Friday, November 28, 2008

PPP, MQM, ANP agree to settle differences

All three parties of the provincial ruling coalition have agreed, on Thursday, to resolve their differences on four burning issues that have widened the gulf between the MQM and the ANP. “It was decided at a meeting that criminals will be dealt with according to the law without taking their affiliations into consideration,” said a Governor’s House spokesman in a statement. The PPP, that leads the coalition government, also joined the MQM and ANP in their talks that were held at the Governor House on Thursday.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad who originally hails from the MQM mediated between the two squabbling parties. ANP's Amin Khattak told Daily Times that the ruling parties' leaders exchanged views on Talibanisation in Karachi, displacement of Pukhtoons from some areas, occupation of government land by land encroachment mafia and the law and order situation. After a three hour long meeting they agreed to form a six-member committee that will formally explore ways and means to address these four issues.

The committee comprises of two members from each party. Faisal Abedi and Saeed Ghani who were not at the meeting were named from the PPP. Khattak and Abdul Rahim Mandokhel were named by the ANP. MQM's Waseem Aftab and Hammad will represent their party in the committee. "The committee will further expand the contacts and keep a strict vigil on Talibanisation, sectarianism, ethnic nationalism and land grab mafia," said the Governor House's statement. Those who attended the meeting were, Provincial Ministers Pir Mazharul ul Haq and Dr Zulfiqar Mirza from the PPP, Dr Farooq Sattar, Senator Babar Ghauri, Shoaib Bukhari, Faisal Sabzwari and some other members from the MQM and Shahi Syed, Khattak, Mehmood Afridi and Nasim ur Rehman from the ANP.

An uneasy calm prevailed in many areas of the city due to the tension between the ANP and MQM after MQM chief Altaf Hussain claimed that Karachi was on the verge of Talibanisation. Complaints of displacement and manhandling were also reported in Liaquatabad, Quaidabad and Azizabad. Sindh governor said that strict laws will be introduced to reclaim land from the land grabbing mafia and they will be punished. Illegal occupation will be withdrawn following the directives of President Asif Zardari. "Nobody will be allowed to occupy government land on ethnic, political and religious basis," he warned. City Nazim Mustafa Kamal also attended the meeting.

Former MQM councillor shot dead in Bufferzone

Former MQM councillor shot dead in Bufferzone
A former councillor of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was shot dead on Thursday night. The incident happened when deceased Munawar Khanzada, an ex-councillor of the Bufferzone area was sitting at his catering shop situated at Sector 15-B, Bufferzone, within the jurisdiction of Taimooria police station where two men riding a motorcycle came, shot him and fled. He was shot eight times and he died on the spot. The deceased’s brother Rashid is currently the councillor of Union Council 10. No official was available for comments over the incident. MQM supporter killed, another injured: Unidentified armed men killed a MQM supporter and injured two others, within the jurisdiction of Jamshed Quarters Police Station.
Two men riding a motorcycle targeted them when they were on their way to Lasbella and had reached the Filmistan Cinema. As a result, Allah Daad died on the spot and his associate Raja Babar and a passerby Shahid sustained bullet wounds. The victims were shifted to a hospital. According to a handout issued by the MQM headquarters, Daad and Babar were their party supporters.
The police have registered the case against unidentified men. Security guard sustains bullet injuries: A security guard sustained bullet wounds on Thursday when he tried to stop two armed men from chalking the wall with Awami National Party (ANP) motto. The incident happened at block-F, within the jurisdiction of North Nazimabad Police Station, when the area security guard, Emran Khosa tried to stop two men, who were busy in wall chalking for the ANP. The armed men shot him and fled. "It is not necessary that the culprits are affiliated with ANP," SHO Salman Waheed told. The officer however said that an FIR has been registered against unknown men.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

MQM, ST form bodies to continue talks

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Sunni Tehreek (ST) decided to continue the dialogue process and announced to form committees with three members from each side.The first round of talks between MQM and ST started on Wednesday at the Sindh Governor House.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad presided over the talks held on the matter of ending the ongoing clashes between the two parties that have been continuing for many months now. Renowned religious ulema were the mediators of the talks.After the talks, MQM and ST leaderships told that during the first round of talks, the basic reasons behind the clashes were discussed and it was decided by both sides that hatred and hostilities should be resolved at the grass root level.The two sides announced that the committees will comprise of three members from each side. For the committees, Shakeel Qadri, Aftab Qadri and Saleem Noor have been nominated from the ST and Waseem Aftab, Abdul Haseeb and Raza Haroon have been nominated from MQM.
It was also decided that in the second round of talks, these committees will be formed at sector and unit levels in the city so that future clashes can be monitored and misunderstandings can be avoided at lower levels.Sources told Daily Times that the participating ulema directed both party leaderships to tolerate any activities of the other party and that they should play their due role in maintaining peace in the city.“On the directives of MQM chief Altaf Hussain, the party wants to continue the dialogue process with all democratic forces so that conspiracies against both parties can be eliminated,” said MQM member Waseem Aftab.“The ST has responded to the Ahle Sunnat ulema and it wants to resolve all misunderstandings.
ST and MQM have decided to form the co-ordination committees on gross root levels and it is expected that these committees will be established within the next few days,” told ST leader Shahid Ghauri.Participants of both the parties lauded the role of Hussain and ST chief Sarwat Eijaz Qadri for initiating talks in the greater interest of the people of Karachi.Rehman said that the Ahle Sunnat ulema convinced both sides to sit for the dialogues.
He further said that he expected that a need of a facilitator can be avoided for future talks.Rehman, Sahibzada Abu Al-Khair Muhammad Zubair, Mufti Jan Muhammad Naeemi, Allama Shah Turabul Haq Qadri, Maulana Reha Amjad Naumani and Allama Liaquat Azheri were among the mediators of the talks.MQM Rabita Committee member Waseem Aftab, Sindh Provincial Minister Abdul Haseeb and Sindh Assembly member Tahir Qureshi represented MQM and Shahid Ghauri, Shakeel Qadri, Mubeen Qadri, Qari Khalilur Rehman and Matloob Awan represented ST in the first round of talks. Karachi City Nazim Mustafa Kamal was also present during the dialogues between MQM and ST.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Prime Minister’s Housing Facilities for poor Sindh Govt, UNDP sign MoU

An MoU between Sindh Government and UNDP was signed at a simple ceremony held at Chief Minister House.Addressing the ceremony the UNDP representative highlighted the objectives of the project and assured of UNDP’s full cooperation whereby the poor and needy people could be provided shelter.Spotlighting the salient features of the project, Provincial Minister for Housing and Jails, Haji Muzaffar Shujra described the project as being under PPP manifesto and program propounded by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

He informed that Sindh Government has allocated Rs 2 billion this year to provide housing facilities to the poor under Prime Minister’s program and Sindh Government has chalked out an elaborate plan in this respect.

He said the poor will be given houses free of cost for which selection will be made by Peoples Housing Cell, area elected representatives and local NGOs while certain portion of plots in cities would be given on commercial basis besides providing subsidy so that low income people could be provided cheaper houses.Haji Muzaffar Shujra informed that Peoples Housing Cell, in cooperation with UNDP will construct 500 houses for villages most affected by sea storm and would be ready in 6-9 months with each house costing Rs 3.45 lac.

He said Benazir model of these houses will be prepared in few days. These will have 2 airy rooms, veranda, bathroom, cattle shed and courtyard.

He said that UNDP will provide training to local skilled people and labourers in the construction of modern houses. He said these houses will be provided electricity, burners and solar power for street lights free of cost.

Chief Minister’s Advisor and Chairman People’s Housing Cell Ziaul Islam welcomed the guests and gave details of MoU.Provincial Ministers Dr Zulfikar Mirza, Sassui Palejo, Akhtar Hussain Jadoon, Abdul Jalil Memon, Advisors Rashid Rabbani, Sharmila Farooqui, MPA Dr Sikandar Mahendro, CM’s Special Assistant Waqar Mehdi, Additional Chief Secretaries Nazar Hussain Maher and Ghulam Ali Pasha and others were also present on the occasion.

Man held in burying women alive case

KARACHI: The police arrested a man wanted in the case of burying women alive in Naseerabad from Sohrab Goth on Tuesday. According to details, the accused in the case of three women, Farida, Izzat Khatoon and Jannat Bibi who were buried alive after being tortured, remained at large during the investigation.

