Pakistan News

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday, in a unanimous verdict, ruled that the PTI did indeed receive prohibited funding and issued a notice to the party asking why the funds should not be confiscated.
A three-member ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander (CEC) Sultan Raja announced the verdict in a case filed by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar which had been pending since November 14, 2014.
The verdict, which was reserved on June 21, was expected at 10am but was delayed by almost half-an-hour.
Key points of ECP’s ruling:
Commission finds PTI received funding from prohibited sources Party got funds from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies PTI took ownership of eight accounts, kept 13 hidden and failed to mention three Notice issued to PTI to explain why funds shouldn’t be confiscated Form-1 submitted by Imran Khan found to be “grossly inaccurate” In the written verdict, a copy of which is available with, the commission noted that the party “knowingly and willfully” received funding from Wootton Cricket Limited, operated by business tycoon Arif Naqvi. The party was a “willing recipient” of prohibited money of $2,121,500, it said.
The ECP said that the party “knowingly and willfully” also received donations from Bristol Engineering Services (a UAE-based company), E-Planet Trustees (a Cayman Islands private registered company), SS Marketing Manchester (a UK-based private company), PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 which were “hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws”.
It went on to say that the party also received donations through PTI Canada Corporation and PTI UK Public Limited Company. “From both the companies, the amounts received into its accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws.”
Further, the party received donations from Australia-based company Dunpec Limited, and Pakistani companies Anwar Brothers, Zain Cotton and Young Sports which was again in violation of the law.
“PTI Pakistan, through fundraising campaigns by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975, was a recipient of donations from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. Collection of donations and contributions from foreign nationals and companies are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws,” it said. The electoral watchdog also said that the PTI had been found to be a beneficiary of donations made by Romita Shetty, a US-based business woman of Indian-origin which was in violation of the law.
The ECP said the party had only owned eight accounts before the commission and declared 13 accounts to be unknown. “The data obtained from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reveals that all the 13 accounts disowned by the PTI were opened and operated by senior PTI management and leadership at [a] central and provincial level.”
The commission noted that the party also failed to mention three accounts which were also being operated by the party’s senior leadership. Non-disclosure and concealment of 16 bank accounts by the PTI is a “serious lapse” on part of the PTI’s leadership and in violation of Article 17(3) of the Constitution, it said.
Article 17(3) says: “Every political party shall account for the source of its funds in accordance with the law.”
The PTI chairman submitted Form-I for five years (between 2008-2013) which was found to be “grossly inaccurate on the basis of the financial statements obtained by this commission from SBP and other material available on record”.
“Therefore […] the matter falls within the ambit of Article 6(3) of Political Parties Order 2002 (PPO). Hence , the commission directs that a notice may be issued to the respondent party in terms of Rule 6 of the PPO as to why the aforementioned prohibited funds may not be confiscated. The office is also directed to initiate any other action under the law in light of this order of the commission, including forwarding the case to the federal government.”
Article 6(3) of the PPO states: “Any contribution made, directly or indirectly, by any foreign government, multinational or domestically incorporated public or private company, firm, trade or professional association shall be prohibited and the parties may accept contributions and donations only from individuals.”
In its order, the commission also said that it was “constrained to hold that Imran Khan failed to discharge his obligations as mandated under the Pakistani statutes.”
The PTI chairman has for five successive years submitted Form-I and signed a certificate which is not consistent with the accounting information before us, it said.
“Imran Khan, for the five years under review, has filed submissions that were grossly inaccurate and wrong. Even during the course of scrutiny and hearing by this commission, the PTI continued to conceal and withhold complete and full disclosure of [the] source of its funds,” it said.
The security in Islamabad’s ‘red zone’ was put on high alert ahead of the ECP’s verdict. It has been decided to deploy 1,000 police personnel in the area, and the anti-riot force will also remain in the red zone. Unrelated persons will not be able to enter the Red zone.
As time for the verdict drew closer, footage broadcast on television showed Islamabad police with riot shields standing outside the building as staffers can be seen unrolling spools of concertina wire.
Fawad says party received money from overseas Pakistanis Speaking to the media after the verdict was announced, PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said that most of the money was from overseas Pakistanis.
