Monday, October 3, 2022

Daily The Patriot edition of 18-07-22

Bury politics of hate, division through your vote: PM 

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: On Sunday, Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister, said that when people vote in the by-elections for Punjab, they should consider Imran Khan's four years of corruption, incompetence, economic disaster, and support for organised crime. In a tweet, PM Shehbaz said that Punjab has experienced the worst governance under the PTI because people were denied access to free medicines, students were denied stipends, and significant payments were demanded in exchange for promotions and transfers within government agencies. The premier continued, "What PTI did with Punjab is nothing less than an insult to the people of the province." PM Shehbaz said that people should burry politics of hate, unrest and division through power of their vote. Cast your vote for progress, development and bright future of the coming generations, he urged. By-elections will be held in 20 constituencies of Punjab Assembly including PP-7 Rawalpindi, PP-83 Khushab, PP-90 Bhakkar, PP-97 Faisalabad; PP-125, PP-127 Jhang, PP-140 Sheikhupura,PP-158, 167,168,170 Lahore;PP-167, Lahore, PP-202 Sahiwa,; PP-217 Multan, PP-224 Lodhran, PP-228 Lodhran, PP-237 Bahawalnagar, PP-272,273 Muzaffargarh,PP-282 Layyah and PP-288 Dera Ghazi Khan. Political pundits are expecting a tough contest between PML-N and PTI in the by-polls as a majority of the 20 defecting PTI MPAs have hitched their wagons to the PML-N. The PTI and the PML-N both hold about equal numbers of seats in the Punjab Assembly, but either party may easily create the next government on July 22 if it gains a significant advantage in the by-elections. A total of 4.57 million registered voters, including 2.46 million women, are eligible to vote in the by-elections after the ECP finished organising them. The 20 constituencies have a total of 3140 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 declared 1204 polling stations sensitive and 696 highly sensitive. Polling stations from Lahore and Multan have also been declared sensitive. Saeed Gul, the provincial election commissioner, asserted that the Election Commission is totally impartial, that the charges are untrue, and that it operates in accordance with the Constitution and the law. There are currently 20 open seats in the Punjab Assembly, which has a total membership of 371, increasing the total number of MPAs there to 351. There are 163 people in the PML-N. The Opposition, represented by the PTI, which now has 163 MPAs, is on the other side. The former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar is unlikely to vote because there are five independents in the house.

In a tweet, PM Shehbaz said that Punjab has experienced the worst governance under the PTI because people were denied access to free medicines, students were denied stipends, and significant payments were demanded in exchange for promotions and transfers within government agencies

Hopefully, PML-N will help the nation out of its economic problems: Murtaza Abbasi 

By Our Correspondent

HAVELIAN: Murtaza Javed Abbasi, the federal minister for parliamentary affairs, believed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership would exert every effort, with the support of the general populace, to help the nation out of its economic crisis. The minister promised to hold those responsible who had neglected the nation, and he urged the Supreme Court to pay attention to Imran Khan's criticism of the ruling party. On Saturday, he made these remarks while addressing crowds of people in his constituency's villages of Diwal, Satura, and other places. Murtaza Abbasi said that if Imran Khan’s government was given more time, the country would have gone bankrupt, the allied parties of PTI left them and resulting in their government has lost the majority in the assembly and Imran Khan lost his government, he added. The minister said that the Supreme Court should take notice of the way Imran Khan is talking about the division of the country and the division of Pakistan’s forces in public gatherings. According to Murtaza Abbasi, residents of Tehsil Haveliyan have consistently backed the PML-N and will do so going forward by casting their votes in favour of that party. He claimed that throughout the previous seven years, the Tehreek-e-Insaf provincial government had not awarded Tehsil Havelian any megaprojects.

According to unofficial, early results, PTI is leading in the Punjab by-elections

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Unofficial preliminary results for the Punjab by-elections have started to trickle in, and they show that the PTI is now in the lead. Unofficial and preliminary results show that PTI candidates have already won two constituencies, giving their party an advantage in the fiercely contested by-elections. Putting that aside, unofficial results show that the PTI is also in the lead in several other constituencies. According to the unofficial results, Zain Qureshi of the PTI defeated Muhammad Salman Naeem of the PML-N, who received 40,104 votes, to win Multan's PP-217 with 46,963 votes. Zain is the son of former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Similar to that, according to unofficial results, PTI candidate Saif-ud-Din Khosa won the by-elections in the DG Khan's PP-288 constituency with 58,015 votes. Amjad Farooq Khosa of the PML-N, who received 32,487 votes, came in second. The outcome of the by-elections for the 20 Punjab Assembly seats will determine the future of Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz. Despite a few episodes of fighting, voting proceeded until 5 p.m. from when it started at 8 a.m. Vote tallying is currently taking place.

Pakistan takes part in the Vitebsk Slavianski Bazaar Festival

WEBDESK

BELARUS: The exhibition "Colors of Pakistan" had its opening ceremony at the Pakistani Embassy in Minsk in association with the Museum of History of Private Collections. The exhibition, which is a part of the XXXI International Festival of Arts "Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk," features about 80 works of art by notable artists from Pakistan, including Sadequain, Ayesha Kamal, and Noreen Sadjid. The exhibition is open to the public through August 14, 2022. Around a hundred guests hailing from different sectors including government officials, Vitebsk Governorate, university faculty/ students, and expatriate Pakistanis attended the inaugural ceremony held at the Museum. The exhibition is expected to attract a large number of visitors in the coming days. Piotr Podgursky, the head of the Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee's cultural department, gave a speech to open the inaugural ceremony. On this occasion, speakers included Dr. Ilkevich Boris, rector of Gzhel State University (Russian Federation), Ms. Tatiana Starinskaya, director of the Vitebsk Regional Ethnography Museum, Prof. Anatoliy Shchastny, rector of Vitebsk State Medical University, Mr. Dmitry Antonovich, first vice rector of Vitebsk State University named after P. Masherov, and The speakers commended Pakistan for participating in the Slavianski Bazaar for the second time through this exhibition, which has since developed into a good tradition. Sajjad Haider Khan, the Pakistani ambassador to Belarus, delivered a thorough address that covered Pakistan's rich artistic and cultural legacy that has been cultivated through many civilizations.

Mushaal receives reassurance from the US delegation that Yasin would have his full support \

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: On Sunday, a high-level US delegation called Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the head of the Peace and Culture Organization, to express support for her and 10-year-old Raziyah Sultana over Yasin Malik's unfair and illegal arrest and the ongoing human rights abuses in the Indian Occupied valley. The delegation representing interfaith harmony, which was made up of Michael Crowe, Lucas Bontrager, Dr. Joe Knight, Anwer Qasmi, Ilyas Masih, and Daud Ilyas, raised significant concerns on the unfair and inhumane treatment given to Yasin Malik. Yasin Malik's wife, Mushaal, Rehana Hussein Mullick, co-chairperson, and Sabien Hussein Mullick, secretary general of the Peace and Culture Organization, informed the delegation during the meeting that Yasin Malik was kept in the death cell for his single crime of speaking out against the illegal subjugation of India. They claimed that Yasin was the most potent voice of Kashmir's nonviolent uprising against Indian slavery. The Hurriyat leader continued by alleging that bogus accusations and made-up cases were brought against the voice of the Kashmiri independence movement in an effort to lessen its fervour. The Chairperson was terrified that the ruthless government would torture him to death because they had already killed scores of Hurriyat Leaders and young Kashmiris while they were detained. Mushaal asked that the delegation not only pressure their own administration but also bring up Yasin Malik's illegal incarceration and ongoing human rights violations in international fora.

Government for expedited completion of water resources: Khurshid Shah 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, the federal minister for water resources, stated on Sunday that the government's main priority is the prompt completion of water resources that are still under construction. If the deadline was not met, he warned that the nation would experience its worst water crisis. He stated in a statement that the country's need for the Diamer Bhasha, Dasu, Tha Kot, and Patan dams was crucial to ending its energy crisis. He also stressed the importance of the country using its water resources wisely. According to the Federal Minister, the nation's integrity was at stake and it was impossible to tolerate even the slightest delay or carelessness in the construction of these reservoirs. Although we have been at this location for a year, he said, "In the meantime, we shall work on a war footing." The federal minister gave the concerned organisations the go-ahead to assess the feasibility of building the tunnel on the Diamer Bhasha Dam right away. The live storage capability of Diamer Bhasha Dam would be 6.4 MAF. The dam is being built on the Indus River, 40 km downstream of the town of Chilas.

Sanaullah praises ECP for holding by-polls in peaceful way 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Rana Sanaullah, the interior minister, complimented the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday for making thorough and outstanding preparations to hold by-elections in 20 constituencies of Punjab peacefully. He praised the ECP for maintaining the rule of law during the by-election process in his remarks at a news conference. It's probable that more than 50% of eligible voters would participate in the by-election, which is quite positive as it demonstrates that voters eagerly engaged in the election, according to Rana Sanaullah. He said that the registered voters in all the 20 constituencies were 4,596,873 while a total of 3,140 polling stations including 739 for male, 704 of female, 1,696 combined, and one improvised polling station were set up for the by-election. Only 14 polling places out of a total of 3,140 got complaints of a minor nature, according to the ministry. "Not a single complaint has been received from any candidate or their supporters against the ECP staff, infractions of the regulations, or preparations made by the ECP," he continued. According to him, the by-election saw the participation of roughly 185 candidates. No First Information Report (FIR) had been filed because there had been no shooting incidents at any polling places. The minister also expressed gratitude to Punjab police, rangers, and Pakistan Army soldiers for upholding peace and order during the by-elections. In less than 10 minutes, he claimed, the Quick Response Force had reacted to each complaint. The Minister said that a private enterprise was responsible for the violent episode in Muzaffargarh, and prompt action had been taken. The company's operations were put on hold, and a high-level investigation will also be carried out in this regard. To a question, about the audio tape of Sheikh Rashid and Gul Zaman, the minister said, Gul Zaman, is the frontman of Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi.

Shahbaz Gill arrested for 'exhibiting weapons publicly' during Punjab by-polls: police 

By Our Correspondent

MUZAFFARGARH: Shahbaz Gill, a leader in the PTI and a former federal minister, was detained on Monday in Muzaffargarh for reportedly possessing and showing off guns while visiting polling places PP-272 and PP-73 during the Punjab by-elections. In its election code of conduct for political parties and candidates, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) states: "All forms of carrying and displaying lethal weapons and firearms are prohibited in public gatherings and processions, and official regulations in this regard must be strictly followed. At public gatherings, it is forbidden to utilise explosives like crackers and aerial weapons." Gill and his guards were brought into arrest from a factory owned by PTI candidate Muazzam Ali, according to the district police officer of Muzaffargarh who spoke to Dawn.com. He claimed that they had been transported to an undisclosed location. No first information report (FIR) has been filed as of yet. Gill was seen earlier in television images with security personnel wearing Frontier Corps uniforms. The PTI leader had stated that he was prepared to be taken into custody but would not allow the police to abduct his bodyguards or other party members.

Interior Minister says security on high alert in all constituencies 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Rana Sanaullah, the federal interior minister, stated on Sunday that all of the constituencies where by-elections are being held have increased security to maintain peace on election day. He said in a statement that civil armed personnel had been stationed in each constituency at the request of the Pakistani Election Commission. The Minister claimed that more security personnel have been stationed in crucial voting areas. Military personnel have been assigned as Quick Response Force in addition to Rangers and Frontier Constabulary. According to him, the Ministry of Interior has formed a Monitoring Cell to maintain ongoing oversight of the security environment throughout the by-elections. According to him, the Monitoring Cell has connections to the administrative centres of the civil armed forces as well as the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab. He said all the law enforcement agencies are fully alert and will response to any emergency situation without any delay. Rana Sanaullah said keeping firearms and their exhibition in all the constituencies is totally prohibited.

