Islamabad: Federal Minister for foreign affairs, Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing to handing over ceremony of relief assistance to afghanistan at nur khan base, rawalpindi.
Shehbaz condemns continued persecution of Yasin Malik by India
PM hails SaminaBaig on becoming first Pakistani woman to summit K2
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said the continued persecution of Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik by India is a part of plan to deprive the people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) of their representative voices. On Friday he highlighted his concerns about India's fake cases and mock trials of Kashmiri leaders in a tweet, according to Kashmir Media Service. According to him, the impunity with which India violates the human rights of political workers should concern human rights advocates. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday lauded mountaineer SaminaBaig on scaling the world's second highest peak K2. "Congratulations to SaminaBaig, the first Pakistani woman mountaineer to scale the world's second highest peak 'K2' and her family for their achievement," he said in a tweet. Samina Baig, according to the prime minister, has become "a symbol of determination, fortitude, and bravery of Pakistani women." She has demonstrated that Pakistani women are equal to males in the climbing activity, he remarked. Samina Baig will keep excelling in her sector, according to PM Sharif. He stated, "It is hoped that Samina Baig will continue to fly the Pakistani flag with the same spirit around the world. At 7:42 am on Friday, Samina Baig and her crew of seven successfully ascended K2's brutal peak. The world's highest peak and most hazardous summit is K2. With an elevation of 8,611 metres above sea level, it is the second-highest peak in the entire planet. In 2013, Baig became the first Pakistani woman to summit Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
Enhanced regional cooperation vital for regional peace, development: NA Speaker
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has said that enhanced regional cooperation is vital for regional peace, development and progress. The Speakers and Parliamentarians of Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Türkiye gathered in Istanbul for the second round of the Trilateral speakers’ meeting of the three brotherly countries said a news release was received here from Istanbul on Friday. The Speakers of Pakistan and Azerbaijan were cordially greeted and thanked for attending by Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of Turkey's Grand National Assembly. Finding common ground for preserving regional security was one of the main goals of this trilateral summit, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf stated while addressing the event. He urged states to consider and develop a shared vision for maintaining regional peace and security. Speaking about the state of affairs in Afghanistan, the NA Speaker stated that Pakistan was dedicated to maintaining the country's peace and stability, which was essential for regional security. He also added that close cooperation and continued support between the three countries could go a long way in pursuing a long-term policy of “live and let live” aimed at utilizing all means to ensure regional peace and tranquillity. The Speaker also discussed the negative effects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on regional and global peace, stating that NATO's involvement in the overall conflict in Europe and its surrounding areas demonstrated the emergence of a new security system with far-reaching implications for the entire world community. The Grand National Assembly's Speaker Türkiye told the conference that the three nations had a lot of potential and that their parliaments were therefore destined to look into ways to increase collaboration in all areas of shared interest.
Imran wants to create economic instability through political uncertainty: Marriyum
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Friday that former prime minister Imran Khan wanted to create economic instability through political uncertainty and chaos in the country. She added in a statement in response to remarks made by PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry that Pakistanis have rejected the "politics of thieves, hypocrites, and liars." She poked fun at the PTI leader by claiming that Imran Khan's "electoral framework" was evident in the 2018 elections for the Senate, Daska bye-election, KP, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Elahi wins election, but Hamza gets Punjab CM slot
By Staff Reporter
LAHORE: Dost Mohammad Mazari, the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly, has declared Hamza Shehbaz the winner of the race for chief minister. Shehbaz received 178 votes, compared to Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi's 186, and she rejected 10 votes from the PML-Q, citing a letter from the party's leader, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, which forbade MPAs from the party from supporting Political scheming at the last minute caused a three-hour delay in the key session. According to reports, all 10 PML-Q members of the Punjab Assembly disobeyed Chaudhry Shujaat's orders and supported Pervaiz Elahi in the race for chief minister. The votes cast by the PML-Q MPs were not acknowledged by Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari. “Hamza Shehbaz got 179 votes. PTI received 176 votes and PML-Q bagged 10 votes but I just received a letter from Chaudhry Shujaat,” said the deputy speaker while announcing the result of the CM election. The deputy speaker read from the letter that Chaudhry Shujaat had sent and stated, "As party president of the PML-Q, I have instructed my provincial members to vote for Hamza Shehbaz." The deputy speaker said that he had disregarded the votes of PML-Q legislators in accordance with the Supreme Court's decision regarding Article 63-A's defection clause. Raja Basharat, the leader of the PTI, spoke on the floor of the house and disputed the deputy speaker's decision, arguing that in his capacity as caretaker of the chamber, he could not disallow the legislators' votes. “Chaudhary Shujaat is not authorised to prevent members from voting… he does not have the authority to stop any member,” he said. However, rejecting the objections of the PTI leader, the deputy speaker said he was performing his duties as per the orders of the Supreme Court.
Pakistan is desirous of a peaceful, stable, prosperous & connected Afghanistan: Bilawal
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has dispatched humanitarian assistance and relief goods through a special flight to the flood affected people of eastern Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari participated in the ceremony held at the Nur Khan Air Base, Rawalpindi on Friday to dispatch a consignment of emergency relief assistance to Kandahar, to support affectees in eastern Afghanistan in the aftermath of the devastating flash floods caused by torrential rains. Speaking at the event, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that tents, blankets, clothing, cooking oil, and sugar are among the relief supplies. According to the foreign minister, Pakistan stands in solidarity with the Afghan people during these trying times and shares their anguish. He claimed that our humanitarian activities are a modest demonstration of the strong ties between our two nations. The foreign minister urged the international community to increase assistance efforts in support of the continuously disaster-stricken Afghan people. In these trying times, he claimed, the international community cannot turn its back on the Afghan people. He claimed that Pakistan has been pushing for foreign involvement in Afghanistan at all levels in order to prevent the country's economic collapse. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan is desirous of a peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister emphasised the close ties between the two peoples and underlined Pakistan's commitment to continuing its aid and humanitarian efforts for the friendly Afghan people. In these trying times, he said, the Government and People of Pakistan stood shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan nation.
KARACHI: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail presided over a meeting with the Heads of Commercial Banks at State Bank of Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD: Special assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima presided a conference with several international organizations at Prime Minister Office Islamabad.
Military top brass holds review meeting on national security situation
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: To discuss the Defence and Security environment, a meeting of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and all Service Chiefs was held here at Joint Staff Headquarters (JSHQ) on Friday. According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman General Nadeem Raza presided over the meeting, which was attended by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff, Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, Chief of Naval Staff and Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of Air Staff. A thorough briefing on the Western Border, KPK, and Balochistan-specific national security situation was presented to the event. The necessity of peace in Afghanistan for regional sustainability, the fast-paced changes in strategic and conventional policy, and the operational readiness of the armed forces were also emphasised during the event.
The US must resolve the conflict with Moscow
The US has already paid for above a thousand sanctions against Russian companies and individuals, with ever-increasing high inflation and climbing gasoline prices. The consequences will be more serious, the US Treasury has ultimately realized. In response, if Russia stops supplying enriched uranium to US energy companies, the nuclear industry will be in big trouble. Some nuclear reactors will shut down affecting electricity for Americans. Since nuclear power is more than 20 percent of generating capacity in some parts of America, electricity prices will jump even higher than today’s inflation. The US cannot quickly establish its own production of uranium in the required quantity: the industry has long been in decline since for many years it was almost completely dependent on Russia. Uranium still needs enrichment that requires private companies to explore strategies to expand production and technology to replace Russian supplies. Almost thirty years ago, Moscow and Washington signed an agreement to process Russian high-enriched weapons-grade uranium into low-enriched uranium for power plants. Russia exported about 15,000 tons of nuclear fuel to the US. This uranium was both cheap and of high quality, local utilities on whose balance sheet the nuclear power plants are located, appreciated it very much. American power plants are private enterprises, the state, in fact, buys electricity from them. Nuclear fuel, which was produced in the US, is inferior to Russian in all respects. Therefore, the country abandoned its own uranium enrichment capacities. In 2010, the United States produced about two thousand tons of uranium oxide, in 2020 only 90 tons. Today, almost the only uranium enrichment enterprise is the Urenco USA plant in New Mexico. The conflict in Ukraine has exposed the dependence of US nuclear energy on Russia and created new problems for the industry, writes the New York Times. A number of EU countries are also 100% dependent on Russian supplies. Six countries are producing eighty-five percent of the world’s uranium i.e. Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Namibia, and Niger. However, it is not just about the fuel: many reactors in the US and the EU are Russian-made. Therefore, the West runs the risk of losing components. In 2021, 439 nuclear reactors were operating in the world, 38 of them in Russia, 42 were built and another 15 were being built using Russian technologies. In 2020, Moscow owned 40 percent of the world’s uranium conversion infrastructure and 46 percent of its enrichment capacity. The US tried to limit purchases to 20 percent of the total requirement under an agreement signed with Minatom in 1992, And after the amendment to the agreement in 2020, it planned to reduce imports to 15 percent by 2028. However, America received about 16 percent of the uranium from Russia in 2020, and another 30 percent from Russian allies Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. At the same time, the agreement itself, with amendments already in force, made it possible to purchase 24 percent of nuclear fuel from Moscow next year. In March, President Biden banned the import of oil, coal, and gas from Russia. However, uranium was not on the list. Lawmakers urge to continue, as reducing dependence on imported uranium and investing in next-generation nuclear power plants is not so simple. Back in 2020, the US Department of Energy announced plans to invest up to $3.2 billion in advanced next-generation reactor projects that run on a more enriched version of uranium. However, local suppliers are in no hurry to finance the production of such fuel: the completion of the construction of advanced nuclear power plants is still too far away. In addition, this will require huge costs. Washington had better find a way out of conflict with Moscow.
LHC bars police from entering Punjab Assembly during CM election
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: In an important decision just before the election for the seat of Punjab chief minister, the Lahore High Court on Friday barred the Punjab Police from entering the Punjab Assembly. According to the court orders, now the police could only enter the provincial assembly’s building when asked to control the deteriorating law and order situation. PA Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari had yesterday (July 21, 2022) written to the authorities, seeking deployment of the Force saying pandemonium was feared during the assembly’s session. He went on to say that even his life was in danger.
Governor Punjab Congratulates Samina Baig
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman, in a statement, congratulated Pakistan's first female mountaineer, Samina Baig, who climbed world's second highest peak K2, and said that Pakistani women have proved their mettle in various fields. He said that the nation is proud of talented women like Samina Baig. Governor Punjab said it is very important to encourage women and provide them with opportunities to move forward for the development of any society. The Governor of Punjab said that the PML-N government has always taken practical steps to empower women. He said that first Women University was set in the the previous tenure of PML-N so that the parents of the girls who did not allow their girls to study in co-educational institutions can equip their girls with education in the women's universities. He added that 'Women on Wheels' project was also launched in the previous tenure of PML N with a vision to empower women, which has been started again in a better way.
PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan is giving cash prize to talented student Mohibullah.
