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Former PIA CEO, others may evade inquiry in A310 case

KARACHI.: There are serious concerns that those involved in transferring the national airline fleet’s Airbus 310 aircraft to Germany and obtaining leases at expensive rates for premier services in violation of rules and regulations may never return to Pakistan to face an investigation.

The case against these individuals now seems in jeopardy after the former Pakistan International Airlines’ German-origin chief executive officer and others involved have allegedly been using delaying tactics to avoid appearing before the inquiry.PIA incurring Rs3b loss every month, says CEOSources have said that the Airbus 310 aircraft, a part of the national airline’s fleet, had been taken to Germany in 2016 in violation of the law after which it had been sold to the Leipzig airport in Germany for 140 million Pakistani rupees, the engine and body of the aircraft being sold to two different companies.The matter has been mired in controversy since the aircraft’s departure for Germany. The Airbus 310 had reached Germany in dramatic fashion with the permission of PIA’s former chief executive officer Bernd Hildenbrand.
Sources have said that the former PIA CEO had entered into an agreement with a foreign film-making company to use the aircraft for film-making purposes. At the time, the aircraft had, from a technical standpoint, 25 hours of flying time remaining.The agreement had been signed for 300,000 Euros. However, a dark aspect of the agreement was that, apart from the former CEO, top airline officials were unaware that the agreement, carried out through a middleman, was in fact being made for the use of the plane in the making of an Israeli film.
After this came to light and pictures of the plane in the film went viral on social media, the matter of the Airbus 310 aircraft assumed a sensitive dimension.Ex-acting PIA chief: Flying off home, German evades corruption probeIn addition, an illegal procedure had been adopted to transfer the aircraft to Germany.
And to compound matters, PIA had also obtained an Airbus 330 on lease for which a rent of 8,000 dollars per hour had been agreed. This agreement had also become controversial with Hildenbrand being held responsible for it.His name had subsequently been included in the Exit Control List (ECL). Due to diplomatic pressure, however, he was allowed to travel once.According to sources, the former PIA CEO did not return after leaving for Germany on the 6th of May, 2017. Sources have also said that, apart from Hildenbrand, another German consultant, Shrodker, is also being investigated.Shrodker had allegedly departed for his country without informing anyone. Furthermore, an allegation of aircraft theft has been made against Bernd Hildenbrand in the National Assembly.

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Nawaz has option of plea bargain: Fawad

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Sunday said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif might leave the country after entering into a plea-bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He said the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were doing politics on the health of Nawaz Sharif and trying to halt the ongoing accountability process.He said Nawaz Sharif would have to bear the brunt of his deeds and he would be held accountable for them, adding that all the cases against Nawaz Sharif were instituted during the past regimes.Rejecting media reports that Nawaz Sharif was not being provided best medical treatment, he said extraordinary medical facilities are being provided to Nawaz Sharif to treat his cardiac, kidney and diabetes ailments but he had refused to avail himself of the treatment within Pakistan.
He said, recently, Punjab Chief Minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill alongside senior journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami met Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat Jail to offer him the medical treatment of his choice within Pakistan but he declined.The minister said, despite Nawaz Shairf’s refusal to get treatment in the country, he said the Punjab government had established a mini-cardiac unit at the Kot Lakhpat Jail with three cardiologists and three technicians available round the clock, but Nawaz Sharif had not allowed them any access.

He said, as a matter of fact, Nawaz Sharif did not want to be treated in the country as he did not have faith in the health facilities being provided in the country which he and his brother Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif built over three decades.The minister recalled the past incident when Imran Khan fell off a staircase during the general elections campaign in 2013 and said it was only Prime Minister Imran Khan who refused to go abroad for treatment and preferred to be treated at Shaukat Khan Memorial Hospital (SKMH), although an air ambulance had been arranged for shifting him abroad for treatment.He said, similarly, Imran Khan’s late father also got all treatment from Pakistan instead of going abroad.He said this was the spirit what differentiated between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PML-N leadership.