The man involved in the case, Mukhtar Ahmed Umrani was arrested by the police. Sohrab Goth DSP Irfan Bahadur was given information that Umrani was hiding in Karachi and planned to flee from the city to Larkana. Bahadur, with his team, raided the bus going to Larkana and arrested Umrani. Umrani told the police that he was not involved in the incident and the tragedy took place on the decision of the tribe.

He also disclosed that the women were buried in a ditch and he fled when he found out that the FIR was registered in his name. He said he stayed in the city with a friend in Nazimabad. He also said that he was moving to Larkana from where he has to go to Naseerabad. Umrani revealed that he was called by a person from an NGO who told him that if he gives him Rs 0.2 million, his name will be erased from the FIR.Four held for street crimes:

The Crime Investigation Department (CID) and Gulberg Town Police, in two separate encounters, arrested four men involved in several cases of street crimes. CID police arrested Siddiq alias Major Shahid and Alif Khan after an encounter at Macchar Colony, Keamari Town and claimed to have recovered arms and a car from their possession.

Meanwhile, Gulberg Town Police arrested two men involved in street crimes after an encounter at New Karachi Industrial Area, within the jurisdiction of Gabol Town police station. The arrested men are Noorul Basar and Nasir Shamoon and had recently robbed a local factory in the industrial area, said Gulberg Town SP Allauddin Abbasi.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tsunami warning centre inaugurated

KARACHI: The state-of-the-art National Seismic Monitoring Network and Tsunami Warning Centre, was inaugurated at Meteorological Complex, here on Monday.Defence Minister Ch Ahmad Mukhtar was chief guest and performed the inauguration of Centre. The centre has been established by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) with the financial support of Government of Pakistan at Karachi and a backup centre at Islamabad for monitoring of earthquakes and associated tsunamis.

The centre is supported by Eleven (11) broad band highly sensitive seismic stations which have been established at Balakot, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, Chitral, Quetta, Khuzdar, Turbat, Zhob, Bahawalnagar, Umerkot and Karachi.These stations are capable of recording any seismic activity in Asia and the Pacific and are connected with National Centre through “Pak-Sat” Satellite for real-time data communication.

The National Seismic Centre Karachi is also connected with Global Seismic Network and real-time earthquake data of about 60 seismic stations of the world processing all the information and generating the earthquake message within 3-5 minutes of the occurrence of an earthquake and disseminating the earthquake messages to the selected users including the government agencies and authorities responsible for disaster rehabilitation activities like NDMA, ERRA etc.A total of 50 local short-period seismic stations and 50 strong ground motion recorders have also been established on various sites to record local micro-seismicity in the country and for the measurement of earth shaking during the earthquakes respectively.

According to experts this information would be valuable in designing of the earthquake-resistant building structures in urban centres.Speaking on the occasion, Ch. Ahmad Mukhtar assured that government will extend full support to PMD in the functioning and strengthening of this centre.He said that in the next phase PMD will be supported for installation of sea-based watch buoy systems, sonometers, sea level network of tide gauges and satellite communication system for the establishment of an effective early warning system for the possible tsunamis in the coastal areas of pakistan.

Uncertainty among investors keeps KSE 100-share index static

KARACHI: Trading activities were static at the Karachi stock market on Monday following prevalence of uncertainty among investors over funds to bailout the market despite a series of meetings between Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE).The KSE 100-share index remained unchanged as it closed at 9,187.10 points. The KSE 30 index and KMI 30 index also remained at 9,981.93 points and 11,224.18 points respectively.

The market turnover increased 81.97 percent and traded 0.146 million shares as compared to 0.081 million shares traded in the previous session. The overall market capitalisation remained unchanged at Rs 2.826 trillion. Out of 14 companies, two closed in the positive zone, nine in negative while three remained unchanged. Analysts said although there have been optimistic views of the experts but official statements are still missing and same is the case with the ‘unfreezing’. Rumours that the BoD of KSE will be meeting on the issue to reach a decision and that the directors are scheduled to meet the authorities seldom materialise, and despite the sensitivity of the issue, official statements regarding development and future action plan are not available. This era is creating uncertainty among investors.

Analysts further said that the reasons for static activities include investors concern over falling market sentiment, off-market transactions at 25 percent to 50 percent discount, foreign selling and lack of liquidity to bailout capital market from its current crises. Gharibwal Cement was the volume leader in the share market with 0.41 million shares as it closed at Rs 17.37 after opening at Rs 17.59 losing 22 paisas. National Assets traded 0.38 million shares as it closed at Rs 0.41 after opening at Rs 0.44 losing three paisas. Pak Com Leas traded 0.15 million shares as it closed at Rs 0.55 after opening at Rs 0.60 losing five paisas. Habib UDL Mod traded 0.13 million shares as it closed at Rs 3.07 after opening at Rs 3.06 making a financial gain of one paisa. No trading activity was observed in the futures market.

Monday, November 24, 2008

IDEAS-2008 begins today at Expo Centre

International Defence Exhibition and Seminar” IDEAS 2008, a five-day exhibition of arms, ammunition and combat equipments starting today (Monday) at Karachi Expo Centre.In the last exhibition, IDEAS 2006, some 221 leading defence manufacturers from 27 countries including 148 foreign and 73 domestic companies displayed their products. This was considered a very successful exhibition; now 2008 have grown much bigger in size and stature and in terms of size spread and participants.

This year the exhibition has become the biggest event in display of defence products. Pakistan defence industry and participants from over 58 countries including around 256 defence companies which includes 162 foreign and 94 Pakistani companies of various capacities. The exhibition aims at bringing together local and international manufacturers and buyers from all over the world to view the finest defence materials. The platform also provides an opportunity to various groups to explore the possibility for cooperation and joint ventures and collaboration in the field of defence production.

The platform for International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) provides an opportunity to demonstrate Pakistan’s defence capabilities, technical strengths and various related skills, training and services to all concerned, said Major General Muhammad Farooq, Director General, Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) in a press briefing at Karachi Expo Centre.IDEAS-2008 is for the first time displaying JF-17 (thunder) as a proud co-production by Pakistan defence industry and China along with it some highly effective and sensitive defence related ancillary products to complement the highly sophisticated support equipments.

In this exhibition, Pakistan has shown the technological capabilities of producing highly sophisticated defence equipments, effective, efficient and fully embracing the concepts of modern technology.A number of 111 high-level meetings are expected this year between foreign delegates, key government officials and participants of the exhibition. Pointing out various benefits to other sectors, Major Gen Muhammad Farooq stated that IDEAS-2008 platform provides an excellent opportunity for some 80 percent small and medium enterprises of Pakistan to show their defence support products and export the same to various markets. Highlighting the tremendous potential, he added that the economic spin off in various industrial sectors, directly or indirectly related to IDEAS, and are getting tremendous benefits from holding IDEAS 2008.

The DG DEPO further highlighted that let’s not forget that a serious matter of controlling, organizing and facilitating smooth traffic flow at and around the exhibition was made possible by DIG Traffic Karachi. DIG Traffic, present at the occasion thanked Karachiites for their understanding and following the traffic rules and instructions and making the IDEAS 2008 trouble free in terms of traffic flow and making it possible for visitors and dignitaries alike to come and enjoy the exhibition.

DG DEPO said that IDEAS 2008 has brought dignity and honour to Pakistan, all the participants from 58 countries and visitors from all parts of Pakistan. In this connection, he also appreciated and thanked for the support rendered by the armed forces, the federal Government and the Government of Sindh, and the City District Government, Karachi. He paid special tributes to the people of Karachi for their warm hearted hospitality, help and support wherever it was needed and for holding successfully IDEAS 2008. At “IDEAS 2008,” Global Industrial & Defence Solutions (GIDS) is displaying a comprehensive range of products being produced by its constituent companies. These companies are involved in production of research based products and services.

These products and services are extensively used by three stakeholders responsible for guarding the air, land and sea frontiers of Pakistan.A product being displayed at the expo needs special mention. Anti-tank Wire Guided, Missile System known as ‘Baktar Shiken’ has been developed by Institute of Industrial Systems (IICS). It has a range of 3-km with day and night capability. It becomes highly potent when installed with tandem warhead. At present ‘Baktar Shiken’ is being exported to various countries that include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Libya.Global Industrial & Defence Solutions is participating in IDEAS 2008 in a big way. This exhibition of arsenal is held on alternate years at the Karachi Expo Centre.

