Monday, October 3, 2022

Daily The Patriot edition of 15-07-22

SC verdict buries narrative of foreign conspiracy: Law Minister


ISLAMABAD: Federal officials claimed on Thursday that the story of a foreign plot to overthrow the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had been disproved by the Supreme Court's decision on the Deputy Speaker's judgement about a vote of no confidence (PTI). Azam Nazir Tarar, the law minister, and Qamar Zaman Kaira claimed at a press conference that the Supreme Court had ruled that the president's decision to dissolve the National Assembly was unconstitutional and that the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly had made the decision with malice aforethought. The PTI Chairman Imran Khan's genuine self has been revealed by the judgement, he continued. The minister added that Imran Khan endangered the entire nation Pakistan order to maintain his leadership. It merits mention, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued detailed judgement in suo moto notice case on ruling by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly under Article 5 of the Constitution qua voting on No-confidence Motion against the Prime Minister of Pakistan. A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail had announced a short order on April 07, 2022 on ruling passed on April 03, 2022 by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly on No-confidence Motion. The court, in its ruling, disposed of the suo motu proceedings and the related constitution petitions and termed since the ruling and detailed reasons of the deputy speaker and the advice of the PM to the President to dissolve the NA have been declared unconstitutional and the dissolution of the NA by the President had no legal effect. “The NA stands restored with immediate effect (in fact it is deemed to have been in existence at all times). The Speaker is, therefore, directed to convene a sitting of the NA forthwith and conduct the business of the House as per the Orders of the Day issued for 03.04.2022.” "In reality, in our considered opinion, the restoration of NA will reinforce the democratic standards of our political system as established by the Constitution, namely, the parliamentary form of Government," the verdict said. Whether or if the RNC against the PM is successful is unimportant to the court. The preservation of the nation's constitutional order is our first goal, and this can only be done if the NA is reinstated and given permission to carry out.

Speaker is required to recommend the PTI leadership to the ECP for disqualification: Sana


ISLAMABAD: According to Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan on Thursday, the Speaker of the National Assembly is required to send a disqualification reference against the top leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in light of the comprehensive ruling of the Supreme Court. "The verdict in the Suo Moto case against the Deputy Speaker is a historic judgement; such judgments determine the course of nations. And this ruling has confirmed the primacy of the law and the rule of the people," he added. The Minister emphasised that a reference was required to be created in accordance with this judgement because the former National Assembly speaker and members of his party were receiving wages and enjoying all benefits and privileges. Rana Sanaullah continued, "They [PTI MNAs] have not left any privilege, thus they are all at the Parliament's discretion." The Minister stated that the Speaker was required to inform the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of their disqualification, and that the ECP was then required to remove them from office. He said the verdict has also set a direction that the sacred trust of power enshrined in constitution of the people of Pakistan was to be practiced through its chosen representatives, adding, “the representatives limits, their course of exercising their delegated powers, and any act that is violating this trust and its impeachment have been clarified in it.” The Constitution commences by stating that the exercise of authority is a sacred trust and can only be exercised through the chosen representatives of the people, according to two paragraphs of the supplemental note of the comprehensive judgement that the Minister briefly read aloud. The President, Prime Minister, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Law Minister, among others, betrayed this fundamental trust, though. He mentioned that there could have been no more eloquent explanation or words to describe the exercise of powers and its violation. He continued reading out the second paragraph, saying “It is also found that the series of aforenoted acts right from rejection of resolution by the Deputy Speaker till the dissolution of National Assembly by the President were not performed in ordinary course of business but the same were result of premeditation and deliberations in order to defeat resolution of no confidence while playing fraud on the constitution.” Rana Sanaullah Khan charged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership had violated the confidence placed in them by abusing their authority and defrauded the nation. He added that Imran Khan Niazi's politics had died after this choice and that he had compromised the national interest for his own personal gain, violated the constitution, and committed fraud against it. "I want President to resign down after this decision," he stated. After this ruling, the Minister claimed that this bunch of inept and idiots could no longer practise politics, adding that "the federal government is bound by the Apex court order to contain all methods of constitutional infractions." The honorable parliament and federal government cannot think to let it go and avoid implementation of this ruling.”It was a great day for the activists of supremacy of law and the apex court that has ensured sanctity of the constitution, he maintained. In response to questions from the media, the Minister stated that the Supreme Court's ruling was the final, binding decision that had to be carried out in accordance with the Constitution. If somebody wants to express criticism of the choice, he said, "it should be done within the bounds of respect and it should also be appreciated the other way around." In response to a different question, the Minister stated that he wished to detain Imran Khan but not in situations involving articles 752 and 187, but rather in circumstances where the Cabinet approved the reference. The reference will be submitted once the federal cabinet decides and discusses whether to file one against the former prime minister and his MNAs. He said that Imran Khan had assaulted the Capital, engaged in violent conflict with the government, and planned to overthrow Islamabad. In response to a question about the former premier Nawaz Sharif's return, he stated that the Punjab government of the time had suspended his punishment and that Nawaz Sharif should return after the suspension of his sentence and proceed with his trial to put an end to all accusations made against him. Rana Sanaullah predicted that the cases against him will all be dismissed as being politically motivated and without merit. The Minister insisted that the Speaker has right to send reference against any MNA and PTI members are still Members of National Assembly (MNAs), saying Federal Cabinet will decide future course of action in its meeting on Friday. The Parliament and Cabinet have no option after this verdict to launch reference against the culprits of constitutional breach which has been clearly mentioned in the verdict, he said.

Pakistan will receive $1.17 billion soon under an agreement with the IMF: Miftah

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: A policy agreement between Pakistan and the IMF has been reached in order to conclude the Extended Fund Facility's combined seventh and eighth reviews (EFF). According to the deal, Pakistan will soon get $1.17 billion, tweeted Miftah Ismail, the federal minister of finance and revenue, on Thursday. The minister expressed his gratitude to the prime minister, his cabinet colleagues, the secretaries, and notably the finance division for their assistance and work in securing this agreement. "A deal has been agreed between Pakistan and the IMF. The combined 7th and 8th tranche, totaling $1.17 billion, will soon be paid to us. For their assistance and efforts in securing this agreement, I want to thank the prime minister, my fellow ministers, secretaries, and notably the finance division, the minister wrote in a tweet. IMF staff and the Pakistani government had earlier announced in a Washington statement that they had reached a staff level agreement (SLA) on procedures to finish the combined 7th and 8th reviews of Pakistan's Extended Fund Facility (EFF). According to the announcement, "the IMF team has secured a staff-level agreement (SLA) with the Pakistani authorities for the end of the combined seventh and eighth evaluations of the EFF-supported programme." A team from the IMF headed by Nathan Porter reportedly finished planning for the combined seventh and eighth evaluations.

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mr. Miftah Ismail in a group photo with a delegation of PRGMEA headed by its Chairman Mr. Shaikh Luqman Amin.

Permanent peace is improbable without resolving the Kashmir conflict: Ahsan 


NEW YORK: According to Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, a lasting peace between Pakistan and India would remain elusive until the Jammu and Kashmir conflict is settled in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSC). The minister expressed her deep concern for the situation of the people living under foreign occupation in Jammu and Kashmir, who have been subjected to brutal oppression, extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, protracted curfews, lockdowns, arbitrary detention, and illegal population displacement, during a press conference at the United Nations. He said after the illegal and unilateral measures August 5, 2019 to snatch Jammu and Kashmir’s identity, the Indian authorities have been mounting massive campaign of repression against its people. He said, the measures were an attempt to change demography of the Muslim majority state to transform it into a Hindu majority territory by eliminating indigenous Muslim population and settling down Hindus from across India in the area. He added that if the tension brought on by India's callous practises in occupied Kashmir was not addressed, it may trigger another conflict with potentially disastrous results, impeding efforts to reach a just resolution of the Kashmir problem. Additionally, he emphasised the need for the international community to adopt an emergency action plan and mobilise financial resources in order to increase food production, maintain supply chains, help struggling farmers, and establish food banks for developing nations. According to the minister of planning, development, and special initiatives, addressing the intricate structures and systemic problems preventing developing nations from producing enough food is necessary to end poverty and hunger. Being the President of G-77 countries, the minister added that Pakistan had proposed to the UN to lead an international effort to provide support to the developing countries to mitigate the effects of the supply chain shocks.

The government would pay flood and torrential rain victims' families Rs 1 million in compensation: PM 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The government would give each family of a person who died as a result of the country's widespread flooding and torrential rains, including Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs 1 million in compensation, according to an announcement made by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday. The compensation would be paid following a joint survey by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the provincial disaster management authorities, according to the prime minister, who was presiding over a high-level conference to assess the flood situation in both provinces. The acting NDMA chairman was instructed by the prime minister to travel right away to Quetta and collaborate with the Balochistani administration to provide aid and rehabilitation to flood victims. He said there was no tolerance for complacency and called for coordinated actions between the federal and provincial governments. The NDMA was tasked by the prime minister to strengthen its presence in Balochistan and KP's flood-affected regions. He claimed that all of the nation's dams were secure because of the blessings of Allah Almighty, while the situation was always being watched. He announced to the group that he will soon travel to Balochistan to evaluate the damage and show support for the people there who had been affected by the flooding. All federal and provincial government ministries were told by the prime minister to be on high alert in anticipation of additional monsoon rains in the coming days. He claimed that the loss of valuable lives as a result of the severe rains and floods had deeply saddened the entire country. “We are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief,” he assured. The prime minister observed that Balochistan and KP governments had done well so far, but more needed to be done. However, he assured them that the federal government would provide all possible support.

KP Government is committed to eradicate polio: Muhammad Ali Saif 


PESHAWAR: Special assistant to Chief Minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif has said that the provincial government under the leadership of Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is committed to eradicate polio. These views were expressed by Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif during his polio awareness statement on Thursday. Special Assistant for Information Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that the provincial government is working to eradicate polio. He said we strongly condemn the attack on polio teams and police in South and North Waziristan. Some parents refuse to vaccinate their children due to fear of anti-polio campaign groups, which is why about 12 cases have been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that the government was using all its resources to eradicate the disease. People should vaccinate their children against polio without any fear or danger. Healthy children will make healthy Pakistan, Barrister Saif concluded.

Court extends Moonis Elahi's temporary bail in money laundering case

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Chaudhry, M.N. In the Rs24 billion money laundering case, Moonis Elahi, who is also the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), appeared before a special court (offences in bank) in Lahore on Thursday. The court granted him and two others interim release till July 22. When Moonis Elahi and the other two showed up in court, the judge noted their attendance. Due to the judge's absence, the case was heard by the on-call judge. The interim bail for Moonis, Muhammad Khan, and Wajid Khan Bhatti was extended by the court until July 22. Later, during a brief media talk, Moonis Elahi responded to the question, “Why are you not campaigning for the PTI candidates in the by-elections?” by saying: “This question should be asked from the PTI. We are definitely running the election campaign for the PTI. We will win the July 17 by-elections.” To another question of “How do you see the July 22 election?” Moonis said: “If the July 17 election goes well, the July 22 election will also go well.