“I don’t understand why the PML-N, the JUI and the PPP have declared overseas Pakistanis the enemy. We consider overseas Pakistanis to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and will continue to rely on them for our funding,” he said.
Commenting on the case, the PTI leader said that this was never a case of “foreign funding”, adding that this had been proven by the ECP’s decision. He went on to say that the accounts that were supposedly undeclared were not directly linked with the PTI chief.
The ex-minister said that the people deserved to know where political parties received their funding from. “No party, including the PTI, has the right to hide its funding from the people.”
You decided the PTI’s case and now we expect that you will bring to light other parties’ funding so that the people know that the law is being followed, he said while addressing the ECP.
‘Time for regime change in PTI’ After the verdict was announced, Babar demanded that Imran resign as the party’s chairman.
“Now that the allegations [against Imran] have been proven, it is time for a regime change in the PTI. I demand that Iman resign,” he said while speaking to media persons in Islamabad.
The PTI should be handed back to its ideological workers, he added. He also urged PTI workers to “use their mind”, terming the ECP’s verdict an “eye-opener”. “Think, God has given you the ability to think,” he said, adding that following someone blindly was a sin. Babar was also thankful for the “success” in the case close to eight years of struggle. “We were standing before a mountain. This fight was between the truth and power, between haq (truth) and batil (evil),” he said, adding that the ECP’s verdict was the nation’s success as he did not stand to gain anything. The main objective behind the case was to bring about a much-needed change in Pakistan’s politics, he said. Babar said he had won a battle in a big war, adding that there were more stages to come.
“I was fighting a legal battle. Now, I will fight a political battle against Imran […] We will bring back ideological workers and call a big session,” he announced. Babar said the ECP’s verdict confirmed the veracity of his allegations and would end Imran’s “fascism”. “It is a historic decision that will put an end to fascism,” he said.
“Today’s decision has buried the doctrine of necessity […] which brought the country’s economy and politics to the brink of destruction,” he said. He added that he expected the electoral watchdog to also conclude the cases against the PPP and the PML-N.
Govt to implement verdict in accordance with law Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also said the federal government would implement the ECP’s verdict in accordance with the law.
According to Radio Pakistan, she said that the verdict had “confirmed” the crimes of the PTI chief who received funding from various foreign countries.
The minister said that Imran was not “sadiq and ameen”, demanding that he resign from his position as the PTI chairman. Imran “stoked anarchy in Pakistan through illegal foreign funding,” the report quoted her as saying.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the verdict “chargesheets Imran Niazi for violating the Constitution, submitting false affidavits and accepting foreign money”. He added: “Proven yet again that he is a certified liar. Nation should ponder over the implications of his politics funded by foreigners.”
In a press conference, senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the law would now take its course. “The government will do whatever it has to do in view of the ECP findings,” he told journalists at a press conference in Islamabad.
Referring to the PTI chief, Abbasi said the people of Pakistan must decide whether they could allow “this dishonest man to remain in politics any longer”.
The former premier also questioned whether Imran could still be called “Sadiq” and “Ameen” (honest and righteous) after the ECP’s verdict.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi speaking at a press conference on August 2.—DawnNewsTV “More startling facts will be unearthed once the investigation proceeds,” Abbasi warned.
The PML-N leader said the people of Pakistan must decide whether or not Imran should go to jail as he had allegedly looted Rs1,500 million from the nation.
Abbasi said the ECP had unearthed the facts, reiterating that the government would proceed under the parameters of the law.
PPP wants Imran to be disqualified Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said the ECP had fearlessly decided the case according to the Constitution despite facing pressure from Imran and the PTI.
“It has been proven that Imran Khan cheated the nation. The truth cannot be hidden. Imran Khan was given fake certificates of ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’,” he said, adding that the PTI chairman should be disqualified.
Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Shah said Imran continued engaging in anti-American politics despite receiving funding from the US, adding that he was no longer honest and trustworthy after his Form-I was found to be false.
Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab tweeted that Section 212 of the Elections Act, 2017 was “important now”. The section deals with the dissolution of a political party.
