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PETROL BOMB DROPPED ON MASSES

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Govt drops

petrel bomb

on masses

Finance Minister says POL prices

increased to avoid fuel shortage

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Sunday announced that the prices of ‘Petrol and High-Speed Diesel (HSD)’  have been increased by Rs. 35 per liter in the country.

Similarly, the prices of kerosene oil and light diesel have been increased by Rs 18 per liter and these prices will be implemented from today at 11 am on January 29.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Muhammad Ishaq Dar said this while announcing the new Petroleum Prices on Pakistan Television News.

He said that rumours were circulating on social media and other media for the past few hours that an increase of 80 rupees per liter is expected in the price of petrol, which were not true.

The Minister said that due to these rumours, an artificial shortage of petrol was created in the market. And thus, keeping in mind the anxiety in the market, the announcement of petroleum prices on the instructions of OGRA was necessary.

He said that the government had to take these measures due to the devaluation of the rupee and the 11 percent increase in oil prices in the international market.

The minister said that currently there is plenty of petrol in the country and due to these rumours , efforts are being made to create an artificial shortage of petrol.

Ishaq Dar said that this initiative of the government will end the artificial scarcity of petroleum in the country.

He said that from today the new price of petrol in the country will be Rs 249.80, high-speed diesel Rs 262.80, kerosene Rs 187 and light diesel Rs 189.83 per liter.

He said that the government did not increase the price of oil in the last 4 months despite the fluctuations in the oil prices in the world market.

Ishaq Dar said that in the last 4 months, our government has reduced the prices of petrol and high-speed diesel by Rs 20 rupees and the price of kerosene oil and light-speed diesel by Rs 30 rupees.

ECP writes to Finance Ministry, demands Rs20b for holding polls

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ISLAMABAD, JAN 25 (DNA) — The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), through a letter to Finance Ministry, has demanded 20 billion rupees for holding general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and by-elections on National Assembly vacant seats.

The ECP letter said that Commission needed Rs25 billion to hold elections out of which the electoral body had already received Rs5 billion. Now the Commission required Rs20 billion more. The federal government has been asked to release fund for holding elections.

The letter, written by Secretary Election Commission Omer Hameed Khan, said that Rs 45 billion were approved for holding general elections and the federal government had to release Rs25 in the current fiscal year.

The electoral watchdog further said that rest of the amount (Rs20 billion) should be released forthwith so that process of holding elections could be ensured. The ECP also requested the federal government for release of supplementary grant. The expenses to hold general elections were estimated at Rs45 billion which have now increased to Rs61 billion.

Election Commission has to hold elections on 297 general seats of Punjab Assembly and 115 seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, besides 64 vacant seats of National Assembly. = DNA

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Mehfil-e-Samma at Peshawar Serena Hotel

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Legendary Qawwal Imran Aziz Mian performs at the Mehfil-e-Samma

PESHAWAR: CEO Serena Hotels South and East Asia Aziz Boolani and Mrs Boolani posing for a picture with Imran Aziz Qawwal and staff of the Serena Hotel Peshawar.-DNA

Peshawar: Imran Aziz Qawwal performs at the Peshawar Serena Hotel.-DNA

DNA

Peshawar:  Tourism Promotion Services (Limited) Pakistan hosted a “Mehfil-e-Samma” with the legendary Qawwal Imran Aziz Mian to celebrate its latest acquisition ‘Peshawar Serena Hotel’ to its portfolio of Luxury Hotels, Resorts, Forts, Palaces in South and Central Asia. The beautifully organised musical evening began with a meet and greet that included prominent personalities from the corporate sector, business community and media houses.

The evening was an ode celebrating Serena Hotels arrival in the oldest city of Pakistan. The management of Serena believes that Peshawar has untapped potential for tourism and boosts a rich cultural heritage, which will help in extending the tourist circuit in the province but will also allow regional connectivity for tourists and business travelers through its vast portfolio of hotels in Islamabad, Peshawar, Kabul, and Dushanbe. The hotel shall serve as a gateway to Central Asia, taking the brand portfolio to a whole new level.

The management of Serena Hotel has retained the employees of Pearl Continental Hotel and have been working upon the restoration and conservation of the existing 1970s building, with intention to add on to the existing structure. Serena is well associated with conservation projects, with the Heritage Circuit being a part of the Serena Palaces and Forts that have been restored and renovated and are now being utilised as a historical hotel, the proceeds of which is handed back to the community in an annual ceremony.

 A provincial job fair is planned to provide the youth with opportunities to become a part of the Serena family, where internships, mentorship programmes and management training will be offered to the students of the region, showcasing Serenas’ ethos of community development, and capacity building.

The management has been actively engaged with the community, through the corporate social responsibility platform called ‘Jazba-e-Khidmat’, which is an initiative to provide donations and support to flood affectees of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. Now through the Peshawar Serena Platform, the management will be distributing ration bags to the nearby areas affected by the catastrophic flooding of 2022.

The evening marked the beginning of many more events that are in the pipeline for Peshawar Serena Hotel and set the tone for the future. Celebrating the rich cultural heritage and legacy of the city of flowers, through Serena Diplomacy initiatives i.e., public, cultural, sports, adventure. These initiatives by Serena Hotels have been creating an inclusive environment for the underprivileged and underserved communities, wherever they operate.

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 20 January – National Mourning Day

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On the night of January 19-20, 1990, as a result of military aggression of the units of the Soviet Army and special forces, as well as contingents of internal troops against Azerbaijan, civilians, including children, women, and elderly were massacred in the cities of Baku, Sumgayit, Lankaran and Neftchala by order of the USSR leadership. As a result of the occupying forces’ military aggression 150 civilians were killed, 744 were seriously injured, and 4 people went missing.

The Soviet army sent to the country in order to forcefully suppress the mass protests of the Azerbaijani people and the national independence movement started in response to the discrimination policy of the USSR leadership against the people of Azerbaijan, the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their historical lands in the territory of present-day Armenia, and Armenia’s unfounded territorial claims against Karabakh, committed an unprecedented massacre against the civilian population grossly violating international law and the Constitution.

On January 21, 1990, immediately after the tragic events, at the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan in Moscow, National Leader Heydar Aliyev, demonstrating his solidarity with the Azerbaijani people, strongly condemned the crime committed against the Azerbaijani people, demanded political and legal assessment of the massacre, and punishment of the perpetrators.

At the special session of the MilliMajlis (Parliament) held in February 1994 the brutal killing of innocent people on 20 January 1990 was qualified as military aggression and a crime, and in March 1994 a decision “On the tragic events committed in Baku on 20 January 1990” was adopted. 20 January was declared the National Mourning Day.

20 January tragedy had a decisive influence on the formation of the national identity of Azerbaijan and became a turning point in the restoration of the independence of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani people, who were subjected to military, political, and moral aggression of the Soviet regime 33 years ago, showed commitment to their historical traditions of struggle. On that tragic day, the sons of the motherland, who gave their lives in defense of justice wrote a brilliant page in the heroic chronicle of our people. On January 20, 1990, which was marked in our history as a day of tragedy, as well as of national pride, the Azerbaijani people conveyed to the world that they deserve to live free, sovereign and independent.

Despite the fact that 33 years have passed, the events of 20 January, one of the most terrible crimes committed in the 20th century, in which all international legal documents were grossly violated, were not given an international legal assessment. The leadership of the former Soviet Union is directly responsible for this crime. According to international law, the 20 January tragedy should be qualified as a crime against humanity, and its instigators and perpetrators must be punished.

Today, the souls of our heroic martyrs who gave their lives for the independence of Azerbaijan, as well as for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country are at peace. Under the leadership of the Victorious Commander-in-Chief, the courageous Azerbaijani Army liberated our territories, which were under occupation for 30 years, and the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was restored. Actions against the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will continue to be adequately countered.

We once again commemorate with deep sadness the dearest memory of our compatriots who sacrificed their lives for the territorial integrity of our country, the freedom of our people, and the independence of our state.

Iranian Embassy condemns terror attack that killed Pakistani security forces

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Iranian Embassy condemns terror attack that killed Pakistani security forces

DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Iranian Embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday condemned a terrorist attack in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province that left four security personnel dead earlier in the day.

The embassy in a statement said that terrorism is a common problem facing Iran and Pakistan, with both neighboring countries being victim of that “evil phenomenon.”

The Iranian diplomatic mission in Pakistan’s capital also expressed sympathy with the families of the victims of the terror attack that took place in Balochistan’s Panjgur district.

According to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations, militants “targeted a convoy of security forces patrolling along the border.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the incident, saying “nation pays homage to the sacrifices of their martyred soldiers in line of duty”.

President Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari denounced the attack as well.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb expressed her deep grief over the deaths of the four security forces.

In a statement, she said that the terrorists intend to harm bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran, however “our morale is high and our security forces are determined to defeat the terrorists”, Pakistani media reported her as saying.

ECP notifies IK’s victory on seven NA seats

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Staff Report

                ISLAMABAD, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday declared Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as the winner from the seven constituencies in October’s by-elections by condoning late submission of the details of the by-election expenses by the deposed Prime Minister.

A five-member bench of the Election Commission, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja, announced the verdict it had reserved on December 20 last. The verdict stated that Imran Khan has submitted the required details to the electoral body after which it decided to notify him as the winning candidate on all the seven National Assembly seats.

Earlier, Imran Khan had not submitted the details of the by-election expenses incurred in NA-22, Mardan, NA-24, Charsadda, NA-31, Peshawar, NA-108, Faisalabad-VIII, NA-118, Nankana Sahib-II and NA-239 Korangi, Karachi I, on October 16 while the election on NA-45,Kurram was held on October 30.

The ECP had taken notice of the PTI chief’s failure to submit the details of election expenses for the constituencies he had contested in October 2022. The ECP had stayed the issuance of victory notification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on all National Assembly (NA) seats he won.

What next after the dissolution advice?

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What next after the

dissolution advice?

Ansar Bhatti

ISLAMABAD:  Chief Minister Punjab Ch. Parvez Elahi finally signed the advice seeking dissolution of the Provincial Assembly. He has forwarded the advice to the Governor. The Governor is bound to accept the advice. In case he does not do so, the Punjab Assembly then shall be dissolved automatically in next 48 hours.

After the dissolution, the incumbent chief minister shall write a letter to the leader of the opposition Hamza Shehbaz for choosing the caretaker set up and if they fail to agree on a set up then the matter will go to the parliamentary committee nominated by the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly.

If the parliamentary committee does not reach a consensus in two days then the Speaker will forward the case to the election commission, which will decide the caretaker government. Experts say the election commission shall choose the caretaker chief minister from the names presented by the government and the opposition parties.

The caretaker government then shall be responsible to ensure free and fair elections in 90 days. This is the ideal scenario if everything goes well. The government will try its best to prolong the caretaker government on the pretext of an ongoing census. The matter will certainly go to the courts once again.

There is also a possibility of enforcement of economic emergencies in the country. Legal experts are of the view under this pretext the government may delay the elections for six months. But in order to impose economic emergency the government will have to come up with some solid reasons.

The KP government has not been dissolved. The PTI perhaps wants to make sure that first the Punjab dissolution should take place then it will go for the KP assembly dissolution. The PTI probably still has some doubts that is why it wants to wait for the next 48 when the Punjab assembly dissolution shall come into effect. Perhaps, that is why PTI Chairman Imran Khan delayed his address to the nation.

Meanwhile, the PML N supremo Nawaz Sharif has come down heavily on the PML N leadership for what he thinks is a failure to contain PTI in the Punjab. He is unhappy with the way the leadership had handled the Punjab situation. Some senior leaders have advised him to go for elections instead of continuing at the federal level. However the Shehbaz Sharif camp is strongly opposed to this preposition.

Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal join ranks of MQM-P in bid to reinvigorate party

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KARACHI, JAN 12 (DNA) — In a much-anticipated merger days before the second phase of the local government elections are to be held in 13 districts of Karachi and Hyderabad, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Mustafa Kamal and Farooq Sattar on Thursday joined ranks with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the party threatened that it would not let the local government (LG) polls take place. 

Addressing a press conference with Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Mustafa Kamal, Waseem Akhter, Aamir Khan, MQM Revivial Committee head Farooq Sattar and dozens others, MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said the “gravity” of the situation in Sindh s urban areas necessitated all people to work together. 

The MQM-P leader said, “Under current situation, it is imperative that the people whose families gave their life for Pakistan s existence should come together for a historic battle.”  Mr Siddiqui said those who wanted to divide the country were baffled and assured that the revived MQM-P would fulfill the aspirations of the people and work to advance urban development.

 He went on to say that the political freedom had been curtailed in urban Sindh, adding that the MQM-P had been highlighting the political issues in the province.  The former federal minister further said the MQM-P groups had banded together to thwart any attempts to intrude on the city s true mandate.

 He also expressed gratitude to Mustafa Kamal, Anees Qaimkhani and Farooq Sattar for attending the presser and demonstrating their determination. He said all those present in the presser wished to see Pakistan succeed despite the challenges faced in the past five years. He also alleged that the MQM-P was defeated in the 2018 general election through fraud.

Regarding the second phase of the local government elections in Sindh, the MQM-P convener threatened that the party would not let local government (LG) polls take place on Jan 15. He said the party would participate in the elections only if the delimitation issue stood resolved. He added that if the delimitation was not fixed, the party would fight for its rights. 

The chairman of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Syed Mustafa Kamal, announced that his party would join the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P). This announcement comes a day after the MQM-P held a demonstration in Karachi to protest the holding of local government elections on current delimitation and threatened to leave the ruling coalition if their demands were not met. 

Mr Kamal said the PSP would work under the MQM-P s convener, Khalid Maqbool, and that they would leave their “comfort zones” to work for the betterment of Karachi. He also claimed that Asif Ali Zardari wanted his son Bilawal to be the prime minister. 

The PSP chairman further acknowledged that there were differences between the PSP and MQM-P, but emphasised that the people of Karachi must work together for the betterment of the city as it s crucial contributor to the country s economy. He also criticised the former government, led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the PPP for not doing enough for the city and its people. Mr Kamal stated that the announcement made today would bring positive changes to Karachi and Sindh in the near future. 

Former federal minister and founder of the MQM Organisation Restoration Committee, Dr Farooq Sattar, said the MQM was moving away from its past reputation and becoming a party for intellectuals and educated individuals. He also stated that the MQM should be allowed to fulfill its national responsibility. = DNA

Foreign Minister holds telephone conversation with the Acting Afghan Minister for Foreign Affairs

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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has held a telephone conversation with Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to offer condolences on the dastardly terrorist attack outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul, yesterday.

Condemning the terrorist act in the strongest possible terms, the Foreign Minister underscored that terrorism posed a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and required a collective response. Reaffirming complete solidarity with the Afghan people in countering this menace, the Foreign Minister underlined Pakistan’s commitment to work with Afghanistan towards promoting regional peace and stability.

Nawaz Sharif directs Rana Sana to prevent dissolution of Punjab Assembly

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LAHORE, Jan 12 (DNA): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz
Sharif has directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to take every
possible step to avert dissolution of the Punjab Assembly.

Rana Sanaullah, in a telephonic conversation, briefed Nawaz Sharif on
legal and constitutional means to stop Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez
Elahi from dissolving the provincial assembly.

Sources privy to the development said the PDM was mulling over a
no-confidence motion against CM Elahi, which would be submitted after
approval from Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. Nawaz Sharif and party’s
chief organiser Maryam Nawaz had expressed displeasure with party’s
provincial leadership after Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi
secured the vote of confidence on Thursday.

Sources said Nawaz Sharif had sought a report from party leaders over
failure to persuade dissident members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
(PTI) as at least seven lawmakers were in contact with the Pakistan
Democratic Movement (PDM). Rana Sanaullah, while submitting a
preliminary report to the party supremo, urged Maryam Nawaz to return to
Pakistan as her extended stay abroad would adversly affect popularity of
the party.

Parvez Elahi obtained a vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly at a
special session of the provincial assembly in the wee hours of Thursday.
As many as 186 members of the ruling coalition reposed confidence in the
leadership of the chief minister, while the opposition alliance PDM
boycotted the session.

Speaking on the floor of the House after obtaining the vote of
confidence, Parvez Elahi said the constitutional and legal process had
been completed in the Punjab Assembly and added that this was the real
surprise for the PML-N-led opposition alliance. 

Pervez Elahi gets trust vote

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Pervez Elahi

gets trust vote

Bureau Report/DNA

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi finally obtained the trust vote late night on Wednesday. The 187 members of PTI and Q League were present in the assembly. Imran Khan and Pervez Elahi before the vote held a detailed discussion on the issue and decided to take trust vote.

 Earlier, Punjab Assembly went through a chaotic day as government allies demonstrated the support for CM Pervaiz Elahi by bringing the required numbers into the assembly.

Earlier, in conversation with a private television channel, Fawad said that a total of 185 lawmakers of the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) were present in the session, while two members were on their way to the assembly. Later those members also reached the Assembly, he claimed.

Sources privy to the development said the team of the provincial government was in contact constantly to bring the lawmakers to the Punjab Assembly, adding that after the completion of the numbers game, the vote of confidence would be taken.

The development came after the Lahore High Court (LHC) ruled that the “governor is empowered to ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence during an ongoing session” — a notion that the PTI had strongly rejected time and again.

The LHC’s order came when it held a hearing on CM Elahi’s plea against his de-notification by Punjab Governor Baligh-Ur-Rehman. The governor removed the chief minister from the post last month through a notification after he failed to take a vote of confidence within the stipulated time.

Fawad added that once the vote of confidence is taken, the petition filed in the high court would be withdrawn and the summary for dissolving both the legislative of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be sent today (Thursday).

President Alvi for  boosting  Pak-UK bilateral trade ties

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Appreciatesthe inclusion of Pakistan in the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS)

Mahnoor Ansar

Islamabad, January 11, 2023: President Dr Arif Alvi has underlined the need to take tangible steps to increase bilateral trade between Pakistan and the UK, which stood at £3.1 billion in 2021, to US$ 10 billion per year in a short span of time by fully utilizing the existing opportunities, exploring new avenues and markets, diversifying products and services, and ensuring economic and political stability in the country.

The President expressed these views while talking to UK’s outgoing High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner, who called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, today.

Talking to the outgoing High Commissioner, the President said that enhanced bilateral cooperation to substantially increase trade and investment from the UK in Pakistan would also help in improving the economic conditions of the country, besides creating jobs to reduce unemployment and sustain higher growth rates in coming years.

The President said that the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), which would replace the GSP in early 2023, would provide tariff reductions and simpler terms to Pakistan including duty-free exports of over 94% of goods from Pakistan to the UK.

He appreciated the inclusion of Pakistan in the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) and expressed the desire to fast-track the progress on the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to substantially enhance trade and signing of an agreement between the two sides for the launch of Trade Dialogue in the coming months. 

During the meeting, the President appreciated that 120 British companies were operating in Pakistan with cumulative investments of around $10 billion and noted that FDI increased by 22% in the financial year 2020-21 rising from US$117 million to US$143 million. He also appreciated that over the last five years up to 2019, Pakistan averaged as the largest recipient of the UK’s bilateral overseas development aid (ODA) in Asia.

The President stressed the need to create bilateral Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) and Enhanced Strategic Partnership by developing a 10-year roadmap for taking relations forward in diverse fields, including trade, investment and climate change.

He expressed the need to further deepen the cooperation between Pakistan and UK in defence and security cooperation, and counter-terrorism cooperation and thanked the UK government for its assistance and support for safe city projects in Islamabad and Lahore and the establishment of a forensic lab in Lahore and extended support to counterterrorism department.

The President said that Pakistan suffered from a catastrophic global warming-induced super flood whereas Pakistan’s contribution towards global warming was less than 1%. He added that 33 million people were affected by the floods, millions lost livelihoods, millions of livestock were lost, and millions of acres of crops were destroyed. He said that the international community should help mitigate the impacts of global warming and climate change, and help vulnerable countries build resilience against climate change.

During the meeting, the President also urged the need for engaging the highly qualified and knowledgeable Pakistani diaspora in the UK and creating a system through the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and the Virtual University of Pakistan (VU) to transfer their knowledge, expertise and intellect to Pakistani students and to improve the country’s education system. He also emphasized creating linkages among UK’s Higher Education Institutions with AIOU and VU for the exchange of faculty, and cooperation in the critical fields of Science and Technology, including IT.

During the meeting, the increasing permeation of Hindutva philosophy in Indian society was also discussed. The President emphasised that the international community should take notice of the increasing intimidation, harassment and marginalization of minorities, especially Muslims, in India and take tangible steps to pressurize India to give minorities their due rights.

During the meeting, the High Commissioner said that Pakistan with its English-speaking workforce and its proximity to the Middle East was ideally placed for making investments by the UK-based companies. He said that the certainty in the economic outlook, political stability and sustained policies would further help in attracting UK investment in Pakistan.

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China to provide $100 mn additional aid to Pakistan

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When coupled with the nearly $200 million in flood relief provided before from the Chinese government, this brings the total China commitment to date to nearly $300 million

DNA

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 11 (): China will provide an additional $100 million to continue supporting Pakistan’s recovery efforts from the devastating 2022 floods, announced Luo Zhaohui, chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), while attending the International Conference on Climate-Resilient Pakistan held in Geneva.

Also, regarding the technical assistance, from 2023 to 2025, China plans to train 1,000 technical staff and officials focusing on disaster prevention and management, Luo added.

According to a report published by Gwadar Pro, this funding reinforces China’s commitment to the Pakistani people and will help address the climate crisis. 

When coupled with the nearly $200 million in flood relief provided before from the Chinese government, this brings the total China commitment to date to nearly $300 million.

“We have also carried out projects including smart hydrology, rehabilitation housing and mobile medical vehicles. We will continue to provide real-time weather and disaster early-warning service; We have provided a post-disaster assessment report after Chinese experts’ visit to the disaster sites in Pakistan. 

We will be happy to share the experience in reconstruction and engage with Pakistani officials in this regard; We are also considering setting up the South-Asia Disaster Relief Supplies Reserve,” he pinpointed.


Officials from some 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions are gathering for a meeting in Geneva on January 9 as Islamabad seeks help covering around half of a total recovery bill of $16.3 billion.

Pakistan said that donors had committed to giving more than $8 billion to help it recover from last year’s devastating floods in what is seen as a major test for those who pay for climate disasters.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb sent a tweet saying that pledges had reached $8.57 billion – more than the $8bn it had initially sought. The Pakistani government will provide $8bn from its own funds towards the “resilient Pakistan” programme.

Responding to this, Prime Minister noted in his Twitter account that the world has witnessed how nations can come together in a show of solidarity to create a model of a “win-win partnership” to lift suffering humanity out of tragedy. “I was deeply moved by the compassion on display at Geneva Conference. Together we will rebuild lives and hopes,” he added.

Water is still receding from the floods caused by monsoon rains and melting glaciers which killed at least 1,700 people and displaced around 8 million in Pakistan.

PM praises friends  of Pakistan for  generous support

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Shehbaz Sharif says Pakistan will never disappoint his benefactors; Bilawal assures transparency in utilization of funds on rightful projects

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday said the world reposed trust in Pakistan and pledged worth over $9 billion in flood aid despite indiscriminate propaganda by the rivals — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Addressing the media the premier said the government would continue to help the people affected by cataclysmic floods till their complete rehabilitation.

“At the conference, pledges worth $9.7 billion were announced for the Pakistan flood victims,” the PM said, congratulating his federal ministers for the hard work they and their teams put in before this critical conference.

“Islamic Development Bank promised $4.2 billion, World Bank $2 billion, Saudi Arab $1 billion, Asian Infrastructure Development Bank $1 billion, Asian Development Bank $500 million, USAID $100 million, China $100 million, Italy €23 million, Japan $77 million, Qatar $25 million, UK £36 million, and France $10 million,” the prime minister said.

The premier said that the world reposed trust in Pakistan despite the worst propaganda against the government, crediting his team for the success. “The ball is now in our court. We now have to transparently spend every single penny on the people’s prosperity.”

He said the presence of the representatives of all the provinces at the conference sent the message to the world that “we are united”. “The global community showed confidence in the coalition government of Pakistan.”

The prime minister hailed Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad Bin Salman for his continuous assistance to Pakistan and generous support.

Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, pointing toward PM Shehbaz, said “your foreign policy has been successful”. The top Pakistani diplomat, who was with the premier at the conference, said the government achieved two targets with one shot.

The support from the international community proved that Pakistan is not isolated as propagated by the government’s rivals, indirectly referring to the PTI. The PPP chairman added that now they would put in concerted efforts and help flood victims to steer them out of the crisis.

Rain-snowfall over the hills expected in western and upper parts during the weekend

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                ISLAMABAD, Jan 05 (dna):A westerly wave entering north Balochistan on Friday night will bring light to moderate rain in western and upper parts of the country during the weekend, according to the advisory issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

The met office informed that a westerly wave is likely to enter north Balochistan on Friday (evening or night) and likely to grip upper parts on weekend.

Under the influence of this weather system, light to moderate rain with snowfall over the hills is expected in Quetta, Zhob, Barkhan, Ziarat, Nokkundi, Dalbandin, Harnai, Qilla Saifullah, Qilla Abdullah, Chaman and Pishin on January 07-08.

Moderate rain with snowfall over the hills is also expected in Murree, Galiyat,  Neelum valley, Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Hattian, Bagh, Haveli, Sudhanoti, Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur, Diamir, Astore, Ghizer, Skardu, Hunza, Gilgit, Ghanche and Shigar Chitral, Dir, Swat, Malakand, Kohistan, Mansehra and Abbottabad from January 07-09.

Light rain is also expected in Islamabad, Potohar region, Charsadda, Bajaur, Kurram, Waziristan and Kohat during the weekend.

About the possible impacts, the met office revealed that rain will be beneficial for the standing crops especially in Barani areas.

Foggy conditions are likely to reduce during the forecast period while day temperatures are likely to fall (05-07) degree celsius during the wet spell.

Snowfall may disrupt normal vehicular traffic in mountainous/hilly areas

Possibility of landslides in Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan can’t be ruled out due to which blockage of roads may occur

during the forecast period

All concerned authorities are advised to remain cautious to avoid any untoward situation during the forecast period.

‘Powerful’ committee must probe bid on life: Imran Khan

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‘Powerful’ committee

must probe bid on life

Insists 3 shooters involved in Wazirabad assassination bid

Ali Hamza

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Thursday demanded the formation of a powerful committee, under Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s supervision, to probe the Wazirabad assassination bid.

In a press conference, Khan said: “I earlier stated this as well that I only hope for justice from one place [SC] as powerful people will not allow the investigation to take place.”

Khan was shot in the leg on December 3 as he waved to crowds from a truck-mounted container while leading a protest march to Islamabad to pressure the government into announcing an early election — but it was cut short in Rawalpindi.

Hinting at the involvement of the armed forces in his attack, Khan said that although the Pakistan Army was a top institution that serves its country, there are “black sheep” in every institute.

“Now, I want the person who planned to have me killed to cooperate with the JIT. These people are intentionally obstructing justice,” the ex-premier said.

The PTI chief earlier blamed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and a senior military officer for allegedly being involved in his assassination bid. 

Khan further said that when Naveed, the suspect in the assassination bid, was arrested, his confessional video statement was released almost immediately “even when I had not reached the hospital after getting shot at”.

The PTI chief said that Naveed claimed he was working alone. “He was programmed to say this.”

The ex-prime minister claimed that the suspect was asked to say that he was working alone as if there had been someone aiding him, then he could not be called a “religious fanatic”.

Khan said the police quickly recorded the video statement of the suspect and disseminated it among “journalists and television channels” who work against the PTI.

Talks with Afghan Govt, not terrorists 

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Khayam Abbasi

ISLAMABAD, JAN 05 (DNA) — Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday announced that it has been decided not to negotiate with any terrorist or terrorist organization and if there are negotiations, it will be with the Afghan government.

According to a private news channel, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah held a press conference with Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony in Islamabad on Thursday.

Talking to the media persons, Rana Sanaullah said political stability is essential for economic stability so they will go in talks with the Afghan government if needed. He strongly criticized the political style of Imran Khan and said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman is a fraud as he has not received any bullet in his body but pretended to get four shots.

Sanaullah said it is fact that the wound heals in two weeks if there is no fracture by the reason of the bullet. The interior minister confirmed that there is footage from every angle of the Wazirabad incident and he is assured that the accused Naveed did the attack himself and no one was behind him. He added that only one shot was fired from the container and it hit Muazzam.

Sanaullah said former Prime Minister Imran Khan sold the entire Toshakhana and now running an anti-national campaign about Pakistan’s default. He said the Punjab government is active in covering up the crimes of Farah Gogi and his followers. He added that property worth 7 to 8 billion rupees has been registered in the name of Farah Gogi.

The interior minister announced that the Ministry of Religious Affairs has compiled an authentic version of the Holy Quran which will be used as a reference at all levels. He added that the authentic version of the Holy Quran will also be approved by the Provincial Quran Board. On this occasion, Religious Affairs Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor said protecting the Holy Quran is their religious duty.

PTI announces countrywide protest against inflation

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PTIannounces

countrywide protest

against inflation

In the first phase, PTI’s lawmakers would lead the protests for three weeks

Ali Hamza/DNA

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehrkeek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced Thursday it would start a country-wide protest movement starting today (Friday) as the party seeks to force the coalition government into early elections.

The PTI has been repeatedly calling for snap elections since ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s ouster in April as it refuses to go back to the National Assembly and keeps on stressing that “early polls” are the only solution to the country’s ongoing crisis.

“From Friday, country-wide protests will start against rising inflation, deteriorating economy, and shortage of gas,” PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry told journalists in Lahore after the party’s high-level meeting with Khan in the chair.

In the first phase, Fawad said PTI’s members of national and provincial assemblies would lead the protests for three weeks in their constituencies across the country.

“After three weeks, Imran Khan will join the campaign and this process will continue till this government is ousted,” the PTI leader said, asking the nation to join hands with the party.

The announcement to return to the streets comes after PTI’s chief in November called off the long march in Rawalpindi and announced plans for the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, but it is yet to materialise.

The dissolution of the KP Assembly has been linked to Punjab, whose disbandment plans hit a snag last week when the Lahore High Court reinstated ParvezElahi as Punjab’s chief minister and ordered him to not dissolve the legislative.

Fawad said PTI and its ally, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), have a majority — 190 lawmakers — in the Punjab Assembly, and they are currently mulling over the vote of confidence.

“We will try that CM Elahi takes a vote of confidence before January 11. 177 Punjab Assembly lawmakers are in contact with us,” the former information minister said.

He also blamed Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman for becoming part of “a conspiracy” in de-notifying Elahi as the chief minister. “The governor and the chief secretary will have to come to the assembly and answer for their actions.”

Challenges posed by resurgence of the TTP

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Challenges posed by resurgence of the TTP

Comment

Ansar M Bhatti

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has started taking a heavy toll on especially the security forces personnel of Pakistan. In the recent spate of terrorism at least a dozen of security personnel have embraced martyrdom while scores of others sustained serious injuries. The TTP unleashed a reign of terror when it had pulled out of the agreement made with the Pakistan government in September this year. The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced an end to the months-long “indefinite ceasefire”, accusing the government of breaching the agreement brokered by the Afghan Taliban.

TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani in a statement had claimed that the Pakistani government made no efforts to make the negotiations successful “so it is not possible to continue the ceasefire”. The reasons cited by the TTP for ending the ceasefire included non-release of prisoners, continued military operations and lack of communication from the government of Pakistan. The militants claimed that the government released some of their prisoners but re-arrested them in violation of the agreement.

On the announcement of the end of the ceasefire, TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali said that they had never refused meaningful negotiations and it was part of Shariah law. But no progress was made during these negotiations. Therefore, the armed struggle would continue, he announced.

The talks between Pakistan and the outlawed TTP had reached a deadlock as the militant group refused to budge from its demand for the reversal of the merger of erstwhile FATA with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. There has also been a stalemate over the issue of TTP laying down their arms in case of a peace deal, which would enable them to return to their homeland.

Pakistan, in August 2022, had sent a delegation to break the stalemate. Following the visit of a delegation of Ulema led by Mufti Taqi Usmani, a tribal jirga visited Kabul. The purpose of the Ulema delegation’s visit was to use the good offices of the religious clerics to persuade the TTP to withdraw its demand for FATA merger and other contentious issues. However, the TTP leadership did not give any firm assurance as Ulema also pressed them to lay down their arms and return to Pakistan. Usmani had termed his visit positive but did not mention his interaction with the TTP.

Apart from FATA merger issue the TTP, ostensibly on the insistence of Afghan Taliban, has been pressurizing Pakistani authorities to do away with the fencing along the Pak-Afghan border- a demand the Pakistani authorities had turned down vehemently. An estimated expense of around six million US dollars was incurred on the fencing project therefore it was simply impossible to wrap it up. The TTP albeit never made this demand part of the negotiations Terms of References (TORs) nevertheless it tacitly continued to put pressure in favour of this demand.

Then, recently the Pakistan government banned export of American currency to Afghanistan in the wake of depleting foreign exchange reserves of the country. This check was not very well received within the Taliban ranks as hitherto they had been thieving on these dollars. About $2 billion used to go to Afghanistan from Pakistan in the form of official and unofficial trade, misuse of Afghan transit trade, smuggling and through the borders.

Another mind boggling question is as to how the TTP managed to immediately regroup itself and started coordinated acts of terrorism. The answer is that when the Pakistani authorities launched operations to root out the menace of terrorism be it Operation Raddul Fasad or Operation Zarb-e-Azb, these outfits were perhaps not eliminated altogether. At that time the mantra of good Taliban and bad Taliban was also in action due to which a number of TTP men managed to go scot free only because the authorities believed that they would behave in future. That approach however seems to have backfired as the good Taliban appears to have reunited with the bad ones and both of them have now girded up their loins against Pakistan.

In addition to that the Taliban phenomenon is not just a name of some armed personnel seeking undue largesse, it has now turned into a mindset and that mindset is present in the very ranks of our society. It is not necessary that only the bearded people should represent this mindset, even those hailing from the so-called liberal class may also be representing this mindset. While it is possible to defeat forces that are putting up physical challenges, it is next to impossible to eliminate the mindset phenomenon. To do away with the mindset issue the authorities concerned have to address social and cultural anomalies, which have penetrated deep into our milieu. Bad governance; lack of rule of law; nepotism; acute corruption; absence of merit happen to be some of the factors that have contributed towards disenchantment of all and sundry and thus leading to creation of very mindset.

One thing is for sure the TTP cannot do anything without the support of the Afghan Taliban. As mentioned above Pakistan did try to make friends with the new Afghan government but all efforts have gone down the drain. The recent effort proved highly counterproductive when Pakistan sent a delegation to Kabul which was spearheaded by Hina Rabbani Khar. Even those who would otherwise defend this government despite all its weaknesses, did not like that idea.  It was indeed a miscalculated and strategically wrong move to send a woman to talk with those who simply hate women’s role either in politics or any other sphere.

The TTP chose a time for its subversive acts when Pakistan’s political and economic situation was in dire straits. For the government the biggest and foremost task appears to be delaying of general elections till the time it may be in a position to grab some seats while the opposition is hell bent upon getting a date for early elections come what may. The security establishment seems to be in a state of to be or not be as the new leadership obviously needs some time to grapple with the situation.

If the status quo persists then unfortunately there is a likelihood of more such acts, which, God forbid, may take away more precious lives. The stakeholders therefore need to rise to the occasion in the larger interest of the country before it gets too late. 

All sectors of the economy must be developed equally: President

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All sectors of the economy must

be developed equally: President

Pakistan needs investment, foreign exchange and economic activities and the business community of the country is playing an important role in this regard, Khursheed Barlas.

event.

DNA

Islamabad (PR) The closing ceremony of the second Pakistan International Property Expo and Convention organized by the Pakistan Association of Exhibition Industry was held at the President’s House.

In which a large number of foreign diplomats, members of the housing and construction sector, government officials and various business communities associated with the tourism industry participated. Addressing the ceremony, the President said that the government is focusing on the development of the construction and housing sector. is giving because it has played a significant role in creating employment opportunities in the country, driving growth and economic development and meeting the housing needs of the growing population.

President Dr. Arif Alvi has stressed the need to adopt environment-friendly, energy-saving and cost-effective construction and housing methods to provide quality housing to the people, saying that promoting vertical construction in the country will help the poor. And providing low-cost and affordable housing to the lower middle class can help overcome space scarcity in urban areas, prevent unplanned growth of cities and protect agricultural land from encroachment. The President said. That no society can develop until it lifts the weak and poor sections of the society out of the trap of poverty.

He said that public and private sectors need to work together to rehabilitate slum dwellers and solve their problems. He said that slums are suffering from lack of urban facilities, inclusive and poor-friendly development should be promoted in the country so that no one is left behind and the fruits of development reach all sections of the population. Instead of concentrating activities and initiatives in a few urban centers, active steps should be taken to bring the less developed areas of the country at par with other areas.

The President urged the business community to take active and practical steps to increase the representation and participation of women in various sectors of the economy, especially the housing and construction sector. He called for inclusion of women in trade including providing a conducive, women-friendly and harassment-free environment at workplaces. The President said that all sectors of the economy must be developed equally, public and private sectors should find a comprehensive solution to the problems faced by the economy.

. He expressed his full confidence in Pakistan’s human and natural resources and the nation’s ability to deal with the challenges they face. The President also emphasized the need to encourage experts in every sector, including housing and construction. He also made joint ventures globally in various sectors to promote Brand Pakistan and organized exhibitions, seminars and conferences in all parts of Pakistan and around the world to promote trade and investment (PAE). I) praised the administration.

Speaking at the ceremony, the founding chairman of Pakistan International Property Expo and Convention, Khurshid Barlas said that Pakistan International Property Expo and Convention is making efforts to promote Pakistan, improve the reputation of Pakistan, and increase trade and investment in the country. Islamabad Property Expo proved that business conditions can be improved if patronized. I am very grateful to all these institutions and our partners who supported us and played their full role in making this Islamabad Expo a success. what Chairman Khurshid Barlas said that our aim is to bring investment in the country and increase exports. Around 500 different events, conferences, seminars and expos have been organized He said that Pakistan needs investment, foreign exchange and economic activities and the business community of the country is playing an important role in this regard. He also emphasized on regulating the construction sector of the country and training people involved in construction and housing sector. Earlier, the President distributed shields to the representatives of the companies in the housing and construction sector for their exceptional performance.

US ‘continuing to discuss ways’ to help Pakistan deal with TTP threats

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WASHINGTON: The US Friday reiterated that it seeks a “strong partnership” with Pakistan on counterterrorism and said that it is “continuing to discuss ways that we can be most effective” to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats.

When asked to comment on Washington’s calls to assist Islamabad to deal with TTP threats amid a spike in terror incidents, a State Department spokesperson, in an email response to Geo.tv, said, “We seek a strong partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism and expect sustained action against all militant and terrorist groups without distinction.”

The official said that both countries have suffered terribly from the scourge of terrorism.

“We look forward to cooperative efforts to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats and are continuing to discuss ways that we can be most effective in this regard,” the spokesperson added.

The US has said on multiple occasions that it is ready to help Pakistan as the country deals with resurgent TTP. The banned outfit has launched attacks on the security forces using Afghanistan’s soil.

The matter also came up during Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto’s phone call with his US counterpart Antony Blinkon this week.

Blinken, according to a statement, offered his condolences for lives lost in recent terrorist attacks and underscored the United States’ resolute support for Pakistan as its combats terrorism.

Earlier this week, the State Department maintained that Pakistan remains a partner of the US when it comes to shared challenges, including the challenge of terrorist groups — terrorist groups inside Afghanistan, and terrorist groups along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

During a press briefing on Monday, Spokesperson Ned Price said that the department has been following reports that militants have seized control of the counterterrorism centre in Bannu and offered deepest sympathies to those injured.

“We have partnered with our Pakistani friends to take on — to help them take on this challenge. We stand ready to assist, whether with this unfolding situation or more broadly,” the spokesperson had said.

The spokesperson had further said that there were terrorist groups present in Afghanistan, in the Afghan-Pakistan border region that present a clear threat not only to Pakistan but potentially to countries and people beyond.

“We are in regular dialogue with our Pakistani partners. We are prepared to help with taking on the threats they face,” the spokesperson had said.

One cop martyred, several injured in Islamabad suicide attack

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ISLAMABAD: At least one cop was martyred, while multiple were injured on Friday in a suicide attack in the Federal Capital’s I-10 area, Deputy Inspector General Operations Sohail Zafar Chattha told the media. 

The law enforcement agency has cordoned of the area after the explosion. 

Addressing the media at the blast site, DIG Chattha said that members of the Eagle Squad stopped a suspicious taxi for checking when the suicide attacker detonated himself.  

The DIG said that the attacker blew himself after he came back in his car.  He added that a women and man were in the taxi when the explosion occurred. 

“Police personnel saved Islamabad from a major disaster with courage and presence of mind,” said DIG Chattha. He added that four cops were injured in the attack.  

Meanwhile, Director of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Dr Khalid Masood that they have received 10 injured. He added that apart from the martyred cop, two other dead bodies had arrived at the hospital.

The martyred cop was identified as Head Constable Adeel Hussain.

PM summons report

Soon after the blast, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif summoned a report of the suicide blast and also condemned the terror incident.

The PM also paid tribute to the martyred policemen, adding that the nation pays tribute to its martyrs. He added that the whole nation will fight against terrorism. 

“The plan to shed innocent blood has failed due to the action of the law enforcement agencies,” said the PM. He also announced a martyr package for the family of Head Constable Adeel Hussain.

Prime Minister inquires about health of Bannu victims

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Rawalpindi, 22 December, 2022: Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif met officers and soldiers at CMH Rawalpindi who got injured during CTD complex Bannu Operation. PM paid tribute to courage and valour of troops who cleared CTD complex Bannu. PM said that the Martyrs and their families have rendered supreme sacrifices for ensuring safety and security of people of Pakistan. 

PM said that we are determined to fight out terrorism in its all forms and manifestations and breaking nexus between terrorists, their supporters and sympathisers till achieving peaceful and stable environment. Writ of the state will be established at all cost and no one will be allowed to derailed the hard earned gains of war on terror achieved through unparalleled sacrifices of the Nation and valiant Armed Forces , PM said.

Donors moot for flood victims in Geneva on Jan 9

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Donors moot for flood

victims in Geneva on Jan 9

France had proposed to hold this conference to help Pakistani flood affected people

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD:  The International donors conference to help the flood victims of Pakistan is scheduled to be held in Geneva on January 09, 2023. The UN Secretary General António Guterres and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif shall chair this conference.

The President of France Emanuel Macron had proposed to hold this conference during his meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Macron had said that Paris will help the South Asian nation in its current difficult situation.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif launched the Resilient, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework (4RF) for Pakistan Floods. The report is prepared by the World Bank in consultations with the Pakistani authorities including the Ministry of Planning and Development spearheaded by Ahsan Iqbal.

The report is to be presented during the upcoming donors’ conference for the perusal of the participating countries. It is likely that various countries would pledge support for Pakistan. Sources privy to this development are of the view that most of the aid is likely to be channeled through different UN agencies in order to ensure transparency.

E-PAPER DEC 20

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E-PAPER DEC 20

ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE OF HUNGARY EXHIBITED IN LAHORE

0

One year after the unforgettable exhibition in the Lahore Fort of the paintings of August Schoefft restored by experts from Hungary,on Friday the Hungarian Embassy was back with its brand new project in the cultural capital of Pakistan. This time the Embassy displayed the beautiful photo collection of the Islamic architectural heritage of Hungary. The venue of the event, the Grand Hall of the College of Art and Design, University of the Punjab had a symbolic meaning being just a few steps away from the Oriental College founded by the Hungarian professor Dr. Wilhelm Leitner.

Ali Hamza/DNA

LAHORE, Dec 09 (DNA): Embassy of Hungary organized an exhibition on Islamic Architectural Heritage of Hungary in collaboration with the College of Art and Design, University of the Punjab, at their historic Grand Hall. The exhibition is conceived with an idea of highlighting the architectural heritage from the 16-17th century Ottoman period of Hungary (Madjaristan).

Speaking at the inauguration Béla Fazekas Ambassador of Hungary to Pakistan, mentioned that there are hardly any European countries; apart from Spain and the countries of the Balkans, in which Muslim memories complement the range of architectural styles. This rich Ottoman Islamic architectural heritage of Hungary is represented by well preserved and renovated mosques, minarets, tombs and hammams those were built by the finest artists of the time. These are the northernmost examples of Ottoman architecture in a non-Muslim European cultural environment.

In his opening remarks the Ambassador highlighted that „even if the large majority of your country belongs to one religion it does not mean that you can afford the luxury of not taking care of the rich cultural heritage of the minority people. It is not only a generosity, but a great potential for the religious tourism.”.

Béla Fazekas also mentioned that later on the Embassy was planning to take the exhibition to Islamabad and Peshawar as well.

Principal of the college Prof.Dr. Sumera Jawad, explained the students about the value and contribution of Muslimarchitectural art in Europe and precisely in Hungary.Teachers, students, journalists and people from different walks of life visited the gallery and appreciated the initiative.

Legendary Sain Zahoor and Zarsanga steal the show

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Serena Hotels and Aga Khan Trust for Cultural Services

Honour the Pakistan iLaureates of the Aga Khan Music Awards 2022

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Serena Hotels and the Aga Khan Trust for Cultural Services hosted an evening celebrating the laureates of the “Aga Khan Music Awards” that was established in 2018 by His Highness to recognize and develop exceptional creativity, promise and enterprise in music, and music education in societies across the world where Muslim communities have a significant presence.

The event was attended by prominent dignitaries including Diplomats, Federaland Provincial Ministers, Government functionaries, Representatives from Corporate Sector, and business community and media houses. The evening was illuminated by live performances by the award winners Sufi Music Legends Sain Zahoor and Zarsanga along with a performance by the students of Leif Larson Music Centre

The Leif LarsenMusic Centre,which was established in April 2011,at the Altit Fort with the intention of training young generation on the use of old musical instrumentsfor ensuring the cultural music of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.

Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena Hotels, complimented the efforts of the Aga Khan Award winners Zarsanga and Sain Zahoor of Traditional, Folk, and Sufi music. The Laurates are international representatives of our musical heritage and deserve global recognition.

Tauseef Ahmed,CEO AKCSP briefed the audience regarding vision of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture programmesi.e., like the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, the Aga Khan Music Program, and the Aga Khan Museum. He also gave the presentation on the Aga Khan music awards 2022.

The Laureates of the 2022 Aga Khan music award selected 15 top performers for the main award by a master jury out of 400 nominees from 42 nations. They share the prize money of  $ 500,000 USD was shared by the 15 award winners.

The award winners from Pakistan were the “Queen of Pashtu”Zarsanga and the “Mystical Punjabi Sufi Singer”Sain Zahoor, whose work stands out on its own as being unique and standalone power houses. The award ceremony was hosted in October 2022, in Muscat, Oman in a two-day musical gala held at the Royal Opera House of Musical Arts. The awards presentation marked the culmination of a spirited celebration, featuring the laureates, who showcased their talent on a global platform.

Key appointments: All’s well that ends well

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Key appointments: All’s well that ends well

The PTI long march is likely to end up in a public meeting and that is it

Comment

Ansar M Bhatti

Let me begin this piece by borrowing the last paragraph of my article published in this newspaper on Tuesday November 22, 2022 which reads,” Pakistan has literally become a laughing stock in the eyes of many, especially our adversaries. The situation therefore demands better sense to prevail. The leading political parties’ i.e PTI and PML N need to rise to the occasion. They have to shelve their personal liking and disliking for the greater interest of Pakistan. They must keep in mind that they would not get anything if things go out of control and non-political forces are left with no option but to make an immediate intervention”.

