Rs 150 billion Proposed for CPEC under PSDP 2016-17

The government has proposed around Rs 150 billion for executing much hoped projects under $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the next Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2016-17 including construction of western route from Bhuran to Di Khan with allocation of Rs 25 billion.

According to presentation given to annual plan coordination committee (APCC) held on Friday for approving Rs 1,165 billion development outlays for federal and provincial governments, the participants were informed that the government proposed Rs 25.108 billion for construction of Burhan-Hakla on M-1 to DI Khan motorway under CPEC initiative out of total estimated cost of Rs 124 billion.

When contacted one top official said that some adjustments were made in CPEC related allocations which would be finalized after upcoming NEC meeting going to be held under chairmanship of PM Nawaz Sharif before unveiling next budget.

For land acquisition, affected properties compensation for construction of Burhan-Hakla to DI Khan Motorway, the government proposed allocation of Rs 1.959 billion in the PSDP for 2016-17 out of total estimated cost of Rs 11.793 billion.

The government decided proposed allocation of Rs 5 billion for Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab Section (200 KM) of Gawadar-Ratodero Road (892 KM) M-8 against total estimated cost of Rs 23.160 billion.

The government allocated Rs 3 billion for widening and improvement of N-85, Hoshab-Nag-Basima-Surab Road (459 KM) against total estimated cost of Rs 22 billion. The government allocated Rs 6.630 billion for Zhob Mughal Kot 81 KM N-50 in upcoming PSDP for 2016-17 against estimates cost of Rs 9.1 billion.

For rehabilitation of DI Khan-Mughal Kot 50 KM Section N-50 (FERP Phase-II), the government made allocation of Rs 1.150 billion in the coming budget against estimated cost of Rs 4.02 billion.

For northern alignment, the government proposed allocation of Rs 5.561 billion for construction of Burhan-Havelian Expressway (E-35) 59.1 KM against total estimated cost of Rs 39.4 billion.

The government proposed allocation of Rs 14 billion for Thakot to Havelian 120 KM (construction) (Phase-I) (CPEC) against total estimated cost of Rs 136.6 billion. For land acquisition for Thakot to Havelian 120 KM (Land) (Phase-I) (CPEC), the government proposed allocation of Rs 1.858 billion.

For Gawadar projects under CPEC, the government proposed allocation of Rs 4.7 billion for construction of Eastbay Expressway in the upcoming budget against total estimated cost of Rs 14.062 billion.

The government proposed allocation of Rs 1.5 billion for New Gawadar International Airport in the upcoming budget against total cost of Rs 22.9 billion. The government proposed Rs 300 million each for capital dredging of berthing areas & channel for additional terminal (CPEC) and feasibility study for construction of Break Waters (CPEC).

The government proposed allocation of Rs 1.5 billion for necessary facilities for fresh water treatment, water supply & distribution at Gawadar against total estimated cost of Rs 11.3 billion.

For Pak-China Technical & Vocational Institute at Gawadar under CPEC, the proposed allocation stands at Rs 250 million for next PSDP against total estimated cost of Rs 984 million.

The government also proposed allocation of Rs 100 million for construction of Black Toping of Access Road from Makran Costal Highway to New Gawadar International airport, Rs 250 million for Infrastructure Development for EPZA and GIEDA, Gawadar (CPEC), Rs 150 million for 132 KV Sub Stations at Deep Sea Port Gawadar (QESCO), Rs 5 million for 132 KV Sub Stations at Down Town Gawadar (CPEC) and Rs 20 million for Pre-Feasibility-Installation of 300 MW Coal Fired Power Plant at Gawadar (CPEC).

For Railways projects, the government proposed allocation of Rs 125 million for (i) PC-II for Feasibilty Study to Connect Gawadar with Karachi, (ii) Gawadar to Jacobabad via Besima under CPEC, Rs 300 million for Rehabilitation/Up-gradation of ML-I including Acquisition of Land for New Dry Port at Baldhair, District Haripur, Ras 1.168 billion for doubling/improvement of existing track from Port Qasim to Bin Qasim Station (CPEC) and Rs 166 million for feasibility studies  for Upgradation of Existing Main Line-II (ML-II) from Havelian to Jacobabad via Bhakkar, Kundian, Daud Khail, Basal, Taxila in connection with CPEC.



