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Bilawal elected as NA Human Rights Committee chairman

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said India was making gross violation of Human Rights in occupied Kashmir.
At a time when India is violating the human rights in occupied Kashmir and the way they are doing injustices to the Muslim and Dalit communities within their country and when I go abroad and raise the vice on violation of human rights violation in Occupied Kashmir then people ask me questions about the Human rights in Pakistan, he said while talking to journalists here Tuesday after being unanimously elected as National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman.
Ms Shazia Marri, MNA, Member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights proposed the name of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the chairman of the committee on human rights and his name was seconded by Ms. Fouzia Behram and accordingly Bilawal Bhutto Zardari MNA, was unanimously elected as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.Talking to media-persons after being elected as a Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said unless and until we don’t shift human rights based society in Pakistan, we will not be able to strengthen democracy, rule of law and social justice. The Human Rights will be our agenda and he will move forward with all the political parties, he said.Bilawal Zardari said he opted for the chairmanship of the Standing Committee on Human Rights to serve the country with breaking the precedent as generally the head of the political parties did not head the standing committee. But I opted for it to follow the path of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto who broke the precedent to head the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly while being in the opposition, he said.
He said the scope of the Human Rights Committee is wide and it is important responsibility. The PPP believes in strengthening the Parliament and wanted to strengthen the committee system of the Parliament, he said.Bialwal Bhutto Zardari said he choose the Human Rights Committee as the Human Rights are the foundation stone of the democracy as without the human right the democracies could not work properly, he said.He said if there is no human rights then we cannot give guarantee to education, freedom of speech, access to health facilities, rule of law and justice and I believe that the canvass of the Human Rights are so extensive.
The Human Rights has no limits, it can cross the party lines, cross borders and they cross all issue, he said.Asked whether the issue of missing persons will be in his priority and whether he will take up it in the committee, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari replied in affirmative and said the Human Right Committee will look into every human rights issue.
It is an issue of human rights and very important issue in Pakistan and I am sure that it will be taken up in the committee, he said.After being elected as a Chairman of Standing Committee on Human Rights Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked the members and specially thanked Minister for Human Rights Ms Shireen Mazari for her presence in the meeting and asked for her guidance and support for the Committee.The Chairman Standing Committee on Human Rights emphasized on the importance of Human Rights issue in Pakistan and he assured the members of his bipartisan role; and to remain focused only on resolving issues of Human Rights.ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said India was making gross violation of Human Rights in occupied Kashmir.
“At a time when India is violating the human rights in occupied Kashmir and the way they are doing injustices to the Muslim and Dalit communities within their country and when I go abroad and raise the vice on violation of human rights violation in Occupied Kashmir then people ask me questions about the Human rights in Pakistan,” he said while talking to journalists here Tuesday after being unanimously elected as National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman.Ms Shazia Marri, MNA, Member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights proposed the name of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the chairman of the committee on human rights and his name was seconded by Ms.
Fouzia Behram and accordingly Bilawal Bhutto Zardari MNA, was unanimously elected as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.Talking to media-persons after being elected as a Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said unless and until we don’t shift human rights based society in Pakistan, we will not be able to strengthen democracy, rule of law and social justice.
“The Human Rights will be our agenda and he will move forward with all the political parties,” he said.Bilawal Zardari said he opted for the chairmanship of the Standing Committee on Human Rights to serve the country with breaking the precedent as generally the head of the political parties did not head the standing committee.
“But I opted for it to follow the path of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto who broke the precedent to head the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly while being in the opposition,” he said.He said the scope of the Human Rights Committee is wide and it is important responsibility.“The PPP believes in strengthening the Parliament and wanted to strengthen the committee system of the Parliament,” he said.Bialwal Bhutto Zardari said he choose the Human Rights Committee as the Human Rights are the foundation stone of the democracy as without the human right the democracies could not work properly,” he said.He said if there is no human rights then we cannot give guarantee to education, freedom of speech, access to health facilities, rule of law and justice and I believe that the canvass of the Human Rights are so extensive. “The Human Rights has no limits, it can cross the party lines, cross borders and they cross all issue,” he said.Asked whether the issue of missing persons will be in his priority and whether he will take up it in the committee, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari replied in affirmative and said the Human Right Committee will look into every human rights issue. “It is an issue of human rights and very important issue in Pakistan and I am sure that it will be taken up in the committee,” he said.After being elected as a Chairman of Standing Committee on Human Rights Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked the members and specially thanked Minister for Human Rights Ms Shireen Mazari for her presence in the meeting and asked for her guidance and support for the Committee.The Chairman Standing Committee on Human Rights emphasized on the importance of Human Rights issue in Pakistan and he assured the members of his bipartisan role; and to remain focused only on resolving issues of Human Rights.

