Good governance can end Sri Lankan turmoil
By Sardar Khan Niazi
Sri Lankan new president Ranil Wickremesinghe faces the task of ending the country’s economic collapse and restoring order after months of mass protests. In Sri Lanka nowadays, maximum people believe that a change in political leadership may solve current problems of governance. Though it is indisputable that the political leaderships that Sri Lanka has had thus far, have been responsible for the present-day turmoil, the Sri Lankan bureaucracy has not played its part or has not been able to play its part, in guiding the uppermost leadership along the accurate path. This could be owing to an assortment of elements, ranging from the outdated standards that govern boss-subordinate relations, incongruous and old-fashioned recruitment practices, the lack of necessary skills, and the lack of prospects for improving skills. There is no proper system of evaluation of work or a foolproof and just incentive system to lift the morale of public servants. Dread of the costs of taking decisions stops public servants from taking bold initiatives that is why they play safe and maintain the status quo. The law may catch up with a minister ultimately, but the first to be detained is an ordinary government servant. The Sri Lankan public service has important responsibilities, including development as well as routine administration, but it has become a catchphrase for insensitivity, procrastinating tactics, and corruption in complicity with political bosses. Generally, public service performance is low in Sri Lanka. Twenty percent of the Sri Lankan population is in agriculture. The agricultural sector accounts for twenty-three percent of exports. Only forty percent of the information available to people about this sector is accurate, mostly invalid or imprecise. Finding information about trade regulations is a significant barrier to improving the economy. This is because of the insufficiencies of the Sri Lankan bureaucracy. The unfortunate state of the bureaucracy is a graver problem than it is supposed to be, and Sri Lanka has not yet figured out how to make its bureaucracy more answerable. Agriculture has enjoyed political importance over the years. Yet, its contribution to Sri Lanka's economy has worsened, not enhanced. Agriculture's contribution to the Lankan GDP has remained stagnant at under eight percent. The bureaucratic procedures to be followed by exporters and importers are a labyrinth. In Sri Lanka, there are about 21 key government agencies and 23 key legislative Acts that govern the export and import of goods. The difficulty in finding timely and reliable information about these regulations and compliance procedures is a significant barrier to trade. This is especially true of agricultural products that are generally subject to more strict regulations to guarantee the safety and quality of the products traded. The imperfect accessibility of correct and appropriate information increases both the price and time of compliance. The absence of information and resultant delays in getting the cargo cleared are costlier for agricultural products, most of which are perishable in nature and require quick turnaround times to preserve the quality and commercial value of the product. The complicated and excessive regulations generate opportunities for corrupt officials who could supply correct information selectively for a bribe. According to reports, many ministries do not give all the information they have on their websites and never update their content. For that reason, the solution is to make available perfect and up-to-date information on the internet. Earlier, in 2007, Sri Lanka Customs launched the Customs Regulatory Database with the assistance of USAID. An important effort was made to collect, classify, and digitize information on laws, regulations, and Customs procedures. Nevertheless, no initiative was taken to maintain and update the database. For this unhappy state, successive political leaderships and the bureaucracy are responsible.
COAS Qamar Bajwa, Turkish envoy discuss defence and security collaboration
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: Mehmet Pacaci, Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan, called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ on Thursday. According to a news release from the ISPR, the meeting covered topics related to the regional security situation, professional and personal interests, with a focus on cooperation in the areas of defence and security between the two friendly nations. The COAS stated: "We highly respect our brotherly connections with Turkey, which are firmly grounded in our shared cultural and religious affinities and deeply steeped in history." The dignitary who was in town recognised Pakistan's contribution to regional stability and promised to do his part to advance diplomatic ties with Pakistan on all fronts.
General elections will be held in Oct 2023: Khurram Dastagir
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastagir said Thursday while addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with State Minister for Petroleum Musaddiq Malik that the current government would complete its term and the general elections would be held in October 2023. "The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) administration held free and fair elections on July 17. We value the votes and opinions of the public, he declared. "Imran Khan's four tales were all over the place. Additionally, the story of X and Y has been obliterated. We are up against a fascist party, he continued. "Imran Khan has as his goal destroying democracy and the institutions of the rule of law. Imran Khan's false narratives ruined the economy, he regretted. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was supported on July 17, the day of the Punjab by-elections, according to the federal electricity minister. “Every time the ‘Imrani Fitnah’ raises its heads, the economy starts sinking,” he said, claiming that efforts were being made [by the government] to reduce inflation in the country. Additionally, he insisted that the national gasoline prices had been brought into line with those found abroad. Musaddiq Malik, the state minister for petroleum, stated that Pakistan currently has a 34-day supply of gasoline.
Govt to appoint new SBP Governor next week: Miftah Ismail
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD : Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail said on Thursday that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor would be appointed by next week. The Board of Directors (BoD) of the Central bank would also be concluded this week, the finance minister said in a statement to the media alongside the defence minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif. He said that the federal government would not artificially manipulate the value of the currency, saying that the nomination of the next SBP governor will be finalised by next week. After the coalition administration stated that its term would come to an end, Miftah Ismail predicted that the value of the Pakistani rupee will increase and remain stable.
POL products’ import gradually reducing due to effective management: Musadik
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Thursday said import of petroleum products was witnessing a gradual decline due to effective policies and management of the incumbent coalition government, under the wise leadership of PM. The country imported over 9% fewer petroleum products in June this year than in the same month a year prior thanks to excellent management, the minister said at a news conference alongside the minister for power, Khurram Dastgir Khan. He said that in June 2021, about 778,000 Metric Tons (MT) of gasoline were sold in the nation; this figure fell to 704,000 MT in June 2022, a 9 percent decline.
Govt to facilitate businesses for attracting FDI: Aisha Pasha
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha here on Thursday expressed government’s resolve to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country through keen focus on ease of doing business and facilitation of business community. According to a news release from the finance division, the state minister said this will aid in achieving sustainable growth in the nation during a meeting with Mehmat Celepoglu, CEO of Total Parco Pakistan Limited. She informed the CEO of Total Parco that their difficulties would be resolved on a priority basis and instructed the pertinent authorities to take the necessary actions to resolve their issue. The CEO of Total Parco briefed the minister on their taxation-related problems as well as the nation's economic predicament. The statement further said Celepoglue expressed gratitude to the Minister of State for Finance and Revenue for attending to their concerns.
LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairing Federal Cabinet meeting held in Islamabad, via video link, from Lahore.
Who will be crowned Chief Minister of Punjab?
Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari will preside over the meeting, all the preparations have been completed by the Assembly Secretariat, the code of conduct has been issued.
By Staff reporter
LAHORE : The decision of who will be crowned the Chief Minister of Punjab will be decided in the polls on friday Hamza Shehbaz on behalf of Muslim League (N), People's Party. While Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is the candidate from Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muslim League (Q), 186 votes must be obtained for the election of the Chief Minister and if the candidates fail to obtain the required number, a run-off election will be held in which The candidate who gets more votes will occupy the chair of the Chief Minister, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mazari will preside over the meeting, all the preparations have been completed by the Assembly Secretariat and the code of conduct for the election of the Chief Minister has also been issued. has gone According to the details, according to the points decided by the Supreme Court after the consensus among the parties, for the election of the Chief Minister of Punjab, polling will be held in the House of Punjab Assembly at four o'clock in the afternoon. All the arrangements for the election of the Chief Minister have been completed by the Assembly Secretariat, while the code of conduct for the election of the Chief Minister has also been issued. According to Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti, the Punjab Assembly Secretariat has issued a code of conduct to ensure transparency in the Punjab Chief Minister elections as per the order of the Supreme Court. According to the points of the code of conduct, there will be a complete ban on the entry of the guests of the members of the assembly and the assembly staff in the assembly secretariat, the speaker box, ;facer box and the guest galleries will be closed, but the media gallery will be open. The members of the assembly have been asked to carry the identity card issued by the assembly, there will be a ban on carrying mobile phones in the house. The members of the assembly will enter the assembly secretariat through the gate located by the duty free shop, the police will control the administrative matters outside the four walls of the assembly secretariat, the chief minister will cover the election of Punjab through the media press gallery. Apparently, despite the fact that the numbers of the opposition alliance are higher, the ruling alliance is making surprise claims, while both sides continue to accuse each other of horse-trading. The Chief Minister will need the support of 186 MLAs to get a vote of confidence. According to the statistics of the website of the Punjab Assembly, the number of members of the Muslim League (N) in the ruling alliance is 166. However, it has been reported that the Election Commission has not officially notified the resignations of both and declared their seats vacant yet. The number of members of the People's Party included in the ruling coalition is 7, while the Rah Haq Party, which is included in the coalition, has one vote.
According to the points of the code of conduct, there will be a complete ban on the entry of the guests of the members of the assembly and the assembly staff in the assembly secretariat, the speaker box, ;facer box and the guest galleries will be closed, but the media gallery will be open
CM Punjab directs authorities to remain alert in wake of rains in Lahore, other cities
By Staff Reporter
LAHORE: Following rains in Lahore and other towns, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz Sharif has issued instructions to the relevant agencies to maintain their vigilance. In a statement, he urged elected officials to visit the site of the drainage work in their districts and keep an eye on it. Hamza Shahbaz emphasised the importance of making the most of all available resources to speed up the drainage work in low-lying areas. Low-lying regions of the provincial capital were flooded by heavy rain. Rainwater made its way into the homes in the city's low-lying neighbourhoods. Rainwater-covered roads made it difficult for traffic to move.
PTI to challenge ECP decision to put off Sindh local govt elections in court
By Our Correspondent
HYDERABAD: The PTI has rejected the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) decision to postpone the Sindh local body elections and plans to challenge it in court Thursday. Addressing a gathering in Hyderabad, PTI leader Ali Zaidi said the party condemns ECP's decision, adding that the Commission was already controversial. Apart from that, former Sindh governor Imran Ismail stated that the postponement of local body elections and the NA-245 poll is a sign of the PPP and MQM-P's defeat. He claimed that the buyers and sellers of consciences are fleeing Sindh elections by setting up a market in Punjab and that the "thappa" mafia has escaped yet again today. However, PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman claimed that the ECP had failed to hold fair elections during a press conference in Karachi. He asserted that the poll was rigged in advance by the MQM-P and PPP and that the election commissioner should resign. The Pakistan Meteorological Department's most recent rain forecast caused ECP to postpone the second round of Sindh's local body elections by one day, to July 23. The decision to postpone the Sindh local government elections was made during a meeting presided over by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja. The MQM, the GDA's chief secretary, and the provincial election commissioner all asked for the decision to be made. According to the Election Commission's spokesperson, the second phase of local elections in Sindh will now take place on August 28, 2022.
ISLAMABAD: Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan WADA Mitsuhiro, UNDP Pakistan Resident Representative, Knut Ostby, Inspector General of Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Moazzam Jah Ansari, General, Police Service of Pakistan, Abbas Ahsan, posing for a group photograph along with percipients after the launching ceremony of the first-ever Policing Plans for the Merged Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, at a local hotel in Federal Capital.
