Friday, 22 November 2013
LAHORE - A Punjab University girl was crushed to death by a bus of the same institution, drawing ire of her fellows who took to the streets. The resident of Model Town topped the merit list of Institute of Communication Studies.
The first semester student, Alisha Khalid, fell off the overloaded bus in the morning when struggling to get in, according to eyewitnesses.
Mother too watched dying her glorious girl.
Bus conductor was also reported to have sustained injuries, while the driver fled the scene. The sad story shattered her fellows and other students, who took to the streets to vent their rage against the university administration for its ‘dillydallying’ to get over traffic troubles they have to face daily.
It is learnt that the university has 56 buses to cope with 32,000 students’ transportation needs in the provincial capital. PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran handed over negligent driver Khurram to Model Town police after suspending him. He claimed to have taken up traffic troubles seriously, saying that his admin is “working to do away with it”.
“Due to increase in the number of female students, such problems had been created. One new bus has been added to the fleet of university buses for the past five years,” he added.
Dr Kamran blamed the dillydallying on the previous administration, saying: “The former admin never heeded over such matters but my administration will take the negligent staff to the task. “We arranged two courses in collaboration with National Highways and Motorway Police for the first time but our drivers won’t bother to follow their guidelines.”
The VC also summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the issue on Thursday.
ICS teachers and students visited the residence of deceased to condole with the bereaved family.
The ICS announced condolence reference at its auditorium today (Thursday at 12:00. Alisha Khalid was laid to rest at local graveyard. Her fellows and teachers attended the funeral.
Caught over murder
Muslim Town Police arrested a sub inspector for his involvement in murder of the Punjab University guard as the Lahore High Court cancelled his bail application Wednesday.
As hearing started, the court heard that Imran was murdered on the abetment of SI Mian Khan. Khan attempted to flee the court when he was denied bail. However police nicked him.
Chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Thursday lashed out at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and urged him to take a firm stand against US missile strikes inside Pakistan adding that time has come to stop playing on both sides of the wicket.
Addressing a press conference here‚ he strongly condemned drone attack in Hangu and said Thursday’s drone attack was carried out in settled area of the country for the first time and US has got courage to attack any where in the country including its capital due to cowardness of Pakistan government.
Imran Khan feared that after Hangu, United States now could hit missiles on Madarsa in federal capital’s posh E-7 sector as well.
He said lives of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are in danger as Americans have started missile attacks in the settled areas of the province.
PTI chief said that Prime Minster has not bothered to condemn Thursday strike in country’s settled area added that Nawaz Sharif has no interest in country’s grave situation as he was busy in foreign trips.
“I ask a question from Nawaz Sharif have you adopted dual policies? People of Pakistan will no more accept your policies. He is busy in foreign visits while people are being killed from Peshawar to Karachi,” Khan said.
Lashing out at government for its double standards, Khan said Nawaz government doing the same job as previous governments had done by secretly allowing US for drone attacks inside country’s territory.
He said Nawaz Sharif has presented weak stance over drone issue with US President added that a brave leadership is need of time to rule the country.
Khan said government is showing more keen to establish peace with India while peace was first need of the country.
“Nawaz taking more interest in ‘Amman ki Aasha’” (desire of peace) with India but this is what Pakistan is lacking within its own soil, government wanted ‘Amman ki Asha’ with Modi who is killer of thousands of Muslims”, Khan said.
He said ‘Aman ki Asha’ with India is not possible on cost of blood of 70,000 Kashmiris.
“Honeymoon period for this govt is over. We gave time but now we won't. PM Nawaz is answerable to nation.”
He said that his party will stage a strong protest against drone attacks in Peshawar on Saturday and appealed the people to join him. He said that drone attacks are war crimes and Peshawar High Court has already given its verdict in this regard.
Khan vowed to block NATO supplies on official level saying that Thursday drone attack was carried out on KPK soil therefore provincial government ha right to halt these supplies officially.
He said initially PTI workers were planning to stop NATO supplies within KPK but after Hangu attack, provincial government machinery could be used for this purpose.
Khan said his party would stage a strong protest on roads in KPK added that an emergency meeting of provincial cabinet has also been called to discuss post-drone attack in Hangu.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government will convene emergency meeting of the cabinet to discuss the issue of latest drone attack in the province.
To a query will his party stop NATO supplies from Balochistan too, Imran Khan said if Balochistan government is handed over to PTI, they would obviously halt these supplies until US stops missile attacks in Pakistan.
