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CJ rejects Sindh Govt report on deaths of kids in Thar


KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday rejected the Sindh Government report regarding the deaths of children on Tharpakar area of the province.

On the outset of proceedings Secretary Health presented a report which stated that most of the deaths have occurred due to low weight, fever and diarrhea. The report further informed that marriages in early ages and giving birth to more children were also of the causes. Doctors also don’t want to g Mithi, the report stated.

Chief Justice while rejecting the report and said the low weight was never the reason.

“We don’t want to take over, we don’t want to intervene but we are compelled to take notice due to inefficiency of the authorities,” justice Nisar said.

A three-member Supreme Court bench, head by the chief justice and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was hearing a suo motu case regarding the death of children in Thar, who died from malnutrition and measles.

Chief justice said that secretary Fazlullah Pechuho was ridding himself of all responsibility by saying that children die because they are underweight.

“The report makes it look like you don’t have any responsibility at all,” Justice Nisar said, suggesting that Pechuho “offer his services to another department”.

Sindh health secretary then told the court that 50 per cent of the deaths occurred due to pneumonia and diarrhea. He also admitted that doctors did not want to work in the region.

Addressing Senator Raza Rabbani, who appeared before the court today, the chief justice said that the judiciary did not want to interfere in executive matters but is “compelled” to do so due to the poor state of affairs.

Referring to a video clip that showed the poor state of a hospital in Larkana, the ruling PPP’s stronghold, the CJP said that he felt “ashamed” and wanted to visit the city to oversee the state of affairs there. He then suggested Senator Rabbani watch that video as well.

The CJP expressed concern over the “numerous health problems in Sindh” and said that hospitals hand over the bodies of children to parents who are left with nothing but grief.

Sindh Advocate General Barrister Zameer Hussain Ghumro’s claim that the government had built an “excellent hospital” in Mithi and distributed free wheat in Thar was dismissed by Justice Shah who said that the wheat was “lost in corruption”.

After a recess, the court rejected the report submitted by Pechuho and ordered the government to form a committee comprising “neutral doctors” working in Aga Khan Hospital or other hospitals of similar stature.


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CJ finds contradictions in Sharjeel’s medical report

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday dispose-off application of Sharjeel Memon – Pakistan Peoples Party’s leader and former minister who is accused of billions of rupees corruption and directed that if Sindh High Court wants it may reconstitute a new medical board.

The apex court observed several contradictions in the medical report prepared by the board of Jinnah Hospital’s doctors.

During earlier hearing earlier this month, the apex court had rejected a medical board setup to determine the illness of Memon and directed to form of board with doctors from Pakistan Army and Punjab province.

The petition for setting up medical board for Memon was heard by Supreme Court bench here at the apex court’s Karachi registry. During the proceedings the court was informed that medical board had been setup, which the august court rejected and directed to form a board comprising of famous neurosurgeon Dr Asif Bashir, a Pakistan Army’s doctor and Dr of a private hospital Dr Athar Inam. The new board after looking into the previous reports and conducting a checkup of the accused will compile its report within next fifteen days.

During the proceeding Chief Justice asked Inspector General of Police Nusrat Mangan as how many inmates have been shifted to Hospitals and whereSharjeel Inam Memon has and Shahrukh Jatoi had been kept. Mangan informed that Sharjeel was in central whereas Jatoi was in Malir Jail whereas total 9 inmates are in different hospitals of the city due to illness.

The judges asked Rasheed A Rizbi, counsel of Sharjeel Inam Memon, to do treatment of his client in the jail where doctors can be easily called in for treatment.

Chief Justice reprimanded Dr Semi Jamali, head of the emergency services in Jinnah Hospital, when she failed to provide details regarding Sharjeel Memon. Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar, on Saturday ordered to send Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sharjeel Inaam Memon, Shahzeb murder case convict Shahrukh Jatoi and all other prisoners back to Jail who had been living in hospital under the pretext of illness.

Earlier last month, Chief Justice had Expressed his extreme displeasure over the sending the condemned inmate, Shahrukh Jatoi to jail. “How have you sent a convict who should be in the cell of convicted murderers to hospital,” Chief justice angrily asked Inspector General Prisons, Nusrat Mangan.

Chief justice summoned the report, which reads that the convicted criminal had piles whereas he was shown to have heart disease so that he may be sent to hospital. Chief justice while addressing to Dr Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency services in Jinnah Hospital, said it was the performance of doctors. The Chief Justice said that a board comprising doctors of Punjab will be formed to examine Shahrukh Jatoi.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who took notice of Jatoi’s transfer to Jinnah Hospital from jail premises, Shahrukh Jatoi complained of a heart ailment but it turned out to be piles, the Chief Justice remarked, as he demanded to know the whereabouts of the doctor who prepared the accused’s medical report.