SHC reserves verdict in Dua Zahra kidnapping case
By Staff Reporter
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict in the high profile case pertaining to the alleged kidnapping of Dua Zahra, the teenager who had mysteriously disappeared from Karachi in April but it was later reported that she had run away from home to marry 21-year-old Zaheer Ahmed. A two-member bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Iqbal Kalhoro, heard the case. Mehdi Kazmi, Dua Zahra's father, filed a lawsuit accusing Zaheer of taking the daughter from her home in Karachi's Alfalah neighbourhood. At the beginning of the hearing, Zaheer was shown in court. Justice Kalhoro said during the hearing that Dua Zahra must be taken to Karachi so that the case can be heard there since she vanished from this city. "In Karachi, there are also shelter homes where security arrangements will be made. The girl won't be in danger in Karachi "Judge made a comment. He enquired as to whether Zaheer's lawyer opposed Dua being transferred to Karachi. The girl cannot be forced to move to Karachi or meet anyone if she doesn't want to, the attorney responded. He asserted, "Even the court cannot order the girl to meet anyone. The court then stated that because Dua Zahra had been designated as a minor, her statements had no legal standing. However, it noted that no order was being obtained to place the girl in her parents' custody. In the meantime, Karachi was preferred over Sindh by the legal counsel for both administrations. After this, the court reserved its verdict on Kazmi's plea and said it will be announced later in the day. A Lahore court on Tuesday sent Karachi teenager Dua Zahra to a shelter home following a court order.
K-Electric seeks Rs11.39 per unit power tariff hike
By Staff Reporter
KARACHI: K-Electric, the sole power utility in Karachi, on Thursday submitted a request to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) seeking another hike of Rs11.39 in tariff under fuel adjustment charges. According to the request, the power utility has requested a massive increase of Rs11.39 for the month of June 2022. On July 28, 2022, the national power regulator will take up the KE's request for a hearing. The National Electric Electricity Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) previously heard the federal government's appeal for a basic power rate increase of Rs 7.91 per unit. After the hearing, the electric power regulator will make a decision and send notice of that decision to the government. The government's request for an increase in the basic rate of all power distribution companies, including K-electric, the power utility that provides electricity to Karachi, will be decided at the NEPRA hearing presided over by its chairman Tauseef Farooqui.
LAHORE: Member National Assembly and Parliamentary Leader of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Khalid Magsi called on Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman at Governor House.
Youth are the most valuable asset of the nation and they need to be given good education: Balighur Rehman
By Staff Reporter
LAHORE: Vice chancellors from different universities of Multan called on Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman at Governor House Lahore today. In the meeting, Emerson University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Shaukat Malik, Multan Women's University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Uzma Qureshi and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Agriculture University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Asif Ali were present. During the meeting, the Vice-Chancellors briefed the Governor Punjab about the performance of the universities and the problems faced by them. Speaking on this occasion, Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman said that youth are the most valuable asset of the nation and they need to be given good education so that they may be able to contribute to the development of country. He said that teachers should pay special attention to the education of the students as well as their moral training and character building so that they always bring good name to the country, adding that in our religion much emphasis has been laid on high morals and character building. Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman said that the universities have been asked for proposals to take practical advantage of the research done on environment and a consortium will be formed soon in this regard. He said that it is gratifying that the performance of Pakistani universities is improving in the global ranking. He said that the linkages of academia with industries should be strengthened, this will not only provide employment opportunities to students, but the industry will also benefit from the research done in the universities. Governor Punjab while giving instructions to the vice chancellors asked them to prepare and share the short term and long term plans of the universities. He said that the process of appointment of vice-chancellors should start six months before the end of their term. Governor Punjab said that the timely appointment of vice-chancellors to the posts is necessary for effective management of educational and administrative affairs in universities.
PTI denies report of electoral alliance in KP with ANP
By Our Correspondent
PESHAWAR: Special Assistant to Chief Minister (SACM) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Barrister Saif Thursday denied reports of an electoral alliance of the PTI with ANP and said that the party does not want a political or electoral alliance with any party. Barrister Saif said in a statement on Thursday that he denies rumours of an electoral coalition with the Awami National Party (ANP) and that the PTI would never consider joining forces with a group that was involved in the nation's "regime change operation." PTI, which has a two-thirds majority in the KP Assembly and is the most widely supported party in the nation, will continue to work for democratic stability, he added. It is pertinent to mention here that a report recently stated that another coalition partner of the unity government in the Centre led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Awami National Party (ANP), is mulling over to part ways with the coalition government. Party leaders discussed leaving the federal government after none of the promises made to them prior to the vote of no-confidence were kept during an ANP meeting presided over by Aimal Wali Khan. Sources inside the ANP claimed that neither the administration was bringing them into confidence regarding their decisions nor that commitments made to them were being kept.
‘No guests’ as sops issued for Punjab Assembly session to elect CM Punjab
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: For the key Punjab Assembly session on the Supreme Court's orders to hold elections for the province's chief minister, Secretary of the Punjab Assembly Muhammad Khan Bhatti has released SOPs. The Punjab Assembly (MPA) members and staff have been instructed not to invite guests into the assembly, per the SOPs issued by the secretary. Only the media gallery would stay open, the secretary explained, adding that reporters will be permitted to cover the election from the gallery. "The speaker's box, officers' box, and visitors' gallery will remain closed," she added. The MPAs have been told to bring NICs and to put their phones away outside the assembly area. Only administrative tasks would be carried out by the police outside the assembly secretariat's entrance, he declared. It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued detailed order regarding Chief Minister (CM) Punjab’s election on July 22. The 10-page detailed order from the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial was written by Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan. It said that the election for chief minister in Punjab will be held on July 22 at the Punjab Assembly building and the proceedings would be led by the deputy speaker. The order read that during the first phase of voting, the votes of the members would be counted and if both candidates fail to get desired numbers then a recount would be held.
Horse trading in CM Punjab election is shameful
By Our District Reporter
CHAKWAL: Senior journalist Khawaja Babar Saleem Mahmood said on Thursday that the reports coming so far about the throne of Lahore are not encouraging in any way and indeed 22 crore people of the country are right to demand that now it is under the guise of democracy. The game is being watched and it should be ended. In the recent Senate election, the party with 65 votes, all 65 members of which were present in the House, after two hours of counting, the 35-member Senate chairman failed the no-confidence motion against him. However, everyone knows where and from where this game is starting. However, the kind of law breaking that has been going on in the National Assembly for the past four months is the fear that the same game will be repeated in the Punjab Assembly on Friday. There are reports about the members that they have reached for Umrah, some are said to have left for Turkey, but the situation is not satisfactory at all, he was speaking live from Chakwal Press Club studio. The host of the program, Zulfiqar Mir, said that the numbers Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is the favorite in terms of numbers, but Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has to complete 186 points. There are reports that his points are complete. But the situation is changing. Senior journalist Khawaja Daniyal Saleem said that international agencies are involved in the game of horse trading and it is being said that the bid of crores of rupees is true and the name of a political figure is being mentioned in this matter. Has done Ph.D. However, dollars and pounds cannot be ignored in Takht Lahore. Young journalist Mehran Zarr Malik said that in any case, if any member is absent in the code of conduct which has been formulated in the light of the orders of the Supreme Court, then there is no doubt about it because being elected on the ticket of a political party. Ella cannot give his vote to any other party. In this regard, if seven or eight members of PTI and Muslim League-Q are absent, then the lottery of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif may also come out again. Senior journalist Raja Iftikhar Ahmed said that the chances of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi being elected are quite bright and regarding the partial mandate of the people of Punjab on July 17, the crown of the Chief Minister should be placed on the head of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. Senior journalist Khawaja Babar Salim Mehmood said that the coming 24 hours are very important and if the powerful circles have decided something, then there can definitely be a big upset.
PESHAWAR: Chairman NDMA, Lt. General Akhtar Nawaz distributed one million rupees each cheque among NOKs of Flood Victims during his visit to Tank District.
‘90 killed, nearly 4,000 houses damaged in Balochistan by monsoon rains’
By Our Correspondent
BALOCHISTAN: At least 90 people have died in Balochistan's monsoon rains since they began on June 1 — including three in the past 24 hours — and about 4,000 dwellings have been damaged, according to the most recent report from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. As rainfall broke their 30-year record, the second round of downpours shook the area. A report by the PDMA states that 63 persons have also been hurt in addition to the fatalities. In the last 24 hours, two men and a child were killed in rain-related incidents in Quetta and Jaffarabad. Meanwhile, 706 livestock animals have been killed in floods. The report added that over 2,500 houses have been completely damaged, while 1,417 houses have been partly damaged in the rains. Separately, nine bridges and four roads have been submerged in water.
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In the Court of Judge, Banking Court No. V Lahore Old State Bank Building OPP G.P.O The Mall Road Lahore. Suit No. 236/2022. ZTBL Ltd Plaintiff Zarar Bahadur. Summons U/S 9(5) of the Financial Institutions (Recovery of Finances) Ordinance, 2001. (Ordinance No: XL VI of 2001). Summons to Zarar Bahadur S/O Ibn-e-Masood, caste Rajpoot, R/O Jimbar Kalan Tehsil Patoki District Kasoor. Whereas the aforesaid plaintiff has instituted a suit against you and others for the recovery of 12,12,356. Summons U/S 9(5) of Ordinance No XL VI of 2001 referred to above is hereby issued requiring you to make within 30 days of the service of this summon an application for leave to defend the suit U/S 10 ibid. Take notice that on your failure to file such application within time specified above the Banking Court shall pass a decree as prayed for in the plaint, in favour of the plaintiff Banking Company. Next date for the further proceedings, in the case has been fixed on 15-08-22. Given under my hand and seal of the court this 16-7-2022. Judge Banking Court no.V, Lahore.
Islamabad court extends Imran Khan’s interim bail in 10 cases
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad District Sessions Court Thursday granted an extension to bails granted to former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in 10 cases related to PTI’s recent long march. Imran Khan's requests for interim release were examined by Sessions Court Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti in the Islamabad District Sessions Court, and he extended Imran Khan's interim releases in 10 instances till July 30. However, due to the accused's absence in a new case number 425 filed at the Kohsar Police station, the court declined to give Khan bail. The court accepted Imran Khan’s request for exemption from attendance as the latter is in Lahore. The judge noted that although the accused must present, the cases are political in character. Babar Awan could not present in court because he was travelling, according to junior lawyer Rai Tajmal. Imran Khan must appear in case number 425, which was filed with the Kohsar police station, the judge stated. The court stated, "I will issue the order if the accused shows. It is a fresh bail in case number 425. On Rai Tajamal's request, he also directed to schedule a new bail application for the next hearing on July 30.
Eager for career opportunities, 122 youths graduate from skills training programme
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Inspire Pakistan held a graduation ceremony for the first intake of Afghan refugees and Pakistani students of the Urban Cohesion Hub in Rawalpindi. A total of 122 students including 62 refugee and 59 Pakistani students obtained their certificates, having completed a three-month training in various education and livelihood courses. Graduates also received a livelihoods kit to start their careers, including sewing machines for tailors and stove tops and a set of pots and utensils for budding chefs. The Urban Cohesion Hub is a community centre that offers a secure setting where people of various backgrounds can come together for social events, recreational activities, educational opportunities, and livelihood programmes, as well as to access legal and mental health support. Three times a year, skills training programmes are conducted with the aim of encouraging young people from the refugee and host communities to enter the workforce and realise their enormous potential as contributing members of their host communities. These consist of classes in English language instruction, computers, cosmetology, tailoring, and cookery.
