SC orders LB polls in Punjab, Sindh on Sept 20

ISLAMABAD – Rejecting the proposed new schedule for local government (LG) elections in Sindh and Punjab, the Supreme Court Friday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold polls in the two provinces on September 20 and release a fresh schedule on March 10.

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The court earlier turned down the plea of the federation for holding LG elections in Cantonment areas on May 2, 2015, and ordered that polls should be conducted there on April 25. It also ordered local government polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on May 30 and summoned elections schedule for Islamabad (on March 10).
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, was annoyed when ECP Acting Secretary Sher Afgan declared the political parties stakeholder in the local bodies elections. Justice Jawwad said it were not the political parties but the people of Pakistan who are the real stakeholders.
During the proceeding, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti requested the court for allowing holding of elections in the Cantonment Boards on May 2, instead of April 25, 2015. He contended there are 43 Cantonment Boards in the country, and three to five hundred thousand voters have to be incorporated in the electoral rolls. The bench, however, turned down the request and ordered the ECP to ensure elections in the Cantonments on April 25.
The ECP acting secretary informed the court that the commission could ensure LG elections in Sindh and Punjab on September 20, 2015 if two new printing machines were provided to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan. Justice Jawwad said it was not the job of the court but the responsibility of the Election Commission to arrange the equipment to fulfill its constitutional obligation to hold local government elections.
“Neither we have any personal interest in the local government polls nor is the court against the election commission, but we want the commission to obey the commands of the constitution,” said the judge.
The court rejected the unjustified delay in LG elections in Sindh and Punjab and directed the Election Commission to come up on March 10 with fresh schedules. The ECP acting secretary also withdrew recommendation of holding elections in three-phases in both these provinces.
Regarding holding of election in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the ECP acting secretary submitted they have not yet started work on holding LG polls in the federal capital, but would give the schedule for carrying out delimitation in Islamabad. The court questioned why the ECP has not yet started the delimitation there despite the fact that bill for the legislation has already been approved by the federal cabinet. Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt informed the court that the bill will be tabled during the forthcoming session of the National Assembly.
“We had already directed you to conduct delimitation in Islamabad,” Justice Jawwad said to the ECP acting secretary, and directed him to submit the schedule for elections in ICT on March 10. “Tell us also as to whether you want to enforce Article 219 of the constitution or not?” Justice Jawwad inquired. The hearing was adjourned till March 10.
On Thursday, the ECP had proposed that LG polls in Sindh and Punjab would be held in three phases. The first phase would be held on 30-09-15, second 04-11-15 and third phase on 09-12-15. The commission had also informed the court that the delimitation process in Punjab and Sindh shall take four months and 20 days and shall be notified on 28th July, 2015, while electoral rolls shall be revised in 45 days. Around 120 million ballot papers shall be printed for Sindh and more than 300 million ballot papers for Punjab.
When the bench had taken up the case on Thursday, Director General (Legal) ECP Abdur Rehman appeared, but miserably failed to answer the court queries. He was even clueless to reply the simple question, as to why phase-wise elections be held in both the provinces?
The court had also observed that it appears the ECP might not consider itself independent statutory body tasked with performing the important constitutional functions to hold the LG elections in support of democratic dispensation, but it considers the subordinate department of the Cabinet Division.
During the proceedings, the SC research staff, present in the courtroom, through internet ascertained that there are fast printing machines, which can generate 100,000 copies of the ballots in one hour.
Justice Jawwad said the ECP does not consider itself the independent besides the fact Article 220 of the Constitution, says; ‘It shall be the duty of all executive authorities in the federation and in the provinces to assist the commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of his or their functions.’
Justice Sarmad Jalal said the Finance Ministry was bound to give you money for elections as when the Finance Act is passed then there is no voting on ECP budget. The deputy director ECP had informed the court that there were 1.2 million new voters in KP

Govt committed to working for economic stability: PM

MADINA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that the government was committed to working for economic stability, ending loadshedding of electricity and eliminating terrorism from the country.