DPO Attock is confident in maintaining law and order across the district

By Tahir Nagash

ATTOCK: DPO Attock Omer Salamat has said that police are utilising all available resources for the maintenance of law and order across the district and ensuring security of the people. People friendly environment is being ensured in all the 14 police stations of the district. He said this while talking to Bureau Chief "The Patriot”. SP Investigation Muhammad Imran was also present on the occassion. DPO said, open kutcheries are being held on daily basis to ensure timely redressal of public complaints. Strict action is being taken against those involved in drug peddling, gambling, running prostitution dens, possessing illegal arms and violating traffic rules. DPO while replying a question said that on the directions of IG Police Punjab and RPO Rawalpindi, efforts are being made to root out crimes and no lenient view is being taken in this context.

KMC tried its utmost to address issues that developed during the rains: Murtaza Wahab 

By Our Correspondent

KARACHI: Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Administrator Karachi, Spokesman for the Sindh government, and CM Advisor on Law, stated that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation used all of its resources to try to resolve the issues that arose during the most recent rains for the drainage of rain water. The Administrator made this statement while visiting City Nullah on II Chandragar Road with Chief Secretary Sindh Dr. Sohail Rajput. "Keeping in view the forecast of rains in the coming days, concerned departments have been directed to take further steps along with cleaning of storm drains in and officers and staff have been asked to remain vigilant," the Administrator said. He was also accompanied by PDM personnel, Deputy Commissioner South Capt. (Ret.) Abdul Sattar, and Municipal Commissioner Afzal Zaidi. The Administrator Karachi also inspected Shaheen Complex, Tower, II Chandragar Road, Soldier Bazaar and adjoining drains and directed that the process of cleaning of drains should be continued and where there are obstructions in drainage of rain water, they must be removed prematurely. Barrister Murtaza Wahab directed that heavy machinery should be delivered to different places of the city so that the drainage process can start as soon as it starts raining. He said that the officers and staff of the local bodies were mobilized and using the available resources. The concerned departments were ensuring drainage of rain water in the rains as much as possible. According to the Administrator Karachi, rainwater is channelled through 514 small and 41 large drains in Karachi, however if there is a choke point, the drainage process is halted, causing water to spill onto the roads. He claimed that the Sindhi government is doing everything possible to guarantee that the populace experiences the fewest hardships due to the rain. "There is no truth to the rumours that these buses aren't on the roads; the public transportation system has been reinstated. Some individuals spread false information to harm others and further their own interests, putting the public in suspense "said he. He appealed to the citizens not to believe the rumors. "Don't believe any news without confirmation," he said. Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that plans have been made for the second spell of rain starting from Thursday evening and hoped that the situation will be better than before.

LAHORE: During the rain in the provincial capital, traffic is flowing toward its destination.

PML-N Ulema-e-Mashaikh Wing called on Governor Punjab

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: A delegation of Ulema-e-Mashaikh Wing of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by Mufti Intikhab Ahmad Noori called on Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman. The delegation included General Secretary Punjab Sahibzada Hafiz Muhammad Amjad, Pir Syed Imran Shah and other religious scholars. Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman has said that Islam is a complete code of conduct which teaches us love, tolerance and equality. He said that it was the national duty of the religious scholars to play their full role in highlighting the true identity of Islam. He said that all of us together should play an active role for the security and stability of the country and the nation. The Governor Punjab said that the representation of Ulema of all schools of thought in the Ulema-e-Mashaykh wing of PML-N sends a good message. He said that the role of scholars in the society is like a shining star who provides guidance in matters related to religion and their respect should be given priority. Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman said that Quran teaching in all schools of Punjab would be started in full swing for the first time from August and the law in this regard was passed in 2018 under PML-N government in Punjab and the federation. The Governor Punjab said that our young generation is the real power and they need to be enlightened with the teachings of religion as well as secular education. He said that during the previous PML-N government, as the Federal Minister of Education, he took steps for the teaching of Holy Quran in educational institutions.

Nawaz and his followers introduce PECA ordinance to stop “independent thinking and voices”: Ch Parvez Elahi


LAHORE: International media should cover by-elections to ensure transparency of elections. Media is the fourth pillar of the state. Its independence is also essential for the development, security and endurance of Pakistan. CPNE leaders Kazim Khan, Irshad Arif, Ayaz Khan, Shehryar Taseer, Zia Tanoli and Zubair Mahmood called on Speaker Punjab Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi. The CPNE delegation comprised President Kazim Khan, Irshad Arif, Ayaz Khan, Shehryar Taseer, Zia Tanoli and Zubair Mahmood. Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi fully supported the demands of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors and demanded immediate repeal of the PECA Ordinance 2016. Ch Parvez Elahi said that Nawaz Sharif and his followers introduced the PECA Ordinance to shut down “independent thinking and voices” forever. This ordinance is the government’s discrimination against the journalist community and the people of Pakistan. The media is the fourth pillar of the state, we believe in its freedom. He said that freedom of media is very important for the development, security and endurance of Pakistan. It is not in our own interest to impose any kind of restriction on freedom of media. During the rule of Pakistan Muslim League, record licenses of electronic media were issued. Ch Parvez Elahi invited the international media to cover the by- elections to ensure the transparency of the elections.

MQM leader Babar Ghauri left for Dubai


KARACHI: Babar Ghauri, a senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), departed Karachi for Dubai late on Wednesday night after being cleared in a case involving the alleged facilitation of a hate speech by the MQM's founder. According to authorities, Babar Ghauri and his wife took a foreign airline's aircraft, EK-603, from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to Dubai, where he will fly to the United States. On July 4, after completing his more than seven-year self-imposed exile, Babar Ghauri returned to the country and was apprehended at the Karachi Airport. Police had obtained his week-long physical remand from an anti-terrorism courts to interrogate him and complete the investigation into the case. Earlier in the day, the MQM leader was produced before the court. Police apprised the court that no solid evidence was found against Ghauri. If evidence is gathered, Ghauri can be taken into custody again. Sources further said that the health of the MQM leader is not good and he has to undergo a check-up at the hospital.

Rivers, streams and dams have not yet overflowed

By District Reporter

CHAKWAL: Senior journalist Kh Babar Saleem Mehmood said on Thursday that the torrential rains of the last three or four days have badly affected daily life and now the recent rains have already made the streets and roads of the city look like a lake while in the villages. There is water everywhere. However, the overall situation is still under control and no major accident or incident has taken place as it is the land of Sufis and saints, while the district administration, under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner Adnan Mahmood Awan, is on the spot at all times. Because overall there is still satisfaction. He was speaking at the Live From Chakwal Press Club studio regarding the recent rains. Zulfiqar Mir, the host of the program, said that the rains have fallen on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, which has made the weather pleasant, but now due to continuous rains, there are reports that water is entering people’s homes and barracks. The Meteorological Department is also predicting more heavy rains in the coming days. Senior journalist Faqir Khalid Malik said that apart from good food and eating more meat on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, several people have been injured in traffic accidents who have been rushed to District Headquarters Hospital Chakwal but MS Dr Mukhtar Sarwar Niazi has made good arrangements. Due to the situation there is under control. Faqir Khalid Malik further said that in any case, the situation in the streets and alleys of the city is not very satisfactory in any way that the administration should sit hand in hand but the administration should be in a high alert position at all times.

Falling oil prices globally: PIAF to fully benefit consumers

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: While praising the government's plan to lower gasoline prices, the chairman of the Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF), Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol, has called for passing on the full benefits of falling global oil prices, as crude oil prices have fallen by more than 7% to below $100 a barrel. "PIAF appreciates Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's request that the relevant ministries move a summary indicating a reduction in petroleum prices in light of a drop in the price of fuel internationally," the organisation said. Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol, in a joint statement along with senior vice chairman Haroon Shafique Chaudhary and vice chairman Raja Adeel Ashfaq, demanding to pass on full benefit of the price drop in the international market to the trade and industry, observed that the people now deserve relief, hit by the inflation. He expected a Rs20-25 per-litre decrease in petrol and high-speed diesel prices if the government does not increase petroleum levy or impose GST on these fuels. He said the government has been increasing petroleum prices since the last week of May as it slashed fuel subsidies to unlock IMF funding now it is time to provide relief to trade and industry.

IRC ensures quality healthcare for South Waziristan, Orakzai masses 


PESHAWAR: Men, women, and children in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts of Orakzai and South Waziristan benefited from the International Rescue Committee's 14-month intervention, "Strengthening Healthcare including Nutrition in Emergencies" (SHiNE), which was designed to quickly overcome the challenge left behind by the pandemic. 150,000 men, women, and children have so far benefited from the state-of-the-art health facilities established in their communities thanks to this programme. 45,000 women and children who previously had to travel great distances to receive basic medical care are among them, according to a news release from the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Over 100 deliveries have also been supported by trained, gender-sensitive healthcare providers at the target facilities. Over 12,000 women and children have been screened for malnutrition and 1,390 cases have been enrolled in community-based programs for rehabilitation. It has also proved instrumental in creating awareness about hygiene, healthcare services and increasing their uptake.

Islamabad High Court rejects the petition of the former DG NAB


ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the Islamabad High Court ordered that the challenges to the Public Accounts Committee's decision to call former NAB DG Shahzad Saleem in the Tayyab Gul harassment accusation case be dropped. Shahzad Saleem's application was considered by interim chief justice Amir Farooq of the IHC, who also issued an order requiring the demurrals to be lifted within two days. The petitioner's attorney informed the court that Mr. Saleem's biometric could not be processed and stated that he will be in court today to take the necessary action. He asked the court to schedule today's hearing on the case. Contradicting him, the acting chief justice stated that he still upheld the petition's objections and added that he would investigate it once the file was given a number. The petition was returned to the petitioner with the judge's instructions to eliminate the objections within two days. Shahzad Saleem, a former director general of the NAB, filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday challenging the PAC's decision to call him in response to Tayyaba Gul's charges of sexual harassment. Saleem has joined the National Assembly secretary, PAC Wing, and other parties in the plea, which claims that the PAC has no authority to issue the notification. DG NAB has asked the court to rule that the PAC summon is invalid in a petition. Saleem added that it was impossible to rule out the likelihood that the petition was submitted by the PAC chairman in order to benefit personally and asserted that the concerned woman has access to other "important forums." The Public Accounts Committee had already called Tayyaba Gul, Shahzad Saleem, the director general of the NAB in Lahore, and former NAB chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.

RAWALPINDI: DC Tahir Farooq is reviewing drain cleaning in Jan colony, Tench Bhatta.

NUST, US Embassy opens new Lincoln Corner 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The US Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Donald Blome, and the Rector of the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Engr. Javed Mahmood Bukhari, officially opened Lincoln Corner on Thursday at the Central Library of the NUST main campus. Both dignitaries signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the event. Through the provision of American resources, knowledge, and collaboration for students and teachers, this partnership demonstrates the US Mission's commitment to advancing education in Pakistan. In his remarks, Ambassador Blome said that "this year commemorates the 75th anniversary of bilateral ties between the United States and Pakistan. Our biggest asset is the human connection between our two nations. The inauguration of this new Lincoln Corner will continue to advance these ties.” He maintained that over 600 Lincoln Corners across the world connect people through technology, academic programs and publications vis-à-vis American culture, history and international relations. In his remarks, Rector NUST appreciated the joint efforts of NUST team and Public Affairs Section of US Embassy, for timely realisation of the initiative. He said Lincoln Corner is not only a multimedia resource centre with comfortable space for learning and open dialogue but also a manifestation of close linkages between NUST and the US Embassy. He further said that this facility will be used by not only students and faculty of NUST but also Pakistani civil society at large. NUST administration, teachers, and students were joined during the inauguration by representatives of the US Embassy. By hosting a Lincoln Corner, NUST expands its affiliations with prestigious Pakistani universities and the US Mission in Pakistan. Young leaders are connected to the US through Lincoln Corners, which serve as resource and event places. There will be instructional sessions both offline and online at The Corner. It has a Maker Space with a 3-D printer and a virtual reality setup, a substantial book and magazine collection, information about attending college in the US, digital information resources, and an event space with an Americana theme.

