MoU signed on tourism promotion – 18 Nov 2022

LAHORE: Punjab Tourism department and University of Chakwal have signed an MoU regarding the promotion of Chakwal tourist destinations and heritage places.

The MoU was signed by secretary Tourism Asia Gul and Dr Muhammad Bilal Khan, Vice-Chancellor University of Chakwal. Both parties have agreed to work in collaboration to protect the heritage monuments of the district along with improving the accessibility of these places for both local and international tourists.

To attract more tourists here, both will work to arrange a tourism festival in Chakwal in December that will showcase the heritage and natural beauty of the district. Punjab is a culturally rich province with a lot of potential of religious and heritage tourism here. For that, University of Chakwal and Tourism department will conduct workshops, seminars and conferences to highlight the importance of tourism. University of Chakwal is also going to introduce a special programme for research and development for this purpose.

Both parties will conduct field visits and make a report on it. TDCP along with other wings of Tourism department will facilitate the academia and researchers. Both parties will appoint focal persons for the said tasks.

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‘Subsidies hindered growth of energy sector infrastructure’ – 18 Nov 2022

ISLAMABAD: Dr Musadik Masood Malik, Minister of State for Energy, Petroleum Division has said that the government’s vision of the energy sector is to energise the poor and create the infrastructure that allows them upward social mobility.

The Minister was delivering keynote address on ‘Pakistan’s energy vision: a harbinger for economic development’ to Thought Leaders Forum (TLF) organised by Institute of Strategic Studies here Thursday.

Dr Malik said that the subsidies hindered the growth of the energy sector infrastructure. He observed that productivity needs to be increased in both public and private sectors through innovation and technology infusion. The major problems of the energy sector include availability, affordability, and fiscal sustainability, he said adding that building pipelines, especially from Central Asia to Pakistan like TAPI are necessary. He continued that it is important to work on indigenizing gas exploration in the country to build capacity and focus on renewable sources of energy.

Dr Malik further stated that Pakistan is soon aiming to announce its refining policy and is expected to attract an investment of $12 billion to set up a world-class refinery in the country.

He further stated that Pakistan is soon aiming to announce its refining policy and is expected to attract an investment of 12 billion US dollars to set up a world-class refinery in the country.

Earlier, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director-General, ISS, presented his address of welcome.

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Citizens’ complaints addressed – 18 Nov 2022

RAWALPINDI: Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Rawalpindi Waseem Riaz Khan under the Punjab government’s open door policy held a Khuli Kutcherry here on Thursday in Police Lines Headquarters to address complaints of the citizens.

According to a Police spokesman, the SSP issued directives to the officers concerned to take action and submit detailed reports on the complaints submitted by the citizens in Khuli Kutcherry. Assistant Sub-Inspector, Kalar Syedan was charge-sheeted on the poor investigation in a case and two constables, Raza Shah and Akash were suspended on corruption complaints.

The SSP also issued the order to charge-sheet a Traffic Warden Inspector Abdul Waheed on a charge of misbehaving with a citizen. He directed the Stations House Officers of the police stations to remain present for at least three hours from 3 pm to 6 pm in their respective police stations to hear public complaints. The SSP said that negligence on part of the officials concerned would not be tolerated. He informed that the Khuli Kutcherris were being held to provide the citizens immediate relief and address their complaints besides, it also helped improve standards of policing.

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Load management plan for winter: Gas for three hours in morning, two hours for lunch, three hours for dinner – 18 Nov 2022

The government has decided to fine-tune the gas load management plan under which it will provide gas to domestic consumers only for cooking times in winter

ISLAMABAD: While people in various pockets of main cities of Punjab, KPK are getting either no gas or at low pressure, the government has decided to fine-tune the gas load management plan under which it will provide gas to domestic consumers only for cooking times in winter — three hours in the morning from 6 am to 9 am, two hours from 12 noon to 2 pm for lunch and three hours from 6 pm to 9 pm for dinner.

“More importantly, commercial consumers will be provided RLNG in Punjab except for Roti Tandoors, which will be provided system gas (local gas),” one of the top officials of Energy Ministry told The News.

“The CNG, fertilizer, cement and non-export industry will be having zero gas supply,” said the official. “If the winter season peaks from December 15 to January 31, the gas supply may be cut off to captive power plants of export industry and for the power sector, the existing gas supply of 200 mmcfd may be halved.”