Pakistan gears up to decarbonise economy: WealthPK
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan aims to decarbonize China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by re-directing Chinese infrastructure investments away from emission-intensive coal-based projects towards green energy enterprises like wind, solar and hydropower. Under CPEC, Pakistan is also in the process of developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The development of ‘green’ SEZs is on the pattern of their Chinese counterparts, which have fuelled industrial development and growth in China. Speaking to WealthPK, Muhammad Arif Goheer, Principal Scientific Officer, Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), Ministry of Climate Change, stated that Pakistan had made policies and taken initiatives to ensure a quick transition toward green energy resources in order to neutralise the threat of climate change. "Measures have been taken to initiate the decarbonization of the economy." According to Arif, the government has developed a number of strategies over the past few years to transition to a low-carbon economy. "These included the Sustainable Energy for All, National Action Plan, Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Electric Motors and Fans, Energy Efficient Lighting Programme – Solarization, Alternate Renewable Energy Policy, National Transport Policy 2018, National Electric Vehicle Policy, National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Policy 2022 (draught), National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2016, National Transmission and Dispatch Company Expansion Plan 2018-40, and National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2016 (draught).
Pakistan reports 599 new coronavirus cases; 3 deaths
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported 599 new coronavirus cases along with no new virus-related deaths during the last 24 hours, showed the data released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Thursday morning. According to the statistics released by the NIH, after seven more coronavirus-related deaths, the death reached 30,455, which represents a ratio of 2.0 percent. All the three patients died belonged to Sindh.After performing 21,315 tests, the coronavirus positivity ratio in Pakistan was calculated to be 2.81 percent, with 599 new instances of the virus appearing in the previous day. The number of cases now stands at 1,548,394. 9,673 patients are actively being treated, with 170 of them in serious condition. In the past 24 hours, 265 additional recoveries were reported, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 1,507,935 with a 97.4% recovery rate. In Diamer, the number of Corona cases was highest nationwide. In 24 hours, Diamer's positive ratio rose to 21.43 percent. The positivity ratio of the coronavirus cases was recorded at 36.24 percent in Hyderabad, 25 percent in Swabi, 5.86 percent in Lahore, 5 percent in Nowshera, 3.85 percent in Muzaffarabad, 3.33 percent in Mardan, 2.87 percent in Karachi, 2.85 percent in Peshawar, 2.58 percent in Rawalpindi and 1.88 percent in Islamabad.
NEPRA asked to increase power tariff by Rs9.90 per unit
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Central Power Purchasing Agency (CCPA) has sought hike in power tariff by Rs9.90 under the monthly fuel adjustment mechanism for June. According to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), it will conduct hearing on CCPA plea for power tariff hike on July 28. K-Electric, the sole power utility in Karachi, also submitted a request to the NEPRA seeking another hike of Rs11.39 in tariff under fuel adjustment charges. According to the request, the power utility has requested a massive increase of Rs11.39 for the month of June 2022. The national power regulator will take up the KE’s plea for a hearing on July 28, 2022. The CPPA has stated in the application that in June, 24.22% of electricity was generated from water, 13.57% from coal, 10.48% from furnace oil, 10.66% from domestic gas, 24.43% from imported LNG and 9.12% from nuclear fuel.
RWCCI is trying its best for the issues of women entrepreneurs: Hina Khan
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: Rawalpindi Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized an executive meeting. The meeting was chaired by group leader Hina Mansab Khan and RWCCI President UzmaShahid Butt. They consulted with the executive members on the release of the upcoming elections schedule and other issues. Speaking during the meeting last dayHinaMansab Khan said that Rawalpindi Women's Chamber of Commerce is trying to solve the issues of women doing business. The government should promote women entrepreneurs. On this occasion President of Rawalpindi Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ms. UzmaShahid Butt addressed the participants of the meeting and said that the election schedule will be released soon. . Everyone is working together for the development of the Rawalpindi Women's Chamber of Commerce. Founder PresidentMs.AsmaKanwal ,Senior Vice President RWCCI Ms.AlmasAkhatar, General Secretary RWCCI JunaidYousaf, Vice President Noreen Tariq, Executive Member Mavra Aziz, Executive Member Asiya Shahid, Hr Head Ms.Rahat Jabeen, Riffat Shaheen, Farah Sheikh , Muntaha Sharukh were also present in the meeting.
Three killed as Monsoon rains lash parts of country
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Monsoon heavy rains have lashed parts of the country, disrupting the routine urban and rural life, and inundating the low-lying areas. In Gujrat, a roof collapse killed two sisters, aged 12 and 14, while six members of the same family sustained injuries. The incident occurred in Hera Pur. In Lahore, roof incident also claimed one life in the Harbanspura area. Rainwater has inundated the accountability court causing problems for the lawyers and litigants. The weather has turned pleasant culminating in the humidity. Many Lesco feeders have tripped triggering the load shedding since last night in the metropolis. In Lahore, the highest rainfall in Tajpura was recorded at 185 mm, Lahore Airport 156 mm, Gulberg and Mughalpura 63 mm, 149 mm rainfall recorded at Lakshmi Chowk 128, Nishtartown 105 mm, Chowk Nakhda 148 mm, Paniwala Pond 116 mm, 58.5 mm rain in Farrukhabad 82, Gulshan Ravi 105, Sumanabad 68 mm, 104 mm rain record in Johortown, 101 mm rain recorded at Uppermal while 56 mm at Samanabad. Because of the intense rain in Lahore, the Pakistan hockey team's training session has been postponed. The sports complex is flooded with water due to the recent heavy rain. On Murree-Kohala Road, a car crashed into a ditch, instantly killing one person. Ran floods in Jhelum washed over an embankment in the Domeli neighbourhood. Dewatering equipment, according to Assistant Commissioner Sohawa, is in use in some areas of the city. Rains from the monsoon season have pounded Muhala Muslim Town, Hospital Road, and all other low-lying locations of Shakargarh. On the second day of the current monsoon, inhabitants in Narowal and the surrounding areas had enormous obstacles getting to their destinations as a result of the constant heavy rain. In Narowal, every feeder has been tripped. Khairan, Pasroor and Hafizabad too presented the same picture like any part of Punjab.
ISLAMABAD: Federal minister for commerce Syed Naveed Qamar in a meeting with Mr. Zhang Ming, secretary general, Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Alarm bells as Pakistani markets fall short on essential medicines
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: An alarming situation has arisen as markets in the country are short on several essential medicines, including suicide prevention drugs, due to a hike in their production costs — creating fear of an increased suicide rate in the country. "None of the brands selling lithium carbonate are available in the market for the last couple of months," a renowned psychiatrist and former president of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society said while referring to the formulation known as the most effective medicine for the treatment of several psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Other necessary medications, such as clonazepam drops and tablets for treating epilepsy in children and adults, and methylphenidate for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, are also unavailable on the market, according to doctors and pharmacists. Other psychiatrists at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Shifa International Hospital Islamabad, Mayo Hospital Lahore, and psychiatrists in Peshawar concurred that family members of bipolar disorder patients were scurrying from pillar to post in search of lithium carbonate, despite the fact that none of its brands were offered on the market. “There are some alternatives to this medicine but they are not effective as lithium carbonate," said Iqbal Afridi, adding that pharmaceutical companies and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) were requested to ensure the availability of this drug as hundreds of patients are suffering due to shortage of this important medicine. Another senior pharmacist, Salwa Ahsan, from Islamabad said the medicine lithium carbonate was not available throughout the country, adding that the cost of raw materials had gone up and companies were no more manufacturing them. "These medications were previously produced by nine pharmaceutical companies, but none of them are doing so at the moment. Over 60 medications, including those for the treatment of tuberculosis, psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders like epilepsy, antidepressants, anticoagulants (blood thinners), painkillers, antihypertensives, and several other essential medications, according to officials in the local pharmaceutical industry, are reportedly unavailable in community pharmacies. Several important medications for the treatment of TB, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, depression, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions were not readily available, as pharmaceutical companies were not producing them due to their high production costs, according to a survey of pharmacies in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.
Seven criminal’s netted by capital police; drugs and weapons recovered
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Capital territory police during a drive against anti-social elements arrested seven outlaws during the last 24 hours from different areas of the city, a Police Public Relation Officer said. According to details, the Secretariat Police team arrested an accused during checking namely Liaquat and recovered heroin from his possession. Likewise, the Koral police team arrested an accused namely Abdul Majeed and recovered 1435 gram hashish. Similarly, Shehzad Town police team arrested an accused involved in drug peddling namely Waris khan and recovered 1170 gram hashish from his possession. Khanna, Noon and Industrial Area police teams arrested three accused namely Asad Ullah, Khadim Hussain and Asif for possessing illegal weapons and recovered three 30 bore pistols from their possession. Shams Colony police arrested an accused Muhammad Umair involved in selling illegal oil arbitrage. Cases have been registered against the nominated accused and further investigation is underway. ICT 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.
PAC organized calligraphy exhibition
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: The celebrations regarding the Diamond Jubilee of Pakistan at the Punjab Arts Council started with a group Islamic calligraphy exhibition. Director of Punjab Arts Council Waqar Ahmed was the chief guest of the exhibition. Director Arts Council Waqar Ahmad said that the artists have written the Quranic verses in a very beautiful way. The art of Islamic calligraphy has a prominent and unique place in our civilization and culture. Today's youth is stepping into the field of Islamic calligraphy with good attitude and new thinking. The work of the youth is a means of expressing the realities of life. The way in which the Holy Quran has been written in the artworks from Pakistan and around the world in the exhibition is a source of pride for us. The Punjab government is paying full attention to the promotion and development of all genres of arts, he added. Speaking at the ceremony, Assistant Director Muhammad Sulaiman said that it is a fact that by following the Quranic teachings, a person gets mental and emotional peace in this world and the hereafter. Without it, human life cannot reach its ascension. Punjab Arts Council's promotion of the art of calligraphy is commendable. Pakistan is among the countries where artists have done great work in calligraphy. In the exhibition, Muhammad Ashraf Heera, Azeem Iqbal, Khawaja Muhammad Hussain, Shabbir Ahmed Zia, Muhammad Yunis Rumi, Sidra Azam, Ayesha Nosheen, Jazeb Ali Qureshi, Sania Shabbir, Asma Sajid, Tahreem Bashir, Touba Waqar, Ariba javid, Faiza, Azqa Aslam Omara Afshin, Mohammad Khanzala, Shamim Idris, Tabinda Batul and Tamman Yaqoob work put on display in the exhibition.
The accord to sojourn
The coming months will show whether or not the PML-N's choice to stay ruling till the current assemblies' terms are up was a good one. Despite successfully restoring the suspended bailout package with the IMF after months of difficult negotiations, the coalition government led by the PML-N believes that it has had to pay a high political price for having to make some difficult economic decisions, which resulted in it losing its majority in the Punjab Assembly. However, there is also a strong belief among the coalition's members that the economy would begin to revive as a result of its stabilization measures, no matter how harsh they may be, and anticipated dollar inflows from multilateral lenders and friendly Gulf states. Finance Minister Miftah Ismail sees the current currency and stock market volatility as a passing occurrence brought on by political ambiguity following the by-election result. Therefore, the coalition sees no reason to give up and comply with Imran Khan's PTI's demand to resign and call early elections. Instead, the PTI and its ally, the PML-Q, currently hold a majority in the legislature and look poised to pick Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as the new chief minister in the run-off election on Friday. The PML-N and its supporters want to try to salvage the Hamza Shehbaz government in Punjab. On the other side, once it retakes Punjab, the PTI is expected to exert more pressure than ever before on the coalition government at the national level to call early elections and forward its program. In the event that Imran Khan agrees to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, PML-N officials have already promised the PTI speedy elections. The question is whether he accepts the bait to put further pressure on Islamabad. However, it is abundantly evident that the PTI will not back down from its demand for new elections and that it will keep the ruling coalition on the political front for the balance of its term. The real question is whether the PML-N and its allies have what it takes to prioritize the struggling economy and improve living conditions for ordinary citizens in the face of increasing pressure from Imran Khan, particularly if the PTI-PML-Q alliance is successful in stealing Punjab from the party. Politically, the PML-N will face greater challenges in the days ahead, especially if it cedes support to its rival and finally shifts its attention away from the economy. It is now time for the PML-N and its allies to consider the political repercussions of maintaining power purely for selfish reasons. Instead of serving out the term, it could be smarter to seek a new, unambiguous public mandate. The sooner it decides, the better its chances of winning elections in the future.