Parliament and democracy won't be complete until overseas Pakistanis get representation

By Staff Reporter

LAHORE: According to Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, former governor of Punjab and chairman of the "All Parties Task Force for Kashmir" and "Grand Overseas Club Pvt," parliament and democracy would not be complete unless overseas Pakistanis are represented in the legislature. It is not acceptable in any manner to treat individuals who send billions of dollars in foreign currency like a stepmother. Beyond personal and political interests, all political parties in Pakistan should support Pakistanis living abroad, and it is the duty of all governments to make their lives as easy and convenient as possible. During his tour to the UK, he was giving a speech at a gathering hosted in his honour by Sohail Munawar in East London with the former leader of the Slough Borough Council and president of the Grand Overseas Club. Former Slough Mayors Bil Singh, Ishrat Shah, and Chaudhry Mohammad Nazir were also present on this occasion, along with British Councilor Zafar Ujab, Former Slough Mayors Nazar Lodhi, Muhammad Sharif, and Nazar Lodhi. According to Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, the Grand Overseas Club organisation is absolutely non-political and is run by me. It would aid and direct the Overseas Pakistanis in finding solutions to their issues. The international community is a part of my body and soul; we are both a part of each other. According to their population, 14 seats in Pakistan's National Assembly should go to overseas Pakistanis.It is good that all political parties of Pakistan are in favor of overseas Pakistanis getting representation in all provincial assemblies including the National Assembly in proportion to the population. Chairman Grand Overseas Club Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said that Pakistan is currently going through a difficult period economically. The positive role of overseas Pakistanis can benefit Pakistan a lot economically. Overseas Pakistanis have remitted billions of foreign exchange and invested billions in Pakistan. We will have to work together on the problems of overseas Pakistanis without any political division. As a Governor, I have solved the problems of overseas Pakistanis on a priority basis and I also stand with the overseas Pakistanis. Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar appealed to overseas Pakistanis to raise their voices in favor of Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik and said that the punishment of Yasin Malik is completely against the basic principles of justice.

Punjab by-polls: Police seize weapons, arrest 3 in Sheikhupura

NEWSDESK

SHEIKHUPURA: During voting for critical Punjab Assembly seats in Sheikhupura, police detained three individuals and seized the newest firearms. According to DPO Faisal Mukhtar, police halted a suspicious-looking car and discovered new firearms inside after further inspection. The three suspects were detained by the police, who also issued a warning that breaking the law on election day would not be condoned. It is important to note that the by-elections are open to 4.57 million registered voters in total, including 2.46 million women. The 20 constituencies have a total of 3140 polling places, including 731 male, 700 female, and 1700 combination polling places. A total of 9,562 polling booths have been set up for the by-polls. The ECP has declared 1204 polling stations sensitive and 696 highly sensitive. Polling stations from Lahore and Multan have also been declared sensitive. Provincial Election Commissioner Saeed Gul has said that the Election Commission is completely neutral and there is no truth in the allegations, they are working according to the Constitution and the law. Twenty seats in the Punjab Assembly's entire membership—371—are currently vacant, reducing the number of MPAs there to 351 from the full 371 members. 163 individuals make up the PML-N.

Rainfall expected in Sindh and Balochistan as a result of the Arabian Sea depression: PMD

By Our Correspondent

KARACHI: According to the Met Office, the Depression in the Arabian Sea was located 270 kilometres away from Karachi and was slowly moving northwest. The Depression (Intense Low-Pressure Area) over the Northeast Arabian Sea and adjacent Gulf of Kutch has been moving at a speed of 5 km per hour for the past 18 hours, and it is currently located in the area bounded by Latitude 22.8°N and Longitude 68.5°E, about 270 km southeast of Karachi and 220 km from Thatta. Around the system centre, the maximum sustained surface wind is between 50 and 55 km/h. The weather agency predicted that the system would continue to move toward the northwest for a while before turning back toward the west (toward the coast of Oman). Under the influence of this weather system, rain-thunderstorms with a few heavy falls are likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Thaparker, Umerkot, Sanghar, Tando Muhammad Khan (TMK), Tando Allahyar, Dadu and Jamshoro districts of Sindh and Lasbella, Uthal, Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar, Jiwani, Turbat, Awaran and Ketch districts of Balochistan during today and tomorrow.

LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Insaf central leader Usman dar is meeting the workers in the polling camp during his visit to the constituencies on the occasion of by-elections.

PML-N to win Punjab by-elections, says Atta Tarar

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Attaullah Tarar, Punjab's home minister, stated on Sunday that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had a clear majority in each of the province's 20 electoral districts and will win the by-elections with the help of Almighty Allah. Speaking at a press conference held here, he said that while the election was being conducted in a transparent and peaceful manner, a few unfortunate incidents had occurred at some polling places. He claimed that the PTI's claims of a foreign conspiracy, looters, an imported government, etc., had been soundly refuted. He said that by-elections were being held in 20 constituencies in the province, which was very important to strengthen democracy, adding that the polling process was being carried out peacefully in Lahore, Jhang, Faisalabad, Multan and others cities. He said that any political party which was winning the election did not need to spoil the situation by creating chaos; however, those which knew that that could not win the election use negative tactics. He challenged the PTI to point out a single incident of rigging or use of authority against them in the elections. According to Attaullah Tarar, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has established norms and regulations that all political parties must abide by during the election process. He claimed that political parties had built polling campuses some distance from the polling places, and that only those who were relevant to the election were permitted inside. But certain parties, he said, intended to station their soldiers at the gate, which would not be permitted at all. He emphasised that rules must be adhered to in order to ensure transparent, free, and fair elections. As per the ECP rules, only candidates, candidates’ agents and polling agents were allowed to enter the polling stations, he said and added that PTI leader Jamshed Iqbal Cheema was trying to enter the PP-158 polling station, which was a sheer violation of the ECP rules. He said that the PTI leader was also involved in attacking the PML-N workers and its video evidence was also available. He added that he (Cheema) used the tactics to slow or stop the polling process. Tarar said that he had ordered police to take action on the incident according to the law.

06 dead and 970 injured in 895 road traffic

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: The Punjab Emergency Service Department responded to 895 Road Traffic Crashes (RTCs) in all 37 districts of Punjab during the last 24 hours. In these RTCs 06 people died, whereas 970 were injured. Out of this 582 people were seriously injured who were shifted to different hospitals. Whereas, 388 minor injured victims were treated at the incident site by Rescue Medical Teams thus reducing the burden of Hospitals. The majority (70%) involved Motorbikes, therefore effective enforcement of traffic laws and lane discipline are essential to reduce this increasing the number of Road Traffic Crashes. Further, the anal0ysis showed that 769 drivers, 36 underage drivers, 94 pedestrians, and 413 passengers were among the victims of these road traffic crashes. The statistics show that 250 RTCs were reported in Lahore which affected 270 persons placing the Provincial Capital at top of the list followed by 70 Multan in with 64 victims and at third Faisalabad with 60RTCs and 74 victims.

Religious independence mentioned in the constitution of pakistan, shia rahbar committee

By District Reporter

CHAKWAL: Organized by the Shia Leaders Committee of Chakwal District, the Protection, Mourning and Stability of Pakistan Conference was held on Sunday at Sarpak Ground, in which various people belonging to every school of thought participated. Big and small caravans of various Shia organizations reached the conference venue raising loud slogans of Labek or Hussain. Thousands of Shia Haider Karar from across the district participated in the conference. Allama Amin Shahidi, Shahshah Ali Khan gave a keynote address from the conference and said that sectarianism is an international conspiracy and the plan to fight different sects against each other is being implemented in Pakistan under a fixed plan. It is the responsibility of them to put an end to their petty differences and unite against the conspiracy against the world of Islam. Several resolutions were also passed in the conference, in which there should not be any restrictions on the mourning of Syed-ul-Shaheeda within Chakwal district, another resolution demanded that no restriction on religious freedom granted as per the Constitution of Pakistan would be tolerated. The unconstitutional and illegal use of the Fourth Schedule against Shia leaders should be stopped. Among the speakers who addressed the conference were Maulana Amin Shahidi, Shahshah Hussain Naqvi, Maulana Fazal Haider, poet Ahl Bait Shaukat Raza Shaukat, Colonel Syed Najamul Hasan. Nautak, and others.

LAHORE: On the occasion of the by-election, Muslim League-N Member of Assembly Sumbal Malik Hussain and other women are making the Victory sign.

In order to understand how declining oil prices affect all industries, PIAF requires tight measures

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: The Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has noted that while inflation continued to harm commerce and industry on an annualised basis at 33.16 percent, it is important to consider the impact of falling oil prices on other commodities, such as power tariffs. In a joint statement, PIAF Chairman Faheem Ur Rehman Saigol, Senior Vice Chairman Haroon Shafique Chaudhary, and Vice Chairman Raja Adeel Ashfaq said that while the decision to reduce fuel prices was a good one, the government now needed to demonstrate its managerial and administrative skills in order to apply this measure of relief to other sectors as well. Faheem Saigol said that most of the power is generated through thermal sources so the decline in fuel prices should also be seen in lowering energy tariff, as their cost has been reduced. Moreover, transportation fares and rates of other commodities should also be reduced accordingly through the writ of the district and provincial authorities, he added. The PIAF Chairman said that industries need low cost energy to bring down their cost of production, keeping their goods competitive in the international market. Quoting the latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), he said that year-on-year increase in sensitive price indicator (SPI) was due to spike in prices of diesel (141.46 percent), petrol (119.61 percent), onions (89.33 percent), pulse masoor (88.6 percent), vegetable ghee 1kg (78.92 percent), mustard oil (75.72 percent), cooking oil 5 litre (73.01 percent), vegetable ghee 2.5kg (72.44 percent), washing soap (59.93 percent), chicken (52.61 percent), gents sponge chappal (52.21 percent), pulse gram (51.14 percent), garlic (40.54 percent), LPG (39.95 percent), and pulse mash (31.01 percent). He claimed that although weekly inflation was flat, this trajectory will be dependent on changes in energy prices. The government has reduced the price of fuel, which should reduce inflation. According to Rauf, though, anticipated changes in gas and electricity prices could cause the index to increase. He stated that the CPI measurement, which was 21.3 percent in June, had not yet reached its pinnacle. It will probably soon reach 24–25%. The CPI figures for June revealed the difficult times that the most vulnerable groups of the population are currently experiencing. People have been seething with the high cost of commodities, particularly fuels and power, which make up a large percentage of the SPI basket. He said that Pakistan exports cannot compete with China, Bangladesh and India where power tariffs were 7-9 cents, as the country’s exports may witness a major setback in present days due to high cost of electricity, which has become a major stumbling block in industrial development and boosting exports.

Angry members from PML-N and PTI clash in Lahore

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Several PTI employees beat a PML-N employee in the PP-158 seat of Lahore on Sunday during voting for the by-election. The injured Nawaz League employee said that Jamshed Iqbal Cheema ordered him to be tortured. TV footage showed coworkers applying pressure to a PML-N employee's head to stop the bleeding. Rana Ahsan Sharafat, a candidate for the PML-N, and Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, the head of the PTI, also traded sharp words. Pertinent to note that for the third time in the last 20 years, by-polls are being held on this seat where PML-N has fielded its ticket-holder of 2018 Rana Ahsan Sharafat whereas the PTI has come up with Mian Akram Usman. Akram Usman is the son of former IJI MNA Mian Muhammad Usman and also related to PTI senior leader and parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed.

A newlywed couple in Lodhran prefers their votes to their walima

By Our Correspondent

LODHRAN: A newlywed couple from Lodhran abandoned their walima ceremony and made their way to a voting place on Sunday to cast their ballots in the Punjab by-election. It was discovered that the couple had arrived at the polling place wearing their entire wedding attire, which had shocked the voters. Speaking on the occasion, the bridegroom Zaman Khan said that casting a vote for the appropriate person was a very serious obligation. He said they preferred to vote first and then they will attend their walima ceremony. Bride Fauzia said that she considered it necessary to cast her vote for the bright future of children. “I hope that the preferred candidates will be elected and give hospitals, schools and roads to the area,” she added.