Giving his views on Rawalpindi tragedy, Imran Khan termed Rawalpindi tragedy as part of international conspiracy.
Imran said Rawalpindi incident was failure of the government, whereas, major responsibility comes in PM Nawaz Sharif's domain.
Imran Khan underlined terrorism is a stumbling block in the way of foreign investment.
He said he would soon release pictures and names of those killed in the latest drone attack in Hangu.
ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has reiterated the importance that Pakistan attaches to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and pledged all help on part of Islamabad to achieve this end.
He was talking to a delegation of Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) headed by Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani that called on the Prime Minister here on Thursday.
The Prime Minister also underscored Pakistan's resolve to continue extending all possible facilitation for the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. He further said that Pakistan has always supported a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan and that Pakistan is playing a constructive and positive role to facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process. The visiting Afghan High Peace Council delegation thanked the Prime Minister for his efforts to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. HPC Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, briefed the Prime Minister regarding progress made in peace process till now.
Rabbani further said that People of Afghanistan are eagerly waiting for the Prime Minister of Pakistan to visit Afghanistan, which would provide momentum to peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The visiting Afghan delegation also included Secretary General HPC Masoom Stanekzai and Member HPC Asadullah Wafa. During the meeting Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Advisor to PM Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq and Secretary to PM Javed Aslam were also present.
ISLAMABAD - Condemning the US drone strike in the settled area of Hangu, PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday announced blocking of NATO supplies for indefinite period from KPK, urging the present government to take a firm stand against drone strikes inside Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, PTI chairman said these are the defining moments for the nation to take its decisions.
He strongly condemned drone attack in Hangu and said the attack was carried out in settled area of the country for the first time and the US has got courage to attack anywhere in the country, including its capital due to dual policies of the present government. “I ask a question from Nawaz Sharif have you adopted dual policies like the previous government? People of Pakistan will no more accept your policies,” Imran said.
He said that the prime minister is busy in foreign visits while people are being killed from Peshawar to Karachi. Lashing out at the government for its double standards, he said that Nawaz government doing the same job as previous governments had done by secretly allowing US for drone attacks inside country’s territory. He said Nawaz Sharif has presented weak stance over drone issue with the US president added that a brave leadership is need of time to rule the country. He said that lives of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are in danger as Americans have started missile attacks in the settled areas of the province. PTI chief said that prime minister has not bothered to condemn Thursday strike in country’s settled area added that Nawaz Sharif has no interest in country’s grave situation as he was busy in foreign trips.
“Honeymoon period for this govt is over and ended,” he added. He said that PTI will stage a strong protest against drone attacks in Peshawar on Saturday and appealed to the people to join this protest. He said that drone attacks are war crimes and Peshawar High Court has already given its verdict in this regard. Imran Khan vowed to block NATO supplies on official level, saying that Thursday drone attack was carried out on KPK soil therefore provincial government ha right to halt these supplies officially.
He said that initially PTI workers were planning to stop NATO supplies within KPK but after Hangu attack, provincial government machinery could be used for this purpose. Khan said his party would stage a strong protest on roads in KPK added that an emergency meeting of provincial cabinet has also been called to discuss post-drone attack in Hangu.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government would convene emergency meeting of the cabinet to discuss the issue of latest drone attack in the province. To a query will his party stop NATO supplies from Balochistan too, Imran Khan said if Balochistan government is handed over to PTI, they would obviously halt these supplies until US stops missile attacks in Pakistan. Giving his views on Rawalpindi tragedy, Imran Khan termed Rawalpindi tragedy as part of international conspiracy.
Imran said Rawalpindi incident was failure of the government, whereas major responsibility rests with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s domain. Imran Khan underlined terrorism is a stumbling block in the way of foreign investment. He said he would soon release pictures and names of those killed in the latest drone attack in Hangu. He said that government is keen to establish peace with India while peace was first needed for the country. “Nawaz taking more interest in ‘Amman ki Aasha’” (desire of peace) with India but this is what Pakistan is lacking within its own soil, government wanted ‘Amman ki Asha’ with Modi who is killer of thousands of Muslims,” Imran Khan said. He said ‘Aman ki Asha’ with India is not possible on cost of blood of 70,000 Kashmiris innocent people.
LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has stressed the need for making collective efforts to develop national solidarity and harmony in the country.
He said that all the Senators, MNAs, MPA, ticket-holders of the PML-N, administration and police authorities should play a vigorous role for maintaining law and order and perform their responsibilities in a proactive manner in their respective areas to foil conspiracies being hatched by some anti-state elements.
The CM issued instructions for making foolproof security arrangements in the province on Friday (today) and directed administration and police to remain fully alert and depute more police force at mosques and Imambargahs.
He was addressing the MPAs, Commissioners, RPOs and other officers of nine divisions of the province through video link, here on Thursday.
The chief minister directed to activate peace committees at district-level and to take all-out measures for maintaining peaceful atmosphere. He said that no one would be allowed to disrupt law and order situation. He appreciated the role of Ulema in maintaining peace in the wake of Rawalpindi incident. He appealed to Ulema to play more active role for peace, unity and tolerance in the society.
He said the elements involved in Rawalpindi tragedy would not escape punishment. He said that the shops, mosque and religious seminary damaged in Rawalpindi would immediately be reconstructed as the Punjab government has issued funds for this purpose.
MasterCard Company delegation calls on CM: A delegation led by President MasterCard Company Middle East and Africa Michael Miebach called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and exchanged views on the matter regarding introduction of MasterCard for improving performance of various sectors in Punjab.
The CM said efficiency of the government departments and service delivery system could be improved through introduction of the MasterCard. He said that transparency is the hallmark of the Punjab government and an effective strategy has been adopted for transparent completion of development projects and elimination of corruption from all government departments.
OICCI heads call on CM: CM Shahbaz said the government is determined to end terrorism and energy shortage. He claimed that conducive atmosphere has been created in the province for investment and all-out facilities are being provided to local and foreign investors under one-roof. He invited the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry to invest in Punjab and assured that maximum facilities and security would be provided.
He was talking to OICCI president Kimihide Ando and vice president Asad Jaffar who met him here on Thursday. Provincial Minister for Industry Muhammad Shafique, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretaries of Finance and Industries, Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board and other officers concerned were also present on the occasion. It was agreed in the meeting that the Punjab government and OICCI would cooperate in the energy and other sectors.
The CM said that promotion of social, economic and industrial activities is linked with production of electricity and the Punjab government is working on power generation from coal, solar, biomass and biogas. He said tough decisions have been taken to put the national economy on the right track. He said that the OICCI should come forward for promotion of cooperation in the energy sector. He assured that all-out facilities and incentives would be extended to the investors.
Kimihide Ando said that the Pakistani government is moving in the right direction to overcome the problems being faced by the country and making sincere efforts in this regard. He expressed the hope that the PML-N government would succeed in resolving the issues being faced by the country.
LAHORE - The economic condition of Pakistan will improve after getting GSP Plus status from European countries and Canada will play its role for the purpose.
These views were expressed by Canadian High Commissioner Greg Giokas while talking to Nawa-i-Waqt Group Managing Director Dr Majid Nizami and Deputy Managing Director Rameeza Majid Nizami n Thursday.
The Canadian envoy said his government wants peace in this region. He suggested that Pakistan should cement bilateral and trade ties with neighbouring countries.
“Canada wanted to boost trade ties with Pakistan,” he said, adding that measures have been adopted for wooing foreign investments and the Pakistan government should play its positive role in enticing Canadian investors.
He added: “After the announcements of different incentives, especially in taxes and duties, Canadian potential investors could invest heavily in different sectors of Pakistan.”
However, he stressed the need for drafting over the matter.
Quoting the example of Riko Diq project, the Commissioner revealed that Canadian investors already have immense apprehensions as they bore colossal losses in the project.
Had Pakistani government legislated in this regard before the deal inked, there would have not been any complications, he added.
Greg Giokas said that it was the need of the hour to take step for the exchange of trade delegations between two countries so investors of both nations could make investments in different sectors after understanding the circumstances of each other countries. About drone strike, he said that it is bilateral between Pakistan and America.
Separately, the envoy met acting Punjab Governor Rana Muhammad Iqbal and discussed matters relating to enhancing trade relations between the two countries and said that Canada was proud of its relations with Pakistan. Emphasising the importance of developing Pakistan's economy, the Canadian High Commissioner urged opening up trade relations with India and the rest of the world nations.
“There are approximately 300,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin who contribute to the economy and enrich the multicultural fabric of Canada”, he told the governor. The Canadian High Commissioner appreciated the hospitality of the Lahorites describing them one of the liveliest, friendly and open hearted people.
