Accountability court resumes hearing of graft reference against Dar

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Monday resumed hearing into a corruption reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar for possessing assets disproportionate to his declared source of income.

Judge Muhammad Bashir is conducting the trial proceedings.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) witness Faisal Shahzad, a banker by profession, is to testify against Dar.

The witness could not attend the last hearing due to his personal engagements.

The anti-graft body is also expected to submit a report pertaining to confiscation of properties owned by Dar and his guarantor for the perpetual absence of the accused during the court proceedings.

On Thursday, the NAB witnesses testified against the former finance minister.

At the outset of the hearing, NAB witnesses Abdul Rehman and Masood Ghani recorded their statements before the court. The duo testified for the second time against Dar.

Another prosecution witness Azeem Khan, a manager at the private bank, submitted Dar’s three bank accounts details.

The witness said Dar’s first account was operated from 2001 to 2012, subsequently the second one from August 2012 to December 2016 while the third one from January 2017 to August 2017. He also presented the details of Hajveri Holding Company’s account in the court, besides the record of the locker operated under the names of Dar and his wife.
Rehman also provided the income records of Dar from 2005 to 2017.

Earlier this week, the court had declared former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender in a corruption reference filed against him by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in compliance with Supreme Court’s landmark July 28 verdict.

At the outset of last hearing, Ishaq Dar’s lawyer submitted a plea to seek the delay in declaration of his client as a proclaimed offender along with a fresh medical report.

The counsel argued that his client was suffering from coronary artery disease and undergoing a treatment abroad, hence he could not attend the court proceedings.

NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique opposed the plea and asked the court to declare Dar a proclaimed offender for his perpetual absence.

Judge Muhammad Bashir then reserved a judgment on the plea submitted by Dar’s lawyer.

Later, he announced the verdict declaring Dar a proclaimed offender for his perpetual absence during the court proceedings.

The court also directed Dar’s bail guarantor Ahmad Ali Qudoosi to submit surety bail worth Rs5 million within three days.

Previously, the court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for him on November 14 and subsequently declared him an absconder on November 21.

According to the NAB reference, the accused had acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his name or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far.

The assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for.

4 killed, 3 injured in road accident near Loni Kot

JAMSHORO: Four people were killed while three others sustained injuries in a collision between a dumper and a car near Loni Kot on Monday morning.

According to the rescue sources, the accident occurred on the Super Highway near Loni Kot, leaving four people dead and three others with injuries.

The names and ages of the deceased and injured could not be ascertained immediately.
What caused the accident is yet not known.

A day earlier, at least eight policemen were wounded when their vehicle rammed into a trailer on the National Highway.

According to the rescue and police officials, the van carrying policemen collided with the trailer near Razzaqabad Training Centre, leaving eight personnel injured.

A police mobile which was closely following the police van was also partially damaged after crashing into the van from behind.

A police official said the accident took place owing to the trailer coming from the wrong direction on the National Highway.
The driver of the trailer and his helper were taken into custody, he added.

Quetta attack: Footage shows terrorists trying to enter church before being shot dead

QUETTA: CCTV footage of Quetta’s terrorist attack shows the gatekeeper and security personnel at Bethel Memorial Church putting up immense resistance to the terrorists at the church’s entrance.

In the footage, it could be seen two suicide bombers were trying to storm the church and the gateman was barring their entry into the premises.

In second footage of the incident emerged lately, one of the suicide bombers could be seen jumping over walls of the church premises and opening gate for his accomplice.

Springing into action, a security guard shot one of the bombers on the premises.

Talking to media on Sunday, Balochistan Inspector General (IG) Moazzam Ansari said there were around 400 people present in the church at the time of the attack but a tragedy was thwarted owing to a timely action by security personnel.

“The quick response by security personnel prevented a major tragedy,” he told media persons while briefing about the incident.

According to officials, DNA samples of the slain terrorists have been obtained for identifications. An FIR of the incident has also been registered against unidentified terrorists.

Islamic State (IS) group has claimed the responsibility of the suicide bomb attack on Quetta church, reported international news agency

On Sunday, at least nine people including three women were killed while 43 others injured when two gunmen wearing explosives-filled vests attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church located on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road.

Home Minister Balochistan Sarfaraz said as per initial reports two suicide attackers stormed the church when Sunday service was ongoing, one of them detonated his charge inside the church while the other was shot dead by security personnel at the entrance to the church.

Zehri announces compensation for church attack victims

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri on Monday announced a compensation amount for the victims of a terrorist attack on a church located on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road.

