11 arrested in Hub

From Our correspondent

QUETTA: The Hub police held a successful operation against gamblers and criminals in Hub city yesterday. On the directions of DPO Lasbela Abdul Raof Bareach and under the supervision of DSP Hub Sarkal Jan Muhammad Khosa, SHO HUB City Ataullah Namani held operation against criminals in Hub City. SHO Hub raided gambling den at Dakhana road and Pattani colony and arrested 11 gamblers and recovered money invested on gambling.

Want entertainment industry to be completely tax free: Kajol

DC Monitoring Desk

Kajol feels that the entertainment industry should be made tax free, however, she wants to leave the judgment on the government. During the launch of campaign as a brand ambassador on Wednesday in Mumbai, Kajol was asked about her expectation from the Union Budget, which will be presented on February 1. “That’s a very complicated question which I don’t know whether I have the expertise to discuss it. However, if you ask me, I ideally want entertainment industry to be completely tax-free. But, as it is not going to happen in my foreseeable future, I will leave it to the government to do what they see best,” said Kajol. Asked about the 12 per cent tax levied by the government on sanitary napkins, the actor said the administration would decide what was best and she would refrain from commenting.

PM, COAS visit SSG HQ in Cherat, pay respect to martyrs

RAWALPINDI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Special Services Group (SSG) Headquarters in Cherat, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations press release.

Upon arrival, the ISPR said that the prime minister laid a floral wreath at the Martyrs’ Monument and paid respect to the martyrs.

The prime minister was briefed about the SSG’s structure, capabilities, and performance. At the occasion, the SSG demonstrated some of its skills and operational capabilities, the ISPR said.

The prime minister appreciated the performance of the elite force and its contribution during the ongoing war against terrorism, the ISPR said.

Moreover, PM Abbasi paid rich tribute to the martyrs of the SSG force and the other security personnel whose sacrifices have returned peace in the country, said the army’s media cell. —Agencies

US House passes bill to renew NSA internet spying tool

NEW YORK: The US House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming objections from privacy advocates and confusion prompted by morning tweets from President Donald Trump that initially questioned the spying tool.

The legislation, which passed 256-164 and split party lines, is the culmination of a yearslong debate in Congress on the proper scope of US intelligence collection – one fueled by the 2013 disclosures of classified surveillance secrets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Senior Democrats in the US House of Representatives had urged cancellation of the vote after Trump appeared to cast doubt on the merits of the program, but Republicans forged ahead.

Trump initially said on Twitter that the surveillance program, first created in secret after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and later legally authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, had been used against him but later said it was needed.—AFP

National Electricity Plan, New Energy Policy being finalised to determine electricity demand, supply: Leghari

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari yesterday said that the National Electricity Plan and new Energy Policy was being finalised in collaboration with provinces aiming to help determining demand and supply of electricity and future sources of power generation.

Presiding over 113th meeting of Private Power and Infrastructure Board, the minister said the policy would play a major role in reducing tariff which would be based on International Competitive Bidding.

He said that all pending Letter of Intents (LOIs) issued to sponsors would accordingly be evaluated under this plan.

The sponsors should diligently pursue their projects for timely implementation while practice of granting extensions in accomplishing various milestones should be avoided so that the plan for capacity addition was not disturbed.

Minister of State Power Division, Ch. Abid Sher Ali, other senior federal and provincial government officers attended the meeting.

The Board approved execution of Implementation Agreement (IA) with the +660kV HVDC Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project, consequently allowing PPIB to execute the agreement for timely implementation of this project of national importance. Extension in Financial Close date of 1320 MW Imported Coal based Power Project at Hub was also approved without affecting the synchronization date of the first unit on December 31, 2018 and Required Commercial Operation Date on August 1, 2019.

The Board accorded approval for submission of ECC Summary for approval of IA and PPA for 1263 MW Trimmu RLNG based Power Project which is being implemented on fast track basis by the Government of Punjab.

The Minister and Board members expressed their satisfaction on the progress of ongoing projects being handled by PPIB and urged PPIB to keep abreast on the progress of said projects.

PIAF pleads for uniform gas rates

From Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has appreciated the government’s plan to reduce electricity tariff, urging the authorities to also provide gas at uniform rate across Pakistan to ensure affordable cost of doing business in the country.

