Daily The Patriot edition of 16-07-22

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif chairing meeting of federal cabinet.


PM for strong Pak-Egypt ties in trade, energy

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: On Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reaffirmed his administration's commitment to enhancing cooperation with Egypt in the areas of trade, investment, energy, education, and climate change. The prime minister emphasised Pakistan and Egypt's close ties during a meeting with their ambassador, Tarek Dahroug. Views were shared on issues of bilateral relevance at the meeting. The ambassador's initiatives to strengthen collaboration between Pakistan and Egypt in a variety of disciplines were applauded by the prime minister. He congratulated Egypt on becoming the COP-27 Presidency. PM Sharif called attention to the ongoing, horrific human rights abuses in the Indian-occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). In keeping with pertinent UNSC decisions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, he stressed the significance of a peaceful conclusion to the Jammu and Kashmir conflict. The Egyptian ambassador sent warm congratulations on behalf of the Egyptian government and people and expressed how eager they were for the prime minister to attend the CoP-27 later this year. The Prime Minister reiterated his offer for President Fattah El-Sisi to visit Pakistan as soon as possible while sending President El-Sisi his best wishes.

Govt decides to take strict action against harassment on social media 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Friday has decided to crack down on those who harass and degrade citizens on social media. According to details, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, in which Federal Secretary Home, IG Punjab, DG FIA and Acting Chairman NADRA Khalid Latif and other officials participated. The meeting reviewed issues of harassment of citizens on social media, uploading of immoral videos and also issues related to blackmail and harassment of citizens. The meeting, chaired by Rana Sana, decided to crack down on those who promote immoral content on social media, harass citizens and tarnish their image through immorality. It was further decided to make effective laws on cyber-crime, especially harassment and also uploading, advertising of immoral content. In this regard, the Interior Minister while directing to take strict and immediate action against those involved in cyber-crime said that “it is not acceptable to tarnish the image of a citizen by insulting him or her.” Rana Sana said that the spread of immoral and insulting content on social media could lead to chaos and disorder in the society. Therefore, strict action will be taken against those involved in such crimes and action will be taken without any discrimination. The Federal Interior Minister further said that the concerned agencies should adopt a zero tolerance policy against those violating moral values in the society. Citizens can send their complaints to FIA contact numbers and their complaints will be processed without delay, he added.

For economic recovery, developing countries should enjoy equal access to resources: Ahsan Iqbal


YORK: Ahsan Iqbal, the federal minister for planning and development, stated on Friday that developing countries should have level playing fields for economic recovery in addition to highlighting the necessity of developing mechanisms to provide the high upfront capital costs to developing countries on affordable terms. The world is currently dealing with three main crises at once, including the recession, climate change, and military conflict, according to Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, who was speaking in New York at a UN event on Sustainable Development Goals. Pakistan has been severely hurt by the current crisis, he continued. He also made the point that because global poverty is once again on the rise, loans should be provided to emerging nations in order to prevent an economic crisis. Ahsan Iqbal has demanded equal access to natural gas as well as a financial system to help the most seriously impacted nations afford their high energy costs. He claimed that the development of renewable energy initiatives needs to pick up speed. Three goals—universal access to energy, tripling the share of renewable energy, and doubling the rate of energy efficiency and conservation—are the driving forces behind Pakistan's programme, according to the Minister. He stated that by 2030, we hope to have 60% clean and renewable energy in our system. Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan’s solar and wind power potential is over 40,000 MW. He said today, in fact, many countries, especially developing countries, are facing an energy emergency. The Minister said climate coalitions" have been created to provide finance to several emerging economies to induce them away from coal-fired plants. He said such incentives have not yet been offered to those developing countries which have refrained from utilizing their coal resources.

Cabinet forms committee to implement points raised in SC’s detailed order 


ISLAMABAD: On Friday, the federal cabinet made the decision to create a number of committees and commissions to look into significant accusations made against the former Prime Minister Imran Khan and the officers of his party during the Tayyaba Gul and vote of no-confidence. Marriyum Aurangzeb, the federal information minister, made this announcement on Friday during a press conference that followed the federal cabinet meeting. In particular, the Supreme Court of Pakistan's detailed order in the suo moto case concerning the rejection of the vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly against the then-prime minister Imran Khan, was the subject of a detailed discussion at the cabinet meeting on Friday, according to Aurangzeb. The other issue under discussion was the complaint of Tayyaba Gul against former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal. On the former, Aurangzeb said that the cabinet passed a resolution welcoming the detailed order and the points raised therein. She added that the apex federal forum saw the order as a charge sheet against the PTI and its office bearers involved in subverting the constitution. Further, she said that the apex court’s order cleared that no proof of foreign interference was presented before the court. “The court has rightly pointed out that if it was such a serious matter, why did the prime minister at the time, Imran Khan, not order an inquiry into the matter and instead adopt silence,” she said. She added that it was decided that a special committee has been formed, led by Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarrar, and federal ministers of interior, information and others to review the points contained in the order and prepare a set of recommendations on implementing them. In response to Tayyaba Gul's allegation to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Aurangzeb stated that Gul had reported sexual harassment and abuse on the prime minister's portal. She said that instead of taking action, the woman was called to the PM house and imprisoned there for 18 days against her will.

Türkiye indeed is a role model for developing democracies in world: NA Speaker 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The failed coup attempt on July 15th in Turkey, according to National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, is undoubtedly a wonderful lesson to the rest of the globe because nothing can undermine a democratic order if it is put to the test and then trusted by the populace. Speaking on the occasion of the failed coup attempt's sixth anniversary, the speaker asserted that Türkiye is, in fact, a model for other growing democracies throughout the globe. He continued, "When the roots of democracy are linked by electorates in terms of uniform progress and prosperity. where a democratic state is regarded as the defender and protector of the people rather than leaving them at the mercy of narrow-minded interests. If therefore goes to the division and acumen of President Erdogan. That under his leadership, the Turkish democracy has evolved to bring stability, strength, and prosperity to the country and the nation”. He also paid tribute to martyrs who lost their lives in defense of Turkiye’s democracy. He expressed that Pakistan and Türkiye shared goals of democracy & stability Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf further stated that this day reminded us of the memorable victory of the Türkiye’s democracy over the dark forces of regression and repression as it was this glorious day when the entire Turkiye nation stood like a rock side by side, it selected popularly chosen leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He said, "The shameful attempt was made to divert attention from its chosen course of democracy, people's norms, and people's advancement." On behalf of the entire country, he thanked Dr. Mehmet Paçaci, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye, on this milestone of five years. Additionally, he asked the ambassador to communicate our congratulations to the Turkish president, parliament, and people. The speaker claimed that Pakistan had always stood with its Turkish brothers and sisters, even during their pivotal hours on July 15th night, and that Türkiye was a reliable friend. Since our two peoples have shared joys and sufferings for decades, our people have always taken pride in Türkiye's growth. It is therefore heartening for us in Pakistan to note that President Erdogan will be visiting Pakistan in September this year and the visit will also help our two countries in reshaping our strategic partnership in the changing times”, he informed. The speaker said that the year 2022 also, marked the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two modern states as it would indeed be an honor and an opportunity for all of us to listen to the ideas and vision of the Turkish President on global peace, Islamophobia and Mutual growth. He also told the audience about his visit to Turkiye next week at the invitation of the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkiye, to participate in the Trilateral Parliamentary Forum of Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Turkiye.

Five terrorists killed in Ziarat: ISPR

By Staff Reporter

RAWALPINDI: In an operation in the Balochistan region of Ziarat, one Army man was martyred and five Balochistan Liberation Front (BLA) terrorists were slain. The effort was started to locate Mr. Umer Javed, Lietenant-Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza's cousin who was killed by terrorists a few days earlier when they were travelling from Ziarat to Quetta. According to a statement made by the military's media wing, ISPR, on Friday, during the continuing recovery operation in the Ziarat area, security forces discovered and destroyed a terrorist hideaway in the Khalifat mountains close to Khost on the night of July 14 and 15 (Thursday and Friday). Havildar Khan Muhammad was killed when the terrorists opened fire on the Army troops closing in after being encircled. During follow-up clearance operation, the ISPR statement said five terrorists belonging to proscribed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) were killed in ensuing heavy exchange of fire. The sanitization operation, however, will continue in the area to apprehend remaining perpetrators and recover Mr Omer Javed. A few days ago, a gang of 10 to 12 terrorists kidnapped Lieutenant-Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza, a DHA Quetta employee, and his cousin, Mr. Umer Javed, as they were travelling back to Quetta from Quaid's residence in Warchoom, Ziarat. Army Quick Reaction Forces were despatched to the general region of Mangi Dam as soon as they received intelligence to pursue fleeing terrorists. Security forces used SSG soldiers and helicopters in a planned search operation. As a result, on the night of July 13 to 14, one of the security forces' squads noticed a group of 6–8 terrorists moving in a nullah in the adjacent mountains. On sensing their possible encirclement, terrorists shot Lieutenant Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza and attempted to flee. In ensuing exchange of fire, two terrorists had been killed while a cache of IEDs, explosives and ammunition had also been recovered. However, in the process, remaining terrorists succeeded in fleeing along with other abductee Omer for time being.

A delegation of SCSI led by Founder President Sheikh Asif Iqbal called on Governor Punjab

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: A delegation of Sargodha Chamber of Small Traders and Industries (SCSTSI) led by Founder President (SCSTSI) Sheikh Asif Iqbal called on Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman at Governor House Lahore today. The meeting was attended by businessmen representing the SMEs sector from different cities. Talking on the occasion, Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman said that national stability, economic development and provision of basic amenities to the people is the top priority of the present government. He said that despite the economic challenges, the government is taking steps to provide favorable opportunities to business community. He said that all businesses are very important even if it is a small shop. He said that business not only promotes socio-economic development but also provides employment opportunities to millions of people. He further said that the government is well aware of the problems faced by the business community and steps are being taken to provide them maximum relief. Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman said that the SME Sector has an important role to play in the national economy. He said that the government was promoting solar panels to meet the energy shortage. The Governor Punjab said that it was very important for the universities to liaise with the SMEs and he would also give instructions to the Vice Chancellors of the universities in this regard. He said that the government believes in formulating transparent policies for the welfare of the people. The Governor Punjab said that continuity of beneficial policies is very important for the development of the economy. On the occasion, Sheikh Asif Iqbal said that SMEs account for 85% of the national economy and with the patronage of the government, SMEs can play an important role in the development of the national economy. Ahmed Mehmood Bhatti said that giving solar panels on easy installments would end the energy crisis. Mehr Riaz said that one million people connected with the hotel industry should be given industry status. After the meeting, Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman also presented First SMEs Best Achievement Awards to the businessmen representing the SMEs sector for their outstanding performance.

Rainfall to continue intermittently till July 18 in Karachi, other parts of country


LAHORE: On Friday, precipitation is anticipated in Karachi as the monsoon season is scheduled to continue intermittently until July 18. Meanwhile, Lahore is also experiencing heavy rains. Rainfall caused the weather in Lahore and its surroundings to improve. However, a tragic occurrence also happened in Shahdara's Farrukhabad neighbourhood, where a woman perished when the roof fell owing to rain. The woman was identified as 70-year-old Haniya. The elderly couple and their daughter lived in the house. When the husband went to pray, the roof collapsed. According to rescue sources, the roof of the house was made of girder and TR. Search and rescue operation has completed. Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has forecast another rain in Karachi tonight which is expected to continue for another three days till July 18.