Faisal Amin instructs local bodies on monsoon arrangements
By Staff Reporter
PESHAWAR: The local government department has been strictly instructed by the KP Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (LG &RDD), Sardar Faisal Amin Khan Gandapur, that in light of the forecast for heavy rains in the province and the standby directives of the Chief Minister Mahmood Khan for improving sanitation and drainage system and carrying out relief operations in case of urban flash floods, foolproof preparations and arrangements must be made on an urgent basis. He expressed this during a briefing given by Secretary LG & RDD Syed Zaheer-ul- Islam Shah on the effective prevention of possible damages that might be caused by monsoon torrential rains and flash floods in different parts of the province including the merged districts. The Local Government Secretary said that immediate implementation of the instructions of the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary has been ensured and all the subsidiary bodies of the Local Government Department have been red alerted as a matter of concern regarding possible monsoon rains and floods. Similarly, he said, the local bodies have also been issued clear instructions for close support with all relief agencies including the Relief Department, PDMA and Rescue 1122 operating in various cities. Sardar Faisal Amin Gandapur, while expressing his satisfaction over the progress related to preparations for monsoon season, also showed the confidence that the officers and officials of TMAs, water supply and sanitation companies (WSSCs) and area development authorities of the entire province, including the merged districts, would work round the clock to help the people in case of any emergency.
PIA employees’ salaries to be increased by 10-20%, sources
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: According to sources, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is scheduled to raise employee pay by 10–20% at a meeting. The Finance and Human Resources (HR) departments have proposed the increase. According to specifics, a decision regarding the hike was taken during an administrative summit. According to sources, pensions for retired PIA workers are also anticipated to increase. At PIA, salaries for Group 1 to General Manager Positions are anticipated to rise by 10 to 20%. On July 20, PIA announced a decrease in the price of multiple international routes, following the recent cut in fuel prices. According to a spokesperson, the national flag carrier has announced an 8 per cent cut in fares for Canada flights while fares for UAE and Gulf routes have been slashed by 15 per cent. Similarly, fares for Saudi Arabia routes have been reduced by 10 per cent, the spokesperson added. The new prices will come into effect from midnight today.
LAHORE: On the occasion of the election of the Chief Minister, due to the ban on the entry of unrelated persons, the people accompanying the members of the assembly are standing outside.
Faisal Shahkar appointed new IG Punjab ahead of CM election
By Our Correspondent
LAHORE: Faisal Shahkar was chosen as the new provincial Inspector General (IG) by the Punjab government immediately after Rao Sardar refused to remain in his position prior to the election for chief minister of Punjab. Establishment Division notices state that Faisal Shahkar has taken Rao Sardar Ali Khan's seat. With immediate effect, Rao Sardar has been appointed inspector general of Pakistan Railways. Meanwhile, Faisal Shahkar, previously serving as the Railways inspector general has now been transferred and posted as the provincial police chief with immediate effect. The appointment came after top-ranking government officials — IG Punjab and Chief Secretary Kamran Afzal — refused to continue serving on their post. AD Khawaja, Faisal Shahkar and Inam Ghani were strong contenders for the IG Punjab post. A grade-22 officer who entered the Pakistan Police Service in 1988 as a second superintendent, the newly appointed police chief is now the force's top cop. For almost three years, he worked as the Special Branch's extra inspector general. Shahkar has also participated in UN special missions in places like Liberia and Bosnia.
Afghan immigrants looted people amid Sohrab Goth riots: Police
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: According to the police, the 25 people detained for looting and rioting in Sohrab Goth Karachi on July 14 are immigrants from Afghanistan. The 25 Afghan nationals were living in Karachi without authorization. The police said that on July 14, residents of Afghanistan were robbed of their belongings, including jewellery, wallets, and cell phones. The police noted that the demonstration was in response to robbery. In total, three distinct police stations in Karachi registered five charges of terrorism, murder, and attempted murder. The police said that rioting and numerous other offences were included in the FIRs. The police told that the detained Afghan citizens have been transferred to jail On July 14, enraged protesters blocked the Superhighway at Sohrab Goth against the Hyderabad incident. As per details, the protesters staged a protest demonstration and blocked both the tracks of Superhighway Karachi. The traffic heading to Karachi from Hyderabad is being diverted to other routes because the highway police closed the highway from Jamali Pull. After a little boy named Bilal Kaka was killed by restaurant owners of Afghan descent, there was a significant response, and mobs were seen intimidating those who owned tea and tandoor stores in Hyderabad and other places in Sindh.
The history of PML-N is full of chaos and Changa-Manga politics: Ch Parvez Elahi
LAHORE: The government should abide by the orders of the Supreme Court, otherwise the law will take its course, and every conspiracy to sabotage the Chief Minister election will be stopped: talk in the PML Parliamentary Party meeting. A meeting of the Parliamentary Party of the Pakistan Muslim League was held under the chairmanship of the Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and the parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Muslim League in the Punjab Assembly Sajid Ahmed Khan, in which consultation on the election of the Chief Minister was held. Sajid Ahmad Khan, Hafiz Amar Yasir, Shujahat Nawaz, Bao Rizwan, Abdullah Yousaf Warraich, Ehsanul Haque, Dr. Muhammad Afzal, Basma Ch and Khadija Umar participated in the meeting. All the members of the Punjab Assembly expressed full confidence in the leadership of Ch Parvez Elahi and said that Insha-Allah they will elect Ch Parvez Elahi as the Chief Minister of Punjab. Ch Pervez Elahi said that all the tactics of PML-N will fail miserably, every conspiracy to sabotage the Chief Minister election will be blocked, democracy and Imran Khan will be successful on July 22. The history of PML-N is full of anarchy and back-and-forth politics, the government should abide by the orders of the Supreme Court, and otherwise the law will take its course.
LAHORE: Chief Minister candidate Hamza Shehbaz is coming to participate in the session on behalf of the ruling alliance.
Sea view route: BRT Green Line connected to people’s bus service
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: In order to expand the former's route to Sea View, the Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Green Line has been connected to the recently launched People's Bus Service. The BRTS Green Line is being managed by the Sindh Infrastructure and Development Company Limited (SIDCL), a public limited company, it was announced on Friday. A SIDCL representative stated that the Green Line bus service will take commuters to Numaish Chowrangi, where they could then transfer to the People's Bus Service to get to Karachi's Sea View. The official stated, "The People's Bus Service buses will be stationed at Numaish station of the BRTS Green Line." It is important to note that the Sindh government plans to start bus service on six additional routes within the next two days, in addition to the three routes on which Peoples Bus Service now runs in the port city. Route No 1 starts from Malir Cantt and ends at Tower, with 37 buses operating on it. Route No. 2 (North Karachi to Korangi Crossing) is 30km long, with 38 buses operating on it. The route starts from North Karachi Powerhouse via Nagan Chowrangi, Rashid Minhas Road, Drigh Road, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Korangi-5, 12000 Road Korangi Crossing. Route No 3 Route No. 3 (North Karachi to Nasir Jump) is a 38km route, on which 38 buses will be made operational on July 22. The route covers Powerhouse, Ajmer Nagri, Nagan Chowrangi, Shahrah-e-Noorjahan, Nazimabad Eidgah, Sir Shah Suleman Road, Civic Centre, Karsaz, Sharea Faisal, FTC, Korangi Road, Qayyumabad, 8000 Road, Shan Chowrangi and Nasir Jump. Route No 4, 5 and 7 Moreover, the 23km long Route No. 4 (North Karachi to West Wharf), the 28km long Route No. 5 (Surjani to Masroor Base), the 29km long Route No. 7 (Baldia to Mosamiat) and the 29km long Route No. 11 (Mosamiat to Dolmen Mall) require reconstruction of different portions of roads to make the bus service operational on them. Route No 6 Route-6 (Orangi Town to Singer Chowrangi) would also be operationalised on July 22, said Sharjeel Memon and added that in Orangi, start of the route, a portion of the road has developed crates during the recent heavy rains and was being repaired. Route No 9 The 30-kilometer route No. 9, which became operational yesterday, starts from Gulshan-e-Hadeed via N-5, Quaidabad, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Malir Halt, Jinnah Avenue, Malir Cantt check post 6 and check post 5.
LAHORE: Chinese Consul General Dao Shiran is meeting Secretary Industry and Commerce Dr. Ahmed Javed Qazi.
RPO dismissed officers involved in misconduct and torture
By Our Correspondent
MULTAN: Regional Police Officer Rifat Mukhtar raja held a courtroom in his office where he heard appeals against the punishments given to police officers and employees. On this occasion, he said that the police officers should perform their duties according to the law and regulations. It is unforgivable to perform duties against merit and greed. The appeals were heard and they are as follows: Sub-Inspector Parvez Aftab Multan's response to the show cause was not satisfactory. Inspector Allah Bakhsh and Muhammad Mumtaz of Multan district dismissed their appeals for lack of merit, while former traffic assistant Rameez Mumtaz Lodharan's appeal for dismissal was also rejected for lack of merit. Changed to one year service forfeiture while Assistant Sub-Inspector Zamir Hussain Khaniwal was dismissed after being found guilty in the inquiry and Head Constable Mohammad Azhar Khaniwal's one-year promotion forfeiture sentence was changed to imprisonment.
In the Court of Manzar Hayat Khorkhar Senior Civil Judge JhelumSuit for Dissolution of Marriage on Basis of Khula, Case Title Mibra BiBi vs Asim Hafiz To, Asim Hafiz son of Hafiz Ahmed R/o Khas Baral Tehsil Dina Dist Jhelum Presently Residing at Maria Fegths Gate 11 Drammen City Norway. As there is not possible to call the Defendant through Summon in the instant Suit so through proclamation in Newspaper, You are directed to appear in the court on 27.07.2022 at 8:00AM, otherwise ex-parte proceedings will be initiated.
In the Court of Muhammad Qadafi Bin Zair ADJ JhelumAppeal Under Section 96 CPC, Case Title Muhammad Akhtar vs Muhammad Khalid To, Muhammad Muhammad Khalid son of Muhammad Sharif Cast Mughal R/o Chotala Tehsil & Dist Jhelum. As there is not possible to call the Respondent through Summon in the instant Appeal so through proclamation in Newspaper, You are directed to appear in the court on 28.07.2022 at 8:00AM, otherwise exparte proceedings will be initiated.
ITI freight train performs below expectations: WealthPK
ISLAMABAD: Despite a delay of more than 30 days, the seventh Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) freight train, also known as the ECO train, has yet to leave for Istanbul, costing the Pakistan Railways a significant amount in freight charges, according to WealthPK. On December 21 of last year, the first train to operate at Islamabad's Margalla Railway Station departed for Istanbul. Every week on Tuesday, the nine-wagon train leaves from the station. The Turkish freight forwarders' duties were not paid, the customs clearance process took longer than expected, and there were additional administrative and technical concerns that contributed to the lengthy delay in the freight train's departure. The 6th train is currently parked at Zahedan, awaiting transfer of goods, as Pakistan and Turkey’s track gauges are not compatible. Pakistan’s track is 5 feet and 6 inches or 1,676mm broad as compared to the Turkish and Iranian gauge, which is 4 feet and 8.5 inches or 1,435mm wide. The fifth train reached Turkey after a delay of 45 days, as it met an accident near a railway station in Balochistan. The accident caused damage of over Rs4 million to the goods. The fourth train also suffered a delay due to the slow customs clearance and disputes between the Pakistani and Turkish freight forwarders. An official from Pakistan Railways who requested anonymity told WealthPK that the ITI freight train route was crucial since it connects Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey and is the fastest mode of transit. It moves more quickly than shipping by sea, which takes 35 days. Additionally, the cost of freight transportation by rail is considerably less expensive than that incurred by freight transit by water, the official added. However, he added that due to the long transit time to reach Istanbul, the traders avoid sending their goods by train because they suffer significant losses in transportation of their goods. The goods train also gets late due to the slow customs clearance at the Pak-Iran border, he explained. Dilapidated track and accidents between Quetta and Zahedan also delayed the arrival of trains at the desired destinations, the official said.