54fa378a6575dAddressing a gathering of Pakistanis here, the prime minister reiterated government’s resolve to eliminate extremism and terrorism from the country. He said supporters of terrorism would not be spared and law of the land would prevail. He said the Zarb-i-Azb military operation was going on successfully and would continue till the elimination of the last terrorist.

In this regard he also mentioned the national consensus and commitment of political parties to amend the Army Act.

The prime minister said his government was improving governance and ensuring transparency in all affairs and he pointed out that it was endorsed by the Transparency International.

He said when his government came into power foreign exchange reserves were less than $8 billion, whereas in 20 months they have risen to $16 billion, while the State Bank reserves have gone up to $11 billion dollars.

He said his government was working on short- and long-term projects to end loadshedding and an additional 10,000 MW of electricity would be added to the national grid by the end of 2017. Mr Sharif said loadshedding would end in three years. Long-term measures included work on Bunji, Bhasha and Diamir dams that would generate around 16,000MW and help meet future needs of the country, he added.

The prime minister informed the Pakistani community about the Karachi-Lahore motorway project and said land was being acquired for the project that would usher in an era of prosperity.

He said the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway was also being reconstructed and would have new and better fencing, service areas, trees and other modern facilities.

He dismissed the allegations of rigging in the 2013 general election. The PML-N was not the part of caretaker governments in centre and provinces which held the elections and accusing it for any wrongdoing was not justified, he added.

The prime minister appreciated the role of overseas Pakistanis for bringing good name to the country with their hard work and their contribution in national economy.

Mr Sharif said Pakistan had good ties with Afghanistan and he mentioned his government’s cordial ties with the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

Extrajudicial acts by police aimed at curbing crime, says DIG

HYDERABAD: DIG Sanaullah Abbasi has said that extrajudicial killings and other actions cannot be justified officially but society has come to accept this ‘modus operandi’ of police to eradicate crimes and make streets safer.

“It is not necessary for an encounter to be seen as genuine only if a policeman loses his life in it. You can see police have restored peace and order in the city (through this modus operandi)…,” he said..ssss

The official was speaking to journalists at the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) offices here on Friday during a briefing by local CPLC chief Haji Yaqoob Memon about the committee’s progress on cases of kidnapping and women trafficking.

Asked if ‘half fry and full fry formula’ used by policemen to refer to a particular treatment meted out to arrested suspects in proportion to severity of their crimes, did not amount to extrajudicial actions, the DIG said he could confidently say that society had come to accept the ‘formula’.

54fa1f11afd87The terms ‘half fry’ and ‘full fry’ are commonly used by police to mean if officers are convinced the arrested suspects are involved in crimes they will be shot in the leg to render them disabled before sending them to jail. It had gained notoriety during the tenure of SSP Farid Jan Sarhandi but now it is talk of the town.

Know more: Analysis: ‘Encounter policy’ unsustainable

SSP Irfan Baloch who was also present at the briefing said that over the past three months, 73 suspects were ‘arrested’ after they fell ‘injured’ in encounters with police.

“Remember, none of them [suspects] can obtain bail. We have made a strong case to ensure they were denied any chance of getting bail,” he said. He asked who would deny that Ehsan Chhor, Chalees Shaira, or Kali Pochi were not criminals and did not cause great nuisance to people.

DIG Abbasi said that Hyderabad and Khairpur had become model districts — thanks to this ‘modus operandi’. “Jails have become nurseries of criminals though they are supposed to be reformatories,” he said.

In the western world, he said, it was the complainant who was projected but in Pakistani society it was the suspect who received sympathy.

“Police are always willing to obey the law. Their intention should not be doubted. No one has fallen prey to any ‘extrajudicial action’ by a police officer for his personal interests. Did any policeman kill or injure anyone for his personal gains?” he asked.

He pointed out that society condoned this ‘formula’.

“I have spoken to members of the judiciary and even some senior level officials of other law enforcement agencies.

They all admit that police have restored order [in the city] and agree with our contention,” he said.

But, he said, some elements were not so pleased with their efforts because police had stepped on their toes.

