Determined Sarfraz aims to end England tour on a high

MANCHESTER: Sarfraz Ahmed is ready to put his stamp on Pakistan’s Twenty20 captaincy, in his first match in charge since his appointment five months ago.

Sarfraz inherits a squad with a belated feel-good factor after his and Shoaib Malik’s big-hitting helped the majority of them re-discover a winning feeling against England in Sunday’s final One-day International in Cardiff.

That brought a sole consolation success at the end of the ODI series, preventing a maiden 5-0 whitewash on home soil for England.

Victory in the one-off Twenty20 International at Old Trafford on Wednesday would therefore earn the tourists a claim to be honours even over all formats — if not a share of the Super Series England have already wrapped up — after the drawn four-Test series.

For Sarfraz, the time has come to begin establishing a new era as successor to veteran Shahid Afridi — who stepped down as captain after Pakistan’s early exit from last spring’s ICC World Twenty20.

Read: Afridi wishes luck to Sarfraz for T20

“I am really excited about the captaincy,” the wicket-keeper/batsman said, on the eve of what is likely to prove a tough examination of his team’s credentials against Eoin Morgan’s World Twenty20 finalists.

Sarfraz is eager to bring his own adventurous approach to bear. “Representing the country is a big achievement, but I am really excited to lead. I am trying to lead everything and to play positive cricket and win tomorrow.”

Pakistan’s limited-overs teams have been notably less successful in recent years than their table-topping Test counterparts.

Sarfraz, a regular in all formats, is intent on greater consistency.

“The Test team is very settled — they have played six years together,” he said. “After the [2015] World Cup, we are trying to develop a new ODI team — and the morale is high after Cardiff.

“It’s a positive thing for us to win from 4-0 down – a great achievement chasing 300 outside of Asia.

“We are very confident. We are trying to develop a new team with youngsters and play Twenty20 like England and Australia.”

Read: It is England’s method versus Pakistan’s madness now

Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq has become a unifying force, and role model for Sarfraz.

“I think Misbah is an inspiration for all the team — he inspired me,” he said. “I have developed something from him and will try my best.”

Umar Akmal remains a notable absentee from Pakistan’s squad, following his disciplinary issues over the past year, and Sarfraz would be delighted to see the powerful batsman back soon.

“He’s a great player and performing well,” he added. “I hope he will come back for the next tour.”

In the shorter term, win or lose in the final match of their trip, Sarfraz can reflect on a tour which has cemented relations with the hosts and with Pakistan’s own supporters after much damage was done by the spot-fixing saga on their last visit six years ago.

“We have enjoyed this tour and found people have been welcoming,” he said. “We hope we win the match and end on a high note.”

Over 36,000 tax defaulters detected this year, Senate told

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told the Senate on Tuesday that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had detected 36,936 tax defaulters this year and Rs87.93 billion was outstanding against them.

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution to pay homage to the military men who had sacrificed their lives for the country’s defence in the 1965 war. The resolution was read out by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq soon after the Question Hour.

Earlier, in response to a question asked by Mian Ateeq Shaikh of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the finance minister stated in a written reply that a total amount of Rs106.82bn was due from the defaulters, of which Rs18.89bn had been recovered by the FBR.

FBR yet to recover more than Rs87bn tax dues

Giving a province-wise break-up, he said that the highest number of 21,370 tax defaulters had been detected in Punjab, followed by 10,776 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Interestingly, the number of tax defaulters in Islamabad is higher than in Sindh and Balochistan.

The statistics provided by the minister show that the FBR has detected 3,437 tax defaulters in Islamabad whereas the number of tax defaulters in Sindh is 1,351. Only two tax defaulters have been detected in Balochistan.

Though the number of tax defaulters in Punjab is higher than in Islamabad, the amount which the FBR is required to recover from the defaulters in Islamabad is much higher than the amount due from the defaulters in Punjab and other provinces.

The minister’s reply shows that the FBR is required to recover Rs52.16bn from the defaulters in Islamabad, followed by Rs37.84bn from Punjab, Rs11.43bn from Sindh, Rs2.62bn from KP and Rs2.76bn from Balochistan.

