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January 01, 2013

Four kidnapped men freed

NOWSHERA, Dec 31: Four men among them a Pakistani-born British citizen, who had been kidnapped in November last year, have been freed after payment of ransom to their abductors.

Relatives of the freed persons hailing from Salekhana said on Monday the four men, including Shahzad Noor, a Pakistani-born British citizen, had been kidnapped from Daag Ismail Khel bazaar in Pabbi area on Nov 27, 2012. The other victims included Ishfaq, Numan and Awais Khattak.

The Pabbi police station had registered FIR against unidentified kidnappers after intervention of the British embassy. Sources said that Shahzad Noor and his friends were released after paying a handsome amount as ransom to the kidnappers.—Correspondent

Oil, gas royalty being misused

KARAK, Dec 31: PML-N provincial secretary general Rehmat Salam Khattak has accused the lawmakers from Karak district of misusing the oil and gas royalty funds.

Speaking at a public meeting at Zar Khan Kala here on Monday, he alleged provincial minister Mian Nisar Gul had shifted Rs10 million to Nowshera for renovation of Kaka Sahib shrine. He added former lawmaker Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz also handed out his funds to his blue-eyed boys.

He regretted that the people of Karak city and other areas were purchasing the drinking water while their elected representative was shifting their funds to other areas. He said the people had become sick of the religious leaders as their leader MNA Mufti Mohammad Ajmal had not spoken a single word on the floor of the National Assembly.

The PML-N leader said Nisar Gul had inducted his supporters in Khushal Khan Khattak University.—Correspondent

Official suspended

KOHAT, Dec 31: Authorities have suspended an official for using substandard material in the construction of barracks in the Kohat prison.

The communication and works department secretary visited the jail after complaints of substandard construction. The official found that the overseer of the project namely Shakir had used substandard material in the building. He asked the chief engineer to conduct an inquiry into the matter so that action could be taken against the overseer of the project.

Separate barracks of the prison are being built to house militants. Earlier, the prison was handed over to army for keeping militants, while transferring other inmates to Karak and Bannu districts. But the experiment proved futile as relatives faced hardships in meeting the prisoners. Police also complained of problems in bringing prisoners for hearing in courts in Kohat.—Correspondent

Contractors allege irregularities

KOHAT, Dec 31: The government contractors have accused the executive engineer of the irrigation department of nepotism in award of contracts.

The contractors held a meeting here on Monday to take a line of action after what they alleged denial of application forms to senior and competent contractors by the official.

The contractors said the official awarded contracts to his blue-eyed people and thus, violating the rules and regulations.

Meanwhile, the official denied any wrongdoing in award of contracts, saying merit was followed in the process. He said tenders were advertised in the newspapers on three different dates after which the application forms were distributed among the contractors.—Correspondent

Utility stores threaten protest

TIMERGARA, Dec 31: The All Franchised Utility Stores Association, Lower Dir, will hold a protest demonstration in front of the parliament house and office of the Utility Stores Corporation MD at Islamabad if the district warehouse didn’t release commodities or the withheld money within two weeks.

Speaking at a news conference at the Timergara Press Club, president of the association Qaribul Haq and others alleged the then regional manager of the Dir warehouse Farid Khan had refused to supply commodities to their stores despite receiving Rs670,000 from them.

They said owner of the Jabbar franchised store Nasrullah had deposited Rs440,000 while Sajjad of Talash had deposited Rs230,000 with the warehouse for supply of commodities but the regional manager was unmoved despite clear directives from the zonal manager. Meanwhile, Farid Khan rejected the allegation and said he had been transferred to Peshawar zone.—Correspondent

Mastung killings condemned

PESHAWAR, Dec 31: The Shia Ulema Council (SUC) on Monday announced to stage country-wide protest demonstrations on Friday to condemn the killing of 20 pilgrims in a bus attack at Mastung in Balochistan.

Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, SUC central general secretary Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi demanded judicial inquiry into the killings. He said government would be pressed to curb sectarian killings and arrest the culprits. Flanked by other religious leaders, he lamented that the government had failed to control attacks against Shia community members.

“The government has no writ in Mastung as a large number of innocent people have frequently been killed there during last one year. None of killers has so far been arrested which exposed the poor performance of our security agencies to maintain law and order situation,” he deplored.

Allama Wahidi said federal and Balochistan governments would be held responsible if they failed to stop such attacks in future.—Bureau Report

Fight against militancy

PESHAWAR, Dec 31: Minister for Information and Public Relations Mian Iftikhar Hussain has reiterated government’s resolve that fight against militancy will continue till eradication of the menace. He condemned the slaying of Levies personnel by the militants and said the government would not succumb to such tactics. The minister in a statement said such cowardly acts of militants cannot demoralise the law enforcement agencies, the government and the nation.

Eulogising the bravery and dutifulness of the Levies personnel, he said the sacrifices rendered by them for the cause of peace would not go waste. The minister expressed sympathy with the bereaved families and assured them that the provincial government would extend all possible assistance to them. He prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls.—Bureau Report