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Efforts on to reduce case pendency by 25-30 percent by end of August 2019: Registrar PHC

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Registrar Peshawar High Court (PHC) Khawaja Wajih-ud- Din Friday said that concerted efforts and planning had been carried out by the Secretariat District Judiciary in line with the vision of Chief Justice PHC to clear backlog of cases.

He said this while addressing a press conference here at Peshawar High Court about the performance of the District Judiciary and PHC during first two quarters (September 2018 – February 2019) of the performance year.

“Our plan and methodology is showing positive results as backlog has been reduced below 2000,00 cases”, he said.

Sharing data of institutions and disposal of cases after the implementation of the Unity Policy at District Judiciary to gauge the performance of Judicial Officers, the Registrar said that total recorded pendency at the end of September 2018 was  204958 which has been reduced to 199,365 cases during last six months.

He said that overall 241,915 cases were instituted and 244,181 cases were disposed of from September 2018 to February 2019 in the District Judiciary.

Likewise, Peshawar High Court, disposed of 17,860 cases against total institution of 15, 967 for the same time period.

Overall pendency recorded at end of September 2018 was 37,952 which was reduced to 35,761 cases in two quarters of the performance year.

The Registrar said that hectic efforts were being made to reduce the pendency by 25 to 30 percent by the end of August 2019 which would be great achievement.

He said that Peshawar High Court had prepared, “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Service Act, 2018”, to streamline District Judiciary and sent the Act for government’s approval in November 2018.

He hoped that government would expedite the process for early promulgation of the Act,  adding that establishment of the Secretariat  the District Judiciary was also part of the Act.

Peshawar High Court in respect of newly merged districts, had timely informed the provincial government about human resource, financial and logistic requirements to make courts functional within these merged districts as par aspiration and demand of local population, he added.

He said that establishment of newly merged districts (NDMS) had been the top priority of the Chief Justice for which three dimensional strategy had been chalked out comprising immediate intervention, mid-term action plan and long-term plan.

The Registrar said that under mid-term action plan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy had been assigned compilation of prevailing customs on NMDs in a compendium form, recruitment and training of staff, providing infrastructure for courts and staff.

He informed that a committee had been constituted for monitoring midterm action plan which include  PSO to the Chief Justice, Deputy Secretary, representative of provincial government and SP Litigation, representative of I.G KP.

Giving details about five-year long term plan (2018-23), he said that PC-II costing Rs 11559.97 billion had been approved for construction of Judicial Complexes in seven NMDs and construction of 25 Tehsil Judicial Complexes.

He said that total 412 cases had been instituted in the courts of all newly merged districts till 21 March 2019 which was reflecting trust of people in the judicial system.

Khawaja Wajih-ud- Din said that digitalization and Case Flow Management Information System (CFMIS)  had been introduced in four districts  Mansehra, Abbottabad, Torghar and Swat to integrate these district with PHC to capture real time data and cases update information.

He said that CFMIS system would be extended to seven more districts under pilot project.

He said that Video Conferencing technology had been initiated for simultaneously holding timely and swift meetings and conferences with District and Sessions Judges and getting their feedback on key issues.

Small claims and minor offences courts had been operationalized in all 27 districts of the province for early disposal of all those civil and criminal cases that fall within the category of Small Claim and Minor Offences (SCMO) with an aim to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice, he added.

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Water conservation challenge for Pakistan: Amin Aslam

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Friday said forests and water conservation were the biggest environmental challenges for Pakistan to overcome the existential threat posed to the country due to climate change.  

Speaking at a seminar organized by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to celebrate International Day for forests and World Water Day here, he said that Pakistan’s forest cover rapidly deteriorating prior to Billion Tree Tsunami (BTT) project. However, after the successful implementation of BTT in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the forest cover had increased to 26 percent in the province.

“The credit goes to the entire team for establishing successful model in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which has become a milestone for the country in follow suiting green initiatives for reviving depleting vegetation in the country,” the Adviser said.

He said the BTT success was not only the outcome of strong governmental support rather public ownership of the ambitious project to make the country clean, green and climate change resilient which was the key for accomplishing mega eco-friendly project.

He said the federal government was partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on forest and water preservation programmes.

