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Iranian FM meets PM; delivers President Rouhani’s message

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday received Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif, for a meeting, who conveyed to him the greetings and best wishes of the people and leadership of Iran on assuming the office.

He stated that Iran wished continued progress and prosperity to the people of Pakistan.

Javad Zarif delivered a message of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, inviting the Prime Minister for the upcoming Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit in Iran, in October 2018.

Both Pakistan and Iran are members of the organization. Iran currently holds the Chair of the organization.

Welcoming the Foreign Minister, Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked the Iranian Supreme Leader’s support for Kashmiri’s struggle for self-determination as well as for the manner in which Pakistan Independence Day was celebrated in Iran.

The prime minister thanked the Foreign Minister for the sincere wishes.

Recalling his recent telephonic conversation with President Rouhani, Prime Minister Imran said that Pakistan and Iran were connected by inseparable bonds of historic, religious and cultural affinities.

He added that during his tenure, Pakistan would make all efforts to cement these relations in various areas to the benefit of both countries.

The prime minister emphasized on restoring complete peace and stability in the region.

As land bridges between economically resource-rich regions, together with other regional partners, Pakistan and Iran remained the key to growth and prosperity in the region through enhancing connectivity and promoting people-to-people linkages, he added.

Referring to cancellation of blasphemous Dutch caricatures competition following the Government of Pakistan’s strong condemnation and protest recently, the prime minister underlined the need for the Muslim countries to confront Islamophobia with one voice.

The love and respect of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), was part of every Muslim’s faith and no one could be allowed to disrespect it, he added.

Zarif arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for the visit. Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Iran and is desirous to promote them in all areas.

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ECP to start registration of overseas Pakistanis as voters from tomorrow

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will start online registration for overseas Pakistanis as voters from tomorrow September 1 and will continue till 15th of next month.

Director General Public Relations ECP Nadeem Qasim, while speaking to media on Friday, said overseas Pakistanis possessing valid machine-readable passports can get themselves registered as voters within the stipulated time.

He said after the due date voter lists will be handed over to the concerned returning officers and names of overseas voters will be scored out. He said such voters cannot cast their vote manually in Pakistan.

He said this online voting registration system has been developed with the cooperation between ECP and NADRA.

Replying to a question, he said it is a pilot project and overseas Pakistanis can register their votes to exercise their right to franchise in upcoming by-elections across Pakistan.

He said over 700,000 overseas Pakistanis will be able to get their vote registered through the newly developed system.

On Aug 17, a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar directed the ECP to take necessary measures with the help of Nadra to ensure participation of the overseas Pakistanis in by-elections.

The electoral body is to conduct by-elections on seats of the national and provincial assemblies which were vacated by political leaders who returned on more than one seats in the July 25 elections and constituencies where the polls couldn’t be held owing to some reasons.

The ECP has issued the schedule for the by-elections according to which the voting for 37 seats – 11 of the National Assembly and 26 of the provincial assemblies – will be held on October 14.

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COAS clarified policy-making is privilege of elected govt: Fawad

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry asserted on Friday that the policy of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is not personal like the one adopted by Nawaz Sharif.

Speaking to newsmen outside Parliament House in Islamabad, Fawad maintained that for the first time in history all the institutions are on the same page.

Fawad reiterated that cancellation of blasphemous caricature contest in Netherlands is a diplomatic success of Pakistan.

Pakistan responded to the development in close coordination with Turkey and other members of the OIC, he added. The minister, however, maintained that there was a need for a global strategy to tackle such issues and situation.

He said that only a handful of elements in the West create fissures by raising such issues repeatedly. The minister stated that majority of people in the Western world including Government of Netherlands were against blasphemous caricature.

Such controversies injure sentiments of over two billion Muslims and therefore, laws should be framed against such actions, he added.

Fawad pronounced that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Foreign Minister to raise the issue at the UN.

About briefing to the Prime Minister and Federal Ministers at the GHQ, he said the army top brass briefed them on important security and defence related issues.

He said policy-making was the privilege of the elected Government but it has to take all stakeholders on board. He said the PTI Government would formulate policies after getting input from other relevant institutions. He said the state policies should enjoy confidence of the masses.

Fawad said Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also said in categorical terms that like other institutions army was bound to implement policies framed by the government.

The minister said the Prime Minister remarked that the country was confronting major challenges which can only be tackled through a joint strategy.

Fawad Hussain said Pakistan wants stability in Afghanistan and normalization of relations with India was important agenda of the present government. He said instead of confrontation, the two countries should fight their common enemies poverty and ignorance.

To a question, the Information Minister said Saudi Arabia was Pakistan’s strategic partner and we also have close relations with Iran.

About China, he said, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was reflective of geo-economic partnership of the two countries. He said the PTI government was committed to completion of CPEC projects. The Information Minister said Pakistan also wants to maintain good ties both with the United States and the Russian Federation and would welcome their investment in Pakistan.

He said the dream of Prime Minister Imran Khan to take people out of poverty line cannot be realized without increased interaction with Central Asian Republics.

Replying to a question he said that Punjab Minister Fiazul Hassan Chohan has already apologized for his controversial statement about the artists who are identity of the nation.

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KP govt poised to take ‘Education for All’ to further heights

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is all set to take Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiated vision “Education for All” to further heights in its tenure, considering education indispensable for socio-economic development of the people.

The KP government under this visionary initiative in previous tenure had completed scores of gigantic projects, increased its budget, provided missing facilities in government schools, and also enrolled out-of-school street children to revitalise this key sector.

Special Secretary Education Department Arshad Khan told APP that in PTI’s previous regime some 55,000 teachers’ induction on merit helped improve standard of education significantly.

He said a state of the art Cadet College for Girls in Mardan, set up by the PTI government, was a landmark achievement and an evidence of the importance the party was giving to women’s education.

He said that a hefty amount of Rs30 billion on provision of missing facilities including washrooms, additional class rooms, boundary walls, playing areas, and furniture to government schools was incurred to achieve desired results.

The KP’s education budget, which stood at Rs63 billion in 2013, was taken to record Rs138 billion in 2017, showing a massive increase of 114 per cent. “It reflects PTI’s commitment towards education,” officials in KP Education Department said.

As a result of these measures, peoples’ confidence was restored over government schools as the condition of some 24,000 schools in the province had a new look and raised the standard of education significantly.

The PTI had also accepted challenge of reconstruction of 760 schools ignored in Abbototabad, Haripur, Manshra, Batagram and Torghar due to devastating 2015 earthquake.

In addition to equipping high and higher secondary schools with IT labs under local and foreign standardisation project, the KP government constructed playing areas in 7,000 schools besides 157 playgrounds to ensure students’ mental and physical growth.

PTI government’s carrot-and-stick policy brought back nearly 150,000 students from private education sector to public schools and effective monitoring system helped ensured 86 per cent attendance of the teachers and relevant staff.

Moreover, a series of School Quality Management Initiative (SQMI) trainings was launched to improve field-level monitoring and professional assistance of teachers at primary level. Through SQMI, Assistant Sub Division Education Officers (ASDEO) was directed to observe and share immediate feedback for further improvement in teaching practices.

Each ASDEO is supposed to observe a class of 35 minutes using the Android-based application on tablet or PC provided by the education department, besides assessing student learning and providing feedback to the teachers.

Another key initiative was an excellence award announced by the OTI government to encourage hardworking teachers and also to create an environment of competition among teachers to achieve desired goals.

Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) was established under which a principal who had shown good performance was awarded with Rs100,000 and teacher with Rs50,000 and Rs200 per month stipend was given to girl student of class 6-8 and Rs500 per month from class 9 to 10th.

Likewise, KP Private Schools Regularity Authority (KPPSRA) was setup to regulate and monitor performance of private schools in the province. Work on construction of 70 girls and 30 boys higher secondary schools is in full swing and directives are issued for its completion at earliest, the official remarked.

