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Khaqan awarded contract of LNG by showing favouritism: Sheikh Rashid

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Non availability of coaches restrict railcar service

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Friday said that former prime minister and senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had approved the contract of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) showing favouritism towards the parties involved in the contract.

Talking to media here at National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the minister said Shahid Khaqan played significant role in awarding contract to import LNG which inflicted billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer.

Sheikh Rashid said the previous government had intentionally made expensive contract to import LNG from Qatar, adding that he was ready for rendering cooperation to the NAB in this scandal.

The minister said during the tenure of the previous government of PML-N not a single advancement was made in the field of oil and gas and it just befooled the nation.

He said the contract was awarded for US $ 2,72,000 instead of US $ 1,00,000. “During the process it was shown that the agreement had been made between two countries whereas one company had been set up in Pakistan and the other in Qatar,” the minister mentioned.

Sheikh Rashid said the incumbent government was taking concrete measures to address the energy crisis prevailing in the country. So, there was no option left for the government but to increase gas tariff, he added.

“My case regarding LNG scandal is very simple and straight. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making extraordinary efforts to improve the poor economic situation caused by the corruption of the families of Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif,” he added.

The minister underscored that he would like to remind Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that Sheikh Rashid did not have lust for any Ministry.

To a question, Sheikh Rashid said that the nation would hear good news during this month regarding Pakistan Railways which was the cheapest source of transportation for general public.

He said that the government had formed a three members committee including Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Main Line-I (ML-I) project from Karachi to Peshawar.

The minister said the development work on ML-I would be started soon in three phases which was initiated 14 years ago.

Sheikh Rashid said he had already informed that there was going to be a wipe out in March which was delayed due to Pak-India tension and now it would be done
in May-June.

The minister said that if Asif Zardari and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were not punished today then the nation would have to pay the price for their plundering of national exchequer.

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High treason case: Court seeks assistance in recording Musharraf’s statement through video link

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ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to hear the high treason case against former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf sought assistance to record his statement through video link or a commission.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar, heard the case on Tuesday. The bench accepted the credentials of Salman Safdar as Musharraf’s counsel. The court directed a questionnaire to be drawn up for Musharraf.

The defense counsel opposed recording the former military ruler’s statement through video link or a commission. “Pervez Musharraf is ailing. His statement can’t be recorded in his absence here through video link,” counsel Salman maintained. “His presence is mandatory.”

He also said the statements of eight witnesses were recorded in his absence. But, the court rejected the point and said the statements were recorded in his presence.

The prosecution’s counsel, however, said the former president doesn’t want to record his statement. “The course of law can’t be hindered. Hence, the court should proceed with the trial of the high treason case,” he said.

The court adjourned the hearing till March 28. It wants to determine whether or not Musharraf can record his statement via video link within the parameters set by the law.

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Pakistan and India to hold talks over Kartarpur corridor

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LAHORE: Delegations of Pakistan and India will meet to discuss the technicalities of building the Kartarpur corridor for the facilitation of the Sikh pilgrims.

The second meeting between the teams will be held at Kartarpur Zero Line today (Tuesday). India has even given GPS coordinates for Zero Point.

An 18-member Foreign Office team, headed by Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, went to India for talks on the details of the Kartarpur Corridor on March 14. Both sides held expert-level discussions between technical experts on the alignment and other details of the corridor, he said. The meeting between Pakistan and India on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was very positive and both sides have agreed to work towards opening the corridor soon.

Speaking at the Wagah Border after returning from India, Dr Faisal said that they have “agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartarpur Corridor”.

The corridor is meant to provide Sikh pilgrims access to the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. The visa-free corridor is between the gurdwara in Pakistan and the Indian town of Dera Baba Nanak, which is around six kilometres away.

The corridor is expected to be opened this year, ahead of the celebrations for Guru Baba Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

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Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur get 10-day protective bail in fake accounts case

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court granted on Tuesday former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur 10-day protective bail in the mega money laundering case. 

They have been ordered to submit Rs1 million each as surety bonds. The PPP leaders appeared in court on Tuesday.

They said that the FIA didn’t name them in the case.

Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur said that they want to appear in accountability court but fear arrest.

They had asked for a stay order on the Supreme Court’s decision to shift the case to Islamabad. The court said that it will make a decision on that after hearing NAB’s stance.

The PPP co-chairperson was also granted 10-day protective bail in the Park Lane Estate Company.

The Supreme Court had formed an investigation team to probe the fake accounts case. The team submitted a report in which it named 172 people, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister MNA Faryal Talpur and son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Excise Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla, former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, former Sindh home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh and Ali Nawaz Mehar, a former minister of state for industries.

On January 7, the Supreme Court sent the fake accounts case to NAB and told it to wrap up the investigation in two months. The court had earlier said that the references should be filed in Rawalpindi, not Karachi.

The matter was taken up by the court over the delay in a 2015 Federal Investigation Agency probe into money laundering via fake bank accounts.

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