Organizing IDEAS has helped in projecting Pakistan as a country capable of meeting the defence requirements of geopolitically important states of the region.Excellence in technology, innovation and competitiveness give these companies an edge over other manufacturers in the region. These companies invest heavily in R&D and give top priority to the development of human resource.

The constituent companies are Advance Engineering Research Organization; Integrated Defence Systems; Marine Systems, Xpert Engineering Services; Institute of Industrial Control Systems; AI­ Technique Corporation of Pakistan and Scientific Engineering & Technology Services.Advance Engineering Research Organization (AERO) stands distinguished due to its capabilities. Its products comply with international standards.

AERO is now busy in acquiring AS-100, the ultimate and most stringent aerospace quality standard. Its products include anti-personnel, anti-armour, incendiary, ant-runway, electronic impact and time-based fuzes, electronic warfare equipment, navigation systems, optical fibre and optical fibre cables.

Rashid Razvi Elected as Sindh High Court Bar President

Lawyers of the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) elected Justice (Retd) Rasheed A Razvi, as president of the association for a second consecutive term. He secured a landslide victory by getting 890 votes out of a total of 1082 votes cast by the voters. Khawaja Naveed Ahmed secured 132 votes while Ghulam Qadir Jatoi secured 38 votes.
This is the third time that Razvi has been elected as SHCBA President; he was elected for the first time in 2000.While addressing to a charged lawyers gathering after the announcement of election results, Justice Razvi said: “Today’s victory is a referendum for our movement and I assure you that the lawyers will continue their struggle for the rule of law and the independent judiciary in the country. Our struggle will not stop but gain momentum if the judiciary is not restored to the pre-November 3 position,” he warned. “Lawyers have given overwhelming support and I will not disappoint them and continue struggle to safeguard judicial institution, welfare of lawyers fraternity, survival of the country, Constitution and civil society,” he added.The lawyers celebrated the victory by dancing to the beats of drums and raised slogans for the restoration of deposed CJP Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary.
According to results, Z.K Jatoi advocate was elected as Vice President with 645 votes while Munirur Rehman was declared as returned candidate for third consecutive term for the office of Honorary Secretary with 680 votes. SHCBA Secretary Munirur Rehman said that whoever shall come in the way of lawyers struggle should remember the fate Musharaf. Asim Mansoor Khan was declared as returned candidate for the post of joint secretary by getting 658 votes while Akhlaq Ahmed was declared successful for the post of treasurer with 520 votes.
The nine members who were elected for SHCBA’s managing committee are: Sohail Abbas, Tanvir Sibtain Mahmud, Khalid Hameed, Shahid A Bajwa, Khaliq Ahmed, Noman Khan, Mohammad Ismail Memon, Mrs. Shahnaz Ishtiaq while two candidates Shafaat Hussain and Azizuddin Qureshi got equal votes and they will each remain as members of the committee for half a term.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Well done, Keep it up." President Zardari Congratulates Mustafa Kamal

President Zardari congratulated Mustafa Kamal on the inclusion of his name in the list of the world’s best mayors and appreciated his efforts to undertake development projects in Karachi. “Well done and keep it up because a developed Karachi will finance Pakistan,” he remarked.The President agreed with the Nazim that the discharge of sewage into the sea was destroying the coastline of Karachi and said that measures needed to be taken in this regard.

On the occasion, PM’s Advisor on Petroleum Dr Asim Husain informed the meeting that the Sindh government has received US$600 million in funds from the Asian Development Bank for establishing Sindh Bank in which the CDGK and Sindh government would have 50 per cent stake each.Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tareen said that the federal government will provide funds for projects in Karachi, but the city government should also finance projects through the public-private partnership model. “We will help but you should also generate your own funds for development projects,” he added.

Sindh High Corut Bar Polls Today

The lawyers of the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) are all set to elect their president and office-bearers for the 2008-09 session.As many as 1,392 members will cast their votes.Election Commissioner of SHCBA said that all arrangements for the election had been completed. He said that polling would start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Three candidates – Ghulam Qadir Jatoi, Khawaja Naveed Ahmed and Rasheed A Razvi - are contesting for the post of President while Latifur Rehman Khan Survery and Z.K. Jatoi advocates are contesting for the post of Vice-President.

Two candidates Munirur Rehman and Salahuddin Gandapur advocates are contesting for the Honorary Secretary while Ms Tayaba Jabeen and Asim Mansoor Khan will contest for Joint Secretary. Sarwar M Khan and Ikhlaq Ahmed Khan advocates are candidates for the post of Treasurer

Securities and Exchange Commission probing printing scam of fake shares

Recent arrests of an owner of a Karachi based printing press and graphic designer for printing fake shares of companies listed at stock exchange, including Norrie Textile Mills Limited, confirms the initial findings of the on-going investigations initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
A well placed source in SECP informed on Friday that earlier in September 2008, the Central Depository Company, Karachi (CDC) reported to the SECP that in an attempt to enter its shares on the CDC in electronic format, Norrie Textile Mills Limited had fraudulently represented that it has a paid up capital of Rs 598.6 million divided in Rs 59.8 million shares (beyond its actual reported capital of Rs 48.6 million). These were registered with CDC as a result of the fake declaration filed by two directors of Norrie Textile Mills Ltd i.e. Zakaria Ghani and Khalid Abid M Shah. These shares were thereafter entered into the CDC system by way of deposit of physical shares through various brokers including 21 million shares by Al-Mal Securities, one of the associated companies of Norrie Textile Mills. Such physical shares, are deposited with the brokers and are presented to the share registrar as per procedure to be dematerialised and kept in record, however, the recent confiscation of fake printed shares by the FIA substantiates the apprehension that no such physical shares were deposited earlier by the different participants, including the brokerage firm, and that these fake shares were being printed to unlawfully build the share record and to conceal the issue of fake shares by Norrie Textile Mills Ltd.
Earlier the Commission initiated action and the CDC eligibility of Norrie Textile Mills Ltd shares was revoked and the trading status of the share registrar of the company M/s First Investec Modaraba, Al-Mal Securities and other suspected individuals involved was suspended / blocked. The Commission further ordered an inspection under section 231 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 to inspect the books of accounts and books and papers of company to verify the issue of 55 million fake shares by the company beyond its reported paid up capital comprising of 4.8 million shares. Simultaneously, another enquiry was authorised under section 21 of the Securities and Exchange Ordinance, 1969, to investigate the dealings and transactions in the shares of the company. However Norrie Textile Mills Ltd, its share registrar and the brokerage firm involved did not provided the requisite books and records to the authorised officials of the commission, and instead resorted to legal notices to the Commission. The Commission requested the authorities for the Police support to attain access to the records of Norrie Textile Mills Ltd, which unfortunately could not be made available to it. Later on, the commission requested the Honourable High Court of Sindh, Karachi for access to the records of the Norrie Textile Mills Ltd, in a pending matter of J.M. No. 16 of 2006 already filed by the Commission.
The High Court of Sindh directed the Norrie Textile Mills Ltd, through its order dated September 25, 2008, to produce all the records before the inquiry officers appointed by the Commission within 15 days of the said order. However, Norrie Textile Mills Ltd succeeded to get another extension of 15 days from the Honourable Sindh High Court on October 28, 2008. Upon expiry of this extension, Norrie Textile Mills Ltd was apparently getting the fake certificates printed to build their record for production before the SECP inspectors or the Court. On enquiry from SECP it was revealed that every time an inspection of record is sought, various companies manage to get stay orders, which prevents SECP from carrying out inspections and detect fraudulent activities thus undermining the shareholders and public at large.
The SECP is empowered to inspect all records and investigate matters related to the company transactions under the Companies Ordinance 1984 and various other laws administered by the SECP despite the fact that no loss or prejudice of any sort is caused to the company whose records are sought to be inspected, all kind of dubious methods are employed by the companies to delay the inspections by filing appeals and petitions in Court.

Qaim Ali Shah briefed on road sector projects in Sindh

Observer Report

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that work has been geared up on road construction and repair in the rural areas to provide better travelling facilities to people.He made the statement while reviewing new road construction projects ata meeting held at Chief Minister House in Karachi.