Another Dengue Case Reported from BBH; Two Students Drown And Labourer Killed On Road

The City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) appears to have neglected the rural areas of the Rawalpindi district in its campaign to eradicate the dengue virus.

This has also been indicated by the arrival of a dengue patient who arrived from the rural areas to a government-run hospital. Khadim arrived at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) from Bagh Sangarn, in the Tarrahiya union council on Thursday.

He has been working as a labourer and living in the city for over a month.

His arrival exposed the performance of the health department, which claims to have deputed 121 teams in Potohar Town`s 37 UCs.

However, on the ground, the health department has 68 teams for its indoor anti-dengue campaign and 35 teams for outdoor areas in 16 UCs.

In a meeting on Thursday with District Coordination Officer (DCO) Talat Mehmood Gondal, health officials painted a rosy picture.

“The health department failed to give details of patients and anti-dengue measures in 21 UCs in Potohar Town, and presented a report limited to 62 UCs in the city areas,” a senior health official told Dawn.

“From March to May, eight dengue patients were reported at the Holy Family Hospital, and six at BBH. But according to the health department`s list, only 11 patients were reported at government-run hospitals,” he said.

In Rawalpindi, two students died after drowning in a mini-dam while a labourer was killed in a road accident on Thursday, police said.

According to police and emergency services, four students of 8th class from Riasat Colony at Chakri Road went to the mini-dam in the area on a picnic.

As the four boys started swimming, two of them drowned.

The deceased were identified as Sartaj Malik, 13, and Ali Raza, 15. The bodies were recovered by divers and handed over to their families.

In another incident, Mohammad Aslam, 35, a labourer, was killed and four other people riding a tractor-trolley were injured when a car rammed into it on Airport Road.

Abdul Rasheed complained to the Airport police that he along with Mukhtiar Ahmed, 20, Mohammad Aslam, 21, Mohammad Jehangir, 20, and Mohammad Irfan were injured when the car hit them.

He said Aslam died of head injuries on the spot while the other injured were taken to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital where one of them was in a critical condition.

The police registered a case against the car driver, who escaped from the scene.



Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) Admits Nab Probe Into Its Engineering Works

The Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) has admitted that the Multan regional office of the National Accountability Bureau was presently conducting an inquiry into the varsity affairs.

IUB Public Relations Officer Khalid Shehzad told The Truth Pursuit on Thursday that the probe into the affairs of varsity`s engineering branch development works done during the last five years was at an initial stage.

Quoting the NAB Multan PRO, he denied any IUB record was seized by the bureau. The concerned officials were appearing before NAB Multan authorities for the last three days in connection with the probe, he added.

Mr Shehzad said NAB`s PRO confirmed that a few days back he had released a press release regarding the IUB probe.

The PRO also denied that the IUB vice-chancellor had been barred from proceeding abroad because of the probe.

He said the IUB VC could not travel abroad as a member of a delegation comprising 15 vice-chancellors of public sector universities on a week-long UK visit because Punjab government revoked NOC issued to Punjab University VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran at the eleventh hour.



Doctors Satisfy with pace of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Recovery

The cardiac checkup of the prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London has transpired that he doesn’t need surgery/intervention in near future for his complications as the medicine therapy has worked well and he will continue to be on medicines till his next examination.

The prime minister is in London and his doctors will go for another brief checkup today (Friday) before his departure for home. The sources told the truth pursuit that the physical tests which indicated complications about seven weeks ago, this time were no-existent. It proves that the medicine administration has helped fairly well, the sources said.

The sources said that the doctors were satisfied with the pace of recovery of Prime Minister Nawaz as medicines that he was previously taking would continue unchanged except some minor shuffle of dozers of the therapy. He had taken good care of the advice given by his doctors during last checkup that was conducted after fairly long time ever since he had to undergo surgery in London way back in 2009 due to the doctor’s miscalculations.

