Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Home Minister issues directives City put on high alert

National Courier Report
KARACHI: City has been put on high alert following the operation in the tribal areas. All exit and entry points have been sealed, while the security at the sensitive installations has been beefed up.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Dr. Zulfikar Ali Mirza has directed the Police and Rangers to take all possible steps including joint flag march, snap checking, patrolling etc to infuse a spirit of security among the citizens and ensure continuity of business activities and maintaining traffic flow.
He ordered immediate arrest of elements involved in mischievous and criminal activities with initiation of strict action against wanted, absconding criminals and proclaimed offenders.
He directed the police to identify the sensitive areas and ensure extra ordinary security measures there for providing safety of people. The Government, Dr Zulfikar said, is fully aware of its responsibilities with regard to law and order which is its top priority.
He issued the directive after the fire of a rocket from an unknown direction in Machhar Colony as well as certain incidents occurring in various city areas.
Meanwhile a child was killed and at least 8 others injured when a rocket fired by unknown elements landed in Machhar colony. The injured and dead were shifted to hospital. Sources said that the leaves of police and para-military forces also have been cancelled.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Taliban threatens Karachi’s co-education institutions

The Taliban has reportedly warned co-education institutions in Karachi to close down or face consequences, spreading panic among colleges and schools in the city.

Various educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities have received threatening letters and phone calls from the Taliban.

A source privy to the matter revealed that most schools have an affiliation with the Cambridge Board, where male and female students study together without discrimination.

The Daily Times quoted the source as pointing that senders of these threats posed as the Taliban while demanding an end to the co-education system.

It was also learnt that the vice chancellor of the largest university in the city had also received phone calls from intelligence agencies inquiring about possible threats from the Taliban.

The source revealed that the agencies suggested that the VC make the use of the veil (burqa) compulsory for all girl students as a precautionary measure.

It is pertinent to mention here that a number of schools have received bomb hoaxes.

The British Council Pakistan has delayed the schedule of O and A level exams because of the possible threat of terrorism.

Monday, April 27, 2009

MQM, ANP to ensure peace in Karachi, says Farooq Sattar

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Rabita Committee Deputy Convener Dr Farooq Sattar has said the Awami National Party and the MQM will ensure peace at all cost and foil all the conspiracies being hatched to fuel ethnic violence in Karachi.

He was addressing a press conference here on Friday after the killing of two persons in the city. He said the MQM and the ANP would foil all acts of terrorism and conspiracies to disturb peace of the city.

Farooq Sattar said elements who wanted to disturb the peace of Karachi were involved in incidents of firing, which took place during the last two days. He said he and Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad had a telephonic conversation with ANP Sindh President Shahi Syed. He said they expressed their condolences over the killing of the two ANP workers.

They expressed the determination that the ANP and the MQM would never allow anybody to disturb peace of Karachi. Farooq Sattar said the MQM had strongly condemned the killing of the two ANP workers.

He said the MQM had appealed to the ANP to review their May 12 strike call, keeping in view the larger interests of the city. He feared that there were some elements which wanted a bloodbath in the city, but the MQM and the ANP would never allow them to play with the lives of innocent citizens.

Farooq Sattar said the MQM had already apprised the people of the city and the nation of Talibanisation in Karachi. Replying to a question, he said pillion riding had been banned for the safety of citizens. He said it was high time that all the political parties played a vital role in the restoration of peace in Karachi.

Responding to a question that the PML-N had suggested an APC to ease the situation in the country, he said the MQM founder had already suggested the APC against Talibanisation. The MQM had already started a campaign against Talibanisation, he added.

