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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

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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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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

EMAGAZINE OCT 21

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EMAGAZINE OCT 2021

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.

E-MAGAZINE SEPT 21

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E-MAGAZINE SEPT 21

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 Deputy Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan. He has also served as Uzbek ambassador to Pakistan.

Noor Mukaddam case: ex envoys want murderer on ECL

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Noor Mukaddam case: ex envoys want murder on ECL

DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Association of Former Ambassadors (AFA) strongly condemns the gruesome killing of the daughter of former Ambassador Mr. Shaukat Ali Mukaddam and calls for an exemplary punishment for the murderer of Ms Noor.

In a Press Release over 100 former Ambassadors, members of

AFA noted with disgust and horror the brutal and heinous crime and called upon the

Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a notice of it to ensure that justice is done.

Meanwhile, Police and Prosecutor should get hold of all previous medical and

criminal record of the culprit. Supervision of this case would help reduce alarmingly

high crime against women in Islamabad.

The Association appreciated the personal message of support from the Foreign

Minister to the bereaved family that the culprit would be brought to justice. The

Foreign Secretary lent his support by attending the funeral. Nevertheless, the

Association apprehends that the murderer may be made to escape the country using

his dual nationality. Therefore, the Association demands that his name should be

placed on the ECL to ensure that he does not use his family influence and power to

slip away from the country. It is imperative that justice be served.

Bodies of Chinese killed in Dasu bus tragedy flown back to China

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ISLAMABAD, JUL 23 (DNA) – The bodies of nine Chinese engineers who were killed in Dasu bus tragedy have been sent back to China.

Sources said that on Friday that Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong were present at the airport when the bodies were flown back to China in a special plane of a Chinese airline.

On this occasion, Sheikh Rasheed also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Chinese envoy over the loss of precious lives in the Dasu bus blast. Soon after the incident, China Gezhouba, the company working on the Dasu Hydropower project, halted its operation and terminated and Pakistani staff.

However, later the China Gezhouba Group Corp. nullified its decision to terminate Pakistani employees and said will resume construction on the Dasu Hydropower project. China last week expressed shock over the bus tragedy and called on the South Asian country to protect projects valued at tens of billions of dollars. = DNA

Pakistan condemns India’s state-sponsored spying operations

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Pakistan condemns India’s state-sponsored spying operations

ISLAMABAD, JUL 23 (DNA) – Pakistan has strongly condemned India s state-sponsored, continuing and widespread surveillance and spying operations in clear breach of global norms of responsible state behaviour.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said this while responding to media queries regarding India’s use of Israeli spyware – Pegasus – to hack the phones and computers of journalists, judges, diplomats, government officials, rights activists, and global leaders including Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said we have noted with serious concern recent international media reports exposing Indian government s organized spying operations against its own citizens, foreigners as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan, using an Israeli origin spyware

The spokesperson said keeping a clandestine tab on dissenting voices is a long-standing textbook ploy of the RSS-BJP regime to commit human rights atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and peddle disinformation against Pakistan.

He said the world has seen the true face of the so-called Indian “democracy” when the reports of EU Disinfo Lab, Indian Chronicle, surfaced earlier last year. He said we are closely following these revelations and will bring the Indian abuses to the attention of appropriate global platforms.

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in view of the gravity of these reports, we call on the relevant UN bodies to thoroughly investigate the matter, bring the facts to light, and hold the Indian perpetrators to account. = DNA

Nothing can sabotage Pakistan-China relationship, Sheikh Rasheed tells Chinese ambassador

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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed on Wednesday said that nothing can sabotage the time-tested friendship between Pakistan and China.

Rasheed was speaking to the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong as the latter visited him at his residence to discuss matters of mutual interest between the two countries.

The ambassador appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to ward off conspiracies aimed at damaging the diplomatic relations between the two states. He also expressed satisfaction at the ongoing investigation related to the Dasu incident.

APNS grieved over Arif Nizami’s death

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DNA

KARACHI: The APNS has expressed profound grief over the sad and sudden demise of its former President and veteran editor Mr Arif Nizami.

Mr Sarmad Ali President and Ms Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani Secretary General All Pakistan Newspapers Society have stated that Arif Nizami Chief Editor Daily Pakistan Today and President CPNE was a seasoned and prominent editor and publisher of Pakistan and had always stood for the freedom of press and expression. He fought against all forms of curbs on freedom of press and remained amongst the vanguard against dictatorial policies to strangulate the independent media by various governments.

The APNS office bearers stated that the services of Mr Arif Nizami will always be remembered in the annals of national press and It will not be easy to fill the vacuum created by his demise. The APNS office bearers expressed their condolences to the grieved family and his colleagues in Pakistan Today and prayed that Allah may rest the departed soul in eternal peace

Veteran journalist Arif Nizami passes away in Lahore

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Veteran journalist and former caretaker federal minister for information and postal service Arif Nizami passed away on Wednesday in Lahore, his nephew, Babar Nizami, told .

The veteran journalist was under treatment at a hospital for the last two weeks after he had suffered a heart attack. Following the attack, he was shifted to an ICU, but he could not recover from it and breathed his last today, Babar said.

Nizami had served as a caretaker federal minister in former caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso’s cabinet back in 2013. He was the son of Hameed Nizami, the founder Nawa-i-Waqt Group of newspapers.

The details of his funeral prayers will be informed later on.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, reacting to the journalist’s death, said: “Saddened to learn of the passing of veteran journalist, editor, and political commentator Arif Nizami.”

Tashkent all set o host Central and South Asia conference

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DNA

TASHKENT: The International Conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” will take place in Tashkent on 15-16 July at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The forum is aimed at strengthening historically close and friendly ties, trust and good-neighborliness between Central and South Asia in the interests of all peoples and countries of both regions.

The conference will be attended by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, foreign ministers and high representatives of the Central and South Asian countries, other foreign states, heads of authoritative international and regional organizations, global financial institutions and companies, leading research and analytical centers.

During the plenary and breakout sessions, the forum participants will discuss the possibilities of promoting initiatives aimed at developing trade, economic, transport, communication, cultural and humanitarian cooperation in the context of further deepening regional connectivity.

The agenda includes a comprehensive exchange of views and joint development of proposals for enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, transport, energy and innovation, green technologies, implementation of specific projects and cooperation programs, enhancing interaction in tourism, education, healthcare, science and culture, ensuring the stability and security of the two regions.

Mockery of Law: Fictitious ‘Uyghur Tribunal’

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Irfan Shahzad Takalvi

Propaganda, lies, falsehood and myths; in so many forms and shapes. Unabated! One of the latest moves to purposefully but baselessly vilify China on the issue of Xinjiang and its Muslim Uygur population has unfolded in the form of the so-called ‘Uyghur Tribunal.’

It is becoming clear that desperate West would attempt to go to every length possible when it comes to defaming China that it [the West] otherwise fails to compete with. Hence, the moves such as unfunded allegations, unjustified sanctions and now this farce, i.e., ‘Uyghur Tribunal.’

That they are forced to rely on an illegitimate platform to forward their agenda makes it clear that their stance, their stories, their much talked about evidence are not worthy of being presented in front of any proper, legitimate legal forum – domestic or international. So the anti-China forces are resorting to such a fictitious court and trial.  

There is a method is this madness. The same faces who we see active on this fallacious activity have a history of anti-China moves. Their previous misadventure – the fallacious ‘China Tribunal’ created and run on the pretext of organ transplant practices – was nothing but a self-defeating failure. The fate of ‘Uyghur Tribunal’ would not different either.

After being created in September 2020, the fictitious court held its first hearing early in June 2021 and next one is scheduled for September. Some 30 ‘victims’, ‘witnesses’ and ‘experts’ appeared in the first hearing. Same faces, same stories. All these people have been saying this for years and years – without any solid, tangible proof that can be presented at a meaningful legal forum – and they themselves are aware that their case is fundamentally lacking in substance.

Xinjiang and its people continue to move on; the Uyghur Autonomous Region is progressing ahead witnessing all-encompassing, broad-based, harmonious development shared by all its inhabitants regardless of their ethnic background and/or religion. More importantly, China’s effective, comprehensive and consistent anti-terror and de-radicalization policy has ensured peace and stability in the region. Xinjiang has not recorded an major untoward incident for a long time. The benefits of Xinjiang’s stability and development are now also shared by regional countries as multi-pronged connectivity infrastructure is making this frontier of China a hub of the whole central Eurasian landscape. Continuous tricks and conspiracies from anti-China forces using the name of Xinjiang must be seen in this broader picture.

A large number of International Law experts are of the view that moves such as ‘Uyghur Tribunal’ having no overt backing from any state or any global institution enjoy no credibility and value. Any legal sanction of their findings and acts is certainly unthinkable.

It is no secret that this initiative is funded mainly by World Uyghur Congress (WUC), which itself is funded largely by the Open Society Foundation. When those running the ‘tribunal’ issued a call for crowd-funding; the lukewarm response they received was telling that the move has no backing among the majority of ordinary people either. Such steps are taken by and large for vested interests of so-called experts and activists who thrive professionally and make a name through such tactics.

The open and covert backers of the Uyghur Tribunal feel that as they have a person like Mr. Geoffrey Nice chairing the ‘tribunal’; he and his findings may find acceptance among a large number of Muslims of the world because of the fact that Nice was prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic. Yet, majority of the Muslims around the world are well-aware that the happenings in Balkans in 1990s and Xinjiang of today are in no way comparable, much less to be treated similarly. Poles apart! Moreover, several questions are also being raised on the way the trial of Milosevic was conducted.

Other members, backers and experts involved in the ‘Uyghur Tribunal’ are also known anti-China figures whose propaganda and falsehood on Xinjiang, Hong Kong, human rights and issues such as organ transplant has been busted time and again. And importantly, the linkages of those driving such illegitimate initiative are also being traced towards Falun Gong – the banned, dangerous Chinese outfit. Had happened in any other nation or part of the world; these same countries would be lamenting the same as support for extremism and terrorism. Western societies should pay attention that what forces they actually are encouraging in this way.

Yet, while the move is not state-backed, important question is would the Western countries and societies allow similar moves for their deeds in Afghanistan, Iraq and previously their exploitations and cruelties all across the globe during colonization? What will be the value and legitimacy of such moves in the eyes of people of Western nations?

The Western countries and societies need to realize that such moves as ‘Uyghur Tribunal’ do no good to international system and order. Creating such fictitious bodies would not stop China from progressing and rising continuously; it will only sow the seeds of mistrust and damage much-required spirit of global cooperation. Every sane person in the world is well-aware that misadventures such as ‘Uyghur Tribunal’ have no legitimacy whatsoever and make no impact except exposing the intent and ill-will of those manoeuvring the same.

The author is Founding President of the Eurasian Century Institute (ECI), Islamabad-Pakistan. He may be accessed at irfanzad@gmail.com

“Made in Azerbaijan” products in the Pakistani markets

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: With the initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan, Gazelli Group, the first local natural cosmetics producer company of Azerbaijan, was introduced in Pakistan in order to sell “Made in Azerbaijan” products in Pakistan.

Mrs. Narmin Ismayilova, CEO of Gazelli Group who is in Pakistan for this purpose, held bilateral meetings with a number of Pakistani companies operating in this field, and informed them about local and natural products manufactured by Gazelli Group. She emphasized that her company is ready to do the necessary works to sell the high quality natural products of Gazelli Group in the Pakistani market.

During the meetings, an agreement was reached to sell the products of the Azerbaijani company Gazelli Group in the D.Watson chain of stores of Pakistan, which sells many different brands from around the world.

Waqar Zafar Bakhtawari, Managing Director of Pakistan’s D.Watson chain of stores, expressed interest in the products of Gazelli Group, a well-known brand of Azerbaijan, and told that they will visit Azerbaijan soon to get acquainted with the company’s factories.

FM Qureshi lauds services of Azerbaijan ambassador

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Azerbaijan Ali Alizada paid for farewell call on the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The minister noted progress in bilateral relations & enhanced momentum of bilateral interactions & high-level visits in the last few years. Minister Qureshi also appreciated services and contributions of the outgoing ambassador and wished him success in future assignments.

The Foreign Minister expressed satisfaction on the status of existing ties between the two countries and appreciated Ambassador Alizada’s contributions in further strengthening them. The Foreign Minister recalled Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan during the recent conflict on Nagorno-Karabakh and reaffirmed cooperation in reconstruction and rehabilitation of affected areas.

The Foreign Minister recalled enhance momentum of high-level interactions and noted progress on cooperation in trade and commerce, energy, education and cultural spheres. The Foreign Minister urged that two sides continue deepening bilateral relations built on historic and religious bonds and exceptional good will in all fields of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister wished the Ambassador success for his future assignments. Ambassador Alizada arrived in Pakistan in 2016 and is leaving this month upon completion of his diplomatic assignment.

Post pandemic Poland: crisis-proof, equitable

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Mateusz Morawiecki

STRAPLINE: Poland will use the time after the pandemic to refashion its economic and social system so that it is more crisis-proof and equitable, setting the country on a new path of development.

We live in amazing times. The last dozen or so months have been marked by health concerns and fears about the future. A lot of Poles wondered not only whether they would be able to avoid the coronavirus, but also whether they would still have a job to provide for their families and make sure that their children would not have abandon hope of a better life.

The COVID-19 pandemic might well have taken Poland back to the 1990s. It is enough to look at the terrible economic data coming from some countries—including European ones—to understand that the worst-case scenario was not the stuff of disaster films. Fortunately, the scenario has not materialised because, as opposed to the 1990s, Poles could count on the state that got actively involved in helping all those in need. The unprecedented support offered as part of the Anti-Crisis Shield and Financial Shield enabled us to slow down the disastrous consequences of the pandemic and stop the fall in GDP for 2020 at the level of 3%, a result that was third best in Europe and unmatched in the group of large countries with a population of over 10 million. Even more impressively, like no other country in the EU, we have managed to keep the unemployment rate at around 3%.

Other data confirm that Polish economy has coped quite well during the crisis. Export figures registered an all-times record in March 2021, reaching over PLN110 bn. In May, the PMI exceeded 57 points, the best result since the index started to be measured. A few months before, the European Commission said that Poland, as one of just 4 EU member states, ensured the stability of its public finance in the short and long-term perspective. In a situation like that there is only one mistake that can be made: decide that everything is going well and stop doing anything.

Time of crisis—opportunity or disaster?

A crisis from which no lessons are learnt is a disaster. Properly recognised and understood, however, it becomes an opportunity as well as a catalyst for change. The two sentences sum up the philosophy behind the Polish Deal.

The current crisis is exceptional in that it cannot be resolved by textbook solutions. Whether we look for them in Hayek or in Lassalle, no theory of economic crisis has foreseen a situation where the economic and social activity is paralysed overnight across the globe.

Faced with the crisis of COVID-19, we must act like doctors do when they deal with the virus itself. While we do not have a specific remedy, our experience tells us to treat the symptoms. We also know from history that a crisis, whatever its nature, requires increased presence of the state as it has to be managed rather than left to itself.

In 1933, the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the New Deal in response to the Great Depression. The aim of the programme was to recover the economy, boost foreign trade and make enormous public investments: at that time, 120,000 public buildings and 77,000 bridges were constructed. Over the following decade, the USA was criss-crossed by a network of motorways. This is the scenario that inspires Poland today.

Polish Deal: a new quality

The objectives of the Polish Deal focus not only on rebuilding Poland after the pandemic, but also on refashioning Polish economic and social system to make it more equitable and crisis-proof so that the country can be set on a new path of development.

A diagnosis of pandemic ailments had to start with the health care system. COVID-19 has pushed the sector to the brink of collapse even in the richest countries. Poland was no exception. Had it not been for a very firm restrictions policy and a network of makeshift hospitals built at an amazing pace, our country would have also experienced a pandemic breakdown. It is hard to image its scale and the ensuing chaos that would have happened if we had not digitalised much of the system before the crisis.

Although we have spent over PLN100 bn on health care in the last 5 years, its quality is still not up to the standard expected by the public.This is a clear signal that the current system of health care funding has reached its limit. It is high time we abandoned the philosophy of restructuring. If we want to take a qualitative leap forward to make Poland rise up to the level of Western countries, we must step up our efforts to set aside 7% of GDP for health care.

Polish taxation paradox

This requires that we change our model of health care funding and thus our taxation system. So far, Poland was the only country were part of the health care premium was tax-deductible. The structure of the entire system meant that those who earned the most could optimise their taxes relatively easily. Hence, the Polish tax system, although nominally progressive, became in fact regressive. People of lower income pay proportionally higher taxes than people who earn more.

Besides offending the sense of justice, this taxation dis-order also prevented social cohesion. It deepened inequalities that had already been exacerbated during the crisis.

Crises are like powerful sea waves. They rock large ships but can sink smaller vessels. Recent studies show clearly that the pandemic year of 2020 aggravated income disparity. The rich got richer regardless of the crisis, whilst the poorest lost precisely because of the difficult circumstances.

Towards a Poland of true solidarity

The Polish Deal addresses these challenges because it stems from the spirit of genuine solidarity which should be understood very broadly. It is horizontal in the sense of ensuring social justice, bridging income gaps and supporting those who earn the least. To that end, we increased the income tax threshold to PLN30,000, which is close to the thresholds used in Western countries: it is higher than in France and comparable to Denmark.But the Polish Deal is also about vertical or inter-generational solidarity. On the one hand, we turn towards the past by supporting old people through tax-exempt pensions. We return to the values without which it would be difficult to imagine the future of Polish and European societies. On the other hand, we want to take care of future generations and lay foundations for development that will help our children earn more, work in better conditions and, last but not least, live in an environment where they will breathe fresh air rather than read about it as a luxury for the selected few.

The early 2020s is a crucial time for Poland. We are on the cusp of civilizational changes on an unprecedented scale. Due to historical circumstance, we were only passive witnesses of such changes in the past. Now we can be their active participants. The scenario is ready. All we need to do now is put the Polish Deal in practice. We will try to win the widest possible support for the strategy as it is only with social acceptance that it can be successful.

The writer is the Prime Minister of Poland.

Soldier killed in attack

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DNA

RAWALPINDI:  Terrorists attacked Army troops, employed at security duties near Turbat Airport using small arms. As a result of this cowardly act by the miscreants, a brave soldier, Naik Aqeel Abbas, resident of village Mehro Peelo, District Chakwal embraced shahadat.

A large scale area sanitization operation by FC Balochistan south to hunt the terrorists has been launched.

Such cowardly acts by inimical elements, backed by anti state forces cannot sabotage the hard earned peace and prosperity in Balochistan. Security forces are determined to neutralize their nefarious designs even at the cost of blood and lives.

Race for the new Foreign Secretary kick starts

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There are three top contestants for this coveted slot including Asad Majeed Pakistan’s Ambassador in the United States, Moeen ul Haq, who is currently serving as Pakistan’s ambassador to People’s Republic of China and Raza Bashir Tarar who is in Canada

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: The race to grab the coveted slot of Foreign Secretary of Pakistan has kick started as the potential candidates have girded up loins with each one of them trying to employ all his resources in this regard.

The incumbent Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood has completed his three years in the office but is willing to continue as the Foreign Secretary till his retirement a year later. Sources privy to this development are of the opinion that Sohail has already started lobbying to stay in the office till his retirement.

As per practice the Foreign Secretary, when completes his term, is posted as Ambassador to some important countries. In this case, the preferred choice of secretaries happens to be the United States of America. If Sohail Mahmood does not get an extension in the office, he might replace Asad Majeed as Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA.

There are three top contestants for this coveted slot including Asad Majeed Pakistan’s Ambassador in the United States, Moeen ul Haq, who is currently serving as Pakistan’s ambassador to People’s Republic of China and Raza Bashir Tarar who is in Canada these days. Ambassador Raza Bashir has already been replaced and is due to come back to the headquarters soon.

Ambassador Moeen ul Haq was recently shifted to Beijing from Paris. Sources say he needs to complete at least one year in China as Ambassador before being considered for the Foreign Secretary slot. He still has about three months to complete his one year in Beijing.

Ambassador Asad Majeed happens to be the top contender in the given circumstances as he enjoys confidence of the government and the establishment. There are some key ambassadorial positions including the USA that require a green signal from the establishment as well, keeping in view the sensitivity  and importance of the respective station. Ambassador Asad therefore appears to be an obvious choice.

As regards the professionalism and integrity of these three top officers, each one of them stands out for his illustrious diplomatic career. All of them have served in a number of key positions which means they have immense experience and exposure in the field of diplomacy.

Nevertheless there is an interesting aspect of this whole scenario as well. If the sitting Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood is allowed to continue in his office till retirement then chances of both Asad Majeed and Moeen ul Haq to become the Foreign Secretary shall be eliminated because both of them would retire from service in the meantime.

Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, in this scenario, shall be the sole candidate in terms of seniority. It may however be mentioned here that it is not always mandatory for the powers-that-be to appoint the senior most officer as the Foreign Secretary. In the recent past, we have seen some junior officers being elevated to this prestigious post. During PM Nawaz Shairf time when Tariq Fatemi was the Prime Minister Assistant on foreign affairs- in fact the de facto Foreign Minister – he appointed a junior officer as the Foreign Secretary. In protest, the senior officers who were bypassed preferred to leave the job instead working under a junior officer.

Sources say the possibility of appointment of a junior officer as the next Foreign Secretary is possible even now. But this practice, by and large, is not welcomed by anyone. Even the officer, who is given out of the turn promotion, does not feel comfortable in wielding his or her authority. 

Army chief attends war games in Sialkot: ISPR

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 12 (DNA) – Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has attended the closing session of corps level war game in Sialkot where he was briefed on planning parameters and conduct modalities of the exercise, the military said on Saturday.

The ISPR said the war game was based on the defensive operations cycle of a corps under a conventional battlefield environment in line with Operational and Planning Directives of the Pakistan army.

The COAS appreciated sound planning and befitting application of varying operational response options to crystallise future plans in view of evolving threat matrix.           

Earlier, on his arrival COAS was received by Corps Commander Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir. The COAS also visited troops undergoing field training near Kotli  at the conclusion of Corps level Field exercise “Takskheer-e-Jabal”.

The COAS was briefed about conduct of ongoing exercise aimed at enhancing preparedness of formations for various defensive and offensive manoeuvres in mountainous/ semi mountainous terrain. Troops rehearsed tactical/ operational responses to various contingencies under testing conditions.

