Tag Archives: Haripur

Illegal substances: Poppy continues to be grown in Haripur despite ban



HARIPUR: 

Despite restrictions on the cultivation of poppy by the government, farmers in Nara Amazai and Bait Gali tehsils of Haripur continue to defy the ban and grow the crop, which is mostly used for narcotics.

DSP Ghazi tehsil Ishtiaq Khan said while talking to The Express Tribune that he led a raid party to Balongi village in Bait Gali and found eight kanals of land with mature poppy plants. As per the government’s policy, he added, the crop was completely destroyed and the flowers sent to laboratories for further reports.

The DSP said a criminal case was registered against five farmers; however, he added that the accused were on the run from the police.

He said there is information about the crop being grown in certain other areas and the farmers have been asked to destroy the crop voluntarily within a couple of days, or they will be severely punished. The DSP added that Ghazi police had destroyed the crop in the region last year as well and registered cases against over a dozen farmers.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2014.


Clearing the path: Haripur braces for anti-encroachment drive



HARIPUR: Following a successful anti-encroachment drive in Abbottabad, the district administration has decided to launch a similar one in Haripur to reclaim illegally occupied government land.

During the first phase, the administration will clear Circular Road of cemented and temporary encroachments, official sources shared on Thursday.

“On the directives of Hazara division commissioner, we have identified over 500 encroachments, including cemented ones on Eastern, Western and Northern Circular roads,” said Municipal Officer Regulation Syed Sikandar Mansoor Shah.

“The encroachers have constructed shops, plazas, staircases, sheds and stalls on the illegally occupied land,” claimed Shah, adding the encroached land ranges between one and 13 feet.

The municipal officer added the occupants have been warned several times in the past, but they have not responded. He maintained the broad roads have been transformed into narrow streets, making it difficult to cross, even on foot. “These encroachments have often resulted in fatal accidents.”

He said the roads in the district were carpeted during the Sikh era from 1822 to 1848. “They were later improved during the time of the British era in 1853 and were made 44 to 50 feet wide,” he said, adding the encroachments have considerably narrowed the roads down. “The municipal corporation will bring it back to its original size according to the map of Haripur of the year 1981.”

Shah added they will serve the illegal occupants notices, asking them to clear the road in seven days after which the structures will be razed to the ground. He said in the second phase of the drive the authorities will clear GT Road and internal routes.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2014.


Missing faculty: Female teacher kidnapped in Haripur



HARIPUR: 

Unidentified persons have kidnapped a female school teacher from Sarai Saleh area of Haripur, police said on Monday.

Police officials revealed Sadiq Shah of POF Colony, Havelian had reported that his 20-year-old daughter was employed at a private school in the Kholiyan Bala village. Four days earlier, she left for work but failed to return home. The father accused Talat Shah, son of Akhtar Shah, a relative from Gujjar Khan, of having abducted his daughter.

Police have registered a criminal case against Talat and his parents, however, the accused are still at large.

Seminary teachers still missing

The police are yet to make any headway in their investigation for the recovery of two seminary teachers kidnapped last week from Battal area of Mansehra.

Quoting Maulana Noor Wahid Shah, head of Madrassah Arbia Islamia, Battal, the police revealed that two teachers identified as Maualana Arshad Iqbal and Maulana Rizwanullah went to a local market after offering Asr prayers on Friday, but did not return.

Later, when the seminary administration tried to contact them on their cell phones, which were switched off, and despite repeated attempts no contact could be established.

The seminary head ruled out any concerns that the two teachers might have had suspicious backgrounds or family feuds. When approached for comments, Battal police said investigation was under way for the recovery of the missing seminary teachers.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.


Re-election on NA-19, Haripur: Over 9,000 voters to decide MNA today



HARIPUR: 

The fate of the MNA-elect from NA-19, Haripur is in the hands of over 9,000 voters who will cast votes at seven polling stations of the constituency today (Wednesday).

A total 9,198 registered voters, including 5,712 women, will vote for candidates for the second time within a span of eight months. At least 20 polling booths have been prepared and 10 to 12 policemen along with elite force officials will provide security.

An interesting aspect of this election is the fact that both main contenders, Omar Ayub and Dr Raja Amir Zaman, are close relatives of two MPAs.

PK-49, Haripur-I MPA Raja Faisal Zaman, elected on a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket, is the younger brother of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Dr Raja Amir Zaman.  PTI’s MPA elect from PK-50, Haripur-II is the first cousin of Omar Ayub Khan.

Some insiders claim, these MPAs are indirectly influencing the voters and asking for support for their relatives in violation of party discipline.

PTI’s Dr Raja Amir Zaman had won the May 11 elections with 117,000 votes. However, runner-up Omar Ayub Khan, who belongs to the PML-N, challenged the results of 78 polling stations, accusing the winner of rigging.

In response to Omar’s petition, the returning officer carried out a recount and declared Zaman the winner on May 24, 2013. However, Omar once again objected to the results of seven polling stations and demanded re-election. On December 31, election tribunal Abbottabad suspended Dr Zaman’s membership and ordered re-polling.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2014.