The prime minister who has two-hour stopover in German city Frankfurt on his journey to London from Lahore on Monday last wouldn’t make any stopover in return sojourn. According to the original schedule he will be touching down Lahore but the final return destination would be determined today (Friday) early in the day, the sources said.

In the mean while hectic schedule is waiting for the premier from Monday next as the budget for next fiscal years would be place before the national assembly on next Friday (June 3) and that would be transmitted to the upper house, Senate same evening. The prime minister will be present in the joint sitting of the two houses of the parliament a day before on Thursday since new parliamentary year would be commencing on the same day.

The prime minister has planned to proceed to Saudi Arabia towards the end of next month where he will perform Umrah and his meeting custodian of the two holy mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz couldn’t be ruled out during the holy journey, the sources told the truth pursuit.



Appeal Against State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) Privatization

Employees of the State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) have opposed the idea of privatization of SLIC and made a fervent appeal to the government to desist from taking such a step, says a press release.

The press release said that SLIC came into being in 1972 merging 32 life insurance companies in order to safeguard the savings and investments of the citizens.

Since its inception it has shown excellent results with innovative and aggressive marketing. The result is that it is the leading insurance corporation in the country with 58% of the market share in life insurance industry.

The release said that interest of around 5 million individual policy holders, 8.5 million individuals covered under group insurance policies, has been associated with SLIC along with the interest of four subsidiary organizations.

It said that state life is profitable organization and it paid Rs. 5.860 billion as dividend to the government of Pakistan since its inception in 1972. Only in 2014, dividend of 905 million has been paid.

The capital increased from Rs. 10 million in 1972 to Rs. 3,000 million in 2014. Total statutory fund of state life stands at Rs. 450,025 billion in 2014 as against Rs. 1,494 billion in 1972. As 97.55% of the profit earned by SLIC goes to policy holders (as bonuses) we feel that State Life is the property of millions of widows and orphans throughout the country.

The press release said the in view of its meritorious performance, let SLIC remain a government institution strengthening the confidence of the people. The idea of privatizing such an institution so vital to widows and orphans must not be encouraged and it be allowed to exist as before.



WASA Uninterested To Solve Water Issue In Township 2/C-I Sector, Lahore

The residents of Township’s 2/C-I sector have been facing water shortage for years after the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) abandoned the tube well (installed at the sector`s main park). Township (Quaid-i-Azam Town), a major residential scheme of the south Lahore, faces the severe shortage of water supply, particularly in the summer season.

“For the last six to seven years, we’ve been in this trouble,” says Ijaz Anjum, of the area. “There is no water in the entire summer season, so we’ve to run our electric motor for hours to extract water from the pipes at night.

The water issue increases residents’ monthly electricity bills due to the continuous running of motors.

Mushtaq Khan, another resident, said he was planning to shift to some other place just because of the water issue.

He said many of the times they had no water for ablution in mosques.

He said Wasa had cut off the land line phone for complaints and now they had to visit the Wasa office to get their complaint registered.

Qari Muhammad Riaz-u-din said they had conveyed the issue to some people closed to MNA Waheed Alam.

“They (the friends of the MNA) said a separate tube well for the 2/C-I has been approved by the chief minister,” he said in disbelief, adding that it seemed impossible for their own sector`s tube well had already been abandoned. He says unplanned load shedding has also added miseries of them for when the tube well of I/C-I sector is running, there is no light in their sector (2/C-1).

Other residents Muhammad Ghufran, Abdul Qayyum Tariq and Khalid Mehmood Akbar Khan said they would fetch water from adjacent localities or buy it for day-to-day needs. They said they had no option but to stage a rally at the headquarters of Wasa in Gulberg.

Wasa sub-divisional officer of the area said the tube well earlier installed in 2/C-1 was shifted to I/C-I with the consent of the residents after its bore broke down.

“The main problem is load shedding hours. For this we have arranged a generator to run the tube well during load shedding hours and it will be working in a couple of days,” he explained. He said the generators would resolve the issue.



Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) Hints At Joining Anti-Govt Movement After Ramazan

Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) leader Allama Nasir Abbas on Tuesday hinted that his party may join the proposed anti-government movement to be launched by the opposition political parties after Ramazan.

“We deplore the government for killing people at will like it did in Model Town Lahore a few years ago, supporting corruption and money laundering and not caring for the lives of the citizens,” said the MWM secretary general.

He was speaking to the media along with Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at the MWM’s hunger strike camp outside the National Press Club.

Allama Abbas has been on a hunger strike for the last 12 days, taking only water and medicines for diabetes and blood pressure.

“We may be part of any movement that would be formed after Ramazan,” he said.

He said Pakistan should be a country that Quaid-i-Azam had visualized, not an extremist state that it has become now. He blamed the PML-N government for diverting the directions of the operation Zarb-i-Azb and the National Action Plan (NAP).

“We all had hoped that there would be a change after NAP was launched but the whole system is now backed to the square one and for this the major culprit is the government,” he said.

Allama Abbas added: “I am not here against the killing of Shias only but look around and see what happened in Yuhanabad. The Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and even Barelvis, the largest segment of society, are being killed.”



Coach Faheem Bids Adieu To Pakistan Squash

As Pakistan starts preparing for world junior squash championships, one of the most successful coaches of recent times Faheem Gul bids adieu to his national squash duties seeking new avenues in USA.

The national coach would be leaving for USA at the end of this month to resume coaching job there. Under Faheem, Pakistan have recently won Asian team title and also clinched gold and silver medals at the south Asian games.

“I have had a wonderful time with the Pakistan squash. Now for the better financial deal, I am leaving for USA on May 30 which would be my last day with the Pakistan squash,” Faheem said, while taking to The Truth Pursuit.

He hoped that Pakistan junior team that has already started training under former world No. 6 Amjad Khan would perform outstandingly in the world individual and team events starting from August 6 in Bielsko-Biala (Poland).

All eyes would be on Asian Junior Champion Israr Ahmed in Pakistan’s quest to win their first world junior title in almost 30 years. Israr could well get No. 1 or No. 2 seeding in the event where he is expected to perform outstandingly.

“The Asian champion is playing very good squash and if he continues to improve the way he has been in recent past, chances of his bringing laurels for the country are very bright,” Faheem said.

Pakistan’s performance in the last individual junior world event was not the encouraging as all three aspirants lost in the quarter finals.

Pakistan, however, went on to take silver in the world team event. This time around the team has bright chances of making to the final and Israr has better chances of playing the individual final, he could well go on to win the exclusive title for the country after the gap of almost three decades.

Meanwhile, eight players have been invited for the final trials to select a team of four and as many for individual event of the world juniors event. The four-day trails would get underway from May 27 with the following players who have been invited to compete for places in the team.

Invited players include Israr Ahmed, Kashif Asif, Abbas Shoukat, Ehsan Ayaz, Zeeshan Ahmed, Mehran Javed, Mansoor Ahmed and Suleman Saleem. “There are five PSA players among the invitees and three others picked from junior national circuit, expectations are there that first four could well be seen earning a place in the team,” one of the PSF officials, when contact, said.

“Amjad Khan is working had on players. Every player at the camp is improving by each passing day,” the official said.

Former British Open Champion Qamar Zaman is expected to be named as manager of the team.



Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s Session In Disorder On Monday As Two PTI Members Punched-Up

A wrestle among the two treasury lawmakers and commotion by the opposition marred the session of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday.

The disturbance stopped the passage of two important bills.

The session had a flat navigating until two PTI members, including Arbab Jandad Khan and Javed Naseem, came to shocks.

The two sitting side by side were whispering while the house was discussing the weel(s` long protest of the Provincial Management Service officers.

All of a sudden, Arbab Jandad Khan slapped Javed Naseem causing a scuffle between them.

Other lawmakers rushed to them to pacify them but the enraged lawmakers kept trying invain to attack each other.

