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ECP asks independent candidates to join political party

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the elected independent candidates in the national and provincial assemblies to join any political party till August 9. “An independent returned candidate may join any political party, if he or she so desires, through a written consent to the leader of the political party for joining his party by August 9,” said ECP.

The party leader of the political party shall inform the commission of such joining of an independent candidate through a letter to be address to the commission. Each independent candidate shall also submit an affidavit stating that he or she is joining a particular political party voluntarily and without any coercion.

The affidavit shall be duly sworn before the oath commissioner and shall be deposited with the provincial Election Commissioner concerned or with the deputy Director (Cord), ECP secretariat. The notifications to successful candidates from reserved seats will be issued after the final list of positions of political parties is compiled. Candidates from reserved seats will be notified within two days after independent candidates join political parties.

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PM lauds contribution of POF in catering to country’s defence requirements

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (Retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk visited the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) Wednesday and appreciated the valuable contributions of the POF in catering to the defence requirements of the country.

The Prime Minister said the POF held a pivotal position in view of the multifarious defence and security challenges that the country was confronted with. He also commended the commitment and continued efforts of the workforce of POF whose labour and expertise had earned the organization a reputed place in the region and beyond.

“POF’s culture of innovation and excellence has left me deeply impressed and profoundly satisfied”, the Prime Minister said in his comments recorded in the visitors’ book.

Earlier upon his arrival at POF Wah, the largest defence industrial complex of the country, the Prime Minister was received by POF Chairman Lt Gen Sadiq Ali HI(M).

He was briefed in detail about the range of arms and ammunition products of international standards, being produced at the ordnance factory. He was also apprised about the contribution of POF in meeting defence and non-defence requirements of the armed forces during peace and war time.

The Prime Minister was informed that in addition to meeting the domestic requirements on cost-to-cost basis, the POF was also serving the country through import substitution and earning foreign exchange by exporting its surplus to 40 countries and thus furthering defence diplomacy.

He was also briefed about the commercial operations and corporate social responsibility services of the organization in the field of education, health and environment protection.

Later, the Prime Minister also visited Product Display Lounge, POF Brass Mills and the Weapon Factory and observed various processes at the production line.

 

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Rain and flash floods cause havoc in parts of Dir

F.P. Report

TIMERGARA: The monsoon rains and flash floods caused havoc in parts of the Lower Dir on Wednesday as several link roads were inundated by flash floods in Talash, Maidan, Malakand Dara, Khall, Paito Dara and Rabat, residents said.

They said it continued to rain heavily for the second consecutive day on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The heavy rains washed away several link roads in parts of the district due to which vehicles were stranded in far off villages. The flash floods in two stream at Talash also disrupted vehicular traffic for more than three hours on Peshawar Timergara roads and hundreds of passengers’ vehicles including ambulances waited for hours to pass one the stream.

In Timergara city rainwater entered a mosque and markets that inflicted huge loss on local traders. Due to improper sanitation and choked culverts the rainwater flowed on the roads at Timergara, Talash and Chakdara that caused miseries to motorists and commuters.

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Century-old pines trees illegally chopped down

M. Bilal Baseer Abbasi

ABBOTTABAD: In Abbottabad, a city of pines, the authorities are bent upon cutting a century-old Pine trees for the construction of a building near Police lines area while civil society have vowed to resist the move, terming it detrimental to their acclimatisation with these trees accrued over the scores.

The activists and locals are of the view that these trees provided them shade and shelter for over 100 years and their biological killing would be shocking for them.

As per details, these trees were cut down after the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had given approval for a building of a hostel of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) near police rest house. The contractor’s earlier move to remove two trees and did not bear fruit further as civil society activists and journalists resisted it sternly.

Now the activists have protested in various parts of the city urging citizens to collectively help protect and preserve the ancient pine trees, which had acquired the status of city’s heritage and had given recognition to the area.

Miss Amna Sardar, former MPA KP Assembly while talking to The Frontier Post said that her city Abbottabad was once known as the city of pines. Now, the condition is worse and older trees have been savagely chopped off, and rest is being cut down fast due to unconcerned of the authorities. Some decades before due to these pine, camphor and ample trees we were fortunate enough to be blessed with pleasant, resplendent weather. She said further, when the northern are frozen, we still manage to extract ample warmth from the sun.