The meeting of the Executive Board of the NAB was chaired by Chairman
Islamabad: The meeting of the Executive Board of the National Accountability Bureau was held under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, Mr. Zahir Shah, at the NAB Headquarters in Islamabad. In the meeting, Syed Asghar Haider, Prosecutor General Accountability, Mirza Muhammad Irfan Baig, DG Operations NAB, Farman Ullah Khan DG NAB Rawalpindi and other senior officers of NAB attended. In the NAB executive board meeting, various inquiries and investigations were discussed in detail and decisions will be made about each case in accordance with merit, transparency and within the law. Legal action was decided. It should be noted that all inquiries and investigations of NAB are initiated on the basis of alleged allegations which are not conclusive. According to the law, NAB decides to conduct further investigation or not after knowing the stand of all the concerned persons so that all requirements of justice can be followed according to law.
Chinese Embassy provides assistance to those affected by the rains in Qila Saifullah
ISLAMABAD: According to a Friday report from Gwadar Pro, the Chinese Embassy has given aid to the families in Qila Saifullah who have been impacted by the rain. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, Bayezid Khan Kasi, Chairman of the Friends of China Forum, and Malik Inayat Khan Kasi, a former Balochistan Home Minister, gave aid to the afflicted families. At the time, Bayezid Khan Kasi stated that the distribution of aid supplies by the Chinese Embassy was a prime illustration of the goodwill between Pakistan and China. He acknowledged that China always stood with Pakistan in all difficult times and supported people of Balochistan and now it was helping people in the rain hit areas of the province. Kasi thanked the Chinese Embassy for playing its role for provision of aid to people who had been affected due to recent monsoon rains in respective areas. He mentioned that the Balochistan provincial government and relevant departments were taking part in relief activities to help people in rain-hit areas which were commendable.
Inauguration of Pilot Census Software for 7th Population & Housing Census
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Head office, Islamabad, July 21, 2022, Digital Census 2022, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Secretary M/o Planning, Development & Special Initiatives. As PBS plans for the first-ever Digital Population and Housing Census, Secretary of Planning Syed Zafar Ali Shah unveiled the software for the 7th Population and Housing Census, 2022. Secretary (PD & SI) was also given a briefing on Data Dissemination Dashboards, in particular, Price Information Management System, during his visit to PBS (PIMS). The Secretary also saw the listing and enumeration applications for the 7th Population and Housing Census, 2022. Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Secretary PD & SI, while addressing to PBS Staff, emphasized that a good leadership, efficient team and vigilance at operating level can be beneficial for an organization’s development. Then he requested for a quick round of introduction with the PBS team present at the occasion. Chief Statistician, Dr. Naeem uz Zafar, welcomed secretary on behalf of PBS staff. He further apprised him that data collection exercise for pilot census has been started by PBS field staff for testing the tools, mechanism and field operation. Through this exercise PBS will be able to point out and rectify all minor and major issues regarding software and field execution plan before undergoing full roll out. He informed that the meeting is conducted to present a brief of two important activities i.e., Population and Housing Census and National Accounts and requested relevant Members for presentations in their areas. Mr. Muhammad Sarwar Gondal, Member (RM/SS) in his presentation on 7 th Digital Population and Housing Census, informed that with the approval of results of 6 th Population and Housing Census by Council of Common interest (CCI), it was advised to conduct next census immediately by using latest tools and technologies and following world’s best practices. It was also recommended that for wider acceptability of census results, all the stakeholders must be part of census process from planning till finalization and dissemination of results through an effective communication strategy. A Census monitoring committee comprising of important provincial functionaries, researchers and demographers was constituted to monitor all activities of population census. Geo tagging, data collection and listing software, standardized concepts of field force through extensive trainings and real time monitoring are the innovations recommended by the Census Monitoring committee for reliability, acceptability and reducing time between field operation and results announcements. A summary of the National Accounts system, prices, macroeconomic statistics, PSDP Projects, and compilation of National Accounts were provided by Syed Ejaz Ali Shah Wasti, Member National Accounts. He went on to talk about the National Price Monitoring Committee's makeup and responsibilities. Future milestones and other activity techniques were also explored. In the case of Pakistan, the UN statistical system, World Bank policies, and IMF principles were reviewed. Additionally, he discussed the regional comparison of Gross Value Addition in Rebasing and Rebasing Interval. Secretary, PD & SI, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, appreciated the efforts of leadership and supporting officers of PBS and showed keen interest in both fields. He said that both the activities i.e., Population Census and National Accounts are crucial for Policy making and planning. Additionally, he expressed pleasure with PBS's preparations for the impending 7th Population and Housing Census. In order for the forthcoming census to be performed in accordance with CCI's decision, he gave strong instructions to respect the timetables. As a result, the function of PBS as a data supplier is crucial to the growth of the nation, he concluded, since reliable data results in the formulation of sound policies.
ISLAMABAD: Brigadier Waqar Ahmed after awarding prizes to the players at the end of the DHA Youth Tennis Coaching Camp and Tournament.
Senate Standing Committee on Privatization was held in Parliament
By Raza Abid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Privatization met on Friday in Parliament House, with Shammim Afridi serving as the moderator. Deliberations on the privatisation of PESCO (Peshawar Electric Supply Company Limited and IESCO) started the meeting (Islamabad Elelctric Supply Company Limited). Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar questioned the motive behind the power ministry's plans to privatise PESCO and IESCO. Reduced transmission losses and improved service delivery quality were the main goals of the ministry of electricity, the secretary of the ministry of privatisation informed the committee.Officials of PESCO informed the committee that due to transmission losses and deteriorated law and order condition in the region,PESCO is doomed to bear losses. Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar maintained that instead of privatising, ministry of power should introduce prepaid system in the concerned DISCO'S.Chairman Committee questioned as to who will be willing to purchase these DISCO's, which are engulfed in transmission losses and debt. He also maintained that the issue of transmission losses can be resolved with the help of law enforcement forces of concerned province. Federal Minister for Privatization, Mir Abid Hussain Bhayo told the committee that the Provincial Governments were invited to purchase their concerned DISCO'S.He also maintained that provincial governments with the aid of its administrative machinery could administer it effectively. Senator Shammim Afridi demanded a detailed report on the matter in the next meeting. During the discussion of Sindh Engineering Limited's 448 acres of land in the Punjab Province's Tehsil Kasur. The Lahore High Court has directed the Kasur Assistant Commissioner to inform the committee that the subject is prejudicial in the Civil Court and that it has also prevented the Civil Court from rendering a judgement on the matter in question. The committee, according to senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, shall request in writing from the chief justice of the Lahore High Court that he present the committee with his response.However, on the matter of total numbers of consultants working currently in the ministry of privatization and their recruitment and promotion rules.Chairman Committee Senator Shammim Afridi has decided to constitute a Sub-Committee under the convenership of Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar to review the matter in detailed. The Meeting was attended by Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar,Senator Anwar Lal Dean,Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah,Senator Molvi Faiz Muhammad,Minister for Privatization Mir Abid Hussain Bhayo and other senior officiers of ministry as well.
Lecture titled “Azadi Ka Safar” Held at PAC
By Staff Reporter
RAWALPINDI: In connection with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, a special lecture on the history of Pakistan was organized in the Punjab Arts Council under the name Azadi Ka Safar. In the lecture, Tehreek-e-Pakistan activist Dr. Ehsan Akbar highlights the issues faced by the muslim leaders in the creation of Pakistan. Dr. Ehsan Akbar said that there is no greater blessing in the world than freedom. We are breathing in a free atmosphere today due to the eternal sacrifices of our elders. The rapid development of education in world during the last decades of the nineteenth century is in front of everyone. Due to education, a new consciousness, feeling and passion was highlighted in different nations, through the educational revolution, freedom movements were awakened in the people and the names of many great leaders and personalities came out to subdue the false forces. Pakistan is the livings proof these revolutions. Main objective of the Pakistan Independence Movement was to establish a separate welfare state for the Muslims of the subcontinent, where they could live according to their religion and culture. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Ali Johar, Maulan Shaukat Ali Johar, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk, Allama Iqbal, Chaudhry Rehmat and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, all the leaders of the freedom movement made numerous sacrifices for the establishment of Pakistan, he added. Dr. Ahsan akbar further said that perhaps the new generation does not realize how much Pakistan has been achieved through difficulties. Let the educational institutions enlighten the young generation with the true movement of freedom. A large number of people from the twin cities participated in the special lecture on the Pakistan Freedom Movement.
Police to take stern action against motorists using LEDs, high beam lights
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Capital Police (ICTP) has decided to take harsh action against people involved in utilising high beam lights and Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) while driving and penalised 3793 Vehicles during the current year at the direction of IGP Islamabad Dr. Akbar Nasir. Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Dr. Syed Mustafa Tanweer said decision has been made to ensure safe road environment in the city and avoid accidents. To prevent the use of LED/HID by drivers, special squads have been established, and police pickets will be placed along the city's major thoroughfares, including the Expressway, the Srinagar Highway, Margalla Road, IJP Road, Murree Road, 7th Avenue, and 9th Avenue. The campaign to limit the use of high beam and LED/HID lights will be led by the night shift in-charges.
NCOC issues sops for Muharram processions
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Control (NCOC) has issued Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs) for processions and public gatherings in the month of Muharram-ul-Haram. According to details, the NCOC has issued SOPs for public gatherings and processions in the month of Muharram-ul-Haram. Wearing a mask and using sanitisers during the holy month have been made compulsory by NCOC. Only those who have had their complete vaccinations will be permitted to march in processions, the NCOC added. The NCOC further stated that all procession locations should be open and well-ventilated. According to the NCOC, it has been proposed that older persons and kids observe processions and public events from home. The guidebook for the NCOC SOPs has also been made mandatory to distribute. The positive rate for COVID-19 has been rising over the past few weeks, and it has been on the rise.
Safe City Islamabad re-organized: IGP
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: According to a police public relations officer, Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Islamabad, has given standing orders about the reorganisation of Safe City. On the special instructions of Federal Interior Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan, he claimed, the action was done to carry out the vision of PM of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mian Shehbaz Sharif, and to move all IT-based systems to Safe City. He said that 1500 cameras are being added in Safe City with the coordination of Capital Development Authority (CDA) in phase-I adding that the capacity of the safe city will be enhanced. Nomenclature of DG Safe City is changed into DIG Safe City while Director Operations Safe City into SSP Safe City, he maintained. He further said that all the systems of Islamabad Capital Police will be centralized at Safe City adding that police reporting, response of Eagle squad, Electronic media and other systems will be monitored here. Eagle squad will not be allowed to erect any picket anywhere himself. He added that all technological support for the Investigation Wing will come from Safe City in order to preserve the privacy and protection of government data, and that electronic and social media monitoring has already been moved there.