The Chief Justice was further irked when he was told that Jatoi is being kept in Category C jail.

Why is a death sentence suspect being kept in Category C jail, Justice Nisar asked, and summoned a report from the jail administration on how many prisoners have been transferred to hospitals.

Jatoi had previously also served most of his incarceration at the JPMC citing medical issues.

Earlier last month, the Supreme Court had ordered the re-arrest of Jatoi, Siraj Talpur and other convicts in the Shahzeb Khan Murder case, following which Jatoi and the others were taken into custody from the court premises.

The apex court had been moved by members of the civil society against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision ordering a re-trial and removal of terrorism charges from the conviction against the accused.

The apex court, instead of accepting the civil society appeal, had taken a sou motu action and nullified the SHC order.

On December 23, 2017, Jatoi, the son of an influential feudal, and other defendants in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, were released from custody on bail after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit in support of the defendant’s bail application.

Shahzeb was gunned down by Jatoi in a posh locality of Karachi on December 25, 2012. An ATC in 2013 had awarded death sentences to Jatoi and Siraj Talpur for the murder of Shahzeb, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari.


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Malala finally visits home town in Swat

SWAT (AFP) – Malala Yousafzai landed in the Swat valley Saturday for her first visit back where she was shot in the head by the Taliban more than five years ago.

The visit by the 20-year-old Nobel laureate was kept tightly under wraps and she was accompanied by the Pakistani military, who were providing heavy security, as well as her mother, father and two brothers.

After flying by army helicopter to the northwestern region from Islamabad, she met with friends and family before visiting the all-boys Swat Cadet College Guli Bagh, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) outside of Mingora, the district’s main town.

She looked happy on arrival at the school, where she is expected to speak with students before returning to Islamabad.

Mingora is where Malala’s family was living and where she was attending school on October 9, 2012, when a gunman boarded her school bus, asked “Who is Malala?”, and shot her.

She was treated first at an army hospital then airlifted to the British city of Birmingham.

Her near-miraculous recovery, and tireless career as an education advocate, have since turned her into a global symbol for human rights, and in 2014 she became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when she was just 17.

The trip comes two days after Malala, currently a student at Oxford University in the UK, made her emotional return to Pakistan, where her unannounced visit has been met with widespread joy and pride.

She broke down in tears as she made a televised speech on Thursday, saying it was her “dream” to be back, and has vowed to Pakistani media that she will return permanently after she has completed her education.

However she has also been met with pockets of intense criticism. Malala is widely respected internationally, but opinion is divided in Pakistan, where some conservatives view her as a Western agent on a mission to shame her country.

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Govt decides to reduce the prices of petrol


ISLAMABAD: The present government finally realized the miseries and hardships of the public and decided to reduced petrol price by Rs 2.07 pet liter on Saturday.

According to the Ministry of Finance, new price of petrol will be Rs86 per liter.

Moreover, diesel price has also been decreased by Rs2 per liter, whereas, prices of kerosene oil and light diesel oil will remain unchanged.

On Friday, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had recommended in a summary to the Petroleum Division that the price of petrol be reduced by Rs5.26 per litre to bring the rate down from the existing Rs88.07 to Rs82.81 per litre.

“OGRA had recommended a greater price reduction in the price of petrol, but keeping in mind that in previous months the government had reduced the price of petrol by more than what OGRA had recommended, and given the rising price of crude oil in the international market, the government took the decision to reduce the price of petrol by Rs 2.07 per litre,” the ministry of finance stated in a press release.

“OGRA had also proposed increase in the price of diesel by Rs 0.65 per litre but keeping in view the fact that diesel is primarily used in public transportation, transportation of goods, and also in farm equipment, the government decided not to burden the public at large with higher rates of diesel.”

The new prices will be effective from April 1, 2018 till midnight on April 30, 2018.

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Ch Nisar threatens to quit PML-N if maltreatment being met to him continues

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and disgruntled leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has threatened to quit the party if maltreatment being met to him continues.

In an interview with a private TV channel here on Saturday, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said he had no intentions of severing relations with the party, he co-founded along with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and other senior leaders 34 years ago.

However, if the party is turned into a ‘family affair’ then he might have no other options but to part ways with it, he added apparently referring to possibility of Maryam Nawaz being made the party head in near future.

Ch Nisar has made it clear on multiple occasions that he will not remain a part of the PML-N if Maryam Nawaz becomes its leader.

The former Interior Minister admitted that he no longer enjoyed same warmth and ties with Sharif he once had.

“Neither the party nor any parliamentary board will decide about my election ticket. Only I will decide which party’s platform I will use to contest the election… and I will soon make this call,” he remarked.

