Pakistan News

Ten soldiers were martyred after terrorists attacked a security forces' checkpost in Balochistan's Kech district, the military's media affairs wing said on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the "fire raid" by terrorists occurred on the night of Jan 25-26.

"During intense exchange of fire, one terrorist was killed and several injured. While repulsing terrorists' fire raid, 10 soldiers embraced martyrdom," the statement said.

It added that three terrorists had been apprehended in the follow-up clearance operation, which it said was still in progress to hunt down the perpetrators of the incident.

"The armed forces are determined to eliminate terrorists from our soil no matter what the cost," the ISPR statement said.

Earlier this month, a Pakistan Army soldier was martyred after terrorists attacked a military post in Bannu's Janikhel.

On January 5, two soldiers were martyred and as many terrorists killed in two separate intelligence-based operations (IBOs) conducted by security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Last month, four soldiers of the Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom in an exchange of fire with terrorists during an IBO in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan tribal district.

ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed on Wednesday about the status of discussions with China on future cooperation projects.

The briefing was given at a preparatory session held for PM Khan’s coming trip to China from Feb 3. Mr Khan will meet Chinese leaders for an overall review of the entire gamut of bilateral ties, besides attending the inaugural session of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The session was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yousuf, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Special Assistant on CPEC Khalid Mansoor and other senior officers.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Mr Khan was updated on the ongoing talks with Chinese officials on “concrete plans for enhancing cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, information technology and exports”.

Issues of concern to Chinese authorities, including security and pending payment of IPPs, were also discussed.

Leaders of both countries had during their exchanges last year emphasised enhancing cooperation in agriculture, digital economy and people’s livelihood, and building health, industrial, trade, digital, and green corridors.

The two sides had at the 10th JCC meeting added the Joint Working Group on Information Technology Industry, opening up the way for cooperation in this sector.

Meanwhile, the army chief also separately met Prime Minister Khan.

“Professional matters pertaining to Pakistan Army were discussed during the meeting,” the PMO said.

The meeting was made to look like a one-on-one meeting between PM Khan and Gen Bajwa. Onlookers, however, say other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

The last publicly disclosed one-on-one meeting between the two happened on Oct 26, the day Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum was notified as the new director general of Inter-Services Intelligence after weeks’ long controversy over the appointment.

Mr Khan and Gen Bajwa have, however, been meeting at other forums. The two were together at the launch of the National Security Policy on Jan 14, and were also at the ISI headquarters on Jan 12 for a briefing.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan on Monday asked the Sindh government not to create hurdles in the way of launch of Dhabeji Industrial Zone (DIZ) and pursue the matter “positively” in court.

According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), Mr Khan directed the authorities concerned to resolve issues of special economic zones on a priority basis and enforce measures for facilitating investment within the given “time frame”.

He issued the directive while chairing a high-level meeting here on Special Eco­nomic Zones (SEZs) being established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The participants were told that land in the SEZs had been allotted to 130 companies for construction of industries so far.

A source after attending the meeting told Dawn that the premier expressed displeasure over delay in the physical launch of the DIZ and asked the Sindh government not to create “hurdles” in the way of the much-needed project.

The meeting was informed that Rashakai, Bolan and Allama Iqbal Industrial zones were already fully functional as industries were being built there. The participants were app­rised in detail about the steps being taken by the government to facilitate investment in the SEZs.

However, work on the Dhabeji industrial zone could not start due to litigation after the award of a contract to establish the zone.

PM Khan was informed that the developer for DIZ had been finalised and the Letter of Award (LoA) was issued to M/s Zahir Khan & Brothers on Oct 25, 2021. The meeting was apprised that the concession agreement was to be signed with the developer, but the project could not inch forward towards signing of the concession agreement with the developer due to ongoing litigation.

The prime minister was told that when the contract was awarded to the firm that had won the bid, a competitor moved the Sindh High Court (SHC) challenging the award of the contract on “weak footings”.

An official of the DIZ informed the meeting that accusations levelled by the plaintiff were “false and baseless”.

“Construction work can be expedited once the stay order on the frivolous nature case is vacated by the court,” the official said.

While the petitioner had challenged that the rules of SEZs had not been followed in the award of the contract, the Sindh government claimed that since DIZ had not been given the SEZ status so far, the rules of SEZs did not apply to it. The CPEC Authority also had submitted an official statement before SHC, expressing satisfaction over the bidding process and claiming that no irregularity had been committed in the award of the contract.

According to a document of the Sindh Economic Zones Management Company, the DIZ will be given the status of an SEZ after its completion.

