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CM called upon MPs to solve grievances of masses

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has called upon the elected representatives to identify the need driven developmental schemes in their respective constituencies and mobilize their energies for mitigating the sufferings of the people. We have to devote ourselves to work for the poor segment of the society, he added.

He was talking to MPAs at his office in chief minister secretariat Peshawar. The chief minister during his interaction with MPAs urged them to work out the uplifting of their areas and address to the grievances of the poor within their constituencies. We have to bid farewell to the traditional politics of deceit and bamboozling the poor using them as a launching pad to reach the corridor of power and then turn a deaf ear to their real issues. We would have to be realistic focusing on the grievances of the hapless people giving them the confidence that “we are the real custodians of their rights and we would never breach the trust they pinned in us”, he added.

Mahmood Khan reiterated that the present government would work hard to get the poor out of their grievances adding that his government has stopped the misuse of resources and the resources incurred thus could be diverted to the public welfare. He assured that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the newly merged districts would continue to be placed at the top of his government priorities. The people of these areas would be brought to the national stream of development. He assured to continue visiting the tribal districts along with other districts of the province in order to personally keep himself abreast of the ground realities, the real issues of the people and work out the development and welfare strategy while sitting among the people. The ten years plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction was the ultimate goal of the government which would never be compromised, he added.

The Chief Minister assured to open up the newly merged districts to the national stream of development. The natural resources of these areas would be made the base of the economy, the commercial, trade and economic activities in the near future would bring about prosperity to the people of these areas. These areas also have potential for tourism along with the other areas of the province and the provincial government was committed to develop tourism as an industry, he added.

Mahmood Khan assured to establish shelter-homes in Kurram and at all divisional level and the local people would be recruited in police for the newly districts and they would be given relaxation in age and education, adding that merit through over the province would not compromised and transparency would be the guiding principle for governance, he added. He would soon visit the BRT Peshawar and the drain system of the city in order to understand the real causes in this regard. He assured to resolve these issues as expeditiously as possible. He assured to remove the grievances of the people of newly merged districts. The provincial ministers would continue visiting the newly merged districts in order to look after the extended functions of their respective departments. He assured that all departments would have legal advisors in order to plead the cases of the governments.

The Chief Minister advised the MPAs to keep liaison with the people of the respective consequences and tell them about the government commitment to the resolution of their problems. He said that we have multiple challenges but we would overcome them. He hoped to achieve the targets of public service soon.

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Two FC troops, two minor girls killed as roof collapses

Ahmad Nabi

LANDI KOTAL: Two Frontier Corp (FC) soldiers and two small girls were killed in two separate incidents of roofs cave in here in Ghaibee Neka, Tirah Valley and Bacha Mena, Torkham on Thursday. In first incident took place in Ghaibee Neka area of Tirah Vally, FC troops were executing their duties, when roof of checkpoint fell down because of heavy rain and buried the on duty FC persons under the debris.

Soon after the incident the forces official rushed to the site and retrieved the injured and shifted to nearest health center. However two FC persons identified as Sher Zaman and Muhammad Kamran succumbed to their wounds. Three persons also sustained injuries who were under treatment in military hospital, forces official informed. Later on, body of late Sher Zaman was shifted to his native village, Loy-Shelman, Landi Kotal where he was laid to rest with official protocol in his ancestral graveyard after his funeral prayer.

Similarly in the second happen, two small girls were killed in a roof collision of house here in Bacha Mena area of Torkham, Landi Kotal on Thursday. The effected family sources told that family of Rahmatullah was present in room when suddenly roof of the room caved in, buried them under wreckage.

Got inform, the neighbors arrived at the spot, recovered members of effected family and shifted them to Landi Kotal hospital. Two minor girls identified as Kulsoom d/o Maazullah and Hafsa d/o Awais Khan, three and one years old respectively were declared dead after thoroughly examination. Two women also received wounds who were referred to Peshawar hospital due to precarious condition, hospital sources told.

Assistant Commissioner, Landi Kotal Muhammad Imran visited the effected family and condoled with them. He also on behalf of Deputy Commissioner, Khyber announced a compensation of Rs.0.3 million for the effected family in addition of provision of Rs.20000 for burial purpose of the deceased and pledged for reconstruction of the destroyed room.

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Record snowfall in Galiyat paralyses life

M. Bilal Baseer Abbasi

ABBOTTABAD: Life has become paralysed in uper areas of Galiyat during the spell of heavy snowfall on Wednesday night, disconnecting all the roads link interconnecting Murree, Galiyat And Abbottabad City.

The main Abbottabad-Murree Road remained blocked and unusable for vehicles as record snowfall continued in the area. Due to the extremely cold weather conditions, the district administration has cautioned public and especially the visitor not to travel towards Galiyat unnecessary.