“Land Mafia in Punjab is the biggest impediment for the government to implement 10BTT and massive forestation in the province. Most of the forest land in Punjab is encroached by land grabbing mafia whereas 2500 acres in Balloki, 600 acres in Attock and 40 acres land in Jhelum have been retrieved where forestation has been carried out.

Prime Minister Imran Khan himself has visited the Balloki site and kicked off the huge forest plantation campaign. This strong political will is our strength in beating climate change impacts on our country,” Amin said.

Speaking at the water crisis, he said, “Water management is a big challenge both in quality and quantity. The report on the water situation in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) revealed dwindling underground water reserves and polluted aquifer.”

He added that it was part of Clean Green Pakistan project to rejuvenate underground water table and liquid waste management. Around 90 percent of liquid waste in the world was treated, recycled and reused whereas on the contrary we dump our 90 percent liquid waste into the sea.

“After every three years, Pakistan flushes 30-40 million acre feet of water into the Arabian Sea which can used to charge underground water. Federal Flood Commission is working on Recharge Pakistan with the ministry of climate change to develop wetlands and big ponds in the various areas to store the flood water. Under Ramsar Convention there are at least 60 sites identified in the country where wetlands will be formed.

“It is heartrending to see that various spells of rains hit Balochistan a drought hit province while the water flows down into the sea which could help in alleviating the drought situation in the province,” the Adviser mentioned.

Country Director, IUCN Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said that Pakistan was a less vegetative covered country and it was a challenge for us to reverse the forest degradation prevailing in the country. BTT, he said was the only project that won Pakistan global acclaim and recognition and the implementing team deserves appreciation and credit.

 “Pakistan as compared to China (26 percent Forest Cover), India (23 percent) and Nepal (33 percent) has the lower percentage of forests. 10 BTT is a hope to boost the existing number of forests in the country,” he noted.

Australian High Commissioner Margret Adamson said protecting forests was not about securing trees rather the oxygen they provide, shelter for wildlife and timber. Forest and water had interconnected relationship as both were the source of life, income, beauty and biodiversity, she added.

 “Over 200 million Pakistanis are driving their livelihood from the water resources Indus water system through agriculture, livestock and industry,” she added. Trees and water were under threat alike due to climate change where exploitation of water resources of Pakistan was an issue in management of the water resources, Margaret Adamson said. 

Swiss Ambassador Thomas Kolly said the Swiss government was assisting Pakistan in forestry and other departments and also active in mountainous areas particularly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said we aimed at developing income generation resources of the local community with a massive goal of sustainable development.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne congratulated the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for planting massive trees.

He said Pakistan had the lowest forest cover in the world and on the water security index around the world it came up at number 46 which gives the account of the gravity of the issue.

He said 60 percent of children deaths under 5 year age was due to dirty drinking water which demanded the relevant stakeholders to take immediate steps for addressing the issue.

Secretary Forest, Environment and Wildlife Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Syed Nazar Hussain Shah apprised the participants that the forest department lost 12 precious lives while combating timber and land mafia to implement BTT project. He said that massive awareness at local was made during BTT initiative. He said IUCN deserves great appreciation for reviving forest cover in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Shah urged the key partners and stakeholders to visit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to review the plantation done and its impact in the region.

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Ex-PM Shaukat Aziz declared absconder in NAB reference

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court (AC) on Friday declared former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and co-accused  Arif Allauddin as absconders, and issued their non-bailable arrest warrants in a case of misuse of  authority.

The court declared the accused as proclaimed offenders after they continuously failed to appear  in proceeding despite repeated summon notices.

AC Judge Arshad Malik heard a reference against former prime minister filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pertaining to the misuse of powers during his tenure. No reply  was submitted in the court about former PM Aziz’s production during the hearing.

On that, the court had initiated the process to declare the accused as proclaimed offender.  The accused were also summoned through an advertisement in national newspapers. In next phase, the property owned by accused persons in Pakistan, would be identified  and directives may be issued to seize it. The court adjourned hearing of the case till  April 9.  The national corruption watchdog had filed a reference against the former prime minister and others in July last year for illegal appointment of Basharat Hasan Bashir as consultant  for Alternative Energy Development Board on an MP-II scale salary package.

