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The Lahore High Court was informed on Friday that tender for preparing new uniform of Punjab police was given in accordance with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules. It was stated in a reply filed by a provincial law officer on behalf of the Punjab government before LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah who was hearing a petition seeking directions to set aside the tendering process for new uniform. The government further informed the court that decision of changing uniform was taken in accordance with the policy. However, the chief justice adjourned the further hearing till April 22 after petitioner’s counsel could not appear before the court due to his engagements in Apex Court. The chief justice asked both parties to advance arguments on next date of hearing. Petitioner Shabir Ismail had challenged the tendering process for the new uniform submitting that the PPRA rules were not followed.


Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved payment of salaries amounting to Rs. 380 million for the month of January 2017 to Pakistan Steel Mills employees on compassionate grounds. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) considered and approved proposals submitted by different ministries, in its meeting chaired by Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Friday. The ECC considered and approved the proposal from the Ministry of Finance for issuance of Letter of Comfort to National Bank of Pakistan or any other financial institution which would in turn issue Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) for the comfort of commercial lenders of the Lahore Sialkot Motorway project. The ECC considered and approved proposal of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for allocation of 10 mmcfd gas from Tolang Gas field to SNGPL. The price of gas would be as per the applicable petroleum policy. The ECC also considered and approved a proposal of the Ministry of Commerce with respect to the Prime Minister’s Package of Incentives for Exporters. For export shipments until 31st March 2017 under the package, the ECC approved extension in deadline for submission of claims from 90 days after shipment to 120 days after shipment. The ECC also approved inclusion of certain finished leather projects in the DLTL order under the Package. The ECC considered a proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum regarding transportation of crude oil from Adhi Oil Field, and authorized the concerned company to deal with the transportation arrangement of crude oil from the field purely on open competition basis without any involvement of the government.


Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has said the Constitution guarantees availing of natural gas first to the province from where it was being explored. He was talking to Research Analyst-PAGE on Friday evening where he had come to attend the 10th death anniversary of his father and former Chief Minister Sindh Syed Abdullah Shah. The Chief Minister pointed out Sindh Government had made its contribution for reducing energy shortfall by establishing a 100 MW power plant and had also laid transmission line from Nooriabad to Karachi. The vested interests are against the move to steer the country out of darkness and are reluctant to provide gas under one or the other pretext, he said. The Chief Minister said that the provincial government is ready to submit guarantees at the time of signing the agreement. The Chief Minister said that A.D. Khawaja is discharging responsibility as Inspector General of Police Sindh on the instruction of Sindh High Court.


Tianjin Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Vice President Chen Weiming has said that high cost of doing business and environmental challenges in China have made Pakistan an ideal destination for the relocation of Chinese textile industry. “As the world economy is developing in the face of new challenges and choices, the company strives to develop import and export trade through the adjustment of industrial structure,” he said. “Their aim is multidisciplinary, multiple-format, diversified development of modern textile enterprises in the future.” Chen, while heading a delegation of the association, made the remarks during a meeting with members of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) on Friday. Tianjin is a major port city located in northeastern China. Aptma Senior Vice Chairman Zahid Mazhar invited Chinese investors to take advantage of the liberal trade and investment policies in Pakistan by entering into joint ventures with Pakistani entrepreneurs in the textile industry. He welcomed Chinese interest in relocating the industry to Pakistan. Highlighting the trade and investment policies, Mazhar said the government was an advocate of open and deregulated market-driven economy and was creating an enabling environment by investing heavily in infrastructure and capacity building with special emphasis on attracting foreign investment and duty-free import of machinery, equipment and raw material.