On Thursday, November 24 the Prime Minister appointed the senior most Lt. General Syed Asim Munir Shah as the Army Chief and second in the seniority list Lt. General Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Both of them now have become the four star generals and will have another three years to service the force. The better sense finally prevailed and the PTI leadership instead of creating any hurdles decided to accept this decision or maybe they did not have any other choice. Whatever may have been the consideration behind the decision to approve these appointments, one thing is for sure that their move will help achieve some sort of political stability albeit the economic stability will continue to pose some serious challenges.

The PTI perhaps played smart by immediately acceding to the Prime Minister proposal regarding these two key appointments. The PML N and allied parties wanted the PTI leadership to sit on this decision. In that case bad blood would have been created between the PTI leadership and the newly-appointed military leadership. But to the disappointment of the government ranks, Imran Khan rather acted in a wise manner and thus avoided any possible face-off with the new military leadership, at least for the time being.

As mentioned in my earlier article, the PTI chairman in the beginning told his confidantes that he would accept anybody as the army chief but not Asim Munir. However afterwards he changed his tone and tenor by publicly pronouncing that he won’t mind whosoever is elevated to these highest offices. Now when the dust has settled, it is time for some musings. The incumbent army chief will have a great onus on his shoulders. Since Imran Khan had built a narrative as if General Asim Munir had any soft corner for the PML N therefore he may try to corner the PTI. Independent sources strongly believe that there was never a connection between the newly-appointed army chief and PML N leadership. A senior PML N leader, on the condition of not being named, said that since Imran Khan when he as prime minister had removed Asim Munir from the post of DG ISI only after months of his appointment as the spy master, therefore PML N leadership presumed as if after becoming the army chief he might try to settle scores.

The only technical problem with the appointment of Asim Munir as the army chief was his retirement date, but the Cabinet during its meeting on Thursday had frozen his retirement date, which means even if the President would have delayed the approval, Asim Munir would still continue with his job. Anyhow thanks to some saner elements those things were not driven to that extreme.

Now the question is how would the PTI react in public? One thing is for sure that the party has decided not to stage any sit-in Islamabad. The senior party leaders said that the PTI leadership will now try to have some political dialogue in order to pave the way for the elections. The senior leaders also told me that the Saturday’s long march gathering may not turn into a dharna, as earlier announced by the party leadership. It will be just a procession where Imran Khan would deliver his speech and announce his future course of action. My understanding is that Imran Khan will move cautiously on this issue and may not take a hard line regarding these appointments. However he may express his and party’s wish that they would like to see the new military leadership acting in an absolutely impartial manner. And for the military it should not be a problem because General Qamar Javed Bajwa in his last address had made it clear that the army, as an institution, had decided to keep away from politics.

Another challenge the new military leadership will have to tackle is to manage cordial relations with especially friendly countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and China for Pakistan’s economic well-being is directly linked to smooth relations with these countries. One should hope that these friendly countries would also welcome these appointments and move forward for a shared and prosperous future for the people of these countries.

All said and done, unfortunately there are certain elements, even in the media, that are trying to pitch PTI and the new military leadership against each other. They are making all our efforts to prove that General Asim Munir managed to become the army chief despite stiff resistance and opposition from the PTI leadership. Even if that may be the case, it does not look prudent to add fuel to fire when things are already settling down. These hawks, no matter which party they belong to, need to be discouraged. The country is already at the verge of default. Any further confrontation would only prove a recipe for disaster.

The PTI under the given circumstances would need a face saving, which is possible only if the government agrees to announce elections. After latest developments, it seems difficult for the PTI to get its demands fulfilled through any coercive means. After Imran Khan’s bids to mend fences with the USA, he probably would like have tension-free ties with the military establishment as well, which for many analysts, appears to be a judicious move.

DGISPR denounces Indian Army’s unfounded allegations of so-called launchpads in AJK

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                ISLAMABAD, Nov 24 (dna):Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR DG) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Thursday denounced the unfounded allegations of so-called launchpads in Azad Jammu and Kashmir by a senior official of the Indian Army. 

In an ISPR news release here received, the ISPR DG said the unwarranted statement of a high-ranking Indian Army Officer concerning Azad Jammu and Kashmir was an apt manifestation of Indian Armed Forces’ delusional mindset and showcases the vivid imprint of domestic political showboating on Indian military thought.

Maj General Babar said the fallacious remarks and unfounded allegations of so called “launch-pads” and “terrorists” were an attempt to divert attention from Indian Army’s repressive use of force and gross human rights violations against innocent, unarmed Kashmiris striving for their right to self-determination, upheld by International Law and enshrined in UN Security Council Resolutions.

“The Indian General Officer’s lofty claims and surreal ambition is intellectually insulting. Pakistan military is a force for good and a proponent of regional peace and stability. This desire for peace, however, is matched with our capability and preparation to thwart any misadventure or aggression against our territory, an assertion comprehensively validated on numerous occasions, including recently in the Balakot episode,” he added.

In the interest of peace for the region, he said the Indian military would do well to abstain from irresponsible rhetoric and vitriolic communication to shore up electoral support for their political masters’ regressive ideology.

Korean govt donates USD 1.5 million for Afghan refugees

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Korean govt donates USD 1.5 million for Afghan refugees

Mahnoor Ansar

ISLAMABAD” The Government of the Republic of Korea in its commitment to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan donated $1.5 million USD for the year 2023 to three United Nations Agencies on 17th November, 2022.

          A ceremony was held in this regards at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Islamabad, where the Korean Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Suh Sangpyo signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Dr. Luay Shabaneh, the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Palitha Mahipala, and the Deputy Representative of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Ms. Rathi Palakrishnan. Each of the United Nations Agencies received half a million USD aimed at providing lifesaving food assistance, continued healthcare to Afghan Refugees along with assisting specific Mother and Child, and Gender Based Violence (GBV) projects.

          Speaking at the ceremony, the representatives of the UN agencies expressed their gratitude to the Ambassador, Government of Korea and the Korean people for their steadfast support and humanitarian assistance to the plight of the Afghan Refugees.

Time to welcome Romania, Bulgaria in Schengen

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Time to welcome

Romania, Bulgaria

in Schengen system

DNA

BRUSSELS: EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson has said it was time to welcome Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia in the Schengen system. She said, Schengen is the largest area of free movement in the world. 3,5 million people crossing borders every day – for work, studies, pleasure. One third of the EU population lives in border regions. Every year there are 24 million business trips, and travellers make 1.25 billion journeys in the area yearly.

420 millions across the continent are connected in the area of free movement.Schengen is one of the biggest achievements of the EU. Those connections grow the internal market, they grow economies. Schengen grows people’s standard of living – pure and simple.

22 MS and 4 associated countries are in Schengen. Now it is time to include three more. So today I present a Communication on a stronger Schengen with full participation of Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia.

It is high time to say welcome!
It is high time to say

Schengen is Europe.
These three Member States deserve to feel fully European. To have the privilege of being a member you are bound by the Concil acquis. Which includes conditions,, Uniform Schengen visas, Cooperation with law enforcement in other countries, Connection to information systems, such as Schengen Information System

All this in order to maintain security within the area and in line with fundamental rights. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia had strongly proven that they have met all these conditions.

They have the tools, structures, and procedures in place to manage external borders, including possible security threats.
They have highly trained and dedicated staff, state of the art infrastructure and knowhow.

Bulgaria and Romania invited a fact-finding mission last month with 17 experts from MS together with experts from the Commission, and from our agencies Frontex, Europol and Fundamental Rights Agency. They assessed the developments of the legal framework, governance, and tools to manage effectively the Schengen area.  

This was an answer to some remaining questions from some Member States. This mission, not only reported very positively, but also reaffirmed the two countries readiness to join Schengen. They have reinforced the application of the acquis.

For Croatia I would like to emphasize that, already last year, it was the first Member State to set up an Independent Monitoring Mechanism to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights at external borders.

Only two weeks ago the Croatian Government signed an agreement to renew and reinforce this mechanism.

The wait has been long, I should say too long. Expectations are high, rightly so – from authorities and at least from citizens.
The European Parliament has adopted several resolutions to support enlargement. Overwhelmingly voting to support.

Now, the Czech Presidency plan to have it on the agenda on the Home Affairs Council on 8 December. This will be a truly European decision. Schengen has survived the turbulence of recent years.These challenges have been surmounted because of a shared European spirit.
And this spirit must continue – in our modern world.

Because today Schengen is something very different from when it was created. We will soon introduce interconnected large scale IT systems, VISA information System, Schengen information system, we have Europol, we have Frontex.

And this is needed: we must have smart, strong, and interconnected control at our external borders. And intensive cooperation between law enforcement agencies and authorities. Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia are ready join, and I should say the European Union is ready to welcome.

I expect MS to take this important, historical, positive decision. A moment of great pride, for the citizens of these countries.  And most importantly a decision in all our interests, she added.

SC dismisses petition against PTI’s long march

0

            ISLAMABAD, ):The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition against former prime minister and chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s long march towards Islamabad.

A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ayesha A Malik and Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition of former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Kamran Murtaza against PTI’s long march.

During the course of proceedings, Kamran Murtaza argued that according to Fawad Chaudhry, the long march would reach Islamabad on Friday or Saturday and this could affect normal life in the federal capital. Long march was the right of PTI but the rights of common man should not be affected, he added.

Justice Ayesha Malik inquired whether the government had made any mechanism to regulate the protests.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that it was a matter for the executive and advised the petitioner to approach them. He said that the judiciary could intervene only in exceptional circumstances.

He asked why should the court interfere when the administration could control the situation?

Senator Kamran Murtaza said that the matter had gone too far as one person was killed in PTI’s long march.

Justice Ayesha Malik inquired that PTI’s long march has been going on for a long time, had he approached the administration?

She asked what was haste in the case of long march and what was the negligence of the administration?

Senator Kamran Murtaza said that an entire province had been paralyzed due to the long march.

Justice Athar Minallah said that if someone violated the laws, the executive had wide powers.

He asked would not the administration and parliament be weakened by the intervention of the judiciary?

Justice Ayesha Malik asked the petitioner to mobilize the administration to play its role. Every day there were protests in many places including Parliament in Islamabad, she said and asked had he ever approached the courts against other protests?

She asked why the intervention of the court was required only in the long march of a particular political party.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the petitioner had mentioned past violations in the application. The Long March was a political issue that could be solved politically, he added.

He said that interference in such issues created a strange situation for the court.

Addressing the petitioner, the Chief Justice said that he (Kamran) had mentioned an audio in his application which mentioned bringing weapons. Audio was true or false but it could disturb the law and order situation, he added.

He asked did the people in the long march of May 25 had weapons? The right to protest was not unlimited but subject to constitutional limits, he added.

The Chief Justice said that the request for H-9 ground was given for PTI’s May 25 long march. When the administration refused to give H-9 ground, the Supreme Court intervened, he added.

He observed that despite the allocation of the H-9 ground, the crowd went to D-Chowk.

Addressing the petitioner, the Chief Justice said that he wanted the Supreme Court to play the role of Deputy Commissioner. Apparently, the court’s intervention in the case of Long March would be premature, he added.

Senator Kamran Murtaza said that it seemed that the administration could not control the situation. Justice Athar Minallah while talking to Kamran Murtaza said that he was a senator and he should strengthen the parliament but he had approached the court on the basis of assumption.

Kamran Murtaza said that he had approached the court in a personal capacity, on this Justice Athar Minallah said that how could he believe that he was also a part of the government and had come in a personal capacity.

The court asked Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman whether the administration had taken any decision regarding the venue for PTI’s long march.

The Additional Attorney General said that a request has been received from PTI and pleaded the court to grant half an hour time as he would inform the court after receiving information from the relevant forum. He said that a similar case was also pending in the Islamabad High Court.

The Additional Attorney General informed the court that the administration had asked the PTI to hold a rally in Rawat. The administration sought an affidavit from the PTI, which had not yet been filed, he added.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that if there was a clear threat of constitutional violation, the judiciary would intervene. The other party could have its own position on the violations, he added.

He said that the matter became complicated for the court on violation of Supreme Court orders as court orders were for implementation.

When the hearing resumed after a break, Justice Athar Minallah said that petition had become ineffective.

Kamran Murtaza said that he wanted judicial intervention to maintain law and order in the country.

Justice Athar Minallah inquired if he was saying that the situation had gone beyond the control of the administration.

Justice Ayesha Malik asked whether the federal government did not know how to fulfill its responsibility. She questioned what could the Supreme Court do in administrative matters?

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the state was powerful and empowered. The bench could understand that he was worried about the current situation. The government could stop the protest anywhere and every citizen was affected by such a situation, he added.

He said that today’s headline was about the attack in Bajaur and Lakki Marwat which affected the entire nation.

The Advocate General said that the Federation had also written a letter to Punjab under Article 149 on November 5. The administration had asked PTI about the date, time and place, which was not answered, he added.

He alleged that PTI talked about bloodshed before the Wazirabad incident and after the Wazirabad incident, the administration refused to allow PTI to enter Islamabad. The case on the permission of the rally in Islamabad was pending in the Islamabad High Court, he added.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the court wanted peace in the country, not chaos. The court did not want to give an order that was premature, he added.

He said that the letter of the Federation to the provinces under Article 149 was a very serious matter.

The bench remarked that there was no reason for the court to issue the order after the arguments of Advocate General Islamabad.Later, the court dismissed Senator Kamran Murtaza’s petition to stop the PTI

Pakistan’s annual growth can fall 18-20% by 2050: WB

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Pakistan’s annual GDP can

fall 18-20% by 2050: WB

                ISLAMABAD, Nov 17 (dna):Pakistan’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is at risk of falling by 18 to 20 percent by 2050 due to the combined risks from the intensification of climate change and environmental degradation in the country if the climate change issues are left unaddressed.

“The combined risks from the intensification of climate change and environmental degradation, unless addressed, will further aggravate Pakistan’s economic fragility; and could ultimately reduce annual GDP by 18 to 20 percent per year by 2050, based on the optimistic and pessimistic scenarios”, a report recently published by the World Bank said.

Between 6.5 and 9.0 percent of GDP will likely be lost due to climate change (in the optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, respectively) as increased floods and heatwaves reduce agriculture and livestock yields, destroy infrastructure, sap labour productivity, and undermine health, the report further said.

Additionally, water shortages in agriculture could reduce GDP by more than 4.6 percent, and air pollution could impose a loss of 6.5 percent of GDP per year.

The use of water for non-agricultural purposes is likely to increase significantly with climate change. Under a high-growth (4.9 percent per year) and high-warming (3°C by 2047) scenario, water demand is projected to increase by almost 60 percent, with the highest rates of the increase coming from the domestic and industrial sectors, the report said.

It added that climate warming will account for up to 15 percent of this increase in demand. This heightened demand will result in unintended consequences that deprive downstream areas of water rights. The competition among sectors will necessitate inter-sectoral tradeoffs that will likely be made at the expense of water for agriculture.

It is projected that in the next three decades, about 10 percent of all irrigation water will need to be repurposed to meet non-agricultural demand. Freeing up 10 percent of irrigation water without compromising food security will be a complex challenge that will require substantial policy reforms to incentivize water conservation and increase water use efficiency in the agricultural sector and a shift away from water-thirsty crops as well as better environmental management.

The projected costs of a forced reallocation of water out of agriculture, to meet non-agriculture demands, without such steps, could reduce GDP in 2047 by 4.6 percent. The losses projected here are thus the costs of forced reallocation of water to serve other urgent needs, including allocations for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and urgent environmental flows to sustain critical ecosystem services.

Damage induced by climate-related extreme events will likely have economy-wide impacts on growth, fiscal space, employment, and poverty. Global warming and extreme events affect economic activity through multiple transmission channels: impacts on lives, on infrastructure and assets, and on livelihoods, which can result in lost economic growth, worsening poverty and longer-term threats to human capital and productivity. Existing macro models can help assess the expected scale of such events.

The report added that household poverty is expected to decline over time, but even a 9 percent decline in GDP by 2050 is enough to stall poverty reduction, with disproportionate impacts on rural households. By 2030, the urban poverty rate is expected to be half that of rural areas. By 2050, urban poverty is projected to decline further, to 10 percent, while rural poverty remains in the 25–28 percent ra

England humiliate India to reach World Cup final

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England humiliate India

to reach World Cup final

SPORTS DESK

ADELAIDE: England stormed into the Men’s T20 World Cup final with a sensational 10-wicket demolition of India at the Adelaide Oval. Openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales overcame a feverish India-supporting atmosphere and chased 169 without the loss of a wicket. They romped home with a massive 24 balls to spare to set up a final against Pakistan on Sunday and seal one of England’s greatest white-ball wins. Hales ended 86 not out from 47 and Buttler unbeaten on 80 from 49, the England skipper clinching the match with the pair’s 10th six. Earlier, England’s bowlers had restricted India well before Hardik Pandya’s 63 from 33 balls powered his side to what had looked a testing score. But Hales, recalled after more than three years in the international wilderness, gave England a rapid start and Buttler continued the onslaught. It denies the tournament what would have been a mouth-watering India-Pakistan finale, instead ensuring a repeat of the famous 1992 50-over World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This was supposed to be the night India joined their great rivals in what would have been one of the great sporting finals. A frenzied crowd was expectant but by the end, a small pocket of England fans were jubilant, the quietened India supporters drifting away. England’s bowling effort, without Mark Wood because of injury and up against India’s batting line-up of superstars, was tidy and disciplined, until they were knocked off course by Hardik’s late blitz. The batting was simply stunning. The imperious Buttler settled any nerves by taking three fours from the first over before he and Hales dispatched both pace and spin in seemingly effortless fashion. As the final majestic strike cleared the fielder and boundary at long-on, Buttler whipped off his helmet and roared with delight  A campaign that was floundering after defeat by Ireland two weeks ago could still end in glory. Pakistan, who have produced their own remarkable recovery to reach the showpiece, were beaten 4-3 by England in a seven-match T20 series in their own backyard last month. Eleven overs into the chase India’s ragged fielders looked beaten, the ball repeatedly travelling to, or over, the boundary rope. Buttler was dropped on 66 at mid-off by Suryakumar Yadav, with the ball ricocheting off his body and beyond Virat Kohli for four, but by then the contest was over. Having opted to chase on a used pitch, Hales and Buttler took on Adelaide’s short square boundaries to race along consistently at 10 runs per over. They took 63 from the powerplay – a clear contrast to India’s 38-1 – and did not look back. This was Hales’ greatest night in his England career, a career that looked over when he was unceremoniously dropped on the eve of the 2019 World Cup before being recalled for this tournament after the injury to Jonny Bairstow. He slog-swept spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin and cleanly struck the pace bowlers back over their head for seven sixes. After a quick start, Buttler settled into the supporting role before unleashing his ramps and power strokes in a canter to the finish line. England, who were missing the wicket-taking threat of Wood’s searing pace, were excellent in restricting India in the early stages. Chris Woakes got one to rise off a length and take KL Rahul’s edge in the second over, Rohit Sharma was caught at deep mid-wicket off Wood’s replacement Chris Jordan for 27 off 28 balls and when dangerman Yadav holed out at deep point off Adil Rashid for 14, India were 75-3 in the 12th over. Kohli’s first boundary was a glorious drive for six over extra cover but the former captain was unable to find top gear, Rashid particularly effective through the middle with a four-over spell that cost only 20. Hardik hit back-to-back sixes off Jordan – one a short ball pummelled over mid-wicket and the next a full ball sensationally flicked off his pads – before helping take 22 from the penultimate over bowled by Sam Curran. Eighty runs came from the last seven overs and 47 from the final three but in truth had Hardik added another 30, it would not have been enough.

Imran says no fight with Pakistan Army

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Imran says

no fight with

Pak Army

Seeks CJP  help in

 registration of FIR

Khalid Mahmood

WAZIRABAD:— Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Thursday addressed the long march participants via video link and invited the nation to come to Rawalpindi against the sitting thug rulers. He said he and his party respected Pakistan Army and he cannot even think to fight with his own army.

Former Prime Minister appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to take action on the matter of the firing incident as the nation is looking up to him.

Imran Khan requested the CJP that he should have to see four things including 1) What happened to Azam Swati and Arshad Sharif, 2) How a post-mortem report of Arshad Sharif came to the TV anchor, 3) How the boy was used to Wazirabad firing incident, and 4) Who was the other shooter at the spot. 

Imran Khan said though they have a government in Punjab but the police were being controlled from somewhere else so how to trust them? He said Pakistan is going to be a banana republic that has no justice there either and this is the reason that the people have lost faith in institutions.

The PTI chairman said the assassination attack on him was a ‘Cover up’ plan which was made two months ago in September and he also knew very well about the people behind this conspiracy.

Former premier Imran Khan said the conspirators had made a plan to kill him with some false allegations of religious blasphemy and the shooting killer was taught like a parrot about his statement after firing on him.

PTI Chairman said the opponents have oppressed him and his workers like terrorists and Pakistan Television (PTV) is playing the video to provoke the masses against him. He lauded Ibtisam for his courageous action against the shooter as well as he promised that his party, the PTI will be responsible for the care of assassinated Moazzam’s children.

Imran said the thieves have no relation with the religion and only care about concealing their theft.  He said no action was taken over torture on PTI leader Shahbaz Gill and Senator Azam Swati, adding that whatever is happening in the country is bringing bad name to the country across the world.

The former PM while raising question on presence of pictures of slain journalist Arshad Sharif said that his mother is not being provided the postmortem report despite repeated demands. Slamming the PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran said that efforts underway to ensure the return of Nawaz, adding that he [Nawaz] is fond of playing with his own umpires.

Continuing to take a swipe at the government, Imran said that rules are delaying the elections as they are feared of his [Imran’s] increasing popularity. Saying that he merely wants the transparent elections, Imran added that the conduction of transparent elections is the only solution to all the problems, which the country is facing.

Earlier, expressing his thoughts, while meeting with a delegation of journalists in Zaman Park, Imran Khan on Thursday lambasted the incumbent government, said he is not desperate to  speed up the tempo of his long march, but that the rulers in Islamabad are.

Imran said that the leaders opposed the EVMs because they knew that he [Imran] will defeat them. “If I had to approach the establishment for help, so why I talked about the EVMs. I don’t need the support of the establishment, but the PML-N and PPP do, added the former premier.

Slamming the PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran said that efforts underway to ensure the return of Nawaz, adding that he [Nawaz] is fond of playing in the presence of his own umpires.

Continuing to take a swipe at the government, Imran said that rules are delaying the elections as they are feared of his [Imran’s] increasing popularity. Saying that he merely wants the transparent elections, Imran added that the conduction of transparent elections is the only solution to all the problems, which the country is facing. 

Political uncertainty deepens as long march resumes

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Political uncertainty deepens as long march resumes

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Political uncertainty continues to grip the country amidst PTI Chief Imran Khan’s recent Tweet that he will take more names who according to him are involved in attack on him. At one point it seemed as if things have settled down with regards to registration of FIR against three persons including the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister and an army officer however after his new Tweet things appear to have turned even more complicated. The scope and ambit of the fight is now likely to be broadened, which means future of politics in Pakistan may become bleak.

The long march has started again albeit Imran Khan not leading it because of injuries but he promised his supporters that he will be with them when the march reaches Rawalpindi. Sources believe, the PTI may not enter Islamabad before the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman who is expected to arrive on November 21. If so happens, it would of course be a good omen with regard to relations between the PTI and Saudi Arabia. As mentioned in an earlier piece, during PTI government Saudis chose to keep a distance from Imran Khan for a variety of reasons. Anyhow, it is a good opportunity for the PTI to mend its fences with the Kingdom by allowing smooth happening of the Crown Prince visit. During PTI famous 120 dharna, during the Nawaz Sharif regime, the party was severely grilled for hampering visit of the then Chinese president Xi therefore it is expected that the party may not repeat the same mistake. Like Saudi Arabia, China also happens to be a friend that has always stood with Pakistan whenever Islamabad needed it.

The Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with Nawaz Sharif in London few days ago. It was a closed-door meeting however sources privy to the development revealed that future political scenario as well appointment of the new army chief were the topics, which came under discussion during the meeting. Sources claim, the PML N leaders decided to stick to the principle of seniority in the appointment of the army chief, which means Lt. General Asim Munir stands bright chances or at least the PML N camp wants him to be the new army chief. As media reports suggest, PTI and especially Imran Khan may not be comfortable with this appointment albeit he has announced that he and his party had nothing to do with the appointment of the chief but we all know this statement is just for public consumption.

When it comes to appointment of the army chief one thing needs to be kept in consideration that by and large a person who is never discussed for the post but he is still in the queue, is often picked up for the job. General Waheed Kakar, General Jehangir Karamt, General Asif Nawaz, General Musharraf, General Kayani, General Raheel Sharif and General Qamar Javed Bajwa were all less discussed when the appointment was to be made but then we saw them rising to the coveted slot. In present case the President of NDU Lt. General Nauman may prove a dark horse. Despite being in the list of probables for the job he is least discussed.

We have to keep in mind that PTI Chairman Imran Khan wanted General Bajwa to continue till the time of next elections. He had made this announcement publicly during a rally in Faisalabad. Nevertheless, the incumbent has expressed his willingness to doff off uniform at the stipulated time i.e November 29, 2002 but things may take dramatic turn if the long march poses threats to the federal government and consequently emergency is imposed in Punjab and KP provinces.

As regards the holding of elections or at least announcement of the date for the fresh elections as demanded by PTI, it seems uncertain that the PML N and its allied parties would prefer to go to elections at this time. It was also unanimous view during the London meeting that PML N especially cannot afford elections at this particular juncture when wind is already blowing in favour of the PTI. The option of continuing with the government is also difficult because the PML N and its allied parties had not been able to perform well.  The ruling parties however are of the view it is better to continue with the government no matter how bad is this option, rather than announcing fresh elections and consequently paving the way for the PTI to take over for next five years.

The PTI instead wants removal of this government sooner rather than later. Even if the government is sent packing as a result of PTI long march or any other reasons, immediate elections may not be possible. Analysts believe, allowing PTI to have two-thirds majority in the elections may not augur well for the future of the country, especially keeping in view the past performance of the party. The only viable option to stop PTI from getting absolute majority happens to be creation of a level playing field in which PML N leader Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz will have equal chances of contesting the upcoming elections. This is a preposition at present and needs to be fined tuned before it comes into practice.

The corps commanders met on November 9, 2022 though no formal communiqué was issued about this meeting. As per media reports, the commanders sought to adopt a wait and see policy regarding present happenings in the country. Meanwhile the defence secretary is on leave and a summary for the appointment of the new army chief can only be moved when the defence secretary returns to Pakistan. He is expected to rejoin after November 20, which means the process may start in the third week of November.

Taliban ban women from parks and funfairs

0

Taliban ban women from

parks and funfairs

                Kabul, The Taliban have banned Afghan women from entering the capital’s public parks and funfairs, just months after ordering access to be segregated by gender.

                  The new rule, introduced this week, further squeezes women out of an ever-shrinking public space that already sees them banned from traveling without a male escort and forced to wear a hijab or burqa whenever out of the home.

                  Schools for teenage girls have also been shut for over a year across most of the country.

                  “For the past 15 months, we tried our best to arrange and sort it out — and even specified the days,” said Mohammad Akif Sadeq Mohajir, spokesman for the Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue.

                  “But still, in some places — in fact, we must say in many places — the rules were violated,” he told AFP late Wednesday.

                  “There was mixing (of men and women), hijab was not observed, that’s why the decision has been taken for now.”

                  The news was met with dismay by women and park operators — who invested heavily in developing the facilities.

                  “There are no schools, no work… we should at least have a place to have fun,” said one mother, who asked to be identified only as Wahida, as she watched her children play in a park through the window of an adjoining restaurant.

                  “We are just bored and fed up with being at home all day, our minds are tired,” she told AFP.

                  At the next table, Raihana, 21, who is studying Islamic law at university, shared her disappointment after arriving at the park to spend the day with her sisters.

                  “We were very excited… we are tired of staying at home,” she said.

                  “Obviously, in Islam, it is allowed to go out and visit parks. When you have no freedom in your own country, then what does it mean to live here?”

                   – ‘Idle attractions’ –

                  A few kilometers away, the Ferris wheel and most of the other rides in Zazai Park — which offers a spectacular view of the city — have ground to a sudden halt because of a lack of business.

                  Before this week’s ban, it could accommodate hundreds of visitors on days when women brought their children for family gatherings.

                  On Fridays and public holidays, even more would flock to the park — one of the few attractions in the city. 

                  On Wednesday, only a handful of men wandered nonchalantly through the complex.

                  Habib Jan Zazai, co-developer of the complex, fears he may have to close down a business that he has poured $11 million into, and which employs more than 250 people.

                  “Without women, the children will not come alone,” he told AFP.

                  He warned such edicts would discourage investment by foreigners or Afghans living abroad, as well as impact revenue collection.

                  “A government is run by taxes. If an investor is not paying tax, then how can they run?”

                  Mohammad Tamim, 20, sipping tea in the park during a visit from Kandahar, where he teaches at a madrassa, called the ban “bad news”.

                  “Every human psychologically needs to be entertained,” he said.

EU envoy shocked over Imran incident

0

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador Of European Union Riina Kionka has said political violence in any form, in any country undermines democracy and decency.

In her Twitter message she said she was shocked by the attack on Imran Khan Chairman PTI and his companions. Violence in any form is wrong and unacceptable, horrifying in a country with this sad history. We wish full recovery for all injured, her Tweet further read.

The Pakistan-Palestinian Forum visit Palestine embassy

0

The Pakistan-Palestinian

Forum visit Palestine embassy

DNA

 ISLAMABAD/ The Chargé d’Affairs of the Embassy of the State of Palestine to Pakistan, Counselor/ Nader Khamis Al-Turk, and the Embassy staff received at the Embassy headquarters a delegation of leaders and cadres of the Pakistan-Palestinian Forum headed by Maulana Fatihullah Osmani, who organized a solidarity visit with our Palestinian people on the 105th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration  The fateful, in the name of the Forum, presented a document of censure and condemnation for the issuance of the Balfour Declaration emphasizing the position of the founder of Pakistan, Qaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that “the policy of the British government towards Palestine is based on injustice, oppression and cruelty, and that if the Palestinian issue is not resolved in a just manner, this will be the beginning of a point  Turn to the British Empire, and if Britain decides to crush the public opinion of the Palestinian Arabs through force and coercion, we Muslims of the Indian subcontinent support the Arab position at this stage and stand by them in their just struggle . “And we are fully confident in the success of Arab Muslims in their struggle for their legitimate rights.”

 The Pakistan-Palestinian Forum affirmed in its document that the hearts of the Pakistani people beat with the Palestinian brothers and that they are proud of their excellence in their affection for Palestine and its people, in purity like dew and strength like Iron steel. The stance of the Pakistani nation will remain same about the political, constitutional ans legal rights of the Palestinian nation and these values of pakistani people transfered to the palestinian people. The Palestinian people, emphasizing the integration of the two brotherly people, renewing the covenant of the founders of Pakistan to Palestine.

 The Chargé d’Affairs provided a brief and simplified explanation of the history and development of the Palestinian cause since the Sykes-Picot Agreement until today, emphasizing the depth and strength of the Palestinian-Pakistani brotherly relations and the appreciation of the Palestinian people and their leadership, headed by His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas, for the continuous support of the Pakistani people, president, government and political parties to the Palestinian cause internationally and regionally. Charge d’ Affairs emphasise  on the necessity of cooperation between the Forum and the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Pakistan to educate the young Pakistani generations about the Palestinian cause to ensure their firm commitment to the principles of the founder of Pakistan, Leader Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, may God have mercy on him, in support of the Palestinian people’s rights to freedom and independence, which formed and still form the foundations and constitution of Pakistan’s official and popular support for the Palestinian cause,  And work together to deepen and develop bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries.  The Chargé d’Affairs presented a symbolic gift in the name of the embassy, ​​which consisted of the Holy Quran and Palestinian folk embroidery, stressing that this embroidery, whose threads and colors overlap to form beautiful decorations that express the unity of the two brotherly Palestinian and Pakistani peoples, and the depth and strength of the historical and continuous relations between them so that God inherits the earth and what is on it.

Kashmir Black Day observed at the Embassy of Pakistan in Moscow

0

Kashmir Black Day observed at the Embassy of Pakistan in Moscow
Moscow: October 27, 2022
“Pakistan’s only objective is the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of our Kashmiri brethren,” said the Ambassador of Pakistan to Russia, H.E. Shafqat Ali Khan while addressing a gathering on the occasion of Kashmir Black Day at Pakistan Embassy Moscow premises today.
The event was organised by the Embassy of Pakistan in Russia in connection with the observance of 27th October as Kashmir Black Day by Pakistanis and Kashmiris across the world. The event was attended by Pakistani community members, Diplomatic officers and staff.
The Ambassador noted that the brave struggle of the Kashmiris for their right to self-determination has proven that India’s brutality and military might can never suppress the Kashmiris. He underscored that the people of Kashmir have already chosen their path, and Pakistan will continue to extend moral and political support to the indigenous Kashmiri struggle. Ambassador Shafqat Ali Khan expressed hope that the difficult days of Kashmiri people are numbered and light can be seen at the end of the long dark tunnel.
A documentary about the 75-year-long resistance to the Indian occupation and brutality in Jammu and Kashmir was screened on the occasion.
Messages by the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read by Deputy Head of Mission, Rana Summar Javed and Second Secretary, Muhammad Tayyab respectively.
A photographic exhibition depicting atrocities of Indian occupation forces in the Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the freedom struggle was also arranged on the occasion.

Malaysian envoy given a warm send-off

0

Abdul Mubdi Osman, Acting High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam hosted the reception

DNA

ISLAMABAD: A reception was held in Islamabad Serena Hotel on 26 October 2022 to bid farewell to the Malaysian envoy, Mr Deddy Faisal bin Ahmad Salleh. It was hosted by HE Abdul Mubdi Osman, Acting High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam.

Mr Deddy Faisal is leaving on Friday, 28 October 2022 at the end of his diplomatic posting. He arrived in Islamabad on 19 August 2019 and has served as Minister Counsellor at the Malaysian High Commission in Islamabad for 3 years 2 months and 10 days.

The reception was attended by the who’s who of the Islamabad community including High Commissioners of the Commonwealth countries, Ambassadors, Senators, Parliamentarians, prominent businessmen and members of the Chambers of Commerce. Those who attended the reception expressed their appreciation and admiration for the friendship and great cooperation extended by Deddy Faisal during his posting to enhance and strengthen the relation between Malaysia, Pakistan and also countries around the region. They also commended that the Malaysian envoy is an exemplary diplomat who is always proactive and maintains a close network with all layers of the Pakistani society.

Reminiscing about his good time spent in Pakistan, Deddy Faisal said one good thing about being a diplomat was that you make friends and establish networking wherever you go. The job was made easier with Pakistan being Malaysia’s good friend especially in both bilateral and multilateral platforms. Pakistan and Malaysia he said enjoyed deep, cordial, friendly bilateral relations and the people here have always been generous, hospitable and friendly.

He remarked that he looked forward to an enhanced and more intense economic activities between the two countries as Pakistan has been taken out of the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring or often externally referred to as the “grey list” of FATF in which Malaysia has often provided valuable support to Pakistan. Malaysia and Pakistan will further strengthen and expand the bilateral economic, trade and investment ties in the traditional and non-traditional sectors, including by leveraging on the strategic location of both countries to serve as a trade gateway to the vast market in the Southeast Asian, East Asian and the South Pacific regions, and the South Asian, West Asian, Central Asian and Southern Chinese regions, respectively, he added.

Throughout his posting in Islamabad, Mr Deddy Faisal said that his country’s bilateral relations with Pakistan have witnessed an upward trend which was reflected in exchange of visits at the highest political level and signing of important agreements. Mr Deddy Faisal reaffirmed the strong and enduring bonds between the two fraternal countries marked by warmth, cordiality and mutual trust.

It must also be noted that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia saw remarkable uptick as the country’s exports increased to US$460 million – the highest figure ever  in 2021-22 taking total trade volume to US$ 1,723 millio

Under-trial accused become PM, Finance Minister: Imran Khan

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Urges students not to give up, fight till last ball to become champions in life 

Says he will announce long march within few days to achieve real independence 

SARGODHA: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Chairman) Imran Khan said that the under-trial accused has become prime minister and finance minister of Pakistani, saying that he would announce his long march within few days to rid the country of these corrupt ruling elites.

Speaking at Sargodha University, Imran Khan said that universities were the nurseries of future leaders. He said that who gave permission to the Governor of Punjab to bar political leaders to address to the students in universities, adding  international politicians address students in UK, Oxford University not only invited UK politicians but also world leaders to address. “I have given a speech at Oxford University three times and now I have been invited again,” he added.

He urged the Governor Punjab not to listen to these thieves who sit above because as people have known him for 50 years, adding that if political leaders did not address to the students, how would they know about politics and how they form their own views.

Imran Khan said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto could come to address the students. He said that the country was currently standing at a decisive point, as some politicians come to power in the name of people and then start looting. 

He said that when people did not stand for truth, the society was destroyed, urging the students to fight till the end and became champions in life as he did in cricket and politics. 

PTI Chairman stated that bad times come when you give up, adding, “I learnt a lesson in cricket that the one who fights till the last ball is the champion, your captain will fight these thieves.”

Lashing out at the imported government, Imran Khan said that when they hear his name, their legs started trembling. He said that the small thieves were in jail and the big ones were given NRO and were roaming freely.

“When I went to the assembly, I saw the famous big robbers of Pakistan,” he added. Imran Khan went on to say that the society was destroyed, where there was no system of justice and rule of law.

Imran Khan said that the reason for prosperity in Switzerland was the rule of law, adding that when our Prime Minister is begging for money abroad, the respect of the entire country is lost. 

Imran Khan said nation died ethically and morally when corrupt people got important slots, adding that only honest leadership can steer the country out of current crises.

He said Shehbaz Sharif has been facing Rs. 16 billion corruption charges and the case was underway when he became prime minister while Ishaq Dar has involved in money laundering for the Sharif family and gave a written affidavit in 2000 in this regard, making him the finance minister. That is, the cat was put on the milk tray. 

Chairman PTI said that Asif Zardari was called Mr Ten Percent in India and books were written on his corruption. There is no difference between the Governor of Sindh and the Mulajat, adding that half of the cabinets were facing cases of theft. Abid Sher Ali’s father said that Rana Sanaullah had committed 18 murders, he added. 

PM, Uzbek President review bilateral ties

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                ASTANA, Oct 13 (DNA):Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif met with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the 6th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)  here in Kazakhstan on Thursday and discussed matters of mutual interest.

They reviewed the bilateral relations with special focus on promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of  trade, energy, and connectivity.

Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of high level exchanges and bilateral trade and discussed ways and means to further strengthen economic cooperation.

Recalling his meeting with the Uzbek President during SCO Summit in Samarkand last month, the prime minister underscored that Pakistan was committed to enhancing connectivity both at the bilateral and regional level. The two leaders agreed to pursue the common connectivity agenda through a well coordinated strategy. 

The prime minister updated President Mirziyoyev on the rehabilitation efforts being undertaken by his government for the flood-affected areas of Pakistan. President Mirziyoyev assured him of full support of Uzbekistan during the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

The prime minister underlined the significance of fast tracking trade and economic cooperation by fully operationalizing Uzbekistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (UPTTA) and Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). Both leaders agreed to convene the next meeting of Inter Governmental Commission (IGC) at an early date. It was also decided during the meeting that the Co-Chairs from both sides will engage to prepare expeditiously for a substantive  dialogue.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif suggested summit-level consultations in Islamabad with a focus on promoting connectivity in the region. The idea was received positively by the Uzbek leader.

The prime minister also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the timely completion of Trans-Afghan Railway project. The project envisages effectively linking the Central Asian Countries with the world through Pakistani seaports.

Both leaders agreed that the relevant ministers from both sides would schedule early consultations for an effective follow up of all the connectivity projects.

While exchanging views on regional and international issues, particularly Afghanistan, the two leaders agreed to coordinate closely in international fora for supporting initiatives to ensure lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The prime minister underlined the importance of humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people to avert the threat of hunger and poverty in the country.

The prime minister renewed his invitation to President of Uzbekistan to visit Pakistan. President Mirziyeyov also extended an invitation to the prime minister to visit Uzbekistan.

Armed forces day of Egypt celebrated

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Armed Forces day

of Egypt celebrated

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Col Mahmoud Hassan, Defence Attache of Egypt hosted Armed Forces Day reception at the Islamabad Serena Hotel. Air Marshal Irfan Ahmed, Deputy Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest.

The reception was attended by Dr. Tarek Dahroug, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt and a large number of guests hailing from various segments of the society.

Col Mahmoud in his speech thanked the guests for honoring the Celebration Ceremony of the forty-ninth anniversary of the glorious October victories. He also conveyed the greetings of the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Minister of Defense and Military Production, on this auspicious occasion.

He said,  the sacrifices and heroisms made by the heroes of the Egyptian armed forces to achieve this great victory will remain immortal in the conscience of every Egyptian and a witness to the solidity of the Egyptian people and an inspiring model in hard work to elevate the people of Egypt, preserve its soil and preserve its dignity.

‘Today we see with certainty that Egypt that fought and regained its land is the same Egypt that always seeks to achieve peace and always seeks to extend a hand of cooperation to achieve construction and development’.

Col Mahmoud added, days pass, years pass by, ideas change, forms of conflicts change, and here we find the threat of terrorism targeting our countries, and Egypt, with all its institutions, is making efforts and precious sacrifices to preserve the security of this beloved country Egypt.

The memory of the glorious October victory celebration always brings to the minds of the Egyptian people the magnitude of the challenges that they were able to overcome to reach the present in which Egypt is writing a great success story that began years ago, where Egypt achieved with strength and determination ambitious plans for construction and development despite the growing internal and external challenges. The Egyptian and Pakistani armed forces face the same challenges, and the military leadership of the two brotherly countries has set itself a goal of enriching cooperation relations to fruitful prospects that contribute to overcoming these challenges.

‘The two countries have always supported each other in all sincerity in many difficult time, Thus I took this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to the Pakistani armed forces and the people of Pakistan on the victims of the recent massive floods, praying to Allah Almighty may bless the dead with mercy and inspire their relatives patience and solace’.

While concluding his speech he prayed to Allah Almighty to have mercy on the martyrs and heroes of the Egyptian and Pakistani armed forces who sacrificed their precious blood to preserve their homelands … and wished more prospects for cooperation between the two sides.

HE also thanked the leaders of the Pakistani armed forces for their keenness to build trust between the two sides.

Alvi confers Hilal-e-Pakistan upon MWL Secretary General

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Alvi confers Hilal-e-Pakistan

upon MWL Secretary General

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday conferred Hilal-e-Pakistan on Secretary General of the Muslim World League Dr Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa in recognition of his services to Pakistan in different fields at a special investiture ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The award was conferred in recognition of his services in strengthening the brotherly relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; for being an instrument for the award of scholarships to Pakistani students in educational institutions and higher learning in Saudi Arabia; for pursuing and safeguarding the rights of Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia; for promoting peace and harmony by holding conferences, seminars and dialogues within the Muslim societies and also with rest of the world with the objective to create harmony and unity in the Islamic world; and showcasing a peaceful harmonious and tolerant picture of Muslims in the world.

Later, Dr Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa and his delegation called upon the president. Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony, Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Nawaf bin Saeed Al Malki also attended the meeting, President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release.

Talking to the secretary-general, the president termed “Islamophobia” one of the biggest challenges being faced by Muslims, and urged the need to allay the fears of the world regarding Islam. He said that Islam advocated for peace, solidarity and harmony among the people of the world, and people from different nations needed to be educated about the true message of Islam.

The president urged the need to highlight the true and harmonious nature of Islam in the Muslim world and beyond.

He said that Islamophobia needed to be countered and eliminated through peaceful and harmonious actions in the Islamic world. He also underlined the need to hold inter-faith conferences, dialogues and meetings to exchange ideas with religious scholars and leaders of other religions to explain the real message of Islam.

The president said that moderation in Islamic societies could go a long way in not only eradicating extremism, terrorism and intolerance but would also ensure the promotion of peace and socio-economic justice. He also expressed his concern over the increasing trend of Islamophobia in India, adding that Islamophobia in India was deep-rooted and being patronized at the state level. He urged the need for taking concrete actions to provide relief to the Muslims of India from the negative impacts of Islamophobia.

During the meeting, the president urged the Muslim World League to consider initiating scholarships for students of Shariah, Islamic Studies as well as the scientific and technical disciplines. He also emphasised the need for an exchange programme for the government officials to study governance, particularly the regulation of religious affairs.

The president appreciated the Muslim World League’s efforts for the cause of Islam and the welfare of the Muslim World and commended its work in setting up vocational educations and training centres, provision of water, and renovation and construction of mosques and religious institutions.

The president also appreciated the implementation of his idea communicated to the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan to set up an Islamic Museum in Pakistan. He said that after the completion of this museum, the people of Pakistan and the rest of the world would benefit from the exhibits and would be able to learn about the different aspects and phases of the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The president thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for providing valuable support to Pakistan to help overcome its most pressing financial needs and for providing generous help to alleviate the sufferings of the flood victims.

During the meeting, Dr Muhammad Bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in raising its voice against Islamophobia at all world forums, including the United Nations, which had declared 15th March as the “International Day against Islamophobia”.

He said that Pakistani scholars and civil society were deeply concerned with the increasing trend of Islamophobia and were playing an active and effective role to showcase the peaceful and true face of Pakistan to the rest of the world.

He also appreciated the president’s address to the two-day International Seerat-un-Nabi (Peace Be Upon Him) conference titled “Morality of Society, Reformation and Development: In the Light of Seerat-un-Nabi (PBUH)” organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony, in Islamabad.

The Muslim World League is an international non-government Islamic organization based in the Holy City of Makkah. It was founded in accordance with a resolution adopted during the meeting of the General Islamic Conference, held in Holy Makkah on 18th May 1962.

China’s assistance helps  Pak post-flood recovery

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            BEIJING, Oct 10 (APP):China’s very generous and timely assistance to Pakistan is immensely helpful in reinforcing the country’s post-flood recovery, said Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque.

While the capital and goods aid have been delivered from the Chinese side, the resumption of key infrastructure projects is well underway with joint efforts, according to the ambassador, including regarding safety measures for Chinese personnel and projects, a key factor to ensure the country’s reconstruction.

While Pakistan is suffering from one of the worst natural calamities in the shape of floods, China, as always, responded immediately to the crisis situation, the ambassador said in an exclusive interview with Global Times.

Since the disaster, more than 640 million yuan ($89.94 million) worth of relief assistance in cash and kind has been committed by the Chinese central government, Chinese Army, provincial governments, NGOs and state-owned and private enterprises. Even the Chinese public has made generous cash donations to the Embassy’s Flood Relief account, according to the embassy.

“The outpouring and sympathy from across China is very touching and a true reflection of our time-tested friendship,”Ł Haque said.

The Chinese government’s first tranche of assistance has mostly been delivered in Pakistan through dozens of special flights which included large quantities of essential relief goods such as tents, blankets, high-energy biscuits, water purifiers and electricity generators. Teams of doctors and experts on damage assessment are traveling to Pakistan to help the flood victims.

In addition to providing financial and goods aid, the Chinese government and companies have committed to help in the post-flood rehabilitation and reconstruction phase. At key infrastructure projects, including China-developed hydropower plants, efforts are well underway, despite challenges.

