Close ties between Pakistan & Bahrain have provided significant opportunities for deeper bilateral cooperation: PM
Felicitates the entire Muslim Ummah & overseas Pakistanis on Eid Says entire nation pay tributes to the great contributions of Madr-e-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif says close ties between Pakistan and Bahrain have provided significant opportunities for deeper bilateral cooperation in diverse areas particularly promotion of bilateral trade and investment. PM Shehbaz Sharif expressed these views during a telephonic conversation with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain on Saturday and exchanged greetings on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. The Prime Minister also conveyed his best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of Bahrain. Reciprocating the warm Eid greetings from the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa extended best wishes to the people of Pakistan on this occasion. He expressed his resolve to broaden mutual cooperation for the benefit of the people of the two countries. Pakistan and Bahrain enjoy longstanding cordial relations, rooted firmly in shared faith, mutual understanding and commonality of interests. Meanwhile Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has felicitated the entire Muslim Ummah and overseas Pakistanis on Eid-ul-Adha. In a tweet on Saturday, the Prime Minister said this holy day is a message of sacrifice and complete submission to Allah Almighty. He said Muslim Ummah will have to play a collective role in helping the deserving destitute. Meanwhile Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said that the entire nation paid tributes to the great contributions of Madr-e-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah who waged the struggle for creation and construction of Pakistan and always supported the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In a message on her 55th death anniversary, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah was not only a sister of Quaid-e-Azam but also a proponent of his thoughtful legacy. She spent a major part of her life supporting her brother and remained with her brother for the last 19 years of his life, he said, adding she took an active part in the Pakistan Movement like her great brother for the establishment of a separate motherland.The prime minister said that Fatima Jinnah also looked after her ailing brother after the creation of Pakistan and spearheaded his mission after his death. She guided the womenfolk and encouraged them to take part in Pakistan Movement by making them active and disciplined and to struggle alongside men. Praying for the high ranks of the departed soul, the prime minister said that the nation would always be indebted to her great services.
Pak Navy continues relief operations in remote coastal areas of Balochistan affected by recent rains & floods
By Our Correspondent
QUETTA: Pakistan Navy continues relief operations in remote coastal areas of Balochistan affected by recent rains and floods. According to Pakistan Navy, in Windar dozens of people trapped in the floodwaters were evacuated. Pakistan Navy is also providing rations and other necessities of life in the affected areas. The Pakistan Navy set up medical camps in different areas where people were provided treatment and medical facilities. Pakistan Navy personnel also assisted locals in cleaning standing water in different areas. The spokesperson of Pakistan Navy said we are striving to provide all possible assistance to the people of the coastal areas in this hour of need.
Avoided legal action against hecklers due to women, children: Ahsan Iqbal
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that he avoided legal action against PTI supporters who heckled him at a local restaurant on Friday due to women and children. Addressing a press talk in Islamabad on Saturday, the Planning and Development minister said that PTI has fanned polarization in society. Hecklers did not tarnish his image but exposed their upbringing, he added. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader added that he expected Imran Khan to promote sportsman spirit in politics but he disappointed him. Imran Khan is promoting hatred in politics, he added. Ahsan Iqbal said that the people of Narowal love him and send him to the assembly. Every sensible person has condemned the incident, besides the PTI leaders, whose only job is to talk ill of people, he added. Avoided legal action against hecklers because women and children were involved, he added.
Power China’s role in protection of ancient rock carvings hailed
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: While acknowledging its contribution to the protection of rock carvings at Diamer Basha Dam Project (DBDP) site, PowerChina has received a "letter of thanks" from the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), the Chinese company said, according to Gwadar Pro. “This has laid a solid foundation for joint protection of the historical and cultural heritage of Pakistan,” stated PowerChina. In 2020, WAPDA started the implementation of Cultural Heritage Management Plan in the project area to protect prehistoric rock carvings and inscriptions from being submerged in water reservoirs. For this purpose, the authority started setting up a museum and promoting cultural tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan, particularly in Chilas and its suburban areas. The state-of-the-art Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the Diamer Basha Dam Project has been devised by international experts. As per details of the Cultural Heritage Management Plan, about 5000 most important rock carvings and inscriptions ranging from the 7th millennium B.C. to the 16th century A.D are to be 3-D scanned, documented, replicated, and relocated. Protective treatment is also planned to be applied for important carved rock surfaces in the water reservoir drawdown band in addition to the on-site protective mitigation through barriers, screens, signage, bracing, etc. Preservation of rock carvings would not only provide an insight into the history of various people with different social, cultural, and political traditions as well as religious beliefs but also exhibit the strategic importance of the region. WAPDA has strategized the implementation of the Cultural Heritage Management Plan side by side with construction activities on Diamer Basha Dam Project. DBDP is being constructed on River Indus, which is scheduled to be completed in 2028-29. PowerChina in a JV with Frontier Work Organization (FWO) is constructing MW-1 Dam as part of DBDP. The Project will have a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 MAF to irrigate 1.23 million acres of additional land. With an installed power generation capacity of 4,500 MW, the project will provide more than 18 billion units per annum to the National Grid.
Bilawal emphasizes on deep Pak-US economic cooperation
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Special American Representative on Business and Commercial Affairs Dilawar Syed held a meeting with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Foreign Minister Bilawal discussed Pak-US economic cooperation at federal and provincial levels with the US representative on business and commercial affairs. The two leaders also reviewed efforts to improve infrastructure and discussed opportunities to find renewable energy resources in the region. According to the Foreign Office spokesperson, the foreign minister acknowledged Dilawar Syed's role in improving business contacts between the two countries. Bilawal emphasized on the importance of visits in deepening and expanding the relationship, in particular trade and commercial ties. Special Representative Dilawar Syed thanked the foreign minister for the meeting and expressed his satisfaction with the constructive engagements during his visit. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also attended the meeting.
Pervaiz Ashraf, Zahid Durani felicitate nation on eve of Hajj, Eid-ul-Adha
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durani felicitated the nation and whole Muslim Ummah on the auspicious occasion of Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha. While congratulating the Muslims who embarked on Hajj journey this year, they said that we must be thankful to Allah for the blessing of Hajj resumption this year after the Covid-19 Pandemic and travel restrictions, said a press release. Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that Eid-ul-Adha reflects the values of sacrifice, compassion and happiness for us; however the true joy relates with taking care of the needy and to include them in our happiness. He said that our deeds should help smooth the social grievances and promote the spirit of sacrifice, mutual harmony and brotherhood.
US, Pakistan resolve to give boost to bilateral ties
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ambassador to US Masood Khan called on US President Joe Biden at Oval House, White House on Saturday. The Pakistani envoy said that it was an honour for him to meet US President Biden. Both the US and Pakistan have resolved to strengthen their relations as they are marking the 75th anniversary of their relations. The Biden administration accepted the appointment of Sardar Masood Khan as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States on Feb 6, 2022. Khan has previously served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) and its ambassador to China. He replaced Pakistani envoy in Washington Asad Majeed Khan.
Pak Army assures all-out support for Balochistan relief work
RAWALPINDI: Corps Commander Quetta Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali on Saturday visited Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan and assured all-out support to provide relief to flood-hit areas in the province, according to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). According to the ISPR, the Corps Commander was given a detailed update on the flood situation in the province and relief activities being undertaken by different institutions. The minister Home and PDMA, Chief Secretary Balochistan and DG PDMA appreciated the assistance of security forces to civil administration for providing maximum and timely relief for the flood-affected areas and population. Corps Commander Quetta expressed grief over the loss of precious lives and assured continued and all-out support of security forces to the provincial administration and PDMA in ongoing relief operations. He also appreciated and encouraged the efforts of all departments undertaking relief operations across the province. It is pertinent to mention here that at least seven people were killed in Balochistan province during the last 24 hours, bringing the tally of rain-related deaths in the province from July 01 to 56 people. According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan, among the 56 dead during period, 22 of them were women, 24 children and 10 men. “As many as 48 people also sustained injuries in the rain-related incidents,” it said, adding that 670 houses also sustained infrastructural damages. The areas, according to the PDMA, that remained most affected included Quetta, Loralai, Sibi, Harnai, Kohlu, Zhob and other areas.
Planning Minister vows to revive all major sectors
By Staff Reporter
JHELUM: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has vowed to revive all major sectors including health and education after achieving economic stability in the country within few months. Addressing media in Jhelum Friday, the Planning Minister said construction work on Lillah-Jhelum dual carriageway will be completed within a year to facilitate the locals. ‘The former prime minister played havoc with the national economy and put the country’s economy on the verge of default,’ Ahsan Iqbal said adding that Imran Khan purposely did that because he knew his government would not survive for long. He said the previous government initiated several mega development projects but could not allocate sufficient funds. When the previous government realized that their government could not survive, it stopped funding the projects. However, he said that the PML-N was committed to completing all such incomplete development projects and would release the required funds on time. He said Imran Khan’s government did the worst corruption in the history of Pakistan. Today it is on record that a woman and the NAB chairman were blackmailed by the PTI government and in return, all the cases of the cabinet members in NAB were closed down, he added. Had it not happened, more than half of the cabinet members of the previous government would be in jail today. On the other hand, Ahsan Iqbal said we were made involved in false cases in NAB which were later proven wrong. He said Imran Khan was facing humiliation today due to his wrong dong during his around four year’s tenure. The minister symbolized the PML-N as the mother of the country who would never let it down. He said even the incumbent government put its politic at risk by taking the toughest decisions to prevent the country’s economy from falling into default. He hoped that due to these decisions, the country’s economy would stand on strong footing again within six to seven months. Once the country’s economy is revived, people would start getting maximum employment opportunities. He said the PML-N government in Punjab has also started taking decisions for the betterment of the people such as giving relief to the electricity consumers of under 100 units per month. In six months, he said the PML-N government would show a clear difference in development in sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure in all districts across the province. Similarly, he said the CPEC project was the project of Pakistan’s survival but the Imran Khan government put this project of national interest on the least priority. He said the PML-N government would win the next general election on the basis of its one year’s performance.
