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Apex court grants three weeks for concluding Al-Azizia reference against Sharifs

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered to accountability court on Monday to conclude the Al-Azizia reference filed against the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, after granting three weeks to accountability court.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar headed a two-member bench and it heard the plea filed by Judge Arshad Malik, on Monday.


During the hearing, CJP Nisar remarked that “After this, more time will not be given to conclude the Al-Azizia reference trial”.

The Supreme Court in the Panamagate verdict had directed the accountability court to open references against former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family with special instructions to wrap up the references within six months.

The National Accountability Bureau had filed the references before the court in September 2017. When the SC-instructed six-month deadline expired in March 2018, a two-month extension was granted.

Moreover, the top court had added another month to the deadline last month on the request of the accountability court thus setting June 9th as the final deadline.

The ‘final’ extension had bound the NAB court to wind up the references by November 17th, however, the judge sought more time.

As many as three references have been filed against the former premier in line with the directives of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case verdict – a decision that ousted Nawaz Sharif from the PM House in July last year.

The accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced elder Sharif to ten years in the Avenfield reference. However, the conviction was suspended by a two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court.

NAB has moved supreme court against the decision of the Islamabad High Court which would hear the case on December 12.

Besides Sharif, Maryam Nawaz was sentenced to 7 years and Captain Safdar was sentenced to one year in prison in the Avenfield reference which pertains to the pricey flats of the former ruling family.

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SRK’s song with Salman Khan from Zero to release day after

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma will be seen together on screen after Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan in Aanand L Rai’s next, Zero. The film has Shah Rukh in a never seen before avatar as the superstar plays a dwarf in the film. Katrina and Anushka’s characters also look gripping and strong in the recently released trailer of Zero.

Not just that, there are several other things to look forward to in the film and one big reason is Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan’s song together. And guess what? We now know when the full song is going to be released. The two megastars will be dancing together in the song that’ll be released day after tomorrow on 21st November.

A fleeting glimpse of the song was seen in the first mini teaser of the film that broke the internet in no time and now the full song is going to be released soon. Titled Ishqbaazi, the song will have Salman and SRK shaking a leg with each other on screen after a long time. Both the stars have a huge fan following and the news of them coming together has made millions of people eager to watch the song.



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Producers suffer heavy losses after ‘Thugs Of Hindostan’ fails to meet the expectations

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Ever since Thugs Of Hindostan was announced, fans were waiting to watch this mega blockbuster on screen. Unfortunately, this epic saga which featured some of the biggest names in the world of Indian cinema failed to live up to the expectations of people. The film has just managed to collect a little over Rs. 143 crore, which is way below the predictions given by trade pundits before the film’s release.

A report in a leading portal claims that the disappointing box-office figures have resulted in the producers and exhibitors of the film suffering heavy losses. The web portal claims that it is only the sub-distributors of Yash Raj Films, who distributed the film on a commission basis, are at profit.

Since the production house distributed the film on a minimum guarantee deal, they have pocketed a heavy chunk of the profit. The report also reveals that the losses faced by the exhibitors are even higher than Salman Khan’s Tubelight. In fact, even the producers of Shah Rukh Khan’s Harry Met Sejal made profits, however, it isn’t the same case with this one. Their last and only hope is now China where the film will be released next month. The film stars Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Sheikh in leading roles and is directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya.

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New Zealand defeat Pakistan by four runs in first Test match

Monitoring Desk

ABU DHABI: Pakistan faced a humiliating defeat in the first Test match against New Zealand by four runs on Monday in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan team were in a good position as the green shirts were just 46 runs away from winning the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday despite a clatter of early wickets and the loss of middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq in the last over before lunch.

Pakistan, set 176 to win the match, were 130 for four at the break with Azhar Ali unbeaten on 40 after an innings-reviving stand of 82 with Shafiq in the first session.

Later all the team fell short of four runs from the target.

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Katas Raj case: SC orders DG Khan cement factory to deposit Rs 100 million in Dam Fund

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the DG Khan Cement Company Limited to deposit Rs100 million into the apex court Dam Fund after wrapping up the Katas Raj case,  on Monday.

