IHC reprimands Islamabad police, summons IGP

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday expressed its annoyance over Islamabad police for not complying with the court’s orders regarding registration of FIR against former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Banks over deaths of civilians in the US drone attacks.
Expressing his resentment over non-compliance of the court’s orders, IHC bench comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui directed inspector general of Islamabad police to appear before the court on Wednesday (today). During the hearing of the case, the IHC bench also expressed its dissatisfaction over an eight pages report submitted by the IGP Islamabad giving reasons as to why an FIR in this case could not be registered.
It was June 05, 2014 when the same IHC bench had directed Secretariat police station to register FIR against the former CIA officials for their alleged involvement in drone attacks in North Waziristan as one of its resident Kareem Khan whose brother and a son had died in a drone strike in 2009 had moved the court.
After the Islamabad police did not register the FIR, Kareem Khan through his lawyer Mirza Shehzad Akbar had filed a contempt of court petition that was heard on Tuesday. During the proceedings, the aforementioned eight pages report of Islamabad police was submitted to the compliance of IHC’s order dated February 09. Islamabad police submitted before the IHC, copies of the judgments of Peshawar High Court (PHC) in similar cases.
Islamabad police submitted that this is a diplomatic issue and the CIA chief at that time got diplomatic immunity. If in this case, Islamabad police register an FIR even then it could not investigate the matter.
The police report maintained that it could not even do post-mortem of the dead bodies because the victims were buried in FATA. It said that the IHC bench had directed the police to act as per law.
As per law the FIR of an incident could only be registered within territorial jurisdiction. The police adopted that according to the law the FIR of this case could be registered with FATA secretariat and Islamabad police has already forwarded the matter to FATA secretariat.
A standing counsel representing federal government requested the court to hear this case in chamber as the IG Islamabad wanted to brief the court about some sensitive issues involving this case. He also requested the court to seek version from the foreign office as this is a diplomatic issue.
The IHC bench observed that the government has no importance for the killings of its innocent civilians. In tribal areas people were killed like insects. Justice Siddiqui added that affectees of drone attacks did not demand arrest of particular persons but they wanted to register their grievances. Kareem Khan, a resident of North Waziristan Agency had lost his teenage son Zahinullah and a brother Asif Iqbal who was a primary school teacher in Mir Ali, in a drone strike on 31st December 2009.
Khan is a native of Machi Khel, Mir Ali of North Waziristan and he had filed an application for FIR with the Secretariat police station of Islamabad in 2010. Secretariat police refused to lodge the FIR and then, Kareem Khan filed a case under section 22-A with the civil court of Islamabad while praying that the police may be directed to register the FIR.
A civil judge of Islamabad dismissed the application in December 2013 citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason. Later, Kareem filed an appeal with the IHC and the court had directed police to register the case on June 05, 2014.

Altaf Hussain urges Supreme Court to intervene in Senate election crisis

2011102923258London– Voicing concerns over the lingering crisis involving upcoming Senate elections, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain wrote a letter to chief justice of Pakistan, urging for a befitting role of the Supreme Court to break the current political imbroglio.
In a statement issued from the party’s London Secretariat, he expressed dismay over the current political situation and called upon the apex court to intercede.
Altaf Hussain asserted, “As the Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution, I hereby call upon the Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk and his learned companion Judges to suo moto, invoking article 184(3) of the Constitution, issue directions under articles 187, 189 and 190 of the Constitution whereby a proper methodology for the Senate Elections is declared and if necessary, a commission be appointed under order 32 of the Supreme Court Rules, whereby members of the Armed Forces, select Parliamentarians, lawyers, technocrats and others known in diversified fields, are appointed as members of the commission so as to resolve the present crisis.”
Picking apart the potential maneuver to introduce an amendment against horse-trading, Altaf Hussain was of the view that, the situation is bound to further aggravate thanks to the game of numbers if an attempt is made to bring about a Constitutional Amendment.

Drawing attention towards the law and order situation in the country, the MQM chief said the recent threats and attacks from Daish and Taliban, nudged Pakistan into an undesirable state of war.
Despite a sharp decline in the international oil prices, he said, the citizens are facing price hikes of even the most essential commodities, shortage of petroleum products, and also massive shortage of gas and electricity, which have virtually crippled the industries of the country.

ADB to help fund Pakistan’s first LNG regasification terminal

adb-to-help-fund-pakistan-s-first-lng-regasification-terminal-1425065257-1903ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $30 million project loan to Engro Elengy Terminal Private Limited, a special purpose company which will build Pakistan’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal.“Pakistan urgently needs to utilise its existing power generation capacity fully, while reducing its reliance on costly imported diesel fuel for electricity generation,” said Mohammed Azim Hashimi, an investment specialist in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department in a statement here on Friday.“Regasification of LNG will allow generation facilities to reach their maximum potential, using a cleaner and more efficient fuel, and will support the country’s push for greater energy security and diversification,” Hashimi said. The loan, to the special purpose unit of listed Pakistani company, Engro Corporation Limited, will be used to build and operate the regasification facility at Port Qasim, Karachi.

