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Chinese company to set up 1263MW LNG-fueled power plant in Jhang

F.P. Report

LAHORE: An agreement was signed between the famous Chinese Energy Company China Machinery Engineering Corporation and Punjab government on Friday for setting up a 1263-megawatt LNG-fueled power plant in Jhang.

The project will be completed in twenty-six months, and it will start generating 810MW within fourteen months. According to the agreement, the Chinese company will establish this project near to Trimu Barrage in Jhang. As much as 810 megawatt electricity will be produced from Punjab Power Plant in a short period of 14 months while a total of 1263 megawatt electricity will be included in the national grid after the completion of the project in 26 months. Ahad Cheema, Chief Executive Officer of the Punjab Thermal Power Company signed the agreement on behalf of the Punjab government while Mr. Fung Yung Choy, Vice President signed the agreement on behalf of the China Machinery Engineering Corporation. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif was the chief guest of the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said load-shedding will be eliminated forever due to concrete measures taken by the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government under the leadership of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Chief Minister said that Punjab government has decided to install a gas-based 1263 megawatt power plant in Jhang from its own resources and added that an agreement with the Chinese Company has been signed to implement the project. He said despite many impediments and difficulties, the untiring efforts made by the PML-N government to overcome the load-shedding have started giving results. The world is witnessed to it that the government of Pakistan has burnt the midnight oil to deal with the challenges of load-shedding during the last four years.

He said that the country was facing acute energy crisis during the last 15 years and lack of electricity tremendously weakened the national economy. The load-shedding not only amplified the problems of the people but this menace resulted in weakening the industrial sector and also affected health, education and social sectors, as well. “We are thankful to Almighty Allah that the PML-N government has succeeded in dealing with the challenge of load-shedding. The load-shedding will be completely vanished from Pakistan at the end of this year or at the start of next year. Due to the sincere efforts of the incumbent government, the load-shedding has become a story of the past and it will never return back,” Shehbaz Sharif said.

The chief minister said the agreement signed with the Chinese Company for 1263 megawatt electricity project is an important achievement which will prove a last nail in the coffin of load-shedding. Due to the completion of this project, electricity will be available in abundance for trade, agriculture and industrial sectors and we will also be able to sell electricity to India, Afghanistan and Iran.

He said the first phase of project will be completed in 14 months and it will produce 810 megawatt electricity; while the completion of the project in 26 months will result in producing 1263 megawatt electricity. Work on energy projects is being carried out expeditiously throughout the country under the CPEC. Sahiwal Coal Power Plant has been completed while Port Qasim Coal Power Plant will also be generating electricity this year. “Our sincere friend China has provided fullest support to overcome the energy crisis and we are thankful to the Chinese government, its leadership and the people,” the Chief Minister remarked.

Shehbaz Sharif lamented the fact that a part of the media is not behaving conscientiously. It, rather, is ruining the national direction instead of performing any national service with its mendacity, misstatements, wrong analyses and discussions. He said that there is no other example of implementation of energy projects in the 70 years history of the country with such speed and transparency. The PML-N government has moved these energy projects further for the development and prosperity of the country. The Bhikki, Balluki and Haveli Bahadur Shah’s 3600 megawatt gas-based power plants are generating electricity. 1320 megawatt Sahiwal Coal Power Plant is fully functional.

Meanwhile, 400 megawatt solar energy power plants are also setup in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur and a Turkish Company is installing 300 megawatt solar power plant with a tariff of 6 cent and 5.15 cent. These energy projects are an example of their own with regard to transparency and savings of billions of rupees are also made in these projects.

He regretted that some media channels are gossiping about corruption in energy projects and are immersed in the baseless propaganda that Sharif Brothers setup no new project without corruption and commission. These channels could not bring out corruption of even a single penny in these projects and it was better for them that they, at least, had praised this humble national service and appreciated the laborers, officers and other people working on these projects.

“You should not forget the corruption to the tune of billions of rupees in rental power plants. The machinery of Nandipur Power Plant remained rusted at the Karachi Port for three long years and the then Federal Minister Babar Awan hide the file of this project in the draw of his table. Due to this, the poor nation had to face a loss of billions of rupees.” The media should also remember that how the nation was hoodwinked in the name of Diamir Bhasha Dam. The PML-N government has purchased land for this project with Rs.100 billion now and the work on Dasu Dam has also been started.

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Imran Khan destroying PTI from within: Pervaiz Rasheed

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Former Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, who stepped down following the Dawn Leaks controversy, said on Friday that Imran Khan is destroying the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf from within.

Rasheed said the PTI has a dozen candidates for the post of prime minister and even more for the position of opposition leader. “Imran is demolishing his own house,” said the former minister.

Rasheed, taking a jibe at the PTI chairman, said that Imran wanted to become the prime minister in 2013, but in 2018, he will be a candidate for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman.

“PTI Chairman left his home with the dream to become the prime minister in 2013, he is trying his level best to become the opposition leader today and in 2018 he will be a candidate for PCB chairman.”

Responding to a question, the PML-N leader said property tycoon Malik Riaz visited Nawaz Sharif to inquire about the health of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz.

