Pakistan will retaliate to any aggression, says DG ISPR
ISLAMABAD: Top military spokesman on Wednesday said that the country wants peace on its borders, but is ready to respond to any form of aggression from its neighbours.
"We do not want to disrupt peace but if the other side resorts to aggression then it will be responded accordingly," said Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa while speaking to reporters Wednesday.
The spokesman’s words follow an intense exchange of mortar and gunfire by Indian and Pakistani forces along the working boundary and border dividing disputed Kashmir. The recent violence killed at least 20 civilians and wounded dozens in the worst violation to date of a 2003 ceasefire. While the firing has abated, tension remains high along a 200-kilometre stretch of the border dividing the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Meanwhile, a fresh exchange of gunfire took place at Sialkot’s Charwa sector between Indian and Pakistani troops, sources in the Chenab Rangers said on Wednesday.
No casualties were reported in the firing, sources said, adding that the exchange took place when Indian troops opened unprovoked fire aiming towards the Pakistani side.
Sources added that firing from the Indian side subsided following retaliation from Pakistan.
Pakistan will never shy of using nuclear weapons against India if need arises: Musharraf
- says Modi is ‘anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan’
NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf has categorically said "Pakistan will never shy of using the nuclear weapons against India if the need arises."
In a world exclusive interview to TVTN Managing Editor Rahul Kanwal, Pakistan’s former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf branded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as anti-Pakistan. He also said that Pakistan is always prepared to defend its territory against any threat from India.
"Modi will have to change his stance. He is anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan," Musharraf said, accusing New Delhi of trying to destabilise Pakistan internally by fighting a proxy war.
Rejecting New Delhi’s allegations of Islamabad’s involvement in terror activities within the Indian territory, Musharraf said, "India has no proof of any Pakistani involvement."
Instead, the former Pakistani dictator accused India of creating troubles in Pakistan. "There is absolute evidence of your consulates in Jalalabad and your RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) indulging in all kinds of activities in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and other places," he said.
"The world should help us fight terrorism instead of blaming us for it," he added.
On the recent ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the international border, Musharraf said that India has instability behind its lines. "People in Pakistan are ready to sacrifice themselves but it is the Pakistani army that is holding them back," he said, referring to the pro-Kashmir sentiments in Pakistan.
Last week, in his first comments on ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops, PM Modi said that Pakistan "is the enemy that is screaming". "The enemy has realised that times have changed and their old habits will not be tolerated," he said.
The Indian army has been asked by the Centre to step up border patrols and retaliate with more force if they come under attack. New Delhi has insisted there can be no talks with Pakistan unless it ends shootings and pushing militants into Kashmir. - INP
PM OKs assistance package for govt servants
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on Wednesday approved an assistance package for the families of government employees who pass away during service.
According to details released by the PM office, in case of in-service deaths the amount for BS-1 to BS-16 has been increased to Rs2.5 million, BS-17 to Rs4 million, BS-18 and 19 to Rs8 million and BS-20 and above to Rs9 million.
In case of security-related deaths, the amount for BS 1-16 has been increased to Rs3 million, BS-17 to Rs5 million, BS-18-19 to Rs9 million and BS-20 and above to Rs10 million.
Full pay and allowances will be authorised to the families of government servants till the date of superannuation in case of both in-service deaths and security related deaths, with increments and with full benefits of the revised rates of all pay and allowances, as allowed by the government from time to time.
In both cases families will be allowed retention of government house or payment of rent for hired house for a period of five years or till the age of superannuation, whichever is later.
The children of deceased government employees up until higher education will benefit from free education under this assistance package. The expenses will cover all tuition fees, books, study material and also living allowance.
Cash payment would be admissible to the families in lieu of the previous policy of giving away a plot of land. The rates approved are Rs2 million for BS-1-8, Rs5 million for BS-9-16 and Rs7 million for BS-17 and above.
Employment would also be given to the widow/widower, one son or daughter to the posts in BS-01-15, on a regular basis without advertisement against the post criteria of which applicant fulfills.
The assistance package in terms of GP Fund includes 50% bonus for employees in BS-1-3 while 30% bonus for employees in BS-4-22. In case of security related deaths a special lump sum grant from Benevolent Fund ranging from Rs200,000 to Rs500,000 has been approved.
Concerned departments have also been given guidelines regarding timely filing of assistance cases and streamlining pension procedure and payments.
New polio cases surface in KP, FATA, Sindh
KARACHI: Two new cases of polio surfaced in Sindh province on Wednesday, said officials sources.