Speaking to the media, he said that a compensation of Rs1 million each will be given to the families of those killed in the tragic incident while Rs0.5 million each to the injured.

The CM said his government is determined to take the fight against terrorism to its logical conclusion and that militants could not weaken the resolve of the people.

On Sunday, at least nine people including three women were killed while 43 others injured when two gunmen wearing explosives-filled vests attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church at Zarghoon Road in Quetta.

Home Minister Balochistan Sarfaraz Bugti said as per initial reports two suicide attackers stormed the church when Sunday service was ongoing, one of them detonated his charge inside the church while the other was shot dead by security personnel at the entrance to the church.

Titanic keeps that sinking feeling alive, 20 years on

LOS ANGELES: A Part saturnine elegy to doomed youth, the part exaltation of the transcendent power of love, blockbuster disaster movie “Titanic” is delivering that sinking feeling to a whole new generation of fans.

Tuesday marks two decades since Rose vowed to Jack she’d “never let go” — before spectacularly reneging on her promise, sending her frozen-to-death paramour to a watery grave and leaving “Titaniacs” worldwide sobbing into their popcorn.

The anniversary has been celebrated with screenings across the United States, and audiences are still swooning over the young lovers played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet — now both Oscar winners and Hollywood A-listers.

“The Titanic story itself has a timeless quality. It seems to exist outside our daily lives. As this straight moral lesson, it’s something that fascinates us,” director James Cameron told fans at a Los Angeles screening to mark the milestone.

Winslet’s love-struck socialite and DiCaprio’s artistic drifter were fictionalized characters in a dramatization of the real-life sinking in 1912 of history’s most famous ship after it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic.

The film, distributed by Paramount at home and Fox abroad, entered into movie history when it picked up 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director for Cameron.

With a worldwide gross of $2.2 billion, it was the most successful movie ever made until Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009) took $2.8 billion at the box office.

At an intimidating 195 minutes, the movie can feel in parts as long as the voyage on which it is based, but it earned mostly glowing reviews, and the theme song “My Heart Will Go On” became a global success for Celine Dion.

Cameron, 63, says he sold the idea to Fox executives with “probably the shortest pitch for a major movie in Hollywood history.”

“I whipped open this book and in the center is a beautiful double-truck spread right across both pages of a painting by Ken Marschall, the best artist of the subject of the Titanic,” he recalled.

“It was a beautiful shot of the rocket going off and lighting up the ship, and lifeboats rowing away as it went down in the more sedate, quiet part of the sinking. I said, ‘Romeo and Juliet on that.’ Five words.”

DiCaprio and Winslet — then 21 and 20, respectively — began filming in September 1996. Any awkwardness was short-lived and the pair quickly became close friends, reuniting onscreen a decade later for Sam Mendes’s fraught love story “Revolutionary Road.”

“They really bonded and they were there for each other through a long, difficult, grueling shoot. They were there to support each other,” Cameron said.

The epic proportions of the $200 million productions, with its 1,000 extras and crew of more than 800, can hardly be overstated.

Cameron had a full-scale model of the ill-fated luxury liner constructed on 40 acres of Mexican waterfront bought by Fox, after receiving the blueprints from the original shipbuilder.

The rooms were meticulously recreated from old photographs, as was RMS Titanic’s first class staircase, mahogany woodwork, and gold-plated light fixtures, all of which was destroyed in the sinking scene.

Such was the perceived folly of the bloated production — then the costliest ever — that Variety began a daily “Titanic Watch” column, ridiculing what was expected to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history.

A despondent Cameron kept a razor blade taped to the screen of his video editing equipment with an inscription written in pen: “Use in case of the film sucks.”

The movie test-screened to rapturous applause in Minneapolis, however, and Cameron was reassured that he’d actually made a decent movie.

It opened with a domestic haul of $28.6 million and was expected to follow the normal pattern for blockbusters, dropping by 40-50 percent in its second weekend.

Instead, it made another $28 million, and $32 million on the third weekend, eventually securing the top spot for 15 consecutive weeks.

“It just went down by like two percent a week and everybody just felt like we were in this alternate universe where the rules of gravity didn’t apply,” said Cameron.

Experts theorized that the numbers were being boosted by groups of young teenage girls watching multiple times, but Cameron believes “Titanic” did so well because the love story appealed across generations.

“With all due respect to Kate and Leo, and they’re both good friends of mine, it’s not Kate and Leo anymore — it’s Jack and Rose,” said Cameron.

“And it will always be Jack and Rose. I guess that’s what I’m proudest of, that we’ve created something that has its own reality, that’s outside of time, and theoretically that could still be enjoyed indefinitely.”