The Sindh government had received bids for the project in February 2021. After a two-month evaluation, one of the bids was declared ‘technically unfit’. The provincial government then went for re-bidding in which ZKB emerged successful. Subsequently, the government issued the LoA to it.

The DIZ is located on the N-5 National Highway, close to Bin Qasim and Karachi ports as well as about 700km from Gwadar Port that connects the Central Asia Republics, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

In a separate development, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Mohamed Bin Zayed called PM Khan and offered deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Jan 22 blast in Lahore.

The crown prince prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured and strongly condemned the terrorist attack that claimed three lives and left several injured, the PM Office said in a statement.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s firm resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Mr Khan apprised the crown prince that the perpetrators of terrorist attacks would be brought to justice.

The PM also expressed Pakistan’s desire to work with the UAE for further strengthening of bilateral ties, enhancing cooperation in the multilateral fora and continue close coordination on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Kashmir Committee Chairman Shehryar Afridi on Monday called on the prime minister and discussed current re-organization of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) as well as development projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mr Khan highlighted the need for public representatives to accelerate their public interaction campaign, besides improving coordination with the district administration for the immediate resolution of the public issues.

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif’s case should be broadcast live for the public to see, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday, adding that the government had requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan in this regard.

"The government wants the public to witness what evidence Shahbaz produces in the court proceedings to prove his claimed innocence," the minister said addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

Speaking about the attorney-general of Pakistan’s (AGP) letter to Shahbaz, he said that Shahbaz has been asked to report to the committee formed to monitor PML-N supremo Nawaz Shahbaz’s case, explaining to them the reasons behind the delay in his return.

“The Sharif brothers — Nawaz and Shahbaz — used to say that the Pakistani law does not apply to their children,” he said, adding that if the allegations against them are false, they should be acquitted.

The minister added that recovery from them is “very important”.

Taking a jibe at the PML-N leaders, Fawad said that a child in their family is born later but a palace on his/her name is bought beforehand.

The federal minister was of the view that under the 18th amendment, powers were transferred to the provinces; however, the Sindh government now wants the power to be transferred to districts.

“The Sindh government did not participate in reforms,” he said, complaining that it has deprived its citizens of basic facilities, like health cards.

Fawad further added that the provincial government is not providing its capital Karachi with its due share in resources.

“Under National Finance Commission (NFC), funds will be transferred to provinces from the Centre which will then be transferred to the districts,” he mentioned, adding the Sindh government has deprived its citizens of this right.

The minister said: “Prime Minister Imran Khan had put an end to corruption by introducing the local government system.”

Speaking about the PPP, Fawad said that former president Asif Ali Zardari and Company has also looted billions of rupees and recovery from them is also very important.

“Daily court proceedings should be held against them as they have looted the money of Pakistanis,” he said.

The minister further added that the whole world is now following Pakistan’s strategies in its fight against COVID-19.

“Our economy grew during the pandemic; although the country has witnessed inflation, it should be noted that revenue has also increased during this period,” he said.

“Pakistan is moving in the right direction,” he added.

Shedding light on the challenges faced by the incumbent government, he said that when assuming power, the PTI found the country in almost the “same condition which it was in right after partition.”

He underlined that despite the global pandemic COVID-19, the GDP for the fiscal year 2020-21 clocked in at 5.37%.

The attorney-general for Pakistan (AGP) on Monday wrote a letter to Shahbaz to bring back Nawaz.

The AGP has instructed Shahbaz to submit Nawaz’s medical reports within the next 10 days; in case he fails to do so, contempt of court petition will be filed against Shahbaz.

On November 16, 2019, the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed Nawaz to go abroad for medical treatment, the letter read, mentioning that according to the doctors' instructions, Nawaz was allowed to leave for four weeks.

The AGP also mentioned that according to media reports, Nawaz is in good health, while when he was leaving the country, his condition was described as critical.

The letter further said that as soon as Nawaz reached London, “his condition improved.”

"After reaching London, Nawaz did not stay in the hospital for a single day and remained involved in his political activities," the letter stated.

The AGP highlighted that the affidavit and the court order was "violated as Shahbaz did not submit Nawaz’s medical reports."

Per the letter, the Punjab government has formed a committee to examine the medical reports of Nawaz. The committee submitted a report on January 17, which mentioned that no medical report has been submitted to the medical board by Nawaz’s doctors; therefore, the committee said that a final opinion cannot be given in this regard.

The attorney-general further wrote that before approaching the LHC in this regard, he has contacted the PML-N president to submit the medical report.