The prohibited funding case
The prohibited funding case — previously referred to as the foreign funding case — was filed by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar and has been pending since November 14, 2014. Babar, who is no longer associated with PTI, had alleged serious financial irregularities in the party’s funding from Pakistan and abroad. The PTI has, however, denied any wrongdoing and maintains the funding is not from prohibited sources. In March 2018, a scrutiny committee was constituted to examine the PTI’s financing. The committee submitted its report on January 4, after 95 hearings and nearly four years. The report, based on eight volumes of record requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan, proved that the PTI leadership had committed gross violations of funding laws by allowing the collection of millions of dollars and billions of rupees without any source and details from foreigners, including Indian nationals and foreign companies. The report confirmed that the PTI received funding from foreign nationals and companies, under-reported funds and concealed dozens of its bank accounts. It also mentioned a refusal by the party to divulge details of large transactions and the panel’s helplessness to get details of PTI’s foreign accounts and the funds collected abroad. It further called into question the certificate, signed by PTI chairperson Imran Khan, submitted along with the details of PTI’s audited accounts. According to the report, the party under-reported an amount of Rs312 million over a four-year period, between FY2009-10 and FY2012-13. Year-wise details show that an amount of over Rs145m was under-reported in FY2012-13 alone. The report also referred to the controversy over allowing four PTI employees to receive donations in their personal accounts, but said it was out of the scope of its work to probe their accounts. PTI-ECP discord The verdict is being announced amid renewed calls by the PTI for the CEC’s removal after the ECP reserved its judgement in the case and comes days after an investigative report published in the Financial Times revealed how 2.12m dollars collected in the United Kingdom through a charity cricket match landed in PTI’s accounts, exposing the role played by business tycoon Arif Naqvi in the process. For months, Imran has been persistent in his demand for CEC Raja’s resignation, accusing him of being biased towards the PML-N. Editorial: Imran vs the CEC He has alleged that CEC was “incompetent” and “dishonest”. “We don’t trust the ECP head and he has been imposed on us. We don’t have confidence in you … you are a biased person in cahoots with a political party,” Imran said at a press conference last month. Last week, the PTI also decided to move a reference against CEC Raja in the judicial commission. The party also got resolutions against the CEC passed from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtun­khwa Assemblies, where it has the majority. At a party meeting on Monday, Imran announced a protest outside the ECP office in Islamabad on Thursday (August 4) and urged supporters to demand the CEC’s resignation. Meanwhile, parties in the ruling coalition, particularly the PML-N and PPP, see the PTI’s criticism of the CEC as an attempt to pressure the electoral watchdog into announcing a verdict in its favour. When the PTI announced its decision last week to move a reference against the CEC, ECP officials and the PPP had termed it an ‘attempt to blackmail’ the commission. Coalition presses ECP to pass judgment For their party, the ruling coalition has been urging the ECP to announce a verdict in the case without any further delay. On Saturday, a delegation of the ruling alliance, comprising members of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, PPP, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, had met ECP officials and urged them to release the verdict in the case. Speaking to the media outside the commission’s office in Islamabad, PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said “justice merits immediate action, according to the law and due process, whenever there’s an issue.” The former prime minister had also said that Babar had presented “clear evidence” in the case eight years ago when it had first surfaced.
Since then, the PTI had tried to hamper the case by all means, he had alleged, and accused the party of exerting “government pressure” on the ECP during its tenure, as well as “political pressure” following its ouster.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also urged the ECP to announce its judgment on the long-delayed case last week.
“(The) foreign funding case is an example of how ‘Ladla’ (blue-eyed boy) is being protected. While NS (Nawaz Sharif) was convicted for not taking salary, ‘Ladla’ is untouchable. 8 years on, decision is still elusive. Imran Niazi filed 9 writ petitions in IHC & got 50 adjournments in the FF case,” the PM had tweeted.

The wreckage of the Pakistan Army helicopter that went missing in Balochistan last night was found near Musa Goth in the Lasbela district, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Tuesday.
“All 6 officers and soldiers including Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali embraced shahadat,” the media affairs wing of the armed forces tweeted.