He said a delegation of the MQM had gone to the Jamia Binoria Town. The purpose of the visit was to thank them for attending the MQM’s Ulema Mashaikh Conference held here the other day. MQM Rabita Committee members Ashfaq Mangi and Javed Kazmi were also present on the occasion.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shazia Marri recounts Information department’s achievements

KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Information Shazia Marri has said that as the Sindh Government completes its first year, she as minister is content to be ending the year on a progressive high note.
“The past one year has seen many milestones for us and given the changing dynamics of today, information needs to be disseminated effectively and without distortion”, she said in a statement in Sindh Assembly yesterday.
The media, she pointed out, acts as a bridge between people and the government, and Ministry of Information is the bridge between the Government and the Media.
Therefore, in keeping with the Chief Minister’s policies, endeavours were made to promote maximum contact with the people through our very able and supportive media, she said.
Shazia Marri said this has been a year of many firsts for us at the Sindh Information Department. For the first time, a grant-in-aid of Rs. 10 million was allocated for press clubs across Sindh, and to provide financial assistance to ailing journalists. This grant has provided and continues to provide relief to many deserving individuals, and press clubs throughout Sindh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Land mafia?: Rs 150m plot ‘saved’ from encroachment

By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) nearly lost a high-valued plot of land located in Karachi Administrative Cooperative Housing Society (KACHS). The plot had been partly encroached upon and is CDGK’s property through defunct KMC. The plot measures 1,500 square yards and it has an auction value of Rs 150 million.

Talking to Daily Times, District Officer (DO) Land Enforcement Abdul Malik said that he had sent Deputy DO Shakir Zaki to the plot to stop the ongoing construction.

When this reporter contacted Zaki, he told Daily Times that Baloch Colony police station had started construction of a police post on the plot, which was stopped on Thursday.

Zaki further said that the plot was handed over to CDGK’s Engineering Department in 1992 and originally was the property of the defunct KMC, which is now a part of CDGK after the devolution of powers.

Replying to a question, Zaki said that the area police had started construction of a police post on CDGK’s plot, citing the reason to be the escalating criminal activities in the park opposite CDGK’s plot.

According to Zaki, the police have assured him that they would submit an undertaking to the CDGK, stating that the police post would be removed and the possession of the plot would be handed over to the CDGK without delay whenever the CDGK would demand the plot back.

Zaki said that the construction of the police post has been stopped while he has asked the police to contact the Karachi DCO for permission to use the plot.

On a question, Zaki alleged that the KACHS administration has falsely claimed ownership of the plot and has allowed the police to take possession of the plot and proceed to construct a police post but now the police have been told that the plot is CDGK’s property.

Sources in CDGK told Daily Times that officers concerned from defunct KMC in collaboration with the area police were involved in the encroachment plan of the plot.

When this reporter contacted defunct KMC Land Director Tariq Naseer for his comments, he expressed his ignorance over the issue. He also said that the plot was not listed within the limits of his legal jurisdiction.

Replying to a question, Naseer refuted his involvement in any encroachment scam and further said that is this scribe has an authentic report then it should be published at all costs.

Talking to Daily Times, Baloch Colony police station SHO Hyder Ali Zaidi said that it was the KACHS administration’s decision to construct a room for the police check post, not on the plot but at the rear bank of the sewerage line.

The purpose to establish the police check post was to curb the street crimes in the area, he said while adding that the plot was not encroached upon.

The establishment of the check post by the residents of the area was a manifest of their trust on the police and they have further assured their cooperation to assist the area police for better services, he said. (DT Report)

KBCA forms body for public complaints

KARACHI: To better facilitate the citizens, Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) has set up an executive committee and complaint center.
The executive committee set up on the directives of provincial local government minister and chief executive KBCA Agha Siraj Durrani would work under KBCA chief controller Manzoor Qadir. The committee would listen to the complaints of citizens against illegal structures under Sindh Building Control Ordinance 1979 and KB&TP Regulation 2002. To facilitate the citizens in this regard the KBCA has set up a one-window counter, which is receiving complaints of citizens from 9am to 1:00p.m.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

President issues directive to make Karachi “Green City”.

