PPP, allies trying to subvert judiciary: Imran Khan

LONDON: Former cricket hero and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan Thursday alleged that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its allies were banded together in a plot to subvert the judiciary.

“Asif Zardari has bought the majority in the Parliament through bribes, and they are all together to subjugate the judiciary. They have made a coalition against the rule of law in Pakistan and they are doing so under the umbrella of democracy. In reality, they are only saving and serving corruption,” asserted the PTI leader.

The PTI leader is in London for a week to meet media organisations and human rights groups about the proposed peace march to Waziristan. According to reports, Imran Khan is also hoping to take at least 1,00,000 people from across Pakistan with him as part of the peace caravan.

He also announced his intention of taking Western media representatives as part of a peace caravan into the heart of Waziristan in September to expose the reality and devastation caused by the United State’s drone campaign in Pakistan.

Imran Khan is in Britain to attend a grand ceremony where he will be honoured with the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Human rights charity Reprive — headed by Clive Stafford Smith — is helping Imran Khan organise the march.

Khan was speaking at a reception hosted by a charity of Kenyan Muslims where he was presented with a cheque of £40,000 for Namal College. In his address the PTI leader accused the United States of committing “war crimes” against its own ally Pakistan, adding that these strikes needed to be stopped. He also regretted that the campaign had killed hundreds of innocent tribal Pakistanis who had nothing to do with terrorism.

Imran maintained that for the first time mainstream western media would be taken into Waziristan so that they could see the war-torn area for themselves and meet the families who had lost everything in the incessant drone campaign. He added that expecting anything from the Pakistani government would be an exercise in futility. “Our rulers are slaves of America, they are in power because they serve the American unjust war. They are killing their own countrymen on behalf of America. They will never do anything about the innocent victims of the drone strikes,” Imran held.

He asserted that the government had failed to release the names of drone victims because it was hiding the fact that countless innocents had also been killed in the strikes. Imran Khan lamented that drones also killed those involved in rescue and relief efforts.

“What kind of war is this which has not achieved any of its targets in over a decade and has killed thousands of innocent Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This war is in violation of the international law, it needs to be exposed,” he maintained.

Commenting on the government’s tussle with the judiciary, Imran Khan said the corrupt political classes were against the supremacy of rule of law. “It is scared of an independent and competent judiciary. Raja Pervaiz Asharf has been made prime minister precisely to create a buffer between the courts and Asif Ali Zardari’s ill-gotten money in Swiss banks,” Imran charged.

He said the government cried foul whenever courts held them accountable. “The people of Pakistan can see through the scare tactics of this government, they know this government is bent on subverting the course of justice,” he said.

President nominates National Economic Council members

The members of the federal government nominated for NEC are: Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan, Federal Minister for Communications (MNA from Khyber Pakhtunkhawa) Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Federal Minister for Water and Power (MNA from Punjab) Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Planning and Development, Economic Affairs and Statistics (Senator from Sindh). Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Federal Minister for Science and Technology (MNA from Balochistan)

The President has also approved the nomination of Mr. Hasnain

Mirza, MPA from Sindh as the member of NEC from Sindh.

Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that according to Clause-1 of Article 156, the NEC comprises of the Prime Minister, the Chief Ministers and one member from each province to be nominated by the Chief Minister.

The Prime Minister may also nominate four other members from time to time.

He said that although it was neither mandatory nor constitutional requirement yet the former Prime Minister had nominated the above federal ministers, one from each province, on the NEC.

However, they ceased to be the member of the NEC on their ceasing to hold office of the Minister on 19th June 2012, notwithstanding their fresh oath taken on 22 June 2012.

Besides, it is prerogative of the Prime Minister to make nominations on the NEC, which require approval of the President, he said.

Spokesperson further said that the Chief Minister Sindh replacing his Advisor on Planning and Development made the nomination of Hasnain Mirza, as the member of NEC from Sindh.

The President also approved the nomination after approval from the Prime Minister’s office. (APP)

Parliament and democracy are solution to problems: PM Raja Pervaiz

KARACHI: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said Sunday that the solution of the country’s problems is Parliament and democracy. Prime Minister Ashraf was speaking to the media following his visit to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum.

The new prime minister when asked about NATO supplies replied that the decision would be made by the Parliament.

Ashraf added that his government would be paying special attention to the energy crisis and the law and order situation. “We are giving priority to law and order issues,” Ashraf said.

The new prime minister emphasised that neither he nor his party believed in the politics on confrontation and would continue to pursue the policy of reconciliation.

Earlier, PM Ashraf visited the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah along with Sindh Governor Dr Isratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira, Manzoor Wattoo and others.

The Prime Minister laid floral wreath on the mausoleum and offered fateha. It was the first visit of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf after being elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Gilani disqualified as PM: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has disqualified Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani as the prime minister in its short order of the NA Speaker ruling case,  Yousuf Raza Gilani is disqualified from membership of parliament from April 26, the date of his conviction. He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan," said chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, reading the order."The Election Commission shall issue a notice of disqualification and the president is required to take necessary steps to ensure continuation of democratic process," he added.The apex court was seized with identical petitions challenging NA Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza's rulings not to send a reference for the prime minister's disqualification to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and comprising Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard the identical petitions, filed by the PML-N, Tehreek-e-Insaf and others against the NA speaker's ruling over the disqualification of the prime minister.During today's proceedings, the Chief Justice remarked that PM Gilani's conviction could have been suspended if it was challenged. 'Only the appellate court can review a judicial ruling, no one can wipe away a judicial ruling.'Following is the text of the SC order:Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, CJ.- For reasons to be recorded later, the titled petitions are disposed of as under:
(1) This Court in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is competent to ensure enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens in all matters of public importance;
(2) The Speaker of the National Assembly under Article 63(2) of the Constitution exercises powers, which are not covered by the definition of internal proceedings of Majlise-Shoora, therefore, this Court, in exercise of power of judicial review, is not debarred from inquiring into the order dated 25.05.2012. Reference in this behalf may be made to the cases of Mining Industries of Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. v. Deputy Speaker, Balochistan Provincial Assembly (PLD 2006 Quetta 36), Madad Ali v. Province of Sindh (1996 SCMR 366), Shams-ud-Din v. Speaker, Balochistan Provincial Assembly (1994 MLD 2500), Muhammad Naeem Akhtar v. Speaker, Sindh Provincial Assembly (1992 CLC 2043), Farzand Ali v. Province of West Pakistan (PLD 1970 SC 98); Muhammad Anwar Durrani v. Province of Baluchistan (PLD 1989 Quetta 25); Jagjit Singh v. State of Haryana (AIR 2007 SC 590) and Rajendra Singh Rana v. Swami Prasad Maurya (AIR 2007 SC 1305);
(3) As a Bench of 7 Hon'ble Judges vide judgment dated 26.04.2012 followed by the detailed reasons released on 08.05.2012 has found Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani guilty of contempt of Court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment till rising of the Court under section 5 of the said Ordinance, and since no appeal was filed against this judgment, the conviction has attained finality. Therefore, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this Court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences, i.e. he has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly;
(4) The Election Commission of Pakistan is required to issue notification of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora w.e.f. 26.4.2012; and
(5) The President of Pakistan is required to take necessary steps under the Constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country.