Sindh LG polls 2nd phase: 532 PPP candidates elected unopposed

By Our Correspondent

KARACHI: In the second round of the local body elections in Sindh, 532 PPP candidates in all were elected without facing any opposition. In the remaining 16 districts of Sindh, at least 532 PPP candidates have been elected without opposition, according to figures released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Moreover, 6 Independents, two Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and one Pak Sar Zameen Party (PSP) candidate were elected unopposed. One Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) candidate from Thatta, 5 Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), and two Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates were elected unopposed. One Awami Workers Party candidate was elected unopposed too. A large number of PPP candidates had been elected unopposed in the first phase of the LG polls held on June 25, 2022. In the first round of the local body elections in Sindh, 946 candidates were chosen without a challenge from 14 districts. For the 3,822 local body seats up for election, there are more than 20,000 candidates running, but only 590 have been chosen without opposition. Six candidates from seven districts in Karachi were unanimously elected, according to data released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Trade deficit soars by 57% yoy to $48.66bn: Irfan Iqbal Sheikh

By Our Correspondent

KARACHI: Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has said that curtailing trade deficit in the fiscal year 2022 – 23 would be the biggest economic challenge for the government; without which the country will remain under a constant threat of default and its foreign exchange reserves (FER) will not buildup to a secure level. FPCCI Chief has noted with profound concerns that the trade deficit for the fiscal year 2021 – 22 has clocked at a record $48.66 billion as per the revised figures and that translates into more than $4 billion a month on an average; while it was $30.96 billion in the previous year, i.e. 2020 – 21 and this shows a huge increase of 57 percent. No country in the world with the size of the economy like Pakistan can sustain or afford that kind of trade imbalance without further slipping into the vicious cycle of trade deficit, exchange rate volatility and current account deficit (CAD).

LHC prevents Anti-Corruption from harassing Sheikh Rashid

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: The Anti-Corruption Department has been forbidden by the Lahore High Court (LHC) from harassing the former interior minister Sheikh Rashid. The petition against Sheikh Rashid's summons by anti-corruption was heard by Justice Farooq Haider, and the court prohibited anti-corruption from impermissibly harassing the political figure. On July 27, the court also requested responses from additional parties, including anti-corruption. Sheikh Rashid's attorney asserted at the hearing that the land purchase had already been completed but that payment had not yet been made. Sheikh Rashid claimed that because the land's purchaser is required to pay 80%, he still possesses the property. It is important to note that Sheikh Rashid was called into the Anti-Corruption Department's office today (Friday). After the hearing, Sheikh Rashid commented on the by-elections, saying that only fair and open by-elections should be permitted. He continued, "The outcome will not be favourable for anyone if Imran Khan made the call."

LAHORE: Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Abdullah Khan Sumbal is presiding over the meeting regarding Pakistan's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Relief worth Rs. 16.19 million provided to women plaintiffs on orders of Ombudsman Punjab 

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: On the orders of Ombudsman Punjab Maj. (r) Azam Suleman Khan, legal relief of Rs.16.19 million has been provided to women applicants of different districts in their cases. A spokesman for the Office of the Ombudsman Punjab disclosed in a statement issued on Friday that Hanifaan Bibi of Faisalabad and Nigina Kausar of Narowal have been given Rs.19 lakh each as financial aid while Sakina Bibi of Lahore secured a legal relief of Rs.16 lakh in her case. The spokesman added that Rs.9.5 lakh is paid to one Salma Bibi of Sargodha and another applicant namely Madiha Afzal from Sheikhupura is given a financial relief valued at eight lakh rupees by the concerned provincial government department. As a result of action taken by Ombudsman Punjab in family pension cases, the spokesman explained that Naseem Akhtar of Faisalabad got Rs.2,27,000, Parveen Akhtar of Attock received Rs.2,94,642, Iqbal Bano of Rahim Yar Khan is paid Rs.5,37,507 and Nuzhat Shaheen of Khushab gained Rs.6,33,243 as a widowed daughter while Saima Naureen of Islamabad fetched arrears worth Rs.10,95,306 in addition to the issuance of family pension after she approached the ombudsman's office for securing her legal right. Meanwhile, the remaining pension amount valued at 10,19,920 rupees has been given to Sakina Bibi of Muzaffargarh and the remaining insurance amount of Rs.1.5 lakh has also been delivered to Amina Bibi of Bahawalpur after her application to the ombudsman's office, the spokesman counted. The spokesperson further said that Shazia Parveen of Jhelum has been paid the remaining emoluments worth Rs.21, 66,680 of her late husband. Job arrears amounting to Rs.6, 18,001 have been given to Gujrat’s Farzana Kauser along with the creation of an OSD post after the involvement of the ombudsman's office. Abida Bibi of Vehari and the co-wife of her late husband were jointly issued Rs.23,04,288 as emoluments, the spokesman concluded. The plaintiffs have thanked the Office of Ombudsman Punjab for upholding their legal rights.

Two people were hurt in a PML-N office "assault" in Lahore prior to the by-elections 

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: PML-N candidate Nazir Chohan claims that when numerous people barged into the PML-N headquarters on Thursday night, two party employees were hurt. The Election Commission of Pakistan removed Chohan, a PTI defector who had been elected as an MPA from the PP-167 constituency in Lahore in 2018, for defecting after he and 24 other PTI members supported Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister in April. He is now running in the same district in the by-elections scheduled on July 17 on a PML-N ticket (Sunday). Describing how the events unfolded, Chohan said "eight to 10 people targeted the office" near the city's Hamdard Chowk. "The attackers broke the windows of my office," Chohan said, adding that two workers were injured in the incident. Footage aired by broadcasters showed broken glass scattered across the floor and a location that appeared to have been ransacked. Meanwhile, PML-N MPA Khawaja Imran Nazeer blamed PTI for the attack. "Miscreants who attended a PTI rally attacked Chohan's office," the lawmaker alleged. He added that the injured were taken to hospital and the police had reached Chohan's office. "The suspects will be arrested with the help of CCTV footage," Nazeer said.

QUETTA: Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo meets Acting Governor Mir Jan Jamali at his residence.

Pakistan needs to reframe the regional connectivity push: Kaira


KARACHI: Instead of sticking with the tried-and-true old approaches, the Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) has recommended that policymakers redefine Pakistan's regional connectivity effort in order to strengthen the economy and combat the crippling inflation. Usman Kaira, vice president of the PBF, said that despite their border and other disagreements, India and China have a robust bilateral trade that has now reached the amount of $125 billion. Similar to this, despite the emergence of strategic competition between them, China and the US continue to have strong trade and investment ties. Speaking at a conference, Kaira stated that Pakistan needed a mentality shift. The socioeconomic well-being of our citizens should be the top priority for our legislators since it will improve our national security. The world is transforming quickly. Nations have learned that cooperation and competition can coexist as long as there is mutuality of benefit. No confidence-building measure is more potent than bilateral trade as it can help reduce mutual distrust and position countries to address tougher issues on the bilateral agenda. In economic terms as well, low transportation costs, availability of road and rail links, and socially identical consumer bases provide a clear edge to trading with neighbours. The economic activity thus generated provides our traders access to vast regional markets. We need a whole new approach to positively engaging with all our neighbours in securing for our traders more opportunities of balanced and mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities, in the larger interest of economic security of the people of Pakistan. In due course, trade and investment ties can become a building block towards durable peace in South Asia. A PBF representative added that Pakistan has enormous trade potential that is mostly unrealized. "A favourable trading system that lowers the high prices and removes restrictions could improve investment opportunities that are urgently necessary for boosting growth in the country," the author writes.

CM Punjab Pays Tributes to martyred Lt Col Laiq Baig

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, has vehemently denounced the Balochistan terrorist attack in which Lt. Col. Laiq Baig chose martyrdom. He expressed his deepest condolences to the grieving family and paid tribute to Lt. Col. Laiq Baig, who embraced the martyred after terrorists fired their weapons. According to the CM, Laiq Baig received the highest level of martyrdom, and the entire country supported his family. He continued, "The nation is proud of the heroic son of the soil, and the more the evil deeds of the terrorists are criticised, the less it would be."

Court declares Salman Shehbaz as permanent PO in money laundering case

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Salman Shehbaz and Tahir Naqvi were proclaimed permanent proclaimed criminals by Lahore's special central court on Friday, who also postponed the hearing of the money laundering case until July 30. The matter was heard by Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan, who requested information regarding both fugitives' properties at the subsequent hearing. The judge also reprimanded FIA official Nadeem Akhtar for arriving in court late, ordering the Agency's director to launch an investigation into him and submit a report to the court. Additionally, the accused Maqsood Ahmad's death certificate was sought by the court. Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz was allowed by the Lahore’s special central court to leave after marking his attendance. The court also accepted Prime Minister Shehbaz’s Sharif application for exemption from hearing. The Punjab chief minister had appeared before the court for hearing of the money laundering case of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The chief minister got his attendance marked in the court after that the court allowed him to leave.

Bilal Kaka was not shot dead, post mortem


Hyderabad: The post-mortem examination of the little child Bilal Kaka, who passed away in Hyderabad over a quarrel over a hotel bill, indicates that he did not suffer a gunshot wound. Bilal died from a head injury and a rupture of lungs, according to post-mortem findings; he did not have any bullet wounds. According to the report, Bilal had injury scars on his shoulders, back, and other body regions. According to the report, Bilal was taken dead into the hospital on July 12, 2022, around 4:25 am. In a billing argument at a neighbourhood restaurant in Hyderabad, Bilal Kaka passed away and three other people were hurt. Violence was sparked by the murder in several areas of Sindh, including Hyderabad.

US dollar falls against the Pakistani rupee in interbank trading


ISLAMABAD: The boosted Pakistani rupee battered the US dollar in interbank trade on Friday morning and made a big profit following the IMF's approval to restart the loan programme. The Pakistani rupee surged past the dollar by Rs. 1.05 as soon as trade began. The price of the US dollar is currently being traded at Rs208.75, down by Rs1.05. The Pakistani rupee managed barely a 30 paisa gain versus the US dollar on Thursday, finishing the day at Rs209.80. After the confirmation by the IMF that it had reached a staff-level agreement (SLA) with the Pakistan authorities for the conclusion of the combined seventh and eight reviews of the EFF-supported programme which would pave the way for the release of the much-awaited $1.17 billion, the market sentiments showed signs of positivity giving boost to the otherwise slumping rupee. The Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif government, which assumed power in April and has virtually scrapped fuel subsidies and enacted new steps to increase the tax base, has been severely unpopularly tightening its belt for months prior to the current accord. The IMF team's leader, Nathan Porter, stated in a statement that "Pakistan is at a challenging economic juncture" and added that both foreign forces and domestic policy were to blame. Pakistan's economy, which suffers from subpar income collection and diminishing foreign reserves to cover its crushing debt, is in dire need of international assistance.

RAWALPINDI: DC Rawalpindi is reviewing the supply of petrol at various petrol pumps in the city at the rates fixed by the government.