Politicians are never taught. After the alliance's victory in the Sunday by-election, what should have been a simple walkover for the joint candidate of the PTI and PML-Q is no longer a given. As the ruling coalition led by the PML-N attempts to salvage the minority Hamza Shehbaz administration, the run-off election for chief minister of Punjab today has been marred by allegations of horse-trading. In Pakistani politics, political horse dealing is not a recent development. Almost every major political party, including the PTI, has mastered the art with generous assistance from the intelligence apparatus, starting with the "abduction" of independent lawmakers by the then-PML back in 1988 to deny the PPP a chance to muster its majority in the provincial assembly and to get its own candidate elected as chief minister. In the lead-up to the 2018 elections, the manner Imran Khan was supported by the agencies forced many candidates in Punjab fielded by the PML-N to either exit the race or seek PTI tickets to remain in the battle is still vivid in people's minds. More recently, the parties in the ruling coalition have been charged with paying off or rewarding PTI lawmakers to defect so that the PML-N could hold control of Punjab and maintain the stability of the central administration. People still clearly remember how Imran Khan's backing from the agencies during the 2018 elections drove numerous PML-N-backed candidates in Punjab to withdraw from the race or apply for PTI tickets in order to continue fighting. More recently, the parties in the ruling coalition have been accused of bribing or compensating PTI lawmakers to defect in order for the PML-N to retain power in Punjab and preserve the stability of the federal government. The provincial government should have been requested to resign by the ruling coalition once it was obvious that the opposition had reclaimed the majority in the assembly following the by-elections. In the absence of that, it was anticipated that the PML-N and its supporters would at the very least refrain from using horse dealing to convert their minority into a majority. However, the PML-N and its coalition partners have chosen the dishonest course in their effort to preserve the current government in Punjab out of fear of being restricted to Islamabad. If things get heated during today's session, it won't help the cause of democracy. The PML-N and its supporters need to back off and stop doing anything unethical or that goes against the law and the Constitution if democracy is to advance. Holding early elections to obtain a new mandate is the best course of action if they worry that a hostile PTI-PML-Q administration in Pakistan's most populous province will prevent them from carrying out their political and economic programme.
In the lead-up to the 2018 elections, the manner Imran Khan was supported by the agencies forced many candidates in Punjab fielded by the PML-N to either exit the race or seek PTI tickets to remain in the battle is still vivid in people's minds
Small savers in Pakistan face an uncertain future
DR. VAQAR AHMED
The month of June witnessed a new 14-year record with consumer prices registering a 21.3% growth in June compared to the same month in the previous year. This increase was much higher for rural areas (23.6%). A couple of factors are at play here. Even after bringing imports to a screeching halt, the higher prices of (imported) fuel and food continues to have an adverse effect. This continues to get translated into higher industrial and residential electricity bills. Industries manufacturing for domestic consumption who had safe inventories of raw materials also adjusted the end-prices upwards anticipating the impact of the weakening of the rupee. While signs of contraction in large scale manufacturing sector are now visible, these could become acute as the Central Bank has raised the key interest rate to a new high – not seen in the past 11 years. For the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, high inflation and weakening of rupee has resulted in erosion of retained earnings and working capital after which several business associations were seen in mid-July prompting large scale closures. It is about time that federal and provincial industries departments start consultations with small business associations with a view to prevent these worst case scenarios. While the Ministry of Finance is betting on the beginnings of a global recession which could result in reduced prices of global fuel and food, a significant reduction is not expected for the majority period of the ongoing fiscal year. In fact, the oil and gas price volatilities seen due to the Russia-Ukraine tiff could get even more exacerbated. As the federal government and central bank huddle to protect the economy from default, attention has moved away from the state of small savers in the country who are fast becoming poorer by the day. This segment has been hit by inflation and also a more uncertain labour market where their bargaining power has significantly dropped. Private sector employers are sharply rationalizing staff costs in a bid to pivot. Unless they quickly adapt, private sector debt default could also become imminent, in turn putting pressure on banking sector’s balance sheets.Under such a milieu, the worse that could happen for the small savers was regulatory uncertainty in financial and real estate markets. Earlier in July, the statement from the Central Bank pointed towards a suspension of the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG) scheme. Thousands of existing applicants under this scheme took to banks to seek information about whether they could lose their deposits and houses. For those who were either planning to or had arranged resources to subscribe to MPMG, the news was even worse i.e., the scheme will remain suspended until the federal government is able to revise its features. Even the applicants who have been approved - having incurred transactional costs of ensuring documentation, haven’t seen disbursements in the recent past. Applicants who had moved-in after making partial payments now are being forced to move out by the owners. Their already paid valuation fee, token amounts, or partial payments have become a sunk cost. A female applicant whose case stands approved has recently stated on media: “I am a victim of the MPMG Scheme as I paid the valuation fee and after the bank approved the property I also paid 10% of the property value to the seller to confirm the deal. The token amount paid was 9 lakh and now my sale agreement time period is near to end and (with no further instalments in sight) the seller is not agreeing to give more time.” A wider majority who was out of this scheme but had arranged resources on their own were involved in construction on already purchased land. Since July 1, contractors in most urban areas have escalated construction prices by 30% plus, attributing this to the hike in prices of basic and intermediate construction materials. Higher taxes have now been notified and fiscal relaxations provided to the real estate and construction sector since the outbreak of COVID-19 are no longer in place. While the increased tax burden on non-filers may find its justification with some, increasing tax rates for filers trying to enter the property market is a bit unjustified under already difficult economic conditions. The government is advised to look towards peer economies who face similar external account and fiscal challenges but have continued to insulate small savers. Asset ownership is the best hedge against rampant price inflation and creation of greater number of small asset owners is a sure recipe for lifting people out of poverty. Dr. Vaqar Ahmed is an economist and former civil servant.
The government is advised to look towards peer economies who face similar external account and fiscal challenges but have continued to insulate small savers
Afghanistan, after one year of Taliban rule
ABDUL BASIT KHAN
Come August, it will be one year of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. During this period, the Taliban have held together as a regime despite a plethora of internal and external challenges, further compounded by US economic sanctions and the frozen $9.5 billion Afghan reserves. Thus far, no country has diplomatically recognized the Taliban regime, but the international community is pursuing limited engagement, accepting the Taliban administration as a fait accompli. Though the Taliban have managed to restore order and an uneasy peace prevails in Afghanistan, the security challenges persist. Broadly, the Taliban have remained intact as a movement and regime. However, the transition from an insurgent to a political entity has tested the Taliban’s organizational coherence. The issues the Taliban are finding challenging to surmount include disarming its foot soldiers, who only know one thing: fighting. Similarly, the discussion of showing some ideological flexibility to accommodate and engage the international community has been taxing for the Taliban’s political leadership. The majority in the Taliban still prefer ideological legitimacy over diplomatic recognition. Likewise, the notion of an inclusive ethnic and political government is alien to the Taliban rank-and-file. They have two counterarguments. The hardliners ask: why were they fighting rival political and ethnic factions if they had to share power with them? The more moderate Taliban elements maintain that after 20 years of conflict, it will take them some time to accept and accommodate their erstwhile adversaries into the power structure. Internal disagreements over power sharing and victory credit have become visible during one year of Taliban rule. For instance, the Kandhari Taliban are apprehensive of the Haqqani Network’s growing military strength, and they believe the power is titled in favour of the Haqqanis. On the other hand, the Haqqanis complain that the Kandharis have bagged most of the government jobs and top positions. Another contention between the two factions is who deserves more credit for the victory. The Kandharis claim that the 2020 US-Taliban deal signed in Qatar, in which Mullah Baradar played the central role, paved the way for the US exit. The Haqqanis, on the other hand, maintain that fighting, for which they contributed the most, forced the US to negotiate a withdrawal in Qatar and made the Taliban victory possible. Ethnic cracks have also emerged in the Taliban. For instance, their only Hazara Shia commander Maulawi Mahdi left the Taliban recently and returned to his native Balkhab district where he mobilized hundreds of his fighters against the Taliban. The Taliban chased him in Balkhab to crush the potential uprising. Similarly, the Taliban arrested a well-respected Uzbek Taliban commander Makhdoom Alam in January, resulting in immediate anti-Taliban protests in the northern Faryab province. Makhdoom was instrumental in the Taliban victories in northern Afghanistan. The non-Pashtun Taliban feel sidelined and discriminated against by the Pashtun Taliban. During this period, Afghanistan’s economic situation has gone from bad to worse. The devastating June earthquake in eastern Afghanistan compounded the Taliban’s financial challenges. In this regard, the workforce drain has been critical. Afghanistan’s educated middle-class working in different sectors left Afghanistan after the Taliban took over. Though some of them have returned, their numbers are quite low. The international community has exempted the humanitarian assistance work in Afghanistan from the sanction regime to avoid a humanitarian disaster and avert the collapse of Afghanistan’s banking system. However, this is just a drop in the bucket. In their first-ever meeting in Qatar in July, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and the Taliban Foreign Minister Ameer Khan Muttaqi agreed to find possible ways of giving restricted access to the Taliban to frozen bank reserves through independent third-party monitoring. However, for now, it remains a proposal. Daesh-Khorasan poses the most formidable threat to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Daesh-K remains resilient and agile, operating in cell formations with numbers ranging between 2,000 to 2,200 fighters. The group retains the capability of mounting high-profile attacks and has targeted religious minorities in Afghanistan to undermine the Taliban’s claims of restoring peace. From August 2021 to June 2022, around 700 people were killed in Afghanistan, and Daesh-K killed most of them. It has been targeting the Taliban in the propaganda domain for forging ties with China and India, which the former accuses of mistreating Muslims in Kashmir and Xinjiang. This summer, the National Resistance Front (NRF) has shown that it can attack the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. Though NRF lacks funding and resources to pose a significant threat to the Taliban, if ethnic discrimination continues, it will benefit the former. During the last year, Pakistan-Afghanistan ties have deteriorated over Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) growing attacks. Despite Pakistani requests, the Taliban refused to act against TTP, prompting retaliatory air strikes, which resulted in peace talks. The Taliban are mediating these talks, and currently, a ceasefire exists between Pakistan and TTP. But the talks are deadlocked as both sides are not ready to budge from their red lines. The author is a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
Despite the apparent calm, public unrest is brewing due to worsening socio-economic conditions resulting in extreme poverty and hunger
Strengthened security framework emerges from Jeddah summits
DR. ABDEL AZIZ ALUWAISHEG
Security dominated the multiple summits hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah last weekend. The summits reaffirmed the US’ commitment to regional security, reenergized its partnerships with the countries of the region and identified new areas for closer cooperation. The word “security” appeared more than 60 times in the statements issued by the Jeddah summits, while “energy” appeared about 20 times. President Joe Biden asserted the US’ desire to strengthen its engagement with the region, saying: “Let me state clearly that the United States is going to remain an active, engaged partner in the Middle East.” He added at the conclusion of his remarks before the summit that: “The United States is not going anywhere.” Biden said: “It is only becoming clearer to me how closely interwoven America’s interests are with the successes of the Middle East.” As such, the US “will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.” The communiques issued by the leaders reflected this renewed determination. GCC leaders welcomed Biden’s affirmation of the US’ commitment to its strategic partnership with the bloc’s member states and that it stands ready to work jointly with its partners in the GCC to deter and confront all external threats to their security. This includes threats to vital waterways, especially the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab Al-Mandab Strait. The GCC-US statement listed several security priorities. The leaders affirmed their “joint commitment” to preserving regional security and stability, deepening their regionwide defense, security and intelligence cooperation, and ensuring the freedom and security of waterways. They also affirmed their support for ensuring that the Gulf region is free from all weapons of mass destruction and for confronting terrorism and “all activities that threaten security and stability.” While the leaders commended the existing cooperation between the GCC member states in these areas, they stressed the need for renewed efforts to “enhance their defense and joint deterrence capabilities against the increasing threat posed by the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles,” as well as against the arming of terrorists, militias and other groups. They discussed new ways to strengthen deterrence and the defense capabilities of GCC member states, including greater integration and interoperability of air and missile defenses, maritime security capabilities and early warning systems and information sharing. Several practical steps have recently been taken to enhance GCC-US defense coordination and these were endorsed in Jeddah last week. For example, on April 17, Combined Task Force 153 was established as the fourth task force operated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition of 34 countries including the US and the GCC member states. CTF 153’s mission is to focus on international maritime security and capacity-building efforts in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden. When not at sea, CTF 153 personnel, as with other CMF forces, work from offices at CMF headquarters in Manama, Bahrain. Similarly, last September, the US established Task Force 59 to integrate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence with maritime capabilities in the area of operation of the US 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain. The preexisting CTF 150, which reinforces shared maritime security objectives in the Gulf of Oman and North Arabian Sea, is now being commanded by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-US bilateral summit went into greater detail about security cooperation. President Biden “strongly” affirmed the US’ “continued commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial defense and facilitating the Kingdom’s ability to obtain necessary capabilities to defend its people and territory against external threats.” The leaders underscored the need to deter Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of other countries, its support for terrorism through its armed proxies and its efforts to destabilize the security and stability of the region. They also stressed the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They underscored the importance of preserving the free flow of commerce through the Bab Al-Mandab Strait and Strait of Hormuz and deterring illicit smuggling into Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the US also put greater emphasis on cybersecurity cooperation to protect the vital interests and national security of both countries. They recently signed multiple memorandums of understanding on cooperation in this area and decided to strengthen real-time information sharing, build human and technical capabilities and develop the cybersecurity industry. Saudi Arabia and the US also announced plans for greater cooperation in space exploration, including human spaceflight, Earth observation, commercial and regulatory development and responsible behavior in outer space. Saudi Arabia signed the Artemis Accords and affirmed its commitment to “the responsible, peaceful and sustainable exploration and use of outer space.” In addition to security, several other important areas of cooperation were discussed at the Jeddah summits. Given the level of participation and the commitments made at the summits, it would not be an exaggeration to call them historic. What is equally important is to build on the commitments made in Jeddah for a stronger regional security architecture, clearly defined and updated. Biden said that the US will “seek to build on this moment with active, principled American leadership.” Other leaders expressed similar determination. There are existing frameworks under the Saudi-US strategic partnership, as well as the GCC-US partnership, which could be reenergized and utilized, including specialized teams and working groups, ministerial and sub-ministerial bodies and an annual summit at the head-of-state level. Similar frameworks could be developed to include Egypt, Iraq and Jordan to fulfill the 10 leaders’ vision expressed in Jeddah, which could serve as the catalyst for a stronger, more comprehensive security architecture. Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the GCC assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation, and a columnist for Arab News. The views expressed in this piece are personal and do not necessarily represent GCC views.