However, the FBR has so far succeeded in recovering Rs9.87bn from Islamabad, Rs5.37bn from Punjab, Rs3.11bn from Sindh, Rs17.91 million from KP and Rs507m from Balochistan.

Explaining the procedure adopted by the FBR for detection of tax defaulters, the minister said that data had been collected through third-party sources such as motor vehicle registration authorities, educational institutions, property registrar offices, development authorities, housing societies, electricity distribution companies, automobile manufacturing companies and withholding tax statements.

He said that the data declared in withholding tax statements and sales tax returns was analysed and cross-matched to identify persons who carried out financial transactions but were not on tax rolls. He said that appropriate action in respect of such persons had been initiated in accordance with the law.

Mr Dar said that the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation, an agency of the FBR, was mandated to investigate cases of tax fraud and evasion. The directorate investigates and gathers information on tax evasion and reports detection of tax evasion to field formations of the FBR.

Responding to a question asked by PPP’s Taj Haider, Mr Dar said that the amount of local debt stood at Rs13,430bn and foreign debt at Rs5,834bn as on May 31.

He said that the estimated amount of domestic debt to be obtained by the government during 2016-17 was Rs1,589bn. The estimated amount of foreign debt to be obtained during the next two financial years is expected to be $9.74bn while repayment of foreign debt will be $8.15bn.

In response to another question, put by the PML-N’s Chaudhry Tanvir Khan, the finance minister refused to give names of persons and companies which had obtained loans from the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), saying the private information of borrowers was protected under Section 33-A of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962, and Section 9 of the Protection of Economic Reform Act, 1992.

However, he disclosed that the aggregated amount of loans of Rs5m and above disbursed by the NBP over the last five years amounted to Rs360bn. Out of the total amount disbursed, he said, Rs271bn was outstanding comprising regular loan of Rs216bn and non-performing loans of Rs55bn. He claimed that no loan was written off over the last five years.

Imran uses turmoil within MQM to lash out at Altaf

KARACHI: In what appeared to be an attempt to take advantage of the ongoing crisis within Karachi’s dominant political party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Tuesday lambasted Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain for his last month’s vitriolic speech, but assured the Urdu-speaking community that he would always stand with them as “being a Mohajir is not an insult”.

The MQM has been in the throes of a serious crisis following the Aug 22 anti-Pakistan speech of Mr Hussain. The Karachi-based leadership had already severed ties with him and has been running the show from here.

Mr Khan, who arrived here on Monday evening, used harsh terms at his party’s Pakistan Zindabad rally at Nishtar Park to describe the MQM’s “reign of terror” in Karachi.

PTI to march towards Raiwand on 24th

The event was held amid high security and with extra measures to protect the women sitting towards the right side of the stage. The usual fervour, which earned the PTI a majority of supporters from Karachi in the 2013 general elections, was missing this time around. It was evident from the half-empty ground.

Patriotic rhetoric and MQM-bashing replaced the usual fervour as one after the other PTI members raised slogans of Long Live Pakistan with Mr Khan, criticising the MQM supremo for “wreaking havoc in Pakistan”.

The PTI chief began his speech at around 10.30pm by criticising Mr Hussain, saying that a citizen of the United Kingdom was wreaking havoc in Pakistan and despite his anti-Pakistan slogans no concrete action had been taken against him.

He said that Mr Hussain “should be the last person to speak about Pakistan being a centre of terrorism, as he has contributed a lot to it by working along with Indian spy agency RAW”.

Referring to a meeting with journalists belonging to the Hindustan Times in 2003, he said that they told him that the MQM supremo was working for the Indian intelligence agency.

Speaking about the murder of slain MQM chairman Azeem Tariq in 1993, he alleged that an insecure Mr Hussain got him murdered as he was far more educated and informed individual.

Assuring the Urdu-speaking community of his support, he said, “Being a Mohajir is not an insult. You are not alone.”

The PTI chief said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “is accused of a bigger crime and that is of corruption which was revealed through the Panama Papers leaks but the focus shifted from it”.

He announced that he will lead a public march towards Raiwind on Sept 24, adding that PM Sharif has “taken over institutions and needs to be countered”.

Addressing the courts, he said that what other way the PTI should seek to counter corruption, money laundering and tax evasion practised by the Sharif family.

He also congratulated the Pakistan army for “protecting the state against terrorism”.