10 outlaws nabbed; liquor, drugs and weapons recovered

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: 10 criminals involved in the sale of alcohol, drugs, and illegal firearms were captured by police teams in the Islamabad Capital Territory, according to a police public relations official. He claimed that DIG Operations Sohail Zafar Chatha had issued an unequivocal directive to all zonal officers to reduce crime in their jurisdictions and to apprehend those responsible for robbing innocent people. Following these instructions, Secretariat police detained Salman Riaz, an accused who was engaged in the sale of alcohol, and seized 30 litres of alcohol from his possession. The police in Bani Gala also detained Muhammad Adil, who was accused of illegally refilling an LPG cylinder. Similarly, the Nilore police team arrested an accused namely Waleed Rafaqat for possessing illegal weapons and recovered one Kalashnikov from him. Koral police raided an illegal sheesha bar and arrested six accused namely Saad, Waleed Ali, Hasnain, Fareed, Ayub Khan and Sheerwan Ali. Case has been registered against all accused under the tobacco regulation act. Moreover, Khana police team arrested an accused involved in selling drugs and recovered 1080 gram Hashish and 42 gram ice from his possession. Cases have been registered against all the nominated accused and further investigation is underway. DIG Operations Sohail Zafar Chatha said that the safety of the lives and property of the citizens is our prime responsibility and no laxity will be tolerated in this regard.

Monsoon torrential rains caused 186 deaths, injures 181 so far


ISLAMABAD: Since June 14 across the nation, the monsoon's torrential rains have caused 186 fatalities and 181 injuries as a result of several risks and hazards. During the current monsoon season, the country saw unusual rainfall, with record precipitation in many regions, particularly Sindh and Balochistan. On Friday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) released a daily situation report detailing the losses and damages attributed to the country's intense monsoon rains. According to the report, severe monsoon rains were to blame for nearly six recorded fatalities in different areas of Sindh province. In Sindh province’s District Badin two males died due to electrocution and three perished to lightning strike. In District Sanghar, a male died and three got injured due to a windstorm. In Tharparker, 21 Goats died due to lightning strike in Islamkot area. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), due to heavy rains in Lower Chitral, 20 houses got partially damaged, in District Swabi, 15 houses partially and a house got completely damaged. In District Swat, the rains caused death of a child, injured three females whereas a house got partially damaged while in Upper Dir, a house got partially damaged. In Balochistan province’s District Dera Bugti, Baikhar Bhal dam got damaged due heavy rains. In District Sibbi, Mach Bridge got damaged. In District Lasbella, the flashfloods washed away a culvert at Welpat Bela, resulting into suspension of traffic whereas the intruding water affected the crops in the area. Moreover, the Khakhar bridge approach also got damaged where markers were placed and traffic resumed from one side. The Nari River also remained in high flood, however, no losses and damages were reported.

RAWALPINDI: A bouquet of flowers to Amir Fida Paracha on becoming MD Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal was given by Shakeel Ahmad Awan, Raja Rizwan, and Mazhar Javed.

ISLAMABAD: ICCI President presenting a souvenir to Zaheeruddin Babar Thaheem, Pakistan's Ambassador to Cambodia during his visit to ICCI.

IHC summons the attorney general in the Tayyab Gul harassment case

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Friday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) heard a petition challenging the summons of Major (ret.) Shahzad Saleem, Director General (DG) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing in response to Tayyaba Gul's charges of sexual harassment. The IHC issued a notice about Shahzad Saleem's motion for a stay order and summoned the attorney general at the request of the director general of the NAB in Lahore. The court inquired, "Can the court issue a writ against the PAC?" It continued, "Is the petition against the PAC admissible or not?" "The PAC's responsibility is to examine government funds. It cannot call anybody over harassment claims, according to the general director of NAB Lahore's attorney. The court enquired further, "Is the PAC a part of the Parliament?," and called the attorney general for a hearing on a petition against the PAC on July 20. On this occasion, the director general of NAB Lahore's attorney asked for the PAC's summons orders from July 18 to be suspended.

Election campaigns in Punjab end tonight at 12am


ISLAMABAD: According to the schedule provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the campaign for the 20 Punjab Assembly by-election seats will end tonight (ECP). On July 17, 2022, there will be by-elections for the 20 seats. Election campaigns in the 20 constituencies must be completed by July 15, 2022. According to the ECP, all necessary preparations for the by-polls have been made. 2.46 million women are among the 4.57 million registered voters who are able to cast ballots in the by-elections. The 20 constituencies have a total of 3131 polling places, including 731 male, 700 female, and 1700 combination polling places. For the by-polls, a total of 9,562 polling places have been set up. 1204 polling places were declared sensitive by the ECP, and 696 were deemed highly sensitive. Lahore and Multan polling places have been designated as sensitive. On July 17, 2022, by-elections will be held to fill the 20 seats in the Punjab Assembly that were left vacant as a result of the PTI MPAs' support of Humza Shehbaz in the CM elections. The outcome of the by-elections would be crucial for the CM vote count in the Punjab Assembly in July 2022, which was mandated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In order to secure a majority and choose their Chief Minister in the largest province in the nation, PML-N must win a total of 9 seats in the by-elections.

Petroleum dealers announce countrywide strike from Monday

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Before Monday, July 18, fill the tanks of your motorcycles and other vehicles as the Petroleum Dealers Association has declared a permanent strike. In order to discuss the strike and negotiations with the government over the dealer's margin, the union has called a meeting. According to them, gasoline pumps cannot function with the existing margin. President Asif Gujjar, Information Secretary Jahanzeb Malik, and Secretary General Chaudhry Noman Majeed of the Pakistan Petrol Dealers Association (PPDA) have declared an indefinite strike beginning on July 18. The petroleum dealers demanded that their working capital is triple but the volume of business is the same as before so the profit margin should be increased by six per cent. The petrol dealers had announced to stage a nationwide strike on July 18 if the government failed to fulfill their demand of fixing the dealer margin at 6%. They also declared that the strike would continue and that no gas stations would be opened until their demands were met. They stated, "At this time, we only obtain a 3.90% margin after tax deduction. According to the group, the minimum salary for employees has climbed to Rs. 25,000 and other items' prices have gone up as well.

Annual inflation rate reaches 33.12%, PBS data shows


ISLAMABAD: The annual inflation rate, after a weekly increase of 0.01% has reached 33.12%, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data shows. According to the data shared by the PBS, the weekly inflation rate was 0.01% in the last week, taking the annual inflation rate to 33.12%. Prices of 29 essential items increased, fives items decreased while 17 items remained unchanged. The price for potatoes increased by 4.72%, chicken by 4.45% and rice by 1.17% while the price for bananas dropped by 2.82% and chickpea pulse by 0.67%.

Research to be conducted on harmful effects of cousin marriages

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: In order to assist the families affected, National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) and University College London (UCL), both in England, have teamed up to research inherited neurological illnesses. The study will be useful to others in advising them to avoid cousin marriages in order to reduce the risk of genetic illnesses in coming generations. Dr. Sara Mumtaz of the NUMS Department of Biological Sciences (NDBS) and Dr. Henry Houlden, Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology at University College London in England, are working together to conduct research on inherited neurological disorders in Pakistan. According to estimates, cousin marriages have caused genetic abnormalities in 29 million people in Pakistan. Prof Houlden met Lt Gen Wasim Alamgir HI (M), the Vice Chancellor NUMS, Maj Gen Saleem Ahmad Khan HI(M), (Retd) Pro Vice Chancellor Academics, Dr Aisha Mohyuddin, Dean Multidisciplinary Sciences, Dr Jawad Hassan, Head of Department, NDBS and the faculty members of the section of Human Genetics, NDBS and discussed ways to further promote cooperation between the two institutions. Prof Houlden, was in Pakistan to attend a neurological conference and was specially invited by NUMS to deliver a lecture at its PWD Campus. His visit was part of the on-going collaboration between NUMS and UCL about the project on Clinical and Molecular Analysis of Inherited Neurological Disorders in the Pakistani population. He gave a talk on the clinical and genetic aspects of neurological disorders to the faculty members of the NDBS. He referred to different molecular methods that were being used in diagnosis of disorders. He added that he would send report of each case after molecular diagnosis so that his work can be used for the benefit of family and patients. Dr Sara Mumtaz said prevalence of genetic disorders was much higher in Pakistan as compared to Western countries. One adverse outcome of cousin marriages in our population is that it allows expression of recessive mutations in families, she added. She said the most effective way to prevent the health hazard was to educate people to avoid cousin marriages, particularly in cases where a non-communicable disease is already present in one of the family members. With the advancement in science and technology, it has become possible to study, development mechanisms of these disorders, at the molecular level for the proper diagnosis, treatment and management of genetic disorders. The combination of genetics and functional cell biology is a particularly powerful approach for understanding genetic diseases and their pathological processes. The analysis of DNA, RNA and protein interactions has become central to genetic research. According to Dr. Sara Mumtaz, it is conceivable that medicines for human diseases based on these developments will be developed over the course of the next ten years. There are only a few laboratories in Pakistan that focus on genetic disorders, notably neurological genetic disorders. Therefore, it is important to encourage study in these fields. Prof. Houlden approached families with neurological issues for a clinical evaluation.

Chinese companies show increasing interest in investing in Pakistan: WealthPK

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan have consistently expressed a desire to advance their bilateral ties for increased economic gains. An example of this close economic ties is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In light of shifting regional and international dynamics, the growing interest of Chinese businesses in Pakistan has created new opportunities for deeper ties. On a recent visit to Pakistan, a delegation from the state-owned NORINCO firm in China expressed interest in making investments there. While speaking to WealthPK, an official from the Ministry of Commerce said the Chinese giant company NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation) is willing to invest in renewable energy and infrastructure sectors in Pakistan. The official said that the company is particularly interested in investing in solar and wind power projects that will help in overcoming energy crisis. Earlier in May, Chinese company Sinovac expressed interest in setting up a joint venture to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases in Pakistan. A delegation of Sinovac met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in which he was briefed on the vaccine provided by the company to Pakistan. In another development, a leading Chinese textile company has procured 100 acres of land on Lahore-Kasur Road to establish a textile cluster. Describing it as an important initiative, the official said this project envisages an investment of $250 million and is estimated to provide 20,000 job opportunities. Similar to this, a group of three Chinese businesses expressed interest in establishing a metal and paper reprocessing park in Gwadar in February.

Robbers take away Rs10 million from judge’s house in Islamabad

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: On Friday, burglars broke into a judge's home in Islamabad and stole Rs 10 million. In addition to the Rs5.5 million case, the unnamed burglars made off with 15,000 US dollars, 4,000 British pounds, and 19 tolas of gold. Judge Tahir Mahmood of the District Session was not at home during the incident because he had taken a leave trip to his hometown of Mansehra. At the Ramna Police Station, a charge was filed against the judge's assailant. The FIR states that the gunman was on his way to the market to get food when the dacoity occurred. After filing a report, the police launched an investigation into the occurrence.