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Govt uses back-channel to send ‘positive note’ to India

LAHORE: The government has begun backdoor contacts with India and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is currently in India, has met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma.
Vankwani also met Minster of State for External Affairs General VK Singh, the four-star general who has also served as the Indian army chief.“I have communicated a positive note to the Indian leaders and I hope there will now be a change in their behaviour,” Vankwani said on Saturday while talking to The Express Tribune over telephone.The Sindh-based PTI leader, who is a lawmaker on minority seat, is in India on a religious trip amid heightened tensions between the two rival states in the wake of February 14 suicide attack that killed at least 40 India paramilitaries in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Trump alarmed by ‘very dangerous situation’ between Pakistan, IndiaVankwani said he encountered Modi during an event and the Indian PM met him warmly. He said he told Modi that he had come with a positive message and wanted to return with a positive message.He said later on Modi’s directive, Sushma Swaraj also held a 25-minute-long meeting with him.“I told the Indian foreign minister that in Pakistan its captain’s [Prime Minister Imran Khan] government now; he is a Pathan and he does what he says.We assure you that no Pakistani institution is involved in Pulwama attack. If India provides evidence, we will facilitate the investigation,” Vankwani said.
According to the MNA, he told Swaraj that the two countries need to take lessons from past and not to hold on to it.“Enmity can be brought to an end by befriending the enemy,” he said, adding that he himself has returned after Ganga Ashnan (ablution) and never tells lies.FO sets up ‘Crisis Management Cell’ in Pulwama aftermath“I told them that we need to get out of politics of accusations,” he added.According to Vankwani, after the meeting he felts that the atmosphere was beginning to thaw.
“Indian PM during his Rajasthan rally has hinted at holding dialogue with Pakistan,” he added.PTI’s Ramesh Kumar Vankwani meets State Minister for External Affairs Gen VK Singh.EXPRESSHe said he had come to India on invitation from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for participation in Kumbh Mela. “220 people from 125 countries from all over the world have been invited to participate in this event and I am representing Pakistan,” he added.
PHOTO: EXPRESSWar frenzy has been sweeping across India ever since a young man from Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) rammed a vehicle full of explosives into a military convoy in Pulwama, killing nearly four dozen soldiers.India airlifts thousands of paramilitary troops to occupied KashmirJaish-e-Mohammad militant group, which Delhi claims operates from Pakistan, purportedly claimed credit for the deadliest attack on Indian troops in IoK.Delhi put the blame squarely on the state of Pakistan, deployed its troops menacingly close to the border, and started issuing threats.Amid crescendoing war hysteria and relentless threats of military action from India, the Pakistan Army on Friday also issued an unambiguous warning to New Delhi: Dont mess with Pakistan.
We do not wish to go to war. But please be assured, should you initiate any aggression, you shall never be able to surprise us.We shall, for sure, surprise you, the chief military spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, said during an unusual media briefing

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Tareen tops list of lawmakers paying taxes in 2017