Speaking on the occasion, Acting Governor Rana Muhammad Iqbal said that Pakistan-Canada relations were based on strong foundation of friendship and mutual interests. He said that Canada has been an important partner in Pakistan’s developments since 1947.
“The two countries are partners in the common endeavor to promote global and regional peace and stability. They have also vital resources, technological ability, the infrastructural and the manpower to give greater substance to the relationship”, the Acting governor said while emphasizing the importance of extending economic relations between Pakistan and Canada.
Rana also appreciated Canadian assistance for flood affected areas and contribution towards the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase. “Canada is our important trading partner and we appreciate the Canadian companies which are working in Pakistan and hope that export development Canada will continue its long term cover to these companies”, he concluded.
QUETTA - At least seven people were killed and over 40 others wounded in separate incidents of bomb blasts, landmine explosions and armed attacks in various towns of Balochistan on Thursday. Four dead bodies too were recovered from Khuzdar and Panjgour districts.
At least five people including police and security personnel were killed and 23 others including women and children wounded in a powerful bomb blast in Quetta.
Police said unidentified people had fitted explosives with a motorbike and parked it at Sirki Road. The bomb exploded as a vehicle of Frontier Corps (FC) approached near. Three security personnel, a policeman and a scavenger were killed on the spot.
Most of the injured were passersby. Police and personnel of Frontier Corps rushed to the site after the blast and cordoned off the area. The rescue workers shifted dead and injured to Civil Hospital Quetta. Later the seriously injured were shifted to CMH for further treatment. The condition of three injured is said to be serious.
“The blast badly damaged over seven vehicles, including vehicle of security forces and shattered windowpanes of nearby markets and a bank,” a police official said, adding that 7 to 8 kilogram explosive material was used in the blast that was carried out through a remote controlled device. He said that the vehicle of security forces was the main target of the bomb blast.
Banned outfit United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed responsibility for the blast. Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch strongly condemned the bomb blast and loss of precious lives and said that those who are committing such incidents are not well wishers of anybody.
In another incident, three people were wounded in a bomb blast in Chaman town bordering with Afghanistan. Chaman Assistant Commissioner Ismail Ibrahim said that the explosives were planted with a motorbike which was parked at Eidgha Chowk. The bomb was blasted through a remote controlled device, he said. The injured were moved to local hospital for medical aid and later shifted to Quetta where condition of one injured was said to be serious.
Two dead bodies were discovered from Grog area in Nal tehsil of Khuzdar. Levies official said Mir Muhammad s/o Rasul Baksh and Palan Khan s/o Raza Muhammad Sumalani were kidnapped by a group of armed men from Nal area and their bodies were found dumped on Thursday. A Balochistan National Party (BNP) spokesperson said the victims were their activists and they had been targeted because of party’s political views. “Despite the government’s tall claims, bodies of political activists are being dumped,” said BNP Information Secretary Agha Hassan.
Two unidentified dead bodies were also recovered from Panjgour district. In another incident, unidentified armed men riding a motorbike hurled a hand grenade in Turbat town of Kech district that killed two persons who are said to be labourers hailing from Gilgit Baltistan. Three women were wounded in a landmine blast in Dera Bugti district who were shifted to hospital in serious condition. Reportedly, a blast also took place in Kuchlak area, some 20 km from Quetta, which injured three people.
“At least five people including two policemen were killed and 25 others wounded in the Quetta blast,” senior local police official Samiullah Soomro told AFP.
He said eight of the wounded, including six policemen and two FC officials, were in a critical condition.
Senior local administration official Zahid bin Maqsood also confirmed the incident and casualties.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the bomb blast targeting a FC vehicle in Satellite Town area of Quetta, that resulted in loss of life and property.
The Prime Minister also condemned the Chaman blast which caused injuries to two people, a press release in Islamabad said.
While sympathising with the families of the victims, the Prime Minister prayed to Almighty Allah for resting the departed souls in eternal peace and granting courage to the bereaved to bear their loss with fortitude.
| Says up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in the country | Security pact to be signed after presidential election
KABUL - President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai on Thursday said that peace in Afghanistan is in the hands of Americans and Pakistanis.
The Afghan President told the consultative Loya Jirga (national meeting of tribal elders) in Kabul that he had received a letter from his American counterpart President Barack Obama, promising respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty and protection of the US troops staying in the country after 2014.
