Pakistan presents national review on SDGs to UN HLPF
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Pakistan was presented at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPG) 2022 by Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives. The minister praised Pakistan as a resilient country while delivering the VNR at the Economic and Social Council's (15th) ministerial segment meeting (ECOSOC 2022) in New York. "The youth make up our country. The median age of the population is under 30. For sustained development and a better Pakistan, Pakistan's youth need good education and skills. He said despite having formidable global and national challenges, Pakistan followed its development plans in partnership with the international community and local stakeholders, according to a message received here on Saturday. “This year’s VNR report contains localisation efforts and innovation in partnership with other different stakeholders, response and recovery from Covid and way forward in the light of lessons learnt to build forward better in the decade of action.” The integration of the Vision 2025 with the Social Development Goals was provided by Ahsan Iqbal. According to him, the SDGs and the National Vision 2025 are strategically connected. Every pillar has a particular relationship to a certain Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Regarding the policy-enabling environment, he stated that the SDGs were accepted as a national development agenda by the National Assembly in 2016 in a unanimous decision. "Thereafter, in order to mainstream and localise SDGs, we have formed specialised seven SDGs support units at the federal, provincial.
Govt to bring economic stability, reducing inflation: Miftah
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: On Saturday, Miftah Ismail, the minister of finance and revenue, reaffirmed the government's firm commitment to bringing economic stability, lowering inflation, ending power outages, and building foreign exchange reserves in order to achieve long-term, broadly inclusive economic growth and social prosperity in the nation. Addressing a press conference along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Finance Minister reaffirmed the government’s resolve to pass on all the benefits gained through declining of petroleum prices in international market, besides taking all possible steps to protect the most vulnerable segments of the society through strengthening social safety nets. The minister claimed that the coalition government's unpopular and difficult decisions had prevented the nation from going into default, but he added that strict adherence to fiscal and financial discipline was still necessary to steer the economy in the right direction and achieve social prosperity. He claimed that soon after the price of petroleum goods dropped on the global market, the government made the decision to share all of its benefits with the general populace of the nation, and it would continue to do so in order to combat the inflationary pressure that was growing. He said that after the reduction in petroleum prices in local markets, Pakistan Railways and Pakistan International Airline had also announced to reduce their fairs, adding that provincial governments were also directed to take measures to bring down fairs in inter-city and intra-city to facilitate the passengers. About the depreciation of Pak-Rupee against greenback, the minister expressed the hope that it would strengthen soon after the finalization of agreement with International Monetary Fund by current month, besides receiving about $ 4 billion from the some brotherly and friendly countries. The minister said that it was also expected to receive about $6 billion by the multi-lateral lending institutions including Asian development bank, World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank and others, adding that it would also help to bring the stability in value of rupee. He criticised the incompetence and terrible governance of the Imran Khan-led administration, claiming that the previous administration was not only incompetent but also inefficient and had brought the nation dangerously close to economic collapse and social unrest. According to him, the budget deficit during the first three years of the PTI government hit a historic high of Rs 3,408 billion, as opposed to the overall deficit of Rs 1,664 billion during the PML-previous N's five-year term. He claimed that the federal government's reduction of its development budget from Rs 900 billion to Rs 550 billion had hampered the construction of new infrastructure, while the national debt had increased by roughly 78 percent, reaching an all-time high of Rs 44,366 billion.
ROMANIA: Ambassador of Pakistan to Romania Dr Zafar Iqbal and chief naval overseas (Romania) along with officials of Pakistan Navy and M/s DAMEN shipyard during steel cutting ceremony of first offshore patrol vessel( CPv-II) being constructed for Pakistan navy held at M/s DAMEN shipyard Galati, Romaina.
After being questioned by the President about Khashoggi, the Crown Prince responds to Biden
RIYADH: According to a source with knowledge of the situation, after US President Joe Biden questioned him about the death of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 during a meeting between the two leaders, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, retaliated against Biden. In the meeting, Bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, denied being behind Khashoggi's murder at the Turkish consulate of the kingdom. According to the source, Biden indicated that he disagreed with MBS based on US intelligence findings.In response to Biden bringing up Khashoggi, MBS cited the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison by US military personnel and the May killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank as incidents that reflected poorly on the US, the source said. Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir echoed the sentiment in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer shortly after the end of the meeting, which Jubeir was part of. "We investigated, punished and ensure that this doesn't happen again," Jubeir said when asked about the Khashoggi murder. "This is what countries do. This is what the US did when the mistake of Abu Ghraib was committed." The Abu Ghraib prison was a US Army detention center for captured Iraqis from the start of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 until the prison's closure in 2006. In 2004, a trove of graphic images from the prison was leaked, depicting the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US military personnel. Eleven US soldiers were convicted of crimes relating to the scandal. Renowned Al Jazeera journalist Abu Akleh was lethally gunned down during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
Saudi leadership, Muslim Ummah on same page over Palestine issue: Ashrafi
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, the special representative of the prime minister for interreligious harmony and the Middle East, stated on Saturday that the Saudi royal family and the Muslim Ummah had the same position on the Palestine problem. He said in a video message that the Saudi leadership had always boosted the morale of the Muslim Ummah through thick and thin and was a steadfast supporter of Palestine's stance of an independent and sovereign state, dismissing the propaganda of making concessions on the Palestine issue during the meeting of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and US President Joe Biden. Ashrafi who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council said the Joe Biden’s visit to Jeddah was another milestone achieved by the Saudi government after the successful operation of Hajj 2022 comprising of one million people which came to a halt due to COVID-19. He expressed the hope that the following visit would further cement the bilateral relations between the two countries. He also declined the rumors of taking the US president to Madina Munawara and removing the boards inscribing prohibition of non-Muslims in Makkah Mukarma. He said Saudi Arabia was the cornerstone of the Muslim world and it had all the potential to cope with issues being confronted by the Muslim Ummah on the globe. He lauded the splendid role of Saudi leadership for uniting all the Muslim countries under the umbrella of Organization of Islamic Cooperation and making unwavering efforts to resolve the issues of Muslim Ummah at all international fora.
Violators of ECP’s orders during by-polls will be held accountable under law: Sanaullah
Claims PTI sent off over 500 anarchists to Punjab ahead of by-polls
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Those who disobeyed the Election Commission of Pakistan's directives during Sunday's by-elections, according to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, will face legal consequences. The Interior Minister pledged to maintain order and transparency throughout these elections in a statement on Saturday. Rana Sanaullah asserted that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had sent more than 500 anarchists to Punjab before of the Sunday by-elections, which were crucial elections for 20 seats in the nation's most populous province. He was of the view that Imran had already lost elections, and now he was planning violence to disturb peace on the polling day. “I am telling you that if any incident similar to the ones that took place during the Daska by-election recurs, the law will take its course,” he warned. He claimed that more than 500 anarchists of PTI have reached Punjab ahead of the by-elections and warned Imran Khan that he would be responsible if PTI’s Tiger Force resorted to hooliganism. He accused PTI stalwarts such as Pervez Khattak, Murad Saeed, Asad Qaiser and Ali Muhammad Khan of providing ‘shelter’ to the miscreants. “There is a plan to pit Pakhtoons against their Punjabi brethren,” Sana said. “Imran, days of your politics are numbered, and Sunday’s by-polls will prove to be a last nail in PTI’s coffin,” the interior minister claimed. He claimed that the PTI, which ruled for four years, would not be permitted to steal the Pakistan Muslim League-popular Nawaz's vote (PML-N). Tomorrow's elections would be held in a free and fair manner, he vowed. According to Sanaullah, PTI's proposal to send out poll workers from outside the constituencies was a part of the same plot. Ahead of the Punjab by-elections, the Punjab government earlier prohibited PTI leaders Ali Amin Gandapur and Maqbool Gujjar from entering the province. Ata Tarar, the home minister for Punjab, claimed that Gandapur intended to engage in violent activity within the province. He added that the government would ensure that the elections would be peaceful and open, and he threatened the criminals with harsh punishment should they engage in violent activity.
LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in meeting with minority Member of Assembly Ramesh Singh.
PM Shehbaz is excused from the Ashiana Housing case hearing
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: On Saturday, the Accountability Court exempted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif from having to personally present at the hearing for the Ashiana Housing Scheme, while Hamza Shahbaz, the chief minister of Punjab, received a one-day exemption for the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. The father-and-son team did not show up in either of the two references as they submitted their plea and asked the court to excuse them from attending the hearing. Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister, was excused from appearing in person at the Ashiana Housing Scheme hearing on Saturday by the Accountability Court, while Hamza Shahbaz, the chief minister of Punjab, was granted a one-day exemption for the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. The father-and-son duo entered their plea and requested the court to exempt them from the hearing, but they failed to appear in either of the two references.
Zardari is optimistic that relations with the establishment and political parties would improve
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan People's Party and a former president, has stated that the relationship between political parties and the establishment has greatly improved over time and would continue to do so. He made the aforementioned remark in a conversation with the governor of Sindh in Karachi. Zardari remarked, "Journalists have always enjoyed freedom during the administration of the People's Party and will continue to enjoy it. I wish Imran Khan had considered about their rights even during his regime. Taking a swipe at the PTI chairman, he added that the era of Imran Khan has been a dark era in terms of press freedom.
The Politics of Service will win in the By-Election: Hamza Shahbaz
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz said that the one doing politics of service will win in the by-elections. The people will reject the fraud narrative and false slogan of Imran Niazi with the power of their vote, he stated. CM directed the administration and the police to ensure the security of the voters adding that the Punjab government will guard the respect of the vote. CM issued directions to ensure security of the voters as well as to maintain peaceful environment during the by-elections. CM warned that no miscreant will be allowed to spoil the environment during the polling process. CM underscored that the motive of our politics is doing public service adding that Imran Niazi is doing politics of falsehood and deception. Hamza Shahbaz denounced that Imran Niazi has adopted the narrative to humiliate the institutions for the sake of his political motive. CM outlined that the people will reject the leader attacking the institutions along with his party with the power of their vote. CM directed the police and the administration to remain completely impartial and neutral during the by-elections. CM maintained that we accept the power of the vote and further directed the police and the administration to perform their constitutional and legal responsibilities in letter and spirit. CM directed the administration and the police to fully implement the directions of the Election Commission.
China's Yutong Bus to set up public transport plant in Pakistan
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: A significant, contemporary Chinese manufacturer with a focus on buses is Yutong Bus. has consented to build a public transportation facility in Pakistan's Sindh province. The facility would be built on 15 to 18 acres of land, either in Hyderabad or Karachi, according to Gwadar Pro. The event occurred on Thursday during a meeting between Paul Zhang, the country manager of Yutong Bus China, and Provincial Minister for Transport Sharjeel Inam Memon. Service Head Yutong Wayner Wang accompanied Mr. Zhang as well. According to a formal statement, "the meeting resolved to prepare a specific proposal in this regard by next week," adding that "the facility will be put up on 15 to 18 acres of land." "The transport department is making every attempt to entice international investors to put up a public transport factory in Sindh," stated Mr. Sharjeel Inam Memon. He said that with foreign investment, Pakistan's public transportation system would improve and more jobs would be made available. Managing Director of the Sindh Mass Transit Authority Cap. (R) Altaf Hussain Sario, National Radio Transmission Company Project Director Sohaib Shafiq, and Secretary of Transportation Abdul Haleem Sheikh were also present. It's appropriate to note that Mr. Memon and a Chinese delegation earlier this month agreed to launch a new bus service in Karachi. A fleet of 500 buses will make up the new bus service, and they will be in the city in four months.