The plant will have the capacity for regasification of up to 3 million tons of LNG per annum from March 2015 onwards. The fuel, suitable for use at most of the country’s combined cycle power plants, will be supplied to the state-owned Sui Southern Gas Company’s gas distribution network via a new high-pressure pipeline. The converted fuel will help the government make an estimated savings of about $1 billion per annum on its current fuel import bill of nearly $15 billion, the statement said.Since 2008, Pakistan has been suffering from crippling power shortages, caused by a lack of fuel, which has resulted in unscheduled industry shutdowns, power interruptions in cities, and public unrest. The country’s natural gas resources are also under severe strain with a recent survey showing that the rate of gas extraction is declining by over 2% a year, even as demand accelerates, the statement added.Regasification converts LNG into natural gas, making it easier to store and distribute through pipelines to end users including power generators. The project will help avoid up to 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

ADB works closely with the government to attract private sector capital into Pakistan’s energy sector, and has helped finance the country’s first two private hydropower projects and first three private wind power projects. ADB also offers long term commercial financing which is not readily available in Pakistan. The regasification project is expected to set legal and financial benchmarks for similar projects in future.

Along with ADB’s loan, International Finance Corporation is expected to provide $20 million and local banks another $50 million. The rest of the project financing will come from equity proceeds of $33.3 million, for a total cost of $133.3 million, including contingencies.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

OGRA’s summary rejected; POL prices to remain unchanged

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said on Friday that despite an increase in the prices of petroleum products in the international market, the government has decided not to increase the prices proposed by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) for the month of March.
Addressing a press confeogra-s-summary-rejected-pol-prices-to-remain-unchanged-1425082255-3969rence, the minister said that due to the increase in the petroleum prices in the international market, OGRA had proposed an increase in motor spirit (petrol) price by Rs 5.59 per litre, high octane by Rs 12.62, kerosene oil by Rs 7.32 and light diesel rice by Rs 5.5 per litre. The regulator proposed decrease in the price of high speed diesel by Rs 5.49 per litre. “But after using constitutional powers, the government will adjust the prices of petroleum products by reducing duties on petroleum prices,” he said, adding that sales tax on petrol, high octane, kerosene oil and light diesel would be reduced from 27 percent to around 18 percent. However, on high speed diesel, the sales tax would be increased from 27 percent to around 35 percent.
Ishaq Dar said that the prime minister had directed him to devise a mechanism to ensure that the prices of petroleum products remain the same until March 31. Moreover, he said that the Petroleum Development Levy (PDL) would also be reduced by Rs 5.11 per litre on high octane, Rs 2.6 on kerosene oil, Rs 0.85 on light diesel, Rs 0.31 on high speed diesel and Rs 0.18 per litre on motor spirit. He said Pakistan has received a good news form the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) being held in Paris that France has removed the country from its Public Statement (Grey Listing), which contained adverse remarks on Pakistan since February 2012.
He said that the FATF, in its decision about Pakistan, said that it welcomed the country’s significant progress in improving its anti-money laundering laws and combating financing (AML/CFT) for terrorism regime, and noted that Pakistan had established the legal and regulatory framework to meet the commitments in its Action Plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in June 2010. Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan’s removal from FATF Grey list is a timely and welcome development, “which is an outcome of the tireless efforts made by the economic managers under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif”.
The minister said that the World Bank has formally informed the government that Pakistan has once again become eligible for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) funding after a gap of three years. He said the IBRD funding facility was suspended in March 2012 because at that time Pakistan could not fulfil the required conditions regarding macro-economic stability. He said since Pakistan is now maintaining foreign exchange reserves of more than 2.5 months of projected imports and has satisfied other criteria of World Bank under the Country Partnership strategy (CPS), it will now be able to avail $2 billion worth of IBRD funding during the four-year period of Fiscal Years 2015-19 with annual limit of $500 million.

Can you really get a cold from going out with wet hair?

No doubt you’ve heard this one before – probably from mom or grandma as you rushed out the door one winter morning fresh out of the shower..
But while you might not f1425060510-1779eel so cozy venturing out into the cold with a wet head, doing so doesn’t condemn you to illness. Colds and the flu are caused by viruses; the only way to come down with the bugs is to come into contact with those viruses that cause them, Huffington Post reports.”In order to get an infection you need to be exposed to an infectious agent,” said Dr Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases physician and researcher at the Mayo Clinic. “There are several things that circulate during periods of cold weather – influenza and different cold viruses. That’s what you need to get infected. Going out with wet hair is not going to cause an infection. I think it more so just makes people uncomfortable.”
He cautioned that that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to go traipsing around in below-freezing temperatures without a jacket or with a wet head. Ultra-cold weather is a stressor on the body, and in extreme cases could lead to hypothermia, which can certainly affect your immune system. Of course, you can catch a cold or flu virus while outside and cold and flu season does overlap with cold weather. Recent research suggests rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, may thrive in low temperatures. But you won’t get an infection simply because your hair is wet. Or because you didn’t wear a jacket, or a scarf, or mittens, either.
“The things to really focus on are respiratory etiquette, meaning if you are sick to cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow and good hand hygiene,” said Tosh, who admits this is a tough myth to finally put to rest. “No matter how many times I tell my mom that you can’t get a cold from being in the cold, she still says this,” he said. “And she knows I’m an infectious diseases physician!”