PML-N elects Nawaz as ‘Quaid for life’, Shahbaz as interim party president

PML-N bigwigs on Tuesday, during a meeting called to choose an interim party president, elected Nawaz Sharif as “[the party’s] Quaid(leader) for life”.

Maryam Nawaz confirmed the development in a tweet as the PML-N Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting was underway at the Sharif family’s Model Town residence in Lahore.

“Raja Zafarul Haq, Prime Minister Abbasi and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s proposal elicited a resounding approval from [the] CWC,” Maryam said.

PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq proposed Nawaz’s elevation as ‘quaid for life’, saying, “Mian Nawaz Sharif was, is and Inshallah will remain the leader of the PML-N”.

His proposal, followed by chants of “Wazir-e-Azam, Nawaz Sharif“, was endorsed by Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi, who said: “These are the peoples’ decisions. The courts had no right to take this decision — this our party’s decision.”

Shahbaz elected unopposed

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was elected unopposed as the acting president of PML-N after Nawaz proposed his name to loud applause.

The meeting was called following a Supreme Court ruling ordering the removal of Nawaz Sharif as party chief. Party leaders, including National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Punjab Governor Rafiq Rajwana, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair and Railways Minister Saad Rafique, were present at the meeting chaired by PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq.

At the start of the meeting, Nawaz in an unveiled reference to the judiciary asked “[Do you expect that] you keep on taking oaths under PCO and we’ll continue to respect your decisions?”, referring to those judges who had taken oath under a provisional constitutional order (PCO) issued by the then military ruler Pervaiz Musharraf.

“It is the greatest crime when you leave your country’s Constitution and take oath of allegiance to a military dictator. What is a bigger crime than this?” he questioned. “The crime for which you have punished Nawaz is not even a hundredth part [in severity] of taking oath over PCO. It is the biggest crime.”

Since his disqualification in the Panama verdict, Nawaz has frequently lashed out at the “PCO judges”, holding them responsible for his ouster from the prime minister office.

Disqualified, again

The emergency measures kicked in after the Supreme Court (SC) on Feb 22 struck off a controversial amendment to the Elections Act, 2017which had last year paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to resume leadership of the party after being disqualified in the Panama Papers case in July 2017.

According to the party’s rules, the PML-N’s CWC is supposed to elect an acting party head within a week of its chief’s removal. Then the party’s general council is required to elect a president within 45 days.

Shahbaz Sharif was tipped as the favourite for the position from the start.

“There is no candidate for the slot of interim president of PML-N other than Shahbaz Sharif. However, the CWC will hold deliberations before electing the proposed member for the top party post,” PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan had earlier told NNP.

Interestingly, the SC ruling had rendered all decisions Nawaz Sharif had taken in the capacity of the party chief as null and void. This raises a question mark over the legal status of PML-N’s CWC, which has 109 members nominated by Nawaz while he was party president.

Keeping this technical issue in mind, the PML-N’s information secretary had said that only those CWC members who were elected before the July 28 decision had been called for Tuesday’s meeting.


500 patients screened daily during health week

TAXILA:  Over 500 patients screened for epidemic and non-epidemic diseases on daily bases during the health week observed in tehsil Taxila from Monday. The health week was formally inaugurated here at Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) Taxila on Monday by local PML-N leader Syed Imran Shah. Medical Superintendent, Dr. Hooria Mohsin Syed  and deputy district officer health Dr Fareed Khan were also present on this occasion.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr Shah has said that present government is committed to provide better health facilities to the masses at their doorsteps and organizing such weeks are part of a healthy society so that masses should be examined for possible epidemic and non-epidemic diseases.

Medical Superintendent, Dr. Hooria Mohsin Syed while briefing on this occasion has said that the health week this would be continued till February   24 for screening of hepatitis and other no communicable diseases in all health units.  She added that over500 patients screened daily during ongoing health week being observed in the tehsil headquarters hospitals and rural health centers in tehsil Taxila.