One killed, 10 injured in Karachi grenade attack

KARACHI: A man was killed and ten others were injured when unknown miscreants hurled a hand grenade at a shop here on Saturday,

According to rescue sources, unidentified culprits hurled a hand grenade at a shop located at Jamshed Road that injured 11 people initially out of which one man later succumbed to his injuries in Civil Hospital.

Witnesses told that the attackers were riding a motorcycle and attacked the saturated section of the restaurant. The injured were rushed to Jinnah and Civil hospitals.

A senior police official told that investigation into the incident is underway.

Sources told that the restaurant was attacked as the owner had not paid the extortion money of Rs1.5 million, however, police and hotel administration did not confirm the news.

Ties with Nato, US on crossroads: PM Gilani

 In his address to the cabinet, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that ties with the US and NATO were on a crossroads and the time had come to make some important decisions.

"National interest will not be compromised when making a decision regarding ties with the US and NATO."

Gilani further said that there would be no compromise on the country’s principals and the government would not take any emotional decisions.

The cabinet is meeting after the cabinet's defence committee cleared the way for President Asif Ali Zardari to attend next week's NATO summit in Chicago.

That defence committee meeting also authorised officials to conclude negotiations on new terms and conditions for resuming the transit of fuel and other non-lethal items required by NATO troops in their decade-long fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the prime minister's office said.

Islamabad shut its Afghan border crossings to NATO after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26 as relations with the United States, already frayed by the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, plunged into their worst ever crisis.

Pakistan's attendance in Chicago, where NATO leaders meet Sunday and Monday, would ease its international isolation and could boost its leverage over the future of Afghanistan, as Western countries pull out their combat forces by 2014.

Islamabad boycotted the last major talks on Afghanistan, held in Bonn in December.

The prime minister's office said overnight that Pakistan would "continue to remain engaged" with the United States on both issues.

Analysts say Pakistan had no choice but acquiesce to immense international pressure to reopen the border with US cash needed to help boost its meagre state coffers with the government seeking re-election within a year.

Washington said both countries had made "considerable progress" on ending the blockade, which has halted fuel and supply trucks from the southern port city of Karachi to two Afghan border crossings.

"We will continue to work on this throughout the week. Obviously, it'll be a wonderful signal if we can get it done by the time of the summit," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. (AFP)

President Zardari, COAS Kayani review rescue work in Gayari

SKARDU: President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani have arrived in Gayari to review rescue efforts.

President Zardari upon arrival received a briefing on the rescue operation.

Army Chief Kayani reached Skardu where he greeted President Zardari at the airport. President Zardari is being accompanied by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

On Tuesday, PML-N president Nawaz Sharif visited Gayari.

SC issues contempt notice against Addl IG

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court has issued contempt notice against Additional I.G. Aslam Tareen over arresting nine persons of pharmaceutical company in contravention of its earlier order in the Punjab Institute of Cardiology’s spurious medicine scandal case,

The bench comprising of Justice Tasadduq Jilani and Justice Saqib Nisar was hearing the spurious medicine scandal case here.

Pharmaceutical company lawyer, Khalid Ranjha told that the Supreme Court on January 30 had ordered the police not to make arrests, in spite of that Shadman police station, Lahore arrested nine persons, who had come from Karachi for cooperating in the investigations.

On query by the court, the concerned SHO said that he was aware of the court order, but these persons were arrested on the directive of the Additional I.G.

The court ordered to present all the arrested persons tomorrow before the Magistrate in Lahore, while the issuance of the contempt notice against the Additional I.G. was also decreed.

The court has also sought investigation report within three days from the Punjab government.

Punjab: Loadshedding prevails, so does protests

LAHORE/FAISALABAD/SARGODHA:Violentdemonstrations, against rolling electricity blackouts, are in full swing across Punjab,

Reportedly the most affected are Lahore, Sargodha, and Faisalabad.

In Sargodha, agitating demonstrators resorted to vandalism as well as arson as they threw the merchandise out of a number of shops and set it on fire.

On the other hand angry power-outage-victims attacked the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) office in the Township area of the city against an addition of fuel adjustment surcharge in the electricity bills.

They turned the office upside down breaking the furniture down to pieces. Reportedly, the mob first demanded of the power company authorities to withdraw the surcharge, but resorted to violence after they were denied any such relief.

The LESCO office bore the brunt of their wrath as they tried to break everything form windowpanes to cupboards apart. Upon this the Executive Engineer (Ex-en) called in the police, who later forced the protestors out of the office building.

In Faisalabad, daily-wagers flooded the streets against unscheduled loadshedding despite an assurance by the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO) of cutting the outages down to almost zero.

Meanwhile, protestors also poured onto Sumandri Road, Sudhar Bypass, Nerdwala Road, and Sargodha Road.

Swiss cases: AG office receives court order

ISLAMABAD: The Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) has received Supreme Court’s (SC) order on writing the letter to Swiss authorities by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for the reopening of corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari,

A seven-member bench heard the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case on March 08 and ordered Prime Minister Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen cases.

The court had directed the prime minister to write the letter without getting any advice.

The SC had also ordered for delivering the court order to PM via the attorney general.

PM arrives in Multan for three-day visit

MULTAN: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani arrived here Friday on a three-day visit.

The Prime Minister soon after arrival left for the PM House where he is expected to meet different delegations.

On Saturday, the PM will attend a ceremony being organized by the Air University and later will get a briefing from officials on Southern Punjab uplift package and city beautification plan.

The prime minister will also inaugurate projects executed by National Highway Authority. Later, PM Gilani will meet with different delegations at the local circuit house the same day.

On Sunday, the prime minister will distribute keys of newly built 143 homes among the flood hit women at Benazir Model Village being built near Sinawan in district Muzaffargarh.

The prime minister would also attend a lunch being hosted in his honour by MPA Dr Akhtar Malik in Multan the same day. (APP)

Barhamdagh Bugti supports US Balochistan resolution

QUETTA: Leader of Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti said on Wednesday that he supports the US Congress resolution on Balochistan self-determination.

Barhamdagh Bugti, grandson of slain Nawb Akbar Khan Bugti, was addressing the media over telephone from Switzerland and said that attacks were being carried out and bodies were being dumped in the province for two years while the operation is underway in the province for the past six years.

‘Balochistan issue could not be resolved through packages,’ he added.

Barhamdagh said the elements responsible for atrocities in Balochistan are now talking about the All Parties’ Conference. He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has now realized the plight of Balochis. He claimed that by raising Balochistan issue, Nawaz wants to save his political interests.

He said that situation in Balochistan was not hidden from any one but nobody paid attention towards the deteriorating situation of the province.

Stable Afghanistan in Pak interest: PM Gilani

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday that a stable Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and the region.

The prime minister added that Islamabad would provide training to Afghan security officials.