PML-N believes that it has had to pay a high political price for having to make some difficult economic decisions, which resulted in it losing its majority in the Punjab Assembly
Why space is more than just a billionaires’ playground
KHALED ABOU ZAHR
Space is a hobby for billionaires and they should focus on making Earth better rather than planning settlements on Mars. This is a common view about current space activities and investments in the sector. Indeed, many people consider it to be mere entertainment and a waste of money and resources — a futile competition between the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. The media coverage and publicity around space tourism, which costs millions of dollars, has contributed to this image. Yet, in reality, it is an incorrect assumption. In fact, space is quickly becoming an integral and inevitable part of any country’s economy. It is obvious that space tourism makes for good headlines and entertaining posts on social media. However, there is much more happening that will actually impact our lives in the future, as well as create new business opportunities. The space economy will create opportunities both in-orbit and beyond, as well as on Earth. Think of space today just as you thought of the internet 30 years ago. Just as the internet has empowered the digitization of the economy and created once-unthinkable discoveries and opportunities, we will live through the same transformation with space. It starts with the research and study of our universe that Hubble and now the James Webb Space Telescope are delivering. It also includes future discoveries thanks, for example, to experiments conducted in microgravity on the International Space Station. Research in space improves our life on Earth. Space research brings knowledge, discoveries and improvements to our daily lives. It is a necessity for the future explorers of our solar system who will settle on the moon, Mars and beyond. This might sound like science fiction, but in reality there are already several initiatives, including many from entrepreneurs, planning sustainable infrastructure on the moon. This would be an interesting achievement for countries in the Gulf, as the capacity for sustaining life in a harsh environment such as the moon can offer solutions here on Earth. There is a clear similarity between the challenges of the harsh conditions and scarcity one might find on the moon or on Mars and the challenges one faces in the desert. Both demand a will and determination to optimize resources. In fact, energy security, food security and water security are key challenges for life on the moon and are also national challenges for Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors. Solutions delivered and advances made for sustaining life and ecosystems on the moon, such as agriculture and energy optimization, are the exact same as needed on Earth. It was therefore very important to hear that Saudi Arabia had last week joined the Artemis Accords. Bill Nelson, the 14th NASA administrator, said that, with this step, the Kingdom is affirming its commitment to sustainable space exploration that follows a common set of principles promoting the beneficial use of space for all of humanity. The Artemis Accords are a set of principles agreed by the governments of the states participating in the Artemis program. They define the principles of cooperation and civil activities for the exploration and use of the moon, Mars, comets and asteroids for peaceful purposes. The accords were signed on behalf of the Kingdom by the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi. Saudi Arabia is the 21st country to sign up to the agreement. The accords offer new opportunities for the country’s space industry and research sector, as well as enabling active contribution to Artemis’s activities. These activities include the return of humans to the moon’s surface by 2025. It is a strong commitment that anchors Saudi Arabia in the future development of the moon ecosystem and encourages a new path of international collaboration between the public and private sectors. It is important as, in order for the space economy to thrive and reach its expected trillion-dollar value by 2040, we need to maintain peace and stability in space. The Artemis Accords are a key part of securing and promoting objectives for the greater good of humanity. They are also an important framework for the creation of this prosperity. The lawlessness and bullying actions that we witness on Earth cannot and should not be reproduced in space. Space is not just a place that starts 100 km from Earth, it is a mission. A mission for greater goals and a way to unite people for significant attainments. A new model for space activities is being created: making space accessible for all. This is unlocking the commoditization of space. And so, even when it comes to tourism that is viewed as entertainment for billionaires, the day will come when it is available to all. And people will indeed go on vacation on the moon and enjoy a beautiful view of planet Earth without the need for the freight of food or goods from Earth, as the moon will have become self-sufficient. The GCC and Saudi Arabia have an important part to play when it comes to space and they can be among the key stakeholders. First of all, it is a question of sovereignty. If the region does not claim its rightful share, this puts the entire region at risk. Therefore, it is important to collaborate with friends and allies to build up local capacities. Secondly, space is a key component of the diversification of the economy and will bring opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. Khaled Abou Zahr is CEO of Eurabia, a media and tech company. He is also the editor of Al-Watan Al-Arabi.
The GCC and Saudi Arabia have an important part to play when it comes to space and they can be among the key stakeholders
Europe carries less weight as Euro loses steam against dollar
Jon Van Housen and Mariella Radaelli
After more than two decades the dollar and the Euro have reached parity, meaning they are equal in value for the first time since the euro was introduced in 1999, other than for a brief period right after the common currency was first minted. It is another sign that the times are a-changin’ in Europe as the continent faces a perfect storm of inflation, armed conflict, nations with high levels of debt, a stubborn pandemic and a looming energy shortage. Now the dollar exchange rate is virtually one-to-one, but for a generation a high-priced euro reflected the refinement of Europe. It seemed a currency rightfully burnished to represent countries that brought forth Western civilization, a region that generated breakthroughs in science, medicine, art and thought. It seemed only fitting that Europe’s money would carry more weight. And after some initial teething issues it did exactly that, at times trading at 1.6 – meaning it would take more than a dollar and a half to get a shiny euro. In recent years it has mostly traded between 1.1 and 1.2. Those numbers after the decimal point might not look like much, but 10 or 20 per cent across the Eurozone – together the world's largest economy – is huge. The strong Euro meant that raw materials purchased overseas were relatively affordable for countries in the Eurozone. The steel for BMW luxury cars, the cotton and silk for Dolce & Gabbana fashions, the rubber for Michelin tires – all could be more affordably sourced. Of course a strong euro resulted in finished products that when exported were more expensive than those made in other places, but then consumers accepted that elegant Europe could command higher prices. The strong Euro also meant that oil and other forms of energy could be acquired without devastating pain, allowing Europe to levy high taxes at the gas pump. Almost always priced in dollars, oil is more expensive for Europe today as are most foreign raw materials. Already high inflation has been supercharged by a weaker currency. What Euro parity means over the long term – if it lasts over the long term – is now widely discussed, but the result would certainly be altered consumer behavior and further stressed national economies In the short term, the weaker Euro seems to offer many benefits to Europe. Its goods should be less costly to foreign buyers, so international sales should surge. And the crucial tourism sector should boom as Americans and other foreigners rush to benefit from the dramatically weaker euro. Feeling locked up for more than two years, Americans eager to travel have surveyed the horizon and discovered that a flight to Paris might be as the same price as a journey to Houston. But the two-year pandemic had already created supply chain issues in the manufacturing sector and tourist-related businesses were struggling to cope with the onslaught as pent-up demand was unleashed in what some called “revenge travel”. Also impeding the travel sector is a severe staff shortage. Workers are unwilling to return from remote work to face unmasked crowds. The summer has been filled with hellish travel stories of flight delays and cancellations, lost baggage and pricey or booked-out hotels. The average international flight costs 26 percent more than in 2019. In mid-July London’s Heathrow airport even asked airlines to halt ticket sales, saying it would only allow 100,000 passengers each day until Sept. 11. The world’s busiest airport, Heathrow serves as a critical transit point for travel to Europe. Back in early June when the UK was celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend the airport was already struggling with widespread travel snarls. As the impact of Euro parity is studied and felt, why it came to pass is also subject of hot debate. The more technically inclined argue over thresholds, interest rates, debt and central bank monetary policies. Noted economist Paul Krugman cites the late MIT professor Rudiger Dornbusch, who insisted that a country’s currency tends to settle at the level at which its industry is competitive on world markets. If so, that means the Euro and European goods were overpriced under recent circumstances, an assertion easy to agree with. Again, leading civilization’s trends, it seems Europe might have arrived at a post-industrial landscape first. Can it no longer sustainably feed spiraling production and pricing? It appears that Germany made the wrong bet when it decided to rely on cheap gas from Russia and exports to China. Growth in its auto sector in recent years was largely driven by the vast number of Chinese consumers who could buy a car for the first time. But conflict and Covid have rattled both of those pillars, leaving Germany and the legacy of former Chancellor Angela Merkel vulnerable. For now it seems both Americans and Europeans are determined to enjoy the summer and attempt business as usual, at least as much as possible, and face the music this autumn. Just what that tune will be could be so complex it will be difficult to play. And it’s likely to be a melody the likes of which we have not heard in recent times. Jon Van Housen and Mariella Radaelli are international veteran journalists based in Italy
Adding fossil fuels to the forest fires in Europe
RANVIR S. NAYAR
The UK on Tuesday saw its hottest day ever, as the mercury breached 40 degrees Celsius in parts of the country. Meanwhile, large parts of Southern Europe, all the way from Portugal through to Greece, have been literally burning as large, uncontrolled forest fires take hold of vast tracts of land. They have continued to burn despite numerous efforts to put them out. The extensive and severe heat wave is believed to have caused at least 2,000 deaths, with about 800 in Spain alone. This is nothing less than a massive, continental-scale tragedy being played out, as Europe faces its hottest ever summer. This is certainly not the first severe heat wave Europe has faced. Over the past few years, heat waves, record temperatures and extensive forest fires seem to have become regular features of a European summer. But each year, the mercury goes a notch higher, while forest fires begin earlier, last longer and cover a much larger area. There is hardly any part of Europe that has escaped the heat waves, while the last two years have also seen record temperatures in the Arctic Circle and extensive fires in the Siberian steppe. These repeated incidents ought to have convinced even the most cynical politicians and businessmen about the fact that global warming is not just real or here, but that it is here to stay and will only increase in intensity unless dramatic and long-term steps are immediately taken to curb its human-made causes. But even as Europe burns and singes under the heat, in the air-conditioned comfort of corporate boardrooms and government offices — almost entirely cut off from the calamitous climate crisis unfolding outside — the bosses of Europe’s big firms and government leaders are taking decisions that are bound to add fuel, fossil fuels to be specific, to the fire. Two issues, both related to fossil fuels, stand out in particular for not just being the opposite of what the current situation demands, but also for being totally contradictory to the long-standing commitments of the EU, which have only recently been reaffirmed or even strengthened. The first is coal. For years or even decades, various EU nations have promised to rapidly phase out coal from their power generation mix and also close down the relatively few coal mines that remain operational, such as those in Germany, Poland and France. In fact, during the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland, in 2018, when the host nation dragged its feet over a faster phasing out of coal from its power mix, it was lambasted particularly harshly by its fellow EU members, who held loftier goals for moving toward cleaner fuels to run their economies. However, the sheen has come off many of Europe’s big claims about making its economy greener and rapidly ending its reliance on fossil fuels. In the face of the sharp rise in oil and gas prices that first gripped the global economy in the second half of 2021, most EU countries began looking for sources other than oil or gas — and they turned almost instinctively and collectively toward coal. Hence, after having dipped for years, if not decades, coal consumption in Europe registered a rise in 2021, from 386 million tons to 400 million tons. Due to the rising cost of oil and gas, countries across Europe have postponed planned closures of coal-fired power plants. Similarly, coal mines where production had been falling have seen a fresh wave of activity and investment, and the closures of several mines across Central Europe have also been put off. Most of these decisions were taken back in 2021, well before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Europe has found itself pushed even further into a corner due to its high dependence on Russian oil and gas. This is the sole reason that even nations like Germany resisted putting gas on the list of Russian goods that would attract sanctions. Now, with the Russian gas producer Gazprom itself threatening to turn off the supplies, Europe is scurrying for solutions to keep its economy powered, especially as winter approaches, when power and fuel consumption rise more than 2.5 times, mainly to heat homes and offices. Thus, though no data is available as of now, it is expected that coal consumption in Europe will register its second consecutive increase in 2022 — the first time this has happened in more than a decade. Though EU leaders will almost surely blame Russia, it would be nothing but a sham and a poor display of political will to not stand by their commitments on climate change. The EU’s posturing on fossil fuel addiction was exposed by a second recent stance taken by the bloc’s big economies. Last month, they opposed a faster phase-out of combustion engine cars and shift toward completely electric power-driven transportation across the EU. After the European Commission moved a proposal to ban the sale of petrol or diesel-powered cars in the EU area from 2035 — in order to meet its target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 — several member states rejected it. The list included the three biggest economies in the EU — Germany, France and Italy, which are also major automobile producers and have hundreds of thousands of people working in car factories. But the opposition is not just from these big economies. Even smaller countries like Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania are opposed to the ban. Most of the opposition stems from the desire of politicians not to have to deal with protesting employees of the car makers out on the streets, as the ban on fossil fuel-powered cars is bound to lead to some job losses. It would also displease the corporate bosses in the auto sector, which are among the most powerful businesses in Europe. Hence, they prefer to postpone this unpleasant decision, even if absolutely necessary, for another leader to deal with. Amid such opposition, the EU’s ban is almost certain to be rejected when the appointed time comes. The opposition to it again exposes the lack of firmness among EU leaders to take the steps that are needed to deal with climate change and ensure that Europe is able to live up to its commitments to cut carbon dioxide emissions. As with coal, the EU is also taking a convenient step on the issue of cars. But it needs to take harsh measures if it is to be a responsible global citizen and mitigate climate change to the greatest extent possible. Despite all its cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, the EU’s per capita emissions remain extremely high, at more than 6 million tons per year. The average for an African nation or even India, the third-largest overall emitter, is well below 2 million tons per person per year. Heat waves and forest fires, often followed by devastating floods, are bound to become a constant feature in Europe, and not just in peak summer. But one wonders what calamity it would take to move the European leaders enough to take the steps that are needed and needed now. Ranvir S. Nayar is managing editor of Media India Group.