Karzai told the Jirga that China, India and Russia were supportive of the security deal with the US, despite their differences with Washington on other issues, adding that Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey also overtly back the deal that is stoutly opposed by Iran. Karzai gave his backing to the proposed security pact with the United States that will see up to 15,000 foreign troops stay in the war-torn country.
But he said it would not be signed until after next year’s election.
A grand assembly of tribal chieftains, community elders and politicians began four days of debate on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which will shape Washington’s future military presence in Afghanistan.
A letter to Karzai from US President Barack Obama confirmed an agreement announced by Afghan officials on Tuesday over the vexed question of US forces raiding Afghan homes.
The letter released by Karzai’s office said US forces would not enter Afghan homes for military operations “except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of US nationals”.
The issue is a sensitive one in Afghanistan and had for a time appeared to pose a serious threat to the deal.
If the “loya jirga” assembly approves the BSA, it must then be passed by the Afghan parliament. It has been touted as vital to the country’s future after 2014, when the bulk of NATO’s 75,000 troops will pull out. The Taliban insurgency this year has reached levels of violence not seen since 2010, according to the United Nations.
Karzai urged the 2,500 delegates to consider Afghanistan’s “future prosperity” as they made their decision, saying the deal gave the country a chance to move on after more than 30 years of war.
“This agreement provides us a transitional period to reach stability in the next ten years ahead of us,” he said.
He signalled yet another delay to the pact, which Washington had wanted completed by the end of October, saying it would only be signed “when our elections are conducted, correctly and with dignity”.
Afghanistan goes to the polls on April 5 to elect a successor to Karzai, who must step down after serving two terms. A credible election is seen as crucial to the country’s future stability. Karzai told delegates Afghanistan needed Washington’s cooperation in ensuring a clean, fair ballot.
The deal will see 10,000-15,000 foreign troops remain in Afghanistan after NATO pulls out the bulk of its forces by the end of 2014, Karzai said.
But he stressed that not all would be American, saying there would be troops from other NATO countries and “some other Muslim nations”.
And he gave a frank assessment of his often thorny relationship with Washington, his principal foreign backer.
“America does not trust me and I do not trust them. I have had struggles with them and they have spread propaganda against me,” he said.
The Taliban have condemned the jirga as an American plot and threatened to target its delegates if they approve the deal.
Last week a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near the jirga area, killing 12 people. A draft text released by Kabul late Wednesday appeared to show Karzai had bowed to a US demand that American troops would not be tried in local courts if they are accused of crimes - an issue that became a major hurdle in the negotiations.
A similar security deal between the United States and Iraq collapsed in 2011 over the issue of whether American troops would be answerable to local courts, leading Washington to pull its forces out.
But the text, published on the Afghan foreign ministry website, said Kabul had agreed that the United States should have “the exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction” over its forces in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan authorises the United States to hold trial(s) in such cases, or take other disciplinary action, as appropriate, in the territory of Afghanistan,” it said.
It adds the deal will remain in force “until the end of 2024 and beyond”, unless either side ends it. The draft deal also said that while US military operations against Al-Qaeda may be “appropriate” in the fight against terrorism, the two sides would cooperate closely to protect US and Afghan interests “without unilateral US military counter-terrorism operations”.
Pakistan protests as US cuts deep into ‘sovereignty’ | Sirajuddin’s top adviser Ahmad Jan among nine dead | KPK CM calls it an open ‘aggression’ | Asks Aziz to explain his statement about US assurance
HANGU/ISLAMABAD - A US drone strike in northwest Pakistan early Thursday morning killed nine people including a senior leader of the dreaded Haqqani network, a militant group affiliated with Afghan Taliban, in only the second such strike in settled areas outside the country’s tribal districts.
The attack is the first drone strike since Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed on Nov 1 and it comes just a day after a senior Pakistani official said Washington has assured it will not make drone hits while Islamabad tries to engage Taliban in peace talks.
Pakistan government responded with issuing a traditional condemnation stating the attack, at a seminary in Tal tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Hangu district, to be violation of its sovereignty and international laws.
Maulvi Ahmad Jan, an adviser to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the feared head of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, was said to be killed when an unmanned US aircrafts fired four missiles targeted two rooms of Madrassa Muftahul Quran, where reportedly some leaders of Haqqani group were staying.