In the briefing on the occasion, Provincial Minister for Works andServices, Manzoor Wassan informed that this year schemes forconstruction of 1642 Km long roads have been approved.He said Rs 1.50 billion have been earmarked in the budget forconstruction of 500 Km of roads by the department, 530 Km by districtgovernments and 612 Km schemes given by MNAs, MPAs and Chief Minister.

He said that the overall expenditure has been estimated at over Rs10.95 billion while schemes under ADP and with Federal Government andMNAs funding will also be started.The meeting was informed that the Federal Government will construct andrepair the roads from Gharo to Keti Bundar, Larkana to Moenjo Daro,Larkana to Shahdadkot and some other roads while work on constructionof 90 Km long coastal highway will also be started this year for whichinitially Rs 200 million have been kept.It was also disclosed that National Highway Authority willstart work soon on the reconstruction and repair of National Highwayfrom Kot Diji to Khairpur.

Nasrin Jalil assures support to welfare organizations

Observer Report

The Karachi Naib Nazim, Nasrin Jalil has observedthat the City Government desire to extend cooperation to proactive social welfare organizations particularly those working in the health and education fields with the spirit of serving the humanity.

She made the observation while talking to a delegation of GoodmsartinHospital, a Korean welfare organization, who called on her recently.“Our mission is to provide all possible assistance at governmentlevel to welfare organizations engaged in the service to humanity sothat better facilities could be made available to citizens. We are doing politics with the spirit of service,” she said.

Dr Luke Lim, a delegation member, revealed that GoodsmartinHospital which was started as Clinic is now a 40-bed hospital wheremedical facilities are being provided in general OPD.

The delegation said that their organization desires to work inthe fields of health and education including shelter home forchildren, English and computer teaching centres. They added that they do not want land but sincere cooperation in their projects.

Friday, November 21, 2008

6 Civil Hospital buildings can fall prey to a minor earthquake

Six of the Civil Hospital Karachi’s buildings including the main building are in deplorable conditions and are not fit to be used for hospital purposes as they can collapse in the most minor earthquakes.Architects and experts of a private firm’s engineering department stated this while conducting a detailed survey of the Civil Hospital Karachi. All of these buildings were constructed decades ago.

The dangerous condition of these buildings is a serious threat to not only the thousands of patients admitted in the hospital but also to those visiting the hospital for treatments daily. Civil Hospital Karachi is the biggest public sector hospital with 1770 beds, 40 departments and about 1 million patients in the OPD. People form the city as well as form other parts of the province come to this hospital for treatment. Official records reveal that the building was constructed in 1895 during the British era as a district hospital. Some of the buildings that were constructed in old architectural design still stand in good conditions today.

The lack of renovation work, substandard material used in the construction, increasing pollution in the city and the degrading sanitation work are the causes behind the horrible condition of the hospital. The hospital administration is confused on whether to disclose this information to the health department’s higher authorities or to hide it from them. Additional Medical Superintendent General Dr Shakeel Malik confirmed that the survey was being conducted but refused to reveal any information regarding the experts’ comments on the deplorable conditions of hospital. “Yes we have hired a private firm to conduct a survey of the hospital, we did put out tenders in the national newspapers but this does not necessary mean that we will share the details with the media since it is not important for the general public to have any information regarding the conditions of hospital,” he said. Stating that the survey was initiated to find out basic information for the hospital’s master plan, he said, “it is confidential and we cannot share it with the media.”A major consulting firm initiated a 40 weeklong master plan survey of the hospital’s historical buildings last week.

The survey’s aim was to find out all the basic information including total area, number of the buildings, conditions of the buildings and the environmental impact on the structure of hospital. In the first stage of the survey, the team examined the building roofs and in a few days they found that six buildings were in deplorable conditions and were being used well passed their life.

Sources feared that the numbers of the deplorable buildings they will find will rise as the team continues the survey since the state of these buildings were found to be dangerous in just the basic review. They refrained from mentioning the name of the specific buildings. Civil Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Saeed Qureshi rejected the discovery. “No, there is no such discloser, as I have not come to know,” he said. He refused to reveal any details about the master plan survey project.

PSO to sponsor Pakistan International Senior Tennis

By Ehsan Qureshi

The 10th edition of PSO International Senior Tennis Championship will be held at the Karachi Club hard courts from November 24 to 30.Besides top ranked under-35 player Kothiyal Morthy of India,Charlier Francois (Belgium), Wolfgang (Germany), Lesslo Tobold(Hungary) and Filippo (Italy) foreign player have entered the fray.Speaking at joint news conference at Karachi Club, President ofPakistan Senior Tennis Association (PSTA), Vice President Jamal Mirza, Secretary STA Khalid Rehmani, Ex- Davis Cupper Altaf Hussain and Tournament Director Khalid Rehmani disclosed that top players of Pakistan will be in action.
Saeed Hai said Pakistan's top senior player Rashid Malik, Hameed-ul-Haq, Jamil Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed, Karim Gul Agha, Abdul Saeed, AltafHussain, Ejaz Sarhadi, Akbar Khan and Azharuddin are prominentPakistan player that would be taking in the week-long gala with sixplayers from Peshawar, two Islamabad and one from Lahore.He said 35, 45, 55 singles and doubles for men and 35 singles anddoubles event for women will be contested.
To a question Saeed Hai said they were also promoting junior tennisand senior circuit was a part of International Tennis Federation (ITF).He, however, expressed his dismay over non participation ofPakistan player Aisam-ul-Haq in Karachi circuits. He reckoned that the participation of Aisam in National events in Karachi will help thelocal to watch him in action.Saeed Hai said that it was a matter of immense satisfaction for the PSTA for having organized the senior event annually and it was a milestone of sorts conducting 10th senior event.
He thanked the Karachi Club for providing the facilities ofinternational standard for their players.He said that the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) was providing rupees quarter of million sponsorship money for conducting the championship.Acting President KC Munawar Shaikh, Sports Convener KC AlamgirAnwar Shaikh also spoke on the occasion.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Karachi stocks remain unchanged

The Karachi stock market remained motionless on Wednesday as falling international markets on global crises and tight monetary policy were the source of continuing foreign disinterest in the local market, analysts said.The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) 100-share index remained unchanged for the third consecutive trading session by closing at 9,184.09 points. The KSE 30 index and KMI 30 index also remained at 9,981.93 points and 10,003.99 points respectively.
The market turnover gained 4.21 percent and traded 0.182 million shares as compared to 0.19 million shares traded in the previous session. The overall market capitalisation remained unchanged at Rs 2.826 trillion. Out of 13 companies, four closed in the positive zone, four in negative while five remained unchanged. Analysts at Aziz Fida Hussein and Company said while the preparations were underway to register a louder protest as reported by the media against the extended and unjustified freezing, the unconfirmed news was the chances of a regular market from December 1 with optimistic views regarding the availability of ‘market support fund’ and ‘special session’ before regular opening, the news however failed to get an official backing.Chances that the likely development is being withheld till materialisation could not be ruled out even if the news is only to keep the sensation of the bourses alive. The statement did force the likely protesters to review their date of protest against the closure beyond December 1.
With the passing days number of participants in the off market transactions have increased, as even those who had some reservations regarding the legality of the off market transactions have joined the band wagon as evident from the underlines through NCCPL system.Analyst at Shahzad Chamdia Securities said dull activity persisted, as the market participants remained concerned over the expected bailout plan of Rs 50 billion.National Assets was the volume leader in the share market with 0.107 million shares as it closed at 42 paisas after opening at 44 paisas losing two paisas. Gharibwal Cement traded 0.34 million shares as it closed at Rs 17 after opening at Rs 16.38 making a financial gain of 62 paisas. Mukhtar Textile traded 0.17 million shares as it closed at 53 paisas after opening at 55 paisas losing two paisas. Habib -ADM Ltd traded 0.11 million shares as it closed at Rs 9.70 after opening at Rs 9.69 gaining one paisa. UDL Mod traded 0.5 million shares as it closed at Rs 3.06 after opening at Rs 3.25 losing 19 paisas.No trading activity was observed in the futures turnover.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

General Arif confident of Pakistan's revival in Asian Games

By Ehsan Qureshi

The Chief of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) General Syed Arif Hasan has stated that he's looking for revival of Pakistan sports and bringing it medals winning nation in the upcoming regional and Asian Games.