Lahore: Police personnel standing alert outside a polling station to deal with any untoward incident on the occasion of the by-election.

Manufacturing policy for solar panels and related equipment: EDB

NEWSDESK

ISLAMABAD: By the end of this month, the Government will receive the Engineering Development Board's (EDB) policy document on the manufacturing of solar panels and related equipment. The Ministry of Industries & Production, the EDB's parent ministry, and the EDB's Board of Management gave the EDB the go-ahead to start working on the design of this policy some time ago. Numerous stakeholder consultations have taken place over the past few months. These consultations have included local solar panel manufacturers, provincial energy departments, research organisations, academic institutions, users, and other pertinent organisations & departments in the federal and provincial governments. During the 51st Board of Management meeting of EDB, which took place in June 2022, the draught policy was discussed, and EDB was urged to undertake a consultation workshop before submitting the paper to the government. The Policy is anticipated to be compatible with the national solar energy policy being developed by the Pakistani Prime Minister's Renewable Energy Task Force and the Ministry of Power. Today , Pakistan, is facing serious energy shortages with record prices that had directly and indirectly affected all sectors of the economy .The country’s electricity demand has reached almost 29,000 MW total whereas generation is about 22,000 MW creating a considerable gap between generation and demand, resulting in load shedding. With the present Government’s focus on setting solar set ups it becomes imperative to promote localization & indigenization of solar panels and its allied equipment in the country to save huge out flow of foreign exchange. The country’s power sector has a structural issue as its energy generation mix is 40% based on indigenous resources while 60% comprises imported oil fuel. The government has planned to increase local share to 90% by 2030, out of which the targets set for renewable energy is 20% to 30% which is currently around only 1.4% of the total installed capacity. Since rooftop solar systems are now the least expensive method of electric generation, they should be promoted and rewarded. Local industry has already made significant investments to build local manufacturing capacity and capability for solar panels and related equipment in anticipation of the upcoming government policies for incentivizing renewable energy, particularly solar energy. In contrast, several other local as well as foreign investors are waiting for the appropriate policies to be released before they invest on the ground. Local production of solar panels and related equipment not only attracts investment and creates skilled employment possibilities for engineers and technicians, but also helps preserve vital foreign currency through localization.

AC Dr. Zanira reviewed the SOPs while visiting various parts of the city

By Staff Reporter

RAWALPINDI: Assistant Commissioner City Dr. Zanira visited different areas of the city on Sunday. During the visit, he reviewed the SOPs issued by the Punjab government regarding dengue. He checked the restaurant and gave notice to the owners if larvae were found during the checking and said that an FIR would be registered if larvae were found in the future. Later, the Assistant Commissioner issued orders to register an FIR against 3 persons in case larvae were found in the under-construction buildings. Dr. Zanira said that our aim is not to harass KI but to ensure the implementation of SOPs regarding dengue. Collaborate with the city government to control dengue to defeat the dengue mosquito.

Nine held during crackdown against criminals in Capital

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Capital territory police during a drive against anti-social elements arrested nine outlaws in the last 24 hours from different areas of the city, a Police Public Relation Officer said. According to the details, Bhara Kahu police team arrested two accused namely Khuram Nazakat and Aziz and recovered three stolen motorbike, while police team also arrested accused Namat Khan and 30 bore pistol along with ammunition from him. Kohsar Police teams arrested two accused Ghulam Khan and Mubarak Messiah involved in illegally cylinder filling. Shams Colony police arrested accused Muhammad Mustaq involved in illegally oil selling. Sabzi Mandi Police apprehended a drug peddler namely Gul Nazar and recovered 1240 gram hashish from him. Noon police arrested two accused Izhat Ullah and Irfan Ullah and recovered two 30 bore pistol from their possession. Cases have been registered against the nominated accused and further investigation is underway. Islamabad Capital Territory police have accelerated its efforts against criminal elements in the city to curb the crime and to save the lives and property of the citizens. Citizens are also requested to cooperate with police and inform about any suspicious activity around them.

RAWALPINDI: Presiding officer is busy with his work during the by-election in PP 7.

Exports from Pakistan may be impacted by a downturn in the US and EU

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The main export destinations for Pakistan, the western economies, have been severely impacted by the conflict in the Ukraine and Russia, according to the Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), which stated this on Sunday. It stated that if the government doesn't find solutions to the issues, it will have to borrow more money to keep the economy afloat. According to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, president of PEW, all measures taken against Russia, including economic sanctions, have failed, and the economies of America and Europe are now in crisis. According to him, declining demand is being caused by a recession that is being fueled by growing inflation in America and Europe. As a result of the western population's declining purchasing power, this will have an impact on Pakistani exports. In the event of a severe economic downturn in the west, Pakistan will need to handle more than 41 billion dollars this year, for which additional loans will need to be obtained. According to Dr. Mughal, the economic climate is deteriorating globally as a result of the unwise policies and reckless acts of the United States and Europe, and these nations' budgets have also suffered significantly. These nations' military spending, inflation, unpredictability, and instability are all rising, and their currencies are still losing value. Numerous other nations whose currencies are not affected by the problem are also losing value. But he said that, in contrast to predictions, the Russian ruble has emerged as the world's best-performing currency. He stated that on the day when Russia attacked Ukraine, one US dollar was worth 85 rubles, and that since that time, the value of the ruble has increased by 35%, making one dollar worth 53 rubles. 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.

Pakistan records slight decline in daily COVID-19 cases

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has registered a slight decline in its daily coronavirus caseload as the country reported 605 new infections of the pathogen during the last 24 hours, data from the National Institute of Health showed Sunday morning. As per the latest statistics of the NIH, 21,233 COVID-19 diagnostic tests were conducted across the country and out of which 605 came back positive, taking the number of total cases of the disease to 1,546,252. Meanwhile, two more patients succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll from COVID-19 to 30,440. The NIH said 173 COVID-19 patients are still in critical condition and being treated at different medical facilities. In addition to this, 429 more COVID-19 patients recovered from the disease during the same period.

PIA resumes Beijing-Islamabad flights after seven months gap

WEBDESK

BEIJING: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) resumed its passenger flights on Beijing-Islamabad route after a gap of nearly seven months when PK-855 took off from Capital International Airport for Islamabad on Sunday. According to official sources, the national flag carrier resumed commercial passenger flights on the Islamabad-Xian and Beijing-Islamabad sections last month, but the aircraft had to return to Islamabad from Xian because Beijing Capital Airport had been closed for international passenger flights due to Covid-19 prevention. On Saturday, PIA aircraft PK-854 made its way from Islamabad to Xian. After no Covid 19 case was discovered, the PIA flight departed from Xian and arrived in Beijing. Then, today's flight PK-855 from Beijing Capital International Airport made its way back to Islamabad. It may be mentioned here that the PIA operated its last flight between Beijing-Islamabad on December 19, 2021. PIA is also operating direct weekly passenger flights between Islamabad and Chengdu, capital city of China’s Sichuan province on every Wednesday which is a new destination in China in addition to Xian and Beijing. Officials, businesspeople, students, and others who reside in the Chinese capital will benefit from the Beijing-Islamabad flight. Additionally, the flight will make it easier for Chinese workers on various CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects in Pakistan.

A staggering 144 billion PKR loss has been incurred by Pakistan Railways 

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The losses suffered by Pakistan Railways over the course of five years (2015–2020) totaled a staggering 144 billion PKR. Due to the intense competition from the road transportation industry and PR's inability to implement a customer-centric business strategy due to a complicated bureaucratic structure, the public agency has been inefficient, underfunded, and overstaffed for the past 35 years, making losses. After being categorised in the "Retain and Restructure" category following the State Owned Enterprises (SOE) triage exercise in March 2021, the 19th-century infrastructure is still attempting to cope with the problems of the twenty-first century. The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics has published a research report that made this revelation. PIDE report recommended radical institutional reforms in Pakistan Railway as it currently ranks among the top ten loss-making state-owned enterprises (SOE) in Pakistan; a 44 Billion PKR deficit was reported in 2020; 36 billion PKR pension liability on PR was reported for 120,000 employees in 2020; and to overcome the deficit and pension liability, a 45 billion PKR subsidy was provided by the government in 2020. It was said in the research, according to a press release from the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, that although 50% of tickets are now sold electronically, Pakistan Railway still does not have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that integrates all the procedures. Even the internal flow of financial data for the company indicates a 60-day lag. Systems for managing client relationships, such as tracking arrangements, call centres, SMS notifications, etc., should be developed. There has been advertising for Railways Automated Booking and Travel Assistance (RABTA). Automation is anticipated to stop leaks, which were the main cause of the reduction in PR freight volume in 2020–21. Additionally, there are 115 000 unverified retirees of PR, who are paid 35 billion rupees annually. To verify these individuals, a biometric verification system for the pensioners has been proposed. The pension deficit has been fielded by the government of Pakistan for PR. A pay and pension commission has been formed which will have to think about not only railways but other public enterprises as well. Furthermore, the Pakistan Railway has 178000 acres of land, out of which 145 000 are being used for operational purposes. The remaining 33 000 acres is the “Right of Way” entitled to the Pakistan Railway. This land is both underpriced as well as underpaid as the rents are concerned. Two options can be exercised to put this ancillary land in use. Around 5 to 10 billion PKR can be generated annually by rewriting the concession agreements and getting rid of the encroaches. Or like Dehli Metro, transforming the railway stations of big cities like Lahore Karachi Islamabad into commercial hubs with decent shopping plazas, cafes, and restaurants. According to PIDE's analysis, it is also necessary to comprehend how people think and make decisions in order to increase the productivity of human resources.

Security forces recover body of Umer Javed, 2 terrorists killed

By Staff Reporter

RAWALPINDI: Pak army troops Saturday recovered a dead body of an abducted cousin of Shaheed Lt Col Laiq Baig Mirza during a search operation against terrorists in Warchoom, Ziarat. During the ongoing recovery operation linked with the abduction of Umer Javed, another terrorist's hideout has been identified and cleared by security forces. During the exchange of fire, two terrorists have been killed and sophisticated weapons and ammunition have been recovered. After the clearance of the hideout, the entire area was sanitized. During the search of the area, unfortunately, a dead body of Shaheed Lt Col Laiq’s cousin Umer Javed Shaheed has been found in a nearby Nullah, 5 Kms from Warchoom towards Khalifat Mountains.

IG forbade private security firms from adopting clothes resembling those of the police

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Inspector General of Police Dr Akbar Nasir Khan has said that no private security agency would be allowed to operate in city while wearing uniform similar with police, blue revolving lights, colors, monograms and any similarity on vehicles like Islamabad Capital Police or any other law enforcementagencies. IGP Islamabad Dr. Akbar Nasir reportedly gave directives to all of the Zonal SPs of the Islamabad Capital Police that no private organisation or firm should be permitted to utilise any uniform or vehicle resembling Capital Police or other law enforcement agencies in Islamabad. On the bodywork of the cars, uniforms, police lights or colours, monograms, or anything like them are not permitted. No compromises should be made and Section 170/171 action must be taken.

Another Indian plane makes emergency landing at Karachi Airport

NEWSDESK

ISLAMABAD: On Sunday, it was reported that a second Indian passenger airliner had to make an emergency landing at Karachi Airport. The plane, according to airport sources, experienced a mechanical problem while en route from Sharjah to the Indian state of Hyderabad. The pilot made contact with the Karachi Airport control tower, which enabled him to safely land at the airport around two in the morning.