Meanwhile Afghan President Karzai took Pakistan into confidence about ongoing talks with Taliban groups.

Talks were held in the federal capital between delegates of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pakistani delegation was led by Prime Minister Gilani while the Afghan delegation was led by President Hamid Karzai.

During the talks it was agreed that serious efforts would be made to solve the Afghan problem, while intelligence and security cooperation would be increased to secure the border.

Prior to these talks, Prime Minister Gilani held a one on one meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss bilateral ties and the situation in the region.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Islamabad to participate in trilateral summit.

The presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran will meet here to promoting regional cooperation and strengthening peace and stability.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and is also expected to arrive in Islamabad today.

PM Gilani indicted in contempt case

ISLAMABAD: A seven member bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk Monday framed charge against Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in a suo moto case No. 4/2010 etc (Contempt of Court Matter) for non-compliance of para 178 of the Supreme Court (SC) judgement in National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

The bench comprising Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Athar Saeed after a brief proceedings of the contempt of court case framed the two-page charge sheet against the Prime Minister for non-compliance of the SC judgement on NRO.

He is the first prime minister of the country who has been indicted in contempt of court. Gilani, who swept into the court dressed in a dark suit, grey tie, white shirt and cufflinks, was charged within minutes of appearing.

Attorney General for Pakistan Moulvi Anwar ul Haq assisted the court during the proceedings of the contempt of court case.

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan appeared before the court as counsel of the prime minister.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Asfandyar Wali Khan and federal ministers including Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Syed Khurshid Shah, Mir Changeze Jamali, Syed Naveed Qamar, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Rehman A Malik and Maula Bakhash Chandio, Governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khan Khosa and a large number of members of the Parliament and leaders belonging to PPP were also present in the court room during the contempt proceedings against the prime minister.

On the question of the bench regarding the charge sheet, the prime minister said, "I will reply to the charge sheet in writing. I will defend myself".

Do you accept the charge sheet, the head of the bench Justice Nasir ul Mulk questioned after reading out the two-page charge sheet.

PM Gilani said "No".

The bench directed the Attorney General to act as prosecutor in the contempt of court case and submit all relevant documents including list of witnesses of the case till February 16.

The AG was also directed to record evidence from the prosecution side till February 22.

The bench exempted the prime minister from his personal appearance before the court.

However, Aitzaz Ahsan will also submit relevant documents from the defence side including the list of witnesses till February 27. The prime minister will defend the charge sheet on February 28.

The bench will also take up the hearing of the case on February 28 for further proceedings.

7 troops killed, 5 kidnapped in Lower Kurram

PESHAWAR: Seven security personnel were killed while five others were kidnapped by the militants from Lower Kurram area Friday,

According to sources, militants attacked a check post in Shidano Dand area near Pak-Afghan border and killed seven troops while abducted five others.

The attack overnight on Shidano Dand post in the tribal Kurram region triggered clashes in which 18 militants were also killed, a military official said.

Memogate: Mansoor Ijaz seeks more time to appear

ISLAMABAD: Mansoor Ijaz's Counsel Akram Sheikh Advocate told the Memo Commission that his client has applied for Pakistan's visa at the Swiss Embassy.

The counsel said Mansoor Ijaz might appear before the commission on January 24.

Ijaz was to appear today but his lawyer sought relaxation saying his client is getting his family insured for security.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court (BHC) Justice Qazi Faiz Isa resumed the hearing of infamous Memogate case.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif, former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz's counsel Akram Shaikh were present during hearing.

On the other hand, Blackberry maker, Research in Motion (RIM) has refused to release data related to 'memogate' scandal.

The Canada-based phone manufacturer said that their privacy laws strictly prohibit disclosure of a customer's data to any other party without the consent of the concerned parties, thus Pakistan cannot have it.

Imran ready to talk to all parties except PML-N

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has held the PML-N equally responsible for the current circumstances in the country, saying that it was just raising slogans of 'Go Zardari Go.

Talking to the media here on Thursday, Imran Khan refused to talk to the Nawaz league, but was willing to talk to all other parties.

PTI chairman advised the PML-N members to resign from the assemblies if they were serious about their stance against the government.

Tehreek-e-Insaf would not support any military coup, Imran said, adding that any unconstitutional step would not be tolerated.

Bodies of 10 missing soldiers found

KOHAT: Pakistani authorities have recovered the bodies of 10 soldiers who were taken away after a clash with militants in Upper Orakzai, security officials said Monday. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the responsibility for killing the troops.

An official of the military's media wing said they had been missing in Orakzai district since December 25 when militants attacked a check post.

The bodies were found Sunday.

One security official said 23 soldiers were attacked in the late-night attack by up to 100 heavily armed militants. The bullet-riddled bodies of the missing 10 were found dumped in Dabori town of the tribal area.

Don’t know who wants me to meet Zardari: Nawaz

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif denied any reports regarding meeting with President Zardari with reference to Aslam Raisani’s statement,

Nawaz said that he is unaware who wanted him to meet the president and that he has not come to Karachi after consulting President Zardari.

While talking to media at Karachi airport, the PML-N chief told that his party is in favor of resuming Bahawalpur’s old status and forming Hazara province.

He said if the present government is sincere with democracy, then it should announce fresh elections soon.

ISPR denies contents of article about DG ISI's visit to Arab countries

RAWALPINDI: The ISPR has rejected report of a UK paper saying ISI chief met Arab leaders in May,The ISPR statement said: "DG ISI did not meet any Arab leader during May 1-9 and a legal notice has been sent to British paper on wrong story".British paper published wrong news on Dec 13, the denial said, adding that trip to Arab states was routine, intel sharing visit which was wrongly portrayed.UK's The Independent in its December 13 report said that DG ISI Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha had sought and 'received permission from senior Arab leaders to sack Z' (President Zardari).

US Congress imposes restrictions on aid to Pakistan

WASHINGTON: US Congress has passed the bill imposing more conditions on aid to Pakistan under foreign assistance.

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping funding bill with solid bipartisan support - 296 lawmakers voted for it and 121 voted against it.

The legislation freezes aid to Pakistan until the secretary can certify that Islamabad is cooperating on counterterrorism, including taking steps to prevent terrorist groups such as the Haqqani network from operating in the country. The aid amount was unspecified in the legislation as Congress gave the Obama administration flexibility to figure out the funds.

Abbottabad Commission summons Wajid Shamsul Hasan

ISLAMABAD: The Abbottabad Commission has summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan in the last week of December.Hasan has been summoned to explain comments he made in a recent interview. The high commissioner had said that it might be possible that Pakistani leadership was aware of the May 2 operation. The commission also heard opinions of legal experts Wasim Sajjad, Justice (retired) Nasira Iqbal and S.M. Zafar.

President is not resigning: close aides

ISLAMABAD: Sources close to President Asif Zardari have denied media reports about him resigning on account of ill health and said he is expected to return after routine medical checkup,

The sources term magazine news baseless and fabricated.

A US magazine claimed that President Zardari is under extreme pressure over the Memogate scandal and has been hospitalised in Dubai for medical checkups, complaining of heartache.

