PM announces March 30 half working day

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza GilaniISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday announced Wednesday (March 30) half working day in lieu of Pakistan-India World Cup semi-final.

All the offices will close at 12:00 noon on Wednesday so that the people could watch Pakistan-India cricket match, said a press release issued here from Prime Minister House.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is visiting India on Wednesday at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh to watch the biggest clash of the ICC world cup at Mohali, between India and Pakistan.

All the things will come to a standstill at 2:30 pm in both the countries when the semi-final between the two arch rivals will start at Mohali.

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Nation celebrates Pakistan Day today

23 March-Pakistan day
KARACHI: The 71st Pakistan Day is being celebrated today (Wednesday) across the country with traditional zeal and fervor.
The day started with special prayers for the progress and prosperity of the country; there were 31 gun salutes in Islamabad and 21 in each provincial capital as well.
The national flag has been hoisted on major public and private buildings.

Several injured in Baldia firing incident

Karachi-PakistanKARACHI: Several people were injured in a firing incident at Naval Colony in Baldia Town area of the metropolitan.

According to the details, armed men stopped the bus at Naval Colony and opened fire, resultantly several people sustained injuries.

Armed men deprived passengers from their mobile phones and cash.

Sources said that armed men also kidnapped few passengers.

President Zardari addresses joint session of the Parliament

President Asif Ali ZardariISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday addressed the joint session of the parliament’s fourth consecutive year amid protest and boycott of the opposition parties.

The President addressed the joint session under article 56 of the constitution.

Chief Ministers and governors of all the provinces except Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif besides military chiefs of three armed forces attended the joint session.

Jamate-e-Islami, JUI, PML-N, PML-Q and Muslim League (Like Minided) boycotted the address of the President. They also recorded their protest.

President Asif Ali Zardari, in his address vowed to uphold supremacy of the Constitution and the Parliament and not to permit anyone usurp powers of the Parliament.

Referring to the restoration of Constitution, he said it showed that if all political parties rise above politicking, they can deliver.

“Let us strive to keep our egos aside. Let political forces stop challenging each other, merely for political point-scoring. It only weakens democracy in the long run,” the President said.

He said it was the task of the leadership to unite; not divide. “We believe in reconciliation, and not confrontation.”

President Asif Zardari commended Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for pursuing the policy of reconciliation and consensus, given by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

“We have achieved consensus on constitutional reforms,” the President said and called for building consensus on resolving issues like energy shortage, circular debt, taxation reforms, restructuring of public sector entities and documentation of the economy.

President Zardari interspersed with applause, congratulated the members of Parliament, and all the political parties, both in the government and in the opposition, for the unanimous passage of the 18th and 19th Constitutional Amendments.

He said that returning power from dictators to the people was at the core of promises made with them and that “rarely in history has a leader abdicated power by his own free will.”

The President started his address with a strong condemnation, on behalf of the people of Pakistan and on his own, for the deliberate desecration of the Holy Quran by a fanatic in Florida.

“We condemn this act in the strongest possible words. It is a serious setback, to the efforts at promoting harmony among civilized communities throughout the world.”

President Zardari called upon the House to adopt a resolution urging the United Nations to address this issue for the sake of harmony and peace in the world.

Zardari strongly reacting to the acts of terrorism in the country, expressed the resolve “to fight the militants to the finish”.

“We cannot permit the use of our soil for terrorist activities against any other country. We will not,” he said and expressed the resolve for a modern and moderate Pakistan – the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

“We will not back down,” the President said and pointed “we have no other option except to win … Win we will. And soon InshaAllah.”

The President also paid tribute to all martyrs, who had laid down their lives in fighting the militancy and the extremism.

The President also recounted the problems the country was facing, which he said, if not addressed through collective wisdom now, would be inherited by the future generations.

He called for building a national consensus on these issues and to collectively take “tough decisions”.

“I invite all political parties for a national dialogue; sooner rather than later,” the President said and read out a quote from the last book of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, just days before her assassination:

“It is time for new ideas. It is time for creativity; it is time for bold commitment. There has been enough pain. It is time for reconciliation.”

13, including ANP leader, assassinated in Karachi

13, including ANP leader, assassinated in Karachi

Hanif Khan, a senior member of the Awami National Party, has been gunned down in Karachi on Monday.

 

Sindh Labour Minister Amir Nawab’s political coordinator, Hanif Khan, was shot and injured when he stepped out from his house, in the SITE area, to offer Fajir prayer. He was taken to hospital but died.

Twelve other people were also assassinated in Shah Faisal Colony, Garden, Khudadad Colony, Mubina Town, Baghdadi, Kharadar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and other areas of Karachi.

Sorrange mine blast death toll hits 45; survivors unlikely

Pakistan army soldier, mine workers and local residents gather outside a coal mine after a explosion in Sorrange near Quetta, March 20, 2011.

QUETTA: The death toll from Sunday’s methane gas explosions in a coal mine in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan rose to 45 on Monday, government officials said, as hopes faded there would be any survivors from the disaster.More than 50 miners were in the mine when three big explosions triggered by methane gas ripped through the caverns.

“Forty-five miners have died. We have retrieved 25 bodies so far,” Aslam Bizenjo, provincial irrigation minister, told the provincial assembly.

Officials said the chances of finding the trapped workers alive were very slim because of a fire, which had consumed all the oxygen. Witnesses said the bodies had severe burns from the huge fire.

The mine in the Sorrange area, some 35 kilometres from the provincial capital, Quetta, is owned by the state-run Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation and was leased to a contractor.

Mohammad Iftikhar, chief inspector of mines in the region, said the contactor had been asked to shut down the mine two weeks ago because of an excessive accumulation of methane gas.

Such explosions are not uncommon in coal mines in Pakistan, most of which are located in Balochistan and neighbouring Sindh, where safety measures can be lax.

The country has huge coal reserves estimated at more than 184 billion tonnes. It produces four million tonnes of coal annually, most of which is consumed by brick-making kilns.

NEPRA demands KESC to explain round-figure billings

NEPRA demands KESC
KARACHI: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Monday demanded an explanation from Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) over round-figure billings regarding bank and fuel adjustment charges.

According to KESC sources, a consumer from Karachi complained to NEPRA that KESC had not returned additional fuel charges received during June 2010 to December 2010.

The complainant further added that KESC is also incorrectly receiving Rs. 8 as bank charges with round-figure billing in monthly bills.

NEPRA has issued a show cause letter (number TCD-2011-878/09) to KESC demanding an explanation over malpractices as pointed out by the complainant.

The show cause letter also describes that if an explanation is not submitted before June 30 then action will be taken under Section-44 of NEPRA Act against KESC.

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