General Bajwa also interacted with the participating troops. Appreciating hard work, high morale and professionalism of troops, COAS expressed satisfaction over conduct of the exercise.

“Realistic and futuristic training corresponding to evolving threats is imperative for maintaining operational readiness,” the COAS remarked. Earlier, on his arrival COAS was received by Corps Commander Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas.  = DNA

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Pakistan moving towards economic stability after long time: Fawad Ch

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 11 (DNA) – Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said on Friday that all economic indicators of Pakistan are positive and the country is moving towards economic stability after a long time.

In a twitter message, he said that the opposition should learn to differentiate between reforms and accountability so that electoral and judicial reforms could be discussed. “Political and economic stability was made possible only because the people and institutions had full confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.

Special Advisor to Prime Minister (SAPM) Shahbaz Gill said Imran Khan set out to fix the economy after taking over the government with the worst deficits in the history. He further said; “The international organizations are now testifying that Pakistan s economy is moving in the right direction.”

“Special measures to make the life of common man easier will be the focus of this budget,” he said.On the other hand, Senator Faisal Javed said in a tweet that passage of the bill to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis in the National Assembly is fortunate. It is the right of overseas Pakistanis.

“It is clear from the criticism posed by opposition towards the bill that they only want legislation that serves their personal interests. Indeed, the opposition wants to bargain on public legislation” said Faisal Javed.

Faisal Javed further remarked that the bill to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis will get approved from Senate as well. In the past, patriotic overseas Pakistanis were not considered an asset of Pakistan. = DNA

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SOUL-SEARCHING TO COUNTERING HATE

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Wajeeha Bilal

When we have been raised in multi-cultural and multi-national surroundings, everyone around us looks so much like us that it affects us in some way or the other. They touch our lives, and it impacts our emotions from childhood. We find ways to make friends with them and express care for them in our own way.

As we think of our childhood; playing with children from different countries and different faiths, every day seemed like a celebration. This idea of being able to care for the people who live on this earth just like us, seems like a dream. We do not want to be the ones hurting them, we want to be the ones providing comfort. The feeling of joy and care enters our thoughts and memories. It becomes a part of who we are as humans. Whenever possible, we try to take a dab of that bliss from our childhood into our adult lives. We look for ways to experience joy with our fellow humans, as we did when we were little.

At the same time, it can be absolutely difficult to absorb the hateful realities of humankind, when our childhood has been nourished by love and care for our fellow humans. Maybe our caring nature makes it impossible to accept the adult world with its heinous crimes. The loving memories that have a deep impact in our lives are so strong that it is hard to imagine what we witness daily. Humanity seems to have ended with the passage of childhood. We are not the ones caring for others, rather we are the ones watching and witnessing these acts of horror. Watching in silence is burdensome for every soul that is trying to survive daily, and these hateful crimes rest heavy on the heart. A helpless void captivates our daily lives.

In what the officials had claimed was a planned and premeditated attack motivated by hate, a man driving a truck crashed and killed four members of a Muslim family in the south of Canada’s Ontario province. It not only brought back painful memories of a Quebec City Mosque mass shooting in January 2017 by a white supremacist and a driving rampage in Toronto that killed 10 people in April 2018, but it is also a proof of hate and Islamophobia in the western society. We were also reminded of the most brutal terrorism act in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in 2019, when an Australian extremist targeted some of the city’s mosques in an insidious terrorist act. Officials believe that the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.

It is a big struggle to understand the hateful nature of such condemnable acts of terrorism. These despicable acts of hate and terrorism point to a human nature devoid of affection and care. Insidious hatred and terrorism seem to be getting out of control for everyone who helplessly witness massive trauma. We try to take control of the situation and understand that it is our responsibility, everything that we had cared for growing up, cannot die with the passage of time. When we feel saddened by hateful crimes, we must try to give respect to the victims in the best way we can. When we pay homage to a life, we give our share of respect for the life that has existed. We find a way to stand by the life that has suffered and against the terrorist who took away the innocent life. We do not forget to honor those who have suffered. So, we put on our armor of rightful thoughts, words and actions and stand against those who spread hate and terror. Our efforts start adding meaning to the hopeless and meaningless ways of the world. Alongside the news of hate are our efforts of love to make the world understand that there are people who care and stand with unity. We realize that the only way to make life meaningful is to help the world see where our loyalties belong.

The spark is ignited through our words and thoughts as we find the will and courage to stand with the victims of hate and oppression. Making people understand the worthiness of those who are considered less noble by them is the most difficult task in this war against hate. People who inflict islamophobia and white supremacist terrorism suffer from superiority complex. You might feel like a dead person when the memories of your childhood are slaughtered by the images of daily hatred, but as soon as you enter the war to counter daily hate and phobia, life becomes meaningful, and joys of innocence seem worthy of recalling. When world leaders globally condemn acts of violence and people like us raise voices against hateful notions, the terrorists have no choice but to suffer the very consequence of the seeds of hate that they aim to sow. People are bound to change or face the consequences. Our message of unity is for the entire human race. It is bound to end up being a massive success.

Going through the emotional pain of witnessing hate, you might not think of life as meaningful, but every life has its own path. And so does yours that is not apart from the world but is a part of its unity.

(Wajeeha has authored “The Conscious Ego”, “The Beautiful Present”)

ARMY CHIEF LAUDS BUSINESS COMMUNITY FOR ECONOMIC UPLIFT OF PAKISTAN

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DNA

RAWALPINDI, JUN 9 – Members Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

During the meeting, FPCCI’s role in the development of commercial and industrial hubs in Pakistan as well as evolving regional economic environment discussed.

COAS appreciated role of business community in economic uplift of Pakistan and affirmed Pakistan Army’s complete support.

The delegation acknowledged Pakistan Army’s role and sacrifices in provision of secure enabling environment for economic prosperity in Pakistan.

Pfizer vaccine only for pilgrims, people on study/work visa: NCOC

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 08 (DNA) – National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has issued new guidelines for the Pfizer vaccine and announced that the Pfizer vaccine can be vaccinated to 18 and above.

The NCOC said Pfizer vaccine is available in limited stock in Pakistan and it will be administered to outgoing pilgrims for Hajj, people want to travel for study and work visas.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan said that vaccines would only be administered to people with weak immunity.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Dr Faisal said that 51,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines are being distributed. Punjab province would receive most of the doses-26,000- followed by 12,000 and 8,000 doses of the vaccine to be provided to Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces, the SAPM shared.

Dr Faisal said that the Balochistan province would receive 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. “Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir will get 1,000 doses,” he said adding that Pfizer would be administered in 15 cities of the country due to the presence of ultracold chain refrigerators.

Moreover, the National Ministry of Health has issued guidelines for use of Pfizer vaccine in the country that is among the last vaccines allowed by DRAP for use to tackle COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the guidelines, the vaccine would be kept in minus 60 to 80 degrees centigrade and any contact with light should be avoided. However, it could be placed at room temperature after six hours of its preparation.

The guidelines further read that one bottle of the Pfizer vaccine would carry six doses and its second dose would be administered after 21 days. The vaccine would be transported in thermal shipping containers in order to maintain a specific temperature besides being stored in ultra-cold chain freezers.

“The temperature of the cold storage unit would be recorded daily and a special kit would also be supplied along with the vaccine,” it said.The guidelines read that vial of the Pfizer vaccine should not be opened before use. = DNA

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UNIDO PAKISTAN PROMOTING EARLY ADOPTION OF FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (INDUSTRY 4.0)

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 8 – United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized a national stakeholder’s workshop on “Unleashing the potential of industry 4.0 in developing countries”. The aim for organizing this workshop was to bring onboard stakeholders from public and private sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities, and find a way forward to promote industry 4.0 in Pakistan.

Opening the national stakeholders’ workshop, the chief guest, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO of Ignite National Technology Fund (a non-profit company owned by the Government of Pakistan and administered by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication) commended the efforts of UNIDO, and said “This is a much needed discussion and the impact of 4IR is inevitable. This revolution will boost entrepreneurship and ecosystem in Pakistan”. He also opined that he believed that a component of Industry 4.0 in that policy would further glorify and help industries in competing at a global level.

Dr Bernado Calzadilla Sarmiento, Managing Director, Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-Business, UNIDO HQ Vienna in his remarks said “One of the six priority themes of UNIDO is Industry 4.0. It has the potential to improve productivity and competitiveness, increase energy and resource efficiency and effectiveness and hence to protect the environment. I am sanguine that Industry 4.0 and Society 5.0 will significantly contribute towards inclusive and sustainable industrialization in Pakistan.”

Speaking to the audience, Mr. Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator for Pakistan shared the importance of inclusivity particlualy woman and ecologically sustaibale solutions and said, ”If we look at how pakistan has done in this last year. We have done relatively well compared to other countries in the revovery post covid. The latestest tarde numbers and export numbers are showing a recovery which is shows two challenges in the country over all export numbers are low compared to countries similar to size and dimensions. The other is the economy that we have in pakistan is not the economy that is working for everyone especially women and the people who fall under the poverty line. He extended, “What is exciting about the technological changes we are seeing, If we think about it, we can change the dynamics; we can change the industry bring prosperity not only to the country but prosperity spread across the country and reaches the poor and above all prosperity that reaches women. This is the biggest development challenge in Pakistan.” he also remarked. “We have to have ecologically sustainable growth. Ecological elements of technological revolutions today are absolutely essential”.

Earlier in her welcome remarks, Ms. Nadia Aftab, UNIDO Country Representative, shared her thoughts with the audience and said, ”Since 1968, UNIDO in Pakistan has extensive and successful portfolio in industrial development cooperation. Industry 4.0 can help in achieving inclusive and sustainable development, also assuring the preservation of resources on behalf of future generations. Indeed, it is essential that technological and industrial developments allow the achievement of environmental, economic and, of course, social sustainability objectives”. She extended that there was a lot of potential in Pakistan to adhere to Industry 4.0 and be part of the Industry 4.0 bandwagon.”

More than 500 participants were engaged in an interactive workshop, including more than 100 women professionals. The discussions focused on the mega trends and key concepts of Industry 4.0, its potential applications in developing countries; and Policy Framework and Government’s Role. The discussions from the panellists lead to a way forward for Industry 4.0 that can be leveraged for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in Pakistan. Gender aspect in Industry 4.0 was also brought into discussion which extended how women in technology and industrial sector can excel especially as entrepreneurs. 

UNIDO is specialized agency of United Nations focusing on inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the developing world. UNIDO works on different projects which are directly or indirectly related to inclusive and sustainable industrial development, Climate Change, Trade etc. In all projects where UNIDO provides technical assistance, it is ensured that project is sustainable and adaptable for the private sector.  UNIDO is fully working on its theme of ISID (Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development) which refers active participation of women along with men in all aspects of Inclusive and Sustainable industrial development. For more information, please visit website https://www.unido.org  and http://unidogefpakistan.org.pk

A BRIEF PRELUDE OF INTRA-ASEAN COOPERATION

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Khalid Taimur Akram

The advanced mechanism in international relations has been going through a profound transformation and evolutionary development. New regionalism or regionalization has emerged as a significant trend in international affairs. Now, countries have deepened cooperation among other states and region.

Along with the explicit benefits these processes bring, fundamental pillars of the new regionalism are institutions and organizations that provide integrated platforms. It builds qualitatively modern forms of interactions.The interdependence of markets exerts reciprocal influence on the dynamics of economic processes in various regions and strengthens trade relationships. In this aspect, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is aninclusive model for extensive collaboration.

It is a front runner and substantially increasesthe socio-economic development of Asia Pacific regional countries while enhancing multilateral cooperation. Apart from the regional economic, social and cultural development, ASEAN has an ambitious agenda to promote regional peace and stability by adhering to justice and the rule of law in the inter-state relationships. In its more than 40 years of history, ASEAN has steadily progressed in internal economic integration.

In 2003, the ASEAN leaders established an ASEAN integrated community comprising three pillars: security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community. In this aspect, it can be seen that the ASEAN countries are inclined towards resolving their internal disputes, combating Non-Traditional Security (NTS) threats vis-à-vis cooperation under the ASEAN framework, and contributing to the stability of the Asia Pacific region.Therefore, the paper explains the intra-ASEAN cooperative patterns and highlights the profound developments in recent times. The study also provides aprofound analysis of thesocio-economic and political structure of ASEAN.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC): A Robust Intra-StateFramework

ASEAN is amid three major pillars, i.e., political security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community. The ASEAN Economic Community(AEC)focusedon wider economic integration.In 2015, its establishment paved the way for implementing its blueprint in recent times.The primary AEC goals incorporatemultiple sectoral dimensions.  There are various transformative mechanisms of ASEAN’s economic integration that are interconnected.AEC is an ‘’FTA-Plus’’ economic integration, and it targets the level of market integration, similar to those of the Economic Partnership Agreement. Thus, it is highly praised for its integration and steady development process.  The broader vision of AEC2025 aims to participate in the global value chainand attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Furthermore, it can be evaluated as a successful model of broader association among different countries.

ASEAN envisions AEC2025 as a great achievement towards hybrid alignment in the economic framework. Moreover, it has been perceived that itsenhanced collaboration withsectoral cooperation, resilient structure, and people-centered communityassociated with the global economy would result in a boon for all parties involved. It has five majortenants and multiple key features that are beingcomprehensively described in the table below:

Tenants  Features
A highlyprogressive and integrated economyGoods & servicesConducive strategies for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)Financial sustainabilityFacilitating workforce and business sectorEnhancing participation in global value chains  
  Enhanced cooperation-sectoral developmentAcademic cooperation&E-Commerce, Energy, Food, agriculture and forestryTourismHealthcareTransport
A competitive, transforming & dynamic structure of ASEAN  Digital economy Research and developmentScience & Technological advancement.Tariff’s feasibility Good governance, regulatory reformsResponsive regulations RegimesSustainable economic growthResolving trade-related Issues
A resilient, inclusive, people-oriented ASEANFacilitating the micro&medium enterprises (SMEs) EncouragingPublic-private partnershipsCombining allstakeholders to contribute to regional peace
Global ASEANDevelop coherent and investment-friendlyincentives for maintaining external economic relation Playing constructive role at other international platforms Maintain economic alliance with non-FTA dialogue partners

The Intra-State ASEAN’s framework details mentioned abovereflect that these countriesare likely to gaineconomic benefit from FTA in future and further foster collaborative measures vis-à-vis reinvigorating financial stability, maintaining investment flows, technology transfer, reducing intra-regional transactions costs to doing business, and supporting policy reform. Moreover, it is also expected that the ASEAN’s new member states would also maximizelucrative outcomes from the socio-economic integration projects in the region and beyond. The broader regional arrangements will help ASEAN countries overcome the conflictby adhering toneeded reforms whileassisting in information sharing for conflict resolution and crisis management.

Flexible Paradigm of ASEAN and Regional Integration Theory

The origins of regional integration theory can be traced back to Viner’s study in 1950. His workformulated a structure for analyzing the effect of creating trade &customs union or regional/international organizations for regulating the governments. The pillars of the regional integration theory amid broader economic aspects. It seeks to explain the establishment of regional or international organizations. In this aspect, the theory also answers the major question ofhow regional organizations expand their targets, competencies, and members? and what impact they have on states and societies in their regions?ASEAN is a supranational body that has transnational corporations and interest groups encouraged by the integration process. Therefore, the ASEAN framework can be seen through the prism of the regional integration theory of international relations. The wider association enables a variety of ripple impactsand path-dependencies that takeconnectivity beyond the regional confines. ASEAN covers the establishment and progress of supranational policies. The member states promote beneficiaries of socio-economic progress. In this aspect, the wider integration has remained successful because of several reasons:

  1. Robust interstate trade/commerce strategies
  2. Durable liberalization policies while setting high goals
  3. The significant role of the FDI companies
  4. Promotion of trade with countries outside the ASEAN region
  5. Efforts to curtail intra-regional disparities
  6. Upgrading and developing the transportation infrastructure

Indonesia’s Substantial Role in Fostering Intra-ASEAN Socio-Economic Structure

Indonesia is the major economic power in the ASEAN region. Moreover, it has played a pivotal role as a mediator between other ASEAN-states in resolving their disputes.  Within ASEAN, Indonesia enjoys aleading position.  Pakistan has the status of Sectoral Dialogue Partner (SDP) in ASEAN.  Indonesia has been helping Pakistan to attain the status of a full dialogue partner in the organization. The relationship between Indonesia and Pakistan has marked significant progress in recent times.  The valuable asset of the relation is that the ASEAN countries are convinced of Pakistan’s sincere intentions to engage fruitfully with the region. In this aspect, ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Committee works effectively to seek deeper association with the Asia Pacific and ASEAN countries. Presently, China’s engagement with ASEAN has increased manifold. Both are linked via multilateral frameworks, institutional involvements, constructive engagements, and aid programs. Moreover, the ASEAN countries are directly part of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) projects. Therefore, the full inclusion of China as a member state in ASEAN would be beneficial for the region and all parties involved.

Khalid Taimur Akram is the  Executive Director, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad

EXPERTS STRESS IMPORTANCE OF OCEAN HEALTH AT IPS WEBINAR ON WORLD OCEANS DAY

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DNA

Karachi/Islamabad, 8 June 2021: Mapping and development of strategic human and natural resources in the maritime sector is the need of the hour to sow the seeds of blue economic revolution in Pakistan.

This was the crux of the views expressed by maritime policy experts and marine scientists at a webinar titled ‘The Ocean: Life, Livelihood and Sustainability – Opportunities and Challenges for Pakistan’, which was organized on the eve of World Oceans Day 2021 by Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in collaboration with University of Karachi, National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), and Maritime Study Forum (MSF).https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-7078513716629609&output=html&h=280&adk=230062724&adf=2510378044&pi=t.aa~a.2356292401~i.10~rp.4&w=696&fwrn=4&fwrnh=100&lmt=1623147699&num_ads=1&rafmt=1&armr=3&sem=mc&pwprc=2527759049&psa=1&ad_type=text_image&format=696×280&url=https%3A%2F%2Fislamabadpost.com.pk%2Fexperts-stress-importance-of-ocean-health-at-ips-webinar-on-world-oceans-day%2F&flash=0&fwr=0&pra=3&rh=174&rw=696&rpe=1&resp_fmts=3&wgl=1&fa=27&adsid=ChAI8Kr8hQYQueHGxqj0_a0TEjkA9cGHIl8dDn2_7XI2QqK-5_H9QnLvKiVOvJug9RhMh2XmkWK3eNu40M6QaWyUx6JILN8dE_PUG9Y&uach=WyJXaW5kb3dzIiwiNi4xIiwieDg2IiwiIiwiOTEuMC40NDcyLjc3IixbXV0.&dt=1623147699211&bpp=4&bdt=7334&idt=-M&shv=r20210603&cbv=%2Fr20190131&ptt=9&saldr=aa&abxe=1&cookie=ID%3D2cab8dd1d7a97507-2251d758ada700c6%3AT%3D1619371132%3ART%3D1619371132%3AS%3DALNI_MbCWjL6fpbAI7C_Q4Gb9OcZB0P5kA&prev_fmts=0x0%2C1200x280&nras=3&correlator=6791700173158&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=400380057.1623147695&ga_sid=1623147695&ga_hid=2130674516&ga_fc=0&u_tz=300&u_his=4&u_java=0&u_h=768&u_w=1366&u_ah=728&u_aw=1366&u_cd=24&u_nplug=3&u_nmime=4&adx=141&ady=1609&biw=1349&bih=600&scr_x=0&scr_y=0&eid=42530672&oid=3&pvsid=1925115839950766&pem=180&eae=0&fc=1408&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1366%2C0%2C1366%2C728%2C1366%2C600&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7Cs%7C&abl=NS&fu=128&bc=31&ifi=3&uci=a!3&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=eIwPTwKt5m&p=https%3A//islamabadpost.com.pk&dtd=111

The webinar was chaired by Ambassador (r) Syed Abrar Hussain, IPS’ vice chairman and addressed by Dr Azhar Ahmad, associate professor, Bahria University, Dr Nuzhat Khan, former director general, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Nisar A. Memon, technocrat and former chairman of the parliamentary committee on water resources, Dr Asma Tabassum, manager ORIC, Karachi University, Naghmana Zafar, senior research fellow, NIMA, Naufil Shahrukh, GM Operations, IPS and general secretary, Maritime Study Forum (MSF), while Commander Moeed, Lt Cdr Imran, and Lt Jameel represented the PMSA. The session was moderated by Hafiz Inamullah Khan, deputy manager outreach at IPS.

The discussants were of the view that developing aquaculture is critical for enhancing the livelihood means and skills of the fisherfolk coastal communities of Pakistan, which populate the 1001km long coastline of the country in large numbers. Research done in universities can help them in developing aquaculture in their coastal villages for algae, sea grasses, and several other valuable biological species having great economical, medicinal and environmental importance.

A lot of meaningful research focusing the marine resources of Pakistan has already been carried out in Karachi University, Bahria University and other universities and research institutions, however the government’s apathy and lack of interest in the industrial sector to invest in R&D and commercialize available academic research is a big hurdle that needs to be overcome, they deplored.https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-7078513716629609&output=html&h=280&adk=230062724&adf=1934099346&pi=t.aa~a.2356292401~i.16~rp.4&w=696&fwrn=4&fwrnh=100&lmt=1623147700&num_ads=1&rafmt=1&armr=3&sem=mc&pwprc=2527759049&psa=1&ad_type=text_image&format=696×280&url=https%3A%2F%2Fislamabadpost.com.pk%2Fexperts-stress-importance-of-ocean-health-at-ips-webinar-on-world-oceans-day%2F&flash=0&fwr=0&pra=3&rh=174&rw=696&rpe=1&resp_fmts=3&wgl=1&fa=27&adsid=ChAI8Kr8hQYQueHGxqj0_a0TEjkA9cGHIl8dDn2_7XI2QqK-5_H9QnLvKiVOvJug9RhMh2XmkWK3eNu40M6QaWyUx6JILN8dE_PUG9Y&uach=WyJXaW5kb3dzIiwiNi4xIiwieDg2IiwiIiwiOTEuMC40NDcyLjc3IixbXV0.&dt=1623147699146&bpp=3&bdt=7268&idt=3&shv=r20210603&cbv=%2Fr20190131&ptt=9&saldr=aa&abxe=1&cookie=ID%3D2cab8dd1d7a97507-2251d758ada700c6%3AT%3D1619371132%3ART%3D1619371132%3AS%3DALNI_MbCWjL6fpbAI7C_Q4Gb9OcZB0P5kA&prev_fmts=0x0%2C1200x280%2C696x280%2C324x250&nras=5&correlator=6791700173158&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=400380057.1623147695&ga_sid=1623147695&ga_hid=2130674516&ga_fc=0&u_tz=300&u_his=4&u_java=0&u_h=768&u_w=1366&u_ah=728&u_aw=1366&u_cd=24&u_nplug=3&u_nmime=4&adx=141&ady=2207&biw=1349&bih=600&scr_x=0&scr_y=0&eid=42530672&oid=3&pvsid=1925115839950766&pem=180&eae=0&fc=1408&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1366%2C0%2C1366%2C728%2C1366%2C600&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7Cs%7C&abl=NS&fu=128&bc=31&ifi=4&uci=a!4&btvi=3&fsb=1&xpc=rqHDKDBAfQ&p=https%3A//islamabadpost.com.pk&dtd=987

Integrated coastal zone management and strict enforcement of national and international environmental laws to protect the sea and its resources was also emphasized by the speakers.