It added that the accident occurred due to bad weather, as per initial investigations.
The chopper was on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan when it lost contact with ATC [air traffic control].
Six individuals were on board including Commander XII Corps Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan.
Police sources had told Dawn that area where the chopper went missing was mountainous terrain, without even jeep paths, making it extremely difficult for search and rescue parties.
“Either you go on foot or motorcycles or conduct aerial surveillance,” a senior official had said.
Other difficulties included lack of cell phones coverage and no electricity. Police are said to have engaged the services of local volunteers to assist with the search operation.
Military personnel and equipment, including helicopters, have been engaged in relief operations in the flood-hit districts of Balochistan for weeks now.
Condolences pour in ISPR’s tweet triggered an outpouring of grief.
President Dr Arif Alvi reached out to the army chief and expressed deep grief over the martyrdom of the army officers and soldiers.
Paying tribute to the officers, he said that were martyred while working with great zeal, hard work, and dedication to “fulfill their duty and serve the nation”.
During the telephonic conversation, Gen Bajwa told Dr Alvi that bad weather and reduced visibility led to the helicopter crash.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that the nation was deeply grieved by the martyrdom of Lt General Sarfraz Ali and 5 other officers of the Pakistan Army.
“They were doing a sacred duty of providing relief to flood affectees,” he said, adding that the nation will remain eternally indebted to the “sons of the soil”.
PTI chairman and ex-premier Imran Khan said that he knew Lt Gen Sarfaraz personally. “I had the privilege of knowing Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali whom I found to be a thorough professional & an upright, honest human being.”
“My condolences and prayers to the families of the martyrs,” he added.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed shock over the news of the incident and extended his condolences to the martyrs’ families.
“Every PPP worker and supporter is an equal participant in the grief of the heirs and the Pakistan Army over this tragic accident,” he said.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo said that the accident was “unbelievable” for him.
“All the people in the helicopter are the asset of the country and the pride of the nation,” he said, expressing that they had laid down their lives while fulfilling their national duty.
He said the martyrs were among the best army officers and their loss was a national tragedy. The chief minister went on to say that he had a brotherly and friendly relationship with General Sarfraz Ali and lauded his work in Balochistan.
“The people of Balochistan salute the martyrs,” he added.
Moreover, PPP co-chairperson and former president Asif Ali Zardari expressed deep grief and sorrow over the accident and prayed for the martyrs.
In a tweet, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said she was “deeply saddened” by the news and prayed for the high ranks of the martyrs.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that his heart went out to the families of the martyrs. “May Almighty bless the martyrs with the highest ranks in Jannah and provide the aggrieved families with courage.”
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani also expressed his grief over the news and prayed for the strength and patience of the martyrs’ families.
Former federal minister Asad Umar recalled his interaction with Lt Gen Faraz saying that he “found him to be not just a fine officer but a good human being”.
“His heartfelt desire to help the people of balochistan is what i remember the most,” the PTI leader added.
Former National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf also said he personally knew General Sarfraz since his time as a defence attache in Washington.
“Had seen him work tirelessly in Balochistan when I was in government. All others on board were also busy serving our country on the frontlines like him, keeping up the long and proud tradition of Pakistan army support to relief efforts.”
Army chief briefs PM Shehbaz on rescue operation Earlier in the day, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the search operations for the helicopter.
During the telephonic conversation, PM Shehbaz had expressed his concern over the safety of Lt Gen Sarfraz and other officials onboard the helicopter.
He had termed the senior army officer a “thorough professional and an excellent person”.
The prime minister had also prayed for the safe return of the brave sons of the soil, saying the entire nation was deeply saddened over the incident.
He had said the officers who provided assistance to the flood victims had emerged as an exemplary example of dedication and service.
On Monday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was also in Balochistan alongside National Disaster Management Authority head Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz.
Additional reporting by Ghalib Nihad and Imtiaz Ali.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reached Quetta on a day-long visit on Monday to oversee relief operations in flood-affected areas of Balochistan.
The prime minister’s visit comes as nine more people died in rain-related incidents in Balochistan over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 136, according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
Speaking to the media during a visit to a tent city set up for flood-affected citizens in Qila Saifullah district, the PM sought action against officials for their failure to provide people with food and water.