These new cases were detected from Gadap and Dadu. However, two new polio cases were also reported from FATA and one polio case from Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa.
CII calls for ban on religious hate speech ahead of Muharram
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top religious body on Wednesday called for a ban on hate speech pertaining to religious identity and urged for greater harmony between sects ahead of the holy month of Muharram, often marred by sectarian violence.
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) added that labelling any Muslim sect "non-believers" was condemnable.
"Terrorism and violence in the country in the name of religion are a violation of Islamic teachings. All schools of thought announce their disassociation from such acts," it said in its "Code of Conduct", which it wants the Parliament to adopt.
"It is an un-Islamic and condemnable act to declare any Muslim sect a disbeliever and deserving of death," it added, along with recommendations to curb hate speech and similar material in published form.
The recommendations come as the country prepares for the Islamic month of Muharram, beginning on October 24 or 25.
The month is frequently marred by sectarian violence, which has risen markedly in recent years.
The body also called for greater protection for non-Muslims, who make up around three per cent of the population.
"It is the government’s responsibility to provide protection to their worship places and holy figures according to the law," it said. - AFP
Pak, Iran agree on intelligence synergy following border unrest
QUETTA: Pakistani and Iranian officials met in Tehran on Wednesday where the two sides agreed on intelligence cooperation at the porous border between the neighbouring countries.
"The two sides agreed to boost intelligence cooperation with regard to border security," said Khan Wasey, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps. "Cooperation between the two countries in battling terrorists is indispensable," he added.
The meeting was between Inspector General FC Balochistan Major General Ejaz Shahid and Iranian border force’s chief General Qasim Razai, Wasay said, adding that it took place in the Iranian capital and was aimed at discussing ways and means to end border skirmishes.
The meeting was called in the wake of the recent flare up at the 900 kilometre border and with the objective of avoiding any untoward incidents in future on its agenda.
On Oct 18, around 30 Iranian border guards had stormed inside Pakistan and taken the residents of Nokundi, a Pakistani town bordering Iran, hostage. They had attacked and killed an FC soldier and injured three others in the Mand Tehsil of Balochistan’s Kech district.
The two countries have decided to ensure effective coordination to avoid any misunderstandings. They also agreed that they cannot afford tension at the border and must make maximum efforts to ease the unrest.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Balochistan Akbar Hussain Durrani said that a joint border commission’s meeting between Pakistan and Iran was scheduled to be held in Tehran on Nov 9 and 10.
Opp stages a token walkout of Senate
ISLAMABAD: Members belonging to the Opposition parties staged a token walkout of Senate over not replying of questions asked in the upper house of the parliament.
Senator Raza Rabbani of Pakistan Peoples Party said ministers did not attend the proceedings and failed to reply complete answers to their quries.
Senator Syed Sughra Imam said that she had submitted a question 10 months ago but the concerned department has not submitted reply till date.
Leader of the Upper House Senator Raja Zafar-ul-Haq assured the opposition that complete answers of the questions would be ensured in future besides the ministers presence in the House. He said in future if ministers failed to attend the proceeding of the House and questions were not replied properly, he would also walk out from the House with opposition. - APP
Reduction in petroleum prices expected: State Minister
ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan on Wednesday informed the Senate that the government would pass on relief of lower prices of petroleum prices at international maket to the consumer in the next month.
Responding to a Calling Attention Notice raised by Ilyas Ahmad Bilour regarding non-transfer of benefits of decrease in the prices of petroleum products in the international market, the minister said that the international market witnessed continuous decline in crude oil prices and currently average price was calculated $ 83 per barrel.
He said that the government in past had also given relief to the consumers and by end of the month new prices would be announced.
The minister said that instant relief could not be given as average prices were calculated on monthly basis keeping in view the international market. - APP
Delay in Nandipur project incurred losses of Rs113 billion, NA told
Design issues of hydro projects being discussed with India
ISLAMABAD: The national exchequer has suffered losses of Rs 113 billion due to delays in completion of Nandipur power project, Ministry of Water and Power told the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Answering a question, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said the Nandipur power project was not a failure but was progressing successfully towards its completion.
"As per findings of the Judicial Commission, the national exchequer suffered a loss of Rs113bn due to delay in completion of Nandipur power project," he said.
The assembly was told that presently Pakistan and India are holding discussions for resolution of differences over five hydro-electric projects on western rivers.
Abid Sher Ali told the House that design issues in Kishanganga, Ratle, Miyar, Lower Kainai and Pakal Dui are under discussion at the Indus Commission level.