Army chief says threats persist despite successes

ISLAMABAD: Despite the successes of Operation Zarb-i-Azb, threats to peace persist, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif said on Tuesday, calling for the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and wide-ranging legal and governance reforms to sustain the military’s achievements against terrorists.

Speaking at what may well be his last Defence Day ceremony as army chief, Gen Sharif said: “Operation Zarb-i-Azb has attained its military objectives, and today the Pakistan flag flies proudly over all parts of our dear homeland.”

But, at the same time, he admitted that “internal and external threats to peace have not been completely eliminated”.

Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif salutes after laying a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada at a Defence Day ceremony at the GHQ on Tuesday.— APP
Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif salutes after laying a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada at a Defence Day ceremony at the GHQ on Tuesday.— APP

The general shared his view of the measures necessary to address these continuing threats, calling for the effective implementation of NAP, addressing weaknesses in the criminal justice system and reforms to break the nexus between organised crime, corruption and terrorism.

The army chief’s comments reaffirmed the military’s concerns about the government’s sluggish performance in dealing with these problems, which are feared to be impeding the elimination of terrorism and the achievement of complete peace across the country, from Karachi to Khyber Agency.

He said the military considered the fight against terrorism a war for the survival of the homeland and pledged to go to any lengths to ensure national security.

Gen Sharif calls for maintaining regional balance of power

The army chief also took a dig at detractors and critics of the military, saying that misgivings and accusations were being levelled by elements trying to create mistrust towards security and intelligence organisations, but they had failed to dent the forces’ morale.

“For the operation to yield its full dividends, all stakeholders and institutions of state must play their respective roles with the utmost sincerity and commitment,” he suggested.

He concluded his remarks with a tribute to the victims of terrorism — the martyrs of the Army Public School, Bacha Khan University and the Quetta Civil Hospital — as well as the families of military and security personnel who had laid down their lives in the defence of their homeland.

Foreign relations

In his speech, Gen Sharif also shared the military’s view of the country’s external relations.

Renewing the pledge to seek friendly relations with all neighbours, he also delivered a strong message to countries that are considered hostile towards Pakistan.

“We know very well how to abide by the bonds of friendship, and how to exact vengeance upon our enemies,” he said.

In a message apparently directed towards the US and other western powers, he said the best guarantee for peace in the region was maintaining the balance of power.

Pakistani officials believe that the growing US defence cooperation with India would disturb the regional balance of power.

The army chief cited the example of Pakistan’s relationship with China as the best illustration of a relationship based on mutual respect and the principle of equality in the region.

He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would not only consolidate ties between the two brotherly countries, but would also foster prosperity in the region.

The general vowed to defeat all designs against CPEC, saying: “[The project’s] timely completion and protection is our national undertaking. I assure you that we shall not allow any external forces to obstruct it and any such attempts will be dealt with an iron hand.”

On Afghanistan, he was of the opinion that Pakistan’s “sincere efforts” for peace in its war-torn neighbour were being blocked by unnamed “self-serving quarters”, that were not sincere with Afghanistan.

He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to better border management with Afghanistan’s help and hoped that a mechanism in this regard could be developed in concert with the Afghan government.

While he avoided naming India or directly addressing the Indian leadership, as he had done in the past, the army chief noted that the armed forces were fully aware of all covert and overt intrigues and the intentions of their enemies.

“Be it a military or diplomatic challenge, be it the danger on our borders or within our cities, we know our friends and foes all too well,” he said, ostensibly an allusion to arch-rival India.

He also called for the implementation of UN resolutions to resolve the longstanding Kashmir dispute with India. Saluting the struggle of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination, he said the people of the valley were facing the worst form of state-sponsored terrorism.

“The true solution for this struggle for self-determination resides not in raining bullets upon the defenceless Kashmiri people but in heeding to their voice and respecting their aspirations,” the chief said.

At the outset of the ceremony held at General Headquarters, when the army chief entered the venue, he was flanked by the leaders of the opposition in the Senate and National Assembly, Aitzaz Ahsan and Syed Khurshid Shah. From the government side, Raja Zafarul Haq, Khawaja Asif, Sartaj Aziz and Pervaiz Rasheed were present at the ceremony.