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FIA challenges ATC verdict in Benazir Bhutto murder case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court challenging the Anti-Terrorism Court’s decision in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The petition, filed in the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench, maintains that the FIA has irrefutable evidence against the acquitted suspects.

The verdict announced by ATC Judge Asghar Khan at Adiala Jail had cleared the five accused in the case, sentenced two former police officials and declared former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf as an absconder.

Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Abdul Rasheed, Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gul, who were indicted by the ATC in November 2008, were cleared of all charges.

The five accused had been charged for killing, hatching criminal conspiracy to kill, abetting the perpetrators, using illegal explosive material and spreading terrorism on Dec 27, 2007 when 22 people, including the former premier, were killed in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh, when she was leaving after holding an election rally.

Saud Aziz, who was the police chief in Rawalpindi at the time of Bhutto’s assassination, and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad, were sentenced to 17 years each and were ordered to pay a fine of Rs0.5 million each by the ATC.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) has also challenged the ATC’s decision.

Speaking to the media earlier this month, PPP’s Latif Khosa, who was also a counsel in the case, said Benazir had repeatedly stated that Musharraf was not providing her security. Khosa claimed Musharraf did not even let Benazir keep her own private security.

“She had said that Musharraf would be directly responsible in case anything happened to her,” he said. On September 11, the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench approved for hearing appeals submitted by the two policemen convicted in the case.

Aziz and Khurram Shahzad were sentenced to 17 years each and ordered to pay a fine of Rs0.5 million each for their negligence in investigating the case properly. Shahzad was SP Rawal Town at the time of the incident.

The case was heard by LHC’s Justice Tariq Abbasi and Justice Habibullah Amir, who issued notices to the respondents and adjourned the hearing.

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SBP keeps policy interest rate unchanged at 5.7 percent

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday announced that following detailed deliberations and taking into consideration the recent developments, the Monetary Policy Committee has decided to keep the policy rate at 5.75%.

“Macroeconomic environment remains conducive to growth without impacting headline inflation.  Favorable initial estimates of major crops, a healthy growth in credit to private sector and growing productive imports all indicate solid gains in the real sector”, said a statement issued by the central bank.

“On the back of adequate food supplies and stable international commodity prices, headline inflation decelerated in the first two months of FY18”. According to spokesman SBP, the pursuit of higher economic growth however poses growing challenges partly enunciated at the start of FY18. These include those arising from pressures on the external front and an expansionary fiscal policy.

“Expounding the real sector, full year LSM data indicates a healthy and broad-based growth of 5.7 percent for FY17 as compared to its earlier estimates of 4.9 percent. In fact, LSM for July 2017 posted a growth of 13.0 percent”.

Delving deeper into FY18, manufacturing activity is expected to benefit from higher development spending, growing investments in CPEC-related projects, improvement in security condition, and the continued trend of stable and low cost of borrowing. Furthermore, an upbeat industrial outlook and a promising assessment of major crops are going to have positive spillovers on the services sector.  Based on current projections of agriculture sector growth, GDP growth is likely to reach the annual target of 6.0 percent for FY18 leading to an improved capacity to accommodate rising domestic demand, it added.

Turning to inflation, average CPI inflation eased to 3.2 percent in Jul-Aug FY18 compared to 3.8 percent during the same period last year. With comfortable wheat and sugar stocks, no major disruption is expected from supply side in the coming months of FY18. However, the core inflation (non-food-non-energy), reflecting the underlying demand pressures in the economy, continues to maintain its higher level of 5.6 percent in the initial two months of the fiscal year. This is also visible from IBA-SBP’s Consumer Confidence Survey of September 2017, which shows a modest rise in expected inflation during the next six months. Thus, with these demand and supply side dynamics, average CPI inflation is expected to remain well below FY18 target of 6.0 percent.

As depicted by core inflation, changes in monetary aggregates also indicate growing demand in the economy. Although credit to private sector recorded a net seasonal retirement of Rs 80.6 billion during 1st July to 15th September FY18, its year-on-year growth has edged up to 21.1 percent on 15th September 2017- as compared to 7.7 percent on 16th September 2016, reflecting an increase of Rs 892 billion during the year.  Led by historic low interest rates on the one hand and growing construction activity and consumer durables on the other, demand for credit picked up. At the same time, healthy deposit growth has improved supply of loanable funds with the banking sector and market rates remained stable. These favorable conditions at the beginning of upcoming credit cycle bode well for healthy credit off take for yet another year.

The higher trajectory of economic growth has generated complementary external sector pressures. The current account deficit for the first two months of FY18 has widened to US$ 2.6 billion. This is primarily driven by higher imports of productive goods, especially of machinery, metal and petroleum products. The increase in import of these three groups was strong enough to offset the combined impact of healthy growth in exports and workers’ remittances during Jul-Aug FY18. On the financial account front, foreign direct investments recorded a net inflow of US$ 456 million in Jul-Aug FY18, which is more than double the level of inflows in the corresponding period last year. This, together with other financial flows, was however not enough to manage the higher current account deficit.

