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    Petrol price increased by Rs 1.70 per liter

    ISLAMABAD (On News) – The government issued a notification today (Monday), increasing petrol price by Rs1.70 per liter from May 1st, 2018.

    “OGRA had proposed increase in the price of Petrol by Rs. 3.22 per liter, HSD by Rs. 5.02 per liter, SKO by Rs 6.97 per liter and LDO by Rs. 6.95 per liter. However despite a tight fiscal environment, the Prime Minister declined to pass on the full impact of the increase in prices to the consumers and decided that the government will absorb almost 50% of the impact of increase,” the Ministry of Finance stated in a press release.

    Accordingly, the price of petrol has been increased by Rs.1.70 per liter, high speed diesel by Rs.2.31 per liter, kerosene oil by Rs. 3.41 per liter and that of light diesel oil by Rs. 3.55 per liter. So the new price of petrol will be Rs.87.70 per liter, HSD Rs. 98.76 per liter, SKO Rs. 79.87 per liter and LDO Rs. 68.85 per liter as also indicated in the table below.


    The new prices will be effective from 1st of May 2018 till midnight on 31st May 2018.

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    India, Iran agree to step up efforts to help Afghanistan – World


    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed on Saturday to step up efforts to bring stability to war-ravaged Afghanistan.

    Modi reiterated India’s commitment to help Afghanistan become “a peaceful, secure, permanent, prosperous and pluralistic country” after holding talks with Rouhani in New Delhi on the last day of his three-day visit.

    “Looking at our common interests, we are committed to stopping the expansion of such forces that promote international organised crime in terrorism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking, cyber crime and various forms,” Modi said. “We want to see our region and the world free from terrorism.”

    There was no mention of financial assistance or providing weapons to help Afghanistan fight militants by either leader.

    India has been a key supporter of Kabul’s government and has poured more than $2 billion into the country since the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

    In 2016, India offered $1 billion in economic aid to strengthen various sectors in the war-torn nation including education, health and agriculture.

    Modi said both countries wanted to increase economic cooperation, regional connectivity and improve energy security to reach landlocked Afghanistan and central Asia via the southern Iranian port of Chabahar.

    The port, which was inaugurated in December, has been touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass its rival Pakistan.

    India has been a key purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and maintained trade ties even as international sanctions were imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme between 2012 and 2016.

    However, local Indian media have reported frustrations over delays in awarding a contract to develop a major gas field known as Farzad B in the Gulf.

    India’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that “discussions continue” on Farzad B.

    The two leaders also signed agreements for avoidance of double taxation and the implementation of an extradition treaty from 2008.

    As part of a lease contract, India will help Iran run a multi-purpose container terminal at Chabahar for 18 months.

    India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a three-way transit agreement in 2016 to develop Chabahar port aiming to boost economic growth in the region.


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    CJP displeased with Shahrukh Jatoi’s medical report, orders Sharjeel Memon’s return to jail – Pakistan


    Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday came down hard on doctors who had prepared a medical report for Shahrukh Jatoi, the prime suspect in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, even making an unannounced visit to the Jinnah Hospital to see for himself how the hospital was running its affairs.

    Hours later, he also ordered former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon to be returned to jail from a medical facility he is being kept in.

    An accountability court in Karachi had on Thursday indicted Memon and 11 others in a corruption case pertaining to the award of advertisements at ‘exorbitant rates’ through the abuse of power.

    Shahrukh Jatoi’s report — prepared by the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and read out in court by the Inspector General of Sindh’s Prison Police, Nusrat Magan — had clearly not satisfied the CJP, who questioned the standards of the medical institute and decided to pay it an unannounced visit.

    Justice Nisar had last week taken notice of Jatoi’s shifting to the JPMC from Karachi’s Central Jail following an alleged deterioration in his medical condition just a week after the SC set aside bail granted to him by the Sindh High Court.

    Hospital sources had told Dawn that the young Jatoi underwent a medical check-up for a “health-related complaint” and was “advised” hospitalisation.

    However, there was no word from police and health authorities as to the nature of the illness being faced by Jatoi — who is in his early 20s. The Executive Director of the JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali, had said at the time that the information was not being divulged “to protect the patient’s privacy”.

