Month: September 2011

Gilgit-Baltistan: Court calls in doctor for conducting fake autopsy

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Gilgit: A doctor charged with conducting a fake autopsy in a murder case was directed by an Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) on Thursday to appear for the next hearing on October 4.

The court, headed by Justice Raja Shahbaz Khan, has already issued the arrest warrants of Dr Dilshad, who declared the murder of Shabana Akhtar, a nurse, as suicide in an autopsy report, court officials said.

The doctor was on leave when her arrest warrants were issued. However, Dr Yaqoob, another doctor who was also a part of the autopsy team, was arrested.

Akhtar, a young nurse from Astore valley, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her room at the Gilgit Nursing Hostel in May. Initially police closed the case after a panel of doctors, headed by the medical officer Dr Yaqoob, examined the body and declared it a suicide.

However, after local media highlighted the issue, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Supreme Appellate Court took suo motu notice of the murder. The police launched fresh investigations into the incident which eventually led them to Jamila, the hostel’s warden, and Nadeem Abbas, a male nurse.

The two confessed to killing the 20-year-old nurse and staging her suicide. The murder’s motive, police said, was an “indecent” video of Jamila that Shabana had in her phone and was refusing to delete.

A subsequent autopsy by a team of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences established that a post-mortem had not been conducted before.

As events unfolded, the police on Monday handcuffed G-B Health Secretary Dr Hassan Amancha and Director Health Services Dr Ghulam Ali in court premises. Sources privy to the court proceedings informed that both the officials were arrested for failing to take action against DR Yaqoob.

However, they were released by a court after a letter written by them against Dr Yaqoob was presented to the court.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Gilgit-Baltistan:GB government has not withdrawn its stance on building the road to Tajikistan

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GILGIT : The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has not withdrawn its stance on building the road to Tajikistan through Gilgit. This was said by G-B Finance Minister Muhammad Ali Akhtar during a press conference at Gilgit Press Club on Saturday.

“Certainly there are more influential people sitting in the federal government. However, we will stand by our stance,” he said.

Following the recent visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Tajikistan, the federal government announced the construction of a road to Tajikistan through Chitral. The decision was widely criticised by the politicians in G-B, who termed the project as a “ploy to keep G-B a backward area”.

According to the initial plan, the road to Tajikistan was supposed to go through Ishkomen Valley in G-B. The route was surveyed during Benazir Bhutto’s government and declared the “most suitable” for the project.

Speaking on the Hunza riots, the minister said, “The government has arrested several people, but those who haven’t been proven guilty have been released.” He said strict action will be taken against those who ransacked government buildings.

Akhtar conceded that their efforts in draining the Attabad Lake had been in vain so far; however, he assured that the government will deal with the issue “at all costs” during its tenure.

Akhtar also spoke on the issue of taxes in G-B, which has turned out to be a point of contention in the region. He said that the G-B Legislative Assembly does not have the authority to decide about the imposition of taxes in the region.

“The G-B Council, which is headed by the prime minister, decides all matters pertaining to taxes,” said Akhtar, adding that a suitable policy for G-B on minerals, forests and water and power could benefit the region immensely.

The local traders and regional parties have rejected the idea of taxation, saying that taxes cannot be imposed in G-B as it is a disputed territory due to the Kashmir issue.

The finance minister said that the matter would be addressed by the federal government. He, however, assured that the poor segment of the society will not be affected even if taxes are imposed.

Regarding the achievements of his government, Akhtar said 4,500 people had been given jobs during his tenure, while more inductions will be done in the public sector.

Responding to a question, the minister said that the G-B budget had been increased from Rs8 billion to Rs18 billion during his government. However, unfortunately 80 per cent of the budget was
spent on projects left incomplete by the previous government, he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan: GB Finance minister opposes tax

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Islamabad: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) will resist the imposition of taxes in the region, said G-B Finance Minister Muhammad Ali Akhter on Thursday.

He told The Express Tribune that the step would push local people, who have already been affected from natural calamities, towards more economic hardships.

“The issue will be taken up in the assembly and we will oppose the move at all costs,” he said, adding that the people would come out on the streets to protest against the decision.

He said there is no opportunity for industrialisation in G-B due to extreme weather conditions and due to absence of proper facilities given by the federal government, while the imposition of taxes would severely affect the salaried class, which is the biggest source of earning in G-B.

“G-B has been exempted from taxes and has been given subsidies on certain commodities due to poverty and mountainous topography, which should be retained to bring the region at par with other parts of the country,” Akhter said.