According to details, Rs80m has been charged as a cost for water used by the factory in production while remaining Rs20m is a penalty imposed by the court for misleading it in the case.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo motu case at Lahore Registry after media highlighted that the historic pond at Katas Raj temples in Chakwal, a revered site for Hindus, is said to have depleted due to operations in the vicinity of several cement factories that have sucked out the underground water.

During the hearing, the court was informed that underground water level had severely reduced due to drill bores by the cement factories in the area, causing problems for local people as well.

The top court, subsequently, barred the cement factories from extracting groundwater.

A special committee, formed by the court to visit the DG Cement factory and evaluate his water storage, submitted its report to the court today.

The top judge remarked that the company misled the court by stating that it has stored rainwater for utilisation. The chief justice said that the company was actually using groundwater.

According to a Hindu legend, Lord Shiva cried on the death of his wife Sati and his tear formed Katas Raj pond. Temples of Shiva, Ram and Hanuman were built around this pond.

Temples built at least more than a century ago are connected to one another by walkways. The name of the temple complex, located near Kallar Kahar, is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘kataksha’ which means ‘tearful eyes’ and every spring and autumn, Hindu pilgrims from Pakistan and India visit the pond to bathe and ‘wash off their sins’.

The area around the Temples, the second-most sacred worship place for Hindus, is full of minerals like limestone, gypsum, coal and salt.

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PM Imran formally requests for regularization of Bani Gala property

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on has formally submitted a request for regularization of his properties in Bani Gala.

According to local news channel report, PM Imran Khan submitted papers before Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Monday regarding his two properties including is 250 kanal residence and an adjoining property in the federal capital.

Earlier, chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar has directed the premier to regularize his property, submitted ownership papers, maps and other related documents to the authority.

The development comes as CDA has begun regularization of Bani Gala Zone 4.

As many as 132 requests were forwarded regarding commercial and residential properties to CDA and the owners will have to pay commercialization charges in the form of a fee which will be Rs3,500 per square foot.

“In addition, residential property owners will have to pay a penalty of Rs100 per square foot while commercial property owners while have to pay Rs200 per square foot as penalty,” local media report quoting sources.

Bani Gala is a vast stretch of land in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The area also houses the home of incumbent premier, Imran Khan who now moves back and forth between his personal residence and the official residence – the home of the military secretary at the PM Secretariat.

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Dollar pauses as Fed official shows caution over global growth

SINGAPORE (Agencies): The dollar eased slightly versus other major currencies on Monday after Federal Reserve officials expressed caution over the global growth outlook, prompting traders to reassess the pace of future U.S. interest rate increases.

The greenback has enjoyed a strong run this year thanks to the Fed’s steady policy tightening on the back of a robust economy and rising wage pressures.

A fourth-rate hike for this year is expected next month and policy-makers had indicated two more by June 2019.

But comments on Friday by Richard Clarida, the Fed’s newly appointed vice chair, put to the test market expectations for a steady pace of tightening. Clarida cautioned about a slowdown in global growth, saying “that’s something that is going to be relevant” for the outlook for the U.S. economy.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan, in a separate interview with Fox Business, also said he is seeing a growth slowdown in Europe and China.

The comments may hint that the Fed is set to slow down its pace of monetary tightening and led some traders to question whether the dollar’s rally was nearing its end, with the benchmark U.S. 10-year treasury yields pulling back slightly.

New York Fed President John Williams will speak later on Monday and traders would be waiting to see if he echoes the same theme as his colleagues.

The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, traded marginally weaker at 96.45, adding to a decline of 0.5 percent on Friday. The dollar index had hit a 16-month high of 97.69 on Nov. 12.

The yen was fetching 112.68 on the dollar, up slightly on the day. The dollar lost 0.9 percent versus the yen last week as traders rushed into the safe-haven Japanese currency on concerns over U.S.-Sino trade tensions and political risks in Europe around Brexit and the Italian budget.

The euro dipped 0.1 percent in Asian trade, changing hands at $1.1403, having advanced over the last four trading sessions despite weaker economic fundamentals.

The single currency has gained 2.7 percent versus the pound EURGBP= since Nov. 13 as uncertainty over a smooth Brexit deal remains at the forefront.

