70pc Afghan refugees born, bred in Pakistan: survey

PESHAWAR, Nov 29: Pakhtuns make the most of 1.6 million Afghan refugees registered in Pakistan, while around 70 per cent of them were born and bred as refugees in the country, according to a nationwide survey.

“Pakhtuns constitute 82 per cent of the total Afghan refugee population in Pakistan and they are followed by five per cent Tajiks and four per cent Uzbeks and other ethnic groups,” said the findings of the Population Profiling, Verification and Response Survey of Afghan Refugees done by States and Frontier Regions ministry and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2011.

According to a news release issued here Thursday, around one million Afghan refugees in Pakistan were interviewed for the survey, which examined the specific needs of Afghan refugees and generated accurate and detailed description of registered Afghan population, including information about intention to return to their country, livelihoods, socio-economic and legal conditions.

The survey revealed that around 20 per cent of working Afghans had collectively invested over Rs18 billion in business in the country.

It said the government had issued Proof of Registration Cards to refugees and they would expire by the end of December.

According to the survey, around 70 per cent of Afghan population was under the age of 18 and that most were born and raised in Pakistan.

Around 360,000 of the total of 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees have already planned to return to Afghanistan in the coming years.

The voluntary repatriation, which has seen more than 3.8 million Afghans return home over the last 10 years, remained at the centre of the ‘Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees’, which was endorsed at an international conference in May this year in Geneva.

The refugees, who didn’t want to return to their country, cited insecurity, unemployment and lack of shelter major reasons for it.

The survey revealed that 22.53 per cent of the refugees were economically active and of them, men accounted for 85.59 per cent of the total workforce.

According to it, the Afghan workforce comprises mostly adults aged between 25 and 59, while 31.3 per cent is made up of youths aged from 15 to 24.

Members of the two groups make 90 per cent of the total refugee population.

The survey said many refugees were currently working as unskilled labourers — mostly as sales workers, or in the construction, handicraft and transportation sectors.

According to it, 70 per cent of the refugees have one earning family member, while six per cent of the households have no breadwinner.

The survey said in education sector, 43 per cent of boys and 67 per cent of school-age girls were never enrolled in schools.

It added that a high dropout rate prevented most Afghan children from completing primary education.

CNG stations plea rejected

THE Lahore High Court on Thursday turned down a plea of CNG stations for instant relief against action by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) over shutting down filling stations.

The CNG stations were shut down as protest against reduction in gas price by the authority after the Supreme Court’s decision.

The stations owners, through their counsel, pleaded that it was not viable for them to sell the compressed natural gas (CNG) at a less prices fixed by the Ogra as it was causing huge financial loss to them.

He said Ogra and the SNGPL had been harassing the filling stations owners and compelling them to sell the gas at, what they call, irrational prices.

The petitioners’ counsel requested the court to restrain the respondents from taking coercive measures against them.

Opposing the petitions, the counsel for the SNGPL argued that the matter was sub-judice before the Supreme Court. He said the gas prices were reduced on the order of the apex court but the CNG stations did not want to pass the benefit on to the masses. He further said that the closing of the gas filling stations was an illegal and immoral act.

After hearing both the sides, Justice Ayesha A Malik dismissed the stay application of the petitioners and issued notices to the respondents on the main petition for December 17.

Reply sought: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the federal government to submit a reply to a writ petition challenging the appointment of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman.

A local lawyer moved the petition contending that the government had not followed the due course for the appointment of the PTA chairman. He said the vacant post was neither advertised in the media nor other eligible candidates were invited for interviews. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah adjourned the hearing until December 17.