Citing former US official, American magazine Foreign Policy reported that the US government was informed that Zardari had a 'minor heart attack' on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance on Tuesday.

According to the US magazine, Zardari may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of 'ill health’.

Pakistan not to participate in Bonn Conference

LAHORE: Pakistan will boycott an international conference on Afghanistan's future in Bonn next week to protest against a Nato cross-border attack that killed two dozen soldiers,

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, while chairing the Cabinet meeting, announced to summon a joint session of the parliament after the recommendations of the parliamentary committee on National Security to discuss Mohmand Agency incident and the controversial memo affair.

Foreign ministers belonging to more than 90 countries are expected to attend the Bonn Conference that is believed to take up sensitive and thorny issues regarding the withdrawal of occupying forces for the war torn country and entering into dialogue with the Taliban.

The Cabinet agreed that unilateral actions like Abbottabad incident and last Saturday in Mohmand Agency were "not acceptable".

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar briefed the Cabinet about the incident and described the ongoing diplomatic efforts to highlight the violation of Pakistan's territorial sovereignty, which is also a violation of the international law.

The Cabinet extended deepest condolences to the families of those who embraced Shahadat last Saturday in Mohmand Agency.

NATO air attack on Pakistan check post kills 20

PESHAWAR: NATO helicopters from Afghanistan carried out an "unprovoked" attack on a Pakistani border post, killing at least 20 troops and injuring four others Saturday, the military said.

According to a military spokesman, NATO helicopters carried out unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on a Pakistani checkpost in Mohmand agency last night.

Security officials in the Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border and a military official in Peshawar said 20 troops including two officers were killed in the pre-dawn incident.

They said the attack took place on the Salala checkpost in the Baizai district of the rugged tribal terrain.

NATO confirmed it was aware of "an incident" near the border and said it was investigating.

All entry and exit points of Mohmand Agency were sealed by the security forces after the incident.

 President Zardari was unaware of the memo: Ijaz

KARACHI: Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has stepped back from one of his claims and said that President Asif Ali Zardari was not aware of the controversial memo sent to US military chief Mike Mullen,

Mansoor Ijaz has rejected any such reports claiming that there was some understanding between President Zardari and Ambassador Husain Haqqani regarding the document sent to Mike Mullen.

Ijaz claimed that the President might have spoken to Husain Haqqani about the pressure on him after the May raid, hence asking the latter to help him out in this regard.

The businessman rejected the idea of any missing links in the memo chain.

Earlier in his article published in the Financial Times, Ijaz had claimed that he had drafted and delivered a memo to Admiral Mullen with the help of a top diplomat on President Zardari’s instructions.

 Poor peoples money spent on rental power project: CJ

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Tuesday, while hearing the rental power case, in his remarks said that the amount spent on the project belonged to the poor men, who do not get two-times meal.

Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the rental power case here today.

Ministry of water and power’s attorney, Tariq Rahim arguing the case said that the ministry of finance had given the approval of the rental power projects. The ministry assured the payment of the fund in May 2008, but it backed out in December. He said that in a bid to save the paid amount to the rental power and investment, the advance was increased from 7 to 14 percent.

On this occasion, member of the apex court bench, Justice Khilji Arif in his remarks termed the rental power affairs a criminal negligence instead of negligence.

Pak considers talks with India positive: Khar

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Friday said Pakistan welcomes India's readiness for a broad ranging engagement and has agreed to finalize the calendar of meetings.

A statement quoting the Foreign Minister said both sides had also agreed to convene technical working groups prior to the holding of Pakistan India Joint Commission.

Khar said Pakistan has positively evaluated the talks between Prime Ministers Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh at Maldives on the sidelines of the Saarc Summit.

She said the talks had contributed to impel a seriousness of purpose to the process of engagement with both sides reaffirming their commitment to the pursuit of peace and discussing all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir in a result oriented manner.

Foreign Minister said both leaders noted terrorism as a common problem and said that instead of remaining mired in accusations and counter accusations, the real way forward was "cooperation".

She said Interior and Home Secretaries of the two countries had been mandated to discuss counter terrorism and counter narcotics.

The Foreign minister said that Mumbai, Samjhota and other terror related matters needed to be addressed by both sides in the Interior and Home ministries segment.

Pakistan's Interior minister was prepared to visit New Delhi and was awaiting dates for the visit from India. Pakistan also awaited dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from India.

CM orders crackdown against kite businesses

LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of incident of death of a 30-year-old man due to a stray kite string in Subzazar area and suspended DSP, SHO and TMO,

The CM also ordered a crackdown on people associated with kite busness. He was heading a meeting in provincial capital. He said the local administration would be held responsible if such an incident took place again.

A man died due to a stray kite string while the ban on kite-flying in the provincial capital was witnessed to be flouted in many areas of Lahore during Eid holidays.

The ill-fated man, who was later identified as Mohammad Atif, 30, a resident of Kot Lakhpat, was going to Social Security Hospital on his bike to deliver medicines he had bought for his mother who was admitted to the said hospital. He was passing through Mandi Stop Multan Road when a stray kite string cut his throat. Some locals with the help of Rescue 1122 rushed him to a local hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

Eid-ul-Adha celebrated with religious fervour

ISLAMABAD: Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated throughout the country with religious fervor and enthusiasm to pay homage to the great sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS).

The day dawned with special Eid sermons where Ulema stressed for unity of Muslim Ummah and prayers were held for the prosperity and progress of the country.

People prayed to Allah Almighty in mosques and Eidgahs for the solidarity, prosperity and integrity of the country and for the liberation of occupied territories, including the Held Jammu and Kashmir.

After Eid prayers, the faithful slaughtered camels, cows, goats, rams and sheep to revive the Sunnah of Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). The process will continue till Wednesday evening.

The Muslims also slaughtered animals after the Eid prayers and then distributed the meat among the deserving people besides their kin and dear ones.

Special arrangements were made for Eid prayers at over 300 places in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The biggest Eid congregation in the Federal Capital was held at Faisal Mosque, where thousands faithful prayed for blessing of the Almighty Allah.

In Lahore Eid prayers' congregations were held in all major mosques of the city with main congregations at Badshahi Masjid and Data Ganj Bakhsh Masjid.

In Karachi, Eid prayers congregations were held at over 550 Eidgahs, mosques and grounds of the city. The main congregations were held at Nishtar Park, Polo Ground, Memon Masjid, Jamia Binnoria, Masjid Baitul Mukarram, Shah Khurasan Iranian and Masjid Bou Turab.

In Peshawar, major Eid prayers congregations were held at Markazi Eidgah, Sunehri Masjid and Masjid Mahabat Khan.

In Quetta, Eid prayer congregations were held at over 300 places.

Scholars from different schools of thought delivered special sermons to highlight the significance of the day and the sublime objective of the sacrifice rendered by Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) centuries ago.

US tightens drone rules: WS Jounal

WASHINGTON: The US spy agency has quietly tightened its rules on drone strikes in Pakistan over concerns about their impact on tense relations with Islamabad, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Journal, citing senior officials, said the new rules resulted from a behind-the-scenes battle between an aggressive Central Intelligence Agency and US military and diplomatic officials concerned about relations with Pakistan.

A high-level review reaffirmed support for the drone program - which has killed hundreds of militants, including top commanders, in recent years - but established new rules to minimize the diplomatic blowback, the Journal said.

The changes reportedly include granting the State Department greater sway in strike decisions, giving Pakistani leaders advance warning of more operations and suspending operations when Pakistani officials visit the United States.

"It's not like they took the car keys away from the CIA," the Journal quoted a senior official as saying. "There are just more people in the car."

The Journal said the debate was sparked by a particularly deadly drone strike on March 17 that took place just one day after Pakistan agreed to release a CIA contractor who had killed two Pakistanis.

Tensions between the two allies escalated throughout the spring, climaxing in May with the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in a secret US commando raid carried out without Islamabad's knowledge.

At issue in the debate over drones were so-called "signature strikes," in which unmanned drones fire on groups of suspected militants without necessarily knowing all their identities, and which make up the bulk of operations.

Such strikes are seen as more controversial than "personality" strikes, which target alleged top militants, the Journal said.

US officials do not publicly discuss the drone program, but claim to have substantially weakened Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent months by taking out top leaders.

Pakistan has criticized the program, however, saying it inflames anti-American sentiment and extremism by killing scores of civilians. (AFP)

Shahbaz sees country turning into Al Tahrir Square

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif has said that persisting corruption, poverty and unemployment would turn this country into Al Tahrir Square, while the people would be picketing those stashing away looted wealth in Switzerland.

Addressing a meeting of the Dengue Emergency Committee here, Punjab CM, Shahbaz Sharif said that corruption could not be eradicated without the system of accountability and added, “Corruption is being promoted.”

Shahbaz said that the courts telling that their rulings were not being accepted and vowed that he would be talking about corruption not ones, but thousand times. He said that the people would be picketing those sending country’s looted wealth to Switzerland and the thieves and robbers would be dragged in the streets.

Punjab CM said he takes the taunts relating to Dengue an honour to him and declared he would continue doing whatever possible for saving the life of a Dengue patient. He said he has prepared a Dengue plan, which would soon be presented in the cabinet.

Will not talk Afghan peace alone: Haqqani commander

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Haqqani insurgent network will not take part individually in any peace talks with the United States and negotiations must be led by the Taliban leadership, a senior commander said on Tuesday.

"They (the Americans) would not be able to find a possible solution to the Afghan conflict until and unless they hold talks with the Taliban shura," said the Haqqani group commander, referring to the Taliban leadership council.

Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Islamabad with a heavyweight team of US military and intelligence leaders, urged Pakistan to persuade the Haqqanis to pursue peace.

She also warned that tough action would have to be taken against Afghan and Pakistani militants if they did not cooperate in efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.

The Haqqani commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, viewed her efforts with scepticism.

"This is not the first time the US has approached us for peace talks. The Americans had made several such attempts for talks which we rejected as we are an integral part of the Taliban led by Mullah Mohammad Omar," he said.

"We are united and our goal is to liberate our homeland Afghanistan from the clutches of occupying forces."

Clinton said the United States had held preliminary meetings with the Haqqani network arguably the most dangerous Afghan insurgent faction and was working with Afghanistan and Pakistan to try to put together a peace process. (Reuters)

US wants Pakistan to take 'strong steps' on Afghan militants

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday urged Pakistan to take "strong steps" to deny Afghan militants safe haven and to encourage the Taliban to reconcile after 10 years of fighting.

"We look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny Afghan insurgents safe havens and to encourage the Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith," Clinton told reporters alongside Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

She said conversations had been specific and in depth, adding that the United States was looking for action "over the next days and weeks, not months and years, but days and weeks because we have a lot of work to do to realise our shared goals."

The top US diplomat insisted that Washington was committed to a long-term relationship with Pakistan, saying that the country "has a critical role in supporting Afghanistan reconciliation and ending the conflict".

Relations between Pakistan and the United States deteriorated dramatically over the May 2 American special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad and US accusations over the September 13 US embassy siege in Kabul.

But while Clinton was at pains to emphasise the points of common interest, she called for "greater cooperation" from Islamabad on squeezing the Haqqani network blamed for the US embassy siege and which has a base in Pakistan.

"If we're going to give peace a chance, we have some work to do. That's what we've been discussing in detail," said Clinton.

With US and Afghan troops now pressing a new offensive against the Haqqani network in eastern Afghanistan, Clinton called on Pakistan to up the pressure on militant safe havens on its side of the border.

"Similarly we need greater cooperation on the Pakistani side of the border... We want to squeeze these terrorists so that they cannot kill any Pakistani, any Afghan or anyone," she said.

Pakistan has so far refused to open a new offensive against the Haqqani network in its leadership base in North Waziristan, arguing that its troops are too overstretched and that the country has already sacrificed too many lives.

"It's not just military action. There is greater sharing of intelligence so we can prevent and intercept the efforts by the Haqqanis or the Taliban to try to cross the border or to plan an attack," said Clinton.

"We are working to establish concrete steps to address the planning and execution of attacks inside Afghanistan and inside Pakistan," said Clinton.

"I want very much for the people of Pakistan to understand that we're in this fight with you and we want to do everything we can to try to end the violence and eliminate the threat that stalks every day people's lives." (AFP)

Nisar rejects Fasih Bukhari nomination

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar has rejected the nomination of Admiral Fasih Bukhari (retd) for the post of chairman National Accountability Bureau,

The opposition leader noted that the government has not adopted the proper consultative procedure. 'The Chief Justice of Pakistan was not consulted either.' Nisar also pointed that that at least three names should have been proposed for the post of NAB chief.

President Asif Zardari had recommended the name of Admiral Fasih Bukhari for the post of Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The president wrote letters to Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the House for their comments.

Admiral Fasih Bokhari is a retired four-star naval officer and the former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of the Pakistan Navy from 1997 to 1999.

He resigned as Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan Navy on October 6, 1999 after being superseded by much junior military officer and newly promoted General Pervez Musharraf, when he was appointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in addition to his being Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army.

 4 ncluding 3 foreigners arrested from Jehlum

JEHLUM: Jehlum police arrested four people including three Germans from GT Road Saturday,

According to DSP Saddar Ghulam Mustafa, three foreigners along with a local driver were traveling towards Jehlum from Rawalpindi when they were arrested.

The arrested people were transferred to Dinah police station for further investigation while their traveling documents will also be verified.

Attack on Hazara community in Quetta: 14 dead

QUETTA: At least 14 people of the Hazara community were killed and seven seriously injured after unknown gunmen riding motorcycles emptied their automatic weapons at a bus in Akhtarabad area of Quetta,
Reportedly around 20-30 people on board a passenger bus came under fire on their way to Hazar Ganji from Quetta.

Eyewitnesses say the gunmen stopped the bus, dragged some passengers down and shot them dead following which they opened indiscriminate fire on the bus making more kills.

