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Army action urged for release of hostages in Sindh



LARKANA / DERA GHAZI KHAN: A large number of people took to the streets in different cities of Sindh on Sunday to protest against the abduction of some members of the minority Hindu community and increasing incidents of robberies in the province.

The sit-in, in which people from all faiths are participating, was staged for the recovery of the abducted members of the Hindu community in Kashmore, including Mukhi Jagdish Kumar, Sagar Kumar, Jaideep Kumar and Dr Munir Naij. The protest entered the second day on Sunday, with the relatives of kidnap victims demanding their early and safe recovery.

The protesters demanded an operation by the army and Rangers against the kidnappers and bandits. They regretted that despite the passage of 24 hours, the police and administration had failed to recover the hostages, adding that the sit-in would continue till their release.

Due to the sit-in, buses, ambulances and freight vehicles going to Punjab and Balochistan were stuck on different roads and highways of Kashmore.

Protest sit-ins held in Kashmore, Larkana and Karachi

In Larkana, Pooj Hindu Panchayat Chairman Haresh Lal, Dr Dayali Gul, Nanin Ram, Dr Sudham Chand and others led a rally taken out from Hindu Dharamshala. The demonstration was later joined by representatives of the Larkana Chamber of Commerce and Industry and leaders of Awami Tehreek.

The protesters, carrying banners and portraits of kidnap victims, raised slogans against the poor law and order situation in Kashmore-Kandhkot district and increasing incidents of robberies in Larkana.

Addressing the participants at Jinnah Bagh gate, the leaders of Hindu Panchayat, Awami Tehreek and LCCI said police had failed to initiate a decisive action against the bandits who were continuously uploading videos on social media showing kidnapped victims being tortured.

The speakers said bandits had not only challenged the state’s writ but also harmed its interests.

Karachi sit-in

KARACHI: The Minority Rights March and Aurat March hold a sit-in on Sunday to press the authorities for an early release of kidnap victims from the clutches of dacoits in Sindh. Some people had travelled all the way from Kashmore and Sukkur to participate in the demonstration at Clifton.—Shakil Adil / White Star

In Karachi, the Minority Rights March and Aurat March called a protest at Teen Talwar in Clifton, which turned into a huge sit-in, to demand justice for the abducted Sagar Kumar, Mukhi Jagdish, Dr Munir and minors Jaideep Kumar and Priya Kumari.

The protesters, many of whom had travelled all the way from Kashmore and Sukkur, held up banners and posters with pictures of the missing persons as they complained about the law and order issue in Kashmore, Sukkur and northern Sindh, and demanded the speedy recovery of all the abductees.

“We are raising our voices here in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, because Kashmore, probably, is too backward a town and, maybe, the voices of the victims’ families and the people of that area are not reaching the corridors of power from there,” said a protester from Kashmore.

Human rights activist Pastor Ghazala Shafique said people of Kashmore have no peace, thanks to the lawlessness there. “They live in fear because of the bandits. And police, too, are offering them no protection,” she said.

“Even the landlords there are offering protection to the bandits instead of the people,” she pointed out.

Social activist Sheema Kermani said such kind of unlawful activities from gangs aren’t possible without patronage from landlords and police.

“So many of the abductees have been missing for years and months but it is being said by police that they have been recovered. Yet their families are saying that they have not reached home,” she said.

Town planner Arif Hasan said, “People have been wronged here since times immemorial, but at least there are people who raise their voices against the wrongs. Protests can raise awareness and make people think. They can bring change, though it may take time for that to happen,” he said.

All the protesters at the sit-in then announced that they had no intention of budging from their positions until midnight. “We will only move after getting assurance from the chief minister of Sindh to do something for the recovery of the missing persons and the law and order situation in Kashmore and northern Sindh,” said Pastor Ghazala.

Meanwhile, caretaker Sindh Home Minister Haris Nawaz while talking to the media in Thatta said a plan has been finalised for launching an operation against bandits in the riverine areas of Jacobabad and Shikarpur and the next phase of operation would be more result-oriented.