A NAB-EBM meeting was convened to evaluate existing inquiries and probes

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Executive Board Meeting of National Accountability Bureau (NAB-EBM) was held which was presided over by acting Chairman Zahir Shah at NAB Headquarters, in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by Syed Asghar Haider, Prosecutor General Accountability, Farmanullah , DG, NAB, Rawalpindi and other senior officers of the bureau. The EBM decided to implement the new amended NAB act 2022 in letter and spirit. A committee headed by Director General NAB Headquarters has been constituted to review ongoing inquiries, investigations in the light of new amended act 2022. The committee also comprised Director Operation Division, legal consultant of Prosecution Division, and relevant desk officers of Operations Division of NAB Headquarters. The committee will submit a preliminary report about continuing or closing or referring the cases to the relevant department as per law. The report also of the committee will be presented before the Executive Board-being the highest consultative forum of NAB for further review and approval of the recommendations - where law will take its own course of action. The EBM of NAB authorized filing reference against Meraj A Syed, former Chief Hydrographer, Gwadar Port Authority and others on the alleged accusations of misuse of authority and embezzlement of state funds around Rs794 million. The EBM after due diligence decided for closing of various inquiries, investigations due to lack of court worthy and incrementing evidence. The EBM authorized closing inquiries against Administration of Benazir Income Support Programme, officers/officials and others of Karakoram International University, Gilgit Baltistan, Barrister Sheikh Abid Waheed, former Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) and others, Major (retd) Syed Khalid Amin Shah, Chief Security officer, Peshawar Development Authority and others.

PIA adds another A-320 to its fleet of planes


ISLAMABAD: The addition of another Airbus-320, a narrow-body aircraft acquired on a six-year dry lease, will assist Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) increase flight operations on both domestic and international routes. The second Airbus-320 of the current year has landed in Pakistan from Sharjah, indicating that the addition of new aircraft to PIA's air fleet is continuing. According to PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan, this aircraft would be used for domestic, regional, and Gulf flight operations on Thursday. The aircraft, he noted, had been leased for six years, and with the parties' consent, the PIA might acquire possession once the lease expired. In April, the first A-320 of this year arrived, and it is already busy providing operational services. The official stated that the PIA had issued a tender for the purchase of the aircraft last year, and that two of them had already arrived in Pakistan and two more would in the upcoming days. With this induction, he claimed, the PIA fleet will have 14 A-320 aircraft, all of which were outfitted with the most modern seating and spacious cabins, guaranteeing increased travel amenities.

PPP wants President Arif Alvi to resign

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party has instructed President Dr. Arif Alvi to tender his resignation. Following the Supreme Court's thorough explanation of its decision to overturn the contentious April 3 decision by National Assembly speaker Qasim Suri to dismiss the no-confidence motion against then-prime minister Imran Khan, Nayyar Bukhari, the secretary general of the PPP, said in a statement that Dr. Alvi had lost all justifications to continue serving as the nation's president. According to Mr. Bukhari, Imran Khan, the constitutional violator and liar, would be disqualified after the SC's decision. According to the court's ruling, Imran Khan is covered by Article 6 of the Constitution, he continued.

A prominent literary figure visited AIOU

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Ms. Robina Faisal is an internationally recognized literary personality. She is a bold columnist. Most probably in 2010, I presided at a literary conference in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada. She hosted some writers for dinner in my honor. It was nice of her. It was my proud privilege that she wrote a comprehensive review on my English poetry book titled “The Songs of Humanity” published by Author House, Indiana, and the USA. The opinion of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ms. Benazir Bhutto is also included in this book with the comments of eminent American, British and Canadian writers. Her review of my book was later on published in my Urdu/ Persian poetry book titled Awaz-e-Asr. It is nice that she also invited you to dinner with some writers. Her devotion to literature is splendid. Stay blessed and have a safe and happy visit to Canada.

Fasting reduces severity of COVID-19: study


ISLAMABAD: According to a recent study, those who routinely fast are more likely to encounter milder COVID-19 problems. In a study published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, researchers from Intermountain Healthcare found that patients with COVID-19 infection who practised intermittent fasting with only water had a decreased mortality risk. Additionally, a lower likelihood of hospitalisation was discovered for these patients. Intermittent fasting has already been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and enhance cardiovascular health, according to Benjamin Horne, PhD, Intermountain Healthcare's director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology. In their study, scientists spotted the patients in a registry at Intermountain Healthcare who had tested positive for the virus between March 2020 and February 2021 i.e. before vaccines were publicly available. Out of the 205 patients, 73 said they fasted at least once a month.

RAWALPINDI: Additional Deputy Commissioner Headquarter Marzia Saleem is presiding over the meeting held in connection with the anti-dengue campaign.

ICCI welcomes IMF’s staff-level agreement with Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: The staff-level agreement between the IMF and Pakistan has been welcomed by Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), who called it a positive development because it would allow Pakistan to receive the long-awaited over USD 1 billion and boost its foreign exchange reserves. However, he noted that due to the country's rapidly declining foreign exchange reserves and mounting external debt servicing, Pakistan's economy was experiencing very serious issues that called for creative solutions. While speaking to the ICCI Executive Committee, he remarked this. According to Muhammad Shakeel Munir, Pakistan's servicing of its external debt has reportedly climbed to more than $10 billion in the first three quarters of 2021–2022, up from $13.38 billion for the entire fiscal year 2021. He claimed that Pakistan needs immediate assistance to meet its external debt service obligations, which are expected to total $23 billion in 2022–2023. According to him, the government must develop a new export-boosting strategy in conjunction with key players in order to increase its foreign exchange reserves. ICCI President said that the government in consultation with the private sector should formulate a new strategy in order to generate indigenous resources and get rid of IMF loans as the tough conditions of IMF have always pushed up the prices of gas, electricity and POL products, slashed subsidies & tax exemptions and created more difficulties for the business community and the general public. He said that in its 75 years of existence, Pakistan has gone to the IMF 22 times, which showed that successive governments have failed to make Pakistan stand on its own feet. He said that frequent borrowings from the IMF have piled up a huge foreign debt burden on Pakistan, which is making the future of our generations bleaker and time has come that the policymakers should think seriously about reducing the country's reliance on foreign loans. According to Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh, senior vice president, and Muhammad Faheem Khan, vice president, of the ICCI, many governments, including those of Turkey, Bangladesh, India, and other nations, have eliminated IMF loans by implementing responsible economic policies. Now is the time for the government to work to fully utilise domestic resources in order to stabilise the economy. They recommended that the government take steps to facilitate doing business and concentrate on fostering a business-friendly climate to produce more domestic resources and enable the nation to become self-sufficient rather than relying on foreign borrowing to operate its economy.

More rain-wind thundershowers expected in all provinces of country


ISLAMABAD: In the upcoming 24 hours, further rain-wind-thundershowers are anticipated in Punjab, Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, eastern Balochistan, and Sindh. Eastern Balochistan, Sindh, upper/central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, upper Punjab, and Kashmir are anticipated to get significant rainfall. This morning, the following major cities' temperatures were measured: Islamabad (23) degrees Celsius, Lahore (26) degrees, Karachi (35) degrees, Peshawar (25) and Muzaffarabad (25) degrees, Quetta (24) degrees, Gilgit (20) degrees, and Murree (17) degrees. According to Met Office forecast for Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, cloudy/chances of rain-thundershower is expected in Srinagar, Jammu, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Baramula, partly cloudy in Leh. Temperature recorded this morning: Pulwama and Baramulla nineteen degree centigrade, Srinagar twenty, Jammu twenty-six, Leh fourteen, Anantnag eighteen and Shopian seventeen degree centigrade.

NDMA urges masses to take precautionary measures as more heavy rainfalls forecast

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned the populace to take precautions in light of the looming disaster risks as greater monsoon rainfalls were anticipated in various parts of the nation. The NDMA released the public awareness infographic highlighting numerous safety precautions to be taken during multiple disaster threats during wet weather on its official Twitter account. Multiple natural disasters, such as the possibility of flash floods in hilly and urban areas, land slides and flood threats in streams and drains, sinking or submerging of bridges and road networks, urban flooding and water stagnation in low-lying areas, and rupturing of electric poles and power cables were all mentioned as potential outcomes of the impending Monsoon rains. The NDMA advised the public to ensure safety measures to circumvent any hazard and risk to life or property during the above mentioned disasters. It said that the public should remain abreast with developing weather conditions, avoid unnecessary outdoor visits, and abstain from taking bath or crossing nullahs, drains and rivers during monsoon rains, stay away from trees, dilapidated walls and bridges during strong gusts and thunderstorms. The Authority also recommended that people who live in areas at risk of urban flooding avoid living in basements, keep valuables and important documents in a bag in case of a sudden evacuation from the home, refrain from throwing trash into nullahs and sewage systems, and make sure that the sanitation system is repaired and kept clean, as well as weak ceilings and walls. In accordance with the NDMA guidelines, people were advised not to use wet clothing or bodies to touch electrical equipment, to stockpile a sufficient quantity of dry food and other necessities, to ensure that they were timely immunised against epidemic diseases, to contact emergency services right away in the event of a disaster, and to cooperate with local authorities and law enforcement during rescue and relief operations.

The populace surges

A dystopian future when want and grime will be our lot is one in which WE are fighting a losing struggle. The reason? There are simply too many of us; Pakistan's population is rapidly outpacing our capacity to sustain the millions who call this nation home. Unbelievably, it still seems like there isn't a solid plan for population control in the works. World Population Day, marked annually on July 11, is intended to draw attention to the significance of population issues in a world with limited resources. There is no other way to describe Pakistan's frightening 2.4 percent annual population growth rate, which adds between 4 and 5 million children to the country's overall population every year. The administration needs to stop acting like an ostrich and start using all of the tools at its disposal to deal with the problem. The internal security is also greatly threatened by the population growth. Pakistan, which has 230 million citizens, is the fifth-most populous country in the world and is expected to reach 300 million by 2030. Human security was correctly acknowledged as a prerequisite for internal security in the National Security Policy that was released at the beginning of 2022. It also made a passing reference to "population management" and the proverbial "elephant in the room." However, nothing new has been revealed on that front. The government must creatively advance the story about the advantages of reducing family size by working with the media. That needs to be supported by easy access to reputable family planning services provided by the government healthcare system. The issue would receive the attention it deserves if these were included in both the Ehsaas/BISP programmes and the Sehat Sahulat card. According to a recent significant study conducted jointly by numerous international organisations, including the WHO, women in Pakistan experience an estimated 3.8 million unplanned pregnancies annually, the majority of which are brought on by the lack of access to modern contraception. The information also revealed that 52 percent of married women of childbearing age who want to prevent pregnancy do not use a modern form of contraception. Currently, a perfect storm is threatening us. A great amount of bitterness and fury among a young population that sees little options for progress in the face of shrinking work opportunities has been caused by inadequate investment in education and bad economic growth. Unmistakably, the repercussions of climate change are upon us, making already precious resources much more so. Harvests are being negatively impacted and food insecurity is being made worse by unpredictable weather patterns and rising temperatures. Due to population constraints, we are also far more susceptible to global supply chain disruptions from external factors like the present Russia-Ukraine conflict. Water and energy shortages have already started to cause discontent; it appears that even the tiniest provocation can incite mob violence in a populace whose patience has already run thin due to bad government, growing inflation, and urban crime. This is not the way to guarantee a nation's future.

