Salman Khan faces backlash for supporting Pakistani artistes

The Khans often unconsciously embroil themselves in hot water, now it seems Salman Khan has rubbed Indian right-wing party Shiv Sena the wrong way after his comment on Pakistani artistes.

At a press meet on Friday, the Sultan actor supported Pakistani artistes following the Indian film association ban and said, “Pakistani artistes are just artistes and not terrorists. Art and terrorism should not be mixed.”

He stressed that there should be no war, only peace. “Ideal situation should have been that of peace. But, now a reaction to an action has happened. It was a proper action as they were terrorists. But still in this day and age, I think if we lived in peace and harmony it would have been better for everyone and especially for common people,” said Salman.

Unfortunately for the superstar, Shiv Shena begs to differ, and his statement led Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande to ask Salman to “migrate to Pakistan”.

Moreover, MNS leader Shalini Thackeray has also opposed the actor’s comment and asked him to be considerate of the Indian people’s sentiments.

“Film stars should understand the sentiments of the people under the current circumstances. People are very angry and actors like Salman Khan should respect them,” she said.

She added, “If Pakistani artistes do not condemn the wrongdoings of their country, why can our film stars not respect the Indian sentiment. Bollywood is not bigger than the country.”

Salman has managed to hurt the sentiments of his countrymen

… forcing many to question his alliances.

Earlier, many in Bollywood came in support of Pakistani artistes, and vice versa. However, with deteriorating Indo-Pak relations, it only remains to be seen the extent to which the art community will suffer.

Rs203bn Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG pipeline project approved

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Friday approved six development projects worth Rs281 billion, including import of 58 locomotives, Gwadar-Nawabshah gas pipeline and a terminal at Gwadar for handling imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).

All these projects will have combined foreign financing of about Rs164bn.

In a meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the country’s highest development project approval authority approved Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG terminal and pipeline project at a cost of Rs203.314bn including foreign exchange Chinese loan of Rs135.128bn. The project was previously approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in 2014 for completion in November 2015. But it has now been delayed until 2018 due to internal issues of the petroleum ministry and the agencies concerned.

“The project is expected to complete in two years (2016-18),” confirmed a statement issued by the finance ministry. The project aims to overcome the shortage of natural gas supply by importing LNG at Gwadar and then transmit it to Nawabshah through a 700-kilomtere pipeline having a diameter of 42 inches.

The government has already decided to award the contract for the project to a Chinese firm — China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau — on a build-own-and-operate basis for which Export-Import Bank of China would provide a commercial loan of about $1.35bn.

The pipeline would also facilitate Iran-Pakistan pipeline project. The terminal will have the capacity to handle up to 600 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas.

Ecnec also allowed the Ministry of Railways to procure 58 diesel electric locomotives at a revised cost of Rs16.3bn, including a foreign loan of Rs11.755bn. The procurement will be completed by December. The proposed locos will replace 50 over-aged locomotives and will be used to haul freight and passenger services along with high-capacity wagons fitted with air brakes and roller bearing. The capacity of Pakistan Railways is expected to improve after the project’s completion.

The meeting also approved package-III of Balochistan’s irrigation department project for construction of 20 small dams in different districts of the province at a cost of Rs7.83bn.

The project is targeted for completion in three years to help the province harness flood flows and supply about 175,500 acre-feet of conserved flood water for direct irrigation and drinking purposes. It is expected to benefit about 58,500 acres of fertile cultivable land and save the land from flood damages and create jobs.

Ecnec directed the Planning Commission to set up a monitoring committee to make sure that the project was completed in three years. This committee will also have a member from the Ministry of Water and Power to look after the implementation.

The meeting also approved Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project ) at a total cost of Rs4.658bn, including Rs4.14bn international soft loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It will help improve the standard of life in four less-developed districts of Punjab, ie Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur.

The IFAD has helped in the financing of the project through a soft loan of $40.13m. The project will help reduce poverty in the areas of Southern Punjab by generating more income, increasing agricultural productivity, improving livelihood opportunities, providing vocational training, especially to women, and building physical infrastructure to improve the quality of life. The project is expected to complete in 2017.

The meeting also cleared the 106-megawatt Golan Gol Hydropower project in Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, at a cost of Rs29.077bn, including foreign exchange component of Rs10.68bn. The project would generate an annual energy of about 436 gigawatt hours. The project will be connected with the national grid with a 198km transmission line from Golan Gol to Timurgarha passing over Lowari pass and then reaching Chakdara.

Ecnec also approved a project of Peshawar Electric Supply Company to construct 7th secondary transmission line and grid stations at a cost of Rs20bn, including foreign loan of Rs1.92bn. The project will be completed in five years.

Military operation targeting Fata people, alleges Fazl

CHARSADDA: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday alleged that the military operation ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ actually targeted peace-loving Fata people rather than militants, adding that the fate of Federally Administered Tribal Areas should be decided after consultation with the tribal people.

He was addressing a public meeting at Charsadda Sugar Mills Ground here. The gathering was also addressed by JUI-F provincial chief Maulana Gul Naseeb, general secretary Maulana Shujaul Mulk and MNAs Maulana Attaur Rehman and Maulana Gohar Shah.

The JUI-F chief said that there would be negative impacts of forced eviction of Afghan refugees after extending 40-year of hospitality to them in Pakistan. He said that the refugees should be repatriated to the country with honour and dignity. “Afghans are our brethren and their humiliation by police would have negative impact on our relations,” he said.

Mr Rehman said that the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries and after defeats there it was now talking about a case against Saudi Arabia. He said that America was taking revenge on Muslims the world over after thorough defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Says forced eviction of refugees to have negative impacts

He said that Pakistan should break the shackles of slavery if it wanted to stand on its own feet. He said that America had always withdrawn support to Pakistan in the time of need. He said that the US had killed thousands of innocent people in tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan in drone attacks.

