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Government increases petrol price by Rs1.7 per litre

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Finance ministry on Monday rejected OGRA’s recommendation to increase price of petrol by Rs3.22, after a notification was released that a Rs1.7 price hike for the commodity was effective from 12AM today.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had earlier sent a summary to the government, with the recommendation to increase price of petrol by Rs3.22, diesel by Rs5.2, kerosene oil Rs6.97, and light diesel Rs6.95.

According to the notification, issued by the government, the new petrol price is Rs87.70, while diesel price was increased by Rs2.31 to Rs98.76.

Earlier today, the expected prices per liter of the commodities were: petrol Rs89.22, diesel Rs101.47, kerosene oil Rs83.43 and light diesel Rs72.25. A 200 percent increase in the levy on petroleum products was also recommended, as suggested in the new budget for the fiscal year 2018-19.

Under the Finance Bill 2018, tax on diesel, petroleum, crude oil and high-octane fuel would be increased from Rs10 per litre to Rs30.

The same increase would be imposed on the levy of light speed diesel and gasoline, while levy on local liquefied petroleum gas could go up by 328%.

The sixth budget of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government was presented on April 27 with an outlay of Rs5,932.5 billion. The budget was presented amid strong protest from the opposition benches against the full-year financial plan despite the incumbent government’s remaining tenure of three months.

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PM Abbasi inaugurates development projects in North Wazirstan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Miranshah and Ghulam Khan area of North Waziristan agency and inaugurated a range of development projects.

On arrival at Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, the prime minister laid floral wreath at the martyrs monument, and offered his prayers for those who have rendered sacrifices for the restoration of peace and stability.

He said Miranshah will be developed as it is the gateway to Central Asia. He assured that basic facilities will be provided to tribal people in FATA on priority basis.

He also inaugurated a number of development projects in the area including the newly-constructed market, a bus terminal, and Ghulam Khan National Logistics Cell terminal. He said that these projects will promote trade and business activities in the agency.

PM Abbasi inaugurated the Miranshah Market complex by Pakistan army engineers which includes 1344 shops, parks, car parking, solar lights, driveway and water supply network.

He also inaugurated the Ghulan Khan Trade Terminal as part of the Central Trade Corridor. These trade terminal and communication infrastructure projects in tribal areas will connect the market complex with CPEC projects at Dera Ismail Khan and will have its share in the national and regional trade routes and commercial dividends ushering a new era of prosperity and economical uplift in the area.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Abbasi said that these socio-economical projects are just the beginning and many more projects are in the pipeline for FATA in addition to ones which have been completed in the region. He said that the rehabilitation of TDPs and the economic uplift of FATA is the priority of the government.

PM Abbasi lauded the brave tribesman for their unwavering support in the fight against terrorism and ridding these areas from terrorists. He said that mainstreaming FATA is the the key to long-term progress and prosperity for which the government is working in line with the aspirations of FATA.

Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, ministers, senators, and Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. General Nazir Ahmed Butt were also present on the occasion.

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In Punjab, the race is between PTI and PML-N only, says Imran

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan on Monday said the only competition in Punjab for the upcoming general elections is between his party and the PML-N.

In an interview to a foreign news agency, the cricketer-turned-politician said that the elections will be a race between two horses only.

“We have an experienced team this time around; it is well acquainted with contesting elections,” he said, adding that many politicians wished to join the PTI before the General Elections 2018.

“Some politicians who want to join the party may have ill repute but many who are known for their good repute also want to join PTI,” said Imran.

He told the publication that the recently-held Lahore rally was aimed at telling the nation about his party’s 11-point agenda for the upcoming elections.

“I also wanted to clear the misconception that people are unhappy with the judiciary’s decisions,” he said.

The PTI chief said he wants to prove that the people were happy because for the first time ‘the powerful’ were held legally accountable.

“The only difference between democracy and dictatorship is that in the former, the leadership is accountable [to the nation],” he said.

“When we ask them for answers, they say why were we disqualified,” lamented Imran, in an apparent reference to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. “They think they will become [Nelson] Mandela but they will only become  Marcos.”

He stressed that the actual development is that of humans.

“They set up mega projects because they receive huge bribes for them,” said Imran, adding that any country that has developed had invested money in its nation.

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Accused in Safoora, Sabeen murder case acquitted in yet another case

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Prime Suspect in Safoora Bus Shooting Case was acquitted in yet another case here on Monday.

An Anti terrorism Court heard here a case against Saad Aziz under the charges of attack and attempted murder. The prosecutor, however, fail to produce sufficient evidence of Aziz involved in June 3, 2015 attack on Police at Samanabad area of the city.

Saad Aziz and Tahir Hussain Minhas, who have been awarded capital punishment of death sentence by military court in case of Safoora Bus Shooting, were acquitted in attack on School here on Saturday.