One more round in Haripur: Electioneering picks up for partial polling in Haripur



HARIPUR: 

With the Supreme Court of Pakistan upholding the election tribunal’s decision regarding the suspension of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) lawmaker from NA-19 and ordering re-election in seven polling stations of Haripur district on January 29, election activity has again picked up in the respective areas.

Residents of Haripur, especially those living in the provincial assembly constituency PK-50, are going to cast their votes for the second time in a week as they exercised their right to vote on January 23 and elected PTI’s Akbar Ayub as their MPA after the disqualification of his elder brother Yusuf Ayub Khan for having a fake degree. However, the voting this time around will be in seven polling stations of Haripur-II.

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PTI’s Dr Raja Amir Zaman, son of late caretaker chief minister and federal minister Raja Sikandar Zaman, had defeated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s candidate and former minister of state for finance Omar Ayub Khan with a margin of over 1,300 votes during the general elections in 2013. However, Khan had challenged the election results pointing out certain anomalies. On Khan’s application, recounting on all the 4,376 polling stations was held and Zaman emerged as the winner again. Khan, the son of former National Assembly speaker and foreign minister Gohar Ayub, did not accept his defeat and moved the election tribunal, accusing the PTI MNA of rigging on seven polling stations. Election tribunal judge Ziauddin Khattak ,after hearing arguments from both sides, suspended Zaman’s basic membership and ordered fresh elections at seven polling stations of the constituency.

Zaman then challenged the tribunal’s decision in the Supreme Court, which upheld it. After the apex court’s decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan fixed January 29 as the date for re-election in the polling stations pointed out by the applicant.

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After the announcement of a date for fresh polls, electioneering has picked up in the area with the two candidates engaging with various lobbies and individuals to ensure they bag the maximum number of votes and secure the National Assembly seat of the area this week. Both candidates have accused each other of manipulation and maneuvering. Ballots will be cast at polling stations number 71, 74, 256, 276, 279, 342 and 397.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2014.


By-polls for PK-50: PTI retains Haripur seat after close fight



HARIPUR: 

Amid tight security and fear of clashes, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) succeeded in retaining the hotly-contested provincial assembly seat (PK 50 Haripur II) during by-election held on Thursday.

According to unofficial results, PTI candidate Akbar Ayub Khan, the younger brother of former provincial minister Yusuf Ayub Khan and grandson of military dictator Gen Ayub Khan, bagged 25,671 votes, defeating PML-N’s Qazi Asad who stood runner-up with 19,669 votes. Independent candidate Babar Nawaz polled 19,417 votes.

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The election was held in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s constituency seven months after election tribunal disqualified Yusuf Ayub Khan, the PTI’s provincial minister, for having a fake degree.

There were seven candidates in the contest including Akbar Ayub of PTI, Qazi Asad of PML-N, Tahir Qureshi of PPP, Irum Fatima of ANP, and independent candidates including Babar Nawaz, Sheryar Khan and Shakeel Ahmed. Tough contest was expected between Qazi Asad, Akbar Ayub and Babar Nawaz.

Turnout

The polling started at scheduled time and lasted till 5.00pm in the evening on all the 116 polling stations of the constituency. Initially the voter turnout remained stuck between 16 and 22 per cent despite there being a local holiday in the district. However it rose to 30 to 33% as the voting exercise drew to a close. An extraordinary activity was witnessed in urban as well as rural polling stations.

Minor altercations and scuffles between the supporters of candidates were reported from localities of Pathan Colony, Mohra Mamdooh, Rehana, Darwesh, Roshan Abad and some other polling stations that led to brief suspension of polling.

Babar Khan accused the provincial government of using official machinery for manoeuvring the election. He said PTI’s provincial president Azam Swati went to different polling stations covertly pressurizing election staff to favour his party’s candidate. However Akbar Ayub rejected the allegation.

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Voter harassment

In some instances, supporters of candidates were found convincing the voters openly inside the polling station and peeping through the screen while a voter was busy stamping ballot papers.

Police deployment

Assistant Superintendent Police Headquarters Wahid Mehmood termed the overall situation during election peaceful. Over 1,000 personnel of Anti-Terrorism Squad, Elite Force and regular police were deployed for the security of voters, he told The Express Tribune. Additional military troops were on stand-by to assist the police, he said. Sniffer dogs were used to clear the polling stations declared as sensitive.

He said the police also apprehended 16 Afghan nationals on charges of violating a ban on their movement on the election day under section 144.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2014.


Poll rigging: PTI’s Haripur MNA suspended



ABBOTABAD: The Election Tribunal Abbottabad suspended Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Dr Raja Amir Zaman’s assembly membership on charges of rigging on Tuesday and ordered re-elections on seven polling stations of NA-19 Haripur.

Dr Zaman defeated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Ayub Gohar in the general elections, who later challenged the results. Dr Zaman emerged as the winner after the recount on all 437 stations of the constituency.

Ayub, however, moved the Supreme Court and sought a re-election. According to his petition, several polling bags did not have relevant voters list or counterfoils of ballot papers; indicative of rigging.

