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Pakistan

19 injured as gas cylinder blast hits children hospital in Swat

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ISLAMABAD: At least 19 people were injured when a gas cylinder exploded in a children hospital in Pakistan’s northwest district of Swat on Tuesday morning.

According to sources, the injured people included seven children who were under treatment in the hospital, eight attendant women and four hospital staff members.

The incident happened in the hospital located in Saidu Sharif town of Swat, a district located in the country’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Treatment of the injured people immediately started at the hospital where two of them were said to be in critical condition.

Doctors said that most of the injured people suffered burn injuries while some got hurt after being hit by the glass of the windows which shattered in the powerful explosion.

Hospital authorities said that the blast happened following the leakage of oxygen from one of the cylinders fixed in the children ward.

Police, however, said that the possibility of the involvement of some terrorist or criminal element in the incident cannot be ruled out, and an investigation into the incident has been kicked off.

Economy

Financing facility for special persons

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SBP mops up Rs 587.5b

KARACHI: SBP has issued a concessionary small enterprise financing and credit guarantee facility for the special persons.
SBP Governor announced this special facility in the 7th meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs held at State Bank Building here on Tuesday. Members of the Standing Committee and senior executives of State Bank were present on the occasion, said a SBP statement.
“Realizing the vulnerability of persons with disabilities in the country and cost associated with their exclusion for the economy, SBP in-line with its priority sector development has devised a scheme for special persons”, said Tariq Bajwa.
This financing facility is expected to improve access to finance for special persons falling under small enterprises category at a concessional rate of 5% per annum. Under the scheme, banks and DFIs will provide financing facilities to special persons for establishing new business enterprises or for expansion of existing businesses.
State Bank of Pakistan will provide refinance to banks/ DFIs up to 100 percent of finance extended by them. Special persons can avail financing up to Rs 1.5 million for a maximum period of 5 years including a grace period of six months.
SBP will also provide risk coverage of 60 percent to banks/DFIs on their outstanding loans under the scheme. This financing facility has been issued with the main objective of improving the socio-economic life of special persons in Pakistan.

 

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Crime

Musharraf to record his statement in treason case

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ISLAMABAD: The Special Court constituted to try former President Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case has decided to prepare a questionnaire to record his statement.
The three-member Special Court bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar accepted the credentials of Salman Safdar as Musharraf’s counsel.
The court directed that a questionnaire should be prepared for Musharraf. Defense counsel Salman Safdar opposed recording the former president’s statement through video link or a commission. He said Pervez Musharraf was ill and his statement could not be recorded through video link as his presence was mandatory. The statements of eight witnesses were recorded in his absence, he added.
The court, however, rejected his argument, observing the statements of witnesses were recorded in his presence.  The prosecution’s counsel, however, said the former president did not want to record his statement. The course of law could not be hindered and the court should proceed with the trial, he added. The court adjourned the hearing till 28th March.

 

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Pakistan

Resolving issues of blocked NICs

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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Government Assurances was told on Tuesday that 149.6 million Pakistanis had NICs while cards of 155460 persons were blocked by NADRA.
Director General Operations of NADRA Brig (Retd) Nasar Ahmed Mir told the committee that most of the blocked cards were of those persons who failed biometric tests, were not cleared by security agencies or courts issued orders against them.
On the instructions of Ministry of Interior, District Level Committees (DLC) was formed to either unblock or cancel cards of the citizens, he said adding these committees unblocked cards of 38,000 citizens while 7000 cards of aliens were canceled in the country.
He said members of National Assembly could oversee the work being done by the district committees headed by deputy commissioners and comprising members from intelligence agencies. The members of the committee belonging to erstwhile federally administered areas told that their constituents came to them with complaints of blocked cards.
The committee also took up the issue raised by MNA Ahmad Hussain Dehar through a calling attention notice in the National Assembly regarding maintenance of Pakistan Code by the Ministry of Law and Justice with regard to the amendment made in section 182 of Pakistan Penal Code.
An official of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told the committee that no citizen was detained in the province in the name of regional responsibility.
The committee chair Amir Dogar directed that members from erstwhile FATA areas should be invited to the meetings for development activities.
The committee was given assurance by NADRA that shortage of staff and buildings in Khazai and Bazai areas of FATA would be met. Some members were of the view that the process of verification of a citizen should be made easy while others held the opinion that lowering guard on the issue could endanger security. The committee was told that a person could present seven types of documents to prove his citizenship, he added.

 

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