SECMC chief Shamsuddin A. Shaikh quits; Sindh’s Energy Department remains in dark about the causes

By Manzoor Shaikh Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) Shamsuddin A. Shaikh has resigned from his post, company sources confirmed. The company has appointed Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi as the new CEO. He was already working as the Chief Operating Officer in the company. Interestingly enough, the major partner of the company—the Sindh government—did not know about the resignation of the CEO. Sindh Energy Minister Imitiaz Shaikh told Engineering Review that the board of the company is independent in taking decisions about the company. He said he did not know why Shamsuddin A. Shaikh quit the company. When did he tender resignation and why are still to come out but the board of the governors of the company has confirmed the resignation of Mr. Shaikh who has been serving it for over 28 years. Company sources claimed there were issues between the company and Mr. Shaikh that could not be resolved. What was the nature of the issues are yet to be unveiled. SECMC is a joint venture of Sindh government and Engro Power Gen with a shareholding ratio of 54:46. The company is involved in open pit mining of coal in Thar Coal Block – II and building a powerhouse. Mr. Shaikh’s tenure in service was due to finish in 2019—the year in which his beloved Thar coal-fired power project is scheduled for commissioning. Thar coal power project is due to generate power at the end of December 2018 or at the beginning of January 2019. The timing of Mr. Shaikh’s resignation is meaningful and raise many questions about his resignation just a month before his project coming to reality.

TLP Chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi taken into 'protective custody', shifted to a guest house; action against TLP's Nov 25 call

ICMD, Nov 23, 2018 Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi has been taken into "protective custody" by police from Lahore, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced late on Friday night. "Khadim Hussain Rizvi has been taken into protective custody by police and shifted to a guest house," the minister said in a tweet. "The action was prompted by TLP's refusal to withdraw its call for protest on November 25. It’s to safeguard public life, property and order." The arrest "has to do nothing with Asia Bibi case", Chaudhry said. He said the TLP had insisted on coming to Rawalpindi "refusing [the government's] proposal for alternative arrangements". "The TLP has become a continuous threat to the life and properties of the citizens and is doing politics under the guise of religion... the situation is fully under control, people should remain peaceful and fully cooperate with authorities," he said in a tweet in Urdu. The minister said the government "did it[s] best" to convince the party against convening for the protest, "but they refused every offer and started to provoke violence". "State is responsible to defend finality and respect of Holy Prophet PBUH. Law shall take its course and it cannot be left to individuals," Chaudhry concluded. The crackdown comes ahead of Rizvi's call to party members to observe martyrs’ day on November 25. He had asked workers and supporters to gather at Faizabad in the federal capital.

India, Pakistan agree to open Kartarpur border crossing for Sikh pilgrims, Imran Khan to lay foundation stone of project on November 28

ICMD, Nov 22, 2018 India on Thursday approved the building of a new border entry point and road connecting the northern state of Punjab to the border with Pakistan, making it quicker and easier for Sikh pilgrims to visit a holy site. “Government of Pakistan will be urged to recognize the sentiments of the Sikh community and to develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory as well,” the Indian government said in a statement. “In a landmark decision, the cabinet approves building and development of Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to International Border. Kartarpur corridor project with all modern amenities and facilities to be implemented with Central Government funding,” India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted following a cabinet meeting. Diplomatic sources said Indian Home Ministry has also written a letter to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in which Islamabad’s decision to open the Kartapur corridor has been appreciated. Pakistan has also decided to open the Kartarpur corridor on its side of the border and Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone this month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a tweet. “Pakistan has already conveyed to India its decision to open Kartarpura Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. PM Imran Khan will do break ground at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion,” he added. “Indian Cabinet endorsement of Pakistan’s proposition on #KartarPurBorderOpening is a victory of peace lobby in both countries,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Hussain said in a tweet. “It’s a step towards the right direction and we hope such steps will encourage voice of reason and tranquillity on both sides of the border,” he added. The Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar Sahib in Narowal in Punjab province holds religious significance for the Sikh community. It is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539. More than 3,000 Sikh pilgrims arrived in Lahore from India via special trains on Wednesday to celebrate the 549th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji from November 21-30. The main ceremony will be held on November 23 at Nankana Sahib, which will be followed by a visit to Hasanabdal on the 24th, Lahore on 26th and Rohri on the 28th. The pilgrims will return to India on November 30. In August, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had told Indian politician Navjot Singh Sidhu that Pakistan would open the Kartarpur crossing “when [the Sikh community] celebrates the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Nanak”, when the latter had visited Islamabad for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony. The 550th birth anniversary of the revered Sikh figure is next year. Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari appreciated the decision to open Kartarpur border corridor by Pakistani and Indian governments for Sikh pilgrims, and welcomed the Sikh pilgrims who had traveled to Pakistan to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. Recognizing the decision as the fulfillment of the dream of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto after a quarter century, he recalled that his mother had first proposed to grant a visa-less free corridor to Kartarpur shrine from the Indian border. Bilawal said PPP always stood for people-to-people contacts between the two neighboring countries and every government led by PPP had taken significant steps to facilitate the Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from India and the world over to visit their sacred places. He pledged that PPP will continue to initiate and support more facilities for non-Muslim pilgrims to visit their holy places in Pakistan.