For example, the Karot Hydropower Station, invested in and constructed by the China Three Gorges Corporation, ran safely and stably for 100 days, with a cumulative power generation of 1.537 billion kWh.

“Karot Hydropower Station is an important project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has added 720MW of clean energy to our national grid, thus helping reduce 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Fortunately, no damage has been caused to Karot and other hydropower projects developed by Chinese enterprises in Pakistan by the recent catastrophic floods,” the ambassador said.

As we are now increasingly seeing the effects of global warming and climate change manifested in the recurring floods and other extreme weather conditions, it is important to replace traditional non-renewable sources of energy with green and renewable energy, he noted.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has set a target of achieving 12,000 MW of solar power and clean energy projects developed by Chinese enterprises have an important role to play in augmenting Pakistan’s efforts to address climate change effects and boosting Pakistan’s economy, Haque said.

Thousands of local jobs have been created during the course of implementation of Karot hydropower project and other renewable energy projects.

The ambassador noted the country’s determination to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and projects, which have played an increasingly important role in supporting the country’s infrastructure reconstruction, especially after the devastation of the flood.

On July 14, 2021, Dasu Hydropower Station project in Pakistan suffered a terrorist attack, which had an impact on the production and operation of the project.

“The heinous attack perpetrated by the enemies of China-Pakistan friendship was a failed attempt to disrupt the rapid economic progress that Pakistan has been achieving with the help of investments and technologies brought by the Chinese enterprises,” the ambassador said.

Despite the shadow posed by the terrorist attack, due to the leadership commitment and dedication of workers from both sides, work on all development projects continued, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work on Dasu resumed immediately after the tragic incident of July 14, the ambassador said.

“Pakistan attaches great importance to the safety and security of Chinese nationals and investments in Pakistanů many steps have been taken by the Pakistani government in close coordination with Chinese side to beef up the security of Chinese personnel and projects in Pakistan,” Haque noted.

Pakistan and China are iron brothers and strong economic partners, and the leadership of the two countries has reiterated their strong support to timely completion of all economic projects in Pakistan, he said.

“Together we will defeat the nefarious designs of our adversaries,” he said.

Indonesia-Pak bilateral ties becoming stronger

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Indonesia-Pak bilateral

ties becoming stronger

Ambassador Adam Tugio says Indonesian government dispatched humanitarian aid and a medical team along with USD1 million grant for flood victims

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Indonesia Adam Tugio has said the 77th Anniversary of Independence is another milestone for Indonesia marked with significant political and economic achievements. Now, Indonesia is world’s third largest democracy anda country where Islam and modernity coexist and deliver to bring economic progress.

The ambassador made these remakes while speaking on the occasion of Independence day reception. Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Mushahid Hussain Syed and others attended the event.

He said, representing the voice of developing countries and to ensure their participation in development process are important parameters of Indonesia’s inclusive approach to the Indonesia’s Presidency in G-20;

Ambassador Tugio said the theme of “Recover Together, Recover Stronger ‘under Indonesia’s G20 Presidency this year – with three main pillars of Global Health Architecture, Sustainable Energy Transition and Digital Transformation – reflects the true spirit of inclusiveness in the wake of recovery challenges posed by Covid-19 so that “we leave no one behind”. 

‘I take this opportunity to convey on behalf of the government and people of Indonesia, our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the victims of recent unprecedented flash floods in Pakistan. Based on our experiences, we believe that no nation alone can handle such a large scale natural disaster and it’s a shared responsibility of all to support people in distress. Indonesia stands with Pakistani brothers and sisters in this difficult time’, he added.

He said as a mark of solidarity, Indonesian government dispatched humanitarian aid in-kind by two special aircrafts last month and a medical team along with USD1 million grant to support ongoing relief operation in Pakistan.

‘Let me use this opportunity also to pay my deep gratitude for kind message of condolences and words of compassion from brothers and sisters of Pakistan, and diplomatic community for the victims of deadly soccer stadium stampede in Malang, Indonesia. I sincerely thank you for being so thoughtful and for sharing our grief with prayers and warm support’.

As regards Indonesia-Pakistan relations, prosperity, stability and development have always been a priority of our founders and top leadership. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947, Indonesia-Pakistan bilateral relations have continued to become stronger and more comprehensive; Pakistan strategically holds great importance for Indonesia as a trusted friend and partner in South Asia.

With the rapidly expanding national economy, and the growing importance of ASEAN as a trade hub, Indonesia offers wonderful investment opportunities and collaboration to our friends from business community in Pakistan. Happily, both sides are fully aware of existing potential and benefits of cooperation and moving ahead by initiating various mechanisms, bilateral consultation forums, policy dialogue, trade promotion and strengthening of people-to-people contacts to reap more fruits from productive engagement.

While concluding his speech the Ambassador said, he would like to extend his sincere gratitude to the Government of Pakistan, business community, friends and partners for always extending their valuable support and assistance to the Embassy with active participation in our events for further promoting bilateral friendly ties, better understanding and connectivity.

Virgin Atlantic doing quite well in Pakistan: Liezl Gericke

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Virgin Atlantic doing quite well in Pakistan

Liezl Gericke , the Head of the Middle East, Africa and India says ‘We are currently flying with strong load factors on Pakistan routes. In September we flew with a 98% load factor Ex-Pakistan collectively across all routes and the outlook for the rest of the year is promising’

PIX 6  COL

ISLAMABAD: Liezl Gericke , the Head of the Middle East, Africa and India of Virgin Atlantic addressing a press conference.=DNA

Business Desk

ISLAMABAD: Liezl Gericke , the Head of the Middle East, Africa and India Virgin Atlantic has said she was quite satisfied with the Pakistan operations adding the airline was doing its best to properly facilitate all its customers.

She made these remarks while addressing a press conference at the Islamabad Serena Hotel, on Thursday.

Flanked by staff of the Pakistan office, Ms Liezl said, 2022 is the start of a new phase for Virgin Atlantic, as we recover from the Covid pandemic and delivering our best for our customers and our people. Our vision is clear: to become the most loved travel company and sustainably profitable

‘We’re investing in our network our operations in Pakistan are integral to this journey.  We are back strong, offering new routes, with more flights and brand new next generation aircraft, with the youngest fleet on the transatlantic, now just under 7 years on average.

She thanked all the trade partners for supporting Virgin Atlantic from the day it launched flights in Pakistan. This journey would have not been possible without their support, she said.

To a question about floods in Pakistan and global warming, she said the climate crisis is the single greatest challenge of our lifetime. The climate crisis will not be solved by one industry, like aviation, or by one player within that industry, like airlines. It requires coordinated and consistent progress to be made against ambitious climate goals by individuals, industries and governments.

‘Fleet transformation, aircraft technology, and SAF supply are crucial to the aviation industry decarbonising, but of equal importance is the need for the global industry to continue working together as a coalition of the willing. Realising the devastating impact of carbon emission on the environment, Virgin Atlantic has been striving to do better for our planet and we’re taking action. We’re investing in research, new technologies and innovation to reduce our impact in the air and on the ground’, she added.

Sharing Virgin Atlantic actions towards this end Ms Liezl said      the time for action against climate change is now. We’ve announced a set of ambitious interim milestones to take Virgin Atlantic to net zero by 2050. We were the first airline to fly a commercial aircraft using sustainable aviation fuel back in 2008 and by 2019 we had already achieved 18% reduction in CO2 emission through this initiative

She said, Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us as the UK is home to the largest Pakistani Diaspora community outside of Pakistan with over 1.5 million people. The UK-Pakistan market has always displayed strong underlying growth annually, with a strong combination of business and leisure passengers, which gives us confidence about the long-term potential.

While commenting on the suspension of operations between Manchester and Islamabad she said, as international travel rebounds, we’re continually reviewing our network, taking into account aircraft availability and the services which support the greatest customer demand. We’ve taken the decision not to operate Manchester – Islamabad services this winter but will evaluate opportunities to resume this route in future seasons, and in the meantime, the service continues twice-weekly until the end of October from our home in the North

‘We look forward to meeting continued demand for leisure and business travel with direct scheduled services to Pakistan, with our Heathrow-Islamabad and Heathrow-Lahore services now on sale for the Winter 2022 season’.

While talking about the business prospects in Pakistan she said Pakistan has been one of the quickest markets to recover following Covid. VFR traffic was resilient throughout Covid, and as travel restrictions were unlocked earlier this year, we saw a surge of pent-up demand from all segments.

‘We are currently flying with strong load factors on Pakistan routes. In September we flew with a 98% load factor Ex-Pakistan collectively across all routes and the outlook for the rest of the year is promising’.

She added, a significant number of passengers connect onto our extensive US network from Pakistan via London Heathrow. Islamabad/Lahore to New-York is our largest connecting traffic flow currently.

Virgin Atlantic carried over 120k passengers between UK and Pakistan in 2021 and were the number one carrier for the year and in 2022 again, we are leading the market for point-to-point travel to the UK. Recently held SkytraxAwards, Virgin Atlantic also took home the award for best business class lounge as well as world’s best premium economy offering.

NEPRA Amendment in Net-metering Regulation

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By Afia Malik

On September 27, 2022, NEPRA conducted an open hearing concerning the NEPRA draft amendment in Distribution Generation and Net-metering Regulation, 2015. According to NEPRA, after this amendment, the currently applicable national average power purchase price of Rs. 19.32/kWh will be replaced with the national average energy purchase price of Rs 9/kWh. The difference between the two is power purchase price includes capacity purchase price. NEPRA earlier also clarified through a press release that these changes are only for 20,700 consumers across Pakistan who have been allowed Net Metering as per the NEPRA regulations.

During the hearing, a valid explanation with numbers was expected from NEPRA behind this move. In contrast, Chairman NEPRA came up with an emotional description that these 20,700 net-metering consumers should give up Rs 10.32 /kWh for the extra exported units to DISCOs; for the sake of 36 million consumers who have not opted for this facility, as they don’t have the resources to do so. Before delving further into the likely impact of this amendment, it is essential to mention that, by law, NEPRA is an autonomous organization. Still, in practice, its independence is compromised in its decision-making on various aspects of its jurisdiction, including consumer-end tariffs. Therefore, the repeated claim by NEPRA that NEPRA initiated this move for those 36 million consumers is difficult to believe. This claim contradicts what NEPRA has reported in its State of Industry Report 2022, published September 30, 2022, that DISCOs’ behavior towards net-metering connections is not favorable.

Concerning the impact of this amendment, the capacity under net-metering or self-generation for 20,700 consumers is not more than 476MW. For 476 MW installed capacity with a plant factor of 16% to 19%, the maximum photo voltaic (PV) generation could be 90MW. Roughly 25 per cent or only 23 MW extra units are exported to the grid. In the current generation of around 30,000 MW, what difference to the basket price would be made by 0.08% of the self-generation plants for those 36 million consumers without PV systems?

However, this 0.08% generation may impact DISCO revenues as the net-metered consumers were neither stealing electricity nor delaying bill payments before moving towards self-generation. In other words, this amendment in NEPRA regulation will protect incompetent DISCOs rather than forcing them to improve their inefficiencies. Because of the undue favor to DISCOs, the continuous anomalies in the bills DISCOs generated for net-metered consumers remain unchecked. After this amendment, irregularities in DISCO billing will increase.

Before moving further, one thing which needs clarification is the difference between the net-metering and net-billing applicable globally. In net-metering, units imported from a grid or exported to the grid are of the same worth, that is, at the retail rate. A net-metering consumer can exchange the units exported to the grid for an equal amount of kWh whenever needed. The consumer can bank these units and roll them over from month to month. In net-billing, the average purchase price or wholesale price for power (excluding distribution overheads and other extra charges) is paid to the consumer. In net-billing, solar-generated electricity is treated like any other large-scale producer or generation plant supplying electricity to the grid. The only difference is, instead of credit on the utility bill, a consumer gets a monetary value based on the wholesale rate or average power purchase rate.  

In Pakistan, the term net-metering is misused. Perhaps, NEPRA itself is not clear about it. Currently, a power purchase price is applicable on exported units. But after the amendment, the rate for exported units would be even lower. The impact of this reduction of Rs 10.32 in money terms would be (roughly) less than Rs 0.2 million.

In comparison, there are few other areas in which interventions will substantially impact DISCO revenues and consumer-end tariffs. For instance, as reported in the NEPRA State of Industry Report 2022, DISCOs (including K-electric) receivables from Federal, Provincial, and private consumers stand at Rs 1.7 trillion. These Federal, Provincial, and private consumers are part of these 36 million consumers. The same NEPRA Report details around 20% average distribution losses across DISCOs, including K-electric. A significant portion of these losses is due to theft or meter-tempering. The impact of these losses on consumer-end tariff is more than Rs 2/kWh. Additionally, those who are stealing electricity or not paying their bills are part of these 36 million. Improvement in receivables and line losses will significantly impact DISCO revenues and consumer-end tariffs.

Likewise, what about the impact of those getting free electricity on the tariff of 36 million? According to NEPRA Report 2022, the cost of providing free electricity to retired or serving employees of the electricity companies, excluding WAPDA, has reached 6.8 billion. The elimination of this subsidy would substantially impact DISCO revenues, and eventually, it will trickle down to end-consumers. Is NEPRA working on any strategy to minimize the impact of these losses on tariffs?

During the NEPRA hearing, Chairman NEPRA also mentioned the Competitive Trade Bilateral Contract Market (CTBCM)_ a market model NEPRA is about to implement. The very gist of any market model in the world is to provide a level playing field to all players in the market. In other words, for a wholesale market, a non-discriminatory governance structure is essential. Currently, solar IPPs are getting a much higher rate per unit. For instance, Crest Energy is getting Rs 35.22/ kWh, Best Green Rs 34.91/kWh, Apollo Power Rs 33.5/kWh, and Quaid-e-Azam solar part is getting Rs 24.3/kWh. Why the extraordinary special treatment for them?

The argument provided is that they are under long-term contracts. What was an independent regulator doing when these contracts were made at such a high tariff for projects with a plant factor of only 19%? NEPRA determined the tariff for these and issued licenses to them. Large business groups own all these IPPs, but small businesses or middle-class households do net-metering. It is easier for the government and a regulator to target and penalize middle-income honest consumers.

Recently, a draft Integrated Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2022-31 has been submitted to NEPRA for approval. In the draft plan, 480MW of net-metering is considered every year till 2031. With this amendment to NEPRA regulation, the target will never be achieved.

The author is a Senior Research Economist at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. She tweets @malikafia2021

Hungarian medicine aid shipment for flood affectees arrives

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DNA

ISLAMABAD:  Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz Satti, Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan received Hungarian Ambassador Mr. Béla Fazekasand Mr. Péter Zelei, Project Manager of the Hungary Helps Agency.

The Hungarian Ambassador informed the Chairmanon the Hungarian Government’s decision to send a medicine aid shipment to Pakistan to save lives in the flood affected areas. As the donation has reached Karachi Airport, the Ambassador handed over the donation letter of the medicines with a value of 5 million PKR. He informed Lt GenSatti that besides the medicine aid, Hungary had also offered financial support in the value of 2,5 million PKR to different Pakistani charity organizations to purchase food and hygiene products to ease the pain of the families who lost everything in the disaster.

Ambassador Béla Fazekas highlighted that Hungary helps on a local level as well.In early September Honorary Consul of Hungary in Karachi Mr. Makhdum Omar Shehryar also donated several truckloads of food, tents and medicines to the affectees of the floods in Pakistan’s Sindh province in the value of 6 million PKR.

Mr. Béla Fazekas assured the NDMA Chairman that Hungary will continue to monitor the situationto secure basic needs for survival and early recovery.

Chairman Satti thanked the Hungarian support and he said the monsoon rains were heavier this year than expected and this linked with the melting glaciers that followed a severe heat wave caused the disastrous flood. All of these are the effects of the climate change to be dealt with only through global cooperation.

Literacy and its importance  in National Growth discussed

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Islamabad: Rotary Club of Islamabad Metropolitan arranged a special talk on “Literacy and its role in National Growth” at a local hotel.  Guest Speaker was Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila (Retd) NI(M) former Chief of Naval Staff and presently running  NPO “Moawin Foundation” promoting quality education in elementary and primary education. Dr Azra Yasmin, Secretary of the club introduced the guest speaker.

Admiral Asif Sandila emphasized on the importance of elementary and primary education. The change in society can only occur when a child has good and quality basic education taught in the national language. “There is a need to engage and collaborate with the private sector in bringing quality education within public sector schools specially in teachers training and monitoring their performance” said Admiral Asif Sandila.

Presently Moawin Foundation has collaborated with the public sector and runs more than 200 government schools across Pakistan which is an amazing success story.

Rotary District Governor Barrister Adnan SaboorRohaila also graced the occasion. In his address, the District Governor highlighted the importance of basic values, which can build a strong foundation for a child. Rohaila said that the character of a person in initial years of childhood, strong values system and social ethics are crucial for any resilient nation. We should make people literate with a focus on character building.

President Imran Ghaznavi in his welcome address pointed out that Rotary International has marked September as literacy month and indeed literacy can play a major role in national economic development.

At the end, certificates were distributed to senior educationists in recognition of their services in the education sector.

Dr. Shamim Zadhi, Dr. Ashraf Malik, Prof Ghulam Abbas Miana, DrAzra Yasmin, Dr Muhammad Ali Rana, Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Dr AmbreenSaba ,Safia Agha and Farkhanda Andrabi were among the award recipients.

Serena Hotels, Thai embassy  join hands for a noble cause

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Serena Hotels, Thai embassy

 join hands for a noble cause

Fundraiser gala held to support the flood victims

A.M.Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Serena Hotels in collaboration with the Royal Embassy of Thailand organised a fundraising event to raise funds for the relief and rehabilitation for the people affected by the floods across Pakistan.

The fundraising event was well attended by all walks of life, including members of the diplomatic community, corporate sector, and business community, where a troupe of performers from the Phattayakul Thai Music & Drama School presented a traditional cultural dance adorned in beautifully crafted traditional attire, an affair originally staged for the Royal Court.

Alongside Muay Thai, the National Sport of Thailand which translates to Thai Boxing, was a delightful feat of agility and endurance by the Champion of Muay Thai, AnusornInjai. The event would not have been successful without the full support of the Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan, Chakkrid Krachaiwong.

Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels, appreciated the generosity extended by the guests and associates in raising of the funds for the flood affectees. Serena Hotels as a responsible corporate citizen has been active in supporting the flood affectees. The Company is matching the funds donated by the Hotels’ Guests and Associates.

Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan, Chakkrid Krachaiwong in his remarks thanked the Serena Hotels for taking lead in the noble cause of extending support to the flood affected people. He said two days colorful Thai Food, Fun, and Music Festival was held at a local mall in Lahore, which drew huge attention.

It may be mentioned here that the relief goods, i.e. food supplies, and tents, are being distributed directly as well as through international NGOs under the banner of “Jazba-e-Khidmat– in the Spirit of Compassion” initiative.

This special event featured the exotic taste of Thailand, and the guests were thrilled by the authentic taste of Thai cuisine, along with cultural performances.

Azerbaijan ever ready to thwart any aggression: Amb. Khazar

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Azerbaijan ever ready to thwart any aggression: Amb. Khazar

Says Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan has already become a venue for international events; condemns Armenian acts of aggression against innocent Azerbaijani people

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov has said that brave Azerbaijani forces had successfully thwarted the Armenian aggression and re-gained its territory illegally occupied by the aggressor Armenia. He added his country greatly valued moral and diplomatic support extended to Azerbaijan by Pakistan during the 44-day Patriotic War.

Ambassador Khazar expressed these views while addressing a press conference in connection with September 27- Commemoration Day, at the embassy premises on Monday. Col Mehman A Novruzov the Defence Attache was also present on the occasion.

The ambassador further said Armenia kept Azerbaijan’s territories under occupation illegally for almost 30 years. During these years, Armenia always committed provocations against Azerbaijan.

While sharing the background information the ambassador said, 2 years back, on 27 September 2020, a counter-offensive was launched in response to Armenia’s yet another large-scale military attack on Azerbaijani Army positions and civilian settlements. The counter-offensive later became known as Operation Iron Fist that led to the Patriotic War. At the end of the 44-day Patriotic War, under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, President Ilham Aliyev, our army liberated Azerbaijan’s territories from Armenian occupation and Armenia was forced to sign an act of capitulation, thus acknowledging Azerbaijan’s historic victory.

He said, as a sign of deep respect for Azerbaijani soldiers and officers, all the martyrs, who fought heroically in the Patriotic War, waved the Azerbaijani flag in the liberated lands and sacrificed their lives for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, September 27 is marked as Commemoration Day in Azerbaijan every year.

Ambassador Khazar said the Patriotic War put an end to Armenia’s nearly 30-year-long policy of aggression. Azerbaijan ensured its territorial integrity, and the fundamental rights of nearly one million displaced Azerbaijanis were restored. Azerbaijan, alone ensured the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993.

‘I must mention that brotherly Pakistan from the first day of the former Karabakh conflict, as well as the during Patriotic War in 2020 morally and politically supported just position of Azerbaijan and it has been highly appreciated by the Government and people of Azerbaijan’.

While giving a brief account of the reconstruction process the ambassador said, right after the liberation, Azerbaijan started a massive reconstruction and restoration works in the liberated areas.  In 2021 and 2022, the Azerbaijani Government allocated nearly $3 billion to the large-scale reconstruction and restoration activities in the liberated lands. I would like to inform you that Fuzuli International Airport which was built just in 8 months is operational now. 2 more international airports namely Zangilan and Lachin are under construction and they will be also operational very soon, he added.

When asked to comment on the rehabilitaion process the ambassador said, first Azerbaijani IDPs have already returned to liberated Zangilan region’s Aghali village, which was rebuilt based on the “smart village” concept.

Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan has already become a venue for international events. “Pakistan Colors” group performed the “Bhangra” dance at the 5th “Kharibulbul” International Folklore Festival which was held in Shusha in May 2022.

Azerbaijan offered Armenia peace immediately after the war. This was perhaps one of a handful of examples in the military history of the world when lands remained under occupation for 30 years, people lived in suffering and deprivation, historical and religious monuments were destroyed, cities were razed to the ground, and more than a million mines planted, and yet Azerbaijan is offering peace. However, Armenia is not interested in peace. The Azerbaijani side proposes delimitation and demarcation but Armenia delays it. We have proposed 5 principles for signing a peace treaty with Armenia. In words, they accepted them, but we do not see it in practice. These all show again that Armenia is not interested in peace.

‘Moreover, in the past few months, Armenia has committed repeated military provocations against Azerbaijan. More than 1,400 new landmines were planted in the Lachin district alone, and these mines were planted in 2021, after the war. This is a flagrant act of terror against Azerbaijan. Since the war ended, more than 240 Azerbaijani citizens have been killed or seriously injured due to landmine explosions’.

To a question Ambassador Khazar said, Armenian armed forces committed large-scale provocations in the Dashkasan, Kalbajar and Lachin directions of the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border on 13th September again. The sabotage groups of the Armenian armed forces using the mountainous terrain of the area and the existing ravine gaps mined the territories and supply roads between the positions of the Azerbaijan Army Units in different directions. But of course Glorious Azerbaijani Army responded and put the enemy back in place.

Ambassador Khazar extended gratitude to Pakistani media representatives for their support in highlighting the Azerbaijan realities among Pakistani public as well as the in the international arena.

The Azerbaijan defence attache to a question said that Azerbiajn Air Force was in the process of enhacing its capabilities for which negotaitons were under way with various countries including Pakistan. He said most of the landmines had been cleared however there were still areas with landmines therefore Azerbaijan authorities are making sure that such areas are fully secured before the return of the IDPs.

Indonesian Humanitarian Relief Aid Arrives In Pakistan

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Indonesian Humanitarian Relief Aid Arrives In Pakistan

DNA

KARACHI:     The Coordinating Minister of Indonesia for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Prof. Dr. Muhajir Effendi handed over the flood relief aid from the Government of Indonesia to Minister for Labour of Sindh Province Mr. Saeed Ghani and Minister for Social Welfare Mr. Muhammad Sajidd in a brief ceremony held at Jinnah International Airport Karachi today. The humanitarian aid package weighing around 90 tons has been sent by two chartered national Garuda aircrafts carrying logistics such as medicines, tents, clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, mosquito nets, and generators for the victims of devastating flood victims in Pakistan.

     Speaking on the occasion, the Head of Delegation Prof. Dr. Muhajir Effendi conveyed deepest condolences and sympathies to the flood victims in Pakistan from the Government and people of Indonesia. He said that both the countries enjoy special historic and brotherly bilateral relations and this humanitarian aid reflects the spirit of friendship and mutual cooperation to support each other in difficult times. Noting the scale of destruction because of the floods, he said that Indonesia will also help Pakistani Government in next phase. The Minister of Labour of Province Sindh, Mr. Saeed Ghani expressed his gratitude to the people of Indonesia for showing solidarity and extending humanitarian relief assistance to Pakistani people.

     The Head of National Disaster Management Agency of Indonesia Lt. Gen. Suharyanto, Chairman of Commission 8 of House of Representatives Mr. Ashabul Kahfi, and Director of South and Central Asia Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present on the occasion representing the delegation from Indonesia. The visiting delegation also received by Secretary of NDMA of Pakistan.

     Coordinating Minister Prof. Dr. Muhajir Effendi and delegation accompanied by Minister Labour of the Sindh Province Saeed Ghani and Minister Social Welfare Muhammad Sajidd visited a shelter camp located in Gulshan-e-Iqsan, Karachi to distribute relief packages to 75 families who took temporary refuge in a boys school Madu Ghod.

     As the two most populated Muslim majority countries, Indonesia and Pakistan have strong bonds of brotherhood and friendship. The two countries have always supported each other at the time of natural calamities whether its tsunami in Indonesia or massive floods of 2010 in Pakistan. It is hoped that Indonesian assistance will reduce the sufferings of flood affected communities and support the ongoing efforts of Pakistan government to quickly overcome the impact of large scale damage across the country”.

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo dispatched humanitarian aid to Pakistan

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DNA

KARACHI: The Government of Indonesia has joined the international community in providing humanitarian assistance for the flood victims in Pakistan. The President of Indonesia JokoWidodo today dispatched humanitarian assistance by two special aircrafts, in the form of packages of medicines, tents, clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, mosquito nets, and generators.

  In his remarks, President Jokowi expressed deepest condolences on his personal behalf and also on behalf of the Indonesian people to Pakistani brothers on the loss of precious human livescaused by heavy floods and landslides. President JokoWidodo also pledged to provide humanitarian grant of USD 1 million and to send a medical team to Pakistan.

    The Indonesian Humanitarian Assistance Team is led by the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Prof.  Dr.  Muhajir Effendi, along with the Chairperson of Commission 8 of the Indonesian House of Representatives AshabulKahfi, Head of Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) Lt. Gen. Suharyanto and Director of South Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives from other relevant Ministries/Agencies.

The total Indonesian non-cash grant assistance to Pakistan is worth USD 1.2 Million and weighing around 90 tons. Currently, a need assessment is being carried out at the flood affected areas in Pakistan by a team from Indonesian NDMA in close consultation with Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs. Together, these institutions have taken several initiatives to raise humanitarian assistance to Pakistan from various segments in Indonesia’s community including from state enterprises, entrepreneurs and civil society.  

      On separate occasions, the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad and the Indonesian Consulate General in Karachi have also taken the initiative to raise humanitarian aid in collaboration with Indonesian students and Indonesian diaspora in Pakistan. The aid worth 1.8 million PKR has been sent through the Pakistan Red Crescent Society. Besides, Indonesian volunteers from DompetDhuafa organization have also built two houses in one of the flooded areas in Sindh Province.

 The flash floods in Pakistan have killed more than 1,600 people, and submerged one-third of Pakistan’s territory.  Around 33 million people were affected by the monsoon floods which the UN Secretary-General called “climate carnage”, including 650,000 pregnant women.  The flood damage was estimated at USD 30 billion that destroyed 2 million houses and damaged 23,900 schools, 1,460 health facilities and 13,000 km road network. More than two million hectares of agricultural land was also swept out by the floods while in some areas, the water inundation is still high and has not receded. The flood refugees are under threat of post-flood diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, and diarrhea.

Azerbaijan MFA: Responsibility for the provocation, clashes and losses lies with the military-political leadership of Armenia

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DNA

BAKU: On September 12, 2022, starting at late night, the units of the armed forces of Armenia held large-scale provocations in the directions of Dashkasan, Kalbajar and Lachin of Azerbaijan-Armenia state border.
 
According to the information provided by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the sabotage groups of the armed forces of Armenia using the mountainous relief of the area and existing valley gaps carried out planting landmines on the areas between the positions of the units of Azerbaijan’s army and the supply roads in different directions. In addition, the Armenian armed forces fired intensively at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in Dashkasan, Kalbajar and Lachin regions with different types of weapons, including mortars. As a result, there are casualties among the personnel of our armed forces, damage was inflicted to the military infrastructure.
 
In order to prevent further provocations by the armed forces of Armenia and military threats against the territory and sovereignty of our country, to ensure the safety of our military personnel, including civilian workers involved in infrastructure activities in the territory of Kalbajar and Lachin regions, the expansion of the scale of the military hostilities was averted, and in order to silence the firing points of the armed forces of Armenia definitive retaliatory measures were taken by the units of the Azerbaijani Army deployed in this direction. Moreover, the information disseminated by the Armenian side that Azerbaijan’s Army allegedly targets the civilian population, facilities, and infrastructure does not reflect reality, and is another disinformation spread by the Armenian side.
 
In general, during the last month, the provocations of the Armenian armed forces in the direction of Lachin, Gadabay, Dashkasan and Kalbajar regions of the state border, and cases of the firing of the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in those regions with various types of weapons, were intensive and systematic. At the same time, Armenia’s increase in militarization along Azerbaijan’s borders, deployment of heavy equipment and large-caliber weapons in the region indicated that Armenia was preparing for a large-scale military provocation.
 
At the same time, delaying the normalization process by Armenia with various pretexts, showing a destructive position in the negotiations conducted with international efforts, not withdrawing the Armenian armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan contrary to the obligations within the framework of trilateral statements and agreements, continuing planting landmines, including recently produced in Armenia in the territory of Lachin, putting forward new conditions and disrupting the process of opening of communications and transport routes, as well as not responding to the peace agenda demonstrated that Armenia is not interested in the peace process and aims to undermine them.
 
The following aggression of the Armenian side against Azerbaijan is a gross violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law, as well as the provisions of the trilateral statements signed between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Russian Federation, and the agreements reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia. These steps of Armenia are completely contrary to the ongoing normalization and peace process. At the time, when the Azerbaijan is carrying out large-scale restoration and construction works in these territories liberated from occupation, Armenia by allowing aggression once again demonstrates that it is hindering this process by all means.
 
Responsibility for the provocation, clashes and losses lies with the military-political leadership of Armenia. Any actions against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be resolutely prevented.

Queen Elizabeth II dies

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LONDON”Queen Elizabeth has died. The British government has confirmed her death. The British government has announced 10 day mourning. She was 96 years old. Prince Charles will be the new king of Britain.

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognisable to billions of people around the world, died on Thursday. She was 96.

                  Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement, triggering 10 days of national mourning and an outpouring of tributes to her long life and record-breaking reign.

                  “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at 6:30 pm (1730 GMT).

                  “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

                  The eldest of her four children, Charles, Prince of Wales, who at 73 is the oldest heir apparent in British history, becomes king immediately.

                  The queen’s death came after the palace announced on Thursday that doctors were “concerned” for her health and recommended she stayed under medical supervision.

                  All her children — Charles, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, flocked to her Scottish Highland retreat, Balmoral.

                  They were joined by Charles’s sons, Prince William, and his estranged brother Prince Harry.

                  Two days earlier the queen appointed Liz Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign and was seen smiling in photographs but looking frail and using a walking stick.

                  One photograph of the meeting sparked alarm, showing a deep purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand.

                  – Seismic change –

                  Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 in the aftermath of World War II, joining a world stage dominated by political figures from China’s Mao Zedong to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and US president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

                  Her 70-year reign straddled two centuries of seismic social, political and technological upheaval.

                  The last vestiges of Britain’s vast empire crumbled. At home, Brexit shook the foundations of her kingdom, and her family endured a series of scandals.

                  But throughout, she remained consistently popular and was queen and head of state not just of the United Kingdom but 14 former British colonies, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

                  She was also head of the 56-nation Commonwealth, which takes in a quarter of humanity, and supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion.

                  But questions will be asked about whether the golden age of the British monarchy has now passed, how an ancient institution can remain viable in the modern era and whether Charles will command the same respect or reign in his mother’s shadow.

                  – Official mourning –

                  Television and radio stations interrupted regular programming to broadcast the news, with long-rehearsed special schedules set in place to remember her long life and reign.

                  The national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, was played. Flags were lowered and church bells tolled to remember a woman once described as the “last global monarch”.

                  The national mourning period will culminate in a final public farewell at Westminster Abbey in central London.

                  Charles’ coronation, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historic surroundings, as it has for centuries, on a date to be fixed.

                  – Longevity –

                  Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was for most of her subjects the only monarch they have ever known — an immutable figurehead on stamps, banknotes and coins.

                  Diminutive in stature yet an icon of popular culture, she was instantly recognisable in her brightly coloured suits and matching hat, with pearls, gloves and a handbag.

                  During her reign, the royals went from stiff, remote figures to tabloid fodder and were then popularised anew in television dramas such as “The Crown,” watched by tens of millions worldwide.

                  Her time on the throne spanned an era of remarkable change, from the Cold War to the 9/11 attacks, from climate change to coronavirus, “snail mail” and steam ships to email and space exploration.

                  She became seen as the living embodiment of post-war Britain and a link between the modern era and a bygone age.

                  The mother of one of the most famous families in the world, she retained huge public support throughout, surviving even a backlash in the wake of the death of Charles’ first wife, Diana, in 1997.

                  More recently, the royal family was rocked by claims from Prince Harry and his mixed-race wife Meghan of racism in the royal family.

                  She also endured a scandal involving her second son Prince Andrew, whose friendship with convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell saw him settle a civil claim for sexual assault in the United States.

                  – ‘None of us will live forever’ –

                  Britons were jolted into recognising the beginning of the end of her reign when in April 2021 she lost her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

                  Yet the palace had long recognised her mortality and the transition to Charles was already well under way.

                  He, his eldest son Prince William, who now becomes heir, and his wife, Catherine, began to assume more of the queen’s official roles.

                  The coronavirus pandemic and her advanced years forced her into the splendid isolation of Windsor Castle, west of London.

                  But from behind its stately walls, she remained a reassuring presence, popping up on video calls with members of the public.

                  In a rare, televised address during the first lockdown, she recalled the “Blitz spirit” of Britain under siege during World War II that defined her generation.

                  “We will meet again,” she said.

                  She cast off the shroud of Philip’s death and her enforced confinement to resume public duties, but age and ill-health forced her slow down.

                  After a unscheduled night in hospital in October 2021 following undisclosed health tests, her appearances became rarer.

                  “None of us will live forever,” she told world leaders attending a UN climate change summit soon afterwards, urging them to leave a legacy for generations to come.

                  One of her last decisive acts was to settle an unanswered question for the succession, giving her blessing for Charles’ second wife, Camilla, to be called “queen consort”.

Imran Khan to be indicted in contempt case

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Imran Khan to be indicted in contempt case

DNA

ISLAMABAD:The Islamabad High Court on Thursday decided to indict PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the contempt of court case. The indictment will take place after two weeks.

“Imran Khan’s response was not satisfactory,” said IHC CJ Athar Minallah. CJ Minallah is heading a five-member bench — comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangir, and Justice Babar Sattar — that heard the case.

Once the court took a five-minute break after the reservation of the verdict, Khan got up and asked the court if he could speak. At this, the IHC CJ said that the court had heard his lawyers.

“I want to give my stance; the court can question me,” Khan said, but the court prefered to let it be and decided against listening to the PTI chairman.

The court had last month taken notice of the former prime minister’s speech at a public rally, where he allegedly threatened Islamabad additional sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry for extending PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s remand.

At the last hearing, the IHC chief justice had asked Khan to ensure that he submits a “well-considered” response in seven days to the show-cause notice, otherwise the court would have its way.

In his first response to the IHC’s show-cause notice in the case, the PTI chairman did not apologise, offering, however, to withdraw his remarks “if they were inappropriate.”

In his latest response, which was a 19-page-long document, the PTI chairman seemingly opted to tell the court that it should discharge the notice based on his explanation and follow the Islamic principles of forgiveness.

However, in both responses, the PTI chairman did not offer an unconditional apology.

Today’s hearing

During the hearing, the IHC chastised the PTI chairman, saying that the former prime minister seeks to “constantly justify” his actions, in a case pertaining to contemptuous remarks he made about a magistrate in a rally speech.

“It appears you have no realisation of the gravity of the situation,” said IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Expressing his disappointment in the response given by Khan to the court, which was the second of its kind, the court asked: “Even after the court’s input on the matter, this is the response submitted?”

“It seems you want to fight this case […] and you have no realisation that the case against you is extremely seriously,” noted Justice Minallah.

Justice Sattar noted that “threatening” words were used by Khan in his speech, that he showed “no remorse”, and that recent statements also seem to suggest he has “no remorse”.

The court regretted that Khan, instead, is constantly attempting to “justify” his actions.

The PTI chair appeared before a five-member IHC bench amid strict security measures in place in and around the premises of the court, including the deployment of 788 cops under the supervision of two superintendents of police.

Moreover, the ways leading to the court have been barricaded with barbed wires, while the availability of tear gas shells and an armoured vehicle has also been ensured to deal with any untoward situation.

Kazakh president believes in democratization of country

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Ambassador Kistafin says early presidential election in autumn; director flights between Kazakhstan, Pakistan from November

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin has said to achieve the goal of democratization and better facilitation of the people of Kazakhstan President  Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has decided to call early elections this Autumn. The President has decided to limit the term of the President to one time only, which will be for seven years.

Ambassador Kistafin made these remarks while talking to media people, here on Monday.

The ambassador further said, during his address to the nation a few days ago the President of Kazakhstan made it clear that he wanted to make the country a democratic state where people have a say in the decision making processes.

He said that Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country and the biggest economy in Central Asia; hence, the potential for cooperation and development between both nations is enormous. 

Tokayev further called for the elections to the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) and Maslikhats (local representative bodies) to be held in the first half of 2023 if all relevant laws in the follow-up to the constitutional amendments approved in the June 5 national referendum are adopted by the end of 2022. Moreover, the role of Parliament, media, and civil society in Kazakhstan would be strengthened. 

Commenting on the rule of law, President Tokayev announced that the independence of the judiciary would be strengthened by systematically reducing administrative and government pressure on the legal system, principally by reforming the Supreme Court and increasing its power over judicial review.

He said that  direct flights between Kazakhstan and Pakistan shall be resumed in the month of November, 2022.

The flights would be operated from Kazakhstan’s city Nur-Sultan and Almaty to Pakistan’s major cities including Lahore and Karachi, adding that it will help out to bring the communities of both countries closer and create a better understanding of each other’s culture.

This initiative of flights will enhance people-to-people contacts and the exchange of delegations, ultimately bringing both the brotherly countries closer.

 Ambassador further said that President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is also planning to visit in the first half of next year. This year both countries are also holding inter-governmental joint mission meetings to enhance further bilateral economic and regional cooperation. Moreover, both countries will also collaborate in media exchanges.

The ambassador further said that after the June referendum it has become easy for anybody to establish a political party and take part in the political process. Thus, parties have a chance now to promote their own agendas.

He added his country was keen to have access to the warm waters of Pakistan for which he would soon visit Gwadar and explore various business opportunities there. He said the Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has invited him to visit Gwadar and on his invitation he will soon go there.

He also mentioned the single country exhibition organized by Pakistani businessmen in Almaty, Kazakhstan adding that the exhibition went quite well and provided businessmen from both countries with an opportunity of exchanging views and exploring business potentials.

75th anniversary of Pakistan : British Council partners with Lahore Biennale Foundation for Virtual Museum

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75th anniversary of Pakistan

British Council partners with Lahore Biennale Foundation for Virtual Museum

DNA

Lahore, Friday 2 September:The British Council and Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF) havepartnered to launch the Lahore Biennale Foundation Virtual Museum project at the National College of Arts, Lahore. The virtual museum is a digital platform for artists, academics and creative practitioners to re-examine our shared cultural language and artistic legacy. The launch event was attended by senior members of the arts community as well as representatives from the British Council and the British High Commission. The project is part of the British Council’s Pakistan-UK Season: New Perspectives programme to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan.

The project invited a diverse group of curators, collaborators and artists across the board to respond and contribute to 75 years of Pakistan’s rich, multifaceted history and culture post-independence. The aim is to facilitate broader socio-cultural changes in public interaction which has led to the need of providing people with a virtual space to reconnect with their cultural heritage. The project also questions the role of the “traditional forms of museum making” and builds on the global reality of virtual connectivity despite physical borders, making cyberspace an ideal platform for local and global conversations – transcending boundaries by making knowledge production an accessible and open-ended reality. The LBF’s Virtual Museum engages in new forms of museum making, overcomes physical boundaries, and functions as an enduring online resource.

Kate Joyce, Business Director Cultural Engagement, British Council South Asia, said: “The Virtual Museum is an innovative way to use art and heritage in community building in an inclusive and impactful way. This formed part of our programme of activity for Pakistan/UK: New Perspectives programme. I look forward to many young artists and curators contributing to this space and meaningfully sharing ideas that pave the way for an inclusive and sustainable future. The tragic recent events in Pakistan with the floods underline the importance of working together to tackle global challenges.”

The curators and themes for the project are Dastaan-I-Urdu, curated by Ali Usman Qasmi (Co Curator: Mahmood Ul Hasan); The Body and Beyond: Women’s Movements in Pakistan, curated by Farida Batool; Taos Chaman – Post-Colonial Identity in Artistic Practices in South Asia, curated by Masooma Syed; Manduva: Exploring What We Won’t Like to Call ‘Lollywood’, curated by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat; Ilm-e-Mosiqui: Classical Legacies, Folk Music and Contemporary Classics, curated by Sarah Zaman and Architecture through Space and Time: Conversations with the first generation of Pakistani Architects, curated by Tanvir Hasan. All these themes respond to a different aspect of our country’s shared history, cultural language and artistic legacy.

RTIS

Qudsia Rahim, Executive Director at the Lahore Biennale Foundation, said: “The Lahore Biennale Foundation Virtual Museum is a unique form of archiving, knowledge making and exhibition discourse in response to the global socio-cultural changes in museum practice and public perception. Curated by a collaboration of leading local artists and academics (and not with a Western lens), it represents our shared history and heritage, and hopes to build upon the research as presented by local practitioners. With the current climate crisis in the country, it is now more crucial than ever, to come together, collaborate and help each other.”

PM postpones UAE visit

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PM postpones UAE visit

                ISLAMABAD, Sep 1 (APP):Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday announced to postpone his visit to the United Arab Emirates scheduled on September 3, with a view to focus on the ongoing rescue and relief activities in the flood-ravaged areas.

“I was set to visit the UAE on Sept 3 on the invitation of HH the President. We mutually decided to postpone the visit so that I could focus on the ongoing rescue & relief activities,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

He said Pakistan would forever be indebted to “our brothers and sisters who have stood by us in this challenge.”

The prime minister said that the UAE had started delivering the first tranche of relief goods worth $50 million for the flood victims in Pakistan.

He said that in his telephonic conversation with the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan last night, the latter assured that the UAE would continue to help flood affected people of Pakistan.

Mehriban Aliyeva – symbol of kindness, humanism and compassion

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On August 26, the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva celebrates her birthday.

Founder of “Azerbaijani Culture Foundation” and “Azerbaijan – Heritage” magazine, which is published in three languages (Azerbaijani, English and Russian) in order to widely promote the Azerbaijani culture Mehriban Aliyeva was elected as President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation in October 2002.

Mehriban Aliyeva has headed the Heydar Aliyev Foundation since 2004, which was founded to study the rich political legacy and promote the national statehood ideas of national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev.

In August 2004, Mehriban Aliyeva was named Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO for her role in protection and development of Azerbaijan’s intangible folk literature and national musical legacy.

In December 2004, Mehriban Aliyeva was elected as a member of the Executive Committee of NOC at the 4th General Assembly of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Mehriban Aliyeva has been a member of the New Azerbaijan Party’s Political Council since 2004, and deputy chairman of the party since 2013 and was elected as a Member of Parliament at the third, fourth and fifth convocation of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan respectively in 2005, 2010 and 2015. 

Having received an academic degree of PhD in Philosophy in 2005, Mehriban Aliyeva was also named Goodwill Ambassador of ISESCO for her outstanding contribution to humanitarian area, including the development of dialogue among civilizations and cultures, promotion of Islamic cultural legacy and for her tremendous role in addressing problems of children with special needs in November 2006, 

At the 4th Congress of the World Azerbaijanis held in Baku in June 2016, Mehriban Aliyeva was elected as a member of the World Azerbaijanis Coordination Board.

On February 21, 2017, Mehriban Aliyeva was appointed as First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This terminated her power as a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 6, 2017.

Mehriban Aliyeva, who is the author of many projects aimed at the social wellbeing of the people, carries the name of the First Lady with honor and presents to the world the proud image of the contemporary Azerbaijani woman. Azerbaijan’s First Lady is an exemplary image of the woman for Muslim women.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which started operations under the leadership of First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva in 2004, provides unparalleled services towards the realization of the ideas of Heydar Aliyev the National Leader of Azerbaijan and the recognition of the rich heritage of statehood of this genius personality in the entire world. Revival and increased scale of Azerbaijani people’s traditions of charity have been possible based directly on the personal example provided by the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. She is national with all of her decisions: she serves the progress of her motherland and works tirelessly for the sake of development of his country’s culture, education and sport. The schools, healthcare and medical facilities that were built or renovated even in the most outlying parts of Azerbaijan through the Heydar Aliyev Foundation can be an example of this. A lot of programs and projects have been implemented for this purpose. The Foundation has been taking an active part in increasing the international reputation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

It should be noted that with the initiative and support of Mehriban Aliyeva, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has implemented humanitarian social oriented projects in Pakistan, as well.

The opening ceremony of a secondary school for girls was held on February 9, 2008 in Rara settlement of Muzaffarabad city, which was damaged by the earthquake. During these years, with the initiative and support of the Foundation, free medical diognasis and operations were provided, there were contribution to building of medical facilities and water supply systems, charity events were organized, peoples with disabilities were provided with wheelchairs and other numerous projects were carried out in this direction.

In 2015, Mehriban Aliyeva has been awarded with high State Award of Pakistan – order of “Hilal-e-Pakistan”.

British Council partners with Koel Gallery on Art for Climate Change

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DNA

KARACHI: The British Council and Koel Gallery have partnered to launch the ‘Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan – Stories from the Coast’ project exhibition at the Koel Gallery in Karachi on Friday, 12 August. The exhibition which continues until 19 August features multidisciplinary works that aim to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on the coastal areas of Pakistan, particularly its fragile mangrove ecosystem, with a view to promoting sustainable coastal development.

The project is part of the British Council’s Pakistan-UK Season: New Perspectives programme to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan.

In February 2022, the project awarded grants to Pakistan-based artists exploring this theme through a variety of mediums, culminating in the curated exhibition close to Pakistan’s independence day. The British Council arranged a diverse selection committee, including experts from the UK, to review applications – a process that was quite intensive, given the large number of high-quality applications that were received. After a detailed vetting exercise, four creative teams were selected to work on this project.