Eight others, mostly students of the seminary in Bejigar Tandaro village, were also injured and they were taken to Tal tehsil hospital. Local sources said that the drones continued to hover over the area after the attack that came at around 4:30am, creating panic among the locals and causing delay in relief activities.
“Yes it’s true, we lost another valuable figure this morning,” a senior Haqqani official told Reuters. A source with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security intelligence agency confirmed Maulvi Ahmad Jan’s death. A Pakistani intelligence source said that Sirajuddin Haqqani himself was spotted at the same seminary just two days earlier.
Besides Ahmad Jan, three others killed in the attack – namely Maulana Hameedullah, Karim and Maulana Gul Marjan – were stated to be from Paktia province of Afghanistan and affiliated with the Haqqani network. Another of the deceased, Maulana Abdur Rehman, was a resident of Doaba Kurram Agency, while one Maulana Abdullah reportedly belonged to Sadda area of Kurram Agency. The rest three dead were students of the seminary.
Haqqani network is one of the main enemies of US-led forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, frequently launching attacks on foreign troops. But it has been under considerable strain this month since its chief financier, Nasiruddin Haqqani, was shot dead in Islamabad on November 11. No one claimed responsibility for that shooting.
“Jan, in his 60s, was the spiritual leader and head teacher of the Haqqani network,” one source told AFP, adding that Jan was a member of the group’s ruling council. “He was receiving people who were coming to condole the death of Nasiruddin Haqqani because followers of were not able to meet any other member of Haqqani family.”
The US has been alleging that Haqqanis have hideouts in Pakistan’s mountainous North Waziristan region, an area that have faced most of the US drone strikes. Sources said that the attacked seminary in the Tandar area belonged to one Qari Noor Muhammad, a previously unknown figure, who set up it seven years ago. It was not clear if Qari Noor, a religious figure from North Waziristan, was present in the seminary at the time of attack.
A Haqqani source said the seminary was an important rest point for members fighting in Afghanistan’s restive Khost province. “The seminary served as a base for the network where militants fighting across the border came to stay and rest, as the Haqqani seminaries in the tribal areas were targeted by drones,” the source told AFP. The area was earlier designated as a refugee camp for Afghans displaced by war in their country and it is still predominantly inhabited by Afghan nationals.
It was the second US drone strike in KPK, as the first strike in this province was carried out in Bannu in 2008. Only the other day PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz had told a Senate Committee that US had assured Pakistan of not conducting drone strikes while Pakistan is in the process of peace talks with the TTP.
Foreign Office Spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry in a statement on Thursday said that these strikes are violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said there is a consensus in Pakistan that drone strikes must end. He said Pakistan has been raising its concern with the US administration and at the United Nations.
Aizaz said PM Nawaz during his recent visit to the US had raised the issue with President Barack Obama and other senior US leaders. He said these drone strikes have a negative impact on Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability within the country and the region. Such strikes, he added, also set dangerous precedents in the inter-state relations.
On the other hand, KPK Chief Minister Pervez Khattak also protested aga-inst Thursday’s drone strike.
He said due to the ill-conceived foreign policy of the federal government the drone strikes being continuously carried out in the tribal areas have now been extended to settled areas of KP, which was an open aggression against Pakistan. He demanded Sartaj Aziz to explain his position to the nation viz a viz his recent policy statement.
LANDI KOTAL, Nov 21: The administration of Khyber Agency registered on Thursday a murder case against Dr Shakeel Afridi on a public complaint, charging him of operating on a patient that resulted in his death.
Official sources said that Naseeba Gul, mother of Salman Afridi, a resident of Sipah area in Bara, lodged a complaint with the political agent some five months ago, accusing Dr Shakeel of conducting a surgery on her son when he was not qualified to do so.
The complainant pleaded that Dr Shakeel, presently imprisoned in Peshawar jail on charges of having links with a banned outfit, was not a surgeon and unlawfully conducted the surgery that resulted in death of her son. The surgery was conducted in 2007 in the private clinic of Dr Shakeel, situated in Bara.Officials said that they sought opinion of the agency surgeon about the professional qualification of Dr Shakeel. The agency surgeon, they said, told the administration that Dr Shakeel was a general cadre doctor and not a specialist surgeon. He was not authorised to conduct any surgery.
It was also learnt that a brother of Salman Afridi had raised the issue in the press after his requests for registering a case against Dr Shakeel were not entertained by the administration when the incident took place.