President Asif Ali Zardari has directed that no construction project shall be approved by given executing/building control agency, unless the sponsor of the project makes specific provision in terms of expenditure (budget/PC‑1) for plantation of trees and shrubs, both inside and outside the parameters of such construction unit.

The President had given this directive during a briefing given to him on Green Karachi.

The directive was communicated by Sindh Chief Secretary Fazlur Rehman to ACS, Planning and Development, Senior Member Board of Revenue, all Administrative Secretaries and DCO Karachi respectively.

The officials have been asked to comply with the directive and send report to the Sindh Chief Secretary’s office in respect of each project/construction being approved with specific provision made in green belts, plants, shrubs, trees, roadside shrubbery and hedges, within a week.

The Chief Secretary in his communication pointed out that Karachi is a sprawling port city, spread over an area of more than 3600 Km. It is ranked as seventh biggest city of the world. It registers about 32 percent of the total industrial establishments of the nation. It is the financial capital of Pakistan.

Although Karachi is a center of education and business, encompassing in its fold more than 16 million people, skilled workers, enterpreneurs, students, technicians and labourers, but, the Chief Secretary said, “one thing for which we crave is Greenery.”

Its imposing buildings, flyovers, under‑passes, need to synchronise with matching proportion of gardens, trees, road side plantation, in every nook and corner of the city, said the chief secretary.

He said that in specific natural and climatic conditions of Karachi, there is need to put in more efforts, to make this city more green.

He pointed out that CDGK has been undertaking vigorous campaigns for this purpose but still a lot of work needs to be done by all the public servants and government departments to make Karachi a Green City.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Altaf calls for self-security system at worship places of different schools of thought

London: Chief of Muttehida Qaumi Movement, Altaf Hussain has suggested that the people belonging to different schools of thought should make their own security arrangements for their respective places of worship.
According to a release issued to the media yesterday from London, Altaf Hussain made such suggestion while talking on telephone to religious scholars, leaders and Mushaikh hailing from different schools of thought and religions.
Altaf said he makes such a suggestion in view of the information given and apprehensions shown by the investigation committee of MQM, according to which the Taleban have planned targeted bombing of all the places of worship of Muslims and other religions across the country.
He contended that those elements and organizations who opposed the creation of Pakistan, described Muslim League as Kafir League and founder of Pakistan as Kafir-e-Azam, were now conspiring to disintegrate the remaining Pakistan.
“Constitute your own security teams for safeguarding the mosques, Imambargahs, mausoleums etc as the armed forces, investigation agencies and police of any country could not provide security to all the places of worship unless the citizens extend them cooperation,” he asserted.
He said the girls schools and colleges in Punjab were receiving threats to close down or otherwise the houses of such women would be blown up, and directed the party workers and other responsible persons in the country to remain vigilant and form security squads, introduce watch system so that sinister designs of anti-state elements could be foiled.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Removing deprivation of Balochis only way to save country: Altaf Hussain

KARACHI: Removing the deprivation and fulfilling the needs of people, especially the Balochis, is the only way to save country, announced the Founder of MQM Altaf Hussain, while he demanded highest ranking leaders of the country to order a proper judicial inquiry into the recent brutal murder of three leaders of the Balochistan province.
He demanded of the President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik and provincial Government of Balochistan that culprits be arrested and awarded exemplary punishment - whosoever may be involved in it - even if they belong to law enforcement agencies, he stressed.
Such demand was made by him while addressing a huge protest rally held here at Mazar-e-Quaid against the murder of Balochistan leaders. Altaf in his telephonic address from London said this rally has been held to express complete solidarity with the Baloch people and MQM shares their grief and sorrow.
He said the sense of deprivation after the murder of these three leaders Lala Munir Baloch, Sher Mohammed Baloch and Ghulam Muhammad Baloch the sense of deprivation has been further increased.
He asked Baloch people through this huge rally that do not feel isolated and alone and that MQM is standing in this painful period shoulder to shoulder with the Balochis.
Altaf asked the rulers that they should investigate that despite tendering apology by the Prime Minister and President such brutal murders are taking place, he asked. Altaf further said it was the responsibility of the rulers to find as to find out the elements who are insistent upon disintegrating Pakistan.
MQM chief said he hates the word minority while equal rights should be provided to all people of the country irrespective of their numbers. He again said Pakistan these days is passing through a very critical phase and for this unity was badly needed now more than at any other time in the past.
Referring to provincial autonomy he once again that provincial autonomy be provided to all the provinces and in this regard concurrent list be also abolished.
Altaf said center should keep currency, foreign affairs and defense with them, while all other things be handed over to the provinces. (Daily National Courier)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flogging incident in Swat: 1,700 girl students stage protest rally

