The operation cannot be left pending in any kind of situation either normal or unusual against Terror Groups.CPO Rawalpindi

CPO Faisal Rana sought report on ongoing operation against Terror Groups, the operation cannot be left pending in any kind of situation either normal or unusual, arrest of top 10 and top 20 criminals shall be the parameter to gauge the performance of SHOs and SDPOs, the CPO expressed while addressing a high level meeting in police lines, which was attended by SSP Operations Tariq Walait, SSP Investigations Muhammad Faisal, SP Potohar Syed Ali, SP Saddar Rai Mazhar Iqbal, SP Rawal Asif Masood and other police officers concerned. CPO took comprehensive briefing regarding ongoing operation against Terror Groups from the divisional SPs and took information to the grass root level about the criminal activities of the Terror groups. The CPO was told that more than 03 dozen criminals, wanted in several heinous cases have been arrested during the operation so far. CPO Faisal Rana said that, the way citizens of Rawalpindi have expressed their satisfaction over the operation against Terror Groups is unprecedented in the history of Rawalpindi. The acknowledgement and appreciation that the social circles have given to Rawalpindi police for this “Operation against Terror” has boasted the morale and courage of the police to such an extent that for the establishment of rule of law, police is ready to face the Himalaya of crime, the CPO added. The CPO said that the operation must continue with the same spirit and police have to find the criminals even if they have hidden themselves in the depths of the plutonic. The CPO was told that SHO Aizaz Azeem and his team, under the close supervision of SP Potohar Syed Ali, arrested the shooters who used to do aerial firing in the political gatherings on payment and the political parties having different ideologies are delighted over their arrest. The Terror Groups had hijacked the social media in a sense that they used to upload the videos and pictures of their criminal acts on the social media but with the success of the “Operation against Terror” the criminals and their facilitators have disappeared from the social media. CPO Faisal Rana directed that the victims of the Terror Groups must be contacted and FIR must be registered on each criminal act.

Funerals begin as Mirpurkhas mourns victims of Tezgam fire

Distraught relatives gathered on Friday for the first funerals of some of the 73 people killed when fire ripped through a crowded train in Pakistan, with many of the victims residents of a single town.

Sobbing family crowded an official building in Mirpurkhas overnight as the first bodies covered in white cloth began arriving by ambulance from the scene of the disaster.

After morning prayers, with women watching from nearby rooftops, more than a hundred men attended the first funeral — of a car mechanic named Mohammad Saleem, who was in his late 40s.

It was held at the Bismillah Mosque, from which at least 42 pilgrims had left to board the train one day earlier bound for a religious festival near Lahore.

Ramsha Jahangir
Ramsha Jahangir

Officials say as some of the train’s passengers cooked breakfast around dawn on Thursday, two of their gas cylinders exploded, sending flames racing through three carriages as the train passed near Rahim Yar Khan, in Punjab province.

At least 73 people died, some after jumping through windows on the still-moving train to escape the blaze. Local media reported that rescue officials found bodies and some injured people along a two-kilometre stretch of track. Dozens more were wounded and rushed to nearby hospitals.

One of the carriages — Wagon No.12 — was carrying mainly people from Mirpurkhas, the town’s deputy commissioner, Attaullah Shah, told AFP.

“There was never such a tragic incident to happen to Mirpurkhas,” he said.

Eight of the bodies had been confirmed as being residents of the town so far, he said. Twenty-four Mirpurkhas residents were among the injured. But at least another 40 are still missing, he said.

Officials in Rahim Yar Khan have said many of the bodies are charred beyond recognition and will have to be identified through DNA testing — a process that could take up to one month.

Shah said the government was arranging to send families of the missing from Mirpurkhas to the hospital in Rahim Yar Khan where the bodies have been taken.

‘Mistake’

Mirpurkhas, a town of some half a million people surrounded by farms and mango orchards, was largely shut down on Friday as businesses closed in mourning.

“These were such people that we can not ever forget them,” Mohammad Anwar, the 57-year-old headmaster of a government school, told AFP at the Bismillah Mosque.

He said that among the missing was his nephew, as well as the mosque’s imam. Most of those who left from the mosque had known one another or lived nearby.

Yawar Hussain came to the deputy commissioner’s office overnight in hopes of finding his brother Mohsin, 20.

Clutching a photograph of his brother wearing a starched beige shalwar kameez and sunglasses, the 23-year-old described rushing home after hearing of the accident.

“I consoled my father, and my mother and sisters were crying,” he said.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

Gas cylinders are supposedly banned on trains. Railways minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said on Thursday that it had been a “mistake” to allow the cylinders on board, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry.

The train was the Tezgam, a daily express service that runs back and forth between the southern port city of Karachi and Rawalpindi, adjacent to Islamabad.

