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Observers were not allowed in 10pc of the polling stations2017/09/18
ISLAMABAD: Highlighting procedural violations in the NA-120 by-election, the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) has stated that its observers were not allowed in 10 per cent of the polling stations by security officials. 
In a report released on the eve of the much-hyped contest, Fafen observers said they had recorded an average of four violations per polling station, considerably higher than the 2.6 violations per station observed in the NA-260 election held earlier this year. 
In violation of Election Commission of Pakistan rules, political party camps were observed outside 21pc of the polling stations while transport was provided by candidates within the proscribed 400 metres boundary at 33pc of the polling stations, Fafen said.
Fafen observers recorded 11 breaches of voter secrecy and reported that 129 polling booths lacked critical materials "including Form XIV (Statement of Count) and Form XV (Ballot Paper Account)."
Further, chits with party symbols were presented at 152 polling booths while 40 violations of the voter identification process were observed, with polling officers "not fulfilling the procedural requirement [...] to call out loud the name of each voter so that polling agents can hear and raise objections, if any."
Fafen has already reported pre-poll violations of the ECP code in another statement released earlier this week. 
The NA-120 seat had fallen vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers verdict.
The highly-contested election has been viewed as a litmus test to see how the SC verdict affected those who have elected Nawaz to office thrice in since 1990.
A total of 44 candidates contested for the National Assembly seat from Lahore, with three major contenders.
While the ruling party fielded Kulsoom ? the former prime minister's wife ? Dr Yasmin Rashid contested the election for PTI. The PPP had fielded Faisal Mir, the party's former Lahore chapter information secretary, as its candidate.

No political crisis in Pak, says Abbasi2017/09/18
LONDON: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday rejected assertion that there is a political crisis in Pakistan saying that conspiracies being hatched against his government will not work.   
The Prime Minster is visiting London at the time where he convened a one-on-one meeting with ousted premier Nawaz Sharif ...

Reduction in HBL penalty keeps market bullish2017/09/18

KARACHI: Market observed an overall positive but volatile trading week. Reduction in penalty of HBL from staggering US$650mn to US$225mn seemed a major trigger which gave market the utmost reason to break through from ongoing bearish spell. Result postings from major blue chips items kept market on positive track for most part of the week. Increasing forex reserves assisted market to end the week on high. Rumors and news related to big encounter between top giants to put their hand on Lahore NA120 seat kept investors somewhat cautious which led to volatility in market.
The benchmark KSE-100 index was higher by 1,386.17 points to close at 42,787.19 points. KSE All Share Index increased by 657.18 points to end at 30,410.47, KSE 30-Index enhanced by 873.71 points to conclude at 21,979.58.
The ready market average volume increased by 15.60 per cent to 157.13 million shares compared to 135.93 million shares traded on last week. The market capitalization of KSE higher by Rs 180.63 billion to Rs 8.879 trillion against Rs 8.698 trillion observed last week.
WorldCall Telecom Limited remained overall volume leader during the week at 60.91 million shares; improved by Rs 0.52 to close at Rs 3.30. Second on the volume leader was Azgard Nine Limited, decreased by Rs 1.22 to close at Rs 13.27 by trading nearly 60.74 million shares. TRG Pakistan Limited remained as the third volume leader of the week by trading well over 44.16 million shares lower by Rs 1.17 to close at Rs 38.63.
In the past week 355 scrips traded in which 159 scrips advanced, 178 declined while the value of 18 scrips remained intact.
Nestle Pakistan Limited and Rafhan Maize Pakistan Limited remained the top gainer by Rs 657.07 and Rs 190.71 to close at Rs 12,350.00 and Rs 7,260.71 respectively, while Atlas Battery Limited and Colgate Palmolive Limited were among the major loser which lost Rs 101.98 and Rs 99.00 to close at Rs 696.50 and Rs 2,300.00 respectively.

SAARC team to attend flagship moot in Sydney tomorrow2017/09/18
LAHORE: A high-level delegation of the SAARC Chamber, first time in history, will participate in the 10th 3-day international flagship moot of World Chamber Congress commencing from September 19 in Sydney (Australia) where in a galaxy of 12,000 chambers representing more than 100 countries will grace the occasion.
Talking to the media here Sunday, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pak chapter and veteran trade leader Iftikhar Ali Malik said that World Chamber Congress (WCC) had extended invitation to the SAARC Chamber in its 10th moot, by acknowledging the meritorious services and remarkable contribution of the SAARC Chamber.
He said that a high-level 45-member SAARC Chamber delegation drawn from different member countries including 35 from Pakistan will attend the moot.
He said that SAARC Chamber delegation would have direct interaction with globe's most prominent leaders and brightest minds to transform the future of business.
He said, "Our delegation will also avail the unparalleled opportunity in ever changing business climate and learn from the visionary wisdom of the leading tycoons attending the mega event with special focus studying today's most significant global issues confronting business community worldwide.
He said that event would help facilitate the exchange of real world ideas and best practices on both chambers and business activities. He said that benefits from indispensable knowledge and interesting perspectives on a broad number of important topics filled including informative discussions in event.
He said that prominent speakers would shed light on the subject of 'Business, Conflict and Terrorism' and this is the best world platform where Pakistan could convince the world leading businessmen of the sacrifices we have rendered against terrorism.
He said the world should recognize that Pakistan had lost trillions of rupees in war against terrorism and loss to business was much more than a simple calculation. He said prosperity and peace could not be achieved without rooting out the menace of terrorism.
Iftikhar Malik said the role of chambers in bringing the voice of business to the table is more important than ever. 
"We meet at a time of growing hostility to trade and globalisation. Chambers are devoted to strengthening economic growth, prosperity and sustainability.
They exist in every country of the world and offer a multitude of programmes and services that support trade and development. Working hand in hand, we can make a real difference to companies both large and small, and indeed, to society as a whole", he added.
He said that WCC was a premier and milestone event bringing together chambers, business and government figures alike. The event is being jointly organized by the Sydney Business Chamber, WCC and International Chamber of Commerce at International Convention Centre, Sydney. 
He said the WCC was a global forum uniting a network of 12,000 chambers which provides an opportunity to connect and strengthen relations with a diverse and international groups of individuals representing more than 100 countries. - NNI

US Embassy in Fed Capital can be used for surveillance2017/09/18
ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has raised objections over the new seven-storey building of the United States (US) Embassy in Islamabad's Diplomatic Enclave, saying that the top floor of the building can be "conveniently" used for surveillance of the government offices located in the adjacent area.
According to an audit report released by the AGP office, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had withheld the NOC [No-Objection Certificate] for the US embassy until the approval from the prime minister, as the CDA can only sanction the construction of up to five-storey buildings in the area.
However, the US government went ahead with the construction of the seven-storey building without waiting for the premier's approval.
"Despite pending approval by the prime minister, construction had started," the audit report says. - NNI

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