KARACHI: The female students of the Dawood Public School (DPS) organised a protest rally against the flogging of a girl in Swat on Tuesday.

Around 1700 girls, from pre-nursery to O-levels, gathered in the lawn of the school wearing black veils and black ribbons tied around their arms, and protested against the brutal punishment awarded to a teenage girl in Swat.

The environment was as if these schoolgirls were preparing for a long march to snatch their rights. Holding banners, they chanted slogans such as, “We want peace!” “Save Women!” and, “Stop atrocities against humanity!”

Sidra, a student of class six, told Daily Times, that she had watched the video in which women was flogged on television and said, “I feel sorry for the poor girl. I cannot imagine that people living in Pakistan could be so brutal.” Rabia, a student of class 3, was also attending the protest rally. “My teacher says that had hit a ‘baji’ very brutally in Swat,” she said, adding that the act was very brutal. “Where were the parents of the ‘baji’, who was brutally punished?” questioned the little girl.

DPS’s Chief Executive Officer Sabrina Dawood told Daily Times that the rally was organised to inject a spirit of citizenship into the personalities of the students. “We want to make them active citizens who know their rights and protest for their rights,” she said. She further went on to add, “Citizens need to cooperate with the government and that’s how a government works. My students know that responsible citizens not only know their rights but also their duties towards the community and state.”

Envoy delighted by CDGK ideology, works

KARACHI: City Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil has said that Haq Parast leadership has tried to create an environment in Karachi whereby people may have a sense of security and equal participation in positive activities that could broaden their vision.
She pointed out that poverty in Pakistan is one reason for extremism and the need of the hour is to bring about a change in the approach of people.
She was talking to Netherland Ambassador in Pakistan, TJeerd F. De Zwaan, who met her here Tuesday.
Nasrin Jalil declared that law and order and the environment established for promotion of economic activities would not be allowed to be marred.
She said Karachi is the heart of Pakistan and the country is playing the role of front line state in the obtaining situation in the region. Talking to Naib Nazim, the Ambassador described as delightful and positive, the change brought in the environment by the city government on the basis of its ideology.
He informed that at present 19 Dutch companies are operating in Pakistan out of which 18 are in Karachi.
He said that Netherland is exporting various types of machinery, scrap, chemicals and dry milk to Karachi and importing sea food, Kinoo and other items from here.
Nasrin Jalil said that Nazim Karachi is working round the clock for city’s development and our effort is to present the city government’s affairs before the city council in an effective manner.
She said the Haq Parast leadership has created political consciousness among the people and the citizens now reject extremism in every form.
On the occasion she presented the momento of city government and an ajrak to visiting Ambassador and led him and his delegation to a visit to Archive department.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

North Nazimabad residents fast losing their parks

KARACHI: The Shehri-CBE, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has approached higher authorities, expressing its concern about the encroachment of certain parks within the precincts of North Nazimabad Town.

