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PTI, ANP trade barbs in K-P Assembly

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PESHAWAR:

The Kyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Monday echoed with criticism and counter-criticism by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and its rival Awami National Party. Parliamentary Leader of Awami National Party (ANP) Sardar Hussain Babak lashed out at PTI for acting against democratic norms and condemned the attitude of treasury benches, saying the party “buried ethical politics”.

Babak said the price hike, economic crisis and other issues had made life miserable for everyone “while the treasury benches were reluctant to talk about issues including a ban on trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan”. He alleged that PTI Ministers were regularly paying “ransom” to the Taliban whenever they demanded, adding that the PTI’s provincial government under its leader had restored Tehreek Nifaz Sharia Muhammadi while also promoting “Talibanisation” in the province.

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Maulana Lutf ur Rehman of JUI-F said that PTI was silent when all the political parties were demanding fair and transparent elections and now blaming others. He said that PTI wanted a “politically destabilised” Pakistan

Bill slashing tax on naswar

Meanwhile, the treasury also sought to withdraw its earlier decision to increase taxes on naswar (powdered tobacco snuff) and tobacco. In the KP Finance (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the House tabled by Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, the provincial government sought to trim the tax from Rs5 down to Rs2.5. Similarly, It also proposed to slash the duty rate on tobacco by Rs6.

It should be noted that the K-P government had earlier increased the tobacco tax up to Rs12 per kg and taxed naswar at Rs5 per kg in its 2022-23 budget. Minister for Labour and Culture Shaukat Yousafzai said that people wrongly believed that the government was making money out of these things, adding that the purpose of increasing taxes on naswar was to discourage its addiction.

However, he noted that it was not a heavy or serious drug that caused problems. He stressed that the people wanted the rates of naswar to be reduced “The government was not getting much income from the tax imposed on it either,” he added.

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Promotion of trade

Earlier, the House passed three bills and tabled one including the ‘Commerce and Trade Statistic Bill, 2022’ to provide a collection of statistics relating to commercial and trade activities for the promotion of trade in the province. Mr Jhagra said that the collection and use of statistics on trade and commerce are of immense importance in strategising commercial activities.

He added that the statistics on commercial and trade activities were very helpful and could be used in planning effective trade, commerce and investment policy for achieving a boost in economic activities.

The minister further said that at present there was no regulatory regime for the collection of trade and commerce statistics, resultantly no accurate and authenticated data was available with the government regarding the number of different items produced, sold, exported and imported or about the quantifiable numbers of trade activity or investment that can be used for planning of effective trade policies.

The House also passed the KP Medical Officers of Health Department (Regularization of Services) Bill, 2022, the KP Lissaail-e-Wal Mahroom Foundation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and tabled the KP Finance (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the House.

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K-P

Taliban cleric killed in blast in Kabul

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KABUL/
PESHAWAR:

A prominent Taliban cleric, Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, was killed in an attack in a seminary in Kabul when the attacker detonated explosives hidden in a plastic artificial leg on Thursday, according to officials and Taliban sources.

“Very sadly informed that respected cleric (Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani) was martyred in a cowardly attack by enemies,” said Bilal Karimi, a spokesperson for the Taliban administration.

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It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast.

Four Taliban sources told Reuters the attacker was someone who had previously lost his leg and had hidden the explosives in a plastic artificial leg.

“We are investigating who this … person was and who had brought him to this important place to enter the personal office of Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani. It’s a very huge loss for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” said one senior Taliban official of the interior ministry, referring to the group’s name for its administration.

Haqqani was a prominent cleric in the Taliban who had survived previous attacks, including a large blast in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar in 2020 claimed by the Dai’sh that killed at least seven people.

The Taliban say they have restored security since they took over as foreign forces withdrew almost a year ago. However, regular attacks, many of them claimed by Dai’sh, have taken place in recent months, often targeting religious and ethnic minorities as well as Taliban leaders.

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K-P

Motion on lawlessness submitted

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PESHAWAR/
TIMARGARA:

Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from PK-12 Dir Upper and senior Jammat-e-Islami (JI) leader Inayatullah Khan has submitted an adjournment motion against the increasing lawlessness in Lower Dir district as well as Malakand region in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly.

“The law and order situation in the former Fata, Swat and Malakand Division is deteriorating causing unrest among the locals so I submit this motion,” says the written application submitted to the speaker.

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“Lawlessness has once again returned to these districts evident from the target killings as well as kidnaping of police officials and broad daylight attack at MPA Liaqat Ali in which four innocent people lost their lives, resulting in panic and unrest among the local population naturally,” says the motion.

He requested the speaker that his adjournment motion should be accepted for a debate so that the facts about Malakand Division and other districts could be brought before the public.

Protests against law and order situation

Widespread protests continued on the third consecutive day across Lower Dir district against the return of militants to the area as participants demanded of the government to maintain law and order situation in the region and take strict action against the insurgents.

The entire district has been in the grip of fears that militancy will return to the region after the deadly attack at PTI MPA Liaqat Ali which left four people dead including a brother and nephew of the MPA and two of his police guards. Liaqat Ali himself was critically injured in the attack.

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Rumours are abound that MPA Liaqat was targeted when he refused to pay extortion to militants despite the fact that there is no confirmation from the family.

Soon after the attack on Monday Awami National Party (ANP) staged a protest against the increasing lawlessness in the district and demanded of the police, government and security forces to take steps to maintain law and order in the entire region.

On Tuesday workers of all political parties brought out processions. The criticized the return of militants to the region and blamed that government was not taking serious steps to control the situation.

Thousands of people attended these protests.

On Wednesday another large protest was held in Timargara in which thousands of local residents participated.

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The protesters said that the kidnaping of four policemen in Matta Swat was not a good omen for the entire region.

They blamed that the area had been handed over to militants after a deal which is not acceptable to them.

“We will not accept the handing over of the region to militants so that they could impose their own rule and extract money from the locals,” said a local elder on the condition of anonymity.

He said that no one will be allowed to do deadly experiments on this soil.

“Militants are roaming freely in the hills creating unrest among the locals as well as administration. They have sent a group to Swat and another one to Buner. These militants are fully armed,” he said, adding that chief minister was silent on all these developments in his home district of Swat.

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Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2022.



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Three teenage friends shot dead in Swabi

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SWABI:

In a shocking development, three teenage friends were put to death by unidentified persons whose bodies were found in a graveyard in Swabi on Monday.

Police told The Express Tribune that in Jalsai village in Chota Lahore three youngsters were found shot. Complainant Fazal Ghani lodged an FIR with Lahore police station, stating that on Monday morning he was informed that his 19-year-old son Shah Swar was lying dead in Shaheed Baba graveyard in Jalsai village.

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“When I reached there I found him dead along with 18-year-old Murad and Waqar. All of them were friends and residents of Jalsai village. They had been shot. I don’t know who killed them as they had no personal enmity with anyone,” he said.

Police said that local residents spotted the bodies of three youngsters in the graveyard and police shifted them to Bacha Khan Medical Complex (BKMC) for autopsy.

An investigation team was formed to look into the case.

“These boys always stayed together and they had no family or personal feud. This is a mysterious and blind murder case at the moment but with the passage of time we are hopeful that this case will be solved,” said an official of the local police station, adding that the mobile numbers of the three had been obtained and police was working on it.



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