Under 283 million UK pounds DFID Project, infrastructure of government schools, provision of missing facilities, technical assistance for capacity building and quality assurance of staff was being ensured in the province. Through the USAID project, the official said reading skills of Grade 2 and 3 students were being improved in 15 districts of KP and these projects have brought laurels in the education sector in KP.

Asked about education reforms in recently merged tribal districts, the official said KP Education Department was ready to shoulder responsibility of tribal children, saying, “We are ready to open schools even in government rest houses and surplus buildings of tribal chieftains and Maliks in Mohmand, Bajaur, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber districts, if provided for this noble cause.”

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India accepts Pakistan’s objections over Pakal Dul, Kalnai projects: sources

F.P. Report

LAHORE: India has accepted Pakistan’s objections over the Pakal Dul and lower Kalnai power projects after Pakistan put forth concrete evidence against the projects India has started on the Chenab River, sources informed Geo News on Friday.

The development came during a two-day meeting between the delegations from Pakistan and India Water Commissions.

Pakistan contended that the projects violate the Indus Waters Treaty signed between the two countries. According to sources, the nine-member Indian delegation accepted Pakistan’s objections over the issue and signed a joint declaration after conferring with its ministry.

Indian Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena and his Pakistani counterpart Syed Meher Ali Shah were present at the signing of the declaration.

A two-member Pakistani contingent will be visiting India in September for the next phase of the talks, the sources added.

According to officials, India wanted to place spillway of 1,000 megawatts of Pakal Dul Dam on Chenab River in Indian-occupied Kashmir, about 15 metres down against the permissible limit, which will give the country undue leverage of holding 11,000 acres of feet water in addition to the allowed volume of water storage.

India also planned to establish water storage capacity of 88,000-acre feet on Chenab River with the setting up of Pakal Dul Dam.

Pakal Dul Dam is a reservoir-based scheme currently under construction on Marusudar River, the main right bank tributary of Chenab River in Kishtwar tehsil of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir, while lower Kalnai project is of 48 megawatts on another tributary of the river.

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Govt drives extra cars at the Prime Minister House into auction

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to immediately send a fleet of government cars for auction owing to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity policy.

Sources mentioned that the government has collectively sent 33 vehicles out on auction advertisement to reduce public expenditure from government’s end.

The elite auction is carrying eight luxury BMW cars and four recent models of Mercedes Benz vehicles in its ad, including 16 Toyota Corolla, three Suzuki and one HTV vehicle.

The sources added that the remaining cars have been spared under control of the Cabinet for welcoming foreign guests.

In the wake of Imran’s austerity drive, he is already facing criticism for using a helicopter to commute to work daily, from his residence in Bani Gala to the prime minister’s Secretariat.

Taking to rescue, PTI parliamentarian Ali Muhammad Khan listed the benefits of using the helicopter. He pointed out that using one helicopter for three minutes ends up being cheaper than taking out five to seven vehicles that go required for the PM’s on-road security.

The national austerity programme also aimed to shrink routine of official servants.

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FATF has given Pakistan 15 months to comply with requirements: Asad Umar

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar informed the Senate on Friday that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had given Pakistan 15 months to comply with its requirements, with the deadline set to expire in September 2019.

The minister said the FATF delegation had travelled to Pakistan earlier this month for a routine evaluation and the visit did not pertain to the greylist. Umar added that the next review of the FATF would take place in Jakarta on September 11 and 12. “27 deficiencies have been identified by the FATF having to deal with currency smuggling, havala and terror financing of proscribed organisations.”

According to Umar, a National Action Committee had been formed to deal with this issue. The committee will be chaired by the finance minister and comprise officials from NAB, FIA and SECP. “We will have our own review on September 8 which will be completed before the next FATF review. Actions which need to be taken have been identified to remove the 27 deficiencies.”

‘Trying to address the root cause of borrowing’

The finance minister also informed Senators that the amount of borrowing required by the government according to the budget was $9 billion.