Maryam announces giving free electricity package again after by-elections
SHEIKHUPURA: After the July 17 by-elections, Punjab will once more receive a free electricity package of 100 units from the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), according to PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif. On Friday, the PML-N leader spoke at a public event in Sheikhupura related to the PP-170 by-election campaign. From the podium, Maryam recorded a video of the crowd and thanked PML-N leader Javed Latif for a well-organized rally. While addressing the crowd, Maryam Nawaz stated that although PTI's Imran Khan held a brief public meeting in Sheikhupura, everyone present should be aware that Sheikhupura is a PML-N stronghold. She predicted that the PML-N will defeat the Fitna Khan candidate in the by-elections for the Sheikhupura seat by a sizable margin. The PML-N leader claimed that the residents of Sheikhupura thought Imran Khan's bad policies were to blame. Although Imran Khan's party has knocked on the door of the court to prevent such assistance to Punjab, PML-N leader Maryam stated that Hamza Shehbaz has stated that the Punjab government would pay the energy bill up to Rs2,000. She announced that they will now provide the same relief to Punjab after July 17 following the agenda of the PML-N to facilitate people. Maryam said Imran Khan made the Prime Minister House a space for blackmailing people like Tayyaba Gul who remained capt in Bani Gala for one and half months just to use her video against NAB chairman Justice ® Javed Iqbal. Imran Khan said that, while serving as prime minister, he converted the PM House in Islamabad into a blackmail hotspot and that Tayyaba Gul's films were used to force the head of the anti-graft organisation at the time to file charges against the premier's political rivals. Maryam referred to Tayyaba Gul's shocking evidence before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament. The woman, whose husband had been detained, had approached Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal, the head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), seeking justice. However, Iqbal sexually harassed and intimidated the woman. She then went to Imran Khan, the former prime minister, to ask for justice. Imran, on the other hand, is accused of keeping the video evidence and holding Gul against his will in the Prime Minister House for more than a month. Maryam stated in her speech on Friday night that Imran had pledged to convert PM House into a public university as soon as he assumed office. She claimed he had instead transformed it into a blackmailing nest. Maryam noted that following then, the number of prosecutions against PML-N officials rose sharply. "Imran used the recordings to pressure NAB chairman to lodge cases against his political opponents," Maryam added. Maryam pointed out that despite Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) having controlled Punjab for almost four years, the former prime minister finds it difficult to name even four public-benefit projects that he constructed there. “Did Imran Khan complete even one project in Sheikhupura in the past 4 years?” She continued that a number of projects have been completed in just the past two and a half years. He hurls pejoratives at Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and I but he cannot tell the public four things he has done. Maryam noted that the public was very concerned about inflation and the cost of fuel, and she stated that this was because of Imran Khan's agreements with the IMF, which required higher fuel and power prices, which in turn caused inflation. She suggested that this was a worry the party had by saying, "But when I met the people, I did not discover that their affection for us had waned." People are aware that Imran's deals with the IMF are what led to today's high prices, she insisted. People are aware of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, who have repeatedly assisted in bringing the nation out of crises, she added, adding that the party will continue to do so. Maryam also accosted Imran for going to court against Hamza Shahbaz’s Roshan Gharana initiative, noting that instead of copying the model in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and giving relief to people there, Imran sought to deprive residents of Punjab. “Why should people of Punjab vote for you?” she asked, before answering herself that Imran wanted to appoint his wife and her best friend as chief minister of Punjab to loot the province’s resources.
Chaos at railway stations as PR fails to run trains on time
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: People who wished to return to their hometowns across the nation were not helped by Pakistan Railways officials at the Lahore Railways Station. The problem caused a lot of trains to be delayed, and PR authorities were unable to fix it. The passengers are in a difficult situation because they purchased the tickets and entirely rely on the effective system of the Pakistan Railway. The Jhimpir Railways Station's train service was interrupted, but it was eventually resumed. However, nothing has changed, and the predicament is still dire for the passengers. Passengers said that the train schedule was accidentally derailed but PR authorities were not providing any relief to them. On the other hand, the PR spokesperson claimed that Pakistan Railways fares were almost half in comparison to other coaches. He said PR authorities have been working day and night to ensure a smooth flow of trains on time. He claimed that no train was canceled despite the suspension of the Pakistan Railways operation at the Jhimpir
MALAYSIA: Fakhr-ul-Ali Shah in a meeting with Mahathir Mohamad, president of Malaysia, is presenting a souvenir discussion on the Pak Malaysia event.
Fayyaz Chohan alleges that a threatening call came from a "unknown number"
LAHORE: Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, a PTI assemblyman from Punjab, alleged on Saturday that he had received calls from a "unknown number" warning him to leave the party or suffer serious repercussions. Fayyaz Chohan claimed in a video message that he received a call from a no-caller number threatening to quit PTI within two days or suffer dire repercussions. He accused Maryam Nawaz and the PML-N leadership of organising the schemes, but he claimed that their actions would not quell the PTI volunteers' courage as they worked to elect their candidates in 20 by-elections. Asad Umar, the key leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), claimed on Friday that people, even ladies without a political background, are getting threats through anonymous phone calls from "unknown numbers." In an interview with a private television news programme, Asad Umar made the declaration. He claimed that among those who received threats from anonymous phone numbers were women without political backgrounds. The riddle surrounding "unblock phone" was unknown to the PTI central leader. When asked about it, Umar responded that he will speak with Imran Khan about the background to the term "unblock phone". The politician said that the establishment has always played a political role in Pakistan. Regarding Fawad Chaudhry’s statement, he said, “Fawad Chaudhry told the reality regarding the Rana Sanaullah case. The case was filed by Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) against Sanaullah. Questions had also been raised in the federal cabinet meeting at that time regarding the case; however, it was not a political case.
The CMof Punjab orders extensive preparations for Eid-ul-Azha cleanliness
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, has ordered that extensive preparations be made for Eid-ul-Azha in terms of cleanliness and rubbish collection. Additionally, he oversaw the timely disposal of the offal and other remains of the sacrificed animals in all the province's large and small communities. The Chief Minister promised to personally oversee all plans to maintain a clean environment.
Roof collapse injures two in Lahore
LAHORE: At least two persons were wounded when roof of a dilapidated house located inside Bhatti Gate in Lahore of Friday night. According to details, roof of a house in Sheesh Mahal Ghati area inside Bhatti Gate caved in, burying two persons under the debris. Rescue teams reached the spot and pulled out two persons from the rubble in injured condition and shifted them to Mayo Hospital. The rescue sources said that the injured persons were identified as Ghazala and Umar.
Bismah confident of a good show in tri-series and C’wealth Games
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: The training session in Islamabad for the tri-series in Ireland and the Commonwealth Games comes to an end on Saturday. Early on July 12th, the Bismah Maroof-led team will depart for Belfast via Dubai (Tuesday). The team will prepare for their journey to the two competitions while taking a two-day holiday for Eid-ul-Adha tomorrow and on Monday. The team has spent the last nine days working out and practising in Rawalpindi and Islamabad at the Pindi Cricket Stadium and House of Northern. Despite rain delays, the team made the most of the time it had by practising various aspects of T20 cricket, such as improvised drills, net sessions, and scenario-based matches. Indoor training sessions were also arranged for the team at the Shahbaz Sharif Sports Complex. Besides bowling and batting drills and practice, the squad also worked hard on fielding and physical fitness under the supervision of the support staff led by head coach David Hemp. Bismah, meanwhile is looking forward to the two challenging events against formidable opponents. Commodore Bismah Maroof "Because we were unable to play practise matches owing to the continual rain, we had to divert our attention more toward fitness, which had an adverse effect on our preparations. We made an effort to fully utilise the indoor space that was made available to us, and despite the weather issues, it was a big help." We have a great opportunity to acclimate to the circumstances before the Commonwealth Games thanks to the tri-series in Ireland.
LAHORE: On the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha women are busy shopping at Anarkali Bazaar.
No differences within Pml-Q, with Parvez Elahi: Ch Shujaat
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: On Saturday, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the PML-Q leader, denied rumours that there were any conflicts between him and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi or within the party. Speaking to the media alongside the AJK President, Shujaat acknowledged that ideological differences between a father and a son may potentially arise, but he denied that the party had divided. Chaudhry Shujaat questioned whether Parvez Elahi had ever spoken negatively about him or whether he had ever spoken negatively about him in order to put any rumours to rest. He expressed regret over the regrettable tendency in the nation's politics, which saw audios routinely leak to the media. The PML-Q leader asked, "What impression are we giving of our politics to the rest of the world?" According to a recent report, in a last-ditch effort to mend fences among family, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain summoned a meeting of members of his family including Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to decide on supporting PTI or PML-N. According to sources, at least five meetings were held to end differences among the family after Parvez Elahi announced support for the PTI and Chaudhry Shujaat extended his backing to PML-N-led federal government. “During the meeting, Parvez Elahi and Chaudhry Wajahat asked Salik Hussain to leave the coalition government so that the party remains intact and pursue the same line,” they said, adding that during the first three meetings, Salik Hussain sought time to leave the government. They claimed that during two subsequent meetings, Salik advised that both groups proceed with their own narratives. The sons of Shujaat made the suggestion that "you continue to support Imran Khan while we back Shehbaz Sharif," but Moonis Elahi and Parvez Elahi rejected it. Asif Zardari also phoned Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his sons shortly after the meetings.
Rain, flashfloods wreak havoc in Balochistan: Seven dams torn apart
QUETTA: Balochistan has suffered greatly as a result of the torrential rainfall and subsequent floods, where 54 people have died. Rescue operations are being conducted in the province where numerous dams have collapsed following extensive devastation. According to reports, the Tangi Dam in Qila Saifullah has collapsed, flooding a number of nearby settlements. Many of the roads that connect the Afghan and Pakistani villages have deteriorated. In Kan Mehitar Zai, there is a breach in a dam. Seven dams in Pishin, Muslim Bagh, Qila Abdullah, and Zhob have also been destroyed. The administration has warned that the continuous spell of rain in Toba Achakzai might break down a dam over there. Almost 50% apple trees have been washed away in the flashfloods in the area. The beleaguered residents have appealed to the authorities to provide free medical camps and food in the area. The local administration is actively engaged in rescue efforts in in Kohlu - the worst-hit area of Balochistan. The administration is distributing free tents, food and other articles among the rain and flood affectees. DC According to Qurban Ali, the government wouldn't abandon the affected citizens. Teams had been assembled, he claimed, to evaluate the damage. In the destruction brought on by the recent rains and floods, up to 2 persons have already died and 8 more have been hurt. The standing crops and communication system have both been devastated by the rainwater. Mardan is in danger of experiencing urban floods as a result of the prolonged monsoon rainfall. The Pakistan Metrological Department predicts that Mardan will experience significant precipitation that could cause its streams and nullahs to overflow. Mardan Deputy Commissioner Habib Ullah Arif has issued a notification directing all departments and officers to be on their toes 24/7 to deal with the emergency situation. The DC has directed the officials of sanitation services companies and TMAs to ensure the cleanliness of drains and pumping of water from the city streets during rain, DC spokesperson said. He said that the DC had instructed the irrigation department to remove all encroachments on Kalpani nullah and other canals in the event of possible flooding. The emergency control room of the city has been made active under the surveillance of the deputy commissioner. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army officials are helping the civil administration to rescue people stuck in the flooded areas.
Bara people celebrate Eid
By Our Correspondent
BARA: The residents of Bara in Khyber District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa observed Eidul Azha with Saudi Arabia on Saturday and offered Eid prayers, adhering to their long-standing custom. The residents of Qambarkhail in Bara adhered to their long-standing custom and offered Eid prayers throughout the city. Later, they intended to sacrifice animals as well. The Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee had previously announced that the remaining nation would observe Eidul Azha on Sunday (tomorrow). Saudi Arabians celebrate Eidul Azha. On Saturday, Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, will celebrate Eidul Azha. Eid prayers were offered in more than 12,000 mosques in Saudi Arabia, including Masjid Al Haram and Masjid-i-Nabwi. Imam of Ka’aba Dr Abdullah bin Awad delivered the Eid sermon in Masjid-al-Haram while Dr Abdul Bari bin Awad delivered the sermon in Masjid-e-Nabwi. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman congratulated all the leaders of the Islamic world, including Pakistan, on Eidul Azha. One million Muslims performed the Hajj after spending the night in Muzdalifah under the open sky. They will offer sacrifices today, shave their heads and take off their ehram.