Supreme Court adjudication

The dismissal of a vote of no confidence against the then-prime minister Imran Khan by the deputy speaker of the National Assembly on April 3 was controversial from the start. Now that it has decided to overturn that decision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has released a lengthy judgment outlining its justifications. The deputy speaker's constitutional obligation was clearly broken by dismissing the no-confidence vote, according to Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial. The court argues that because the decision was "not the result of a vote in the National Assembly, rather it was a unilateral decision" by the deputy speaker, it did not qualify for protection of the internal procedures of parliament under Article 69(1). The ruling by Qasim Suri set off a series of circumstances that would have allowed the former prime minister to avoid the no-trust vote for breaking assembly norms. The court has also made it clear that because the cypher's text was only "partially given," it did not see it. The court argues that any fact-finding commission is permissible if it can be established by an act of parliament or the federal government. The supplemental comment by Justice Mazhar Miankhel was much harsher, stating that the president, the former prime minister, the speaker, the deputy speaker, and the former law minister had all broken the sacred trust that came with exercising authority. Parliamentarians should consider whether these infractions constitute high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution before deciding whether to keep the door open for such unlawful conduct or whether to take "appropriate steps to stop such like mess in future," according to his suggestion. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah responded by declaring that the federal government is preparing to take action against Imran Khan in accordance with Article 6. Additionally, he has called for Alvi to step down as president, while PML-N Senator Afnanullah Khan has filed a motion in the Senate calling for Article 6 proceedings to be brought against the five individuals identified by Justice Miankhel. It would be dangerous to prosecute PTI members under Article 6 because not all constitutional violations constitute treason, according to legal experts. Although there may be additional sanctions for constitutional violations, using Article 6 is a precedent that should be avoided. The PTI has condemned the comprehensive verdict as was to be expected. Former law minister Fawad Chaudhry claims that judges and generals make judgments behind closed doors and that the nation is now prepared for a revolution, whether by ballot or like Sri Lanka. The PTI leadership's determination on continuously contesting the Supreme Court ruling is not a positive sign for democracy, and it does nothing to support the legal and legislative systems. The detailed judgment is "full of contradictions," according to the PTI, which had previously said that the brief order "was replete of inaccuracies." The party is impugning the court's judicial competence by doing this. The PTI's refusal to accept this judgment would have much more negative effects on the nation's democracy. The National Security Committee's remarks made twice during the PTI administration and once under the incumbent, should have put an end to the myth of the foreign conspiracy. Additionally, the DG ISPR has stated unequivocally that there was no proof of any sort of conspiracy.

The deputy speaker's constitutional obligation was clearly broken by dismissing the no-confidence vote, according to Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial

Transforming youth skills for the future

Prof Abdul Shakoor Shah

World Youth Skills Day is celebrated on 15 of July every year. Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation J. Ruskin. The youth populace will boost by more than 78 million between 2021 and 2030. Low income countries will account for almost half of that increase. Education and training systems need to counter this challenge. The fraction of young people not in employment, education or training (the youth NEET rate) has remained tenaciously high over the past 15 years and now stands at 30% for young women and 13% for young men globally. Recent estimates suggest that 600 million jobs would have to be created over the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs. Around 259 million young people in 2016 were classified as NEET and this number ascended to a guesstimated 267 million in 2019 and it will jump to more than 273 million in 2022. Globally one in five people is NEET that is not in employment, education, and training. Three out of four young NEETs are women. Between 1997 and 2017, the young population grew by 139 million and the population of the youth labour force shriveled by 58.7 million. Nearly 2 out of 5 young workers in emerging and developing economies live on less than US$3.10 a day. Globally, the youth unemployment rate is almost three times higher than the adult rate. Youth represent 25% of the total working age population but make up more than 40% of the unemployed. Globally more than one third of all youth aged suffer from a deficit of decent work opportunities. More than 74 million young people were looking for work in 2015. Youth, particularly young women, continue to be inexplicably affected by limited employment opportunities and unemployment. Enterprises and organizations brought skills development approximately to a languishing period due to lockdown initiatives pioneering during the pandemic. Training was episodic for 86% of tyro and 83% of interns/trainees. Almost half of the enterprises stopped paying stipend or wages to tyro, interns and trainees. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) guesstimates that the world economy will taper by 3.3% in 2020 with a warning expected recovery in near future with a 6.0 growth rate remains highly uncertain. The ILO finds that 8.8% of work hours were lost in 2020, comparable to 255 million full-time jobs. The World Bank emphasized that the constant trend toward poverty reduction observed for more than two decades was upturned instead of declining by 31 million in 2020, as expected before the pandemic, the number of people living in extreme poverty increased by 93 million. UNESCO guesstimates that almost 70% of the world's learners are affected by school closures across education levels. The TVET institutions survey is jointly done by UNESCO, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the World Bank reported that distance learning is now the most common way of imparting skills with extensive difficulties regarding among others like curricula adaptation, trainee, and trainer preparedness, connectivity, or assessment and certification processes. Before the current crisis, young people were 3 times as likely as adults (25 years and older) to be unemployed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, currently, more than 1 in 6 young people are out of work. The youth are deemed the future of any society and a country. Over 64% of our population is below the age of 30 years, one of the largest young populations in the world. This can be turned into the greatest dividend for Pakistan if we are able to capitalize on it. Regrettably, unavailability of job opportunities, lack of social engagement, lopsided education and health facilities, coupled with social injustices, outdated traditions, and an exclusionary social attitude towards the youth are warning of a ticking bomb. The present educational system has turned youths’ dreams and aspirations of securing dignified livelihoods into a nightmare. Schooling and degree are not enough to guarantee employment but skills do. Skill development can help us in putting an end to widespread unemployment. The UNDP Report 2020 shows that 29% of Pakistani youths are uneducated while only 6% have more than 12 years of education. The report further discloses that 4 million youngsters step into the working age population and only 39% get employed annually. Most drastically almost half of the country's youth are not in education, employment or training. Informal sector training does not equip our youths for national and international markets and they are bound to be stuck in the informal sector. According to ILO, the unemployment rate for 2020-21 will remain at 9.56%. To improve labor force participation rates, an additional 1.3 million jobs must be generated annually for the next five years. Pakistan's Human Development Index for 2020 was 0.557, scaling the country in the medium human development category, positioning it at 154 out of 189 countries. In the regional educational index only Afghanistan lags behind Pakistan. The government initiatives for the youth are insufficient to engage 2 million young workforces entering the market annually. We can only turn this bulge by imparting and transferring skills to the youths. The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) estimates that Pakistan's population is currently growing at an unsustainable rate (2.4% annual average). It is anticipated that over the next four decades around 2.1 million young people will enter the labor force in Pakistan, reaching a guesstimated 181 million by 2050. The government must work on the capacity building of health institutions, education institutions and also create job opportunities to support the exploding populace. Keeping in mind the technological development of the era, the government should heed on possible youth entrepreneurship initiatives in the field of technology, education, health and online businesses. It is estimated that as many as 52% of the workforce in the US, 68% in the UK, 75% in Germany, 80% in Japan, and 96% in South Korea have undergone formal skill training. In comparison, less than 5% of people have undergone similar training in Pakistan. We require approximately 3 million trainees if we prevent youth from entering into other possibilities of tertiary education. While on the other hand we have, only an estimated 400,000 available seats in 3,740 institutes with 18,000 teachers in the formal TVET sector. For equipping 3 million youth with skills on traditional training based methods, it would require at least 45,000 more institutes and an additional 200,000 TVET teachers to be inducted into the system.

The writer is Prof. in English and Freelance Columnist : Prof.abdulshakoorsyed@gmail.com

The future of food security is in plants


The concept of plant-based food as a substitute for meat is gaining steam. The reason is not because vegans are taking over your menu, but because of the need to find new methods to improve food security and reduce its impact on climate change. Naturally, there are issues with such an industrial move. According to research, in the past, plant-based meat alternatives were relatively straightforward. Most were made from whole ingredients like beans or grains and did not taste anything like actual meat. However, the new generation of these products includes meat substitutes, made to look and taste like the real thing. Now one can find plant-based burgers, ground “beef,” deli slices, meatballs, sausages, seafood and more at the grocery store. However, there needs to be more choice beyond plant-based burgers, sausages and mince, so there are efforts afoot for additional food products, especially the need for variety in meat-free steaks and chicken breasts. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a driver in pushing for greater food security through plant-based substitutes. As people commit to a healthier lifestyle, they are changing their diets to include plant-based options. Thus, some are asserting that these are more than a paradigm shift. Plant-based food production is moving beyond the fad stage to become a part of dietary choices in Western countries. The US and Europe are seeing a surge in this market. The geostrategic implications are important as the West transforms the way it addresses the key threats to societal security. It is important to remember that livestock is the third-biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and water use, so reducing its impact on the climate is key. Investment in plant-based alternatives to meat lead to far greater cuts in climate-heating emissions than other green investments, according to a report published by Boston Consulting Group last week. That is an important finding that needs to be put into policy practice. The report found that, for each dollar, investment in improving and scaling up the production of meat and dairy alternatives resulted in three times more greenhouse gas reductions compared with investment in green cement technology, seven times more than green buildings and 11 times more than zero-emission cars. Interestingly, meat and dairy production uses 83 percent of farmland and causes 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, but provides only 18 percent of calories and 37 percent of protein in a daily diet. Moving human diets from meat to plants means less forest is destroyed for pasture and fodder growing, plus fewer emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane that is produced by cattle and sheep. Scientists are finding that shifting away from meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce the industry’s environmental impact. Food security concerns will rise in both the short and long term, meaning an increasing reliance on plant-based options. As already mentioned, only 18 percent of calories come from livestock, but 80 percent of agricultural land is used for farm animals. In some markets, 80 percent of grain is fed to livestock. These resources can be diverted away from livestock farming if consumption patterns change. Europe and North America are expected to reach “peak meat” by 2025, at which point the consumption of conventional meat will start to fall. By 2040, most food will not come from slaughtered animals. Politically, the introduction of more plant-based food products has its detractors. These individuals are increasingly feeling that their freedoms — and their lifestyles and businesses — are being trampled on. In the UK at the beginning of the year, a butcher shop put up a sign ridiculing vegans, saying “Every day, thousands of innocent plants are killed.” This was in response to the increasingly popular “Veganuary,” the 31-day pledge people are taking to go vegan every January. The tensions between these two communities have already brought about scuffling and arson. There is also a growing political clash over the labeling of plant-based products over industrial standards and requirements. There have been lawsuits in the US states of Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin, as well as in Australia and the EU. Meat companies fear that people are going to confuse vegan food for real meat, which would affect their sales. Plant-based meat is getting more and more realistic and meat companies are feeling the effects. Because of the climate change requirements tied to food security, meat is not sustainable and the plant-based companies are taking on the agriculture industry and winning the battle. Violence is likely to rise as the shift to plant-based foods gains momentum. We are now seeing strikes by farmers across Western Europe as climate change legislation takes effect. Older professions tied to meat, from farm to factory, will see huge changes. Overall, plant-based options are an important part of a growing international requirement to consider the future of food security and climate change. Their introduction is also an important part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where the technology to boost plant-based options can be integrated into future eating. Importantly, the creation of such options in the Global South is going to be significant because of growing populations and reduced food availability. Dr. Theodore Karasik is a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, D.C.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a driver in pushing for greater food security through plant-based substitutes