Responding to a supplementary question, the minister said that Kalabagh dam has become controversial and cannot be undertaken until consensus is evolved.
He said out of the 147 million acre feet of water that passes through Pakistani territory, the country can store only 14.5mn acre feet of water and the remaining flows into the sea due to lack of storage.
Abid Sher Ali also informed the House that the over-billing in electricity bills is being corrected as per procedure while disciplinary action is being taken against those found responsible for wrong meter readings. He said that automatic reading system has also been started as a pilot project in selected sub-divisions.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that commercial audit of electricity over-billing is expected to be completed during the next few days.
He said that top listed audit firms from the private sector were carrying out the audit to determine the causes of over-billing.
He said that apart from the possibility of 'fudging', extra consumption of power by consumers during load shedding-free period of about a month and abolition of slabs for consumers also led to increase in power bills.
The minister, however, said that the exact cause would be determined by the audit and in case of wrong billing not only the amount will be refunded to the consumers but officials responsible would also be penalised.
Firing at Line of Control and Working Boundary
The House also discussed the situation arising out of recent ceasefire violations by Indian Forces along the Indo-Pak border which had resulted in deaths and injuries to several Pakistanis.
Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari belonging to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) regretted that the international community had closed its eyes towards human rights violations in India-held Kashmir.
He said if the West supports human rights causes elsewhere in the world, then it should also do so in the case of the Kashmiri people.
Other members of the House also condemned firing on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. PPP's Nafisa Shah said India was not only carrying out military aggression but was also resorting to 'water terrorism'.
Chairperson of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, Marvi Memon, said the government and armed forces were effectively responding to Indian provocations on the LoC and the Working Boundary.
The Senate was also informed that Pakistan is one of the top three countries to have made the largest drug seizures.
Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman told the Upper House of Parliament that two hundred persons were arrested at various airports in the country last year for smuggling of narcotics.
Answering another question he said the federal government has imposed a ban on issuance of arms licenses in order to contain illegal arms. He said currently the process of verification and computerisation of issued armed licenses is underway by Nadra.
Replying to a question, the minister of state said over 107,000 people were issued with blue passports during the past five years, including those who were not entitled.
US, Canada air defences on high alert after Ottawa shooting
WASHINGTON: US and Canadian air defenses were placed on heightened alert after a shooting in Canada's parliament, a US defense official told AFP on Wednesday.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) "is taking appropriate and prudent steps to ensure we are adequately postured to respond quickly to any incidents involving aviation in Canada," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the soldier who was shot at a war memorial at the start of an attack by one or more gunmen on Canada's parliament has died of his wounds, a government minister said.
Gunfire echoed through the gothic halls of the Canadian parliament as police swarmed in to tackle the gunman who had shot a soldier outside before storming the building earlier in the day.
One attacker had been shot by police inside the building while up to two more were feared to be at large, as officers sealed off the area.
Video footage posted online by the Globe and Mail newspaper showed police ducking for cover as they advanced along a stone hallway, loud gunfire echoing among the stone columns.
Police officers outside told AFP that one or more - possibly up to three - shooters were feared to be on the roof of the building.
A member of parliament, Maurice Vellacott, told AFP that House of Commons security had told one of his aides that at least one suspect had been killed inside parliament.
Other lawmakers tweeted reports that an assailant had been shot.
CBC radio also reported that one of the suspected shooters had been killed, but there was no official confirmation of this.
Witnesses said they saw a man armed with a rifle running into parliament after the shooting at the memorial. - Agencies
3 injured in attack on polio team in Bajaur
PESHAWAR: Three people were injured on Wednesday when a remote-controlled blast targeted a polio team in the Bajaur tribal region’s Mamond tehsil.
Rescue teams rushed to the site of the attack and shifted the injured who included two Levies personnel on security duty and a driver to a hospital in Khar.
Official sources said that the polio team was targeted in Dabara area of Mamond tehsil.
Earlier on Tuesday, militants had threatened to target polio teams participating in the ongoing polio drive.
Pamphlets were distributed in different areas of Bajaur tribal region warning the tribesmen of dire consequences for continuing the anti-polio campaign.
Immunisation teams have been under attack in the tribal region. On September 10, a Levies man was killed when a polio team was attacked in the Damadola area of Bajaur. A day later, a paramilitary soldier escorting a vaccination team was shot dead in Mamond.
The latest threats to immunisation teams come as Pakistan broke its 13-year-old record of 199 polio cases on October 3. Official data shows that an overwhelming 96 per cent of polio cases so far reported were found among the Pashto-speaking population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
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