Visual Artist, Curator and Director KOEL Gallery, Noorjehan Bilgrami said:“I am sincerely hoping that these projects through the common platform of ‘Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan’, amalgamating at KOEL Gallery, will begin the process of collective research that records, investigates and disseminates the awareness of our legacy that needs to be owned, protected and treasured. It is a beginning for this exciting work to continue”

Artist Mahera Omar presented a silent cinematic journey through a delicate wetland ecosystem on the shores of an industrial city, documenting the precious biodiversity which is in grave danger of being lost under her project titled, ‘Kabhi aisay bhi hota hai ke kinare doob jate hain…’. Marvi Mazhar, Abuzar Madhu &Swalay Muhammad presented ‘Milaap’, an exploration of the sacred geography of the urban/rural estuary where the river meets the coast, focusing on Khizr, the Darya Shah, whose coordinates are sometimes imaginary on liquid grounds in the form of astana, a promised space to protect the coast from climatic and human infrastructural ruptures. Taqi Shaheen& Sara Khan Pathan worked on ‘The Shape of Island’, a research project to design ‘Machi Wachi’ – a board game that acts as a storytelling interface for reflection and ecological understanding about scarcity of natural resources around Bhit Island. While, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto &Janan Sindhu presented ‘Bulhan Nameh’, a series of immersive installations of fabric and video that speak to the plight of one of Pakistan’s shyest animals, the Indus River Dolphin, as well as the communities that have been key to its conservation.

Director Arts, British Council Pakistan Laila Jamil said: “Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan’ has been a very exciting project for us – to have been a part of the selection of such wonderful artists and activists, to be able to see the variety of topics they have chosen, their sensitive approaches, deep research, and love of their respective areas of work – it has been a privilege to be part of their creative journey. We believe art has the potential to challenge and change mindsets for a more sustainable and inclusive future. We are grateful to Koel Gallery for showcasing this project and to the Rangoonwala Foundation for their ongoing support for the arts in Pakistan.”

Pak diplomat in Spain sacked over harassment charges

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Monitoring Report

ISLAMABAD   –   A senior Pakistani diplomat and Consul General of Paki­stan in Spanish city of Barce­lona, Mirza Salman Baig, has been sacked from his position on sexual harassment charges levelled by a local staffer of the consulate.

The sources told that the name of the staff­er, lodged the complaint with Pa­kistani Ambassador Shujat Ra­thore in Madrid, who later re­ferred the matter to Foreign Office in Islamabad for further investiga­tion.

The For­eign Min­istry sent a two-mem­ber team to Barcelona and Madrid to probe the case. They complet­ed the investigation, on the basis of which the Foreign Of­fice removed the officer from his position and recalled him to the headquarters in Islam­abad, where he is facing disci­plinary proceedings.

According to more details, the victim who was hired local­ly also filed the complaint with the Spanish justice department which contacted the Pakistan Ambassador in Spain.

In her complaint, she alleged that the counsel general used to send her messages through social media, which, she claimed, were harassment. She in her complaint also claimed that the officer tried to make sexual assault on her in a hotel in Barcelona.

Mirza Salman Baig during the interrogation, however, de­nied the charges against him and disclosed that he wanted to sack her (the complainant), which was why she turned against him.

Togo keen to enhance trade relations with Pakistan

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Togo keen to enhance trade relations with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, AUG 11 (DNA) — Robert Dussey, Foreign Minister of Republic of Togo along with a delegation visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) and addressing the business community, said that his country was keen to enhance trade relations with Pakistan as both countries have good potential to promote bilateral trade in many areas.

He said that Togo and Pakistan should develop a mechanism for sustainable development of two-way trade ties to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.  He said that Pakistan could achieve better market access to the African region by developing close cooperation with Togo.

 He said that increased trade between Togo and Pakistan would present a win-win situation to both countries. He hoped that his visit to Pakistan would open up many new avenues of promoting trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Speaking at the occasion, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry warmly welcomed Robert Dussey, Foreign Minister of Togo and distinguished members of his delegation to ICCI and gave them a brief introduction of the Chamber. He said that Togo is located in West Africa and Pakistan is focusing on the African region for promoting its trade and exports.

He said that the close cooperation of Pakistan with Togo would help it in exploiting the potential business opportunities in the African markets. He said that the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Togo is not very encouraging and stressed that both countries should encourage regular exchange of trade delegations to explore all potential areas of mutual cooperation.

He said that ICCI would like to develop close liaison with the chamber of commerce and industry in Togo for promoting business linkages between the private sectors of both countries and exchange information about potential areas of trade cooperation.

ICCI President said that Pakistan and Togo have good potential to enhance cooperation in agriculture, mining and other sectors for mutual benefits. He hoped that the visit of Foreign Minister of Togo along with a delegation to Pakistan would start a new chapter of growing bilateral trade and economic relations between our two countries.

Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President, Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI and others also spoke at the occasion and gave useful suggestions for promoting bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Togo. =DNA

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Soft Launch of 11TH Edition of International Defence Exhibition And Seminar – IDEAS – 2022

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Soft Launch of 11TH Edition of International Defence Exhibition And Seminar – IDEAS – 2022

DNA

ISLAMABAD: : “It is indeed a matter of great pleasure to see the IDEAS gaining prominence with every passing year, over a span of twenty two years”, Federal Minister for Defence, Khawaja Muhammad Asif stated during Soft Launch ceremony for International Defence Exhibition And Seminar IDEAS – 2022,.  He further expressed, “I wish the organizers of this event success in the conduct of IDEAS and look forward to an overwhelming participation from defence industries from inland and abroad”.  Towards the end of his address, the Minister for Defence formally declared the launching of IDEAS – 2022. Upon arrival at the venue, he was received by Secretary Defence Production Lt Gen (R) Humayun Aziz and Director General Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) Maj Gen Muhammad Arif Malik.

DG DEPO in his welcome address stated that the 11th edition of IDEAS is planned to be held at Karachi Expo Centre from 15 – 18 November 2022, the year of 75th celebration of Independence of Pakistan. He added that despite a gap of four years, more than 70% of the available space has already been booked by exhibitors from inland and abroad and hoped that IDEAS-2022 will substantial in size and stature than ever before.

 The ceremony was attended by the Ministers, Federal Secretaries, large number of Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Senior Military and Civil officials, CEO Badar Expo Solutions – the Event Manager of IDEAS 2022 and elites from the Media and Business community. The ceremony was followed by unveiling of a Commemorative Postage Stamp by Federal Minister, which will be issued by Pakistan Post on 14th August 2022, signifying the holding of 11th edition of IDEAS in 75th year of independence of Pakistan.

An emotional send-off to Yves Manville

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French ambassador hosts farewell dinner

An emotional send-off

to DHM Yves Manville

The outgoing Deputy Head of Mission French embassy all praise for Pakistani friends

Ansar M Bhatti/DNA

ISLAMABAD:  Ambassador France Nicolas Galey hosted a farewell reception for the outgoing Deputy Head of Mission Yves Manville who is leaving Pakistan in September after completing his term.

Ambassador Galey was all praise for the great diplomatic and communications skills of Mr. Yves and admitted he learnt a lot from his experience. The ambassador said it was a pity that he was leaving but then that is what diplomacy is all about, he added.

The ambassador said Mr. Yves will of course be heading towards yet another destination, which he cannot announce yet but for sure the new destination will match his talent and expectations. The ambassador particularly mentioned his professional role during the pandemic and the caricatures issues. In both cases, Yves put in his best efforts to handle the situations effectively.

Ambassador Nicolas Galey could not resist himself by praising Mr. Yves for his objective and in-depth analysis about the political and economic situation of Pakistan. The veracity and accuracy of his analysis proves himself to be an expert on the regional matters having deep knowledge of Pakistan polity.

The ambassador wished him best of luck for his all future endeavours.

The outgoing Deputy Head of Mission Yves Manville in his remarks thanked the Ambassador of France for hosting a farewell dinner and providing him with an opportunity of meeting with a galaxy of friends. Yves particularly mentioned Ikram Sehgal whom he met for the first time in Brussels during the water conference. Since then, he said Mr. Ikram has been a close friend from whom he had learned a lot of things. He also made a mention of the book of Ikram Sehgal and termed it a great source of information and learning.

Yves Manville thanked the presence of the members of the Eurasia group including the Additional Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former MOFA spokesperson Aysha Faroouqi.

It may be mentioned here that The University of Le Havre, the largest port in France (and ranked ninth largest port in Europe) hosted the eighth session of a Europe-Asia symposium devoted to the emergence of Eurasia (under the title: “ The completion of Eurasia?”), in May 2022.

For the first time, representatives of Pakistan were invited, including a representative of the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Four Pakistanis, two women and two men, two online and two physically, had attended the event.

Webinar on “Youm-e-Istehsal Kashmir held in Brussels”

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The Embassy of Pakistan Brussels organized a webinar on the eve of Youm-e-Istehsal Kashmir today, to express its firm support to the people of the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K).

The webinar was aimed at highlighting the Human Rights violations and Demographic Reengineering in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) by the Indian government, especially since August 5, 2019.

The panelists at the webinar included Mr. Phil Bennion, former MEP, Lord Wajid Iltaf Khan, Former MEP and Baron Khan of Burnley, Mr. Muzammil Ayyub Thakur, President World Kashmir Freedom Movement, Mr. Ali Raza Syed, Chairman EU Kashmir Council, Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani, Chairman Kashmir Institute of International Relations, Dr. Mubeen Shah, Former President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Barcs Sandor, Senior European Journalist and the Ambassador of Pakistan to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg Dr. Asad Majeed Khan.

In his remarks, the Ambassador apprised the audience about the unabated atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces, especially after illegally revoking the special status of the IIOJ&K on 5th August 2019. He underscored that the Indian government has converted the occupied territory into the world’s largest open prison by curbing the liberties and civil rights of the 8 million innocent Kashmiris.

Ambassador Khan emphasized that the post-August 5 2019 legislations including a series of new domicile laws are designed to change the demographic structure of the disputed territory in breach of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

While highlighting the grave human rights situation in the IIOJ&K, the Panelists called upon India to stop abusing innocent Kashmiris who were suffering under its illegal occupation for over past seven decades.

The webinar also condemned India’s brazen violations of the UN Security Council resolutions and called for immediate intervention of the international community for putting an end to the state repression and holding of a free and fair plebiscite in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

The webinar was live streamed on missions social media handles and it was attended by a large number of Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora, including a cross-section of academics, media and scholars.

Indonesian envoy highlights role of youth

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DNA
ISLAMABAD; Ambassador Adam Tugio participated in the inaugural session of the Policy Dialogue Forum (PDF) of PirMehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, on 04 August 2022.
Addressing the Forum, the Envoy commended the initiative by the University to establish PDF as an intellectual platform for engaging youth millennials and women to give positive contributions to the socio-economic development of Pakistan.
The Envoy highlighted a state of bilateral cooperation and its potential to elevate it further and through Pakistan’s engagement with ASEAN. “As the two biggest Muslim population countries, Indonesia and Pakistan shared a lot in common from customs to traditions and from costumes to cuisines”, added Ambassador Tugio. He further encouraged the Forum to give contributions for the implementation of Pakistan’s Look East Policy, noting the importance of economic connectivity in the world today either by joining regional trade blocking or by signing bilateral PTA or FTA.
The inaugural session was officiated by Prof. Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman (Vice Chancellor of PMAS-AAUR). Other speakers for this session were H.E. Ms. NaelaChohan (Former First Female Ambassador of Pakistan), Mr. Nabeel Afzaal (General Manager, Ministry of Telecom & Information Technology), Prof. Dr. Abdul Saboor (Dean Faculty of Social Sciences), Mr. Mureed Hussain Jasra (Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Finance), Mr. Aoun Abbas (Director Current Affairs, PTV News & PTV World), Mr. Shakeel Ahmad Ramay (Chief Executive Officer of AIERD) and Dr. Ghulam Hussain Baber (Principal Officer Directorate of Students Affairs). Senior faculty members and students of PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi participated in the Forum.

Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan: Any terror and provocation committed in the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan will be resolutely prevented

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DNA

Members of illegal Armenian armed formations in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily deployed, grossly violated the provisions of the Statement of November 10, 2020, and committed a terrorist and sabotage act against the Azerbaijan Army Units on August 3. Serviceman KazimovAnarRustam became Shehid as a result of the terrorist and sabotage act.


Moreover, members of illegal Armenian armed detachments attempted to seize the Girkhgiz high ground, located on a mountain range covering the territory of the Kalbajar and Lachin regions, and establish new combat positions there.


As a result of the “Revenge” retaliatory operation conducted by the Azerbaijan Army Units, the Girkhgiz high ground, including Saribaba and several advantageous high grounds along the Karabakh range of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains were taken under control. Currently, Azerbaijan Army Units are carrying out engineering work on the establishment of new positions and laying supply roads on advantageous frontiers.


During the operation, several combat positions of illegal Armenian armed detachments were destroyed, and an airstrike was inflicted on a military unit stationed in the YukhariOratagh settlement of the former Aghdara region. As a result, the manpower of illegal Armenian detachments was annihilated and wounded, as well as several D-30 howitzers, military vehicles and a large amount of ammunition were destroyed.


The Republic of Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that the presence of Armenian armed forces and illegal Armenian armed formations in the territories of Azerbaijan, where peacekeepers of the Russian Federation are temporarily stationed, remains a source of danger contrary to the Joint Statement. The demilitarization of those territories, the complete withdrawal of Armenian troops, and the disarmament of illegal Armenian armed detachments are absolutely necessary.


The Ministry of Defense hereby declares that following the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, any terror and provocation committed in the sovereign territories of the country will be resolutely prevented and countermeasures will be even more crushing.

ARMY HELICOPTER GOES MISSING WITH CORPS COMMANDER ON BOARD

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Lt. Gen Sarfraz Ali on board

Army helicopter

 Goes missing

Six people including corps commander 12 Corps were inspecting flood relief work

DNA

RAWALPINDI: A

RAWALPINDI: A Pakistan Army aviation helicopter en route from Quetta to Karachi with important personalities aboard has gone missing on Monday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed in a tweet.

Taking to Twitter, the military’s media wing said that the aviation helicopter was on a flood relief operation in Lasbela, Balochistan when it lost contact with air traffic control (ATC).

“Six individuals were on board, including Commander 12 Corps who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan,” the tweet said, adding that a search operation is underway.

According to details available, Corp Commander Quetta Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, who was supervising the flood relief operations in the province, was also on board. 

The civil authorities and the Pakistan Army are currently busy with relief programmes in the province as the heavy rain spell has wreaked havoc there, claiming 147 lives.

According to the details, Major Syed was the pilot while Major Talha was the co-pilot of the helicopter. The Director-General of Coast Guards Brigadier Amjad, Engineer Brigadier Khalid, and chief naik Mudassir were also onboard. 

Following the incident, the district administration said that a helicopter crashed in the vicinity of the Sassi Punnu Shrine, located near the Windar area. 

Expressing concern over the disappearance of the helicopter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted: “The disappearance of Army Aviation helicopter from Balochistan is alarming. The entire nation prays to Allah Almighty for the safety, security, and return of these sons of the country who came out to help the flood victims. Insha Allah.”

Pakistan army aviation helicopter which was on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan lost contact with ATC. 6 individuals were on board including Commander 12 Corps Lt. General Sarfraz Ali who was supervising flood relief operations in Balochistan. Search operation is underway, according to the ISPR message.

Indonesian cultural exhibition  concludes at a positive note

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 concludes at a positive note

Ambassador Adam Tugio terms the event a great success; a large number of visitors thronged to Lok Virsa to witness the exhibition

Staff Report/DNA

ISLAMABAD:|: Ambassador of Indonesia Adam Tugio has stressed the need to promote and strengthen existing cultural relations between the two brotherly countries. He said his government was considering inviting Pakistanis hailing from various walks of life including the media people in order to further strengthen people-to-people relations.

Ambassador Tugio made these remarks while speaking to media people at the concluding ceremony, which brought the five-day cultural exhibition to an end. A large number of people thronged to the exhibition to quench their cultural thirst.

The exhibition titled “A night at Lok Virsa Museum: The confluence of civilization between Pakistan and Indonesia” was inaugurated by the Indonesian Ambassador Adam Mulawarman Tugio amid presence of diplomats and art and history lovers, on July 20, 2022.

The ajrak and batik booths, where shawl makers from both countries described the tough grind of making the ajrak, remained a centre of attraction among the visitors.  A miniature model of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, built by a Pakistani craftsman also pulled the crowd from twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The show also featured daily live musical performance from renowned musicians who kept mesmerizing the audience by playing world famous tunes with indigenous Pakistani instruments including Tabla, Rabab and Bansuri. A large number of citizens flocked to the exhibition featuring a collection of photographs and videos shedding light on inter-regional connectivity and cross-cultural influence on both countries.

Maheen Mirza, a student from National Defense University, said she was quite amazed to find many cultural similarities with the Pakistani art pieces and cultural depictions.”I was unaware of the similarities between culture, history and religion between the two countries before visiting the exhibition,” she remarked.

Irsa Bin Mairaj, a foreign visitor who was keenly observing the temple model, said he was amazed to know that the miniature was made by a Pakistani craftsman.It reflected that Pakistani people had great potential in artwork that can scale up the design of such a difficult model with perfection, he added.

Hooriya Shiekh, another visitor taking photos while draping the Indonesian Batik at the display booths Sindhi Ajrak and Batik, termed both the crafts an excellent example of fusion of the two cultures.

She hoped that the exhibition besides introducing the similarities of cultures between the two countries would ultimately bring the people closer.

An Indonesian woman who holds the stalls of Batik explained the difficult process of Batik making and said it was a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth, originated from the island of Java which took at least 4-5 days to finish a single piece.

“The technique shows similarity with famous Sindhi Ajrak and signifies cultural affinity between Indonesia and Pakistan,” she added. (With additional input from the APP)

Turkiye indebted to Pakistan for declaring FETO a terrorist outfit

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Turkish Embassy observes 6th anniversary of a failed coup attempt

ISLAMABAD: Dr Mehmet Paçacı, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye

addressing journalists about 15 July failed coup attempted by FETO, at the Turkiye Embassy, Thursday.-DNA

ISLAMABAD: Dr Mehmet Paçacı, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye

Briefing media  about 15 July failed coup attempted by FETO, at the Turkiye Embassy, Thursday.-DNA

Ansar M Bhatti/DNA

ISLAMABAD: Dr. Mehmet Paçaci, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye said on Thursday his country owed a great deal to Pakistan for declaring FETO as a terrorist organization adding the threat was not yet over fully however the Turkish government and people of Turkiye were committed to root out this menace for good.

The newly-arrived Turkiye ambassador expressed these views while briefing the Pakistani members of mass media, at the Embassy premises, on Thursday. It was Ambassador Pacaci’s maiden media interaction ever since his arrival in Pakistan.

Ambassador Paçaci further said, the 15 July failed coup attempt by FETO was the night when Turkish democracy was protected by the Turkish people themselves under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said, “on July 15, the existence of Türkiye was in danger when FETO terrorist organization’s followers attacked but Turkish citizens from all walks of life showed courage and rendered sacrifices to protect their democratic government and institutions.

To a question he said the terrorist organizations by and large extend cooperation to one another and it may have happened in the case of FETO as well. To yet another question about the chief of the FETO, the ambassador said he is living in the United States since long. The Turkiye government has time and again asked the US government to hand him over to Turkiye.

Ambassador said that the followers of FETO tried to assassinate the President of the Republic of Türkiye and attacked the Prime Minister’s vehicle. They bombarded the Grand National Assembly. “The Police Special Operations Center, the crucial counter-terrorism operational body, was bombed by fighter jets, killing 55 police officers and injuring hundreds on the spot”, he added.

Hundreds of civilians protesting the coup attempt in Ankara and Istanbul were shot dead, he informed. He said that it was Fetullah Gülen’s FETO, an organization that secretly worked in Türkiye for 40 years and its main goal was to take control of the state.

For 40 years, this organization had brainwashed the country’s children, brilliant minds in the name of educational institutions, and turned them against their own country.

At the peak of their power, they controlled thousands of schools in Türkiye and more than eight hundred educational institutes worldwide. As civil servants or military personnel, FETO members’ loyalty was not to the nation or to the state they served. They did not care about upholding the country, Ambassador added.

After July 15, 2016 coup attempt: The perpetrators of the 15th of July coup attempt have been brought to justice based on rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms. A number of judicial processes are still ongoing, he added.

The fight against FETO structures abroad is now among the top priorities of our country. Our main objective is to demonstrate and prove the fact that FETO also poses a threat to the security of all countries where it remains active, Ambassador informed the media.

Since FETO is present in around 160 countries, with thousands of schools, businesses, NGOs, and media houses.  Various countries and international organizations have declared FETO as a terrorist organization. Moreover, FETO was declared a terrorist organization in the 43rd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC held on 19 October 2016.

A similar resolution was passed during the Asian Parliamentary Assembly on 1 December 2016 and ratified on the 12th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC on 27 January 2017.

In addition to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Supreme Court of Pakistan also declared FETO a terrorist organization with the verdict rendered on 28 December 2018, he added.

Answering a question about FETO’s presence in Pakistan, the ambassador said that two schools of FETO were now being supervised by Turkish Maarif Foundation and we appreciate Pakistan for closing down those schools of FETO at the Turkiye government’s request.

Commenting on the recent visit of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to Türkiye, the Ambassador said that it was a successful visit and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to visit Pakistan in September this year. Both countries are expected to sign multiple bilateral agreements during the upcoming visit of the Turkiye president.

Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson quits as UK prime minister

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LONDON: Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson announced on Thursday he would quit as British prime minister after he was abandoned by ministers and most of his Conservative lawmakers.

Bowing to the inevitable as more than 50 ministers quit and lawmakers said he must go, an isolated and powerless Johnson spoke outside his Downing Street to confirm he would resign.

“The process of choosing that new leader should begin now.

And today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place,” Johnson said.

After days of battling for his job, the scandal-plagued Johnson had been deserted by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him.

“His resignation was inevitable,” Justin Tomlinson, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said on Twitter. “As a party, we must quickly unite and focus on what matters. These are serious times on many fronts.”

The Conservatives will now have to elect a new leader, a process which could take weeks or months. 

A snap YouGov poll found that defence minister Ben Wallace was the favourite among Conservative Party members to replace Johnson, followed by junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt and former finance minister Rishi Sunak.

Many said he should leave immediately and hand over to his deputy, Dominic Raab, saying he had lost the trust of his party.

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said he would call a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives did not remove Johnson at once. 

“If they don’t get rid of him, then Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence because we can’t go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come,” he said.

The crisis comes as Britons are facing the tightest squeeze on their finances in decades, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with soaring inflation, and the economy forecast to be the weakest among major nations in 2023 apart from Russia.

It also follows years of internal division sparked by the narrow 2016 vote to leave the European Union, and threats to the make-up of the United Kingdom itself with demands for another Scottish independence referendum, the second in a decade.

Support for Johnson had evaporated during one of the most turbulent 24 hours in recent British political history, epitomised by finance minister, Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed to his post on Tuesday, calling on his boss to resign.

Zahawi and other cabinet ministers had gone to Downing Street on Wednesday evening, along with a senior representative of those lawmakers not in government, to tell Johnson the game was up.

History should not be allowed to repeat itself in Afghanistan

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History should not be allowed to repeat itself in Afghanistan

Ishtiaq Ahmed

Since 1979, Afghanistan has been a theater of two major global conflicts. We know what happened in the first instance: The Afghan people not only bore the brunt of the war but also had to face its deadly consequences. Global apathy fueled ethno-religious fissures. The brewing conflict finally resurged to threaten international peace and the world was left with no choice but to intervene in the war-torn nation.

The second instance — the longest war in Afghan history — ended last year, producing an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. The world is again unwilling to rescue the Afghans from its ravages. With a simmering crisis and sources of conflict intact, Afghanistan will descend a familiar path, slowly but surely.

The scale of its current disaster is enormous. The evidence furnished by UN agencies is stark: Over 24 million people — more than half of the Afghan population — need emergency assistance to survive. More than a million children under the age of five face a high risk of dying from starvation. The economy has contracted by almost half in the past year and the official poverty rate could soon reach 97 percent. Last year alone, 1.3 million Afghans were internally displaced. Millions more have taken refuge abroad.

Of course, much of this disaster is human-made, rooted in persistent ethnic conflict, religious terrorism and foreign aggression. But nature is also not so kind to the Afghans. A protracted drought has devastated agriculture and livestock, compounding the food crisis. Last month, a devastating earthquake also struck the southeastern provinces, causing massive loss of life and property and exposing half a million people to hunger and disease, according to UN estimates.

The global apathy to Afghan suffering is writ large. In March, the UN appealed for $4.4 billion in emergency support from donor nations. It got merely half of this amount and that too with severe restrictions on its disbursement by UN relief agencies due to Western sanctions against the de facto Taliban regime. Some of these restrictions have relaxed over time, but serious issues continue to hamper the delivery of essential food and health supplies to the bulk of the rural Afghan population.

Other sources of support include the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan, set up by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in March. Saudi Arabia has provided the bulk of this support with a grant of $30 million. But contributions to this fund and other bilateral commitments pale in comparison to the gravity of the crisis. Neighboring countries are already overstretched due to the Afghan refugee presence. Pakistan, for instance, has hosted millions of Afghan refugees for the last four decades. Several hundred more have arrived since last year. It has limited economic capacity to help, but still does.

The primary responsibility for mitigating Afghans’ humanitarian suffering falls on the shoulders of the US.

Ishtiaq Ahmad

No matter what other countries do to help the Afghans — out of Muslim solidarity or geographical affinity — the primary responsibility for mitigating their humanitarian suffering falls on the shoulders of the US. This is where the real problem lies. About $9.5 billion of funds from the Afghan central bank were frozen by the US and its European allies as they exited the 20-year war last August. Out of this, $7 billion was held in US banks and the remaining $2.5 billion in European banks.

The Biden administration has unfrozen $3.5 billion in Afghan assets, but it is yet to decide how to safely transfer them to the UN and other humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan without involving the Taliban. US officials are concerned that money meant for humanitarian operations may end up in Taliban hands if donors use the Afghan central bank.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West, accompanied by officials from the Treasury Department, last week met with a Taliban delegation led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Doha, but they failed to solve the financial row. However, in a promising sign, both sides agreed to keep the conversation going.

This was the first high-level contact between US and Taliban officials since March, when the Taliban government decided to ban secondary schooling for girls. Since then, more restrictions have followed. Last week’s loya jirga (grand assembly) of more than 3,000 Afghan tribal elders and religious scholars in Kabul clearly suggests that the Taliban regime is in no mood for compromising on women’s and minority rights. Without such a compromise, it should forget about being recognized by the world.

The Taliban leadership may, however, agree to negotiate on this issue in exchange for the US unfreezing Afghan funds. The economic crisis is a potential driver of conflict and misery in Afghanistan. But once the country’s humanitarian woes subside, the Taliban regime can claim international legitimacy on the basis of domestic stability.

Therefore, the Biden administration must find a way to deliver the money, which belongs to Afghanistan and can provide direly needed relief to its hapless population. The best option would be to use the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the principal world institution supervising humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. UN relief agencies such as the UN Food Program and the World Health Organization have extensive experience in dealing with the financial complexities involved in humanitarian operations.

In fact, the US and its European allies owe a lot more to the Afghan people. Is it not ironic that the US spent $2 trillion in waging the war and is now squabbling over a mere $7 billion in relief? The humanitarian disaster Afghanistan faces today is a direct outcome of this war. Yet, American commitment to mitigating this disaster is only $772 million. The Afghans, resilient as they are for having gone through so much pain and suffering, do not deserve such a rebuke.

To cut a long story short, back in the 1980s, the US blundered by walking away from Afghanistan. The consequences were grave. Failure to learn from history this time around could push the US, and the rest of the world, into even greater danger. This is an outcome we must avoid at all costs.

• Ishtiaq Ahmad is a former journalist who has been vice chancellor of Sargodha University in Pakistan and Quaid-e-Azam Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Zaheer A Janjua wishes Canadians on Canada Day

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Zaheer A Janjua wishes Canadians on Canada Day

Pakistan High Commissioner to Canada Mr. Zaheer A. Janjua has wished a happy and joyous Canada Day to the people of Canada.

In a message shared on social media, the High Commissioner said both Pakistan and Canada are marking 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between them.

He said the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Canada was based on mutual trust, cooperation and commonality of interests.

Islamabad to host Iran-Pakistan joint specialized exhibition

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TEHRAN, Jun. 29 (DNA) – The first specialized exhibition of Iran and Pakistan will be held in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad with the participation of Iranian businessmen and craftsmen, and Iranian knowledge-based companies.

This three-day specialized exhibition is scheduled to be held from July 24 to 27 with the presence of various Iranian and Pakistani companies.

Iranian craftsmen and business people active in the sectors of energy, petrochemicals, chemical products, construction materials, road and construction machinery, medicine, medical equipment, food, and sweets will attend the exhibition.

After the ninth meeting of the Iran-Pakistan Trade Committee which was held in Tehran in November last year, three exhibitions were held in Karachi and Lahore with the mutual cooperation of two friendly neighboring and brotherly states.

Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz election declared null and void

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has accepted the application against the election of the Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz Sharif. After this election Hamza Shehbaz has ceased to exist as the Chief Minister Punjab. The verdict came with 4-1 majority.According to experts Usman Buzdar may hold the office of the Chief Minister again till the time a new chief minister is elected. Experts believe the province has been pushed towards chaos.According to experts Usman Buzdar may hold the office of the Chief Minister again till the time a new chief minister is elected. Experts believe the province has been pushed towards chaos. The election of the Chief Minister will take place tomorrow at 4 pm. If in counting Hamza does not get majority then he will cease to hold office. Then election of the chief minister will take place again. The governor has been asked to administer oath to the new chief minister once elected.

EPAPER JUNE 30

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EPAPER JUNE 30

French envoy recognizes services of the outgoing head of economic section

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ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Indonesia Adam Tugio, Ambassador of France Nicolas Galey and the outgoing Head of Economic Section Diminique Simon and his wife.=DNA

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of France Nicolas Galey speaks during a reception he hosted to bid farewell to Dominique Simon.-DNA

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of France Nicolas Galey hosted a reception to bid farewell to the Head of the Economic Section Dominique Simon who is leaving Pakistan after completing his term for the second time. Mr. Dominique had already served on the same position.

Ambassador of France in his brief remarks praised Dominique for his outstanding services. He said Dominique Simon has been to over 82 countries as part of his professional assignments. The ambassador mentioned some of the countries where Mr. Dominique had served including his posting in Pakistan.

Ambassador Galey said it was a privilege for him to know Mr. Dominique when he arrived in Pakistan five months ago. “I, indeed benefited a lot from the experience of Dominique Simon besides getting to know Pakistani friends through him”.

Dominique Simon in his speech thanked the ambassador for hosting a reception for him and his spouse and providing him with a chance of meeting with close friends and bidding them a farewell.

He, on the occasion, shared with the audience fond memories of his tenures in Pakistan. He said he is leaving Pakistan but his heart would always throb with the people of Pakistan adding he would wish to come back again to this beautiful country.

He said during his tenures in Pakistan he tried his best to contribute to cementing of trade and economic relations between the two countries. He especially thanked his Pakistani partners for being a great source of support and inspiration.

Successful referendum sets basis for a new Kazakhstan

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77.18 per cent say yes; SCO, other observers declare the entire drill transparent; flawless

Ansar M Bhatti

In Kazakhstan

NUR SULTAN: The people of Kazakhstan ostensibly set the basis for a new Kazakhstan when they voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Referendum that took place on Sunday, June 05, 2022 to determine whether the people wanted to have a new look-country with more powers to the parliament and the people. As announced by the Central Election Commissioner 77.18 per cent population voted in favour of the referendum.

The officials of the Central Election Commission further told the media people that over out of over 11 million eligible voters over 07 million voters took part in the exercise. The turnout thus remained at 68.6 per cent. Those who voted against stood at 18.6 per cent while 2.58 votes were declared invalid.

The election commission officials termed the entire election drill as satisfactory and according to them no issues whatsoever were reported from anywhere. The commission also praised the government for extending its full support to all those conducting the election.

The Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Zhang Ming in his briefing lauded the role of the Kazakh authorities for making befitting arrangements for the successful holding of the referendum. He said his mission visited a number of polling stations and found no violations anywhere.

The SCO Secretary General further said the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs spared no efforts in facilitating the foreign delegates for efficient performances of their duties such as monitoring and physicals visits to the polling stations.

The Russian representative was also all praise for the Kazakh authorities for making excellent arrangements. He said he visited a number of polling stations located outside of Nur Sultan randomly. He was happy to see the enthusiasm and interest with which people thronged to the stations to cast their votes.

Exit polls show majority supports Kazakh referendum

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DNA

NUR-SULTAN – Some 76.7 percent of people voted in favor of the amendments to Kazakhstan’s Constitution, according to the exit poll results announced at midnight on June 6 by Head of the Sotsis-A Institute for Social Research Alibek Tazhibayev. Some 23.3 percent of people voted against the amendments. The voter turnout was declared at 67.5 percent.

The exit poll commissioned by the NUR.KZ news agency conducted a survey among approximately 350,000 voters at 315 polling stations in cities, regional centers, towns and rural areas.

According to the alternative exit poll, conducted by Qogamdyq Pikir (Public Opinion) Research Institute, 74.8 percent of respondents cast their votes for the amendments and 25.2 percent of respondents voted against the amendments. The voter turnout, in their assessment, was 70.1 percent.

Commissioned by Channel 31 TV and Radio Company, the exit poll was conducted among 24,000 respondents at 600 polling stations in cities, regional centers, towns and villages.

The third exit poll by the Institute of Democracy was commissioned by KTK TV channel. Its results showed that 79.4 percent of people supported the package of amendments to the Constitution and 20 percent of people voted against the changes.

The institute interviewed 15,000 people at 375 polling stations in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent, regional centers, towns, and villages. The overall turnout was 66.3 percent.

On June 5, the polls were carried out at 10,012 polling stations including 65 representative offices of Kazakhstan in 52 countries. Polling stations were open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. without breaks.

According to the Central Referendum Commission (CRC), more than 8 million Kazakh citizens took part in the voting. The polling stations closed with 68.44 percent voter turnout.

The preliminary official results are expected to be announced Monday June 6, at a time to be determined by the CRC.

Azerbaijan’s Gazelli Group products in Pakistan

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DNA

AZERBAIJAN: Waqar Zafar Bakhtawari, Executive Director of “D.Watson”, the official distributor of Gazelli Group in Pakistan, visited Azerbaijan and got acquainted with the production of the company.

The Executive Director of “D.Watson” was informed that Gazelli Group company, the first manufacturer of natural cosmetics in the South Caucasus, is located on an area of 12,000 square meters and equipped with the latest technology. It produces more than 3 million high-quality products in more than 700 varieties per year. Nearly 25 years of scientific research have been conducted on miraculous naphthalene, mud volcanoes, more than 4,000 species of endemic plants, and rare thermal sources.

Waqar Zafar Bakhtawari said that the products of Azerbaijan’s Gazelli Group that have entered the Pakistani market as part of the cooperation in 2021, have aroused great interest among buyers.

Then the sides exchanged views on the ways to further develop mutual cooperation.

Of PTI’s long march and early elections

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Comment

Ansar M Bhatti

PTI Chairman Imran Khan in his early morning speech on Thursday announced to call off the long march by giving a six day deadline to the government for making an announcement regarding early elections and dissolution of the National Assembly. Both the PTI workers and the govt functionaries heaved a sigh of relief after this as nobody was in a mood of prolonged strife. Making the PTI men and women and even children sit under the scorching heat ostensibly was not a good idea therefore Imran Khan rightly decided to call it a day.

It is believed that Imran Khan’s decision not to organize a dharna was part of a deal reached between the government and the PTI leadership. The said deal of agreement was reportedly facilitated by the men from the Establishment. According to the arrangement the PTI would not stage a permanent dharna, rather it would hold a gathering, the PTI chairman will deliver a speech and then they will disperse. That is what exactly happened.

The option of PTI MPs returning to the parliament was also discussed. The Establishment people tried to convince the PTI leaders that they can be more effective while being part of the Assembly. Then, for the appointment of the caretaker set and the Chief Election Commissioner opposition’s input was also a must but since they were not part of the Assembly therefore this consultation process cannot be done. The PTI nevertheless did not seem interested in returning to the assembly.

It may be mentioned here that the Shehbaz govt had already decided to step down and pave the way for the fresh elections, however it wanted to have an IMF deal first. Additionally the PML N wanted to celebrate the May 28 when the Pakistan government spearheaded by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif conducted nuclear tests. But the PTI suddenly announced the long march date, which turned the things topsy-turvy.

According to sources, Asad Umar, Pervez Khatak and Shah Mahmood Qureshi took part in the Establishment-led talks. From the government side, Ayaz Sadiq, Asad Mahmood and Yousaf Raza Gillani participated. Talks, which continued for at least three hours, had yielded positive results in the sense that both sides agreed to avoid violence and bloodshed. But then suddenly both sides issued messages that there was no such deal, after some of the media houses broke the news of the agreement.

The reason why the government did not agree to step down immediately was it was believed as if the PTI had failed to woo people to their long march therefore why they should negotiate with the PTI who had, according to them, had failed to put up a big show. On the other hand the PTI leaders warned the government that it had miscalculated PTI might. The apex court of the county also tried to make both parties sit and sort of the issue. However the government reaction and miscalculation about PTI strength further aggravated the situation.

All said and done, the PTI Chairman has given six days to the government to make its mind regarding elections. The government on the other hand is not ready to listen to PTI demands. The Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while speaking on the floor of the House on Thursday made it clear that any decision regarding holding of elections shall be taken by the PML N and its allies. He made it candidly clear that PTI’s blackmailing tactics can never force them to make any announcement whatsoever in this regard.

But from the face of it, it appears as if the government and especially the PML N has made its mind to call early elections. Its main concern was electoral reforms and passage of new amendments about the accountability body. All these tasks were successfully completed in Thursday’s session therefore the agenda seems to have been fulfilled. It is likely that an announcement about the elections may be made after May 28.

So what happens when the new elections are announced? Obviously a caretaker set shall be put in place, mostly consisting of technocrats. There are some solid rumors that the caretaker setup may continue beyond its three months stipulated mandate. Some say it may continue for even one or two years. The proponents of this idea are of the view that going to elections without thorough accountability would again bring back the same old faces. Which means the country would continue to reel under poverty; economic distress and social injustices. However, the problem in this scenario is that the caretaker set up perhaps cannot appoint the new army chief. But it may grant extension. As announced by the incumbent COAS he was not interested in any such thing.

Whatever may be the future scenario, one thing is for sure that the country needs some respite from the grave economic crunch. We need to have stability sooner rather than later. That is the only way to not only control the dollar’s upward trend but to achieve economic stability as well. Talks with the IMF still continue. A breather from the monetary body would for sure help prop up the sagging economy. The Government believes it would have reached a deal with the IMF provided the PTI had not announced the long march on the same date. All parties, and particularly the ruling party since they are now at the helm of the affairs, need to stand above all prejudices and political liking and disliking for the ultimate good of the country.

Kazakhstan all set to hold referendum on June 05

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The present administration aims to correct the political course as well as regulate financial and economic matters so that past tendency could be reversed and held in check

DNA

NUL SULTAN: Kazakhstan is conducting a referendum on June 5, to seek approval for amending the constitution to redefine the powers of different pillars of power and to safeguard the political and economic rights of citizens. The amendments will change the status of the parliament and also expand people’s participation in running the affairs of the government.

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who assumed office in 2019 is proceeding to revise the constitution to remove and reverse provisions adopted during the 28-year tenure of his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev. Since the adoption of the first constitution in 1995, it has been amended four times in 1998, 2007, 2011, and 2017.

Out of the current 99 articles in the constitution, 33 are proposed to be amended. The amendments will also make a departure from the powerful presidential system to a democratic presidential form of government.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who headed Kazakhstan for almost three decades and abdicated office in 2019 retained a package of privileges to avail a special status as the first president of the country. They were enshrined in the clauses adopted in 2000. In 2017 Nazarbayev bulldozed 91 amendments to entrench his influence over the country’s political landscape asserting privileges for himself as the founder of the state, the first president, and eventually the father of the nation.

The present administration aims to correct the political course as well as regulate financial and economic matters so that past tendency could be reversed and held in check. The constitution, in its amended form, will prohibit the president from holding membership of any political party during office. It will also curtail the power of the president to wholly or partly limit/overrule the authority of a provincial governor, mayor, or district commissioner deputy who does not fulfill his election promises.

More powers to parliament

Instead of the earlier 15 members, the president will now nominate 10 members to the senate. Five of those candidates will be nominated by the assembly of Kazakhstan’s ethnic communities.Six members of the constitutional court will be nominated by the parliament, three each by the national assembly and the senate, and four will be appointed by the president.

All the changes will affect about one-third of the country’s constitution.

The chairman of the constitutional court, as well as the supreme court, can no longer be appointed solely by the president.The amendments will also simplify the registration of parties.

They will prohibit chairmen and judges of the constitutional court, the Supreme Court and other courts, chairmen and members of the central electoral commission, the parliament’s auditing committee, military personnel, employees of national security agencies, and law enforcement agencies from being members of political parties, trade unions, or from canvassing in favor of any political party.

The amendments will also create a right balance between the different branches of power and establish an effective dialogue between the government and the people. According to Nurbolat Gabbasov, an expert at Kazakhstan’s Institute of Eurasian Integration, the referendum is a major step to transform the political course in Kazakhstan. The new changes are aimed at bringing systematic transformation to the country’s political setup and will bring a balance between different pillars of the states.

The constitutional reforms also mark systemic measures to eventually enable a transition from the super-presidential model to the presidential republic, the redistribution of several powers, strengthening the role and status of the parliament, expanding the participation of the population in governing the country, and strengthening the constitutional mechanisms for protecting the rights of citizens, says Kazakh politician Erlan Karin.

Redistribution of power

One peculiar feature of the forthcoming referendum in Kazakhstan is that the president has initiated constitutional reforms which are not intended for concentrating his powers but rather redistributing them to other institutions, said Karin.

He hoped that the upcoming referendum on constitutional reform will create the legal basis for an effective and more balanced model of relations between the state and society. The parliament’s audit committee, which oversees expenditures, will be given additional prerogatives and its chairman will report to the parliament twice a year.

Additionally, the constitution will ban the president’s immediate family from holding political and leadership positions in the public sector. Moreover, when it comes to ownership rights, the land, and its subsoil will be declared the property of the people of

The parliament’s audit committee, which oversees expenditures will be given additional prerogatives and its chairman will report to the parliament twice a year.

Additionally, the constitution will ban the president’s immediate family from holding political and leadership positions in the public sector. Moreover, when it comes to ownership rights, the land, and its subsoil will be declared the property of the people of Kazakhstan.

For the first time, the set of amendments does not pursue the goal of strengthening the executive power marking a crucial difference from the past’s practice, says Kazakh member of parliament, Aidos Sarym.

“On the one hand, this is an attempt to create the right balance between the different pillars of power, while on the other, the role of the parliament will be strengthened by establishing the auditing committee. It may be seen as a new measure for asserting accountability. The chamber will keep all budgetary activities in check. Additionally, the constitutional court is being created at the top of the judicial system, where citizens will be able to appeal,” said Sarym.

Restructuring governance system

On March 16, Tokaev proposed a program for political reforms. On April 22, a task force of leading law experts and jurists prepared the draft of changes and amendments to the constitution for pursuing political reforms.Kazakh political scientist Daniyar Ashibaev described the referendum as a vote of confidence in President Tokayev, who has been advancing democratization and reforms through the exercise.

Courtesy AA

E-PAPER MAY 20

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E-PAPER MAY 20

Shahbaz Malik lauds Canada’s ‘invaluable support’ to Pakistan in Covid-19 pandemic

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Shahbaz Malik lauds Canada’s ‘invaluable support’ to Pakistan in Covid-19 pandemic

DNA

OTTAWA :Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner to Canada Mr. Shahbaz Malik has expressed the confidence that bilateral relations between Pakistan and Canada would further expand in days ahead to include a full spectrum of political, economic, security and cultural arenas for the mutual benefit of both countries and their people.

He said that Pakistan and Canada established bilateral diplomatic relations in 1947, shortly after Pakistan’s independence, and the relationship had grown from strength to strength over the decades. He said both Pakistan and Canada continue to cooperate on bilateral and multilateral fora due to a commonality of views on a number of global challenges like peace and security, climate change and multilateralism. He lauded Canada’s “invaluable humanitarian support to Pakistan through the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Mr. Shahbaz Malik made this statement while addressing a gathering of members of the Pakistani diaspora, local dignitaries, and members of diplomatic corps, including high commissioners and ambassadors, invited to a Qawwali performance organized by the Pakistan High Commission in collaboration with the Delegation of Ismaili Imamat in Canada. The event was dedicated to the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Pakistan and Canada as well as 75th Independence Day of Pakistan falling this year.

Various Canadian Senators and parliamentarians as well as Mr. Paul Thoppil, Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Affairs Canada, and Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, AKDN Representative to Canada, also attended the function.

Welcoming the guests to the event, Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner Mr. Shahbaz Malik observed that Pakistan at this significant juncture of our bilateral relations between Pakistan and Canada, was looking forward to expanding these ties to cover political, economic, security and cultural fields. He underlined the importance of cultural linkages between people and their role in strengthening bilateral relations and described the Qawwali event as an effort to introduce the Canadians to Pakistan’s vibrant music and culture.

He told the guests Qawwali as a traditional form of Sufi music and poetry had gained considerable global audience and recognition due to a deep spiritual message it conveyed to the listeners. He also thanked Dr. Eboo and the AKDN team for their generous collaboration in arranging the event.

He also recalled AKDN’s historic association with Pakistan, particularly the role of His Highness Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III as the first President of All-India Muslim League as well as being a comrade of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah during the freedom struggle for Pakistan. He said AKDN had been contributing generously to the health, education and social development sectors in Pakistan and the Government and the people of Pakistan deeply valued that support.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Paul Thoppil, Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Affairs Canada, described Pakistan-Canada relationship as being strong and underpinned by strong people-to-people ties. He said Pakistan was the fifth largest source of immigration to Canada with more than 250,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin living in Canada.

He said Canada values its bilateral relationship with Pakistan and there are many regular opportunities for engagement between both countries. He highlighted a significant high-level engagement over the past year between both countries, including calls between foreign ministers of both countries as well as a visit of Canada’s deputy foreign minister to Pakistan. He thanked Pakistan for extending valuable support to Canada in fulfilling its commitment to move 40,000 Afghan nationals to Canada.

Mr. Thoppil described as very positive the economic relationship between both countries and appreciated the growth in bilateral trade which had risen to $ 1.2 billion in 2021. He also underscored a recent signing of framework by Canada’s Barrack Gold for relaunching of Reko Diq mining project in Pakistan. He said the project had the potential for Canada to be one of the largest foreign investors in Pakistan.

Eighth session of Europe-Asia symposium held in France

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Pierre Chabal the organizer of the event

PARIS: The University of Le Havre, the largest port in France (and ranked ninth largest port in Europe) hosted the eighth session of a Europe-Asia symposium devoted to the emergence of Eurasia (under the title: “ The completion of Eurasia?”).

From session to session, this symposium becomes a more significant and broader academic event, at a time when the idea of ​​Eurasia is becoming more pregnant in the diplomatic circles and in the media. For the first time, representatives of Pakistan were invited, including a representative of the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Four Pakistanis, two women and two men, two online and two in physical presence, participated in the event: a diplomat, a president of a think-tank, an independent analyst, a businessman.