Social admittance

The Sindh Assembly has approved legislation aimed at integrating transgender and special needs individuals into society. Following this, special seats in the local government structure have been created aside, where for the first time, members of the transgender community and other special persons will be represented. This is a huge step toward ending the societal exclusion and marginalisation of both transgender people and those with special needs. In each of the three municipalities that make up the West district, at least six seats in each category will be reserved. Around the world, numerous nations have implemented legislative measures to include transgender and special needs individuals in mainstream society. Unfortunately, due to social stigma, a lack of support, and lack of facilitation, these people have been denied their rights and means of subsistence in Pakistan for a very long time. This has frequently prompted many transgender people to turn to beggaring, dancing, or sex work in order to make ends meet, while special people who lack financial support from their families are forced to live in poverty. Both of these people face humiliation, disgrace, and even violence if they are observed participating in social or mainstream activities. The involvement of transgender and unique individuals in local government will empower their particular groups; therefore the Sindh government's efforts were long overdue. If given the proper opportunities, it will demonstrate to the general public that these people are just as capable and knowledgeable as everyone else. The inclusion of the transgender community and other unique people in local governmental organisations can also serve as inspiration for other provincial governments to adopt similar actions. Even while these actions might not have a large impact right away, they can open the door for increased accessibility and inclusion of both transgender and special needs people in various economic sectors. In order to advance and grow over the long run, nations must recognise, empower, and aid all societal groupings.

If given the proper opportunities, it will demonstrate to the general public that these people are just as capable and knowledgeable as everyone else

US policy in the Middle East can only benefit from Biden visit

LUKE COFFEY

After 18 months in the Oval Office, Joe Biden finally paid his first visit as president to the Middle East. This was the longest any US president had waited in more than two decades before making a first visit to the region. Biden’s visit came at an important time in international affairs. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted global energy markets and has created the potential for large-scale food shortages in North Africa and the Middle East. Many countries around the world are dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 disease pandemic and suffering from rampant inflation and slow, if not negative, economic growth. Iran continues to spread its malign influence across the Middle East and has shown no genuine willingness to negotiate a new agreement over its nuclear program. Throughout his many meetings, these were topics that were discussed. Admittedly, Biden’s visit to the Middle East was better late than never. His meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was scheduled for an hour and a half but lasted twice that long. US and Saudi officials signed 18 agreements on different issues including space exploration, energy and investments. Most importantly, Biden had a chance to learn a lot from his trip. Obviously, whether he takes these lessons onboard and acts on them is another matter. So what should Biden have learned on his trip to the Middle East? There are three important things. The first lesson that Biden should have learned is that his predecessor did a pretty good job advancing both stability and US national interests in the region. A great example of this is the Abraham Accords. It took months after entering the White House before Biden administration officials would even acknowledge the existence of the accords, much less offer any praise for them. However, it is now widely accepted across his administration, and even by Biden himself, that this Trump-era initiative was transformative for the region. It is crucial that the Biden administration now doubles down on the Abraham Accords and works to deepen relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The second lesson Biden should have learned from his trip is the true threat of Iran to regional stability. On the campaign trail, Biden regularly criticized Trump for leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and downplayed the threat from Iran. Biden has since advocated for the US to rejoin the flawed nuclear agreement with Iran. However, it has been 18 months since entering the Oval Office and the US is no closer to agreeing to a new deal with Iran. Biden has been in denial over Iran from the beginning, but hopefully this trip has made him realize a new and meaningful nuclear deal with Iran will be almost impossible to achieve. There is no doubt that the need to be tougher with Iran featured prominently in his meetings with his Saudi and Israeli counterparts. Even during his visit, a slight change in the president’s rhetoric regarding Iran was detected. However, actions speak louder than words. Finally, after his trip Biden should have learned that the small but vocal group of commentators at home that criticized his trip to Saudi Arabia are wrong. Sadly, it is this group’s lobbying against US relations with Saudi Arabia that probably had the biggest role in delaying Biden’s visit to the Kingdom. Now that this visit has taken place, it is in the interests of the Biden administration to build on what was agreed upon and have regular high-level US engagement in the Arab world. The word on the street in Washington, DC is that the administration will finally launch its National Security Strategy in the coming weeks. This strategy is long overdue. In this dangerous world, it beggars belief that the Biden administration published a National Gender Strategy before its National Security Strategy. It is anyone’s guess what the main focus of the National Security Strategy will be. Without a doubt, China will receive a lot of attention. Russia will feature prominently too. The big question remains about how the administration will approach the Middle East in the strategy document. Will the Biden administration continue to put its head in the sand over Iran? Or will it finally develop a meaningful policy of deterring Iranian aggression, rolling back its nuclear program, and bolstering and reassuring US partners in the region? Hopefully, the lessons learned by Biden on his trip will be taken to heart and will help inform his thinking about US policy in the Middle East. Biden needs to start operating in the world he is in and not in the world he wants to be in. In the real world, Saudi Arabia is an important partner for the US in the Middle East. Luke Coffey is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Now that this visit has taken place, it is in the interests of the Biden administration to build on what was agreed upon and have regular high-level US engagement in the Arab world

Forget the trivia, here’s what really mattered in Jeddah

FAISAL J. ABBAS

And so US President Joe Biden concludes his visit to Jeddah. As Air Force One took off and began to vanish over the horizon, so did long weeks of unprecedented speculation, cynicism and second guessing. It was regrettable to see how what should have been serious discussion of this important visit was too often trivialized by what would otherwise be nothing more than social media fluff. It was even more regrettable that some of our esteemed colleagues in reputable American media organizations were tempted to focus on the superficial optics while ignoring the substance. They would perhaps have been better advised to ask themselves, what does the average American voter really care about? Do they seriously believe that a truck driver in Michigan, for example, feeling the pinch from inflation and soaring fuel prices, really cares who greeted Biden at the airport in Jeddah? Or whether there was a handshake or a fist bump? Wouldn’t it be rational to assume that he would be more concerned with the fact that Saudi Arabia — the world’s most significant oil producer — just confirmed its intent to increase its output to full capacity and restated its longstanding commitment to stabilize energy markets? “The Kingdom will contribute to this field to increase its production capacity to 13 million barrels per day, and after that the Kingdom will not have any additional ability to increase production,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said at a regional gathering attended by Biden. As for us Arabs, it was unimaginably refreshing to hear Biden explicitly say that it was wrong for America to walk away from this region. We are delighted to see Washington finally realize what we have been trying for so long to explain: If you leave a vacuum, it is going to be filled by others — and you may not like who they are. Of course, many are now asking: “So, what did Saudi Arabia or the participating countries at the GCC+3 summit get out of it?” The answer is simple. We got the three words we have been waiting so long to hear: America is back! However, welcome as those three words are, they prompt a question that is so obvious it has become almost a cliche: Yes, America is back, but for how long? This is where we, the GCC+3 — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq — must realize that the Jeddah summit, far from being the chequered flag, is in fact only the starting line. What a waste it would be if all the time and effort that went in to organizing this summit, aligning Arab points of view, and the enormous diplomatic back and forth that persuaded Biden to signal the US commitment to this region, were all for naught. To avoid that outcome we must never forget that America is a democracy, and the nature of the beast is that its leadership will change every four or eight years. This means working closely and tirelessly with both Republicans and Democrats, and remembering that for every lobbyist for one Arab cause there will always be dozens of others competing for the same or opposing interests. The conclusion of the summit also brought a curtain down on issues that have been long rumored. There is clearly no likelihood of an America-led Arab ‘NATO,’ or a military alliance with Israel against Iran. There was also no truth in the speculation that the visit would bring the grand reveal of a Biden-brokered normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. What is true, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told The Atlantic magazine a few months ago, is that Israel could be an important ally of Riyadh provided a just solution for the Palestinian issue is found. Most importantly, I believe the biggest achievement of the past few days for us in the Kingdom is that Biden finally got to see the new Saudi Arabia for himself. This is significant because it puts the enormous reforms that have been taking place here into perspective; the president and his team saw first hand how this transformation will not only secure a more prosperous, tolerant and stable Saudi Arabia, but also serves the whole region and American interests too. Faisal J. Abbas is the editor in chief of Arab News

Do they seriously believe that a truck driver in Michigan really cares who greeted Biden at the airport in Jeddah? Or whether there was a handshake or a fist bump?

Russia aims to close ranks with its Astana partners

SINEM CENGIZ

Close on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit the region next week. It will be Putin’s first foreign trip, outside of visits to republics that were part of the former Soviet Union, since he ordered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Kremlin's announcement that he will visit Tehran, where he will meet the leaders of Iran and Turkey, came after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan accused Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to aid Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin will hold a trilateral meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of the so-called Astana Peace Process to end the war in Syria. The Kremlin noted that Putin will also meet separately with Erdogan while in Tehran. Closing ranks with Tehran and Ankara will be the main priority for Putin during his visit to the Iranian capital. Understanding how Turkey, Russia and Iran are working closely together is important for many reasons related to the NATO summit in Madrid last month, the war in Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal. There are a number of areas in which Turkey cooperates, separately or together, with Russia and Iran. The first is the previously mentioned Astana Peace Process, which was initiated by the three countries and is focused on Syria’s constitutional system, political transition, security and resettlement. The first Astana meeting was held in Turkey in January 2017 to facilitate UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva. After the 16th meeting of the Astana process, which took place in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan in July 2021, the Astana troika pledged to maintain their cooperation in Syria to help bring the warring sides together and find a permanent solution to the decade-long war. However, Ankara’s view on the conflict differs from that of the other two. While Russia and Iran are the key military and political backers of Bashar Assad, Turkey has provided military assistance to the opposition fighting against Assad’s forces and has conducted several military operations in Syria against the will of its two partners. Iran recently criticized Turkey for threats made by the latter of another operation in the north of the country. But on a wider, regional scale, Tehran’s other main concern is that Ankara has been improving its relations with Iran’s rivals, in particular Israel and the Gulf states. Turkey’s dual-track rapprochement, combined with concerns relating to its operations in Syria, has created the perception in Tehran that Ankara might be part of a regional front that aims to confront Iran. However, Turkey appears to be continuing to tread a fine line in this regional equilibrium and trying not to put too much strain on its “frenemy” relationship with Tehran. A recent visit by Iran’s top diplomat to Turkey tested the waters in Ankara amid the rapidly shifting balances in the region. The second area in which Turkey is involved with Russia involves the conflict in Ukraine, in which Ankara aims to play the role of mediator. Erdogan has been trying to use his good relationships with Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to position Ankara at the heart of peace negotiations. Kyiv has accused Moscow of stealing grain from territories seized by Russian forces. The Kremlin, which describes its activities in Ukraine as a “special military operation,” has denied the allegations. On Wednesday, Turkey hosted a meeting in Istanbul of Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish military delegations and UN officials to discuss the resumption of exports of Ukrainian grain from the major Black Sea port of Odessa, against the backdrop of a worsening global food crisis. Turkey played a key role in the talks and has been working with the UN to broker a deal, after the conflict caused prices of grain, cooking oil, fuel and fertilizer to soar worldwide. Ukraine and Russia are major global suppliers of wheat, Russia is a large exporter of fertilizer, and Ukraine is a significant producer of corn and sunflower oil. Ankara has sent defense delegations to Moscow and Kyiv in an attempt to break the deadlock over Ukrainian grain. Ankara also plays a part in Tehran’s relations with Western and Gulf countries. Last week, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani visited Iran to meet his counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Qatar, a key ally of Turkey, is attempting to host indirect, EU-mediated talks between the US and Iran as part of the efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The outreach by Qatar and Turkey to Iran is both symbolic and important. Putin’s meeting with Raisi and Erdogan, meanwhile, aims to counter Biden’s attempt to revive strained US relations with regional leaderships. For Ankara, the US president’s Middle East trip holds other meaning. Turkey currently operates double-track diplomacy. It continues to cooperate with Tehran on certain issues while also working to reset its relations with rivals of Iran. When it comes to Russia, Turkey is keeping the channels open with Moscow in relation to the Ukrainian-Russian war. But at the same time, Erdogan met Biden during the Madrid Summit and Turkey also signed a Trilateral Memorandum with Finland and Sweden during the summit in support of the two countries becoming members of NATO. This helped Turkey avoid losing further ground in its relations with the West. Sinem Cengiz is a Turkish political analyst who specializes in Turkey’s relations with the Middle East.