“We have recently achieved some encouraging results in Asian Beach Games in Bali, Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune and in some other sports,” he told a crowded news conference at the Karachi Club on November 18. Admitting the decline of sports in the country, he said concerted efforts are required from all quarters to contain this situation and put it back on the path of revival.

Pakistan once a dominating force in Asian Games, having won bundle of gold medals in Athletics, boxing, hockey, snooker, sailing, wrestling etc., gave a disappointing show in Doha where it failed to win even a single gold. “Winning two silver and one bronze in 77-nation Commonwealth Games in wrestling was a great achievement from the youngsters, he reckoned.

He described two gold medals in handball and wrestling and three silver and three bronze, an outstanding accomplishment in 45-nation Asian Beach Games in Indonesia. The POA President said the country’s sports federation needs funding to the tune of four hundred million rupees from Pakistan Sports Board for the next two years to prepare teams and players for XI SAF Games in Bangladesh in 2009 and 2010 Asiad in Guanzhou (China) to achieve good results. “We are going all out to lift and revive the standard of sports”, he pointed out, but added that without funding nothing can be achieved.

General Arif, who is also Chairman of Pakistan Sports Trust (PST), disclosed that grants of Rs. 196 millions have already been provided to various federations for preparation of various teams for participation in regional and international events, by the trust. He complimented Pakistan Junior Volleyball team for their good show in Junior Asian where they finished third and qualified for next years World Volleyball Championship in France. “Let us put the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games behind and look to the future now”. He said except for Hockey, Pakistan had no chance of winning any medal in Beijing Olympics and like anybody else he, too, was disappointed with hockey team’s poor show.

He pointed out that Pakistan’s last medal came in 1992 Barcelona Olympics. “Our focus is regional events and Asian Games as we are lagging far too behind in Olympics,” he emphasized. He reminded that POA and PST are making all the national federations accountable for the finances made available to them and now their performance in international arena is taken into consideration. Without naming a national federation, he said the PST had imposed a ban on its funding as its officials were on the joyride most of the time. President of Pakistan Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) S M Sibtain, President of Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) Alamgir Anwar Shaikh and Director Finance and Administration of PST Col.(Rtd)Mohammad Azhar Dean, were prominent among those present in the media briefing.

Mothers return to Edhi for Children

Three mothers, who handed over their eight children to Edhi on Tuesday, came back to take their children home on Wednesday. Unable to face the onslaught of growing poverty, three families of the city’s lower-middle class locality Korangi handed over their eight children to Abdus Sattar Edhi on Tuesday in the hope that their children may get food and schooling.
Three mothers came to Bilquees Edhi and started crying after seeing their children there. Speaking to media, they said that abject poverty forced them to hand over their children to Edhi. The children include Omar, Usman, Nimra, Adnan, Faiza, Rehima, Rimsha and Warda, aged between 8 and 10 years.

Women abandon 8 kids due to poverty

Three women left their eight beloved children to Edhi Home in its Metadhar office in Lyari due to extreme poverty as they could not feed them having no source of income, said the head of Edhi Foundation, Abdul Sattar Edhi, here on Tuesday.While talking to Media, Edhi said that three women left their children at his head office because they cannot provide food to them.He refused to disclose the names of the mothers of eight children whom they left at Edhi home,adding, that the women told him that they were living in extreme poverty and did not have any source of income.
These eight children's three fathers are jobless and not well.'The children belong to very poor families and their fathers are jobless while the women have only registered the names of their husband and said that they are residents of Korangi area and are relatives', Edhi said.The women who left their children are residents of Korangi area as they live in rented houses and cannot afford to pay their rents, as their husbands are also jobless and despite hard efforts fail to get any job.He said that one woman who was Punjabi speaking mentioned her husband's name as Khan Bahadur who is a Pakhtoon. She left her one daughter named Warda aged 5 while another woman registered her husband's name as Waseem Khan who is also a Punjabi speaking and has left three children including, Irfan 8, Usman 5 and Nimra 4, while the third woman was Urdu speaking and she is wife of Muhammad Sabir and she has left four children Rahima, 7, Faiza 12, Adnan 10 and Ramsha 9.When she was leaving her fifth child who was boy named Rehman 6 started crying when his mother was leaving him which compelled her to take back her son home.
Meanwhile, Rizwana Amber office-bearer of Edhi Home told that the said women were residents of Korangi and also were relatives.Two Punjabi speaking women were sisters and the husband of Urdu speaking woman was cousin of one women's husband.

SHO Mahoodabad suspended for trying to befool IGP

The Provincial Police Officer, Sindh, Sultan Salahuddin Babar Khattak, has suspended the Station House Officer (SHO), Mehmoodabad, who had sent a person to the PPO Sindh’s office with a letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan for promotion to the rank of DSP, which was verified to be fake.
Sources said that four to five days ago, the SHO, Mehmoodabad, Inspector Bahauddin Babar tried to mislead the PPO, Sindh, Babar Khattak, and sent a person to the IG’s Office with a letter purporting to be from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in which said, “Kindly promote Inspector Bahauddin to the rank of DSP”.
The PPO found the whole thing suspicions and initiated an inquiry in this regard. Amir Ahmed Sheikh, SSP Sadar Town, was appointed the inquiry officer of the case, and to begin with, he issued suspension orders of SHO Bahauddin. When contacted the Capital City Police Officer, Karachi, Waseem Ahmed, confirmed of the matter and added that inquiry regarding the letter and the officer, Inspector Bahauddin, was under way.

KSE exhibits worst performance

The floored Karachi bourse exhibited the worst performance on Tuesday, as it witnessed trade of zero shares in the first 180 minutes of the day session. Therefore, historically low turnover in as many as seven active companies were the other two new records of history at KSE.Moreover, foreign portfolio investors disinvested huge and over $2 million in a single session at local bourses, according to NCCPL data.KSE All-share Index fractionally fall by 0.18 point and ended at 6,639.18 points.
Earlier, it moved either side of the fence by 0.20 point during the session.While, all the other three parallel running indices remained stagnant, as KSE 100-share Index at 9,184.09 points; KSE 30-share Index at 9,981.93 points; and KMI 30-share Index at 11,224.18 points, throughout session.Dealers confirmed that investors have traded zero shares till 12noon in the market since the pre-opening of the day session at 9:30am, which is a new record.Therefore, market generated a turnover of mere 19,660 shares in second half of the session, which was all time low. Amid, out of total seven active securities on board, three fell in red against two settled in green. Remaining two shares closed with no change in their prices.In line with this, the overall market further fell by Rs484 million and stands at Rs2.826 trillion.Analysts were of the view that the end Friends of Pakistan meet in Abu Dhabi without announcing any immediate relief to the local economy created doubts in investors mind over quick recovery in the economy.
Therefore, investors went on far distance from market and wait for any positive announcements. S. Kashif Mustafa at ECL Research said that Pakistan’s economic situation has become precarious, as Friends of Pakistan seem reluctant to support the country due to the weak economic conditions.However, lending from IMF will instigate hope for the forum to extend its support through investments in the country by accepting the comprehensive road map to put Pakistan back on its feet, shaken by the financial crisis, he further said and added, on the equity market front investors were advised to stay sidelined and watch-out for plunges after the removal of the flooring.
Ahsan Mehanti at Shahzad Chamdia Securities said that there was no official update on Rs50 billion market bail-out package, which the government has pledged to introduce in market about a month back. Another strange situation that has developed over the night was pledging of investors’ shares with banks by some brokerage houses to acquire bank financing against. This situation has again earned bad name for stocks market brokers, analysts added.Sindh High Court, therefore, has issued stay order against pledging clients’ shares by brokers and availing bank financing against that.Highest volumes were witnessed in Southern Electric at nine thousand closing at Rs3.62 with a gain of one paisa, followed by Gharibwal Cement at six thousand closing at Rs16.38 with a loss of 28 paisa, Habib-ADM at three thousand closing at Rs9.69 with a loss of 30 paisa, Mohammad Farooq at five hundred closing at Rs2 with a loss of one paisa and Hayder Const at five hundred closing at Rs1.05 with a gain of two paisa.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SHC vacates stay order in KSE, PBA petitions against CCP

A two-member bench of Sindh High Court on Monday vacated the stay order in two writ petitions filed by Karachi Stock Exchange and Pakistan Banking Association saying the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) is now free to pass final order.The bench heard the petition of KSE (Guarantee) Ltd. against the CCP. Khalid Anwar, senior advocate supreme court consented to vacation of the stay order granted earlier by the SHC. “CCP is now free to proceed and to pass a final order on the show cause notice issued to KSE for its alleged abuse of dominant position in the relevant market thereby violating the Competition Ordinance, 2007,” high court order said.

