WASHINGTON: Payments to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund are still frozen and the US Defense Secretary (who was recently in Pakistan) has not yet issued the required certification.
Lt. Col. Michael Andrews a spokesman for the Pentagon, told media that “Secretary Mattis has not yet made a decision on the certification required”.
Congress has yet to release the $400 million in counter-terrorism funds for Pakistan in fiscal year 2017.
Another $650 million in payments, that Pakistan would have received for the previous two fiscal years, have already been “reprogrammed and are no longer available to Pakistan,” Andrews further added.
While the United States maintains that the funds are tied to Islamabad’s backing for counter-terrorism operations, Pakistani officials continue to claim that payments should not be linked to precise conditions.
CJ takes serious notice of Justice Siddiqui’s speech
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has taken notice of a speech delivered by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui Judge Islamabad High Court at Rawalpindi Bar Association.
Justice Siddiqui, in his speech has alleged that intelligence agencies of the country are interfering in Judicial matters, said a press release.
Chief Justice taking the notice of the matter called for the complete record of the speech from Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
Meanwhile, DG ISPR has taken to the twitter stating: “Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan has been requested to inititate appropriate process of ascertaining the veracity of the allegation leveled against state institutions”.
All set to hold NA, PA polls on Wednesday in Rawalpindi division!
RAWALPINDI: All is set to hold the general elections on Wednesday 25th July as all the arrangements including security, have been finalized for conducting polls in the free, fair and transparent manner in Rawalpindi division.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sources, the basic facilities including electricity, drinking water, toilets for the polling staff and voters at all polling stations have been ensured in Rawalpindi division. The election campaign would terminate on the midnight falling between Monday and Tuesday.
The Commission had finalized Polling Schemes for seven National Assembly and 15 Provincial Assembly of the Punjab constituencies of Rawalpindi district while 6200 polling booths including 3,200 for male and 3,000 for female voters are being set up for polling. Total 2,576 Polling Stations have been set up in the district where 3,125,669 voters including 1,647,507 male and 1,478,162 female voters will cast their ballot to elect representatives of their choice.
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has activated the Result Transmission Service (RTS) to enable Returning Officers to send results to the ECP through the service. NADRA teams visited the offices of Returning Officers to activate RTS and according to the ECP, the presiding and assistant presiding officers have been given the software to use through smartphones. The presiding officers who did not have smartphones, the software linked to the smartphones of their respective subordinate staff which will be used to onward pass on the results of respective constituency after compilation.
Printing of ballot papers has also been completed while polling equipment already distributed among the ROs. ECP has also reviewed the preparations for the general elections and directed the provincial chief secretaries to ensure the security of Returning Officers and Polling staff in their respective provinces. The District Returning Officers and Returning Officers were appointed mostly from the lower judiciary, while the assistant returning officers were selected from the civil bureaucracy – mainly district administration group.
The District Returning Officer (DRO) Rawalpindi Muhammad Khalid Nawaz received election material including ballot boxes, seals, polling booths, ink, ballot papers and other necessary items which have been kept in double lock up under a tight security arrangement. The Commission has directly given election material to the concerned Returning Officers (ROs) in this regard. Training of polling staff, screens for the compartment and seating arrangements for presiding officers in the constituencies have also been completed. The election commission has constituted a control room in every constituency of the district where one returning officer (RO) would remain present all the time to monitor the elections and polling activities through cameras installed in the polling
Meanwhile, the DRO had directed the District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA), Secretary Khalid Yameen Satti to immediately arrange over 1,000 buses and wagons to dispatch the election material and election staff to their relative polling stations on the polling Day. Talking to APP, the Secretary RTA informed that the arrangement of buses and wagons would be finalized here till Monday. In the Rawalpindi District 104 polling stations have been declared as highly sensitive while 91 others have been termed as sensitive.
According to officials of the ECP, polling schemes for the seven National Assembly (NA) and 15 Provincial Assembly constituencies of Rawalpindi district had been finalized.
As many as 75 candidates are competing for the NA seats while 166 candidates are vying for the PA seats. There are six heavyweight candidates in the running including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, former federal minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Raja Qamar-ul-Islam. Dr. Hasan Askari in a recently held high-level meeting here at Commissioner Office reviewed election arrangements. He also took important decisions for holding free, fair, transparent and peaceful general election. He directed the authorities to ensure the best possible security arrangements for the polling day. According to Commissioner Office Rawalpindi, as many as 6,132 cops will perform security duty in Rawalpindi district while 2,754 will be deployed in Attock district. Similarly, 1,841 police officials will be on security duty in Jhelum and nearly 2,141 in Chakwal district.