Locals told The Frontier Post that the main road leading towards Galiyat was blocked and was not opened for a while because of snow. They claimed that almost all the link roads in Galiyat were closed for the second consecutive day.The low laying areas received heavy rain since the Wednesday evening and remained continued till filling of this report without any interval resulting in landslides in different areas confining the movement of people within homes.

Meanwhile, member of KP Assembly for the area and Chairman DDAC Abbottabad, Nazir Ahmed Abbasi said after a long time the upper areas of Abbottabad received such a heavy snowfall. He said the government is trying their best to render maximum relief to the denizens as the areas were completely snow bound areas. He asked residents to avoid unnecessary travelling and urged the administration for carrying out restoration of utility services on war footing basis so that public of his area are provided basic necessities and essential services without any delay.

Ahsan Hameed, spokesperson of the Galiyat Development Authority (GDA), told media that the snow ploughs of GDA and K-P Highway were busy clearing the road, but with non-stop snowfall, the road had become slippery and only motorists using tyre chains should venture out. However, he advised tourists to avoid unnecessary travel as dense fog from the early morning had considerably reduced visibility on the road.

He advised tourists to wait until the fog and roads get clear. “If coming to Galiyat is necessary the travellers must take good care of fuel, battery and chain”, he added.

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Rains wreak havoc, kill 23 in KP, Balochistan, Punjab

F.P. Report

QUETTA : Rains have wreaked havoc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as they claimed at least 23 lives and wounded several others, it emerged on Thursday.

In KP’s Bajaur, roof of a house caved in and killed three people including a five-year-old. 

In a similar incident in Punjab’s Rajanpur area, roof of a house in Rojhan collapsed, killing husband and wife. Two people were wounded in the incident.

The Balochistan government has issued an emergency alert in the district of Lasbela after flash flooding caused by torrential rains in the area killed at least four people.

The government of Balochistan has sought help from the Pakistan Army due to the worsening situation in the district.

The Deputy Commissioner of Lasbela said rescue operation to evacuate some 200 families trapped in a village in the district is under way. “The torrential rains and flash flooding have caused damaged in the area,” he said. 

He added that four helicopters of the Pakistan Army will take part in the rescue and relief activities today.

A spokesperson of the provincial government confirmed that an emergency has been declared in Lasbela.

The spokesperson added the concerned departments and the district administration of Lasbela are taking part in the rehabilitation process.

Meanwhile, Provincial Home Minister of Balochistan Ziaullah Longove visited the flood-hit areas of the province and said relief goods have been dispatched to the affected areas.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall which may trigger landslides in the province.

In the last 24 hours, 45 millimetres (mm) of rain in Khuzdar, 39mm Lasbella, 28mm in Pasni, 24mm in Turbat, 21mm in Sibbi, 19mm in Kalat, 16mm in Gawadar, 15mm Jiwani, 13mm in Ormara, Barkhan, 12mm in Zhob, 11mm in Quetta, 10mm in Dalbandin, 6mm in Panjgur and 2mm in Nokkundi have been recorded. 

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LHC releases detailed verdict on Shehbaz Sharif’s bail cases

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday released a detailed verdict on two cases in which Shehbaz Sharif was released on bail last week.

The opposition leader in the National Assembly, Sharif, was bailed out by the LHC in cases of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana Housing society on February 14.

The court released 22-page verdict in the Ashiana Housing scandal and a 20-page decision on the Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

In its detailed verdict, the court said a board of Punjab Land Development Authority was behind transferring a project contract to Lahore Development Authority.

However, the NAB had claimed the former chief minister had misused his authority to transfer the project.

The court said no charge of financial irregularity was imposed on Shehbaz in the Ashiana case.

Similarly, the former CM has also not been accused of any financial irregularity in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

According to court, the NAB had raised objection only on one project regarding construction of a drain line and it was constructed on plea of MPA Rehmatullah. “The NAB, instead of investigating the role of MPA, made him a witness,” the court stated.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Malik Shahzad and Justice Mirza Waqas had approved the bail petition filed by Shehbaz Sharif on Feb 14.

The court observed that Shehbaz Sharif never remained Chief Executive of the mills and granted bail to him in two graft cases of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana Housing Scheme.

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NAB dismisses allegations levelled by Sindh govt

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Terming allegations levelled by Sindh government part of an organized and baseless propaganda campaign against the anti-graft watchdog, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on

Thursday dismissed all its accusations in connection with NAB’s raid at Agha Siraj Durrani’s residence.

NAB spokesperson said that the anti-graft watchdog had conducted the search raid at the residence of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani after completing all the legal formalities and clarified that the officials did not misbehave with the Durrani’s family.

He said that NAB believed in self respect of every citizen and added that they had search warrants for Durrani’s residence.

Earlier, The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), on February 21, had conducted a six-hour search at the residence of Sindh Assembly speaker, Agha Siraj Durrani on Wednesday.

