Planning Commission Angry
At Oil Price Hikes
The Planning Commission of Pakistan (PC) has expressed complete dissatisfaction over the mechanism of fixing the consumer prices of petroleum products. The commission, in its detailed briefing given to the World Bank and other donors on overall energy related matters, pinpointed the shortcomings of determining the prices.
"Retail prices do not reflect international price trends," the planning department told the international donor agencies about the petroleum sector, pricing issues and solutions. The PC asked the government to adopt a proper roadmap for deregulation of ex-refinery prices, which should be improved at par with global practices. "The deregulation cannot work without a strong and effective OGRA."
It, however, maintained that the OGRA (Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority) could continue to announce the prices as a guideline, which would not be binding on the refineries and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) but will set an upper limit.
Jalil Abbas New
Pakistan's ace diplomat Syed Jalil Abbas Jilani has taken over as the 27th Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. He has been assigned this challenging task at the most crucial diplomatic period in the country's foreign affairs. Pakistan is in the process of revisiting its foreign policy as the terms of fresh engagement with Washington are being determined through a process that the Foreign Office is not familiar with.
International conspiracies are being hatched in the region with Pakistan the prime target of the same. The new job would not be a bed of roses for him. Known for his cool mind, acumen and insight Jilani will have to work with Hina Rabbani Khar having traditional Seraiki rural wisdom during the difficult days ahead.
He is cousin to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and has numerous similarities with him. Jilani had an introductory meeting with US Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton in London but he has served in Washington before besides Jeddah, London, New Delhi, Canberra and currently in Brussels. His predecessor Salman Bashir has been notified to be Pakistan's high commissioner in India. The incumbent high commissioner in New Delhi, Shahid Malik has been asked to stay on till his replacement reaches the capital. Salman Bashir who has attained the age of superannuation has declined to seek extension in the incumbent slot, would be landing in the Indian capital towards the end of April. Jalil Abbas assumes charge on 3rd of March.
India Removed From WHO List
Of Nations With Polio
India was taken off a list of polio endemic countries by the World Health Organisation last week, marking a massive victory for health workers battling the crippling disease.
"This gives us hope that we can finally eradicate polio not only from India but from the face of the earth," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
The announcement leaves just three countries with endemic polio – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. India, which last reported a fresh polio case more than 12 months ago, now will have to remain polio free for the next two years to be judged to have eradicated the disease, WHO representative in India Natela Menabde said.
"The government of India has coordinated a massive effort to rid our country of the terrible scourge of polio that has scarred the lives of thousands of thousand of children in India," Singh told a polio summit in New Delhi.
But "the real credit" for India's success in tackling polio goes to the volunteers who repeatedly vaccinated children, he said.
No Judicial Commission Report
Ever Made Public Since 1997
The government formed 15 judicial commissions to investigate the serious crimes in Karachi from 1997 to 2011, but no report of any commission was ever unveiled.
While seven of these commissions completed their investigations, their reports were never made public, and no action was taken on them.
An investigation commission was formed under district and sessions judge Malir on June 10, 1999, under a notification, to investigate the cutting of tongue of Asif Ali Zardari during police custody, which completed its investigation in 21 months, but its facts were not made public.
Another judicial tribunal was formed under Sindh High Court judge Wahid Bakhsh Barohi on June 5, 2004, to investigate the murder of Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai. It submitted its report in due time but no action was taken in the light of certain observations.
These observations were sent to law secretary next month in July 2004 who fully endorsed theobservations of Justice Barohi. A judicial commission was formed for investigation of former MPA Aslam Mujahid in May 2005 and another in April 2006 for probe of Nishtar Park tragedy.
From 1985 to 2011, there were committed 123 crimes, 69 of them of serious nature, throughout Sindh for which the governments had to form judicial investigation commissions. During hearing into the recent suo motu case about law and order situation in Karachi, the Supreme Court had ordered the Sindh home ministry to present a detailed report on the judicial commissions formed for investigation of serious crimes.
Clinton Says Ups And Downs In
Pak-Us Ties To Persist
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there would still be "ups and downs" in the Pak-US relationship but that neither side could afford to shun the other. "Building and sustaining a relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect takes constant care and work, from both sides," Clinton told a press conference following her meeting with Hina Rabbani Khar.
"I'm sure we will continue to have our ups and downs. But this relationship is simply too important to turn our back on – for both nations. And we both remain committed to continue working to improve understanding and cooperation."
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the Somalia Conference in London recently, where the two leaders enjoyed what officials have as termed as a positive and constructive dialogue.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar that the United States fully respected the Pakistani parliament's need to review relations carefully, but also stressed on the need to resume joint work as soon as possible.
Pakistan Navy Receives Two P3Cs
Two modified P3C maritime surveillance aircraft, made in the United States, were inducted into the PNí'92s aviation fleet last week.
The two new additions to PN aircraft fleet comes one year after the navy suffered the loss of two P3C Orion aircraft in the May 22-23 audacious attack on PNS Mehran, the main aviation base in Karachi. The two destroyed aircraft, however, have not been replaced while those inducted were already in the pipeline.
"The aircraft modified with latest avionics/sensors are part of the US assistance being provided to Pakistan Navy under the Foreign Military Funding programme," said a statement issued by the navy in this connection. Pakistan Navy is to receive a total of six such aircraft from the US in batches of two each. The first batch was inducted into the PN in 2010.
A PN spokesman said the new addition to the fleet had extended the navy's surveillance capability which would help Pakistan Navy maintain requisite vigil in the country's vital area of interest in North Arabian Sea, the maritime area in proximity of Pakistan which is regarded as an important trade and energy corridor for the global economy and is home to intense maritime activity, both legal and illegal and thus warrants continuous guard.
Apart from the P3C Orion aircraft, the PN's air fleet is strengthened by the availability of Atlantique reconnaissance aircraft, Fokker F-27 transport and surveillance aircraft, Alouette, Sea King, and Chinese Z9EC helicopters.