Wednesday, April 29, 2009

‘Land mafia behind new wave of killings in Karachi’

By M. Ziauddin

LONDON: The Karachi land mafia is behind the new wave of killings in the city, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq has claimed.

‘The mafia is playing the three coalition partners, the PPP, the MQM and the ANP against each other with these blind, but broad daylight murders,’ he said while talking to Dawn.

The minister who was on his way to Germany via London to attend an education conference also claimed that the purpose of the land mafia was to keep the coalition government unsettled enough to be able to carry on its nefarious activities without let or hindrance.

‘They have the money and the fire power and Karachi’s land is gold mine. They buy people and those not on sale they terrorise and those who refuse to be terrorised they kill,’ he said.

But where is the government? He was asked. ‘We are doing our best. We have formed committees, there is a core provincial committee comprising five MPS each from PPP and MQM, and there is also one federal core committee comprising two MNAs each from PPP and MQM. We meet regularly and try to put out bilateral fires. We need to have similar arrangements with the ANP as well,’ he added.

He said every time Asfandyar Wali Khan and Altaf Hussain talked to each other on telephone it would be followed by a new wave of killings which he said indicated that there was a hidden hand which did not want the MQM and the ANP to reach an understanding.

He was not sure how the May 12 strike call given by the ANP and opposed by the MQM would play out and said he was keeping his fingers crossed, ‘I am sure the president would intervene and mediate between the MQM and the ANP’.

When his attention was drawn to the miserable plight of the education sector in the rural Sindh, he said he was aware of it and was trying to bridge at least the gap that has emerged in recent years between the rural and urban Sindh on the education front.

‘Recently I revived a multi-million-dollar World Bank programme which was discontinued in 2007 for recruiting teachers with the right qualifications,’ he added.

He also agreed with this correspondent that the physical infrastructure in the rural Sindh was in pathetic condition with even cities like Sukkur, Larkana having no suitable roads and there being no properly motorable link roads within the rural part of the province.

‘That is why many of our voters have started demanding that we hand over the rural Sindh towns as well to Mustafa Kamal,’ he said light heartedly.

He admitted that Mr Niamatullah Khan, the former Jamaat-i-Islami Nazim of Karachi, and the current one had done wonders with the city ‘and we hope those responsible for rural Sindh infrastructure would also do the same’.

‘You see most of the elected local councillors are not even matriculates and many are too unforgiving to govern even handedly. Some are said to have refused to issue death certificates to those whose family members did not vote for them. We cannot do much about them. They are protected under the sixth schedule which expires in August this year,’ he added.

He said the PPP was all for the revival of the deputy commissioner’s institution, ‘but the MQM says its does not want its extension to Karachi and Hyderabad. We are trying to get them on board’.

When asked why even meritorious students from the rural Sindh were not allowed admission in the prestigious institutions of Karachi like the Dow University of Health Sciences and the NED University, he said the provincial core group had taken up the matter with the governor.

‘We have proposed that a quota should be reserved in both the rural and urban institutions for students of the two parts of the province.

There is a rural quota in the Karachi institutions but it is reserved only for the city’s suburbs like Gadap,’ he added.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ANP expresses reservations over joint investigation cell

The Awami National Party (ANP) has expressed reservations over the establishment of the joint investigation cell to curb terrorism in the city.

On Sunday, Sindh Home Minster Dr Zulfiqar Mirza announced the establishment of a joint investigation cell, comprising of officials from the police and intelligence agencies. In a statement issued on Monday, ANP Spokesman Qadir Khan said that the cell’s creation meant that the provincial government did not trust its police.

“The law and order situation in the city can be improved by the mutual collaboration by the public and the police force,” he said. He stated that his party did not trust the role of the investigation cell. “If the Sindh police cannot extract information from culprits in custody, how can people trust them then?” he asked.

Stating that the police should now look for criminals in its ranks and kick them out, Khan regarded the establishment of the joint investigation cell as a slap across the face of the police. He went on to say that if the police hand people over to the joint investigation cell just on suspicion it should be considered a violation of human rights.