Police have cordoned off the area and the dead/injured are now being rushed to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) as Bolan Medical Complex to which they were shifted earlier lacked emergency treatment facilities, said last reports.

The attackers made their escape before the police could arrive at the scene. Later, some enraged people set the ill-fated bus on fire.

APC: Gilani says Pak cannot be pressurised to do more

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday while rejecting the US statements against Pakistan, said the country cannot be pressurized to “do more” and urged the nation to stand united to confront the challenges.

He was addressing the country’s political leadership at the specially convened All Parties Conference (APC) here at the PM House, in the wake of recent statements from senior US officials accusing Pakistan of supporting the Haqqani network.

Prime Minister Gilani said there was a need to resolve issues in a responsible and positive manner and said these could only be addressed through dialogue. He rejected the statements by the US officials regarding alleged involvement of Pakistan’s government and its Armed Forces in the attacks on US embassy and the Nato headquarters in Kabul.

“Pakistan cannot be pressurized to do more,” he categorically said and termed the statements “surprising”, particularly as these simply ignored the immense sacrifices rendered by the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan.

He said Pakistan desired relations based on mutual respect, dignity and honour.

“Protection and upholding of national sovereignty is our first priority,” Gilani said and added that Pakistani nation was an honourable and respectable nation and was resilient and strong enough to tackle all important challenges to its national interests.

He said political parties were the true representatives of the masses and had gathered here to evolve national consensus on important national issues.

PM Gilani said Pakistan stood at a critical juncture and mentioned that from Afghanistan’s insurgency in 1979 to the involvement of international powers, the country took a lead role in ensuring regional and world peace.

He pointed to the recent incidents of lawlessness in Afghanistan and said these had dealt a severe blow to the peace efforts. He mentioned the formation of the Joint Peace commission on the request of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and said Pakistan fully supports the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led efforts for transition.

He also mentioned the formation of the trilateral group, comprising the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan for interaction and cooperation at the strategic and operational level and said Pakistan was desirous of working for the return of complete peace to the strife-torn country.

The premier said the recent assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, head of the High Peace Council, had severely damaged the chances of a peaceful transition in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan desired support and cooperation of the international community.

Gilani said the Pakistani political leadership and the nation had to stand up to the challenges, by rising above petty political differences to defend its territory, national sovereignty and integrity.

He said the people had complete faith in its Armed Forces and would focus on the challenges facing the nation so that the world also knows that Pakistani nation stands united in times of difficulty.

He thanked the political leadership to participate in the important meeting. He said the meeting was to discuss vital national issues and to apprise them about the latest changes in the region.

PM Gilani convenes APC on September 29

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has convened the All Parties Conference (APC) on September 29, The prime minister has invited all political leadership to this conference which will be attended by top government officials.

The conference is expected to discuss Pak-US ties and the country’s security situation.

The relationship between Pakistan and the US has been tense over the issue of Haqqani network. Top US civil and military leadership have accused Pakistan of maintaining ties with the Haqqani network and fuelling a proxy war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan on the other hand has denied all the accusations leveled by the US and said that such statements are counterproductive for the relationship.

 US Centcom chief meets Gen Kayani

ISLAMABAD: A top American military commander was in Pakistan on Saturday for talks with the army chief at a time of intense strain between the two countries.

The US Embassy said Gen. James Mattis, head of US Central Command, arrived in Pakistan late Friday, and that he will meet the army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Ties between Islamabad and Washington are in crisis after American officials stepped up accusations that Pakistan's premier spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), was aiding insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan, including those who took part in an attack on the US Embassy last week in Kabul.

Kayani said on Friday that the charges were baseless and part of a public "blame game" detrimental to peace in Afghanistan. Other Islamabad officials urged Washington to present evidence for such a serious allegation. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar warned the United States is risking losing an ally in the war on terror.

The row began when Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday accused the ISI agency of supporting Haqqani insurgents in planning and executing last week's 22-hour assault on the US Embassy and a truck bombing that wounded 77 American soldiers days earlier.

Kayani said the allegations were "very unfortunate and not based on facts."

The claims were the most serious yet by an American official against nuclear-armed Pakistan, which Washington has given billions in civilian and military aid over the last 10 years to try to secure its cooperation inside Afghanistan and against al-Qaida.

The Haqqani insurgent network is widely believed to be based in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area along the Afghan border. The group has historical ties to Pakistani intelligence, dating back to the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The relationship between the two countries has never been smooth, but it took one of its hardest hits when US commandos slipped into Pakistan on May 2 without informing the Pakistanis of their mission and killed Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in a garrison town not far from Islamabad. (AP)

US Senate panel votes restrictions on Pak aid

WASHINGTON: A US Senate committee voted on Wednesday to make economic and security aid to Pakistan conditional on its cooperation in fighting militants such as the Haqqani network.

The Senate committee did not specify any amount for economic aid to Pakistan for fiscal 2012, leaving it up to the Obama administration to set the level and notify Congress - or provide nothing at all.

"If the administration wants to provide zero, that'd be OK with us," said Republican Senator Mark Kirk, one of the more vocal critics of Pakistan on the panel.

The committee did approve $1 billion for the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Capability Fund, which was created in 2009 to help Pakistan's military develop counter-insurgency capabilities to fight militants within its borders.

But the committee voted to make this aid, as well as any economic aid that is provided, conditional on Pakistan's cooperating with Washington against several militant groups.

In addition to the Haqqani network, these groups include al Qaeda and the Quetta Shura. They also include Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Punjab-based group blamed for attacks on Mumbai, India, in November 2008.

The restrictions were part of a foreign aid bill that the committee approved and sent to the Senate floor. It will have to be reconciled with the House of Representatives, where lawmakers in one subcommittee have voted similar restrictions. (Reuters)

 Terrorists will be stopped: Wasan

KARACHI: Home Minister Sindh, Manzoor Wasan said Monday that target killing in the city had been stopped and terrorists would also be eliminated,

Wasan was visiting the Defence area where a suicide attack took place at the residence of SSP CID Chaudhry Aslam.

The home minister said terrorists wanted to show that they would not let Karachi remain peaceful and another conspiracy was being hatched against the city.

Wasan announced compensation of Rs 2 million for families of the six policemen who were killed in the attack and also said that compensation would be paid to the family of the woman and child who were killed.

Wasan added that 64 policemen had lost their lives in the line of duty this year.Click to add text, images, and other content

Verdict reserved in Karachi suo moto case

KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has adjourned the hearing of the Karachi violence suo moto case and reserved its verdict, Geo News reported.

According to the sources, the SC ordered law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to facilitate the prosecutors.

The court further instructed that all the Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs) must ensure there is no extortion in their areas while the police should inform the court in written about the progress against criminals on a daily basis.

A five-member special bench of the SC comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Justice Amer Hani Muslim and Justice Ghulam Rabbani heard the case.

During today's proceedings the AIG informed the bench that extortion has decreased and two extortionists were arrested on Wednesday.