The apex court referred the case to the election tribunal which then suspended Dr Zaman’s membership and ordered a re-election on polling stations Alloli, Mamrial, Bagra Number 2, Kalinjar, Ghazi Hamlet and two polling stations of Khalabat Township.

Dr Zaman had defeated Ayub from these polling stations with a heavy margin.

The tribunal headed by Ziauddin Khattak also dismissed a petition filed by Shahid Amin Khan, a former union nazim, who sought Dr Zaman’s disqualification on the basis of concealment of assets and non-payment of taxes.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2014.


Shrinking space: Schools, NGOs, threatened to shut shop in Haripur



HARIPUR: An unidentified extremist group has threatened school operations in Haripur, sparking widespread panic among residents.

The threats have been directed towards non-governmental organisations (NGO) and dozens of schools operating in Panian and Padhana Afghan camps, according to people familiar with the matter. The threats were conveyed in letters sent to these schools, dated December 10.

Police officials said the letters warned schools and NGO administrations to shut operations within a week or face consequences.

Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Headquarters Wahid Mehmood confirmed the report, adding that trends suggest that intra-group rivalry might be the cause of the incident. He said it is easy to feign identities and use a militant organisation’s name to send such letters to create panic.

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The ASP disclosed that a similar letter was also received by the administration of an NGO operating a skill development school, which turned out to be an empty threat. After investigations, it was revealed that a man, who was arrested, was annoyed with the local administration of the NGO and chose to send a letter using a militant organisation’s name to instil fear.

The police official was hopeful that the recent threat letters would turn out to be similar in nature, adding that the police have already started investigations and they would soon know who is behind the threats. He assured that schools and NGOs would be provided proper security.

The handwritten Pushto letters were written on a letterhead carrying the name of ‘Da Afghanistan Islami Amarat’ (Islamic State of Afghanistan). Sources say the outfit could be an offshoot of a militant group.

The letter termed the syllabi taught in these schools as un-Islamic, and alleged that the organisations are working in collaboration with “anti-Islamic elements”. While stating that all those working in these organisations would be responsible for the consequences themselves, the letter did not mention any direct course of action that the group might intend to take against these institutes.

Over two dozen schools are imparting education to hundreds of Afghan students in Haripur.

Three NGOs, namely Save the Children, Church World Service and BEFARe, are operational in the area and are currently engaged in different health, skill development and infrastructure development programmes.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2013.


Bad precedent: Court questions inmate’s transfer to Haripur



PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) sought an explanation from the provincial government on Thursday as to how a man involved in an attack on former president Pervez Musharraf was shifted from a prison in Punjab to Central Jail Haripur.

PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan issued a notice to secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to explain the reason behind the move.

CJ Khan was informed by the petitioner’s counsel, Wali Khan Afridi, that his client Farhad was an employee of the Army Medical Corps’ nursing wing when he was accused of being involved in an attack on Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s convoy in 2003. He was later sentenced for 11 years by a court martial
in 2007.

Afridi said the accused had spent six years in prison but was also kept behind bars before the sentencing.

CJ said the provincial government had twice sent letters to the federal government to shift Dr Shakil Afridi from Peshawar Central Jail owing to security threats, but to
no avail.

He asked why high-profile terrorists were being shifted to K-P, if they were not in a position to keep them. Another accused in the Musharraf case, Adnan Rashid, was shifted from Punjab to Bannu before he escaped along with other prisoners in April 2012.

The court issued a notice to secretary Home and Tribal Affairs to explain Farhad’s prison transfer to Haripur. An explanation has also been sought from the army’s judge advocate general
(JAG) branch.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2013.


He said, he said: Military cadet allegedly tortured by Haripur police

HARIPUR: 

A military cadet was severely injured and had to be hospitalised after an alleged beating from two policemen on Monday afternoon. A complaint has been lodged against the men, The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday.

The police recorded statements of Hamad Hasan, son of assistant professor Mazhar Ali Shah and a cadet at the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. Hasan said he was on leave and had gone to pick his mother, a lecturer at Government Girls Degree College Tarbela, when the suspects rode up to him. They were identified as Constable Muhammad Jamil and Constable Asad Waheed.

Hasan claimed the men asked him why he was standing outside the girls’ college and despite showing the policemen his identity card, the constables started beating Hasan up and left him injured.

Hasan was taken to the Combined Military Hospital Tarbela for treatment. When he reached the Ghazi police station to register an FIR, the police did not do so immediately. After an intervention from officials at the military academy, the police filed a complaint and started an inquiry but still did not register an FIR.

Meanwhile, the same evening, two policemen, Muhammad Zubair and Shahid Ali, were injured by unidentified men within the limits of Ghazi police station. They were patrolling Ghazi Bazaar when a dozen unidentified men stopped them near Khalo Mosque on Tarbela Road and started thrashing them.

According to DSP Ghazi Salman Khan, they were taken to Ayub Medical Complex Abbottabad.

Khan said an investigation was underway and they had not determined if both attacks were related.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2013.