Pakistan felt betrayed over recent US statements: Gen Bajwa

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over recent US statements despite decades of cooperation following President Donald Trump’s tweet, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Friday.

In his New Year tweet, Trump had accused Pakistan of lies and deceit. “They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he tweeted.

Trump’s accusations heightened tensions between Pakistan and the US. The tensions resulted in suspension of military assistance to Pakistan, announced by Trump led US administration on January 5.

According to the ISPR, COAS received two phone calls from US Centcom Commander General Joseph Votel and one from a US senator over the week to discuss Pak-US security cooperation following the tweet.

General Votel apprised the army chief about the US decision regarding the US security assistance and coalition support fund.

Imran Khan takes swipe at Sharifs for Punjab police incompetence

PESHAWAR: Expressing grief over woeful Kasur incident, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Friday said Sharif brothers could not make great strides in bringing reforms in the police department despite being in power for 19 years.

Addressing an event here, the PTI chief said his party government in Khyber Pakhutnkhwa (KP) ensured meritocracy in police recruitment.

“No department could progress in positive direction until merit is not ensured,” he emphasised.

Commending KP police performance, he said the police morale back in 2013 was down owing to Taliban attacks and over 700 casualties of policemen. “Our government empowered the police department after bringing grass-roots level reforms,” Khan asserted.

He said the PTI government in the province did not allow any political interference in the police department. “The ultimate positive outcomes of police department in KP are no more secret,” he added.

Deadly ‘long-lost disease’ rages through Rohingya camps

COX’S BAZAAR: In a makeshift bamboo clinic, small children struggle to draw breath through surgical masks, victims of a forgotten but deadly disease that has torn through the teeming Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Diphtheria had been all but eradicated in Bangladesh until last year, when more than 650,000 Rohingya poured across the border fleeing a bloody military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.

Packed into an area meant for a much smaller number of refugees and with little sanitation or healthcare, the new arrivals provided fertile ground for the highly contagious respiratory disease to take hold.

It quickly spread through the camps, with the World Health Organization reporting more than 3,600 cases.

The outbreak has already claimed the lives of at least 30 refugees, mostly children, while a handful of Bangladeshis living near the camps have also contracted the disease.

Zainab rape, murder suspect a serial killer: Punjab govt spokesperson

KASUR: Malik Ahmad Khan, the spokesperson of the Punjab government, claimed on Friday that the suspect in the Zainab murder case is a serial killer who kidnaps and kills young girls.

Khan made the claim on basis of witness accounts.

He was addressing a press conference in Kasur alongside Punjab education minister Rana Mashood and health minister Khawaja Imran Nazir.

Seven-year-old Zainab, a resident of Road Kot area of Kasur, had gone missing on January 4 when she ventured out of the house. Her body was found in a garbage pile near Kashmir Chowk five days later.

Parliament adopts bill to extend Supreme Court, PHC jurisdiction to FATA

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a bill extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Peshawar High Court (PHC) to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The bill was moved by newly-appointed law minister Chaudhry Mehmood Bashir Virk.

Calling the passage of bill as a historic achievement, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said the tribesmen have rendered uncountable sacrifices for the country.

Earlier, the house held discussion on situation arising out of the rape and murder of seven year old girl Zainab, in Kasur.

Four judges of India’s top court criticize its administration

NEW DELHI: Four sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India on Friday said the administration of the highest court was not in order, warning that democracy would not survive in the country unless the institution was preserved.

The judges blew the lid on a growing rift with Chief Justice Dipak Misra at a news conference, the first of its kind ever held by sitting judges of India’s top court.

“The four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country,” Justice Jasti Chelameswar said on the lawns of his residence in the Indian capital.

Saudi state taking control of Binladin construction giant: sources

RIYADH/DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is taking managerial control of Saudi Binladin Group and discussing a possible transfer of some of the giant construction group’s assets to the state while its chairman and other family members are in detention, sources told Reuters.

Binladin, which had over 100,000 employees at its height, is the biggest builder in the country and important to Riyadh’s plans for large real estate, industrial and tourism projects to help diversify the economy beyond oil.

However, the group has been hurt financially in the past couple of years by a slump in the construction industry and a temporary exclusion from new state contracts after a crane accident killed 107 people at Mecca’s Grand Mosque in 2015. It was forced to lay off thousands of employees.

Riyadh’s move to take control appears aimed at ensuring the group can continue to serve Saudi Arabia’s development plans, said banking and industry sources, who declined to be named due to the political and commercial sensitivity of the matter.