Four hours of continuous rain floods houses in Islamabad
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad experienced four hours of nonstop rain overnight, which left the city largely submerged early on Saturday. Due to the severe rain, Sector H13 in Islamabad was particularly flooded, with water entering the basements of nearby buildings. Rescue teams were unable to access the region to save those who were stuck, and many suffered damages totaling millions of rupees. Later in the morning, Commissioner Irfan Nawaz said that de-watering pumps were being used to drain the water by The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad and the district administration. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, most of the country will experience hot, muggy weather today (Saturday), with a chance of rain and thunder in Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. Upper Punjab, Kashmir, and Upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were also predicted to see severe rainfall by the Met Department. In the meantime, lower Sindh and Kashmir are predicted to see rain, high winds, and thunderstorms. In Rawalpindi, the Water And Sanitation Agency (WASA) has issued a high alert. Heavy equipment has been delivered to low-lying areas, and authorities are monitoring the water flow in Nullah Lai, according to the WASA Managing Director, Muhammad Tanveer. According to MD WASA, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have received a total of 55mm of rain. He said the water level at the Katarian point of Nullah Lai is 12 feet, while at Gawalmandi Bridge is nine feet. Rescue crews have been sent to Committee Chowk Underpass, Liaquat Bagh, Sadiqabad, Satellite Town, and Jamia Masjid Road, according to a WASA official. 56mm of rain fell at Zero Point, and 54mm fell in Golra, according to the Met Department. Rainfall totals of 54 mm were recorded in Islamabad, 51 mm in Bokra, 47 mm in Syedpur, and 40 mm around the airport. Shamsabad received 45 mm of rain, while Chaklala received 43 mm. Intermittent rain, according to the Met Department, will last until tomorrow.
PM pays tribute to ‘Madar-e-Millat’ on her 55th death anniversary
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of her passing, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif remarked that Fatima Jinnah was not only Muhammad Ali Jinnah's sister but also a defender of his political legacy. On the 55th anniversary of Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah's passing, PM Shehbaz paid respect to her. On July 9, 1967, Fatima Jinnah passed away. The prime minister claimed that in addition to being Quaid-e-sister, Azam's Fatima Jinnah served as the steward of his political lineage. In addition to participating equally in the fight for freedom, she also took care of MAJ when he was near death, he continued. The PM said that the Madar-e-Millat fought hardships and strived for the vision of his late brother against all odds. The national will never forget Fatima Jinnah’s service to the nation, he added. May God grant her the highest place in Jinnah, the PM concluded with the prayer. On July 9, 1967, The Lady of Pakistan passed away from a heart attack. Nearly 500,000 people in Karachi attended her burial prayers. She was laid to rest next to her brother's grave in Karachi's magnificent mausoleum. For her contribution to the Pakistan Movement and for guiding the populace toward their deeply held dream of strong democratic norms and culture being built in the nation through the power of voting, the masses continue to hold her in high regard.
No one is allowed to collect hides of sacrificial animals without NOC
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: According to IGP Islamabad Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan, the CTD must check any unofficial hide collections or transfers to organisations that are prohibited in order to prevent the funding of terrorism in both letter and spirit. He added that any illegality would be the responsibility of the concerned SP and that no such stalls, collection points, or concealed activities would be tolerated.
Covid positivity ratio declines in Pakistan ahead of Eidul Azha
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: As many as 732 new instances of Covid-19 were recorded in Pakistan on Saturday, according to statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the past 24 hours, 22,568 Covid tests were performed nationwide, and 732 of those tests (according to the National Institute of Health) were positive. According to the data, the national Covid-19 test positivity ratio decreased from Friday to 3.24 percent. In addition, seven deaths linked to Covid-19 were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to NIH, which also noted that 158 people are in critical condition. In light of the forthcoming Eidul Azha, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) released updated instructions on Tuesday, advising individuals to adhere to SOPs to avoid contracting the Covid-19 virus. Of light of the rising trend in Covid cases, the forum has encouraged the public to take precautions and stay inside during the Eid holidays. The risk of a new wave was impending, thus it has been urged to travel only as much as is absolutely essential during the Eid holidays. According to the NCOC, the Eid prayers should be offered at open spaces with Covid-19 protocols. In case prayers are offered indoors, windows and doors of mosques be kept open for adequate ventilation. The NCOC said that the Eid sermon should be kept brief and comprehensive with minors under 15 years of age, elderly citizens and those suffering from some illness be discouraged from attending congregational prayers. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Tuesday issued fresh guidelines in view of the upcoming Eidul Azha, urging people to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent Covid-19 infection. The forum has advised the people to stay indoors during the Eid holidays and observe precautionary measures in view of the rising trend of Covid cases. “It has been advised to undertake minimal necessary travel during Eid holidays as the risk of a new wave was imminent”. The NCOC mandates that open areas with Covid-19 regulations be used for Eid prayers. Mosques should keep their windows and doors open for proper ventilation if prayers are held inside. The NCOC advised that the Eid speech be kept succinct and thorough, and that people under the age of 15, the old, and those who are ill should be discouraged from participating in congregational prayers.
RAWALPINDI: DC Rawalpindi Tahir Farooq is visiting Wadhai Ada on receiving a complaint of overcharging from passengers by the transport.
Met office predicts monsoon rain during Eid holidays
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: During the Eid holidays, rain is expected in Islamabad, Lahore, and other areas of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), monsoon currents are already present throughout the nation and are expected to intensify during the weekend (09–10 July). From today (Saturday) to Tuesday (12th July), with sporadic breaks, further rainfall is anticipated in Islamabad, Kashmir, Peshawar and other areas of KP, Lahore, Rawalpindi and other districts of Punjab. Heavy rainfall is expected in Kashmir, Murree, Galliyat, Peshawar, Mardan, Kurram, Dir, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Islamabad, Potohar region, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Hafizabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Sargodha on 9th & 10th July, according to the report. Karachi and other districts of Sindh including Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Hyderabad Thatta, Badin, and Balochistan’s Quetta, Kalat, Lasbela and other districts will likely to receive rainfall today. Heavy falls may generate urban flooding in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot on today and tomorrow (Eidul Adha day). Flash flooding is also expected in local Nullahs of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Kashmir, Bolan, Kalat, Khuzdar and Lasbella during the period. Rainfall may trigger landslides in Kashmir, Galliyat, Murree, Chillas, Diamir, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore and Skardu. The Met Office has advised travelers and tourists to remain extra cautious during the forecast period. It has also advised all concerned authorities to remain alert and to take necessary precautionary measure during the Eid Holidays.
Outdated dairy industry needs govt attention: WealthPK
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is the third-largest milk producer in the world, but the nation is still having trouble modernising its dairy sector. For output to rise and for the country to catch up to other dairy-producing nations, this crucial sector needs considerable government attention. According to Kashif Ali, supply chain manager of Gourmet Foods Pakistan, Pakistan is still lagging behind in using cutting-edge technology. Our dairy industry can satisfy the demands of the domestic and worldwide markets if contemporary techniques are applied to expand production of milk and other products, he noted. The insufficient milk production of their animals is a significant problem for our dairy farmers. Additionally, the milk is hazardous and of poor quality. Lack of access to high-quality milk is a result of unplanned and uncontrolled urbanisation, a decline in the number of healthy animals, and high operating costs,” he explained. Kashif Ali said 95 percent of the milk was sold unprocessed, while just 5 percent [of milk] was pasteurised and packed following the industry-mandated quality control and assurance tests. Additionally, he said, farmers consume between 30 and 40 percent of the milk, while almost the same quantity [of the milk] is squandered due to a lack of supply chain. The dairy industry is a prominent actor in the national economy and makes the largest contribution to the agricultural value chain (60.6 percent of agriculture GDP) (11.7 percent of GDP). The dairy sector generates 3.1% of total foreign exchange earnings. Additionally, it provides a source of income for 30 to 40 percent of families who raise livestock. Kashif Ali continued, "Steps can be taken to increase the volume of milk flowing through the official supply chain, decrease waste and adulteration, and increase manufacturing of dairy products with added value such powdered milk, which also aids in addressing seasonal milk shortages. “Pakistani consumers will have access to safe and nutrient-rich milk and dairy products for better dietary intake if the formal dairy industry is encouraged to process more milk into value-added goods,” he added. About 15% of all milk produced is wasted as a result of improper handling and storage. To encourage dairy processing and lower milk loss, the provinces must implement and enforce pasteurisation laws. Limited access to immunizations and veterinary extension services also has an impact on productivity. People can be persuaded to drink pasteurised and UHT treated milk by running awareness programmes about the harmful consequences of raw adulterated milk and the beneficial advantages of these processes. The federal and provincial governments need to keep working to put these awareness campaigns into action on a range of venues. Developing the dairy sector will not only contribute to the growth of Pakistan's agricultural economy, but also ensure the health of its people.
Pakistani furniture has great potential to capture world market: Mian Ashfaq
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: On Saturday, the Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Furniture Council stated that the country's furniture industry has a great potential to dominate international markets with cutting-edge designs and can significantly contribute to exports, but it urgently needs a package of incentives and facilitation to increase exports. Speaking to a delegation of international and local investors in Lahore under the leadership of Honorary Investment Consular Milan and Tourism Ambassador to Italy Muhammad Sheryar Khan, Mian Kashif lamented the sorry state of the furniture industry. It needs special attention of the federal and provincial governments for the training of woodworkers on modern lines, he added. He said there is an urgent need to explore the international market for boosting our exports as there is a lot of potential in Pakistani products, adding he said the value of furniture export was very nominal but the beginning had been made, and with aggressive marketing strategy the value of exports could be doubled in a short span. He said if the government extends its support to furniture companies, the volume of export could touch the figure of $ 5 billion for the next five years. He urged the businessmen to work extensively to promote local industry in Pakistan. “Pakistan is blessed with abundant resources and our people are equipped with the best of skills that can help develop the country on modern lines,” he added. He also lauded the amazing work of younger designers and architects displaying in the exhibition along with other national and international leading furniture manufacturing companies. PFC Chief Mian Kashif Ashfaq stated that the PFC was committed to assisting Pakistan's young businesspeople working in the furniture and interior design industries, as they had the ability to unleash significant economic wealth via their creative thinking. Exhibitions, according to him, enable young architects and designers to gauge industry trends and present their own work alongside that of more seasoned experts. He claimed that the Interior's Pakistan was a step toward starting international trade fairs and also to improve opportunities for Pakistan's collaborative industry to participate in international exhibitions. Hassan Ali Bhatti, the chairman of Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA), stated on this occasion that the leather sector is also connected to furniture and that furniture producers would be given access to top-notch leather for use in creating furniture. He exhorted the businesses to put forth a lot of effort to advance Pakistan's domestic industry. "Pakistan is blessed with vast resources, and our people are well-skilled to support the modernization of the nation," he continued. Sheheryar invited Mian Kashif Ashfaq to travel to Italy to learn about untapped export markets and interact personally with their counterparts in order to promote the highest quality hand-carved wooden furniture. He said he will help facilitate PFC delegation for b2b meeting with Italian manufacturers and investors for joint ventures he concluded.
More Pakistani students to return to China for studies
ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has begun registering "remaining students" who intend to resume their on-campus in China following the return of the first batch of Pakistani students to China, according to a story published by Gwadar Pro on Saturday. On June 19–20, a special chartered flight brought 90 Pakistani students who were enrolled in Chinese institutions back to their home country. Due to COVID-19, they were trapped in Pakistan. The remaining students have now been advised by HEC to submit their details on the commission website. Till July 21, 2022, the pupils are urged to provide true, trustworthy, and accurate information. According to an official statement, "the material will be shared with the Chinese authorities for further procedure and verification of the given information." The university/institutions in China, the name of the scholarship, the students' province and city of residency in Pakistan, as well as their date of arrival in Pakistan, are all requested of the students. Additionally, they will discuss their motivations for enrolling in their respective colleges.
