Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sindh police bust terrorist network

Police, in a pre-Muharram operation, have arrested a group of 5 terrorists who were planning to carry out terror activities during Muharram-ul-Haram.

Addressing a press conference here, Inspector General of Police Sindh, Sultan Babar Salahuddin Khattak said 37 terrorists involved in various crimes were arrested during 2008.

He informed that suicide jackets have also been recovered from the arrested terrorists.

He said that as a result of measures taken by the police, the crime graph has dropped considerably. The IGP gave journalists comparative figures of crimes of the last six months.

He said that foolproof security arrangements have been made during Muharram-ul-Haram.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Police arrest man accused of killing grandmother

By Jamil Khan

KARACHI: The police officials of Ibrahim Haideri have arrested a convict who allegedly disappeared after killing his 65-year old maternal grandmother at her house.

According to the police officials, a 65-year old woman identified as Sairah was killed by a dagger commonly used for chopping fish. Her body was found in her house located at Ali Akbar Shah Goth.

The police started an investigation on the directives of Bin Qasim SSP Abdullah Sheikh and found that the last two people who were seen in the deceased’s house were her grandson Ismail and his friend Sultan. Sultan, was a resident of Zaman Town, and depended on the pocket money that his grandmother occasionally gave him. Sairah was killed because she refused to give Sultan, who was unemployed, any money, which aggravated him. Sultan’s accomplice managed to escape but the police hope that they will catch him soon.

Gang arrested: Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC) on a tip off arrested a gang of 11 criminals involved in a number of cases including robberies and kidnapping.

The officials led by DSP Shakeel Awan, raided a safe house located in the Korangi Industrial area on Monday and arrested Ustad Afzal and his accomplices Umer Hayat, Fazal Saeed, Muhammad Shahid, Alam Sher, Saifullah, Misbahuddin, Muhammad Khan, Noor Ali, Gul Muneer and Saleem along with eight pistols, one rifle and one repeater gun.

The police officials said that the ringleader was arrested in 1989 after murdering a Quaidabad Traffic Police Sub-Inspector Nazar Hussain and awarded a death sentence. Later, the sentence was converted into life sentence and the culprit was released from jail in 2004. After serving a fifteen year sentence, he was set free and he formed a gang. The police registered a case and started an investigation.

Child injured: Aerial firing at a wedding ceremony injured a four-year old girl. According to the hospital sources, Malika, four, daughter of Shiraz was injured by a bullet during a wedding ceremony being held in North Nazimabad No 4. It is also mentioned that the area police have yet to take stern action against the miscreants who were openly firing during the wedding ceremony.

Mobile market looted: Over one and half dozen shopkeepers in Orangi Town No 5 lost valuable items including mobile phones, scratch cards and SIMs worth Rs 15 million after a late night robbery on Sunday.

The aggravated shopkeepers staged a demonstration against the lack of security and stopped traffic in the area for a while.

Police sources told Daily Times that robbers using iron-jacks damaged the shutters of 17 shops in the Adnan Mobile Mall located in Orangi No 5 and robbed a large number of cell phones, scratch cards, SIM cards and other related accessories worth Rs 15 million. The shopkeepers found out about the robbery early morning on Monday when they reached the mall and found that their shops had been broken into and all the outlets were empty.

The police, on the behalf of market owner Haji Aslam, registered an FIR No. 419/2008 against unknown robbers and started an investigation on the matter. (Daily Times)

Karachi Gymkhana elects new managing committee

The Karachi Gymkhana elections for the managing committee 2009, has elected Younus Rizwani unopposed to the position of president on Sunday.

Other successfully elected managing committee members include, Homi B Khambata, Ali A Rahim, Muhammad Naseem Gandhi, Jahangir Moghul, Syed Bader Hussain, K.M. Saeed, Shiraz Thaver, Mian Azmat Hussain, Amin N Mohammad Noor, Dr Naseer Ahmed Baloch and Ahmed Saeed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Protest demos slam Israeli aggression

Separate protest demonstrations were held in the city on Sunday to condemn the Israeli military operation in Gaza Strip that killed around 271 Palestinians.