The writ petition filed by Pakistan Banks Association (PBA) and its member Banks was also taken up for hearing by the same bench. PBA and its member Banks have been directed to file an appeal before the appellate bench of CCP under Section 41 of the Competition Ordinance, 2007. In KSE case: CCP had initiated proceedings on a complaint lodged by Islamabad Stock Exchange (Guarantee) Ltd. (ISE) under section 30 of the Competition Ordinance 2007 for alleged contravention of section 3 of the Ordinance, which relates to abuse of dominant position. KSE, instead of appearing before CCP and to defend its position, filed a writ petition, before the Sindh High Court inter alia challenging the jurisdiction of CCP and obtained a stay order restraining the commission from final adjudication in the matter. ISE being aggrieved by the stay order of the Sindh High Court preferred an appeal before the supreme court for vacation of Sindh High Court’s stay order, and in terms of the order passed by the supreme court on November 13, 2008, Counsel of KSE consented to the vacation of the stay order earlier passed by the Sindh High Court.

This has enabled the CCP to proceed with the show cause notice and to issue final orders. In the banking case: The division bench of the Sindh High Court on Monday heard the matter and now PBA and its member Banks are required to file an appeal before the appellate bench of CCP under Section 41 of the Competition Ordinance, 2007. Earlier, CCP, after due process and affording the Banks and PBA a full hearing, passed an order against them imposing a cumulative penalty amounting to Rs 205 million. The Banks and the PBA, instead of filing an appeal before the appellate bench of CCP, filed a writ petition in the Sindh High Court challenging, inter alia, the order passed by CCP.

The Sindh High Court granted an interim injunction against CCP thereby restraining it from taking any adverse action against the PBA and its member banks. CCP being aggrieved by the stay order of Singh High Court preferred an appeal before the supreme court keeping in view the availability of efficacious remedy to the banks and the PBA under Sections 41 and 42 of the Competition Ordinance, 2007, and the fact that the stay order had been issued without giving notice to CCP. The interim injunction was vacated by the Supreme Court with directions to the Sindh High Court to hear the case on day to day basis. As a result of proceedings in the Singh High Court, PBA and its member banks are now required to file an appeal before the appellate bench of CCP under Section 41 of the Competition Ordinance, 2007. CCP after issuance of the show cause notice passed a final order thereby imposing penalty on PBA and its member banks for acting in a cartel like manner in violation of the Competition Ordinance, 2007.

RBS launches evening banking

KARACHI: The Royal Bank of Scotland Limited (RBS), formerly ABN AMRO Bank (Pakistan) Limited, has announced the launch of evening banking service. According to a press release on Monday, the evening banking service would be available for an additional two hours till 7pm from Monday to Friday in 13 branches across five leading cities. Chief Executive Officer RBS Shehzad Naqvi said, “Being a customer oriented bank, we will continue to focus on enhancing the banking experience of our customers by staying in the forefront of providing exclusive banking services to meet the discerning needs of our clients. This includes six branches in Karachi, two each in Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad and one branch in Multan.

KESC adds 96 MW from 220 MW plants at KTPS

The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has announced addition of 96 MW to its existing power production capacity as of Sunday. The utility has initiated activities on Friday to make this 96 MW addition tangible.KESC Corporate Communications Director Ayesha Eirabie told Daily Times that the new management of the utility has fulfilled one of its commitments toward overcoming the power outage and enhancement of existing power generation capacity.Henceforth, KESC has taken over commercial operations of the first phase of the 220-MW plant at the Korangi Thermal Power Station (KTPS).
The utility has immediately started a 96-MW generation that has been added to Karachi’s power grid, which will increase to the technical capacity of 220 MW once the plant is made fully operational. This is expected to happen by March 2009, said Eirabie.The 96-MW addition is the latest in initiatives by KESC toward ensuring that city’s energy needs are appropriately addressed. The team of experts and the new management has a preset focus on increasing the power generation capacity to overcome power outages.
The addition of 96-MW at KTPS follows the addition of a 50-MW rental power plant, which is being installed at Haroonabad and is expected to be fully operational this December, added Eirabie.In his message to KESC consumers, KESC Chief Executive Officer Naveed Ismail said that taking long-term steps towards containing load shedding is an immediate priority for the utility.As the new management fully understands the gap between demand and supply of electricity in city, efforts have been initiated to minimise the gap and the utility has invested in a new rental power plant. The addition of 96 MW at KTPS will help bridge the gap in the long term, said Ismail.


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Monday, November 17, 2008

IMF loan to bring good governance : PM

KARACHI: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday defended the financial arrangement the government made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying it will help bring good governance and better economic planning to the country. “This is not the first time that Pakistan has engaged with the IMF. During the last few governments, the IMF was very much there,” he said at the launching ceremony of the second part of a book titled ‘Shehrug’, a compilation of Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig’s newspaper columns on economic challenges and their possible solutions. He also defended the government’s policies in the economic and social sectors, saying, “Nothing is wrong with our policies and the economic crisis is an international phenomenon.”

Ahsan Iqbal slams govt for failing to bring change...

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has advised the PPP-led government to create a business and investment friendly environment in the country through good governance and political stability.“The global economy has no religion and ideology however it needs peaceful and stable conditions,” PML-N Information Secretary and Member of the National Assembly Ahsan Iqbal said in a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Sunday.

Iqbal stated that the government must lay a business infrastructure, ensure stability through good governance and establish an independent judiciary to win investment and business ties from across the world.Answering a question, he said that the real issue is the lack of trust because the government hasn’t honoured the commitments it made with its political allies in the past. The PML-N official cited that Pakistanis living abroad own more than $200 billion and the prevailing economic crisis can be overcome if these Pakistanis give just 10 percent of their money. “We want the democratic process to succeed and for that we must cooperate with the government,” he said. Urging the government not to sell the Qadirpur Gas Field because it was a national asset, he said that the gas field was being sold to overcome the budget deficit, however, by selling the field only a month’s deficit will be covered. He went on to say that the PML-N and all the residents of Sindh reject the idea. “The government has failed to satisfy Pakistan’s allies who advised it to get a loan from the IMF,” Iqbal referred. Disagreeing with the impression that Saudi Arabia refused aid because of Nawaz Sharif, he said that international affairs are not like personal relations, and therefore, Sharif has nothing to do with the Saudi government’s policy.No change: To a question, he said that the people of Pakistan voted for change in the February 2008 elections but so far nothing has changed. “Under President Musharraf’s rule, the president was powerful and the prime minister was obedient to the president, and this continues even after the elections,” he said.

He said that the US-led attacks are on the rise now compared with such attacks occurring in the previous government’s tenure. “Pakistani people want to know what has changed, it is only a cruel joke with nation,” he said. Iqbal stated that Pakistanis want a change in the national security policy and no compromise will be accepted on national security and sovereignty. He reiterated PML-N’s view that PPP legislators should bring the bill in the Parliament to repeal the 17th amendment of the Constitution otherwise PML-N will go ahead and do it. He said even the PML-Q will back the legislation to curtail presidential powers. He urged the PPP to honour the Charter of Democracy (CoD) and implement the reforms proposed in it. staff report

Transporters refuse to reduce fares Despite reduction in fuel prices

Although, the federal government has reduced the petrol prices from Rs 76.66 to Rs 66.66 per litre and light diesel prices from Rs 60 to Rs 53 per litre, public transporters in the city however, have refused reduce the existing transport fares, which is causing arguments between passengers, conductors and drivers of public transport.According to sources in the Sindh Transport Ministry, there will probably be no official announcement for the reduction in transport fares as the recent reduction is not worth mentioning. The statistics reveal that only Rs 0.50 have been reduced even after the fuel prices were revised. As even the Rs 0.5 coins have become history, considering the reduction is not smart, commented the sources. Karachi Transport Ittehad General Secretary and Muslim Mini Bus Owners Association President Saad Mehmood Afridi refusing to reduce transport fares, he told that the increase in diesel prices has accumulated to Rs 20.53 per litre till date during the present government’s tenure and the transporters will not reduce transport fares until the government brings down per litre of price of diesel by Rs 20.