Commenting on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, he said that Khan was his personal friend but he had no ‘direct or indirect’ contact with him for the last three and half years.

Terming the political collaboration between the PTI chief and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari while electing the Senate chairman recently a ‘good omen’, Nisar said despite the political differences, there would be no issues joining hands with Zardari if the two can share the same ideology.

Commenting on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s ongoing visit to London, Nisar said misgivings regarding the trip were being spread deliberately and the former had only went to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

Reacting to a recent meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the PML-N leader said that instead of removing misgivings, the meeting had in fact created more doubts in both camps.

“If the real purpose behind the meeting was to improve ties between institutions then I should’ve been listened a year ago… there was no need for the meeting if this path was chosen at the first place,” said the former interior minister, urging the government and the judiciary to join hands to remove doubts surrounding their ties.

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Petroleum products price decreases , petrol reduces by Rs 2.07

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Government has decided to reduce prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 2.07 and Rs 2.00 per litre respectively for the month of April 2018.

It has further decided to maintain the prices of Kerosene oil and LDO at the same level as in the month of March. The new prices of petroleum products would take place from 1st April (Sunday) After the implementation of new prices Motor Spirit (MS)92 RON Petrol would be available at Rs 86.00 per litre.

The price of Diesel (HSD) would be Rs 96.45, whereas the Kerosene Oil would be at Rs 76.46 per liter and the consumers can buy Light Diesel Oil (LDO) at Rs 65.30 per litre.

OGRA had proposed increase in the price of diesel by Rs 0.65 per litre but keeping in view the fact that diesel is primarily used in public transportation, transportation of goods, and also in farm equipment, the government decided not to burden the public at large with higher rates of diesel.

OGRA had recommended a greater price reduction in the price of petrol, but keeping in mind that in previous months the government had reduced the price of petrol by more than what OGRA had recommended, and given the rising price of crude oil in the international market, the government took the decision to reduce the price of petrol by Rs 2.07 per litre.

Finally, the prices of Kerosene and LDO are being maintained at the level as in March 2018 even though OGRA had recommended to increase the rates of both these products. The prices shall be effective from April 1, 2018 till midnight on April 30, 2018.

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Israeli troops wound 13 on Gaza border, day after deadly protest

GAZA (Reuters): Israeli troops fired warning shots toward Palestinian youths gathered at the Gaza-Israel border on Saturday, wounding 13 people, health officials said.

Tension remained high in the area a day after deadly violence broke out in one of the biggest Palestinian demonstrations there in years.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was checking the details of Saturday’s unrest.

On Friday at least 15 Palestinians were martyred by Israeli security forces confronting protesters, some of whom the military said had opened fire, rolled burning tires and hurled rocks and fire bombs toward troops across the border.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Saturday a national day of mourning and a general strike was called across the occupied West Bank. Thousands in Gaza marched through the streets at funerals for those martyred.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians had gathered on Friday along the fenced 65-km (40-mile) frontier, where tents were erected for a planned six-week protest pressing for a right of return for refugees and their descendents to what is now Israel. The Israeli military estimate was 30,000.

Families brought their children to the encampments just a few hundred meters (yards) from the Israeli security barrier with the Hamas-run enclave. But hundreds of Palestinian youths ignored calls from the organisers and the Israeli military to stay away from the frontier and violence broke out.

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Failure to contain Iran may lead to military conflict in region: Saudi crown prince

RIYADH (AFP): If the international community fails to pressurise and contain Iran, then it may lead to a new military confrontation in the region, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The crown prince told the publication that the international community should put economic and political pressure on Iran in order to save the region from a future military conflict.

The kingdom has cut off its ties with its rival regional power and has been trying to isolate Iran — who it accuses of interfering in Arab affairs.

The report quoted the Saudi crown prince as saying: “If we don’t succeed in what we are trying to do, we will likely have war with Iran in 10-15 years.”

He said that Iran is trying to spread its influence in the region, which can push the Middle East towards anarchy, the publication reported.

While responding to a question about Syrian President Bashar-al-Asad, the crown prince said that the Syrian leader should not play into Iran’s hands.

Salman while accusing Houthi rebels of pushing Yemen into a war, said that if Saudi Arabia had not intervened in 2015 then Yemen would have been divided into two parts.

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Russia says Britain must cut over 50 diplomats as spy crisis deepens

MOSCOW (AFP): Russia said on Saturday that Britain had to reduce its diplomatic staff by more than 50 more people as a crisis in ties between Moscow and the West escalated over the nerve agent attack on a former spy.The new measures came after 23 British diplomats left Russia earlier this month and are seen as Moscow’s punishment after Britain’s allies expelled Russian diplomats over the March 4 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in an English city.