Looming Israeli, US elections make Palestine breakthrough unlikely


The last time US President Joe Biden went to the Middle East on an official visit, in 2016, he was still a “heartbeat away from the presidency.” This time, he is a president well into his first term and due to face, in a few months’ time, America’s interim verdict in crucial midterm elections. While on this trip, he will find a region that has changed significantly since 2016, but with many of the previous challenges remaining, if not exacerbated. His tour of the region as vice president was tricky, coming shortly after Washington agreed to the nuclear deal with Iran in a move that led to friction with a number of Gulf countries and especially with the Netanyahu administration in Israel. Iran’s adversarial policies are as pertinent to the stability and well-being of the region now as they were then. Similarly, the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict has no peaceful resolution on the horizon and, if anything, is more likely to implode. But the Middle East is changing and one manifestation of this is that a new generation of leaders has emerged, with a different outlook on their countries and on world affairs. Biden’s visit will also crystalize for him who is in the camp that is determined to contain Iran’s adventurism, along with their readiness to put aside other differences to unite around this objective. A concern for him, however, is that among this generation is greater skepticism about America’s commitment to the region, leading to a concomitant erosion in America’s status and prestige among many of them, to which its hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan last year only added another tier of distrust in Washington as an ally. Much of the talk ahead of Biden’s visit was about the possibility of launching a regional air defense alliance that openly includes Israel when he meets with regional leaders in Jeddah. The logic of such an alliance — especially in light of the faltering talks between the US and Iran about returning to an amended version of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — is clear. And it has even more urgency as Tehran has, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently begun to enrich uranium using sophisticated centrifuges at its underground Fordow nuclear plant, a setup that can more easily switch between enrichment levels. Strategically, it would be a triumph for the Biden administration to be the convener and coordinator of such a venture and would go some way toward restoring US leadership in the Middle East. America has a particular incentive to play this role as a result of the blossoming relationship between Saudi Arabia and China. This is not surprising, considering that, only last month, in the middle of a major war in Europe caused by Russian aggression, a NATO summit singled out China as the main long-term threat to the alliance’s members and their values, not Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Every US presidential visit abroad is significant due to the very fact that it takes place, for the discussions conducted and the understandings that are reached, but also for some of the symbolic gestures of friendship. And one such gesture from Biden in his opinion piece in The Washington Post, entitled “Why I’m going to Saudi Arabia,” is that he will make the trip from Tel Aviv to Jeddah, flying directly between the two cities. In the Kingdom, “leaders from across the region will gather, pointing to the possibility of a more stable and integrated Middle East, with the United States playing a vital leadership role,” Biden wrote. Nevertheless, Biden’s visit to Israel and Palestine was always expected to be a matter of symbolism over substance. His correct decision, although controversial in Israel, to visit East Jerusalem unaccompanied by Israeli officials sends a powerful message that his administration does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem or its claim that the entire city is the country’s capital. However, this act is not expected to be followed by any concrete steps by Washington to either advance the cause of a just and lasting peace or even to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, who continue to live under occupation, under blockade or in exile. It has been argued that the timing of this visit leaves Biden unable to exert any pressure on the current Israeli government or to make gestures of goodwill toward the Palestinians. In both America and Israel, crucial elections are just around the corner. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid assumed office only a few weeks ago and a general election has been called for November. Lapid is the candidate that Washington would like to prop up, which means that, in the illogical context of the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, any concessions made to the Palestinians might expose Lapid — and those who might partner him in a future coalition government — to accusations by the right that they are a soft touch who will cave in to international pressure. This is regardless of whether such moves to improve relations with the Palestinians also benefit Israel in preventing future conflict. In the current discourse within Israeli society, any measure to ease the harshness of the occupation is not a vote winner, and neither will it be in the US midterm elections. Biden’s decision to visit East Jerusalem and meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been criticized in some quarters of Israeli and US politics, while for the rest of the world it is the most obvious things to do. There is no doubt that orchestrating with the Saudis a meeting of leaders of major Middle Eastern powers in order to consolidate their common strategic interests is a major achievement for both countries in containing Tehran’s destabilizing policies in the region. However, Biden, as US presidents before him, is unlikely to find the conviction and stamina to make a difference when it comes to edging even an inch closer to ending the Israeli occupation, ensuring Palestinians’ self-determination and human rights and, by doing so, bringing peace to both Israelis and Palestinians. This will leave the bitter taste of another missed opportunity, which is harmful for the Middle East as well as for America’s interests in the region. Yossi Mekelberg is professor of international relations and an associate fellow of the MENA Program at Chatham House. He is a regular contributor to the international written and electronic media.

While on this trip, he will find a region that has changed significantly since 2016, but with many of the previous challenges remaining, if not exacerbated

Dubai Diaries: Self versus the world

Anamika Chatterjee

Have you ever met that certain someone who thinks they’ve got it all figured out… for you? I do not know if it’s a subcontinental thing, but I was born and raised among a set of people who thought they knew exactly if what I was doing was right or wrong. When you are young and have a streak of rebellion, it’s easy to mute these voices in the head. But as you age, you cannot un-hear some of these voices. Like I cannot un-hear the voice that recently suggested that my mother was driven to dementia by me and my brother because we didn’t listen to her enough. This was the voice of my mother’s best friend who has had access to our private lives. She has known the challenges. She has also been aware of the privileges. And yet, when a vulnerable family member reached out to her to seek solace and make sense of my mother’s condition, the answer — she thought — was in our non-conformity. To set the context, my brother is a scholar and a maths professor who chose academic glory over marriage. In my case, I ticked one box — marriage — but when it came to another — having children — I have wavered. According to my mother’s best friend, my mother had been disappointed to a point where she was ‘depressed’ and began forgetting things. My brother and I remember things differently. We were raised to add feathers to our caps. When we were in school, mum wanted us to study and assured everything else would be taken care of. Later, when we began working, we were assured again that everything else will be managed if only we focused on work. Now that he and I are well past 30, we keep applying the same principles to our lives, hoping that everything else will be managed itself. It isn’t. And so we end up managing the world and its expectations of us too. In this rigour of finding our place in the world, what we keep in our minds and hearts is what our mother told us — to be individuals first and family man or woman later. Today, the same mother has forgotten what she once taught us. Heck, she has also forgotten us. What remains with us are memories of the time we spent with her, and thoughts she shared with her loved ones before her mind descended into a void. Trying to discover the latter means having people weave in their own interpretations of what could have driven mum to the psychological limbo that she is in now. The science of Alzheimer’s be damned. The very fact that it is a neurological condition with mental health implications be damned. The emotions be damned. A reasonable man will have you believe that to ignore and move on is the wisest thing to do. But when you are cited as a reason for a setback you are facing, how do you come to terms with that contention? Especially when that setback involves a loved one. Perhaps the answer is to talk back to that voice that deems us guilty — not in words, but in the mind. khaleejtimes

Saudi Arabia, US have chance to reenergize their relationship


President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is likely to mark a new beginning for US engagement with the region, which has waned of late. While the timing may have been prompted by geopolitical and economic crises elsewhere, the visit should not be looked at as a one-off, transactional meeting. Rather, it is part of a partnership going back nine decades, from the signing in 1933 of the first Saudi-US treaty formally establishing economic ties and mutually extending “most favored nation” status to each other — and concluding in the same year the first concession with American oil companies — to the historic meeting in 1945 between King Abdulaziz and President Franklin Roosevelt. In a 1946 letter to the king by Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman, the president already referred to “the friendly relations which have long existed between our two countries.” Every American president since then has closely engaged with Saudi leaders. At the heart of this long-standing strategic relationship lies security, both ways. The two countries have been security partners in this region and beyond. The US has been an integral part of regional security, in which Saudi Arabia has often been at the center. The Kingdom has played a key reciprocal role in supporting US policies elsewhere, from the Second World War to the present. Whether it is terrorism or malign state actors, the two countries have mostly worked in unison. Biden’s visit, then, is not about transactions but about building on this well-developed relationship to address today’s pressing problems, including regional security being threatened by an increasingly hostile Iran, the war in Ukraine, energy security, food security and threats to the post-COVID-19 global economic recovery. Tehran has recently disregarded the International Atomic Energy Agency’s warnings, shut down parts of surveillance systems at its nuclear facilities and increased the level of its uranium enrichment. It is dragging out nuclear talks and introducing ever-changing, extraneous demands so as to complete its nuclear upgrade and render the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal useless. Iran has continued to provide weapons, money and fighters to terrorist groups and sectarian militias to destabilize countries in the region and prevent political solutions not to its liking. In Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, it has used violent militant groups to subvert the political process. The US and its partners need to agree on the elements of a credible deterrence to match Iran’s escalation, whether in its nuclear program, missile and drone programs or malign regional activities. Existing frameworks for dealing with these issues need to be fully activated and strengthened, including joint working groups and other high-level policy coordination mechanisms. New instruments should also be considered, including formal agreements on collective defense. Once that security partnership is sorted out, other elements can be more easily addressed. Energy, economic cooperation and education are the three other most important parts of the Saudi-US partnership historically and they could serve as pillars for closer cooperation post-summit. Americans have played an outsized role in the history of the Saudi oil industry and Saudi Arabia has been the most effective stabilizing force in oil markets. That partnership should continue in light of the global energy crunch — a crisis that cannot be resolved only through sustained engagement and planning for the future. American companies are already involved in the development of green and transition energies in Saudi Arabia, but there is room for growth in hydrogen production and solar energy. Beyond oil, the two countries are natural economic partners. US companies have contributed significantly to realizing early Saudi economic development plans and Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in US capital markets. The current Saudi blueprint for the future, Vision 2030, is centered on investment and creating sustainable development for the Kingdom’s post-oil future. The US is a key player in promoting investment abroad and at home. It is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (about $5 trillion in FDI stock) and its investments abroad have exceeded $6 trillion. US companies could contribute significantly to realizing the goals of the recently unveiled investment strategy of Saudi Arabia and Vision 2030. Their two-way trade, currently about $25 billion annually, can be expanded through closer engagement. A related goal for both nations is fighting climate change. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has introduced a number of green initiatives for Saudi Arabia and for the Middle East at large. They open attractive opportunities for governments, the private sector and governmental and nongovernmental organizations to work together to slow down and perhaps even reverse climate change by reducing emissions, fighting encroaching desertification, and reforestation, among other mechanisms included in those initiatives. Education has been another important part of the relationship. Hundreds of thousands of Saudis have received their education in the US and thousands of American students and scholars have also been to Saudi Arabia. The knowledge and diversity those students and scholars have brought to their institutions add an indispensable human connection between the two cultures that is likely to continue and thrive. Biden’s visit can be a positive turning point in a historical relationship, especially when the summit is followed by the establishment of reliable mechanisms for taking quick action on what is agreed on and effective dialogue when there are differences of opinion. Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the GCC assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation, and a columnist for Arab News. The views expressed in this piece are personal and do not necessarily represent GCC views.

Biden’s visit is not about transactions but about building on this well-developed relationship to address today’s pressing problems

Load-shedding: unendurable

I am a resident of Larkana. The breakdown of electricity is lasting for profound hours. It is reported that the breakdown is witnessed every day for myriad hours in Larkana. The menace of load-shedding has irritated the mental and physical wellbeing of citizens. Hence, it has become a serious-faced curse besides paying huge charges with massive taxes. Undoubtedly, summer is arduous to spend besides elevated temperature and unscheduled load-shedding have made our existences more desperate. Have long erratic breakdowns not tormented students? Shockingly, students are unable to do proper preparation for succeeding annual exams in this high Fahrenheit. Furthermore, blemishing weather has moulded the situation more crucial. Has it not become beyond the patience to survive? Has it not frightened numerous practices of daily life? Is casualty of profound factories and workshops not being inflicted by this chronic disorder? Is extensively significant time not being ruined in it? Indeed, load-shedding is responsible for all these drawbacks. Albeit, it is high time to urge for long-lasting load-shedding to be avoided. It has become complicated to inhale and exhale in this catastrophe.