Monday, April 27, 2009

NATO ships exercises with Pak Navy today

KARACHI: The ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 will undertake two-day exercise with Pakistan Navy vessels in the open sea from today.
This was announced by the Commander of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, Rear Admiral Pereira Da Cunha.
He was talking to newsmen onboard Portuguese ship Corte Real at Karachi Port on Sunday. Commodore Jamil Akhtar, Chief Staff Officer to the Commander Pakistan Fleet, was also present on the occasion. Admiral Pereira said that the exercise would help foster cooperation.
Five ships consisting of Portuguese, Canadian, Spanish, Dutch frigates and a German tanker will participate in the exercise. Four Pakistan Navy ships as well as its air units will also take part in the exercise. Commodore Jamil Akhtar spoke of Pakistan Navy’s longstanding ties with NATO and said that this visit of its ships is also a manifestation of good bilateral relation of our navies and is mutually beneficial.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Land mafia?: Rs 150m plot ‘saved’ from encroachment

By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) nearly lost a high-valued plot of land located in Karachi Administrative Cooperative Housing Society (KACHS). The plot had been partly encroached upon and is CDGK’s property through defunct KMC. The plot measures 1,500 square yards and it has an auction value of Rs 150 million.

Talking to Daily Times, District Officer (DO) Land Enforcement Abdul Malik said that he had sent Deputy DO Shakir Zaki to the plot to stop the ongoing construction.

When this reporter contacted Zaki, he told Daily Times that Baloch Colony police station had started construction of a police post on the plot, which was stopped on Thursday.

Zaki further said that the plot was handed over to CDGK’s Engineering Department in 1992 and originally was the property of the defunct KMC, which is now a part of CDGK after the devolution of powers.

Replying to a question, Zaki said that the area police had started construction of a police post on CDGK’s plot, citing the reason to be the escalating criminal activities in the park opposite CDGK’s plot.

According to Zaki, the police have assured him that they would submit an undertaking to the CDGK, stating that the police post would be removed and the possession of the plot would be handed over to the CDGK without delay whenever the CDGK would demand the plot back.

Zaki said that the construction of the police post has been stopped while he has asked the police to contact the Karachi DCO for permission to use the plot.

On a question, Zaki alleged that the KACHS administration has falsely claimed ownership of the plot and has allowed the police to take possession of the plot and proceed to construct a police post but now the police have been told that the plot is CDGK’s property.

Sources in CDGK told Daily Times that officers concerned from defunct KMC in collaboration with the area police were involved in the encroachment plan of the plot.

When this reporter contacted defunct KMC Land Director Tariq Naseer for his comments, he expressed his ignorance over the issue. He also said that the plot was not listed within the limits of his legal jurisdiction.

Replying to a question, Naseer refuted his involvement in any encroachment scam and further said that is this scribe has an authentic report then it should be published at all costs.

Talking to Daily Times, Baloch Colony police station SHO Hyder Ali Zaidi said that it was the KACHS administration’s decision to construct a room for the police check post, not on the plot but at the rear bank of the sewerage line.

The purpose to establish the police check post was to curb the street crimes in the area, he said while adding that the plot was not encroached upon.

The establishment of the check post by the residents of the area was a manifest of their trust on the police and they have further assured their cooperation to assist the area police for better services, he said. (DT Report)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed: a profile

Justice Sabihuddin Ahmad, who had an illustrious career as a jurist was born in 1949 in Hyderabad (Sindh). He obtained his early education from different parts of the country, his M.A from Punjab University in 1969, and LLB from the University of Karachi.

Justice Ahmed enrolled in the legal profession in 1972 and started his law practice with a leading lawyer, Khalid M. Ishaque. He was also a member of the Sindh High Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association, and appeared before superior courts in important civil and constitutional cases.

He was a founder-member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and served as its vice-president from 1987 to 1990. He also participated in several international conferences on human rights and allied issues. He contributed several articles to newspapers and periodicals on constitutional human rights issues.

He was elevated as a judge of the Sindh High Court (SHC) in January 1997. He also participated in several international judicial conferences inside and outside the country, and was elected as a member of the International Advisory council of the International Centre for Promotion of Human Rights, as well as the steering committee of the South Asia Forum for legal education on gender issues.