“Russia suggested parity. The British side has more than 50 more people,” foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told AFP.

On Friday, Moscow summoned British ambassador Laurie Bristow, giving London a month to cut the number of diplomatic staff in Russia to the same number Russia has in Britain.

He was summoned along with the heads of diplomatic missions from 23 other countries who were told that some of their diplomats had to leave, in the biggest wave of tit-for-tat expulsions in recent memory.

Bristow had been handed a protest note over the “provocative and unfounded actions of the British side which instigated the unwarranted expulsion of Russian diplomats from a variety of states,” the Russian foreign ministry said.

In London, a Foreign Office spokesperson said on Saturday: “We are considering the implication of the measures announced yesterday by the Russian foreign ministry.”

The Foreign Office had said it regretted the most recent developments but insisted Russia was the culprit.

“This doesn’t change the facts of the matter: the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable,” it said.

More than 150 Russian diplomats have been ordered out of the US, EU members, NATO countries and other nations.

On Friday, Russia expelled diplomats from 23 countries — most of them EU member states — in retaliation against the West.

France, Germany, Canada and Poland each said that Russia was expelling four of their diplomats.

Other countries including Australia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania and Norway were also told to pull their envoys.

Russians set to leave US

In the United States, 60 Russian diplomats expelled by Washington prepared Saturday to leave the country.

In total, 171 people — diplomats which Washington alleges are “spies” and their families — were set to leave the United States, Moscow’s envoy Anatoly Antonov told Russian reporters in Washington.

The Russian government provided two planes for the evacuation and one of them will make a brief stopover in New York to collect 14 families, he added, according to TASS state news agency.

US media showed footage of a Russian government plane on the tarmac at Washington’s Dulles airport, apparently getting ready to take the expelled Russians home.

Britain has said it is “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the Skripal attack using the Novichok nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, but Russia has angrily denied any involvement.

Britain has suspended high-level diplomatic contact with Moscow and said it would not be sending any members of its royal family to the 2018 football World Cup hosted by Russia.

Russia responded by expelling 23 British diplomats, closing a British consulate in Saint Petersburg and halting the activities of the British Council educational and cultural organisation.

Access to Yulia Skripal

Britain said Saturday it was considering Moscow’s request for consular access to Yulia Skripal, while taking into account her wishes.

The 33-year-old came out of critical care on Thursday and was “improving rapidly”, said Salisbury District Hospital.

She is now in a “stable” condition — with the BBC reporting that she was conscious and talking.

“We are considering requests for consular access in line with our obligations under international and domestic law, including the rights and wishes of Yulia Skripal,” a Foreign Office spokesperson told AFP.

Sergei Skripal, 66, remains in a critical but stable condition.

Skripal sold secrets to Britain and moved there in a 2010 spy swap. His daughter was visiting from Russia.

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Low-caste Indian Dalit killed for owning horse

AHMEDABAD (AFP): A young farmer from India’s lowest Dalit community has been beaten to death for owning a horse, which is seen as a symbol of power and wealth, police said Saturday.

Police have detained three upper caste men for questioning after the body of 21-year-old Pradeep Rathod was found in a pool of blood near Timbi village in Gujarat state late Thursday night.

Dalits, formerly known as “untouchables,” are among the most marginalised groups in India, where caste discrimination is outlawed but remains widespread.

Rathod’s father, who found the body, “has alleged that his son was killed by people of upper caste community of his village because he owned a horse despite being a Dalit,” deputy police superintendent AM Saiyed told AFP.

“We have detained three persons named in the complaint filed by Pradeep Rathod’s father for questioning.” In his complaint, seen by AFP, Rathod’s father stated his son loved horses and he had bought him one eight months ago.

“My son’s love for horses led to his murder,” the father said. “About a week ago, when I was riding the horse with my son, one of the persons from the upper caste Kshatriya (warrior) community warned us not to ride the horse in the village.

“He said that people of Dalit community cannot ride horses, only Kshatriyas can ride horses. He also threatened to kill us if we did not sell the horse,” the complaint read.

Rathod, a high school drop-out, worked on land owned by his father. Dalits, who lie at the bottom of India’s deeply entrenched social hierarchy system, have long faced attacks.

Last October, a Dalit man was killed by a group of men for attending a traditional Hindu dance performance also in Gujarat, the western home state of Hindu nationalist premier Narendra Modi.

Protests erupted among the community in 2016 after vigilantes wrongly accused four Dalit villagers of killing a cow — considered sacred by Hindus. They were stripped and publicly thrashed.

Modi has urged a halt to attacks on Dalits, who make up about 200 million of the population of 1.25 billion, and an end to caste discrimination.