13 held during crackdown against criminals in Capital
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: 13 criminals were detained by Islamabad Capital Territory police in the past 24 hours during a campaign against anti-social elements in various parts of the city, according to a police public relations officer. The Bani Gala police squad detained Waseem Ali, the accused, and found from him a stolen motorcycle, a 30 bore pistol, and ammo, according to the information. In addition to detaining three suspects—Zeeshan Ali, Saddam, and Hamza Iqbal—and seizing two 30 bore pistols and one dagger from their hands, the Bhara Kahu police also detained two suspects, including two women—Muhammad Arshad and Shahida bibi who were engaged in immoral acts. Police from Shehzad Town and Khanna detained Shahzad and Muhammad Bashrat, two suspects, and seized two 30 bore pistols from their hands. Two suspects, Ayub Khan and Shaker Ali, were detained by the Sabzi Mandi Police, who also found two 30 bore pistols and ammo in their possession. Cases have been filed against the named suspects, and more research is being done. To reduce crime and protect citizen lives and property, the Islamabad Capital Territory police have intensified their efforts against criminal elements in the city.
It appears that we shall spend another Eid beneath the cloud of disease. Health officials are speaking out more frequently about the potential for a significant coronavirus outbreak during the Eidul Azha celebrations due to the elevated national Covid-19 positivity rate, critical cases showing a steady rise, and widespread concerns that we may soon be engulfed by a sixth wave. Once the celebrations are done, it is also anticipated that the wedding season, which is now inactive due to Eid, will resume in earnest, providing new opportunities for the virus to spread. Health authorities have been advising individuals to keep social distance and use other safety measures while interacting with others, but the advice doesn't seem to be getting through. In Karachi, where the optimism rate is still very high, the public's reaction to pleas for better safety seems to be overwhelmingly negative. The implementation of preventive SOPs is still lax, and people continue to visit public places like train stations, bus stops, and retail malls without caring to wear masks or observe social distance rules. Another public health issue has emerged in the midst of all of this. The likelihood of an outbreak of the Congo virus, which is spread through tick bites on sheep, goats, cows, buffaloes, and other livestock, is increased.There have already been a handful of cases reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and there is concern that the disease may spread further as a result of the transportation of animals to markets across the nation. A lot of people have been swarming the marketplaces in the weeks leading up to Eid to buy animals, but few appear to be aware of the potential danger. The government must overcome its laziness and take more initiative than it now does. Pakistan successfully fought off earlier coronavirus pandemic waves with clever lockdowns and tight adherence to safety procedures. Nothing should be different this time. There are fewer hospitalizations and deaths from the more recent coronavirus varieties than from previous ones, but we shouldn't tempt fate. People who have comorbid conditions are far more likely to contract Covid-19, which is still a very contagious illness, and die from the infection. There is no room for complacency because the possibility of a new mutation is ever present. The Congo virus also needs to be better understood by the public so that precautions can be taken to safeguard both individuals and their families. To prevent getting bitten, experts advise wearing gloves when interacting with and sacrificing animals as well as when handling fresh meat. Strong plans must also be in place, as previously suggested, to clean up and properly dispose of all animal remains on Eid days in order to avoid any further health hazards. It is important to take these numerous disease concerns carefully. The government needs to get over its laziness and put more effort into averting a public health emergency.
Once the celebrations are done, it is also anticipated that the wedding season, which is now inactive due to Eid, will resume in earnest, providing new opportunities for the virus to spread
A predictable end for Israel’s ‘change’ government
There was a sense of inevitability about the collapse of Israel’s coalition government. The cynics would argue that the very fact that this implausible coalition survived a year is nothing short of a miracle. On the other hand it could be equally argued that a rare opportunity to restore desperately needed stable, unified and orderly governance has been missed. The decision by the Knesset to dissolve itself has thrown the country into another prolonged, damaging and vitriolic election campaign that will conclude when Israelis head to the polling stations on Nov. 1 for the fifth time in three and half years. This is a sad reflection of both the deepening divisions in Israeli society and the paralysis of its political system. Between now and polling day there will be plenty of time for some educated speculation about who will be the winners and losers when the die is cast. But the safest bet is that the results will be as inconclusive as those of the four previous elections, and that the new government’s majority will be a very slim on— or that yet another election will follow soon after. Much of what is about to happen over the next few months derives from what went miserably wrong for the current government. It would be simplistic to argue that this coalition was stillborn since it comprised parties with diametrically opposite ideologies, so it was just a matter of time until the cracks would show and eventually bring about its collapse. After all, what can cement a government that among its members includes both those who believe that the route to resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict dictates a two-state solution and those who believe that the entire territory between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea should be ruled by the Jewish state? What glue can hold together secular liberals, Orthodox Jews and Arab Islamists in order to coherently lead a rather complex society? And how could pure free-marketeers work with the center-left and the socialdemocrats to provide a consistent socio-economic agenda? These conundrums meant from the outset that the life expectancy of this government was bound to be short, and that at best it would be an interim government, a mere exit ramp from the long and destructive Netanyahu era, one that would stabilize a shaky political system until Likud’s leader vacates the political scene for good. Despite fashioning itself as a “change government,” this administration, with its unusual arrangement of being led by a prime minister, Naftali Bennett, and an alternate prime minister, Yair Lapid, was chiefly motivated by a pressing need to replace the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history, Benjamin Netanyahu, and stop that defendant in three cases of corruption from holding the highest office in the country. But because Netanyahu’s Likud party is the largest faction in the Knesset and there are strong elements within the current coalition that ideologically identify themselves more with the opposition parties than with some of their colleagues in coalition, this opened the door for accusations, baseless as they were, that they had betrayed their supporters. It was inevitable that some would buckle under the pressure and abandon the coalition, instead of seeing the value of an inclusive government that would bring an end to the divisive and corrupt era of Netanyahu and his supporters. Yet short-lived though this government has been, its formation in the first place demonstrated the hollowness of Netanyahu’s demagogic claim that there could be no leader but himself. The coalition, however, has not endured long enough to completely remove the danger of his return to power. If not for its longevity, at least the Bennett-Lapid government might still be remembered for trying to restore some sanity to the political process, not to mention some standards of behavior and collegiality, particularly between its two main protagonists. In complete contrast to Netanyahu’s broken promises in past rotation agreements, Bennett, for all his shortcomings, stood by his agreement with Lapid and handed over the role of prime minister in an orderly manner. It may be obvious to the vast majority of us that agreements should respected, but in a political landscape that for years has been shaped by Netanyahu’s unchecked lust for power, such respect has become a rare commodity. It is too soon to know how this coalition will be judged by history, but the fact that for the first time an Arab-Israeli party, and an Islamist one, was part of it and that its leader, Mansour Abbas, proved to be one of its most responsible members by working tirelessly to keep it together despite severe criticism from Palestinians — whether Israeli citizens or those in the occupied and blockaded territories — must remain a lasting legacy of including the Israeli-Palestinian minority as an equal partner in government. Moreover, this government passed a budget bill, and thus ended the irresponsible and corrupt tampering with the budget by previous Netanyahu administrations. Furthermore, the ability of politicians with diametrically opposed views to constructively attend to some of the domestic and international challenges Israel is facing, especially while under constant and abusive attacks from the right-wing bloc, should not be taken for granted. Yossi Mekelberg is professor of international relations and an associate fellow of the MENA Program at Chatham House. He is a regular contributor to the international written and electronic media.
It was inevitable that some would buckle under the pressure and abandon the coalition, instead of seeing the value of an inclusive government that would bring an end to the divisive and corrupt era of Netanyahu and his supporters
Time running out to curb gun violence
DR. THEODORE KARASIK
This year looks set to be a record year for mass shootings in the US, a distinction that no country would ever desire. As the country prepares for midterm elections in November, it faces an epidemic of such attacks at a time of major divisions in the country. Congress last month passed a gun-control bill, the nation’s most significant firearms legislation in nearly 30 years, which President Joe Biden signed on Jun. 25 to much fanfare from advocates of stricter controls on the ownership of weapons. It introduces tougher background checks on younger buyers and also encourages states to restrict gun ownership among people deemed to pose a potential threat to themselves or others. Gun violence, at both the individual and community levels, is a critical public health problem that needs to be addressed urgently. What is necessary is greater public interest in efforts to combat violence in all its forms, from bullying to gang violence to childhood trauma. Research shows that different forms of violence tend to occur together. In other words, places with higher rates of gun violence are also places with higher rates of domestic violence, child abuse, and other kinds of assaults. At the community level it is necessary to examine the root causes of mass shootings and the behavior of individuals who show signs that they might be capable of such crimes, in an effort to nip potential problems in the bud. Such efforts are not easy, nor are the results immediate; it can take years to show results but efforts to protect families with young children through outreach can create lasting change. Democrats in the US have taken major steps to hold US gun manufacturers liable in a real and forceful way for producing the weapons that have killed so many innocents. The CEOs of three companies are due to testify before Congress during a hearing on gun violence at the end of this month. Five US gun manufacturers — Daniel Defense, Bushmaster, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Sturm, Ruger & Company — are being asked to explain their policies. Congress is gathering financial and marketing information from these companies about their sales of weapons of war in the US, including assault weapons of the kinds used in the recent mass murders in Highland Park and Uvalde. Such weapons sold by the US gun companies have been used for decades in homicides and even mass murders, yet the manufacturers continue to market these assault weapons to civilians. This congressional process will take time and be influenced by subsequent shootings and other issues that split Americans, such as abortion. Any results of the investigation, such as additional levels of liability for gun manufacturers or potential remedies for mass shootings, will only take effect after the midterm elections in November this year. Therefore 2023 will be a key year in terms of whether or not we see any decrease in America’s gun crime epidemic. In addition to the mass shootings, we also the everyday examples of gun crime in America. Many of these cases involve seemingly mundane disputes that quickly spiral out of control until someone reaches for a gun. Often, the victim and the shooter know each another; they might be co-workers, acquaintances, siblings or neighbors. They are killed in farming villages, small towns and crowded cities. This is why community activism, combined with working with gun manufacturers to develop social-assistance programs that perhaps the US Congress can make legal requirements, would be a positive step forward. Yet there are major cultural hurdles in the US that efforts to reduce gun violence must clear. Some Americans are deeply fond of their firearms; there are more guns in the US than people, even though only a third of households own them. We need a new approach to the shooting epidemic. Law enforcement needs better tools and more latitude to monitor social media, using sophisticated programs that can help identify the tell-tale signs of potential shooters. The US technology industry, which is involved in social media analysis, needs to develop partnerships with states and schools to help mitigate potential threats. But with 370 million guns in circulation in the country, and various other issues dividing the nation under Biden, time is of the essence. Dr. Theodore Karasik is a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, D.C.
