Sunday, July 1, 2012
Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Fasih Bukhari on Saturday said that the letter of Arsalan Iftikhar’s Counsel was threatening and it would be considered as contempt of court. A joint investigating team has formed into Arsalan’s case and it will work according to the law. National Accountability Bureau will not become political weapon, he added. During a press briefing, Fasih Bukhari said that due to mounted corruption, the national treasury is facing Rs6 billion to Rs8 billion loss per day. So far, Rs 235 billion recovered and investigation on a number of other cases underway. Bukhari told the media that a joint investigation team (JIT) including the FIA, NAB and police among others had been formed for investigating the Arsalan Iftikhar case and will be headed by the NAB director general (DG) Financial Crime Investigation Cell, as per the order of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s letter. Bukhari said that although the Sharif brothers’ case could yield just Rs3 billion and the Swiss letter case, Rs6 billion but the case of former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman Tauqeer Sadiq could restore Rs55 billion to the treasury. The chairman also said that the Ashraf was interrogated for 3 hours before he was made the prime minister and his name will likely to put in Exit control list (ECL).
The Express TribuneAn outbreak of measles has claimed the lives of eight children in four villages of Torghar district in the past week, according to locals. Official sources, however, have denied the casualties but confirm reports of the outbreak. Villagers of Akazai tribe told The Express Tribune over telephone that at least eight children between the ages of 8 and 12 years have died of measles in Toram, Shergarh, Sarzongli and Torband villages during the past one week. They said that last month four children died of measles in other parts of the district; however, no preventive measures were taken by the administration. They maintained that if the district administration had taken timely measures, the disease would not have spread to Akazai areas. He added that dozens of children are suffering from measles as a result. Executive District Officer (EDO) Health Dr Muhammad Idris confirmed that cases of measles have surfaced in four villages of Akazai tribe in Torghar district, but denied that there were any casualties. He said that medical teams headed by doctors have been dispatched to the affected areas along with required vaccines. He said the health office was short of anti-measles vaccines but the required amount of vaccines was arranged from neighbouring districts. The EDO Health said that shortage of resources and manpower was the main hurdle in reaching out to remote areas of the district. “With a staff of 35 members, who are directly attached with nine district health units, how can the department be expected reach to every villager in the district that has a population of 500,000?” he questioned. He said he is in contact with his seniors at the provincial level and assured that the required staff and medicines will be provided to his district very soon.
ANI NEWSAn editorial in a Pakistan newspaper has called on the Pakistan Government to stop its clandestine state patronage of the Afghan Taliban. The Express Tribune editorial said: "Pakistani state needs to decide that it cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds". It criticized Islamabad's current policy of allowing some jihadis safe havens so that they may be used as proxies in 'foreign policy ventures'. It claimed that such policies had never worked in the past, and were unlikely to work in future. With the failure of the negotiations in Qatar, the editorial said: "Now might be a good time to rethink our policy towards Afghanistan. The Taliban are clearly not interested in sharing power and will wage a civil war to attain absolute power". In such a scenario, we should not have that blood on our hands," it added.
pakistan observerPatients and their relatives in the provincial capital hospitals on Saturday protested against the striking doctors and the Punjab government.