“During my visit here and to other camps, I have been told the people are not being provided food and water […]. People clearly said they were not getting any food and water and when I asked them how were they managing, they said they had to send someone back home to fetch food,” PM Shehbaz said.
“It is extremely unfortunate that these camps are without food and water,” he lamented.
The premier said immediate action should be taken against the district administrations concerned, adding that Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo had assured him that action would initiated against those responsible.
The prime minister said he had issued directives to ensure food was provided at relief camps from today.
CM Bizenjo, who was also present on the occasion, then directed the provincial chief secretary to suspend the officials concerned if food was not being provided at the relief camps.
“We were told people have been given one-month’s ration,” he said, instructing the chief secretary to probe the matter and suspend the relevant deputy commissioner (DC), tehsildar, PDMA in-charge and relevant team if food was not available.
“They are all suspended and action will be taken against them,” he assured the prime minister.
The chief minister reiterated that if proper relief was not being provided at any camp, the relevant DC and other officials should consider themselves suspended.
Earlier, the PM also expressed dissatisfaction over the absence of patients’ records at medical camps in tent cities and asked the CM to take action regarding this.
He further called for an inquiry to determine whether people were being actually treated at these medical camps or “if it was all on paper”.
He said the federal and provincial government would work together to rehabilitate families and the infrastructure affected by the rains and subsequent floods.
“The federal government has announced Rs1 million in compensation and the provincial government has already disbursed Rs1m,” he said, adding that a compensatory amount of Rs200,000 would be given for a partially damaged house and Rs500,000 for a completely damaged house.
He said a survey would be jointly conducted by the PDMA, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the provincial government to determine the extent of damage caused by rain-induced floods and further compensation would be given accordingly.
Prior to the media talk, the PM was briefed about relief operations in the area, DawnNewsTv reported.
During the briefing, which was aired on television, the PM was told that four relief camps had been set up in Balochistan — in Qila Saifullah, Quetta, Kech and Lasbela.
He was informed that livestock and crops had also been damaged but an accurate assessment of the damaged caused would be carried out after conducting a survey in the third phase of the relief operation.
This is PM Shehbaz’s second trip to Balochistan within the span of a week to oversee relief efforts.
He had visited the flood-affected areas of the province on Saturday and assured flood victims of all possible help and cooperation in their rescue and rehabilitation.

NDMA chairman brief PM
On this trip, PM Shehbaz is accompanied by Defence Production Minister Israr Tareen, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Housing and Works Minister Maulana Abdul Wasay, Narcotics Control Minister Shahzain Bugti, Minister of State for Energy Mohammad Hashim Notezai, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MNA Salahuddin Ayubi and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz.

During their flight to Quetta, the NDMA chairman briefed the premier on relief and rescue activities under way in Balochistan.
He was later given a detailed briefing by the NDMA after landing in Quetta, following which is issued directives for the immediate disbursement of financial assistance to the families of those who lost their lives due to rains and floods, according to state-run Radio Pakistan.
The prime minister announced on the occasion that the government had increased the amount of financial assistance for individuals whose houses had been damaged by rains to Rs500,000, the Radio Pakistan report said.
It added that PM Shehbaz also instructed relevant officials to increase the number of medical camps in flood-affected areas to that people could get timely medical assistance.
He said heavy monsoon rains had badly affected the infrastructure in the province and caused loss of human life, assuring the both federal and provincial government were committed to rehabilitating every family affected by rains and floods.
Rains, floods wreak havoc in Balochistan According to the latest PDMA report, 136 people have lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Balochistan since June 1, while 70 others have been injured during this period.
Further, the authority said on Monday that several roads and bridges were washed away by floods. It said that a bridge connecting Lasbela and Sindh, which was damaged seven days ago, had not yet been repaired.
Roads linking Quetta to Ziarat, Chaman and Sibi had also been affected by rains, the authority said.
It said rains had damaged 13,535 houses in the province since June 1, out of which 10,129 were partially damaged and 3,406 were completely destroyed.
The authority said relief activities were under way in the province.