The Shehri-CBE has sent letters to selective heads of authorities, containing complaints of the citizens residing in the vicinity of the encroached parks. The Shehri-CBE has also dispatched a reminder on March 28, titled ‘Brazen Encroachments on Parks/Amenity Spaces in North Nazimabad’, which contains the names and locations of the encroached parks. The parks include Plot ST-5/2/E (Park, 2.03 acres), ST-5/4/E (Playground, 2 acres), ST-5/1/E, (Hazoori Bagh, 1.35 acres), Plot ST-4/D, (Bagh-e-Afroz, 3.5 acres), Plot ST-1/I, (Bagh-e-Dilkusha, 2.75 acres), Plot ST-9/A, Block-A, (Bagh-e-Babar) and Plot ST-5/K (Taj Mahal Bagh, 6 acres)

In the reminder, the Shehri-CBE questioned the silence of the authorities over the previous letter and reminded them of their responsibility to uphold the law and safeguard public interests.

According to the NGO, the laws being blatantly violated include the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 (incl. Reg. 4), Sindh Local Government Ordinance, 2001 (incl. Regs. 67 – 70, Sixth Schedule), Sindh Building Control Ordinance, 1979 (incl. Section 6.1) and Karachi Building & Town Planning Regulations, 2002 (incl. Reg. 18-4.1)’.

The Shehri-CBE claimed that such amenity plots cannot be allotted for residential purposes, building plans cannot be approved and construction cannot be undertaken without approval.

The NGO has also attached comparative satellite images with the letters, dated 2004 and 2009, which expose illegal constructions on the above mentioned parks and playgrounds. Shehri-CBE has alleged that local union councils and town nazims are sponsoring this criminal activity.

In the letter dated February 11, which was sent to the Sindh Governor, Chief Minister, Local Government Minister, Environment Minister, Chief Secretary, Environment Secretary, City Nazim and KBCA Chief Controller, the Shehri-CBE wrote that construction and development on the above-mentioned plots was well underway and in some cases was close to completion. The amenity plots, which are huge public spaces, have been converted into private residencies with newly built houses and all the space has been sold to buyers illegally.

The letter said that these spaces were originally allotted for parks and are designed and located strategically for this purpose. The government should do something to stop the illegal projects immediately and restore the plots as parks and open spaces and take the developers involved to task since official plans of the city clearly identify all the above-mentioned spaces as amenity plots.

The Shehri-CBE had received a number of complaints by citizens of North Nazimabad Town. One such complaint from a citizen mentioned that there is a green belt area that formerly hosted a mini golf course near the Board of Secondary Education Karachi office and four public parks and play grounds on Shahra-e-Noor Jahan that have been converted into unnamed housing schemes. This massive manipulation cannot be done without high level backing, political or otherwise, the complainant added.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Council demands cancellation of KESC’s privatisation

By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) City Council, on Thursday, unanimously approved a resolution condemning the ongoing, prolonged load shedding in the city and called for the cancellation of the Karachi Electric Supply Company’s privatisation and handover of the utility to the government.

In this regard, City Council Convener Nasreen Jalil had called a special and urgent session on Thursday and the house debated the load shedding and Karachi Electric Supply Company’s (KESC) dismal performance. The treasury benches tabled a resolution that was jointly presented by the leader of the house, Muhammad Asif Siddiqui, Abdul Jalil, Waqar Hussain Shah, Sheikh Mehboob-ur-Rehman and opposition bench members including Saeed Ghani, Dr Ziauddin and Abdul Razzaque.

The eight-point resolution demanded the cancellation of KESC’s privatisation and recommended that it should be given back under government control. The other points included that KESC should immediately operate all power generating units and should stop making technical excuses to shed load. It was demanded that the KESC enhance its power generation capacity on a war footing basis. The government should establish gas and coal-based power units instead of thermal units, so that furnace oil expenditures can be minimised at KESC’s end.

The possibilities of hydel power units should also be taken into consideration and in this regard, a hydel power unit should be set up at the Meerani Dam near Ibrahim Mubarik Village. Measures should also be taken to establish power units on ships to produce power from seawater, as done in Japan. The harnessing of solar power was also suggested.

