Zardari announces PPP’s 9 reccomendations for military court extension

Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday announced his party’s nine recommendations for an extension in the operation of military courts.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Zardari clarified that his party is “providing recommendations [for], not opposing [an extension in] military courts.”

“We want a law that defines terrorists, that will become a definition for terorrism,” he added. “Our aim is not to dishearten our armed forces.”

The PPP’s nine recommendations:

  • Military courts shall be presided over by one sessions judge or additional sessions judge with a military officer.
  • The sessions/additional sessions judge will be nominated by the chief justice of Pakistan.
  • Period will be for one year from starting date.
  • Right of judicial review by high courts under Article 199 of the Constitution.
  • High court shall decide case within 60 days.
    • Accused to be produced within 24 hours before the concerned court.
  • Accused to be supplied with grounds of arrest within 24 hours.
  • Accused shall have right to engage counsel of his choice.
  • Provisions of Qanoon-i-Shahadat 1984 shall apply.

The former president said his party intended to present the points for parliamentary discussion eventually.

“I hope all political forces are present for this parliamentary discussion. We are open to dialogue [on the points], whether with the government or the army,” he said.

He added that the party had provided one year’s time to assess the law, and that the PPP intended to pressure the government to strengthen witness protection in Sindh and disburse funds to the provinces and judiciary for more effective implementation of the National Action Plan.

“I think there are weaknesses [in NAP] because the government is not serious and they have not provided them the funds,” he claimed.


Pervez Khattak announces Rs20m reward for PSL victors Peshawar Zalmi

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has announced a reward of Rs20 million for Peshawar Zalmi, the team that was crowned the champions of Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) second edition Sunday night.

According to a series of tweets posted on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) official Twitter page, Khattak telephoned Peshawar Zalmi owner Javed Afridi and congratulated him on winning the title.

While appreciating the performance of all players of the team, the chief minister invited the management and players of Zalmi to a “grand reception” to be held in their honour in Peshawar.

He also announced a cash reward of Rs20 million for Peshawar Zalmi team.

An economical spell by left-arm orthodox Muhammad Asghar and a quick-fire knock of 40 by Kamran Akmal inspired Peshawar Zalmi to clinch the PSL title.

They crushed a hapless Quetta Gladiators in a one-sided final by 58 runs before a packed to capacity crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday night.

MQM moves apex court against ‘pre-census rigging’

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday moved the Supreme Court (SC) over alleged rigging in the procedure of the population census scheduled to begin from March 15 in selected divisions of the country, including Karachi.

After filing a petition in the Karachi registry of the apex court, Dr Farooq Sattar — the leader of MQM in Pakistan — told reporters that there were severe anomalies in the pre-census process of blocks count.

He alleged that as part of “pre-census rigging”, the blocks of urban populace were decreased in the upcoming 6th census — which is being held after 18 years.

The blocks in urban areas of Sindh were counted as 47.65 per cent during the last census but for the upcoming census, the blocks have been reduced to 45pc, he claimed.

He said they have raised the point in the petition that Sindh’s urban population must have increased during the past 18 years due to urbanisation, yet the government has decreased the number of blocks so as to manipulate the census.

As the blocks in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur have been reduced, houses and heads count in those cities would also be counted less than their actual numbers, he maintained.

The MQM leader feared that contrary to facts, the government is going to show increased rural and decreased urban populace in the census. He accused the government of manipulating the census to compile flawed voter lists, doctored in the ruling party’s favour.

He was of the view that the procedure being used in this census was in contradiction with the law and the Constitution. Those who migrated to the province during last 18 years for economic purposes should not be termed permanent residents of Sindh, he demanded.

Sattar said first phase of the census is being carried out in urban areas only, which reflects the ill-intentions behind manipulation of statistics.

“We had raised the same issues before Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa, but to no avail,” he said.

The national population census is to begin on March 15 with a house listing operation. Some 200,000 army personnel and 91,000 civilian enumerators would be participating in the exercise.

CTD kills one suspected LeJ activist, arrest four others

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Monday claimed to have killed one suspected terrorist and arrest four others allegedly belonging to banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Karachi.

CTD in-charge Raja Umar Khattab, while revealing the details, said the arrests were made following a heavy exchange of fire in Korangi area of the metropolis.

“As a result of the exchange of firing, one terrorist was killed while four others were captured,” Khattab told DawnNews.

“This was a Lashkar-e-Jhangwi hideout where the operation was conducted,” Khattab added.

“There was large amount of explosive material in the hideout so the Bomb Disposal Squad has been called in,” he concluded.

Inventor of lithium-ion batteries developed low-cost alternative

A professor at the University of Texas at Austin, inventor of the lithium-ion batteries, has developed a low-cost, safer alternative, Engadget reported.

The new battery developed by John B. Goodenough, Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga and their team has the capacity to store up to three times more energy than the lithium-ion batteries.

The battery can withstand a greater number of charge and discharge cycles and its increased capacity to store energy will allow electric vehicles to travel more miles in between charges.

Additionally, the battery, which can be charged within minutes rather than hours, has been developed using technology that involves glass electrolytes instead of liquid like lithium-ion.

The use of glass means that the new battery battery won’t form dendrites ─ whisker-like pieces of lithium that usually form in liquid electrolytes ─ that cause lithium-ion batteries to short circuit and explode or start a fire.

The use of glass electrolytes allows the battery to function in the battery to operate in subzero degree weather and, due to the replacement of lithium with low-cost sodium, can be manufactured using environmentally-friendly materials.

The professor and his team are currently looking to pair up with battery makers to test their creation in electric vehicles and energy storage devices.