NATO’s missed chance to forge new Middle East ties
One aspect of the recent NATO summit in Madrid that received less attention than it deserved was the publication of the new Strategic Concept, the policy guide for the Western alliance’s leaders into the future. The last one was published in 2010 and was woefully out of date. With the focus of NATO's leaders and policymakers concentrated on central and eastern Europe, Ukraine, and Russia, there is a risk that other regions of the world that are important to the alliance might be overlooked. One of these regions is the Middle East and North Africa. Whether it is regional terrorism emanating from extremist groups or the threat of nuclear proliferation in Iran, NATO members share many of the same security concerns as the countries of the MENA region. Furthermore, many of the countries in this region have demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with NATO and have even contributed troops to NATO-led missions in the past. The alliance should be finding ways to build on these relationships. Regrettably, there was barely any attention given to the MENA region in the newly published Strategic Concept. In fact, in a document that is just over 4,200 words long, only one paragraph of about 80 words was devoted to the MENA region. Furthermore, NATO’s two main platforms on which it engages with the MENA region, the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul cooperation initiative, were not mentioned at all. The former, launched in 1994, forms the basis of NATO’s relations with its Mediterranean partners: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Although talks generally take place on a bilateral basis, between NATO and a single Mediterranean partner (NATO+1), on occasion the forum meets as NATO+7, placing Israel at the same table as some of its regional neighbors, where it would otherwise not be. The Istanbul initiative, launched in 2004, is the basis of NATO’s relations with the Gulf states. Although all six members of the GCC were invited to join, only Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE have done so. While the main effort of the Alliance must remain on the threats in eastern Europe, there are a few easy things that NATO can do to enhance its engagement in the MENA region. First, NATO should appoint a special representative for the MENA region, where personal relationships are paramount. It should appoint a highly respected diplomat with knowledge of the region to be an enduring point of contact between the alliance and the region. Second, NATO should actively push to enlarge the memberships of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul initiative. In particular, it should include countries where US and European blood and treasure have been invested, such as Iraq and Libya. The more cooperation, the better. With the success of the Abraham Accords, NATO should also explore ways to bring Israel and Arab states together for more training exercises and security cooperation. Finally, neither the Mediterranean Dialogue nor the Istanbul initiative has formally met during a NATO summit at the heads of government level. It was announced in Madrid that NATO will hold another summit next year. When this happens, NATO should include high-level meetings for both the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul initiative. This would send a strong message that NATO appreciates the geopolitical importance of the MENA region. Even with all the challenges posed by Russia, NATO’s lack of focus on the MENA region is puzzling. According to the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the alliance’s area of focus is “the North Atlantic area, north of the Tropic of Cancer.” Every country generally considered to be in the MENA region, minus Yemen, has territory north of the Tropic of Cancer — and therefore is in NATO’s area of focus. Furthermore, history and recent events show that what happens in the region can quickly spill over into Europe. Closer ties between NATO and the MENA region will make everyone safer and more secure. In many ways, the lack of attention paid to the MENA region in the Strategic Concept was a missed opportunity. As NATO starts preparing for its next summit in 2023, policymakers must take appropriate steps now to get the MENA region on to the agenda. Luke Coffey is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Twitter: @LukeDCoffey.
Closer ties between NATO and the MENA region will make everyone safer and more secure. In many ways, the lack of attention paid to the MENA region in the Strategic Concept was a missed opportunity.
The Day of the Narcissist: how Boris brought himself down
DR. JOHN C. HULSMAN
In The Day of the Jackal, the gripping thriller in which the far-right paramilitary Organization Armée Secrète hires an assassin to shoot French President Charles de Gaulle, author Frederick Forsyth says of his English gentleman killer: “Like all men created by systems and procedures, he did not like the unpredictable and therefore the uncontrollable.” In real life, it was precisely these qualities that did for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Rather than being laid low by a cabal of others, Johnson has been brought down by his worst enemy: himself. As regular readers of this column know, we have scented blood in the water regarding Johnson’s political future for quite some time. The political risk key to understanding the outgoing prime minister, more than is true for most leaders, is a comprehensive study of his biography and psychology. For while many are in politics to further a particular ideology — the great British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and “Thatcherism” come to mind — Johnson, disturbingly in tune with this era of the selfie, seemed to revel in being in the arena only as a form of self-aggrandizement. It was entirely predictable that, unlike the recent prime ministerial resignations of David Cameron, Theresa May, or indeed Thatcher herself — all of whom in the end went gracefully — Boris would cling on to power in Downing Street, his fingernail marks still on the walls as a torrent of over 50 Cabinet members, junior ministers and parliamentary private secretaries quit over his careless, sloppy, appointment of a government whip with a shady history of sexual harassment, only then to (predictably) lie about his knowledge of the man’s past. A series of senior civil service figures, shocked into action, charged that not only had Johnson been well aware of this man’s murky proclivities, but that they had personally briefed him about the danger. Caught once again in a bare-faced lie, the great dissembler in the end simply couldn’t wriggle out of his predicament. Even after the mortal damage of “Partygate,” when the prime minister had been caught prevaricating about attending lockdown parties while the rest of the country was sternly admonished to quarantine, Johnson had learned nothing and surely felt no genuine remorse —either for his baseline narcissistic view that the rules of life are for little people, or for his belief that it is always OK to lie when he is in a jam. Instead, in line with these ugly, egocentric days, the prime minister seemed to feel wronged in being held to any standards at all. For anyone who has followed Johnson’s career, analytically this was entirely predictable. The most telling moment came when Michael Gove, the one truly able man in the Cabinet and its “big beast,” came to the prime minister in the time-honored manner of British political culture. The British constitution — not written down, but rather a series of centuries-old traditions, customs, and norms — dictates that a figure of such gravitas does precisely this. Gove, long a rival but lately an ally of Johnson, privately told him that the gig was up, that with the party in full revolt following his being caught in a lie yet again, he simply had to go. As one dissenting Tory MP aptly it, placing the incident in the terms of a good Evelyn Waugh novel, Gove offered Johnson a metaphorical whisky and a revolver, and urged him to do the decent thing. But this was a ludicrous error: Boris has never done the decent thing in his entire life — why would he start now? Instead, he shamelessly drank the whisky and turned the revolver on Gove himself, accusing him of disloyalty. Personally, I was unsure whether to laugh or to cry. I wanted to laugh, because over these past stormy months my firm has called the Johnson saga perfectly because of our forensic knowledge of his biography and his character (or lack of it). I wanted to cry because his brazenly selfish actions amount to another corrosion of the political norms that hold the West together. The very notion that there is anything beyond oneself — a cause, the people a leader serves, the country itself — seems increasingly to be a quaint anachronism. Yet without a higher belief, one is left only with the unedifying scene of Johnson pathetically clinging to office like a barnacle on the side of the ship of state, craving power for its own sake. It is in this darker context that Johnson’s absolutely appalling resignation speech must be viewed. Devoid of any form of self-reflection, the outgoing leader (about to earn millions on the lecture circuit) blithely put his demise down to bad luck (“them’s the breaks”) and the “herd instinct” of his own party — who, like gazelles frightened by the wind, had turned on him for no understandable reason. John C. Hulsman is the president and managing partner of John C. Hulsman Enterprises, a prominent global political risk consulting firm. He is also a senior columnist for City AM, the newspaper of the City of London. He can be contacted via johnhulsman.substack.com.
World Population Day marred by a grim migrants milestone
World Population Day, which will again be marked next week, has long been a moment to celebrate human progress. But it comes this year against the backdrop of a grim milestone, with a record 100 million people now displaced. Driven by violence, persecution and human rights abuses, this massive number of people forced to flee their homes equates to about one person in every 78 across the world. It is larger than the population of many countries. The data comes from the UN refugee agency’s annual “Global Trends” report, which was released last month. While the data has worsened each year for a decade, 2022 has set new records, not least with the Ukraine war, which has caused one of the largest forced displacements since the Second World War. More than 7 million Ukrainians have been displaced within the country and more than 6 million have fled the country as refugees. This builds on existing tensions that have escalated, driving further displacement in nations from Burkina Faso to Myanmar. Taken overall, UNHCR says the latest forced displacement figure includes 26.6 million refugees, 50.9 million internally displaced people, 4.4 million asylum seekers and 4.1 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Ukraine aside, the report says that more than two thirds of refugees come from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. Turkey hosted the largest refugee population in 2021, with nearly 3.8 million. Going forward, it is possible that environment-related crises will make this displacement calamity ever worse. This in the context of the anticipated continued growth of the world’s population, which is today about 7.7 billion, to 10 billion in the next three decades, with more than half of this growth expected to be concentrated in only nine countries, mainly in the developing world. Growing populations are driving the megatrend of urbanization through migration. In 1800, less than 3 percent of the population lived in cities, but by the end of 2008 this had risen to more than 50 percent and there were 26 megacities (cities of 10 million or more inhabitants). That proportion is expected to increase from about 55 percent as of 2018 to 68 percent by 2050, which, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population, could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by the middle of this century. Governments are increasingly preparing for the risks these massive urban areas pose. Key questions being addressed include whether it will be possible to continually meet residents’ everyday needs of food, water and health, while also dealing with the growing vulnerability of large urban areas to environmental stresses exacerbated by the effects of climate change.
The PTI has failed to control inflation. Even basic commodities are beyond the reach of ordinary people who are finding it difficult to arrange for even one meal a day. The country has been driven to a point where people are at their wits ends. The prime minister had promised that he would reduce prices of basic necessities, but he has once again defaulted on his promises. One day he reportedly claimed that petrol prices would not increase, the next, he announces to the nation that they would and there would be a gas shortage. First the prime minister claimed that inflation was a result of the policies of the previous government, then he blamed the Covid-19 pandemic, now it is the fault of inflation in the international market.
Saman Amjad, Sheikhupura
According to a study titled ‘Cruel numbers 2020’ by an NGO, Sahil, eight children are abused every day in Pakistan. These children are between the ages of six and 15 years, and 51 percent of them are girls while the remaining 49 percent are boys. More alarming still is the fact that there has been an increase of four percent in child abuse cases between 2019 and 2020. These statics are heart wrenching. Some victims are as young as one. To make matters worse, most of the abusers are reported to be relatives and neighbours of the victims. In 2020, after the country was rattled by the case of seven-year-old Zainab, a law was passed against child abuse by parliament. However, the number of cases seems to be rising. Children are abducted, abused – even murdered – and their bodies discarded. Most perpetrators roam free even today. Sometimes families of victims do not come forward because the culprit is also from the family. At other times, authorities fail to take due measures. Child abuse will not decrease until the authorities concerned take firm and immediate action against the offenders.
Waseem Ahmed, Hub
This refers to the article ‘A real change?’ by Kiyya Baloch (November 6). The writer has perfectly crafted the picture of the two political giants of Balochistan. Jam Kamal of Lasbela and Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo of Awaran have both failed to facilitate their respective areas. Awaran's deprivation is not news to anyone, and this blatant indifference gives a good idea of what importance the locals hold for those in power. Similarly, the situation in Jam's hometown, Bela, is also bleak. Now that Bizenjo has replaced Jam, one can only hope that he will solve socio-economic and socio-political issues of the province. Additionally, the ruling party and the opposition should sit together to solve the issues of their respective constituencies and the province as a whole. If all the political stakeholders in Balochistan forget their differences and work for human development, Balochistan can surely prosper like any other province.
Zohaib Ahmed, Hub
This refers to the news report ‘Petrol up by Rs8.03 per litre, diesel by Rs8.14’ and the editorial ‘Another package’ (November 5). After holding out for a few weeks, the government has finally bowed to the pressure of the IMF and announced immediate increase in the prices of petroleum products. This was one of the most recent conditions put by the international body before formalising the revival of the $6 billion loan. It seems that the government has run out of ideas and has put all its eggs in the IMF’s basket. The government should also realise that relief packages are not a substitute for tangible measures. Pakistan needs a robust economic plan with achievable milestones that can uplift the economy and mitigate poverty. Relief packages, in the absence of available resources, are mere eyewash and serve only to discredit the government in the eyes of the people.