According to sources, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is also the chairman of the G-B Council, would chair a council meeting on October 7 to give a final approval to the tax regime.

The tax would be imposed on the corporate sector and on individuals who earn more than Rs50,000 per month.

Akhter claimed that the PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had given a special subsidy to the area due to lack of development, adding that it would be a blunder for the PPP government to impose taxes on poor people.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Gilgit-Baltistan: Speaker GBLA directs Police to refrain creating panic

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Gilgit—Speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) Wazir Baig has directed the administration and police officials to refrain from creating panic among the public with regard to Hunza killing investigation.

The Speaker issued the instructions during a meeting with Inspector General of Police Hussain Asghar and Home Secretary Asif Bilal Lodhi, said a statement issued on Wednesday. The Speaker asked them to heed the public demand for arresting the police officers responsible for killing of people.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Policies to promote standard of education in GB

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HUNZA (APP): Education Minister Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Dr Ali Madad Sher said on Wednesday that the education department is making policies to promote the standard of education in GB.

Talking to APP, he said the quality education can be provided to the students with the collaboration of parents.Many education institutions were upgraded on political basis in past which had badly effected the education of the region, he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Demonstration held against arrests in GB

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LAHORE, Sept 26: Labour Party activists held a demonstration on The Mall on Monday to seek release of their colleagues in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The protesters condemned torturing of the arrested people by secret agencies and demanded arrest of police officers who had ordered firing on peaceful demonstrators (of Attabad lake) on the arrival of Chief Minister Mehdi Shah in Aliabad on Aug 11.

The firing had resulted in the killing of two persons, while Baba Jan and many others had been taken into custody.

Led by Labour Party spokesperson Farooq Tariq and National Trade Union Federation Chairman Yousaf Baloch, the protesters raised slogans against the alleged intervention of ISI in politics.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tariq alleged the police, Rangers and Northern Squad had been raiding houses of political workers for two years on a “false” allegation that they had ransacked the police station and deputy commissioner`s offices in Hunza after the killing of two activists.

He demanded that the government pay compensation to all victims of Attabad lake and arrest the policemen responsible for murder of two protestors as well as releasing the arrested citizens.

He threatened to launch a country-wide protest drive if human rights violations were not stopped in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Courtesy: Dawn

Gilgit-Baltistan:Tourism is one of the largest revenue-generating industries worldwide

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ISLAMABAD: Festivities that were held across the country to celebrate the World Tourism Day have underlined that this crucial sector be used for attaining national harmony and progress.

Tourism is one of the largest revenue-generating industries worldwide and the second biggest in Malaysia after manufacturing. Its share in Pakistan’s economy, however, has not reached the level it should have.

According to Managing Director Shahjahan Khetran, tourism could be used as a vital tool through which national harmony and progress could be achieved.

The MD was addressing a seminar held to mark the World Tourism Day organised jointly by PTDC and Association of Tour Operators. Khetran said tourism could also play a vital role in socio-economic development of the country.

PTDC celebrated the day being the national tourism organisation and affiliate member of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Khetran underlined the need for promoting Pakistani culture and tourism at an international level.

He added that PTDC was promoting and developing tourism infrastructure in far-flung areas of the country, where the private sector was wary of investing.

He said that through coordinated efforts, domestic tourism had increased during the past three years.

Seminars, photographic exhibitions and wall climbing competitions were organised in collaboration with and support of different NGOs.

Pakistan Association of Tour Operators (PATO) Vice President Ayaz Shigri said that Gilgit-Baltistan had enormous potential for adventure and nature-loving domestic and foreign tourists.

He highlighted the need for better coordination among provincial and federal tourism organisations so that the common goal of supporting Pakistan’s national economy can be achieved.

Rawalpindi Chambers of Commerce and Industry Acting President Attiqueur Rehman said that the federal government should retain an organisation like PTDC at the federal level to regulate and promote tourism on a national and global level.

Sustainable Tourism Organisation President Aftabur Rehman Rana highlighted the importance of the preservation of natural and scenic beauty through sustainable tourism development.

He said it was a national duty to preserve the natural environment and cultural heritage so that next generations could also enjoy the beauty of the country.

Tourism For Life Chief Executive Officer Yasir Ilyas Khan introduced his organisation’s voluntary work in tourism, education and health sectors, particularly in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that 60 percent of Pakistan’s population consisted of its youth and added that to invest in the youth was to invest in Pakistan’s future. app