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Saif participates in joint Pak-China Naval exercise

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Navy Ship SAIF (FFG-253) participated in 5th PN-PLA(N) bilateral exercise held at Shanghai, China. Up-on arrival, the ship was rec-eived at sea by Chinese Navy (PLA (N)) Frigate JINGZ-HOU off port Wusong, Shan-ghai, says a press release.

An impressive welcoming ceremony was held in which senior officials of Shanghai Naval Base along with Defence Attaché and Naval Attaché of Pakistan received the ship. During the stay in the port, the Commanding Officer PNS SAIF called on senior civil/ military officials including Mayor of Shanghai Fan Yufei and Commander of Shanghai Naval Base, Rear Admiral Wang Jianxun. An overwhelming response from Chinese authorities was received during reception dinner onboard PNS SAIF.

Ambassador of Pakistan to China Masood Khalid, co-hosted the event along with ship’s Commanding Officer. A large number of guests representing civil/ diplomatic/ military communities in Shanghai attended the dinner.

PN-PLA(N) bilateral exercises were instituted in 2014 when Pakistan and Chinese navies conducted inaugural joint exercise in Pakistani waters of North Arabian Sea.

The second exercise of the series was conducted in East China Sea in year 2015 whereas both third and fourth exercises were held in beginning and end of year 2016 in North Arabian Sea.Now the 5th exercise of the series has been conducted in Chinese waters off Shanghai wherein PNS SAIF and frontline warships of PLA(N) along with air and subsurface assets.

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Two smugglers killed in encounter

F.P. Report

QUETTA: The two smugglers were killed on Saturday in encounter with security forces in Zob.

According to details the security forces have stopped a suspect vehicle at Charma check post, Zob, however vehicle did not stop and tried to fled away. On which security forces opened fire that resulted the killing of two of them while one injured has been arrested. Security forces said that smugglers were carried non-custom paid vehicle.

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Hudaibiya case hearing on Monday

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) has fixed for hearing on Monday NAB appeal plea seeking reopening of Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against Sharif family.

A 3-member bench of SC presided over by Justice Mushir Alam will take up the appeal plea for hearing today.

According to cause list issued by SC, the other two members of the bench are Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

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Army, all institutions equally responsible to end sit-ins from country: Ch Nisar

F.P. Report

TAXILA: Senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar has said that Pakistan Army and all national institutions are equally responsible to end sit-ins forever from country so that it can move forward.

Talking to media persons in Taxila on Saturday, he said that it was need of the hour to end trend of sit-ins in country otherwise mobs would rule the country.

He said that no one would be allowed to hold continuous protest to get their demands fulfilled, no matter how genuine they are, but legal path should be adopted instead. Chuadhry Nisar said he humbly appeals if the country has to move forward, then protests must be stopped.

He further said, “I am not against protests. Protests should be held as they are part of democracy. However, protests which affect daily life should not be held.” The former interior minister also spoke regarding the violence which erupted due to the protest ay Faizabad interchange and said that he maintains his stance that no one should be allowed to occupy Faizabad Interchange.

Countrywide sit-ins dissipate after government protesters reach agreement. Following the voluntary resignation of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid, the government and Faizabad protesters reached an agreement to end the 21-day-long sit-in in Islamabad.

“I don’t engage in politics of violence, nor will I ever,” said Nisar. As politicians, we are agents of peace, he added. When asked if the government will be able to complete its tenure, he remarked: “You should ask the government this, I am not in the government anymore.”

Ch Nisar was also asked if he maintains his stance on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s criticism of the Panama verdict, which led to the disqualification of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“I am still steadfast in my stance. I believe we should not target the entire judiciary. Moreover, the army should also not be targeted,” he added. Nisar said that he had advised Nawaz during the last meeting he had to not target and criticize the armed forces as it would cause significant damage to PML-N during the next elections.

The former interior minister also refused to comment on a statement of Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rasheed. This person changes his loyalty every minute, please stop giving importance to such people, he told the journalists.