The sheen has come off many of Europe’s big claims about making its economy greener and rapidly ending its reliance on fossil fuels
Iran should take the chance to build a partnership with the Gulf
At the opening of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit this week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “We call on Iran, as a neighboring country, with which we share religious and cultural ties, to cooperate with the countries of the region to be part of this vision, by adhering to the principles of international legitimacy, noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries, cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and fulfilling its obligations in this regard.” This part of his speech is the main key to understanding Saudi foreign policy in terms of its relationship with neighboring countries, specifically the Iranian regime. Contrary to what many observers thought, Saudi Arabia did not use the Jeddah summit as a platform to wage war on Iran. On the contrary, the crown prince’s speech came as a message of peace. He wants Iran to be part of a common Gulf vision, through which it can provide security for waterways and energy sources and cooperate in confronting terrorism and drug trafficking, while also facing the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, problems of economic inflation, faltering supply chains, and food security and epidemics. These are files of great importance to Saudi Arabia and, therefore, the Kingdom is serious in its desire to find solid ground for permanent and stable relations with the Iranian regime. Moreover, Saudi Arabia sent a message of reassurance to the Iranian regime, which is apprehensive of the US and Israel, when Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan confirmed that the Jeddah summit did not raise the idea of establishing an “Arab NATO” that includes Israel. He said: “The Kingdom’s hand is extended to Iran to reach normal relations.” He added: “But we have not reached understandings yet and the Kingdom is committed to finding a positive understanding with Iran.” He also noted that “there are concerns of Iran’s activities.” The concerns that Prince Faisal referred to are related to the Iranian nuclear program. He hoped that “Iran will choose diplomacy with regard to the agreement on its nuclear program,” as any text of a future agreement that Iran can reach in its nuclear negotiations is of great importance to countries of the Gulf. The region’s states want an agreement that addresses their security concerns and does not allow the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to continue its support for the Houthis in Yemen or the armed militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Five rounds of Saudi-Iranian dialogue have taken place so far under Iraqi sponsorship and personal follow-up by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who knows that the return of relations between Riyadh and Tehran would constitute a guarantee for the stability of Iraq and the Arab Gulf. It would also enable Iraq to reduce the threat of armed militias, which he considers a major obstacle to institution-building in the country. Al-Kadhimi is aware that the IRGC, through its support for factions such as Kata’ib Hezbollah, Harakat Hezbollah Al-Nujaba, the Imam Ali Battalions and other armed organizations, will not help Iraq to build a modern and civil state. Instead, it wants to turn it into a training ground for elements opposed to the Arab Gulf states, a gateway for arms smuggling toward Syria and Lebanon, a backyard for money laundering, and a platform for launching drones against energy sources in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Some of these militias take their orders directly from Iran and others operate with some independence. There are also small armed cells that are out of control and are skilled in firing Katyusha rockets. These cells are a source of real danger because it is not known exactly who is behind them, what their goals are and what they might do next. Therefore, if any Saudi-Iranian reconciliation takes place, Al-Kadhimi will be able to pressure the Iranians to lift the legitimate cover on these unruly militias and finish them off with the fewest possible losses.
Will domino effect see dollar replaced in region’s Russia dealings?
DR. DIANA GALEEVA
On the sidelines of this week’s Astana troika summit in Tehran, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Among the issues discussed were traditional and nontraditional security threats, such as food security and the export of grain via the Black Sea, Turkish mediation efforts in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the Syrian and Nagorno-Karabakh situations. According to Bloomberg, prior to the meeting another issue was expected to feature in the discussion — a possible transition to settlements in Turkish lira or Russian rubles for Russian energy supplies. What are the potential realities of this change and the reasons behind it? If Turkey follows the Iranian example of dealing with Russia in national currencies, should we expect a domino effect among other Middle Eastern countries? The Turkish interest in using the lira in economic transactions can be explained by the domestic pressures on the currency. Turkey is facing higher inflationary pressure in comparison to last year, as it depends heavily on imports of agricultural products, metals and energy. At the national level, Ankara has already begun to deal with the challenges as, in April, a new law was passed making payments in Turkish lira mandatory for the sale of foreign exchange-indexed goods. These payments could help Ankara slow down the decline in its foreign exchange reserves. At the geopolitical level, there is the possibility of a broader explanation for this change, as represented in some regard by shared anti-Western policies. This is also behind Turkey’s policy of balancing between Russia and the West in their current geopolitical rivalry, along with supporting the idea of a multipolar global order. Galip Dalay of the Berlin-based Center for Applied Turkish Studies explains that Turkish anti-Westernism tends to be policy-focused and selective, while Russia’s is all-encompassing and structural. Russian anti-Westernism has been apparent to global observers in terms of its actions over the last five months and is straightforward in dividing the world into “friendly” and “unfriendly” nations, with Western countries in the second category. It is more interesting to focus on the Turkish position. I believe a specific view of Turkey is discussed in Erdogan’s 2021 book “A Fairer World is Possible: A Proposed Model for a United Nations Reform,” in which he states: “The world is neither unipolar nor bipolar… It is possible to make the world multipolar, multicentric, multicultural.” He also explained his proposed reform of the UN, particularly the restructuring of the Security Council. He wrote: “Our proposed solution manifests itself in our motto: ‘The world is bigger than five.’” This is the stance that Turkey is taking in the current geopolitical rivalry with its balancing policy. As the economic dominance of the US dollar contributes to Washington’s dominance of the world order, so a reduced importance for the dollar aids broader multipolarity. In this regard, the policies of Russia and Turkey are aligned. Turkey has already used currency policy to serve its national interests by shifting payments to national currencies in another field of close bilateral collaboration with Russia — tourism — where alternative payments have been accepted. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, in 2021, 19 percent of foreign tourists in Turkey were Russian. In 2022, despite flights between Russia and Turkey being reduced to eight airlines from 17 Russian cities, compared to 18 airlines from 46 cities in 2021, and the closure of some beach destinations, there is great demand in Russia for holidays in Turkey. Despite high demand for hotels and flight tickets, Russians are ready to pay a higher price to visit their favorite destinations, such as Antalya. At the same time, the Turkish hospitality industry is very supportive of this move, with innovations including accepting the Russian payment system Mir in many places, even for Jet Ski rentals. Consequently, Russian tourists gain the feeling of having a holiday somewhere in the Russian south, such as Sochi or Gelendzhik, rather than in a foreign country. If Turkey agreed to use national currencies in exchange for Russian energy, it might further support the domino effect of Middle Eastern countries doing the same in their dealings with Russia. For example, the central banks of Russia and Iran last week agreed to abandon the US dollar in settlements between the countries and convert them into national currencies. This can be perceived as an emerging policy among other Middle Eastern states to balance relations between the US/West and the rest of the world (particularly Russia, China and India). As fewer countries depend on the US dollar, the political and economic importance of America is reduced. In contrast, with a great deal of investment in the US and other Western countries contributing to greater economic interdependence, there are more risks in this policy for countries like the GCC states. Therefore, the strategy of flirting with the idea of shifting to national currencies can continue to be an alternative in the hands of the Middle Eastern players, but in practice it will fit with the policies of countries that have openly declared anti-Western stances. Given Turkey’s policies, it is highly possible that it will take this stance. However, it does not indicate that it supports any one side, but rather that it follows its own aims of building a world “bigger than five,” with its special place in it. Dr. Diana Galeeva was an academic visitor to St. Antony’s College, Oxford University (2019-2022). Dr. Galeeva is the author of two books: “Qatar: The Practice of Rented Power” (Routledge, 2022) and “Russia and the GCC: The Case of Tatarstan’s Paradiplomacy” (I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2023). She is also a co-editor of the collection “Post-Brexit Europe and UK: Policy Challenges Towards Iran and the GCC States” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).
Turkey’s interest in using the lira in economic transactions can be explained by the domestic pressures on the currency
A country that fails to improve its educational standards will never be able to prosper. Pakistan lags behind other countries in development because it seems that education has never been prioritised here. However, the government’s decision to introduce the Single National Curriculum (SNC) in Pakistan is encouraging. It was established to overhaul the educational system across the country. All education will be streamlined and made uniform. Persons from different socioeconomic strata will be able to get similar education. It is hoped that the government will take proper steps to implement the SNC, and that the SNC will deliver what it was made for.