PIAF chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh welcomed the commitment of the newly-appointed Adviser to PM for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Dr Miftah Ismail to cut power tariffs within next 10 days, stating that the government’s move will lower the cost of doing business. During a meeting with a delegation of industrialists Chairman PIAF Irfan Iqbal sheikh along with senior vice chairman Tanveer Ahmed Sufi and vice chairman Kh. Shahzeb Akram, argued that the high cost of doing business is hindering Pakistan in achieving its export target.He also demanded for a uniform gas tariff, since Punjab faces a higher rate than the one in Sindh.

The PIAF chairman expressed the hope that the government will keep an active vigilance on early completion of all energy projects in time and there will be 100% uninterrupted supply of gas and power to industries as early as possible. He lamented that the previous government did not facilitate the maintenance of old power plants which caused several system constraints inflicting heavy losses.

Govt determined to create business friendly environment: Haroon

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minster on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar Khan yesterday said the government believed in creating business friendly environment for all business community and wanted to address their genuine problems.

“We shall try to resolve the problem of sales tax on foam manufacturers in the upcoming budget and will take further steps to uplift this industry,” he said during a meeting with the delegation of All Pakistan Foam Manufacturers Association (Non-Exempted Group).

The group comprised Sheikh Usman Rashid (Ruby Foam), Sheikh Mohammad Ismail (Cannon Foam), Mian Umer Javaid (Joy Foam), Mehr Mohammad Saleem (Crown Foam), Mahommad Jadoon (United Foam) and others.

The delegation also congratulated Haroon Akhtar Khan on being elevated as federal minister on revenue by prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and briefed the minister about their problems and requested him to save industry from total collapse.

The minister said field formations would also be mobilized to curtail the problems in tax matters of foam manufacturers.

Member IR Policy Dr Mohammad Iqbal and Member Custom Mohammad Zahid Khokar and other FBR officials were also present in the meeting.

Govt to review matters for Pak-Afghan trade promotion

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail said yesterday that the government wanted to promote trade with Afghanistan and was ready to review the matter in consultation with all the stakeholders, with a view to find a solution, favourable for bilateral trade.

The advisor was talking to a joint delegation of Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PACCI) and All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) led by Zubair Motiwala.

Miftah Ismail assured the APTPMA representatives of all possible support to resolve their problems.

He said that the issues were already under active consideration of the government and appropriate decisions would be taken soon.

The members of PACCI apprised the Adviser of the difficulties being faced due to regulatory duty on different types of fruit being imported from Afghanistan.

They requested for easing out the duty regime saying the gesture would have positive impact on overall bilateral trade.

India seek ‘intent’ to combat South Africa speed kings

CENTURION: Indian captain Virat Kohli wants his batsmen to “show intent” when they come up against South Africa’s fast bowlers again in the second Test starting at Centurion on Saturday.

“You can’t just stand there and take whatever is coming your way and not have intent,” Kohli said after his team were beaten by 72 runs in the first Test in Cape Town.

“You might get out but it’s important to keep coming at the bowler and making them feel, ‘if you make an error I am going to score.” With conditions at Centurion again likely to favour fast bowling, the problem for India is not just how they should execute Kohli’s strategy — but who should do it.

No Indian top-order batsman made more than 28 in either innings in Cape Town. The only two scores above 30 were 93 by Hardik Pandya in the first innings and 37 by Ravichandran Ashwin in the second. Pandya and Ashwin were batting at number seven and eight respectively, which suggests India have enough depth in their batting order — if their top-order players can get themselves through the new ball.

At least two batting positions will be debated as the tourists seek a way to play themselves back into the three-Test series.

Left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan fell to short-pitched deliveries in both innings and there is an argument for Lokesh Rahul to take his place, while Ajinkya Rahane must be a contender to replace Rohit Sharma at number five. —Agencies

Shabbir Iqbal leads the table in National Professional Golf Tourney

Sports Reporter

KARACHI: Defending Champion Muhammad Shabbir Iqbal lead the first day charts with a score of 5-under-par in Bank AL Habib’s 7th Rashid D. Habib Memorial National Professional Golf Championship here Thursday at Karachi Golf Course.

More than 100 golfers participated on Thursday in the tournament, which offers Rs. 6 million prize money tournament.

Matloob Ahmed of Lahore Garrison Golf is following Shabbir with 69 3-under-par. Azam Khan from Quetta is holding third position alongside Ahmed Saeed and Amjad Yousuf of Karachi Golf Club with two under par.

The golfers from all over Pakistan played at partly cloudy weather with clear visibility. The course is in excellent condition where the players despite wind were able to attack the pin because of hold on the greens.