Murree Brewery, which has managed to survive in a nation in which almost all citizens are forbidden to drink, may get a boost now that Pakistan allows beer exports to non-Muslim countries.Pakistan — In a country where mullahs ceaselessly denounce Western vices and laws prevent restaurants from offering anything stronger than mocktails or Red Bull, the Murree Brewery somehow perseveres, churning out pallets of lager with an efficiency that would make Milwaukee proud. A relic of British colonialism, the 152-year-old brewery has survived a 1977 government decree banning tippling by Pakistani Muslims, turning instead to a small but ever-present clientele of non-Muslim foreigners and Christian Pakistanis on the hunt for alcohol-enhanced answers to Pakistan's 100-plus-degree summers. A recent Pakistani government decision to allow beer exports to non-Muslim countries raises an intriguing prospect: Could Murree beer help relations with nuclear archrival India, a neighbor whose populace has a well-known craving for a cold one? "Business has to prevail, it has to be the bridge, I would say," Isphanyar Bhandara, chief executive of Murree Brewery, said during an interview at his office, where shelves of Murree offerings as varied as beer and 12-year-old single malt whiskey greet visitors. Government authorities, he continued, "have realized that keeping a lid on alcohol, allowing it in Pakistan but not allowing it to be exported, doesn't make sense. It doesn't make economic sense." Approval for alcohol exports, a government move aimed at generating more tax revenue, coincides with a recent thaw in ties between Pakistan and India, die-hard enemies since the partition of British colonial India in 1947. The two countries endorsed a most-favored nation agreement this year that fosters trade through the mutual imposition of lower import tariffs and higher import quotas. And Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to India in April was viewed on both sides of the border as an important symbolic gesture. Murree can now do business with any non-Muslim nation, but India appears to be the likeliest market. Its beer sales are expected to double to almost $9 billion by 2016, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek. In India's northwestern state of Punjab, Murree beer is already routinely smuggled over the border. Still, Bhandara acknowledges that his marketing department has tough work ahead. "We are keeping our fingers crossed and shouting at Indian Punjab to import our beer, but it's a hard sell in India," Bhandara said. "They are already producing beer in millions of barrels…. So it's not that we are going to put crates on the border, and people are going to come and quickly snatch it up. We don't see that happening, though we wish it would." Within Pakistan, sales are hardly a problem. At hotels in the capital, Islamabad, cases of Murree are hauled away by thirsty Westerners just as quickly as workers can stock them. Black marketeers make millions of rupees serving the legions of Pakistani Muslims who drink on the sly. That Pakistani Muslims can get their hands on Murree beer, whiskey, vodka and gin doesn't really bother Bhandara. "Murree's direct customers are institutions, not individuals," said the beer magnate, whose non-Muslim family has owned Murree since the late 1940s. "I'm only allowed to sell my product at government-authorized outlets. If those hotels and shops sell to Muslims, that's not my concern or jurisdiction." The people Bhandara might worry about the most, Pakistan's array of Islamist militant groups, have never attacked the brewery. The reason may lie in its location, a sprawling red-brick compound less than a mile and a half from the army's headquarters, Pakistan's equivalent to the Pentagon, and not far from the residence of army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani. Inside the brewery, a tidy, clockwork rhythm prevails that seems out of place amid the dusty bustle of bazaars and motorcycle-rickshaw-choked avenues of Rawalpindi. Workers and technicians, almost all of whom are Pakistani Muslims, tend to conveyor belts spitting out thousands of bottles a day of Murree's honey-gold lager. In the distillery, an eclectic array of liquors is produced: Lemo' Lime gin, Dew of Himalayas malt whiskey, Bolskaya vodka and, until recently, even an Irish cream. Sabih ur-Rehman, a retired army major and Bhandara's right-hand man, acknowledges that marketing a Pakistani-made Irish cream was a hard sell. "I'd say it was one of the best products we produced," Rehman said. "But the market wasn't there. Those who drank it almost got addicted, it was that good. But it's a liqueur and the alcohol percentage is less. So we couldn't get customers interested." Murree executives are heartened by the federal government's decision to allow exports, but their relationship with Pakistani Punjab provincial bureaucrats has been far from ideal. Last summer, the brewery, which is already heavily taxed, got word from the Punjab government that Murree would be assessed a separate pre-production duty on ethanol purchased for use in its distillery, a move that brewery executives said amounted to double-taxing. Murree balked at paying, and for six months the brewery's operations were virtually shut down. Bhandara estimates his losses amounted to about $1 million. Murree threatened to take the case to court, but eventually agreed to pay extra duty on the ethanol provided it wasn't made retroactive. There are other government-imposed restrictions that the brewery grudgingly endures. Each morning, the brewery can't open until a Punjab provincial inspector unlocks the gates. That inspector also has the keys for the buildings within the compound that involve alcohol production, including the brewery's fermentation vats and storage tanks, the bottling department and the distillery. He unlocks only those departments that are expected to be in use that day. "It's done to prevent pilferage," Bhandara said. "The government wants to ensure that for every drop that goes out, it gets its share." That share should increase if Murree begins exporting alcohol. In Pakistan, it's virtually the only game in town; the country's only other brewery, Indus, in the south, is tiny compared with Murree. Bhandara knows he doesn't have the means to compete head-to-head with Indian beer giants such as Kingfisher. But as he begins scouting around for potential importers, he's buoyed by one conviction. He believes his beer is better. "As far as quality is concerned," he said, "our beer beats any Indian beer hands down."
BY Saleem Javed“At least 60 people belonging to Hazara community living in Quetta have been killed in targeted attacks, including suicide, remote-controlled and timer device bombings and firing,” says a report published in this newspaper, following a brutal attack on Shia pilgrims belonging to the Hazara community.