Counsel for the federation Babar Awan continued his arguments. He pointed out that all the institutions were working including the Parliament. Only Karachi is not functioning, Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani replied to Awan.

The Chief Justice remarked that the situation was worsening day by day this had been pointed out several times. Unconstitutional acts should stop now, the CJ said. We want to tell everyone that nothing except the rule of law and democracy is accepted in the country.

On August 22 CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of Karachi's deteriorating security situation and directed the government to submit a record regarding the ongoing unrest in the metropolis. The CJP on August 26 ordered to hear the case in Karachi from the 29th.

Publicity seekers trying to fit roles not meant for them: Pir Mazhar

KARACHI: Senior Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) representative, Pir Mazharul Haq on Monday sent a message to those wishing to become Pakistani leaders, “Those wishing to become leaders should know that party workers such as I have no sugar mill,” Haq said.

Haq added that he wanted to speak the truth and only time would tell who was right and who was wrong.

“My most valuable assets are sacrifices, the fact that I have been exiled, jailed and have been faithful to my part”, he said.

Haq said that those seeking publicity try to see themselves in roles which are not meant for them and the PPP is an ocean in which such people drown.

Twin suicide blasts kill 21 in Quetta

QUETTA: Twin suicide bombings in Quetta claimed the lives of 21 people while 40 others were injured, Geo News reported. The bombings targeted security forces responsible for the capture of key Al-Qaeda operatives this week.

According to DIG Police Operations Hamid Shakil, one attacker detonated his bomb-laden car outside the residence of the deputy chief of the Frontier Corps (FC) in Quetta city, before a second attacker blew himself up inside the house.

More than twenty one people were killed including three FC personnel, wife of DIG FC Farrukh Shehzad, Col Khalid and two children. Forty others sustained injuries, hospital sources added.

The house was badly damaged while the DIG FC himself is injured.

Director Civil Defense said that more than 100 kg of explosives were used in the twin blasts.

Rescue teams reached the spot to shift the deceased and injured to the civil hospital, Quetta.

During investigations, head of one suicide attacker was found from the blast site identified as Ahmed Gul son of Saeed Gul. Meanwhile security forces cordoned off the area and further investigations are underway.

The residence of the deputy inspector general is close to other government buildings and official residencies in the city including governor and chief minister houses while the treasury office is also located in the same area.

On Monday the army announced it had arrested a senior Al-Qaeda leader believed to have been responsible for planning attacks on the United States, Europe and Australia.

Younis al-Mauritani was picked up in the suburbs of Quetta along with two other high-ranking operatives after US and Pakistani spy agencies joined forces, according to the Pakistan army.

It named the two other senior operatives as Abdul Ghaffar al-Shami and Messara al-Shami.

The United States also praised the operation with a White House spokesman calling it an example of partnership between the two countries "which has taken many terrorists off the battlefield over the past decade".

MQM is a political reality: PM

LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain Sunday called the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani up and thanked him for inquiring after his health,

During the telephonic conversation Altaf Hussain told the Prime Minister that it was due to the latter's prayers and those of the nation that he had now fully recovered from the illness and hoped to resume the political activities soon.

"Inshallah your efforts for the promotion of democracy and strengthening of the democratic institutions will produce positive results and through combined energies we will see the plant of democracy through during the process of its growth," the MQM Chief said.

He also inquired about the well being of the Prime Minister and his family and wished him well.

Congratulating Altaf Hussain on recovering health, the Premier said MQM was a political reality and a public force.

"The incumbent government believes in national reconciliation and negotiations and respects the public mandate enjoyed by MQM," Gilani told Altaf Hussain.

Govt machinery should be used to control situation:CJP

KARACHI: The Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry has adjourned the hearing of the suo moto case regarding the security situation in Karachi till September 5,

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the case while the bench comprises of Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Justice Ameer Hani Muslim and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.

Sindh government lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzadah gave arguments before break.

The CJP in his remarks said that it was the responsibility of the chief minister and his government to ensure protection of the basic rights of people and if he will not do so, the court would take notice of it.

After the hearing resumed, President Sindh High Court Bar, Anwar Mansoor advised that the hearing should be done in Islamabad. To this, lawyer of Sindh Bachao Committee Mujeeb Pirzada said that violence would again erupt in the metropolis if they will leave from here. Therefore, they should not leave without giving any decision.

The CJP said that the hearing would continue in Karachi.

Continuing his arguments, Hafeez Pirzadah said that foreigners were involved in Karachi violence and some had dual nationalities. He said that such people did not have the right to represent people as their loyalties could not be trusted.

To this, Justice Sarmard Jalal Usmani asked him about the government officials having dual nationalities. Pirzadah replied that they are also like other politicians.

Pirzadah said that the government had the machinery that could be used to control the situation.

Police present 4 alleged target killers before media

KARACHI: North Nazimabad police arrested four criminals during spot-checking who were involved in target killings in the city Tuesday,

SSP Central and SSP South held a news conference and presented the four alleged target killers in front of the media. The police officials said the four, Shahnawaz, Rafiq, Naeem Jan and Mustafa were arrested from North Nazimabad and during interrogation it was revealed that they belonged to the Akram Baloch group which is involved in the Lyari gang war.

The criminals also revealed that they had killed 13 people and dumped their bodies in various areas of the city.

According to SSP Central, mobile phone videos of people being tortured were also recovered from the criminals. The four continue to be interrogated and a case has been lodged against them.

Ebad discusses MQM's return with PM

ISLAMABAD: Governor Sindh, Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad met with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and discussed the MQM's return to the government and the situation in Sindh,Following his meeting with the Prime Minister, Ebad is expected to meet President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday night. It is expected that the President will set a timeframe for when MQM ministers will return to the cabinet with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. Sources add that the MQM will rejoin the federal and provincial cabinet by this week.


Nation celebrates Independence Day

ISLAMABAD: The nation is celebrating its 65th Independence Day with great fervour but simplicity. The day began with special prayers in mosques for the unity, solidarity and prosperity of the country.

The celebrations began with a 31-gun salute at the federal capital and 21-gun salute at all the provincial headquarters. Quran Khawani are being held for the martyrs of the Pakistan Movement for their eternal peace.

The national flag has been hoisted on government and private buildings. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani hoisted the national flag in a ceremony at 9:00am in Jinnah Convention Centre. The national anthem was also played on the occasion.

The prime minister felicitated the nation on its 65th Independence Day and paid tribute to the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and leaders of Pakistan Movement for providing a spirited leadership which created the world's first ideological state through democratic struggle.

The flag hoisting ceremonies were also held at provincial capitals.

Sindh Governor, Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah along with members of the Sindh cabinet visited mausoleum of father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to pay homage to the great leader on 65th Independence Day of the country.

They hoisted the national flag at the ceremony held at Mazar-e-Quaid in connection with the Independence day of the country.

Various political parties and civil society organisations across country have also arranged seminars, walks and debates to mark the Day.