There is no other way to describe Pakistan's frightening 2.4 percent annual population growth rate, which adds between 4 and 5 million children to the country's overall population every year

The Role of Universities in Nation Building

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Suleman Tahir

Universities are considered to have been regarded as key institutions in processes of social change and development. It is a general view that great nations have great universities. This motivates significant public and private investment in universities. These days much of the focus is on universities promoting economic growth based on a knowledge economy. No doubt, equally important are the contributions that universities can make to culture, political stability, and positive social change.Great nations are not just built by brilliant scientists, writers and entrepreneurs.Rather they also require effective school teachers, engineers and small business owners, etc. Furthermore, it needswell-informed citizens, critical thinkers and engaged in politics and communities. The best universities are populated with highly gifted and motivated faculty and students.The most important role the universities have been assigned is the production of highly skilled manpower and research output to meet perceived targets.Another role that universities may play is in the building of new institutions of civil society, developing new cultural values, and training and socializing people of the new social era. In economic perspective, the role of universities is to produce new knowledge and commodify it in collaboration with industry. It means that universities must have a candid assessment of indigenous problems and good linkages with community & industry. Once Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan said that the role of newly established universities in Pakistan is more important than the older higher education institutions because such institutions have the potential to develop their values and can easily align their priorities with national goals and objectives. No doubt, KhwajaFareed University of Engineering and Information Technology (KFUEIT) is such a good examples among newly established universities in Punjab. Expansion and consolidation have both been observable since 2019. Now, 180 trained PhD faculty members are contributing to teaching and research at KFUEIT. The strength will increase with the ongoing hiring process. The impact factor of research raised from 560 to 4500. It secured more than 25 research grants under National Research Program for Universities (NRPU). KFUEIT is continuously improving its position in different international university rankings like Time Higher Education (THE), UI GreenMetric and SCIMago, etc.Quality education and innovative research are priority at KFUEIT. 100% fee scholarship has been announced for Hafiz-e-Quran and the girls in a variety of engineering programs. Such scholarship for girls’ students is a remarkable effort for women's empowerment in south Punjab. The scholarship given to the students has crossed a dream figure of Rs.1000 million.28 active student societies are continuously providing students with confidence & character-building opportunities in the form of seminars, webinars, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, study circles, book talks, magazines and a variety of competitions. KFUEIT campus is declared a smoke and drug-free campus which is a good step for the healthy future of the youth at KFUEIT. Suitable sports facilities and pieces of training are also available for students. KFUEIT-trained athletes won more than fifty medals in different national sports events since 2019. Infrastructure has been rapidly expanding since 2019. Already, state-of-the-art guest house, executive club, sports complex and faculty hostels are added and in a few months, student hostels and the academic block will become part of KFUEIT infrastructure. State of the art Hi-Tech lab has been installed at KFUEIT. It will provide the MS & PhD researchers with modern equipment and will facilitate their research. KFUEIT also has good linkages with the community and offersa variety of social services to the community with the help of students. These services are in the form of free medical camps, availability of drinking water (Aab-e-Fareed), IftarDastarKhwan and distribution of rations among needy families etc. During the drought in Cholistan, the students of KFUEIT managed the supply of water to different water reservoirs by using tankers.They also managed the supply of fresh drinking water to a large number of families in Cholistan. It is a priority to develop an environment-friendly infrastructure at KFUEIT. A solar project witha capacity of 145KV has been installed. Under the Clean and Green Campus project, more than 50000 (including 20% fruit plants) plants have been planted on the campus. University designed and installed its own solar-based wastewater treatment plant and recycled wastewater for use in horticulture and agriculture. Electric environment-friendly motorbikes are provided to the security staff for use inside the campus. Business Incubation Center was established. To provide students with all services at one window and to save their time ‘Student Facilitation Center’ was established. South Punjab Skill Development Institute was established in collaboration with NAVTTC. More than six hundred students are enrolled in different certificate courses.To improve research and collaboration more than forty MoUs were signed with different national & international universities or organizations. Now, KFUEIT has planned to propose solutions to the indigenous social and industrial problems. It would revolutionize the whole indigenous scenario. No doubt, with all above said achievements KFUEIT is a successful model for all emerging higher education institutions in the country. Such excellent planning is the need of time for better educational future, to address the needs of the region & indigenous society and for better nation-building. KFUEIT is an emerging university in all avenues of higher education under the vision of Government of Punjab. Such marvelous developments at KFUEIT were not possible without the kind support of the Government, hard work& dedication of faculty & staff. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Suleman Tahir Vice Chancellor Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan

100% fee scholarship has been announced for Hafiz-e-Quran and the girls in a variety of engineering programs

Biden needs to show personal touch with Gulf leaders


Joe Biden’s ongoing first trip to the Middle East since entering the White House comes at a time when the US president is facing mounting pressure at home. His poll numbers are low and gas prices are high. Rampant inflation is starting to hit the pocketbooks of most Americans. In terms of foreign policy, Biden is not faring any better. According to YouGov polling, his job approval rating started to decline on Aug. 25 last year — exactly 10 days after the US abruptly left Afghanistan and the Taliban captured Kabul. The foreign policy consequences of America’s defeat and the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan are still being felt. First of all, adversaries of the US are testing the limits of American weakness. As a global power, what America does in one region can easily affect another — and it often does. Iran feels emboldened by the US’ defeat in Afghanistan. One only needs to look at the increase in drone and missile strikes carried out across the region by Iranian proxies. Some have even targeted US troops. Also, US allies and partners are questioning American resolve in light of how Afghanistan was left at the mercy of the Taliban. Many long-standing partners are now questioning American resolve and commitment. This is particularly true across much of the Middle East. So, between Biden’s domestic troubles and his foreign policy problems, things were not looking great heading into his first visit to the Middle East as president. Further complicating the circumstances surrounding his trip was the fact that, since coming to office, Biden has given the region a low priority. At every turn, he has tried downplaying or undoing many of the initiatives his predecessor started in the Middle East. For example, it took months before the administration acknowledged the success of the Abraham Accords. With his visit to Saudi Arabia, Biden has an opportunity to get US Middle East policy back on track. The very first thing he should do is admit to his regional counterparts, at least privately, that he should have been more engaged with them from the beginning. As regional leaders gather in Jeddah, Biden must take the time to engage and meet with each one individually. This should be the start of what will become more routine and frequent meetings between senior US officials and their counterparts in the Gulf. He should also return the hospitality and host the Gulf leaders in the US in the near future. In addition, Biden should stress the importance of missile defense against Iranian air threats in the region during his visit. According to US Central Command, “Iran’s ballistic missile force is the most formidable in the region.” It is no secret that Tehran has been supplying its proxy forces across the region with advanced missiles and drones. Increasing missile defense cooperation with the Gulf states at this time could serve as an important and much-needed confidence-building mechanism between regional countries and the White House. It could also serve as an important catalyst to revive the Middle East Strategic Alliance concept. This idea was first proposed by the Trump administration as a way to deepen US engagement in the region while increasing burden sharing. For a number of reasons, it never got off the ground. Perhaps the growing aerial threat from the Iranian-backed Houthis is a good reason to get this proposal back on the agenda. Finally, Biden should announce that he is pulling out of the talks with Iran over its nuclear program. It is becoming clear that President Ebrahim Raisi is not really interested in securing a new deal at this time. Also, due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, it is inconceivable for the US and Europeans to think that the talks can continue in good faith with Moscow playing such an important role in the process. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday said that Iran is probably providing Russia with drones to be used in Ukraine. The Iranians are using the Biden administration’s desperation for a new agreement to drag out the negotiations and try to squeeze more concessions out of the Americans. It is time to pull the plug on the talks. Making such an announcement, while standing on the Arabian Peninsula, would send a strong message to the region. I will never forget a conversation I had more than a decade ago with a senior government official from an unnamed Gulf state. Seeing what the Obama administration did to the Czech Republic and Poland in 2009, when it unexpectedly canceled missile defense sites in those two countries, he asked a simple question: If Obama was willing to throw Poland and the Czech Republic under the bus to get better relations with Russia, then why wouldn’t he throw us under the bus to have better relations with Iran? A few years later with the nuclear deal, that is exactly what happened. It is important that Biden starts rebuilding relationships in the region. The US-Saudi relationship in particular has had many ups and downs over the past several decades. Now is the time to get it back on track. Luke Coffey is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Increasing missile defense cooperation with the Gulf states could serve as an important confidence-building mechanism

How the Rajapaksa clan pushed Sri Lanka to its worst crisis

By Brahma Chellaney

For much of nearly two decades, the four Rajapaksa brothers and their sons have run Sri Lanka like a family business – and a disorderly one, at that. With their grand construction projects and spendthrift ways, they saddled Sri Lanka with unsustainable debts, driving the country into its worst economic crisis since independence. Now, the dynasty has fallen. Mahinda Rajapaksa was instrumental in establishing the Rajapaksa dynasty. After becoming president in 2005, he ruled with an iron fist for a decade, attacking civil liberties, expanding presidential powers (including abolishing term limits), and making bad deal after bad deal with China. Throughout this process, he kept his family close, with his younger brother Gotabaya holding the defence portfolio. But in 2015, Mahinda narrowly lost the presidential election, and the Rajapaksas were briefly driven from power. During that time, parliament restored the presidential term limit, ruling out another Mahinda presidency. Yet the family quickly devised a plan to restore their dynasty: Gotabaya would renounce his US citizenship and run for president. Gotabaya was well-positioned to win. After all, he had been defence secretary in 2009 when Mahinda ordered the final military offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels, bringing a brutal 26-year civil war to a decisive end. With that, the Rajapaksa brothers emerged as heroes among Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority. To be sure, the final offensive killed as many as 40,000 civilians and sparked international accusations of war crimes. The United Nations described it as a “grave assault on the entire regime of international law.” According to Sarath Fonseka, the wartime military commander, Gotabaya ordered the summary execution of surrendering rebel leaders. In California, where he was previously domiciled, Gotabaya faces civil charges over alleged war crimes. But the Rajapaksa brothers simply presented themselves as hardheaded custodians of Sinhalese interests. And, thanks largely to his ethno-nationalist credentials, Gotabaya won the 2019 election – at which point he immediately appointed Mahinda as his prime minister. Mahinda then appointed his two sons, his other two brothers, and a nephew as ministers or to other government positions. The same year, 277 people were killed, and hundreds more wounded, in bombings carried out by extremists on Easter Sunday. The attack highlighted tensions that had been simmering since 2009: though the military offensive marginalized the Hindu-majority Tamils, the war’s end sowed the seeds of religious conflict between the Buddhist-majority Sinhalese and Sri Lanka’s Muslims, who constitute one-tenth of the country’s population. The Easter Sunday terrorist bombings provided new ammunition for the Rajapaksas to whip up Sinhalese nationalism. Beyond deepening ethnic and religious fault lines, Gotabaya followed his brother in establishing an imperial presidency, exemplified by the passage in 2020 of a constitutional amendment expanding the president’s power to dissolve the legislature. And he helped to push Sri Lanka further into the economic death spiral that his brother had helped create. Then the pandemic hit, crushing the tourism and garment industries – Sri Lanka’s two main foreign-exchange earners. More recently, the war in Ukraine, by triggering soaring international energy and food prices, helped to drain Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves, creating fuel, food, medicine, and electricity shortages. It was the final straw for many Sri Lankans, who took to the streets in droves. On May 9, Mahinda reluctantly resigned from his post as prime minister, in an effort to appease protesters. But protests continued to rage, culminating in the storming of the seaside presidential palace by demonstrators. Gotabaya fled minutes earlier before conveying his decision to resign. Within Sri Lanka, photos of protesters lounging on the president’s bed and cooking in his backyard have become a symbol of people’s power. But they should also serve as a warning to political dynasties elsewhere in the world, from Asia to Latin America. When a family dominates a government or party, accountability tends to suffer, often leading to catastrophe. This can cause even the most entrenched dynasty to fall – and swiftly. There is also a lesson for other heavily indebted countries. Unless they take action to make their debts sustainable, they could quickly be overwhelmed by crisis. As for Sri Lanka, its next leaders will have to address shortages of basic necessities, rebuild a wrecked economy, reestablish the rule of law, and hold responsible those who caused the current disaster. But in a country where politics is a blood sport, one should not underestimate the challenge of overcoming the Rajapaksas’ corrosive legacy. Brahma Chellaney is professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research and Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. Project Syndicate