On Saturday, an anti-terrorism court (ATC), had acquitted Saad Aziz and Tahir Hussain Minhas, who have been awarded capital punishment of death sentence by military court in case of Safoora Bus Shooting, were acquitted in attack on School

According to counsel of the accused no evidence had been found against Aziz and Minhas and that the school administration has also refused to recognize them.

In January last year, Four days after the Sindh High Court set free three facilitators in the Safoora Bus Shooting case, five condemned terrorism suspects challenged their death sentences awarded by a military court over their involvement in carnage.

The then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif had confirmed death sentences to 5 terrorists, including Saad Aziz, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said on May 12, 2016.

“The terrorists perpetrated Safora Chowrangi bus attack and were also involved in Improvised Explosive Device blast near Saleh Masjid Karachi, killing of a social worker Ms Sabeen Mahmud and attacks on Law Enforcement Agencies,” the statement said, adding that the convicts were tried by military courts.

The accused include Tahir Hussain Minhas s/o Khadim Hussain Minhas, Saad Aziz s/o Abdul Aziz Sheikh, Asad ur Rehman s/o Atique ur Rehman, Hafiz Nasir s/o Afzal Ahmed and Mohammad Azhar Ishrat S/O Ishrat Rasheed Ahmed.

“These five convicts were active member of Al-Qaeda. They were involved in attacking a bus of Ismaili community at Safora Chowrangi Karachi which resulted in death and injuries to the passengers,” the ISPR statement said.

However, the condemned accused after almost seven months challenged the decision following reports of acquittal of three alleged facilitators.

In their appeal to the Sindh High Court, the suspects submitted the military court acquitted three others accused in the case therefore their appeals should also be heard.

A two-judge bench of the SHC issued notices to the federal and provincial authorities, directing them to file their comments by January 16.

On Thursday, The Sindh High Court had ordered the release of three alleged facilitators of the Safoora bus attack on bail, but, when required, the three must appear for the trial in an anti-terrorism court.

The order came at a hearing of petitions seeking the transfer of the case files from a military court to the anti-terrorism court.

At least 45 people were killed and 13 others wounded on May 13, 2015, when gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying members of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowk.

The families of Naeem Sajid, Sultan Qamar Siddiqui and Hussain Umar Siddiqui, who are charged with facilitating the horrific attack, submitted that the custody of their relatives had been shifted to the central prison, but the record of the proceedings of the case was still lying with the military court.

They said that the detainees were being incarcerated without any trial proceedings, and requested the court to direct the military court to shift the trial proceedings of the case to anti-terrorism court.

The petitioners’ counsel said the military authorities concerned were not complying with the court orders, and requested release the detainees on bail, subject to furnishing of surety amounts, on the grounds that they were being incarcerated without any trial proceedings.

The court was earlier informed by the jail authorities that the alleged facilitators had been again remanded back to the anti-terrorism court for speedy disposal of the trial on a request of the military authorities.

They said the custody of the co-accused, who had been sent to the military authorities for trial, was remanded back as they could not be tried by the military court because the requisite nexus of their alleged offences based on religion or sect was not established to bring them under the Pakistan Army Act.

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Not joining PPP, says Amjad Sabri’s mother

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Amjad Sabri’s mother has dispelled the impression that she was going to join PPP and said her family has nothing to do with any political party.

“I like Benazir and Bilawal from the beginning,” said Asghari Begum, while speaking about her family’s presence in PPP’s Liaquatabad rally on Sunday. “We were invited to attend the jalsa.”

Amjad Sabri’s mother and brother in PPP’s Liaquatabad rally.

Sabri’s brother said he was fond of MQM but will vote for PTI in the forthcoming elections.

Amjad Sabri, a renowned Pakistani Qawwal was assassinated in Karachi on June 22, 2016 when he was on his way to participate in a Ramzan show.

Muhammad Ishaq and Muhammad Asim, the two members of a proscribed organization were found involved in his murder and were handed over death sentence by a military court.

On April 3, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had confirmed the death sentences of ten ‘hardcore’ terrorists, including Ishaq and Asim.

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Panic among citizens as Quetta killing spree continues unabated

F.P. Report

QUETTA: Successive incidents of targeted killings have spread a wave of terror among citizens of Quetta, who on Monday staged protests at different places against a dozen deaths over the past week.

At least six people have been killed and three wounded in different incidents of targeted killings in the provincial capital over the last three days.

On April 27, brother of prayer leader at a local mosque was shot dead on Toghi Road.

A day later, two other people were killed on Jamaluddin Afghani Road. The deceased belonged to Hazara community.

Last night, unknown assailants opened indiscriminate fire on shops on Jan Mohammad Road. Consequently, three people were killed.