During the discussion in the webinar, it was highlighted that all over the world coastal communities are better off because the coastal areas are more developed. But in Pakistan, except for Karachi, the entire coast has remained neglected. Although CPEC has given a fillip to the maritime sector, more concerted efforts are required to impart modern training and necessary skills in all elements of blue economy.

The National Maritime Policy, promulgated in 2002, was revised in draft form almost a decade back but could not be finalized so far, which the discussants termed as apathy and nonchalance for maritime affairs on the part of the policymakers. Pakistan needs a comprehensive maritime policy which should be formulated by taking all the stakeholders on board, it was urged.

The speakers lauded the efforts of IPS to address sea blindness in Pakistan and help create a maritime research community engaging universities and think tanks across the country. To enhance awareness of the oceans and maritime sector, introduction of the subject in the educational curriculum at various levels was also advocated.

Commenting on the deteriorating ocean health, the discussants urged the PMSA to take the lead in enforcing environmental laws strictly by creating synergies among the environmental protection agencies of Sindh and Balochistan and the local governments of the coastal districts of both the provinces.

Turkish airports see 30M passengers in January-May

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ANKARA – The number of air passengers in Turkey-including transit passengers-totaled 30 million in the first five months of 2021, the country’s airport authority announced on Monday.

During the January-May period, the country’s airports served a total of 18.4 million domestic and 11 million international passengers, the General Directorate of the State Airports Authority (DHMI) data showed.

Airports in the country served 467,160 planes-including overflights. Air cargo traffic registered at around 1 million tons, according to the DHMI figures.

The top most crowded airports Istanbul Airport and Ataturk Airport-both in the country’s largest metropolitan city — saw a total of 19,808 aircraft during the same period.

In May alone, Turkey served 5.5 million passengers, 82,120 aircraft, and 227,232 tons of mail and cargo.

U.S. to unveil human trafficking steps; Harris visits Guatemala

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WASHINGTON – The United States is expected on Monday to announce steps to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in Guatemala, a senior U.S. official said, as Vice President Kamala Harris visits the region to try to lower migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle countries.

Harris’ trip to Guatemala and Mexico this week is likely to emphasize cooperation with non-government organizations, amid some criticism from local officials over the timing and thrust of her mission to curb migration to the United States from the region, advisers and experts said.

The focus on civil society could be a sore point in Mexico, which sent a diplomatic note to Washington in May complaining about U.S. support for a group that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador considers to be part of the political opposition.

Speaking as Harris flew to Guatemala, a senior U.S. official said that in addition to announcing the steps to combat human trafficking, the Biden administration hoped on Monday to unveil anti-corruption measures in the Central American nation.

The vice president’s first overseas trip since taking office, which began on Sunday, will focus on economic development, climate and food insecurity and women’s issues, White House officials say.

Harris’s advisers said she will meet community leaders, workers and entrepreneurs, and have sought to lower short-term expectations from the three-day trip, highlighting her focus on root causes for migration such as corruption that have plagued the countries for years.

Harris landed in Guatemala on Sunday and was to fly to Mexico on Tuesday where she will spend the day.

“This trip is not about having a fully fleshed out plan for the region…but hopefully understanding what the direction is,” Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, who participated in a meeting Harris convened about problems in the region.

A key measure of success for Harris’s trip will be whether she can show that the United States cares about creating legal pathways for migration from the region, Selee said.

After President Joe Biden took office in January, the number of migrants taken into custody by U.S. agents per month on the Mexican border rose to the highest levels in 20 years. In March, Biden tasked Harris with lowering migration from the ‘Northern Triangle’ countries- Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Since then, Harris has met with civil society leaders, announced additional aid of $310 million for the region, and secured investment commitments from companies included Microsoft . The Biden administration has also committed to sharing vaccines with both countries.

Mazin Alfaqih, a special adviser to Harris for the Northern Triangle region, told reporters on June 1 the administration understands that foreign assistance alone can not tackle the problems in the region.

“We hope that the vice president’s first visit shows that she, and the United States, are standing with the people and communities organizing for change, and not with corrupt and abusive government officials,” said Lisa Haugaard, co-director of the Latin America Working Group, another participant in the Harris meeting.

In May, some Central American leaders pushed back on the Biden administration’s anti-corruption strategy, which included releasing a list labeling 17 regional politicians as corrupt.

Mexico’s diplomatic note in May asked the United States to suspend financial backing for Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI), a group Lopez Obrador says seeks to undermine his government.

Harris Mexico visit comes as Mexicans elect a new lower house of Congress, state governors and local lawmakers, in a race seen as a referendum on Lopez Obrador’s efforts to shake up the country’s institutions.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Mexican government official said the timing of Harris’s visit was not ideal and, expected the Mexican government to keep the talks low-key as the results of its biggest ever elections were processed.

US envoy Khalilzad departs for travel to Kabul, Doha, region to boost Peace Process

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KABUL, June 06 (DNA): A U.S delegation led by Zalmay Khalilzad, special envoy for the Afghanistan peace process have departed to travel to Kabul, Doha and the regional countries for boosting the peace process which have been rocket for several last months.

The delegation led by Khalilzad includes U.S National Security Council, US Department of Defense and USAID, said the media note of the Department of State.

The delegation will meet the Afghan government leaders, politicians, and civil society groups to hear their opinions about the peace process.

This comes as the Afghanistan Peace Process was paused for the last couple of weeks with no progress, however violence and war have dramatically increased throughout Afghanistan, in many cases, several districts fell in the hands of the Taliban and some military groups surrendered to the Taliban.

This comes as that Pakistan, a prominent neighbor to Afghanistan which apparently has a critical role in the Afghanistan peace process, has recently warned of possibilities of a chaos and civil war post U.S forces withdrawal, the Afghan local media reported Sunday. NNI

CHINESE TRYING TO SELL ‘OBSOLETE’ DVB TECH TO PAKISTAN

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According to the studies on the DVB-T, India, Afghanistan, And Indian Occupied Kashmir all are on DVB-T technology and if PTV adopts DTMB technology then Pakistan will be limiting it’s terrestrial beam to within the confines of Pakistani territory and will not be viewed outside Pakistan

Special Report

ISLAMABAD: The Chinese are trying to sell to Pakistan Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast (DTMB) technology, which is almost ‘obsolete’ and will not benefit Pakistani official TV channel PTV, in any case.

Government has some big plans for the digitalization of national broadcaster PTV for which plans are afoot, sources confided to this scribe.

However, what is depressing is that Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast (DTMB) being adopted by the PTV has no popular acceptance worldwide and is less compatible when compared with the very vogue Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial (DVB-T).

According to the studies on the DVB-T, India, Afghanistan, And Indian Occupied Kashmir all are on DVB-T technology and if PTV adopts DTMB technology then Pakistan will be limiting it’s terrestrial beam to within the confines of Pakistani territory and will not be viewed outside Pakistan.

According to tech experts, the DTMB is still under testing phase and apart from China other countries did not adopt it, yet, as most of the research work is still going on this technology. China itself is in the process of improving this technology.

Technical experts believe that a lot of factors need to be considered before adopting the DTMB in Pakistan. Firstly, a digital antenna and receiver will be required to receive the DTMB and the cost per household to receive the transmission will not be less than Rs 6000. Then a very less number of Digital Smart TVs are in use due to the high price. If the DTMB will broadcast HD channels, the user should have equipment to receive the digital HD channels.  Thus this is not cost effective option as long as our people are concerned.

The tech experts also raised the question whether the spectrum required to broadcast is available or it has already been allocated and auctioned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and that what will be the roll of PEMRA and the PTA to regulate the DTMB.

The tech experts threw their weight behind the DVBT technology saying it is the most widely used digital television standard in use around the globe for terrestrial television transmissions.

It provides many facilities and enables a far more efficient use of the available radio frequency spectrum than the previous analogue transmissions. The DVB-T makes use of many modern technologies to enable it to deliver high quality video in a broadcast environment. It is capable of carrying a very significant level of data. Normally several television broadcasts may be carried on a single transmission and in addition to this several radio channels may be carried as well. As a result, each transmission is called a multiplex. With this technology one can get up to seventy free-to-air standard channels, 15 HD channels and around thirty radio services.

Covid-19: Punjab to fine teachers refusing to get vaccinated

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ISLAMABAD – The Punjab government has instructed teachers across the province to get vaccinated by June 5. According to a notification issued by the Punjab School Education Department, the decision was announced on the instructions of the National Command and Operation Centre.

All teaching and non-teaching staff members will have to submit their vaccination cards/certificates to their institutions. Those who fail to do so will be punished under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline, and Accountability Act 2006.

The notification added that the institution’s head will be responsible for ensuring the inoculation of staff members.

Earlier this month, the government opened Covid-19 vaccination for all teachers above the age of 18 years. The aim is to immunise all the teachers before the schools reopen on Monday (June 7).

Punjab recently inaugurated a vaccination centre for teachers in Lahore.

There are 16,000 teachers and 4,000 non-teaching staff in the province. Teachers will have to take their CNICs and teaching certificates to the centres. They will be administered Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

Last week, the Sindh School Education Department said that any employee who fails to get vaccinated before schools reopen will face “dire consequences”.

Once inoculated, teachers have to submit their vaccination cards to the head of their institution. The government announced to establish over 180 Covid-19 vaccination centres in schools and colleges in every district of Sindh. The plan is to vaccinate 100,000 teachers.

GOVT. TO BRING ENVIRONMENTAL REVOLUTION: FAWAD

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 5 (DNA) – Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Saturday said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will bring an environmental revolution through forestation restoration and large-scale tree plantation in the country.

In his World Environment Day, message he said, for the first time in Pakistan, tree plantation and environmental friendly policies were being promoted at government level.  

The minister said, every human being on the earth should play their role for improvement of environment.

He said that it was need of hour that the international community should jointly play its role in the protection of the environment.

Fawad said that rising global temperatures, deforestation, melting glaciers are growing threat to world.

Imran Khan is the only Prime Minister with environment friendly vision who is running a global movement.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was sensitizing young generation and the world regarding importance of improving the environment.

 “PM Imran Khan’s efforts to improve environment and plant trees have been acknowledged globally,” the minister said.

He said that for the first time in Pakistan, policy of tree planting and eco-friendliness is being promoted with dedication and diligence. If the efforts of the government continued with the same commitment, significant results will be seen in the environmental sector in Pakistan.

Fawad said that the honor of hosting World Environment Day this year is indeed a global recognition of Pakistan’s eco-friendly initiatives. International organizations have appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to the environment, the minister said.

He said, “Nature has blessed us with all kinds of ecosystems, sea, coast, agricultural land, deserts, rivers and three top mountain ranges Hindu Kush, Himalayas and Karakoram”.

He said, that the word “Billion Tree” has become the identity of Pakistan and other countries are following the project.=DNA

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PM REMINDS RESOURCE-RICH COUNTRIES TO BE RESPONSIBLE IN TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 5 (DNA) – Reminding the rich countries of the world of their onus in capping the hazardous carbon emissions and contributing resources to help fight the climate change, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday also urged the nation to fully participate in government’s environment protection initiatives.

Addressing a ceremony of World Environment Day 2021, hosted by Pakistan, the prime minister said the governments across the world could not implement their policies of environment protection and preservation unless fully backed by the masses.

The whole nation, especially, youth must participate in his government’s launched initiatives like ‘Ten Billion Trees’ and ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’, he added.

The prime minister said it was a big honour to host the celebrations of the World Environment Day, as Pakistan’s efforts to tackle the global climate change challenges were recognized by the global community.

Pakistan has been ranked among the few countries of the world which had been deeply worried for the future of its coming generation due to increasing global warming impacts, he observed.

The prime minister underlined the need for making strenuous and sustained efforts to preserve the planet earth for the future generations.

He regretted that in Pakistan too, in past, no attention was paid to counter the issues like environment pollution, depletion of natural resources and deforestation.

He said they had successfully planted one billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during last five years.=DNA

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MENTAL HEALTH: ANXIETY AMONG MEN A GLOBAL ISSUE AND NEEDS A GLOBAL RESPONSE

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Mental disorder is a universal problem. There are more than 300 million people, that comprises of 4.4% population of the world are experiencing mental health conditions.Because mental sickness poses such an extraordinary threat to human health, it needs to be responded.

A mental health catastropheis approaching towards millions of people across the globe as people are under immense pressure due to unemployment, disease and isolation brought to us by Corona Virus Pandemic. As a result, frequent cases of abuse, gender base violence, and exploitation of substance have been observed at global scale.

Delays in treatment of person, who are suffering from mental sickness would have catastrophic impacts on societies. Mental health professionals should become a permanent part of health systems and their services need to be used more widely and more efficiently, because the longer treatment is delayed, the impacts would be difficult to endure. The paradigm from state to individuals focus attention more on individual, In order to reverse the trend of mental disordera global response is the need of the hour to counter this menace.There is an inclusive gap between the requirement for the treatment for mental illness and its delivery across the globe. The death rate is high among people who are suffering from any kind of mental illness. The economic and community-based impacts related to mental sickness is varied and across-the-board. People having any kind of mental sickness are deprived of career and revenue generation opportunities that creates hindrance in their way of economic stability and limiting their social status within a community.

Anxiety does not discriminate gender, men and women are equally affected by it but it has been taken into account that men are half likely to get diagnosed with anxiety disorder as compared to that of women. The reason for this may be the cultural norms or stereotyping particularly associated with men to suppress fear, emotions and other vulnerabilities. But the question of major concern raises that if these reasons are causing the distortion in our understanding and signifying the study or evaluating the anxiety problem among men. The Answer to this question is we are underestimating the fact that how common Anxiety disorder or mental condition among men is.

Men are always told not to act soft or emotional as this approach will make them weak and these characteristics are often associated with the women as fragile and emotional. There is a great deal of some clinical wisdom and evidence provided by the people who work in mental health and study men’s life that men do struggle with fear or emotional breakdown or depression because of several personal, cultural and societal reasons as well which often go without being regarded or tagged as Anxiety.

When critically evaluating or analyzing the problem of anxiety among men, the very first concern that arises is either the anxiety among men is different from that of women or if yes then how it differs among the genders. The answer to it is although anxiety attacks both genders but its expressions and symptoms do vary as we move from one gender to the other. Men do not experience anxiety in the same way as women do. Unlike women, men have been told times after times that how their muscularity or manly status can be influenced by talking about their emotions or how they are feeling and doing this would make them weak, low or unmanly. This reason may halt or affect the men to admit their problem and access to its possible treatments and solution.

Anxiety among men more often tends to come out in the form of anger and aggression. Men in our culture are more likely to get attached and encouraged to seek some different means of showing off their anxiety i.e.to use cigarette, alcohol or act in aggressive manner which are more acceptable ways to suppress their emotions or anxiety as compared to that of women’s ways of showing their anxiety-oriented behavior. A fact that we have known for several decades is that men commit suicide or take their lives four times the rate at which women do because of their low proportion of admitting the problem, exposure to the treatment and acceptance in society as a weak element.     Thus, there is a need to divert attention towards the Men’s mental health which is equally important to be studied and evaluated as women.

What one should do is to make the people around him/her feel that they don’t have to feel alone and ashamed and make them go to the medical help before they lose their battle with the anxiety. It is a high time to take the men’s mental health seriously as men’s minds also matter. There is a need to address the fact that anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not someone’s weakness rather it is a medical condition that could affect any gender and needs to be treated like any other disease. With the right kind of treatment most people recover from anxiety but the key to it is the sooner you admit it and seek the doctor’s or medical help the better it is.

About the Author:Tanawish Manzoor is a student of IR at the National Defense University, Islamabad.

PRESIDENT ORDERS BANKING MOHTASIB TO PROBE INTO UNWARRANTED FUNDS TRANSFER CASE

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ISLAMABAD, June 5 (DNA): To ensure dispensation of justice to public over their grievances against financial bodies, President Dr Arif Alvi set aside the findings of the Banking Mohtasib for dealing with the complaint of a bank account holder in a ‘causal manner’ and without taking into account the principles of justice and required standards of inquiry.

President Alvi directed the Banking Mohtasib to “process, enquire and deal with the complaint in accordance with law after affording the complainant an opportunity of hearing”.

The complainant Mrs Rubi Anwaar, an accountholder of Habib Bank Limited, Lahore, had filed a representation with the President of Pakistan with a request to take up the matter after the Banking Mohtasib closed her case without holding a proper inquiry. The Banking Mohtasib closed the case without providing her any opportunity for hearing.

The complainant had earlier informed the Banking Mohtasib that an amount of Rs.140,000 was transferred from her bank account without her knowledge. She mentioned that on pointing out the maladministration, the bank did not grant her any relief.

President Alvi expressing his displeasure over the handling of the case said the “whole process was lacking, rather absent and the complaint was closed summarily without due care and application of mind”.

“This type of disposition of the matter is uncalled for and unsustainable. The rights of the people cannot be trampled in an arbitrary manner,” he said in a written observation made on the case.

The president stressed that the Banking Mohtasib had the responsibility to give full opportunity of hearing to complainants and fulfill due process of law as the denial of justice caused pessimism and frustration in the society.

He noted that the relevant provisions of the Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962, which meant to be followed in inquiring and processing of such complaints, were ignored.

“Therefore, the representation is accepted and closure findings are set aside with the direction to the learned Banking Mohtasib Pakistan to process, enquire and deal with the complaint of the complainant/ petitioner in accordance with law after affording an opportunity of explaining her grievance and hearing her,” the President concluded in his order.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY: WORLD AIMS TO RESTORE ECOSYSTEM

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By Ali Basit

World Environment Day is celebrated each year on 5th June under the auspices of United Nations to spread worldwide awareness and encourage the nation-states to take action for the protection of their environment. Since 1974, this day is being held annually and has become one of the most important venue for stimulating the progress on the environmental dimensions as per the UN stated Sustainable Development Goals.

With the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at the helm, around 150 countries across the world would participate in this event along with other major corporations, non-governmental organizations, and civil societies in order to adopt the World Environment Day brand to surmount the environmental challenges. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ — a call for action to synergize global efforts to recover the ecosystemsthat have been degraded. 

Before going into the degradation factors of our ecosystem and how they pose challenge to the human environment, there is a need to shed a light on what actually the ecosystem is. It is a community of living and non-living organisms along with their natural habitat and the non-living components of their environment. It includes two major components; biotic and abiotic. The abiotic components are the non-living element of the system such as Air, Water, Sunlight, Nutrients and Temperature. Whereas the biotic components are all the living organisms existing in the system like plants, animals, fungi, micro-organisms and humans.

The degradation of ecosystems is an environmental problem that reduces the capacity of species to survive. The rate of environment and ecological degradation was highest in the past 50 years than any time in history. It occurs when Earth’s natural resources like water, air and soil are depleted due to natural factors (storms, floods, and wildfires), biodiversity loss, agricultural practices, faulty land use, and pollution due to anthropogenic activities and release of pollutants by human activities. Thus, greatly impacts our wildlife, plants, animals and microorganisms. Moreover, ineffective international policies leave the future of the environment in a critical state with carbon dioxide level rising out of control. It is predicted that the Earth’s temperature will increase by 11 °F by the end of the century.

Our ecosystems are really important, if we keep polluting them, we would soon go extinct and Earth would not be habitable ecosystem ever. Human pressures have already transformed the majority of the world’s ecosystems by destroying and degrading marine and other aquatic habitats, undermining the services they used to provide us. Therefore, ecological restoration is mandatory for biological community and economic benefits of the people. It is a process that assists in the recovery and management of ecological integrity (variability in ecological processes and structures, sustainable cultural practices and biodiversity). Approaches used for the restoration of ecology include Reclamation (deals with the minimization of the degradation process), Rehabilitation (aims at bringing the damaged ecosystem to a functional one), Re-vegetation (establishment of grass cover, seeding the shrubs and herbs on degraded sites), and Ecological Engineering (rebuilding of ecosystem based on designed eco-friendly techniques). 

            According to a latest report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) stated that around one million plant and animal species are facing extinction. The result of this extinction may increase the losses in biodiversity thus, encouraging the spread of infectious diseases and viruses. According to a 2019 report by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “natural forests are declined by 6.5 million hectares per year between 2010 and 2015 (in total, an area larger than the UK) and natural wetlands declined by 35% between 1970 and 2015.”

The report further noted that “over 30% of corals are now at risk from bleaching, and 60% of vertebrate populations have disappeared since 1970.” These significant changes are driven by land-use change, over-exploitation of natural resources including plants and animals, pollution, invasive alien species (threaten biodiversity by crossbreeding with local species and bringing diseases) and climate change.According to an estimationby OECD, the biodiversity services are worth an estimated US $125-140 trillion per year, more than one and a half times the size of global GDP. However, due to the continuous declineofecosystem, it reducing nature’s capacity to contribute to people’s well-being.