The symposium of May 11-12 brought together in four workshops 42 speakers from 21 countries, representing 35 institutions and 13 academic fields. Uzbekistan’s ambassador to France and other diplomats also contributed.

The participants came from all the countries of post-Soviet Central Asia plus Afghanistan and Mongolia, many neighboring countries of this large Central Asian group, and other more distant regions, including North America and the ‘West Africa. Seven French people, some posted abroad, intervened in the debate.

Three topics dominated the contributions: Eurasian identity and its ongoing reconstruction since the end of the USSR / connectivity and new transcontinental routes / the consequences of the end of the Afghan conflict and the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.

This symposium will lead to a publication, like the previous sessions; the most recent of these publications, in April 2022, focused on the link between Logistics and Diplomacy https://www.sefacil.com/logistics-diplomacy-keeps-moving-forward

The University of Le Havre wishes to continue the reflection on the Eurasian thematic, from both political and economic (cross-border logistics movements) standpoints ; and plans to hold its next sessions in countries participating in the workshops, in particular Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan

Pierre Chabal Sc. Dr.Habil in political sciences and international relations, Le Havre University, Sciences-Po Europe Asia Campus / Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Almaty) visiting Professor.

Flamenco dance performance provides a real feast to Islo people

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The artists will also perform in Faisalabad, Lahore and Karachi. Ambassador Duran deserves kudos for introducing this sort of music in Pakistan

Staff Report/DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Embassy of Spain in collaboration with the Islamabad Club organized Flamenco dance performance in the beautiful laws of the Islamabad Cricket Club, adjacent to Pakistan Sports Complex. The venue is recently inaugurated with the efforts of the Cabinet Secretary and Administrator of the Islamabad Club Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, who himself happens to be a great lover of Cricket and a Cricketer himself.

Flamenco dance (baile) is a highly-expressive, Spanish dance form. The flamenco is a solo dance characterized by hand clapping, percussive footwork, and intricate hand, arm, and body movements. The dance is usually accompanied by a singer and guitar player.

Ambassador of Spain Manuel Duran in his brief remarks introduced the Spanish artists to the audience besides giving a brief description of what the artists were going to present. The audience could not resist themselves to shower huge applause on the artists after witnessing their spell-binding performance.

The artists will also perform in Faisalabad, Lahore and Karachi. Ambassador Duran deserves kudos for introducing this sort of music in Pakistan. During his tenure he has facilitated a number of such performances. The last performance that was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs drew huge interest.

The ambassador said, last year we celebrated a very special anniversary: 70 years ago diplomatic relations between Spain and Pakistan started by establishing in 1951 our first Embassy in Karachi, which was then moved to Islamabad.

Since then, me and all my predecessors have been working with one goal in mind: strengthening ties between our countries and peoples, increasing contacts and encouraging Pakistani citizens discover all that Spain represents: an open, friendly country, with a long and rich history that connects us with the rest of the world. As you know, Spanish culture is immense and diverse, the result of centuries of evolution and contacts with other peoples.

‘And I would like today to focus precisely on culture: the Spanish Embassy has brought a flamenco music group directly from Seville, Andalusia, to Islamabad. Today will be the starting point of a tour that will take them to other cities’.

While talking about the dance, he said, flamenco, even if it needs no introduction: Flamenco is one Spain’s most valuable world intangible cultural heritage manifestations, as listed by UNESCO. It is a mix of dance, singing and clapping. And the roots of flamenco, though somewhat mysterious, seem to lie in the Roma migration from this subcontinent to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. These migrants brought with them musical instruments, such as tambourines, bells, and wooden castanets, and an extensive repertoire of songs and dances. Once in Spain, these traditions merged with the art of the gypsies living in the Southwest of Spain and flamenco was born.

As you see, even if 6,500 kilometers separate our two countries, culture brings us together and shows us how close we can be. I hope you enjoy today’s cultural show.

‘I would like to hand a small token of gratitude and respect to the honorable Administrator, Mr. Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera,and to the respected Secretary, Mr. Sheharyar Mirza’.

US and Pakistan launch initiative to strengthen higher education

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US and Pakistan launch initiative to strengthen higher education

Pix 6 col

Mahnoor Ansar

Islamabad, May 12, 2022:  The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is partnering with the Pakistani government to launch a $19 million, five-year program to improve Pakistan’s higher education system and increase the employability of university graduates.  This is another example of the breadth of cooperation between the United States and Pakistan as we celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations.

The program will integrate the best practices in teaching, research, governance, and sustainability to benefit 15 public Pakistani universities across the country, including five women’s universities.  Through this program, universities will provide students with research opportunities, soft-skills training, and support services such as career counseling.  Through collaboration with industry, the program will help align academic preparation with workforce needs.

“USAID is proud to collaborate with the Higher Education Commission on this program,” said USAID Mission Director Julie A. Koenen.  “The Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) will build stronger Pakistani universities that offer the education and research experiences students need to be more employable in the local market.  This will prepare talented young people with the required skills to find jobs and launch their careers.  It will also support the needs of industry, increase hiring and productivity, and stimulate further economic growth.”  

HEC Chairman Dr. Tariq Banuri said, “HESSA is an innovative initiative expected to make notable contributions towards improving the institutional and technical capacities of its partner universities which shall impact the quality of our future scholars.  I am confident that the nexus of U.S. universities with HESSA-partner higher education institutions will result in policy reforms that will benefit all universities in Pakistan.”

Azerbaijan embassy in Pakistan pays respects to national leader

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ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov and the Staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan lays flowers in front of the bust of Heydar Aliyev, National Leader of Azerbaijan at the Embassy and commemorated him on his 99th birth anniversary.

National leader of Azerbaijan: Heydar Aliyev

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Today is the 99th birthday of the national leader of Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev. Today the Azerbaijani nation are once again expressing their respect and gratitude for the fond memory of the great leader.

Heydar Aliyev, a great leader of Azerbaijani nation, who was a brilliant personality, a visionary leader and a brave man, made an exceptional contribution to the history of the country and played a great role in the formation of modern Azerbaijani statehood. He devoted his entire life to hisnation and always served the people with dignity.

Both in the Soviet times and in the years of independence, in the most crucial moments for Azerbaijan and its people, the leadership qualities of Heydar Aliyev, his wisdom, thoughtful policy and bold steps saved Azerbaijani nation from great troubles. The people of the country believed in him, loved him and always supported him.

Thanks to Heydar Aliyev’s leadership in Azerbaijan during the Soviet period, the republic developed successfully and rapidly. In July 1969, Heydar Aliyev was elected the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan and became the head of the Republic, which was one of the most backward republics of the Soviet Union. As a result of 13 years of tireless work of Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan became one of the most advanced republics of the Soviet Union.

In above-mentioned period that a high pace of industrial development was achieved in Azerbaijan. The infrastructure created at that time still serves the development of the independent Azerbaijan today.

Heydar Aliyev’s principled position and personal qualities were highly valued by the Soviet leadership. That’s why he was appointed as the first deputy chairman of the Council of the Ministers of the Soviet Union in December 1982. While working in this position, Heydar Aliyev led the most important areas of the USSR economic, social and cultural life.

During those years the works he had done had certainly contributed to the significant development of Azerbaijan. While he was in charge of many very important sectors in 1982-1987, he had major plans related to the further development of Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev always paid great attention to Azerbaijan and provided his help.

In 1987, after removal of Heydar Aliyev from all positions without any grounds, Azerbaijan lost a huge pillar. From that time on, a great injustice was shown against Azerbaijani people and republic. As a result, Azerbaijan was faced with a deep internal political crisis.

On January 20, 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union committed a great crime against the Azerbaijani people. The bloody tragedy of January is a monstrous crime, a monstrous crime against our people. More than a hundred innocent people were brutally killed. Hundreds of others were wounded and went missing. Heydar Aliyev immediately stood up to this injustice. On 21 January 1990, he went to the Permanent Representation of Azerbaijan in Moscow. Heydar Aliyevcondemned the Soviet leadership in this heinous act, and expressed solidarity with the Azerbaijani people. With this he demonstrated once again that the problems, interests and grief of the Azerbaijani people were above everything for him, more than anything else for him, and he had to be with his people in hard days.

After that, Heydar Aliyev left the ranks of the Communist Party which he had served for many years. And then he went to his homeland and arrived in Nakhchivan, where he was born. The Azerbaijani people began to rally around him. The people of Nakhchivan united around Heydar Aliyev, elected him chairman of the Supreme Majlis (Parliament), and he defended Nakhchivan from Armenian occupation. Thanks to him, tremendous mobilization work was carried out, self-defense detachments were set up and the occupation of Nakhchivan was prevented.

It was on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev that the tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, after a long break since 1920, was approved at a session of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan as the official state flag. This was the beginning of a path leading to independence ofAzerbaijan.

The situation in Azerbaijan was gradually exacerbating. As a result of a crisis in the government, the country was on the verge of civil war and faced the peril of losing independence, the people of Azerbaijan demanded to bring Heydar Aliyev to the power, and the then leaders of Azerbaijan were forced to officially invite Heydar Aliyev to Baku.

On June 15, 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected chairman of the Supreme Council (Parliament) of Azerbaijan, and on June 24, by a resolution of the Parliament, he proceeded to fulfil the authorities of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On October 3, 1993, as a result of the nationwide vote, Heydar Aliyev was elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

From the mentioned date, a period of stability started in Azerbaijan and it continues to this day. Important decisions were made and political reforms were launched. Economic reforms were launched and principles of a market economy began to be applied as fundamental principles. Azerbaijan achieved to establish relations with the international communities. In 1994, the Contract of the Century was signed. It has played an exceptional role in the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan and economic development. In 1995, the Constitution of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted. In addition, a political and legal assessment was given to the 20 January tragedy.

Besides, Heydar Aliyev, who spearheaded the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, did much to attract huge western capital to Azerbaijan, which created many new jobs and lead to the development of several fields. 

Following the path outlined by the great leader, Azerbaijan managed to build a strong economy. Over the last years, there has been no other country in the world developing economically as fast as Azerbaijan. Thanks to Heydar Aliyev today, Azerbaijan sits among great nations in the global arena. The visionary Azerbaijani leader took active steps for making country a regional transport hub as well. The country is now acting as a bridge between East and West, North and South.

The National Leader of Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev always had special attention to Pakistan and called relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan brotherly and strategic.

Azerbaijan’s modern history cannot be imagined without Heydar Aliyev. Azerbaijani nation always committed to the policy of genius leader. The policy pursued by Heydar Aliyev is being successfully continued by President IlhamAliyev.

March in May: its prospects and govt reaction

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Comment

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: The former Prime Minister and head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan has announced to spearhead a long march towards Islamabad most probably in the last week of the month. The political parties, by and large, do not choose the month of May for long marches and rallies because of scorching heat that restricts public mobility. However, the PTI had to do it now for it cannot afford to delay its movement anymore. There is no doubt that PTI, after the unfolding of the so-called ‘lettergate’ issue, has sought to improve and strengthen its popularity, which at one point seemed to have touched the lowest ebb. It was just a month ago that even the die-hard PTI workers had resolutely announced not to vote for Imran Khan keeping in view the three years and seven months performance of the PTI government. The youth; women voters and supporters especially seemed greatly disturbed with the PTI performance. Price hike; free ride of the dollar; lawlessness and so on and so forth were the key issues that had made all and sundry disappointed. In the light of the above, if the PTI government would complete its five year term, its defeat in the elections would have become certain.

But then surfaced the Lettergate issue and things dramatically turned into PTI’s favour. I held a consistent view from the outset that there was nothing substantive in the letter issue. It was a routine cable. And even if it sought a regime change in Pakistan, it was not something new. We have come across such communications and interventions even in the past that ultimately led to change of governments. Nevertheless, the way Imran Khan exploited the issue in his favour needs fulsome applause. He literally made a mountain out of molehill. And resultantly, he once again turns out to be the most popular leader of Pakistan. Imran Khan has a clear understanding of the fact that memories of Pakistani people are short-lived therefore he wanted to cash in on the situation fully sooner rather than later. That is why he dared to announce a long march in May. His ultimate destination, from the face of it, appears to be the D Chow, where he had previously staged a sit-in for 126 days against the PML N government with Nawaz Sharif at the helm of affairs at that time. It also remains a fact that despite the 126 days of sit-in Imran Khan and his allies he could not dislodge the then government.

Another important development that presumably has forced PTI to have an early long march relates to a possible smear campaign being launched against the PTI chairman by making public some videos that may contain indecent materials. The purpose of the campaign, as claimed by the PTI leadership, is to disparage the respect and credibility of the party chairman in the eyes of his voters and supporters and even the general public. This reported campaign may be launched before the long march in order to make sure that people do not take part in this drill.  Only time will tell to what extent the anti-Imran Khan forces are able to cause a potential dent to the credibility of the ex Prime Minister, one thing is for sure the PTI chairman has successfully sold his narrative of foreign intervention or conspiracy that led to removal of his government.

Interestingly, the PTI chairman has suddenly started praising the armed forces of Pakistan despite the fact that when the lettergate issue appeared on the scene, he indirectly held the Establishment also responsible for his ouster. Thus, he chose to take the Establishment to task in his speeches and media interviews but not anymore. Analysts believe Imran’s this approach may help him not only have improved relations with the Establishment but contribute towards the success of his intended long march as well.

The PTI leadership is quite hopeful about the success of its venture and announcement of the date for the next elections as a result of it. According to its plans, elections in September or October would greatly help the PTI to return to power with an even bigger majority. The government on the other hand has its own plans. It wants to complete the remaining term come what may.

There is a consensus that the government can counter long march plans only through its good governance and resolution of problems faced by the common people. It needs not to repeat the mistakes of the PTI government. It needs to immediately bottle the inflation monster if it really wants to make its rule sustainable. While the dollar still remains out of control, the abnormally long power outages across the country have started taking a heavy toll on especially those living in the remote areas. A temporary respite in power cuts was witnessed on the Eid days but people expect this govt to do away with load-shedding once and for all.

Summing up, the PTI leadership has to work on all fronts including improvement of its relations with the international community, in order for its long march to meet with success. Imran Khan also has to keep in mind that if his theory of foreign intervention is true, then forces responsible for his removal would never like him to return to power any time soon. The PTI leadership has to admit the reality that it is simply not possible to survive in isolation. And particularly when Pakistan’s economic and defense related needs are directly linked to brotherly and friendly countries.

West always offered biased solutions of Palestine issue

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Iranian ambassador Mohammad Ali Hosseini’s message on Al Quds Day

Staff Report

 ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan Mohammad Ali Hosseini has issued a message on the occasion of World Quds Day. He said Quds Day is not just Palestine Day; rather, it is the day of the Islamic Ummah. (Ayatollah Khamenei; May Allah grant him longevity)

Quds Day on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramazan, a reminiscent and legacy of Imam Khomeini (may God have mercy on him), is the day for the awakening and vigilance of the Muslim Ummah and the day of determining the fate of Muslim nations by themselves and the day of cutting off foreigners’ hands from Islamic lands.

Ambassador said, supporting the oppressed people of Palestine and liberating the occupied territories is the principled policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In all the years that Western governments and important international organizations neglected the settlement of Palestinian issue and offered biased and unjust solutions, and some regional and trans-regional governments made open and secret compromises with the enemies of Palestine and Islam; the Islamic Republic of Iran has pursued its principled policy and paid a heavy price for it.

 The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a permanent supporter of the liberation of Holy Quds, has suggested a few years back a comprehensive, fair and democratic solution based on returning of all Palestinian refugees and holding a referendum with the participation of original Palestinian people, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, in the Occupied Palestinian territories and formation of an independent Palestinian government with Jerusalem as its capital.

‘In a situation where the global banner-holders of human rights keep silence on the daily crimes of occupiers of the occupied territories; unity of the Islamic Ummah in supporting the Islamic resistance against global arrogance and Zionist occupation, is the only way to liberate the occupied territories and return peace and dignity to the whole Islamic world’.

Some countries in the region by signing an agreement under the pretext of bringing peace for Palestine has taken steps to recognize children-killer regime of Israel and normalizethe relations with this occupying entity. But as we witness, this agreement not only did not bring any peace to Palestine, but also increased the level of assaults, occupation andcrimesin the Palestinian land.

Unfortunately, in recent days, in the shadow of news blackout, the occupying Zionist regime has increased attacks on Palestinian territories. Al-Quds Day is a great opportunity to emphasize to the world that freedom of Palestine remains the main issue in the Islamic world. Muslims will never abandon their principles and ideals including liberation of Palestine and will continue to promise the Palestinian fighters that in this way they are not alone and all the Muslims of the world will always stand by them.

While congratulating all Muslims and free thinkers in the world, especially the two brave nations of Iran and Pakistan the ambassador called on them to unite with all Muslims in the world on this day and shout the hatred of the enemies of Islam and the occupiers of the holy land of Palestine.

PM Imran Khan voted out of power:174 VOTES CAST AGAINST PM

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PM Imran Khan voted out from power

No trust move against him approved;No trust move against him approved; Imran Khan Principle secretary Azam Khan removed from his post;IHC fixes plea for hearing on Monday TO PUT Imran Khan on ECL; Ayaz Sadiq did not cast his vote being the speaker: Attorney General resigns from his post

DNA

            ISLAMABAD, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been voted out of power. The no trust move against him was approved by the members of the opposition. The govt benches stayed away from voting. Earlier Speaker Asad  Qaisar resigned from his post and asked Ayaz Sadik to conduct voting.

Earlier, The voting on opposition parties’ joint resolution of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan started in the National Assembly here on Saturday.

 Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was in the chair, formally announced his resignation as Speaker and invited a member of panel of chairpersons Ayaz Sadiq to preside over the proceedings of the House. The Chairperson asked for voting on the no-confidence resolution moved by the Leader of the Opposition Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on March 28, 2022.

He asked for the simple division in favour and against the resolution for members’ count in the 341-seat House (excluding a seat that fell vacant due to the demise of MNA Khayal Zaman Orakzai).

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and PPPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were also present in the House. However, the entire lawmakers from treasury benches excluding Chied whip Aamir Dogar and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan left the House.

The voting on the resolution for vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister under Rule 37 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 2007 shall be held under the provisions of the Second Schedule.

The Second Schedule states the Chair shall direct that the bells be rung for five minutes before commencement of voting to enable members not present in the Chamber to be present. Immediately after the bells stop ringing, all the entrances to the Lobby shall be locked and the Assembly staff posted at each entrance shall not allow any entry or exit through those entrances until the voting has concluded.

 The Speaker shall then read out the resolution before the Assembly and ask the members who wish to vote in favour of the resolution to pass in single file through the entrance where tellers shall be posted to record the votes. On reaching the desk of the tellers, each member shall, in turn, call out the division number allotted to him under the rules. The tellers shall then mark off his number on the division list simultaneously calling out the name of the member. In order to ensure that his vote has been properly recorded, the member shall not move off until he has clearly heard the teller call out his name. After a member has recorded his vote, he shall not return to the Chamber until bells are rung.

When the Speaker finds that all the members who wished to vote have recorded their votes, he shall announce that the voting has concluded. Thereupon the Secretary shall cause the division list to be collected, count the recorded votes and present the result of the count to the Speaker. The Speaker shall then direct that the bells be rung for two minutes to enable the members to return to the Chamber. After the bells stop ringing, the Speaker shall announce the result to the Assembly.

As per the official data placed on the National Assembly’s website, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has a total of 155 seats (General 122, Reserved 28 and Minority 5), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) 84 seats (General 66, Reserved 16 and Minority 2), Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) 56 seats (General 45, Reserved 9 and Minority 2), Independent MNAs four seats, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (MMAP) 15 seats (General 12, Reserved 2 and Minority 1), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) five seats (General 4 and Reserved 1),  Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) seven seats (General 6 and Reserved 1), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) three seats (General 2 and Reserved 1), Awami Muslim League Pakistan (AMLP) one seat, Balochistan National Party (BNP) four seats (General 3 and Reserved 1),  Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) five seats (General 4 and Reserved 1), Awami National Party (ANP) one seat, Jamhoori Wattan Party  (JWP) one seat.

Pakistan issues visas to Sikh pilgrims

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: On the eve of Baisakhi celebrations, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued over 2200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual festival scheduled to be held in Pakistan from 12-21 April 2022.

The issuance of visas is covered under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974. Every year, a large number of Sikh Yatrees from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals/occasions. The visas issued from New Delhi are in addition to the visas granted to Sikh pilgrims participating in these events from other countries.

The issuance of pilgrimage visas to religious pilgrims by the High Commission is in line with the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to fully implement the Bilateral Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines between the two countries.

Expressing his views on the auspicious occasion, Charge d’Affaires Aftab Hasan Khan, extended his heartfelt felicitations to the pilgrims and wished them a rewarding and fulfilling yatra. Pakistan takes immense pride in preserving sacred religious places and providing necessary facilitation to the visiting pilgrims, he added.

During the visit, the pilgrims would, inter alia, go to Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib. They would enter Pakistan on 12 April and return back to India on

21 April 2022.

President, PM ought to resign: analysts

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DNA

ISLAMABAD:  The political and legal experts have suggested the Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down gracefully in order to avoid the no-trust move. These comments came after the verdict of the apex court in which it declared null and void deputy speaker ruling and restored the National Assembly.

The analysts believe the Prime Minister should have resigned when the no-trust move was tabled against him and especially when his own MPs decided to vote against the party. According to analysts the act of dissolution of assembly was a suicidal act on the part of the prime minister and the President and from the day one it was evident that the apex court shall strike down this act ourtright.

The analysts also believe President Arif Alvi should also step down because the Supreme Court verdict in a way is a ‘charge sheet’ against him as well.

National Assembly restored

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Supreme Court declares deputy speaker decision as null and void; no trust vote stand restored; court orders to hold no-trust vote on Saturday

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has restored the National Assembly by declaring the deputy speaker action null and void. The apex court gave a unanimous verdict. All five judges took a unanimous decision.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan observed that Supreme Court of Pakistan has reached the conclusion that the ruling of the Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri appears to be wrong and un justified adding deputy speaker was not authorized to pass on any such ruling. The five member bench of the apex court heard the case for at least four days.

He further said that we are sure that the ruling is wrong however we have to look for the future as well. We have to announce a verdict keeping in view the future of Pakistan. The Attorney General also did not defend the ruling of the speaker.

Supreme Court of Pakistan also summoned Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan as it had reserved its verdict on a suo motu case concerning the legality of the deputy speaker’s ruling and the subsequent dissolution of the NA by the president on the PM’s advice that would be announced shortly.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial has declared that the deputy speaker’s ruling to reject no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan was “wrong”.

The top judge, however, asked the lawyers to assist the court for “solution” in the future. “One thing is clear which is the deputy speaker’s ruling is wrong, what will be the next stem,” he inquired.

Justice Bandial said that the five-judge larger bench will pronounce its verdict on the rejection of the no-confidence motion after Iftari at 7:30 pm today.

During the hearing, the CJ mentioned that the court will have to look after the national interest.

Earlier, the Supreme Court judges gave a pretty hard time to the lawyers of president, prime minister and speaker who defended the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling rejecting no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

During the course of proceedings, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that apparently constitution was violated in the Assembly. “If the voting had been allowed, then it would have become clear who is the prime minister. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the assembly if a no-confidence motion is tabled. What would be the consequences if the prime minister violates Article 58,” the CJP asked.

The top judge remarked anyone who is losing a no-trust vote tomorrow can opt for new elections.

Justice Bandial said “There is no crisis in the country. Billions are spent on the new elections and the country also passes from a tough situation during the 90 days. We should think of the country.”

A five-member larger bench of the SC, headed by the CJP, heard the case. The judges on the bench are Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ejazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel.

Justice Jamal Mandokhel observed that the court could not sit mum if there was a violation of the constitution. Is the no-trust issue not affecting the public? Is there any protection for unconstitutional steps? Do we sitting here let such unconstitutional steps go by?”

Justice Mandokhel further asked can the prime minister advise the president dissolution if the majority of the assembly oppose it?

Justice Mandokhel also pointed out that the minutes of the parliamentary committee meeting, which were submitted to court by speaker’s lawyer Naeem Bukhari, didn’t prove if the deputy speaker was present. Continuing, Justice Mandokhel asked whether the foreign minister was present during the parliamentary committee meeting, noting that his signature was not included in the record.

“Shouldn’t the foreign minister have been present?” the judge asked, which prompted the lawyer to admit the minister should have been present.

At this, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial pointed out that Moeed Yusuf’s name was also not included in the record.

Justice Ijazul Hassan said the assembly could have reversed the deputy speaker’s ruling had it not been dissolved. “Prime Minister cashed in on the opportunity and dissolve the assembly,” he added.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar remarked was the prime minister aware of the deputy speaker’s ruling that he was sitting ready to address the nation. “It was not in speaker’s powers to rejected no-trust move through ruling,” he added.

He asked was not it like that the written ruling was given to the deputy speaker. “The deputy speaker gave the ruling but how come it carried the signature of the speaker,” he baffled.

Justice Muneeb further asked why the voting was not conducted after the ruling?

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan, in his arguments, prayed to the court to order general elections in the country.  “There are several options before the apex court,” the AGP said.

He was of the view that the court should arrange an in-camera hearing in which he could inform it of details of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security meeting since disclosing them in the courtroom was not appropriate.  

Similarly, AGP Khan went on to say, military officials had also attended the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, and if minutes of the meeting were leaked right here in front of the people, it might have negative repercussions for the country’s security as well as the foreign policy. “Some very sensitive issues were discussed at the NSC meeting,” he told the court. 

The AGP argued that in the light of the constitution, a prime minister had the right to dissolve the assemblies. 

However, when the chief justice remarked that it was now settled that the deputy speaker’s ruling was not ‘justified’, the AGP seconded him and said he did not defend his ruling either.      

Speaking on the occasion, Advocate Naeem Bukhari, representing both NA Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, said he would not take much time and would complete his arguments as early as possible. “I would like to rely on Barrister Ali Zafar’s arguments instead,” he added. 

He said now when general elections had been announced and the ball was in people’s court, the Supreme Court should not hear the deputy speaker’s ruling case.    

When Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked whether there was any instance of the rejection of a no-trust motion on a ‘point of order’, Bukhari replied, “Yes, there was.”

Justice Jamal Mandokhel inquired from him as to what was his opinion if the NA speaker does not allow voting on the motion. “Is that not a violation of the constitution?” he questioned.

Speaker’s lawyer responded that there was an instance of the National Assembly’s dissolution, which was later declared unconstitutional by the court, but the elections were still held.

Bukhari, on the occasion, submitted to the SC minutes of Parliamentary Committee on National Security meeting.

The chief justice said these were only the minutes. “Where are the names of those who had attended the meeting as well as those who gave the briefing?” he asked. 

Bukhari replied that total 29 people had been invited to the meeting.

CJP remarked that the names of those who had briefed the participants of the meeting were missing.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel inquired as to whether Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was present at the meeting.       

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that the deputy speaker did not allow a single lawmaker from the opposition benches to speak on his ruling. “In fact, he should have sought the opinion of MNAs on invoking article-5 of the constitution,” he opined.

Justice Mazhar Alam said it appeared as if somebody else had written the ruling and later handed it to Deputy Speaker Suri.  He also expressed the surprise as how could the ruling bear the signatures of the assembly speaker when actually it had not been given by him. 

Bukhari insisted that the court could not look into the ruling. 

Justice Muneeb emphasized that voting on the motion was a constitutional requirement.                             

Imtiaz Siddiqui, lawyer for the prime minister, adopted before the Supreme Court that the National Assembly speaker could save the country by circumventing the law in case he found foreign funding or any threat to the sovereignty of the country.

“The deputy speaker made a better decision according to his oath. The decision of the deputy speaker is an internal matter of the Parliament,” he stated.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked it was clear in the law that the court would clarify any exemption, adding that the petitioners in the case said the speaker’s ruling could not come after the grant of leave.

“The petitioners are of the view that the deputy speaker’s ruling could have come before the submission of the no-confidence motion. What will you say on this issue?” questioned the chief justice.

“The opposition did not object to the deputy speaker chairing the session of the National Assembly. There is no foul play in the ruling of the speaker. A foreign conspiracy had been confirmed in the National Security Committee meeting,” maintained Imtiaz Siddiqui.

“Law is this that the court will decide the prerogative of the parliamentary proceedings. The court will examine the extent to which the proceedings are justified. You are saying that the deputy speaker had some material with him upon which he gave the ruling. According to you, the right decision was made as per the plan of the prime minister who dissolved the assembly under Article 58. What will be the consequences of this?” the chief justice questioned.

“Don’t repeat things. Tell us the legal points,” he also asked the lawyer for the prime minister. “The court did not interfere in the parliamentary proceedings in the past,” said Imtiaz Siddiqui.

“By announcing general elections, the country is left helpless for 90 days. According to you, this is an internal matter of the Parliament. The speaker is not answerable,” asked the chief justice.

“Yes! The speaker is not answerable to anyone. The dissolution of the assembly by the prime minister is a separate issue from the no-confidence motion. The deputy speaker relied on the National Security Committee meeting for his ruling to reject the no-confidence motion,” said the lawyer.

“When were the minutes of the National Security Committee meeting placed before the deputy speaker?” questioned the chief justice. “I don’t know about it,” Imtiaz Siddiqui said.

“Don’t talk about what you don’t know,” asked the chief justice and put another question to the lawyer saying: “The prime minister broke the limits of Article 58. What will be its consequences?” “When the prime minister came to know about the annulment of the no-confidence motion, he dissolved the assembly,” said Imtiaz Siddiqui.

“If the assembly had not been dissolved, the House could have ended the ruling of the deputy speaker,” remarked Justice Ijazul Ahsan and added that the prime minister dissolved the assembly by taking advantage of the situation.

Ali Zafar, lawyer for President Arif Alvi, Thursday said while presenting his arguments before the Supreme Court regarding the annulment of the no-confidence motion that there were court decisions which stressed non-interference in the proceedings of the Parliament.

“The court rulings say that the Parliament has impunity,” said Ali Zafar. “Isn’t this issue of no-confidence motion affecting the people?” questioned Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.

“Does any unconstitutional work also have protection? Should we let the unconstitutional work happen?” questioned Justice Mazhar Alam and stated that the Supreme Court was the guardian of the Constitution.

At this, Ali Zafar adopted before the court that all issues of the Parliament should be resolved within the Parliament. “The court cannot sit silent if there is unconstitutional work going on,” responded Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and questioned: “Isn’t the prime minister the representative of the entire nation?”

To this responded Ali Zafar saying: “The prime minister is undoubtedly the representative of the people.”

Justice Mazhar Alam further raised a question and asked: “Will it be protected if the Constitution is constantly violated in the Parliament? Isn’t the court the guardian of the Constitution?”

He is followed by Justice Jamal Mandokhail who also put a question to the lawyer and asked: “How will justice be done then if someone is affected by the parliamentary proceedings? If there is no justice, will the court remain silent?”

Responding to the judges’ questions, Ali Zafar stated that the protection of the Constitution could only be ensured in accordance with the Constitution. He added if the Parliament failed, the matter went to the people. “For the protection of the Constitution, every article has to be taken into consideration,” he stressed.

At this, Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial pointed out that the election of a new government and prime minister is a matter within the Parliament. “Had the no-confidence motion been allowed in the Parliament, a decision to elect the new prime minister would have been reached.”

Ali Zafar said that the election of prime minister and the no-confidence motion fell within the ambit of the Parliament’s authority, adding that the assembly was formed because it had to elect its own speaker and prime minister.

“It is the responsibility of the Parliament to legislate. What will happen if the Parliament does not legislate?” questioned Justice Jamal Mandokhail.

“If there is no legislation, the old laws will remain intact. Democracy and elections cannot be separated. The court can review the formation of the federal government and the dissolution of the assembly. The court cannot review both the election of the Prime Minister and the no-confidence motion,” stated Ali Zafar.

“The president has asked the prime minister to continue his work. It means there is no crisis in the country,” remarked the chief justice. “Yes! there is no crisis in domestic politics,” responded Ali Zafar.

“We have a case of no-confidence motion before us,” Justice Mazhar Alam said. “The deputy speaker’s ruling came after the no-trust move. Address this issue first,” he added. “Here too the assembly was dissolved and elections were declared,” Ali Zafar answered.

“Billions of rupees are spent on new elections. We should think about the country. The president dissolved the assembly on the advice of the prime minister. If a no-confidence motion is filed against the prime minister under Article 58, he cannot recommend dissolution of the assembly. We have to consider this matter too in the dissolution of the assembly. Why don’t you explain what type of a constitutional crisis is there? If everything is going according to the Constitution, where is the constitutional crisis then?” remarked the chief justice.

“I am also saying the same that there is no constitutional crisis in the country,” stated Ali Zafar. 

PM launches national 911 Helpline for integrated emergency relief services

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PM launches national 911 Helpline for integrated emergency relief
services

ISLAMABAD, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday launched
a 911 Helpline to provide all emergency relief services through a single
platform, which he believed, was a major step forward to developing
Pakistan on the pattern of the Madina welfare state.

“Now, every citizen in any part of the country will get the state’s
response (in case of any emergency). This is a major move forward
towards our mission statement of making Pakistan an Islamic welfare
state,” the prime minister said addressing the launching ceremony of the
helpline.

The integrated Pakistan Emergency Helpline (PEHEL)-911 would provide
emergency services like fire brigade, police, health assistance,
disaster recovery and motorway police etc. A needy person will have to
dial just 911 and the call center would forward the call to the relevant
government agency.

The prime minister said the government was striving to ease people’s
lives as in any welfare state, the citizens should have the confidence
of receiving the state’s response in case of any threat to life and
property.

He said besides being a major facility, the PEHEL helpline would also
give the people a feeling that Pakistan was for all as earlier, there
were two parallel discriminatory systems supporting rich and poor
respectively.

The prime minister, who earlier launched the helpline by pushing a
button, also lauded the interior ministry and other collaborating
departments for establishing the helpline said that it would also
require constant coordination among all provinces.

“This project should have all the provinces on the same page because it
was about the benefit of all,” he remarked. The prime minister said the
PEHEL helpline would also enable the government to maintain the crimes
data besides assessing the requirement of resources in different
sectors.

Reiterating his vision of making Pakistan a welfare state, said his
government had launched Sehat Insaf Card providing Rs 1 million health
insurance to every family across the country, except the opposition-led
Sindh province. He said being, a provincial subject, the people of Sindh
could not get the facility of health insurance.

He said the government introduced a core national single curriculum to
do away with the discriminatory education system and also launched
multiple welfare initiatives under the umbrella of the Ehsaas and Kamyab
Jawan Program including skill training, interest-free loans, housing
loans, and farmers loans.

Moreover, the introduction of a legal aid system to provide free legal
services to needy people was also on his government’s agenda.

Imran Khan said the Madina welfare state took the responsibility of all
of its citizens without considering the dearth of resources. Following
the same model, China also steered around 700 million people out of
poverty within 35 years, he added.

Supreme Court reserves judgment; will announce at 730 today

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Supreme Court reserves judgment; will announce at 730 today

DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved the judgment and announced to hand down the verdict at 730 today after Iftar.

Earlier, The Chief Justice of Pakistan observed that Supreme Court of Pakistan has reached the conclusion that the ruling of the Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri appears to be wrong and un justified adding deputy speaker was not authorized to pass on any such ruling. The five member bench of the apex court heard the case for at least four days.

He further said that we are sure that the ruling is wrong however we have to look for the future as well. We have to announce a verdict keeping in view the future of Pakistan. The Attorney General also did not defend the ruling of the speaker.

Chief Justice says deputy speaker ruling not justified

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Chief Justice says deputy speaker ruling not justified

DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan observed that Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday declared ruling of the Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri appears to be wrong and un justified adding deputy speaker was not authorized to pass on any such ruling. The five member bench of the apex court heard the case for at least four days.

He further said that we are sure that the ruling is wrong however we have to look for the future as well. We have to announce a verdict keeping in view the future of Pakistan. The Attorney General also did not defend the ruling of the speaker.

President dissolved National Assembly

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ISLAMABAD: The President of Pakistan has dissolved the National Assembly. Fresh elections now should be held within three months.

Prime Minister Imran Khan dissolved assemblies: fresh election called

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has dissolved the National Assembly. While talking to people on the national hook-up he congratulated the people of Pakistan. He lauded the step of the ruling of the speaker. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced to resort to Supreme Court for remedy. He said the ruling of the Speaker is un constitutional.

SPEAKER REJECTS OPPOSITION NO TRUST MOVE – Islamabad Post

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ISLAMABAD: Speaker national assembly has rejected the opposition no trust move saying it is against the article 5 of the constitution.

Umar Sarfraz Cheema appointed to new Punjab governor

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ISLAMABAD: Umar Sarfraz Cheema appointed to new Punjab governor. Umar is a veteran PTI worker who has been associated with the party since long.

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 31 – Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis

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March 31 is the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis, commemorating the victims of the bloody massacre perpetrated by Armenians against Azerbaijanis.

In March-April 1918, massacres were committed with utmost cruelty in the city of Baku, as well as other towns and districts of the Baku Province by the dashnak-bolshevik armed groups operating under the mandate of the Baku Council (Baku Soviet), and tens of thousands of civilians were killed only for their ethnic and religious affiliation. We commemorate the victims of these events and consider it important to preserve this memory in order to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Ethnic Armenian Stepan Shaumian, the Commissar Extraordinary for the Caucasus, admitted that 6,000 armed soldiers of the Baku Soviet and 4,000 from the Dashnaksutyun party participated in the massacres against the Azerbaijani people.

The genocide carried out against the Azerbaijanis along with Baku covered also Shamakhi, Guba, Iravan, Zangezur, Karabakh, Nakhchivan and Kars regions. During the first five months of 1918, more than 16,000 people were murdered with utmost cruelty in Guba province alone; a total of 167 villages were destroyed. Mass graves discovered in Guba region in 2007 constitute clear evidence of the inhumane acts committed by Armenians.

March massacres of 1918 were well prepared and ruthlessly implemented act by radical nationalist Armenians against Azerbaijanis on the grounds of racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing.

The Government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic established in 1918 the Extraordinary Investigation Commission in order to investigate the serious crimes perpetrated by Armenians and has taken a number of measures to preserve the true facts revealed by the Commission in the memory of the people and to inform the world community about these atrocities. The Extraordinary Investigation Commission which was comprised of the best lawyers of that time representing different nationalities – Russians, Jewish, Polish, Georgians and even Armenians, based on the evidences launched criminal cases against 194 individuals accused of different crimes against the peaceful population; 24 individuals in Baku and about 100 individuals in Shamakhi had been arrested for perpetrated crimes.

However, this process had been suspended after the demise of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, a full investigation of the events and its political-legal assessment had been prevented. Only after 80 years – on March 26, 1998 the adequate political assessment was given to these horrific events by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On the Genocide of Azerbaijanis”, signed by National Leader Heydar Aliyev and 31 March was declared the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis.

The commemoration of the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis plays an important role in informing the world community about the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis in the past and present.

Through the policy of military aggression against Azerbaijan, which lasted for almost 30 years, Armenia continued to commit crimes against Azerbaijanis on ethnic grounds. One million Azerbaijanis fell victim to ethnic cleansing in Armenia and in occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia also committed numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide, including the Khojaly Genocide of February 1992. During the 44-day war, the Armenian armed forces deliberately targeted peaceful population of Ganja, Barda, Tartar and other cities of Azerbaijan with missile attacks. In doing so, Armenia has brought back the memories of a century ago March Massacre.

We strongly condemn the deliberate policy pursued by Armenia, based on genocide, crimes against humanity, racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing, committed so far against the Azerbaijani people, and we emphasize the importance of ceasing Armenia’s impunity in order to prevent the recurrence of these inhumane crimes in the future. Azerbaijan from its side will take all necessary legal measures to ensure peace and end impunity.

We commemorate the innocent victims of the March massacre with grief and mercy.

Pakistan embassy in Indonesia celebrates Pakistan Day

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DNA

JAKARTA: The 82nd National Day of Pakistan was celebrated on 23rd March 2022 with national fervor and enthusiasm at the Embassy of Pakistan, Jakarta, in a simple but dignified ceremony which was attended by a large number of Pakistani diaspora along with their families, friends from Indonesia and electronic and print media representatives.

The function commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag by the Deputy Head of Mission (Chargé d’Affaires) Mr. Faisal Fayyaz. Subsequently, the messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, received on the occasion, were read out.

H.E. Ambassador Muhammad Hassan, in his pre-recorded video message, paid homage to the founding fathers and highlighted the achievements and progress of Pakistan in the past years. The ambassador expressed resolve of the government and the people to make Pakistan economically stronger and more prosperous and to continue to make our society humane, inclusive, and tolerant. He also reaffirmed the pledge to uphold democratic values, rule of law, and the Islamic way of life in Pakistan as envisioned by the founding fathers.

The Ambassador expressed unshakable support with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the resolve of the government and people of Pakistan to continue moral, political, and diplomatic support for their legitimate right of self-determination.

The Ambassador highlighted various aspects of multifaceted relations between Pakistan and Indonesia, expressed satisfaction over expanding bilateral relations, stressed the need to explore new vistas of bilateral cooperation and mentioned that Pakistan was keen to deepen economic and trade relations with Indonesia to harness its full potentials.

Prof. Dr. Mohammed Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Government of Indonesia, in his pre-recorded video message for the ceremony, congratulated the Government and the people of Pakistan on the 82nd Pakistan National Day. He stated that Indonesia and Pakistan shared strong historical bond and national characteristics which served as a foundation for our bilateral relations for mutually rewarding partnership. He also underscored the need to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields including political, economic, defense,education, and cultural spheres.

In the end, a documentary on Pakistan was shown.

E-PAPER MAR 14

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E-PAPER MAR 14

What is the likely future of a no-trust move?

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Sources claim a deal has been struck between the Tareen Group; PML Q and govt

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: The govt seems to have reached an understanding with powers that be for the future set in the Center as well in the Punjab province.  Sources privy to this development have confided to this correspondent that Jehangir Khan Tareen Group and the PML Q led by Chaudhries will nominate a consensus candidate for the Punjab Chief Minister slot, which means Usman Buzdar will finally be shown the door.

The sources further claimed that the new arrangement in the Punjab would come into force once the no-trust move issue is settled. In return PML Q and the Tareen group will support Prime Minister Imran Khan and thus the PM is likely to survive the no-confidence motion.

Sources further said the Opposition parties too have got a clue to this development therefore their frustration has started appearing on their faces. Sources say Thursday night’s brawl between Maulana Fazalur Rehman men and the security forces was in fact a clear manifestation of Opposition parties’ frustration. Maulana security guards gathered in the Parliament lodges on the pretext of giving protection to MPs hailing from the opposition camp.

PML Q and Tareen groups are likely to get key portfolios in the future Punjab set up. PML Q has hinted at asking for the post of Punjab Chief Minister. When PML N had contacted PML Q for a change in the Punjab, the Q had asked for the chief minister ship – a demand which was outright turned down by PML N and thus any further negotiations between these two parties could not proceed further.

The government had decided to settle the no-trust move before the upcoming OID conference which means the next two weeks are going to be highly charged and tumultuous.

ASEAN countries gather to support a noble cause

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Ambassador of Thailand being the Chairman of ASEAN Islamabad Committee along with member states donate things to Mashal Model School

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD:  Ambassador of Thailand Chakkrid Krachaiwong, who is also Chairman of the ASEAN Islamabad Committee, has said people to people contacts are very important and today’s activity truly reflects this aspect.

The ambassador made these remarks during his visit to Mashal Model School in Nur Pur Shahan, Bari Imam. The ambassador was accompanied by the heads of missions of ASEAN countries including Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar and Vietnam.

All missions brought with them gifts and various items for the school children. They remained with the children for quite some time and witnessed various shows presented by the kids. They were also taken to various classrooms in order for them to have an interaction with children.

Ambassador Karachaiwong further said people say that children are an asset of our future but I would say that they are equally important for our present as well. He said Covid pandemic posed some serious challenges for all of us but it does not mean that we should have stopped doing good things such as the one we are doing right now.

Zeba Hussain Director of Mashal Model School in her opening remarks told that the school was founded in 2008 and is a nonprofit organization under section 45 C Charities Act. She added, it is a registered trust with the govt of Pakistan. She said many children in Pakistan do not have access to education. In the urban slum area of Bari Imam, thousands of children are internally displaced persons with no state ID living below the poverty line.

Serena Hotels to support first-ever river expedition

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Senior media persons briefed about the expedition at the luncheon meeting

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Serena Hotels arranged luncheon meeting with the senior journalists of Islamabad, in connection with 20 years celebrations of Islamabad Serena Hotel. The senior manager of marketing Tourism Services Promotion (TPS) Hussain Odhwani in his opening remarks welcomed the guests. He said the event was in fact a small token of appreciation for the efforts of the media fraternity, which it had contributed towards promotion of tourism and hospitality industry.

Hussain also dilated upon various initiatives that Serena undertakes from time to under the banner of corporate social responsibility. He announced to support an upcoming river expedition by Wajahat Malik and his team, which, he said would be first of its kind. The Serena Hotels would support this venture under its Adventure Diplomacy initiative.

Wajahat Malik a TV presenter and an adventure/travel documentary film-maker in his speech briefed the audience about the upcoming adventure. He was all praise for CEO Serena Hotels South and East Asia Aziz Boolani for extending to him full support. He said the expedition is going to be the first of its kind and credit of which goes to Serena Hotels.

He said the provincial governments are also on board with him in this enterprise. He requested the media to highlight the event at a large scale so that more and more people could know about it.

De-escalation: Ukraine seeks proactive Pakistan role

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Ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan Markian Chuchuk says special arrangement made to safe evacuation of Pakistani students; laments Russians committing war crimes in Ukraine

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan Markian Chuchuk has said as of 28 February, 352 civilians including 16 children have been killed and thousands were wounded in the Russian invasion of Ukraine adding the figures about civilian and military losses are updating every few hours.

Ambassador Chuchuk expressed these views in a media briefing on Tuesday.

He further said the residential areas of the Ukrainian largest city of Kharkiv were directly shelled by Russian rocket artillery, with dozens of new victims. Russian troops have destroyed kindergartens and orphanages, thus committing war crimes and violating the Rome Statute.

Hospitals and mobile medical aid brigades are also targeted by the Russian shellfire and the sabotage groups.  Ukraine has submitted an application against Russia to the International Court of Justice.

Russia uses its best military units to attack Ukraine, but has achieved none of its key goals, he added.

He said Ukraine remains an important trade partner of Pakistan.  Last year Ukraine has supplied to Pakistan over 1.3 million tons of wheat grain thus contributed into Pakistan’s food security.

According to international reports, about half a million of refuges have already left Ukraine. The U.N. estimates this number could grow to 5 million. Russian military aggression threatens thousands of foreigners who are staying in Ukraine.

‘We regret that while they had been warmly welcomed in our country, nowadays Russian invasion put their lives at high risk. We understand the will of foreign citizens to leave the territory of Ukraine for a safer place and we are providing all possible assistance at the border as we do for our citizens’.

We do remember in Ukraine sincere support of Pakistan for evacuating Ukrainian citizens from Afghanistan in August 2021. Ukrainian Government does its best to ensure safe and smooth evacuation of Pakistani students.

Our Foreign Ministry has requested the relevant agencies of Ukraine to step up support to all foreign citizens wishing to return to their home countries or move to the third countries.

Temporary volunteer assistance points have been set up at the border to provide foreign students with food, cater and other humanitarian needs. Ukrainian and Pakistani foreign ministers remain in touch in resolution of this issue, the ambassador added.

