Qatari prince’s convoy attacked

QUETTA: The convoy of a Qatari prince, who is in Loralai district of Balochistan these days on a hunting spree of houbara bustard, came under attack in Musakhel on Sunday.

According to sources, a group of people asked the local authorities to allow them to meet Prince Jassim Bin Faisal Al-sani to seek donation for a mosque from him. As the authorities refused to grant them permission, the people become violent and attacked the convoy.

The sources claimed that some bullets were also fired by someone among the mob. According to reports, three people, including a police officer and a guard of the deputy commissioner of Musakhel, were injured.

A senior official of the district administration confirmed the incident and said: “The Qatari prince and members of his convoy remained unhurt and the prince safely reached his destination amid tight security.”

Govt raises petrol, diesel prices

ISLAMABAD: The government on Sunday increased prices of petrol and diesel by Rs1.77 and Rs2 per litre respectively with immediate effect for the next 16 days, passing a partial impact of a hike in international oil prices on to consumers.

Announcing the decision, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the prices of other products were kept unchanged despite substantial increases demanded by the petroleum ministry as well as the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

“Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources and Ogra have recommended an increase of Rs1.77 per litre in the price of MS-92 RON petrol, Rs3.94 in the price of high-speed diesel, Rs14.31 in the price of kerosene and Rs10.11 in the price of light diesel oil with effect from January 16,” Mr Dar said.

In line with the prime minister’s instructions to provide as much relief as possible to the common man, and keeping in view that kerosene and light diesel are used by low-income segments of the country’s population, prices of the two products have been maintained at the current level until Jan 31.

Dar claims prices of other products kept unchanged despite demand by petroleum ministry, Ogra

The decision had been taken also keeping in view the fact that kerosene catered to the energy needs of the poor, especially in winter, the minister said.

He said it had been decided that the price of petrol would be increased by Rs1.77 per litre in line with Ogra’s recommendation and that of high-speed diesel by Rs2, which was almost half the increase recommended by the regulator.

As such, the ex-depot price of petrol went up by 2.67 per cent to Rs68.04 per litre from Rs66.27 and that of high-speed diesel by 2.65pc to Rs77.24 per litre from Rs75.24.

Over the past few months, the government has been bringing down tax rates on different petroleum products that had been increased up to a record level of 50pc during the last financial year in a bid to partially share the impact of higher international oil prices and tax rates with consumers.

Following this strategy, the finance minister had increased the prices of petrol and high-speed diesel by Rs2 and Rs2.7 per litre, respectively, for the month of December 2016. However, on the directive of prime minister, the prices of kerosene and light diesel were kept unchanged in December.

Even with reduced rates, the government will charge about Rs10 per litre on petrol and Rs17 on high-speed diesel as general sales tax. Both are the largest revenue-generating oil products, with diesel sale across the country now going beyond 800,000 tonnes per month, against a monthly consumption of around 700,000 tonnes of petrol. The sales of kerosene and light diesel are generally less than 10,000 tonnes per month.

The finance minister claimed that the prices had been maintained since April last year to ensure price stability, despite an increase of around 43pc in international oil prices during 2016. He said the government had been absorbing the negative financial impact after its decision to not pass on the increase to consumers.

PPP REACTION: The Pakistan Peoples Party immediately rejected the increase in oil prices, saying it would protest the decision in parliament.

In a statement issued by the party’s media office, Senator Saeed Ghani said the decision would cause a price hike and asked the government to withdraw it.

Man attempts suicide, another stabs wife

RAWALPINDI: A man tried to commit suicide by taking poisonous pills after a fight with his wife on Sunday.

Wajid Khan, a resident of Shakrial was taken to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital after taking the pills, where his condition is said to be stable.

In an unrelated incident and on the same day, a man stabbed his wife during a fight with her in the limits of the Airport police.

According to the police, Kaneez Fatima, who is in her 70s, was brought to the hospital with stab wounds to her neck. In her statement, Ms Fatima sad she was stabbed by her husband, who is in her 80s.

The couple’s sons told they police they do not want to lodge a case against their father.

Separately, three armed robbery cases were reported across the city on Sunday.

Two unidentified robbers raided a grocery store near Sir Syed Chowk, held the owner, Irfan Mehmood at gunpoint and demanded he hand over the cash in the shop. The robbers made away with Rs90,000.

Two unidentified men robbed a super store in Satellite Town and held its owner Asif Jamal at gunpoint.

They took the money in the store and Mr Jamal’s motorcycle keys before firing into the air after seeing the victim offer resistance.

Five men robbed a house in Khyaban-i-Sir Syed Sector II and held the inmates at gunpoint.

In his complaint, Atif Rafiq told the police that the robbers made away with cash, a laptop and a mobile phone. It is yet to be determined how much cash the men made away with.

Man arrested for power theft

ISLAMABAD: The Aabpara police arrested a man on the charge of stealing electricity and selling it to the dwellers of a slum.

The case was registered on the complaint of an Iesco official.

According to the police, the suspect, a resident of Sector G-7/1, was stealing electricity from a direct line. He also provided a number of illegal connections to the residents of the slum, Shopper Colony.

Campaign to clear drug industry of counterfeits continues

ISLAMABAD: Raids recently conducted by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on drug manufacturing factories and warehouses are hoped to erase criticism of the pharmaceutical industry’s performance.

Drap inspectors are said to have found disturbing conditions in the more than 300 manufacturing units that they raided during the past three months. Unhygienic conditions apart, some factories did not even have proper temperature and humidity monitoring equipment, or racks to store their produce.

Drap Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Muhammad Aslam blames the deplorable situation on the mushroom growth of drug manufacturing companies during the last decade.

“Unfortunately, their numbers increased from 650 to 2,500 during this period,” he said talking to Dawn. “The arrival of thousands of new manufacturers in the market made the situation worse.”

This is what prompted the crackdown to eradicate the manufacturing of fake and counterfeit medicines and so that only regulated products are sold on the market, he said.

“The mushroom growth of pharmaceutical companies affected the quality and standard of drugs and caused old manufacturers to quit as they were could not match the prices the new manufacturers were offering due to unfair competition,” he said.

Minister National Health Services (NHS) Saira Afzal Tarar took notice of the situation and, after intra provincial coordination, ordered an indiscriminate crackdown on the drug manufacturers across the country.

Dr Aslam acknowledged that Drap also took action against those pharmaceutical companies which had turned to selling allopathic medicines under the cover of herbal medicines.

“We will not allow unregistered drugs in the market,” he said. “Herbal medicines too need to be registered to stop the mix up of allopathic medicines in herbal medicines.”

Things are getting better as counterfeiters are disappearing, he said.

Drap said in an official statement on Sunday that raids are continuing in various cities.

Federal Inspector of Drugs Khalid Mehmood and Additional Director Abdur Rasheed raided the Farook pharmacy on Iqbal Road, Rawalpindi, and sealed the premises for “poor storage practices, unhygienic conditions, and absence of record of temperature and humidity control”.

Another joint team inspected the premises of Pharmacy 24 and Ali Medical Centre in F-8 Markaz Islamabad, and sealed Khan medical store due to the violation of the Drug Act, 1976.

Four persons were arrested by Humak police for illegally manufacturing therapeutic goods, the statement said.

However during raids it has been learnt that the situation regarding manufacturing of medicines and storage practices were poor. Moreover it was found that at some factories there were not proper racks to store medicines, there were unhygienic conditions and there was not proper monitoring system because many companies did not have proper record of temperature and humidity.