Putin’s meeting with Raisi and Erdogan aims to counter Biden’s attempt to revive strained US relations with regional leaderships

A window of opportunity for Afghanistan and Pakistan

ISHTIAQ AHMAD

The Saudi-US alliance has served as an anchor of stability in the Middle East and a key source of support for Pakistan and Afghanistan during successive rounds of the Afghan war. The recent friction was an exception, coinciding with the US exit from Afghanistan. The two countries lost an important channel, the Kingdom’s good offices, to persuade the US to remain engaged in mitigating the consequences of this war. The current US outreach in the Gulf is, therefore, a good opening for them. If this visit by US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia paves the way for restoring the strategic US-Saudi relationship, Pakistan and Afghanistan can hope to renew US interest in post-war stability in the region. The history of their overlapping interests testifies to this. The fate of Afghanistan and Pakistan is intertwined with the Gulf nations through common bonds of geography, religion and culture, and, by extension, with the US — the traditional security guarantor of the energy-rich Gulf and its strategic sea lanes — which have led to four major wars in the Gulf and Southwest Asia since 1979. The Gulf is the single largest source of foreign remittances for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their Muslim populations share a deep affinity with Saudi Arabia for hosting Islam’s holiest mosques and hold its leadership in high esteem. Saudi Arabia is the principal source of oil imports for Pakistan. The Kingdom has also helped Pakistan in difficult times, by providing oil on deferred payment and shoring up its national reserves. The Afghan wars have imposed a heavy cost on Pakistan. Extremism and terrorism emanating from these conflicts have also hurt the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Pakistan and the Gulf nations have a common interest in a peaceful Afghanistan. Hence, they want the US and its Western allies to join hands in dealing with its current humanitarian crisis, which, if not addressed quickly, could spiral into another conflict and wave of transnational terrorism. Pakistan and Afghanistan share another vital concern with the Gulf nations: Iran’s aggressive role beyond its borders. Pakistan and Iran have supported opposite sides during various stages of the Afghan conflict. They also accuse each other of sponsoring cross-border ethnic separatism. Pakistan avoids open hostility with Iran, but stands with the Kingdom on regional issues. So does the de facto regime of the Taliban, as it seeks the support of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE. After all, these were the three countries that recognized the previous Taliban regime and are also proactively engaged in the current humanitarian relief effort. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has set up a trust fund for the purpose, with the largest contribution from the Kingdom. On Iran, Pakistan-Afghan and Saudi-Gulf interests have overlapped with US strategic priorities, except during the Obama administration, when the US sponsored the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and the current administration, which made a failed bid to revive it. Each time, the purpose was to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — but not to constrain its ballistic missile capability or proxy wars in the Middle East. That is how US appeasement has ended up fueling Iranian militarism. Recently, though, Iran has come under pressure from the Abraham Accords, which have brought Israel into the Gulf security equation; the normalization of Turkish relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE; and, more recently, the Saudi-mediated cease-fire in Yemen. The current US outreach in the Gulf will further isolate Iran, especially if the traditional Saudi-US partnership is restored. This probability has already pushed Tehran toward Moscow, as is apparent from its reported deal to provide Russia with drones and its bid to join hands with Russia against Turkey in northern Syria. Unlike Russia, despite signing a strategic economic deal with Iran, China may prefer to preserve and promote its operational investment stakes in the Gulf rather than be part of Iran’s zero-sum game. The Iranian regime has played this game all along. It survives internally by sustaining the bogey of external danger, while expanding its deadly agenda abroad. How it will respond regionally in the face of its current isolation — more aggression out of desperation, or a facade of diplomacy with its Arab neighbors — remains unclear. Whatever the case, a globally isolated Iran at least relieves Pakistan and the Taliban rulers from a major spoiler of peace in post-war Afghanistan. They will also be able to serve Saudi-US interests in dealing with Iranian exploits in Southwest Asia. Beyond Iran, the resumption of the Saudi-US partnership could have several probable outcomes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. First, it is clear that Afghanistan’s grave economic and humanitarian crisis cannot be managed unless the US takes the urgent step of unfreezing Afghan assets worth $9.5 billion being held in American and European banks. Qatar has been the venue for US-Taliban talks for years, including for this financial row. Given its own stake in Afghan humanitarian relief, Saudi Arabia can play a more important role in resolving this matter through its good offices with the US. Social reforms give the Kingdom a distinctive ability to also persuade the Taliban leadership to address US political and human rights concerns, in return. Second, counterterrorism in Afghanistan is a shared regional and international interest. The Islamic State-Khorasan province terrorist group poses a real danger to Taliban rule. For now, the Daesh affiliate or the remnants of Al-Qaeda do not threaten Gulf-US security. However, if allowed to nurture support and regroup, they can act beyond Afghanistan’s borders. Counterterrorism is also a value proposition that Pakistan can offer to regain US interest. In this respect, it can count on US re-engagement in the Gulf, especially with Saudi Arabia. Third, Pakistan’s peace with India and recognition of Israel could be two other propositions over which Gulf-US interests coincide. The prospects of the former ultimately rest on the willingness of the two nuclear nations. The US will be more receptive to the latter, but it is way off: The taboo subject surfaces publicly from time to time, but instantly inflames passions. Finally, the stability of Pakistan itself is in question. Its new government is struggling to overcome an acute economic crisis by meeting tough conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund. This has caused severe inflation. Pakistan expects Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China to additionally shore up its national reserves, once the IMF deal is in place. This should not be an issue. Saudi Arabia could also act as a via media for Pakistan’s economic and security re-engagement with the US. Given its own interest in China’s investment and trade, the Kingdom could even help to assuage US concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a lifeline for the South Asian nation. Ishtiaq Ahmad is a former journalist who has been vice chancellor of Sargodha University in Pakistan and Quaid-e-Azam Fellow at the University of Oxford.

The current US outreach in the Gulf will further isolate Iran, especially if the traditional Saudi-US partnership is restored

How to end the Arab jobs crisis

MOHAMMED ABU DALHOUM

By most measures, unemployment in the Arab world has become one of the most important challenges facing the region, especially in the post-pandemic era. Data from the International Labour Organization suggests the unemployment rate across the Arab world increased from an average of 9.9 percent in 2018 to 11 percent in 2021. If we were to exclude the Gulf states, the current rate — according to the ILO data — would stand at 15.2 percent, about one in six people. Unemployment has become youth’s most prevalent challenge, with an average unemployment rate of 29.7 percent as of 2020, and a staggering rate of up to 50 percent among youth in Jordan today. While job loss has certainly played a role in these rising rates, it is important to add that government inability to create jobs has also been an important factor. For instance, and according to a study by Carnegie in 2017, Jordan’s creation of new jobs dropped from an average of 70,000 new jobs created annually by 2008 to an annual average of 48,000 new jobs as of 2015. Adding to that, the number of new labor market entrants remains on the rise, with an estimated 120,000 new entrants in Jordan, excluding 200,000 Syrian refugees who were promised work permits. Similarly, Lebanon has created an average of 13,000 new jobs annually over the past 10 years while about 33,000 new university graduates enter the job market, according to a GIZ study. If we were to examine this situation from a purely labor market supply-demand point of view, with the increase in supply of labor and the decrease in job creation, not only is there a bearish and sustained deficit, but we would also expect to see lower wages, worse work conditions, and ultimately a declining economy. It is somewhat unfortunate that this gloomy situation is clouding a positive change in work attitudes. According to data from the World Values Survey, 92 percent of Arab respondents from the surveyed countries in 2020 stated that work is important in life, compared to 88 percent in 2014. This is coupled with 69 percent who believe that placing less value on work in the future is a bad thing, compared to 63 percent in 2014. Further, we can make a normative assessment that, of those who have jobs, many people believe they work more and harder nowadays than they did before, meaning higher productivity — in principle. Increased productivity is generally associated with rapid growth. The pressing question, then, is why doesn’t increased productivity in the region translate into national economic growth? There are a number of possible answers. A short and realistic answer is the economic implications of the pandemic and the high unemployment rates across the region, coupled with price rises. This means that individuals are less able to engage in economic transactions apart from necessities such as rent, utilities and debt repayment. Another potential explanation centers around the size of the informal sector in non-GCC countries, which amounts to nearly one quarter of official GDP, according to a 2019 World Bank report. Much of this contribution can be attributed to the provision of jobs. However, with lower wages, lack of regulation and overall inability to leverage its outputs, the informal sector’s contribution to economic growth is intrinsically limited, let alone that it is difficult to incorporate it under national taxation policies.

Modern solutions

TikTok is an excellent platform through which hundreds of young Pakistanis exhibit their talents. However, it has been banned twice across Pakistan due to different reasons. Since the app was banned, young TikTokers have been deprived of the opportunities to make money, which is extremely unfortunate, given the state of the economy. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has agreed to establish a mechanism with TikTok to ensure that all content uploaded on the platform is lawful and safe. As many as 9.85 million videos from Pakistan were removed from the app between April and June 2021. It is hoped that the two will come to an agreement and that the app will be up and running in Pakistan soon.

Abdul Rahman Shahbeer, Turbat

Stealing from the poor

The Rs3.7 trillion Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP), interest-free loans for seven million families, is considered to be the best micro-credit program ever planned in Pakistan. But unfortunately a vast majority of the application forms for the loans were rejected recently. According to some news reports, of a total of 1,237,977 applications for the Kamyab Jawan Programme, 695,655 were rejected. It is unfortunate that such a large number of applicants couldn't benefit from this loan. One wonders on what grounds the applications were rejected. One fears that this scheme, like many before it, will become a tool in the hands of the already-wealthy and well-connected to amass more wealth. In 2020, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar admitted that several government officials of Grade 17 and above had registered for the BISP and benefitted from it, cutting off those who were more deserving. The government should ensure that a transparent system of merit is established in the case of the current schemes.

Umar Javed, Rahimyar Khan

Sordid reality

According to a study titled ‘Cruel numbers 2020’ by an NGO, Sahil, eight children are abused every day in Pakistan. These children are between the ages of six and 15 years, and 51 percent of them are girls while the remaining 49 percent are boys. More alarming still is the fact that there has been an increase of four percent in child abuse cases between 2019 and 2020. These statics are heart wrenching. Some victims are as young as one. To make matters worse, most of the abusers are reported to be relatives and neighbours of the victims. In 2020, after the country was rattled by the case of seven-year-old Zainab, a law was passed against child abuse by parliament. However, the number of cases seems to be rising. Children are abducted, abused – even murdered – and their bodies discarded. Most perpetrators roam free even today. Sometimes families of victims do not come forward because the culprit is also from the family. At other times, authorities fail to take due measures.