Given the level of participation and the commitments made at the summits, it would not be an exaggeration to call them historic
Executive Allowance for Officers: Is it the Country or the Booty?
The country is facing the risks of bankruptcy, and to avoid this risk, a mountain of inflation has been placed on the back of the people but on the other hand a surprising executive allowance has been issued to all officers in Islamabad from grades 17 to 22. It is said that this will increase the basic pay of all these officers by 150%. You can also understand this ruthless and brutal distribution of the country's resources that this 150% increase in the basic salaries of these officers will be in addition to the 15% increase that was made in the budget just a few days ago. In other words, during this period of economic crisis, the Muslim League-N has increased the salaries of the federal bureaucracy by 165% within just one month. And then, after retirement, they will guide the nation in the newspapers and on TV channels as to what has happened to the country's economy. All section officers, all deputy secretaries, all joint secretaries, senior joint secretaries, additional secretaries, special secretaries, all secretaries of the federal secretariat, all officers of the establishment division including assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners and chief secretaries in Islamabad ll enjoy their shares from this booty. Just yesterday, Miftah Ismail was crowing that we will continue to take tough decisions to revive the economy and we don't care what people think. He said that if we lose the election, what difference it will make. After hearing this conversation, for a moment, I also felt moved how sincere are they that they are determined to take the inevitable decisions and they don't care if they lose the election as a result. But now I am sitting and thinking why the same indifference tone ,that was taken about the people, could not be shown about the bureaucracy? It would have been better to buy poison with this money instead of distributing the national resources in this ruthless manner. These bureaucratic privileges are the biggest tragedy of this country, but this society is completely indifferent to this incident. The political workers are also busy throwing mud at each other and they too are not concerned that the country's resources are being consumed by this bureaucracy and the happiness of the people is being taken away and this section is being rewarded. Sometimes it is surprising that there is no person, no group, no party, no organization left in this country who can raise their voice against this incident. Can elites and bureaucrats in any civilized country of the world even imagine such an incident? The palace of these officers is yet another story. According to the report of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, only if these palaces are rented out in the market, thirteen to fourteen billion rupees can be obtained. And if they are handed over to the private sector, two and a half trillion can be obtained. According to the report of the same institute, the average salary of our bureaucracy is 12% higher than the salary of UN officers. And then comes the Islamabad Club. 244 acres of government land for rent of only one rupee per acre per year. Now it has been increased to eleven rupees per acre per year. Anyone who can ask: What is the annual rent of one acre of land in Islamabad? We have heaps of corruption news and comments on newspapers and channels, but it has never been discussed why the official palace of Commissioner Sargodha is spread over 104 kanals. If ever this point has been discussed in Parliament, please tell me. Why attempts to reform the bureaucracy fail every time? At least we can think over, cant we?
Net zero impossible without investment in nature
NIGEL TOPPING AND MAHMOUD MOHIELDIN
Businesses, investors and governments that are serious about fulfilling net-zero emissions pledges before 2050 should be rushing to protect, conserve and regenerate the natural resources and ecosystems that support our economic growth, food security, health and climate. Yet there appear to be worryingly few trailblazers out there. Worse, we are quickly running out of time. The science makes clear that, to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change and to build resilience against the effects that are already inevitable, we must end biodiversity loss before 2030. That means establishing lasting conservation for at least 30 percent of land and sea areas within eight years and then charting a course toward living in harmony with nature by 2050. Though the challenge is massive, ignoring it makes no sense from a business perspective. A World Economic Forum white paper estimates that nature-positive policies “could generate an estimated $10 trillion in new annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.” Among other things, such policies would use precision agricultural technologies to improve crop yields — diversifying diets with more fruit and vegetables in the process — and boost agroforestry and peatland restoration. A nature-positive approach can also be more cost-effective. For example, the Dasgupta Review (the final report of the UK’s Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity) finds that green infrastructure like salt marshes and mangroves are two to five times cheaper than gray infrastructure such as breakwaters. Nonetheless, private sector action is lagging, including in economic sectors where the health of value chains is closely tied to that of nature. That is one key finding from an analysis just released by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, Global Canopy, Rainforest Alliance and others. Out of 148 major companies assessed, only nine — or 6 percent — are making strong progress to end deforestation. Among them are the Brazilian paper and pulp producer Suzano and five of the largest consumer goods companies: Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars and Colgate-Palmolive. Unilever, for example, is committed to a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023 and thus is focusing on palm oil, paper and board, tea, soy and cocoa, as these contribute to more than 65 percent of its impact on land. Nestle has now made more than 97 percent of its primary meat, palm oil, pulp and paper, soy and sugar supply chains deforestation-free. And PepsiCo aims to implement regenerative farming across the equivalent of its agricultural footprint by 2030, and to end deforestation and development on peat. These are positive steps, but they represent exceptions, rather than any new normal. Moreover, the financial sector has also been slow to turn nature-positive. Since the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow last year, only 35 financial firms have committed to tackle agricultural commodity-driven deforestation by 2025. The hope now is that more firms will join the deforestation commitment by COP27 this November. Under the umbrella of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, 500 financial firms (representing $135 trillion in assets) have committed to halving their portfolios’ emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. Now, the alliance has issued new net-zero guidance that includes recommended policies for addressing deforestation. Nature functions as a kind of global capital and protecting it should be a no-brainer for businesses, investors and governments. The World Economic Forum finds that “$44 trillion of economic value generation — over half the world’s total GDP — is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services.” But this profound source of value is increasingly at risk, as demonstrated by the current food crisis, which is driven not just by the war in Ukraine but also by climate-related disasters such as drought and India’s extreme heat wave, locust swarms in East Africa, and floods in China. Businesses increasingly have the tools to start addressing these kinds of problems. Recently, the Science Based Targets initiative released a methodology for targeting emissions related to food, land and agriculture. Capital for Climate’s Nature-Based Solutions Investment platform helps financiers identify opportunities to invest in nature with competitive returns. And the Business for Nature coalition is exploring additional moves the private sector can make. Governments have also taken steps in the right direction. At COP26, countries accounting for more than 90 percent of the world’s forests endorsed a leaders’ declaration to halt forest loss and land degradation by 2030. And a dozen countries pledged to provide $12 billion in public finance for forests by 2025 and to do more to leverage private finance for the same purpose. They can now start meeting those commitments ahead of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh by enacting the necessary policies, establishing the right incentives and delivering on their financial promises. Meanwhile, the UN-backed Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns will continue working in parallel, helping businesses, investors, cities and regions put the conservation of nature at the heart of their work to decarbonize and build resilience. The five strong corporate performers on deforestation are in the Race to Zero and the campaign’s recently strengthened criteria will pressure other members to do more to use biodiversity sustainably and align their activities and financing with climate-resilient development. Nigel Topping is the UK’s High-Level Climate Champion for COP26 in Glasgow. Mahmoud Mohieldin is Egypt’s High-Level Climate Champion for COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh. Project Syndicate
Nature functions as a kind of global capital and protecting it should be a no-brainer for businesses, investors and governments
I am a resident of Larkana. The breakdown of electricity is lasting for profound hours. It is reported that the breakdown is witnessed every day for myriad hours in Larkana. The menace of load-shedding has irritated the mental and physical wellbeing of citizens. Hence, it has become a serious-faced curse besides paying huge charges with massive taxes. Undoubtedly, summer is arduous to spend besides elevated temperature and unscheduled load-shedding have made our existences more desperate. Have long erratic breakdowns not tormented students? Shockingly, students are unable to do proper preparation for succeeding annual exams in this high Fahrenheit. Furthermore, blemishing weather has moulded the situation more crucial. Has it not become beyond the patience to survive? Has it not frightened numerous practices of daily life? Is casualty of profound factories and workshops not being inflicted by this chronic disorder? Is extensively significant time not being ruined in it? Indeed, load-shedding is responsible for all these drawbacks. Albeit, it is high time to urge for long-lasting load-shedding to be avoided. It has become complicated to inhale and exhale in this catastrophe. This menace needs immediate attention in order to survive in this boiling temperature. The government must take action against the concerned authority and resolve the panic as soon as possible for the welfare of their citizens.