The divisional and police administration completed the arrangements for the by-election
By Our Correspondent
MULTAN: Commissioner Multan Division Engineer Aamir Khattak said that according to the data, 1382 polling booths and 418 polling stations have been established in Lodhran, Multan district. 362263 male voters, 312996 female male voters will cast their votes. They are providing full support to the Election Commission for transparent elections. The code of conduct of the Election Commission will be implemented in every way. The administration will provide all possible support to the Election Commission to make the elections transparent. will provide, voters will be provided with a peaceful environment to exercise their right to vote. The district administration will ensure all the arrangements for electricity and water supply in the polling stations. Thorough cleaning arrangements are being made inside the polling stations. Ideal arrangements have been made for the voters at all the polling stations. Political parties, civil society should cooperate with the administration for a peaceful election. RPO Multan Region Rafit Mukhtar said that the law will be in motion against those who disturb the law and order situation. The best strategy, tight security has been provided to conduct the polling process in a peaceful manner. More than 7000 police personnel will be on duty in Multan, Lodhran district. Commissioner Aamir Khattak, RPO Raja Rafat met RO, discussed arrangements.
Linguistic violence being ignited to impact LG polls: Nasir Hussain Shah
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: According to Sindh Local Body Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, some organisations are attempting to incite linguistic unrest in Sindh in order to influence the LG elections. On Saturday, Local Body Minister Nasir Hussain Shah spoke at a press conference and discussed the recent unrest that broke out in Hyderabad following the death of Bilal Kaka. He continued by saying that a plot had sparked verbal violence. He stated that the government of Sindh will not let any murderer go free. The plot's objective was to influence the impending LG elections in Sindh's 16 districts. Shah promised an investigation and the prosecution of all responsible parties. He continued by saying that some political parties employ criminals for their own political ends. Linguistic violence ignited in the province after a young boy was shot dead in a local restaurant in Hyderabad. Bilal Kaka died in a billing dispute at a local restaurant in Hyderabad, and three others were injured. The murder incited violence in multiple parts of Sindh including Hyderabad. On July 14, enraged protesters blocked the Superhighway at Sohrab Goth against the Hyderabad incident.
Punjab's upcoming election will determine the country's political situation
By District Reporter
CHAKWAL: Punjab by election will determine future political situation in Pakistan Senior journalist Khawaja Babarsaleem Mahmoo said on Saturday that the by election of Punjab to be held on Sunday will foreclose the future of not only the country but also the province of Punjab. The figures are being told in favor of PML-N and if the past record is also seen, then PML-N is showing superiority over PTI, but on the other hand it is being told that Imran Khan's narrative has spread from Khyber to Karachi. It has created a stir in the country and the Kamba erected by Imran Khan, who is currently on the heights of fame, will also be successful. However, the situation is very interesting. The results of these by-elections will have a strong effect on the politics of Chakwal district. He was speaking live from Chakwal Press Club Studio. Zulfiqar Mir, the host of the program, said that it is generally believed that the ruling party is successful in the by-elections, but out of the 13 by-elections that were held in Punjab during the tenure of PTI, the Muslim League-N won 11 seats. was successful and if seen in this background, the general idea is that the Muslim League-N will win 14 to 15 seats out of 20. Senior journalist Muhammad Shafiq Malik said that the rallies of Imran Khan and Maryam Nawaz have created a political crisis in the entire country. The upheaval is brewing and surely these by-elections will set the political scenario for the general elections to be held in the future. Both the parties are hopeful, but the interesting thing is that the seven independent candidates belong to Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan and it is to be seen how far this party can get the attention of the people. Raja Saqib Abbas, a young journalist, said that the effects of the deliberate increase in the prices of petroleum will also be revealed in this by-election. The pressure of the situation will fall on the ruling candidates. Senior journalist Raja Iftkha Rahamd said that the contest in Chakwal district will be between PTI and PML N in the upcoming election, but PML-Q is also present here. There are rifts between PTI and PML-Q which makes the situation very interesting, PML-Q has its own vote bank in constituency NA-59 and definitely there is a possibility of adjustment between PTI and PML-Q. Roshan are therefore expected to compete directly between the Muslim League-N and the two-party alliance, the People's Party in the form of Raja Rizwan Dandut.
Punjab govt gathers "strong evidence" that former CM Buzdar committed corruption
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: The former chief minister Usman Buzdar is accused of ploughing billions of rupees into a variety of ventures, and the Punjab administration has gathered strong proof of his corruption. The government has accelerated attempts to take action against Buzdar and his collaborators in light of the reports prepared by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the intelligence bureau. Buzdar has already been granted bail in numerous fraud and corruption cases (IB). The government has also gathered strong proof against two accused frontmen for the former CM. The agencies probing corruption charges against ex-CM have also tracked down details of bank accounts in the name of Buzdar’s front men. The provincial government has also got its hand on more evidence of corruption and kickbacks against Buzdar’s paternal uncle Ameer Taimur. According to the report, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and anti-corruption department have evidence of investments - worth billions of rupees - made by Buzdar in Pakistan. Additionally, it is anticipated that during the probe, the former chief minister's staff members will make startling revelations about the former CM and Farha Gogi, a close friend of the former first lady Bushra Bibi, Imran Khan's wife. Additionally, the Punjab government has chosen to provide evidence against Buzdar and oppose his bail in the Lahore High Court (LHC). Additionally, the Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif have received the proof against the former CM. Additionally, it has come to light that numerous employees of Buzdar's staff have consented to turn informants against him.
LHC protested the choice to designate local poll workers
LAHORE: In order to conduct local poll workers during the by-elections in 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was ordered to depute local poll workers, a move that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has challenged before the Lahore High Court (LHC). PTI's Yasmin Rashid, through her attorney Aamir Saeed, filed the plea with the Lahore High Court (LHC). He argued before the court that there was no such restriction on assigning a poll worker who is a constituent. She stated, "There is no such provision in the Elections Act," and claimed the ECP made this judgement in order to further demonstrate its prejudices against the PTI. She further alleged that such acts are part of pre-poll rigging attempts and asked the LHC to annul the decision from the election commission. It is pertinent to mention here that PTI has deployed its MNAs from KP to oversee the by-polls in the 20 Punjab constituencies that would decide the fate of the incumbent Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz. According to sources privy to the PTI strategy to foil rigging attempts, as many as 5,000 young PTI activists will be deployed at the constituencies along with lawyers being posted as polling agents of the party. “The lawyers will be made polling agents and will perform their duties in uniforms to foil any rigging attempts immediately,” they said. They said that PTI women activists would be stationed at the polling places for women and that plans would be made for their transportation there. They added that candidates would be instructed to obtain pre-arrest bails in order to thwart any attempts to have them arrested. "The PTI leadership will also be in contact with the party candidates on the election day," they stated.
Lis Roseholm, the Danish ambassador, called on Governor Punjab
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: The Ambassador of Denmark Lis Roseholm called on Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman at Governor House Lahore today. During the meeting, renewable energy, promotion of digital technology were discussed. Speaking on this occasion, Governor Punjab said that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and the Punjab government are promoting alternative sources of energy, especially solar energy to a greater extent, adding that this will not only reduce carbon emission but it will also help to meet the shortage of electricity in the country. Governor Punjab said that Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur project that was established in the previous tenure of Muslim League-N is a good and profitable environment-friendly project. Governor Punjab further said that teaching digital skills to the youth is a priority of the government. This will not only increase the country's digital exports but also provide employment opportunities to the youth. Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman apprised the Danish Ambassador about the Islamophobia and the sentiments of Pakistanis regarding the respect of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and reiterated that respect for the sentiments of others and inter-faith harmony is the only way to move forward and progress. The Ambassador of Denmark fully agreed with the views of Governor Punjab in this regard. Speaking on the occasion, the Ambassador of Denmark said that Pakistan's textile exports are increasing in Denmark and Pakistan's textile products are being liked. He also expressed the interest of Danish universities to collaborate with the Pakistani universities to transfer digital skills to Pakistani youth.
Govt blocks bridge connecting Punjab, KP ahead of Sunday by-polls
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: In advance of by-elections in Punjab's 20 constituencies, the provincial government has barred the bridge that connects it to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, claiming security concerns. According to DPO Bhakkar, the bridge at Dajal Checkpost has been closed to all types of traffic owing to security concerns, and it will stay closed till Sunday's election is over. On the other hand, the area's traffic flow has been impacted by the decision to close the bridge. Ali Amin Gandapur and Maqbool Gujjar, two leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), are not allowed to enter the province, according to the Punjab government. According to the Punjab Home Minister, Attaullah Tarar, Gandapur and Gujjar have been prohibited from entering Punjab because they intend to make the by-elections bloody.
IG Sindh urges FIA to monitor accounts spreading linguistic hatred
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: On Saturday, the Inspector General of Sindh Police (IG) requested the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to keep an eye on social media accounts that promote racial and linguistic hatred. Details indicate that IG Sindh Ghulam Nabi Memon requested the FIA in a letter to keep an eye on accounts that preach enmity based on linguistics. According to IG Memon, anyone who use social media to disseminate misinformation and terror will face punishment. The IG police warned the public not to believe reports that markets and roadways were closing. According to Nabi, citizens should work with police to ensure a peaceful environment. The letter comes after linguistic violence ignited at the murder of a young boy Bilal Kaka at a restaurant in Hyderabad. Bilal Kaka died in a billing dispute at a local restaurant in Hyderabad, and three others were injured.
In the Court of Mis. Nazish Nawaz Sahiba Family Judge Sara i Alamgir, SUIT of Dissolution of Marriage on The Bssis of Khulah. Henna Amjad vs. Usman Iqbal Raja Notice to Usman Iqbal S/O Muhammad Iqbal Raja Caste Rajput r/o Iqbal Market Commercial Center No. 2 Mahalla Bilal Town Jhelum Tehsil and District Jhelum Pakistan and presently residing in Germany, Whereas respondent cannot be served in ordinary manner, It is proclaimed in this court on 23-07-2022at 8 am ex-party proceeding will be taken against you.
Petroleum Ministry invites petrol dealers for talks after strike warning
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: After the gasoline dealers stated they would begin a strike on July 18, the ministry of petroleum summoned them to a meeting. The government has been urged by the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) to raise the dealers' margin to 6%. If the government does not comply with the petrol dealers' demand for an increase in the commission paid to them, a statewide strike will be observed on July 18. In order to discuss the strike and negotiations with the government over the dealer's margin, the union had called a meeting. According to them, gasoline pumps cannot function with the existing margin. According to the group, the minimum salary for employees has climbed to Rs. 25,000 and other items' prices have gone up as well. According to the dealers, the margin should be raised to 6% due to an increase in expenses.