While discussing on current situation she told that many such precious trees were cut down from Eid-Ghaa and Jinnah bagh, Abbottabad which was previously known as Company Bagh. Similarly, some memorable trees of British time were cut down from famous Cantonment’s Lady Garden for conversion it to park. She urged further that the trees, Abbottabad’s heritage can be protected by raising their voice. She requested to civil society, environmental NGOs, journalists and other stakeholders to raise their protection of the environment, trees and heritage.

She demanded to the government to take notice of this violation and banned on cutting of the trees. A journalist from Abbottabad Abrar Rashid and an environmentalist Muneeb Abbasi said that our precious oldest trees of pines, camphor and amples protect Abbottabad’s flora and fauna, conserve cultural and historical heritage and provide natural setting for the enjoyment of the denizens and visitors. Due to the felling of the trees which was planted here by Britain the birds of Abbottabad are going to be homeless due to biggest environmental attack on their nest, known as Abbottabad named after Major. Abbott.

Abrar further said it is every one responsibility to raise his voice on this issue as it is not just a matter of mediamen. The authorities concerned were, though, of the view that they saved many trees by remodeling and redesigning the original building plan. However, this pine was an obstruction in construction of the building.

When contacted, District Police Officer (DPO) Abbottabad, Abbas Majeed Marwat, he told the correspondent that trees were cut down by the government contractor for the establishment of an hostel building of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) near police rest house. He asked for communication with SP CTD, which post is lying vacant after the retirement of Ex. SP so to no avail. Locals said that they would not allow officials to “kill” these trees at any cost. In this connection, they have also announced moving to all appropriate forums against the pines tree’s likely chopping by authorities. They requested to the KP government to take notice of the issue and preserve biodiversity of Abbottabad city.

 

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JUI-F protests against allegedly ragging in election

Ahmad Nabi

LANDI KOTAL: On the call central leadership, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Khyber chapter staged a protest demonstration here at Sur Kamr, Jamrud division on Wednesday.

Leading by JUI-F, FATA region general sectary Mufti Ijaz, Ameer Khyber and candidate for NA-44, Bara Maulana Shams-u-Din and Ameer JUI-F, Jamrud division, large number of the party workers, appeared at Sur Kamr area and blocked the Pak-Afghan highway for all kind of traffic.

The protesters were holding banners inscribed with slogans in favor of their demands and were chanting full-throat slogans against allegedly corruption in the recent passed election 2018.

Addressing on the occasion Mufti Ijaz and Maulana Shamsuddin said that on large scale rigging had been carried out in the recently passed election. They added that mandate of people had been stolen by succeeding the candidates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by adopting all kind of malpractices.

“It was the selection rather than election”, they argued. The blamed the judiciary, security agencies and the administration for the rigging and said they would not accept result of the rigged election. They demanded resignation of the election commission by its failure in conducting free and fair election. After a while, the agitators dispersed peacefully and traffic was resumed.

 

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Preparations for Independence Day celebration continues

Hafiz Muhammad Aziz-ur-Rehman

HAFIZABAD: Brisk preparations are afoot to celebrate Independence Day here with national fervor. Almost all the educational institutions and government offices have chalked out comprehensive program to celebrate the Independence Day by hoisting national flag atop the buildings. Different organizations have decided to decorate the thoroughfares with national flags and buntings. Competitions of national songs will be held in different educational institutions. All the buildings would be tastefully decorated and illuminated during the night of August 14.

Fateh Khawani will be held for the Shuhda and those who laid downs their lives during the independence movement in the Press Club Hafizabad where flag hoisting ceremony will also be held. The national flag would unfurled by oldest man of the city and chairman and members of the Press Club. A seminar will also be held in the press club where the speakers would spread light on the two-nation theory on which the independence of Pakistan was achieved after supreme sacrifices of Muslims of undivided India. Saplings will also be planted in the lawn of the Press Club.

 

 

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Taliban under increasing pressure to reconcile

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The South Asia Strategy — now almost a year old — is working, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. The secretary spoke before welcoming British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson to the Pentagon for discussions.

The strategy looks at coalition efforts in Afghanistan in a regional way, because many of the threats in the area are transnational. The strategy also called on the United States to realign its forces in Afghanistan to support the train, advise and assist mission with Afghan security forces and to accompany them on selected operations. But the reconciliation portion of the strategy is the most important pillar, Mattis told reporters, noting that through history, these conflicts and situations are solved via reconciliation. He cited the experiences in Northern Ireland and South Africa as examples.