The British pound wobbled at $1.2832, having come under heavy selling last week amid turmoil over British Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit plan.

In the days since May unveiled a draft EU divorce deal, May’s premiership has been thrust into crisis. Several ministers, including her Brexit minister, have resigned and some of her lawmakers are seeking to oust her.

With both pro-EU and pro-Brexit lawmakers unhappy with the draft agreement, it is not clear she will be able to win the backing of parliament for it, raising the risk Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

The Australian dollar traded down 0.2 percent at $0.7317 as U.S.-Sino trade tensions showed no signs of abating.

China is Australia’s largest trade partner and any negative sentiment affecting the world’s second-biggest economy tends to undermine the Aussie.

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Asian shares mostly higher after Wall Street buying spree

TOKYO (Agencies): Asian shares were mostly higher Monday after a buying spree on Wall Street kept up investor optimism into a new week, despite continuing worries about trade tensions.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 21,784.87, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7 percent to 5,693.30 in early trading. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3 percent to 2,099.45. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 percent to 26,331.84, while the Shanghai Composite stood at 2,693.93, also up 0.6 percent. Shares were mostly higher in the rest of Asia, with benchmarks rising in Taiwan and Indonesia.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index rose 6.07 points, or 0.2 percent, to end the week at 2,736.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 123.95 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,413.22. The Nasdaq composite slid 11.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,247.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 3.41 points, or 0.2 percent, to $1,527.53. But the S&P 500, which finished higher for the second straight day, ended the week with a loss of 1.6 percent.

TRADE WORRIES: The Trump administration has imposed a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology as the price of market access. That tariff is set to rise to 25 percent in January. Another $50 billion of Chinese goods already is subject to 25 percent duties. Beijing has responded with penalty duties on $110 billion of American goods. Washington and Beijing have resumed talks over their spiralling trade dispute.

JAPAN TRADE: Japan reported a trade deficit for October but has seen a recovery in exports after getting slammed by natural disasters in September. Data from the Ministry of Finance showed exports grew 8.2 percent from the same month the previous year. In September, exports fell 1.2 percent from the previous year in the first decline for the world’s third-largest economy since 2016. Imports in October grew 19.9 percent on-year.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 83 cents to $57.51 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 74 cents to $67.50.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.69 yen from 113.26-yen late Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1410 from $1.1339.


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Anti-encroachment drive continues in Arambagh, Lighthouse areas of Karachi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The anti-encroachment drive have been expanded Arambagh, lighthouse area of Karachi after clearing out illegal constructions from the historic Empress Market, on Monday.

According to reports, the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) personnel warned the shopkeepers via loudspeakers the previous day that all the illegal construction on the lighthouse nullah will be demolished and now on Monday the owners of shops located around Arambagh and Lighthouse started moving out their goods.

The shopkeepers expected to be affected during the anti-encroachment drive claimed that the Lighthouse market dates back to 1952 and was not built illegally. They further said that they pay the rent to KMC via bank deposit every six months.

The shopkeepers demanded that they be provided alternate locations to set up their shops.

During the past two weeks, around 2,500 shops in and around Empress Market were razed in the operation against land encroachments, which was launched on the directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In keeping with the Supreme Court’s directives, KMC prepared a report on the anti-encroachment operation in Karachi’s Saddar and surrounding areas which was conducted from November 5 to 15. According to the report,

2,500 illegal shops were razed during the anti-encroachment operation. Six RCC basement and a two-storey building were also demolished to “restore Empress Market”.

Affected shopkeepers have protested the anti-encroachment operation and also faced off with KMC officials, demanding that they be compensated with alternate land to set up their shops.


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Three killed, nine injured in Sehwan Sharif road mishap

F.P. Report

SEHWAN SHARIF: As many as three people were killed and nine others were injured when a speeding van collided with a car at the Indus Highway near Sehwan Sharif on Sunday night.

According to reports, the accident was occurred in Lucky Shah Saddar area and the deceased were identified as car driver Bashir Umrani, Abdul Majeed and Abdul Jabbar.

Nine persons, including a woman, were also wounded in the accident. The injured were rushed to Syed Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical Science Sehwan Sharif from where two critically injured persons were shifted to Hyderabad.