World
93 die as explosion rips through Quetta hospital
A deafening blast ripped through scores of mourners in a Quetta hospital on Monday killing 93 people, mainly lawyers, in this year's bloodiest terror attack in Pakistan, officials said.
 
Balochistan Health Minister Rehmat Baloch blamed a suicide bomber for the carnage that took place when a large number of lawyers had gathered at the Civil Hospital with the body of a lawyer shot dead hours earlier.
 
The hospital superintendent confirmed the toll, ARY News channel reported.
Two legs of a body found at the site were likely to be that of the suicide bomber, it said.
 
Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri blamed the Indian intelligence agency RAW, saying it was responsible for incidents of terror in Quetta.
 
His comments about the RAW came even before the police could say who was responsible for the horrific attack.
 
The massive explosion occurred when nearly 100 lawyers and some journalists reached the Civil Hospital with the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi, president of the Balochistan Bar Association who was killed earlier.
 
Police officer Zahoor Ahmed Afridi said most of the dead were lawyers. Several lawyers, including Baz Mohammad Kakar, the former president of the Balochistan Bar Association, were injured, Dawn reported. 
 
Gunfire was heard shortly after the explosion. Shahzad Khan, a cameraman with Aaj TV, was also killed in the explosion while the cameraman for Dawn News was severely injured, Dawn said.
 
A stampede broke out after the bombing, causing chaos at the hospital, witnesses said. Smoke filled the corridors of the emergency ward. Video footage showed lawyers rushing with stretchers to help the wounded.
 
Samaa TV said bodies were strewn on the floor, some still smoking, "amid pools of blood and shattered glass".
 
Shocked and dozed survivors wept and comforted one another, journalists at the site said. Many of the dead wore black suits and ties.
 
Officials said as jammers were activated immediately after the blast, it became difficult to contact officials at the site. 
 
Police surrounded the hospital and an emergency was declared in all Quetta hospitals. Senior military officers also rushed to the hospital.
 
"This was a security lapse and I am having this personally investigated," Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said.
 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who left Islamabad for Quetta, condemned the killings and expressed his "deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives".
 
"No one will be allowed to disturb the peace in the province that has been restored thanks to the countless sacrifices by the security forces, police and the people of Balochistan," he said in a statement.
 
Former Chief Minister Abdul Malik called it the "blackest day" in the history of Balochistan. 
 
It was the worst terrorist attack in Pakistan this year since the March 27 bombing at Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore that left 75 people dead.
 
Lawyers have been targeted several times in recent months in Balochistan.
 
One lawyer, Jahanzeb Alvi, was shot dead on August 3. Bilal Kasi, who himself was shot dead on Monday, had condemned Alvi's murder and announced a two-day boycott of courts.
 
The principal of University of Balochistan's law college, Barrister Amanullah Achakzai, was also shot dead by unknown assailants in June.
 
Balochistan has experienced violence and targeted killings for more than a decade. 
 
Pakistan's largest province by area, Balochistan is home to a low-level insurgency by Baloch separatists. Al Qaeda-linked and sectarian militants also operate in the region.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Taxation rate to be worked out by GST Council: Jaitley
Without delving into specifics on the taxation rate under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Monday said it will be worked out by the GST Council.
 
GST rate was earlier suggested at 18 per cent by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian.
 
“The GST Council will work on the functional modalities. The rate of taxation will also be determined there,” Jaitley said initiating the discussion on the 122nd constitution amendment bill in the Lok Sabha.
 
The constitution amendment bill is an enabling measure which will pave the way for the GST regime.
 
After its passage in the Lower House, which is a given as the government enjoys a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, three laws will need to be prepared for GST.
 
“We will have to prepare three more laws. After ratification by states, the draft will have to be prepared by GST Council. The two laws on inter-state GST and central GST will have to come before the Parliament. The state GST will be passed by various state assemblies,” Jaitley said.
 
Since GST will be the responsibility of the Centre and states both, the government wanted to have a larger consensus on it, he said.
 
“There has been a wide consensus. A large number of political parties have come forward in its support,” Jaitley said.
 
The Rajya Sabha had last week unanimously passed the Constitution amendment bill to pave the way for the introduction of a pan-India Goods and Services Tax regime.
 
The upper house passed what is called the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, with 203 ayes in the final voting. The AIADMK staged a walk-out before the bill was passed in the upper house. 
 
The government had moved amendments to the bill earlier passed by the Lok Sabha to accommodate some concerns of opposition parties.
 
The government has removed the one per cent additional levy and agreed to compensate for any loss of revenue to the states for next five years.
 
"There was a delay, but most of the political parties came on one platform. After a long time, after efforts which continued for a number of years, finally a consensus was formed," he said. Initially, the GST was supposed to be applicable from April 1, 2010. 
 
The Finance Minister said that after the GST comes into place the tax base is likely to increase as it will improve ease of doing business and mitigate tax evasion and tax cascading effect. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Law for bad debts recovery good for Indian banks: Moody's
Moody's said on Monday the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, 2016, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (bankruptcy), will lead to structural improvements in banks dealing with bad assets.
 
While the bankruptcy law has been enacted, the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Bankruptcy Code, 2016, has to be passed by the Rajya Sabha after it was cleared by the Lok Sabha.
 
The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Bankruptcy Code, 2016, is a credit positive for the Indian banks as it aims to expedite the recovery and resolution of bad debts, said a statement issued by Moody's Investors Services.
 
"Weakness in current processes for bad debt resolution has been a key structural credit challenge for Indian banks. There are currently about 70,000 cases pending in debts recovery tribunals (DRTs), and these cases have been pending for many years owing to various adjournments and prolonged hearings," Moody's said.
 
According to Moody's, the provisions relating to promotion of asset reconstruction companies for banks to off-load their non-performing assets (NPA) and prioritise debt due to secured creditors over all other debts and claims (including government claims) are credit positive features for the Indian banks.
 
The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Bankruptcy Code, 2016, proposed electronic filing of all proceedings, time limit for filing appeals against decisions of Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) reduced to 30 days from 45 and debtors to deposit 50 per cent of the amount of debt payable before filing an appeal are positive for Indian banks, said the credit rating agency.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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