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‘Serial grooms’ become talk of the assembly

‘Serial grooms’ become talk of the assembly

Posted on 20 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 28

LAHORE: Instead of legislative matters, the treasury and opposition benches seemed more concerned about the marriages of Shehbaz Sharif and Imran Khan. Both PML-N and PTI went at each other with hammer and tongs, calling leaders of the other party “serial grooms”.

The pandemonium broke out when Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Syed Haroon Ahmed Sultan Bokhari, with a wry smile on his face, said he even allowed wedding ceremonies in parks of those people who hoped to marry three or four times.

Bukhari was responding to a question put forward by PTI minority MPA for Shunila Ruth who asked how many public parks were allowed to be used for wedding ceremonies. Bukhari said there were 813 small and big parks in Lahore, adding the law did not allow such functions, but they were still being held. The MPA found the information illogical, stressing that the law does not give permission for these ceremonies. The minister replied with a joke, saying that he even grants permission to those people who were marrying for the third or fourth time to host functions at these parks.

In reaction, the opposition MPAs stood up from their seats and said this was an irresponsible answer to a serious query. PTI’s Shaikh Khurram, naming the wives of the Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif, said that Imran Khan never forced a divorce

Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and other PTI legislators Dr Murad Rass, Nabila Hakim Ali Khan and others also reacted strongly to the minister’s answer which clearly targeted their party chief Imran Khan.

Responding to another query by JI MPA Dr Waseem Akhtar who asked when the government would implement its “master plan” of clean drinking water and sewerage for the people of Bahawalpur, Bukhari admitted there was no doubt the southern area was deprived of several facilities.

He said several schemes had been launched in different areas, but the projects never reached completion due to the negligence of departments concerned. However, he assured that specific problems, if sorted out, would be resolved at the soonest.

Minister Syed Haroon Ahmed Sultan Bokhari also could not satisfy PTI’s Dr Nausheed Hamid who asked if the news that the government had allotted 15 marlas of property to land grabbers was correct. The minister responded that the information was incorrect and the land was only handed over to deserving people by then chief minister Nawaz Sharif in 1990. Hamid objected by saying the property was not given to deserving people.

On Monday, there were 34 questions related to the Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Department on the agenda. Of the total, only six were taken up and five discussed. One of them was the question of PTI’s Shunila Ruth who protested against the unsatisfactory answers.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan had to leave the rest of the questions pending as the question-answer session time had finished due to a delay in the start of proceedings. The House was to begin at 2PM, but it started at 2:40pm instead.

The speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes due to the absence of the minister and the department secretary concerned. After that, proceedings started again with a delay of more than 30 minutes. Meanwhile, PTI’s Nabila Hakim Ali Khan pointed to the quorum and said the government could not show the required number of legislators after which the assembly was adjourned till 10am on Tuesday.

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Rain, snow claim five lives in K-P

Rain, snow claim five lives in K-P

Posted on 14 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 44

PESHAWAR: At least five people died and three others were injured in the rain and snow-related incidents across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa over the past two days.

Heavy rains and snow began on Sunday night across the province which continued on Tuesday. The snow had also stranded tourists in the hilly Hazara Division where roads were blocked in the Galiyat area.

In Mardan, a one-year-old boy died while his parents were injured on Monday evening when the roof of their house in Bageecha area of Shahbaz Garhi caved in, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said. The dead and injured were rushed to the MMC hospital in Mardan for treatment.
The toddler was identified as Husnain.

Meanwhile, the roof of another house caved in, in Peshawar’s Lal Kurti area. According to rescue 1122, 55-year-old Abdul Jamil and his eight-year-old son Umar. The boy’s mother was injured and had been rushed to the CMH for treatment.

In Lower Dir, the roof of a house collapsed due to heavy rain. The falling debris killed a woman and her daughter. Traffic in the city remained quite slow where because of construction on the BRT. Pools of rainwater around the construction site made it almost impossible for people to walk.

In Chitral, the Lowari Tunnel was closed down because of excessive snowfall on both sides of the tunnel while the authorities feared an avalanche.