Strict monitoring of polling stations will be carried out through CCTV cameras and district monitoring officers are monitoring the steps taken for implementation of the code of conduct issued by Election Commission of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Rawalpindi police have also finalized election security plan. According to City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan, the police are taking all possible measures to maintain law and order during the election campaign and for the polling day.
The CPO informed that the ban on display of weapons will be implemented in letter and spirit and no one would be allowed to violate the ban. He said that the polling stations in Rawalpindi were categorized as A, B and C for security purposes. As part of security arrangements, the CPO said that the district had been divided into sectors and
sub-sectors. Each police station in the district constitutes one sector while a contingent of reserve police personnel will be at the disposal of the police station and will act accordingly as and when required bases by the relevant police station. Meanwhile, polling stations have been divided into sub-sectors of 20 police stations, with each sub-sector assigned two police personnel on a motorbike and a patrol van with six police personnel. He said the authorities concerned have been requested for deployment of 1200 extra police personnel to assist the local
According to ECP sources, NA-59, Rawalpindi-III, is the most sensitive constituency in Rawalpindi district having 31 highly sensitive and seven sensitive Polling Stations (PSs). The administration on the directive of caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hasan Askari has finalized tight security arrangements for A, B & C category polling stations (PSs) in Rawalpindi Division as 606 Polling Stations (PSs) set up for election have been declared highly sensitive and 1036 sensitive in Rawalpindi Division including Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Islamabad. Over 12,841 police personnel will be deployed at 5,328 polling stations in four districts of Rawalpindi division including Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum, and Chakwal.
Meanwhile, the security plan for the polling stations falling under the administrative control of Islamabad capital territory has been finalized by the Islamabad administration separately. According to the administrative division by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad is part of the Rawalpindi region. Out of 786 polling stations of the
federal capital, 26 have been declared highly sensitive, 87 sensitive and 673 normal in the federal capital. 1,069 polling stations of Attock district include 301 highly sensitive, 532 sensitive while 236 are normal.
Rawalpindi district which would have 2,576 total polling stations including 145 highly sensitive, 99 sensitive and 2332 normal while Chakwal district has total 925 polling stations with 74 highly sensitive, 217 sensitive and 634 normal. Similarly, Jhelum would have 60 highly sensitive, 101 sensitive and 597 normal in total 758 polling stations of the district.
DoAM starts conservation work of historical Rawat Fort
ISLAMABAD: Department of Archeology and Museums (DoAM) has finally initiated the conservation work of the majestic historical Rawat Fort, which was in dilapidated condition for the last many years.
Preservation of cultural heritage and archaeological sites not only relives a nation but also promotes the rich cultural heritage of the country and tourism, bringing monetary benefits to the country. Rawat Fort is originally an ancient Sarai (Inn) situated about 11 miles from Rawalpindi towards Jehlum close to the Grand Trunk road and appears to have been built during the Sultanate period in early 15th century A.D.“The department has started conservation work mainly to preserve the fort with damaged boundary walls, 19 ram-shackled rooms, three-domed altered mosque, crumbling graves and a deserted mausoleum after approval of PC-I for repair, maintenance, and development of Rawat Fort with the cost of Rs. 28 million”, an official of DoAM told Media.
The biggest problem was of the encroachments from three sides of the fort, which is sheer violation of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) law that prohibits construction within 200 feet of the historical monuments premises. The issue has not been resolved yet despite writing to the authorities in CDA for several times to remove encroachments at the fort site, the official revealed. However, the conservation of the fort will at least help protect this ancient site from further ruining as well as stop the drug addicts and beggar residing there through repair of boundary walls, the official said. Rawat Fort had 45 rooms, out of which 19 ram-shackled rooms exist and others have fallen prey to intentional vandalism of private constructors who have merged the major parts of the rooms into their houses.
These rooms once used by travelers of an ancient era for staying. According to the description board outside the fort with half omitted words, the fort is associated with the name of Masud, son of famous Mehmood of Ghaznavi in 1039 A.D where he was arrested by his rebellious soldiers and eventually murdered in the fort of Giri near Taxila. The fort is also associated with the name of Ghakhar tribe chief Sarang Khan who fell with his sixteen sons fighting against Sher Shah Suri and buried within the precinct of this monument, it says. The locals altered the historical mosque and the mausoleum of Sarang Khan in the fort from their original architecture, violating the law that prohibits damaging or altering the historical monuments.
The graves of 16 sons of Sarang Khan and others are also in a dilapidated condition as usually locals pull the bricks of these graves out when they need it. DOAM, Islamabad protected this site under Antiquities Act 1975 but after devolution under the 18th amendment of the constitution, Punjab government acquired it. The DoAM again acquired the site and started initial working on a plan for its maintenance and preservation. DoAM purchased the road linking the historical site with Grand Trunk Road but shopkeepers and roadside hawkers encroached that.