Mahinda narrowly lost the presidential election, and the Rajapaksas were briefly driven from power. During that time, parliament restored the presidential term limit, ruling out another Mahinda presidency

A visit to Army Institute of Military History

Lt Col Khalid Mustafa (R)

Importance of recording the Military history cannot be denied even in the present era of modern technology. Military history records the events of wars and history of armed forces in peace as well as in war. Analysis of victory and defeat is also included in Military history. In Military history it is also examined how army leadership of a particular country reacted during war. One of the essential aspects of military history study is the identification of cause of war, the social and cultural foundations and military doctrine on each side. After analyzing these facts decisions about the future are made. Military history of Pakistan starts from 1947, when new state of Pakistan emerged and it achieved its independence as a separate nation. Pakistan Army holds an important place in the history of Pakistan, as the Pakistani Armed Forces have played, and continue to play, a significant role in development of the country. The Pakistani Armed Forces were created in 1947 by division of the British Indian Army. Pakistan was given units such as the Khyber Rifles, which had seen intensive service in World Wars I and II. Pakistan Army was given some old regiments of Indian Army, some of which predate Pakistan by nearly two hundred years. It has a rich and proud history extending both sides of Partition. Since the time of independence, Pakistan army has fought three major wars with India. It has also fought a limited conflict at Kargil with India after acquiring nuclear capabilities. After the September 11 attacks, Pakistan army is engaged in low intensity conflict (LIC) along Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan, with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, as well as those who support or provide shelter to them. In addition, Pakistan army has also participated in various foreign conflicts, under the umbrella of United Nations as peacekeepers. At present, Pakistan army has the largest number of its troops participating as peacekeepers under the United Nations in different parts of the world. For recording of all the historic events of Pakistan army every unit maintain digest of service at his own which was sent to military archive established at GHQ. The COAS (Chief of Army Staff) General Qamar Javed Bajwa is credited with approving a proposal to establish the Army Institute of Military History on 2 June 2017. AIMH concept was conceived by Major General Agha Masood Akram, HI (M) (Retired), who is the founding and current Director General of AIMH. It has been set up as a semi-autonomous research body with a broad outreach both within the civilian and military domains and is steered by a designated governing body, the Army History Board (AHB). AIMH is located in Rawalpindi, close to the Army Museum and the Army Central Library. The institute is mandated to archive, record, research, teach and promote military history, along with allied subjects such as physical history (in all its dimensions), battle honors, regimental lineages, customs of the service, matters of dress and accouterments, and so on. The institute also serves as a forum for veterans, academia, subject experts and concerned civil society members to gather and air their learned views on subjects of interest to the Army. AIMH also encompasses outreach to academia and students. With a Military History Wing, Composite Wing and Current Affairs Wing, the institute is emerging as a centre for both historical and current affairs, a melting pot for serving and retired officers, and civilians to meet and exchange views. AIMH focus on military history, by research directors assigned to regularly visit the Army's schools of instruction, and different universities and colleges as visiting faculty and guest speakers. Military history lovers are also welcome in AIMH any time. Different scholars of military history are briefed by AIMH staff during visit and they are asked to contribute as writer and researcher. Basic purpose of the institute is to advise the army staff on historical matters in an event of conflict or peacetime, as well as preserving the history and heritage of the Pakistan Army. On 17th June 2020 I also had this honor to visit this great institute on the invitation of Director General Major General Agha Masood Akram HI (M) (Retired). It is pertinent to mention that Major General Agha Masood Akram HI (M) (Retired) is military history lover which has contributed a lot through writing different events of military history and his great work is the creation of AIMH. He served on different command and staff appointments including UN mission Somalia and war against terror in Waziristan. His father Lieutenant General Agha Ibrahim Akram (1923 – 1989), was also a known historian. He wrote six books about early Muslim Conquests including his most famous book The Sword of Allah, biography of Hazrat Khalid bin Walid. He also served as Pakistan's Ambassador to Spain and founded the Institute of Regional Studies in 1982 and remained its president till his death in 1989. During my visit to this institute I was briefed by Lieutenant Colonel Hassaan Javaid who is serving this institution since its creation. I was told that role of AIMH is gathering military historical data from available sources and also recording, preserving and archiving military history. Mission of AIMH also includes research work on military history and writing military history. Writing of military history include arms and service history, famous battles history, peace keeping and overseas assignments, War on terror and actions in aid of civil power and nation building. Physical history of Pakistan also comes under AIMH which includes Battlefields, Historical buildings, Army museums and War graves. A library is also being established in AIMH which contains thousands of books on different subjects of military history. The library is being operated on modern lines and book searching is carried out through renowned software. E library is also part of this main library and a handsome quantity of books is available in E library as well. Different halls of AIMH building are dedicated to different regions and collection of these regions is kept here. A good café is also being maintained to serve visiting scholars and researchers. AIMH is also publishing a Magazine by the name of Bugle & Trumpet. This magazine publishes articles, stories and narrations on different aspects of military history. AIMH started Historical Monograph Series as well. In the first Monograph, story of Major Muhammad Kazim shaheed, Sitara-e-Jurat (1933-1971) is narrated who embraced shahadat in the Battle of Ashuganj (War 1971) on 9 December 1971 and buried in East Pakistan. Some good books on military history have been published by AIMH. Recently a book by the name of ‘’A Thousand Miles Apart” of Major General Syed Ithar Hussain Shah (Retired) is published by AIMH.AIMH is located on 252 Aziz Bhatti Road Rawalpindi Cantt and lounges of this institution are open to all who love military history.

Military history of Pakistan starts from 1947, when new state of Pakistan emerged and it achieved its independence as a separate nation. Pakistan Army holds an important place in the history of Pakistan, as the Pakistani Armed Forces have played, and continue to play, a significant role in development of the country

Palestinians should expect no more than lip service from Biden


US President Joe Biden is no stranger to the Middle East. This week may mark his first tour of the region as president, but the former vice president and long-serving US senator has been a familiar face here for more than two decades. He will only be making two stops during his trip. Arriving in Israel and staying for two days, he will meet top Israeli officials including new Prime Minister Yair Lapid, former premier Naftali Bennett and even Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu. He will then take a short drive to occupied Bethlehem, where he will have a brief, largely symbolic talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. After that, he will fly to Jeddah, where he will hold talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before attending an extraordinary summit meeting with the leaders of the GCC, in addition to the president of Egypt, the king of Jordan and the Iraqi prime minister. Biden will arrive in a turbulent Middle East. Israel is preparing to hold a fifth election in four years, signaling the fragility of its political system and the fierce internal struggle between largely right-leaning parties in a deeply polarized society. Biden will be careful not to get entangled in the complex Israeli political scene. Instead, he will focus on the special relationship between the US and Israel, especially in the area of military assistance and cooperation. It would be surprising if he made any public comments while in Israel on the need to halt the building of illegal Israeli settlements or attempts to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa. It would be even more surprising if he called on Israel to resume peace talks with the Palestinians. With midterm congressional elections looming back home, Biden will make sure that his support of Israel appears to be ironclad. He will, however, praise the Abraham Accords and support ongoing efforts to expand the emerging coalition. On Iran, where his administration and Israel differ on some key points, Biden may go as far as sending a warning to Tehran that time is running out to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, opening the way for other options. He will call on the Lebanese government to rein in Hezbollah and stop its provocations against Israel. In short, Biden will say what Israeli officials would like to hear; focusing on cooperation, the special relationship, normalization, Iran and Hezbollah, but not the occupation of Palestinian territories. In contrast, Biden is expected to visit the largest Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem and announce a $100 million aid package to support the Palestinian health system in the Arab city. In September 2018, the Trump administration cut $25 million for the hospitals in East Jerusalem. Israeli media reported that the US has asked Gulf allies to make similar gestures.

Looking forward

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

In disarray

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

Modern solutions

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.

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.

Umar Javed, Rahimyar Khan

Sordid reality

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

12 killed in Russian strikes in central Ukraine ahead of EU talks

Kyiv: Russian missiles struck the city of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 12 people in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called "an open act of terrorism". Ukraine's emergency services said there were "12 dead, including one baby, and 25 wounded" and dozens of rescue workers were fighting to put out a large blaze sparked by the strikes. The news came as EU foreign and justice ministers prepared to meet in The Hague for a conference on alleged Russian war crimes. Zelensky said he would be addressing the meeting via video call and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is set to attend. "Every day, Russia kills civilians, kills Ukrainian children, carries out missile attacks on the civilian facilities where there is no military target. What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?" the Ukraine leader said in a statement on social media. War crimes tribunal? Zelensky has vowed to hold Moscow to account and has called for a special war crimes tribunal to be set up in the Netherlands. The International Criminal Court in The Hague opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine just days after Moscow's forces invaded and it dispatched dozens of investigators to the country to gather evidence. Its prosecutor Karim Khan also later visited Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where AFP journalists discovered 20 bodies in civilian clothing lying in a street, and where officials later said hundreds of other people had been killed. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the conflict has raged since then, killing thousands of people, destroying cities and forcing millions to flee their homes. In recent weeks, Russian strikes in central Ukraine away from frontlines in the east and the south have become relatively rare. But the war has raged around cities like Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine near the Black Sea which the presidency said was hit by a "massive missile strike" earlier on Thursday. "Two schools, transport infrastructure and a hotel were damaged," the presidency said in its morning military update. The skeletal insides of one building gutted by the strikes was visible in images distributed by local officials, with municipal workers clearing bricks and rubble strewn after the attack. Fighting in Ukraine has focused on the industrial Donbas region in the east, but Kyiv's troops have been pressing a grinding counter-offensive in the south to retake Kherson. The presidency added -- without elaborating -- that residents along the southern front in the Kherson region were reporting an "increase in equipment and the quantity of Russian troops." 'Total victory' In east Ukraine, Moscow-backed troops said they were closing in on their next target. "Siversk is under our operational control, which means that the enemy can be hit by our aimed fire all over the area," a pro-Moscow rebel official, Daniil Bezsonov, was cited as saying by Russian state-run news agency TASS. At a Ukrainian trench position along the eastern frontline, a 25-year-old soldier who goes by the nom de guerre Moryak was working to fortify defences. "We hide when they shell, we dig when it's calm," he told AFP journalists. A fellow combatant on in their trench dismissed the idea Ukraine and Russian forces could reach a agreement to halt fighting, explaining their goal was: "Total victory". AFP