‘In the final part of my briefing let me say a few words about geopolitics which is not welcomed in some countries of the world, but is an icon in some others. Russian invasion into Ukraine has initiated a watershed moment in global politics and architecture of global security’.

Ambassador Chuchuk said the red line is clear: which values people and states consider important enough to fight for them? I believe that human lives and freedom are much more important values than any geopolitical concepts like bipolarity or multi-polarity. Disregarding what geopolitical camp an international actor prefers, it cannot justify unprovoked massive war and killings of civilian population by ballistic and cruise missiles or vacuum bombs.

Otherwise the global security architecture will collapse and the new world war would become inevitable.  On the other hand, if somebody condemns Russian aggression against Ukraine it does not mean automatically support of Pax Americana or NATO. It means respect to human live and freedom, commitment to peace and rule based order in international relations. And that is that.

Its time for everyone to make a choice. We have seen a choice of the USA and its close allies. Last weekend we have seen a choice of Europe.  It was really tectonic shift in Europe’s approach to Russia and Ukraine. The EU has imposed a number of heavy sanctions and restrictions against the aggressor while provided more assistance and weapons to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on the EU to grant Ukraine membership under a special procedure immediately and signed an application for Ukraine’s membership in the EU.

President Zelenskiy said : “Europeans are witnessing how our soldiers are fighting, not only for our country, but for all of Europe… for peace, for all the countries of the European Union… Our goal is to be with all Europeans… I am sure we deserve it”. We will see a choice of the world at the ongoing session of the United Nations General Assembly session.

Ambassador said Ukraine was grateful for powerful international support provided by the G-7 states, the EU and many other countries which have joined an anti-war global coalition.  ‘We urge the international community to continue express solidarity with Ukraine and contribute in stopping the war by practical measures, which might include:

– stopping Russian propaganda of war in every country of the world- the immediate imposing of massive sanctions against Russia.- Russia’s isolation and exclusion from  the international fora.- the introduction of a full-flagged trade embargo on Russia.- further closure of airspace for Russian aircrafts and ports for Russian vessels.- supporting Ukraine with finance, weapons, protective equipment, ammunition, fuel, and whatever else necessary to counter the biggest army in the continent’.

We hope that one day Pakistan will also do some steps in that direction, the ambassador concluded.

LAHORE QALANDARS LIFT PSL TROPHY

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Qalandars win their 1st PSL trophy
Multan Sultans defeated by 42 runs; Muhammad Hafeez, Shaheen, Wiese shine for Qalanders
LAHORE: Lahore Qalandars on Sunday defeated Multan Sultans by 42 runs in the Pakistan Super League Final to win their first ever PSL t20 trophy.The Qalandars’ captain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, had opted to bat first after winning the toss. The Sultans were handed a 181-run target at Gaddafi Stadium, with all eyes on Rizwan to take his team to victory. But Multan Sultans could only manage to make 138 runs.Muhammad Hafeez and Harry Brook boosted team’s efforts for getting a big total by scoring 69 and 41* respectively. David Wiese made a short yet useful cameo of 28 runs in just 8 deliveries.
For Multan Sultans, Asif Afridi took 3 wickets.
However, Hafeez gave an early setback to the Sultans and the fans watching the match as he dismissed Rizwan in the fourth over.

Hafeez bowled Rizwan around his legs and yorked him in the middle, clattering the stumps. After this, the veteran all-rounder jumped with joy as the Sultans’ skipper walked back.

Multan Sultans never gained any momentum and kept losing wickets one by one. Shan Masood got out on 19 and Rilee Rossouw could only contribute 15 runs. However, Khushdil Shah and Tim David resisted for some time.From bowling side, skipper Shaheen Afridi grabbed 3 wickets, while Muhammad Hafeez and Zaman Khan took 2 wickets each.Muhammad Hafeez was named the Player of the match for his all round performance.It is Lahore Qalanders first PSL title. Multan Sultans were the defending champions after being crowned in the previous edition.

Azerbaijan MOFA statement on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide

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DNA

BAKU: February 26, 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide committed by the armed forces of Armenia during the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan.

One of the gravest crimes committed against the civilian population during the decades of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, and the most tragic page of the First Karabakh War, was the destruction of the city of Khojaly and the genocide of its inhabitants. Before the conflict, Khojaly, located in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, was a home to over 7,000 people: men, women, children, families.

From October 1991, the town was surrounded by the armed forces of Armenia. Overnight, on 25th February 1992, following massive artillery bombardment of Khojaly, the armed forces of Armenia, with the help of the former USSR infantry guards regiment No.366 of which the Armenians constituted the majority, forcibly seized control of Khojaly. Invaders destroyed the city and, with particular brutality, brought violence to its peaceful population.

5,379 inhabitants of the city were forcefully expelled. 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly citizens, were brutally murdered. 1,275 were captured and taken hostage and were tortured, and 487 were injured. The fate of 150 of those captured, including 68 women and 26 children, remains unknown to this day. The actions of the armed forces of Armenia tore families apart. Eight families were left with no survivors to speak of. 130 children lost a parent, with a further 25 children left with no surviving parent at all. 

The indiscriminate killings of civilians at Khojaly stemmed from a policy of ethnic hatred and racial discrimination against Azerbaijanis at the state level in Armenia. It led to the killing of innocent people based simply on their ethnicity. The crimes committed at Khojaly were an integral part of Armenia’s policy of systematic violence against Azerbaijanis.

The Khojaly massacre and other crimes committed by Armenia in the course of its aggression against the Republic of Azerbaijan, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, constitute serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. These include violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and others.

So far, the national legislative bodies of 17 countries, as well as 24 States of the USA, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Organization of Turkic States have adopted a number of resolutions and decisions condemning the massacre of civilians in Khojaly and characterizing it as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.

In its judgment of 22 April 2010, the European Court of Human Rights arrived at an important conclusion with respect to the crimes committed in Khojaly, denouncing the behavior of those carrying out the atrocities as “acts of particular gravity which may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity”.

Under international law, States have a responsibility to investigate atrocities such as those committed by Armenian forces at Khojaly and prosecute the perpetrators. However, to date none of those responsible for the crimes committed at Khojaly have been prosecuted by Armenia.

In a telling admission of culpability, Armenia’s then Defence Minister and ex-President, SerzhSargsyan, was quoted by the British journalist Thomas de Waal, as saying, “before Khojali, the Azerbaijanis thought that … the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype]” (Thomas de Waal, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War (New York and London, New York University Press, 2003), p. 172).

Deliberate targeting of the Azerbaijani civilian population continued during military operations conducted by Armenia from September 27 to November 10, 2020. Deliberately targeting the civilian population and civilian infrastructure of Azerbaijani cities such as Ganja, Barda, Terter, which are located at a considerable distance from the war zone, Armenia resorted to the same terror tactics as they had in 1992.This time with the use of modern types of armoured vehicles, rocket launchers and cluster munitions, Armenia once again unlawfully targeted and killed peaceful Azerbaijani civilians.

The Republic of Azerbaijan believes that continuous measures taken at the national level, as well as within the framework of existing international law, will serve to end impunity and bring to justice those responsible for serious crimes committed during Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan.

We take this opportunity to remember the victims of the Khojaly massacre and commit their sacrifice to our collective national memory. May they rest in peace.

Khojaly genocide   is a dark chapter  in human history, say Speakers

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Khojaly genocide   is a dark chapter

 in human history, say Speakers

Staff Reporter

Islamabad: Muslim Institute and the Azerbaijani Embassy in Islamabad jointly organized a seminar on “Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing: A Crime against Humanity, the 30th Anniversary of the Khojaly genocide”. Among the speakers were Federal Minister for Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan, Dewan of Junagadh and Chairman MUSLIM Institute Sahibzada Sultan Ahmed Ali, Ambassador of Turkey Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov and Vice Chancellor, Quaid-e-Azam University Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah.

The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the most contentious issues of the twentieth century. Armenian nationalists have been following a policy of ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani people for the last 200 years. From 1948-to 1953, around 150,000 Azerbaijanis were deported from Armenia. Similarly, in 1988, 250,000 Azerbaijanis were forced out from their historical territories thereby leaving Armenia a mono-ethnic state.

In February 1992, Armenian forces seized the Azeri-populated town of Khojaly. Armenian militants started the massacre of civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Despite the Armenian occupation and genocide, the people of Azerbaijan remained steadfast, and as a result of the 2020 Armenian aggression, war broke out again and Armenia had to concede defeat after 44 days of conflict.

The speakers said that Pakistan and Azerbaijan were two brotherly Islamic countries which were closely related to each other in the spirit of Islam. Pakistan has always supported the principle stance of Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh, that’s why Pakistan has not recognized the Armenia till date. This position of Pakistan is in fact in line with the ideas of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Speakers further stressed that Pakistan and Azerbaijan have to further strengthen the bilateral relations by cooperating with each other at the regional and international levels and promoting bilateral cooperation in other fields including military, education, trade and other fields while keeping in view the ground realities.

PM Imran concerned at Russia-Ukraine row

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Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin shaking hands before their meeting in Moscow on 24th February, 2022.

PM Imran concerned

at Russia-Ukraine row

Meets with President Putin; says matter could resolve through diplomatic means

41190.jpg

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin received Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.-DNA

Centreline Report

MOSCOW: Prime Minister Imran Khan had a Summit meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin in the Kremlin, today. The two leaders held wide-ranging consultations on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.

​Recalling the telephone conversations during the recent months between the two leaders, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the positive trajectory of bilateral relations will continue to move forward in the future. He added that the trust and cordiality marking the relationship would translate into further deepening and broadening of mutual cooperation in diverse fields. The Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of Pakistan-Stream Gas Pipeline as a flagship economic project between Pakistan and Russia and also discussed cooperation on prospective energy-related projects. The Prime Minister underscored Pakistan’s commitment to forge a long-term, multidimensional relationship with Russia.

​In the regional context, the Prime Minister underlined the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis and preventing potential economic meltdown in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister reiterated that Pakistan would continue to work with the international community for a stable, peaceful and connected Afghanistan. In this regard, he underscored the ongoing cooperation and coordination between Pakistan and Russia at various international and regional fora, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

​On the situation in South Asia, the Prime Minister highlighted the serious human rights situation in IIOJK and underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister also highlighted the developments detrimental to regional peace and stability and stressed the need for measures that would help keep the regional balance.

​The Prime Minister regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine and said that Pakistan had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict. The Prime Minister stressed that conflict was not in anyone’s interest, and that the developing countries were always hit the hardest economically in case of conflict. He underlined Pakistan’s belief that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.​

Expressing concerns on rising trends of extremism and Islamophobia in the world, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for interfaith harmony and coexistence. Appreciating President Putin’s understanding of the respect and sensitivities that the Muslims attach to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Prime Minister said that inter-faith harmony and respect for all religions was imperative for peace and harmony within and among the societies.

​The Prime Minister along with high-level delegation is on a two-day visit to the Russian Federation from 23-24 February 2022. The Prime Minister is accompanied by cabinet members and senior officials.

Order in Monal case after detailed judgment of IHC: SC

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DNA

ISLAMABAD:  The Supreme Court on Thursday said it may issue an appropriate order in case the Islamabad high court does not issued detailed judgment in Monal case.

The apex court further said since the detailed judgment was not in front of them that is why the court was not in a position to provide immediate relief to the applicants, however if there is no detailed verdict after two weeks then an order may be passed.

Ukraine claims downed five Russian planes, helicopter

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RUSSIA ATTACKS UKRAINE

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the outer world to keep away from the conflict otherwise it has to face the music as well

News Desk/DNA

Kyiv, Feb 24 (AFP/APP): Russia, at the midnight of February 23, launched military operation against Ukraine targeting mainly the military installations in some parts of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech on national hook-up announced launching of the attack. He warned the outer world to keep away from the conflict otherwise it has to face the music as well.

Meanwhile,the Ukrainian military claimed on Thursday to have downed five Russian planes and a helicopter in the east of the country near a rebel-held enclave. “According to the Joint Forces Command, today, February 24, in the area of the Joint Forces operation, five planes and a helicopter of the aggressors were shot down,” the army general staff said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made an early morning call to his Belarusian counterpart Thursday, informing him that Moscow was launching a military operation on Ukraine, Alexander Lukashenko’s office said.

 “Around 5 am (0200 GMT) today there was a telephone conversation between the presidents of Belarus and Russia,” Lukashenko’s office said. “During the call, Vladimir Putin informed his Belarusian colleague about the situation on the border with Ukraine and in Donbas,” The Kremlin had no statement on the call. Putin launched the offensive in the early hours of Thursday, after a surprise televised address.

Ukraine’s border guards said Thursday morning that the country is coming under artillery attack along its northern border with Russia and Belarus.Russia has tens of thousands of soldiers stationed in Belarus, where it has held military drills. Moscow,:Russian President Vladimir Putin made an early morning call to his Belarusian counterpart Thursday, informing him that Moscow was launching a military operation on Ukraine, Alexander Lukashenko’s office said.

Putin made early call to Belarus leader about Ukraine attack

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Moscow,:Russian President Vladimir Putin made an early morning call to his Belarusian counterpart Thursday, informing him that Moscow was launching a military operation on Ukraine, Alexander Lukashenko’s office said.

                  “Around 5 am (0200 GMT) today there was a telephone conversation between the presidents of Belarus and Russia,” Lukashenko’s office said. “During the call, Vladimir Putin informed his Belarusian colleague about the situation on the border with Ukraine and in Donbas,”

                  The Kremlin had no statement on the call.

                  Putin launched the offensive in the early hours of Thursday, after a surprise televised address.

                  Ukraine’s border guards said Thursday morning that the country is coming under artillery attack along its northern border with Russia and Belarus.

                  Russia has tens of thousands of soldiers stationed in Belarus, where it has held military drills.

            Moscow,:Russian President Vladimir Putin made an early morning call to his Belarusian counterpart Thursday, informing him that Moscow was launching a military operation on Ukraine, Alexander Lukashenko’s office said.

                  “Around 5 am (0200 GMT) today there was a telephone conversation between the presidents of Belarus and Russia,” Lukashenko’s office said. “During the call, Vladimir Putin informed his Belarusian colleague about the situation on the border with Ukraine and in Donbas,”

                  The Kremlin had no statement on the call.

                  Putin launched the offensive in the early hours of Thursday, after a surprise televised address.

                  Ukraine’s border guards said Thursday morning that the country is coming under artillery attack along its northern border with Russia and Belarus.

                  Russia has tens of thousands of soldiers stationed in Belarus, where it has held military drills.

Tension with Russia: Ukraine  urges Pakistan to play its role

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Tension with Russia: Ukraine

urges Pakistan to play its role

Ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan Markian Chuchuk says we expect that our Pakistani partners would tell the Russians to make business instead of war. Pakistan is powerful nuclear state and its stance could not be ignored’

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD:  Ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan Markian Chuchuk has said we ask Pakistan to play its role for peace and security at the Ukraine and Russian borders. In this backdrop Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Russia holds significance.

The ambassador expressed these views during a press briefing on Tuesday.

He further said PM Imran Khan’s visit will set another brick in the wall of averting a big war in Europe. ‘We expect that our Pakistani partners would tell the Russians to make business instead of war. Pakistan is powerful nuclear state and its stance could not be ignored’, he added.

Ukraine believes in peaceful settlement of the conflict however if war is imposed we have every right to respond and defence ourselves by using all means.

He added, Russians plead they are ready for talks but at the same time are building up their forces at the borders. So far over 150,000 Russian troops have been deployed at the border. Their actions do not match their words. Their posture can further escalate tensions.

The ambassador further said Ukraine believes in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. He also quoted the Ukraine president’s recent statement in which he said that the international community and the international organisations need to play their role for the de-escalation of tensions.

Talking about the recent development he said, Ukraine condemns the Russian Federation’s decision to recognise the “independence” of the quasi-entities it had created in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic”.

With this action the Russian side has blatantly defied the fundamental norms and principles of international law, the UN Charter, violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

Ambassador Markian Chuchuk said,  the Russian Federation’s decision to recognise the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” will have no legal implications. This decision sharply escalates the situation and can mean the Russian Federation’s unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements.

‘The Ukrainian side understands Russia’s intentions and its objective to provoke Ukraine. We are taking into account all the risks and not giving in to the provocations as we remain committed to politico-diplomatic settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict’, he added.

He said, at the instruction by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian diplomatic service is currently making use of the entire arsenal of instruments of diplomacy to avert the expansion of the armed conflict.

According to a recent statement issued by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Federation’s next decisions and moves depend greatly on global reactions to recent developments. We therefore insist on application against Russia of harsh sanctions to send a clear signal of inadmissibility of further escalation. The time has come to act in order to stop Russian aggression and restore peace and stability in Europe’.

The ongoing escalation in Ukrainian-Russian relations is not a matter of just last few months. Ukraine has been facing external military aggression for 8 years, since February 20, 2014.  Since then, as a result of Russian hybrid invasion, parts of the sovereign territory of Ukraine (the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as well as certain territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions) remain under temporary foreign occupation.

Since November 2021, Russian Federation has been consistently amassing troops along the border with Ukraine, waging military drills in close proximity to Ukrainian borders, and extending a range of “security demands” to Ukraine and its international partners as well as NATO.

Despite the efforts of Ukraine and international community, Russian Federation hasn`t given clear explanation for presence its troops near Ukrainian border and could not provide clear and convincing evidence of the withdrawal of its troops

Ukraine considers such Russian military presence as an unprovoked and unjustified, particularly, as it leads to deteriorating security situation on temporary occupied territories of Donbass.

The Russian armed formations have unleashed provocative firing along the entire length of the contact line in Donbas, significantly aggravating the already tense security situation.

According to Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter, all UN Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Based on provisions of Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter, Ukraine considers presence of Russian troops along its border as a direct threat of use of these forces against her territorial integrity and independence and, for this reason, as a violation of Article 2 (4).

The government of Ukraine does not intend to launch an offensive operation in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine is not conducting or planning any sabotage acts in Donbas.

Ukrainian nationals reside on both sides of the contact line. Their peace, security and well-being are an absolute priority for Ukraine. So far, Ukraine remains firmly committed to the political settlement and, together with partners, pursue the diplomatic dialogue.

ARMY CHIEF GEN BAJWA VISITS KARACHI

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General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Karachi, today.
COAS attended the Colonel Commandant Ceremony at Ordnance Centre, Malir. COAS installed Major General Syed Shahab Shahid as Colonel Commandant of Ordnance Corps. COAS appreciated the Corps for their role in war and peace, especially during war against terrorism. A large number of serving and retired officers and soldiers from Ordnance corps attended the ceremony.
COAS visited PAF Air War College Institute at Karachi. Addressing the participants of 35th Air War Course, COAS appreciated thorough professionalism of PAF and its enviable achievements. COAS urged the officers to make consistent efforts to keep abreast with modern developments and maintain cutting edge advantage. COAS said that superiority in modern day battlefield can only be maintained if we remain alive to contemporary challenges and are prepared to tackle them in line with emerging modern concepts. COAS reiterated that we must remain vigilant to respond befittingly to any misadventure by the adversary.
COAS also visited Fauji Foundation (FF) setups at Karachi. COAS was given a detailed brief on ongoing and future projects of FF. COAS appreciated the performance and commitment of FF towards provision of quality services and contributing immensely to the national exchequer.
Earlier on arrival at Karachi. COAS was accompanied by Lieutenant General Muhammad Saeed, Commander Karachi Corps.

LHC declares blacklisting of passports illegal

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LHC declares blacklisting of passports illegal

LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday declared the blacklisting of passports illegal.LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh declared the blacklisting illegal while issuing his judgment on the petition against the non-renewal of the passport of a blacklisted fugitive.

The court said in its judgment that there was no provision for blacklisting in the Passport Act.However, the deputy attorney general warned that ending the process will have a huge impact. But the court ruled that protection of fundamental constitutional rights against state interference based on concerns is a priority, adding that if there is a flaw in the law then the Parliament should play its role.

“In the case of PML-N, the Supreme Court in 2007 had given priority to basic human rights over state intervention for a free society. Fundamental constitutional rights are the heart and soul of the Constitution,” said the order.

The judge also ruled that travelling is considered a fundamental right, internationally, adding that any citizen’s wish to travel and go abroad is a human right.The court ruled that the Passport Act 1974 and ECL Ordinance 1981 is related to travelling abroad.

Ethnically hatred based violence against a little Pakistani girl in Armenia

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Ethnically hatred based violence against a little Pakistani girl in Armenia

Agencies

YEREVAN: According to the “NewsArmenia.am”  news agency, a little Pakistani girl attending one of the kindergartens in Yerevan, capital of Armenia was subjected to systematic violence by the staff and teachers of the kindergarten, only because the father of the child is Pakistani and Muslim. The child was sexually abused, her hands andneck were tied with a rope, her chest was burned with a hot iron toy, she was forced to eat earth, grass, excrements.

“A report about violence against child of the kindergarten in Yerevan was received by the police. This information was confirmed to the New-Armenia agency by the deputy head of the department for public relations and information of the police, Edgar Janoyan.”

“The police received such a signal, at present the case is being investigated, materials are being prepared,” Janoyan said.

“On January 31, a man approached the law-enforcement officers, who said that his daughter, born in 2016, was subjected to ill-treatment in a kindergarten, which she attended from 2019 to 2021. The girl’s father, an ethnic Pakistani, said that such a mistreatment was due to her origin” stated on the news.

Pakistan’s IT exports set to grow to USD 3.5 billion

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Pakistan’s IT exports set to grow to USD 3.5 billion

DNA

OTTAWA: Pakistan’s IT sector is poised to grow exponentially in the coming months and years with Pakistan’s IT exports growing from USD 2.1 billion to an approximate USD 3.5 billion this fiscal year.

The IT industry in Pakistan is burgeoning and the government is taking the right steps for its further growth, including enhancing number of IT graduates from 25,000 to 50,000, setting up software technology parks in large to 2nd tier cities, improving access to capital by IT companies, reducing tax disputes, enhancing financial structure of IT companies and listing them at the stock exchange.

These were some of the views expressed at a webinar organised by the Consulate General of Pakistan Toronto on the theme of “Pakistan Canada IT Cooperation: Connecting the Dots”.

The objectives of the webinar were to provide a platform for interaction between Pakistan origin ITC professionals in Canada and IT industry and academia from Pakistan. The panelists of the webinar included Mr. Osman Nasir, Managing Director, Pakistan Software Export Board, Mr. Barkan Saeed, ex-President Pakistan Software House Association,  Mr. Hassan Naqvi, President, CM Inc., Canada, Dr. Shakeel Ahmad Khoja, Dean School of Mathematics & Computer Science, IBA, Karachi, Mr. Kewan Khawaja, Co-founder and Co-CEO, M/s Techlogix, Mr. Jahan Ali, CEO of Mobile Live, Canada, Mr. Raheel Qureshi, founder and Partner M/s iSecurity Consulting, Canada, and Mr. Hassan Ramay, Managing Partner GoSaaS Inc. It was attended by a large no. of IT professionals/companies from Pakistan and Canada.

In his opening remarks Mr. Abdul Hameed, Consul General of Pakistan, Toronto, stated that it is widely believed that Pakistan has the potential to claim a much higher share of the market than it currently enjoys. He also shared the statistics about the size and growth trajectory of ICT sector of Canada, and highlighted the key sectors within the ICT sector which witnessed high growth and the top ICT players in Canada.

Mr. Osman Nasir, MD PSEB, said large technology parks are being set up in the mega cities, in addition to establishing software technology parks in second/third tier cities. He further mentioned that steps are being taken for increasing access to capital by IT companies, reducing tax disputes, enhanced understanding of the financial structure of IT companies and their listing at stock exchanges, through relevant stakeholders. Mr. Barkan Saeed, Ex-President PASHA, presented an overview of the ITC industry in Pakistan.He mentioned that the government plans to increase the number of IT graduates from current 25,000 to 50,000 in a couple of years. He was of the view that, in 2022, the exports from IT sector would touch USD3.5 billion, from USD2.1 billion in 2021. Mr. Barkan also highlighted the initiatives being taken, such as, Special Technology Zones (STZs), where companies would have exemption from local and international taxes and import duties on import of equipment, the cash reward scheme for companies which would be linked to growth, boot technology camps for university students, and incentives for industry leaders to teach in universities.

Mr. Hassan Naqvi, President CM Inc., said the quality and skill of Pakistani IT professionals was high. However, he opined that the major issue hampering Pakistan’s growth in North America is of perception. He shared the view that one way for perception management is to combine it with tourism. Once people come and see Pakistan they will love it, and will like to visit again. Same is true about Pakistani computer experts Dr. Shakeel Ahmad Khoja, Dean IBA, shared the view that many universities in Pakistan are facing the challenge of ensuring quality of IT courses being offered. He informed that IBA is teaching both core courses (which provide for the foundational basis), and applied courses, which are industry driven. He stressed the need for huge investment in development of high quality faculty in the country.

Mr. Kewan Khawaja, CEO Techlogix, recommended that more Pakistani delegations should visit ITC events in Canada and North America and with change in traditional sales model, CEOs from Pakistani ITC companies need to attend and speak on international events to mark their presence. He also underscored the need for increasing the Research & Development budgets of Pakistan’s leading universities, LUMS, FAST, NUST, UET, GIK, and improving the quality of education and training at their feeding colleges.

Mr Jehan Ali, CEO M/s MobileLIVE, shared the opportunities in Canada ICT sector, and mentioned that as a great majority of the companies in Canada are small companies, their major challenge is cost effectiveness, which can be addressed by Pakistani ICT companies. He further stressed the need for ensuring basic ethical code by the vendors, and urged the universities to introduce courses in business ethics.

Mr. Hassan Ramay, stressed the need for specialization by the Pakistani ICT companies, instead of marketing and going for work in all sectors such as AI, Cloud, Big Data, etc. He highlighted the shortage of quality IT professionals and suggested to train non-computer science people with specialized skills.

Mr. Raheel Qureshi, highlighted that there is a major talent shortage globally in the ICT sector, leading to globalization of the positions. He underlined the importance of understanding the global technology landscape and planning for development of required resources in next 12 to 24 months in the new ICT sectors, such as, data lakes, GCP, Cloud, architecture, business intelligence, GCP, etc. He also suggested for development of vendor record/portal for smooth vendor sourcing, and facilitating international bidding. The webinar ended with the Q&A session where the panelists responded to the queries raised by the participants.

G-14 allottees stage protest  outside hosuing authority office

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G-14 allottees stage protest

outside hosuing authority office

The protestors appealed to the Prime Minister to immediately suspend the existing DG Authority for poor performance

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facebook_1643268315059_6892366866928436973.jpg

ISLAMABAD: The G-14 Allottee Association has appealed to the Prime Minister to immediately suspend the existing DG Authority for poor performance and appoint a technical officer. Report should be submitted in the Islamabad High Court so that the case of Jhangi Syedan ​​can be decided and development work can be expedited. Land should be handed over from the occupation mafia immediately. These changes will strengthen the Prime Minister’s vision of 5 million houses.

According to a statement issued by the victims on Tuesday, G14, which consists of about 5,000 plots, was launched in 2004 for homeless retired federal employees. Despite the passage of 17 years, the authority still lacks performance. Due to bribery and collusion with the occupation mafia, they are deprived of acquisition of allotment plots while development works are almost non-existent. The contractor, who has been working on the site since 2012, has allegedly taken overpayments along with the bribe-taking staff of the authority and is now working very slowly due to lack of interest and malice on the part of the authorities. The Islamabad High Court has clearly directed the authority to expedite the development by evacuating the illegal occupants. The present DG Authority has failed to comply due to its incompetence. Some illegal occupants of Jhangi Syedan ​​have taken a stay order from the Islamabad High Court, on which the court asked them to submit a report to the court within two weeks on June 16, but no action was taken. The Senate committee even met on September 5 and the authority promised to submit a report to the court within a week, which is yet to be submitted. The staff of the authority is receiving their salaries and other benefits which are many times more than the government employees from the allotment fund while the development work is almost non-existent. The security situation of the authority is such that illegal development works are being constructed on the authority’s plot in G-14/1 under the rural program, which is a waste of government funds. We have been informing the Federal Minister and other officials about the failures of the Authority but no progress has been seen so far. Local MNA Federal Minister Asad Umar has been representing this constituency for 8 years, but this issue has been deliberately ignored. It is unfortunate that he and some of his associates are supporting the illegal occupation group. Remember that federal employees are the stronghold of voters in Islamabad. Ignoring their problems will not be good for local MNAs in the future. It should be noted that many overseas Pakistanis have acquired plots in G-14 who are also a source of valuable foreign exchange for Pakistan. Political pressure and incompetent administration have entangled G-14 issues for 17 years.

Ambassador Sajjad visits school of beauty in Minsk

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DNA

MINSK: Ambassador Sajjad Haider Khan visited National School of Beauty and met with the Director General Ms. Bozhena Eremich. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Dmitry Vrublevsky and Ms. Elena Kulmachevskaya.

The Ambassador briefed the school management about the Fashion Design institutions and the emerging fashion industry in Pakistan.  He particularly mentioned about the contributions of Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design, Lahore, graduate of which are currently setting new standards of cloth/costume designing within the country.

The parties discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the National School of Beauty and Pakistani fashion designers.

The Belarusian National School of Beauty was established in 1996 and has been effectively promoting fashion scene in the country through training the youth and holding contests and fashion shows.

Pak Consulate in Toronto to have NADRA facility soon, participants of online katchehry told

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The Government of Pakistan has decided to restore National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) facility in the Consulate General of Pakistan Toronto for the convenience of compatriots seeking NADRA services.
This was disclosed during an online public forum-cum-ekatchehry organised by the Pakistan High Commission in Canada and hosted by Consul General of Pakistan Toronto. The event was attended by Chargé d’affaires for Pakistan in Canada Mr. Shahbaz Malik, Consul General of Pakistan Montreal Mr. Ishtiak Ahmed Akil, Deputy Consul General of Pakistan Vancouver Mr. Ghulam Hussain and members of the Pakistani diaspora in Canada.
Answering various questions of the community, Consul General of Pakistan Toronto Mr. Abdul Hameed who moderated the event, said the decision to re-establish NADRA facility in Toronto had been taken in view of difficulties faced by community members in accessing NADRA services, including new National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP), passports and uploading their fingerprints for these documents from remote locations.
Chargé d’affaires for Pakistan in Canada Mr. Shahbaz Malik said Pakistan High Commission and its Consulates in Canada were at the disposal the diaspora. He said the Mission officials were always accessible in person as well as through phone, email or the social media accounts being operated by the Mission and its Consulates to engage with the community in real time. He said the government had started providing visa and passport services online, but for any other services the members of the diaspora were welcomed to visit the High Commission and its Consulates.
Consul General of Pakistan Montreal Mr. Ishtiak Ahmed Akil said they were all set to operate a dedicated facilitation centre in the Consulate to provide the community members technical help and facilitation in completing their online applications and uploading documents on the NADRA system.
To a question, Deputy Consul General of Pakistan Vancouver Mr. Ghulam Hussain said the Consulate had conveyed to the NADRA higher ups the concerns of Pakistani expatriates living in western Canada in travelling long distances to visit the Consulate in Vancouver just because accessing the NADRA system from home did not help sometime due to limited number of attempts allowed for upload of documents and fingerprints for NICOPs and other services.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Phone Call with Bill Gates

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation with Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chairman of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today and discussed matters of shared concern including Polio Eradication in Pakistan and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the work of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. He in particular lauded the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed that eradication of Polio from Pakistan remains a key priority of the government and efforts are underway to intensify the anti-Polio campaign across the country despite challenges related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

He also underscored that Pakistan witnessed a continued positive progress with sharp reduction in Polio cases in 2021 and recorded only one Polio case in the whole year.

While commending the Gates Foundation’s strong advocacy to promote equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of equitable, timely, and scaled delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to help low-income countries alleviate the social and economic effects of the pandemic.

Bill Gates appreciated the recent efforts made by Pakistan to eradicate Polio, reinforced his commitment to Polio eradication; acknowledged Pakistan’s successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign; and assured of Gates Foundation’s continued support.

The Prime Minister and Mr. Gates agreed to continue working together on the shared objectives.

Indonesian embassy, LUMS agree to cooperate in education

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The Indonesian Ambassador had an interactive dialogue with Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Dr. Tariq Jadoon, Vice Provost, Faculty members Dr. Azmat, Dr. Shakeel, Dr. Shajeel, and President of Student Council LUMS

DNA           

LAHORE: Indonesian Ambassador to Islamabad, Adam M. Tugio paid a visit to Lahore and met with high officials of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), 22 January 2022.

The Indonesian Ambassador had an interactive dialogue with Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Dr. Tariq Jadoon, Vice Provost, Faculty members Dr. Azmat, Dr. Shakeel, Dr. Shajeel, and President of Student Council LUMS.

“As a leading university in research development in the fields of business, science, management, humanities and law, there will be a lot of potential that can be projected in the form of mutually beneficial cooperation with similar institutions in Indonesia,” said Ambassador Tugio.

Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad greatly appreciated the visit of the Indonesian Ambassador to LUMS and hoped to open more windows of opportunities for beneficial cooperation with Indonesia as a large country in ASEAN and with the largest Muslim population, especially in the field of research and business innovation development.

“Many LUMS graduates have become prominent figures both domestically and internationally and they have played a significant role in promoting Pakistan’s progress and prosperity,” explained Dr. Arsyad Ahmad.

The founders of LUMS have built the campus vision on the philosophy of ‘learning without borders’ and seek to eliminate gaps between gender, economic status, belief and between theory and practice. “Therefore, we are very proud to be part of LUMS and take the experience of honing social skills and organizational management under the Student Council organization,” added Ms. Anooshs Fatima Khan, a student who serves as President of Student Council LUMS.

The Indonesian Ambassador and the Vice Chancellor both agreed to start exploring concrete cooperation in the near future with Indonesian universities by facilitating exchange of students, researchers and focusing on specific areas such as research on herbal and traditional medicines for the creation of public health based on the local wisdom of each country and promoting women empowerment in various fields of country as they would contribute to socio-economic progress and prosperity of society and nation.

During the visit to LUMS, the Indonesian Ambassador was also invited to take a campus tour and introduced to various facilities and laboratory centers such as the LUMS Learning Institute, LUMS Energy Institute, National Center in Big Data and Cloud, Center for Water Information and Technology, National Incubation Center, Saida Waheed Gender Initiative, and S. Ahmad Hassan School of Law (January 18, 2022).

Jan 20 a symbol of Azeri peoples’ unshakable will

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Ambassador Khazar speaks at seminar on “20th January 1990 – Bloody and Glorious page of Azerbaijan’s history” dedicated to the January 20 Martyrs of Azerbaijan

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov has said  the day of January 20, which will live forever in memory of Azerbaijanis, became not only a tragedy, but also a symbol of unshakable will in the name of national independence, freedom of Azerbaijani people.

The reasons of January tragedy go deep into history, beginning from the territorial claims of Armenians against Azerbaijan.Everything began when Baku residents came out to protest against the policy pursued the then USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev, since Armenian nationalists demanded joining the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous region of Azerbaijan to Armenia.

The ambassador expressed these views on the occasion of a seminar jointly organized by the SZABIST University and Azerbaijan embassy, at the premises of the Institute of Regional Studies. Ambassador Nadeem Riaz President of IRS also spoke on the occasion.

The ambassador further said, back in 1987 the Armenian academics and official figures claimed to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and conducted propaganda in this direction. Taking advantage of Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev’s reconstruction policy, Armenians once again resumed their insidious policy towards Azerbaijan.

Then, the Soviet government had an intention to realize the Armenian policy by diplomatic means in 1988, but failed because millions of Azerbaijanis headed to the streets to protest Armenian aggression and separatist forces fueling unrest in the ancient land of Azerbaijan — the mountainous Karabakh region.

Azerbaijani people launched the square movement to defend their rights and motherland. Indeed, the Central government sent military forces to suppress the national movement and even crushed the protestors by force. But that was temporary.

Azerbaijanis were determined to protect their territorial integrity and did not step back, showing their sacrifice and vigor for the national freedom. But the protests received totally inadequate answer — the Soviet troops committed unimaginable atrocities in Baku from the late hours of January 19 into January 20.

Ambassador Khazar said, in 1990, the night of January 19 to 20, the former Soviet military troops attacked Baku by the land and sea and carried out the punitive measures with unprecedented cruelty. As a result of this accident, 147 innocent civilians including the children, women and the old were killed, 744 wounded and 841 were illegally arrested. The terrorist savagery attack of Soviet army against Azerbaijani people, that carried out by the order of USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev was written in the history of mankind in black letters as one of the worst crimes committed against the humanity.

During the 20 January tragedy, the news was put under a blockade in the country, a power block of radio and television was brutally exploded by armed militants, the media was banned. The aim was to make the people unaware of this terrible tragedy.

Immediately after the tragedy, on January 21, 1990,Heydar Aliyev, the National Leader of Azerbaijan arrived in Azerbaijan’s representation in Moscow.

 He expressed solidarity with his people, sharply condemned the Soviet leadership for committing the bloody tragedy and exposed those who led the operation: “I consider the events that took place in Azerbaijan as a violation of law, democracy, and of humanity and the principles of constitutional state building. Had necessary measures been taken by the top party leadership at the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh events, we would not have faced escalated tensions that led to the deadly military assault launched on civilians on the night of 19 – 20 January 1990. Everyone involved in this crime must be appropriately punished.”

At a session of the Milli Majlis of the NakhchivanAutonomous Republic on November 20, 1990, National Leader Heydar Aliyev described the January tragedy as an assault on the Azerbaijani people’s sovereign rights: “I think this tragedy, which took place on January 19-20, is a result of the great fault of the political leadership of the Soviet Union, namely Gorbachev and his dictatorial ambitions, as well as of the then Azerbaijani leadership’s betrayal and crimes against their own people.

‘ As I know, since the end of the Great Patriotic war there have never been internal mass killings of this gravity in the Soviet Union – nowhere, not in any territory of any region. And it is the Soviet army that committed this. The gravity of this crime is evidenced by the fact that the Minister of Defense of USSR Yazov and Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR Bakatin came to Baku in advance and commanded these military operations. The defense minister was rarely seen on the forefront during the war, but look just how important these operations were deemed, how large-scale they were considered, that marshal Yazov came to Baku and personally led the operations. All of these facts confirm that this was military aggression, an insult, as well a crime against the Azerbaijani people”.

He further said, in 1993, after the return of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev to political power, important steps were taken on the investigation of the causes of the outbreak of the January 20 events and the sentence of the offenders. The significant measures were implemented in informing the world community about 20 January tragedy, its place and role in the history of Azerbaijan and the perpetuation of this tragedy.

Though the Azerbaijani people suffered military, moral and political aggression, they displayed their ability to maintain the traditions of historical heroism and resist the cruelest attacks for the sake of the freedom and independence of their motherland, even at the cost of losing their lives, the ambassador concluded.

Indonesian coal exports support CPEC energy projects in Pakistan: Envoy

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Staff Report/DNA

LAHORE: The Ambassador of Indonesia to Pakistan Mr. Adam M. Tugio met with prominent businessmen in Lahore for promoting bilateral cooperation especially the Indonesian coals in Pakistan. The meeting was attended by several businessmen from different sectors, such as textile industry, steel, ceramic and cement, all of which have the potential to import coal for their energy generators.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Tugio said that since Indonesia is refined in coal industry, it could provide coal for the power projects under the CPEC and to Large Scale Manufacturing Industries (LSMI) in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has been paying special attention to the development of infrastructure and energy supply as it is one of the Belt and Road Initiative countries, where coal is a major part of energy projects. “By knowing exactly the nominal demand for coal along with the specifications, the demand for coal products will easily be consolidated through a consortium of Indonesian exporters to meet specific demands here”, the Ambassador remarked.

The figures show that Pakistan’s demand for coal is continuously increasing every year. In 2020, the total import value of coal (coal, briquettes) was US$ 1.233 billion (17,146 million tons), while Indonesia’s exports to Pakistan are merely US$ 224 million (3,520 million tons). Still Indonesia has the potential to increase export to meet Pakistan’s coal market requirement around US$ 1.008 billion.   “Through modern approaches, it is hoped that the combination of large-scale Pakistani companies can maintain supply chain continuity and control the quality of the imported coal, and the consortium of Indonesian suppliers will obtain certainty and continuity of orders from the group of Pakistani companies,” Ambassador Tugio added.

  BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2021 noted the volume of Indonesia’s coal exports to the world in 2020 reached 8.51 million tons. This figure is equivalent to 26.8% of the total volume of coal exports in the world. Apart from Indonesia, Pakistan’s coal imports came from South Africa amounting to US$ 829 million, Russia USD$85 million, Australia US$ 45 million, Afghanistan US$ 43 million, China US$ 1.194 million and others.

The meeting was held at the residence of a renowned businessman of Lahore. The gathering was initiated by the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad to promote diversified Indonesian products in Pakistan other than palm oil. It was also explored to convene business matching focusing on areas where Indonesia and Pakistan industries have complementarity such as in textiles and garments industry where cotton, yarn, polyester can be imported from Indonesia.

EU’s Borrell voices ‘great concern’ over Kazakhstan unrest

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                Brussels, Jan 6 (AFP/APP):EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday expressed “great concern” over unrest in Kazakhstan, insisting civilian rights had to be protected and sounding a warning over foreign military involvement.

                  “Rights and security of civilians must be guaranteed. External military assistance brings back memories of situations to be avoided,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.

FM eyes deeper ties with Romania

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FM eyes deeper ties with Romania

Romanian envoy hopes relations will further be cemented

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Romania to Pakistan, H.E Mr Nicolae Goia called on Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The foreign minister said Pakistan greatly valued its relations with Romania adding we are looking forward to diversify these relations.

He further said, both countries need to enhance bilateral visits. The Romanian ambassador thanked Minister Qureshi and hoped bilateral relations will further be strengthened.

Canadian thinkers say time for idea of success of Kashmir struggle has come

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DNA

OTTAWA: Speakers at a webinar hosted in the Canadian city of Toronto have called upon the world to respect the right of self-determination and democracy granted by the UN to the people of Kashmir, saying *“nothing can stop an idea whose time has come, and for the idea of self-determination and democracy for the people of Kashmir, the time has come”*.

They noted that only with mutual respect, peace could be achieved in Kashmir. They said it was high time that the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir was respected and granted to them as per the UN resolutions.

*The event was hosted by Consul General of Pakistan Toronto Abdul Hameed who apprised the participants of the background to the Right to Self-Determination Day, the resolution of 5th January 1949 adopted by the UN Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to settle the future of Kashmir through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, and the grave human rights violations carried out subsequently by the Indian occupation forces in the Illegally Occupied Indian Jammu and Kashmir.*

Speaking to the webinar, *Karen Rodman, a noted Canadian human rights activist and director of Canadian think-tank Just Peace Advocates*, chronicled the history of the Kashmir issue and the earlier efforts of the United Nations to resolve this issue, and how these efforts had fallen apart in the face of Indian stubbornness over the last seven decades. She stressed that Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory, however, in violation of the UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention, the Indian government had introduced draconian laws to silence the Kashmiris and deprive them of their rights and land. 

In his address, *Canadian author and journalist Robert Fantina* read out various clauses of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, adopted on 21 April 1948, and explained in detail how India had violated all the clauses of this resolution one by one to deny the people of Kashmir their right to self-determination. India had imposed a rule of tyranny and oppression that had resulted in untold misery for the defenceless people of Kashmir, he said.

Well-known *Canadian broadcaster Phil Taylor* called the situation in Kashmir most unfortunate, saying the people of Kashmir had been forced to suffer under the yoke of 900,000 Indian troops despite the UN resolution granting them the right to self-determination. He argued that India could not shy away from granting the Kashmirs what it itself had pledged. He said Kashmir dispute could not be chased away by Indian troops as well, and the issue would only be resolved by granting the Kashmiris their freedom and right to self-determination. 

*Dr. Zafar Bangash, director of Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought and member of Friends of Kashmir Canada*, also addressed the webinar and stressed the need for joint global efforts to end oppression and subjugation of the people of Kashmir.

Earlier, *Acting High Commissioner for Pakistan to Canada Mr. Shahbaz Malik* read out the messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan in connection with the Self-Determination Day for the Kashmiris.

Spain provides good potential to Pakistan for boosting exports to EU – Envoy

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Mahnoor Ansar

Islamabad: Mirza Salman Babar Baig, Consul General-designate of Pakistan to Barcelona, Spain visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and assured the business community that he would fully cooperate with them for promoting Pakistan’s trade with Spain as the two countries have good potential to take bilateral trade volume to higher levels. He said that the business community should identify the bottlenecks in the way of improving trade and exports with Spain so that he could work with the government to address them. He said that he would try to share the real time information with ICCI and trade bodies in Pakistan so that the private sector could capitalize on the potential opportunities of promoting exports with Spain. He said that Spain was an important member of the EU and offered good potential to Pakistan for further increasing exports to European countries under the GSP Plus regime. He asserted that he would try to remain in touch with trade bodies in Pakistan to keep them in loop about demand for Pakistani products in the Spanish market so that the Pakistani exporters could take advantage of them.

Speaking at the occasion, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Spain was not up to the real potential of both countries and there was a need to promote strong business linkages between their private sectors to explore new avenues of enhancing trade relations. He said that the lack of awareness about Pakistani products in Spain was a major trade barrier, which should be addressed to get better penetration in the Spanish market. He said that Pakistan could export many products to Spain including marble & granite, fruits & vegetables, agro food, pharmaceuticals, sports goods, leather products, surgical instruments and IT goods. He stressed that the Pakistan Consulate General in Barcelona, Spain should conduct market research in the Spanish market about the demand of Pakistani products and share such reports with ICCI so that our members could capitalize on them.

Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President and Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI said that Pakistan was an emerging market for business and investment and Spanish companies should be motivated to explore investment and JVs in various sectors of Pakistan’s economy including CPEC project. They said that Pakistani exports to the EU were dominated by textiles & clothing and urged that the government should cooperate with the private sector for diversification of exports to Spain for achieving better results.

Muhammad Shabbir, Ch. Muhammad Ali, Raja Imtiaz, Ms. Parveen Khan, Ms. Nasira Ali and others were also present at the occasion and they shared useful proposals to further increase bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Spain.

Somalia’s president says PM suspended as elections spat deepens

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            Mogadishu, ):Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced Monday that he was suspending Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, a day after the two men sparred over long-delayed elections in the troubled Horn of Africa nation.

                  “The president decided to suspend Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and stop his powers since he was linked with corruption,” the office of the president said in a statement, accusing the premier of interfering with an investigation into a land grabbing case.

                  Relations between the president, better known as Farmajo, and Roble have long been frosty, with the latest development raising fresh fears for Somalia’s stability as it struggles to hold elections.

                  On Sunday, Roble accused the president of sabotaging the electoral process, after Farmajo withdrew the prime minister’s mandate to organise the elections and called for the creation of a new committee to “correct” the shortcomings.

                  Roble, who has not responded to Monday’s suspension announcement, said Farmajo did not want to hold “a credible election in this country”.

                  In April, pro-government and opposition fighters opened fire in the streets of Mogadishu after Farmajo extended his term without holding fresh elections.

                  The constitutional crisis was only defused when Farmajo reversed the term extension and Roble brokered a timetable to a vote.

                  But in the months since, a bitter rivalry between the men derailed the election again, straining ties with Western allies long impatient for the process to finish peacefully.