Tariq Saeed Birmani in Dera Ghazi Khan, M.B. Kalhoro in Larkana, Shazia Hasan in Karachi and Ghulam Hussain Khwaja in Thatta contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2023


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Rogue doctor’s arrest a ‘test case’ for law enforcement



• Originally a plastic surgeon at LGH, Mumtaz conducted illegal operations in private residences
• Officials say surgeries have claimed lives of several patients including foreign nationals

LAHORE: Notorious illegal kidney transplant surgeon Fawad Mumtaz, who was re-arrested a couple of days ago by Lahore police after he escaped from custody, has become a ‘test case’ for the criminal justice system and the law enforcement agencies, especially for the Punjab police.

Mumtaz has been booked and arrested several times by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Pu­­­n­jab police, but each time, he has managed to obtain bail and con­­tinued his illegal transplant racket.

According to his criminal record, Mumtaz has been running the largest-ever illegal kidney transplant racket across the country, especially in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir since 2009.

An official said that Mumtaz was originally a plastic surgeon at the state-run Lahore General Hospital. He was serving as an assistant professor when he was first suspended from service for conducting illegal transplant procedures.

The rogue surgeon has reportedly become a billionaire, exploiting rich clients and charging exorbitant amounts from clients — especially those from Gulf countries — to perform illegal transplant operations.

According to FIA and police in­­vestigations, Mumtaz would char­­ge Rs10 million to Rs15 million from foreign clients/patients for each illegal kidney transplant and used to pay Rs100,000 to Rs150,000 to local donors, who his gang members would trap with the promise of employment or other lures.

The rogue surgeon would conduct the illegal transplant procedures in rented houses in private housing societies in cities across the province, it has emerged.

A few days ago, Lahore police picked him up from Taxila in connection with a case registered against him at Garden Town police station.

But shockingly, Mumtaz managed to flee from police custody, and the official explanation provided was that four of his armed accomplices attacked the police team and managed to free him.

The incident prompted careta­ker Punjab chief minister Mohsin Naqvi to hold a press conference.

He told journalists on Sunday that Mumtaz has been re-arrested by Lahore police and action has been proposed against police officers who had taken him into custody before he managed to escape.

Lahore DIG Investigation Imran Kishwar told Dawn the accused was on physical remand and police were interrogating him. He said the officials responsible for his escape had been suspended from service and a departmental inquiry has been launched to punish them accordingly.

An official told Dawn that Mumtaz had a notorious criminal record spanning over a decade.

Currently, several cases are lodged against him in Lahore, Multan, Okara, Bahawalpur, Fai­salabad, Taxila and Rawalpindi.

The last case against him was registered in Taxila, where a joint team of the Punjab Human Organ Transplant Authority and local police arrested six suspects, including doctors and paramedics, during a raid in March.

Talking about illegal renal transplant procedures, the official said that Mumtaz had performed a kidney transplant on the daughter of famous comedian Umar Sharif in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in February 2020.

During the procedure, she developed serious complications and was brought to hospital in Lahore, where she breathed her last, the official said, adding that Mumtaz received Rs3.5 million from the family to perform the illegal transplant in AJK because there were no laws to prevent illegal human organ transplants in that territory.

FIA teams had also failed to arrest Mumtaz during an earlier raid on his residence in Lahore, and consequently, the rogue surgeon had managed to go into hiding. He was arrested by FIA in April 2017, when he had carried out illegal transplant procedures on Jordanian, Libyan and Omani nationals at EME Society in Lahore for Rs6m each.

Later, FIA revealed that a Jordanian national had died during the illegal procedure.

The deceased woman’s death certificate was faked by one of Mumtaz’s accomplices, Dr Altamash Kharal, and the body was kept in another private hospital in Defence before being sent back to Jordan. At the time, FIA had recommended action against Mumtaz and his accomplices.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023


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Naila Kiani, Sirbaz Khan become first Pakistani duo to summit world’s 6th highest peak Cho Oyu



Mountaineers Naila Kiani and Sirbaz Khan became the first Pakistani duo to summit the 8,201-metre-tall Cho Oyu — the world’s sixth-highest peak in China’s Tibet — on Monday.

The mountain is located on the Nepal-Tibet border 20 kilometres west of Mount Everest in the Mahalangur range. Cho Oyu means “Turquoise Goddess” in Tibetan.

The duo reached the summit earlier today at 12:30pm (Nepal Time) as part of the expedition led by Imagine Nepal. Khan made the climb without using any supplementary oxygen.

They successfully reached the summit just five days after crossing the Tibet border from Nepal.