Sadaf Ayub, Lakki Marwat
Time to clean up
There is a new threat lurking: air pollution. It can cause serious damage to the lives of people as well as to the flora and fauna of a place. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 12.6 million people die of environment-related causes. While well-developed countries such as the US, the UK, and Japan are capable of fighting against air pollution, Pakistan and other developing countries are far from it. The country has a vast network of mills and factories that are emitting poisonous gases. Furthermore, an increase in the number of automobiles and use of pesticides has further added to pollution. All this while deforestation is rampant in the country. The government should take measures to improve the quality of the atmosphere, and everything that hinders it should be curtailed.
Shair Jan Hayat, Quetta
Biden seeks to mobilize on crime and climate ahead of midterms
Washington: Climate change in Massachusetts on Wednesday, gun control in Pennsylvania on Thursday, next week -- law and order in Florida. US President Joe Biden is back on the road to try to mobilize voters ahead of November midterm elections, which are forecast to be painful for the Democratic Party. Biden will travel to the city of Wilkes-Barre in northeast Pennsylvania on Thursday to burnish his credentials in fighting crime, at a time when violence is surging in the United States. That comes after he sought to revive his climate change agenda on Wednesday in the northeastern state of Massachusetts, and ahead of a visit Monday to Florida -- at the invitation of an association of African-American police officers -- where he will also participate in a campaign meeting with his party. It remains to be seen whether the flurry of activity will do much to boost the Democrats' chances in the midterms at a time when Biden is more unpopular than ever. According to a study conducted by Quinnipiac University in the state of Connecticut and released Wednesday, Biden's approval ratings hit a new low, with only 31 percent of Americans satisfied with the way he is running the country. With Republicans accusing Biden of being soft on crime, the White House came out with a statement listing all of the administration's initiatives on law enforcement. Those include a giant infrastructure and public services bill passed last fall, which allocates resources to local authorities to fight crime, as well as efforts on reducing gun violence and boosting gun control. "President Biden knows what works to make our communities safer: investing in community policing and crime prevention," the White House said ahead of Thursday's trip to Pennsylvania. "The president believes we can and must do more to reduce crime and save lives." Conservatives criticize Biden for wanting to cut the budget for law enforcement. But the White House pointed out that he is requesting a total of $37 billion to fund police and boost the means to investigate gun crimes in the 2023 fiscal year. Biden's plan to spend more time on the ground in the United States comes after a period of intense overseas travel, including a NATO summit in Spain and a controversial trip to Saudi Arabia. AFP
Russian rockets pummel Kharkiv as gas flows to Europe resume
Kyiv: Russian artillery strikes pounded Ukraine's second largest city Kharkiv on Thursday after Moscow announced it was expanding its war aims, even as Russian gas flows to Europe resumed through the Nord Stream pipeline. The attacks on the eastern city -- scarred by weeks of Russian shelling -- came after 10 days of scheduled work ended on the Nord Stream gas pipeline that had spurred fears of a permanent cut-off. Kharkiv's regional governor said two people were killed and 19 injured, four of whom were in a serious condition. Three people were killed by strikes a day earlier in Kharkiv, where some semblance of normal life had returned in recent weeks after Ukrainian forces pushed back Russian troops from the city limits. "We are asking Kharkiv residents to be extremely careful. The enemy is firing chaotically and brutally at the city. Stay in shelters!" the governor, Oleg Synegubov, wrote on social media. Presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak said there was also some damage on a mosque in Kharkiv, accusing Russia of "contempt" after Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Iran this week. In Kramatorsk in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has seen some of fiercest fighting, a school that Ukrainian officials said was being used as a food aid storage point was also struck. The school's deputy director Olena Shmadchenko, 56, looked at the destroyed building in despair. "I have been working at this school for 16 years. It was my home!" she told AFP. 25 percent devaluation Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the war has left thousands dead, forced millions to flee their homes and wrought havoc with the economy. The central bank on Thursday said it was devaluing the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, by 25 percent. "The new hryvnia rate will become an anchor for the economy and will add its resilience in conditions of uncertainty," the bank said in a statement. Meanwhile, the resumption of gas supplies from Russia to Europe through Germany came a day after Europe unveiled emergency measures to circumvent Russian energy "blackmail". In its latest package of penalties Wednesday, the European Union targeted gold exports and froze assets at Russia's largest bank Sberbank. The German government had been worried Moscow would not reopen the taps on the Nord Stream pipeline after Russia in recent months severely curbed flows in retaliation against sanctions. "It's working," a Nord Stream spokesman said Thursday, without specifying the amount of gas being delivered. 'Different' war aims for Russia Western powers have stepped up arms supplies to Ukraine but President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for more and speedier deliveries. Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said Wednesday Washington would send four more M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars), which have notably boosted Kyiv's capabilities. "Ukraine needs the firepower and the ammunition to withstand this barrage and to strike back," Austin told reporters, adding that the new shipment would bring the total of US Himars sent to Kyiv to 16. AFP
Will Turkey attack Syria Kurds without nod from Russia and Iran?
Beirut: Turkey has renewed its threats of a new military offensive against Syria's Kurds, but what can it do after failing to secure the green light of Russia and Iran? After announcing plans to move against Kurdish forces in the areas of Manbij and Tal Rifaat in northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey joined a three-way summit in Tehran this week looking for support. While Iran and Russia, the two other main foreign players in the Syrian conflict, reined him in, analysts say, Turkey insisted Thursday it does not need anyone's "permission" for a new Syria campaign. Here's a look at what could be next. Did Erdogan get the green light? In Tehran, Erdogan renewed his threats against the Kurdish forces that control swathes of northeastern Syria and are considered "terrorists" by Ankara. The summit yielded a declaration vowing to cooperate to "eliminate individuals and terrorist groups" in northern Syria and opposing any separatist ambitions. The three main foreign brokers, who have long supported opposing sides in Syria's war, ostensibly omitted to define who qualified as "terrorist". Moscow and Washington have repeatedly warned NATO member Turkey against a fresh attack against the Kurds in northern Syria and in Tehran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Erdogan an offensive would be "detrimental". "The summit did not give (Erdogan) the green light, but Turkey has repeatedly launched military operations into Syria without a green light," said Dareen Khalifa, a researcher at the International Crisis Group. But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that Turkey had "never asked and we never seek permission" for its Syria campaigns. "It can happen one night, suddenly," he said of a new military push, without specifying the scale of such an operation. Between 2016 and 2019, Ankara launched three military offensives it said were to root out the Kurdish People's Protection Units, which are the main component of the autonomous Kurds' de facto army, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara considers the YPG an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a group that has waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades. Erdogan has threatened to attack Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria that are part of a 30-kilometre (20-mile) deep buffer zone he wants to establish along the border. Bassam Abu Abdullah of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Damascus University said he thought a Turkish attack was unlikely. "I think that the fuse of the Turkish military operation... has been completely removed," he told AFP. What options does Turkey have? But even without Moscow and Tehran's stamp of approval, Erdogan could still launch a limited attack. Turkish media reported that any operation would not take place before the end of August or beginning of September. "One option now that is available to Turkey is to use airpower to strike Kurdish targets throughout Syria. Erdogan has that greenlight," said Nicholas Heras of the New Lines Institute. Kurdish officials have said they are preparing for a potential Turkish attack. "Erdogan is desperate for permission to violate Syrian airspace to conduct his aggression," said SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami. Turkey, which has been carrying out cross-border operations against the PKK in neighbouring Iraq for years, killed nine civilians in artillery fire on Wednesday. An attack on densely populated Manbij would have "grave humanitarian consequences", Khalifa warned. "Renewed conflict will inevitably lead to mass displacement and suffering," she said. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Kurds displaced by a 2018 Turkish offensive on the neighbouring Afrin region live in the Tal Rifaat area. Manbij is also an Arab-majority town with displaced Kurds living in and around it. Is Turkey bringing Kurds closer to Damascus? The Syrian army has deployed reinforcements in the areas threatened by Turkey, especially in the vicinity of Manbij, to act as a buffer between Kurdish and Ankara-backed forces. Damascus University's Abu Abdullah expects even more Syrian army deployments in the area. Damascus ally Moscow "will press hard in this direction," he said, adding that Ankara "will not be bothered by this at all, they are pushing for the Syrian army to deploy" on the border to avoid a military escalation. "Any military operation will complicate the situation for everyone," he said. "The SDF have no choice but to reach an understanding with the Syrian state." Kurdish forces and the Syrian regime have struggled to reach an accommodation, because the Kurds are reluctant to give up territorial gains while Damascus rejects their self-rule. Khalifa said she is sceptical the two will see eye to eye. "A Turkish attack would potentially lead to more defence arrangements between the SDF and Damascus but that might not translate into a broader agreement or settlement," she said. "At least it hasn't in the past." AFP
Europe fires already worse than in all 2021: monitor
Paris: The wildfires that ripped through swathes of Europe in recent weeks have already burned a larger area of land than was lost to blazes in all of 2021, the EU's satellite monitoring service said Thursday. Across the European Union, fires this year, as of 16 July, have torched 517,881 hectares -- a little more than 5,000 km2 or the equivalent surface area of Trinidad and Tobago, the EFFIS monitor said. In all of 2021, 470,359 hectares (4,700 km2) of forest were lost to fires, mainly in Italy and Greece. 2022 has seen blazes rage across France, Spain, Portugal and Greece amid a record-shattering heatwave that also saw blazes in Britain where temperatures topped 40 C for the first time on record. EFFIS said that Europe could end 2022 with more land burned by area than 2017, currently the worst recorded year for wildfires with nearly 1,000,000 hectares (10,000 km2) lost. "The situation is much worse than expected, even if we were expecting temperature anomalies with our long-term forecasts," Jesus San Miguel, EFFIS coordinator, told AFP. "We expect worse to come -- we aren't even halfway into the fire season." Close to 40,000 hectares of forest in France have been lost to fire so far this year, more than the 30,000 that burned there in 2021. Spain -- where more than 500 people died during a 10-day heatwave this month -- has seen 190,000 hectares go up in smoke this year, compared with 85,000 last year. AFP
American Airlines reports profits despite jet fuel cost drag
New York: American Airlines reported a profitable second quarter Thursday as the ebbing of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in record revenues despite the hit from higher fuel costs. The big US carrier said its first profitable quarter since the start of the pandemic was due to operations rather than government support programs. Profits were $476 million compared with just $19 million in the year-ago period. Revenues jumped about 80 percent to $13.4 billion, the most in the company's history. Jet fuel costs were more than double the level from the 2021 period. Pricey tickets have fueled the surge. From April through June, revenues topped those of the pre-pandemic 2019 quarter by 12 percent, even though capacity was 8.5 percent lower. American signaled that the trend was holding in the third quarter, when it expects revenues of 10-12 percent above the 2019 level, with capacity down 8-10 percent. Leisure travel remains above pre-pandemic levels, while American also saw improvements in both business travel and international bookings, Chief Executive Officer Robert Isom said in a letter to employees. "Making sure American could take advantage of the continued recovery has been our collective focus, and the second quarter is evidence that our actions are producing positive results," Isom said. "There is no better validation of this than reporting our first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic." Shares fell 3.2 percent to $14.73 in pre-market trading. AFP
Malawi's struggle with deadly witchcraft violence
Lupembe: The calm air cloaking Lupembe, a sleepy village on the sandy shores of Lake Malawi, conceals a dark secret. On December 26 2019, a mob driven by rumours of sorcery hunted down and lynched a grieving family. The killings are among dozens of witchcraft slayings that have shaken the southern African country, prompting talk of dramatic change to colonial-era laws on rumour-mongering. "Hundreds of villagers descended on our home from all directions and started assaulting me, my brother and my parents," Walinaye Mwanguphiri, 36, told AFP. Mwanguphiri said he made a lucky escape, but his parents and brother, as well as an aunt, were killed. Belief in witchcraft in the southern African country is almost as widespread as its poverty -- nearly three people in four live on less than $2 a day, according to World Bank data. Since 2019, mobs have killed at least 75 people suspected of dark magic, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), a non-governmental organisation based in the capital Lilongwe, says. Only last week, local media reported that residents in Dedza, central Malawi, killed the village chief on suspicion he had used sorcery to murder his nephew. In 2017, the United Nations was forced to pull out its staff from southern Malawi after at least seven people were killed as rumours about vampires swept the region. Last December, a special commission tasked with drafting legal proposals to address the issue concluded that the best way around the problem was to acknowledge that magic is real. Malawi's current laws assume that witchcraft does not exist. Under a law drafted during British colonial rule, it is a crime to accuse someone of witchcraft. But since most Malawians believe in magic, the commission suggested it was better to recognise the existence of sorcery -- and make its practice a crime. "People's beliefs cannot be suppressed by legislation," retired Supreme Court judge Robert Chinangwa, who headed the commission, wrote in his findings. AFP
The decision to hire Yousuf as batting coach will depend on how each series plays out
Lahore: Series-by-series will determine whether Mohammad Yousuf will be the men's cricket team of Pakistan's batting coach. According to rumours, the illustrious batter has been appointed permanently and is no longer serving as the batting instructor at the National High Performance Center (NHPC) Lahore. His position at NHPC is still permanent, according to PCB sources, and he will be a part of the team for the Asia Cup, the trip of the Netherlands, and the domestic series against England if necessary. He is anticipated to accompany Matthew Hayden at this year's T20 World Cup in Australia, as PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has already confirmed.Yousuf has been a member of the coaching staff since the home series against Australia, it should be emphasised. He is now travelling with the Pakistan Test squad in Sri Lanka, where they won the first game of the two-match Test series at Galle by defeating the home team.