The Sindh Transport Department had allowed the transporters to increase transport fares first by Rs 2 and then by Rs 3 as they were struggling hard to survive due to the price hike. Another faction of the public transporters, National Transport Ittehad (NTI) has also vowed to charge the existing transport fares. NTI general secretary Muhammad Ashraf Benglori told that reduction in diesel prices by rupees 7.50 does not necessarily mean that it would cause any reduction in transport fares. However, it could be considered if government announces to withdraw at least 50 percent of the total increases in fuel prices that comes to almost Rs 20.53.

City Nazim Returns, vows to keep up good work

Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal said that the praise bestowed on him by the US journal does not mean that MQM has reached the peak of what it can do to serve the people of Karachi.He stated this while talking to the media at the airport after returning from London on Sunday. MQM leaders including Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar, Babar Khan Ghori, Shoaib Ahmed Bukari, Dr Nusrat Shoukar, Waseem Aftab and City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil, along with provincial ministers, town ministers, union nazims, city council members, Karachi DCO Javed Hanif, KWSB MD Ghulam Arif Khan, City Government EDOs, media representatives and citizens welcomed Kamal at the Karachi Airport.

The crowd chanted slogans while a band greeted Kamal with beautiful tunes. This was the first time that an MQM member was greeted by such a huge crowd. Talking to the media, Kamal said that the privileged land and feudal lords that make up 2 percent of the country’s population should understand and realise that in order to save the country and encourage progress, they will have to bring on board and share their wealth with the other 98 percent of the population. He congratulated the middle class and the Haq Parast people and stated that his mention in the mayors of the moment was the result of Altaf Hussain’s 30 year long struggle, which is also the success of the poor and the middle class.

He said that the 30 year long effort of MQM against feudal lords and capitalism has been appreciated by the world and now feudal lords and the capitalist class must understand that the implementation of Altaf Hussain’s and MQM’s policies is the only way to save the nation from conspiracies and set it along the path of progress and prosperity. Kamal further stated that MQM has rebelled against the corrupt political system and feudalism in the country as MQM is the only party that elects poor and middle class people and represents them in the National and Provincial assemblies. He went on to say that the governor of Sindh, senators, MNAs, MPAs, ministers, city nazim, naib nazim, town nazims are elected representatives of MQM that belong to middle class and are all doing their best to solve the problems faced by the public.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Karachi Chamber opposes rise in interest rate

KARACHI: President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Anjum Nisar and Chairman of ruling Businessmen Group (BMG) Siraj Kassam Teli along with other KCCI leaders have criticised the further increase of 2 percent in the discount rate by the State Bank of Pakistan. The business leaders, in a press release here on Friday, however appreciated positive steps of SBP with regard to 100 percent Export Refinance Scheme. They said the increase in interest rate would adversely affect the cost of doing business. The industry is already under immense pressure and is finding hard to stay afloat. KCCI proposed to take measures to slash down the mark-up rate to reduce cost of doing business and increase competitive edge of our products in local as well as international markets.

KESC Billing for Dummies

Following the latest reduction in prices, here’s how KESC calculates your bills:
* If you consume 50 units or less, you will be charged at Rs 1.40 per unit
For residential consumers with load of above 50 units:
* The first 100 units will be charged at Rs 4.97 per unit, up by Rs 2.05 per unit from the rates before the original 71 percent increase
* The next 200 units will be charged at Rs 6.13 per unit, up by Rs 2.13 per unit.
* The next 700 units will be charged at Rs 8.58 per unit, up by Rs 1.81 per unit
* All further units will be charged at Rs 9.84 per unit, up by Rs 1.69 per unit.

Stock market again on flat mode with meek volume

Business resumed on the last day of business week Friday in Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) with some activity but remained limited, flat and dry. Though Thursday business registered a change in KSE-100 which gained 0.95 points but Friday business witnessed no change and it was closed at 9,184.09. It seemed that liquidity shortage and floor mechanism is still haunting the already flat and dull market as investors and brokers preferred to sit aside. National Assets was the scrip which led the market volumewise.Total 44 scrips traded in the bourse in which five companies recorded gains while the same quantity of five scrips sustained losses and 14 remained unchanged. The turnover at the local bourse witnessed downward trend as total trading volume remained at 57,920 shares as compared to 66,600 shares on Thursday.The highest trading on Friday was seen in the scrip of National Assets which gained Re 0.08 closed at Re 0.50 with volume of 14,500 shares followed by Mukhtar Textile which also gained a meagre value of Re 0.01 closed at Re 0.54 with volume of 11,000 shares.Nimir Resin remained unchanged closed at Rs 5.05 with volume of 10,000 shares. Gharibwal Cement which shed its value to Re 0.37 on Thursday business again shed its value to Re 0.51 closed at Rs 16.11 with volume of 4,000 shares while Haydery Construction also witnessed decrease value of Re 0.02 closed at Rs 1.03 with volume of 5,500 shares.

Tri Star Power and NIB Bank remained unchanged closed at Rs 1.64 and Rs 8.45 with volume of 3,000 and 1,000 shares respectively.Whereas Mirza Sugar and Habib ADM gained value to Re 0.04 and Re 0.52 closed at Rs 1.85 and Rs 10.20 respectively with volumes of 1,000 each share. Esat West Life and PSO also remained unchanged closed at Rs 7.00 and Rs 267.49 respectively with volumes of 1,000 shares. Sitara Energy lost its value of Re 0.61 closed at Rs 19.75 with volume of 500 shares. Silver Star Insurance, Trust Modaraba, National Foods and JA textile remained unchanged closed at Rs 14.70, Rs 1.35, Rs 66.12 and Rs 8.20 respectively with volumes of 500 each shares.However, UDL Mod remained unlucky which shed its value of Re 0.25 closed at Rs 3.05 with volume of 500 shares. Crescent Sugar, however, gained Rs 1.00 closed at Rs 9.55 with volume of 500 shares. Redco Tex and Bank Al-Habib remained unchanged closed at Rs 1.00 and Rs 34.14 with volumes of 500 and 300 shares respectively.While Pak Datacom witness declined to Rs 2.00 closed at Rs 46.00 with volume of 200 shares. Rest of the scrips like Netsol Technol, Habib Metro Bank and Uniliver Pakistan remained unchanged traded less than 200 shares.Meanwhile, the KSE-30 index remained unchanged and closed at 9981.93 points and KMI-30 index with no change closed at 11224.18 points.While, Lahore Stock market witnessed upward trend as LSE-25 index gained its value to 5.39 points and closed at 2825.36 points.Total turn over however remained at 500 shares. In all the 83 companies transacted on the day, no scrip could move up and no scrip moved down and rates of all other scrips remained unchanged. PIAA remained unchanged closed at Rs 3.51 with volume of 500 shares.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Art library to reopen in December

The renovation and construction work of Atia Faizee Rahamin Fine Arts Library is at final stage and would be completed by the end of this month, official sources in Community Development Department (CDD) told on Thursday November 13.The Atia Faizee Rahamin Fine Arts Library situated in Aiwan-Riffat contains more than 4,000 books related to the subject. Its building was in dilapidated condition for the past several years.Sources said that students of Fine Arts had stopped visiting the library due to poor facilities there.

Now the CDGK authorities have finally decided to reopen the library for students.EDO Community Development Rehana Saif said that renovation and construction work at Atia Faizee Rahamin Fine Arts Library has entered its final phase. She said that Aiwan-e-Riffat is also under construction but the CDGK has decided to open the library for students after its renovation.

Rehana further said that some artwork of Atia Faizee would also be displayed on the occasion of inauguration of library. She added the renovation work of the library would be completed by the end of this month and it would be inaugurated soon in befitting manner. Renowned artists, art critics, Fine arts students and artist community would be invited in the inauguration ceremony of the library.