Economy faces challenges despite IMF support
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt on Saturday said despite the agreement with the IMF, there are still serious threats to the economy. Loans of a few billion dollars cannot make a significant impact on the situation, as the government needs to start reforms, he said. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that improving the economic conditions of the country is not the responsibility of the IMF, but the obligation of the government. Tackling the threats to the economy, stopping the fall of the rupee and finding a lasting solution to the rising inflation is also for the government to deal with, he added. The business leader regretted that the monthly deficit is around four billion dollars and no progress is being made towards reforms to deal with the current challenges. Instead, dictation is being taken from international institutions. He said that Pakistan needs at least forty-one billion dollars this year, while the current account deficit may reach 17 billion dollars. Despite the critical situation, Pakistani elites have maintained the record of paying the lowest taxes in the world, while the public is being burdened more than they can bear. The government and FBR are celebrating the achievement of the tax target, but the public is not being told that the high revenue results from endless imports and inflation, which is a source of regret rather than happiness. No country can run on loans and aid forever, so if fundamental changes are not made in the economic structure, Pakistan will go bankrupt sooner than expected, he warned. Because of the decrease in the prices of palm oil in the global market, the prices of ghee and cooking oil are decreasing all over the world, so instead of making statements, relief should be given to the people, he demanded. He said that the shops should be closed by evening and the incidents of Neelum Jhelum Power Project and Guddu Thermal Power Plant should be investigated. People should be given complete relief because of the reduction in oil prices in the international market as they have been braving an additional burden of approximately one trillion rupees ha through power tariff hikes and fuel price adjustments.
Population Welfare Department monthly meeting presided over by Additional Deputy Commissioner
RAWALPINDI: The monthly meeting of the Population Welfare Department was held under the chairmanship of Additional Deputy Commissioner Headquarters, Matira Saleem. While presiding over the meeting, Additional Deputy Commissioner Headquarters, Martira Saleem said that the increasing population is becoming an important problem. Due to the lack of resources, the crime rate in society is increasing day by day. He said that positive arguments regarding controlling the growing population should be conveyed to the people. He said that the media should play an active role to inform the people about the problems arising from the growing population. On this occasion, District Welfare Officer Sharin Sakhan told during the meeting that an awareness seminar was organized at the level of tehsils of Rawalpindi district and banners and steamers have been displayed on the highways regarding providing awareness to the public about the increasing population. There are 46 family welfare centers, 7 family health clinics, 6 mobile service units, 27 social mobilizers, and 1 indolent health center in the Rawalpindi district.
12 criminals rounded up in capital; drugs and weapons recovered
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Ten criminals involved in drug trafficking and in possession of illegal weapons have been detained by Islamabad Capital Territory police, 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, the Secretariat police department launched a crackdown on drug dealers. Two suspects, M. Yousuf and Shakoor Ahmed, were detained, and 1235 grammes of hashish and 20 grammes of ice were found in their hands. Likewise, Tarnol and Nilore police teams arrested two accused namely Usman and Atif involved in possessing illegal weapons and recovered three 30 bore pistols with ammunition from their possession. Similarly, Khana and Bhara Kahu police team arrested three accused namely Asim Shah, Shehreyar Salman and Kamran and recovered 1470 gram heroin, 1460 gram hashish and 30 gram ice from their possession. Karachi Company police team arrested two accused namely Faisal Javed and Usama involved in possessing illegal weapons and recovered two 30bore pistols with ammunition from their possession. In addition, police teams from Ramna and Industrial Area detained two suspects, Deen Muhammad and Habib, who were engaged in illicit activity, and seized 1393 grammes of hashish, 15 grammes of ice, and a 30 bore pistol from their hands.
IHC will hear appeals contesting the Noor Mukadam case judgement
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Appeals in the Noor Mukadam murder case will be heard by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on September 14 after the victim's family and the defendants both appealed the decision. According to a subject list released by the IHC registrar, the case would be heard by a division bench made up of Justices Aamir Farooq and Arbab Muhammad Tahir. Zahir Jaffer was given the death penalty on February 24 by Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani for killing Noor Mukadam. In addition, the judge declared him guilty of rape and sentenced him to 25 years of hard labour and a Rs200,000 fine. Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan, two of Zahir's employees, were given ten-year prison terms; nevertheless, Zahir Jaffer's parents and other employees of TherapyWorks were found not guilty. The Noor Mukadam family has filed an appeal with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the acquittal of Zahir Jaffer's parents and six Therapy Works employees, as well as asking the court to increase the sentences of those found guilty in the case by the session court. The convicts have appealed against their death and life sentences.
ISLAMABAD: NDMA in collaboration with King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre Pakistan dispatched emergency relief convoy for flood-hit areas of Balochistan.
Pakistan reports 10 covid deaths first time since March 4
ISLAMABAD: The new coronavirus caused 10 deaths in Pakistan on Saturday, the most since March 4. According to data released by the National Institute of Health on Saturday, 10 persons passed away in the previous day due to complications from COVID-19. On March 4, Pakistan last reported this many covi deaths. Yesterday, 737 positive instances were found out of a total of 22,451 tests. While 189 patients are receiving critical care, the positivity ratio stayed at 3.28 percent. Corona was 6.61 percent in Lahore, 5.26 percent in Hyderabad, 5.22 percent in Peshawar, 4.82 percent in Karachi, and 4.76 percent in Swabi. In Mardan, 3.95 percent of people tested positive for the virus; in Skardu, 3.85 percent; in Muzaffarabad, 2.78 percent; in Faisalabad, 2.20 percent; and in Mirpur, 2.17 percent. Covid-19 SOPs: Steer clear of crowded areas; Mask wear is required; The seating arrangement in workplaces must promote social distance, and this must be maintained throughout prayer; There should be hand sanitizers available at all entrances and restrooms; and Get immunised and receive booster shots. The Eidul Azha holidays, which will be celebrated across the nation, especially in the north, are the backdrop against which the travel warning was released.
Elections for the PP-7, Kahuta, and Kallar Syedan will be held with strict security in place
RAWALPINDI: The PP-7, Kahuta, and Kallar Syedan by-election security plans have been concluded by the police and district administration of Rawalpindi. A district administration spokesman stated that loudspeaker use, aerial firing, and weapon display were all forbidden, and that anyone found in violation would face severe legal consequences. As voting will take place for the by-elections on July 17, the spokesman stated that ECP had instructed the political parties and candidates of PP-7 to halt their election campaigns after midnight on July 15. In a letter, the district monitoring officer warned that strict action would be taken against any candidate or political party found to be continuing the campaign after the specified time. He said that no rally, public meeting and door-to-door campaign would be allowed after ending of the campaign period. Foolproof security arrangements have been finalized for the constituency as over 4,000 police officers and personnel including over 600 women police personnel would be deployed for 266 polling stations. According to the security plan set forth for the by-elections, senior officers and City Police Officer of Rawalpindi, Syed Shehzad Nadeem Bukhari, Senior Superintendent of Police Investigation, Ghazanfar Ali Shah, SSP Operations, Waseem Riaz Khan, would remain on the scene to monitor the work of police officers.
Sanctions on Russia blowing back on US, EU
Russia-Ukraine war to hit Pakistani exports
Slump in the west an alarm bell for Pakistan
By Staff Reporter ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said Pakistani exports are set to get a hit as western economies which are the main export destinations for Pakistan and badly hit by the war between Russia and Ukraine. The government should find ways and means to tackle the problem; otherwise, it will have to borrow more to keep the economy afloat, it said. All tactics against Russia, including economic sanctions, have failed, and the economy of America and Europe has fallen into a crisis, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. He said that rising inflation in America and Europe is turning into a recession due to which the demand is decreasing. This will affect Pakistani exports because of a reduction in the purchasing power of the people in the west. In case of a serious recession in the west, Pakistan will have to manage over forty-one billion dollars this year, for which more than expected loans will have to be taken. Dr. Mughal said that because of the wrong policies and irresponsible actions of the United States and Europe, the economic situation is deteriorating all over the world, while the budgets of the United States and Europe have also been badly affected. Military spending, inflation, uncertainty, and public unrest are on the rise in these countries, while their currencies continue to depreciate. The currencies of dozens of other countries which are not involved in the issue are also weakening. However, he said, contrary to the expectations, the Russian currency has become the best-performing currency in the world. The day Russia attacked Ukraine, the value of one US dollar was equal to 85 rubles and since then the value of the ruble has increased by thirty-five percent and now the value of one dollar is equal to fifty-three rubles, he informed. Russia;s annual income from the energy sector was 250 billion dollars before the war, which has now increased to over 300 billion dollars. Similarly, Russia is getting a lot from other exports and because of its economic strength; the interest rate has also been reduced. He said that the Western bloc should not continue the lost war and find a solution to the conflict as the economy of most countries in the world is going down, which will have a greater impact on the poor countries.
China’s sponge city model can reduce urban flooding by 90%: Experts
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: According to Gwadar Pro, adopting China's sponge city concept in Pakistan's major cities could minimise urban floods by 90%. The concept might also reduce flooding, absorb carbon dioxide, support more plant and animal life, and provide more open space. Senior climate change official Joudat Ayaz told Gwadar Pro that if Pakistan followed the same strategy with Chinese assistance, floods in Pakistan's major towns might be avoided. He noted, “The model can be started from Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi which is severely affected every year by urban flooding, especially during the monsoon season.” The sponge city model aims to use pervious pavements, rain gardens, green roofs, urban wetlands, and other innovations to absorb water during storms. The soil then purifies that water and gradually releases it – much like a sponge. Faced with worsening urban floods, cities in China are embracing nature and building what is termed "sponge cities." Instead of relying on the "grey infrastructure" of levees, pipes, dams and channels, sponge cities allow urban areas to absorb water in times of high rainfall and release it in times of drought. One successful sponge city is the 34-hectare "Qunli storm water park" in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. It preserves the local natural ecosystem, gathers, cleans, and stores runoff, and offers a lovely, green public area for outdoor pleasure. The Pakistani government has used a variety of tactics in the past to prevent urban flooding, such as installing a rainwater collection system and building massive underground storage tanks. In order to save 3 million litres of water, the historic Faisal Mosque in Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad received the first urban rainwater collecting system in 2010. On the other hand, in 2020 the Lahore city management launched its first underground water storage system to collect rainwater for reuse and reduce flooding in the city of over 11 million. The Lahore Development Authority (LDA), in collaboration with its subsidiary Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), developed the first rainwater storage in the city to recharge the depleting groundwater resources. So far 3 out of 22 underground tanks are constructed successfully. Experts believe that climate change is the major cause of the heavier than average downpour in Pakistan. In the month of June- July, continuous rain in Pakistan has killed more than 150 people, triggering flash floods and affecting millions more. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 91 women and children are believed to be among the deceased. Over a thousand homes, five bridges, power plants, and other structures have all been affected in some way or another by the rains. According to the survey, the poor and lower middle class in Pakistan have suffered the most as a result of urban floods.
Most areas of the country should expect widespread rain and wind thundershowers
ISLAMABAD: During the next 24 hours, widespread rain-wind thundershowers (with sporadic heavy falls) are predicted for Sindh, Balochistan, and south Punjab, while lone thundershowers are predicted for northeast Punjab, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. This morning, the following major cities' temperatures were measured: Islamabad (23) degrees Celsius, Lahore (26) degrees, Karachi (29) degrees, Peshawar (27) degrees, Quetta, Gilgit, and Muzaffarabad (22) degrees, and Murree (16) degrees. According to Met office forecast for Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, partly cloudy weather with chances of rain-wind and thundershower is expected in Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Baramula. Temperature recorded this morning: Srinagar and Anantnag seventeen degree centigrade, Jammu twenty-four, Leh eleven, Pulwama sixteen, Shopian and Baramula fifteen degree centigrade.