“The reconciliation effort [is] Afghan-owned, Afghan-led,” the defense secretary said. “We are working very closely with them in everything we are doing alongside our NATO allies, as we engage to try to end this war.” The strategy has confronted the Taliban with a dilemma, and the group was forced to go along with the recent cease-fire that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared. The people of Afghanistan came together on that event, and the airwaves were filled with videos of government members and Taliban celebrating together. The pressure is increasing on the Taliban to enter discussions, but there is still a long way to go, Mattis said. “It is still early in this reconciliation process,” he added.

 

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13 civilians killed, wounded in roadside mine explosion in Balkh

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: At least thirteen civilians were killed or wounded an explosion triggered by improvised explosive device in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan. A spokesman for the 209th Shaheen Corps, Mohammad Hanif Rezaye , said the incident has taken place in the vicinity of Shulgar district and as a result at least six civilians, all members of a single family, have lost their lives.

He said the incident took place after a civilian vehicle struck an improvised explosive device planted on a roadside. At least seven civilians also sustained injuries in the explosion, the 209th Shaheen Corps spokesman added. The district administrative chief Arif Agha had earlier also confirmed that at least 6 civilians have been killed and 7 others have sustained injuries.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident. Taliban and other militants often use IED as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government but in majority of such attacks ordinary civilians are targeted, besides such attacks often claims the lives of the militants as well. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in its latest report stated that 1,692 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018.

According to UNAMA, the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacks by Anti-Government Elements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties. “The combined use of suicide and non-suicide IEDs caused nearly half of all civilian casualties. Continuing trends first documented last year by UNAMA, the majority of IED casualties were caused by suicide and complex attacks, which again were responsible for record high civilian casualties, resulting in 1,413 civilian casualties (427 deaths and 986 injured), a 22 per cent increase,” UNAMA said.

 

 

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Talks on leaders demand ended with no breakthrough

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Independent Election Commission Chief Gula Jan Abdul Badi Sayad confirmed that the talks between government and the political leaders have ended with no breakthrough to find a solution regarding the demands of the political parties.

Speaking during a press conference in Kabul, Sayad said the second vice president Sarwar Danish has met with the political leaders for at least four times but no consensus was reached during the meetings. According to Sayad, some of the key demands of the political leaders include the change of the voting system to single transferable vote, utilization of technologies (biometric system) during the elections, and monitoring of the elections process.

He said the election commission has no issue with the recommendation of the political leaders to monitor the elections but they must submit the documents of their mentors and obtain credentials from the election commission office. Sayad further added that the political parties should also refrain from the interference in the electoral and voting process.

In the meantime, Sayad said the demands of the political leaders to utilize biometrics system and change the electoral law, would delay the elections process. He said the issue of the modification of the electrocal law lies with the government and commission has no issue with the introduction of the biometrics system but the such a step is not possible during the parliamentary and districts councils elections. However, Sayad said the election commission could introduce the biometrics system during the presidential elections.

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NSC meeting discuss role of SOF, 777 Brigade

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The meeting of the National Security Council focused on the role of the Special Forces during the conventional operations as well as the circumstances surrounding the air operations during the day time operations.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the Minister of Defense presented his report in this regard during the meeting on Tuesday evening. The statement further added that the meeting of the National Security Council was chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

According to ARG Palace, the participants of the meeting reviewed the defense minister’s report regarding the circumstances surrounding the use of Special Forces during the conventional operations as well as the use of 777 Brigade during the day time air operations. No further details were given in this regard but the statement added that the participants of the meeting took necessary decisions regarding the report of the defense minister.

In other parts of the meeting, the participants held talks regarding the recommendation of the independent election commission chief report regarding the districts councils elections and the elections in Ghazni province, ARG Palace said. According to ARG Palace, it was concluded that technical and practical studies as well as consultations are required in this regard and asked the election commission to present another report in the next meeting to include specific and practical alternatives regarding the aforementioned issued so that necessary decisions could be taken. The Security and Defense Sectors also presented their reports regarding the security situation of the country and necessary decisions were taken for the improvement of the security of the country, ARG Palace added in its statement.