CDA sacks guards accused of raping woman in F-9 park

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has allegedly dismissed two of its officials allegedly involved in raping a woman in the Fatima Jinnah Park last week.

The Islamabad police had arrested four men suspected to have been involved in raping a woman in the park, two of whom were CDA/ Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) guards and the other two were guards of a private security company.

“We will not compromise on principles and there is no room for such people in the department,” MCI Chief Metropolitan Officer Syed Najaf Iqbal said.

He said MCI will also write to the private security company for taking action against their guards.

The two CDA/MCI officials were working on daily wages and on a temporary basis.

According to the police, one of the gardeners of the civic agency had raped the woman while the three others had facilitated him.

After they recorded confessional statements, the four accused were sent to Adiala Jail where their identification parade will be held, the police said.

The victim is said to have been walking in the park with a male friend when the guards directed them to leave the park via separate gates. When her friend left, the guards directed the woman to use a second gate, where one of them raped her.

President calls new National Assembly session on 13th

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned the new session of the National Assembly on Aug 13, approving a summary sent to him by caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk for the purpose.

The prime minister forwarded the summary on Thursday after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) called upon the interim government to summon the session of the lower house so that the process of formation of the new government could take place.

The PTI also asked President Hussain to drop his plan to proceed to Ireland on a three-day official visit on Aug 16 as uncertainty prevails whether prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan can take the oath of his office on Aug 14 or not.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry expressed the hope that Mr Khan would take the oath between Aug 15 and 17. He said the absence of the president did not matter as Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani — who acts as acting president — could administer the oath of PM office to Imran Khan.

Media reports suggest that it is a desire of Mr Khan to take the oath on Independence Day — Aug 14.

Mr Chaudhry claimed that the PTI had secured 180 seats in the National Assembly to form its government at the Center. “There is no hurdle in Imran Khan’s way to become next prime minister of the country.”

He said the PTI had also won 186 seats of the Punjab Assembly out of total 372.

He said a meeting of the PTI’s Sindh parliamentary party had decided that the party would gift mega development projects to Karachi. He said Mr Khan had directed the party’s provincial leaders to focus on underdeveloped areas of interior Sindh.

PTI leader Naeemul Haq told the media that his party had demanded an early session of the National Assembly. In reply to a question, he said it was a job of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and not the PTI, to reopen constituencies and issue notifications of successful candidates.

On the other hand, sources in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told Dawn that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif urged President Hussain and the governors of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to follow the example of ex-governor of Sindh Muhammad Zubair and step down from their offices.

However, sources close to the president told Dawn that Mr Hussain would not tender his resignation, but decided to leave for Ireland to attend an award-distribution ceremony of Royal Collage of Physician where he would also receive an honourary degree. One of the reasons behind the president’s visit is said to be an escape to avoid administering the oath to Imran Khan.

It has been learnt that soon after Imran Khan takes the oath as 21st prime minister of the country, the governors of three provinces are likely to step down.

Sources close to Nawaz Sharif told Dawn that he was unhappy and wondered why the president and three governors appointed by the last PML-N government were still sitting in their offices when Muhammad Zubair had resigned on July 28.

“Why they [president and three governors] stick to their seats when Zubair has stepped down,” the incarcerated PML-N supreme leader was quoted as telling some party leaders who had met him at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.

Mr Sharif was of the view that President Hussain should not administer oath to Imran Khan and resign immediately.

The PML-N leadership feared that that if the president and three governors did not resign, they could be removed by the new PTI-led government which would cause humiliation for the N-League.

Pakistan envoys posted on political grounds may be recalled: FO

ISLAMABAD: In what looked to be a word of caution for the non-career politically appointed ambassadors serving in different capitals across the world, the Foreign Office on Thursday suggested that many of them would soon have to pack their bags.

“According to their contract, non-career ambassadors are deemed to have resigned, unless the new government decides otherwise,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said in response to a question about the ambassador to the United States, Ali Jehangir Siddiqui.

The future of politically appointed ambassadors has been hotly debated since the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government completed its tenure on May 31.

Indian attempts to make demographic changes in held Kashmir assailed

The PML-N had during its tenure appointed 21 ambassadors on political grounds, some of whom have already left on completion of their contract. The remaining ones, too, as per diplomatic norm, are expected to stand down with the change in government.

The two interesting cases of political appointees are that of Mr Siddiqui, who presented his credentials to President Trump three weeks after the PML-N government left office, and High Commissioner to Canada Tariq Azim, who was granted a two-year extension in the service contract shortly before the PML-N government’s tenure ended.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had taken a strong position against the appointment of Mr Siddiqui and it may be difficult for the party to step back unless the other powerful stakeholders in the Foreign Policy arena intervene in his favour, about which many are already speculating.

Another high-profile political appointee, Permanent Representative at the UN in New York Dr Maleeha Lodhi, who met PTI chairman Imran Khan a few days ago for what the FO described as a private meeting, is being tipped to be retained in her position.

Saudi Arabia stance backed

Pakistan has sided with Saudi Arabia in its latest diplomatic spat with Canada.

“Pakistan stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in protecting its sovereignty as a matter of principle and based on the historic and brotherly relations between our two countries,” the spokesman said.

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The spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada started after Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted to demand release of women’s rights activist Samar Badawi. Later, the Canadian government called for immediate release of jailed activists.

The Saudi government took strong exception to the Canadian criticism of the treatment of rights activists in the Kingdom and expelled Canada’s ambassador besides recalling its own ambassador from Ottawa.