She said that the camp would have a special counter for Mother and Child healthcare and provide free medical tests facility, treatment, medicines, vaccinations and consultation. She said that at the free camps, all patients, especially women and children would be provided medicines and immunized against different diseases. She informed that during the week, community-based social mobilization activities helped mothers of the area to recognize the value of good health and hygiene for both themselves and their children. These include safe delivery practices, exclusive breastfeeding up to six months, adequate nutrition and preventing disease. “ During the camp, expected mothers were also counseled on home-based treatments for diarrhea and given information about gaining access to basic community health services”. She added.

Group involved in Child smuggling with fake Passport Document.

A group register an application of lost passport in different PS ratta amral in Rawalpindi after renewal of Fake new Passport they smuggled children to Gulf countries.

Report:Muhammad Tahir.

Islamabad: foreign smuggling group involved in Child smuggling in Islamabad. After renewal of passport gang smuggle children from Pakistan to Gulf Country. In the limit of Ramna PS whereas the citizen Nisar has lodged a report to the police that his two daughters, 10 years old Rahima and, 4-year-old Fatima kidnapped by her wife Maryam Noor with her brother Ehtisham Noor and one known person , they abducted my two daughters . Original Passport is in my custody. Defender said they have sent my daughter to Gulf Country with fake passport.

According to the defendant, he applied to PS Ramna The case was registered , Asghar, the Investigation Officer of this case, said that no record in the PS rattan Amaral has been found on the front desk On which report new passport were issue .while Yasir Saad in-charge of Front Desk also confirmed and writes the report. While the raids are being hit for the arrest and unknown mills including both siblings have been done. FIA also working on it to recover the kidnapped Children


Punjab cabinet approves witness protection bill

LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet has finally approved the witness protection bill, providing measures that would prevent elimination, intimidation or winning over of witnesses and help ensure conviction of criminals and terrorists.

“The draft has been finalised and we are going to table it in the assembly,” said a senior Punjab government official on Sunday.

Witnesses are considered important for convictions in criminal and even terrorism cases in Pakistan as scientific evidence is merely taken as an expert opinion. But witnesses are often killed, browbeaten or bought because of lack of any protection for them from the state.

Official sources said the cabinet had finally approved the draft bill which was likely to be tabled in the current session of the Punjab Assembly for approval.

The bill was drafted by the home department last year but could not be finalised because of a different opinion by the law department that sent it to the advocate general for an independent view.

According to a copy of the finalised draft of the Punjab Witness Protection Act, 2018, there will be two witness protection units — one for offences of terrorism and another for serious offences.

The units will be supervised by a provincial-level board to be established under the home secretary. The board’s members will include finance and public prosecution secretaries, prosecutor general, additional IGs of counterterrorism department, special branch and investigations. It will also frame policy guidelines for witness protection.

The draft law allows a victim or a witness or any other person connected with criminal proceedings and those related to them to apply for protection. In response, the counterterrorism department, the public prosecutor or the court trying an offence of terrorism or of a serious nature may direct the unit concerned to assess the risk of any such person concerned with the criminal proceedings.

The non-court protection the unit will offer by its own or on the directive of the government includes close protection service, lodging in a safe house, temporary or permanent relocation at a safe place, change of identity, concealment of identity of the persons involved in the criminal proceedings and financial assistance.

Such protection will be free of cost and all departments, agencies or offices will cooperate with the unit for the purpose.

The court will give protection to a witness if he or she is fearful, under stress, is intimidated or dreads any harm to him, his family or property if he gives evidence, is disabled, under 16 years of age, and the victim of a sexual offence.

The court, while ordering protection, will also consider personal circumstances of the witness, including his or her opinion and belief, behaviour of the accused, his family or associates or any other persons towards him, the nature and circumstances of the offence and the report of the unit with regard to the gravity of the threat to the witness.

The unit or the court will also take special measures for the protection of a witness, including ensuring he or she is not seen while coming to the court, recording evidence in the court or leaving it, and recording of the evidence through video link.

The government will also be able to order jail trial of a case if a normal court house is not found safe for it.

The draft law allows a court to conduct in-camera proceedings of specific cases to ensure protection of witnesses. But this will not be done if the court decides that the cross-examination by the accused in person is likely to affect the voluntariness or quality of the evidence.