In Sindh, an ethnic cauldron that occasionally displays the beauty of diversity but that can boil over if the delicate balance of cohabitation is not maintained by every single community residing in the province; the ugly face of ethnic strife has once again risen to the fore. The death of Bilal Kaka, 35, a man of Sindhi ancestry in Hyderabad by a man of Pashtun origin in recent days has stoked the embers, demonstrating what such strife can do in a region as diverse as Sindh. On social media, things fell apart quickly with requests to remove "Afghans" from Sindh. The repercussions from Hyderabad to Karachi and then to Quetta was swift, brutal, and startling in the level of open hostility. By instigating residents on both sides, those attempting to profit from the situation led to attacks on and closures of Pashtun-owned businesses in Dadu, Jamshoro, K N Shah, Kotri, Moro, Sakrand, and Sehwan as well as disruptions at Sohrab Goth Karachi that interfered with intercity transportation. Thankfully, the leaderships of all major parties in Sindh swiftly understood that their inaction could have precipitated a catastrophe that would have been impossible to contain, and they have now unanimously appealed for moderation and peace in order to snuff out the hydra of ethnic violence. As Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah emphasised, it is wrong to condemn an entire society for the criminal act of one individual. The PPP government has also awoken to the issue. Law enforcement officials have already taken action against agitators who started the fire, hopefully averting a serious problem. In all of this, it's critical to comprehend the deeply ingrained and structural causes of racial animosity, which is frequently used as a tactic to further polarize existing historically underprivileged and vulnerable communities and ethnicities. The voice of a united people will always be the most formidable danger to any regime that thrives on strife, from Pakistan's rural outposts to its metropolitan cores. Therefore, any attempts to arouse such animosity must be met with resistance throughout Sindh and its cities. Pashtuns and Sindhis have coexisted peacefully for decades, from Bacha Khan to GM Syed, and any xenophobic views from any side will only harm the province of Sindh, which has proudly embraced its variety. One of the most racially and religiously diverse metropolitan areas in the world is Karachi, which some claim has numerous small cities inside its vast area. Even today, a single spark of ethnic animosity is enough to convert the metropolis—possibly the only truly cosmopolitan in Pakistan—into a battleground for ethnic rivalries. The city has already experienced years of racial animosity fed by vested interests. No one should assert ownership over a place where so many people share ownership, as seen by the diversity of spoken and played musical instruments, foods consumed, and cultural practices.
Thankfully, the leaderships of all major parties in Sindh swiftly understood that their inaction could have precipitated a catastrophe that would have been impossible to contain, and they have now unanimously appealed for moderation and peace in order to snuff out the hydra of ethnic violence.
Biden’s Saudi visit is a return to the norm, not a ‘reorientation’
FAISAL J. ABBAS
US President Biden Joe Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia this week at the invitation of King Salman. In Jeddah on Friday he will meet the king and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and attend an extraordinary meeting of the six GCC states plus Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. While it is obvious here in the Kingdom why this visit is of great mutual importance, some of the president’s critics may not be as clear eyed as he or his team. Perhaps that is why Biden wrote a carefully worded column published in The Washington Post last week, entitled “Why I’m going to Saudi Arabia,” in which he made clear that as US president his aim was never to “rupture” but to “reorient” the relationship between our two countries. The column’s tone was far more balanced, eloquent and reflective of Biden’s long career as a seasoned politician than some of his previous rhetoric — for example, his election campaign vow to turn Saudi Arabia into “a pariah.” Such a statement is why the legendary former Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, used to describe US election periods as the “silly season,” and there is no need to dwell on it. After all, who in their right mind would want to rupture a strategic relationship with a country of the size and importance of Saudi Arabia — the cradle of Islam, home to the holy sites of 2 billion people and the world’s most significant oil producing state? However, it is the “reorient” part of Biden’s column with which I must respectfully disagree. He argues that he is coming to Jeddah because the Kingdom has helped restore Gulf unity, supported the truce in Yemen, is working to stabilize oil markets, and has had an impact in keeping America strong and secure. But none of that is a “reorientation” — it is the norm: indeed, it is the very basis of our bilateral relationship. You could add to it cooperation to end the Soviet invasion of Afganistan, fighting side by side to liberate Kuwait, continued cooperation to combat terrorism, collaboration in space exploration, and the formation of joint businesses to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for both Saudis and Americans. Who in their right mind would want to rupture a strategic relationship with a country of the size and importance of Saudi Arabia? Faisal J. Abbas, Editor in Chief In fact, any deviation from this norm has been — regrettably — by the US. On Yemen, for example, the current administration’s initial policy was to disengage, delist the Iran-backed Houthis as terrorists and withdraw Patriot missile batteries from the Kingdom while Saudi civilians and oil infrastructure were being attacked — civilians, let us not forget, in a country that Biden in his own column describes as a “strategic partner for 80 years,” and oil facilities that were targeted at a time when global energy prices were at an all time high. However, since his administration began to engage more, to accept the facts, and to place blame where it belongs, we have together managed to achieve a truce in Yemen that has been the longest lasting so far. One can only hope for more progress with the help of Washington, and a final resolution for a war that everyone wants to end sooner rather than later. As has been documented in reports by the State Department and other US agencies, human rights have always been discussed. Criticism was accepted when it was legitimate, and dismissed when it was not. Faisal J. Abbas, Editor in Chief I must also respectfully disagree with the suggestion that my country had previously enjoyed a “blank-check policy,” which the current US administration has reversed. If this is intended to mean that the Kingdom was given a pass on human rights under any previous administration, then it is simply untrue. As has been clearly documented in reports published by the State Department and other US agencies, such topics have always been discussed. Criticism was accepted when it was legitimate, and dismissed when it was not. Nor has the record always been negative. On numerous occasions, our efforts and policies have received welcome praise — most recently from Deborah Lipstadt, Biden’s own envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. On a visit to Riyadh, including our headquarters at Arab News, she had only warm words for the social and religious reforms spearheaded by the crown prince. Sorry, the video player failed to load.(Error Code: 101102) No country is without its faults — a truism that applies equally to the US, where growing racial and political divisions, police brutality, and the continued existence of the Guantanamo prison camp are all rather alarming to us as Arabs who expect better from a country as great as America. I, for one, am excited to see what emerges from the meetings on Friday.I am even more excited to see what the next 80 years of Saudi-US relations can achieve. At a time of great opportunity — such as the religious, economic and social reforms in my country — as well as daunting global political, security, health and nutrition challenges, the Riyadh-Washington relationship is as important as ever for the peace, stability and prosperity of the whole planet.
As has been documented in reports by the State Department and other US agencies, human rights have always been discussed. Criticism was accepted when it was legitimate, and dismissed when it was not.
Saudi Arabia, US have chance to reenergize their relationship
DR. ABDEL AZIZ ALUWAISHEG
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.
Biden’s visit is not about transactions but about building on this well-developed relationship to address today’s pressing problems
Iranian civil society needs West’s help
DR. MAJID RAFIZADEH
Not only has a rift within Iran’s political establishment become more noticeable recently, but public dissent against the political establishment also continues to mount, posing a significant threat to the ruling clerics’ hold on power. The regime last week arrested several high-profile figures, including Mostafa Tajzadeh, one of the best-known political reformists in Iran who served as the deputy interior minister during former President Mohammed Khatami’s administration. The Iranian authorities have accused him of “a conspiracy to act against the country’s security” and he has been charged with “publishing falsehoods to disturb the public mind.” Tajzadeh, who recently criticized Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was previously disqualified from running for the presidency by the regime’s Guardian Council. Two prominent filmmakers, Mohammed Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, were also arrested and accused of “association with counterrevolution,” as well as “inflammation and disrupting the psychological security of society.” Such developments indicate that the Iranian regime is seriously concerned about a potential uprising or a revolt against the political establishment. After all, the regime has been shaken by several major protests in recent years. In the final days of 2017, protests broke out in Iran’s second most-populous city, Mashhad, and immediately spread to dozens of others, with democratic change being the rallying cry. Another uprising in November 2019 presented the clerical regime with an even greater challenge. Terrified by the breadth and organized nature of these protests, authorities opened fire on crowds, killing approximately 1,500 people. While criticizing the presidential office has become common among Iran’s lawmakers and state-controlled media outlets, pointing a finger at the supreme leader is considered taboo by politicians across the political spectrum, including the moderates, reformists and hard-liners. Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi, who is widely believed to be the cleric who will ultimately succeed Khamenei as supreme leader, has also been a target for criticism by government officials. Poverty, unemployment and inflation have reached record highs during his presidency. Even Mostafa Eghlima, a social worker expert for the Iranian government, recently warned about a potential revolt. He wrote: “In recent months, every day a section of the community has been protesting their living conditions. Teachers and retirees were among the groups protesting their living conditions. The same is true for other occupational groups. People are unable to tolerate this situation and, if this situation continues, you will have to wait for the explosion of the starved. Do not doubt that if this situation continues, if the explosion of those starving does not happen this year, it will happen next year.” Instead of addressing the nation’s grievances, the authorities resort to their modus operandi of cracking down on the opposition. Dr. Majid Rafizadeh Unfortunately, the regime continues to spend the nation’s wealth on its militia and terror groups across the Middle East, as well as on funding the military adventurism of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite branch, the Quds Force, which carries out operations beyond Iran’s borders in order to export and advance the regime’s revolutionary ideals. In fact, the Iranian leadership has offered little or no response to the people’s demands for an economic policy that shrinks the gap between their stagnant incomes and the rising cost of living. Instead of addressing the nation’s grievances, the authorities resort to their modus operandi of cracking down on the opposition. The regime frequently deploys its police and security forces to use tear gas and batons and fire shotguns at protesters, which normally results in innocent people being injured or killed. In its latest report on the situation of human rights in Iran, the UN acknowledged and expressed concern over the regime’s use of excessive force. It reported last month: “Concerning potential violations of the right to life allegedly by the state, including arbitrary executions, use of deadly force by security forces against peaceful protesters and border couriers, as well as arbitrary deprivation of life in detention as a result of torture or denial of timely access to medical care.” Many Iranians have been asking the international community, particularly the Western powers, to assist them in their goal of fighting the regime’s theocracy and setting up a democratic system of governance. For example, human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi and Alieh Motallebzadeh last month wrote a message from the notorious Qarchak women’s prison to the Melbourne branch of the writers’ association PEN International, stating that the “costly international policies of the regime have paralyzed the economic foundations of the country and social and political suppression has weakened the civil society… We expect you and the international community to support the efforts made by the Iranian civil society and its activists in any way possible.” One of the most effective methods to counter the Iranian regime is for Western policymakers to support Iranian activists and civil society, as well as to make it clear that they support any effort by the Iranian people to push back against state repression and advocate for democracy.
Instead of addressing the nation’s grievances, the authorities resort to their modus operandi of cracking down on the opposition.