The political administration has registered a case against the accused under sections 302 and 419 of Pakistan Penal Code and section 11 of Frontier Crimes Regulation. A warrant of the case was sent to the superintendent of Peshawar prison.
The administration fixed Dec 20 for hearing the case inside the jail. Political Agent Mutahir Zeb will hear the case.
Dr Shakeel was taken into custody in May 2011 on suspicion of helping the American CIA in tracing Osama bin Laden by conducting a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad.
Subsequently in May 2012, he was convicted by an assistant political agent for having links with a Bara-based banned organisation. He was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment. However, the FCR commissioner set aside his conviction and remanded the case to the political agent for re-hearing.
Meanwhile, Khasadar force on Thursday found bullet-riddled bodies of three persons in Sheen Drand area of Akkakhel in Bara.
Officials said that all the dead were buried in local graveyard as no one claimed the dead bodies.
Also in Akkakhel, militants destroyed the house of a khasadar on Thursday. Officials said that militants took along all the household items before destroying the house.
WASHINGTON, Nov 21: A bilateral security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan does not endorse the Afghan demand for joint actions against military aggression by other nations, specifically Pakistan.
A draft of the agreement, posted on the official website of the Afghan Foreign Ministry, only says that the United States will regard any external aggression with “grave concern” and will “strongly oppose” military threats or force against Afghanistan after 2014.
The United States plans to withdraw most of its combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014. Under the bilateral agreement, 8,000 to 12,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan till 2024. They will participate in counter-terrorism operations, conduct search operations and will also train Afghan defence forces.
When negotiations on the security agreement began, President Hamid Karzai demanded a full-fledged defence treaty, with the US obliged to respond militarily to aggression by other nations, specifically Pakistan.
Although the draft says that the two countries “agree to consult on mutual responses to external aggression,” it excludes the Afghan demand.
On Wednesday night, US Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced in Washington that the United States and Afghanistan had reached an agreement on a security partnership which would allow American troops to stay in the country after 2014. But he refused to disclose the details.
“As we sit here tonight, we have agreed on the language that would be submitted to a Loya Jirga, but they have to pass it,” Secretary Kerry told a news briefing in Washington. “So I think it’s inappropriate for me to comment at all on any of the details. It’s up to the people of Afghanistan.”
Secretary Kerry also rejected a claim by a senior Afghan official that US President Barack Obama had agreed to apologise to the Afghan people over civilian deaths in Nato military raids. The aide said that Mr Karzai demanded the apology when he spoke to Mr Kerry on Tuesday and the secretary accepted his demand.
“President Karzai didn’t ask for an apology. There was no discussion of an apology,” Mr Kerry said. “I mean, it’s just not even on the table.”
While the secretary did not disclose details of the deal, the US media on Thursday quoted unnamed administration officials as saying that 8,000 to 12,000 mostly American troops will stay in Afghanistan till 2024.
The media reported that “this was the last sticking point in negotiations” but the Afghans accepted the US demand after Washington made it clear that it would deploy its troops in Afghanistan without this guarantee.
Although the Afghan government had earlier rejected the demand for allowing US troops to conduct search operations and make arrests, the draft posted on the official Afghan website indicated that they are willing to allow both.
The United States, however, has made it clear that without a bilateral security agreement, billions of dollars in annual military and development aid to Afghanistan would be at risk.
Other Nato nations have also said that they would make no post-2014 commitments to Afghanistan while some aid agencies probably would cut back operations because of security concerns.
According to the draft, the United States has the right to deploy American forces on nine bases, including the two biggest, the airfields in Bagram and Kandahar. US military planes can fly in and out of Afghanistan from seven air bases, including Kabul International Airport.
US forces can transport supplies from five border crossings, described along with the air bases as “official points of embarkation and debarkation”.
All bases in Afghanistan would revert to Afghan ownership and sovereignty after 2014.
ISLAMABAD, Nov 21: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) increased on Thursday electricity tariff by 73 paisa per unit for distribution companies of Wapda to be paid by consumers from next month.
The increase was allowed under a monthly fuel adjustment formula under which actual variations in cost of power supply are transferred to consumers. The tariff increase because of high generation cost in October will not apply to consumers using less than 50 units per month or to those getting power from the Karachi Electric Supply Company and the Peshawar Electric Supply Company.
Approving the new rates at a public hearing, Nepra’s acting chairman Khawaja Mohammad Naeem said the increase had forced people to reduce consumption which led to almost no loadshedding these days. But he had no facts and figures to corroborate the claim.