Librarian of the Atia Faizee Rehmeen Fine Art Library, Bilqees Bano, said that all problems including lighting, ventilation and cooling of the library hall had been resolved.She said that the hall provides sitting arrangement for more than 60 students at a time. She further said that computer and internet facilities would also be provided in the library.

KSE card purchased for Rs 55 million at auction

One of the cards of two Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) members, whose brokerage houses defaulted, is auctioned at Rs 55 million on Thursday.According to a director of board of exchange, MMM a commodity, which mainly operates in rice trading secured the card by offering the highest bid among the four bidders.KSE invited the bids from individuals and eligible corporate bodies, financial institutions/banks (local & foreign) couple of days back for sale of cards of Sikandr Ismail Bagsara and Ismail Abdul Shakoor, who defaulted on failure to honour their debt obligations.

The bids were invited after the KSE Board endorsed the Nov 6 decision of the National Clearing Company of Pakistan (NCCPL) which had declared Bagasra Securities (Pvt) Limited, and Ismail Abdul Shakoor Securities (Pvt.) Limited, both Corporate members of the KSE, as "defaulter" under regulations.According to the NCCPL, the final loss remaining unsettled by Bagasra stood at Rs 51.4 million as on the close of business on Nov 6. The final loss remaining unpaid by Shakoor at the end of the specified time amounted to Rs 5.4 million after the recovery of substantial sum of Rs 8.3 million through the selling out of retrieved shares.Sources said that the second card could also be auctioned in next two to three days and it could fetch more or less the same amount.

The market participants also anticipated the amount in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 70 million.The value of membership card of the KSE also plunged with the steep decline in the stock market since April this year.The value of the membership card also shoot up to over Rs 130 million in the heydays of the market and dropped massively with the current turmoil. Sources said that the default does not seems to be limited with these two members as more members are on the brink of this situation if the much-talked market stabilization was not activated soon.

The total strength of KSE members is 200."The financial situation of five to six members is particularly precarious because they are badly trapped in CFS market and are unable to meet their obligations in the current situation," sources said.Meanwhile, the meeting between KSE board and SECP remained inconclusive on the decision of floor removal.

Mustafa Kamal discusses modifying local bodies system

KARACHI: During an interview with a private TV channel on Nov. 13, City Nazim Mustafa Kamal said that the powers of commissioner system should be given to the existing DCOs and the working relationship within the local government system should be improved.Kamal refuted the possibility of any truth in claims of clashes between Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as have been reported in the media, adding that there is ongoing dialogue on the issue of amendments in the local bodies’ system. “Both parties want to amend the system for the benefit of all. All decisions will be taken with mutual consent,” he said.

He further said that the power to transfer and post officers of grade 17 and above lie in the hands of the CM, thus hampering progressive work. “I cannot do anything against a person who is in the wrong, even if he is my subordinate, because he knows what authority I have. There is a flaw in this system,” complained Kamal.Kamal said that there are no conflicts between the provincial government and the CDGK, but some employees of the CDGK departments have still not been given their salaries of some months, adding that the problem would be resolved soon.“It is the fortune of Lahore Nazim Mian Amir that the CM of Punjab always takes the ownership of Lahore.

However, the case here is totally different. Nobody owns Karachi,” he said. “Nobody questions me, whether I make mistakes or do things well. Even the CM doesn’t call me. Everyone calls this city mini-Pakistan. It is Karachi’s misfortune. However, this is just my observation and I may be wrong,” he added.Kamal further said that the MQM leadership has worked without any discrimination and have solved old problems that Karachi has faced, such as the availability of water and the devastated sewerage system. He claimed that the present CDGK team has resolved decades-old problems in the city within the last three years.

Four get life for kidnapping industrialist

An anti-terrorism court sentenced four persons to life imprisonment for kidnapping a factory owner for ransom.Manzar Khan, Jalal Khan, Maqbool Ahmed and Habib-ur-Rahman – along with their two absconding associates – were charged with kidnapping Jalaluddin on March 20, 2007 in the Korangi Industrial Area and demanding ransom for his release.

The judge, Hasan Ali Bukhari of ATC-I, pronounced the order after recording final arguments from both sides.The court also ordered confiscation of their property to the extent of Rs200,000 each and in the case of default or non-recovery the convicts would have to undergo an additional six-month imprisonment.

According to the judgment, the prosecution had examined complainant Jalaluddin and he stated that soon after he had left the factory on March 20, 2007 the accused had kidnapped him at gunpoint, snatched his two cellphones and directed him to call his mother for payment of Rs50 million as ransom.Finally, the ransom amount was settled at Rs3 million and he was released on the promise that the ransom money would be paid later through his driver.

The judge in his verdict observed that the evidence of the complainant was corroborated by prosecution witnesses and their statements had not been challenged as no material question was put to them by the defence counsel for falsely testifying against the accused, whereas the judicial magistrate in his statement had said that the complainant had identified the accused during the identification parade held in his court.

“All the witnesses were cross-examined at length by the defence counsel, but no enmity was suggested between the accused and the complainant for false implication of the accused in the case. The citation relied upon by the special public prosecutor has further supported the case of the prosecution.

From the evidence of the witnesses, it is clear that the complainant was kidnapped and taken to a house in Manghopir for ransom at gunpoint,” he said.He further observed that he had not found any major contradiction in the statements of prosecution witnesses and despite being subjected to lengthy cross-examination, no dent had been created by the defence counsel in the testimonies nor he had given a plausible defence.

The judge concluded that after considering the material evidence that came on record, he was of the considered view that the prosecution had proved its case against the accused beyond any shade of doubt.The accused were produced in court and were sent back to the Central Prison with the conviction warrant to serve out the sentences.Co-accused Shafi Jan and Niaz Khan were shown as absconders in the charge-sheet, and the court issued non-bailable warrants for their arrest.

However, they could not be arrested and the court after completing formalities declared them proclaimed offenders. The case of the absconding accused would be kept in a ‘dormant file’ and they would be tried after their arrest.Kidnapping masterminded by victim’s driverThe prosecution had produced eight witnesses – ASI Ahmed Khan Niazi, judicial magistrate Maqbool Ahmed, complainant Jalaluddin, inspector Tasawwur Ameer, SIP Ali Muhammad, Shah Bibi (mother of the complainant), caption Akhtar Abbas of a tracker company and investigation officer Mohammad Babar – before the trial court.

According to the prosecution, the accused had kidnapped Jalaluddin Kayani and his driver, Manzar Khan, on March 20, 2007 in the Korangi Industrial Area police limits and demanded Rs50 million for his release.The captive himself settled the ransom amount with the accused as none of his family members, except the elderly parents, was present in the city.

The following day the kidnappers released Jalaluddin and his driver on the assurance that he would arrange the ransom and deliver it through his driver. The victim arranged the amount and, in the meantime, informed the police about the incident. As he handed over Rs100,000 to his driver, a team of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell chased the driver and later arrested him and seized the ransom money.

The AVCC team acting on information provided by the accused conducted a raid in Neelam Colony and arrested the co-accused.Earlier, Special Public Prosecutor Mohammad Khan Buriro submitted that the prosecution had provided sufficient evidence against the accused to prove their involvement in the case.

He said the victim had not only identified the accused during the identification parade held in the court of a judicial magistrate, but had also assigned their roles, adding that the prosecution produced the data of cellular companies which showed that the accused called the mother of the victim in order to demand the ransom money.

He further argued that the driver of the victim, Manzar Khan, also recorded his confessional statement at the police station and also told the whereabouts of his associates, who were later arrested at the said location, adding that the persecution had successfully proved its case. He requested the court to award punishment to the accused.

The defence counsel submitted that there was no direct evidence against the accused and the prosecution had failed to establish its case as the story revealed by the prosecution said that the ransom was not directly collected, which clearly reflected the false implication of his clients in the case.

He contended that the accused were arrested on March 31, 2007 and their faces were shown to the complainant by the AVCC before the identification parade, which was held with a delay of 10 days.He appealed that the accused be acquitted, arguing that the prosecution had failed to provide solid evidence against them.

The charge-sheet said that Manzar Khan had hatched the kidnapping plan and for this purpose he had got help of his friends. But they released the victim after a settlement as they did not have a proper place to detain him.A case (FIR 224/2007) was registered under Sections 365-A and 392/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 7 of the Anti-terrorism Act 1997, against the accused on the complaint of the victim.