WB approves 390 million dollars for expansion of electricity generation capacity

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) has approved an Additional Financing(AF) of $390 million to help sustainable expansion of Pakistan’s electricity generation capacity.

The AF under Tarbela Fourth Extension Hydropower Project will add 1,410 Megawatt (MW) of environment friendly, renewable, and low cost electricity generation during the high-demand summer season.The loan finances theinstallation of a power house at the existing Tunnel Five that will enhance the total capacity at Tarbela to 6,298 MW.

“Increased supply at competitive prices from Tunnel Five will support economic growth for all enterprises that use electricity, regardless of size or sector”, says Illango Patchamuthu, the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “In addition to reducing load shedding, it will also contribute to long term energy security.”

The construction ofpower house on Tunnel Fivewould proceed in parallel to the ongoing work on Tunnel Fourin a manner that it would remain operational until the construction of power house on Tunnel Four is completed and available for water releases for irrigation purposes.  The project also includes the laying of about 50kilometer long transmission line for carrying additional generation at Tarbela to the national grid.

“In addition to maximizing the use of existing facilities and meeting the power needs of the country, the project will also introduce a pilot floating solar power plant over a part of the reservoir area,” says Masood Ahmad,TaskTeam Leader of the Project.  “The successful completion of the pilot and its possible expansion over the rest of the reservoir surface area could lead to an additional generation capacity of 5,000 MW of solar power.”

The projectwill be financed from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), witha variable spread and 20 years maturity including a 6-year grace period. This will be the first World Bank supported project in South Asia to be jointly financed with the Asian InfrastructureInvestment Bank (AIIB) who would be providing $300 million.


MQM demands Atlaf to be tried in high treason case

KARACHI: Sindh Assembly lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously accepted a resolution against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain which calls for action under treason laws against those who issue anti-Pakistan statements.

In a surprising move, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)-Pakistan demanded the initiation of treason proceedings against party supremo Altaf Hussain in the Sindh Assembly.

The party’s lawmakers also termed Hussain a traitor.

Two resolutions condemning Hussain’s anti-Pakistan remarks were passed in the House. According to the text of one of the resolutions, the house “rejects the hateful speech by the MQM’s founder against the state, resulting in an attack on media houses, and demands proceedings against Altaf Hussain under Article 6 of the Constitution.

The first resolution was moved by MQM parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed against Hussain. Later, PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman, PML-F’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, PPP’s Khairunisa Mahgul and PML-N’s Sorath Thebo presented another resolution.
Speaking on the floor of the house, MQM leader Rauf Siddiqui said he was extremely saddened to hear anti-Pakistan chants from a person he loved the most.”

“There is no way we can allow any harm to be done to Pakistan or Islam,” Siddiqui said. He said that resorting to such an act was unpardonable.

Further, MQM’s Faisal Sabzwari said the party was bound to serve the country and its people. “It was an extremely hard decision to part ways with that man [Altaf Hussain] but the party did it,” he said adding “there is a need to heal our wounds and consider us patriots just like anyone else.”

Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, Khawaja Izharul Haq could not control his emotions and broke into tears while addressing the House.

Khawaja Izhar said that night of August 22 was extremely difficult for him.

“We had the option of leaving the party, joining another party and being labeled as patriotic again,” he said.

“But I can’t leave the party in its troubled times. I have been associated with MQM for 28 years,” he said, breaking into tears.

SC should take suo motu notice of Panama papers leaks: Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: PTI chief Imran Khan has said Supreme Court (SC) should take suo motu notice on Panama papers disclosures.

He said this in his social web site twitter Wednesday. He said only weak and poor are cast in jails in the country and big fish  are roaming freely.

Nabbing corrupt elements is responsibility of the institutions but the respective institutions are providing protection to them, he alleged.

In other statement he said that international community should stop sheer violation of human rights in Occupied Kashmir  because the loyalties of the people could not be purchased through atrocities and repression. Neither the people could be subdued through military occupation, he added.

Use of pellet guns against innocent Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir is blatant  violation of international laws, he remarked.  .

He held that Pakistani governments have sidelines  Kashmir issue . Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had refused to meet Hurriyat leadership in New Delhi and he remained engaged in meetings aimed at expanding Sharif family business.

Aafia awaits justice as world observes peace day

KARACHI: Pakistan woman scientist, educationalist and mother, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, awaits justice as the world observes the International Peace Day on Wednesday, September 21.