    Jatoi was among three accused in the Shahzeb Khan murder case — Siraj Talpur and Sajjad Talpur being the other two — who had been arrested after the SC revoked their bails earlier this month. The fourth accused, Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, a servant of the Talpurs, had already been in jail.

    The three accused, who were arrested from the apex court’s premises in Islamabad earlier this month, were later brought to Karachi.

    Before he was released on bail in December 2017, Jatoi had spent nearly two-and-a-half months at JPMC, where he was reportedly “undergoing treatment”. The hospital had been declared a sub-jail for the murder accused.

    Case back in court

    A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice had on February 1 set aside a Sindh High Court (SHC) decision to remand the Shahzeb murder case back to a criminal court for a de novo trial after anti-terrorism charges against the accused were removed.

    The SC had also revoked the bails granted to the accused.

    The apex court was seized with a joint appeal moved by 10 civil society activists challenging the Nov 28, 2017 SHC order to set aside anti-terrorism charges in the case.

    However, the SC converted the appeals into a suo motu case under Article 184(3) of the Constitution with a directive to the court office to assign a proper case number to the petitions.

    Shahzeb Khan, the son of Aurangzeb Khan, a deputy superintendent police, was shot dead in Karachi on the night between Dec 24 and 25, 2012 when he was returning home after attending a wedding ceremony with his sister in the Country Club Apartments Karachi.

    In Dec 2012, Shahrukh Jatoi had fled the country but had to be brought back on the orders of the SC. Jatoi and co-accused Siraj Talpur were sentenced to death by the anti-terrorism court. Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza were handed life imprisonment for their involvement in the murder.

    Subsequently, the convicts filed an appeal in the SHC which annulled anti-terrorism clauses in the case and referred it back to the district and sessions court of Karachi’s South district.

    The district and sessions court on Dec 23, 2017, ordered the release of Jatoi and the other accused after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit requesting the approval of Jatoi’s bail and dropping of the case as he had pardoned his son’s killer in the name of Allah.


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    Verdict in Zainab rape and murder case to be announced today – Pakistan


    An anti-terrorism court is set to announce its verdict in the rape and murder case of six-year-old Zainab at the Lahore’s Central Jail in Kot Lakhpat on Saturday.

    Zainab’s father, Haji Muhammad Amin, arrived in Kot Lakhpat to witness the verdict early on Saturday morning.

    Security has been increased in and around the central jail and the movement of everyone going in and out of the jail is being monitored.

    Zainab’s rape and murder last month had sparked outrage and protests across the country after the six-year-old, who went missing on January 4, was found dead in a trash heap in Kasur on Jan 9.

    Her case was the twelfth such incident to occur within a 10 kilometre radius in the city over a 12-month period.

    The heinous nature of the crime had seen immediate riots break out in Kasur — in which two people were killed — while #JusticeforZainab became a rallying cry for an end to violence against children.

    The Punjab government had declared the arrest of prime suspect Imran Ali on January 23.

    The trial

    The trial in the case was concluded on Thursday when ATC-I Judge Sajjad Ahmad reserved the verdict after cross examination of all the prosecution witnesses completed by state counsel Muhammad Sultan who was appointed by the trial court to represent the suspect, Imran Ali.

    The accused had initially denied guilt when charges were framed against him, and had opted to contest the trial. However, he made a confession soon after and was indicted on Feb 12. On Feb 14, the ATC recorded his complete statement.

    Advocate Mehar Shakeel Multani, private counsel for the suspect, had withdrawn his power of attorney after the suspect made confession before the trial court. The lawyer claimed his conscience did not allow him to defend a killer.

    Later, the court provided the suspect with state counsel to complete the trial proceedings.

    The prosecution had presented at least 56 witnesses against the suspect in addition to forensic evidence, including the DNA and polygraph tests.

    The trial court had concluded the proceedings within four days. The Lahore High Court had given seven days for completion of the trial.

    The Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 also requires trial court to proceed with the trial on day-to-day basis and decide the case within seven working days.

    A special prosecution team headed by Abdul Rauf Wattoo prosecuted the suspect during the trial. Prosecutor General of Punjab Eihtesham Qadir Shah also monitored the trial proceedings on the instructions of the Supreme Court that had taken a suo motu notice of the Zainab case.

    Talking to Dawn, the prosecutor general (PG) had said all the requisites of justice and fairness had been strictly observed during the trial proceedings.