Going forward, there are anticipations of gain in exports on account of favorable global economic conditions, improvement in domestic energy supplies, and incentives given to exporting industry. Compared with information in July 2017, exports present an encouraging picture. However, imports are also expected to rise due to ongoing CPEC related investments and domestic economic activities, although at a slower pace than in FY17.

Amid declining number of workers proceeding abroad there are prospects of sluggish growth in workers’ remittances. Hence, an improvement in the country’s external account and its foreign exchange reserve relies upon timely realization of official financial inflows along with thoughtful adoption of structural reforms to improve trade competitiveness in the medium term.


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Three injured in explosion in Peshawar

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Police officials confirmed that three people were injured in an explosion on Ring Road area of Peshawar on Friday.

SSP Operations Sajjad Khan told media persons that the explosion took place near hospital situated on Ring Road and also confirmed the number of injured people in the incident.

Police has yet to confirm the exact nature of the explosion.

The affected injured were shifted to hospital after the blast.

Earlier today police and intelligence agencies arrested two terrorists in a joint operation conducted in Yasinabad area of Peshawar and recovered heavy explosives from their possessions.

SSP Operations Sajjad Khan, informing the media persons that 34 kg of explosives, IEDs, detonators, ball bearings, hand grenades, battery cell and other ammunition were seized during the operation. Sajjad Khan added that the arrested were plotting a major terrorist activity in the city.


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OGRA recommends increase in petroleum prices from Oct

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has sent a summary to the petroleum ministry and recommended to increase the prices of petrol by Rs2.36 per liter and diesel by Rs2.20 from the next month.

The government revised the prices of petroleum products last month and increased the price of petrol by Rs per liter

However, the OGRA remain unchanged the prices for high-speed diesel, kerosene oil and light-speed diesel.


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Imran will only be happy if govt appoint Jehangir Tareen as Chairman NAB: Mushahidullah

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister, Mushahidullh Khan has said Imran Khan will only be happy if the government appoints Jehangir Tareen as Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Mushahidullah said this while talking to media persons in response of Imran Khan’s statement; he said that I think Jehangir Tareen will be the better choice for the post of Chairman NAB to please Imran Khan.

Regarding the PTI efforts of changing the opposition leader in National Assembly, he added that it is not easy task to replace Khursheed Shah in national assembly as the time was over for the PTI and they awaken on the wrong time.

He added that all parties were consulted including Imran Khan before the appointment of NAB Chairman.


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Center urged to initiate work on hydel power stations in KP

F.P. Report

TIMERGARA: Jamaat-i-Islami chief and senator Sirajul Haq said the center was failed to control power outage due to which industrial units were closed and foreign investors were reluctant to invest in Pakistan.

Speaking at a news conference here after visiting the ongoing Koto Hdel-power project along with other party lawmakers, the JI chief said the project would generate 40 mega watt of electricity that would also help reduce power shortage in Lower and Upper Dir. Earlier the JI chief along with MNA sahibzada Yaqub Khan, KP finance minister Muzafar Syed, MPAs Izaz ul Mulk Afkari, Saeed Gul, Lower dir nazim Muhammad Rasool Khan, tehsil nazims Riaz Muhammad, Imran ud Din and project director Sultan e Room visited different sites of the Koto hydel Power project. The JI team expressed satisfaction on pace and standard of work on the project. The team was informed that the project would be completed before March, 2018.

Siraj ul Haq said the rivers flowing in parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the capacity to generate 40,000 MV of electricity but neither the federal government not its relevant departments were interested to start work on it. He said that due to energy shortage foreign investment in the country had declined tremendously. He said that several industries had been closed down due to frequent power outage in the country. He said the government should also consider Patrak in Upper Dir and Shago Kas in Lower Dir for construction of hydel power stations as both the sites were feasible for it. He demanded of the government to replace the decades-old transmission line in all districts of Malakand division.

The JI chief said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had installed solar panels in over 8000 government schools while work on solarization of 4000 mosques was in progress

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Five terrorists killed in Karachi raid: SSP Rao Anwar

F.P Report

KARACHI: SSP Malik Rao Anwar has said five terrorists affiliated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda groups were killed in an exchange of fire with the police officials when police raided on the hideout in Sachal area of Karachi.

He added that operation was conducted against the terrorists after receiving intelligence reports regarding their hideout and the terrorists opened fire on the police but all five of the terrorists were killed in police firing.

Rao said that the terrorists were hiding in an under construction house in the Sachal area and they were planning to attacks during the Muharram.

The terrorists were under police surveillance from the few days and took action against them as they were planning to attack civilians, SSP Rao Anwar added.

Police also recovered arms and ammunition, including explosives and RPG rockets, were from the slain terrorists.

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Three top Army officers reshuffled

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Army command on Thursday appointed Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa as the new commander of Southern Command, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement on Thursday.

According to the statement, the existing commander of Southern Command, Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz, has been appointed the Commander Lahore Corps.

Lieutenant General Sadiq Ali has been made Inspector General Arms at the General Headquarters, it concluded.