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Ten detained as police baton charge MQM-L workers in Karachi

KARACHI (NNI): Police have baton charged workers of Muttahida Qaumi Movement London (MQM-L) and detained ten as they continued movement towards Martyrs’ Monument on Saturday despite warnings.

A clash between police and London chapter of the political party was reported at Liaquat Ali Khan Chowk that resulted in arrests including those of three women.

Information minister Syed Nasir Shah had rhetorically asked how could workers belonging to an anti-Pakistan party be allowed to visit the monument. Shah said that the people who support the party should be jailed.

The provincial minister had further said that MQM Pakistan was permitted to visit the place because it is focusing on politics of the national interest.

On the other hand, MQM-L workers clashed with police at Pakka Qilla Chowk in Hyderabad as the party supporters moved towards ‘martyrs’ graveyard.

However, the movement was checked and progress stopped as police intervened.

Earlier in the day today, police had shops and roads in vicinity of Jinnah Ground shut creating issues for commuters and others.

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Ex-SECP chief moves IHC in Chaudhry Sugar Mills record-tampering case

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi has petitioned Islamabad High Court against a special court’s dismissal of his acquittal plea in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills record-tampering case.

Hijazi in his petition has stated that the special court has disregarded the evidence presented in the appeal and prayed the IHC to declare the former’s decision null and void. Hijazi was indicted two weeks ago at the Islamabad court, where the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) maintained that the accused is involved in the tampering of mills record.

The former SECP chairman had challenged the charge, which was dismissed by the court. A case was registered against Hijazi on the orders of the Supreme Court. Hijazi is accused of pressuring his subordinates to change dates on documents related to the sugar mills.

Special Court Central Judge Irum Niazi rejected Hijazi’s application on the reasoning that solid pieces of evidence are available to initiate the trial.

Hijazi was arrested in the premises of the court by FIA on July 21 after the expiry of his bail before arrest.

The FIA team had submitted a 28-page inquiry report to the Supreme Court on July 9, in which it had endorsed the stance of the joint investigation team probing the offshore assets of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in connection with the Panama Papers case.

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Imran sets sight on Zardari, announces visit to Karachi next week

ISLAMABAD (NNI): PTI chief Imran Khan has decided to visit Karachi next week as he turns his guns on former president and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

After mounting pressure on former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign ever since the Panama Leaks scandal came to the fore, Imran Khan has decided to give a tough time to Asif Ali Zardari and the Sindh Government.

The cricketer-turned-politician has decided to visit Karachi next week where he is expected to deliver scathing attacks on the former president and critique the performance of Sindh government over the past couple of years.

Imran was briefed by party leader Ali Zaidi regarding the problems being faced by Karachiites in the metropolis, at Bani Gala. Imran said that after Nawaz Sharif, it was now time to get rid of Zardari in a bid to save the country from corruption.

“We will join hands with the masses to decide the fate of Zardari and his cronies,” he said.

Ali Zaidi said that Sindh was being managed in the worst possible manner by the most inept rulers in the country. He said that hollow slogans of ‘Jiye Mohajir’ and ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makaan’ were being fed to the people for selfish reasons.

“The main hope for the masses in Sindh is the message of change,” he said.

Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari have been trading barbs over the past couple of weeks over various issues. While Zardari has termed Imran as ‘Jaali (fake) Khan’, the PTI chief has slammed the former president with serious allegations pertaining to financial corruption.

Imran is also expected to hold meetings with senior party leadership in Karachi to formulate strategies pertaining to the upcoming general elections in 2018.

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CM Punjab visits Orange Line project site after SC verdict

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday visited the Orange Line Metro Train project site to have an overview of the work, a day after the Supreme Court allowed the provincial government to continue construction work on the project.

The apex court on Friday had dismissed the decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) halting work on selected sites of the project.

Shehbaz said that the project will provide people with improved transportation services and the delay will be compensated for by hard work and commitment.

On Friday while talking to media the chief minister blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf for the 22-month delay caused in the construction of the project.

“The PTI had submitted an application to the Supreme Court. Then, as hidden enemies strike, they did the same in the Lahore High Court. The revenge they have taken is not from me. They have taken revenge from the poor people of the city.”