Child labour

Child labour has been a serious universal question correlated with insufficient educational possibilities, poverty and gender imbalance. Child labour is the first stage of a destructive nation. Children should be influenced to study, not to go and work in a garage store. It deprives children of their childhood, capability and confidence. The ILO works on their physical and emotional feelings and give them a good platform for studying. The theme increased scientific interest with the industrial coup This is one of the most serious issues since 2005 until now. Although we know it is a great problem. still in many places we ignore it. 150 million children are at the age of 14 are labouring. It is also a factor in short lifetimes. In this context, India is first because poverty is more prevalent in India rather than in other countries. This case is in the hand of UNICEF now.The ratio of child labour is boosting in Pakistan. Currently, 30%of young children are forced to drop out of school by their parents. It is the only justification that their parents do not have the funds to educate them The government of Pakistan should take interest in this campaign because youths are the future of Pakistan. If our governors are not taught then how can we handle a country?


Search operations continue after deadly Russian strikes on Ukraine's Vinnytsia


Kyiv: Ukrainian rescuers on Friday continued search operations in the central city of Vinnytsia, where Russian strikes killed at least 23 people, including children. The charred remains of upturned cars surrounded by burnt debris were seen in images distributed by officials following the attack on Thursday on the city hundreds of kilometres from the front lines. In his daily address to the nation late on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said the toll was likely to rise. Dozens are still missing and many hospitalised in critical condition. "No other state in the world poses such a terrorist threat as Russia," a somber Zelensky said. "No other state in the world allows itself to destroy peaceful cities and ordinary human life with cruise missiles and rocket artillery on a daily basis." United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was "appalled" by the attack, while the European Union condemned it as an "atrocity." Both called for accountability. The president's office said in its morning military update on Friday that 18 people were still missing following the Vinnytsia strikes and 73 were in hospital with injuries. Ukrainian rescuers said they were continuing to clear debris on Friday and over four hundred people were involved in the operations. Ukrainian officials have identified one of the victims as a four-year-old girl called Liza, who was outside with her mother during the attack. Liza's mother is alive but in "critical" condition after surgery, Vinnytsia official Sergiy Borzov said. On Thursday, Zelensky led a moment of silence during an address in The Hague before urging European and International Criminal Court (ICC) officials to open a "special tribunal" into Russia's invasion. "I believe it is inevitable that (the) International Criminal Court will bring accountability to those guilty of crimes under its jurisdiction -- war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide." The ICC 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. Russia invaded on February 24 and the conflict has killed thousands of people, destroyed cities and forced millions to flee their homes. "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?" Zelensky said on Thursday after the Vinnytsia attack.Deadly strikes in central Ukraine have become relatively rare, but the war has raged around cities like Mykolaiv in the south, where officials said two universities were hit by strikes on Friday morning. "(Russia) attacked two of the biggest universities in Mykolaiv. At least 10 missiles," regional head Vitaliy Kim said on Twitter. In his tweet he shared a video of large clouds of black smoke billowing into the sky from one of the city buildings. The city's mayor, Oleksandr Sienkevych, said two people were wounded in the attacks but there were no casualties. The heaviest fighting in Ukraine, however, has focused recently on the industrial Donbas region in the east. Moscow-backed separatists said on Friday they were closing in on Siversk -- their next target, after wresting control of sister cities Lysychansk and Severodonetsk two weeks ago. AFP

China's Xi makes first Xinjiang visit since crackdown

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping made a public visit to Xinjiang, state media reported Friday, his first since a crackdown in the region saw Beijing accused of detaining over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in camps. The United States and lawmakers in other Western countries have labelled China's actions in Xinjiang a "genocide", imposing sanctions over the alleged human rights abuses. Beijing has denied the allegations, calling them the "lie of the century" and insisting that its policies have helped combat the threat of Islamic extremism. State news agency Xinhua said Xi hailed the strides made during an inspection tour of the far-western region -- his first since 2014, when three people were killed in an attack that presaged the start of the mass detention campaign three years later. He also reportedly praised the work of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a sprawling paramilitary organisation sanctioned by the United States for alleged human rights abuses. The group had made "great progress" in reform and development, Xinhua reported Xi as saying during a Wednesday trip to the city of Shihezi in the region's north. State media footage showed Xi speaking to students and local officials, taking in a song and dance performance, and receiving rapturous applause from residents in traditional clothing. The Chinese leader's sojourn to Xinjiang comes after a similarly rare visit earlier this month to another formerly restive territory, Hong Kong, where authorities have come down hard on the city's once-thriving pro-democracy movement. It also comes ahead of a key party congress later this year, when Xi is widely expected to break with decades of Communist Party precedent and secure a third consecutive term at the helm of the world's second-largest economy. 'Arbitrary and indiscriminate' Rights campaigners accuse China of a litany of abuses in Xinjiang, including mass incarceration, forced labour, compulsory sterilisation, and the destruction of Uyghur cultural and religious sites. Beijing vehemently rejects the claims and insists the centres are vocational and voluntary training facilities. It claims the allegations are part of a plot by the United States and other Western nations to smear China and contain its rise. During a rare visit to China in May, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations' human rights chief, urged Beijing to avoid "arbitrary and indiscriminate" measures in Xinjiang. But she acknowledged the harm caused by "violent acts of extremism" and declined to call her trip an "investigation". Bachelet's remarks were criticised by campaigners and former detainees, who accused her of capitulating to a stage-managed tour of the region orchestrated by Beijing. AFP

Bones unearthed at Waterloo two centuries after battle

Waterloo: A British-led archaeological dig has uncovered new human bones at the site of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium. Historians estimate that more than 20,000 soldiers were killed at Waterloo, 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Brussels, on June 18, 1815 when mainly Anglo-Dutch allied troops commanded by the Duke of Wellington defeated French battalions led by Napoleon Bonaparte. It was one of the worst armed confrontations in history and crushed Napoleon's dreams of a great empire. Tens of thousands of soldiers were also wounded. The discovery of new bones was made last week around the Mont St Jean farm, where Wellington set up the main allied field hospital at the time. "We have what looks like a complete human skeleton and, next to that, it's another amputated leg," said Tony Pollard, a professor at Glasgow University and one of the mission's directors. "We don't know whether that person was killed in a battle and the body brought here... or whether it was a patient who died in the hospital," he said. "On Napoleonic battlefields, this sort of very old deposit is incredibly rare. We have been working here since 2015 and this is the first time we've encountered a great pit. AFP

UN says millions of children missed routine vaccinations due to pandemic

Round 25 million children around the world missed out on routine vaccinations last year that protect against life-threatening diseases, as the knock-on effects of the pandemic continue to disrupt health care globally. That is two million more children than in 2020, when COVID-19 caused lockdowns around the world, and six million more than pre-pandemic in 2019, according to new figures released by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). UNICEF described the drop in vaccination coverage as the largest sustained backslide in childhood vaccination in a generation, taking coverage rates back to levels not seen since the early 2000s. Many had hoped that 2021 would see some ground recovered after the first year of the pandemic, but the situation actually worsened, raising questions over catch-up efforts. "I want to get across the urgency," UNICEF's senior immunisation specialist, Niklas Danielsson told Reuters. "This is a child health crisis." The agency said that a focus on COVID-19 immunisation campaigns in 2021, as well as the economic slowdown and strain on healthcare systems, had stymied a quicker recovery for routine vaccinations. AFP

One dead as Morocco forest fires rage

Larache: Fires ravaging remote mountain forests in northern Morocco have killed at least one person and forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 families, officials said on Friday. Fanned by strong winds, the fires that broke out on Wednesday have destroyed 1,600 hectares (nearly 4,000 acres) of woodland in the provinces of Larache, Ouezzane, Taza and Tetouan, the authorities said. "The body of a person suffering from multiple burns has been found" amid one of the blazes in the Larache region, the authorities said in a statement. The rapid spread of the fires forced 1,100 families to flee some 15 villages in Larache, while about another 645 residents were evacuated in the provinces of Taza and Tetouan. Four Canadair planes were deployed by the army to water bomb the fires. They were joined by hundreds of personnel from the civil protection service and water and forest department, as well as soldiers, police and volunteers. One fire had been extinguished and another was under control in Larache, according to authorities in the province. The North African nation, which is struggling under intense droughts, has in recent days been hit by soaring temperatures approaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). On the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar, fires are also raging in southern Europe, from Spain and Portugal to France and Greece. AFP

Italy's government on shaky ground ahead of new confidence vote

Rome: Italians woke to political uncertainty Friday amid an unprecedented government crisis that has put Mario Draghi's future as prime minister on tenterhooks and raised the spectre of snap elections. The premier of Europe's third-largest economy will have until Wednesday to shore up political support in a bid to save his coalition government tackling numerous challenges, from soaring inflation to the war in Ukraine. Italy's technocrat leader, the former head of the European Central Bank, has significantly raised the profile of his country on the world stage and within Europe. The crisis comes at a crunch time for the country, which risks losing billions in EU post-recovery funds if the rollout of key structural reforms is threatened. But he has presided over an unruly coalition of Italy's top political parties, save for the far-right Brothers of Italy, that has become increasingly fractious in advance of general elections planned for early next year. The crisis was sparked Thursday after the populist Five Star movement, a coalition member with dismal poll numbers, chose to sit out a confidence vote for a cost-of-living aid package some of whose provisions it objected to, prompting Draghi's resignation. President Sergio Mattarella, who acts as kingmaker in moments of political crisis, refused to accept the resignation, sending the premier back to parliament next week to assess the situation. "We have a very open-ended situation, the pressure is going up, there's lots of diplomatic work taking place behind the scenes and we still have four days to go," Policy Sonar analyst Francesco Galietti told AFP. 'Italy risks chaos' Although political crises are nothing new in Italy, "this one is unprecedented because geopolitical factors are taking precedent", Galietti said, citing tensions with Russia over its war in Ukraine. Draghi is scheduled to be in Algeria, a crucial gas supplier in the wake of Italy's boycott of Russian gas, Monday and Tuesday. On his return, he will deliver a speech to parliament, with or without a confidence vote. Politicians and experts view the possibility of Draghi continuing in his mandate as extremely fraught, even though he technically has the numbers to survive a confidence vote with or without Five Star. "The Draghi government and the coalition that supported it must continue, but right now I see it as very, very difficult," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told RTL 102.5 radio Friday. Accounts of behind-the-scenes political jostling filled Italian newspapers Friday. "Draghi resigns, Italy risks chaos," read a La Stampa daily headline. 'Suicidal instincts' Corriere della Sera editorialist Massimo Franco wrote that Draghi's resignation, forced by the Five Star, represents the "triumph of the suicidal instincts of political Italy". The Five Star Movement "preferred to destroy the attempted transition to stability and normalcy represented by the anomaly of an executive of national unity led by the most eminent personality available," he wrote. He added that the party was "desperate for a few percentage points to survive". Experts view the Five Star's move as an attempt to appeal to its grassroots base ahead of next year's election given poll numbers lagging at 11 percent. As Italy's left-leaning and centrist parties called for support for Draghi, the Brothers of Italy and League party called for early elections. AFP