Shoaib A Majeed, Karachi
TikTok is an excellent platform through which hundreds of young Pakistanis exhibit their talents. However, it has been banned twice across Pakistan due to different reasons. Since the app was banned, young TikTokers have been deprived of the opportunities to make money, which is extremely unfortunate, given the state of the economy. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has agreed to establish a mechanism with TikTok to ensure that all content uploaded on the platform is lawful and safe. As many as 9.85 million videos from Pakistan were removed from the app between April and June 2021. It is hoped that the two will come to an agreement and that the app will be up and running in Pakistan soon.
Abdul Rahman Shahbeer, Turbat
Stealing from the poor
The Rs3.7 trillion Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP), interest-free loans for seven million families, is considered to be the best micro-credit program ever planned in Pakistan. But unfortunately a vast majority of the application forms for the loans were rejected recently. According to some news reports, of a total of 1,237,977 applications for the Kamyab Jawan Programme, 695,655 were rejected. It is unfortunate that such a large number of applicants couldn't benefit from this loan. One wonders on what grounds the applications were rejected. One fears that this scheme, like many before it, will become a tool in the hands of the already-wealthy and well-connected to amass more wealth. In 2020, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar admitted that several government officials of Grade 17 and above had registered for the BISP and benefitted from it, cutting off those who were more deserving. The government should ensure that a transparent system of merit is established in the case of the current schemes.
Umar Javed, Rahimyar Khan
This is to draw the attention of the authorities to the devastating problem of broken roads in Gichk, Balochistan. These roads have led to numerous accidents, which have resulted in loss of lives as well as financial losses. Recently, a truck got into an accident and the driver lost his life. But for the local and provincial governments, the matter is of no concern. Authorities were allocated funds for development, but there is none to be seen. Both the federal and provincial governments should pay immediate attention to making new roads to ensure that no more lives are lost
. Ameenullah Qamar Baloch, Karachi
The PTI-led government initially claimed that it would not be accepting the TLP’s demands. The major demand of the TLP – amongst many others – was that the government remove its proscribed status, and the government did just that. In doing so,
Sri Lanka leader flees as protesters storm home
Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence on Saturday shortly before protesters, angered by an unprecedented economic crisis, stormed and overran the compound. Huge crowds had surrounded the leader's home to demand his resignation, blaming government mismanagement for the painful downturn. As protesters surged at the gates of the President's Palace, troops guarding the compound fired in the air to hold back the tide until Rajapaksa was safely removed, a top defence source told AFP on condition of anonymity. "The president was escorted to safety," the source added. "He is still the president, he is being protected by a military unit." Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who would assume the presidency in the event of Rajapaksa's resignation, has called an urgent cabinet meeting to discuss a "swift resolution" to the political crisis, his office said. Members of the crowd broadcast live footage on social media showing hundreds of people walking through the President's Palace. The colonial-era state mansion is one of Sri Lanka's key symbols of state power and officials said Rajapaksa's departure raised questions as to whether he intended to remain in office. "We are awaiting instructions," a top civil servant told AFP. "We still don't know where he is, but we know he is with the Sri Lanka navy and is safe." Colombo's main hospital said 14 people were being treated there after being hit by tear gas canisters. 'Not a deterrent' Sri Lanka has suffered through months of food and fuel shortages, lengthy blackouts and galloping inflation after running out of foreign currency to import vital goods. Thousands of people had poured into the capital for the demonstration, the latest expression of unrest sparked by the crisis. Police had withdrawn a curfew order issued on Friday after opposition parties, rights activists and the bar association threatened to sue the police chief. Thousands of anti-government protesters ignored the order and even forced railway authorities to operate trains to take them to Colombo for Saturday's rally, officials said. "The curfew was not a deterrent, in fact it encouraged more people to get on the streets in defiance," the defence official said. "Passengers had commandeered trains to reach Colombo." The country has nearly exhausted already scarce supplies of petrol, but protesters backed by the main opposition parties hired private buses to travel to the capital. Demonstrators have camped outside Rajapaksa's seafront office to demand his resignation over the government's mismanagement of the crisis. Soldiers armed with assault rifles were bussed into Colombo on Friday to reinforce police guarding Rajapaksa's official residence. Authorities said they had deployed nearly 20,000 troops and police officers for a security operation to protect the president. AFP
Libya traditional jewellery hangs on by silver thread
Tripoli: In Tripoli's Old City, young Libyans weave delicate patterns with threads of silver and gold to create traditional filigree jewellery -- reviving an art almost lost through decades of dictatorship and war. Abdelmajid Zeglam is just 12 years old, but his minutely detailed creations are already selling fast in the streets around a Roman-era archway dedicated to emperor Marcus Aurelius. "I hesitated at first for fear of failing because I'm young, but my mum encouraged me," Zeglam said. He is the youngest of 20 or so students, around half of them female, studying at the Libyan Academy for Traditional Gold and Silver Crafts, in a building that once served as a French consulate to the Ottoman Empire. Trainees learn about precious metal alloys before studying the art of filigree, in which beads and threads of the precious materials are woven into intricate designs then soldered together to create jewellery. "I love it," Zeglam said. "I want to become a petroleum engineer in the mornings and a jeweller in the afternoons." Mohamed al-Miloudi, a 22-year-old civil engineering student in a baseball cap, said he had not missed a class since signing up in September. "It's a hobby, but I'd like to make it into my trade," he said. The institute's founder, Abdelnasser Aboughress, said filigree jewellery was an ancient tradition in the North African country. "Craftsmen in the medina of Tripoli were trained by Jewish masters and later by Arabs, at the prestigious School of Arts and Trades" founded in the late 19th century, he said. Secret jewellers But generations of tradition were abruptly halted after Moamer Kadhafi took power in a 1969 coup. The capricious ruler scrapped the constitution and established his "jamahiriya" -- a medley of socialism, Arab nationalism and tribal patronage. He also scrapped the private sector, seizing companies and confiscating their assets. Overnight, self-employed artisans lost everything: their workshops, their livelihoods and their students. "The state reduced Libyan crafts to nothing and forced a generation of young apprentices, who should have taken up the baton, to instead leave the traditional crafts and join the army" or become civil servants, said Aboughress. The 55-year-old was born just a few streets away in the medina, and despite Kadhafi's ban, he took up the craft at the age of 15. Along with his father, for decades he worked in secret on jewellery for trusted clients. Now, he hopes to pass the craft on to younger generations, as well as fighting back against a tide of "lower-quality jewellery imported from Egypt and China (which) has flooded the market". Aboughress is working on a project to document and preserve as much of this cultural heritage as possible. 'People with passion' Student Fatima Boussoua hit out at the practice of selling old Libyan silver jewellery at cheap prices to be exported then melted down. "It's part of Libya's artisanal heritage that's disappearing!" she said. A dentist in her 40s who also teaches at the University of Tripoli, Boussoua has been training at the centre for the past year, hoping to master the craft. "We should be training artists to preserve our heritage," she said. AFP
US, China top diplomats hold 'constructive' first talks in months
Bali (Indonesia) (AFP) – The United States and China held "constructive" talks Saturday, Washington's top diplomat said, after an unusually long meeting aimed at preventing bilateral tensions from spiralling out of control. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held their first talks since October on the Indonesian island of Bali as the two powers stepped up interaction at a time when the West is focused on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "Despite the complexities of our relationship, I can say with some confidence that our delegations found today's discussions useful, candid and constructive," Blinken said after five hours of talks. "The relationship between the United States and China is highly consequential for our countries but also for the world. We are committed to managing this relationship -- this competition -- responsibly," he said, promising to keep open channels of diplomacy with Beijing. The meeting, in which the pair held morning talks and then a working lunch, largely focused on preventing competition spilling over into unintentional conflict but also Washington's opposition to Beijing on a range of issues including Taiwan and human rights. "I conveyed deep concerns of the United States regarding Beijing's increasingly provocate rhetoric and activity towards Taiwan and the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," Blinken said. He also voiced concerns over Ukraine, pressing Wang on Beijing's tacit support of Moscow's invasion of its neighbour and calling for it to distance itself from Russia a day after the Kremlin's top diplomat faced a barrage of Western criticism at the G20 talks. "This really is a moment where we all have to stand up, as we heard country after country in the G20 do, to condemn the aggression, to demand among other things that Russia allow access to food that is stuck in Ukraine," Blinken said. US officials have also been cautiously upbeat about China's stance on Ukraine, condemning its rhetorical backing of Russia but seeing no sign that Beijing is backing its words with material support. Before the meeting started, Wang told reporters Chinese President Xi Jinping believed in cooperation as well as "mutual respect" between the world's two largest economic powers and that there needed to be "normal exchanges" between them. "We do need to work together to ensure that this relationship will continue to move forward along the right track," Wang said in front of US and Chinese flags. It was Blinken and Wang's first in-person meeting in months, and they are expected to prepare for virtual talks in the coming weeks between Xi and President Joe Biden as both powers increase engagement and moderate their tone. After a long chill during the pandemic between the two countries, since last month their defence, finance and national security chiefs as well as their top military commanders have all spoken. China's state-run Global Times, known for its criticism of the United States, wrote that the growing diplomacy "underscored the two sides' consensus on avoiding escalating confrontation". US views of China have hardened in recent years and Biden has largely maintained the substance of his predecessor Donald Trump's hardline approach of treating Beijing as the pre-eminent global competitor of the United States. But Blinken in a recent speech made clear that the United States was not seeking a new "Cold War," even as he held firm on criticism -- including accusing Beijing of genocide against the mostly Muslim Uyghur people, an accusation he repeated after Saturday's talks. The Biden administration is widely expected soon to ease some of Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods, a move that could ease soaring inflation, which has become a major political liability in the United States. Xi, China's most powerful leader in decades, is expected to shake up the foreign policy team at the Communist Party's National Congress later this year. But Craig Singleton, who follows China at the hawkish Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, expected Xi again to appoint technocrats who can work with Washington. "The reason is simply -- China's economy is facing considerable headwinds and Chinese policymakers appear eager to recognise that China's aggressive rhetoric has backfired," he said.AFP
Elon Musk pulls out of Twitter purchase
San Francisco: Elon Musk pulled the plug on his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on Friday, accusing the company of "misleading" statements about the number of fake accounts, a regulatory filing showed. Musk terminating the deal that he inked in April to buy the social media giant sets the stage for an epic court battle over a billion-dollar breakup fee and more. "Mr. Musk hereby exercises (the) right to terminate the Merger Agreement and abandon the transaction," his lawyers said in a letter to Twitter, a copy of which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk's change of heart about buying Twitter appeared to suggest some "buyer's remorse" for offering a price of $54.20 per share that now appears "laughable," CFRA Research senior equity analyst Angelo Zino said in a note to investors before the deal was officially nixed. Twitter has held firm that no more than five percent of accounts are run by software instead of people, while Musk has said he believes the number to be much higher. The clock was ticking for Musk to make a decision, with Twitter's board recommending shareholders approve the buyout at a special vote expected to be held in August. "The Twitter deal has clearly caused chaos at Twitter and has resulted in an overhang on Tesla's stock since April given the Musk financing angle, coupled by a brutal market backdrop for risk," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors. AFP
