MQM Tables Bill For Creation
Of Hazara Province
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) introduced the 20th amendment bill in the Constitution for the creation of a Hazara province as well as new provinces in Punjab in order to provide, according to the text of the bill, just social services to the population of these areas.
Women parliamentarians hailing from different parties also introduced a bill to increase the representation of women in the National Assembly through direct elections.
Twelve private members' bills were introduced in the National Assembly. These included the National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2012, which envisages the issuance of national identity cards and children's registration certificates to persons and children of unidentified parentage as introduced by Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho of the PPP. Through another similar bill, Dr Azra Fazal wanted the issuance of passports to persons with unidentified parentage.
MQM members wanted the insertion of the names of Hazara and Southern Punjab (one or more provinces to be ascertained through a referendum) in Article 1 of the Constitution. The statement of objects of the bill says that besides administrative inconvenience, the cultural and social diversity within the ideological unity also necessitates making new provinces.
32 Die Of Cardiac Drugs Reaction In Lahore
At least 32 patients died due to a reaction to cardiac drugs they had consumed earlier. The medicine was provided by the govt-run Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC).
Sources said that medical experts had suspected five medicines – Solprin, Zafnol, Concont, Cardiovascin and Isotab – were provided to the cardiac patients registered with the PIC.
They said the patients taking the medicines were brought to hospitals with symptoms of a sudden drop in platelets and white blood cells and bleeding from different body parts. They said initially they took the symptoms as that of dengue.
More than 150 patients are reportedly under treatment in different city hospitals.
Sources further said that the Punjab Health Department had ordered the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing and supplying the affected medicines to withdraw all stocks from hospitals and the market. They said the department had also ordered health EDOs and medical superintendents to immediately stop use of medicines and seal stocks and instructed drug inspectors to withdraw medicines from the registered patients.
Musharraf Spokesman Resigns
The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) spokesman Fawad Chaudhry resigned amidst complaints that he was not being consulted by the party head, Pervez Musharraf, on key decisions.
Fawad Chaudhry confirmed this, saying he had mailed his resignation to Pervez Musharraf, which was yet to be approved. Explaining reasons for this, he claimed that he was not being taken into confidence on key decision making, which was causing embarrassment to him. "I was made responsible for defending the party and explaining things to the media about which I was not consulted by the party head.
The party head had given different dates for reaching Pakistan and cancelled his programmes without consulting me and it was becoming quite difficult for me to justify the developments as I was not taken into confidence on any issue", he added. Fawad claimed Musharraf had not even consulted him while giving the recent date of his arrival to Pakistan and he was not being informed of other developments in the party.
Ogra Chairman Quits
Acting chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Sabir Hussain has resigned protesting against the powerful 'cartel' of the senior officials in the regulatory body who are not only involved in massive breach of the laid down procedures but also in huge kickbacks in helping the influential people in setting up or relocating new CNG stations though the country is facing 1.8 billion cubic feet gas shortage per day.
He submitted his resignation to the cabinet secretary Nargis Sethi though it has so far not been accepted. "Yes, I have submitted the resignation as I found myself unable to discharge my duty because of the undisciplined and unbridled senior officials in the organisation who have virtually made the institution a disputed entity owing to which I am unable to discharge my duties with honesty. I have requested secretary cabinet to accept my resignation with immediate effect as acting chairman of Ogra, though I would continue to act as Member (Oil) in Ogra," Hussain said.
Meanwhile, Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain, according to sources, also tried to persuade Sabir Hussain to withdraw his resignation, assuring him to help him fight the officers' cartel. "Mr Sabir Hussain had constituted committees to deal various issues to ensure transparency and avert attempts to make money out of the 'deals', the sources said.
Marvi May Launch Political Party
Former MNA Marvi Memon has hinted at launching a new political party for which she says she has initiated an active public contact campaign initially from Sindh.
Though she hesitated from giving her clear words about launching a political party, but she said: "We have approached the people and if they decide, we can launch a new political party to bring about a real change for progress and prosperity".
Marvi said she had already held 187 public rallies in 32 days in Sindh, adding the people had responded enthusiastically. "Posters and billboards for a movement of 'change' have already sprung up all over Sindh and many influential figures are also extending their full support to my movement," she added.
She said all political parties including PTI could not achieve the targets as self-declared leaders enjoyed strong influence in them. A source said Imran Khan offered Marvi the slot of secretary general of his party and announcement in this respect was likely to be made in the Dec 25 public rally, but she refused to accept that offer mainly due to political differences.
FBR Officials Involved In Rs 6bn Tax Fraud Cases
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has detected tax fraud cases of over Rs 6 billion, committed through collusion of unscrupulous elements and corrupt tax authorities.
"But the FBR has so far taken no action against the officials involved in these cases. Action was taken only in one case but that too was reversed within one week following the change of Regional Commissioner Karachi-III," a top official of the FBR disclosed.
Such cases were also discussed during the last commissioners' conference held a few days ago at the FBR's headquarters under the chairmanship of former chairman FBR Salman Siddique, who retired on January 21, 2012.
The FBR's directorate intelligence and investigation has found that SRO 775 was misapplied in 7,000 cases, causing Rs1.874 billion loss to the national exchequer. The board had sent region-wise cases to all concerned authorities to pursue them in months ahead and come up with the exact loss to the national exchequer.
Pakistan To File Lawsuit In ICA Against UNFCCC
Pakistan is all set to become the first country filing a lawsuit against the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) for awarding carbon credits to India on highly controversial Nimoo-Bazga Dam, sources said.
Sources said the prime minister has already approved a summary for filing a case in the ICA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sorting out modalities in coordination with ministries of water and power and environmental wing of ministry of disaster management to raise the question about how the UNFCCC awarded carbon credits to India without trans-boundary Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate.
Sources said it has been identified that a report by the UNFCCC paved the way for Nimoo-Bazga Dam project in which it stated that it would have no negative environmental impact on any neighbouring country. "We have come to know about a report by the UNFCCC and we are surprised how it did so despite the fact that no trans-boundary environmental impact assessment certificate was conducted by India," sources said.
Power Consumers To Pay Mark-up On Energy Sector Debt
The government has decided that now electricity consumers will have to pay Rs20 billion whopping interest on debts owed by the energy sector to commercial banks.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet that met with Dr Hafeez Shaikh in the chair approved the debt swap of Rs160 billion to ease out the circular debt in the energy sector to increase the thermal power generation to the maximum to erase the crippling loadshedding. But the interest, which commercial banks will charge on TFCs (Terms Finance Certificates), would be paid by electricity consumers, a senior official who attended the meeting said.
If the existing interest rates are applied on arranging the whopping Rs160 billion, then the interest amount will stand at Rs20 billion, which will be paid by consumers as the impact of the interest amount will be included in the tariff and to this effect, Nepra would be issued the policy guidelines. "If kept in view the Rs20 billion as interest payment, then the power tariff will swell by over 2.6 percent," the official said.
Eminent economist Dr Ashfaque H Khan said that forcing the power consumers to pay interest on Rs160 billion was cruelty. "This is not the way to run the country and economic policies. The government's economic wizards are simply penalising the innocent masses and encouraging power theft."