On Sunday, the situation had slightly improved in the province’s Lasbela district, which has faced the worst flooding so far, a Dawn report said. Subsequently, traffic on the Quetta-Karachi highway was restored after almost a week. The highway was badly damaged after collapse of three bridges earlier this month.

Weather forecast
The PDMA report also shared the weather prediction for the next 24 hours. It said that Zhob, Musakhel, Loralai, Dera Bugti, Harnai, Duki Kohlu, Ziarat, Chaman, Qilla Abdullah, Quetta, Mastung and coastal areas of Balochistan were likely to receives isolated heavy showers over the next 24 hours.
Rain-wind and thundershowers were expected in these areas, it said.
It added that while weather was likely to remain hot and humid in most parts of the province over the next 48 to 72 hours, Zhob, Barkhan, Loralai, Ziarat, Harnai and surrounding areas were expected to witness rains and thunderstorm.
All relevant authorities were expected to remain alert during the forecast period, the PDMA said.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Sunday announced a reduction in the price of petrol by Rs 3.05 per litre and a hike of Rs8.95 in the price of diesel.
“The government is able to decrease the price of petrol by Rs 3.05 per litre,” he tweeted. “The price of diesel has however gone up by Rs 8.95.”
He said that the new prices will be effective from midnight tonight.
The price of Kerosene was similarly increased by Rs4.62 per litre while that of light diesel oil (LDO) was reduced by Rs0.12 per litre.
The new prices are as follows: Rs227.19 for petrol, Rs244.95 for diesel, Rs201.07 for Kerosene and Rs191.32 for LDO.
According to a press release he shared from the Finance Division, the government had decided to revise the existing prices of petroleum products to pass on the impact of fluctuations in petroleum prices in the international market and exchange rate variation.
Senior government officials had told Dawn that both major petroleum products — high speed diesel (HSD) and petrol – were set to go down significantly with effect from August 1, but three major factors — currency depreciation, higher petroleum development levy (PDL) and increase in dealer commission — deprived the consumers of the benefit of the international price cut.
These officials said the government had committed a prior action with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase PDL by Rs10 per litre on HSD, kerosene and LDO and Rs5 per litre on petrol to ensure a uniform rate of Rs15 per litre on all products at the start of August. At present, PDL is Rs10 per litre on petrol and Rs5 each on HSD, kerosene and LDO.
On July 14, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced a reduction of Rs18 to Rs40 per litre in the prices of various products as international prices went down. This was the first time the PMLN-led coalition government reduced petroleum prices after it came to power in the second week of April.
Between May 26 and July 1, the petrol price had increased by 66 per cent, or Rs99 per litre, while HSD price went up by 92pc since May 26 from Rs144.15 per litre, up by 132.39 per litre. Likewise, the ex-depot price of kerosene had gone up to Rs230.26 per litre, up by 95pc between May 26 and July 1. Similarly, the ex-depot price of LDO went up to Rs226.15 on July 1, up 80pc from Rs125.56 per litre on May 26, up by about Rs100.59 per litre.
Under the deal with the IMF, the government has to gradually increase PDL on oil products to a maximum of Rs50 per litre to collect Rs855bn during the current fiscal year.

QUETTA/PESHAWAR/SUKKUR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured the flood-ravaged people of Balochistan of all possible help and cooperation in their rescue and rehabilitation, and that his government will not leave them alone in this challenging time.

Meanwhile, the death toll in flood and rain-related accidents in Balochistan was reported to be 11, including three Levies officials, on Saturday; at least 10 people were killed and several others injured, dozens of houses and other infrastructure destroyed in various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; and in Sindh, five bodies were found stuck in different gates of Sukkur Barrage, taking the official death toll over the last three days to 14.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority in KP issued an alert, warning of high flood in the Kabul River and its tributaries and streams during the next 48 hours. It said the heavy rains also destroyed houses and infrastructure in Khyber, Buner, Swat and other areas of the province.

“The federal government will extend all help to the areas that suffered losses due to torrential rains and flash floods, including Balochistan,” Prime Minister Sharif said on Saturday while talking to the media after visiting the Jhal Magsi area of Nasirabad division.