Biden’s Saudi Arabia visit to script a new chapter in bilateral trade relations
US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia is expected to rely heavily on improving trade relations and the investment climate between the two nations. The interactions between the companies and institutions of the two nations have been the highest in 2021, and the Kingdom has partnered with US tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon to accelerate future economic development and empower women and youth around the world. Moreover, the Saudi-US partnership is rooted in more than seven decades of close friendship and cooperation, fostering networking opportunities critical to mutual understanding and long-term investments. In fact, a recent initiative by the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia to reform the country’s legal system for foreign investors could increase international business by creating investment opportunities between the Kingdom and the US. According to MISA, there has been a significant increase in the number of new investors entering the Kingdom, with entrepreneurship and innovation sectors registering 71 investment deals. Financial services came in second with 10 deals, while sports and petrochemicals recorded four and three, respectively. The rest of the deals are spread almost equally among other industries. Regarding investment sources, the US was one of the top five Saudi investments in the first quarter, involving five transactions across different sectors. The Kingdom more than tripled the number of deals closed in the first quarter of 2022 to a total of 101 deals with an estimated investment of SR15.2 billion ($4 billion) compared to 31 transactions during the same period last year, MISA reported. According to the new investment law, foreign and local investments will be treated equally as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy away from oil exports. More than $936 million in funding was recently announced at the 2022 Global Entrepreneurs Conference in March to facilitate the entry of international companies into the Saudi market. Before announcing the new law, the World Bank predicted that the country’s gross domestic product would reach $820 billion by the end of 2022, a significant increase from $700 billion in 2020. However, the new investment law will lead to more foreign investors coming to the Kingdom with neutral treatment, leading to an expected surge in business activity that could exceed World Bank forecasts. While the Kingdom continues to work with investors worldwide, the US will remain central to its trade policies. Nasser Alshareef The Kingdom’s participation in Expo 2020 has also sparked interest among new companies interested in the region, especially its Vision 2030 blueprint and ambitious economic growth agenda. US President Joe Biden’s upcoming meet with the Crown Prince will undertake formal discussions that will center on many areas of bilateral cooperation and cooperative efforts to solve regional and global problems. Before Biden’s visit to the Kingdom, the Saudi minister of investments has already met with prominent US CEOs to improve ties between the two nations. Exploring digital opportunities The cooperation has also accelerated digital content market growth and improved investment prospects. The IGNITE program, launched by the Kingdom during the first LEAP conference, aimed to produce digital content and host innovative digital media events, showcasing its efforts in innovation and digital economy support globally. The US is the second-largest trading partner of the Kingdom. The two nations have substantial investment opportunities in fintech, software, and alternative investment management with investment prospects to accelerate the growth rate of the Kingdom’s digital content market and develop the creative skills of the Saudi youth. With around 37,000 Saudi students attending American colleges and institutions and many visitors coming for educational and cultural exchanges each year, the two nations also hold strong cultural and academic links. The Kingdom is a crucial player in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for the region and a reliable partner in military, diplomatic and financial cooperation as well as security and counterterrorism initiatives. It believes that trade is followed by investment. The investment will come when healthy trade conditions with few impediments and effective procedures are established. Businesses that succeed in the market seek to keep in touch with their consumers and expand their market presence via investment and innovation. Bolstering defense tie-ups The Kingdom and the US have a robust defense partnership. With over $100 billion in foreign military sales, the Kingdom is the largest foreign client of the US. The Department of Defense, the National Guard, and the Department of Interior are the three main US entities that support the Kingdom through FMS. Since the 1950s, the Kingdom has relied heavily on the US Army Corps of Engineers for military and civilian building projects. Other initiatives encourage stronger institutional, educational, and cultural relations between the two nations. The US collaborates with the Saudi government to offer technical support in economic growth, commerce and education sectors. In fact, the Saudi government received plaudits from the US for its economic reforms and dedication to maintaining the economy’s long-term health. By making adjustments to energy subsidies, the Kingdom also demonstrated true leadership. As a result, the US government and commercial sector are prepared to provide the Kingdom with solutions, best practices and technology to entice investment and creativity. The Kingdom is also a member of several global institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization. It is also an observer of the Organization of American States. The global competition for attracting FDI is fierce, and through bilateral investments, both economies will become more globally competitive. The Kingdom looks forward to welcoming President Biden and laying out the terms to cement the political and trade ties. The collaboration between two nations is as important as ever for peace and prosperity at a time when there are numerous issues on a global scale, including the economy, the population’s health, the climate, and stability throughout the world.
While the Kingdom continues to work with investors worldwide, the US will remain central to its trade policies.
GCC federation is the only way to meet economic challenges
TALAT ZAKI HAFIZ
Given the unprecedented political and economic challenges facing the Gulf Cooperation Council, member states have no choice but to move beyond cooperation and push for economic federation. The GCC members — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman — face similar challenges and difficulties, mainly caused by the irresponsible behavior of Tehran, which continues to back out of its commitments on its nuclear program and to interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbors, threatening regional peace and security. The recently concluded 42nd GCC summit held in Riyadh emphasized deeper economic ties between the member states, as well as practical steps to transform cooperation into a strong union with a shared vision and economic goals. Such a union requires serious efforts from all the stakeholders to revisit and implement the economic treaty signed in 1981 and revised in 2001 in both letter and spirit. The treaty envisages economic integration among the member states. No doubt several steps have been taken to achieve the goal, but in the current geopolitical scenario, expediting that process is of paramount importance. Achieving the desired economic integration among member states required a number of steps, starting with the establishment of a free-trade zone, followed by the establishment of the GCC Customs Union in 2003 and a common market in 2008. Hopefully, these efforts will culminate in further economic consolidation, ending with a single GCC currency. As part of these efforts, the GCC adopted an economic agreement in 2001 that has shifted its joint action approach from coordination to integration, according to specific mechanisms and schemes. The establishment of the Customs Union has boosted the value of trade between the six states from about $15 billion in 2002 to more than $88 billion in 2012, a rise of 487 percent. Economic integration between GCC countries and a move from cooperation to a federation will support the Gulf region’s ambitious economic diversification plans as it seeks to shift away from total dependency on oil revenues. This will also enhance the remarkable economic achievements of the GCC bloc, the 13th-largest economy globally, with a total gross domestic product exceeding $1.64 trillion — 4.1 percent of global GDP — and combined foreign reserves of $620.5 billion. Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. Twitter: @TalatHafiz
Education is an important part of everyone’s life but today the world is going to be more competitive than in past years which enhances tuition needs. Nowadays, people move towards the technological side like the usage of computers, laptops, and mobile phones. In ancient times, school/university students joined home tuition and used to have less interest in technological tools. No doubt more than half of students are stuck in physical tuition due to feasibility and reliability. Meanwhile, online tuition increases technological knowledge and experience. However, it reduces the reliability in terms of hiring other persons to do their assignments and quizzes on their behalf. Thus, the gap of quality increases between physical and online tuitions with decreasing knowledge and experiences. In addition, creativity also affected when the gap between online and physical tuition is enhanced. It has the opposite influence as compared to quality. Although online learning reduces quality, it promotes creativity. Hence, the young generation should take benefit of the online system and encourage personal grooming. Selecting the way of learning depends on the preferences of individuals. After comparing the flexibility in both ways, still, students are comfortable in physical tuition. Effective learning and the feasibility of physical tuitions encourage them to rely on this method. but there is still a need for improvements. Because online tuition is an advanced method, if people are reluctant to do physical things in the era of technology, then it is not good for the country’s own growth as well.
RAGNI LUND, Sindh
Corruption ending mechanism
Corruption in Pakistan has not been reduced even after strict measures taken up by the current PTI Government. Government contracts are given out on payment of bribes, while the contractor is asked for bribes at the time of their bill payments. The main reason for this rampant corruption is the non-payment of contractor bills by the government within the agreed time. There is faulty mechanism for budget management and weak audit and not displaying information at public offices. When the government organisations are delaying payment of contractor bills without any oversight, the contractors are left at the mercy of bill approvers and project selectors, who are conducting open corruption even with E-billing and E-tendering. It doesn’t help that government’s auditing authority are weak and also most likely involved in their own corruption to hide corruption in government contracts. Similarly, weak government budget control like not paying bills at financial close, putting new budget costs in the last few months, prolonging contracts time and costs beyond agreed limits all contribute to increasing the chances of committing corruption. While not displaying information like service price, complaint authority at public offices increases the chance of officers there charging higher prices for the government services. Therefore to end corruption in Pakistan, the government has to tighten budget controls, improve auditing, pay government bills on time or agree to instalment payments and display information at public offices.
SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER P.ENGR., Peshawar
Crypto currency and its significance for Pakistan
Crypto currency is the World’s second biggest invention after the internet and one of the promising invention in digital payment system. So the question is what cryptocurrency is? Crypto currency is a digital currency which is based on peer-to-peer network where people can make transactions without any central or third party involvement at anytime, anywhere, faster and cheaper than other financial service providers with all transactions recorded on an immutable public ledger called Blockchain that serves as an open public financial database. Today cryptocurrencies are more widely acceptable and integrated by businesses and individuals than ever before. The most valuable and popularize of all Cryptocurrencies is the Bitcoin which has been increased around 3000% in value from 2017 till 2021. Many early investors of Bitcoin are today millionaires or billionaires who recognized the potential of this technology and invest a very nominal money during its initiation period. Unfortunately, in our country, the Government did not take it seriously from its arrival. On April 06, 2018 the SBP had announced that all Cryptocurrencies, coins, tokens and ICO’s are illegal tender and no financial institution will deal in such currencies. Despite this, the Cryptocurrency has been used by many people and remains a hot topic in Pakistan. Binance, one of the top exchanges of Crypto, is the third most downloaded app in the country so It has the potential to change the fate of our country. Pakistan is the third country which has highest number of freelancers and it is a billion-dollar industry.