The government detained scores of senior officials and businessmen in October as part of a sweeping crackdown on corruption. The Binladin group’s chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members have been held, the sources said.

SC approves Sharif family’s plea against LHC decision of shifting Chaudhry sugar mills

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a plea for hearing filed by the Sharif family against the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict of the sugar mills’ shifting at earlier location.

A three-judge bench of Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing a case pertaining to relocation of the sugar mills in South Punjab when it approved Sharif family’s plea for hearing.

In September 2017, the LHC ruled that all three sugar mills – owned by Sharif family members – be moved back at earlier location within three months time frame.

A three-member bench, headed by LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, had announced the verdict on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and JDW Sugar Mills owner Jahangir Tareen.

The bench then declared relocation of Sharif family’s sugar mills in South Punjab ‘illegal’ and ordered all three sugar mills – namely Ittefaq Sugar Mills, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills and Chaudhry Sugar Mills – be moved back at earlier location.

The verdict in the case was reserved on May 26 this year after the counsels of defendant and plaintiff concluded their arguments.

Petitioner Jahangir Tareen had adopted a stance that the sugar mills were shifted to new locations despite a ban had previously imposed on relocating the mills, violating the government’s own policy.

Previously, the Chief Minister Punjab has been accused to breach the law by establishing three sugar mills despite a ban imposed back in 2006.

Rescuers search for victims as California mudslide toll hits 17

MONTECITO: Rescuers used dogs and helicopters to search for victims on Wednesday of powerful mudslides which left at least 17 people dead in a southern California community that is also home to major celebrities including Oprah Winfrey.

Heavy rains on Tuesday sent rivers of waist-high mud and debris flowing from the hills into Montecito and other towns in Santa Barbara County northwest of Los Angeles, which are still recovering from last month´s ferocious wildfires.

“We are saddened to report that the death toll has now risen to 17,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters, saying it had been “another extremely challenging day.”

At least 28 people were injured, authorities said, while 30,000 remained subject to mandatory evacuation orders.

US urges citizens to ‘reconsider travel plans’ to Pakistan

SC approves Sharif family’s plea against LHC decision of shifting Chaudhry sugar mills

 

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a plea for hearing filed by the Sharif family against the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict of the sugar mills’ shifting at earlier location.

A three-judge bench of Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing a case pertaining to relocation of the sugar mills in South Punjab when it approved Sharif family’s plea for hearing.

In September 2017, the LHC ruled that all three sugar mills – owned by Sharif family members – be moved back at earlier location within three months time frame.

A three-member bench, headed by LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, had announced the verdict on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and JDW Sugar Mills owner Jahangir Tareen.

The bench then declared relocation of Sharif family’s sugar mills in South Punjab ‘illegal’ and ordered all three sugar mills – namely Ittefaq Sugar Mills, Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills and Chaudhry Sugar Mills – be moved back at earlier location.

The verdict in the case was reserved on May 26 this year after the counsels of defendant and plaintiff concluded their arguments.

Petitioner Jahangir Tareen had adopted a stance that the sugar mills were shifted to new locations despite a ban had previously imposed on relocating the mills, violating the government’s own policy.

Previously, the Chief Minister Punjab has been accused to breach the law by establishing three sugar mills despite a ban imposed back in 2006.

 

Rescuers search for victims as California mudslide toll hits 17

 

MONTECITO: Rescuers used dogs and helicopters to search for victims on Wednesday of powerful mudslides which left at least 17 people dead in a southern California community that is also home to major celebrities including Oprah Winfrey.

Heavy rains on Tuesday sent rivers of waist-high mud and debris flowing from the hills into Montecito and other towns in Santa Barbara County northwest of Los Angeles, which are still recovering from last month´s ferocious wildfires.

“We are saddened to report that the death toll has now risen to 17,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters, saying it had been “another extremely challenging day.”

At least 28 people were injured, authorities said, while 30,000 remained subject to mandatory evacuation orders.

 

US urges citizens to ‘reconsider travel plans’ to Pakistan

 

WASHINGTON: The United States unveiled a way to warn its citizens about the dangers of foreign travel Wednesday, with a four-point safety ranking system for countries and an interactive world map.

Ten war zones and failed states are ranked Level Four, “Do Not Travel”: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Pakistan has been put in Level 3, and the State Department has urged US citizens to reconsider their plans to visit the country.

“Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Do not travel to Balochistan province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, (FATA) and the Azad Kashmir area due to terrorism and armed conflict,” the State Department said.

North Korea is also Level Four, with the additional restriction that US law prohibits American travelers from using their passports there, effectively banning visits.