He was appointed as the SHC chief justice (CJ) on April 28, 2005, after the elevation of the then-SHC CJ, Saiyed Saeed Ashhad, to the Supreme Court (SC). He was deposed by former president, Gen. (retd) Pervez Musharraf, on November 3, 2007, after the proclamation of emergency and the imposition of the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

Justice Ahmed, however, accepted a reappointment offer by the present Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government a as judge of the Supreme Court and re-joined the judiciary in September last year. He had been serving as an SC judge since.

He was also a member of a five-member SC bench that was dealing with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif’s review appeals in their disqualification matter. The five-member bench had suspended the SC judgment last month and ordered the restoration of Shahbaz Sharif as the Punjab Chief Minster.

During his 11-year-long judicial carrier, he delivered many landmark judgments in constitutional, human rights, service and civil matters. While dealing with cases of missing citizens, he took serious notice of the indifferent attitude of government in ascertaining the whereabouts of missing persons and observed that protection of life and liberty of citizen was responsibility of the government.

He also took suo moto notice over siege of Sindh High Court and city courts by miscreants on May 12, 2007 prior to the arrival of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in Karachi.

In his recent SC judgment in a human rights case regarding bonded labourers, he declared that High Court had the plenary powers to positively enforce fundamental rights not merely against “public authorities but even private authorities” observing habeas corpus petitions could not be dismissed on the grounds that alternate remedies were available to detained persons. He was also a member of Board of Trustee of Aga Khan and Board of Governors, Hamdard University.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nasreen Jalil for registration of all those entering into Karachi

Karachi: Naib City Nazim Ms. Nasreen Jalil has underlined the need of registration of people and administering them vaccine at the entry points of Karachi so that correct data of the people entering into city could be collected besides controlling the infectious diseases.
The registration system should also be introduced in other cities of Pakistan, she suggested adding that no development could be beneficial without proper statistics and planning. Talking to an 11-member delegation of officials undergoing 66th pre-service training course at provincial services academy, Peshawar, at her office on Friday, Ms. Jalil said owing to growing population of Karachi, it was imperative for the federal government to focus on the issues of this city. The delegation led by Sardar Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Consultant Instructor of the academy, and currently on a weeklong visit of Karachi, agreed to the contention of Naib City Nazim and stated that registration of citizens would greatly help resolving various problems.

Ms. Jalil highlighted the role of Pakhtoon community in the development of Karachi and said the city government was endeavoring to provide them with all the basic facilities. She said all those living in Karachi should own it and indulge themselves in the development of this city. Nasreen Jalil said all the elected representatives of Karachi were from the masses while those ruling the other cities of country belonged to certain dynasties and had always enjoyed power. Pleading that the police in Karachi should be under the control of city government, she said such a system works all around the world. She also talked of granting provincial autonomy to strengthen the system.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sindh Youth Affairs Department honours young volunteers

KARACHI: Sindh Youth Affairs Department will present “volunteers awards” every year to encourage young persons, devoted to public service and peoples’ welfare.
This was stated by Sindh Minister for Youth Affairs, Syed Faisal Ali Sabzwari while speaking at the first Sindh Volunteers Awards 2009 presentation ceremony here Monday.
The recipients included MPA Mohammad Moeen Aamir Pirzada (earthquake affectees rehabilitation work), Dr Sikandar Ali Shaikh (medical worker), Mohammad Rizwan Jaffer (scouting), Rabiur Rehman services for youth) and Altaf Hussain Gaad (fire fighting).
The minister said that there was a need to highlight the spirit of serving the humanity and the social welfare among the youth. Sindh volunteers awards was one of the efforts of Youth Affairs Department to motivate our youth towards this noble cause. It may be noted that the recipients of Sindh volunteers awards 2009 had already been awarded by the federal government on the achievements in the field of public service on international volunteers day last year.