Pakistan has no plans to have ties with Armenia

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Pakistan considers Armenia as an aggressor who illegally occupied Azerbaijani territories for decades

Pix cut out style

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has no plans whatsoever to have relations with Armenia nor there was any possibility of establishment of any diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The Pakistan government sources while reacting to a news item appeared in a section of the International press in which the President of Armenia had expressed his wish to have relations with Pakistan, categorically stated there was no such proposal under consideration.

“Pakistan considers Armenia as an aggressor who illegally occupied Azerbaijani territories for decades. It was after 44 days Patriotic War that Azerbaijan liberated most of its territories under the Armenian occupation”, the officials added.

The Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan some time ago in his media interview had supported the Indian position on Kashmir adding Armenia would continue to support Indian on the Kashmir issue. In the light of this statement how can Pakistan have relations with a country that supports its arch enemy India, the sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan confided to this scribe?

It may be mentioned here that Azerbaijan is the member of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir. There are 5 countries in this Contact Group – Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, Niger and Saudi Arabia.

Relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan have grown even stronger especially during the Patriotic War days when Pakistan extended its full diplomatic and moral support to Azerbaijan in war against aggressor Armenia. That is why, Azerbaijani people love Pakistan and Pakistani people from core of their hearts.

During the victory celebrations rare scenes of love among three brothers Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan were witnessed when Azerbaijani people had thronged to the streets carrying flags of Pakistan and Turkey with a view to expressing their gratitude and affection.

Pakistan topped the list of those countries that were invited to take part in the rebuilding and reconstruction of the newly liberated areas. Various Pakistani companies have been encouraged to explore opportunities. This engagement is going to further solidify relations between the two brotherly countries.

Azerbaijan – a tourist hub

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Nabya Shahid

Travel and tourism continue to be one of the most critical sectors for economic development and for sustaining employment globally. Tourism and economic development of a country are deeply related to one another. No country can progress if its travel and tourism industry is not progressing. Azerbaijan has proved to be one of the progressive countries. Azerbaijan tourism has been increased immensely during past few years. Tourism will always be promising engine for economic development.

During my recent trip to Azerbaijan, I asked the Ambassador of Pakistan to Azerbaijan Bilal Hayee the main reason behind increased tourism in Azerbaijan during recent years.

He abruptly replied, tourism of any country mainly depends on its perception regarding safety and security in the eyes of the outer world. Azerbaijan has improved its tourism keeping in view the same two factors. The number of tourists in Azerbaijan is much greater than the total population of this country. Azerbaijan’s main priority happens to be the safety and security of their tourists. The tourists are certain that no unfortunate incident would take place with them in Azerbaijan.Mr.  Ambassador said if a person loses his phone and comes back looking for it the next day, he would find his phone lying on the same place. He appreciated Azerbaijani Police efforts in making the country a secured place to live and visit.


What makes Azerbaijan a tourism destination?

When we talk about tourism, Baku, the Capital of Azerbaijan is the first place that strikes our mind .There are multiple reasons to visit this place. I recently visited Baku and was greatly touched by its grandeur and rich cultural and historical heritage. My memories of Azerbaijan are windy, beautiful and magical. Baku has a lot to lure tourists both from within and without the country however I would only discuss only a few of the main tourist attractions.

 
1) Maiden Tower


  It is the 12th century Landmark that is located in the Old City in Shirvanshahs’ palace. This Tower is listed in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO. It was Azerbaijan’s victory Day when I Visited Maiden Tower. After liberating illegal territories from Armenia 8th Nov Marks the victory Day for Azerbaijan.
The tower is home to a museum that displays the narrative of the notable development of Baku City. Heading to the top of the tower, you will get to capture some alluring views of the Baku Boulevard, Baku Bay, and Place of Isa Bek Hajinski.

2)Heydar Aliyev Centre

 

 

 It is located in Baku, which was planned by Iraqi British Designer named ZahaHadid.Thesharp points and bends make this comple unique.
The avenue was named after HeydarAliyev as he happened to be the main secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan. This centre has played a major role in the past being a place for urbanism.

3) Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is certainly considered one amongthe biggest carpet museums withinside theentire world. Visiting this place, you’ll be to witness a hugevariety of weaving patterns and substances from diverse ages. The museum is like home to a hugevariety of pottery and steel works that date back to the 14th century in addition to from the Bronze Age. 

4) The Caspian Sea

  Caspian Sea happens to be one of largest inland waterway located at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Caspian Sea covers 386,400 square kilometers area. There are multiple hotels and buildings that enjoy most iconic sea view throughout the day. It stretches for about 12,000 KM from North to south. The Residents of Azerbaijan takes it as ocean because of it salty water.

5) Baku Seaside Park

     Baku Seaside Park is a place you would never want to miss in Azerbaijan. It is also known as National Park, which was built in 1909.It is basically a pavement that is setup alongside the seafront of Baku. National Park is considered as most relaxing place for residents as well as tourists visiting Azerbaijan.

6) Nizami Street

  I used to call Nizami Street “Eye Candy”.  It is a whole street of shopping and delicious food. Whatever your heart desires, you find it on Nizami Street. The main shopping area starts at Fountain square, and it’s a hotspot of clothes, shoes and jewellery.While shopping is considered to be the principle activity on Nizami Street, its Architecture is also one of the huge attractions Draw. Their lights and decoration of Nizami Street also plays important role in bringing tourists to step in.The beautiful wind of Baku plays additional role in making the street Iconic. Residents and tourists consider Nizami street a solution to all problems regarding shopping, eating and relaxation.

7) Ismailiyya Palace

This is one of the most visited historical places in Baku that’s also serves as academy of sciences. It is located in the central uptown part of capitol city of Azerbaijan- Baku.  The construction of this building started in 1908 and was completed in 1913, after the construction of this palace,conferences , meetings and congresses have held within this building’s white stone Assembly Hall.Ismailiyya Palace  is one the major Landmark of Baku.Azeri people feel very proud of this Palace , they think this palace keeps them attached to their past and hope the palace would remain in its original shape for their future generations.

What FOOD TO Eat in Azerbaijan

   It’s been almost a month I have consumed Azeri Food, but its taste is still fresh in my mouth and memory. I can still smell the enriched dishes and quote full ingredients of any Azeri dish. Azerbaijan food is a blend of Turkish and Iranian Cuisine , which is known for their abundant use of seasonal vegetable and greens such as eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, radishes and cabbage with a side of meant like chicken, beef  or lamb. Spices and herbs are difference makers. Mint coriander, dill, leek, tarragon,thyme, green onion and parsley are majorly used in Azeri food.

 Azerbaijan takes a lot of Pride and hospitality in their food. The appetizer and entrée are accompanied by the hot black Azeri Tea. The Back tea is considered to be the national beverage.

I would love to share my food experience with you and pen down few of my favoritedishes .

1) Qutab

Qutab is to Azerbaijan what Pizza is to Italians. It is thinly rolled dough which is filled with meat, herbs, cheese, onions and chest nuts. Its specialty lies in the way it’s cooked. It is cooked on a sadj– which is a flat pan made of Iron. It has to be rolled evenly before putting in so the falling doesn’t fall off.

2) Lavangi

 I couldn’t get my hand off Lavangi. Lavangi is Azeri’s Favourite Snack. Which is a stuffed chicken or fish (whatever you prefer ) with walnuts, onions and plumpaste . Lavanga is made in Tandoor, the flame of which cooks it from all sides and makes it tender.

3) Dushbara

 I had Dushbara on way back from Karabagh , they are like Russian Dumplings which are very tiny in size and stays at the bottom of bowl. The size of dushbara makes this dish unique as they say a good cook is capable of fitting atleast 12 dushbara in spoon. These mini dumpling are then boiled in water and served with mint or vinegar infused with Garlic
4) Kebab:
If you have ever exited Azerbaijan without trying their kebab you should go back immediately for those kebabs. They have Kebabs in a lot of variety. Some are lamb or beef kebab, others with chicken and Fish kebab. Different seasonal vegetables are also used in making these kebabs. These kebabs are tender and juicy because of how they are made. Their meat is marinated before time for few hours, then neatly threaded piece by piece on skewer and then cooked.

4) Pakhlava

Pakhlava, also called Baklava, originates in the Middle East. The multi-layered sweet pastry stuffed with nuts and flooded with syrup makes a scrumptious treat. Locals eat Pakhlava during Novruz, the Iranian New Year in March, to celebrate the coming of spring.

5) Azerbaijan jam

Visit an Azeri home and you’ll immediately have a cup of tea in front of you and see large jars of jam on the table. Local women create the jam from various fruits, walnuts and occasionally rose petals.

6) Sherbet

A favourite drink in Azerbaijan is sherbet, made from boiled water, lemon and sugar. Either try the milk or fruit sherbet, which comes with ice, making a refreshing drink.

7) Black tea

Black tea deserves a special mention as tea plays an integral part of Azerbaijan’s culture and traditions. Locals drink it with most meals, following an ancient ritual passed down from one generation to the next.

Why, Azerbaijan ?

 Mostly , people do not have mind on Azerbaijan while planning their vacations , however Azerbaijan has restored and reconstructed itself a lot and has a lot to offer now. Azerbaijan is a must-visit place for people who want to take long walk through history and seaside and do not want a lot of people around. Azerbaijan is not a crowded country; it gives you your space to breathe pure wind and relax your mind.

Uyghur Tribunal accuses China of genocide

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Uyghur Tribunal accuses China of genocide

Reading the tribunal’s judgement, Sir Geoffrey said there was “no evidence of mass killings” in Xinjiang, but he said that the alleged efforts to prevent births amounted to genocidal intent

Agencies

BEIJING: China has committed genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, an unofficial UK-based tribunal has found.

The Uyghur Tribunal cited birth control and sterilisation measures allegedly carried out by the state against the Uyghurs as the primary reason for reaching its conclusion on Thursday.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent British barrister who chaired the tribunal hearings, said its panel was satisfied China had carried out “a deliberate, systematic and concerted policy” to bring about “long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations”. He added that the panel believed senior officials including the Chinese president Xi Jinping bore “primary responsibility” for the abuses against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.

The tribunal’s panel was made up of lawyers and academics. Its findings have no legal force and are not binding on ministers, but its organisers said at the outset they intended to add to the body of evidence around the allegations against China and reach an independent conclusion on the question of genocide.

The Chinese government denies all accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Responding to the tribunal’s ruling on Thursday, a spokesman told the BBC the body was a “pseudo tribunal” and a “political tool used by a few anti-China elements to deceive and mislead the public”.

Reading the tribunal’s judgement, Sir Geoffrey said there was “no evidence of mass killings” in Xinjiang, but he said that the alleged efforts to prevent births amounted to genocidal intent. The panel also said it had found evidence of crimes against humanity, torture, and sexual violence against the Uyghur people.

Speaking to the BBC after the judgment, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said it was time for the UK government to accuse China of genocide.

“The British government said the evidence needed to be assessed by a competent court, well it doesn’t get more competent than this,” he said.

“The government now needs to stop messing around. The genocide taking place in Xinjiang has got to dominate our relationship with China.”

Conservative MP Nus Ghani called the conclusion of the tribunal “groundbreaking”.

“This tribunal was set up to the highest legal standards and the evidence that that was put forward today shows that there is enough proof beyond reasonable doubt that there was an intent to commit genocide,” she told the BBC.

“What is particularly troubling is the evidence that this genocide is in particular targeted at women, and focused on preventing births.”

The Chinese state has been accused of crimes against humanity and genocide in Xinjiang, a large region in the country’s north-west which is home to the Uyghurs and other minority Muslim groups.

 

Omicron cases appear mild: EU agency

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Pfizer/BioNTech say the third dose offers effective protection

News Desk

THE HAGUE: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Thursday that cases of Omicron so far appear to be “mostly mild”, but cautioned it was still investigating whether the variant could cause severe disease.

“Cases appear to be mostly mild, however, we need to gather more evidence to determine whether the spectrum of disease severity caused by Omicron is different (to) that of all the variants that have been circulating so far,” said Marco Cavaleri, EMA’s head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy.

The highly-mutated variant sparked global panic when it emerged last month, prompting fears it could be more contagious, cause more severe illness or evade vaccines.

The World Health Organisation said this week early signs suggested it might indeed be more infectious.

But the makers of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine said that the third dose of their jab offered effective protection against the variant and that it was developing an Omicron-specific shot that should be ready in March 2022.

Cavaleri said it was too early to comment on how well vaccines worked against Omicron. “At this stage, we do not have enough data on the impact of this variant on the effectiveness of the approved vaccines but we are continuously scanning the horizon to gather evidence in this regard,” he said.

AMBASSADOR OF AZERBAIJAN CALLS ON AIR CHIEF

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD:      Ambassador of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Khazar Farhadov called on Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force in his office today.  During the meeting, both the dignitaries discussed matters of professional and mutual interest.

H.E. Mr. Khazar Farhadov commended the professionalism of PAF and acknowledged its rising indigenous capacity in aviation industry. The Air Chief said that Pakistan and Azerbaijan had longstanding religious, cultural and historical bonds which were manifested through strong ties between the Air Forces of two countries. The Air Chief highlighted that both the countries enjoy cordial relations and reiterated his resolve to further enhance the existing bilateral cooperation between the two brotherly countries.

The Indonesian embassy Joins PFOW Charity Bazaar

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The Indonesian embassy

Joins PFOW Charity Bazaar

The First Lady, Mrs. SaminaAlvi also visited the Indonesian stall and admired the beautiful and rich culture of Indonesia

Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Foreign Office Women’s Association (PFOWA) held its annual charity bazaar on Saturday, providing diplomats a platform to raise funds for the underprivileged divisions of their community.

The event was inaugurated by the First Lady Mrs. SaminaAlvi, spouse of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The First Lady addressed in her remarks that caring and helping others made better human beings, she appreciated and encouraged the joint efforts of the diplomatic corps for a noble cause.

The First Lady, Mrs.SaminaAlvialso visited the Indonesian Stall and admired the beautiful and rich culture of Indonesia. Through this Bazaar, better perception and understanding of the Indonesian culture had been significantly enhanced.

In the Indonesian Stall, where traditional arts, famous Batik dresses, bags, artificial jewelry, felt crafts, as well as traditional dishes of Indonesian cuisine, were presented which fascinated a large number of visitors. The guests were attracted by the culture, traditions, and customs of the Indonesian people and were happy to try the national dishes. Indonesian stall attracted five local TV stations and interviewed Ambassador Tugio and Madame.

More than 30 countries participated in the annual charity bazaar, which includes Indonesia, Thailand, Srilanka, Maldives, Nepal, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, China, Qatar, Ukraine, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and many other countries.

The children of diplomatic staffers were dressed in traditional outfits took the stage in a Parade of the Nations and presented tableaus while waving national flags of their countries. The children from Indonesia also performed The Sojojo dance, which is a traditional dance that originated from the Papua region. The dancers used traditional costumes made of roots and leaves. The synchronous movement made this dance exciting to watch.

The President of PFOWA, Ms.MehwishSohail highlighted, “The support of the diplomatic community in raising the fund in this event is highly appreciated. I extend my gratitude to all the participants for participating and presenting their traditional food, traditional products, and cultural dances.”

People from all walks of life participated in the day-long event, making it a massive success. The inclusive participation of diplomatic corps based in Islamabad with their colorful stalls turned the venue into cultural festivities.

The Ambassador of Japan said,“The Indonesian food is very delicious”, the spouse of the Japanese Ambassador said, “She loves Sate Ayam and she was looking to have Sesame Ball sweet but unfortunately it was all sold out.”

The charity event brought together a variety of cultures and became a commendable opportunity to promote harmony and fraternity among the countries. All funds raised in the bazaar will be donated by the Women’s Association of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan (PFOWA) for charitable insistences.

All Punjab chambers support UBG candidates

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Dr Nouman Idris Butt  and SVP candidate Hanif Gohar say that UBG top leadership led its Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik and patron-in-chief SM Munir  a couple of days ago conducted result oriented successful electioneering at Faisalabad,Gujranwala , Gujrat, Sargodha and Sialkot where all chambers

Bureau Report

LAHORE: ) The majority of chambers of commerce and Industry and trade associations in Punjab have announced to support the United Business Group panel in forthcoming Federation of Pakistan Chamber of commerce and Industry.

      Talking to media prior to their departure for Peshawar  here on Friday presidential candidate Dr Nouman Idris Butt  and SVP candidate Hanif Gohar claimed that UBG top leadership led its Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik and patron-in-chief SM Munir  a couple of days ago conducted result oriented successful electioneering at Faisalabad,Gujranwala ,Gujrat,Sargodha and Sialkot where all chambers and FPCCI affiliated trade associations of adjacent cities also attended meetings and made public their support by reposing full confidence in the UBG policies for effectively safeguarding the interests of the business community at all levels.

SM Muneer said that UBG will continue to live upto the aspirations and expectations of their voters and take stake holders into confidence before compiling uniform proposals to be placed before government for redressal of genuine grievances being confronted by business community across the country.

In reply to a question,Iftikhar Ali Malik  said that if UBG voted to power ,all out hectic efforts will be made on top priority for ease of doing business and government will be approached to offer  more attractive package of incentives to boost export and bringing industrial revolution which he added will help improve socio economic conditions of the masses besides strengthening the national economy in addition to generating ample job opportunities for unemployed youth. He said world over only private sector provided jobs and not governments so Prime Minister Imran Khan must attach great importance to business community and their elected representatives for sound health of national economy.

Hanif Gohar responding  to a question, said that Prime Minister , federal ministers and advisors will be persuaded to include all stakeholders in the policy making process at federal and provincial levels to make them practically viable and yield positive economic impact on national economy. He stressed the urgent need to rationalise the water, gas and power tariffs to minimise the cost of production for competing global markets.

He said all decisions were always taken by  core committee and local leaders with consensus in a democratic manners.Zahid Iqbal,Khalid Tawab,Rehmat Ullah Javed,Hameed Akhtar Chadda,Pervaiz Lala,Mian Waqar Ahmad and other trade leaders were also present on the occasion.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women*

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  • International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women*

Pakistan joins the international community in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This Day is a reaffirmation of the global commitment to the full realization of women rights and ending of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Although progress has been made globally on the protection of women and girls from various forms of human rights violations, more needs to be done. We must act together to prioritize the women rights’ agenda and take concrete steps for gender equality and women empowerment.

Pakistan has made steady progress in that regard. We have strengthened legal and administrative mechanisms for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls. Specific legislations have been enacted to strengthen the protection of women and girls in the country and make the societal space more secure to enhance their participation in all spheres. Our National Action Plan on Human Rights has “Protection of Women” as one of its key priority areas. Women Protection Centres have been established to provide free legal advice as well as redressal and referral mechanisms. Shelter homes have been established across the country. The National Commission on the Status of Women has been further strengthened. Pakistan remains engaged with the UN Human Rights machinery and regularly reports to the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. We would continue to strive for the better protection of women and girls and their empowerment.

This Day should serve as a stark reminder of the systematic and widespread human rights abuse endured by the valiant women and girls of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Since the 1990s, the dignity and lives of at least 11,000 women have been violated with impunity by the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK. Their heinous crimes have been well documented by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its two Kashmir reports of 2018 and 2019. Since 5 August 2019, the suffering of the women and girls in IIOJK has increased manifolds due to the additional draconian measures imposed by the Indian occupation forces. Body searches, ill-treatment, sexual violence and molestation of young women during fake “cordon-and-search operations”, and the phenomenon of “half widows” are some of the egregious human rights abuses being faced by the brave women and girls of IIOJK. The international community must take all necessary measures to hold India accountable for its crimes against humanity in IIOJK.

Saudi Arabia allows direct entry from six countries, including India and Pakistan

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RIYADH – Saudi Arabia has announced on Thursday that it will allow direct entry from six countries including Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Egypt without spending 14-day quarantine in a third country.

The new directive will come into force from Wednesday, Dec. 1 2021, the Saudi Press Agency reported quoting an official source at the Ministry of Interior.

Brazil and Vietnam are the other countries that included in the new list of countries allowed direct entry into the Kingdom.

All those who come from these countries are required to spend five days in institutional quarantine, regardless of their immunization status outside the Kingdom, the source said.

PAF ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR GENERAL PUBLIC RELATIONS (AIR FORCE)

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DNA

25 November, 2021: Air Vice Marshal Tariq Zia has been appointed as Director General Public Relations (Air Force). The appointment has been announced in the backdrop of recent re-organization of Pakistan Air Force in view of evolving geo-strategic environment, and dictates of contemporary warfare.

Air Vice Marshal Tariq Zia was commissioned in GD (P) Branch of Pakistan Air Force in June, 1990. During his career, he has commanded a Fighter Squadron, a Flying Wing, Air Power Center of Excellence (ACE), and an Operational Air Base. He has also served as Air Officer Commanding, Central Air Command. AVM Tariq has also served as Commander Air Force Strategic Command. Presently, he is holding the appointment of Director General Warfare & Strategy at Air Headquarters, Islamabad. He is a graduate of PAF Air War College, Faisal and Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), UK. In recognition of his meritorious services and meticulous professionalism, he has been awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military).

UAE chalks up diplomatic successes with uncertain payoffs

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UAE chalks up diplomatic successes with uncertain payoffs

James Dorsey

It has been a good week for United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

Headline-grabbing, fast-paced moves reinforce the UAE’s position as a regional power. They highlight the UAE’s willingness to chart a course that increasingly competes with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s regional behemoth; is at times at odds with US policy; and scoffs at assertions of human rights abuse by activists and Western politicians.

Controversial Emirati general Ahmed Naser al-Raisi was elected this week as the next president of Interpol despite calls by the European Parliament for an investigation into allegations that he oversaw physical abuse of detainees. Last month, two British nationals filed court cases against him.

The UAE has denied the allegations. “Major General Al-Raisi is a distinguished professional with a 40-year track record in community and national policing. As the President of Interpol, he will remain committed to protecting people, making communities safer and providing global law enforcement the latest tools in the fight against sophisticated criminal networks,” the UAE embassy in London said.

Mr. Al-Raisi won the election at a gathering of the international policing body in Istanbul weeks before the UAE takes up its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Turkey has been accused of being a major abuser of the Interpol system.

Human rights activists fear that Mr. Al-Raisi will use his new position to legitimize abuse by autocrats of Interpol’s red notice arrest warrants to detain abroad and extradite dissidents and political refugees. The UAE designated four exiled dissidents as terrorists days before Mr. Al-Raisi’s election.

Mr. Al-Raisi was elected a day after Prince Mohammed paid a ground-breaking visit to Ankara to patch up relations with Turkey and throw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an economic lifeline. Turkey and the UAE have been at odds for a decade over Turkish support for popular revolts in the Middle East and North Africa and political Islam.

The rapprochement is part of a broader effort by Middle Eastern rivals, spurred independently by the United States, China, and Russia, to reduce regional tensions and prevent disputes and conflicts from spinning out of control.

The UAE and Turkey have been on opposite sides of civil wars in Libya and Syria that erupted in the wake of popular revolts and at odds in the Eastern Mediterranean. The UAE has sought to reverse the achievements of uprisings supported by Turkey that succeeded in toppling an autocratic leader like in Egypt. Turkey has suggested that the UAE funded a failed 2016 military attempt to remove Mr. Erdogan from power.

The Emirati moves also include a bid to replace Qatar and Turkey as managers of Kabul’s international airport; efforts to return Syria to the international fold despite US policy that aims to isolate the country; and steps to improve relations with Iran. In addition, the UAE this week concluded a solar energy deal with Jordan and Israel that Saudi Arabia sought to thwart.

The UAE hopes that reviving Syria’s membership in the 22-nation Arab League and reconstruction funding will persuade President Bashar al-Assad to loosen his ties to Iran. Prince Mohammed’s visit to Turkey coincided with talks in Dubai with a senior Iranian official in advance of an expected trip to Tehran by the crown prince’s brother and national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The moves reinforce the UAE’s position as an influential middle power on the international stage in defiance of being a small state with a population deficit.

Nonetheless, the moves also prove that reducing tensions and managing differences do not by definition bury hatchets, end rivalries, or reduce competition.

The jury is out on the degree to which the Emirati moves will successfully persuade one-time detractors like Turkey to alter their policies fundamentally. For example, Turkey is unlikely to shutter its military base in Qatar that it expanded during the 3.5-year UAE-Saudi-led diplomatic and economic boycott of the Gulf state. Closing the base was one of the boycott’s demands.

Mr Erdogan desperately needs the investments. He sees Prince Mohammed’s economic olive branch as a way to reverse a downturn in his economy that threatens to spiral further downwards. The crisis has already fueled street protests and opposition hopes to defeat him in the next election.

In a welcome step, the UAE announced hours after Mr. Erdogan met with Prince Mohammed that it would put US$10 billion into an investment fund that would target energy, food, health and climate change-related sectors of the Turkish economy as well as trade.

Emirati investments in Turkish ports are likely to significantly strengthen Dubai global ports management and logistics company DP World’s network in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In addition, Iranian officials said the UAE moves had made a transport corridor from the UAE to Turkey via Iran possible. A first ship departing from Sharjah in the UAE en route to Mersin in Turkey docked at the Iranian port of Shahid Rajai a day after Prince Mohammed ‘s visit.

Mr. Erdogan expects the Emirati investments to buoy Turkey’s floundering economy at a time that its currency is tumbling. The Turkish lira appreciated by about one point as Prince Mohammed arrived in the country.

However, Qatar, with US$22 billion already invested in Turkey, may not stand idly by as the UAE improves relations with Ankara. On the contrary, it could well seek to cement its existing relationship with further investments.

It remains unclear how much of a political price, Mr. Erdogan may be paying for UAE support. So far, he has curbed Muslim Brotherhood activity in Istanbul in response to Emirati and Egyptian demands but refused to expel the Brothers or extradite them to Egypt.

Similarly, the UAE’s bid to displace Qatar and Turkey at Kabul airport may prove to be an uphill battle. It is hard to see why the Taliban would want to create friction with Qatar, representing US interests in Afghanistan as well as offering a home to Western diplomatic missions focused on Afghanistan, and hosting talks between the Islamist group and the United States.

In sum, Mr. Erdogan may be down as he rebuilds relations with the UAE, but he’s not out. That, in turn, could put a damper on what reconciliation with the UAE will achieve politically.

“Turkeys s economy might be going through its darkest days decades, yet foreign policy still allows…Erdogan to score points,” said prominent Turkish journalist Cengiz Cander.

Indeed, as he seeks to improve strained relations with Middle Eastern states — the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel — Mr. Erdogan is also attempting to carve out his own sphere of influence by blowing new life into the Organization of Turkic states. The organisation groups Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, with a total population of some 170 million people.

However, the Emirati-Turkish rapprochement could help shape developments in conflict zones like Libya, where the UAE and Turkey supported opposing sides.

With the Libyan election scheduled for next month, the UAE is betting on one of two horses in the race: rebel commander Khalifa Haftar and Aref al-Nayed. Mr. Al-Nayed is a former UAE ambassador to the Emirates who heads a UAE group that propagates the UAE’s moderate but autocratic version of Islam. The group was one of several created to counter Islamist clerics supported by Qatar.

Suggesting that rapprochement with the UAE has not reduced Turkish influence in Libya, unconfirmed reports said that Mr. Haftar’s son, Saddam Haftar, made separate visits to Turkey and Israel to solicit support.

In a move that simultaneously supported UAE diplomacy, Mr. Haftar this week released seven Turkish nationals held captive by his forces for the last two years,

“Turkey is in bad shape economically, and Erdogan seems to be crumbling politically. However, it may still be too early to write him off thanks to foreign developments,” said Mr. Candar.

Whither Pakistan?

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Whither Pakistan?

Pakistan appears to be a rudderless ship. Every institution is on its own, individual trumpeters blaring without a symphony. Anyone can cross the limits and get away with it. The criminals rule the roost. Corruption rages everywhere. The military and the judiciary are no exceptions. The civil administration and the police take the cake

Askari Raza Malik

A young officer had once asked the horse keeper as to how could he handle each and every horse with the same ease. The old man answered, “Sir, Saice ilm darya ae”, (The subject of horse keeping is as vast as a river). The old man had conveyed the message. Respect the expertise or face the buck.

All media gurus recognize the truth. For perception building they heavily lean on the professionals.

The Peshawar Army Public School tragedy of 2014 hit the nation like a bolt from the blue. The nation mourned. Pakistanis all over the world were in deep shock, an unrelenting grief. Like many military families the grandsons of a very dear friend were also among the victims, a Shaheed and the other seriously wounded.

The army acted promptly, not only in meeting the crisis as within minutes the brigade commander himself was the first senior officer to enter the school while the attack was on its frantic peak. The unit commander responsible for the security, a Lieutenant Colonel and others held directly responsible were immediately sacked and dismissed from service, a harsh punishment accompanied with forfeiture of all the benefits earned.

The matter did not end there. A Pakistani leading newspaper said on 11 November 2020 in its ‘top story’ that, “The Judicial Commission, established by then Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar in October 2018, which concluded its findings on 30 June 2020, lauded Pakistan Army both for uprooting terrorism from the country post-APS tragedy and unflinching support to the families. The report further added that all the perpetrators of the attack including the masterminds were killed and six sentenced to death by the military courts; five executed while the sixth had filed a petition with the Supreme Court,” (that still hangs fire). The families of the shuhada and wounded students were given Rs 1207.3 and Rs 337.3 million respectively. The bulk, over Rs 700 million came from the Pakistan Army. The Federal, KP, Punjab governments and Peshawar Corps headquarters also made worthwhile contributions. The Supreme Court then wrapped up the APS case in January 2019.

And then suddenly on 20 October 2021, the Supreme Court of Pakistan hit the headlines again for taking a suo moto notice of the Peshawar School tragedy, reopening the half-healed wounds. The opening remarks of the honorable court blasted the intelligence agencies, ridiculed the punishment awarded to only a few lowly placed innocents and reminded the military of natural repercussions of anti-terrorists’ operations. The court also immediately summoned the PM to establish its supreme writ. The PM promptly obliged.

Our top intelligence agency, by comparison poor in resources is considered one of the best in the world. Our military has distinguished itself in its remarkable successes against the terrorists. It is also ranked among the top most in the world. The honorable court’s sweeping remarks about these old and established institutions would at best amuse a professional as my verdict on Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s case would evoke laughter in legal circles.

This piece was prompted by the sad reaction of a father of a Shaheed of Army Public School. His second son had narrowly escaped the carnage. His video, gone viral on social media, was full of pathos, heart-rending and pitiful. An impression that a tragedy of such heinous proportions was being used as an instrument of political score settling was even more distressing. The motives for the second suo moto notice of the epoch court in mere two years’ time were otherwise unfathomable. He was exuberant in the praise of the military. Its entire hierarchy including the Chief, General Raheel Sharif had earnestly joined the families in mourning. He pleaded with the honorable court to leave out the victims of this grave national tragedy from inter-institutional prejudices.

The judicial outburst whatever the motive was unwarranted. It has caused large scale resentment, among the parents of the APS children, the retired and serving military personnel. The serving suffered quietly; the retirees were provoked beyond limits. Over ten thousand casualties suffered, thousands lamed and incapacitated, coffins reaching far flung areas of Pakistan, the pride of the parents of the young blooming sons sacrificed for the country, all sent down the drain by one casual outpouring of the honorable court. The court apparently gained nothing, not even momentary applause for its impulsive populism. It, however, must have pleased tremendously the hardcore enemies of Pakistan and their slaves among us. In the ongoing hybrid warfare, the honorable court, the most prestigious institution in the country seemed to be unwittingly supporting the enemies’ vicious narrative to create a gulf between the people of Pakistan and their beloved military.  

Pakistan appears to be a rudderless ship. Every institution is on its own, individual trumpeters blaring without a symphony. Anyone can cross the limits and get away with it. The criminals rule the roost. Corruption rages everywhere. The military and the judiciary are no exceptions. The civil administration and the police take the cake. The unscrupulous and squabbling politicians are engrossed in self-aggrandizement. The slavish sycophants shamelessly defend their mafia chiefs. Politics has become the most profitable profession. Dynasties have emerged and are proclaimed remorselessly in a supposedly democratic dispensation. Plutocratic democracy has grown into a kleptocratic hydra.

Arrogance precludes introspection and self-correction. Overinflated ego reigns supreme. The institutions behave holy and infallible.

The story of the politicians is too familiar to need recapitulation. The military’s record is not uncheckered. The judiciary has also nothing to write home about. From chief justice Munir, the first unethical ruler worshipper, to Iftikhar Chaudhry, the politician-justice, the judiciary has done little to be proud of in supporting democracy and human rights in Pakistan with no intent ever of reforming a system of justice that has been an abject failure. Hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens are running from pillar to post in search of justice that remains illusionary.

One is at a complete loss, whither Pakistan?

(The author of “Pakistan in Search of Messiah” has served Pakistan Army as Major General)

International Conference on Cyber Warfare & Security on Nov 23

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: : The National Centre for Cyber Security (NCCS) at Air University Islamabad in technical co-sponsorship and joint collaboration with is organizing a two day international conference titled  ICCWS – International Conference on Cyber Warfare & Security from 23- 24 November, 2021.

Air University leads the academia by establishing Pakistan’s first dedicated academic department of Cyber Security from BS to PhD programs and housing the secretariat of National Centre of Cyber Security.

With a vision to be recognized as a leading Cyber security Academic Institution in the world, Air University will be achieving yet another milestone during ICCWS 2021 by inaugurating The National Cyber Security Academy. The NCSA will be a world class institution which will create experts in Cryptology, Network Security, Hardware Security, Digital Forensics and Software Security supported by hi tech Labs, and a national cyber range.

The 2nd annual ICCWS conference will provide an opportunity to learn, share and demonstrate ideas, strategies, and policies pertaining to cyber security. Researchers will present their original technical papers covering various domains of cyber security. Conference content will also be submitted for inclusion into IEEE Xplore® as well as other Abstracting and Indexing (A&I) databases.

The two day conference will feature keynotes, technical talks, paper presentations, industry exhibits and panel discussions. It will also include technical workshops on different topics of cyber security. In all, ICCWS will provide a networking platform to prominent national and international cyber security experts together with the stakeholders from the government, industry as well as from academia. Several researchers and practitioners working in cyber security and related domains are invited to share their research ideas and experiences related to the state-of-the-art and emerging areas of cyber security. ICCWS-2021 will also include high-quality and focused technical programs on cyber security with keynote talks from prominent industry and academia experts.

Israel’s Systemic Violations of Children’s Rights Requires Immediate International Action

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Israel’s Systemic Violations of Children’s Rights Requires Immediate International Action

DNA

RAMALLAH: Under Israel’s prolonged colonial occupation, Palestinian children live in constant fear based on lived experiences of torture, imprisonment, maiming, killing, and mass displacement. Their reality is one of perpetual injustice in a system that persecutes, assaults them, dehumanizes them, disrupts their lives, and deprives them of their potential by systematically violating their rights at will and with complete impunity.

During 2021 alone, Israeli occupying forces killed 81 Palestinian children, including 67 children in Gaza and 14 children in the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and injured scores others. During this period, the occupation also damaged 154 schools and 80 kindergartens. Due to these criminal attacks and other illegal Israeli practices, 1.2 million Palestinian children are in need of humanitarian aid.

In addition to the lethal effects of this systemic violence, such prolonged exposure to violence causes widespread trauma among and inflicts mass psychological trauma on their mental health and well-being. This daily reality violates the fundamental rights of Palestinian children, including their basic rights to life, safety, dignity, and education. It is no way for a child to live.

Given this demonstrably dismal record, Israel belongs on the United Nations list of parties that commit grave violations affecting children in situations of armed conflict. As such, the State of Palestine also calls on the United Nations Secretary General to add Israeli occupying forces and settlers to that list of shame.

The State of Palestine also calls on all states, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, to take effective action to put an end to this systematic assault on Palestinian children, including holding Israeli government officials, military commanders and forces as well as colonial settlers accountable for their grave breaches and heinous crimes against Palestinian children. Furthermore, Palestine calls on states that tie bilateral relations and cooperation to human rights records to hold Israel to that standard and end Israeli exceptionalism in this and other matters. Agreements on military, economic and other forms of cooperation must be tied to Israeli adherence to its obligations under international law, especially towards children.

Israeli war crimes against Palestinian children as well as other grave breaches of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions persist with impunity in the absence of accountability and international inaction. Such abdication of legal responsibilities by states is inexcusable and must end.

Ceremony Commemorating 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Spain

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Ceremony Commemorating 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Spain

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations (1951-2021) between Pakistan and Spain, an event was held today at the Pakistan Monument. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted the milestones of the bilateral relations over the last 7 decades. Underlining the linkages between Pakistan and Spain, Foreign Minister Qureshi stated that the historic and cultural ties between the two countries predate the establishment of formal relations. The Foreign Minister also highlighted the visit of Pakistan’s national poet, Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, to Spain in 1933, and the poet’s admiration and respect for Spanish culture and its people which is seen in Iqbal’sliterary works.

The Foreign Minister underscored the importance of public diplomacy, cultural exchanges and fostering people-to-people contacts for enhanced engagement between the two countries. He expressed satisfaction at the growing trajectory of relations between the two countries. Recalling his visit to Spain in 2010 and the recent visit of the Spanish Foreign Minister, the Foreign Minister stated that bilateral relations have further deepened over the years in the form of increasing mutual trade and high-level exchanges. The Foreign Minister added that Pakistani Diaspora of around 125,000 is a strong bridge between the two countries.

Among others, the event showcased photographicexhibition and included singing of national anthems of Pakistan and Spain as well as their respective cultural and musical performances. A special stamp with images of Badshahi and Cordoba Mosque will also be issued to commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

The event titled “70 Years” was jointly organized by the Embassy of Spain and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pakistan-Spain cordial ties are underpinned by commonality of views on matters of regional and global importance.

Indonesian Women Association organizes Batik Fashion Show in Islamabad

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: The spouse of the Indonesian Ambassador Mrs. Irina Tugiohosted Wastra Indonesia featuring Fashion Show to Celebrate the Value of Cultural Heritage and Diversity during the coffee morning at the Indonesian Embassyon November 18, 2021.

The event showcased batik and weaving products to the invited guests most of whom were wives of heads of foreign representatives, international organizations and the President of Pakistan Foreign Office Women’s Association (PFOWA),Ms. MehwishSohail who is also the wife of the Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

Mrs. IrinaTugio welcomed the guest at the Indonesian Embassy. She introduced the concept of Wastra Indonesia to the guest.MrsIrianaTugio highlighted the importance ofWastraas it is a special product because the majority of its makers are women who work as Small and Medium Enterprises. She said the Wastra is also an ancestral heritage that is an Indonesian cultural asset and has a vital social role in various parts of Indonesia because each Wastra has its own uniqueness and story.

Coffee Morning brought the guests an opportunity to understand and get the exposure of Indonesia’s diverse culture and its philosophical, and historical values through its most famous Indonesian textile which is called “Batik”.Batik has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage.

The exhibition also featured a mesmerizing fashion show and the models displaying wide range of batik dresses drew great applause from the audience considering that the models were the wives of the ambassadors who enthusiastically participated in exhibiting batik on the ramp and in many cases exhibited their own collection of batik. The wives of the Ambassadors who performed as models at the fashion show included Madam ZhannaAssanova from Kazakhstan, Madam Irena (Czech), Madam Reema (Bangladesh), Madam Henriette (Netherlands), Madam PornratKrachaiwong (Thailand) besides Indonesian models, Miyra Mathilda and Yanti Budi.

The participants appreciated the host Mrs. IrianaTugio for her great effort in promoting cultural ties and giving them an opportunity to be a part of the beautiful cultural event, which is truly enjoyable and learning experience for them.The performance activities were also continued with the promotion of Indonesian culinary offerings Indonesian delicacies such as satay, meatballs, peanut crackers, traditional snacks, cakes among others. This exciting and lively fashion show which involved the wives of the ambassadors was the first of its kind in the capital.

The wife of the Czech Ambassador Ms. Irena said, “This is the first time we have this kind of fashion show I have attended and we should arrange such events on regularly basis.”

“All is so beautiful,” said Ms. Rema, the wife of the Bangladesh Ambassador when observing clothes at the fashion show. “I would love to buy these clothes,” she added.

The event was concluded with a note of thanks and Mrs. IrianaTugio extended herheartfelt gratitude to the honorable guests who attended the event and invited them to visit the wonderful Asia- Indonesia.

Spanish envoy says cultural ties with Pakistan priority

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Spain Manuel Duran has said Spain and Pakistan enjoy excellent relations adding cultural relations being given new dimensions. He expressed these views while speaking on the occasion of a function arranged to celebrate 70 years of Pak-Spain friendship.  Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the chief guest.  Guests enjoyed live Flamenco and Pakistani music. A photo exhibition was also arranged on the occasion.

Ambassador Duran further said Spanish foreign minister’s recent visit to Pakistan further cemented relations between the two countries.

(Detailed news of Ambassador’s address along with more pictures shall be published in tomorrow’s edition)

Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations further solidified: Ambassador

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Khazar Farhadov says next year we will celebrate 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relatons between our countries; calls upon the international community to hold Armenia accountable for grave war cimres

Exclusive

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Khazar Farhadov gave an excluisve interivew to daily Islamabad POST and its sister publications, Centreline and DNA News Agency. Ambassador Khazar has just arrived in Pakistan. Having a rich expereince in diplomacy, Ambassador Khazar Farhadov is keen to furhter expand and diversfiy bilateral relations. His particular focus is on how to ensure connectivity between the two brotherly countries. His interview shall be published in two parts. Full text appears in the November 2021 issue of Centreline magazine.

1- First of all, we welcome you in Pakistan. Share with our readers the importance of restoring the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan on October 18, 1991?

Thank you very much. On October 18, 1991, Azerbaijan obtained the opportunity to gain independence for the second time in the 20th  century and with the Constitutional Act “On State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan” declared to the world that it was the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was the first republic in the history of all Muslim East. It should be noted that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognized our independence, and did not recognize Armenia due to its aggression against Azerbaijan.

The first years of independence were not easy for the young newly independent country and we faced great difficulties. On the one hand Armenia’s military aggression continued, and on the other hand, as a result of the collapse of the existing system, the economy was paralyzed. There were serious threats and risks to the Azerbaijani statehood. It was during this difficult period that the great leader Heydar Aliyev came to power in 1993 at the insistent demand of the Azerbaijani people. The great leader eliminated chaos and anarchy in the economic and political life of the country. Independent Azerbaijan has outlined a new course of developmentthat made independence eternal and irreversible.

Today, under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Azerbaijan has become a leader in the region and has achieved sustainable economic development.

Azerbaijan has become a key player in actively promoting and implementing major projects aimed at ensuring stability, security and prosperity in the region and beyond. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the Southern Gas Corridor have made and will make a significant contribution in this regard.

Azerbaijan plays an active role in the creation and development of international transport corridors through its territory, such as East-West, North-South and South-West. Azerbaijan’s prestige and great potential have a positive impact on the expansion of our international relations.

Azerbaijan is expanding and deepening its activities as an independent state at the regional and global levels, includingproductive cooperation in international organizations. Azerbaijan is recognized as a leader in the region and a reliable partner in the international arena.

2- How do you view the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan and what are your plans to further strengthen and deepen these relations?

Next year we will celebrate 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relatons between our countries. We are very delighted that the relations between our countries are developing and strengthening very successfully. Azerbaijan and Pakistan have always supported each other on bilateral and international levels. Economic relations do not correspond to the level of our political relations. We are working to increase trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Pakistan. We have had some online meetings between our business communities. I would also like to note that the National Logistics Cell sent two trucks carrying Pakistani products to Azerbaijan via Iran for the first time within the framework of the TIR ​​Conventions. This project will also contribute to the growth of our trade relations. Azerbaijan and Pakistan have signed bilateral agreements in the fields of trade and economic cooperation, investment, tourism, transport, aviation, energy, as well as the Joint Intergovernmental Commission, Joint Working Groups on Trade and Agriculture are functioning. We are also working to establish new Joint Working Groups on energy, health, information technology, transport and education. The Pakistan-Azerbaijan Chamber of Economic Cooperation was established in Baku this year. The draft Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) has been sent by Azerbaijan to Pakistan. We believe that these works and future joint projects will make an effective contribution to our economic relations.

3. What would you tell us about the 44-day Patriotic War of Azerbaijan?

Armenia for almost 30 years kept under occupation almost 20 percent of my country’s territory. The occupation was accompanied with notorious war crimes and crimes against humanity. Armenia committed the Khojaly genocide in February 1992, killing hundreds of civilians, including 106 women and 63 children. 1275 Azerbaijanis were taken hostage, 150 of them are still missing. Armenia’s ethnic cleansing has resulted in more than a million Azerbaijanis becoming refugees and internally displaced persons. In 1993, the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of armed forces of Armenia from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. However, these and all other similar resolutions adopted by relevant international organizations, including the UN General Assemblyhave been ignored by Armenia.

The OSCE Minsk Group was established in 1992 to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. If the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs had taken decisive steps to force Armenia to end its military aggression against Azerbaijan, their task could have been fulfilled. During the occupation Armenia tried to maintain the status quo. Unfortunately, no international sanctions have been imposed on Armenia to ensure the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. And the overthrow of the war criminal regime in Armenia in 2018 was not accompanied by real changes, as well.

The Armenian government has made a number of provocative statements and actions, such as “Karabakh is Armenia and period”. The then Defense Minister of Armenia openly threatened Azerbaijan with a new war for the new territories. In addition, Armenia pursued a policy of illegal settlement of Armenians mainly from the Middle East, in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, in gross violation of international law. In July 2020, Armenia committed a military provocation on the state border with Azerbaijan. As a result of an artillery strike in the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan, 13 servicemen and civilians were killed. In August last year, an Armenian sabotage group tried to penetrate through the former line of contact in order to commit terrorist acts against Azerbaijani military servicemen and civilians, but was successfully neutralized.

At the General Debates of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 24 last year, President Ilham Aliyev warned that hostile, Azerbaijanohobic statements and provocations of Armenian leadership demonstrate that Armenia was preparing for a new aggression against Azerbaijan. Three days later, on September 27 last year, Armenia launched a large-scale attack on Azerbaijani military positions and civilians.

In response, Azerbaijan launched a counterattack on its own territories against Armenia, using the right to self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. For 44 days, the Armenian armed forces intensively fired on the regions and cities along and also far from the frontline. Armenia used ballistic missiles such as the Scud and Iskander-M, as well as banned white phosphorus and cluster munitions. As a result of these Armenian war crimes, more than 100 civilians, including 11 children, were killed and more than 450 were injured. More than 12,000 civilian infrastructure, including individual houses, has been destroyed or severely damaged in Azerbaijan. Armenia has attracted mercenaries and foreign fighters from abroad and placed them against Azerbaijan. In total more than 300 cities and villages were liberated on the battlefield. Armenia had to sign an act of capitulation on 10 November 2020. Accordingly, Armenia was obliged to withdraw its troops from the remaining part of Azerbaijan’s territories, namely Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar regions.  Azerbaijan has implemented itself the above-mentioned UN Security Council resolutions. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was left in the past. There is no administrative territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. Karabakh and East Zangazur economic zones were established by a presidential decree signed on July 7 this year.

During the occupation, which lasted for almost 30 years, Armenia deliberately destroyed cities and villages, looted and plundered all cultural and religious monuments of Azerbaijan. Armenia has tried to erase the traces of Azerbaijanis living in these areas. The city of Aghdam was destroyed to such an extent that it was called “Hiroshima of the Caucasus”. 65 of the 67 mosques in the Armenian-occupied territories were demolished, and the remaining mosques were desecrated while being used as pig and cow barns. Even cemeteries have been destroyed and desecrated. The facts of complete destruction of cities and villages, as well as cultural and religious heritage of the Azerbaijani people have been widely covered by the Pakistani and international media.