The chief minister added that the project was to be inaugurated on Dec 25 according to the original plan. When asked when the project would be operational, Shehbaz said he would inform of the date at a later date.

“But PTI and Imran Khan Niazi’s team delayed the project for 22-months.”

He elaborated that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had a stay order on the project for 14 months and the apex court announced its verdict eight months later.

Shehbaz added that the PTI did not want the people to benefit from an efficient and cheap mass transit system.

“The project was to run from Dec 25, now, due to the delay we are absolutely out of line.”

Criticising the opposition party further, Shehbaz said they have been unable to even lay a brick for the metro project in Peshawar after a passage of four and a half years.

Punjab’s chief minister further said if the project had been built on time and not subject to delays, it would have lessened thousands of cars on the road and could have led to less severe smog in the provincial capital.

“The tickets for the metro project would be reasonable and the price would be set keeping the common man in mind.”

The apex court accepted the appeal of the Punjab government and others against the LHC decision with conditions and ruled by a 4-1 judgment that it observed no illegalities in the multi-billion rupee project.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, had reserved its verdict in the case on April 17 this year.

Although the apex court has allowed the Punjab government to go ahead with the project at the same speed, the bench has set 31 conditions to ensure the project’s transparency.

The conditions include strict monitoring of the construction as well as a dedicated trial period before train operations begin; placement of high-tech devices and hiring of expert monitors to ensure vibrations from the construction don’t damage the heritage sites and various measures for the beautification and restoration of the sites.

The apex court has also ordered the formation of a five-member experts’ committee and three-member technical committee to oversee the project and ensure the protection of the heritage site under question.

A Rs100 million fund will also be established by the government to maintain the heritage sites, according to the court order.

The $1.6 billion project

Launched in May 2014 by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in collaboration with a Chinese company, the project is set to be the country’s first metro line, but it got embroiled in a legal battle in LHC which ordered a stay on several sites as the development was trampling over heritage sites in Lahore.

A single train within the 27-kilometre rail line has the capacity to carry 1,000 people, out of which 200 can be seated while 800 can commute while standing.

The project, which was included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor earlier in the year, is expected to run on electricity and transport up to 250,000 passengers a day.

The capacity is set to be increased to 500,000 passengers by 2025. The original deadline for the project was December 25, 2017.

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Democracy can only be saved by hanging corrupt people: Sh Rashid

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid on Saturday said that country’s political situation is getting worse day-by-day and that the democracy can only be saved by hanging corrupt people.

Addressing All Parties Conference (APC) at Lahore High Court (LHC), Sheikh Rashid said that we all have to protect the constitution for the development of Pakistan. He said no ministry is properly working in Islamabad.

Those who robbed democracy were made its champions, he added.

Talking about the Panama Leaks case against Sharif family, the leader stated that Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) had saved the country by disqualifying ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said that in Pakistan, people are getting gas in summers and electricity in winters and that 60 percent of the youth is struggling for employment.

Sheikh Rashid alleged that those who supported Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto are now ministers in ex-president Pervez Musharraf’s party, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Loans worth billions of dollars have been taken in four years, he revealed.

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Security beefed up as MQM-L announces to visit Yadgar-e- Shuhada

KARACHI (NNI): Observing martyrs day, leaders of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London (MQM-L) on Saturday have announced to pay a visit to Yadgar-e-Shuhada to offer Fateha.

According to details, all the routes heading to Nine Zero and Yadgar-e- Shuhada have been sealed by placing barriers and vans whereas stringent security measurements have also been ensured.

The local administration has deployed security officers, in large number, in Azizabad, Liaquat Ali Khan Chowk and adjoining areas to avoid any untoward situation.

Sources told that the party leaders would pay tribute to the martyrs. They will also arrange a ceremony to remember the sacrifices of their workers.

It is to be mentioned here that MQM-Pakistan leaders and workers also visited the monument last month to pay tribute to the martyrs. However, MQM-P Chief Farooq Sattar and others were initially stopped from visiting the site but later they were allowed to enter the area.