Sadaf Quddus, Islamabad
G20 finance talks overshadowed by Ukraine end without joint communique
Bali: A two-day meeting of finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economies ended Saturday in Indonesia without a joint communique after Russia's war in Ukraine divided the global forum. During talks on the Indonesian resort island Bali, the finance chiefs looked for solutions to food and energy crises, while accusing Russian technocrats of exacerbating the problems. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday blamed the invasion of Ukraine for sending a shockwave through the global economy. In place of a formal communique would be a 14-paragraph statement issued by Indonesia, the G20 chair's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in closing remarks. She said there was consensus on most of the document but two paragraphs would focus on members' differences regarding the war's impacts and how to respond. "I think this is the best result," she said. At the beginning of the second day of talks, Indonesian central bank governor Perry Warjiyo called on ministers and global finance leaders to concentrate on recovery in a world economy reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting took place after the International Monetary Fund slashed its global growth forecast, with another downgrade expected this month as US inflation stokes fears of a recession. But the talks have been overshadowed by the Ukraine war after it roiled global markets, caused rising food prices and added to breakneck inflation. The Kremlin calls the war a "special military operation" and blames retaliatory Western sanctions for blocking food shipments and rising energy prices. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko participated virtually in the meeting. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov attended the talks in person a week after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of a G20 meeting over Western criticism of the invasion. Maksimov was in the room as Western officials expressed their condemnation, according to a source present. Marchenko called for "more severe targeted sanctions" against Moscow. Indonesia has refrained from uninviting Russia from G20 meetings, including a leaders' summit in November, even as Western nations repeated their calls for Moscow to be frozen out of the group. Both Yellen and Freeland, who has Ukrainian heritage, said representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin's government had no place at talks. Observers said the failure to agree on a joint communique would hinder coordinated efforts to solve rising inflation and food shortages. "The lack of a G20 finance ministers' communique means it will be more difficult for the G20 to forge a consensus on vital issues in the fall," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an NGO that lobbies for developing nation debt relief. "Internal divisions hinder the G20's ability to act decisively and leaves the world in uncharted waters." Yellen held bilateral meetings with counterparts from Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Australia, Singapore and Turkey, the Treasury said, lobbying their support for a price cap on Russian oil to cut off Putin's war chest. In response to the food crisis, the IMF, World Bank, World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Trade Organization also called for action in four areas. AFP
UK Tory leadership candidates clash over taxes in first TV debate
LONDON: The five remaining Conservative candidates vying to become Britain's next prime minister clashed Friday night over tax and honesty in politics in their first TV debate, as they fight to make an eventual two-person run-off. The 90-minute debate -- the first chance in the days-old contest for both the frontrunners and lesser-known contenders to pitch their credentials to a national television audience -- saw relatively few direct confrontations between them. But when they did erupt, it came largely over taxation, with former finance minister Rishi Sunak, one of the frontrunners, forced to defend plans to keep rates at some of the highest levels in decades. Sunak, who has topped the first two rounds of voting by Tory MPs this week as the race narrows towards a final pair next week, is up against several contenders vowing to cut various taxes immediately. The wealthy and polished media performer, whose political fortunes have been damaged by his family's own tax affairs, urged both caution and patience as the UK grapples with the worst inflation in 40 years. "Borrowing your way out of inflation isn't a plan, it's a fairytale," Sunak told Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, as she touted her tax-slashing plans in the face of a spiralling cost-of-living crisis. Truss -- battling to unite the ruling party's right wing behind her so-far lagging campaign after twice finishing third in votes -- has positioned herself as a low-tax free marketeer. She has backing from prominent Johnson loyalists, despite wanting to reverse his government's recent tax rise earmarked for healthcare. "You cannot tax your way to growth," Truss said. "I think it is wrong to put taxes up." Johnson last week announced his resignation as Tory leader after a cabinet insurrection led partly by Sunak, following months of controversies. The five Conservative MPs bidding to succeed him initially faced hostile questions, from an invited audience of voters and a single political anchor, over trust and integrity. That allowed long-shot candidates Tom Tugendhat, a prominent backbencher, and former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, to pitch themselves as untainted and ready to provide a fresh start. "Are you serving the people of the United Kingdom or are you serving your career? Because that's the real question tonight," Tugendhat said, repeatedly drawing applause from attendees. A snap poll of 1,159 viewing voters by Opinium found 36 percent thought the former army officer performed best, followed by a quarter citing Sunak. Just six percent said Truss, while Penny Mordaunt and Badenoch fared slightly better on 12 percent each. In a sign of the shadow cast by Johnson, the contenders were asked if he was honest and none gave a wholehearted endorsement. AFP
Forest fires rage in scorching southwest Europe
LISBON: Southwest Europe entered a sixth day of a summer heatwave on Saturday that has triggered devastating forest fires as parts of the continent braced for new temperature records early next week. Firefighters in France, Portugal and Spain, as well as Greece, battled forest blazes that have ravaged thousands of hectares of land and killed several firefighters since the start of the week. "The fire is still not under control," said Ronan Leaustic, an official in Arcachon in southwest France's Gironde region where firefighters battled to put out two forest blazes that have devoured 9,000 hectares (22,2000 acres) since Tuesday. Meteo France said temperatures will range between 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and 40C in the south of France on Saturday, with new heat records expected on Monday. Authorities in the French Alps have urged climbers seeking to ascend Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain, to postpone their trip due to repeated rock falls caused by "exceptional climatic conditions" and "drought". The call comes after a section of Italy's biggest Alpine glacier gave way at the start of the month, sending ice and rock hurtling down the mountain and killing 11 people, in a disaster officials blamed on climate change. In Portugal, the meteorological institute forecast temperatures of up to 42C and thermometer readings were not expected to drop below 40C until next week. The civil defence, however, took advantage of a slight drop in temperatures after a July record of 47C on Thursday to try to stamp out one last major fire in the north of the country. "The risk of fires remains very high," civil defence chief Andre Fernandes warned during a midday briefing. The fires have scorched thousands of hectares in the Spanish region of Extremadura. In Greece, the civil defence rushed to douse flames raging on the Mediterranean island of Crete. Further north, people were also bracing for more unusually warm weather. In the United Kingdom, a crisis committee of government ministers was meeting later Saturday after the state meteorological agency issued a first-ever "red" warning for extreme heat, cautioning there is a "risk to life". AFP
24 death in Russian missile strike on the central Ukrainian city
KYIV: The death toll of a Russian missile strike on the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia on Thursday rises to 24, after a woman dies in hospital of her burn wounds, a Ukrainian official says. Russia claims the strikes -- hundreds of kilometres from the front lines -- had targeted a meeting of Ukrainian military officials and foreign arms suppliers. Kyiv has denied these claims and says the attack killed three children. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he was "appalled" by the attack, while the EU has slammed it as an "atrocity". Russia is using Europe's largest nuclear power plant as a base to store weapons including "missile systems" and shell the surrounding areas of Ukraine, the head of Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom says. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been under Russian control since the early weeks of Moscow's invasion, though it is still being operated by Ukrainian staff. Paul Urey, a British man captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, died in detention on July 10, Moscow-backed separatists say, claiming he died of diabetes. Non-governmental organisations describe Urey as a humanitarian who worked as an aid volunteer in Ukraine, while the separatists say he was a "professional" soldier fighting for Ukraine. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says Russia bears "full responsibility" over the reported death. AFP
Russia has been to Iran twice in last month to assess drones: US
WASHINGTON : Russian officials have recently visited Iran twice to assess combat drones, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Saturday, as Moscow looks to bolster its arsenal for the war in Ukraine. Iran's military hosted two showcases for Russian delegations at the Kashan airfield, on June 8 and again on July 5, Sullivan said in a statement. Satellite imagery released by the White House shows Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 drones at or flying near the site. The White House said earlier this week that it believes Moscow is looking to acquire hundreds of the drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) -- and that Tehran is set to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month. "We assess an official Russian delegation recently received a showcase of Iranian attack-capable UAVs," Sullivan said Saturday. "We are releasing these images captured in June showing Iranian UAVs that the Russian government delegation saw that day. This suggests ongoing Russian interest in acquiring Iranian attack-capable UAVs. "To our knowledge, this is the first time a Russian delegation has visited this airfield for such a showcase," Sullivan added. John Kirby, a spokesman for the national security council, told CNN this week that the drones can be used both for reconnaissance and to deliver munitions. "It was important to make it clear to the world that we know that Russia needs these additional capabilities," Kirby said Tuesday. "They are expanding their resources at an accelerated rate." The United States and allies have recently provided longer-range precision weapons to Ukrainian forces, like the Himars precision-guided missiles, boosting their capability to strike Russian targets and repel Moscow's intensifying attacks in the east. Iran said Tuesday that "no special development" had taken place in technological cooperation with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in February. Drones have played a crucial role on both sides of the war in Ukraine, for everything from firing missiles from a distance, to dropping small bombs on targets, to conducting reconnaissance. Ukraine's forces have had particular success in using Turkish-made Bayraktar armed combat UAVs, and the United States and other allies have supplied Kyiv with many types of smaller drones. AFP
Saudis bristle after Biden highlights Khashoggi killing
JEDDAH: Saudi officials indicated Saturday they were keen to move on from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, one day after US President Joe Biden raised it in his talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Tensions between the two men had been high ahead of their first meeting, especially after Biden's administration last year released an assessment by the intelligence community that Prince Mohammed "approved" the operation that led to Khashoggi's killing and dismemberment in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate. In remarks Friday night, Biden called Khashoggi's death "outrageous" and said he had warned Prince Mohammed against further attacks on dissidents, without specifying what actions he might take. The Al-Arabiya channel quoted a Saudi official saying the pair "addressed the issue of Jamal Khashoggi quickly" and that Prince Mohammed "confirmed that what happened is regrettable and we have taken all legal measures to prevent" a recurrence. Prince Mohammed also pointed out that "such an incident occurs anywhere in the world", highlighting "a number of mistakes" made by Washington such as torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Al-Arabiya reported. In an interview with CNN, Adel al-Jubeir, minister of state for foreign affairs, cast doubt on the intelligence community's determination that Prince Mohammed ordered the 2018 operation, something Prince Mohammed has denied. "We know what the intelligence community's assessment was with regard to Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction," Jubeir shot back in an exchange with Wolf Blitzer shared widely on Saudi social media. Accusations that the Iraqi dictator had such weapons trigged the 2003 Iraq War. None were found.Jubeir also made clear the kingdom believed the Khashoggi affair had been sufficiently dealt with, even though Khashoggi's remains have never been found. A Saudi court in 2020 jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years over the killing. Their names were never released, and Khashoggi's fiancee branded the ruling a "farce". "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia investigated this crime. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia held those responsible for it accountable, and they are paying the price of the crime they committed as we speak," Jubeir said. "We investigated, we punished and we put in place procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again. This is what countries do in situations like this." Despite lingering discord over the Khashoggi affair, the meeting between Prince Mohammed and Biden "went well with a frank exchange of opinions," Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst, told AFP. Prince Mohammed "responded to Biden, pointing out US double standards of making a huge noise about Khashoggi (a Saudi) while trying their best to downplay the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh even though she is a US citizen," Shihabi said, referring to the Palestinian-American journalist shot dead in May while covering an Israeli army raid in the West Bank. AFP
Cameron Smith gets ready to defend overnight lead in British Open third round