ABDUL QADIR MORIO, Larkana
Irish ex-soldier jailed for 15 months for joining IS in Syria
Dublin: Dublin's Special Criminal Court on Friday sentenced former soldier Lisa Smith to 15 months in jail for joining the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. Judge Tony Hunt said the 40-year-old mother of one, from Dundalk on Ireland's east coast, was a low risk for reoffending. But he said Smith, a Muslim convert, went to Syria with her "eyes wide open" and had shown no remorse for her actions. Smith, who arrived at court wearing a black hijab, was convicted in May of belonging to the banned terror group between 2015 and 2019. She is the first person to be convicted in an Irish court of an Islamic terrorist offence committed abroad. Smith could have faced a maximum sentence of eight years for membership of a proscribed terrorist organisation. Judge Hunt rejected her lawyer's plea to impose a suspended sentence but heeded his call for a jail term at the lower end of the scale. Her legal team has asked the court to allow Smith to be released on bail, pending an appeal. Smith was acquitted by three judges on a separate charge of financing terrorism by sending 800 euros ($810) to aid medical treatment for a Syrian man in Turkey. During her nine-week trial, prosecutors outlined how Smith -- who was a member of the Irish Defence Forces from 2001 to 2011 -- travelled to IS territory in 2015 following a conversion to Islam. In 2012, she went on pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia and expressed a desire on an Islamic Facebook page to live under Sharia law and to die a martyr. The court was told that she bought a one-way ticket from Dublin to Turkey, crossed the border into Syria and lived in Raqa, the capital of the self-styled IS caliphate. 'Appalling' At the time, the hardline Islamists ruled over vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, attracting thousands of foreign fighters to their cause before the group's territorial defeat in the region. As IS lost ground to a US-led coalition on the battlefield and towns and cities under its sway fell, Smith was forced to flee Raqa and then Baghouz, their last remaining stronghold, before returning to Ireland. She was arrested on arrival at Dublin airport on December 1, 2019 with her young daughter. During sentencing arguments, her lawyer Michael O'Higgins asked for her to be spared jail as she had already served a custodial sentence in Syrian camps. He referred to Smith's acute psychological state, after she was described in expert reports as "damaged" and "vulnerable", emphasising the "appalling" conditions she had faced with her young child. The court heard that Smith was held in the notorious Al-Hawl and Ain Issa refugee camps in northern Syria while she waited to be sent home to Ireland. O'Higgins explained how IS members in the camps imposed cruel punishments on other refugees including, in some cases, setting their tents on fire and killing them in the process. The defence lawyer also asked the court to consider that Smith has lived with a 13-hour daily curfew as part of her bail conditions since 2019. AFP
Marshall Islands celebrate first 'Iroojlaplap' chief coronation in 50 years
Majuro: Thousands participated this week in a lavish ceremony in the Marshall Islands marking the first formal coronation of a paramount chief in around 50 years. The colourful event, which also attracted thousands of viewers on social media, saw Michael Kabua crowned "Iroojlaplap", or paramount chief, on Thursday night as warriors and guests from the 12 atolls and islands he oversees gathered in a show of respect. The coronation, held on the small island of Ebeye in the Kwajalein Atoll, is known as a "Kailoojoj" in Marshallese -- a ceremony reserved only for paramount chiefs. It was the first coronation for the royal family since Kabua’s cousin, Iroojlaplap Joba, who died in 1982, ascended to the throne in the 1970s. The blowing of a conch shell heralded each stage of the elaborate ceremony, which featured islanders wearing traditional headdress and woven mat clothing. The red carpet was also rolled out, with Marshall Islands President David Kabua -- Michael's nephew -- and members of his cabinet among the guests. Michael Kabua assumed the title of Iroojlaplap following the death of his older brother Imata Kabua in 2019. AFP
Xi sends sympathy message to Biden over Covid infection
Beijing Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a sympathy message to his United States counterpart Joe Biden on Friday, state broadcaster CCTV reported, a day after the 79-year-old US leader tested positive for Covid-19. Biden on Thursday insisted he was "doing great", and said he would continue to work while isolating at the White House with mild symptoms. "I would like to express my deep sympathies to you and wish you a speedy recovery," Xi wrote in the message, CCTV reported. It is the first public contact between both leaders since their last virtual summit four months ago, as ties between the two global superpowers continue to deteriorate over issues including Taiwan, Ukraine and technology sector competition. The pair held a video conference on March 18, when Biden warned Xi against assisting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. The leaders have known each other for more than a decade, having travelled together when both were vice-presidents. Earlier this week, Biden said that a call with Xi would take place within the "next ten days", weeks after both countries' top diplomats met in an attempt to defuse escalating rhetoric over Taiwan. Beijing recently blasted a planned trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Were Pelosi to go, it would be the most senior-level US official visit to the self-ruled island -- which China claims is part of its territory -- under the Biden administration. Pelosi also raised the possibility of a military escalation from China, saying Thursday: "Maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down or something like that by the Chinese." AFP
Japan regulator OKs release of treated Fukushima water
Tokyo: Japan's nuclear regulator on Friday formally approved a plan to release more than a million tonnes of treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. The plan has already been adopted by the government and endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but plant operator TEPCO must still win over local communities before going ahead. The country's Nuclear Regulation Authority approved TEPCO's plan, according to a foreign ministry statement, which said the government would ensure the safety of the treated water as well as the "reliability and transparency of its handling". Cooling systems at the plant were overwhelmed by a tsunami triggered by a massive undersea quake on March 11, 2011, causing the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Decommissioning work is under way and expected to take around four decades, with painstaking efforts to remove molten fuel from damaged reactors among the tasks ahead. Each day, the site produces 140 cubic metres of contaminated water -- a combination of groundwater, seawater and rainwater that seeps into the area, and water used for cooling. AFP
Italy heatwave peaks with 16 cities on red alert as Tuscany burns
Rome: Italy faced the hottest day of the current heatwave Friday with red extreme heat warnings issued for 16 cities across the country, as firefighters battled blazes up and down the country. Worst hit is expected to be Milan in the north with temperatures hitting 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), while Bologna to its south and the capital Rome could hit 39 degrees, according to official government estimates. Other major cities under a cautionary heatwave red alert for Friday and Saturday by Italy's health ministry include Florence, Genoa, Turin and Verona. On Thursday, the city of Pavia, just south of Milan, broke a record with thermometers hitting 39.6 degrees. For three consecutive months -- May, June and July -- national temperatures have been at least two to three degrees above the seasonal average, and the trend should continue until early August, said national weather website ilmeteo.com. Along with the heat have come hundreds of fires across Italy in recent weeks. The largest still raging Friday was in central Tuscany, where 860 hectares had burned since Monday in an area west of Lucca. Over 1,000 people were evacuated Thursday. On Friday, 87 firefighters were on the ground after another night spent battling the flames, helped by reinforcements from the Lombardy and Piedmont regions. Water dumps from helicopters were underway, authorities said. Prosecutors in Lucca have opened an investigation over the cause of the fire. Volunteer killed More contained was a forest fire that broke out Tuesday near Trieste, in Italy's northeasternmost region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, sending flames and vast plumes of smoke across the border into Slovenia and displacing about 300 people. The fire -- which caused a 15-minute general blackout Tuesday in the city of Trieste -- was now "substantially stable," Deputy Governor Riccardo Riccardi said Thursday, adding that a cold front was expected on Tuesday. Authorities had not yet calculated how many hectares had burned. Firefighters said a female civil defense volunteer died while trying to fight the fire. Local media said she was killed by a falling tree. Italy's national firefighting corps say they have intervened in 32,921 wildfires from June 15 to July 21, or 4,040 more than in the same period last year. Most have been in the southern regions of Sicily, Puglia, Calabria and Lazio, around Rome. According to the specialised European monitoring service Copernicus, fires have ravaged 27,571 hectares so far this year in Italy. That damage, however, is still well short of that in Spain, where 199,651 hectares have burned, or 149,324 hectares in Romania. In Portugal, 48,106 hectares have burned, with another 39,904 hectares in France. Italy is "about to reach the maximum power of the African high pressure zone 'Apocalypse 4800'", said ilmeteo.it. AFP
Saudi arrested after Israeli reporter sneaks into Mecca
Riyadh: A Saudi who allegedly helped a non-Muslim enter the holy city of Mecca has been arrested, police in the kingdom said on Friday, after online backlash against an Israeli journalist. The journalist, Gil Tamary of Israel's Channel 13, on Monday posted to Twitter video of himself sneaking into Mecca, Islam's holiest city, in defiance of a ban on non-Muslims. Mecca regional police have "referred a citizen" to prosecutors for alleged complicity in "transferring and facilitating the entry of a (non-Muslim) journalist", a police spokesperson said in comments reported by the official Saudi Press Agency. SPA did not name the journalist but said he is an American citizen, whose case has also been referred to prosecutors "to take the necessary procedures against him in accordance with the applied laws". Despite growing behind-the-scenes business and security contacts, Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel and did not join the 2020 US-brokered Abraham Accords that saw the Jewish state establish ties with two of the kingdom's neighbours, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In his roughly 10-minute clip, Tamary visits Mount Arafat, where robed Muslim pilgrims gather to pray during the climax of the hajj pilgrimage each year. He makes clear he knows that what he's doing is outlawed but says he wanted to showcase "a place that is so important to our Muslim brothers and sisters". Tamary's justification, and subsequent apology, did little to quiet angry Saudi social media responses. The controversy followed US President Joe Biden's visit to both Israel and Saudi Arabia last week. AFP
Thousands flee feuding Taliban in Afghanistan's north
Duzdanchisma: When fighting erupted between Taliban forces and a breakaway group led by one of their former commanders in northern Afghanistan last month, Zahra and her family fled to the mountains. For days they walked across the rocky terrain, unsure what lay ahead or when they might return to their home Sar-e Pol province's Balkhab district, where the clashes erupted. "We didn't want to get trapped... we all might have been killed," said Zahra, 35, asking to use a pseudonym for security reasons. Zahra's family is among thousands that fled conflict between the Taliban and fighters loyal to Mahdi Mujahid, the group's former intelligence chief for Bamiyan. Ethnicity, religious sectarianism, and a battle for a lump of Balkhab's lucrative coal resources are at the heart of the fighting. "All these factors are working together in driving the conflict," Australia-based political analyst Nematullah Bizhan told AFP. Mujahid, a Shiite Hazara, joined the mostly Sunni and Pashtun Taliban in 2019, and was appointed to his post soon after the hardline Islamists seized power in August last year. Afghanistan's Shiite Hazaras have faced persecution for decades, with the Taliban accused of abuses against the community when they first ruled from 1996 to 2001. They are also the target of attacks by the Islamic State group, which considers them heretics. Mujahid's appointment was initially seen as supporting the Taliban's claim of being more inclusive to non-Pashtuns, but he soon fell foul of the leadership. The group routinely denies reports of infighting in its ranks, but in June local media said Mujahid split with the Taliban leadership when Kabul sought greater control over the coal business. 'History of resistance' Balkhab is home to several coal mines and demand has soared in recent months with Pakistan -- in the grip of an energy crisis partly caused by rising oil prices -- stepping up imports to fuel power plants. Local Taliban commanders were known to "tax" trucks on their way to Pakistan -- as officials in the previous government did before them -- but when Mujahid resisted Kabul's efforts to rein in the practice, they sacked him. "Balkhab has a long history of resisting the government," analyst Bizhan said, adding the region also fought strongly against the Taliban during their first reign. While the June fighting lasted only a few days, the United Nations says it displaced at least 27,000 people -- almost all of them Hazara. The result is a humanitarian crisis that aid agencies are now struggling to deal with. "We used to sleep thirsty on empty stomachs and wake up in the morning and start walking again," said Zahra, whose family walked for nearly a fortnight before finding shelter in a village mosque in Bamiyan. "Everyone was sick." The family of Barat Ali Subhani, another resident of Balkhab, has taken refuge in the same mosque. "We didn't have anything with us. We just left in clothes we were wearing," Subhani said. His seven-member family -- including five children -- walked for four days before a shepherd led them to the mosque. "He saved us," Subhani said. "We had nothing. We thought that we will probably die." AFP
Djokovic completes 'Big Four' dream team at Laver Cup
LONDON: The old "Big Four" will once again be represented by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal on Team Europe for the Laver Cup. The fifth iteration of the competition will take place from September 23 to 25 at London's O2 Arena, pitting Bjorn Borg's European squad against John McEnroe's Team World. Djokovic, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, will compete at the Laver Cup for the first time since it was staged in Chicago in 2018. "It's the only competition where you can play in a team environment with guys that you're normally competing against and to be joining Rafa, Roger and Andy -- three of my biggest all-time rivals -- it's going to be a truly unique moment in the history of our sport," said the 21-time Grand Slam champion. For nearly two decades, the four players have dominated men's tennis, winning 66 of the last 76 Grand Slams and each Wimbledon title since 2003. The final two squad positions for the six-player Team Europe have not yet been revealed, while McEnroe's Team World now consists of Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, and Taylor Fritz of the United States. At the three-day competition honouring Australian legend Rod Laver, Team Europe is aiming for a fifth straight victory. Former world number one Borg said: "I don't think I could have imagined having these four icons of the sport on one team together. "I know they, like I, appreciate the significance of this moment and will be truly up for it. Each year our goal is to win. With Rafa, Roger, Andy and Novak on the team, I like our chances."