It empowers courts to disallow a question to the victim of a sexual offence relating to any sexual behaviour of the victim on any previous occasion with the accused or any other person, unless such a question is a relevant fact in the case.

The draft law also empowers courts to prohibit, reporting of the identity of a person connected with an offence of terrorism or a sexual offence or the identity of the members of his family in print, electronic or other media if he or she is under 18 years of age, and if the quality of the evidence of the person concerned will be diminished with the reporting.

The court, by its own or through an application, will order the preservation of the anonymity of the witness or of any person relating to the evidence of the witness. But this will be done only if the court is satisfied that under no circumstances the order will prevent the accused from receiving a fair trial.

The related measures will include withholding names, addresses, and identification details, allowing pseudonyms, disallowing during the trial questions that may reveal the identity of the witness.

Reporting in media the identity of such persons or violating their anonymity despite court orders would be an offence carrying up to three-year but not less than 30-day imprisonment, with up to Rs100,000 fine.

Consumers charged higher than actual fuel cost

ISLAMABAD: Power distribution companies charged about Rs3 per unit higher than the actual fuel cost in January as a petition has been filed in the Natio­nal Electric Power Regu­la­tory Authority (Nepra), seeking approval of fuel adjustment for a month.

In its petition, the Central Power Purchasing Agency-Guarantee (CPPA-G) repor­ted to Nepra that it had charged a higher reference tariff of Rs9.867 per unit in January but actual fuel cost turned out to be Rs6.90 per unit. Therefore, it said, there was a legal requirement to return Rs2.98 per unit to consumers.

The regulator is expected to hold a public hearing on the matter on Feb 22.

A relief in electricity rates for one month will not be applicable to residential and agricultural consumers with less than 300 units of monthly consumption as per decision of the PML-N government on the grounds that they are already being provided subsidised electricity and do not qualify for monthly fuel price cut.

It is a common practice that distribution companies charge power consumers significantly higher estimated fuel charge which is later adjusted against the actual cost in a subsequent month with the approval of the power regulator. The practice helps power companies generate billions of rupees as windfall from consumers in advance and have better cash flows without financing costs.

The CPPA-G informed the regulator that about 7,982 GWh (gigawatt hours) electricity was generated in January and 7,698 GWh could be delivered to distribution companies due to about 3.41 per cent losses in the transmission system. It said hydropower generation was too low because of canal closure on top of overall low water availability. The cheapest energy source (hydropower) had a total contribution of just 7.6pc in overall electricity supply, compared to 15.86pc in December.

The hydropower generation has a zero fuel cost. The country’s can­als are routinely closed for maintenance and repair every year for more than a month, usually from Dec 25 till Jan 31. Hydropower turbines become redundant during this period. Also, the wind and solar plants toge­ther contributed about 3.1pc energy with no fuel cost.

Furnace oil-based power plants contributed about 20.4pc electricity to the nat­io­nal grid in January, down from its 29pc share in Dece­mber and 9pc in November. The furnace oil-based generation cost increased to Ra10.42 per unit from Rs9.8 a month ago due to higher oil prices.

The natural gas-based generation maintained its contribution to overall power generation at 23pc in January. The fuel cost was worked out at Rs4.63 per unit, slightly higher than Rs4.49 in December.

However, power production from imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) surged significantly with almost 21pc share in the total supply as compared to a paltry 5.1pc and 9.3pc shares in December and November, respectively. The re-liquefied LNG-based power generation cost surged to Rs9.25 per unit in January from Rs6.33 in December.

The share of coal-based generation was reported at 14.34pc in January against 11.7pc in December and 13.4pc in November. Its fuel cost increased to Rs5.2 per unit in January from Rs4.3 in December

The price of electricity imported from Iran stood at Rs11.05 per unit.

In January, about 7,982 GWh electricity was generated at a total cost of Rs48.58 billion or Rs6.086 per unit, while 3.4pc lower supply was delivered to distribution companies at a cost of Rs53.04bn or Rs6.90 per unit.

As the actual generation cost was lower than it had already charged in connivance with the regulator, extra money collected from consumers would have to be refunded through adjustment in the next billing month.