MARRIAGE REFUSAL Youth kills girl, self

KARACHI: A youth shot dead a teenage girl for rejecting his marriage proposal and later committed suicide by shooting himself to death at Civil Aviation Authority Colony in the jurisdiction of Airport police station, here on Monday morning. SHO Airport police Mehdi Khan told PPI that a 25-year-old Iftikhar shot and injured a 16-year-old girl Aisha when she refused to marry him. She was taken to JPMC where she succumbed to the injuries.
Later, the youth shot him to death at the colony. His body was shifted to JPMC for an autopsy. The youth and the girl were residing in the same area and Iftikhar had given his marriage proposal to Aisha who rejected it. “The family of Aisha had also rejected his marriage proposal which shocked and turned him irate,” the SHO said.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Satish Anand released from captivity after 6 months

KARACHI: Renowned filmmaker and Bollywood actress Juhi Chawala’s uncle, Satish Anand, who was kidnapped some six months ago has been released by the kidnappers after a negotiated ransom amount was paid.

Anand, along with his family and Citizen Police Liaisons Committee (CPLC) chief Sharfuddin Memon arrived in Karachi from Islamabad. He was in the captivity of the kidnappers at the place located at a distance of four to five hours from Bannu, Miranshah.

Anand remains physically and mentally fit and expressed his happiness and peace at being released and meeting his family. “I was in their captivity for such a long time. They could have killed me but they never touched me. They provided me proper accommodation, served good food in a proper manner and frequently held conversations with me in a friendly manner,” said Anand.

He said that the kidnappers threatened him and his family while making a call for ransom. “I was unable to identify any of them as I was blindfolded. I am happy that they did not kill me and also want to say thanks to the officials concerned in this matter,” Anand told investigators a short while after his release. His release was made after the family paid Rs 16 million after prolonged negotiations with the kidnappers, as they demanded Rs 50 million for his release. “I do not think that the family has paid the full amount as it seems that they have paid a lesser ransom amount,” CPLC’s Memon told Daily Times.

He added that the said network of culprits have already been busted with the arrests of retired Major Haroon Rasheed, retired Major Basit and their two companions, Talib and Salman by the law enforcement agencies that placed pressure on the kidnappers to release Anand. “Meanwhile, CPLC has also played a vital role in the negotiations to train Anand’s family how to deal with the kidnappers and also provided them with technical support.

It is a major responsibility when it comes to handling the family members of an abducted person and that too for a long time while negotiations takes place,” Memon added. He said that Anand was kept in a war zone area where the Taliban are fighting with the security forces and this led to the delay in the ransom deal. “For the past six months, the kidnappers called Anand’s family 25 times for negotiations. In these calls, he was allowed to talk to his family for four to five minutes,” Memon said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the culprits who were arrested earlier by law enforcers revealed during investigation that they had kidnapped three other people belonging to Waziristan and had also kept Anand in the War zone area. The key player in the Anand kidnapping case happens to be ex-army Major Haroon Rasheed. The Rawalpindi Motorway police arrested Rasheed along with his associate Talib when they were shifting a local businessman to NWFP. Both kidnappers were handed over to the Rawalpindi CID. Upon Rasheed’s confession, two more people, Basit and Salman were arrested in Karachi. However, sources say that Anand’s release was made using the locals to deal with Ilyas Kashmiri, leader of the arrested persons’ group who is also running a brigade of Harkatul Mujahideen-Al-Islami. Kashmiri is also involved in kidnapping people from across the country to support the militant activists waging Jihad against the security forces. (Daily Times Report)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Darakshan police station gets ‘adopted’

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: The Zindagi Trust has ‘adopted’ the Darakshan police station located in Clifton Town.

Now the trust, in collaboration with some schools that are located near the police station, is responsible for running the police station and also for catering to the problems faced by the police personnel. There are 125 police personnel deputed at the station, out of which, 110 belong to the operational division, while the remaining are a part of the investigation division. The operational division has 55 Police Constables (PC), 13 Head Constables (HC), six Sub Inspectors (SI) and 18 Assistant Sub Inspectors who are working under the supervision of Station Head Officer (SHO) Raja Tariq.

The police station is located in a posh area of the city and has many important places within its jurisdiction including the Seaview area, Country Club, the Florida Homes apartment complex, 30 banks, various commercial areas including Badar Commercial, Saba Commercial, Bukhari Commercial and Shahbaz Commercial. There are various projects under construction within its jurisdiction, including a power plant and a water filtering plant.