“We are trying to address the root cause behind why these loans are required. We need to take steps to manage these requirements and know this will take time. In the meantime, after calculating the minimum gap we will present a finalized plan which should be done in 1-2 weeks.”

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NAB asked to go ahead with indiscriminate accountability process in country: PM

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said National Accountability Bureau has been directed to continue an indiscriminate accountability process in the country.

During a meeting with anchorpersons in Islamabad today (Friday), the Prime Minister said accountability will be held across the board and without any prejudice or discrimination.

Imran Khan said if any member of the government is suspected of any indiscretion, they should also be held accountable.

The Prime Minister welcomed criticism of his government by saying it rather helps resolving issues. He said media has every right to criticise the government, but it should give the PTI government at least three months before criticising its performance.

He promised that three months down the road, there will be a marked difference in the way the country is run. Prime Minister said none of his cabinet members was appointed permanently and could be shuffled on the basis of performance.

Speaking with regard to Pakistan-US ties, he said his government would not accept any unjust demand by the United States.

Imran Khan said Pakistan also seeks peaceful relations with India, Afghanistan and Iran. Prime Minister further vowed to cancel all agreements made against national interest.

Replying to a question, the Prime Minister said the purpose of using helicopter for travel to and from Banigala aims at saving citizens from the trouble of traffic holdups.

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Pakistan taking sincere steps for regional peace, COAS tells Iranian FM

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has told the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif that Pakistan is taking sincere steps for peace and security in the region.

He made these remarks when the Iranian foreign minister visited the army’s general headquarters in Rawalpindi on Friday and met him, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The ISPR said that regional security situation and other matters of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting.

The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s contributions for conflict prevention in the region.

Earlier in the day, the Iranian foreign minister, who is currently on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, held detailed talks with the Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

During the meeting, both sides underlined the need to promote Pakistan-Iran bilateral relations in all areas of cooperation.

Detailed discussions were also held on regional and global issues including the situation in Afghanistan, and the US’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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Zardari granted interim bail in money laundering case

F.P. Report

KARACHI: A banking court granted an interim bail to former president and Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari, in a money laundering case here on Friday.

Former president had obtained a protective bail from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the case on August 18. The high court had directed the former president to appear before the trial court by Sep 3.

Zardari, along with his lawyer Farooq H. Naek, appeared before the court today and obtained an interim bail with a surety of Rs2 million.

When asked by a reporter to comment on the “day by day worsening situation” for him, the PPP co-chairperson laughed off the question.

Last Friday A banking Court in Karachi had issued non-bailable warrants for former President Asif Ali Zardari in the money laundering case.

Anwar Majeed, a close aide of Zardari who arrested from Islamabad, was produced before the court, which granted him to fourteen days remand of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Faryal Talpur, sister of Zardari had obtained bail, so the court issued arrest warrants against Asif Ali Zardari and others absconders in the case.

Warrants were issued for suspects absconding in the case including Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Zardari, Namar Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Naseer Abdullah Hussain, Adnan Javed, Mohammad Umair, Iqbal, Azam Wazir Khan, Zain Malik, and Mustafa Zulqarnain.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and counsel of Zardari Farooq H. Naik dismissed the “reports” of arrest warrants. “A section of the electronic media is reporting that the Court has issued warrants of arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari”, Senator Farooq Naik counsel for former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said while contradicting the reports. He further said that the Court had not issued any such orders.

Meanwhile, a FIA official on the condition of anonymity told The Frontier Post that he has received non-bailable arrest warrants for the former President. The state-run Radio Pakistan also confirmed the issuance of arrest warrants. “The Banking court in Karachi has issued non-bailable arrest warrants of former President Asif AliZardari in money laundering case” the state-run radio reported.

The court, today while hearing a case, directed to present Asif Ali Zardari and others relating to money laundering case by 4th of the next month, it added.

The Federal Investigation Agency is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe.

The banking court hearing the case on Thursday approved an extension in Talpur’s interim bail until the next hearing on September 4.