On this year’s environment day, Pakistan has announced to host World Environment Day 2021 in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This year’s observance of World Environment Day will mark the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2030.Led by PM Khan, the Government of Pakistan plans to expand and restore the country’s forests through a 10 Billion Tree Tsunami spread over 5 years. The campaign includes restoring mangroves and forests, as well as planting trees in urban settings, including schools, colleges, public parks and green belts. Pakistan has launched an Ecosystem Restoration Fund to support nature-based solutions to climate change and facilitate the transition towards environmentally resilient, ecologically targeted initiatives covering afforestation and biodiversity conservation.Recently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan launched the Protected Area Initiative to develop 15 model protected areas across the country to conserve over 7300 sq. km of land area and create over 5,500 green jobs. As host of World Environment Day, Pakistan will highlight environmental issues and showcase the country’s own initiatives and its role in global efforts.

The hope resides in the possibility that we can reverse the changing trends of ecosystems by reconstructing our relationship with the nature and transforming the environmental infrastructure. Apprehending the importance of issue in hand, Pakistan Navy is going an extra mile by stepping up its efforts for preventing degradation of ecosystems and preserving nature for country’s future. Pakistan Navy celebrates World Environment day every year by arranging a number of activities on this Day to limelight the significance of environment in Pakistan. These activities includevarious lectures and seminars on the importanceof the day to promote public awareness, cleaning campaigns in Harbours and Coasts, environment awareness walks, social media campaigns and displaying of environment protection banners at various public places. In line with the Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘Green Pakistan’, the Pakistan Navy has also launched various initiatives including trees and mangroves plantation campaign for protection, preservation and conservation of environment.

FEDERAL BUDGET TO BE UNVEILED ON JUNE 11

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 04 (DNA) – The federal government will present budget 2021-22 on June 11 with an outlay size of around Rs8,000 billion.

As the total size of the economy now stands at Rs52,057 billion, the federal government is to set the economic growth target of 4.8 percent for FY22. In FY22, the government would pay around Rs3,060 billion as debt and interest payments.

The fiscal deficit will be around Rs2,915 billion in FY22 which would be around 5.6 percent of the GDP. The government is to set public spending target of Rs900 billion. The provincial spending target for provinces will be around Rs1,000 billion.

 The volume of subsidies will be set at Rs530 billion for FY22. The defence spending target will be set at Rs1,400 billion for FY22 The revenue collection target for FY22 will be set at Rs5,820 and the non-tax collection target will be set at Rs1,420 billion. = DNA

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GHUFRAN MEMON MEETS MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE OF BELARUS

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MINSK, JUN 4 /DNA/ – Today, Ghufran Memon, Secretary, National Food Security met with the Minister of Agriculture of Belarus. He was accompanied by Ambassador Sajjad Haider Khan and members of the business delegation from Pakistan representing fruits/vegetables, fertiliser, dairy products and auto parts.

While appreciating the warm hospitality of the Belarusian government, Mr Memon  shared his first hand experiences of the exhibition, several meetings with relevant partners in Minsk and assured to work for solidifying bilateral cooperation especially in the Agricultural Sector.

The Minister briefed the delegation members on the overall economic portfolio of the country, priority sectors for cooperation and expressed readiness to follow up implementation on various agreements and MOUs already signed between the two countries. He showed willingness on the part of Belarusian side to host the next round of Joint Working Group session during July 2021.

SANJRANI ASSURES PAKISTAN’S COMMITMENT TO PROMOTING COOPERATION WITH AZERBAIJAN

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DNA

Islamabad, JUN 4 – Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani has called for closer Pakistan-Azerbaijan cooperation for the development of political and economic relations between the two countries. Exchanges of a high-level delegation, trade ties, and people-to-people contact will bring the two fraternal countries more closer, he stated while talking to the Speaker of Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Sahiba Gafarova, who called on him here at Parliament House on Friday.

During the meeting,  matters of mutual interest, regional security situation, and bilateral relations were discussed in detail.

Pakistan-Azerbaijan relations are based on mutual trust, confidence, common historical, cultural, and religious similarities, said Sadiq Sanjrani. “ Pakistan cherishes its cordial relation with Azerbaijan. There is a dire need to further enhance parliamentary and institutional cooperation”, he added.

The Chairman Senate thanked the visiting delegation for participating in the 2nd General Conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic cooperation organization (PAECO). High-level parliamentary contacts and exchange of delegations should continue, he stressed.

Talking to the visiting dignitary, the Chairman underscored that the Pakistan-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Friendship Group can be a forum to further cement bilateral ties. “There is an urgent need to make the Parliamentary Friendship Group more active and viable forum”, he said. He also stressed the need to reinvigorate the Parliamentary Union of ECO member states.

“Pakistan is committed to promoting cooperation in various fields, inter alia, including trade, energy, and other areas of common interest. Both countries have always supported each other’s posture on global issues of common interest”, he observed.

Touching upon the issue of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, the Chairman underlined that Pakistan has always supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity under the UN resolution. Pakistan fully supports Azerbaijan’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, he maintained.

While exchanging views on the COVID-19 Pandemic, Sanjrani pointed out that the whole world is currently facing the Corona epidemic and routine life has been immensely disturbed. Only through joint strategy and efforts, we can be able to contain the epidemic, he said.

The Chairman also briefed the visiting dignitary about the role and procedure of business of the Upper House in the Parliament.

Sanjrani thanked Azerbaijan for its extended cooperation and support on various issues and stated that the exemplary cooperation will continue in the future as well.

The Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan said his country also attaches immense importance to its relationship with Pakistan. Sahiba Gafarova also expressed gratitude to the Government of Pakistan for extending diplomatic support on Nagorno Karabakh. The Speaker of Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova later on recorded his remarks in the “Visitor’s Book”.

Leader of the House, Senator Dr. Shehzad Waseem, Chief Whip of PTI in the Senate, Senator Fida Mohammad, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator  Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator  Rukhsana Zubair, member National Assembly  Shandana Gulzar Khan, and Secretary Senate Mohammad Qasim Samad Khan were also present during the meeting.

ELECTION FOR CHAIRMANSHIP OF SENATE STANDING COMMITTEES HELD AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE

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DNA

ISLAMABAD – Elections for the Chairmanship of the Standing Committees were held under the relevant rules of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate , 2012 here at the Parliament House, on Friday.

1- Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Reseach. Senator Seemee Ezdi and Senator Kamran Murtaza, proposed the name for the elected chairman.

2-  Senator Walid Iqbal has been unanimously elected as the Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights. His name was proposed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Senator Gurdeep Singh which was seconded by all the members of the committee

3- Senator Musadiq Masood Malik has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources. Senator Hamayun Mohmand and Senator Gurdeep Singh proposed the name for the chairpersonship of the elected chairperson.

Leader of the House in the Senate, Dr Shehzad Waseem, Leader of the Opposition, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, Parliamentarians and other High Ranking Officials of the Senate also Participated in the Elections.

All the participants congratulated the newly elected chairpersons and assured full support and co-operation in smooth running of the affairs of the committee.

GERMAN AMBASSADOR MEETS SENATOR YOUSUF RAZA GILANI

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 4 – German Ambassador “Mr. Bernhard Schlagheck” called on Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Leader of the Opposition in Senate, today here at Parliament House, Islamabad, wherein the matters of mutual interest and the current political situation in the country were discussed in detail. The two sides discussed a wide range of issues with a focus on Pakistan-Germany relations and the current political situation in the country.

Senator Gillani sharing details of his visit to Germany during his premiership stressed the need of furthering the cordial ties between the two countries especially enhanced cooperation in Economic and Trade sectors. He stated that during his visit to Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel remarked that stabilizing the economy of Pakistan will help it combat terrorism, this is the reason our cooperation should be focused on trade not aid. The hon’ble Leader of the Opposition recalled during his visit signed a new economic agreement with Germany to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries. The new economic agreement replaced the old bilateral economic agreement signed in 1959, and provided greater legal protections for German investment in Pakistan.

Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani also discussed the relations with European Union and GST Plus Status with the Ambassador and they both agreed that both the countries will support each other on core issues at different international forums.

Both the dignitaries stressed the need for further cooperation in different sectors through enhanced Parliamentary interaction.

Senator Sherry Rehman and Member Provincial Assembly “Syed Ali Haider Gilani” were also present during the Call-on.

EMIRATES RESTARTS FLIGHTS TO PHUKET

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DNA
Karachi, JUN 4 – Emirates has announced it will resume four weekly services to the resort island of Phuket from 2nd July 2021, with the re-opening of the popular destination to international tourists. Furthermore, those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will enjoy hassle-free travel, with no quarantine on arrival. With measures in place to ensure a safe reboot of Phuket’s tourism industry, customers travelling to the destination known for its sprawling beaches and white sands, will enjoy quarantine-free travel to one of the world’s most-loved holiday spots.

The Dubai-Phuket route will be operated with a Boeing 777-300ER in a three-class configuration, offering premium services in First and Business Class as well as Economy Class. Emirates flight EK378 will depart Dubai on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 03:00hrs, arriving at Phuket International Airport at 12:30hrs the same day. The return flight, EK379, will depart Phuket at 00:10 hrs, on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, arriving in Dubai at 03:05hrs the same day (all times are local).

The four weekly services will provide customers convenience and choice to suit their holiday plans. The popular Thai destination remains a favourite amongst travellers from the Middle East, Europe and beyond. Emirates also resumed flights to Bangkok since September 2020, providing a daily service.

Flights to Phuket can be booked by visiting www.emirates.com or through preferred travel agents. For more details on entry requirements to Phuket and mandatory documentation for non-Thai nationals, customers can check the travel requirements page on emirates.com.

Emirates has been gradually rebuilding its global network, in a safe and sustainable manner and has resumed passenger services to over 120 destinations, allowing travellers to conveniently connect to the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific via Dubai.

Emirates remains focused on taking various steps to ease travel and has been a leader in introducing initiatives in cooperation with health authorities and organisations to protect the health of customers and to ensure their safety. Emirates introduced measures on the ground throughout all touchpoints and onboard to provide its passengers with the highest safety and hygiene standards at every step of the journey. The airline has also recently introduced contactless technology to ease the customer journey through Dubai airport.

Emirates continues to lead the industry with innovative products and services that address traveller needs during a dynamic time. Recently the airline took its customer care initiatives further with even more generous and flexible booking policies, an extension of its multi-risk insurance cover, and helping loyal customers retain their miles and tier status.

Since it safely resumed tourism activity in July 2020, Dubai remains one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially during the winter season. The city is open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences. It was one of the world’s first cities to obtain Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety. For more information on entry requirements for international visitors to Dubai visit: www.emirates.com/flytoDubai.

APNS condemns incidence of manhandling of family at residence of Waqas Tariq

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KARACHI, JUN 4 (DNA) – The All Pakistan Newspapers Society strongly condemns the incidence of dacoity and manhandling of family at the residence of Mr. Waqas Tariq Farooq, Chief Editor, Daily Jehan Numa, Lahore.

The APNS expresses its solidarity with Mr. Waqas Tariq Farooq and noted with concern that in a posh residential area, the unidentified dacoits escaped despite the presence of law and order forces.

The APNS has requested the Chief Minister, Home Minister of Punjab Government and the IG Police to take strong notice of the incidence and apprehend the culprits and bring them to book at the earliest.

STRATEGY FOR DENGUE PREVENTION DISCUSSED

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FAISALABAD, JUN 4 (DNA) – The meeting of District Emergency Response Committee for Anti Dengue was held at DC office which was presided by Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali.

CEO DHA Dr.Mushtaq Sipra, District Health Officer Dr.Bilal Ahmad, District Coordinator Epidemics Control Dr. Zulqarnain and other officers from different departments attended the meeting. Deputy Commissioner directed the departments to more gear up the surveillance against dengue  and collective efforts were required to stop the breeding of larvae in this regard.

He asked the ACs for holding Tehsil Emergency Response Committee meeting on regular basis and reviewed the performance of departments in connection with anti dengue. He said that the officers of concerned departments should be active in field to achieve the desire results of the anti dengue campaign because the moonson season is coming and eyes should be opened during the survillance. He asked for submitting departmental performance reports regarding surveillance and prevention activities daily.

He cleared that the carelessness  from duties should not be tolerated and stern action would be taken against the officials showing poor performance in this regard. Deputy Commissioner said that the strict monitoring of the anti dengue measures is being carried out by the District Administration to make the preventive and precautionary measures a success on durable basis.  

During the meeting District Coordinator for Epidemics control gave detailed briefing on indoor and out door surveillance and informed that action was also taken against shopkeepers for not maintaining cleanliness.

MCI asked to address sanitation and sewerage issues in markets

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 4 (DNA) –  Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the business community was facing problems due to old and dilapidated sewerage and water lines in markets and industrial areas and emphasized that MCI should address these issues on priority to facilitate the growth of trade and industrial activities.

He said this while exchanging views with Ghulam Sarwar Sandhu, Director General Civic Services, MCI during his visit to ICCI. Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Muhammad Ejaz Abbasi, Khalid Chaudhry, Saeed Khan, Omais Khattak, Aslam Khokhar, Naveed Malik and others were present in the meeting.

Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that Chairman CDA Amir Ali Ahmed in collaboration with ICCI has started development works in markets and industrial areas including carpeting of roads and restoration of streetlights and stressed that MCI should also work with ICCI to find out the key issues of business community and take measures to address them that would help in promoting business activities smoothly.

Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Ejaz Abbasi former President ICCI and others also briefed Ghulam Sarwar Sandhu about the major issues of business community related to MCI and hoped that he would cooperate in resolving them.

Speaking at the occasion, Ghulam Sarwar Sandhu, Director General Civic Services MCI highlighted the key initiatives being taken by the MCI to improve the civic services in the city. He said that MCI was working to improve the sanitation system and replace old sewerage pipelines with new ones. He said that the contract sanitation system was being abolished in G-Sectors while renovation of Nullahs for smooth water drainage was in progress.

He said that new dustbins would be placed in the city and new garbage collection vehicles were being purchased to improve sanitation services. He assured that he would start visiting markets to resolve the key issues of traders.

It was agreed in the meeting that the President ICCI and MCI team would conduct joint visits of markets to know about the issues of the business community and take remedial measures to resolve them.=DNA

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US TROOPS’ EXIT FROM AFGHANISTAN

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By Muhammad Omar Iftikhar

The US forces and UN troops will leave Afghanistan in 2021. The withdrawal process will continue until September. US President Joe Biden and his administration are looking forward to the US troops’ return from Afghanistan. It has been one of the most talked-about military engagements by the US in recent years.

Moreover, some opine that this was an “Unwinnable War” for the US. The mission in Afghanistan by the US troops and allies has been in process for two decades. However, recently Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yusuf said that the sudden withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan was not ideal, adding that any shifting of blame on Pakistan for “facesaving” would be unacceptable.

While speaking on a Pakistani TV show, Dr. Yusuf said, “[The] United States has assured us that Pakistan will not be made a scapegoat amidst the withdrawal [of US troops] from Afghanistan, but only time will tell whether [they stay true to their word] as history suggests otherwise.” He reiterated that although peace in Afghanistan must manifest, however, the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will not bode well for Pakistan. While talking about geopolitics and regional affairs, Dr. Yusuf said, “The approach is still regional. [Though], they [the US] have shifted focus from Af-Pak and are now obsessed with China, seeing India [as a country] that has a role to play [in this equation].”

Indeed, Afghanistan holds an important position when it comes to peace and stability in the South Asian region. The term, AfPak was coined by the US to show the significance Afghanistan and Pakistan hold in the region. Despite many efforts in the past, the US left a residual force in Afghanistan after each withdrawal. Now that the entire military is leaving Afghanistan, analysts fear that Afghanistan’s extremist elements may surface again to scuffle with the country’s security apparatus.

PAKISTAN KEEN TO DIVERSIFY TIES WITH AZERBAIJAN: ALVI

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Prof. Sahiba Gafarova emphasized the need for increasing interactions between the two countries at economic, political, cultural and strategic levels

Asnar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: :President Dr Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan wants to further strengthen bilateral ties with Azerbaijan, particularly in the fields of trade, energy, defence, culture and tourism.

He said that Pakistan attached utmost significance to its ties with Azerbaijan as both countries had shared religion, values, culture, as well as commonalities of views on regional and international issues. He made these remarks while talking to the visiting Speaker of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, Prof. Sahiba Gafarova, who called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr,.

The President underscored the need for exchanging political, cultural, and economic delegations at high levels to further solidify bilateral cooperation. He congratulated the government and people of Azerbaijan on liberation of their territories from occupation of Armenia and signing of landmark peace agreement.

The President appreciated the steadfast support extended by Azerbaijan to the legitimate cause of Kashmiri people. He expressed the hope that her visit would further deepen bilateral relations. He asked the Speaker to communicate his good wishes to the people and government of Azerbaijan.

Prof. Sahiba Gafarova emphasized the need for increasing interactions between the two countries at economic, political, cultural and strategic levels. She also underlined the need for promoting cultural ties to build bridges between the people of the two brotherly countries. She conveyed that the people and political leaderships of Azerbaijan were highly grateful to Pakistan for supporting her country’sstance on Nagorno-Karabakh. She added that her country would continue to support Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir at all fora.

SHIFTING BLAME ON PAKISTAN TO ‘SAVE FACE’ AMID US WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN UNACCEPTABLE: MOEED

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ISLAMABAD – National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said on Wednesday that the sudden withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan was not ideal, adding that any shifting of blame on Pakistan for “facesaving” would be unacceptable.

Speaking on DawnNewsTV show ‘Live with Adil Shahzeb’, Yusuf said international media had been biased against Pakistan in the past and it was the same today.

“[The] United States has assured us that Pakistan will not be made a scapegoat amidst the withdrawal [of US troops] from Afghanistan, but only time will tell whether [they stay true to their word] as history suggests otherwise,” he remarked.

He added that it was “too early to predict whether they [the US] will stick to their words.” The adviser said Pakistan had always wanted peace in Afghanistan and the hasty withdrawal of US troops from the country was not a good idea.

Yusuf also stressed that Pakistan needed to maintain bilateral ties with the US, which continued to view Pakistan as a regional player, without compromising on national interests.

“The approach is still regional. [Though], they [the US] have shifted focus from Af-Pak and are now obsessed with China, seeing India [as a country] that has a role to play [in this equation],” said Yusuf.

In reply to a question about Pakistan allowing the US to continue to use its airbases, Yusuf denied such reports.

“It has been very clearly communicated to the Americans so it’s not debatable,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been opposing the war in Afghanistan for the past 15 years, so allowing the US access to airbases after its withdrawal from Afghanistan was not on the table.

To another question, he stressed that “it’s important for all stakeholders in Afghanistan to sit together for a … political settlement.”

Yusuf also empahsised economic stability for Afghanistan, saying that the Afghan economy could not function without support from the outside.

“And for that, only Pakistan can give them the regional connectivity, and for investment from China [and the] US, Pakistan is the only linchpin. Afghans must understand this.”

The adviser reiterated that in the wake of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan wanted bilateral relationships with America, but with a focus on “not what the US can give us, but what we can take from the US”.

He added that Pakistan had made its priorities clear to the world in Geneva, where he met the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan last month.

He went on to say that Afghans should decide their own fate, adding that any terrorist activities in Afghanistan were not acceptable to Pakistan.

US pullout and security vaccuum

The US has announced troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11. However, with the US troops pulling out from the war-torn country since May 1— a deadline set in the US-Taliban agreement signed last year— there have been reports of the withdrawal being completed by July 4, which is celebrated as the US Independence Day.

US President Joe Biden is determined to end what he called “the forever war”, announcing in April that the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 American forces would be complete by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The prospect of an end to the US presence in Afghanistan after 20 years comes despite fighting raging across the countryside in the absence of a peace deal, giving rise to security concerns and fears that violence will increase and could also spill over to neighbouring states, including Pakistan.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Foreign Office had said Pakistan was worried about a security vacuum in Afghanistan after the US pullout as the already dim prospects of successful reconciliation between warring Afghan groups were growing dimmer with every passing day.

Although another round of intra-Afghan talks is scheduled to begin in the next couple of days, Pakistani officials don’t seem very hopeful about a breakthrough.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while talking to Speaker of Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga Mir Rahman Rahmani on Tuesday, had urged the Afghan groups to “seize this historic opportunity and work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” according to the statement.

The fears of a security vacuum have been growing because of the stalemate in the peace process.

The peace dialogue has made little progress since it started in September last year except for an understanding of the principles and procedures, which too was achieved after haggling for months over minor issues.

Several efforts were made by Pakistan and the international community to push all stakeholders to return to the negotiation table to settle the remaining outstanding issues for ending the conflict, but none of the efforts have succeeded so far.

Azerbaijan and Pakistan: new opportunities for great friends

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Rusif Huseynov

DunyaSuleymanova

Since Azerbaijan became an independent state in 1991, it has had close relations with Pakistan. The latter was among the first three countries that immediately recognized Azerbaijan’s independence from the former Soviet Union. Both Azerbaijan and Pakistan are Muslim-majority countries that have supported each other throughout the last three decades on important political issues such as Kashmir and Karabakh. For instance, in April 1993, when the Armenian forces illegally occupied Azerbaijani province of Kalbajar, Pakistan co-sponsored the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 822, which demanded the immediate cessation of the hostilities in Karabakh and the withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the afore-mentioned province.

Furthermore, Pakistan remains the only country that avoids recognition of Armenia due to the latter`s aggressive policy against Azerbaijan, and one of few countries to have officially recognized the scale of the horrendous Khojaly massacre carried out by Armenian gangs against Azerbaijani civilians in February 1992.

Such a fraternal and warm attitude by Pakistan has always sparked reciprocal rhetoric and action by Azerbaijan, which in turn has always supported Pakistan’s stance on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Azerbaijan is also a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Contact Group and backs Pakistan in resolving its border disputes with India.

Azerbaijan`s capital in green

During the Second Karabakh war last autumn, Pakistan extended full and unconditional support, again, to Azerbaijan and welcomed the liberation of the territories formerly occupied by Armenia.

This attitude triggered an unprecedented Pakistanomania across Azerbaijan: throughout the 44-day war (27 September – 10 November), as well as in the immediate aftermath, Pakistani flags (along with Azerbaijani and Turkish flags) became something routine and usual for Azerbaijani towns, especially the capital city, Baku, where Parcham-e Sitarah o-Hilal was hung from balconies, and on façade of the buildings, painted on walls, and placed inside houses and offices. Numerous private vehicles were decorated with Pakistani national colors. One of the most creative displays of this obsession took place inside a supermarket, which hosted the Pakistani flag (again together with Azerbaijani and Turkish) made with fruits and vegetables. Both the Victory Day (10 November) and subsequent Victory Parade (10 December) had Pakistani flags as an integral element of celebrations.