Besides, Pakistan’s solidarity with a Muslim country and its position on sovereignty of states and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, the stance taken by the FO is driven by its uneasy relationship with Canada, a diplomatic source revealed.

The Pakistan government is unhappy with Canada over its discriminatory visa policy towards Pakistanis, negative travel advisory and Canadian high commissioner in Islamabad’s attitude towards the host government.

Responding to a question about re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran, the spokesman took a cautious position.

“We are examining the implications of the US re-imposition of sanctions on Iran. However, Pakistan, being a sovereign state, reserves the right to pursue legitimate economic and commercial interests while respecting the international legal regime,” the spokesman said.

Kashmir

In reply to a question about demographic changes India is trying to bring about in held Kashmir by abrogating Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, the FO spokesman said that this was not the first time that India was trying to do so, adds APP

“They (Indian leaders) have been trying to do it for the last 70 years. This is a direct violation of the UNSC Resolutions. We have consistently been raising this issue on all international forums and shall continue to do so,” Dr Faisal said.

He said that India could not crush the legitimate, indigenous Kashmiri struggle by such nefarious, underhanded means.

“All such Indian efforts have failed in the past and they will continue to fail in future also,” he added.

“The only solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is through the realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir through an impartial UN-administered plebiscite in accordance with UNSC Resolutions,” the spokesman said.

Govt finally moves to phase out harmful fuel additive

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to implement the manganese phase out plan for imported petrol as planned but has linked any relaxation to the timelines for local refineries to an independent study.

After a lot of disputes and negotiations, the Petroleum Division has made it clear to the oil industry that the timeline for phasing out metal contents in all the production line of petrol ie 90/92/95/97 RON was finalised in consultations spread over six months and then notified in May this year.

As such, the Petroleum Division has conveyed three final decisions to the industry. The Hydrocarbon Develo­pment Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) will start testing metal content in all grades (RON) of imported petrol arriving after August 1. The local petrol would contain 40 milligrams per litre without any relaxation.

Manganese limits set to begin from Nov 1

After Oct 30, import of motor gasoline containing more than 24mg per litre will not be permitted till Apr 30, 2019 and then be completely banned. For local petrol, the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and HDIP will conduct a study through an independent consultant and submit the report encompassing local refineries’ issues emanating due to implementation of phase out plan.

The report would be submitted to the Petroleum Division well before Oct 30 for review.

From Nov 1 till Apr 30, 2019, the limit of manganese in 95 and 97 RON imported petrol will be set at 10mg per litre which will then be banned.

Earlier, the oil industry was resisting implementation of recently notified specifications for lower manganese content in petrol, saying it required additional investments and time to enable the industry for a phase out plan.

The Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy had introduced fresh specifications for manganese and iron content in petrol in May this year after automakers, particularly Honda Pakistan, complained about choking of some of their engines due to higher manganese in petrol. It emerged later that Pakistan did not have any limits for manganese content in any type of petrol.

After months of deliberations and interactions with all the stakeholders, the notified fresh limits of manganese in the specifications of 90/92/95/97 RON for both imported and locally produced petrol was set at 40mg per litre with immediate effect to Oct 30 which should further decline to 24mg per litre with effect from Nov 1 to Apr 30, 2019.

Consequently, the notification required complete elimination of manganese content in all types of petrol with effect from May 1, 2019.

The oil industry had complained that local production of motor gasoline would reduce by 138,000 tonnes per year (11,500 tonnes per month) and simultaneously increase naphtha production by 102,000 tonnes per year (8,500 tonnes per month) that would need to be exported, causing infrastructure constraints. The industry said the schedule was “not implementable” because reduction in petrol production and increase in naphtha production would force the refineries to reduce throughput, impacting the production of other petroleum products as well.

These factors would lead to “additional import of Euro II motor gasoline as well as additional exports of surplus Naphtha, thereby burdening the already congested and overburdened import infrastructure at Keamari and Port Qasim”.

The Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) said the refineries had recently in 2015 added isomerisation units to their configurations while Parco was still in the process to do so to comply with Euro II 87 RON standards on the orders of the government and then ordered to upgrade to 90 and 92RON and all the three products entailed the use of manganese as an octane booster.

The OCAC has called upon the government to continue with 54 mg per litre manganese limit till such time that local refineries are able to upgrade their hardware to a configuration that allows production of petrol with higher RON and consequent reduction in manganese dosage.

From a technical standpoint, manganese compromises engine performance in the long run, chokes catalytic converter of the vehicle and aggravates pollution level by not converting unsafe substances of the exhaust. It has been in use in Pakistan since 2002 when the government moved to single unleaded petrol grade of 87 RON.

Australia’s Cummins, Hazlewood out of Pakistan Test tour

Australian fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were on Thursday ruled out of the upcoming Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates as they continue to recover from injury.

Both players missed the recent series against England due to their struggle to get over lumbar bone stress issues.

Neither has played since Australia’s scandal-plagued tour of South Africa earlier this year, which saw skipper Steve Smith and opener David Warner banned for a year over a ball-tampering incident.

But Mitchell Starc, who also missed the England tour, is back training and on track for the first Test against Pakistan, scheduled for October.

“Pat and Josh are progressing well from their lumbar bone stress injuries but are not bowling,” said team physiotherapist David Beakley.

“So unfortunately they will not be at the level required for Test match intensity come October.”

He said they aimed to be available for the one-day series against South Africa at home in November as they build towards the summer Indian Test series.