Pakistan News

KARACHI: Police in Karachi have nominated Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah in the FIR for the bombing that killed senior police officer SP CID Chaudhry Aslam Khan and his two guards earlier this week.

The FIR was registered at the PIB Colony police station nominating both the TTP chief and spokesman Shahidullah Shahid for the alleged killing.

The banned militant organisation had accepted responsibility for killing the senior police officer, touted by some as “the bravest anti-terror cop” in the country.

Police authorities investigating the Thursday bomb attack concluded that a suicide bomber had rammed his explosives-laden pickup into the slain police officer’s bulletproof SUV when his motorcade was passing through the Lyari Expressway.

The police had earlier believed that it was a remote-controlled blast. However, the investigators found human remains at the scene of crime and a hospital examination showed that the pieces were of some unidentified person, suspected to be the suicide bomber.

Since the suspected bomber’s both hands were intact, he was identified through his fingerprints by Nadra records as 36-year-old Naeemullah, son of Rafiullah and a resident of the Pirabad area. Police said Naimullah’s father Rafiullah was the caretaker of a local madressa (Islamic seminary).

Security agencies have taken both the suspected suicide bombers father and brother under arrest.

Police said the elder brother of the alleged suicide bomber was murdered in Karachi after he returned from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also to carry out a failed suicide bombing.

Authorities are still carrying out further investigation.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Privatisation Commission on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the privatisation of three state-owned entities, including the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

A meeting of the board of directors of the commission was held in the federal capital today to discuss the sale of the Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC), the National Power Construction Company (NPCC), and the divestment of a minimum of 26 per cent shares of PIA to a strategic partner.

The meeting was chaired by Minister of State, Privatisation Commission, Mohammad Zubair.

The board resolved to divest a minimum 26 per cent shares to a private investor and approved initiation process for the selection of a financial adviser for the purpose.

According to a press release, the board also resolved that “the employees’ interests shall be protected in the process.”

The commission’s board also approved the strategic sale of the Heavy Electrical Complex and the National Power Construction Company, and gave its nod to initiate the process for both the entities.

The board's decisions will now be placed before the parliament for a final approval.

The privatisation of the national flag carrier has been a contentious issue fiercely resisted by opposition parties and worker unions in Pakistan.

A Senate committee on privatisation was informed by Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan that the government was required to appoint a financial adviser for the privatisation by March-end under an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The finance secretary said the company had accumulated losses over Rs180 billion and, as part of a $6.64 billion IMF bailout package, the government was also required to privatise 26 per cent shares of the company by December this year.

However, Privatisation Secretary Amjad Ali Khan said the report of the financial adviser would determine if the privatisation could be carried out in 2014 or would be delayed for two years.

According to official documents presented to the IMF, the government has hired one financial adviser and will hire two more by March to offer minority shares in three companies in domestic or international markets by the end of June 2014 subject to investor interest and global market conditions.

ISLAMABAD: At least 12 passengers were killed and over 30 sustained injuries when two buses plunged into a ravine after colliding with each other near mountainous valley of Murree in northern Pakistan Wednesday.

Initial reports suggested deaths of more than 15 passengers. However, officials of Rescue 1122 have now confirmed that 12 dead bodies were recovered from the 50 meters deep ravine at Salgran. The officials said reckless driving and slippery road conditions amid rain and snow in the evening caused the accident.

A rescue operation was launched immediately after the deadly accident. Pakistan Army soldiers also helped rescue teams as they were facing difficulties due to extreme cold and darkness.

The dead and injured were shifted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Poly Clinic and private hospitals in Islamabad.

An emergency has been imposed in the hospitals and additional doctors and other medical staff have been called in to look after the injured.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of the unfortunate accident and directed the DCO and CPO Rawalpindi to immediately launch the rescue operation there and supervise all these efforts personally.

The premier also noted with concern that there was absence of standard operating procedures for traffic regulation during bad weather conditions, which he added was not acceptable.

Sharif said that divisional administration and police must devise a strategy in this regard by Thursday afternoon and start its implementation.

QUETTA: Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has said coordination and understanding between his government, frontier corps and intelligence agencies has improved in terms of maintaining law and order in the restive province.

Dr Baloch visited the residence of his advisor and member Balochistan Assembly, Mir Majid Abro and inquired about his condition on Sunday evening.

Abro was injured in a blast on Saturday when his vehicle was targeted through a remote controlled device in Quetta's Western Bypass area.

"Better coordination between elected government and security agencies have resulted in improvement of law and order," Dr Baloch said.

Dr Baloch's predecessor Nawab Aslam Raisani, the former chief minister Balochistan, had repeatedly stated that frontier corps had established a parallel government in the province.

He however dispelled the impression regarding backdoor negotiations with armed militant groups operating in the province for the sake of peace.

"No back-door diplomacy is underway," the chief minister explained.

He expressed the determination that all out efforts would be made to give peace for the future generation of the troubled province.

When asked about political parties' proposed sit-in outside the parliament, Dr Baloch said a delegation of political parties was scheduled to meet the Governor Balochistan prior to leaving for Islamabad.

He moreover stated that the proposed All Parties Conference regarding Balochistan would be discussed in the assembly session on January 9.

"We strive to sort out issues through political means," he added.

The chief minister said past mistakes would not be repeated since all coalition partners in his government stand for a peaceful and developed Balochistan.

In response to a question, he said the country was faced with multiple issues as a result of repeated violations of the constitution along with military dictators' intervention in political affairs of the country.

"If I am removed no matter, we must defend democracy," he stated.