According to sources, five female members of the Durrani family were questioned in presence of female officers of NAB. Signatures were also taken from female members after their statements were recorded.

The documents seized by NAB included files for plots and other properties. Seized laptops also contained some information including those of foreign currency accounts, said the sources.

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Pakistani prisoners freed by Saudi Arabia start arriving home

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The repatriation process of Pakistani prisoners started on Thursday as those freed by Saudi authorities started to arrive in the country.

The move came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request and ordered the release of over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi prisons during the high-profile visit.

Amid emotional scenes at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, five Pakistani prisoners landed in Lahore from Jeddah. Ecstatic family members lauded the premier’s efforts to bring their loved ones back home.

The released citizens narrated the hardships they had to face and thanked the prime minister and the crown prince for showing graciousness.

“Many Pakistanis are held in Saudi prisons but they will be released and sent back to Pakistan in a day or two once their travel documents are ready,” said the freed prisoners.

Prince Salman was recently in Pakistan on a two-day historic visit. Prime Minister Khan had described the crown prince’s visit as an auspicious moment for Pakistan during an event and stressed that Saudi Arabia had always been a friend in need.

During the visit, the premier had requested the Kingdom to take special care of Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, calling them an important source of foreign exchange while the country had its highest regard for them as citizens.

Responding to his request, Prince Salman had promised to take special care of the Pakistanis working in his country.

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Malaysian PM Mahathir to attend Pakistan Day celebrations

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will arrive in Islamabad on March 22, to grace the Pakistan Day celebrations as chief guest.

Mahathir is visiting Pakistan on special invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan he had made during his visit to Malaysia last year.

According to sources, during Mahathir’s state visit, the two countries will sign memorandums of understanding and investment accords.

Mahathir Mohamad was formally invited on Nov 29, 2018 by Pakistan to visit the country. Pakistani High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria met the dignitary and delivered an invitation to the Malaysian PM on behalf of the country.

The invitation was a follow up of a verbal invitation from the Prime Minister Imran Khan to his Malaysian counterpart during his visit to the Southeast Asian country in November.

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Govt committed to cost effective development of energy sector: Khusro Bakhtyar

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Thursday said the government was committed to systematic and cost effective development of energy sector.

Chairing the 2nd Steering Committee meeting on Integrated Energy Planning for Sustainable Development in Islamabad, Khusro Bakhtyar said, in this regard, the government was working on integrated energy planning for sustainable development.

The minister said that the government was making endeavours to provide affordable energy to the masses and a robust energy policy was being formulated in coordination with all stakeholders for sustained economic growth. He said lack of an integrated energy planning in the past affected our energy sector and consequentially the country’s economic growth.

Khusro Bakhtyar added the present government was fully committed to steer this initiative to meaningful policy formulation and its implementation adding that the government had also constituted a task force on energy in this regard. He highlighted that the government was also working on a renewable energy policy to tap the indigenous resources.

He noted that the cost of renewable energy technologies has come down adding that the Government will encourage competitive bidding for tariff determination for future renewable energy projects which will bring per megawatt generation cost down.

The Minister said that the Government will prioritize the energy infrastructure needs in the next PSDP to bridge the gap between transmission and distribution part of energy supply chain. Speaking on the occasion, Mission Director USAID Pakistan Jerrry Bisson said that the Agency will continue to extend cooperation for integrated energy planning initiative.

The Minister also called for expansion of the Steering Committee to include Chairman Prime Minister Task Force on Energy and Special Assistant to PM on Power.

Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Chairman Prime Minister Task Force Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to PM on Power Shahzad Qasim, representatives from USAID Pakistan and US Department of Energy were also present in the meeting.

It is pertinent to mention here that USAID Pakistan and Planning Commission had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 8, 2016 for cooperation in integrated energy planning. In line with the provision of MoU, a Steering Committee on IEP was formulated to take the initiative forward.

Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had on February 11 said that the government was adopting new policies to boost investment in energy sector.

Terming uninterrupted power supply vital for economic growth, Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said that the government was making all efforts to overcome the prevailing energy crises in the country.

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No change in weekly holiday calendar under consideration: Fawad Ch

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary on Thursday said that no change in weekly holiday calendar is under consideration.

In his latest tweet on Thursday, he said all such rumors regarding change in this regard are baseless.

“No change in weekly holiday calendar is under consideration, all such rumours regarding change in this regard are baseless,” he tweeted.

It is pertinent here to mention that the news about changing the weekend in Pakistan went viral on social media early this week, but the information minister broke the silence on Thursday and debunked all such rumours.

Pakistan has changed its weekly off day at least two times in the past. At the time of its independence, the weekly off-day was Sunday.

The weekend was changed from Sunday to Friday in 1977 by the then president General Ziaul Haq. Pakistan had observed Sunday as the weekend since its independence in 1947.