Waseem Ahmed, Hub

Breakthroughs elude Biden on fraught Middle East tour

Jeddah: US President Joe Biden sought to use his first Middle East tour in office to reassert Washington's influence but emerged without a single diplomatic breakthrough, an outcome analysts said was no surprise. On issues ranging from energy prices to human rights and Israel's role in the region, Biden could point only to small -- if any -- gains after four whirlwind days of meetings and speeches. Driving the point home, as Air Force One flew back to Washington Saturday evening, Biden's Saudi hosts downplayed one of the trip's few concrete announcements: their lifting of airspace restrictions on flights to and from Israel, which Biden himself had earlier hailed as "a big deal". There's little question the moves announced during Biden's trip were "modest", as Brian Katulis of the Middle East Institute in Washington put it, though he added that some represent "positive signs of perhaps something bigger to come". "They won't remake the region overnight, and there is so much more work ahead by actors in the region to achieve the full potential of these first steps," Katulis said. Far harsher reviews came from human rights activists aghast at Biden's final stop in Saudi Arabia, a country he once vowed to make a "pariah" over abuses like the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. No oil boost Saudi Arabia was always going to be the most fraught piece of the itinerary, but Biden came under intense pressure to court Riyadh after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent energy costs soaring. Washington has been eager for the kingdom, the world's biggest crude exporter, to help bring down rising petrol prices that threaten Democratic chances in November US mid-term elections. After his bilateral meetings with Saudi leaders on Friday, Biden said he was "doing all I can" to increase the oil supply but added that concrete results would not be seen "for another couple weeks" -- and it was unclear what those might be. His national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, also tamped down expectations, telling reporters that any action "will be done in the context of OPEC+", the exporting bloc. The following day, at a summit of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, oil "wasn't really a subject", Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told a press conference. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's pledge to boost production capacity to 13 million barrels per day was actually first announced in May, and is not meant to become reality until 2027. Israel walk-back On the issue of boosting ties between Israel and Arab countries, Riyadh appeared to hand Biden a victory -- at least at first. Despite growing behind-the-scenes business and security contacts, the kingdom has never recognised Israel and refused to join the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020 that allowed Israel to normalise relations with neighbouring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. But early Friday, the Saudi aviation authority announced it was lifting overflight restrictions on "all carriers", paving the way for Israeli planes to use Saudi airspace. Yair Lapid, Israel's Prime Minister, claimed it was "the first official step in normalisation with Saudi Arabia". Prince Faisal, however, dismissed that idea out of hand Saturday, saying the move had "nothing to do" with Israel and was "not in any way a precursor to any further steps". During Biden's earlier stop in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, there was no progress at all when it came to long-moribund peace negotiations, leaving Biden to focus instead on economic measures including 4G internet for Palestinians. Rights 'setback' Biden and Lapid signed a new security pact which commits the US to never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. But the pact did not mask differences in approach between the two. Lapid explicitly said the use of force needed to be an option as diplomacy and talk are inadequate, whereas Biden had reaffirmed he still wanted to give diplomacy a chance, calling force a "last resort". The roughest pushback Biden got so far over the trip stems from his meeting with Prince Mohammed, who US intelligence agencies concluded "approved" the operation that led to Khashoggi's killing and dismemberment. Friday's fist bump between Biden and Prince Mohammed, often referred to by his initials MBS, graced the front page of The Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a contributing columnist and whose CEO called it "shameful". AFP

 

Another Indian aircraft makes an emergency landing at the airport in Karachi

Web Desk

Karachi: On Sunday, a Sharjah-to-Hyderabad aeroplane experienced a technical problem and had to make an emergency landing at Karachi Jinnah's International Airport. At the time of this writing, the IndiGo aircraft is being inspected at the Karachi airport. "IndiGo flight 6E-1406, bound for Hyderabad from Sharjah, was diverted to Karachi. The pilot noticed a problem with the equipment. "Necessary procedures were followed, and the plane was diverted to Karachi out of caution. The airline announced in its official statement that an additional flight was being sent to Karachi to transport the customers to Hyderabad. Later, it was reported that an alternate Indian airline aircraft had arrived at the Karachi airport and was ready to transport passengers after they had completed the requisite paperwork. The fact that an Indian airline had to make an emergency landing at Karachi airport for the second time in two weeks should be underlined. SpiceJet's Delhi-Dubai flight on July 5 was forced to make a detour to Karachi after the pilots discovered an odd fuel depletion in one of the aircraft's fuel tanks. An indicator light was discovered to be broken. The pilot of the IndiGo plane successfully landed the jet around 2:20am, according to reliable sources within the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).The Airbus 320 aircraft reported a mechanical problem and is currently being investigated. Nearly 180 passengers were on board; they were securely transported to the transit lounge and given breakfast. According to the sources, the passengers will take a different flight to Hyderabad Deccan, which is scheduled to land at 3pm.

IS ex-bastion in Syria hosts Jackie Chan film shoot

Hajar al Aswad: A ghost town since a 2018 operation to flush out jihadists, Hajar al-Aswad near the Syrian capital has come back to life as the location of a Jackie Chan-produced action movie. "Home Operation" is inspired by China's 2015 evacuation of Chinese and other foreign citizens from the war in Yemen, an operation that was seen as a landmark for Beijing. Yemen was deemed too dangerous a venue to shoot and some scenes of the film, which is also backed by an Emirati production company, are being shot in Syria, although the script only mentions a fictional country called "Poman". The ruins of Hajar al-Aswad on Thursday filled with a motley crew of actors in Yemeni tribal attire, Syrian extras in uniform and polo-wearing Chinese film crew members. Jackie Chan is the main producer, although there are no plans for him to visit Syria. The film pitches itself as a blockbuster that will glorify the role of the Chinese authorities in a heroic evacuation. Speaking to reporters as his crew installed their equipment and tanks in hastily altered livery moved into position, director Yinxi Song confirmed the film's propaganda credentials. "It takes the perspective of diplomats who are Communist Party members, who braved a hail of bullets in a war-torn country and safely brought all Chinese compatriots onto the country's warship unscathed," he said. The ambassador of China, one of few countries to have maintained good diplomatic relations with the regime of Syria President Bashar al-Assad, was present to launch the Syria shoot, which is expected to last several days. A red banner in three languages was unfurled for the small ceremony and another that read "Peace & Love" was propped up on the front of a tank. 'Low-cost studio' Hajar al-Aswad, which means "black rock" in Arabic, was once a densely populated Damascus suburb that lies next to the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk. Both areas became major hotspots in the Syrian civil conflict that erupted in 2011 and were at least partially controlled at one point by the Islamic State group. The reconquest of both neighbourhoods by Syrian pro-government forces in May 2018 marked the moment the regime brought the entire capital Damascus back under its control. Swathes of Hajar al-Aswad were completely levelled, however, turning the neighbourhood into a sinister sprawl of grey, gutted buildings. A few residents have returned to the least damaged parts of Hajar al-Aswad, leaving the rest completely uninhabited. "The war-ravaged areas in Syria have turned into a movie studio. These areas attract film producers," said director Rawad Shahin, who is part of Home Operation's Syria crew. "Building studios similar to these areas is very expensive, so these areas are considered as low-cost studios," he said. The production team says it plans to use several other locations to film in Syria, where productions from Iran and Russia, both allies of Assad, have also been shot. Syria is targeted by a raft of international sanctions and is also littered with unexploded ordnance which last year made it the world's most lethal country for landmine kills. AFP

Sudan troops deploy ahead of pro-democracy protests

Khartoum: Sudanese police and soldiers deployed in large numbers Sunday across the capital Khartoum, ahead of mass protests planned by pro-democracy groups against coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Security forces erected road blocks on bridges crossing the Nile river linking Khartoum to its suburbs, AFP reporters said. Undeterred, protesters vowed to take to the streets in large numbers following a period of relative calm over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha which ended early last week. The demonstrators oppose Burhan's October power-grab and are also highlighting heavy fighting in Sudan's southern Blue Nile state, about 450 kilometres (280 miles) south of Khartoum. Sudan's latest coup derailed a transition to civilian rule, sparking near-weekly protests and a crackdown by security forces that has left at least 114 killed, according to pro-democracy medics. Nine were killed on June 30, the medics said, when tens of thousands had gathered and their deaths reinvigorated the movement. On July 4, Burhan vowed in a surprise move to make way for a civilian government. But the country's main civilian umbrella group rejected the move as a "ruse". Protesters have continued to press the army chief to resign. They accuse the military leadership now in power and the ex-rebel leaders who signed a 2020 peace deal of exacerbating ethnic tensions for personal gain. In Blue Nile on Sunday, witnesses reported troops deployed in the town of Al-Roseires, after at least 33 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in violence between rival ethnic groups, according to the health ministry. Guerrillas in Blue Nile battled former strongman president Omar al-Bashir during Sudan's 1983-2005 civil war, picking up weapons again in 2011. Bashir was ousted in 2019. The following year, the transitional administration reached a peace deal with key rebel groups, including from Blue Nile as well as the war-ravaged western Darfur region. The current violence in Blue Nile is between two local groups, the Berti and the Hausa. AFP

Forest fires rage in southwest France for fifth day 

Firefighters in France's southwestern Gironde region were fighting to control two forest blazes that have devoured more than 10,000 hectares since Tuesday. Firefighters in France are battling forest blazes that have ravaged thousands of hectares of land since the start of the week. In the coastal town of Arcachon in France's southwestern Gironde region, firefighters were fighting to control two forest blazes that have devoured more than 10,000 hectares. "It's a Herculean job," said Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Chavatte from the fire and rescue service, which has 1,200 firefighters and five planes in action. Further evacuation orders were given on Saturday for a few hundred residents, firefighter spokesman Arnaud Mendousse told AFP. "Several fires are still active in France," interior minister Gerald Darmanin said in a tweet. "Our firefighters are fighting the flames with remarkable courage," he added. Since Tuesday, more than 14,000 people -- residents and tourists combined -- have been forced to decamp with seven emergency shelters set up in order to receive evacuees. Meteo France forecast temperatures of up to 41 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of southern France on Sunday, as well as up to 35 in the northwest, with new heat records expected on Monday. AFP

Cargo plane carrying Serbian defence material crashes in northern Greece

A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying munitions from Serbia to Bangladesh crashed near the city of Kavala in northern Greece late on Saturday, Serbian authorities said on Sunday. Drone images from the scene showed debris from the bulking Antonov An-12 aircraft strewn in fields. Greek authorities said there were eight crew members on board and a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman said they were all Ukrainian citizens. Serbia's defence minister said the plane was carrying 11.5 tonnes of products made by its defense industry and the buyer was the Bangladesh defense ministry. He said the crew members were killed. Greek authorities could not provide information on the aircraft's cargo but the special disaster response unit and army experts were been dispatched to investigate the scene. Serbia’s defence minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said the cargo included illuminating mortar shells and training shells. It had taken off at 1840 GMT from Nis. "The plane carried 11.5 tonnes of products made by our defense industry. The buyer was the Bangladesh defense ministry," Stefanovic said. He added that the plane's cargo was owned by Serbian company Valir, a trade company registered to perform foreign trade activities of armament military equipment and other defence products. State TV ERT said that the signal of the aircraft was lost soon after the pilot requested an emergency landing from Greek aviation authorities due to an engine problem. Amateur video footage uploaded on ertnews.gr showed the aircraft in flames descending fast before hitting the ground in what appeared to be an explosion. A senior source at Jordan's civil aviation regulatory commission (CARC) denied initial reports that the plane was headed to Jordan. The source said that its flight itinerary included a stopover in Jordan’s Queen Alia international airport at 9:30 pm (0630 GMT), to refuel, state news agency Petra reported on Sunday. The wider area in Greece where the aircraft crashed has been cordoned off since Saturday night. Residents nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors shut and avoid the area of the incident. On Sunday morning, a brigade official told reporters that firefighters "felt their lips burning" and white dust was floating in the air. "We don't know what has been affecting us," fire brigade coordinator Marios Apostolidis said. REUTERS