Hundreds of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) activists staged a protest demonstration outside Jamia Mosque Binoria Town.

The protesters carried banners and placards inscribed with slogans against Israel, the US and India, and chanted slogans. JI Central Secretary General Syed Munawar Hussain, JI Karachi Amir Muhammad Hussain Mehnti, JI Karachi Secretary General Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and other JI office-bearers addressed the protesters. Addressing the participants of the protest demonstration, JI leader Munawar Hassan condemned the air strikes by the Israel and criticised Muslim rulers for not raising any strong voice against the killing of innocent Palestinians. He maintained that Palestine is surrounded by the Muslims states but despite this, Israel is committing its atrocities.

JI Karachi Amir Muhammad Hussain Mehnti lamented that Israel has besieged Gaza and halted water supply besides stopping medicines and other treatment facilities to the people while the UN is playing a role of silent spectator. He maintained that world community, which raised voice over the Mumbai attacks, should also raise its voice against the Israeli atrocities. Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Foundation Pakistan (PLF) staged a protest against Israeli aggression in front of the local press club. Hundreds of protesters chanted slogans and torched and flags. ppi/staff report

Karachi is not prepared for calamities or war

At a time when Pakistan has reached the brink of war with India, both civilian and military-led municipal organisations are neither prepared to carry out rescue operations nor they have been put on any kind of alert by the authorities.

The first line of civil defence i.e. provincial Civil Defence Organization is lying functionless and ineffective for the past many decades owing to the negligence of authorities concerned. It is not performing peacetime activities either, such as training volunteers and creating awareness to cope with any natural or manmade disasters.

A visit to the provincial Civil Defence Organization’s headquarters in Saddar Town and interviews with its officials revealed that the organization is virtually dead now and could not even play a cosmetic role in case of air strikes or natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis.

During the interviews with civil defence officials, it was revealed that their morale was very low and they themselves were not sure of doing anything effective for the citizens in case of war or any catastrophe in the economic hub of Pakistan.

“The civil defence now only exists on paper because it does not have the required equipment and funds or trained manpower or the volunteers to perform any task. It can’t even let the sirens wail in case of air strikes,” a senior civil defence official said seeking anonymity.

He claimed that the volunteers registered with them were now doing various jobs to earn their livelihood, as there was no budget available to engage them with the organization while they could not be made available immediately if required as majority of them were not in contact for years now.

On the other hand, City District Government Karachi (CDGK) Fire Brigade Department, which is the most equipped and relatively active civilian rescue service in Karachi, is also nowhere near preparedness for any wartime situation because it has neither been asked to prepare for any disaster nor have its officials realized any such threat.

Background interviews with CDGK fire brigade officials revealed that they had not been put on any alert by the authorities while they themselves did not fear any situation that could go out of their control in the city.

“The city fire brigade is busy in its day to day preparedness but we have not been put on any alert from any quarters. However, in case of war, the fire brigade becomes a part of armed forces of Pakistan and used accordingly,” Jahangir Khan, a fire consultant hired by CDGK for revamping its fire brigade department, told The News.

City Chief Fire Officer Ehteshamuddin denied receiving any written or verbal orders either from CDGK or provincial government to be ready for any wartime situation. He, however, claimed that they were busy in extinguishing fires and rescuing people daily so they didn’t need any specific orders.

“As far as coordination with other organisations is concerned, when there is an incident in the city which goes out of our control, we seek help from Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and even Navy so there is no issue of lack of coordination between CDGK Fire Brigade Department and other authorities in the city,” he informed.

As far as other military-led land controlling authorities in the city are concerned, none of these organizations - despite having sensitive installations in their jurisdictions - have the ability to mitigate or manage large-scale disasters, including multiple air strikes.