The Thar Coal reserves should also be utilised for power generation and power conservation at the consumers’ end should be encouraged too. The resolution said that KESC should take corrective measures to end load shedding, or else the government should take back the utility’s control. In her opening remarks, Jalil said that despite repeated discussions and resolutions approved by the house, KESC has failed to improve the situation, which is tantamount to eliminating trade, economic and academic activities from the city.

While taking active part in debate, leader of the house, Muhammad Asif Siddiqui said that KESC is at the disposal of foreign masters, deliberately creating political turmoil in the city by producing less power than the actual available capacity. Siddiqui demanded that the government should exercise its control on KESC and cancel its privatisation. Imran Baghpatti, in his speech, said that KESC Chief Executive Director Naveed Ismail should be held responsible for all criminal activities that take place under the cover of the artificial darkness created by the KESC and should be nominated in all such FIRs.

Sultan Mujahid Baloch said that KESC should not underestimate the power of the people and warned that if they are inconvenienced any further, they may take to the streets.

Musarrat Jabeen said that the ‘imported’ KESC has no idea what the local people go through and even if on a humanitarian basis, the government should take control of the utility. Mazhar Alam said that the tax collected from the city’s ports and airport for two months should be given to the city so that it can set up new power plants. In his speech, Saeed Ghani said that the opposition in the City Council has been raising the issue again and again but have not once been supported by the treasury benches during the past three-and-a-half years. The treasury benches have now accepted the opposition’s point of view, which they have shown by tabling the resolution. Ghani added that it is imperative that investigations should be immediately initiated against those involved in the privatisation of KESC because it has proved to be a massive blunder, as it has slowed economic activities down to a trickle and has stunt industrial growth.

KESC’s management is receiving electricity at cheaper rates from Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), which has made the management greedy, hence, it has cleverly opted to create a false power situation so that PEPCO continues to supply power at cheaper rates and KESC reaps the benefit at both ends.

In a separate resolution that the treasury benches tabled, they demanded that two members of the City Council should be inducted to monitor KESC’s operations. The resolution was also approved unanimously. The City Council also tabled a resolution to commemorate and pay tribute to the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. (DT)

Garbage lifting project finally resolved

KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan has finally resolved the pending delay of the garbage lifting project by the Chinese firm with a condition that schedule of garbage lifting would be presented to city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal on Friday to make sure that the firm was fulfilling all its commitments.
Sources in thee Governor House said it was decided that on the satisfaction of the CDGK $ 200 million will be provided to the firm, out of the loan being provided to government of Pakistan by the Chinese government...
The CDGK once expressed its satisfaction over the schedule it will inform to the Federal government than only the amount would be released. The high level meeting was held at Governor House on Thursday and was attended state minister for Investment Saleem H Mandviwalla, city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal and a member of Chinese firm.
The firm will present in its schedule for establishing eight garbage lifting stations and other land fill sites in its schedule to be presented on Friday.
It may be noted that according to city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal due to previous law and order situation of Karachi , the Chinese firm had shown its reluctance to start the work and some controversy was also erupted over the fee collection by the Chinese firm. It may be noted that ethnic violence is also feared in Karachi for which MQM and ANP are making efforts for the restoration of peace.
It may be recalled that CDGK and Chinese company had sign accord for solid waste management in 2007 City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and Shanghai Shun Gong Environmental Protection Limited had signed an agreement to lift garbage and carry it to landfill site at 20 dollars a ton for the next 20 years and Letter of Intent (LoI) thereof issued to the company
The agreement was signed by Qian Yu Lin, Managing Director of the company and EDO Municipal Services CDGK at a ceremony held at a local hotel. Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal, Chinese Consul General at Karachi Chen Shan Min and Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil, besides DCO Javed Hanif, Town Nazims of Karachi, Chairman of City Council and others were also present on the occasion.
Mustafa Kamal pointed out that present was the era of technology and the technology which was being used for solid waste management in the world’s mega cities has been introduced here today because generation of 10,000 tons of garbage daily could not be cleared without technological use.