Post-war relations

The post-war period did not shrink the political and military alliance; on the contrary, the sides are resolute to strengthen these relations. Several Pakistani officials visited Karabakh, where they would witness the scale of the Armenian-made destruction and call on the international community to help Azerbaijan rehabilitate the liberated areas.

Very recently, in early March 2021, Azerbaijan was attended by a high-level Pakistani delegation led by General Nadeem Raza, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. In his meeting with Azerbaijani military officials, General Raza discussed the prospects for the development of cooperation between the two countries in the military, military-technical, military-educational, and other spheres, as well as joint military exercises.

In late March 2021, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov met with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi to discuss various opportunities for cooperation.

The Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations is also transforming into a more effective triangle with the involvement of Turkey: according to a tripartite declaration signed in January 2021, the three nations are to support each other in challenging issues, further develop the trilateral relations between these countries, since regional transportation and communication channels that provide more opportunities for cooperation have opened as a result of the liberation of Azerbaijani territories. Some experts even suggest this trio can partner in space-related activities.

Current economic relations

While Azerbaijan and Pakistan enjoy the highest level of political ties, the economic and trade relations leave much to be desired: in 2019, Pakistan’s exports to Azerbaijan amounted to some $25 million, while goods in the reverse direction slightly exceeded $1 million. The trade turnover was even lowered to $10 million in 2020, due to the pandemic.

Noticing the economic relations trail behind the political ties, the officials in both countries have been keen to improve this trend in the recent years. The 2015 business forum hosted in Baku was attended by presidents of both Azerbaijan and Pakistan, Ilham Aliyev and Mamnoon Hussain. Organized in 2019 by Azerbaijan`s Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) and Pakistan`s Border Trade and Industry Chamber, a similar business forum attracted over 150 entrepreneurs operating in various sectors.

In 2017, Azerbaijan and Pakistan signed an agreement on cooperation in the energy sector, with two countries having set goals to buildlong-term energy ties. Azerbaijan`s oil giant SOCAR has been offering the supply of gasoline and LNG cargo to Pakistan LNG Ltd as well as Pakistan State Oil. At the end of 2020, Socar announced that it would help Pakistan to overcome natural gas crisis that could have happened in January 2021. Consequently, it offered bids at the level of 20.4832% of Brent for the time interval from January 29 to February 1, 2021.  According to information, SOCAR is soon going to operate fuel stations in Pakistan.

What can further be done?

The liberation of the occupied territories in Karabakh has not only changed the geopolitical picture in the Caucasus, but also is offering new economic opportunities and prospects. As the entire infrastructure of once prosperous cities and villages in Karabakh had been razed to the ground by the Armenian occupants in the past 25 years, the region`s revival will require a lot of resources and synergy in the forms multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects. Since it would be too difficult for Azerbaijan to solely rebuild new settlements, Baku is considering proposals for outside investors as well. It should also be noted that the Azerbaijani side will offer preferential policies and concessions to those countries who had been supportive of Azerbaijan`s military efforts of liberating the formerly occupied lands. Pakistan is among these few nations, whose companies can and must partake in the Karabakh infrastructure projects, by enjoying the said preferential attitude. This invite was voiced at the highest level: in the 14th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev once again thanked Pakistan for its active support throughout the conflict and invited the government of Pakistan, as well as private companies, businesses, investors to invest in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.

According to the Azerbaijani government`s plan, smart towns and smart villages will be built in the newly liberated areas. This is one of the sectors in which Pakistan can be involved and be effective: Pakistan`s growing IT sector, which generates an annual revenue of between $3 and $4 billion, can put forth viable solutions to Azerbaijan`s smart settlement concepts.

Pakistani agricultural and pharmaceutical firms can not only discover a new market in Azerbaijan, but also use Azerbaijan as a springboard (through joint ventures or re-export) to access to a huge post-Soviet market.

In the post-pandemic period, when traveling mode will return to normalcy, mutual tourism should be encouraged. According to reports, the sides plan to launch Baku-Islamabad direct flight, which can boost not only people-to-people contacts and tourism, but also economic relations.

While Pakistan enjoys a highly positive image in Azerbaijan, this soft power should not be based solely on political and military relations. Pakistani industrial and agricultural companies, as well as cultural organizations should also assume more role within this framework. Why not introduce Lollywood products in Azerbaijan or organize fairs of Pakistan-made exotic fruits in Baku, for instance?

In other words, both societies have an ocean of opportunities to boost economic and cultural ties, which await to be properly exploited.

Rusif Huseynov is the Co-founder and Director of Topchubashov Center, a Baku-based think tank.  Dunya Suleymanova is a research intern at Topchubashov Center.

Indonesian envoy lauds NIH role in tackling virus

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Indonesian envoy lauds

NIH role in tackling virus

ED NIH Maj General Dr. Aamer briefs the ambassador about Covid situation and steps taken by the govt to deal with the pandemic

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD:  The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia Adam M. Tugio visited the National Institute of Health (NIH) and received by Executive Director National Institute of Health, Islamabad, Major General Dr. Aamer Ikram. 

The two officials exchanged views on the current pandemic situation in Pakistan and Indonesia. Ambassador Tugio was briefed on the measures, which were taken by NIH to control the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan and the forward-looking vision of NIH to fight against other infectious diseases in Pakistan.

During the visit, Ambassador Tugio lauded Pakistan’s efforts in fighting the pandemic by ensuring people to implement health protocols, which successfully brought down the number of cases. He specifically commended NIH for making tremendous contributions to improve health care system of Pakistan. Ambassador Tugio also thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for providing COVID-19 vaccines for the diplomatic community in Pakistan and making excellent arrangements of their inoculation at the NIH. Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan, National IPC Focal Person from NIH also attended the meeting.    

JAVED JABBAR LEADS IUCN ACTIVITY

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Nazir Siyal

KARACHI: IUCN and Partner Organizations arranged activity led by former Federal Minister and well-known socialist Javed Jabar as chief guest in connection with World Environment Day 2021 to celebrate for ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 internationally.

IUCN, WWF and the officials of Sindh Forest Department gave a briefing regarding climate change and marine Forest life to protect Ecosystem restoration 2021-2030.

As the global host of the World Environment Day 2021, Pakistan has made headlines across the world, gaining immense popularity and appreciation.

On the occasion, Dr. Babar Hussain IUCN Natural Resources Specialist, while giving details on the importance and usefulness of mangrove forests protection sea erosion and other marine life. He said that restoration of natural ecosystem regarding mangrove forests is a great importance in the conservation of land erosion and other breeding species and fish also.

In this regard, IUCN along with other social and governmental individuals take part in 2000 seed plantation regarding the drive of Billion Tree project officials told.

The theme of the day “Ecosystem Restoration” was attended by other partners included the  Officers of Sindh Forest Department, WWF,  Thardeep (TRDP), HANDS and climate change experts, academics, researchers and media.

Turkish, Azerbaijani political parties sign cooperation protocol

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ANKARA – The governing parties of Turkey and Azerbaijan on Wednesday signed a cooperation protocol in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at Turkey’s Justice and Development (AK) Party headquarters, its deputy chairman Numan Kurtulmuş said the protocol aims at improving ties with the New Azerbaijan Party.

“Our goal is to enrich, root, and maintain these relations between the political, governing parties of the two brotherly countries by further improving them,” he said.

The party official also said that they will also pay a visit to Azerbaijan after the visit of the Azerbaijani delegation.

The protocol was signed by Kurtulmuş and Tahir Budaqov, deputy chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party.

ELECTION FOR THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF SENATE STANDING/FUNCTIONAL COMMITTEES

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DNA

ISLAMABAD – Elections for the Chairmanship of Senate Standing/functional Committees (11 standing and 2 functional committees), under rule 184 (1) of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of business of the Senate, 2012, were held here at Parliament House, on Wednesday.

1- Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Ministry of Defence. Committee members Senator Hidayat Ullah and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed nominated Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed for the chairmanship of the Senate Defense Committee.

2- Senator Sherry Rehman was unanimously elected as the Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Senator Saadia Abbasi and Senator Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan seconded the name for the Chairpersonship of Senator Sherry Rehman and endorsed by the member’s committee.

3- Senator Faisal Ali Sabzwari was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Production. Senator Imamuddin Shouqeen and Shamim Afridi nominated the name for the chairmanship which were seconded by all the committee members.

4- Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource. His name for the chairmanship was nominated by Senator Khalida Ateeb and Senator Keshoo Bai and all members supported it.

5- Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat. Senator Saadia Abbasi and Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood nominated Senator Rana Maqbool for the chairmanship.

6- Senator Syed Ali Zafar has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice. Senator Shibli Faraz and Senator Saleem Mandviwalla nominated him for the chairmanship of the committee

7- Senator Faisal Javed has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting. Senator Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo and Senator Syed Ali Zafar seconded his name for the Chairmanship.

8- Senator Muhammad Abdul Qadir has been elected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum. Senator Naseebullah Bazai and Senator Fida Mohammad suggested his name and endorsed by the rest of the members.

9- Senator Saifullah Abro has been elected as the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Power. Senator Fida Mohammad and Senator Zeeshan Khanzada nominated him for the chairmanship of the committee.

10- Senator Taj Haider has been Unanimously elected as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Senator Shamim Afridi suggested his name.

11- Senator Farooq Hamid Naek has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Senate Committee of Delegated Legislation. Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani and Senator Kauda Babar nominated him for the chairmanship.

12- Senator Mushtaq Ahmed has been unanimously elected as the chairman of the Functional Committee on Devolution. Senator Khalida Ateeb and Senator Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhary nominated him for the chairmanship.

13- Senator Kamil Ali Agha has been unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Functional Committee on Government Assurance. Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi and Senator Dilawar Khan nominated him for the chairmanship.

ARMY CHIEF VISITS FIELD TRAINING AREA NEAR KOTLI

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DNA

RAWALPINDI – ISPR General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited field training area near Kotli today.COAS was briefed about conduct modalities of a Corps level exercise ‘Taskheer-e-Jabal’.

The exercise is aimed at enhancing operational preparedness of formations, encompassing defensive and offensive tasks during various contingencies within  an operational cycle.

The troops and units participating in exercise will rehearse  various defensive and offensive manoeuvres in the mountainous terrain.Appreciating dedication and professionalism of participating troops, COAS expressed satisfaction over combat readiness of the formation.

Rigorous training and continued practice of operational drills are imperative for effective response  to wide ranging threats, COAS emphasized.Earlier, on arrival , COAS was received by Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas.

ECO COUNTRIES EMPHASIZE ON ENHANCING COOPERATION IN TOURISM

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 02 (DNA) – The Economic Cooperation Organization countries have emphasized on enhancing cooperation in all forms of tourism for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

The national parliamentary delegates from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan attended in person while Hon. MPs from Iran and Turkmenistan participated virtually.

A joint statement adopted at the concluding session of the General Conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of ECO in Islamabad Wednesday said that the member states must pool their resources to build the capacity of local communities through education and training of their population, especially in livelihoods connected to tourism.

It also stressed the need for promoting religious, cultural, and health tourism through enhanced connectivity and development of infrastructure and institutions in the tourist industry of all member states.

All member states also reiterated the importance of sustainable eco-tourism, which is both a powerful source of perpetual poverty alleviation as well as environmental conservation for coming generations. The statement said elimination of terrorism is a key to ensuring security in our region which is vital to attract and develop our tourist industries.

The key recommendations of the session are include: i. We recognize the fact that our common heritage viz a viz the historical silk route and enormously beautiful geography gives the ECO region enormous potential as an international tourist destination; ii. ECO country governments must cooperate in all forms of Tourism, which remains as a great driver of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

We must pool our resources to build the capacity of local communities through education and training of our population especially in livelihoods connected to tourism; iii. ECO states must promote religious, cultural and health tourism, which will be possible through enhanced connectivity and development of infrastructure and institutions in the tourist industry of all member states; iv.

Elimination of terrorism is key to ensuring security in our region, which is vital to attract and develop our tourist industries; v. Promotion of tourism in all of its legal forms should remain the core focus, both of our national policies on promoting tourism locally as well as regionally within the ECO region, to make it a preferred choice of international tourists; vi. All member states also reiterated the importance of sustainable eco-tourism, which is both a powerful source of perpetual poverty alleviation as well as environmental conservation for our coming generations; and vii.

We urge and call upon the Executive Council of ECO to formulate a JOINT WORKING GROUP/ COMMMITTEE of Members of Parliament so that an institutional arrangement can be established for the joint sharing of resources of the PAECO member states, in the next one year, in the overall context of ADVANCING TOURISM FOR DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION. = DNA

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FM QURESHI DISCUSSES BILATERAL COOPERATION WITH TAJIK FM

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2 – The Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Sirodjiddin Muhriddin called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, at the Foreign Office today.

The two Foreign Ministers reviewed the status of bilateral cooperation in all areas — including political, trade and economic, defence, education and regional connectivity fields and mutual collaboration at regional and global fora.

Foreign Minister Qureshi extended felicitations on the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence and 30 years of Pakistan-Tajikistan diplomatic relations.

Expressing satisfaction on the signing of the Joint Declaration on “Next Steps in Building Strategic Partnership for Regional Solidarity and Integration” and several other Agreements and MoUs in wide range of areas, earlier in the day, the two Foreign Ministers agreed on the speedy implementation and follow-up.

Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to timely completion of CASA-1000 Power project and stressed to step-up cooperation in the energy sector. 

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted prospects for regional connectivity and integration to Tajikistan and Central Asian countries through Pakistan’s seaports and CPEC. He said that both countries should capitalize on the tremendous opportunities of trade and transit through these ports. 

The Foreign Ministers reviewed cooperation at regional and international fora, including the UN, OIC, SCO and ECO and agreed to enhance further coordination. The Foreign Minister felicitated his Tajik counterpart on assumption of chairmanship of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for 2021 and assured full cooperation of Pakistan on this count. The two Foreign Ministers also exchanged views on global issues including climate change and countering Islamophobia.

In the regional context, Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and stressed that a negotiated political settlement was indispensible for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. He added that this was also essential for advancing the shared objectives of peace, prosperity and regional connectivity.

The Foreign Minister apprised the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan about the situation of human rights in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) and attempts to change the demographic structure of occupied territory. He said that India needed to revisit its illegal actions of 5 August 2019 to create an enabling environment for dialogue and peaceful solution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Foreign Minister Muhriddin is accompanying the President of Tajikistan on his visit to Pakistan from 2-3 June 221.

WAKEUP PAKISTAN: GETTING TOO LATE FOR FOOD SECURITY

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Munir Ahmed

Pakistan is a graveyard of national policies. The recently buried one is the ‘Food security’ that was finalized and approved in 2018. Almost three years on, the stakeholders are waiting for any action on it. The participants of the recently organized conference by Awaz CDS and Pakistan Development Alliance, VSO-Pakistan and UKAid on “Food Security and Sustainable livelihood in Pakistan” have shown grave concerns on the policy dusting shelves. They demanded immediate kick off the implementation and letter and spirit.

The stakeholders voiced numerous challenges related to food, agriculture, and livelihoods and shared their recommendations for the federal and provincial governments in somber. They believe that on their charter of demand, the real and practicing smallholder women and men farmers should be included in the government committees at provincial and federal levels raise their voices to safeguard their rights for better production, fair prices and sustainable livelihoods; food and nutrition security should be brought as enforceable fundamental right in the constitution of Pakistan; and while the nutrition is important for people, it should be incorporated in all the programs of agriculture and food security.

No doubt, the government should initiate training and support for kitchen gardening in rural and urban areas for improved nutrition. Indeed it’s true that rising cost of production is negatively impacting small farmers. The provincial and federal governments shall monitor erratic price of inputs for the benefit of farmers. Substandard quality of seeds and inputs negatively impact agricultural production and farmers livelihoods, the relevant government departments shall monitor quality issues of agricultural inputs, and also ensure fair price of agricultural products to ensure sustainable livelihoods. The small farmers shall receive concessionary loans and crop insurance in all provinces and regions.

The conference emphasized the extension departments shall be revitalized to provide required technical support to small farmers; wages of agriculture workers shall be implemented according to the national or provincial minimum wage rates whichever is higher; the farmer men and women shall be supported through trainings and financial resources to initiate value addition of their crop, vegetables, fruits, livestock and other agricultural products. 

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and federal governments shall have special emphasis on the newly merged districts of FATA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to explore potential agriculture and food production, and micro finance support shall also be extended to the natives of these areas. Women at the moment are not the focus in the agriculture system despite being in the heart actually, so women farmers shall be prioritized from university curriculum to research up to extension system. Government shall induct women staff to ensure timely and quality extension support for women farmers.  Women should receive capacity building and financial support for crop, livestock, vegetable production as well as poultry and goat farming.

Sindh Women Agriculture Workers Bill 2019 is still pending. It shall be implemented in letter and spirit. All other provinces shall also ensure the replication of the similar legislations in their respective provinces and regions. Special programs should be included in government policies to address drought related situations in crop, livestock and all forms of agricultural production. Storage dams should be constructed to ensure food and agricultural production in drought hit and flood prone areas in all provinces. Livestock training and mobile livestock veterinary services should be provided in all the provinces. Women should also be given on farm training on livestock, goat and sheep and poultry farming to empower the marginalized women.

Climate change is the worst threat to national water and food security. Agriculture and related policies and programs shall integrate climate change resilience from curriculum to research and up to extension systems. Government shall conduct scoping studies to assess climate related risks and related measures in all provinces and regions, and strengthen efficient water utilization for agriculture in all provinces. Crop and food diversity is important for nutrition and climate resilience. This should be encouraged through a variety of crop cultivation and naturally bred bio-fortified seeds. Pakistan has 11mhc cultivable waste. These marginal lands should be developed into new areas to produce agriculture and food crops.

Shandana Gulzar, Convener of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Agriculture, feels determined to provide opportunities to young people and women to engage in food productions and processing systems and mechanisms in the country.  She believes that food security policy 2018 shall be implemented in letter and spirit while taking all the provinces and other related stakeholders on board equally. “We will encourage provinces to develop their own food security policies in accordance with the national food security policy 2018. Before the 18th constitutional amendment in 2010, it was possible to have uniform policies for the whole country, however now provinces have their own agricultural policies too. They need to sync their agricultural policies with that of national food security policy if there is any challenge in this respect.”

MNA  Riaz Fatyana- Convener, National Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs shared that the government has initiated many social protection initiatives to ensure food security of poor and marginalized communities under Ehsaas Program including Rashan Cards. The program will be kicked off soon. He also shared that small land holders and farmers will be given Kissan cards to enhance their productions. Government is also encouraging Agriculture Chambers and the first ever agriculture chamber will be initiated in Lahore soon.

Zia ur Rehman, National Convener of Pakistan Development Alliance, believes that food security should be considered as a basic  human right. Pakistan is also a signatory of many international treaties and conventions including UDHR, ICESCR, CRC, CEDAW, SDGs and Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food for all citizens. These commitments demand that Pakistan should recognize food and nutrition security as fundamental human rights; however this is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s Constitution has yet to recognize the right to food for all.

Wakeup Pakistan government before it’s too late to secure food for 220 million people. Your slow response or no response would lead to a disaster we could never imagine.      

The writer is a freelance journalist and broadcaster, Director Devcom-Pakistan, a policy advocacy and outreach think tank in Islamabad. His email: devcom.pakistan@gmail.com Twitter Handle: @EmmayeSyed 

FPCCI ORGANIZES WEBINAR SESSION ON PSW IN COLLABORATION WITH FBR

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2 – The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI), in collaboration with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) organized a webinar on Pakistan Single Window (PSW) program at their countrywide offices on June 1, 2021.

The PSW program is a major reform initiative led by Pakistan Customs that aims to transform the management of imports, exports, transit trade and related logistics. The program includes re-engineering of processes and automation of dozens of regulatory agencies to reduce regulatory compliance costs and complications.

The webinar was part of the PSW’s outreach plan to create awareness among stakeholders before launch of its first module – related to subscription in June 2021. Under this module traders and users will be able to avail electronic subscription and registration facility without needing to visit any government department. This will be followed by other 6 major releases by PSW in the current year to facilitate cross border trade and enhance government controls while integrating other government agencies. It is pertinent to mention that the government has promulgated the Pakistan Single Window Act, 2021 to ensure smooth operations of PSW.

 The PSW implementation team attended the webinar and explained salient features of the new system to familiarise the participants with this system. The president of FPCCI Mian Nasir Magoon and other participants appreciated efforts of Pakistan Customs to facilitate trade.

CGSS, HSF ORGANIZE ONLINE DISCUSSION ON “CLIMATE CHANGE AS NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGE: RELEVANCE FOR PAKISTAN”

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2 – Online Roundtable Discussion on “Climate Change as Non-Traditional Security Challenge: Relevance for Pakistan” was held. It was jointly organized by Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan.

Mr. ShakeelRamay Advisor, Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development, Consultant SDPI & Member board of Advisors, CGSS,commenced the session with opening remarks.

Dr. Steffen Kudella, Resident Representative, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Pakistan gave the welcome remarks.He welcomed all the participants and distinguished panelists. Dr.Kudella highlighted that on 5th June 2021, Pakistan is hosting the international Environment Day.

Last year this day was hosted by Germany and Colombia.Dr. Kudella said that it is important for Pakistan to raise awareness on climate change and mitigate its negative impacts. He stated that climate change is both, the rise of the average temperature of the Earth’s climate systemand also large-scale weather shifts. It is one of the most threating situations for Pakistan. 

These non-traditional security challenges are non-militaryin nature, but risks to the survival and well-being of people. Dr. Kudella stated that the rising temperaturesare leading to the melting of glaciers in Pakistan. Moreover, they lead to a degradation of ecosystems, impact biodiversity, and cause desertification and flooding, which in turn can cause serious problems such as mass migration, starvation or poverty. He emphasized on the importance of holding these roundtables to address critical issues.

Ms. RominaKhurshidAlam, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Former Secretary of Climate Change Ministrystated that climate change is a subject on which we all need to work cohesively. She said that pollution has also increased in this pandemic and explained that Pakistan has the Climate Committee and is working to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. She suggested thatin this regard think tanks can play an important role in policy orientation process and Government should implement the devised policies.