India reports first case of monkeypox

India reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox on Thursday, a 35-year old man with a history of travel to the Middle East, government officials said. The man, who travelled from the United Arab Emirates to the southern Indian state of Kerala on July 12, was in stable condition and had been isolated at a hospital, the state's health minister, Veena George told reporters late on Thursday. "He is stable and all his vital signs are normal. We have asked all districts to be on alert," George said. Monkeypox, endemic in parts of Africa, is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions. Around 60 countries in which monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the disease, with confirmed cases crossing 10,500. George said the patient's parents and other primary contacts have also been isolated while 11 passengers who came in contact with him on his flight and some others have been told to watch for symptoms. The federal government said in a release that it was sending a high-level team to the state to work with local authorities and recommend necessary public health measures. Earlier on Thursday, it asked states to step up testing and surveillance for possible monkeypox infections. "As COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose challenges, it is vital we remain aware and alert about other public health threats and proactively prepare ourselves to tackle them," federal health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states. Reuters

Former rugby league star Tuivasa-Sheck poised for All Blacks debut

Wellington: Cross-code jumper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck says his promotion to New Zealand's starting team "is a dream" as he prepares to make an unexpected All Blacks debut in the cauldron of a series-deciding Test against Ireland. The former New Zealand rugby league captain is among the replacements for Saturday's third Test in Wellington -- an unforeseen selection given that it has been less than a year since his headline-grabbing exit from the 13-man code. Coach Ian Foster has reacted to the high stakes Test by naming the most experienced New Zealand starting team since their 2015 World Cup final triumph, boasting 880 combined caps. Yet Foster has found room in his squad for 29-year-old rookie Tuivasa-Sheck, a player regarded as a potential candidate to shine at next year's global tournament. The fast feet and acceleration of Tuivasa-Sheck lit up Australia's National Rugby League for a decade before he made the call to pursue his rugby union goal and play for the All Blacks. However, even he appeared surprised by this week's promotion. "You've got to cherish these opportunities -- that's how I see it," he said. "This is a dream. As a competitor or an athlete you want to play on these big stages and if you want to tell yourself 'I want to be the best in the world', these are the stages where you get to prove that." The former schoolboy rugby star impressed Foster during his debut Super Rugby Pacific season with the Auckland Blues and he's risen further in the coach's estimation on the back of three weeks of training. "It's actually a reward for his effort off the park. Roger has settled in well, he's a learner," Foster said. "It's a big occasion for him but ... he's an experienced player, he knows about the big stages and he knows you don't just go there and try to overplay your hand." Tuivasa-Sheck played 20 rugby league Tests for the Kiwis and experienced an NRL grand final triumph with the Sydney Roosters. He later moved to the Auckland-based New Zealand Warriors, where he was crowned the NRL's best player in 2018. The Samoan-born speedster is set to become the third All Blacks Test player to have previously represented the Kiwis. The most recent was another midfield attacking weapon, Sonny Bill Williams. Tuivasa-Sheck was impressed by the intensity within the New Zealand camp this week as they seek to rebound from last week's loss to Ireland in Dunedin and clinch the series. "I think we get over it quite quickly because this whole organisation is just a well-oiled machine and they're ready to just get better and figure out what's next," he said. AFP

Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds bans on Russian clubs

Paris: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday upheld the ban on Russian clubs from European competitions for the coming season and Russia's exclusion from international tournaments, as a result of the war in Ukraine. CAS rejected appeals by four Russian clubs against their banishment by UEFA from European competitions in 2022-2023 and another by the Russian Football Federation which contested its exclusion from all competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA. "The escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the public and government responses worldwide, created unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances to which FIFA and UEFA had to respond," the Lausanne-based CAS said in its press release. "In determining that Russian teams and clubs should not participate in competitions under their aegis while such circumstances persisted, the panel (of judges) held that both parties acted within the scope of the discretion granted to them under their respective statutes and regulations." Russian clubs and national teams were initially suspended "until further notice" by UEFA in February in the wake of the country's invasion of Ukraine. In early May, UEFA announced that "no Russian club" would participate in the 2022-2023 season of European club competitions, namely the Champions League, the Europa League or the Europa Conference League. Zenit Saint Petersburg, who were denied a place in the group stages of the Champions League because of the ban, CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Moscow and Sochi all challenged the decision. Russia's national team was kicked out of the qualifying competition for this year's World Cup in Qatar by FIFA just before a crucial play-off tie against Poland in March. Russia were also excluded from the Women's European Championship currently taking place in England and will play no further part in the qualifying campaign for the 2023 Women's World Cup. "The panel finds it unfortunate that the current military operations in Ukraine, for which Russian football teams, clubs, and players have themselves no responsibility, had, by reason of the decisions of FIFA and UEFA, such an adverse effect on them and Russian football generally, but those effects were... offset by the need for the secure and orderly conduct of football events for the rest of the world," said CAS. AFP

Marquez gets green light for physio six weeks after arm surgery

Madrid: Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has been given the green light to begin physiotherapy six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right arm in the United States, his Repsol Honda team confirmed on Friday. The 29-year-old broke his arm in a crash at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2020 and while he returned to action in April last year, and won three races, his injury continued to cause him problems. The latest operation was the fourth he had undergone on his arm. "We have taken an important step in the recovery process," Marquez said in a statement on the team's website. "In this second check-up, the doctors have confirmed that the humerus is consolidating correctly, with this we can start physiotherapy on the right arm and cardio training. "I am very excited to be able to recover mobility in my arm to continue advancing the recovery process and I want to thank the entire medical team for their treatment and attention." Doctor Joaquin Sanchez Sotelo carried out the operation at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, adding that Marquez will undergo a new review within the next six weeks. Marquez crashed in practice for the Indonesian Grand Prix in March and missed that race and the next one in Argentina with a recurrence of his double vision. AFP

Wallabies look to 'stack it on' early in decisive England Test

Sydney: Skipper Michael Hopper said Friday that the Wallabies plan to flip the script and come out firing in a bid to combat England's fast starts in the decisive third Test in Sydney. Eddie Jones's men pinned Australia back so successfully in Brisbane last weekend that they raced a 19-0 lead before Australia clawed back into a game they ultimately lost 25-17. It followed a nervewracking 30-28 first test win for the home side in Perth with Saturday's match at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground deciding who takes home the Ella-Mobbs Cup. Hooper said his team had learned from England's Brisbane blitz and planned to pile the pressure on early. "We've got to get out of our end well. If we can, get an opportunity to utilise our set piece, get down the other end of the field," he said. "We've been able to sustain a lot of pressure, come back into the games from being behind. We want to flip that -- to come out with good momentum and stack it on and put these guys under pressure. "They did a great job last week doing that to us. We're wanting to change that round." The Wallabies have been hit hard by injury and suspension, with almost half of their initial squad for the series encountering problems. But coach Dave Rennie has repeatedly stressed the strength of depth in Australian rugby and he was able to call up an experienced campaigner like Reece Hodge to fill in at fullback. He is among four changes with Harry Wilson in at blindside flanker, James Slipper replacing Angus Bell at loosehead prop and Nick Frost slotting into the second cap. "It's been a challenge but we rotated through a lot of different combinations in the lead-up to this," Hooper said. "We're confident in all our players that are going to roll out. Yes, there are changes and there hasn't been too much consistency throughout this series but we're super pleased with where the team's at." More enjoyable Jones' team is aiming to become only the second ever England side to win a series in Australia, and he has urged them to find "the right balance of aggression and control". "It's about being fierce but being calm, that's the challenge for us," he said. They have also been upended by injuries, with Ollie Chessum and Lewis Ludlam coming into the pack to replace Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill, while Danny Care returns at scrum-half with Jack van Poortvliet benched. Captain Courtney Lawes said the squad was relaxed heading into the decider, a trait he said had helped them in the series. "We have to get everything we can out of training and it has to be intense and we have to do everything under pressure," he said. "But when we get back to the hotel, we enjoy ourselves, have fun, let go, don't think about rugby, be a team, enjoy each other's company... We've made it a much more enjoyable environment. AFP

Dustin Johnson takes clubhouse lead in British Open

St Andrews: Dustin Johnson took the lead in the clubhouse on the second day of the 150th British Open at St Andrews on Friday after a five-under-par round of 67 left him at nine-under at the halfway stage. Johnson, one of the 24 members of the breakaway LIV Golf series present at the Open this week, followed his opening 68 with a bogey at the first after going out in one of the first groups of the day at 8:14 am (0714 GMT). However, the American former world number one and two-time major winner quickly recovered from that with no more bogeys and six birdies, including one at the last which saw him move a shot ahead of overnight leader Cameron Young. Young, who led by two strokes overnight after an eight-under-par 64 on Thursday, was due to tee off at at 1:26 pm (1226 GMT) in his second round. Johnson's fellow LIV rebel Talor Gooch earlier shot 69 to move to seven-under at the halfway stage, and he was joined there by Australian former Masters champion Adam Scott. Playing with Johnson, Scott shot a brilliant second-round 65, the lowest round so far of a day that began wet and overcast before the skies began to clear in late morning. AFP

Pak vs SL

Babar Azam dismisses Sri Lankan security worries, saying that he "didn't feel unsafe"

Web Desk

Galle: Babar Azam, the captain of Pakistan's national test team, voiced his confidence in the security measures for the team's trip to Galle for a Test series on Friday. Sri Lanka is experiencing nationwide protests against the president and prime minister, which are calling for their resignation. Before the first of the two games in the series, which is set to start on July 16 at Galle International Stadium, Babar told the media that the team is being "well-cared for" by the local government. The team landed in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, last week, when the country's economic problems provoked protests that resulted in Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation as president. After a three-day warm-up match in the city, the squad left for Galle. "We felt secure when visiting Sri Lanka. The Pakistani skipper stated, "Sri Lanka Cricket has looked after us really well, and the protection offered to us is amazing. We also played a warm-up game there, so everything is OK, and we are concentrating on the series.No obstacles made us feel unsafe, though. The top batter claimed that Sri Lankans are passionate about the sport and that they shown this throughout the Test series against Australia."We hope that spectators will visit the stadium during this series, too." The Pakistani team's captain promised that they would give the series their all and that they were ready for the challenge."I enjoy Galle's terrain. The Australian series offered the players a sense of what the circumstances would be like, and the Sri Lankan team is highly resilient at home, according to Babar Azam. "We have finished our studies and have finally come here to play."The captain noted that the Galle pitch greatly benefits spinners. "SL spinners are really skilled, and we are ready for that."Yasir Shah has returned after hard work, and Babar defended his participation in the team by expressing his hope that he will give the competing team a difficult time. Babar offered his support to former Indian captain Virat Kohli, who is presently experiencing a difficult time, by saying that as a player, he is familiar with how to navigate difficult circumstances."Players need sport at this time. I wrote Kohli a message to support him."Babar claimed that Kohli was an excellent cricketer who played a lot of the game.In his conclusion, he said, "Virat Kohli knows how to get out of these problems. It takes time, but we should provide him support so he comes out of it as soon as possible.Babar tweeted a picture of himself and Kohli late on Thursday, expressing his support for the former Indian captain. "This will also pass. Stay steadfast, "For Kohli, who last achieved an international century in 2019, Babar had written.