Mushahidullah Khan on Govt’s corruption

 عالمی مالیاتی اداروں کی حکومتی کرپشن پرجاری کردہ رپورٹس ہوں ےا پاکستان کی عدالتوں کی جانب سے فیصلے ،حکمران کرپشن سے بازنہیں آنے والے ہیں،مشاہداللہ خان
کہ حکمرانوں کوکرپشن اوربدانتظامی سے مذہب جیسا لگاﺅ ہے ، مقامی اوربین الاقوامی ادارے پکارپکارکرکہہ رہے ہں کہ تمام ترخسارے اورمعاشی مسئلے کی بڑی وجہ بڑھتی ہوئی کرپشن ،مالیاتی نظم ونسق سے لاپرواہی ،غیرپیداواری اخراجات میں بے تحاشا اضافہ اورنااہل اوربدعنوان افرادکی بھرمارہے
حکومت نے بدعنوانی کے جو بیج بودیئے ہیں ان کے زہریلے اثرات کو ختم کرنے کےلئے مربوط حکمت عملی اورطویل المدتی اقدامات کرناہونگے ، مسلم لیگ(ن) لوٹی ہوئی دولت کی پائی پائی عوامی خزانے میں لانے کےلئے احتساب کا شفاف نظام قائم کرے گی ،مرکزی سیکرٹری اطلاعات پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن)

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پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کے مرکزی سیکرٹری اطلاعات سینیٹرمشاہداللہ خان نے کہاہے کہ عالمی مالیاتی اداروں کی حکومتی کرپشن پرجاری کردہ رپورٹس ہوں ےا پاکستان کی عدالتوں کی جانب سے فیصلے ،حکمران کرپشن سے بازنہیں آنے والے ہیں ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ ےوں محسوس ہوتاہے کہ حکمرانوں کوکرپشن اوربدانتظامی سے مذہب جیسا لگاﺅ ہے ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ حکمرانوں کی بدانتظامی اوربدعنوانی کی وجہ سے آنے والی حکومت کےلئے قومی اداروں کی بحالی اورانہیں خسارے سے نکال کرکارآمدبناناسب سے بڑاامتحان ہوگا۔مشاہداللہ خان نے کہاکہ مقامی اوربین الاقوامی ادارے پکارپکارکرکہہ رہے ہں کہ تمام ترخسارے اورمعاشی مسئلے کی بڑی وجہ بڑھتی ہوئی کرپشن ،مالیاتی نظم ونسق سے لاپرواہی ،غیرپیداواری اخراجات میں بے تحاشا اضافہ اورنااہل اوربدعنوان افرادکی بھرمارہے ۔انہوں نے کہاکہ حکومت نے بدعنوانی کے جو بیج بودیئے ہیں ان کے زہریلے اثرات کو ختم کرنے کےلئے مربوط حکمت عملی اورطویل المدتی اقدامات کرناہونگے ۔مشاہداللہ خان نے کہاکہ مسلم لیگ(ن) لوٹی ہوئی دولت کی پائی پائی عوامی خزانے میں لانے کےلئے احتساب کا شفاف نظام قائم کرے گی ۔

A high level minorities delegation calls on PMLN leader Syed Zafar Ali Shah (National Lobbying Delegation)

پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) قائداعظم کے اصولوں کے مطابق پاکستان میں رہنے والے ہرشہری کومساویانہ سلوک دینے پرےقین رکھتی ہے ،سیدظفرعلی شاہ
ہم پاکستان کوقائداعظم کے رہنماءاصولوں کی روشنی میں ایک ایسا ملک بنانا چاہتے ہیں جہاں تمام ترشہریوں کو رنگ ونسل اورمذہب وعقیدے کے امتیازکے بغیرآگے بڑھنے کے ےکساں مواقع میسرہوں
ہم سب ملکر مسلم لیگ(ن) کے قائدمحمدنوازشریف کی قیادت میں ہی ملک کوترقی کی شاہراہ پرگامزن کرینگے ،دہشتگردی کے مسئلے پراس ملک کی تمام سیاسی جماعتوں ،سول سوسائٹی اوردفاعی قوتوں کوایک ہوکرسوچناہوگا، نیشنل لابنگ کے رہنماءجے پرکاش کی سربراہی میں وفدسے گفتگو
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ملک بھرسے آئے ہوئے اقلیتی نمائندوں کے 8رکنی وفد کی پاکستان مسلم لیگ(ن) کے رہنماءسینٹرسیدظفرعلی شاہ سے پارٹی کے مرکزی سیکرٹریٹ میں اسلام آباد میں ملاقات ہوئی۔وفد کی قیادت اقلیتوں کی جانب سے قائم کردہ نیشنل لابنگ کے رہنماءجے پرکاش نے کی اس موقع پرسیدظفرعلی شاہ کے ہمراہ مرکزی میڈیا سیل کے انچارج محمدعاصم خان بھی موجود تھے ۔ملاقات کے دوران آئندہ انتخابات میں اقلیتوں کی انتخابی عمل میں شرکت ،اقلیتوں سے متعلق پارٹی منشورکے ضمن میں مختلف تجاویزپراوراقلیتی خواتین کے حقوق سے متعلق امورپرتبادلہ خیال کیاگیا۔وفدسے گفتگو کرتے ہوئے سینیٹرسیدظفرعلی شاہ نے کہاکہ مروجہ طریقہ انتخاب اقلیتی برادری کو جداگانہ طرزعمل کی بجائے براہ راست ووٹ کا حق ملنے سے انہیں قومی معاملات اورفیصلہ سازی میں شرکت کا برابری کا حق تودیاگیاتاہم اقلیتی ارکان اسمبلی کی مخصوص نشتوں پرنامزدگی کرتے وقت اس بات کوےقینی بنایا جانے اشدضروری ہے کہ وہ نہ صرف اہل بلکہ ایسے افرادکونامزدکیاجائے جوکہ اقلیتی برادری کی نمائندگی کا حق اداکرنے کے اہل ہوں اوران کا ماضی اقلیتی برادری کی خدمات کے حوالے سے نمایاں کرداررہاہو۔انہوں نے کہاکہ تمام سیاسی جماعتوں کو مخصوص نشتوں پرنامزدگی سے محروم نہ ہونے پائیں ۔سینٹرسیدظفرعلی شاہ نے کہاکہ مسلم لیگ(ن) قائداعظم کے اصولوں کے مطابق پاکستان میں رہنے والے ہرشہری کومساویانہ سلوک دینے پرےقین رکھتی ہے ۔زبان،رنگ،مذہب،ذات پات اورعقیدے کی بنیادپرکسی کو اس کے بنیادی حق سے محروم نہیں کیاجاسکتا،ملک کے تمام شہریوں کوترقی کے عمل میں حصہ لینے اورتمام شعبہ ہائے زندگی میں مساویانہ کرداراداکرنے کی ضرورت ہے ۔مسلم لیگ(ن) ملکی ترقی کے عمل میں تمام لوگوں کوبرابری کی بنیادپرشریک کرکے اقتصادی لحاظ سے مستحکم ملک بناکراقوام عالم میں پاکستان کوممتازدلوائے گی ،ہم پاکستان کوقائداعظم کے رہنماءاصولوں کی روشنی میں ایک ایسا ملک بنانا چاہتے ہیں جہاں تمام ترشہریوں کو رنگ ونسل اورمذہب وعقیدے کے امتیازکے بغیرآگے بڑھنے کے ےکساں مواقع میسرہوں ،اس وقت ملک میں کوئی اقلیت ےااکثریت نہیں ،اس ملک کی اکثریت تووہ ہے جسے بجلی میسرنہیں ، جو کہ بے روزگاری اورمعاشی مسائل میں جکڑی ہے ،جسے صحت کی سہولتیں حتی کہ پینے کا صاف پانی تک میسرنہیں اورجوتعلیم کے میدان میں دنیاسے آگے نکلنے کی بجائے تعلیم کے شعبے کی زبوں حالی کا شکاررہے ،ہم سب ملکر مسلم لیگ(ن) کے قائدمحمدنوازشریف کی قیادت میں ہی ملک کوترقی کی شاہراہ پرگامزن کرینگے ،دہشتگردی کے مسئلے پراس ملک کی تمام سیاسی جماعتوں ،سول سوسائٹی اوردفاعی قوتوں کوایک ہوکرسوچناہوگا۔ظفرعلی شاہ نے وفدکوےقین دلایاکہ ان کی مثبت تجاویزپارٹی قائدمحمدنوازشریف اورپارٹی کی مرکزی منشورکمیٹی تک پہنچادی جائیں گی تاکہ اقلیتوں کے حقوق کا تحفظ ےقینی بنایاجاسکے ۔