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Raja pays rich tribute to martyr Naeem, son

F.P. Report

ABBOTTABAD: Prime Minister Azad Jammu & Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider on Friday expressed his profound grief over the loss of lives of Naeem Rasheed and his son in New Zealand incident and got martyrdom in the attack. He offered condolence to the bereaved family and expressed his profound grief and sorrow over the sad demise of father and son at their residence Jinnah Abad Abbottabad.

Later while talking to the media PM AJ&K paid rich tributes to the martyr Naeem Rasheed for his bravery and said that he has set a new example of sacrifice and velour. He maintained that we are grateful to the PM New Zealand who has shared the grief and sorrow of Pakistan nation. Raja Farooq Haider said that. “His sacrifice will be remembered for a long time to come”. PM AJ&K also prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant strength and courage to members of the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss with equanimity.

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In Balochistan 0.14m people with disabilities: Survey

Rafiullah Mandokhail

ZHOB: “I am extremely happy for the help provided because this time I seriously thought I would be bed-ridden for the rest of my life”, said the young Baloch woman Arbab Khatoon, who lost her leg due to an untreated wound from a date thorn injury. She was given a prosthetic leg by Balochistan Rural Support Program after her first prosthetic leg broke which she had bought for one hundred and thirty thousand of her own money.

In Balochistan the total number of Persons with Disabilities is 0.14 million which is 1.18% of total population and means that there is one person with disability out of 100 persons in Balochistan. According to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations’ treaty to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities; disability includes those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which hampers their full and equal participation in the society.

In the past, there was only one law focusing on persons with disabilities, the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance 1981 but fortunately, Balochistan Assembly has passed the Balochistan Persons with Disabilities Act, 2017 which ensures equitable inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in society.

Apart from being a moral issue, marginalizing persons with disabilities has also become a major economic issue. In 2014, Pakistan’s economy lost an estimated US$ 12 billion because of excluding persons with disabilities from employment. According to the survey conducted by BRSP in 2018, 86% of PWDs were unemployed – dependent on others making them even more vulnerable. Balochistan Rural Support Program started working for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in 2016 when Balochistan Community Development Program – funded by European Union provided assistive devices to 616 PWDs including; 150 wheelchairs, 50 tricycles, 50 crutches, 40 white canes, 120 hearing aids, 195 artificial limbs and hands, one electric bed and 10 modified 70 cc motorcycles.

“I can drop my children to school again” smiled Samander Khan, a beneficiary, who was once a very active member of his community until his leg had to be amputated due to an electrocution incident at workplace. He received a modified motorcycle which made him able to go somewhere again and Samander Khan started doing what he loves best which is working and serving his community actively.

In June 2017, with the financial support of European Union, BRSP launched Balochistan Rural Development and Community Empowerment Program. BRACE is a disability inclusive Program and under BRACE disability component 3,376 PWDs will be supported with the appropriate assistive devices. In addition, 3-D technology is being introduced at Al-Khidmat Hospital Quetta, to provide state of the art orthotic and prosthetic support to PWDs in the province. BRSP believes in collaborative development therefore, it partnered with Chal Foundation and provided 275 PWDs with orthotic and prosthetic support in 23 Union Councils of District Pishin. In the past, BRSP in collaboration with National Rural Support Program provided artificial limbs to 358 PWDs in district Pishin. Disability inclusive development could potentially break the vicious cycle of neglect, exclusion and poverty if millions of PWDs are given a chance to contribute to the country as a whole. The term disability is a disempowering term in itself. People with disability are differently able segment of the society.

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Modi extends Pakistan Day wishes to PM Imran

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished him ahead of Pakistan Day, March 23.

PM Imran in a tweet said that he received a message from his Indian counterpart, expressing good wishes for the neighbouring country.

“It is time that people of the sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” said the India PM according to the tweet.

The country will be celebrating Pakistan Day on March 23 (Saturday) with usual zeal and fervour. 

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is visiting Pakistan upon PM Imran’s invitation, will be the guest of honour at the Pakistan Day Parade tomorrow.

This is the first contact, especially on a pleasant note, between the two prime ministers of the nuclear-armed countries. The development came after the two neighbours faced stand offs following the Pulwama incident, in which 40 were killed.