Fawad Chaudhry said that Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family are insisting that he be sent to the hospital in London where the former premier received treatment before.Fawad alleged that the complications that have come up in Nawaz’ health are because of doctors in London.The information minister presented a review of the various developments in the former premier’s health over the past few months.Fawad Chaudhry said that certain tests including a thallium scan were done after which a doctor recommended that Nawaz be shifted to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) for further tests.On January 22, Sharif was shifted to PIC where he underwent tests.Following this at 3 30pm on the same day the former premier went back to jail.

The information minister added that on Jan 25 the Punjab Home Department constituted a six-member board including doctors from Lahore and Rawalpindi cardiology hospitals while Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) personnel had also been nominated.On Jan 30, this board met Nawaz in jail and advised that the former premier be shifted to a hospital due to previous ailments he had suffered.He added that in 2001-02 Nawaz underwent an angioplasty and in 2016 he had a bypass surgery.Meanwhile in an interview with a private TV channel, Fawad Chaudhry said that no formal negotiations have been held with the United States regarding release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and no substantive progress has been made regarding this matter.Fawad said, It is our desire that Dr Aafia should be handed over to Pakistan and she should complete the remaining term in Pakistan which is her right being the Pakistani citizen. Fawad said that Pakistan has signed extradition treaty with Britain but has no such agreement with the United States adding that this depends on the US policy.

Fawad Chaudhry said that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting is going to be held in June adding, We will fulfill most of the conditions of FATF and will come out from the gray list in September. He said that the meeting of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with Nawaz Sharif was meeting between the two disappointed persons.
Fawad said that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have contested their last elections, however, Bilawal’s politics will continue.Replying a question Fawad said that the investigations into the suicide of Brigadier (R) Asad Munir should be held so that the causes of suicide could be ascertained.He said that the postmortem of Asad Munir’s body should have been conducted and application of Asad Munir’s family for not conducting the postmortem should have been rejected.

Addressing a press conference along with Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasim Rashid here at the Press Information Department (PID), he said the accountability process against Nawaz Sharif would not stop on the pretext of his bad health, adding that Nawaz Sharif would have to return every penny of the masses only then he could be allowed to leave the country.He said the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were doing politics on the health of Nawaz Sharif and trying to halt the ongoing accountability process.He said Nawaz Sharif would have to bear the brunt of his deeds and he would be held accountable for them, adding that all the cases against Nawaz Sharif were instituted during the past regimes.

Rejecting media reports that Nawaz Sharif was not being provided best medical treatment, he said extraordinary medical facilities are being provided to Nawaz Sharif to treat his cardiac, kidney and diabetes ailments but he had refused to avail himself of the treatment within Pakistan.He said, recently, Punjab Chief Minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill alongside senior journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami met Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat Jail to offer him the medical treatment of his choice within Pakistan but he declined.The minister said, despite Nawaz Shairf’s refusal to get treatment in the country, he said the Punjab government had established a mini-cardiac unit at the Kot Lakhpat Jail with three cardiologists and three technicians available round the clock, but Nawaz Sharif had not allowed them any access.He said, as a matter of fact, Nawaz Sharif did not want to be treated in the country as he did not have faith in the health facilities being provided in the country which he and his brother Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif built over three decades.

The minister recalled the past incident when Imran Khan fell off a staircase during the general elections campaign in 2013 and said it was only Prime Minister Imran Khan who refused to go abroad for treatment and preferred to be treated at Shaukat Khan Memorial Hospital (SKMH), although an air ambulance had been arranged for shifting him abroad for treatment.He said, similarly, Imran Khan’s late father also got all treatment from Pakistan instead of going abroad.
He said this was the spirit what differentiated between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PML-N leadership.Fawad Chaudhry said that Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family are insisting that he be sent to the hospital in London where the former premier received treatment before.Fawad alleged that the complications that have come up in Nawaz’ health are because of doctors in London.The information minister presented a review of the various developments in the former premier’s health over the past few months.Fawad Chaudhry said that certain tests including a thallium scan were done after which a doctor recommended that Nawaz be shifted to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) for further tests. On January 22, Sharif was shifted to PIC where he underwent tests.