Three Levies officials among 11 drown in Balochistan; many houses, infrastructure destroyed in KP; five bodies found stuck in Sukkur Barrage gates
Earlier, when the PM arrived in Jacobabad along with his team, he was briefed by Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Aquili and NDMA chairman Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz on the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the province.
The PM also took an aerial view of the affected areas to assess the extent of losses. He stopped at the Shambani village and met some of the victims. He ordered the establishment of a medical camp and provision of medicines to the affected village. He also ordered the posting of a veterinary doctor for the livestock.
Talking to the media at the village, the PM claimed that 300 people, including 124 in Balochistan, had lost their lives in floods, adding federal and Balochistan governments would both provide Rs1 million to families of each victim. He said the government would also compensate for damaged houses.
Meanwhile, five people, including three Levies personnel, were reportedly killed in rain and flood-related accidents in Mastung and Zhob. Torrential rains and flash floods wreaked havoc in Khuzdar, Kalat and Mastung districts while flooding continued in the already adversely affected areas of Lasbela and Jhal Magsi districts.
Moreover, the death toll in Chagai and Naushki districts due to floods and heavy rains was reported to be six on Saturday, including three minor girls of a family, an assistant lineman of the Quetta Electric Supply Company, a boy who had been washed away along with his car and a man, who went missing on Thursday, was found dead from Khaisar Nala in Noshki on Saturday.
Traffic on RCD highway was partially suspended after flash floods damaged the road at several locations, while the freight train service between Pakistan and Iran also remained suspended for the third consecutive day owing to damages to the track. Electricity supply to a few towns in Chagai and many areas of Dalbandin was suspended.
Also on Saturday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took an aerial view of the flooded areas of Dadu and Jamshoro districts. He announced a relief package for the rehabilitation of roads and bridges in Dadu as well as compensation of Rs1m for families of each victim of rain-related incidents. He also distributed ration bags among 1,000 affected families.
Saleem Shahid in Quetta, Ali Raza Rind in Chagai and Waseem Shamsi in Sukkur contributed to this report

WASHINGTON: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could upgrade Pakistan’s safety rating to Category 1, allowing direct flights from Pakistani airports, the US media reported on Saturday.
There have been no direct flights between the two countries since 2017 when the FAA downgraded Pakistan to Category 2 due to concerns over Pakistan’s aviation safety record.
Simple Flying, a niche news site focused on aviation, reported that the FAA will soon send its inspectors to Pakistan to assess the country’s airports and aircraft. The FAA is the largest transportation agency of the US government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country.
“Should the country’s aviation sector pass the test, there is a good possibility Pakistan will receive a Category 1 rating,” Simple Flying reported.
Earlier this week, Head of Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi discussed the possibility of opening up direct flight access for Pakistan with US officials in Washington.

Briefing the Pakistani media after the meeting, Mr Sufi said that the US side “conveyed its readiness to have technical discussions with Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant departments and to undertake necessary visits for resumption of direct flights.”

“To facilitate Pakistani exporters of perishable items to the US, , we have also requested the US to appoint an inspector at Karachi port. This will ensure pre-clearance of mangoes and other food items so they can reach their destination in the US without any delays,” he said.
Simple Flying reported that if Pakistan received a Category 1 safety rating, “Pakistani carriers would be able to launch new direct routes to the US and establish code-sharing agreements with other airlines.”
A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with US standards. This rating allows air carriers from that country to establish service to the United States and to carry the code of US carriers through code-sharing arrangements. The FAA lowered Pakistan’s safety rating on July 15th, 2020 after determining it was not in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.
With its Category 2 safety rating, Pakistani airlines have restricted access to US airspace and cannot establish new routes or code shares with US carriers. The United States had given the green light for national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate 12 direct charter flights a month before revoking its decision over safety concerns.