Covid sends Froome crashing out of Tour de France
Lourdes : Four-time champion Chris Froome was one of three riders to drop out of the Tour de France after testing positive for Covid ahead of Thursday's 18th stage from Lourdes to the High Pyrenees. Spain's Imanol Erviti of Movistar and Italian Damiano Caruso of Bahrain Victorious also withdrew. "Tests taken just before Thursday's start showed that Chris has Covid," Froome's Israel Premier-Tech team said. Froome has never shown the same form as before his terrible accident at the 2019 Criterium de Dauphine. But the veteran was digging deep on the 2022 Tour and was 26th in the overall classification around an hour off the overall lead. AFP
ATP Tour adds six new events to replace cancelled China swing
London: The ATP Tour on Thursday updated its end-of-year calendar, with six tournaments added to replace the Covid-enforced cancellation of the 2022 China swing for the third year in succession. "ATP has today confirmed the Shanghai Masters, China Open (Beijing), Chengdu Open, and Zhuhai Championships will not take place in 2022 due to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19," a statement for the men's tour announced. "This marks the third year of cancellation for the ATP’s China swing, typically hosted in September and October and last staged in 2019, prior to the pandemic," it added. The six new events are in San Diego, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Florence, Gijon and Naples between September 19 and October 23. All six are ATP 250 tournaments, with the men's tour announcing that two existing 250 events in Astana and Tokyo were being upgraded to 500 level. "All other events for the remainder of the ATP Tour season are currently set to proceed as scheduled," the statement read, with the season culminating at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and ATP Finals in Turin. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: "As a global sport we continue to manage the impacts of the pandemic. Event cancellations are an unfortunate reality. "At the same time, it’s incredibly encouraging to have many great cities step up to host ATP Tour tennis this season." AFP
Pak vs SL Due to an injury, Shaheen Afridi might miss the second Test
Galle: Due to a leg injury, Pakistani cricket prodigy Shaheen Shah Afridi would be unable to participate in the second Test of the current Test series against Sri Lanka in Galle. On the fourth day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, the team's spokesperson told Geo News that Shaheen is having fitness concerns. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the left-arm quick's leg was performed, the spokeswoman said on Wednesday. Shaheen strained a muscle under his knee, according to insider sources. He only sustained a minor wound, though. According to them, the team management will speak with the head of the national squad's medical board over the young cricketer's MRI results before deciding whether to include Shaheen in the second Test. Pakistan has won one of the two Tests so far in this series, and the second Test is set to start on July 24.
Heat on Leclerc before French GP
Ferrari driver to seek team’s first hat-trick of wins since 2019 in weekend’s race
LE CASTELLET: Charles Leclerc will seek to complete Ferrari's first hat-trick since 2019 by fending off world champion Max Verstappen and a likely threat from reinvigorated Lewis Hamilton at this weekend's French Grand Prix. The 24-year-old Leclerc, who battled to victory in Austria last time out after team-mate Carlos Sainz triumphed in Britain, is likely to enjoy strong support from a big holiday crowd sweltering in the merciless sunshine of south-eastern France. But he will need to overcome several challenges if he is to further trim Red Bull star Verstappen's 38-point advantage at the half-way mark in this 22-race season, not least from Sainz, who is keen to add to his maiden Silverstone success. Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto has made clear he will not issue team orders to support Leclerc -- not yet, at least -- and with potent attacks expected from Sergio Perez, in the second Red Bull, and George Russell, in the second Mercedes, a tight, combative and dramatic race is in prospect. "We have closed the gap in terms of speed," said Binotto, of Ferrari's pursuit of Red Bull. "I think they still have a slight advantage, but very little, or negligible." Given the forecast high temperatures of close to 40 degrees, Ferrari's recent frailties could be exposed again as aerodynamics chief Diego Tondi suggested in a team preview. "The high temperatures mean that ensuring the power unit and the tyres perform at their best is a real challenge -- and it's up to those working on the aerodynamics to take the appropriate countermeasures," he said. Ferrari's hopes of an imposing one-two in Austria were wrecked by a late engine failure for Sainz while Leclerc's title challenge has suffered after four likely wins escaped him due to car failures or strategy errors. Well aware of the need for consistency, Binotto said he will avoid orders to favour either driver, but will prioritise the team's overall points haul at each race. "The fastest car on track is the one to be prioritised," he said. "By doing so, certainly at this time of the championship, it's the best thing. Later maybe one driver has an opportunity for full priority, but not right now - I'm happy to see them fighting." Verstappen won last year's race from pole position, passing Hamilton in the closing laps of a strategic race decided by tyre wear, and the Dutchman will want to win to foil Ferrari and retain the initiative. Between them Ferrari and Red Bull have won all 11 races this year, but they know that Hamilton, lining up for his 300th F1 start on a circuit where he won in 2019 and 2020, is returning to form and that his revised Mercedes performs well on smooth circuits with fast corners. The seven-time world champion has had three consecutive third places and has rebuilt his confidence. AFP
Mane, De Ligt score on debut for Bayern
WASHINGTON: New signings Sadio Mane and Matthijs De Ligt scored debut goals as Bayern Munich thumped Major League Soccer's DC United 6-2 in a friendly on Wednesday. Senegalese international Mane, who joined Bayern from Liverpool last month in a transfer worth a reported $42 million, opened his account for the Bundesliga champions from the penalty spot after five minutes. Mane's spot-kick was awarded after DC United centre-back Donovan Pines upended Lucas Copado as the teenage striker surged into the penalty area. The early strike set the tone for a one-sided clash at Washington's Audi Field that underscored the work facing former England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, recently installed as manager of the struggling MLS side. Elsewhere, however, the mid-season form of MLS clubs made a difference against Premier League rivals as Minnesota United downed Everton 4-0 and Charlotte FC came out on top in a pre-season penalty shootout over Chelsea after holding the English giants to a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes. Arsenal, meanwhile, used two second half goals to subdue Orlando City 3-1. Bayern doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Marcel Sabitzer's shot from outside the area wrong-footed DC United goalkeeper Jon Kempin. AFP
‘Barcelona transfer activity crazy’
BERLIN: Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann said it is "crazy" that Barcelona have been able to make multiple signings in the transfer window, including Robert Lewandowski from the Bundesliga champions. Barcelona have struggled financially in recent seasons, but were able to seal the signature of two-time FIFA player of the year Lewandowski in a 45-million-euro ($46 million) deal. The Catalan giants also signed Brazilian winger Raphinha from Leeds for a reported 55 million euros and have brought centre-back Andreas Christensen and former AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie to the Camp Nou on free transfers. "They bought a lot of players, I don't know how," Nagelsmann told a press conference in Washington during his side's pre-season tour of the United States. "It's the only club in the world that doesn't have money but can buy any player -- it's crazy to me. "They're finding solutions. I don't know how, but yes, they have a better squad than last season." However, Bayern club president Oliver Kahn said it was impossible to gauge the financial health of another club. "I assume that Barca have accumulated a lot of debt. But the only ones who know the figures are those of the club itself," he said. AFP
England women rally to reach Euro 2022 semi-finals
BRIGHTON: England rallied from the brink of elimination to beat Spain 2-1 after extra time and reach the semi-finals of Euro 2022 thanks to Georgia Stanway's stunning strike. Ether Gonzalez's opener had the hosts heading for an early exit, but Ella Toone rescued the Lionesses six minutes from the end of normal time before Stanway's winner took England into the last four of a fourth consecutive major tournament. Sarina Wiegman's side will face Sweden or Belgium in the final four on Tuesday. England were given a boost pre-match with the return of Wiegman to the touchline after she tested negative for Covid-19 earlier in the day. The Lionesses had everything their own way in the group stage as they plundered 14 goals without reply against Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland. However, despite their own struggles to reach the knockout stages, Spain were a big step up in class. "I won't forget this day," said Wiegman. "A crazy day, I came with the team late, prepared, trying to stay calm. "The whole game was a test. The level of this game was so high. I haven't experienced that too much." Spain had been pre-tournament favourites before injuries to reigning Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas and all-time top goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso rocked their preparation. Jorge Vilda's side suffered their first defeat since 2019 to Germany in the group stage, but even in that game dominated possession of the ball. AFP
De Bruyne at the double as City down America
Midfielder scores both goals in 2-1 win as Haaland asked to wait for debut
HOUSTON: Kevin De Bruyne's double strike was enough to help Manchester City see off Club America 2-1 in Houston on Wednesday as Pep Guardiola made Erling Haaland wait for his debut. The Belgian international's superbly taken brace settled a feisty clash at NRG Stadium but City's new $61 million striker could only look on from the bench as the Premier League champions began their two-match US tour with a win. This was Guardiola's first pre-season match while Club America are three games into their Liga MX campaign and it showed as the Mexican side were organized and lively early on. Haaland may have been waiting in the wings but fellow new striker Julian Alvarez, the Argentine international signed from River Plate, was making his first start for City. He was subbed after 70 rather ineffective minutes of a match which threatened to boil over midway through the first half when both sets of players had to be pulled apart after Jack Grealish became involved in a pushing match with keeper Guillermo Ochoa. The bad feeling shown towards the City midfielder extended into the second half with America fans jeering his every touch. Both players were let off with a warning and on 30 minutes, Ochoa was left helpless as De Bruyne curled home an unstoppable effort from just outside the box. The Mexican international was subbed soon after and his replacement was almost beaten by a fiercely struck Joao Cancelo effort but as the clock ticked towards half-time, City were undone by a long ball forward and Henry Martin saw off Ake's challenge before rolling home. The irrepressible De Bruyne, however, restored the lead when he was fed by Riyad Mahrez and finished clinically for his second of the evening just before half-time. New signing Kalvin Phillips, the England international midfielder signed for $54 million from Leeds, came on as a central defender after the interval as Haaland looked on with Saturday's game against Bayern Munich at Green Bay's Lambeau Field the next chance to get his first minutes under Guardiola following his move this summer from Borussia Dortmund. AFP
President Alvi for online education, industry experts’ inclusion in advisory boards of varsities
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi has said that shifting the universities from physical to the online education system, setting up university advisory boards with members from industry, agriculture and services sectors and offering short-term online and hybrid courses to exponentially increase the supply of human resource equipped with marketable skills was essential for speedy progress and development of the country. President Dr. Arif Alvi gave these remarks during a follow-up briefing on IIUI, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, on Thursday. Rector IIUI, Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, and senior officials of the University attended the meeting. President Dr. Arif Alvi requested that the universities activate their senates to continuously give visionary and strategic direction as well as establish advisory boards made up of representatives from business, manufacturing, agriculture, and the services sector. He asserted that doing so would enable them to continuously enhance their curricula and carry out targeted research and development initiatives to assist the private sector in meeting present and future market-driven needs, adapting to the changing needs and demands of customers, and competing in the domestic and global markets for the quality and affordability of our goods and services. According to the President, public sector universities should adopt a proactive attitude rather than one of being passive about their employment and should work to continuously expand their knowledge and skill sets. They should also collaborate with leaders in the private sector to conduct market-driven research and development. He further emphasised that universities should offer short skill-based degrees and diploma programmes in addition to four-year degree programmes and PhD programmes. These programmes should be designed and modulated with input from business and industry leaders and chambers of commerce and industry to increase the supply of educated and skilled human resources and quickly close the supply and demand gap. President Dr. Arif Alvi highlighted that globally, educational institutions were rapidly shifting from physical education systems to hybrid and online education systems to increase the pace of learning and exponentially increase the number of students. He added that Pakistani universities should benchmark the best online practices of the universities from the developed world and emulate and adopt these best practices for transforming the education systems to remain competitive and relevant. The President said that (HEC) should continuously review its Online and Distance Learning policy and take concrete and time-bound actions to encourage the universities to shift to the online mode of education. He also advised HEC to proactively market its 24,000 courses of discounted Coursera Programs to institutions under its purview for their faculty members and students in a time-bound manner. According to the President, Allama Iqbal Open University and the Virtual University of Pakistan should continue to develop their curricula and procedures and make their academic and learning materials available to nations where online and virtual education systems are either in their infancy or do not yet exist, particularly Islamic nations.