In Israel, Biden to sign joint pledge to prevent Iran going nuclear

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid will sign a joint pledge to deny Iran nuclear weapons on Thursday, closing ranks after long-running disputes between the allies over global diplomacy with Tehran. Biden, who is visiting Jerusalem, said on Wednesday he was open to "last resort" use of force against Iran — an apparent move toward accommodating Lapid's calls on world powers to present a "credible military threat" against Israel's arch foe. The United States and Israel have separately made such veiled threats against Iran — which denies seeking nuclear weaponry — for years. Formally articulating the rhetoric could enhance the sense of deterrence and mutual commitment to action. The show of Israel-US resolve may also offer Biden a boost when he continues on to Saudi Arabia on Friday. Riyadh has its own Iran worries, and Biden hopes to parlay that into an Israeli-Saudi rapprochement under US auspices. "I think what you’ll see in the joint declaration is a pledge and a commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that we're prepared to use all elements of our national power to ensure that outcome," one US official said. In 2015, Iran signed an international deal capping projects with bomb-making potential. In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump quit the pact, deeming it insufficient, a withdrawal welcomed by Israel. Iran has since ramped up some nuclear activities, putting a ticking clock on world powers' bid to return to a deal in Vienna talks. Israel now says it would support a new deal with tougher provisions. Iran has balked at submitting to further curbs. "The only thing worse than the Iran which exists now is an Iran with nuclear weapons and if we can return to the deal, we can hold them tight," Biden said in an Israeli TV interview on Wednesday. Some Israeli as well as Gulf Arab officials believe the deal's sanctions relief would provide Iran with far more money to support proxy forces in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. They are also skeptical about whether the Biden administration will do much to counter Iran's regional activities. The U.S. official, asked if Thursday's declaration is about buying some time with Israel as Washington pursues negotiations with Iran, said: "If Iran wants to sign the deal that has been negotiated in Vienna, we have made very clear we're prepared to do that. And, at the same time, if they're not, we will continue to increase our sanctions pressure, we will continue to increase Iran's diplomatic isolation." A senior Israeli official described the threat of military action as a means of avoiding war. "(It) is a guarantee that the diplomatic, economic and legal efforts against Iran will be effective," Defence Ministry director-general Amir Eshel told Israel's Kan radio. "Iran has shown everyone that when it is pressed hard it knows how to stop and change its ways." Reuters


In Albania, divers fish for WWII bombs

Vlore: Under a cliff in Vlora bay, one of the most beautiful sites on the Albanian Riviera, a diver emerges from the water carrying an artillery shell which he carefully places on the pebbly beach. Beneath the crystal-clear water of the Adriatic, shells and grenades dating back to World War II rust on the seabed, polluting the water and posing a deadly threat to life. Aboard the "Pluton" diving support vessel, a group of some 10 French and Albanian de-mining divers are on a joint mission to find and remove the munitions -- but nobody knows how many still remain. In less than two hours, the divers collected an impressive 85 pieces of ammunition, which were likely deliberately thrown into the sea by occupying Italian troops over seven decades ago. "It's joint work with the Albanian navy, which knows the site better than we do," Captain Aymeric Barazer de Lannurien, commander of the French contingent, told AFP. Specialists recovered a total of 310 devices during last year's joint Franco-Albanian effort. Barazer de Lannurien said most of the shells found were artillery shells, lodged between rocks on the seabed. "We found one or two grenades that were on the bottom between the rocks, easily accessible to the population (that) could be dangerous for swimmers," he recalled of last year's mission. This time around, the team said they recovered mortars and shells with calibres ranging from 20 mm to 155 mm. While there are no official estimates of the quantities of submerged munitions, experts estimate that at least 20 World War II wrecks are located near Albania's Adriatic coast. The teams are well-versed in handling the potentially lethal cast-offs, but an ambulance is parked nearby just in case. Divers pass the explosive devices between them before carefully lining them up on the beach, reminders of past conflicts. Albanian troops then collect the shells and destroy them at a military base in the capital Tirana. The teams face not only the ever-present risk of detonation, but also choppy seas and scorching heat. Albanian skipper Ilirian Kristo laughed off the danger before disappearing under the waves. "Bomb-disposal diving is a profession, but above all it is a great passion," the captain said. AFP

Sri Lanka protest sites calm as president's resignation awaited

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's main city, Colombo, was calm on Thursday as people waited for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled to the Maldives to escape a popular uprising that erupted as the country struggled with an economic crisis. Rajapaksa was on his way to Singapore from the Maldives on Thursday, a Sri Lankan government source said. His decision on Wednesday to make his ally Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe the acting president triggered more protests, with demonstrators storming parliament and the premier's office demanding that he quit too. Rajapaksa had repeatedly assured the speaker of parliament that he would step down on Wednesday, but his resignation letter had not arrived as of Thursday, said an aide to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. The speaker could seek the advice of the attorney general on the next steps if the letter did not come by the end of the day, said the aide, who did not want to be named given the sensitivity of the matter. Inside the president's residence, ordinary Sri Lankans wandered the halls, taking in the building's extensive art collection, luxury cars and swimming pool. "The fight is not over," said Terance Rodrigo, a 26-year-old student who said he has been inside the compound since it was taken over by protesters on Saturday along with the prime minister's official residence. "We have to make society better than this. The government is not solving people's problems." The usual protest sites, however, were calm and organisers said they would hand the residences back to the government. "With the president out of the country holding the captured places holds no symbolic value any more," Chameera Dedduwage, one of the organisers, told Reuters. Wickremesinghe, nevertheless, imposed a curfew in Colombo from noon (0630 GMT) to early morning on Friday in a bid to prevent further unrest. Protests against the economic crisis have simmered for months and came to a head last weekend when hundreds of thousands of people took over government buildings in Colombo, blaming the powerful Rajapaksa family and allies for runaway inflation, shortages of basic goods and corruption. Police said one person was killed and 84 injured in clashes between riot police and protesters on Wednesday near the parliament building and the prime minister's office, as people demanded the ouster of both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe. Police spokesman Nalin Thalduwa said the man who died was a 26-year-old protester who succumbed after he was injured near the prime minister's office. The area around parliament was deserted on Thursday morning. Police manned a barricade on the approach road. Nearby, life returned to normal, with shops open and plenty of cars on the road. Reuters

WHO to reconvene monkeypox emergency panel on July 21

Geneva: The World Health Organization said Thursday it would reconvene its expert monkeypox committee on July 21 to decide whether the outbreak constitutes a global health emergency. A second meeting of the WHO's emergency committee on monkeypox will be held, with the UN health agency now aware of 9,200 cases in 63 countries at the last update issued Tuesday. A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic. On June 23, the WHO convened an emergency committee of experts to decide if monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) -- the highest alarm that the WHO can sound. But a majority advised the WHO's chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the situation, at that point, had not met that threshold. Now a second meeting will be held, with case numbers rising. "The emergency committee will provide its views to the WHO director general on whether the event constitutes a PHEIC," the UN health agency said in a statement. "If so, it will propose temporary recommendations on how to better prevent and reduce the spread of the disease and manage the global public health response." AFP

Fresh COVID wave sweeps Asia; New Zealand warns of pressure on hospitals

WELLINGTON/TOKYO: A new wave of coronavirus infections is rapidly spreading through Asia, prompting warnings for residents from New Zealand to Japan to take precautions to slow the outbreak and help prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed. The renewed surge in cases, mostly of the BA.4/5 Omicron variants, provides a further challenge for authorities grappling with the economic fallout of earlier waves of the pandemic while trying to avoid extending or reintroducing unpopular restrictions. The New Zealand government on Thursday announced free masks and rapid antigen tests as it tries to relieve pressure on the country's health system, which is dealing with an influx of both COVID and influenza patients during the southern hemisphere winter. "There's no question the combination of a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations, the worst flu season in recent memory and corresponding staff absences are putting health workers and the whole health system under extreme pressure," Ayesha Verrall, Minister for COVID-19 Response, said in a statement. New Zealand, which has a population of 5.1 million, has almost 69,000 currently infected with the virus. Of those, 765 cases are in hospital, which has caused increases in wait times and surgeries to be cancelled. In Japan, new COVID-19 cases have surged to levels not seen since early this year. The government has called on people to be especially careful ahead of an upcoming long weekend and imminent summer school vacations. Japan reported almost 95,000 cases on Wednesday and newly infected patients have increased by 2.14-fold compared to the last week, according to a government spokesperson. "The number of new cases is rising in every prefecture in Japan, and it seems to be rapidly spreading," Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto said at the start of a committee meeting on dealing with the coronavirus. Tokyo raised its alert level to the highest tier."Tomorrow, we will hold a meeting of the task force to decide on measures to be taken this summer, taking into consideration the national trend and the opinions of experts," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at a meeting. Like New Zealand, South Korea was praised for its response early in the pandemic, but by Wednesday, daily cases there had tripled in a week to more than 39,000. Officials and experts expect South Korea's new daily cases to reach 200,000 by around mid-August to end-September and are expanding inoculations of booster shots but not planning renewed curbs. Australia warned it could be hit with its worst COVID-19 outbreak over the next few weeks fuelled by the BA.4/5 Omicron variants. Authorities said "millions" of new infections could be expected, but ruled out any tough restrictions to contain the spread. "We've moved beyond that ... we're not in the era of lockdowns and those sorts of things," Federal Health Minister Mark Butler told radio station 2GB on Thursday, even as he urged Australians to consider working from home again. Australian hospital admissions are already hovering near levels seen in the last major Omicron outbreak earlier this year with its health system also under pressure from high COVID and influenza numbers. While cases in Thailand have trended down, infections in Indonesia have picked up, reaching the highest since March. New infections and hospitalisations in the Philippines remain low, but the government has warned case numbers could rise at least 20-fold by the end of the month. Manila is urging more people to get their booster shots as health ministry data shows only a quarter of eligible adults have received their first booster as of July 12. Mainland China has reported an average of over 300 locally transmitted COVID daily infections in July, higher than around 70 in June, as Beijing's strict “dynamic COVID-zero” policy helps keep local clusters in check and has prevented any overwhelming of hospitals. Reuters

UK police open investigation into Farah trafficking revelations

London: London's Metropolitan Police have opened an investigation into British Olympic great Mo Farah's stunning revelations he was illegally trafficked into Britain as a child. The 39-year-old Somalia-born athlete -- who won double Olympic gold (5/10,000m) for his adopted country at both the 2012 and 2016 Games -- revealed in a BBC documentary this week his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. He added he was forced to work in domestic servitude after entering the country aged eight or nine. "We are aware of reports in the media concerning Sir Mo Farah," said the Metropolitan Police in a statement on Thursday. "No reports have been made to the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) at this time. Specialist officers have opened an investigation and are currently assessing the available information." Farah was helped to obtain UK citizenship by his physical education teacher at school, Alan Watkinson, while still using the assumed name Mohamed Farah given to him by a woman who trafficked him to Britain. On Wednesday, Farah was assured by the British Government he would not be stripped of his citizenship with a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing him as "a sporting hero". Rather than moving to the UK as a refugee from Somalia with his mother and two of his brothers to join his IT consultant father as previously claimed, Farah said he came from Djibouti with the woman he had never met, and then made to look after another family's children. In fact, he said, his father was killed in civil unrest in Somalia when Farah was aged four and his mother, Aisha, and two brothers live in the breakaway state of Somaliland. He was encouraged to speak out now by his wife and children, after burying the truth for decades. "I honestly don't want to be talking about it because I told myself I would never talk about it. I'm gonna lock it up," he said. AFP