Initially, no one knew the reason of the scuffle, which took lawmakers and people sitting in the press, officer and guest galleries by surprise.

Both the lawmakers used foul language against each other.

The chair, Deputy Speaker Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, repeatedly asked them not to fight but in vain.

The situation led her to adjourn the session for 15 minutes.

The legislators and assembly staff workers took the two members to different lobbies, where Arbab Jandad alleged that Javed Naseem often used abusive language against PTI chief Imran Khan in corner meetings in his constituency. However, Javed Naseem denied the allegation outright.

The opposition members shouted the slogans of `shame, shame` before staging a brief sit-in in the middle of the house to protest the “unparliamentary” act of the two PTI lawmakers.

The foul language used on the floor of the house remained part of the assembly records as no one requested the chair to expunge it after the session resumed.

Often, the chair orders the staff members to expunge such words from the proceedings.

Earlier, the newly-elected MPA, Arbab Waseem Hayat of the PMLN, took oath.

Interestingly, while welcoming him, senior minister Inayatullah Khan requested the house members to maintain a peaceful environment to give a good impression to the newcomer on his first day in the house.

Mr. Hayat had also brought dozens of the people, including relatives and voters, to the house to see his oath taking by the chair.

Earlier, the opposition lawmakers came down heavily on the provincial government for `mishandling` the weeks` long pen-down protest of the Provincial Management Service officers.

Speaking on a point of order, leader of the opposition Maulana Lutfur Rehman said the prolonged protest of PMS of facers had brought the government’s affairs in the province to a standstill.

“No official work has been taking place anywhere in the province,” he said.

The opposition leader said it was happening for the first time in the history that officers responsible to run administrative affairs of the province were protesting in the scorching heat to claim rights.

He said it was strange as the PMS officers demanded the removal of their boss (chief secretary).

“This issue was brought to the assembly a year ago but the provincial government failed to resolve it” he said.

Senior irrigation minister Sikandar Hayat Sherpao said the PMS officers had played a vital role in the development of the province.

“They (officers) are assets of our province,” he said.

Mr Sherpao, who heads a committee of ministers formed to sort out the issue, told the house that the matter would be amicably resolved in few days.

The commotion stopped the assembly from passing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Censorship of Motion Pictures (Films, CDs, Videos, Stage Dramas and Shows) Bill, 2016 and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Foundation Bill, 2016, which were on the agenda, as most members left the premises thereafter.

The session was adjourned until Wednesday.



ICCI Meeting: Cut In Interest Rate To Spur Economic Activities

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Monday termed cut in interest rate a positive move as it would reduce cost of credit for private sector and ultimately help spur economic activities in the country.

The State Bank on Saturday cut the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 5.75pc from 6pc.

The ICCI meeting pointed out that the country had already missed the economic growth target for the current financial year by a wide margin mainly due to depressing performance of agriculture sector. It expressed the hope that cut in policy rate to over 40-year low would support the economy to perform better.

Addressing on the occasion the ICCI president, Atif Ikram Sheikh, noted that low policy rate had a direct impact on industrial growth as it reduced the cost of production and gave credit to private sector at affordable cost.

Therefore, this move should help private sector in reviving the economy, he added.

He said that textile exports had declined by 7.68pc coming down to $10.395 billion during the first 10 months of the current year (July-April) as compared to $11.26 billion during the same period last year.

“This has happened despite the grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the EU, which should be a cause of concern for the policy makers,” he added.

However, he added, the historic cut in benchmark interest rate would help the industrial sector to avail low cost credit for upgradation of technology and machinery as one of the major reasons of fall in exports was that the local industry had failed to invest in modernization of their manufacturing units and diversify exports.

He noted that the industry was accounting for 9pc to GDP and more than 60pc to exports. However, it was facing liquidity crunch on account of delay in export refunds of about Rs50 billion by the FBR due to which the exporters were losing competitiveness in the international market.

He demanded that FBR should ensure timely clearance of refund claims to facilitate the exporters that would help them in overcoming liquidity issues and reviving exports of the country.