Last week, a suicide attack also claimed lives of six policemen on Quetta’s Airport Road.

Police say that they have been investigating the incidents.

Relatives of the victims, representatives of political parties and general public held demonstrations against continuing killings outside the Quetta Press Club and the Balochistan Assembly building on Monday.

Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti also visited the demonstration outside the provincial assembly building in Quetta on Monday.

The home minister termed the recent wave of targetted killings a conspiracy to spread chaos.

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No chance for PTI in Punjab, claims Zaeem Qadri

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Zaeem Qadri Monday lambasted the rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, claiming that the party did nothing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) expect tree plantation.

Speaking at a private television channel programme “On the Front”, the PML-N leader said that the PTI won’t win a single seat from Punjab. He also thanked the PTI chief for not abusing anyone in the Lahore’s gathering at the Greater Iqbal Park on Sunday.

He claimed that the PTI splashed out Rs 3.5 billion on Lahore’s gathering. “But we are least concerned about it. The PML-N would win with a big margin.”

He regretted that Imran Khan told whole story of establishment of cancer hospital but did not mention the name of the volunteer who donated land for the hospital because the land was donated by Nawaz Sharif.

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Sindh Rangers get a makeover with new uniforms

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Pakistan Rangers have changed uniforms for its troops deployed in Sindh including the capital city Karachi. The paramilitary force put on the new uniform from Monday [April 30].

The Rangers had said in statement on April 15 that the pattern of uniform was being changed for all ranks deployed in Sindh province. The statement also carried pictures of old and new uniforms in order to let people identify Sindh Rangers in a new attire.

Rangers and police had launched an operation in Karachi on September 5, 2013 following directives of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the wake of the rising incidents of terrorism and street crimes in the city, which included target killings and extortion.

Since then the police and Rangers have arrested over thousands of suspects and killed a hundred others, including militants from banned outfits, target killers, extortionists and criminals involved in other heinous crimes.

During their campaign, the police and the paramilitary forces have established peace to a greater extent in Karachi, home to 20 million people.

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Tourists report rise in harassment incidents in Murree

F.P. Report

MURREE: Murree, a popular mountain resort town nestled in Galyat region of northern Pakistan, may face a dip in its tourist population after a few disgruntled visitors alleged they faced harassment and assault at the hands of local guides.

The allegations have led to a #BoycottMurree campaign on social media, after videos of several such incidents faced by the tourists went viral.

According to some tourists, local guides and agents harassed them and their families but despite their complaints, the authorities did not take any action against the perpetrators.

A Twitter user posted pictures of banners calling for a boycott of Murree.

“A British born tourist got beaten up in Murree by local gangsters who were trying to harass his female family members, please take strict action & activate police to promote peaceful tourism in Murree,” another user tweeted.

The tourists are not the only sufferers, apparently. Local shopkeepers and hotel owners in the scenic town have also complained of misbehaviour by some guides.

Hafiz Abid Abbasi, vice president of the local hotels association, said that despite repeated complaints lodged against the perpetrators, the local administration remains mute on the matter. He added that such incidents have been reported in five locations – all of which lie outside Murree.

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Murad assigns Health Foundation to assess facilities at peats ward Mithi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that he is trying to improve child health services, particularly in Tharparkar and other far flung areas.

This he said while holding a meeting with a delegation of Child Foundation here at the CM House today.

The chief minister said that he has a clear plan to provide best health services for children at every teaching hospital, District headquarter Hospital, taluka Headquarter hospital and basic health units. This was motive of working in partnership with Child Foundation.

The chief minister was told that that the special space or wards given to the Child Foundation at different district hospitals and teaching hospitals would be launched very soon. The child ward to be operated by Child Foundation at Shaheed Benazirabad would be opened on May 18, June 18, at Jamshoro on December 18, Sukkur Dec 18.

The chief minister said that he was worried about the children of Thar where children still needs special attention. He directed the Child Foundation to send their professional team to Mithi Civil Hospital to inspect their entire facility and give him a report within a week of the gaps and missing facilities there so that they could be addressed at the earliest.

“We have equipped the Civil hospital Mithi with all the latest facilities and equipments but still there are child mortality reports which are quite disturbing for me,” he said. “I want you to survey the facilities and the state of their operation at Mithi hospital and then give me report to upgrade it in partnership with Child Foundation,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah also said that the pharmacy of the teaching hospitals and DHQ and THQ also need to be improved properly. “I want to computrise the record of all the government hospitals and health facilities so that proper check could be established,” he said.

The chief minister said that the medicines are properly given to patients at all the government facilities all over Sindh but overall health services are comparatively better in those government hospitals where private sector is working in partnership with the government.

Murad Shah said that he has given special attention to National Institute of Child Health and its services, equipments are being improved and its satellites would be established all over Sindh.