'Relentless' Russian shelling in east Ukraine as US promises new aid
Druzhkivka: Russian troops pursued their "relentless" shelling of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on Saturday, as the United States promised new military aid to Kyiv including powerful rocket launchers. Having endured long battles to capture cities in the neighbouring Lugansk region, Russia is now seeking to push deeper into Donetsk to consolidate its hold over the entire Donbas region. Air raid sirens sounded overnight throughout the country's east and south. Residents in the small town of Druzhkivka, south of the eastern Ukrainian industrial city of Kramatorsk, woke up to a suspected missile attack on Saturday which ripped apart a supermarket's shop front and left a massive crater in front of the store. "The entire frontline is under relentless shelling," the head of the Donetsk military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said in a Telegram message on Friday night. He said the city of Sloviansk, on which Moscow's troops have now set their sights, is being "shelled day and night". He also accused Russian forces of setting agricultural fields on fire, saying they were "trying to destroy the harvest by all means". In a message on Saturday, he said five civilians had been killed the day before. The governor of the Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, said on Saturday the Russians were attacking Donetsk from their bases in Lugansk. "We are trying to contain their armed formations along the entire frontline... Where it is inconvenient for them to go forward, they create real hell, shelling the territories on the horizon," he said. Kyrylenko warned the Russians were in the process of replenishing their troops in the region to prepare for further assaults. 'Terrorising cities' Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address he had spent the day on the frontlines in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, where he met civilian and military leaders. "Officials must do not just everything possible, but much more than even possible, to guarantee people a normal standard of living even in such wartime conditions," he said. But in a Telegram message on Saturday, an official from the region's military administration warned Russia had "intentionally shelled residential areas", and had not stopped "terrorising" the cities and villages. In the country's south, the mayor of Mykolaiv begged citizens not to leave shelters, as he said explosions were heard throughout the night. Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk was quoted by Ukrainian media as urging people in occupied areas to evacuate by any means possible. "Massive fighting is going to happen," she said. 'Further evolution of support' In a boost to Kyiv, Washington announced $400 million of further military aid, including a type of artillery ammunition with "greater precision" that has previously not been sent. "It's a further evolution in our support for Ukraine in this battle in the Donbas," a senior defence official was quoted by the US Department of Defence as saying. Also included in the aid package are four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to add to eight already in place. "From a security assistance perspective, this is a steady drumbeat now, and it is a long-term commitment to Ukraine," the same official was quoted as saying. "We'll be ready for whatever the experts tell us is required for the battlefield." The United States was also putting the pressure on Russia diplomatically at a meeting of Group of 20 foreign ministers in Indonesia. Washington and allies condemned Russia's assault ahead of the gathering before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov faced what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a barrage of Western criticism at the closed-door talks. Lavrov stormed out of a morning session as German counterpart Annalena Baerbock criticised Moscow over the invasion, diplomats said. He also left an afternoon session before Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the ministers virtually, and was not present as Blinken condemned Russia. 'Strong chorus' "What we've heard today already is a strong chorus from around the world... about the need for the aggression to end," Blinken said on Friday from the meeting on the resort island of Bali. Speaking outside the Mulia hotel, Lavrov remained defiant and accused Western nations of avoiding "talking about global economic issues" instead of the war. AFP
Jayasuriya bags six as Sri Lanka bowl out Australia for 364
Galle: Debutant spinner Prabath Jayasuriya claimed six wickets as Sri Lanka bowled out Australia for 364, leaving Steve Smith unbeaten on 145 on the second day of the second Test in Galle on Saturday. The tourists resumed on 298-5 with Smith and Alex Carey taking their sixth-wicket stand to 77 before Jayasuriya broke through with the score on 329. Jayasuriya, who took three wickets on the opening day, set a trap for Carey who miscued a reverse sweep to be caught at backward point for 28. The left-arm spinner soon got Mitchell Starc out for one to become the seventh Sri Lankan bowler to take five wickets in an innings on Test debut. Fast bowler Kasun Rajitha and 'mystery' spinner Maheesh Theekshana also struck as Smith ran out of partners. Jayasuriya was one of the three Sri Lankan players, along with Theekshana and Kamindu Mendis, to be awarded a first Test cap following a Covid outbreak sidelining several members of the squad. Smith and Marnus Labuschagne led Australia's dominance on day one with a third-wicket partnership of 134 as the pair took the attack to the opposition bowlers. Labuschagne hit his first overseas century as he made 104 before being stumped off Jayasuriya. Smith ended his century drought of 18 months to notch up his 28th Test ton, ending the first day on 109. The second day's play in the port city had few spectators, with hundreds of protesters demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa outside the ground. Sri Lanka is enduring its worst ever economic crisis and much of the public has accused Rajapaksa's government of chronic mismanagement. Australia lead the two-match series 1-0 after a crushing opening win inside three days during last week's first Test. AFP
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur carries hopes of nation and continent in Wimbledon final
Ons Jabeur said the seeds of her history-making charge to the Wimbledon final were sown 12 months ago when she told her coaching team: "I'm coming back for the title". Jabeur became the first African woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the modern era when she beat close friend Tatjana Maria, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the semi-finals. She will face Russian-born Elena Rybakina, now representing Kazakhstan, for the title on Saturday. Twelve months ago, Jabeur, 27, made the quarter-finals for the first time, losing to Aryna Sabalenka. But on the way she knocked out five-time champion Venus Williams, 2017 winner Garbine Muguruza, as well as current number one Iga Swiatek. Having never previously got past the second round at the All England Club, that run gave her the taste for more. "Not to lie to you, the dream kind of started last year when I enjoyed playing here, enjoyed the crowd," said the world number two. "I didn't play so many Wimbledons before. Usually it was the first and second round. It's tricky on grass but I knew I was playing good on grass because of my game and everything. "Melanie (Maillard), my mental coach, reminded me when I lost in the quarter-finals I told her like, 'I'm coming back next year for the title'." "She was like, 'You will'. She knows that if I put something in my mind, I do it. I'm one step away from achieving it," said Jabeur. "I hope it's going to happen." Jabeur coasted through the first four rounds at Wimbledon this year before needing three sets to defeat Marie Bouzkova and then three more to see off Maria. Her run to the final came after a dispiriting first-round exit at the French Open in May. Jabeur had been one of the favourites for the title in Paris having won the Madrid clay court title followed by a runners-up spot finish to Swiatek in Rome. But a quick reset after her disappointment in the French capital put her back on course. "I have a great team behind me, even though sometimes – I'm not going to lie to you – I maybe thought I was never going to make it or never going to make a Grand Slam title or a Grand Slam final," said Jabeur. "I had to remind myself why did I start playing tennis, what kind of joy that tennis brings to me. As soon as I remind myself that, I get pumped, motivated to go." Jabeur, one of only three Tunisian women with a world ranking, has a 2-1 winning edge over Rybakina, with her most recent victory in Chicago last year. Russian and Belarusian players are banned from Wimbledon this year following the invasion of Ukraine. But there will be a Russian presence in the final after Rybakina, playing in her first Slam final, switched allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018. "I'm really happy representing Kazakhstan. They believed in me. There is no more question about how I feel," said the 23-year-old. "It's already a long time my journey as a Kazakh player. I played Olympics, Fed Cup." Rybakina had never got past the quarter-finals of a Slam before this year's Wimbledon. But the grass courts of Wimbledon are the perfect platform for her game. She has fired 49 aces so far and boasts the second-fastest serve in the women's tournament at 122 miles (196 kilometres) per hour. Saturday's match throws up a radically different clash of tennis styles -- Jabeur's slice and change of rhythm facing down Rybakina's raw power. There could also a sharp contrast in celebration. "She's not someone who screams a lot every point. I respect that about her," said Jabeur. "I know she's a very shy person even outside the court. Maybe I'll be the one screaming on Saturday." AFP
Sports clubs no longer a family affair Investment funds, consortiums buying teams as putting money into them is proving to defy economic downturn
NEW YORK: Time was when sports teams and franchises were largely family enterprises, but now it is investment funds and consortiums buying them despite a downturn in the global economy. In May, Todd Boehly became the latest American billionaire to buy a Premier League club when he headed up a consortium to seal a £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) purchase of Chelsea. California investment group Clearlake will be Chelsea's majority shareholder as part of the consortium, with Boehly becoming controlling owner after Russian Roman Abramovich put the outfit up for sale. In doing so the Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner saw off 11 other bidders illustrating the Premier League's global brand is a key driver as it provides the opportunity to benefit from significant broadcast revenues and merchandising. "It's the highest-quality play, it's the best players," Boehly told Bloomberg in 2019. "You also have a media market that's just developing." Some football financial analysts believe leading Premier League clubs could be worth more than £10 billion within a decade. Hence the growing number of financial consortiums eager to grab themselves a piece of the action but not just in the English top-flight. "You are seeing more money coming into sport from institutional investors," said David Gandler, co-founder and director general of American streaming television service fuboTV. "Whereas before it was more families or rich individuals." There are also other ways of living the sporting dream in buying a club. "There are quite a few cases of individuals coming together as a group in order to buy clubs," says entrepreneur Pascal Rigo, who recently became a minority shareholder in Ligue 2 side Paris FC. He adds the benefits of that is it lowers costs per person and increases the potential number of investors thereby "reducing the financial risk". The prices being paid at the top end of the market, though, show little sign of declining. Boehly's consortium had paid a record price for a sports club but that did not last long. Another American consortium headed by Wal-Mart store heir Rob Walton – others involved included his daughter and son-in-law – swooped to buy storied NFL franchise the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion dollars. Such prices are beyond other Americans and they have looked to mainland Europe to invest their money in various football clubs. In the case of Italian champions AC Milan, it was one US investment fund RedBird buying them -- for $1.3 billion – off a rival Elliott Management at the beginning of June. American entrepreneur John Textor – already a shareholder in Crystal Palace – bought a majority stake in seven-time Ligue 1 champions Lyon, through his sports investment vehicle Eagle Football Holdings. His outlay of 600 million euros in June was a record investment for a French club. "There are a lot of factors which are all pushing in the same direction," said Salvatore Galatioto of financial services firm Galatioto Sports Partners. "There is no other media content that has more value than sport. "Betting is also going to boost audiences. "As a result people are going to watch more matches and that is going to raise the value of the content." This is reflected in the mind-boggling sums paid for television rights and not just for football – the sport's main drawcard is its live content. The money being offered has been boosted as competition has also increased amongst broadcasters with streaming services such as Amazon becoming a major player. The United States rights to broadcast the NFL for 11 years cost $110 billion in March 2021, whilst the Indian Premier League cricket cost $6.2 billion – domestic rights and digital collectively – for a five-year period when put up for tender in mid-June. For the investors too, owning a club or a franchise is even more reassuring as sport has been able to show it is able to defy economic recessions. Rob Tilliss, of the specialised investment bank Inner Circle Sports, cites the example of the value of the four major American sports only diminishing by an estimated 2% in 2008/09, at a time when that "was one of the worst economic crises in history". AFP
France beat Japan 20-15 in second rugby union Test