ST ANDREWS: The third round of the 150th British Open got underway in the sunshine at St Andrews on Saturday with Australia's Cameron Smith leading on 13 under par at the halfway stage, two shots clear of Cameron Young while some of golf's biggest names lurk just behind. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and world number one Scottie Scheffler all ended the second round in a position to challenge for the Claret Jug over the weekend and the leading contenders return to the course later on Saturday. Smith, the world number six with the trademark mullet, followed an opening 67 with an eight-under-par second round of 64 on Friday to lead from Young, the 25-year-old New Yorker who sits at 11-under. Brisbane-native Smith's halfway total of 131 is the lowest ever 36-hole score in an Open at St Andrews. "It's obviously a really good spot to be in. I feel like I've been in this spot a lot over the past couple of years, and things just haven't quite gone my way yet," said Smith, who won the Players Championship in March. Smith, who finished tied second behind Johnson in the Masters in 2020, is aiming to become the first Australian to win the Claret Jug since Greg Norman triumphed at Royal St George's in 1993. Norman, who won the Open twice and is now the figurehead of LIV Golf, was not invited by organisers the R&A to attend a series of events for past champions in St Andrews this week because of his connection to the breakaway Saudi-backed series. Young, who tees off with Smith at 3:55pm (1455 GMT), had led after the first round after opening with a 64 and followed that with a 69 on Friday, ensuring he will go out in the final pairing. He is appearing at his first British Open but finished tied third in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May. However, there is a sense in St Andrews that the main threat to Smith may come from McIlroy, who built on his opening 66 with a 68 on Friday and is on 10-under, level in third place at the halfway stage with Viktor Hovland. He will feel he now has a platform to go on and claim a second Claret Jug following his 2014 victory at Hoylake. "I know I've got the game. That's all I need. I just need to go out and play my game and play my golf over the next two days and that's all I can do," McIlroy said. The Northern Irishman tees off at 3:45pm alongside Hovland, Norway's world number nine. Former world number one Johnson, who quit the PGA Tour last month to join the LIV series, sits at nine-under and goes out in the third-last pairing of the day with Scheffler. Johnson, the two-time major winner, is hoping to avoid any repeat of the last Open at St Andrews in 2015, when he led at the halfway stage on 10-under but a third-round 75 ended his hopes. "To be honest, I don't even remember the third round from seven years ago. I've played a lot of golf since then, and that was a long time ago," he insisted. Masters champion Scheffler and England's Tyrrell Hatton were both eight-under at the halfway stage. Kevin Kisner made the biggest impression among the early starters on Saturday, shooting a seven-under-par round of 65 after beginning the day at level-par for the championship. The American, who came tied second in 2018 at Carnoustie, at one point looked poised to at least equal the lowest score in an Open at St Andrews of 63 as he birdied seven of his first 10 holes. He had nine birdies altogether, but two bogeys on the inward nine blemished his round. Tiger Woods, who has twice won the Open at St Andrews, missed the cut on Friday after rounds of 78 and 75 left him at nine-over. This week may turn out to have been the 46-year-old's last appearance on the Old Course and the emotion got to him as he wiped away tears while saluting the crowds on the 18th. "To me it felt like this might have been my last British Open here at St Andrews. The fans, the ovation and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling," Woods said. Last year's champion Collin Morikawa, at one-over, also missed the cut which fell at even par. AFP
Ireland beat New Zealand 32-22 for historic series victory
WELLINGTON : Ireland made history on Saturday as they held off the fast-finishing All Blacks to win the deciding third Test 32-22, becoming the first touring team in the professional era to win a series on New Zealand soil. Ireland scored three tries before half-time in Wellington to lead 22-3 and held their nerve as New Zealand stormed back with three of their own after the interval to clinch the series 2-1. It completed just the sixth-ever series win by a visiting team in New Zealand and the first since France prevailed 2-0 in 1994. The victory -- Ireland's fifth in their last eight meetings with the All Blacks -- establishes Andy Farrell's team as among the leading contenders to win next year's World Cup in France. "Our fans turned out tonight, but also four million people back at home for breakfast, probably having a couple of pints watching us," said Ireland captain Johnny Sexton. "We wanted to do them proud and we certainly did that. The effort was incredible and it's a very special day because we're playing against the best in the world, the very best, and to come down here and do it is very special." It leaves New Zealand coach Ian Foster under enormous pressure with his side having lost four of their last five Tests. The All Blacks have rarely been so outplayed as they were in the first half, failing to respond to a merciless Ireland side who took their chances ruthlessly. Having looked muddled in attack and clueless on defence for 40 minutes, New Zealand mounted a rearguard after half-time, storming back to trail 25-22 entering the final quarter of the match. But they couldn't push on against a visiting side who created breathing room when Rob Herring crossed for their fourth try and held firm to complete one of the great series rebounds. Ireland lost the first Test 42-19 at Eden Park two weeks ago before rebounding to win the second Test 23-12 in Dunedin. "It hasn't quite sunk in," said Ireland wing James Lowe. "We knew after the first Test that wasn't our best performance, but we tidied things up and tried to stop New Zealand. "Results like that, on the bounce, in New Zealand, who'd have thought?" AFP
Sri Lanka hit back after Shaheen takes four wickets in first Test
GALLE : Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi led an inspired attack to bowl out Sri Lanka for 222 but the hosts hit back with two wickets before stumps on the opening day of the first Test on Saturday. The tourists reached 24 for two at the close of play in Galle after losing their openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique. Azhar Ali, on three, and skipper Babar Azam, on one, were batting at close of play with Pakistan still trailing by 198 runs. Fast bowler Kasun Rajitha trapped Imam leg before wicket for two and Prabath Jayasuriya took down Shafique for 13 with his left-arm spin on a day dominated by the bowlers. Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen stood out with figures of 4-58 but Dinesh Chandimal's attacking 76 and a late cameo of 36 by Maheesh Theekshana gave the hosts a fighting total on a pitch expected to aid spinners. "That's the beauty of Test cricket, sometimes tailenders and sometimes lower-order batsmen look like proper batsmen," Shaheen told reporters. "We to get them out under 150-160, but the last few batsmen played well. Chandimal played well." The hosts were tottering at 133-8 but added 89 runs for the final two wickets including a 44-run stand by Theekshana and Chandimal, who hit 10 fours and one six. Shaheen wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Theekshana in the final session of play. "They bowled really well," said Chandimal. "What we need to do is to get the positives from this innings and take it to the next innings." Chandimal, a former captain, said early wickets will decide the course of the match on Sunday's day two and a lead of about 40 can make the hosts gain more ground. Shaheen struck in the third over of the day to send back skipper Dimuth Karunaratne for one, and leg-spinner Yasir Shah soon combined with the quick bowlers to have Sri Lanka in trouble after they elected to bat. Oshada Fernando and Kusal Mendis attempted to rebuild the innings in a 49-run partnership but Yasir, who is making a comeback to the team after a thumb injury that kept him out since August last year, broke through. Yasir got Kusal caught behind for 21 and Oshada soon followed his partner back to the pavilion in the next over when pace bowler Hasan Ali cut short the opener's stay on 35. Angelo Mathews then fell for a 15-ball duck as Yasir got the former captain caught at mid-on. "He's a very good bowler," said Chandimal. "We had a plan for him. We are not going to give him too much respect either." AFP
England 'going in right direction' says Jones after Wallabies win
SYDNEY: Embattled coach Eddie Jones believes his team is heading in the "right direction" after England's come-from-behind 21-17 victory in the deciding third Test on Saturday to seal a bruising series at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground. Jones's men slumped 10-3 behind, but bounced back with 18 unanswered points to take control and hold off a frantic late charge from the Wallabies. After tries for Freddie Steward and Marcus Smith, England's fiercely tackling defence thwarted the Wallabies to claim the newly-minted Ella-Mobbs Cup with a 2-1 series victory. Jones's team became only the second England side to win a series in Australia after a historic whitewash in 2016. The triumph is a much-needed tonic for Jones, who has been under increasing pressure ahead of next year's World Cup in France after an indifferent start to the year for England. "We weren't at our best in this Test, but we kept fighting and we kept in the game, particularly the defence of our finishers at the end and that got us the result," Jones told Sky Sports. "It's a really positive step. We've always felt the team is going in the right direction. "Sometimes the results don't reflect that." England captain Courtney Lawes, who had contentiously been preferred to lead the side ahead of Owen Farrell, echoed Jones's sentiments and praised the team's resilience. "We fought for each other, we have had a great four weeks here, really enjoyed ourselves," he said. "The boys just stuck together and found a way to win and that's the big improvement, I think." It was a bitter result for the Wallabies, who have been trying to usher in a new era after a period in the wilderness. Dave Rennie's men were hit hard through by injury and suspension, which tested their depth and resolve as they fell agonisingly short. "We created good opportunities tonight, but just not good enough to execute them," Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said. "There were areas that hurt us, like right before half-time when they got that try. But also some pleasing elements, but it hurts." Prior to their tense series win in Perth, Australia had lost eight straight games to England since the 2015 World Cup and were desperate to wrap up a series against their old rivals. After a dire first-half proved costly in game two in Brisbane, the Wallabies lived up to their vow of starting aggressively only for Noah Lolesio to botch a penalty in the opening minutes. The pumped-up Wallabies dominated territory but blundered away opportunities and failed to capitalise on their early dominance. England made them pay in the 18th minute when former skipper Farrell nailed a penalty. But Australia hit back superbly with a long-range try set up by a brilliant pass from Marika Koroibete and finished off by Tom Wright. AFP
Allyson Felix's 19-year odyssey ends with another medal
EUGENE: Allyson Felix's 19-year journey through major track and field championships finished in familiar fashion on Friday – with the trailblazing veteran basking in the glow of yet another medal. Nineteen years after first competing at her first World Athletics Championships in 2003 as a skinny teenage prodigy, the 36-year-old signed off with the 19th world championship medal of her career as the United States claimed bronze in the 4x400m mixed relay at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. It was not quite the perfectly scripted finale US fans had hoped for – US anchor leg runner Kennedy Simon was agonizingly reeled in down the home straight as the Dominican Republic's quartet took gold and the Netherlands silver – but Felix herself was nevertheless all smiles as rivals lined up for photos with her after her final race in a major championships. The grande dame of American track and field is retiring later this year, hanging up her spikes after a career that has straddled three different decades and yielded a jaw-dropping 30 World and Olympic medals including 20 golds. Felix, who was handed the chance for a golden farewell in the US mixed relay squad after failing to qualify for any of the individual events in Oregon, dug deep on her second leg but was unable to preserve the narrow lead handed to her by first leg runner Elija Godwin. But Friday's bronze cements her status as the most decorated athlete – male or female – in the history of the World Championships. Her 19 medals include seven from individual events and 12 from relays. Felix said before Friday's race she had been determined to "take it all in and have fun, leave it all out there." "It's been an incredible journey," she said. "I've really enjoyed my time over the years. There have been a lot of ups and downs. I love the sport so much, it's broken my heart many times but I've also had many really joyous moments. 'Fierce competitor' "It's completely full circle to be able to come here and end at home, it's going to be very, very special. "I'm going to miss it so much but I can't think of a better way to go out than just with a heart full of gratitude and thankful for all the people who've supported me and the teams I've been on over the years." AFP
Bayern star Lewandowski poised for Barcelona move: reports
BERLIN : Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski is set to move to Barcelona in a deal worth 50 million euros ($50.4m), according to multiple reports on Saturday. Both clubs reached agreement overnight Friday, according to Bild and Kicker newspapers and the Sky Germany channel, ending a standoff with the Polish forward who has said he wants to leave the Bavarian giants. At the end of May, Lewandowski said "it is certain that my story with Bayern has come to an end." Lewandowski, twice voted FIFA men's player of the year, is reported to be set to sign a four-year contract with Barcelona. "The striker has planned to arrive today (Saturday) in Barcelona to undergo his medical examination and sign for four seasons," Catalan newspaper Sport reported. "The Polish player will not be at the presentation of the Bavarian team today," said Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo, adding that the 33-year-old will join the Spanish team for their tour of the United States from July 18-31. Bayern had only offered Lewandowski a one-year extension to his contract, which expires in the summer of 2023, according to German media. The Polish international was also unhappy with the salary offered and had clashed with the Bavarian club's coach Julian Nagelsmann, over his tactical choices. Lewandowski joined Bayern in 2014, scoring 344 goals in 375 competitive matches and broke the Bundesliga single-season scoring record. He won the Bundesliga in each of his eight seasons with the club as well as the Champions League, the Club World Cup and three German Cups. AFP
President for ensuring that women are quickly integrated into business and industry
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: On Saturday, President Dr. Arif Alvi urged building an atmosphere that would quickly advance women's inclusion and involvement in the economic, business, trade, and industrial sectors. The resident shared these opinions with a delegation from the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peshawar (WCC&IP), led by its president Mrs. Shahida Parveen, when they visited him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The meeting was also attended by the Director General (Trade Policy), the Ministry of Commerce, and other senior government officials. According to the president, women make up nearly half of the population of the nation, so creating enabling conditions for them should be a top priority for the government and society. These conditions include ensuring their safety and security at work and giving them access to high-quality education and job training. He emphasised that "local customs and practises concerning women's property and inheritance rights need to be modified and women should be granted all the property rights permissible to them in accordance with our religion and the Constitution." He said recently, steps had been taken for their financial empowerment, further adding that legislation had been passed to give women their due share in inherited property. He said that the law provided that if the property of a woman had been encroached upon, it would be vacated by the government. The president also highlighted that commercial banks were providing business loans to women under favourable and easy terms and conditions and called upon the chambers of commerce around the country to help women entrepreneurs secure these loans to start their own businesses and improve upon the existing businesses. He also urged WCC&IP to create linkages with other chambers of commerce for greater participation of women in other chambers of commerce and industry and businesses under their purview. The president also expressed his concerns that Pakistan had one of the lowest workforce participation rates for women in the world, which was sad and extremely alarming. While quoting the example of Hazrat Khadeeja (RA), he said, that there was no bar in Islam for women to participate in business, trade or other economic activities. He said that Hazrat Khadeeja (RA)’s example should be used to overcome social resistance against women empowerment. The president further said that the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection against Harassment at Workplace (FOSPAH) had also been empowered to hear the cases of grievances of women even if such cases were already being heard by the Courts of Pakistan. He added that FOSPAH had been further authorized to send its reports and findings for the perusal of the Courts. He asked the WCC&IP to encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Facebook initiative that was started with the aid of TEVTA Punjab to teach women and sell their products. He claimed that another highly powerful channel that businesswomen might utilise to advertise their goods was Amazon. The president expressed his gratitude to the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peshawar for offering a dynamic and successful platform to support women's entry into the business, trade, and industry as well as helping existing businesswomen to expand their enterprises.