One such organization is KPT which is vulnerable to enemy air strikes but its fire-fighting and search and rescue capabilities are negligible as compared to its size and importance.

Although KPT has a fire-fighting department but it has to often take support from the CDGK fire brigade to extinguish category two or three fires, like the one that engulfed Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) building near Native Jetty bridge last year.

The same is the situation with the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and a number of military cantonments in the city, which earn millions of rupees in the garb of taxes from citizens living in their civilian areas but even light rains and small fire incidents render them unable to rescue people timely and effectively.

Experts believe that none of the municipal service departments of both the civilian and military setups are realizing the threat of Indian air strikes or even any natural disaster of mass scale and were nowhere near to help and rescue citizens in any untoward situation.

They, however, termed the CDGK the only organisation which had the resources while it was also improving its existing rescue setup by building an Urban Search and Rescue Team of international standards with the help of National Disaster Management Authority in addition to a search, rescue and fire fighting academy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Karachi tormented by new wave of outages

By Shamim-ur-Rahman

KARACHI, Dec 25: Frequent power outages and fluctuations over the past week have left Karachiites badmouthing the Karachi Electricity Supply Company.

On Thursday the total shortfall oscillated between 400 and 500 MW due to a lack of sufficient generation by Bin Qasim and KTPS.

The erratic power supply notwithstanding, subscribers are being asked to shell out more money through bills at revised rates. More than eight hours of load-shedding has crippled business in the metropolis.

Mahmood Hamid of the All Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Industries urged the government to act soon to improve the power supply.

Whereas the power outage in the city was crippling the economy, it was also going against the government because of its decision to hand over the management to Abraj Group, which is reluctant to bear the cost of augmenting the network.

On the contrary, it is exerting pressure on the government to get more concessions. Mahmood Hamid alleged that the new KESC management had the patronage of some very influential persons in the government and that was why it did not bother about public outrage.

Recently Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan had directed the KESC management to take urgent steps for ensuring uninterrupted power supply.

The management team, led by the utility’s Chief Executive Naveed Ismail, had assured him of corrective measures, but the situation has worsened instead.

The governor had also advised the KESC to upgrade its system generation and transmission systems.

Pepco is supplying over 600 MW of electricity to KESC every day despite dispute over outstanding dues.

The new management had promised, soon after taking over on Sept 15, to invest in infrastructure, besides taking full supplies from the IPPs supplying power to the KESC.

The new owners had said that “from now onwards the planned load management should be reduced to only 2-3 hours a day and that the people would be kept informed about unplanned closures, if any”.

The utility has not been able to fully operate the rental power plant nor has it invested in upgrading the 11 KV distribution systems. It has so far not turned out to be any different from the Aljomaih Group, its predecessor, in being strong on promises, weak on action.(Dawn)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Karachi International Book fair

The Fourth Karachi International Book fair 2008 will be held here from December 26 to 30 with participation from prominent booksellers and publishers. This was announced by the organizers at a press briefing at a local hotel on Tuesday.
Convener of the event, Iqbal Saleh Muhammad, Aziz Khalid, Khawar Iftikhar, Nadeem Mazhar said that the fair would be under the auspices of the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) in collaboration with the National Book Foundation.
They said that the book fair will be held at the Karachi Expo Centre. Sindh Minister, rauf Siddiqui, will be the chief guest while the Vice-Chancellor of karachi university, Prof. Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, will be the guest of honour.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Democrats Won Karachi Press Club Polls

KARACHI: The Democrats panel won majority of posts in the elections of Karachi Press Club (KPC) for 2009 held here Saturday.

President-elect Muhammad Imtiaz Khan Faran with 272 votes against Najeeb Ahmed (254 votes), Vice-president-elect Amir Latif with 327 votes against Fazil Jamali (290 votes), Secretary-elect A.H. Khanzada with 297 votes against Ashraf Khan (256 votes) and Joint-secretary-elect Abid Hussain with 314 votes against Rafiq Bashir (229 votes).

All those elected belong to the Democrats.