Wales captain Biggar fit for Springboks series decider

Johannesburg: Fly-half Dan Biggar will captain Wales against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday in the third, series-deciding Test after recovering from a shoulder injury. He was injured early in the second Test last weekend, which the tourists won 13-12 in Bloemfontein, and had to go off in the second half after the shoulder became painful. Another doubt, tighthead prop Dillon Lewis, was also included in the starting line-up having overcome an arm injury sustained last weekend. There is one enforced change to the starting XV with Josh Adams replacing injured Alex Cuthbert on the left wing. Adams was on the bench in Bloemfontein and his place there is taken by Owen Watkin for a match that offers the Dragons a chance to win a series in South Africa for the first time. A 78th-minute try by Adams last weekend reduced an earlier nine-point deficit to one and another replacement, Gareth Anscombe, converted from the touchline to snatch victory. South Africa beat Wales 2-0 in 2002, 2008 and 2014 series and had won all 11 matches between the teams in the republic before failing in Bloemfontein. Outside centre George North will make his 105th Test appearance to overtake Stephen Jones as the most capped Wales back. "It is fantastic for George," said New Zealand-born Wales coach Wayne Pivac. "He has worked really hard to come back from a major injury and to break that record is no mean achievement. "I am looking forward to seeing George out there in Cape Town on Saturday and hope he can have a stormer for us." South Africa, who won the first Test 32-29 in Pretoria, announced 10 changes on Tuesday to the side that started the match in Bloemfontein with captain and flanker Siya Kolisi among those recalled. AFP

Poulter says friendships will survive golf's civil war

St Andrews: Ian Poulter said long-standing friendships with other golfers have not been affected by a public war of words over the Englishman's decision to join the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV tour. Poulter is one of 24 players to join the rebel organisation playing at the 150th British Open at St Andrews this week and was booed as he teed off at the first hole. Tour organisers the R&A and Tiger Woods became the latest golfing figureheads this week to criticise those who have jumped at the chance to take the huge signing bonuses offered by the LIV tour. However, Poulter, 46, said the ongoing row has not affected his relationships in private with his rivals. "You can have a difference of opinion of how the landscape lies with it, but that should never get in the way of a friendship," said Poulter after shooting a three under par first round at the Old Course. "I have always respected my peers that I play golf with and I don't think that's going to change one bit. "Even the people that have been vocal have been pretty decent to me, so whether they accept that I'm just an old fart and let him go about his business, I don't know. But I've only had good comments." Poulter had initially been banned from last week's Scottish Open for playing in the first two LIV events. However, he had that suspension temporarily lifted after taking legal action. On the course, Poulter was not so successful at the Renaissance Club as he shot 10 over for his two rounds and missed the cut. He admitted to getting too distracted by the off-field row and has taken himself off social media to try and concentrate on the job at hand this week. "This could be my last Open Championship at St Andrews so I'm trying to enjoy it, despite the questioning," added Poulter. "I'm staying off social media, I'm just here to play golf. "I can only do my job. If I listen to a lot of nonsense then I'm going to get distracted and that's never going to be good for me." AFP

Netherlands, Sweden survive Euro 2022 scares

Holders beat Portugal 3-2 to move one step closer to tournament’s quarter-finals

LONDON: Holders the Netherlands held off a stirring fightback by Portugal to close in on a place in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals with a 3-2 win over Portugal, while Sweden struck late to beat Switzerland 2-1 on Wednesday. The Dutch were without star striker Vivianne Miedema due to a positive case for coronavirus, but got off to a flying start in Leigh as Damaris Egurrola and Stefanie van der Gragt struck inside the first 16 minutes. Portugal would not even be at the tournament had it not been for Russia's explusion due to the invasion of Ukraine, but for the second time in as many games they bounced back from a 2-0 deficit. Carole Costa's penalty reduced the arrears before half-time and Diana Silva's thumping header levelled two minutes into the second half. The Netherlands thought they had immediately struck back when Jill Roord's goal was ruled out by a VAR check for offside. But Mark Parsons' side did dig themselves out of trouble just after the hour mark when Danielle Van de Donk's stunning strike from outside the box arrowed into the top corner. Victory takes the Netherlands top of Group C, level on four points with the Swedes, with both sides just needing a point from their final group game to progress. Ranked second in the world, Sweden were among the pre-tournament favourites but have so far struggled to hit top gear in England. After a 1-1 draw to open their campaign against the Netherlands, the Olympic silver medallists were expected to roll over a Swiss side ranked 20th in the world. Switzerland's preparations had also been rocked by a sickness bug in the camp that forced them to cancel training on Monday. But they frustrated Peter Gerhardsson's women for 53 minutes at Bramall Lane before Barcelona's Fridolina Rolfo finished off an excellent team move. Switzerland hit back within two minutes through a fine finish by Paris Saint-Germain's Ramona Bachmann. Gerhardsson was forced to turn to his bench for inspiration and it was one of his subs, Hanna Bennison, who scored the winner, with her first international goal 11 minutes from time. "There are many things we can do better but right now I'm just very happy that we won the match and are in a good position to take us beyond the group stage," said Gerhardsson. Switzerland and Portugal now need to win in the final games of Group C on Sunday to have any chance of progessing to the last eight. AFP

Spain's Fermin bull run fiesta ends with five gored

Madrid: Spain's San Fermin festival comes to an end Thursday after a week of frenzied bull runs that left 52 people hospitalised, including five who were gored, but none too seriously. The festival in the northern Navarra region sees thousands of revellers descend on Pamplona to watch or take part in runs where half-tone bulls charge participants through narrow cobbled streets. While the eight early morning runs are over, the closing ceremony takes place at midnight Thursday. Six men needed to be taken to hospital for knocks and bruises following the final bull run on Thursday that lasted just over two minutes, the regional government said. That brings to 52 the total number of bull run participants who needed to be treated in hospital, including three Americans, a Frenchman and a Belarusian who lives in Spain. Most of the injuries were bruises, broken bones and cuts suffered in falls but five men were gored. Two of the men who were gored remain in hospital in Pamplona. Among them is a 25-year-old from Florida who has leg injuries. The festival, made world famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises", claims scores of casualties ever year. Eight people were gored in 2019, the last fiesta before a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Another 27 people were taken to hospital for broken bones and bruises. Sixteen people have died in the bull runs since 1911. The last death occurred in 2009 when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard. AFP

Warholm going into worlds at 100%

Norwegian hurdles king eyeing third gold medal as he battles back from injury

EUGENE: Norwegian hurdles king Karsten Warholm insisted Wednesday he was going to bring everything he could to the table as he battles back from injury in his quest for a third world championship gold. Warholm laid down a performance that is widely considered one of the greatest Olympic track performances of all time when he smashed the 29-year-old world record to win the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Games in a time of 45.94sec. But the 26-year-old pulled up injured at the Diamond League meet in Rabat in early June with a "muscle fibre tear" in a hamstring, something he dubbed a "personal disaster" when talking to reporters Wednesday ahead of the world championships in Eugene, Oregon. "The last five to six weeks have been close to hell," said Warholm, who has been receiving treatment in Germany, combining work in the swimming pool with physiotherapy in his hope of being fit for Eugene. "It's been really challenging, you get this thing and you don't know how each day will go." But his hopes remain high, however, the Norwegian saying: "We did some testing coming into this. "I feel pretty safe to say that now we're going in there, we're going in at 100%. "There's no such thing as going into a championships and feeling just OK. I feel good to go and when I say good to go, that always means 100%." A lack of competitive outings was neither here nor there, Warholm said, reiterating that his first competitive outing in 2021 had seen him bag gold in a world record in Tokyo. "Of course, you want to run some races to get some confidence, but on the other hand confidence is not my problem," he said. "It's going to be challenging in the sense of I don't know what I can bring to the table, but I know for sure that all training until the injury happened was very good. "It's not the ideal way to go into a championships obviously." Warholm added that his event, a lung-busting effort to clear 10 hurdles over one lap that demands techical mastery and physical prowess, was not for the faint-hearted. "This is probably the hardest task I'll ever take on in this part of my career," he acknowledged. AFP

Pak vs SL 

Babar Azam ‘gearing’ up for Galle

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan team will take on Dimuth Karunaratne’s Sri Lanka in Galle Test, starting this Saturday with expectations of spinners battle. But nonetheless, skipper Babar is ready to live up to the task. Taking to Twitter, the 27-year-old said “Gearing up for Galle”, as he shared photos of him smashing shots during the three-day warm-up match against Sri Lanka Cricket XI. Babar scored 88 runs off 113, with the help of eight fours and four sixes at the Colts Cricket Club Ground in the match that ended in a draw. Babar himself has been in roaring form with the bat and recently hit 196 against Australia in the team’s home series, which they ended up losing 1-0 in March. Sri Lanka head into the Pakistan series after two contrasting results in Galle where they first lost to Australia on a vicious turner and then bounced back to hammer the tourists on Monday. The Test series will be played under the ICC World Test Championship Cycle of 2021 – 2023. The first Test will begin at the Galle International Cricket Stadium while the second match is scheduled to be played from July 24-28 at the Colombo stadium.

Crystal Palace boss rues lack of first-teamers for pre-season tour

Singapore: Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira said Thursday that the club's decision to not bring several first-team regulars on a pre-season tour of Singapore and Australia was not ideal preparation for the upcoming Premier League season. The Eagles face friendlies against Liverpool, Manchester United and Leeds United in Singapore and Australia in the next week, but their 26-man travelling squad features only 11 senior players and is largely composed of youngsters from the club's academy. Vieira said he hoped the experience would help develop the young players in his squad. Several Palace stars -- including Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Cheikhou Kouyate -- remained in London for domestic training and warm-up games, with the club saying they were either not fit or did not meet entry requirements for Singapore or Australia. Speaking ahead of Friday's match against Liverpool at the National Stadium in Singapore, Vieira said his team were trying to make the best of the situation. "Obviously as a manager, the best preparation would be to have all the players around," he said. "But I want to be clear that we are very happy to be here and preparing to play against Liverpool tomorrow and this is part of the process that we needed to go through." The Palace boss said some players needed to be left in London to "catch up with the training" or to play practice games. AFP

President terms non-payment of insurance dues by SLICP as oppressive 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLICP) refused to pay a claimant for a life insurance policy worth Rs 1.7 million on the grounds that it was frivolous. This was described by President Dr. Arif Alvi as bad administration, arbitrary, and repressive. While rejecting an appeal against the Wafaqi Mohtasib's ruling, the president gave SLICP 30 days to resolve the dispute and offer the complainant relief in compliance with its policy, process, rules, and regulations. He noted that from the standpoint of SLICP, the fact that the policyholder did not disclose that they were hypertension patients before to purchasing the policy was unacceptable given that the patient did not pass away from hypertension but rather from cardiac arrest. Furthermore, the president noted that hypertension was a common ailment and that its patients had a higher likelihood of living for decades or longer than persons without such diseases. As a result, hiding such diseases could not be considered to be done fraudulently. While supporting the claimant's position, the president pointed out that the death certificate from Dow Medical College & Civil Hospital Karachi indicated the deceased had passed away at the age of 63 from cardiopulmonary arrest rather than hypertension. He further observed that SLICP had all the means available to it to discover the alleged pre-insurance ailment of the deceased through its Authorized Medical Officer but it failed to undertake this simple exercise which is contrary to the relevant provision of the Contract Act. The Act says that a contract is not voidable if the party whose consent was so caused had the means of discovering the truth with ordinary diligence. According to information, on January 23, 2020, Oscar Malik, who has since passed away, bought a life insurance policy from SLICP for Rs. 1,700,000. On April 30, 2020, he passed away, and Terrence Malik, the brother who filed the complaint, requested a death insurance claim. According to the medical record kept by the dead's workplace, the SLICP refused to pay the claim since the deceased policyholder had a pre-insurance condition and was a patient of hypertension. When the complainant felt wronged, he went to Wafaqi Mohtasib, who made the decision in his favour. Following that, SLICP submitted a representation to the president, which was denied.