    He had said the private counsel for the suspect had cross- examined at least 22 prosecution witnesses before he withdrew his power of attorney.

    Later, the state counsel appointed by the court completed the cross-examination of the remaining witnesses, he had added.

    Explaining the reasons behind conducting the trial inside the jail, the PG had said it was done for the suspect’s protection and that the law also permitted such precautions for such cases.

    Senior lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar, having expertise in criminal law, had commented there had been reservations about the jail-trial and in-camera proceedings.

    However, he had said, shortcomings in the trial, if any, could be removed in appeal before the high court. The appeal was considered as continuation of the trial, he added.


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    Relatives protest as ‘missing’ man is found murdered outside Karachi – Pakistan


    Relatives and community members on Friday gathered in protest as a man who had gone ‘missing’ three days earlier was found murdered near Karachi Superhighway a day earlier, officials and witnesses said.

    The body of 34-year-old Moosa Khan bearing torture marks was recovered near an abandoned police check-post off the Northern Bypass on Thursday, SITE Superhighway police SHO Sohail Khan told Dawn.

    He was buried in a local graveyard in Khilji Goth off Superhighway.

    The SHO quoting the father of the deceased, Jalad Khan, said that Moosa and his brother, Essa Khan were allegedly taken away by men in plainclothes from their home in Gadap Town three days ago.

    Their family had not filed a complaint about the men’s disappearance or kidnapping at Gadap police station. Instead, they approached a local court over the matter, but Moosa’s body was recovered before the court could take up the petition.

    The police have recorded the statement of the deceased’s father and a First Information Report (FIR) will be lodged over the two brothers’ ‘kidnapping’ and the subsequent murder of Moosa, SHO Khan added.

    Following Moosa’s burial, relatives along with members of the Aqakhel tribe staged a protest near Toll Plaza for a while.

    They demanded that a judicial inquiry be conducted into the alleged extra-judicial killing of Moosa and that Essa be recovered immediately.

    Their father whilst speaking to reporters declared that his sons had no association with any criminal group. He claimed that his deceased son had been earlier arrested in a ‘fake’ drug case and was acquitted of the charges by a court.

    Both Essa and Moosa were stated to be clothing merchants at Jama Cloth market who used to import clothes from China.

    The protesting tribesmen warned that if their demands were not fulfilled within the next 24 hours, they would be compelled to block the Superhighway in protest.

    Meanwhile, Malir Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Adeel Hussain Chandio while talking to Dawn denied that Moosa was taken away by police.

    The incident comes less than a month after the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the alleged extra-judicial killing of Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud.

    Naqeebullah, who was residing in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area, was among the four killed in an “encounter” days after allegedly being picked up from a tea stall near the area in January. Following an uproar over social media, former SSP Malir Rao Anwar had insisted all four killed were terrorists — a claim refuted by a high-level police inquiry that declared Naqeeb innocent.

    The demand for the arrest of Naqeeb’s killers eventually transformed into a movement for rights of citizens of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), with a protest in Islamabad ending with assurances from the prime minister to take up the protesters’ demands at relevant forums.


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    US indicts 13 Russian nationals for election interference – World


    US Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday announced the indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three companies for alleged interference with the 2016 election.

    According to the unsealed indictment, the accused conspired — from 2014 until today — to interfere “with the US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016”.

    Mueller alleges that the group posed as Americans and controlled social media accounts that focused on divisive social and political issues.

    Under the management of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, the group reached “significant numbers” of Americans, according to the indictment.

    They had a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system” and by mid-2016 were supporting Donald Trump’s campaign and disparaging Hillary Clinton.

    The group was based in Putin’s home town of Saint Petersburg, but some of the accused travelled to the United States.

    Stops included Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and New York.

    An unnamed Texas-based American political operative is said to have instructed them to focus on so-called “purple states” which swing between Republican and Democratic control.

    “Hundreds” of people were said to have been involved in the operation, working in shifts and with a budget of millions of dollars. They allegedly targeted social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

    Two of the firms are said to have Russian government contracts.

    Moscow dismisses ‘absurd’ indictments

    The Russian foreign ministry dismissed the indictments of its citizens by the US as “absurd”.

