cities for going abroad rather Bannu airport would reduces distances besides playing an important role in China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said that the federal government is utilizing all available resources for welfare and development of people of Bannu district. He said JUI-F would come up to the expectations of people and to be given mandate in next general elections.

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PML-N victory in Lodhran bye-poll echoes in PA

F.P Report

PESHAWAR: The win of PML-N candidate Iqbal Shah from NA-154 Lodhran echoed during the proceedings of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday. It was the parliamentary leader of PML-N, Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha who took the floor on a point of order to congratulate their party candidate Iqbal Shah on winning bye-election from Lodhran with big margin.

He said that the result of the bye-election has proved that the popularity of the PML-N has increased in the country.  He said that the result is an eye-opener for those who hatching conspiracies against the leadership of PML-N and was optimistic of the landslide victory of the party in the general elections of 2018.

 

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Over 1100 degrees conferred in Sarhad University convocation

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR:  13th Convocation of Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar was held here Tuesday at Jinnah Convention Center, Islamabad. Governor, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra who is also the patron of the University was the Chief Guest of the ceremony.

Chairman, HEC, Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Vice President, Brig. Javed Tipu and the Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr. Salim-ur-Rehman were also present on the occasion besides a large number of graduating students their parents, educationists, senior government officials, faculty and staff of the University.

More than 1100 degrees were conferred in the Convocation, which include 3 PhDs, 52 M.Phil, 175 Masters and 883 Bachelors. 124 Gold Medals were also awarded to those who completed their degrees with distinction in their relevant disciplines.

Talking on the occasion, the Governor, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that educational institutions have a huge responsibility of educating students in the right direction. He advised the students that after the completion of their studies now they are entering into practical phase of their lives.

He said that there is no short-cut to progress and prosperity, rather this can be achieved only through sustained efforts of every citizen. He lauded the efforts of Sarhad University for sharing the burden of Public Universities, and playing its role to educate the youth of Province.

He also appreciated the achievements of the University in short span of time, which includes opening of its Sub-Camps at Ras-al-Khaimah, UAE, launching of Distance Education Program in the Province of Sindh, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan, with the permission of their respective Governments and approval of the HEC.

Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Chairman, HEC, while talking on the occasion, stressed upon the youth to focus on their studies, so as to shoulder the burden of their parents, as well as to play their role for the development of the country.

He appreciated the management of Sarhad University for providing quality educational facilities to the youth of KP Province.

He also lauded the Distance Education Program of the University, through which the students of far flung areas, having limited financial reasons are able to get quality education at their doorstep.

Prof. Dr. Salim-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor while presenting annual report of the University said that the University with more than 400 faculty members offers state of the art academic and research facilities to the students. The University, he added, is also offering distance education facilities across the Province.

Later on, the Vice President, Javed Tipu presented University souvenirs to the Governor and Chairman, HEC.