Kiani became the first Pakistani woman climber to summit 10 peaks above 8,000m and the only Pakistani to ascend seven peaks above 8,000m in six months.

Meanwhile, Khan became the only Pakistani to summit 13 peaks above 8,000m with today’s success and the only one to conquer 10 mountains above 8,000m without the use of supplementary oxygen.

Last month, the two had also successfully completed the ascent of the world’s eighth-highest peak, 8,163m-tall Mt Manaslu, in Nepal. Subsequently, the duo had arrived in China with the aim of conquering both Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

Kiani has already scaled Broad Peak (8,047m), Annapurna (8,091m), K2 (8,611m), Lhotse (8,516m), Gashe­rbrum I (8,068m), Gashe­rbrum II (8,035m), Nanga Parbat (8,125m) and Mount Everest (8,849m).

Saad Munawar, Khan’s expedition manager, told that Khan was on a mission to complete the challenging goal of conquering all 14 peaks above 8,000m.

“Hailing from the Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Sirbaz continues to make his homeland proud with his extraordinary mountaineering achievements,” he said.

Munawar also commended Kiani’s determination, emphasising that her ascent of the peak occurred under “extraordinarily challenging conditions” marked by poor visibility and adverse weather.

“The marathon climb, spanning over 28 hours, stands as a testament to her exceptional strength and mountaineering prowess,” he said.

Alpine Club of Pakistan Secretary Karrar Haidri felicitated Kiani and Khan for their triumphant ascent of Cho Oyu.

“We hold our collective hopes and prayers for their safe return from this extraordinary adventure. Their dedication to mountaineering is truly commendable, and their achievements serve as a wellspring of inspiration for all,” he remarked while talking to

Separately, young Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif reached the base camp of Cho Oyu and will commence his endeavour to ascend the peak from Tuesday (tomorrow).

The summit will mark his 13th conquest of an 8,000m peak.

He also scaled Manaslu last month.


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Circular debt grows despite tariff hikes



ISLAMABAD: Power sector circular debt continues to grow despite all the repeated tariff increases on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis as the government takes a strategic move towards billing in the consumer tariffs capacity charges payable to power producers.

This came to light when the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Monday notified a flat Rs3.2814 per unit additional quarterly tariff adjustment (QTA) in electricity bills of all consumer categories (except lifeline consumers) and companies including (K-Electric) for the next six months — October to March 2024. The overall revenue impact goes beyond Rs200bn which includes Rs136bn on account of additional cash flows to 10 ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos), in addition to 18pc GST.

Simultaneously, the Power Division also silently put on its website the National Electric Plan (NEP) 2023-27 approved by the PDM-led coalition government on Aug 8 envisaging partial recovery of capacity charges payable to IPPs through fixed charges in all consumers except those in very poor category.

The Power Division on the other hand uploaded on its website a circular debt report for the period ending June 30, showing total payables to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) at Rs1.434 trillion and total circular debt at Rs2.31tr. The report card released after a gap of about three months showed payables to IPPs growing by Rs83bn and total circular debt by Rs57bn in FY23 when compared to the previous fiscal year. The payables to public sector generation companies also went up by Rs10bn to Rs111bn.

Caretaker govt silently adopts National Electric Plan 2023-27

Electric plan

“Fixed charges shall be progressively incorporated in the tariffs of all consumer segments except consumers of protected category. Such fixed charges shall duly account for, inter alia, the share of capacity cost in cost of service, market interventions, consumption behaviours and affordability of consumers,” said the NEP which has now been adopted by the caretaker government as well. “It is aimed that by FY27, the fixed charges shall account for at least 20pc of the fixed cost of the respective categories evaluated through a cost-of-service study,” it added.

The plan envisages the continuation of cross-subsidies — electricity to be charged at higher rates from commercial, industrial and higher consumption residential consumers — to finance the sociopolitical responsibility of the government to provide subsidy to the lifeline and protected-category consumers but promises full overall cost recovery of the electricity supply through enhanced rates from all consumers. “Tariffs for the residential consumers shall be progressively adjusted to align with the principle of cost-of-service,” it added.

The tariff design shall be regularly revisited to foster market interventions, cross-subsidy rationalisation, bill & revenue stability and customer satisfaction through multi-part tariff structures, creation & restructuring of slabs in existing categories of the consumers and creation of new categories, etc.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023


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