But it was being diverted on Thursday to carry pilgrims to the annual Tablighi Ijtema, one of Pakistan’s biggest religious gatherings, which sees up to 400,000 people descend on a tented village outside Lahore for several days to sleep, pray and eat together.

Dubai displays tech reputation with global robotics contest

Seeking to bolster its image as a forward-looking metropolis, Dubai hosted the largest-ever international robotics contest this week, challenging young people from 190 countries to find solutions to global ocean pollution.

Event organisers say their selection of Dubai as host reflects a vote of confidence that this oil-rich Emirati sheikhdom can be a global hub for innovation. They also expressed hope that bringing together tomorrow’s scientists and engineers will help develop technologies to solve the world’s most pressing issues, particularly those related to the environment.

Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST Global Challenge, said the Middle East represents a part of the world where “the adults have not learned how to play nice with each other” and it was up to young people to fix humanity’s self-inflicted wounds.

“We are in an accelerating race toward catastrophe, whether it’s global warning, melting of the (polar ice) caps, bird flu, terrorism you name it, we’re worried about it. The solution to most of the world’s grand challenges depends on better technologies than we have today,” he said.

“This globe of ours is on life support, so the thought is we get every kid in every country to focus on learning how to use technology, but focus on using it as a tool and not a weapon,” he explained.

The unofficial “Robotics Olympics” seeks to encourage young people to pursue subjects known as STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Teams of four to five students, aged 14-18, each received a kit of rods, wheels, wires and other raw materials with which to assemble their roving robots. Their task: Collect orange balls of various sizes from a playing field, which represented human-created pollutants in the ocean.

Some devised robots for scooping, while others snatched up and fired the balls through the air into the receptacles.

The teams then formed “alliances,” each with up of four nations, to battle their way to the final round. Overall, 1,500 students took part.

A team captained by Belarus, and including Syrian refugees, eventually won the gold medal, edging out a team captained by Israel in a dramatic final match. But organisers stressed a message of unity, not conflict.

“The kids get it. To them this isn’t a competition; this is a ‘coop-etition.’ This is a celebration of technology,” said Kamen.

Previous events tackled challenges related to clean water access and sustainable energy.

Robotics is a natural fit for Dubai, a city that’s already testing driverless cars and taxis. It’s become a magnet for international entrepreneurs, with an entire zone called “Internet City” that’s packed with high-tech startups. Next October, Dubai will host the Expo 2020, welcoming technological breakthroughs from around the world.

“If we are to become the city of the future, we need to have the right talent from around the world,” said Omar Al-Olama, the 29-year-old Emirati Minister of Artificial Intelligence, the world’s first such minister. “Artificial intelligence is based on data. Data is what drives all these new technologies. We have the holy grail of data. We have 200 nationalities represented in this country.”

FedEx recently announced Dubai would become the first city outside the US to test Roxo, an autonomous delivery device that can travel on sidewalks and even unpaved surfaces.

Roxo made its debut international appearance at this week’s robotics contest, drawing the interest of the tech-savvy teens hailing from places as diverse as Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. They mingled in Dubai’s Festival City, exchanging experiences and forming friendships while talking shop about their gadgets.

“We didn’t do so well in the matches because we had a lot of trouble with the control hub, but it doesn’t matter, we had a lot of fun,” said Stefan Sijbesma, 17, from the Netherlands. “For me, robotics is really important because it really helped me choose what I want to study and what I want to do with my life.”

The three-day tournament had a festival-like atmosphere to it, with announcers and commentators analysing the action in sports-broadcast style and fans waving flags and banners supporting their teams. The pavilion floor was filled with facts about the millions of tons of pollutants threatening the world’s oceans, and featured slogans such as “united by land, connected by oceans” and “together we turn the tide on pollution.”

As the nail-biting results were being announced, the Israelis huddled with their Ugandan teammates before embracing the winning team in a feel-good ending.

“I can’t believe it, it’s a miracle,” said Yamen Najjar, manager of Team Hope, which represents the Syrian refugees and was part of the winning alliance. “It was a very difficult competition for us, we faced a lot of problems, but we didn’t lose hope.”

Outgoing US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who’d made the original announcement that Dubai would host the event earlier this year in a surprise visit to the World Government Summit, was on hand. Perry said he’s followed the robotics tournaments since 2002 when, as governor of Texas, he attended one of the regional competitions in Houston and was “blown away” by the passions and abilities of the young contestants.

But he said he found their camaraderie even more impressive.

“It is stunning what these young people are doing,” Perry said. “Where the adults may have failed in the standpoint of international diplomacy, these young people may accomplish, and if that’s the case maybe that is the most important thing that comes out of this.”

England claim first blood in New Zealand T20 series

A maiden half century from James Vince powered England to a convincing seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the opening Twenty20 International in Christchurch on Friday.

Vince top-scored for the tourists with 59 as England chased down New Zealand’s 154-run target in 18.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

While Vince’s man-of-the-match performance caught the eye, captain Eoin Morgan was also full of praise for his bowlers, who laid the platform for victory by restricting the Black Caps to 153 for five.