President Alvi reiterates his concerns regarding violent occurrences against journalists and media personnel 

Appoints senate members of PAF Air War College Institute

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi asked Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in a separate letter sent to him on Friday to instruct the relevant Ministries and Departments to take corrective action and preventative measures to allay the fears and complaints of journalists and media personnel regarding incidents of harassment, physical abuse, and violence. President Dr. Arif Alvi also included a letter from prominent anchorperson Arshad Sharif that he had received. In the letter, Sharif called attention to instances of harassment by citing a few esteemed journalists and data he had obtained from various sources. The President said, “The Constitution urges the state to provide due rights and protection to individuals. Pakistan has always strived to do so, but in the case of journalists and media persons, if they feel pressurized, fair criticism within the bounds of law, freedom of expression and then democracy itself is threatened”. In the letter addressed to the President, Arshad Sharif had alleged that some unscrupulous elements were threatening to endanger his life and requested the President to safeguard his fundamental rights as enshrined in Articles 4, 9, 10A, 14, 18, 19 and 19A of the Constitution of Pakistan. In order to allay the concerns and complaints of journalists and media personnel, President Dr. Arif Alvi suggested that the Prime Minister kindly direct the relevant Ministries and Departments to take corrective actions and preventive measures, particularly with reference to the enclosed letter and other similar complaints. In the meantime, President Dr. Arif Alvi gave his approval on Friday to the selection of the senators for the Air War College Institute of the Pakistan Air Force. The nominations were made in accordance with Section 8(3) of the Act by the president, who is also the patron of the PAF Air War College Institute under the 2021 Act. The President of Pakistan, the Chief of the Air Staff, the PSO Training, and the President of the Air War College serve as ex-officio members of the Senate. A representative of the federal government, four professionals with expertise in related fields, one alumni, two representatives with experience in education, four faculty members, a representative of the Higher Education Commission, the registrar, and the director of the Quality Enhancement Cell are also included among the members. The National Rahmatullil Alameen and Khatamun Nabiyeen Authority Bill 2022, meanwhile, received the president's blessing on Friday. In accordance with Article 75 of the Constitution, the president approved the aforementioned law. The legislation calls for the establishment of the Khatamun Nabiyeen Authority and Rahmatullil Alameen.

Govt plans to restart PM's youth laptop scheme this year: Shaza Fatima

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: This year, the government intends to resume the Prime Minister's Youth Laptop Program, under which computers would be given to university students who excel academically. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, made this announcement while speaking to Radio Pakistan on Friday in honour of World Youth Skills Day. A laptop, according to the Special Assistant, is a tool that gives young people access to the most recent skills, online work, and enterprises. She noted that 68 percent of Pakistan's population is under the age of 25, making World Youth Skills Day crucial. Shaza Fatima emphasised the need of providing the next generation with new vocational and technical skills, noting how the development of modern technology has benefited all industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and textiles. She said that the PML N government launched the Prime Minister's Youth Program in 2013, which awarded 100,000 scholarships yearly. The government, according to her, will soon publicise the scholarships for this year. According to the Special Assistant, under the Prime Minister's Youth programme, loan programmes for young entrepreneurs will also be reintroduced. Through these programmes, loans up to 7.5 million rupees can be obtained through convenient payments. She stated that special awareness campaigns and business plan workshops will be held to inspire young people to start their own businesses and become employment providers rather than job seekers.

LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Insaf Central Punjab President Hammad Azhar is holding a press conference along with Central Chairman of Masalak Ulema Board Maulana Asim Makhdoom and others.

SC to hear Imran Khan’s petition against NAB amendments on July 19 

The National Accountability (Amendment) Act (XI of) 2022's amendments were contested by the former prime minister earlier in June

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The plea of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against the revisions to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) rules led to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) appointing a three-member special panel. On July 19, the bench will hear the petition. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Umar Ata Bandial, will preside over the three-person bench, which also consists of Justices Aijazul Ahsan and Mansoor Ali Shah. The National Accountability (Amendment) Act (XI of) 2022's amendments were contested by the former prime minister earlier in June. In his petition filed under article 184 (3) of the constitution, Imran Khan named the federal government and NAB as respondents. PTI chief said that the recent amendments were in violation of the Constitution. The petition claimed that the amendments have had the “effect of virtually eliminating any white-collar crime, committed by a holder of public office, as prosecutable offence.” The petition said that the amendments were against the basic rights enshrined in articles 9, 14, 19A, 24, and 25 of the constitution while the amendments in sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 21, 23, 25 and 26 of the law were in contradiction with the Constitution. The former PM prayed to the court to declare the amendments void. Earlier, after President Arif Alvi - who was elected by the PTI government - refused to sign the NAB bill into law, the government got it approved by a joint session of the parliament. When it was sent to the president once again, President Dr Arif Alvi sent back the bill unsigned to the Prime Minister’s office while stating that he believes the bill, as passed by the parliament, is regressive in nature, and it will promote corruption by ensuring that the long arm of the law is crippled.

MIRPUR: Chief Justice Supreme Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Saeed Akram is meeting with the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhary.

Imran Khan Vows PTI will ‘clean sweep’ Punjab by-elections

By Our Correspondent

FAISALABAD: Imran Khan, a former prime minister and the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has declared that his group will easily win the upcoming by-elections in Punjab, which are set to take place on July 17. The former premier promised to defeat the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the "turncoats" in the upcoming Punjab by-elections while speaking to a crowd in Faisalabad. Imran Khan thanked the crowd of onlookers for coming "in big numbers" at the start of his speech. “The people of Pakistan are now aware of their rights and the conspiracies held against the country,” he added. He reiterated that the ‘foreign conspiracy’ was succeeded with the facilitation of Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq of Pakistan. However, the PTI Chairman vowed to fight for Pakistan ’till the last ball’. The former prime minister observed that the by-elections on July 17 would be different from the past since voters this time around would be informed citizens. In the previous 75 years, he continued, "I have never seen this nation as alert." Imran Khan vowed to not allow rulers to hijack the public funds, alleging that the "imported administration" stole Rs. 1,100 billion through changes to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) legislation as they came into power. He urged the youth to vote for the "bat," saying the government would stop at nothing to rig the by-elections because it had learned the country was behind PTI. Imran Khan also criticised the government's most recent cut in fuel costs, calling it "inadequate." He said, "Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the cut as if he were doing the country a favour. He stated that local gasoline and diesel costs should be around Rs. 150 and that the price of oil has drastically fallen below $100 on a worldwide scale. In contrast to the PTI government, which refused to give in to pressure from the international lender and maintained the price of the commodity low, the current administration is not acting because it is afraid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the speaker argued. Imran Khan reiterated that they want good relations with every country including the United States but would not embrace anyone as their ‘masters’. “The US brought the incumbent rulers in powers as it could not bear a leader who serves the interest of his nation instead of their,” he added.

Pakistan, US reiterate the resolve to further promote their bilateral cultural & people to people ties 


WASHINGTON: Pakistan and the United States have reaffirmed their commitment to fostering their cross-border relations on a cultural and interpersonal level. Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, and Dr. Paul Michael Taylor, director of the Smithsonian Institute's Asian Cultural History Program, discussed the issue at their meeting in Washington. Ambassador Masood Khan emphasised that existing cultural similarities serve as a basis for fostering links between the two peoples. He added that such interactions will aid in people's understanding of one another's viewpoints and cultures. He pointed out that this year's 75th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the United States is a great chance to highlight the strong cultural links that exist between the two nations.Sardar Masood Khan invited the Smithsonian Institute to partner with the Embassy in this regard and collaborate with Pakistani embassy in facilitating bilateral exchanges and organizing events to promote rich Pakistani culture in the United States. Dr. Taylor welcomed the idea and vowed to collaborate to mark this important milestone. He also briefed the Ambassador on the rich collection maintained by the Smithsonian Institute on Pakistan, particularly on Kashmir. Alluding to his frequent traveling to Pakistan, Dr. Taylor expressed interest in working on the rich cultural heritage of the region. He also shared his earlier collaboration with Lok Virsa on different projects as well as his ongoing collaborations in Lahore on a series of programs encouraging local production of films in Central and South Punjab. He also spoke about various fellowships and research opportunities offered by the Smithsonian Institute for graduate, pre-doctoral, or post-doctoral students.

Students stage protest in pooch against occupation of school by Indian troops


SRINAGAR: In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, students staged a protest against the occupation of the Government Girls Middle School building by Indian troops in Poonch district. According to Kashmir Media Service, the girl students and their parents staged a sit-in for several hours on Mandi Loran road of the district. The students of Government Girls Middle school of Rajpora Mundi said that Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel had entered their school building during the Corona epidemic and occupied it which severely affected their education. The administration also shifted patwarkhana in one part of the school and since long the locals are facing problem. The students urged the authorities to get the school building vacated.

Three Indian soldiers killed, one injured in fratricide incident in Poonch By

Our Correspondent

JAMMU: In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, three Indian soldiers were killed and another was injured in an incident of fratricide in Poonch district. According to Kashmir Media Service, the firing incident took place inside an Indian army camp in Surankote area of the district on Friday morning, officials said. Indian defense officials told the media that there was a heated argument between two soldiers over some personal matter. Both opened fire on each other leading to their death, however, some bullets hit two other army personnel, leaving them critically injured. They said, the injured were airlifted to Udhampur Army Hospital where one among them succumbed to his injuries.

Sheikh Abdul Mateen terms failure of India in obtaining permanent seat at UNSC as big success of Pakistan at diplomatic level

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir Pakistan Chapter Secretary General Sheikh Abdul Mateen has termed the failure of India in obtaining permanent seat at United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as big success of Pakistan at the diplomatic level along with success of Kashmiris. In a statement issued on Friday, Sheikh Abdul Mateen said that on the one India is committing violations of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Kashmir and on the other hand making efforts to become the permanent member of the UNSC, which is violation of the UN manifesto and also tantamount to rubbing salt on the wounds of the Kashmiris. Sheikh Abdul Mateen said that India has illegal and forced occupation on Jammu and Kashmir, adding that Indian rulers have promised to give right of plebiscite to the Kashmiris in front of the international community. He said that the UNSC resolutions are still present, which have not been implemented so far, but contrary to this India in violation of the UN resolutions has deployed 0.8 million forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and committing state terrorism against the Kashmiris. Sheikh Abdul Mateen questioned the international conscience that a country which commits blatant violations of the UNSC resolutions how it could become the permanent member of this organization? He said that India has always committed violation of the United Nations resolutions. He said that India is involved in heinous violations of the human rights in occupied Kashmir, adding that Indian forces are busy in genocide of the Kashmiris. He said that the member countries of the UN should take steps against India for violation of the human rights and barbarism of the Indian army in occupied Kashmir. Sheikh Abdul Mateen demanded of the UN Secretary General and President UNSC to play their role in implementation of UNO Resolutions regarding Kashmir and should suspend the Indian membership until and unless she implements these resolutions and give right to self-determination to Kashmiris.

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