Military 'concerned' over Karachi unrest

RAWALPINDI: The 141st Corps Commanders Conference held here at the General Headquarters on Monday reviewed internal security of the country specially the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi,

The forum expressed concern over the law and order situation in Karachi and its ramifications / implications on national economy and expected that the measures recently undertaken by the government would help redress the situation.

Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired the meeting. Participants at the meeting were briefed in detail about the security situation in the country in general and ongoing operations in Kurram and Mohmand agencies in particular.

Death toll in Lyari building collapse rises to 21

KARACHI: The death toll from Thursday's building collapse in Mossa Lane Lyari has risen to 21,Deputy Commissioner South Mustafa Jamal Qazi has said that three owners of the building have been apprehended. Three surrounding buildings have also been evacuated, he added. Qazi said two temporary camps have been set up for the evacuees of the said three buildings. President Asif Ali Zardari has announced compensation for the affectees and the decision in this regard would be made soon, Qazi added.

Almost 50 percent of the rubble from the building has been cleared while residents of three buildings who were evacuated are protesting because they are not being allowed to enter their homes and take their possessions. In protest they have blocked roads which are causing a hindrance in rescue efforts.

US drone strike kills three in Miranshah   

MIRANSHAH: A US drone strike targeting a house and vehicle in northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border killed three people on Tuesday.

According to the sources, the missile attack, the second in two days, took place near Qutub Khel area of Miranshah.

Another security official in the area confirmed the attack and the toll.

SC detailed verdict on Asghar, Ahmed matter

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Saturday issued its detailed verdict in writing about making Sohail Ahmed OSD and granting of investigation responsibility to former FIA Director, Hussain Asghar in Hajj corruption case, In its 36-page written verdict, the SC stated that a civil servant cannot be made OSD if the Prime Minister, who is the competent authority, is not satisfied with his performance. However, the competent authority has the power to order his transfer but cannot penalize him as was done in this case.

Relations with Pakistan 'on right track': India

NEW DELHI: India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said on Wednesday that relations with Pakistan were "on the right track" after talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar in New Delhi.

Conceding that there were challenges that lay ahead, Krishna told reporters: "I can confidently say that our relations are on the right track."

Krishna added that he was "satisfied at the progress achieved" in the talks, adding: "We have reaffirmed our commitment to resolve all outstanding issues through a comprehensive, serious and sustained dialogue."

Khar, speaking on her first trip to India as foreign minister, praised Krishna and drew smiles from her counterpart as the two made their statements to the media.

"This is indeed a new era in bilateral cooperation between the countries," she said.

"A new generation of Indians and Pakistanis will see a relationship that will hopefully be much different from the one that has been experienced in the last two decades."

New legislation to be made for terrorists’ trial

ISLAMABAD: A new legislation will be enacted for the trial of terrorists presently being detained by the armed forces in tribal areas,

Under the regulation punishments as severe as hanging to death, life imprisonment, 10-year imprisonment could be awarded depending on the nature of the crime while special detention facilities will be established for the terrorists.
 Asim Ali Rana the news law titled ‘Action In Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011’ was being introduced for taking action against the terrorists being detained in Swat and other tribal areas.

The law will come into force in retrospect from February 2008 which will be applicable in tribal areas being administered by Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

A board comprising two civilians and as many military officials will deal with cases relating to human rights violation.

Anyone spreading hate material in PATA will also be considered a criminal who could be handed over to any intelligence agency.

Investigation reports and other material will be acceptable by the courts and the testimony of officials of armed forces will also be acceptable and this will be enough for establishing a crime.

Pak Navy UAV crashes in Korangi oil refinery

KARACHI: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of Pakistan Navy has crashed inside Korangi oil refinery here Tuesday,

According to Pakistan Navy sources, the UAV named ‘Uqab’ crashed in the refinery vicinity following bird hit. The craft was on usual training mission, sources added.

Fire erupted in the refinery after the crash, however, no casualty has been reported, police sources said.

Shortly after the accident, ambulances and fire brigades reached at the site while police has cordoned off the area.

It is pertinent to note that the refinery area is a no fly zone.

Govt once again refuses to reinstate Quereshi

 ISLAMABAD: During proceedings of the NICL scam case, Attorney General Maulvi Anwar informed the Supreme Court that the government had once again refused to reinstate Zafar Quereshi, the chief investigative officer of the case,

During proceedings Justice Khilji Arif remarked that the court wanted national wealth to be returned adding that it was the order of the court to allow Quereshi and his team to probe the NICL scam.

In his remarks Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry said: "if the government has made its decision to not follow court orders than the court will form a commission to probe the matter."

The SC said that it would provide the government with another opportunity to reinstate Quereshi. Zafar Quereshi who was present during the proceedings informed the court that his phones were being tapped and his children were being harassed.

The court summoned all records relating to Zafar Quereshi and four members of his team from the establishment division and interior secretary. It was revealed in the documents that the summary for the suspension of Zafar Quereshi was written by the interior secretary and was approved by the Prime Minister. To this the Chief Justice remarked that the interior secretary had no legal right to write this summary.

On Thursday, the government had reversed the transfer of four officials who were members of the team probing the NICL scam. However it had refused to reinstate the chief investigative officer Zafar Quereshi. The Supreme Court had ordered the establishment secretary to initiate departmental proceedings against the acting DG FIA for violating court orders.

Under a July 7 ruling of the Supreme Court, any disciplinary action against Zafar Quereshi was suspended which was communicated to the DG FIA who did not comply with court orders. Zafar Quereshi had been suspended for speaking to the media and a departmental inquiry had been launched against him.


Four injured in Khadda, Baghdadi, Lee market firing

KARACHI: At least four passengers were injured in firing on a bus in Lee Market area while firing is continue in many localities of Old City, Geo News reported on Monday.

According to details, unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate fire on a passenger bus as result four people sustained bullet injures. The injured were rushed to Civil hospital.

Firing in Kharadar, Napier road, Lee market, Baghdadi and Khada market has created panic among the people. Trade and business centres are also shut in these areas.

Police have asked for extra contingent for these areas.

Meanwhile, residents of Maripur staged a protest demonstration against the firing incident and blocked the road for vehicular traffic.

11 killed as Karachi violence continues unabated

KARACHI: Violence in the metropolis has claimed eleven more lives till Friday morning since midnight,  Miscreants attacked several houses with rockets and hurled hand grenades into residential area of Baldia Town, injuring four people including a woman and a child. Terror gripped the area after the attack.

Residents of these areas took to the streets and staged protest demonstration against the attacks. They said that law enforcement agencies have failed to control law and order situation.

Meanwhile, police conducted raids in these areas and held five suspects. Police also recovered weapons and motorcycle from the miscreants.

According to police sources, one man was killed in Iqbal Market of troubled Orangi Town while one was injured.

Firing incidents also took place in Dalmia, Kharadar, Baldia Town, killing three people while a child also lost his life in the firing incident.

Two persons were shot dead in Lee Market and North Karachi areas of Karachi while one was killed in Orangi No.10.

Several people were injured in indiscriminate firing incidents including one policeman in Quaidabad and Gulistan-e-Johar.

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