The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

Justice, equity, respect to human rights and civil liberties, right to fair trial and respect to the rights of women and mothers and uniting families pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict but Dr Aafia Siddiqui is deprived of all these rights.
She along with her minor children was kidnapped from a street of Karachi, sold for dollars and trafficked outside the country. She was a victim of human trafficking, herself, but instead she was criminalized in blatant violation of all norms of law and justice. Her basic rights as a human being were not recognized.

Aafia Movement convener Dr Fouzia Siddiqui, on the occasion of the international day of peace, said that the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a textbook example of murder of justice to achieve political designs. The history could quote this case as a meek surrender of justice before immense political pressure.

She said the mission of her sister, Aafia, was to promote peace, education and development in Pakistani society. She is considered as the daughter of nation in Pakistan and she has already become a global icon of human rights, peace and mothers’ rights. Right activists and civil societies in different parts of the country have been demanding her early release, and the governments of Pakistan and United States of America should respect these genuine concerns of the global civil society.

Dr Fouzia hoped that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in his address to the General Assembly would also raise the issue of Aafia, and also communicate the concerns of Pakistanis to the US administration over the issue Aafia Issue.

She said to honor the world peace and promote better understanding between nations, especially the US and Pakistan, it is a golden opportunity to dole out justice to Dr Aafia.

Body to combat money laundering ‘never formed’

ISLAMABAD: In the recent wrangling over whether state institutions have the authority to deal with cases of money laundering and financial crimes following the revelations contained in the Panama Papers, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2010 has often been cited as the operative law in this regard.

The law, which was first introduced as an ordinance in 2007 and made an act of parliament in 2010, envisioned the constitution of a high-powered National Executive Committee (NEC) to combat money laundering.

Under the law, the NEC should have been constituted within 30 days of the commencement of the act and would have consisted of the ministers for finance, foreign affairs, law and justice and interior, as well as the State Bank governor, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman and “any other member to be nominated by the federal government”.

According to the law, the NEC was supposed to meet at least twice a year. Its responsibilities included development, review and oversight on the implementation of a national strategy to fight money laundering and terror-financing — also key components of the much-touted National Action Plan.

Stipulated under AMLA 2010, top committee would’ve been proper forum to deal with Panama Papers scam

It was also tasked with framing a national policy to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, framing the rules under the AMLA and making recommendations for its effective implementation. It could also “issue necessary directions to the agencies involved in the implementation and administration of this act [and] discuss any other issue of national importance relating to money laundering and financing of terrorism”.

The law also provided for the creation of a general committee or subcommittees, which would assist the NEC. The composition of the general committee, as envisioned in the act, includes the secretaries of interior, foreign affairs and law, chairmen of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), directors general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), as well as the State Bank deputy governor and the SECP commissioner.

Although this committee would still not be able to get around the statutory timeframe limitations, i.e. the time limit for prosecution of past crimes, which government institutions claimed prevented them from prosecuting those named in the Panama Papers, it would have been the proper forum to pursue such matters.

Under the Constitution, laws cannot have retrospective effect and, therefore, the crimes committed before the passage of the AMLA do not fall within its jurisdiction.

But former interior minister Rehman Malik told Dawn that at the time, it was the PML-N-led opposition that had opposed the formation of the NEC. He explained that the law was necessary to fulfil Pakistan’s international obligations with regards to stemming terrorists’ financial networks, but was not clear on why the committees mandated under the law were not formed.

Former FIA DG Tariq Khosa told Dawn that according to the law, the NEC should have been constituted to address money laundering issues. However, no such committee had been formed thus far. “It was a requirement of the law, but I don’t think that it was ever constituted,” he said when asked about the NEC.

He said that a task force on money laundering was formed under the finance minister to implement the portions of the National Action Plan related to terror-financing. “In my view, a committee consisting of NAB, FIA, State Bank, FBR and SECP representatives is required to deal with money laundering,” he added.

Mr Khosa agreed that under the AMLA, NAB, FIA, SBP and ANF were allowed to take up cases of money laundering.

When contacted, PM’s adviser Barrister Zafarullah Khan refused to comment on the issue and suggested that the finance ministry was the relevant department to approach. “This law is with finance [division]. They have to make it if necessary,” he added.

Rana Mohammad Afzal Khan, the parliamentary secretary for finance, also told Dawn he was not aware of the provision for the constitution of the NEC.

In reply to a question about the Panamagate scandal, he said NAB, FIA and other organisations could not take up the matter as it was time barred. “In fact, this falls under the purview of the income tax laws, which state that no case can be taken up which is older than five years,” he added.