Prime Minister Imran Khan answers questions from the general public on live television. — PID

• Says inflation not just Pakistan’s problem
• Rules out holding talks with Shehbaz
• Chastises media, judiciary for ‘protecting mafias’

ISLAMABAD: Expressing confidence that people would never take to the streets against him, especially on the call of the ‘tainted’ opposition, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday warned his opponents that if he was forced out of office, he would become even more dangerous for them.

“If I exit the government, I will pose a greater threat to you. Right now, I am sitting quietly in my office and watching the drama unfold. But if I take to the streets, you will have nowhere to hide,” he said while answering callers’ questions, live on national television.

PM Khan lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, saying that while he was willing to talk to the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, or even the disgruntled Baloch, he would never sit down with opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif — even for dialogue on key national issues — because that would be tantamount to compromising over the corruption of the Sharif family.

During the telecast of the fifth ‘Aap Ka Wazir Azam Aap Ke Sath’, a town-hall style broadcast where the PM takes questions, he also called on former PM Nawaz Sharif to come back to face the cases against him, saying: “I am waiting for you… please come back.”

Ruling out the possibility of any reconciliation with the opposition, he said that he would never give them an NRO — a reference to the National Reconciliation Ordinance promulgated by former military ruler Pervaiz Musharraf — as that would be a massive betrayal.

PM Khan was confident that he and his party would not only complete their current term in office but would also win another full term, adding that the nation stood behind him, as he knew the people better than the opposition did.

“The reason why people came out for me was that I was trying to get back their looted wealth. You are only trying to cover your own [corruption],” he said.

“The people recognise your true face now and whatever you have done with this country over the last 30-35 years. You need to understand that the lava is simmering. Once people take to the streets, they only need to be pointed in your direction, and you’ll see everyone of them running off to hide in London,” he said, addressing the opposition.

Global inflation

In response to a caller’s question, he admitted that inflation was only problem that gave him sleepless nights, but then went on to paint a rosy picture of the country’s economic condition.

Terming it an “emerging economy”, he counted a number of his government’s achievements and asked why society was so despondent.

PM Khan recalled that all economic indicators were showing upward trends and stressed the need for self-reliance in local goods manufacturing and increased tax collection. “The clothes I am wearing are also locally made,” he said, pointing to his outfit during the broadcast.

Insisting that inflation was a global phenomenon that had taken a toll on developed economies like the US and UK as well, he blamed the price hike of commodities on the disruption in the supply chain caused by the pandemic.

He claimed that a global surge in petroleum prices had also contributed to increase in prices of electricity and transport. However, he conceded that the salaried classes were hardest hit by this inflation, but reassured them that professionals and government employees would be given relief once the government met its tax collection targets.

He also chastised the media for not presenting a full picture of what was happening on the economic front.

PM Khan accused journalists of only painting what he called a ‘bleak’ picture of the economy. Terming certain journalists ‘mafias’, he said they were merely trying to advance the agenda of the opposition and never projected the achievements of the government.

He said that while positive criticism was a good thing, he stressed the need to differentiate between propaganda, fake news and reality.

Enumerating achievements

However, the PM noted that under his rule, the country’s GDP had been increased by 5.37 per cent despite the challenge of the pandemic.

He claimed that the construction sector was booming and that salaries for construction workers had shot up due to the high demand for skilled labour.

The prime minister also said that thanks to a bumper crop, people in agricultural communities had earned Rs1,400 billion, while their income had increased by Rs165,000 per head.

Large-scale manufacturing, he said, also witnessed a growth of 10pc, while revenue from tax collection had reached over 6,000 billion rupees.

He pointed out that due to incentives granted to the IT sector, its exports had also surged and record exports worth $31 billion were recorded with remittances soaring to $30 billion.

Role of judiciary

The prime minister called on the judiciary to be “merciful to the people” and not to support “mafia and cartels”.

He said the government was trying to reform the criminal justice system for the first time in the country’s history as different cartels had made a killing in the past through hoarding and profiteering. “Sugar, flour and cement cartels have eaten up over Rs250 billion,” he added.

“I recently called a meeting of eight regulators who informed me that these cartels have obtained 800 stay orders from different courts. An amount of Rs 250 billion is stuck in litigation.”

In addition, he said, according to FBR cases to the tune of Rs 2,500 billion were also lingering due to litigation.

Google paid tribute on Saturday to late architect and activist Perween Rahman with a custom doodle on what would have been her 65th birthday. She was born on January 22, 1957 in Dhaka.

The doodle depicts the activist looking at Orangi Town, the place she dedicated her life to, from the window of her office.

After the war of 1971, Rahman and her family relocated to Karachi where she pursued a degree in architecture and did her post-graduate studies in housing, building and urban planning. She is known for her work in the goths [shanty towns] scattered across Karachi as part of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), an NGO working with underserved communities for the provision of basic amenities such as low cost sanitation, housing, health, education and credit for micro enterprise.

