127 Killed In Bhoja Air Crash Near Islamabad
A passenger plane of Bhoja Air (Boeing 737) crashed near Hussainabad (Anian da Mohra) due to inclement weather while trying to land at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, on 20th April. All 127 people on board – 118 passengers, including nine children and five infants, and nine crewmembers – were killed.
It was the airline's inaugural flight from Karachi to Islamabad. The flight (B4-213) was coming from Karachi and crashed just before landing. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the plane took off from Karachi at 5:00pm and was supposed to land in Islamabad at 6:40pm, but crashed some 13 kilometres from the runway. Eyewitnesses said the plane was struck by lightning while a naval pilot who witnessed the crash said the aircraft stalled and descended rapidly. Police have found the Black Box and have handed it over to the concerned authorities, sources said, adding that the Black Box would be sent abroad for decoding.
This is the second major air disaster in the capital since July 28, 2010 when an AirBlue passenger jet slammed into the Margalla Hills in cloudy weather, killing all 152 people on board. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the wings of the plane caught fire before it crashed.
The Boeing 737 (200 series) has been declared outdated in Europe/US, according to a PIA expert. He further added that PIA has seven 737 (300 series) Boeings, and 3 to 4 of them are grounded. This plane was a Boeing 737 (200 series), older than the Boeing 737 (300 series) that PIA had purchased in 1983-84.
A CAA official claimed that bad weather is usually not the cause of plane crashes because planes have equipment that helps in dealing with the situation, and are designed to fly in bad weather. However Air Traffic Controllers insisted that the crash happened due to bad weather.
Pepco Dissolved, 670 Employees Transferred
The government last week formally dissolved the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) after the vacation of stay order of the court, and the company's 650-670 employees have been absorbed by the NTDC (National Transmission Dispatch Company) as well as Power Distribution Companies (Discos).
The Pepco Board of Directors on met with Secretary Water and Power Imtiaz Kazi who is also the Chairman of the BoDs, for formally announcing the decision to dissolve the entity. Under the SECP rules, a liquidator will be appointed to close down its bank accounts.
"The dissolution of Pepco will pave the way for the government to qualify for $2 billion loan ($1 billion) each from World Bank and ADB as the Pepco dissolution was imperative under the power sector reforms," an official, from the Ministry of Water and Power, disclosed.
This development, he further explained, is a bright for the government to get a green signal from the IMF that will enable the World Bank and ADB to extend the $2 billion loan to resolve the country's circular debt issues once and for all.
As many as twelve Pepco department functions have already been transferred to the National Transmission Dispatch Company and will later be handed over to the Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA) when its board will formally accord approval for the incorporation of the twelve departments of the dissolved entity.
CJ Iftikhar, Chinoy On Time's List Of 100 Most 'Influential'
Time magazine unveiled its list of 100 people it considers "influential," including Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, featured on the unranked list with Taliban chief Mullah Omar, North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Syrian strongman Bashar Assad among others.
The magazine's list for 2011 had included Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, the recently-retired Director General of the ISI. Its list for 2012 consists of "People who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us, and change our world," according to the news weekly.
The nominees for the 2012 list were compiled through an online poll, which included cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan with 116,130 votes -- making him the fifth most voted for personality in the poll. According to the editors of Time, the poll was used to compile a list of nominees, but the final list was compiled through their own judgment.
The CJ's entry has been authored by Imran Khan, who participated in the movement to restore the deposed judges in 2007. Imran wrote: "Iftikhar Chaudhry has become the first head of Pakistan's Supreme Court to attempt to bring the powerful to justice."
Chinoy's entry was filed by Angelina Jolie, who visited Pakistan several times on behalf of the UNHCR. She wrote, "Pakistan's first Oscar belongs to a monumental campaign that is changing the legal, social and political fate of survivors of acid-related violence. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's documentary Saving Face brought Pakistan's acid-violence problem to the world stage."
Zardari Rules Out Unilateral Withdrawal From Siachen
Ruling out a unilateral withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Siachen, President Asif Ali Zardari said if India calls back its forces from Siachen, only then will Pakistan follow suit. He further said Pakistan was willing to have a dialogue with India on all subjects and withdrawal from Siachen was possible, provided both countries agreed to it.
The President said, "We are aware of the extreme climate and other difficulties at one of the world's most difficult terrains but the withdrawal can only take place if the two governments decide to pull out from the area jointly."
The President, along with the gathering, offered special prayers for the wellbeing of those valiant soldiers and sons of the soil who remain buried under an avalanche in the Gayari sector of Siachen area.
India Will Reciprocate Pak Gesture On Siachen
Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, appreciating the statement of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Siachen, said it was a positive move by the Pakistani military establishment and India would respond to it with the same gesture. Speaking to journalists, Kaur said the issue must be resolved. India's Minister of State for Defence Palam Raju also appreciated General Kayani's statement regarding withdrawal of troops from Siachen. He said he was glad to know that Pakistan is realising the challenge of maintaining troops in Siachen.
India Tests New Long-Range Missile
India successfully test fired a new missile capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in rival China, marking a major advance in its military capabilities.
Watched by hundreds of scientists, the Agni V blasted off shortly after 0800am (0230 GMT) from a concrete launchpad on an island off the eastern state of Orissa. India views the rocket, which has a range of 5,000 kilometres as a key boost to its regional power aspirations and one that narrows -- albeit slightly -- the huge gap with China's missile systems.
The test leaves India knocking at the door of a select club of nations with inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which have a minimum range of 5,500 kilometres. Currently only the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- possess a declared ICBM capability.
Lashkari Raisani Resigns From PPP, Senate
Following PPP Balochistan President Senator Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani's dramatic resignation from both the Senate as well as the party, a flurry of efforts in the top echelons of the PPP leadership was immediately visible in a bid to convince him to review his decision.
According to sources, the PPP leadership has refused to accept Raisani's decision to resign, and is currently using all political instruments available to them to convince him to withdraw his resignation.
Senator Lashkari Raisani, who is the younger brother of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Khan Raisani, on 17th April announced his resignation in protest to the party's attitude towards Balochistan as well as the recovery of missing persons' mutilated dead bodies in the province. Sources said that Raisani tendered his resignation due to differences with the provincial leadership as well as the provincial government's abysmal record of governance.