“If this [formula] continues then I can assure you that we will be able to create ideal conditions in crime control,” he said.

SURVEYING the wreckage that has become the 2015 Senate elections, this much is already clear: the upper house of parliament has a serious repair job ahead of it in terms of recovering its reputation and reinstating itself in the public imagination as a forum where serious, sober and informed debate is possible.

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Before the Senate can begin to recover its reputation though, there is the business of avoiding yet more damage.—INP/File Before the Senate can begin to recover its reputation though, there is the business of avoiding yet more damage.—INP/File

To be sure, few — if any — candidates have been elected to the Senate solely on the basis of vote-buying and without the support of a political party with representation in one of the assemblies.

But the perception of these elections has been fundamentally shaped by several other factors: the mismanagement of their parties and the electoral process by the PML-N and PTI; wild speculation in sections of the media; and a welter of allegations on election day itself, leading to unprecedented disruptions of the polling process.

That is a stain no house should have and surely not the Senate, which in its composition and design is meant to be above bare-knuckled, winner-takes-all politics.

Before the Senate can begin to recover its reputation though, there is the business of avoiding yet more damage. When the new members of the Senate will be sworn in next week and the house will convene to elect a chairman and deputy chairman, there is an obvious problem: the PPP and PML-N will have near-equal representation in the Senate.

So which party will get its senator elected as chairman? For the PPP, retaining the Senate chairmanship will act as a useful riposte to the growing criticism that it has been reduced to a regional party from interior Sindh.

For the PML-N, control of the Senate will aid its legislative agenda in parliament and rebut the allegation that it is essentially a Punjab-only party. But with roughly one-fourth of the votes in the Senate each, if the PML-N and PPP do decide to contest the Senate chairmanship, then both sides will need to reach out to the other parties in the Senate — triggering another potentially damaging round of speculation and allegations of vote-buying and arm-twisting.

There is also the issue of the PTI. It has yet to allow its members to return to the National Assembly and if its six senators also stay away from Senate proceedings, it will add to the perception of parliament being an incomplete forum.

Beyond that perhaps what the Senate should look to focus on is ramping up its legislative and oversight agenda. The wealth of talent and professional expertise — and not plain wealth in monetary terms — in the Senate remains high with this new set of legislators.

There is no other legislative body in the country with specially reserved seats for technocrats and ulema and many of the parties send some of their most experienced and competent members to the upper house. Surely, the best response to scandal is to get down to business quickly.

Khyber Pakhtunkhawa won National Junior Basketball Championship’2015 trophy

download (20)WAH CANTT : Final of National Junior Basketball Championship’2015 was played between Khyber Pakhtunkhawa & Islamabad at POF Sports Complex, Wah Cantt. Khyber Pakhtunkhawa clinched the winner trophy with the score 55-32 while 3rd position was got by FATA by defeating the Punjab team.Mr. Muhammad Asif Hussain Member POF Board was the Chief Guest of the final ceremony who distributed prizes among the position holders. This Junior National Basketball Championship started at POF Sports Complex on 2nd March’2015 in which 7 teams from all over the country participated which include Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Baluchistan, Islamabad, FATA & host POF. Teams were divided in 02 Pools. In Pool A include FATA, Sindh & Punjab while in Pool B, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Islamabad Baluchistan and POF were included. In the welcoming remarks Col (R) Inamullah Khan Vice President POF Sports Control Board told that POF Sports Control Board under the guidance of Chairman POF Board had arranged 9 National Championships before this championship which include National Cycle Race, Junior and Senior Basketball Championship, Asian Style Kabaddi Championship, Junior and Senior Volleyball Championship, Shooting Competitions, Circle Style National Kabaddi Championship. He further told that in the coming days National Basketball Championship and National Kabaddi Championship would be arranged at POF Sports Complex. He added that the teams of Afghanistan, Iran & India have shown their consent to participate in this Kabaddi Championship and they have confirmed their participation to Pakistan Kabaddi Federation. A large Number of Sports lovers, players, office bearers of Pakistan Basketball Federation and POF Officers witnessed the final ceremony.

AMJAD