ISLAMABAD: A delegation of ''All Neighbors International'' is meeting with President Azad Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry.

IMF seeks strengthening of anti-graft institutions including NAB: Tarin 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Shaukat Tarin, a former federal finance minister, revealed on Thursday that the IMF had requested that the government improve its anti-corruption agencies, particularly the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The former finance minister explained to a private television news programme that a committee would be established as part of the IMF agreement to oversee changes to NAB laws and their implementation. "To improve governance and mitigate corruption, the authorities are establishing a robust electronic asset declaration system and plan to undertake a comprehensive review of the anticorruption institutions (including the National Accountability Bureau) to enhance their effectiveness in investigating and prosecuting corruption cases," the IMF stated in a statement accompanying the release of US$1.17 billion to Pakistan. Shaukat Tarin claimed that the current administration was unable to either swallow or get rid of the Fund's harsh medications. He bemoaned the current administration's low tax collection, arguing that it should be up to Rs. 8 trillion in order to allocate the extra money to the socially disadvantaged groups of the population through targeted subsidies. Pakistan and the IMF agree at the staff level. A staff-level agreement has been achieved between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the release of US$1.17 billion under the combined 7th and 8th reviews of Pakistan's Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The agreement must be approved by the IMF Executive Board, according to a statement from the Fund. "Additionally, in order to support program implementation and meet the higher financing needs in FY23, as well as catalyze additional financing, the IMF Board will consider an extension of the EFF until end June 2023 and an augmentation of access by SDR 720 million that will bring the total access under the EFF to about US$7 billion."

People are aware of why the SC ‘did not want to investigate the cipher’: Fawad


LAHORE: In a suo motu case concerning former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri's decision on the no confidence vote against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) criticised the finding as "full of flaws" and rejected the party's foreign plot hypothesis. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former minister for information and broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said in a press conference on Thursday that "the history of Supreme Court decisions in Pakistan has not been that bright" after the apex court noted in a detailed judgement that the SC was dissatisfied because insufficient evidence had been presented to support PTI's claim of foreign interference. According to Fawad Chaudhry, the PTI requested that the Supreme Court look into the situation and provided the court with documents pertaining to the "cypher," but the SC denied the motion and instructed the party not to "talk on the cypher in detail." As "the court did not even bother to look at the evidence," the PTI leader claimed that the SC ruling stated that there was insufficient evidence to support the foreign conspiracy allegation.

Turkiye president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Pakistan in September


ISLAMABAD: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, will travel to Pakistan in September of this year, the Turkish envoy to Pakistan announced on Thursday. Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in town, and the ambassador announced that a commercial pact will also be signed soon between the two friendly nations. He added that several agreements are being thought about ahead of the Turkiye president's visit, adding that ministers from Pakistan and Turkiye will also get together in September.

LAHORE: PTI central leaders are holding consultations on by-election preparations.

PTI says SC verdict is replete with errors 

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Fawad Chaudhry, a former information minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), criticised the Supreme Court's thorough decision to overturn the National Assembly's April 3 decision to dismiss the no-confidence motion against then-Prime Minister Imran Khan and called the decision full of errors. On Thursday, Fawad Ch remarked, "The top court neglected the ground realities when giving its judgement." He was speaking at a press conference in Lahore. He asserted that the justices ought to have been aware of the people sales taking place in the Sindh House. He believed that the judgment's acceptance or disapproval would depend on the course of events. He also stated that if the investigation was held on cypher, then a debate would be held on it. “But many people do not want to launch a probe into the cypher,” the PTI leader said adding that the wise people were aware why the cypher would not be investigated which would reveal how an elected prime minister was removed. Fawad bemoaned the fact that the Supreme Court's rulings had never received widespread praise. However, like in Sri Lanka, he hoped that "the decision will be determined by the revolutionary vote." He claimed that a revolution was imminent in the country. He criticised the current leaders of Pakistan, calling them a shame to the country. He claimed that "fraudsters" were in charge and believed that people were naive. Fawad stated that the price of gasoline should be reduced to Rs150 per litre. We will be happy if the government lowers the price of gasoline, he continued.

Amarnath Yatra once again suspended due to bad weather in IIOJK


SRINAGAR: The Amarnath Yatra, a Hindu pilgrimage, was momentarily halted on Thursday due to bad weather and rain in Indian-occupied Kashmir. No Hindu pilgrim was permitted to travel from either the Pahalgam or Baltal camps in the occupied territory towards the Amarnath cave, according to Kashmir Media Service. Prior to this, the yatra was halted for three days due to a cloudburst on July 8 that resulted in 16 fatalities and over 30 unaccounted persons. On Monday it had restarted via the Pahalgam road, then on Tuesday using the Baltal route. The 43-day annual Hindu pilgrimage began on June 30 and is expected to end on August 11.

Mushaal criticizes Modi regime for not providing basic detainee rights to Yasin Malik 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Yasin Malik, the head of the incarcerated Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, has not been granted even the most basic detainee rights, according to Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the chairperson of the Peace and Culture Organization. Yasin Malik's wife, Mushaal Mullick, begged the Indian government in a message to provide Yasin Malik's imprisoned JKLF leader basic rights. Additionally, she demanded that Yasin Malik be physically brought before the judge because he plans to cross-examine the witnesses in the case of the Air Force officers. JKLF Muhammad Yasin Malik asked the court on Wednesday for a fair trial of the cases by allowing him to personally attend the court proceedings and to independently question the witnesses. Mushaal said that Yasin Malik has been kept in solitary confinement and there are serious threats to his life. If Modi’s regime did not meet the demands of her husband then he will start an indefinite hunger strike in jail from 22nd July and God forbid it can risk his life as well as organs as he is already in fragile health, she warned. She continued by claiming that the fascist Modi government had created all of the false accusations against her husband in order to punish him for speaking out peacefully for Kashmir's independence. Additionally, she asked a special court to permit her husband's physical presence in a case involving the abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of the former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Mushaal also asked the human rights groups to put pressure on India to grant Yasin Malik and other Kashmiri leaders who are incarcerated in various manufactured cases their basic human rights.

Kashmiri youth languishing in Saudi jail for 2 years over Facebook message to friend


SRINAGAR: A young man from Kashmir who travelled to Saudi Arabia to find work has been imprisoned there for the past two years without being given a chance to be tried. The innocent Javaid Ahmad Mir, 37, of Chattergam committed the crime, claims Kashmir Media Service, by giving his telephone number to a fellow Kashmiri on Facebook who lives in Iran. Javaid Ahmad Mir's family told Srinagar media that on March 18, 2020, Saudi police detained him from his place of employment after he messaged his Facebook friend who lives in Mashhad, Iran. Father of a two-year-old girl, Javaid Ahmad Mir is being held in judicial custody in the Dammam Intelligence Jail without being put on trial. Javaid's brother Sajjad Hussain told the media in Srinagar, "My brother's only crime is that he had shared his WhatsApp number with a Facebook buddy who was studying in Iran." He would never have responded to Imtiyaz's texts if he had known that they were coming from Iran, according to Sajjad. He claimed that Javaid graduated in 2009 and began working as a teacher at the Tawheed Education Institute, a private institution. After obtaining an offer letter from Noodle International Trading Services in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, he quit his job. After moving to Saudi Arabia, Javaid began serving as a supervisor in the business with Chinese roots. According to Sajjad, the family came to know about Javaid’s detention through one of his colleagues. Sajjad said his mother—Sara Begum — is suffering from cardiac problems and used to get regular medical treatment and financial support from her son. His father is a farmer, while Sajjad is handling a family business -which is not fetching them “too much” He said that Javaid’s wife and daughter are helpless and want him back home as soon as possible. Javaid’s family had no contact with him for over one month of his arrest until he was allowed to call in April 2020, neither did the Saudi police allow his colleagues to meet him in the jail citing Covid-19 protocols.

KIIR hosts webinar paying tribute to July 13 martyrs


ISLAMABAD: "Kashmir Martyrs Day: Remember the martyrs of July 13, 1931" was the topic of a webinar presented by the Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR). Renowned human rights advocates, academics, writers, and political figures from both sides of the Line of Control spoke at the webinar, including Shah Ghulam Qadir, president of the Pakistan Muslim League AJK chapter, Ch. Latif Akbar, leader of the opposition in the AJK Assembly, Ab. Rasheed Turabi, former Ameer Jammat Islami AJK, Ghulam Muhammad Safi, Muhammad Farooq Rehmani, Sardar Hassan Ibrahim, S Altaf Hussain Wani, chairman of the KIIR, presided over the discussion. "The current conflict in Kashmir is a continuation of the protest against the tyrannical Maharaja. More than 500,000 Kashmiris have made sacrifices since 1931 to reach the cherished objective, they claimed. The speakers said that the only workable solution was the right to self-determination and made it plain that no legislation passed by the Indian parliament could alter the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir. "Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed area that has to be settled in accordance with the generally understood principle of right to self-determination," they declared, rejecting the measures the Modi government had taken on the region since August 5th, 2019. Renewing their pledge to uphold the martyrs’ mission they said the struggle for right to self-determination would continue unless and until Kashmiris get their cherished goal. Drawing parallels between the ongoing struggle and the movement against Maharaja’s autocratic rule, they said, “Kashmiris were still struggling for their basic rights.” Highlighting the dangerous dimensions of the dispute, they said international community should come forward in a big way to help Kashmiris in shaping up their political destiny through universally accepted principle of right to self-determination. They urged the United Nations to impress upon India to implement the relevant UN resolutions on Kashmir to settle dispute peacefully. They declared that "the international community must effectively recognise the rapidly deteriorating political and human rights situation in the Indian occupied area." "It is high time that the UNSC and OIC must conduct an emergency session to help end mass deaths of civilians in Kashmir," the panellists declared, expressing their severe concerns over the ongoing bloodshed and violence in the unrest-ridden region. In response to the rise in state terrorism incidents in Kashmir, they stated, "The Modi government is following a vicious game-plan. On the one hand, it keeps repeating the so-called normalcy narrative to deceive the international community, while on the other hand, it has let loose its troops who continue to kill Kashmiris every day."

KARACHI: Sindh Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh is talking to the media after his court appearance.

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