Sprint king Kerley devotes win to selfless Aunt

Eugene: Newly-crowned world 100m champion Fred Kerley is a rare physical specimen able to compete in different sprint events. But his rise to the top has been anything but easy, having overcome a disjointed start to life to be able to finally thrive on what one special person provided. The normally taciturn, modest athlete almost cracked with emotion when devoting his 100m victory in Eugene on Saturday to his Aunt Virginia. It was she who raised Kerley and his four brothers and sisters after their father wound up in jail and their mother "took wrong turns in life". Kerley was two when he moved in with his then San Antonio-based Aunt Virginia, now 66. He took her surname and eventually had her nickname 'Meme' tattooed on his arm "so she'd always be with me". "I think about her every day because if it wasn’t for her I probably would not be talking to you now," said Kerley, fresh after his 9.86 second run won gold in a rare US cleansweep of the blue riband event. "She's probably blowing my phone up now as we speak!" Kerley was under no illusion of what his aunt had done. "She sacrificed her life for me and my brothers and sisters and cousins. We all got adopted, there were 13 of us and 26 of us in the household. "We had one bedroom, it was 13 of us in one bedroom, we were on a palette, and at the end of the day it was like in every other house, we all had fun, we enjoyed ourselves, and we’re doing great things right now." Doors have been opened The enormity of his rise from a complicated upbringing to the top echelons of world track and field was also not lost on Kerley. "It's amazing to accomplish something not too many people in my position (have been able) to do and I’m thankful for her for putting me in a position to win in life," he said of his Aunt. "I know today opened up many doors for me. The future is bright for me." Kerley added that he was now in a position to have established a dialogue with his parents. "I'm a grown man. I can have a relationship with my parents. They were not here tonight but I guarantee they were watching," he said. Asked whether he wanted to be a role model, given his upbringing, Kerley was in no doubt. "Everybody is a role model to somebody," he said. "What motivates me is coming where I come from... and for the future just keeping on accomplishing great things. "You don’t want to be in the same predicament as you were when you were younger." A bright track future also lies ahead, with his capacity to run not only the 100 and 200m, but also the 400m. He will be back on the track in Monday's 200m heats and is still holding out hopes of competing in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. "If the coach allows me!" "He's a special cat, amongst an elite group of people like the (Usain) Bolts, the Wayde van Niekerks," silver medallist Marvin Bracy said of Kerley, comparing him to the Jamaican sprint legend and South African multi-distance specialist. Kerley played down his hopping from event to event. "I'm back in my playground," he said, recalling taking part in the 100m, 200m and long jump in school and college, no doubt under Aunt Virginia's guiding eye. AFP

PSG arrive in Japan for three-game tour

Tokyo: Paris Saint-Germain's star-studded squad landed in Japan Sunday for a three-game tour against local teams, with new manager Christophe Galtier hoping to make a strong start with the French giants. PSG, featuring attacking trio Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, will take on J-League sides Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka during their 10-day stay in Japan. The French champions will then head to Israel to face Cup-winners Nantes in the French Super Cup in Tel Aviv on August 31. Galthier will lead PSG for the first time since arriving from Nice to take over from Mauricio Pochettino in the summer, and the 55-year-old is eager to get started. "We have three games against very good opposition," Galthier said at a Tokyo press conference in front of around 100 reporters. "Japanese football is at a very high level, with players with good technique and speed. I hope these matches will be good preparation for the French Super Cup in Tel Aviv." PSG have brought a squad of 25 players to Japan, and they touched down at Tokyo's Haneda airport shortly before midday. The team are scheduled to hold football clinics and open a new academy during their time in Japan. Their first game will be on Wednesday at Tokyo's National Stadium against reigning J-League champions Kawasaki. Messi said Japanese football had "taken some big steps forward". "They're very organised and competitive," said the Argentine star. "They have become much more physically competitive." AFP

Pak vs SL

Babar Azam scores a century for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in the first Test match

Web Desk

GALLE: Before Pakistan was bowled out for 218 on day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday, captain Babar Azam scored a resolute 119. Azam led the tourists to within four runs of Sri Lanka's 222 as he and Naseem Shah, who scored five not out from 52 balls in Galle, put on a 70-run tenth-wicket stand.Prabath Jayasuriya, a left-arm spinner, captured his third consecutive haul of five or more wickets to frighten the opposition batsmen, which fell to 85-7 before lunch and 148-9 in the second session. With a four and a single-off mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana, Azam completed his seventh Test century. The last session saw Theekshana successfully snare Azam lbw to conclude Pakistan's innings. Yasir Shah (18), Hasan Ali (17), and Naseem, three batters in the lower order, contributed to Pakistan's 133 runs for the final three wickets thanks to Azam. Number 11 with a zam shield Naseem displayed a combative form of batting by facing the majority of the balls. He smashed quick bowler Kasun Rajitha for three consecutive boundaries and later Theekshana and Jayasuriya for a six and a four.After rallying from 133-8 on Saturday, when Pakistan's left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed four wickets, Sri Lanka got a taste of their own medicine. Play was delayed by 30 minutes due to rain when Pakistan restarted the day on 24 for 2, and Azhar Ali only managed to last three deliveries before being caught lbw by Jayasuriya.Salman Ali Agha, making his debut, was out leg before after only 15 balls after scoring five runs on another slipping delivery from Jayasuriya. Before Yasir escaped the hat-trick ball, Jayasuriya, 30, struck on consecutive deliveries to dismiss Mohammad Nawaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Tour de France leader Vingegaard loses key ally Roglic

Rodez: Tour de France leader Jonas Vingegaard took a body blow as his co-captain Primoz Roglic pulled out of the 21-day bike race ahead of Sunday's stage 15 run to Carcassonne. Vingegaard is locked in a desperate struggle with defending champion Tadej Pogacar after wrestling the lead from him in spectacular manner in the Alps. Roglic was injured in a fall on the cobbles of the northern French mining roads on stage five, but was fundamental in causing Pogacar's meltdown on the Col du Granon on the second of three Alpine stages this week. Vingegaard and Roglic started the Tour as co-captains of Jumbo-Visma, but the older of the two now trails by over 30 minutes. On Saturday's stage Roglic actually joked that he was now preparing for the Vuelta a Espana, of which he is three-time defending champion. But Sunday's announcement not only comes as a surprise, it also weakens Vingegaard, who leads Pogacar by 2min 22sec thanks to the collective efforts of his team. Roglic said he was leaving to "allow my injuries to heal properly." "We have decided that I won't start today," Roglic said on the Jumbo-Visma team Twitter account. "I'm proud of my contribution to the current standings and I trust that the team will realise our yellow and green ambitions." The move will also give him ten days extra to prepare for the Vuelta. Former ski-jumper Roglic, 32, has been suffering from shoulder and lower back problems. Roglic and Vingegaard both came second to arch-rival Pogacar in 2020 and 2021 respectively. AFP

History-makers

Five talking points from Ireland, England triumphs

Sydney: Ireland stunned the All Blacks to make history with their series-clinching third Test victory in Wellington on Saturday. A few hours later England recorded a rare away series victory against the Wallabies, just the second in Australia by the Red Rose side in more than a century of rivalry. AFP Sport looks at five talking points from the bruising tours to New Zealand and Australia: - Keep your head - Concussions blighted both series with World Rugby forced to clarify their head injury rules and return-to-play protocols. England trio Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Maro Itoje, All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, Ireland centre Garry Ringrose and Australia's Allan Alaalatoa all were forced to miss matches after taking knocks to the head. Confusion about the results of pitchside Head Injury Assessments (HIAs) prompted a statement from World Rugby after Ireland captain Johnny Sexton was selected for the second Test in Dunedin despite leaving the game after failing an HIA during the opener in Auckland. The governing body noted that failing a sideline HIA did not confirm concussion and in Sexton's case he had later passed second and third HIAs, which meant he was not subject to "return to play protocols" requiring a player to rest for 12 days. Progressive Rugby, a lobby group whose members include medical professionals, objected, saying the game's priority "must be to err on the side of caution". Card sharps World Rugby's push for the use of red and yellow cards to promote player safety became more confounding as both series unfolded, with coaches complaining as sides were frequently reduced in numbers. "Accidental head contact, and this (excessive) use of TMO (television match official), we've got to cut out," complained England coach Eddie Jones. He said he did not ever want to see again a match like the second Test in Dunedin where New Zealand received two yellow cards and a red and were at one stage down to 13 players. "Imagine in the World Cup, you're playing a quarter-final, you get a red card, two yellows and you're down to 12 men, it's just ridiculous." AFP

Ings on the spot as Villa beat Leeds 1-0 with Gray carried off

Brisbane: Danny Ings scored a penalty, but Philippe Coutinho missed another, as Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa edged Leeds United 1-0 in a high-intensity clash of English Premier League teams marred by 16-year-old Archie Gray being stretchered off on Sunday. England international Ings converted in the second half after his teammate Coutinho was denied by a fantastic double save from Leeds' young French keeper Iilan Meslier. There was plenty of niggle and tough tackling during the pre-season tour match in front of nearly 41,000 fans at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, which boiled over when Scottish midfielder John McGinn flattened Gray. The nephew of Leeds legend Eddie Gray and son of former Elland Road striker Andy Gray had only been on a few minutes when he went down clutching his ankle, with a leg brace fitted before he was carried away on a stretcher. "Really good workout, a win and a clean sheet and a lot of positivity to take away," said former Liverpool and England midfielder Gerrard. "I was really happy with large parts of the first half, parts of the second half were a bit scrappy. "There was a few spicy challenges, it's a contact game," he added when asked about Gray. "Hopefully the damage isn't too bad and he's back." Villa finished 14th in the Premier League last season, only 10 points clear of the drop zone, and Gerrard has made it clear he believes they belong in the top 10. The former Rangers boss has made some marquee signings, making Coutinho's loan deal from Barcelona permanent and bringing in Boubacar Kamara from Marseille and Diego Carlos from Sevilla. AFP

Americans Kupcho and Salas win LPGA pairs event

Washington: Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas combined for a nine-under par 61 on Saturday to win the LPGA Great Lakes Bay Invitational team event by five strokes. The US duo started the day with a four-shot lead and didn't put a foot wrong in the four-ball (best ball) final round at Midland Country Club in Michigan. Their 26-under par total put them five in front of Finland's Matilda Castren and Malaysian Kelly Tan -- who grabbed solo second on 21-under par with Castren's birdie at the 18th to cap an eight-under par 62. That saw them edge ahead of American Stacy Lewis and Mexico's Maria Fassi, who roared up the leaderboard with an 11-under par 59 but settled for third on 20-under 260. Kupcho and Salas, who took a win and a tie for the US in last year's Solheim Cup loss to Europe, said the confidence of that partnership carried them this week. "I think we were clicking all week," said 25-year-old Kupcho, who won her first major title in April at the Chevron Championship and earned her second LPGA victory at the Meijer Classic last month. "I think we just have a lot of faith in each other. We make each other comfortable. We just know if we mess up, the other person's got us and that has worked really well for us." For Salas, it was the end of a long dry spell since she won her only prior LPGA title at the Kingsmill Championship in 2014. "Just a magical week," Salas said. Castren and Tan were also a team of good friends, with Castren poised to be maid of honor at Tan's wedding next December. They seized solo second with a birdie at the par-three finishing hole, where Castren's tee shot settled inches from the cup. "I was just trying to hit good shots," Castren said of their steady climb up the leaderboard, which featured birdies at five straight holes from the 10th through the 14th. "I saw that we were second so I told my caddie I didn't want to share the second spot and he said stick it close on 18. "I happened to hit a great shot and it almost went in." AFP

Economic and financial stability are essential to a nation's sovereignty

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: The country can achieve accelerated economic growth by imparting skills to youth and women through short and extensive training courses in various fields, especially in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, according to President Arif Alvi, who also emphasised the importance of economic and financial strength for making independent economic and financial decisions. He asserted that the Pakistani Diaspora must play a significant and active role in advancing Pakistan's business and industrial sectors and in providing young people and women with the necessary skills to help Pakistan achieve self-sufficiency, which will allow it to make its own political, financial, and economic decisions for the benefit of its citizens. The President made these remarks while virtually addressing the 45th Annual Convention of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA), USA, from Aiwan-e-Sadr. President APPNA, Dr Haroon Durrani, and members of the Pakistani diaspora in USA attended the virtual Convention. He regretted that Pakistan did not have the capacity in the past to absorb its highly educated, productive and precious human resource which resulted in its migration to developed countries of the world where, by sheer dint of merit, they became high achievers in many high value sectors and contributed in the development and prosperity of their host country. According to the President, Pakistani diaspora may improve and bring value to Pakistan's business, industrial, agricultural, and service sectors as well as to the development of our non-productive population, such as the youth and women who lack education. He commended the Pakistani doctors in the USA for their sterling reputation in the host nation and for their significant contributions to Pakistan's advancement. He urged them to set up telehealth services in Pakistan so they may offer advice and consultation to patients, particularly those in the underprivileged and poorer sections of society. While identifying various sectors where Pakistan needed to make progress, he said that we needed to provide further incentives to the ICT sector and equip our youth with marketable ICT skills. While updating the participants on issues and opportunities of Pakistan, the President said that strong democratic institutions, curbing the menaces of corruption, nepotism and jobbery, empowering women financially and focusing on the skill development of its human resources were essential for Pakistan’s socio-economic development. He said that Pakistan's Digiskills online training programme had effectively taught IT skills to over 2.4 million young people, enabling them to support themselves with a respectable income. He underlined the need to broaden and develop these fast-track training programmes across the entire nation. The President gave a brief overview of Pakistan's foreign policy to the participants, noting that the country had shifted its emphasis from geo-strategic to geo-economic considerations and was promoting regional trade and connectivity by making the best use of its special geographic location, particularly in light of the desire of Central Asian Republics to connect with the rest of the world in order to advance regional trade and economic cooperation. The President emphasized that Pakistan did not believe in polarization and camp politics and was trying to maintain cordial relations with all its international partners. He said that Pakistan and USA had historical relations and Pakistan played a key role to link USA and China and had cooperated with USA in its War on Terror.