“The game was won and lost in the first innings […] James Vince played outstanding well but all credit to the bowlers today,” he said.

A three-wicket haul from spinner Mitchell Santner was not enough to rescue the Black Caps, whose batting line-up failed to fire after Morgan won the toss and sent them in.

England’s win came despite the absence of several senior players, who have been rested for the series after a gruelling period that saw them win the World Cup and fail to reclaim the Ashes.

A trio of debutants in the team facing New Zealand fitted in seamlessly, with Sam Curran and Pat Brown both snaring a wicket each.

All-rounder Lewis Gregory was not needed with either bat or ball and will hope to make an impression when hostilities resume in Wellington on Sunday.

Morgan said his squad was building its depth by blooding youngsters ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

“It’s a chance for them to stake their claim,” said the England captain, who emphatically ended the match with a six off the final ball to finish on 34 not out.

‘A bit off’

New Zealand’s regular captain Kane Williamson is out of the series with a hip injury and the Black Caps sorely missed his batting prowess.

Stand-in skipper Tim Southee said there was room for improvement in bowling, batting and fielding.

“We were probably a little bit off in all three areas,” he said.

“We got a score on the board that we felt we could defend but we were a little bit off with the ball and in the field, which didn’t help.”

The poor form that dogged Martin Guptill at the World Cup continued when Curran coaxed an inside edge that crashed into middle stump.

Fellow opener Colin Munro tried to break the shackles but was too aggressive against Chris Jordan and was caught on the boundary for 21.

In reply, Jonny Bairstow made a positive start for England and it took a spectacular catch from Guptill for dismiss him for 35.

Santner and fellow spinner Ish Sodhi had some success pegging back England’s run rate before Vince and Morgan combined for a 54-run partnership that proved decisive.

It is the first time the sides have met since the One-Day World Cup final in July, which ended with scores tied but England claiming victory because they had scored more boundaries.

However, both teams insist their focus for the series is on preparing for next year’s T20 World Cup.

England are ranked second in the world in T20s behind Pakistan, while New Zealand are sixth.

IHC accepts Awan’s unconditional apology but issues her another contempt notice

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday accepted the apology of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, for scandalising the judiciary and issued her a fresh contempt of court notice for making a statement regarding a pending criminal proceeding.

During the hearing of the contempt of court notice, presided over by IHC Chief Justice Justice Athar Minallah earlier today, the premier’s special assistant had tendered an unconditional apology for “scandalising the judiciary”, which the high court later accepted.

Justice Minallah told Awan that she had committed contempt of court on two counts — one for ridiculing the court for entertaining the case as a “special dispensation” and one for trying to influence a pending proceeding of the court related to the bail petition for Nawaz.

Awan assured the court that she would be extremely careful in the future and placed herself at the mercy of the court.

The IHC chief justice remarked that Prime Minister Imran Khan had fought for the rule of law, adding that he was sure that the premier had never instructed her to use such language against the court.

While accepting her apology for scandalising the judiciary, the court issued Awan a fresh contempt notice and directed her to satisfy the court that her press conference was not intended to influence a pending court proceeding.

“[We] cannot overlook matters when the principles of a fair trial are opposed,” remarked Justice Minallah.

The IHC sought her reply by Monday. Additionally, the court directed her to appear before the court on November 5. Awan requested that the proceedings be adjourned till after Tuesday due to a cabinet meeting; however, the court rejected the request and said that as it is a criminal proceeding, her appearance is mandatory.

Following the proceedings, Awan arrived at and inspected a district court, as per the IHC’s orders.

Contempt of court notice

On Wednesday, a show-cause notice was issued to Awan under Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003. It said that Awan had maligned the IHC while saying that the hearing of a petition on the release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was “a special dispensation”.

The court had directed Awan to appear in person on today to explain as to why she should not be proceeded against under contempt laws.

On October 26, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif had filed a petition in IHC, requesting the court to hear the bail plea for Nawaz sooner than October 29 owing to the former premier’s “extremely critical condition”. After the hearing, which went into the evening, the court had granted Nawaz bail on medical grounds until Oct 29 in the Al-Azizia reference.

Awan, while holding a presser following the bail, had said the government would want to see such speedy trials for all under-trial prisoners and in all cases. “We hope this new trend will be applicable to all cases,” she had said.

The special assistant had also remarked that there was no precedent in the past that the executive was asked to take responsibility for the health of a prisoner, referring to the judges’ questions during Saturday’s hearing. “We are not responsible for his old ailments, including blood pressure and cardiac issues,” Awan had said.

The IHC had on Tuesday taken up the bail plea again and granted post-arrest bail to Nawaz after suspending his sentence. The court allowed the bail to the former prime minister for eight weeks and asked him to seek further extension from the Punjab government.