Pakistan and India were involved in a rare aerial engagement, which had ignited fears of an all-out conflict. Indian Air Force jets, on February 26, violated Pakistan’s airspace and were forced to return owing to the “timely response” of the Pakistan Air Force. On February 27, PAF shot down two Indian warplanes in Pakistan’s airspace and captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

PM Imran had ordered the release of the Indian pilot as a “peace gesture”. IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan was sent to India through Wagah border on March 1.

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Azerbaijan’s defense minister meets COAS, discusses defence cooperation

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Azerbaijan Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov on Friday called on Chief of Army staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, said Inter-Services Public Relations.

According to the military’s media wing, matters of mutual interests, regional security, defence cooperation and other issues were came under discussion in the meeting.

During the meeting, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov lauded Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability. Later, he laid a floral wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada (Monument to Martyrs) at the GHQ.
Earlier in the day, President Dr. Arif Alvi had appreciated Azerbaijan’s continued support on Jammu and Kashmir.

He had said this while talking to Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, General Zakir Hasanov Asgar Oglu, who called on him in Islamabad.

Pakistan is a peaceful and sovereign country and desirous of having good relations with all its neighbors, the president had said.

“We believe in dialogue with all countries including India on all matters of mutual interest, but not at the cost of its territorial integrity,” Alvi had continued.

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PPP to commence public contact campaign from March 26

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party will commence its public contact campaign and march against inflation from March 26.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and former president Asif Zardari will address gatherings in 35 cities.

In the first phase of the campaign, the train march will begin from Karachi to larkan while the second phase will likely be carried out in April.

In the second phase, the train will go from Rohri to Peshawar.

Dozens of workers of the Pakistan Peoples Party were arrested by the police ahead of the scheduled appearance of party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari before the National Accountability Bureau headquarters on Wednesday.

The workers, who had gathered to welcome their leaders, allegedly pelted stones at police officers who tried to stop them at Nadra Chowk.

Bilawal and Asif Ali Zardari were questioned by NAB at the watchdog’s Rawalpindi headquarters. A press release by NAB said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari were questioned by the combined investigation team (CIT) under the supervision of DG NAB Rawalpindi Irfan Mangi for approximately two hours in three cases.

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Malaysian PM conferred highest civil award Nishan-e-Pakistan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was conferred the highest civil award Nishan-e-Pakistan at an impressive investiture ceremony held at the President House in Islamabad this evening.

The award was granted by President Dr. Arif Alvi to the distinguished guest.

The ceremony was attended by President Dr. Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, federal ministers, parliamentarians and senior military and civil officials.

Addressing a banquet in honor of Malaysian Prime Minister, President Dr. Arif Alvi said Pakistan and Malaysia enjoy brotherly relations which can be taken to new heights.

He said Pakistan desires for peace and the Prime Minister always gave this message to our neighboring countries.

Dr. Arif Alvi said Kashmir is the main issue of contention between Pakistan and India. He said denying Kashmiris their right to self-determination by suppression and targeting them with pallet guns is a source of high concern.

He said international community should play its role in resolution of this issue.

Addressing the ceremony, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said we want to collaborate with Pakistan in many fields. He said tourism is one area which can grow exponentially to improve the economy of Pakistan.

Expressing thanks at the invitation of attending the Pakistan Day parade and conferring of Nishan-e-Pakistan award, he said Malaysia has enjoyed cordial relations with Pakistan since its independence.

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi and Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad held one-on-one meeting at President House in Islamabad this evening.

It was followed by delegation level talks between the two sides.

The visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was warmly received by President Dr Arif Alvi upon arrival at the President House.

Two children clad in traditional clothes presented bouquet of flowers to the distinguished guest.

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LHC asks NAB to submit record regarding Hamza Shehbaz’s inclusion in blacklist

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit record pertaining to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Hamza Shehbaz’s inclusion in blacklist.

LHC’s Justice Farrukh Irfan conducted hearing of a petition against the inclusion of Hamza Shehbaz’s name in the list. The petition read that Hamza had been fully cooperating with NAB pertaining to an inquiry.

It said the PML-N MPA’s name was included in blacklist for no reason, moving the court to order removal of Hamza’s name from the list.

During the hearing, NAB counsel informed that court that a reference had been filed against Hamza pertaining to Ramzan Sugar Mills.

However, the counsel for the PML-N lawmaker could not appear before the high court due to his professional commitments at the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The court ordered NAB to submit record pertaining to the matter and adjourned the hearing until March 26.