How Climbers Reached the Summit of K2 in Winter for the First Time
It was a prideful journey for the Nepalese climbers, who historically haven’t received their due
By Staff Reporter
SAKARDU: At around noon on Saturday, the climbers inched into the infamous passage called the Bottleneck on K2, the second-tallest mountain in the world and one never before conquered in winter. The sky was clear, the wind manageable and the summit just beyond this final and most perilous stretch. The group of 10 Nepalese climbers, led by 37-year-old Nirmal Purja, also known as Nimsdai, would probably be the first to climb K2 in the winter if they could get past the Bottleneck. The history was at Purja's frostbitten fingertips, but he knew it was best to ignore it and concentrate on moving forward one step at a time. K2, a glittering 28,251-foot glacial rock that spans the boundary between China and Pakistan, has kept the same trite moniker that was originally annotated on a 19th-century British surveyor's chart of the Karakoram range.Since the 1950s, it has also been known as Savage Mountain for its deadly reputation. The ratio of deaths to ascents on K2 is nearly one to six. By comparison, on Mount Everest, the ratio is about one to 34. That thin margin for error was underlined on Saturday, when Sergi Mingote, a Spanish climber who had reached 10 of the world’s highest peaks without supplemental oxygen, fell to his death much lower on the mountain. The tragedy occurred hours after the Nepalese funneled through the Bottleneck, an hourglass-shaped gully that runs beneath an unstable overhanging ice cliff, called a serac. The serac routinely sheds enormous blocks of ice. Even before they reached the Bottleneck, the climbers saw foreboding debris fields. “Some pieces were the size of a house,” Purja said from base camp on Monday. “You get intimidated by that. But if it’s your day, it’s your day. I was just praying to the mountain. This time we needed passage, and the mountain allowed us permission.” The trick was not to rush. Elevations above 26,000 feet are in the so-called death zone. And though any climber caught in the Bottleneck at the wrong time faces certain injury and likely death, getting spooked and moving too fast at that altitude could bring a slow death. High-altitude pulmonary edema is the biggest threat. That’s when pulmonary blood vessels constrict, ratcheting up pressure in the lungs, causing fluid to leak into the air sacs. The only cure is to head down the mountain for more oxygen. When pulmonary edema is ignored, breathing becomes more difficult, and soon blood and fluid might leak into the brain, an often fatal syndrome known as cerebral edema. Linked to a rope they’d fixed to the ice, Purja and the other climbers stepped around such unspoken truths like so many shattered ice houses. It certainly helped that all but Purja were breathing supplemental oxygen, but even climbers on oxygen have been known to become lethargic and lose mobility. “And if your oxygen canister runs out,” said the climber and cinematographer Renan Ozturk, “you could just shut your eyes for a second, and never wake up.” Central Asia is home to all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter (26,246 feet) peaks. All but K2 had been climbed in both summer and winter. Thanks to its remote location, avalanche prone slopes, temperatures hovering around minus-60 degrees Fahrenheit, and hurricane-force winds, a winter ascent of the mountain was the last great challenge remaining for serious mountaineers. Many considered it impossible. Even a successful spring or summer climb of K2 is rare. Fewer than 400 climbers have been to its apex. More people have been to outer space than have stood on its summit. Over the years, there had been six previous winter attempts, the most recent of which was an unsuccessful Polish mission in 2018. But nine of the Nepalese climbers who made their way up the mountain last weekend were Sherpas who were born in the Himalayas. Sherpa people have assisted in innumerable legendary climbing accomplishments for years, ever since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary became the first to summit Mount Everest in 1953. However, the global perspective frequently makes them invisible, and they rarely get the credit they deserve. As a result of Hillary's success on Everest, Queen Elizabeth knighted her. Not Norgay, though. And no one has been given the honour of making the first ascent in Nepal. Yet experienced Alpinists know that Sherpa people are among the strongest mountaineers and are unparalleled at altitude because they were born and raised in thin air. “It’s really hard to comprehend their capacity at altitude,” said Jimmy Chin, the climber and Academy Award winning filmmaker of “Free Solo.” And this group was climbing for themselves. The lines they fixed weren’t for well-funded international climbers seeking fame or glory. They were for them to claim a piece of history for their country. Of course, if not for the coronavirus, none of them would have been there. The pandemic suspended the spring climbing season in Nepal. With no foreign climbers in the mountains and no way to make a living, the Nepalese climbing community was frustrated and bored. Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks in Kathmandu, and his brothers Tasha and Chhang Dawa, a veteran of multiple successful K2 ascents, broke the spell by plotting an audacious winter expedition to K2.
Hamilton prepares for 300th race by hailing Alonso
LE CASTELLE: Ahead of his historic 300th F1 race at the French Grand Prix on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton declared on Thursday that Fernando Alonso is the most challenging and quick adversary he has ever faced. The seven-time world champion, who is now 37, also reminisced about his first Formula One race, the 2007 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, where, at the age of 22, he astounded seasoned spectators with his prodigious talent. He qualified fourth and finished third, behind two-time champion Alonso, the ferocity of their competition signalling how they would battle and fall out in the season ahead. "I think it's difficult to say who has necessarily been the strongest competitor because every time you're with someone, you're in a different place in your life," said Hamilton. "I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22. I was so young, mentally, and, of course, ok in terms of skill, but it's a lot of pressure to go up against a great like Fernando. "I would say on pure pace, Fernando. We had some good battles. I wish we could have more. Hopefully, he will continue to race so, hopefully, we'll have more in the future." Ron Dennis, the team manager of McLaren who had assisted in directing Hamilton's development, elevated him to the F1 squad. His first victory came in his sixth race, the Canadian Grand Prix, after which their rivalry soured, and Alonso decided to rejoin Renault for 2008. Alonso, now 41 and mellowed, claimed he had no resentment for Hamilton and had always enjoyed competing against him."I don't think that he has changed much, to be honest," said Alonso, who will race for Alpine against Hamilton's Mercedes in this weekend's French Grand Prix. "He had the talent already in 2007, he still has the talent now with experience. He has been a tremendous driver, a legend of our sport, so it has been always a pleasure to share all this time with him. "Back then probably no one thought that someone will be able to win seven titles as Michael (Schumacher) did. The journey has been amazing. "The team that they built in Mercedes over these years was outstanding. Congratulations to the 300." In registering his 300th Formula One race start, Hamilton joins a clutch of drivers in an elite club - Kimi Raikkonen who started 349 races, Alonso 344, Rubens Barrichello 322 and both Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button on 306. Of his maiden outing, Hamilton has clear memories. The moment a dream comes true, he remarked, "the entire experience is incredibly weird and it is always going to be your first - because there's only one first." Being there will definitely be the actual highlight. "Just getting to that first Grand Prix, the amount of sleepless nights we all as a family had not knowing if we would accomplish that ambition, but we never gave up regardless."
Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem qualifies for men's javelin throw final in US OREGON
USA: Arshad Nadeem qualifies for men's javelin throw final in Oregon, USA. Pakistani javelin thrower, 25, rose to prominence last year when he qualified for final of the Tokyo Olympics. He was the first Pakistani athlete to compete in final of any track and field event in Olympic history. In the men's javelin throw semifinal at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States, Pakistani Arshad Nadeem has advanced. Arshad qualified for the final, which will be held on July 23, by throwing at a distance of 81.71 metres during his group B qualifying round. He placed ninth overall. In group B, the 25-year-old Pakistani javelin thrower placed second in a series of throws. On his first effort, he was able to throw 76.15 metres, and on his second, 74.38. However, his best performance came in his third attempt, when he achieved 81.71m, keeping him among the top 12 to qualify for the final. This was also his best throw of the season. Arshad will be joined by Anderson Peters of Germany, Neeraj Chopra of India, Julian Weber of Germany, Jakub Vedlejch of the Czech Republic, Ehab Abdelrahman of Egypt, Oliver Helander of Finland, Roderick Genki Dean of Japan, Curtis Thompson of the US, Andrian Maldare of the Maldives, Rohit Yadav of India, and Lassi Etelatalo of Finland. Arshad rose to prominence last year when he qualified for the final of the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Pakistani athlete to compete in the final of any track and field event in Olympic history.
Ten Hags tells Maguire to win over critics, wants new players
PERTH: Harry Maguire was informed on Friday by Erik ten Hag, the new Manchester United coach, that it is up to him to impress the supporters by playing better. The Dutchman added that United is pursuing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong and that he is still looking for additional players because he needs "more choices." Although Maguire struggled last season and received jeers from the crowd, Ten Hag has left his impression on United during the preseason tour of Asia and Australia. In Australia, when the 29-year-old was jeered at by a few supporters during their 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace in Melbourne, the jeering followed the player. Ten Hag told reporters in Perth before United's friendly matchup with Aston Villa on Saturday, "We heard. But as you can see, it slows down if you perform. How can we change it is the topic. The only thing on which the team and Harry are focused is on their performances. United has impressed in its first games under enforcer Ten Hag, winning convincingly against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, and Palace in friendly matches. Their attacking play, hallmarks of Ajax during Ten Hag's reign, has led to renewed confidence ahead of the new Premier League season following their disappointing sixth-placed finish last season. The Red Devils appear set to start the campaign without Cristiano Ronaldo, who hasn’t reported back for pre-season after asking to leave Old Trafford.
Lyles defends 200m title, Jackson trumps Fraser-Pryce
EUGENE: In a second US sprint clean sweep on Thursday, Noah Lyles successfully defended his 200-meter world championship, and Shericka Jackson prevented Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica from completing a sprint double. Lyles finished the longer sprint in Eugene in 19.31 seconds, closely following Fred Kerley, who had led a 1-2-3 for Team USA in the men's 100m. Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have raced faster 200-meter times than this one. Lyles's teammates Kenny Bednarek and teenager Erriyon Knighton took silver and bronze in 19.77 and 19.80sec respectively, to repeated chants of "U-S-A" from home fans at Hayward Field. "It's like being a rock star!" Lyles said of performing in front of a packed crowd in Eugene, as opposed to the empty stands in the Tokyo Olympics where he finished third and admittd to having mental health issues. "I was true in form for a world record, but I am okay with the American record," Lyles said after bettering Michael Johnson's previous best by one-hundredth of a second. " To be really honest, I went into every stage intending to succeed. Similar fireworks broke out in the women's 200m on a warm, clear night that was ideal for sprinting. Jackson won the first individual world title in her career in 21.45 seconds, the second-fastest time ever raced over the distance. Only one person has ran faster: the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, whose time of 21.34 seconds set a world record in 1988. "I am feeling great once I came out and put on the show," said 28-year-old Jackson. "The fastest woman alive, the national and championships record, I cannot complain!" Newly-crowned 100m gold medallist Fraser-Pryce took silver in 21.81sec. But there was no Jamaican cleansweep, as there had been in the blue riband event, as defending champion Dina Asher-Smith of Britain claimed bronze in 22.02sec. Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, the third part of Jamaica's 100m sweep, eventually came in seventh in 22.39sec. Fraser-Pryce hinted that any retirement plans, initially mulled over in 2020/21, were definitely on hold. "I really think I owe it to myself to see how far I can go as a sprinter and just continue to transcend what I thought was possible," she said. "For women, especially after having a baby and after turning 30, you hear ... it's time to pack it up. "But you know I'm 35, going on 36, and to be here still competing at that level it's just a blessing. "I'm really looking forward to 2023 and the worlds in Budapest. And then after that we take it to 2024 for Paris!" The line up for Saturday's 800m final was decided after three tight semi-finals.