Interim bails for some others, including Shehzad Jatoi and Sher Muhammad Mugheri, were also extended until the same date.

A decision on the bail of Lawai and Taha Raza was adjourned until August 18.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) last month had declared former President Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, close aide Anwar Majeed and Zain Malik of the Bahria Town Karachi project along several others as absconding accused in Rs35billions money laundering case.

Earlier, Zardari and his sister had moved to Supreme Court from where they had got relief after the apex court ordered FIA to not arrest them till election over.

The court had also clarified that the apex court had not order to place names of Zarfari and Faryal in exit control list after which their names were removed of the list.

However, on Saturday FIA issued list of absconding accused including Zardari.

Earlier, the legal team of Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur – both the directors of Zardari Group, appeared before the Federal Investigation Team – appeared before FIA, promising that former President and leader of the women chapter will appear after general elections.

The legal team, in its written reply submitted in the FIA’s banking circle in Karachi had said that the PPP leaders were busy in election campaign till July 25, so they could not appear.

“It is not possible to submit bank statements and related records pertaining to 2014 immediately,” the reply said. Asif Zardari is the president of PPP and contesting the July 25 general election from NA-213 owing to which he is busy with election campaigns, it added.

A day earlier, a senior official of the Federal Investigation Agency told The Frontier Post that the agency issued summons to Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari and women chapter head of the party, Faryal Talpur, in connection with case of laundering Rs35billion.

The summons were sent to Bilawal House and residence of Faryal Talpur in the adjacent area but no one received after which both summons were pasted at the walls of Bilawal House and Talpur’s residence in Clifton.

“It has come on record that cheque No.5384360, dated 20-05-2014, amounting to Rs15 million of A/c No.1-2-28-20620-714-139111 titled A-One international maintained at summit bank Kh-e-Tanzeem Branch Karachi is credited in account No 1-2-15-20620-714-103078 titled Zardari group (Pvt) Limited maintained at summit bank,” the summon reads, warning that if they failed to appear legal action will be initiated.

“Whereas you being the director of M/S Zardari Group (Pvt) Ltd. are acquainted with the facts of the said case, therefore, you are advised to appear before the undersigned to record your statement on 11-07-2018 at 10:00 hours along with your original CNIC and to justify the above mentioned transaction along with complete details,” reads the summons.

The FIR divulges that a transaction of Rs 15,000,000 to Zardari Group, owned by Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Fayral Taplur.

According to case Number 04/2018 registered under section 419/420/486/471/109 PPC r/w CA1947 r/w 3& 4 AML act 2010, it was established during the course of FIA enquiry started upon receipt of Suspicious Transaction Report regarding 29 accounts, that 01 of the total 29 accounts bearing No. 1-2-28-20620-714-139111 in the title of A-One International sole proprietorship firm purportedly in the name of Tariq was fraudulently opened by using his CNIC.

“This account was subsequently used to place illegitimate funds for purpose of money laundering,” reads the FIR.

According to FIA the purported account holder Tariq Sultan denied to have opened the said account. In view of denial of Tariq Sultan, handwriting/signatures opinion was obtained vide No. 370/TW/FIA/2015 dated 17.11.2015 which corroborated the version of purported account holder Tariq Sultan and the signatures on bank documents are established to be forged.

In view of the record in respect of above bank account in the name of A-One International (Proprietor: Tariq Sultan), it has been revealed that Kiran Aman the then Operations Manager has admitted and verified the fake/forged signatures of account holder as genuine with mala-fide intention.

“Noreen Sultan the then Relationship Manager has admitted the forged signatures of account holder on annexure for change of signatures other than CNIC and Adeel Shah Rashidi the then Branch Manager has signed KYC and related documents for approval of account opening, deliberately in spite of the fact that bank record (KYC) shows that account belongs to Omni Group,” according to FIR.

M/S Zardari Group (Asif All Zardari, Faryal Talpur etc) is one of the beneficiaries of Rs4.145billion and has got Rs15, 000,000, according to FIR.