Ban on furnace oil import lifted to meet power demand

ISLAMABAD: The government has formally lifted a ban on import of furnace oil to meet peak electricity demand in the country, including Karachi, and asked at least seven oil companies to make arrangements for its import.

The decision was reportedly taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) headed by Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar early this week. The committee had imposed the ban on import of furnace oil in January last year to facilitate local refineries to exhaust their stocks. It was later given a one-time extension in April.

According to a notification issued by the petroleum division on Wednesday, the CCoE had allowed the state-run Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to import around 195,000 tonnes of furnace oil. The import was allowed on a summary moved by the petroleum division on the demand of the power division. A petroleum division official told Dawn that about 260,000 tonnes of furnace oil was already available in the country as of July 1, 2020.

The petroleum division said that under the CCoE decision, the PSO had been allowed import of two firm cargoes and one optional cargo of furnace oil (HSFO) with deficit quantity of up to 65,000 tonnes each on a C&F (cost-and-freight) basis through a gallop tender. It said the committee had also allowed private IPPs (independent power producers) to import furnace oil through the PSO or other OMCs (oil marketing companies) after getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the power division, which shall consult with the petroleum division to ensure all local RFO (residual fuel oil) is consumed first keeping in view the demand and supply situation.

In compliance with the CCoE decision, sources said, the power division had requested the petroleum division for facilitation of furnace oil imports by the IPPs and OMCs — Be Energy, Attock Petroleum, Hascol Petroleum, Oilco Petroleum and Fossil Energy.

However, the petroleum division has on its own notified that the power division should issue NOC only to the respective IPPs for arranging HSFO import through the OMC of their own choice so that uninterrupted supplies of furnace oil to the IPPs or general trade sector could be ensured.

It has also asked the power division to direct power plants and IPPs to maintain their stocks of furnace oil as per their respective power purchase agreements so that inventory issues with refineries could be avoided and their sustainable operations are ensured.

No truth to Indian media reports of troops deployed along LoC, China using Skardu Airbase: DG ISPR

The military’s media wing on Thursday termed reports by the Indian media that Pakistan had deployed troops along the Line of Control in Gilgit Baltistan region as “false and irresponsible”.

Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, via Twitter, said there was no truth to Chinese troops using the Skardu Airbase, saying that the reports were “false, irresponsible and far from truth”.

“No such movement or induction of additional forces has taken place. We also vehemently deny presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan,” he added.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1278578274076155904&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dawn.com%2Fnews%2F1566543&siteScreenName=dawn_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550pxARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

Indian media outlets have claimed that Pakistan has deployed “almost 20,000 additional soldiers” along the LoC in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and GB “to match Chinese deployments on the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in the east”.

“The level of troops Pakistan has deployed is more than what it did after the Balakot air strikes. Pakistani radars are believed to be fully activated all along the region too,” a report by Economic Times said.

Furthermore, the publication claimed that meetings have been held between China and Pakistan officials and the former is also holding talks with the Al-Badr outfit in order to “incite violence” in occupied Kashmir.

The reports come after Prime Minister Imran Khan said on the floor of the parliament on Tuesday that Pakistan had “no doubt” that India was involved in the attempted attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi that took place earlier this week.

India is currently engaged in a conflict with China at the disputed LAC in the Galwan Valey of the Ladakh region. Last month, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash between the two armies, the deadliest in decades.

Pakistan has repeatedly expressed its concern that India may initiate a “false flag operation” to divert attention from its casualties in the conflict with China.

Both India and China have accused each other of instigating the clash between their forces in the valley.

FIA files report on video speech to SC in Isa case

ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court commences on Thursday (today) the hearing on the video speech containing derogatory remarks and threats against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and other judges, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday furnished an interim report highlighting that Rawal­pindi-based cleric Mirza Iftikharuddin had denied making the speech on anyone’s instigation or direction.

A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan will resume the hearing of the case initiated on a suo motu over the viral video containing derogatory, contemptuous and scandalous language against the institution of the judiciary and the judges.

The cleric owned up to the contents of the lecture he gave to over half a dozen faithful on June 14 (a week before the SC decision on the petition of Justice Isa against the filing of presidential reference against him).

In its report furnished through FIA director (law) Malik Tariq Mehmood, the investigation agency stated that Mirza had already deleted the video from YouTube and Facebook. It added that the FIA had also got the custody of Mirza and his accomplice Akbar Ali on physical remand till July 6.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

The report explained that the IP addresses used by the accused persons for uploading the video have been traced and the concerned ISPs have been approached to provide the subscribers detail of the internet devices through which IP addresses were accessed. According to the FIA, the operators concerned have also been approached to obtain Character Detection and Recognition (CDR) and subscriber’s details of the SIMs in use of the two suspects to further unearth their probable nexus with other co-accused.

Only a day ago, Mirza submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court, tendering an unconditional apology for ‘unintentionally’ uttering some words against honourable judges in a ‘private meeting’.

On the basis of the video clip, Justice Isa’s wife on June 24 lodged a case at the Islamabad Secretariat Police Station, complaining that death threats were being hurled at the judge of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the FIA in its report stated that the investigation on the basis of FIR No 3 of 2020 under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA) read with sections 34, 500, 505 and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (Peca) had been entrusted to a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising Assistant Directors Khurram Saeed Rana, Mohammad Azmat Khan and Adnan Khan of CCRC and FIA’s counterterrorism wing inspector Raja Wajid Hussain.

During the course of investigation, two suspects Mirza and Akbar were arrested from whom an iPhone, a Samsung mobile phone, a Q-Mobile phone, a movie camera and a laptop were recovered and sent for forensic analysis.

The video speech was shown to both suspects and they had been thoroughly interrogated, the report said.

According to the FIA, the cleric claimed to be associated with Imam Bargah Qasre Abbas, Morgah, Rawalpindi. He has owned the contents of the video lecture and stated that his responsibility was to preach Islamic teachings. Besides, he admitted that he had been running ‘Iqra’ channel, a web TV, since 2017 in one of the rooms of his residence. His accomplice Akbar recorded his lectures and uploaded/managed his Youtube channel and Facebook page, the report said.

The FIA said Mirza admitted that on June 14, after Namaz-e-Maghrebain, he addressed six or seven namazis of the locality, where his assistant Akbar and Rasool Shah were also present. Akbar recorded the speech through the movie camera, edited and uploaded it without his consent on Youtube channel having URL: https://www.Youtube.com/channel/UCvUDG19AzcExacicaNqPPJW and Facebook account having URL web.facebook.com/mirza.iftikharuddin?rdc=1&rdr.

Mirza claimed when he came to know about uploading of the video, he immediately asked his aide to delete it. However, Akbar claimed that he became frightened and deleted the video when one of the page followers of Mirza Iftikhar told him that this act amounted to contempt of court.