Officials of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) said the demand had come down mainly because of winter and also owing to substantial hydropower generation.
Some officials quietly remarked that the regulator should be ready to take the blame for loadshedding next month when hydropower generation would decline because of annual canal closure and diversion of gas to the domestic sector.
The Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA) said at the hearing that Nepra had approved a reference fuel price of Rs7.49 per unit for October, but actual generation cost surged to Rs8.23 per unit. The CPPA sold 8.169 billion units of electricity costing of Rs67.28 billion, necessitating an increase in tariff by 73 paisa per unit.
Nepra was informed that the generation cost of plants using coal stood at Rs3.61 per unit, of those using diesel at Rs22.15, furnace oil at Rs15.88 and gas at Rs5.07. The generation cost of hydropower plants was less than 10 paisa per unit.
The CPPA said transmission losses of the national grid stood at 3 per cent, which Nepra found to be quite high.
The regulator also questioned generation of electricity by high speed diesel and wondered if all furnace oil-based capacity had been exhausted before utilising diesel-based plants. It directed the CPPA and the NTDC to provide five-year data of transmission losses and engage an independent auditor to verify the losses.
Nepra said power authorities had engaged two companies for loss assessment but their reports were not bankable. Therefore, it added, a new independent consultant should be appointed and its assessment would be examined by Nepra through its in-house expertise.
KARACHI, Nov 21: Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that Sindh and federal governments have agreed to start work on the Karachi Circular Railway Project to provide modern, rapid and low-cost transportation facilities to the people of Karachi.
He said a committee, comprising representatives from the federal government, the Sindh government and other stakeholder organisations, had been constituted to undertake the groundwork to start physical work on the project.
Talking to newsmen after a meeting with Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq at the CM House on Thursday night, the chief minister said two major problems – encroachment on railways land and government land within operational area of the project – had been identified as hurdles in implementation of the project, while terms of reference for foreign loans had to be decided by the federal government.
Mr Shah said because of lack of interest by the previous federal government the main donor agency — Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) — was discouraged on one hand and encroachments by land-grabbers remained intact on the other.
He said the present government was keen to start this project at any cost because it was the need of the citizens of Karachi. He said that keeping in mind the difficulties of the people of Karachi he had requested the prime minister during his last visit to the city for help in implementation of the project and expressed his gratitude to him for sending Khwaja Saad Rafiq for this purpose.
The chief minister said today they had a meeting with experts from the federal and provincial governments, discussed the project in detail and decided that the federal and provincial governments would sort out the bottlenecks at the earliest.
He said his government had formed an anti-encroachment task force (AETF) headed by the inspector general of Sindh police. The task force will also be represented by the IG of Railway Police and other stakeholder organisations.
After conducting the field survey, the task force will prepare a strategy in such a way that the railway land will be got evacuated by land-grabbers without any loss or law and order situation.
The chief minister said his government had also planned to ply 200 new buses on the different routes to ensure competitive but low-cost communication facilities to people.
Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq appreciated the Sindh government for taking an initiative for implementation of the Karachi Circular Railway Project and assured Syed Qaim Ali Shah to extend all facilities and help from the federal government to complete the project.
He said as far as the development work was concerned the federal and Sindh governments were on the same page.
The railways minister said that removal of encroachments was essential before starting work on the project and added that it had been decided that this hurdle would be removed on a priority basis.
Responding to a question about law and order, the federal minister lauded the efforts of the chief minister to control the situation through a targeted operation against criminals and hoped that the situation created from the removal of encroachers would be controlled administratively.
The chief minister said the Sindh government would consider providing alternative land to very poor families but those who had occupied the land with commercial intention would have to face the music.
In reply to another question, he said the MQM was being taken on board as he had discussed the project with the prime minister in the presence of the Sindh governor.
Earlier, addressing a meeting on implementation of the Karachi Circular Railway, the chief minister reaffirmed that the project was very important for the people of Karachi and it would be completed at any cost.
He said that the financing offer from JICA was still workable and the government would avail this loan at a rate of 1 per cent mark-up despite having such offers from other organisations.
The railways minister told the meeting that the trust deficit between stakeholders of the project would be removed by the federal and provincial governments by initiating work on the project.
While accepting the demand of representatives of JICA, the chief minister assured the railways minister that levy of provincial tax on the loan for the project would be resolved in the next meeting of the Sindh cabinet.