Armenia has committed a serious ecocide in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. 60,000 hectares of our forests have been destroyed, lands and rivers have been polluted.

Armenia has seriously polluted the transboundary river Oxchuchay, causing the degradation of the ecosystem of the riverine territory of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, some foreign companies are also involved in this environmental crime. They must be held accountable for the illegal exploitation of our natural resources in our previously occupied lands.

We have about 4,000 citizens registered as missing during the First Karabakh War. Armenia must inform us about their fate. We have solid evidence that almost all of them were tortured to death by Armenian servicemen in violation of international humanitarian law and buried in mass graves.

The “Azerbaijaniophobia” promoted by the government is growing in Armenia. The racist ideology nurtured in Armenian society on the basis of ethnic hatred and demonization is the main cause of ethnic cleansing and unprecedented vandalism in the territories previously occupied by Armenia in Azerbaijan.

PTI govt and allies on a collision course

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Establishment wanted to have the new man on the job immediately while the notification issued by the PM office allowed the incumbent DG to stay in the office till November 20

Situationer

Ansar M Bhatti

It has been my consistent view that the Prime Minister may not complete his five year term because we do not have any such precedent, albeit I personally think if people have voted someone to power for five years, he or she should be allowed to complete the term. Even if the prime minister is not delivering, it should be left to the voters to decide about his fate. Unlike the PM, the PTI government may be allowed to limp on till the end of its legal term, which will end in 2023. The Capital is abuzz with a plethora of rumors these days. Govt defeat in the National Assembly last week when it failed to get its bills passed, in fact gave further rise to these rumors. Then happened the drama of joint sitting of the parliament. The session had to be called off at the eleventh hour for the allied parties of the PTI refused to lend their support for the passage of certain bills including the one relating to use of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general elections.

The allies complain of being ignored and discarded by the PTI top leadership. PML Q and the MQM, even in the past had raised their voice against what they called injustices meted out to them by the PTI leadership. Even this time, they did not name anybody but obviously their complaints are directed towards the prime minister, and thus want him to be replaced. Certain names are also being heard who may replace the prime minister in case of any in-house change. Interestingly, name of the defence minister is also there who has recently been given a clean chit in a corruption reference. A couple of other contenders from Multan and Islamabad regions have also girded up their loins in case the top office is bestowed upon them.

The opposition on the contrary has demanded for early elections though none of them has done homework for this. But since they want to get Imran Khan out of power come what may, they won’t mind fresh elections knowing the fact that they are not going to win majority seats. I have written time and again, PPP always chooses to play safe and smart. It become part of PDM only when it intends to exert pressure on the “aliens” and after getting some concessions it spares no time in divorcing the alliance. Rumors are ripe that PPP once again wants to be part of the PDM and the PDM once again likely to fall in the same booby trap.

PPP’s sudden inclination towards the PDM; resurgence of the TLP and abrupt strange behavior of the allied parties of the PTI may not be a mere coincidence. It seems to be a calculated and very well knitted move facilitated and supported by powers that be. To me, allied parties disenchantment with the PTI leadership has nothing to do with what the PML Q and MQM claim. The actual problem lies somewhere else.

During the TLP standoff, the prime minister, at a point, wanted to handle the issue by force but as reports suggest the establishment did not seem eye to eye with this idea. We have to keep in mind that the issue of appointment of the DG ISI had already strained relations between the establishment and the prime minister. Establishment wanted to have the new man on the job immediately while the notification issued by the PM office allowed the incumbent DG to stay in the office till November 20. There are also reports that the PM wants to recall Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Lt. Gen Bilal Akbar (retd) and replace him with Pakistan’s high commissioner to Canada.

All said and done, the PTI govt itself is responsible for all its woes. It has miserably failed in keeping up its promises made to people before the elections. Corruption has increased manifold. Economic situation has gone from bad to worse and state of governance is just pathetic. The opposition on the other hand is only interested in grinding its own axe. Plight of people is not all a source of worry for it. If the snap polls are held or for that matter the Opposition parties take to streets against the government and they get a rousing welcome, it would only be because of the poor performance of the PTI govt.

Serena Hotel’s Annual Hike Draws Adventure Enthusiasts

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: Serena hosted its annual Adventure Hike on the Margalla Hills on Saturday morning featuring a large number of adventure and trekking enthusiasts from the city.

The activity was organized by Serena Hotels under the banner of Adventure Diplomacy community initiative that aims to encourage human engagement with nature in ways that test physical prowess, endurance and commitment.

Beginning at Trail 4, the trekkers traversed the Dhok Jeevan Trail of the Margalla Hills National Park and were treated at the culmination to with a sumptuous breakfast at a scenic picnic spot overlooking the Talhar Valley.

Members of the Diplomatic Community, Government, Armed Forces, Corporate Sector and civil society of Serena participated in the hike in pristine autumn conditions. The embassies and missions of Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Yemen, and Maldives were represented.

The chief guest was travel and adventure enthusiast, broadcast journalist, filmmaker and writer Wajahat S Malik, who appreciated the mission of Serena Hotels to provide opportunities for nature lovers to come together for vigorous exercise and share experiences with like-minded individuals.

Under the Adventure Diplomacy banner, Serena Hotels regularly sponsors a number of adventure sports including high altitude marathons, jeep rallies, skiing and mountaineering activities.

Building Trust Among Future Communities Requires Religious Public Diplomacy

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By Shazia Anwer Cheema

“The faith-followers of Europe are not ready to accept humiliation anymore and now they are demanding equal rights of freedom of expression and freedom of speech being enjoyed by those who are non-believers”.

These observations came out from the Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue “Building Trust Among Future Communities” that was organized by the Institute of International Relations Prague (IIR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and Anna Lindh Foundation and Organization of Islamic Cooperation on November 11, 2021.

The Dialogue was attended and participated by top international scholars, academicians, policymakers, civil society, and faith-based organizations and officials of the United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation OIC to deliberate the use of interreligious dialogue as a policy tool for building trust within diplomatic negotiations, in state-society relations, as well as among different cultures. The dialogue (Conference) brought perspectives from interpretations of different religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) to enrich the theme of building trust in relationships.

The Dialogue that I attended gave me an understanding that followers of Abrahamic religions are not accepting humiliation of any religion and now they are not ready just to sit quietly and let others disgrace their religious teaching under the pretext of “Freedom of Speech” and Freedom of Expression.

The participants were of the view that religious institutions are crucial for UN Security Council meetings; political parties are going for elections on religion-based agendas so it is ironic that UNSC meetings do not involve religious representation when the matters are related to hate speech, tolerance, and interfaith harmony.

Imam Salahuddin Barakat, Founder of The Islamic Academy of Sweden and Co-founder, Co-director of Amanah showed the picture of a mosque that was burnt down by Islamophobics and stated that after this unfortunate incident, the authorities of the Norway government, the Mayor of the city, local Rabbi and local priest all came together in a mosque to show solidarity with Muslims.

Imam Salahuddin Barakat stated that the incident of burning the Holy Quran was unacceptable for all the faiths and religions and all faith communities dealt with the issue by including local government, police, member of civil society, the member Jew, Christian and Muslim communities.

He also quoted that the idea and force behind the gathering were “where they burn books –they ultimately burn people”.

During the conference, I noticed that the west is facing the crisis of inorganic secularization due to that believers find themselves alienated and they either consider themselves victims of the problem or part of the problem.

Prof. Olivier Roy, European University Institute provided insight into religious diplomacy by putting emphasis that religion is the victim of political ideologies. In western society, religions have transformed into cults and these cults are disconnected from the civil authorities and civil governments.

Prof. Tomáš Halík, Charles University, Czech Christian Academy explained that humiliation and destruction of religious objects and ideologies is providing a vacuum fumed with hate and either to fill by non-civil/civic components

Chief Rabbi David Rosen, AJC – American Jewish Committee, Interreligious Affairs said that religion is by the production of human evaluation and survival and can not be treated as binary opposition in modern explanation. Religious is not culture or society rather it is persuading who we are and circle back to the first most important component of human survival “security”—the security of family leads to security community and security of community forms security of society when these components are threatened, the idea of othering take shape in the form of hatred and isolation.

Individual isolation is an unhealthy social phenomenon a direct outcome of labeling a stereotyping of self-righteousness meaning by if everyone starts thinking that he himself is righteous and all other are demons and such mindset creates mistrust and the worst form of religious abuse.

The believers of today specifically of Abrahamic tradition feel threatened, creating fertile land for cunning and opportunist minds to sow the seeds of hatred and divisions. This happened with Jews and this is happening with Muslims.

Religion is not a cause for any conflict and unbiased feeling of all the world’s conflicts reveals power and hatred as the basic sources of the conflicts.

Speakers emphasized conscious investment upon interfaith harmony and building trust between the state and society of the participants. Interfaith initiations are growing in Europe including participation planning and interaction between different faiths. They were of the view that the theological and religious dialogues are instrumental in domestic politics and societal harmony.

Miguel Moratinos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General was of the view that “tolerance” is a negative term and it must be replaced with the word “respect”.

“It is something like I am tolerating you that is why I am living with you or on the other hand if we think we are respecting another human being just on the basis on being human can erase all the negativity from the situation,” he commented. Miguel Moratinos, said “I particularly hate the word security and even more the misuse of this word security. Security can lead to the ultimate destruction of humanity —- if somebody is not secure and threatened he or she is entitled to destroy everything around that can harm his or her security. The worst manifestation of security we had seen in Afghanistan. The word Security must be replaced with the word Peace,” he added.

Interestingly on his linguistic hate list, there were two other words —“Minority” and “Coexistence”. He said that we must stop the use of the word minority instead we can replace it with the word citizenship, the member of any minority is a citizen of the country and member of society so instead of putting them in box no matter for sympathy or hate instead, they must be called citizens. Equality will come along with it. So far coexistence, we must replace it with living together. Coexistence requires conscious effort on the contrary living together is organic and automatic,”.

During the third session, I was amazed to know that there are a series of dialogues happening between the Vatican and the Al Azhar University of Cairo. His holiness arch Pope Francis and Grand chancellor Al Azhar University are discussing the idea of freedom of expression and freedom of religious believes from perspectives of national security to human security and the document they have produced is called the Declaration of Human Fraternity. Next year they will have a conference in New York where non-religious stakeholders would be part of this conference.

Ismat Jahan, Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said that the Istanbul process is very important and OIC expressed concerns over the Palestine issue. She said that the UN is becoming a victim of a bureaucratic system that creating hurdles for humanity.

Participants discussed at length that how powerful religion can (could) be in building trust among society besides giving hope and a sense of belonging to communities?

Speakers were of the view that religious identity is as important as identity of being a secular and local bodies (Local governments in European system) churches, mosques and synagogues must device intra-communication system for organizing events for promoting Religious Public Diplomacy. The sustainable social contract among different faith and communities is the need of the day and Abrahamic religions are not accepting humiliation of any religion

Speakers expressed their concerns regarding the use of Fake Media and Fake News that is fanning hatred among faith followers and stated that faith-followers must stand together to mitigate such loaded campaigns against religions.

The refugee crisis was discussed in the first and the second session and all religious scholars put emphasis on the element of hospitality. Speakers were of the view that the refugee crisis is (was) not the religious crisis rather it is (was) political crisis and the causes can also circle back to modern powers of secular society so showing hospitality is the least which can be done something for the victim’s capitalism

Attending this Dialogue helped me to understand that “Trust” is a necessary element for advancing bilateral and multilateral relationships, including long-distance trade, and partnerships for social and environmental development; providing shared responses to the crisis, and preserving global peace. Throughout human history, people have continuously created and recreated trust relationships within and outside of their communities. A trust relationship is built when people feel confident that others will not abuse their own long-term valued beliefs, possessions, and resources. Reliance on and confidence in other people emerge not only when we learn to eradicate our prejudices against their differences, but also when we are consistent and transparent in our actions that aim for mutual understanding, consensus, and reconciliation.

The theme addressed in the first panel was the role that religious actors can play in building trust across different cultures within society. By examining this theme, the panel took into consideration religious actors’ relationships to other stakeholders and their own religious communities.

The second panel focused on the joint role of civil society and religious organizations in building trust in state-society relations and presents potential action plans that can be developed between state institutions, civil society, and religious groups to increase citizens’ participation in decision-making processes.

The third panel addressed the question of trust in diplomatic relations. It examined the mechanisms through which different faiths and interfaith dialogue can insert trust into diplomatic negotiations.

Speakers and participants of the Dialogue included:

Jakub Kulhánek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Egemen Bağış, Chairperson of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Prague Group, Ambassador of Turkey to the Czech Republic, Dr. Theresa Beilschmidt, Deputy Head of Interreligious Affairs and Society, Global Ethic Foundation and Prof. Patrice Brodeur, Senior Adviser, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID, Prof. Olivier Roy, Professor and Scientific Advisor to the Middle East Directions Program, European University Institute, Prof. Tomáš Halík, Professor of Sociology, Charles University, President of the Czech Christian Academy, Katerina Pekridou, Executive Secretary for Theological Dialogue, Conference of European Churches, Chief Rabbi David Rosen, American Jewish Committee, International Director of Interreligious Affairs  while Prof. Petr Kratochvíl, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague moderated the discussion, Dr. Mathias Rohe, Professor and Director, Department of Civil Law and Civil Procedure, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Adrian Cristea, Executive Officer of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum, Dr. Maria del Mar Griera, Associate Professor of Sociology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Imam Salahuddin Barakat, Founder of The Islamic Academy of Sweden and Co-founder, Co-director of Amanah – The Muslim-Jewish Partnership of Trust, Peter Kevin, Ambassador of Nigeria to the Czech Republic addressed the session while it was doderated by Dr. Cherine Hussein, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Miguel Moratinos, United Nations Under-Secretary General, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain, Dr. Sarah Wolff, Reader in European Politics and International Relations, Director of the Centre for European Research, Queen’s Mary University of London, Dr. Georges Fahmi, Associate Fellow, the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, Dr. Samuel (Muli) Peleg, Director of the International School at Oranim Academic College of Education expressed their views while Dr. Robert Řehák, Special Envoy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic moderated the Panel, Dr. Jan Šnaidauf, Director of Foreign Policy Analysis and Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ambassador Mrs. Ismat Jahan, Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the EU, Hamid Reza Arshadi and Former Ambassador of Iran to Romania, Senior Advisor to the Institute of Political and International Studies (IPIS).

When I was leaving the space after attending the Dialogue, my perspective about faith-based organizations was much broader than before when I entered the space for attending this dialogue.

As a practitioner of Public Diplomacy, I believe that faith-based organizations can strongly help in renewing trust in intercultural and diplomatic relations in these times of anxiety and uncertainty, in which we experience rising levels of populism, polarization, and extremism on one side, and increasing levels of religiosity on the other.

Note: Writer Shazia Anwer Cheema is a Prague-based foreign affairs expert who writes for national and international media. She is a doctoral student. Researcher in semiotics and philosophy of communication at Charles University in Prague. She heads the DND Think Tank. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: shaziaanwer@yahoo.com

Shusha – the fairyland of Azerbaijan (Part-2)

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Shusha – the fairyland of Azerbaijan (Part-2)

Out of 15,000 sq m area, 10,000 has been liberated from the Armenian occupation while the rest of the 5,000 sq m is now manned by the Russian peacekeepers. As per the ceasefire agreement, the Russian peacekeepers shall remain in this area for five years

Ansar M Bhatti

As I mentioned earlier Azerbaijan govt is in the process of building new hotels in the area keeping in view the influx of visitors it will receive once the area is opened for tourism especially.  We were housed in a hostel as the only two hotels, which were built recently, were full to the capacity because the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev was to reach the place on November 8 for Victory Day celebrations. His advance party and govt officials therefore had to be on the spot a day earlier. Just to share with the readers that the entire Karabakh region is still out of bounds for the general public mainly because of two reasons; first, the clearing of minefields is still in progress and second, the government is rebuilding infrastructure destroyed during 30 years of Armenian occupation. The Armenian govt kept the region under its control however it did nothing in terms of infrastructure development and provision of even basic facilities to people living in the area. The Azerbaijan government therefore had to start from scratch.

It was quite an experience of living in a hostel, maybe after a span of 25 years ever since I left the University. The hostel was basically designed for the military personnel deployed in the area for maintenance of law and order and then taking part in the rehabilitation process. Each room was portioned in three bed rooms with a common washroom. In extremely chilly weather it was quite an experience to survive without warm water and central heating facilities, but the most frustrating thing was non-availability of the Internet facility in the hostel. So, to quench our Internet thirst, we have to rush to the nearby hotel, which was quite a daunting task given the fact that temperatures continued to drop with each passing minute.

The very next day, on November 6, 2021, we were taken to the Jidir Plain, a place from where the Azerbaijani Special Forces attacked the Armenian troops. As we were told, the Armenian military was expecting the Azerbaijani forces to attack from the normal land route however the Azeri forces rather chose an arduous and quite dangerous course, which the Armenians never expected. It was a steep mountain, hundreds of meters tall and only astute mountaineers could have scaled it. But the Azeri forces did it, which unequivocally shows their professionalism and commitment to their cause. When Shusha fell, in fact the entire region fell to Azerbaijan because who controls Shusha, controls the region.

From Jidir Plain to Shusha fortress it took us just five minutes. After a short stroll in Shusha streets, we entered the Shusha Fort. The Fort is not there however the remnants certainly tell a story of its might and historical importance. Everybody who visits Shusha has a dream to be at the Fort Gate. We were lucky that our dream came true, albeit the majority of the Azerbaijani people and even the high ranking govt officials have not been able to visit the place so far.

Out of 15,000 sq m area, 10,000 has been liberated from the Armenian occupation while the rest of the 5,000 sq m is now manned by the Russian peacekeepers. As per the ceasefire agreement, the Russian peacekeepers shall remain in this area for five years. After the war the Azerbaijani leadership has time and again expressed its willingness to co-exist with Armenia peacefully provided Yerevan acts positively towards Azerbaijani peace overtures.

Due to my flight the next day, I had to rush back to Baku and therefore could not visit Agdam and Ganga, another two cities brutally attacked by the Armenian forces. Ganga, especially is a mainland Azerbaijani city but even then Armenian forces attacked the it in order to provoke Baku to lose its temper and conduct a reciprocal attack on Armenia.  Hats off to the Azerbaijani leadership, which did not fall prey to the booby trap and kept its cool throughout the war.

Here, the Azerbaijan Presidential office and the Embassy in Islamabad also need appreciation for arranging the trip for the Pakistani journalists and thus providing them with an opportunity of having first hand information about the conflict and region. Within a couple of years, the region is going to have a complete new look and it is expected that it will serve as the most-sought after tourist destination not only for the locals but for the international visitors as well.

Australian dash Pak final hopes

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DUBAI: Matthew Wade’s late blitz ensured Australia sailed through, comfortably at the end, for a T20 World Cup final clash against New Zealand Thursday. 

Australia managed to win their semi-final clash against Pakistan on Thursday by five wickets. 

Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab Khan did his best, raking in figures of 4/26 against Australia [the best for a T20 World Cup semi-final] but it wasn’t enough. 

After the Shadab scare, Australia managed to bounce back as Stoinis and Matthew Wade struck up a solid partnership, hitting Hassan Ali and Shaheen Afridi for a couple of sixes. 

Always looking uncomfortable right from the start, the right-handed batsman attempted to hit Shadab out of the park but was caught by Fakhar Zaman.

Earlier, a clinical Shaheen Afridi exerted pressure on the Australians right from the word go when he trapped Aussie skipper Aaron Finch lbw in the very first over Thursday. 

Australia, in their quest to qualify for the T20 World Cup final against New Zealand, have been handed a target of 177 runs to win. 

When it was Pakistan’s turn to bat, left-handed batsman Fakhar Zaman gave the Men in Green a fighting chance in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup between the two sides Thursday. 

The Pakistani batsman scored 55 runs off 32 balls and a couple of sixes in the final over to ensure Pakistan crossed the 170-run mark to hand Australia a target of 177 runs. 

Australia dismissed Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik to keep the Pakistani batsmen at bay and from scoring 200 runs in Thursday’s T20 World Cup semi-final clash. 

Indonesia keen to expand academic links with Pakistan: Amb. Adam

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The ambassador said that Indonesia takes pride of its world class tourist destination. It receives millions of foreign tourists from all corners of the world annually

DNA

PESHAWAR: The Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar Prof. Dr. Muhammad Idrees welcomed the Indonesian ambassador Adam Mulawarman Tugio. University’s’ Dean Prof Dr Zahid Anwar , Chairman Department of International Relations Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Registrar Saifullah Khan, Directors and senior administrative staff members were also present on the occasion.

National Anthem of both countries Pakistan and Indonesia were played at start of the program.

During his address to the students and staff at Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Auditorium the Indonesian ambassador said that Indonesian embassy is looking ahead to accommodate students of University of Peshawar in upcoming higher education scholarships phase.

The ambassador said that his government is looking to facilitate students to students exchange programs, and University of Peshawar is one-stop to facilitate bilateral students to students and Faculty to faculty exchange program in both the countries.

The ambassador said that Indonesia takes pride of its world class tourist destination. It receives millions of foreign tourists from all corners of the world annually.

However, it is also true that in the absence of the insufficient marketing and promotion the outbound tourists in Pakistan are unaware of the huge and diverse tourism opportunities in Indonesia. Students can play a vital role to design a 3D model of all tourists places for better promotion.

Similarly, Pakistan also offers many great opportunities to the international tourists such as ecotourism and adventure tourism in its northern areas and the archeological and heritage tourism in the world famous cities of Taxila, Lahore and Mohenjodaro etc.

The Ambassador also mentioned the similarities in Pakistan and Indonesia regarding culture, tradition, food and art etc. As he also presented his book to the Vice Chancellor written on the said similarities.

The Vice chancellor, University of Peshawar in his welcome and concluding remarks paid gratitude to visiting Indonesian ambassador for his commitment to promote and place University of Peshawar among the prominent universities of Pakistan.

Vice Chancellor said that Indonesia-Pakistan bilateral relations have seen significant development as the two countries continuously endeavor to expand their all-round cooperation including in the areas of trade & economy, academic linkages and tourism, but now we will make the educational exchange program stronger.

Dr. Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi in his address said that Indeed, this visit of H.E the ambassador Adam Mulawarman Tugio provides us a timely platform as students from different departments are here and where we can discuss, exchange views and learn from one another experiences and suggestions to have better understanding of the issues and plan better next time when organizing promotional programs and events. Dr Shaheed also sad that Pakistan and Indonesia has strong ties as former president of Indonesia Sukarno when visited Pakistan in 1963. And also there is square of his name in Peshawar “The Sukarno Square”.

E-PAPER NOV 8

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E-PAPER NOV 8

The SCO Dushanbe Summit and aftermath

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Vladimir Norov

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit held on September 17, 2021 in Dushanbe marked the end of the successful chairmanship of the Republic of Tajikistan in the SCO in 2020-2021, within the framework of which, despite all the difficulties associated with the pandemic, effective measures were taken to further develop multifaceted cooperation within the Organization, painstaking, comprehensive work was carried out, effective measures to strengthen the SCO and increase its authority were effectively and effectively promoted.

The meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State demonstrated the firm commitment of the member states to the” Shanghai spirit ” and the common desire to deepen multifaceted cooperation in the fields of politics, security, trade and economy, as well as expand cultural and humanitarian ties.

Summarizing the experience of the past two decades and assessing the prospects, the member States are firmly convinced that the successful activities of the SCO have contributed to the transformation of the region into a space of lasting peace and harmony.

The anniversary summit was a historic event, which was confirmed by the signed solid package of documents, the number of which reached thirty for the first time in the history of the SCO. The decisions taken by the leaders of our countries within the framework of the summit are of epochal significance and open a new milestone in the progressive development of the Organization, have multiplied its contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the region and in the world, to ensuring sustainable development and strengthening the dialogue of civilizations in the vast space of the SCO.

The main document adopted at the end of the summit was the Dushanbe Declaration of the twentieth anniversary of the SCO, which reflected the main results of the twenty-year activity of the SCO, the common position of the member countries on key issues of regional and global policy. There is no doubt that the document will become an important reference point for the Organization in the near future and will point to new vectors of SCO development.

The Member States reaffirmed an important principle of the SCO’s activities – openness to cooperation with other States, international and regional organizations. The SCO is open for accession by interested States that meet the criteria and conditions contained in the SCO regulatory documents and undertake to comply with the goals and principles of the SCO Charter, as well as the provisions of other international treaties and documents of the Organization.

During the summit, it was decided to start the procedure for accepting Iran to increase its status to a full-fledged SCO member state. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar have received the status of a dialogue partner. Thus, today the SCO membership has increased from 18 to 21 states.

In his speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the Russian side attaches great importance to the issues of cooperation between the SCO and those states that seek to establish an open and equal dialogue with the SCO, proposed to modernize and make more effective the participation of observers and dialogue partners in the work of the SCO, in particular by holding events at the highest and high levels in the so-called SCO plus format, with the invitation of partners, in parallel with the summits of the leaders of the SCO member states.

In addition, decisions were signed on the establishment of SCO partnership relations with LAS, UNIDO, UNCTAD and INCB, the heads of the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

In addition, the candidates for the new SCO Secretary General, who will be a citizen of China, and the Director of the SCO RATS Executive Committee, a citizen of Uzbekistan, who will take up their posts from January 1, 2022, have been approved.

Undoubtedly, the central theme of the last summit was the situation in Afghanistan. The joint meeting of the leaders of the SCO and CSTO countries in the “outreach”format held within the framework of the summit was also devoted to this issue.  The Heads of State stated that one of the most important factors for preserving and strengthening security and stability in the SCO space is the early settlement of the situation in Afghanistan. They advocate the establishment of Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, unified, democratic and peaceful State, free from terrorism, war and drugs.

The SCO member States consider it extremely important to create an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups of the Afghan society. Emphasizing the importance of the long-term hospitality and effective assistance provided to Afghan refugees by regional and neighboring countries of Afghanistan, the SCO countries consider important the active efforts of the international community to promote their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland.

The heads of State in their reports separately focused on the Afghan problem, in particular, the Prime Minister of India noted that the SCO should take the initiative on the issue of ensuring peace, tranquility and stability in Afghanistan.

As the President of Kazakhstan noted, the Kazakh side is expanding cooperation with regional partners to prevent the flow of destructive ideology, drugs and uncontrolled migration outside Afghanistan. Kazakhstan is ready to provide all possible assistance to solve the urgent humanitarian and economic problems faced by Afghanistan. Taking into account the existing infrastructure and logistics opportunities, the leader of Kazakhstan proposed to organize a humanitarian “hub” of the SCO in Almaty to deliver international aid to Afghanistan.

The Chinese President said that with the withdrawal of foreign troops, a new page in the history of this country opens. At the same time, Afghanistan still faces many difficult tasks, which require support and assistance from the international community, primarily from the countries of the region. From this point of view, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation between the SCO member states, to reveal the potential of such platforms as the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, to promote a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan. The Chinese leader stressed the importance of promoting the formation of an open and inclusive political structure in Afghanistan, introducing a moderate and restrained domestic and foreign policy, conducting an uncompromising fight against terrorism in all its manifestations, so that Afghanistan can coexist amicably with neighboring countries for the sake of peace, stability and development.

The President of the Kyrgyz Republic noted the need to more actively use existing mechanisms, primarily through the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure( RATS), the Ministries of Defense, law enforcement agencies and special services in order to prevent threats to security and stability in the region, maintain calm and public order in the countries. The Kyrgyz side expressed its readiness to provide all possible assistance in the settlement and to send humanitarian aid to the friendly people of Afghanistan, as well as to accept 500 Afghan students to educational institutions of the country.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan noted that Afghanistan is in the center of attention of the republic, especially in the light of recent events. He called on the international community to provide stabilizing assistance to Afghanistan in order to avoid a re-escalation of the conflict, improve the security situation, and prevent a humanitarian and economic crisis.

The Head of the Government of Pakistan stressed the importance of fulfilling the obligations assumed by the Taliban, first of all, with regard to an inclusive political structure in which all ethnic groups are represented.

According to the Russian President, first of all, it is important for the SCO countries to use the Organization’s potential to provide all possible assistance to the start of an inclusive inter-Afghan peace process and at the same time do everything to block the threats of terrorism, drug trafficking, and religious extremism emanating from this country. The Russian leader proposed to encourage the new Afghan authorities to fulfill their own promises to establish peace, normalize public life, and ensure security for everyone. In this regard, he noted the importance of resuming the activities of the SCO – Afghanistan Contact Group, which was created at the time to work with Afghan partners.

The President of Tajikistan expressed particular concern about the situation in Afghanistan, where, in his opinion, along with the political, the largest humanitarian crisis in history is facing. He noted that Tajikistan wants to see Afghanistan free from terrorism and drugs, a peaceful, unified and developing state. According to the leader of Tajikistan, the situation in Afghanistan directly affects the situation in Central Asia. He called on the international community not to remain indifferent to the fate of the Afghan people and its neighbors, who will have to overcome difficult humanitarian and military problems caused by the withdrawal of the Western coalition forces.

The President of Uzbekistan noted the need to develop coordinated approaches to the situation in Afghanistan, as well as to develop a dialogue with the new authorities of the country. In particular, he stressed the importance of achieving broad political representation of all segments of Afghan society in the state administration; to prevent the possible growth of extremism in the region and the export of radical ideology, the use of the territory of Afghanistan for subversive actions against neighboring states; to ensure respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, including women and national minorities;  to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis, an increase in the flow of refugees, to continue to assist this country in solving social problems.

In this regard, the head of Uzbekistan proposed to consider the possibility of unfreezing the state assets of Afghanistan held in foreign banks. In order to consolidate the efforts of the SCO countries and widely discuss issues of a political settlement in this country, they were invited to regularly hold high-level meetings in the SCO-Afghanistan format with the involvement of observer states and dialogue partners. The Uzbek side expressed its readiness to organize the first such meeting in Tashkent.

        In conclusion, the heads of state highly appreciated the results of the chairmanship of the Republic of Tajikistan in the SCO in 2020-2021, which contributed to strengthening mutual trust and mutual understanding, constructive and fruitful cooperation, good-neighborly relations and friendship between the peoples of the Organization’s member states. At the end of the summit, the chairmanship of the SCO for 2021-2022 passed to the Republic of Uzbekistan. President Sh.Mirziyoyev invited his SCO colleagues to the next meeting of the Council of Heads of State, which is scheduled to be held on September 15-16 next year in Uzbekistan.

The writer is the Secretary General of SCO

Azerbaijan remembers martyrs of Patriotic War

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Azerbaijan is ready to normalize relations with Armenia, on the basis of strict observance of the principles of the international law, in particular sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of international borders

DNA

BAKU: One year ago on September 27, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan began responsive measures to counter another military provocation from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia.

These measures were undertaken within the framework of the right to self-defense. They were in full compliance with the international humanitarian law in order to prevent another military aggression from Armenia and to provide for the security of the civilian population. This marked the beginning of the 44-day Patriotic War.

The Patriotic War put an end to Armenia’s nearly 30-year-long policy of aggression. Azerbaijan ensured its territorial integrity, and the fundamental rights of nearly one million displaced Azerbaijanis were restored. Azerbaijan alone ensured the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993.

The end of the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories revealed the full extent of the illegal activities undertaken by Armenia for decades. This includes extensive mining; the deliberate destruction and misappropriation of Azerbaijan’s historical, cultural and religious heritage; plundering of natural resources; destruction of infrastructure; and other violations of international law. Evidence of Armenia’s numerous war crimes was also revealed. In order to hold Armenia accountable for its breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law, Azerbaijan filed inter-state applications against Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights and International Court of Justice.

The Government of Azerbaijan is carrying out restoration and reconstruction works in the liberated territories and taking consistent steps to ensure the safe and dignified return of nearly one million of displaced Azerbaijanis, as well as the reintegration of these lands. The Government is also taking all necessary measures to ensure lasting peace, security, and prosperity in the region in accordance with the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020.

The Patriotic War under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, President İlham Aliyev that ended with a victory of the brave Azerbaijani Army, opened a new era in the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan, established international justice and changed the realities in the region.

 Azerbaijan is ready to normalize relations with Armenia, on the basis of strict observance of the principles of the international law, in particular sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of international borders. We call on Armenia to respect these fundamental principles to ensure peace, security, and prosperity in the region and comply with its international obligations.

We commemorate with deep respect and esteem the memory of all our Martyrs who died for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan on September 27, which is celebrated as the Commemoration Day in our country by the order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani River Okchuchay Under Threat from Armenian Pollution

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Brief information about the river Okhchuchay

Okhchuchay is the left tributary of the Araz river (83 km long, the catchment area is 1,175 km2), originating from Gapijig mountain (3285 m) of Zangazur range. The larger part is located within the Syunik region of Armenia. The lower course of the river flows through Zangilan (recently liberated territory from the Armenian occupation) and enters Araz river.

Its flow is formed by snow (46%), rain (10%) and groundwaters (44%). The average annual water flow is 10.0 m3/sec, the average annual volume is 315 million m3.

40% of the annual flow is formed during the spring period, 43% in summer, 10% in autumn, 7% in winter season.

Transboundary pollution

In Azerbaijan about 70% of the country surface water resources are heavily dependent on the external inflow from neighboring countries.

The main part of the transboundary river – Okhchuchay flows through the territory of Armenia. The lower stream of Okhchuchay flows through the territory of Azerbaijan and enters Araz river, the second largest water course in the South Caucasus. The Araz river is also a transboundary river with Armenia that joins the Kura – the largest river watercourse in the region. Both rivers play a key role in providing drinking water, as well as irrigation of the whole country.

Pollution of the Okhchuchay has a direct negative impact on the quality of both Araz and Kura rivers.

Main sources of transboundary impact

Okhchuchay is heavily polluted by mining waste of Gafan and Gajaran mines located on the territory fo Armenia. The river is almost used as a collector of mining waste of these industrial facilities. Contamination of Okhchuchay with heavy metals and salts takes place due to wastewater generated from mining and processing enterprises and discharged directly into the river basin. The location of the largest mining enterprises in Armenia – Gajaran Copper-Molybdenum Plant in Armenia (Zangazur Copper- Molybdenum Plant) and Gafan Ore Processing Plant in Syunik region, at the source of the Okhchuchay River (called Vogji River in Armenia) confirms the fact of pollution namely from these sources.

Environmental concerns:

Continuing intensive pollution and negative impacts to Okhchuchay may have detrimental and irreversible effects on to the nature of the region and its people.

Drastic changes in the quality of water in the river can have extremely negative effects on its use for domestic and agricultural purposes.

Especially, frequent pollution and negative changes in quantity and quality may result in unique river ecosystem degradation – reduction and disappearance of rare and endangered species. Pollution may also lead to serious food safety problems.

Using of contaminated water  can lead to detrimental consequences – disorders of gastrointestinal tracts, destructive processes in kidneys, bones, disorders of cardiovascular and nervous systems of the human body.

Monitoring results:

The liberation of the Azerbaijani lands previously occupied by Armenia has given an access for the Azerbaijani ecologists to local rivers flowing through the territories of the Zangilan district and they conducted monitorings in Okhchuchay river, including other transboundary rivers.

River pollution was confirmed by monitoring. The monitoring results were analyzed in national laboratories, including internationally accredited and certified foreign laboratories.

According to the analysis of water test samples taken from Oxchuchay in January-June 2021, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of the Republic of Azerbaijan reported that high amounts of heavy metals, especially copper, molybdenum, manganese, iron, zinc and chromium were found in the river water. Observations revealed the water color has drastically changed from time to time due to pollution from white to acidic-yellow color.

Addresses to international organizations

Unfortunately, Armenia – from where the majority of rivers flow into the territories of Azerbaijan – has not yet joined the Helsinki Convention on Transboundary Watercourses. This international document adopted in 1992 in Helsinki (Finland) serves as a mechanism for strengthening the national measures and international cooperation aimed at achieving the environmentally sound management and protection of the transboundary surface and ground waters.

MENR addressed international organizations to share its concern on the environmental hazards and critical situation of the river Okhchuchay. International organizations were informed about facts of pollution and called upon to take urgent measures to prevent irrevocable degradation of region’s unique ecosystem. But the mentioned requests remained unanswered till today.

Azerbaijan calls upon international community and environment activists around the world to consolidate efforts for bringing an end to the pollution.

Assembler of Chinese cellphone brands AIR LINK to go public with ‘biggest ever’ IPO

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The firm also plans to venture into manufacturing and export of Chinese mobile phone brands, Muzzaffar Piracha, CEO of Air Link says

DNA
ISLAMABAD, September 1 (): Lahore-based Air Link Communications, which assembles Chinese smartphone brands Itel, Tecno, TCL and Alcatel, plans to raise over Rs 6 billion in equity through an initial public offering (IPO), the prospectus of the issue stated. 

The Air Link also distributes iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi handsets in Pakistan. JS Global Capital is the book runner to the IPO. In an announcement on social media over the weekend, JS Global CEO Kamran Nasir said that it will be the biggest ever IPO in Pakistan. In 2019, Faisalabad-based textiles manufacturer Interloop Ltd. raised Rs5.025 billion through the IPO.

Air Link is offering 90 million shares, which will constitute 25% of the total post-IPO paid-up capital, at the floor price of Rs65, with a price band of 40% above the floor price, according to the prospectus. 

The IPO could value the firm at around Rs 25 billion, as per analysts. Book Building to the IPO will take place on August 30 and August 31, in which the investors will be eligible to subscribe 75% of shares.  The remaining shares will later be offered to retail investors on September 6 and 7, according to the prospectus.

Air Link has installed 8 assembly lines at its Lahore facility with a production capacity of 500,000 to 800,000 smartphones and feature phone sets per month, as per details on the official website of the firm. 

The facility has employed over 1,000 engineers and skilled workers. The firm also plans to venture into manufacturing and export of Chinese mobile phone brands, Muzzaffar H. Piracha, CEO of Air Link says in a video on the company’s website. Muzzaffar further said he was grateful to everyone for their unwavering support and trust in Air Link Communication.

He also thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team for providing a comprehensive policy that aims to incentivize local manufacturing of mobile phones in Pakistan.

In April this year, the prominent footwear exporter Service Global Footwear Ltd., raised Rs2.175 billion through an IPO to fund its joint venture with China’s Long March Tyres. The IPO was over subscribed by 5.8 times. The Air Link IPO is expected to attract institutional as well as high net worth individuals in huge numbers, JS Global CEO Kamran Nasir said.

The company intends to expand its sales outlets on over the rising demand for smartphones in the country.

New Azerbaijan ambassador to Pakistan assumes office

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ISLAMABAD: H.E. Mr.Khazar Farhadov Ambassador-designate of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has arrived in Islamabad & assumed his office.

Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoy excellent relations. Both countries have been cooperating with each other on regional as well international forums.

Azerbaijan has contributed a lot especially in the development of the social sector in Pakistan. It is hoped that during the tenure of new ambassador bilateral relations would further be strengthened.

In his Twitter message the Ambassador said that he will make all his efforts to further strengthen and deepen relations between brotherly Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

Azerbaijani language and culture center to be opened at Pakistani University NUML

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: Anar Rahimov, assistant to Rector of Azerbaijan University of Languages met with Major General (Retd) Muhammad Jaffar, Rector of the University of Modern Languages of Pakistan.

Anar Rahimov thanked the rector for the warm reception. Talking about the high-level relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, he specially stressed the political and moral support provided to Azerbaijan by brotherly Pakistan during the Patriotic War.Mr. Rahimov informed the rector about the newly inaugurated Pakistan Cultural Center at the Azerbaijan University of Languages and noted that with the initiative of Rector Kamal Abdulla, they intend to open the Azerbaijani Language and Culture Center at NUML, as well as to teach Azerbaijani Multiculturalism subject in brotherly Pakistan from next term.Anar Rahimov stressed that the implementation of such projects will further deepen relations between the two countries, strengthen people to people contacts, as well as contribute to the development of scientific and educational ties between Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

Major General (Retd) Muhammad Jaffar, Rector of the University of Modern Languages of Pakistan spoke about the existing fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, told that the two countries have always supported each other and congratulated the Government and people of Azerbaijan on victory in the Patriotic War which resulted with the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from Armenian occupation. He welcomed the intention of opening of the Azerbaijani Language and Culture Center and teaching of Azerbaijani Multiculturalism subject at NUML from the next term, and expressed his confidence that the university administration would provide all necessary assistance for the inauguration of the center.

The Azerbaijani Language and Culture Center is scheduled to be inaugurated in September 2021.

Tapping Gawadar’s Economic Potential to the maximum

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 Abdul Rashid Shakir

Gawadar: Gawadar, a port city with breathtaking and mesmerizing coast line can undoubtedly be developed into a major tourist attraction of Pakistan. Conceived as a natural deep water port in early nineties, its scope has increased manifold over the years. In 2015, with the launch of CPEC, a pilot project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Gawadar assumed a crucially important strategic place in connecting Western China with Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Europe for materializing optimal benefits of shared development by easing trade, tourism and cultural ties in the region.
Rightly dubbed as ‘Jewel of CPEC’, it is an ideal location for industry, business and tourism to thrive, with huge potential of generating economic activities and numerous employment opportunities. According to a conservative estimate, once developed fully, Gawadar free economic zones may generate economic activities worth $13 Billion dollar annually.
Gawadar South Free Zone covers 66 acres of land; whereas North Free Zone, inaugurated by Prime Minister during his recent visit to Gawadar on 5th of July 2021, is planned to be developed over more than 2200 acres of land, making it almost 35 times greater than the South Free Zone. It would offer huge investment opportunities to the business community, both local and foreign. Notable Chinese investors expressed their commitment via video link to tap Pakistan’s huge economic potential by investing more than $100 Billion in Gawadar Free Zones in various labor and investment intensive projects.
On this occasion, other projects inaugurated by the Prime Minister under CPEC framework included establishment of Agriculture Industrial Park, Gawadar Expo Center, Gawadar Animal Vaccine Plant, Lubricants Plant and Gawadar Fertilizer Plant. Moreover, two MOUs were also signed between Government of Pakistan and Chinese companies for the installation of a desalination plant and a power house to provide clean drinking water and affordable clean energy to address two of the major issues plaguing the area. Besides all this, the construction of East Bay Expressway would go a long mile in improving upon connectivity of Gawadar port with Karachi, the leading industrial and business center of the country for the promotion of economic activities in the region.
In short, Prime Minister’s recent visit to Gawadar would usher in a new era of economic growth in the region by boosting efforts to connect Gawadar with rest of the country by improving upon communication infrastructure, massive industrialization by roping in foreign direct investment, and taking on board all major neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Kenya.
One window facilitation process to ensure ease of doing business is need of the hour to lure in foreign investors. Cognizant of the fact, Federal Government is taking practical steps to clear hiccups in the process by developing a robust mechanism with the help of Balochistan’s provincial government. Besides all these development initiatives aimed at the development of Gawadar as a hub of business activities and a buckle in the belt of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),

Strategic partners Uzbekistan and Pakistan aim at strengthening Central and South Asia cooperation

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By Furqat Sidikov

On July 15-16, 2021, a high-level International Conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” was held in Tashkent, organized on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The conference was attended by Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, heads of foreign ministries of Central and South Asia and other regions of the world, heads of leading international organizations, financial institutions, investment funds and companies, as well as world research and analytical centers.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Furkat Sidikov spoke about the main goals and objectives of the conference, as well as the significance and results of the official visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to the country

– First of all, I would like to emphasize that the first official visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to Uzbekistan and his participation in a major international forum on the interconnectedness of Central and South Asia opened a new era of bilateral partnership and interregional cooperation.

As President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed during the talks in Tashkent, Pakistan is our time-tested and reliable partner. The relations between the two States are based on mutual respect and trust. Despite the current difficult situation, our cooperation is developing at a dynamic pace, and we are interested in further expanding ties in all areas.

During the exchange of views on topical issues of the regional and international agenda, the heads of the two states confirmed the coincidence or proximity of the positions of the parties. It was stressed that Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as close neighbors of Afghanistan, are interested in establishing peace and stability in this country, which will contribute to the formation of transport routes, accelerated development of trade and economic ties in the region. The issues of increasing mutual trade turnover, establishing air cargo transportation, providing mutual benefits and preferences were discussed. The issues of ensuring regional security and strengthening military-technical cooperation were also considered.

Following the talks, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister Imran Khan signed a Joint Declaration on the establishment of a strategic partnership between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

8 documents were also signed, including intergovernmental agreements on transit and trade, simplification of visa procedures for representatives of business circles and tourist groups. They also signed a protocol on cooperation in the field of military education between the Ministries of defense of the two countries, a Program of cultural exchanges for 2021-2026, a Memorandum of understanding on tourism, a protocol on the exchange of preliminary information on goods and vehicles crossing the state border, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of World Economy and Diplomacy and the Pakistan Academy of Diplomatic Service, an agreement on the establishment of the Uzbek-Pakistani Business Council.

In addition, following the meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission and the Uzbek-Pakistani business forum, held on the eve of the visit of the head of Pakistan to Tashkent, agreements worth $ 500 million were signed.

It is worth noting that in recent years, the bilateral dialogue and contacts have noticeably intensified. The meetings of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in Beijing and Bishkek in 2019, the online summit of leaders in April this year opened new prospects for interstate cooperation. As a result of mutual visits at the level of governments and regions, bilateral relations are filled with practical content.

Participation of the two heads of state in the international conference ” Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and opportunities ” was a confirmation of the high mutual interest in the development of investment and economic cooperation, the implementation of the transport and transit potential of the countries of the two regions, the strengthening of cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

The initiative to strengthen regional connectivity was proposed by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the context of Tashkent’s new foreign policy strategy aimed at turning Central Asia into a region of security, stability and sustainable development integrated into the world economy.

As you know, South Asia is a region that is historically closely connected with Central Asia in economic, social, cultural and civilizational dimensions. Located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, these two regions have contributed to an active dialogue between peoples and civilizations for many centuries. Unfortunately, in the nineteenth century, due to historical circumstances, the interconnectedness of the two adjacent regions was violated.

Today, when the world has entered the era of global geopolitical transformations that bring both challenges and new opportunities, the revival of mutual relations between Central and South Asia is becoming an even more popular and objective process.

As the President of Uzbekistan stressed at the opening of the conference, the time has come, based on the huge historical, scientific, spiritual and cultural heritage of the peoples of the two regions, the complementarity of the economies, the availability of intellectual potential, to consolidate joint efforts, which will undoubtedly give a powerful synergy effect.

At the same time, it is important to note that the growth of trade turnover with Pakistan and other South Asian countries largely depends on the creation of reliable routes for the delivery of goods. Following the results of the Uzbek-Afghan-Pakistani high-level talks held in February 2021 in Tashkent, a Joint Action Plan (“Road Map”) for the construction of the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway was signed. This railway project occupies a special place and will significantly reduce the transport costs for the delivery of goods between the countries of the region.

Thus, the main promising areas of cooperation between the countries of Central and South Asia are new transport corridors that provide access to the southern seaports of the countries of Central Asia, cooperation in the energy sector (electricity exports), promotion of mutual investments, as well as the expansion and diversification of foreign trade.

The implementation of transport and energy projects on the territory of Afghanistan, which is a bridge between the two regions, will create conditions for expanding opportunities for building trade, economic and investment ties, strengthening transport and communication cooperation between the countries of Central and South Asia.

In general, the practical implementation of Uzbekistan’s plans for interconnectedness can create a new economic reality in two regions at once, creating the most favorable soil and all the necessary conditions for the inclusive economic development of the Central and South Asian states.

The writer is the De