Nawaz Sharif promises Motorway from Mardan to Swat

MINGORA, Nov 28: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday announced to extend Motorway from Mardan to Swat and Expressway to Dir after coming to power through the next elections.

He made the announcement during a public meeting after the inauguration of a kidney hospital in Swat valley.

PML-N Senior Vice President Amir Muqam, Parliamentary Leader in Senate Ishaq Dar and other central and provincial leaders were noted among those in attendance.

The PML-N chief predicted a big change in the country through elections, saying the people knew the real and sincere leadership.

“The people will bring out the change by ballot,” he said.

Mr Nawaz said the people of Swat had always played a key role in making his party’s governments in the province and the country.

He expressed the hope that his party would win most seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially Malakand division, during the next elections under the provincial leadership of Amir Muqam.

The PML-N chief said a medical college would be set up by the kidney hospital and that it would later be upgraded to a university.

He said arrangements would be made to ensure free treatment of poor patients from Malakand division at the hospital, while arrangements would be made for kidney transplantation at the hospital.

Mr Nawaz said his two governments were dissolved plunging the country into economic crisis. He said had he was allowed to complete term, the country would have become an ‘Asian Tiger’.

He said after coming to power through the next elections, PML-N would construct roads from Gwadar to Chitral and Khyber to Karachi. He claimed that his government would run bullet train from Peshawar to Karachi to put the country on path of progress and prosperity.

The PML-N leader said the government had miserably failed to resolve the people’s problems due to their wrong policies and serving self interests instead of those of the nation.

He said the country was passing through critical juncture.

“Today, the government has no writ anywhere in the country. There is bloodshed in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi. The people are facing suicide attacks, bomb blasts, unemployment, price hike and other problems, while the rulers are busy saving their positions,” he said.

Mr Nawaz said the government had neither plan nor vision to steer the country out of the current socioeconomic and security crises.

He said he didn’t believe in hallow slogans and misguiding the people and would bring about a real change after winning the elections. He added that he needed a heavy mandate of the people for the purpose.

“Our politics is to serve the people and put Pakistan on the road to progress,” he said.

PML-N leaders and workers from across Malakand division showed up in large numbers despite rain and chilly weather.

Officials told Dawn that the 116-bedded kidney hospital, the second biggest in the country, would be built in Sangota area of Swat at the cost of one billion rupees.

They said 32 kanals of land had been acquired for the project to be completed in eight months.

The officials said in the second phase, 40 kanals land would be acquired for construction of quarters for the staff of the hospital.

Probe into syrup deaths to be on scientific lines, says Shahbaz

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that an inquiry on scientific lines will be conducted into the deaths due to a cough syrup at Shahdara.

He said that for the purpose of holding a comprehensive inquiry from every angle, the Punjab government had sent the samples of the syrup and other evidence to the Forensic Lab and Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL).