پاکستانی طلبہ نے انفارمیشن ٹیکنالوجی سے متعلق چین میں ہونے والے عالمی مقابلے میں کامیابی حاصل کرلی، اس مقابلے میں 85 ممالک کی دو ہزار جامعات کے ڈیڑھ لاکھ طلبہ نے شرکت کی تھی۔
ہواوے پاکستان کے ڈپٹی چیف ایگزیکٹو افسر احمد بلال مسعود نے بتایا کہ ہواوے کے عالمی مقابلے میں خستہ حال اسکولوں میں پڑھنے والے پاکستانی طلبہ کی کامیابی یہ ظاہر کرتی ہے کہ لگن اور محنت کا کوئی متبادل نہیں۔
ڈان اخبار کی رپورٹ کے مطابق احمد بلال مسعود چھٹا ہواوے آئی سی ٹی مقابلہ (برائے سال 22-2021) کے فاتحین ستیش کمار، بھاگچند میگھوار اور اقرا فاطمہ کے اعزاز میں منعقدہ تقریب سے خطاب کر رہے تھے۔
مذکورہ پاکستانی طلبہ چین کے شہر شینزین میں منعقدہ اس عالمی مقابلے کے فائنل میں دنیا کے مختلف حصوں سے آنے والے حریفوں کو شکست دینے میں کامیاب رہے۔
تقریب کے شرکا کو بتایا گیا کہ ستیش کمار کا تعلق تھرپارکر کے ایک دور افتادہ گاؤں سے ہے جو نقشے میں بھی نمایاں نہیں ہے جبکہ بھاگچند میگھوار کا تعلق ضلع دادو کے ایک گاؤں سے ہے۔
احمد بلال مسعود نے کہا کہ ’اس سے ثابت ہوتا ہے کہ اب پاکستان میں کوئی بھی یہ نہیں کہہ سکتا کہ نام کمانے کے لیے ان کے پاس وسائل یا گھروں میں انٹرنیٹ نہیں ہے یا مناسب تعاون دستیاب نہیں ہے، ان طلبہ کے اسکولوں میں دیواریں بھی نہیں تھیں جہاں یہ ابتدائی تعلیم کے لیے جاتے تھے‘۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ ’اسی طرح فاتح ٹیم کی تیسری رکن ایک لڑکی ہے، اگر وہ مشکلات کا مقابلہ کر سکتی ہیں تو دوسرے کیوں نہیں کر سکتے‘۔
اقرا فاطمہ کا تعلق بہاولپور سے ہے اور انہوں نے بہاولپور یونیورسٹی میں تعلیم حاصل کی جبکہ دیگر دو طلبہ نے مہران یونیورسٹی جامشورو سے تعلیم حاصل کی تھی۔
ہواوے کی جانب سے ہر سال اس مقابلے کا اعلان کیا جاتا ہے جس کا آغاز مقامی سطح سے کیا جاتا ہے تاکہ طلبہ اور حال ہی میں گریجویشن کرنے والوں کو انفارمیشن ٹیکنالوجی (آئی ٹی) کے شعبے میں مہارت حاصل کرنے کی ترغیب دی جاسکے۔
پاکستان میں 2021 میں تقریباً 12 ہزار درخواست دہندگان میں سے 6 کو منتخب کیا گیا اور ہواوے کے منتظمین نے پاکستان کے لیے 2 ٹیمیں تشکیل دیں، ستیش کمار نے ٹیم ون کی قیادت کی جس نے عالمی مقابلے کے فائنل میں حریفوں کو شکست دیتے ہوئے اپنی جیت کا سلسلہ جاری رکھا۔
اس مقابلے میں دنیا بھر کے 85 ممالک کی 2 ہزار سے زائد یونیورسٹیوں کے ڈیڑھ لاکھ سے زائد طلبہ کو شرکت کا موقع فراہم کیا گیا۔
مقابلے میں پہلی پوزیشن حاصل کرنے والی ٹیم کو 20 ہزار ڈالر انعام دیا گیا جبکہ مقابلے میں شرکت کرنے والے تمام شرکا کو موبائل فونز دیے گئے۔
تعلقات عامہ کے ڈائریکٹر وُو ہان نے کہا کہ 2021 کے مقابلے کی کامیابی نے ظاہر کیا ہے کہ پاکستانی نوجوانوں میں ترقی کی بڑی صلاحیت موجود ہے۔

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