Rahman's dedication to help the 1.5 million residents of Karachi's Orangi Town led her to be appointed as the head of OPP's housing and sanitation programmes. With her taking the lead behind every project the NGO was able to partner with government to set up 650 private schools, 700 medical clinics and 40,000 small businesses. Rahman was conferred a posthumous Sitara-e-Shujaat for her work and dedication.

Actor Ahsan Khan shared the doodle on his Instagram Stories and recalled a 2021 film based on Rahman's life.

Rahman was murdered on March 13, 2013 in Orangi Town. On December 17, a Karachi Anti-Terrorism Court sentenced four men to life imprisonments for her murder.

Rahman's sister Aquila Ismail told Google, "We are deeply touched by this gesture from Google. It is life-affirming to see that Perween’s contribution to Pakistan, the values she stood for and her legacy are being celebrated today. May we all strive to be just in our actions and continue to find inspiration in life itself, like our beloved Perween."

Lahore High Court's (LHC) Justice Ayesha A. Malik was notified as a judge of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Friday, officially becoming Pakistan's first-ever woman judge to be green lighted to sit on the apex court.

According to a notification issued by the law ministry, her appointment has been approved by President Arif Alvi and will come into effect as soon as she takes oath of office.

The notification, a copy of which is available with, said: "In exercise of powers conferred by clause (1) of article 177 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the president is pleased to appoint Mrs Ayesha A. Malik, a judge of the Lahore High Court, [...] as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan with effect from the date she takes oath of her office."

The development comes two days after the Parlia­­mentary Committee on the Appointment of Superior Judiciary approved the appointment of Justice Malik as a judge of the SC.

For months, Justice Malik’s elevation to the SC was debated as many said it went against the principle of seniority since she is the fourth most senior judge of the LHC.

Those in favour of her elevation pointed out that seniority was not a requirement for appointment to the apex court according to the Constitution and that the country’s judicial history is full of instances of male judges from provincial high courts being elevated without consideration to seniority.

After the parliamentary committee approved her appointment, Senator Farooq H. Naek, who heads the body, had said the committee still believed in the principle of seniority for appointment of judges, but the approval for Justice Malik was given because it was the first time a woman was being elevated to the apex court.

"We have approved Justice Malik's name in national interest," the senator had said.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had earlier this month approved Justice Malik for elevation to the apex court by a majority of five to four during a heated session that had lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours.

This was the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik's appointment. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to defer a decision on her appointment.

During the JCP's Sep 9 meeting, four members of the commission had opposed the proposal to elevate her, while an equal number supported it.

Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, former judge Dost Mohammad Khan and a representative of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Akhtar Hussain, had opposed the idea whereas Chief Justice CJP Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Federal Law Minister Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan had favoured Justice Malik.

At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.

The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone the JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.

While the JCP was holding its session, lawyers had arranged a protest and convention in a nearby office of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). They accused the judiciary of favouritism in the appointment of superior court judges and thus harming its image.

Through a resolution, the convention had asked the JCP to adhere to the seniority principle in appointments to the apex court from the provincial high courts until such time as fair, transparent and objective criteria for appointment of judges at all levels were framed in consultation with all stakeholders and appropriate amendments to the Judicial Commission Rules were made.

In a related development, LHC Bar Association President Maqsood Buttar had moved a petition before the Supreme Court earlier this month seeking directions that the JCP invite all relevant stakeholders; judges, senior lawyers and bar representatives, members of the parliamentary committee, the federal and provincial governments and civil society and structure the process of judicial appointments to the superior courts to make them more objective and transparent.

The petition also sought directions for the JCP to frame comprehensive and detailed rules/guidelines to structure both the process of and parameters for appointment.

The petition had also asked that until the criteria was developed, the JCP should stick to the seniority principle in the elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court.

Justice Malik completed her early education from schools in Paris and New York and then completed her senior Cambridge from the Karachi Grammar School.

She studied law at the Pakistan College of Law in Lahore and went on to do her LLM from the Harvard Law School Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, where she was named a London H Gammon fellow 1998-1999.

From 2001 to the date of her elevation as a high court judge, she worked with the law firm of Rizvi, Isa, Afridi and Angell, first as a senior associate and then a partner in charge of the firm’s Lahore office.

Justice Malik has appeared as a pro-bono counsel for several NGOs working on poverty alleviation, microfinance and skills-training programmes.

She is also author of a number of publications and has taught banking law at University of the Punjab and mercantile law at the College of Accounting and Management Sciences Karachi.

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