He said the gas deficit in the country for the winter season 2022-23 has been worked out at 1.35 bcfd (billion cubic feet gas per day). “It has been worked out that the gas deficit would stay at 900-1,000 mmcfd in the SNGPL system that covers Punjab and KPK. The gas availability in the SNGPL system would remain in the range of 1,520 mmcfd (770 mmcfd of local gas plus 750 mmcfd of RLNG) against the demand of 2,100-2,500 mmcfd. The gas consumers in SNGPL stand at 7.5 million (6.5 million in Punjab and 1 million in KPK).”

Likewise, the gas availability in the Sui Southern (SSGCL) system would be in the range of 925-1,000 mmcfd against the demand of 1,250-1,500 mmcfd. The gas deficit in the SSGC system has been estimated in the range of 250-350 mmcfd. The gas supply to the CNG, fertilizer, cement, and non-export industries will be zero.

The Petroleum Division has also sought the amount of Rs105 billion for injecting the costly RLNG into the domestic sector for the winter season 2022-23. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has desired that domestic consumers should be kept on top priority and should be provided gas with pressure. And this is only possible if RLNG is diverted to domestic consumers of Punjab and KPK.

Interestingly, the cost of RLNG, which was earlier diverted to domestic consumers in the last four winters, has not been recovered. The cost of RLNG that has so far been injected into the domestic sector stands at Rs108 billion and this amount has not been recovered. The country’s gas sector is already soaked in circular debt of Rs1,500 billion. The Petroleum Division would put up this case before the PM for approval of Rs105 billion to ensure diversion of RLNG, so that gas to domestic consumers could be provided for cooking times at required pressure.

“Currently, the sale price of natural gas stands at Rs400 per MMBTU whereas the RLNG cost is at $13 per MMBTU (Rs3,100). The Petroleum Division wants the differential to be paid by consumers through the revenue requirements of gas utilities.”

Under the amended act, RLNG is no longer called a petroleum product but has been renamed as a gas of which the cost can now be recovered from domestic consumers through revenue requirement petitions of Sui Southern and Sui Northern.

The gas supply to captive power plants of export sectors would also be shut down if winter turns more severe. Right now, the captive power plants are being provided 50 percent gas supply. However, for processing in the textile sector, the gas of 40-42 mmcfd would continue. The government is extending electricity at the rate of Rs19.99 per unit, which is why it would halt the gas supply to captive power plants. Right now the power sector is currently being provided 165-200 mmcfd of gas, which would be halved during the peak winter.

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‘Corruption must be checked for rule of law’ – 18 Nov 2022

CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that dishonesty must be checked for the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial Thursday remarked that dishonesty must be checked for the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution, adding that corruption also affects the economy.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard the petition of Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan, challenging the amendments made by the coalition government to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

During the hearing, Khawaja Haris, counsel for the PTI chairman, continued his arguments and submitted that the amendments under challenge are against the Constitution and the contract between the public and their chosen representatives. He submitted that under the amendments, the public office-holders, as trustees of the public, will evade the accountability process that would also ultimately affect the fundamental rights of citizens as well. “You are right that corruption is a disease and the accountability of people involved in corruption is necessary for maintaining the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution as it also affects the economy of the country,” the CJP told the learned counsel for the PTI chairman. “But the question before the court is where it could draw a line where fundamental rights have been affected,” the CJP said, adding that the NAB laws are not flawed, but their application is incorrect. The chief justice then asked the learned counsel what the standard would be if the court decided that corruption should be strictly prosecuted. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said the court gives daily decisions about violations of fundamental rights. “Tomorrow, if a citizen comes to court saying there is no law against corruption and we ask the parliament to legislate a law, but when that citizen comes back and says the law against corruption is not so rigid and people are acquitted, direct the parliament to make a rigid law,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said. “If this is to be done by the court, let us run the parliament,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked and asked the counsel if their job is to ask the parliament to make rigid legislation.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that climate change is the biggest threat to Pakistan, therefore, there is a dire need to make legislation for tackling climate change, which is more important than the NAB laws. The judge said that the whole of Pakistan is being destroyed as natural calamities like floods have played havoc with the people of the country. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah again questioned if any citizen comes to court and said that the law about climate change is not rigid, hence the parliament is directed to make the law more rigid. “Khawaja Sahib, let us know whether this is our job to do so; I cannot understand,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah told the counsel. “If you permit me, I can cite the court’s judgments available for answering this question,” Khawaja Haris replied, to which Justice Mansoor Ali Shah replied that he also awaits that day, adding that even he has questions for the last-day arguments of the learned counsel. Meanwhile, the court adjourned further hearings until Nov 21.