Dr Baloch said all political parties must put their heads together to promote democratic institutions in the country.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Sunday denounced treason charges against him as a “vendetta”, and said he had the backing of the country's powerful army.

The 70-year-old told reporters the “whole army” was upset with the treason allegations, in his first comments to international media since he was put under house arrest in April.

The treason claims are the latest and potentially most serious in a flurry of criminal cases relating to Musharraf's nine-year rule that he has faced since returning to Pakistan in March.

The case puts the government on a possible collision course with the all-powerful army, which is seen as being reluctant to witness its former chief suffer the indignity of being tried by a civilian court.

“I would say the whole army is upset. I have led the army from the front,” Musharraf told reporters.

“I have no doubt with the feedback that I received that the whole army is... Totally with me on this issue.”

The military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 66-year history and still wields great influence, has not made any clear public comment on Musharraf's legal woes.

The treason charges relate to Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule in November 2007, and if found guilty he could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.

An initial hearing in the case, being heard by a special tribunal, was halted on December 24 after explosives were found along the route Musharraf was to take to court.

The case is due to resume on January 1, but Musharraf said he had not yet decided whether or not he would attend.

“The way this tribunal was formed, which involved the prime minister and the ex-chief justice, this itself smacks a little bit of a vendetta,” he said Sunday.

Musharraf's lawyers have dismissed the charges as an attempt by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who Musharraf ousted in a coup in 1999, to settle old scores through the courts. Legal barrage

Musharraf returned to Pakistan to run in May's general election -- won by Sharif -- but his homecoming proved to be disastrous.

He was barred from running for office almost immediately and then hit with a series of serious criminal allegations dating back to his time in power, which ended in 2008.

These include murder charges over the assassination in late 2007 of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as well as the death of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, a deadly military raid on a radical mosque and the detention of judges.

Musharraf's tribulations represent a dramatic change in fortunes for the man who led Pakistan into its alliance with Washington's “war on terror” and was a staunch ally of then-US president George W. Bush.

To add to the former commando's humiliation, in April he was placed under house arrest -- an unprecedented move against a former army chief in Pakistan.

He has now been granted bail in all of the cases against him and is technically a free man, but threats to his life mean he lives under heavy guard in his farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad.

The cases have ground through the country’s notoriously slow legal system, moving from adjournment to adjournment with little clear progress made apart from the granting of bail.

There have been persistent rumours that a deal would be struck to let him leave the country before facing the courts to avoid a clash between the army and government.

But no deal has been forthcoming and last week, speaking publicly for the first time since his house arrest began, Musharraf vowed to stay and fight to clear his name.

As the treason case has drawn closer, Musharraf's team have stepped up their media campaign in an effort to enlist international support.

At a press conference in London last week, his British lawyers said they had written to urge the UN to intervene in what they called a “stage-managed show trial”.

They also urged London and Washington to support Musharraf to “repay their debt” for his support in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

 

RAWALPINDI: Director General, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa Tuesday said that meeting between Director Generals Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan Army and Indian Army was held in a cordial atmosphere and remained positive.

DGMO Pakistan Army Major General Aamer Riaz and his Indian counterpart, Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia met at Wagha Border towards Pakistan side, in the context of situation along Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB), he said while talking to mediapersons.

Pakistan Army DGMOs was assisted by two Brigadiers and two colonels while Indian DGMO was assisted by two Bridagier and three colonels.

He said both the sides discussed to further reinforce the ceasefire agreement, concluded between Pakistan and India in 2003 to reduce tensions along the LOC and Working boundary.

The DGMO of Pakistan Army had extended invitation to the DGMO of Indian Army for this meeting.

Earlier, Major General Aamer Riaz welcomed the Indian delegation led by Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia at Wagha Border.

The Indian delegation left for New Delhi after the talks.

ISLAMABAD: The special court formed to try former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf for treason under Article 6 of the Constitution on Tuesday adjourned its hearing until Jan 1 whereas the former military failed to appear in court after a bomb scare earlier during the day, DawnNews reported.

The start of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf's trial for treason was delayed over security fears Tuesday after explosives were found near the road he was to take to court.

Lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan told the special treason tribunal that the former general would not be able to attend, after police found five kilograms (11 pounds) of explosives and detonators.

Justice Faisal Arab, heading the three member bench, said he understood the “gravity” of Musharraf's situation and that treason was a non-bailable offense.

He asked the former military strongman's lawyers to file an application to exempt their client from appearing in person.

Moreover, Musharraf's senior counsel Barrister Sharifuddin Pirzada raised objections to the formation and appointment of judges for the bench hearing the case.

Justice Arab remarked that such objections should be submitted in writing.

The prosecuting lawyer requested the court to order Musharraf to appear in court adding that non-bailable warrants be issued upon failure to appear in court.

Advocate Ahmed Raza Kasuri, another lawyer for Musharraf, emphasised before the court, the threats faced by his client citing two previous attacks and other intelligence reports of possible attacks on him.

Justice Yawar, at this point, granted exemption to the former president from appearing for today's hearing.

The court decided to adjourn the hearing until January 1.

The government had on Nov 17 announced its decision to formally prosecute former president General Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court had already given a ruling in the case in October 2012 and then in July this year disposed off all petitions against the ruling giving the government a green signal to continue proceedings.

In the ‘high treason’ case against the former president, the government has charged him with abrogating, subverting, suspending, holding in abeyance and attempting to conspire against the 1973 Constitution by declaring emergency and overthrowing the superior judiciary in November 2007.

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