While for the post of Treasurer, Fahim Siddiqui of The Panel was elected with 295 votes against Anwar Khan (257 votes).

For the 7-seat Governing Body those elected were Idrees Bakhtiar, Naqeeb-ur-Rehman, Wali Rizvi, G.M. Jamali, Azhar Hussain, Noman Rafiq and Akbar Ali. Five of the elected Governing Body members belong to The Democrats.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

90 feet high fountain of oil drenches Korangi area after pipeline bursts: It’s raining oil!

KARACHI: A Pak Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) oil pipeline burst in the Korangi residential area on Wednesday evening, creating panic amongst and problems for residents. The incident occurred around 6:45 pm when a Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) team was doing repair work and accidentally hit an oil pipeline causing it to crack. An approximately 90-feet high fountain of oil erupted from the pipeline, residents claimed. Soon, oil spread all over the residential area and the houses and it kept spewing for nearly two hours.Heavy contingents of police and Rangers arrived at the scene and secured the area.

The PARCO crew, local administration, fire brigade department and ambulances from different welfare associations also arrived at the scene. At least 300 people participated in the rescue work. It is pertinent to mention here that, at least, one thousand houses are located in the area and around 500 houses were completely affected by the incident. The houses were deep in, at least, 10 inches of oil. The area’s power supply was cut off in view of any possible outburst of intense conflagration. Announcements are being made for people to strictly avoid lighting matches, stoves, cigarettes, lighters or candles. The 800 kilometer long pipeline from Korangi in Karachi to Muzaffar Gardh was crushed some 1.5 inch during the repair work. It is believed that PARCO has suffered a great loss with the waste of hundreds of liters of oil. According to PARCO officials, oil supply through the damaged line was immediately stopped but they could not predict how long it will take to repair the line.

The residents of the area, with the help of rescue teams, were shifted to safer places and people moving towards the site were stopped from accessing the affected area. The residents of the area claimed that spilled oil has made its way into their houses. “SSGC staffers are responsible for this,” said DSP Fakharul Islam. “They mistakenly hit the oil pipeline causing it to burst.” Sources revealed that taking strict notice, the Sindh government decided that the incident is a result of the negligence and carelessness of the SSCG team and warned them that strict actions will be taken against them, including fines.

The local administration of the area urged on immediately starting relief activities, as the fierce gale forced the oil to spread all over the area. The administration stated that nobody took the city government’s permission before starting the repair work, which involved excavation, they added, calling for the registration of an FIR against those responsible. All roads leading to the affected site have been blocked, causing massive traffic jams on Korangi-bound roads. Heavy machineries were called for and work of dumping sand on the spilled oil has been started. CDGK has called scores of trucks loaded with clay to remove the lubricant from the roads and an inquiry committee has been formed to probe the case, as the SSGC is being accused.

SSGC Media Relations Manager Inayatullah Ismail told that the crew was engaged in the installation of a Town Border Station when the incident occurred. According to him, the incident was not necessarily caused due to the SSGC team’s actions, stating that it is possible that the pipeline burst due to an increase in pressure or any other technical fault. Explaining why the SSGC did not obtain permission from the CDGK, he said that, since the team was not damaging the road, permission was not necessary. “All this confusion can only be cleared after the completion of rescue work,” said Ismail.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pak artistes return after threats from Shiv Sena

KARACHI - Renowned Pakistani comedians Shakeel Siddiqui and Kashif Khan returned home Thursday from India as relations between the two countries deteriorated in the wake of deadly attacks in Mumbai. According to the sources, the Pakistani artistes were receiving threats form Hindu extremists and Shev Sena leader Bal Tahkery, who said that they would not be allow Pakistani artistes to perform on Indian soil.
Shakil Siddiqui and Kashif Khan had been performing in Indian TV channels programmes Comedy Circus and ‘Kantay Ki Takkar’ for last several months. They have won hearts of millions of Indians including Hindus and Muslims with their talents.