Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fauzia Wahab resigns after Davis remarks

Fauzia Wahab has resigned from the post of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) central information secretary, a private TV channel reported on Saturday.

Talking to reporters in Bilawal House, Karachi, Fauzia said she would continue to work as a party member and the PPP was like a family to her. She said that the statement about Raymond Davis’ immunity was her own and it was not the party policy.

Former federal information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has been appointed
as the central secretary information of the party replacing Fauzia, the channel reported.

“I do not want to appear before the Lahore High Court as an office-bearer of the party. To uphold the
dignity and respect of my party I have resigned
from my post,” she added.

Source: daily times monitor/afp

Sindh to provide land for 150MW wind power plant in Thatta

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Saturday pledged that the required land would be provided for the 150-megawatt wind power plant in Thatta district within the next 10 days.

He stated this while chairing a meeting at the Chief Minister’s House about the wind project.

He said four-five locations had been identified in the Jhimpir and Jati Talukas of Thatta district for the provision of land for the project.

He told the meeting that the site selection would be finalised within 10 days while the land will be allotted under a package.

The meeting was further informed that the financial close will be achieved within 18 months and work on ground would start within six to nine months.

The chief minister said that people in coastal areas were facing problems including power facility and it is utmost priority of the present government to provide them with basic facilities.

He said that the coastal belt of Thatta district was rich in wind, and power in abundance could be generated there.

The meeting was informed that the Federal Government had signed the letter of intent with USAID whereby wind power plant of 150 megawatt would be established. It was informed that there will be 51pc share of private investment firm while 49pc share will be of Government of Pakistan, and the same is being implemented with the collaboration of USAID.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Sindh Minister for Environment and Alternative Energy Shaikh Muhammad Afzal, Adviser to the CM on Planning and Development Dr Kaiser Bengali, Adviser to C.M., Sindh, for Investments Zubair Motiwala, Senior Energy Planning Advisor, office of Energy of USAID Chris Hauson, Programme Management Specialist Saeed Anwar, Secretary to Chief Minister Sindh Ahmed Bux Narejo, Secretary Board of Investment Younis Daghia, Secretary Environment and Alternate Energy Mir Hussain Ali, Ms. Sarah Pervaiz, Arif Pervaiz, EDO (Revenue) Thatta, Dr Hafeez Sial.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Davis case: Fahim's widow commits suicide

The widow of Muhammad Faheem, one of the two civilians shot dead by a US citizen Raymond Davis committed suicide after taking poisonous pills on Sunday, fearing the American would be released without trial, police and doctors said.

Shumaila, the wife of Faheem, took poisonous pills and was taken to hospital in Faisalabad, local police chief Usman Anwar said, where she died despite attempts to save her.

“Faheem”s wife Shumaila has died,” doctor Yasin Hashmi, head of Allied Hospital, said.

“Doctors tried hard to save her life but could not succeed and she died a short while ago,” he said.

Police officer Rana Atif confirmed the death.

Her body will be handed over to the family after a post mortem, he said.

Emergency ward doctor Ali Naqi said her condition had deteriorated in the evening, confirming the suicide attempt.

He earlier quoted Shumaila as saying that she feared Davis could be released without trial.

Shumaila said that she was upset over reports that efforts were being made to secure his release.

“I was under shock and decided to kill myself,” she said. “We want blood for blood,” she said.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pakistan cricketers face prosecution

The three Pakistan players at the centre of the spot-fixing allegations that rocked the Lord's Test against England last August have been charged by the UK Crown Prosecution Service with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat.

Salman Butt, the former Test captain, and seamers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been accused of conspiring in the bowling of deliberate no-balls on last year's tour of England - claims they all deny.

Mazhar Majeed, the players' agent, has also been charged, with a first hearing scheduled for City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 17. The CPS confirmed that extradition orders would be sought if the three players fail to appear in court, although Rehman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister, gave his assurance back in September that the Pakistan government would co-operate fully with the investigation.

"We have authorised charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat against Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and Mazhar Majeed," Simon Clements, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said.

"We have decided that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and their agent, Mazhar Majeed, should be charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat. These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl 'no balls' on 26 and 27 August 2010, during Pakistan's Fourth Test at Lord's Cricket Ground in London."

The CPS confirmed its findings in an announcement shortly after 11am GMT on Friday, and the trio could be banned for life when an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal announces the conclusions of its own investigation in Doha on Saturday. A CPS spokesperson said there was no connection between the two timings.

"Summonses for the same court date [March 17] have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year. Their extradition will be sought should they fail to return."

In August 2010, Britain's News of the World tabloid conducted a newspaper 'sting operation' which it said proved the Pakistan trio's willingness were involved in the deliberate bowling of no-balls during the Lord's Test against England.

This, the paper said, was evidence of a spot-betting scam where money can be gambled on specific incidents in a match without the need to 'fix' the result.

All the Pakistan trio were interviewed by police. So too was Majeed, whom the newspaper alleged accepted £50,000 to set up the deal. Majeed was arrested, and a third fast bowler, Wahab Riaz, was also interviewed under caution.

While the ICC, which heard evidence from Butt, Asif and Amir during a hearing in Doha last month, has to consider whether its rules were broken and what, if any, punishment should follow if they were, the CPS has decided that the players have a case to answer under English law.

"The Crown Prosecution Service has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service since the allegations of match-fixing became public on 29 August 2010," continued the statement. "We received a full file of evidence on 7 December 2010 and we are satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute.

"I would remind everyone that these men are entitled to a fair trial and should be regarded as innocent of these charges unless it is proven otherwise in court. The International Cricket Council tribunal is due to announce its decision tomorrow, but criminal proceedings are active now. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice the trial."

Accepting corrupt payments is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and carries a maximum sentence of seven years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Cheating is an offence contrary to Section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005. It carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine.