Home 2 We need millions of men as change agents to end violence against women in Pakistan: Omer Aftab Androulla for catering basic needs of vulnerable people amid 2nd wave of COVID-19 People should boycott DDC polls holding under shadow of guns: Mushaal Mullick Gwadar’s first golf course inaugurated at China Pak Golf Estates Rising rape cases in Kashmir a black blot on face of India: Mushaal Mullick NationalAndroulla for catering basic needs of vulnerable people amid 2nd wave of COVID-19November 29, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Sunday, Novemeber 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara Sunday said the EU was trying to help the most vulnerable segments of the society by ensuring basic amenities of lives at their doorsteps, including health, clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene environment amid surging second wave of the COVID-19. Talking to this scribe, she said the EU had signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and committed to provide Euro10 million to boost the latter’s assistance operations for Afghan refugees and their host communities in Pakistan. The funding was aimed to focus on mitigating the short and medium-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, besides expanding the UNHCR’s health efforts for refugee and host communities, she added. Another important component of the new project, Androulla Kaminara said, would be implementing activities for empowering vulnerable Afghan refugees and host communities by ensuring livelihood opportunities. The three-year project would be implemented across the country and was expected to benefit some 370,000 Afghan refugees and Pakistani host communities, she added. Meanwhile, UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan Noriko Yoshida welcomed the EU’s contribution, saying such support amid the current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the EU’s commitment to “leaving no one behind”. “This support is truly significant. At a time when it is most urgently needed, the EU will help make a difference in the lives of so many refugees and Pakistani host communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. She said the UNHCR’s overall emergency response was in support of efforts by Pakistan to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UNHCR had been advocating for the inclusion of refugees in the government’s COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan, she added. Androulla Kaminara, while sharing details of the EU funding since July 2018, said the EU had contributed €37 million from its development budget and €10 million from its humanitarian resources to support the Afghan refugees and their host communities, in particular through UNHCR’s regional programmes. In May 2020, she said, the EU announced a €150 million package to support Pakistan’s efforts in addressing the short-term and long-term public health and socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the new funding of €10 million for the UNHCR. This funding, she added would be channelled towards three sectors: health, WASH and social protection. In the health sector, it would boost health initiatives by helping to provide personal protective equipment, medical supplies and other relief items to health facilities in support of refugees and host communities, she said. Community outreach on the prevention and response to COVID-19 would also be strengthened, she added. In the WASH sector, she said the EU’s contribution would help enable UNHCR to upgrade or construct facilities such as toilets, handwash basins and water pumps in schools, health centres and communal facilities in or close to refugee villages – benefitting both the refugees and Pakistanis. In terms of social protection, the assistance would contribute to UNHCR’s emergency cash programme for the most vulnerable registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan. “The one-time cash assistance will mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by helping refugees meet their basic needs,” she added.... Read more...People should boycott DDC polls holding under shadow of guns: Mushaal MullickNovember 28, 2020ISLAMABAD, Saturday, November 28, 2020 (WNP/DL): Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government is staging drama to hold so-called District Development Council (DDC) elections in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) under the shadow of guns, which could not be an alternative to the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. The wife of detained Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik, Mushaal Hussein Mallick who is the Chairperson of Peace and Culture Oragnisation made these remarks in reaction to the so-called local bodies’ elections being held on Saturday in the valley at a time when the brutal authorities put the valley under military siege. She urged the people to boycott and stay away from the polls to convey to the international community that they do not want elections but freedom from India’s illegal occupation. The chairperson, in a statement, said the people of IIOJK have given huge sacrifices for the attainment of their birthright to self-determination and not for the elections. “Whosoever is contesting the DDC elections betrays the Kashmir cause and casting vote under the Indian illegal occupation and its Constitution is treason with the blood of Kashmiri martyrs and huge sacrifices of the people,” she said and added Kashmir will not accept the so-called polls come what may. She said all Hurriyat leadership boycotted the polls; hence the brave Kashmiris should resist all tactics of pressure and duress to foil the brutal regime attempt to hold polls in the valley, adding that Kashmiri people are being forced to cast votes or else ready to face the consequences. “As the worst demonstration of political vendetta, India is brazenly using draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), a lawless law, to stifle dissent in IIOJK and deliberately prolonged unlawful detention of Kashmiri prisoners for their political beliefs,” she added. Mushaal disclosed that Indian troops have intensified cordon and search operations across the territory and arrested hundreds of people ahead of so-called DDCs and Panchayat elections to build pressure to force people to cast votes. She said Indian brutal authorities turned the occupied valley into a torture cell; where Indian troops and police personnel unleashed a new wave of brutalities and barbarism. Indian forces martyred two Kashmiri youth in the so-called search operation in Pulwama, she added. Indian government suspended mobile and internet services in the valley and there has been a complete blackout in the valley since August 5, 2019, she said, adding India deployed 25,000 additional troops in the valley. She said India was inflicting all kinds of oppression on Kashmiris to force them to surrender their freedom movement. Mushaal said the international community including the United Nations should take notice of India’s atrocities on unarmed Kashmiris and put pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir dispute through the UN resolutions so that a permanent peace could be established in the region.... Read more...Rising rape cases in Kashmir a black blot on face of India: Mushaal MullickNovember 25, 2020ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, November 25, 2020 (WNP/DL): The Wife of detained Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik, Mushaal Hussein Mullick lamented that no end to the agonies and harassments of Kashmiri women in the occupied valley are in sight. Mushaal Mullick who is also the Chairperson of Peace and Culture Organization said this in a statement on International Day for the elimination of violence against Women observed on Wednesday. She said over 2,300 women have been martyred, 11,224 molested in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) since 1989. She said that Indian state terrorism has rendered 22,922 women widowed in the IIOJK during the last 30 years. She went on to say that Kashmiri women are facing sexual harassment besides mental and physical torture at the hands of Indian troops in the scenic valley. Mushaal further said Kashmiri women are being mentally tortured through frequent raids and enforced disappearances of their loved ones in IIOJK. She added that Indian employing rape as a military tactic to punish and humiliate Kashmiris so as they could be deterred to stop the freedom fight. Mushaal said rape cases in the valley are a black blot on the face of so-called democratic India, adding that Kashmir women and children are the biggest victims of India’s inhuman military siege. “Indian troops are routinely subjecting Kashmiri women to sexual harassment to suppress freedom struggle,” she added. Mushaal further said India was using molestation of women as a weapon of war in the occupied valley; however she vowed that the brutal and fascist forces couldn’t dampen the courage of the Kashmiri freedom fighters. She noted that killings, beatings, humiliations and forced disappearances have become a norm in IIOJK but the world community is looking at the situation as a silent spectator. Mushaal demanded that world human right organizations should take notice of Indian.... Read more...Pakistan’s lonely elephant Kaavan packs trunk for CambodiaNovember 24, 2020ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): With music, treats and balloons, friends of Pakistan’s only Asian elephant threw a farewell party for the creature ahead of its relocation to Cambodia following years of campaigning by animal rights activists. The plight of Kaavan, an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant, has drawn international condemnation and highlighted the woeful state of Islamabad’s zoo, where conditions are so bad that a judge in May ordered all the animals to be moved. Kaavan is set to be flown to a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday, said Saleem Shaikh, a spokesman for Pakistan’s ministry of climate change, following months of veterinary care and a special training regime to habituate the elephant to a huge metal crate he will travel in. But before flying out, the capital’s animal lovers said goodbye, with performances from local bands who serenaded Kaavan ahead of the mammoth move. “We want to wish him a happy retirement,” said Marion Lombard, the deputy mission leader for Four Paws International — an animal welfare group that has spearheaded the relocation effort. The Islamabad Zoo, where Kaavan has lived for decades since arriving from Sria Lanka, was decorated with balloons for the occasion and banners wishing the animal well. “We will miss you Kaavan,” read one of the signs. Kaavan’s plight was given a boost over the years by American pop icon Cher, who publicly campaigned for the elephant’s relocation and called the decision to move him one of the “greatest moments” of her life. Zoo officials have in the past denied Kaavan was kept in substandard conditions or chained, claiming instead the creature was pining for a new mate after his partner died in 2012. But Kaavan’s behaviour — including signs of distress such as continual head-bobbing — raised concerns of mental illness. Activists also said Kaavan was not properly sheltered from Islamabad’s searing summer temperatures, which can rise above 40 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). Kaavan’s mate Saheli, who also arrived from Sri Lanka, died in 2012.... Read more...Pakistan’s dependency on a single river system is extremely risky: Steffen KudellaNovember 23, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Monday, November 23, 2020 (WNP/DL): Resident Representative of Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Dr. Steffen Kudella Monday said Pakistan’s dependence on a single river system is extremely risky. In order to reduce this risk, he said the country needs to fight water shortages, promote reforestation, maintain water infrastructure, harvest more rainfall, and strengthen its water management. He expressed these views during a day-long conference “Water Security Challenges and Conservation Strategy for Pakistan” jointly organized by the HSF and Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) held here. Steffen Kudella said Pakistan, one of the most naturally arid countries, has an average of only 240 mm of rainfall per year. Around one fourth of the country’s land area is cultivated, and most of this agriculture is water-intensive and dependent on man-made irrigation systems, he added. Water is also a vital topic of regional dialogue. Regional dialogues on water need to be prepared by discussions on Pakistan’s national level first, he said. Addressing the conference, former Chairman of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Dr. Yusuf Zaraf, TI, said water security is Pakistan’s most critical development challenge. He said around 95 percent of water goes to agriculture and major user of field water is agriculture. We have taken 70 years to use water for electricity, he said adding it is expected that water scarcity will be much higher by 2025. He said “We are not making any small dams and are also exposing the population to consistent flooding. Water pricing for all wages must be made and there should be better governance and coordination among the Ministries.” Chairman of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Dr. Muhammad Ashraf said, “No country has made progress without science and technology. Our national security is dependent on food security and food security is dependent on water supply and security. In 1991 and 2005, he said we touched water scarcity line and it is expected to become worse by 2025. There is a huge pressure on ground water, anyone can install tube wells to pump and sell unlimited ground water. Therefore, it is important to regulate it. We need to legislate and restrict indiscriminate groundwater absorption before our water becomes saline.” General Manager (Hydro) of WAPDA Shahid Hameed said, “Water is less and limited but it is life. Only 1% of water is present in the form of fresh water in streams. We need water reservoirs to save flood water, rain water so that it can be used in due course. We have to transfer water from western to eastern areas through water barrages, canals etc.” Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Member Board of Experts, CGSS highlighted security of water sources and catchment areas. He said water security is an increasingly important issue that constitutes one of the biggest challenge to Pakistan. It is a multi-dimensional problem therefore there cannot be a single solution. Water sources of Pakistan are declining and water scarcity is increasing, he added. Dr. Hifza Rasheed, Director NWQL of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) said Pakistan has external and internal threats related to water security and conservation and our vulnerability index is very high as compared to other countries. “Our storage capacity is less and must be increased and we must establish good water distribution mechanism.”... Read more...Collective efforts must for COVID-19, climatic issues redressal: Ambassador KaminaraOctober 25, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Sunday, October 25, 2020 (WNP/DL): European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara Sunday said collective efforts were required to address the international issues particularly COVID-19 and climate change. She said while talking to this scribe, the United Nations (UN) was the only platform to response the global issues accordingly. Since its inception the world body, she said, had provided all possible assistance to many countries during the conflicts and crisis times and it had also tried its best to bring the under-developed and developing countries at par with advanced countries. Ambassador Kaminara said, “The EU is a strong supporter of multilaterism and believes that multilateral cooperation is key to peace, human rights and development.” The EU and its member states, she said, were one of the biggest donors and providing almost a quarter in the total UN’s funds for humanitarian support, fighting climate change, upholding human rights and conflict prevention and resolution. To a query, she said the EU and UN agencies such as; FAO, UNICEF, ILO, UNHCR and UNODC were extending their services in various sectors including education, food security, environment, counter-terrorism, and short and medium term response to the COVID-19 in Pakistan. She said the EU had accounted EUR172 million, 30 percent of its total development budget for Pakistan.... Read more...Pakistan, Iraq intertwine in social, religious, culture bonds: MandviwallaOctober 21, 2020ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, October 21, 2020 (WNP/DL): Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla Wednesday said Pakistan and Iraq are intertwined in social, religious and cultural similarities and these bonds keep the people of the two sides connected with each other. He said this during a meeting with Ambassador Iraq Hamed Abbas Lafta here at the Parliament House. The Senate deputy chairman underscored the need for enhanced trade and economic linkages by bringing the business communities of the two sides closer. He said Pakistan and Iraq have always exhibited warmth in bilateral relations and there is need to further strengthen these ties. Both sides also agreed to enhance frequency bilateral delegations at different levels to explore more avenues for cooperation. He said Pakistan offers a conducive environment for investment and Iraqi investors can benefit from the investment opportunities being offered under CPEC. Ambassador of Iraq agreed with the views of Senate deputy chairman and agreed to further consolidate cooperation in different sectors for mutual benefit of the people of two sides. He specifically mentioned that trade between Iraq and Pakistan is at its lowest level which needs to be enhanced through mutual collaboration. Both shall identifying the available and emerging market opportunities in Iraq, exporters suggested that a number of steps could be taken by, restoration of Pak-Iraq Business Counsel and visits of trade delegations from both countries. He underscored the need for enhancing cooperation with Iraq in several sectors, including trade, education and culture. Ambassador of Iraq said Pakistan is an important regional country. He agreed with the views of Senate deputy chairman to build stronger collaboration in multiple sectors.... Read more...Digitalization has no borders: Dr SteffenOctober 18, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Sunday, October 18, 2020 (WNP/DL): Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Resident Representative in Pakistan Dr Steffen Kudella said digitalization had no borders as it had brought the people much closer. Addressing the 9th international conference on ‘The Dynamics of Change in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Region: Politics, (Dis) Integration and Reformation in the Borderland’, he said “Borders separate us, but that does not mean that we are not connected with our neighbours. Today, we are even more connected than ever due to digital change.” Dr Steffen said the HSF felt pride in supporting the digital event to bring the people from Pakistan and Afghanistan together for discussing the key regional issues and sort out their solutions. He said,”Democracy requires those who vote to be prepared to choose wisely. Political wisdom, therefore, is the precondition of any successful democracy, and political wisdom depends on education.” He also inaugurated a digital studio at PSUP, scheduled to host International Summer School on the same topic. Addressing the conference as a chief guest Prof Dr Ijaz Khan Khattak of Quaid-i-Azam University said the people residing along across the Pak-Afghan border had a long history of interaction, besides deep-rooted economic, social and political relations. He said there was a potential for the borderlands to become a source of peace for the region and friendship between Afghanistan and Pakistan by enhancing the cooperation among their people along the border because they belonged to same ethnicity, culture and religion. The online conference was organized by the Department of Political Science of the University of Peshawar (PSUP) and Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistan. The conference was attended by a large number of people, including faculty members and students of universities, besides national and international experts. Speakers were of the view that the people living along the both sides of Pak-Afghan border could play a vital role for regional peace because of long history of relations based on same religion, culture and ethnicity.... Read more...No scientific evidence to support death penalty: Ambassador AndroullaOctober 9, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Friday, October 09, 2020 (WNP/DP): European Union (EU) Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said the EU had a principled position against the death penalty in all the circumstances and for all the cases that it was unnecessary. Addressing the event on the eve of World Day against the Death Penalty, she said, “There is no valid scientific evidence to support that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. Instead, it is the certainty of being caught and punished that serves as a deterrent and of course actions to prevent such crimes from happening in the first place. The EU ambassador said,“The call for the death penalty might come from an impulse in reaction to a horrific crime. But as a society, we need to reflect deeper on what justice really means and what needs to be done for such crimes not to happen again. The performance that premiered today invites us to enter this discussion.” Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem said implementing the law regarding criminal justice system in Pakistan was a complicated issue due to some cultural and social taboos and needed improvement. The people in general were not satisfied and had expectations from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government to bring changes in the law so that the accused should not get scot-free, he said while speaking as a chief guest. Farogh Naseem briefed the audience in detail about the reforms measures taken by the present government in the justice system, like early adjudication of civil cases, transfer of inheritance, ensuring rights of women in inherited properties, and provision of legal assistance from the state to the weaker and poorer segments. On the occasion, an art performance titled ‘Before The Sun Comes Up’ was screened to highlight the miseries of a death row prisoner and his sentiments. Ambassadors from the European Union countries, representatives of civil society and government officials attended the function.... Read more...Education officers to visit 7 schools per day to ensure health guidelinesSeptember 29, 2020ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): Primary schools will open in the twin cities today (Wednesday) in the third phase of educational institutions reopening, following months shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has directed all area education officers to visit at least seven schools every day to ensure that health guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) to limit the spread of Covid-19 are being implemented. A total of 193 FDE-run primary schools in Islamabad will reopen. FDE officials said that the city’s six area education officers have been told to visit at least seven schools per day. In addition, a team of FDE directors and officers from the Ministry of Federal Education and the capital administration will visit schools as well. Teams from the Private Educational Institution Regulatory Authority (Peira) will also visit primary schools, officials from the authority said. They said that it would be harder to enforce social distancing in primary schools compared to high schools, colleges or universities, particularly with students in nursery up until third grade, which is why teachers will have to make a special effort. Islamabad-based educational institutions have reported more than 30 cases of Covid-19 out of around 15,000 tests. Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mehmood said that the positivity rate is 0.8pc in educational institutions across the country. At a press conference in Islamabad, he said that out of 171,436 tests carried out in educational institutions – not including primary schools – 1,284 have come back positive for Covid-19. He said school administrations, teachers and parents must be more attentive from Wednesday, when primary schools reopen, because young children cannot follow SOP and practice social distancing on their own. SOP has been issued and arrangements have been made by the district administration and education authority as primary schools open in Rawalpindi. Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told media that the government had asked that preparations be made for primary schools to reopen. He said special arrangements have been made for younger students, but parents must also educate children on safety measures. He said teachers and school staff have been directed to explain safety measures and social distancing to students. He said the use of masks, hand sanitiser and other SOP will be monitored, and primary schools will be checked every day. He added that Covid-19 testing is continuing in educational institutions in Rawalpindi as part of the Punjab government’s goal to check all the schools, colleges and universities in the district. Seven out of 2,913 people tested for Covid-19 have been positive since the opening of schools and colleges on Sept 15, he said, while 2,744 were negative and the results of 162 are awaited. Mr Mehmood said teams have been working to collect samples from educational institutions. He said randomised testing has been carried out in 49 colleges and universities. He said the testing process has been slow because capacity cannot exceed 120 tests per day. All the results will be received in a day or two, Mr Mehmood said. Randomised testing will continue in schools where classes for sixth, seventh and eighth graders resumed on Sept 23.... Read more... InternationalAJK president calls on OIC to intervene to stop ethnic cleansing of KashmirisNovember 28, 2020NIAMEY, Saturday, November 28, 2020 (WNP/DL): Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has called upon the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to intervene to stop ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri people and state terrorism and oppressive settler-colonialism of India. Speaking as the true representative of the Kashmiri people at the second working session of the 47th OIC Foreign Ministers Council in Niger on Saturday, he said, “Kashmiri people are looking towards 1.8 billion Muslims and 57 Islamic states for help to rescue them from the evil clutches of an aggressor country which is poised to eliminate them en-mass.” At present, Kashmir is burning and the genocide of Kashmiri people is on the climax as the people demanding freedom and dignity are being massacred, injured, maimed and deprived of their eyesight, he remarked. The AJK president further said that the Kashmiri people were being illegally arrested in Indian Occupied Kashmir and subjected to the worst torture. The youth were being kidnapped and forcibly disappeared. At present, he maintained, that 20,000 Kashmiri people were languishing in different prisons and detention camps across Indian, facing a grave threat to their lives. Sardar Masood Khan said that crimes against mankind were being committed on an industrial scale in the length and cranny of the held territory, and the game of death and destructions continues in every street and corner. He said that India’s fascist regime was bringing Indian citizens from all across the country to the held territory, and is unlawfully settling them in order to turn Occupied Kashmir into its colony. In this way, he asserted, a Muslim state was being forcibly turned into a Hindu state. While describing the Kashmiri people as the victims of the worst state terrorism, the AJK president said that India’s one million troops were perpetrating a reign of terror against the innocent subjects of held Kashmir, and were also subjecting the citizens of Azad Kashmir to the worst aggression on daily basis. “Women, children and old aged citizens were being martyred, injured or disabled. At present, the worst Islamophobia in the world is being witnessed in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir where the Muslims are being eliminated en masse because of their ideology and faith.” The state president thanked the OIC for demanding the cessation of human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir, lifting of India’s illegal occupation and granting the right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people for decades together. He pointed out that India’s fanatic BJP regime, under its Hindutva agenda, had merged Occupied Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Union without the consent of Kashmiri people, and this action is the flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. “After the revocation of the special status of Occupied Kashmir and doing away with the symbols of the disputed status of Kashmir i.e. abolition of the separate constitution, flag and legislative assembly, the Indian government is going to stage an election farce to get its illegal occupation and actions validated,” he stated. Sardar Masood Khan said that in order to divert the world’s attention from the situation prevailing in Occupied Kashmir, the Indian occupation troops were constantly committing aggression against more than half a million people living along the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir, and as a consequence, 30 innocent citizens have lost their lives this year alone. The state president also thanked the OIC for deputing a high-level delegation to Islamabad and Muzaffarabad to examine the actual situation prevailing in Kashmir.... Read more...India’s southeastern coast braces for powerful cycloneNovember 24, 2020MAHABALIPURAM, INDIA, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): Local Indian authorities banned public gatherings and closed shops as more than 1,000 rescue personnel mobilised against a powerful cyclone barrelling towards the southeastern coast, bringing heavy rains and strong winds. Cyclone Nivar is set to cross the coasts of Tamil Nadu state and the small territory of Puducherry as a “very severe cyclonic storm” late Wednesday, the Indian Meteorological Department said. Parts of Andhra Pradesh, a coastal state north of Tamil Nadu, are also forecast to be slammed by the cyclone. A “very severe cyclonic storm” is the fifth-strongest category on the IMD’s scale of seven storm types. “This will slowly intensify, maybe tonight or tomorrow, and turn into a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of around 120 kilometres per hour (75 miles per hour) and gusting up to 145 kilometres per hour,” IMD’s director-general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told reporters in New Delhi. Rainfall is also expected to inundate the region, with some areas bracing for very heavy downpours, he added. More than 1,000 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed to assist local efforts on possible evacuations of residents from vulnerable coastal areas. Tamil Nadu’s chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami declared Wednesday a public holiday and said it could be extended. The lieutenant governor of Puducherry, Kiran Bedi, said public gatherings would be banned from late Tuesday until early Thursday. Shops in Puducherry, except those for essential services like pharmacies and petrol stations, were to be shut until the cyclone passes. In parts of Mahabalipuram, about 60 kilometres from Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai, local fishermen dragged their boats to safety along the coast. The cyclone’s centre is expected to pass some 175 kilometres northeast of Sri Lanka’s northernmost Kankesanthurai coastal town early Wednesday. Fishermen in the northern area were advised not to go out to sea. No evacuation orders were issued but heavy rains were forecast, particularly in the island nation’s north. More than 110 people died after “super cyclone” Amphan ravaged eastern India and Bangladesh in May, flattening villages, destroying farms and leaving millions without electricity.... Read more...Scotland becomes first country to offer free period productsNovember 24, 2020EDINBURGH, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): Scotland on Tuesday voted to offer free universal access to period products, becoming the first country in the world to do so. The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously in favour of the Period Products Bill, which makes it a legal right to have free access to sanitary products in public buildings. “We all agree that no one should have to worry where their next tampon pads or reusable is coming from,” Monica Lennon, the MSP who introduced the bill, said before the Edinburgh vote. “Scotland will not be the last country to consign period poverty to history but we have the chance to be the first. “This has been a long time coming.” Sanitary products are free for pupils and students in Scotland, but the bill now places a legal duty on ministers to set up a country-wide scheme to ensure anyone can get access to them. Schools, colleges and universities must also make a range of period products available for free in their toilets. Lennon said that while the legislation was “world-leading”, schools should also offer education to pupils to end the stigma of periods. Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said the bill sent an “important message about the kind of country we want Scotland to be. “That is a gender-equal Scotland, where no one has to go through the indignity of using unsuitable materials to mask their periods or stretch household budgets further to buy products for their children, or miss out on education — a Scotland where no one has to hide a tampon up their sleeve,” she said. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcome the decision. “Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them,” she wrote on her Twitter account. “An important policy for women and girls.”... Read more...Hundreds in India protest govt handling of Dalit woman’s fatal rapeOctober 2, 2020NEW DELHI, Friday, October 02, 2020 (AP/WNP/DL): Hundreds of protesters on Friday demanded the dismissal of the government of a northern Indian state where a 19-year-old woman from India’s lowest caste was allegedly gang-raped and later died in a hospital. They carried placards and shouted “Hang the rapists” and ”First raped by devils, then by the system” as they assembled at Jantar Mantar, on open area close to Parliament in New Delhi. The protesters, including Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar, said the Uttar Pradesh state government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, was not allowing anyone to meet the victim’s family, with police cordoning off their village. They accused authorities of trying to hush up the crime. Police say they have arrested four suspects, all from an upper caste. Indian television news channels on Friday showed their journalists being refused entry to the village by large numbers of police. An officer outside the village said the media would be allowed in after the investigation is completed. Bhaskar said the hasty cremation of the victim’s body without the family’s approval showed the callousness of the state government. She demanded the dismissal of Yogi Adiyanath, the state’s top elected official. The woman was cremated early Wednesday, with the family alleging that police did not allow them to perform her final rites. Videos on social media show the family weeping as police insisted on cremating the body without allowing them to take it home. A leader of the main opposition Congress party, Priyanka Gandhi, who was prevented by police from visiting the family on Thursday with her brother, Rahul Gandhi, said at a prayer meeting at a temple in New Delhi on Friday that blocking off the village was an injustice to the family and showed that the state is unsafe for women. Dalits — formerly known as “untouchables” and at the bottom of India’s Hindu caste hierarchy — are victims of thousands of attacks each year. According to human rights organisations, Dalit women are particularly vulnerable to caste-based discrimination and sexual violence. In India, rape and sexual violence have been under the spotlight since the 2012 gang-rape and killing of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus. The attack galvanised massive protests and inspired lawmakers to order the creation of fast-track courts dedicated to rape cases and stiffen penalties for those convicted of the crime.... Read more...Kuwait ruler, longtime diplomat Sheikh Sabah, dies at age 91September 29, 2020KUWAIT, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (AP/WNP/DL): Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the ruler of Kuwait who drew on his decades as the oil-rich nation’s top diplomat to push for closer ties to Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War and solutions to other regional crises, died on Tuesday. He was 91. In a Middle East replete with elderly rulers, Sheikh Sabah stood out for his efforts at pushing for diplomacy to resolve a bitter dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day. His 2006 ascension in Kuwait, a staunch US ally since the American-led war that expelled occupying Iraqi troops, came after parliament voted unanimously to oust his predecessor, the ailing Sheikh Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah, just nine days into his rule. Yet as Kuwait’s ruling emir, he struggled with internal political disputes, the fallout of the 2011 Arab Spring protests and seesawing crude oil prices that chewed into a national budget providing cradle-to-grave subsidies. The Embassy community wishes to express its deepest condolences to HH the Amir’s family and the people of #Kuwait at this difficult time. We mourn with you and celebrate the extraordinary life & accomplishments of HH the Amir, who devoted his life to peace & regional stability. https://t.co/2gmEqKTuO6 — U.S. Embassy Kuwait (@USEmbassyQ8) September 29, 2020 “He represents the older generation of Gulf leaders who valued discretion and moderation and the importance of personal ties amongst fellow monarchs,” said Kristin Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington who studies Kuwait. “No question he has suffered from the lack of deference and respect shown by the younger and more brash young princes holding power today.” State television announced his death after playing Quranic prayers, with Royal Court Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al Sabah reading a brief statement, his hands shaking. “With great sadness and sorrow, the Kuwaiti people, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the friendly peoples of the world mourn the death of the late His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, emir of the state of Kuwait who moved to the realm of the Lord,” the sheikh said, without offering a cause of death. Sheikh Sabah is expected to be succeeded by his half brother, the crown prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah. The high regard for Sheikh Sabah could be seen in the outpouring of support for him across the Mideast as he suddenly fell ill in July this year, leading to a quick hospitalisation and surgery in Kuwait City amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Authorities did not say what ailed him. A US Air Force C-17 flying hospital then transported Sheikh Sabah from Kuwait to Rochester, Minnesota, home of the flagship campus of the Mayo Clinic — an extraordinary gesture by the American government for a foreign head of state. The Mayo Clinic did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Prime Minister Imran Khan offered condolences on Sheikh Sabah’s death, saying he was “deeply grieved” over his demise. ” Emir’s contributions to Pak-Kuwait relations will always be remembered,” the premier added. Deeply grieved over demise of HH Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait. انا لله وانا اليه راجعون .We extend our heartfelt condolences to Crown Prince, Al Sabah family & to the Kuwaiti people. Amir’s contributions to Pak-Kuwait relations will always be remembered — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 29, 2020 Two Kuwaits Sheikh Sabah’s life spanned two very different Kuwaits. He was born June 16, 1929, just as the country’s pearl-diving industry would collapse. Within the decade, Kuwait would strike oil. Engineers would eventually confirm that the tiny country, slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey, had the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves. Sheikh Sabah became Kuwait’s foreign minister in 1963 after holding a number of other governmental posts. He would remain in that position for four decades, making him one of the world’s longest-serving foreign ministers. His country’s greatest crisis came in 1990, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and occupied the nation for seven months. Fleeing with other Kuwaiti officials to neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Sabah collapsed and lost consciousness at one particularly stormy meeting of Arab leaders. On February 24, 1991, US troops and their allies stormed into Kuwait. It ended 100 hours later. America suffered only 148 combat deaths during the whole campaign, while over 20,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed. Even before the US entered Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah and others began suggesting a permanent American presence in the region might provide them protection from Iraq and others. “One learns from the past and learns about it for the future,” Sheikh Sabah reportedly said. “One has to consider arrangements that would make not only my country stable but make the whole area stable.” Today, Kuwait hosts some 13,500 American troops, many at Camp Arifjan south of Kuwait City, which is also home to the forward command of US Army Central.... Read more...WHO chief lauds Pakistan for suppressing Covid-19 while keeping economy afloatSeptember 29, 2020GENEVA, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has once again praised Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus, saying the country managed to fight the pandemic while allowing its economy to pick up as the country stabilises. In an op-ed in the British online newspaper The Independent, Tedros noted that Pakistan had deployed the infrastructure built over many years for polio to combat Covid-19. “Community health workers who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children against polio have been redeployed and utilised for surveillance, contact tracing and care,” he wrote. He said this strategy had “suppressed the virus so that, as the country stabilises, the economy is also now picking up once again”. Pakistan’s response reinforces “the lesson that the choice is not between controlling the virus or saving the economy; the two go hand-in-hand”, the WHO chief added. Besides Pakistan, Tedros picked out certain other countries for praise, notably Thailand, Italy and Uruguay, for their handling of the pandemic. He said the grim milestone of one million Covid-19 deaths should spur the planet into fighting back against the disease, insisting that it was “never too late to turn things around”. Tedros said there were encouraging signs of hope, citing vaccine candidates in final-stage trials. One million lives have been lost to #COVID19. This milestone is a difficult moment for the whole world, but there are also glimmers of hope that give us encouragement for the weeks and months ahead. Here’s my opinion piece in the @Independent. #ACTogether https://t.co/A6ze0EcCsv — Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) September 29, 2020 And he said that while the world awaited scientific breakthroughs, the new coronavirus could be effectively contained through proven public health measures. “One million people have now been lost to Covid-19 and many more are suffering because of the pandemic,” he wrote. “This milestone is a difficult moment for the world but there are glimmers of hope that encourage us now and in the near future. “No matter where a country is in an outbreak, it is never too late to turn things around.” ‘Seize the opportunity’ Tedros outlined four essential steps to get the pandemic under control, starting with preventing amplifying events and protecting vulnerable groups. He stressed the need for individual responsibility in washing hands, wearing masks and keeping a distance; and for governments to find, isolate, test and care for cases, then trace and quarantine their contacts. “While today’s milestone gives us pause for reflection, this is a moment for us all to come together, in solidarity, to fight back against this virus,” Tedros said. “History will judge us on the decisions we do and don’t make in the months ahead. Let’s seize the opportunity and bridge national boundaries to save lives and livelihoods.” ‘One million tragedies’ The WHO chief reiterated his call for funding for the WHO-led ACT-Accelerator, a globally pooled hunt for Covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. The programme has just $3 billion of the $38 billion needed to meet the goal of producing and delivering two billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million diagnostic tests over the next year. Meanwhile the Red Cross, also based in Geneva, said the death toll was one more tragic milestone in the rolling humanitarian catastrophe. “Today, we stand in grim solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of families that have lost loved ones,” said Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “A million deaths represent one million individual tragedies and countless heartbreaks.” He added that while fighting the pandemic, “we need to be planning for the support that millions of people will need to rebuild their lives even once this illness is finally defeated”.... Read more...Kuwait’s new ruler to seek stability among fractious, powerful neighboursSeptember 29, 2020KUWAIT, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (Reuters/WNP/DL): Kuwait’s new ruler in waiting may find it harder than his predecessor to uphold his country’s mediating role between rival Gulf powers, if only because he lacks his late brother’s decades of experience as a conciliator in a polarised region. Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, named crown prince of the oil-producing country in 2006, is in line to succeed his brother Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad, whose death was announced on Tuesday. Under Nawaf, 83, Kuwait is likely to continue to work for stability by staying on good terms with its often quarrelling, powerful neighbours, instead of seeking a leadership role in the region, diplomats say. But he lacks the negotiating skills of the late emir, who spent four decades as Kuwait’s top diplomat, earning the respect of his neighbours for rebuilding ties in the Middle East after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of his small but hugely wealthy country. Swathes of the region remain mired in conflict and strife. Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in proxy wars across the region. US-Iranian animosity reached historic heights in January when the United States killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad. Sheikh Sabah tried until his death to end a Gulf row that has seen Riyadh and its allies boycott Qatar since mid-2017. While foreign policy is unlikely to change under Nawaf, OPEC member Kuwait may lose gravitas internationally, two sources close to the ruling family and one of the diplomats said. “He doesn’t have the experience, the willingness for foreign policy,” one of two sources said. “Inside, Kuwait will stay strong, but outside it will be weaker.” Sheikh Nawaf largely kept a low profile as crown prince and also during previous roles as defence minister, at the time of the 1990 invasion, and interior minister. He is known as a founder of the country’s national guard and has attempted to build security cooperation with Arab states. He had been widely perceived as a surprise choice by the emir in the succession line in 2006, and a reluctant ruler, who was encouraged to accept the role by senior members of the 250-year-old Al Sabah dynasty, said the diplomat. Royal jostling Diplomats and analysts expect he will delegate a larger portion of state affairs to his crown prince because of his low-key style and his age. This means that the person nominated by family consensus as his heir, a post which normally also holds the post of prime minister, will be closely watched. Dozens of senior Al Sabah family members have been jostling for position in anticipation of the choice of crown prince, a role that traditionally manages the government’s often difficult relationship with parliament. A handful of unofficial potential candidates include the late emir’s 72-year-old eldest son, Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, according to the sources close to the ruling family and diplomats. Business-minded Nasser entered the senior ranks of the cabinet in 2017 as defence minister but lost the job last year after the government quit in a row with the country’s influential elected parliament and amid royal infighting. Another candidate is former prime minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, a nephew of the emir who stepped down in 2011 after lawmakers threatened to question him on corruption allegations, but had remained close to the emir. Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, deputy chief of the National Guard, could also be in the running. None of the men — the crown prince and his potential successors — have the diplomatic experience of the emir. Maintaining balance Any potential successor will have to act swiftly to tackle domestic issues after their ascension, such as the government’s often fractious ties with parliament and jostling within the ranks of the Al Sabah, leaving less time for foreign policy. Kuwait’s government is seeking to shore up its finances amid low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, while depleting its General Reserve Fund to plug a budget deficit. Waiting in the wings is a new generation of royals: senior royal court official Sheikh Mohammad al-Mubarak al-Sabah and international sports figure Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, who had been sidelined over allegations of political meddling in the royal system and corruption, which he denies. Kuwait has the most open political system in the Gulf, with parliament wielding power to pass laws and question ministers, although most senior posts are occupied by Al Sabah members. Friction between the cabinet and the assembly has led to frequent reshuffles or dissolution of parliament, holding up crucial investment and economic reforms. Sheikh Nawaf’s discreet manner and openness to different points of view will be essential for maintaining balance, diplomats say, adding he could give more space for lawmakers to question senior ministers and allow some top cabinet posts to be held by people outside the Sabah family.... Read more...Run for Kashmir tele-marathon cellphone application, Roshan Digital Account launched in ParisAugust 19, 2020By Rehan Khan PARIS, Wednesday, August 19, 2020 (WNP/DL): An event was held here at the Embassy of Pakistan on Wednesday to launch Run for Kashmir tele-marathon cellphone application and Roshan Digital Account. Members of Pakistani and Kashmir community in Paris and officers of the embassy attended the event. Explaining the concept behind the app, Charge d’Affaires Mr. M. Amjad Aziz Qazi said virtual Run for Kashmir is a global humanitarian effort aimed at creating awareness about the atrocities being committed by the Indian occupation forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). He said the IIOJK has been under the Indian military siege and its status has unilaterally been changed by the Indian government. Our small steps counted by this app will go a long way in giving our Kashmiri brethren a ray of hope that people living across the world are behind their cause, he added. Mr. Qazi invited members of the Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora to form teams and take part in this effort while ensuring following social distancing guidelines in order to slow the spread of Covid-19 virus. A presentation was also given on the Run for Kashmir app. While introducing the Roshan Digital Account, Charge d’Affaires said that this would usher in a new era in banking in Pakistan. He regarded it a major initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan, which would provide innovative banking solutions to millions of overseas Pakistanis, allowing them to undertake banking, payment and investment activities in Pakistan. Mr. Qazi said the Roshan Digital Account will integrate the Pakistani diaspora fully into the Pakistani banking and digital payments system providing them access to all conventional account services, including funds transfer, bill payments for their families, e-commerce and other payments in Pakistan in addition to investing in stock market and fixed deposit products offered by banks. Country Manager of National Bank of Pakistan in France, Mr. Mohammad Yaqoob apprised the participants of the account opening and operation details.... Read more...Iran cries victory after UNSC rejects US bid to extend arms embargoAugust 15, 2020TEHRAN, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): Iran on Saturday hailed a United Nations Security Council vote rejecting a United States bid to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic republic, saying its foe has “never been so isolated”. President Hassan Rouhani said that the US had failed to kill off what he called the “half alive” 2015 deal with major powers that gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. “The United States failed in this conspiracy with humiliation,” Rouhani told a televised news conference. “In my opinion, this day will go down in the history of our Iran and in the history of fighting global arrogance.” Only two of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour of the US resolution seeking to extend the embargo, highlighting the division between Washington and its European allies since President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord in May 2018. Washington’s European allies all abstained, and Iran mocked the Trump administration for only winning the support of one other country, the Dominican Republic. “In the 75 years of United Nations history, America has never been so isolated,” said foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. “Despite all the trips, pressure and the hawking, the United States could only mobilise a small country (to vote) with them,” he tweeted. The result increases the likelihood that the US will try to unilaterally force a return of UN sanctions, which experts say threatens to plunge the Council into one of its worst-ever diplomatic crises. ‘Inexcusable’ “The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defence of international peace and security is inexcusable,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The embargo on conventional arms is due to expire on October 18 under the terms of a resolution that blessed the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Since Trump pulled out of the JCPOA and slapped unilateral sanctions on Iran under a campaign of “maximum pressure”, Tehran has since taken small but escalating steps away from compliance with the nuclear accord as it presses for sanctions relief. European allies of the US — who, along with Russia and China, signed the deal with Iran — have voiced support for extending the 13-year-long conventional arms embargo, saying an expiry threatens stability in the Middle East. However, their priority is to preserve the JCPOA. The US text, seen by AFP, effectively called for an indefinite extension of the embargo on Iran, which diplomats said would threaten the nuclear agreement. Iran says it has the right to self-defence and that a continuation of the ban would mean an end to the nuclear deal. Pompeo announced that members had failed to back the proposal around 30 minutes before Indonesia, the current president of the Security Council, announced that the official results included two votes against and 11 abstentions. Russia and China opposed the resolution. “The result shows again that unilateralism enjoys no support, and bullying will fail,” China’s UN mission tweeted. ‘Snapback’ Ambassador Gunter Sautter of Germany, which abstained, said “more consultations are needed” to find a solution that is acceptable to all council members. During a call between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, the leaders “discussed the urgent need for UN action to extend the arms embargo on Iran”. Hours earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on China, France, Russia, Britain, the US, Germany and Iran to convene an emergency video summit to avoid an escalation of tensions in the Gulf. Washington has threatened to try to force a return of UN sanctions if it is not extended by using a controversial technique called “snapback”. Pompeo has offered the contested argument that the US remains a “participant” in the nuclear accord as it was listed in the 2015 resolution — and therefore can force a return to sanctions if it sees Iran as being in violation of its terms. European allies have been sceptical on whether Washington can force sanctions and warn that the attempt may delegitimise the Security Council. Nevertheless, the US is expected to deliver the snapback letter next week, AFP understands. Analysts suspect that Washington purposefully put forward a hardline draft that it knew Council members would not be able to accept. “The fact is that everybody at the UN believes this (resolution) is just a prelude to a US effort to trigger snapback and sink the Iranian nuclear deal,” Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group, told AFP.... Read more...Israel-UAE deal could open up US weapons sales to Gulf kingdom, experts sayAugust 15, 2020JERUSALEM, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (Reuters/WNP/DL): Normalised diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could pave the way for more US weapons sales to the Gulf Arab country, according to experts. Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship under an accord that US President Donald Trump helped broker. The agreement makes the UAE only the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to make such a deal with Israel, which has enjoyed special access to US weapons sales. In a National Public Radio interview on Friday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that “the more the Emirates become a friend of Israel, become a partner of Israel, become a regional ally of the United States, I think obviously that alters the threat assessment and could work out to the Emirates’ benefit” on future weapons sales. The United States guarantees that Israel receives more advanced American weapons than Arab states get, giving it what is labeled a “Qualitative Military Edge” over its neighbours. One example is the F-35 jet made by Lockheed Martin Co that Israel has used in combat, but the UAE is currently unable to purchase. David Makovsky, director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, told Reuters the deal is “a win for the Emirates, which will undoubtedly be eligible for military sales that it could not obtain due to ‘qualitative military edge’ restrictions due to fear certain technologies could be used against Israel.” In May, the US State Department approved a possible sale of up to 4,569 used Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the UAE for $556 million. US lawmakers have tried to rein in Trump administration plans for arms sales, particularly to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to pressure them to improve their human rights record and do more to avoid civilian casualties in an air campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the war in Yemen. A US government watchdog report released on Tuesday said the State Department did not fully evaluate the risk of civilian casualties in Yemen when it pushed through a huge 2019 sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.... Read more... BusinessLeading British designer Aralia enters Pakistan with Diyár HomesOctober 20, 2020ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, October 20, 2020 (WNP/DL): Leading British landscape designers Aralia have confirmed their first ever entry into Pakistani real estate market. Aralia are amongst Great Britain’s leading landscape designers boasting a world class portfolio including the £2.8 Billion Chelsea Creek development in London for Berkeley Homes and Centurion Golf Club in Hertfordshire. Aralia will be working on the luxury Islamabad Hills development by Diyár Homes which is poised to be the most luxury real estate community in Pakistan. Commenting on the appointment Patricia Fox CEO of Aralia and lead designer for Islamabad Hills said that they are extremely honoured to be working on this monumental development with Diyár Homes and look forward to creating what will certainly be the most iconic master community in Islamabad. “It is not often we have the opportunity to work on such a large area and particularly at Islamabad Hills where Diyár Homes have allocated more than 77% of the total land area for open areas and amenities we definitely have our work cut out, ” she said. Islamabad Hills is Pakistan’s first luxury resort community and will also be home to ‘The Hills Promenade’ Pakistan’s first luxury outdoor shopping promenade. Commenting on Islamabad and her experience visiting Pakistan, Patricia said “It’s my first-time visiting Pakistan and it has come a very pleasant surprise especially as a landscape designer the natural beauty of Islamabad is second to none. The warmth and hospitality of everyone I have met has been incredible. It is great to be collaborating with local Pakistani architects and designers and we all agree no developer in Pakistan previously has appreciated the natural beauty of Pakistan’s landscape have but for Diyár Homes that is at the forefront of the development, retaining and enhancing the natural beauty”. She said the landscape of Islamabad Hills itself is magnificent, lush green hills and deep valleys which will create a world class idyllic resort setting. Asked about her one favourite feature of Islamabad Hills, Patricia commented “One thing I have never seen anywhere in the world which Diyár Homes are doing at Islamabad Hills is that they have taken the entire entrance area which spans over 350,000 square feet, where you would typically find your most prime real estate and made that into a feature park”. “We are working on some amazing plans for the entrance park to really create a holistic feeling of transition from the outside world into Islamabad Hills. We have some magnificent plans including a tree top walk which I’m currently designing which will take you to the canopy level of the development to give you a bird’s eye view. I’m really excited about this project it’s going to be extremely special”. Commenting on the appointment, a Diyár Homes executive said that they saw a feature showcase garden designed by Aralia at the world-renowned Chelsea Garden Show which was highly innovative combining technology with landscaping and knew straight away we had to bring them to Pakistan. “To say we are pleased would be an under statement, this is unprecedented bringing a world class landscape designer of Aralia’s calibre to Pakistan and will add immense value to the holistic experience of Islamabad Hills”. He said our intention with this project is not only to be Pakistan’s best but amongst the world’s best resort communities and for that we are bringing the world’s leading experts and deliver on that vision we are standing on the shoulders of giants.... Read more...PTI govt has failed to tackle Pakistan’s rising debt: SherrySeptember 30, 2020ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (WNP/DL): PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman slammed the federal government for failing to tackle Pakistan’s rising debt. “It is alarming that Pakistan’s debt and liabilities have surged by Rs14.4 trillion in the last two years, up from Rs29.9 trillion in June 2018 to a whopping Rs44.3 trillion. Over the last two years, the PTI government has been taking on an average of Rs20 billion worth of additional debt a day. No government in the past 73 years has taken on additional debt of Rs 20 billion a day”, she said. “Public debt is breaking all previous records, inflation is highest in the region, and circular debt remains one of the biggest challenges in the power sector. Where is our economy heading?” questioned the senator. Commenting on the galloping circular debt, which remains one of the biggest challenge in our power sector, the senator said, Pakistan’s circular debt in the power sector, currently standing at Rs2219 billion, is expected to swell up to Rs4,000 billion by 2025. The PTI government had vowed to curtail the menace of circular debt. And on the contrary, they have added an addition of Rs1.72 trillion in two years which comes to Rs71 billion a month, or Rs2.3 billion a day”, the Senator added. “The country is already facing severe gas shortages. This is expected to worsen in the coming months, especially during the winter season. Is there anything, any sector that this government can manage properly” added the Senator. “Why was the federal government celebrating a decline in the Current Account Deficit (CAD)? CAD improved mainly due to a historical dip in international oil prices amidst the COVID-19 crisis. During PPP’s time in power, crude oil price was $147/barrel, yet the situation was nowhere close to what it is now”, the Senator added. “Instead of bowing down to the sugar, wheat, and business tycoons, the federal government must work towards providing economic relief to the poor and vulnerable people of Pakistan. It is getting very difficult for the common man to survive during these testing times”, the senator added. Highlighting the lack of parliamentary supervision in the federal government’s economic policies, the senator questioned, “Why is the PTI government not keeping the parliament in confidence when it comes to our economic policies? In any democratic system, the parliament and the opposition have the right to scrutinize and question the government’s performance. Commenting on the importance of revenue collection, the Senator said, “Pakistan is one of the countries in the world with the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio. The federal government must take lessons from Sindh. The FBR’s annual tax directory of 2018 showed that Sindh contributed 45% to the total revenue collection. It is important to point out that tax collection is the principle way of resource mobilisation for sovereign countries.” PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying” the federal government must come up with a tangible short- to long-term economic-sector reform programme to fix matters instead of constantly looking back. The Parliament must also be kept in confidence. We have every right to question the federal government’s negligence and continuous mismanagement in the economic sector.”... Read more...Move to sell extra telecom spectrum for $1bnSeptember 30, 2020ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (Reuters/WNP/DL): Pakistan will this week begin the process of selling unused telecom spectrum in an auction it hopes will raise around $1 billion and enhance network capacity, said three senior government officials familiar with the matter. The spectrum is in the 1800 and 2100 MHz bands typically used by operators for 4G LTE (long-term evolution) networks that offer faster video streaming and internet downloads, said the officials. They asked not to be named as they were not authorised to discuss the matter with the media. The country plans to kick-start the process by laying out plans to retain an international consulting firm that would design the auction process, and advise on base pricing and other details, they said, adding that no sale date has yet been set. Pakistan is anxious to replenish state coffers that have been hit by a slump in the economy and in tax collections exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesman for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said the process to hire a consultant for “Spectrum Auction 2020-21” has been initiated. He declined to give further details. The country has some 85 million 3G/4G subscribers, and the upcoming auction is seen as a precursor to any 5G launch. The Pakistan telecom market is dominated by Jazz, backed by Netherlands-based Veon Ltd; Telenor Pakistan, backed by Norway’s state-controlled Telenor; Zong, owned by China Mobile and Ufone, which is controlled by state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd.... Read more...Universities train young entrepreneurs from merged districts online with US cooperationJuly 24, 2020ISLAMABAD, Friday, July 24, 2020 (WNP/DL): Bahria University and Islamic International University Islamabad, in partnership with the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the local business community, launched a digital platform to provide business incubation training to select entrepreneurs from the merged districts of Khyber, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan. The shift to online course work offers great new opportunities for developing business skills while COVID-19 public health precautions limit in-person meetings. The training supports aspiring business leaders as they develop their ideas and products under the mentorship of highly experienced professionals. Candidates with the most innovative ideas will also receive an implementation grant. “This program is aligned with the Government of Pakistan’s strategy to empower youth from the merged districts and provide them with the skills to enhance their self-reliance, and thus build resilience,” said USAID/Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/FATA Director Randy Chester. “We are pleased to see how our partner institutions quickly adapted the formerly in-person course to an online format given the COVID-19 challenges, preventing a break in learning. It also challenges the participants to revise their business plans to adapt to or address the challenges the pandemic has introduced.” “Before this training, I had no idea about the essential components of a business,” said Jamaima Afridi, a young entrepreneur from Landi Kotal, Khyber. “Now enlightened with the concepts of marketing, finance, and human resources through this program, I am planning to open a cafe in Peshawar exclusively run by women for women.” Prior to launching the digital platform, the program already provided business incubation training to 369 individuals from Khyber, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan Districts. The program has also provided business incubation grants to 138 individuals to start or scale-up existing innovative enterprises.... Read more...EU for joint venture in green economic recovery by investment, capacity-buildingJuly 21, 2020By Muhammad Rizwan ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 (WNP/DL): European Union (EU)’s delegation to Pakistan Tuesday called on the Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. Both sides discussed at length various matters of bilateral collaboration and cooperation-related opportunities in the fields of in green economic recovery through investment and green job creations, environmental sustainability, climate change, forest management, air pollution and water conservation and protection for boosting latter’s climate resilience against unfolding climate change-caused disasters. The EU delegation was led by Anne Marchal, EU Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan. During the meeting, the EU delegation members lauded the present government’s green and clean initiatives for creation of green jobs through green economic recovery, protection of environment, forests, the wildlife and enhancing Pakistan’s resilience against negative fallouts of climate change on agriculture, forests, water, food, energy, health, education and lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable communities. “We are looking forward to contribute our role through our experiences in overall post COVID-19 green recovery through enhanced investment in green sectors including forestry environmental protection and climate change resilience through mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the country’s climate-vulnerable socio-economic sectors,” Anne Marchal told the prime minister’s advisor. Malik Amin Aslam welcomed the interests of the EU and its offer to join present government’s green and clean initiatives launched over last two years for overall environmental conservation and protection and Pakistan’s climate resilience. “We are happy to hear that the EU is looking towards opportunities for collaboration and cooperation for jointly working and sharing its experiences regarding environmental conservation, water management, disaster risk management and climate resilient-agriculture,” he told the EU Mission’s deputy head in Pakistan. While sharing details of the present government’s green and clean Pakistan initiatives, he told the delegation members that the climate change ministry has launched various flagship programmes and projects including the world’s largest afforestation programme of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, Clean Green Pakistan Programme, Protected Areas Initiative, Plastic-Free Pakistan Initiative, Recharge Pakistan Initiative as a part of the country’s efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and climate resilience through conservation and protection of environment, forests and wildlife, wherein community and youth engagements are being assigned the heightened priority. “However, we welcome any support and collaboration at any scale between Pakistan and European Union bloc and with its member countries, respectively, that would surely help deepen the bilateral relations and help boost Pakistan’s efforts for environmental conservation and protection as well as reducing the country’s disaster vulnerability,” he hoped. Malik Amin Aslam also informed her that a novel Protected Area Initiative, approved last month by the Prime Minister, has been launched recently under the umbrella programme ‘Green Pakistan’, which is the present government’s historic milestone for nature conservation, aims to increase the country’s protected areas cover from 13 percent to 15 percent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs across the country that are viewed as crucial in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time protected natural resources of the country. He also said the Prime Minister Imran Khan had also approved the ‘Green Stimulus’ package in April this year as part of the government’s efforts to extend green cover in the county and to create job opportunities for the youth, under which so far over 86,000 green jobs have been created for daily wagers rendered unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, an agreement was signed on Monday according to which the World Bank will provide 188 million US dollars to Pakistan to address environmental degradation, deforestation and climate change-caused disaster risks in the country, the PM’s aide added. Malik Amin also remarked that the world today has been forced to accept that it is the destruction of wildlife habitats as well as the degradation of the world’s ecosystems that are the root cause of the pandemic — Covid-19. “However, this ongoing catastrophe is painfully reminding us that collectively we no longer have a choice but to respect the natural limits and boundaries of our coexistence with other species. Nature, while reclaiming lost space, seems to be rebalancing our relationship with it,” He emphasised. He said further, “Given the background, protected areas remain one of the prime nature-based tools for actualising this rebalancing act in the nature.” “They do that by providing a safe haven for nature to flourish, valuable biodiversity to survive, and for life itself to sustain. These protected refuges of nature also create a payback mechanism by creating spaces for human recreation, promoting ecotourism, generating green jobs, enhancing resilience to natural disasters, contributing to food and water security through ecosystem restoration and addressing issues such as climate change by sequestering carbon,” the advisor explained. The Pakistani delegation, led by the Prime Minister’s aide Malik Amin Aslam, comprised the climate change ministry Secretary Naheed Shah Durrani.... Read more...PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York has piqued Trump’s interest, NA body toldJuly 15, 2020ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, July 15, 2020 (WNP/DL): As the government goes about deciding which line it should eventually take to turn the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York into a profitable entity, the luxury property has piqued the interest of a name all too familiar in American real estate: Donald Trump. The revelation came as a top Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) official informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Privatisation on Wednesday that the United States president is interested in purchasing the hotel, located in New York’s Manhattan borough. At the outset of the meeting, committee member Khawaja Asif of the PML-N inquired from PIA officials whether anyone had shown interest in buying the property. Asif, a former foreign minister, then noted that Trump had wanted to purchase it. At this, PIA Investment Limited Managing Director Najeeb Sami disclosed that the American president “is still showing interest in Roosevelt”. Billionaire-turned-president Trump already owns seven luxury hotels and several resorts and clubs in a number of major cities across the US, according to The Washington Post. In his briefing to the committee, Sami said that Roosevelt is a three-star hotel which had been profitable for 99 years. However, the hotel suffered a loss of $1.5 million last year, the official added. He said it was not profitable for PIA to run the entire hotel on its own and it should, therefore, be replaced with offices and hotels. “It has been decided to give Roosevelt Hotel on lease on a long-term basis,” Sami told the lawmakers. Earlier this month, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) had decided against selling off the Roosevelt and to run it through a joint venture instead. The CCoP had directed the Privatisation Commission to appoint a financial adviser to start the process for the transaction in light of a report by accounting firm Deloitte from July 2019 which recommended that “the highest and best use of the Roosevelt Hotel property is to redevelop the site into a mixed-use (through joint venture) of primarily an office tower over retail and condominium.” Asif said although his party did not oppose privatisation “at all”, this wasn’t a suitable time to privatise any entity because the coronavirus pandemic has caused market prices of almost everything to fall. He said the rights of employees should be protected whenever privatisation is carried out and they should be provided enough funds to start their own businesses. People who own real-estate businesses abroad should not be made part of the body deciding the hotel’s fate as it could lead to corruption, Asif added. The PML-N lawmaker observed that PIA itself could not be privatised in the current circumstances either. He acknowledged that it was a “mistake” on PML-N’s part that it remained unable to privatise the national flag carrier during its tenure. Privatisation Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro informed the committee that various options were currently being looked into regarding the fate of the Roosevelt, adding that a financial adviser will take the decision regarding leasing out the hotel. The PIA-owned 19-storey hotel with 1,025 rooms plus allied facilities in New York is considered a valuable property that also carries cultural significance for Pakistan. It has remained in the news for the last several years over its proposed auction. However, the management of PIA in the past had always rejected the claims of auction, etc. The hotel was acquired by PIA Investment Limited on lease during the year 1979 with an option to purchase the property. The airline had purchased the hotel for $36.5 million against a demand of $59.5m by contesting a lawsuit against the owner in 1999. The Roosevelt has been managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts since 1997.... Read more...Kaunain assumes charge as CCP chairpersonJuly 15, 2020By Muhammad Raza ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, July 15, 2020 (WNP): The newly appointed Chairperson of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Rahat Kaunain Hassan, has assumed the charge of her office after the federal government issued a notification of her appointment as the Member and chairperson of CCP for a three year term. Hassan studied Law at King’s College London and also possesses an L.L.M. degree. She has over 25 years of experience including over 8 years in public service. For the last 7 years she has been in private practice, as Senior Partner of Islamabad based law firm. She was also Member of the Audit Oversight Board, Independent Director/ Chairperson Pakistan LNG Limited and has held independent directorships including on the boards of Pakistan Stock Exchange and various other listed companies. Hassan served as one of the founding members of CCP from 2007 to 2010, and as its chairperson from 2010 to 2013. She has authored, co-authored most of the seminal orders passed by CCP, including those that resulted in breaking the most pernicious of cartels. During her term, the CCP witnessed peak enforcement against cartel and other anticompetitive practices taking the amount of penalty imposed from PKR 7 billion to over PKR 26 billion. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Office of Fair Trading within CCP and has authored numerous position papers, guidelines, policy notes on important issues of competition law and policy. Earlier, she has also served as General Counsel/Executive Director at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in 2001. Under her leadership CCP was twice nominated/short listed amongst top 5 agencies for GCR Enforcement ‘Agency of the year Award’ out of 42 agencies in the region of Asia Pacific Middle East and Africa, by the Global Competition Review. Peer Review by UNCTAD was also accepted at her request in 2012 and CCP was quoted “as an example of institution building” in its report. Hassan was recognized as one of 100 successful women in anti-trust globally Global Competition Review in 2013. She has the honor of being nominated/recommended for Sitara-e-Imtiaz for her work, both by her predecessor and her successor at CCP.... Read more...Ogra to cut natural gas prices by 6%July 14, 2020ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, July 14, 2020 (WNP): Owing to decline in the oil prices in the international market, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has suggested the government to reduce the natural gas prices by up to 6 percent for consumers. The suggestion has been made after holding a public hearing with the SNGPL and SSGCL and statistical analysis of their data. The regulator Tuesday issued its decisions regarding the state-run gas distribution companies which had approached it to sanction them up to 101 per cent increase in prescribed gas prices with effect from July 1, 2020 to meet revenue requirements, but after holding public hearings, the authority rejected their demand and reduced the prescribed gas price of SNGPL by Rs40.94/mmbtu (or 6.1 per cent) and SSGCL by Rs18.30/mmbtu (or 2 pc). The Ogra has sent its decision to the federal government for notifying the new prices. The SNGPL had sought average increase in prescribed prices of gas to Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir of Rs622.94/mmbtu to Rs1,287.19/mmbtu for financial years 2020/21. The SSGCL that is feeding Sindh and Balochistan has sought an increase of Rs85.35/mmbtu to Rs881.53/mmbtu from current average prescribed price of Rs796.18/mmbtu. The regulator has suggested slashing prescribed price for SNGPL by Rs40.94/mmbtu to Rs623.31/mmbtu. For SSGCL, it suggested cut of Rs18.30/mmbtu to Rs750.90/mmbtu. The Ogra, under Section 8(1) of OGRA Ordinance, 2002, vide its decision dated July 13, 2020 & July 14, 2020, has determined the revenue requirement of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Company Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) for FY 2020-21 respectively and has sent the same to the federal government for gas sale price advice in respect of each category of consumers under Section 8(3) of said Ordinance. The Ogra has significantly slashed the gas companies’ demand for increase in gas prices for FY 2020-21. The main reason for reduction in price is international oil prices along with other disallowances made by the Ogra in respect of revenue and capital expenditures.... Read more...Pakistan can benefit from French expertise in Agriculture, livestock sectorsJuly 12, 2020PARIS, Sunday, July 12, 2020 (WNP/DL): Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Moin ul Haque Sunday said Pakistan can learn from French modern farming methods and agricultural best practices to increase its agriculture output, livestock yield and bring value addition to its dairy sector. He said this during his day long visit to various fresh produce, livestock and dairy farms in Burgundy region of France to specifically study the successful experience of small scale and family based farming in a rural setting. During the visit arranged by Mr. Alain Recreux, the former honorary investment Counsellor of Pakistan in France and an agricultural expert, the ambassador met with the local farmers, livestock breeders and members of local chamber of agriculture and livestock. He was also briefed by the local mayor about forestation and tree plantation projects, which was a source of employment for the residents besides attracting tourists. The ambassador said experience of France and its best practices would help Pakistan in its own “Ten billion tree plantation campaign”. During his interactions, he also highlighted the priority of the government of Pakistan for development and modernization of agriculture sector as it contributes 18.5% to country’s gross domestic product, provides 38.5% employment to national labor force and is a key to economic growth and poverty alleviation. He said the embassy is in discussion with the French authorities for setting up of special training modules for Pakistani farmers. Negotiations are also underway with French companies to set up a state of the art market in Pakistan for the storage, sale and distribution of fresh farm produce, he added. France is one of the most advance agricultural country of Europe. It is a European leader accounting for 22% of the European Union’s total agriculture output. It is among the top producers in the world for wheat, cereals, milk, meat, sugar beet and oil seeds.... Read more...Pakistan, Afghanistan for trade ties promotion under US initiativeJuly 9, 2020ISLAMABAD, Thursday, July 09, 2020 (WNP/DL): The private sector representatives from Pakistan and Afghanistan met on Wednesday, July 8, to boost prosperity and create jobs in both countries. The participants in this United States (US) government-facilitated event addressed a range of trade issues between the two countries that have held back growth of the cross-border economy. The “Pakistan-Afghanistan Bilateral Trade – Private Sector Perspectives, Strategy and Recommendations” conference was a first-of-its-kind, cross-border dialogue. At an event organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the participants met virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participants included the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Chaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as a number of Afghanistan chambers of commerce and a variety of logistics service providers, transport operators, and traders from both countries. The participants highlighted a desire to forge closer cross-border private sector partnerships and government ties to promote trade between the two countries. Many of the participants expressed concerns over unscheduled closures of border crossing points, slow clearing processes, lack of facilities at the Torkham border, and increasing transport costs. They also supported the creation of a core team of representatives from all participants to plan subsequent coordination efforts with the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This inaugural virtual discussion sets the stage for a sustained and continued effort to improve trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. For more information on USAID programs in Pakistan, please visit the following web site: www.usaid.gov/pakistan/economic-growth-agriculture.... Read more... SportsGwadar’s first golf course inaugurated at China Pak Golf EstatesNovember 27, 2020GWADAR, Friday, November 27, 2020 (WNP/DL): The first-ever nine hole golf course was inaugurated at the N10 Coastal Highway in Gwadar on Friday. The golf course which was previously planned to be six holes has been upgraded to a feature nine hole golf course and is expected to be completed on a fast track basis within 18 months. The feature golf course which will be Gwadar’s first is located within a luxury residential community by the name of China Pak Golf Estates by CPIC Global. The inauguration ceremony was carried out on the site by Shahid Ali Gwadar Development Authority Director Shahid Ali who said, “This is a very exciting time in the development of Gwadar. Golf courses are an integral feature of international cities and the inauguration of this golf course at China Pak Golf Estates is a testament to Gwadar’s rapidly development under the patronage of Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Director General GDA Shahzeb Kakar who have prioritised the cities development. “As the governing authority in Gwadar we recognise the private sectors potential and will support credible investors coming into Gwadar to be part of the cities rapid development”. China Pak Golf Estates Chief Engineer Waqas Moazzam said, “We are leading the way in developing Gwadar. After finishing development and infrastructure works at our first project International Port City, development works are now underway at full speed at the mega China Pak Golf Estates project which is spread over 6.7 Million square feet. “As the city develops China Pak Golf Estates will be the premier residential community in Gwadar and upgrading the golf course from a 6 hole course to a feature 9 hole golf course is a testament of our commitment to excellence in Gwadar”. The ground breaking ceremony was attended by senior dignitaries from the Gwadar Development Authority including Nadir Baloch Assitant Director GDA, local businessmen and officials of CPIC China Pak Golf Estates.... Read more...Spin hero Rashid Khan pays tribute to late mother, his ‘biggest fan’September 30, 2020ABU DHABI, Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): An emotional Rashid Khan dedicated his man-of-the-match performance to his mother, who died earlier this year, after he bowled Sunrisers Hyderabad to their first win of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Afghan leg-spinner took 3-14 from his four overs to restrict Delhi Capitals to 147 for seven in their chase of 163, handing Hyderabad a win by 15 runs in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Khan, who tops the world Twenty20 bowling rankings, said his mother was his “biggest fan”. “Tough one-and-a-half years for me, first my dad expired and then my mom three-four months ago,” said the 22-year-old. “And it took a bit of time for me to come back. My mom was my biggest fan, especially in the IPL and when I was the man of the match, she would always talk to me through the night.” Khan, one of 12 siblings, made his debut for Afghanistan in 2015 and has emerged as a key figure in the war-torn nation’s rise as a cricketing force. The in-demand bowler has travelled the world to take part in leagues including Australia’s Big Bash, the Caribbean Premier League and the Pakistan Super League. Hyderabad skipper David Warner was all praise for the “outstanding” spinner who stood out with an economy rate of 3.50. “Rash is Rash, he knows what he has to do and the way he came out and delivered tonight was exceptionally great,” said Warner. “He knew he had a big role tonight with young (spinner) Abhishek (Sharma) at the other end. Extra bit of pressure for Rash, (but) he held is nerve and was outstanding.” Warner contributed with a gritty 45 and a 77-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who top-scored with 53, in Hyderabad’s 162 for four after being put in to bat first. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson also played a key role after hitting a 26-ball 41 in his first game of the season for the 2016 IPL champions, who lost their opening two matches in the United Arab Emirates.... Read more...Ertugrul proves motivating force for Pakistan, says Azhar ahead of must-win England TestAugust 20, 2020SOUTHAMPTON, Thursday, August 20, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): Turkish TV blockbuster Ertugrul is being used as an unlikely motivator for the Pakistan team ahead of their must-win third Test clash against England, captain Azhar Ali said on Thursday. The 35-year-old added they were in a good state of mind despite the crushing disappointment of losing the first Test when they were in a strong position to win it. The second Test was a virtual washout — at the same Ageas Bowl venue where the third Test gets underway on Friday — due to bad light and rain. TV series Ertugrul, which has run for five seasons (2014-19) and is a big hit in Pakistan, has proved a winner for raising morale, said Azhar. The series, a mix of historical fiction and adventure, is based around the life of Ertugrul, the father of Osman I, who was the founder of the Ottoman Empire. Available to stream in England, it’s been a crucial diversion for a squad confined to bio-secure sites for the duration of their stay. “Yes I think there is no player who is not watching Ertugrul,” Azhar said in his eve of match press conference conducted in Urdu. “It’s tough to lift the side after losing a winning match but we have done well to lift ourselves and will do our best to level the series by winning this Test.” Later in the English section of the press conference, Azhar said what made it easier to recover from the first Test disappointment was the harmony in the dressing room. “I’m lucky to have such a nice bunch of guys who are putting everything in for Pakistan,” said Azhar. “They have gelled really nicely, which makes the job very easy for me, so I focus on all the strategies. “I’m enjoying it. Hopefully we can win this Test and move forward from there.” Azhar addressed his own lack of form with the bat — he was out for a duck and 18 in the first Test. “I was feeling really confident about myself in the two hours or so I spent at the crease in my previous innings (20) and my balance was good as well,” he said. “It is my responsibility to make sure that I score runs.” Azhar also backed young pace bowling duo Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi to be a more potent attacking threat at the Ageas Bowl. Naseem has two wickets at 49.50 with Shaheen’s three coming at 45.66. “They are exciting characters but you can’t buy experience without playing. We have to back them,” he said. “We are lucky enough to have these exciting fast bowlers, although they are young. Naseem is nearly 18 and Shaheen is just 20. “They are bowling really well, putting the opposition under pressure and we are backing them because you can’t just sit outside and gain experience, you have to play.”... Read more...Former Indian captain MS Dhoni announces retirement from international cricketAugust 15, 2020NEW DELHI, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (Reuters/WNP/DL): Indian wicketkeeper-batsman and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday in a cryptic message posted on Instagram. Dhoni, who turned 39 in July, quit Test cricket in 2014 and has not played a limited overs match for India since taking a break after the team’s semi-final exit at the 50-overs World Cup in July last year. “Thanks a lot for your love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired,” he wrote on Instagram with a video montage which had images from his 15-year international career. View this post on Instagram Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired A post shared by M S Dhoni (@mahi7781) on Aug 15, 2020 at 7:01am PDT As captain, Dhoni led India to the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup title in 2007 and he repeated the feat at the 50-overs World Cup on home soil in 2011. Dhoni ends his ODI career having played 350 matches, scoring 10,773 runs and effecting 444 dismissals. He holds the record for most dismissals in T20 internationals with 91 in 98 matches. He also captains the Chennai Super Kings in the franchise-based T20 Indian Premier League but did not specify if he has retired from all cricket.... Read more...Rain causes fresh delay to England-Pakistan 2nd TestAugust 15, 2020SOUTHAMPTON, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): Rain meant there was no play before lunch on the third day of the second Test between England and Pakistan at Southampton on Saturday in a match already plagued by stoppages for bad weather. Play should have resumed at 11:00am local time but light rain meant the pitch and square remained fully covered, with the floodlights then on full beam. Had the players been on the field, play may well have continued given the rain was only of the ‘spitting’ kind. But, with no spectators present in the series being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus, the floodlights were then switched off in a clear indication the umpires had decided there would not be any action before lunch. Pakistan, 1-0 down in the three-match series, will resume on 223-9 in their first innings, after winning the toss, following a second day where only 40 overs’ play took place. Mohammad Rizwan batted with huge skill and resolve in overcast, swing-friendly conditions, to be 60 not out. In partnership with dogged tailender Mohammad Abbas (two off 20 balls), the wicketkeeper took Pakistan past 200 in a ninth-wicket stand after they had come together with the tourists struggling at 176-8. This was Rizwan’s second fifty in eight career Tests following his 95 against Australia in Brisbane in November. Pakistan were also indebted to opener Abid Ali (60) and Babar Azam (47) for painstaking innings when the conditions were stacked against the batsmen. Meanwhile in-form paceman Stuart Broad became the first England bowler since off-spinner Graeme Swann 11 years ago to take at least three wickets in seven consecutive Test innings thanks to a return of 3-56 in 25 overs. Broad has taken 25 wickets in four Tests so far this season at a miserly average of 12.88. Victory in this match will see England secure their first series win over Pakistan since 2010.... Read more...Babar Azam punishes sloppy England with fine fifty in first TestAugust 5, 2020OLD TRAFFORD, Wednesday, August 05, 2020 (Reuters/ WNP/DL): Babar Azam struck a fluent unbeaten half-century as Pakistan closed a rain-shorted first day of the first Test against England on 139 for two at a gloomy and wet Old Trafford on Wednesday. Babar (69 not out) showed all his skill and class to weather an early storm from the England bowlers, and wrestle away the initiative along with the more sedate opener Shan Masood (46 not out). England were superb before lunch, heading into the interval with Pakistan on 53 for two, but wayward and tepid after the break as the tourists piled on 68 runs in 16.1 overs before rain brought an early tea. The players came back late in the day for 7.5 overs, but bad light meant England had to bowl spinners Dom Bess and Joe Root, and Pakistan were able to see off their threat. The closest the home side came to a wicket was a stumping chance for Jos Buttler against Shan off Bess, but the bounce of the ball eluded the wicketkeeper and the left-hander survived. Fast bowler Jofra Archer took the first wicket in the innings, bowling Abid Ali (16) with a delivery that nipped back and burst through the gap between bat and pad after a tentative prod from the batsman. Seamer Chris Woakes then claimed the big scalp of touring captain Azhar Ali, trapped leg before wicket for a duck, which left the visitors teetering at 43 for two as the ball whistled about in the gloom. Yet they were unable to hammer home that advantage, instead losing their line, length and intensity in a limp post-lunch session as Babar and Shan added an unbeaten 96 for the second wicket. Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat, with England captain Root admitting he would have done the same, hopeful of utilising a wearing wicket late in the game that is expected to take turn. It is for that reason they have selected a pair of leg-spinners in Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah, but will want to give them something to bowl at by building a sizeable first innings total.... Read more...Amir to join Pakistan squad in England after child’s birthJuly 20, 2020LAHORE, Monday, July 20, 2020 (Reuters/WNP/DL): Fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who had initially pulled out of the England tour, will join the Pakistan squad following the birth of his second daughter last week, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Monday. The white-ball specialist and masseur Mohammad Imran underwent Covid-19 tests on Monday and they must register two negative results before they can join the team in England, the board said. “If their first tests return negative, they will be moved to a bio-secure environment in Lahore where their second tests will be conducted on Wednesday, with the expected departures over the weekend,” the PCB said. Update on Amir and Shoaib travel planshttps://t.co/HByd6QPjt7 pic.twitter.com/aiVeNR1phk — PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) July 20, 2020 All-rounder Khushdil Shah will miss the first Test against England with a fractured thumb, the board said on Sunday. Khushdil has been ruled out for up to three weeks after injuring his left thumb while batting during Saturday’s training session in Derby. Teammate Abid Ali also survived a scare after being struck on the helmet while fielding at forward short-leg during an intra-squad match on Sunday. “Abid is absolutely fine and will be available to resume training on Wednesday following Tuesday’s rest day,” team doctor Sohail Saleem said. “He underwent a precautionary CT scan which has also returned normal.” The three-Test series begins in Manchester on August 5, with the last two matches scheduled in Southampton. Beginning on Aug 28, Pakistan will also play three Twenty20 Internationals against England with Manchester hosting all the matches.... Read more...T20 World Cup in Australia postponed due to Covid-19 pandemicJuly 20, 2020CANBERRA, Monday, July 20, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): The men’s T20 World Cup due to take place in Australia from October 18 has been postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Cricket Council announced on Monday. Officials said they now hoped to stage the tournament from October to November 2021. There will also be a T20 World Cup in 2022, with the 2023 50-over World Cup in India pushed back until October-November of that year. “We have undertaken a comprehensive and complex contingency planning exercise and through this process, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport,” said ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney. “The decision to postpone the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world.” The windows for the next three ICC men’s events were agreed to “bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity over the next three years to recover from the disruption caused by Covid-19”, the ICC said in a statement after a meeting. The IBC Board, the commercial subsidiary of the ICC, at today’s meeting agreed to “continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation” and assess all the information available before making a decision on future hosts to ensure global events are safely staged in 2021 and 2022. According to the press release, the IBC Board will also continue to evaluate the situation regarding the staging of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand in February next year. “In the meantime, planning for this event continues as scheduled,” it said. Covid-19 has played havoc with the global sporting calendar but international cricket has resumed behind closed doors in England, with the host nation taking on the West Indies in a three-Test series. Pakistan are also in England preparing for a series of Tests and Twenty20 matches and Australia are making preparations for a potential limited-overs tour of England. Selectors named a preliminary squad last week but Cricket Australia said “several hurdles” had to be overcome before dates could be locked in. Australia were originally scheduled to play three one-day and three T20 internationals this month but the trip was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.... Read more...Pakistani cricketer Kashif Bhatti tests positive for coronavirus in EnglandJuly 16, 2020LAHORE, Thursday, July 16, 2020 (WNP/DL): The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shared on Thursday that it has requested an update from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding spinner Kashif Bhatti testing positive for the coronavirus. “Kashif Bhatti’s matter now falls under England board’s jurisdiction,” said the PCB. It also clarified that the player was sent to England after two negative tests reports of the player were received by the board. “Kashif Bhatti’s test for the airline also came out as negative,” the PCB stated. It added that the arrangements regarding the “bio-secure environment” in England are under the control of the ECB. Earlier, sources had told Geo News that Bhatti has been confined to his room after testing positive for the virus upon his arrival in England. The sources also informed that the spinner was separated from the rest of the team after the squad arrived in Derby. Kashif Bhatti, Haider Ali, Imran Khan Sr and masseur Malang Ali had departed for England last week after testing negative for COVID-19 in back-to-back tests. The group were expected to be re-tested upon their arrival to Worcester. Harris Rauf’s health improving The PCB also shared that fast bowler Harris Rauf’s health was also improving after the results of his COVID-19 test came out as positive. It also added that Rauf’s one test had come out as negative. “ will be eligible to depart for England after testing negative for second time,” said the PCB, adding that the pacer was in a local hotel and being treated under the board’s medical panel. Last month, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had announced Haris Rauf along with Haider Ali and Shadab Khan had tested positive for COVID-19. The pace was left out from the squad after the positive results.... Read more...Three members of Pakistan tour party to England test positive for Covid-19June 22, 2020RAWALPINDI, Monday, June 22, 2020 (The Guardian/WNP/DL): Pakistan’s tour of England appears to be in the balance, with three of their players having tested positive for Covid-19 and a further batch of results set to be published in the next 24 hours. A 28-man squad to cover three Tests in August and the Twenty20 series that follows is due to depart from Lahore on Sunday and all players and members of the support staff were tested regionally over the weekend. The results from Rawalpindi, where five individuals were tested, came in early and showed Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan have the virus but are asymptomatic. Imad Wasim and Usman Shinwari were shown to be clear. The trio have been told to self‑isolate at home and could join the tour at a later date – they are considered more likely to be in the team’s white-ball plans – while Imad and Shinwari will travel to Lahore in advance of the squad’s final departure. The Pakistan Cricket Board has confirmed these are the only batch of results currently known, with those from the players and coaches who used the testing centres in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar not due to be published until Tuesday. Haris Sohail and Mohammad Amir have declined to tour. It leaves the England and Wales Cricket Board waiting on further positives results that could derail the tour, wipe out their second helping of men’s international cricket this summer and cost an estimated £80m in broadcast revenue. In the build-up to the first Test series against West Indies, Phil Simmons, the tourists’ head coach, revealed he was subject to racist abuse while playing league cricket in the North East 30 years ago and said his players will show solidarity with Black Lives Matters during the upcoming series. With the resumption of sport around the world there have been a number of gestures of support for the movement, with England and West Indies discussing how best to denote their own at the first Test in Southampton on 8 July. Simmons expects a plan to be agreed this week and when asked about encounters with racism in his own career – he won 169 international caps and enjoyed spells with Durham and Leicestershire – the former opener pointed to his time as a league player during the late 1980s and early 90s. “I encountered quite a bit up in the leagues. In county cricket I haven’t really encountered that much,” he said as his side prepared for the first inter-squad three-day warm-up match at Old Trafford that starts Tuesday. “It’s not a nice thing to face. Especially in the leagues where you’re by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there. I played in three or four different leagues. It was one particular league up in the North East.” Simmons declined to elaborate on the details, which likely relate to his time in the North Yorkshire and South Durham league, and any gesture planned by the two squads next month will sit in conjunction with one to recognise those on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ECB, still without a title sponsor for Test cricket after Specsavers opted not to renew its deal, has announced the three-match battle for the Wisden Trophy will be called the #RaiseTheBat series, with England sporting the names of cricket-related key workers on their training shirts. England’s players enter their biosecure bubble at the Ageas Bowl Tuesday and will be tested for Covid-19 before spending the first 24 hours predominantly in their rooms while waiting for the results. The 30-man training squad will then be split into two groups, with morning and afternoon sessions starting from Thursday. As regards the series, Simmons is tipping a battle of the all-rounders between Jason Holder and Ben Stokes. In a recent interview Holder, 28, expressed a degree of frustration that players from England, Australia and India have their on-field feats more widely lauded. It is perhaps summed up by the West Indies captain, whose double century in Barbados during the 2-1 series win against England last year propelled him to No 1 in the all-rounder stakes without the fanfare that Stokes, in second, often gets. “That rivalry is going to be huge for the series,” said Simmons. “Ben is the type of person who wants to be No 1 and he’s always going to be doing his best to get Jason’s position. Jason wants to keep it. They’re competitive in all aspects. “Jason’s bowling is a stronger point than his batting, and vice-versa with Stokesy. It’s a case of making sure we get Stokes early and nullify that threat later in the innings.”... Read more... DomesticWe need millions of men as change agents to end violence against women in Pakistan: Omer AftabNovember 29, 2020LAHORE, Sunday, November 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): White Ribbon Campaign Pakistan Sunday arranged ‘White Ribbon Ride’ to end violence against women, in collaboration with “Crazy Horse” and HOG Pakistan. Motorcycle riders holding White Ribbon flags and white ribbon placed on their jackets and helmets departed from Lahore Polo Club and reached Indigo Heights. With passion and purpose, the group rode across Jail Road, Main Boulevard, Liberty Market, and Hussain Chawk to highlight the message of White Ribbon. The activity was the part of 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women, commemorated each year starting 25th November to 10th December. It was men reaching out men activity in which bikers spread the message that beating women or violence against women is not cool. Riders took a pledge never to commit, excuse and remain silent about violence against women and they invite others to join the men’s movement to end the violence against women. A movement of men who are not afraid to stop violence against women. Talking to the media White Ribbon Chief Executive Officer Omer Aftab said, “We need millions of men as change agents to end violence against women.” Eradicating violence against women from society is not possible without engaging men, he added. One of the representatives of the bikers group showed a deep concern with the victims of violence and said a good Muslim and a good human being would never harm any women around him and we must protect the women suffering from violence. Managing director of Indigo Heights Col (r) Ahmad Fazeel Khan said Indigo Heights is a proud sponsor of the activity. It’s an exciting initiative where riders who look cool and ride powerful bikes, talk about Respectful Relationships and solutions to tackling violence against women.... Read more...Shehbaz, Hamza released on parole to offer Begum Shamim’s last ritesNovember 27, 2020LAHORE, Friday, November 27, 2020 (WNP/DL): PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz were released on Friday from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail on five-day parole to offer the last rites of Begum Shamim. The funeral of Shehbaz and Nawaz Sharif’s mother, Begum Shamim Akhtar will be held at Sharif Medical City, Raiwind in Lahore on Saturday. Her body is being brought back from London to Lahore, where she will be buried next to the grave of her husband, Mian Sharif, at the family’s Jati Umra estate. Earlier this week, the PML-N had requested at least a two-week parole for party president Shehbaz and his son Hamza to participate in the last rites of Begum Shamim. In an application to the Lahore deputy commissioner, PML-N Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar said both Shehbaz and Hamza were leaders of the opposition in the National and Punjab assemblies, respectively. He sought their release on parole for a period of at least two weeks to receive condolences and participate in Begum Shamim’s last rites at their Model Town and Jati Umra residences. Begum Shamim passed away in London on November 22. She was in her 90s and had been unwell for a month or so, sources in the party had said, adding that she had also twice visited a hospital in London for a check-up. She had travelled to the United Kingdom in February against the advice of her doctors to see her ailing son, Nawaz, who is being treated for heart and kidney ailments in London. Both Nawaz and Shehbaz could not attend the last rites of their father back in October 2004 as they were in exile in Jeddah and had rejected a conditional offer by then military dictator Pervez Musharraf in this respect.... Read more...Bakhtawar Bhutto gets engaged under tight COVID-19 SOPsNovember 27, 2020KARACHI, Friday, November 27, 2020 (WNP/DL): The engagement ceremony of Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari Friday took place at Bilawal House under tight COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). A number of prominent personalities from across the country including Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, sister of Benazir Sanam Bhutto, PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain, Omni Group Chairman Khawaja Anwar Majeed and others attended the ceremony. Guests were treated to Pakistani and English food, such as koftay , biryani, chicken broast, and fish, the sources said, adding that special meals were prepared for kids. Bakhtawar and her fiancé Mahmood Chaudhary wore traditional Pakistani dresses in their engagement ceremony. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari — who had tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week— greeted the guests via video link. Taking to Twitter earlier in the day, she wrote, “Very sentimental and emotional day. So grateful for everyone’s love and prayers.” Very sentimental & emotional day. So grateful for everyone’s love & prayers. Especially our PPP family whom I know are eager to participate. InshAllah this is only the beginning – will be able to celebrate in a post Covid world. Please keep SMBB and our family in your prayers💗🤗 — Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) November 27, 2020 She went on to add, “Especially our PPP family whom I know are eager to participate. InshAllah this is only the beginning – will be able to celebrate in a post-Covid world. Please keep SMBB and our family in your prayers.”... Read more...AJK election commission for not using COAS’s picture for political mileageOctober 2, 2020MUZAFFARABAD, Friday, October 02, 2020 (WNP/DL): The Election Commission of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has warned political parties against using portraits of army officers, mainly the chief of army staff (COAS), and heads of any other institutions such as the judiciary in their newspaper advertisements and panaflex banners and posters. An order to this effect was issued by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Abdul Rashid Salahria after the picture of a welcome banner put up by a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, which carried portraits of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and another central party leader, went viral on social media, with many users criticising the alleged “politicisation of the armed forces”. “We have received complaints that some political parties are using pictures of the army chief in their advertisements and panaflex banners. Under law, no individual or political party can use or run a campaign on the basis of the pictures of the army chief or the head of any other institution. Such a step may lead to disqualification under Section 21 of the Election Act, 2020,” the order said. It pointed out that all political parties were bound by the code of conduct under Section 106 of the Election Act and could not deviate from it. “Therefore all individuals and political parties are prohibited from showing for political purposes their connections with the armed forces, particularly the army chief, judiciary or any other institution, or using their pictures in their advertisements and panaflex banners and posters for the purpose of publicity.” The CEC directed the divisional and district administrations to initiate action under the law against those found violating his order in addition to removing all such banners and posters immediately. In pursuance of the order, the divisional commissioners of Muzaffarabad, Poonch and Mirpur were asked by the election commission secretary to do the needful without any delay. General elections are slated to be held in AJK in the mid of next year. The last elections held in July 2016 were swept by the PML-N.... Read more...Hasil Bizenjo passes away at 62 in KarachiAugust 20, 2020By Muhammad Rashid KARACHI, Thursday, August 20, 2020 (WNP/DL): Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, seasoned politician and veteran Baloch nationalist leader, Thursday died at the age of 62. He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Karachi, National Party Central Secretary General Jan Muhammad Buledi said. He said Bizenjo was admitted to the hospital after his health deteriorated. The senator was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. He remained chief of the National Party and was currently serving as an ideologue of the party. Politicians, journalists and intellectuals expressed grief and sorrow at the senator’s passing. Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed grief over his demise and extended condolences to the senator’s family and friends, according to a tweet by the DG ISPR. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) expresses grief and extends heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends on sad demise of Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo.“May Allah bless the departed soul in eternal peace-Ameen”, COAS. — DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 20, 2020 Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) president Sardar Akhtar Mengal shared his condolences in a tweet. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. Extremely saddened by the news of Hasil Bizenjo’s passing. My deepest condolences. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah. Prayers with the family during this difficult time. — Akhtar Mengal (@sakhtarmengal) August 20, 2020 Leader of Opposition in National Assembly and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif in a tweet said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news of Bizenjo’s death. “As a distinguished politician from Balochistan, he represented the voice of the people of his province & stood for progressive & rule-based politics.” Shocked & saddened by the news of Senator Hasil Bizenjo's death. As a distinguished politician from Balochistan, he represented the voice of the people of his province & stood for progressive & rule-based politics. May Allah rest his soul in peace! انا للہ وانا الیہ راجعون — Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) August 20, 2020 PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari described his death as “a great loss to the country, its democratic forces and Balochistan”. “Bizenjo remained in the forefront in the struggle for supremacy of the Constitution and strengthening of democracy” and was “a strong voice against injustices to Balochistan”, Bilawal said in a statement. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expresses deep grief and sorrow over the death Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjohttps://t.co/BUB59fWepW — PPP (@MediaCellPPP) August 20, 2020... Read more...Muharram moon sighted, Ashur on Aug 30August 20, 2020By Muhammad Rashid KARACHI, Thursday, August 20, 2020 (WNP/DL): Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman on Thursday announced that the Muharram-ul-Haram moon had been sighted and the Youm-e-Ashur would be observed on August 30. The holy month of Muharram would begin on August 21, Mufti Muneeb said after he chaired a meeting in Karachi. The Pakistan Meteorological Department had already said that there was a good chance of moon sighting of Muharram-ul-Haram on August 20 (Thursday). The PMD, in a statement, had said that the new moon of Muharram, 1442 AH would be born on crossing conjunction point at 07:42 PST on August 19. The weather is expected to be cloudy/partly cloudy in most parts of the country.... Read more...US Mission Pakistan brings American speakers on COVID-19August 17, 2020KARACHI, Monday, August 17, 2020 (WNP/DL): Esteemed American scientist and global health advocate Dr. Peter Hotez will share his insights with Pakistani audiences as part of the U.S. Mission Pakistan’s COVID Speakers Series. In collaboration with Dow University of Health Sciences, all are welcome to attend Dr. Hotez’s webinar “Preventing the Next Pandemic: A Discussion on Poverty, Social Determinants, and Neglected Tropical Disease” on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 6:00 PM. Dr. Hotez is the dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital for Vaccine Development, and a Baker Institute fellow in disease and poverty. An internationally recognized physician-scientist in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control, he has spoken on the impact of COVID-19 extensively. Hotez is also the author of the acclaimed book, “Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases,” and previously was the president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene The COVID Speaker’s Series launched in July to support Pakistani efforts to engage and inform the public about the spread and impact of COVID-19. At least once a month, the U.S. Mission to Pakistan will partner with local universities and organizations to host webinars to help Pakistanis understand, adapt, and succeed during the pandemic. In July, more than 100 attendees including students and medical professionals attended the inaugural webinar on effective public health communication, especially with regards to behavior change, timely dissemination, and threat alert by global public health educator and advocate Dan Rutz.... Read more...Saudi envoy calls on Buzdar, discusses bilateral tiesAugust 14, 2020LAHORE, Friday, August 14, 2020 (WNP/DL): Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Malkiy Friday called on Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and some religious parties here. The Saudi ambassador’s meetings are being seen as part of an effort to mobilise support for his country. Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, leader of the Pakistan Ulema Council, flew to Saudi Arabia last week to discuss the relations between the two countries. The PML-Q leadership had on Thursday expressed dismay over the ‘language’ used by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi about the brotherly country during a talk show recently. PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also criticised the foreign minister’s remarks. Riyadh has reportedly demanded repayment of its $3 billion loan extended to Islamabad in 2018. A third of it has been paid and negotiations are continuing for the payment of the remaining amount. A handout issued after the meeting between Ambassador Al-Malkiy and CM Buzdar said the two discussed Pak-Saudi relations and promotion of bilateral cooperation. The chief minister said Pakistanis had a long-lasting spiritual attachment with Saudi Arabia and the people of both countries were linked in the bond of brotherhood. The cooperation extended by the Saudi government for development of Pakistan is praiseworthy. Buzdar said the foundation stone of Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project had been laid. “It’s planned to develop a new Lahore to keep the city’s environment clean. It will provide secure investment opportunities to national and international investors and Saudi investors can take advantage of such opportunities in the project,” he said, according to the statement. The Saudi ambassador appreciated the steps taken for the development of the social sector and took keen interest in the Ravi project, said the handout. A press release issued by the PML-Q said that during his meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the ambassador said Saudi Arabia stood by Pakistan at every difficult time. He said observance of standard operating procedures was ensured on the occasion of Haj. Pilgrims would soon be allowed to go to Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah in accordance with these measures, he added.... Read more...PIA likely to resume flights to Europe in two monthsAugust 14, 2020TAXILA, Friday, August 14, 2020 (WNP/DL): European skies are expected to open for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the next two months as the government is utilising all technical and diplomatic means to resolve the ban issue, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said on Friday. “PIA is in contact with European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) to allay their concerns and take necessary corrective measures along with filing an appeal against the decision on Aug 31,” he said, adding there is room for the appeal against the EASA ban and the government will file it. The EUSA suspended PIA’s authorisation to operate in EU states after the grounding of 262 Pakistani pilots whose licences were termed “dubious”. Following the EASA’s move, the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority also withdrew PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports in Birmingham, London and Manchester. Responding to a question, the minister said PIA was currently managing European flight operations through “court sharing” arrangements, under which PIA flies passengers to Istanbul and subsequently they travel to Europe and London. Flight operations to London are being carried out through a Portuguese airliner. However, he said, these were temporary arrangements and PIA would restore its flight operations in two months. When asked about the necessity of grounding PIA pilots, he said, steps being taken by the government were aimed at ensuring the highest level of flight safety in PIA operations. The national carrier remains committed to maintaining the highest standards and quality in its air operations, he added. Earlier, the minister inaugurated the city’s first D-class bus terminal in Taxila.... Read more...PML-N repeats history of attacking Supreme Court: Raja BasharatAugust 11, 2020LAHORE, Tuesday, August 11, 2020 (WNP/DL): Minutes after Maryam’s press conference ended, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat and Information Minister Fayazul Hassan Chohan of the PTI did a presser of their own to respond to the allegations levelled by the PML-N leader. Basharat in his remarks said the type of “gunda gardi (thuggery)” seen outside the NAB office today was unprecedented in its 20-year history and even constitutional institutions and law-enforcement agencies were not safe from it. He said the PML-N had “repeated its history of attacking the Supreme Court” by carrying out the violence and made it clear “to what extent it can go to save corrupt people”. The media was a witness to all the events that unfolded outside NAB, the minister added. He claimed that Maryam was summoned by NAB in a personal capacity but she “showed up with a juloos (rally)”, which he said showed that the “PML-N doesn’t respect institutions and can go to any extent to pressurise them.” Basharat accused Maryam of having “misused” the concession of bail granted to her by courts which he said does not allow anyone to attack constitutional and legal institutions. “It is PML-N’s misunderstanding that they can pressure institutions by charging onto them like this,” he said. According to the minister, the government “took the necessary steps in order to establish its writ” following the violence. He said “strict action” will be taken and cases will be registered against the people who tried to take the law into their hands, who allegedly threw stones and injured police and who illegally gathered outside the NAB office. “The saddest part is that bags of stones were brought in Maryam’s security vehicles which were then given out to workers and used to attack police and the NAB office. Our investigation so far shows the cars which carried stones had fake number plates; some of these security vehicles were kept in front of Maryam’s car,” he alleged, saying the excise department was verifying their ownership and cases would also be registered for falsifying the number plates. Basharat said the violence “could have been avoided” if Maryam had gone to NAB alone or with a few workers. “I want to make it clear. You weren’t summoned to cause you harm but for your deeds. You were called to account for your past wrongdoings,” he added. He said NAB in a communique had nominated a few people allegedly involved in the violence, adding that those persons were unnamed but they were being identified through CCTV footage. He revealed that four injured security personnel were being treated at Jinnah Hospital while some were released after being administered first aid. He said cases would be lodged against the suspects responsible for causing injuries to police personnel and losses to state property and for interfering in the state’s functions. “Maryam said the stones were hurled from the front; they weren’t. You carried them with you to use against the administration, police, and NAB,” the minister said, adding that the government was moving forward on the issue based on footage captured by the media He added that the PTI government believed in the rule of law. “I assure you, no concession will be given. Cases against the people arrested and nominated will be taken to their logical conclusion,” he said. “The PML-N should face the facts and account for their theft. If they provoke , they will have to pay for it.”... Read more... CultureDoodle honors Bano Qudsia’s life, legacy on her 92nd birthdayNovember 28, 2020ISLAMABAD, Saturday, November 28, 2020 (WNP/DL): Today’s Doodle honors the life and legacy of Pakistani novelist and stage and television playwright Bano Qudsia, affectionately known as Bano Aapa (Elder Sister), who is widely credited as one of the most significant Urdu language authors in modern times. Renowned for her message of love and hope, Qudsia earned enormous acclaim for Urdu classics like her television play Aadhi Baat (Half Talk, 1968) and novel Raja Gidh (The Vulture King, 1981). Bano Qudsia was born on this day in 1928 in Firozpur, British India (now India), and began to write short stories when she was a child. Following a move to nearby Lahore, Pakistan after the partition of the Indian subcontinent, Qudsia earned her master’s degree in Urdu. While in school, she also met her future husband and fellow luminary of Urdu literature Ashfaq Ahmad. During a fertile era of Pakistani literature, Qudsia’s thought-provoking television plays earned her a reputation as a cultural trendsetter. In addition, she wrote a prolific 25 novels and founded her own magazine called Dastango. Even as her legend grew throughout her six-decade career, she maintained a reputation for her radical acceptance and kindness, known to embrace those from all walks of life who approached her for mentorship or assistance. For her lifetime of literary achievements, Qudsia received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) in 1983 and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence) in 2000—both among Pakistan’s highest civilian honors. Happy birthday, Bano Qudsia! Your contributions to Pakistani literature and entertainment will continue to resonate for generations to come!... Read more...Life of Prophet Muhammad a beacon of light for mankind: MushaalNovember 18, 2020ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, November 18, 2020 (WNP/DL): Mushaal Hussein Mulick, wife of detained Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik and peace and culture organization chairperson, Wednesday said the life of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is a beacon for the mankind who preached love and humanity throughout his life. She said this while inaugurating the calligraphy exhibition based on Ism-e-Mubrak Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) during a visit to Punjab Council of the Arts Rawalpindi. Mushaal said Islam is a peaceful religion and Holy Prophet preached Islam with love. She said we can succeed in this world and in the hereafter only by following the guidance of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). It is dire need of the hour to introduce the teaching of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) to the world so that the opinion of west may change about Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and Islam, she added. She said Kashmiris are being punished by fascist Indian forces for being Muslims adding the whole world is ignoring the Indian atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims. Mushaal said over 8 million people are imprisoned in the Indian occupied valley but the world observed criminal silence. She also strongly condemned the blasphemous sketches in France and the statement of the French president. Deputy Director of Arts Council Sajjad Hussain said Muslims from all over the world should bring the true picture of Quran and Sunnah before the western world. It is pertinent to note that hundreds of people turned to the Arts Council to see a special calligraphy exhibition based on Ism-e-Muhammad. The work of famous calligraphers like Elahi Bux Matee, Azeem Iqbal, Khawaja Muhammad Hussain, Shabir Ahmed Zia, Muhammad Younas Roomi, Wajiha Raja, Sania Shabir, Shumaila and Sauda Tanvir participated in the exhibition. The Punjab Council of the Arts is celebrating Hafta Shan-e-Rahmatulil Alameen on the directions of the Government of Punjab and the calligraphy exhibition will continue until November.... Read more...Govt announces civil awards for 184 in recognition their services to PakistanAugust 14, 2020ISLAMABAD, Friday, August 14, 2020 (WNP/DL): On 73rd Independence Day, Pakistan’s government announced civil awards for 184 Pakistanis and foreigners in recognition of their services to the country and showing excellence in their respective fields. The awards will be handed out by President Dr Arif Alvi in a ceremony scheduled for Pakistan Day, March 23, 2021. Actors Bushra Ansari and Talat Hussain will be receiving the Sitara-i-Imtiaz award whereas the Pride of Performance accolade will be given to actors to Humayun Saeed and Sakina Samo, singer Ali Zafar. Singer Abida Parveen, painter Sadequain Naqvi and poet Ahmed Faraz have been awarded a Nishan-i-Imtiaz. Last year’s honoured entertainment figures included actors Babra Sharif, Mehwish Hayat, Reema Khan, Iftikhar Thakur, Shabbir Jan, singers Attaullah Essakhelvi, Sajjad Ali and Sardar Ali Takkar.... Read more...Wazir Khan Mosque controversy: Saba, Bilal apologize for unknowingly hurting public sentimentsAugust 9, 2020LAHORE, Sunday, August 09, 2020 (WNP/DL): Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed will be starring together in a music video for Bilal’s upcoming song Qubool. The music video which is the directorial debut of Saba Qamar will be released on 11th August. However, just a few days before its release controversy seems to have found its way to it. The team behind the music video has steadily been building up hype for the upcoming music video before its release. It started from still images followed by an official poster for the music video. But when a behind-the-scenes clip from the making of the music video was released, it backfired as instead of creating positive hype it ended up getting backlash on social media. A behind-the-scenes video made rounds on social media where Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed could be seen happily twirling. The location of the shot was the historical Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. Upon release, the artists received immediate flak for the apparent violation of the sanctity of the mosque. Social media got filled up with posts demanding that the Government of Punjab takes strong action against them for doing so. View this post on Instagram A clip of Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed’s new music video Qabool hai from historical Masjid Wazir Khan Lahore . . . . . . . @bilalsaeed_music @sabaqamarzaman #vogical #lahore #bilalsaeed #sabaqamar #pakistaniquarantine #sleepingoutside #pakistanimakeup #gracefulpakistanis #stylishpakistanis #pakistanicouple #pakistanimodels #pakistanicouture #pakistanifashion #pakistaniformalwear #stylishpakistanis #pakistanistyle #pakistanichic#pakistanicinema #pakistaniactress #stylishpakistanis #pakistanibeauty#pakistanisingers #pakistanibride #pakistanisongs #pakistanimodels #pakistanidesigner #pakistanfashion #pakistanwedding #pakistanijewellery #pakistanstreetstyle A post shared by Vogical (@vogical) on Aug 8, 2020 at 6:29am PDT Apart from it, all sorts of rumors started flying around with people claiming that the team behind the music video had not even taken the permission to shoot the video inside the main chambers of the mosque. The assistant director, however, cleared up the misunderstanding and said that the team was given permission to shoot the nikah scene in the mosque. Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed responded to the criticism by sharing a teaser of the music video alongside the official statement in the caption. The caption clarified how the scenes shot in the mosque were just a prologue for the music video. The characters in the music video, played by Saba and Bilal, were shown to get tied in the bond of nikah and that was the only scene that was shot at the mosque. View this post on Instagram Presenting the first teaser of ‘Qubool’🙏🏽 This is also the only sequence that was shot at the historical Wazir Khan Mosque. It’s a prologue to the music video featuring a Nikah scene. It was neither shot with any sort of playback music nor has it been edited to the music track. I won’t explain any further as the full video comes out on 11th of August. The BTS video that's making rounds on social media was just a circular movement to click stills for the poster of ‘Qubool’ depicting a happily married couple right after their Nikah. Hurting or offending anyone or being disrespectful to a holy place is as unimaginable and unacceptable for me as for any decent human being. Despite this if we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiments we apologise to you all with all our heart. Love & Peace! #Qubool releasing on 11th of August 🙏❤️ @bilalsaeed_music A post shared by 𝐒𝐚𝐛𝐚 𝐐𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 (@sabaqamarzaman) on Aug 8, 2020 at 5:18am PDT The 55-second teaser shows Bilal and Saba saying “qubool” in the mosque, with no music in the background but only birds chirping. In the statement, it was clarified that the administration of the mosque was already present during the shooting and they can corroborate that no music was played there. The behind-the-scenes clip that sparked the whole controversy on social media did not involve them dancing. Instead, they were moving in a circular motion to click some pictures for the poster of the video. After clarifying their stances, Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed issued an apology for unknowingly hurting the sentiments of the public. They also urged the people to wait for the official release of the music video and not jump to any conclusions based on just one behind-the-scenes clip.... Read more...Amitabh Bachchan recovers from coronavirusAugust 2, 2020MUMBAI, Sunday, August 02, 2020 (AP/WNP/DL): Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was discharged from a Mumbai hospital on Sunday after undergoing three weeks of treatment for the coronavirus. His actor son, Abhishek Bachchan, who is still in the Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital with the virus, said in a tweet that his father has tested negative and will rest at home. Both were hospitalized on July 11. 🙏🏽 my father, thankfully, has tested negative on his latest Covid-19 test and has been discharged from the hospital. He will now be at home and rest. Thank you all for all your prayers and wishes for him. 🙏🏽 — Abhishek Bachchan (@juniorbachchan) August 2, 2020 I, Unfortunately due to some comorbidities remain Covid-19 positive and remain in hospital. Again, thank you all for your continued wishes and prayers for my family. Very humbled and indebted. 🙏🏽I’ll beat this and come back healthier! Promise. 💪🏽 — Abhishek Bachchan (@juniorbachchan) August 2, 2020 Abhishek Bachchan’s wife, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and their 8-year-old daughter, who both also contracted the virus, left the hospital last week after recovering. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a top Bollywood actress. The elder Bachchan, 77, has acted in more than 200 Indian films over the past five decades. He is also a former politician and television host. The Bachchans are often called Bollywood’s first family. Amitabh Bachchan’s wife, Jaya, is also an actress and a one-time member of Parliament. She was not hit by the coronavirus.... Read more...Aishwarya, daughter Aaradhya discharged from hospital after testing negative for COVID-19July 27, 2020MUMBAI, Monday, July 27, 2020 (WNP/DL): Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her Aaradhya Bachchan have discharged from the hospital after testing negative for coronavirus. This was confirmed by Abhishek Bachchan on Twitter on Monday. He said, “Thank you all for your continued prayers and good wishes. Indebted forever.” “Aishwarya and Aaradhya have thankfully tested negative and have been discharged from the hospital. They will now be at home,” Abhishek said and added, “My father and I remain in hospital under the care of the medical staff.” Thank you all for your continued prayers and good wishes. Indebted forever. 🙏🏽 Aishwarya and Aaradhya have thankfully tested negative and have been discharged from the hospital. They will now be at home. My father and I remain in hospital under the care of the medical staff. — Abhishek Bachchan (@juniorbachchan) July 27, 2020 The mother and daughter duo contracted novel coronavirus on July 12 and were moved to Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital after complaints of breathlessness on July 18. They have returned home after 10 days of treatment at the hospital.... Read more...Aishwarya Rai, daughter Aaradhya, hospitalised for COVID-19 treatmentJuly 18, 2020NEW DELHI, Saturday, July 18, 2020 (Reuters/WNP/DL): Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter were hospitalised for COVID-19 treatment, the Times of India reported on Saturday, days after her husband and father-in-law were admitted. Rai’s father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan and husband Abhishek Bachchan, also major Bollywood celebrities, were admitted to Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital early this week, becoming the highest-profile patients the pandemic sweeping India. At the same time, Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World who regularly appears on most beautiful lists, and her eight-year-old daughter, Aaradhya Bachchan, tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but they have since been in home quarantine. “After Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya have been shifted to Nanavati hospital,” the newspaper said, adding that they were admitted to the top Mumbai private hospital on Friday. A spokeswoman for Aishwarya Rai did not respond to text messages and calls seeking comment. Fans across India prayed this week for the celebrity family as the virus continued its rapid spread without any sign of a peak. Aishwarya Rai, 46, has worked on several Bollywood and Hollywood films. She is a brand ambassador for some multinational companies, including L’Oreal. India, which has registered over a million coronavirus cases, has the world’s third-highest number of infections, and more than 26,000 people have died of COVID-19. Partial lockdowns have been re-imposed in some densely populated areas to control the spread of the virus.... Read more...Pakistan’s folk music enchanting with soulful lyrics, rich musical tapestry: Australian envoyJuly 17, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Friday, July 17, 2020 (WNP/DL): Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Geoffrey Shaw Friday said Pakistan’s folk music is enchanting with its soulful lyrics and rich musical tapestry. Taking to twitter, he said it speaks for the unique and diverse culture of my present home. This is Pakistani music at its finest! He said these songs from #CokeStudio Pakistan are on my current Spotify favourites’ playlist. The songs include; Aaja Re Moray Saiyan by Zeb Bangash, Alif Allah by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi, Taajdar-e-Haram by Atif Aslam, Paar Chana De from Noori and Shilpa Rao and Lagi Bina by Sanam Marvi and Saieen Zahoor. These songs from #CokeStudio Pakistan are on my current Spotify favourites’ playlist. Pakistan’s #folkmusic is enchanting, with its soulful lyrics and rich musical tapestry. It speaks for the unique and diverse culture of my present home. This is 🇵🇰 Pakistani music at its finest! pic.twitter.com/A8z9fd3nYm — Dr Geoffrey Shaw (@AusHCPak) July 17, 2020... Read more...ICESCO culture ministers extraordinary virtual conference concludeJune 18, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Thursday, June 18, 2020 (WNP/DL): The extraordinary virtual conference of culture ministers of the member states of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), held with the participation of 50 countries and 22 international organizations, under the theme – sustainability of cultural action in the face of crises (Covid-19) – Thursday concluded. The ministers of culture and the heads and representatives of the participating regional and international organizations were of the view to promote the position of culture in tomorrow’s societies to face future challenges, support and develop digital culture, raise awareness about cultural heritage, and encourage the culture of solidarity and cultural synergy. In the final statement read out by ICESCO Director General Dr Salim M AlMalik, the participants reiterated their support to ICESCO’s vision which is based on conserving, protecting, supporting and rehabilitating the cultural and civilizational heritage of the Islamic world to preserve the Islamic world’s cultural identity and anchor human rights, most notably the cultural rights which ICESCO seeks to sustain, particularly during crises and disasters. Moreover, the statement stressed the importance of the Digital Cultural Strategic Project, prepared by ICESCO as a proactive initiative for the management of cultural affairs and as a sustainable anticipatory programme for future cultural action. The participants also called for developing cultural projects and programmes to bring culture closer to citizens in the urban and rural areas, promote the reality of cultural action and figures by anchoring a new vision which is more creative, developed ad consistent with the major trends which strongly impose themselves on the international scene such as the promotion of cultural diversity, the protection of the tangible and intangible heritage, and the use of AI applications. The statement also underlined the importance of developing cultural tourism and promoting the complementary relationship between the sectors of culture and sports in building human beings by developing an integrated system of programmes for the benefit of various social groups. Besides, the participants lauded the initiative of “ICESCO Digital Home” as a knowledge platform in the fields of education, science, innovation and human sciences, including the programme of “Distance Culture,” which they committed to support and enrich its digital contents as well as the contents of the Portal of the Islamic World Heritage and the digital libraries. Furthermore, they reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with ICESCO Heritage Center and the Islamic World Heritage Committee in highlighting the richness of the cultural and civilizational heritage of Member States and inscribing the largest number possible of heritage sites. The statement also commended the efforts of ICESCO and its director general in developing and implementing innovative projects based on the digital culture in the management and sustainability of cultural activities, particularly during crises and disasters. In conclusion, the participants thanked ICESCO and its director general for calling to this conference amid these difficult global circumstances triggered by the spread of Covid-19. They also thanked the State of the United Arab Emirates for chairing the conference. The conference’s sessions witnessed considerable interaction from the ministers and the heads of the participating international organizations. During the interactive session, the participants explored the future of cultural actions and the need to develop it through modern technologies and promote the digital culture. The conference concluded with an address by Dr AlMalik wherein he thanked the ministers and the heads of the international organizations for their participation in the conference and support to ICESCO’s initiatives.... Read more...Tariq Aziz, Pakistan’s first television host, passes awayJune 17, 2020LAHORE, Wednesday, June 17, 2020 (WNP/DL): Renowned radio and television anchor Tariq Aziz passed away in Lahore on Wednesday. He was 84. Aziz was born in Jalandhar on April 28, 1936. After partition, his family migrated to Pakistan and settled in Sahiwal, where he received his primary education. He started his career with Radio Pakistan in the 1960s and later went on to become Pakistan’s first television host. His programme Neelam Ghar — later named Tariq Aziz Show — started in 1974 on Pakistan Television and continued for four decades. He was also a poet and an actor and performed in several radio and television programmes as well as in films. His first film, Insaniyat, was released in 1967. Other notable titles he acted in include Salgirah, Qasam Us Waqt Ki, Katari and Har Gaya Insan. For his services to the entertainment industry, he was awarded the prestigious Pride of Performance Award by the government in 1992. Aziz dabbled in politics as well and was a member of the National Assembly from 1997-99. President Arif Alvi prayed for the anchor’s soul to rest in peace. “A chapter closes with the sad demise of Tariq Aziz,” he tweeted. A chapter closes with the sad demise of Tariq Aziz. May his soul rest in peace. I will fondly remember his opening greetings in Neelam Ghar. دیکھتی آنکھوں اور سنتے کانوں کو طارق عزیز کا سلام إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ — Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) June 17, 2020 Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was saddened to hear about Aziz’s death, who he said was an “icon in his time and a pioneer of our TV game shows”. Saddened to learn of the passing of Tariq Aziz, an icon in his time and a pioneer of our TV game shows. My condolences and prayers go to his family. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 17, 2020... Read more... No content has been found here, sorry 🙂 Bar & BenchNAB granted 14-day physical remand of Shehbaz in money laundering caseSeptember 29, 2020LAHORE, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): An accountability court in Lahore on Tuesday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a 14-day physical remand of PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, a day after he was arrested by the anti-graft body in a money laundering case. On Monday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected Shehbaz’s bail plea, after which he was taken into custody from the court’s premises, where a large number of PML-N workers and supporters had gathered ahead of the hearing. Accountability judge Jawadul Hassan presided over the hearing today, during which Shehbaz also spoke. He alleged that a mockery was being made of the law. “This is the NAB-Niazi nexus ,” he added. He said that his parents had worked hard and established the business, which he had then transferred to his children. “I do not take any salary or bonus. An allegation was leveled against me that my children benefited because of my office. “I submitted five documents in the Lahore High Court yesterday. We did not reduce the price of sugarcane in Punjab and I did not cause harm to the growers. I did not give any subsidy to my children’s sugar mills from the treasury. “My decisions caused a loss of millions of rupees to my brother (Nawaz Sharif) and to my son. I am a transgressor the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that a father is not responsible for his son and vice versa.” The judge asked him how much had the national treasury benefited from the decisions he made while he was in office to which Shehbaz replied that it was in “billions”. The PML-N president said that he had fixed excise duty of Rs2 on ethanol in 2011, adding that he had decided to impose the duty even though his son was setting up an ethanol plant. “Rs2.5bn were deposited in the national treasury because of that,” he told the court. He said that his father had migrated to Pakistan from India and set up six factories within 18 months. “These properties are from that time,” he said. He said that he was “declaring under oath that he had not benefited from any scheme for the repayment of loans and that he had never used his office wrongfully”. “I did not take a salary of even one rupee in three decades or any ta-da,” he claimed, adding that he also used to pay for his personal assistant’s lodgings during his stays abroad. During the proceedings, the court also directed that Shehbaz’s performance report be made part of the case. NAB’s counsel, Asim Mumtaz, requested the court to grant the accountability body 15-day physical remand of Shehbaz. “Shehbaz has himself said that his children depend on him. We asked him questions last night but he outright refused to answer them.” The court, however, granted a 14-day physical remand which would expire on October 13. Meanwhile, the court accepted Shehbaz’s daughter Javeria’s petition for permanent exemption from court hearings.... Read more...منی لانڈرنگ اور آمدن سے زائد اثاثوں کا کیس، شہباز شریف زیر حراستSeptember 28, 2020منی لانڈرنگ اور آمدن سے زائد اثاثوں کے کیس میں شہباز شریف عبوری ضمانت خارج ہو گئی جس کے بعد نیب نے ان کو حراست میں لے لیا۔ لاہور ہائیکورٹ کے جسٹس سردار احمد نعیم اور جسٹس فاروق حید پر مشتمل 2 رکنی بینچ شہباز شریف کی درخواست ضمانت پر سماعت کر رہا ہے۔ قائد حزب اختلاف شہباز شریف کے ادوار میں ترقیاتی منصوبوں سے متعلق تفصیلات عدالت میں جمع کرائی گئیں۔ اپوزیشن لیڈر کے وکیل نے عدالت کو بتایا کہ شہباز شریف اب تک ایک ہزار ارب روپے قومی خزانے کا بچا چکے، شہباز شریف نے آج تک بطور ممبراسمبلی تنخواہ تک وصول نہیں کی، شہباز شریف کو جیل بھیجنے کا کوئی فائدہ نہیں، بلدیاتی انتخابات کے موقع پر جیل بھیجنے کا دعویٰ کیا جا رہا ہے۔ وکیل شہباز شریف نے کہا منی لانڈرنگ میں بھی شہباز شریف کیخلاف کوئی ثبوت موجود نہیں، کسی گواہ نے نہیں کہا کہ شہباز شریف نے منی لانڈرنگ کی، 26 کروڑ 90 لاکھ کے اثاثے شہباز شریف کے ہیں، خرچ مانتے ہیں، آمدن نہیں مانتے، زرعی آمدن پر ٹیکس ادا کرتے رہے ہیں، نیب کی بدنیتی واضح طور پر نظر آ رہی ہے۔... Read more...Saba Qamar, Bilal Saeed granted interim bail in controversial mosque shooting caseAugust 15, 2020LAHORE, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (WNP/DL): A sessions court on Saturday granted interim bail to actress Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed in a case relating to shooting a music video in a mosque. The court heard an application filed by the celebrities seeking interim bail for a case registered against them. The court asked them to submit surety bonds of Rs25,000 each and adjourned proceedings until 25th August. Earlier on Friday, a case had been registered against Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed for the controversial shooting of their latest song ‘Qubool’ at the Wazir Khan mosque. The Akbari Gate police have registered the case on the complaint of lawyer Farhat Manzoor. The FIR has been registered under Section 295 (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The case also appealed for stern action against the mosque administration. Manzoor had filed a petition earlier this month to file a case against the artists in this regard. A short clip of Qamar whirling with Saeed at the historic mosque went viral on social media, drawing strong reactions from religious and political circles. Saba Qamar also responded to the criticism in a series of tweets, saying the clip was a “prologue to the music video featuring a Nikkah scene. It was neither shot with any sort of playback music nor has it been edited to the music track,” she said on Twitter. Bilal Saeed has subsequently apologised to the public in a video posted on social media. “We realise what has happened over the past few days has hurt your sentiments deeply,” he wrote as a caption. “We as Muslims, as decent human beings and as artists will never, ever trivialise or condone disrespect to Islam or any other religion, race, caste, colour or creed. If we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiments we apologise to you all with all our heart.”... Read more...Another petition filed against Saba Qamar, Bilal SaeedAugust 15, 2020LAHORE, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (WNP/DL): A lawyer in Karachi, Liaqat Ali Khan Gabol, has also filed a petition against actress Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed regarding their dance video shoot in Masjid Wazir Khan on Saturday. Additional District and Sessions Judge Karachi South sought reply from SHO City Court and others on August 22. The next hearing will seek arguments on the admissibility of the petition while the court has also sought names of the management of Masjid Wazir Khan who gave permission for the video shooting. The petitioner pleaded that film actress Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed violated the sanctity of the mosque by dancing inside it. Similar applications have been filed earlier in Lahore against the dance video shoot in Masjid Wazir Khan. It is pertinent to note that Punjab Auqaf Department has suspended Masjid Wazir Khan Manager Ishtiaq Ahmed for allowing an illegal video shoot of a song by Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed. The accused is directed to appear before the director (inquiry) to respond to the allegations levelled against him. Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi flayed inaction against people who showed disrespect to a mosque. They said those responsible for this dancing in the mosque should be immediately arrested and prosecuted. Chaudhry brothers termed the dancing video of Saba Qamar and Bilawal Saeed inside Lahore’s Masjid Wazir Khan a “tragedy”. “The dancing taking place in mosques is a blatant violation of Shariah and the persons involved in it should be given real and ideal punishment so that no one would dare to commit such an ugly act in future,” Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said. “Sadly, those who violated the sanctity of Wazir Khan Mosque are still free,” Chaudhry brethren said in a statement in Lahore.... Read more...Court directs for case registration against Bilal Saeed, Saba QamarAugust 13, 2020LAHORE, Thursday, August 13, 2020 (WNP/DL): A sessions court on Thursday ordered registration of an FIR against singer Bilal Saeed, actress Saba Qamar and others over shooting a music video at Wazir Khan Mosque. The court ordered SHO Akbari Gate to proceed against the proposed persons if some cognisable offence was made out. Additional District and Sessions Judge Atiqur Rehman passed the orders on a plea filed by Advocate Sardar Farhat Manzoor Khan Chandio. During the court proceedings, the police submitted a report wherein it was stated that an official inquiry had been launched against officials of the Auqaf Department after suspending them. The court was also apprised that Zonal Auqaf administrator had also requested for proceeding against Saba Qamar and other responsible and action was being taken. However, the defence counsel argued that the proposed accused did not commit any offence as the entire video was shot after permission of the department administration. He further submitted that chief minister Punjab had also issued orders for detailed inquiry of the incident whereas respondents had already sought apology on various forums, He pleaded with the court for dismissal of the plea. The court, after hearing detailed arguments of the parties, directed SHO Akbari Gate to proceed against the proposed persons if some cognisable offence was made out. The petitioner had argued that a music video was filmed on singer Bilal Saeed and Actress Saba Qamar at Wazir Khan Mosque whereas posts were also shared on social media about it. He submitted that the mosque was the holiest place and the step violated its sanctity, whereas feelings of the people were also hurt. He pleaded with the court to issue directions for registration of a FIR against Bilal Saeed, Saba Qamar, producer Ahmad Waqas and department officials as the police concerned had failed to perform its official duty on his application.... Read more...SC expresses displeasure over police report on Matiullah Jan abductionAugust 6, 2020ISLAMABAD, Thursday, August 06, 2020 (WNP/DL): The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed displeasure at the performance of the Islamabad police and lambasted the capital city police chief for a report his department submitted regarding the abduction of senior journalist Matiullah Jan last month. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed had taken up the police report as it resumed hearing a contempt of court case against Jan, who was abducted last month by men in police uniforms from outside a school in Islamabad and released after 12 hours. The abduction on July 21 had come just a day before the journalist was supposed to appear before the Supreme Court after it had taken suo motu notice of “contemptuous” tweets against the superior judiciary posted by Jan on his Twitter account. The capital police in its report had conceded that they were still waiting for replies from different departments, the assistance of which they had sought to unearth the journalist’s kidnapping. “But efforts are underway to trace the culprits involved in the incident and in this regard the reports of various departments awaited to carry out further investigations,” stated the 52-page report furnished before the top court on Wednesday by the deputy inspector general (operations) on behalf of Islamabad Inspector General Amir Zulfikar Khan. As IG Khan appeared on the rostrum during the hearing on Thursday, CJP Ahmed inquired why the police had failed to gather information in the case. “What kind of report has been submitted?” the top judge asked while addressing the capital police chief. “IG sahib, what age are you living in you are writing letters like a police babu (clerk)?” CJP Ahmed stressed that time is of crucial importance during an investigation and evidence can be destroyed even if 10 minutes have lapsed after an incident. He told IG Khan that he was apparently “unaware” of how investigations work. “Officers are not there to warm their chairs.” Also expressing dissatisfaction with the performance of the DIG operations, the CJP directed him to “go sit in the department from which you want information”. “You can no longer just write letters. Officers have to move actively,” the top judge said, ordering police to submit a detailed report regarding the abduction. The hearing of the case was adjourned for four weeks. In its last order issued on July 22, the three-judge SC bench had ordered recording by the relevant police station of the statement of Matiullah Jan about the kidnapping incident. Jan was kidnapped from Islamabad in broad daylight on July 21 — a day ahead of his appearance before the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case — but was released around midnight after a hue and cry was raised by journalists, civil society members, human rights organisations and various political parties. In its report, the Islamabad police stated that a five-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by the superintendent police (investigations) was probing the abduction incident, adding that police had soon after the kidnapping of the journalist approached the Ministry of Defence with a request to ascertain his whereabouts from the Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and Inter-Services Intelligence so that the investigation could be concluded on merits. Besides detailing the police communication with various police stations and hospitals to gather information, the report explained that a written request was sent to the director of the Safe City Project for provision of CCTV footage of the place of occurrence, which was still under process. It said the CCTV footage of the alleged kidnappers was also sent to the National Database and Registration Authority on July 24 for matching of the suspects or their particulars, which was still under process. It said verbal directives as well as written orders had also been issued to the SIT members to peruse the FIR and case file to ensure apprehension of the culprits involved in the crime without further delay. The report stated that the police department and SIT members were in close contact with the victim and other relevant departments and every effort would be made to take the case to its logical end.... Read more...Pakistan should offer a chance more to India for Kulbhushan legal counsel’s appointment: IHCAugust 3, 2020ISLAMABAD, Monday, August 03, 2020 (WNP/DL): Pakistan should once again offer India a chance to appoint legal counsel for RAW spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered on Monday. A two-member bench of the IHC headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition to appoint a lawyer for Jadhav, who, according to the Foreign Office, is a serving commander of Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). “Now that the matter is in the high court, why not give India another chance,” Justice Minallah remarked during the hearing on the implementation of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision regarding the spy. The judge observed that the Indian government or Jadhav may reconsider their decision pertaining to the review petition. “India and Kulbhushan Jadhav should once again be extended an offer to appoint a legal representative” for the spy, he added. Responding to Justice Minallah’s remarks, the Attorney General of Pakistan said India was “running away” from the verdict issued by the ICJ. “An ordinance was issued to give an opportunity to file a review petition against the sentence,” the AGP said. “We will contact India again through the Foreign Office.” The government had on July 22 approached the IHC to appoint a legal representative for the Indian spy. The move was made in the light of the International Court of Justice’s July 17, 2019 decision, following which the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Ordinance, 2020 was enacted to implement the court’s verdict. The federation, through the defense secretary and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch of General Headquarters (GHQ), had been made a party in the petition filed by the Ministry of Law and Justice. According to the petition, Jadhav refused to file a petition against his sentence. The Indian spy cannot appoint a lawyer in Pakistan without India’s assistance, while New Delhi is also reluctant to avail the facility under the ordinance, the petition said. The government, in the petition, has asked the court to appoint a legal representative for Jadhav so that Pakistan can fulfill its responsibility to see to the implementation of the ICJ’s decision. The hearing was subsequently adjourned till September 3.... Read more...SC takes notice of Matiullah Jan’s abduction; seeks report in 2 weeksJuly 22, 2020ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, July 22, 2020 (WNP/DL): Supreme Court (SC) Wednesday took notice of journalist Matiullah Jan’s abduction from the capital a day ago and directed the Islamabad police chief to submit a report on the incident in two weeks. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to alleged contemptuous tweets by Jan. At the outset of the hearing, the bench inquired about Jan’s abduction from Islamabad’s sector G-6/1-3 the previous day. The attorney general, who had appeared before the court today, said that “immediate proceedings” had been initiated in the matter. Justice Gulzar summoned the Islamabad police chief in the next hearing and questioned why the police had not recorded the journalist’s statement till now. “What are the institutions doing?” he asked the attorney general. Representatives of Pakistan Bar Council and SC Bar Council also attended the hearing. During the proceedings, SCBC’s Latif Khosa, while observing that the journalist was “picked up in broad daylight”, said: “Is this a banana republic?” Khosa demanded that the kidnappers be identified from the CCTV footage available with the police. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ former president Afzal Butt insisted that those responsible for the act be brought to light at which the court assured him that “the case was not being wrapped up”. Meanwhile, the bench granted Jan, who was present in court today, two weeks to hire a legal representative and submit his reply on the Supreme Court’s notice for contempt. The hearing was adjourned for two weeks.... Read more...No justification for FBR proceedings; says Justice IsaJuly 20, 2020By Muhammad Rizwan ISLAMABAD, Monday, July 20, 2020 (WNP/DL): Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its June 19 majority order requiring the verification of three offshore properties in his wife and children’s name by tax authorities. Filed through senior counsel Munir A. Malik, the petition argued that the top court’s short order had “material errors of facts and jurisdiction”. It added that many of these were in respect to matters with regard to which neither Justice Isa nor his family were heard. It also contended that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had initiated proceedings against Justice Isa and his family members without waiting for the top court’s detailed order. The majority order by seven judges had quashed the presidential reference against Justice Isa but ordered the FBR chairman to furnish a report under his signatures to the secretary of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), containing details of the proceedings conducted by the commissioner inland revenue after seeking an explanation from the wife and children of Justice Isa about the nature and source of the funds used to purchase three properties in the United Kingdom. “After the reference against the petitioner was quashed, there was no justification to direct initiation of FBR proceedings against his wife and children, give guidance and free licence to the acts of an executive which had admittedly acted unlawfully against the petitioner. “Similarly, there was no justification to direct the FBR chairman to submit the report of such proceedings to the SJC nor for the SJC’s secretary to monitor the delivery of that report, least of all to link the fate of the FBR proceedings against the petitioner’s wife and children with proceedings that may be initiated by the SJC against the petitioner. “Neither could the court have suggested to the SJC (or its chairman) to exercise its (or his) discretion or purported suo motu jurisdiction or proceed in a particular fashion to solicit or summon the report from FBR.” The petition also stated that subsequent to the passing of the order, the FBR chairman was “unlawfully” changed, referring to the posting of Muhammad Javed Ghani — the fourth appointment made to the position since the ruling PTI took office. “The only reason to act in this manner is to get the desired results from the FBR, which further demonstrates extreme malice.” The petition also criticised the FBR’s move to paste notices outside Justice Isa’s residence when an arrest warrant had not been issued and the petitioner had not been declared an absconder. “The only object that this novelty served was to ridicule and humiliate the petitioner and his wife further and before every staff and resident of the Judge’s Enclave.” It added that the contesting respondents had apparently prevailed upon the FBR to proceed against Justice Isa’s family without waiting for the detailed reasons of the “impugned order” to be issued. “The objective thereof appears to be to make the constitutional right of review redundant.” The petition contended that Justice Isa had filed the petition as the time limit for doing so was expiring, even though the detailed order had not been released. “However, the petitioner reserves his rights to submit further, additional and other grounds once the detailed reasons are issued.” The petition urged the apex court to review and “excise” its directives and to stop action on the court’s directives till the review petition is decided. On July 18, the the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) had approached the SC seeking a review of its June 19 majority order. Filed through senior counsel Rasheed A. Razvi, the SHCBA petition argued that the directives, observations or contents of paragraphs three to 11 were unnecessary, superfluous, contradictory, excessive and unlawful, thus liable to be reviewed and deleted since it constituted mistake and error apparent on the face of the record. Earlier, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had filed a review petition seeking the deletion of the court’s directives requiring verification by the tax authorities of three offshore properties in the name of the wife and children of Justice Qazi Faez Isa. “These directives, observations and contents from paragraphs three to 11 are unnecessary, superfluous, contradictory, excessive and unlawful and thus liable to be deleted from the short order,” pleaded the petition filed through SCBA president Syed Qalb-e-Hassan.... Read more...SC for action against sugar mill ownersJuly 14, 2020ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, July 14, 2020 (WNP): The Supreme Court on Tuesday, setting aside a stay order by the Sindh High Court, allowed the government to take action against sugar mill owners in light of recommendations of the sugar inquiry commission. A three-member bench, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the case. In its short order, the top court told federal authorities to “operate in accordance with the law”. The court also cautioned the government against taking “unnecessary steps” against sugar mill owners. Additionally, government officials were restrained from commenting on the sugar commission report. The Supreme Court directed the high courts of Sindh and Islamabad — where cases pertaining to the matter were being heard — to issue a decision within three weeks. The IHC has issued a verbal order in the case but a detailed order is yet to be issued. During the proceedings, the attorney general argued that SHC’s order was “against the law”. He told the apex court that the government was also constituting a commission on the fuel shortage face by the nation recently but wanted the “stay order problem to be resolved first”. A detailed judgement is expected to be released later.... Read more... Editorial & OpinionPDM – a marriage of convenience for NRO, status quoNovember 27, 2020By Rehan Khan ISLAMABAD, Friday, November 27, 2020 (WNP/DL): The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is a marriage of convenience among the PML-N, PPP and JUI-F, the major opposition parties in the consortium, to seek the national reconciliation ordinance (NRO) and maintain their status quo. This is not the first time; the opposition parties have united for their vested interests in the wake of democracy. They have done this job many a time in the past as well but their partnership could not remain intact for a long time. According to some political pundits, this joint venture has no future like past overtures due to trust deficit and lack of cohesion. Although its leadership repeatedly is claiming of having no rift but the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) elections have exposed their differences and further to be surfaced in the upcoming Senate elections. The people of GB have rejected the PDM’s anti-government and establishment narrative through the power of their votes. This is an eye-opener for the opposition parties. If they did not mend their ways, they would not only lose the upcoming Senate elections but the next general elections as well. Therefore, they should accept their failure instead of accusing the incumbent government for the ballot rigging and stick to their parties’ manifestos instead of covering up unfolded stories of their bigwigs’ corruption. PDM in international perspective Mubsher Lucman, a seasoned anchorperson, on his YouTube channel on November 17, explored a novel mythology about the hidden agenda of the opposition parties, united under the umbrella of the PDM. He said there are certain countries which are supporting the PDM from all aspects, even financially, to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government by hook and by crook for their vested interests. He named India, Israel, United States of America and even the long-lasting friend of Pakistan Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for building pressure on the PTI incumbent government to bring a paradigm shift in its foreign policy and accept Israel as a country. Here it is pertinent to mention that Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically denied to accept Israel and have cordial relations rather at diplomatic level or of any kind with it. According to him, accepting Israel is to step back from the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and it is totally injustice with the Kashmiri brethren fighting for their legal right to self-determination since last 72 years. Despite immense pressure of international actors, Prime Minister Imran Khan did not move an inch from his national resolve to keep on supporting the innocent people of IIOJK morally, politically and diplomatically at all world fora. Haider Abbas, a former state information commissioner and media analyst, in his write up on November 22, published on The EurAsian Times endorsed the Mubasher Lucman’s story. He said, “The immediate fallout of the normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, since August 14, will be soon felt in Pakistan. “There is growing speculation that Pakistan ex-pats would soon be dispatched back home from the UAE, as well as from the KSA, as there is a continuous and renewed pressure on Pakistan from both UAE and KSA to accept Israel, which Pakistan, along with Iran, may quite likely decline.” He further said, “Even UAE’s hardening stance on Pakistan has reached an extent where the Gulf nation suddenly announced a ban on Pakistani citizens entering the country, ostensibly to curb the spread of Covid-19, on November 18. “The UAE banned 11 other countries including Turkey and Iran are among them too, along with Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya and Afghanistan. But, there is a catch, as an underlying intention can easily be accessed in this decision. The UAE has banned such nations which do not recognize Israel.” PDM and second wave of COVID-19 No doubt, the corona cases are alarmingly increasing in Pakistan with every passing day but the PDM is not giving a damn to it and it is consistently organizing anti-government rallies in various cities as per schedule despite the ban of the National Command Operation Center (NCOC). Pakistan achieved a big success during the first wave of the coronavirus but this time, it seems a nightmare because of non-cooperation of the opposition parties. According to the PDM, the NCOC is doing so to resist the opposition parties from their constitutional right to stage a peaceful protest demonstration and benefit the incumbent government in the wake of the deadly virus. But, it said, it would continue its agitations across the country without any fear of the government’s reaction and health hazard effects of the viral infection. The government has advised them not to play with lives of the people for their personal gains and cooperate with it in implementing the protocols to contain spread of the COVID-19 but the PMD is not in mood of reaching a consensus over the national issue until it meets its unconstitutional demands. The misunderstanding between the government and PDM might lead a big tragedy in the shape of huge fatality rate and economic loss. This is what the opposition parties want to weaken the resolve of the PTI government and send it back to the pavilion at the cost of death and destruction.... Read more...UN a silent spectator over Kashmir issue despite passage of many resolutionsAugust 9, 2020ISLAMABAD, Sunday, August 09, 2020 (WNP/DL): After the slaughter of millions of human lives as a result of World War I, the League of Nations was created on January 10,1920 to ensure international peace. Later, Lenin regarded this organisation as a ‘Thieves Kitchen’ as it failed to maintain world peace, which ultimately unfortunately pushed the global community into yet another global conflict (WWII) which again brought in untold miseries and unprecedented destruction and suffering to human lives and property. The League of Nations was thus disbanded and immediately replaced by yet another international institution called the United Nations Organisation (UNO) on October 24, 1945 with the following objectives: i) ensure international peacekeeping; ii) facilitate conflict resolution, iii) guarantee human rights protection; iv) provide international justice through ICJ in case issues transcend state borders; v) undertake socio-economic welfare measures covering health and education sectors; and vi) mitigate climate change impact and ensure smooth handling of refugees and their safe repatriation to their countries. Unfortunately this new world body has also totally failed to achieve its objectives. There have been bloody conflicts the world over, many in which Muslims were the main victims. There are dozens of UN resolutions on conflicts like Kashmir and Palestine which have not only been thrown in the dustbin of history by rogue countries like India and Israel but these countries are also committing blatant human rights violations and unprecedented state terrorism. There are unfortunately gross violations of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and other international law. Socio-economic welfare indicators are also very poor all over the world. For example, world population control is in utter disarray. In 1950, the world’s population was 2.6 billion; it is now 7.6 billion in 2020. Poverty in third world countries is rampant. Millions of people are falling below the poverty line every year, and the coronavirus pandemic has further compounded the situation with the WHO helpless to control the virus. Three million Afghan refugees from Pakistan alone await repatriation for the last thirty years. Environmental issues due to rapid climate change are ever worsening. In all this, where is the UN, with its objectives and charter? What is worst are the human rights violations being committed by the Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir with impunity. Kashmir valley has been turned into a prison camp and is under double lockdown. The UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is not being allowed by the Indian government to leave their offices to perform their duties and still the UN is silent. There is no media, no foreign observers and no internet in Kashmir. To further deteriorate the situation, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided the Indian government an iron wall behind which atrocities are being committed. Kashmiri people are being burnt alive. There are draconian laws including the Public Safety Act (PSA), Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), NSA (National Security Act) and OSA (Official Security Act). Arrest without warrant, shoot to kill and entering houses without permission is the order of the day. Fair trial for the Kashmiris is a mere dream, free legal aid is a far cry, access to council is impossible and cross examination is not allowed. After the so-called unilateral unionisation of Kashmir and Ladakh, Kashmiris are being subjected to humiliation, mental torture and third degree methods at the hands of the Indian occupying forces. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that Pakistani diplomats and our diaspora abroad must arrange demonstrations in Washington, New York, London, France and Germany highlighting that Kashmir is not a dispute frozen in time as also stated in the UNHRC report of June, 2018. Hence Article 370 of the Indian constitution – abrogated or unabrogated – makes no difference. The status of the Kashmir dispute has not been changed; instead it has been internationalised further because of Modi’s high-handedness. The need of the hour is that the UN must get its resolutions on Kashmir implemented by using its powers as stipulated in chapter 7 of its charter which recommends graduated punitive action against the defiant state including diplomatic isolation, slamming economic sanctions and if even this doesn’t work, then giving permission for use of force against states not abiding by the UN charter and its resolutions. An OIC summit meeting needs to be called to highlight the plight of the Kashmiris in double lockdown. The Pakistan government must send special envoys and parliamentarians delegations not only to the P-5 countries but also to all influential states in different continents which have a vote in the UN General Assembly. The Pakistani PM must himself visit a few countries along with some elected parliamentarians. He should also try to extract an invitation from Oxford and other advanced world universities and personally go there to plead the case of the Kashmiri people. Similarly, the Pakistani diaspora and embassies abroad must constantly highlight UNHRC reports of June, 2018 and 2019 which clearly highlight HR violations being committed in Occupied Kashmir. The United Nations Human Rights Council should be urged to establish an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a transparent investigation as directed by the UNHRC. India should also be urged to repeal all draconian laws, release 10,000 innocent Kashmiris and Hurriyat leaders and withdraw its military from Occupied Kashmir. The Indian government should also lift the lockdown, and allow internet facilities, and permit sick and wounded Kashmiris access to hospitals. It should also stop the malafide demographic transition of Kashmir by inducting lakhs of RSS terrorists there. Potent efforts must be made to ensure the RSS is declared a terrorist organization. Their migration to Kashmir must be stopped through world pressure . The Pakistani community at home and abroad should inform the world through the international media that in a globalized environment regional conflicts cannot be compartmentalised. The Kashmir issue surely is a global nuclear flashpoint, which if not amicably solved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people in light of UN resolutions can bring global devastation. Similarly, it should be realized that if peace is essential in Afghanistan, it is also essential in Kashmir and the Middle East. Our Foreign Office should follow a proactive approach and not a reactionary strategy. After all, it is a battle of ideas and initiatives. Friendly countries like China, Turkey and other Muslim countries of the Middle East, South East Asia, Central Asia and Africa may be requested to give statements against the unionisation of Kashmir and Ladakh.... Read more...Balance of power essential for peaceful coexistenceJune 5, 2020ISLAMABAD, Friday, June 05, 2020 (WNP/DL): Strategic balance of power is considered essential to ensure the existence of nation states when threatened in the prevailing international system. The desired equilibrium is achieved and maintained through various balancing mechanisms. Firstly, by building war potential and upgrading combat worthiness both in conventional and non-conventional spheres. This could be symmetrical through visual power potential or asymmetrical including psychological factor also. Secondly, by aligning itself with other threatened states like when the Warsaw Pact bloc was formed up. Thirdly, the worst option available to weaker states is to guard their existence by aligning with stronger powers even if these are aggressors. This is called bandwagoning which states are forced to resort to at times against their conscience when it is felt that the cost of confrontation with stronger powers will be much more than the benefits. Pakistan unfortunately had to adopt this option when the Americans invaded Afghanistan and extracted Pakistani cooperation at gunpoint with a clear warning that “you are with or against us” and that in case of non-cooperation you could be pushed to the stone age. The balance of power theory is in fact as old as history. It was considered essential to maintain peace and was first applied by the Greek civilisation. European countries however could not maintain the balance of power and remained engaged in religious wars for 30 years. These wars ended in 1648 when the Westphalia peace treaties were signed in which 109 delegates participated at different times in different pacts. This was the beginning of the modern international system where sovereignty of states was to be respected. However thereafter we unfortunately saw the Napoleonic wars, First and Second World Wars, the Korean conflict and Gulf wars. This totally destroyed the concept of universalism which had emerged to encourage greater politico economic relations among sovereign nations without any external pressures or coercion of any type. Resultantly, the League of Nations failed and now we are witnessing the near demise of the United Nations. In South Asia, in view of Indian refusal to honour UN resolutions on Kashmir and its reluctance to reconcile with the reality of Pakistan because of her hegemonic designs, it was essential to maintain a balance of power to protect our sovereignty and defend the territorial integrity of our country right from Pakistan’s inception. Pakistan therefore, had no choice but to initially join SEATO and CENTO, align with the US in the 50s, and with China and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the 60s, while India on the other hand derived strength from non-aligned forums and later aligned with the Soviet Union and now it has secured strategic partnership with the US. Present Indian government under Modi actually believes in the Akhand Bharat concept including amalgamation of all SAARC countries and control of the sea lines of communications from the Strait of Malacca to the Strait of Hormuz in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. This concept was propounded by Chanakya, the adviser to emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya, about 2,300 years ago. When India created an imbalance by amassing billions of dollars worth of conventional arms, aggressed into former East Pakistan in 1971, and finally had the audacity to undertake nuclear explosions in 1974 with impunity, Pakistan had no choice but to take essential measures to rectify this sudden disturbing distortion in the existing balance of power to allay the looming danger to our national security. The Indian military leadership thereafter came up with the Cold Start Doctrine to exploit our limited depth, proximity of our strategic road-rail communications and population centres to our eastern borders. This was immediately responded by Pakistan through development of tactical nuclear weapons. It will, therefore, be very fair to conclude that all civil and military rulers in Pakistan played their very effective role to lift Pakistan’s defence capability to ensure the balance of power in South Asia since 1947. The initiation of the nuclear programme and its pursuit with desired vigour by all was no doubt very important to create a credible deterrence. In fact the Fall of Dhaka necessitated this. Visionary leaders of the calibre of ZA Butto initiated the project and all rulers from 1974 onwards pursued it with desired devotion, sincerity and secrecy. The crucial role was however played by the scientists, our military leadership and many unsung heroes. The bomb was ready by the late 80s but for its international declaration and explosion, Pakistan had to wait for over one decade because of international pressures. Indian arrogance on the other hand created a golden opportunity when they conducted five explosions on May 11, 1998, which was responded by undertaking six explosions by Pakistan’s democratic leadership of PML-N under prime minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on May 28, despite all external pressures and threats of economic sanctions. All politicians, service chiefs, diplomats, media magnets and scientists who gave positive or negative recommendations in the national interest deserve commendations. However, prime minister Nawaz Sharif took the final political decision taking full responsibility on his shoulders for any success or failure. That feather cannot be removed from his cap. Besides such a bold decision can only be taken by a democratic leader who is answerable to the Parliament and the people of Pakistan and not by any dictator who thrives not on public support but foreign guarantees for his rule. It is now indeed very satisfying to note that nuclear Pakistan has created a strategic balance of power in South Asia through a very potent nuclear deterrence but it is also important at the same time to comprehend that defence potential of a state alone cannot ensure foolproof national security. There are other equally, if not more, important factors like national unity, internal cohesion, prospering economy, political stability, towering political leadership and proactive aggressive foreign policy which play a pivotal role. Unfortunately, at present we see a dismal performance in all these areas. We, therefore, need to pay attention to these factors jointly as a nation. The sitting Prime Minister has to take this initiative and lead the nation from the front.... Read more...Total disconnect between centre, provinces is hallmark of PTI govt amid COVID-19June 3, 2020By Senator Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum ISLAMABAD, Wednesday, June 03, 2020 (WNP/DL): Coronavirus is an invisible enemy armed with lethal killing sting against which the entire humankind has presently no defence and unfortunately no firm hope to find its counter in the immediate future. We are not sure for how long the world will remain in its grip and whether it will reappear with more vigour in subsequent waves. Some fear that its constantly mutilating character may render present research endeavours by the scientists fruitless. In these circumstances, health experts have been recommending isolation and social distancing so that we don’t enter its beaten zone by mixing with its mobile carriers. The virus has simultaneously assumed alarming proportions by engulfing all continents including over 200 countries. Countries like Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, which are under harsh US sanctions, are doubly affected. The conditions of people in conflict zones like Kashmir, Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are also miserable. It is a ruthless virus which makes no distinction based on age, gender or geography. It is constantly mutating and is therefore very versatile. Chronic patients, elders, young people and even children have suffered and are suffering. As per recent John Hopkins University research, about 1.2 million children may die because of COVID-19 with its epicentre in the underdeveloped world. It is estimated that roughly 6,000 children may die per day in the Sub-Saharan desert area. It may be recalled that in mid-14th century when the world’s population was only 500 million, 200 million people died due to the Black Death pandemic. Similarly, in 1918, when the Spanish flu started from US/Europe, the Indian Subcontinent became its epicentre, where 20 million people fell prey to the virus in a few months because of slums, poor health conditions and underdeveloped healthcare facilities. Dr Nabarro, the WHO special envoy for coronavirus, says it is quite possible that humanity may have to live with coronavirus forever. Containment of the spread of the virus by social distancing is therefore the recommended world strategy till its vaccine is developed. This warrants total change in our lifestyle and social behaviour. America’s top disease expert chief Dr Anthony Fauci is, however, hopeful to find its vaccine in the next 12 to 18 months. Economic pressures have already forced almost all governments the world over to relax the lockdown. However, countries like Pakistan — where the ascending curve of COVID-19 is constantly creating alarm and the public unfortunately is totally non-compliant — are in a fix. It is likely such countries will face a colossal loss of human lives because governments are being forced to depend on herd immunity. Pakistan’s federal government was unfortunately paralysed from day one. Confused leadership, wavering stance and total disconnect between the Centre and provinces have been its hallmark. Whereas while keeping in mind the most dangerous and worst hypothesis, which is based on the prolonged disease with no vaccine availability in the foreseeable future, the government must strictly follow the globally recognised strategy of awareness, testing, tracing, quarantine, treatment and simultaneous economic management. I feel that while making full endeavours to arrest the ever-increasing disease trend, we must constantly upgrade our health facilities and be ready for the worst. All governments are facing difficulties but Pakistan faces unique challenges of weak governance, divided polity, invisible self-righteous central leadership, extremely neglected health facilities and last but not the least, a totally shattered economy with an expected -1.5% growth for the first time in our over 70 years history. The strategy should not be based on either economy or human lives. We have no choice. There is no question of either or or. It has to be both. While simultaneous efforts to boost the economy must continue with vigour, we must not totally break the complete lockdown allowing maximum deaths in an effort to achieve herd immunity. Some specific recommendations are below: We need to follow the internationally recognised strategies which include effective awareness campaign, testing, tracing, quarantine and treatment. There is a need to procure large-scale testing kits and undertake massive testing on subsidised rates. District health facilities, both public and private, must be mobilised to trace affected areas and individuals who remain in contact with infected persons and ensure their quarantine. DCs and DPOs must make the best use of elected and non-elected political leaders and workers for the awareness campaign and to reach out to people at the grassroots level suffering from food insecurity. For economic revival, we must enhance agricultural growth of our cash crops by encouraging and financially assisting the farmers. We need to enhance large-scale manufacturing and provide maximum assistance to export earning industries. Interest rate can be further reduced and price of patrol and diesel cut down further. This will not only reduce electricity bills but also help farmers to run tube wells on reduced cost. Fifty-eight per cent people work in the service sector, 28% in the agriculture field and 20% in industries. Different SOPs can be evolved for their social distancing. Presently there is neither a clear policy nor desired competence and political will to implement government orders. Crowds in funerals, parties, religious processions and shopping centres speak volumes about the government’s helplessness.... Read more...Soft greetings instilling lifeless feelings, emotions in youthMay 31, 2020By Rehan Khan ISLAMABAD, Sunday, May 31, 2020 (WNP): Many moons ago, when the people were alien to the android technology, they used to exchange Eid cards with their loved ones especially on Eid festival. Writing Eid card was once a big trend to wish the joys of the day to someone who was a bit close to your heart. It used to give an immense pleasure on both sides of the isle equally. Even children used to exchange postcards, printed with photos of their favorite film-stars on the one side especially on the occasion of Eid. But after Year 2000 (Y2K), a significant change was witnessed in the life style of the people across the globe due to the mushroom growth in the social media applications. People, instead of Eid cards, started exchanging Eid greetings through short messaging service (SMS), electronic mail (email), Microsoft Network (MSN) messenger, Yahoo messenger etcetera. But after the advent of new digital modes of communication like Facebook and WhatsApp, people entered into a new phase of life where feelings and emotions are based on emojis. That’s why; our young generation is turning towards the materialistic approach which ultimately is instilling lifeless feelings and emotions in them. Taking a serious note of this burgeoning trend in the society, Syed Ehsan Gilani, a sociologist, said he did not pay heed towards such greetings which were “copy and paste” and forwarded just to get job done. He said these days; everyone’s hand gadgets’ memories were full of impersonal messages and causing nervous breakdown in the youth. “This is one of main factors behind its short temper, depression and perplexion,” Gilani opined. Reema Durrani, a socialist, said she did not find true passions in copy and paste greetings especially on the occasions of Eid, new year and birthday. “This is the high time to console each other when the whole world is passing through a mental agony due to COVID-19 and the nation with PIA plan crash tragedy occurred in Karachi just before a couple of days of Eid,” she added. Sharing her personal experience, Reema said she was still in habit of writing Eid, new year and birthday cards to her university life friends and sending on their postal addresses. She said, ”It gives a blissful happiness to me whenever I receive a greeting in the shape of a hard copy.” Wajahat Hussain, an English literature professor, said, “Either this is an old-fashioned to write an Eid card but it prints long-lasting psychological impression on the reader.” He said the walls of my room were decorated with cards of various events including Eid, new year, father day, teacher day and birthday. Those cards were written by my friends, colleagues and students, he said adding whenever, he went through them, it infused a new spirit of life in my body and opened new avenues of thoughts to move ahead both in private and public personas of life. Wajahat proposed the youth to come out of fantasy’s life which existed for a short time and it had nothing to do with real happiness of life.... Read more...Coronavirus pandemic: PM Imran to face resistance if ban imposed on prayers in mosquesMarch 17, 2020 By Rehan Khan If the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s test can be positive for coronavirus and United States President Donald Trump can be tested as precaution then who on earth commoners are to show attitudes in case of adopting preemptive measures against this deadly viral infection. ISLAMABAD, Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Convincing religious bent of mind people for offering prayers at their homes is not only difficult but an impossible task for the heads of Muslims states. Tawakkul (a concept of reliance on God) is a good thing but it forbids you not to adopt preemptive measures for one’s safety. Coronavirus has become a pandemic and its spread is inevitable but the safety measures are only the way forward to combat it. This a Namazi (a person who offers prayer) would get to understand and follow the injunctions as per health advisory issued by the United Nations health agency, World Health Organization (WHO) religiously. In a bid to combat coronavirus pandemic, the Muslims countries are also taking various precautionary measures for the safety of their people’s lives. The Saudi government took the lead by stopping Tawaf (circumambulation) in Mataf (an open area around the Khana-e-Kaba) for a couple of days. It happened first time in the Islamic history. In addition, the Saudi government has temporary suspended the provision of visa facility for the countries affected from the coronavirus – a deadly viral infection which has paralyzed whole the business and terrorized the entire world by confining within four walls. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also imposed ban on all houses of worship including mosques for four weeks. Keeping in view the evolving situation on the coronavirus pandemic, a dozen of mega sports events has been cancelled and banned the public gatherings world over. Being a coronavirus affected country, Pakistan is also exercising the world’s best practices to face this natural calamity. Pakistan, to overcome the spread of this deadly virus, has taken many an initiative such as; two weeks western borders closure with Iran and Afghanistan, three weeks closure of all educational institutions including religious seminaries and running public awareness campaigns through all possible means of communications. Sindh government has also announced the closure of shrines and marriage halls for three weeks and directed the local administration to establish quarantine in each district to meet any untoward health hazard situation timely. But the next step, to stop people from offering payer in mosque, for Pakistan government would be a bit difficult but anyhow, it will have to swallow this bitter pill in the lager national interest. For this purpose, the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has started consultation process with religious scholars of various schools of thought so that they could reach a mutual conclusion to address the ever-biggest health issue of the world. The talks between state machinery and clerics are under way but it seems that it would create the same controversy as in Rome by angry pope Francis who voiced displeasure with the Italian authorities’ push to shut them because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kuwait – country in the middle east – has somehow resolved the issue by bringing a slight change in Azan (a call to offer prayer in the mosque). Now, the Moazzin (a man who recites Azan at prescribed times of the day) in Kuwait says “al salatu fi buyutikum” means offer prayer at your homes instead of ”hayya alas salah” means come to pray. Although, it is a positive development but it is still a big issue with rest of the Muslim world to stop their people from socializing at mosques. Prime Minister Imran Khan is playing his cards well by getting religious scholars into loop on the matter as without their consent, he could not impose ban on the people for offering prayer in mosques. If he did so on his own, he will have to face the music as anti-Imran elements can manipulate the situation and ignite the people to hold countrywide protest demonstrations against his government. Later or sooner, the Azan into the air of Kuwait would be heard in the load speakers installed in Pakistan’s mosques and rest of the Muslim countries. Azaan in #Kuwait changed slightly to stop people from coming to mosques due to #coronavirus. Instead of “hayya alas-salah”(come to prayer), the muazzin says “al-salatu fi buyutikum” (pray in your homes). 🕌 #CoronaOutbreak #coronapocalypse #CoronaVirusUpdates #NationalEmergency pic.twitter.com/XPe3x9qSs2 — Danyal Gilani (@DanyalGilani) March 14, 2020... Read more...Shut-up call to Mravi imperative for cultural legacy preservation: SurveyMarch 5, 2020By Rehan Khan ISLAMABAD, Thursday, March 5, 2020 (WNP): There are three types of people in our society – one who is supporting Marvi Sirmed and defending the hidden agenda behind the immoral slogan “mera jism, meri merzi” through illogical reasoning. The second is appreciating the bold step of Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar for giving a shut-up call to a foreign-funded woman who is trying to distort our cultural legacy through introducing nonsense attitudes towards man. The third is a bit confused. It is favoring Khalil-ur-Rehman but disagreeing on cursing Marvi on-air. These three types of people are discovered by World News Pakistan (WNP) through a countrywide survey in a bid to reach out the true public opinions about the ongoing controversy between a man of letters, Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar whose recently screened master piece “mere paas tum ho” has broken all the previous records on the silver screen and the so called socialist Marvi Sirmed. The WNP has categorized the responses into three categories – mature, under mature and pre-mature. For the convenience of understanding, the people falling in mature category are in between 40 years and above; they are married and parents of adult children. In second category, people are in between 20 to 40 years and parents of babies and above all; in third category, people are under 20 years and unmarried. The first category of response is of the view that Mr. Qamar has done nothing to be ashamed of……his reaction against Marvi was natural and genuine one because a sane, civilized and man of character reacts like Mr. Qamar against any intruder who will try to disintegrate our national resolve through injecting negative aspects of life among our innocent cultured women whether they are from Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Balistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The immoral attitudes being projected by Marvi are not even in practice anywhere in the advanced countries. She is exercising a useless attempt in the wake of “Aurat Azadi March” like “Students Azadi March” by Progressive Students Collective in a bid to create anarchy in the country. Both are the two sides of the same coin and their nefarious designs are to unite dejected segments of the society against the state’s apparatus and to hold them responsible for all ongoing wrongdoings in the society. There some political parties like Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are openly providing logistic support to such anti-state elements to deprive the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government from their democratic and constitutional mandate and to weaken the role of establishment in the present-day politics by hook and by crook. In fact, PPP and PML-N’s leaderships are facing mega corruption cases in the courts of law. To halt the ongoing accountability process, they are playing filthy politics putting the integrity and sovereignty of the country at stake. There are many a decent way to highlight the issues being faced by the women – the weaker sex in the male-dominated society – but the way Marvi Sirmed is doing, it is totally against the social, cultural and religious norms. The second category of response is somehow in favour of Mr. Qamar but it is not agreeing on cursing Marvi on-air. It gave balanced remarks for both of the controversial figures. The third category of response favors Marvi Sirmed and said the slogan “mera jism, meri merzi” is being manipulated by conservative and moderate segments of the society. It is purely combating for the women rights being usurped by male-dominated society for years and years.... Read more...Jemima’s unfolded message to IK, BB misinterpreted by mediaFebruary 24, 2020By Rehan Khan ISLAMABAD, Monday, February 24, 2020 (WNP): Jemima Goldsmith, the former spouse of Prime Minister Imran Khan (IK) who is also the custodian of his two sons Suleman Khan and Qasim Khan, shared a poster depicting herself, IK and Bushra Bibi (BB) – the first lady. It was a typical type of poster usually used for the promotion of films here in the Pakistani society but its peculiarity was that it was carrying Ik and his past and present wives’ portraits. In spite of all, the first lady was being depicted as she was conjuring over IK and Jemima was witnessing whole the scene and mummering “what a spell you did”. The wording “what a spell you did” over the poster was a bit romantic and the expression of Jemima’s feelings of love for IK and jealously – a common phenomenon to be found in women’s nature – for BB. But unluckily media without going in depth of the message started criticism and misinterpret it, that is totally against the human basic rights and even against the media ethics too. “What a spell you conjured” is a direct hit on BB as she is coupled with her ex-beloved to whom Jemima had almost spent nine years and gave birth of his two children but could not continue her sacred relationship due to typical taboos being practiced in the Pakistani society. Indirectly, she has admitted that she is still in love with IK and wants to be reunited if given a chance once more in life. This was the simple message she floated through her social media account twitter handle by sharing the hilarious poster but media drag it into another direction and peeped into IK’s personal and family affairs. A love guru, talking to this scribe, said after having a glance over the shared poster, he could not control his feelings and started singing a song, sung by Lata Mangeshkar in 1981 for Kudrat movie which was picturized on Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini; Tune o rangeele kaisa jaadu kiya, Piya piya bole matwala jiya……. He said the one-sided love scene was on but the other side was not reciprocating due to social and religious norms. He further said this was a temporary feeling and it would prevail as long as the IK was in the executive chair. The guru also alarmed the IK not to have any more love affair to avoid any untoward incident which could tarnish both his private and public personas of life.... Read more...Children are always apolitical, sometimes impart big messageJanuary 11, 2020By Abida Khan ISLAMABAD, Saturday, January 11, 2020 (WNP): There is not an iota of lie that children are always apolitical and sometimes they impart a big message through their innocent conduct. Something like that has been portrayed in this video clip. It is a reality-based story which is dramatized in a bid to convey the message to maximum people on the globe. No doubt, this video has inspired a number of people across the Muslim world after going viral on social media and getting popularity with every passing moment. Let’s watch it and realize where we are lacking in our lives.... Read more...Stopping over signal violation, a female motorist lost her temper, abused traffic wardensNovember 27, 2019By Rehan Khan KARACHI, Nov 27 (WNP): An influential female motorist Tuesday lost her temper and started abusing traffic wardens on duty for stopping over signal violation from Khayabane Shujat to Khayabane Shahbaz. Apparently, she was looking from a well off and an educated family but her foul language and arrogant attitude with the traffic wardens were telling a different story about her social caliber. She, in fact, seemed to be an educated illiterate. Thanks to Allah Almighty, the traffic wardens took a timely initiative of making video clip of the whole incident and later on, uploaded on the social media. If they did not do so, they had to pay a huge debt in the shape of their jobs termination. Now, the top brass of traffic police if approached by some influential people from provincial power corridors would think at least hundred times before taking any action against these two dutiful wardens who performed their professional obligation diligently. On inquiring, she informed, she had no driving licence and declined to show even her computerized national identity card. She consistently misbehaved with traffic wardens which is clearly visible in the viral video clip. “Let me talk to your father,” she threatened them and made a phone call and asked to send someone to deal with these “old hacks” as it was below her standard to speak with them. Later on, she closed the window of her side and started the car and ran away. On the contrary, the traffic warden could not do any thing and he remained stand by on the road helplessly. He could not even resist as they commonly do with male road users on any traffic violation. He just screamed “you cannot move from here without challan” but no use. According to media reports on Wednesday, a first information report (FIR) has been launched against the ill-tempered signal violator and she would be arrested soon. But it is a universal truth that she won’t be taken to task because of her high social and political stature in the society and the case would be closed as usual happened in the past. Is there anyone who could imagine the embarrassment they would feel before their children when they would come know about this insulting incident about their parents. Physiologically, it would give a negative impression to their children and cause embarrassment for both sides. It is beyond comprehension that what lacked in the nurturing and grooming of the so called literate class’s siblings whose elders are a symbol of inspiration for others but their family members like this idiot becomes a source of disappointment and disrespect. Online verification of the registered vehicle discloses that the car carrying number plate “BGT-419” belongs to Pir Roshan Din Shah Rashdi. Let’s see what twist comes in the story as this humiliating incident is widely condemned and criticized on social media by the sanity.... Read more... CrimePolice encounters 5 suspected robbers in Karachi DHANovember 27, 2020KARACHI, Friday, November 27, 2020 (WNP/DL): Five suspects were shot dead in a shootout between police and alleged robbers in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) neighbourhood early on Friday morning, according to officials. Gizri Station House Officer (SHO) Agha Mashooq said the suspects had entered a bungalow near Yasrab Imambargah in DHA Phase 4 with the intention of committing burglary. Upon receiving information, police surrounded the house, he said. However, the suspects entered another house and resorted to firing in an effort to flee, the SHO said, adding that the suspects were killed during an exchange of fire. He claimed that the deceased belonged to an “inter-provincial gang of house robbers” as they were involved in burgling houses in Sindh and Punjab. Meanwhile, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali said all five individuals were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Three of the deceased were identified as 44-year-old Ghulam Mohammad, 65-year-old Riaz and 36-year-old Abid. The remaining two suspects, who are believed to be in their 30s, have not yet been identified.... Read more...Underage girl commits suicide due to blackmailing of her alleged rapists in TharSeptember 30, 2020CHELHAR, Wednesday, September 30, 2020 (WNP/DL): A 17-year-old girl, who had allegedly been raped a year earlier, committed suicide in Sindh’s Tharparkar district after she was reportedly blackmailed by the suspects whom her family had accused of sexually assaulting her. The teenager, who belonged to a Hindu family, took her own life in the early hours of Wednesday by jumping into a deep open well in village Dalan-Jo-Tarr near Chelhar town. Villagers retrieved the body and shifted it to Mithi Civil Hospital for postmortem examination. “The girl was raped by three men in mid-July in 2019 and the accused in the case are on bail,” the victim’s father and other relatives told reporters in Mithi. They alleged that the girl committed suicide after she was blackmailed and harassed by the influential suspects who had raped her. Chelhar police had registered a first information report (FIR) no. 26/2019, against three men on rape charges. The suspects had not only taken turns to rape the girl but allegedly also filmed the ordeal after taking her to a house. According to then-Tharparkar senior superintendent of police (SSP) Abdullah Ahmedyar, initial medical reports had confirmed that the girl had been sexually assaulted. The trial of the case was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. October 15 has now been fixed as the date when evidence in the case will be submitted, the lawyer of the victim’s family, Advocate Mohan Mathrani, told media. No fresh case was registered against the accused after the girl’s death (until the filing of this report), however, one of the three suspects was arrested again by Chelhar police on the orders of Tharparkar SSP Hassan Sardar Niazi. Chelhar Station House Office Mushtaq Malik said police would register a new case if the family lodged a complaint of blackmail or harassment. People from different walks of life including rights activists Samtra Manjani, Bheem Raj and others strongly condemned the incident and demanded stern action against those who forced the teenager to take the extreme step. People of the Meghwar community, as well as workers of various parties, have warned they will stage protests in Thar and other areas against such rising incidents of crimes against women. The incident comes amid renewed debate and outrage over sexual crimes against women in the country, which was sparked by the gang-rape of a woman on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway in front of her children after she was left stranded by a fault in her car. Amidst countrywide anger, Prime Minister Imran Khan said rapists should be handed down the most severe punishments to curb rising sexual violence, such as either hanging them publicly or chemically castrating them. A Sindh Police study had revealed earlier this year that as many as 1,287 people, including 586 females, committed suicide across the province over the last five years. This research was carried out in the wake of growing incidents of suicide, particularly in lower Sindh, the provincial police chief had told media, saying its purpose was partly to sensitise the police and identify triggering factors behind suicides.... Read more...5 killed, 2 injured in Nowshera blastSeptember 29, 2020NOWSHERA, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): At least five people were killed and two others injured in a blast in the Akbarpura area of Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, police Tuesday said. District Police Officer (DPO) Najamal Hassan said the explosion occurred in a market situated along the Kabul River. “Some people were collecting scrap material from the stones alongside the river. Some of the scrap included explosive material which detonated when they were weighing it.” He said police were collecting evidence and investigating the incident further. The injured people have been shifted to the hospital, he added. Earlier this year, at least one man was injured in a blast on an imambargah in Lower Kurram’s Shoorki area near the Pak-Afghan border. Police suspected explosive material had been planted at the mosque, Yaqoob Khan, a local police official said.... Read more...Saba Qamar, Bilal Saeed booked for controversial shoot at Wazir Khan MosqueAugust 14, 2020LAHORE, Friday, August 14, 2020 (WNP/DL): An FIR has been lodged against actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed over their controversial shoot for the singer’s latest music video Qabool at Wazir Khan Mosque in Akbari Gate Police Station. The case has been registered on the complaint of lawyer Farhat Manzoor under Section 295 (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting Its religion or religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Advocate Sardar Farhat Manzoor Khan had filed the petition pleading that he submitted an application to the Akbari Gate SHO for registration of an FIR against the culprits for violating the sanctity of the mosque. The lawyer contended that the culprits trampled upon the sanctity of the mosque by their act which also sparked an outrage among the citizens. He asked the court to order the police to lodge a case against the persons involved in the illegal act. Besides the actor and the singer, the petitioner also sought action against the production house of the music video and officials of the Auqaf department who permitted the shooting. However, the defence counsel argued that the proposed accused did not commit any offence as the entire video was shot after permission of the department administration. He further submitted that chief minister Punjab had also issued orders for detailed inquiry of the incident whereas respondents had already sought apology on various forums, He pleaded with the court for dismissal of the plea. A short clip of Qamar whirling with Saeed at the historic mosque went viral on social media. The video drew strong reactions from religious circles. Qamar also responded to the criticism in a series of tweets, saying the clip was a “prologue to the music video featuring a Nikkah scene”. “It was neither shot with any sort of playback music nor has it been edited to the music track,” she said on Twitter.... Read more...3 booked for torturing lions to deathJuly 31, 2020By Muhammad Rizwan ISLAMABAD, Friday, July 31, 2020 (WNP/DL): A case has been registered against three persons for allegedly torturing a pair of lions, which led to their deaths. The case was registered at Kohsar Police Station, under Section 429-PPC and Section 5 of the Animal Act 1990, in response to a complaint, lodged by a journalist Shakeel Ahmed. According to the first information report (FIR), a video shows three persons lighting fires in the animals’ enclosure at Islamabad Zoo, so they would move inside cages; they also poked the lion with sticks to force it out. Both lions died later, while they were being moved to a lion breeding sanctuary in Kasur. Legal action must be taken against the persons involved in the incident, it added. Police have asked for video footage of the incident from the complainant, to identify the accused for further legal action. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has formed an inquiry committee to investigate the deaths of both lions. Under directives from Islamabad High Court, the pair was being shifted from Marghazar Zoo, however, both animals died on the way to the sanctuary in Kasur. The lion and lioness were both eight-years-old; they were brought to the zoo in 2016 from Lahore Safari Park, as part of the Bird and Animal Exchange Programme between Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Punjab government.... Read more...FIR registered against couple for beating motherJuly 22, 2020By Muhammad Rizwan RAWALPINDI, Wednesday, July 22, 2020 (WNP/DL) Rawalpindi police on Tuesday registered a first information report (FIR) against a man and his wife after a video of him beating his mother went viral on social media. Dear #pakistani brothers and sisters. Please raise your voice against these two husband and wife. If you have seen the video you must be aware of what they have done. #zoobiameer and her mother needs justice. pic.twitter.com/uidwc9vN8J — M A N S O O R__A L I🙂 (@apka_mansoor) July 21, 2020 Rawalpindi CCPO Ahsan Younis took notice of the video showing Arsalan allegedly beating his mother Gulnaz Bibi and directed Rawal Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Rai Mazhar Iqbal to register a case and arrest him. سٹی پولیس آفیسر محمد احسن یونس کے حکم پر ایس پی راول ڈویژن بیٹے کے تشدد کا نشانہ بننے والی ماں جی کے گھر پہنچ گئے، خیریت دریافت کی اور اب تک کی پولیس تفتیش سے آگاہ کیا۔ سی پی او راولپنڈی کا ماں جی سے فون پر رابطہ، خیریت دریافت کی اور میرٹ پر تفتیش کی یقین دہانی کروائی۔ pic.twitter.com/sHpOGZ4oEP — Rawalpindi Police (@RwpPolice) July 22, 2020 SHO Sadiqabad Tahir Ahmed Rehan, on the instructions of the SP, lodged a case under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 337 A-1, and 337 L-2 and got the medical examination of Gulnaz Bibi done. Hospital officials said the medical report would be submitted to the police within a week. In the FIR, Gulnaz Bibi, a resident of Dhokla Ali Akbar area of Rawalpindi, alleged that her son and daughter-in-law would “fight with me every other day”. “At 7pm on night, they pushed me, beat me and tortured me intensely,” she said. Bibi’s husband, Ghazali Meer, told that he was not present in the house when the incident took place. He claimed that his stepson has breathing problems and his daughter informed him of the incident over the phone. He added that when he got home, he found both his wife and his stepson lying on the floor of the house. “My stepson complained to me that Gulnaz had broken the car’s mirrors and it had been badly damaged,” he claimed, adding that his wife had not let him meet the police when they tried to contact him and instead “snatched his phone away and used very vulgar language with the police officials”. Meer said that Gulnaz was his second wife, adding that she has two daughters and two sons from her previous marriage. “The daughters are married while one son is in England and the other (Arsalan) lives with us”. He said that he had one daughter with Gulnaz who lived with them in their house. Meer alleged that his wife also “tortured” his stepson and daughter-in-law which is why the matter had come to this point and had also reached the police Early on Wednesday morning, a video emerged on social media of Arsalan’s stepsister Zoobia Meer, in which she sought justice for her mother. She claimed that police had released Arsalan an hour after they submitted a complaint against him. Statement of Zoobia Meer whose brother beat her mother over property and cash! See previous video… Punjab Police refusing to register FIR!!!.#copied.Jo log video banany wali is larki ko bura bhala keh ray hn Socho ager video na banti tab kon yakeen kerta!!! Posted by JuNi JJ on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 According to Zoobia, her brother had beaten her with a wiper as well, following which their mother used the same wiper to damage Arsalan’s car and subsequently lost consciousness. While the mother and her daughter were taken to safety by some neighbours, Arsalan with the help of his in-laws took away cash, certain documents and some jewellery, and tore apart their clothes, according to Zoobia. She said police were not taking any action even though their medical examination report “clearly stated” that they had marks of physical abuse on their bodies. Zoobia acknowledged that she and her mother had also hit Arsalan back, but claimed that it was only in self-defence. SP Rawal Division earlier said that Arsalan, who owns a car showroom, and his wife had fled and raids were being carried out to arrest him. However, it later emerged that the couple has obtained interim pre-arrest bail from a local court. According to the court orders received by police, Arsalan and his wife are on interim bail until August 6, police spokesperson Sajjad said. He added that the couple was expected to join the investigation in the case. Meanwhile, Arsalan’s wife Bisma told that she had been married for four years and had a 1.5-year-old daughter. “I cannot even tell you what my mother-in-law did to her son.” She claimed that her mother-in-law had been “torturing” her for four years but she had never spoken about it to save her marriage. “I had to necessarily show the other side of the picture when the case reached the media and police. My mother-in-law and her daughter even hid my daughter’s milk. “I was tortured every day but remained silent. If the son lifted a hand on his mother, then there must have been reason to do so,” she claimed, adding that her sister-in-law had gone to bring the police but had not told them the “truth”. “My mother-in-law tortured first, which is why the matter reached this point.” Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar while taking notice of the incident directed the Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer to submit a report and directed that Arsalan be “immediately arrested”. He also directed that “justice be ensured for the mother”.... Read more...4 arrested in Mardan for destroying ancient Buddha statueJuly 18, 2020MARDAN, Saturday, July 18, 2020 (WNP/DL): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police Saturday arrested four men for shattering an ancient Buddha statue, found during the construction work in Takhtbhai area of Mardan. Earlier this day, videos surfaced on social media showing a man breaking with a hammer a life-sized statue of Buddha, parts of which were still embedded underground. Other men can be seen looking on as the statue is being destroyed while a couple of people were making videos. Archaeology and Museums Director Doctor Abdul Samad termed the destruction of the statue a “crime” and said “disrespecting any religion is intolerable”. Police later tweeted that the suspects had been traced and arrested while pieces of the broken statue were also recovered. According to the police, those arrested include Qamar Zaman, Amjad, Aleem and Suleman. مردان پولیس نے واقعہ کی ایریا اور ملزمان کو ٹریس کرلیا ہے۔ پولیس نے واقعہ میں ملوث ملزمان کو ٹریس اور مجسمے کے ٹکڑے بھی برآمد کرلئے ہیں۔گرفتار ملزمان میں ٹھیکدار قمر زمان سکنہ گلی باغ، امجدسکنہ پاتے کلے، علیم سکنہ سازودین کلے اور سلیمان سکنہ شیخ ملتون شامل ہیں۔ @DrZahid_Jan https://t.co/qJTb9teh3q pic.twitter.com/M0jNcA8BB9 — KP Police (@KP_Police1) July 18, 2020 A first information report (FIR) has been registered against them under the Antiquities Act 2016, according to officials. Dr Samad expressed appreciation on the police’s “prompt action” in arresting the suspects.... Read more...Pakistan, US collaborate against international parental child abductionJuly 16, 2020WASHINGTON, Thursday, July 16, 2020 (WNP/DL): Pakistan and the US have decided to work together to address the problem of international parental child abduction under the Hague Abduction Convention, announced the State Department on Thursday. In a press release, the State Department said that the United States on July 1, 2020, accepted Pakistan’s accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Convention). “The Convention will enter into force between the United States and Pakistan on October 1, 2020, and will put in place an internationally recognised legal framework to resolve cases of parental child abduction between our two countries,” it said. The press release stated that as partners, the two countries would enhance their shared commitment to protecting children and open a new chapter in the US-Pakistan relationship. “Preventing and resolving cases of international parental child abduction is one of the Department’s highest priorities. The Convention is a vital tool to deter international abduction and secure the return of abducted children. It provides a mechanism under civil law in either country for parents seeking the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside of their country of habitual residence in violation of custodial rights,” it said, adding that parents seeking access to children in treaty partner countries may also invoke the Convention. The Convention addresses where child custody issues should be decided, the State Department said. “We look forward to welcoming Pakistan as a new partner in this global effort to address international parental child abduction,” it added.... Read more...Australian envoy condemns terrorist attack on PSXJune 29, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Monday June 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): Australian High Commissioner Dr Geoffrey Shaw Monday condemned the terrorist attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi. “I strongly condemn the attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange. My deep condolences to the families and friends of the victims and I wish a speedy recovery for those injured,” he said on his social media accounts twitter handle. Four militants, who stormed the building of PSX in Karachi this morning, were killed by the security forces on the spot. The incident left a police personnel and two security guards dead besides leaving several injured.... Read more...Japanese ambassador strongly condemns PSX attackJune 29, 2020By Shabbir Hussain ISLAMABAD, Monday, June 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): Ambassador of Japan MATSUDA Kuninori Monday strongly condemned the terrorists’ attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) compound in Karachi. He while grieving over the loss of innocent human lives in the tragic incident also expressed his profound condolences and sympathies with the families of the victims and prayed for the early recovery of those sustained injuries. “My thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims of this gruesome incident. Terrorism is condemnable in all its forms and manifestations”, the he added. He termed the attack on PSX, the center of economic activity in Pakistan, a very unfortunate incident. The ambassador further said the government of Japan was committed to continuing its support to the Government of Pakistan and its security forces to combat terrorism.... Read more... HealthPeshawar tops in COVID-19 positivity rate: NCOC toldNovember 27, 2020 Healthy environment must for a healthy society: Aida GirmaOctober 20, 2020 Breast cancer is preventable up to 40% by adopting a healthy lifestyleOctober 13, 2020 Supreme Court turns pink in support of Pink RibbonOctober 10, 2020 Over 10 m women in Pakistan are at ‘Breast Cancer’ riskOctober 7, 2020 Dengue larvae detected in 963 places in RawalpindiSeptember 29, 2020 EU ensures basic healthcare services for Sindhi, Balochi women, newborns amid pandemic: AndroullaSeptember 15, 2020 Sindh govt handed over 50,000 PPE kits, 40,000 surgical masksAugust 26, 2020 Russia produces first batch of Covid-19 vaccineAugust 15, 2020 Dr Faisal Sultan appointed new SAPM on healthAugust 3, 2020 Photo News President Dr. Arif Alvi paid a visit to Marghazar Zoo to say goodbye to elephant Kaavan being proceeded to Cambodia on a court order on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. Ambassador of Jordan to Pakistan Major General (R) Ibrahim Yala Al Madani called on National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser at the Parliament House on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser while receiving Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil at the Parliament House on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. Ambassador of Hungary to Pakistan Bela Fazekas called on Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. The Rabi-ul-Awal moon sighted in Pakistan infusing a new spirit of life among the Holy Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him lovers on Sunday, October 18, 2020.