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SHC seeks response in doctor’s demotion case – 18 Nov 2022

Petition says Civil Hospital doctor was demoted four days before retirement

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has sought response from the petitioner on the submission of Advocate General Sindh’s reply to the petition related to the demotion of Dr. Nadeem-ur-Rehman of Civil Hospital.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar heard the petition. Chief Secretary Sindh Sohail Rajput and Advocate General Sindh Hasan Akbar appeared in the court.

The court reprimanded Sindh AG for not submitting the reply on time. Justice Ghaffar remarked, if the performance continues like this, we will stop issuing notices to the AG office. In such a case, the court will directly ask the secretaries to answer.

The attitude of the AG office is forcing us to directly seek answers from the concerned departments. According to the rules, the court may call for a reply from the AG office, but their performance is forcing us to think otherwise.

The AG Sindh office sought adjournment in the application not once or twice but eight times. This situation is not limited to this application only; the court is facing the similar situation in other applications as well. If there will be so much delay in submitting the answer, when will the court decide? We are not fond of reprimanding and calling officers, the justice remarked.

AG Sindh apologised to the court and assured to make a mechanism on the issue of submission of answer in the court. AG Sindh stated that a joint mechanism has been formed with the chief secretary. He said, now response will be submitted on time.

The court adjourned the hearing till December 1, directing the petitioner to file the reply. In the petition, the position was taken that the chief minister, who is the competent authority, promoted the doctor to grade 20 from grade 19, but the promotion notification was cancelled four days before retirement. The chief secretary misused the powers.

The decision should be annulled.

Case of Karachi girl

Sindh high court has sought more argument on the application regarding the meeting of Zaheer in the case of Karachi girl’s marriage of choice by going to Lahore.

Muhammad Farooq Advocate submitted a power of attorney on behalf of Zaheer in the case in front of the single bench of Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar. Farooq Advocate gave arguments on Zaheer’s request for a meeting.

The petitioner’s lawyer took stand that a meeting should be arranged with Zaheer. Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar inquired whether the girl wants to meet her husband. The petitioner’s lawyer stated that the girl should be called here and asked. Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar remarked that give responsibility to a judicial magistrate.

The lawyer of the petitioner stated that they are saying that the court should call. The court called for further arguments on the application till November 30.

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Govt framed pawns to save big fish: SUP – 18 Nov 2022

‘Deputy commissioner taken into cutody to protect real culprits,’ says Zain Shah

Sindh United Party (SUP) President Syed Zain Shah has voiced concerns at the alleged corruption in the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway funds, saying that people were well aware of how good the Sindh government was at financial corruption.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Shah condemned it as “highly shameful” and said that Matiari’s deputy commissioner has been removed from his post to hoodwink the public.

“The deputy commissioner has been taken into custody to protect the real perpetrators of corruption in the project,” he said.

He alleged that Bilawal House had collected billions of rupees on the pretext of compensating the owners whose lands would be used for the mega project. Dishonest officials received commissions from compensation amounts released to the owners of lands, he said, adding that they looted Sindh at the behest of Bilawal Zardari and Murad Ali Shah.

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No end to suffering of sick in Sindh – 18 Nov 2022

Doctors and paramedics have been boycotting OPDs for more than 32 days

Hospitals are meant to treat the sick humanity, but in Sindh they have been reduced to just buildings.

There are no doctors and no paramedics who could feel the pain of the sick and the miseries of their attendants.

*Sajjad, who hails from Thatta, has brought his elder brother to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), one of the major tertiary care hospitals of the province.

“There is no doctor who can listen to us,” he complained.

“They are on strike,” he added.

“Is the government also on strike,” he questioned.

Shahnawaz’s five-yearold nephew Gulfam fell from a staircase a few days ago and was rushed to the JPMC for treatment.

“He got head injuries and needs utmost care and better treatment but there is no doctor who could treat him,” he complained.

“We are from Abbottabad. Health professionals do not go on strike, leaving their patients unattended,” he said.

For last 32 days, all the OPDs in Sindh’s hospitals have been shut while patients admitted in different wards are not being looked after properly.

“Only emergency wards operate 24 hours,” confirmed Aijaz Kalari, leader of Grand Health Alliance (GHA).

“We will not go back to work until our demands are accepted.” The GHA demands continuation of a ‘health risk allowance’ which the provincial government had provided to doctors and their supporting staff during the Covide-19 pandemic.

Provincial Health Department employees of BPS-1 to 16 received Rs17,000 per month and BPS-17 and above, including doctors, received Rs35,000 per month as health risk allowance.