Pakistan took billions but did nothing in return: US; False claims have added insult to the injury: Imran, * will do what is best for our people

ICMD, Nov 19, 2018 WASHINGTON: A day after firing a tirade at Pakistan during an interview to the Fox News, US President Donald Trump on Monday repeated his rants saying that Washington stopped paying Islamabad because “they would take our money and do nothing for us.” “They [Pakistan] were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return That’s ENDING!” the US president wrote on his Twitter handle. “We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another,” he said in a series of tweets. In another tweet, Trump said the US had paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never informed that Osama bin Laden was living there. He said the US should have captured Osama bin Laden long before the 2011 Abbottabad raid. “Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there,” he added. A day earlier, Trump had defended his administration’s decision to pull hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan, saying the country “doesn’t do a damn thing for us.” In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the US president had charged Pakistan for helping Osama bin Laden hide in the country. “You know, living – think of this – living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer,” Trump had said, referring to bin Laden and his former compound in Abbottabad. “But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,” he said. “And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year. … [bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year -which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us,” he added. Prime Minister Imran Khan In an angry retort to Donald Trump’s rants against Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday asked the US president to put his record straight, reminding him that Islamabad joined the US-led war against terrorism even though no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump’s tirade against Pakistan as no Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pakistan decided to participate in US War on Terror; Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion loss was inflicted to its economy and US “aid” was a miniscule $20 billion,” the prime minister said in a series of tweets. “Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spending on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” he continued. The prime minister said Pakistan’s tribal areas were devastated and millions of people uprooted from their homes. “The war drastically impacted lives of ordinary Pakistanis,” he added. “Pakistan continues to provide free lines of ground and air communications (GLOCs/ALOCs),” he said. “Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” he questioned. The prime minister in another tweet in the evening further said, “Trump’s false assertions add insult to the injury Pakistan has suffered in US War on Terror in terms of lives lost and destabilized and economic costs.” “He needs to be informed about historical facts. Pakistan has suffered enough fighting US’s war. Now we will do what is best for our people and our interests,” he maintained. The prime minister’s tweets came after the US President Donald Trump, in an interview with Fox News aired on November 18, accused Pakistan of not doing “a damn thing for us” and defended his administration’s decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Islamabad. DT

Caretakers task police officers with ‘breaking Pakistan People’s Party’ before 2018 elections, claims Sindh Chief Minister

KARACHI: ICR, Nov 14, 2018 Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday claimed that the last caretakers had tasked the police offers with “breaking the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) people.” Addressing the Sindh Assembly, Shah said that arbitrary transfers of police officers were made by the interim government, which had left the policemen clueless. He accused the caretakers who ruled before 2018 elections of being busy trying to change PPP leaders’ alliances which diverted their attention from the law and order situation, resulting in an increase in street crime in Karachi. The chief minister said that the PPP government had been trying to control street crimes situation ever since it has come in the power. He apprised the members of the provincial parliament that as many as 61 incidents of terrorism had taken place in Sindh in 2013. The number came down to only two such incidents in 2017, while this year no terrorist incident has taken place in Sindh so far, he stated. He said that the incidents of street crimes and targetted killing have reduced, “we are not satisfied… we have to do more work”. – Inputs from DT/TV channels

Govt lacks capability, skill and strategy to resolve issues: Chief Justice; * Properties will be demolished on failing to pay regularization fees

ICMD, Nov 13, 2018 Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar Tuesday remarked that the current government lacks capability, skill and strategy to resolve the issues facing the country. “The current government does not have any capability or planning,” the chief justice remarked during hearing of a suo motu case pertaining to illegal constructions in Bani Gala, adding that construction was allowed in Zone 3 and Zone 4 without a master plan. A three-member bench headed by the top judge and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had previously directed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to regularise all properties located in the federal capital’s suburbs including the sprawling residence of Prime Minister Imran Khan. During the hearing on Tuesday, Additional Attorney General Nayyar Abbas Rizvi submitted a report on behalf of the Capital Development Authority (CDA). As per the report, a 1960 map of Bani Gala shows roads in Zone 4. In 1992 and 2010, amendments were made to the map and some private housing societies were granted permission for constructions in certain areas of Zone 4, the report states. “A large green area is still present in Zone 4 and can be saved,” the additional attorney general informed the court. To this, the chief justice asked, “Do you want to construct roads in this area?” “It is possible that you install underground electricity cables since a Naya Pakistan is being made and you will need land for this,” he observed. “Land is needed for facilities in Bani Gala. If you want to develop as per a plan, then land will have to be bought and compensation will have to be paid to the owners. Fee will also have to be paid for regularistaion,” the chief justice said. “If you want to make a new city, then CDA should purchase land,” he said. The owners will have to pay off the fines for their illegal constructions, he said, adding that properties will be demolished if their owners failed to pay the regularisation fee. The additional attorney general informed the apex court that the prime minister had submitted a request along with a map for regularisation of his Bani Gala mansion. The prime minister’s counsel argued that the regularisation charges were too high. When the chief justice summoned CDA chairman on the matter of regularisation of Zone 1, he was informed that the latter had already left the court premises. “The CDA and Islamabad Capital Territory owe us Rs 3.42 million,” a representative of the Survey General of Pakistan informed the court. “CDA has granted approval for payment of dues and that Punjab government also owes some money,” the additional attorney general responded. The bench then directed that the amount be paid to the Survey General of Pakistan within a month. Further, the director general of environment department informed the bench that he has not received a copy of civil court’s judgment in favour of environmental protection. The SC issued notices to the respondents and adjourned the case till November 22.

Pakistani delegation in China to finalize relief package, discussion to take four days to give relief package a final shape

ICR, Nov 9, 2018 A high-level Pakistani delegation which left Pakistan yesterday is in Beijing for follow-on commitments that China made to Prime Minister Khan during his visit. Reports said it would take not less than four days to finalize the relief package Pakistan is looking for. The quantum of money would be clandestine, PM Khan said on Thursday. Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa, secretary finance Arif Ahmed Khan, secretary planning Zafar Hasan and secretary trade Muhammad Younus Dagha are part of Pakistani delegation. The process is also aimed at giving a final shape to an economic package which Pakistani economic leaders have been talking about as regards an increase in exports to China which has acceded more access to Pakistani good to its markets.