Dr. Rashid Aftab, Director of Riphah Institute of Public Policy, Riphah International Universitystated that the outcomes of climate change are devastating as Pakistan is among the top ten most effected countries.This has led to water insecurity. Dr. Rashid explained that climate change can lead to a number of challenges. One is the scarcity of water. Second, water availability will become erratic and put strains on population.Third,this situation will result in higher evaporation rate and raise demand of water.Dr. Rashid said that if these factors are likely to continue, it willincrease frequency of droughts. While concluding, Dr. Rashid suggested that the government should devise policies which can be practically implemented.

Dr. Yusuf Zaraf, TI, Former Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC)explained the relevance of climate change with agriculture sector. He statedthat Pakistan energy consumption is low and it is not contributing much to GHG. He said that there are so many plans like agriculture emergency plans. He suggested that if we want our national food security, we should properly opt practicalsolutions. Dr. Yusuf discussed that Pakistan isfacing certain issues related to food security this year which is alarming as our productivity is low. He suggested that isolated actions should not be beneficial, therefore the government should revisit the plan under climate changescenarioand incorporatetechnological advancement in agriculture sector to enhance productivity.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Irfan Khan,Dean, Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI)shared his views on environment security and human security. He stated that environment security in terms of water, food and energy is considered an important aspect of national security. Therefore, the nexus builds important links between environment and national security. Dr. Khan stated that the link is reshaping the contemporary political discourse as it has been impacting the national security. Dr. Irfan said that this changing discourse is to translate contemporary security concerns and broaden the national security agenda that should include climate security. Mr. Tariq stated that now, environment security concerns have been incorporated into the foreign policy agenda. While concluding, Dr. Irfan suggested that there is need of environment policies among the provinces and also SARRC countries to develop environment security and peace which are imperative to achieve sustainable development.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Member Board of Experts, CGSSdiscussed that the NTSchallenges transcend the nationalboundaries as they are transnationalin character. They have sudden unexpected appearances. Dr.Irfan said that human security isendangered inSouth Asiabecause of regional sensitivity to climate change. Prof. Irfan stated that as far as climate change is concerned, it has been impacting the humanity. Every country has a strategic linkage and effective policy making to mitigatenegativeimpacts of climate change that need to be explored. Climate change has adverse effect.Therefore, mitigation could not be successful until or unless there is cooperationamong all sectors. Dr. Irfan statedthat water security, agriculture and availability of clean drinking water are the key concerning areas.While concluding his speech, Dr. Irfan suggested that we have to preserve water resourcesand not disturb the natural cycles. He stated that the sooner we realizepreserving water sources, it would be significant for Pakistan and the next generation.

Dr. Shaheen Akhtar, Professor at the Department of International Relations, National Defense University, Islamabadstated that we need to looked between environment change and national security. She stated that climate change is an emerging threat to national security. Dr. Shaheen explained the link ofthese two concepts while highlighting the proponents (international scholars) such as BarryBuzan and Robert Kalpan, who introduced the two conceptasinterlinked. She highlighted that the rising temperature will increase irregular rainfall patterns and precipitation level. She discussed that this situation will lead towards food and water insecurity as they are interlinked. While conducing her discussion, Ms. Akhtar suggested that there has to be sectoral approaches. If there is no preparedness to mitigate these challenges, there would be huge repercussions. She stated that disaster-risk reduction plan and preparedness is important with the involvement of all stakeholders to mitigate the repercussion imposed by climate change.

Dr. Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Lead Researcher of the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA)elaborated that the global community has consensus that climate change has emerged as the issue of national security and human security.  Dr. Kanwar statedthat ocean base economy ismore vulnerable to climate change as sea level is rising.  He also raised points on Pakistan’s drought situation that the Sindh province is highly affected by the droughts, increasing vulnerability to its huge population. He stated that the drought condition has impacted the Melon crops. While concluding, Dr. Kanwar suggested that there is a need to have a national policy on environment plan. He also suggested active engagement and safe participation between multiple think tanks  and relevant stakeholders.

Dr. Sarah Amir, Department of Environmental Sciences, International Islamic Universitystated that the climate change and its impacts is the pressing issue. She discussed that a lot of jargons have been introduced in the last decade like climate smart agricultureor non-traditional security threats and that climate change is not a myth but reality. She suggested that we cannot delay implementing climate change related policies.

Mr. Munir Ahmed, Executive Director of DEVCOM, Pakistanstated that we need to have specific researches. There has been no significant agenda of the working climate committees.  Climate change is the biggest threat. It affects everyone. Therefore, non-traditional security threats should not be handled by traditional method. Mr. Munir stated that there is a need to educate people in each constituency.  He also suggested that the funds that are being given by certain organization and NGOs and how,in this regard, the role of civil society is significant.

Mr. Ali TauqeerSheikh, founding CEO & National Program Director of LEAD Pakistan, and CDKN’s Regional Director for Asiaraised certain significant aspects. He stated that theresponse to non-traditional security threats should be non-traditional in nature. NTS need not be totally domestic or interstates as they are over lapped. Mr. Ali stated that many issuesthat are domestic also becomeregional or international. He gave examples ofclimate-relatedtransboundaryissues i.e.,cyclones and tsunamis, air pollution, smog, migration and refuges, pandemic and epidemics. While suggesting, Mr. Ali stated that NTS need not be a zero-sum game. By adopting effective policies, it can be a win-win situation if common grounds are crafted to work together. Mr. Ali discussed that NTS can be process oriented. Therefore, NTS need intelligence with engagement of knowledge economy.

Brig Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd), Chairman Gomal Daman Area Water Partnership Pakistanstated that we need effective strategies to beat climate change. Therefore, Pakistan should undertake reforms plans like the KP government.  Dr. Aslam also suggested that there should be effective water management program along with protection and restoration of ecosystem. Dr. Aslam highlighted the role of youth in buildingawareness. While concluding, he stated that government alone cannot do anything on its own and that community efforts are required.

Dr. Hassan Abbas, Chairman Forte, Integrated Water Resources Management stated that we should not forget that a lot of products which we are using are importedmaterials. Therefore, we have to do careful consideration to our consumption related to industrial GHG emissions. He emphasized that water is the most impacted element by the climate change. He explained that we have developed infrastructure to modify our natural flow regime. Dr. Hassan recommended that before focusing on one type of solution like the old-mind set of diverting rivers, weshould move toward alternatives to manage water. Therefore, climate change should be discussedwidely in parallel to invest in same amount of investment in developing the alternatives.

Mr. Faizanul Hassan, Director, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR)discussed that the challenges are due to climate change. In this regard, there are some questions we need to answer related to climate change its vulnerability and mitigation. Mr.Faizan statedthat theGermanwatchGlobal Climate Risk Index 2021has placed Pakistan among top 20most vulnerable countries. He explained that climate vulnerability has been ignored. Therefore, there is a need to generate awareness among people regarding the issue of climate change.

Dr. Steffen Kudella, Resident Representative, Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistanpresented concluding remarks. He stated that Pakistan is vulnerable to climate change and suggested torespond to theseeffects is a responsible manner, collectively.

The Online Roundtable was moderated by Mr. ShakeelRamay, Advisor, Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development, Consultant SDPI & Member Board of Advisors, CGSS.A total number of 80 participants from all across Pakistan attended the online roundtable discussionand was also viewed live on various social media platforms.

Chairman of Pakistan-Qatar Takaful Insurance Company meets COAS Gen. Bajwa

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DNA

RAWALPINDI, JUN 2 – Sheikh Ali Bin Abdullah Thani J. Al Thani, Chairman of Pakistan-Qatar Takaful Insurance Company & Member of the Ruling Family of State of Qatar called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), today.

During the meeting matters of mutual interest, regional security situation including recent developments in Afghan Peace Process and bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed. Acknowledging positive trajectory of Pakistan – Qatar relationship, COAS appreciated Qatar’s support to Pakistan in various domains.

The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s contributions for conflict prevention in the region & expressed desire for enhanced Pakistan-Qatar bilateral collaboration.

PAKISTAN DESIRES TO PROMOTE MULTIFACETED COOPERATION WITH TAJIKISTAN

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2: Foreign Minister Shah Qureshi called on the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, after his arrival in Islamabad, today. The Foreign Minister welcomed him on a two-day visit to Pakistan and discussed issues of bilateral interest.

Building on historic and cultural commonalities between the two countries, he hoped for positive and fruitful outcomes from the current visit.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed satisfaction on the upward trajectory of bilateral ties and shared that Pakistan desires to promote multifaceted cooperation with Tajikistan in all spheres, including political, trade and economic, defence and security, education and cultural contacts.

The Foreign Minister elaborated Pakistan’s efforts for enhanced engagement with Central Asian countries to build a result-oriented, sustainable and long-term partnership through its “Vision Central Asia” policy. He also highlighted the aspect of regional connectivity and integration as its important components and underlined shortest access to the sea for Central Asian states through our ports.

The Foreign Minister also underlined the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan in the advancement of regional connectivity.

President Rahmon later had tête-à-tête with Prime Minister Imran Khan, followed by delegation-level talks. The two sides also signed a number of agreements and MoUs for deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

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KOREAN ENVOY CALLS ON ZOBAIDA JALAL

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Suh Sangpyo called on Federal Minister for Defence Production, Ms. Zobaida Jalal at her office in Islamabad on 01st June 2021.

 During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, enhanced bilateral & defence cooperation were discussed.

Suh Sangpyo expressed Korea’s keen desire to explore new avenues in the mutual relationship with Pakistan in all sectors, particularly in defence, economy and education sectors. Both reiterated the commitment to enhance Pak-Korea bilateral relationship.

MUSHAHID ELECTED CHAIRMAN SENATE DEFENCE COMMITTEE

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Says his Committee will act ‘above party lines in national interest to promote Khaki-Mufti harmony’

 Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: The newly constituted Senate Defence Committee in its first meeting held this morning in the Parliament, unanimously elected Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed as Chairman of the Committee.  Five political parties participated in the electoral process including the Leader of the House, Senator Dr. Shahzad Wasim and Leader of the Opposition, Senator Yousaf Raza Gilani. 

Senator Hidayatullah proposed the name of Senator Mushahid Hussain for Chairman which was seconded by Senator Mushahid Ahmad.  After his unanimous election, Senator Mushahid Hussain thanked the Chairman Senate, Parliamentary Leader of PML-N, Senator Azam Tarar, the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition for reposing confidence in him and he also thanked all the members present for their support.

He said that the spirit of consensus which was witnessed in the unanimous election today, would be maintained and the Senate Committee on Defence and National Security, which would function above party lines, as the issues of defence and national security should have a national bi-partisan support.

Senator Mushahid Hussain also pledged to promote Khaki-Mufti harmony issue, with the Senate Committee on Defence and National Security would play the role of a bridge between parliament and armed forces.  He the role of the Defence Committee is not only to preserve, promote and protect the interests of Pakistan, but he also underlined the Defence Committee’s role to defend the inalienable rights of the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir, occupied Palestine and the Rohingya.

In his address to the Defence Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain also said that the national security would be redefined to include

human security with a particular focus on new non-traditional challenges and threats to national security such as pandemics, climate change, health, population planning, education, food security and water scarcity so that socio-economic development and human security can underpin Pakistan’s national security and defence in a strong and robust manner.

He also appreciated the role of the Senate Secretariat particularly the Secretary Senate, Mr. Qasim Samad Khan for the smooth conduct of the election.  Members present during the meeting included Senators Talha Mahmood, Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Mushtaq Ahmad and Hidayatullah, as well as both the Leader of the House Senator Dr Shehzad Waseem and Leader of the Opposition Senator Yousaf Raza Gilani.

STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY PARK IN ISLAMABAD TO GENERATE 5000 JOBS IN NEXT FIVE YEARS

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2 – The Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) and Rapidev DMCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Technology Park in Pakistan’s first Special Technology Zone (STZ) in Islamabad, a state-of-the-art development that will facilitate a high-tech business environment. The signing ceremony was held in Islamabad and attended by members of both the organizations, technology sector professionals, and government officials.

According to the MoU, both the organizations will work together to achieve high-tech industrial growth, create job opportunities, upskill the youth, and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) through development of a knowledge ecosystem driven by research, innovation and collaboration.

Mr. Amer Hashmi, Chairman STZA, stated that the Technology Park in the Islamabad STZ will encourage innovative solutions and provide futuristic entrepreneurship opportunities for the youth of Pakistan. The STZA team also addressed how the Special Technology Zones (STZs) have the potential to change the economic outlook of Pakistan by enhancing IT exports and encouraging technology and knowledge transfer from global technology hubs. The signing of the MoU between the organisations means that the groundwork is in place for STZA’s flagship project, the Islamabad STZ, to break ground soon.

 The 3 Pol (People, Purpose, Passion) Technology Park by Rapidev, will spread over an area of 650,000 sq. ft. which will offer a complete ecosystem including all the necessary facilities to foster innovation. The facilities offered to resident companies will include technology towers, cutting edge R&D labs, production and manufacturing plants, certified testing centers, wellness facilities and a Center of Excellence. . With an investment US$ 100 million, the project is expected to create more than 5000 highly skilled jobs and generate over US$ 200 million of revenue in the coming few years. By the addition of a Research and Training academy at the Park, Mr. Wajid Gulistan, Chief Executive Officer of Rapidev, also envisions to equip the youth of Pakistan with high-tech knowledge and skills.

 While addressing the gathering, Mr. Gulistan stated that the Park will be a one-of-its-kind in Pakistan – a hub of research, innovation, and technology. He mentioned that the aim will be to provide all resident companies, including startups, SMES and multi-nationals with access to all available facilities. He concluded by stating that “Our mission is to make Pakistan the fastest growing exporting country in the world and make ‘Made in Pakistan’ a symbol of quality”.

The MoU with Rapidev DMCC on 3 Pol Technology Park is STZA’s second recent one after the former MoU was signed with iEngineering Corporation. It is envisioned that a cluster of Technology Parks will form within the Islamabad STZ as the Zone materializes over the years.

IRON BROTHERS OR BATIE, SPECIAL, UNIQUE TERMINOLOGY FOR PAKISTAN: AWAN

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ISLAMABAD, June 2 (DNA): “Now we are the third generation in this chain of (Pak-China) friendship. I want to promote and carry on the same spirit to our next generation,” said Zamir Ahmed Awan, a Sinologist and former diplomat of Pakistan.

Awan shared his family’s special bond with China in an interview with China Economic Net (CEN) before the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China-Pakistan diplomatic ties.

“My father had lived in China before 1949. I studied and worked in China for many years. My children also once studied in China. We have a very strong family bond. I inherited the friendship from my parents and then transferred it to my children,” Awan said.

There is an Islamic teaching: you have to seek knowledge, even you have to travel to China. “I fulfilled this saying. I’m very lucky that I have an opportunity to study in China,” said Awan.

He added, “I came to study in Shanghai China when I was 18 years old. I had spent six and a half years here finishing my higher education with my Chinese friends.”

For Awan’s family, Shanghai is a special place. “My father, my son and I all stayed in Shanghai,” Awan told CEN. He even can speak some phrases in Shanghai dialect.
Awan recalled that when he came to Shanghai in the 1980s, China was just at the initial stage of the reform and opening-up policy.

China was quite poor and backward. There was shortage of food, consumer products and infrastructure. “But China built up rapidly. 

We can see a visible change in the Chinese society. Today, China is one of the most modern, developed and prosperous nation and the purchasing power of the Chinese people is much higher than any other country,” said Awan.

He added that “Today, China has emerged a geopolitical power, which is due to the hard work and struggle of the Communist Party of China (CPC).”

Awan thinks that CPC is one of the oldest political parties and he largest political party in the world. The history of the CPC is full of achievements through the hard work. 

They achieved many milestones and the success story of CPC is full of many, many mega events. Awan once wrote in an article that, China’s lifting of almost 850 million people out of poverty is a miracle.

No other country in the world has had such a marvelous achievement in recent history. Credit goes to the Chinese leadership, good governance and the hard work of the people. The rest of the world should congratulate China and learn from the Chinese experience.

“We congratulate CPC on its 100th founding anniversary and wish them all the good luck and more success in the future,” said Awan.

For Awan, working for China-Pakistan amity and making friends with Chinese are his greatest happiness.

Awan was appointed as the science counselor in the Embassy of Pakistan, Beijing in 2010. He said, “Promotion of cooperation between two countries in the field of science and technology, and higher education was my job. I did it very well. 

The number of Pakistani students studying in China had increased many folds. I have created almost 200 PhD scholarships for higher education for Pakistanis.”

Awan thinks that China is becoming the most favorable destination for the international students. Education is the most important to strengthen the relationship between Pakistan and China, exchange of students and youth is the most vital things to promote the understanding between two nations. 

Based on the understanding, the relation will be more robust, stable, and fruitful.

Awan said that China has become a major contributor to the workforce produce for Pakistan in science and technology and higher education. 

He added “I believe more and more students should go to China for higher education. I also want to encourage Chinese students to come to study in the Pakistani universities. It will promote the people to people contact and understanding.”

Awan believed that if the youth of the two countries understand each other and deepen their friendship, the two countries’ relationship will embrace a brighter future.

“During the period as science counselor, I had got 17 protocols of science and technology signed and assisted signing around 200 MOUs between Pakistani science and technology institutions, research organizations with the Chinese counterparts. 

I have facilitated a number of visits of exchange programs between the two science communities of the two countries. One of my focus was on the transfer of technology, seeking high tech and new technologies,” Awan told CEN.

He added “In addition to that, I was promoting the public diplomacy, people to people contact because I know the Chinese language and Chinese culture.”

Awan points out that “I believe the elder people of both countries have to work hard to pass on the friendship to the younger generation so that we keep the same momentum of friendship.”

“I think China is the only country that maintains true friendship with Pakistan. We used to have very close relations with America and other western countries, but that was some kind of transactional relationships,” Awan said.

“With China, our friendship is pure. We are both eastern countries and we value the friendship in its true spirit. Materials are not important things to us. 

China values Pakistan and Pakistan also values the friendship with China. We are friends forever, eternal friendship as the leadership of two countries say that our relations are higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, sweeter than honey, stronger than steel, we are real iron brothers,” he said.

Awan said that Chinese uses the terminology for friendly countries, such as good countries, and strategic partners. But for Pakistan, the Chinese people use a unique terminology that was never used and won’t be used for any other country, iron brothers. 

“Tiegemen or batie, these are the special and unique terminology for Pakistan. No other country, no other nation, can be replaced with that one,” Anwan said.

In Awan’s opinion, China and Pakistan are much more than the neighborly, friendly and brotherly countries. “We are two nations with a shared destiny, as Chinese President Xi Jinping has emphasized. 

We share our destiny, which means that we will support each other at all difficult moments. And it was witnessed in the history whenever Pakistan was in trouble, China was the only country who stood fast with Pakistan, either in the earthquake in 2005, the flood in 2010 or the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

At any difficult moment, China was always helping Pakistan and rescuing Pakistan. In addition to these, in the diplomatic and political matters, China also helped Pakistan,” said Awan.

BA EXAMINATIONS STARTS FROM JUNE 5

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2 – Allama Iqbal Open University has decided to conduct semester terminal examinations for BA (Associate Degree) programs in the fall semester 2020 postponed previously due to Covid19. The examinations will start from June 5. The question papers of all the course codes (examination papers) of the students will be uploaded in the roll number slip section of AIOU website. Students will send hand written answer scripts to the mentioned tutor in time.

Information of concerned tutors will be given on roll number slips. Students will have to take an affidavit with each course paper that we have solved this paper ourselves and did mot use any unfair means. This affidavit will also be available with the roll number slip. Irrelevant, stolen, copied material from a book or other media will be considered rejected and a legal action will be taken.  Each paper will consist of a total of 3 questions and all of them must be answered. 

The word limit for the answer is 600 to 800 words, in case of more than 800 words there will be a negative marking of that question. Students are instructed to post their answer scripts to tutor through any registered courier service and keep receipts.  Students are also instructed to write answers in their own handwriting and must write their name and roll number with signature on each solved page. Students must use a separate envelope to send answer book of each course code.

It is pertinent to mention here that only handwritten answers will be accepted for BA program.  Typed answer copies will be rejected. Exam of course code 473, 456, 451, 411, 405, 402 have already been conducted, semester terminal examination of these courses will not be held.

IOBM ORGANIZES DR. AHMER S. KARIM (ASK) GRANT CHALLENGE

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, JUN 2 – The Institute of Business Management (IoBM), Karachi recently announced the winners of the Dr. Ahmer S. Karim (ASK) Grant Challenge. The events and its proceedings were held virtually. Five student teams have been selected so they can take their innovative business startup ideas to the next level.

They will undergo a rigorous capacity building and monitoring program under the aegis of Shahjehan S. Karim Business Incubation Centre (SSK-BIC) at IoBM.

The winning teams were Boltay Haroof, Karachi University; Bridge, IoBM; Healthitol-A sugar story, Karachi University; Pak Senicare, Karachi University;  Tactonic Bio, COMSATS University Islamabad. the judges of Grant Challenge were Jehan Ara, Founder and CEO, Katalyst Labs and Member of Prime Minister’s Taskforce on IT & Telecom; Ms. Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat, CEO, Mera Maan Pvt Ltd; Furqan Qureshi, Founder, TheFourDees; Salman Tufail, Director, Tufail Chemical Industries Ltd; Danyaal Zuhair, Head of Business Management, Teamup Group; Amr Ali Karim, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong, and Nabhan Shah Karim, Assistant Professor of Practice and Head of Media Productions, IoBM.   

WHO approves China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine

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The World Health Organisation on Tuesday approved the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light.

The UN health agency signed off on the two-dose vaccine, which is already being deployed in several countries around the world, including Pakistan.

“WHO today validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use,” it said in a statement.

The move gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities “assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”.

Last month, Sinopharm became the first Chinese vaccine to be approved by the WHO.

The organisation has also given emergency use listing to vaccines being made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the AstraZeneca jab being produced in India, South Korea and the EU, which it counts separately.

WHO’s listing paves the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve and import a vaccine for distribution, especially those states without an international-standard regulator of their own.

It also opens the door for the jabs to enter the Covax global vaccine-sharing scheme, which aims to provide equitable access to doses around the world, particularly in poorer countries.

Currently only AstraZeneca and some Pfizer jabs are flowing through the scheme.

“The world desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” said Mariangela Simao, the WHO’s assistant director general for access to health products.