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Four FC personnel martyred in targeted attack in Quetta

Four FC personnel martyred in targeted attack in Quetta

Posted on 14 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 36

QUETTA : At least four Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were martyred on Wednesday in a targeted firing incident in Quetta.

The FC personnel were patrolling the area near Sariab road early morning when unknown assailants on a motorcycle opened fire at their vehicle, critically injuring all four inside the car. The security officials were moved to Civil Hospital where they breathed their last.

Condemning the targeted incident, Governor Balochistan Mohammad Achakzai expressed condolences to the bereaved families. He urged the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) arrest the culprits at the earliest.

On January 15, five troops of paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) were martyred and six others sustained injuries when their vehicles were ambushed in Shapok area in Balochistan’s Kech district.

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Khalid Maqbool set to become new MQM-P CONVENER

Khalid Maqbool set to become new MQM-P CONVENER

Posted on 13 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 34

KARACHI ‘: After removing Farooq Sattar as its convener a day earlier, the Rabita Committee on Monday requested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to appoint Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as the party chief.

“Vide the minutes of the meeting of Rabita Committee held on February 11 at Bahadurabad, Sattar has been removed as convener. In his place Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has been elected by two-thirds majority,” said an application written by deputy convenor Kanwar Naveed Jamil, bearing signatures of 26 of the total 35 Rabita Committee members.

A senior ECP official confirmed to The Express Tribune that the Rabita Committee’s plea for a new convener has been accepted and Siddiqui will replace Sattar. “We have not yet issued a notice, but Siddiqui will head the party.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MOM-P) nominee for Senate election Barrister Farogh Naseem said that the party was not registered with Sattar, but he was its head.

“The Rabita Committee has removed Sattar with two-thirds majority. He is no longer the party head,” Barrister Naseem said, adding that Bahadurabad was the office of MQM-P and no one could claim it.

Responding to a question, he said, “The Rabita Committee has the authority to make such decisions under MQM-P’s constitution. It has also nominated candidates for the Senate election. Sattar can challenge it in court if he has any reservations over it.”

The general workers’ meeting convened by Sattar holds no legal or moral value as the Rabita Committee has removed him, he added.

When the Rabita Committee removed Sattar as convener, Sattar dissolved the committee in retaliation during a public meeting at KMC ground on Sunday night. He announced to hold intra-party elections on February 17 to elect a new body.

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Govt likely to allow PSO, Shell to recover old duty claims

Govt likely to allow PSO, Shell to recover old duty claims

Posted on 23 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 121

ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to allow two major oil marketing companies (OMCs) – Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Shell Pakistan – to recover two-year-old claims of Rs482 million on account of regulatory duty on petrol and high-speed diesel.

This will put an additional burden on consumers already reeling from gradually rising petroleum product prices.

According to an official, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has supported the recovery plan, but suggests that other OMCs should not be given the go-ahead if they come up with any such claim.
“The impact of these old claims from PSO and Shell will reflect in the monthly revision in petroleum product prices for the consumers, who will bear this additional burden,” the official said.

The duty claims have remained unresolved since May 2015 and now the government is planning to compensate the two OMCs.

The Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) has sought approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for duty collection through adjustments in petroleum prices.

The FBR had imposed 2.5% regulatory duty on imports of high-speed diesel and 2% on petrol and crude oil on April 30, 2015. After the issuance of a notification in that regard, PSO and Shell paid the duty but they could not recover it from the consumers for May 2015.

A senior official of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) told The Express Tribune that the regulator had estimated net duty claims of Rs482 million which included Rs356 million for PSO and Rs125 million for Shell.

“PSO and Shell have shared details of the regulatory duty paid by them and request that they should be allowed to recover the arrears,” he said.

The Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission, FBR and Ogra have backed the proposal that says the two OMCs should be allowed to recover arrears of the regulatory duty from the consumers.

However, the FBR suggested that other OMCs should not be permitted to recover the duty and in case the levy is withdrawn or reduced, its benefit should be passed on to the consumers.

The regulator emphasised that notifications regarding the duty on petroleum products should be issued on time in order to avoid such complications in the future.

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