Two company directors admit storing more than 5,500 tonnes of waste tyres without a permit at a factory where a fire burned for three weeks.
A massive explosion at a military airport outside Damascus led to a large fire Sunday night.
A plane travelling from Cairo to New York that was diverted to an airport in Scotland following security fears is back in the air, police say.
ISLAMABAD: Three mainstream nationalist parties of Balochistan have baulked at outright condemnation of Saturday’s attacks in Quetta and Ziarat, choosing instead to berate the federal government into addressing burning issues of the province.
While expressing condolences over the deaths of innocent people in the provincial capital, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) – a major partner in the Balochistan coalition government – maintained the tragedy was a result of the establishment’s 35-year Afghan policy.
“We have been opposed to such terrorism from day one when the forces dealing with the Afghan issue adopted terrorism and terrorists as their assets,” said PkMAP general secretary Akram Shah.
“A particular mindset aimed at dictating certain terms to Afghanistan is responsible for such a painful situation … Intransigents and criminals from all over the world, who have destroyed Afghanistan, have been provided a safe haven in our region,” he said.
“Innocent people are being killed in Afghanistan under the pretext of a holy war which no one knows will continue for how long… Now it is our turn since we are not willing to learn from our mistakes,” the PkMAP leader added.
The National Party (NP), another partner in the Balochistan coalition government, expressed serious anguish over unrestrained militancy by Baloch militants and sectarian outfits.
NP secretary general Tahir Bizenjo said that the federal government must take immediate steps to overcome the insurgency in Balochistan.
He maintained only the federal government could do so since the provincial government lacked the resources needed for counter-terrorism.
“The government should accept that the militancy cannot be uprooted by force alone and should undertake some confidence-building measures to address the situation,” he said. “There should be an end to the kidnapping of Baloch people and the discovery of their bodies afterwards.”
“The provincial government could also invite militants for peace talks …The political and military leadership must [however] be on the same page as nothing can be achieved without a common purpose,” Bizenjo said.
Balochistan National Party (Mengal), meanwhile, accused intelligence agencies of failing to protect the lives of common people. Instead of accusing the incumbent government, however, the party blamed the previous government for never taking the Balochistan crisis seriously.
“We do not blame Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik or Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the unfortunate tragedies,” said BNP(M) vice president Sajid Tareen. He said Dr Malik is doing his best to resolve the core issues of the province, the recovery of missing persons being the top priority.
Meanwhile, the government of Balochistan has strongly condemned the tragic incident and announced a day of mourning today (Sunday). It also announced compensation for the families of the deceased and free treatment for those injured in the attacks. Both Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai and Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch have condemned the attack and have expressed their solidarity with the victims and their families.
Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, a Leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Special Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, condemned the attack strongly and termed it a well planned conspiracy to deteriorate situation in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2013.
The Transformers series is known by fans to be action-packed and thrilling. However, this Wednesday saw some real life action on the sets of the upcoming movie, Transformers 4.
The set of the Michael Bay flick caught fire at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, with firefighters responding to a call 20,000 blocks away from the location. This happened after the attic in the 100-year-old house, where the cast was shooting, went up in flames, reported eonline.com.
Fortunately, the firefighting team was able to extinguish the fire before it affected the rest of the set in Texas. Actor Mark Wahlberg and director Michael Bay were on the set when they smelled smoke coming from inside the house. Then a member of the crew went inside the building to investigate and found the attic blazing in flames.
So far, the fire is being deemed as an accident, according to TMZ.
The new Transformers film will feature Wahlberg in the lead role and will follow a different story than the first three films that featured Shia Labeouf. Transformers 4 hits theatres in June next year.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2013.
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A fire at the Ladam Sar forest near Laal Sohanra National Park was put out on Wednesday.
Fire fighters said that Wednesday’s rain helped the extinguishing operation.
The fire had started on Tuesday.
Forest Department workers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the fire appeared to have been started intentionally to obscure theft of timber.
Forest Department workers said there had been an increase in wood theft complaints in the forest over the last few months.
District Forest Officer Muhammad Shiraz denied the rumours.
He said the fire had been started by a spark in electricity wires passing through the forest.
District Coordination Officer Sajid Zafar visited the scene shortly after the fire was put out.
He said the Multan Electric Power Company had been directed to check the electricity wires in the park and install new ones where needed.
He said the losses had yet to be quantified.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2013.
KARACHI: Despite its promises, the Sindh government has not released funds to the commission constituted by the court to disburse monetary compensation among the families of the Baldia factory fire.
The Sindh High Court, after learning about the delay in funds, issued notice to the relevant provincial government’s authorities and advocate general on Wednesday to explain why the government has not released funds despite an undertaking given before the court.
At least 259 workers were burnt alive in one of the country’s worst industrial disasters when fire broke out in the Ali Enterprises factory on September 9, 2012.
After multiple human rights advocacy groups approached the high court for a judicial inquiry into the disaster, the federal and provincial governments pledged to give monetary compensation to the victim families.
A German firm, KIK Textiles, which was among the largest buyers of the readymade garments produced at the ill-fated Ali Enterprises, had also announced to provide financial assistance worth million for the families of the deceased. The firm, however, had requested the court to constitute a commission to be headed by a retired judge for disbursement of the compensation amount in a fair and transparent manner.
“On January 29, the court had constituted a commission for distributing the money but the Sindh government has yet to release funds for the commission, including the commissioner’s fee,” the judges were informed on Wednesday.
“The families of the victims will continue to suffer till the money is distributed,” apprehended lawyer Muhammad Wavda, pleading to the court to direct the provincial chief secretary to release the budget of the commission, including the fee of the commissioner, within two weeks.
The bench headed by Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, after hearing arguments, issued notice to the relevant authorities in the provincial government and advocate general to file comments by June 17.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2013.
Four siblings died from smoke inhalation after a teenager deliberately started a fire in a bedroom wardrobe, a court hears.