“We urge manufacturers to participate in the Covax facility, share their know-how and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control.”

The Sinovac jab is already in use in 22 territories around the world, according to an AFP count.

Apart from China, the countries using Sinovac include Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation have reviewed the jab and published their advice on its usage.

“WHO recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks,” the agency said.

“Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 per cent of those vaccinated and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalisation in 100pc of the studied population.”

Sinovac is one of three Chinese vaccines approved by Pakistan and is currently being administered across the country. On May 23, a special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight brought two million Sinovac doses purchased by Pakistan from China to the country.

A week before that, a special flight PK-6852 had transported a consignment of one million doses of Sinovac vaccine from Beijing.

TERRORISTS WON’T BE ALLOWED TO DESTABILISE PEACE EFFORTS: COAS

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DNA

QUETTA – Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Corps HQ Quetta today. On his arrival, COAS was received by Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sarfraz  Ali.

COAS was given a detailed briefing on security situation, operational preparedness, border management including fencing along Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders.

COAS was also briefed on the socio-economic initiatives undertaken by Army in support of Govt of Balochistan and efforts underway for capacity enhancement of LEAs to ensure peace and stability.

COAS said that Pakistan army will make all possible efforts towards achievement of an enduring peace for sustainable socio-economic development of the province. 

COAS said that terrorists won’t be allowed to destabilise peace efforts. COAS emphasised that all out efforts be made to assist provincial government in ensuring law and order .

COAS lauded officers and men for their dedicated efforts, continued vigilance and high morale.

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WON’T LET ANYONE SABOTAGE PEACE IN BALOCHISTAN: PM IMRAN KHAN

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DNA

QUETTA – Prime Minister, Imran Khan visited Quetta today and addressed participants of staff course at Command and Staff College, Quetta.

Addressing the officers, PM said that Pakistan Army has produced unmatched results when pitched against its adversaries and successfully deterred the nefarious designs of Pakistan’s enemies. He added that country’s defence is impregnable due to professionalism and battle hardened Armed Forces of Pakistan.

PM deliberated at length upon his vision of future of Pakistan where Rule of law,  across the board accountability and justice are order of the day. Establishment of a prosperous state in line with Islamic principles and ideology of our great leaders like Allama Iqbal and Quaid e Azam can be achieved only if we work hard consistently as a nation, the PM stated .

 PM  said that Govt has made all out efforts for progress  in various sectors like agriculture, industry, technology and automation. PM advised participant officers to pursue their dreams without fear of failure to achieve their objectives.

On his arrival at Command & Staff College Quetta, the Prime Minister was received by General Qamar Javed Bajwa – COAS, Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali – Commander Quetta Corps.

Qatar ready to mediate between regional powers

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DOHA – Qatar is ready to play a mediating role between regional powers to achieve peace and stability, according to the country’s foreign ministry.

Al-Khater was responding to a question about the possibility of Doha mediating between Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and the US.

As regards the possibility of mediating between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, Al-Khater said the matter “was not raised” yet, but noted that Qatar “welcomes” the possibility while stressing the importance of “dialogue” with Iran for “peaceful coexistence in the region that takes into account the concerns of the Gulf and Arab countries”.

She also highlighted that the invitation Qatar extended to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to visit Doha was still “open”, adding that the date will be set in cooperation with the Egyptian side.

Asked about the Turkish-Egyptian relations, Al-Khater said Qatar welcomes any honest and constructive dialogue as effective in resolving outstanding issues.

She also called on the international players to review their “unconditional support” for Israel.

Qatar recently pledged $500 million in reconstruction aid for Gaza following destructive raids in the latest fighting between Israel and Hamas that was brought to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire on May 21.

APNS, OTHER MEDIA HOUSES REJECT PROPOSED PAKISTAN MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ORDINANCE

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KARACHI, JUN 1 /DNA/ – “A joint meeting of the representative media organizations including All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ, Barna Group), PFUJ (Dastoor Group) and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) have totally rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority Ordinance and termed the concept as an unconstitutional and draconian law aimed against Freedom of Press and Expression  and step towards imposing the state control to regulate the establishment as well as operation of all segments of media.

The joint meeting was of the unanimous opinion that the proposed PMDA is intended tohinder media freedoms and take control over the media by the top information bureaucracy. The concept is an attempt to tighten Federal Government hold over the media through one draconian authority ignoring the fact that print, digital and electronic media are separate entities each with their own defined features and respective regulatory laws. The move appears as an extension of now defunct Press and Publications Ordinance 1963 (PPO) of Ayub Khan era to all media platforms with regimental provisions to take over the independent and free media. This has no place in a democratically elected dispensation, stated the joint declaration.

The joint meeting decided to resist the establishment of PMDA at all levels including legal recourse, protest measures and advertising campaigns to educate the public against thisblatant attempt to subjugate and control the media and curtail peoples’ right to know. The meeting decided to form a Joint Action Committee of APNS, PBA, CPNE, PFUJ & AEMEND to decide further actions and seek support from political parties, bar associations, human right organizations and other segments of the civil society to oppose the proposed attack on media and urge upon the Federal Government to immediately withdraw the proposal.

DESPITE CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT ENSURED FOOD SECURITY IN COUNTRY: FAKHAR IMAM

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 1 /DNA/ – The Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam, despite unprecedented challenges Pakistan has faced during the last two years, the threats to food security were responded with robust actions by the government at every level.

During the time of Covid-19, locust attack was another major challenge. However, through collaborative efforts, we reduced the threat to minimum damage and are better prepared for future threats now. He said this while speaking at the webinar‘Ensuring food security amid Covid-19 through ecosystem restoration’ held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Fakhar Imam added further that failure in correctly monitoring food pricing leads to inaccurate predictions market price trends. Therefore, the government had purchased more wheat to mitigate any shortage.

“Despite Covid-19 and its impacts, we are having 6 bumper crops this year including wheat, rice and maize,” he  said and added further that the focus of the future efforts of the government would be on improving livestock sector, becoming self-reliant on edible oils andorganic farming. The challenges of climate change and expanding biodiversity, Pakistan needs to build up institutional mechanisms and make full use of its human resources. Therefore, the education to improve the agricultural sector and engage in more high-tech methods and set up our own silicon valleys is the need of hour, he concluded.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Food Security, MrJamshed Iqbal Cheema, while highlighting various problems in livestock sector, said that the government was shifting its focus to new areas in Balochistan and Thar desert areas, especially for crops such as cotton which have higher chances of success in such areas.

Mr Cheema added further that encouraging fruit tree plantation in urban areas through youth engagement, cultivation of medicinal plants and increasing production of crops such as ginger, cardamon, avocados, coffee is being focused. These super foods will be grown locally and given upscale production with the help of nurseries, scientists. and farmers to enhance exports of these crops in future. He highlighted that the government plans to provide loans to farmers, food processing plants across the country and commercial activities to rural sector to stop rural to urban migration. 

Senior Economist and Team Lead, FCDO, Pakistan, Mr Richard Ough, explained that how the subject of the ecosystem, food security and diversity are linked. He was of view that that food pricing and its monitoring provides valuable data that is important to ensure food security. He opined that the digital innovation could support the ambition of Pak’s government. Besides, initiatives to transform arid dessert lands to arable with smart water irrigation could be explored, he added.

DrAbid QaiyumSuleri, Executive Director, SDPI,earlier presented a brief overview of the topic and highlighted the importance of ecosystem restoration. It is important not only to protect global flora and fauna, but also in terms of ensuring food security, he emphasized.

Kashif Majeed Salik, Associate Research Fellow, SDPI, with the help of his detailed presentation, highlighted the Covid-19’s impact on agriculture and food system and explained that how transport restrictions, shortage of labour and machinery, increase in farm input prices and farmers’ limited access to market, caused major disruptions in food supply chain in Pakistan.

He informed the participants that the the most affected crops during the pandemic were perishable items such as fruits and vegetables and dairy products. Covid-19 coupled with climate change factors and locust attack disturbed the supply chain and demand.  He emphasized on the importance of data collection and said that a lot of important statistics were still missing.

MrSalik added further that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of cold storage, the dynamics of farm labour markets, importance of small-scale food processing for value addition, particularly partible commodities.  He said that the ability of public departments and institutions to secure food supply chains during pandemic was particularly low.  with a lack of data and information as most data collected based on self-reported assessments of a few distributors. His key   recommendations were as follows:

He highlighted that the risk assessments for local supply chain, digital innovations for efficient food system and agriculture, improved access to farm inputs and credit through agro-cooperatives, improved role of private sector, improved cold storage facilities and logistics system and informal labour registration and support programmes are the some of key areas for the consideration of the government in terms of future policies and administrative measures. Besides, identify changes in agroecological zones and endangered regional ecosystems of Pakistan,focus on climate smart agricultural and green growth and water conservation and management should be the key priorities, he concluded.

USA, UK, CHINA TOP THREE DESTINATIONS OF PAKISTANI EXPORTS IN 10 MONTHS

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 01 (DNA) – United States of America (USA) remained the top export destinations of the Pakistani products during the first ten months of financial year (2020-21), followed by United Kingdom (UK) and China.

Total exports to the USA during July-April (2020-21) were recorded at US $ 4019.722 million against the exports of US $ 3368.090 million during July-April (2019-20), showing growth of 19.34 percent, according to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

This was followed by UK, wherein Pakistan exported goods worth US $ 1691.314 million against the exports of US $ 1386.999 million last year, showing an increase of 21.94 percent.

China was the at third top export destination, where Pakistan exported goods worth US $ 1640.629 million during the months under review against the exports of US $1411.004 million during last year, showing growth of 16.27 percent, SBP data revealed.

Among other countries, Pakistani exports to Germany stood at US $ 1245.122 million against US $1116.232 million during last year, showing increase of 11.54 percent while the exports to UAE were recorded at US $ 1215.939 million against US $ 1377.287 million last year, the data revealed.

During July-April (2020-21), the exports to Holland were recorded at US $922.819 million against US $850.421 million whereas the exports to Afghanistan stood at US $ 828.727 million against US $809.685 million.

Pakistan’s exports to Italy were recorded at $629.917 million against the exports of US $ 642.617 million while the exports to Spain were recorded at US $ 668.773 million against US $751.606 million last year.

The exports to Bangladesh stood at US $497.396 million against US $ 599.658 million. Similarly, the exports to France during the months under review were recorded at US $ 361.699 million against US $ 358.620 million while the exports to Saudi Arabia stood at US $ 401.643 million against US $ 388.610 million.

Pakistan’s exports to Turkey were recorded at US $218.069 million during the current year compared to US $240.196 million last year whereas the exports to Canada stood at US $253.928 million against US $ 231.242 million, to Poland US $ 247.839 million against US $ 218.654 million whereas the exports to Australia stood at US $ 216.939 million during the current year against US $ 170.321 million during last year.

Overall Pakistan’s exports to other countries witnessed growth of 6.54 percent in ten months, from $19.703 billion to $20.992 billion, the SBP data showed. = DNA

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COMSTECH ADVANCED TRAINING ON ESTABLISHMENT OF HALAL PRODUCTS TESTING LAB IN JUNE

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 1 (DNA) – COMSTECH is organizing a 3-day advanced training course on “how to establish halal products testing laboratory”, in collaboration with International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Karachi, and Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) during June 8 – 10, 2021, at COMSTECH Secretariat, Islamabad.

Federal Minister for Science & Technology, Mr. Shibli Faraz, will grace the occasion as the chief guest and Mr. İhsan ÖVÜT, Secretary General, The Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), Turkey, will address the inaugural session.

According to the global Islamic finance report, the global halal industry is estimated to be worth around USD2.3 trillion growing at an estimated annual rate of 20%, the industry is valued at about USD560 billion a year.

In view of the diversity of several products, including processed food and other items of daily use in the present day, authentication and confirmation of their Halal nature is a growing challenge globally.

Beside the environmental contaminants, both biological and chemical, addition of non-halal ingredients, which is prohibited for Muslims, is a matter of concern.  In recent years, awareness about Halal food and other products has increased due to the cross contamination of several industrial products in our daily life.

However, with increasing globalization, many Islamic countries import these products or ingredients from places where Islamic injunctions are not observed. It is therefore, imperative for the Muslim countries to establish Halal testing laboratories which will ensure the Halal status of the consumer products.

The objectives of the training are to impart knowledge on how to establish a research and development laboratory for the investigation / analysis of non-halal ingredients in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals by providing hands-on training on instruments involved in non-halal ingredients testing.

To explain the procedure for the testing of most common non-halal ingredients such as detection of alcohol, pork meet, and pork fat (Lard) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), along with learning the procedure for the laboratory accreditation for ISO 17025 and OIC/SMIIC 35:2020, and to have understanding of how to successfully participate in international proficiency testing.

The course is designed for scientists and research scholars and technicians from OIC member states, involved in food testing and research to participate and acquire state-of-the-art knowledge to establish halal products testing laboratories in their countries.=DNA

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THE WORLD PEACE COMES FROM SHUSHA

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Asif ASGARLI

While for an indifferent foreigner, Shusha is just one of the cities on the world map, one of the settlements of Azerbaijan and the Karabakh region, for us, Shusha is exceptional and sacred, as well as unique (special) in the true sense of the word.

Unique (special) Shusha

Six years ago, when we launched the international public support campaign “Freedom for Shusha” with our partners from more than 30 foreign countries through the NGO I lead, this question was often addressed in both local and foreign arenas: “What is the importance and uniqueness of this city that you are conducting a separate large international campaign in its name; shouldn’t you carry out this work within the framework of the Karabakh events?”

Of course, we were ready to answer this question coherently and reasonably and in a way that aroused great interest, really attracting foreigners’ attention to Shusha, its culture, cultural heritage, peace, tolerance and multicultural genetics.

As a result, on the eve of May 8, the day of the occupation, the heads of NGOs from 30 European countries issued an official statement on behalf of their organizations, condemning the occupation of Shusha by the Armenian armed forces.

They attended an important international meeting in Baku, announcing on the social media of their countries that Armenians vandalized the rich culture, cultural heritage and peaceful nature of this city.

Many, including ourselves, thought that this love of foreigners for Shusha would be a step taken to come to Baku, see here, and walk, and after a while, this interest would vanish.

But to be honest, the name of Shusha, the activity of Shusha, the specificity of Shusha justified itself and made it sustainable.

Seriously, our foreign partners, who participated in the international event without any financial compensation, organized the “Freedom to Shusha” campaign in 11 European countries and called to protect the uniqueness of Shusha, its cultural values, and heritage.

Another interesting point was that the winner of the logo contest organized by us as part of the international campaign “Freedom to Shusha” was the head of a Georgian NGO, and this altruist really described the culture, cultural heritage and beautiful “Kharibulbul” and this unique Shusha in general, as if he was Azerbaijani and from Karabakh.

This is the specialty of Shusha that this eternal specialty of ours has already passed to the universal scale.

Peaceful, coexistent and tolerant Shusha

Along with the beautiful and unique nature of Shusha, which was founded 270 years ago by Panahali Khan, the founder of the ancient Azerbaijani Karabakh Khanate, as a city-fortress in a high geographical area, cultural and peaceful genetics have left deep imprints on the Caucasus and the whole region.

As early as the beginning of the 19th century, during the Qajar Iran-Tsarist Russia war, Shusha called for peace, supported the immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of peaceful coexistence in the region.

Shusha embraced with its great kindness the tens of thousands of Armenian families displaced by the Qajar Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s and 1930s and focused on the tolerant and peaceful life of the aboriginal people of Karabakh (Azerbaijani Turks) with them.

Based on the guarantee of peace and coexistence, Shusha also recognized the right of the Armenian population to self-government (ownership) of small village and settlement communities in Karabakh, in the 19th century!

In the early 20th century, in 1919, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first democratic and secular republic in the East, Shusha once again hosted a peaceful and nonviolent settlement of the Dashnak-incited uprising and separatist protests of the Armenian population in Karabakh.

In the early years of the Bolshevik (Soviet) occupation of Azerbaijan, Shusha demonstrated its commitment to a policy of peace, coexistence and consensus and granted high self-government autonomy to the Armenian and Azerbaijani populations in Karabakh, and, as a concession, passed its administrative center to Khankendi.

Cultural Shusha with cultural heritage

The fact that Shusha is a center of culture, music, and cultural heritage is not only a local issue for Azerbaijan but also a regional cultural system for the entire Caucasus.

Shusha is called the cradle of music in the Caucasus because the Azerbaijani Karabakh mugam and singing school, established and formed here, was the cultural ruler of the entire Caucasus region. Representatives of this school promoted the cultural heritage and values in all settlements of the Caucasus.

After the South Caucasus became part of the Russian Empire, any cultural innovation in the administrative center of Tbilisi manifested itself primarily in Shusha.

The establishment of the first classical theater in Shusha after Tbilisi was one of the factors that made it the cultural center of the Caucasus.

The opening in Shusha of the first modern secondary school in Azerbaijan is also assessed as a city benchmark in the Caucasus.

Ahmad Bey Agaoglu, who received his first higher education in law and political science in Europe in the 19th century, kept alive the Western values and was fluent in five foreign languages, is also a representative of the Shusha cultural school and the founder of the first library in Karabakh.

The manifestation of progressive European and Western values the 19th and 20th centuries in the activity of Shusha and its intellectuals showed that the city was incomparable as the cultural center of the Caucasus.

The centuries-old coexistence of mosques, Islamic monuments, Orthodox and Gregorian churches and monuments confirms that Shusha is a multicultural Azerbaijani city that preserves this multi-religious cultural heritage, along with being the center of the cultural heritage in the Caucasus.

Shusha, which embodied national and human cultural values, led Azerbaijan during the Soviet era despite communist ideological pressures, maintained the status of the Caucasian cultural heritage center with the outstanding services of National leader Heydar Aliyev, and even spread it throughout the post-Soviet space.

The music festival held in Shusha in 1990-1991 gained international status and became a cultural event globally, surpassing the Soviet Union.

Capital of cultures – Shusha

The people, the state, and the leadership of Azerbaijan, which has permanently attached great importance to culture, cultural heritage, and the preservation of cultural values, have reaffirmed this tradition in the example of liberated Shusha.

After the liberation of Shusha, the cradle of culture and music of the Caucasus, the President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, called on the whole world to preserve and protect the national and human cultural values of this ancient city.

International organizations, which voted that Shusha and its cultural heritage do not belong only to the Azerbaijani people, immediately announced their decisions:

Shusha was declared the Capital of Islamic Culture.

Shusha was declared the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World.

Shusha was declared the Capital of Culture of Azerbaijan.

The list will probably expand. But at least Shusha, which will have the responsible and honorable status of the capital of these cultures, is already creating great cultural geography beyond the cultural center of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus.

Culture has always served peace, and cultural Shusha, which has been a component of this peace for years, has been deprived not only of this status but also of its role as a peace center.

Azerbaijan and its President have liberated Shusha, the capital of cultures, not only for our people but for the whole peace-loving humanity, so that this culture will continue to serve peace, security, peaceful and friendly coexistence for hundreds of years ahead.

Symbol of freedom, peace and culture “Kharibulbul”

The association of the endemic plant “Kharibulbul” which grows in the Caucasus with Shusha is not only a love of nature but its great spiritual, cultural and peaceful significance and value preserved by the Azerbaijani people for 100 years.

The legend said that according to the wish of the Karabakh khan’s daughter, who moved to a remote land with the Shusha languor, the flower “Kharibulbul” was brought and planted, but it did not grow in other lands, and both (khan’s daughter and flower) perished in a distant land.

Therefore, the people of Azerbaijan have always protected “Kharibulbul” as a symbol of free Shusha and the eternal owner of this land, and passed this tradition on to future generations.

For centuries, Azerbaijani people have accepted Shusha as “Kharibulbul” and “Kharibulbul” as Shusha – a cultural unit connected by a chain – and have not reconciled with the violation of this unwritten law.

That is why when the Armenian armed forces invaded Shusha on May 8, 1992, and the city had been under occupation for 28 years, the Azerbaijani people said: “Our “Kharibulbul” is in a cage, it is waiting for the real owner to release it, to liberate it, to return it to its cultural life.”

Thus, 28 years later, the people of Azerbaijan, under the leadership of their proud, victorious leader Ilham Aliyev, freed Shusha – “Kharibulbul” with a peacekeeping (peace-enforcment) operation against the Armenian occupation of our country.

“Kharibulbul” – Shusha is already freed, “Kharibulbul” grows freely, blossoms freely, breathes freely, and sleeps freely.

This is the significance of “Kharibulbul”; this is the cultural value of “Kharibulbul”.

“Kharibulbul” Shusha’s call for peace

Shusha, where all values of culture and cultural heritage  were destroyed and illegally changed during the occupation, began to restore its former and ancient cultural status with “Kharibulbul”.

The visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Shusha three times in a short time and the restoration of the cultural image of Shusha in difficult climatic and geographical conditions are extraordinary heroism and historical assessment of culture and cultural heritage.

The highly professional restoration of all Islamic and Christian cultural monuments in Shusha, the cultural center of the Caucasus, is another indication of the city’s commitment to peace, coexistence, and multiculturalism.

Returning to Shusha with the “Kharibulbul” Music Festival, multicultural Azerbaijan once again sent a message of peace to the world from this city of peace.

The “Kharibulbul” Festival invited for the continuation of a peaceful, secure, and tolerant neighborhood in the region.

The active participation of various ethnic and cultural groups living in Azerbaijan in the “Kharibulbul” Music Festival, which promotes peace, coexistence and peaceful community, confirmed that the Armenian population of our country could also benefit from these opportunities.

The President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, once again demonstrated the commitment of our state to this policy by calling for peace from Shusha – “Kharibulbul” to the world, to the Karabakh Armenians, who may be our worthy citizens, and to Armenia, which may be our good neighbor.

The writer hails from New Azerbaijan Party . He is the  Member of the Board, Head of the Democratic Student & Youth Organization of Azerbaijan

JAPANESE ENVOY STRESSES ENHANCED THINK-THANK ACTIVITY

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Says by  accumulating online dialogues, workshops, lectures and etc., we can surely develop interactions between our experts beyond borders despite current COVID-19 circumstances

Mahnoor Ansar

ISLAMABAD: The Embassy of Japan has welcomed that the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO) in Japan and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Pakistan held the first online workshop on May 26, 2021.