ISLAMABAD: The top ten parliamentarians in terms of their tax contributions paid Rs322 million in taxes, equal to 60% of total taxes paid by all members of the parliament in tax year 2017, raising questions whether lawmakers were fulfilling their moral,
Former member of National Assembly (MNA) Jahangir Khan Tareen paid Rs97.3 million in income tax, which was the highest paid by any national lawmaker in 2017, according to a tax directory for the year released by the government on Friday.Tareen’s tax contribution was equal to 18.2 per cent of the total taxes paid by 423 members of parliament. His numbers also showed an 81 per cent increase in his tax contribution from the previous year, when he was also the country’s highest tax contributor.
Imran reiterates resolve to hold everyone accountableSkewed numbersExcluding these ten members, the average tax contributions by the remaining 413 members of the National Assembly and the Senate paid Rs212 million in taxes – an average of Rs513,000 per parliamentarian.Such a poor tax contribution does not commensurate with the life styles of these worthy members of the Parliament, a fact that was acknowledged by Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday.
True VIPs are those who pay taxes, says PM ImranBy including the tax contributions of top ten parliamentarians, the average per parliamentarian tax contribution would jump to Rs1.26 million, which does not present realistic picture.
Crests and troughsThe tax contributions by former premier Nawaz Sharif and incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan also nosedived in tax year 2017, which was the fiscal year 2016-17. Few weeks after the end of that fiscal year, Nawaz was removed by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.
Presumably, his tax returns were filed after he was ousted from power. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid just Rs 263,173 in taxes in 2017, as against Rs 2.52 million paid in the preceding  year.Meanwhile, PM Imran was a member of National Assembly from a Rawalpindi constituency at that time.
He paid a paltry sum of Rs 103,763 in income tax, which was less than by 35% or Rs 55,0000.Overall, there was an upward trend in tax contributions by members of parliament.
The fifth tax directory of parliamentarians showed that national lawmakers, including members of the federal cabinet, paid Rs535 million in taxes during tax year 2017 – up by Rs139 million or 35 per cent The tax contributions by the members of the Senate increased to Rs254 million – up by 14 per cent. MNAs paid over Rs281 million during tax year 2016, an increase of 26 per cent.But a significant number of parliamentarians were still paying far below their potential, showed the tax directory. Many of them paid Rs138,573 annual tax, which suggested that they paid taxes only on the income that the earned as member of the National Assembly or the Senate.
The tax directories for fiscal year 2016-17 that ended in June 2017 were released by Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar. Tax year 2017 was the fourth year of the PML-N term but the directories were released after a lag of over one year.The numbers of total taxpayers increased by over 34 per cent in tax year 2017, said Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Jehanzeb Khan while speaking at the launch ceremony.Overall, out of a total 1,169 members of the Senate, the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, as many as 98 legislators did not file their tax returns.
Under the law, filing the income tax return is binding on every citizen who earns more than Rs400,000 per annum and non-filer parliamentarians may face serious consequence, provided FBR plays its due role.Six senators and 17 MNAs did not file their annual income tax returns.Top taxpayers in parliamentSenator Rozi Khan Kakar paid Rs40.9 million in income tax, which was lower by Rs9 million over the preceding year.
Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi paid Rs29.4 million, which was less than his previous contribution of Rs35.3 million. Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood paid Rs43.2 million, which was higher by 33%. Senator Aitzaz Ahsan paid Rs25.9 million, showing an increase of 86.3%.Senator Ishaq Dar paid Rs9.4 million and Senator Farogh Naseem paid Rs27.9 million in income tax, which was higher by 37.5%.Senator Farooq H Naek paid Rs11 million in income tax.Among the members of the National Assembly, MNA Sheikh Fayyaz uddin paid Rs14 million in income tax, MNA Isphanyar Bhandara paid Rs22.95 million income tax.Former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid Rs10.3 million in income tax, which was higher by nearly 9%.Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who owns a controlling stake in Air Blue, paid Rs3.1 million in income tax, higher than the previous year. Finance Minister Asad Umar paid Rs4.85 million in income tax in 2017. Hamza Shehbaz Sharif paid Rs8.3 million income tax.Senator Rubina Khalid paid only Rs44,485 income tax, Senator Saleem Zia just Rs173,362.Former MNA Haji Ghulam Bilour paid Rs138,573 income tax, former Chief Minister KP, and MNA Amir Haider Hoti paid Rs168,586 in income tax. Sheikh Rashid Ahmad paid just Rs702,698 income tax.

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PPP leaders rush to court for pre-arrest bails in wake of Durrani’s arrest

KARACHI: The arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on corruption charges has left many leaders and ministers of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in a state of fear and panic.

The SHC accepted on Friday the bail pleas of three PPP leaders who included Aijaz Jakhrani, Taimur Talpur and Razzaq Raja.The high court also restrained the NAB from further investigations against former local government minister and MPA Jam Khan Shoro who is already on bail.Shoro in his plea maintained that NAB was carrying out multiple inquiries against him.I acquired bail from SHC but have concerns about getting arrested in further NAB inquiries.
NAB should be stopped from carrying out any further inquiry against me. The arrest should be made conditional to the permission of the high court, Shoro said in his plea.Sindh Assembly censures NAB over Durrani’s arrestWhile restraining NAB from further inquiry, the court also issued notice to NABs director general and others for March 14.Khalid Javed, counsel for Shoro, submitted before the court that Jam Khan Shoro has his own CNG station in Hyderabad but NAB was harassing his client on an eight-month old call-up notice.He said land department has given in writing that CNG stations land is owned by the applicant but land department is being pressurised to declare the land as government property. He said: NAB is harassing his client on political grounds.
Former federal minister and MNA Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, who is an accused in a case of making assets beyond known sources of income, had also filed the pre-arrest bail. After he was granted bail, he left the court without responding to the questions of media.Jakhranis counsel informed the court that his client had been issued a notice to appear before NAB as a witness but they have reservation that anti-graft body might arrest him.While granting bail against a surety of Rs 1 million, the court directed him to cooperate with the NAB in their inquiry.
Taimur Talpur, who is the provincial minister of climate change and coastal development, argued in his plea that NAB sent him a call up notice in January 2019.PPP’s thinly-veiled attempt to outwit the NAB The NAB has sought the details of my assets.I dont know what is the accusation against me? NAB should be stopped from arresting me, Talpur said in his plea. The court granted him bail against a surety of Rs 0.5m till March 29.Another PPP member of the Sindh assembly, Abdul Razzaq Raja, also got pre-arrest bail against the surety of Rs 1m fearing his arrest by NAB in a corruption case relating the Malir Development Authority (MDA).Raja stated before the court that he was given notice by NAB in connection with MDA affairs and he had submitted his reply but due to the current political situation he was afraid of his arrest.rd, 2019.

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