He was presiding over a meeting to review the incidents of deaths due to consumption of a cough syrup here on Wednesday. Special Assistant Khawaja Salman Rafique, Chairman Chief Minister’s Inspection Team Prof Dr Faisal Masood and former DIG and consultant PCL Chung Maj (retd) Mubasher Ullah as well as other authorities concerned were present.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said the deaths of people due to cough syrup at Shahdara were a tragic incident. He directed the authorities concerned to obtain the test reports of the samples of syrup and other evidence from the Forensic Lab and DTL as soon as possible to take further action in the light of the inquiry report.

He said every effort should be made to save the lives of the affected persons who were under treatment at hospitals.The chief minister ordered the investigation DIG to personally hold the inquiry and directed that the incident should be reviewed from every angle and stern action should be taken against the persons involved in it.

Meanwhile, the chief minister took notice of the incident of biting of a baby by a rodent at the Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi, and ordered stern action against the hospital administration and said that the responsibility for maintaining sanitary conditions in hospitals was with their administrations. He said that the incident of biting of a baby by a mouse in the hospital was highly lamentable and intolerable. He directed the authorities concerned to ensure proper arrangements to check recurrence of such incidents in hospitals in future.

‘No place for mavericks’

Thursday, November 29, 2012 – Lahore—The Leader of the Opposition, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan has said that the doors of PML-N have been permanently shut on those who have changed their political affiliations four times, during the last four years. He said such persons, who do not have steadfastness to hold their ground, do not have the right of representation of the people of Chichawatni and district Sahiwal. He said those who knock at every door, do not, belong anywhere. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that the leadership of PML-N had itself invited the former MNA Zahid Iqbal to join the party, and he was prepared to join PML-N, four years ago, after giving his resignation. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that he is the only politician, who had the honesty of openly admitting his dual nationality, while he has now presented himself, before the people again by renouncing his foreign citizenship. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that it is incumbent upon every dedicated worker and local leadership of PML-N to leave no stone unturned in ensure success of Zahid Iqbal, thereby laying the foundation of PML-N’s expected victory, Inshaallah, in the forthcoming generation elections. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that, if Allah Almighty granted opportunity to PML-N in the forthcoming elections, then, Inshahallh, all neglect to which Chichawatni and district Sahiwal areas had been subjected, during the last 13 years, would effectively be redressed. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that Chichawati is a second home for him, and hoped that the people of district Sahiwal would not only ensure the success of Zahid Iqbal, in the coming elections, but would also give a concrete message to the people of Pakistan that those, who change their political loyalties, with every change in wind and desperately move from place to place do not deserve to be representatives of their area.

New tax on CNG planned

ISLAMABAD: The government is considering to impose a new tax on compressed natural gas to reduce the price difference between CNG and petrol in order to phase out the use of the gas in private transport.

“The government has planned to phase out CNG stations gradually as they are causing heavy loss to the national economy by wasting this valuable commodity (natural gas), instead of its use for industrialisation and investment and domestic use,” Prime Minister’s Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain told the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum on Wednesday.

The country does not have sufficient or surplus gas reserves to allow it to be burnt in private and luxury vehicles.

He said the government wanted to set equitable prices for all fuels and allow only a reasonable profit to owners of CNG stations.

He said the CNG should only be used by public transport and private vehicles should be discouraged from burning the cheaper fuel.

To achieve this goal, he indicated imposition of a new tax but did not give details.

The committee headed by Muhammad Tariq Khattak asked the petroleum ministry to come up with a solution by Dec 5 and play the role of a mediator between the CNG station owners and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) in fixing a reasonable price to mitigate people’s difficulties.

It expressed concern over closure of CNG stations and the disagreement over the pricing mechanism.

Dr Asim said Ogra had failed to play the role of a regulator. The government increased the wellhead gas price to $6 which boosted exploration work and 40 rigs were operating in the country. He said 30,000 barrels of oil from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would start flowing into the national system by March next year.

He said the department of explosives that granted no-objection certificate to CNG and petrol stations was under the industries ministry where officials received bribes to issue laboratory certificates. The petroleum ministry, he said, had initiated a legislation to bring the department under its control.