National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua on Friday conditioned India’s inclusion in the multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project to the resolution of outstanding dispute on Kashmir. “If India wants to become part of the corridor, it must first step forward and resolve Kashmir issue,” said Janjua while speaking at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs. The topic was: ‘Pakistan’s Security Environment and Future Projections’. The adviser also addressed the issues of how we are seen in the world, what is the reality behind it, what are our main security challenges and responses and what are the state’s future projections. A large gathering of diplomats, foreign policy analyst, media personnel and Research Analyst-PAGE attended the function. Janjua said: “The world must tell India to do so. The animosity has to go out of the window – for the sake of wellbeing of the people. “How long do we need to fight and struggle against the other? Before (eyeing) military and economic interest, it must see and address the human interest and resolve the Kashmir dispute.” The adviser called out for cooperation and not competition, stressing, “The next generation will do it, I hope.” Going further into his talk, he said, CPEC will provide great connectivity to the world.


Textile lobbies, particularly of Punjab, have demanded the resignation of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman over bureaucratic hurdles in the way of clearing outstanding sales tax refund claims of the industry. At a press conference on Friday, members of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), Textile Processing Mills Association, Towel Manufacturers and All Pakistan Textile Exporters Association blamed the Ministry of Finance as well as the FBR for a persistent decline in textile exports. “For the first time in history, the FBR has rolled back RPOs (Refund Payment Orders) to cross-check authenticity of the sales tax refund claims. The FBR chairman as well as those officers who examined the claims should resign from their posts,” said Aptma Chairman Aamir Fayyaz. He decried that three months had passed since the announcement of a textile package by the prime minister, but not a single rupee had been released. Denouncing the government’s attitude, PHMA Chairman Adil Butt cautioned that the Rs180-billion revival package for export-oriented industries would not meet the target unless outstanding refund cases of exporters were settled and funds promised in the package were released without any delay. Owing to the lack of competitiveness compared to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and China, the benefit of GSP Plus status granted by the European Union had been virtually nullified, he said. The industry leaders demanded that the government immediately withdraw the FBR directives to roll back the RPOs for immediate payment of the outstanding sales tax refunds. They also proposed that there should be a uniform energy price across the country in order to remove disparity and become competitive in the international market.


Balochistan’s Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti on Friday told the provincial assembly that Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) of only aliens have been blocked. He was responding to a resolution moved by Liaquat Ali Agha of Pakhtoonkhawa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP) in the Assembly. The minister said Pakistan had earned a bad name when a Pakistani national identity card was recovered from the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor, who was killed in a US drone attack last year. He also told the PkMAP legislator that the federal government and the authorities concerned would be approached to find out a solution of the issue and requested Agha to withdraw his resolution. Agha in his resolution had demanded that NADRA and other institutions involved in blocking the CNIC’s, especially of Pashtoons across the country, should be summoned for an explanation. His resolution was also supported by treasury and oppositions members. Nawab Ayaz Khan Jogezai, Dr Ruqia Saeed Hashmi, Kishwar Ahmed Jattak, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetiran and other members also spoke in support of the resolution. The legislators said that people from all over the country have been facing this problem and demanded that the NADRA Director General should be summoned to explain the situation. They said that Pashtoons have played an important role in the defense and development of the country but they were facing discrimination.


Referring to power consumers’ complaints, the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power has said the K-Electric has minted billions of rupees from Karachi by sending incorrect bills. “Strict action would be taken if any consumer received inflated bill,” the committee’s head Senator Sardar Yaqoob Nasir said on Friday while expressing concern over overbilling. “Wapda [Water and Power Development Authority] and other power authorities should make sure that inflated bills are only sent with authentic proofs,” he said. The committee also asked the K-Electric to provide within 15 days a record of copper wires that it sold after replacing them with aerial bundle wires. “We want to know who sold the wire and for how much money,” said Nasir. The K-Electric CEO Tayyab Taren told the committee that the utility had installed aerial bundle wires to discourage power theft. “Total power requirement of Karachi is 3,000MWs but we have the capacity of producing 2,300MWs,” he said. The panel expressed dismay over absence of State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattaq, who belongs to the K-P province, said people’s complaints against power authorities were genuine.

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