State institutions, media should create enabling environment for truly representative govt: Alvi
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that all state institutions and media should endeavour to create enabling environment for setting up a government which was truly representative of the people of Pakistan. The president while addressing the 5th Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Business Excellence Awards ceremony, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, said the truly representative government should reflect their aspirations and hopes of the people to ensure political and economic stability needed for the promotion of business, trade and investment in the country. According to the president, Pakistan might advance within ten years provided its democracy was reinforced, a genuine representation of the aspirations of the people was developed, and the leadership made wise choices to reduce corruption, uphold justice, and advance human rights. He asserted that commerce and investment, consultative institutions, and enthusiasm were essential elements for every country to achieve prosperity. He claimed that in order for Pakistan to become a peaceful, wealthy, progressive, and respectable country in the comity of countries, it was necessary to stop corrupt practises in addition to executing dynamic policies and making the right decisions. According to President Alvi, Pakistan must preserve friendly connections with all of its international allies and refrain from taking sides in polarising international politics. Urging the business community to invest in the development of intellectual avenues, the president said that upskilling the human resources in different sectors of the economy, especially the IT sector, could help Pakistan achieve high economic growth rates. He stated that by focusing on the development of the knowledge-based economy and intellectual development of its human resources, Pakistan could achieve the status of a developed, peaceful and progressive country. He said that the business and industrial sectors were the backbone of the country’s economy. “Country grows when the industry grows, therefore, the government should take every step possible to promote business and industry by rationalizing the taxation system, setting up new industrial estates and economic zones and focusing on the promotion of exports and industrialization”, he added. The president also urged ICCI members to work with colleges to create homegrown answers to the particular issues that the regional sector is currently facing. According to him, the private sector has a social obligation to support the improvement of society and the economy. He continued that the ICCI should aid in making cities more accessible to DAPs and environmentally friendly. According to him, the private sector should also take action to hire the illiterate and DAPs based on their ability as equally empowered workers and to teach and skill them.
Pakistan, Germany agree to further strengthen bilateral robust economic relations
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Germany have agreed to make concerted efforts to further strengthen bilateral robust economic relations. The agreement was reached during a telephonic conversation between Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed Pakistan's interest in deeper bilateral engagement in the field of climate change and capacity enhancement of country's scientific institutions dealing with climate change.
Imran Khan wants to make Punjab’s biggest ‘dacoit’ CM: PPP
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: The Bilawal House spokesman said Friday while commenting on the election of Punjab chief minister that Imran Khan declared to make the person the chief minister whom he had dubbed the biggest ‘dacoit’ of Punjab. “Today, the fight is between the biggest ‘dacoit’ of Punjab and the democratic forces,” said Bilawal House Spokesman Surendar Valasai. He expressed sorrow that none of the PTI MPAs were deemed qualified for the position of Punjab chief minister. The PTI MPAs are upset about being forced to support the largest "dacoit" in Punjab, he continued. He said, "In the words of Imran Khan himself, the PTI MPs should stay at home instead of voting for the largest "dacoit" of Punjab. Asif Ali Zardari is in Lahore to enlighten the Punjabi populace. With his "Pakistan Khape" slogan, he is in motion.
islamabad: Chairman senate, muhammad sadiq sanjrani exchanging views with ambassador of turkiye mr. Mehmet paçaci at parliament house.
Nawaz, Fazl agree to take PTI head on
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Friday telephoned Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and discussed with him present political situation of the country. Sources that both the leaders agreed on adopting an ‘aggressive’ posture to counter the politics of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). They added that the former prime minister assured the JUI-F chairman that his proposals for the coalition government's success would be put into practise in addition to agreeing with them. Sources further said that Nawaz and Fazl agreed that the coalition government should immediately tackle the problems caused by inflation as well as hold those who violate the constitution accountable accountable. Both leaders also concurred that the PTI government's "stories of corruption and terrible governance" will be made public. Yesterday, Nawaz spoke on the phone with Asif Ali Zardari, a former president and co-chairman of the PPP. Imran Khan, the leader of the PTI, is allegedly seeking to bring about economic instability in Pakistan because the Imran-Bushra-Gogi mafia's thefts are becoming intolerable, according to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb responded to Fawad Chaudhry's remarks on Friday by stating that the people of Pakistan have rejected the politics of liars, hypocrites, and thieves.
Asad Mahmood inspects relief operation in flood hit Pai village of Tank
By Our Correspondent
PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Communications, Mufti Asad Mahmood has visited flood hit Pai village in Tank district where he inspected relief operation and damages incurred to infrastructure and houses. Member Provincial Assembly, Mahmood Ahmed Khan, tehsil mayors Sadam Hussain Bhattani and Bahadar Khan Bhattani besides others leaders of Jamiat Ulema Islam and elders of the area accompanied the minister. The Minister met with those impacted by the disaster and gave them assurances of help. Speaking at the event, the federal minister for communications promised that flood victims will receive all the assistance and support they might possibly need. He promised that the government would keep working until all those impacted had been relocated. The Prime Minister Muhammad Shahbez Sharif, according to him, would soon visit Tank and unveil a major initiative benefiting the district's residents.
Now rules of game will be same for everyone: Maryam
By Staff Reporter
LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Friday said ahead of Hamza Shahbaz’s possible victory in the Punjab CM election said that now the rules of the game will be the same for everyone. Taking to twitter, she wrote that PML-N has not forgotten the treatment done to the party, adding that now the rules of the game will be the same for all, otherwise the PMLN will do it in a better way. Earlier, Maryam Nawaz remarked in a tweet that Imran Khan, the PTI chairman and former prime minister, treats his supporters worse than slaves because he preaches freedom from servitude. The PML-N vice president recently tweeted that Imran Khan is supporting the candidate he once referred to as "Punjab's biggest dacoit" and is prepared to appoint him as the province's chief executive. She added that there is a difference between providing the province on contract and the person who made the claim of creating a great nation not even having their own candidate for the Chief Ministership.
Indian govt’s claims on good governance in IIOJK have proved hoax: Harsh
By Staff Reporter
JAMMU: In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Harsh Dev Singh has said that the Indian government’s claims on good governance have proved a hoax. According to Kashmir Media Service, Harsh Dev Singh in a statement issued in Jammu said that the Indian government is giving vague and nauseating slogans of good governance, transparency and accountability and questioned the non-payment of compensation to the farmers whose lands and structures were acquired for construction of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) roads since 2012 onwards. He claimed that not only were farmers' marginal land holdings expropriated for the construction of rural roads without providing them with any compensation, but also numerous buildings and residential homes that were in the way of the roads were demolished without providing any relief to the affected parties. The poor farmers, he continued, were forced to travel back and forth between offices without receiving any assistance, which caused a huge commotion in the afflicted districts.
Yasin forced to fast unto death despite worsening health condition: Mushaal
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Lashing out at the world powers and UN bodies’ criminal silence and callous attitude towards Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik, Peace and Culture Organisation Chairperson Mushaal Hussein Mullick said that he (Yasin Malik) had announced fast unto death from Friday against his judicial murder by kangaroo courts in fraudulent cases. Yasin Malik's wife Mushaal expressed concern in a statement saying she was pained to even consider that Yasin, with his rapidly worsening health, had chosen to embark on a hunger strike. In blatant violation of legal and democratic standards, the JKLF chairman, according to the accuser, was refused the right to personally appear in the ongoing trial and was instead implicated in bogus and manufactured instances in an effort to politically victimise him. Therefore, Mushaal stated that he was left with no legal recourse, eventually he took the decision of going on a hunger strike unto death in the Tihar jail death cell. She lamented that the world’s powers and so-called human right organizations’ criminal silence pertaining to the inhuman and cruel treatment by the Indian fascist Narendra Modi-led government against Kashmiri people especially Yasin Malik raised many eyebrows. According to the leader of the Hurriyat, the Kashmiri people are treated as if the world does not belong to them. Why do we live in a society where we won't be heard until we go on strikes or commit suicide? Do we not have a voice? Are we the offspring of a lesser God? she inquired. Mushaal continued, "His 10-year-old daughter Raziyah Sultana urged her father not to embark on a hunger strike, hoping that the world would pay attention to this Kashmiri child's cries." The Chairperson implored India to ensure Yasin Malik's immediate and safe release and encouraged the international community and human rights groups to take notice of this serious human rights violation that deprives Yasin Malik of all fundamental and legal rights.
Pakistan will continue to sensitize int’l community on India’s blatant violations of int’l law & UNSC resolutions: FO Spokesperson
By Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad has said that India’s sinister design of altering the demographic composition of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in order to forcefully convert the Muslim majority into minority will never succeed. Pakistan will continue to sensitize the international community on India’s blatant violations of international law and UNSC resolutions. At his weekly press conference on Friday, FO Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad made this statement. According to a spokeswoman for the FO, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), is now in Pakistan from July 21–24. The Secretary General, he claimed, had a busy schedule. The ministers of business, climate change, information technology, and maritime affairs have all met with him. On Friday morning, he spoke with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the foreign minister, for a lengthy discussion. Also on his list of people to contact is Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. The SG also addressed at Islamabad's Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI). He will converse with entrepreneurs and business executives as well. He said that the visit of the SCO Secretary General provides an opportunity to engage with the SCO Secretariat and highlight our perspective and priorities for making the SCO mechanisms more effective in advancing shared regional security and economic goals. He announced that the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Tashkent the following week will also include participation from Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (28-29 July). As we approach three years of India's illegal and unilateral actions on August 5, 2019, and the ensuing unprecedented and unabated repression and human rights violations in IIOJK, FO Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad stated that the Pakistani government and people continue to stand resolutely with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their just struggle for self-determination and freedom from illegal Indian occupation. He said that on 13th July, the government and people of Pakistan solemnly observed the 91st Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir (Kashmir Martyrs’ Day) and paid homage to the 22 Kashmiri martyrs who rendered the ultimate sacrifice while braving the indiscriminate force unleashed on them in 1931 by the Dogra forces. He said that in a historic commemoration, on 19 July, the Government and people of Pakistan joined the Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) to mark the 75th anniversary of Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan. As the Kashmiris renewed their resolve to persevere in their demand for self-determination, Pakistan once again urges India to immediately halt its state-terrorism in the IIOJK, cease the human rights violations, release all political prisoners, lift the inhuman military siege and let the people of Kashmir exercise their right to self-determination.
ISTANBUL: Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf along with Speakers of Azerbaijan and Turkiye adressing 2nd Trilateral meeting of Speakers.