Punjab by-polls: ‘rigging has begun’ as two PTI polling agents expelled

NEWSDESK

ISLAMABAD: Shehbaz Gill, the leader of the PTI, asserted that there has already been election cheating in 20 of the Punjab Assembly's by-elections and revealed that their polling agents in Muzaffargarh were not permitted to verify the empty ballot boxes. Shehbaz Gill said on Twitter that the two polling agents for their candidates in PP-272 (Muzaffargarh) had been kicked out of polling places 44 and 46 and were no longer permitted to examine the number of ballots available and the number of empty ballot boxes with the presiding officer. He stated that the administration had started to rig the election and added, "Now we do not know how many fraudulent votes will be polled in these polling sites." Meanwhile, the provincial election commissioner Punjab rejected the allegations levelled by Shahbaz Gill and said that PTI polling agent Ameer Baksh was present at station 44 while no polling agent of the party reached polling station 46. “Only agents approved by the party are allowed to sit in the station,” he said and asked the PTI leaders to avoid making the electoral process disputed through unverified claims. Imran Khan and Maryam Nawaz, two of the PTI and PML-top N's leaders, launched a frenzied campaign to support their candidates before the polls opened for the "do or death" by-elections in 20 Punjab Assembly constituencies. On Sunday, elections will be held for the 20 Punjab Assembly seats up for grabs after the PTI MPAs supported Hamza Shahbaz in the Chief Minister (CM) elections (today). For the CM vote count in the Punjab Assembly in July 2022, which was mandated by the Supreme Court (SC), the outcomes of the by-elections would be crucial. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) needs to win a total of nine seats in today’s by-elections to gain a majority to elect their chief minister in the biggest province of the country.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi alleged poll workers with bias 

By Our Correspondent

MULTAN: Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), accused the political staff of bias and charged the PML-N with rigging the by-election for the PP-217 constituency. The former foreign minister claimed, while speaking with the media in Multan on Sunday, that there was no voting workers at one location where our polling agent was sat outside and their agent was seated inside. The Election Commission was notified. "So far, I have discovered Multan to have better weather, good police arrangements, and more votes. He urged the voters, "Please go to the polls," in an appeal to them. He said that Tehreek-e-Insaf has given a good fight, Imran Khan has conducted a vigorous election campaign in 14 districts and PTI workers are very active. Tehreek-e-Insaf is stubborn compared to the government. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that PTI is satisfied with the trend of the voters and has always tried not to act falsely till now polling is going on peacefully. He further said that there should be an inquiry into the use of government resources in Maryam Nawaz's rally. Vice Chairman PTI said that there has been a change in the political situation in Punjab. He further said that the Central Govt will also be affected by the change in Punjab. Along with PTI workers, Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived into a private factory on Vehari Road and claimed that the building was home to a phoney polling place. He smashed the factory gate many times. "Flip the door open! You are inside stamping ballot papers, he yelled. The returning officer can be found where? He asked, "Can't he see that? Qureshi pleaded with the plant employees, "If you won't let me in, at least show the TV channel the scenario inside." He was prevented from entering the polling station of Basti Dogran by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers. As Mr. Qureshi reached the polling station Basti Dogran, the PML-N workers surrounded the PTI leader and averted him from entering the polling station. Soon, a heavy contingent of police reached the spot. On the other hand, the factory owner rejected the allegations of Shah Mehmood Qureshi and stated that there was no polling station inside their factory. Factory owner Zulfiqar Chaudhry said that Shah Mehmood Qureshi came to the factory with armed guards. “A clash could have occurred in the factory if we opened the gate,” he added. The factory management said that they were going to submit a complaint to the district returning officer. The Returning Officer also noted a problem with manual voting at PP-217's polling place. He asked the Presiding Officer an inquiry about it. While the Presiding Officer and voters refuted the claim of compelled voting, the Returning Officer also queried the voters present at the polling place. The former Minister was also spoken to by the returning officer, although Shah Mahmoud Qureshi also expressed satisfaction with the voting procedure.

LAHORE: Central leaders of Tehreek-e-Insaf Fawad Chaudhry and Musarrat Cheema are visiting PP 158.

Nayeem Khan completes 5 years of illegal detention in Tihar jail

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: All Parties Hurriyat Conference senior leader Nayeem Ahmed Khan has completed five years of his illegal detention in India’s notorious Tihar jail. All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir chapter leader, Altaf Hussain Wani in a statement issued in Srinagar, while voicing serious concerns over the continued illegal detention of Nayeem Ahmad Khan, said, “On this day in 2017, Nayeem Ahmed Khan was arrested by the Indian authorities from his Srinagar residence and then rushed to New Delhi’s Tihar jail where he has been languishing for the past five years.” He claimed that the APHC leader's detention in an abduction-like manner was a gross violation of fundamental human rights, adding that Nayeem Khan's imprisonment was a result of the Modi administration's extensive crackdown on dissent in the region.

Pakistan's tech sector has experienced exponential expansion, opening up vast economic potential: Masood Khan 

WEBDESK

WASHINGTON: Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, urged Pakistani-American business owners based in the United States to take advantage of the country's economic opportunities, growing middle class, and business-friendly policies, according to a press release received. He also said that Pakistan was ready to attract investment due to its startup and tech sector's exponential growth. Speaking at the "Healthcare Entrepreneurship Landscape in Pakistan" seminar, which was part of the APPNA's 45th Annual Summer Convention in Atlantic City, was Ambassador Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan. He claimed that Pakistani-American business owners have become the most important players in the Pak-US economic collaboration and in achieving the goal of a prosperous Pakistan. The Ambassador went on to say that "your success stories serve as a catalyst for boosting the entrepreneurial drive and competitive spirit among prospective entrepreneurs in Pakistan and to further improve Pakistan-US collaboration." The largest medical organisation in the US is called the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA). The APPNA's Committee on Medical Education, Research, and Information Technology Transfer (MERIT) and OPEN Global hosted the event (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs). The ambassador emphasised the enormous successes that Pakistani businesses had received over US$800 million in funding over the previous 18 months. Pakistani startups were drawing interest from foreign investors. In Pakistan, there are 3720 startups, and 356 of them are in the health technology sector. The Ambassador said that health tech startups were reversing the current model of hospital centered healthcare delivery by bringing healthcare to the patients at their point of need using a “patient centered” approach. He said that the government was committed to facilitate startups and new businesses in Pakistan. He said that simplification of tax regime, incentives for new businesses, establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), liberalization of visa regime demonstrate Pakistan’s keenness to become an attractive destination for investment.

International Justice Day has no meaning for victim Kashmiris

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Justice continues to elude struggling Kashmiris even as International Justice Day is being commemorated across the globe Sunday. An analytical report released by Kashmir Media Service, today, maintained that when International Justice Day is being observed across the world, the Kashmiris continue to suffer under the Indian colonialism. The report said Kashmiris continue to face deepening atrocities, discrimination and injustice on the part of India. Indian troops, enjoying impunity under draconian laws, are committing grave human rights abuses, in fact, war crimes to suppress the Kashmiris’ voice and just struggle for right to self determination, it added. It said massacres, custodial killings, arrests and harassments by Indian troops, paramilitary and police personnel are order of the day in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It said justice has not been delivered to the victims of mass killings like Gaw Kadal, Kupwara, Handwara, Sopore and Bijbehara massacres and Kunan-Poshpora mass rape, Shopian double rape and murder case and rape and murder of Kathua minor girl in the territory. The report said the Indian judiciary is biased against the Kashmiris and it never provided justice to them. It added that the Indian courts had not punished a single Indian soldier or policeman involved in war crimes in IIOJK. It said that the Indian judiciary, without fulfilling the basic requirements of justice, sentenced the Kashmiri liberation leaders, Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Muhammad Afzal Guru, just for being Kashmiris. The report pointed out that thousands of Kashmiris, including Hurriyat leaders Masarrat Aalam Butt, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Gulzar Ahmad Gulzar, Mushtaq-ul-Islam, Aasiya Andrabi, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Naheeda Nasreen, Fehmeeda Sofi, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Ayaz Muhammad Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Syed Shakeel Yousuf, Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, Muhammad Yusuf Falahi, Muhammad Rafiq Ganai, Hayat Ahmed Butt, HR activists, Khurram Parviaz and Muhammad Ahsan Untoo and journalists Aasif Sultan and Fahad Shah had been languishing in different jails of India and the territory and yet to receive justice.

International Justice Day has no meaning for victim Kashmiris

By Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: Justice continues to elude struggling Kashmiris even as International Justice Day is being commemorated across the globe Sunday. An analytical report released by Kashmir Media Service, today, maintained that when International Justice Day is being observed across the world, the Kashmiris continue to suffer under the Indian colonialism. The report said Kashmiris continue to face deepening atrocities, discrimination and injustice on the part of India. Indian troops, enjoying impunity under draconian laws, are committing grave human rights abuses, in fact, war crimes to suppress the Kashmiris’ voice and just struggle for right to self determination, it added. It said massacres, custodial killings, arrests and harassments by Indian troops, paramilitary and police personnel are order of the day in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It said justice has not been delivered to the victims of mass killings like Gaw Kadal, Kupwara, Handwara, Sopore and Bijbehara massacres and Kunan-Poshpora mass rape, Shopian double rape and murder case and rape and murder of Kathua minor girl in the territory. The report said the Indian judiciary is biased against the Kashmiris and it never provided justice to them. It added that the Indian courts had not punished a single Indian soldier or policeman involved in war crimes in IIOJK. It said that the Indian judiciary, without fulfilling the basic requirements of justice, sentenced the Kashmiri liberation leaders, Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Muhammad Afzal Guru, just for being Kashmiris. The report pointed out that thousands of Kashmiris, including Hurriyat leaders Masarrat Aalam Butt, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Gulzar Ahmad Gulzar, Mushtaq-ul-Islam, Aasiya Andrabi, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Naheeda Nasreen, Fehmeeda Sofi, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Ayaz Muhammad Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Shahid-ul-Islam, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Syed Shakeel Yousuf, Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, Muhammad Yusuf Falahi, Muhammad Rafiq Ganai, Hayat Ahmed Butt, HR activists, Khurram Parviaz and Muhammad Ahsan Untoo and journalists Aasif Sultan and Fahad Shah had been languishing in different jails of India and the territory and yet to receive justice.

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