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UNITED NATIONS: The United Arab Republic today [May 18] officially requested the withdrawal of the entire UN Emergency Forces from the Gaza and Sinai regions, it was announced.

Israeli planes fired on a United Nations plane carrying the UN Force Commander, Major General Indar Jit Rikhye, today and tried to force it to land inside Israeli territory.

Secretary General U Thant, who disclosed the incident, said he had issued a strong protest to the Israeli Government.

He delivered a written demarche to the Israeli chief delegate, Mr Gideon Rafael, who called on him in New York this morning.

A UN spokesman said the plane, a Royal Canadian Air Force Caribou, was flying from El Arish to Gaza when it was intercepted and buzzed west of the armistice demarcation line by two Israeli military aircraft. — Agencies

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Lahore,] water taxes in Karachi and other major towns of West Pakistan may soon be increased, Provincial Minister for Basic Democracies and Local Government, Mr Mohammad Yasin Wattoo, indicated today [May 18].

He told a Press conference here that the Karachi Municipal Corporation, which supplies drinking water to the citizens, was rationalising the present tax structure and may announce its new schedule soon.

Revision of the tax structure in Karachi was first decided upon by the Government last year when it had announced that distribution of water, too, was being transferred from the KMC to the KDA.

But before the decision could be put through, it had to be withdrawn following protests from the KMC. The Corporation will continue to supply water to the citizens after purchasing it from the KDA.

No immediate details were available of the percentage of increase the Government proposes to make in the tax schedule for water supplied by the KMC. A clear picture is likely to emerge only after the presentation of the new Budget on June 14.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017