He said that roots of Islam were strong on the soil of Pakhtuns and that was why the US and its allies imposed Imran Khan on them.

He alleged Mr Khan was an agent of Jews and representative of western culture. He said that the PTI chief raised the hollow slogan of ‘change.’ to deceive the innocent people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The JUI-F chief said that Mr Khan was talking of accountability of others and when his own Ehtesab Commission put hands on his party ministers and coalition partners the PTI snatched its powers. He claimed that the KPEC chief was sent home after he refused to follow the orders of chief minister.

Nisar orders probe against NAB deputy chief

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered on Friday a probe against the deputy chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Imtiaz Tajwar, for irregularities allegedly committed by him while serving as acting chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

The order was issued by the minister to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) during a Nadra board meeting he chaired.

Mr Tajwar, who was serving as additional secretary with the ministry of interior, was given the additional charge of Nadra after Tariq Malik resigned and Mr Tajwar remained the acting chairman of Nadra for well over a year.

The minister said that it had been found that Mr Tajwar was involved in massive financial irregularities and he blatantly wasted Nadra’s resources.

He ordered the FIA to investigate within one week the matter of a rented building hired for a Nadra office in Islamabad besides renovation which caused serious financial dent to Nadra.

Taking stock of financial and administrative mismanagement in Nadra, the minister, with the consent of the Nadra board, formed two committees comprising senior officials of the ministry and Nadra board members to review the financial and administrative powers of the chairman and senior management of Nadra.

To maintain transparency and quality human resource at senior levels, the minister directed security clearance of all directors general and general managers of Nadra from the Intelligence Bureau and Inter Services Intelligence.

“I am disturbed by the fact that Nadra has taken a rented building for Rs4.5 million per month and has already paid advance rent for 18 months under shady contract clauses,” remarked Mr Khan during the board meeting.

He said that it was sad to know that public money was doled out for just shifting Nadra offices to a location in Islamabad where Nadra had been paying the rent since March 2016 and its staff is yet to move to the new building.

“It is also mind-boggling to look at the renovation cost put in by Nespak and the matter needed immediate investigations by FIA,” the minister said.

He directed the FIA to investigate the matter and submit a report within a week.

Referring to the on-going re-verification drive of CNICs, the minister extended the amnesty scheme for another one month, owing to an impressive response received from aliens returning their Pakistani CNICs.

The meeting was informed that 90.5 million CNICs had so far been re-verified under the ongoing campaign.

Will not let govt function if Nawaz doesn’t present himself for accountability: Imran

RAIWIND: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, while addressing the much-hyped public gathering at Raiwind, said PTI will not let the government function after Muharram if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fails to present himself for accountability.

Imran was addressing thousands of PTI supporters gathered at Adda Plot in Raiwind.

The PTI chief said the incumbent leaders have lost their conscience and claimed that more than Rs8 billion has been spent for the security of Jati Umra, residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“Nawaz Sharif was caught red handed in the Panama leaks issue, and he is accused of laundering money,” claimed Imran.

He questioned NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry for not carrying out proper investigations against Nawaz after the offshore accounts were revealed.

The PTI chief also threatened to shut down Islamabad after Muharram if the prime minister did not present himself for accountability by then.

“Then I will announce the future line of action,” he said.

A view of PTI Raiwind March against Panama papers leak. —Online
A view of PTI Raiwind March against Panama papers leak. —Online

PTI condemns Indian atrocities in Kashmir

The leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf also strongly condemned the recent atrocities committed by Indian forces in held Kashmir against the innocent and unarmed Kashmiris.

Imran Khan and PTI lawmaker Arif Alvi said that local residents are facing real hardships in India.

The PTI chief said that he believes in peace, not war. “Nations equipped with nuclear weapons should not be thinking of war.”

He added that India’s intelligence agency [RAW] is responsible for the unstable law and order situation in Karachi.

“Pakistan will continue to support the cause of the Kashmiri people till they get their right of self-determination,” said Arif Alvi.

Senior party leaders including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Abdul Aleem Khan were present at the gathering.

Thousands of PTI supporters from different parts of the country had gathered at Adda Plot on Raiwind Road on Friday to protest against the incumbent government.

A 40-feet-high stage was erected and seating arrangements were made at Adda Plot — close to the prime minister’s Jati Umra residence.

The PTI supporters came in great numbers to participate in the “accountability movement” seen by many as a “do-or-die” act of Imran Khan.

The party had appealed to its workers from all over the province to gather at the Adda Plot in Raiwind. A large number of of female supporters also attended the gathering.

Around 7,000 policemen were deployed for the security of Raiwind march.

The rally was organised by the PTI to put pressure Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family to explain their position over “proof of their corruption” published in the Panama Papers some six months ago.

The PTI urged Nawaz Sharif to present himself for accountability in the Panama leaks scandal.

Earlier in the day, PML-N workers had staged a protest in Peshawar. “Instead of worrying about his political success, Imran Khan should worry about the defence of the country,” said a PML-N worker taking part in the protest.

“If he had gone to Wagah border instead of marching to Raiwind, we would have accompanied him,” he added.

The protesters said Nawaz Sharif has guided the country onto the path of success. They added that instead of putting hurdles in the way of success, Imran Khan should focus on the problems being faced by people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The N-League workers stressed “the country is in need of some serious politics”.

Nawaz Sharif was one of the 259 Pakistani citizens who’s names appeared on a list linking them to off-shore companies in one of the world’s biggest ever data leaks, earlier this year.