    “Thirteen people carried out interference in the US elections? Thirteen against the billion-dollar budgets of the special forces? Against the espionage and counter-espionage, against the newest developments and technologies?”, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

    “Absurd? Yes. But this is the modern American political reality,” she added, in the first official reaction from Moscow.

    The businessman who tops the list of those indicted, Yevgeny Prigozhin, also made light of the indictments in comments to RIA Novosti state news agency.

    “Americans are very impressionable people. They see what they want to see. I have great respect for them. I am not at all upset that I am in this list. If they want to see a devil, let them,” he said.

    Prigozhin is nicknamed Putin’s “chef” by Russian media and runs a company that has catered for Kremlin receptions. He has been photographed with the strongman and his company Konkord is subject to US sanctions.

    He has been linked by Russian media to a “troll factory” in Saint Petersburg working to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda online. He has denied meddling in US politics.


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    First-ever transgender scout batch takes oath in Karachi – Pakistan


    In a first, as many as 40 transgenders took an oath to become members of the scouting community at a ceremony held at a hotel in Karachi on Friday.

    It was the first instance in the country when transgender youth were welcomed into the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association (PBSA), a national scouting organisation and one of the largest volunteer forces in the country.

    The young transgenders, wearing scout scarfs, took the oath at the ceremony and were educated about scouting rules.

    TransAction Alliance president Farzana Jan while addressing the ceremony said the transgender community in Pakistan is extremely happy to be welcomed into the scouting community.

    “We feel that we are recognised as equal citizens of Pakistan and we are glad to see that the level of our acceptance is increasing,” she said.

    PBSA, which has nearly 700,000 members, aims to train young boys in first aid, civil defence, camping and hiking, community development projects and emergency response and holds regular camps, hikes, speech contests and other activities such as tree planting camps and peace camps.

    Atif Amin Hussain, Commissioner IPC Sindh Boys Scouts, while addressing the ceremony said PBSA “is open to all, without distinction of origin, race or creed”.

    Scouting was founded in Pakistan as part of the British-Indian branch of The Scout Association. The PBSA was officially founded in 1947, immediately after independence and became a member of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement in April 1948.

    “This is a defining moment for the transgender community as they become part of [a] self-reliant, co-educational youth organisation extending to all sectors of the society,” said Ihsan Khosa, the chairman of Petarian Human Rights Organisation and a transgender rights activist.


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    Faizabad sit-in suo motu case: ‘Anti-Riot law being drafted to deal with protesters,’ AG tells court – Pakistan


    The Supreme Court (SC), resuming hearing of the Faizabad sit-in suo motu case on Friday, was told that an Anti-Riots law was being drafted to deal with protesters.

    The apex court had taken notice of the disruption of daily life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi due to a 20-day sit-in led by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik in Nov 2017. The protests ended after the government agreed to a list of demands presented by the agitators after a series of failed rounds of mediation and a botched operation to clear the Faizabad Interchange, where the sit-in was being held.

    The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Islamabad police both submitted reports to court regarding the protest today. This is is the second time the ISI has been ordered to submit a report on the protest, after the first report was found unsatisfactory.

    The two-judge bench, comprising Justice Musheer Alam and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, expressed dissatisfaction over both reports submitted in court today.

    The judges cross-questioned Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf about steps taken against the agitators. “It seems as though anyone can paralyse the government in order to get their demands met,” Justice Musheer noted.

    “It seems to be quite an easy thing to do,” Justice Mazhar remarked, “To gather a few people and get your demands met after immobilising the government.”

    “It means that they can simply walk from Lahore to Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh and there is no one to stop them,” he added.

    Justice Musheer asked the AG to tell the court of what steps had been taken against the leader of the protest. “Has the protest leader or any other participant of the sit-in been placed on the government’s watch list currently or previously?”

    In response to the judge’s questions, AG Ashtar Ausaf said that the TLY was a registered party.

    Justice Mazhar asked whether being the leader of a political party gave one the freedom to do as they please without question.

    “How many protesters were booked?” Justice Musheer asked the AG, who replied saying that 418 people had been arrested and booked.

    The judge also enquired about the status of compensation for the families of injured or slain police officers, to which the court was told that only one child had died in the federal capital. The others who died during protests were not from Islamabad, the AG said.

    Ashtar Ausaf told the court that an Anti-Riot law was being drafted in order to deal with agitators, adding that it would be approved by Parliament soon.