It is pertinent to mention here that seven policemen of the Darakshan police station have lost their lives while performing their duties. However, the fact that the trust has adopted the police station has increased the responsibilities of the police personnel. Sindh Inspector General of Police Salahuddin Babar Khattak and Karachi Police chief Wasim Ahmed said that the station was adopted two weeks ago and its renovation is almost complete. It would be inaugurated by South Zone DIG A D Khawaja on Saturday, April 11.

“Such measures will boost the confidence of the police and, therefore, help in tackling crime more efficiently,” SHO Raja Tariq told Daily Times, adding that separate budgets have been allocated for everything by the Zindagi Trust. The Darakshan police station has also been provided with two generators. A canteen is also being set up within the premises of the police station, which will provide food of the highest quality, while the detainees in the police lockups will be provided food free of cost.

“Now we can get good quality food and a bottle of water for just Rs 15,” said the officer, adding that a 24-hour clinic is also being set up there.

Specialists for diseases such as cancer, hepatitis, eye and skin infections will be available in the clinic. Police uniforms will also be provided to them and a laundry is also being established there, which will wash uniforms free of cost.

For now, three police mobile units have also been deployed at the station with the promise of more to come. In exchange, the trust has requested the police high-ups to beef up police patrol in the area.

A programme offering loans for police personnel may also be introduced, while efforts are being made to provide free of cost education to the children of police personnel, along with a health policy. (DT Report)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

IBA launches Open House 2009

KARACHI: The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi launches its Open House 2009 Program, at the City Campus on April 05, 2009, emphasizing its academics and facilities. The event which will be held in nine cities of the country including Karachi, Sukkur, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan will feature the various facets of academic life at IBA.

The program aims to counsel aspiring students in choosing the appropriate success route for IBA. Furthermore, comprehensive details about the diverse range of academic programs and facilitation at IBA will be presented at the event. -PR

KUJ protest demo in favour of sacked journalists

KARACHI: Karachi Union of Journalists, KUJ yesterday held a protest demonstration against the downsizing and sacking of journalists from some electronic channels and news papers in front of KPC. Protestors were chanting slogans and raised ply cards against the administration of some prestigious news papers and TV channels while they demanded the administration of those said news papers and TV channels to restore these sacked journalists on their positions.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Garbage lifting project finally resolved

KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan has finally resolved the pending delay of the garbage lifting project by the Chinese firm with a condition that schedule of garbage lifting would be presented to city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal on Friday to make sure that the firm was fulfilling all its commitments.
Sources in thee Governor House said it was decided that on the satisfaction of the CDGK $ 200 million will be provided to the firm, out of the loan being provided to government of Pakistan by the Chinese government...
The CDGK once expressed its satisfaction over the schedule it will inform to the Federal government than only the amount would be released. The high level meeting was held at Governor House on Thursday and was attended state minister for Investment Saleem H Mandviwalla, city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal and a member of Chinese firm.
The firm will present in its schedule for establishing eight garbage lifting stations and other land fill sites in its schedule to be presented on Friday.
It may be noted that according to city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal due to previous law and order situation of Karachi , the Chinese firm had shown its reluctance to start the work and some controversy was also erupted over the fee collection by the Chinese firm. It may be noted that ethnic violence is also feared in Karachi for which MQM and ANP are making efforts for the restoration of peace.
It may be recalled that CDGK and Chinese company had sign accord for solid waste management in 2007 City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and Shanghai Shun Gong Environmental Protection Limited had signed an agreement to lift garbage and carry it to landfill site at 20 dollars a ton for the next 20 years and Letter of Intent (LoI) thereof issued to the company
The agreement was signed by Qian Yu Lin, Managing Director of the company and EDO Municipal Services CDGK at a ceremony held at a local hotel. Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal, Chinese Consul General at Karachi Chen Shan Min and Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil, besides DCO Javed Hanif, Town Nazims of Karachi, Chairman of City Council and others were also present on the occasion.
Mustafa Kamal pointed out that present was the era of technology and the technology which was being used for solid waste management in the world’s mega cities has been introduced here today because generation of 10,000 tons of garbage daily could not be cleared without technological use. (Daily National Courier)