Starting from the opening remarks and mutual introductions by FUKAO Kyoji, the President of IDE-JETRO and Abid Q Suleri, the Executive Director of SDPI, experts from both sides made presentations and discussed about topics such as Labor Force Participation of Women, Geographical Simulation Model of IDE, Financial Inclusion in Pakistan, and Sustainable Recovery from COVID 19 and Pakistan’s Fiscal Policy.

The Embassy of Japan has always been committed to promoting think-tank cooperation between Japan and Pakistan, and we assume that this event symbolizes steady development of cooperation between leading institutions in both countries.

MATSUDA Kuninori, Ambassador of Japan believes this kind of events will contribute to enhancing intellectual network between Japan and Pakistan towards the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between Japan and Pakistan in 2022.

“By accumulating online dialogues, workshops, lectures and etc., we can surely develop interactions between our experts beyond borders despite current COVID-19 circumstances. I’m really thankful for both organizations to take excellent initiative for development of think-tank cooperation, which we will continue to support in the future.”, he said.

PFD COMPLETES PROCESS OF ARTIFICIAL BREEDING OF PANGASIUS FISH IN PAKISTAN

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DNA

RAWALPINDI, JUN 1: Punjab Fisheries Department has successfully completed the process of artificial breeding of Pangasius fish in Pakistan in a significant development in the field of fish farming.

Assistant Director Fisheries Miss Sana Urooj said that Assistant Director Fisheries Chaudhry Ashraf  after three years of continuous research with his team at the Fish Hatchery in Kasur District, has successfully completed the Pangasius Fish Farming experiments. 

She said that after successful experiments, the seed of this fish will be easily available in Pakistan. Dr. Sikandar Hayat Director General Fisheries Punjab said that this fish is found in Vietnam but the import of its seed would cost a lot. 

Therefore, after successful breeding experiments in Pakistan, Pengasius fish farming would become very benificial  due to nature and its ability to survive despite  low oxygen content. Dr Sikandar Hayyat said that this fish is common in clean water  It is known all over the world for growing and producing four times more than other species.

He said that farming this fish would be of great benefit to the farmers and would also help in providing protein to the country.

WE HAVE TO MAKE NATURE OUR ALLY : AMIN ASLAM

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Climate change minister attends P$G summit organized by Republic of Korea

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: The Second P4G Summit was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea in its capital, Seoul. Government leaders and top officials from 46 countries including Pakistan and heads of 21 international organizations, along with representatives from business sector and civil society, took part in the conference.

The P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030) is a global initiative aimed at facilitating public-private partnership to tackle climate change and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. This year due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Summit was held virtually and mustered international solidarity required to build back better and greener from the COVID-19 crisis and be a stepping stone for the success of the 2021 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

Minister for Climate Change and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Mr. Malik Amin Aslam participated in the leaders’ session of the Summit by delivering a video message. He showcased Pakistan’s Green Stimulus Package, a commitment to green growth through ‘Ten Billion Trees Plantation Initiative’, expansion of protected areas and ‘Recharge Pakistan’ project, which will provide up to 185,000 green jobs for youth. The Minister also mentioned that, focusing on the green growth, Pakistan has set up the Ecosystem Restoration Fund, launched its first green Eurobonds and consulted with other countries on a debt-for-nature swap.

The two-day Summit engaged world leaders in dialogues on Inclusive Green Recovery from COVID-19, Efforts of the International Community to Achieve Carbon-Neutrality by 2050 and the Efforts to Strengthen Climate Action and to Facilitate Public-Private Partnerships through Inclusive Green Recovery. At the end of the Summit, the leaders adopted the Seoul Declaration, calling for the engagement of governments, businesses and civil society as part of “collective solutions” to global climate change and to achieve green recovery for current and future generations.

“WE HAVE TO MAKE NATURE OUR ALLY FOR DEVELOPMENT.” STRESSED PAKISTANI MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AT THE P4G SUMMIT

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DNA

ISLAMABAD – The Second P4G Summit was held on the 30th and 31st of May, 2021 hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea in its capital, Seoul. Government leaders and top officials from 46 countries including Pakistan and heads of 21 international organizations, along with representatives from business sector and civil society, took part in the conference.

 The P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030) is a global initiative aimed at facilitating public-private partnership to tackle climate change and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. This year due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the Summit was held virtually and mustered international solidarity required to build back better and greener from the COVID-19 crisis and be a stepping stone for the success of the 2021 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

Minister for Climate Change and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Mr. Malik Amin Aslam participated in the leaders’ session of the Summit by delivering a video message. He showcased Pakistan’s Green Stimulus Package, a commitment to green growth through ‘Ten Billion Trees Plantation Initiative’, expansion of protected areas and ‘Recharge Pakistan’ project, which will provide up to 185,000 green jobs for youth. The Minister also mentioned that, focusing on the green growth, Pakistan has set up the Ecosystem Restoration Fund, launched its first green Eurobonds and consulted with other countries on a debt-for-nature swap.

The two-day Summit engaged world leaders in dialogues on Inclusive Green Recovery from COVID-19, Efforts of the International Community to Achieve Carbon-Neutrality by 2050 and the Efforts to Strengthen Climate Action and to Facilitate Public-Private Partnerships through Inclusive Green Recovery. At the end of the Summit, the leaders adopted the Seoul Declaration, calling for the engagement of governments, businesses and civil society as part of “collective solutions” to global climate change and to achieve green recovery for current and future generations.

PM IMRAN, ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE SPEAK OVER PHONE

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, MAY 31 – Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephone conversation with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The two leaders reaffirmed the close fraternal relations between the two countries and discussed ways to further cement and diversify bilateral ties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan conveyed his appreciation for UAE’s cooperation and steadfast support including at multilateral fora.

The Prime Minister underscored the importance of responsible withdrawal and steady progress by the Afghan parties towards a political solution.

Both leaders welcomed efforts to enhance collaboration in COVID-19 vaccine production and in the field of Information Technology.

It was agreed to continue with the momentum of high-level exchanges to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

COAS GEN. BAJWA VISITS COMMAND & STAFF COLLEGE QUETTA

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, MAY 31: General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Command & Staff College (C&SC), Quetta and addressed officers and faculty of Command & Staff College.

COAS address to staff course-2020/21, focused on professional matters, internal & external security situation and matters concerning regional security environment. Speaking on the occasion, COAS emphasized Pakistan’s resolve and determination to confront global phenomenon of terrorism by adopting whole of Nation approach.

COAS said that future of enduring peace and stability in South Asia hinges on ability to resolve long pending issues within the region.

This can be complemented through meaningful international support and will to take on complex challenges. Focusing on COVID-19 pandemic, COAS said that Pakistan Army along with other state institutions will do all to mitigate the challenges faced by people of Pakistan.

Only a cohesive national effort shall take Pakistan to progress and prosperity, COAS said.             Earlier on arrival at Quetta, COAS was received by Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, Commander Quetta Corps and Major General Amer Ahsan Nawaz, Commandant Command & Staff College.

ABRAR UL HAQ APPEALS TO NATION TO COME FORWARD TO HELP PALESTINIANS

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Red Crescent Society is trying its best to help the victims of Gaza and will continue its struggle along with the government of Pakistan till the last wounded Palestinian recovers completely, said PRCS Chairman Abrar ul Haq while addressing a press conference at the National Headquarters. 

“If I had to go from house to house to ask for donations for our Palestinian brothers, I am ready for this even. I will do my best to heal the wounds of the Palestinians,” he said. He expressed thanks to President Dr. Arif Alvi for trusting the PRCS and instructing it to take part in relief work.  

Ambassador of Palestine Ahmed Rabbie, Vice Chancellor, University of Health Sciences Dr. Javed Akram, Israr-ul-Haq from Sahara Foundation were also present on the occasion. 

Abrar-ul-Haq appealed to the nation to send cash donations to the PRCS to help the victims of Gaza. “Pharmaceutical companies must donate medicines for Gaza … we are sending tents, oil stoves, blankets, household necessities and medicines in the first consignment,” he announced.  

Regarding the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Abrar-ul-Haq said that it is the largest organization in the world, which has its presence in 194 countries and reaches out to the victims of natural as well as man-made disasters anywhere in the world. “The situation in Gaza is alarming. Thousands of homes have been destroyed, hospital buildings and schools are in ruins. In such a situation, it is necessary to help the Palestinians and rehabilitate their infrastructure,” he said, and once again called on donors and the nation to donate for the people suffering due to Gaza conflict.  

Speaking at the press conference, Ambassador of Palestine Ahmed Rabbie, while praising the Government of Pakistan, the Pakistani nation and the aid agencies, said that the Palestinian people are facing huge difficulties. “We are in dire need of medical facilities,” he said, and termed the recent initiatives of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society as enviable.  

“We all have a duty to help the Muslims of Gaza, our team of doctors, nurses and paramedics are fully prepared, we want to provide full medical assistance to the brothers of Gaza,” said Dr. Javed Akram, Vice Chancellor, University of Health Sciences. On the occasion, he also presented a symbolic key of ambulance to the PRCS chairman.  

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed on the occasion.  

NHSR&C, PRCS, WHO sign LoI to raise awareness on tobacco hazards

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Under the initiative, thousands of PRCS volunteers will be trained to raise community-level awareness about hazards of using tobacco products

DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), whereby thousands of volunteers registered with the country’s premier humanitarian organization across Pakistan will be trained to participate in campaigns designed to promote awareness about the hazards of using tobacco and other substances inimical to health.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, PRCS Chairman Abrar-ul-Haq, and Director Smoke-Free Cities Project Dr Minhaj us Siraj attended the ceremony, among others. This signing of LoI was one of the key activities arranged in connection with the World No-Tobacco Day (WNTD), which is observed worldwide on May 31 each year. ‘Commit to Quit’ is the theme for World No-Tobacco Day in 2021 – the year when the WHO’s Tobacco Control Secretariat for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Cairo, has recognized the efforts of the Tobacco Control Cell through an annual award conferred on the government of Pakistan.

Addressing the ceremony, SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan stated that the tobacco epidemic kills nearly 8 million people globally ever year. “More than 7 million of these deaths are from direct tobacco use and around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.” Furthermore, 1,200 children between the ages of 6 to 15 start smoking daily in Pakistan, which is quite alarming, he further said. “We will continue to strive to raise awareness and promote a smoke-free society by providing a counter-marketing campaign, awareness against nicotine use and empower young people to engage in the fight against tobacco,” he said, and called upon every citizen of Pakistan to contribute to the noble cause of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of present and future generations

In his address, PRCS Chairman Ibrar-ul-Haq said PRCS volunteers have always been on the frontline in raising awareness among communities regarding any health or social issues. He said under this initiative, the PRCS volunteers will go to public places and sensitize the people, especially youth, regarding hazards of tobacco use in order to achieve the ultimate goal of smoke-free Pakistan. He said the ‘Smoke-Free Islamabad’ model is being appreciated all over the world. “Through such initiatives, we can not only make our society tobacco-free but also rid our future generations of this menace,” he further said. “Let’s join hands to raise a smoke-free generation and build a smoke-free Pakistan,” he stressed.

Dr Palitha Mahipala, Head of Country Office WHO, appreciated the initiatives of the government for tobacco control in Pakistan. “The WHO believes that if the present trend continues and enforcement of tobacco control laws through the Smoke-Free Cities initiative and implementation of point-of-sale advertisement ban on tobacco products is carried out across the country, Pakistan will lead the EMRO Region in achieving the target of smoking prevalence reduction by 30% by 2025,” he hoped.

“Dr Minhaj us Siraj and his team of devoted professionals have been striving for a decade now to raise awareness about the hazards of tobacco use,” he said. “Dedicated Tobacco Control Cells in the district government offices are coordinating these efforts. Every significant department of the government and social sector is a stakeholder,” he further said. “Previously tobacco control has been strengthened by linking up with the Anti-Narcotics Force. Engaging PRCS for the initiative is another milestone,” he further said. “All these efforts are geared at prevention of cancers, cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases associated with tobacco use,” he added.

Under the LoI, the PRCS has declared all its offices and blood banks across Pakistan the smoke-free facilities. It is worth mentioning here that the need to engage PRCS volunteers in raising of awareness and other anti-tobacco implementation activities stems from the escalating rate of smoking among youth. The PRCS volunteers will visit public places and educational institutions to educate young people about the hazards of tobacco use and to garner support for the creation of a smoke-free society.

NHA ARRANGES SINOVAC COVID-19 VACCINATION FOR EMPLOYEES AND FAMILIES

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, MAY 31 – In order to control spread of Corona, National Highway Authority has undertaken measures for injecting vaccine to its employees and their families.

To this effect, about 100 employees and their family members were vaccinated today at NHA head office by SINOVAC Covid-19.

This process of corona vaccine will also continue in the future. The objective of such steps is to further the efforts being made by the Government to control the corona in the country.

The Welfare Section of National Highway Authority has asked its employees to avail this opportunity to add safety layer against coronavirus.

PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN SHOULD AGREE ON A ‘CEASEFIRE OF BLAME-GAME’, YUSUFZAI

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ISLAMABAD: Senior journalist Mr Rahimullah Yusufzai underscored the negativity generated by leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan and urged senior leadership of both countries to agree on a what he called “a ceasefire of blame-game.” He was speaking at a webinar titled ‘Prospects of Security and Stability in Afghanistan’ organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Monday.

Referring to the recent negative statements by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan National Security Adviser HamdullahMohib, which were strongly rebutted by the Government of Pakistan, Mr Yusufzai said that such statements did not serve any purpose for Afghanistan. He further highlighted that non-withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would amount to a violation of their agreement with the US for the Taliban. He shared that the Taliban had ceased their attacks on foreign troops since their agreement with the US government last year but had intensified their attacks on Afghan security forces and civilians. He further stated that Doha would remain the preferred venue of talks for the Taliban even if they attend the Istanbul talks.

Speaking on the occasion, Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement Dr Sima Samar called for greater understanding between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the future of Afghanistan. She highlighted the commonalities between the two countries to emphasize the need for greater cooperation. “If a neighbour’s house is on fire, the flames will reach you,” she said. Elaborating further, she said that terrorism and drug trafficking were not the problems of Afghanistan alone but could seriously affect other neighbouring countries as well. She also called for not shying away from acknowledging the problems between the two governments. “Denial would not help,” she said. She urged the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan to honestly come together to find a solution to the common problems and stop the blame-game. She emphasized the need for a human rights-based approach to countering extremist groups. 

Senior Lecturer at the National Intelligence Academy of Romania Lt Gen (Retd) Florian Coldea shared the contributions of Romanian troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. He said that all NATO allies needed to continue supporting the peace process in Afghanistan. He also emphasized the need for the neighbours of Afghanistan to support the Kabul government.

Managing Director of the Afghan Human Rights and Democracy Organization Mr Jawad Zawulistaniemphasized the importance of dialogue between Pakistani and Afghan researchers and activists. He blamed a lack of accountability through participatory and democratic governancefor the past failures in Afghanistan. He urged leadership and vision in Afghanistan and Pakistan for ensuring stability and security in Afghanistan. “Common threats need to be addressed with a common vision,” he said.

Earlier, President IRS Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz expressed his hope for security and stability in Afghanistan and stated that Pakistan was always ready to support Afghanistan in securing a peaceful future.

President Alvi for focusing on strengthening bilateral cooperation with Jordan

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ISLAMABAD, MAY 31 (DNA) – President Dr Arif Alvi has urged the Ambassador-designate of Pakistan to Jordan to focus on expanding and strengthening bilateral cooperation with Jordan in all areas of mutual interest.

He asked the ambassador-designate to work for increasing high-level exchanges between the two brotherly countries. The President made these remarks while talking to the Ambassador-designate of Pakistan to Jordan, Major General (R) Sajjad Ali Khan, who called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, today.

The President congratulated the Ambassador-designate on his appointment as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Jordan with concurrent accreditation to Palestine. He asked the Ambassador to take steps for the welfare of Pakistani community in Jordan and help address the issues being faced by them. Expressing satisfaction over the existing level of bilateral cooperation, the President underlined the need to further explore the possibilities to enhance bilateral cooperation in the domains of defence, trade, culture and economy.

The President also highlighted the brutalities being committed by Israeli forces during recent air strikes against the innocent Palestinians which led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians, including children. He said that Pakistan strongly condemned the Israeli barbaric acts against the Palestinians and had urged the international community to play its role in granting Palestinians their right-to-self-determination.=DNA

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North Korea accuses US of hostility for South Korean missile decision

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North Korea said Monday the U.S. allowing South Korea to build more powerful missiles was an example of the U.S.’s hostile policy against the North, warning that it could lead to an “acute and instable situation” on the Korean Peninsula.

It’s North Korea’s first response to the May 21 summit between the leaders of the United States and South Korea, during which the U.S. ended decades-long restrictions that capped South Korea’s missile development and allowed its ally to develop weapons with unlimited ranges.

The accusation of U.S. policy being hostile to North Korea matters because it said it won’t return to talks and would enlarge its nuclear arsenal as long as U.S. hostility persists. But the latest statement was still attributed to an individual commentator, not a government body, suggesting North Korea may still want to leave room for potential diplomacy with the Biden administration.

“The termination step is a stark reminder of the U.S. hostile policy toward (North Korea) and its shameful double-dealing,” Kim Myong Chol, an international affairs critic, said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. “It is engrossed in confrontation despite its lip-service to dialogue.”

“The U.S. is mistaken, however. It is a serious blunder for it to pressurize (North Korea) by creating asymmetric imbalance in and around the Korean Peninsula as this may lead to the acute and instable situation on the Korean Peninsula now technically at war,” he said.

The United States had previously barred South Korea from developing a missile with a range of longer than 800 kilometers (500 miles) out of concerns about a regional arms race. The range is enough for a South Korean weapon to strike all of North Korea but is short of hitting potential key targets in other neighbors like China and Japan.

Some South Korean observers hailed the end of the restrictions as restoring military sovereignty, but others suspected the U.S. intent was to boost its ally’s military capability amid a rivalry with China.

The commentator Kim accused Washington of trying to spark an arms race, thwart North Korean development and deploy intermediate-range missiles targeting countries near North Korea.

The South Korean government said it “prudently watches” North Korea‘s reaction, but Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo wouldn’t comment otherwise, since the remarks were attributed to an individual, not an official statement from the North Korean government.

The North Korean statement comes as the Biden administration shapes a new approach on North Korea amid long-dormant talks over the North’s nuclear program. During their summit, Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said a new U.S. policy review on North Korea “takes a calibrated and practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy” with the North.

U.S. officials have suggested Biden would adopt a middle ground policy between his predecessors — Donald Trump‘s direct dealings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Barack Obama‘s “strategic patience.” Some experts say Biden won’t likely provide North Korea with major sanctions relief unless it takes concrete denuclearization steps first.

The North Korean statement criticized the Biden administration‘s review indirectly, saying the new policy was viewed by other countries “as just trickery.”

Pakistan reports lowest coronavirus positivity ratio of 4.05% in almost three months

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  • Pakistan reports the lowest coronavirus ratio of 4.05% in almost three months on Monday.
  • The country has now reported a positivity ratio below 5% for the seventh consecutive day.
  • Pakistan’s single-day Covid-19 daily death toll remains below 100 for the 10th consecutive day.

ISLAMABAD: Amid a constant decline in infections, Pakistan reported the lowest coronavirus ratio of 4.05% in almost three months on Monday after 2,117 new cases emerged during the past 24 hours across the country.

Last time, the country recorded a COVID-19 positivity rate of 4.04% on March 5. Pakistan has now reported a positivity ratio below 5% for the seventh consecutive day.

According to the official data provided by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), about 52,223 tests were conducted during the past 24 hours out of which 2,117 returned positive, taking the total caseload to 921,053 as of today.

At least 43 people lost the battle to coronavirus during the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 20,779 across country. Pakistan’s single-day Covid-19 daily death toll remains below 100 for the 10th consecutive day.

The number of active cases stands at 56,347 whereas about 607,205 people have recovered from the virus so far.

The third wave of the pandemic is gradually abating amid vaccination drives being carried out across the country.

Last week, the NCOC had opened up walk-in coronavirus vaccinations for people aged 30 and above and teachers over 18 years old.

“Walk-in vaccination for teachers above 18 years of age is open. Teachers can walk-in to any vaccination centre with CNIC, a stamped letter from the head of Institution / Teachers’ ID Card and get themselves vaccinated,” the NCOC tweeted later on the same day.

A digital portal has been launched by the federal government for the registration through which a code is assigned to the person. They can then go to a designated vaccination centre and get a jab.

ICCI DELEGATION VISITS PALESTINE EMBASSY

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ISLAMABAD, MAY 31 (DNA) – Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) leading a delegation Office Bearers and Executive Board visited the Palestine Embassy and held a meeting with Ahmed Rabei, Ambassador of Palestine to express solidarity on behalf of the business community with the Palestinian people who have suffered human and financial losses due to Israel’s recent aggression against them.

Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that the Pakistani nation has great love and respect for Palestine and we as a whole nation felt very disturbed and shocked by the Israeli’s aggression against the innocent Palestinian people in Gaza. He said that we as a nation stand by the people of Palestine and strongly condemn the Israeli’s aggression against them. He urged that the world powers should play a role for a permanent solution of the Palestine issue to establish lasting peace in the region. He also presented a cheque of Rs.0.45 million donated by the Office Bearers and Executive Board members of ICCI and said that ICCI would make efforts for collection of more funds from the business community for the Palestinian people affected by Israeli’s aggression.

He also discussed with the Palestine Ambassador the possibilities of promoting trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Palestine that would bring progress and prosperity for the two nations.

He said that ICCI has already connected the businessmen of both countries from pharmaceutical, rice & IT sectors and would host a business delegation of Palestine including Arab countries in July-August this year to connect them with right counterparts in Pakistan in order to explore JVs and business partnerships.

Fatma Azim Senior Vice President ICCI and members of delegation also expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine and reiterated that the Pakistani nation would continue to raise its voice for a free and independent state of Palestine till the achievement of this goal. 

Ahmed Rabei, Ambassador of Palestine expressed thanks to the ICCI delegation for showing solidarity with the Palestinian people and donating a cheque for their financial support. He also expressed gratitude on behalf of the Palestinian people for the people and the Government of Pakistan for showing their full support through rallies and protests for the cause of a free and independent state of Palestine.

He said that P