The parliamentarians expressed concern over recent explosions in CNG-fitted vehicles and wondered what role the department of explosives and the Hydrocarbon Development Institute played in allowing substandard cylinders.

The members said that while Ogra and the station owners were taking extreme positions, the consumers were forced to spend a major part of their day in long queues to get CNG.

Some members called for a national debate to determine if there was sufficient gas available for vehicles or it should be used only for value-added sectors so that a clear roadmap could be followed and confusion and people’s difficulties removed.

MNA Rana Afzaal Hussain said the CNG Association had become a cartel and minted millions of rupees at the cost of people. He wondered why 100 per cent profit was promised in the agreement the government had reached with the CNG sector in 2008.

‘Agricultural R&D funding in Pakistan among lowest in the world’

LAHORE: Public spending on agricultural research and development in Pakistan has been irregular and has not kept up with agricultural growth. “Data from 2009 indicates that for every $100 of agricultural output, Pakistan invested just $0.21 in agricultural R&D, which is one of the lowest levels in the developing world, and shows a considerable decline from levels recorded in the 1990s,” said a speaker at an event on Tuesday.

Policymakers, donors, researchers and other stakeholders gathered in the federal capital to deliberate recent developments in agricultural research in Pakistan. The event was organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), to share findings on agricultural R&D in Pakistan.

Jock Anderson presented an independent evaluation of PARC and Anwar Naseem, assistant professor of agricultural economics from McGill University, provided an insight into the role of private-sector agricultural R&D in Pakistan on the occasion.

According to the speakers, the agricultural sector in Pakistan plays a vital role in the nation’s food security and employs half the country’s labour force. Pakistan’s population is expected to nearly double by 2050. To feed the growing population and address challenges such as climate change and rising food prices, it is crucial that agricultural productivity is increased.

Agricultural R&D has contributed significantly to agricultural productivity and poverty reduction around the globe over the past five decades. However, despite the well-documented evidence that the payoffs to agricultural R&D are considerable, Pakistan continues to under invest in agricultural research.

“Since there is a significant time lag between investing in research and reaping its rewards, agricultural R&D requires long-term commitments in sufficient and sustained funding and well-staffed research agencies,” said Gert-Jan Stads, ASTI programme coordinator.

India’s agricultural R&D investments as a share of agricultural output were found to be almost twice those of Pakistan. Pakistan faces financial challenges as well as a dearth of skilled human capital. The country’s share of agricultural researchers with PhD degrees remains very low, at 18 percent.

PARC is Pakistan’s main agricultural R&D agency and its broad mandate is the coordination of research among federal, provincial, and higher education agencies. There are a19 other federal government agencies that conduct agriculture-related R&D under various government ministries. With the recent devolution of the agricultural sector’s responsibilities to the provinces, provincial research systems have gained a clearer mandate in science, technology and innovation.

“A key challenge facing Pakistan will be to ensure that resources and capacities are more evenly distributed, both from the central government to the provinces and among the provinces themselves,” said Muhammad Sharif, director of PARC.

Rupee hits all-time low

KARACHI: The rupee touched to a record low against the dollar on Wednesday as the foreign payments put pressure on the currency market, said dealers.

In the interbank market, the rupee fell to 96.47 to the dollar, below its previous record low of 96.29 earlier this month, they said. Market dealers said the local unit came under pressure during the trading session on account of rising demand for the greenback for import payments.

There was insufficient supply of the US dollar in the forex market, said dealers. “The rupee will trade between 95.50 and 95.70 against the dollar in the coming days,” said a dealer.

Analysts said Pakistan’s balance of payments outlook remains precarious despite showing surplus in the current account during the four months of the current fiscal year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and scheduled debt repayments continuously strain the rupee and drain out forex reserves, said analysts.

Pakistan paid the seventh installment worth $394.3 million to the IMF under its standby loan arrangement facility last week.