Sheikh Rashid "requests" that the establishment abstain from the Punjab by-elections
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: The head of the Awami Muslim League Pakistan (AMLP), Sheikh Rashid, asked Pakistan to abstain from the upcoming by-elections in Punjab on Sunday, July 17. Tomorrow is a very significant day, according to the former interior minister Rashid. He stated, "Country might not have seen such election." Sheikh Rashid claimed in a video message that he had been assigned the date of August 8 by the Attock court. He claimed that due to "false cases," he travels to various courts every day. He added that any form of violence, rigging, or threats will not be tolerated by the country. Rashid said that establishment has to show in tomorrow’s election that they are unbiased. While he added that those who are talking about imposing Article 6 on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan have no sense. "These people have been imposed on us by one to two votes," he said. The former federal minister said that if the masses will vote Imran Khan, they will be stopped and if they will be stopped then there will be a severe reaction. "Tomorrow is a test to strengthen the politics of Pakistan and masses must decide to strengthen the politics and no one should be doing interference in it," he concluded. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has assured free and transparent by-elections as 175 candidates contest polls for crucial Punjab Assembly seats. Election campaign for by-polls ended at 12:00 midnight (night falling between Friday and Saturday and Voting will be held on Sunday, July 17. By elections are being held in 20 constituencies of Punjab Assembly including PP-7 Rawalpindi; PP-83, Khushab; PP-90 Bhakkar; PP-97 Faisalabad; PP-125, Jhang; PP-127, Jhang; PP-140 Sheikhupura;PP-158,Lahore;PP-167, Lahore; PP-168, Lahore; PP-170 Lahore; PP-202 Sahiwal; PP-217 Multan; PP-224, Lodhran;PP-228, Lodhran; PP-237, Bahawalnagar; PP-272- Muzaffargarh;PP-273 Muzaffargarh;PP-282, Layyah and PP-288 Dera Ghazi Khan. The ECP has finished making ready for the by-polls. 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. The ECP has designated 696 very sensitive and 1204 sensitive polling places. Lahore and Multan polling places have been designated as sensitive. For the CM vote count, which the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered, the results of the by-elections would be crucial. PML-N needs to win a total of 9 seats in the by-elections to gain a majority to elect their Chief Minister in the biggest province of the country.
ECP sets up special control rooms to monitor by-polls in Punjab
ISLAMABAD: To oversee the by-elections that will be held on Sunday in 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has established separate control rooms at both the federal and provincial levels. The control rooms will continue to operate until the compilation of the voting results, according to the Election Commission. In the control rooms, returning officers, pertinent Deputy Commissioners, police, Rangers, and Pakistan Army representatives would be on hand to handle any emergencies. The Control Rooms will promptly resolve election-related complaints which could be registered in central control room in Islamabad through helpline numbers: 051-9210837; 051-9204403; 051-9204402; and 051-9210838. “The complaint can also be communicated through fax number 051-9204404 and email; firstname.lastname@example.org,” the ECP shared. Provincial control room, Lahore could be contacted at landline telephone 042-99212620; 042-99212209 and email email@example.com. Rangers, Pakistan Army personnel and Frontier Constabulary will be deployed during by-polls in Punjab, scheduled to be held on July 17. The choice was made during a meeting to assess the security protocols before the Punjab by-elections, which was presided over by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. Officials from the security and interior ministries were present at the conference. In addition to reviewing the letter from Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Raja Sultan addressing the deployment of forces in the vulnerable constituencies, the participants also assessed the law and order situation during the July 17 by-elections. Participants at the conference expressed satisfaction with the security measures in place in the by-election constituencies. The Army, Rangers, and Frontier Constabulary will be deployed for the Punjab by-elections, the meeting determined. A ban on the exhibition and possession of weapons during by-elections in Punjab and Sindh has been enacted as a result of the conference. On July 16 and 17, the Interior Ministry will put up a unique control room.
ISLAMABAD: A high-level delegation of Central Jamiat Ahl Hadith Alami met with Chairman PTI Imran Khan.
Fawad protests the prohibition on Gandapur entering Punjab
ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, a former federal minister and current leader of the PTI, has criticised the Punjab administration for prohibiting Ali Amin Gandapur from entering the province on the eve of Sunday's by-elections. Fawad stated in a few tweets that the prohibition on Ali Amin Gandapur's entry into Punjab was not only a grave breach of fundamental human rights but also would undermine the Federation's integrity and unity. However, the immigration ban is an effort to harm the ecology. The PTI leader stated in a different tweet that "those like Rana Sanaullah and Atta Tarar who are sabotaging the election environment by administrative involvement are the actual menace to law and order in Punjab." In advance of the Punjab by-elections, the Punjab administration on Friday imposed an entry ban on Ali Amin Gandapur. Punjab Home Minister Ata Tarar claimed in a statement that Maqbool Gujjar and Gandapur intend to engage in violent activity in Punjab. The province government has decided to impose a strict ban on Ali Amin Gandapur and Maqbool Gujjar's entry into Punjab in an effort to maintain law and order, he continued. Tarar added that the government would guarantee calm and transparent elections in Punjab and that criminals who engaged in aggressive behaviour would face harsh punishment. The provincial Home Minister also stated that PTI was stirring up trouble after predicting its defeat in the by-elections in Punjab. In his reaction, Gandapur had told newsmen that he would approach judiciary against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Punjab government. He further said that the ‘imported’ government first registered fake FIRs and arrested the PTI workers without any grounds.
Country can't afford weak army: Imran Khan
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and a former Prime Minister stated on Saturday that the nation cannot afford to have a weak army. He declared, "We have never witnessed democracy; if the courts uphold justice, we will never be destroyed," when speaking at a seminar in Islamabad. Imran continued, "I visited Britain when I was 18 and seen democracy there; democracy is enduring in western nations." The former prime minister added that a just society is one in which there is justice, and that the only distinction between a prosperous and a poor society is the law. He attacked dictators, saying that they all put themselves beyond the law and undermined the institutions. We cannot afford to have a weak force in our country because everyone has seen what happens to nations with weak armies, Imran added. "A strong army is important for the country. "As Prime Minister, I received more criticism than anyone else. In my capacity as PM, I was denied relief from the court for three years, and I never attempted to bribe the media, he said. The former prime minister said that both the bigwigs of PML-N and PPP have been involved in corruption. He also said that people were happy when Pervez Musharraf took power. Imran also posed the question that why did the rule of law not came during the tenure of the two ruling families. “When I became the Prime Minister, I was not under any threat from the media. Fake news of tax evasion was launched against my ministers and I instructed to not arrest any journalist,” he added. The PTI chairman alleged that both these families have controlled the media.He said, "No one else has been criticized as much as I was as the Prime Minister. When I became the Prime Minister, I had no threat from the media." Earlier in a message on social media on Saturday, PTI chairman Imran Khan has said that they are contesting against the PML-N, the biased Election Commission of Pakistan and the Mr X & Y. He advised his staff to keep in mind the reasons outlined above. Additionally, he tweeted the phrase "Balla Chalao, Mulak Bachao." "This goes beyond the election. We're going to engage in the struggle for genuine freedom. Jihad is this. I implore every voter to cast a ballot on July 17 and to get others to do the same. The only way we can defeat their rigging is if the populace shows up "He said. Asad Qaisar, a former speaker of the NA, stated that tomorrow will determine the future of the nation. "Punjab will need to choose between freedom and enslavement. The populace will have to choose whether to sustain the current situation, "Added he. He said that the people of Punjab are with Imran Khan. "Imran Khan has challenged the forces against Pakistan. Each vote is part of the referendum," he maintained.
Modi regime’s another move to Indianise IIOJK
By Our Correspondent
SRINAGAR: The fascist government in New Delhi, led by Narendra Modi, keeps trying to indigenize Jammu and Kashmir, which it has been illegitimately occupying. The Modi administration has reportedly started a drive to raise the Indian flag on every home in the occupied region on August 15 in honour of Indian Independence Day, according to Kashmir Media Service. The Har Ghar Tiranga (Indian flag) programme will be successfully carried out across the seized region thanks to the formation of a seven-person committee by the Indian authorities on Friday. The committee will be led by the Financial Commissioner (Additional Chief Secretary), Home department of IIOJK, according to an order issued in this respect.
KPL gives peace message to whole world: Mushaal
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: According to Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the Kashmir Premier League spreads a message of peace throughout the entire world. Yasin Malik's wife, Mushaal, a jailed JKLP leader, stated at the second season of Kashmir Premier League's opening ceremony that Kashmir Premier League sends a message of peace to the entire globe. Kashmiris, she continued, "are peaceful and freedom-seeking people." She also commended the organisers for coming up with the clever slogan "play with freedom," as it connects to the Kashmiri campaign "Live freely." The organizers have given soft as well as diplomatic message through this logo to the whole World. She also suggested including divided families' youth of Jammu and Palwama in this league as this will further increase the importance of this league because Kashmiri have their own identity. There should be participation of international players as this will give soft message that people are secure not only in scenic valley but in Azad Kashmir also, she said. Criticising the facist regime, Chairman Peace and Culture Organization said that Kashmiri people are also fighting Indian brutality with great courage. She also said that Indian forces have turned into butchers in occupied Kashmir and that Kashmiris demand liberation. She further stated that Yasin Malik's cell does not have a window, and that Yasin Malik has been placed in solitary confinement. She said, "I wish I could give Yasin Malik this sweater." I will deliver your present to my spouse Yasin Malik after I pray for his release from Indian jail, Mashaal continued.