“Our demand is genuine,” Kalari said while sitting in a protest camp outside Karachi Press Club.

“Look at inflation,” he said.

“We are always at risk while saving others’ lives,” he added.

While replying to a question, Kalari, who represents about 100,000 Health Department employees, said: “We know that patients are suffering because of the strike, but it is the government’s responsibility to resolve the issue.” “No.

They will not be given the risk allowance,” said Qasim Siraj Soomro, parliamentary secretary for health.

“We cannot accept unjustified demands,” he added.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Soomro questioned: “Who is responsible for the deaths and miseries caused due to these strikes? Those hired for essential services do not go on strike.

It’s unethical, unprofessional, and inhuman.” While there seems to be no end to the GHA strike, rumour swirl that the Health Department has requested a paramilitary force for help with its trained paramedical staff and doctors.

But the department spokesperson denied the rumour.

“No, we have not approached any other institution,” he clarified.

“This is hard time for all of us. Most people in Sindh have been suffering because of the floods, but these doctors have no empathy,” Soomro said.

“We will take stern action against those employees who challenge the writ of the government,” he warned.

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Balochistan should make its own mineral law: SC – 18 Nov 2022

Says Centre can exercise powers over provincial law or machinery but provinces cannot do the same

The Supreme Court while hearing the presidential reference on Reko Diq project said that the Balochistan government should make its own law related to minerals, noting that legislation can be done in a week’s time.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the reference on Thursday

President Arif Alvi, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, had filed the reference to seek the apex court’s opinion on the Reko Diq out-of-court settlement deal.

The federal government, through the reference, had posed two questions seeking the apex court’s opinion under Article 186 of the Constitution.

The first question is whether or not the SC 2013 judgment had prevented the federal and Balochistan governments from entering into an implementation and definitive agreements or affected their validity.

It also asked the SC if enacted, would the proposed Foreign Investment (Protection and Promotion) Bill, 2022, be valid and constitutional.

Earlier, the additional attorney general had told the Supreme Court that Barrick Gold Corporation’s previous licence for mining gold in the Reqo Diq area had been cancelled and it would now be given a new one.

During the hearing on Thursday, Justice Munib Akhtar asked how Balochistan could amend the Minerals Act of the federation.

The judge said that the Centre could exercise powers over provincial law or machinery but the provinces cannot do the same.

Justice Yahya Khan Afridi sought legislation in the Reko Diq case, saying the matter of public interest should be kept in focus.

The counsel for Balochistan government said that the provincial assembly could legislate on the issue of Reko Diq agreement.

Justice Akhtar said the government wanted the court to interpret the Constitution in its “preferred way”, adding that the rest of the provinces should also enact law like Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s “free law on minerals”.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel remarked that the Balochistan government should formulate its own law related to minerals, noting that legislation could be done in a week’s time.

What more clear opinion can the court give? he asked.

The Balochistan government lawyer said he would further adopt the arguments of the additional attorney general on the matter.

On the completion of arguments by the Balochistan government’s counsel, amicus curiae Farogh Naseem said that the court can suggest that the Balochistan Assembly legislate on the Reko Diq project.

He said the issue could be resolved if Balochistan enacts its own Minerals Act.

Later, the hearing of the case was adjourned till November 21.

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International Islamic Art Festival begins – 18 Nov 2022

Interior adviser says festival would lead to the revival of traditional Islamic arts

The four-day International Islamic Art Festival began at Alhamra Arts Council in collaboration with Pakistan Arts Council Karachi. The Adviser, Interior and Information Omar Sarfraz Cheema, was the chief guest of the opening ceremony.

Cheema congratulated Alhamra, Karachi Arts Council and other participating departments for organizing such a beautiful festival.

Alhamra Chairman Razi Ahmed delivered the opening remarks and welcomed the delegates from all over the world. On this occasion, he said the purpose of the Islamic Festival is to create awareness for the coming generations to keep the Islamic arts alive.

He added that the festival would lead to the revival of traditional Islamic arts.

President of Pakistan Arts Council Karachi Ahmed Shah was the guest of honour. He expressed his views and said that Pakistan Arts Council Karachi will continue actively promoting and developing Islamic art.

The renowned artist Irfan Qureshi explained the importance of celebrating UNESCO’s International Day of Islamic Art. The address of the guest of honours, including Eren Miyasoglu, the Director Yunus Emery Turkish Cultural Center and President Bank of Punjab Nadeem was also part of the opening session. An exhibition was also opened on the festival’s first day, where the works of artists from Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries were displayed.

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