Following this at 3 30pm on the same day the former premier went back to jail.The information minister added that on Jan 25 the Punjab Home Department constituted a six-member board including doctors from Lahore and Rawalpindi cardiology hospitals while Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) personnel had also been nominated.On Jan 30, this board met Nawaz in jail and advised that the former premier be shifted to a hospital due to previous ailments he had suffered. He added that in 2001-02 Nawaz underwent an angioplasty and in 2016 he had a bypass surgery.Meanwhile in an interview with a private TV channel, Fawad Chaudhry said that no formal negotiations have been held with the United States regarding release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and no substantive progress has been made regarding this matter. Fawad said, “It is our desire that Dr Aafia should be handed over to Pakistan and she should complete the remaining term in Pakistan which is her right being the Pakistani citizen.Fawad said that Pakistan has signed extradition treaty with Britain but has no such agreement with the United States adding that this depends on the US policy.Fawad Chaudhry said that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting is going to be held in June adding, “We will fulfill most of the conditions of FATF and will come out from the gray list in September.” He said that the meeting of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with Nawaz Sharif was meeting between the two disappointed persons. Fawad said that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have contested their last elections, however, Bilawal’s politics will continue.Replying a question Fawad said that the investigations into the suicide of Brigadier (R) Asad Munir should be held so that the causes of suicide could be ascertained. He said that the postmortem of Asad Munir’s body should have been conducted and application of Asad Munir’s family for not conducting the postmortem should have been rejected.

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Pakistan wins: Stars laud PSL’s success on home ground

Pakistan witnessed history Sunday night as Pakistan Super League (PSL) brought cricket back to the country in a glittering closing ceremony.The ceremony featured performances by various artists, such as Fawad Khan (who sung the official PSL anthem, Khel Deewanon Ka), Aima Baig, Shuja Haider and Junoon.

Cricket triumphs: Gladiators clinch first PSL titleFootball legend, Carlos Puyol, who is currently visiting Karachi to promote World Soccor Stars (WSS) also attended the final match. He was joined on stage by the cast of the much-awaited thriller, The Legend of Maula Jatt.The President, Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed cricket back home and promised the whole tournament to happen in the country next year.Apart from the leaders, celebs such as Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Mawra Hocane and other lauded the security forces for conducting a smooth event.
Heres what the had to say:Mawra Hocane:Hum jeet gaye, Pakistan jeet gaya! (Weve won. Pakistan has won!) Alhumdulillah, shine always my Pakistan!Hum jeet gaye, Pakistan jeet gaya! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #PSLFinal2019#PSL#PSL4Alhumdulillah, shine always my Pakistan!!!!!!
March 17, 2019Hamza Ali Abbasi:Mubarik (Congratulations) Quetta Gladiators for winning the PSL Final and becoming champions! Pakistan has won today! Ya Allah, thank you for this happiness! Pakistan Zindabad!Mubarikkkkkk #QuettaGladiators for winning the #PSLFinal becoming Champions! PAKISTAN has won today! YA ALLAH, Thank you for this happiness! PAKISTAN ZINDABAD ❤️ March 17, 2019Mahira Khan:My city, my country shining bright! Heart swells with pride.Pakistan is winning tonight.My city, my country shining bright! Heart swells with pride.❤️ Pakistan is winning tonight 🙂 #HBLPSL.

March 17, 2019Fahad Musrafa:Mera Karachi, Mera Pakistan. Hamesha aisay roshan rahay.(May Karachi and Pakistan shine like this. Always!) Ameen.Mera Karachi Mera pakistan Hamesha aisay roshan rahay Ameen.March 17, 2019Humayun Saeed:Congrats Quetta Gladiators! Undoubtedly the best and most deserving of this title! Well-played Peshawar Zalmi but tough luck! Overall a fantastic tournament. Thank you PSL, the govt and Pak Army for bringing so much joy to Karachi and hopefully to entire country next year In Sha Allah!Congrats Quetta Gladiators! Undoubtedly the best most deserving of this title! Well-played Peshawar Zalmi but tough luck! Overall a fantastic tournament.
Thank you PSL, the govt Pak Army for bringing so much joy to Karachi hopefully to entire country next year insha Allah! 6lMarch 17, 2019Mehwish Hayat:It is so magnificent to see the roads covered in celebration to see Karachi so alive and festive and to have cricket back in my city again! Whoever wins or loses we as a nation have won today

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