Tokyo: Six Nations champions France scored a late try to edge Japan 20-15 in an emotional second rugby Test on Saturday, the day after the country was shocked by the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. The Grand Slam winners found themselves trailing 15-13 with 10 minutes remaining at Tokyo's National Stadium, where a minute's silence was held for Abe before kick-off. Replacement scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud darted through a gap in the Japan defence to put France, who had trailed 15-7 at half-time, ahead and seal a 10th straight win for next year's World Cup hosts. Tevita Tatafu had a late try disallowed to deny Japan a maiden victory over France with emotions still raw among the crowd of more than 57,000, a day after a gunman had shot and killed Japan's longest-serving prime minister on the campaign trail. Matthis Lebel scored France's opening try in the ninth minute after a quick passing move that caught the Japanese defence flat-footed. The home side hit back three minutes later when they collected the ball deep in their own territory and outfoxed France with a series of passes before full-back Ryohei Yamanaka went over for the try. AFP
Granados scores twice to lead Costa Rican CONCACAF win
Monterrey: Cristin Granados scored two first-half goals Friday and Costa Rica blanked Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 in the CONCACAF W Championship, moving closer to a 2023 Women's World Cup berth. Both Costa Rica and Canada, the reigning Olympic champion, would advance to next year's showdown at Australia and New Zealand if the Canadians defeat Panama in a group-stage match later on Friday. Granados opened the scoring for Costa Rica in the 18th minute while Trinidad and Tobago's Kedie Johnson was ejected after a double yellow card in the 22nd minute. Lauryn Hutchinson netted an own goal in the 33rd minute that boosted Costa Rica's advantage and Granados struck again in the 45th minute to give Las Ticas a 3-0 halftime lead. Katherine Alvarado added a final goal in the 48th minute. The United States secured a Women's World Cup berth Thursday and either Haiti or Jamaica will claim another depending on the outcome of their Monday group-stage matchup. The eight-team tournament serves as the regional qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2023 Women's World Cup, where the US squad will be vying for a third straight title after triumphs in 2015 and 2019. The two top teams in each group take World Cup berths along with spots in Thursday's CONCACAF semi-finals. Third-place teams from each group advance to next February's global playoff for three Women's World Cup spots. The CONCACAF champions will secure a Paris 2024 Olympic berth. AFP
Kyrgios' bad boy image is 'stage persona': former manager
Sydney: Nick Kyrgios' bad boy image is in many ways a "stage persona", a way of protecting the "sweet, genuine, sensitive person" inside, the player's former manager and agent has told Australian media. The enigmatic Australian is one of the most polarising figures on the tennis circuit, with his on-court tantrums over a chequered career seeing him slapped with countless fines. Offences have included lack of effort, racquet-smashing outbursts, abusing umpires, spitting in the direction of fans and throwing a chair onto the court. So far at Wimbledon, where he will play Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday, he has racked up $14,000 in penalties after an ugly spat with third-round opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas. But John Morris, who discovered Kyrgios and spent 10 years as his mentor, said the bluster and bravado wasn't the real Nick. "He became a caricature of this bad boy image and he played up to it a little bit," Morris told the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday. "It wasn't really him. And then you go down a path and, eventually, he just assumes the role. "Even this week, he is fine playing the role of the villain. It is literally that -- it's a role. In many ways it is a stage persona, but it's a protection tool. AFP
Hamilton backs tricky Mercedes to come good
SPIELBERG: Lewis Hamilton believes his troublesome Mercedes will win this season, but perhaps not at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion has arrived in Spielberg for Sunday's race full of optimism that his car is finally showing its potential after a mostly bleak first half of the year. Last weekend's British Grand Prix extended his winless run to 11 races, the longest in his standout career. But third-placed Hamilton was almost as happy as if he, and not Carlos Sainz, had taken the chequered flag after his Mercedes at last battled shoulder to shoulder with the Red Bulls and Ferraris. This was a massive improvement on the under-performing machine shackled by bouncing, or porpoising, as Mercedes grappled with the radical new design regulations brought in this term to produce closer racing. The problem grew so bad in Azerbaijan, that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton over the team radio as arguably the best driver ever to grace the sport had to be helped out of the car his back was so shaken up by the bouncing over Baku's streets. "You're just praying for it to end," said Hamilton at the time. With updates before Barcelona and Silverstone working their magic, the second half of the season is looking a lot more enticing. "Yes, there was a long way back. Earlier this year, I definitely wasn't sure we would ever get a win in this car," Hamilton told a press conference on Thursday. "Obviously that's not the way we like to think, but there was a feeling that 'Jesus, there's a long, long way we have to catch everyone', knowing the progress that everyone makes." The last two "quite strong" races have given cause for the hope that "we're moving in the right direction," he said. "With a little bit more digging and a little bit more hard work, hopefully we can get a bit closer to having a chance at winning a race. "So I truly believe we can get a race win this year." It would be quite a time to get off the mark for the season at the 11th attempt at the circuit owned by world champion Max Verstappen's Red Bull team. But as pleasing as that would be, Hamilton acknowledges the chocolate-box venue in the Styrian mountains has rarely been a happy hunting ground. "I think we've always struggled in Austria, so it's going to be hard to win here, I think, knowing the combination of the corners - but not impossible." Wolff, an Austrian, concurs, suggesting in the run-up to his home race that the upcoming French Grand Prix offered more appeal for Mercedes' first win of 2022. "I think Austria was always a little bit difficult," said Wolff. "There are three corners that we don't like, three and four with a warp. "But high speed should be good there and Paul Ricard should be a good one, but we have to sort out the car generally." AFP
The president calls for action to switch to solar energy in order to save money
By Our Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: In order to save money and lessen the nation's energy problems, President Dr. Arif Alvi has advised all governor houses, universities, and offices of the ombudsmen to adopt doable and time-bound solar energy transition plans. On Friday, he presided over a conference in Aiwan-e-Sadr about energy conservation and economic strategy. The President also asked all of the nation's chambers of commerce and industry to convert the enterprises and industries under their jurisdiction to solar energy in order to lower the cost of their inputs and boost the competitiveness of local goods and services on both domestic and foreign markets. All Governor Houses, Universities, and Offices of the Ombudsmen have been encouraged by President Dr. Arif Alvi to adopt doable and time-bound steps to switch to solar energy in order to save money and lessen the nation's energy issues. On Friday, he presided over a conference in Aiwan-e-Sadr about energy conservation and economic strategy. The President also asked all of the nation's chambers of commerce and industry to convert the enterprises and industries under their jurisdiction to solar energy in order to lower the cost of their inputs and boost the competitiveness of local goods and services on both domestic and foreign markets. Expressing satisfaction over the steps taken in the Aiwan-e-Sadr to economize and conserve electricity, water, fuel and gas, he motivated others to mitigate the energy woes and combat the dangerous effects of Climate Change. The President noted with satisfaction that Presidency's various Energy Efficiency Projects had resulted in zero liability on the national exchequer, and it was now fully powered by an in-house 1 MW Solar Power Plant, which besides meeting its own needs had contributed 112,000 KWh of surplus energy to the national grid. The President also expressed satisfaction with measures being taken to convert a few remaining parts of the Secretariat to solar energy which would further enhance electricity savings and its contribution to the national grid.
Hamza will be sent packing after by-polls results: Imran
KHUSHAB: Imran Khan, a former prime minister and the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), declared on Friday that Hamza Shahbaz will be expelled following the outcome of the by-elections despite a guy in Lahore's mission to rig elections for the criminals. The PTI leader said that threats were being received from unknown numbers to exert pressure while speaking to a rally in Khushab on Friday. "I'm urging the man in Lahore to do whatever he wants, but he'll only make himself seem bad because people will call him out," I said. The by-election in Punjab, according to the PTI chairman, will determine if criminals control Pakistan or whether a "Riyasat-e-Madina" is built. He challenged that PTI will win all seats despite the registration of FIRs, threats, and rigging from the rulers against him and his party leadership. PTI Chairman Imran said they were receiving threat calls from some ‘blank’ phone numbers and 15 cases against him have been registered while cases of terrorism are being registered against the PTI leaders. Accusing the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its leaders of rigging the upcoming by-polls on 20 provincial assembly seats, Imran pointed to the officials allegedly involved. “In Lahore, Mr X is sitting. You all know who he is, but I won't mention his name, Imran stated, adding that he is assisting the Sharifs in manipulating the upcoming elections. Imran claimed that the Sharifs had appointed the officer as the head of the Anti Corruption Establishment in 2013 after the official assisted them in rigging the general elections (ACE). The PTI chief claimed, "Now Sharifs have found another official to help them with rigging and would be awarding him." He reiterated his claims that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) was assisting the Sharifs in the election rigging while emphasising that the CEC had previously been given his due. Imran claimed, "And I was watching today, they have apparently also handed the CEC's wife a crucial role." The nation would never accept crooked leaders, Imran continued.
Sheikh Rashid flays govt for withdrawing his security
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, the leader of the Awami Muslim League and a former interior minister, criticised the administration for removing his protection, claiming it showed the leadership's mental instability. The AML leader tweeted on Saturday that the government was to blame for the increase in inflation to 34%. Food is what the impoverished need, not advice. The outcome of Punjab's by-elections could alter the political climate. The government is simply interested in getting rid of lawsuits against it. The cost of gas and electricity will rise even more. After reclaiming my three security guards, the government has exposed its nasty mentality. He was provided three Islamabad police personnel as a former federal interior minister.
1,697 Kashmiris martyred since July 8, 2016 till date in IIOJK
ISLAMABAD: Since the murder of well-known youth leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8, 2016, Indian army have killed 1,697 Kashmiris, including 37 women and 122 young boys, in the region of Indian unlawfully controlled Jammu and Kashmir. Of those, 189 were reportedly slain in fictitious confrontations and while in detention throughout the time. According to the research, Indian military, paramilitary, and police troops used brutal force, fired bullets, pellets, PAVA, and teargas shells at peaceful protestors and mourners in the occupied region, gravely injuring at least 29,892 individuals, according to a press release. It said that thousands of Hurriyat leaders, activists, youth, women, politicians and civil society members, including APHC Chairman, Masarrat Aalam Butt, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Aasiya Andrabi, Naheeda Nasreen, Fehmeeda Sofi, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, Islam, Mushtaq-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Rafiq Ahmad Ganai, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, Muhammad Yousuf Fahlai, Muhammad Hayat Butt, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Syed Shakeel Yousuf, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, Engineer Rashid, human rights defender Khurram Parvaiz, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, and journalists Asif Sultan and Fahad Shah, have been facing illegal detentions in different jails of India and the occupied territory.
NA-245 by-polls: Farooq Sattar alloted ‘lock’ symbol
ISLAMABAD: The final candidate list for the by-election in Karachi's NA 245 has been released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The by-election for NA-245 would include a total of 18 contestants. As an independent candidate running on the ECP's list, MQM veteran Farooq Sattar has been given the electoral symbol of a lock. On behalf of their respective parties, Mueed Anwar of the Muttahida Qoumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and Hafeez-ud-din of the Pak Sarzameen Party are also running for office. In addition to TLP, Muhaji Qoumi Movement, and PPP, Molvi Mehmood is the Pakistan Tehreek-e-candidate Insaf's for the NA-245 by-election. However, a Farooq Sattar-MQM-P patch-up is on the cards ahead of the polls. Sources say that Farooq Sattar would withdraw his contention from the constituency after a grand meeting with MQM-P leadership in the PIB office in Karachi after Eid. Members of Farooq Sattar’s panel would be adjusted by the MQM-P after the merger, sources say. Karachi’s NA-245 had been vacated after the demise of PTI MNA Aamir Liaquat Hussain on June 9, 2022.PTI’s Aamir Liaquat Hussain won the 2018 general election on NA-245, getting 56615 votes. The runner-up candidate was MQM-P veteran Farooq Sattar who got 35,247 votes.