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Archive for June, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau Chief (NAB) Fasih Bukhari has said that due to corruption, the national treasury is facing a Rs6 billion to Rs8 billion loss per day.

The NAB chairman said that the bureau’s job was to recover the ‘stolen’ money, not prosecute. He however added that if anyone was found guilty, they would be prosecuted.

“Till now, NAB has recovered Rs235 billion for the treasury but this is not enough,” said Bukhari, adding that the government has given approval for recruiting 300 new investigators.

Ongoing corruption cases

Referring to the rental power project case, National Accounability Bureau Chief Fasih Bukhari enquired whether the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) had placed Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) as yet.

The chairman also said that the Ashraf was interrogated for 3 hours before he was made the prime minister.

Bukhari told the media that a joint investigation team (JIT) including the FIA, NAB and police among others had been formed for investigating the Arsalan Iftikhar case and will be headed by the NAB director general (DG) Financial Crime Investigation Cell, as per the order of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s letter.

Speaking on the issue of conducting an unbiased investigation, the NAB chief said, “It doesn’t matter if we know Malik Riaz or Nawaz Sharif, the investigation will be unbiased.” He also added that he had never taken any money from Malik Riaz.

Referring to Arsalan Ifitikhar’s  letter which he sent through his lawyer, the NAB chief said it was insolent through. “The letter is threatening, it uses threatening language, said Bukhari, adding that a notice will be taken in this regard.

Bukhari said that although the Sharif brothers’ case could yield just Rs3 billion and the Swiss letter case, Rs6 billion but the case of former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman Tauqeer Sadiq could restore Rs55 billion to the treasury. He told the media that a warrant was to be issued for Tauqeer Sadiq’s arrest.

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Favourable ratings for Khan increased by 18% over the last two years: survey

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has been declared as the most popular leader, based on the  findings of a survey conducted by the Global Attitudes project of PEW Research Centre.

According to the survey, seven out of ten Pakistani respondents offered a favourable opinion about Khan, while the favourable ratings for the leader increased by 18 percentage points over the last two years. The survey also revealed that Khan enjoys incomparable popularity among the youth.

On the other hand, President Asif Ali Zardari’s popularity went significantly down to 14% as compared to 64% in 2008, and popularity of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif dropped to 62% from 79% in 2009.

Drones

A majority of the respondents (97%), aware of the drone attacks, believe that the strikes have a negative impact on the country. “Those who are familiar with the drone campaign also overwhelmingly believe the attacks kill too many innocent people (94%). Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they are not necessary to defend Pakistan from extremist organisations.”

The survey says that PTI’s stance on drone attacks and its stand against the war on terror might be the reason of his popularity among the overwhelming majority of the people.

State of affairs

According to the survey, about nine in ten people (87%) are dissatisfied with the country’s state of the affairs and the direction it has taken. Around 89% describe the national economic situation as “bad”.

Nine in ten consider crime and joblessness as the top national concerns, and a vast majority (86%) considers terrorism to be a major concern for the country. Nearly three-quarters are concerned about corrupt political leaders (78%) and illegal drugs (76%).

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Islamabad: A special court on Saturday granted search warrants to the Anti Narcotics Force so that it could arrest Ali Musa Gilani, a son of former prime minister Yousuf  Raza Gilani.

Earlier the army-led ANF had got arrest warrants for Mr Gilani but remained failed as he kept hiding with influential people.

 The court granted the search warrants, enabling the force to arrest Ali Musa Gilani by raiding anywhere he might be.

Gilani is accused of playing role in importing illegal quantity of ephedrine, a controlled substance, in Pakistan.

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Hyderabad: A Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Jiala on Saturday was expelled from the Hyderabad Circuit House when he put off his shoe and was about to hurl at  Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro during his speech.

The PPP disgruntled activist Imran hold the shoe and lodged his protest for what he said the party was not fulfilling its promises.

Imran shouted at the minister that he was jobless and the party had done nothing to provide him with a job.

He said the PPP didn’t help the people during flesh floods in the province.

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LAHORE: The railway operation has been hugely affected as railway officials indicated that there was “no oil” to carry out railway operations. On Friday, many trains were reported not to initiate their journey towards their destination.

“There is no diesel within the Loco shed and 40,000 liters of oil were purchased yesterday from the open market to run the railway operation,” railway officials reported. They further added that the oil has now finished and rail transport would not be able to operate until more oil is received or purchased.

“The oil that is due to arrive from Karachi is still on its way,” added the officials.

Due to oil unavailability, Jaffer Express scheduled for Quetta, was unable to operate whilst the Karachi Express was only given the oil to travel till Rohri.

Officials further added that Rawalpindi Night coach and Khyber Mail also did not operate due to the unavailability of oil.

A halt to the railway operations has severely affected commuting within the country. People have been seen sitting helplessly at different platforms hoping to reach their destinations.

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NEW DELHI: India on Friday denied that an Indian man freed after serving three decades in a Pakistani jail on espionage charges was a spy working for New Delhi.

The denial came even though the released prisoner, Surjeet Singh, 69, had told Indian media on Thursday that he was spying for India when he was arrested by Pakistani authorities in the 1980s.

Singh, who was sentenced to death after being convicted by a Pakistani court on spying charges, returned to India on Thursday after being freed.

“We do not accept this (that Singh was a spy). It is completely wrong,” Indian Home Secretary R.K. Singh told a news conference in New Delhi.

“We deny it (because) we do not do this kind of thing,” he said in response to reporters’ questions about whether the freed man worked for government agencies.

“Neither do we do spying, nor we send spies,” the home secretary added.

The two Singhs are not related.

Surjeet Singh had told Indian reporters after returning home that he had gone to Pakistan for “spying” and named the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s espionage agency, as his paymaster.

In April 2011, Gopal Das, one of Pakistan’s longest-serving Indian prisoners, was released after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari intervened in his case.

Upon his release, Das admitted he was an Indian spy and lashed out at the Indian authorities for abandoning him during his 23 years in jail.

Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India have fought three wars since the division of the subcontinent in 1947 and came to the brink of another conflict as recently as 2002.

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Money changers count piles of Afghani at a money exchange market in Kabul June 16, 2012.

WASHINGTON: The United States named two Afghanistan-Pakistan money changers as helping the Taliban manage and move funds, setting sanctions against both that aim to hinder their business.

The US Treasury said the two hawalas, or money exchange businesses – the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar Money Exchange (HKHS) and the Roshan Money Exchange – “have been used by the Taliban to facilitate money transfers in support of the Taliban’s narcotics trade and terrorist operations.” Up through last year, HKHS services were “a preferred method for Taliban leadership to transfer money to Taliban commanders in Afghanistan,” the Treasury said.

Roshan was used for money transfers by the Taliban, particularly in Helmand province, including allegedly moving hundreds of thousands of dollars last year “for the purchase of narcotics on behalf of Taliban officials.” The Treasury listed Haji Abdul Sattar Barakzai and Haji Khairullah Barakzai, HKHS co-owners, under the sanctions for donating funds to the Taliban.

HKHS has 16 branches in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Dubai, according to the Treasury.

Roshan operates 11 branches in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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