    The judges ordered the AG to submit a report on the matter within two weeks.


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    Ehsanullah Ehsan to be tried in military court, Senate told – Pakistan


    The issue of Ehsanullah Ehsan, a former spokesperson of the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), once again echoed in the Senate when the interior ministry on Friday told the upper house of the parliament that the former terrorist leader would be tried in a military court.

    State Minister on Interior Talal Chaudhry provided this information while responding to a question by Senator Farhatullah Babar on the detention and trial of Ehsan, and the nature of cases against him.

    The state minister said that it had already been decided that Ehsan would not be pardoned. “Relevant institutions have decided not to pardon or release Ehsanullah Ehsan,” he said, adding that the relevant agency doesn’t want to hide Ehsan; instead, it wants him to face a legal course of action. “They would not have made his video public if they wanted to keep him out of sight.”

    “The relevant intelligence agency publicised his video so people could see his confessions; this shows that the agency wants action against Ehsan, which will be taken as per the law of the land,” he added.

    “Ehsan had surrendered to an intelligence agency; they can tell more about him. If the house desires, we can ask the relevant ministry to produce more details,” he said, without naming the Defence Ministry.

    Senator Tahir Mashadi, who was presiding over the session, directed Chaudhry to approach the ministry in this regard. “The people of Pakistan want to know about the beast,” he said.

    Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his written reply to Babar’s question had made it clear that civilian agencies were not looking into the matter. He added that Ehsan’s case would be sent to a military court after approval by the relevant committee in this regard.

    Ehsan was associated with the TTP and served the outlawed organisation as its spokesperson. In 2014, after a split in the TTP, Ehsan had become a spokesperson for JuA — what was then a newly formed splinter group of the TTP.

    He had claimed responsibility for the [attack on the Army Public School] that took place in December, 2014. In April 2017, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had announced that Ehsan surrendered to Pakistan’s security agencies. Later, the army had released a video in which Ehsan claimed that terrorist organisations were being “used” by India and Afghanistan.

    In December 2017, the Peshawar High Court had barred the government from releasing Ehsan. The decision was taken by a two-member bench of the court on a writ petition filed by Fazal Khan, father of a student killed in the December 16, 2014 Army Public School attack.

    The petitioner believed that the government was planning to give clemency to the ex-militant, who is reportedly in the custody of security agencies.


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    Rao Anwar a no-show as SC resumes Naqeebullah murder case hearing – Pakistan


    There was no sign of Rao Anwar on Friday morning as the Supreme Court began hearing the Naqeebullah Mehsud extra-judicial killing case.

    When Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar inquired about Anwar, Sindh Inspector General of Police A. D. Khowaja told him that he had not arrived. The case was being heard by a three-member bench headed by Justice Nisar.

    Naqeebullah Mehsud’s father arrives at the Supreme Court on Friday. ─ DawnNews

    “Let’s wait a little longer for Anwar,” said Justice Nisar, adjourning the hearing for a short break.

    On Tuesday, the CJP had ordered the former Malir senior superintendent police (SSP) to appear in court after providing the absconding police official protective bail — which expires today.

    The chief justice had reprimanded A. D. Khowaja, pointing out that the “result of all efforts was zero” as the department had failed to produce Anwar in court.

    “Each and every time, we provide you time [for the arrest of Anwar] but it seems that we [the court] ourselves have to arrest him,” the CJP had said, producing a letter in court which bore Anwar’s signature.

    IG Khowaja had acknowledged that the signature on the letter indeed appeared to be Anwar’s.

    The CJP had directed the police not to arrest Anwar and instead provide security to him; the authorities concerned were told not to make his letter public.

    The bench, however, had made it clear that all these directives are conditional to Anwar’s appearance in court on Friday.

    Naqeebullah, a native of South Waziristan residing in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area, was among the four killed in an “encounter” days after allegedly being picked up from a tea stall near the area. Following an uproar over social media, Rao Anwar had insisted all four killed were terrorists — a claim refuted by a high-level police inquiry that declared Naqeeb innocent.

    The demand for the arrest of Naqeeb’s killers eventually transformed into a movement for rights of citizens of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), with protest in Islamabad ending with assurances from the prime minister to take up the protesters’ demands at relevant forums.


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