Pakistan calls for action to advance UN’s development agenda in Africa
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan spotlighted the development of Africa at a key UN meeting on Wednesday, with a call for advancing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, which is aimed at eliminating extreme poverty, reducing inequality and protecting the planet. The coronavirus pandemic, according to Ambassador Munir Akram, who took part in a high-level dialogue on "The Africa We Want: Reaffirming the Development of Africa as a Priority of the United Nations System," has driven 43 million people into extreme poverty in Africa alone while decimating economies and endangering livelihoods around the world. The global food, fuel, and financial emergencies have now stalled efforts toward an inclusive and durable recovery, according to the Pakistani envoy. Adding that Africa was the most vulnerable region in the world, with several countries dealing with a succession of disasters, including floods, droughts, and heat waves, he added that climate change had contributed to and was worsening these issues. The ambitious climate commitments in Glasgow, COP 27, must turn to action and to implementation of the agreements and commitments, Ambassador Akram stressed. In this regard, he underscored the need for developed countries to fulfill their long overdue commitment of US $100 billion in annual climate finance, and this must be separate and additional to their existing provision of Official Development Assistance (ODA). According to Ambassador Akram, even this sum will fall short of meeting the enormous challenges of switching to dynamic models of sustainable development. He further stated that discussions for a new and more appropriate collective quantified finance goal from a floor of US $100 billion must be reached. The Pakistani representative claimed that until 2030, the annual cost of adaptation in underdeveloped nations could reach $300 billion USD.
Pakistan’s GDP to remain moderate in FY22, recover slightly in FY23: ADB
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank Thursday projected that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in Pakistan was expected to moderate in FY2022 (ended 30 June 2022) on fiscal tightening measures to manage growing demand pressures and contain external and fiscal imbalances. According to the ADB's Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2022 Supplement, structural changes are expected to help the economy's growth in Fiscal Year 2023 somewhat. According to the research, Pakistan's inflation was slightly revised upward for FY2022 and significantly for FY2023. The government's efforts to restart the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme have resulted in rising electricity tariffs and eliminating subsidies in the oil and power sectors, in addition to the effects of elevated global energy and food costs. Due to slower growth in the People's Republic of China (PRC), more aggressive monetary tightening in advanced economies, and the effects of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also reduced its economic growth forecast for developing Asia and the Pacific to 4.6 percent this year. The forecast contrasts with a 5.2 percent prediction made by ADB in April. In response to rising food and fuel prices, the bank also increased its projection for inflation in the area. Recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic is still going strong in developing Asia and the Pacific. Mobility limitations are being loosened in many countries, which is boosting economic activity. The largest economy in the region, the PRC, has seen a slowdown in growth as a result of the new COVID-19 lockdowns and a decline in global demand. According to ADB Chief Economist Albert Park, "the economic impact of the epidemic has decreased across most of Asia, but we're far from a full and sustained recovery." "In addition to the slowdown in the PRC, the effects of the war in Ukraine have increased inflationary pressure, prompting central banks worldwide to hike interest rates, which is slowing down global growth. All of these global uncertainties must be addressed since they continue to jeopardize the region's recovery. The PRC’s economy is poised to expand 4.0% this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 5.0%. ADB also lowered its growth outlook for India to 7.2% from 7.5% amid higher-than-expected inflation and monetary tightening.
ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini called on the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Agha Hassan Baloch.
50 PTI MPAs may go against Elahi in Punjab CM election: Rana Sanaullah
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah said Thursday that as many as 50 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers can vote for PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz tomorrow (Friday) as Punjab Chief Minister candidate in a run-off election. The Interior Minister stated, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, "Not five, but fifty PTI MPAs can either vote against him [Hamza] or stay away from casting their votes." The minister emphasised that it would be "Elahi's incompetence" if any MPAs failed to appear for the polls. Rana Sanaullah declared that the PML-N would use every legal and political tool at its disposal to retain the office of Punjab chief minister. After the 2018 general election, Imran Khan used a jet to buy the loyalty of MPAs, however according to Khan's justification, this was not horse trading.
ISLAMABAD: Deputy Chairman Senate, Mirza Muhammad Afridi presiding over a meeting of the Pakistan-Canada Parliamentary friendship group in the Senate at Parliament House.
Maulana Fazl announces protest against target killing in N-Waziristan
By Our Correspondent
BANNU: JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Thursday announced a countrywide protest against the target killings of the people in North Waziristan on Sunday. In a press conference held on Thursday in Bannu, Maulana Fazlur Rehman requested that the government put an end to murders and pursue those responsible. Additionally, Maulana Fazlur Rehman encouraged Ulema Akram to condemn such target executions in North Waziristan during his Friday sermon. He said that the state had authority over their religious institutions. Imran Khan wants to divide the nation into three pieces, according to Fazlur Rehman, who was commenting on the former prime minister's position. Arif Alvi, the president, and Imran Khan, the previous prime minister, he claimed, had violated the constitution and should be punished. Imran Khan was forewarned by Fazlur Rehman that they would heat the environment to such a temperature for him and his supporters that they would not be able to stand anywhere.
Former DG IB Aftab Sultan appointed as NAB chairman
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday appointed former director-general Intelligence Bureau (IB) Aftab Sultan as the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Aftab Sultan was appointed as the NAB chairman after the formal approval of the federal cabinet meeting held on Thursday. The coveted post was lying vacant since last month after then-NAB chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, on June 2, relinquished charge of his office on expiry of the ordinance through which he was given an extension till the appointment of a new chairman. The four-year-and-eight-month-long tenure of Iqbal — who was appointed as the anti-graft body’s chairman in 2017 — was one of the most controversial eras of the bureau. Iqbal's four-year term as chairman of the NAB officially ended in October 2021, but the PTI issued the NAB Amendment Ordinance, extending his tenure till the selection of a new chairman of the NAB. The opposition leader's consultation process, however, was not initiated by the PTI government in preparation for the selection of a new chairman. The National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill 2021, which was approved by a joint session of Parliament, now states that the NAB chairman cannot be appointed to the position for a second term after serving a four-year term. The three-year terms of the NAB's prosecutor general and chairman, who previously served four-year terms, were also altered by the measure. The federal government will have the authority to choose the deputy chairman.
India has robbed Kashmiris of every right even right to speak their mind: APHC
SRINAGAR: The All Parties Hurriyat Conference has said that India has snatched every right including the right to speech in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. According to Kashmir Media Service, the leadership claimed in a statement released in Srinagar that the Modi-led Indian dictatorship has silenced the media while harassing journalists without cause and is not even allowing Kashmiris to gather and express their opinions. According to the APHC, the secret goal of Hindutva groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP, VHP, and Shiv Sena is to spread Hindu fascism in Jammu and Kashmir, which has a majority Muslim population. The declaration made clear that the Modi government is utilising the military and police to mould Indian policy in accordance with Hindutva ideals. The APHC leadership pleaded with the international community to intervene and protect Kashmiri Muslims from the Hindutva fascism that the Modi government was imposing on the Kashmiri people. It also claimed that Kashmiris' desire for freedom could not be crushed by killings, detentions, or torture. This was meant to serve as a reminder to Indian Prime Minister Modi that weapons such as bullets and guns have never been able to quell people's aspirations. The leadership underlined that despite all challenges, Kashmiris are resolute to continue their fight against Indian occupation and that the day when the sun of freedom will rise in IIOJK is not far off.
No compromise on forest conservation, environment protection: AJK PM
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has said that tourism will be promoted as an industry but there can be no compromise on forest conservation and the protection of the environment in the region. Speaking to journalists in Islamabad on Thursday, the Prime Minister emphasised the need for a Tourism Authority (TA), noting that it would serve as a single point of contact for investors and better amenities. He claimed that encouraging tourism would not only boost the local economy but also give educated and unemployed kids respectable work prospects. He continued, "The administration is looking at the Tourism Corridor initiative to further develop it. He said the government will provide full protection to the local population and investors, at tourist spots. He said that the government has stepped-up its efforts to provide facilities and easy access to visitors at tourist destinations. He said that besides introducing new tourist spots, tourist and recreational places would be built around the rivers and lakes in the state to further boost tourism. However, the prime minister of AJK insisted that no project that might harm the environment or wildlife would be approved. According to the prime minister, the tourism department's personnel have been told to provide high-quality lodging, organic food, adventure travel, water sports, safari parks, and horseback riding for the benefit of visitors to Azad Kashmir. At the district and tehsil levels, he stated, Special Tourism Economic Zones would be established. He stated that a comprehensive policy was being introduced for the promotion of information technology, under which thousands of young people will receive training.